Google for the first time is providing a window into real-time web traffic with Google Analytics Real-Time.

Real-Time reports are available in the new version of Google Analytics, and administrators with Analytics accounts will get Real-Time reports. Google turned the new feature on Thursday for “a number of you,” John Jersin, product manager at Google Analytics wrote on the Google Analytics blog.

For users trying to gauge how a campaign or post is performing, Real-Time will track the immediate impact to site traffic. If a user posts something and then tweets about it, for instance, Real-Time will track when traffic from the tweet stops driving visits.

Google isn’t the first company to offer such data. Woopra, Chartbeat and a number of other tools also provide data in real time. But unlike some of those, Google’s will be free.

Speaking of which, Google also rolled out Google Analytics Premium, the first paid Google Analytics product. Perks for the service include extra processing power, advanced analysis and 24/7 support for $150,000 a year.


More About: chartbeat, google analytics, real-time analytics, woopra

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FTC investigating Facebook

Last weekend, Australian technology blogger and hacker Nik Cubrilovic posted that Facebook cookies were tracking users in an unconventional manner. Even after a user had signed out of Facebook, the social networking giant was continuing to track that user’s web activities. Facebook openly admitted it was collecting data from a network of approximately one million sites with the Facebook plugin even after users had signed out of their accounts.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey and Texas Republican Joe Barton, co-Chairs of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, sent a letter requesting that the FTC investigate Facebook’s usage of tracking cookies.  The following is an excerpt from the letter:

“As co-Chairs of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, we believe tracking user behavior without their consent or knowledge raises serious privacy concerns. When users log out of Facebook, they are under the expectation that Facebook is no longer monitoring their activities. We believe this impression should be the reality. Facebook users should not be tracked without their permission.”

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Arturo Bejar, Facebook’s Director of Engineering, stated that a full investigation and correction of the problem “will take a while.” In the letter to the FTC, Markey and Barton referenced this quote and indicated they are concerned that Facebook was not allocating sufficient resources or placing a high enough priority on the resolution of this matter.

However, on Tuesday evening, prior to the congressmen submitting the letter to the FTC, Cubrilovic blogged that Facebook had addressed the issue and the tracking cookies were no longer collecting data after a user signed out.

[Sources Include: Official FTC Request, ZDNet, & Nik Cubrilovic]

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WebmasterWorld’s weekly roundup of hot topics and discussions you may have missed in the last few days. (-Subscription required)

Groupon Rewards Program

When deciding whether or not to offer a Groupon, many merchants struggle with wondering if they will gain repeat business or simply offer deeply discounted products or services to one time customers. In order to combat this fear, the daily deal giant launched Groupon Rewards as a way to allow merchants to track deal redemption and ROI and incentivize customers to do repeat business at their favorite merchants.

Groupon’s Wednesday blog post described the new program:

“Consumers earn rewards at participating merchants simply by paying with the credit or debit card they have on file at Groupon.com. After spending an amount set by the merchant, the consumer unlocks the ability to purchase a special Groupon for that business.”

Currently, merchants face the challenge of many customers spending very little over the face value of the Groupon. Because receiving the special Groupon is directly tied to spend, not number of visits, customers are likely to purchase more when returning to the local merchant. When customers reach a certain spend threshold with the local merchant, the Groupon rewards program kicks in and offers the customer a bonus discount of up to 80 percent off, which is higher than the typical 50 percent discount.

Recently cutting its reported 2010 revenue from $713.4 million to $312.9 million following prompting from SEC to revise its accounting method, Groupon is looking for ways to increase interest in its IPO, which is currently on hold. Groupon is hoping that its new offerings will quell investors’ fears and demonstrate that the daily deal site is capable of attracting repeat customers and high quality merchants.

Beginning October 14, Philadelphia will be the test city for Groupon Rewards. Wondering when this program will be offered in your metro area? Join Groupon Rewards to be notified you’re your city becomes available.

[Sources Include: cnet News and Groupon Blog ]

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emarketer twitter revenue projections

According to a recent eMarketer report, Twitter’s 2011 advertising revenues will fall short of the earlier $150 million projection. However, when compared to Twitter’s $45 million of revenue in 2010, the revised 2011 projected revenues of $139.5 million represent a growth rate of 210%.

