Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Fake Likes On Facebook

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Why Facebook Hates And Fights Fake Likes

Facebook is launching a campaign to rid its service of fake, or “low-quality”  likes. There are spammy businesses out there that prey on Facebook page admins with offers to get them thousands of likes to their pages.  In a blog post, Facebook site integrity engineer Matt Jones wrote that “The spammers behind fake likes have one goal — to make money off of Page owners without delivering any value in return.” He said that “They make their profit by promising and generating likes to Facebook Page administrators who typically don’t understand that fake likes won’t help them achieve their business goals.”

It’s not hard to locate these spammers. A Google search for “buy Facebook likes” yielded plenty of offers, including one company that posted an entire menu of options, including “10K Likes for $480.” For $1,200 you can buy like 50K likes.

Jones wrote that the company has a “strong incentive to aggressively go after the bad actors behind fake likes because businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results, not fakes.” He said that businesses that buy these fake likes won’t achieve real results and “could end up doing less business on Facebook if the people they’re connected to aren’t real.” He added, “Since these fraudulent operations are financially motivated businesses, we focus our energy on making this abuse less profitable for the spammers.”

Likes are great, but only if they're real, says Facebook

Likes are great, but only if they’re real, says Facebook

Facebook has both automated and manual systems in place to try to catch these types of fake likes, “including blocking accounts and removing fake likes all at once.” The company has also sued spammers in the past and has obtained “nearly $2 billion in legal judgments,” so far. A judgment doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook has been able to collect from the offending businesses that it’s gone after.

Others weigh-in

Having 10,000 fans in India is great, but they’re not going to buy anything or visit you if you’re a furniture store in Sydney, Australia.

Not just Facebook

Social media spam affects other services as well. It was just as easy for me find web pages selling “TwitterTWTR -8.84% retweets” such as 10,000 retweets for $45 or 50,000 for $150. There are also spammy services that sell YouTube views and Instagram followers as well as LinkedInLNKD -3.84% connections. In addition, there are companies that sell text-links to try to trick Google into upping the page rank of sites that are linked from other sites. A few years ago Google started punishing websites with these bogus links by reducing their own page rank, but — as a web site administrator — I still get plenty of offers from businesses wanting to pay me to place these links on my page.

Culture obsesses over popularity

We increasing live in a world where businesses, celebrities, journalists and just regular people, are judged by the number of followers, friends or likes they have accumulated. But sheer numbers of followers or likes don’t tell the real story. Even if they were obtained without paying for them, numbers don’t necessarily translate into genuine interactions whether that’s financial transactions, genuine retweets, clicks or just plain interest.

The reality is that there is a big difference between people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, versus those you have simply “collected” by whatever means are at your disposal.


 

 

7 (Seven) Ways Market Research Can Feed Into Business Activities

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Most commonly, market research is viewed as a method to improve advertising and marketing initiatives and to develop products that are friendlier to specific markets. However, the true range of uses for market intelligence is much larger than most businesses think. The results of surveys and opinion polls can also be used to inform various company departments to support their diverse activities.

Moreover, advances in technology have brought about sophisticated do-it-yourself (DIY) research products, which means that businesses have more control over the costs, reach, and timing of research solutions. Those DIY offerings also deliver the advantage of instantaneous results that can be monitored in real time, offering a competitive edge when time is critically important.

The distinctive characteristics of DIY market research solutions give businesses an impressive ability to influence operations across multiple departments, especially in the following seven areas.

1. Language and Tone of Communications
In the many ways companies engage with their consumers, language plays a crucial role. Market intelligence can be especially useful in shaping the tone and content of marketing collateral and company communications to appeal to specific groups of consumers without being irrelevant or offensive.

Research can also help organizations working in highly sensitive capacities, such as hospices or charities for terminal illnesses. For example, gathering opinions from a panel of leukemia survivors can help the marketing department of a leukemia awareness organization to focus on the issues most important to patients and to employ appropriately sensitive, supportive, and inspiring language in its communications.

