Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

5 Common Link Building Faux Pax to Avoid

Dec 27, 2011   //   by Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe   //   link building, SEO Blog  //  26 Comments

how to build better linksIf you have been in the link building business over the past years, you must have noticed that things don’t work the same way any longer.

Generating tons of search engine traffic by slapping a few reciprocal links on your page simply does not work.

Before you embark on your SEO link building quest, it’s useful to understand what strategies DID matter a while ago, but are merely obsolete today – learn from the history, you know.

#1: PRECISE ANCHOR TEXTS

Previously, SEOs used to optimize their sites by using the same anchor text for all their links.

Well, this strategy is not that hot these days; as a matter of fact, you can be penalized by Google for doing it and not even know it.

Natural anchor texts are the key today.

But what is natural you might ask?

Basically, a natural link looks like it was built by a user, not an SEO. Normal users would not use a precise anchor text in their links, and neither should you – ALL the time, anyway.

In practical terms, when working on your link building, don’t just use your high value keywords in your links, but throw in a few “natural speech” words in there as well, like “cool site”, “click here”, etc.

Don’t over-optimize!

#2: GOOGLE PAGERANK

I can’t believe there are still so many discussions about the validity of PageRank in the SEO world these days. I suppose if so much is written about it, somebody wants to read it, right?

As far as link building is concerned, PageRank is not the best indicator of the page strength.

The famous green bar has been a JOKE ever since Matt Cutts of Google confirmed that Google “takes care of people querying the PR data too much or too heavily.”  (The source is a bit old, but if anything changed since then, it would be the fact that Google tried to downplay PageRank even more.)

Sounds like Google returns random page rank data if they feel like it – just because it’s fun to fool SEOs.

But why did I list PageRank as one of the factors I look for in a perfect link?

Simply because we don’t have too many alternatives to measure page authority aside from PR and maybe SEOMoz Page Authority metric, which I use quite a bit as well.

Either one of those metrics can be used as an indicator of the page strength, but not the primary factor by any means.

#3: ALEXA RANK

This metric is geared towards online marketers and does not truly measure ALL the traffic that might come to your site.

It’s based on the sample of Alexa toolbar users, is browser-specific and can be easily manipulated (from what I’ve heard anyway).

Plus, the formula Alexa uses to determine its page rank is overwhelmingly debated.

Once again, it’s a good indicator of the site authority, but should be used along with other factors to determine if any given site is truly a good link building candidate.

#4: GOOGLE BACKLINK DATA

Referring to the link:somedomain.com Google query.

Don’t ever trust Google to really tell you how many links a specific website has. Plus, when you do a Google search on your links, random samples are returned, so you might see the spammiest of all the links you have.

Yahoo! Site Explorer used to be a great backlink research tool, but alas, it’s out of commission.

I’ve done a lot of research on the alternatives, and so far my two best suggestions for link research are:

1. Market Samurai: if you already own Market Samurai, look no further.

I love their SEO competition section. It used to be powered by Yahoo! Site Explorer, but was recently changed to Majestic SEO – another great backlink checker that otherwise requires a monthly subscription to use.

Here’s a video on how to use the SEO Competition module of Market Samurai:

http://youtu.be/dg-7x1DI8W0

2. SEOSpyGlass: this software goes a few steps further than Market Samurai as far as backlink analysis is concerned.

My favorite part is the fact that it measures the VALUE of a link, plus the fact that their free version is free for life.

#5: GOOGLE CACHE DATE

This metric has also been used and abused by SEOs to the point that it can’t be relied upon. Juicy pages that rank are often returned as having no cache set.

So forget about the cache date as well.

Marketing Takeaway

Simple: if you are heavily relying upon any one of the above metrics to determine whether any given site/page is a good one to get a link from, stop it.

Effective link building is all about diversity.

 

Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

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

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How to Find Your Site Mentions on Social Networks

Dec 23, 2011   //   by Kristi Hines   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  12 Comments

Are you ever curiuos about your standings on social networks? See things like who has been sharing your content, how many shares / votes it has received, and more with the following URLs or Google search queries. Just replace domain.com with your domain!

