Well, here they are! These are my submissions for the SEOmoz Draw Roger Contest. I used to draw a ton when I was younger, but I haven’t drawn in awhile, and it was great fun creating these drawings. It’s nice to have a break from SEO in my after work hours. I wanted to do something a little bit different, so I combined video games with Roger – in entry #2 below – Roger as Link from the Zelda video games. On the something different path, I also created a drawing that features Rand Fishkin, the Wizard of Moz, with Roger Mozbot, along with a few TAGFEE (SEOmoz’s core values) oriented drawings.
I hope you enjoy them.
So, for those who don’t know, I’m speaking at SMX East!! I’m definitely psyched. The session I’m speaking on is Finding and Succeeding With a Search Marketing Agency, featuring Jessica Bowman as moderator/speaker & Marty Weintraub as Q&A moderator.
In addition, I’m also moderating 2 session Q&As, and moderating a Birds of a Feather lunch table. I’m moderating the Q&A for the sessions Going Viral on YouTube, and In-House SEO: Organizational SEO Challenges & Solutions. For those who aren’t familiar with the lunch tables, it’s a table during lunch that is designated towards a particular topic. Anyone who is interested in discussing that topic can join the table.
Very very exciting stuff and it’s going to be a busy busy week!!
If you see me, feel free to say hi!
Yeah I’m pretty psyched and excited about speaking at SMX. And not only that – I get to speak at SMX Toronto! I am speaking on April 25th on the session – Beyond Rankings: Actionable SEO Reports Your Boss Will Love. The synopsis of the session:
“Still doing search ranking reports for your boss or clients, even though you personally think they’re useless? Or maybe you’re not doing them, but you’re still looking for new ways to show that your SEO campaigns are working. In this session, learn new ways to mine and combine data to create reports that focus on what really matters most to your boss or clients, and provide a path for future SEO work.”
I have my passport and everything arranged to be in Toronto that week. I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the conference and checking out all the sights around the magnificent city of Toronto, Canada.
Next up is the SoLoMo session.
Featuring the following speakers:
Bryson Meunier, Resolution Media @brysonmeunier
Matt Siltala, Dream Systems Media, @Matt_Siltala
Jed Williams, BIA/Kelsey, @williamsjed
We’re gonna discuss a lot of the primary issues of where Social Local and Mobile are colliding right now.
First up is Jed Williams of BIA/Kelsey. The Social-Local-Mobile Collision
Solomo is one of those cliche terms that you hear 100 times a day what does that mean and how is it taking shape for you?
Some SoLoMo stats:
~100m U.S. smartphone users
350M+ mobile facebook users
Twitter: 50% mobile usage
How does this translate into actual dollars?
The bottom line: 2011 = $137.2B in Local Advertising (BIA/Kelsey)
Some statistics of specific types of mobile devices:
Feature phones 57%
Apple IPhone (iOS) 28%
RIM Blackberry 18%
Windows Mobile 7%
Smartphone users and local search
37% Local searchers
63% Non local searchers
General Mobile consumer
75% Local Searchers
35% Non local searches
20% of overall search volume is mobile
40% of mobile searches are local (20% on desktop)
One example: Yelp
Monthly Yelp mobile stats
4.5 million unique visitors
Every 30 seconds, a photo is uploaded from a yelp app
Every other second, a consumer generated directions or called a local business from a Yelp app
Over 1/3 of all searches on Yelp.com come from mobile
Mobile Ads: Smartphone users do more than just click – they engage
Locally-targeted mobile ads average CTR of 6.5% (xAD)
Compare with average online banner CTR (.1%) and average mobile banner CTR (.64%).
What type of information do consumers access?
Maps & Directions 24%
Reviews & share 0.13%
More details 2.69%
High secondary Action Rate (SAR)
Every other second, a consumer generated directions or called a local business from a Yelp App.
Local vs. National Ad Spend in Mobile
Nearly 70% of mobile advertising will be geo targeted/locally based,
Social Media ubiquity, by the numbers
Social networks & blogs account for nearly 25% of all time Americans spend online (22.5%)
U.S. Facebook users spend an average of 7 hours, 21 minutes each month on the site.
30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month.
Social Signals influence brand affinity & purchase intent
Facebook Social Commerce Stats: 52% say friend recommendation is the #1 influencer in trying a local business
Social sharing makes a purchase 3x more likely than e-mail
SocialCode: FB Fans are 291% more likely to engage with a brand than non-fans.
Sharing location = value exchange
51% are willing to share their current location to receive more relevant advertising.
Sourced: JiWire Q3 2010
What location-based advertising most appeals to you?
Coupons for nearby stores
Closest Store location
Reviews on nearby retailers
Info on promotional deals/sales
So I just got a whole data set we have social local mobile. Just because we have so lo mo does so+lo+mo equal something bigger than the individual data???
Check-ins 2.0 – A Means to a larger end.
Emerging Check-in themes: Automatic & implicit
Value Exchange: social + tangible rewards
Foursquare radar: The anti check-in
Not a “hindsight service”
Suggestions & tips driven by the social graph
Deeper integration of location deals (scoutmob)
Deals, offers, & loyalty – a clearer path to conversion
What locations – local or national?
How many should sell?
What days will it run?
How long will it run?
What’s the deal?
Is this a franchise deal?
What are the business details?
Aggregates social activity (check-ins, photos, comments) around a local biz
Empowers business to connect, offer & reward influencers directly
Zaarly: “Collaborative Commerce”
Reverse eBay meets craig’s list for mobile
Real-time marketplace: Filtered leads, location, time, price
Coming Soon: Alerts for requests.
Next steps for SoLoMo –
Deeper mobile-social sharing “Where I am becomes what I’m doing, content I’m consuming.
Mobile deals: better personalization & targeting, performance models develop around yield management.
Emerging SoLoMo business models: monetizing merchant profiles & dashboards, services, deals management
Facebook credits enter new forms of social commerce (media first, tangible goods later)
Next up is Bryson Meunier
SoLoMo Opportunties for Marketers
Solomo shouldn’t really be that intimidating it’s one of the same things that we’ve been dealing with for awhile.
What are the top mobile social networks?
1. Facebook is the top mobile social network at 350 million active users
2. Twitter – 92 million active users
3. Myspace 25 million active users
4. Moco space – 20 million active users
5. Foursquare – 10 million active users
Prioritize social network activity based on mobile interest and reach.
Mobile Volume of the following services include:
Mocospace – 7,480,000
linked in – 246,000
tumblr – 673,000
groupon – 165,000
digg – 90,500
foursquare – 246,000
stumbleupon – 27,100
google buzz – 33,100
[delicious] – 22,200
google latitude – 60,500
gowalla – 14,800
quora – 3,600
Nearly half of Facebook’s users are Mobile.
250% growth in mobile users in less than two years!
A good exercise for marketers to do is to figure out the digital day. IF we have someone we’re trying to market to we know where this particular person is. Understand consumer behavior on all platforms.
Data suggests 90% of journalists like Jennifer will seek blogs and social media outlets for ideation of a story.
Social media presence for Jennifer should include areas where she can digest info quickly (Twitter, social bookmark sites, etc.)
Dietitian Blogs should be employed for Dietitian POV’s to help rank in blog-search (Likely to be used to refine search for Jennifer)
Messaging to Mobile Users in Social Environments: Surveys
The company LeapFrog is a good example. They took the opportuntity to send a survey to people/mobile users on Facebook, so they can figure out the affinity between social mobile and local.
App introductions – If your audience is social, local, mobile you really want to target them with your app.
QR Codes are really good for Facebook. You really want to give them coupon codes so they can go into the store and redeem the coupon code.l
Social Messaging to mobile users
Use a “Like Us” On Facebook decal
Google Favorite Place Decals QR Codes – These have QR codes that you can scan for your local business.
Twitter and texting are twins separated at birth
Use closing follow message in text message campaigns like “Follow us on Twitter @ http://www.twitter.com/username”.
Edit a venue
Active management of these “edit-a-venue’s” increased check-ins by 302% in six months.
User discovers specials on mobile device
User spots Foursquare decal on venue door
User spots check in placard in business
The thing about SoLoMo is that it is difficult to track. Right now you have a lot of manual work you have to do and if you invest a lot of money you really want to track the ROI for this. There are now tools available for this, and one of these data tools is Kenshoo Check-ins Trend Reports.
Instant mobile deals
Are really something you should be taking advantage of if you have a local business, such as Groupon or livingsocial. These can help you with deals getting those through to consumers. You really need to create a type of urgency with mobile users and these types of services are perfect for it so you can take advantage of creating deals that expire in a day or other deals like this.
If you are going to do an instant mobile deal then let your users know immediately.
Coordinated effort in siloed marketing department.
SoLoMo is difficult – I’ve worked with large marketing companies where SoLoMo doesn’t reside in one place, they’re spread out between silos. They don’t talk with each other because each of them are separated from each other. If you want to really be successful in SoLoMo in 2012 you really have to have SoLoMo combined and use a dedicated resource to do this.
Facebook has more social local mobile impact than Foursquare.
Prioritize social network activity based on mobile interest and reach.
Understand consumer behavior on all platforms
Messaging to mobile users in Social environments, Surveys, app intros and QR Codes/coupons/deals.
Social messaging to mobile users.
Keep faceboook places and pages up to date with feed management.
Analyze check-ins to see how they correspond with branding and ad investment.
Reward brand enthusiasts with instant mobile deals.
Set aside portion of mobile, local, and social budget for SoLoMo experimentation.
Matt Siltala is the next speaker, president of Dream Systems media.
We were talking about the engagement on Foursquare and being much different than Facebook. I’m not the best powerpoint presentation maker so bear with me.
So who uses the YellowPages? (very few hands raise up)
My presenation is based on TommyBoy so for those who haven’t seen it I’m sorry.
Everyone that has all those yellow pages on their doors like that you need a new map so here it is…
40% of Yelp’s traffic is from mobile devices.
This is a stat recently released. It’s huge. People are using, whether it’s Foursquare or Yelp or facebook or whatever it is people are using these devices for finding info and deals.
Danny Sullivan had tweeted something about eating lunch, checked in and saw nearby haircut special. Even in a small town it’s finally starting to come through people are using these programs people are starting to check in people are seeing this urgency. I use foursquare all the time. If you try to friend me though I won’t friend you. I don’t use it like that. You have to use foursquare differently in order to see a substantial return.
A 2011 study by the National Restaurant Association confirms that consumers who use social media, including apps, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Urbanspoon and more, not only dine out more, but are more likely to become return customers. – ReadWriteWeb.
We’ve talked about different levels different peers. If you aren’t using these and you don’t have these deals setup then you’re missing out.
Average new customers gained online (per month tracked by secretary – 15 (for dentist)
Average new customers gained online (per month) tracked by secretary – 12 (for chiropractor)
Dentist averaged 10 New customers per month (total of 25 new customers a month added) – This can be directly attributed to Yelp.
