Posts Tagged ‘Laurie Sullivan’
As the use of social media in marketing has become ubiquitous, marketers have turned their attention to making the use of business social media more sophisticated and strategic. They are refining tactics, integrating social with other marketing channels, taking a hard look at new networks, and continuing to refine their measurements of success.
How can marketers help their organizations move from “social media marketing” to “social business”? Which emerging platforms are essential (or even worth investigating)? What role does social play in a brand’s overall online visibility? How does social media use differ in B2B vs. B2C companies? Between large and small businesses? Which content marketing tactics and formats are gaining or losing favor? How do marketers separate hype from reality in mobile?
Find the answers to these questions and many, many more in this compilation of more than 100 compelling social media, content marketing and SEO stats, facts and observations.
General Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics
1. 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online. (An amazing statistic, given that nearly 20% of the adult U.S. population still lacks internet access). (Relevanza)
2. 20- to 30-year-olds (Gen Y), act like no other previous generations. 20-something business buyers are roughly twice as likely to seek information or advice from social media as the generation before them (31- to 40-year-olds) and almost four times more likely to than the baby boomers (51- to 60-year-olds). (MediaPost)
3. 68% of Google+ users are male, while 80% of Pinterest users are women. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
4. Looking at the importance of social media by business function, 80% of business executives said social is “important” or “somewhat important” in marketing and branding; 74% said the same for customer service; 70% for innovation and new product/service development; and 63% for employee recruiting. Less than half view social media as important for supplier/partner engagement. (e-Strategy Trends)
5. Social media isn’t quite as ubiquitous as it sometimes seems. 7% of the American population has never heard of Facebook, and 41% say they haven’t heard of LinkedIn. And these people can vote. Which explains a lot. (iMedia Connection)
6. 72% of adult internet users in the U.S. are now active on at least one social network, up from 67% in 2012 and just 8% in 2005. (MediaPost)
7. As many companies have learned the hard way, unanswered complaints on social networks can go viral, causing real damage to a company’s brand. But the opposite is also true: 71% of consumers receiving a quick brand response on social media say they would likely recommend that brand to others. (Forbes)
8. 65% of respondents of global business executives say their organizations use social business tools to understand market shifts; 45% to improve visibility into operations; and 45% to identify internal talent. (Deloitte University Press)
9. There are, on average, 700 YouTube video links shared on Twitter every minute, and 500 years worth of YouTube videos watched on Facebook every day. (Social Media Today)
10. 60% of LinkedIn users have clicked on an ad on the site, and 43% of U.S. marketers have obtained at least one new customer through LinkedIn. (Social Media Today)
11. 70% of brands now have a presence on Google+, up from just 4% in the last quarter of 2012. (Social Media Today)
12. 69% of brands now have a presence on Pinterest, up from 10% in the fourth quarter of 2012. (Social Media Today)
General Marketing Facts and Statistics
13. Webinars, virtual events and other digital communications channels are driving trade shows and other live events to extinction, right? Wrong. Nearly three-quarters of brand marketers still view live trade shows and conferences as either “very valuable” or “essential to doing business.” Just 9% say their importance is diminishing. (e-Strategy Trends)
14. 93% of online research starts with a search engine, and 68% of consumers check out companies on social networking sites before buying. Visibility is vital, so every brand needs a comprehensive strategy for optimizing their overall web presence. (Brandpoint)
15. To optimize not just online visibility but also trust with buyers, vendors need to focus on their industry presence. Just 9% of B2B decision makers consider vendor content trustworthy vs. 67% who trust research from professional associations, 50% from industry organizations, 44% from analyst reports, and 40% from independent product reviews. (B2B Marketing Insider)
16. The average CTR for banners is 0.01 percent. According to Get Elastic, 31 percent of consumers are worried that they will be tracked if they click them, and 55 percent fear a virus. And yet—there were 5.3 trillion display ads served up last year. (iMedia Connection)
17. Big contradictions on big data: 71% of marketers say they plan to have Big Data solutions in place in the next two years. But 75% of marketers can’t calculate their ROI of their marketing spending and and 50% of them say that IT is not a strategic partner. (ZDNet)
18. Another contradiction: while 86% of companies are comfortable marketing with social tools, only 41% use social tools for communicating with customers. (Forbes)
B2B Social Media Marketing Stats and Facts
19. Nearly half of B2B marketers planned to increase their overall marketing budgets this year despite continuing economic challenges. Two-thirds planned to increase digital marketing spending. (Social Media Today)
20. Another source found that almost half of B2B marketers (the same “almost half”?) anticipate an increased budget for 2014, while just 3% foresee spending reductions. (eMarketer)
21. Just 38% of b2b marketers say they have a defined social media strategy. (Marketing Pilgrim)
22. Twitter is the most popular platform in b2b, with 85% of marketers saying they use this. LinkedIn is a close second at 82%. (Marketing Pilgrim)
23. Nearly three-quarters of b2b marketers say they can’t measure the ROI of social media at, or can measure it only some of the time. The primary measurement of social media success is increased website traffic. (Marketing Pilgrim)
24. Is social media displacing PR? In a recent survey of B2B PR professionals, 94% said they use social media to promote announcements vs. 71% who use press releases. 45% said they would use social media if they could use just one promotional vehicle vs. 24% who said they would issue a press release. (B2B PR Sense Blog)
25. 60% of B2B marketers identify lead generation as their top online marketing challenge. And more than a third (36%) say they can’t accurately attribute online conversions to the correct marketing channels. (eMarketer)
26. Which lead gen tactics work best? B2B marketers put email marketing at the top (with 51% saying this is a highly effective tactic) followed by SEO and content marketing (38% each), offline events like trade shows (31%) and paid search/online ads (29%). Just 11% say social media is highly effective for lead gen, and 1% identify mobile marketing. (eMarketer)
27. In terms of difficulty of execution, nearly half (49%) of B2B marketers put social media marketing at the top, followed by content marketing (39%), SEO (26%) and mobile (25%). (eMarketer)
28. Opportunity being squandered: B2B buyers under 35 years old (a growing group) are 131% more likely to make corporate purchases online than their older counterparts. 90% of B2B buyers age 18-35 now make company purchases online, compared with 45% of those age 45-60 and 29% of those age 60+. Yet nearly half have purchased from Amazon Supply in the past year because their current suppliers aren’t offering an online purchase channel. (BizReport)
29. Another opportunity being squandered: More than 90% of B2B marketers consider webinars/webcasts, e-books, white papers, and published articles to be either “very” or “somewhat” effective in achieving SEO and marketing objectives. Yet less half utilize webcasts and just 20% create e-books. (MarketingSherpa)
30. While B2B B2B buyers age 60+ conduct online research before purchasing less than 10% of the time, younger buyers (age 26-45) do research before purchasing 50% of the time or more. Another reason it’s vital to have a framework for maximizing a brand’s online visibility. (BizReport)
31. More than 80% of B2B decision makers say they visit vendor-independent communities or forums, vendor-sponsored communities or forums, and LinkedIn at least monthly for business purposes. (Marketing Charts)
32. 32% of B2B decision makers use Pinterest at least monthly, but only 2% do so primarily for business reasons. (Marketing Charts)
33. 87% of B2B companies view social media (other than blogs) as a highly successful element of their marketing mix. 83% say the same for articles on websites, 78% eNewsletters, and 77% blogs. (MyCustomer.com)
34. The top four metrics used to measure B2B social media success are web traffic (60%), sales lead quality (51%), social sharing (45%) and sales lead quantity (43%). (MyCustomer.com)
35. Almost 60% of all social media-referred traffic to B2B websites comes from just three networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. (It’s All About Revenue)
36. In 2012, less than a third of B2B marketers said their social media activities were either “fully integrated” or “very involved” with company-wide operations. Today that figure is close to half. (eMarketer)
