Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet

This morning, Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, introduced the Kindle Fire. The brand new Android-based tablet weighs only 14.6 ounces and features a dual-core processor and seven-inch screen.

Although the Kindle Fire has the attractive price of $199, it is missing some of the features that made the iPad popular. For example, it does not have a camera or the option for 3G, which are useful for both taking pictures and web conferencing. In addition, the Kindle Fire’s seven inch screen is considerably smaller than the iPad’s 9.7 inch high resolution screen. However, when compared to the entry-level $499 price of the iPad, the Kindle Fire includes innovative options with an extremely affordable price tag.

The Kindle Fire will have a brand new browser, named Amazon Silk, that will use a combination of cloud computing and the locally installed browser to speed up mobile web browsing on the device.

Another exciting feature of the Kindle Fire cloud-based storage means syncing will not be necessary. The tablet will store content, such as movies, music, and pictures, on the Amazon cloud. Bezos said the following of this feature:

“That model that you are responsible for backing up your own content is a broken model.”

The cloud-based storage and Whispersync will do away with the syncing that Apple devices currently require. One application of these features is that people will be able to start watching a movie on the Kindle Fire and pick up where they left off on their home television.

Although Kindle Fire will not begin shipping until November 15, just in time for the holidays, Bezos is recommending that consumers pre-order the tablet today. Now, it is up to consumers to decide if Steve Jobs was wrong when he stated that they did not want a “tweener” tablet. Amazon is confident that people will want a “premium product at a non-premium price.”

[Sources Include: Amazon, ZDNet, & The New York Times]

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal


Twitter Mobile Usage Rising

Yesterday, at the 2011 Mobilize conference, Twitter’s VP of engineering Michael Abbot spoke with Om Malik regarding Twitter’s overall growth and the role mobile devices play in that growth. Prior to joining Twitter 16 months ago, Abbot led the software and services team at Palm.

Since Abbot joined the company a little over one year ago, Twitter has seen exponential growth. Last summer, Twitter had just over 60 million total daily tweets and that number has increased to over 230 million daily tweets. Amazingly, approximately 45% of the 230 million daily tweets originate on mobile devices.

While discussing whether Twitter is concerned regarding the additional traffic the iOS integration will provide, Abbot indicated he is confident Twitter can handle the traffic volume:

“During the last nine months, there’s been more infrastructure changes at Twitter than there had been in the previous five years at the company. So that whether it be the death of bin Laden, or someone announces a pregnancy, we can handle those issues and you’re not seeing a fail whale.”

Later in the interview, when Abbot was asked if Twitter had plans to change its basic service, he responded:

“We have been and continue to be very focused on that simplified experience of Twitter. I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve seen the growth. People get it, so people use it.”

One of the highlights of Abott’s interview was when he stated Facebook “sucks at everything” and indicated that Twitter is not focused on what its competition is doing.  Abbot said Twitter is committed to keeping their service simple and providing users with an optimal experience. He believes that Twitter’s success is due to the simplified, easy to understand nature of the service.

[Sources Include: All Things D & GigaOM]

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal


Photo Credit

You can attend a conference or local event, blog about it, and people will link to it. Having blogged recaps to many different events with mixed backlink results, I’d like to address more effective ways of blogging about events, if SEO and link building is one of your primary goals.

Pre-Event

A few questions I ask when preparing for an event, from an SEO perspective:

  • Who is writing online about the event? If someone is excited enough to put up a preview post about the event, then they’re likely to be doing a follow-up post. A quick search of the URL for event info or the Eventbrite or Meetup URL or “speaker + city name” or just “event name” should show you who is promoting it. Create a list of these people/sites for later.
  • Are any of the event promoter sites being scraped? If a promoter’s post is getting picked up by other sites, it becomes that much more important for you to get a link from that site. Make the scrapers work for you.

Event Primetime

The big question you should be trying to answer when preparing to write about an event is “What makes my recap special?” If you’re the only one writing about it, the answer is easy, however then there’s nobody else to reference your work.

