Browsing articles by " Obaidul Haque"

What’s a ‘CURATED’ Email Campaign?

Jun 13, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  13 Comments

If you really believe that content curation is not just a buzzword but a marketing staple, you can also implement this idea in email marketing. Undoubtedly, a well planned email campaign can result in better conversions and generate repeat sales. It’s also an excellent way of collecting useful feedback and suggestions from your visitors or customers. In addition to all of these, email marketing can also do a great job to boost your offline purchases.

Email marketing works best only when it suits the needs of subscribers. But it’s sad to see emails that are nothing more than ‘pure promotion’. You might also have deleted a lot of emails delivered to your inbox simply because they sound like a self-interested bore.

Do we (the email marketers), therefore, need to change?

Of course! The word change points to a change in the mindset, the way we look at our email subscribers, the way we try to convince them to make a buying decision. The current situation of the internet marketing industry makes one thing very clear – ‘The more you sell, the less you sell’.

That’s exactly where the role of a ‘curated email campaign’ steps in. It’s really a powerful way of providing your email subscribers with something they don’t usually expect. It’s an idea to keep them well-informed, educated and entertained so that they start looking at you as a ‘niche expert’. It’s all about winning the trust and gaining the confidence of your email subscribers.

Aweber Communications (a popular email marketing company) published a comprehensive article on this topic on their blog. A curated email campaign creates ‘loyal subscribers’. Let’s find out how you can use this powerful technique to make your email campaigns come alive and keep your subscribers happy.

Getting Started
Start to work like a content curator. That means, you need to look for blog posts, articles, industry reports, case studies, videos and images that you think your email subscribers would love to read. You can find anything that’s relevant to your niche, interesting, entertaining and unique.

Once you’ve gathered all these nuggets, it’s time to piece them together to compile your weekly newsletter. Since subscribers are already pissed off with tons of marketing and promotional emails, a curated email campaign will work like a ‘freshner’. It will provide them with highly valuable content that they can actually use to their benefits. Though it’s an indirect technique of marketing, it works like magic to showcase your niche expertise and set yourself apart from your competitors pretty quickly.

Curated Content Has a ‘Narrow’ Focus
Curated email campaigns will work best for those who cater to a specific niche or type of business. If you serve a broader market or industry, content curation may not bring you the best results. If you focus on a particular aspect of your industry, you can discover all the most useful resources and compose them in the form of an email or weekly newsletter.

Small businesses can get the maximum out of a curated email campaign. In fact, any small business or home-based business or bloggers with a narrow focus can use this email marketing technique.

Act Now!
Whether you’re a small business owner or a blogger, you should start with curated email campaigns right away. Find out blogs that you read regularly to remain inspired. Search for current events that relate to your niche industry. Look for articles and videos that entertained you this week. Give your email subscribers something they weren’t expecting until now. Educate your audience. Keep them entertained. And be ready to see the magic!

Did you try the concept of curated content in your email campaigns yet? Please feel free to talk back in comments.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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How to Improve Website Performance with ‘Content Experiments’

Jun 11, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  19 Comments

In one of my recent posts, I talked about conducting your first A/B test. Split or A/B testing is undoubtedly one of the most effective techniques to improve your website for better performance. Though there are several testing tools (free and paid) that you can use, Google Website Optimizer (GWO) has always done a great job to help you accomplish this task.

Now, you can test the performance of your website right from within Google Analytics. Yes, Google recently announced this feature (called ‘Content Experiments’) on its official analytics blog. It’s one more effort by Google to make Google Analytics the best measurement tool for tracking a site’s performance.

The ‘Content Experiments’ feature helps you create different versions of a web page, track the effectiveness of each version and determine the version that works best for your audience.

The best part is that you can now fulfill your goals of tracking, testing and optimizing your website all in one place i.e. Google Analytics. The advanced statistical engine added to the analytics tool makes it more powerful and more useful than ever. In addition, the website experimentation process becomes easier with ‘Content Experiments’.

