SiteStream SEO - Online Marketing Blog

Online Marketing News this Week – 30th Sept 2011

September 30th, 2011


Google + gains more than 10 million users in first two days after going public.

Paul Allen has been watching Google + closely and published his results at 

“…… is clear that Google+ is absolutely exploding — 30% growth in just 2 days and with a base of nearly 30 million members already.”

Facebook have been making many changes to their user interface, changes which, according to Mashable, are hated by 72% of Facebook users. This is not encouraging for Facebook, although, there is no sign of a mass exodus.

‘Site Health’ added to Google Webmaster Tools home page.

From the home page of Webmaster Tools you will now have access to a site health report. Issues covered are:

  • when malware has been detected
  • when important pages have been removed via Google’s URL removal tool
  • when important pages are blocked in the robots.txt file

According to Google, “important pages” are defined by the number of clicks that pages get; They are considering adding other factors in the future. They also say they hope to expand the health check beyond the three issues stated.

Bing are breeding a Tiger to speed up their searches

Bing and Microsoft engineers have been working on a new index serving platform, called ‘Tiger’ for the search engine. Incorporation of the new technology began in August and is expected to take a year to complete globally. With the new index-serving technology, Bing aims to deliver more relevant results, faster. Danny Goodwin, at Search Engine Watch notes the similarity with Google’s ‘Caffeine’ update which aimed to increase search speeds by 50% at the same as improve accuracy.

Online Marketing News this Week – 23rd Sept 2011

September 23rd, 2011

Bing adding ‘Action Buttons’

“Helping you get things done faster is a big focus for us at Bing

The idea here is that Bing will choose the most likely actions which a visitor is likely to want to take and display Action Buttons to take take you straight through to the relevant page. One of the examples they give is if you are booking a flight:


On the face of it definitely a good thing. Two comment streams on the Bing blog are worth a look:

Q: “This is brilliant. It’s not working perfectly – hotels just has a stupid “Locations” button, Bank is just “Login”. I can’t find a software company or restaurant that has buttons. PS, what a pain in the butt it is to figure out how to leave a comment on this blog!”

A: “Thanks for the feedback on the “comments.”  I will put something in place this week to make it easier to comment.”


Q: “Is it possible for webmasters to identify with a tag which 3 buttons are the most important action buttons on the site? Otherwise it could be possible that bing will display action buttons that are not very important.”

A: We use a combination of algorithms for site categorization, site structure determination and click log analysis to determine the top actions for each of the sites.  And we will be constantly looking at new ‘verbs’ or actions we can add – stay tuned.”

We’ll take that as a no then!

Bing Strategy to compete with Google

All this is well and good but not even Bing thinks that extra buttons will do much to help it gain market share,  make a profit and challenge Google’s dominance. Microsoft has lost $5.5 billion on Bing since 2009. Independent commentators predict that at the current rate of growth they will move into profit in 3 years time which is not bad considering the size of the deficit.  It does of course depend on continued growth. The folks at Bing are not looking to maintain the current rate but to eat into Google’s market share as fast as possible. To do that they know that they must do something pretty dramatic. We do not ‘Bing’ we ‘Google’. Bing need us to start ‘Googling’ on Bing!

Microsoft’s director of Bing, Stefan Weitz, expressing the opinion that if they can change the way people think about search people will eventually move over them from Google, told

“Our challenge is that no one wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I really wish there was a better search engine.’  That’s why  for us, it’s always been about figuring out how to accomplish more than we thought was possible with a search engine. Eventually, people will expect to do more with search, and if they can’t, they’ll be disappointed.”

In this sense the competition can only be good for the consumer. We await with interest what will change the way we think about search. A good start will be to realise that there might be different or even better results available elsewhere and to start using more than one search engine at a time.