Twitter

There are two ways you can see your tweets on Twitter. The first is to perform a real time search on Twitter itself using the following URL (be sure to use the dropdown to see All tweets). Use the Save this search button to save it to your Twitter profile or create a column for this search in HootSuite / Tweetdeck.

https://twitter.com/search?q=%domain.com%22

The second is to use Topsy.com, which will show you the tweet count next to results from your domain. Change the time range to see tweets from the past hour to all time, and click on the tweet count of a particular post will let you see who has tweeted it.

http://topsy.com/s?q=domain.com

Facebook

Facebook search is a bit trickier – using their search bar, you will only get results when someone has typed your domain.com in the comment of their share, and only within the last 30 days. If you want to see a sampling of who is sharing your posts, try the following on Google.

site:facebook.com inurl:posts “domain.com”

Google+

When you search using Google+, you will get mentions of links from your domain that have been shared as well as anyone who has mentioned your domain in their comments.

https://plus.google.com/s/domain.com/posts

Topsy also has a search that will show the number of times a post has been shared on Google+. Just like the Twitter results, you can change the time range to see tweets from the past hour to all time, and click on the tweet count of a particular post will let you see who has tweeted it.

http://plus.topsy.com/s/domain.com

LinkedIn

You can search domain mentions on LinkedIn using the following URL. While it might not be that exciting because a lot of people feed their Twitter into their LinkedIn profile, the nice part is you can use the left side options to see people who tweet your content by location, company, industry, connections, and more. It may actually be a great way to meet new people that you can connect with – just check the box next to 3rd + Everyone under Network!

http://www.linkedin.com/signal/?type=updates&keywords=domain.com

YouTube

If you’ve tagged a lot of your videos with your link, these will come up as well. But I did find that if you search for your domain, you might find some people who have mentioned or referenced it in their videos.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=”domain.com”

StumbleUpon

There were two ways to find out which pages from your site have been stumbled. The first was the long way which will allow you to use the Stumble button to go through pages from your domain on the StumbleUpon network, one by one. When I last tried this, I got a message that SU was “testing” some new feature and it didn’t work like it was supposed to. Not sure if that is a temporary thing or not.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/to/stumble/stumblethru:domain.com

As a substitute, you can use this Google search instead.

site:www.stumbleupon.com/url/domain.com/

Delicious

This URL will show you the pages from your domain that have been bookmarked by users on Delicious, the number of times each page has been saved, and the tags / descriptions that people have added.

http://delicious.com/search?p=domain.com

Digg

This URL will show you any pages dugg from your domain, including vote counts.

http://digg.com/search?q=site:domain.com

Reddit

The results may not always be pleasant with this network, but using this URL will help you find any mentions of your domain on Reddit.

http://www.reddit.com/domain/domain.com/

BizSugar

BizSugar is a great network for business news, so if your site has great business content, it may have ended up here. See which pages have been sugared using this URL!

http://www.bizsugar.com/search/domain.com

Pinterest

Pinterest is the latest and greatest social bookmarking site that allows you to create vision boards with images on the web (hint: you should optimize for it). This URL will let you see if any photos from your domain have been pinned by Pinterest users.

http://pinterest.com/source/domain.com/

Do you keep up with your site mentions on social media or bookmarking networks? What other ones do you follow?

Kristi Hines

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

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5 Geospecific Link Building Tips

Dec 22, 2011   //   by Kaila Strong   //   link building, SEO, SEO Blog  //  7 Comments

When I’m approached with a client who heavily relies on business from a specific geographic area may seem daunting to come up with advanced strategy for SEO without a bit of out-of-the-box thinking. There are only so many profiles you can submit, customers who review your business, citations you can claim, and onsite optimization changes to make. Eventually there comes a time when you need a strategic link building campaign that focuses on giving search algorithms the signals needed to improve your geospecific rankings.

Through the use of content marketing, social media, and traditional link building you can compete against the rest of that 7 pack. The concept is simple: look for sites that are designed and used almost exclusively by those in your geospecific area. Those signals can help improve local rankings. Here are a few tips to help you with your geospecific link building.