Testing with ‘Content Experiments’ is easier because it –

Teaches you how to set up experiments
Helps you launch new tests instantly
Allows you to choose from goals you would like to test
Comes along with easier tagging options
Makes it easy to understand the performance of different versions
Identifies the version that makes the most impact quickly
Sends you regular email updates about the experiment (to be available soon)

At a time, you can test five different versions of a web page using the Content Experiments feature in Google Analytics. If you have set up a couple of goals in your account already, you can come up with different versions of the original page and find out which one brings a higher goal conversion.

How to Set Up an ‘Experiment’
Before you create an experiment in Google Analytics, you need to do your homework. This includes identifying the goals you plan to test, selecting your conversion page and creating the variants of the original page.

Once you’re done with the preparation part, you can follow these steps –

#1. Log in to your analytics account.
#2. Go to the profile you want to create experiment in.
#3. Move to the ‘content’ section and click ‘Experiments’.
#4. Now, click ‘Start Experimenting’.
#5. Give a name to your experiment and select the versions.
#6. Choose experiment options (select goals or add new goals).
#7. Add the experiment code to the original version.
#8. Get the experiment code verified.
#9. Preview the pages and click ‘Run Experiment Now’.

After you’ve set up a new experiment, you can also save the settings for using it later. Since every experiment has a specific name given by you, you can click the name and do what you want. Content Experiments also provides you with easy modification options, if you haven’t run the test yet.

So, is it time to say goodbye to GWO?
Actually, yes! After August 1, 2012, you won’t be able to use GWO (a standalone tool) anymore. Google has already started to implement its functionalities into Google Analytics’ Content Experiments. Therefore, you should now start setting up website experiments from Google Analytics to improve the performance of your websites. You can get started with Content Experiments (if it’s already available in your account) right away by logging into your analytics account and click ‘experiments’ within the content section of your regular diagnosis reports.

Is ‘Content Experiments’ available in your Google Analytics Account? Please feel free to ask any questions or share your own opinions regarding the same.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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Google Places is No More, Long Live Google+ Local!

Jun 4, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  19 Comments

Things are changing pretty fast now. Google continues to make one move after another – launch of Google Plus, quicker algorithmic updates, roll out of Panda and Penguin. You can stay tuned as more exciting pieces of news come your way. However, here’s one that should attract the eyeballs of all local business owners. Yes, Google’s newest move is the launch of Google+ Local.

If you thought Google+ (the search giant’s social network) won’t stick, you need to think again. Though Google Places is not closed completely yet, millions of these pages have been converted into Google+ local pages. According to Google, this step is taken to improve how people discover and share local business information within Google+. Google, therefore, makes this effort to help local businesses leverage the potential of the Google Plus community.

Now, isn’t that a sensational change?

What one can really wonder is how this dramatic transition of Google Places pages to Google+ is going to impact business owners who have products or services to sell locally.

As Google Places pages are replaced with Google+ Local pages, Google Plus now features a new local listing tab (towards the left of your Google+ page) for businesses. That means your local business pages will become more socialized with the launch of Google+ Local.

The Newly Added ‘Local Listing Tab’

Here’s how it happens –

Connect your local business with millions of Google+ users
Let people find your business via Google search, maps, mobile and Google+
Make it easy for customers to recommend your business

Now, users can use different ways to find a local business. The recent transition of Google Places pages to Google+ Local widely increases the visibility of your company information by making Google Plus a new search destination with all its highly user-friendly features and functionalities. Imagine what happens when all the social features of Google+ are implemented into your business pages. This will certainly add new life to your business by making it more interactive for both existing and prospective customers.

SEM Group’s G+ Local Page

Definitely, the benefits that you have now as a local business owner far outweigh those that provides at the SERP level.

One of the best things about this roll out by Google is that it changes the way reviews were done until now. Since all the reviews will now be linked back to the reviewer’s Google+ page, there will be no anonymity. And it will highly discourage those that intentionally leave fake negative reviews on company’s business pages. Additionally, it will create a tough situation for companies that indulge in leaving bogus or non-legitimate reviews on their pages.

