Browsing articles from "December, 2011"

Facebook Share vs. Facebook Like Button

Dec 9, 2011   //   by Kristi Hines   //   Social Media  //  27 Comments

Sure, the Facebook Share button is no longer officially available from Facebook. But that doesn’t stop sites from finding the code and using it. The question is – why are people (like myself) still using it and how does it affect your actual “like” count?

Customizing Shares with the Facebook Share Button

The main reason I still use the Facebook Share button on my blog over the Facebook Like button is for the way it works. When you click on the Facebook Share button, you will get the chance to do the following.

Facebook Share Button

  • Change the privacy of your shared post to Public, Friends, Custom, or only to be shown to specific lists.
  • Post the share on your own timeline, on a friend’s timeline, in a group, on your page, or in a private message.
  • Add a comment on why you are sharing the post.
  • Change the thumbnail to one you like the best.
  • Click on the title and description of the link and edit it to suit your needs.

When you click on the Facebook Like button, however, you only get the chance to add a comment.

Facebook Like Button

It will then automatically show up on your Timeline as a public post with the thumbnail Facebook chooses and the default title and description.

The tradeoff with using the Facebook Share button over the Like button is that the people who don’t care how the post appears on their profile might be miffed at the fact they need to take the extra steps to customizing the post before it goes on their profile. You can satisfy everyone’s needs by placing both buttons on your website, but then you have less room to add other social sharing buttons. Since I have mine in a neat row at the top of posts, I would have to trade off my LinkedIn, Google+, or Buffer button.

Counting Shares vs. Likes

The next question about the Facebook Share button is what the difference is when counting shares vs. likes. I had the same question, so I used the links.getStats console for Facebook developers which you can only use if you have developed an app on Facebook. I only use the Share button on my blog posts, so I got the stats for one of my most popular Facebook posts on the new Timeline profile.

Facebook link.getStats Share and Like Count

It shows the total count of Facebook shares as 467, Likes as 294, and comments as 276. Whenever I plug my post’s URL into the Like button code box, I get a total of 1,037 likes.

Facebook Like Count

This means that whenever someone shares, likes or comments on your post on Facebook that it all will be totaled up as likes toward your post!

Getting the Code

Before adding the Facebook Share button, I will give you this disclaimer – although it is working now, it might not be for long since Facebook has redirected the page for their Share button to the Like button. If you choose to use it until it stops functioning, you can do so by placing the following code into your website’s template.

<a name="fb_share" type="button_count" href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php">Share</a><script src="http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/connect.php/js/FB.Share" type="text/javascript">

If you want the code for the Facebook Like button instead, you can get it via the configuration tool on the Like button plugins page.

Do you use the Facebook Share or Facebook Like button? Which one do you prefer using when going to someone else’s site? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Don't miss her Web Domination Review on Kikolani. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!

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Creating a Content Calendar – 4 Tips

Dec 7, 2011   //   by Kaila Strong   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  3 Comments

Do you prepare a content calendar? Its surprising how many publishers fail to plan out their content, even if only in pencil. Sure, plans change but at the very least having a rough outline is suggested. Why? Calendars help you organize ideas, prepare for busy times, avoid delays, and keep consistency and relevancy.Here are a few tips to help you along the way when you develop your content calendar.

Tip #1 – Research
The first step to developing a content calender is figuring out what type of content you’re interested in producing. Doing your research can help you undercover the right types of content and potential topics.

  • Examine the types, frequency, and style of content your competitors are producing and the topics they’re writing about.
  • Utilize Google Insights to view cyclical patterns with certain keyword phrases. Keywords that are popular during certain times of the year should be examined and integrated into content during those times of the year.
  • Pay attention to lags in popularity for terms. These are times you should hold off publishing and save budget and efforts for busier times.
  • Conduct keyword research to find long tail search terms such as questions and statements that your prospects may use during the research phase of the buying cycle.

Organize your content ideas and start thinking about how it might relate to certain months out of the year. Keep subjects and themes consistent throughout the months and making a rough outline will be a lot easier.

Tip #2 – Timelines
Understand how long it takes you and your team to come up with, research, develop and place content. This should dictate deadlines and help you fill in the content calendar outline you developed after doing research. Look for opportunities to make processes efficient to reduce delays and always plan ahead for delays as much as possible.

