Tripwolf, free tourist guides to enjoy the Christmas season!

Months ago we told you about the App Yap competition that we organized with WYSTC and today we have great news from the proud winner: 5 Free Guides per Day for the Christmas Season, starting today, november 29th. Great way to start counting down for Christmas and its markets!

As you all know, in Internet Advantage we love travel and travellers, and we really think Internet is changing the way we enjoy it. That’s way we are so excited with tripwolf, a top mobile travel guide. They are offering five different city guides for free (normally $4.99 USD) per day for 14 days…the whole world in your pocket!!

tripwolf users will be well-equipped for their upcoming holiday travels with the tripwolf mobile travel guide. The tripwolf travel app is available on both the iPhone and Android and includes offline maps, an Augmented Reality viewer, and solid travel content by the tripwolf community and renowned travel guide publishers such as “Marco Polo” and “Footprint”.

Today, November 29th, Rome, Munich, Zurich, Warsaw and Innsbruck are available for free download in iTunes and the Android market. A schedule of all the free downloads tripwolf will be offering can be found on the tripwolf blog.

Currently tripwolf offers over 150 guides to the most beautiful cities and destinations in the world – all available from the Android market and iTunes store. In the last months the most popular destinations were Berlin, Rome and New York – all of which will be offered for free during the 14-day giveaway.

At the World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) in Barcelona, we recognized tripwolf as a pioneer in mobile travel apps and a great app for youth travelers. The jury voted for tripwolf over 40 other apps that took part in the contest due to its functionality, sleek look, and many useful features.

About tripwolf:

tripwolf is a personal online travel guide, which is also available on mobile phones as a travel app. tripwolf combines traditional travel information from travel guides such as “Marco Polo” and “Footprint” with up-to-the-minute, high-quality travel tips from thousands of travelers from around the world. Users can download content for hundreds of destinations and thousands of sights, restaurants, hotels and more and individually create a custom guide and then download the PDF. With over 850,000 downloads, the tripwolf iPhone app is one of the most successful travel guides on the market; since mid-June 2011 the app is also available for Android smartphones. At the moment, more than 100 guides to the most beautiful cities in the world are available as in-app downloads, and new guides are continuously being added.

tripwolf is available in English, German, Spanish, Italian and French. Founded in 2008, tripwolf GmbH is led by Sebastian Heinzel and employs an international 15-member team based in Vienna.

Translation a key way of making your website more user-friendly

Website usability describes the ease with which the user can find the information they seek on a given webpage. Improving usability, and in turn the user experience, is essential if a website is to grow. If we can ensure that the user finds what they want quickly and that the information is presented in a way that is clear and easy to understand, then it’s likely that they will enjoy surfing our pages and as a result, will lead to more conversions.

Einstein usabilidad internet advantage

When it comes to optimising a website we have to think about how easy it is to crawl, for both search engines and users alike. I would always recommend optimising the website for users before search engines, because if users can find all the information they need, then we are also ensuring that the website is optimised for search engines.

This may seem obvious in this day and age; however there are still websites out there that don’t seem to be paying attention when it comes to optimising information, with bad translations, confusing information structures etc.

Today we’re going to talk a little about website translations and how they improve usability. In order to do this, I’m going to use the following everyday example:

You go into a supermarket you’ve never been to before and, after having a look around all the isles, you find the product you need. You then go to read the label to see if it’s suitable. This is when you discover that the label is in another language that you don’t understand. The most logical outcome is that you don’t purchase the item because you don’t have all the information you need. Further still, if the label is in another language but in one that you understand, the normal reaction is to doubt the professionalism of the supermarket before debating whether to buy it from there or not.

There is a third option: the label is in your language but is poorly translated. It still gives you the information that allows you to make the purchase but you’re not entirely satisfied. You most likely won’t come back to shop at this supermarket again and you’ll advise your family and friends not to do so either.

translation

A well-translated webpage helps the user to feel comfortable when browsing its content and reduces the likelihood of problems arising when it comes to converting. It also helps give the brand a feeling of professionalism.