Google’s Eric Schmidt questioned at Senate Hearings

Google’s Eric Schmidt appeared before a Senate subcommittee this week. The issues revolve around unfair competition, monopoly and Google’s alleged favoring of its own sites. The best place to follow the story is over at Search Engine Land.  Greg Sterling found that very little new was said and describes the whole thing as more theater than fact-finding. He predicts that there will be some sort of  case brought against Google through the FTC’s antitrust investigation. Lest we forget that much of this is about power and money, here is a telling quote from Serling’s post:

Both humorous and unseemly, several senators explicitly asked Google to consider their states for projects before launching into questioning. Most obnoxious was New York’s Charles Schumer (Democrat) who first offered a kind of commercial for New York and then asked Schmidt to consider investing in the Hudson River Valley, all but implying it was a condition of his support.

In many ways it can be hard to decide which applies: It would all be very serious  were it  not so petty, OR, it would be so petty were it not so serious. This is what Sterling had to say about the break-down in cooperation being Google and Nextag and Google and Yelp:

Nextag CEO Katz credited Google with being a good partner in the past but now it was more self-interested and less fair and reasonable. I wish he had used the word “evil.” Alas he did not.

The most effective testimony against Google came, however, from Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. He described a timeline of events in which Google and Yelp were partners. But after that ended, Google later began including Yelp reviews in Places (a competitive product) without permission. Yelp said that the company asked that those reviews be removed, which Google declined to do without removing Yelp from the index entirely. It was only after the FTC investigation was announced, said Yelp, that Google complied.

To redress the balance I should point out that Sterling felt that Eric Schmidt dealt with most of the questions put to him “quite effectively”.

Interesting also that one of the Google lawyers cited Facebook as a major competitor defending accusations of monopolization. In the process, Facebook was incorrectly stated to be the main carrier of SMB advertising. The fall of MySpace was used as an indication of the volatile nature of the market arguing that government regulation would be inappropriate. Today’s near monopoly can be struggling to survive tomorrow. Google of course has no intention of following MySpace nor does it look likely to do so in a hurry. Facebook as their main rival at the moment will not be resting easy, not least because:

Google + is now open to the public

As well as Google + opening to the public and announcing 9 new features, it has been a week of changes over at Facebook.

SEO, Spellcasting and Snake Oil Salesmen

September 22nd, 2011

What do SEO and casting spells have to do with each other?  Well SEOs often seem to suggest that what we do is magic and those looking to learn SEO (or buy SEO services) get caught up in that notion too.  What you are looking for is an easy way out.  A shortcut.  Results without the effort.  To win the race without training or even running it.

Want something really badly?  Want someone to love you?  Simple.  Cast a spell. 

Maybe you don’t know how but that’s no problem.  You can find out how to do anything on the Internet these days:

If you are constantly looking for shortcuts in your SEO.  If you want the results of top search positions and the traffic they bring without any effort or involvement, you are taking the “Hubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble” approach to SEO.

There are tools that will help you with your SEO.  There are some fairly simple processes that your website will benefit from, particularly if you haven’t done much SEO or there are fundamentals that are wrong. 

It’s important to understand though, that the long-term success of your website will not be achieved without effort and possibly cost.  Cheap services will tend to generate cheap results with short-term or no benefit.  Today’s amazing link opportunity to build backlinks fast with zero effort will make you tomorrow’s “Why did Google penalise my site?” post on your favourite forum.

The motivation to find an easy way out. To get what I want with no effort. It has its risks.

It took me less than 5 minutes to go online and find out how to cast spells.  In the same time, I can find no end of simplistic advice on how to do SEO easy, cheap and get results fast. I’d expect about the same success rate for both.

All that time I spend researching how to cast my spells, focussing on what I really want, buying my candles and incense and casting my spells.  Then the time I spend re-working them to figure out what I got wrong the first time.  What if I didn’t waste that time looking for a shortcut?  What if I just did the work to get what I want the hard way? 

I think I’d have more success and it might not even be as tough as I thought.

Would You Hire This Girl to do Your SEO?

