Posts Tagged ‘google’

Zite CEO: The Web Is Outgrowing Search

Published by pratyushkp on June 9th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

Excellent Article From  huffingtonpost

The Internet is outgrowing search engines.

Image via CrunchBase

So says Mark Johnson, CEO of Zite, an iPad app that labels itself a “personalized magazine” delivering news stories tailored to each users’ interests, reading habits, and preferences.

As the amount of information online continues to expand at its breathtaking pace — there are over 140 million tweets posted to Twitter each day, and over 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube a minute — people will need new tools to help them wade through the deluge of data, he says.

“The web is getting too big for search,” Johnson told The Huffington Post. “It’s going to be harder and harder to find information because there’s so much out there.”

He suggests personalization may be the solution to this information overload online. Though content that is customized for a particular individuals’ preferences can be chosen and presented in a variety of ways, in Zite’s case, the stories that appear on its news reader are based on signals pulled from social networking sites like Twitter, as well as Google Reader and browsing behavior. Zite “learns what you like and gets smarter as you use it,” the app’s description reads.

Numerous other websites, apps and companies are experimenting with personalization in an attempt to encourage users to browse more, buy more, save time, and read better results. Netflix and Amazon, for example, tailor their movie and product suggestions to their customers’ likes dislikes and previous purchases. The same Google search performed by two different users could turn up entirely different results, as the search giant tweaks its suggestions on each individual’s behavior. And, Flipboard, and Trove are also harnessing artificial intelligence to deliver news personalized to different people’s preferences.

In determining what stories appear in users’ readers, Zite does not yet rely on information from Facebook, something Johnson attributes to the nature of what people share on the social networking service.

“It turns out Facebook is a noisy feed compared to Twitter and Delicious,” said Johnson. “People share different stuff on Facebook than they do elsewhere — it’s more funny videos and less high-quality content.”

Critics argue that personalization, especially when it comes to news stories, can be detrimental, narrowing people’s viewpoints and reinforcing established perspectives. In his book The Filter Bubble, Eli Pariser argues that editing via algorithms “moves us very quickly toward a world in which the Internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, but not necessarily what we need to see.”

Johnson acknowledges these concerns, noting he sees it as his “duty” to “give people a broad perspective of the world,” though he counters that teaching computers to have a sense of “civic responsibility,” as Pariser has advocated, presents its own host of problems.

“It’s unclear what a fair, balanced view is,” said Johnson. “Is it fair to say, if you type in ‘evolution’ then we have to show something about creationism? I think that’s something that people who talk about social consciousness forget…. It’s not clear that that has a lot of value to the user … It’s a really complicated question.”

Personalization can also require sacrificing privacy: customization works best when users are willing to hand over data about what they click, how long they spend reading it, what sites they follow, and more. Yet legislators are increasingly concerned about the ways companies might use this information and are considering new laws that might limit what data firms can collect, and how long they can keep it.

Johnson says he is confident users will be comfortable allowing apps to track them as long as companies prove giving up some privacy delivers better, more helpful services.

“What we’ve seen from product after product is that people are willing to share more and more information if they see that they’re getting value out of it. The problem with personalization so far is that people don’t see the value of it,” Johnson said.

What do you think about personalization? Does it concern you — or do you find it helpful? Weigh in below.

  • News Aggregator Zite Wants to Play Nice With Publishers (
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  • Zite Has A New CEO – And A Response To Cease & Desist Demands (
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  • Major Media Companies Unite to Serve Cease-and-Desist Against iPad News Aggregator Zite (

3 Tips for Better Mobile SEO

Published by pratyushkp on June 4th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

Original Post at mashable . Author – Jason Taylor

Jason Taylor is the vice president of platform strategy at Usablenet. Usablenet’s platform powers the mobile sites of 20% of the Fortune 1000, including Estée Lauder, Hilton, Delta, Victoria’s Secret, FedEx, ASOS and others. Follow @Usablenet on Twitter.

Google’s Eric Schmidt recently noted that mobile search is growing much faster than desktop search. As mobile increasingly becomes a primary gateway to the Internet, it is crucial for companies to incorporate forward-thinking SEO practices into their mobile strategies to ensure their mobile sites are easily detected by search engines and found by consumers.

More than 60% of consumers search for brands from mobile devices before purchasing, and another 49% of mobile searchers made a mobile purchase in the past six months. Businesses must view mobile as a significant piece of their overall marketing campaigns that can drive substantial traffic and increase revenue.

