Category Archives: SEO

Does your Facebook Social Media Manager know strategy?

dashboard mashup

Your brand’s success on Facebook depends on how you integrate social media into your overall marketing mix

Has your brand unknowingly placed limits on itself with its Facebook strategy? I’ve spoken to over a hundred brands — in particular, to the folks who are in charge of their Facebook presence. These companies included consumer packaged goods businesses, banks, retailers and more, all in a wide range of size and brand recognition. From those conversations, I’ve noticed that there are three primary types of individuals guiding their Facebook strategy:

  • Brand marketer: This is most often a mid-level manager with responsibility for social and sometimes another channel such as SEO or advertising. They care initially about fan counts, and once their presence is larger, they want engagement. They don’t know how to measure engagement, which means they are not sure how to optimize in a scientific method. So they buy a number of tools and spend money, since Facebook and their ad agency tells them to, plus their competitors are doing it.
  • Customer care manager: They see Facebook as an extension of the phone and email channels, which means the page is a complaints board that needs moderating. In retail, they can’t avoid customers who complain, so they spend their day responding to the wall. They also buy tools — primarily wall management. But as their presence grows, they can’t keep up, don’t have resources, and soon have a polluted channel. Without the coordination of other marketing channels, there is no branding power, just a reactive apology center. This person is usually lower level, as the brand hasn’t figured out a strategy for brand management and the integration of multiple paid and organic channels.
  • Direct marketer: They are held to return on investment, just like their counterparts who manage pay per click or direct mail. They live and die by the holy metrics of conversion rate, margin, and ROAS (Return On Advertising Spending). Brand investment or nurturing of the customer relationship doesn’t matter, since every touch is measured by how many conversions happen immediately in that visit. So they continue to spend money on bottom of funnel marketing that is less about demand generation as opposed to demand collection. They don’t realize or pay credence to an early touch or recommendation that can lead to a sale later. This is especially true in B2B, which has a lengthy funnel. Attribution modeling is in its infancy, so this problem will linger for quite some time.

Recognize any of these three as your role? It’s like the blind men and the elephant. I met with a telecom company to discuss their social media strategy (name withheld to protect the guilty) and pointed out that customers were complaining in droves on their Facebook wall. Their head of customer care, the guy who runs the call centers, pointed at the social guy. But the social guy assumed that it was a customer care function. We see this all the time.

Your social media channel doesn’t need to produce its own content, it need only leverage the power of your existing brand assets.

The fundamental issue is that social media is not just another marketing silo. Rather, it’s a layer that cuts across all marketing functions (and even beyond marketing). I feel bad for the company that appoints a VP of Social, unless that person’s role is primarily spent on coordination vs. execution. The moon doesn’t generate its own light — it reflects the light of the sun. Your social media channel doesn’t need to produce its own content, it need only leverage the power of your existing brand assets.

Your brand’s success on Facebook is a matter of how well you can connect people who love you in the real world — not Facebook fans, but real-world fans — to hit the Like button on Facebook. It’s hard to like something you don’t already know about. I’m not saying you can’t do customer acquisition with Facebook. Instead, I’m saying the first step is to harvest the low-hanging fruit of customers who already know you. And only then can leverage the recommendations of those fans to drive new fans. This “friend of fan” targeting yields often a doubling of CTR (click-through rate).

nike facebook dashboard

So ask yourself:

  • What is the gap between your real-world presence and your Facebook presence? Perhaps look at your monthly unique visitors and compare that with how many active visitors you have on Facebook. Perhaps you have a portfolio of products — if you’re the NFL, you have multiple teams with multiple players. If you manufacture soaps and shampoos, aggregate your portfolio there.
  • How are you doing vs. competitors and similar companies? Do you know how you stack up not just in audience size, but quality of that audience measured by engagement rate, conversion rate, referral rates, and even metrics such as Net Promoter Score? Yes, there are ways to approximate any of these metrics, which will be the topic of a separate article.
  • What is a fan worth to you? Now, this is a trick question, because it assumes that there is a value for fans in the real world, that you are able to capitalize upon it, and that you can measure the overlaps with other channels. Yes, your social media can impact your in-store sales in the same way that a TV or radio campaign can. And your TV campaigns will drive traffic to Google and Facebook, while your Facebook presence can increase conversion rate in your email channel.
First, get a strategy in place — and then start measuring

Marketing is the fuzzy science (arguably more science than art) of allocating your budget between different channels. If you are the CMO or someone with budget authority, you have to decide how to spend the chips that you have. If you have a common metric that guides the allocating decision (and you should), then you must have in place a measurement strategy that encompasses the above channels. And as we’ve seen, Facebook is part branding, customer care, and direct marketing — so you must have weighting in all areas.

