David J. Redcliff

David J. Redcliff

When it comes to getting major influencers to help with your marketing efforts, you can be embarking down a treacherous path. While it’s crucial to on-board folks who have a lot of sway with your market, you have to be careful not to rub them the wrong way.

In some cases, it can be just as easy to either get ignored by the influencers altogether, or goad them into giving you the wrong kind of marketing. With that in mind, here are four do’s and four don’t’s to pay attention to when you are trying to get influencers to help market your product.

1. Do choose your influencers wisely.

First, and probably most importantly, is to choose the right influencers to reach out to. You want to make sure their following is actually part of your market. That way, your message gets conveyed to people who will actually have an interest in what you’re promoting.

For example, in 2010 when author Shel Horowitz published his 10th book, "Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green," he quickly identified that the appropriate influencers for his market would be newsletter publishers, bloggers, best-selling authors and the like. He reached out to these influencers, and saw tremendous results from the campaign.

Based on a Google search showing 1,070,000 responses for an exact-match search for the book title, I estimate that at least 5,000,000 people were exposed to the campaign (that would be a very low average of five people seeing each page).

Also, remember that bigger isn’t always better. Victor Ricci of Trend Pie says that “targeting the big name social celebrities is nice but doesn’t always have the best results. When looking to get the lowest CPI, engagement is much more important than follower count.”

2. Do amplify influencer messages.

Influencers are often under tremendous pressure to drive traffic to their message, so anything you can do to help them do that will be noticed and greatly appreciated. You should find an influencer you greatly admire, and start amplifying their content by sharing it on your own social media networks. Be sure to tag the influencer so he or she knows what you’re doing.

Digital marketing entrepreneur Spencer X. Smith found out just how powerful this courtship could be when he began sharing articles by Cheryl Conner of Forbes. He would share her stories on LinkedIn and Twitter, always providing his own thoughts about the piece and how his audience might use it. As a result of his efforts, Conner actually contacted Smith to be the subject of a feature article at Forbes.

3. Do offer influencers something to entice them.

Sometimes, just building the relationship might not be enough. Many influencers need something a bit more tangible than just you sharing their message, so you need to entice them. This could take the form of a charitable donation in the influencer’s name or something more along the lines of helping the influencer get even more exposure.

For example, Cloudways struggled at first to get influencers to promote its new cloud hosting management platform. They pitched a list of influencers one at a time, and were either ignored or told they were being too pushy. While part of this might be a lack of relationship-building first, what finally worked for Cloudways tells “the rest of the story.”

Cloudways reached out to influencers again, this time inviting them to be interviewed for the company’s blog. This got the attention of several influencers, especially mid-level ones and the response was strong enough that Cloudways has published more than 120 interviews and has created a community that loves the company’s product and talks about it often.

4. Do use an evangelical approach.

Remember who you’re approaching. Top influencers respond to a different kind of value propositions than regular users. While regular users respond to quantitative value propositions like “cheaper,” “smaller,” or “faster,” top influencers are more interested in qualitative value propositions. This is where you’ll use words like “revolutionary,” “breakthrough,” and “game-changing.” Influencers want to be involved in exciting ventures, so you need to attract their attention with engaging text.

Rick Carlile, the founder of Aegora.com, the Professional Marketplace, used a very evangelical approach in trying to attract influencers to come on board. As a result of his influencer marketing campaign, Aegora.com was able to attract around 500 high-quality signups to the site, a tremendous number in a highly competitive niche.


5. Don’t spam influencers with follow ups.

Yes, you should follow up with your influencer, but don’t be obnoxious about it. This means having a bit of patience, since most influencers are very busy people and may not have an opportunity to reply to your email in just a day or two. If you don’t hear back from the influencer within a week, then it’s probably safe to send a follow up email.

Adarsh Thampy, CEO of LeadFerry, points out that you have to walk a fine line between persistence and pushiness. Thampy suggests you should send no more than two follow ups, with at least a week’s gap in between, to maximize your chances of success. Remember, though, not to be pushy:

It goes without saying. But influencers are humans too. Do you feel like doing something if someone you barely know acts pushy? No. When you face resistance, let it go.

6. Don’t forget to build influencer relationships.

Remember our suggestion in the do’s section about courting your influencer? This is crucial, because it builds a relationship with them before you even think about asking them for help. Failing to build that relationship first will mean you come across as being spammy and pushy.

Chris Boulas, the founder and president of digital marketing firm Formulytic, has built businesses from $5 million to more than $30 million in revenue, largely on the back of influencer marketing. Boulas points out how you can go about developing a relationship first:

Business is about give and take, so don’t approach influencers with a take-only mindset. Be ready to provide value in return. Do you have a skill, idea or feedback on an influencer’s business? Apply your skill or share your ideas for free and provide value upfront first. 

7. Don’t forget to set influencer guidelines.

How does your influencer reach out to his or her following? Through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or some other medium? Make sure you have specific guidelines in place for how you should be promoted and especially tagged, to generate the maximum exposure possible.

