Posts tagged good

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of SEO – The Next Web

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of SEO
The Next Web
“80 percent of success is showing up,” Woody Allen famously said about life. Marketing in 2014 is not much different. You need to show up when consumers search for your product or service on Google, when you are spoken about on social media, or when …
Is SEO Still Worth the Effort?Business 2 Community

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Why Booming Mobile Commerce Is Good For Developers

While games continue to dominate the apps that consumers buy, there are clear signs that the future of mobile may not be what they allow you to play, but what they enable you to buy. According to a new research report, mobile commerce is finally getting real. 

How real? This busy shopping season, as much as 31% of all online purchases will happen on mobile devices. That’s a big change from even a year ago, and portends a healthy future for mobile developers. 

Tracking American Purchasing Behaviors

Since 2008 the Adobe Digital Index (ADI) has evaluated the purchasing behaviors of American consumers, tracking more than 1 trillion visits to 4,500 retail websites in that time, and 20 billion visits to ecommerce sites in October 2014 alone. (I recently came across the ADI upon starting work at Adobe last week.) This translates into analysis of 70% of all money spent online with the top 500 retailers, and past-year predictions falling within 1% of actual spend.

In other words, ADI is a pretty good gauge of consumer buying behaviors. (Have a look at it yourself here.)

Source: Adobe

Some of the findings offer clues as to when to get good deals. For example, ADI holds that the best day to find a deal is Thanksgiving Day, when the average discount hits 24%. 

If you can’t wait until Thanksgiving, at least wait until the Monday preceding the U.S. holiday, as ADI predicts a 5% price drop between Sunday, November 23, and Monday, November 24, the largest single-day price drop of the season.

Oh, and if you’re inclined to wait until Cyber Monday to start your shopping engines, be warned: “Out-of-stock messages will increase 5-fold on Cyber Monday due to increased demand and limited supply.”

More Money, More Mobile

But the more interesting data ADI uncovers has to do with mobile buying behavior.

Across the board, ecommerce is booming. As reflected in the Nielsen Global E-Commerce Report, “Online purchase intention rates have doubled in three years for 12 of 22 measured categories,” topping $1.5 trillion on 2014. As noted in the ADI, during the holiday shopping season this growth can reach 28% over last year’s numbers.

But online retail isn’t news. Mobile, however, is.

Last year most mobile ecommerce behavior essentially amounted to showrooming, whereby consumers would visit a Best Buy, for example, to see a dishwasher in person and then would complete the purchase online. 

But in 2014 the ADI predicts huge growth in the number of people both initiating and consummating a purchase on their mobile devices and, increasingly, their smartphones.

That’s right: tablets, those ugly stepchildren, are getting even uglier, even though you’d think they’re by far the better shopping device given their superior screen real estate. The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims captures the zeitgeist well:

Not that the tablet is losing all relevance. While smartphones increasingly take center stage among our mobile distractions, tablets still have a big place in mobile commerce:

Source: Adobe

But the role of tablets is shrinking fast. In 2013, for instance, tablet use outpaced that of smartphones nearly two-to-one, according to last year’s ADI post-mortem on holiday sales. This year, tablets and smartphones are much closer to parity. Next year, don’t be surprised to see phones jump ahead.

At the heart of this shift away from computer-based buying to mobile-based buying is consumer convenience. A few years ago mobile apps or websites were virtually unusable. Today they’re optimized to make it easy to buy. 

As a personal example, I can’t recall ever buying clothes online, and certainly not shoes, which (for me) has always required trying them on to ensure a good fit. 

But yesterday I bought a pair of shoes using my Nordstrom app. I was at work, prompting me to think about the need for work shoes. I don’t have time to head over to the nearest Nordstrom, so I downloaded the app and started flicking through options. Ten minutes later, I had a pair of Eccos heading to my house.

What This Means For Developers

All of which is good news for mobile developers and the companies that employ them. In the past there was essentially one business model: build an app that was wildly popular (which almost by necessity meant it had to be free) and sell it to Facebook for $1 billion.