The primary reason Twitter will not meet the $150 million projection is a delay in rolling out a “self-serve” ad platform. Debra Aho Williamson, an eMarketer analyst, said the following of the “self-serve” platform’s role in Twitter’s revenue growth:

“Twitter is looking to compete for the same advertisers that made Google and Facebook’s self-serve advertising platforms smash hits. Self-serve advertising accounts for about 60% of Facebook’s ad revenue—that’s a pinnacle Twitter will hope to reach as well.”

While the revised 2011 revenue projection shows decreased revenues, the report provided positive news as well. It predicted that Twitter would reach annual revenues of over $400 million by the year 2013. In addition, the report stated that Twitter had been able to produce better advertisement engagement than some of its competition.

Twitter will look to draw new advertisers to the program with new features and continue leveraging its user base that includes celebrities, politicians, and journalists. Recently, Twitter announced that they would display promoted tweets at the top of timelines whether or not the Twitter user “follows” the advertiser. In addition, one week ago, Twitter launched its new political advertisement program, which is likely to produce substantial revenues during the 2012 election cycle.

While increasing revenues is a major focus, Twitter has stated on multiple occasions that the user experience is paramount. As Twitter looks for ways to increase revenue and meet projections, they will simultaneously attempt to preserve the simple nature of the micro-blogging service and keep users engaged.

Twitter recently raised $400 million of Series G funding on an $8 billion dollar valuation and is expected to continue steady user and revenue growth moving forward.

[Sources Include: eMarketer & Bloomberg]

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Yandex, the most popular search engine in Russia, is expressing its affinity with a $15 million investment in Blekko and a commitment to share some of its computing power and other technology with its new U.S. partner. Blekko is getting an additional $15 million from another group consisting mostly of its earlier investors, U.S. Venture Partners, CMEA Capital and PivotNorth Capital.




Tim Yeaton is the President and CEO of Black Duck Software. He has more 30 years experience working in the software community. Contact him at tyeaton@blackducksoftware.com.

Most people do not think of software developers as being high on the “social” scale. In fact, the (misinformed) stereotype for a typical developer is that of the introverted geek. But in many ways, particularly with open source developers, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Contributing to open source software is a profoundly social activity. Some of open source’s main tenets are collaboration, transparency and meritocracy, which require developers to collaborate and share at a highly productive level. And with over 500,000 open source projects on the Internet, there’s a lot of collaboration going on. It’s clear that by participating in open source communities, developers are engaging in productive social behavior.

While some people may picture open source developers as working quietly and in isolation, the reality is they may work on large projects with a wide community of collaborators. For example, Linux has nearly 10,000 contributors. Others may focus on small, personal projects, which may or may not draw the attention of the larger development community.

But even developers working on small projects are still working with other people. And virtually all new open source projects derive from those projects and the developers that preceded them, creating a vast body of work that accelerates innovation and fuels further collaboration.

Today’s open source developers are contributing to projects in very different ways than just a few years ago. What has changed?


Search + Social Media = Social Development


Two developments — search and social media — have changed the way coders work to create “social development,” a new style of software collaboration. Let’s look first at social media’s influence on it.

Social media’s impact has forced change (some good and some bad) in nearly every sector of the economy — including open source development. While communities such as Slashdot and Stack Overflow provided an early glimpse of social media’s impact on development in the FOSS community and encouraged developers to become more active within these and other communities, the effect took some time to achieve.

Today, it’s not unusual to see enterprise software developers more active in social media circles, even as enterprises themselves are evolving socially. According to a recent study by Forrester, developers are engaging socially; they’re joining communities to connect with experts, seeking answers to business problems and, like many people, networking for career advancement. The figure above shows the leading reasons developers join communities: to connect with thought leaders, gain expertise and engage in high quality discussions.

Web search has also enhanced the importance of social media among open source developers, affecting this new style of development. My company recently commissioned a study with Forrester to investigate the social habits of developers. As shown above, contributors to open source projects turn to online search first for information about development technologies, followed by social sites like networks, forums and other online communities.

Developers also share search results via open source or project forums, communities and more general social media tools like Twitter.