Tip #3 – Measure
Use an analytics program to help you measure the results of your efforts. Also look into measuring with third party tools. Account for this in your content calendar to help remind you.

  • Goals/Conversions/Price Per Visit – Figure out the conversion metrics you want to track to help you understand if any purchases, goals, etc… were completed after a visitor viewed your content piece.
  • Traffic – Determine where your traffic came from, paying particular attention to social networking sites and referrers. These metrics will help you understand which promotion efforts are working and which ones aren’t.
  • Time on Site & Bounce Rates – Are visitors finding the information they’re looking for? Examining time on site and bounce rates can help you answer this question. If users aren’t finding what they’re looking for then it might be time to revamp your content piece. Also look at the keywords visitors used to find your content piece and examine these factors.

Tip #4 – Promote
When developing your content calendar remember to account for promotion time in your calendar. Every piece of content should be good enough to be tweeted out, shared on Facebook, +1’d, bookmarked and linked to. Develop a promotion campaign around your content to include each of these methods along with others such as: guest blogging, press releases, social press releases, commenting, manual link building, and media outreach. Do your research to start a resource spreadsheet of all media contacts, website contacts in your niche, bloggers in your industry, websites to promote on, free resources, etc… The first few promotions you conduct will take longer, however over time you should save a bit of time by organizing your resources.

Have some experience developing content calendars? Add to the tips, in the comments below. 

Kaila Strong

Kaila Strong is an avid tweeter (@cliquekaila), and marketer in the Phoenix area.

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Top Google Rankings: How I Got Google to Say Yes

Dec 6, 2011   //   by Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe   //   Google, SEO Blog  //  29 Comments
top google rankings

And this is how top SEO guns do it...

I am sure Gerald is sick and tired of hearing about this, but since it’s my post (never mind that it’s on his blog), he’ll have to bear with me one more time.

Allow me to give you some background on the issue.

One of my favorite product releases of the year was CommentLuv Premium by Andy Bailey.

The free version of the plugin has been floating around the blogosphere for years and loved by both blog owners and commentators (aka “link builders”) alike.

Don’t ask me why, but the minute I heard Andy was working on the premium version of the plugin and all the features he was adding to it, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Anyway, this post is not about how great this plugin is, but about Google rankings.

Or how I felt like I was beating against the brick wall trying to rank my CommentLuv Premium review post on the first page of Google for “CommentLuv Premium“, to be more precise.

I am pretty good with SEO. Not great, but good enough. Plus, I’d like to think of myself as a creative link builder – I have to be since I don’t have much time for it.

So I wrote the review post, optimized it to the “T”, built a few links to it, and then ran a giveaway for a free copy of the plugin in exchange for an in-content dofollow backlink with exact anchor text back to my review post.

I told you I was creative, right?

So I got about 50 links from other blogs and, considering that my competitors for “CommentLuv Premium” keyword didn’t have many backlinks to speak of, I sat back and waited for the SEO traffic to start pouring in.

Only it never happened.

My post showed up on the first page for a brisk day or two and then disappeared into the neverland of page 4.

You can imagine my frustration. Poor Gerald heard all about it…

Assumptions and Observations

1. My post was very well optimized for the keyword.

2. It had a good amount of quality in-content links coming in, as well as some low-quality links like social media, social bookmarking, etc.

3. Thus, as far as Google is concerned, it should’ve been found extremely relevant to the keyword.

Side note: the way Google determines relevancy is by the keyword usage on the page, including your title, description, etc, and the anchor text of the links pointing to the page. Of course, this is a very simplistic explanation; take a look at how Google works, if you’d like to go more in-depth on this one.

4. The posts ranked on the first page for the keyword at the time had but a handful of low-quality links.

5. On the upside, thanks to Google+ and all the connections I made there, most of my readers saw my post on the first page because of Google personalized search, even though I wasn’t technically ranking for it.

6. Then Google Fresh came out. It was about that time that I wrote yet another post, talking about CommentLuv Premium settings this time AND posting a video on YouTube on the topic.

Considering my existing domain authority and a few quick links, they both showed up on the first page that very day (I didn’t take a snapshot of the video rankings, but the post was in position 7 in 4 hours).

commentluv premium rankings

Both stayed on the first page for a while, but left without much link building, my CommentLuv Premium YouTube video eventually moved to page 2 and the post to page 3.

HOWEVER, guess which post finally showed up (and is staying there so far) on the first page position 5?

