Google Tops the list of “Nielsen’s Tops of 2011: Digital”

According to the report from Nielsen released Dec 28th, 2011, Google was the most-visited US online brand with over 153 Million unique visitors per month, Facebook came in second and Yahoo came in third. YouTube led the way as the top US online destination for video.

Check out the rest of the results: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/nielsens-tops-of-2011-digital/

Top 10 U.S. Web Brands in 2011
Rank Web Brand Avg # of Unique Visitors (000)per month
1 Google 153,441
2 Facebook 137,644
3 Yahoo! 130,121
4 MSN/WindowsLive/Bing 115,890
5 YouTube 106,692
6 Microsoft 83,691
7 AOL Media Network 74,633
8 Wikipedia 62,097
9 Apple 61,608
10 Ask Search Network 60,552

Read more at blog.nielsen.com
Source: Nielsen
Data from January – October 2011, Home and Work Computers. Ranked on average monthly unique audience.
Read as: During 2011, 153.4 million U.S. people, on average, visited Google sites from home and work computers

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Key Social Media Trends to Look for in 2012

2012 will certainly bring it’s share of new technologies and innovations that will continue to drive the growth and usability of Social Media Platforms. Below is a sampling of some of the major trends that we can look forward to in the coming year as reported by Joseph Puopolo – Tech Crunch

Joseph Puopolo
Sunday, January 15th, 2012
62 Comments
Editor’s note: Guest contributor Joseph Puopolo is an entrepreneur and start-up enthusiast, who blogs on a variety of topics including green initiatives, technology and marketing.
In 2011, social media had its share of growing pains. Large brands and corporations took to social media in force to try to find footing in this expanding medium. Some brands found success, while others found peril and new PR nightmares. One person who has helped brands navigate the proverbial social media minefield is Amy Jo Martin. She is the founder of Digital Royalty, a social media firm that has set itself apart by helping A-listers find their social media voice.
Amy works with people like Dana White of the UFC, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson of acting/WWE fame and brands like Nike and Fox Sports (and now Joel Stein). Her specialty is working with organizations or individuals and making them look good online. Since the online world is in perpetual flux, I wanted to get Amy’s take on the social media landscape for 2012.
Here were a few key trends Amy said we should look out for in 2012:
1. Social TV Integration
Many shows have already begun to integrate social TV, either through polling or integrating social elements within the show. See my example of how both the UFC and WWE are integrating social media into their programming. Social media played a pivotal role in the last presidential election, and it will likely be more integrated into political broadcasts.
As each news channel fights hard to keep their viewers engaged, networks like CNN and Fox have made significant strides to engage their audience, although some would argue that this social media integration has come at the expense of hard-hitting journalism and analysis.
2. TV Is Going Online in a Big Way
2012 will be the first time that the Super Bowl will be streamed live to the world. Since the Super Bowl is generally viewed as the mother of all advertising spectacles, it will add a new dynamic into the digital component to advertising and social media integration.
3. Facebook Credits Take Center stage
Facebook in 2012 has the potential to project its power and truly take Facebook credits into a viable currency. Amy puts it quite well when she says “they’re building an online destination we’ll never need to leave, and my guess is they’re only about 8% of the way through their product roadmap.”
4. Big Business Has Woken Up
The way corporate entities approach social media is shifting. Many companies realize that setting up Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts is not going to cut it as their social media strategy. Brands will need to seriously shift their perspective by treating social channels more like communication channels and less like an advertising channels in order to make a difference. From my perspective this transition has already occurred, judging by the extent to which brands’ Twitter accounts are now used as channels for CRM and customer support, managing pissed off or happy customers in near realtime.
5. ROI Is Still Huge
ROI will remain a key metric to any social media strategy. The concept of engagement is now becoming more and more an excepted metric. CEO adoption of social media is improving, and more CEOs are recognizing the benefits of humanizing their brand by taking to Twitter.
Customer service, research and image branding could all be considered social media intangibles, yet all three are obviously important in business. Social channels impact every single aspect of business from human relations to finance, sales, operations and legal. It’s important for everyone to understand how social media affects their role and responsibilities. Opposite of television, social media is a dialogue vs. a monologue and if a brand is able to collect opinions real-time in high volume via social channels like Facebook polls, they can save a great deal of money on formal research studies.
There have been a lot of discussions about social media fatigue and whether brands refuse to play for that reason. With over a billion people on social media it’s irresponsible for any brand not to have some sort of presence. 2012 will be the year for brands to go beyond cookie cutter campaigns and really determine how it not only adds value to their company, but how it adds value for their customers. 2012 will be crucial for companies and social media. For those who don’t see a direct correlation between social media and sales consider:
“Social media is an ideal tool for moving people up the fan ladder, from being a casual fan of a brand to a loyalist, because the communication channels allow people to build stronger emotional connections with brands.”
So in 2012, the question is, how will your brand use effective strategy to move people up the fan ladder from interested to foaming at the mouth brand zealots?
Excerpt image from 4socialmediaconsulting
Tags: social media, Amy Jo Martin
Read more at techcrunch.com
 