In the midst of all these changes taking place, business owners also need to pay careful attention to how it changes the local SEO requirements. You should be informed that all the Google+ Local pages will be indexed. Whether it’s about creating more Google+ votes and social signals or optimizing your local pages for increased visibility in Google search results, this transition also creates more opportunities for doing SEO.

What to Do Next!
Now that Google Places pages are moved to Google+, local businesses that aren’t yet familiar with how this social network works need to increase their knowledge and learn more about the same. Eventually, all the social functionalities of Google+ (i.e. hangouts, sharing, voting, and circles) will be added to your local business pages. That’s why it’s really vital that you become well-versed with all that Google+ has to offer.

How do you see this transition? Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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‘Appreciation’ is Key to Building an Online Community!

May 28, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  4 Comments

Creating an online community of loyal followers is not important only because it helps you expand the presence of your business and fulfill your goals. An online community can also help you create a new product or develop an entirely fresh approach to your present activities. However, building a community around your brand is not child’s play. It involves understanding your organizational strong points, your business goals and the staffing qualifications.

Definitely, gaining a deep insight into the demographics of your target audience is where you start. Apart from knowing what your audience’s requirements are, you also need to know the purpose and plans of your business. At the same time, it’s vital to be well aware of your limitations.

But, there’s one more thing that you need to focus on – ‘appreciation’.

If you’re really serious about building an online community around your business or brand, you need to learn how to appreciate. First you need to identify the genuine contributions of your community members and then find ways to appreciate or reward those activities (participation, loyalty and patronization) in one way or another. It’s not just the members of the community that need appreciation. In fact, you need to appreciate even the non-community members.

So, you need to know how to appreciate. Appreciating community members or customers is an excellent way to make them feel passionate about your brand, compel them to visit over and over again and encourage them to interact with the new members. That’s how you keep an online community growing and going really strong. That’s how you build momentum among the audience. That’s how you expand your business and make more money.

Why you really should care about creating a strong online community is due to the fact that it follows you throughout the company’s lifecycle.

Here’s how you should appreciate –

a) Say ‘Thank You’ publicly
b) Respond to questions in a timely manner
c) Organize contests and giveaways
d) Share your best customer stories
e) Offer rebates, coupon codes and discounts
f) Start affiliate and incentive programs
g) Give away rewards for referring others
h) Ask for your customer’s feedback and suggestions
i) Live up to your promise

Basically, there are four big reasons that would compel people to do things – recognition, power, money and sex. By getting involved, the members of your community are doing plenty of good for your brand. To build a strong online community and keep it growing too, you need to give something back and continue with it in one form or another. It’s about making something happen in the everyday life of your customers and community members.

Any online community will have both ‘active’ members and ‘silent’ members. So, it’s important to pay attention to those secret members as well. Most importantly, you need to be consistent in you efforts because community building is not a one-time activity or task. Keep on benefiting from the online community and continue to give back to get even more.

Remember, a strong online community is the proof of your brand’s genuineness and credibility. The loyal followers of your brand can quickly elevate your business to new heights. So, let them speak for your business!

What tips do you have in mind to build an online community of loyal followers around your business? Let’s talk back in comments.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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A 5-Step Formula to Conduct Your ‘First A/B or Split Test’

May 22, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  6 Comments

If you ask me what the most effective method of boosting the performance of a website is, I’ll give you an instant reply – ‘split testing’. And I really hope you wouldn’t like to differ with me on this point, would you? Since I stepped into the internet marketing industry, I have met very few (can count them on my fingers) webmasters or web property owners who bothered to utilize split testing to find out what worked best and improve the rate of conversion.

Why do most of the internet marketers ignore split testing, while investing plenty of time on just guess-optimizing their websites over and over again? Optimizing your sites on the basis of gut instinct or guesswork may bring you better results. But it won’t ever tell you what really works and what doesn’t. Split testing is the single most effective technique to ensure the best ROI possible.

