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Yesterday, David Chen live-tweeted the process of becoming an American citizen when he, along with 900 other individuals, participated in the Naturalization Oath Ceremony at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Chen, the managing editor of /Film, is used to using his Twitter account to live-tweet film festivals or events like Comic Con, but this was something different.

“I didn’t anticipate being able to live-tweet the ceremony, because I had heard a rumor that they would confiscate my electronic devices. This ended up not being true, so after I checked in, I realized I had an opportunity to show people an aspect of citizenship that they might not usually be privy to. And I took it.”

In addition to sending out tweets about the ceremony, Chen also uploaded videos to YouTube, photos to Flickr and even took the time to do an audio interview with another new citizen.

After the ceremony, Chen wrote about the experience on his blog, sharing what it means to be an American to him. Born in Taiwan, Chen’s family came to America when he was two years old. Now more than 20 years later, he’s officially a U.S. citizen.

We’ve seen examples of people using social media to share love, report on breaking news and even on the birth of a child. It only makes sense that we now have one of the first instances of someone live-tweeting the naturalization process.

The mobile nature of something like Twitter — Chen was able to send out updates as he waited in line for his certificate, prepared to say the oath, etc. — makes it the perfect medium to capture some of these life events.

Congrats Dave! How do you use social media to share your stories with the world? Let us know!

Tags: citizenship, dave chen, Film, twitter

If you’re seeking a job in social media, we’d like to help out. For starters, Mashable’s Job Lists section gathers together all our resource lists, how-tos and expert guides to help you get hired. In particular, you might want to see our articles on How to Leverage Social Media for Career Success and How to Find a Job on Twitter.

But we’d like to help in a more direct way, too. Mashable’s job boards are a place for socially-savvy companies to find people like you. This week and every week, Mashable features its coveted job board listings for a variety of positions in the web, social media space, and beyond. Have a look at what’s good and new on our job boards:

Mashable Job Board Listings

New Media Coordinator at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL.

You’ll be responsible for New Media Content and Communication and contributing to and supporting Shedd’s online communication initiatives, with a 40% focus on Great Lakes conservation awareness and 60% on marketing.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Interactive Media Producer at Alliant Credit Union in Chicago, IL.

The successful candidate in this role manages the execution of Internet-related projects from concept through development and delivery.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Web Content Administrator at CareFirst BCBS in Owings Mills, MD.

The Web Content Administrator is responsible for directing the development of websites to support business areas, including making changes and enhancements using CareFirst’s content management system or other web development tools.

Read more about this opportunity here.

User Experience Architect at Hayneedle, Inc. in Omaha, NE.

The User Experience Architect will lead the conceptualization, planning and information architecture for retail ecommerce applications and design prototypes for usability testing.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Interactive Designer at Hayneedle, Inc. in Omaha, NE.

The Interactive Designer works closely with Creative, Product development, and IT to establish a branded interactive experience through the use of relevant program language.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Account Planner at Sigma Group in Oradell, NJ.

The Account Planner embraces clients and consumers as partners in the process of developing marketing communications, using their input to inform and inspire creative ideas, and guide and validate the resulting integrated marketing campaigns.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Online Marketing Associate at Ferrazzi Greenlight in New York, NY.

You will be the Big Kahuna of our online customer acquisition efforts (email, website, print, newsletters, SEO/SEM, social media, affiliate sales, and events to maximize online revenue), as well as manage initiatives that deepen relationships with existing customers.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media/Marketing Unpaid Internship at Recessionwire in New York, NY.

Recessionwire, a website featuring news, advice, perspective and humor about the recession and recovery, is seeking a marketing/social media intern to help increase brand awareness, drive traffic, expand a loyal user base — and maintain the buzzy profile that Recessionwire has enjoyed in the media, the blogosphere, and with our readers.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Marketing Expert at Action Marketing Group in Boulder, CO.

A Boulder, CO based experiential marketing agency is bolstering its digital capabilities and is seeking field experts to help lead the evolution of the agency into a stronger, more digitized culture

Read more about this opportunity here.

User Interface Developer at Discover Home Network in San Francisco, CA. (.NET shop) is looking for a talented and energetic front-end developer to lead the interface side of development for a new and innovative housing-related web based application.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media Marketing Intern at Root Orange in Silver Spring, MD.