As a result, today’s “social developer,” even if not an employee of a large enterprise, is participating more than ever with enterprises – or more specifically, with developers in those enterprises who are increasingly involved with FOSS communities of various types.

Social development arms corporate developers with a new toolset for producing innovative and high quality software at enterprise scale faster than ever before. This style of development wasn’t possible just a few years ago before search, social media tools and online collaboration tools made it possible to create software using social development techniques. Nevertheless, the evolution has been crucial to the success of businesses and individual developers.

Another pivotal change is the fact that enterprise IT organizations are now discovering the need to “go social” and join communities as a strategy for leveraging and using more open source software, especially mission-critical components. This significant trend reflects the reality that open source use is becoming a competitive requirement. Even within the firewall of an enterprise, the trend toward collaborative development to share best practices, facilitate code reuse, and enhance developer productivity is escalating rapidly.

Other environmental and technical changes have supported the emergence of social development. Communications between project committers — which until recently were conducted through IRC channels and wikis — have expanded with the increased number of social communities. And today more than ever, FOSS developers are actively seeking enterprise adoption of their code.

Another change is the emergence of sites like Github and Ohloh, a free community resource, which was specifically designed to support and encourage social development and to allow developers to give each other kudos (literally). The figure above also lists the contributors for a project called Restlet, a Java REST framework for web developers. Shown on the page are the developer profiles, kudos and code commitments to the project.

While social development isn’t a challenge for Gen Y developers, it still presents management challenges for enterprises, especially larger ones. Moving at web speed and using social tools still requires some adjustment. For example, new college hires expect to be community participants, yet large enterprises may not be comfortable with this level of transparency. Although open source projects are based on the notion of transparency, collaboration and meritocracy, some corporate policies may prohibit or limit this philosophy, just like some corporate cultures may resist the trend toward openness in development.

Social interaction and social development offer tremendous new opportunities for developers and enterprises. The advent of social media tools has changed the nature of community participation as much as search. If you and your organization have not joined the growing number of “social developers,” now is the time to start.

Disclosure: Ohloh is owned by the author’s company.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Goldmund

More About: features, open source, Social Media, software, Web Development

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After talking to ShoeMoney at BlueGlass TPA, I’ve decided to give Facebook Comments for WordPress a run on SEJ for a couple of weeks to see how it works.

The Facebook Comments should eliminate a lot of comment spam issues (this is an 8 year old blog so we get A LOT) and I hear that the virality of the commenting can generate a lot of Facebook traffic. How will this work from an SEO standpoint? Let’s see and find out!

What do you think about Facebook Comments? Please leave a comment below 😉

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Posted by iPullRank

Before I even start saying anything about keyword research I want to take my hat off to Richard Baxter because the tools and methodologies he shared at MozCon make me feel silly for even thinking about bringing something to the Keyword Research table. Now with that said, I have a few ideas about using data sources outside of those that the Search Engines provide to get a sense of what needs people are looking to fulfill right now. Consider this the first in a series.
 
Correlation Between Social Media & Search Volume
The biggest problem with the Search Engine-provided keyword research tools is the lag time in data. The web is inherently a real-time channel and in order to capitalize upon that you need to be able to leverage any advantage you can in order to get ahead of the search demand. Although Google Trends will give you data when there are huge breakouts on keywords around current events there is a three-day delay with Google Insights and AdWords only gives you monthly numbers!
 
However there is often a very strong correlation between the number of people talking about a given subject or keyword in Social Media and the amount of search volume for that topic. Compare the trend of tweets posted containing the keyword “Michael Jackson” with search volume for the last 90 days.

Michael Jackson Trendistic Graph
"Michael Jackson" Tweets

 

Michael Jackson Google Insights Graph
"Michael Jackson" Search Volume

The graphs are pretty close to identical with a huge spike on August 29th which is Michael Jackson’s (and my) birthday. The problem is that given the limitations of tools like Google Trends and Google Insights you may not be able to find this out until September 1st for many keywords and beyond that you may not be able to find complementary long tail terms with search volume.
 
The insight here is that subjects people are tweeting about are ultimately keywords that people are searching for. The added benefit of using social listening for keyword research that you can also get a good sense of the searcher’s intent to better fulfill their needs.
 