We don’t want users to feel dissatisfied after their purchase, we don’t to lose users because they can’t find all the information they want, nor do we want a bad online reputation. In order to avoid all of this on your webpage, I propose undertaking the following steps:

Go through the website and make a note of all the content that is not translated or not translated correctly. Take special care with URLs, product descriptions etc.
Look over your error page. Many companies don’t have it optimised for users, resulting in predefined messages being displayed in other languages.
Predefined templates. Keep in mind that if you have used a template on your page then it’s highly likely that some words, text or phrases have not been translated. It’s still very common to see “read more” and “next page” buttons on websites.
If your site has versions in other languages, get native speakers to check over them. This is a really important step, so you shouldn’t be put off paying for a professional to carry it out.
When you have a consistent webpage in terms of its language, and when all the various languages have been correctly separated, send your website to friends and acquaintances for a final test run. Tell them to check over it, have a browse and to inform you if there are any errors that you may have overlooked.
When it comes to making the next changes to your website, don’t forget about the importance of good translation in the eyes of your users and in the final conversion.
Carry out these little steps and I assure you that your website will be language barrier-free and that your users, regardless of whatever language they chose to view your site in, will be more than satisfied.

The benefits of social networks in positioning

For a while now we have heard how social networks help with the SEO and positioning of a website. There are many studies that have sought to measure this impact, with varying experiments and assumptions between networks. As a result we see things like “60 retweets of your content are equal to 10 +1s” on Google Plus. Or… “a Facebook group with 1000 users will position the same as a Google Plus page with 100 followers” etc.

It is true that in some specific cases, taking into account all the variables, we can see an improvement in the positioning of brands that are active on social networks. While this has allowed us to check for a correlation between the two, currently it is still too difficult to establish a ´cause and effect’ relationship.

If there´s one thing that social networks do, it is help a business or website in positioning itself, both in search engines and in the mind of the user. Without becoming obsessed about the ins and outs of Google´s ‘dark and secretive´ algorithm, we present to you 5 reasons why social networks will help improve the positioning of your website:

Social-Search

They ensure that websites and their content are indexed more quickly. Twitter reduces indexation time by around 50% and enables Google robots to find branded content in only a matter of seconds. In addition, your community will be the first to know about your new content and, if it interests them, they´re able to share it with their contacts.
Although there is no ‘magic formula’, the number of ‘interactions’ on social networks can temporarily improve the positioning of brands in search engines. Something useful for new launches, crisis management etc. and always a valuable boost for an overall strategy.
They help to improve the positioning of brands within their own social media contacts and to generate top of minds. Top of mind has long been seen as the ‘Holy Grail’ of advertising. We´ll not just forget about it now! So if that contact was to do a search on Google, and even if you find yourself as the fourth result, if they know your brand then you´ll still have a good chance of them viewing your page. And also if they see you in a shop, for example.
They favour brands who are authors of their own content. Google is implementing a complex system that reveals who writes the content on the internet, and it seems that Google Autorship could be the next Google Rank. Content that is created by your brand and shared on social networks is a certainly a good sign from Google´s point of view. This will also be of benefit to your users!
Social bookmarks demonstrate to search engines that the brands behind them have authority and popularity on social networks. When a brand has a lot of activity on social media, it´s showing search engines that its content is authentic and useful for internet users. Google´s aim is to ‘organise the internet’ for users, which certainly adds up.
However, although we use social networks as a tool that contributes toward positioning, it´s important to remember that the very essence of social networks is and always will be about conversing. Don´t expect to obtain interactions simply by publishing or creating optimised content. SEO doesn´t necessarily complement Social, nor does Social have any value without positioning: Both are online marketing strategies and both have to be addressed in an overall way.
Incidentally, Google continues with its efforts to end the ‘tricks’ of online marketing. If links and spasm are their current ‘sticking point’, social networks could very well be their next. Youtube has already warned that those who buy video views will be persecuted.

The 2012 SEO Industry Survey is Out!

Back in March 2012, SEOmoz ran an industry survey that collected responses from 6,491 marketers from more than 100 countries, where the majority of the professionals that participated in the survey have between 5 to 10 years of experience.

If you did not read the full results of the survey you missed out on several interesting questions and answers from the survey that were not discussed by Rand Fishkin’s post , nor on the summary of the survey results.