What this meant, as ReadWrite’s Dan Rowinski highlighted, is a non-existent middle class of mobile developers: “The revenue distribution is so heavily skewed towards the top that just 1.6% of developers make multiples of the other 98.4% combined.” Nearly half of all mobile developers make nothing at all.

Part of this derives from the revenue models available to mobile developers. While the desktop web has a healthy advertising-based market, mobile ads have been slow to catch on, and getting someone to notice and then pay for an app is even harder. 

Mobile commerce, however, offers another, perhaps better way. And according to a Goldman Sachs report (nicely summarized by Jay Fiore), it’s on a tear:

M-commerce, which accounted for a little more than one quarter of total e-commerce retail sales in 2014, will account for nearly half of all e-commerce sales in 2018. That’s 3x growth for m-commerce while non-mobile e-commerce grows only 31% over the same period.

Given that prospective growth, coupled with the growth already seen in the ADI data, mobile developers really need to be thinking about apps that not only encourage consumers to play games or watch video, but also to buy things. Citibank understands this and is reaching out to app developers to help it build the future of mobile banking, but there’s really no reason to go build someone else’s app when developers can focus on their own.

In short, as consumers become comfortable buying with their mobile devices we’re seeing a “shift in revenue models from pay-to-buy [the app] to pay-as-you-use [the app],” according to VisionMobile’s Developer Economics Q1 2014 report. This changes “the role of developers from innovators to value-adding resellers.”

Given the money at stake, that may be exactly what developers need to be in the mobile app economy.

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock

View full post on ReadWrite

Ranking First Is Good, But First With Prerender Is Better

How do you know when you’ve got a strong hold on the #1 ranking? Contributor Gene McKenna shows how Google Chrome may provide a clue.

The post Ranking First Is Good, But First With Prerender Is Better appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

President Obama Supports Net Neutrality, For All The Good It Will Do

President Obama from Everett Collection / Shutterstock

The Internet exploded in empty rhetoric Monday over Barack Obama’s Congress-short, six years late endorsement of “net neutrality,” an issue that will likely continue to go nowhere fast despite the president’s full-throated tone.

In a statement posted on the official White House website Monday, just two years before he leaves office, Obama said:

I believe the [Federal Communications Commission] should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online.

Obama urged the FCC to reclassify broadband service as a public utility, making it legally possible for the commission to enforce the basic tenets of net neutrality. To date, the FCC’s attempts to enforce net-neutrality regulation based on other legal authority have faced a skeptical reception in the courts.

The basic idea would be to prevent cable and telecom Internet providers from blocking access to any website or service, throttling delivery speed or charging websites or services for faster delivery speed. The president’s scheme would also require those giants to be transparent with customers about how they’re handling traffic. 

Intentions, Meet Politics

Obama’s statement, coming less than a week after voters handed unified control of Congress to the Republicans, produced a depressingly predictable political reaction. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for instance, called net neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet,” to much Internet hilarity:

Here, of course, “Obamacare” stands as shorthand for “things Republicans don’t like.” In fact, ISP regulation would ideally prevent throttling Internet speed, which the delivery of some websites and services really really slooooooowwwww. You know, like the government.

Neither the president nor Congress have direct oversight over the FCC, but presidential signaling to independent agencies can embolden appointees who are already leaning in that direction. Meanwhile, the Republican Congress may not be about to do much against Obama’s veto, but things could be different under the next president come 2017.

For now, though, the FCC might already be leaning Obama’s way.

According to an Oct. 30 Wall Street Journal story, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is considering a “hybrid” plan under which ISP service delivered to consumers would remain an information service, which, under the Title II of the Communications Act, gives the FCC very little power. On the other end, the services ISPs provide to content providers, such as websites and services, would be considered a utility, such as water or electricity, and under FCC regulation.  

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, cautiously optimistic on Monday following the president’s endorsement, reminds us that such a “hybrid proposal” is likely not legally sustainable. Consider that anyone  posts on Facebook is technically a content provider, and you get an idea of how complicated the legalities can get. 

Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Photo of President Obama courtesy of Shutterstock

View full post on ReadWrite

Your Job Is to Make Google Look Good

Yes, that’s right, if you want Google traffic, your job is to make Google look good. This post will explore why this is true, and what it means for your SEO strategy.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

Microsoft’s Future Remains Cloudy—And That’s A Very Good Thing

Increasingly, Microsoft is looking like a successful cloud-services company that also happens to sell software, a game console and some other devices.

Of course, that’s not apparent at first glance. In Microsoft’s latest earnings report, covering the July–September quarter, it pulled in overall revenue of $23.2 billion in revenue and earned a net profit of $4.5 billion. Its “commercial cloud” revenue, which includes cloud-related revenue from its Office productivity software as well as its Azure public-cloud server business, amounted to just $1.2 billion—a mere 5% of the software giant’s overall sales.

See also: Azure Is Helping Microsoft Catch Up In The Cloud

But take a closer look. Microsoft’s commercial cloud revenue grew 11 times faster than that of the company as a whole, more than doubling in the quarter compared to the year-earlier period. Overall company revenues rose just 11% over the same timeframe. (That’s excluding $2.6 billion in July–September phone sales resulting from Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone unit earlier this year.)

What’s more, the gross profit associated with Microsoft’s cloud and “enterprise service” operations almost tripled in the quarter. That profit jumped 194% to $805 million in the quarter. Overall, Microsoft’s gross profit barely rose at all, edging up only 8% (again excluding the Nokia handset business).

Head In The Cloud

All of which is to say that the long-held view of Microsoft as an old-school software business dependent on Windows and Office is due for an upgrade. 

Windows and Office are going to remain key to Microsoft’s operations for years to come; they’re still enormous, after all.

See also: What Microsoft’s Fiercest Critics Forget: Azure

They’re just not growing. Microsoft’s “devices and consumer licensing” revenue—i.e., Windows for consumer PCs and other gadgets—actually dropped 8.7% in the quarter, primarily reflecting the ongoing consumer shift toward tablets and phones away from PCs. Its “commercial licensing” business—read: Windows for business—bumped up only 2.7% in the quarter.

Both segments remain hugely profitable, with gross margin in the range of 92% to 93%. But profits in the two segments combined rose only 1.5% in the quarter. 

True, together they accounted for almost $14 billion in revenue and $12.9 billion in gross profit—that’s basically the definition of “cash cow.” But these cows don’t seem likely to get much fatter; in fact, the opposite is much likelier over time.

And while straight-line extrapolations are usually wrong, consider this for perspective. Should Microsoft’s cloud business keep growing at this rate (which it almost certainly won’t), it could eclipse the company’s entire Windows business in just four years.

Microsoft, of course, continues to do a variety of other interesting things, although they’re likely to remain sidelights in business terms. Revenue from sales of its Surface tablet more than doubled to almost $1 billion in the quarter. Total Xbox unit sales also doubled, although Microsoft still doesn’t distinguish between the older Xbox 360 and its newer Xbox One, suggesting that the latter isn’t yet something it wants to brag about.

But the cloud remains its real future.

Lead image by Robert Scoble

View full post on ReadWrite

Apple’s iOS 8.1 Will Bring Big Changes; Let’s Hope They’re All Good

Users wary of the problems Apple inadvertently wrought on their iPhones over the past few weeks should brace themselves. iOS 8.1, the next software update for iPhones, iPads and iPod touches, looks be moving to the launchpad next. 

See also: Apple Really Needs To Get It Together

The 8.1 update, expected within days of Apple’s October 16 press event, isn’t just another collection of bug fixes—welcome though those will be for many. iOS 8.1 will almost certainly debut Apple Pay, Apple’s highly anticipated mobile payments system. 

Designed to turn iPhones and Apple Watches into wallets that can pay for things in stores, Apple Pay has the potential to be a revolutionary change, not least because despite lots of effort, no other company has cracked the mobile-payment nut quite yet.

But it’s also a nerve-wracking proposition, since the new payment system will be arriving on the heels of the company’s boldest, and perhaps buggiest, software to date. Only the stakes are going to be a lot higher for people who are trusting Apple with their cash and credit balances.