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Find out all you need to know about Google’s new and improved algorithm!

This week Google announced some adjustments to the famous Google Algorithm, the new parameters are designed to reward “High Quality” content and weed out the low value content that’s being distributed throughout the web.

So what does Google consider to be “High Quality”?
Here’s a list of tactics you can use to optimize your content and to make sure you are compliant with the new algorithm:

Direct from the “GOOGLE Webmaster Central” of best practices for content optimization: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769

Design and content guidelines
    • Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
    • Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map has an extremely large number of links, you may want to break the site map into multiple pages.
    • Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.
    • Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
    • Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
    • Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the “ALT” attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.
    • Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.
    • Check for broken links and correct HTML.
    • If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.
Technical guidelines
    • Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site, because most search engine spiders see your site much as Lynx would. If fancy features such as JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site.
    • Allow search bots to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments that track their path through the site. These techniques are useful for tracking individual user behavior, but the access pattern of bots is entirely different. Using these techniques may result in incomplete indexing of your site, as bots may not be able to eliminate URLs that look different but actually point to the same page.
    • Make sure your web server supports the If-Modified-Since HTTP header. This feature allows your web server to tell Google whether your content has changed since we last crawled your site. Supporting this feature saves you bandwidth and overhead.
    • Make use of the robots.txt file on your web server. This file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled. Make sure it’s current for your site so that you don’t accidentally block the Googlebot crawler. Visit http://www.robotstxt.org/faq.html to learn how to instruct robots when they visit your site. You can test your robots.txt file to make sure you’re using it correctly with the robots.txt analysis tool available in Google Webmaster Tools.
    • Make reasonable efforts to ensure that advertisements do not affect search engine rankings. For example, Google’s AdSense ads and DoubleClick links are blocked from being crawled by a robots.txt file.
    • If your company buys a content management system, make sure that the system creates pages and links that search engines can crawl.
    • Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don’t add much value for users coming from search engines.
  • Monitor your site’s performance and optimize load times. Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience. Fast sites increase user satisfaction and improve the overall quality of the web (especially for those users with slow Internet connections), and we hope that as webmasters improve their sites, the overall speed of the web will improve.Google strongly recommends that all webmasters regularly monitor site performance using Page Speed, YSlow, WebPagetest, or other tools. For more information, tools, and resources, see Let’s Make The Web Faster. In addition, the Site Performance tool in Webmaster Tools shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world.
Quality guidelines

These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here (e.g. tricking users by registering misspellings of well-known websites). It’s not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn’t included on this page, Google approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.

If you believe that another site is abusing Google’s quality guidelines, please report that site at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport. Google prefers developing scalable and automated solutions to problems, so we attempt to minimize hand-to-hand spam fighting. The spam reports we receive are used to create scalable algorithms that recognize and block future spam attempts.

Quality guidelines – basic principles

    • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as “cloaking.”
    • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
    • Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
  • Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.

Awesome Tweetchat with Carlos Dominguez – Senior Vice President and a technology evangelist at Cisco Systems

Check out the highlights in the story below… although I have to say all the topics were so interesting… Social Media, Technology, Innovation, Video… even the white house got into the discussion 🙂 Enjoy!

http://sfy.co/4oy