Split or A/B testing is a proven technique to discover what makes the most impact on visitors, thus helping you to tweak your sites appropriately and improve the rate of conversion. Though conducting a split test consumes time, the result will be much more than the effort that you invest.

So, are you ready to conduct your first split test ever? Don’t worry. Given below is a very simple 5-step plan that you can use to get started.

#1. Choose a Web Page
Find those pages on your site that help you fulfill some important goals. Select a web page that focuses on a specific goal and have one call to action. If you think improving a web page can increase the number of sign-ups, boost online sales or assist you in achieving other significant conversion goals, you can conduct a split test for that specific page.

#2. Create Another Version of The Selected Page
After you’ve picked an important page that you would really want to split test, it’s time to create a new version of the same. To create the new version, you’ll need to list out all the important elements (that you think can increase the conversion rate) the original page contains.

You should decide to test these –

Headings and subheadings
Introductory paragraph
Call to action
Placement of elements
Offer (bonuses)
Related Products

You may focus on other important elements that your selected web page contains and make the necessary changes to create the new version. So, you’ve two different versions – Page A (original) and Page B (new).

#3. Set Up the Test
Now, you’ll need a software or tool to set up the test. If you have adequate expertise, you can make use of Google’s Website Optimizer. Otherwise, you can hire the services of an internet marketing firm that’s known for conducting split tests. There are also several paid split testing tools that you can use. No matter which split testing tools you use, you should make sure that it’s easy to set up, easy to understand and accurate (in terms of tracking results).

#4. Experiment
The two versions of the page (original and new) will either be shown randomly or simultaneously to visitors. The tool that you use will track the number of visitors, the rate of click-throughs and the rate of conversion for both the pages. Make sure you run the test for an adequate time span and that your sample size is big enough to track accurate results.

#5. Use the Version That Works Best
Analyze the results of the split test and go with the variant that makes the most impact on your site’s visitors.

Have you ever conducted a split or A/B test for your website? Please feel free to share your experiences and opinions.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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Do Your Images Attract Google’s Attention?

May 15, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  10 Comments

It’s not just the Googlebot that crawls images on your web properties. There’s also an image-specific robot for indexing images – Googlebot-image. And the best idea to attract maximum attention from Google is to get your images (and pages) crawled by both Googlebot and Googlebot-image. Properly optimized images can prove to be a source of additional traffic. As internet passes through a phase of ‘visual boom’, it’s vital to make sure all the images on your website and blog get quickly indexed by Google, so they can appear in Google image search.

While publishing images, one thing that should always remain at the top of your mind is that it enhances the experience of users. Image search and web search are like the two sides of a coin. Even when it comes to searching images, Google strives to return most relevant results to users.

Google-Supported Image Formats
If you really want to help Google index your images quickly, you should always remember to use only those formats that it supports. On its official blog, Google mentions its supported formats including BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP and SVG. Therefore, you should always avoid using those image formats that are not supported by Google.

According to Google, it can index images of almost any size. Though size does not matter (it depends on your specific requirements), images formats must always be paid careful attention.

Googlebot vs Googlebot-Image
As mentioned above, both Googlebot and Googlebot can index your site’s images. But many times, webmasters notice that their images are only crawled by Googlebot. When there’s some confusion regarding the image URL, the image is first indexed by Googlebot. Once Googlebot is sure that the URL leads to an image, Googlebot-image re-indexes the image.

That’s why, getting your images and pages crawled by both Googlebot and Googlebot-image is a good idea from SEO point of view. Getting your pages indexed by both these robots is a way of attracting maximum attention from the search engine giant Google.

Ranking Algorithm for Google Image Search
Earlier, it was believed that PR played the biggest role in the search ranking of an image. Though the PR of the page (where the image is published) also plays some role, there are a host of other criteria that Google uses for ranking an image in its image search results.