Who Might Really Pay For Apple Pay

So far, iOS 8 has wreaked havoc on many unsuspecting iPhone users. For some, problems like lost cellular connectivity and drained batteries overshadowed the benefits of smarter notifications and better location controls.

The biggest setback was iOS 8.0.1, the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it software update intended to support Apple’s HealthKit, a software system for storing health and fitness data. Instead, it hobbled devices, forcing Apple to pull it down and rush version 8.0.2 out the door—which some say is no panacea.

See also: Why Half Of iPhone Users Don’t Trust iOS 8 Yet

With any luck, iOS 8.1 will solve many of the remaining problems. But it may could also introduce new ones, given the complexity of the Apple Pay system that looks likely to debut in 8.1

Externally, Apple has been readying outside partners—from banks and credit card companies to retailers—in preparation for the launch. Internally, it has built a credit-card management and transaction system out of iTunes accounts, its Passbook app, and two specific hardware components: the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner and Near Field Communication (NFC) chips. 

See also: Apple Is Less Than Inviting To PayPal In Apple Pay

With all those pieces coordinated in an intricate dance, Apple Pay will store your credit card info, pull it up when need be, identify you and send transaction details when it registers a physical tap on an in-store terminal.

This one-finger, one-tap scenario is the convenience and—let’s face it—fun of this system. The idea is to make mobile payments so simple for consumers that everyone will want to use it. 

But as Steve Jobs once said, “Simple can be harder than complex.” It takes a lot to make Apple Pay seem easy. And if we’ve learned anything about complex systems, it’s that every interaction of their moving parts is vulnerable to malfunction, error or just plain unexpected behavior.

We might not even be raising this point were it not for Apple’s surprisingly ham-handed rollout of iOS 8. Software updates should follow a sort of tech version of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. And that’s not what Apple has delivered to its customers this round.

So, fingers crossed that Apple Pay works the way it’s supposed to, and doesn’t break anything else. 

iPhones 5, 5C, 5S can work with Apple Pay too, but only by pairing with the Apple Watch

The Software Update Conundrum 

Apple Pay isn’t the only passenger on board iOS 8.1. The change logs in the developer version point to the return of the much-missed Camera Roll—the iPhone photo folder inexplicably nixed last month. 

See also: Apple Might Bring Back The iPhone Camera Roll

Additionally, Apple may deliver functional Continuity features, which tie iPhones and Macs together more closely. Signs of Continuity for iMessages were spotted in the iOS 8.1 beta software, and the Mac OS X version required to make it work—named Yosemite—appears to be close to its final stages now too

Mostly, though, it may be the bug fixes that pull people in. So if your phone is riddled with problems—like vexing keyboard glitches, strange screen rotation behavior and fundamental issues that mess with your phone’s functionality—you might find jumping in worth it. 

See also: Apple Will Reportedly Announce New iPads On October 16

Apple may also decide to patch the recently discovered SSL vulnerability, which can put browsing on supposedly secure websites at risk. This would strengthen the case for grabbing iOS 8.1. 

But if not, and your phone works fine, consider waiting. Why risk problems when you can let the early adopters stumble into the minefield first? 

Lead image by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

View full post on ReadWrite

Open-Source Projects Need More Than Good Code—They Need Marketing

Most open source developers focus on writing great code and don’t bother marketing their project. Which is why most open-source projects fail. Utterly.

While it’s a convenient fiction to believe that open source is a meritocracy where the best code wins, it’s just that: fiction. As Apache Storm founder Nathan Marz writes in a recent blog post, solving an important project with useful code is only half the battle. It’s equally important—and sometimes more so—”to convince a significant number of people that your project is the best solution to their problem.”

See also: How To Get Started In Open Source

That’s called marketing, and most developers are terrible at it.

Telling Stories

I’ve written before that every technology company needs at least one English major. It’s easy to believe that the world will beat a path to your project’s door, Field of Dreams style (“If you build it, they will come”). But the world doesn’t work that way.

