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Online Maps Popularity To Expand Local Search?

Sometimes I’m even surprised by the level of interest and attention being given to maps of late. But the data keep reminding me of how mapping applications are so widely used and, dare I say it, beloved by consumers. Our Q3 joint online survey with BizRate/Shopzilla showed that mapping sites lead nine other categories of Web sites (including search engines) in terms of a composite index of awareness, usage frequency and loyalty.

More recently, iCrossing’s “How America Searches” study revealed that among activities conducted via search engines, looking for maps or driving directions was the second most popular and performed by 75% of survey respondents. And last year, the folks at Pew Internet & American Life found that mapping/driving directions was the one online application that was consistently rated better than its offline equivalent.

According to recent data from Hitwise, Yahoo! Maps was the most popular mapping site followed by MapQuest (with Google gaining). comScore data reflect that MapQuest is the category leader.

Tommy McGloin, SVP of MapQuest, told me today that the site will be reintroducing aerial imagery later in the year. The company had it until March 2003 but decided consumers weren’t that interested and the costs were higher at the time. In explaining the reintroduction he said, “I don’t want anyone to not use MapQuest because of these niche features.”

In press interviews about mapping I’m often asked, “How will MapQuest respond . . .?” Part of the answer is above. But McGloin told me that MapQuest would continue to do what he believes it does better than anyone else: provide fast and accurate driving directions. McGloin also spoke about MapQuest’s ability to leverage its brand and traffic in creating an extremely successful online directory product.

McGloin stressed that innovation was critical to MapQuest’s brand identity and that wireless was and would continue to be a major area of development for the site. “We have the number one BREW application out there.”

He acknowledged my remark that the newly introduced mapping APIs and related development may take maps in directions (no pun intended) that create new usage patterns. However, he believes that driving directions and finding specific locations/businesses (“name in mind” searches) will continue to dominate user behavior for some time.

Maps and online map usage reflect the growing importance and momentum of the Local Internet and the increasing online/offline connection. Maps are a metaphor for local. So, I suppose, their popularity should come as no surprise.

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How To Rank Well In Local Search: 3 Leading Experts Weigh In

At Pubcon 2014 in Las Vegas the SEJ team was able to catch up with three experts on the subject of local search.

Below you will find videos of Brent Csutoras interviewing Brian Lafrance Authority Labs John Rampton interviewing Kris Jones of chúng tôi and Kelsey Jones interviewing Mary Bowling of Ignitor Digital.

Each of these experts provide actionable tips that businesses can use to rank well in local search results.

Tools For Improving Local Search: An Interview with Brian LaFrance

Organic Local SEO & Understanding Google Pigeon: An Interview with Mary Bowling of Ignitor Digital

How Small Businesses Can Increase Their Google Rankings: An Interview With Kris Jones

Here are some highlights from each of these videos:

A search in one area can differ a lot from a search in another area, which is something people aren’t paying attention to as much as they should.

In a given search you could get 5-6 local results on the front page, and that’s not even including the Google local pack.

If you want to rank in a specific location where you’re not currently ranking very well, the best thing to do is create content specific to that location. Look to see if that location has its own online communities, like forums or subreddits, and engage in those communities. Become an authority within that location.

The more the name of your company gets mentioned alongside the location you’re trying to rank for, the better your chances of improving search visibility for that location.

Something holding small businesses back from achieving success in the local SEO space are the facts that they’re not used to outsourcing, and most agencies simply charge small businesses way too much.

For those small businesses that aren’t comfortable with outsourcing, there are a ton of great resources out there for them to self educate.

To small business owner, SEO can seem like an incomprehensible psuedo-science, but once you peel back what really goes into how Google ranks businesses you find it’s not so much theoretical but quite practical.

If the small business owner can take it upon themselves to identify those ranking factors and the steps that need to be taken, they can take better control of their online marketing.

With so much importance being placed on Google+ Local, businesses should be treating their Google+ business page with as much importance as their website.

Something small business owners should be aware of is Google’s new local search algorithm, nicknamed “Pigeon”, which aims to serve search results based on proximity of the searcher.

To please the Pigeon ranking signal, small businesses should be looking more towards organic SEO than paid search. They should be trying to get more local links pointing to their site.