It’s 2011 and the game is just starting. But before you start hiring like mad, running ad campaigns, and buying tools like they’re going out of style, I recommend getting a basic strategy in place that is measurable. How else will you be able to justify that you’re adding worth to the organization, defend your existence, and fight the internal battle for more resources?



LinkedIn Becoming A Traffic Firehose?

Source: http://t.co/CGNGQgL

Out of nowhere, Business Insider started seeing real referral traffic from LinkedIn last month.The chart below illustrates the spike.

LinkedIn product manager Liz Walker tells us the traffic is coming from a bunch of sources – mostly new products like LinkedIn.com/Today, newsletters, and LinkedIn News.

All of these sources are programmed by LinkedIn populated “inShares,” which are kind of like Facebook “likes” or Twitter “re-tweets.”

Who knew?

Google, by the way, is trying to pull of a similar trick with its +1 button.  Larry Page is obsessed with figuring out social. He’s worried about how people are finding content in their Facebook News Feeds and Twitter streams before they ever think to Google search for it. Maybe he should worry about Linkedin, too. Maybe he should just buy LinkedIn.


Great Tools to Automate Link Building

Source: Jeremy Bencken

http://t.co/h3EWJcb

Are you a human link builder? If so, ask yourself this: “if a robot link builder existed, what would I still be able to do that it could not?”

Analyze a complex backlink profile and distinguish quality links from spammy ones? Check. Write a funny personal email that gets someone’s attention in the right way? Check. Decide when a phone call might be the best outreach method? Check.

And what could the robot do faster and better than you?

Find every link to a site? Check. Automatically search through SERPs and connect each result to external data? Check. Automatically search for contact information on three different pages and score how closely it matched a person’s name? Check. Automatically pre-populate data fields in a CRM? Check.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “build on your strengths,” the lesson for link building is this: that we need to automate as much of the routine, “robot work” as possible, and spend more time doing what we’re best at: being sentient human link builders.

In this post, we’ll look at tools that can help link builders shift their workload to computers as much as humanly possible.

For more informatin: http://t.co/h3EWJcb


VAVA leads to VAVAVOOM! SEO: Link Building

I bet when you think about link building you don’t think VAVAVOOM!

Link Building: time-intensive, frustrating, and sometimes confusing.

Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable.

Link building is ultimately unavoidable because it’s still the trump card for higher rankings.

I like to break the job of link building into smaller more manageable steps.  I like to use the steps VAVA.

That sands for: Link Volume, Link Authority, Link Velocity and Link Anchor Text. I had always used a VAVA like system.

However, Kelvin Newman’s @kelvinnewman eBook Clockwork Pirate helped me move my skill level from So La La to VAVAVOOM! Thanks to Kelvin once I integrated VAVA into my normal link building plan it was less of a chore and more like a proactive strategy.

Here are the VAVA principles of link building that Kelvin lays out in his book.

When I look at any website’s link portfolio, I look at four key areas:

Link Volume, Link Authority, Link Velocity and Link Anchor Text.

No matter what challenges a website faces I will look to improve these VAVA principles.

Link Volume

We can all easily get our heads around the idea that Google and the other search engines like websites with more links. And though the intricacies of link building require a nuanced approach very often a website can’t go too far wrong with a strategy that results in more links. Link equity is far more complicated than just volume this but it is still important, it doesn’t matter if you have a pile of links as big as Ben Nevis Mountain if your competitors is as big as Everest.

Link Authority

In real life not all recommendations are created equally, we know who of our friends and acquaintances are experts, and who doesn’t know what they are talking about. If we want advice on a new car, we trust our mechanic friend more than our dentist. Google when they look at link authority are trying to achieve something very similar. They make judgments about how much sway any endorsement should have. We’ll come onto how you can assess the authority of any given link later in this book but be warned the metric that most people use to access link authority, PageRank, is at best misleading and more likely damaging to link building efforts.

PageRank is the basis of Google’s original algorithm, and still has a part to play in how they determine rankings, but what they display as a green-bar and a score out of ten, is something very different. This score is only updated once a quarter, at best, and by that point will be several months out of date, if it was ever accurate in the first place.

