Are you an expert researcher online? The average online user over time has become better and better at finding the things they need online. The use of advanced search operators is commonplace. While search engines work to combat spam everyday, there are still many sites you wish to avoid in your search. Advanced search commands can help you sift through billions of websites quickly and easily by narrowing down your search with operators or commands.
There are many options when it comes to advanced search commands. One of the more common commands is phrase search operator (“”). When you put quotes around a keyword or phrase, you’re telling the search engine to look for that exact match phrase online. They’ll serve up results with that exact phrase, or tell you that none exist. I use this one all the time when doing link building activities or trying to find out the name of the song stuck in my head at any given time. When you only know bits and pieces of the information you’re looking for use this operator to narrow down your search.
Don’t want to see a result in the SERPs? Use the exclude search operator (-). Exclude words from your search and websites too. Example: Command -.edu will take out all instances of .edu domains in your results. You’re also able to exclude specific domains simply by putting that web address after the operator.
Use what Google calls the fill in the blank search operator (*) if you’re really in need of finding a great site. This operator is a wildcard, or placeholder, for a term that you aren’t aware of. Additionally you can use this operator to find other websites on the same type of topic. Google gives this example query: Obama voted * on the * bill. The query will show results on different votes for different bills, with the unknown being a placeholder for what you want to include.
Trying to find a similar set of URLs but not on the same domain? Use (inurl) search operator and you’ll find similar keywords in a file path. Many webmasters name pages similarly – contact us, about us, blog, etc… Use command (inurl:resources) along with your query to find a list of resource pages. This is one I’ve used to find link opportunities or even content opportunities. Find a great resource list? What type of content is linked to? Create that type of content and ask the site to add you to their resources list.
Sometimes you might be looking for keywords that appear in the title of the page. Use (intitle) search operator. Using this type of search command is common in advanced SEO research. Looking for sites with specific keywords that appear in their backlinks is also a common advanced tactic. Use (inanchor) search operator.
Know the file type of the page you’re looking for? Use (filetype) search operator. For example, if you were looking for PDFs you’d want to use filetype:pdf as your search operator. What types of pdfs are on your competitors website? Find out and get ideas for your next whitepaper or free guide.
These are just a few of the many search operators currently in practice. Not only can many of them be used on search engines you’d usually think of like Google and Bing, they can also be used in Twitter search. See a tweet go by and then not know where it went? I do this all the time because of the Twitter fire hose effect. But with search commands I can find the tweet pretty easily using bits and pieces of information.
These are just a few of the search commands available for you to use. Many more resources exist that give examples and practical application for each of the commands listed above as well as new ones to try out. Please visit the below resources for additional information on search commands.
Have additional resources we should add to the list? Let us know!
Do you remember what happened on March 19? It’s the day when majority of BMR’s (Build My Rank’s) network was de-indexed by Google. Search engine giant Google has always been on a mission to detect spam. But now, it seeks to destroy spam even more strongly. Build My Rank has done a lot of good to publishers and SEOs for many years. That’s why the news of BMR getting de-indexed shattered the entire SEO community.
What does this step by Google indicate?
[There are two things.]
First, link or blog networks are on Google’s radar now.
Second, links still matter.
If you conduct a search on Google, you can easy find hundreds of reviews that recommend BMR as one of the best SEO tools. Now that the de-indexing has happened many of the reviewers feel sorry about it.
Here’s what Steve (of SteveScottSite) has to say –
Lis (of Lis Sower Butts) says this –
There are high speculations that Google will de-index many other link networks. But what we know for sure is that BMR’s blog network has been de-indexed already. The owner of this link network has honestly shared the details of this de-indexing on their site. In addition, BMR also offers a tutorial for its customers to help the latter remove backlinks to a particular site.
If You’re Building Links via Link Networks…
Obviously, not everyone out there is utilizing link networks to build backlinks. But there are definitely those that rely on link networks massively. Though it’s not entirely bad to use such networks, the best idea is to not depend on just one link network for building backlinks for your niche sites. There are still multiple blog networks that are going strong. However, you need to use your brains and take every step with caution so that you can prevent (unexpected) penalties.
