“It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday” – Rebecca Black
“I have never in my life found myself in a situation where I’ve stopped work and said, ‘Thank God it’s Friday.’ But weekends are special even if your schedule is all over the place. Something tells you the weekend has arrived and you can indulge yourself a bit.” – Helen Mirren
“It’s Friday, why am I not reading the OuterBox Redirect” – You, every Friday when you’re looking to find out what’s happening in the world of Social Media, Search Engines, eCommerce web design, and the Internet.
This week the world of search celebrated itself with the inaugural US Search Awards ceremony. This ceremony was held in conjunction with Pubcon, a social media and optimization conference/expo that is held annually in Las Vegas. Awards ranged from Best Blog (Search Engine Land took that one home) to Best SEO Software (Linkdex) and Best In House Team (Take a bow Rasmussen College). While a search engine award show may seem a bit silly to those outside of the industry, to those inside it, it’s an exciting event. On the surface it might seem like just another awards show, but underneath the thin veil of glitz, Google, and glamor, a benchmark was set in place for search engine marketers worldwide. The message from Sin City was clear. Here are the best and brightest, look to them for best practices, find out what they’re doing right and build upon that in order to make sure that your site ranks well. We can’t help but be encouraged by this sort of positive attitude towards SEO and SEM.
Alright, enough about how awesome it is to work in search engine marketing and SEO. Onto the good stuff.
The 1lb iPad Air was introduced to the relief of Apple fanboys everywhere who had grown weary of lugging around their 1.33 lb tablets. The iPad Air of course looks gorgeous with a 2048 by 1536 resolution at 264ppi but the real news here is that the price of older models of iPads are dropping. With more iPads available at a lower cost, more people will be relying on mobile search than ever before. If we haven’t said it before, we’ll strongly recommend, having a mobile ready website should now be considered a standard for any businesses seeking to increase its conversions.
Matt Cutts , Google’s head of Webspam, indicated additional SEO and mobile tips this week at the aforementioned Pubcon. Cutts doled out advice such as letting marketers know that if your phone can’t display Flash, Google will not show Flash sites in your results. And if your website funnels all mobile traffic to your homepage rather than an internal page that the user was attempting to navigate to, you’re likely to find your site has been penalized. In addition to all of this, if your site loads slowly on mobile platforms, Google will be less likely to rank it. Without a doubt Google wants people to know that mobile search needs to be taken into account for a successful SEO campaign.
Finally, we round this week’s 301 Redirect out with some reasons on why blogging for eCommerce sites continues to be a great avenue to share relevant content with the web. I might also argue that the 6th reason blogging is good for the marketing soul is that it allows one to have the ability to quote both Rebecca Black and Helen Mirren in the same breath without raising too many eyebrows.
That’s it for this week’s 301 Redirect, make sure you check back next week for more search engine industry news.
It’s Friday afternoon, which means it’s time for the OuterBox 301 Redirect, where we redirect you to some of the hottest stories happening right now in eCommerce SEO and web development.
Just this morning, Google’s stock surged over $1000 a share. Every time I see something like this happen I think, first and foremost, how big of a ball pit I would put in my basement if I had multiple shares of that stock. After I figure out the logistics of the ball pit, I think of the scene from the 2000 movie Frequency in which Jim Caviezel tells his childhood best friend to remember the code word “Yahoo.” We later see Jimmy’s pal has invested presumably tens of dollars in Yahoo and is sitting pretty in the year 2000. Oh Yahoo, how I long for the days when you reigned over search engine rankings with optimism (!) and were culturally relevant enough to make it into a movie with Dennis Quaid… those were simpler times though. Onto the news.
This was a busy week for social media with several big names making announcements about how their products will be used from now on. First up is Facebook who announced that anyone under the age of 18 can now post publicly. Previous to this Facebook prevented users under the age of 18 from sharing information outside of their extended network (friends of friends). Many are saying that Facebook is doing this in order to stay relevant to an age group that is already on multiple social media outlets which don’t have restrictions or hinder their ability to share the latest Selena Gomez gossip worldwide such as Tumblr and Twitter. This story seems ridiculous on so many levels, mostly because it 1) assumes that everyone on the internet is telling the truth about their age and 2) makes the even less astute assumption that the rest of us have all been clamoring for more One Direction updates. In the end though this move is sure to be seen by marketers as a gold mine of knowledge on what the under 18 crowd is actually doing with all of their time on Facebook, and that knowledge can easily become the heart of a marketing campaign which seeks to part true Beliebers from their paper route earnings.