Chriopractor added 8 New Customers per month (total of 20 new customers a month added).
If you’re not seeing results then you’re just not using it. Yelp is free it’s out there, you’re just not setting up your specials, your deals and getting people there.
You can use Foursquare as a customer acquisition tool.
You can use it as a customer retention tool.
Example – You can get a free bear claw with a check-in at Dunkin Donuts as an example campaign they might run.
95% of Facebook Wall Posts are not answered by brands (All Facebook). the point is for you to start looking at this as a monitoring tool.
Foursquare as a monitoring tool. So if you have an employee who hates his job as a manager you can probably find out from these statuses if he hates his job.
One of the big things we worry about is if someone is saying anything negative about you on there and you have to work a bit to help control this.
Matt sent a complaint in to a business and the manager emailed him back and offered him a free 40% card. Matt says: He didn’t ask me to remove my review. I went ahead and went back because I had a bad day, I updated the review with 4 stars and added more information. The point is you have to handle the situation correctly. There was an incident with a dentist who went after her patient that added a negative review on Yelp and everyone else started slamming that review page with negative reviews because that dentist didn’t handle the situation right. It’s all about handling the situation right.
Hmmm…(showing slide)…I live in an area where nothing is trending and I wanted to put up that slide because I got a good laugh out of that.
“RADAR” – It’s interesting the direction that Foursquare is going to gain
Foursquare in the physical world.
Have a physical call out: Foursquare Checki-in Here.
Have some engagement. You can use Twitter. Say you know that there’s a customer that’s always tweeting out their check-in and you haven’t seen them in awhile. Monitor them saying “Hope you come visit us sometime anyways! =)” Hey we haven’t seen them in awhile let’s give you 10% off if you come back in.
34% of marketsers have generated leads using Twitter, and 25% have closed deals using Twitter (AllTwitter).
What makes people retweet? 92% interesting content. 84% humor. 66% personal connection 21% celeb status, 32% offered incentive (tangible or virtual). 26% “Please RT!” – WhiteFireSEO
Create monetary incentive for check-in.
Use in tandem with main offers.
“Check-in” and order off the lunch or dinner menu- chicken wings included!
Create draw for groups.
25% off T-Bone steak from “your local butcher” if you bring a friend…oh wait…
Train your staff.
How many guys – how many of you have you gone to a place and shown them a device with foursquare and twitter on them and they had no idea what they were? Well be sure to tell them what they are. If you don’t train your staff, then you have lost you have to ensure that your staff knows about these tools (Yelp, FS, Twitter) and offers in order to get them through.
“Tips” – Foursquare’s version of ‘Reviews’.
Reviews are huge for gaining new customers
Customers post activity to other Social Networks
My best advice to you is when you get here, how to I get reviews? Well you are always giving receipts or asking for reviews when you’re done, well put a decal or logo on your invoice or review paper that sends them to Yelp or Foursquare to review your business and their experience. Make it EXTREMELY easy for them.
What about Divorce Attorneys?
You can claim your places and claim all your business listings and make sure that you have that group that makes people checking in all the time. Make sure all your stuff is right, make sure your right URL or phone number is right. The thing where foursquare is going to have people using it more is Foursquare Discovery. Local Businesses can start to put this foursquare save button (just released four days ago) on their website. when you do this, and you log in it will remind you that you added this to your saved button.
——— End Session ————
Well that’s it for today’s Social Local Mobile session! Stay tuned for more coverage of SMX Social Media 2011!!!
Up next is the final session of today – the keynote roundtable, real social media stories from the field. Featuring Danny Sullivan, Drew Conrad, Social Media Marketing Specialist at Zagg.com, Jean Sceidnes, Social Medida Marketing Editor of Neilman Marcus, and Martin Beck, Reader/Engagement Editor, Los Angeles Times.
Danny Sullivan – So, Drew tell us about what you do?
Drew Conrad – I am part of our internet marketing team. We have two marketing teams. 1 does traditional marketing. I report to the director of e-commerce, we work with the e-commerce team from SEO to PPC to optimization to enhance the site and increase conversions. Also in charge of implementing the social aspect. It’s very marketing focused, very ROI focused. There isn’t a whole lot of focus on customer service. We have a full time employee who kind of responds to tweets, posts on the forum, and tries to kind of keep people satisfied.
Danny – Who do you have for social Media?
Drew – It’s myself, a social media person, and a team of bloggers who churn out content for us. On the other marketing team there’s five of us, for our combined marketing team it’s like 30 people.
Danny – I heard discussion forum you have a forum?
Drew – Yeah, we have a forum it’s customer focused and if anyone has problems they can come there and our social media person can help answer these questions.
Danny – Martin, so what’s your marketing team like?
Martin – So our marketing team is me and one other person. I’m in charge of social media and engagement on our site. We have a couple of part timers who monitor those comments. Essentially our goal is to, and because we’re a daily publisher we deal with that we need to publish out to the major social media networks like twitter and facebook. We have a team of copy editors who handle most of our twitter publishing. It’s about a third of our copy. We publish to that and schedule tweets throughout the day. So after we publish we’re also listening. My assistant does most of the responding to people.
Danny – How many different twitter accounts do you have?
Martin – We probably have about 150 of them.
Danny – So you have roughly…
Martin – We have a good 40ish accounts for people who want to see everything that we publish on twitter. Those that are all certain brands. Branded pages. We have about 20 pages on Facebook.
Martin – That’s one of our biggest goals is to spread this around all of our accounts and gain exposure for all of these articles.
Danny – Does everybody get a response?
Martin – I wouldn’t say everyone gets a response. I’m sure we missed some but everyone that we see that we missed and she’ll forward me an email and tell me about it. The ones that I see need a response is probably about 90%. And if I don’t know that answer I will reach out to a person who can answer it.
Danny – Jean, what do you do?
Jean – My role on a high level is as editor to create and curate the content for our social profiles, which includes Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, as well as a couple of others that are all related to fashion and shopping. And the core piece of our content strategy is to write it daily with our blogs launched in February. Mainly it’s an editorial We want people to think of it daily alongside their favorite fashion blogs. We churn out that content and we respond to it. I quickly discovered that the customer cases on FB were a huge time suck, it’s a priority for us, we have a reputation for exemplary customer service and we need to deliver that in all such ways with our customer but that’s not what I try to do. It’s not what I was hired to do. So I created a duty with our call center and they now, about 24/7, scan facebook and twitter for any negative customer experiences and they respond directly.
Danny – Will they respond directly on Facebook?
Jean- Yes everyone.
Danny – It’s interesting because you talk about having a blog as it’s the core to everything else you’re doing you definitely try to go beyond “hear our specials” and would like to have the publication of your own.
Jean – Yes. We also want to have a hub that is accessible by many keywords and would like to have that be our eventual goal.
Drew – That is an idea that we had around 2010 we knew if we wanted to do blogging we knew we had to have more than 1 blogger in order to do this. We hired interns about five of them – and had them produce 7 articles per week. We have 10 bloggers who are turning out 7 posts per week – it’s all text focused. They try to create content that people are interested in. We tweet out every post, use twitter for all the posts, and add posts to Facebook stuff like that.
Danny – You can never do everything you want to do. We’re reviewing a session model and would like to do a session on blogging. It sounds pretty much that that’s the bedrock of what you’re gonna need.
Drew – Yeah, you create the content that somebody wants. The thing about blogging with content is that you have to create content that people would want to share.
Danny – Tell me about your time with Facebook.
Martin – Yeah, that’s one of our biggest challenges as I’m only one guy. We are a constantly churning content engine and we look at the front page we look a things in different news meetings there are certain things we won’t miss. We will use twitter. We tweet out probably everything that we publish. And content that I don’t think is as relevant will be posted to Facebook. Would like to share things on Facebook that people would want to share. It’s not enough that it’s an important story. It has to be an important story that will resonate with our friends on Facebook. We see the result and then we use it if it shows good ROI.
Danny – Can you explain that it seems that on twittter you can share a bunch of things and you can share those on Facebook as well to really generate extra traffic as you knew that would be shared.
Martin – Right. You pretty much know that that’s going to happen but because our home page producers are somewhat connected with our social media team we use stuff like Overture and Google Analytics to know what to write at times based on keyword research with those tools.
Danny- Does twitter give you a sense of what works on Facebook?
Jean – No there are two different content strategies for each one. You have to have it clear in your mind regarding what content is right for each platform. You have to look closely regarding what content is going to work well for you. It’s something that you have to determine through testing. You have to look at the nature of the content that you’re holding and figure out which platform it lends itself to.
Dany- You mention instagram this is the first time that I have seen it mentioned as a traffic tool…
Jean – Yeah, it’s very popular with business professionals whom you’re targeting.
Danny- One of the challenges you have with Facebook is that everybody can see everything. You share something on your fan page then everyone can see it. How do you approach that kind of strategy?
Drew – That’s really what happenings. We post 10 times a day, 1 time a day, or 3 times a day it really depends on what’s going on with us if we have a sale if we have new products it is a challenge to kind of gauge that we have seen success and I mean there’s a lot of metrics that go into gauging that.
Danny- When you’re doing it you’re not using one tool you do know about Google Plus what about this story do you write it differently on Facebook than you would Twitter?
Martin – We look into a new tweet for content we come across something we think would be tweeted we immediately, and send an email to everyone who’s on twitter and ask them to tweet that. And in the tweet before it goes out we’ll look at it but mostly we’ll just get it out. Facebook, we only do four posts we need to delay because we’ve found the engagement level is significantly less than if you use native Facebook for posting. We then try to communicate that there are times that we won’t post for some things and then we could let someone else post it ’cause like you say not everyone would see everything one may see one post another may see another post we’re backwards on the whole thing.
Danny – Jean, if you could answer what time of the day for a great evening story what do you do or how do you deal with with this?
Jean – On Facebook just try to post every 3 hours. Twitter is me, so I am tweeting morning, day, and night but that’s part of our twitter strategy it’s my point of view that has a little bit of my life treatment and helps me to personalize the brand. I use tweetdeck because I’m monitoring every mention of our brand and I’m looking for things that I can amplify the word. and see people’s reactions.
Danny – Let me ask another question – What do you all think of doing when you ask yourselves – who do I reach out to??
Drew – I look at different things and I look at the follower/follow ratio – to find out who would be most effective. One time I went to klout to find out who would be interested in our ipad giveaway. It’s a good tool to use because it identifies who to tweet but you need to use your own judgment which is important.
Danny – Did you find that it worked?
Drew – Yeah.
Danny – Did you literally see everybody who followed all their accounts and who followed everything that’s coming in?
Drew – I looked at people who were following the ZAGG brand. I’m monitoring both Zagg and Zaggdaily. I follow everything that’s going on it is a challenge but by doing that I am able to get a feel for what’s happening.
Danny – (to Martin) You guys trying to reach out to people?
