Archive for November, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Developer of The Crew has Confidence in the Game’s Stability




The CrewUbisoft’s recent record and actions might give a different impression 

It has been a rough year for Ubisoft when it comes to the  games that have been released. Earlier this year the PC version of Watch Dogs suffered from a number of issues while the recent launch of Assassin’s Creed Unity resulted in free DLC and Far Cry 4 receiving a patch for a variety of issues. However, The Crew’s lead game designer Serkan Hasan has “confidence in the stability of the game and its performance,” according to an interview he had with The Metropolist.

“For The Crew, we’ve reaped the benefits of a long term beta program, designed specifically to push our infrastructure as far as possible in real world situations, with thousands of players from all over the world playing the game at the same time,” said Hasan. 

According to Ubisoft, The Crew has had four closed betas though Hasan admits that, “The launch of any online game these days has potential issues, but I hope that players will be encouraged by our open approach. If you had any doubts that we could pull this off, I hope that the betas proved our credentials and the game’s stability.”

The Crew is an online racing video game that takes place in an open world environment and is being developed by Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections. But given the launch woes of Assassin’s Creed Unity and Far Cry 4, both of which launched this month, it wouldn’t be surprising if consumers are reluctant to purchase The Crew day one. 

But while Hasan might be confident in the product his team has developed, Ubisoft’s recent action regarding review copies could be misinterpreted as a sign that it is not so confident. Earlier this week Ubisoft announced that there would be no early review copies of the game. 

“The Crew was built from the beginning to be a living playground full of driving fans, so it’s only possible to assess our game in its entirety with other real players in the world,” Ubisoft posted on its official blog. “And by other, we mean thousands and thousands and thousands of players – something that can’t be simulated with a handful of devs playing alongside the press.”

“For this very reason,” the post continues. “The Crew will be available to media to begin their reviews when the game launches on December 2.”

Are you planning to purchase The Crew or will you wait this time to see what happens on launch day?

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PostHeaderIcon What New SEOs Don’t Know Unless You Tell Them: A Reminder from Outside the Echo Chamber



Posted by RuthBurrReedy

SEO experts spend multiple hours a week reading blogs, social media and forums to stay abreast of the latest search engine developments; we spend even more time testing and measuring tactics to figure out what works best for our sites. When you spend so much of your time thinking, talking and learning about SEO, you can get lost in the echo chamber and take your eyes off the prize of growing your clients’ businesses.

It’s easy to get excited about the new and shiny developments in search and to hang on Google’s latest announcements, but there’s no point in switching a site from HTTP to HTTPS if it doesn’t even have appropriately keyword-rich title tags. There’s no reason to run a button-color conversion rate optimization test on a site that’s still using the manufacturer’s default description on product pages. Sometimes your traffic is plummeting because you haven’t checked for new 404 errors in 6 months, not because you’ve been hit with a penalty.
Think horses, not zebras, and don’t forget one important fact: Most people have no idea what we’re talking about.

What clients don’t know

Running a business, especially a small business, is way more than a full-time job. Most business owners these days understand that they need to be doing something for their business online, but once they get beyond “have a website” they’re not sure of the next step.

Puzzle

Photo via
Pixabay

Moving back into agency work after several years in-house,
I was surprised by just how many businesses out there have never gone beyond that first step of having a website. The nitty-gritty of building a search-friendly website and driving traffic to it still aren’t that widely known, and without the time or inclination to become experts in marketing their websites, most small business owners just aren’t spending that much time thinking about it.

Hanging out in the SEO echo chamber is a great way to stay on top of the latest trends in digital marketing. To win and keep our clients, however, we need to step out of that echo chamber and remember just how many website owners aren’t thinking about SEO at all.

The good

Relatively few people know or understand digital marketing, and that’s the reason we all have jobs (and most of us are hiring). The strapped-for-time aspect of business ownership means that once someone decides it’s time to get serious about marketing their business online, they’re likely to call in an expert rather than doing it themselves.

