Saturday, 26 September 2009

'The SEO Song' - Showing the Importance of Professional Web Design & Online Marketing

The Creare Group, a company consistently dedicated to practising White Hat SEO techniques, have released a brand new music video to accompany 'The SEO Song'. It is designed to help educate businesses about the dangers of companies who promise immediate and organic results in the search engines that they just can't achieve. There are so many SEO firms who practise 'black hat' techniques, it can be hard to know exactly where to start when you need to find a company who can help you.

With their vast technical know-how and fully developed teams dedicated to search engine optimisation, website design and e-commerce web design, The Creare Group are in a great position to help educate others. In such an unregulated industry, with no official external standards, it is easy for companies to get away with manipulating and deceiving innocent potential customers.

The Creare Group are launching this campaign to raise awareness about these issues, and to ensure SEO comes to the forefront of public attention.

Just some of the falsehoods spread by those companies that thrive on using illegitimate techniques include: being affiliated with Google, guaranteeing front page or top position results in a limited time span and failing to properly explain the difference between pay-per-click and organic SEO campaigns. The Creare Group feel so strongly about the widespread black-hat SEO underworld, that they are making it their mission to educate small to medium businesses about these dangers.

A music video is an innovative and exciting way to publicise this message by reaching out to the masses without the technical jargon. Starring home-grown talent in the form of their very own expert web designer Michael Angrave, and the rest of his band 'Charlie And The Martyrs', this could be the best possible way to ensure all businesses understand the need to use honest SEO firms. The video was filmed in house, as The Creare Group pride themselves on their versatility, in addition to their skills with regard to SEO and Web Design.

Lead vocalist Michael Angrave comments; "It's not every day you get the opportunity to make and record a pop song and music video, so naturally, when we came up with the idea, I was more than happy to offer my input. I think the song itself is a fun take on what we do as a company, which is to make a difference to people's businesses and lives."

As a company whose search engine results are all natural and fully above board, The Creare Group feel so passionately that through the medium of music they want to amuse, educate and, above all, spread the word, so that no other businesses are exploited by the practices of black hat SEO firms.

"At Creare, we find nothing more soul destroying than when we go to see potential customers only to discover they have been mis-sold websites and deceived by SEO companies who promise to provide genuine organic results and simply rely on pay-per-click. We feel so strongly about this that we created the SEO music video to educate small to medium sized businesses about the risks of such practices." Mike McKinlay, MD.

The Creare Group feel so strongly about the quality of the techniques used in the SEO community that they will be promoting this video across a variety of online and offline channels. For more information about their honest web design and search engine optimisation services, you can see the video both on the Creare Group YouTube Channel, and on their websites.


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Guava to Appear at Chinwag Live

Leading search engine marketing agency, Guava, will be on the panel of the Chinwag Live event "Search is Dead, Long Live Search" on the evening of Tuesday 29th of September at the Slug and Lettuce pub in SoHo, London.

With the rapid growth of Twitter, as well as the launch of newer services such as Bing, Guava's SEO Director, Teddie Cowell, will be on the panel to discuss how marketers and SEO specialists can optimise for new search technologies.

Teddie Cowell, SEO Director of Guava commented:
"The search landscape is certainly changing. 'Search is Dead, Long Live Search' will be a great opportunity to explore how we can really optimise effectively for the ever-increasing range of search platforms available to web users - in the age of 'social media search'."

Guava are also sponsoring the event, which also sees speakers from Mindshare, Betfair and MediaVest. Chinwag Live is the first of many events Guava are due to appear at.

For further information on Guava's juicy event line up visit: http://www.guava.co.uk/events/


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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Mobile Broadband Providers Deliver a Quarter of Advertised Speeds

The leading comparison site tested 3,342 mobile broadband connections during the period 1st March 2009 - 31st August, 2009, and found that the average actual download speed was 1.1Mbs compared to the average advertised maximum speed of 4.5Mbs.

The research also revealed that, whilst Vodafone recorded the fastest actual speed with an average of 1.3Mbs, it also delivered the lowest percentage of its advertised speeds at just 18% of the stated 7.2Mbs. The findings are particularly surprising as the operator has recently announced that its maximum speeds are set to increase to 14.4Mbs.

Although there was not a great difference in actual speeds delivered between providers, T-Mobile was the slowest at 0.9Mbs or 20% of the advertised speed. 3 achieved the highest percentage of advertised speeds clocking in at 1.2Mbs or 33.3% of the advertised 3.6Mbs maximum speed.

Rob Webber, Broadband Expert's Commercial Director, is calling for providers to add average speeds to advertising so consumers can make a more informed choice. He said: "It is completely unreasonable for a provider to advertise unrealistically high speeds that the vast majority of customers will never receive. Advertising unrealistic speeds will not help the long term growth of mobile broadband or the reputation of the providers if customers feel they are being misled."

By comparison, over the same period, Broadband Expert tested 94,546 home broadband connections where the average speed was 3.6Mbs or 44% of advertised maximum speed.

Webber concluded: "Consumers who see mobile broadband advertised at such high speeds may see it as a realistic alternative to home broadband, whereas in truth it should be seen as a complementary technology. Continued developments in the mobile broadband industry will undoubtedly allow it to become a true competitor in the future, but at the moment - as our research shows - there is still a way to go."

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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Bookreaders Give Social Networks a Thumbs Down

In a recent survey conducted by Book Marketing Limited, book-lovers gave a resounding thumbs down to 'social networks' such as Facebook and Twitter with only 3% seeing them as very useful places they would go to for recommendations on what books to read next.

Instead, they actively seek out more authentic expert views on the web from Author websites as well as trusted independent sources of guidance such as Lovereading.co.uk. In addition, when asked where they find out about the latest books, the web was the most used but email newsletter and reviews in the newspaper scored highly as well.

At the other end of the scale, only 5% of respondents said they often looked at the expensive posters sites typically seen on public transport.

Peter Crawshaw of Lovereading said 'In one way the research findings support the more 'traditional' view that is held about book lovers. What is interesting however is the high level of independence shown by them in the sourcing of authentic expert views on what they might like to read next. It also points to the 'Stephen Fry / Jonathan Ross Twitter effect as being the exception rather than the rule'.

