Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 18 Jul 2018 10:35:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/data-compelling-reporting/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/data-compelling-reporting/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 15:00:24 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22923 Google Analytics Data Visualization Adam Singer

Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips.

The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business.

But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories.

As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations.

Here’s a quick visual summary of his entire presentation, courtesy of Kingman Ink:

My favorite part is the lizard that represents your limbic brain. Visuals cut straight to that reflexive part of your brain, making a point quicker than listing facts and drawing conclusions.

Here’s how Adam suggests creating data-based visuals that speak directly to our inner lizards.

#1:  Prepare Data for Analysis

Great data visualization starts with...well...data. More than that, it starts with a meaningful and manageable data set. The data you choose to include should be tailored to both the story you want to tell and the audience that’s going to receive it. For an example, when pulling internal data, your CEO might just want to know whether marketing is contributing to revenue. By contrast, your CMO will want revenue, engagement, and sales enablement data.

Adam recommends these three steps for data analysis:

  1. Filtering: Make sure you’re getting high quality data. For example, in your website analytics, exclude bot and spam traffic from your traffic reports.
  2. Sorting: Use the sorting that makes the most business sense. In most cases, a combined and weighted sort will be the most useful, organizing data along two variables.
  3. Grouping: In Google Analytics, you can group data into categories. This can help you create more specific, focused visualizations.

#2: Tell Your Data Story

With the data in hand, you can create a visualization. Aim to create an image so simple, specific, and clean that it’s readable at a glance. In other words, the opposite of this: 

Notice how your eyes flick back and forth between the legend and the chart, trying to make sense of it all. Compare that chart to this one:

There’s a mountain of data behind that visualization, but you can instantly grasp the point: vaccines eliminate diseases.

Such a stunning visual doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning. Adam recommends “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.

#3: Best Practices for Compelling Data Reporting

As with any kind of storytelling, the best way to visualize your data depends on your audience and your story. But there are some consistent best practices to follow. Adam recommends following these guidelines for visualizations in your internal reporting, regardless of audience or intent:

  1. Keep charts and graphs simple. Don’t graph every data point--just enough to show the trend. Focus on what matters most to your story.
  2. Tell the user what the point is. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess at the conclusion you want them to draw: Put it right in the title of your visualization.
  3. Don’t spin the data. Ever. The point of data visualization is to get at the facts, not obscure them. Don’t abuse your audience’s trust with misleading visuals.
  4. Make reporting part of your process. It’s easy to think of reporting as something tacked on to the end of a campaign, a final housekeeping task. Better to see reporting as vital to our ongoing marketing efforts and approach it with dedication and enthusiasm.
  5. Use the right data for the right stakeholder. Make sure you personalize your reports for different audiences, sticking with only the most relevant data for each.
  6. Be creative and have fun. Solutions like Google Data Studio make it easy to pull in data and play with visualizations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Data Points

When done properly, a single chart or graph can convey paragraphs of information at a single glance. Choose your data carefully, keep your visualizations simple and purposeful, and you can create a report far more compelling than a list of stats and figures could ever be.

Speaking of beautiful data visualization, have you seen our interactive influencer marketing infographic?

 

The post How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Google Analytics Data Visualization Adam Singer

Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips. The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business. But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories. As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations. Here’s a quick visual summary of his entire presentation, courtesy of Kingman Ink: My favorite part is the lizard that represents your limbic brain. Visuals cut straight to that reflexive part of your brain, making a point quicker than listing facts and drawing conclusions. Here’s how Adam suggests creating data-based visuals that speak directly to our inner lizards.

#1:  Prepare Data for Analysis

Great data visualization starts with...well...data. More than that, it starts with a meaningful and manageable data set. The data you choose to include should be tailored to both the story you want to tell and the audience that’s going to receive it. For an example, when pulling internal data, your CEO might just want to know whether marketing is contributing to revenue. By contrast, your CMO will want revenue, engagement, and sales enablement data. Adam recommends these three steps for data analysis:
  1. Filtering: Make sure you’re getting high quality data. For example, in your website analytics, exclude bot and spam traffic from your traffic reports.
  2. Sorting: Use the sorting that makes the most business sense. In most cases, a combined and weighted sort will be the most useful, organizing data along two variables.
  3. Grouping: In Google Analytics, you can group data into categories. This can help you create more specific, focused visualizations.

#2: Tell Your Data Story

With the data in hand, you can create a visualization. Aim to create an image so simple, specific, and clean that it’s readable at a glance. In other words, the opposite of this:  Notice how your eyes flick back and forth between the legend and the chart, trying to make sense of it all. Compare that chart to this one: There’s a mountain of data behind that visualization, but you can instantly grasp the point: vaccines eliminate diseases. Such a stunning visual doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning. Adam recommends “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.

#3: Best Practices for Compelling Data Reporting

As with any kind of storytelling, the best way to visualize your data depends on your audience and your story. But there are some consistent best practices to follow. Adam recommends following these guidelines for visualizations in your internal reporting, regardless of audience or intent:
  1. Keep charts and graphs simple. Don’t graph every data point--just enough to show the trend. Focus on what matters most to your story.
  2. Tell the user what the point is. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess at the conclusion you want them to draw: Put it right in the title of your visualization.
  3. Don’t spin the data. Ever. The point of data visualization is to get at the facts, not obscure them. Don’t abuse your audience’s trust with misleading visuals.
  4. Make reporting part of your process. It’s easy to think of reporting as something tacked on to the end of a campaign, a final housekeeping task. Better to see reporting as vital to our ongoing marketing efforts and approach it with dedication and enthusiasm.
  5. Use the right data for the right stakeholder. Make sure you personalize your reports for different audiences, sticking with only the most relevant data for each.
  6. Be creative and have fun. Solutions like Google Data Studio make it easy to pull in data and play with visualizations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Data Points

When done properly, a single chart or graph can convey paragraphs of information at a single glance. Choose your data carefully, keep your visualizations simple and purposeful, and you can create a report far more compelling than a list of stats and figures could ever be. Speaking of beautiful data visualization, have you seen our interactive influencer marketing infographic?  

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Why HTTPS Matters for Content Marketers: Website Security, SEO, and Customer Trust http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/https-matters-seo/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/https-matters-seo/#comments Mon, 28 Aug 2017 10:30:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22817 Full disclosure: As a content marketer, I’m still trying to round out my technological knowledge. The complex inner workings of the internet might as well be some combination of elves, gnomes, and unicorns. As long as it delivers my content (and a steady stream of memes and status updates), it doesn’t matter how the internet [...]

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Full disclosure: As a content marketer, I’m still trying to round out my technological knowledge. The complex inner workings of the internet might as well be some combination of elves, gnomes, and unicorns. As long as it delivers my content (and a steady stream of memes and status updates), it doesn’t matter how the internet works, right?

But it’s time for all content marketers to get at least a little technical. There are new marching orders from our overlords at tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple, and they’re going to directly affect your content marketing strategy.

The issue is a web security protocol called HTTPS (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure). Other terms you might encounter are SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security).  Or you may just know it as the little green padlock in the top corner of your web browser:

image showing green padlock on Chrome web browser

No matter what you call it, HTTPS provides a secure, encrypted channel for a website to transfer data to a browser, and vice versa. It uses digital certificates to verify that each party is who they say they are—and that no third-party is intercepting the data.

It’s easy to see why HTTPS is a good idea—you don’t want some shady character snooping on your passwords and credit card information when you’re online banking at Starbucks. And you wouldn’t want to think you’ve connected with your bank, when you’re actually on www.stealyourmoney.biz.

Beyond the safety considerations, however, the push for websites to adopt HTTPS matters for content marketers. Not having HTTPS on your site can now hurt your marketing efforts in two big ways: search engine visibility and customer trust. Here’s what you need to know.

HTTPS Is an SEO Ranking Factor

Google is one of the major supporters of HTTPS, using its considerable leverage to increase adoption of the protocol. To that end, they have added HTTPS status as a ranking factor in searches. Since Google owns well over half of the search market—and over 90% of mobile search—your site’s ranking on Google has a massive impact on your organic traffic.

If your content is just as good as a competitor’s, but they have HTTPS and you don’t, they’re likely to rank higher on the results page. Over time, the coveted top spots will all go to HTTPS-enabled sites, with unsecure sites fighting for the scraps. This graph from Smart Insights shows just how much traffic you lose by dropping even a single slot on the SERP:

Chart showing a dropoff in click through rate versus position on a search engine ranking page

The top result has a 30% click-through rate, while the second gets 12%, and the CTR declines steadily from there.

It’s easy to see why HTTPS matters for content marketers who care about organic traffic (which, let’s hope, is all of us). If you’re trying to create SEO-optimized content that gets viewed and gets results, not having HTTPS on your site can hamstring your efforts from the start.

HTTPS Is a Trust Signal

Let’s say, though, that your content is so useful and so compelling that it still gets a decent ranking, and someone actually clicks through. In the address bar right now, Google Chrome (the most popular browser, with over 60% of all browser traffic) will show a “not secure” warning before your URL:

Gray 'not secure' warning on Google Chrome

In future builds of Chrome, that warning will get more dire, with red text and a caution sign:

Red triangle showing a website is not secure

These warnings may eventually escape the address bar, becoming a popup window that warns people away from your site.

It’s easy to imagine the impact these warnings will have on people’s confidence in your site. When there are plenty of secure websites in the SERP, that warning is enough for your average consumer to hit the back button and find a site with the soothing green padlock.

How to Get HTTPS

In the past, managing even a simple site’s security certificates could be a hassle. But in addition to pushing HTTPS adoption through penalties, Google and many others are also investing in making the technology easier to get. Even if you don’t have a web development team, you can likely get HTTPS up and running with minimal hiccups.

First, check with your internet provider to see if they offer automated HTTPS—many will help you get set up and manage your certificates. For example, our client Pantheon offers free, automated HTTPS to all of its clients.

If your provider doesn’t offer HTTPS management, I recommend Let’s Encrypt. They’re an open-source, free and automated HTTPS provider (or Certificate Authority), funded by contributions from the major players in the tech industry. If you have a little tech savvy, it’s pretty simple to get set up.

Is It Secret? Is It Safe?

Adopting HTTPS is the right choice for you and everyone who visits your site. But it’s more than just the right thing to do. The decision to adopt HTTPS will make it easier for consumers to find your content, and will give people more confidence in your site’s bona fides. On the other hand, not having HTTPS will hurt both your ranking and your reputation.

Looking for more ways to boost your search engine ranking? Check out these quick SEO research tips.


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Understanding the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on SEO http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/understanding-impact-artificial-intelligence-seo/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/understanding-impact-artificial-intelligence-seo/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2016 10:30:54 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20863 Artificial intelligence and machine learning sound like concepts from the future. In reality, it has been used by search engines for a decent amount of time now. Most people have probably heard of Google’s RankBrain by now, but if not, RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence system. RankBrain came upon us quickly, and a [...]

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artificial-intelligence-SEO

Artificial intelligence and machine learning sound like concepts from the future. In reality, it has been used by search engines for a decent amount of time now. Most people have probably heard of Google’s RankBrain by now, but if not, RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence system. RankBrain came upon us quickly, and a Google representative claims that RankBrain is the third highest ranking factor it uses now.

Artificial intelligence will change, and has been, changing how search marketers should be optimizing websites. It should make us think differently on what to optimize on a website and what experience we are providing our users. In order to optimize our websites, we need to first understand how artificial intelligence is impacting SEO.

How Does Artificial Intelligence Impact SEO?

Artificial intelligence is allowing search engines, like Google, to learn more about search queries rather than just keywords. Google will be able to judge what sites provide the best results based off of user engagement metrics rather than if the page is fully optimized with both on-page and off-page tactics.

Google will also be able to better understand what additional search queries will take place after an initial search, making the process smoother for the users. It will be able to analyze data based off of a search query so that it can show the best results for each user. Artificial intelligence and RankBrain will provide more relevant results based off of non-traditional ranking factors.  

What Can We do as Search Marketers?