37. The top marketing tactics used by B2B marketers this year were social networks (84%), email marketing (72%), SEO (56%) and press releases (51%). The least popular tactics, each used by less a quarter of marketers, were online ads, seminars and ebooks. (eMarketer)
Statistics About Social Media Use in the Enterprise
38. 77 of the Fortune Global 100 companies have at least one official corporate Twitter account. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
39. 48% of the Fortune Global 100 are on Google+. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
40. More than one-third of Fortune 500 companies have active Google+ accounts. However, 19% of the companies with Google+ corporate accounts have not yet activated them. Google+ remains the only major social platform with a significant number of open—but inactive—accounts. (MediaPost)
41. 70% of the Fortune 500 companies have Facebook pages, including nine of the top 10 companies. (MediaPost)
42. The top five social networks used by B2B marketers to distribute content are LinkedIn (83%), Twitter (80%), Facebook (80%), YouTube (61%) and Google+ (39%). (Social Media Today)
43. Another study pegs the top three social networks in use buy Fortune 500 companies are Twitter (77%), Facebook (70%) and YouTube (69%). (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
44. The leaders of these companies lag in their own social media use, however. Of the 500 leaders of the biggest companies in the US, only 28 have a Twitter account, and only 19 of them actually use it. (Quartz)
45. 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever. Among the rest, 26% are on LinkedIn, but less than 10% are on Facebook and just 1% – five CEOs – are on Google+. (Quartz)
46. And yet, 90% of global business executives say that social media is important today or will be within a year. (Deloitte University Press)
47. Maybe they just aren’t doing it right? When asked to rank their company’s social business maturity on a scale of 1 to 10, more than half of global business executives gave their company a score of 3 or below. Only 31% gave a rating of 4 to 6. Just 17% ranked their company at 7 or above. (Deloitte University Press)
48. By department, the largest users of social media in enterprises are marketing (with 78% using social media to a moderate to great extent), IT (64%), sales (63%), and customer service (62%). The functions using social media least are operations (46%), supply chain operations (36%), risk management (35%) and finance (28%). (Deloitte University Press)
49. More than 40% of enterprises measure the success of their externally facing social media initiatives based on social reach (e.g., number of fans/followers) or brand reputation enhancement. Just 14% measure it based on sales. 19% don’t measure it at all. (Deloitte University Press)
50. Among the Interbrands Top 100 brands (B2C), nearly all have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. 76% are also on Google+, 74% are on Pinterest, almost a third (31) are on Tumblr. (MediaPost)
51. Why Tumblr? Because “posts tend to have a longer shelf life on Tumblr than Facebook and Twitter through ‘reblogs,’ or reposts of updates. Almost a third of reblogs (29%) took place more than 30 days after the initial post.” (MediaPost)
52. Does that mean B2B marketers should jump on Tumblr to promote their thought leadership content as well? Not necessarily; MTV claimed the second-highest number of reblogs in a recent period. Sprite claimed the most reblogs over that timeframe, with more than 85,000 for a single post with an animated GIF of a game of spin the bottle. (MediaPost)
Small Business Social Media Statistics and Facts
53. 78% of small businesses attract new customers through social media. (Relevanza)
54. This despite the fact that 80% of SMB websites don’t display links to the company’s social networks. (iMedia Connection)
55. The top three challenges faced by SMB B2B marketers are lead quantity (69%), lead quality (60%), increasing brand awareness (56%) and reaching decision makers (52%). It seems like those figures haven’t budged much in 20 years. (MarketingProfs)
56. The three tactics viewed as most effective for generating SMB B2B sales leads are company websites, email newsletters, and tradeshows. LinkedIn and Facebook were also cited as effective by more than half of marketers, coming in just ahead of direct mail. (MarketingProfs)
57. At the other end of the scale, Pinterest, outdoor media and virtual events were cited as the lead effective tactics for SMB B2B lead generation. (MarketingProfs)
58. SMB marketers identify the top three benefits of social media marketing as increased exposure (89%), increased website traffic (75%), and access to marketplace insights (69%). However, less than half said that it either reduced marketing expenses or increased sales. (eMarketer)
59. Small business marketers are most likely to outsource TV/radio advertising (40%) and SEO (35%); they are least likely to outsource email newsletter and social media marketing management (less than 5% each). (Constant Contact)
60. However, those decisions are often budget-driven. Half or more of SMB marketers would prefer to outsource both TV/radio ads and SEO, and nearly 20% would outsource social media marketing if they could. (Constant Contact)
Content Marketing Facts and Stats
61. The content marketing challenges faced by enterprises and small businesses must be very different, right? Well…yes and no. Marketers in companies large and small rank are challenged by producing engaging content, producing enough content, producing a variety of content, and measuring content marketing effectiveness in broadly similar proportions. But surprisingly, they part ways on the challenge of lack of executive buy-in (38% of enterprise marketers vs. 25% of SMB marketers say they are challenged by this), lack of budget (48% enterprise, 38% SMB) and most dramatically, lack of integration across marketing channels (58% enterprise, 23% SMB). (Content Marketing Institute)
62. 92% of marketers believe that content creation is either “very” or “somewhat” effective for SEO. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
63. More than half of B2B and business-to-government (B2G) marketers focus on white papers and case studies as key components of their content marketing, compared to less than 10% of B2C marketers. However, those on the consumer side focus much more on customer reviews (44% vs. 27% for B2B). (MarketingSherpa)
64. Different types of content address different levels of the purchase funnel. At the top of the funnel, blog posts, news articles, press releases and social media content drive awareness. In the consideration stage, “category level” web page content, “long tail” blogs and news articles, newsletters, FAQs and white papers are most effective. (Brandpoint)
65. On average, 25% of marketing budgets are now spent on content development, delivery and promotion. (B2B Marketing Insider)
66. 87% of buyers say online content has a major or moderate impact on vendor preference and selection; but 43% say “blatantly self-promotional” content is a major turn off. (B2B Marketing Insider)
67. 54% of B2B marketers plan to increase spending on content marketing in 2014. (MyCustomer.com)
68. 77% of B2B marketers use a blog as part of their content marketing mix, and 70% use online video. (Social Media Today)
Business Blogging Statistics and Facts
69. Blogs convert readers into buyers. 42% of consumers look to blogs for information about potential purchases; 52% say blogs have impacted their purchase decisions; and 57% of marketers have acquired new customers with their blogs. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
70. Despite that, just 34% of Fortune 500 enterprises maintain corporate blogs – up from 28% in 2012. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
71. Within the Fortune 500, telecommunications (53%) and specialty retailers (48%) are most likely to have blogs. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
72. 77% of B2B firms maintain blogs. (MyCustomer.com)
73. Or do they? Another source puts the share of B2B marketers using blogs at 39% in 2013, down from 48% in 2012. Hmm, confusing. (eMarketer)
SEO and Search Marketing Stats and Facts
74. 50% of searchers on Bing click the first organic result. Only about 6% click the third result, 3% on the fourth result, and 1% on results near the bottom of page one. (Search Engine Land)
75. However—a lower position isn’t always bad. If the searcher clicks the “back” button because the top result didn’t meet expectations, then he or she is 5-8 times more likely to click on a lower result than on the initial search. That is, the CTR for a result near the bottom of page one can be as high as 8% after a “back” button click. (Search Engine Land)
76. 50% of marketers cite web pages as “very effective” for SEO. Really, only 50%? (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
77. Another study puts the figure above at 95%; that sounds more like it. (MarketingSherpa)
78. 50% of consumers say they are more like to click on a search result if the brand appears multiple times on the results page. This is why web presence optimization is vital! (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
