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Google Acquires Artificial Intelligence Company DeepMind For a Reported $400 Million by @mattsouthern

February 10, 2014 No Comments

An artificial intelligence company based in London, England called DeepMind has been acquired by Google for a reported sum of $ 400 million. The deal was confirmed on Sunday by a Google representative, but no additional details were provided.

DeepMind offers commercial applications in the realms of simulations, e-commerce and gaming. On their company website they describe themselves as a company that combines “the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.” 

The news of this acquisition was first broken by news website Re/code in a report on Sunday that detailed Google was buying the company for the aforementioned sum. DeepMind was founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman and marks another in the long line of recent acquisitions by Google over the past several months.

Artificial.intelligence 1 Google Acquires Artificial Intelligence Company DeepMind For a Reported $ 400 Million

Recent Google Acquisitions

Two weeks ago Google acquired Nest Labs, makers of smart thermostats and smart smoke alarms, for $ 3.2 billion in cash.

This month Google also acquired a security firm called Impermium, with the intention to boost expertise in fighting spam and abuse.

Last month Google acquired Boston Dynamics, makers of military-grade robots, which was the eighth robotics company they purchased over a period of six months.

Future Plans

Google’s future plans as they relate to these acquisitions are unclear at this time, nor is it clear what they intend to do with DeepMind, but a previous statement made by Google could shed some light on that situation.

Google has explained before that their work with language, speech, translation, and visual processing relies heavily on artificial intelligence. On that topic, they have also said: “In all of those tasks and many others, we gather large volumes of direct or indirect evidence of relationships of interest, and we apply learning algorithms to generalize from that evidence to new cases of interest.”

That being said, Google’s acquisition of DeepMind could potentially help to improve applications and devices that run on speech commands and interpretation of visual data, such as Google Now and Google Glass for example.


The Visual Economy: Making Pictures Pay In E-commerce

February 9, 2014 No Comments

Pictures maybe worth a thousand words, but for e-commerce companies they can be worth a lot more. According to Bing, nearly 10 percent of all organic searches are for images and 40 percent of all search results contain “some kind of visual component”.  Since image search was launched by Google in 2001, it has grown to be a significant portion of most search-engine results pages.

Making Pictures Work for You

In a world of universal search, every area of the search results page is an opportunity to convert.  But today, consumers are visual-shopping animals.  Image results enjoy higher click-through rates than non-image content in the same location of the page. There is a reason nearly all site search results for e-commerce sites return images in the results. Since early 2013,  both organic and paid image search results have become  prevalent – often appearing above the fold on both Bing and Google. Images usually appear above most non-image organic results, as seen below.

Rustic table Goog 2 637x308 The Visual Economy: Making Pictures Pay In E commerce

Rustic table Bing 2 637x364 The Visual Economy: Making Pictures Pay In E commerce

You can pay for Product Listing Ads (PLAs)  and the data is generally easy to segment. When it comes to optimizing for organic image search it can be more difficult to figure out what works. To answer these questions, my company BloomReach conducted a study on internal data derived from top retailer websites with total traffic of more than 10 million visits per month.

The result: image search is a hidden gem for companies with a strong conversion rate relative to other organic search traffic.

First, it’s important to note that in 2012, the world of image search was shaken up when Google made big changes to the image search algorithm in addition to announcing that Google Shopping was moving entirely to the paid model with PLAs. Image search traffic also dropped significantly in January 2013 when Google made changes so that source web pages wouldn’t load when people browsed image-search results. Even with these changes, our data indicated that 10 percent of all organic search visits still came from image search despite the overall drop.

image0051 The Visual Economy: Making Pictures Pay In E commerce

Changes in Conversion Rates

So, how did these changes affect conversion rates for image search? Image search conversion rates remained strong and actually improved after the January 2013 change. Our data showed that between January 2013 and September 2013, the average image-search conversion rate increased more than 400 percent from 0.33 percent to 1.35 percent!

image006 The Visual Economy: Making Pictures Pay In E commerce

In fact, image search conversion rates now exceed non-image organic search conversion rates and are continuing to trend upward. In September 2013, image search traffic had a conversion rate 11 percent higher than non-image organic search traffic – 1.35 percent and 1.21 percent respectively. This improvement is likely attributed to a range of factors including changes in image search visits attribution, association of images with product focused queries, and changing user behavior.

image0071 The Visual Economy: Making Pictures Pay In E commerce

What should you take away from this?