Don’t freak out. Google will always continue to do things it wants to do. The biggest piece of advice that you can use is to diversify your link building efforts as much as possible. If you’re using several sources to build links, it won’t destroy everything in case one of those networks gets hit.
Building a diverse backlinks profile is all about finding more opportunities, analyzing them and leveraging those that look credible.
A truly diverse backlinks profile may include -
Country code domain links
Links from .net, .org, .edu sites
You May Still Use Some of Those Networks!
The de-indexing of BMR is a special case actually. What you must note in this case is that BMR is built around a network of sites that are owned by the same link building service. [These sites belong to just one owner]. On the other hand, there are other link networks that thrive around a community. They have a network of sites that belong to different individuals like you and me. That’s why you really need to rack your brains before making a SEO decision.
Getting the point? Please feel free to share your own opinions and thoughts by casting your vote in the poll below.
Have you checked out your Facebook page yet? That’s right – today is the day that Facebook changes pages over to the new Timeline design. There’s no reason to panic – here’s the basics of what you need to do right now to make sure your page looks great for your visitors!
Add a Cover Photo
Your page’s cover photo will make the biggest impression on your Facebook page’s new design, so make it count. Unfortunately, you can’t turn it into an advertisement or include any information (like your website) that should be in your profile’s About section (see other rules about the cover photo for your page here). But you can make it a great representation of your brand or blog! Get some inspiration with these online marketing brands’ cover photos.
Update Your Page’s About Information
The information that was displayed under your page’s profile in the old design will be displayed right below your cover photo. See the difference between the old design…
and the new design.
Be sure it sums up your page well and includes a link back to your website for more clicks!
Customize Your Tabs
Your new Facebook page design has room for 12 tabs. Two of them will be set to your page’s number of likes and photos as default, and the photos cannot be moved from the first spot. When you click the down arrow, you will see all of your current apps and custom tabs.
To rearrange them, hover over one and click the pencil icon. Then you can swap its position with another tab.
You can also click on the Edit Settings option to change the tab’s image and text beneath it. The suggested size for a tab image is 111×74, but if you go bigger, it will ensure that the image is scaled down and fits across the entire area.
Since only four tabs are shown by default until someone clicks on the down arrow, organize them wisely to include the most important ones first!
Scroll Through Your Updates
Last, but not least, you will want to scroll through your page’s recent activity to make sure it looks as full as possible. If you used third party apps to update your page, you might need to break up the updates.
To do so, hover over them, click on the pencil icon, and select View Individual Stories. Then tell them to be Highlighted on Page.
Then go back to your page and click on the star to remove the highlighting feature. Now your updates will be separate but not highlighted.
If you didn’t update your page in a long time, then post some updates and change the date by hovering over them, clicking the pencil icon, and selecting Change Date. This way you can fill up your Timeline with updates so it doesn’t look so empty.
These are the absolute basics that you should do to get your Facebook page in top shape for the new design! What other things have you done to fix things up?
Do you know what type of messaging strategy works best on your Facebook Page? Most Page administrators might look at Facebook Insights every so often and may drill down to the per message detail to get their answers. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to truly measure the effectiveness of your messaging strategy. Some element of test and target must be done, in my opinion, to effectively measure how well your messages are really doing.
Unfortunately, with Facebook it’s pretty much impossible to set up split testing and if you’re thinking about multivariate testing… then forget about it. That is, not in the traditional sense anyways. As an administrator of a page you have the ability to control certain things on your wall. Targeting messages to certain fans and not others, hiding messages from fans, testing message type or time of day, etc… all possibilities on Facebook.
When you drive traffic to your wall whether it’s through ads or referral traffic from other sources like TV or radio ads, testing can be made easier. You can control traffic a bit easier, allowing you to manually perform a split test. Whats the first message going to be that they see on your wall? This is all the more important with Facebook Timeline. No more landing pages! Figure out which message strategy is the most effective for your goals to maximize the traffic going to your wall. Without the call to action of a landing page, or the lure of additional content, coupon, etc… you very well could be less effective at getting your brand noticed, “Like”d, and shared.
With Facebook Timeline, testing the waters with different messaging strategies just got a bit easier. The ability to pin and star posts allows administrators of a page to dictate the effective size and placement of status messages – well the important ones anyways. Use this feature to test out your messages as well as provide a solution to that pesky no default landing page option.
