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Blekko – A New Search Engine That Could Affect Digital Marketing

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In recent months, many digital marketing professionals have pointed out that a vast majority of search results displayed on Google consist of spam content created by content farms. Google is generally considered to be the number one choice of digital marketing companies when it comes to marketing activities, because of the large number of users who use the search engine. However, the presence of large amounts of spam content on Google could result in users turning to alternative search options like Blekko, which may affect digital marketing strategies negatively.

What is Blekko?

Blekko is a small start-up company that focuses on spam-less search. When all companies are doing pretty much the same thing, Blekko has decided to do something different, by offering a unique Internet product to users. In March 2011, Blekko was noticed by the digital marketing community, when it announced that it had blocked more than a million websites on its search engine, for being content farms.

While Google has made changes to its algorithm to keep websites with spam content out of its search results, it has not proved to be as effective as Blekko. This is because the content-blocking decisions made by Blekko are based on human inputs, rather than a computer algorithm. The digital marketing community has considered this to be useful for Internet users, because currently, humans are the best way of determining what type of content is relevant.

Most digital marketing professionals believe that ranking content according to relevance is something that just cannot be done mechanically. Currently, computer programs are not very good at determining relevance, and finding out the intention behind particular pages of content. Even at times when human intelligence sometimes fails, it may only be possible to fool some people sometimes, rather than all of them every time.

Some of the features used by Blekko to get rid of spam are slashtags, a built-in spam reporting mechanism, and an open approach to how its ranking system works. The best thing about Blekko is that it is able to use the above features to outsource search rankings to a community, which effectively distributes relevancy measures across all users.

While Blekko works well today, it will only be able to provide highly relevant search results as more users begin using the system. Of course, like all search engines, there is a possibility of Blekko being fooled, if a big group of people is hired to ‘like’ spam websites. However, the real editors on Blekko are sure to find out about this activity, and put a stop to it.

Maybe, sometime in the future, scientists will be able to invent some kind of artificial intelligence that can understand content just like the human brain. Until then, digital marketing companies can continue to look for ways to outsmart the search engines.

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Google’s War On Content Farms To Benefit Digital Marketing Companies

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In February 2011, Google announced that they had updated their search algorithm to purge ‘low quality’ content from showing up on their search result pages. Most digital marketing specialists believe that this ‘low quality’ content includes content farms.

Content farms are basically companies that hire large numbers of mostly freelance writers, who generate massive amounts of textual content, stuffed with SEO keywords. This content is designed to fox search engine algorithms into giving them high ranks, for certain high-value digital marketing keywords. Usually written by authors who have little or no knowledge about the fields on which they report, this content typically contains many inconsistencies, grammar and punctuation errors.

The main goal of content farms is to generate revenue from digital marketing advertisements displayed on their web pages. The basic idea is to get high rankings on Google, and attract a large numbers of viewers, who would click on the advertisements displayed on a page, generating huge amounts of revenue.

According to a statement by Google, this change of algorithm is expected to affect approximately 12 percent of its search results. This could be a huge amount considering the immense number of websites crawled by the search engine spider. In the past few years, the number of poor quality digital marketing websites has grown substantially, which is why it was important to make changes to the algorithm. Before finalizing the changes, Google has spent a lot of time fine-tuning the algorithm, for which they also considered feedback received through an extension added to their Chrome browser.

Google’s campaign against websites offering spam content is not a new thing. Since 2006-07, Google has made regular changes to its algorithm to penalize websites that did not contain content that they promised. The main complaint against such websites was that they copy-pasted content from authentic sources, and passed off the content as their own. Usually, this content was based on trending topics, so that the website could collect a huge amount of visitors, and generate revenues through digital marketing ads.

This action of Google comes after criticism from the digital marketing media that the results currently being shown by its search engine, are not as good as before. Also, many people have been praising their competitor Bing’s search results.

Though some digital marketing websites that display original content have been hit by this change, more than 90 percent of sites that have been removed by Google are spam websites. It is easy to understand why Google made this move. When you consider the situation from the viewpoint of a searcher, there is nothing worse than clicking on a link and finding identical content which you have already read, or a list of links pointing to other websites

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Bing Deals – A New Digital Marketing Avenue

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In March 2011, Microsoft announced that their search engine ‘Bing’ would soon be offering a ‘Deals’ service on the same lines as Google Offers, Facebook Deals and Yahoo Local Offers.