For example, Lindsay White of Lot801 Marketing points out that Instagram has recently made it possible to tag images. As a result of that, many influencers are only tagging people in the images when they are working with brands. This is a major problem, White points out:

"No one taps on the photo anymore to see who they tagged. But, they will read the captions. If your influencers aren’t tagging you in the caption, you’re missing out on some serious sales and social media followers. Since we’ve made this a requirement when working with any influencers, our sales are about 30 percent higher than if they didn’t tag us in both the caption and photo… along with an increase of about 50 percent in sales."

8. Don’t rely solely on the influencer for buzz.

Marketing almost has to take a multi pronged approach, so make sure you don’t get tunnel vision. You cannot rely just on the influencer to generate the buzz that will make your campaign successful. Consider the influencer just a piece of the puzzle, albeit a possibly big piece.

Marc Nashaat, of Powered by Search, stresses the importance of this multifaceted approach. He points out that at the same time you are building your influencer network, you should also be identifying the people or publications that cover your campaign topic or the engagements of your influencer. Do outreach to them to help “seed” your influencer-based marketing campaign.


Run a great influencer marketing campaign.

With these tips under your belt, you should be able to successfully attract the right influencers to help you with your marketing efforts. Just remember to be yourself, and follow the advice of folks who have been doing influencer marketing with great success for many years. 

Source:   https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/275923


If the majority of your digital marketing is aimed at boosting your rankings on Google search results, contributor Eric Enge contends you might want to rethink your priorities.

Google market share in the US currently stands at 63.8 percent, with Bing (including Yahoo’s search volume) coming in at 33.5 percent, according to January 2016 comScore data. This makes Bing a credible competitor to Google in the US, but the story is quite different internationally, where Google is dominant in nearly every country, other than China (Baidu), Russia (Yandex), Korea (Naver) and the Czech Republic (Seznam).

Google is the big dog in traditional search, but it would be wrong to think that is the end of the story, as Google faces competition on many different fronts.

In today’s post, I review Google’s “other competitors” to illustrate how this shapes Google’s view of the world and how this view impacts your digital marketing strategy.

What business is Google in?

First, though, let’s establish some context by discussing what business Google is in. Most of us think of Google as a “search engine,” and we tend to think of that as a website where you go to a search box and enter a search query. For some of us, the definition has evolved to include using voice search commands to execute a search.

However, if you look at Google’s About page, here is the famous quote that anyone who follows the world of search has seen many times: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

This suggests that the search engines themselves hold a somewhat broader view of what they do — one that isn’t tied to a search box, or even the use of search commands in one given application.

This is a topic that I’ve discussed many times with Bing’s Senior Strategy Director, Stefan Weitz, over the years, and he has repeatedly told me how search functionality is something that will be embedded into everything, rather than being something that you access by going to a special place (like a website). In other words, search functionality will be distributed everywhere.

Now let’s broaden that to think about it from a user perspective. What do users want? They want a way to get what they’re searching for. That’s it. As you will see during the course of today’s post, users have many different ways to do that today.


Amazon vs. Google

Amazon may not be the first company you think of as a competitor to Google, but that’s not the way Google sees it. In Berlin in 2014, Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, had this to say: “Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon.” The main area of competition for these two companies is product searches.

Amazon vs. Google

The New York Times sourced data on the market share for product search as follows:

Forrester Research found that a third of online users started their product searches on Amazon, compared to 13 percent who started their search from a traditional search site. ComScore found that product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year, while shopping searches on Google have been flat.

In some specific markets, Amazon share is even higher, according to a report in The Week, which said that as of October 2015, “Amazon accounts for over 40 percent of book sales, and over 60 percent of online sales.”

So when it comes to the product shopping space, Google is in second place and struggling to catch up.

Apple vs. Google

Eric Schmidt has cited other competition along the way. For example, in an interview with Bloomberg, he indicated that the competition with Apple is the “defining fight of the computer industry.”

Apple vs. Google

From a numbers perspective, it may not always look that way, as “Android currently holds around 84.7 percent of the market, compared to Apple’s 11.7 percent. Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry OS and other operators make up around 3.6 percent,” according to a report that appeared when Schmidt made that statement. From this viewpoint, Apple may not seem like a huge threat to Google, but you can’t ignore the pressure that Apple places on Google via its constant push toward innovation.

Then there is Apple’s support for ad blocking in iOS 9. Ad blockers arguably improve the user experience, especially on mobile devices, as they block content from loading. These happen to block ads from Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers and Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange, the web’s largest ad exchange. These are direct assaults on Google’s revenue.

The worrisome part of ad blockers to me is that publishers need a way to monetize the content they produce; otherwise, they’ll no longer be able to create great content. Will ad blocking kill the web? Probably not entirely, but it could change web publishing in fundamental ways, and it could drive a major shift toward native advertising.

Of course, both Apple and Facebook have built publishing platforms (Apple News Articles and Facebook Instant Articles) where content can be published on their proprietary platform, and content published on these wouldn’t be subject to ad blocking. Hence, content creators may focus more and more of their energy in these areas and start relying less and less on the traditional web for their income.