2. Media Buying and Placement
Market intelligence can be used to discover the best arenas in which to disseminate messaging and launch marketing campaigns. Insights into the minds and media habits of consumers can help create a strategy using the most appropriate venues for marketing, public relations, social media, search engine optimization, and other campaigns.

Also, when businesses move into unfamiliar territories, market research can play a vital role in determining the best approach. Surveys could be conducted to learn more about the consumers in this new market. Do they use social media sites or news sites more often? Do traditional print publications still outperform those online? Is one social network more popular than another? The results of such reports could then assist in choosing the best strategy for media buys, article placement, social media content, and so on.

3. Crisis Management
Being able to access immediate results and observe reactions can be critical to proper crisis-response activities. Whether a business is coming to terms with a sudden drop in public opinion, grappling with an event that hurts consumer confidence, facing something that causes a publicity catastrophe, or responding to a natural disaster, the advanced capabilities of DIY research solutions allow for swift deployment of online surveys, improving a company’s image while providing information vital to the formation of the most appropriate response.

Although such application of market insight might not be commonly employed, they can be as valuable as the traditional uses for market research (such as others in this list of seven uses) and should definitely be taken into account.

4. Advertising Campaigns
Market research has traditionally been used to help agencies craft targeted messages in their advertising programs to ensure they are appealing to the right demographics.

Although the subjective nature of advertorial response is hard to measure, surveys and opinion panels have long been used effectively to pinpoint the specific aspects of a product or campaign that will resonate most with consumers.

5. Product Development
Another traditional use for research panels and target audience surveys, product development can be greatly enhanced via market investigation and input from key demographics.

Learning what the consumer believes, needs, and wants can help to create tailored products that satisfy demand. Conversely, maintaining a conversation with current users of a certain product via a managed research panel can help a company become aware of any issues that need improvement or product aspects that should not be altered during product upgrades.

For example, a car manufacturer wishing to update a popular model could deploy surveys to current fans of the car to gauge their opinions on various aspects. Perhaps most people think the car is visually appealing but they are frustrated by the way it handles. Those results could feed into the development process to ensure that the new model will perform well without alienating anyone.

6. Brand Perceptions
Brand outreach, too, has often drawn upon market research to inform strategies. Businesses can conduct investigations into the marketplace to determine which aspects of their brands are being properly communicated. In this way, they can avoid wasting time and money emphasizing brand characteristics that are already common knowledge.

On the other hand, examining a target audience’s opinions of a brand can reveal areas for improvement. For example, a luxury brand might discover that consumers affiliate its products with convenience rather than indulgence, highlighting an area of current brand messaging that possibly needs altering.

7. Service Improvements
Surveys have often been use to gauge whether consumers are satisfied with a company’s services. Now, technologies moreover enable companies to create their own consumer communities, forming a direct and constant source of feedback.

For example, a business could post information and a link on its website for consumers to join its research community. Those who sign up and participate in such a forum can form a valuable source of information for monitoring service performance. Moreover, owning a research panel can extend other customer service areas to enhance overall response to consumer needs.

18 Tips to Accelerate Social Media and Digital ROI

Friday, August 24th, 2012

1. Align your SEO efforts with cross functional marketing team strategies.
2. Focus on measuring quality, not just quantity.
3. It’s not always about the sale.
4. Claim and optimize your Google+ Local page.
5. Align social data with CRM.
6. Collect and leverage social data to make more intelligent, data driven decisions.
7. Build a social media command center.
8. Harness multi-attribution modeling with web analytics.
9. Think email series, not email blasts.
10. Deploy triggered email and dialog tracks.
11. Create landing pages that seduce and convert.
12. Take control of your data.
13. Be smartly efficient about campaign testing.
14. Connect to the search psyche of your potential buying customer.
15. Always test your landing pages.
16. Develop a video marketing strategy.
17. Secure proper budget for digital campaigns.
18. Focus on the right social media metrics.

11 friendly tips to help PRs write effective press releases

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Posted 20 August 2012 09:44am by David Moth

In general PRs and journalists have a decent working relationship, or at least I like to think we do.

But new research by Pressfeed highlights the fact that we have differing opinions over what should be included in a press release.