Image search is a significant source of traffic and conversions for e-commerce stores. Search marketers should focus on this area alongside organic, paid text ads, and PLAs. Here are 3 recommendations to help optimize a site for image search:

  1.  Set up your web analytics systems to break out image-search performance metrics so that you can easily view and track them. Image search should be considered as important and as actionable as paid and non-image organic search.
  2. Determine how you are currently performing on image search. We suggest evaluating overall visits, click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue. Then, compare these to your non-image search performance, and determine how much of your business is coming from image search. If you are seeing high conversion rates, but low overall visits, you’re leaving money on the table.
  3. Optimize for image search to increase your visibility on search engines. Google Webmaster Central has a great blog post and help center article on how to optimize images. These principles apply to Bing and other search engines as well.

Our goal with this research was to emphasize converting organic image search directly contributes to the bottom line – and back it with solid data . As the e-commerce industry continues to migrate to more complex paid formats, driving more revenue from organic channels will be increasingly important to remain competitive.


Search Engine Journal


A Holodeck Videogame Designed to Train Soldiers

February 8, 2014 No Comments
If the Army is going to keep up with military readiness pressures while also seeing a reduction in troop size and stagnant budgets, then it’s going to need more cutting-edge videogames.

Last week, the Army Contracting Command issued a Sources Sought notice for companies interested in demonstrating “mature technologies” for military training. Northrop Grumman thinks its Virtual Immersive Portable Environment (VIPE) Holodeck just may be the answer.

Using commercial, off-the-shelf hardware combined with gaming technology, the VIPE Holodeck 360 degree virtual training system provides users with a high-fidelity immersive environment with a variety of mission-centric applications, including simulation and training, mission rehearsal and data visualization. The VIPE Holodeck can support live, virtual and constructive simulation and training exercises including team training, cultural and language training and support for ground, air and remote platform training. Off-the-shelf technology keeps costs down while also making future upgrades and maintenance easy to perform and affordable, says Northrop.

Last year, the VIPE Holodeck took first place in the Federal Virtual Challenge for the navigation category, an annual competition led by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Simulation and Training Technology Center, for the system’s Kinect integration navigation sensor, which gives users the ability to crawl, walk, run, stop, jump, move side to side in the immersive environment.

Where the VIPE Holodeck moves ahead of other virtual simulators, according to Northrop, is advanced situational training where service members can walk through an area of operation in the replicated virtual environment to prepare themselves for what they may encounter in that exact environment in reality. To enhance that training, operators can drop threats into the environment, including IEDs and enemy shooters, as well as signals that should tip them off to potential threats and see how they respond before they actually find themselves in that situation.

And it’s precisely that versatility that the Army is after.

“For us to be able to execute realistic training — good training — we have to be able to bring that operational environment” into the virtual world, said Brig. Gen. Michael Lundy, deputy commanding general at the Army Combined Arms Center, during the AUSA Aviation symposium earlier this month. “We want to get away from having multiple environments, virtual gaming and instruction, and go to one synthetic environment, get to a lower overhead and integrate the full operations process … according to the common operating picture.”

“The great thing about virtual reality and gaming technology [is that] it’s moving so rapidly that really it has endless possibilities that we can do,” said Ryan Frost, Northrop’s program manager for the VIPE Holodeck. “If you can think it, we can create it, eventually.”

Northrop says it’s also exploring options for VIPE as a stepping stone to live-training within the medical field, as well as law enforcement and first responders for situations such as live-shooter or hostage scenarios.


Wired Top Stories


Nintendo May Go Mobile This Year (But Not In The Way We’d All Like)

February 7, 2014 No Comments

OMG! Mario on iOS! Not! According to a brief in Japan’s Nikkei (translated by TC writer Serkan Toto), Nintendo will announce plans to use Android and iOS as marketing vehicles, allowing Link, Mario, and the various and sundry Pokemen to appear on mobile devices to promote the company’s games.

Legend Of Zelda on the iPhone this ain’t.

