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Snooth.com Launches New Wine and Experiences Site

Snooth launches service to bring consumers and wineries closer

NEW YORK, NY (October 21, 2014) — Snooth.com, the largest online wine community, has launched a unique, new wine offers and experiences site called “The Cellar by Snooth”. Since its debut in 2007 Snooth’s goal has been to make wine discovery easier and more fun for consumers while helping wine brands connect with a wider audience. With a wide array of reviews, products, images and prices, Snooth members are able to search and shop for wines from the comfort of their living rooms. Today Snooth takes a step forward in bringing members closer to the wine lifestyle and hard to find wine deals. Snooth has partnered with Touring & Tasting Magazine to offer consumers an unprecedented level of wine industry access. The Cellar by Snooth has been designed to enhance and add to the wine lifestyle while offering significant cost savings to its members. Every wine has a story that becomes an integral part of the wine experience. The Cellar by Snooth provides a channel through which wineries and merchants can tell their stories to a wider audience. Members of Snooth will enjoy flash sale pricing on wines, access to products and experiences, and the chance to join the Snooth Cellar Club. These club members will enjoy substantial discounts on wine country experiences, unique vacation packages, and Cellar Club exclusive offers. A members-only online magazine, The Insider, will provide exclusive content such as winemaker interviews and behind-the-scenes wine news. Currently priced at $35, a yearly membership is guaranteed to pay for itself. “Wine enthusiasts who visit wine country fall in love with wine because the best brand storytellers are at the winery and in the tasting room. We are excited to offer The Cellar by Snooth as the ultimate complement to the wine lifestyle. The program will serve our members through remarkable cost savings. It will also provide a stage for continued growth and reinforcement of one’s passion for wine.” says Snooth CEO Mark Angelillo. “This partnership is relevant and exciting in many ways,” says Touring & Tasting’s Managing Partner Dan Fox. “Our two companies complement each other exceedingly well and It shows our collective commitment to both the consumer and to the wine country businesses who cater to the consumer. We see it as a consummate example of providing value for all concerned and we’re proud to be an integral part of this exciting new program.” Visit The Cellar by Snooth today at https://www.snooth.com/offers/ About Snooth Snooth delivers innovative technology and wine lifestyle content for wine lovers, foodies and the food and beverage industry. The company was founded in 2007 and now boasts over 1.1 million wine listings, 2.5 million wine reviews, over 10,000 wine-related articles and a community of 1.5 million members. Snooth is headquartered in New York City. About Touring & Tasting Marketing and Media Based in Santa Barbara, California, Touring & Tasting Marketing and Media has enjoyed the enviable position as the “Premier Guide to Wine Country” for 20 years. In addition to producing the award winning, national Touring & Tasting magazine, the company provides turnkey, multi-tiered marketing and promotional programs for the wine industry. Touring & Tasting is also the leader in promoting wine tourism as an exciting aspect of travel. The company is partners in the nation’s annual Wine Tourism Conference, Wine Bloggers Conference, and numerous regional festivals and events promoting wine tourism.

5 Snooth Resolutions

As many of us do, I spent some time reflecting on the past year. I thought specifically about what we here at Snooth should carry forward into 2014 and what we should leave behind. The best way to stick to these resolutions is to write them down. And an even better way is to post them publicly where others can read them. I put a note on my calendar to read this post every month this year, so I will come back to these ideas and check our progress.

1. Release an exciting new product. This one is a bit of a teaser — we’re already hard at work on said new exciting product. I’m not ready to talk about it quite yet, but it’s something we’ve been building toward for 7 years now. We’re finally ready to move forward.

What you can do: If you’re a wine retailer and want to be involved please get in touch with me. I’d love to pick your brain about this opportunity.

2. Grow Snooth Concierge as a way to help people find their way into new wine experiences. I can’t wait to see where we can take Snooth Concierge in 2014. Every time I go to wine country, anywhere in the world I might add, I am touched by the hospitality to which I am treated. Wine people are fantastic, passionate and generous folk, and as such they’re incredibly good hosts. I am convinced that the more people we encourage to go to wine country, the more people will fall head over heels in love with wine. That’s something I’m sure we can all get behind.

What you can do: Plan a trip to wine country! We’ve got a great and growing list of experiences at Snooth Concierge, but even if you just go yourself it’s well worth it.

3. Invest heavily in improving the quality of the data. It’s no secret that Snooth’s best chance of being useful to the wine community is to continue to catalog the wonderful, deep and diverse products and brands that exist in the market. The way we decided to approach the problem eventually results in an extremely useful resource, but the path is long. If we don’t continue to do our part to improve the information on Snooth, we’re missing out on a big opportunity to help more thirsty people.

What you can do: If you’re a winery or retailer, you can subscribe for free to the tools on our wine professionals site. Snooth members can use the tools on the Snooth.com site to make sure their favorite wines are well represented!

4. Ask the community for their input — and listen! We’re building Snooth because we love it, but ultimately we’re building it for you. If we don’t reach out to the community for input we may not build the best service for you. Look for a way to provide feedback to us soon.

What you can do: Make sure you’re receiving our newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when we reach out.

5. Help more brands to reach out to the community in ways they find exciting and effective. Our members help to make Snooth a great place, but we would be remiss in not mentioning the true stars here. The wineries and the brands they work so hard to produce are truly the heroes of the wine business. In 2014 we’ll find increasingly effective ways to connect our members with exciting wines to try and to share with friends and family.

What you can do: This one is on us. If you’d like to be more involved with the Snooth community, please be in touch!