Pinning a post will place that status message at the top of your wall for 7 days. You can choose to take it down sooner than 7, but the post cannot stay up longer than 7 days. The key here is that you’re able to control one of the first places your visitors land now: the top of your page.
Pin a post for a promotion you’re doing, but hide one message and switch out with another to test new traffic coming in from an ad you’re running elsewhere. Pin a similar post to the top of your page consistently for several days to test the content types effectiveness or the time of day. Depending on your data size (fan count), it can take quite a while to start seeing trends.
Starring a post expands the post to fit a larger area on your wall. This is great for status messages that contain preview images or are themselves images. This feature in essence calls out the status message and highlights it to your fans when viewing your wall. Use this feature to test out content types and time of day as well.
To me there seem to be a lot of potential options for this type of testing on Facebook. What type of messaging test and targeting would you like to do on your page? Tell us in the comments below!
Interested in learning more about the new Facebook Timeline and how it affects your Page? Attend my webinar on April 12th – register here: bit.ly/AprWebinar
Pinterest now boasts more than 11 million unique monthly visitors. According to comScore, the average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site. The visual bookmarking website also has a higher rate of engagement than Twitter. What do all these staggering stats indicate? That Pinterest is all set to become a major player in the social media arena in the coming years. If your business is not leveraging this online platform yet, you might be missing on potential opportunities to engage your target audience.
Before we delve deep into how you can get your business up and pinning on Pinterest, let’s have a look at the top ten categories on this site.
1. Home (17.2%)
2. Arts and Crafts (12.4%)
3. Style/Fashion (11.7%)
4. Food (10.5%)
5. Inspiration/Education (9.0%)
6. Holidays/Seasonal (3.9%)
7. Humor (2.1%)
8. Products (2.1%)
9. Travel (1.9%)
10. Kids (1.8%)
If you want to create your business presence on Pinterest before it’s too late, given below are seven tips that you can use.
#1. Set Up Your Profile
To get started, you need to create a profile on Pinterest. Since the social media site is still in beta-invite only mode, you can ask a co-worker, colleague or friend of yours to send you an invite. Once you receive the invite, you can register on the site and complete your profile information. While filling out the profile, you should include links to your business website and social media pages. You can also include the link to the RSS feed.
Since you’re using Pinterest for business purpose, you should select the profile picture carefully. Choose a picture that represents your brand or company so that consumers can easily identify who you are.
#2. Create Boards
After you’ve completed the profile section, it’s time to start creating boards. While creating boards on Pinterest, you need to think what’s significant to your business. Depending on your specific requirements, you can create multiple boards and name them appropriately.
If you’re in an interior design business, you can create boards like ‘home décor ideas’, ‘ideas for home’, ‘dream bathroom’ and ‘kitchen makeover ideas’ among others.
#3. Upload Items (and Grow Them)
Next, you need to add images to each of the boards that you’ve created. Add at least 6-12 items (images or pins) to every board. Be careful to choose only those images that can quickly grab the attention of the user. You can also add videos.
#4. Learn the Pinterest Etiquette
Now that you’ve a business presence on Pinterest, it’s time to have a closer look at the Pinterest etiquette. Pinterest is a thriving social community and you should always remember to abide by the community guidelines. Pinterest doesn’t support blatant self-promotion. Be authentic and treat other community members with respect.
Read the Pin Etiquette now.
#5. Follow Other Pinterest Users
In order to grow your business presence on Pinterest, you also need to follow other users. Following other Pinterest users, re-pinning and liking their pins is vital to spread the word about your own brand. You can also choose to comment on other people’s pins as well as respond to those that are left by users on your own pins. Re-pinning and commenting on your followers’ pins is indicative of the fact that you don’t excessively self-promote.
#6. Add the Pin-It Button to Your Website
You may have added different social media buttons to your website already. Add one more – the ‘Pin it’ button (grab the code here). Placing this button on your site makes it easier for visitors to pin your visual content.
#7. Run a Contest on Pinterest
Launching a contest on Pinterest is an excellent way of creating awareness about your brand and drive social momentum among the audience. Several small businesses have already launched different types of contest on Pinterest in the past few months. If you’re sure it’s something you need, you too can announce a contest on Pinterest to fulfill your business goals.
