Yahoo: The Underdog of Search

We all love a good underdog story. The geeky girl takes off her glasses and become prom queen. The team that seemingly had no shot comes back to win it all.  The inner nerd in all of us can’t get enough of seeing the impossible become possible. These tales aren’t just limited to high schools and playing fields and if you think the search engine arena is exempt, think again.

The story begins the same. Popular kid, Google, has held the market for quite some time taking on the role of trendsetter, determining how we should search as well as how we should be found. While Bing has made some attempts to take down the giant, little Yahoo has seemingly been pushed aside and taken on role of search’s quintessential nerd. For a while, they seemed to embrace their Mom friendly persona but it seems as late, they have realized these lovely ladies might not be around forever and are making moves to stay a player in the game.

First, they followed the classic rule, if you want to be like the cool kids, do as the cool kids do. Early this year, Yahoo switched to having all searches going through a secure sever, just as Google did in September 2013. This protects searches from being recorded by third parties, and made a major buzz last year when “Not Provided” keyword percentages began to climb. While this seemingly could have gone unnoticed for Yahoo, in classic nerd style they failed to make a major change in how “referrer” data is recorded and in turn this caused Yahoo organic traffic to begin showing up as “”.  For users just glancing at traffic data, it would appear as though their Yahoo organic traffic dropped suddenly without reason, making the search engine appear less popular than ever. No one said being the underdog was easy.

While this lack luster attempt at becoming the next Google may have fallen short, Yahoo does not appear to be giving up with the recent announcement of some major partnerships.  First there were quiet rumors that Yahoo was vying to become the default browser for Safari. While nothing has been confirmed, this would be a major feat for Yahoo as it would essentially force millions of Apple into using Yahoo until they take the initiative to change it. If forcing people to like you doesn’t work, then perhaps buying them will. Last week it was announced that Yahoo is teaming up with Live Nation to stream one new concert a day for a year starting late this summer. The shows will be featured on Yahoo Screen, a new music-dedicated channel that is aimed to be what MTV used to be. I’ll admit, my interest is peaked.

With a strategy that clearly is targeting a younger, hipper audience, Yahoo isn’t stopping with music. Yahoo Screen will also feature two new comedy series set to air Netflix-marathon-binge-watching style and again I’ll admit, I’m a little excited for both. The first comes from the director of The Office, Bryan Gordon, and follows a Silicon Valley tycoon purchase of a fictional basketball team. The second comes from Freaks and Geeks director Paul Feig (also of Bridesmaids fame) and focuses on a group of misfits trying to fit in an alternate universe.  I can’t think of a more perfect fit for Yahoo, can you?

Can Yahoo be the ultimate comeback kid? While it may seem too early to tell, their effort is definitely noticeable and keeping media a buzz with their efforts as of late. If there’s one way to entice America and break a somewhat negative stereotype, it’s allowing them to day dream about seeing Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake up close and personal in their living room.

Posted in Search Engines, Search News | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Using to Enhance Your Search Engine Listings

We’ve talked about structured data before but in this blog I’d like to discuss a website that’s extremely helpful for structured data markup. Most websites are created from structured data stored in databases. Once that data is put into HTML, that structured data can be lost or very hard to recover. This structured data can be of great use to search engines, as it helps them read and display a website more dynamically. offers different “schemas” that webmaster can utilize to markup the data on HTML pages to improve the appearance of the website within search results. has become recognized as the industry standard by the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Search engines like structured data markup as it helps improve users more easily find what they are looking for, thus improving the overall user experience for that search engines. For these same reasons, structured data markup can have a positive effect on SEO for your website.

Essentially, provides a shared vocabulary that webmasters can use when marking up data for websites. In other words, has taken the guesswork out of structured data, offering a uniform and easy way to apply these data markups to any website.