Almost half (45%) of the PRs polled said that visual elements with a news story are not important at all to journalists, while 39% said it wasn’t necessary to add images, videos or graphics to a news release.

But 80% of the journalists included in the survey said it was important or very important to have access to photographs and visual images and 75% wanted video content.

We get hundreds of press releases at Econsultancy, some good, some not so good.

So here’s 11 friendly tips on how PRs can make their press releases more effective, and more likely to be opened and read…

1. Spelling!
It’s an obvious one, but you’d be amazed at the number of press releases we get through with spelling mistakes in the subject line. A favourite of mine was one about ‘Ryaniar’.

We’re all guilty of spelling errors at some point in time, but a mistake in the subject line makes you look like an amateur.

2. Get to the point
When sifting through press releases of a morning I don’t have time to read loads of preamble, so get to the point in the first paragraph.

If your first two paragraphs go on about how your client is a ‘leading cloud computing software supplier’ your audience will quickly lose interest and dispatch your email to the recycling bin.

More often than not your client isn’t the story, the research they’ve commissioned is, so lead with juicy stats rather than the client’s biography.

3. Keep it short
Even if your report is groundbreaking stuff, I don’t want to read a massive email listing every single detail.

Try to limit the email to four paragraphs, maybe five at a push, and use bullet points to make the interesting stats easier to read.

4. Send me the report
If you’re sending out a press release to promote a new piece of research then make sure to attach the report or include a link to it.

It’s extremely frustrating and a waste of time having to go back to a PR to request a copy of the report. And the same goes for charts and images – if you have them, send them through.

Journalists and bloggers are generally up against the clock so we don’t want to waste time by going back and forth for content that you’ve hinted at in your press release.

5. Know your publications
As far as I’m aware we’ve never published a client-win at Econsultancy and a quick scan through our blog would tell you that. Yet I still get sent several of them a day.

While it may seem like a good idea to send press releases to as many publications and blogs as possible in order to ensure coverage, in reality it is likely to severely undermine your reputation if you keep sending out irrelevant content.

6. ‘Big News’ is subjective
What is big news to one person is irrelevant spam to most other people. Think hard before including any terms like ‘exciting news’ or ‘big news’ in the subject line.

7. Keep the headline short
Think about how the subject line will look to the recipient. Email clients have a limited amount of visible space, so keep it concise otherwise half the headline will get chopped off.

8. Bear in mind that people will be reading it on mobile
Smartphones are nothing new, so try to take into account the fact that most journalists check their emails on a mobile device.

This makes concise writing and punchy headlines even more important.

9. DON’T USE CAPS
Nothing says “I’m spam, send me to the recycle bin” quite like a shouty, capped up headline. And the same goes for exclamation marks!!!!

Caps make the subject line difficult to read and it looks unprofessional. Do you cap up emails to clients? I hope not. So why do it in a press release?

10. Avoid jargon
When writing a blog post time is of the essence, so I don’t want to spend ages translating press releases into plain English.

We have a list of banned words for the Econsultancy blog and if I had my way ‘learnings’, ‘reaching out’ and ‘thought leader’ would be at the top of it.

11. The personal touch counts
There’s a huge amount to be said for building a relationship with bloggers and journalists and personalising emails. If a press release is obviously just part of a massive mail merge then it’s unlikely to get read.

But more importantly, if I recognise the name of the sender and have had some contact with them outside of simply being included on a press release list then I’m far more likely to open their emails.

Creative Ways to Use Twitter for Business

Monday, August 20th, 2012

These tips are designed to help you better organize and structure your Twitter strategy to get noticed.

1. Create a Conversation List. Who you follow defines your Twitter experience. A conversation list helps to organize people based on why you started following them in the first place. Make private lists of who inspires you in business, who inspires you in life, who has great tips for crowdsourced innovation. You can keep your lists private or go public with them.