Percentage of inbound marketing actions employed by Marketers:

As you can see from the graph above, link Building was done by only 4.8% of marketers, most focus on content, social media to gain quality natural links. If we look at the detailed questions and compare the answers to the previous survey, the results have not decreases as they should, taking in consideration the latest Google updates:

Question

Percentage 2010

Percentage 2012

Hired an outsourced link building firm or contractor to assist with link acquisition
17.0%

13.82%

Bought links directly from other websites/webmasters
13.6%

11.85%

Bought links through a link broker or service
8.4%

7.13%

How many keyword rankings are being tracked by project:
As you can see below, professionals that said that didn’t track any rankings decreased in 2012, with all of the movements and difficulty in tracking rankings:

SEOMOZ DATA

With the increasing difficulty in tracking and Google showing so many different results in the SERP, my prediction is that next survey the “I don’t track rankings” answers will increase.

Demand for Consulting Services
The majority of the professionals answered that Social Media and/or Community Management, SEO Consulting Services, Event Planning and exhibition, Local SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization, Link building, Offline Marketing/Advertising, Copywriting, Analytics, Content Marketing and Public relations are increasing in demand:

SEOMOZ DATA

52% of the services mentioned in this question are being demanded even more by clients, which is great for our industry. Also notice that within these demanded services the majority is inbound marketing oriented.

How do you feel about the ethical standards about the following search engines, social media sites, tech companies, etc.
As you can see in the graph below, the most trusted company is wordpress, while the least trusted company is AOL.

SEOMOZ DATA

Future predictions about these trends:
a) Bing/Yahoo! will increase their share of US searches by 5%+ in the next 18 months
b) Due to Google’s Panda and G+ authorship, site and author ownership of content will become even more important
c) Facebook will dominate the social media industry over other social channels/brands
d) Google Plus will become massively influential in SERPs
e) Mobile use/adoption will substantially change how we do marketing
f) More companies will shift their focus and budgets from paid marketing to inbound marketing / earned media
g) Online ad fatigue will contribute substantially to lower ROI for paid marketing
h) Other social networks will grow to be substantial competitors for Facebook
i) Specialists will dominate the field and generalist inbound/organic marketers will be less important
j) Generalists who combine inbound/organic techniques and expertise will dominate compared to specialists

SEOMOZ DATA

The prediction “f. More companies will shift their focus and budgets from paid marketing to inbound marketing / earned media” is a present trend in the industry if we see the data of the services that are increasing in demand.

These data was the buried treasure that Rand was talking about. Did you find anything else that interested you or did you arrive to other conclusions from these data?

Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy Map for Your Business

Which marketing or communications plan best describes your small businesses formal marketing plan? Let’s hope your business has moved beyond all of them, however, if you do identify with some of the categories listed in this infographic, here are some new bullet points for your internet marketing strategy.

The first thing to identify when creating a marketing plan for any business is to understand who you are trying to reach or your target market. This would start by examining who is the audience you currently have and who do you want to reach. If you sell a product or service begin with a customer analysis to decipher which type of clients are best to pursue to grow your business.

The next step is to conduct a market situation analysis. Conduct your own business marketing review of how your small business is currently performing and look for items in your current strategy that need improvement. After you identify some of your weaknesses or areas in need of improvement, begin to conduct some competitor bench marking and analysis. This step will help you to evaluate where your company or product fits in the market place and what competitors you will need to beat to gain more market share. As your business is completing the competitor analysis also begin to evaluate businesses within your market segment that you may be able to partner with to grow your market share together. This can be a valuable strategy when trying to compete in a market against competitors that may have more capital and resources available to them.

After a lot of insight and research is put into the situation analysis, it is now time to look at the current baselines and begin with your objective setting for the upcoming year. The main ingredients in correctly setting up your business objectives is to understand your Mission, Vision and Goals. All of theses items must align to strategically hit your goals each quarter to eventually accomplish your vision of success at the end of the year.

Once the goals are correctly constructed for the year, now is the time to understand the most effective way to report or track your progress on each goal. When it comes to Internet Marketing, most businesses and websites use Google Analytics to track almost all of their goals, conversions and leads. When tracking with Google Analytics, it is essential to understand the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that led a customer to an accomplished goal or conversion. Understanding the process of how your business was able to convert a lead into a conversion will further help your business refine your goals and marketing strategy to consistently evolve and become more efficient in your market.