For an example, let’s take a look at using structured data markup for an event:


Whoa, whoa– hold the phone. What are we looking at here? Well, basically the different properties in the “Property” column on the left can be inserted into the HTML code with the proper “Expected Type” to display that information on search engine result pages. For instance, the HTML for a page without markup looks something like this:


Using the Event markup properties above, the coding would look something like this:


So basically, nearly every key aspect of an event, such as date, time and place can be marked up using schemas to display that information on search engines. The end result of using structured data markup for an event would display something like this on a Google search page:


As you can see, the date, time and place are all displayed within the Google search engine result page. Users can now readily view all relevant information of the event without having to dig around on your website. offers a plethora of different types of markups for products,  places, people, organizations and reviews. Pretty much if you can think of it, there’s probably a markup for that. Implementing these schemas does take some HTML knowledge so I recommend speaking with your developer or webmaster if you are keen on utilizing structured data for your site.

Brian Carver is an Account Manager at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here.

Posted in Advice, Bing, Google, Onpage Optimization, Search Engines, SEO, SEO Advice, SEO Coding, SEO tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

10 Useful Websites That Aren’t All SEO Focused

I recently stumbled upon this BuzzFeed article that lists 33 of the coolest websites – some that would be relevant to SEO, web design, internet marketing, and some that I thought could be useful. Here are my favorites from the list.

1. What the Font?

Panda Meme

I typed in “Panda Meme” and chose this one since it’s a bit easier to read. This would be a great tool if it was a bit more accurate. The results they gave me did not match the photo, but they do have forums on the site that are viewed by font gurus whom may be able to tell you what the font is. Though I wanted to share it since it’s such a great idea, and I’m sure there are times they can be extremely accurate.


2. Account Killer

Account Killer

Easily delete your social accounts with this account killing tool.

3. Adobe Kuler

Adobe Kuler

Here you can find complimentary color palletes — for websites, interior decorating, and more!

4. GifprintGifPrint

Print .gifs for free and make them into mini flip books!


5. The Rasterbator


This one is my favorite idea of all the printing sites featured on BuzzFeed. You can make huge printable (and affordable) posters out of any image. This one’s great especially if your walls are bare and you’re on a budget!


6. TwoFoods: Instant Food Comparison


I compared honeydew to hello panda cookies because that’s what I was deciding between after dinner last night. Glad I went with the honeydew (although, I had already eaten a packet earlier that day)! I was just surprised they had Hello Pandas on there, I’m guessing they have everything! If you haven’t had this delicious chocolate (or strawberry, or vanilla) filled cookie treat, you’ve got to!


7. Is it Iced Coffee Weather?

Iced Coffee WeatherYes
I mean, it’s kind of always iced coffee weather to me, but this website will tell you “NO” if you’re in a cold location.

8. 10-Minute Mail

10 Minute Mail

You can get a free e-mail here that will self-destruct in 10 minutes. This would be great to sign up for Groupon! I’ve pressed “unsubscribe” or “this is junk” at least 50 times, but somehow their e-mail gods still send me deals in my inbox daily.

9. Word Frequency Counter

Word Counter

Great for blog posts, essays, website content, general writing, and more! They even feature a phrase frequency finder.

10. Down for Everyone or Just Me?


This is my favorite out of the 33 websites listed on the BuzzFeed article linked above. It is an extremely useful tool I can use every day. There are tons of times a website has gone down due to a server issue, IP issue, cache issue, programming issue, user issue, or any other issue. This website is short and to the point. You type in the website and it will tell you if the site is down, or it’s just your browser. Easy peasy!

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What about my rankings?

For most people an SEO campaign has one objective and one objective only: to increase their search engine rankings. I mean that’s what SEO is for right? At the start of the campaign you pick your keywords, you measure where you’re ranking for those keywords and then you measure the success of your SEO by where your rankings for those keywords end up. Simple, right? Well, not exactly.

First let’s take this all the way back to the basics. Why do you want those rankings to improve? Sure it’s nice to be able to type in a keyword and see your website right there on page 1 but if SEO was only about ego keyword research would be a whole lot easier. At the end of the day SEO is about exactly the same thing that any other marketing effort is about, increasing your exposure to potential customers, it’s about traffic and it’s about conversions. The reason you’re spending your time or money on an SEO campaign is because you want to get more customers. So, if your rankings don’t move for your chosen keywords does that mean that SEO has been a failure?

Not necessarily.

