Simple Banner Ad Advice

Banner ads. They won’t go away will they? I can hear publishers speaking of ‘banner burn-out’ in 1997. By accident, we became a huge producer of banner ads in 1995 as over 1,000 websites ran these early web 1.0 banner ads to our online surveys. Here is attached a good cheat sheet for simple banner ad advice.


Voice Search Glitch for Voice Optimization

At SearchForecast, we’re instructing clients to think seriously about how to include voice search optimization into their user experience. The first step is to think about what “around me” and “near me” search queries users are making when on mobile phones. Putting these search queries into meta tags, building pages with keyword links referencing them and creating mobile friendly user experiences will collectively help websites appear higher in Google when people search for ‘product A around me’ or ‘locations near me’.

Yet when we see that Siri on iPhones are not working as per the screen shot attached sent to us by a client today, that doesn’t help the voice optimization search world.


Start Up Growth 2x in Silicon Valley

Building a business in Silicon Valley is exciting. SearchForecast knows the start up company go to market as we are part of the acceleration of many VC backed companies which have doubled since 2009 to 2014 according to the leading venture capital firm Andressen Horowitz’s recent presentation.

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Content Optimization Insights from Harvard Business Review

Great article from Harvard Business Review on the “Traffic Light Rule”. Is this the same for optimizing content? What rule would you apply?

First 20 seconds of talking, your light is green: your listener is liking you, as long as your statement is relevant to the conversation and hopefully in service of the other person.

Second 20 seconds of talking, the light turns yellow for the next 20 seconds— now the risk is increasing that the other person is beginning to lose interest or think you’re long-winded.

At the 40-second mark, your light is red. Yes, there’s an occasional time you want to run that red light and keep talking, but the vast majority of the time, you’d better stop or you’re in danger.

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Emoticons SEO

I’ve read various articles about Google rolling out and rolling back emoticons in search results pages. I just typed in “hotels sacramento” into Google and can see the hotel icon appearing to the LHS of the Title Tag (first blue line of resutls) for Expedia and Orbitz. You can see in the HTML of the page the icon sitting inside the Title Tag. Simple enough. The better piece of the equation is to consider how icons/ emoticons make users feel as much as it helps the listing stand out against competitors.

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So as I often do, I asked my daughter why emoticons are so important and she sent me this picture. In a world where search is all about keywords, sometimes an image speaks what words cannot.

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The Business Case for Google Virtual Tours on Google+ Pages

More and more businesses are creating Google virtual tours of inside their clothing retail stores, wineries, shopping centres and event airports. To do this, you first choose a Google Trusted photographer and then pay them to take photos. They are then posted on your business Google Plus Page and Google Maps page. The business case is very compelling and SearchForecast is highly recommending to clients to implement where possible.

View the finished Google Virtual Tour of a Bedding Store here.

Experimental Geo-Marketing using Golf Balls

In February, 2015 Twitter  announced it had reached a deal with Google to make its tweets more searchable online. If you’re looking to expand the ‘social signals’ that Google count in their ranking algorithms, consider this innovative approach by long time colleague Steve Bennet who has had 48 Titleist golf balls marked “If Found, tweet course/hole to @professorVC“. There are many ways to promote your business using geo elements.

As Google Place Pages have become Google Plus Pages and Twitter campaigns integrates more with search, combined with users wanting to charge their location and what they are doing, this is a innovative marketing technique I wanted to share. I hope it inspires you to go and play golf and think about combining geo, Twitter and social into your online optimization campaigns.


The Power of Awesome

Everyone is awesome in Silicon Valley. That’s what you say to people here in “the Bay” so they’ll like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter and Instagram and talk nicely about you to everyone. Social currency is traded on Facebook and now as you walk through Valley Fair in San Jose, they sell wooden signs that reinforce the real reason social media is so popular…. take a look…

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Google Mobile Algorithm Update – 21 April 2015

We have been working furiously to get our client mobile websites compliant with Google before their 21 April 2015 algorithm update. Google are ruthless on websites that don’t comply to best practice page speed, user interface and design specifications they deem as being best practice.

The correct spacing between icons, viewport font sizes, download speed and browser compatibility on all mobile versions is important to ensure the website is ‘mobile friendly’.

Read the official announcement at