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Engage Customers Via Video

With UK online advertising now worth approximately £3.3 billion, a new website http://www.bizzibox.com launches today that offers businesses of all sizes a place to communicate directly with their online audience with advanced video streaming technology. Bizzibox is the interactive business directory with video streaming technology at its centre – enabling businesses to easily manage their online brand image and reach out to more customers.

UK Businesses list for free on http://www.bizzibox.com and receive a free, interactive profile page from which they can upload news and images. Listings are linked to expert information videos on products and services allowing consumers to find information and businesses quickly and easily.

One feature that business can access directly from their Bizzibox profile page is the My Bizzibox Player. ‘The My Bizzibox Player makes branded video streaming technology available to businesses of all sizes,’ comments Bizzibox CEO, Tom Acton. ‘It allows businesses to create video blogs, upload business videos and publish video news stories that play instantly on a business’ own website. From £19.50 per month, it’s the UK’s only affordable commercial-use video publishing solution and an ideal tool for businesses that want to add professional branded video to their websites.’

In addition to the My Bizzibox Player, the site also offers a professional Filming & web distribution service: ‘Video is a powerful way for business to communicate with their customers and increase their online traffic,’ continues Acton.

‘The consumer market for online video has grown rapidly over the past couple of years with approximately 29.6 million people in the UK accessing online video in a single month in 2009. To reach this ever growing market, businesses of all sizes need to stay one step ahead and communicate via online video. Bizzibox provides the ideal platform to do this.’

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Friday, 18 September 2009

UK's Largest Auction Site Sees Traffic Grow Over 5,000%

With a team of only 10 full time employees, Bid4Vouchers launched onto the UK auction scene with a fanfare not seen since rival German auction site Swoopo entered the market in 2008. From an initial membership of only three thousand the site has grown beyond all expectations increasing in size by over 1500 new members every week. This has left the company with a few initial growing pains but one of the fastest growing companies on the internet.

Founder and technical director, Oliver Hutcheon, explains;

"There's a significant difference between us and other auction sites in that we create substantially more winners because of our business model. We only auction gift vouchers for all the major high street stores and each auction varies in value from £10 to £500.

When we launched we planned for a steady growth so we could meet the challenges of higher traffic along the way. It hasn't been like that at all.. the growth has been phenomenal and driven partly by the auction winners themselves recommending the site. What we didn't factor in was the time that our members spend using the site which is sometimes up to one hour. Thankfully our hosting company, Red Technology, have been excellent in upgrading the hardware necessary to cope with the added traffic.

At present, we keep stocks of around £10,000 worth of vouchers on any of 30 high street stores we represent so delivery is quick and by registered post. You can play and win the day before you go shopping."

So how do the auctions work? It's a tried and tested model where each bidder pays a small amount for the right to place a bid and drives up the price by a few pence. But what's new about Bid4Vouchers?

Jon Molton, sales director explains,

"People have become comfortable with the standard auction model where anywhere up to a few hundred people will chase a very valuable prize for only a few pounds, paying a small price each time to bid. The trouble with the existing model is that this leaves one winner and many, many losers. We run auctions where you can fairly easily win bundles of high street gift vouchers for 30% to 40% of their face value, sometimes with as few as only 3 or 4 members participating in the auction. This new way of generating more successful auction winners has proved to be quite a significant attraction and the levels of interest we've experienced have certainly given us some late nights. But it's a great problem for the company to have."

Looking at some of the recent auctions on the website its easy to see why the growth has been so explosive;

£250 of Boots the chemist vouchers sold recently for only £12.18.
£500 of House of Fraser vouchers went for only £34.84
£25 of Argos vouchers went for only 89p.

Jon Molton again… "Some of the auctions only raise the price by 1p for every bid, so the final value is incredibly small but we're happy with that. Over 70% of the auctions do lose us money, but the 30% that don't make up for the other 70%."

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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Bacs Approves Experian Payments Gateway

Experian, the global information company, has announced that its payment processing product, Experian Payments Gateway, has achieved approval under the Faster Payments Approved Software Scheme, operated by Bacs. As the first software to receive approval for unattended use with Direct Corporate Access (DCA), it will enable users to fully automate their Faster Payments and participate in the Barclays launch of DCA to Faster Payments in September.

Originally developed to enable payments originators to process Bacs Payments, Experian Payments Gateway has been extended, tested and approved for use with Smartcards and Hardware Security Modules (HSM) in both attended and unattended modes. It supports Faster Payments DCA via Secure-IP, the secure channel for corporates to initiate Faster Payments.

James Hilliard, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Experian Payments, said, "Many of our large customers use automated payments systems to help increase efficiency and reduce their risk and costs. Recognising their need to automate their Faster Payments securely, we have worked closely with the Faster Payments Approved Bacs Software Scheme to ensure they are able to gain maximum benefit from the new Faster Payments Service."

Gareth Lodge, Regional Research Director, TowerGroup, said, "Automating payments has always been a key priority for corporates as it has multiple benefits, from cost reduction to improved risk management. But in the current economic environment, it probably is even more important than it has ever been, with working capital benefiting in particular. And of course, the deeper that SEPA Payments are integrated into the end-to-end process, the greater the benefits."

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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

TheGiftCardCentre.co.uk Makes "UK Retail Website of the Year" Finals

The Gift Card Centre Ltd, creator of the UK's first online gift card consumer portal TheGiftCardCentre.co.uk, today announced that it was shortlisted by Retail Systems Magazine for "UK Retail Website of the Year". Retail Systems will announce the winner of this category and others at their annual Awards Dinner on October 29th at Grosvenor House in London.

"TheGiftCardCentre.co.uk is riding two hot UK trends - the rapid move away from old paper vouchers to new electronic stored value gift cards and emailable eVouchers, and the explosion in online shopping," said Paul Preston, Director of Business Development. "We're delighted to be named along with Prezzybox, Kiddiecare and Specsavers as a finalist for this award."