Nintendo will announce the plans in an investor briefing this Thursday. “To be more concrete, The Nikkei writes that Nintendo wants to use smartphones to expand its potential user base by spreading information about new game releases, i.e. by using video to introduce future titles. (This will probably happen through some kind of official Nintendo app.)” wrote Toto.

In addition, Nintendo is said to be planning to put so-called “mini games” on smartphones, playable demos of console games – content that can only be purchased in full on Nintendo hardware. The reasoning here is to give smartphone-only players a taste of the experience without making the actual game available on non-Nintendo devices and convert these users into Nintendo customers.According to The Nikkei, this content will be entirely free, and Nintendo is not planning to offer paid or freemium games on smartphones at the moment.

This is obviously all conjecture at this point but if even the barest hint of Nintendo appears on mobile devices I suspect the fanbois will go mental. It will be fascinating to watch Nintendo’s first trepidatious steps into treacherous waters, to be sure.


TechCrunch » Gadgets


Backed by Apple and Microsoft, Patent Troll Makes Money Off Android

February 6, 2014 No Comments

After surviving the Nortel meltdown, Rockstar CEO John Veschi now controls about 4,000 of the company’s patents.

Some turn their noses up at Rockstar, a new kind of patent company backed by tech giants Apple and Microsoft. Rockstar’s sole aim is to make money from the patent portfolio it inherited from bankrupt Canadian telecom Nortel, and in many Silicon Valley circles, that’s a no-no.

But Rockstar, run by an ex-Nortel man, believes it has every right to make money from what it owns, and its efforts have proven successful. This past fall, hoping to accelerate its ambitions, Rockstar filed a patent infringement suit against a laundry list of big tech names, including Google, Samsung, and Chinese hardware giant Huawei, and now, it seems that Huawei has settled out of court, agreeing to pay Rockstar a licensing fee for the use of technologies inside its Android phones.

This week, as first revealed by the FOSS Patents blog, Rockstar and Huawei filed a joint motion to dismiss the suit against Huawei, indicating that the Chinese company had settled.

As you might expect, the motion did not specify how much Huawei has agreed to pay Rockstar. But the news still shows that patent trolling — where companies use their patents solely to make money from other companies — can be a viable moneymaker. There are signs, however, that the practice is getting more difficult.

The news shows that patent trolling — where companies use their patents solely to make money from other companies — can be a lucrative business.

A consortium created by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, and others, Rockstar purchased a large swath of patents from the bankrupt Nortel Networks in 2011, snatching them out from under Google, which had also placed a massive bid. As early as the spring of 2012, the company openly said that it would seek payments from any and all companies that infringed on its patents, and it’s hardly surprising that Google would be on the list.

Other patent owners operate in similar ways, and they’re typically called patent trolls. But Rockstar is a little different in that it’s backed by Apple and Microsoft, two traditional rivals that rarely see eye-to-eye.

The Rockstar lawsuit is centered on Android operating system, which was created by Google and now runs across phones built by myriad partners. But so far, Huawei is the only one to settle. Intent on fighting the suit, Google recently filed a counter claim.

The web giant has long taken a stand against patent trolls, and it’s not alone. Online retailer Newegg just won a major victory against a patent entity called Soverain Software.

Though Newegg’s recent victory was offset by a ruling ordering the company to pay $ 2.3 million to a separate patent troll, it will appeal this decision, and as more companies fight these suits — and call for legal reform in the patent world — the trolling game will become that much more difficult.

But today, many companies still end up paying the trolls. Most of the other outfits sued by Soverain, for instance, are now forking over licensing fees to the company. At least for the moment, it pays to be a patent troll.


Wired: Business


Think Bigger: 28 Ways to Be a Better SEO

February 5, 2014 No Comments

Are your deliverables

  1. A huge list of problems, or
  2. A pathway to insightful solutions?

Are you calling your clients out on what they’re doing wrong in your deliverables or are you supporting their intents to reach their business goals through your very specific expertise? The differences can be so slight but so powerful.

