Matt Arnzen

Rich Snippets, an Illustrated Guide

SEOmoz has created an another excellent infographic on the topic of rich snippets. If you are not familiar with Rich Snippets, take a look at this great documentation by Google.

Snippets—the few lines of text that appear under every search result—are designed to give users a sense for what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their query.

If Google understands the content on your pages, we can create rich snippets—detailed information intended to help users with specific queries. For example, the snippet for a restaurant might show the average review and price range; the snippet for a recipe page might show the total preparation time, a photo, and the recipe’s review rating; and the snippet for a music album could list songs along with a link to play each song. These rich snippets help users recognize when your site is relevant to their search, and may result in more clicks to your pages.

Google also created this video to explain Rich Snippets in more detail

Below is the SEOmoz infographic that outlines the history and benefits of rich snippets:

Guide to Rich Snippets by BlueGlass Interactive on SEOmoz
Visual Guide to Rich Snippets on SEOmoz created by BlueGlass Interactive.

The importance of local search in your marketing plan

Local search is a huge opportunity for any business that operates physical locations. In the US alone, there are over 10 billion unique searches done each month. Of those searches:

20% of queries have local intent (1)

  • 5% use the city and/or state name (2)
  • 2% use informal terms, like neighborhoods (2)
  • 0.5% use zip codes (2)

Based on the above data, that can be over 2 billion unique local searches per month.  The demand is there.

The local marketing ecosystem:

GetListed.org is a great resource to learn more about local search. They compiled this graph to show the real complexity of the local search landscape.

Managing your data:

Managing your locations can be very time consuming when you have many locations. I’m currently wrestling with over 1,600 locations and we constantly find wrong information, incomplete profiles, already claimed listings,  and my favorite: duplicate data.  The biggest hurdle to overcome is finding the master source of your data (name, address, phone number, etc…). With large organizations, that data can live in various systems that may or may not talk to each other. In our organization we have a myriad of data feeds that synch up information into a central system that them serves as our single source.

Dealing with duplicate data:

With so many data providers out there, the data can be a mess. Depending on which provider you use, there are some sites that don’t use that providers feed and get their data from some other place.  Dealing with the clean up is an ongoing project that can turn into a full time job.  The best approach we have found so far is to loop in our field operations teams to look at the data and let us know when they see duplicates or incorrect information.

Picking a Provider:

In the U.S., there are three primary sources of data for all the major search engines: Infogroup, Acxiom, and Localeze. Another provider that is using technology to solve the local search data feed opportunity is Yext. Yext builds relationships with the local sites and pays a fee to them to ensure data integrity and quick updates. Whomever you choose to be your provider, ask the tough questions about turnaround times, duplication and incomplete profiles.

 

1 – (source: Comscore / Google)     2 – (source: Ian White)     3 – (source: Performics)

SEO Pricing by Region. A SEOmoz Infographic

Near the end of December 2011, SEOmoz ran a survey asking consultants and agencies of all sizes around the globe to discuss their pricing models and cost structures. They recently were able to post the results of that survey in the hopes that it will give everyone in the search industry a better idea of the range of fees and the services provided.

SEOMoz is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to learn more about SEO. Their blog is a industry resource and a daily must read for me.  I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to stay on top of the trends in SEO.

And now… the results:

Features versus functions: how not to hype a new smart phone

I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials recently about the new Motorola Droid Razr phone. My dad asked me after seeing a recent ad: “what does that phone do?”. I didn’t have an answer. All the commercial showed was the phone flying through the air slicing everything in its path.

Why would I want to go buy that phone? After seeing the ad, I know nothing about what it does or why it is special. And I’m not in the market for a phone that can cut a fire hydrant in two either.

Case in point, the new Razr commercial:

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/ugLIkx1u5iY 560 315]

And another longer ad showing features:

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/XGyp6dS6zqk 560 315]

It seems that most smart phone manufacturers use features to sell their phones rather than actually showing users what they can do with their phones.

Now, contrast that Razr ad with a typical Apple ad, this one for FaceTime:

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/nyHzaCv_egQ 560 315]

To me, the apple ads speaks more to me and captures me emotionally instead of shoving features down my throat (Dual-Core 1.2 GHz Processor + 1GB RAM, made with Kevlar Fibre, etc…).

Most people still don’t know a megapixel from a megabyte but they can immediately see the value of FaceTime, a dead simple UI and actions they do in every day life to help them make a decision on what phone to buy.

The apple commercials never talk about megapixels, megahertz, or RAM. They just show you what you can do with the iPhone. It reminds me so much of the PC versus Mac ads. The PC ads were always fighting over who had the most RAM or hard drive space, when most people really want a pc to get online and print without hassle.

Is the iPhone superior to the Razr? If you look only at specs, maybe (no Kevlar!) But If was going to buy a new phone, I wouldn’t know why I should buy the Razr unless I wanted to slice my way through town.

My Day2 Video

I’ve been working with ISITE Design for about 9 months and recently started a program with them called Day2. Its a perfect solution to a problem that we were facing with our redesign last year.

Here’s a description from the Day2 website:

Day2 is a new way of thinking about your website and digital marketing campaigns.

As marketers, we’re always focused on the big project – The website launch, the microsite creation or the media buy. When the project is done, the internal team disbands, the consultants scatter, and we move on to the next big thing.

Smart marketers know the real work happens on Day2. This is when you can see how visitors interact with your site. It’s when you get real data on what’s working. And it’s when you can start to make changes that have a significant impact for your visitors and your business.

We’ve already run several A/B and multivariate tests that are showing significant lift over control and actionable data to help us determine the next item to test. As an early adopter of the program, I was asked to do a quick video on why Day2 is important to us. Check it out!

What keywords drive 97% of Google's revenue?

Google gets most of it’s revenue from Adwords. But did you ever wonder what the top 20 keywords that drive that volume?

WordStream, a provider of hosted software that automates most of the manual work involved with creating and optimizing both paid and natural search engine marketing campaigns, has done some research to discover which keyword categories get the highest costs per click (CPC) in Google’s AdWords solution.

It’s hard to believe that the top 3 categories of Insurance, Loans and Mortgages make up over 45% of the volume.  When you are spending $45.91 a click you better make sure all of your reporting is in place and you can track inquires, leads and subscribers.

It must pencil out for the Insurance companies to be spending this kind of money or they wouldn’t be such competition.  If you don’t sell Insurance or loans or mortgages, be sure you are still tracking your spending and can report on how your users flow through your site and have attribution to show for it.

The 20 Most Expensive Keywords in Google AdWords