Make sure you launch the right kind of contest (Best Pinboard, Most Repins, Sweeptakes Entries etc).
Is your business on Pinterest yet? Please feel free to share your views and opinions.
If you’re like me, you might be a little wary of automated solutions that allow you to grow your Twitter list exponentially, but also have the potential of getting your account shut down. So instead, I thought I would share with you my simple strategy for slowly and steadily growing your Twitter followers.
This isn’t about getting a huge number of just any Twitter followers, but a smaller concentration of Twitter followers that will be interested in your content.
Tweet Links with Author’s Twitter Handle
If you read and tweet blog posts a lot, chances are you are using the Tweet button on the post or an app like Buffer to schedule your tweets. But one thing you might be missing out on with either approach is adding the blog post author’s Twitter handle to your tweet. Let’s say you were tweeting a post off of Mashable, for example. It’s not likely that @Mashable will notice your tweet considering they have dozens of posts daily that are getting tweeted around 1,000+ tweets each.
The people who might notice your tweets, however, are the authors of those posts. Simply click on the name of the author to get to their author page.
There, you will find a link to their Twitter profile.
When you tweet the post, be sure to include the author’s Twitter handle in the tweet and also follow the author.
Does this work all of the time? Of course not. But if you’re already tweeting a blog post, you might as well take the extra moment or two to find the author’s Twitter handle and include them in on the tweet. As a bonus, if you do establish a good relationship with a regular author on a major blog, you could ask them to introduce you to their editor to get a great guest posting gig for yourself!
Follow People Who Tweet Your Posts
Do you notice the same person regularly tweeting your posts? Simply follow them and thank them for tweeting you! This personal interaction may get them to follow you back if they are not following you already.
Follow People You Converse With
Do you get the occasional Twitter question from someone who isn’t following you? If they’re talking about your niche or industry, be sure to answer and follow them. They’ll likely take notice and follow you back since you’ll be fresh on their mind!
Monitor Keyword Discussions
Not sure where to find new followers? Try this approach. Search for a particular keyword on Twitter to see who is talking about it.
You can save your searches on Twitter itself or, better yet, save this search in a Twitter management tool like HootSuite so you can continuously monitor it.
Whenever someone asks a good question, answer it and follow the person. Since you’re helping them out, they’ll likely view you as an authority and follow you back for more information!
Last, but not least, make sure you get the most exposure for your tweets by simply adding a keyword hashtag to them. You know things like #seo, #socialmedia, and #blogging are popular. But if you’re not sure about others, use Tospy Analytics to search hashtag ideas to see which ones get the most usage.
Beneath the graph, you can see the types of tweets that are shared with that hashtag and the number of influential users that use it.
By doing this, the people who follow that hashtag will see your tweet as well as the people who create Paper.li papers and other content based around the hashtag.
How Do You Grow a Steady Following on Twitter?
These are just a few ways to build a slow and steady following on Twitter that shouldn’t backfire and get your account penalized. What other methods do you use to build followers?
You’ve seen the Facebook stats: 845 million active users (161 million active US users), 2.7B daily likes, 60% of all internet users in the US and UK are on Facebook, and 2 billion total registered users. The social media site we’ve been use to for the past 5+ years has grown and evolved – and your marketing strategy should as well.
Improving your Facebook marketing strategy over time requires a bit of trial and error. Heavy testing is involved and is my – 1st T: TEST. If you aren’t testing now, you’re missing out. Having your social media team utilize Facebook Insights is crucial to your success. Test and monitor your messaging strategy in the following ways:
- Time & date of successful status message updates
- Type of content and it’s success – pictures, video, etc…
- Trends in weekly total reach – look for cyclical patterns and spikes
- Friends of fans count – look for spikes to help you determine your most influential fans
- # of engaged users and reach per message
There are key sets of data you can obtain by testing, as you can see above. Utilize this information to target your messaging in a better way to your audience – T #2: TARGET. It makes sense that messaging strategies that target your demographic are going to be the most successful, but surprisingly many Facebook admins update their status messages ‘willy-nilly’, often forgetting who their real target market is.
