Infer Inc. Acquires $10M In Series A Funding

Infer Inc. takes the year’s second quarter by storm as they have recently acquired an impressive total of $10 million worth in Series A funding. This particular round was led by Redpoint Ventures. In participation as well were angel investors, Social+Capital Partnership, and Andreessen Horowitz. Sutter Hill Ventures also made an investment.

The company’s CEO, Mr. Vik Singh, shares more about this recent funding in this e-interview with Lead411: Read More

Sales and Marketing People On The Move– 5/22/2013 to 5/23/2013

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The Google+ Engagement Truth

Last week I was at the Google Partner Summit in NYC.  Lead411 was recently invited to the Premium Publishers Group so I was very excited to go.  By far the most interesting presentation/session was about Google+ and more specifically about its engagement.  It was done by Ryan Stonehouse of Google.   Before I start this, I just want to say that I am a Google+ lover not hater so I feel this is coming from solid objectivity.

Fuzzy Engagement Stats Again

One of Ryan’s slides included “Google+ has over 90M users” and “60% of them login daily” – This confused the hell out of me as I remember reading Matt McGee’s post about how the 90M users were actually just using  any of Google’s products in some capacity… not using G+ or logging in.  I had to know the truth so I asked him during the session, “So are you saying that 60% of Google+ users log in to the Google+ site each day?” – He said “No.”  Google+ users are not actually going to their stream or logging into Google+, but they just engage with Google+ in some way each day.  That could mean clicking on a +1 button or clicking on an ad with a +1 button, etc.

Real Engagement

At one point in the session Ryan asked the crowd if they used Google+.  Out of the 200 people at the event, 3 to 6 people raised their hands including myself.  WOW!   Judging from the sites(all fairly well known names) I saw at the Summit,  I would say that 70% of these publishers get most of their traffic from Google.  I was very surprised at this, so at lunch I asked about 10 different fellow attendees about their G+ usage.  All said they had an account, but  never use it.

My Take

First of all, to me, this proves that Google+ stream engagement for most people is extremely low.  I love Google+ and I go there more than I go to Twitter/Facebook/etc, but let’s be honest. All of these publishers know that Google+ posts are affecting the SERPs yet they still do not use it.  If these web marketers aren’t using it then what is the layman doing?

Second, what are these publishers thinking?  Yes, they appear to be fools. Not only will this effect your rankings later, but Google+ is extremely helpful in learning more about seo and inbound marketing.  But I guess I can’t be surprised considering Bruce Clay, one of the most reknowned SEOs hasn’t posted on G+ in 8 months.

Anyway, for more G+ optimization I suggest this guide by AJ Kohn.

Group Commerce Gets Their First Round of Funding Worth $8M

Group Commerce, a company that was founded by former Google and DoubleClick executives David Rosenblatt, Jonty Kelt, and Andrew Glenn, has successfully raised $8 million in Series A funding. This round was participated in by Lerer Media Ventures, Bob Pittman, Spark Capital, and Carmel Ventures.

Here’s what their CEO Jonty Kelt has to share about the company in a recent e-interview with Lead411:

Read More

Variety of Companies Take on Fund-raising Efforts For Japan Tsunami Victims

There is no denying how the world will never forget the 8.9 magnitude earthquake followed by one of the most destructive tsunamis in recorded history that ravaged Japan last March 11.

The destruction caused by the tragedy left hundreds dead, with the numbers rising every day. Those who were lucky enough to survive the tragedy still face what seems to be a nightmare that never ends. Many are homeless, a lot of people are still unaccounted for, and there is an increasing lack of food and water supplies, not to mention the impending threat of a nuclear meltdown in one of the country’s power plants.

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Block Content Farms from Google Results: Tech Media will still complain.

Google just announced that users can block any site they want in IE, Firefox, and Chrome. So that means that if you hate eHow, Mahalo, etc you can block them so you never EVER have to see them in your results again. But do you think this will stop the Tech Media elite (McManus, Arrington, Malik) from complaining about how Google search is being ruined?