Besides being brilliant (I need to keep saying it to believe it – you should try it sometime), I am also very stubborn and never gave up on ranking that very first CommentLuv Premium post of mine.

So How Did I Do It?

I made one big change to the post, which I believe did the trick.

Of course, one could argue that Google simply came to its senses, saw all those links, and decided to give credit where credit was due (huh!)…

However, the ranking came about very shortly after I decided to turn my post into a page.

What’s the difference, you might ask?

  • Pages are static; posts are dynamic.
  • Posts are displayed in chronological order on your home page, archives, category and tag pages, etc.
  • Pages  are not sorted by date; they are not classified by categories or tags.

Don’t remember where I read it at this point, but someone somewhere once said that the way pages and posts are coded in WordPress is different enough to make the pages more SEO-friendly.

Since I don’t know much about coding, I can’t support or disprove this statement.

The following factor does seem to support it though: most of the higher PR URLs on any given blog are not posts at all – rather, they are pages.

Let’s for instance take this blog and check the PR for inner pages using SEOQuake Firefox Addon.

semgroup rankings for pages

All of those results are pages. And this tends to be true for most blogs.

To learn more about using pages to increase your rankings, take a look at my post on blog structure.

How to Turn a Post into a Page

Here are the step-by-step instructions (I’d recommend you open 2 tabs since you’ll have to go back and forth between the post and the page):

1. Create a new page.

Copy and paste the content from the post to the page; save.

2. Change post permalink.

Since you’ve already built links to the post permalink, you’d want to keep it for your page. Of course, WP won’t let you have the same permalink for more than one page, so you’ll need to change the permalink on the original post first.

Usually, I simply add something like “original” or “part-1″ or “2″ to the end of the original post permalink; that’s plenty enough for our purpose.

Save.

3. Use the original permalink for the page.

Now go back to the page and use the original permalink for the new page. Save.

4. Avoid duplicate content issue.

Now I would edit the original post SEO title, description, and change the post content – usually by simply cutting out most of the post and placing the link to the new page with “To read more, click here” type link.

Using keyword-rich anchor text is even better, of course.

5. Optional: close comments on the page.

This one is arguable; however, I’ll use any trick up my sleeve if I can.

The original post will retain all the comments that were made on the post before you “transferred” the content to the page. It’s only fair to make sure that your commentators keep their links, right?

I tend to close comments on my pages though.

As I said, this one is entirely optional.

Marketing Takeway

Was it my newly created page that did the trick and pushed me to the first page of Google?

Argumentative, but logical.

This wasn’t the first time I did this either. Each time I turned posts into pages, they tended to rank higher and have better “sticking power” – most of them are currently ranked at the top of page one, if not in position one.

Thoughts? Ideas? “I have nothing solid to support my opinion, but I’ll say you are wrong just for the heck of it”s? Comment below!

 

Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it? Ana does, and she freely shares her best advice on how to increase web traffic on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

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The Mystery of SEO; What Are You Really Paying For?

Dec 5, 2011   //   by Anthony Kirlew   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  8 Comments

Recently I spoke with a partner in an insurance agency about his needs for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Services. It was a referral, which is how I prefer to do business, because I never want anyone to think I am just trying to sell them something. We had a brief chat and he shared that he was paying $500 every month for SEO and that he wasn’t happy with the results. I asked him what exactly the SEO company was doing for the $500 per month, knowing that for an insurance agency in his city that really wasn’t a reasonable budget to see success.  He said “they do SEO stuff” at which point, I realized we had another victim. A victim of the smoke and mirrors often associated with SEO, where the company doesn’t really tell you what they do for you.

I told him flat out, “if you don’t know what the company is doing for you AND it’s not working, you would be foolish to keep paying.” He asked me what I would charge and I told him I couldn’t tell him until I did an analysis and took a look at everything. The funny part was that he seemed to have a problem paying for something tangible (an analysis which would be followed by a road map) yet he seemed ok to pay someone and not get any results.

Let me take the mystery out of SEO; there are a handful of factors that make up good SEO, but for the most part it’s about good site architecture with good content that has good links to it. The architecture part is fairly straightforward; use static pages with WordPress CMS being a preferred platform.  Good content means that it is unique (not stolen), reads well (not stuffed with keywords), optimized (it has a theme and does target specific keywords), and the pages are of reasonable length. That leave us with the link building aspect which is where you find out who really knows there stuff. Links can come from a variety of sources including web directories, social media sites, blogs, trusted industry websites, press sites, and the list goes on.