Google have also been known to use this score politically, i.e. to punish link selling offenders while the change in score seemingly has no influence on results. So take PageRank with a shovel full of salt and use it for what it is useful for, a very quick, very inaccurate, finger in the air assessment of a page’s quality. A far more effective way of judging a site’s quality is your noggin, does it feel like a trusted site?

Does it appear to have the signals of credibility that you implicitly understand? Does it have readers who’ll take the content seriously? From my experience these ‘gut feelings’ are far more effective at judging site quality than PageRank or any other score. This is why people are far more important in any link building campaign than any tool or algorithm.

Link Velocity

If you’ve looked at the volume and authority of your competitors you might find yourself scared stiff, but there is some good news though. Google have realised there is a fault in their algorithm; there is a lag, a lag between a page being important enough to include and when it has received enough links to rank. To rectify this there is a phenomenon, which is sometimes known as a Google Honeymoon Period or officially, “Query Deserves Freshness”, this means new pages don’t need as many links to rank when they are ‘fresh’.

It makes a lot of sense. Imagine two identical sites, one with 1,000 links but static growth vs. another with 500 gained rapidly over the last few months. Which do you think will be the best website to return for a topical search query? This isn’t the only way link velocity influences rankings, but there is a general trend if you can engineer a healthy link velocity you will benefit more than your link volume and authority may initially suggest.

Link Anchor Text

A varied and inventive link building campaign will usually deal with authority, velocity & volume factors by default, but are you making sure you get the right anchor text? Anchor text is one of the most complex of the four pillars so I’ve covered it in much more detail than its peers. But what is anchor text? If someone links to you in a piece of text and a few words are underlined and in blue, that’s known as anchor text. It’s the words or phrases people use when they link to you. Google use these words to understand what your website is about. If someone writes the word “foolproof widgets” and makes it a clickable link to your site, the search engine can be reasonably confident that your website is about “foolproof widgets” It used to be the case that if you wanted to demonstrate the power of anchor text in Google’s algorithm, you pointed someone at an example of a Google Bomb.

A Google bomb was when a swarm of websites link to a page using certain anchor text in order to influence the search results. The de-facto example was during George W. Bush’s time in the White House, disgruntled bloggers who were angry at his handling of the Iraq War en-masse linked to his biography on the Whitehouse website using “miserable failure” The Google algorithm at that stage assumed that page must be about ‘miserable failures’ why else would people link to it using those words, so made that page rank whenever anyone searched for that phrase. Not surprisingly seeing thousands of people willfully manipulating its algorithm didn’t impress Google so they altered their algorithm. With these changes, it’s a little harder to find such obvious examples of link text’s importance as “miserable failure” but it’s still highly regarded as a very important ranking factor.


Get analytics while there HOT with Woopra.

Analytics!

Get your analyticsget em while they’re hot!

Analytics, get em while there fresh!

I love my peanuts toasty, crunchy, delicious and all natural.

I love my analytics easy, engaging, detailed, and live.

With Woopra you can satisfying your hunger with every eyeful. Roasted to perfection –  without salt, without preservatives, without additives. Woopra is the best way to enjoy analytics!

I have always loved software platforms that provide real time analytical information. I used to make financial trading software presentations and always loved showing off the real time trading features. Traders loved having the live data and being connected to markets around the world. Now I love Woopra for the same reasons.

The live interface that Woopra provides is truly addictive. Woopra delivers a complete  analytics system in one easy to use live interface. Users can monitor multiple Websites simultaneously in a tabbed window and switch quickly between sites.

Woopra also lets you watch visitors LIVE as they navigate your site, interact with them via Chat, set up real time notifications, track campaigns, set up funnels, and much, much more!

Now Woopra has added an amazing major new feature – Labels. With Labels, users can segment site visitors in real-time. Here is how it works:

Labels

Are you familiar with the Labels in Gmail? The concept of Labels in Woopra is very similar except that a Woopra Label is dynamic – which means a Label is never stuck on a visitor, it’s updated dynamically as the visitor navigates through your website. With Labels, you can:

  • Define a name and color for a dynamic segment of visitors using a wide range of filters (Example: Premium Users in Green)
  • Visitors will be labeled with colored markers in the live View and Map.
  • Labels are saved on the cloud and dynamically processed even when you’re not connected to the Woopra client – which creates possibilities (in the near future) like offline notifications.
  • Labels are saved as Filters presets that can be used in Search, Analytics and Funnels.
  • Agents can create their own Labels that are not shared with others.
  • Labels can be deactivated to be used only as filter presets


Video: Using Google Analytics & Social Media

One of the more difficult things to do in social media is tracking the effectiveness of a campaign.  Measuring the profitability of a social media campaign is even more difficult.  However, measuring your social media traffic using Google Analytics is not difficult at all.  Below, is a video that I made that covers how to effectively track social media traffic.