As search marketers, we should be excited about Google using artificial intelligence. We have a lot of opportunity to focus on aspects that will provide a better experience for our users than traditional tactics like optimizing the metadata of a page. Of course, those metrics will still hold some relevance to search engines, but we can instead focus on what really matters to users.

We should focus on the following tactics to optimize websites moving forward:

User Engagement on Pages

Google will look more into the engagement metrics on a webpage including: bounce rate, dwell time, average pages per visit, conversion rate, and many other metrics. It will be more important to focus on optimizing the path a user takes once they get on your website. You could even hypothesize that Google may rank a website differently during peak searching hours or certain times based off of the engagement. There are multiple possibilities of engagement metrics that could be used.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR) on SERPs

There has been a good amount of discussion that the CTR on SERPs may impact a rank for websites. REgardless if CTR is a ranking factor or not, we should still optimize for it on SERPs. Search marketers should focus on creating enticing title tags and meta descriptions for each page.

Keyword Optimization

Keyword optimization will always be changing. The trends for certain keywords constantly are fluctuating. Besides that, search engines are getting better at understanding that keywords are related. We need to stop thinking about one keyword and more about what the user really is searching for. Instead, we need to be using long-tail keywords and/or natural language when optimizing our content to match user intent.

Also, we need to know what the next step is after a person conducts a search. People are more savvy online then even a couple years ago. With that in mind, you probably won’t convert most of your first time users, and we should be okay with that. There are multiple touch points in the user’s journey, so we need to have content for all those additional searches. By using artificial intelligence, search engines will be able to have a better understanding of what additional searches take place after a first query is conducted. We need to place ourselves in our user’s shoes to fully understand what they are looking for.

Amplification Rate

Social shares are currently a good way to get more people viewing your content. The people who view your content will then send more data for search engines to analyze when assessing the content. It will be important as search marketers to amplify and promote content within the future. Focus on promoting the top content with amplification tactics including influencer marketing and paid social promotion.

Structured Markup

Another area we can focus on optimizing for artificial intelligence is adding schema markup to the site. This technical SEO tactic is nothing new, but it has become more important. Schema markup tells search engines what the content is actually about. We can help Google to better understand content along with the machine learning algorithms.

Artificial Intelligence is Here

SEO is moving away from general optimization practices and focusing on user engagement data. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be optimizing websites with the traditional tactics, but we need to start thinking about the bigger picture.

At the end of the day, make your website serve the purpose of your customers. Create an experience that will bring them back by creating a fluid user experience and content that is readable. After all, Google wants what is best for the user, not something that is optimized.


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TopRank Marketing’s Online Advertising Predictions for 2016 http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/12/paid-search-2016/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/12/paid-search-2016/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2015 11:30:30 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=19646 As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to begin thinking about what is on the digital marketing horizon in the coming year. Marketers with budgets large and small are often unsure of which investments will reap the biggest benefits. To help inform you of the options available, we’ll be publishing a series of prediction [...]

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2016-Online-Advertising-Predictions

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to begin thinking about what is on the digital marketing horizon in the coming year. Marketers with budgets large and small are often unsure of which investments will reap the biggest benefits.

To help inform you of the options available, we’ll be publishing a series of prediction posts for different areas of digital marketing. Starting off the series is this post, stock full of paid advertising predictions for the coming year. Below you’ll find insight into some of the key topics and trends that are building steam at TopRank Marketing and will only continue to increase in 2016.

Social Advertising

Worldwide, social media advertising spend is projected to reach $29.9 billion in 2016, that’s a 69% increase since 2014. While the final numbers for 2015 hasn’t been calculated yet, social commerce was projected to drive $30 billion in revenue in 2015, a 50% increase over 2014.

Social media advertising has many benefits for B2B and B2C advertisers alike. We can all expect to see more opportunities surrounding ad formats across all platforms in 2016. From Snapchat’s Two Cent Video Ads, Pinterest’s Motion-Based Ads, Twitter’s Promoted Moments and Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads, every platform is in a mad dash to out-monetize and the race has only begun.

This means more opportunities, which can often lead to confusion. One of the biggest challenges facing marketers is trying to figure out which social advertising opportunity will be the best fit for their business. Budget will still be a major factor in determining which social platform makes the most sense. Social media sites like Snapchat are extremely popular for advertising, but the entry fee is amazingly high. As competition heats up for advertising dollars, I expect to see some of the cost barriers to some of the “It” social properties start to fall and become more accessible.

While social media as a sales channel is increasing, we’re also seeing it similar growth from a lead generation and nurturing standpoint. We’ve had on-going amplification programs running for the past two years on several channels, primarily LinkedIn and performance keeps getting improving. If you have news, paid social is the best bull horn for your dollars.

Video Advertising

It is estimated that 74% of internet traffic in 2017 will be video. In 2016, companies should begin planning on increasing video advertising whether they’re looking at promoting videos via native advertising on Instagram or Vine, or in-stream/in-display video ads on YouTube. We’ve already started to see budgets shifting from standard search to video based advertising for several clients and it’s a trend that is only going to keep growing.

Video can be a hard nut to crack for marketers. Not all videos are alike and creating a video, especially for B2B companies can create some unique challenges. Video is a relatively young channel and so is the audience. We’ve had many clients produce videos and come to us for amplification thinking this would be great fit for YouTube but are disappointed when their in-search numbers are low. For B2B advertisers it’s time to start looking at layering in big data.

Micro-Level Advertising

Account or persona-based marketing creates for a better level of targeting. All major platforms have increased their targeting options this year which is fantastic. But the real shift I’m seeing is clients starting to embrace Demind-Side Platform (DSP) and automation. From Native DSPs like Taboola to old standbys like Rocket Fuel and emerging Account-Based Marketing (ABM) platforms like Terminus and Marketo’s new offering around ABM are making big waves but micro targeting needs micro content for it to successful.

Especially for B2B’s we’ll begin to see more advertising dollars invested in big-data and DSP’s that deliver content to specific personas. However, without a solid content marketing strategy and content execution, these are dollars wasted.)

Expect to spend more money in 2016 for increased targeting and automation. But always make sure that you have the content to make the media expenditure worth your while.

Keywords & Integration

Every so often I hear or read someone saying that keywords are dead. However, AdWords has been beefing up their dynamic search capabilities and if it’s on their radar, others will be following shortly.

With better indexing and new sub-categories, dynamic search is become less of a guessing game more predictable. Dynamic search requires a technically, well structured website and high quality content.

All marketers should have an eye on integration but it appears as though Google is going to start forcing our hand. With Google controlling 65% of the search share, now is the time to ensure that you are deploying an integrated digital marketing strategy.

What Are Your Paid Advertising Predictions For 2016?

Based on our predictions, social and video advertising, targeting and an integrated strategy will be essential parts of a successful paid advertising strategy in 2016. If you need help creating a successful paid strategy for 2016, contact us for more information.

What trends are you most excited to explore in the coming year?

Header image via Shutterstock


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SEO Storm or Light Shower? Google’s Panda 4.0 Update http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/05/google-panda-4/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/05/google-panda-4/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 22:40:37 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16860 The thunder clap of Google’s Matt Cutts’s Twitter post could be heard across the web this week with the announcement of the search engine’s latest update, Panda 4.0. Of course the type of Panda I’m talking about isn’t a cute bear from China. It’s the name of an algorithm used by Google to filter out low quality [...]

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Google Panda 4.0

The thunder clap of Google’s Matt Cutts’s Twitter post could be heard across the web this week with the announcement of the search engine’s latest update, Panda 4.0.

Of course the type of Panda I’m talking about isn’t a cute bear from China. It’s the name of an algorithm used by Google to filter out low quality content from search results.

The first Panda update in Feb, 2011 was fairly aggressive, affecting about 11% of queries on Google and millions of searchers. Panda also had an impact on more than a few website owners who fell from the search results like hail from the sky.

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable reports that this most recent Panda update is expected to affect 7.5% of English search queries and with 12.5 billion searches per month on Google, that could be a pretty big storm for the SEO world.

For the most part, the types of content being washed away  in the Panda rain represent the low end of the quality spectrum: thin content without much substance, duplicate content and spammy content.

A Softer, Gentler Panda?  Unfortunately, many small businesses were caught up in those earlier updates, but Google has been rolling out a number of refinements to Panda since, to “soften” things up a bit. That is how Panda 4.0 has been characterized on several of the Search Engine Marketing websites covering the space. Not only did Google roll out this major update in it’s efforts to better filter high and low quality sites, but it’s now positioned to continue softening up Panda where needed.

Panda Lightning Strikes: Whether Panda 4.0 was actually a softener or not is up for debate amongst sites like ask.com, ebay.com and examiner.com which were called out by SEO software company SearchMetrics in it’s Winners and Losers List for Google USA. eBay in particular has felt the pain of Panda and Dr. Pete gave a very thorough analysis of that situation over on Moz.

And the Winner Is…  Essentially, the analysis is that this iteration of Panda affected sites both positively and negatively. “Winners” from the Panda 4.0 update include: glassdoor.com, buzzfeed.com and consumer affairs.com. Search Engine Watch also reports that some site owners experienced a significant jump in traffic after the update, so it appears that Panda 4.0 isn’t all bad news for site owners.

Panda Overhaul: As a means to filter out low quality content sites from search results, Panda updates have functioned as rolling data refreshes, but Search Engine Land says Panda 4.0 was significant – an update to the algorithm itself.

The Bottom Line With Panda for Digital Marketers: I think the takeaway here is that while many marketers tightened up their search engine optimization efforts, there’s still plenty of “baby getting tossed out with the bath water” when Google makes significant updates (Panda and Penguin). Every website owner and marketer should be watching their web analytics closely to track changes in organic referred traffic.

Don’t Forget Your SEO Umbrella:  Even if a company thinks their content holds up to the Panda quality filter, it’s important to have a complete audit of all past content as well. It’s not enough to make a commitment to creating robust content that’s easy to find and share in the future, but to determine if any historical content has now become a liability.

If you’re not sure how to manage content and links for maximum SEO benefit and minimum Google penalty, there’s a lot of advice on the topic and plenty of consultants willing to audit and manage it (including TopRank Marketing).

Content Isn’t the Only Way to Get Wet:  Along with the content on your website, inbound and internal links should also be managed.  Companies may be entirely focused on PR related efforts for link acquisition from the most credible of editorial sources, but the totality of a company’s link profile must also be maintained. It’s not above competitors to send nasty links your way in an effort to pull your competitive advantage away. Some of the link sources put in place years ago could not become a liability with Google Penguin – of which another update is imminent.

No Matter How White Hat, Prim and Proper Your SEO Raincoat Is, it’s important to monitor, manage and optimize the search performance of your search marketing assets on an ongoing basis. Just because SEO has changed significantly, doesn’t mean search engines have become static. There’s nothing static about search engines. The continuous change and updates to what’s allowable means companies that expect to attract new business and be easy to find for current customers, will need to maintain search engine readiness.

No site is truly immune to Google’s decisions and that is why no business should have all it’s online marketing eggs in the Google basket.

Has your site been affected by Google’s Panda 4.0 update? Have you seen a sudden drop in organic search traffic form Google in the past week?

Image: Shutterstock


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What Google Hummingbird Really Means and What Marketers Can Do About It http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/02/hummingbird-update/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/02/hummingbird-update/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:14:41 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16445 Note from Lee: You know the phrase, kill two birds with one stone? That’s what we’re doing with this post format and the topic of Hummingbird.  Our team at TopRank is known for liveblogging conferences, but this co-created blog format is something new. At the same time, we’re covering a topic (Google Hummingbird) and search [...]

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Google Hummingbird

Note from Lee: You know the phrase, kill two birds with one stone? That’s what we’re doing with this post format and the topic of Hummingbird.  Our team at TopRank is known for liveblogging conferences, but this co-created blog format is something new. At the same time, we’re covering a topic (Google Hummingbird) and search + social media that I think warrants some clarity and practical advice. In this post, you’ll see insights our team members took from the SMBMSP event followed by “TopRank Tips” from Eliza and myself.