What if your chosen keywords don’t move but you start getting traffic from new variations in those areas? What if the number of search queries generating impressions and click-through traffic grow despite static rankings on the core keywords? What if your SEO company isn’t able to get your website featured organically in a highly competitive market but creates Yelp and social media profiles that grow your audience and start driving calls and conversions? In all of these scenarios, the basic objective of your marketing efforts has been fulfilled and you’re making more money as a business than you were before.

Rankings are by no means irrelevant and any good SEO campaign will lead to an increased search engine presence but with Google’s new algorithm updates and move towards exact match search results instead of the broad matches of yester-year specific keywords are no longer as important as they once were. Keywords that previously showed search volumes in the high hundreds to low thousands are now in the high tens. Other keywords that registered several hundred searches a month have seen their volume disappear altogether. So does this mean that the online markets for those areas have plummeted? No, instead it means that we need to re-think the way we are targeting those markets.


Another thing that has devalued keywords as a key performance indicator is the increase in focus on individualized and tailored search engine results. Search engine algorithms have become increasingly complex in the factors that they consider when creating a search engine results page for a user and many of these factors are based on the user. Google’s localized search engine results have been well known for some time but they are becoming increasingly focused and tailored as Google’s focus on mobile search and ability to recognize local business relevance grows.  Even your personal browsing history and social media use can influence what you see and you can bet it’s going to differ from what other searchers are seeing.

SEO is a constantly evolving industry, with the flick of a switch Google can, and has, completely changed the game more than once. That means that the way we think about success in SEO needs to change too after all, rankings are nice, traffic and conversions are better.

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Local SEO tips made simple

Assuming your product or service is of the local variety, people won’t be flying into town solely for the purpose of acquiring it. You supply to a demanding audience within a set geographic area.

While that sounds limiting, it’s quite the contrary in the eyes of local search. That is because your service, be it legal defense or a food truck, only has to compete with businesses in your area. Smaller region means smaller competition.

Like any SEO agency will tell you, the first step in a successful campaign is defining a tangible business objective. For local businesses, you’ve already identified your target market and region. So defining your business campaign means asking yourself: Why does my website exist? And what do I want my website to accomplish? Your SEO optimization objective will reflect your overall business objectives.

With the right search engine marketing strategy, your local business may display in Google search engine results in one of two ways: in a carousel, or in a listing format. The first format collects both organic and paid results, complete with mapping functionality. The listing format is indented from the rest of the results and prominently showcases the important points: address, phone number, and reviews if available.

SEOhaus - Google Search 2014-04-30

Here are a few local SEO tips for optimizing your website and fast results:

  • Create a Google+ Local page, or claim your page if it already exists in local search. A variety of online service can help you claim your listing, even if you weren’t the one who added it. In your new Local page, the most important factor is making sure to feature your correct address and phone number. In a recent survey by Placeable, over 70% of respondents lost trust or loyalty in a business because the address listed online was incorrect.
  • Reviews are becoming more and more important (and visible) factors in search engine ranking. This is the part of your web presence you have the least control over. Your responsibility is to provide a likable product, and politely remind customers to share thoughts. This is even more important to searchers than it is to crawlers.
  • Search engine marketing strategy is just as much about smart UX and content as it is about keywords and meta data, so make sure it’s a site you wouldn’t bounce from immediately. Make sure copy is readable and engaging without keyword stuffing, turn large chunks of text into bullets, and reduce the number of clicks required for conversion by using strong calls to action.

If you’ve found any other strategies that produced results for your local business SEO campaign, feel free to comment!

Posted in SEO tips | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Get in on the Fun of Social Media

A bit of silliness never hurts your social media campaign

Admit it. You spend way too much time on social media. If you’re a social media manager like me, you can get away with calling it “work” or “research.” But let’s be honest. Those puppy photos you spend hours scrolling through is only research for a non-existent study of how much cuteness a human being can endure.

Social media was created to connect people all over the globe in a way that’s entertaining and engaging.  How many times have you found yourself complaining about a friend, former classmate or aunt who constantly posts the lamest, most boring stuff on Earth to Facebook? Probably more times than you can count, right? That’s why it is imperative for companies and businesses using social media to connect to their fans and clients to do something they might have never thought to do: have some fun!