Martin – We really don’t do a whole lot of that. We’re more reactionary, but we do respond to people who reach out to us. We have had some initiative where we tried to identify who would be good we compiled a list of the top bloggers and twitter accounts, facebook pages, just the people who blog about stuff in LA. So, we reached out to them and gave them a template if they also wanted to reach out to those people. It’s not something that we’ve traditionally done and frankly it’s a little tough, it’s a tough sell to sell work in journalism and we’re used to publishing and hoping that everyone just reads it.
Danny – Jean – You mentioned about reaching out how do you do that?
Jean – All of our articles are tweeted out and we selectively reach out I don’t care if they have 2900 or 29 followers. I work with the members of our team who do all kinds of press media coverage and they’re constantly updating their blogs. Make sure they’re clear on which publications and editors that they treat like celebrities and there are bloggers in that group too.
Danny – If you could choose your favorite channel that would be your most important challenge what would you say?
Drew – If I had to choose regarding revenue I’d have to choose Facebook. We generate a lot of revenue from Facebook. It’s not my favorite but if I had to I would have to use it because of that.
Martin – We have a lot of our referral traffic coming from Facebook. Way more than twitter by far. Kind of started around the time they created a like button. A lot of the social media we get is a lot of sharing of the like, the content of the like button on our page.
Danny – So Google Plus is good?
Jean – If I had to choose it’s Facebook because it is our largest audience. Also our blogs are good because we get a lot of traffic but my favorite is Twitter.
Danny -So Facebook is a big revenue driver?
Drew – I think it’s just another revenue channel there are number of audiences people share things on Twitter just to get different messages on Twitter. The shock and awe approach, however, is the advantage of Tiwtter.
Martin – We use various methods on Twitter
Danny – It’s difficult because the third part would take this, is especially twitter it really should be routing all traffic from twitter to see the traffic. But it’s very easy to undercount.
Martin – We were kind of thinking in our heads that it wasn’t useful to us it was about when we were thinking it was going to be about 4 times as much traffic. So we have to adjust our metric goals because it doesn’t seem like we’re getting that much traffic from Twitter. They’re seeing our message though and because we want more followers and the more followers we have then more of them go directly to our website.
Danny -And personal thing is twitter for you Jean?
Jean – Yeah it’s very personal it’s been very powerful for us to help provide powerful perceptions of our brand and for us to demonstrate our fashion knowledge in a memorable way. Most people would choose their friends for advice because they have that trust. If people are interacting, and people who are following me on twitter are interacting they find that I am a human being, it’s no longer a store you’re gonna walk into I am a human being people are friendly, I’m friendly, I’m helpful and hopefully you’ll find me witty and entertaining and if anything holds true is that it will give people more of an incentive to shop with us.
Martin – And that’s the thing about Twitter it’s really how people in my industry – it’s help the reader contact us or for our journalists it’s much easier than the friction level of trying to find someone’s phone number on a website which is really tough for some. But, on twitter if that person is engaged it’s just as easy and more of our journalists will actually respond on twitter than any other platform I have ever seen.
Danny – Jean one of the questions came back to me. You’re personally talking, writing, and so on. What happens if you go?
Jean – I’m conscious of that. I’m trying to be just as responsible, and trying to make it different between chatting about your brand, and making it about you.
Danny – Is it your personal account?
Jean – Yes.
Danny – Some companies have the employees themselves be well known and the companies don’t have the account.
Jean – I couldn’t really walk away with it but if that happens I’m sure they’d find a social media manager quickly that would be interested in stepping into that role.
Danny – Now how come you’re not on Google plus yet?
Jean – It’s on the list.
Danny – You also mentioned tumblr and instagram as being important
Jean – We’re just looking at what fashion enthusiasts are using but we’re also looking at what people are using for shopping and Google plus just isn’t up there.
Danny – (to Martin and Drew) Now are you guys on Google plus?
Margtin – At some point we’re probably going to go to Google plus. But uuummm…you know, what was the question?
Dannhy – I was wondering if you were on Google plus.
Martin – Yeah on Google plus we’d probably do a similar type of thing but that’s something we’ll build down the road. We hope it’s unique in that, or could be unique in that the potential of having our journalists getting on there we’ll stick around there and partner with the audience it’s a very small part of our audience but the tool is very selective if we can get our journalists to start using it we’ll be ahead of the game.
Danny – Now, foursquare…people are checking daily drawing…
Martin -Yeah we have a page on foursquare where we’ll have restaurants and reviews like that.
Danny – And Jean do you use foursquare as well?
Jean – Yes, we had a foursquare finished recently and we had an approachable event ; one of the customers we entered into a contest to win a clush handbag. I thought what if we could use a different approach on it? And we could hide them in a location in our stores across the country then people could come in and have a status on foursquare about checking into our store for the contest. I was nervous since no one has done anything like it. What if nobody comes? That’ll be embarrassing that – what if no one comes? None of that happens. If you have a lot of good will, people will come in and they have made the effort to come in; they like games because they’re fun and they don’t actually have to win the game. That was one of our more successful efforts.
Danny – Great.
Danny – Do you guys do foursquare?
Drew – No foursquare never used foursquare. We used tumblr for daily deals but each day on tumblr we probably have 80% off a product and use the traditional way for most content. Kind of first come first serve.
Danny -So what’s on tumblr would be good with another audience?
Drew – We just wanted to use tumblr to find out what’s going on we thought tumblr would be huge and it was huge. As far as Google plus is concerned. We jumped on that as early as we could. We’re still not really sure about how we’re going to use it. The guys that are on our marketing team who are into search and ppc they are all about it and say they’re on Google plus. We’re not on Google plus as much as other channels.
Danny – How do you decide which of the ones (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that would be good to use?
Drew – For me we are so ROI focused we’re going with Facebook and Twitter but we’re also going to be experimenting with other channels and if something sticks then we’ll use it.
Martin- We’ve pretty much thrown everything at the wall and that gives us our insight but because they say it’s evolved we try to stick our toe into pretty much everything to everything that makes sense in our dinosaur brain. We’re not on it but I’m on it. Because I could, and I got the earliest invitation. But some of it is haphazard but not all of it is haphazard .
Danny – Jean, how about you?
Jean – It just comes back to having a clear strategy it is a huge commitment to keeping everything updated we try really carefully we try not to take on more than we can chew.
Danny – Some of the questions have come in.
Danny – This question is for Jean about the call centers mentioned earlier. Are these your internal call centers?
Jean – It’s where people would call or have complaints. There are people responding to those types of issues they’re just using it in a new medium.
Danny -Any advice to someone that doesn’t have a team?
Drew – I think that any strategy can be a social media strategy – even just posting 3 times a week and tweeting 3 times a week. When doing it on a smaller scale there is nothing wrong with 3 posts or tweets a week.
Martin – I think most people most twitter people will follow about 130 people you really don’t need to focus on the amount you need to know what you can do and go from there. If you can take on more then take it on for responses see what people are saying about you on several of these platforms it doesn’t take us much time to take a look at that. All these giant companies can hire several people to do that.
Jean – We’ve decided that we’re going to monitor Facebook to 24/7 we have the resources to do that. We have a sister store in NY it’s just some store they have Facebook addresses posted on their Facebook page.
Danny – Drew – From a b-c standpoint I don’t really have a desire to dive into it.
Maritn- I don’t use it personally so…
Drew – They send me those spam emails that I hate…
Danny – How do you measure ROI? How do you tell what’s working what’s not?
Drew – WE have built our own URL shortener -0 this shortener ties in with our database and helps us on page too when you attrached every click that you post we can track how many clicks and how mnay sales that we have generated.
Danny – I want to know what your biggest failure/success is
Martin – Our digital marketing team has just added in the last several months have hired a bunch of people. We do have less metrics we have so many metrics we have a hard time figuring out where that needs to be. But we’re hoping we’ll get better guidance.
Jean – We certainly track traffic and conversions it’s not perfect but obviously we’re going to do that we also appreciate any publicity or bug or awareness that we create. We consider if we’re enhancing the brand, if we’re modernizing the brand, if we’re providing customer service. What’s the ROI on the customer. There are things that you are not going to be able to quantify you just have to listen. We listen to the feedback between customer sand our stores.
Danny – You bring people in to the stores through social media?
Jean – Yeah it’s not the stores, but it did create a lot of success for us.
Danny -What is the big surprise you got?
Drew – You can create something that people hate but you can have a positive return. One thing we did was a fake iphone 5 it was clearly fake. Upload it to youtube put it on blog put it on Facebook it just drove so much traffic it drove probably 40% of the traffic for our blog for the entire year. You can create fake stuff and it’ll work.
Martin – We have learned that and maybe I knew this anyways but it confirmed it – in my role for a big media organization I find that people are surprised when we respond. There are certain instances, like, I mean someone could slag us in a truly bad fashion – someone was slagging us the other day on twitter. In some cases you can win but being responsible with it can be useful for the brand.
Jean – We had many touch points with our customers and the example before where we engaged through foursquare to drive people to the store with the clush handbag contest, it was a perfect example where each touch point drove to another touch point to bring people into our stores.
Danny – Well great, I could talk to you guys for another hour but they all need to have some drinks now…
Whew!!! That’s it for the coverage of the Keynote Round Table at the end of today’s sessions. Stay tuned for more SMX Social Media 2011 blogging coverage!!
Ok we have a new session!!! Without further ado, let’s get right into it- this one’s a doozy!!!!
Our new session is Successful Targeting Strategies for Facebook Ad Campaigns.
First speaker up is Matt Lawson of Marin Software.
His talk is making the transition from Search Marketing to Social Advertising. Most search marketers are built for the process – dealing with large data sets, and other parts of the process.
Facebook allows you to target based on interests which are like keywords but the similarities end there.
There are big differences in the metrics. There is more available ad inventory. We’re talking about people with more specific intent. Very large audiences. It is not unusual to have dramatically more impressions than other advertising.
Lower click through rate. On Facebook your’e only going to get a fraction of the standard 1-2% clickthrough rate.Their average is .09%
Lower average CPC.
Different conversion rates.
Half of our customers are treating FB as a peformance channel. They’re trying to convert them as they would in paid search. In some cases they’re doing better. Half of them are using FB as a branding page channel.
First think about your goals – are you trying to drive people to a like or are you trying to build your fan base? The route you choose will have a dramatic impact on your goal.
Consumers exposed to a brand’s social media are 50% more likely to click on paid search ads.
#1 – Always start with Friends.
The people who are most likely to convert on your paid Facebook ads – your friends.
#2 – Expand to fans of related brands.
This is behavioral targeting. How do you find fans of brands that are similar to yours?
#3 – Use Keyword Stemming to Find Interests
Target people with similar interests in the campaign.
When you’re trying to find out which keywords are good, try typing an extra a, different misspellings, and others that will help target the right audiences.
#4 – Micro-segment your audience.
If you’re targeting a strong market you will end up getting many different people who may or may not be good candidates for the campaign.
Finely tuned segments allow you to shift spend to audiences that perform, increasing conversion and ROI.