Directories are also more important than ever when it comes to local SEO. Find the directories that are ranking for the terms you want your business to rank for, and then make sure your business is listed in those directories.

Please visit SEJ’s YouTube page for more video interviews.

3 Powerful Ways To Expand Your Keyword List

It only makes sense to start an SEO project by finding the exact keywords related to the products or services you offer.

After all, unless you discover what phrases your specific audience uses in search, you might end up optimizing the site for the wrong keywords.

But here’s the catch: most of those phrases are already highly competitive, with thousands of domains trying to rank for them in the search results.

If you run a small or newer website, breaking through the competition might prove too challenging.

In this post, I’ll show you three lesser-used ways to reach beyond your top industry’s keywords to expand your organic reach and increase the search traffic.

#1. Identify Semantically Related Keywords

Although the idea of semantic search has been around for quite a while, not many businesses focus on finding semantically related keywords.

And yet, semantic keywords offer a compelling opportunity for reaching a wider audience and expanding the search visibility.

To fully understand how to use them, though, we need to discuss semantic search first.

So, What is Semantic Search?

“In short, the purpose of semantic search is to go beyond the ‘static’ dictionary meaning of a word or phrase to understand the intent of a searcher’s query within a specific context.”

Take the word “apple”, for example. Someone typing it into a search box might be looking for one of the three things:

Fruit

The electronics company, the makers of iPhone, iPad, and bunch of other stuff

A record label once owned by the Beatles

(Not a surprising search result, given my fondness for certain laptops and portable devices ☺)

Using the searcher’s past search history, location, the context of the query, and other data, search engines today can be more precise in their results.

Of course, there’s much more to semantic search than this. And if you’re interested in finding out more, I recommend you read these guides:

But What about Semantic Keywords, Then?

Since semantic search looks for the meaning behind a search phrase, it needs terms and phrases closely related to your main keyword that help communicate that meaning.

And that’s the role of semantic keywords, to provide that meaning and help the search engine understand what your content is about.

Using our example above, we already know that the word “apple” might refer to at least three separate things: a fruit, a technology company, or a record label.

So, how does a search engine knows which one your page relates?

You guessed it, by analyzing semantic keywords.

For example, it knows that if you wrote about fruit, your content could include phrases like delicious, grown, trees, cultivars, and much more.

For a technology company, you’d probably include words and phrases like iPhone, iPad, Cupertino, Steve Jobs, innovation, etc.

And that’s where your opportunity to expand the keywords list comes in.

By finding and enriching your content with semantic keywords, you can make it more relevant to specific searches, increase the number of phrases your page could rank for, and position it for a more relevant traffic.

How to Find Semantic Keywords

The process is quite simple. Nick Stoyanov lists four main ways to do it:

Use Google’s instant search

“Searches related to” results

Bold words in SERP results

Keyword research tools

I recommend you read his full guide to finding LSI keywords to discover in detail how each of these methods work.

#2. Target Your Competitors’ Branded Keywords

Each day, customers look for your competitors’ brands and products online. They type their brand or product name into the search box, eager to learn more about them or even buy their products.

That is exactly the traffic you’d want to attract to your site!

After all, these people are already seeking the products or services you sell. Granted, they are looking for your competition, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t buy from you, provided they learn about you, right?

And that’s the premise behind the second strategy I want to talk about – using your competitors’ branded keywords.

Unlike the semantic keywords method, this one’s a little bit trickier.

Still, they offer a chance to expand your visibility and reach a new, but relevant, audience with almost no effort.

This strategy could also lead to some unpleasant situations, problems with law and legislation, and will immediately put you on the competitors’ radar.

After all, as Evan Cummins says in this article on Wordstream:

“One serious downside to bidding on a competitor’s brand name is that you are basically starting a war. You are openly inviting your competition to bid on your brand name and start poaching some of your potential sales.”

So tread carefully, pick competitors whose brands you want to target wisely, and never cross the line.

#3. Use Trending Words and Hot Topics

Finally, you could also target widely discussed topics in your industry to find relevant keywords with less competition to drive more traffic.

Every so often your target audience gets excited about a new hot topic, idea, or a trend.

And they may spend crazy amounts of time searching for information about those topics.

By knowing what’s hot in your industry right now, you can quickly create content targeting those keywords and position your site for new, relevant phrases.