Root Orange is seeking someone to provide support with our in-house online marketing initiatives as well as to contribute creative thinking on how to virally spread the word.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Group Account Director at 360i in New York, NY.

360i is looking for a Group Account Director who will be responsible for representing the agency on multiple pieces of business while consistently championing 360’s digital offerings (SEM,SEO, Emerging Media, Customer Insights, Design & Development and more) among senior level clients, both existing and new.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Production Designer – Advertising at EdgeCore in Cedar Falls, IA.

EdgeCore is looking for a talented, motivated, and experienced individual in the production of printed materials for a National, Fortune 100 company.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media Sales Consultant at Meltwater Buzz in London, UK.

The position offers complete account responsibility from first contact to end negotiations, and account management.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Vice President of Human Resources at Bazaarvoice in Austin, TX.

The ideal candidate will possess a background in business and be an innovative leader with functional knowledge and experience in Human Resources.

Read more about this opportunity here.

PHP Developer and Social Networking Guru at Giantnerd in Boulder, CO.

Ideal candidate is extremely hard working, extraordinarily talented, entrepreneurial, THINKS OUTSIDE THE BOX, has great problem solving skills excellent intuition for user interface, and is extremely passionate about open source applications, web 2.0, mobile applications, social networking and social commerce.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media Specialist at Break Media in Beverly Hills, CA.

You will be responsible for writing public-facing blog posts, commenting on articles and videos in the community, and Facebook/Twitter updates, all with correct grammar and tone.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Director Social Media at Demand Media in Austin, TX.

In this position, you will play a pioneering role in the convergence of content and social media.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Account Executive at CUnet in Paramus, NJ.

The ideal candidate will coordinate and execute interactive media plans, lead generation and special projects in accordance with the client’s objectives and budget parameters.

Read more about this opportunity here.

National Sales Manager at CUnet in Paramus, NJ.

The National Sales Manager is responsible to lead CUnet’s efforts to sell our suite of interactive media products and services to higher education clients.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Senior Developer at Odopod in San Francisco, CA.

Senior Developers lead project development at Odopod. They are responsible for planning and implementing the code that drives our projects and collaborating with other developers and vendors to execute on larger projects.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Developer at Odopod in San Francisco.

Developers support Senior Developers on project development. They are able to independently research and complete development tasks assigned to them.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Associate Director of Interaction Design at Odopod in San Francisco, CA.

Odopod is organized into multidisciplinary teams of 5-8 designers and engineers. Each team is led by an Associate Creative Director and a Senior Producer. Your job is to lead your team to create great work.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Online Marketing Manager at Simon & Schuster in New York, NY.

The Online Marketing Manager position will be dedicated to title specific online marketing, servicing the imprints of Simon & Schuster.

Read more about this opportunity here.

E-Communications Assistant at Animal Humane Society in Minneapolis, MN.

You’ll provide support for developing e-marketing and fundraising program which seeks to build a base of annual supporters and service users for the Animal Humane Society (AHS) by using web-based technology.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Marketing Campaigns Manager at Bazaarvoice in Austin, TX.

The Marketing Campaigns Manager will support and execute on demand generation programs and broader marketing and sales needs. This is an opportunity for an organized, action based, technically sophisticated marketer to play a key role in our Marketing team

Read more about this opportunity here.

Graphic Designer at in Houston, TX.

The Graphic Designer must be an Adobe rockstar who can easily create and convert designs into stunning web design, collateral materials, brand IDs, presentations, and more.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Webmaster at in Houston, TX.

The Webmaster implements web pages, answers emails from users, facilitates contests and promotions, maintains content and oversees day-to-day management of and its affiliated sites.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Brand Manager at in Houston, TX.

The Brand manager will plan, develop, and direct the marketing efforts for the Greenopolis brand across its various embodiments as a web destination, rewards program and real-world recycling application.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Marketing and Social Media Intern at Star Fleet Yachts in Kemah, TX.

A marketing internship at Star Fleet gives individuals the opportunity to learn more about the entertainment yacht and marketing industries while also becoming an important component of our business.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Associate Communications Director at Corporate Accountability International in Boston, MA.