In other Facebook news, be prepared to see more ads in your News Feed that areeerily accurate in regards to what they’re selling you. The above article gives the skinny on what many see as an inevitable gateway between the information you share about yourself online and what how marketers are going to reach you.
Next up is Foursquare, the location based social networking darling is looking to turn check-ins into paychecks by rolling out mobile advertisements that will appear when a user first opens the app. The ad will apply the context of the user’s previous check-in history as well as their location to find the most relevant deals for them. This is sure to be a go-to strategy for local businesses as it offers pretty direct access from a users mobile device to their place of business. It will be interesting to see how quickly these ads are adopted as marketing tools for big businesses and local businesses alike.
And rounding out the week is this insightful piece from Mashable posing the question as to whether or not your company should be on Google+. Since it’s Friday and I’m in a giving mood, I’m just going to break it down for you. Like any other social media campaign, if you strategize and have the time and effort to dedicate to running a campaign on Google+, then by all means, go ahead and do it. There, now that that’s over you can look at this other Mashable article that’s a collection of Instagrams of objects that have had googly eyes added to them.
When I was a little blogger, Fridays used to mean pizza for dinner and ABC’s TGIF in the evening. Dinosaurs, Danny Tanner, Carl Winslow, and a revolving door of other families made my Friday evenings worthwhile. Now that I’m older Fridays can mean only one thing. IT’S TIME FOR THE OUTERBOX REDIRECT!
How’s everyone doing out there on the internet? Everyone holding up ok even though the government is shut down? Although many Americans have grown accustomed to their government not actually doing any work for them, somehow it’s different now that it’s official. It looks like things will get up and running sometime soon here, as of today writing there’s been progress on talks between both parties. This Search Engine Land article highlights the impact the shutdown will have on the indexing of .gov sites that are currently not being updated with any
regularity. It’s estimated that there are between 200 and 500 sites run by the government that are currently down but as this article points out, figuring out which sites are up and which are down can be a nightmare.
In other news, Google hasn’t been resting on its laurels in light of its newest algorithm update, Hummingbird. Many search marketers are still trying to put together a patchwork of data in order to fill the hole that Google left when it ceased and desisted from passing on valuable keyword data to them. But as this Search Engine Watch article points out, as Google taketh, so Google giveth, in the form of hashtags. Now when you search using hashtags in Google, results directly from Google+ will stream on your search results page. Of course being the equal opportunity search result provider that it is, there are also options below those results to search Facebook and Twitter using hashtags. This is all very convenient and streamlines users searches more now than ever, but if you begin letting hashtags work their way into your everyday vernacular you’re likely to find yourself without any #friends.
Speaking of Twitter, Clickz.com offers this great article on 5 Reasons no one is clicking through on your brand’s tweets. It highlights a view that many businesses hold of social media as being an extra service when it is clear that search engines are taking social media signals into account when they deliver search results. Planning ahead is an incredibly crucial and often overlooked element to social media posts and it’s where every great social media campaign needs to spend time prior to launching.
Finally, while not necessarily related to eCommerce SEO, this Mashable article has some tips to help save your battery from dying after you’ve upgraded to iOS 7. If you’re anything like us you find that you’re lucky if you can get a whole day’s worth of juice out of your iPhone. These tips can make the difference between peacefully enjoying the sounds of your favorite tunes or podcasts on your evening commute home or being stuck without any mobile device at all as you listen the whole ride home to the lady on the bus who smells like cats talk to herself about how she used to have friends before she started using the word “hashtags” on a regular basis.
That’s it for this week, be sure to check back next week for the OuterBox 301 Redirect, enjoy your weekend!
It’s Friday, October 4th, which means we are one full week into Fall! We hope this weekend finds you sipping cider, playing in leaves, wearing a comfy sweater, and enjoying this weather. Friday also means it’s time for the OuterBox 301 Redirect, where we redirect you to some of the most interesting articles we’ve read on the state of eCommerce SEO as well as some of the best things we’ve come across on the internet this week.