TheGiftCardCentre.co.uk features gift cards from the UK's leading merchants, including iTunes, Debenhams, Argos, Comet, WHSmith, Ticketmaster, Sainsbury's and many more. Their one-stop-gift-card-shop allows UK consumers to browse from a selection of leading stored value gift cards, and select the perfect one, at the perfect value, to fit the occasion.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

How To Blog Yourself Out Of Debt

Lee Smallbone (26) started out in January 2009 owing over £15,000 in unsecured loans and credit cards. Faced with the prospect of divorce and losing his home, he decided to take hold of his worsening situation and work himself out of debt for good within 12 months, and then onwards towards financial security and prosperity. Above all else, he wants to help others do the same.

The world of UK personal finance has always been a minefield, and this has never been more true in the current Credit Crunch climate. His blog is his diary, a guidebook, a "do it yourself" get out of debt and prosper manual, and it's all available in stark honest blog format at FivePencePiece.com

There are no quick fixes involved, no get-rich-quick schemes and no scams. Just hard work, planning and strategy. Documenting what works for him and what doesn't, writing reviews on financial products and services, and offering help to ordinary British people in the most difficult financial times a generation of people know.

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Friday, 11 September 2009

Glasshouse Hots Up For Spotify Event

The Glasshouse, the international membership community for entrepreneurs, innovators, start-ups and investors, has today announced that it is releasing a new block of memberships due to intense interest in its next event: On 17th September, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek will break his current media silence to talk about his real life experiences as an entrepreneur in conversation with the BBC's Katie Ledger.

Judith Clegg, The Glasshouse founder said, "We've been under a lot of pressure to open up the membership to allow in a fresh intake of entrepreneurs. It seems that the credit crunch redundancies have given a lot of people the impetus to take control of their own career destiny and as a result the entrepreneurial buzz is louder than ever in London."

The extraordinary media interest in Spotify, and the chance to see its CEO, Daniel Ek, up close and personal has had the phone ringing off the hook in the build-up to the next event. Judith adds, "The criteria is pretty stringent, potential members will still be screened to keep the ratio of real entrepreneurs to investors and others in and around the community up at the right level. We have a hard won reputation for attracting a really great crowd which is why companies like Spotify, Skype, Last fm and Bebo agree to work with us so we won't ever jeopardize that."

Glasshouse membership ensures preferential access to events and is free to entrepreneurs. To apply for membership please email Sylvia at theglasshouse.net for further details. Tickets for events start at £25 each.

The next Glasshouse event is at 7pm on Thursday 17th September at The Royal College of Physicians, NW1: Pop Idols, a new musical democracy - does the rise of Spotify signal lasting change for the music industry?, with Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify interviewed by BBC Click's Katie Ledger.

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UK Slow To Take Up Super-fast Broadband

Simiplifydigital.co.uk analyses broadband figures according to the Broadband World Forum. The results show that the UK is lagging behind the rest of Europe for super-fast, fibre to the home broadband.

According to figures announced at the Broadband World Forum in Paris this week, fibre to the home (FTTH) broadband has grown by 18% in Europe over the last 12 months, but the UK has failed to make the list of top 10 adopters of this new technology.

FTTH broadband is the "Rolls Royce" of broadband delivery solutions and allows super-fast upload and download speeds ideal for emerging web 2.0 services like person to person video calling. FTTH is the generation beyond, fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) solutions used by suppliers such as Virgin Media in the UK (which themselves offer speeds far faster than standard DSL broadband).

The Fibre-To-The-Home Council, which compiled the rankings, showed that Sweden came top with 10.9% of broadband homes enjoying FTTH, followed by Norway (10.2%) and Slovenia (8.9%) in third place. The UK, France and Germany all failed to feature in the top fourteen European FTTH-enabled nations. Interestingly Lithuania and Slovakia do make the ranking, showing how emerging European nations are far better prepared for the online future than the old industrialised economies such as the UK and France.

Fibre to the home (FTTH), as the name suggests, involves the laying of fibre optic cable all the way into the home. This is much more costly than the FTTC fibre optic broadband infrastructure, which relies on a standard cable connection for the last yards from the street cabinet to the home. The Fibre-To-The-Home Council forecasts that 13m people across 35 European countries would have fibre broadband by 2012, with average broadband speeds of around 100Mb/sec. This compares to the UK, where the average residential broadband speed is currently 4.5 Mb/sec.

Charlie Ponsonby CEO of broadband comparison service Simplifydigital.co.uk comments:

"The UK’s very limited FTTH network is unlikely to change any time soon. No major broadband provider has committed to a substantial FTTH rollout. BT’s much publicized £1.5bn investment in fibre optic broadband is FTTC, like Virgin Media’s network."

Charlie Ponsonby continues:

"FTTC broadband is still a big improvement on standard DSL broadband services. Virgin Media is currently offering an up to 50 Mb/sec broadband package via FTTC – and is piloting a scheme to deliver speeds of up to 200 Mb/sec. However, both networks will still leave about 30-40% of UK homes relying on slower DSL broadband connections."

In Japan over 40% of residential broadband connections are via fibre to the home (FTTH) so they enjoy broadband speeds roughly 20 times faster than t he average UK household. One Japanese cable company KDDI, recently launched a FTTH broadband and telephony package with upload and download speeds each of up to one gigabit per second, (1000 Mb/sec). What's more the KDDI service (with a free phone line) costs only around £35 per month.

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Base London Launch Online Gentlemens Club

Base London has expanded its e-commerce site to incorporate an online Gentlemen's Club aimed at entertaining and educating their loyal customer base and giving them the opportunity to interact directly with the brand.

A variety of 'rooms' in the Gentlemen's Club play host to elements of interest to the Base London target market including competitions, videos and reviews along with fashion and style tips educating the customer on key looks for the season and what to wear to which social event.

Once in the Gentlemen's Club the visitor has the opportunity to enter a selection of 'rooms' such as the Video Lounge, screening the choice cuts of the best videos on the net, and the Comedy Club which offers some witty one liners and classic quips. The Trap Door reviews a variety of subjects ranging from weird restaurants to the latest movie releases while a Games Room offers the chance to win a pair of the latest Base London mens shoes.