The Associate Communications Director will increase Corporate Accountability International’s presence in the media, campaign visibility and name recognition by managing and expanding our press program, with a particular emphasis on deepening relationships with key media.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Manager, Online Marketing Production at Share Our Strength in Washington DC.

This position supports the organization’s online marketing efforts, managing the production flow for 5 web sites and email marketing efforts for 4 different fundraising platforms.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Interactive Marketing Specialist at Compass Knowledge Group in Orlando, FL.

You would be reponsible for managing paid search marketing (pay-per-click) accounts such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and MSN Ad Center among other things.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Insider Writer and Editor at Environmental Defense Fund in New York, NY.

We are looking for an experienced communicator to write and edit Insider, the Environmental Defense Fund staff-only intranet.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media and Community Outreach Manager at Tuvel Communications in Washington DC.

We’re looking for a Social Media and Community Outreach Manager to manage independent contractors on a variety of projects and campaigns.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Web Producer at X PRIZE Foundation.

The main function of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Web Producer is to curate, aggregate, and create high quality content that is organized and accessible through our websites and social media services.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Metromix Product Analyst at Metromix in Chicago, IL.

We’re looking for smart people to help build Metromix into a thriving business with a strong national brand – and have fun doing it.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Freelance PHP Developer at HUGE in New York, NY.

The Freelance PHP Developer will participate in development efforts on projects for external clients. He or she will work with the account team, interaction designers, and graphic designers to design and build interactive solutions for clients.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Senior Account Executive at Electric Artists in New York, NY.

The Senior Account Executive will support the client’s overall online marketing, PR, social media and promotional initiatives through expert ideation and project management.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Sports Social Media Project Intern at The Foundation for Tomorrow / Sports Media Challenge in Charlotte, NC.

Join the team that plans and executes a comprehensive social media campaign to support this worthy charity event.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media Editor (Internship) at United Nations Development Programme in New York, NY.

The interested candidate will assist the Web team in the evaluation, editing and organization of UNDP’s network of sites

Read more about this opportunity here.

API Engineer at Network for Good in Bethesda, MD.

To support our growing business, Network for Good is seeking an energetic and hard-working API Engineer to coordinate the development of new partner sites, ensure that partners can easily connect and utilize Network for Good’s API, and implement a strategy for working with outside technical partners.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Front End Web Developer at Partnership for a Drug Free America in New York, NY.

The ideal candidate will have at least 1-2 years of experience as a web developer.
Major Responsibilities:

Read more about this opportunity here.

Online Sales Manager at in ANYWHERE.

We are a small, open-minded, and dedicated team looking for a few good people to work independently at the workplace of their choice – be it a beach in Goa, a cafe in Paris or your bedroom in San Francisco.

Read more about this opportunity here.

PHP Web Developer at The Table Project in Minneapolis, MN.

We’re looking for an energetic, passionate web developer who deeply loves the Church and online social networking.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Freelance Writers at Demand Studios in San Francisco, CA (telecommute).

To support the recent growth of these websites and their visitors’ demand for high quality articles, we are looking to add experienced and highly motivated freelance writers to our team.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media Coordinator at Ashoka’s Changemakers in Arlington, VA.

The Social Media Strategist/Community Mobilizer will invigorate Changemakers’ communications strategy for accelerating social change by signaling action opportunities within our community.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media Manager at Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, MD.

The Social Media Manager acts as the primary relationship builder with our communities of fans on sites like Facebook, YouTube and MySpace.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Online Marketing and Editorial Specialist at Human Rights Campaign in Washington DC.

The Online Marketing and Editorial Specialist reports directly to the Marketing Director and is responsible for ongoing communication of the Human Rights Campaign’s online properties and building online brand awareness.

Read more about this opportunity here.

.NET Information Systems Specialist at Center of Arts Management and Technology in Pittsburgh, PA.

The Information Systems Specialist is responsible for design, construction and maintenance of custom database solutions for outside client base relevant to the research and service mission of the Center for Arts Management and Technology (CAMT) at Carnegie Mellon University.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Deputy Communications Director at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) in New York, NY.