Now that you know what is involved, the real question is “what do you need to move your website from where it is to where you want it?” And I assume that it is ranking in the top 3 positions of Google for your keywords. The only way to know what you specifically need is to do some checking, otherwise known as an SEO Analysis.  Some items will be glaringly obvious, but others should involve some analysis to see what types of links the site has, what kind of rankings the sites has, where the site is already listed, and the list goes on.

I met a local web designer who impressed me because he said he would not do any work for a company unless they allowed him to do an SEO analysis. I’d say that’s pretty impressive coming from a web designer; it says they have a holistic understanding of their craft and don’t just see it as “making a pretty digital brochure” which no one is likely to find.

Anthony Kirlew

Anthony Kirlew is a veteran of the Internet Marketing field and the Founder of AKA Internet Marketing, a full service Digital Media Agency that offers a generous SEO Partner Program. Additionally, Anthony is a noted blogger, author, speaker and trainer on topics relating to Internet Marketing & Social Media Marketing.

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Why Are People Following You on Twitter

Dec 2, 2011   //   by Kristi Hines   //   Social Media  //  2 Comments

In a post by Christina Reed entitled Thoughts of a Concerned Tweeter over on Smart Boy Designs, the author raised the point of “Why aren’t more people on Twitter asking the question, ‘what made you follow me?’ This is crucial information.”

This led me to remember some steps I had seen on how to find out the answer to this question by analyzing Twitter lists you have been added to using Excel and Wordle by both Rick Galan and Ari Herzog.

The following are updated directions for creating a Wordle using Excel 2010 and Open Office Calc 3.3.

Copying Your Twitter Lists

Twitter Lists Listed Count

  1. Go to your Twitter profile and click on the number Listed to see the Twitter lists in which people have added you.
  2. Keep scrolling to the bottom until you can either get them all to display. This might take awhile if you’re on a lot of lists, and you might run into a message that “loading seems to be taking awhile” – when you click Try Again, it will start loading more lists. When you reach the end, you’ll see a Back to Top link.
  3. Once you have all of your lists loaded, highlight them all and copy.

Highlighted Twitter Lists

Compiling Your Twitter Lists in Microsoft Office Excel 2010

Twitter Lists Pasted in Excel

  1. Create a new Excel document.
  2. Go to Paste > Paste Special > Text to paste the information without any formatting, pictures, etc.
  3. Go to the Data tab > Text to Columns. In the Convert to Text Columns Wizard, choose Delimited as the file type then click Next. Check Other under Delimiters and enter a / in the box then click Next. Then on the next screen, check Finish.
  4. Delete Column A.
  5. Delete Columns B through E.
  6. Scroll through and make sure there is at least 1 – 2 blank rows between each list name. Sometimes people will include a / in their list description and anything after that will still be in the spreadsheet – just delete those when you come across them (I had about 15 out of 2,000+ lists).
  7. Save your spreadsheet.
  8. Scroll down to the last item in Column A and highlight everything in Column A from the first row to the last. Press F5 and in the Go To screen, click the Special button. Under Select, choose Blanks and click Ok. Once the blanks are highlighted, go to the Home tab > Delete > Delete Cells and Shift Cells Up.
  9. Now you should have approximately the same number of rows as you do Twitter lists (I ended up with 2,035 rows for my 2,071 lists).
  10. Use the Find & Replace option to replace dashes (-) with a blank space ( ). This will take the Twitter default of adding dashes between words out to make a better keyword phrase (social media instead of social-media).

Twitter Lists Edited in Excel

Compiling Your Twitter Lists in Open Office Calc 3.3

  1. Create a new Calc document.
  2. Go to Paste Special > Unformatted Text.
  3. In the Text Import screen under Separator Options > Separated By, check Other, enter a / in the box, and click Ok.
  4. Delete Column A.
  5. Delete Columns B through E.
  6. Scroll through and make sure there is at least 1 – 2 blank rows between each list name. Sometimes people will include a / in their list description and anything after that will still be in the spreadsheet – just delete those when you come across them (I had about 15 out of 1,900+ lists).
  7. Save your spreadsheet.
  8. Scroll down to the last item in Column A and highlight everything in Column A from the first row to the last. Under the Data menu, select Sort > and then Sort by the first item in Column A and Ascending then click Ok.
  9. Now you should have approximately the same number of rows as you do Twitter lists.
  10. Use the Find & Replace option to replace dashes (-) with a blank space ( ). This will take the Twitter default of adding dashes between words out to make a better keyword phrase (social media instead of social-media).