Four common SEO mistakes

I have several friends that are always asking me for help with their websites. They think I know everything about the internet because I work in social media marketing.  After they pester me to death I reluctantly help them as much as I can.

Here are four common SEO problems that I see all the time.  Almost anyone that has their own website should be able to fix these common problems and upgrade their site. Once you do your page rank will dramatically improve.

  1. Meta tags: Some people say that Meta tags are useless.   I am still using a title tag and description tag. Google looks at both of these tags. If your site does not have a title or description tag Google will pull random content from your site. You want to be able to control that yourself.
    • Meta tags are a great place to add key words. Do people read these tags? Maybe. Google definitely reads these tags so they are still important.
    • Example: if your title tag only has the name of your business (Joe’s Flow) people will not find your business. People would have to search for those exact words. The tag should be: Joe’s Flow plumbing services in Los Angles.
    • <meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />
    • <title>The Title of the Page</title>
  • Alt tags for images: This is the tag that you see when you hold your mouse over an image. Google does not see images. They are dead space to Google if there is no alt tag. Alt tags are great places for key words. If a name is not given to an image it will go to a default like the number your camera gives a image: PTX34983724095.
    • Title tags can also be added to images. A human visitor to the site would not read these tags but Google will see the key words.
    • Remember don’t over stuff tags with key words. A keyword phrase for an image does not have to be long and complex. Long key word phrases make your site hard to read. There is also mounting evidence that the Google algorithm ignores long and repeated key word content.
    • Bad example: Thank you for visiting our Los Angles Joe’s Flow plumbing page where we offer plumbing in the Los Angeles area if you have plumbing issues in Los Angles then you should call our plumbing service in Los Angles because we are your plumbing experts in Los Angles.
    • Contextual significance is the key. The new Google caffeine algorithm will not register your site on the first page of Google search if the content is not relevant.
  1. Header tags (H1tags): are the secondary levels of titles.  A site has its main title in header tags- “plumbing services offered”. Then the site is going to talk about specific plumbing services. Google sees this header tag and knows that this section is about secondary plumbing services. This would be a header tag.
  • From there the site might break the content into different pieces: auto flush, manual flush, never flush… Those are H2, H3, H4, H5 tags.

<html>
<head>
<title>Title of the document</title>
</head>

<body>
The content of the document……
</body>

</html>

  • Google gives a lot of credibility to the content found in these tags. The tags go all the way down to H5.
  • These tags are all about site layout, content organization, and keywords.  Remember a website should never look like a term paper. Using different kinds of header tags is a great way to improve a homepage. Additionally, Google gives more credibility to lists because they are something that people might actually read.
  • Ordered tag example:

<ol>
<li>Auto Flush</li>
<li>Manual Flush</li>
<li>No Flush </li>

</ol>

  • Unordered tag example:

<ul>
<li>Auto Flush</li>
<li>Manual Flush</li>
<li>No Flush</li>
</ul>

3. Links: You need to have inbound links, outbound links, and internal links.

  • Inbound Links: come from other sites to your site.
  • Outbound links: are links that go from your site to other sites.
  • Internal links: are links that connect to different parts of your site.
  • The Google algorithm places a lot of value on links. How complete is your website without interaction and input from other sites? Links are the way a site contributes to the internet.  Don’t forget link titles.

I will have more on links in a later blog post.

http://hubpages.com/hub/4seomistakes


My First Social Media Campaign

The Back Story

I caught the full-fledged social media bug in 2002. I was what one would call a very “heavy user”. I realized that I had to make a choice. I had to go cold turkey or turn social media into a career.

At the time I was working for a very successful British online brokerage called CMC Markets. I worked in sales at the London and Frankfurt, Germany offices. The British sales/marketing managers were very good at what they did and had proven strategies that had worked all over the world. Unfortunately, these strategies did not include social marketing.