Facebook vs. Google

Facebook is widely accepted as a major competitor to Google. From a mobile ad market share perspective, Facebook and Google combined make up more than 50 percent of the overall market, according to an eMarketer report from last year, with Google getting the largest portion, at about 33 percent, and Facebook at 19 percent. At that level, they may not seem like direct competitors. But the competitive picture is much broader than that.

Facebook vs. Google

For example, when it comes to driving traffic to a website as part of a news cycle, Facebook is king. The following data from Chartbeat shows Facebook dwarfing Google as a referrer of traffic to The Atlantic for its news story, “What ISIS Really Wants

Facebook Dominates Traffic to News Sites

This data is supported by a 2015 study performed by Parse.ly which showed that “the social network passed Google as the leading source of referral traffic in June and in July extended its lead to three percentage points, 38.2 percent to 35.2 percent.” Note that this study was focused on Parse.ly clients, which consist of many news sites, including Fox News, Telegraph Media Group, Mashable, Business Insider, Condé Nast, The Atlantic and Reuters.

Then there is the world of apps. Recent comScore data suggests that users spend 44 percent of all their digital media time in apps.

44% of All Digital Media Time Spent in Apps

That’s an incredible move away from the web, and it reflects the fact that apps can often offer a far better experience online than websites can (particularly if you view mobile website development as the practice of taking a desktop site and crushing it down into a smaller form factor).

Both Facebook and Google have seen this coming, as you can see in the following graphic:

Top 10 Installed Apps

The top six apps — and eight of the top nine — are from Facebook and Google. This looks like a solid head-to-head fight, but it’s one where Facebook has the lead. Having an app installed isn’t the only metric that matters — usage level matters a lot, too. To illustrate, of those that have the Facebook app installed, a full 48 percent consider it their number one app.

In addition, WhatsApp hit 1 billion users as of February 2016, and Facebook Messenger reached 800 million users as of January 2016. These numbers are well beyond where they were at the time comScore compiled the data in the prior chart, so Facebook’s share here is growing fast.

In addition, as I’ll discuss in the next section, asking your friends for advice remains the single most trusted source of information for users, and doing that is easier than it has ever been in human history.


Messaging/texting vs. Google

In September of 2015, Nielsen published data that showed that 83 percent of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family. Second place? That was advertising on branded websites, which came in at 70 percent. That’s a big gap.

Texting vs. Google

So just how prevalent is text messaging overall? Teckst.com collected some stats from numerous sources that shows the mind-blowing truth of the matter:

According to Pew Internet, texting is the most widely used and frequently used app on a smartphone, with 97 percent of Americans using it at least once a day.

According to Portio Research, people worldwide will send 8.3 trillion text messages in this year alone. That’s almost 23 billion messages per day, or almost 16 million messages per minute.
Per Forrester, more than 6 billion SMS text messages are sent in the US each day.
Data from Mobile Marketing Watch shows that SMS text messages have a 98 percent average open rate, while email has only a 20 percent average open rate.

Per Connect Mogul, the average person responds to a text message in 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for an email, and 90 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes of their delivery.
What this means is that one of the most severe forms of competition for Google is people simply asking their friends. The trust level is very high, and the response time is fast. If the search engine doesn’t provide good results, or it gets too laden with ads, well, there’s an easy alternative!

Competition and its impact

Google remains the dominant search box worldwide, but that isn’t its greatest challenge. Most market dominant players aren’t toppled due to being beaten at their own game — they’re beaten by changes in the rules of the game. This is where the challenges for Google lie. Messaging/texting, Google, Amazon and Apple are all posing real challenges to Google.


So yes, if Google provides a not-so-great answer in its SERPs, a searcher might go to Bing, but there are also many other places where users might go to get their answer. This creates an enormous amount of pressure on Google from a search quality perspective. It also keeps Google from going too far with commercialization of the results.

For marketers, this means that SEO remains an important way to obtain search traffic, but you may also need to consider the other parts of your digital marketing strategy:

Amazon SEO: Do you have a strategy for scaling your sales on Amazon?

Native advertising: If web advertising is under assault by ad blockers, what else can you do to promote yourself on the web? Native advertising is likely to be a major beneficiary of this trend.
Facebook advertising: There is a lot going on within Facebook, and its targeting capabilities are very impressive. This applies to a lesser degree on other social media sites, too.

Apps: If 44 percent of all digital media time is spent on apps, that means some of your customers are here. Should you develop an app? Some businesses should, but the question also should be, what’s your strategy for showing up within the apps of third parties?

Branding: Friends usually make recommendations for the products and services they like best. Are you the solution that they’re likely to recommend?

The web is diversifying in significant ways, and you should, too.

Source: http://searchengineland.com/competitive-threats-google-means-249772

With Bing's latest educational resource, students have access to details for each of the elements right from the search result page.

Bing is finding its way into the hearts of chemistry enthusiasts and high school students everywhere with its latest educational resource. The site has added a fully interactive, color-coded periodic table that shows up at the top of its results for a search on “periodic table.”

The interactive table includes features like the “Physical State,” “Discovered,” “Found on Earth” and “Density” tabs across the top, and its own search box where users can enter the name or symbol of an element to locate it.

Bing periodic table search result

Other features include a slider on the “Physical States” table to show how the elements change with the temperature and a timeline slider on the “Discovery” tab that quickly shows when elements were discovered.