Online Marketing News this Week – 16th Sept 2011

September 16th, 2011

Google buy the review site: Zagat

Google have bought the review site Zagat. This is how the official blog begins its announcement:

“Did you know there’s a place in Menlo Park near the Safeway that has a 27 food rating?” one of my friends asked me that about two years ago, and I was struck because I immediately knew what it meant. Food rating… 30 point scale… Zagat. And the place… had to be good. With no other context, I instantly recognized and trusted Zagat’s review and recommendation.

Zagat have more 32 years experience delivering consumer surveys, reviews and recommendations.

Their surveys may be one of the earliest forms of  UGC (user-generated content)—gathering restaurant recommendations from friends, computing and distributing ratings before the Internet as we know it today even existed.

This purchase will be a boon to Google Places and local search in general. Reviews play big part in local search and Google has been under fire for taking reviews from other sites like Yelp. Now in the food industry they will have their own very valuable source.

TouTube founders plan Delicious revival

One of the most popular social bookmarking sites a few years ago, Delicious, may be back later in the year. The site lost favor with its users and  owners, Yahoo!, were planning to sell or close it down. YouTube founders Steven Chen and Chad Hurley bought it and plan to revive it. There was a time when getting on the home page of Delicious could bring a site huge boosts in traffic and backlinks. Chad Hurley told the New York Times:

“What we plan to do, is try to introduce Delicious to the rest of the world.”

US Legislators working on laws to cover Internet privacy

You may have been reading about the many cases involving data security and consumer privacy and wondering if it is causing any political and legal reaction. Internet Attorney, Richard B.Newman, gives us a scholarly run-down on legislative proposals and recent bills in the US. In general the proposals cover three areas:

  • Online and point-of-sale privacy
  • Mobile device privacy
  • Data security and breach notification

It is an area in which all Internet based businesses will increasingly need to keep themselves informed.

Bing announce new ‘Adaptive Search’

Bing announced this week that they will be adding a new Adaptive Search feature to their search results. It will begin over the next few days in the US. The feature seeks to use your search history to add context and improve your results.

“Every time you search on Bing, the information provided helps Bing understand what you’re trying to do. The more you search, the more Bing can learn – and use that information to adapt the experience so you can spend less time searching and accomplish what you set out to do.”

How much this improves the user experience remains to be seen. The Bing announcement reaffirms their commitment to “maintaining an industry-leading privacy stance” and points out you can “clear” or “turn off” your search history at any time. They also say:

“We certainly don’t want to make any assumptions that prevent you from seeing a diverse set of results and lock you into a “filter bubble”, so the results that correspond to differing intents (e.g. travel to Australia) will still be available to you on the page.”

Google warning to sites that sell links

In this video, Google’s Matt Cutts gives his three main suggestions for a drop in page rank:

  1. You simply lose a link from a third party page that had a lot of high PageRank.
  2. You have weird canonicalization issues with your site and domains that caused confusion.
  3. The selling of links is given as the most common reason for page rank drop. Selling of links is against Google’s code.

Matt Cutts also points out that the Google PageRank Toolbar is updated only 3 to 4 times per year because they do not want webmasters ‘obsessing’ over page rank instead of concentrating other SEO factors. Given that page rank is by now a very unreliable metric this is good advice!

IDC predict that by 2015 more users will access the Internet from mobile devices than PCs

By 2015, more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wireline devices. As smartphones begin to outsell simpler feature phones, and as media tablet sales explode, the number of mobile Internet users will grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6% between 2010 and 2015.

“Forget what we have taken for granted on how consumers use the Internet,” said Karsten Weide, research vice president, Media and Entertainment. “Soon, more users will access the Web using mobile devices than using PCs, and it’s going to make the Internet a very different place.”

This report from the IDC also makes the following predictions:

  • Worldwide, the total number of Internet users will grow from 2 billion in 2010 to 2.7 billion in 2015, when 40% of the world’s population will have access to its vast resources.
  • Global B2C ecommerce spending will grow from $708 billion in 2010 to $1,285 billion in 2015 at a CAGR of 12.7%.
  • Worldwide online advertising will increase from $70 billion in 2010 to $138 billion in 2015, with its share of total advertising across all media growing from 11.9% to 17.8%.