79. Marketers produce a wide variety of content to support SEO, with web pages (79%), social media (74%) and blogs (68%) topping the list. The least-used tactics? Mobile apps (14%), digital magazines (11%) and podcasts (8%). (MarketingSherpa)
80. Search AND social rule. Among marketers who rate their companies’ SEO strategies as “highly effective” in achieving marketing objectives, 38% have extensive integration between their social media and SEO tactics, and only5% have no such integration. Among those who call their SEO “not successful,” just 2% have extensive search and social integration, while 50% have no connection between these activities. (Marketing Charts)
81. Again comparing “superior” to “inferior” SEO strategists, those in the superior group are 67% more likely to say that creating original content is their most effective SEO tactic, and three-and-a-half times more likely to cite changing search engine algorithms as a critical obstacle to achieving their objectives, while being far less likely (6% vs. 58%) to point to the lack of a clear and concise strategy as a main challenge. (Marketing Charts)
82. Organic or paid? No, both! Paid search supports organic SEO efforts: paid-search ads alongside organic listings in position two through five receive two out of every three clicks from the search engine results page (SERP). When organic results are well below the fold in positions six through 10, paid search is responsible for nine out of 10 clicks to the Web site. (MediaPost)
83. Even when organic results fall in the first position, consumers still click on the paid-search ad. When a paid listing appears on a SERP with the top organic listing for the same keyword, the organic result gets 60% of the clicks on average and the paid link 40% of clicks. (MediaPost)
84. Just 23% of marketers generate more than half of all leads through organic search. 22% of companies generate between a quarter and half of all leads via search, and 24% obtain less than one out of every 10 leads via SEO. (MarketingSherpa)
Mobile Marketing Statistics
85. 50% of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental. (iMedia Connection)
86. Still, mobile video is the fastest growth area in marketing. (iMedia Connection)
87. And 35% of B2B marketers plan to increase their spending on mobile marketing this year. (Social Media Today)
88. Facebook will account for 13% of worldwide mobile ad revenue in 2013. (Social Media Today)
Facebook Statistics and Facts
89. 77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B vendors have acquired customers from Facebook. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
90. 81% of B2B decision makers say they visit Facebook at least monthly–but only 2% do so primarily for business purposes, as opposed to 42% who do so primarily for personal purposes. (Marketing Charts)
91. 20% of all internet page views come from Facebook. (iMedia Connection)
92. 95% of all social media-referred traffic to B2C websites is generated from just five social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and YouTube. 74% comes from Facebook alone. (It’s All About Revenue)
93. On Facebook, brevity matters. Keeping your posts below 250 characters can get you 60% more engagement than you might otherwise see. You can get up to 66% more engagement if you cut it down to less than 80 characters. (Buffer)
Twitter Statistics and Facts
94. 34% of marketers say they have generated leads from Twitter. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
95. To maximize click-throughs from your tweets, keep them to 100 characters or less and tweet in the afternoon (between 1:00 and 4:00 EST). (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)
97. 18% of U.S. adult internet users are now on Twitter, double the percentage from 2010. (MediaPost)
98. Using Twitter for social media? Great idea, but you’d better be listening. 81% of Twitter users expect a same-day response to questions and complaints aimed at brands. (Forbes)
99. There are 400 million tweets sent each day. (Social Media Today)
(And incidentally, the only organizations that have indexed all tweets back to the beginning of the service are Twitter itself, the Library of Congress, and Topsy. And presumably the NSA.)
100. 50% of technology companies have acquired a customer through Twitter. (Social Media Today)
101. While posting the same headline and link, over and over, is obnoxious, strategically repeating a tweet several hours apart–when different groups of your followers are likely online–can substantially increase click-throughs, without being annoying. (Buffer)
102. For tweets with links, 120-130 characters is the ideal range to maximize retweets. (Buffer)
103. Use hashtags—but sparingly. Tweets with one or two hashtags get 21% higher engagement on average, but those with three or more actually get 17% less engagement. (Buffer)
Considering that the average b2b website gets about 40% of traffic from organic search, with some sites getting as much as two-thirds of all visits via search engines, effective search engine optimization (SEO) remains a vital strategy.
But precisely what constitutes “best practices” in SEO is a continually (and lately, rapidly) moving target. Yesterday’s on-page optimization and link building tactics—even those used with the best, non-manipulative intentions—may get a site penalized in search rankings today for being “over-optimized.” (You can’t be too rich or too thin, but apparently you can be too optimized.)
So what’s a marketing manager, PR professional or SEO specialist to do? Keep up with SEO trends and changes. Optimize off-site content (for example, on YouTube and other social platforms). Use effective SEO tools and marketing metrics. Create link-worthy content. Use social signals to boost rankings. Learn how to do all of that and then some here in more than three dozen of the best SEO guides and tips from the past year.
General SEO Tips and Guides
When Search Becomes Invisible by MediaPost Search Blog
Laurie Sullivan explores how online advertisers and search engine optimizers will adjust to a not-too-distant future “when the act of typing keywords into a search box to create a query becomes invisible? The act of searching for information will blend into voice-assisted programs, with geolocation targeting supported by data.” She reports on how Google, Ask, online ad platform vendors and others are simultaneously creating and adjusting to these changes in technology.
4 questions to ask when hiring an SEO consultant by iMedia Connection
Louis Rix recommends four questions that marketers ask before hiring an outside SEO consultant or firm, such as what kinds of reports they provide and how they build links (great question). His fourth suggested question is a bit tricky however, as even the author notes that “Nobody can promise you a No. 1 ranking.”
10 Elements of a Perfectly Optimized Page by Search Engine Watch
Gareth Owen presents 10 important elements for on-page SEO, though he acknowledges that “perfect” may be stretching things a bit (“It’s worth noting that the ‘perfectly optimized page’ above won’t be perfect for all verticals, or for all brands – not everyone has the ability to add customer reviews to their product pages”).
4 Enterprise SEO Trends to Watch in 2012 by ClickZ
Adam Audette outlines four trends he sees in SEO, among them “Further Corporatization of SEO in the Enterprise: The trend over the last several years has increasingly shown SEO teams ‘go within’ at large companies. This is a trend I’ve long supported and recommended, for example in my piece on in-house SEO teams. In fact, for enterprise companies to realize exceptional results in SEO, they almost always require a dedicated internal SEO team. That’s the case today primarily because incremental gains are harder to achieve.” True perhaps, but this is not necessarily a trend in small to midsized firms yet.
5 big SEO changes you might have missed by iMedia Connection
Going beyond the usual SEO guidance, Lisa Wehr explains how to capitalize on mobile and local search, Google encrypted search results, and even Google+ and Facebook: “Where on a social site can you insert keywords? From Google+ profiles to Facebook info sections, you can display keywords and all of your business web properties (website, Twitter, YouTube, corporate blog, etc).”
SEO Strategy for New Domains by Search Engine Journal
Writing that “When you first launch a new website, it’s a blank slate in the eyes of Google and the other search engines,” Sujan Patel serves up a five-step plan for gaining search ranking, from “make sure that your site is set up as effectively as possible from an internal SEO standpoint” to planning for ongoing optimization.
5 Best Practices for Global SEO by ClickZ
For websites that are truly global in terms of their market targeting, Crispin Sheridan offers a handful of helpful tips for optimization, among them engaging in local link building: “Link building, whether through traditional efforts such as outreach programs or guest blogging, social media, and leveraging partnerships, will always be one of the strongest ways to obtain more favorable rankings. In addition to helping with rankings, the search engines will look at the origin of the links to help determine local relevance. For example, a Chinese site that has a large number of links coming from other China-based sites will have a stronger authority within the local China search engines.”