The Base London Gentlemen's Club also features a Dressing Room section that advises customers on how to pull of the latest looks and a Street Style section that spots Base London customers on the streets from around the UK. The Base London Gentlemen's Guide also offers some handy tips for men, with topics ranging from how to impress your boss to pub magic.

Customers can find everything they need to know about the latest Base London formal, semi formal and casual shoes as well as pairing shoes with situations, with all products available to buy in the Base London Online Shoe Shop.

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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Camping Is Back and It's Here to Stay

The launch and rapid growth of Pitchup.com, a campsite and holiday park search website, couldn't be more indicative of the current holiday climate. Official statistics released yesterday by UKTS show that UK camping and caravanning was up by 27% compared to 2008 (January to May). Official statistics for June onwards have not yet been released, but the renaissance of UK camping and caravanning holidays was predicted early in the year with advance bookings up by 25% over 2008 (from the National Caravan Council). Looking forwards to 2010, 54% of Britons who took a YouGov poll plan to take their main holiday at home- compared to the 26% who said they would this summer.

Furthermore, the credit crunch in the UK and a collapse in holidaymakers' overseas buying power (Source: X-rates.com) resulted in a 19% decline in holiday trips abroad in June 2009 (Source: International Passenger Survey - IPS).

This year's growth in the UK camping and holiday park market stems from a variety of factors. As well as the credit crunch and holidaymakers seeking value for money, a yearning for the nostalgic, the growth of "glamping" (glamour + camping), and the mushrooming of UK festivals have all paved the way for the rise. In addition, the growing awareness of the necessity for sustainable travel means a 'staycation' is one of the best ways to lower an individual's carbon footprint.

Pitchup.com is the most comprehensive website in its sector, with 5,000 UK and Ireland campsites and holiday parks featured including hundreds of hard-to-find sites. The website has an easy-to-use search facility and contains information on accommodation near hundreds of beaches, nine National Parks, 17 World Heritage Sites, and the main UK festivals.

Pitchup.com allows visitors to make specific searches according to their needs. The site's comprehensive listings make it possible, for example, to search for a campsite in South-West England that is near a beach and a National Park, allows dogs, offers disabled facilities and wifi, and has sailing nearby (in this case, Porlock Caravan Park in Somerset). Users can also search for any post code and see local sites. Alternatively, users can search for what they want to do first and the site will show the accommodation options nearby.

Users can also search for places to go such as beaches and walking routes, as well as UK events and festivals via a direct link to Ticketmaster and eFestivals.

Dan Yates, Managing Director, Pitchup.com commented:
"2009 is the year of the "staycation" and particularly camping and caravanning. The credit crunch, investment in tourism facilities and growing spontaneity in travel patterns are seeing UK holidaymakers staying at home looking to enjoy the great outdoors."

"The massive growth of the market kicks the doors wide open for this website. It helps visitors find exactly what they want if considering a UK- or Ireland-based camping or caravanning holiday - whether it's a family holiday, activity holiday with friends or a trip to one of the UK's music festivals. We want Pitchup.com to be as helpful as possible to our users: for example, we've added a 'near festival' search to the homepage and are incentivising campsite reviews with a tent competition. There's no doubt that this type of holiday has a great deal of appeal to the British from students, to families, to the over-55s; and Pitchup.com will assist in finding the holiday they want, whatever their criteria."

Over 700 sites listed on Pitchup.com are open all the year round, and the site is preparing autumn and winter campaigns that highlight the UK's natural charms, working in partnership with leading brands. Dan Yates continues: "The site promises to be the portal for the camping and caravanning world as we positively encourage feedback and collaboration by our users about a whole range of accommodation and things to do in the great British countryside."

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Real-Time Search Engine Launched By FAROO

FAROO, an innovator in Peer-to-peer technology, announced today the launch of Real-Time Social Discovery and Search, which uses a crowd-sourced approach to search, offering the discovery of new and relevant Web documents within minutes of their being published.

Using connectors to popular social services such as Twitter and Digg, FAROO's Real-Time Search is able to leverage a larger representative base of attention data for discovery and ranking. FAROO deep crawls all discovered links and uses the number of votes, trust and reputation for ranking those documents.

"The discovery of topical, recent, and novel information has always been an important aspect of search, but the perception of what "recent" is has changed dramatically over the past year," said Wolf Garbe, CEO of FAROO. "FAROO's new Real Time Search is the next step towards a unified and distributed Web search, enabled by the scaling and cost advantages of our peer-to-peer technology."

FAROO offers a number of benefits which improve real-time search including:

Social Noise Filter
FAROO analyzes the trust and reputation of the original source, the recommending user, and the attention and popularity of the information among the final consumers in order to separate the relevant documents from the constant real-time stream of noise.

Social Tagging
There is nothing as powerful as the human brain for categorizing information. FAROO utilizes collective intelligence and aggregates the tags from all users and all of the connected services for a specific document. Tags may be used as filters in the faceted search.

Rich Visual Preview
Whenever possible, a teaser picture from the article is shown in front of the text summary, not just a thumbnail of the whole Web page. The author is also displayed and can be used for filtering purposes.

Sentiment Detection
It's not just the pure news, but also the emotions that involve users and make information relevant. FAROO detects and visualizes which kinds of sentiments have been triggered in the conversation.

Multi-Language Support
The real-time search services are still dominated by English content. Yet, the country with the most Internet users is China, and due to the long tail the vast majority of Internet users use languages other than English. FAROO provides language-specific voting, ranking, and searching together with a localized user interface.

Faceted Search
FAROO's faceted search feature enables users to navigate a multi-dimensional information space by combining text search with a progressive narrowing of choices in each dimension. This helps users manage the increasing flow of information by narrowing, drilling down, refining and filtering the search results.

RSS result feeds
Users can subscribe to the result streams, applying any combination of the faceted search filters, so they can be notified and browse through the news in a preferred feed reader.