I’d love to hear from you and a mini resolution is to spend more time blogging this year. I’m excited for 2014 and what we can do together. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Springpad Partners with Snooth to Help Foodies Find the Perfect Wine

Snooth-powered wine pairings automatically enhance recipes and Snooth Wine Mentors engage with Springpad’s thriving foodie community

BOSTON, MA and NEW YORK, NY (August 21, 2012) – Springpad, the smart notebook app that makes it easy for more than 3.5 million users to save and share what’s important to them, has partnered with Snooth, the most comprehensive wine resource on the web, to engage with food and wine lovers on Springpad in new and meaningful ways. Recipes saved to Springpad will now be enhanced with expert wine pairings recommended by Snooth, and Snooth’s Wine Mentors will share collaborative notebooks with Springpad users. The partnership continues Springpad’s popular model of adding value to the items saved by its users with actionable third-party content, and helping users find curated content from thought leaders as well as friends and family.

With its Snooth partnership, Springpad is taking its value proposition for foodies to a new level. Snooth’s wine pairings will enhance saved recipes while exposing the community to new wine discoveries and knowledge. Springpad notebooks curated by Snooth Wine Mentors, a group of wine educators that includes sommeliers, winemakers, Masters of Wine and other wine industry professionals, will reflect their wine expertise as well as their broader interests and personalities. Snooth will also maintain multiple notebooks of its own dedicated to specific wine varietals, pairings, good values, independent vintners and other themes.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Snooth around our vibrant foodie community to share expert wine recommendations and interests with our users,” said Jeff Chow, co-founder and CEO of Springpad. “The recommended wine pairings provided by Snooth will add value to the recipes our members save, while the participation of Snooth Wine Mentors in our community will bring a rich new dimension to their shared interests in food, wine and restaurants.”

Food and wine lovers have embraced Springpad in large numbers, already saving more than 1.3 million recipes and more than 250,000 restaurants to the platform, organized by interest, such as #vegan, #healthy, #paleo, #glutenfree, #desserts, #beer, #wine, #baking and more. Springpad notebooks make it easy to add, organize and access recipes by course, cuisine, special holiday, main ingredient, favorites and other criteria. One-click shopping list creation, mobile access and a convenient tablet view help users every step of the way from inspiration to shopping to preparation. Now, every recipe saved to Springpad will be paired automatically with a wine recommended by Snooth’s patent pending flavor profiler, helping foodies not only find a wine that complements their current meal, but also discover exceptional new wines they might not have found on their own.

“Springpad has given foodies a fun and valuable new way to share culinary favorites and make new finds. By adding our wine experts, information and tools to the mix, Snooth will make it easier than ever for Springpad members to discover, share and enjoy wine,” said  Rich Tomko, CEO of Snooth Media.

“Springpad has quickly become a key place to be for passionate epicureans,” said Snooth Wine Mentor Julia Crowley. “I’m excited to engage with this thriving community to help enrich and educate their foodie experience—and I’m sure I’ll learn many things from them as well.”

About Snooth

Snooth Media is a technology-driven media company that is a leader in delivering wine, spirits and food content to the epicurean consumer. Snooth Media, with a reach of more than 3.5 million monthly visitors, includes Snooth.com, the largest online wine community with over one million registered members. Snooth Media is headquartered in New York City.

About Springpad

Springpad is a social, smart cloud-based application that helps you discover, save, share and act on the ideas and information that matter most. Created by Boston-based Spring Partners and available for free for iOS, Android and on the Web, Springpad’s smart notebooks help you make better decisions. TIME Magazine named Springpad one of the 50 Best iPhone apps of 2012. To learn more about Springpad, visit www.springpad.com.

Wine Buyer’s Guide Puts Emphasis on Grapes

Snooth launches a digital wine magazine available on any device

NEW YORK, NY (August 1, 2012) — Snooth.com, the largest online wine community, will launch the latest edition of a new digital magazine called “Wine Buyer’s Guide” in partnership with Nomad Editions.

Each digital issue will be singularly focused on a specific type of grape. The issue will highlight where the grape grows best, trip itineraries to those regions, top wine producers, great food pairings, and nearly 100 tasting notes of individual wines at various price points to guide both wine novices and connoisseurs in their wine buying decisions.

The latest issue, launching today, features Sauvignon Blanc and can be accessed from any mobile or web-connected device. It is priced at US$0.99/issue or US$9.99/annual subscription. This new edition along with the previously launched first two issues – Chardonnay and Grenache – are available for purchase now at https://nomadeditions.com/snoothLaunchPromo2012/.

“The average U.S. consumer buys wine based on the grape – Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc. – yet most wine publications continue to focus on wine regions. By taking a grape-first approach, we aim to super-serve consumers with information on the wines they are most passionate about.” says Snooth CEO Rich Tomko.

“I’m thrilled to introduce Snooth’s new digital magazine.” says Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth Editor-in-Chief. “Taking advantage of the flexibility of this medium allows us to present our content in a new and attractive format to a whole new audience. Snooth’s Wine Buyer’s Guide is a natural extension of all the work we have done at Snooth to make wine more accessible, easy to understand, and fun to learn about.”

“Snooth has broken new ground with their grape-first approach and in developing a digital magazine to complement their website. Nomad is pleased to have had the opportunity to help Snooth in this effort” says Mark Edmiston, Nomad Editions CEO.

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About Snooth:
Snooth Media delivers epicurean lifestyle content and innovative technology for wine lovers, foodies and the food and beverage industry. The media group, with a reach of more than 3.5 million monthly visitors, includes Snooth.com (http://www.snooth.com), the largest online community of wine lovers with over 1 million registered members; The Spirit (http://www.thespir.it), a comprehensive cocktail destination; What’s Cookin’ (http://www.whatscook.in), a site dedicated to culinary findings and tips; and the Snooth Media Connection, which includes the reach of its distributed content platform. Snooth Media is headquartered in New York City.

About Nomad Editions:
Nomad Editions LLC is a highly scalable digital media company with a sophisticated publishing infrastructure that re-imagines content for mobile platforms; creates beautifully designed magazines optimized for tablets; and delivers them via iOS or html to any device with a browser. The company has published over 300 issues since launch in December 2010. Nomad LLC is based in New York City.