Hovering over an element will display the element’s individual properties.

Bing periodic table element hover

Clicking on an element within the table leads to a search for that specific element with a direct answer box listing more detailed information.

Bing periodic table element result

This new feature comes days after Bing rolled out its interactive solar system.


As part of the announcement, Bing included a link to its full list of educational resources: Bing’s educational tools.

Source:  http://searchengineland.com/bing-periodic-table-search-returns-full-table-image-directly-in-search-results-244270

Friday, 20 May 2016 11:38

Research Using the Internet

More and more students are turning to the Internet when doing research for their assignments, and more and more instructors are requiring such research when setting topics. However, research on the Net is very different from traditional library research, and the differences can cause problems. The Net is a tremendous resource, but it must be used carefully and critically.

The printed resources you find in the Library have almost always been thoroughly evaluated by experts before they are published. This process of "peer review" is the difference between, for example, an article in Time magazine and one in a journal such as the University of Toronto Quarterly. Furthermore, when books and other materials come into the University library system, they are painstakingly and systematically catalogued and cross-referenced using procedures followed by research libraries the world over. This process is the basis for the way materials are organized in the Library, and it makes possible the various search functions of the Web catalogue.

On the Internet, on the other hand, "anything goes." Anyone can put anything they want on a Web site, there is no review or screening process, and there are no agreed-upon standard ways of identifying subjects and creating cross-references. This is both the glory and the weakness of the Net - it's either freedom or chaos, depending on your point of view, and it means that you have to pay close attention when doing research on-line. There are a great many solid academic resources available on the Net, including hundreds of on-line journals and sites set up by universities and scholarly or scientific organizations. The University of Toronto Library's Electronic Resources page is one such academic source. Using material from those sources is no problem; it's just like going to the Library, only on-line. It's all the other stuff on the Net that you have to be cautious about.

Here are a few basic guidelines to remember:

Don't rely exclusively on Net resources. Sometimes your assignment will be to do research only on the Net, but usually your instructors will expect you to make use of both Internet and Library resources. Cross-checking information from the Net against information from the Library is a good way to make sure that the Net material is reliable and authoritative.

Narrow your research topic before logging on. The Internet allows access to so much information that you can easily be overwhelmed. Before you start your search, think about what you're looking for, and if possible formulate some very specific questions to direct and limit your search.


Know your subject directories and search engines. There are several high quality peer-reviewed subject directories containing links selected by subject experts. INFOMINE and Academic Info are good examples. These are excellent places to start your academic research on the Internet. Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines differ considerably in how they work, how much of the Net they search, and the kind of results you can expect to get from them. Spending some time learning what each search engine will do and how best to use it can help you avoid a lot of frustration and wasted time later. Because each one will find different things for you, it's a good idea to always use more than one search engine. For specialized search engines and directories you might also like to try Beaucoup which includes 2,500 + search engines and directories or the Search Engine Colossus International Directory of Search Engines that includes search engines from 230+ countries around the world.

Keep a detailed record of sites you visit and the sites you use. Doing research on the Net inevitably means visiting some sites that are useful and many that are not. Keeping track is necessary so that you can revisit the useful ones later, and also put the required references in your paper. Don't just rely on your browser's History function, because it retains the Web addresses or URLs of all the sites you visit, good or bad, and if you're using a computer at the University the memory in the History file will be erased at the end of your session. It's better to write down or bookmark the sites you've found useful, so that you'll have a permanent record.

Double-check all URLs that you put in your paper. It's easy to make mistakes with complicated Internet addresses, and typos will make your references useless. To be safe, type them into the Location box of your browser and check that they take you to the correct site.

The following points are guidelines for evaluating specific resources you find on the Net. If you ask these questions when looking at a Web site, you can avoid many errors and problems.


Who is the author?
Is the author's name given?
Are her qualifications specified?
Is there a link to information about her and her position?
Is there a way to contact her (an address or a "Mailto" link)?
Have you heard of her elsewhere (in class, or cited in your course text or in Library material)?
Has the author written elsewhere on this topic?



Who is the sponsor of the Web site?

Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution or organization?

Does the information reflect the views of the organization, or only of the author? If the sponsoring institution or organization is not clearly identified on the site, check the URL. It may contain the name of a university (U of T Mississauga's includes utoronto) or the extension .edu, which is used by many educational institutions. Government sites are identified by the extension .gov. URLs containing .org are trickier, and require research: these are sites sponsored by non-profit organizations, some of which are reliable sources and some of which are very biased. Sites with the .com extension should also be used with caution, because they have commercial or corporate sponsors who probably want to sell you something. The extension ~NAME often means a personal Web page with no institutional backing; use such sites only if you have checked on the author's credibility in print sources.

Audience Level

What audience is the Web site designed for? You want information at the college or research level. Don't use sites intended for elementary students or sites that are too technical for your needs.


Is the Web site current?

Is the site dated?

Is the date of the most recent update given? Generally speaking, Internet resources should be up-to-date; after all, getting the most current information is the main reason for using the Net for research in the first place.
Are all the links up-to-date and working? Broken links may mean the site is out-of-date; they're certainly a sign that it's not well-maintained.