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Fujitsu Chooses Bigmouthmedia For Paid Search

Electronics giant Fujitsu has chosen bigmouthmedia, Europe's largest independent digital marketing agency, to lead its international PPC campaign.

Fujitsu Technology Solutions GmbH selected the Edinburgh based search engine optimisation company following a multi-agency pitch. Bigmouthmedia will now lead the company's paid search advertising campaign in more than 25 countries worldwide, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

David Hardy, bigmouthmedia group's international sales and marketing director, commented on the deal saying: "We're delighted to be working for such an internationally renowned brand like Fujitsu. One of bigmouthmedia's key strengths is our international scope, and our demonstrable expertise in running complex multi-language campaigns has been a key factor in winning this account."

He added: "Over the past 12 years we have established a proven track record in managing big brands across multiple territories, and I am confident we will enjoy similar success with our strategy for what promises to be a challenging and exciting campaign."

Employing more than 10,000 members of staff, Fujitsu Technology Solutions GmbH is part of the global Fujitsu group, which offers IT-based business solutions in 70 countries worldwide. The innovative technology company was searching for an agency that could manage all of its campaigns across multiple target markets from a central location, which led them to bigmouthmedia.

Fujitsu's digital marketing requirements also included an increase in the profile, turnover and traffic on their international sites as well as the capacity to oversee new product and service launches. Beginning work immediately, bigmouthmedia now develops and manages Fujitsu's PPC (http://www.bigmouthmedia.com/products_services/pay_per_click_management/ ) campaigns in more than 25 countries, including Italy, Spain, Turkey, Scandinavia and the Eastern European countries.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Putting Twitter Into Perspective

Perspective, a leading authority in apprentice training and distributed learning, has taken their online presence a step further by joining Twitter, the micro blogging social network.

The move comes as Perspective aim to utilise the network as a message platform, using it to communicate important and relevant information regarding the world of education and apprenticeships to all interested parties on the internet.

The rise of the social network Twitter has been swift and well documented, with many businesses and brands beginning to realise the potential of integrating Twitter into marketing strategies. Perspective will be using the social media tool to provide insights into issues from the education field, whilst also liaising with other authorities on schooling and apprenticeships in an effort to increase its contact base.

"Twitter has become such a popular network that it is almost impossible to ignore" commented Jim Davis, CEO of Perspective. "We will be looking to use Twitter as another medium through which we can impress our personality and expertise as a company into the public domain, as a way of highlighting and discussing important issues in the world of education, training and apprenticeships".

Perspective provides learner management software that acts to help enterprises, businesses, schools and colleges with monitoring a learner's progression and attendance in the field of distributed learning.

Perspective's Sunesis system allows both tutors and apprentices to track progression throughout the period of a training course, as well as creating trainee targets and areas that need more focus. The Sunesis Training Management System (TMS) also provides facilities for funding management, recruitment and the creation of training reports.

Perspectives CLM software has been designed to support the delivery of 14-19 diplomas, whereby many students undertake a distributed learning environment that sees them work outside the grounds of their school or college. CLM allows for the monitoring and measurement of student attendance and links the various partners involved in the educational process. This serves to relieve the strain that was originally placed on manual monitoring solutions.

Perspective is also part of the Systems Interoperability Framework (SIF) Association, which has defined a set of rules and regulations regarding the sharing of data in the education sector, aiming to streamline the data sharing process.

Through SIF, software application agents communicate with each other through a central communication point, improving accessibility and compatibility across the various different types of software available to the education industry.

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SEO Consult Still Going Strong

TopSEOs, the independent search vendor authority, have ranked SEO Consult first in their monthly evaluation list of the Best UK Organic Search Engine Optimisation Companies - that's 10 consecutive months at the top for SEO Consult.

Coming out on top of up to 300 UK-based SEO agencies each month is no mean feat - SEO Consult scored top marks in creativity, competency, competitive cost and customer satisfaction. The time in which first page organic SEO listings are achieved is a premier consideration, in which category SEO Consult excel.

To back up the statistics, at least 3 customers are sounded out by TopSEOs to assess how efficient they found their SEO agency's services and to gauge their average Return on Investment (ROI). SEO Consult's 100% score speaks volumes. SEO Consult also offer a free SEO website analysis worth £500 to highlight ways in which a site can be optimised for the best possible search engine ranking results.

"We're very proud of this achievement and are delighted by our consistent performance," said Matt Bullas, Managing Director of SEO Consult. "The cutting edge of the SEO industry is an exciting place to be and with our comprehensive, creative and highly effective SEO services it's where we hope to stay. Visit us to see how a custom-built campaign can generate great results for your business?"

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Absolute To Manage Active4's Activities

activ4 chose Absolute as its Web Marketing agency due to their wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge of the travel and tourism industry, which has stemmed from a significant amount of time spent client side, working for several UK travel businesses including lastminute.com.

Simon Colley, MD of Absolute commented: "Through reviewing activ4's niche operation, I firmly believe the web has the potential to be a great source for generating good quality enquiries and bookings, which should also achieve a healthy return on investment for activ4".

activ4 specialize in organising sports tours, cultural tours, performing arts tours and ski tours for groups. Their holidays are tailor-made specifically to each and every enquiry received; and they are already a leading specialist in organising group holidays for many UK secondary schools.

A key differentiator for activ4 is the way in which it can ease the load for the party leader, as well as provide a great tour experience. activ4 will support and provide help with all stages of the organisation of the tour.

Just one example of activ4 going the extra mile:-
It's a common occurrence, groups have a great time during the day and then, nothing happens, many tour companies suddenly become absent each evening leaving the party leader to organise and amuse the rest of the group. activ4 takes proactive steps and makes recommendations to party leaders, creating evening entertainment programmes, thereby extending and enriching the experience of the destination being visited - the result, a 'hassle free' and enjoyable holiday for all to remember.

Steve Scott, MD of activ4 commented: "our highly trained and skilled staff are great in organising fantastic holidays for groups both large and small, what we don't have is the necessary knowledge and experience in marketing our business online. By partnering with Absolute we can get the activ4 brand in front of the many users visiting the web, to find the best company to book their next trip with".