Based in IAVA’s New York City headquarters, the Deputy Communications Director will work closely with the Communications Director and the Communications Associates on all communications efforts for the organization.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Vice President of Information Technology at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

We are seeking a Vice President of Information Technology who is a highly technical individual, experienced in designing and managing infrastructures that provide a variety of web applications and e-mail services to millions of individual users, daily.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Communications Specialist at WWF Canada in Ottawa, CA.

WWF-Canada seeks a dynamic, bilingual, well-rounded Communications Specialist with writing and strategic communications experience ideally honed in politics, advocacy or conservation.

Read more about this opportunity here.

.NET Web Developer at Girl Scouts of the USA in New York, NY.

The Web Developer designs, develops, and/or tests Web applications. She/He performs maintenance and modification or enhancements for the organization’s existing systems and applications.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media Outreach Specialist at Citizens Utility Board in Chicago, IL.

The Citizens Utility Board, an Illinois-based, non-profit consumer advocacy organization, is seeking a Social Media Outreach Specialist to promote its new energy management web tool ( and to help manage its social media presence.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Marketing Consultant at NAS Recruitment Communications in Cleveland, OH.

We are seeking a Marketing Consultant to promote the effectiveness of our innovative solutions for employment branding, candidate engagement and client return.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Office Admin at Undercurrent in New York, NY.

You are a digitally saavy individual who is passionate about organization, efficiency and workflow. You are ridiculously detail oriented.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Senior HR Leader/VP Minister of People at Hulu in Los Angeles, CA.

We are seeking a world-class senior executive to serve as the company’s full-time leader on all things talent.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media Specialist at HIV Research Section in San Francisco, CA.

The Social Media Specialist will work closely with different study teams to develop online strategies to maximize recruitment efforts as well as maintain an online presence.

Read more about this opportunity here.

PHP/Drupal Developer at Chicago Public Radio in Chicago, IL.

Chicago Public Radio, (WBEZ 91.5 FM) is seeking to hire a full time Web Developer.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Interactive Senior Account Executive at BFG Communications in Bluffton, SC.

This position works closely with clients, as well as the agency’s account, strategy, creative, design, and tech groups to develop and manage the planning and execution of multiple interactive projects at one time.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Blogger – IT Security at Alertsec Xpress in Stockholm, Sweden.

We are looking for an innovative IT security blogger, preferably with an already established network.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Marketing Communications and Social Media Specialist at Cheng & Tsui in Boston, MA.

The ideal candidate is a talented and results-driven marketing professional who will develop and drive all social media, communications, and messaging strategies.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Vice President of Marketing/New Media at Statcom/Jackson Healthcare in Alpharetta, GA.

As the Vice President of Marketing, you will have the opportunity to create and drive the strategic marketing and new media plan for this early stage, high-growth healthcare software company.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Social Media Outreach Expert at MWKS in Los Angeles, CA.

We’re seeking an Experienced Social Media Outreach Expert to help us on a digital WOM campaign starting soon for a major retailer.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Director of Online Media at Corbis in Seattle, WA.

The Director of Online Media will be responsible for generating new customers and traffic to Corbis’ web properties with a heavy focus on performance and ROI.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Community Manager at Corbis in Seattle, WA.

Corbis is seeking a social media expert hooked deeply into the digital ecosystem of blogging, social networks and online communities.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Director of Premium Products and Services at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

We are seeking a Director of Premium Products and Services that will work closely with the Executive Team to define the overall strategy on Premium Products and Services of Synacor.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Interactive Account Director at Beeby Clark + Meyler in Irvington, NY.

Beeby Clark+Meyler, a fast growing leader in integrated marketing and advertising solutions, seeks an experienced Marketing Consultant to help manage an expanding client base and contribute toward the development of our business.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Associate at MrYouth in New York, NY.

Microsoft is seeking a knowledgeable, charismatic, and motivated student to become a Student Insider and blog about Microsoft’s new software.

Read more about this opportunity here.

Mashable has a variety of web 2.0, application development, business development, and social networking job opportunities available. Check them out at Mashable’s Job Board.

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( If everyone could have one wish as to how they would change their apartment, I bet a good majority would choose more closet space. Levi’s has answered that wish in kind with these portable closets. No…

The WSJ has confirmed that Mic will introduce their newest mobile phone OS on Monday at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. WinMo 6.5 is dead; long live Windows Phone 7.