In the digital marketing world, change is inevitable. At some point in life we are all forced to adapt, change paths, learn new skills or face something we definitely weren’t expecting.

As marketers with strong search marketing skills, adapting to change is something we do all the time at TopRank Online Marketing. With Google’s 665 algorithm updates in 2012 alone, we have to!

Along with the changes in other aspects of professional life, we sometimes get hung up on distractions or efforts to make something more important or scary than it is. The problem is, those distractions can be costly. But sometimes, these changes in the industry really are worth your time and attention. The trick is to figure out what to pay attention to and what to ignore as noise.  A lot of the commentary on Google’s Hummingbird update fits this situation perfectly

At a recent MSP Social Media Breakfast, Google’s Hummingbird update (plus Panda and Penguin) were covered by local search marketing pros Josh Bratten and Jeff Sauer. They shared their perspectives into what Google’s curiously named updates mean and how social media plays into SEO.

As holistic online marketers that consider all means of inbound and organic marketing, our team paid close attention to the insights shared by Josh and Jeff on the trend towards natural language search, the impact of social media on search and other changes coming up. Here’s a roundup of insights shared and follow up tips from the TopRank Marketing team members in attendance:

Brooke Furry

Brooke Furry – @writerbrooke

Insight:  Google’s hundreds of algorithmic updates over the years have focused on filtering out low quality content, warding off black hat SEO, and improving overall search experience for users. So although the recent Hummingbird update is a big deal, it’s a logical progression of Google’s goals: to give users valuable, contextually relevant answers.

TopRank Tip:   When it comes to adapting your online marketing in reaction to Google algorithm changes, don’t focus as much on the update itself, but focus on what the update is trying to achieve. Hummingbird has a focus on queries formed as questions since that is the trend in user behavior.  Understand your own customers’ behavior when it comes to their use of search and adapt your content and optimization accordingly. Be strategic in how you develop processes to provide content and conversations that achieve customer goals, not Google’s, as your top priority.

Insight:  Through Hummingbird’s sophistication of understanding related concepts, Google strives to anticipate not only your next search, but searches in the future that as typical consumer journeys. This is a huge evolution in search! Going forward, if you want to succeed in search, it will be helpful to map personas, concepts, and entities to discover “what is someone going to ask next?” because Google wants to stay one step ahead.

TopRank Tip:  Think about what your customers are searching for, but also think about understanding why.  Think of the questions they’re trying to answer with search prior to landing on your page, and how you can provide content that makes your site the next logical place to go.

Insight:  Today, brands have no excuse to be flimsy or thin with content online. If your company wants to succeed in today’s digital world, you have to succeed overall – build a valuable brand on and offline. With SEO, it doesn’t make sense to focus on finding holes or working the system, because Google’s closing those opportunities.

TopRank Tip:   Be dedicated to building your brand’s online presence. Don’t be the company that doesn’t respond on Twitter, hasn’t blogged since 2012 and auto-posts the same curated news to Facebook and LinkedIn . Become the best answer for your customers, community and the media for the things they care about and that your brand wants to be known for. Implementing this kind of plan requires robust content that will benefit customers as well as search engines.

Emily Bachellor

Emily Bachellor – @EmilyBacheller

Insight:  Google is moving away from keywords and putting more emphasis on context. This means that companies not only need to create a strong brand, but they must also publish content that reflects their brand values and speaks to the interests of their customers.

TopRank Tip:   Understand why your customers are searching using certain keywords and where they may be during the sales cycle. Find out what matters to them, and how their values sync up with the values your brand is promoting. Then, use that understanding of your customers to develop your content strategy.

Insight:  Since Google is likely taking reviews and social sentiment into account when determining the positioning of content, be sure that you’re keeping your customers happy and responding to their concerns as quickly as possible. Their negative online reviews and comments can affect how your brand is found (or not) as well as your sales.

TopRank Tip:  Make sure you have a social team ready to respond to negative, and positive experiences. A negative experience can either become the context for future customers, or be leveraged as an opportunity to demonstrate your exceptional service! We recommend the latter. The age of customer service as marketing is here, don’t miss out on a prime opportunity to keep customers and search engines happy.

Insight:  Google wants to know more about the context of your brand. This means that you need to share information about your location(s), specialties and what your company is authoritative for.

TopRank Tip:   As common sense as it seems, make sure all relevant information about your brand is accessible online. Make your location and phone number easy to find and make sure your site is represented on local listing opportunities. Also, communicate the specific areas of focus for your company on the web site, blog, social networks and in the media. Work to attract industry recognition for that specialization from other authoritative sources. How do you want to be known? Decide and then make it incredibly easy for your target audience, the industry and search engines to agree – you are the best answer for your specialty.

Ben Brausen

Ben Brausen – @BenBrausen

Insight:  While Google’s Matt Cutts recently explained that Google doesn’t rank pages from social media sites differently as they can’t guarantee access to this information, we still have to be aware of the other signals we send surrounding social.  Signals pointing towards social from sites that Google can crawl will still indicate relevant content.  If people are linking to social posts such as breaking news, humorous, or a great story, those signals will still be picked up and weighed by search.

TopRank Tip:  While Google says Twitter and Facebook are not used for rankings, Google Plus was not mentioned in that disclaimer. Whatever signals your brand can provide amongst social networks to support your company’s areas of expertise can indirectly affect engagement. Social discovery of content and ideas can drive search. Brand social content off your website can rank in search.  Focus on social for engagement and be aware of the potential impact for search, but don’t let search be the sole driver for your social media activities.

Insight:  The changes made in Hummingbird mean that along with the content of a page, other signals like reviews, Google+ chatter, locational relevance and much more matter too.

TopRank Tip:   The best approach to Google on a go forward is to be a marketer that optimizes search marketing performance, not optimizing just for search engines. Be customer focused in content marketing, social networking and marketing, online publicity and promotions. By looking at 360 degrees of how your brand is known amongst a target audience that is actively looking for solutions, you align all the necessary tactics to support being the best answer for customers and for Google.

Insight:  Google now takes things like previous searches and location into account when users are searching.  You should too.  Think: What other topics have customers been searching for when they’re looking for the solutions your company offers?  Where are they (geographically) when they’re looking for your content?

TopRank Tip:   Understand how your product or service fulfills your customer’s needs, and what else they’ll search for while making their decision. Use analytics to know what devices they’re using, and if they tend to search from larger cities or rural areas. Then tailor your content to appeal to the behaviors and preferences of those data points.

Nick Ehrenberg

Nick Ehrenberg – @NickEhrenberg

Insight:  Schema is even more important in Hummingbird, and article authorship is one of the strongest signals for the new search algorithm. Using the rel=author tag to link a Google+ profile to a blog post makes that listing stand out in SERPs.

TopRank Tip:   Encourage others in your company (and yourself) to build out Google+ profiles—complete with biographic information, avatars, cover photos, and regular posting—then link them to the content you publish on the web. Encourage off-site authorship amongst key thought leaders and subject matter experts within your company. Also encourage content sharing and engagement within Google Plus.

Insight:  Competitive research involves a thorough analysis of content strengths and weaknesses. If their content is already epic, that means your content must be just a little more epic. If there are gaps, than the opportunities are (slightly) easier.

TopRank Tip:   Look into things like social shares, keywords driving traffic, and the type of content your competitors are creating. Although we never recommend mimicking, it’s important to understand the arena in which you’re playing. Then you’ll know what it takes to stand out.

Michael Bak

Michael Bak – @Bak57006

Insight:  While the bulk of Hummingbirds algorithm is moving towards content and a global view, it has no affect on AdWords which will function per usual.

TopRank Tip:   Use AdWords for a consistent message, and to help build traffic to your site in addition to focusing on the changes in search.

Insight:  A resounding theme in the digital marketing space lately has been, “Answer their questions” and being a voice of authority in your industry. This presents an interesting opportunity for Landing Page testing, shifting from BUY to need fulfillment . . . or soft sell.

TopRank Tip:   Test different versions of landing pages, and add a strategic layer to their design, content, and how you link to them. Then monitor your analytics closely to determine what’s working and what isn’t. It’s important to remember to constantly evolve and innovate.

Insight:  As individual keywords become less of a focus for organic search with Hummingbird, it is important to start utilizing Content Groups and tracking performance to those groups.

TopRank Tip:   Instead of organizing content by search phrase, think of the actual questions customers have about the problem they need solved. Formulate clusters of questions according to topic (keyword phrase) and use as inspiration for content.

Eliza Steely

Eliza Steely – @elizalynnsteely

Insight:  Google is constantly evolving and updating so we can get more relevant information, more often in more ways. The more you search, the more personalized your results can and will become.

TopRank Tip:  Focus on what the updates are trying to achieve. It’s impossible to keep up with 500+ changes that aren’t always explicitly obvious. Strive to create content that helps your audience in ways they’re likely to find it.

Insight:  Assisted conversions (which show when a person comes to your site, leaves, then comes back and converts) are great to track. They can help indicate the success of your social messaging and other tactics.

TopRank Tip:   Make sure you’re monitoring things other than just pageviews and bounce rates. Build a fundamental understanding of why people are coming to your site from Twitter and not from Facebook, or how certain keywords are driving traffic. Then you’ll be able to begin tailoring messaging based on channel, location, and device in ways that are more relevant and likely to succeed.

The Bottom Line on Google Hummingbird and How Social Media Affects SEO:

It appears that the underlying theme of Google updates has been to create more relevant search results that are able to provide the answers searches are looking for. Google is essentially, an “answer engine” and literally handles 1 billion questions per day. How ironic is it that the “answering questions” approach is exactly what drives our content marketing efforts at TopRank!

The mechanics of understanding context for these questions means Google is increasingly leveraging things like location, device, social presence, and messaging to filter out things we are likely to bypass and prioritize content we are likely to trust, take into account, and act on.

As our team discussed the topics shared at the Social Media Breakfast, we pondered one significant question: If Google personalizes every search experience at the individual level, how can you implement search engine optimization for an infinite number of possibilities?

The answer is simple: You don’t.

Instead of getting hung up on optimizing for Google, maybe companies (and especially SEOs) could start thinking about optimizing for customers and context first. Be the best answer for your customers by providing the information they want, in the way they prefer. Get to know your customers and how the find, consume and react to content. Then optimize the performance of that content in search and wherever the customer might look for it on the web.

This is want good marketers do. They adapt and they prioritize what’s important for their business and their customers. That way, when Google rolls out the “Do Do Bird” update, it really won’t matter as much because your marketing is already focused on customers first.

Image source: Shutterstock


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What You Need to Know about Enhanced Adwords Campaigns http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/adwords-enhanced-campaign-info/ Wed, 06 Nov 2013 16:14:18 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=15978 If there’s one thing I’ve heard non-stop lately it’s that digital marketing is becoming more customized and tailored to the wants and needs of consumers. Those creepy Eye See You Mannequins, facial monitoring at gas stations, and those social ads that somehow know that I was shopping for a watch yesterday are all proof that [...]

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Enhanced Adwords Campaigns Session at #SESCHIIf there’s one thing I’ve heard non-stop lately it’s that digital marketing is becoming more customized and tailored to the wants and needs of consumers. Those creepy Eye See You Mannequins, facial monitoring at gas stations, and those social ads that somehow know that I was shopping for a watch yesterday are all proof that brands are able to cater their advertisements to appeal to something we’re actually going to be motivated to buy.

This has created a unique opportunity for marketers: enhanced Google AdWords campaigns which were launched on July 22nd of this year.

In their SES Chicago session, Michael Griffin and Lisa Raehsler reviewed what those campaigns are and how to design, segment, and optimize one. Here are some of the key takeaways from their session:

User Habits Have Changed

A lot of the sessions at SES have been talking about the fact we like to multitask on several devices. Searchers shift between mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, desktops, and laptops simultaneously. So marketers have to stop thinking of things in a channel-centric way, and start thinking (and creating content and design) in terms of all devices. It is also important to become much more strategic in targeting and ad campaigns to help attract and engage multidevice users.