Here’re some of the most important ones –

Placement of the image in a page
Image Alt tabs and filename
Image content (identified via the optical recognition system)
Domain authority of the website the image belongs to
Authority of the page that contains the image
Text surrounding the image

Though there are many other criteria that Google may use, these are the most important ones. Therefore, you should optimize your images by using appropriate filenames, alt tabs and the surrounding text. In addition, you should consider submitting an image sitemap to help Google know more about your images and rank higher in image search results.

Don’t Forget to Optimize for Social Sharing!
If you plan to increase the visibility of your images across the web, it’s a good idea to optimize your visual content for the social media as well. Social signals carry a lot of weight in terms of textual content. The same goes with the images that you publish. Always use superior quality, inspiring the relevant images. However, you should also remember to protect your images by making them available under an ‘attribution license’ so that those who share those images can attribute you (link pointing back to your domain) as the source.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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The Case of 60% (or Above) ‘Money Keyword’ Anchor Text!

May 8, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  9 Comments

Anchor text has long been the SEO trump card. However, the last couple of algorithmic updates have turned things around quite a bit. On the one hand, Google’s Panda is targeting low quality sites (low value for the user, copied content). On the other, Google’s Penguin update is hitting those sites that engage in web spam (keyword stuffing, link spam). All these updates clearly signal that you can no more loophole your way to higher search rankings in Google.

The golden era of ‘exact match anchor text’ is finally over.

Thanks to manipulative link building techniques, exact match anchor text is fast losing its importance. In fact, Google is trying to close all the loopholes one after another. A lack of natural links is all you need to see your site fall apart.

Though Google had already been targeting sites that over-optimized their anchor text (for higher rankings overnight), its attack is now more intense than ever. The recently rolled out Penguin update has taken all the webmasters by storm. You can no more blast a site to the top of Google search results by getting tons of links with an exact match anchor text like ‘best seo company’.

According to recently conducted study by Microsite Masters, it’s come to light that sites that were negatively hit by Google’s Penguin update had used ‘money keyword’ in their anchor text as much as 60% (or above) of all linking text. Such a high percentage of money keyword in all inbound links of a site sent manipulative signals to Google. And that’s why these sites with aggressive exact match anchor text were negatively hit. Sites whose money keyword percentage in anchor text was below 50% were not affected by Google’s Penguin update.

Exact Match vs Partial Match Anchor Text
The fact that sites that had a money keyword as their anchor text below 50% were not impacted negatively also clarifies that exact match anchor text hasn’t lost their weight entirely. Yes, it definitely means one thing that you should quickly quit obsessing over exact match anchor text linking. Instead of focusing too much on similar anchor text, it’s a good idea to use partial match keywords.

If you want to rank for keywords ‘article marketing software’ for example, you can use partial matches like ‘the best software for article marketing’, ‘make your article marketing easy’ and ‘article marketer’s software’ among others.

Link Relevance & Diversity
Most importantly, you need to focus on two major elements of anchor text linking – relevance and diversity. When a search engine crawler crawls a link, it also tracks the degree of relevance. A good link value is, therefore, passed when the crawler verifies that links pointing back to your sites are from credible and related sources (both linking page- and domain-wise) . Apart from focusing on link relevance, you need to use different variations of anchor text.

Variations may include your brand name, the URL name, short-tail keywords, long-tail keywords and partial match keywords as anchor text. The more diverse your anchor text linking profile is, the more natural it will look to search engines.

This is What You Need to Do
The first step is to take a closer look at your internal or on-site anchor text linking (over which you’ve all control). Make sure you’re not over-optimizing. Second, you need to analyze the anchor text links pointing back to your site from external sources. If you notice a higher exact match anchor text pattern, you need to take action. If it’s in your control (in case you know site owners personally), you can tweak the anchor text with different variations. If this is beyond your control or doesn’t sound practical, you should start building links with different variations of anchor text to balance out things before it’s really too late.