Content Reliability/Accuracy

Is the material on the Web site reliable and accurate?
Is the information factual, not opinion?
Can you verify the information in print sources?
Is the source of the information clearly stated, whether original research material or secondary material borrowed from elsewhere?
How valid is the research that is the source?
Does the material as presented have substance and depth?
Where arguments are given, are they based on strong evidence and good logic?
Is the author's point of view impartial and objective?
Is the author's language free of emotion and bias?


Is the site free of errors in spelling or grammar and other signs of carelessness in its presentation of the material?
Are additional electronic and print sources provided to complement or support the material on the Web site?

If you can answer all these questions positively when looking at a particular site, then you can be pretty sure it's a good one; if it doesn't measure up one way or another, it's probably a site to avoid. The key to the whole process is to think critically about what you find on the Net; if you want to use it, you are responsible for ensuring that it is reliable and accurate.

Source:  http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/reading-and-researching/research-using-internet

Friday, 20 May 2016 10:25

Google declares war on copy and paste

Google’s ready to kick Control+C and Control+V to the curb – the company on Thursday announced new APIs and new enterprise partnerships today at its annual I/O developer conference, designed to simplify common workflows and make its Google Apps product line more competitive.

The new partners include big business software names like Sage, Salesforce, and ProsperWorks, among others, and the new APIs allow for impressively complete integration with Google Apps, providing the potential for broad new feature sets.

+ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD: Google dives into the future with a focus on A.I. + Google I/O 2016: Android N hits beta, boasts VR and more

The emphasis, according to Google Apps for Education project manager Jonathan Rochelle, is on making it easier to move data between different apps, which has been a ragged seam in the productivity space for a very long time.

“We’re trying to get rid of those un-magical moments of copy-paste,” he said. “We realize, of course, that people aren’t just in Google products, and that we have to get information from those products to our products.”


+ Follow all the news from Google I/O 2016 +

Specifically, the company’s introducing three major new APIs, each with a well-developed demonstration case from a major business partner. First up was the Google Sheets API, which offers a broad new set of hooks into Google’s spreadsheet app. This was demonstrated by SAP, which sent a representative to show off an integrated budgeting and reporting app pushing data seamlessly into a Google Sheet.

The Google Slides API offers similar impressive capabilities. Visual collaboration software maker Trello demonstrated that it can be used to pull data from an outside source into a template, allowing for programmatically created custom presentations, while CRM provider Prosperworks demoed a similar application offering custom reports pulled from its own systems.

+ MORE SHOW COVERAGE: Google I/O 2016: Google’s biggest announcements +

Finally, the new Coursework API builds on Google’s successful Apps for Education and Classroom products, letting teachers do everything from setting assignments to accepting them and grading them, all within the Coursework framework. The demonstration lesson was provided by Tynker, a company that offers programming courses for children.

It’s not a full-throated assault on the enterprise market, but it’s a step in the right direction for a company that isn’t exactly known for its presence among enterprise productivity users. Google’s been relatively successful in the educational market, to be sure, boasting more than 50 million users of Apps for Education as of late last year, although just 10 million educators used the company’s Classroom framework. But Office 365 has been more successful in the overall cloud productivity space, according to an analysis from around the same time by CIO.


The new partnerships with SAP, Prosperworks, Salesforce and the like offers a new group of enterprise customers a way into Google’s ecosystem, while the newly opened APIs offer the option of developing customized solutions.

Source:  http://www.networkworld.com/article/3072491/software/google-declares-war-on-copy-and-paste.html

Thursday, 19 May 2016 13:02

Googling Better

The following are a few of the techniques and tools I use to make my Google searching more effective or more productive.

Synonym Searching

Google has a limit of 10 words per search [since expanded to 32], which can make it difficult to include all the possible variations on a word. For example, a search for reports on childhood obesity should probably also include the words child, children, kid, kids, youth and family as well as childhood, and the words obese, overweight and fat as well as obesity. Oops! That adds up to 11 possible search terms, and doesn't give you any leeway to include filetype: limitations or other words to narrow the search down to reports. One way to circumvent this limitation is to try Google's synonym search. Add a tilde (~) at the beginning of the words child and obese (~child ~obese), and Google retrieves web sites that use any of those synonyms.

A slider bar lets you specify how much you want the search results sorted by those interests you specified.

Note that this tool works best for common words, and some of the synonyms may be broader than you wish. I needed to search for web sites of elementary school bands, music departments and choirs. I tried a search for ~music, but saw that I was also getting web sites with the words rock, MP3, radio, audio, song, sound, and records -- not really what I had in mind.


Google Personalized

Personalized Google is still in beta, but it's an interesting tool. Once you go to the Google Labs page and select Personalized, you will be sent to a new search page, that includes a link to [Create Profile]. You can specify the type of searching you typically do, ranging from biotech and pharmaceuticals to dentistry to classical music. Click [Save Preferences], and then type your search terms in the Google Personalized search box.

