Browsing articles by " AmandaDi"

Facebook’s Graph Search and What It Means for You

Feb 11, 2013   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  35 Comments

facebookYou never quite know what Facebook has up its sleeve, and once you do find out, you never quite know if they’re onto something or if they were just having another one of those creative better-luck-next-time Facebook moments. However, just last month they announced that a new search system called Graph Search was in Beta testing. If the test does pass and we have a new way of searching for and filtering results based on Facebook data (I can see Google sweating now), it seems as though it could potentially be a great new opportunity for users as well as businesses to get connected.

How Facebook’s Graph Search Works

Facebook put out an introductory page to help those with questions see how the new Graph Search works. In a nutshell, it’s going to to help you type in searches that pull up results related to your friends. For example, I could search something like “photos of my friends in New York” and Facebook will pull up all of those results. As an individual going to New York, I might be interested in seeing some of the sights that my friends found interesting (especially great for those friends we can’t really ask—we all know that a “Facebook friend” is a bit different than someone you saw last Friday night).

Because Graph Search is still in the Beta testing stage, it is only available to select people in the U.S. You can, however, sign up to join the waiting list on the introductory page if you’re interested in possibly being one of the first. I’m still waiting for my request to be accepted, but CNETTV was able to make a great video:

One thing this video doesn’t touch on is the fact that Facebook doesn’t have all of their data and research gathered quite yet (hence still being in the beta stage). This means that if you do get to try it early, typing in certain searches might not give you a full list of results at the current moment.

Top Reasons Why Graph Search Just Might Be Brilliant

A few reasons that Graph Search is getting so much great publicity include:

  • It gives “likes” real meaning. In the past people haven’t been able to find quite as much of a reason for “likes” on a Facebook page because it can so easily be ignored. Now, businesses have a real reason to grab these likes—showing up in the new Facebook search engine.
  • Great for local search. Facebook has so much local data available at their fingertips, and it seems like the new Graph Search will really take advantage. This offers so many potential business opportunities: zip code ad targeting, local page publishing, etc.
  • Strength of connections becomes more important. For example, when people begin searching for restaurants in a particular area, it’s those restaurants that are “liked” by that person’s friends that matter. This means that a company “liking” your page might not be as beneficial as someone with hundreds of friends. After all, friends are going to look at their good friends’ results first.
  • Competitor insights. Businesses can conduct their own searches to learn more about their competition in relation to their fans.

Some experts have expressed concern that Facebook has not yet made it clear to advertisers the benefit and how to get there, but most are hoping that this will come in all due time.

How Your Company Can Take Advantage of Facebook’s Graph Search

Although you might not be able to use Graph Search just yet, you can still prepare for its arrival by checking in to different places and becoming more active clicking that “like” button. People will likely be typing in things like “SEO companies my friends like,” so you want to be on that list now more than ever, so ramp up your efforts.

It’s also a good idea to listen to a few of the points discussed above—take a look at your competition, take a look at the depth of your relationships, and think about local search and how you can advertise in that market.

What are your thoughts on the Facebook Graph Search? Do you think it sounds like a success, or do you not see much point in changing the way their existing search function works? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: money.cnn.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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Why Good Content Can Sometimes Fail: How to Make Sure You Don’t Fall Into the Trap

Jul 30, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  32 Comments

It’s hard to believe that good content wouldn’t always help your website grow and mature. After all, writers, blog owners, and even Google are always talking about the importance of great content. Above all else, a website must have quality content to really thrive. It’s the first piece of the puzzle, with SEO and promotion to follow. So what happens when good content doesn’t work? Is there something wrong with this good content?

In the majority of cases, the answer is yes. Although something might be well written, it may not be ideal in terms of drawing in visitors. In other words, good content means more than just a well-written article—it means choosing a great topic, choosing the right tone, and marketing that content in a specific way.

How to Look Past the “Well Written” and Focus on Content Success

The first step when analyzing content to put on your site is always whether or not that content is well written. Check for grammar errors and coherence and organization to decide whether or not that article is something you want to put on your site. Once you’ve decided that the article is easy to read and free of any errors, you need to ask yourself three questions that are so often missed:

  • Is the article bias or leaving out varying opinions?