Marketers Need a New Mindset

Search is no longer all about keywords. It’s important to shift your mindset to knowing your customer deeply and leveraging the tools Google gives you to appeal to those customers. The days of mass creation are over–we’re transitioning into a time when customization, personalization, and relevance will make or break the success of your content. Leveraging this data can help you provide the right message to the right people at the right time.

Calculate Bid Modifiers

There is data out there to help you understand your customers at the zip code level, the city level and the state level to help you maximize the impact of your enhanced ad campaign.  Bid modifiers are a great way to tailor your campaign to reach the people who it is most relevant to, and who will likely click on your ads. However, like most things, there is some debate over how to calculate the bid modifiers for an AdWords campaign. The formula the presenters recommend is: [(Revenue per click for a segment divided by revenue per click of the whole) minus 1] * 100.

Use Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

This new feature allows you to create different audiences based on the value you think they might have. You can bid on those people in Google search results differently helping customize your ads. Segmenting on granular level has proven to bring the best results when leveraging this new capability. This deeper level of segmentation will allow you to guide those searchers to where you want them to go on your site, and help make those landing destinations more relevant.

This works well for eCommerce sites by adding value to the items in a shopper’s cart and targeting based on the value of the total items in their cart. The only limitation to this capability is that 1,000 people have to be in a segment for you to bid on it.

Mobilize Your Campaigns

Design ads that are mobile preferred. This will require specific imagery and a tailored call to action that’s easy for mobile users to complete and that assures them it really is ok to click. With the impressive surge in mobile usage, it is important to convey your messages to the mobile users that are visiting your site.

Follow an Action Plan for Capturing Opportunity

When faced with an opportunity, it’s important to not only capture it but to bring it full circle to enhance mobile experiences. Raehsler provided the following action plan for helping brands do so:

  • Increase bid modifier for mobile to increase visibility
  • Increase bid modifier on top states
  • Create ad copy to mobile + location

Use Data to Craft Mobile Adjustments, Targeting and Experience

There is an abundance of data in anything related to Google. Google Analytics can help you see whether or not people are engaged with what you’re showing them based off of how much time they’re spending on your site, how many pages they look at etc. In AdWords you can break down your insights by gender and age. Seeing who is more likely to visit your site can help you target a more engaged user.

Don’t Limit Yourself to AdWords Enhanced Campaigns only

Did you know Bing had enhanced campaigns? Yeah I didn’t either, but they do. They also allow deeper segmentation and more filtering. Don’t limit yourself to using only Google enhanced campaigns, there’s no reason you can’t use both.

Get to Know Bid Strategies

There are 5 bid strategies when it comes to enhanced AdWords campaigns. The last two in the list below are the newest, and most impressive, of the strategies.

  1. Maximize Clicks: this is a flexible version of the Automatic CPC bidding strategy
  2. CPA Bidding: this is a flexible version of Conversion Optimizer used in the target CPA (average CPA) capacity
  3. Enhanced CPC: this is a flexible version of the existing enhanced CPC capability
  4. Search Page Location: AdWords will increase/decrease bids to target a top-of-page or fist page position with ads. This bid strategy works with Search Network only and doesn’t specify a position on the page (so you can’t choose to be in the second, third, fourth position on the page etc.)
  5. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): AdWords predicts future conversions and values based on conversion values advertisers set up. Used for Search Network only or the Search Display Networks, Adwords will try to reach the ROAS targets across all keywords, ad groups, and campaigns.

Use PPC/display results to further design & author

Ad campaigns aren’t a one-and-done type deal. Use consumer reactions and the results you see through analytics to tweak, redesign, and rewrite your content to continuously appeal to audiences and maintain relevance.


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Google Analytics Guide: 4 Easy Tips For Getting Started With Analytics & Website Goal Setting http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/10/google-analytics-guide/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/10/google-analytics-guide/#comments Wed, 03 Oct 2012 11:10:05 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=14257 So, you’ve taken the important step of setting up a Google Analytics on your company’s website.  Implementing Google Analytics is an essential part of gaining insight for improving the customer experience, and improving profitability for your organization.  As they say, what gets measured gets managed. However, when you log in, you are met with a [...]

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So, you’ve taken the important step of setting up a Google Analytics on your company’s website.  Implementing Google Analytics is an essential part of gaining insight for improving the customer experience, and improving profitability for your organization.  As they say, what gets measured gets managed.

However, when you log in, you are met with a sea of data covering nearly every conceivable web metric, a lot of them which you’ve never even heard of.  You may be able to find the information you want, but it most likely involves a lot more time and frustration than it needs to.

The wealth of data available in Google Analytics can be a double edged sword.  On one hand it’s great to have access to the depth of information that is available, but the fact is that a lot of that data is simply not relevant to most businesses, and in fact complicates the analytics process by hiding the most important metrics.  Worst of all this data can be misinterpreted, which can result in drawing incorrect conclusions.

The four tips below will help you get the most out of your analytics program by cutting through the clutter, focusing on the metrics that matter, and saving you tons of time!

*Specific implementation instructions are in reference to Google Analytics, but the tips below are relevant to all analytics programs.

Filter Irrelevant Traffic

Make sure you are getting the most accurate data you can by filtering out as much irrelevant traffic as possible.  In order to get an accurate baseline, it’s a good idea to set up filters as soon as possible.

Some good filters to start with are:

  • Traffic from your company’s internal IP addresses.
  • Remote employee IP addresses.
  • External consultants or venders, such as outsourced web development or marketing teams.
  • Your home IP address if you plan on checking your website from home.

Keep in mind that filtered data cannot be recovered retroactively, so be careful.  A good safeguard is to set up two profiles and apply filters to only one of them. That way you can recover any lost data if you make a mistake.

Set Up Goal Tracking

Goal setting is a very important part of planning your website. Whether your website’s goals are to sell products, answer customer service inquiries, capture leads, or get visitors to view a certain number of pages, the goals for your website should reflect your overall business goals. Measuring your site’s performance in regards to goal completions is the most important application of web analytics, so it’s essential that you setup goals as early as possible.

Your website’s specific goals will probably vary, but the following five are a good place to start:

  • Sales
  • Feed subscriptions
  • Call back requests
  • Lead captures
  • Blog comments

Set Up Custom Alerts

Analytics are like your email inbox.  They both yield lots of important information, but constantly checking either one is a sure to cause you some serious stress.  Custom alerts allow you to rest easy between analytics sessions by alerting you to significant changes in important site metrics.

Some good custom alerts to start with are:

  • Big fluctuations in traffic (both positive and negative).
  • Large rises and drops in goal conversion rates.
  • High bounce rate.
  • Changes in Adwords spend (for linked accounts).

Create Custom Dashboards

Custom dashboards are great time savers because they put your most important analytics data front and center.  Unlike the previous tips, you may want to wait until you are comfortable using analytics before putting together your first set of custom dashboards.  You will have a better idea of which combinations of metrics will be most useful to have at a glance. The initial tendency is to put way too much information in your dashboards, which defeats the purpose.

You can create up to 20 custom dashboards per profile, so don’t limit yourself to just one.  You will find that certain combinations of data naturally make sense to be reviewed together – and deserve their own dashboards.  Some examples are:

  • Traffic: total, sources (organic, paid, referral), and top keywords.
  • Goal tracking: sales, subscriptions, downloads, comments, etc.
  • Visitor behavior: page views, bounce rate, new vs. returning, and time on site.

You can take it a step further by creating custom dashboards for specific roles within your organization, such as sales, marketing, and of course, your boss.  Not only will your co-workers appreciate the favor, it may even save you some work digging through analytics to answer their questions.

What are your essential Google Analytics tips and tricks?  Feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Analytics Image provided via Shutterstock.


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Google Bringing You Down? Tips for Avoiding Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues – #SESNY http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/google-bringing-you-down-tips-for-avoiding-duplicate-content-multiple-site-issues-sesny/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/google-bringing-you-down-tips-for-avoiding-duplicate-content-multiple-site-issues-sesny/#comments Wed, 21 Mar 2012 21:10:57 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13456 Understanding the way that search engines like Google and Bing crawl your sites for duplicate content is not always easy to follow.  What exactly are the rules, and what are the ramifications for not following the rules? This presentation by a group of industry experts focused on gaining an understanding of how search engines read [...]

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duplicate content and syndicationUnderstanding the way that search engines like Google and Bing crawl your sites for duplicate content is not always easy to follow.  What exactly are the rules, and what are the ramifications for not following the rules?

This presentation by a group of industry experts focused on gaining an understanding of how search engines read your content, as well as what steps you can take to avoid penalization for your content.

Peter van der Graff: Redirecting Duplicate Content

We always assume that Google knows best, but is that necessarily true?  According to Peter finding a formula that works 100% of the time is no easy task.  He opened up with a great example “If you have a 301 redirect and you tell Google to go left, they’ll probably go right.”  You could end up implementing a 301 redirect and when you request the location a cached version of the site may still appear instead of the redirect you intended.

As a best practice guide for determining how redirects worked based on your tactic Peter provided a chart similar to the one included below:

website redirect instructions

Jenny Halasz: Let’s Talk About the Panda in the Room

I really appreciated the way that Jenny (@jennyhalasz) related information in her presentation; from the way Google Panda works to the way Pagerank functions.  Pagerank measures the quality and quantity of links to your website and periodically makes updates based on this information.  Google Panda evaluates the quantity and quality of the content housed on your site and assigns a value to your website or section of your website.  It’s important to note that just because you’ve updated your content, changes will not necessarily be reflected by Google until they update your Panda rank.

301 & 302 Easily Explained

A 301 redirect is comparable to putting a sign in your window that says “we’ve moved” and contains your new address.  A 302 page is similar to putting out a “be back soon sign” which gives visitors no idea where you are or when you’ll return, which can often send your visitors on a wild goose chase trying to find you.

301 redirects and 302 pages

Eric Enge: Syndication & Link Juice

Eric (@stonetemple) shared some very insightful information for content syndication, the do’s and don’ts if you will.  According to Enge if your team is consistently creating great content that can be published on different sites and if they link back to you, this is a great way to begin building additional links.

The Good, Bad & Ugly of Content Syndication

The Good

  • Many sites hungry for fresh content
  • By providing quality content you can:
    • Build your relationships with other publishers
    • Increase visibility to their audiences
    • Establish yourself as an expert
    • Net your links and social media mentions

The Bad

  • Search engines can see duplicate content
  • Search engines only want to show one copy

The Ugly

  • Search engines MAY show the original author
  • But, not ALWAYS
  • Don’t get stuck syndicating your content and then not ranking for it!

Multi-Site Solutions for Avoiding Duplicate Site Content

There are best practices associated with developing content for multiple sites.  It’s important to avoid the easy route (a copy and paste) because as we learned during this session there can be some negative effects.  The best practices that were recommended include:

  • Develop separate distinct content for each site
  • Determine what the focus of each site should be and make them different
    • Who is the target audience: age, sex, preferences
    • What is the topical focus: cheap, premium, best
    • Vary your content style by site
      • Academic
      • Humor
      • UGC
      • Videos
      • News

Now that you know what not to do, does this have you considering your current strategy for managing content across multiple sites?  I for one appreciated the insight provided by this panel as it was easy to understand and provided great direction for which solutions are most highly recommended.  Stay tuned for more #SESNY coverage from our team: @toprank, @leeodden, @azeckman, @bslarsonmn.

 


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Stuck In A Marketing Rut? 4 Signs That It’s Time To Add Engagement To Your Online Marketing Strategy http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/add-engagement-online-marketing-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/add-engagement-online-marketing-strategy/#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2012 12:35:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13410 When you ask an online marketer what frustrates them the most about reaching customers and prospects online you’re likely to hear the following: Finding a way to connect with their audience Moving prospects through the buying cycle Growing their network and lists Marketers often talk about their prospects being overloaded with too much information which [...]

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Turn engagement problems into marketing solutions.When you ask an online marketer what frustrates them the most about reaching customers and prospects online you’re likely to hear the following:

  • Finding a way to connect with their audience
  • Moving prospects through the buying cycle
  • Growing their network and lists

Marketers often talk about their prospects being overloaded with too much information which can lead to an indecisive audience, causing marketers to miss projections and sales goals.  Lets face the facts, consumers are engaging online.  Recent studies show that over 53% of active social networkers follow a brand.  If there are that many people actively interacting and engaging with brands online what changes can be made to reach and engage target audiences?