Even if you think your company or industry is not the most exciting in the world, a bit of lighthearted fun with social media can hugely help a brand establish a tone and personality that pushes their popularity. In many cases, that leads to brand loyalty and an increase in sales of a product or service.

A perfect example of a brand using a bit of silliness to gain some momentum on social media is Charmin toilet paper. The brand currently boasts a Twitter following of more than 34, 000 and was named the no. 1 sassiest brand on Twitter by Time. Through their hilarious #tweetsfromtheseat and #CharminCourtesy tweets, Charmin’s social media managers take a product that could easily be ridiculed and gets in on the joke. They tweet irreverent potty humor that garners retweets, favorites and mentions, like these examples:




Their Internet savviness, quirky posts, call to action posts that ask followers probing questions like “Do you light a match or courtesy flush?” and accompanying illustrations of the Charmin bear looking adorable all have helped catapult the brand into  an Internet sensation.

Charmin’s use of humor many not be to you or your company’s taste, but the message here is to consider taking a lighter approach to your social media campaign. Facebook and Twitter thrive on shareable content, and brands that post pieces that resonate with people in a fun way tend to find greater success with their social media strategies.

Tapping into trending topics or anything major happening in pop culture in a humorous way is also a major boost to any brand’s social reach. For instance, this simple tweet from Arby’s Twitter page with regards to Pharrell Williams’ ridiculous hat worn at the Grammy Awards went viral.


I mean, look at those retweets and favorites! While your small company may not see that level of response, it’s entirely possible that with the right hashtags and tags you can find some new followers out there in Internet land. It’s just a matter of establishing a tone, zeroing in on who your audience is and not being afraid of a bit of silliness from time to time.

Obviously, it can’t all be jokes. You are trying to sell your product after all. But by mixing in strong call to action posts, mentioning trending topics whenever possible and creating a recognizable voice, you can see your brand grow into an Internet favorite. A cute puppy photo never hurts either.


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Five of Our Favorite Free Marketing Tools

If you’ve taken the time to peruse our blog, you will notice that we take a very transparent approach to the way that we share our tricks and tips on the SEO industry. It is extremely important to us that we help to educate our customers so they have a full understanding of the measures that are taking place behind the curtain. With that being said, I wanted to highlight a few marketing tools that we find to be extremely helpful to our day-to-day workflow.

1) Open Site Explorer

This tool provides you with a list of the websites that are linking to you, or another site. By acquiring insight into a backlink profile, you then have the opportunity to establish strong relationships with websites that are interested in your product or brand. This can also be used as a handy tool to monitor the websites that are linking to your competitors. With this information, you can then work to obtain similar link profiles of these competitors.

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer

2) Content Idea Generator

Are you struggling to come up with unique ideas for your next blog post, or content piece? The content idea generator can help. By simply entering a broad topic, it creates strings of popular searches that can be placed together to come up with innovative new topics. Sometimes the topics that it spits out are just plain silly, but with a little tweaking, it can provide some creative insight.

Portent's Content Idea Generator

Portent’s Content Idea Generator

3) Hemingway

Hemingway is a helpful tool that analyses a block of content, and helps you to tighten it up. State your thoughts concisely with Hemingway.



4) Google Trends

Google Trends works to show how often a keyword, or search term is entered relative to the total search volume across different regions of the world. It also offers insight into, “interest over time” of a certain topic. This can be helpful in dissecting traffic fluctuation over an extended amount of time. Google Trends also provides, “related searches” which can provide additional ideas for keyword research.

Google Trends

Google Trends Graph

5) Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo helps you to quickly identify topics and content that is working well in a specific industry. See who the top authorities are for any given field, and glean insight into areas you may need to strengthen.



These days, it seems as if there is a tool to assist with the majority of our everyday challenges, and SEO evolves, as do our tools. From content inspiration to competitor comparisons and research, all of the information is right at your fingertips. What tools are integral to your workflow?