There are some really competitive industries and markets out there, but
there are also plenty of niche and local markets in which almost nobody is focusing on SEO in a serious way. Take a look at who ranks for your target keywords in your local area, using an incognito window. If the key phrase isn’t appearing consistently on the search results page, chances are nobody is targeting it very strongly. Combine that with an absence of heavy-hitting big brands like Amazon or Wikipedia, and you may have a market where some basic SEO improvements can make a huge difference. This includes things like:

  • Adding keywords to title tags and page copy in an intentional, user-friendly, non-keyword-stuffed way
  • Claiming local listings with a consistent name, address and phone number
  • Building a few links and citations from locally-focused websites and blogs

It may not seem like much (or seem like kind of a no-brainer), but sometimes it’s all you need. Of course, once the basics are in place, the smartest move is to keep improving your site and building authority; you can’t rely on your competitors not knowing their stuff forever.


Even in more competitive markets, a shocking number of larger brands are paying little to no attention to best practices in search
. Many businesses get the traffic and rankings they do from the power of their brands, which comes from more traditional marketing techniques and PR. These activities result in a fair amount of traffic (not to mention links and authority) on their own, but if they’re being done with no attention given to SEO, they’re wasting a huge opportunity. In the coming years, look for SEO-savvy brands to start capitalizing on this opportunity, leaving their competitors to play catch-up.

From inside the echo chamber, it’s easy to forget just how well the fundamentals of SEO still really work. In addition to the basic items I listed above, a website should be:

  • Fast. Aim for an average page load time of under 5 seconds (user attention spans start running out after 2 seconds, but 5 is a nice achievable goal for most websites).
  • Responsive so it can be viewed on a variety of screens. Mobile is never getting less important.
  • Well-coded. The Moz Developer’s Cheat Sheet is as good a place to start as any.
  • Easy to navigate (just as much for your customers as for Google). Run a Screaming Frog crawl to make sure a crawler can get to every page with a minimum of errors, dead ends, and duplicate content.
  • Unique and keyword-rich, talking about what you have in the language people are using to search for it (in copy nobody else is using).
  • Easy to share for when you’re building awareness and authority via social media and link building.

So life is good and we are smart and there’s a lot to do and everything is very special. Good deal, right?

The bad

SEO being a very specialized skill set has some serious downsides.
Most clients don’t know much about SEO, but some SEOs don’t know much about it either.

There are a ton of great resources out there to learn SEO (Moz and Distilled U come to mind). That said, the web can be a ghost town of old, outdated and inaccurate information, and it can be difficult for people who don’t have much experience in search marketing to know what info to trust. An article on how to make chocolate chip muffins from 2010 is still useful now; an article on PageRank sculpting from the same time period is much less so.

Outdated techniques (especially around content creation and link building) can be really tempting for the novice digital marketer. There are a ton of “tricks” to quickly generate low-quality links and content that sound like great ideas when you’re hearing them for the first time. Content spinning, directory spam, link farms – they’re all still going on and there are gobs of information out there on how to do them.

Why should we care?

So why should we more experienced SEOs, who know what we’re doing and what works, care about these brand new baby n00b SEOs mowing through all this bad intel?

confused

Photo by
Petras Gagilas via Flickr

The first reason is ideological – we should care because they’re doing
bad marketing. It contributes to everything that’s spammy and terrible about the internet. It also makes us look bad. The “SEO is not spam” battle is still being fought.

The second reason is practical. People billing themselves as SEOs without knowing enough about it is a problem because

clients don’t know enough about it either
. It’s easy for someone engaging in link farming and directory spam to compete on price with someone doing full-scale content marketing, because one is much, much more work than the other. Short-term, predictable results feel a lot more tangible than long-term strategies, which are harder to guarantee and forecast. Not to mention that “X dollars for Y links” guy isn’t going to add “There is a risk that these tactics will result in a penalty, which would be difficult to recover from even if I did know how to do it, which I don’t.”