2. Update your profile picture. This little square associates your business with an image in the minds of followers, so be mindful of its look, and follow these sub-rules:
• Make sure your logo fits the square. Obviously cropped or distorted ones look unprofessional. For PC users, the free tool Irfanview enables you to crop and resize photos in a snap. Mac users should try EasyCrop or GraphicConverter (our personal favorite)—both paid services, but relatively inexpensive. Free browser-based tools like Pic Resize will also let you crop or resize online.
• Ensure your logo is readable. Don’t use the space if the words in your logo can’t be read.
• Consider using a headshot. It’s easier to connect with faces than with logos. Or you can make like Uber Paris and use both a face and a logo in a creative way that matches your company’s spirit!
• If you use a photo, focus on the face. There isn’t room in a Twitter photo for whole-body shots on the beach.
• No animals or kids! We’re trying to connect with you, not your favorite things.

3. Rethink your visual branding. Create a custom graphic for your Twitter background to freshen things. Here are examples of Twitter backgrounds, and instructions for creating one.

4. Use Twitter to solve business challenges. Offer Twitter specials, reward retweeters, organize Tweetups in order to rally troops around your brand and motivate them to listen when you throw serious questions out there about your product or service. Better yet, put the product in their hands at the Tweetup!

The Point: Don’t tweet into a void. Organize your Twitter presence with greater purpose, and you’ll find a panoply of ways to make it work for you.

PPC Ads Don’t Cannibalize Organic Search Listings

Monday, August 13th, 2012

One theory that some search marketers hold is that purchasing Google AdWords does not make financial sense because the ads will cannibalize organic listings. The theory supposes that the two forces, AdWords and SEO, are killing each other, and it is a bad strategy to spend money on both at the same time.

As an experiment, Google “paused” search ads to measure the effect that such a cessation had on organic search result clicks. What the study found was that users did not suddenly start clicking the natural results in the absence of AdWords results.

Those findings prove wrong the notion that any significant increase in clicks on organic listings would result if marketers were to decrease spending on PPC ads, with Google deducing that 50% of the time ad clicks are incremental when there’s a corresponding natural listing in the top rank.
Pay-per-click is here to stay

In 2011, when Google claimed that 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused, it may have been a bit hard for the Internet marketing community to believe that statistic. After all, Google would say something like that to protect the reputation of AdWords, its main money spinner.

Cutting costs on advertising does not increase natural clicks
What the Google experiment tells Google advertisers is this: If you reduce your ad spending to zero, you can’t expect for 89% of those clicks that would have gone to your ads to now be redirected to your Web page results in the natural SERPs.

Also, a Google report a month later showed that, most of the time, paid ads and natural listings seldom appear on the same page together anyway.

How often do paid and natural appear together?

A follow-up Google analysis in March 2012 found that 81% of the time, when there is a paid ad being displayed, no corresponding organic listing is on the first page.

The chances of finding a top-ranked listing paired with its paid counterpart on the same page is very slim. The possibility of the organic listing’s appearing on the same page at all as the paid listing is still a very rare occurrence.

If you have the top-ranking natural result, your chances of having a corresponding ad on the same page is just 9%, but that drops down to only 5% if you’re in positions 2-4, or a measly 4% in cases where you have a low-ranking site.

So, if you have a high-ranking website, you have a better chance of having both an ad and an organic result, but that may be related more to bigger budgets than anything else.

Averaging all of the different rankings, the study found that 66% of clicks were not associated with a related organic result.

We need both paid and unpaid results
The lesson to take away from these studies by Google is that search engine advertising is still a vital part of your online marketing portfolio, even if you are ranking highly for your keywords in the natural listings.
As both results (paid and natural) are very unlikely to ever appear together, you will be covering both bases by spending time and money on both.

Generate Leads With LinkedIn Announcements

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

If you’re not using LinkedIn as a lead generation tool, argues Shelly Kramer at MarketingProfs Daily Fix, you may be missing out on a very good thing: “According to data from HubSpot, LinkedIn is the most effective source of new business leads among the three leading social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).

And a study of some 3,000-plus B2B marketers indicated that LinkedIn’s visitor-to-lead conversion rate is four times higher than that of Facebook and Twitter.”