. Google Offers is a digital marketing service that makes it easy for businesses to attract customers, by posting special offers, across different Google channels. If a company wishes to create a discount, they just need to sign-in to Google Places, click on the ‘Offers’ tab, and fill in details about their digital marketing offer.

. Facebook Deals allows local companies to post information about special offers, which people can view and use through their desktops and mobile phones.

. Yahoo Local Offers is a service that pulls together discounts from various deal aggregating partners, such as Groupon, LivingSocial and Coupons.com.

With Google Bing, users in the United States will have access to more than 200,000 special offers, at 14,000 locations across the nation. These offers are mostly placed by companies as part of their digital marketing strategies. Just like Yahoo Local Offer, Bing’s digital marketing service will also act like a deal aggregator, providing discounts from partners like Groupon and LivingSocial, in its search results.

Instead of creating its own deal program like Google or Groupon, Microsoft has partnered with a service provider called The Dealmap, for Bing Deals. The Dealmap is a leading US based digital marketing website that helps users find and share local deals from all over the country. Andy Chu, the director of product management at Bing Mobile has said that the main mission of Bing is to help consumers “cut through the clutter” on the Internet, and make decisions in a quicker manner.

Bing Deals can be accessed by people living in the United States on their personal computers, as well as through their smartphones, using the iPhone and Android browsers. However, people using Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system will not be able to access Bing Deals, because it does not work on HTML5 software. After the US market, Microsoft is expected to launch Bing Deals in various other countries, before it is launched in the United Kingdom.

Bing Deals allows users to search for discounts and special offers, either by location or by category. If a person accesses Bing Deals through a mobile phone, they will also be able to search for deals according to geolocation. People who like a particular deal, can either save it, or share it with a contact through email.

The increasing number of social commerce websites means additional avenues for conducting digital marketing activities. It is vital for digital marketing professionals to ensure visibility of the brands they are promoting on Bing Deals, to garner higher revenues for their clients.

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Online Video – The Future Of Digital Marketing

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Some of the leading digital marketing experts have predicted that online video and television are set to become more central to the way users use the Internet. The popularity of various video sharing websites like YouTube, together with the growth of online TV promoted by leading television channels and publications, has led to the development of a new digital marketing avenue through which advertisers can generate sales.

According to Cisco, a leading information technology and networking giant, online video is expected to strongly dominate the web in the future. In June 2010, they had published a white paper called the Cisco Visual Networking Index. This whitepaper predicted that in about four years, different kinds of online video would generate more than 91 percent of worldwide Internet traffic. This video includes content from video sharing websites, as well as video-on-demand and television streaming. In fact, Cisco expects Internet video, by itself, to account for around 57 percent of global consumer traffic.

This white paper presents a strong challenge for digital marketing experts. If they do not become proficient in creating video-related digital marketing campaigns, they will miss out on a whole range of lucrative opportunities. With a whopping amount of traffic for online videos expected to pour in over the next few years, no digital marketing company can afford to ignore such a huge number of visitors, which could potentially convert into massive sales. Hence, it is important that digital marketing professionals develop skills in creating good video advertisements that will captivate viewers, and encourage them to take the desired action.

Another thing which digital marketing professionals need to consider is the device used by a user while viewing an online video. Today, the devices used by users to view online videos have also undergone a change. Instead of desktop computers and laptops, consumers are now using smartphones, tablets, and platforms like Google TV and Apple TV. Google TV is a software platform that can be accessed on Logitech set-top boxes and Sony televisions. It allows people to watch television, rent movies, as well as surf the web and watch online videos at the same time. Apple TV is a competitor of Google TV.

According to a survey by Harris Interactive, a leading US-based digital marketing research agency, customers are displaying a significant amount of enthusiasm for Google TV and Apple TV. While around 51 percent of people polled were excited about Apple TV, around 45 percent of people were excited about Google TV. This is attributed to the fact that these platforms allow users to browse the Internet through their television screens, which generally offer a larger and clearer picture than desktops.

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