Sign #1 – The Sounds of Silence – No One is Commenting On Our Blog

The first item to audit when trying to figure out why your blog is not getting the traffic and engagement that you want is to take a hard look at your content.  Is the content being created too broad, too specific.  Does it effectively address the pain points of your audience.  If so, take some time reviewing existing customer research or begin surveying existing customers to determine what type of information they like to consume and share.  Consider adding questions in the conclusions of your blog posts that encourage interaction.  Another tactic involves promoting blog content on your company website and other social channels.

Sign #2 – Is Anyone Out There? – Activity Without Engagement

The key to increasing engagement is to be engaging.  Have you made a point of reaching out? If not spend some time identifying key industry influentials as well as organizations or individuals you are looking to target directly.  Your social engagement will not improve if you are constantly in self-promotion mode.  Put some “skin in the game” by sharing original content which mentions those you would like to connect with, or re-share information they have distributed on their networks as a sign of good faith.

Sign #3 – Our Website is Awesome – But No One is Visiting

First question, is your content optimized?  Is this content optimized for search engines and customer experience?  Optimizing for search engines will undoubtedly increase your visibility online.  However, if you aren’t getting the number of inquiries or even the organic traffic you’re aiming for there could be a variety of reasons.  Take some time to review your Google Analytics and analyze your website bounce rate.  Perhaps you’re ranking fairly well but once people get to your site they aren’t finding what they want or need and are exiting the site immediately and moving on to the next.  It is also a good idea to assess the websites of your top competitors and identify what they are doing that is working and not working to draw in your target audience.

Sign #4 – A Sound Investment – Content Creation Without Representation

Before investing in the creation of white papers, infographics, videos, guides, or research you must first consider your audience.  What type of information do your customers and prospects typically consume and share?  Which websites social or otherwise do they spend the most time on?  By identifying these key pieces of information it should help guide you down the path to creating content that is in the proper format and set up to receive adequate exposure.

What is the moral of the story?  If  you want your audience to engage with you and listen to what you have to say it’s time to do the same.  Work to identify what topics and tactics work best for your audience, and evolve these strategies as their preferences change.  Spend just as much time if not more monitoring conversations as you do releasing information on social sites.

What hurdles have been most difficult for you to overcome as an online marketer?  If you could give one piece of advice to other content and social media marketers what would it be?

 


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Online Marketing News: Tips for Going Viral, Socially Optimized via Mobile, Facebook Timelines for Business, LinkedIn Company Follow http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/online-marketing-news-march22012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/online-marketing-news-march22012/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 14:14:46 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13377 What does it take to go viral? This recent video from Salesforce.com covers what it takes for your content to spread as well as the formula for success.  The video also includes a checklist marketers can use to increase their likelihood of going viral. This Week in Online Marketing News “Getting Socially Optimized with Mobile [...]

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What does it take to go viral?

This recent video from Salesforce.com covers what it takes for your content to spread as well as the formula for success.  The video also includes a checklist marketers can use to increase their likelihood of going viral.

This Week in Online Marketing News

“Getting Socially Optimized with Mobile Marketing” As mobile marketing continues to expand marketers are still searching for the best way to reach their audience through the development of applications for smart phones, ads, and mobile optimized websites.  This article provides some insight into the benefits and challenges of a mobile marketing strategy. Via BtoB Magazine.

“How Twitter is Pairing It’s Interest Graph With Ads”  While Facebook’s social graph provides information on connections, likes, and demographic data Twitter is taking a different approach.  Twitter’s interest graph will focus more on users likes, what they read, and generally what topics they are interested in.  Via Techcrunch.

“Facebook Revamps Pages For Businesses”  In order to create consistency between profiles and pages, Facebook has now rolled out the new timeline for branded pages.  Facebook is encouraging businesses to make the shift from pure advertising to storytelling and hopes that the new timeline will push companies to make the transition. The TopRank Marketing Facebook Page recently rolled out the updated timeline, what do you think?  Via the brainyard.

“Foursquare Says Farewell to Google Maps, Joins OpenStreetMap Movement”  Foursquare has decided to part ways with Google Maps saying that “as a startup, we also often think about how we can make life easier for other startups.”  Curious to know why Foursquare chose this particular product?  Via Mashable.

“Posting From Pinterest To Your Facebook Fan Page”  Tabfusion recently released a Facebook app that allows users to display their “pins” to their Facebook page.  The company shares that once Pinterest releases their application-programming interface there will be further integration.  Be sure to take a look at the clever cartoon attached to the bottom of the article.  Via Marketaire.

“12 important steps bloggers should never forget”  Writing a blog is a serious commitment.  Many bloggers get wrapped up in creating the content and forget some very simple optimization and promotional steps.  This article provides some good insight into steps that bloggers should incorporate into their blogging routine.  Via ragan.

TopRank Team: Search & Social News

Brian Larson – Google Images Adds Previews to Related Searches
Let’s face it, some searches are just inherently more intent on visual content. Google gets it and is making access to relevant images even more convenient. For businesses, this update reinforces the importance of optimizing images as part of an overall online marketing strategy.  Via Search Engine Watch.

Shawna Kenyon  – Clock counts down as Google privacy change looms
Google’s new privacy change is their solution for combining 60 privacy policies for different services. For some Google users this change is unfavorable as there is no way to “opt-out”.  However for those who favor all of Google’s services this will be a way for the user to be presented with content that is similar to what they are already looking for. Google continues to reaffirm its commitment to preserving privacy stating the change will only serve to “simplify” the user experience.  Via Cnet.

Alexis Hall – msnNow Is Driving More Traffic To Bing, But Is It Artificially Inflating Searches?
msnNOW, a new service which aggregates content around trending topics, launched just two weeks ago, but already seems to be having an effect on Bing traffic numbers.  While new traffic to Bing has jumped in the past two weeks, this post suggests that those numbers may be inflated due to how msnNOW links are structured.  We’ll have to keep an eye on this trend to determine how search engine market share may shift, as well as how msnNOW may impact the search and social landscape.  Via Search Engine Land.

Ken Horst – LinkedIn Launches Follow Company Button
Here is something every company with a Linkedin profile should jump on right away.  According to execs at LinkedIn, there is a finite limit to how many brands people will follow per channel.  Companies that drag their feet with the LinkedIn “follow company” button may find it more difficult to find willing followers later in the year.  Via AdWeek.

Time to weigh in:  Do you consider the new Facebook timeline for businesses a positive or negative change?  What impact do you think this will have on your business?  Have you integrated mobile marketing into your online marketing strategy?  What have been the results?


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Online Marketing News: Pinterest’s Sneaky Tactics, Keeping Leaders Honest, 100 Million Videos Watched Per Day http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/online-marketing-news-feb102012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/online-marketing-news-feb102012/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2012 13:51:40 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13310 How Social Media Keeps Leaders Honest David Jones of Havas and Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore recently sat down to talk about the responsibilities of the leaders of today to respond to social media, and how it holds them accountable. “Google Clarifies: No, Ads Shouldn’t Help Rankings & No, SEO Isn’t Bad”  Recent comments made by [...]

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How Social Media Keeps Leaders Honest

David Jones of Havas and Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore recently sat down to talk about the responsibilities of the leaders of today to respond to social media, and how it holds them accountable.

“Google Clarifies: No, Ads Shouldn’t Help Rankings & No, SEO Isn’t Bad”  Recent comments made by a new Google employee have some SEO’s up in arms.  Apparently his comments included “SEO isn’t good for users” and “It’s a bug that you could rank highly in Google without buying ads.”  Curious to know what else he has to say and what reaction this has caused within the online community?  Via Search Engine Land.

“100 Million Americans Watch Online Video Per Day.  Up 43% Since 2010- comScore”  According to comScore Americans streamed 43.5 billion videos in December 2011 alone.  This is an increase of 44% over the previous year.  With this astronomical jump in online views, is television in trouble?  Via TechCrunch.

The Next Big Social Network Is You”  Many companies are trying to address the now common social network exhaustion.  Between the constantly shifting policy changes and programming updates many users are getting tired.  This opinion piece shares that in the near future it will be less about your number of followers and more about a smaller group of well-connected individuals.  What do you think?  Via Information Week.

“5 Essential Spreadsheets for Social Media Analytics”  If you are involved in social media, and are a small business this post provides some useful tools for measuring your data.  Want to know the best part?  They’re free, customizable, and easy to use.  Via Mashable.

“Brand Storytelling Lessons You Can Steal from Hollywood”  Innovation, a term we seem to hear quite frequently these days.  As a content marketer innovation is especially important because not only must you attract customers, you must veer them away from your competition.  Paying close attention to Hollywood entertainment and the way that promotion is done in that industry is a great means for discovering new ideas.  Via Content Marketing Institute.

TopRank Team News

Alexis Hall – Report: National Marketers Love Local, Fail At Basic Tactics
This post discusses survey results from late 2011 which revealed that although many marketers have the perception they are highly invested in local advertising, survey results show they are failing when it comes to basic tactics, like management of local directory listings.  Those seemingly small tactics can have a big impact on local results, so if marketers are really invested in their online local presence, they must be diligent when it comes to education on all types of tactics.  Via Search Engine Land.

Ken Horst – Pinterest is quietly generating revenue by modifying user submitted pins
It appears as though Pinterest has found a way to monetize their site, even at this early beta stage.  Most people would say that’s a good thing however the way they are making money has some people crying foul.

Pinterest is using a service called SkimLinks to add an affiliate link wherever there is a link to a product page that has an affiliate program.  It’s not the idea that people are concerned about, it’s the fact that Pinterest is doing this without providing any disclosure to its users.  Via LLsocial.

Brian Larson – Bing Now A Full Point Ahead of Yahoo In Search Share-comScore
According to comScore, Bing is now a full point ahead of Yahoo! in search share. While Google’s search results are highly flavored by Google+, Bing receives streams of information from Facebook and Twitter. With Yahoo! In Bing’s rear view mirror, is Google next?  Via Search Engine Land.

Time to Weigh In:  What do you think of Pinterest’s money making tactics?  Smart move or too far?  With so many American’s consuming video on a daily basis, are you including video in your 2012 online marketing strategy?


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Innovative Search Features Drive Engagement – Paul Vallez #OMS12 http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/innovative-search-features-drive-engagement-oms12/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/innovative-search-features-drive-engagement-oms12/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:30:54 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13302 Paul Vallez admits that when he started at HP less than a year ago he had just come from Ask.com and was pretty cocky about what he knew.  Vallez also shares that he wasn’t very open to new ideas and wanted to step into his new position at a big brand and immediately demonstrate value. What was [...]

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"Google taught us how to search." - Paul Vallez

Paul Vallez admits that when he started at HP less than a year ago he had just come from Ask.com and was pretty cocky about what he knew.  Vallez also shares that he wasn’t very open to new ideas and wanted to step into his new position at a big brand and immediately demonstrate value. What was his approach?

  • 75% Cocky
  • 25% Open to new ideas

In Vallez’s presentation he identified what he called “3 Key Learnings” that he shared with the audience for improving the way that your search strategy is implemented for improved engagement.

Key Learning #1 – Enterprise Search is Ripe for Disruption

According to Vallez, Enterprise Search is constantly going through a cycle and that emerging companies and established companies alike should expect changes, be prepared to take action, and run for the opportunity.  The different phases that were identified included:

  • Creation: In this phase organizations are experimenting with different platforms and their may be limited use or capability.
  • Survival: This phase shows some growth with a small community of partners and vendors.
  • Growth: At this point their is a solid value proposition in place as well as vendor consolidation.
  • Equilibrium: By this phase the vendor community can be leveraged, benefits and risks are known, and there is a flat growth.
  • Decline: The final phase presents an opportunity for other companies to begin working their way onto the Search playing field.