What’s in your anchor text? Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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The Role of Metrics in Social Media Campaigns

May 1, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  9 Comments

Seeing the number of your social media fans (Facebook), followers (Twitter) or subscribers (YouTube) grow feels good. But is that an accurate measurement of the effectiveness of your social media campaigns? Definitely, not! That’s why the biggest challenge that most of the small businesses face today is how to accurately measure the ROI of a social media strategy. Unless and until you know the goals (in regard with your larger sales and marketing strategy) and select the right metrics to focus on, it’s impossible to gauge where your social media campaigns are actually headed.

Before you take a plunge into measuring the ROI of your social media efforts, it’s vital to be clear about what you’re looking to achieve. Different social media campaigns have different purposes or goals. When you’re aware of your ultimate goals, you’ll also find it easy to choose the most appropriate social media channels to focus on.

Do you want your social media fans to engage with your brand? Do you want them to share your content? Do you want them to purchase your products? Do you want them to spread the word about your brand? There are many other goals that you may want to fulfill by launching a social media marketing campaign. The more clarity of goals you have, the better metrics you can select to measure the ROI of your campaigns. As a result, this strategic approach also enables you to modify your campaigns as required.

Measuring the ROI
Broadly speaking, there are two ways to measure the ROI of your social media strategy. There are general metrics that you can use to measure the degree of interaction for your social media pages. Second, there are campaign-focused metrics that you can use to find out whether you’re achieving your larger sales and marketing goals. General metrics relate to networking or building a community of followers whereas campaign-focused metrics are about conversion.

General metrics for a social media campaigns may include ‘likes’, ‘fans’ ‘followers’, ‘shares’, ‘comments’, ‘replies’ etc. By focusing on these metrics, you’ll find out whether your fans are followers are interacting. As a result, you’ll be able to learn the significance of your social network community.

Examples of campaign-focused metrics or goal-based metrics would include traffic to your website or blog, rate of subscription, sales of products and online lead generation among others. If your goal is to drive traffic, you can track URL shares and the rate of click-throughs. To dig out further, you can try to find out what visitors actually do or how they respond once they are on your site. This type of analysis can help you to improve the rate of conversion.

What’s the meaning of having 10,000 Twitter followers if your business objective is to generate online leads? That’s exactly why there’s a sea of difference between general metrics and campaign-based metrics. It’s always important to focus on those metrics that align with your large business goals. If you fail to select appropriate metrics to track, you can never get the maximum out of a social media marketing campaign. So, focus on the right metrics!

Network-by-Network Analysis
Apart from measuring the effort on all your social networks on an aggregate basis, you should also remember to get the picture of how you’re doing with each of the networks you’re using. A network-by-network analysis will help you identify which social platforms are most fulfilling your goals. And then you can invest most of your money and time on those networks that bring you the best results.

Have you chosen the right metrics to focus on? Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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Use Post Titles to Create Social Signals (for Better SEO)

Apr 24, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  14 Comments

Last few updates by Google have made it quite obvious that social signals will play a major role in ranking content. Five to ten years ago, ranking at the top of search results was all about algorithms. To rank at the top, all you needed to do was to optimize the content copy for a set of targeted keywords. Now, search is also about people while social is just about people. That means, social media and search are highly intertwined today.

Major search engines like Google have begun to understand people (and relationships). That’s why you need to create as many social signals for your content as possible for higher search rankings.

When it comes to creating social signals for your content, titles have got a major role to play. Apart from creating content that’s really useful to your audience, you also need to make sure that your content is shared by a large number of people. The more shares your articles get, the better social signals you send to search engines. And, titles have a huge impact on shareability.

Usually, sharing is instantaneous. Great content with average titles may get a good number of shares. But it’s actually harder. Many people would share an article only because the title grabbed their attention immediately. That’s a clear signal that titles can make a great impact in terms of social sharing.

Great Titles = More Social Sharing = Better Search Rankings

Writing great titles is also a good practice from SEO point of view. Today, post titles have far outweighed meta keywords and meta description. As SEO continues to evolve, major search engines are placing more value on top quality content and downgrading over-optimized ones.

Titles are more important today than ever before.

Those few words that you use in the title will decide whether your content will be shared by thousands of people or barely noticed. Well-crafted titles can spread your content like wildfire across the web.