Due to this correlation social Listening allows you to uncover what topics and keywords will have search demand and what topics are going have a spike in search demand –in real-time.
 
N-grams
Before we get to the methodology for doing this I have to explain one basic concept –N-grams. An N-gram is a subset of a sequence of length N. In the case of search engines the N is the number of words in a search query. For example (I’m so terrible with gradients):
 Michael King SearchLove NYC 5-gram
 
is a 5-gram. The majority of search queries fall between 2 and 5-grams anything beyond a 5-gram is most likely a long tail keyword that doesn’t have a large enough search volume to warrant content creation.

If this is still unclear check out the Google Books Ngram viewer ; it’s a pretty cool way to get a good idea of what Ngrams are. Also you should check out John Doherty’s Google Analytics Advanced Segments post where talks about how to segment N-grams using RegEx.

Real-Time Keyword Research Methodology

Now that we’ve got the small vocabulary update out of the way let’s talk about how you can do keyword research in real-time. The following methodology was developed by my friend Ron Sansone with some small revisions from me in order to port it into code.

1.  Pull all the tweets containing your keyword from Twitter Search within the last hour. This part is pretty straightforward; you want to pull down the most recent portion of the conversation right now in order to extract patterns. Use Topsy for this. If you’re not using Topsy, pulling the last 200 tweets via Twitter is also a good sized data set to use.

2.  Identify the top 10 most repeated N-grams ignoring stop words. Here you identify the keywords with the highest (ugh) density. In other words the keywords that are tweeted the most are the ones you are considering for optimization. Be sure to keep this between 2 and 5 N-grams beyond that you most likely not dealing with a large enough search volume to make your efforts worthwhile. Also be sure to exclude stop words so you don’t end up with n-grams like “jackson the” or “has Michael.” Here’s a list of English stop words and Textalyser has an adequate tool for breaking a block of text into N-grams.

3.  Check to see if there is already search volume in the Adwords Keyword tool or Google Insights. This process is not just about identifying breakout keywords that aren’t being shown yet in Google Insights but it’s also about identifying keywords with existing search volume that are about to get boost. Therefore you’ll want to check the Search Engine tools to see if any search volume exists in order to prioritize opportunities.

4.  Pull the Klout scores of all the users tweeting them. Yeah, yeah I know Klout is a completely arbitrary calculation but you want to know that the people tweeting the keywords have some sort of influence. If you find that a given N-gram has been used many times by a bunch of spammy Twitter profiles then that N-gram is absolutely not useful. Also if you create content around the given term, you’ll know exactly who to send it to.

 Methodology Expanded

I expanded on Ron’s methodology by introducing another data source. If you were at SMX East you might have heard me express the love that low budget hustlers (such as myself) have for SocialMention. Using SocialMention allows you pull data from up to 100+ social media properties and news sources. Unlike Topsy or Twitter there is an easy CSV/Excel File export and they give you the top 1-grams being used in posts related to that topic. Be sure to exclude images, audio and video from your search results as they are not useful.
 
Michael Jackson Social Mention
"Michael Jackson" Social Mention
 
One quick note: The CSV export will only give you a list of URLs, sources, page titles and main ideas. You will still have to extract the data manually or with some of the ImportXML magic that Tom Critchlow debuted earlier this year.
 
So What’s the Point?
So what does all of this get me? Well today it got me "michael jackson trial," "jackson trial," "south park" and "heard today." So if I was looking to do some content around Michael Jackson I’d find out what news came to light in court, illustrate the trial and the news in a blog post using South Park characters and fire it off to all the influencers that tweeted about it. Need I say more? You can now easily figure out what type of content would make viral link bait in real-time.
 
GoFish
So this sounds like a lot of work to get the jump on a few keywords, doesn’t it?
 
Well I can definitely relate and especially since I am a programmer it’s quite painful for me to do any repetitive task. Seriously am I really going to sit in Excel and remove stop words? No I’m not and neither should you. Whenever a methodology like this pops up the first thing I think is how to automate it. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to the legendary GoFish real-time keyword research tool.
 
GoFish Screenshot
 
I built this from Ron’s methodology and it uses the Topsy, Repustate and SEMRush APIs. When I get some extra time I will include the SocialMention API and hopefully Google will cut the lights back on for my Adwords API as well.
 