When we reach the “Equilibrium” phase of the cycle what you will typically see happen is the beginning of the decline.  At that point there is the opportunity for other organizations to disrupt the cycle and begin rolling out their own Search solutions.

Are you prepared for this disruption?

“By the end of 2012 over 90 percent of information flowing through the internet will be reach media (audio, images, video)” – Cisco

Search today is largely commoditized.  Companies will feature a product page that contains images, pricing, and product specs but not much more.  What these pages wont show you is what the product is good for or what problems it will help consumers solve.  When we talk about content we need to start talking about which content will better engage our customers.  At this point the majority of us know that if  they can’t find it from you they WILL look elsewhere.

Key Learning #2:Enterprises Need to Facilitate User Research

Facilitation of user research is key.  After all the internet is all about information.  How it is consumed, shared, and what affect it has on our prospective clients.  The question we were urged to ask ourselves was: What is the right information for your customers?  Vallez encourages us as marketers to make our information less about the product and more about the customers needs, stressing that customers also need to understand why your product is right for them. A 2010 DMA Study found that 43.7% of buyers admit that they are taking more time to research purchases while 66% of buyers say that vendor content/website influences their purchasing decisions.

Key learning point #3: Deliver the Right Balance of Content and User Experience

It is recommended that we focus on search results that bring up the right TYPE of information for our customers.  It should be as easy as possible for customers to  find anything related to your products so they know if they are making an informed buying decision. An example of some objectives that you may want to set forth to target your consumers could include:

  • De-commodotize the search experience
  • Better engage user
  • Faciliatate research
  • Increase Conversion Rate

What Did We Learn?

  • Prepare for a deeper level of engagement beyond text
  • Segment your audience and develop customer centric content and experiences
  • De-commoditize your search experience
  • You should spend at least 75% of your time being open to new ideas

After the presentation I asked Paul Vallez the following question: “With a shifted focus on providing customers with a combination of targeted content and user generated content how do you handle negative feedback while still presenting a real picture of your products?”  Vallez shared that obviously no brand wants to see anything negative being said about their products.  However, customers can tell when something is too curated or moderated.  HP has implemented a response button so that if customers don’t like the results they can send feedback to the company.  He has found that you will consistently get a more positive reaction from your customers if you take an open and honest approach.

 


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Google+ Optimization vs. Community Building: Pros & Cons of Google SPYW http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/google-optimization-vs-community-building-pros-and-cons-of-google-spyw/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/google-optimization-vs-community-building-pros-and-cons-of-google-spyw/#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2012 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13255 Initially I looked at Google+ the same as other Google social projects like Wave and Orkut. But the more I use Google+ the more I like it. Maybe it’s the network effect because others are using it more too. I often find content and insights shared on G+ that I don’t find elsewhere. While the [...]

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Google+ Optimization

Google+ Optimization or Community Building?

Initially I looked at Google+ the same as other Google social projects like Wave and Orkut. But the more I use Google+ the more I like it. Maybe it’s the network effect because others are using it more too. I often find content and insights shared on G+ that I don’t find elsewhere.

While the addition of Google Search Plus Your World (SPYW) has made a big splash in the digital community, I actually think G+ is far more useful (from a personal perspective) as a social network than it is as an augmentation of search on Google.com. When I put my Marketer’s hat on, of course it doesn’t matter what I think of G+ – the task is to figure out how to optimize opportunities to gain an advantage.

There’s been no shortage of commentary about G+ and SPYW but I think there are a few pros and cons that are worth exploring.

Google+ Pros:

As a social network, there are inherent social engagement benefits of Google+.  The Google+ shares, pluses, comments and overall interaction behaviors necessary to improve Google+ inspired search visibility also benefit social network development and community engagement. Starting with SEO and Google+ seems a little backwards to me compared to leveraging it first as a social network.

Along the lines of optimizing for customers before keywords, what about starting on Google+ with engagement and building a network for the sake of growing a community first? As you grow content and community, then bring in the SEO component – or at least simultaneously.

Google+ can definitely serve as another spoke in a hub and spoke content distribution and social engagement model. While Google+ has been reported to have 90 million users, it’s a far cry from the 800 million on Facebook. That said, Google is doing everything it can to “encourage” mass adoption. As that happens, it can become a very productive channel in an overall content and social media marketing mix.

As for SEO and G+, there’s no reason Google+ optimization best practices and social networking efforts cannot happen simultaneously. G+ has rich social networking opportunities that have value on their own vs. viewing G+ solely for it’s SEO value. Together, they represent true social media optimization opportunity.

Google+ Cons:

Is Google+ participation mandatory? The clear advantages of Google+ presence and activity in search make it impossible for companies that value online visibility not to join in. But that incentive is not the same thing as joining a social network because you know that’s where customers and influentials are. As companies mature in their social media participation, those choices are increasingly based on customers vs. chasing shiny objects, the competition or because everyone is doing it. Joining Google+ for the wrong reasons is a bit of a con to me.

A boost in Google+ is a boost for “Unknown” keywords. The more people that are logged in to Google+ and other Google services, the more that search keywords will be reported as “Unknown” to website owners. I think this is the biggest potential con for Google+ success. Search encryption enables privacy with organic search results but not for PPC search clicks. Is that double standard?

The “unknown” segment of referring keywords for our most popular site is now over 25%. That’s a lot of traffic that we know comes from Google but we don’t know which specific keyword phrase it was. As a result, optimization refinement for better search visibility is a much bigger challenge for those phrases. Additionally, optimizing content for better user experience also suffers.

Of course, we’re an adaptable bunch and we’ll simply find another way to make connections between how customers discover our content and what inspires engagement and conversions.

Can Google create their own weather by incentivizing participation? Will it be enough to create momentum and the network effect that will create “true” value for membership? Yes or no, the incentive is too strong not to join. Now it’s a matter of what can brands do to actually make it meaningful vs. mechanical.

When I posted this question on my Google+ account, here are a few of the replies:

Mike Grinberg  –  Google is using a push strategy with G+. They are pretty much “forcing” people to join by integrating as much as possible with all their other services. As more people join, this will become more than just a “power user’s/geeks/nerds paradise” It is slowly happening already.

Benjamin Wright  –  I like G+ because I can post comments like this, including comments with links, immediately, without CAPTCHAs and without waiting for the blog/post owner’s approval. G+ is able to allow this, I believe, because it bans spammers.

Rohn Jay Miller – Lee, I’ve joined and I check and participate–at least some times. But I’m still using blogs and Twitter far more to keep in touch with communities I’m a part of. What’s the incentive to pay the switching costs? This seems like Google-think again: it’s a technology driven idea that’s cool in the overview, even compelling.

But down here at my user level Google+ is just a “mini-net” that I look at once a day. And that’s me, a full-time social media / content professional. What about my brother in law? This has a long way to go before it’s more compelling than compelled

Ian Lurie  – Google is taking this 1-2 steps further by creating a strong marketing incentive FIRST, and using that to drag us all to their property. But that kinda makes sense given that they already have the audience. Facebook didn’t, so they went about it a different way.

I DO think Google can create their own weather. Their huge advantage is their audience. It’s easy to forget, but they own the two most-used search engines on the planet. If they don’t get plowed under for anti-competitive practices they’ll likely win through brute force.

How have you approached Google+ personally or for your business?

Are you optimizing or building community? Are you doing both at the same time? How are you incorporating Google+ with the rest of your online marketing mix?

Be sure to check out TopRank’s Google+ account here.


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Online Marketing News: Women Dominate Community Management, Google Privacy, FBI Social, Twitter Censorship, McD Hashtag Gone Wrong http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/online-marketing-news-jan272012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/online-marketing-news-jan272012/#comments Fri, 27 Jan 2012 11:40:54 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13269 The 2012 Community Manager Report Community Manager is an essential, yet still uncharted territory for many companies that are expanding their presence on the social web.  What should you know about the current state of this position? 67% of Community Managers work for a brand The most popular city for Community Managers is New York [...]

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Social Media Community Managers

The 2012 Community Manager Report

Community Manager is an essential, yet still uncharted territory for many companies that are expanding their presence on the social web.  What should you know about the current state of this position?

  • 67% of Community Managers work for a brand
  • The most popular city for Community Managers is New York
  • 65% of Community Managers are Female

Be sure to check out the rest of this report presented by Social Fresh.

Google & FBI: All Your Social Data Are Belong to Us

For non-geeks, here’s the reference (Zero Wing video)

“Google Privacy Changes: What Do They Mean To You?” Google announced this week that it is rolling out a new, main privacy policy that covers the majority of its products. The company is consolidating over 60 privacy notices into the main privacy policy. User activities across Google web properties from Gmail to YouTube will be used to deliver customized ads. Via WebProNews.

The FBI Wants to Monitor Social Media” The FBI is looking to develop a web application that can monitor social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, in order to gain better real-time intelligence about current or potential future security threats or situations. As with the Google combined service data collection, many people are thinking, “Weren’t they already doing this?” Via Mashable.

McDonald’s Twitter Campaign Goes Horribly Wrong #McDStories” From McDonald’s PR: While #meetthefarmers was used for the majority of the day and successful in raising awareness of the Supplier Stories campaign, #mcdstories did not go as planned. We quickly pulled #mcdstories and it was promoted for less than two hours. Via Business Insider.

“Twitter Now Able To Censor Tweets, If Required By Law, On A Country-By-Country Basis” From Twitter: Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it up in the rest of the world. Danny Sullivan compares Twitter’s approach towards censorship to Google, which you might find interesting. Via Marketing Land.

The Online Marketplace is Competitive: Tips to Help You Meet the Challenge:

“The Top 51 stats for Generation Y marketers” How can marketers tap into this gadget-savvy, brand-aware demographic? The following statistics, taken from four recent reports listed below, provide an insight into the complex world of 13-24 year-olds. Via The Next Web.

“5 marketing Tips for Putting Customers First” The digital world of today offers many choices to customers, which means that marketing professionals have a tough job ahead of them.  We must not only ensure that our messaging is on target, but also work with our internal team to make sure that our promises can be delivered.  Via i Media Connection.

“10 Essential YouTube Tips and Tricks”  YouTube is currently getting over 3 billion views each day.  This article provides some great tips for getting more out of your YouTube experience including, improved search and better viewing options.  Via Mashable.

“10 Ways to Impress Your Industry’s Influencers” Often times your press releases are in the hands of influencers within the industry.  This article provides some great tips on identifying who these people are, buttering them up, and following their lead.  Via Ragan.

The TopRank Team Knows News

Brian Larson – “MarketingSherpa Research Shows the Avg B2B Deal on the Decline”
We know that B2B sales cycles are longer. The rebuttal from B2B’s has always been ‘the size of our sales are far greater’.  What if that changed? With B2B deal sizes diminishing, do B2B’s need to focus on increasing sales volume or developing new ways to demonstrate value and win back larger sales? Or both? The answers to these questions are sure to influence online marketing strategies.  Via Marketing Sherpa.

Ken Horst – “Social media for the complex sale: Where should you start?”
While most B2B companies are heavily invested in their social channels today; many are finding that for at least Facebook and Twitter, these may not be the best channels for companies with a longer sales cycle.  The good news is that in this post, the author lists 10 other social media outlets that B2B marketers could use to help prime the pump for those longer sales cycle products and services. Via SmartBlog.

Emily Conley – “Google Announces Privacy Changes Across Products; Users Can’t Opt Out”
Google released an announcement on Jan. 24th stating that the company plans to follow users’ activities across the majority of its sites, including YouTube, Gmail and Google search. With no opt-out option, as of March 1st all logged in Google users will be sharing data that will enable Google to create more complete user portraits.  The change opens new debate around privacy and competitive practices.  Via Washington Post.


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Google+ for Business: 5 Things Marketing Professionals Should Know About Google+ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/5-things-google-plus/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/5-things-google-plus/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2012 16:03:50 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13232 Google+ has been on the lips of every online marketing professional since early 2011.  With a base that has now passed 62 million users and the integration of Google+ into Google search, it has become clear that Google+ is here to stay. As this new social platform continues to evolve it may be difficult to keep up [...]