What is Your Most Valuable Traffic Source? – Really?

September 16th, 2011

A few months ago, See Why released a great piece of research on E-commerce conversion rates.  They looked at the percentage of traffic various sources sent to the shopping carts of sites and the percentage of sales conversions generated by each source.  These are important insights but there is much more to consider:

  • What are your most valuable traffic sources?
  • How would you go about figuring it out?
  • What is last touch attribution and why can it be dangerous?
  • What value has a repeat visit vs a new visit?

The See Why study looked not at what generates traffic but at what generates those valuable shopping cart views and which sources actually generate the most sales.  Since e-commerce sites leak the vast bulk of their visitors, looking at what sells rather than what generates traffic is important.

Source: See Why

E-commerce Conversion by Traffic Source

Source: See Why

Email marketing was the big winner in this analysis.  That might surprise some people given that email is fairly old school and doesn’t get half the coverage other online channels do.  It probably won’t surprise you if you actually run an e-commerce site and have spent a couple of years building and using your newsletter list.  The stand out finding in this study is that email drives conversions.  (We are presumably talking permission based email marketing and mostly made up of your own list here.  Not spamming.)

Slight surprises in the study include the low percentage of conversions driven by Search Engine Marketing (paid ads) and the fact that they are outperformed by Social Media.  This in no way fits with my experience of Internet marketing.  SEM can be an excellent conversion channel and conversion rates from Social tend to be poor.  Of course the results here will depend on the volume of visits being driven by each channel.  If participants get a high percentage of visits from Social sources then they will account for a higher percentage of the site’s conversions.

How to Assess the Value of a Visit?

So how do we assess the value of a visit?  It is plain that not all visits are equal.  The See Why study assessed traffic sources in terms of which drive the most conversions.  This is a really valuable way to look at things.  If you just look at the surface though, you could make big mistakes.  The temptation would be to plow resources into the channels that convert the highest.  These are the most valuable, right?  Diverting resources from less valuable channels to these more valuable channels should drive more conversions.

Last Touch Attribution Sucks!

Here is a little secret about analytics.  Last touch attribution sucks.  Google analytics and other platforms will typically be showing you last touch attributions. You’ve set up your site, installed your analytics code, gone to all the effort of tracking where your visitors are coming from, set-up goal tracking and broken down your conversions by traffic source.  At this stage you are miles ahead of the average site owner but there is a danger that you can misinterpret what your report will tell you.

Last touch attribution tells you the last way that the visitor found your site.  This is useful information but there is much more to making sound decisions than just knowing this.

All Visits are not Equal

You can look at conversions in terms of a sales funnel where a large number of visitors enter the top of the funnel and go through some process.  A small number of visitors come out the bottom of the funnel as conversions.  What is important to realise is that this process often takes place across more than one visit.

The two largest drivers of conversions in the See Why study are Email and Direct visits.  These are rarely, if ever, first time visitors.  To be on your email list, a visitor has already been at your site and signed up.  On e-commerce sites they are often people who have purchased previously.  Your email list is massively important because these people have come to your site before and liked what they see enough to sign-up or buy.  They are pre-qualified.  This makes your email list hugely valuable and if you are not using it to its full potential you should certainly look into it.

You should also ask yourself, where do these first contact visitors come from?  How do I put them at ease and help them convert? (perhaps on this visit but potentially on a later one).

Email is a valuable traffic channel because it hits pre-qualified targets and can be a strong driver of conversions.  Social can do the same thing to one degree or another.  They are touch points with customers or prospects that allow you to continue to build trust and trust is important to conversions.

Search is a valuable traffic source because it is often the channel that opens the funnel.  It is often where that first visit comes from.  If you only look at last touch attribution, you miss the fact that without the first visit there is no second or third.