At SEOgadget we have a sort of unspoken Think Bigger mantra. We start every project with an understanding of the business model, the competitive landscape they’re in, and the goals that the business is trying to reach. We structure everything we do with that client, from consulting conversations to research-based deliverables to audits and marketing strategies, around helping the clients meet and exceed those business goals. With every deliverable we ask ourselves if and how this is empowering them to be better, stronger, more informed, and ultimately lend towards their goals. If it’s not quite there yet, we keep working on it until it is. Sometimes that’s expensive for us, but it’s our duty.

We (and personally I) really want to see our industry thought of more as valuable and helpful more than distrustful and self-serving.  #SadFace.

So to help, here’s a list of ways you can #ThinkBigger on various types of projects. Before you send deliverables off to your clients ask yourself these questions about the deliverable, and most importantly – is what you’re sending them empowering them?

Keyword Research

Not Thinking (dim bulb)Not Really Thinking:

  • Spitting out lists of keywords with the search volumes.

Thinking Bigger (bright bulb)Thinking Bigger:

  • Intent: Does the keyword research consider the various types of intent that their target audiences have for any query category? For example, the intent around “laptop security” can be locks for an individual’s laptop or securing network data on employee laptops. Look at what appears in SERPS (indicating what type of intent most searchers have by the types of results) and be realistic about expectations for the term.
  • Insights: Can you “read” through the keyword research, treating it more like market research than search volumes, to see what deeper stories these queries say about their needs? What can you learn about people’s needs by the overall types of queries you see?
  • High vs Low-Converting Queries: Are there types of queries that are more likely to convert and queries that are relevant, but less likely? Let them know.
  • New Opportunities: Are there related themes that may not be directly relevant but might lead to opportunities for the client that they hadn’t thought of? Let them know.
  • Location: How do people search differently by location? For example, other than California, where else are people searching most for the San Francisco Airport (SFO)? Or what are the most popular categories of searches in New York vs. Los Angeles?
Google Trends

Use Google Trends to Determine where people are searching from

popular local searches are different for difference cities

What kinds of local searches are popular for NY vs LA (and other cities)?

Site Audits

Not Thinking (dim bulb)Not Really Thinking:

  • Spitting out lists of site issues.

Thinking Bigger (bright bulb)Thinking Bigger:

  • Root cause: What’s causing site errors or duplication? Is there a bigger story? This is almost always the most important question to ask yourself – what’s behind this problem and how can you help the client fix the problem at the source? For example, low sitemap indexation is not the main problem. There is a reason behind that. Find it. Or UGC content being spammed with Viagra content and links – that’s not the main problem. The main problem is that the content is allowed, either through the CMS or the lack of moderation.
  • CMS vs human error: Is there an issue with the content or code or a lack of flexibility with the current CMS? Can they get around it?
  • Simplify: For WordPress sites, can a few tweaks of the Yoast plugin fix a whole bunch of issues? (Let them know!)
  • The production team: Do the engineering and/or editorial teams need a little empowerment themselves (provide resources, training, tools, etc)?

Low site indexation is only the clue to the problem in the image below.

low site indexation

For this particular site these were the problems that caused Google to ignore a lot of the pages in the XML sitemap:

  1. Some areas are individually blocked via robots.txt
  2. Duplicates are included.
  3. Some canonicals point to the wrong destination.
  4. Some pages return a server response of 404 Not Found.

Information Architecture

Not Thinking (dim bulb)Not Really Thinking:

  • An architecture that suggests build these pages and they will come. (Will we ever forget Panda?)

Thinking Bigger (bright bulb)Thinking Bigger:

  • Parts of a site: What are the core site pages, the media assets, and the informational pages?
  • Expectations: What impact will building each these pages have?
  • Realistic with resources: What resource do they have to create them?
  • Prioritization: Knowing those things, what priorities should each page take?
  • On-page content: What kind of content should be on the pages?
  • Content source: Where will the content come from?
  • Related content: How should they cross-link?
  • Architecture vs. navigation: How should the navigation change based on any new pages?
  • Sitemaps: How should they handle sitemaps?
  • URL structure: What should the URL format be (now and in the future)?
site navigation

Suggested navigation for this women’s lifestyle site includes high-level commentary.

site architecture

This suggested architecture shows which pages exist vs don’t, a sense of which ones are more likely to drive search traffic, and references notes where they’re needed.