There are three main reasons your event recap will get linked to:

  1. A higher level recap is linking to all of the recaps. (Pretty rare)
  2. Your recap contains unique linkable assets.
  3. Your recap includes a unique slant.

A recap of recaps is pretty rare in most cases, but occasionally someone like Barry Schwartz exists to bring all of the web’s event posts together. It’s your task to make sure that people like Barry see what you wrote and know that it belongs among the others.

More often, you’ll get a link because of something unique you’ve captured from the event. A site isn’t going to link to 5 other blogs with the same summary. You need to think in terms of linkable event-specific assets: what you have that others don’t or what you’ve compiled that will save others’ time. The “linkable asset” model is great in helping you prepare unique content. From an event standpoint, your linkable assets could include:

Attending the event with the goal to get unique linkable assets often means preparing in advance by bringing a camera, snagging time with a presenter or documenting the resources that get mentioned in presentations.

Finding a unique way to present the same thing someone else read doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, if you attend an event with the plan of writing multiple posts for multiple audiences, you have the potential to make your content go further. For example, at one event, I wrote a post detailing what the speakers said that impacted SEO and a different post about what made the speakers effective presenters. Same content, two approaches.

Post-Event

The key to effective post-event link building is speed. Your content needs to be gathered, packaged, and posted shortly after the event because the window of opportunity is small (I’d say roughly 36 hours). People are more likely to link to pre-existing content than to go back and edit a post for link insertion later. Make sure to follow and use event hashtags when promoting your content on Twitter, so more people can see it.

Another key is to get the initial “link gatekeepers” you listed involved in the creation of your content. You might ask a speaker which picture he/she prefers you use. You may want to get a quote or two from other bloggers who attended. Above all, make sure your published post gets seen by those who attended – especially the individuals and companies mentioned in your write-up.

Extra Tips

  • Remember that the power of suggestion goes a long way. If you know a blogger or journalist who attended the event, encourage them to blog about it (and offer your content as a link-worthy addition to whatever they write).
  • The answer to every unasked question is no, so don’t hesitate to monitor for write-ups and recaps and ask for links in the days following the event.
  • Remember that just because someone isn’t interested in linking to your post doesn’t mean they won’t link to your event assets hosted on other sites like Flickr, YouTube or Slideshare. These secondary links can yield unforeseen benefits.
  • Appeal to negativity when appropriate. Some bloggers are critics by nature. It’s not uncommon to write about what could have been improved at the event (promotion, planning, food, content, etc.) and attract links this way. However, be cautious with this approach as positivity will always breed goodwill. And link building is a goodwill game.
  • Consider actually live-blogging an event (some WordPress plugins make this very do-able). It’s hard work, but you can often contact an event organizer or head sponsor ahead of time so that they’ll link to the URL you plan on using from within their event promotion material and on their website. Companies love this, especially if the event won’t be streamed.

You can end up with a variety of links with effective event blogging – everything from business and organization websites to personal blogs to news sites and even .gov and .edu links. And you’ll be doing a great community service by capturing the moment.

 

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal


Amazon has unveiled Silk, a brand new web browser that lives both on the tablet and in the cloud.

The browser, which will be available on the Amazon Fire tablet, dramatically cuts down on load times and request times by splitting the workload between the tablet and Amazon’s EC2. This infusion of cloud computing is the secret sauce that makes the Silk browser load pages quickly.

Silk also invokes predictive technology. It utilizes machine learning to detect user behavior and predict what the user will request next.

In a demonstration at its press event in New York, Amazon loaded 53 static file images, 39 dynamic files, 30 Javascript files and three Flash files within seconds.

Amazon engineers say that they called the browser Silk because “a thread of silk is an invisible yet incredibly strong connection between two different things,” which describes the relationship between Amazon’s browser and the cloud.

Check out the video that Amazon has produced to learn more about the new cloud-based browser.