#5 – Test images before copy
The big difference between Facebook and search is images – images can be very powerful.
Draw attention to ads with contrasting colors.
Link images to audience to increase relevance.
When in doubt, test pictures of cute puppies!!
#6 – Keep your ads fresh
Finely targeted audience x 4 hours/week on Facebook = Ad blindness.
Rotation = optimization
Rotate ads every 2-3 days or as impressions drop, which indicates people are getting used to your ads.
Maintain impression volume.
Increase click through rates.
#7 – Maintain the Facebook Experience
The Facebook graph is a useful tool to help determine more information about your audience.
If you’re taking the social user out of the Facebook they are expecting a more social experience so you can increase your conversions by creating a more social experience on your website.
Next up is Addie Conner, VP Advertising of SocialCode.
People ask, you answer
Ads are a response to demand
Place ads in front of users whose needs are satisfied by your offer.
Filter users by keyword (positive and negative)
Send user down information or conversion path
You create the demand.
Looking for profiles, rather than demand-related behavior.
Filter based on user attributes and language within the ad itself.
Ads allow first connection to establish long term relationship with the user.
The thing about Facebook is that it has an ecosystem of its own.
Build targeted fan bases.
Pages, Apps, Surveys, Ads, Pages.
It all comes down to research – the core of everything that you do on Facebook is RESEARCH. When you do FB targeting, you’re doing it based upon all the elements of someone’s profile. You have interest data that is self driven rather than data that is just behavioral.
Audience profiles contain a number of elements:
Ad Elements (Headline, body, image, word of mouth, text, category, verbiage, image type)
Demographics (age, gendeer, education level, marital status)
Interests (competitors, behavioral, media and entertainment preferences, positive and negative sentiment
Lolcation (conuntry, state, region, city, metro vs. Non-metro, coastal vs. Non-coastal)
Brands can use this for a number of things. 1. How can I understand my user? 2. Who is the right person for this ad? Interest Categories by age, and Gender by region. What if I want to use a volume ad for something based on gender by region?
What are the right times? A lot of this can translate to the activity going on on one page. Understanding when should I be heading up my posting schedule? When should I schedule my time to engage users in social media? How can I engage other social media tools at what times to more effectively engage users? These can help make Facebook a lot more efficient, not just in advertising but for the entire Facebook experience.
For most brands if there isn’t much of an ROI then Facebook is not going to be used for a longer period of time.
What they did was that they based their marketing on fan bases that were responding heavily. They wanted to ask: What is the difference between someone who is a fan and someone is not a fan? What they found was, that real fans were converting both off the like and the click.
Leveraging their client fan bases to drive deeper action.
This is a good way to help increase much more awareness of your brand, and allows people to help others recognize your brand. Non fans converted at a rate of 10%.
ROI = marginal benefit of being a fan – cost to acquire a fan.
In every single case the value is there and it could be measured, even though across many different conversion types there are very different conversion rates.
Another way of measuring results is by measuring newsfeed impressions. This allows you to reach the entire Facebook population through fans and friends.
If you are advertising to people who are qualified and have the money to purchase your services, this helps increase ROI significantly vs. if you are advertising to anyone – people that are unable to understand the value of your services and totally unable to pay for them.
Social Responsibility Case Study: The Power of Giving
Aligning with a philanthropic cause (donation of 1$ per fan) saves a brand money
Without donation language:
Cost was 56% higher
Actions/impressions 48% lower
Actions/Clicks 38% lower
CTR was 17% lower
Next up is Marty Weintraub of AIMclear
I swear this guy is an outstanding presenter. Perhaps the cup of coffee he held in his hand throughout the presentation had something to do with it? Or the fact that he’s an all-round extreme expert on this subject? Either way his passion and energy shined through. Well, on to Marty’s presentation. He delivered some fantastic information about developing better targeted Facebook ads.
According to Marty’s presendation, back in the day you had:
Incredibly Low CPM.
Little Editorial Governance.
Very little competition.
And it was the contest Wild West.
The beautiful things FB took away:
Mine individual PPC user names
Capture User IDs from Templates
Easily buy User IDs
No transparency Apps mined personal info.
Lost reporting clarity.
So how can we get around this? How can we most effectively pursue successful ad targeting?
It’s what you do with what you have that matters.
State of the art is what you do with what you have.
When you think about where people are on Facebook, you ask questions like:
Occupations and employment.
Groups and Affiliations.
Publications online and off.
Classic Mainstream Interests.
There are several different types of targeting to be mindful of:
Targets direct relationship with the demographic segment, often keyword for keyword
Easy to research, often better for direct-response KPIs.
Literal associations are not always realistic in FB.
Competitive = Targets competitors’ fans both positive and negative sentiment.
Qualifies customers by known brand predilections. Killer tactic for poaching other brands’ communities
May run into future legal problems. May have ethical issues now. Watch for backlash from competitors.
Targets deep personality traits of users.
Invokes an emotional response that may seed deeper engagement.
Requires a very creative marketer to map the associations.
Literal targeting = obvious
So you can sell hockey sticks to hockey players.
You can sell Jonas Brothers tickets to 13 year old girls.
Are there future litigation issues with Competitive targeting? There can be.
Competitive targeting includes such qualifies as luxury, gender, age, geography, etc.
Estimated Reach 24,740 people.
*Who live in the United States.
*Age 18 and older.
*Who like rolex, rolex watches, rolex official fan page, or rolex watch.
There are thousands of vulnerable brands that are not immune to this kind of targeting.
Another example is using Apple for behavioral targeting:
Estimated Reach: 30,920 people.
*Who live in the United States.
*Age 18 and older.
*Who like dell, dell deals, dell go green, dell computers, dell inspiron, dell inspiron 15, dell laptops, or dell studio laptops.
Another example is Canadian Sephora Lovers:
Estimated Reach: 32,560 people.
*Who live in one of the countries: United States or Canada.
*Age 21 and older.
*Who are female.
*Who like sephora.
Another example is Kellogg’s Corn Flakes:
Estimated Reach: 41,300 people
*Who live in the United States.
*Age 18 and Older.
*Who like cheerios, honey nut cheeriors, banana nut cheeriors, or chocolate cheerios.
Yet another example provided is Pottery Barn:
Estimated Reach: 98,760 people
*Who live in the United States.
*Age 18 and older.
*Who like crate barrel.
Negative competitors’ sentiment
Powerful leads are Unsatisfied customers of competing brands.
Could be susceptible to alternatives.
“sucks,” “suck,” “hate,” “terrible,”
“horrible,” “f_cuk,” “f_cked,”
Double Negative: “Like” Bucket + “Sucks” in keyword = “Hate”
An example provided is the iPod:
*Who live in the United States
*Age 18 and Older
*Who like “I hate itunes” or “itunes sucks”.
Another example is Big Kmart:
Estimated Reach: 41,360 people
*Who live in the United States.
*Age 18 and older.
*Who like “walmart sucks balls,” “no walmart in monroe,” “i hate walmart,” “walmart high cost low price,” “boycott walmart” or “not shopping at walmart”
Be careful of this though. Be VERY careful.
There can be a backlash of [Brand] Lovers.
The other brand might sue you.
Follow the Laws of Jurisdictions ® © and ™
This targeting should be guided by what you’d do (or not) in public.
Occupation targeting is a killer hack
This is the golden age of occupation targeting.
B2B B2C products consumed by business people.
Never truly off duty.
You can catch them at home, off guard.
You can get hundreds of millions of impressions.
A good example of occupational targeting can be Real Estate Agents/Realtors:
What would I know about a realtor?
Real Estate agents are go getters
What are some good products?
Productivity software, easy-upload video
Cameras, Magnetic Car Signs
Computers, Snow Plowing, Cars, Phone Service & Restaurants.
You can also target via Education & Work.
You can target precise interests.
Use Alpha Patterns.
Such as searching for assistant a (which will bring up all results for assistant a like Assistant Athletic Trainer, Assistant Administrator, and so on).
Take the alpha a little bit deeper
Such as searching for sales repre, which will bring up: Sales Representative, Sales Represenative, Sales Representitive, and other such mis-spellings.
Use common job title words, like supervisor a.
The professional depth on Facebook is absolutely astounding.
Occupations are fertile for B2C as well.
You can target Budget brands to bartenders and waitresses
Metallica Memorabilia, Synthetic Motor Oil, fishing weekends to auto techs and young machinists
Targeting Professional Associations
Estimated Reach – 1,880 people
*Who live in the United States.
*Age 23 and older.
*Who work at Dental Health Products, American Dental Association, Goetze Dental, American Dental Partners, Discus Dental, Dentistry for Children
This is awesome – You can also do Fortune 500 Targeting.
Matriculate those with Interests Bucket occupations such as Corporate Marketing Director, C-Titles, etc.
Estimated Reach: 2,132,780 people who live in the United States
And work at: Wal-Mart, Chevron Corp, Fannie Mae, Berkshire Hathaway, General Motors, Bank of America, etc.
You can even go so far as, wait for it – going into privacy-busting targeting. It is a very at-risk procedure however. People are freaks, so try and see what they would be interested in but will never tell you about in person.
Sell minivans to those who like “Being Pregnant”.
Sell disposable diapers to those who like “Hate Being Pregnant”.
Estimated Reach: 22,460 people
*Who live in the United States
*Age 18 and older
*Who like “i am pregnant,” “i love being pregnant,” “being pregnant,” “pregnancy yoga,” “im pregnant,” or “pregnancy birth baby bellybelly”.
Another example this time for hate being pregnant:
Estimated reach: 340 people
*Who live in the United States.
*Age 18 and older.
*Who like I hate being pregnant.
You can also target Conflict & Violence
14,600 Facebook Users like “Killing Terrorists,” “Probation Workers” & Like “If Killing Was Legal”.
7,220 are 13 years old.
Violent Social Segments = KPI sitting ducks.
1,154,140 women like fighting.
229,640 are 55+ years old!
Brand divorce attorneys.
Show Me The People
What should you be asking? The following questions are good ones:
What are their personal traits?
Who’s professional characteristics?
Which radically private predilections might they entertain?
This concept transcends Facebook, and delves deep into the user’s psyche.
It is inspired by bottomless personalities.
How far are you actually willing to go to target specific users?
Climb inside the users’ psyche and seriously really get to know them.
Do you want to target body building towards steroid interests?
What about targeting Bali Vacations to Upper Crust Gays?
Or just go plain vanilla on your targeting? Tennis Rackets to Tennis Players?
Of course, there are those methods of targeting that are totally at your own risk and should not be taken lightly.
Real world targeting:
Political issues & orientations
How Button – Current Events
Movements like Green and Occupy
When it comes to targeting your potential clients, the sky’s the limit. Don’t limit yourself to preconceived notions of what people want and where they can get it. Take your targeting to the next level by pushing the envelope and developing ideas that push targeting into the user’s psyche and targets those who may not even know they want your services and product. That’s where you’re going to beat your competition.