People—and developers are people, too—have a finite amount of attention. That’s why we’re seeing the fading of the polyglot programmer. As former Googler Tim Bray notes, “There is a re­al cost to this con­tin­u­ous widen­ing of the base of knowl­edge a de­vel­op­er has to have to re­main rel­e­van­t.”  

See also: Why Every Tech Company Needs An English Major

As the number of open source projects booms, getting developers interested in your particular project is non-trivial. By marketing a project well, developers can cut through the noise and help their project to stand out. As former Facebook and Google engineering executive Santosh Jayaram articulates, English majors are critical for helping companies “tell stories” about their projects. 

And while no developer really wants to read some Randomly capitalized Blurb on GitHub about a Project!, as the worst marketing “professionals” are prone to do, project leads who can tell a compelling story around their project, English-major style, are more likely to find developers that want to use and/or contribute to a project.

The Accidental Marketing Of Storm

This is what Nathan Marz discovered as he sought to increase adoption of Storm, a real-time computation system. In 2011, I joined Dave Rosenberg to build a company (Nodeable) focused on delivering Storm as a service. The company was a bit ahead of its time and ended up getting acquired by Appcelerator.

Storm, on the other hand, really took off. 

Twitter started acquisition talks with Marz in May 2011 to acquire his company, Backtype. To help increase the valuation Marz wrote this blog post, touting the potential of Storm, which was at the heart of Backtype’s technology stack. 

In the process he stumbled on the value of marketing the project:

The post had some surprising other effects. In the post I casually referred to Storm as “the Hadoop of realtime,” and this phrase really caught on. To this day people still use it, and it even gets butchered into “realtime Hadoop” by many people. This accidental branding was really powerful and helped with adoption later on.

From then on, Marz spent a great deal of time both developing the technology and (in his words) hyping it, bolstering that marketing hype with documentation because “people cannot use your software if they don’t understand it.” 

But it wasn’t just code. Marz also hit the campaign trail, blitzing conferences:

Over the next year I did a ton of talks on Storm at conferences, meetups, and companies. I believe I did over 25 Storm talks. It got to a point where I could present Storm with my eyes closed. All this speaking got Storm more and more exposure.

The result, however, was worth it:

The marketing paid off and Storm acquired production users very quickly. I did a survey in January of 2012 and found out Storm had 10 production users, another 15 planning to have it in production soon, and another 30 companies experimenting with the technology. To have that many production users for a major piece of infrastructure in only 3 months since release was very significant.

Get Yourself A Story Teller

Storm has become an incredibly important project, but it never would have reached this stage without a lot of marketing along the way. As should be clear by now, I’m not talking about billboards along Highway 101 or pop-up ads on Hacker News (if those existed). 

Rather, I’m suggesting highly informative marketing like Marz did to raise awareness of and interest in Storm:

Building a successful project requires a lot more than just producing good code that solves an important problem. Documentation, marketing, and community development are just as important. Especially in the early days, you have to be creative and think of clever ways to get the project established. Examples of how I did that were making use of the Twitter brand, starting the mailing list a few months before release, and doing a big hyped up release to maximize exposure. Additionally, there’s a lot of tedious, time-consuming work involved in building a successful project, such as writing docs, answering the never-ending questions on the mailing list, and giving talks.

This isn’t the sexy work of a code jockey. But it’s this very marketing drudgery that often will make the difference between a great project that no one uses and a great project that changes the world. Linux, for example, didn’t hit its stride in the enterprise until IBM committed to spend $1 billion marketing and promoting it. 

Storm, for its part, didn’t require a $1 billion injection. But it did require a heck of a lot of Marz’s time spent marketing, not coding.

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock

View full post on ReadWrite

Six Good Reasons Why You Should Invest In Local SEO – Business 2 Community

Business 2 Community
Six Good Reasons Why You Should Invest In Local SEO
Business 2 Community
Six Good Reasons Why You Should Invest In Local SEO image local seo6 300×244 There are florists, accountants, restaurants, and hairdressers in every county that someone often appears to know and recommend. Still, even for these well-known and long …

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There’s a Good Chance Google Is Rejecting Some of Your Products Right Now

A simple guide for how to prevent your products from getting rejected on Google.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

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