At the search results screen, you will now see something new -- a slider bar that lets you specify how much you want the search results sorted by those interests you specified. The default is minimal personalization; move the slider bar toward maximum, and you will see the search results change on the fly, as Google re-ranks the results based on your personal interests.

Keep in mind that this personalization is only available through the Personalized Google page. If you go to the main Google search page, the personalization option is not available.

Google Shortcuts

As with other search engines, Google has some built-in "answer" features that can sometimes come in handy.

If you type the word "define:" and a word (define:card for example), instead of the usual search results, you will get definitions of that word from a wide range of glossaries, dictionaries and lexicons.

Type a US company's name or stock symbol in the search box, and the first item in the search results page will be a link to current stock quotes for that company, provided by Yahoo Finance.

Type a US area code in the search box, and the first search result will link to a map showing the general coverage area of that area code. I find this particularly useful now that there are over 200 area codes.

See www.google.com/help/features.html for a list of Google's shortcuts.


Specialized Searches

In addition to the well-known Google search tabs for searching the web, news and images, there are several specialized search tools for commonly-search subjects, including UncleSam for searching federal government information; University Search for searching within the sites of major colleges or universities; and even Google Microsoft, for searching Microsoft-related sites.

Source: http://archive.virtualchase.justia.com/articles/archive

According to a recent report, in the time you take to read this sentence, an average of 2.3 million Google searches were conducted. No doubt, Google is our go-to resource. We use it so much that “Google” has become a verb as in, “Just Google it.”

There’s more you can do with Google than merely finding an article, products for sale or websites. Here are seven Google tricks you’ll use time and time again.



Find the best and cheapest flights

There are a slew of travel sites including CheapTickets, Expedia, Hotwire, Kayak, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity that help you book flights, hotels and vacations. But, when you want an uncluttered and simplified way to find a flight and check prices, head over to Google Flight Search.

Google Flight Search gives you quick access to information from various airline and travel sites in one place. It shares many of the same features as the other sites such as airline comparisons, rate monitoring, and price trends. Flight Search’s beauty, though, is its lack of ads and straightforward approach. For example, if you’re flexible with your travel dates, the ticket prices are listed day-by-day on the calendar.

I especially like the map displayed on the home page. It shows pricing information at a glance for destinations you might be interested in visiting. Go ahead, while you’re booking that business trip, take a moment to daydream about seeing the sunset from the Space Needle or the Eiffel Tower.
Booking is easy. Just select the flight you want, and follow the prompts to purchase your ticket.
Note: Having a great online tool isn’t the only thing you need to get a great price on tickets. Visit komando.com/356284 for a secret formula that shows if you’re paying too much for airfare.


Build stuff with Legos

Not everything you do on Google has to be completely practical. Sometimes you just need a break, and puzzles and building blocks are a great way to challenge your mind while recharging your battery. And if you have kids in the house, show them this. They’ll love it.

The free online Lego builder browser extension works with Chrome and Firefox, and allows you to build models out of Legos. The models are saved to the cloud, where you can share them and see models that others have created. It’s a slew of fun. Just tell the kids you’re trying it out before you let them take the reigns. Visit komando.com/357172 for a video tutorial and a download link to the browser extension.


Keep track of time

Let’s say you’re wondering what time it is in New York, London or anywhere else in the world. Just type “What time it is in [location]?” for an instant answer. You can also ask Google the time difference between any two cities pretty much covering the world.

Google can also help you stay on schedule. Type “Set a timer for [x] minutes,” and Google will pop up a timer. There’s a handy stopwatch to the right of the timer window.
When you are wondering if it is better to fly or drive somewhere, type the phrase, “How long does it take to get to [destination]?” Google provides the approximate drive time including any road construction or delays.


Translate languages

Whether you’re a frequent traveler, or trying to learn a new language, Google can help you overcome language barriers. The Google Translate function is integrated right into the regular Google search, so you don’t even have to visit another page.

To translate with Google, type “translate” in the search bar. This will bring up two boxes in your search results. The box on the left is for the language you’d like to translate from, and the box on the right will show the results of the language you’d like to translate to.

There are tabs above each box that let you choose from a list of more than 100 languages, including common languages like Italian, French, Russian and Spanish, and even lesser known languages, like Icelandic.
My son, Ian, is learning Mandarin, and uses Google Translate on his iPad to write out the characters and listen as the words are repeated back. And I love using the Google Translate app whenever I travel out of the country. One of the app’s most useful features is its ability to scan printed words and translate them instantly. Perfect for restaurant menus, venues and street signs! Visit komando.com/319657 to learn more about the Google Translate mobile app.


Count calories

When you’re wondering how many calories are in a particular meal, type, “How many calories does [food item] have?” and Google will tell you the answer. It also includes details such as portion sizes, and additional ingredients that are factored in to the overall calorie count.
Use it to also compare the calorie count of different foods. For example, imagine you’re out having drinks with friends, but don’t want to go overboard. Go ahead, ask Google, “Which has more calories wine or beer?”


Explore the sky

If you thought Google Earth was great, then this is going to blow your mind. You can step off our planet and into the universe with Google Sky.
Instead of searching locations on this planet, you look at outer space using images from different telescopes, probes and satellites. It works similarly to Google Earth. You can search for items in the search bar at the top and Google Sky will show you the most recent images of the stars, planets and galaxies you are looking for.