And the best part is, finding those trending topics isn’t difficult.

Many dedicated tools allow you to monitor industries for trends and topics. For example, Ruzzit helps you scout the web for keywords to find the most popular content.

Reddit, and particularly subreddits relevant to your industry, can deliver great insight into what’s hot for your audience.

Wikipedia Trends and Google Trends allow analyzing the change in particular topic’s popularity.

And monitoring Google News can help you spot any recent developments before other websites catch on them.

By using these techniques and combining them with your traditional keyword research, you’ll earn more traffic to your website and introduce your company to a brand new audience.

What other less- common strategies do you use to increase your online visibility and gain new visitors?

Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Pixabay

Screenshot from SEMrush.  Taken in October 2024.

Intel Plunks Down Billions To Expand In Mobile Market

Intel has bought its way into the tablet market, but success seems years away in smartphones, despite billions of dollars spent.

Intel bets the partnerships will accelerate its business in China, where smartphone shipments are booming. But the company wants to regain complete control over manufacturing, and on Thursday said it was investing $1.6 billion over 15 years in a China plant for mobile chip development and manufacturing.

The expenditure on a yearly basis isn’t as huge as investments in its Israel and U.S. factories, but the goal is the same: to set up the chip maker for success in mobile devices. Most smartphones and tablets use ARM processors, and Intel wants to break that dominance.

Intel this year partnered with Chinese chip makers Rockchip and Spreadtrum—which have a big presence in the country—to design chips for low-cost mobile devices. A fallout with Rockchip led to Intel partnering with TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) to produce an initial batch of low-cost mobile chips, which will go into smartphones and tablets starting at under $100.

Real men (and women) have fabs

During a speech earlier this week, Intel president Renee James said the company will bring the manufacture of those chips in-house by 2024. The first chips from Intel’s upgraded Chengdu facilities will start rolling out in the second half of 2024.

The Chengdu plant first opened up in 2005, but will now be tuned to testing and manufacturing smaller chips for mobile and Internet-of-things devices. It’s one step in Intel’s long-term goal to reduce its reliance on TSMC.

Intel’s factories are dedicated to making its own chips, but it hasn’t shied away from making custom chips for a handful of customers like Panasonic and Altera in its newer factories in the U.S. The chips are large due to the size of custom logic circuitry, but Chengdu provides an opportunity to make smaller custom chips for mobile devices.

“We can also use that foundry capability as we grow that business over time,” Mulloy said.

As cheap as chips

Intel will be able to control costs and keep its factories busy by moving manufacturing in-house, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

“It makes sense because Intel likes to make manufacturing facilities in technically sophisticated markets, which China is,” McCarron said.

Mobile chips alone may not fill up a facility of Chengdu’s size, so Intel may make chips for mobile devices for third parties, McCarron said.

Intel is also upgrading equipment in its factory to remain in the good books of the Chinese government, which is has been difficult on Western technology companies, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

Companies like Microsoft and Qualcomm are being investigated by the Chinese government for monopolistic behavior.

“Intel’s trying to stay out of trouble,” McGregor said.

“There’s a lot of leaky walls there. It’s hard to keep intellectual property and patent secrets out there,” McGregor said.

If Spreadtrum or Rockchip want the latest technologies, they’d have to rely on Intel factories in the U.S., which can be more expensive. That could raise the price of chips, and ultimately of mobile devices.

How To Play Darksiders Genesis Local Split

If you are currently trying to figure out how to play Darksiders Genesis using the local split-screen co-op option but can’t find a single option within any of the game menus. This article will show you how to enable/activate local split screen coop in Darksiders Genesis. It will also show you how to resume split screen co-op in Darksiders Genesis if you started a coop game and can’t find where it went.

Related: How to stream to multiple platforms at the same time. Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, etc.

Darksiders Genesis is one of the best local split-screen co-op games currently available on PC and console and although it is a few years old it holds its own as a fun game to play while chilling with friends. The only problem with it is that finding and using split-screen coop is anything but easy or convenient. In fact, it’s pretty much the most absurd way I have come across to date to start a local co-op game.