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Search Engine Strategies (SES) Berlin 2009

Incisive Media and BBP today announced that Bill Hunt, President of Back Azimuth Consulting, will be the opening keynote speaker at the Search Engine Strategies (SES) Berlin Conference & Expo.

Bill is internationally recognised as a search marketing expert who is helping to shape online marketing and social media on a global scale. Bill is currently on the Board of Directors of the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization and is active in growing SEMPO's international base of members. He is the co-author of the best selling book "Search Engine Marketing, Inc." Driving Traffic to Your Companies Web Site and writes a popular blog on search and social media marketing at www.whunt.com.

The SES Berlin Conference & Expo will be held at the Crowne Plaza Berlin City Centre on 24-25 November 2009. The German event is focused on search engine marketing (SEM), including pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimisation (SEO), For more details, go to http://www.SearchEngineStrategies.com/berlin.

SES is the leading global event for education in online marketing and advertising - including search (SEM/SEO). Organised by BBP and hosted and co produced with Incisive Media and Thomas Bindl, one of Europe's leading authorities on search, SES Berlin's sessions will help marketers ensure online success. Beginner workshops, intermediate sessions, and debate panels will address applications such as video, podcasts, and blogs, as well as design and writing for search engines. More advanced marketers can attend sessions on search advertising tools, web analytics, and advanced paid search tactics.

Thomas Bindl, SEO expert and moderator of the "European Search Engines" said:

"We are delighted to announce that Bill will be opening the event this year. Bill's experience and expert advice is sought by industry analysts and corporate leaders looking to implement an effective enterprise and global search marketing and social media strategy. This is a great opportunity to hear Bill's thoughts on industry developments as well as networking with one of the foremost industry leaders."

Matt McGowan, Vice President and Publisher for Incisive Media's Interactive Marketing Group, including Search Engine Strategies, Search Engine Watch and the ClickZ Network, said, "SES Berlin is a crucial event on the industry calendar. It has grown over the years and attracts the most prominent people in online marketing. I am thrilled that Bill will be joining us and looking forward to hearing what I'm sure will be an inspirational presentation on the first day.

After the very successful co production of SES Amsterdam in March 2009, BBP and Incisive Media joined forces to take upon the already 7 years tradition of SES in Germany. "As Europe's second largest search market, Germany will have one of the most attractive SES programs this year. Great speakers like Bill Hunt and several key German search specialists will guarantee the newest insights and cutting edge best practices. I'm looking forward to SES Berlin", said Paul Petermeijer, CEO for BBP.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Embracing Social Media Does Not Require A New Website

Brands looking to utilise social media in their online marketing efforts don't need to build a whole new website for that purpose, as social media features can be easily incorporated to an existing site framework according to Reality Digital, the leading provider of online community software for brands and businesses.

Social media has become one of the most efficient ways of crowd sourcing consumers, and therefore an effective method of marketing on the internet. Many brands have looked to engage their consumers and fans of their brand using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Features such as online video mean that consumer engagement with the brand will greatly improve, and brands will then have the opportunity to further interact with their audiences through marketing tactics such as user generated content competitions.
According to Reality Digital, for the maximum benefit of social media to be realised, brands must implement social media of their own. Many brands see this as entailing the costly construction of an entirely new website in order to achieve all of the latest features of social networking functionality, but this is not the case according to Reality Digital.

Robert Proctor, the Head of EMEA for Reality Digital, said: "Social media can just as easily be employed in an existing website as it can be created from scratch. Most websites can simply slot the specific aspects of social media that they desire into parts of their domain, enabling them to make the most of social media without needing to invest in an entirely new website.

"Features such as online video mean that consumer engagement with the brand will greatly improve, and brands will then have the opportunity to further interact with their audiences through marketing tactics such as user generated content competitions. "

The Reality Digital Opus Platform is a social networking application that not only allows brands and businesses to create a social network dedicated to their site, but also facilitates the implementation of the same features into a brand website that is already up and running. In addition, there is also the option of being able to choose exactly which elements of functionality are needed for a website, and which ones can be left out, in order to maximise the value of the platform and ensure that it fits into the existing framework as smoothly as possible whilst meeting the criteria needed for the brand to achieve its overall goal.

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Free Wi-Fi On Greyhound UK Inter-City Services

Icomera, the world's leading provider of cellular broadband gateways, has announced that Greyhound has selected Icomera's award-winning Moovbox M200 Mobile Broadband Gateway to provide Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS tracking on inter-city coach services in the United Kingdom. Greyhound, owned by Scotland-based transport giant FirstGroup plc, launched direct services from London to Southampton and London to Portsmouth with forty journeys each way, each day. The free Wi-Fi hotspot service will provide passengers with Internet access at speeds up to several megabits per second, using a 3G HSPA network connection from Vodafone. In addition to free Wi-Fi, passengers will benefit from at-seat power sockets, reclining leather seats and complimentary newspapers. Fares start at just £1 plus 50p booking fee. FirstGroup is evaluating plans to roll out new Greyhound UK services from 2010.

"Despite our low fare prices we want to offer our customer the very highest level of amenities on board the new Greyhound services," said Alex Warner, Managing Director of Greyhound UK. "Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly popular on public transport - indeed our research suggests that that Internet connectivity is a high priority for our customers. FirstGroup has installed Icomera's mobile Wi-Fi hotspot technology on many other UK routes, and it has proved popular as well as reliable."

The Moovbox M200 Mobile Broadband Gateway acts as a bridge between a vehicle and high-speed cellular data networks including 3G/HSPA, EV-DO and WiMAX, providing Wi-Fi access and an Ethernet-based local area network (LAN) for connecting on-board systems such as CCTV and passenger information systems. The M200 also has integrated GPS receiver for real-time automatic vehicle location (AVL) via the web-based MoovManage service.

"We're delighted that FirstGroup has selected Icomera to provide the on-board Internet technology for its new Greyhound UK services," said Dave Palmer, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Icomera. "Despite the growth of 3G coverage, passengers will take advantage of free Wi-Fi where it's available, to avoid eating into monthly bandwidth allowances and to reduce the very high costs of data roaming outside the home cellular network."