The announcement will almost certainly come during Steve Ballmer’s Windows Phone press conference, scheduled for 3pm local time. According to the WSJ, Windows Phone 7 will have an entirely new user interface that closely resembles that of Zune. This backs up what we’d heard from a tipster last month.

Apparently, Windows Phone 7 will look to fix the mistakes of WinMos past by working more closely with OEMs:

With Windows Mobile 7, similarly, Microsoft has gotten more involved in hardware design by creating detailed plans for a small number of handset “chassis” on top of which hardware manufactures can build their devices, people familiar with the effort said. The idea behind the plan, these people said, is to limit the wild variation in quality of Windows phones and to make it easier for independent application developers to write software that runs well on them.

One of those devices to run off of Windows Phone 7 is expected to be Microsoft’s Project Pink/Zune phone, although that handset’s considered unlikely to be part of next week’s announcement.

It’s still going to be some time before we see any Windows Phone 7 devices on the market, but it’s good to see Microsoft getting in gear to replace the inexcusable WinMo 6.5. [WSJ]


Artist and Geekologie Reader Eric Tryon went and made himself a skeletal bicycle. It’s fully functional and the arms and head move whenever you make a turn. Plus, it looks like you’re humping a demon skeleton, so ghosts won’t mess with you.

Hit the jump for a closeup.

Posted by randfish

In early June of this year, SEOmoz released some ranking correlation data about Google’s web results and how they mapped against specific metrics. This exciting work gave us valuable insight into Google’s rankings system and both confirmed many assumptions as well as opened up new lines of questions. When Google announced their new Places Results at the end of October, we couldn’t help but want to learn more.

In November, we gathered data for 220 search queries – 20 US cities and 11 business "types" (different kinds of queries). This dataset is smaller than our web results, and was intended to be an initial data gathering project before we dove deeper, but our findings proved surprising significant (from a statistical standpoint) and thus, we’re making the results and report publicly available.

As with our previous collection and analysis of this type of data, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Correlation ≠ Causation – the findings here are merely indicative of what high ranking results are doing that lower ranking results aren’t (or, at least, are doing less of). It’s not necessarily the case that any of these factors are the cause of the higher rankings, they could merely be a side effect of pages that perform better. Nevertheless, it’s always interesting to know what higher ranking sites/pages are doing that they’re lower ranking peers aren’t.
  2. Statistical Signifigance – the report specifically highlights results that are more than two standard errors away from statistical significance (98%+ chance of non-zero correlation). Many of the factors we measured fall into this category, which is why we’re sharing despite the smaller dataset. In terms of the correlation numbers, remember that 0.00 is no correlation and 1.0 is perfect correlation. It’s in our opinion that in algorithms like Google’s, where hundreds of factors are supposedly at play together, data in the 0.05-0.1 range is interesting and data in the 0.1-0.3 range potentialy worth more significant attention.
  3. Ranked Correlations – the correlations are comparing pages that ranked higher vs. those that ranked lower, and the datasets in the report and below are reporting on average correlations across the entire dataset (except where specified), with standard error as a metric for accuracy.
  4. Common Sense is Essential – you’ll see some datapoints, just like in our web results set, that would suggest that sites not following the  commonly held "best practices" (like using the name of the queried city in your URL) results in better rankings. We strongly urge readers to use this data as a guideline, but not a rule (for example, it could be that many results using the city name in the URL are national chains with multiple "city" pages, and thus aren’t as "local" in Google’s eyes as their peers).

With those out of the way, let’s dive into the dataset, which you can download a full version of here:

  • The 20 cities included:
    • Indianapolis
    • Austin
    • Seattle
    • Portland
    • Baltimore
    • Boston
    • Memphis
    • Denver
    • Nashville
    • Milwaukee
    • Las Vegas
    • Louisville
    • Albuquerque
    • Tucson
    • Atlanta
    • Fresno
    • Sacramento
    • Omaha
    • Miami
    • Cleveland
  • The 11 Business Types / Queries included:
    • Restaurants
    • Car Wash
    • Attorneys
    • Yoga Studio
    • Book Stores
    • Parks
    • Ice Cream
    • Gyms
    • Dry Cleaners
    • Hospitals

Interestingly, the results we gathered seem to indicate that across multiple cities, the Google Places ranking algorithm doesn’t differ much, but when business/query types are considered, there’s indications that Google may indeed be changing up how the rankings are calculated (an alternative explanation is that different business segments simply have dramatically different weights on the factors depending on their type).