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Chris Brogan Google+ for BusinessGoogle+ has been on the lips of every online marketing professional since early 2011.  With a base that has now passed 62 million users and the integration of Google+ into Google search, it has become clear that Google+ is here to stay.

As this new social platform continues to evolve it may be difficult to keep up with the latest trends, changes, and tactics for creating an optimized and influential Google+ profile for you and your business.  With recent events and the release of Chris Brogan’s new book “Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything” Lee and I thought it seemed a good time to compile some helpful tips of our own and some from Chris’s new book to help professionals take some of the fear and uncertainty out of using Google+.

Author Information in Search Results

rel=author SERP

I’m sure over the last couple of months you’ve noticed author information included in Google search results.  This feature displays a photo of the author as well as an opportunity to add them to your Google+ circles.  Getting Author information to appear in the search results next to content that you create can be accomplished a few ways.

Google suggests adding your name and your email address to each article or blog post and then verifying that same email address within your Google+ profile.  The other option is a good old fashioned link exchange between the content you create and your Google+ profile. Add a Google Profile button to your site or manually add the link using: <a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Google</a> and replace the [profile_url] with the long id in your Google+ profile web address. Then make sure you link to the sites that you contribute to from your Google+ Profile in the area called “Contribute to”. Once you do that, there’s a form you need to fill out.

Google Plus for Search

Google Plus SOPA

Many SEO professionals and Marketers were up in arms after last weeks release of Google+ search functionality.  It appears that Google is favoring it’s own content over others.  Google does include information from some networks such as Quora or Flickr, but at this point is excluding popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.  What does this mean for marketers?

Take full advantage of these changes and post useufl information on your Google+ profile or company page that are relevant to your business and the business problems of your customers. Engage with others and be useful and interesting so that as many other relevant users of Google+ add you to their circles as possible. The larger your network on Google+, the more likely your content will appear prominently in their search results.

“Where Google+ Fits in the Business Ecosystem”

Google Plus Circles

Outside of the obvious need to have a presence in Google+ for search visibility, there are other good reasons for professionals to leverage the social network. In his book, Chris Brogan expresses that how a company uses Google+ for business is up to them, and that there are many opportunities to consider when building a Google+ strategy.  The suggestions in the book are pretty much best practices for any kind of social network involvement and with all the attention being paid to Google+ the past few months it’s a good time to review. Some of the ways you may want to consider using Google+ for your business or professional online presence include:

  • Collaboration
  • Learning
  • Discovery
  • Community Building
  • Contests & Promotions
  • Customer Service
  • Engagement
  • Listening
  • Referrals
  • Sharing

“The Most Important Part of Your Profile: The Introduction”

Google+ Profile Introduction

Building out your Google+ profile is essential for how people perceive your brand. Google+ for Business puts special emphasis on creating a stellar introduction for Google+ profiles.  The introduction field in you Google+ profile should include:

  • Professional Experience:  give your potential customers an idea of what it might look like to work with them.
  • Personal Information: this will inform prospects what matters most to you outside of business.
  • Linking: do not stuff your profile with links but be sure to link to outside resources where appropriate.

“Posting to Build Connections”

G+ Ripples

If part of your marketing strategy is to connect with interesting or influential people, Google+ this is a good way to inspire creativity in your own content.  Some helpful tips for creating content to drive connections would include:

  • Source information from websites that are not always sources.  Posting interesting information from a more obscure sight is likely to catch the attention of new followers.
  • Original content that takes a different stance from the majority of users is likely to get you some attention.
  • Curiosity drives traffic, share some interesting knowledge that you have about something you care about such as music or film.

There is a wealth of information being created each day on optimizing, creating content, and socializing using Google+.  Over the next few months Google will only continue to roll out changes to their Google+ platform and either by incentive or usefulness, Google+ will grow.

What are your most pressing questions about Google+? Has your business created a page yet? How are you getting your staff on board with Google+ profiles or are you focusing more on your brand page?

Be sure to connect with TopRank Online Marketing on Google+ here.


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Online Marketing News: Google+ Search, $10 per Twitter Follower, Facebook 1 Billion Users, Foursquare Search Engine, Social ROI: No, Really! http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/online-marketing-news-jan132012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/online-marketing-news-jan132012/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:32:25 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13196 Search, plus Your World The big news this week centers around the changes that Google has rolled out related to Google+ integration with search, which as the tech press buzzing.  Google is aiming to bring users additional search functionality that is incorporated with their Google+ profiles.   The official Google blog states that “you should be able [...]

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Search, plus Your World

The big news this week centers around the changes that Google has rolled out related to Google+ integration with search, which as the tech press buzzing.  Google is aiming to bring users additional search functionality that is incorporated with their Google+ profiles.   The official Google blog states that “you should be able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they’ve shared with you, as well as the people you don’t know but might want to… all from one search box.” Industry observers are saying it’s too much Google+, all the time.

Regardless, it’s a new dimension on the face of search and that spells opportunity (for those optimists among us) to Optimize. Here are a few tips on Google+ optimization. Be sure to add TopRank to your Google+ circles!

It’s an Oh So Social Web

“Facebook projected to hit 1 billion active users by August”  There are about 6.9 billion people currently living in the world, and Facebook is projected to capture close to 14% of that number by the end of this summer. According to a new study, the Facebook user count will hit 1 billion by the month of August. Via Digital Trends.

“Anywhere in the world, foursquare Explore can find you something interesting (now on your computer!)”  How do you search for personalized recommendations in the real world? This is a huge and difficult problem. Most real-world searches are one-size fits all. The new web version of Explore is powered by 1,500,000,000 check-ins, tens of millions of Tips, and over half million Lists. Explore is powered by check-ins and foursquare Tips, it’s not just personalized, it’s specific. Via Foursquare.

“Some Advertisers Are Paying Up To $10 Per Follow On Twitter” Marketers spent an estimated $100- to $150-million on Twitter advertising to reach its 100 million users last year, compared with forecasts of nearly $4-billion for Facebook and its 800 million users. So far, Twitter’s advertisers have been prepared to pay $1 to $4 for each new follower through “promoted accounts”, though some – such as car makers – are bidding more than $10. Via Financial Times.

“YouTube accounts for 25% of visits to social sites in December” Market research analyst James Murray shares that there were record levels of Internet traffic at Christmas, with 2.18 billion visits going to online retailers in December.  Murry also shares that the right blend of traffic from social media, affiliates, and other sources is essential.  But, that it is more important than ever for marketers to optimize both paid and organic campaigns.  Via Econsultancy.

“71% More Likely to Purchase Based on Social Media Referrals [INFOGRAPHIC]”  Consumers are currently connecting, rating, discussing, and consumer more product information and review then ever before.  The infographic in this article illustrates the importance of ecommerce inbound marketing.  Via Hubspot.

We’re With the Brand – Tips

“5 Tips for Making Your Brand More Social”   As social media only continues to increase in value companies cannot afford to shamelessly self promote or opt out from the conversation all together.  Requests are being made that companies respond in real time, across multiple channels. Via Social Media Examiner.

“How to Build Recognition for Your Unkown Brand” In the marketing and advertising world the word “frequency” refers to the number of times a consumer must see or an ad before they purchase the product.  According to this article frequency works because it is all about building trust.  As consumers we tend to be weary of anything new.  However, if we are shown a product or brand repeatedly we begin trust what that company has to offer. Via Wall Street Journal.

TopRank(ing) News From Our Team

Emily Conley – “Real-Life Examples of How Google’s “Search Plus” Pushes Google+ Over Relevancy”
Google’s recent implementation of the “Search Plus Your World” feature has everybody talking about whether the new feature benefits Google users, or just the company.  This article dives into the initial impact of the change through a user perspective.  The “Search Plus” feature has huge implications in terms of search and social…this is only the beginning of what is sure to be a long debate!  Via Search Engine Land.

Ken Horst – “Pinterest: 13 Tips and Tricks for Cutting Edge Users”
As we’ve seen in previous weeks, Pinterest traffic and interest is growing like crazy, recently breaking into the top ten social media websites.  In addition to the 13 tips in this post, I’ve also found it useful to create pin boards of images from my blog or web site.   Each image is a link back top the originating web property and if the images are cool, users can also see some nice referring traffic as well.  Via Mashable.

Alexis Hall – “SoLoMo Revolution Picks Up Where Hyperlocal Search Left Off”
I thought this post on Social Local Mobile Search or the “SoLoMo Revolution” was interesting. It discusses how  companies like Shopkick have been successful using new mobile technology to offer shoppers a highly personalized experience.  Via Mashable.

Discussion: What do you think about the new Google+ integration with search? Do you think it’s too much?  What about $10 per Twitter user? Or $1? Do you think Foursquare can compete as a local search engine? We’d love your feedback on these stories and feel free to suggest other top stories we missed.


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What Google Personalized Search plus Your World Means for Marketing – SEO Tips http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/what-google-personalized-search-plus-your-world-means-for-marketing-seo-tips/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/01/what-google-personalized-search-plus-your-world-means-for-marketing-seo-tips/#comments Wed, 11 Jan 2012 12:53:09 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13197 Google Personalized Search rolled out yesterday revealing a change as significant as Universal Search in 2007. Unlike the major change that brought images, video thumbnails, news and blog posts within search results for all, the Google plus Your World changes are only visibile when logged into Google. There are many stories to be told here, [...]

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Google Plus Your World

Screenshot from Google's promo video

Google Personalized Search rolled out yesterday revealing a change as significant as Universal Search in 2007. Unlike the major change that brought images, video thumbnails, news and blog posts within search results for all, the Google plus Your World changes are only visibile when logged into Google.

There are many stories to be told here, from Google as a social network to the tit for tat statements Google and Twitter are making. From an online marketing perspective and more specifically, search marketing, the introduction of more Google features only available when logged in will arguably increase the number of searches done when user search terms are encrypted and not available for website owners in their web analytics. The “Unknown” category of keyword referrer for this blog has risen dramatically, which isn’t helpful for future content refinement or optimization.

That aside, here are some observations for you as a marketer as it relates to Google Personalized Search and more specifically, the recommended personal and brand pages.

Many of the initial observations about the Google+ integration with Google search are that Google is favoring it’s own content over others. Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular social networks on the internet are absent. Google states that if those services will share their data, Google would look at including it. From what I’ve read, Twitter decided not to renew their agreement with Google and Facebook isn’t exactly a “fan” of Google’s.

Matt Cutts from Google posted a response to the initial statements about Google nepotism in the new social Google and to clarify that other sources can appear in personalized results, like Quora or Flickr. What he doesn’t clarify is a preference for Google content. There’s a big difference between the possibility of varied sources appearing and a bias towards certain sources causing them to appear the majority of the time.

The default search option shows a blend of standard web content plus personalized results from the Google+ network connected to the account you’re logged in under. When I did a sample search for “kindle fire cases”, the search results were pretty good. My intent for the query was to find a case to buy for my daughter so the flavor of SERPs towards products for sale was very relevant.

Google SERPs Kindle Fire Cases

Regular Google SERPs for "Kindle Fire Cases"

However, when I selected the Personalized Results option at the top of the page, the information was hardly useful and not even relevant to the query.  A big reason for that is the data set Google is drawing from: my Google+ social network associated with my Google Apps email account. Don’t get me started on the extremely disappointing snails pace Google has taken at providing a Gmail G+ to Google Apps G+ migration tool. But the relevance here is that over 10,000 people have added me to their circles on my Gmail G+ account. All that content and interaction would provide a richer set of search results, except Google isn’t showing me the Search plus Your World interface when I’m logged in using that much larger network account. Instead, I have to use a Google Apps G+ account with virtually no network and very little content and interaction.

Google Personalized SERPs Kindle Fire Cases

Google Personalized Search Results for "Kindle Fire Cases"

Like all social network focused services, the network effect is critical for the service to be really useful. The more people that sign up for and use Google+, the more rich signal Google will have to provide a better search experience based on that network. It’s a wisdom of the crowds as applied to search, so to speak.