That’s the name of the game – you better use it, or you’re gonna lose it.
Next up is the final Question & Answer session for this session.
It seems that FB tactics are designed to combat the fatigue that comes with FB ads. What have you used to increase the efficiency of the ads?
Matt – This is one areas where tools can really help. FB has a number of advertising platforms that can help take a lot of time out of your day.
Marty – Be ready to build new ads, some of the ones that are successful. Know your ROI before you start. Build ads that are relevant.
Do any of your clients ever get concerned with targeting stereotypes that your audience might find offensive?
Marty – Stereotypes are often wrong but they’re often right too. When we target somebody on FB we think of them as the precious object that they are. (smiling)
Addie – A lot of what FB is about is audience discovery a lot of different ways. Brands can use this as a discovery tool within the brands’ guidelines.
Speaking of driving people, one of the questions – which landing page is better for FB ROI the website or the FB page itself?
Addie- We’ve done this multiple times and it’s different every single time. I’ve seen instances where driving off of FB is obviously better so my answer to this is – test it.
Marty – I think that we should consider who we’re targeting and what we’re telling them along the way.
What’s your method for managing Facebook ads from a billing and admin standpoint. Does the client pay for the ad or does the agency pay?
Matt – We charge a percentage/flat fee.
Addie – We manage on behalf of our clients.
Marty – We try to flat rate per month and administer a set amount of money for a company. We work with really good companies who have relationships in place. What’s happening in is that the marketing now with major multinational corporations is they’re starting to separate the marketing from the company.
That’s it for this session’s SMX Social Media 2011 Coverage…until next time!
All right here we are ready to start the SMX Social Media marathon! I’m live blogging some of the sessions this week and will help keep you updated to most of what’s going on – so let’s get hopping! The first session of today is Free Facebook Tactics to Drive Traffic and Conversions.
Here we’re ready to get an idea of the tactics and tricks that we are able to use to obtain even more traffic and higher conversions.
Free Facebook Tactics to Drive Traffic and Conversions
Drew Conrad, Social Media Marketing Specialist, ZAGG.com (@drewconrad)
Arnie Kuenn, President, Vertical Measures (@ArnieK)
Kevin Scholl, Social Media Manager, Red Roof Inn
Social Media Manager of The Red Roof Inn
Kevin Scholl is the first person to start off this presentation.
You can engage your customers by simply investing one thing: TIME.
We monitor our social tools 24/7. We strive to respond within 24 hours to negative and 48 hours to positive. We average about less than an hour to responses on Facebook.
We probably have about 60% of our conversations on our Facebook page that have been resolved via social media.
Conversations about your products or services should come naturally to you, and you should leverage your expertise to drive conversations in a social medium.
Engage your social community by showing them that you care about their feedback, opinions and what they care about. These are all things you are doing in person, now take it online.
We engage them in conversations about “Tell us about your travel experiences,” and other topics of that nature. Conversations that are tailored to the client they are working with.
#1 – Brand advocates can be one of the best members of your social team. Why, you ask?
They work for FREE!
Once you have shown the community they are involved you will have a harder time not posting items from them than posting items from them.
Next Kevin goes through a number of examples of Facebook pages that he feels exemplify best practices: Dunkin Donuts, Zappos, Skittles among others.
Once you have set up Facebook and begin engaging your community remember this simple fact: content matters.
#2 – You absolutely want to make sure that you are engaging your communities.
I would rather have 10,000 engaged members than 100,000 disinterested members. Develop content that is going to engage people rather than drive people away. If they’re engaged they have more opportunity to help increase conversions.
#3 -Engage your community with content that shows you care.
One of the things we did was we partnered with a disabled veterans organization. We decided we were going to donate a certain dollar amount to commemorate veterans day. With this we were able to partner with an organization who had 60,000+ people on their Facebook page which helped drive traffic to our facebook page, and we got 100+ likes/comments on our page per day as a result.
They try their best to use Facebook as a guest relation tool, to go beyond the usual service and find opportunities to help potential clients.
#4 – Use Facebook as a spring board for customer comments, feedback, and input on the content you are creating for your community.
Involve your community in brainstorming so they will be engaged when you launch the content.
They constantly involved their community in terms of content that they put on Facebook. What kind of information would you like to see on our Facebook page? What questions would you like to have answered? What kind of giveaways would you like to see? What types of conversions do they want to be involved in? Contests like giveaways are great ways to help engage the community.
For example, they setup a page for Redbook pets – they talked about doing something for the community, asking the community what they would like to see, and other pertinent questions as well.
Think outside of the box when creating content. Relevance to your brand or product does not always have to be a key factor of your content.
Think engagement, think viral.
Engagement requires response.
You can only engage people when they respond to you.
Partner with causes your community cares about.
Partner with complimentary brands and communities.
Leverage your partners’ community to grow your own.
Facebook – Facebook.com/ZAGG
Blog – ZAGG.com/blog
Tumblr – ZAGGdaily.com
Youtube – Youtube.com/ZAGGTV
The three main goals of their facebook strategy are:
Collect an email address
Convert the potential customer
Get the user to ZAGG.com
They are very ROI focused. It’s very important they get their Facebook user to ZAGG.com. It’s an important part of their strategy to show their shareholders how valuable what they do is through ROI statistics.
ZAGG Facebook Fans and Revenue
There is a very strong correlation between an increase in Facebook Fans and an increase in direct revenue from Facebook. They’ve seen a huge return on building their facebook page.
Ideas for increasing social media revenue
Creat urgency – Giveaways – don’t have to be big. They’ve done everything from ipads to papa john’s pizza. Once they’re on the site you want them to click and look around.
Voting contests – incentivize the share – Spam all your friends, have them all come check you out.
Upsell banners – Frequent links to pages that convert well. Build some upsell banners around that giveaway landing page. You want to be able to market your product through an effective way. Think of different ways you can get that out to your facebook friends frequently. Build your facebook post with the link to the page that convert well, and then put that link on your facebook page. You can get creative with it.
ZAGG recently performed a hugely successful Facebook campaign that featured the following giveaways:
12 Weeks of Christmas
1. Sign up to enter the giveaway
2. Share it for 2 additional entries
3. Tweet it for an additional entry
4. Like ZAGG on Facebook for early winner notification
This helps incentivize people to actually share. They use a lightbox to help get traffic. Everyone trusts lightbox. Every single day, people like to come back, give them their email address to share on Facebook.
For black Friday they did an ipad an hour giveaway. They said, “If you would like to participate, enter your email address, and share on Facebook and twitter.”
Results of 12 weeks of Christmas
Facebook Shares vs. Twitter tweets
8982 Most in 1 day
38,704 1 week Facebook
Black Friday 2011 Ipad- an-hour – They gave away 24 ipads for 24 hours. This resulted in:
238,000 Facebook shares
3.23 New FB Fans per minute
They set a new ZAGG.com traffic record that increased by 234%.
New fans during the 12 weeks of Christmas shows that a major increase is part of the beginning of the campaign.
The majority of the big push is going to come in the beginning, and then it drops off throughout the rest of the campaign. You really need to maximize your efforts at the beginning of that campaign to get the best results, since the major traffic increase happens right there.
Facebook post success – hilarious iphone text screen shot post
640% more clicks than average Facebook post
105% more orders than average
132% more revenue than average
Three things for a successful Social media campaign model:
You need to have a reason to share
It has to be easy to share
It has to be measurable
The reason they think they did so well with their ipad giveaway is they made it extremely easy to share it.
They know what their client base likes, what they don’t like. They know how to create the content in such a way that will develop more likes.
Arnie Kuenn – President of Vertical Measures
Arnie Kuenn is up next. He is the President of Vertical Measures – offering SEO, link building social media & content marketing services. Also the author of Accelerate! Move Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social, & Content Marketing
First of all, Develop your Facebook Strategy.
Why are you creating the content you are creating?
One of the things to consider is your audience and who are you – what kind of voice do you have? Do you want to be serious most of the time or have a sense of humor?
Who is your audience and who are you?
What will you measure?
What is different a year from now?
One thing about social media is that it takes lots of effort and lots of man hours. What is an estimate of the results you can expect by putting in x amount of hours and effort?
How often should you post?
The most common complaint from FB users is newsfeed spam.
The most popular facebook pages post once a day or less.
Posting one to four times per week produces 71% higher user engagement.
It was measured by both likes and shares.
Focus on quality, not quantity on Facebook.
Only 50% of your posts should be about your content. Businesses that share other content have a higher engagement rate.
Strategies for effective posts
Post length: 80 characters or less, 27% more engagement) (as high as 65% in some verticals like retail).
URL shorteners – engagement rates are 3x higher for full length URLs
The reason is that people could be concerned about clicking a URL that they don’t recognize.
Action keywords: fans follow instructions. Ask them to like, post, comment, or tell you something.
Ask questions at the end: 2x higher engagement rate.
Fill in the blank posts: 9x more comments than other posts.
Avoid complicated wall posts.
How do you come up with content ideas?
Start with keyword research
Facebook of course has a ranking algorithm that does include keywords.
Keyword research should be the foundation
What keyword phrases do your customers use? (analytics)
Use tools like…
This will drop down a number of search results alphabetically
Good idea generator.
Standard Google Adwords Keyword Tool
Then do online market research
Look at trending topics
Twitter, Yahoo, Google +
Question and answer sites
Yahoo, Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook
You can use these tools to search questions and answers about your keywords and see what people are talking about and build your content around that.
Check Voting Sites
Do a search for your market keywords and see what kind of content is getting voted up on these sites.
You can see what it is that people seem to like – videos, content whatever people like in your market.
Google’s Discussions in Search
Create a content calendar
Plan for Monday to be videos, Wed featured fans, etc.
This helps you focus when writing and makes planning ahead easier.
Question and Answer Session
With FB changes how to you expect this to change how we create content?
ArnieK – I don’t think it’s going to change too much what we do as publishers. You still have to find ways to engage and produce content that they like. I don’t think it’s going to change how you approach creating engaging content.
Kevin Scholl – People are still going to be expecting content. As long as you have that engagement and as a content creator I’m not too worried about these changes in that regard.
From a brand angle how do you get buy-in from management on a social media angle?
Drew Conrad – My boss has a lot of freedom and trusts what we do and what we feel will work. If we feel something is going to get a lot of ROI then we do it. We experiment a lot and ourmanagement team allows us to do that.
Kevin Scholl – We don’t do much of traditional marketing. It’s really easy to get our leadership engaged. The easy part for us is we’re used to talking about our topics, our brands, and with our guests. Social Media provides a new means of communicating with our guests because of this the buy-in was pretty easy.
What about when clients are posting something that’s negative
Kevin – Unless it’s something that is offensive or cause some controversy we welcome any types of conversation. In addition to brand advocates we also have people who have negative experiences. We want to deal with these negative experiences and help resolve the situation through social media. They say we appreciate your experience with us. What they want to do is apologize for that experience and hopefully they can take that experience and turn it around. Hopefully we avoid doing negative things but we don’t and if they happen we are there to help resolve them. We want to make sure that our guests are taken care of and turn negatives to a positive experience.