With the proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled portable devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry and netbooks, free on-board Wi-Fi is rapidly becoming expected by rail, bus and coach passengers, especially on commuter routes and inter-city transport services. All five major UK transport operators - FirstGroup, Stagecoach, Arriva, National Express and Go-Ahead - have deployed Icomera Internet systems on key routes favoured by commuters, students and international travelers, serving over 50,000 Internet connections every week.

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Monday, 7 September 2009

Localisation Is The Key To Globalisation

Google's growth in international markets has been five times faster in 2009 than in 2008 and five times faster than in the US this year. The search giant has actually seen a decline of 8% in the UK.

Multilingual Search Marketing Agency WebCertain is advising search marketers to follow Google's example and target the more buoyant global markets, where there is more opportunity to make money.

Andy Atkins-Kr├╝ger, Managing Director of WebCertain, recommends using keyword research to determine which markets show the most demand for a product and service, and therefore offer the most potential.

"By tapping into local search data, marketers can get a good understanding of what internet users are really searching for, and how they are searching for it. Organisations can use this information to tailor their campaigns and communications to the most relevant markets, and the most popular search terms, leading to improved ROI and higher sales.

As well as enabling businesses to reassess their strategies, the keyword research will also serve as the foundation for any online campaigns, be it SEO, PPC or Social Media.

"By building search campaigns based on keyword research, which has been conducted and verified by native speakers of each language, marketers will ensure they are driving quality and relevant visitors to their websites, who are more likely to convert".

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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Aurora Looking To Maxymise Their Conversions

Aurora Fashions (Aurora), the group that owns some of the UK's most respected high-end women's brands -- including Karen Millen, Oasis and Coast -- has partnered with online conversion management expert, Maxymiser, to increase conversion rate and boost its online presence.

Maxymiser have a proven technology platform with a core proposition based around making the most of the traffic we already have visiting our websites rather than focusing on customer acquisition. We are aligned with this approach and as a result have broadened our focus from traffic generation campaigns to include customer retention marketing.

Using Maxymiser's conversion management solutions, Aurora Fashions will be trialling different web page layouts, sequences and content across the websites of Karen Millen, Oasis and Coast, in order to determine which content has the most positive effect in improving conversion rate.

As Julien Shirley, Head of E-Commerce at Aurora Fashions explains, "At Aurora, we are looking to enhance our online presence in order to provide our customers with the best possible service whilst also driving our e-commerce revenues. By using Maxymiser's conversion management solutions we will now be able to see a direct correlation between website content and performance."

Shirley continues, "Maxymiser have a proven technology platform with a core proposition based around making the most of the traffic we already have visiting our websites rather than focusing on customer acquisition. We are aligned with this approach and as a result have broadened our focus from traffic generation campaigns to include customer retention marketing."

Initially Aurora will be testing four different areas of the websites with Maxymiser in order to try and optimise the entire shopping journey. This will begin with a test on the category page to establish whether the specific category links or the innovative Fitting Room application - currently available on the Coast and Karen Millen sites - are more successful at driving traffic from the homepage through to individual product pages.

Simultaneously, Aurora will also be running tests on the product page - where the focus will be on understanding which elements of the diverse styles and formats currently used are most successful in generating larger basket sizes per visit; the shopping bag page - where the tests will look to understand how content can impact on consumer perceptions of site security and a brand's ability to cross sell; and the registrations page - where the best format to drive consumers through the final stage of this process will be examined.

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Punch Sees SEO Services Take The Lead

PR Company Punch Communications has announced that more than half of its clients are now commissioning search engine optimisation (SEO) activity as part of a traditional public relations campaign.

The dominance of Punch in its own search engine rankings has led to many clients tasking the agency with the job of achieving similar results on their behalf. An SEO campaign is a great way to send increased numbers of traffic towards a relevant website and so the return on investment for businesses following a successful spell of SEO activity is invaluable.

Punch's adoption of the skills necessary to become a successful SEO agency has been a major catalyst in its own growth, both in terms of the results that it has been able to achieve for itself, and the high quality, diverse offering that is provided to all of its clients. As budgets become ever tighter during the recession, the value to clients of the PR Consultants' expertise in SEO strategy and implementation has been of significant measurable benefit.

Pete Goold, Managing Director said: "Our advent as an SEO Agency has been a hugely positive development for us, providing us with key leads generated through our website, as well as enabling us to add another valuable service to our overall offering to clients.

"Our success is clearly demonstrated by the number of clients who have commissioned us to incorporate search engine optimisation into their overall public relations campaign. This also illustrates that SEO is increasingly being considered a subset of public relations, but that a growing number of businesses are investing in SEO as a core marketing discipline.

Punch has a vast array of expertise and experience within its team, from more traditional aspects of public relations such as media relations to more recent developments in PR, such as the use of social media for promotion and instigation of conversation. Punch is also again in a position to add more members to its team, which has doubled in size over the past two years.

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Social Media Is Making Marketing Campaigns More Effective

Marketing campaigns that incorporate a brand focused social network are more effective due to the increasing popularity of social media according to Reality Digital, the leading provider of social networking application software for brands and businesses.

Reality Digital have indicated that marketing campaigns that integrate social media activity, such as a social network dedicated to a brand, are far more influential in reaching out to key audiences than those that only focused on media content advertising.

A social networking platform provides the perfect focal point for marketing activity as the brand can unite its audiences within a single community, providing an efficient delivery platform for campaign messaging. These networks can be moderated by the brand too, removing any risk of negative content being uploaded and shared.
The advantages of using a social network as the hub of marketing activity in both online and offline promotion are numerous, particularly due to fact that the vast majority of consumers have an online presence. According to Reality Digital, the ability to direct consumers to a single point of engagement can make a marketing strategy even more effective.

The use of a central website or network as a focal point also makes it easier to reap benefits from a search engine optimisation perspective too, through the generation of URL's and keywords that match and compliment each other.