Posted in General Online Marketing, Marketing Tips, Web Marketing Tools | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Heartbleed and the future of SEO

With the recent Heartbleed epidemic fresh on everyone’s mind, security seems to be the latest topic to worry about when it comes to your site. Am I safe? Am I putting my customers at risk? Will this have an effect on my traffic? What about my SEO? While security is and always should be a concern, it now seems like it is one more item to put on the ever growing list of priorities you need to be concerned with when it comes to your site.

So first let’s discuss what Heartbleed is and who might be affected. Heartbleed is first a foremost a bug, not a virus, in the functionality of the OpenSSL library. This library is widely used with security vendors for secure web browsing and not an uncommon practice on sites on the web today. The bug, or the chink in the armor if you will, allows an attacker to retrieve systems remotely and access secure information such as usernames, passwords and keys in which they can use to then go on to make larger attacks. Having a security system that seems anything less than secure is not ideal and one that can easily cause panic for webmasters and consumers alike.

Heartbleed should be taken seriously and there are steps to ensure that you have not been affected. If you have not done so already, you can check your site here: to see if you are vulnerable and it would be in your best interest to have your webmaster regenerate a new private key as well as update the version of OpenSSL if applicable. Once you know everything is again secure, you could turn a headache into an opportunity to shine in customer service. While it may seem like a touchy subject to call attention to, at this point be forthcoming with your customers and let them know what you have done to ensure their safety as well as the actions they can take gives you a chance to be positive and proactive. Pinterest sent out such an email this weekend and it was a great example of how to be helpful without causing alarm:

Hi Elisa,
You may have heard of a recently discovered security issue—called Heartbleed—that impacted lots of sites on the internet, including Pinterest. Heartbleed affected OpenSSL, a type of technology websites use to keep information secure as it travels through the web.
We were quick to fix the issue on Pinterest, and we didn’t find any evidence of mischief on Pinner accounts as a result. But to be extra careful, we’re asking you to reset your password.

Ok, ok so secure sites are obviously important, but what does this have to do with SEO? Well possibly quite a bit in the near future. There have recently been reports stating Matt Cutts would like to begin rewarding secure sites with better rankings. While these comments made during “private conversations” definitely stem from the rumor mill at this point, it is something to take note of, particularly if you are an ecommerce site or one that requires info from your visitors. While this new ranking factor may be a ways out, it all comes down to the common thread of having a quality site. Whether you have a one page site or have a site that offers thousands of products, your goal should always be to ensure you are providing the highest quality possible.  From content to security, quality is the name of the game and it’s time to step it up if you want any chance of playing.

Elisa Houghtelin is one of the Account Managers at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!

Posted in Advice, Google, Search News | Leave a comment

Using Reddit to Test Your Marketing Strategy

I’m sure most of us out there with a computer and an internet connection are familiar with Reddit. Essentially a grown-up version of the bulletin boards of yesteryear, Reddit has quickly risen to be one of the most popular social networking and news sites on the web. Many a meme has been birthed on Reddit and opinions are espoused in subreddits fervently and passionately.

It all started somewhat innocently as a way to share my client’s website and the product they offer. For the purposes of this blog–and because I’m fast approaching middle age–let’s say the product my client is selling is a product to treat hair loss for men.

Anyone remember "spray-on hair?"

Anyone remember “spray-on hair?”

Also, for the purposes of this blog, let’s say the hair loss treatment my client offers is a bit different than other products on the market and therefore less proven to consumers. The price for this hypothetical hair growth system is $200. Sales of said product have been minimal and we’re not quite sure why.

First things first, I found the appropriate Reddit thread for male baldness in order to reach my target audience. Then, in trying to find a way to share my client’s site in a non-artificial way, I took a more interactive approach–I posed a question. This is a technique I learned from doing social media updates. Posts that ask questions of the audience tend to have a higher level of engagement. My post looked something like this:


I honestly didn’t think much of it at the time and I moved on to other projects. However, out of curiosity, I checked on the post a few days later and found that I had several responses to my original post.


After reading the comment, I logged into Google Analytics and under Referral Traffic, I noticed that my client’s website had received about 20 visits from my initial Reddit post. Cool! I was surprised to learn how helpful Reddit users are in answering questions. This particular user actually went to the website and watched the videos in order to have a more informed opinion in answering my question. Most importantly, this comment and other comments like it confirm one of my suspicions–that my client’s product is too expensive.

