One nice thing about a blog is that I get to write year end lists. Here are the tech topics that caught my eye (and that I still remember…) from this year.
It’s not just that’s there too much content out there. It’s also that marketers want to know what you’re really reading. Bookmarking services like StumbledUpon or Digg or social monitoring are useful in letting marketers know what’s popular. But unless the activity is matched with an actual user, marketers can’t do much with that.
Enter apps like Flipboard, Pulse, services like Onswipe, Scoop.it, Jux and sites like Pinterest, LockerZ, Chime.in… There were hundreds of these content curator apps/sites that entered the market this year. Users are either fed popular content that they can select to read or they create their own content “portals” – magazine or list like pages with all the content sources they’ve selected. Some even let users create, store and share their own content.
Now marketers know what you are really interested in so they can target their ads better. It works for content providers, too, who get exposure to broaden their audience.
For CRE there’s a small opportunity to get your name around by actively pursuing inclusion – or creating your own portal from one of these services that you can promote to others. I say small because it’s not like CRE is a topic that’s the same level as, say, the Kardashians.
Since content curation might not be enough – after all, not everyone is going to use or subscribe to one of these apps/services – marketers need another way to figure out what you really want. Algorithms are being developed now that use a combination of what and how you type in a search query to guesstimate what you’re looking for. Combined with tracking cookies on your computer and correlated with all that “big data” aggregated from the social graph, developers feel they’ve got a winning formula for providing you with more relevant results and related content. No wonder Google just acquired Cleversense, one of those predictive search startups.
This might mean that you won’t have to do so much “long tail” keyword padding – trying to get placed in search engines for less commonly used search terms. Since location data will play a part, smaller companies might no longer be crowded out by larger ones that don’t have a presence in their market. It will be a whole new SEO game.
Google’s Algorithm Changes
In an effort to deal with all that content and make search results more relevant, Google made 2 major changes to its search Algorithm. The first squashed all those domains padding their sites with surplus pages – pages loaded with keywords that Google once construed as relevance. Later in the year, the “freshness” update weighted newer content more heavily.
The direction is clear – if you want to show up in search engines, you’ll need useful and constantly updated content….at least until someone figures out how to game that. But in the meantime, if you haven’t done anything with your website, Facebook page or blog for a while, it’s time to take a look.
Not all that exciting or different (except for the video Hangouts) every tech savvy person flocked to it. Businesses were chomping at the bit waiting for the business page feature. Even though Google says participation will not affect search results, no one really believes that. So here we are with one more social network to tend to.
The most interesting parts of Google’s social networking play are the “real person” concept and the “encrypted search” feature. The first is a means of authentication. No bogus accounts – or at least none that can’t be traced. Your name is on everything you post or give a plus to.
The encrypted search (for all users logged into Google.com) keeps user search activity away from sites that use Google Analytics. That means websites can’t see what keywords were used to find a site. Maybe this is just Google being a “good steward of user privacy” but they’re still supplying referring and in-site info. Unless they’re planning on getting out of the Analytics business for good (and I doubt it…) it looks like this might be paving the way for a paid Analytics service where only paying customers get all the data.
Location Based Services
Only 5% of the population uses location based services – and that doesn’t include me. But the growth in this sector, especially for FourSquare, has been dramatic. Plus, The Corcoran Group figured out a way to use location services for CRE. They’ve created neighborhood guide lists that align with the properties they offer. This is a great way to provide something of value and get your name out.
With such a small following, though, is it worth the effort? Well…Facebook is discontinuing its Places feature and bought Gowalla, an also-ran location based service. So expect some action/stay tuned!
Photo Credit: Vectorportal