7 Signs That You’re Overvaluing Search Engine Optimization by MarketingSherpa
Reporting that nearly a third of b2b marketers “consider search engine optimization to be very effective — more than email marketing, content marketing, and most noticeably, paid search,” Daniel Burstein outlines warning signs that a company may be overvaluing SEO, to the detriment of considerations like providing valuable content and optimizing for conversions.
Create A YouTube Traffic Jam With These 4 Simple Optimization Tips by KISSmetrics
***** 5 STARS
While it’s not SEO strictly speaking, optimizing your YouTube videos for search is a great way to increase brand exposure, and to (indirectly) drive website traffic. Brian Honigman provides an outstanding, comprehensive guide to optimizing videos from tags and titles to playlists, annotations and channel branding.
Confirmed: Google+ Is Critical To Your Search Rankings by Sean Clark
Sean Clark contends that “Keywords (are) a thing of the past,” and that social media signals (particularly from Google+) are the future of search engine ranking signals. True? Perhaps. Carefully consider Sean’s arguments and those of his commenters.
Scott Gilbertson reports on DuckDuckHack, “a developer platform that allows anyone to add new features to the search engine.” The platform enables anyone to write plugins (to go along with current “goodies” like time-based queries and unit conversions) for the search engine and share them. Is this article really one of the best SEO guides of the past year? Maybe not, but it’s hard not to love DuckDuckGo.
9 Lessons from 1,000 SEO Questions by SEOmoz
Dr. Peter J. Meyers distills the answers to 1,000 private questions asked of SEOmoz into this compact summary of SEO wisdom, such as “One-trick Ponies Make Good Glue…People naturally get comfortable with one aspect of search marketing (link-building, on-page, social, etc.) and then want to ‘perfect’ it, but at best they hit diminishing returns fast.”
Google Webmaster Tools: An Overview by Search Engine Watch
Simon Heseltine offers a helpful guide to the features in Google Webmaster Tools, from getting started through navigating the dashboard, messages, configuration, assessing a website’s health (e.g. through crawl errors), search queries, internal links, sitemaps and more.
Rand Fishkin dispels myths that shouldn’t be keeping SEO practitioners awake at night, such as having a large number of backlinks from a single domain (unless the linking site is really spammy or the links were built manipulatively) or keyword density that’s “too high.”
10 SEO measurements every marketer should know by Biznology
Noting that “80% of people who visit a website get there from typing a keyword in the query box of a search engine” (seems a bit high, your mileage will vary) and “90% click on websites on the first page” (of search results), Rob Petersen defines 10 imperative SEO metrics for marketers, from the number of keywords driving traffic to the number of pages indexed by search engines.
7 Small Business SEO Tips by Search Engine Watch
Adam Stetzer suggests “seven small business SEO tips to help earn more business through traditional organic search rankings,” among them understanding that onsite SEO is necessary but not sufficient; that creating engaging content is critical; and that content marketing should be used to earn backlinks (“Quality content containing humor, information, controversy, politics or training usually brings backlinks – and is definitely considered acceptable SEO”).
SEO Tips for Panda and Penguin
Interview of Jonah Stein by SEO Book
Aaron Wall has a long, detailed conversion with SEO expert Jonah Stein about the impact of Google’s series of Panda algorithm updates, and how to respond to penalties. One key line from Jonah: “It is short sighted to believe that any of the SEO niche strategies are going to survive if they are not supported with PR, social, PPC and display.” Which is pretty much what the web presence optimization (WPO) framework is designed to address.
What is your SEO Social Signals Strategy? by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere reveals, in her words, “how Google’s algorithm changes impact both backlinking and social signaling; how to build an SEO social signals strategy; how your SEO backlinking and social signals strategies come together in your content strategy; (and) how to measure it all.”
Google Plans SEO Over-Optimization Penalty by Practical eCommerce
Jill Kocher provides some details about Google’s throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach to penalizing “over-optimization.” For example, one sign of over-optimization to Google is reportedly “Linking repeatedly from body copy to a handful of key pages with optimized anchor text. If 33 of my 100 pages link to www.jillsfakesite.com from the body copy with the anchor text “Jills Fake Site,” that should count as over-optimization.” Never mind that there may be perfectly legitimate reasons for doing this, and it may improve the user experience.
6 Changes Every SEO Should Make BEFORE the Over-Optimization Penalty Hits – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz
Speaking of over-optimization, Rand Fishkin (again) here reviews half a dozen ways to avoid Google’s “over-optimization” penalties, including this on in-content text links: “go with logical, useful, change it up when you’re linking to pages, maybe a couple of times, in some spaces. You have a blog post and it mentions a page on your site that you want people to actually go to and that you think is useful in context. Great, link over there. Fine, use the anchor text. Maybe use a modified version of the anchor text, a little longer, a little shorter, a little more natural sounding, and you’re going to get these same results, but you’re going to do it in a much more effective way. You’re not going to be at risk of whatever is happening with this over-optimization penalty.”
James Mathewson outlines four ways Google is killing SEO, including semantic search: “How do SEOs traditionally optimize pages? By advising their clients to put keywords in strategic places on a page. When Google goes to semantic search, it won’t be as much about keywords at all, but on the meaning of the words you use. This might be the biggest SEO killer of all. If tuning our content for keywords our users care about is no longer an effective strategy, what is left for SEOs?” He believes content strategy is the new SEO.
SEO & Content Marketing: Getting The Most Visibility For Your Valuable Content by MediaPost Search Insider
Observing that “with recent algorithm updates, Google has noticeably placed renewed emphasis on unique, relevant, and timely content. Clearly there’s a marriage between SEO and content marketing,” frequent best-of honoree Janet Driscoll Miller explains how to capitalize in search on difficult-to-optimize content such as information that’s behind a registration wall, infographics and PDFs.
How to Identify Search Engine Penalties by Search Engine Journal
Reassuring that “Not all search engine penalties are permanent, and with a little detective work and remedial action, you should be able to restore your previous rankings and rebuild the flow of organic traffic to your site,” Sujan Patel (again) outlines a five-step process to determine if your site has been penalized, and it so, recover from it.
For those concerned about Google’s Panda update (which is to say, anyone involved in SEO), Lisa Buyer highlights a number of resources for help including guidance on optimizing beyond Google, including advertising, socializing, pinning, profiling, twittering, and more.
Laurie Sullivan (again) reports that “Content shared from Facebook and the amount of backlinks appear to influence organic search engine results most, but Google +1s have the strongest impact on rankings,” and that recent analysis of Google ranking factors in the post-Panda-and-Penguin era suggests that social signals will play an increasing role in site ranking.
6 Months with Panda: A Story of Complacency, Hard Decisions, and Recovery by Search Engine Journal
***** 5 STARS
In this must-read case study for any site hit by Panda, Glenn Gabe explains how even a large, mature, well-respected website with a stellar link profile can get hit with Panda penalties, what caused this to happen, and the single most important thing that needed to be done to regain ranking and traffic.
7 Achievable Steps For Great SEO After The Penguin Update by SEOmoz
***** 5 STARS
This post from Chris Warren would be a must-read for anyone struggling with search traffic issues in the post-Penguin era even if it only contained steps one (“Understand your link profile…The biggest risk factors are a combination of lots of low quality links with targeted anchor text”), two (“Learn what makes a good link…there is a lot of evidence that these high value links are really the main drivers of a domain’s link authority”) and five (“almost never change your URLs”).
Understanding Penguin 1.1: Be Safe from Updates in 3 Easy Steps by Search Engine Journal
Muzzammil Bambot steps through some of the biggest negative factors in post-Penguin search ranking and how to correct those, from getting rid of paid links and excessive links from a single domain to having too many exact-match text links (solved by increasing the diversity of text link variations).