Local Community

If you have the luxury of being a business in a large metropolis or heavily populated area you stand a chance to integrate your business into the local community through a variety of avenues. Reach out to local bloggers, influencers, artists, photographers, business owners and PR professionals. These are the people who will want to link to your site, share the good word about your brand, and of course become your customers too. Many of them likely have websites or blogs where they can link back to you.

Contact local organizations like Local First Arizona, here in Phoenix where I live. Their goal is to work to support the local economy. Organizations like this, promoting the local movement, exist in many other areas too.

Government and Local Resources

The department of commerce websites often contain large lists of local businesses with information such as phone, address and website. Submit your business to sites like this and to local resource sites also. Using an advanced search command such as “phoenix” “list” “businesses” “add your company” or “phoenix” “list” “add your company” “pizza” can yield some decent results for local resource pages.

Targeted Local Directories & Libraries

Many local directories exist still today. More commonly used prior to the popularity of search engines, local directories are a great place to obtain a link. Advanced search commands, just as described above, can showcase some opportunities. Try adding “add your link” to the searches listed above to find additional sites.

Libraries often have local resources linked to from their sites as well. Again, advanced search commands come in handy to track these sites down.

Newspaper Websites

Online newspapers and news sites offer a great way for businesses to highlight their businesses – allowing them to become contributors. A news site like NowPublic.com are crowd powered sites, relying on citizen journalists to help tell the news. They are looking for experts to help contribute and as an expert in your own field you can apply. Bio pages on these reputable sites often have in content do-follow link building opportunities, along with of course the content itself.

Radio Stations

More and more radio stations are becoming content publishers. Many have entire forums and social components to their sites where users can drop links. Additionally some rely on citizen journalism as well. Apply to become a writer or search around the site to see if they have a local resource list to add your business to.

These are just a few of MANY strategies that work to reinvigorate a geospecific link building campaign. Have you done much geospecific link building? Tell us about some of the ways you were able to find some great local links in the comments below.

Kaila Strong

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

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How Would You Like To Increase Your Traffic by 34.35%?

Dec 20, 2011   //   by Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe   //   Google, SEO, SEO Blog  //  19 Comments

high google rankingsI recently stumbled upon a search engine ranking report from Chitika, an online advertising network, that focused on answering one question: how valuable prime search ranking positions really are.

Although the report was published a while ago, I believe that little has changed since then, and the following results are definitely something to pay attention to.

Of course we all know that it’s great to have #1 Google search engine ranking for your keyword.

But how much is it really worth in terms of traffic generation?

According to the data from the Chitika network, it’s worth a great deal – double the search engine traffic of the #2 spot, to be precise.

Let me put it another way:

The #1 Google search engine ranking spot gets as many visitors as positions 2-4 combined!

To come up with these impressive numbers, Chitika analyzed a sample of 8,253,240 impressions across their network.

“In order to find out the value of SEO, we looked at a sample of traffic coming into our advertising network from Google and broke it down by Google results placement.

The top spot drove 34.35% of all traffic in the sample, almost as much as the numbers 2 through 4 slots combined, and more than the numbers 5 through 20 (the end of page 2) put together.”

Search engine ranking #10 gets 143% more clicks than #11.

“The biggest jump, percentage-wise, is from the top of page 2 to the bottom of page 1.

Going from the 11th spot to 10th sees a 143% jump in traffic. However, the base number is very low – that 143% jump is from 1.11% of all Google traffic to 2.71%.

As you go up the top page, the raw jumps get bigger and bigger, culminating in that desired top position.”

Here are the search engine ranking numbers:

Google Result
Impressions
Click Percentage
1 2,834,806 34.35%
2 1,399,502 16.96%
3 942,706 11.42%
4 638,106 7.73%
5 510,721 6.19%
6 416,887 5.05%
7 331,500 4.02%
8 286,118 3.47%
9 235,197 2.85%
10 223,320 2.71%
11 91,978 1.11%
12 69,778 0.85%
13 57,952 0.70%
14 46,822 0.57%
15 39,635 0.48%
16 32,168 0.39%
17 26,933 0.33%
18 23,131 0.28%
19 22,027 0.27%
20 23,953 0.29%

Show Me the Money!

I admit, having a number 1 search engine ranking on Google is very exciting and all, but if you are ranking of the wrong keyword, it won’t help your business much.