If the sales process takes place across more than one visit and requires a number of touch points, which it usually does, then watch out for the following:

You’ll have many conversions from channels with no direct cost

These might include:

  • Email lists
  • Direct visits
  • Searches on or including your company or site name
  • Social

There is an opportunity here.

  • Can you get more people on your newsletter list?
  • Can you give them more?
  • Can you inspire trust?
  • Can you call them to action?
  • Is there more you can do to convert them?
  • Are there offers that might trigger sales?

The same questions might be applied to your social media channels.

It is easy to understate the value of first visit channels

Many of your first visit channels cost.  SEO, Search marketing etc. involve time, energy and money.  When assessing your traffic sources, setting the cost of these channels against their direct return in terms of conversions will typically underestimate their long-term value.

When you analyse your most valuable traffic sources you will often find “free” sources as a strong driver of conversions.  Just keep in mind that those first visits are important too.  You have to fill the top of the funnel to get conversions out the bottom of it and your email list won’t deliver conversions if no-one signs up.

Online Marketing News this Week – 9th Sept 2011

September 9th, 2011


Bing and Twitter announce extension of deal

Twitter and Bing have announced that they are extending their deal which allows Bing to use Twitter information to inform its search results. The announcement was publicised by Twitter in an ‘aw shucks’ style Twitter exchange:


The relationship between Twitter and Google on the other hand seems to have gone somewhat cool. There, at the moment, no sign of a similar deal and neither company is commenting.

Google testing up to 6 sitelinks in Ads

eCommerce circle is reporting that Google are testing the use of up to 6 sitelinks per ad in Google AdWords.

The Google help center is saying the following:

“If a user search triggers your ad to run with Sitelinks, our system may include up to six of your additional links on your ad, along with the main landing page link. The higher the quality of your ad, the more likely Sitelinks may be able to run on that ad.”

Sitelinks allows you to use a range of landing pages within your site which can be targeted at specific searches. Google clearly intends to use them as another way to reward what they think of as higher quality ads. Careful targeting of your ad groups at tightly controlled sets of keywords becomes ever more important.

Online Marketing News this Week – 2nd Sept 2011

September 2nd, 2011

Digital Advertising, Performance and Retention Solutions Will Be 70% of SMB Marketing Budgets by 2015

BIA Kelsey have brought out a report which forecasts that only 30% of small and mid sized business advertising spend will be going to traditional advertising media by 2015. This is a drop from 52% in 2010. The trend is now well established and this report is confident that it will continue:

” By 2015 SMBs will allocate 30 percent of their marketing budgets to traditional advertising (down from 52 percent in 2010), with the remaining 70 percent going to digital/online media (mobile, social, online directories, online display, digital outdoor), performance-based commerce (pay-per-click, deals, couponing) and customer retention business solutions (email, reputation and presence management, websites, social marketing, calendaring/appointment-setting).”

The most bullish prediction:

Small business spending on digital/online media will grow from $5.4 billion in 2010 to $16.6 billion in 2015 (24.9 percent compound annual growth rate).

Google Includes Daily Deal on its Home Page

On Wednesday Google included Google Offers on its home page for the first time. With sites like Facebook and Yelp pulling back on their commitment to daily deals and Yelp questioning the sustainability of the mark-up enjoyed by Groupon, Google are showing no such reticence.

Google Change Link Categorization in Webmaster Tools

This week Google has changed the way they categorize links from subdomains. Previously considered external links they will not be categorized as internal links.

“Most people think of and as the same site these days, so we’re changing it such that now, if you add either or as a site, links from both the www and non-www versions of the domain will be categorized as internal links. We’ve also extended this idea to include other subdomains, since many people who own a domain also own its subdomains—so links from or will also be categorized as internal links for”

News of this change was given on Google’s webmaster tools official blog. The post gives no mention as to whether or how this will affect how subdomains are treated in search results. Nor can we yet tell if it will affect the link weight given to links from subdomains.

