Megan Marrs's blog
CAPTCHAs are a necessary evil in a modern world. CAPTCHAs, also known as those-annoying-boxes-with-the-weird-words, are used to prevent evil robot spam attacks.Well the other days I came across a new, never-before-seen (at least by me) CAPTCHA that could have some pretty huge advertising implications.
Introducing, the CAPTCH-AD!CAPTCH-AD: The CAPTCHA AdvertisementWhat’s crazy about the CAPTCH-AD is that you are required to watch (and pay attentionto) the advertisement in order to fulfill the CAPTCHA box. There’s no getting around it – you will read that ad. It’s like when you see advertisements plastered over your tray table on budget airlines; you roll your eyes, groan, cover it with a book or a laptop, but there’s just no avoiding it and the ad demands acknowledgement.It s... > Read more
Chances are you’ve seen this new addition to Google’s black bar and wondered, what is this new Google Play?Ready, Set, Google Plays BallIn a nutshell, Google Play is the rebranded Android Market.Those who have Androids will see Google Play replacing the old market icon. Google Play is the one-stop-shop to buy apps, ebooks, movies, and music.
Sound a bit like iTunes? Yup, that’s the idea. Google Play even introduces itself in an Apple-style manner, with big, crisp images and minimal text. iTunes does a great job of being the central location for iPhone users to purchase anything and everything for their mobile devices, so naturally Google is picking up the hint and following in due fashion. Purchases can be made on the Google Play site online, or through the Google Play mobile ap... > Read more
Keyword stuffing, or the practice of shoving as many seo keywords onto a page as physical possible, has long been the bane of SEO white hats everywhere.There was a time when the method of stuffing worked as well on a webpage as it does in a turkey. Back in the early years of search engines, one could easily manipulate a page’s ranking on Google’s SERP with keyword stuffing.
Sites could rank on a large variety of keywords by simply cluttering them onto a page, even if the keywords were unrelated and the site was absent of any real content.You could be (somewhat) classy about it by hiding the offending keywords, matching their text color to the background color, or you could just be blatantly obnoxious.Naturally this led to a terrible user experience, because most people aren’t looking ... > Read more
Pinterest continues to be the social media hot topic, astounding us with its colossal breakthrough in popularity. Now I’m a pretty big fan of Pinterest, but a recent NPR article discussing the ever-growing social bulletin board site got me thinking about the lack of “social” interaction within the social media sphere.
As NPR interviewer Teresa Tomassoni notes, “… online interaction with people you don't know is an emerging trend in social media.” While this is absolutely true, something about that statement seems counter-intuitive. Susan Etlinger, an Altimtere Group analyst, observes that while people look to connect with others who share a similar style or interest, "It doesn't mean that we're best friends or connected on Facebook, but it means these are people that I lear... > Read more
Online businesses know that user engagement is incredibly powerful. Better than chocolates or flowers, getting users to “like” your posts or engage you in conversation through Google+ is a dream come true! But often, it can be difficult to obtain that valuable user interaction.With Valentine’s Day upon us, I thought today we could evaluate Boston Globe’s online Love Letters column, a small niche of a large news site that has managed to obtain some exceptional user engagement.
I heard about Love Letters through my mother, who habitually sends me her favorite posts. Although my mother works as a computer programmer, she is the farthest thing from a techie, virtually inept at anything outside of COBOL. A once-a-month Facebooker, she’ll often call me to ask how to “send a mess... > Read more
Yesterday I was walking through Boston when I came across quite an unusual scene – a huge golden heap of Butterfingers smack in the middle of Copley Square. What kind of sorcery is this? I thought as I stared in awe at the giant mound of crunchy candy. Several people stood around the pile, gingerly picking up a candy bar here and there.
But after about 30 seconds, kids swooped down in hordes, cramming piles of bars into their backpacks in sheer ecstasy. I snapped these photos to document the event:Upon closer examination, this was no glorious miracle, but actually a clever advertising ploy by Pawngo, an online pawnshop business and apparent Giants fan. Their candy bar jab gives new meaning to “bittersweet.” I wasn’t beyond cramming some into my pockets before leaving though.I... > Read more
All right, this post isn’t so much a defense of piracy; it’s about why pirates aren’t the real problem.I know we’ve talked a lot recently about piracy and maybe you’re sick of it all, but the way I see it, all this discussion about SOPA and PIPA really boils down to many industries’ unwillingness to adapt.
Piracy is the result of the entertainment industry’s inability to change. Rather than think innovatively and try new solutions to better mesh with an increasingly online-oriented world, they dig their heels in the mud and try to pass laws that won’t force them to change their marketing strategy.What Sets Online Marketers Apart Great online marketers understand why it’s important to adapt to change. The world of online marketing is continuously shifting on the churning ti... > Read more
In light of Wednesday's tremendously successful SOPA blackout, I thought we'd take some time to recap and document the day the web went dark. The stop SOPA and stop PITA blackouts were really powerful because with online champions like Google, Wikipedia, and Reddit teaming up, the blackouts most certainly raised awareness and affected people who had no clue about these ridiculous bills until yesterday.