A brand focused video social network such as Reality Digital's Opus Platform allows fans of a company to interact with the brand in a much more direct way than other marketing strategies allow them to, on a mass level. A social network can also hold user generated content features that can be used as a marketing tool to create and manage competitions based around the brand and the network.

"The use of social networks in a marketing strategy is becoming more and more important in the engagement of consumers throughout a campaign" said Robert Proctor, Head of EMEA for Reality Digital.

"A social networking platform provides the perfect focal point for marketing activity as the brand can unite its audiences within a single community, providing an efficient delivery platform for campaign messaging. These networks can be moderated by the brand too, removing any risk of negative content being uploaded and shared."

The Opus Platform incorporates a number of cutting edge social networking tools guaranteed to entice users, from basic social network functionality and user generated content capabilities, to a high definition video engine.

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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Beware of the Facecrook

Many social network users reveal personal information such as age, telephone number and address to approximately 59 million people worldwide and around seven million in the UK. When combined with 'status' updates that describe users as "on holiday" or "on a day out" this provides an open invitation to opportunistic burglars.
According the Home Office in 2008 there was a 4% rise in the number of UK burglaries in 2008, the largest rise in seven years and young people (16-24 yrs old) are twice as likely to be burgled as any other age group.

Steve Chelton, insurer development manager at Swinton home insurance, said: "Social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo or My Space are great for connecting people with friends, family and colleagues. But people are unaware of the potential risks associated with revealing personal information and updating their online status.

"We would advise all users not to include your address or telephone number on your profile and only ever accept online friends that you know and trust. Think carefully before updating a status, especially if going on holiday to avoid advertising to thieves that a home is empty and easily accessible. Also, keep profiles private so that only certified 'friends' can view it and status updates."

Swinton advises social network users to:
  • Restrict all personal information without stating your exact address.
  • Only accept people as a friend that you know or can trust.
  • Set your profile to 'private' so that people who are not your friend cannot see your personal information.
  • Never update your online status to tell people you are going away from your home.

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Jellyfish and Fresh Egg Sign Exclusive Partnership Deal

UK paid search specialist agency Jellyfish has concluded an exclusive partnership arrangement with Fresh Egg, the award-winning web design and internet marketing company specialising in SEO.Together, the two agencies now represent one of the UK's top 3 best-resourced integrated online PPC and SEO marketing providers, with a joint staff roster of 110, and clients including Skype, Which?, Visit Wales and NatWest.

Jellyfish has pioneered a CPA model that is second-to-none. Using CPA rather than the more traditional 'management fee' approach means that Jellyfish is focussed on quality, conversion and guaranteed ROI. That chimes exactly with the inherent approach we have to SEO at Fresh Egg. We both share the same commitment to delivering outstanding ROI.

Signing up Iwantoneofthose.com as our first client together is a hugely positive achievement, especially at such an early stage in our joint relationship. Combining our expertise in SEO and PPC is a match made in heaven, and by introducing Jellyfish's proven CPA model to clients we're confident that this partnership can offer brands a dynamic and cost-effective search solution.

The partnership arrangement will commit Jellyfish and Fresh Egg to working closely together to exchange knowledge to benefit their mutual and independent clients. While remaining completely separate businesses, they will present a seamless, one-stop-shop solution that will appeal to clients seeking a single source for briefing and reporting, with the appointment of dedicated account managers whose task will be to manage partnership business.

Unlike many other agencies that claim to have everything under one roof, this arrangement will present a coherent single source in terms of management and operation, but guarantees access to dedicated specialists and acknowledged experts in SEO and PPC.

Iwantoneofthose.com will be the first sign-up in the joint venture, with Fresh Egg handling SEO and Jellyfish Jellyfish handling PPC for the shopping site.

Earlier this year, Fresh Egg appointed leading entrepreneur and BBC Dragons' Den panellist James Caan as chairman following his investment in the agency.

Adam Stafford, managing director of Fresh Egg, said: "Jellyfish has pioneered a CPA model that is second-to-none. Using CPA rather than the more traditional 'management fee' approach means that Jellyfish is focussed on quality, conversion and guaranteed ROI. That chimes exactly with the inherent approach we have to SEO at Fresh Egg. We both share the same commitment to delivering outstanding ROI."

Rob Pierre, managing director of Jellyfish Jellyfish , added: "There are obvious synergies between our two companies that can be exploited to the benefit of our clients and each other. We will clearly be able to maximise our mutual effectiveness by access to skills and knowledge from one another. With this exclusive collaboration both Jellyfish and Fresh Egg provide a joint resource that challenges the biggest agencies in the UK and worldwide without diluting our core strengths."

James Caan, chairman of Fresh Egg, commented: "Signing up Iwantoneofthose.com as our first client together is a hugely positive achievement, especially at such an early stage in our joint relationship. Combining our expertise in SEO and PPC is a match made in heaven, and by introducing Jellyfish's proven CPA model to clients we're confident that this partnership can offer brands a dynamic and cost-effective search solution."

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Global Search Market Draws More Than 100 Billion Searches Per Month

comScore, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world has released a study of the global search market showing that more than 113 billion searches were conducted in July 2009, representing a 41-percent increase versus year ago. Google Sites attracted significantly more searches than any other engine with 76.7 billion searches conducted, or 67.5 percent market share. Yahoo! Sites ranked second worldwide with 8.9 billion searches (7.8 percent share), followed closely by Chinese search engine Baidu with 8 billion searches (7.0 percent share). Most of the top search properties worldwide experienced significant growth in search query volume versus last year, with Russian search engine Yandex growing at the fastest rate (94 percent) among the top ten.Europe Accounts for Most Searches, but Latin America Highest in Searches per Searcher

The dynamics of search behavior vary considerably across different parts of the world. Among the five global regions, Europe accounted for the highest share of searches at 32.1 percent, followed by Asia Pacific (30.8 percent) and North America (22.1 percent). Notably, Latin America exhibited the heaviest search behavior per person with an average of 13 search usage days in July and 130 searches per searcher. Europe had the second highest overall search volume per person (117 searches per searcher) while North America exhibited the second heaviest frequency (12.5 search usage days per searcher).

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