Last week we discussed Google’s newest update to its algorithm (or algo if you’re a cool kid and hip to the internet slang) Hummingbird. This week we have a clearer understanding of the impact Hummingbird is having on search results. The biggest reveal thus far is that the new algo is focusing more on a user’s intent, that is, attempting to understand exactly what they’re looking for via a search query, and putting less emphasis on individual key terms. Many experts are weighing in and claiming that “quick SEO” is becoming something of the past, while a heavier emphasis is being placed on content, and how that content is shared across networks. As this story develops we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.
In other news this week, Instagram announced that it would slowly be rolling out ads in its users’ feeds. While this doesn’t come as a surprise since Instagram is a company, and for the most part companies tend to like making money, it will be entertaining to see how it develops. Users who were once accustomed to only seeing their friends, family, and Ryan Seacrest in their Instagram feeds will now be seeing brands that Instagram says “”are already great members of the Instagram community.” We’re not sure if that means we’ll be seeing BP execs posting selfies, or Ronald McDonald himself pretending that he’s holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. One thing we do kindly request is that Sarah McLachlan and the ASPCA stay away from our Instagram feeds since none of us look good when we cry in public.
(Sidenote: If you’re looking for something new in your feed, you have GOT to check out our newest Instagram obsession, Yogurt the pirate dog.)
Speaking of ways in which we procrastinate, Bing has announced it will now be displaying Pinterest boards in its search results. A couple of weeks back we learned that Pinterest was beginning to seek more ways in which to capitalize on its huge audience, and as this article states, the partnership between Bing and Pinterest has many raising their eyebrows, wondering what sort of advertising or monetization can be in the future of this partnership.
Finally, one of our favorite SEO news sites, Moz.com, lays out what they believe to be the future of ranking factors. This article does a thorough job of laying out on the table exactly what they believe search engines are looking for. This is one to bookmark and come back to in the coming months as we see exactly how Hummingbird will change the search engine industry all together.
That’s it for this week’s 301 Redirect, enjoy the weekend and make sure you get out there and enjoy this Fall weather while it lasts!
Welcome to the OuterBox 301 Redirect where we redirect you to the most interesting stories that happened in the world of SEO/SEM and E-commerce this week. Our eCommerce SEO team pores through all of the search engine message boards, blogs, vlogs, tweets, and announcements each and every week to find out what’s new and noteworthy in SEO land. We do it because we love it, but we also do it so that you don’t have to.
In like a lamb out like a lion is what we expect to hear in March not September, but don’t tell Google that. This week Google made several noteworthy announcements in tandem with its 15th anniversary as
SKYNET one of the top search engines in the world.
First up, Google expanded “keyword (not provided)” to possibly 100% of organic search referrals. SEO specialist Emily Croskey explains what it means this way.
“Keyword not provided is the Keyword data that is secured by Google as to how users search the internet. Now it’s not available to us. For example, if someone is logged into a Google account, any site they look at is secured and thereby included as “not provided”.
So what does this mean to the rest of the search engine world? Emily explains it this way, “This new change is going to have a significant impact on how we measure our results as SEO specialists since we will no longer be able to see what keywords are sending traffic to a site. In the past we would be able to see a specific phrase sending traffic or not sending traffic and we can adjust our strategy with that information. We are no longer going to have keyword data as a direct resource and will need to adjust how we measure our practices through a variety of other mediums.”
Overall this may come as a hindrance to those of us who work in online marketing, and while it is unfortunate that Google is no longer sharing this data, it doesn’t mean we need to completely eliminate using keyword research and data in our marketing efforts, we just need to go about collecting that data in an array of other ways which we’ll all be exploring in the coming months.
Next up, Facebook announced this week that users will now be able to edit their Facebook posts after having posted them. In the past users could only either delete a post all together or live with the shame of the world knowing that they didn’t actually know the difference between affect and effect. (No matter how much they may try and blame it on autocorrect.)
The feature will roll out over the next several days, so be careful of what you Like and post this weekend as there are sure to be some tricksters out there who will get you to Like a status about Grandma’s birthday and then edit it so that it looks as though you Liked a status about child beauty pageants being awesome.