This can sometimes be hard to miss when you’re agreeing with the opinion of an article. Even if the article is throwing out facts, they always seem to lose credibility if the article isn’t showing both sides to the story. On that same note, those who disagree with the article will likely not feel the need to share the article; thus cutting your promotion in half. The best thing you can do to solve this problem is to consider why someone might disagree or why someone may like something done the opposite way, and then addressing the issue.

  • Does it sound like you’re trying to sell something?

There is certainly content on a website that is designed to sell something, but the bulk of a good website usually has articles that aim to educate or spark a discussion. If you write a great piece of content that does nothing but sell your product, you might lose readers after a paragraph or two. The same can be said for those who focus too much on keywords. Make sure that what you’re writing is relevant, and try to avoid lots of advertisements and flash pop-ups surrounding your content.

  • Is the article easy to find on your website?

Great content doesn’t mean much if you can’t find it. You want to make sure that a link to your blog is clearly visible on your homepage, and you want to make sure that you’re sending this content out to those who can help. Make sure that you have an option for people to subscribe to your content so that each week these subscribers will get the content right in his/her inbox.

The greatest thing about good content gone wrong is the fact that you can fix this content. You don’t need to start over or completely re-write an article just because it isn’t generating a lot of clicks. If the article is already well written, it will be easy to make these few adjustments.

Have you ever found that you’ve written great content that didn’t seem to get you anywhere? What did you find to be the problem and how did you fix it? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: hubspot.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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LinkedIn Gets a Makeover: What This Means for Your Business

Jul 23, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  18 Comments

Sometimes getting a fresh start is all a company needs to bounce back from a slump. In most cases, this fresh start begins with a new layout and a redesign of most webpages in order to improve the look and navigation capabilities for users and Google bots. This helps give the site a new feel and in some ways a chance at a new and better purpose. But what happens when the site is already successful? What happens when people feel comfortable with the layout? To cut to the chase—what happens if your website is LinkedIn?

Although a redesign has been in the works for quite some time, many were still surprised to hear that LinkedIn confirmed last week that they are going to be changing their layout. Fortunately, LinkedIn made it clear that the site will remain professional; it will simply be more intuitive for users.

New LinkedIn Features

According to the LinkedIn blog, both the LinkedIn Today as well as the traditional LinkedIn webpages will change. The new design is said to be easier for someone to scan and get the information he/she needs. Under the “modern design” umbrella come a few changes:

  • Relevancy – LinkedIn will now make sure that any updates or articles that are particularly relevant to you will show up at the top of your feed. LinkedIn will decide if content is relevant to you based on the connections you have, the information you are sharing, and any breaking or trending news in your industry.
  • Stream – LinkedIn will now have a stream very similar to the one you find on Facebook. You will be able to easily like or comment on a status update or an article right there on the homepage.

It is no secret that many social networks have changed their layouts in the past. Some layouts are successful—such as the Facebook timeline layout—but other layouts, like the new Digg layout, turned out to be a bad move for the networks. Only time will tell whether or not this new layout will turn people off or turn people on.

What This Means for Businesses

The new layout will no doubt be something for users to get used to, but businesses may also need to change their LinkedIn strategy. The new layout will put a much heavier emphasis on content. The old layout seemed to put a focus on the individual and the content the individual adds to his/her personal account, but the new layout will put a focus on articles put out by companies. People know how to find and how to understand the information on a personal account; LinkedIn no longer needs to make this the focal point. The idea is that LinkedIn will become a tool for education and news as well as a place to look at resumes.

Businesses should realize that now is the best time to be sharing content on LinkedIn. If your company wrote a great article that falls under the recruitment or employment sphere, you will (in theory) get more traction from this social network.

Are you excited about the new LinkedIn layout? Do you think it is wise for LinkedIn to make these changes, or do you think monthly activity will decrease? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo Credit: blog.linkedin.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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How Your Business Can Take Advantage of Google+ Local

Jul 9, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  24 Comments

Google’s social networking site Google+ is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for individuals and businesses trying to improve their brand.  While connecting with others and promoting content is key to taking advantage of Google+, the site offers many more advantages including search engine ranking factors, +1s, and of course Google+ Local.