Drew Conrad – They have a social media person and her job is to respond to complaints on the social media side. One thing they’ve noticed is that some people will post negative comments and go back and edit them and say they did something to their comments. If people see that you’re responding they like that so we try to keep doing this. They thought it was kind of cool that Justin Bieber was using their products so they added a Justin Bieber photo to their page but actually got a lot of negative comments on that so they took it down.
Kevin – When they do get negative posts they do have a lot of brand advocates that come in and help defend the brand, which can help turn around a negative into a psotive experience.
How do you identify and engage your brand advocates and how do you reward them as well?
Kevin- They look at who they’re getting mjultiple posts from and see who the brand advocates are and they do reward them. They may do it at the property level depending on where they’re staing. They have a schedule for giving away a price or contest but they also try to set aside an opportunity to try and give something else away. They try to find brand advocates who are out there and try to reward the brand advocate. But they don’t just want to reward the concept of being a brand advocate but also want to reward the concept.
Drew – They’ve had situations where there are brand advocates who are so advocative that they act like they are employees of the company.
Arnie – One technique I recommend is that you welcome your clients especially if they have a Facebook page go onto that page and welcome the client.
What are the suggestions for following newsfeeds, tickers and the newsfeed algorithms
Arnie – I don’t really know that.
Drew – They were put up a post or something or status
Why does ZAGG test ideas on Twitter before Facebook?
Drew – We treat them with different audiences On Facebook vs. Twitter it’s not always a 100% correlation, but if something has a lot of shares on Twitter, this is not a twitter vs. Facebook. Because of the way Twitter is you can get a better feel regarding how people will react regarding a piece of content vs. Facebook.
Question for Kevin – How do you manage communication for individual hotel properties.
Kevin – For properties we highly recommend they don’t have a facebook page. At a property level they really don’t have the time to focus on creating something at the local level. Most of our properties are really focused on trip advisory. They manage all the local things through the brand page. They will promote discounts and stuff through the local city page. They get a lot of local traffic through that. They want people to be engaged with the brand as a whole rather than an individual property.
Whew!!! That’s it for this blog post everyone. Stay tuned for more SMX Social Media coverage throughout the next couple days!
Plenty of misconceptions and misinformation abound in SEO. Plenty of myths and snake-oil are spread about by those who have an agenda other than properly applying SEO techniques to a website. Some are just plain wrong. There is none more egregiously offensive than the spreading of the often mis-touted alternate text attribute of the image tag. I have noticed a number of people (even the professor at the college where I was taking web design courses) have talked about alt text being “alt tags”. There are a number of debatable reasons as to why one would make such an obvious mistake time and time again, but brace yourself – all are completely and utterly wrong and should not be used for the sake of convenience, because there IS no significant convenience towards doing so. Let me explain.
The W3C states that the definition and usage of the <img> alt attribute (notice how they do not refer to it as a tag) is that: “The required alt attribute specifies an alternate text for an image, if the image cannot be displayed.” And so, the image itself is loaded by writing the following code (according to XHTML syntax):
<img src=”image source URL” width=”pixels” height=”pixels” border=”pixels” ALT=”Alternate Text” />
Therefore, considering its context and placement within the code, along with its purpose, there is absolutely no way that anyone should refer to it as a tag when discussing something like this in technical terms. As one person brought up during a lengthy discussion I was having with them yesterday, even stating it as “tagging” an image is wrong, because although you’re adding a specific attribute, you’re not really “tagging” an image per se, as you would tag a fish for testing. Nor are you using an actual “tag”. You’re adding a required attribute that’s part of the main image tag. You are not “tagging” an image with attributes.
So, an alt tag does NOT EXIST. While I understand the argument for utilizing language bastardization, adaptation and conventions, and I understand the argument for using a more understandable easier-to-type term vs. a more complex technical term, the fact of the matter is that there IS a correct way to state it in a shorthand way that IS conventional by default. You can simply call it “Alt Text.” There is absolutely no reason to use the term “Alt Tag”. Now, it may be different in certain industry circles where completely different languages are used as the technical term for specific parts, but that is not the case here.
All utilizing the term “alt tag” instead of “alt text” does is it makes you look like an idiot for not discussing tech terms in their correct context and use. Of course there is the argument of using watered down terms at the expense of correctness for a wider, more varied audience, but that argument breaks down when you consider that: there is only a 1 character difference between Alt Text and Alt Tag. AND, there is no language barrier that you have to consider. Remember this in your next article or presentation when you decide to discuss image alt text: There is no such thing as an Alt Tag. Alt TEXT is an attribute of the IMAGE tag.
And that concludes today’s long overdue new blog post, a.k.a. today’s edition of “The Soapbox.”
As an SEO I have worked with many clients who have the misplaced assumption that SEO is a waste of time and money. They fall for the (wrong) assumption that leads and rankings will come immediately, that leads and rankings are some sort of a magic overnight solution to a problem that has been festering for who knows how long. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
A Tale of Two Websites
In fact, investing in the technology of SEO can actually save you money in the long run. Let’s consider a couple of examples and let’s determine how these examples can illustrate such a trend.
Example 1: A website that has never been SEO’ed. It remains and continues to be stagnant (in fact, Google has never included the site in its SERPs). Let’s call this site garyswidgetsforsale.com for the sake of our example. This site specializes in selling widgets online, and primarily gets its advertising from such offline methods as magazines, newspapers, advertising signs, and the like. They don’t do any kind of SEO due to the owner’s misplaced assumptions that SEO is way too expensive and will cost the business too much money. The offline advertising results in 5-10 customers a month who pay $149.99 for this specific widget.
Example 2: A website that invests heavily in SEO and the latest marketing strategies. For the sake of our second example, let’s call this website johnssuperwidgetsforsale.com. This site specializes in similar widgets to Gary’s, and is a long time competitor of Gary’s. They advertise aggressively both online and offline, including SEO and SEM. The owner has no misplaced assumptions and heavily subscribes to the technology first philosophy. They end up gaining about double the conversion rate of the first example, and over time their continued branding and SEO efforts end up increasing results over time.
It continues expanding its marketing campaigns to various markets, including heavily saturated and competitive keywords. Over time, the results of this SEO campaign will end up destroying the results of example 1. How does this happen? Let’s take a look at some potential trends that track conversions from month to month:
Example 1 – Jan. – 5, Feb. – 7, March – 4, April – 8, May – 6, June – 5, July – 4, Aug. – 7, Sept. – 6
Example 2 – Jan. – 5, Feb. – 6, March – 5, April – 8, May – 10, June – 14, July – 15, Aug. – 18, Sept. – 22
Example 1 is typical of the average website that does no SEO. They can get indexed, sure. They can be supported by offline advertising, and generally don’t necessarily want more than what they’re currently handling. Example 2, however, is the company that believes heavily in SEO and its benefits to traffic and conversions. As a result of consistent efforts in gaining rankings in the SERPs, there is a significant contribution to the company’s overall marketplace perception and the increase in success as a result.
Compared to example 2, example 1 is actually LOSING a ton of money and traction in the marketplace due to their hesitation in investing in SEO. If they had invested in SEO, they would be gaining clients and converted sales as a result. Without SEO, they remain stagnant and will eventually suffer from the lack of increases to their bottom line. Now, if they were to actually invest in SEO in August, they would need to end up investing more in order to catch up to example #2, because example #2 has already cornered the market and developed a following of clients as a result.
The Importance of SEO
SEO is so important – both from a business standpoint and a personal one. With SEO being implemented correctly as it should be, you can gain traction in a market and develop a positive reputation online as well. You can corner both offline and online strategies and reap the rewards as a result. While the results with your competitors can remain similar during the first few months, the compounding efforts can help provide a steady stream of conversions that can help the business over the long haul. SEO is a long term, disciplined activity. It takes patience, perseverance, and an overall execution method of near perfection that will help deliver results for years to come. Don’t be left behind – be sure to invest in the future of your website TODAY!
Whether you are starting out as an internet marketer or a seasoned pro, there are quite a few things to consider as you develop your brand and keep increasing your internet presence.
My obsession with the Back to the Future trilogy started at a young age, when I saw Back to the Future part II in theaters for the first time. I couldn’t wait for the movie to start – hover boards (like everyone who saw the movie back then, I totally wanted one), ideals of the future, and plenty of other good things made it a truly awesome experience. I ended up exploring the entire trilogy afterwards by watching part I, and probably saw part III more than 10 times in the theater when it came out.
Since the entire trilogy was released on video I’ve probably seen it more than 100,000 times and I never get tired of watching it. Needless to say, I was floored when I saw weregoingback.com, the 25th anniversary week long celebration of Back to the Future, held through November 5 – 12, 2010 to coincide with the dates of the movie when Marty arrives in 1955 – Nov. 5th being the “red-lettered date in the history of science” when Doc Brown invents the flux capacitor. So this post was born – to help me get some creative juices flowing again to get back to work (and back to reality)…although I’ll have to wish myself good luck on the whole getting back to reality thing.
So what, exactly can the Back to the Future trilogy teach us about Internet Marketing? Well, let’s take a look at some ideas and lessons that show up throughout the movie and were subsequently developed to deliver a movie experience that resounded with the ages.
Utilize original, groundbreaking content concepts. Don’t just settle for mediocrity/automation for your content writing.
According to multiple sources, the producers (Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale) were going to use a refrigerator in one iteration of the script rather than a DeLorean. Let’s face it – how boring would a refrigerator have been? Other time travel movies had utilized similar devices for depicting the attainment and execution of time travel, so in order to excel where others failed Back to the Future needed a more unique approach. Thus, the DeLorean time machine was born, a deliciously styled time machine that made Back to the Future, ‘Back to the Future’.
Develop your personal touch and integrate it as much as possible into your website copy.
Doc was originally supposed to be named Professor, and one of the original scripts called for a pet monkey instead of a dog. Monkeys are all well and good, and when you want to go to monkey island you definitely want to have a monkey on your side! But in Back to the Future, having dogs throughout the Doc’s life named after great scientists is a personal touch that delivers on character elements that express who Doc Brown himself really was – a man of science. It’s all in the details. Whether you’re working on a blog or a hit movie, you need to have a personal touch to deliver on special character elements that can make or break your production. When you include these, audiences can better identify and be more connected with your writing, and you can help convert more leads as a result. Nobody wants to read generic, bland robotic content that was obviously put together by an auto generator.
Use unique branding concepts to propel your marketing to a new level.
As we all should know by now, the device that allowed the DeLorean to travel through time was known as the flux capacitor. Branding. Just as the clever Doc Brown came up with a unique device for time travel, the flux capacitor is and always will be the de facto device associated with Back to the Future. To develop a successful brand, you need to come up with your own flux capacitor, or your USP (unique selling point). This is what will help differentiate you from the competition and develop an eventual clarified public awareness of purpose that everyone will associate with your brand, leading to increased conversions as a result. It can also help your business stay on track and go after that business that makes sense.