How do you know when it’s worth to improve google ranking?

To determine that, you can do one of the following:

Test your keywords with Google Adwords

  1. Start a Google AdWords campaign for the keyword, select “exact match” and point the ad to the page on your website that is most relevant to the keyword.
  2. Track the impressions and the conversion rate of the ad. To get useful data, you should track at least 500 clicks.
  3. With that data, you can make a guess about the value of a visitor that finds your website through that keyword.

For example, your ad might have had 10,000 impressions during a week and 200 visitors have come to your website. Six of them purchased something of your website and the total profit was $500.

That means that the average single visitor who finds your website through that keyword is worth $2.50 to your business ($500 / 200). The 10,000 ad impressions in a week can create a click-through rate of 34.35% (see table above) if you have the number 1 ranking for that keyword.

That means that you would get about 3,435 visitors per week. Based on the average value of $2.50/visitor you would earn $8,587.50 per week or $446,500 per year just with a single keyword.

Getting Market Value figures in Market Samurai

If you already own a copy of Market Samurai, the task of gathering all this info becomes even more of a breeze.

This data is gathered under you Keyword Analysis Data in Keyword Research tool.

Here are the numbers we are interested in:

SEO Value (SEOV) – This is the maximum total value of traffic that the #1 ranked web page for this keyword (based on search results) is likely to receive – per month.

Adwords Value (AWV) - This is the maximum total value of traffic that the #1 ranked advertiser (in Google Adwords) is likely to receive – per month.

In both cases, Market Samurai is taking the Market Value benchmark to the next step

…by breaking down the Market Value number into how much #1 ranked web site will bring through organic SEO and Google Adwords respectively.

If you don’t have Market Samurai, I would recommend you get a copy – it will save you a lot of time (and money) doing market research and give you access to a lot of really powerful keyword research tools.

Image credit: ICanHasCheezburger.com

Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

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

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Optimizing the New YouTube Channel Design

Dec 16, 2011   //   by Kristi Hines   //   Social Media  //  22 Comments

Back in October, I wrote an article on optimizing your social media profiles for SEO which included a detailed look at YouTube channels. And of course, here we are in December and YouTube has completely revamped their channel design. If you haven’t been to your channel recently, I’d suggest you go take a look at it now as it has all changed.

Before:

After:

Here are some highlights as to what you need to go in and modify.

Featured Videos

The first thing I noticed right away was my set featured video was nowhere to be found, and the channel was displaying my latest videos in the order they were uploaded. So if you’re like me and you want that featured video back, be sure to go in and set it. Click on the Edit button above the top video on your channel.

Use the dropdown to select whether your featured video is in Uploaded videos, Favorite videos, or a custom playlist. Then uncheck the box for Most Recent Video in Featured Set to see all of your videos in the category you chose. Click on the video you want as featured and then click Apply.

Playlist

Beneath your featured video is a playlist, usually set to your most recent uploads or another playlist. Click on the Edit button above this playlist to choose what you want displayed.

Select the playlist (Uploaded videos, Favorite videos, or a custom playlist) you want displayed below your featured video and then click Apply.

About You and Your Links

To edit your channel’s information, click on the Edit button in the right sidebar above the About You text.

The downside to the new changes is that there is no longer any customizable field that counts as the meta description for your channel and your links are no longer dofollow. The upside is you can include more links on your channel to your website, social profiles, etc. While they may not have SEO value, they are in a great position to be clicked upon by visitors to your channel.

Beneath your links are additional fields about you as the user, your hometown, occupation, companies, schools, and interests. The most important area to fill out is the top About box and your links as the rest of the information will be hidden unless someone clicks on the more link.

Featured Playlists and Channels

Underneath your information and links are two areas where you can highlight your featured playlists and featured channels (or links to other YouTube channels). Click on the Edit button above each section to set these in the order you prefer.

Have you updated your YouTube channel? Do you love it or hate it? Please share your thoughts on the new design in the comments!

Kristi Hines

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

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Marketing to On Demand Consumers

Dec 14, 2011   //   by Kaila Strong   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  6 Comments

We want what we want when we want it. This on demand nature can impact the success of your website and your business. From website speed to free downloads, there are a few things you can do today that can live up to the on demand requirements of today’s society.