Petitions were signed, calls were made to state representatives, and the word got out.If you're looking to understand why SOPA and PIPA are bad bills and how they will hurt your business, check out our previous blog post explaining them and their disastrous affects.So what did the SOPA and PIPA blackout protests achieve?18 Senators changed their position on PIPA after witnessing the massive ... > Read more
SOPA and PIPA: You’ve certainly heard about these two, but maybe you’re still not quite sure exactly what they mean or why they’ll be bad for your business—and make no mistake, they will certainly have a negative effect for small and medium sized businesses.What Are SOPA and PIPA? SOPA is the acronym for the House of Representatives' Stop Online Piracy Act.
Partnered with SOPA is the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA). If these bills pass, together they will unleash chaos and destruction that will obliterate the internet as we know it.Am I exaggerating? I don’t even know if I am. Because these bills really are serious bad news.Why SOPA and PIPA are BadSOPA and PIPA were created in hopes of cracking down on pirates and rogue websites posting copyright infringing content. The bill’... > Read more
Part 2: Optimizing YouTube VideosYesterday we posted Part 1 of this guide, which discussed:How YouTube Can Help Your BusinessStep 1: Creating Video ContentStep 2: Recording Video ContentToday we cover Part 2of the 5-Step Guide For Creating & Optimizing Video Content that Ranks on Google, in which we continue with:Step 3: SEO For Your VideosStep 4: VSEO On Your SiteStep 5: Getting Your Video NoticedWhile Part One of the guide deals primarily with video content creation ideas and recording your video content, Part Two covers how to upload and optimize your videos on YouTube so that they rank as high as possible on search engines.
Step 3: VSEO: SEO for VideosGoogle normally "scans" the text of a page to figure out what a piece of content is about. But Googlebots can’t actually watch vide... > Read more
Part 1: Creating and Recording Video Content for Your BusinessThis guide on creating and optimizing high-ranking YouTube video content for your business, which can appear on Google, the YouTube site, and the YouTube for mobile app, is divided into two parts. Today, we will be posting part one, which covers:How YouTube Can Help Your BusinessStep 1: Creating Video ContentStep 2: Recording Video ContentIn Part 2, we'll cover uploading videos to YouTube and how to optimize your video content with VSEO.
How YouTube Can Help Your Business: Why Video Content Is Great for SEOHaving a hard time getting your business to show up on Google's first page? You might be surprised at just how much a YouTube video could help.In an aim to give searchers the best set of results possible, Google has continued t... > Read more
If you’re a small business that hasn’t given much thought to how you can benefit from local search, you’re missing out. Optimizing for local search is a fanatic way to reach consumers and get traffic to your site. Phone books are good for little more than testing your strength these days as people turn to search engines in order to be introduced to local businesses that can meet their needs.
Optimizing for local search requires the same rigorous SEO work required for any page, but there are some additional things you can do to boost your appearance for local searches.Here are SEO 11 tips to make sure you are getting the most out of local:Claim your spot on Google Places – Set up a Google Places account if you haven’t already, and be sure to spend some time filling out all your inf... > Read more
There are so many wonderful things about the digital age in which we live, and we’re lucky to have an ever-growing abundance of information at our fingertips.The job of sharing news and valuable information no longer resides solely with professional journalists; more and more self-promoted bloggers are taking to the web-a-verse to share their opinions and insights.
Power to the people! While this shift of power away from traditional media outlets opens a lot of doors for bloggers, it has also resulted in a glut of online content. That’s a problem if you are trying to get your content noticed. But there are things you can do to make sure your content gets the attention it deserves.Here are nine tips to get your content to stand out from the crowd:Keep Your Ideal Audience in Mind – Alwa... > Read more
If you’re continuing to have some growing pains with Google +’s Pages which were newly released last month, you may get some peace of mind to know that Google is listening to your grumbling—yesterday Google announced their release of new Google + Pages features based on feedback from users.Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:So what is Google doing to make your life on Google+ a bit less hectic?Multiple Administrators for Google+ Pages (Up to 50)Finally, more than one person can be in charge of making changes to your business’s Google+ page.
You can now add up to 50 managers who have the ability to login and manage your +Page by publishing posts, responding to comments, adding photos, etc.With Google being so forthright about the growing influence of social influence on s... > Read more
Have you been planning all year on finding a new PPC software solution for your business—but keep putting it off? While procrastination rarely brings anything other than stressful all-nighters and last-minute gift expeditions to the 24-hour CVS, you might be in luck this time—December is a great time to spend that last bit of unused budget on a new PPC software solution!After reading Jason Miller's great article at Marketo, I thought that we'd also take a minute to remind folks about why this is a great time of the year to purchase new software for your PPC campaigns.