And finally, the biggest news this week started popping up in our feeds late yesterday afternoon and was solidified early this morning as Google announced that it was rolling out a sizeable update to its search algorithm. Named Hummingbird, Google let us all know that it will affect (that’s the way to use it in case you were wondering) 90% of search results worldwide. The USA Today article linked to above does a great job summing up what this can mean for the search engine industry and for internet users as a whole. As far as we’re concerned, we haven’t seen any of our clients negatively impacted by this update and feel strongly that this update will only improve search results for users (Google didn’t make us write that, we swear).
To get you through the rest of the work day, make sure you check out Google’s homepage today as they celebrate their 15th birthday with a pinata game you can play. I got a high score of 147, feel free to leave your score on our Facebook wall.
That’s all for this week, be sure to check back every Friday for the OuterBox 301. Enjoy your weekend and remember, if a guy knocks on your door looking for someone named Sarah Connor, it’s probably just Google trying to get you to switch to Chrome.
When I was a kid, my parents used to make my brother and I stand in front of our kitchen wall that was adorned with metallic-flecked floral print wall paper on the first day of every school year to take our First Day of School photos. Since I had clunky braces, a sense of fashion that let you know I was REALLY REALLY into the Ghostbusters, eyeglasses that covered 2/3rds of my face and/or an eyepatch (for legitimate health reasons and not just because I was REALLY REALLY into pirates for a while there) I’m thankful that these photos are hidden away in the bottom of a shoebox somewhere.
Unfortunately, today’s kids don’t have the ability to stash away old, awkward photos in a shoebox in the basement, since their parents are so tech-savvy and post these photos to social media sites right away. So until that day in the distant future when Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr become the equivalent of the bottom of a shoebox; awkward first day of school photos will be haunting them for years to come.
With that said, it’s important to recognize that your first day anywhere can be difficult. Recently Outerbox welcomed some new talent, and we’re excited to report that they totally rocked their first day here (and the following days as well!). To welcome them to the team and get to know them a little better we asked them a few quick questions.
First up is Emily Croskey from Uniontown, Ohio.
Q: What do you do?
At OuterBox, I’m an SEO Specialist. I love seeing and getting results. I come up with various strategies to help our clients increase their goals (which are specific and customized for each individual client).
At home: Obsessed with reality TV, celebrity gossip, my dog Steve, organizing, the color pink and the best TV show of all time: Beverly Hills 90210.
Q: What is your favorite fried potato shape? (waffle fries? shoestring fries? Jo-jos? regular french fries? hash browns?)
A: Any french fry dipped in honey mustard.
Q: Do you prefer Alex Trebek with or without his mustache?
A: With. (ed. note YOU HEAR THAT TREBEK?! THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!)
Q: If you could choose a superpower, would it be invisibility or flight?
A: Definitely invisible as I currently like to blend in as much as possible
Q: What character in a movie do you most closely relate to?
A: Melissa McCarthy’s character on Bridesmaids because I like to make people laugh.
Q: What was your first concert? Last concert?
A: First: Lollapalooza 1994. Last: is it bad that I don’t remember? I think it was Elton John & Billy Joel like 3 years ago.
Q: What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
A: The Conjuring
Q: What is the farthest you’ve ever been from home?
A: Tijuana, Mexico (it’s a long story)
Q: What is your favorite holiday movie? (If it’s not Die Hard, please use this space to explain why)
A: Home Alone!!!!
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Akron?
A: I am honestly still getting to know Akron. I am a country girl, so to me Akron is the “big city”. My first week I got lost every day!!
Welcome to the team Emily, feel free to ask any of us for directions if you get lost downtown here, or even if you just feel lost because Alex Trebek won’t grow his mustache back, we’re here for you. We’re excited to have you on board as an SEO specialist and look forward to the innovation you’re bringing to ecommerce web design!
If we’re talking Helen Mirren leg wrestling and sweet potato fries, then it must be Welcome Wednesday on the OuterBox blog. This week we are welcoming the newest member of our online marketing team, Jenna Sabarini. We sat down with Jenna and asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better.
Q: What do you do?
A: I work on SEO, SEM and PPC. If that’s not enough acronyms, I’m sure we can find some more! In a nutshell, I evaluate client websites and develop strategies to help them increase their business, whether that’s leads, revenue, or something totally unique. Each strategy is created special for each client.
Q: Where are you from originally?
A: Omaha, Nebraska. Land of the Cornhuskers, the College World Series and a top ranked Zoo.