For those who are unfamiliar, Google+ Local took the place of Google Places just a few weeks ago and can be found by clicking a “local” tab on a Google+ page. This new tab will allow users to easily find local listings right from the social networking site. If your company already has a Google Places page, it will be automatically switched to a Google+ Local page. In other words, it is extremely important to understand how this new page works to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the new system.

Understanding the Google+ Local Changes  

First, the Google+ Local tab as well as the listing will have a different format. Users will be able to click the tab and then type in a search query and location for easy browsing. All of the results show up with a large picture and an overall score. Below is a screenshot that shows the local tab on the left hand side and the search bar at the top:

Second, Google+ Local has included Zagat scores to help you determine the quality of the listing according to those who have experienced the local spot or service. Zagat scores are shown as actual numbers as opposed to stars and allow users to rate different aspects of the business. For example, someone may want to give a retail store a good score for customer service but a bad score for quality of clothing. The scores are calculated on a 30-point scale and then averaged for users to see. The screenshot below shows the overall score of a restaurant as well as the individual scores that users gave the business:

Third, Google+ local pages will show up whenever you’re using Google search or Google maps. Although this may not seem significant, it makes a company’s Google+ Local listing page even more important. Zagat scores will also show up when completing a search.

What Does This Mean for Businesses?

In terms of optimization, companies do not need to change much. Keywords and great pictures are even more important with the new listings, but ultimately it is a Google+ presence that will really give a company visibility. Below are a few things that a company should do to get started taking advantage of Google+ Local:

  1. Google+ Profile – Companies need to have a Google+ profile set up in order for Google+ Local to work. You can visit here to get started.
  2. Claim Listing – A company will need to claim their local listing and make sure all of the information is correct. This is free to complete and only takes a few minutes. If you don’t already have a business page to claim, this link makes it easy to set one up.
  3. Categories – Adding categories to your local page will help users narrow down your business into the correct niche.

As a whole, getting started with Google+ local is extremely simple. Although there have been mixed reviews about the Zagat ratings, most companies do agree that Google+ Local pages are intuitive and easy to read. By bringing these pages onto a platform where people feel comfortable, it only makes sense that more and more users will begin to go to Google+ local when searching. Only time will tell!

Have you used Google+ Local or found success through the new platform? Do you think Zagat reviews will help or hurt Google+ Local? Let us know in the comments!

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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Why Quora Can Work for Your Business

Jul 2, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  8 Comments

If you’re an entrepreneur or someone hoping to break into the world of business, you’re going to have a lot of questions. You can go to school for four years and pick the brains of your professors and spend all night doing homework in the library, but you’re still going to have questions. This is true with any profession, and most will tell you that finding the answers to these questions aren’t always easy. It’s intimidating to ask your boss a question that you may think should be obvious, and Google doesn’t always do the trick. Fortunately, Quora is beginning to take the world of questions by storm.

For those who are unfamiliar, Quora is a social networking site that centers around asking and answering questions. These questions go from very specific to simple wonders. Below are the other two Internet avenues that one can take and some of the reasons Quora can often offer better:

  • Google – This works well when you want to know the answer to a simple question, but nothing too specific. If you’re having a complex problem and want an answer, Google may give you something complex.
  • Wikipedia – Anyone can add information to a Wikipedia webpage, and in most cases you have no idea where the information came from. With Quora, you know exactly who gave the answer to your question.

Former CTO of Facebook, Adam D’Angelo, created Quora back in 2009. This helped the site gain popularity quickly and helped draw some of the top professionals in every industry to take notice. Unfortunately, even though Quora has been popular for some time, businesses are STILL ignoring this network. For some reason, Quora is not considered a part of the “major” social networks—Facebook, Twitter, and Google+—for most, but it should be.

Top 5 Benefits to Using Quora to Answer Your Questions

Quora brings in a lot of aspects found in other social networking sites, but also works in its own way to help bring users a great experience. Below are some of the features you can find with Quora:

1. Profile – If you want to answer a question on Quora, you must have a profile. This will help show users who is giving a specific answer; thus helping them determine whether they want to believe it.