Judging by the fact that you’re here, you’re probably thinking the exact same thing, so I feel your pain. But before we start the guide I want to mention another important thing to take into account when playing split-screen co-op in Darksiders Genesis. And that is that progression doesn’t save as it does in traditional games. If you start a co-op game in Darksiders Genesis and end it, it won’t save your progress as a two-player game, you will have to follow the same process shown below to start a co-op game again. As you’ll see it’s quite inconvenient…

Quick steps for starting a Darksiders Genesis split-screen co-op game.

Open Darksiders.

Start a new game or load a saved game.

Walk around until you find a Summoning stone.

When you find a summoning stone interact with it.

Now the second player needs to press a button on their controller to join the game.

Note: You’ll need to do this every time you play. Even in games saved in co-op mode.

How do you start/play a local split-screen co-op game of Darksiders Genesis?

To start a local split-screen co-op game in Darksiders Genesis, you’ll need to do the following. I know it’s going to seem weird at first but I promise you this works! First, connect a controller or second controller to your device. Then start a new game or resume a saved game as you normally would. When you are in the game, find and locate a summoning stone. They are pink/purple and allow you to call in another player. Check out the image below for the exact thing you’re looking for.

If you are just starting out, you’ll need to walk a little way into the map before you’ll be able to find one. Once you find one, interact with it and the second player will be able to press a button on their controller to join the game. From here on out is business as usual and you can coop till your heart’s content.

So what happens when you finish a game session that you were playing as coop? Well, you have to follow the exact same process you used the first time… For whatever reason the game’s save file doesn’t register that you were playing with two people so it automatically reverts back to one player mode. Thankfully, all you have to do is find another summoning point in order to invite a second player again. Annoyingly though, this might not be in the closest location, so you’ll have to go for a little hunt to find one.

I’ve been playing games for a long time and this is by far the most stupid coop starting system I have come across. That said, the co-op gameplay of Darksiders Genesis is pretty good and should keep you busy for a long while. But! You’ll probably get into a few arguments along the way! Some bits can be a little tricky!

Link Popularity – A Thing Of The Past?

Link Popularity – A Thing of the Past?

I’ve found myself involved in a lot of discussions about the dropping importance of link popularity lately. Numerous people have said to me that they think incoming links no longer hold as much weight as they once did, and that the only links worth obtaining are relevant links. I have to vehemently disagree.

First of all, before Sergey Brin or Larry Page even learned the word ‘algorithm’, there were web sites that practiced the fine art of reciprocal linking. Pre-Google link exchanges served only one purpose and that was to develop direct traffic from those links. This still works! Somewhere in our PR worries and link popularity ambitions, we forgot one important fact : you never know when the next link you obtain for your site will be a direct traffic producer. For example chúng tôi provides daily traffic to chúng tôi through a small, text link on their links page. This does not come up on Google as an incoming link to Abalone Designs, but it is one our most valuable incoming links, nonetheless.

Now, as far as your ranking is concerned on Google, links still hold weight. Search for just about any term or phrase and check the #1 ranked site’s incoming links versus the others. 9 times out of 10, The first ranked site will have a few more links than the others. The times when I see lower ranked sites having more incoming links than the #1 site, generally speaking, the #1 site has better content, and more of it or this site’s incoming links have anchor text that contain the exact search term or phrase you searched for and the others don’t. It’s still the same old formula. Offer a content-rich, user-friendly site with incoming links that have relevant anchor text and your site’ll do alright.

Let’s not forget about the other search engines, though. Still a few steps behind Google, MSN places a lot of weight on incoming links. So does HotBot, Yahoo! and now, apparently, chúng tôi This is just a handful of places that take a critical look at your link popularity. And I hate to say it kids, but I think there’s a chance that MSN might slightly outdo Google this year. As of late, I’ve noticed different rankings on Google for clients based on where you’re searching from – geographically-specific search results against our will. I haven’t spoken to one individual who likes this idea. This could be the giant mistake MSN has been waiting for Google to make, and you don’t want your perfectly Google-optimized site to miss the MSN bus when it’s usage tops Google’s.

This brings me to my last point which, quite frankly, is a no-brainer. The Internet is nothing but a massive network of links, hence ‘net’. To turn your back on this is one of the hugest mistakes you can make on the web. The more links you have around the web, the more often your site will be seen. It’s just like the real world, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Think of incoming links as cyber-publicity – there’s no such thing as a bad incoming link.

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