With LinkedIn Announcements, you can send email messages straight to the inboxes of likely prospects. Sound good? Here’s the right way to do it:

• Ditch the default subject line. If you don’t take the time to write an original subject line, why should anyone take the time to read your message? Treat this like any other email campaign—intrigue your recipient with a subject line that compels further investigation.

• Make your copy irresistible. Grab your reader’s attention with a relevant case for action. “This is a great place for stats—not only can they present a compelling case in a short amount of space,” she notes, “but they can also help readers visualize a particular topic or subject matter, which will help pique their interest.”

• Include a call to action. Don’t expect anyone to read your mind. Make your call to action, and the pathway to conversion, perfectly clear.

• Don’t be a jerk. Would you want an endless stream of irrelevant LinkedIn Announcements? Probably not. So treat this access to a prospect’s inbox with respect.

The Point: With a strong LinkedIn strategy, your lead gen program can generate the high-quality leads your sales team craves.

Pinterest Lessons for Better Web Design

Monday, August 6th, 2012

We’ve talked plenty about Pinterest’s potential to spread the gospel of your awesomeness, but what about the lessons its success can teach us about creating fashionably cutting-edge Web design?

Here’s a big one: According to Babar Suleman, writing at The Daily Egg, “Pinterest’s meteoric rise to social media ubiquity is powered by its blend of great visual design and highly intuitive user interface.” Bingo.

Below, some tactics out of Pinterest’s playbook to help you create a kicky Web page that grabs—and holds— user attention.

Post in simple blocks. Images on Pinterest appear as note-sized blocks that operate like mini webpages, featuring comments boxes, “Like” and “Repin” buttons. “The masonry layout eliminates visual gaps between images of different sizes and proportions, and thus effectively utilizes available space,” Suleman notes.

Be photo-centric. Pinterest de-emphasizes text because imagery is easier to digest quickly. The community is wed by shared visuals which, in a way, serve as conversations. Suleman also notes that Pinterest offers solutions for ecommerce businesses: “You can use your pinboard as an online store—complete with gorgeously organized product images and price tags.” These are all looks you can recreate on your own site.

Make it flow. Ever hit the bottom of the Pinterest homepage? No? That’s because Pinterest uses “infinite scrolling” to continue displaying content as you descend. It’s the “window shopping experience that never ends,” says Suleman. “A user is far more likely to spend more time viewing and engaging with the content than if they had to click to view the ‘next page’ and wait for it to load.” Try it out: Make your content flow on a given page.

Fight the reverse-chronology trend. It’s natural to be interested in what’s most recent, but Pinterest demonstrates that isn’t the only way we can sort content online. It organizes content by interests and Pinboards, arranged as users please, less of a “what’s new” philosophy than a “what’s interesting” one—giving content a longer shelf-life. Use this strategy to tailor content to users by their interests, no matter when it was published.

Even if you don’t use Pinterest, you can reap its richesse by optimizing your own site along these lines. For more tips, read Suleman’s full article on Pinterest design inspiration.

The Point: There’s a method to this pin-madness. And Pinterest’s secrets to success can be yours, too! So what’re you waiting for?

Pinterest App Helps Small Merchants Attract Pinners

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

A new app from Lexity, Lexity Pinterest Report, enables merchants to understand how their products or services show up on Pinterest and potentially profit from the information.

“Pinterest is driving more traffic to our merchants than Facebook or Google ads in many cases,” said Lexity CEO Amit Kumar. “Many niche, small-business merchants have very compelling, unique products, so they tend to get picked up on Pinterest by people looking for cool things. We give you a view across all references to your product across Pinterest.”

According to comScore, Pinterest was the 61st most-visited U.S. web property in June, with 20.5 million unique visitors.

Pinterest itself is expected to open APIs to third parties soon; in the meantime, Lexity wrote its own algorithms and applies them to other Pinterest data sources that Kumar would not reveal.

The three-year-old company focuses on small businesses, connecting with online stores through their e-commerce platforms to automatically generate relevant keywords, track the most-pinned products, identify relevant trending products, identify top competitors, and score the reputations of Pinterest users in regard to relevant information.