2. Voting – Users can vote answers that they find most relevant or most correct. This allows the best answer to always remain at the top.

3. Revision – The site gives anyone the ability to make slight revisions to a question. These revisions are all tracked so you can see who made the revision. In the end, this helps keeps questions clear and easy to understand.

4. Related – The site is not filled with a bunch of similar questions. Questions that have already been asked will pop up when you type in a question so that you know what has already been discussed. It also works as a way to point you in the right direction of the answer to your question.

5. Following – You can follow people and/or questions to help you stay in the loop. This helps make the site seem smaller and helps to target exactly what you’re looking to find.

Companies use Quora as a way to increase their visibility and build their brand. By answering questions you can show potential customers or clients that you are an expert in your field. The more questions that you answer the better you will look in the eyes of users.

The site is also a great place to connect with others in the industry or future customers. By creating a great profile page you can show what you know and give users a way to find you and connect you to those brilliant answers.

Photo Credit: crunchbase.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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My Blog Guest Summer Blogging Contest: The Easiest Contest of the Year!

Jun 27, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  6 Comments

Blogging contests usually involve countless hours of writing about a specific prompt or filling out paperwork that explains what makes your blog unique. While these contests are great and a great way to really get everyone analyzing the blogging industry, it’s nice to find an easier and faster contest during the summer. Fortunately, My Blog Guest granted this wish.

My Blog Guest is holding a summer guest blogging contest where you get free content and a chance to win $1000 cash. In other words, this is one of the easiest contests for blogs because you really don’t need to do anything that you aren’t already doing. The contest works like this:

  1. Go to the Articles Gallery and make an offer on an article (or several articles).
  2. If the author accepts, publish the article on your blog.
  3. Promote the article via social media.
  4. Post the article URL and the author’s username in this thread.

It’s hard to believe, but this is all you need to do. The contest is really about getting bloggers connected with authors and visa versa to help expand the blogging community. It gives blog owners great visibility from those who love the author, and it gives author the visibility for those who love the blog. In other words, there really are no losers in this contest.

How You Can Win 

So maybe there are no losers, but let’s be honest—there is a $1000 prize. Winning the grand prize comes down to three things: The social media sharing activity that is shown through the buttons on your blog, the comments, and if your blog is really helping the author gain exposure.

Being that these are the three things the contest will look for in a winner, it makes sense that the blog owner will need these three things. In other words, your blog must have Twitter and Facebook count buttons installed, the comment option must be available, and your blog must be a Google PR of 2 or higher.

Below are a few tips and tricks to help give you a chance at the grand prize:

  • Talk with the author. Many blog authors have a following of people who are interested in his/her writing. This will help bring traffic to your blog and will likely help that Twitter count go up. After all, the author also wants the post to do well, so he/she will be a great asset for you.
  • Nominate Multiple Guest Articles. There is no limit to the number of articles that a blog owner can take from the Gallery and publish. The most articles you publish, the better your chances are that one of them will win.

My Blog Guest has been in the business for quite some time, so there is no use trying to cheat by buying social media clicks, changing the publication date, or trying to share your prize in exchange for social clicks. The contest ends August 10, so get started right away!

You can learn more about the contest and rules and regulations here.

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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Internal vs. External Linking: Does the Difference Even Matter?

Jun 25, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   link building, SEO Blog  //  17 Comments

Most business owners who have even an elementary understanding of content online know that linking is important. However, what many do not realize is that there are many different kinds of linking, all of which have different benefits and different pitfalls.  The two most basic (but important) types of linking to understand is internal and external linking. This then begs the inevitable question: Do they differences really matter when it comes to SEO?

Internal Linking 101

When someone says “internal linking” they simply mean a link that navigates between different webpages of your website. This is a great way to keep people on your site as long as possible and gives you the opportunity to help them learn more about a given topic by looking through your site as opposed to heading somewhere else. It’s hard to get all the information you need in one article, so linking internally is a huge help. Consider some of the other benefits:

  • PageRank – Linking internally can help your page rank. This will help you move up to the top of search engine pages, so it can make a big difference when it comes to trying to improve the visibility of your brand. Although this doesn’t hold as much weight in terms of PageRank as someone else linking to your webpages, it doesn’t hurt.
  • Navigation – As discussed above, having internal links can help your customers navigate your webpage. Most experts recommend having the page open on the existing page so that people will stay on your site longer, but as a reader I always prefer when an internal link opens a new webpage. You could also consider installing breadcrumbs on your website for even easier navigation.
  • Index – Lots of internal links will help search engines classify your site quicker and more accurately. This could help readers find your site easier on search engines because it will help ensure that your site is indexed in the proper places.