Creating Your Wordle

Creating a Wordle

  1. Copy all of your keywords into the Wordle.net “Paste in a bunch of text” box and click Go.
  2. Allow Java to run if your browser gives you the prompt.
  3. Under Layout, change the Maximum Words to 50 and use the Mostly Horizontal layout.
  4. Under Color, change the color palette to something easy to read (I’m a fan of Shooting Star).
  5. under Font, change the font to something easy to read (I’m a fan of Coolvetica).
  6. From here, you will need to take a screenshot of your Wordle, then edit that screenshot to just show the actual Wordle. I use the free version of Jing (Mac or Windows), but you can use whatever method you normally do to take screenshots and size them appropriately. You can also zoom in using your browser to get a bigger shot than the default displayed size at 100%.

Why People Follow @kikolani

Here’s the Wordle result from my Twitter lists! Click on it to see the full size.

Wordle Results for Twitter Lists

Now I can see that people add me to their Twitter lists for blogging, social media, marketing, SEO, business, tech, experts, writers, influencers, and friends.

Once you’ve created your Wordle, you can use it in any way you please – on your blog, business cards, t-shirts, etc. as per Wordle’s terms of use for images produced by their applet.

Have you tried this out? What were your top keywords in Twitter lists? Be sure to share in the comments!

Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Don't miss her Web Domination Review on Kikolani. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!

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Is Blogging a Waste of Content?

Dec 1, 2011   //   by Ty Banfield   //   SEO Blog  //  12 Comments

Trashcan

A lot of people in the mainstream view blogging as a really easy activity. The reason is because of the stereotype of a blogger as someone who rolls out of bed at noon and sits in front of their computer with pajamas on.

In reality, blogging is actually very hard to do well. Whether you’re blogging to promote a business or as a primary source of income, it takes quite a bit of discipline to do well. Because developing an audience requires you to deliver content on an ongoing basis, you have to consistently come up with good ideas. If you’re having trouble writing, the pressure is still on for you to deliver.

Regularly delivering quality content will help you build an audience who’s excited to see what you’re going to publish next. However, if you’re publishing 2, 3 or 4 posts a week, this adds up to between 100 and 200 a year. Since your audience is always looking forward to your next post, what happens to all that old content?

Some people argue that because blogs only feature the latest posts that have been published, they’re actually a waste of content and very inefficient. While it is true that the standard blogging format does have this weakness, that doesn’t mean that your posts have to be irrelevant after a few weeks.

If you want to get the most mileage out of every post you publish, there’s just one thing you need to do to make this happen:

Create Resource Pages

After you’ve been blogging for a few months, you will have likely covered some topics throughout multiple posts. While your first post on a topic may have just been an introduction to it, there’s a good chance you’ll dive deeper into it with subsequent posts.

Once you’ve written 3 to 5 posts on a topic, you’re going to have a very nice guide to it. The only problem is all the information is spread out among multiple posts. Luckily, there is a very easy way to solve this issue.

While you’ve probably noticed this trend on quite a few blogs, Derek from Social Triggers has explained his strategy in detail. As you can see from his Building an Email List 101 page, all Derek did was pull together three links to posts where he had covered the basics of building an email list.

He then wrote a few paragraphs of introductory copy, and put all of this on a nicely formatted WordPress page. When you visit the page, you’ll notice that it looks quite a bit like a landing page. If you’ve read any of his posts, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that this wasn’t an accident.

After he pulled together this simple but valuable page, he sent it out to his email list. From there, his subscribers tweeted it out to others. Then when new visitors discovered this page, they are presented with a signup box for his email newsletter. Because of the quality of the page, Derek has stated that he’s seen great results from it converting new visitors into subscribers.

Have you tried adding one or more resource pages to your blog?

Ty Banfield

Ty Banfield is a freelance writer. Over the past five years, he's written on almost every topic under the sun. While variety is the spice of writing life, marketing and fitness are the two topics he never grows tired of exploring. He also provides business website development, marketing and conversion consulting that helps businesses attract more customers.

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