In their book ‘Made to Stick’, the Heath Brothers state that any good news or editorial writer may devote 80% of their time to writing the title. The time that’s left will be used to put together the body of the content.

Since social signals are vital to enhance your SEO, it’s high time to pay some careful attention to crafting titles. Some of the most important elements that make a title attention-grabbing include emotion, expectation, curiosity and benefit among others. Titles that are short, descriptive and eye-catching carry high viral potential. Though a title is just a group of few words, it’s the real game changer in the world of social media. In any case, you should never compromise on the overall quality of the article.

There are multiple ways to assess the effectiveness of your post titles. One of them is using a URL shortener. A URL shortener like can help you a great deal in this regard. It can tell you the CTR and the number of shares for each of your links posted to different social networking websites. Using such URL shorteners, you can also A/B-test your titles.

You can get started with it by creating two different shortened links for the same article. Next, you can use two different title versions to post the article. The stats for those links will tell you which title version made the most impact.

I would also recommend the use of Most Shared Posts WordPress Plugin. Once installed on your blog, this plugin will inform you which of your posts received the most social sharing on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. This data will help you analyze the effectiveness of your titles.

How much time do you spend crafting the title of your post? Please feel free to talk back in comments.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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5 Good Reasons to Start Using Google+ ‘Circles’ Right Away

Apr 17, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  16 Comments

Google Plus has more than 90 million registered users now. The social network’s rapid growth clearly suggests it’s here to stay for a long time. According to Stacey Cavanagh (Digital Marketing Manager at Tecmark), Google might boast around 250 million registered users by the end of 2012.

And we’ve every reason to believe that prediction, haven’t we?

Google+ (or Google Plus) is growing at a tremendous rate. It’s launching new features every now and then. Recently, the social network rolled out its new design to further attract the attention of people.

Among all the features of this social network, I think Google+ ‘Circles’ is the biggest scorer. For those who are not still aware of this feature, ‘Circles’ allows users to segregate people in different groups based on interests, industries, areas of expertise, relationships etc. Google+ circles have the potential to create a win-win situation for people (or professionals) of just any background.

Here’re five good reasons to use ‘Circles’ for different benefits –

#1. Organize People
The most fundamental (as well as the biggest) benefit of using Google+ ‘Circles’ is that it allows you to categorize people into different groups. For example, you can create circles named ‘Tech’, ‘Blogger’, ‘Celebrity’, ‘Author’, ‘SEO’, ‘Google’, ‘Photographer’ etc. These are just a few examples. You can create multiple circles based on people’s interests, industries, businesses etc.

#2. Read Circle-Specific Posts
Once the segregation is done, you can check out only those circles of people whose posts you want to read. If you want tech industry news, you can simply click the ‘Tech’ circle. If you want to know what’s happening in the world of SEO, you can click the ‘SEO’ circle. It saves time.

#3. Share Content with the Right People
This is a major plus point with Google+. Not everyone in your network is interested in what you share. There are different target audiences for different types of content. Google+ makes the sharing of relevant content with the right people quite easier. If you want to share something that you think is suitable for a specific circle (group of people), you can leave other Circles out.

#4. Share Circles with Others
What’s more, you can also share your own Google Plus circles with others (friends, family, colleagues, business partners etc). The best part about sharing a circle is that the name of that Circle is not disclosed. That means, you only share the list of people.

To share a circle with others, you can follow these steps –

Click the circle that you want to share
Click the ‘share’ link inside the circle
Choose people you want to share a particular circle with
Click Share

#5. Enjoy Complete Privacy
Better privacy is what sets Google+ apart from other social networks. Many people call these circles as a new version of Google Groups, which is not true exactly. A Google+ circle is quite different from a group. Nobody knows who else you’ve put in a circle. The names of your circles are private to you. As mentioned above, you don’t reveal the name of a circle even when you share it with others. A Google Plus circle, therefore, is like a real life ‘private circle’.

How are you using Google+ circles? Or are you yet to begin? Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

More Posts - Website