Speed

Nothing frustrates savvy online users more than a slow website (pop-ups are certainly up there on the list too!). Increasing the speed of your website will help users download content faster, view photos with ease, watch videos quickly too and of course buy products.

A few areas you can increase speed today:

  • Compress images and specify image dimensions in HTML code
  • Consolidate the number of external JavaScript and CSS files
  • Minify HTML
  • Test your host – upgrade if necessary
  • 10PoundGorilla.com provides a few more tips here

FAQ

Have you ever asked your sales people, customer service agents, or other employees what the number one question they’re asked is? Find out what it is and make sure the answer is on your site. Seems simple enough but is often overlooked. And for those on demand folks they won’t wait to find the answer and many won’t even call – they’ll just go onto the next site that has the answers.

Prices

While an often debated premise, putting prices up on your site for your services and products can bode well for your bottom line. Certainly it depends on your services and industry, but many experts suggest adding prices to your website. For an on demand society they don’t want to wait to see what your prices are, or fill out a form just to get directed to a sales person. Give them what they want – prices!

Free Downloads

Using free guides or white papers as a way to bring visitors to your site is a great concept. Where some businesses may slip up is by making their content only accessible after a lead form is filled out. Check out these 9 epic free eBooks. Quite a few of them from large content marketing agencies aren’t opt-in. Before you automatically assume you should have an opt-in form think about making it 100% free to your visitors.

Sign In

When I happen to land on a site that allows me to login with Facebook or Twitter I usually do. One less form for me to fill out? Yes please! Using the login button for Facebook or for Twitter promotes a more engaged user base and makes the process of signing into your site much easier too. If a user wants to log in then let them do it quickly and easily by integrating these buttons onto your site.

Easy Purchase

Creating the easiest possible shopping process is ideal for eCommerce sites. Easy to access add to cart buttons, personalization options, ship-to-store availability, quick browsing, and reviews at the ready are all parts of making the shopping process easier on your site.

Sharability

Sharing a new purchase with a friend or getting feedback from a family member on a possible purchase is a regular occurrence these days. Make it easier for prospective customers by adding share buttons to each of your product pages and thank you pages as well.

How do you deal with marketing to an on demand demographic? Let us know, in the comments below!

Kaila Strong

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

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How to Find Keywords You KNOW Your Readers Are Searching For

Dec 13, 2011   //   by Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe   //   keyword research, SEO Blog  //  26 Comments
easy keyword research

"Hands-free" isn't always a good thing...

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked doing keyword research.

Let’s face it: it’s tedious, time-consuming, and overwhelming, and that’s not even the biggest problem.

The core aspect of keyword research that many webmasters get wrong is finding keywords that THEIR readers search for when looking for information about their niche subject.

There’s a huge difference between THINKING you know what your readers are searching for and KNOWING what they are searching for, wouldn’t you say?

The following keyword research method is the easiest way I’ve even found to identify such search terms.

Oh, and did I mention it’s entirely hands-off, apart from setting it up, and entirely free?

Google Site Search

Chances are you have a search box on your site, and it’s most likely used by your readers to look up the kind of information they would expect to find on your site. Also, chances are your search box is powered by Google Site Search.

If you DON’T have a search box, stop right here and install it immediately! There’s nothing more frustrating than being on a site and not being able to find the information you are looking for. Search boxes keep your readers happy and your bounce rate low.

So, now that you definitely have the search box on your blog, have you ever checked what your readers are searching for?

If not, you are missing out on a vital piece of information that could tell you exactly what kind of content your readers want to see on your site.

In other words, TARGETED keywords.

Now let’s get down to business and set up a way for you to tap into this valuable information by tracking it in Google Analytics.

How to Track Site Search in Google Analytics

Setting up this process is very simple.

Note: since the new Google Analytics interface will soon become the default one for everyone, that’s the version I’ll use in the instructions below.

1.  From “Profiles” go into “Profile Settings”.

google analytics profile settings

 

2. Scroll down just a bit till you see”Site Search Settings” and set up the parameters like you see them in the screenshot below:


site search settings

 

Note: set “s” as the Query Parameter.