For Mashable’s Complete Amazon Kindle & Kindle Fire Coverage


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In our modern world, every second counts. How long does it take to get around the Starbucks drive-through? How fast can you text? How quickly does a webpage load? Google flat out tells you it took 0.25 seconds for them to pull 50,700,000 results that match your search query. Was that fast enough for you or could it be even quicker? Everyone is looking for ways to be more efficient because it means you can get more done in less time. Work smarter, not harder, right?

But what happens when we get so focused on speed that we start to blur the line between streamlining our approach and taking shortcuts to get things done?

I once had a client who got greedy with his content marketing and e-mail marketing campaigns. He had spent just under two years building up a decent sized list of loyal readers from his blog, who he then would send bi-weekly newsletters to. He decided that his list wasn’t growing fast enough and ended up purchasing a list of 100,000 e-mails from some company to augment his own list. Surely, with 100k new potential customers to connect with, he’d soon have more business on his hands than he could handle!

But you know what actually happened? Constant Contact disabled his account. They had received so many spam notifications regarding his newsletters, they had no choice but to shut him down. Just like that, his e-mail marketing campaign went up in smoke. He also lost all of his archived newsletters, which meant valuable links and aged content just disappeared overnight. He effectively hobbled a huge portion of his SEO, not to mention the damage it did to his online reputation – all because he tried to rush it!

When focusing so intently on time and ROI, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees. All my client cared about was growing his subscriber list. Buying e-mails was the cheapest and quickest way to do so. However in his impatience, he didn’t stop to think about whether the people on this list would even want his newsletters or how unsuspecting receivers would react when his newsletter hit their inboxes.

As marketers, it’s easy to be tempted to take shortcuts when you’re under deadline. You have clients and management breathing down your neck to produce and somehow you have to make it happen. Unfortunately, SEO is not something you can rush. It’s so incredibly long term and dependent on numerous factors (many of which are outside of your control), that there’s no way to accurately predict when you’ll start seeing the results your clients/bosses are clamoring for.

But that’s not their problem, right? It’s your job to make SEO “happen,” so get to it!

Black Hat Temptation

That’s when the allure of black hat SEO is at its strongest. The beauty of black hat SEO is that is produces quick, measurable results that make you look good to your clients/boss. You can pull up the 2,500 links you created last month and everyone is happy. But where are those links really coming from? Probably a 100 different spam blogs, a dozen spun articles, a handful of link exchanges and so forth. None of those links provide any real, valuable link juice for your site and when those spam blogs get flagged and de-indexed by the search engines, your link portfolio goes with it.

Article spinning is another SEO shortcut that could land you in hot water down the line. Taking one article and submitting it to 50 different submission sites may be fast, but what good is it really doing for you? First off, the Google Panda update effectively declared war on article submission sites that indiscriminately publish low-quality and spammy content. Secondly, if you’re investing any time in a content marketing campaign and not producing valuable content designed to educate your target audience, why bother in the first place? It takes just as much time to write a spammy blog post as it does to write a useful one. If you’re going to write anything, make it work for you and get some get some life out of it! That’s being time efficient and effective.

I can understand the need to “produce” on a deadline. I can’t expect to walk into a client meeting with nothing to show them and think everyone is going to be okay with that. But I know that (and I spend a long time explaining this to my clients) SEO is NOT something you can rush or make happen. Pigeonholing your focus and expectations means you’re missing the broad picture of what SEO can and will do for your site. Taking shortcuts may get you there faster, but that doesn’t mean it did it better.

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal


Google Pays for Solar Panel InstallationOn Tuesday, Google announced that it is investing $75 million into a fund with Clean Power Finance Inc. to help install solar panels for up to 3,000 homeowners. San Francicso based Clean Power Finance Inc. allows solar power installers to partner with investors such as Google in order to provide solar electricity systems to homeowners without requiring much up-front expense.

Rick Needham, Google’s Director of Green Business Operations, described the recent investment on Google’s blog:

“Solar installers sign up with Clean Power Finance to get access to the company’s comprehensive sales solutions, including consumer financing from investors, like the Google fund. . . . The installer builds the system, the investor (in this case, Google) owns it, and homeowners pay a monthly payment for the system, at a price that’s often less than paying for energy from the grid.”