So break out the hot cocoa, hang those stockings by the fire, and get yourself a shiny new software solution to put under the tree this year.We’ve got 6 fabulous justifications for investing in PPC software before... > Read more
Monday, Google+ finally opened its doors to businesses with Google+ Pages.That’s right, businesses now have the option of creating a brand page on Google+. You aren’t limited to one page either—if you have several popular products, you might want to consider making different pages for your business, products, and even events.
Google+ also lets you choose from a few different types of pages that break down into many sub-categories. For example, putting yourself in the “local business” category gives you the option of listing an address and phone number. What You Can Do With Your Google+ PageThere’s a lot you can do on your Google+ page. There’s the obvious, such as uploading and sharing photos, videos, links, and viewing all your +1s. But there’s plenty more you ca... > Read more
Now that Halloween is past us, it’s time to look forward to the holidays. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and retailers know that there’s more to this holiday than turkeys, football, and disagreeable in-laws.Black Friday and Cyber Monday are holy days for major businesses and online retailers, but small businesses often get left in the dust.
Well, small businesses, don’t despair—you have a day of your very own! Smack between Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Small Business Saturday on November 26.This week is starting to get crowded.Small Business Saturday began in 2010, and despite being a holiday created and promoted by American Express, there is some real social media momentum with this, and you’ll be smart to grab on to some of the trajectory.Why Supporting Lo... > Read more
Yesterday Google announced a new ad placement, with ads now being displayed at the bottom of SERPs. This additional ad spot comes along with a number of other updates Google has been making as it cleans up Gmail and Google Reader (with mixed feedback), adds Dynamic Search Ads, and starts hiding some organic search query data, to name a few changes.
Google is pushing the PPC big time. Google notes that in testing, this new bottom placement performed better with CTR than side ads. Google attributes this to the fact that users tend to scan a page from top to bottom, with the news ads fitting better into the user’s “flow.” You can compare the performance of ads in top positions vs. other positions with the “Top vs. Side” segment, which will be appropriately re-named “Top vs. Other... > Read more
With the recent release of our brand new infographic documenting Facebook's failures, I thought I'd write about how you can make sure that you yourself don't have any Facebook face-plants. Here are 10 tips for creating awesome Facebook content that will keep visitors interested and engaged. Post Content that Interests Your Customers The key to developing a winning fan page that builds fans and pushes your business forward is to post content that genuinely interests your customers or clients.
Don't focus solely on you or your business. By providing valuable information to the reader you will build a stronger relationship with current and prospective customers.Red Bull knows that their energy drink customers are likely to be interested in extreme activities, so they post videos th... > Read more
Apple’s iOS5 Is On Its Way!People are getting geared up for Apple’s iOS5, expected to launch later today! In anticipation of iOS5, Apple released iTunes 10.5 and its new iCloud service earlier this week in case you couldn’t possibly wait another second to download some Apple updates.Facebook Gets Friend.
lyFacebook recently acquired the social Q&A company Friend.ly, not to be confused with Friendly’s, my New England childhood eatery that is sadly going out of business.Cone head sundaes and waffle fries aside, Friend.ly describes their app as a way to meet new people and foster friendships by answering questions. The app offers you a list of questions which you can choose to answer, or simply compliment other people’s answers by letting them know that you find their answer oh-s... > Read more
I’d like to take a moment to mourn the loss of Steve Jobs, who passed away Wednesday evening. The immediate and overwhelming response to this news stands as testimony to the momentous impact Steve Jobs has had on so many people.Steve has been heralded as a true visionary who worked to make technology accessible for the not-so-techy masses.
But Steve was more than a creator of beautiful and revolutionary products. He also has inspired many to think creatively and break from the norm. Not just a great inventor, he was a great man.In response to this sad news, Apple honors Steve’s memory with a full-page tribute on the Apple.com homepage:When Steve Jobs stepped down from his position as the CEO for Apple in August, he wrote in his resignation letter:"I believe Apple’s brightest and most... > Read more
Google Testing New Circular-Style AdsGoogle is testing new ad units called “Circulars” in hopes of mimicking the full-page inserts found in Sunday newspapers. These new ads will reportedly act as custom landing pages with attractive ad copy and large pictures. The circulars will appear when users click on search or display ads.