Google may be thinking of a Trusted Store Badge

This cannot be considered more than a rumor, although it is clear that the idea is being tried out at Google. Google Operating System, which gives unofficial news and tips about Google, spotted a video on Google’s YouTube channel announcing the new feature. The publishing of the video turned out to be either a leak or a mistake and has since been made private. Google currently publishes an average rating and a link to customer reviews in the search results. If this turns out to be true then it will add to the power over online businesses which Google has. There are obvious dangers both for businesses and ultimately for Google. However, it would be better to discuss that when we know if it is going to happen. Google are not giving anything away:

“We’re always exploring new ways to help improve the online commerce experience but don’t have anything new to announce today. Stay tuned for more.”

Online Marketing News this Week – 26th Aug. 2011

August 26th, 2011

Google is expanding its Get Your Business Online Program

With its Get Your Business Online program, Google clearly wants to be a one stop shop for all small business online needs. The program has been active in Ireland, Austria and Canada since earlier this year. Google have now added more than 100 getonline domains to their portfolio as they expand the program in the US.

Bing Integrates Yahoo Data into Bing Webmaster Tools

From now on Bing will integrate Yahoo traffic data in many of their Webmaster Tools reports.

Steve Jobs hands over to Tim Cook at Apple

Management Direct takes a look at what makes Steve Jobs so special.

Google on the wrong side of privacy laws in Belgium

Google must consider an offer from Belgian authorities to accept a 150,000 euro fine or face a court case, higher fines and the possibility of a prison sentence. The Belgian federal prosecutor has said that Google breached national law in the collection of private data with its Street View cars.

Facebook’s Like button has been declared illegal in Schlewsing-Holstein

The Centre for Pivacy Protection in Schlewsing-Holstein, Germany,  stated that the Facebook ‘like’ plugin infringes on the Telemedia Act and the Federal Data Protection Act as Facebook transfers data back to the US.  Privacy,  the Internet and data collection is becoming an ever bigger issue. The authorities in Schlewsing-Holstein say they expect website owners to remove the button or face serious consequences.

Google Page Rank – It’s Well Past Time to Get Over it

July 15th, 2011

If You Won’t Listen to me, Listen to Google

It’s time for a little bit of credit where credit is due here. I’ve said before that Google very rarely gives SEO advice that I think is particularly useful but when they do, they do. At the end of last month the Google Webmaster Central Blog published Beyond PageRank: Graduating to actionable metrics.

I’m so sick of hearing about PageRank and misleading advice given to beginners in SEO you wouldn’t believe it. I don’t know if it’s because the word “rank” is in there but people just seem to latch onto PageRank and obsess on it. I’ve had web design and marketing people ernestly explain to me how SEO is all about PageRank and upping PageRank. I’ve heard well meaning website owners give presentations explaining how it’s all about PageRank to rooms full of site owners who came to learn about marketing their sites. It’s not at all unusual to hear people authoritatively explaining the importance of PageRank and not even be sure whether they mean PageRank or the rank your page has in the search results. All of this many years after PageRank ceased having any meaningful correlation with your search engine ranking.

The PageRank that you see in the Toolbar isn’t even accurate. It’s not nearly accurate. It’s only updated a few times a year and it reduces PR to a scale of 1-10 (hiding astronomically large differences).

“So the PR you see publicly is different from the number our algorithm actually uses for ranking”

That’s important but it’s only the beginning of why an obsession with PageRank is not going to help your SEO.

The Google article linked to above contains this quote from 2008:

“The most famous part of our ranking algorithm is PageRank, an algorithm developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who founded Google. PageRank is still in use today, but it is now a part of a much larger system.”

Google was launched in 1998. They talk about making around 9 improvements a week.

PageRank simply is not a big part of why your page will rank better or worse. It is presumably still a factor but it is nowhere near the defining factor that so many beginners seem to think. Google uses 100s of signals in its algorythm. PageRank is a signal that gives a measure of what I call “neutral page importance”. It is based on links and essentially measures which pages on the web are most important based on which have most links. (It goes much further than this by recursively considering which pages the most important pages link to etc. but I’ll not go into all that here).