Just in case you are wondering why, “s” stands for “search” and is found in any search URL.

For instance, when I do a search for “web traffic” on my blog, this is what the URL for the search looks like:

search parameter settings

4. Click “Apply” and you are all set.

I told you it would be easy, right?

Site Search Results

Depending on how busy your blog is, it might take some time to accumulate any actionable results.

My blog gets about 400 site searches per month, which is plenty enough to determine what kind of content my readers tend to search for.

Here’s where to find these stats in Google Analytics:

search terms google analytics

Marketing Takeaway

And there you have it.

Not only do you know now what content you need to write about, but also what content you might need to make more accessible to your readers, for instance in your sidebar.

Easy, perfectly targeted, hands-free keyword research – check.

Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

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

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How to Manage an Effective Social Media Campaign

Dec 12, 2011   //   by Daniela Baker   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  3 Comments

Social media marketing can be a daunting task which takes time away from other important responsibilities. This is especially the case for small business owners who don’t have the staffing power to fully maximize the benefits of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In. Buzz, etc.) with regard to their online marketing strategy.  Such benefits include increased brand awareness, networking, customer interaction which can turn leads into sales.

  1. Formulate a strategy. According to Diana Huff, a leading Internet Marketing expert, there are strategies that small business owners can implement that will help them manage their social media campaigns effectively and save time.

Before interacting on Facebook or Twitter, know why you wish to maintain a presence on each site. Without a strategy you will not be able to market your product or service effectively.  The following are some key questions to ask as your create your online strategy:

  • What is your company’s marketing objective?
  • What results do you wish to achieve?
  • How will success be measured?
  • Who on your team will be responsible for monitoring your firm’s online presence and interacting with prospects and customers?
  • How much time will this employee be able to devote exclusively to social media?
  • Which of the platforms are best for your business?
  1. Start slowly with one platform. Many small business owners mistakenly believe that they must jump into all social media platforms at one time. This is simply not the case. You can start with any of the sites and once comfortable on that site, build a presence on the others. It is also fine to elect not to participate in some sites at all. What is most important is that you develop a consistent presence on those sites you do choose to use.   It does not good to develop a page or profile, post a couple of comments and then disappear.  It takes time to develop a following but well worth the effort once you recognize the viral effect of online marketing. 
  2. Set a social media schedule. Tim Ferriss, author of the 4 hour Work Week, includes much discussion on how to manage email overload. One of his suggestions is to simply stop checking it 50 times per day. The same advice can be followed with regard to social media.  Schedule a set period of time each day when you will post a question for your Facebook fans, post a comment to your LinkedIn group, check your Google feed, or post and article to your company blog. As per Diana Huff, setting aside as little as 30 minutes twice per week should suffice for carrying out each of these tasks. Grouping your social media time in this way lessens the anxiety associated with building a social media presence. 
  3. Use tools to help manage multiple platforms. If you have several employees posting to the sites or if you are an Internet marketer with several accounts, it helps to use such tools as HootSuite or TweekDeck. These tools shorten your URL and eliminate the need to log in and out to multiple platforms
  4. Outsource if necessary. While there is much discussion on the ethics of ghost-blogging, it is a fact that many small companies are not able to manage their social media campaigns effectively while trying to grow their business. In light of this, hiring ghostwriters is a smart move when trying to balance the competing needs of your firm.  

An effective social media campaign is managed in the same way as any marketing effort: with a strategy in place based on your business model and objectives.

Daniela Baker

Daniela Baker is a social media advocate with the credit card comparison website CreditDonkey. For more ways on using social media for success, visit her team's blog. Remember, following the above suggestions will help you derive the most benefit from your social media efforts so you find it to be a rewarding (and profitable) experience.

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Facebook Share vs. Facebook Like Button

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

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

Customizing Shares with the Facebook Share Button

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

Facebook Share Button

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

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

Facebook Like Button

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

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

Counting Shares vs. Likes

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

Facebook link.getStats Share and Like Count

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

Facebook Like Count

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

Getting the Code

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

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

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

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

Kristi Hines

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

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Creating a Content Calendar – 4 Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaila Strong

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

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