Archive for November, 2011

With the recent Google Algorithm change termed as ‘Panda (release 2.5)’, there is again a huge buzz on who is going to win the search ranking battles and this time it is serious as compared to the previous changes.

The new algorithm rewards ‘fresher’ content over ‘older’ content, which is quite contrary to previous Google search ranking methods, where it preferred an older site to a newer one. This clearly shows that Google is now putting a lot of emphasis on ‘real time search’ and ‘real time update’.

Some recent finding and impact show:

  1. Google rolled out a “freshness update” that impacted 35% of queries.  And according to Searchmetrics, the SEO visibility of jumped 27%.
  2. This algorithm change impacted 35% of searches, which means changes that are significant enough that an average user would notice. Using that same scale, this change noticeably impacts 6 – 10% of searches, depending on the language and domain you’re searching on.

Google says, the following content will the most impact due to this algorithm change:

  • Recent events or hot topics. For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately. Now when you search for current events like [occupy oakland protest], or for the latest news about the [nba lockout], you’ll see more high-quality pages that might only be minutes old.
  • Regularly recurring events. Some events take place on a regularly recurring basis, such as annual conferences like [ICALP] or an event like the [presidential election]. Without specifying with your keywords, it’s implied that you expect to see the most recent event, and not one from 50 years ago. There are also things that recur more frequently, so now when you’re searching for the latest [NFL scores], [dancing with the stars] results or [exxon earnings], you’ll see the latest information.
  • Frequent updates. There are also searches for information that changes often, but isn’t really a hot topic or a recurring event. For example, if you’re researching the [best slr cameras], or you’re in the market for a new car and want [subaru impreza reviews], you probably want the most up to date information.

Implications for Marketers:

  1. If you thought SEO and Content Strategy was not important – your site is going to loose ranking and visibility on the search engine quite rapidly.
  2. Finding fresh content to show up on core sites is going to be a challenge – which will drive more social lead content strategy.
  3. Search & Social are going to be pivotal in future search marketing approaches.

there can never be the correct choice in this given scenario; think of them as ingredients to a good marketing campaign – not independent channels of communication. coming from a day long client meeting – it was no surprise that everyone was confused and looked at other brand as examples of what to do…yet the conclusion was – let’s revisit this seperatly.

deviating from analytics and site level information – these choices are important to make in your overall marketing play.

i think for them to really delivery value – we have to move away from tactical approach and get strategic with these digital channels. Remember POEM? – Paid Owned and Earned Marketing – framework. Implement that (beyond your PPTs).

Your facebook/google+ pages are your earned platforms (some term them as owned) – but i feel they are earned cause you have to get people to like you or add you to your circle and come back to talk to you about your product or your brands – in good or bad sense. use it wisely as your ‘crowdsource’ or as a window to direct customer woes to your care department. Measure it differently; don’t drive too much traffic to these pages – let them grow organically – you will know how much your brand can earn its customers. If you think your brand is not socially active – do a social audit before you decide to use the platform or not.

Microsite : should be banned; they are parasites which grow on web infrastructure. but if used wisely – can work awesumly as your .com sidekick. don’t build new microsites just for kicx or contests. we can debate over here on privacy, data ownership and brand guidelines. but don’t build microsites for just 5 more pages.

Rich Media Ads Units : they are great innovation of the internet advertisement world. don’t have time to build a microsite or don’t have enough content that might fit in your global website framework. use these ad units to feature your product, build some engagement so that users are involved in the brand experience. make is social and then drive them to your own ‘web home’.

Think of users as travellers – who go across many touchpoints online to know about your brand/product…but eventually come home to your website  to buy or get in touch with you. The other touchpoints are just tour guides which help them build faith in your offering and share the excitement with others. don’t use them once – but use them forever…people don’t like to see ‘404’ or ‘page not found’

with every possible corner of the digital world talking about mobile and increasing usage of such devices. brands and marketers need to start to think of how do they make their content available and attractive just as it is on the desktop devices.

whether it is making native apps for iphone or andriod devices or device agnostic HTML5 pages, it is calling upon all those who have built and sustain their digital presence to take a closer look. while most of the mobile still support earlier HTML standards, to over come limitations of non-flash devices; it is important to build sites which render the same way as they do online.

Is it the right time to start thinking of a migration plan – yes – if you operate on dated technology, and web contributes significantly to your business, no – if web never was your priority.

publishing houses need to take a special note on how best to make their content (their bread n butter) available on these devices – which not only benefits the reading audience but the advertisers as well.


Coming from an interesting afternoon at the Google Offices, which shared the vision and future of DoubleClick (previously known for being a tracking tool – now evolving to be part of the Google Stack – adwords, adsense, doubleclick, ga, etc); soon became a debate point for Demand Side Platform or DSP with the panelists.

Demand Side Platforms have been talked about in the last 5 years and now we are seeing some traction on someone somewhere putting the system to test. Here is what I think are the challenges in Asia and maybe some parts of it are global :

(I’ve put a score to see if it will impact the switch or not in the next 6 – 12 months).

1. Publisher Compliance : large websites are still going to ponder on whether to take up DoubleClick as a DSP Platform or build their own or use multiple parties to leverage on the network that it will expose to. I don’t think publishers will like to keep exclusivity. On the technology front – they still have lot to implement and ensure the platform works – everytime!. (Score :-1)

2. Technology Platform : there are going to be a surge of these and will add to the complexity of which DSP to tap into. So to manage DSP we’ll invest in building DMP. Never ending victious circle of technology. (Score: -1).

3. Inventory Sales Approach : every large publisher has a lot of way in which they sell inventory. Just like everything else – it is never sold to a 100%. Some publisher sell tenancy, some sell by day, and then there are a whole bunch of other ways in which they leverage relations to get benefitting agreements. (Score: -1).

4. Agency : while agencies uptill now have been the middlemen between the Client and the Publisher; this change will put them in the shoes of the publisher sales guy. This will require a significant shift in which agencies work with these publishers. So, eventually plans bought on DSP vs plans bought as per usual will decide which is the way to go for. (Score: -1).

5. Buying Approach : while DSP boast of audience buys and audience marketing. I don’t think the cost metric should be on a CPM or a CPA (A for acquisition). But a new buying currency needs to evolve which will be neutral across the networks – giving power to tap into global networks. I don’t have much visibility here – but i hope this evolves. Else no one is going to make the money!. (Score : -1)

6. Not all inventory will be on DSP : now this is the tricky one – which raises a lot of eye-brows. Then what inventory is going to be parked under the DSP’s….well only time will tell that. (Score : -1)

7. Client Side Understanding : yes, I want to ride the way, make my media buys more efficient, reduce my spends wastage. Sorry, this approach needs to make a significant shift on DSP. The only people who will fully try out this platform is going to be the ecommerce, and then subsequently the auto manufacturer, telcos, technology, finance. etc. (Score : 1).

Looking back up the post looks like a rant on DSP, but this is the future of media buying and planning. Though, its still in its nacent stages (and the score tallies up to – hold your horses) – data will become the new black and dictate business decisions than business guess’s.

Keep a close eye on this one…