The tool also includes showcases at the bottom of the page to direct you to popular and interesting parts of the map, like images from the Hubble Telescope and shots of our own Solar System.

In addition to the basic map, you can look at infrared and microwave images of space. You can also look at a historical map of the stars made by Giovanni Maria Cassini in 1792! For fun, overlay these different images on top of one another to see how they compare.


Use Google like a pro

If you’re searching for answers, you want to find the fastest (and most accurate) results possible. You don’t have time to sift through pages and pages. To get better results, here are a few secrets.

One of the easiest tricks is to place your search terms between quotation marks. This tells Google to search for that phrase exactly, instead of searching for those keywords anywhere in an article.
When you’re looking for something on a particular website, you can begin that search right on the Google home page. There are a few ways to do this. The first way is to type the website name in the address bar, followed by a colon. Next, hit the space bar and type your search term.

For example, “komando.com: smartphone battery tip”. Another way to do this is to include the website name along with your search term such as “komando.com smartphone battery tip.”

Either of these options will limit Google’s search to find content on the specific website.
If you’re looking for information between a certain date range, you can find faster results by including two periods between the dates themselves. For example, “top rock bands 1960 .. 1980”.

Using these tricks will help you pinpoint the information you need without wasting your time on content that barely meets the criteria of your search. Visit komando.com/346908 if you’d like even more tricks to get faster answers on google.


Source:  http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/business/great-google-features-you-might-not-use/article_57815593-6052-5b4a-9cb0-c72d4aecffbb.html


Brand new research out today reveals that, since Google AdWords removed its right-hand side ads and brought in an occasional fourth paid ad position for ‘highly commercial’ search terms, this fourth ad appears for nearly one-quarter of all search topics.


It’s been an interesting time for search marketers, with lot of early research indicating various different trends and anomalies for the new look SERP.


The major worry is that paid search advertising will become more competitive and that organic results are getting pushed further and further down the page.Although one of the surprising developments is that having your ad appear in position 4 may lead to as high CTR as position 1. Today’s research however highlights the need for paid search teams to align their strategies with customer intent.

As well as the headline stat, BrightEdge has discovered the following important takeaways you need to be aware of:


Searches indicating purchase intent are six times more likely than all other searches to display this four-pack of ads.
Searches with discovery intent have a 69% higher click-through-rate (CTR) for the top five search results, as compared to purchase-intent searches.



23% of all search topics have 4-pack ads




What does this all mean?

That customer intent is everything, and that the ‘micro-moments’ that you will have heard Google recommending you pay attention to, should be right at the top of your search strategy.


What are micro-moments?

As Chris Lake mentions in his post on how to optimise for near me search, Google says micro-moments are the “critical touch points within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.”

Or to put it simply, the

I-want-to-know moments
I-want-to-go moments
I-want-to-buy moments
I-want-to-do moments
These all have three things in common – immediacy, context and intent.

So going back to the BrightEdge research, Google is creating a pay-to-play battleground where the only winners will be the marketers who align their paid search efforts with customer intent.


According to Google, examples of commercial queries include topics such as “hotels in New York City” and “car insurance”. Other examples are “CRM software” and “energy management systems”. Also note that research from Sirius Decisions indicates that 67% of the B2B buyer’s journey is now done online.That’s not to say there’s no room for organic search marketing for commercial terms…


How organic and paid search marketers can work together

The key to search marketing is supporting organic efforts with paid advertising, and filling the gaps when on-page SEO and content marketing isn’t enough.


However you must understand that with Google becoming ever savvier about quality, it’s vital you’re creating content that’s trustworthy and relevant.


But as the research points out, “searches with commercial intent on average display a higher number of ads at the top of the page than other searches, click-through-rates are lower for organic search results as compared to those with fewer top-of-the-page ads.”


So again, it’s now much harder for organic results to gain any love on SERPs for commercial search terms.

The key is knowing which commercial terms have organic search results above the fold, so organic and paid search teams can work together in targeting these terms to boost ROI for both paid and organic efforts.


You should also research which pages are currently ranking for these terms and create further webpages that help bolster this presence, by mapping content to exactly what searchers are looking for.


And then for search topics where there are fewer ads displayed, organic search teams should take the lead in creating content that delivers on all points, from relevancy, to quality to user experience, in order to attract and retain customers.


Source:  https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/12/google-ad-4-pack-now-shown-for-23-of-all-online-search-topics/



Thursday, 12 May 2016 16:10

Helix conducts research as you write

Researchers often need to go beyond Google to find the kind of medical journal articles and flat data files necessary for their work. But many journal articles are locked away in databases like JSTOR or PubMed, which don’t have the reliable search capabilities of an engine like Google — so researchers have to waste time tracking them down.


Enter Helix, a word processor plug-in created at this year’s Disrupt NY Hackathon by Paul Burke and Neil Krishnan.