Snooth.com Launches People’s Voice Wine Awards To Determine Best Wines of 2012

Media Partner Meredith Corporation to Support Awards Program via Brands Including Better Homes and Gardens, EatingWell, EveryDay with Rachael Ray, Recipe.com and Family Circle

NEW YORK, NY (June 27, 2012) — Snooth.com, the world’s largest online wine community, today launched the People’s Voice Wine Awards, a multi-platform awards program that invites consumers to judge and vote for their favorite wines.

Meredith Corporation will serve as the program’s media partner, leveraging its leading food and lifestyle content brands, including Better Homes and Gardens, EatingWell, EveryDay with Rachael Ray, Recipe.com and Family Circle, to drive consumer awareness and marketing support. Additionally, Meredith and Snooth will work together to create integrated, multi-platform marketing opportunities around the program.

The initial award nominees were chosen by Snooth Editor-in-Chief Gregory Dal Piaz based on typicity, consistency, quality, ageability, complexity and deliciousness. Each selection falls into one of over 80 categories, representing a wine type at various price points: Value, Premium, Super Premium and Luxury. Find the full list of nominees here.

“The U.S. is the largest wine-consuming country in the world and as the largest online wine community, we are excited to finally give the average wine drinker an opportunity to vote for their favorite wines,” says Snooth CEO Rich Tomko. “Most wine award programs are judged by wine critics, the People’s Voice Wine Awards turns that idea around and gives the judging power to the people.”

“Wine critics are a vital and integral part of the wine industry,” says Dal Piaz. “However, we also know the consumer decides which wines to buy based on a myriad of criteria. To honor those decisions made each day, we created the People’s Voice Wine Awards.”

“We’ve seen from our research that, in addition to their passion for food and entertaining, our audience is very interested in wine and wine pairings across a wide range of price points, said Liz Schimel, EVP/Chief Digital Officer, Meredith National Media Group. “Snooth’s mission and offerings align closely with our brands and we’re thrilled to help promote and market the People’s Voice Wine Awards through our powerful roster of food-focused media brands.”

Online voting occurs in two rounds, beginning on June 25 and concluding on October 12. Winner announcements will be made in mid to late October. Social media marketing and monitoring for all the nominated wines will be conducted using Vintank’s industry-leading Social Connect platform. Bloomspot, the online destination for exclusive local deals and travel offers, is the presenting sponsor for the program.

Visit www.snooth.com/awards for more information.

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About Snooth:
Snooth Media is a technology-driven media company that is a leader in delivering wine, spirits, and food content to the epicurean consumer. Snooth Media, with a reach of more than 3.5 million monthly visitors, includes Snooth.com (http://www.snooth.com), the largest online wine community with over 1 million registered members. Snooth Media is headquartered in New York City.

About Meredith Corporation:
Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP; www.meredith.com) is the leading media and marketing company serving American women. Meredith features multiple well-known national brands – including Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Family Circle, Allrecipes.com, Ladies’ Home Journal, Fitness, More, American Baby, EveryDay with Rachael Ray and FamilyFun – along with local television brands in fast-growing markets. Meredith is the industry leader in creating content in key consumer interest areas such as home, family, health and wellness and self-development. Meredith uses multiple distribution platforms – including print, television, online, mobile, tablets, and video – to give consumers content they desire and to deliver the messages of its advertising and marketing partners.

About Vintank:
The worlds leading Social Media Monitoring and SCRM software that powers social intelligence for the wine industry. The software connects consumer interactions on various social channels allowing wineries and wine companies the ability to gain insightful information and analytics about online conversations and interactions and apply it against their social customers.

For more info, contact Clare Goggin Sivits: Email | (646) 723-4328

Snooth.com Launches New Facebook Integration to Make Wine Tasting More Social

Snooth.com Launches New Facebook Integration to Make Wine Tasting More Social

(January 18, 2012 – New York, NY)

Snooth Media, home of Snooth.com the world’s largest wine site, is launching a new social wine tasting experience integrated with Facebook that makes it easier for people to discover new wines and wine reviews online with their friends. This new Facebook integration allows people to tell their friends that they are “tasting” a specific wine from Snooth.com, and add their Snooth activity directly to their Facebook Timeline.

With this new feature, people are able to share activity with their friends that goes beyond just Liking. Starting today, people can enhance their Facebook Timelines with the Snooth app, and update their friends with the new wines that they taste in real time. Wines tasted can then be viewed by friends in a person’s timeline and in the ticker on Facebook. People can also display aggregations of wines tasted in the timeline, including top picks or most recent wine reviews over time.

Through Facebook Platform, people can share the experience of tasting and reviewing wine, making their online experience more personal and relevant.

“We’re excited to launch this new Facebook integration as it makes it really easy for our users to share their favorite wines with their friends and also archive those same wines using Timeline,” says Rich Tomko, CEO, Snooth Media.

Snooth’s role as a launch partner with Facebook’s new platform was announced in September at f8, the company’s annual developer conference.

Learn more about Snooth at www.snooth.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/snooth.

About Snooth Media:

Snooth Media produces epicurean lifestyle properties that combine innovative technology, strong social elements and quality editorial content. With a reach of more than 6 million monthly visitors, Snooth Media includes Snooth.com (http://www.snooth.com), the world’s largest wine information site; The Spirit (http://www.thespir.it), a comprehensive cocktail destination; What’s Cookin’ (http://www.whatscook.in), a site dedicated to culinary findings and tips; and the Snooth Media Connection, which includes the reach of its distributed content platform. Snooth Media is headquartered in New York City.

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

Site Maintenance

Hello Snooth users. We are going to be performing scheduled server maintenance tonight from 12AM ET to around 1AM ET. Please excuse the service interruption. We’ll be back as soon as we can.

An SEO guide for Wineries Part 6

Last time, we explored the basics of HTML, the behind-the-scenes language of the web. Let’s talk a little bit more about search engines and how they read websites.

How Do Search Engines Read Websites?

In part 3 of this SEO guide there are two fairly short sections on engines and robots reading your site. I’d like to explore more about what the engines are looking for, so we can dig a little deeper on what you can do to help robots, and users, understand your message.