Now that your business has completed the situation analysis, objective setting and has implemented a way to track its’ progress, what is next? Digital Marketing Strategy. This can be very simple or elaborate depending on what the business is trying to accomplish. However, it basically comes down to this – what is the most efficient and effective way for the business to achieve it’s mission, vision and goals both long term and short term. When it comes to a website marketing plan, generally breaking it up into these four categories will help in planning your map to achieve your business marketing goals.
Market Segmentation and Customer Targeting – Where does your business fit and who are you targeting.
Competitive Advantages, Positioning and Value Proposition – Why is your business better and why should customers purchase your products or services over the competition.
Content Marketing Strategy and Targeted Audience Engagement – How do you plan to engage with your audience and what content related to your business will they find most interesting or appealing.
Multi-Faceted Website Marketing Communications Strategy – Basically, which internet marketing tools do you plan to utlizie to reach, engage and convert your audience into customers.

At this point your business should have all the data it needs to form an effective internet marketing strategy for your small business. Here is a short list of web tactics and tools to choose from to aid you in your marketing journey.

SEO Highlights of 2012

In the past year we have published weekly updates of the most important blog postings from the world of SEO. The most frequent subject was the ever changing algorithm of Google. 2012 Was the year of Google’s quality updates, which had to take away the pressure of Google’s quality team. With the Panda and Penguin updates they tried to eliminate websites with bad content to ensure the best search results for their visitors. Besides the posts about the Panda and Penguin updates, we also collected the most interesting researches, articles and blogs.

Google updates
Google Search Plus Your World
The year just started and Google already came with one of the biggest updates of the year. On January 10 Google integrated social search. Search Plus Your World optimizes searchresults based on your personal online profile (Google+). Read more about Search Plus Your World on the official blog of Google.

Updates to rich snippets
Last April Google announced two new updates regarding to the rich snippets. Product rich snippets are now supported worldwide and the rich snippets testing tool now also supports HTML input. Read the blogpost about the Rich Snippets update.

Venice update
As for me, one of the most surprising updates of 2012 was the Venice Update in which Google obviously shifted its’ focus to local orientated searchresults. Mike Ramsey wrote a blogpost about the Venice Update and how to make it work to your advantage.

Penquin update: Another step to reward high-quality sites
In the last week of April Google announced the unrollment of an update in the algorhitm, which will focus on filtering the webspam from the searchresults. The overall goal is to tackle the sites that are outreaching Google’s quality guidelines, and to reward websites that offer a great visitor experience and good content.

Link warnings
In the war that Google is fighting against the manipulation of search engine results, they made a new surprising step. Multiple website owners received notifications through Webmaster Tools about the fact that they have incoming links from low quality websites. On Search Engine Land they wrote a descriptive summary about the warnings.

7 Results per SERP
People first started to notice the shrinkage of the SERP´s of Google in mid August. Google was testing the SERP´s with fewer results per page. Especialy with when searching for the bigger brands you will only get 7 URLs on a page. SEOmoz listed all the specific data.

The best SEO posts in 2012
Filtering of linkdirectories
During a research of Webmasterworld a SEO-er discovered that Google started filtering out link directories from the search results. He says that 50% of all link directories vanished from the index. After a more detailed research it became clear this is really the case.

Knowlegde graph
Searching is all about discovering, but accoding to Amit Singhal requieres too much efford for the ‘normal’ user. Therefor he introduced the “Knowledge Graph”, a graph that will help finding information quicker and easier. This impressive model also focuses on situations where there are multiple results for just one single query.

16 Google Penalty, Update & Filter Visualisations
Screaming Frog made an overview of great examples that show the influence of the different Google updates and penalties. It’s really interesting to see the big effects it had on some websites.

Local search ranking factors
David Mihm is going into great detail about the developments regarding Google’s local search. Furthermore he also published the results of a research that looked into the 90 positive and 18 negative factors that can influence local search. The result: some really interesting facts.

Comparing Link Data Tools
Thanks to many Google updates that mainly focused on linkquality a lot was written about the different SEO tools. This article focuses on a study that outlines the differences of the different tools that can be used to compare linkdata. Rob Kerry also wrote a similar blogpost about this topic.