Here are some high level SEO strategies that brands can implement into their overall mobile efforts to ensure they are getting maximum visibility.

1. Develop a Device Agnostic Approach

Search engines incorporate various criteria in mobile browsers to determine page rank. These factors include overall site performance, usability, download speed and screen rendering. A fully optimized mobile site that extends all functionality and key content from a website will rank higher in search results than a website that has simply been reformatted for a smaller screen.

For example, simply transcoding a webpage through the use of a cookie-cutter template will strip it of key content, leading to incomplete pages and decreased overall usability. Difficult navigation and broken pages will result in a lower page rank and a negative user experience that discourages repeat visits.

The type of devices that consumers use to search the mobile web also factors into site ranking. Different mobile web browsers render pages in different ways, which is why it is essential for brands to develop a device agnostic mobile strategy that supports the wide variety of available mobile operating systems.

For example, Staples’ mobile site was developed to support all web-enabled devices. To decrease bounce rate (when a user views only one page on a site, but then leaves), brands’ mobile sites must automatically recognize the consumer’s device as it loads, and render the page accordingly to ensure a view that is best optimized for the user’s particular screen.

2. Leverage Traditional SEO Practices on a New Platform

Brands will ensure that their site stands out in a crowded market by translating traditional web SEO practices to mobile. Common SEO tactics that should be incorporated into all mobile sites include:

  • Appropriate Keywords in Headlines and Text: Consumers use mobile for more focused and task-oriented searches (i.e. for a specific location or product). This is different from how most people search from a desktop computer. By understanding consumer behavior, brands can anticipate queries and incorporate key search terms into page text, increasing detection from search engines.
  • Relevant Page Titles and Accurate Page Descriptions: Page titles are one of the first factors mobile browsers use to determine where a page will show in results. Similar to traditional SEO, it is important that these titles reflect the terms that people use to search, increasing the likelihood that the site will appear relevant and receive better page rankings.
  • Outbound Links: Despite less real estate associated with mobile screens, incorporating outbound links to relevant sources provides a more complete user experience and associates the mobile site with other trusted brands.
  • Standard Coding: The wide variety of operating systems supported by mobile makes it extremely important for brands to follow valid HTML coding. Browsers parse through HTML code to determine search relevance. Any errors or invalid coding will result in broken pages and a lower ranking. Sites built in accordance to standards will ensure a consistent experience across all devices.

3. Incorporate Linking and Digital Newsletters

More than 20% of email marketing is read from mobile phones, which is why it is crucial for companies to test and support all incoming links from digital newsletters and other promotional materials. But how can brands make sure that their linking practices translate to mobile? In practical terms, these links provide one fully integrated experience while also allowing brands to cast a wider net by creating a connected presence across the mobile web.

Further, effective traffic driving tools such as email newsletters and social media allow consumers to share links faster than ever before. Links that are not tested or properly maintained will lead to a loss of traffic from redirects to the mobile site. Additionally, these links are important for a mobile site because they can be used by all Internet-enabled phones, including those with limited or no JavaScript support.

For example, Staples incorporates multiple links in its digital newsletters that lead consumers to different product pages or special offers on its mobile site. Consumers who click on “Hot Deals” are directed to the Staples homepage, which is different from users who click links for product promotions which lead directly to the specific product pages.

The Future of Mobile Search

The rapid consumer adoption rate of smartphones, coupled with increasing advancements in mobile technology, means that mobile SEO is a powerful tool to move the needle on mobile traffic. Next-generation coding languages like HTML5 can be incorporated into mobile SEO practices to enhance a mobile site’s usability and performance, resulting in higher page rankings in search engines.

Advancements in location-based search results and integrated real-time social search results will further impact how consumers use mobile search and how browsers position results. In order to increase traffic to mobile pages and drive revenue, it is essential for brands to think strategically about how to leverage common mobile SEO practices in order to increase brand loyalty and maximize traffic.

Disclosure: Staples is a client of the author’s company.

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  • How Mobile Searchers Are Changing Keyword Research (
  • 14 Differences Between Mobile Search & Desktop Search Results (
  • Mobile Search Ranking Factors (Clue – One Normal SEO Factor is Missing) (
  • SEO Tools: SEO Digger (
  • Mobile SEO Myths Exposed (
  • Linda Bustos on E-Commerce and SEO (
  • CTR from mobile search is three times higher: study (
  • SEO For Mobiles – New Search Dimensions 2 (
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