Because the rules of how websites are set up are fairly well defined, robots tend to behave like extremely thorough users. Let me explain – any website is made up of pages of HTML and links between those pages. Some websites today have additional functionality that allows the pages to animate, or to change as you use them, but in general the basic web contains pages of HTML, with links between those pages. As a user of a website, you visit a site, you read the content, and you find a part of the page that references a topic that you want to know more about. Assuming there’s a link to a page deeper into the site that has information on that topic, you follow that link.

You are unlikely to follow every link on the page. There are probably too many, or you’re too busy, or not every link is relevant to what you’re looking for. A robot is not so picky. Its only task is to visit a page, then find every link on that page and follow it. Each link leads to a page, which the robot will then visit and find every link and follow it. And so on. As it does this, it stores a copy of the contents of each page so that the algorithms the engine has built can analyze those copies to figure out what they’re about.

Two things may be apparent here, given what is happening. If for some reason when a robot visits your page, there is no content (for example if your site is down or if in some cases the page requires a user to complete an action to read the content), then the page will have reduced its ability to rank. There is no content. Most engines are pretty forgiving here, and they’ll come back to visit again, so it’s not a terrible worry if this happens. Also, and much more importantly, if you have a page that is not linked to on your site, the robot cannot and will not find it.

In general, the first page that an engine will visit on your site is your home page. It will follow the process above, and if you have created a page but not linked to it anywhere, the robot cannot find where it is. It will not have the ability to rank because it is effectively invisible to the robots. Note that robots also follow links that go between sites. In fact, links between sites are very important for SEO (review the Site Authority and Links section of part 4). If you have created a page on your site, and you do not link to it from anywhere on your site, however another site does link to it, in general it will be found. I say in general because the other page must have already been found (linked to).

The important point here is that, after you write all kinds of great content, it’s important to link to it so that it can be found by users of your site. Ultimately, that also means the robots can find it, and that could potentially lead to more users from the engines directly.

Snooth.com Announces Facebook Integration to Make Wine Tasting More Social

Snooth.com Announces Facebook Integration to Make Wine Tasting More Social

(September 22, 2011 – New York, NY)

Today at f8, Facebook’s developer conference, Snooth Media, home of Snooth.com the world’s largest wine site, announced a new social wine tasting experience integrated with Facebook that makes it easier for people to discover new wines and wine reviews online with their friends. Snooth’s Facebook integration will allow users to tell their friends that they are “tasting” a specific wine seamlessly from Snooth.com. Using new features announced at f8, Snooth is making it possible for people to share activity with their friends that go beyond just “liking”.

“We’re announcing a new way for people to connect around tasting wines and discovering new wines with their friends on Facebook,” said Rich Tomko, CEO, Snooth Media.

Through Facebook Platform, people can share the experience of tasting and reviewing wine, making their online experience more personal and relevant.

Learn more about Snooth at www.snooth.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/snooth.

About Snooth Media:

Snooth Media produces epicurean lifestyle properties that combine innovative technology, strong social elements and quality editorial content. With a reach of more than 10 million monthly visitors, Snooth Media includes Snooth (http://www.snooth.com), the world’s largest wine site; The Spirit (http://www.thespir.it), a comprehensive cocktail destination; What’s Cookin’ (http://www.whatscook.in), a site dedicated to culinary findings and tips; and the Snooth Media Connection, which includes the reach of its distributed content platform. Snooth Media is headquartered in New York City.

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

Snooth Media Introduces Wine Press – Provides Robust Contributor Platform and Streaming Content Viewer for Wine Fans

Housed on Snooth.com, Wine Press Kick-Off Includes Articles from ZesterDaily.com Wine Experts

(September 14, 2011 – New York, NY)

Snooth Media, home of Snooth (www.snooth.com), the world’s largest wine site, today announced the launch of an innovative, new contributor platform and content viewer, Wine Press (www.snooth.com/wine-press). The new product enables Snooth site users to easily contribute articles, upload photos, take quizzes, start conversations and ask questions. Wine Press also allows users to view the best wine content on the Web, including original content from Snooth and posts from the top wine blogs, all in one easily navigable page.

Wine Press offers Snooth’s 850,000+ community members, and anyone who logs in with their Facebook account, the opportunity to become contributors and bring their wine insights to the forefront. After publishing, each post gets fed into the Wine Press news stream where its placement is then determined by relevancy, community votes, Facebook Likes and Tweets.

“We want to make it easy for anyone to contribute to Snooth.com,” notes Snooth Media CEO Rich Tomko. “Wine Press allows folks who would like to write about wine, but don’t want the overhead of starting and maintaining their own blog, to easily publish their posts on a platform that will seamlessly put their ideas in front of the Web’s largest wine audience. On the other side, we’ve also built a tool that makes it easy for any user to digest the best online wine content customized to their expertise level and interests.”

As part of this new product launch, Snooth has partnered with leading Internet food and drink news site ZesterDaily.com to bring additional expert content to the Snooth community. Articles from their award-winning contributors – Carla Capalbo, Patrick Comiskey and Elin McCoy – will help kick-off the Wine Press launch. In partnership with Zester Daily, Snooth will be hosting a “book-a-day” giveaway drawing from a robust “Wine Library” of books, including select titles from ZesterDaily.com contributors, and one grand prize winner who will receive the entire library

In June, Snooth launched Wine Rack, the site’s foray into social gaming. Interactions logged on Wine Press will be counted toward earning trophies on Wine Rack as well.

Visit Wine Press at: snooth.com/wine-press

About Snooth Media

Snooth Media produces epicurean lifestyle properties that combine innovative technology, strong social elements and quality editorial content. With a reach of more than 10 million monthly visitors, Snooth Media includes Snooth (http://www.snooth.com), the world’s largest wine site; The Spirit (http://www.thespir.it), a comprehensive cocktail destination; What’s Cookin’ (http://www.whatscook.in), a site dedicated to culinary findings and tips; and the Snooth Media Connection, which includes the reach of its distributed content platform. Snooth Media is headquartered in New York City.