Content Strategy

Not Thinking (dim bulb)Not Really Thinking:

  • Create content because people are searching for it.
  • Write blog posts because they’re good for SEO.

Thinking Bigger (bright bulb)Thinking Bigger:

  • Why you: What is the core value proposition of this brand and how will that come through immediately on the page or in the asset you’re building?
  • Targeted content: What are the various types of intent that someone landing on any page might have?
  • Targeted conversion: What are the primary business goals related to this page type and how do we make sure there is a clear call to action on the page?
  • Related on-page content: How can the page route people to the right path regardless of intent?
  • Related content paths: What type of related content is most relevant if the visitor is either done with this page or interested in something like this, but just not exactly this?
  • Funnel CTAs: What calls-to-action can take the visitor down the next path in the research or purchase process?
  • Trust: Are trust factors important, and if so, how will they be portrayed?
  • Being the best: How can we do something more valuable than what’s already out there?
  • Linkability/shareability: What would make this page absolutely awesome to the visitor? Tools? An explainer video? Diagrams? 3D product visuals? Social proof?
content strategy

Recommendations for a client product in this example are based on competitive research, industry research papers, what’s hot in the industry now, and what people are searching for.

Don’t Bring Problems, Bring Solutions

Nobody likes a complainer. Everybody likes a problem-solver.

So, think about it: Are your deliverables just dumping problems into your clients’ laps or are you approaching what you do from a product-enhancing, business goal-driving solution? That’s what we do here at SEOgadget. It feels good to help our clients’ businesses grow, it keeps our employees feeling accomplished and rewarded and it’s what makes the difference between a regular SEO consultancy and a progressive one.

Get yourself into this mode of thinking for everything that you deliver.  Solve problems. Empower others. Think bigger.

Think Bigger: 28 Ways to Be a Better SEO, 4.5 out of 5 based on 15 ratings


SEOgadget


Google Managers Could Face Life Imprisonment for Defamation…

February 4, 2014 No Comments

…in India.

…for the words of a Blogspot.com customer.

Whaaat?

No, seriously. The WSJ is reporting on a case now before the Indian Supreme Court that will effectively decide if Google (and others) can be held “liable for criminal activities on its network.”

The case against Google was brought by Visaka, which makes corrugated cement and asbestos fiber sheets, after an anti-asbestos blog hosted by Blogspot contained allegations Visaka was being protected because it was backed by leaders of the ruling Congress party. Visaka said it had no connection to the party and filed a case charging Google India with criminal conspiracy, defamation and publishing content that is defamatory.

The fact that this case has gone this far is very disturbing. In the US, Google would not be liable for any defamatory comments made by a

blogger on its Blogspot network, but India might rule differently. Google could be forced to monitor all content published or, more likely, pull out of the burgeoning India market.

Apparently India is not much of a fan of free speech on the internet, amending its laws in 2009 to make sure that internet firms would be held liable for any defamation, blasphemy, or derogatory content hosted on their networks. While its Supreme Court has yet to rule on that, India continues to walk down a pretty scary path that would effectively remove free speech.

It could be years before we get a ruling on this. In the meantime, I would think twice about setting up any internet hosting company in India!


Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion


Pinterest Steps it Up Again with Pinterest Interests

February 3, 2014 No Comments

 

 

Pinterest is already one of the fastest growing social media networks on the web but they’ve got their sites set even higher in 2014.

The site is so simple, it doesn’t seem like they could do much to improve it and yet, over the past few months, they’ve added features that make it better and better. Or more accurately, they’ve added features that make it more accurate.

New pinterest interests

 

Today’s update is the best one yet, a new explore option that looks at your images and suggests options you might enjoy. But there’s more to it than that. The suggests are grouped by sub-categories so the response is more specific (and specific is good.)

For example, using the main Pinterest navigation menu, I can search DIY and Crafts. This nets me an enormous collection of everything from how to make cupcakes to turning a dirty pallet into a lovely wall divider. The new Interests tab sees that I’ve pinned Halloween cards so I’m given the option of viewing a page of nothing but Halloween cards.

And yes, I could just type Halloween cards in the search box but the best images are the ones you didn’t know you were looking for.

