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This Week in Search for 8/13/09

Posted by Sam Niccolls

‘This week in Search’ is a compilation of some of the most interesting, newsworthy, and useful stories in and around the world of search over the last 1-2 weeks. If you have articles on your own blog or think something is worth mentioning in next week’s post, send me a direct message to me on Twitter  (@samniccolls) or tweet it and include @seomoz #thisweek in your tweet.

Five Thumbs

  • Humble Startup Beginnings: In a post that shows pictures of the offices where Google, Facebook, eBay and other web giants started, Income Diary reminds entrepreneurs (and aspiring entrepreneurs) that every business has to start somewhere.
  • Is your site used every day? LinkedIn does not incentivize daily visits from members, but they aren’t not alone. Many companies who do not have applications which are used daily have business models dependent on every day usage. Sadly, paraphrased versions of the closing remarks can be applied to many companies, not just LinkedIn — "Until they can make their users better at what they do, it won’t be an every day app."
  • Email vs. Social Media: According to Forrester, over three times more US adults use e-mail each month than use social media sites (165 million to 66 million). So there’s no debating that e-mail remains a cornerstone of one-to-one marketing, but brands are increasingly turning from e-mail to sites like Twitter and Facebook for customer acquisition and retention. Similarly, forward-to-a-friend (FTAF) still remains four times more used among online retailers than share-with-your-network (SWYN).

Four Thumbs

  • Google Website Optimizer Case Study:  David Booth of WebShare shares a case study on split testing. Specifically, he delves into Google Website Optimizer results that show a split test they ran for the Gyminee homepage, which resulted in a 20% conversion rate increase. For those looking to run tests themselves, Booth includes several actionable takeaways in the post.
  • This Business of SEO by Todd Friesen: The business of SEO consulting may have changed, but the art of SEO is not lost. Todd Friesen sheds light on these issues with a brief introspection and an apt analogy. And even though I agree with Todd’s sentiment, I like to think that good SEOs will have more longevity than their printing press technician brethren. 
  • Evolution of the Pepsi Logo: Though Rand tweeted about the funniest Pepsi logo, Zac Johnson’s also wrote a post giving a snapshot of the Pepsi logo’s progression over the years. For a deeper dive into the evolution of other corporate logos, check out Instant Shift’s more detailed post.

Three Thumbs

  • Associated Press Tries to Catch up with Wikipedia in the SERPs: In an attempt to make up some ground with Wikipedia, the Associated Press is doing something the New York Times did last year: aggregate content around subject areas in order to make topical roll up pages more competitive on higher volume search terms. 
  • Kids Search for Porn: Based on a data set of 3.5 million searches made by kids over a six month time period, OnlineFamily.Norton recently reported that kids exhibit two search trends. The first trend is that they tend to bypass the URL field and type URLs into the search field . And the second, more disconcerting trend is that they search for porn at a rate that’s on par with adults. Both ‘sex’ and ‘porn’ were among the top 6 search terms made by kids.  
  • Attribution Modeling: Piggybacking on a recent Forrester study about the tracking and value of display advertising, Michelle Stern dives into how you should look at more than just the last click to track conversion rate and cost per acquisition in your marketing channel reports. 

Two Thumbs

  • Where Did the Money Go?: Based off of Department of Labor survey data, Visual Economics created a great visual diagram of how people in the US spend their money. In addition to being a great linkbait image, the diagram provides a detailed breakdown of annual consumer expenditures. 
  • How Much Crack is in a Crackberry?: Well, perhaps none, actually, but recent research shows that there are physiological factors that make you addicted to your smartphone or laptop. In fact, the effect digital stimulus has on your brain’s dopamine circuits is shown to be similar to that of cocaine.
  • Microsoft Patent Issues: On Tuesday, in a patent verdict that will likely be overturned, a Texas judge ruled that due to a patent infringement Microsoft would have to pay $290 million in damages to Toronto-based i4i Inc and that they are not allowed to sell Word. Microsoft will no doubt appeal the verdict.

Thumbs Down

  • 20 SEO Tips That Every Developer Should Follow: Though Theme Forest’s list is not devoid of good advice, they set a good example of how not to create a top ten or a top twenty list. If you are going to provide actionable industry specific takeaways, in a topic other than the one you specialize in, you should verify that the information you include in your list is accurate. As shown by Theme Forest’s unordered list of 20 SEO tips that prominently features W3C validation atop their list of SEO tips, they clearly did not do all their homework and follow up with folks in the industry.

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