I seriously doubt it will handle the load that comes with being on the front page of SEOmoz as it is only built on 10 proxies and each of these APIs has substantial rate limitations (Topsy – 33k/day, Repustate 50k/month, SEMRush-I’m still not sure) but here it is nonetheless. If anyone wants to donate some AWS instances or a bigger proxy network to me I’ll gladly make this weapons grade. Shout out to John Murch for letting me borrow some of his secret stash of proxies and shout out to Pete Sena at Digital Surgeons for making me all-purpose GUI for my tools.
 
Anyway all you have to is put in your keyword, press the button, wait for a time and voila you get output that looks like this:
GoFish Screenshot 2
 
The output is the top 10 N-grams, the combined Klout scores of the all users that tweeted the given N-gram vs the highest combined Klout score possible, all of the users in the data set that tweeted them and the search volume if available.
 
So that’s GoFish. Think of it as a work in progress but let me know what features will help you get more out of it.
 
Until Next Time…
That’s all I’ve got for this week folks. I’ll be back soon with another real-time keyword research tactic and tool. if you haven’t checked out my keyword-level demographics post yet, please do! In the meantime look for me in the chatroom for Richard Baxter’s Actionable Keyword Research for Motivated Marketers Webinar.

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So you’ve got the new Facebook Timeline. What now? We suggest having some fun with “cover photo” creativity.

The new Facebook profile design gives you a lovely big space at the top of your page for an image of your choosing. Now your profile photo overlaps the cover photo at the bottom left. We think there’s a wealth of potential for anyone who wants to get creative with this space.

SEE ALSO: How to Enable the New Facebook Timeline NOW

Take a look through the gallery below. Here we offer you a quick tutorial on how to make the most of this new option, but what you do with it is up to you.

Share your creative Timeline cover photo designs in the comments below (we’ll need a link to a screengrab, rather than a link to your profile), and you may see your design featured in a forthcoming Mashable gallery.

1. The New Timeline Profile




We’re big fans of the new “cover photo” option. It gives users a chance to be really creative with their profile page and express themselves more than the old design ever did.

2. Select Your Cover Photo

To get started, simply click on the “Add a Cover” option shown at the top of the new Timeline design.

The optimum size for this image is around 840 pixels wide by 310 pixels high, although Facebook will automatically re-size existing images.

3. Select Your Profile Photo

Next, to change your profile picture, simply click on the “Edit Profile Picture” drop-down menu to bring up your options.

This is a square image and has to be a minimum of 180 pixels by 180 pixels.

4. It’s Not Just About Photos

What you create is, of course, up to you. Instead of a photograph you could use an illustration or get clever with text.

5. Show Off Your Interests or Get Creative

Your Facebook profile is all about you, so why not take advantage of the new design to show off your interests?

You could use the cover image to showcase your photography, or offer your friends a glimpse of your favorite nature scape.

A cover photo of your preferred sport, juxtaposed with a profile image of you in action would be effective too.

Alternatively, play around with the photo-over-a-photo possibilities — we’re looking forward to seeing some creativity!

6. TIP: Your Profile Photo Remains Your Avatar

Be aware that only your friends with the new Timeline enabled will be able to see the full-fat cover photo version of your profile.

In addition, anyone you’re not friends with who stumbles on your privacy-protected Facebook page will only see your profile photo thumbnail.

Remember that your profile photo is still the little avatar image that appears on top of every page. You might want to consider keeping this a recognizable image of you.

7. TIP: Be Aware of the Default View

It’s also worth bearing in mind that, as this grab shows, the default view when someone clicks through to your profile is a cropped version of the cover photo.

The cover photo isn’t shown in its entirety unless the person scrolls up. So, if you want to be really clever, you need your creation to look effective in this view as well.

8. TIP: See Who Can View Your Timeline Design

By heading over to Facebook’s Timeline page (and scrolling down) you will be able to see how many of your friends can view your new design.

9. Now Show Us Yours…

So, now you know how to create a cool Timeline cover photo.

We want to see yours! Link us to an appropriately-sized screengrab of your shiny new profile and you might end up starring in the next Mashable gallery.

More About: Facebook, features, gallery, how tos, photography

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