Introduce new, original, and fun concepts/posts to your blog regularly.
Just like the hover board made an incredible splash in the futuristic technology fantasies of every kid (and many adults) that saw Back to the Future part II, so will original fun posting concepts on your blog act in the same way towards your audience. You don’t want to stagnate by re-hashing the same stuff from previous posts in your blog, so you must dynamically introduce some amazing new concept that will entice your readers to your blog and help solve their problems.
Make usability a central focus of everything you do.
Nearly every one of Doc Brown’s inventions had a significant potential to solve problems for those who had difficulty with coming up with beyond practical solutions…when they finally work. It’s all about usability – your website, in addition to being functional, must also be usable and displayable on a number of screen resolutions and platforms, not just Safari on the Mac. The major search engines want to deliver on content and websites that are useful enough to people who are looking for a site to solve a specific problem. If your website’s product solves that problem, people are more likely to convert and purchase your product. Conversely, if your site is not user friendly, contains some information (and obviously nowhere near completion), and the architecture doesn’t flow well, then it’s more likely than ever to lead to an increased bounced rate (the rate at which people leave your page after visiting).
By keeping in mind the principles above, you’ll be able to keep your website project on track, and maybe it will one day rival the best website that even the Doc himself could put together!
Well hello everyone! As a brand-new year comes into full swing, big changes are a-happening and this includes making things even better than they EVER were previously!
I am excited to announce this brand-new web site, http://www.Artistic-SEO.com. It is one of my largest web sites yet – a complete joining together of both the previous ProlificSEO.com and WorldOfWebDesign.info – all rolled into one. In addition, it is going to feature all of my artwork, writing, web site and Flash projects, SEO projects, and additional advice for SEO content writing as a major sub-feature. You will also find all of the standard SEO advice and general industry discussions in a brand-new regular posting schedule.
I hope you will continue to drop by and keep yourselves updated on the latest happenings on this blog, this web site, and the SEO industry in general. This is sure to be a fantastic and interesting year for all of us. :)
~ Brian Harnish
This year has brought about quite a few challenges, and plenty of surprises. One of these fun challenges is learning how to capture and edit video for video blog posts. I learned quite a few things when doing this first video blog post so there will be significant improvements in the next posts.
1. Work on the Audio.
2. Work on the Lighting – either get stronger lights or film outdoors.
Anyway, here’s the video!!! It’s a brief, basic introduction to SEO for those who may not know much about what’s involved. Hopefully those who know about SEO will take away something from this as well. If not, well – don’t say I didn’t warn you. :)
As an SEO, I have often run into scams that perpetuate themselves throughout the real estate industry. Oftentimes there are those who have no idea they are scams and end up paying through the nose for them. Unfortunately, if you’re not experienced enough to understand what is fact and what is fallacy, then how can you protect yourself when you receive the eventual sales call that you’ll inevitably receive? By paying attention to some of the most common scams and claims that you’ll run into of course!
The “We Can Get You To The Top Of Google in 24 Hours” myth.
Well, that’s only partially true. Great organic results, REAL results that are going to affect your bottom line take time. They take a long term, disciplined approach that builds your authority and trust with Google. There are some SEO methods that can achieve something close to this, but what you’ll most likely end up doing in the long run is getting your site banned from Google forever by the use of such techniques. Then, you have to start over completely.
The “We have a special contact at Google” myth.
There is a public help line that Google provides to all webmasters. There is nothing special about this line. No third party is ever going to have a special relationship with Google. Unless they work for the company. Then they wouldn’t necessarily be a third party now would they? Some individuals tend to utilize this line as a way of sounding exclusive to get you to buy into their services. Don’t fall for it – realize that every webmaster who knows what they’re doing can find this number.
The “You must have a 25% keyword density to get high rankings” myth.
No matter how many time I peruse the blog posts and discussions on SEO boards, I am amazed that this myth still exists. There is no such THING as keyword density people. Let’s say we have 2 sites where everything is equal except keyword density. That is, around 7 paragraphs of text on the home page, navigation menus, and other graphical elements are all the same. The only thing different in the second site is that it has a 35% population of keywords within each paragraph. Which do you think is going to rank higher? The one that appears more natural to users. There are possibilities of the other one ranking higher, but it’s likely to be filtered out of the search results as spam. The main thing is to ensure that you have content that’s written as naturally as possible, to avoid raising red flags to google that your content may possibly be spam.
The “Meta keyword tag” myth.
Matt Cutts (head of the anti-spam team at Google) himself has talked about the Meta Keyword tag no longer being used. I cringe whenever I see Meta keyword tags on websites approaching 200-500-1000 keywords in their Meta Keywords tags. First of all, go light on the keywords people! You probably only need about 10 of your keywords in there for the search engines that still care. In fact, you probably don’t even need that because spending time on this is going to be counterproductive in your traffic building efforts. Just pepper the Meta keywords tag with about 10 of your top keywords to keep the lesser search engines happy and move on.
The “Invisible Text” myth.
I still run across sites that have 100s – 1000s of keywords on the home page that are hidden with colors the exact same color as the home page background. If the site hasn’t yet been banned/sandboxed/penalized by Google as a result of this practice then you’re likely to be banned soon. This is a form of spamming and Google will hang your site out to dry if they find out about this practice. If your site is one of the offending sites with this method in place then you’re just asking for penalization. Get rid of the invisible keywords, and instead concentrate on blending keywords in naturally with your content. You’ll end up getting better results that way.
The “Add Content And They Will Come” myth
Well, this one has to be one of the top ones I see. SEO isn’t just about content writing or writing correct metas. SEO is about integrating various methods to achieve higher rankings on the search engines. So, content writing plays a major role. Link building plays a major role. On site updates play a major role. All three categories of work work together in a complex stew of technologically enhanced goodness to develop higher rankings and higher lead conversions. Just adding content to your site won’t do it unless you’re targeting a non competitive key term.
We can get you to the top of Google for $80/mo.
Not bloody likely. What these guys are likely talking about is targeting keywords via pay per click campaigns. The $80/mo. is spread out over keywords that are not likely to bring very many clicks but will likely get you to the top of Google quickly. Unfortunately, what they don’t tell you is that these keywords are very often worthless and probably only bring in a few clicks, if any at all. If you want to pay for a serious SEO package, look to spend quite a bit more than that to get your money’s worth.
The “Immediate Results” myth
There are certain individuals in the SEO sales space that promise the world for a measely few dollars a month and you will “immediately” see results. The immediacy of these acertations tend to range from the small 24 hours to 2 months. While 2 mos. Is more realistic, what results typically mean is that someone is going to expect leads to start converting like wildfire around that time. It’s possible if a. you have a non competitive keyword, b. the keyword has high traffic volume, and c. you have conversions up the wazoo as a result of those keywords. More often than not, however, it’s more likely that you’ll end up disappionted. Real results take time and effort to achieve – they don’t come over night. Whenever you pursue an SEO endeavor, it’s important to exercise patience.
The “Financial Panacea” myth
I have seen this expectation time and time again. SEO is not a cure-all for financial situations. Picture this scenario. Client signs up for SEO services. After a month or two they start wondering about results. Then I’ve always seen the following: 1. The client will claim that we promised to cure all their financial troubles and 2. They expect money to start rolling in immediately as a result. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. SEO done the white hat way, without BS schemes and black hat methods involved, is a disciplined, long term approach that is designed to achieve and keep high rankings stable for years to come. They don’t come easy or even overnight. It’s important to keep your expectations and emotions in check and realize that, even while a lot of hard work is going to be going into your website, it’s not a financial panacea.
The “Copy and Paste Content For Higher Rankings” Myth
The largest and perhaps most prevalent myth I have run into in my career as an SEO is the fact that many people believe that plagiarism is purely acceptable. There are those who will do nothing to copied content. They’ll go to wikipedia or another website and copy the content that’s there word for word. They’ll typically sprinkle some repetitions of keywords in the content, but they won’t re-write it. This is the single biggest mistaken myth that you can fall into the trap of. The reality is that Google (and all the other major search engines) frown on plagiarism. There is not really a penalty per se, but rather it’s how the search engines actually work. They will filter out content they believe to be duplicate and return only the most authoritative, unique content they can find for the keyword that’s being searched for.
The reality is that higher rankings and solid SEO foundations take time. There is no single quick fix or magic pill that’s going to fix your performance in the SERPs overnight. However, through hard work, effort, and the consistent execution of a long term plan, it is possible to achieve a competitive edge in the search space. Eventually, you’ll be able to get to the top where you’re competitors are and develop a strategy to destroy them. In the meantime however, happy SEOing and continue to work hard on your site while keeping these myths in mind. They may save you one day from making a mistake that can cost you your entire search engine existence.
Once in awhile, there comes an E-Mail with a number of baffling recommendations that warp even the most experienced SEO’s mind. I was dealing with one such client yesterday. As SEOs, it’s in our best interests to develop common methods of increasing rankings, while at the same time not limiting our practices in such a way that limits website versatility and website performance. It’s also in our best interests to ensure that myths and half truths like the below do not continue to manifest themselves as website improvements to help improve website performance in the SERPs.
Let’s get into some of these additional myths and downright fallacies shall we?
Multiple Domains = the incredibly amazing highly ranking website!
Recommendations: One of the best ways to boost SEO is to tie multiple keyword domains to one set of content. You have one main site and other do what is called a 301 redirect to that main site.
Wrong! This is not going to do much unless the 301 redirected domain name is already an authority site that will pass link juice to the main site. If you have domain names that have no value, and haven’t been worked on ever in terms of building an authoritative website presence in the first place, 301 redirecting them isn’t going to do jack for your rankings.
Changing the Meta Keywords tag helps increase rankings!!!
Recommendations: The individual proceeded to then provide recommendations on modifying the Meta Keywords tag and adding more keywords to an already comprehensive Meta Keywords tag anyway.
How does this myth continue to perpetuate when Google has officially confirmed its invalidity? Complete bunk. Google not only doesn’t put much weight on the Meta Keywords tag, they don’t count this tag at all. View the video by the leader of the Google search spam team, Matt Cutts, on this link: Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag in web search at all, ever, zip, zilch, nada: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/keywords-meta-tag-in-web-search/
Oh, man, I love this one…
Atten-hut! Google can’t index images!!!
All the items above WERE text and have been text on this particular client’s website since the beginning. A recently-revamped layout even provided the client’s contact information in a much easier to view spot for better access! Shows how much they were paying attention! Regarding the scripts while that kind of modification will lead to some improvement, it’s not necessary to improve rankings. Where this will help is in reducing the size of the html file to nearly nothing, since how fast a page loads is a website ranking factor. With the company’s websites, though, we cannot modify code that was part of the initial building of the templates anyway. There has still been no problem getting them ranked high on Google.