For this round of correlation analysis, we contracted Dr. Matthew Peters (who holds a PhD in Applied Math from Univ. of WA) to create a report of his findings based on the data. In discussing the role that cities/query types played, he noted:

City is not a significant source of variation for any of the variables, suggesting that Google’s algorithm is the same for all cities. However, for 9 of the 24 variables we can reject the null hypothesis that business type is a not significant source of variation in the correlation coefficients at a=0.05. This is highly unlikely to have occurred by chance. Unfortunately there is a caveat to this result. The results from ANOVA assume the residuals to be normally distributed, but in most cases the residuals are not normal as tested with a Shapiro-Wilk test.

You can download his full report here.

Next, let’s look at some of the more interesting statistical findings Matt discovered. These are split into 4 unique sections, and we’re looking only at the correlations with Places results (though the data and report also include web results).

Correlation with Page-Specific Link Popularity Factors

Google Places Correlations with Page-Specific Link Popularity Elements

With the exception of PageRank, all data comes via SEOmoz’s Linkscape data API.

NOTE: In this data, mozRank and PageRank are not significantly different than zero.

Domain-Wide Link Popularity Factors

Google Places Domain Link Factor Correlations

All data comes via SEOmoz’s Linkscape data API.

NOTE: In this data, all of the metrics are significant.

Keyword Usage Factors

Google Places Keyword Usage Correlations 

All data comes directly from the results page URL or the Places page/listing. Business keyword refers to the type, such as "ice cream" or "hospital" while city keyword refers to the location, such as "Austin" or "Portland." The relatively large, negative correlation with the city keyword in URLs is an outlier (as no other element we measured for local listings had a significant negative correlation). My personal guess is nationwide sites trying to rank individually on city-targeted pages don’t perform as well as local-only results in general and this could cause that biasing, but we don’t have evidence to prove that theory and other explanations are certainly possible.

NOTE: In this data, correlations for business keyword in the URL and city keyword in the title element were not significantly different than zero.

Places Listings, Ratings + Reviews Factors

Google Places Li
stings Correlations 

All data comes directly from Google Places’ page about the result.

NOTE: In this data, all of the metrics are significant. 

Interest Takeaways and Notes from this Research:

  • In Places results, domain-wide link popularity factors seem more important than page-specific ones. We’ve heard that links aren’t as important in local/places and the data certainly suggest that’s accurate (see the full report to compare correlations), but they may not be completely useless, particularly on the domain level.
  • Using the city and business type keyword in the page title and the listing name (when claiming/editing your business’s name in the results) may give a positive boost. Results using these keywords seem to frequently outrank their peers. For example: Portland Attorneys Places Results
  • More is almost always better when it comes to everything associated with your Places listing – more related maps, more reviews, more "about this place" results, etc. However, this metric doesn’t appear as powerful as we’d initially thought. It could be that the missing "consistency" metric is a big part of why the correlations here weren’t higher.
  • Several things we didn’t measure in this report are particularly interesting and it’s sad we missed them. These include:
    • Proximity to centroid (just tough to gather for every result at scale)
    • Consistency of listings (supposedly a central piece of the Local rankings puzzle) in address, phone number, business name, type
    • Presence of specific listing sources (like those shown on for example)
  • This data isn’t far out of whack with the perception/opinions of Local SEOs, which we take to be a good sign, both for the data, and the SEOs surveyed :-)

Our hope is to do this experiment again with more data and possibly more metrics in the future. Your suggestions are, of course, very welcome.

As always, we invite you to download the report and raw data and give us any feedback or feel free to do your own analyses and come to your own conclusions. It could even be valuable to use this same process for results you (or your clients) care about and find the missing ingredients between you and the competition.

p.s. Special thanks to Paris Childress and Evgeni Yordanov for help in the data collection process.