Absolutely not. The reason why Content farms became under fire lately is not because tech bloggers are so concerned with what shows up in their OWN search results. They are concerned with what shows up in YOUR search results. Content farms and similar sites can produce content at a mere fraction of the cost/time it takes these bloggers to create their own “hand-crafted” content. This, of course, is alarming and threatening to their business model. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t hear much about eHow in the blogs. And while this new solution from Google will allow them to block these farms in their own results, it won’t stop you from seeing these sites in your results. Therefore this solution doesn’t solve their problem.

I like eHow. There I said it. I realize this is completely unpopular, but I do. I like them because within 20 seconds I can get the basics about a certain topic. My days are swamped and I don’t always have time to read through a 1500 word in-depth article. I have used HubPages, AssociatedContent, Mahalo, WrongDiagnosis, Manta, and plenty of the other “how-to” farms within the past year and I find them helpful. I use them just like I sometimes use the USA Today. It is not thought provoking, but it can give me the basics fast. And many times that is all I need.

But I am the only one that finds these sites useful, right? If you read the tech blogs, then you would think that is the case, but I am not. The search term “hubpages”(165,000) gets more google searches than “san francisco chronicle” (135,000). “eHow”(450,000) gets almost as many searches as “time magazine”(550,000). People are obviously seeking out their content no matter what anyone says.

I am not saying that these sites should rank above the new york times, etc and I am not saying that Google doesn’t need to continue to improve their results, but I certainly don’t agree with Arrington’s “If Google was good at search, Demand Media wouldn’t exist.” or MacManus’ “Google needs to wake up and smell the coffee.”

Regardless, I don’t expect the tech media to stop complaining about these content factories though. It is too much in their favor and Google does listen to them.

SEO Basics for Entrepreneurs

seo block
Image via Wikipedia

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, got a lot of buzz a few years ago. Webmasters lived and died by it. But is it still important or relevant?

You bet your business.

While the tactics may have changed a little (Google loves changing how its systems process data, so it keeps us on our toes), SEO is one of the biggest tools you have to get traffic to your website.

SEO 101

For the non-technical, SEO reflects how well your website ranks in search engine results. Let’s say you sell cupcakes in Oregon. Ideally, you’d like to be the top site listed when someone searches for “cupcakes Oregon.” That might not be the case if you don’t pay attention to the copy on your website. More on that later.

You can improve your search engine rankings by using keywords throughout your website. Keywords are the words you want people to search for to find your site. If you sell cupcakes only, you probably don’t want to mention “cookies” or “pies” on your site, as those aren’t keywords you want to be known for.

How to Improve Your Web Copy

Make a list of 10+ keywords that describe your business. Sticking with our “sweet” example, we might have:

  • Cupcakes in Oregon
  • Oregon bakery
  • Homemade cupcakes Portland
  • Portland cupcakes

For a business that only operates locally (as opposed to one with clients everywhere), that location will need to be part of the keyword. Your competition for appearing in a search for “cupcakes” alone is much fiercer, so stick with your local market.

After you have your list of keywords, make sure you’re using them in your copy. For instance, your About page would say, “A leading supplier of Portland cupcakes, Sweets n Stuff delivers homemade cupcakes Portland-wide.” See what I mean? Use the keywords as part of your copy.

If you get into the back-end of your website at all, you probably have something in your content management system (or WordPress) where you can set a title and description for each page. This is your opportunity to use those keywords again. The description is what will appear in a Google search, under the title. So make it good to entice people to click on your link:

Buy Fresh Organic Cupcakes in Portland

Choose from among many flavors, including vanilla, strawberry and chocolate cupcakes in Oregon at our organic cupcake bakery.

Other SEO Tricks

Okay, they’re not really tricks, but they will help you!

  • Change your content slightly every few months. No one likes a stagnant site, least of all search engines.
  • Add articles or blog posts using your keywords. Search engines love this.
  • When you add a hyperlink, set it over a keyword. “Cupcakes in Oregon” is better than “try our products.”
  • Read up on the latest SEO news and tips. They’re always changing.
  • Check your competitors’ sites to see what keywords they’re using.
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