Google is introducing these new ads in response to retailers’ desire to drive online visitors into physical stores.The new ad format is scheduled to be unveiled later this week.Napster Acquired By RhapsodyRhapsody will soon be acquiring the once infamous online music subscription service Napster.Napster experienced tremendous popularity during its bad-boy days of P2P music sharing. Although Napster has never regained its former glory since shutting down after ... > Read more
To many it may come as little surprise to hear this Tuesday, Carol Bartz emailed her staff to notify them that she had just been unceremoniously fired from Yahoo via phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board.Photo Attribute : Yodel Anecdotal/Yahoo! IncBartz’s three-year term as CEO has shown little progress, and clearly many folks are fed up.
After Yahoo’s disastrous reign under Jerry Yang, many hoped Bartz would be able to turn things around and return Yahoo to its former glory, but things continue to look bleak for the fallen giant.Yahoo once ruled the internet with an ironic exclamation mark. Those glory days seem so long ago now.What Brought Yahoo Down?How did a brand of such extreme success, arguably at one time the number one name on the web, take such a terrible nose dive?Differe... > Read more
In honor of Elisa’s trip crossing the great Midwest this week, I’ve decided to do an Elisa-style roundup today, offering you a smorgasbord board of delectable links from this week. The Big News – In Case You Missed it Google’s announcement of their plans to buy Motorolla Mobility had everyone talking this week.
Search Engine Land wrote a great piece covering the ins and outs of such an acquisition, while Read Write Web collected various opinions on the matter. Links to Learn The end of August marks the end of summer for most students, and school is already back in session with Google as they introduced a new online resource, Learn With Google. This nifty new creation offers a wide variety of learning tools for small businesses looking to learn more about ... > Read more
We’d like to invite you all to our next free webinar:What: Cutting Costs With Negative KeywordsWhen: Wednesday, August 17, 11 a.m. EDTWhere: The comfort of your desk!Why: Did you know adding negative keywords can save you at least 10-30% on your AdWords spend? Negative keywords are like the chatting block lists of the keyword world – except instead of obnoxious friends or stalker-ish obsessors, you can block out keywords that are depleting your budget without driving any conversions.
Because they prevent wasteful spending on low-value clicks, negative keywords are essential to running a streamlined, cost-effective PPC campaign. Unfortunately, the technique is underused – finding relevant keywords to add to your campaigns is hard enough, but negative keyword discovery is even mor... > Read more
Twitter started as just a little bird with a big idea. Since its arrival, the social networking site has become a venue for everything from (overly) personal status updates, the world’s latest news, to virtual celebrity stalking.Some might dramatically claim that Twitter has ruined humanity forever, or at least as altered our brains.
Maybe Twitter does share blame for messing with our gray matter. But people really love that feathery blue fellow, and as Twitter continues to grow and transform, so does the manner in which we advertise, learn, and communicate.Twitter Releases Photo Sharing to All UsersIn an ever-growing quest to encourage our insatiable need for instant gratification, Twitter released the photo sharing feature to all Twitter users yesterday. Up till now, this feature has b... > Read more
Last week the White House launched a new “Office Hours” Twitter program, in which U.S. citizens are invited to tweet their questions and concerns over the nation’s deficit reduction and debt ceiling negotiations. Using Twitter to encourage healthy dialogue between individuals and large corporate entities is nothing new, but establishing predetermined times for concentrated discussion is a trend still growing in the Twitterverse.
The White House office hours grew out of last month’s Twitter “townhall”; people were encouraged to #AskObama questions concerning the economy, healthcare, and the like. The president answered in true Twitter fashion, making him the first president to live-tweet to the nation. The Doctor Is In: The Marketing Advantages o... > Read more
With the Casey Anthony trial and its shocking verdict a couple days behind us, it’s interesting to take a look at how social media interacts with real world news. The Social Media Trial Time called it the “social media trial of the century,” and truly social media venues have been overrun with opinions on the trial’s verdict, mostly disapproving.
With enough tragedy, mystery, and deceit to match a prime-time TV drama, it’s understandable why this trial captured the nation’s attention. Many compare the Casey Anthony trial to the OJ trial that had Americans glued to their television sets in 1995. But there wasn’t much social media in 1995, and this time around social media made it easier than ever for people to get the latest updates on the trial pro... > Read more
Facebook and Skype, Together at Last Yesterday Facebook unveiled its “awesome” new video chat, powered by Skype. Skype-managed video chat has been in the rumor mill for quite some time, and now we finally get to see it in person! Redesigned Chat Grouped with the new video chat comes a redesigned Facebook chat system featuring a sidebar for the friends you chat with most.
Group Chat Facebook chat also now allows for group chats, allowing users to easily communicate with multiple friends at once. Facebook Video Chat vs. Google Hangouts Facebook’s new video chat feature arrives on the tailwinds of Google+ with its own Hangouts feature. How do they compare? Well, Hangouts allows video chatting with up to 10 people, while Facebook keeps it to one on one. Zuc... > Read more