My other problem was that social media jobs were few and far between. So, I started looking for ways to use social media at CMC Markets. With that in mind, I made social media marketing pitches to my sales manager before, during, and, after sales meetings. My manager always seemed interested but told me that the time was not right.

Business was good; however, the older larger brokerages in the space were still doing more business. To increase market share CMC started a huge marketing blitz. This included every marketing tool known to mankind, except social media. Part of the marketing plan revolved around the annual broker of the year contest. I knew that winning the broker of the year contest would produce a lot of positive energy and bring in more customers.

The broker of the year award is given to the best broker as voted on by the investors themselves. I saw a great opportunity for a social media campaign. If CMC was going to win we had to generate the most word of mouth buzz. Social media was the best way to do this. I just had to convince my sales manager. I presented my idea to my sales manager and was surprised to get approval to start a social media campaign.

The Campaign

At the start of my campaign I looked to see what CMC Markets was doing online? Then I looked at what I needed to do in order to win the brokerage contest on a social media level. Once I had the answer to these questions I looked at the tools and tactics available through social media and created a strategy. This strategy was based on our business goals i.e. win the competition.

The two social media tools available to me in 2002 Germany were blogging and a social media site named openBC/Open Business Club. OpenBC is now called Xing. OpenBC was the first real German language social media site and I used it to the maximum. OpenBC was not advanced like Facebook. It did not allow company pages. However, one could use OpenBC like linkedin. This allowed me to connect with loads of people and groups.

Before I started contacting customers I wrote down three ideas that illustrated CMC Markets. I hung those three ideas up by my desk. Then I opened a dialogue with customers and asked them what they thought about CMC Markets. Unfortunately, my three ideas did not match customer perception.

I increased the dialogue with customers on OpenBC about the differences in perception. The whole time I was thinking in the background that I was creating a presence for the company. I went by the 80/20 rule and only mentioned sales promotions and the broker completion in passing. I would say that they should vote in the completion or look at a new analytical trading tool. I did not tell customers directly that they should vote for CMC. I wanted the open dialogue to do that for me.

The blogging front was much different. Most of the blogging was not very positive. Bloggers would complain about the CMC Markets cost structure or problems they had had with trades. I knew that I had to carefully deal with the negatives without being too combative. I went with the rules of the three F’s. (Flood, Flight, or Fight). I would kind of hang out on a blog and get a feel for the space. Once I had a feel for the blog I would choose: Flood, Flight, or Fight.

Flood

When I would enter a blog I would look at the source of the negative thoughts and ideas. I also looked at how the negative buzz could hurt CMC Markets overall standing. If the information was damaging I would fix it by flooding the Internet with amazing positive content with a focus on search engine optimization to effectively bury negative content in blog search results.

Fight

Sometimes I had fight fire with fire. I never wanted to bully, control, or stop the conversation. I would join the conversation and move it in a better direction. I would discuss misunderstandings, admit mistakes, and demonstrate a desire to fix problems and put customers first. One trend I noticed in the fight process was that people come to your aid if you are addressing things in a professional manner.

Flight

I never actually wanted to run away from negative online conversations about CMC Markets. However, I did look at the source of the negative conversations. I would evaluate the fight/flight options. Based on my time in social media I knew that there are some people that just like to wind people up for kicks. One can typically recognize these people and ignore them. It’s okay to ignore these people. I would consider the source of the negativity. Then evaluate its potential to spread further across the social Web. Sometimes ignoring the source will allow the conversation to die. Engaging the negative could end up being a trap and prolong the conversation.

It was a very straight forward strategy. Social media marketing, like all streams of marketing, is part art and part science. All I was trying to do was develop the CMC Markets brand and communication in authentic ways. In the end, I had a direct dialogue with several thousand customers/investors. I did not have any tools to track my social media project. However, my manager was very positive about the process. She said that there had been a lot of telephone traffic in sales, CRM, and at the IT help desk. During many telephone conversations my efforts were mentioned. In additional there was a 36% increase in deposits and higher trade activity.

In the end CMC Markets won the broker competition in 2005 by 12%. The next year we used even more social media and less traditional marketing. CMC Markets won that broker competition by 18%. Even after I left CMC Markets for a fulltime social media position at Créatif Marketing the same social media tactics were used.


Plenty of recent social media facts and figures:

Plenty of recent facts and figures have helped to hammer this point home:


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