There is much more that goes into serving the best result for a query than that. If there wasn’t, you could just serve the Yahoo homepage, or Facebook’s, or whatever has the highest PR as the result to every query. That’d be pretty stupid wouldn’t it?

Instead a search engine considers relevance, intent, trust etc. and makes use of many different signals to find really good, relevant resources and screen out junk.

Part of this is the fault of the Internet. If you are learning about SEO, you may well be reading forums where someone else is repeating a blog post they read 3 years ago, written by someone with 2001 ideas of what makes a web page rank. This is why I’m writing this post.

Links are still important but there are many more link signals than you will ever understand while obsessing about PageRank.

It’s time to get over the PageRank obsession and as Google put it “Graduate to actionable metrics”.

If you are interested in Google ranking factors you might find this post worth a read:

Google Ranking Factors 2011 – Top 4 Signals to Watch

Online Video Marketing Your Time Has Come

July 7th, 2011

A couple of months ago we wrote about Google Ranking Factors to watch for 2011.  One aspect of modern search marketing that I meant to mention but didn’t really was video.  Video SEO has been “The Next Big Thing” in SEO and online marketing for several years now.  In that time, some have used it very effectively and others have expended large amounts of time and money for little return.  Today, I’m going to look at some of the factors that are moving in favour of online video marketing.

Growth and Sheer Volume of Video Consumed

2010 saw an average of 179 million Americans watching video each month.  Frequency increased too, with more than 88.6 million people watching video on an average day in 2010 (up 32%).  Video is big and continuing to get bigger.
source: Comscore 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review

The Long Tail of Video Traffic is Huge

It used to be that video search meant finding YouTube videos and YouTube is still massive.  In 2009 they streamed more than 13 billion videos a month, more than 40% of individual streams.  Last year, Erick Schonfeld wrote a really interesting article on Techcrunch that surprised me (The Long Tail of Video Sites Captures Half of all Viewing Minutes).  In looking at time spent watching video in 2009, he points out that YouTube accounts for 26% of viewing minutes.  Less than their 40% share of individual streams but still massive.  The rest of the top 25 sites account for a further 22% of viewing minutes.  The point is though, that video traffic is no longer anywhere near as concentrated in the top properties as we used to think it was.  The long tail of video sites accounted for 52% of all time spent viewing video online. 

We are talking about a massive source of traffic here that is fragmented and being picked up by a variety of smaller properties.  There is opportunity in the long tail of video search.

Blended Search and More Video in the Results

We mentioned in the Ranking Factors article that changes in the user interface at Google could have a big impact on your SEO strategy.  For the last number of years Google have been working at blending results from their vertical search tools into the main web results.  You will have seen more and more videos offered as results over that time.  I think it is safe to assume that this trend will continue.

Device Types and Shifts in Content Consumption

The web is no longer an environment accessed by PCs with large screens that sit in an office on a desk.  Those PCs are still there but smart phones, tablets, televisions and who knows what else have come into the mix.  This will change the things that people use the web for, the time they spend on it and the types of content they consume.  Video seems to suit many of these devices.

People Like Sharing Videos

The growth and success of social media and specifically Facebook is the big Internet story of the last couple of years.  Social sharing is important as a means of spreading your message and potentially as a means of improving your SEO.  Video is a content format that people like to share.

Google’s Work on Audio Transcription

Over the last couple of years Google has been working on transcription of audio both through Google Voice and YouTube.  It’s always interesting to watch Google developing technologies in its peripheral products and think how they might be applied to search.  In this case, the answer is obvious.  If Google can accurately transcribe the speech from videos then it can get much much closer to understanding the content and its relevance to particular search queries.  If Google can provide better video results it will be confident in providing more video results.

So, in summary, online video is huge and growing at a phenomenal rate.  Looking at the changes in the devices that people use and the types of content they access, that growth is likely to continue. 

Online Video Marketing, your time has come.

Page 3 of 8«12345»...Last »