And, if Google can’t index images then I wonder how all the images on images.google.com came about? Here are some tips on how to get Google to index images: http://webtalks.blogspot.com/2007/04/google-image-indexing.html
The correct terminology to use is that Google doesn’t recognize images while crawling the page, and they simply tend to show up as a blank space. This is where alternate text comes in – to help Google identify what is actually in the space where the image is supposed to be. The image file name in the referenced URL is really all that Google is going to see and keywords in the file name is what it uses to index the image (that and the alt text for the image).
BTW, one final aside: there is no such thing as an alt tag. It’s supposed to be referred to as the alternate text attribute of the image tag, since alternate text is an image tag attribute. But, then again we’re simply getting into semantics here.
Careful! A lump of coal in your stocking is in your future if you use white links!
Recommendation: The links use the color value #FFFFFF (white) this is very bad SEO wise as Google sees that value as trying to trick users so they do not index them. There is overuse of the (strong) (Bold) attribute within the body text. If you make these a CSS class of keyword it will serve you better.
There is nothing wrong with using white as the link color so long as the link color maintains appropriate contrast with the page background. The problem with using white comes into play when you use a white background as well, which constitutes invisible text, which can then be construed as tricking the user or raise a red flag as Google spam.
There was no overuse of the (strong) tag in the specific website that we’re discussing. In fact, there is no conclusive evidence whatsoever that using CSS over the (strong) tag is better for SEO. It’s strictly a preference. Using CSS over markup to style text is a W3C valid method of coding. While it is a good idea and can be a fantastic thing for a website (I used to preach the gospel of the W3C myself for SEO purposes – just ask my co-workers!!), it is, at its simplest, a method of coding. Google doesn’t currently implement any kind of coding standards within its algorithm, and there is no conclusive evidence that utilizing W3C valid code increases rankings. In addition, Matt Cutts himself (again) provides his own viewpoint, that, while validation can be a good thing, currently the Google algorithm does not give any preference for any site that has valid code (only those who have a smaller file size – where this clean code can also come into play) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPBACTS-tyg
Quite honestly I am appalled that some of these recommendations have been made without researching them a bit further. It’s not rocket science – all the answers are on Google and doing a little digging can make your life a whole lot easier. If you’re going to go up against a professional SEO, at least make sure that 1. you’re also a professional, or 2. you are somewhat aware of the material that you’re discussing and how it will impact the specific website that will implement the recommendations, 3. you are familiar with basic terminology and how search engine ranking algorithms work.
It really doesn’t help clients to continue spreading false information and information without enough detail to help them make the appropriate, correct modifications that will result in better SERP performance. It continues to amaze me that even further information is provided to move the client into such a direction that will, at the very least, not even do anything for rankings. It’s important for any SEO to be diligent and understand everything that they are going to make a recommendation on so that they provide the appropriate recommendation and provide accurate information that will help the client accomplish their end goal: to help make money with their website.
Google made a major announcement yesterday. They have announced the new addition of Google Instant: a faster, more interactive way to search Google’s organic results. Of course, just like when real time search and personalized search made headlines, everyone (mostly the internet marketing community) was up in arms about the end of the necessity for SEO. Many of these declarations are pure linkbait, and as such I disagree with their assertions. In fact, I believe that SEO just became that much more necessary to remain competitive in specific industries. It has changed the playing field to be sure, so let’s take a look at a hypothetical playing field of SEO a year from now.
September 2011: The Future of Search
After another 2-3 Algorithm updates, user searches have become much more refined, weeding out black hat spammers and instead making room for more competition and for people to become solid, well rounded SEOs.
Another Google technology is on the horizon. In fact, Google Instant could pave the way for a new technology that learns from searches and applies algorithm updates automatically – completely eliminating the need for spam and manual search spam updates. In fact, I like to think of it as a neural net algorithm, a learning search algorithm with artificial intelligence that adjusts results automatically, favoring the real results and dismissing the spam results. Such programming could be made to develop into a significant, decision processing algorithm that can process and deduce over 200 SEO factors on a web page almost instantly, eliminating the need for manual manipulation of spam results. Perhaps even Matt Cutts will be called upon to spearhead this project?
Increased Regulation and Even Higher Risks & Rewards
SEO has become about 100 times more competitive, with SEOs being required to stay glued to their desks upwards of 15+ hours per day. However, with the additional competition comes increased competitive risk – in fact, the rewards have just increased substantially for internet marketers. I believe we’ll be seeing those who are not able to keep up with the competition fall by the wayside and instead we’ll see more established, experienced SEOs being able to reap the benefits of such change. With increased regulation, industry practices will become more standardized while still allowing for additional creativity. With this change, there will be the usual posts and linkbait heralding the end of SEO yet again.
In addition to the above changes, Google may end up introducing an entirely new technology by the middle of 2012, which will level the playing field once and for all for all SEOs.
SEOs Will Need to Step Up Their Game
The picture certainly doesn’t look bleak. While in the short term I can understand the reality of such assertions that the end of SEO is here, I think in the long term that SEO has just become the most necessary of all custom website services out there. SEOs are going to have to step up their game to become the most competitive and deliver the results their clients are expecting. With the prediction model of Google Instant, this will change search behavior and lean searches in the direction of those who are prepared to be there to receive the immense rewards of traffic that SEO can bring.
Is it truly the end of SEO as some others claim? I don’t think so. It’s possible that it is the beginning of a new era of search – quite honestly it could be the best thing that has ever happened to search. Google Instant has the potential to attract even more people to Google (as if Google’s market share wasn’t already high), and it will increase the visibility of the search markets and reach out to those who have never thought that using a search engine could be so simple. I think all of us will start to see very positive results and repercussions as time goes on. I do believe, however, that search has just changed for the better. It may just take many of us internet marketers awhile to realize the more tangible benefits of this change.
So what say you? Are you ready for the future of search?
As a website designer/SEO/complete-toolbox-of-skill sets-kinda-guy, I’ve had the privilege to see some pretty terrible designs, some awesome designs, and website development decisions that boggle the mind. From companies like adtechonline attempting to sell online marketing services to designers attempting to sell their own design services, I am appalled whenever I see disgustingly haphazard sites masquerading as service providers. Now, I’m not a 100% complete expert myself yet (I still have a ways to go to perfect my design skills and getting them to where I want to be), but I am at least able to write valid code, ensure proper syntax depending on the document type, and make darn sure that my sites operate well on browsers other than IE. If your website displays some (or all of these if you’re really unlucky), perhaps it’s time to reconsider a complete overhaul?
Your site has been banned from the Google index.
While this may not need a real overhaul, it is imperative to at least have a professional SEO take a look at it and figure out what’s up. Being banned from Google means that your website will not be able to take part in traffic offerings, unless you have a way of generating traffic via other avenues.
Your code doesn’t validate.
Valid code does not contribute to higher rankings, but it does help from a design standpoint. Valid code is extremely important for cross browser compatibility and overall site usability. However, what’s even more important is the addition of specific coding “hacks” to make code 100% cross platform compatibile. From an SEO point of view, valid code does not help with higher rankings at all. In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts officially states that validation is not necessary to achieve higher rankings. Validating your code can contribute to the overall quality of the website, can be better able to be and can be more accessible to people of varying disabilities by following the W3C’s accessibility guidelines as well. There are some really good reasons to use W3C validation vs. not using it at all.
Your site has tons of duplicate content.
Really now? You really want to utilize duplicate content that you plagiarized (*ahem* stole) from another website? Okay, that’s your prerogative, but would you take a step back for a second please? Doing this will only ensure that your website is one of the sites that aren’t returned in the results when Google fetches websites for a specific query. The more unique your content is, the better your performance in the Google SERPs will be. Now I want to distinguish one thing – there really isn’t a duplicate content “penalty”. In fact, the way search engines work is that they want to deliver the most unique, valuable content for a specific query. If your site has content that appears on many other sites attempting to rank for that same term, then you can kiss your chances of appearing at the top of the SERPs good-bye.
Your site has no content.
This doesn’t mean just images folks. If your site has absolutely no content whatsoever (and this does mean text content with substance and an eventual goal to help your users), it may be time to figure out how you’re going to attract clients. Unique content for your specific industry is absolutely important to help develop trust with the SE’s, your clients, and develop a reputation as an authority resource within your industry. So if you have no idea when and where your website’s going to go, then it’s a good idea to hire a professional (or at least a consultant) to review your site and get you started in the right direction.
Your site has the same design that’s been there since a number of years ago.
While a stable website with a design that hasn’t been changed for a while is all well and good, if it has been more than a year since you have changed it, then you may want to consider a website overhaul from the ground up. Just like food, websites can become stale and uninteresting if there’s nothing happening on them at all. The same stale content can become boring if it’s continuously part of the exact same design day after day. I would suggest changing your website’s main design at least once a year. The reason why I don’t suggest going more than that is because rapid changes can have negative effects on your rankings, and if you continue changing rapidly just for the sake of changing the site then you run the risk of your rankings dropping.
Your site is all black hat.
Let’s face it – a black hat site, when done in the right ways, can be a good thing to gain search engine rankings quickly. Some of the most effective SEOs can be grey hats, utilizing a mixture of solid white hat techniques and solid black hat techniques. However, when done in excess and done completely the wrong way, using saturating black hat techniques throughout your whole site can be detrimental to its SERP performance. In fact, performing a ton of black hat techniques when you don’t know what you are doing and why they are being done is a surefire recipe for disaster. So, if you have found that a previous rogue SEO has littered your website completely with black hat techniques, and your site has been banned, it’s probably a good idea to reconsider your strategy. In addition, if your off site SEO (link building) has been completely made up of black hat techniques, then it’s imperative that you start with a new domain. Otherwise, you will never escape the negative reputation that has been assigned to your site by Google and other search engines.
The focus of your website has changed.
Whenever you decide to concentrate on another area, or you’ve developed a plan to change the focus of your website to something else, then it’s a good idea to re-build the site from the ground up, including the domain. The reason why is that there are many existing associations with the current domain that include clients, links, and social media associations that are still a part of that particular domain name. The one thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to keep the existing domain name of an authority website (say AlBundysShoes.com) whose focus you plan to change, to something entirely different (say from AlBundysShoes.com to PeggyBundysBonBons.com) then your rankings will dip and you will still have to start over because you’re also targeting brand-new keywords. The better way to do this would be to utilize PeggyBundysBonBons.com and have AlBundysShoes.com 301 redirected to PeggyBundysBonBons.com, that way the old domain name’s link juice will flow to the new domain name, and you can use both concurrently while telling Google that the old domain name will no longer be used for that website.
While the above is not an all inclusive list, and many websites will need to be studied more in detail to determine the depth of their modifications, this should at least give a partial list of major items to look out for – in general. For more specific changes – and this remains true if you’re not an SEO expert or design guru – then you may want to consult with a reputable professional. This one step can mean the difference between an abysmal website and a website that destroys the competition.