This funding in solar energy is the second largest investment Google has made in residential solar energy. In June, the search giant set up a $280 million fund with SolarCity Corp. The new fund with Clean Power Finance will allow small, local photovoltaic system installers to offer financing to homeowners who would otherwise be unable to afford the $30,000 solar energy system.

Earlier this month, Google openly released that in 2010 its data centers used 2.26 million megawatt hours of electricity, which is enough to power a city of 100,000 to 200,000 people. Following Google’s recent release of its energy consumption, the search giant has emphasized that it has maintained a carbon neutral footprint since 2007.

Google has invested over $850 million in clean, renewable energy technology and funded various projects that focus on removing harmful greenhouse gases. Although it is unable to use renewable energy for its high-consumption data centers, the recent move to fund solar technology reflects the largest Internet search engine’s long-term commitment to a greener planet.

[Sources Include: Huffington Post , ZDNet, and The Official Google Blog]

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal


Today in New York, Amazon introduced Silk, an all-new web browser powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and available exclusively on the just announced Kindle Fire. You might be asking, ‘A browser? Do we really need another one?’

“There are only companies that have good fast decisions. As companies get bigger, they slow down decision making, and that’s a big problem.”

Posted by chadburgess

"I know before the cards are even turned over…" – Mike McDermott, Rounders

When Mike McD was called by Teddy KGB in a huge No-Limit Hold’em poker pot, he didn’t have to see his opponents hand to know that KGB had two aces, the only hand in the deck that could beat his nines full of aces (if you have seen Rounders, feel free to skip over the video below, if not, you probably should get on that). This was the same feeling I had when we got "SERP a DERPd" via accidental noindexation of 9,000 of our most important pages….

 

Contents:

  1. What happens when pages are accidentally noindexed
  2. Tactics for getting pages into the Google index quickly
  3. How noindex impacts SERP rankings

(note that I am focusing on Google in this post) 

Background:

I am an in-house SEO and customer acquisition marketer at SeatGeek.com, a NYC tech startup. Our site is a ticket search engine for sports concerts and theater tickets (i.e. "a Kayak for event tickets").

On Monday 8/1, I was searching Google for ‘mets tickets‘ and saw that SeatGeek had slipped from page 1. Worse, we weren’t even on page 2. I tried a few more queries that I knew we should be on page 1 for and still nothing. My heart was beating. Had we been Panda’d? It didn’t make sense, but I was panicked. Then it hit me. I opened up our New York Mets page, but, just like Mike Mcd, I knew before I even clicked view source…content="noindex" on all of our product pages.

No Index

I have only been doing SEO for ~2 years, so I had never directly experienced an accidental noindex situation. So even as I read reports of these not having an impact on rankings and knew this wasn’t as bad as an accidental canonicalization problem, I couldn’t help but envision the worst case scenario…9,000 of our most important conversion driving pages would be out of the index for weeks and would not have their same rank when they got back in

What happens when pages are accidentally noindexed

Impact of Accidental Noindexation

This is a chart of incoming organic traffic to one of our key pages right when the noindex hit.

Obviously organic traffic ceased to exist. Interestingly though, Google Analytics still reported some traffic to these pages.

This might be the one instance where having less frequent crawl frequency can be beneficial (assuming bandwidth isn’t an issue). The pages that got noindexed are recrawled every 4-6 days, which would have given us a buffer if we caught this sooner. Unfortunately, Google waited until Saturday to crawl these pages and we didn’t catch the problem until Monday. 