Helix uses machine learning to suggest citations and relevant research as you write. Helix scans a writer’s text as he or she types and automatically pulls in recommendations for relevant journal articles, news and Wikipedia pages. The recommendations display in a queue alongside the writer’s main text, so they can be reviewed at a glance without leaving the word processor. A writer can request suggestions on a specific phrase or sentence by highlighting it, or just let Helix make suggestions based on the entirety of the article.


“Many researchers use Google searches because journal sites have terrible search functions,” Burke says. He and Krishnan developed Helix to give researchers a faster option that won’t distract them or take them away from their writing.


Burke and Krishnan primarily focused on medical research for their work at the Disrupt NY Hackathon, pulling journal articles from PubMed, but the duo hope to expand by adding other databases of journals as well.


Burke and Krishnan built Helix using a free trial version of Lateral and IBM Watson. Unfortunately, when their free trial expires in two weeks, Helix might face some hiccups. But by then, Burke and Krishnan hope to approach Lateral about working together.


Helix came together at the very last moment, as Hackathon projects often do. “The cutoff was 9:30 and I wrote the last line of code at 9:25,” Burke says with a laugh. “Before that, it wasn’t showable.” By the time of the demo, Helix looked impressive.


Source: http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/08/helix-conducts-research-as-you-write/


Thursday, 07 April 2016 17:01

The 7 Deadly Sins Of Interviewing

The interviewing process is often a daunting endeavor for job seekers. There can be immense pressure to perform well, and that pressure often leads to making mistakes that cost you the job.

Make sure you don’t commit one of these seven deadly sins of interviewing, and you’ll find yourself in right standing with future employers.


1. Be Arrogant


The line between confidence and arrogance is a tricky one, but it’s important to get it right. Confidence lets interviewers know that you’re capable of handling responsibility and leadership well. Arrogance lets them know that you’re a jerk. And who wants to work with an arrogant jerk?

Interviewing tip: Discuss your strengths in the context of how they can help the company, not in the context of how awesome they make you.


2. Ask About Money


I have learned over the years that there is a time and a place for discussing benefits and salary. Learning the art of timing can make the difference in getting the job or not. If your first question in the interview is about salary or time off, you can go ahead and assume you didn’t get the job. First and even second interviews should be focused on the ideas and skills you bring to the table and culture fit between you and the organization.

Interviewing tip: As you answer questions, articulate what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.


3. Lust (for power)


If there is one change I have noticed in the entrepreneurial community over the last decade, it’s that businesses want team players and creative innovators. The organizational structure of entrepreneurial companies has flattened and continues to do so. Gone are the days of working your way up a corporate ladder. Especially with entrepreneurs, humility and a willingness to do “other duties as necessary” is seen as a golden (and necessary) quality. If you come into an interview asking about job titles, organizational hierarchy, and career development paths, you are digging yourself a grave.

Interviewing tip: Practice your interview ahead of time and have someone do a word count between the words “I” and “we.” Make sure the “we’s” outnumber the “I’s” before interviewing.


4. Have A Bad Temper


While never ideal, toxic situations happen. That’s understandable. But if you spend the interview slandering your last boss, your last team, and your last work environment, you’re giving the interviewer a red flag that you might be carrying a toxic attitude with you to the new role. Stay positive. Be solution-oriented and avoid a victim mentality. If you come into an interview with an axe to grind or unresolved issues with a previous work experience, the room will quickly be turned off to you and your story.

Interviewing tip: When asked about a difficult boss or work situation (which you likely will be asked), begin and end with what you learned about yourself in the situation. Make the conversation about your desire to improve and never about pointing a finger at others.

The old saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression” is still true. People cannot hire you based on looks, but the truth is, the way you present yourself visually matters. That means the formatting for your resume, dressing appropriately, and being put together. Do you care for yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually? One of our values at Vanderbloemen Search Group is Stewardship of Life, because we want to help our people care for themselves and their family. Are you a well-balanced person? It’s difficult for an entrepreneur to believe you will take care of her company if you’re not taking care of yourself.

Interview tip: Make sure your resume is simple and elegant. Dress ¼ step ahead of the office culture you sense from the place you are interviewing.


6. Show Envy


Few things are as big of a turn-off as a candidate with a victim mentality. Make sure you don’t come across as envious of the successes, ideas, or skills of others. In an interview, celebrate those who have helped you get to where you are. Praise bosses and coworkers. Give credit to others. Displaying gratitude in front of potential employers will show that you can add value to any team. Who doesn’t want to work with a person who is positive and grateful?

Interview tip: Be sure to tell stories about your team getting a win and lift up someone lower than you in the company as you tell the story.


7. Be Lazy


Laid back interviews are sometimes better than being overly aggressive. But, if you’re interviewing with an entrepreneur, be ready for a high energy interaction. As someone who has built a company from the ground up, I can say that I’d rather deal with all six of the previous mistakes rather than deal with someone who is lazy. Growing a business is a high octane endeavor, and if you don’t want to work hard, consider something else. Show yourself as a self-driven and self-motivated leader, and you’ll cultivate a sense of confidence and assurance in the room and draw entrepreneurs to you.


Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamvanderbloemen/2016/04/07/the-7-deadly-sins-of-interviewing/3/#438b2ecf3a5b

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