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( I think you may agree with me when I state that the more convincing something appears (such as, I would argue, these Copenhagen Zoo Bus Ads), the more impact it will have. I mean, yes the fantastical is…

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Post image for Google the Answer Engine

One of the topics that emerged from Pubcon was “Should SEO’s Focus on Where Google is Heading”, and I’m going to agree with Aaron that focusing on short term algorithmic holes isn’t a smart thing for most people (churn and burn folks–you keep on keeping on). I agree that most publishers should focus on where Google is going. However, the one thing I think publishers need to be aware of and be wary of is Google’s transition to becoming an answer engine.

this represents a clear and present danger to every web publisher…

When I refer to Google trying to become an answer engine, what exactly do I mean? I mean that Google will provide the answer right on the SERP itself if possible and, more frequently, from a Google-owned or Google-maintained property. What exactly do I mean by that? I would be willing to bet that at least one Googler is hunched over a monitor somewhere trying to figure out how to convert voice searches into standardized results. Get out your best Jean Luc Picard impersonation, grab your android phone, and say “COMPUTER … Show me airline prices from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on March 15th.” Now imagine that Google, using its recently acquired ITA travel data, could show you the 5 cheapest flights without needing to send you to the airline, travelocity, or any of the other intermediaries.  Good for Google, good for the user … but scary if you are a publisher.

Google has been moving in this direction for years with queries like [what is george washington’s birthday]

There’s no need for the person performing that query to visit any website because Google became the answer machine.  Earlier this year, they began making inroads in commercial searches for things like [mortgage rates]

Google’s latest incursion into becoming the answer machine came from its local results when they began stealing … err aggregating … reviews from other sites and mixing them with their own on place pages.

IMHO this represents a clear and present danger to every web publisher. For a while, Google will be content to let publishers keep serving the information that Google hasn’t figured out how to gather efficiently/profitably, even if that means referring users to low quality, demand media style pages from and However there’s no doubt in my mind that once Google thinks they can do better, they will scrape your data and throw you under the bus without a second thought … cause it’s all about the users, right?

The one exception that may leave you a leg to stand on is if you are a brand and are building some sense of brand loyalty. If users type in [<brand name> + <keyword phrase>] Google will show less “Google answers”. For example [george washington’s birthday wikipedia] or [bank of america mortgage rates] contain none of the Google properties. Of course, it would seem to me that this is a massive conflict of interest as far as Google is concerned, but I’m not a legislator, so what do I know.

The days of being a pure affiliate and building sites without any thought to branding are coming to a close. They will never disappear completely, but there will be less of them. The purely keyword-based traffic without a hint of branding is going to become more competitive and, in some cases, you will be competing with Google itself or with Google owned properties like Heed these warnings Caesar and fear the Ides of March …
Creative Commons License photo credit: Michal Osmenda

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This post originally came from Michael Gray who is an SEO Consultant. Be sure not to miss the Thesis WordPress Theme review.

Google the Answer Engine

Michael Gray – Graywolf’s SEO Blog

Generally I have not been a huge fan of registering all your websites with Google (profiling risks, etc.), but they keep using the carrot nicely to lead me astray. :D … So much so that I want to find a Googler and give them a hug.

Google recently decided to share some more data in their webmaster tools. And for many webmasters the data is enough to make it worth registering (at least 1 website)!

AOL Click Data

When speaking of keyword search volume beakdown data people have typically shared information from the leaked AOL search data.

The big problem with that data is it is in aggregate. It is a nice free tool, and a good starting point, but it is fuzzy.

Types of Searches

There are 3 well known search classifications: navigational, transactional, and informational. Each type of query has a different traffic breakdown profile.

  • In general, for navigational searches people click the top result more often than they would on an informational search.
  • In general, for informational searches people tend to click throughout the full set of search results at a more even distribution than they would for navigational or transactional searches.
  • The only solid recently-shared publicly data on those breakdowns is from Dogpile [PDF], a meta search engine. But given how polluted meta search services tend to be (with ads mixed in their search results) those numbers were quite a bit off from what one might expect. And once more, they are aggregate numbers.

Other Stuff in the Search Results

Further, anecdotal evidence suggests that the appearance of vertical / universal results within the search results set can impact search click distribution. Google shows maps on 1 in 13 search results, and they have many other verticals they are pushing – video, updates, news, product search, etc. And then there are AdWords ads – which many searchers confuse as being the organic search results.