Q: What is your favorite fried potato shape?
A: I’m a pretty big fan of potatoes in every shape. I enjoy sweet potato fries too.
Q: Who do you think would win in a leg wrestling match, Helen Mirren or Martha Stewart?
A: I’m going to have to go with Martha. She’s been to prison.
Q: If you had a choice between super powers, would you choose to have invisibility or flight?
A: Invisibility. I’m scared of birds so flying would cause some anxiety for me.
Q: What was the first concert you attended? Last concert?
A: My first concert was *NSync and my last concert was Madonna at the Q.
Q: What was your first CD?
A: This is embarrassing, but my first CD was Billy Ray Cyrus and I used to be OBSESSED with his “Achy Breaky Heart” song…
Q: What did you bring your lunch to school in as a kid?
A: I usually ate school lunch and didn’t bring one from home. So I guess I brought my lunch in the form of a check for the lunch ladies.
Q: What is your favorite holiday movie? (If it’s not Die Hard, please use this space to explain why)
A: My fave holiday movie would have to be Love Actually.
Thanks for your time Jenna! On behalf of the whole team, welcome to OuterBox and we totally promise not to change your desktop wallpaper when you’re not looking.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Welcome Wednesday on the Outerbox blog. This week I’m sitting down and talking with OuterBox’s new Creative Director, Tim Wiseman. I asked Tim a few questions, and this guy delivered with some great answers.
Q) What do you do?
A) I solve problems, creatively. Every brand has it’s own challenge – and I work to find the perfect strategy that helps each brand connect with their audience. The creative method includes reading relevant material, or irrelevant – fiction and non-fiction. I love pencil and paper, sketching ideas good and bad – and allow my mistakes to show me the right way to an answer. I love a solution that includes an effective strategy, and great design.
Q) Which character of the opposite gender in a movie do you most closely relate to?
A) Ripley, you can do your best to solve all the problems you can reach, but life frequently reminds you that you are just as culpable.
Q) What was your first concert? Last concert?
A) First concert was most likely Deep Purple – a few months before I was born, – last concert was Black Keys …
Q) What was your first CD?
A) The first CD I bought was 39 Smooth, a replacement for the cassette tape that had excessive wear and tear. Accommodating purchase was Pretty Hate Machine. Same story. First cassette, music purchase, Breakfast Club Soundtrack.
Q) What is your favorite holiday movie? (If it’s not Die Hard, please use this space to explain why)
A) A Christmas Story, even though Die Hard has many guns, and Carl Winslow, it does not have an Italian leg lamp, or a Red Ryder BB Gun.
Q) What’s your favorite thing about Akron Ohio?
A) Akron Ohio doesn’t give up, we are a city full of talented individuals who strive to make a difference.
It looks like I may still be watching the Die Hard movies alone this holiday season. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us Tim and welcome to Outerbox!
This week we wanted to do something different and introduce you to one of the newest members of the OuterBox team, Danny Thomas. To get to know Danny a little better, we asked him 7 fairly common questions.
Q: What do you do?
A: I am a front-end web developer (if we’re talking about what I do here at OuterBox).
Q: What character of the opposite gender in a movie do you most closely relate to?
A: I would have to say Kirsten Dunst in the movie Jumanji. Only because I always thought that I too, would play a scary, drum sound making, board game, if I ever found one in my attic. So that’s how we relate.
Q: What was your first concert? Most recent concert?
A: First Concert: Barry Manilow (my mom took me as a kid…I promise) Last Concert: Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Q: What was your first CD?
A: “Relient K” by Relient K (self titled album).
Q: What is your favorite holiday movie? (If it’s not Die Hard, please use this space to explain why.)
A: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Akron, Ohio?
A: All the food places.
Bonus Question: What’s your favorite way to consume potatoes? Waffle Fries? Shoestring french fries? Baked? Mashed? Curly fries? Jo-Jos?
A: Definitely potato cakes…with ketchup. In case you’re unaware, a potato cake is a mashed potato patty, mixed with flour, and then fried in oil in a pan.
There you have it everyone, Danny Thomas, a hard working, front-end developer for some awesome custom e-commerce websites who also occasionally follows Barry Manilow around on tour. Thanks for your answers Danny and welcome to OuterBox!