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Picks of the Week: Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 2011

Happy Friday! This week's curated post takes a look at the ongoing battle between Google and Bing, the effect of social media on SEO, LinkedIn's newest feature, and tips on how to both create content and use it to drive business results.

Search Industry News

Google: Bing is Cheating, Copying Our Search Results

This article by Danny Sullivan explains Google’s accusation that Bing is stealing its search results, details an investigatory sting operation, and clearly presents Google’s case against its main competitor.

In addition to the information being interesting and relevant to online marketers, this comprehensive expose is also worth reading as a truly excellent piece of journalism, which is often absent from the blogosphere.

The “Bing Sting” results were enough evidence for Google to take the story public. Matt Cutts came out of Google’s corner swinging: He published blog posts, had Twitter exchanges with Bing, and shared a panel with Dr. Harry Shum, corporate VP of core search development at Microsoft, to openly debate the accusation.

Bing has remained resolute that it does not copy search results. Instead, it uses search and page data shared by opt-in users of Internet Explorer 8 to refine and hone its search results.

Marketing Implications:

  • From a search perspective, none, really. Neither company is going to be changing its algorithms.
  • From a privacy-protection perspective, this proves that online activities are not private. Expect people who fight for privacy online to be all over this one.

Search Marketing & Social Media

The Straight Dope on Facebook, Twitter, and SEO

In this article, Sonia Simone discusses the effect of social media on search engine optimization.

As of now, social-media sharing is a component Google’s search algorithm, although its weight is minimal. Sonia states that "...links from Twitter or Facebook are still a weak signal. That means that more weight will be given to the usual suspects — how many traditional links you have, the authority of the pages that link to you, what kind of anchor text they use, and your on-page keywords and related copy." 

So, while there are approximately 200 "signals" Google takes into account, it (and likely other search engines) is continuing to gauge the effectiveness of social sharing as a reliable way to determine search engine results.

To avoid spammers and bots from negatively impacting search-result quality, Google is looking at ways to best identify the subject-matter experts, authors, and regular content creators to determine link authority.

Key takeaway for marketers: Social media is becoming an increasingly important component of the marketing mix. And, as with traditional SEO, authenticity, and the quality of the content and connections, is more important than quantity.

Social Media

LinkedIn Launches Skills, Brings Real Knowledge Search to LinkedIn

In this article, HubSpot’s Kipp Bodnar provides an overview of LinkedIn’s newest feature, LinkedIn Skills, which enables you to search by skill across LinkedIn. The tool is useful to locate professionals, companies, jobs and groups relating to a specific expertise, and could be helpful in job recruiting and identifying industry influentials.

It also makes optimizing your LinkedIn profile even more important. To add skills to your profile, visit www.linkedin.com/skills, search for a skill you have, and then click “add skill.” For more information, read Kipp’s full article.

Content Marketing

How to Get Results After Creating Compelling Content

Creating quality content is an essential component of successful inbound marketing campaigns. However, after writing great content, how do you use it to drive business results that impact the bottom line? In this post, Scott Frangos shares five steps that marketing pros can take after developing compelling content to create what he calls “Connection Cycle Marketing.”

  1. Optimize according to what your prospects think, instead of just optimizing your website.
  2. Connect authentically — online and in-person.
  3. Gauge lead quality using various testing methods, as well as tracking quality of leads based on their potential to drive sales.
  4. Nurture leads in your CRM using two-way communication between marketers and sales to create messages that speak to prospects.
  5. Close sales by collaborating with the sales team on how well content marketing is assisting in the sales process.

By fostering a collaborative, positive relationship between sales and marketing, your company can create content that attracts, nurtures and closes sales.

View the full post for more details on each step in Connection Cycle Marketing.

Copywriting

Seven Tricks to Writing Killer Articles

Writing an engaging content piece can be just as challenging for an experienced writer as it is for a first-time blogger. What steps can you take in order to create content that will both grip readers' attention and save you some frustration? In this post, Henri Junttila suggests seven tips to consider when composing your next article, including:

  • Draft an outline and stay focused.
  • Freewrite to help create a flow.
  • Rewrite and rework what you’ve got, then come back.
  • Observe your surroundings; they often provide inspiration.
  • Be on the lookout when reading books for ideas to borrow.
  • Break free of comfort zones and patterns; be fearless to find new ideas.
  • Don’t forget to showcase your personality, and be yourself.

For all the details on Henri’s tricks, read the complete post.

What were your favorite articles of the week? Comments are open for your opinions.

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