The Know-Hows of External Linking

External links take readers from your website to another website. Although this may seem like a terrible idea, it can potentially have many benefits for both your company and your readers:

  • Credibility – Chances are your website does not gather its own data and facts. For this reason, you will want to link to websites in order to give them credit for the information you are using. This will help readers see where you get your facts; thus improving your credibility.
  • PageRank – Although linking to another site within your article will not help your PageRank, external linking will help if it is done to you. In other words, if another site is linking to your website, your PageRank will improve. Many websites utilize guest posting on other blogs—they offer free articles in exchange for what would be an external link back to their site.
  • Traffic – Your traffic will certainly increase if you have reputable sites linking back to your site. Not only will you show up more on a Google search page because of your PageRank, but you will have new sets of eyes looking at your website.

The most important thing to remember about linking is that the links should be relevant. Linking just for the sake of linking will not fools readers, and it will most certainly not fool Google. As long as you can link, both internally and externally, in a natural way, you will find that linking is a small way to make a huge difference.

Photo Credit: thinkgeek.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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When Is It Time to ____ In SEO?

Jun 18, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  30 Comments

It seems like there are so many questions regarding timing when it comes to SEO. You can learn how to do something regarding SEO and you can learn why it matters and where it really matters, but your efforts won’t be nearly as successful if you don’t understand when to make the right move. After all, many aspects of business focus on timing—when to close the sale, when to make a purchase and file your taxes, when to launch a new product, when to discount a product, etc., and the SEO field is no exception. As the cliché saying goes, “timing is everything.”

Unfortunately, many companies do not realize that SEO also has a strategic timetable that helps it succeed. Because SEO is (believe it or not) still a fairly new aspect of business, many company owners complete crucial changes to their SEO campaign out of order.

Top 4 SEO Decisions Where Timing Really Matters

Below are some of the most crucial aspects of SEO that should only happen at certain points in your SEO campaign:

1. Target New Keywords

Most companies target a list of four to seven keywords where they hope to rank. Once your company has done its keyword research and determined which keywords don’t have much competition, it’s time for linking, sharing, linking, promoting, and some more linking. However, it is never a good idea for a company to target the same keywords over and over.

  • When to Target New Keywords – Your keywords should change when your content changes. There is no specific amount of time that you should wait before targeting new keywords, but in general it makes sense to target new keywords when you are at a standstill with your current set. If you are not moving up or down in rankings for your keywords, it might be time to change them.
  • What Happens If You Don’t – Targeting the same keywords for too long will begin to waste your time. Ranking for a keyword for a long time will be remembered by Google bots and will serve you well. People will continue to click on your article and link back to your website because it has been ranking for so long, so doing this work on your own won’t be as necessary. In other words, you would be missing out on opportunities to make this happen with another keyword.

It is also worth noting that you should, in general, swap out your keywords for your new keyword list. While it is okay to add a few keywords to your list, you shouldn’t think of your new keywords as “extras.” When it’s time to move on, move on and give your new list your full attention.

2. Hire an SEO Agency

Earlier this month SEM-Group wrote an entire post answering this very question, but it is something that still seems to get people nervous. Hiring anyone is a nerve-racking process for a business owner because you want to hire the right person. Hiring an entire SEO agency to help is even more nerve-racking because it is more money, a lot is at stake, and you won’t quite know whether or not the agency is doing well until you’ve been paying them for a few months.