3 Ways to Use Social Media to Improve Your Search Rankings by Social Media Examiner
AJ Kumar suggests strategies for using social media to improve search rank, but just as importantly to “future-proof” your site from still more Google algorithm changes by using social media to reduce your reliance on organic search traffic, for example by including “prominent social sharing buttons at both the top and bottom of each blog post on your website (or use a scrolling option that moves down the page alongside your readers).”
10 Ways Coding Can Help Your SEO by Search Engine Journal
Sujan Patel (once again) provides an excellent collection of SEO tips, here focused on technical factors that can affect rankings. Among his recommendations: use a search engine spider simulator to validate your code for spider-friendliness; create search-optimized page URLs; and combine script files to speed up page load times.
How Google’s Panda and Penguin are affecting your site’s rankings by iMedia Connection
Kent Lewis does a commendable job of explaining how Google’s Panda and Penguin updates affected search rankings, and practical steps for avoiding penalties and regaining rankings (e.g., “Cancel or remove unnecessary footer links. Take it easy on the internal ‘SEO’ linking”), though his contention that “A minority of those sites (negatively affected by these algorithm changes) may be legitimate, but a majority of those impacted were consciously in violation” is questionable, particularly given the experiences of other experts noted above.
10 Old SEO Methods You Need to Stop by Search Engine Watch
Greg Habermann warns against 10 SEO “techniques” that no longer work (or never really did), including Ezine Articles submissions, “news” release without any real news (produced just for links), link exchanges, thin content, and spider-unfriendly web design.
Top 1 SEO Tips for 2013 by SEOmoz
Pete Myers (again) shares his single most valuable SEO tip for 2013, writing that: “While I can’t tell you Google’s next move, I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty – there’s more to come. So, how can you protect what you’ve built in 2013? I was going to write a long list of suggestions, but I realized that they almost all boiled down to just one idea. I’m not going to toy with you – my top tip for 2013 SEO is…”
Best SEO Infographics
On page content SEO Puzzle #infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO
***** 5 STARS
Writing that “SEO is a large and dynamic puzzle…to have a successful SEO strategy, you will need to all of the pieces of the puzzle together,” Berrie Pelser presents an easy-to-grasp infographic covering the basics of on-page optimization, coding, site architecture, social factors, reputation, links and more.
The History of Search Engine Marketing by Erik Holladay
Erik Holladay shares an infographic from Markus Allen that details the major ranking factors used by the leading search engines and the significant changes and upgrades made to ranking algorithms from Lycos and WebCrawler in 1994 through Google’s Panda algorithm update.
A Simple SEO Audit For Your Website by Soulati Media
***** 5 STARS
Jayme Soulati share a helpful infographic outlining the process for a basic website SEO audit, from content (fresh? Keyword-stuffed? Easy to read?) through technical considerations (navigation, crawl issues, broken links) to backlinks (spammy or paid vs. relevant and high-quality).
Infographic: The New Face of Search Engine Optimization by Marketing Technology Blog
Douglas Karr presents an excellent SEO infographic contrasting what used to work in terms of keyword targeting, user experience, on-site content (e.g., “stuff title tags with keywords”), anchor text, directory submissions, news releases, and more, to what works today (e.g., “social traction correlates with links…Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are the most important SM platforms to SEO”).
As noted in 21 (of the) Best Facebook Guides, Tools and Rants of 2012 So Far a few months back, Facebook remains the 800-pound gorilla of the social networking world. It’s now exceeded one billion users, and as noted below, 80% of all businesses maintain an active Facebook presence.
But its incessant changes, moves to charge brands and celebrities for exposure they’ve become accustomed to getting for free, and possibly even (gasp!) aging demographic may be cause for concern.
Will Facebook lose ground to Google+? Is it becoming uncool? Or if not—how have recent changes in Facebook’s layout changed best practices for marketers? what are the secrets to Facebook advertising success?
Find the answers to these questions and more here in two dozen of the best Facebook guides, tips, stats, facts, raves and rants of 2012.
Facebook Tips and Guides
The Simple Science of Facebook Engagement by MyBeak Social Media
Laura-Lee Walker shares an infographic that reveals the “formula to follow” for greater engagement on Facebook. Among the key findings: “Include images with posts. This increases the likelihood that fans will engage with your fan page (39 percent higher than average).” The infographic also shows the best (and worst) times to post, contest ideas, “winning words” to include in updates and more.
SEO for Facebook – New Video Revealed by Search Engine Journal
Adria Saracino points readers to a video produced by Facebook that provides business owners and marketers with tips on how to optimize their Facebook pages for search engines. She writes that “The video takes users step-by-step through a number of processes for building an optimized Facebook page with a good name and quality, relevant content.”
Mustaza Mustafa presents a richly illustrated, step-by-step process for using the CertifiedSeller app to add a Twitter profile link to your tab on Facebook timeline. Commenters note that Facebook could certainly do something to make this process easier, but the method here does work.
Nine Ways To Improve Your Facebook Engagement and ROI by MENGonline
David Lund details nine tactics for improving marketing effectiveness on Facebook, such as “Use Facebook to communicate your new news and introduce new products. Your followers are more interested than most consumers in news about your products and brand. They will likely be early adopters and advocates that can help build word of mouth BUZZ about your new products.” Though targeted at consumer marketers, many of the tips apply to b2b marketing as well.
Understanding the 6 Facebook Post Types by Practical eCommerce
***** 5 STARS
Paul Chaney explains in detail the six types of posts that can be added to a Facebook page along with “reasons why you would use them and best practices for each post type” and tips for the best use of each post type, for example on video posts, “Don’t put logos in the video. Harvard researchers found that the more prominent or intrusive the logo, the more likely viewers are to stop watching, even if they know and like the brand.”
How to Do a Facebook Personal Profile Security Audit by Seriously Social
Ian Anderson Gray shows how to do an in-depth personal security audit on Facebook, covering everything from password updates and recognized devices to adding a “do not track” plugin and navigating Facebook’s privacy settings. While this process is for personal profiles, Ian notes “if you do manage a Facebook page, make sure all your admins run a security audit on their personal profiles each month. There are serious issues here, because your page could be compromised by the security settings of one of your page’s administrators.”
Jonathan Greene provides a detailed, illustrated five-step process for using Facebook Insights to identify patterns and trends that can make your social media marketing much more effective, or as he puts it, “Filtering your posts by certain KPIs might reveal very rewarding patterns in engagement and syndication, which could be the push you need to take your social campaigns to the next level.”
13 ways to boost your Facebook Page reach by Socialbrite
Arguing that “Marketers who are whining about (Facebook forcing people to pay to have their page updates reach their Facebook fans) need to put down the tissues and realize that promoted posts are simply one option among many to amplify reach,” John Haydon delves into the inner workings of Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm and offers 13 recommendations for reaching fans without writing a check, including posting awesome content (based on thorough analysis of past performance) and using your blog, events and webinars to increase visibility.
5 Successful Facebook Marketing Campaigns – Case Studies by jeffbullas.com
It’s easy to generate tremendous traffic and buzz on Facebook if you’re a major brand advertiser with buckets of money to spend, but what about small businesses with much more limited means? Jeff Bullas very helpfully here offers small to midsized business marketers some proven tactics for Facebook marketing success and then shares five case studies from small firms that have made a splash on the giant social network with cleverness and creativity, on a budget.
Stop Looking at Facebook’s Insights by Inkling Media
Ken Mueller makes a compelling case for, well, not quite ignoring Facebook’s Insights, but at least putting those numbers in proper perspective. Noting that “I honestly put very little weight in Facebook insights. They change how things are measured on a regular basis, and if you spend any time poring over the numbers, you know they clearly don’t add up. I wish they did, but they don’t,” he outlines five reasons not to obsess over these metrics—and what to focus on instead.