How can we fix it?

SEOs need to educate our clients and prospects on what we do and why we do it. That means giving them enough information to be able to weed out good tactics from bad even before we make the sale.
It means saying “even if you don’t hire me to do this, please don’t hire someone who does X, Y or Z.” It means taking the time to explain why we don’t guarantee first-page rankings, and the risks inherent in link spam. Most of all, it means stepping out of the echo chamber and into the client’s shoes, remembering that basic tenets of digital marketing that may seem obvious to us are completely foreign to most website owners. At the very least we need to educate our clients to please, please not change the website without talking to us about it first!

Since terrible SEO gives us a bad rep (and is annoying to fix), we also need to actively educate within the SEO community. Stepping out of the echo chamber in this case means we need to spend some time talking to new SEOs at conferences, instead of just talking to each other. Point brand new SEOs to the right resources to learn what we do, so they don’t ruin it for everybody – for heaven’s sake, stop calling them n00bs and leaving them to learn it all from questionable sources.

As SEO content creators, we should also take time on a regular basis to either update or take down any outdated content on our own sites. This can be as simple as posting a notification that the info is outdated or as complex as creating a brand new resource on the same topic.
If you’re getting organic search traffic to a page with outdated information, you’re passively hurting the state of SEO education. A declared stance on providing up-to-date information and continually curating your existing content to make it the highest quality? Sounds like a pretty strong brand position to me, SEO bloggers!


Some people are going to read this post and say “well, duh.”
If you read this post and thought it was basic (in every sense of the word), go out right now and fix some of your blog posts from 3 or 4 years ago to contain the latest info. I’ll wait.

The takeaways

  • There are still a ton of markets where just the basics of SEO go a long way.
  • Don’t get distracted by the latest developments in search if the basics aren’t in place.
  • Brands that are getting by on their brand strength alone can be beaten by brand strength + SEO.
  • Old/bad SEO information on the web means people are still learning and doing old/bad SEO, and we’re competing with them. Branding and positioning in SEO needs to take this into account.
  • Clients don’t know who to trust or how to do SEO, so we have to educate them or we’ll lose them to shysters (plus it is the right thing to do).
  • Bad SEO gives all of us a bad reputation, so education within our community is important too.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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PostHeaderIcon GameStop Blames Third Quarter Sales Decline on Delayed Assassin’s Creed Unity Launch




GameStop StoreGameStop sales slipped 0.7 percent in Q3

New and used games retailer GameStop reported its third quarter financial results this week, which fell below what analysts were expecting. GameStop’s total global sales for Q3 came to $2.09 billion, a drop of 0.7 percent compared to the $2.11 billion in the same quarter a year ago and below the $2.2 billion analysts on average were predicting. As a result, GameStop’s stock went into free-fall mode.

Shares of GameStop are down more than 14 percent today with several hours still to go in the trading day. With today’s plunge, GameStop’s stock is down by around 25 percent since the beginning of the year when it was valued just shy of $50 per share.

GameStop pointed the finger at the delayed release of Assassin’s Creed Unity as the reason why topline and comparable store sales were negatively impacted.

“Overall, most of our major product categories performed very well, but our third quarter results were impacted by Assassin’s Creed Unity moving out of October,” stated Paul Raines, chief executive officer. “As we look at the holiday quarter, we are focused on relentlessly applying our competitive advantages: convenience, strong CRM, knowledgeable associates and value through our unique forms of currency, which include buy-sell-trade and the new PowerUp Rewards credit card, to deliver a successful quarter.”

In a post-earnings call with analysts and media, GameStop president Tony Bartel added that he’d like to see Microsoft and Sony issue price cuts for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, respectively.

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
If you like all this stuff here then you can buy me a pack of cigarettes.

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