Matt Cutts: “You shouldn’t put a lot of weight on +1s just yet”
On 14 August the SES Conference, one of the biggest search-and social marketing events of the year, started in San Francisco. Google’s Matt Cutts surprised the attendents with a Q&A session in which he reveiled that Google isn’t (yet) using Google+1 that much. State of Search was there to report.

What is the “Search Quality team” of Google focusing on?
Are you considering using the disavow tool? Or do you just want to make sure you won’t need it in the future? If so, read this interesting interview with Andre Weyher, ex-member of the Search Quality team of Google. He explains the do’s and don’ts of SEO.

The most creative linkbuilding blogpost of all time.
Jon Cooper, known for his weblog about linkbuilding, put together a weblog based on interviews he held with 50 SEO consultants, that share their most creative linkbuilding.

The future of SEO in 2013.
2012 Came to an end and a new year started. Time to look at the predictions for 2013. On Stokedseo.co.uk they questioned a big number of SEO’s about their predictions regarding SEO developments for 2013.

Reporting problems with Google Places (Part 1)

Until recently, it was incredibly difficult to notify Google about problems with the listings in Google Places.

The only place where it was possible to ask questions or highlight a problem was the Google Places support forum. This forum is very active and you can generally get some good advice whilst at the same time realizing that you are not the only one experiencing the problem caused by a bug in Google Places. Furthermore, Google employees also participate in the forum, offering support and striving to create a solution to the problem that you are experiencing.

Recently, Google has created a support centre for Google Places, but for me, it is quite unclear when it comes to providing information. The support centre offers a list of links, but does not explain how you should report problems and because of this you often find yourself going round in circles without arriving at any sort of quick fix.

Below is a screen print of these links:

http://support.google.com/places/?hl=en

The most important thing about the support centre are the forms that Google has put in place so that you can notify them of any problems. Below are a range of common problems and form that should be used in each situation to report the problem.

Mistakes in the details of your listing:
From time to time it is possible that Google may show incorrect information in your listing. Using this form you can correct errors in any of the following areas:

Name of the company
Address
Telephone Number
URL
Categories
Opening Hours
Description
Vouchers/Coupons
There is a variety of reasons for these errors, but in this post we will stick to how to fix them.

To notify Google about any of these problems, use the form below:

http://support.google.com/places/bin/request.py?contact_type=placesfrontline_data

In the case of categories, it is recommended to fill the 5 fields with relevant categories; this is because if you leave any empty, Google may insert categories that are not really related to your business.

If you clicked on the last link, you will have seen that the form is very straightforward. All you have to do is enter the email address that you used to create your Places account, enter the URL of your listing in the second field and select the area that has the problem. In the next screen, Google will ask you to enter the correct information that should be appearing in your listing.

Problems verifying a listing:
Sometimes, after verifying your listing with the PIN, it is possible that on clicking the link “see your business on Google Maps” you will see the Google Maps control panel with a message saying “we currently do not support the location”. To solve this problem, you can go into the listing editor and click the refresh button.

If this doesn´t work, you can report the problem using this form:

http://support.google.com/places/bin/static.py?hl=es&ts=1399021&page=ts.cs

With this form it is also possible to highlight problems with listings created in bulk, using the bulk upload option. Generally, when you use the bulk upload tool, a Google contact will send you an email asking for any corrections or an email confirming that your listings have been approved and that they will be activated within roughly the next 3 weeks. Unfortunately, sometimes, after three weeks your listings may still not be active, appearing as “pending”, with this formula you can try and speed up the activation process.

Simply select the second option and you will have to answer a series of questions:

It is important to mention that in general it takes 3 to 4 weeks to receive a resolution to your problems, after having pointed them out using one of these forms. This may be a long time but at least you are a step closer to solving your problem!

After filling out one of the forms, it is normal to receive an email that confirms that they have received your message. It is recommended to keep this in case you need to follow up and make sure that Google is solving the issue. When you respond to one of these messages, almost 100% of the time a Google employee will answer, a good way to keep yourself up to date with what is going on.

On top of the forms and resources mentioned in this post, there are a range of others available for you to use, however, we´ll leave those for now so as not to stretch ourselves too much.

We hope that this post has been of help and we would appreciate it if you left your comments below regarding your experiences with Google Places, if you have had a problem and if it has been resolved.