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Picks of the Week: July 31 - Aug. 6

Video was top-of-mind this week at PR 20/20, as we launched our Driven by Content series. For that reason, we have a couple of video-focused articles to share: one regarding the importance of video in search engine optimization, and one taking a look at CEOs and founders who have used video exceptionally well to build their brands.

In addition, we take a look at a few things going on at a little company called Google: A recent update to Google Places allows business owners to respond to reviews, and we found an article with great tips for how to best handle responses. Lastly, Google announced this week that it would cease further development on its web communication tool Google Wave, so we pulled together a few articles that offer insight as to why Google’s biggest innovation of 2009 fell short.

Content & Search Marketing

Video Is Now A Must-Have Feature For Competitive SEO
Shmulik Weller of Search Engine Land reminds us of the importance of online video for both improved SEO and higher conversion rates, especially on retail sites.

"This is the year in which we will see video grow from a ‘frill’ some businesses occasionally include on their websites, to an essential, competitive differentiator that drives SEO and increases brand identification."

Shmulik also provides some basic advice on three key factors that drive the ability to achieve a higher SEO ranking using video: video markup, video sitemaps and syndication.

Key takeaway: Start integrating video into your content marketing strategy, and take the necessary steps to properly optimize your video for search.

Content & Brand Marketing

How 12 CEOs & Founders are Leveraging Web Video
While we're on the topic of online videos, Mashable took a look this week at, "How CEOs and founders are leveraging video to educate and engage consumers."

As you might expect, the adoption rate remains low, but the post shares 12 examples of leaders, including: Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim O'Reilly, Loic Le Muer and Kevin Rose, who have figured out unique approaches to grow their businesses with online video.

While many executives resist becoming active on social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, videos present organizations the opportunity to involve leaders in their online strategy with limited commitment of time and resources. As a result, CEOs can build stronger personal brands and create more powerful connections with customers and prospects. 

Search Marketing & Social Media

15 Tips for Responding to Google Place Page Reviews
On Aug. 4, Google announced a long-awaited feature that enables verified Google Places business owners to respond to reviews written by Google Maps users. 

Scott Clark of BuzzMazen wrote an excellent post offering tips and reminders on proper etiquette and strategy when posting responses in Google Place Pages, or any online review site. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Never write responses to negative reviews when you’re mad.
  • Don’t get personal, even if they did.
  • Nobody’s perfect, people know that.

Check out the full list.

Innovation

RIP Google Wave
Just over one year ago, Google launched a new web communication tool, Google Wave. The platform was all the rage among tech geeks and early adopters for some time, and then it just kind of… disappeared. Earlier this week, Google announced“We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product.”

As Adam Ostrow reported for Mashable,“What’s most interesting about Wave, perhaps, is the spectacular rate of its rise and fall. It was easily one of the most hyped products of 2009, but within months of its launch, the buzz had almost completely disappeared.”

So, what happened to Google Wave? Let’s take a look at its history:

On May 28, 2009, Ben Parr at Mashable wrote, "Google has just announced Google Wave, a new in-browser communication and collaboration tool that is already being hailed by some as the next evolution of email. Yes, Google Wave is potentially that disruptive."

The buzz surrounding Google Wave's launch was intense, and yet, only 14 months later, Google Wave has crashed. As Michael Arrington wrote in his story, Wave Goodbye to Google Wave, "Maybe it was just ahead of its time. Or maybe there were just too many features to ever allow it to be defined properly, but Google is saying today that they are going to stop any further development of Google Wave."

So what lesson can we learn from Google's failure? Innovation is good, but your innovations need to solve a pain point, deliver real value and/or improve people's lives. I think Tony Bradley at PC World put it best, "At the end, everyone was excited and anxious to be a part of the Google Wave revolution, but nobody could explain what exactly it did or how it would be of any benefit to anyone."

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