Pretty solid looking estimates can get pretty rough pretty fast. ;)

The Value of Data

If there is one critical piece of marketing worth learning above all others it is that context is important.

My suggestions as to what works, another person’s opinions or advice on what you should do, and empirical truth collected by a marketer who likes to use numbers to prove his point … well all 3 data sets fall flat on their face when compared against the data and insights and interactions that come from running your own business. As teachers and marketers we try to share tips to guide people toward success, but your data is one of the most valuable things you own.

A Hack to Collect Search Volume Data & Estimated CTR Data

In their Excel plug-in Microsoft shares the same search data they use internally, but its not certain that when they integrate the Yahoo! Search deal that Microsoft will keep sharing as much data as they do now.

Google offers numerous keyword research tools, but getting them to agree with each other can be quite a challenge.

There have been some hacks to collect organic search clickthrough rate data on Google. One of the more popular strategies was to run an AdWords ad for the exact match version of a keyword and bid low onto the first page of results. Keep the ad running for a while and then run an AdWords impression share report. With that data in hand you can estimate how many actual searches there were, and then compare your organic search clicks against that to get an effective clickthrough rate.

The New Solution

Given search personalization and localization and the ever-changing result sets with all the test Google runs, even the above can be rough. So what is a webmaster to do?

Well Google upgraded the data they share inside their webmaster tools, which includes (on a per keyword level)

  • keyword clickthrough rank
  • clickthrough rate at various ranking positions
  • URL that was clicked onto

Trophy Keywords vs Brand Keywords

Even if your site is rather well known going after some of the big keywords can be a bit self-defeating in terms of the value delivered. Imagine ranking #6 or #7 for SEO. Wouldn’t that send a lot of search traffic? Nope.

When you back away the ego searches, the rank checkers, etc. it turns out that there isn’t a ton of search volume to be had ranking on page 1 of Google for SEO.

With only a 2% CTR the core keyword SEO is driving less than 1/2 the traffic driven by our 2 most common brand search keywords. Our brand might not seem like it is getting lots of traffic with only a few thousand searches a month, but when you have a > 70% CTR that can still add up to a lot of traffic. More importantly, that is the kind of traffic which is more likely to buy from you than someone searching for a broad discovery or curiosity type of keyword.

The lessons for SEOs in that data?

  • Core keywords & raw mechanical SEO are both quite frequently heavily over-rated in terms of value.
  • Rather than sweating trying to rank well for the hardest keywords first focus on more niche keywords that are easy to rank for.
  • If you have little rank and little work to do then there is lots of time to focus on giving people reasons to talk about you and reference you.
  • Work on building up brand & relationships. This not only gives your link profile more karma, but it sends you a steady stream of leads for if/when you fall out of favor a bit with the search engines.
Those who perceive you well will seek you out and buy from you. But it is much harder to sell to someone who sees you as just another choice amongst many results.

Search is becoming the default navigational tool for the web. People go to Google and then type in “yahoo.” If you don’t have a branded keyword as one of your top keywords that might indicate long-term risk to your business. If a competitor can clone most of what you are doing and then bake in a viral component you are toast.

Going After the Wrong Brand Keywords

Arbitraging 3rd party brands is an easy way to build up distribution quickly. This is why there are 4,982 Britney Spears fan blogs (well 2 people are actually fans, but the other 4,980 are marketers).

But if you want to pull in traffic you have to go after a keyword that is an extension of the brand. Ranking for “eBay” probably won’t send you much traffic (as their clickthrough rate on their first result is probably even higher than the 70% I had above). Though if you have tips on how to buy or sell on eBay those kinds of keywords might pull in a much higher clickthrough rate for you.

To confirm the above I grabbed data for a couple SEO tool brands we rank well for. A number 3 ranking (behind a double listing) and virtually no traffic!

Different keyword, same result

Informational Keywords

Link building is still a bit of a discovery keyword, but I think it is perhaps a bit later staged than just the acronym “SEO.” Here the click volume distribution is much flatter / less consolidated than it was on the above brand-oriented examples.

If when Google lowers your rank you still pull in a fairly high CTR that might be a signal to them that your site should rank a bit higher.

Enough Already!

Enough about our keywords, what does your keyword data tell you? How can you better integrate it to grow your business?

SEO – Learn. Rank. Dominate.