About Zester Daily

Zester Daily (ZesterDaily.com) is an award-winning Internet news site covering the culture and politics of food and drink. More than 50 journalists, authors and editors worldwide create the site’s content, including breaking news, feature articles, op-eds, cartoons, videos and more. Zester Daily readers include opinion leaders in the fields of food and drink, politics, environment, health, agriculture and sustainability. Closely followed by the national media and lauded for its excellence, Zester Daily continues its growth since it was founded in 2010. Zester Daily is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.

An SEO guide for Wineries Part 5

Last time, we explored how search engines rank websites. I spent a bit of that post talking about links. We’ve all clicked on links before, but let’s dive into the language of the web a little, to demystify the building blocks.

HTML is The Language of the Web

1. What is HTML?
If all content is not created equal, at least all web pages are. They’re created using a language, just like English, French or Italian. That language has a syntax and a grammar, and rules for how it should be written. That language is called HTML. Fortunately for us, it’s much simpler to learn to write in HTML than it is to learn a spoken language.

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. I happen to love acronyms, but I realize they’re fairly techy and you certainly don’t need to remember what it stands for to use HTML. The reason I bring it up is because it helps to remember what HTML is trying to do. Hypertext is web-activated text. So HTML is for working with hypertext. Markup is a lot like it sounds. Remember in school when you wrote an essay, and the teacher would Mark Up your work with red pen, adding strikethroughs, squiggly lines that signified that two letters were reversed, and so forth? Believe it or not, that’s all Markup is — you’re writing out some red lines that the web browsers will use to figure out how to display text. The L in HTML of course just means it’s a language.

2. The building blocks of HTML
If you right-click on this page and choose the option to “View page source”, you’ll see a bunch of text surrounded by small words enclosed in less-than (<) and greater-than symbols (>). That’s the Markup in HTML. If you remember back to my example of the teacher with the red pen – there were symbols that were used to signify what was to be done with the text. HTML doesn’t write on top of the text to mark it up however. HTML consists of a collection of symbols that surround the text. These symbols are called “tags”. Confusingly, these are not the tags you might use to describe your content. Let’s look at a tag.

<strong>This text should be bold</strong>

Let’s break down the tag – it begins with <strong>. <strong> is an “opening tag”. That tells the web browser that whatever comes next should be in bold. You may wonder when the browser would know to stop bolding text. The browser will bold all text until the tag is “closed”. We close tags using a slash after the less-than symbol. </strong> is a “closing tag”. It tells the browser to stop bolding the text.

That’s basically it – all of HTML from here on out uses these tags to tell the browser what to do with the text that is between its opening and closing tags.

3. There are many HTML tags
Here are some more examples.

<em>This text should be italicized</em>
<p>This text is a full paragraph</p>
<a href=”http://www.wine.com/”>This text should be linked to wine.com</a>

Hang on – see what happened there? Sometimes an opening and closing tag is just not enough information for the browser to know what to do. The “a” tag is also known as the “anchor” tag or the hyperlink or just the link. Why do we need 4 names for it? I don’t know.

Anyway, see the href=”http://www.wine.com/” part? That’s called an attribute. All attributes follow the same form. They appear in the opening tag, they begin with the name of the attribute (href), then an equals sign, and the value of the attribute is enclosed in double quotes afterwards (http://www.wine.com/).

In this case, a link tag needs to know where to link to. The href attribute defines where to link to. You can have multiple attributes as well.

Let’s try to relate that to wine. Let’s say the link tag were a bottle of wine. One of its attributes would be the closure, which might be cork. It might also have a vintage, say 2008. It would also have a name – the “Weak Example Cabernet Sauvignon”. If there were a bottle tag in HTML, it might look like this:

<bottle closure=”cork” vintage=”2008″>Weak Example Cabernet Sauvignon</bottle>

So maybe that wasn’t the best example – and there certainly is no bottle tag in HTML, but hopefully it shows that HTML is flexible, powerful and not too terribly scary.

Ready to move on? Proceed to Part 6: How Do Search Engines Read Websites?

An SEO guide for Wineries Part 4

Last time, we explored the search engine process. At the end of that post, I commented that, should you do a great job of “being an authority”, “you have a fighting chance of ranking against your competitors”. Let’s explore what that means.

Express Your Authority

When you use a search engine you may not think about the results that are returned or the order they’re returned in. You may be surprised to see how important the top few results are. Although this article is from 2006 and the numbers may have changed slightly, you can see how powerful a top ranking can be. The fact is, people rely on the engines to give them the most relevant and best information on their search in the top few results, and rarely go hunting lower on the page or on page 2. They’re more likely to rework their search if they don’t see what they want.

This puts a lot of pressure on the engines to be certain that users are served within the top few results. After all, the goal of a search engine is to be beneficial to their customers. They want to provide the best, most relevant information available. This requires that the engines analyze the pages their robots crawl from many different angles – there’s no silver bullet when it comes to finding the best result. At this time, Google uses over 200 signals to rank websites for a given search. Some of those signals are well known and some are kept secret by Google, after all the last thing they want is for people to be able to “game” their algorithm. Let’s explore some of the ones that the SEO community knows about.

1. Relevance
This one is an easy one. If your page is not relevant to the searcher’s search, you will not be able to rank. For example, if a searcher is looking for “best cabernet in napa” and your page is about different types of soda, there’s no way you would be able to rank in their search results.

To improve relevance, you should choose the topics that you want to write about and make sure you provide a page for each with plenty of good quality text on it.

2. “Brand” Relevance
A branded search is a search that includes your brand name in it. These searches are very important for you to rank for. You want your fans to find you in the engines when they search for you. Fortunately, there are signals in the engines that will help your site rank for branded searches. The engines look at signals such as the URL that your site has, the title of your home page, the amount of times your brand is mentioned on your site, and the number of other sites that refer to your site using your brand name.