Here’s my interest page:

interest pageSome of this is random because I often upload images of fun things I find at the thrift store. I’m not interested in the fire department or hula girls – those just happen to be items I picked for resale. But that’s not Pinterest’s fault, that’s mine. Universal Studios, Alfred Hitchcock, Sleepy Hollow, Steampunk – they’re all spot on. Once I started clicking. . . oh man. . I could do this all day.

What I like best about this new way to search is that it’s a wider range of pins. When I view my home feed, it’s usually front loaded with half a dozen photos from the same pinner. Plus, just because I follow someone, doesn’t mean I’m interested in everything they pin. With the Interests page, I go right to my favorite items.

kitty louNow, here’s an interesting note. I went back and clicked on my Hula Girls plate (top right on the image above) and guess what? I got a page full of retro kitsch items, including items like this cat that doesn’t even have the word kitsch in the description.

That’s huge because it means the new Interests engine is capable of going beyond the text in the description box. Pinterest recently acquired a company that specializes in visual matching so this must be their handiwork.

It’s huge, because so many people don’t properly label their Pinterest pins.

If you use Pinterest for your business, Pinterest Interests is a great tool to help you find new people to follow (aka potential customers) and ups the chance of your pins being seen.

And even though it appears to go beyond the pin description, I’d still recommend you fill that box out completely using appropriate keywords. There’s plenty in this world that you can’t control, so take full advantage of the stuff you can.


Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion


Yahoo Acquires Virtual World Gaming Startup Cloud Party, Will Shut It Down

February 2, 2014 No Comments

Yahoo is doing more than just throwing shade at Google on Twitter today and then taking it back – the company has acquired Cloud Party, a browser-based game creation engine. In a blog post today, the Cloud Party team shared that they will be joining Yahoo after two years of operation, and that the service will shut down on February 21, 2014.

Cloud Party is the work of a founding team of MMO and console game industry vets, including Sam Thompson (formerly of Cryptic and Pandemic), Jimb Esser (also ex-Cryptic), Conor Dickinson (ex-Facebook, Tomb Raider dev and Cryptic alum) and Jered Windsheimer (Cryptic, natch). They built Cloud Party as a sort of free-form virtual world experience, similar to Second Life, but with an updated view of what an online virtual world might look like with more emphasis on user-generated 3D content.

It’s not exactly clear what the team will be working on at Yahoo, but it will definitely be games related, as Thompson notes in his farewell blog post that the Cloud Party squad is “excited to bring [its] vision and experience to a team that is as passionate about games as [they] are.”

Of course, Yahoo has a games portal of its own, but nothing quite so ambitious as a browser-based virtual world. Perhaps it’s thinking about doing something in that direction, but it’s more likely this was a small acquisition designed to bring some strong video game engineering (Cloud Party works in the browser with no plugins necessary) on board, with the ultimate aim of using that talent to fuel Yahoo’s own separate ends.

If you happen to be an existing Cloud Party user, there’s a guide provided by the startup to help you export your data. Yahoo continues its habit of picking up small startups with unique and divergent skill sets, but only time will tell if these are merely an engineering talent grab to help shore up some of Yahoo’s talent losses to more appealing firms over the past few years, or whether some of these things result in new product launches for the big purple exclamation mark.

It’s also worth noting that Yahoo acquired a gaming infrastructure startup back in May of last year. PlayerScale, the company in question, builds the bones for cross-platform gaming, and supported over 150 million players worldwide at the time of acquisition. The platform continues to operate, and is slated for updates and improvements with the help of Yahoo’s backing, according to PlayerScale’s founder Jesper Jensen. Together, PlayerScale’s backend and Cloud Party’s everything else could make for some very interesting games-related development coming out of Yahoo.

When contacted for comment, a Yahoo spokesperson provided the following statement to TechCrunch:

Yahoo has acquired Cloud Party, a company that has created a virtual 3D experience, directly in users’ browser. With Cloud Party, users can build and create a world, customize an avatar, and share easily on the web without any downloads or plug-ins. The Cloud Party team is extremely committed to user experience and to the creativity that their product released in people. We’re excited to merge their unique perspective and experience with a team that is just as passionate about gaming.


TechCrunch » Social


google_logo

Why Your High Ranking in Google Could Be a Failure Point by @markdaoust

February 1, 2014 No Comments

We all want our websites listed at the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), right? A high-ranking can bring targeted and (mostly) free traffic. More importantly, it brings leads and potential conversions.