Facebook Promoted Posts and Other Recent Updates of 2012 by Vertical Measures
Sarah Schager shares updates on nine post-Timeline Facebook changes, including promoted posts (only for brands with at least 400 fans), changes to how to links are handled within status updates, events, and the inclusion of mobile views in the reach metric (finally).
Facebook Simplifies Ad Creation With Redesigned Self-Serve Tool by Sprout Social
Jennifer Beese explains Facebook’s recent changes to its self-service ad creation tool and notes “Once you’ve chosen what you’d like to advertise and listed your main objective, Facebook will recommend a combination of traditional sidebar ads and Sponsored Stories. Additionally, you’ll receive a preview of how our Sponsored Stories will appear in people’s’ News Feeds.”
12 Latest Facebook Page Features You Might Have Missed by Social @ Blogging Tracker
The delightful Wong Ching Ya details a dozen of Facebook’s relatively new features, including onsite notification (which provides page administrators with “instant page notifications in your profile’s homepage for new posts, fan messages, comments or whenever someone liked your page posts”), target page posts, and Facebook custom audiences (“Brand pages can now target their offline audiences on Facebook through relevant ads by uploading info such as email addresses, phone numbers or Facebook user IDs”).
You’ve probably read about the dismal click-through rates for Facebook ads, but Dan Slagen here offers guidance on beating the averages through high relevance and a compelling call to action, then presents examples of brands generating strong performance with Facebook advertising.
Facebook Upgrades Small Business Site by MediaPost
Noting that small business advertisers are vital to Facebook (and Facebook is an important marketing platform for many small businesses), Mark Walsh reports on efforts by Facebook to help small businesses create more effective ads and generally use the social network more effectively, including tips like: “Ensure you know people are coming to your business because they found you on Facebook: whisper codes, unique Facebook links to your site, friend referrals, exclusive Facebook discounts. Also, put your Facebook URL on more of your in-store materials—receipts, napkins, brochures, etc., to increase fanning of your Page.”
15 Tips For A Successful Facebook Ads Program by MediaWhiz
Adam Riff shares 15 “secrets” to optimize Facebook advertising, such as rotating ads frequently to combat banner blindness, tracking metrics beyond basic “likes,” testing occupational targeting, and leveraging Facebook data to make smarter media buys through other channels (“The great thing about Facebook data is that it can give you insights about your consumer base that you might not have otherwise known”).
Noting that “Facebook seems to be launching a new form of advertising—or some new feature within the advertising—every day,” Amanda Sibley details the features and usage of Facebook’s five forms of on-page advertising in this thorough and helpfully illustrated post.
Facebook 2012 Facts and Figures for Small Business Success by MyBeak Social Media
Laura-Lee Walker (again) shares a huge collection of Facebook facts in this infographic, such as that 58% of Facebook’s one billion+ users visit the site daily; the average Facebook visits lasts 20 minutes; 80% of businesses are active on Facebook; the two most popular apps are the Blackberry Smartphones App and Texas Holdem Poker; and much, much more.
Frequent best-of writer Laurie Sullivan reports on Facebook’s efforts to make it simple for small businesses to connect with their customers on Facebook, noting “About one-third of the 100,000 small businesses that have published Offers are new Facebook advertisers, and about 30% are claimed on mobile devices,” and that “Facebook (now) supports more than 13 million small and local business pages.”
Facebook Rants and Raves
Is Google Unstoppable? by MediaPost
John Capone details advertising statistics and projections that suggest, over the next couple of years, in terms of advertising revenue, “Google will begin to leave Facebook and the rest (of the major ad sellers) in the dust.” He describes Google as The Predator of the online advertising world, while Facebook is more like Barney the purple dinosaur.
5 reasons your brand doesn’t need Facebook by iMedia Connection
Peter Platt sets out to dispel five “myths” of Facebook marketing, among them that Facebook is an engagement platform for brands: “A couple of years back, we wanted to ‘like’ brands so we could see what their offers were. But all too often, brands became that annoying friend who posted too much, and we quickly learned to hide or unfriend those brands. Brands also started building out complex Facebook platforms with lots of functionality and engagement tools, but the reality is that the news feed is the core of Facebook activity. Complex portals garner some interest, but at the end of the day, the news feed is where most of the users are.”
Kyle Spencer advises investors that although Mark Zuckerberg may have discovered he really does need to listen to the market, there are five things to keep in mind before diving into this stock, such as that the kids are somewhere else: “There was a time when Facebook was cool. Not anymore. 65% of Facebook users are 35 and older, and adults are the fastest growing demographic…Why is it important where teens hang out? Because parents follow their kids around on the Internet. Teens are the first adopters, the fastest social innovators and have more free time to surf the net. Jumping ship keeps teenagers one step ahead of mom and dad. Remember AOL? It’s an old folks home, now.”
Facebook is for Likes Not Leads by Brent Price Carnduff
Writing that “The truth is, most of those 900 million people (actually over a billion now) aren’t there to be marketed to. And frankly, Facebook doesn’t make it that easy for businesses to connect with them,” Brent Carnduff outlines what he believes Facebook can, and can’t, do for marketers and business owners.
Facebook: Are the Good Times Really Over for Good? by WindMill Networking
Chris Treadaway laments recent changes by Facebook that make it more expensive—much more expensive—for brands to reach fans with their content. He cites recent criticism of the social media network by Mark Cuban, George Takei, and a range of Facebook community managers, yet in the end concludes “It’s going to cost us more to do the things that we’ve gotten for low cost so far…but we won’t go anywhere.” Maybe.
SEO is a blend of art and science. The “art” side relies on knowledge, intuition and creativity. The “science” side can be made more effective and more efficient by using tools like the ones highlighted here—enabling SEO practitioners to focus more on the art part.
Need to analyze the optimization status of an existing website? Identify promising keywords? Analyze competitors’ backlinking strategies? Evaluate the impact of social media activities on search results? Create XML sitemaps for multiple search engines?
You’ll find tools to aid with all of those tasks and more in this collection of useful and cool SEO tools.
SEO Analysis and Reporting Tools
2 Free Tools to Find and Analyze SERP Dominators (for Competitor Research) by Search Engine Journal
Frequent best-of honoree Ann Smarty reviews WhoICompete and Andrew Griffiths’ search marketing tool, two tools that, in her words, “let you generate the list of domains that get ranked high for several related search queries (we call them ‘SERP dominators’)”–in other words, the companies that are successfully utilizing web presence optimization (WPO) around these search phrases.
8 Cool Free SEO Website Tools by Abnormal Marketing
Fiona McEachran looks at eight helpful free SEO toos, ranging from the widely used (e.g., HubSpot, Alexa, and Backlink Watch, which is one of my favorites) to the lesser-known but interesting like iWebTool—a suite of tools including a Backlink Checker, Google PageRank Prediction and Keyword Density Checker—and Best SEO Tools, another intriguing suite.
5 Free Web SEO Analysis Tools by Blogging News Technology
What’s In Your SEO Toolbox? by SEO Book
***** 5 STARS
Writing that “From a cost and time standpoint I’ve found it really helpful to pick a core set of tools and stick with them rather than bouncing around to get an extra feature or two,” Eric Covino reviews his favorites in this outstanding post. He helpfully divides his list of tools, most of which are market leaders, into five categories: keyword research, on-page criteria, rank checkers, competitive link research tools, and link monitoring tools.
Tools every SEO specialist and marketer should use by iMedia Connection
Jason Hennessey offers mini-reviews of half-a-dozen useful SEO tools, including Majestic SEO, Raven Tools and SEMRush. This is a solid list for newbies, but experienced SEO professionals and digital marketers will likely already be using these (or their own favorite alternatives).