Here’s a tip: It is a good idea to choose a domain name that includes the name of your brand. At the time of this writing, engines are still using the presence of your brand name in your URL as a relevance factor. So, if you are the owner of the Seven Eagles Winery, you will want to seriously consider putting your site on seveneagleswinery.com.

3. Site Authority / Links
A very strong signal to the engines that your site is a valuable member of the Internet community and therefore should rank higher comes in the form of links to your site. Each engine keeps track of how authoritative a site is as a whole and how authoritative each page on that site is individually. As sites begin to link to you, because they love your writing or because they love your wines (or because they love your site!), you will begin to gain authority. The more authority the site that links to you has, the more authority you will gain from that link. As I mentioned, authority is gained on a full site level and on a per page level. If you have many links to a single page on your site because that page is incredibly good, your site will benefit from all of those links and secondary pages will enjoy some benefit. Naturally it’s better to have many links across many pages of your site. It is also good to have a diversity of domains linking to your site. Many links from a single site are not as good as one link from several different sites.

I like to think of a link as a positive vote for your site – the site that links to you is vouching for your quality. As in real life, if Robert Parker vouches for your quality, it’s much better than if, say, Mark Angelillo does. Robert Parker has much more authority than I do. On the web, a link from CNN.com is much better than a link from awesomewines.net.

After reading this, it might seem tempting to try to go get links however you can. Please note that it is not a good idea to buy links or trade links with sites that are of low quality. In fact it is expressly against the quality guidelines of the major engines. Google has a good page on this and other quality guidelines. The reason this is such a good signal is that it is hard to fake people being interested in your wine or content. You can’t control that, and attempting to get around this might risk your site getting reduced in the rankings or worse, being banned from the engines.

If you focus on branded searches first, choose your topics wisely and write relevant articles about those branded topics, you’re much more likely to see increased rankings in the engines.

Ready to move on? Proceed to Part 5: HTML is The Language of the Web

An SEO guide for Wineries Part 3

Last time, I spoke about the different types of web content. It’s time to talk about the search engine process, from building a site to getting users from an engine.

Understand the Engines

Let’s talk about each step in the search process and how it relates to you and your site.

1. You build a site.
It’s harder to be found these days if you don’t have a site up on the web. It’s an exciting and potentially daunting process, but there are many resources out there to help you in this process. You’re going to have to make some choices while doing this, some of which you won’t feel informed enough to make. Ask questions and be prepared to change your mind a few times before you decide what you should do. As I said this is an exciting process, and it’s also a fun one. From a search engine perspective, you should think about creating content on the site that speaks to your audience in a way the engines can understand. That means good, well written text, multimedia and video help. Avoid Flash where possible – the engines have a hard time with it!

2. Someone alerts the engines about your site (this can be you).
This is an easy one. After you launch your site, someone might link to you. I’ll talk more about links later – they’re important. Assuming the engines know about the site that linked to you they’ll follow that link and find your site. If you’d like to expedite this process, I suggest you sign up for Google’s Webmaster Tools, Bing’s Webmaster Tools, and submit your site to Yahoo. They’ll lead you through the process.

3. The engines send robots to read your site.
This part is pretty hands off for you. Sit back and let your site be read. Actually, while you wait you should write some great content to add to your site.

4. The engines decipher your message and decide what their answer is going to be if someone asks them about a topic (known as a keyword in the SEO biz).
How are the engines going to decipher your message? What is your message? Which topics are you approaching? A list of potential topics for your site: “My Winery Name”, “My Winery Name History”, “Contact My Winery Name”, “My Winery Name Hours and Location”, “My Winery Name Wines”. Each of those topics should have a page on your site that addresses that keyword specifically. Here’s a little tip – Google Autosuggest is your friend for discovering keywords. Let’s say I was to build a site for Robert Mondavi Winery. To get some keyword ideas I’d go to Google and start typing in the winery name. Google will use their search keyword history (a list of what people are searching for) to try to predict what you’re searching for.


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5. After a period of time, a person asks the engine about that keyword.
With few exceptions, you can’t control when this happens. The most control you have is over which topics you write about – write about topics that people will search for. Let’s say I have a winery site and I write about an obscure clone of the Riesling grape called X54J that 10 people have heard of. Let’s say I call the article “Growing the X54J Clone” My potential audience is 10 people. Let’s say I called that same article “Growing Riesling Clones”. That’s better – maybe there are 100 people who are interested in growing riesling clones, including the X54J people. Let’s say I decided I had more to say about riesling and called my article “Growing Riesling”. I’ve just broadened my reach to a potential 1,000 people, say.

6. The engine gives the person the answer.
If you’ve done a great job of being the authority on a topic, you have a fighting chance of ranking against your competitors.

When building your site you should anticipate the needs of your community. I always get a good laugh from Never Said About Restaurant Websites. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to know when a restaurant is open or if they accept reservations and only being able to download a PDF of their menu or listen to some house music. You have the power to combat this. Know your audience and address their needs with your site. The search engines will reward you with more exposure and your users will reward you with more praise.

Ready to move on? Proceed to Part 4: Express Your Authority

An SEO guide for Wineries Part 2

Last time, I spoke about clearing a path for robots to reach your site. Before we clear that path, let’s dive deeper into the fundamentals of great content, and what we’re clearing a path to.

Not All Content is Created Equal

As a winery owner, you’re already pretty familiar with this idea. After all, you’re a content creator. Your content comes in the form of the delicious fermented grape juice that we all love to enjoy. It may seem silly to think of it as content, and I agree that concept is a stretch. With that in mind, I think it’s pretty easy for us to agree that Google’s robot is not going to be able to taste your wine and tell someone searching that it’s really damn good.

At least, not yet. When the robots start tasting wine I’ll finally be able to retire.