  • When to Hire an SEO Agency – The biggest indicator that it is time to hire an SEO agency is when you keep getting hit by Google Panda and Penguin updates and you don’t know why. These updates will kill your rankings if you are unprepared, and you have no choice but to recover if you’ve been hit. If you don’t know how to recover and can’t keep up with all of the changes, an SEO agency is crucial. SEO agencies usually also help manage your social media, so if you are finding that you just don’t have time to connect with others or do anything but your own promotion, it’s the right time to hire.
  • What Happens If You Don’t – Your website is sure to drastically drop in search engine rankings if you are unable to keep up with SEO. This will in turn affect your brand’s visibility, and in the majority of cases you will see your sales and overall success decrease.

3. Begin Guest Posting

Guest posting is a great way to earn backlinks to your website. This takes a good amount of time to make happen and often requires a company hire writers who understand SEO, so it’s a big decision. Nonetheless, guest posting is one of the ways that you can ensure that you are receiving the backlinks that you deserve. After all, if you can create great content for another website your website is likely full of great content—people just a need a little push in finding it.

  • When to Begin Guest Posting – Guest posting should become part of an SEO strategy once a website is ready. In other words, once your website is easy to navigate and has a good library of content and information, it’s time to start guest posting and building up some backlinks.
  • What Happens if You Don’t – Many sites do well when it comes to search engine rankings even without guest posting, but it generally takes longer. Guest posting is one aspect of SEO that you can really control.

4. File a Re-Consideration Request

Many sites find themselves losing rankings after a Google Penguin or Panda update, and many feel that the loss in rankings is unwarranted. If you think that your site was wrongly hit by one of the algorithm changes, you may want to submit a re-consideration request to Google.

  • When to File a Request – If you know that you have violated the guidelines or were hit with a spam issue you should always file your requests after you have cleaned up your site. It’s also a good idea to file a request if Google notifies you that something was wrong with your website (your website was hacked, etc.). Finally, if you really feel like nothing is wrong you can file a request.
  • What Happens if You Don’t – Your site will continue to drop in rankings until Google bots discover that your site has been cleaned up. If you don’t clean up your site and just assume that nothing is wrong, you will continue to drop in rankings.

The “when’s” in SEO have always been tricky, but doing things in order will help ensure that your SEO is at its best without any wasted time. SEO results take long enough to really see and really benefit from, so understanding the big picture will help save you time and energy.

Is there anything else that you’re unsure about when it comes to timing? Let me know in the comments and I would be happy to help!

Photo Credit: under30ceo.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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How Will the New HootSuite and HubSpot Partnership Affect Your Marketing Efforts?

Jun 11, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   Social Media  //  10 Comments

Now that the excitement about the HootSuite and HubSpot partnership has died down, it’s time to really consider what this will mean for small businesses’ social media efforts. Although it’s too soon to tell whether or not this will be as beneficial as it seems, there is no denying that more and more business owners are expecting to see real leads and real conversions come from social media. Because there are so many social media outlets available, companies are quickly spending money hiring social media experts and social media data analysts to help make sure social efforts are successful (and seeing leads come from social media is much more clear-cut than the types of numbers we see today). According to the HubSpot blog, the average budget spend on social media has increased 133% in just three years.

This of course begs the inevitable questions: Is it possible to increase and gauge leads from social media, and if so, why haven’t we been doing this all along?

How Closed-Loop Social Will Work

For those who are unfamiliar, the partnership involves the all-in-one marketing software HubSpot and one of the most popular social media dashboards HootSuite, and was announced this past Wednesday. According to The Next Web, HubSpot currently claims to work with more than 6,800 companies in 46 countries, which helps them to attract visitors to their websites and convert those visitors to leads and drive growth.

This partnership aims to help marketers not only connect with customers and clients via social media, but actually create real leads and bring these leads through the sales funnel. The new beta app that stems from this partnership is known as “closed-loop social.”  Below is a screenshot that the HubSpot blog included to help marketers visualize the coming-soon app:

Why Utilizing Closed-Loop Social Matters

While the partnership seems to be a good one in theory, marketers are more interested in understanding some of the ways to leverage this partnership and really make it work for their company. Below is a list of some of the benefits that HubSpot explained are coming with this partnership announcement:

  • Monitor key terms used by your biggest customers and clients on social sites. This will help you potentially find other like-minded potential customers as well as stay involved with your current ones.
  • Nurture leads through social media, not just a follow-up email. After all, saying “thank you” via Twitter might be more effective for some (and more and more as time goes on).
  • You can setup filters for certain keywords—your company name, keywords in your industry, etc. If someone tweets “I need to buy an office printer” and you sell office printers, closed-loop social will make sure you know how to find this tweet.