Let’s move on to another hypothetical comment:


Ouch! These Reddit commentators don’t pull any punches. That said, the truth hurts sometimes. It might not be a pleasant conversation with my client but the site may be in need of a redesign in order to build trust with potential customers. Based on these comments, I now have some ideas on how to improve my client’s campaign, which may include lowering the price of the product and redesigning the website.

These are just some hypothetical responses but really the possibilities are endless. Reddit users can offer invaluable insight into strengths and weaknesses with your product, service, website, marketing strategy, etc. By finding the right subreddit, you have a direct line to your target audience and their unfiltered opinion. Furthermore, I encourage that you chime in as well, beyond the initial post, in order to a) keep the discussion going and b) extract more opinions and information.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t include some caveats:

1) Take Reddit comments with a grain of salt – There’s something known as “online disinhibition effect”, which in essence means that people act differently on the internet than in face-to-face interactions. In other words, under the guise of anonymity, people are more prone to comment negatively on the web. Look at these comments with a critical eye, as one negative comment early on in a thread can set the tone, as people can feed off of each other’s negativity.

2) Strength in numbers – If only one commentator points out a weakness with your marketing, I wouldn’t immediately go and your adjust your strategy. However, if multiple commentators are saying the same thing, it might have some weight.

3) Ethical considerations – My hypothetical comment implies that I am looking for hair growth products, which in reality, is not the case. I don’t advise being deceptive, as I think that white-hat practices should extend into every aspect of marketing, not just SEO. I was merely using this as a jumping-off point. A better, more ethical way to start a Reddit thread might just be something as simple as “what’s your opinion on this product/website: ________?” If you’re trying to solicit honest opinions, it behooves you to set the tone by being honest yourself.

I’d be curious to know how this technique works for other marketers and if anyone out there has found some other benefits in posting on Reddit. Feel free to comment!

Brian Carver is an Account Manager at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here.

Posted in Advice, General Online Marketing, Uncategorized, Web Marketing Tools | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Mobile Shift in Google’s Paid Search

An interesting article from arose in mid-March stating that Google is predicted to lose $1.4B in desktop paid searches. U.S. paid mobile search grew more than double – at a whopping 120.8% in 2013. In contrast, paid desktop search had only risen by 2.3% last year.

On the same note, the Google’s mobile search revenues will increase by $1.76 billion according to

So what does this mean for Google?

Desktop search is declining, and in turn mobile search is increasing. With those numbers above, the prospects are that mobile search will total one-third of Google’s total search revenues by the end of 2014.

How has Google put more focus on the mobile market?

Last summer, Google announced “enhanced campaigns” which combine both desktop and mobile pay per click advertising departments into one. These enable users to purchase ads as a single package rather than having two separate Google Adwords budgets for one website.

There are upgraded features and new conversion types in Enhanced Campaigns. For example, phone calls are integrated from a click-to-call perspective in a mobile ads campaign. Another added bonus is that you can make adjustments based on the location of the mobile user, which is helpful for local businesses. You can also find many more features here.

Creating one enhanced campaign will provide clients with the incentive to put more budget toward mobile, and make it easier for users overall.

Is that why the SERP has changed?

It is a possibility that Google decided to shift the design of the overall search engine results page (SERP) so that Adwords clicks (especially in mobile) will continue to grow. Here is a comparison of what the SERP used to look like, compared to what it looks like now:

adwords before and after

Photo Credit: Moz Blog

The old version includes a lightly colored background and underlined title tags. The new design is much more discreet and follows the look and feel of the organic search results. The way you can tell the difference is the addition of the yellow [Ads] label for each section of the SERP.

This may prompt users to click on the ads more often because it is less busy and complex.

What does this all mean?

It means that Google is making an innovative modification to the SERPs as well as Adwords offerings in order to help users as they shift towards mobile searching.

Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Posted in Google, Mobile, Mobile Compatibility, Mobile Search, Paid Search | Leave a comment