Taking things a step closer to web content, what about a picture? From a human standpoint, it might be worth one thousand words, but to a robot it looks like a bunch of colored dots organized into a box. It’s very hard for the poor robot to understand the picture, let alone pass it along to another human being who is searching for “beautiful vineyard shots”. Two caveats:

  • We’re getting closer to machines being able to read and understand images, but it’s still not perfect science.
  • When I search for beautiful vineyard shots in Google I get pictures like I would imagine. To create this experience, Google uses a lot of signals, but the strongest one is the text around the image and in the code. It’s actually a pretty strong signal when done correctly. It’s a part of good SEO and I’ll get more detailed about this approach after the introduction.

Video is even harder and more complex for the robots. You can think of video as a series of pictures with an audio track, all of which are difficult things for a robot to understand individually, let alone when put together. YouTube does a great job in the engines because of the great tagging signals they add, similar to my example with the images above. Also, sometimes people are legitimately looking for videos. If I search for “muppet show swedish chef clip” – I am signaling the engines that I would like to watch a video clip. They’re only too happy to oblige.

For most websites, the best, surest shot to having great content is to write. Great, original posts and commentary are like delicious candy to the engines. When working on SEO, it’s important to remember that you are building a site that humans will love. Build your site for humans, but make it accessible to the engines. Text is the greatest way to serve both humans and engines.

I’m not suggesting that you throw away all of your great photos and videos. Far from it — that’s great content too. I’ll talk about optimizing your content for the engines in a future post, but next, let’s talk about the search engine process.

Ready to move on? Proceed to Part 3: Understand the Engines

An SEO guide for Wineries Part 1

So you want to SEO your winery’s website

That’s absolutely fantastic! You’re bound to get increased traffic and visibility in the search engines. Making it easier for your fans to find you is a noble goal, and it doesn’t have to be mystifying or difficult. Let’s start with one simple rule: When you publish content on your website, first make sure that a robot can find it and can understand what you’re trying to say.

What’s a robot? A robot (in search engine terms) is a piece of code that reads through your website looking for great content. Every search engine has its own robot, and depending on the size of the search engine and website, sometimes the robot can be fairly active. For example, the Google robot visits an average of 570,000 pages per day on Snooth.

As I said, the robot is looking for great content, but it needs your help to find it. If the robot can’t find your content, then you have no chance of ranking in search engines when users are searching for you. If you focus on clearing a path for the robot, then you have a fighting chance to rank in the search engines. Read on and I’ll explain how.

But I don’t want robots scraping my site! That makes sense to me. You worked hard to create your website and your content, and at first blush the idea of a robot coming and stealing it seems horrible. If you want to, you can block robots from visiting and reading through your site by following the instructions on the robots.txt site. Personally, I recommend a change of heart. The content that’s out there on the web belongs to everyone. It’s public because it’s posted and hosted publicly. The best thing for your brand and your business is to get credit for all of your great content. “Credit” comes in the form of increased audience and reach. Sharing content is what the web is all about. Sharing strengthens your brand and helps you build a larger following. If I’ve convinced you or I’m preaching to the choir, great! Let’s get your winery’s website SEO ready.

What will follow in the coming weeks is a step by step guide to address any issues that might exist on your current site. It’s written specifically for a winery owner, but the techniques are useful for other websites as well. I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments as well. This is, after all, about your site and growing your business. I’m hoping we’ll have the chance to do a few case studies on winery websites, so if you’re interested in having me take a look you can post that in the comments as well (Hey, who doesn’t like free advice!).

Structure of this Guide
This guide will end up being composed of around 20 posts. I believe that SEO touches on so many fundamentals of building great websites that in order to do a great job of explaining it we need to start at the basics and work our way up. To add some context I expect it to break down like this:

Parts 1-8: Understanding the fundamentals of Search Engines and Websites and Users
Parts 9-15: Let’s roll up our sleeves and talk about concrete steps to SEOing a winery website
Parts 16-20: Site audits – let’s look at some sites that are already out there and talk about what they could do better

Again, if you have any questions for me please don’t hesitate to ask!

Ready to move on? Proceed to Part 2: Not All Content is Created Equal

Database Maintenance

We’ll be performing scheduled database maintenance tonight from 12-1AM ET. Snooth will be unavailable during this time, but we’ll be back and better than ever after the maintenance window. Thank you for your patience while we upgrade our service!

Snooth’s Wine Rack: Trophies

This series of blog posts is about Snooth’s new social gaming platform, Wine Rack. In this game, you’ll learn about wine as you read articles, take quizzes, and taste wines. Anyone can play this game – it’s easy and free! You can play using the Snooth site or Snooth’s iPhone App

In the Wine Rack, there is a tab for trophies. This is where you can see all of the awards you’ve collected so far. One of the cool things about the Wine Rack is that we began building it when we launched the site — we’ve only just begun to show this information. So far we’ve awarded over 42,000 trophies to members of the Snooth community. They were awarded retroactively, so you may see that you won a trophy in 2007.

Building these trophies was a lot of fun. Many of them are wine related, and encourage exploration and tasting wines. For example, if you taste 5 wines from the same vintage, grape variety and region, you will be awarded your Horizontal Tasting Trophy. How does this work? When you add a new wine to your Wine Rack, we analyze and match it against all of your other wines. If we find a match, we award the trophy. As soon as you win a new trophy, you will be notified. This happens in real time as you review wines, so there’s no waiting.


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When you’re in your Wine Rack, you’ll see that the trophy is now lit up. If you click it, you can see any related information about your award.


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In my case, I tasted 5 or more 2006 Napa Cabs. From here, I can quickly share my trophy into Facebook or Twitter.


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We’ve also created a page to house each trophy’s information, as well as help you track your progress towards the goal. (Click the trophy name to get there.) In this screenshot, you can see the Horizontal Tasting Trophy page, with my information filled out.


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Wine is more fun when it’s social. We allow you to track how your friends are doing on this trophy. Shoot them a note if they’re close to winning!


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Finally, so you can see how you stack up against the Snooth community, we provide a graph of this trophy’s champions over time. You can also see how difficult each trophy is to win.