For example, according to Kumar, the app can tell a store that sells lingerie, “You should keep an eye on ‘pajamas.'”

Lexity Pinterest Report can differentiate between a pinner who has tons of followers but no interest in lingerie from one whose every petticoat pin gets attention – and suggest that the merchant should snuggle up to the latter.

Pinterest has emerged as a key social media tool for merchants of all sizes. In April, Amazon and eBay both added Pinterest buttons to product pages, letting users share product images and page links to Pinterest directly. Experian’s recent 2012 Digital Marketer report found that Pinterest, now the third most popular social networking site in the U.S., could help foster “meaningful connections” between retailers and consumers.

Pinterest Report supports 20 e-commerce platforms and is priced at $5 a month to appeal to Lexity’s core customer base of companies spending less than $10,000 per month on marketing.
The company will soon release a pro version with a higher price tag that includes more sophisticated analytics.

5 More Must-Haves For Every Small Business Website

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Every small business needs to have a website. But business owners aren’t exactly sure what should go on their website. A website needs to be an asset to your company. It needs to make money, rather than cost money. With that in mind, we put together a checklist of five must=haves for every small business website. We’re back with another essential checklist. Here are five more must-haves for a small business website.
Small business owners need to include all of these to make sure they’re getting the best value from their website.

1. Blog
This is a half way house between your website and a newsletter to your customers. A blog gives you the opportunity to add personality to your website and start an open conversation with your website visitors. It adds a human element to a company site, and gives you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge, products and industry. And because visiting a blog is anonymous, many more will read your blog than will sign up for a newsletter. Not only that, most blogging platforms allow visitors to comment and add to the author post. This means that having a blog allows web visitors to see that there are other people spending time on your website and interacting with your business. We all prefer to eat in a busy restaurant than an empty one!
The other real advantage of a blog is that it allows you to add fresh, relevant content to your website, which is one thing that Google really likes to see. If Google likes it, then the chances are you will be boosted up the Search Engine Results page for searches relevant to your products.

2. Customer Reviews and Testimonials
What’s the most convincing way to sell your products? By having other customers recommend them. Its one thing for you to go on and on about how great you, your company and your services are. But at the end of the day, any website visitor is going to take all that with a grain of salt. Of course you’d say that you were great! But if other customers give recommendations or reviews of your product and service, then that adds real weight to what you are saying. Of course, you’re hardly likely to publish reviews and testimonials that show you in a bad light. But if it is a genuine comment from a real person–and that person doesn’t mind you publishing their contact details, so that other web visitors can check they’re real–then that comment can go a long way to reassure people that buying from you is a good decision.

3. Email to a Friend
This is one of the oldest and most basic website features, and one that is sadly overlooked these days. As mentioned above, the most effective way to convince someone to buy from you is to have someone else recommend your products. An email to a friend feature on your website does exactly that –it allows a website visitor to send details of your products to someone they know, which is, of course, an implicit endorsement. Include an “email to a friend” link with each product you sell, and you will really see the benefits of the personal recommendations.

4. Social Bookmarking
Have you ever wondered what that strip of icons on web articles actually does? The icons are often accompanied with a message like “share this,” or “add this.” The icons all represent–and link to–social book marking services. Social bookmarks are a public web page where you place all the links to all your favourite websites. They’re a way of you creating a simple web page and saying to everyone “I recommend these websites.” When you place social bookmarking links on your website, you allow your website visitors to quickly add your website to their list of social bookmarks. It is yet another way of them endorsing your product.
The other added benefit is that when people link to your website using a social bookmarking service, it can also help boost you up the Search Engine Results Page for searches that are relevant to your product or service.

5. Twitter & Twitter Feed
In short, Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows you to send and receive short messages. I’m not here to discuss the ins and outs of Twitter, but it can effectively achieve lots of different things. First of all, it allows you to communicate and have a conversation with your customers or visitors to your website. Second, it allows other people to sit in on these conversations, and find out what you’re saying. Both these help add a human element to your website–turning a computer screen into a real person again. And as stated before, its so much harder for a web visitor to walk away from a real person than their computer screen. It means they will be much more likely to get in touch.