Challenges in Automated Traffic Reporting by The Daily SEO Blog
Benjamin Estes examines five tools for monitoring and reporting on organic traffic data, from the most basic (Google Analytics) through some more exotic options like Geckoboard and GinzaMetrics. He summarizes the capabilities, pros and cons of each tool, but doesn’t declare a “winner” as each client’s requirements are, after all, somewhat different.
The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Chrome SEO Extensions by Search Engine Journal
In this concise and easy to digest post, Benjamin Beck serves up quick, bullet-point reviews of “good” SEO extensions for Chrome (among them: the SEO MOZ Bar, Buffer App and Check My Links) as well as “bad” and “ugly” extensions that either aren’t particularly useful or well-designed.
Review: Bruce Clay’s Latest SEOToolSet by Coconut Headphones
Ted Ives extols the virtues of Bruce Clay’s SEOToolSet, which includes tools for working through the SEO process in six main areas: keyword strategy, linking strategy, architecture best practices, content optimization, traffic analysis and monetization (determining click value). Ted’s conclusion: “Bruce’s product is very broad and comprehensive and covers more bases…(than) other tools…and is well worth trying out.”
A Complete Review of Wordtracker’s Link Builder by SEO Book
Eric Covino (again) provides a thoughtful comprehensive review, this time of Wordtracker’s Link Builder tool. He steps through the process of setting up a campaign, researching competitor link profiles, link analysis, finding contacts, reporting, and using the Firefox extension. Eric closes the post with a helpful summary of the features he likes as well as areas he feels could be improved upon.
Why Optify Got Down To SEO Basics by MediaPost SearchBlog
Laurie Sullivan reports on the Basic edition of Optify, a tool designed to help marketers and business owners not only “understand SEO, but also how social media influences search engine query results.” The tool offers some nice features, such as keyword suggestions and a one-click tracking plugin for WordPress, but it’s not clear if it covers all of the bases of WPO as well as an something like gShift Labs.
This free Windows-based tool generates XML sitemaps for Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Keyword Research Tools
12 Popular Keyword Organization Tips & Tools by SEO Book
6 Free Steps to Practical SEM Keyword Development by Target Marketing Magazine
Michel Leconte explains how to develop target keyword lists for SEO and SEM using common, popular tools like Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Instant and Alexa, and concludes, “How do you know when you have not spent enough time doing keyword identification? Chances are that if you don’t need to develop any new content and/or re-organize your website to fuel and align with the strategy at the end of this process, you’re missing something.”
Google+ (or Google Plus) is many different things, depending on who you ask. It’s the fastest-growing social network ever. It’s the tool Google will use to beat Facebook. It will fundamentally change SEO. It’s a pain in the arse because it’s yet another social network to join. It’s Google’s latest attempt at social media, and they finally got it right. It’s mostly a playground for engineers and marketers. It’s appealing, but too late. It’s “the linchpin of Google’s plan to own the entire internet” (see below for the source of that quote).
Most likely, it’s some combination of those things. What it’s clearly not, however, is a venue that businesses can afford to ignore.
So what do organizations need to know about Google’s latest foray into social media? How can they get the most out of it? What impact is it likely to have? What are Google’s future plans for the platform?
Learn all of that and more here in almost three dozen of the best Google+ reports, guides and insights of the past year.
Google Plus Tips, Tactics and How-To Guides
Getting Your Small Business Ready for Google+ by Blue Focus Marketing
Mark Burgess explains how small business can build trust and creatively use circles on Google+ (“This insight [that people prefer to share specific information with specific groups of friends or followers] led to the creation of Google+ circles, a major differentiator between Google+ and Facebook. Circles enable you to ‘narrowcast’ messages…Suddenly, Google+ can enable micro-targeting via circles.”).
Google+ Pro Tips Round-Up: Week 1 by Business Insider
Simon Laustsen provides a Google+ “cheat sheet” for getting started with the network, covering account setup, tagging, commenting, managing your circles, finding hangouts, rejecting spammers, inviting people and more.
How to Migrate from Facebook to Google+ by How-To Geek
Justin Garrison details tools that can be used “to migrate pictures, videos, and friends” from Facebook to Google+ (assuming you want to connect with the same people on Google+). He walks through the migration process, including helpful screenshots to illustrate each step.
Tad Chef details the most important considerations in optimizing your Google+ profile, from your profile image (“Make sure you use a bigger image than just the tiny thumb you’ll see elsewhere on Google+ (or) on your profile it will look awful. Google simply scales it up. It needs to be 200 x 200 pixels or bigger.”) to proper use of the “Other names” and “nicknames” fields.
HOW TO: Integrate Google+ Into Your WordPress Site by Mashable Tech
Kelli Shaver shows how to display your Google+ profile information on a WordPress site/blog, add the +1 button, and even use a Google+-inspired WordPress theme, with details about and illustrations of three examples.
Frequent best-of honoree Pam Dyer explores a bit of what’s behind the Google+ “project” then shares more than two dozen resources for getting started on and using the network, from using circles and hangouts to its impact on SEO, and from tips small businesses need to know to feature comparisons to Facebook.
There’s no need to wait for brand pages to do business communication on Google+ by Holtz Communication + Technology
The brilliant Shel Holtz explains how organizations can tap into the power of Google+ circles for content marketing, completely apart from brand pages, noting “I’m skeptical about brand pages, since research indicates most people connect with Facebook’s version only to learn about coupons, discounts and special offers.”
Google+ Tips, Tricks and Tidbits by The Search Agents
The Ultimate Google+ Cheat Sheet by HubSpot Blog
***** 5 STARS
Frequent best-of honoree Kipp Bodnar shares all the basics you need to know about Google+, from the social network’s unique vocabulary (hangouts, circles, sparks) to shortcuts, user demographics, configuring privacy settings and more.
Who to follow on Google Plus? Google+ Suggested Users
***** 5 STARS
In one of the first, if not THE first, Google+ directories, you can find people to follow and add to your circles across a broad range of topic areas from bloggers, journalists and tech entrepreneurs to scientists, filmmakers and foodies.
Google Plus Tips & Best Practices by webbROI
Amit Banerjee explains why you should sign up for yet another social network (“You use Gmail/Google Apps as your email provider, don’t you? You use Google as your search engine, Chrome as your browser, YouTube to watch videos, and Google Reader to read blogs. Plus, what about Google Maps, Google Translate and a plethora of other Google products?”), what’s behind circles and sharing attributes, how Google+ differs from Facebook (“No walls here!”) and more in this informative post.
12 Google+ Marketing Tips From the Pros by Social Media Examiner
Cindy King shares tips for getting the most out of Google+ from 12 social media pros, including Mari Smith (“Craft an eye-catching mini-bio for your hovercard”), Kristi Hines (on optimizing your profile), Debbie Hemley (on promoting your Google+ page) and Jeff Korhan (on how to create a suggested circles list).
5 Top Google+ Plugins by Kim Garst
Writing that “Having fun with any new kind of social media like Google+ means you get to make it your own, and playing with the different plugins available can help you do just that,” Kim Garst reviews five of her favorite Google+ plugins for the Chrome browser, such as Helper for Google+, a multi-purpose plugin with functionality for notifications, translation and bookmarking.
SEO and the Google +1 Button
Google Explores Re-Ranking Search Results Using +1 Button Data by Wired Magazine
Ryan Singel takes a close look at how Google may use +1 data in search result rankings, and shares some interesting observations: “Google would love to get at its (Facebook’s) data — the way that Bing is already — but the two companies go together like toothpaste and orange juice. Facebook will likely never let Google anywhere near its data stream, which meant that Google had to build in its own social network. But therein lies the rub. If Google’s search results become heavily dependent on social signals from Google+, then there’s going to be heavy pressure on the net’s websites to embed the Google+ button. And depending on where you work — say, Facebook or the Justice Department — that could look like Google is unfairly using its search engine might to boost its Facebook alternative.”