With T #1: TEST, you’ll get a good idea of how your current fans engage with your page. Use this information to target your messages. Do Q&A type of posts work better? This type of messaging, when asking the right questions, can target users in certain buying cycles and help push them over the edge to make purchases. Is more engagement on posts targeted to a certain type of fan? Status messages catering to a female demographic, if you have more female fans than male, can produce higher engagement scores. Do you have a lot of international fans? Page admins can target messaging by location or language. Look at the data and target – enuf said!
And on to – T #3: TAG. It’s surprising to me how few brands actually use tagging. This is one of the best features on Facebook that allows you to cross promote your page and engage as a brand with other pages. Start using tagging in status message updates to highlight business partnerships, give shoutouts to employees, highlight an awesome charity or shed light on a new cause. Start using tagging to engage with other pages and you’ll find the fans of those pages will slowly follow.
Something else to remember when using Facebook to market your business is – T #4: TRENDS. I use Facebook both personally and professionally, so it seems I’m logged in quite a bit. Over time you start to notice trends in the messages of your friends. Whether it’s things they’re talking about, types of questions they’re asking, events they’re reporting about or even content they’re sharing – these are all opportunities as marketers to get great ideas for your business page.
For example, the “meme” trend and caption photos are pretty hot right now on Facebook. As a business page you can utilize this trend and make your own memes or caption photos. If you weren’t following the trends, however, you may have missed this type of messaging on Facebook. The “Doppelgänger” fad from a few years ago is another example. Using these trending topics to engage with your users can help improve engagement and the effectiveness of your efforts.
Well there you have it, the 4 T’s to help improve your Facebook marketing strategy. Can you think of a few more T’s to add to the list?
SEO is here to stay for a long time. Though it’s important to stick to best SEO practices and guidelines, you should never use too much SEO. Google spam team head Matt Cutts attended the SXSW a week ago. During his panel, he announced that Google is working on an update that’ll specifically target those websites that indulge in overdoing SEO.
Matt’s announcement is yet another proof that SEO won’t die soon. It’s here to stay and webmasters need to be more careful while incorporating search optimization strategies into their sites.
So, you need to ask – ‘Is my site overly SEO’ed?
The upcoming update is going to be a massive one. A hard pill to swallow for SEOs! Though Google usually doesn’t pre-announce an algorithmic update, this announcement should quickly raise the ears of SEOs around the globe. If you are working really hard at SEO (which I know many of you do), it’s about time you stopped this right away.
Though over-optimization or overdone SEO has been in discussion for a long time, you can’t ignore it anymore. The algorithmic update (which many Google engineers are already working on) will be launched anytime in the next few weeks. It sounds pretty scary, right?
Signs of Over-Optimization
I know this is what you actually want to ask. You want to know how much SEO is too much so that you can identify whether your site is overly SEO’ed. On the other hand, there are those who are over-optimizing their web pages and they know that they are overdoing it. Brace yourself!
A site is overly SEO’ed if -
it repeats keywords in Meta tags
it has long keyword-stuffed URL strings
it has keyword-stuffed alt tags
it focuses on SEO content, rather than the visitor
it has an unnatural backlinks profile
it has too many anchor-text manipulated hyperlinks on web pages
Many times, you would force yourself to complete 500 words when you can say or express your idea in just 300 words. You do it only because you want to meet a mythical search engine word count so that you can rank at top positions in search engine results pages. This is exactly when you start to create fluffy SEO copy, which indicates you are in the habit of overdoing SEO.
What to Do
Without any delay, you should warn all your SEOs or the search optimization agency (if you outsource the work) to beware before it’s too late. If you’re working with a SEO company, it’s always a good idea to keep a close watch on everything they are doing to improve your site’s rankings. Don’t make the mistake of handling your sites to a SEO agency or professional and never bothering to check what strategies they are using. After all, it’s your businesses and you’re accountable for where you want to take it.
Please people and search engines will be happy too. Google has told it time and again that they want to enhance the web user’s experience. If you want your site to survive in search rankings, you need to focus all of your attention to people. By writing for people, you won’t only escape search penalties, but you’ll also increase the rate of conversion on your site.
And, be careful if you plan to hire a SEO agency or professional because prevention is always better than cure.
Should Google Define ‘Too Much SEO’ or ‘Over-Optimization’?