Reindexation Plan and Tactics:

The first course of action was to remove the noindex tags, which one of our pop star engineers did within five minutes. This was right around the time I sent out my first plan of action email which I have included below in case you ever have to write the same email: 

All,
So I was doing a daily scan of SERP positions and started noticing team band pages had dropped. At first I thought we got Panda’d, but it looks like the noindex tags that are supposed to be applied to search pages and filtered navigation recently got pushed into production, but because those pages only get reindexed every 3-6 days there was some delay in the traffic impact, which you can see if you filter by team/band pages.
We are currently:

  • Noindex already removed in production
  • Writing blog posts that link to all major sports teams to get these reindexed (more difficult for bands)
  • Launching social media campaigns to support this cause
  • Forcing update on .xml sitemap (hopefully to help with concerts issue)
  • Investigating additional techniques
  • Going to look into the current traffic impact / which pages got impacted the most (hopefully some deeper artist type pages never got recrawled before the fix)

http://www.webmasterworld.com/webmaster/3601620.htm Here’s to hoping this is true "My experience is that "noindex" is quite harmless when it comes to ranking. As soon as you change it to "index", the pages should pop up at nearly the same positions in the SERPs as where they were." I will keep you all posted. -Chad 

Even if rankings would come back, we wanted this to happen as quickly as possible. I had a plan, and fortunately some great interns to help me out. So this is what we did (excuse any repetition from the email)…

Submit to Google Index via Webmaster Tools

All of the above was completed within one hour of us discovering the issue, except for the guest posts and contest which were done over the next 1-2 days. And then we waited… 

Reindexation Metrics:

It took 1-2 days for our most important pages to get back into the index, which we were really happy with. Some of our deeper / less important pages took up to 5 days to come back or longer in some cases. Fortunately we had followed advice from other Mozzers and introduced multiple XML sitemaps earlier in the year with all our product pages in one XML sitemap we were able to easily track indexation of these pages via Google Webmaster Tools. Indexation and traffic were on their way back up by the next day, but as you can tell from the graph below traffic didn’t return to previous levels to about 2-3 days from when the noindex tag was removed.

Noindexed Page Traffic Before and After

 

Rankings Impact of Noindexation:

Ranking After Accidental Noindexation

Now let’s look at how this impacted our SERP rankings. The example above, was a truly interesting case because our Mets page returned to the index the night of the fix and I emailed my bosses to check it out as a good example of a recovering page, but by the time we got into work the next morning it had left the index again and I looked like a clown shoe. Fortunately, the page came back (again…) into the index the next day and was back up to its previous ranking by the end of the week. This is an example of a trend I noticed that many pages would come back into the index first and then return to ranking for their target terms a day or so later.

The example below is one where we returned to the index but without the same rank as we had before. There isn’t really a way to tell if this was impacted at all by the noindex situation, I suspect it was just a random Google dance related to the more frequent shakeups I have seen in event "tickets" related queries. Overall, our page 1 SERP positions have completely returned to prior levels.

Giants Ranking after noindex

Conclusions:

  • If you accidentally noindex pages on your site, of course they will stop getting traffic from organic search, but this will be dependent on the crawl rate of the pages (in our case it took ~5 days for them to drop out of the index) and 2-3 days for them to return to normal levels
  • If you have a blog that gets crawled quickly, use that as a tool to help drive spiders back to the pages that were noindexed with strategic internal linking (of course wait until you have removed the noindex tag)
  • Take advantage of friends & family to help with social shares and pump this up with a social giveaway
  • Use Google Webmaster tools: 1) XML sitemap resubmit 2. Manual ‘Submit to Index’ 3. Sitemap indexation tracking
  • You should have Multiple XML sitemaps set up into logical buckets for indexation tracking to faciliate the indexation tracking mentioned above
  • Although your rankings might see short-term "dancing", an accidental noindex will not have a negative impact on them
  • Lastly, don’t be too worried, just follow some of the tactics above and you should be back in the index with the same rankings (have your boss email me if they are giving you crap – chad@seatgeek.com)

Ok so that was probably too much information for just an accidental noindex situation, but when it happened to me it was scary and there wasn’t a solid documentation on what to expect, so I wanted to produce this for the next person in my situation. Thanks for reading. Connect with me on Twitter if you are so inclined.

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Retailers have found an interesting characteristic of consumers who browse their websites using tablets: They’re much more likely to pull the trigger on purchases than other online shoppers.That discovery is making retailers focus on tablets ahead of the all-important holiday season …Tablets still account for only a small percentage of overall e-commerce, but they are punching above their weight.