How to Implement Google +1 Button for Social Sharing by Search Engine People
Joydeep Deb explains how to add and customize a Google+1 sharing button on any website, as well as how to modify +Snippets “to customize the Title, Thumbnail Image and Description that appear when your content is shared.”
Google+ Brand Pages
Google+ Pages for Business: What You Need to Know by MediaPost Search Insider
Janet Driscoll Miller points out that the main reason for businesses to create yet another social profile page, this time on Google+, is that “Profiles help your brand SEO and help your online reputation management (ORM) efforts.” She then steps through the process of how to create one.
13 Cool Examples of Google+ Brand Pages by DreamGrow Social Media
Mart Prööm presents more than a dozen examples of cool, and pioneering, Google+ brand pages from companies like Pepsi, Toyota, Fox News, Yahoo! and Angry Birds. And that’s possibly the first time those five brands have been mentioned together in a single sentence.
This may be what Google+ is all about. Sam Diaz notes of brand pages that “On the surface, the new feature feels like Google’s version of Facebook fan pages, a place where companies, celebrities and other ‘brands’ can interact with their customers and followers by sharing news or engaging in discussions. But Google brings something extra, something that Facebook and Twitter can’t offer – the power of open Web search.”
Test Driving Google+ Brand Pages by iMedia Connection
The always insightful but socially oblivious Daniel Flamberg writes about what the Google+ platform is, what it means to marketers, how consumers are reacting (e.g. “Google+ has attracted almost 50 million users since launch (as of mid-November); 68% of Google+ users are men; The single biggest occupation is software engineer; Biggest company affiliations are IBM and Google; It looks like a technology-focused, early adopter crowd”) and predicts how professional marketers will react to the platform in the near term.
How to set up your Google+ Brand Page right by Biznology
Chris Abraham walks readers through the process of “setting up your brand page right away in the right way. If you follow these steps, you’ll be as well-placed as possible,” from selecting a category and uploading an image through adding friends and optimizing your profile.
10 Guaranteed Ways to Get More Google+ Page Followers by HubSpot Blog
Contending that “without an ample following, all the time and effort you put into your presence is ultimately a waste,” Pamela Vaughan provides 10 tactics to grow your following, such as promoting your Google+ page in other social networks, writing a blog post about your new page, and making yourself eligible for Direct Connect.
10 strategic benefits of Google+ brand pages by iMedia Connection
Tom Edwards examines the similarities and differences between Google+ and Facebook company pages, and the benefits of Google+ brand pages for businesses, including search integration (“Google currently owns 68 percent of search market share. The fact that the Google +1 icon is now a part of every Google search result shows a glimpse of the level of integration Google has in store for users and brands alike”), using circles for audience segmentation, hangouts, and social gaming among others.
How to Create a Google+ Business Page by Practical eCommerce
Paul Chaney outlines how to create, use, and build a following for your Google+ business page. He concludes that “The features for Google+ business pages fall short of those available on Facebook, not the least of which is the ability to add custom apps. Google likely will add more features in time. Until then, the social network may serve as a second-tier channel through which you can build some brand equity and…improve search returns.”
11 Best Practices for Your Google+ Brand Page by Sexy Social Media
An excellent post outlining “ten things you should keep in mind when putting up your Google+ Business Page” such as looking at what’s working (and what’s not) for major brands already there; crafting a creative (and keyword rich, for web presence optimization purposes) tagline; and being “chatty, but never spammy.”
Google’s Holiday Gift to You: Google+ Adds Multiple Page Administrators Capability by MediaPost Search Insider
Janet Driscoll Miller (again) reports on Google’s decision to enable pages to have multiple administrators, why this functionality is important (e.g., “Allow multiple individuals to make updates…(and) Maintain personal account security”), and how to invite others to be administrators.
Google Plus Strategy, News and Commentary
What You Should Know About Google+ (Plus) by WP Blog Talk
Rob Cubbon reviews the basics of Google’s latest attempt at a social network, starting with Circles (a feature that sets Google+ apart from most other networks) and posting (along with helpful shortcuts) and moving through hangouts, the +1 button, privacy, Google’s philosophy behind Plus, and new features likely to be added in the not-too-distant future.
Google+ Creates Data Gold Mine For Advertisers by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Laurie Sullivan outlines the value of Google+ for advertisers (“‘”For advertisers, one of the biggest benefits from Google+ will become the user data they don’t have access to from Facebook,’” according to Debra Aho Williamson), the network’s rapid growth (“Google+ has become became the fastest-growing social site — hitting nearly 25 million visitors worldwide as of July 24, just four weeks after launch…It took MySpace 23 months, Twitter 33 months; and Facebook 37 months”) and its user demographics (“About 63% of Google+ users are male, compared with 37% female…the highest percentage of users falls between the ages of 25 and 34″).
Stop Calling Google+ a Facebook Killer by iMedia Connection
Jon Elvekrog expounds upon the unique strengths and drawbacks of Google+ as a social network, its benefits to brands and advertisers, and why he believes it is much more likely to coexist with Twitter and Facebook than to supplant either one.
Social Relevance: Google+’s Algorithmic Implications On Networks by MediaPost Search Insider
Rob Garner counters skeptics, demonstrating how Google+ may help the search giant not just catch up to but leapfrog Facebook and Twitter, who, Garner believes, are far behind “in terms of applying algorithmic relevancy to the social experience.” He recommends that organizations treat Google+ as a “primary top-tier social network” and notes the importance of creating content and sharing it through Google+ for search success.
Google+ – Too little, too late by Inside a Marketing Mind
Gareth Case likes Google+ and understands its appeal, he just thinks that Google may have “missed the boat… By about 5 years” in terms of building a viable social network. His post includes an excellent graphic illustrating the distribution of social media traffic across the major networks.
Can Google+ succeed among the common people? by iMedia Connection
Alejandro Rivas-Micoud reports on results of a focus group test with Facebook users in various age groups test-driving Google Plus and providing feedback. These users liked the concept of circles, but found other aspects of Google’s social network confusing, and weren’t sure it offered any compelling differentiation or reason to switch from Facebook. The conclusion was that “simply improving upon the Facebook experience is probably not enough. Instead, to gain a meaningful market position…Google+ (needs) to either carve out a specific, complementary niche to Facebook” or just be flat-out better.
What Brands Need To Know About Google+ AdWords Social Extensions by Search Engine Land
Kelly Gillease explains what social extensions are, why they matter (“The main advantage for in-house marketers implementing the new Social Extension is to boost their +1 counts all around, AdWords ads and Google+ pages will receive boosts from each other’s increasing +1’s”), how they impact AdWords ads, and what companies need to do to complete the verification process with Google.
9 Facts About Google+ You Need To Know by Agile Marketing
Jim Ewel presents “9 facts about Google+ that may help convince you that you need to add Google+ to your social media marketing in 2012,” among them that Google+ will affect search results, that it helps people to find your business, and that activities there are easy to track.
How Google+ Is Changing the Web, Even Though No One Wants It To by HubSpot Blog
Kipp Bodnar (again) contends that “Google+ isn’t about changing social networking. Google+ is the linchpin of Google’s plan to own the entire internet. The company with the platform that can give internet users EVERYTHING they want will win. This is why you’ve seen Facebook partnering with music providers, launching its own email service, and allowing users to make images and updates public to improve Facebook Search. These two internet giants are locked into the early stages of the business equivalent of a death match.” The logic is hard to argue with, but Google’s strength has always been that it’s not a walled garden (like Facebook now, or AOL before it). Going down that path would leave a clear opening for someone to become what Google was on its way to becoming before it decided it just wanted to be the next Facebook.