This is an important question. A lot of people are worried because they have no idea how Google is going to differentiate between great content and overly SEO’ed sites. Publishers and small businesses are investing in SEO in large numbers. They really need more clarity about what Google considers as ‘over-optimized’ or ‘overly SEO’ed’. Will Google ever answer?
What do you have to say about this upcoming Google search update? I really hope that your site doesn’t fall into the ‘overly SEO’ed’ catgory.
Do you want to keep up with the latest news for your favorite Facebook fan pages, but don’t want to miss out on them because EdgeRank is hiding them from your new feed? Or would you prefer to not have to go to Facebook at all until your favorite pages have updates?
One of the Google Chrome extensions I use, RSS Subscription Extension, puts an RSS icon in the browser’s address bar when there is an RSS feed discovered on a page. On Facebook pages that haven’t been converted to the new Timeline design, that icon comes up so you can subscribe to your favorite page’s RSS feed.
For pages with the new design enabled, however, the RSS feed has gone missing.
Fortunately, the feed is still available though. You just need a little workaround. To get any page’s RSS feed, first you will need to grab the page’s ID number. For pages that do not have a customized username (http://facebook.com/username), the ID number will be at the end of the URL. For those pages that have a customized username, the quickest way to grab the ID is through the Open Graph. Simply take the page’s username and add it to the following URL.
Highlighted in the above is my page’s ID number, 255576081168962. To create the RSS feed, take the page ID number and insert it in the following.
Take this URL and paste it into your preferred RSS reader. Mine is Google Reader, so I would paste it in to the Subscribe field.
Now, you can see your favorite page’s updates all in your RSS reader.
With Google Reader, you can even gain some insight into how many times a page posts per week on average.
I’m not sure how accurate that really is, but you might find it insightful sometimes. My page shows an average of six posts a week when lately I have only done one to two per week. Mashable’s page, on the other hand, shows an average of 120 post per week and 23 subscriber’s to their page’s RSS feed.
Do you use RSS feeds to follow Facebook pages?
How much do your customers really use social media? This seems to be a question that’s asked often and answered often. You might ask this question if you’re just starting out in a new industry or maybe you’ve been in your industry a while but just don’t have a clue where to start online. Lack of knowledge, disconnect with data and not knowing who your customers are can cause issues when trying to figure out how social your customers are.
The first step in figuring out how social your customers are is research. Turn your lack of knowledge into expertise just by putting in the research. Conduct social listening exercises across multiple platforms to get started. Here are some suggested social listening exercises to help you gain the social insight you need into your industry.
Monitor the large social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even MySpace. Use the search functionalities of each of these sites. Search for keywords related to your products or services. Who is talking about your products and services? Are any of these users very influential – you can figure this out by going to their profile and looking at how many friends they have and how active they are.
Additionally, try typing in frequently asked questions into the search bar. Are there users asking those questions? Make note of how regularly messages are sent out and/or responded to. This can help you figure out how social your customers are too.
Search for competitors brand pages. You can gain a lot of insight by seeing just how other brands are using social media. How active are their fans? Do fans comment, “like”, “share” and post regularly? Do they foster a sense of community on their pages? Make note of how your competitors are using social media marketing.
Use a search engine to find discussion boards and forums. How regularly are people posting, answering and sharing? The conversations in forums and on discussion boards can show you how often your customers feel compelled to post about industry related topics.
Blogs & Industry News
Use a search engine to find industry blogs and websites. Does the site allow contributors? How many bloggers write for the site and how active are they on social media? Make note of how regularly posts are updated, commented on and responded to. This can help you see exact how social your customers are.
With each of the listening exercises above you’ll gain great insight into the social activities of your prospects. In addition to the research you put forth through social listening, try looking at studies put together by by Forrester, Marketing Hub, Pingdom, and others. Some of these studies will help you identify how social certain demographic groups are.
Additionally, you can get insider tips from people within your own industry. Search Google for articles about marketing to your industry through social media. Or follow experts like Jay Baer who wrote this great blog post, “4 Detective Tricks to Find Your Customers in Social Media”.
Hopefully after a few of these exercises you’ll start to get a better grip on exactly how social your customers are. Don’t forget to go back and conduct these exercises often – the social activities of your customers change over time.
What sites do you currently use to conduct social listening?