Overall, it seems as though this new app is the next step in social. Being able to understand what your customers are doing on social media and then putting them through the sales funnel on a medium that they really understand (and enjoy) is absolutely going to be beneficial. Although it may take some time to master, I suspect that we will see many more social tools and marketing companies working together to perfect this idea through trial and error, and I’m sure many businesses will be following along.

How do you feel about the new HubSpot and HootSuite partnership? Do you think they have a sound idea, or is it all just the latest hype? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit: business2community.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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LinkedIn Hacked: What Security Precautions Can You Take When It Comes to Social Media?

Jun 8, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   Social Media  //  6 Comments

Whether it has affected you or not, a headline reading “LinkedIn Hacked: 6.5 Million Passwords Leaked to the Web” gets people thinking. Social media security has always been a constant discussion since the networks began to grow in popularity, yet as with many things security, businesses are still staying basic when it comes to protecting their accounts. While changing your password is a great idea and trying to monitor who you are connecting with might help deter a hacker, a business should be taking more serious precautions. Hackers can hurt not only your social media presence, but actually hurt your SEO if they can figure out a way into your website. This naturally brings us back to that very familiar question: What can I do to keep my accounts secure?

Tips and Tricks to Avoid a Social Media Breach

It first helps to understand a little bit about security. There are many different types of security software out there to help a business stay secure, but there aren’t many that focus specifically on social media. After all, security for other aspects of a business—finances, important records and documents, etc.—is often a bigger concern to businesses. However, security software and precautions will generally cover everything online. In other words, if you were to implement security precautions to help protect your financial information, your social media and SEO efforts will likely be protected as well.

Below are a few basic things you can do to help make sure your passwords and accounts are secure across the board:

  • Bitdefender Antivirus Software – It is extremely important that you have some sort of software in place to help with your online security. I have used Bitdefender both with my company as well as for personal use in the past and highly recommend this software because it is affordable and works well with all types of computers. It was rated the #1 antivirus software of 2012 by Top Ten Reviews and is something that will help keep your entire computer protected, including your social media and SEO passwords.
  • Get Patched – Making sure your computer is patched, or making sure that you have the latest software updates, will help eliminate your risk of hackers. The reason that you always need to keep your system updated is because hackers can often figure a way around certain software, so new software has to be implemented.
  • Password Manager – Setting up a browser password manager will help your company create passwords that are more difficult to crack and help you remember these passwords. Although there are many different types of password management tools, I find KeePass to be one of the easiest to use and one of the most successful (and it’s free!). You can learn more about KeePass here.

There are also new software and new tactics that have emerged specifically for SEO and social media. It is important that businesses take precautions not only from hackers, but also from potential employee abuse. Below are a few different tools you can use and approaches you can take when it comes to SEO and social media specifically:

  • Hootsuite Security – The social media dashboard Hootsuite has put a lot of effort into social media security. You can setup secure profiles so that you have to approve everything that gets posted onto any of your accounts, and setting up limited permissions makes certain that employees can only create drafts of all your social media messages. Finally, this tool allows you to turn on HTTPS, which will encrypt your information so that hackers cannot see your information if they try to break into your accounts.
  • Avoid Add-Ons – People are usually pretty careful when it comes to downloading something onto a computer, but for some reason people are usually not as careful when it comes to social media. It’s easy to download an add-on or click “ok” when asked if the add-on can have access to your account. This is one of the easiest ways for a malicious program to get into your account and take your password and personal information.

Security will unfortunately always be an issue when it comes to online marketing, so it’s good to continually go back and check what security measures your company has in place. Security is something that needs to constantly be updated (as annoying as it may be), and keeping up makes this easier. After all, if a hacker can get into a site as large and protected as LinkedIn, there is a good chance your site could be next.

What do you do to help make sure your social media accounts and SEO efforts are protected? Do you use any tools that you find helpful? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit: defensemedianetwork.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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Follow Me:
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