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In the future, decorated Wine Rack players can look forward to real rewards based on the trophies they have earned. How will you be eligible? Simply win the trophy by completing the challenge.

Is there a trophy that you wish we added, but we didn’t? Let us know in the comments!

Snooth Media Extends Wine Recommendations to FineCooking.com

Snooth Media Extends Wine Recommendations to FineCooking.com

(May 27, 2011 - New York, NY)

Snooth Media, home of Snooth.com, the web’s largest wine site, announces a partnership with Fine Cooking, the only major epicurean magazine completely dedicated to cooking. The new partnership enables FineCooking.com users to search wine pairings by recipe and view specific recommendations from Snooth’s wine experts.
The recommended selections are generated from Snooth’s patent-pending food and wine pairing algorithm, specially customized for this new Fine Cooking application. The recommendation engine analyzes a recipe’s main ingredients, method of preparation, and over a dozen other factors to determine the taste profile for a Fine Cooking recipe and then sifts through over five million wines to determine the best selection of wines for that recipe.

“Fine Cooking is one of this country’s premier culinary media brands inspiring millions of chefs and consumers each month. We are excited to be working with them to help their consumers discover wines that pair perfectly with their meals“ notes Snooth Media CEO, Rich Tomko.

According to Jason Revzon, Senior VP, Taunton Interactive, “Our users love online tools, like our innovative Recipe Maker and Menu Maker, that increase their culinary knowledge and enjoyment. Wine purchasing and selection are very important parts of a Fine Cooking reader’s lifestyle and it’s great to showcase wines that pair well with our recipes.”

“Snooth provides yet another way for our advertisers to connect and engage with the Fine Cooking online audience. Pairing wines and food is a perfect fit for our brand and bringing this opportunity to clients will surely enhance the message they are bringing to their consumers,” added Stephen P. Giannetti, Senior Vice President, Advertising at The Taunton Press, publishers of Fine Cooking.

The initial implementation of Snooth’s expert wine pairings will cover several thousand main dish recipes that are currently visible on FineCooking.com.

About Snooth Media:

Snooth Media produces epicurean lifestyle properties that combine innovative technology, strong social elements, and quality editorial content. With a reach of more than ten million monthly visitors, Snooth Media includes Snooth (http://www.snooth.com), the world’s largest wine site; The Spirit (http://www.thespir.it), a comprehensive cocktail destination; What’s Cookin’ (http://www.whatscook.in), a site dedicated to culinary findings and tips; and the Snooth Media Connection, which includes the reach of its distributed content platform. Snooth Media is headquartered in New York City.

About Fine Cooking:

Fine Cooking (http://www.finecooking.com), is unique in its 100% focus on food and its mission to give today’s cooks — no matter what their level of cooking skill — the knowledge and confidence to become more talented cooks and enhance their pleasure in all things food. It’s the only epicurean title completely dedicated to cooking.
The Taunton Press (http://www.taunton.com), publisher of Fine Cooking, has been a trusted source of valuable information and inspiration on the house and home, including home building and design, cooking, gardening, woodworking, and fiber arts, since 1975. Millions of professionals and consumers purchase Taunton’s books, magazines, and DVDs, and use its apps and websites to improve their skills and expand their horizons. The Taunton Press is a privately held multi-media publishing company headquartered in Newtown, Connecticut.

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PGOA Media Partners with Snooth Media to Add Wine Recommendations to Newly Re-launched Digital Properties

PGOA Media Partners with Snooth Media to Add Wine Recommendations to Newly Re-launched Digital Properties

(May 24, 2011 - New York, NY)

PGOA Media announced a partnership with Snooth Media today that will integrate Snooth’s unique recipe and wine recommendation engine on PGOA Media’s newly re-launched digital sites: relish.com, spryliving.com and americanprofile.com.

Snooth’s proprietary wine and recipe recommendation engine dynamically analyzes recipes by sorting them into over 1,400 food categories and processes wines into over 400 different wine characteristics. Snooth’s editors match wine characteristics with the appropriate recipe and recommend three wine choices: a classic, an alternative and something less traditional. The recommendation tool updates based on ratings, reviews and pricing information from snooth.com to suggest wines that are readily available.

“We’re thrilled to be working with PGOA Media to deliver wine recommendations to their magazine readers and site users,” said Snooth Media CEO Rich Tomko. “We’re focused on helping consumers discover new wines, and this partnership extends our ability to do that across the web.”

PGOA Media CEO John W. Cobb, III said, “This is a natural partnership that fits perfectly with the DNA of our Relish, American Profile and Spry brands. With the largest food magazine in the U.S. reaching 46.5 million consumers each month and extensive online content, we’re excited to blend our 6,000 recipe and growing archive with Snooth’s deep understanding of wine pairings.”

About Snooth Media
Snooth Media produces epicurean lifestyle properties that combine innovative technology, strong social elements and quality editorial content. With a reach of more than ten million monthly visitors, Snooth Media includes Snooth (snooth.com), the world’s largest wine site; The Spirit (thespir.it), a comprehensive cocktail destination; What’s Cookin’ (whatscook.in), a site dedicated to culinary findings and tips; and the Snooth Media Connection, which includes the reach of its distributed content platform. Snooth Media is headquartered in New York City.

About PGOA Media
PGOA Media is the multi-media publisher of American Profile, Relish and Spry magazines with a combined circulation of over 34.8 million households in nearly 1,700 local-market newspapers across the country. American Profile, its 11-year-old flagship, has steadily grown to a weekly circulation of 10.25 million across the Heartland. Relish, with a monthly circulation of 15.5 million and Spry, with 9 million, are respectively the largest advertising-supported food and health and wellness magazines in the U.S. The company recently re-launched its brand websites americanprofile.com, relish.com, and spryliving.com. PGOA Media also produces the national Relish Cooking Show & Expo, publishes cookbooks and custom publications, and operates Hometown Content, a print and digital syndicated news service. PGOA Media is based in Franklin, TN, with advertising offices in New York and Chicago.