While the blend of general results with personalized results is interesting, I’m cautious about how useful it will be.  Search and social networking are two very different consumer behaviors.  Search tends to be more linear, specific and goal focused. Social networking is often a bit fuzzier and random. You can certainly find answers in either channel, but getting to those answers is a bit different. So, does that mean the convergence of search and social network is the answer?

For me, it’s really hard to tell at the moment because Google isn’t showing me the Search plus Your World option with my larger Google+ network. But I’m sure it will be enabled eventually. Hopefully a LOT faster than the Google Apps migration tool for Google+ accounts.

One of the interesting features of the new Google search results appears with very broad queries called Related People and Pages. When I started testing this last night, related people and pages appeared for a variety of terms ranging from art to marketing. Today, they are only appearing for certain terms like coffee.  You can see below that the search results for the coffee query are quite useful and show in the bottom right corner, the related pages and people.  From a search perspective, I’m not sure how many people type in “coffee” vs. a specific coffee shop or brand of coffee. The genric term would bring back such a large number of search results they wouldn’t be useful. However, in this case they are.

Google Persona Results Coffee

When you hover over the identities in the People and Pages on Google+ area, you can add them to your own Google+ Circles.  This is a handy feature and for marketers, it should be something worth considering in terms of optimizing Google+ content and social behaviors in order to attain visibility as a recommended Person or Page in conjunction with relevant keyword queries. Google offers some advice on this and I think the tips that are shared speak to overall Google+ and new Google.com optimization opportunities, not just optimizing to become a recommended Page.

One of the key Google+ takeaways for marketers is that the more people who have added your personal or business Google+ page to their circles, the greater the likelihood that your content or activity will appear in their search results. In the way that bots crawling and indexing web pages was the price of admission into the Google index, now it’s sharing and interaction amongst your Google+ network that is necessary (along with relevant content – same as it is with web pages).

Below I’ve listed the 3 tips shared by Google and have added my own commentary and interpretation as advice for online marketers that want to better understand how to optimize content and social behaviors for more prominent visibility on Google+ and Google.com search.

1. Make it easier for people to find your brand by creating your +Page. Make sure to add a high quality photo and fill out the “About” section so people can recognize your +Page.

[Brands need a +Page to be found in Google. A photo and About sections are probably priority content areas (for G+ optimization]

2. Share and comment on the topics you care about and Google will share your posts and comments with your Google+ followers when they’re searching.

[For keywords and topics you’d like to be known for and found with, create and share content as well as make comments along those themes on G+. Those actions can surface your content and activity within the search results of those who have added you to their circles. The more people in your circles, the more who will be exposed to your content and social actions.

3. Once you’ve created a +Page and engaged with your audience on topics you’re interested in, you’ll be eligible to appear on the right hand side of search results. The more quality content you create and the more people that engage with your page, the more prominent your +Page will become.

[Social interaction and I’d assume some level of network size/quality of interaction can trigger the appearance of your People or Brand page as a related item on the right of Google Personalized Search results. The ranking of your personal or brand page depends on a quantity of content in combination with the quantity and quality of responses to that content]

In the end, many of the same rules for successful networking with Facebook, Twitter or any other social network apply to Google+.  The question is, how will consumers respond? Do you know enough about your consumers to be able to adjust your content and social engagement approach? Or even your approach to SEO? It’s go time, it’s adapt or die time.

 

 


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7 Principles for User Generated Content: Michael DeHaven SES Chicago 2011 http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/11/7-principles-for-user-generated-content/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/11/7-principles-for-user-generated-content/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2011 13:13:40 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=12975 Michael DeHaven’s presentation at SES Chicago on “User Generated SEO” started with some actual user generated content from the audience. Before the session DeHaven gave 5 volunteers a bite sized Ghirardelli chocolate bar. In exchange for the treat he asked that each of the volunteers write a review of the chocolate and then share it [...]

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SES-Chicago-Michael-DeHavenMichael DeHaven’s presentation at SES Chicago on “User Generated SEO” started with some actual user generated content from the audience. Before the session DeHaven gave 5 volunteers a bite sized Ghirardelli chocolate bar. In exchange for the treat he asked that each of the volunteers write a review of the chocolate and then share it with the rest of the audience.

What Was the Response?
The chocolate was called everything from waxy, to too sweet, messy, and melt in your mouth goodness. In contrast the packaging created by the Ghirardelli marketers was quite different, “take time to slow down and feel yourself melt with each bite.” As you can see the professional marketers took a much different approach than the consumers.

The Marketer vs. the Consumer
According to DeHaven 80-90% of total content on many major ecommerce sites is written by end users who come to the site and give their opinions or post reviews. He then proceeded to provide a few examples of what companies believed the best keywords for their product or services were and the actual keywords consumers used to describe the business. In both of the examples listed below the keyword lists were not at all aligned.

Restaurants
Marketing Keywords: romance, fine dining, gourmet food
User Generated Keywords: great drinks, partying, view

Cosmetics
Marketing Keywords: cleanser, gentle, healthy looking
User Generated Keywords: soap, younger, looking great

7 Principles of User Generated SEO

#1: Don’t Forget SEO Fundamentals
While user generated content can be extremely powerful it is important not to forget the basics such as link building, optimization, and proper tagging.

#2: Search Engines Get Bored
When Google bots are crawling your website they are looking for fresh and relevant content. If the bots return week after week and the content has not changed they become “bored” and will be less likely to return. In order to remain competitive in the online marketplace frequent updates are a must.

#3: The Primanti Principle
A Primanti sandwich is unique because of the French fries inside the sandwich. If you add too many fries to the Primanti it can become overwhelming for the user. Similarly as a marketer you want to make sure that you aren’t overwhelming Google with too many “French fries” but a reasonable combination of foundational information and user generated content.

#4: Beware of Dilution
Typical product descriptions are optimized and written by professional marketers, user reviews are not. While user generated content is important it has it’s place. Beware of what too much user generated content can do for your SEO.

#5: Unlock the Long-Tail Vault
Marketers are constantly working to determine what keywords users are typing and which ones will drive the highest ROI. An additional challenge is determining which content should be housed on the top-level domain and which ones are better suited for microsites.

#6: Ask For Content at Relevant Times
Spending time to determine when your audience will be most willing to write a review and determining their level of qualification for submitting a review is key. If you’re promoting a concert emailing attendees the morning before the concert and asking them to share their photos on the site is a great way to entice user generated content.

#7: Convert Reviewers into Advocates
It is important that marketers set next steps for reviewers. An example provided was that of a user that wrote a laptop review and then spent the next hour (in the middle of the work day) answering over 130 laptop questions asked by other users. If that user had a great experience using the laptop think of the number of people they are reaching and advocating to on behalf of the company selling the laptop.

I really enjoyed that DeHaven’s presentation covered the ways that content can be generated by users but also what we must do as marketers to facilitate, moderate, and encourage user generated content.

I’m curious to know how much of your content you believe is generated by users? If the number is low, do you have a plan for increasing interaction? If the number is high, what have you done well that encourages users to generate content on your behalf?


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Is it Time to Make Google+ Your Plus One? 5 Key Problems Solved by Google+ Pages @adtech NY Keynote with Christian Oestlien http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/11/google-pages-adtechny-keynote-christian-oestlien/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/11/google-pages-adtechny-keynote-christian-oestlien/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2011 12:21:47 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=12957 The closing keynote on Wednesday at ad:tech New York was presented by Christian Oestlien the Head of Social Advertising Products at Google.  The opening of Oestlien’s presentation featured an example of Google+’s new Hangout feature shot live at a Black Eyed Peas Concert.  Fans were given an opportunity to interact with the music sensations in [...]

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Christian OestlienThe closing keynote on Wednesday at ad:tech New York was presented by Christian Oestlien the Head of Social Advertising Products at Google.  The opening of Oestlien’s presentation featured an example of Google+’s new Hangout feature shot live at a Black Eyed Peas Concert.  Fans were given an opportunity to interact with the music sensations in real time.  Black Eyed Pea’s frontman will.i.am is noted as saying “This isn’t behind the music, this will become the music.”

Since launching in June, Google+ has already acquired over 40 million active users.  Users have also uploaded over 3.5 billion photos in those short months.  According to Oestlien the goal of Google+ for enable marketers to interact with their fan base in a way that they never have before.  When developing Google+ the team set out to see how they could influence and impact as well as improve that way that marketers are utilizing Online Marketing today.

Google identified 5 key problems that marketers are commonly faced with including:

  • Fragmented Marketing
  • Recommendations Lack Staying Power
  • Comments, Not Conversations
  • Impersonal Messages
  • Limited Insights

Determining Problems Is Only the First Step

Google+ Pages Big Brands

After only a couple of days on the market Google+ Pages have already been adopted by some very influential brands

Current Problem: Fragmented Marketing
More often than not what marketers are doing socially is vastly different than how their marketing plans are executed. Google is aiming to change the way that you market both online and offline. Oestlien also notes that Google is not trying to bring something completely new to the market. They are simply trying to transform the way that your information is shared.

Google Solution: Google+ Page, Direct Connect
Google has never had a specific place for users to connect and communicate with brands directly. Now with Google+ Pages you can easily interact with your favorite brands. Direct Connect is also a new feature that has recently been introduced. With Direct Connect you simply type the + symbol and then the name of the brand to be sent immediately to their page without having to sift through search results.

Current Problem: Recommendations Lack Staying Power
We’ve all experienced a moment where we have tried to think of a recommendation that was given to us by a friend or colleague and no matter how hard we’ve tried, we just can’t remember the exact details.

Google +1Google Solution: Google +1 Button
Google plus pages allows brands to connect +1’s around their brand and anchor them to your brand at Google. This enables Google to take recommendations that the brand has received and disperse them through the internet, enabling marketers to extend their brand and get in front of users in everything that they are doing online. For end users Google has discovered that if a brand, product, location, or event has been recommended by someone they personally know (in their circle) they are much more likely to trust that recommendation.

Current Problem: Comments, Not Conversations
It has been difficult for many marketers to find a way of engaging with prospective customers.  Strategies are often centered around pushing information out onto social networks vs. engaging prospects on social networks.

Google Solution: Google+ Hangouts
Google+ Hangouts which was mentioned at the very beginning of the keynote has many practical B2B applications for business owners.  Imagine the ability to interact live with your customers, record live testimonials, facilitate customer service questions, gather a group of industry thought leaders, the list goes on and on.

Current Problem: Impersonal Messages
In daily life you have the ability to change or tweak your message depending on who you are talking to.  Unfortunately, that has not been the case with social networks.  Marketers have been able to cast a wide net and attempt to personalize the message slightly to included all members of the audience.

Google Solution: Google+ Circles
Circles is by far one of my favorite Google+ features.  This solution consists of intuitive groups which will allow marketers to directly target individual segments of their prospect or customer base.  It also solves a question many marketers ask regarding managing a professional and personal social networking platform.

Current Problem: Limited Insights
It is extremely important to understand and gather insight into how people are interacting with your content.  Why is this important?  According to Oestlien “over 77% of content around brands is being shared by the users not the brand.”

Google Solution: Google+ Ripples
Ripples creates a timeline of how posts are shared and interacted with.  Not only can you see who shared what information with who but you can also replay this information via a timeline to see what led to the success even if it is weeks or months down the road by the time you have discovered it.

I for one, found the keynote to be very helpful and practical for business applications.  If you haven’t already signed up your company for a Google+ Page, check it out here.  The team at TopRank Online Marketing will be sure to update you as frequently as we can on the changes that are sure to follow from Google+ and of course you can visit our Google+ Page for Online Marketing Blog.

If you are attending ad:tech New York, be sure to catch TopRank Online Marketing CEO Lee Odden and the Search Marketing Masters sessions with Intel, Volkswagen, REI, Salesforce, Bazaarvoice and Marin Software this morning at Room 13, Hall 1E, Level 1, in the Javits Center.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2011. | Is it Time to Make Google+ Your Plus One? 5 Key Problems Solved by Google+ Pages @adtech NY Keynote with Christian Oestlien | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Is it Time to Make Google+ Your Plus One? 5 Key Problems Solved by Google+ Pages @adtech NY Keynote with Christian Oestlien appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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