If you’re working to get a top ranking, your goal is simple: you want Google to love your website. But the problem with Google’s love is that it doesn’t come with a promise of ongoing fidelity. Google has no loyalty to your business. Because of this, your rankings can become a potential point of failure.

Don’t misunderstand – I’m not saying you shouldn’t work to get a high-ranking in Google. It is just that I see a lot of business owners who work very hard at it and end up inadvertently baking significant point of failure into their business plan. That’s not a good thing.

How Google Can Be a Single Point of Failure: An Example

declining revenue Why Your High Ranking in Google Could Be a Failure PointAbout a year ago, my website brokerage firm was working with a client who was considering divesting his network of websites. This network had dozens of sites generating a very healthy monthly profit without the need for an extensive support staff. As we were helping him prepare his websites for sale, we performed a comprehensive valuation, and determined the value was slightly over $ 1 million for the entire network.

Shortly after this, disaster struck. On February 23, 2011, Google released the first of several Panda updates. Overnight, his earnings dropped precipitously, as did the value of his network. In just 24 hours, he lost $ 800,000 in total value.

The blame cannot be placed entirely on Google. After all, our client was the one who built his business to be dependent on Google. Our client was the one who aggressively pursued a high-ranking in Google, and did not focus on any other sources of traffic.

This begs the question: How dependent on Google is your website? Does the idea of losing your rankings in Google cause you to sweat, even a little? Don’t be fooled by the thought that it couldn’t happen to you. Thousands of online business owners had the same thought before the Florida Update, the Panda Update, the Penguin Update, the EMD Update, and the list goes on.

Is your website overly dependent on Google? It’s time to make a change.

4 Steps to Break Your Google Over-Dependency

shutterstock 130573349 637x477 Why Your High Ranking in Google Could Be a Failure PointAt the heart of breaking your dependency is realizing Google is not the only source of traffic on the Internet, nor is it always the best. By focusing on four key areas, you can get some of the same results you’re seeking from that high Google ranking.

  1. Make “Micro-Conversions” Your New Favorite Word. I will venture a guess that the majority of people who visit your website do not become customers right away. This is a normal pattern for any website, and this is where micro-conversions can play a significant role in your business. The entire concept of micro-conversions is to push people to give you permission to keep talking to them after they leave your website, whether it be through an email list, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social medium that provides the opportunity for conversation. Entire businesses can be built on micro-conversions without any help at all from Google.
  2. Think Beyond Your Website. If you have an e-commerce business, realize that your website represents just one channel where you can convert users into customers. Amazon, Sears, Shopping.com, and dozens of other marketplaces with significant audiences provide you with an opportunity to sell your goods. Take advantage of these external channels.
  3. Stop Thinking Rankings; Start Thinking Referrals. You know one key to ranking is links, and a key to lasting rankings is quality links built naturally. So how do you build quality links naturally? One way is to start thinking about quality sources for referral traffic rather than what just provides a good link. If you start thinking of your link building campaigns more in terms of networking and public relations, you’ll likely find that the quality, lasting links build themselves without much help from you.
  4. Build a List—(And Use it). This can be filed under micro-conversions, but it’s so important it deserves its own point. Once your readers or customers opt in to your email list, you’re able to communicate with them directly, right in their own inboxes. It’s much more direct communication than writing blog posts, or posting updates on social media networks. As long as you’re providing valuable content to that list, the members will remain and you’ll have a built-in audience whenever you want to launch—or sell—something new. In addition, if you lose your Google rankings, you can still build an email list through myriad methods and techniques.

Remember, a high-ranking in Google should be an accomplishment that enhances your website and opens it up for new growth. Make sure you don’t turn that top ranking into a possible failure point. Implement new marketing methods, and your website will be healthier, more stable, and most importantly, a far more valuable asset.

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Photo+on+8 28 13+at+5.13+PM+%25232 Why Your High Ranking in Google Could Be a Failure Point

Mark Daoust is the owner of Quiet Light Brokerage, a firm dedicated to helping people buy and sell profitable and premium websites priced between $ 50,000 and $ 5mm.