Archive for August, 2012

Google Plus Launches New Business Features

August 31, 2012 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips

By David Angotti, August 30, 2012

google plus business featuresOn Wednesday, Google unveiled a brand new set of tools for business customers that combines popular features from Google+ with the functionality of Google Apps. The new features, which were beta tested at several prominent companies including Kaplan and Banshee Wines, are designed to encourage employee productivity and interaction. Clay Bavor, director of product management for Google Apps, announced the additional features yesterday on the Official Google Enterprise Blog:

“Today we’re launching an initial set of Google+ features designed specifically for businesses, and we’re excited to move into a full preview mode for Apps customers. During this preview period, organizations that have gone Google will be able to use the business features of Google+ for free through the end of 2013 while we continue to add more features and administrative controls designed for organizations.”

The initial set of business features includes:

  • Private Sharing: Now, Google Apps users can control how content is posted to Google+. For example, a Google+ post can easily be restricted to within an organization or be shared with specific partners outside of an organization.
  • Video Meetings: Google+ Hangouts, which is now integrated with Google Apps, allows video conferencing for up to 10 people. This feature allows face-to-face meetings using either webcams or smartphones.
  • Administrative Controls: The admin settings allow administrators to set company-wide defaults for posts and restrict Hangouts to specific users to ensure private meetings.

In addition to the features listed above, Google indicated that additional features related to administrative controls, mobile services, and more would be introduced over the next several months. Although the new suite of tools is initially available free of charge, a paid subscription to Google Apps will be required starting in early 2014. However, pricing details have not been released at this time.

(source: searchenginejournal.com)

Google Offers Free & Discounted Wi-Fi at U.S. Malls, Airports

August 24, 2012 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips

By Miranda Miller, August 22, 2012

Google and Boingo Wireless are teaming up to offer free Wi-Fi at eight U.S. malls and discounted access in 16 major airports across the U.S. Google’s sponsorship isn’t completely altruistic; people need to subscribe to Google Offers in their city to purchase the deal.

This June, Google partnered with Boingo Wireless to offer free Wi-Fi in six subway stations and more than 200 other locations in New York City. That program is scheduled to end September 7.

Now, shoppers will be able to surf the web for free in select Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tampa malls, among other major city locations.

In the airports selected, Google is offering 50 percent off a 24-hour Boingo As-You-Go wi-fi pass. The airports, according to VentureBeat, include:

  • Austin, Texas: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Chicago, Ill.: O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Midway Airport (MDW)
  • Denver, Colo.: Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Detroit, Mich.: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  • Houston, Texas: William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Milwaukee, Wis.: Milwaukee County’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
  • Minneapolis, Minn.: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • New York, N.Y.: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • Oklahoma City, Okla.: Will Rogers World Airport (OKC)
  • St. Louis, Mo.: Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL)
  • Washington, D.C.: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Dulles International Airport (IAD)

(Source: searchenginewatch.com)

Non-Content Based Link Opportunities Are Often Missed

August 16, 2012 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips

By Eric Ward, August 16, 2012

In the aftermath of Panda/Penguin many webmasters are struggling as they decide which linking strategies to use now.

The standard answer that most search engine reps give us when we ask about obtaining links is something along the lines of “create great content, think about the user, let them share it, don’t worry about the search engines so much, and links will follow”. Maybe in a perfect world, but let’s get real here.

What do we do when the above advice is simply not possible to follow?

There are hundreds if not thousands of web sites that are about very specific topics, products, services, where it is simply not practical or cost efficient to embark on a content creation strategy. This is especially true when we really don’t know what the end result will be. Telling your boss you need to spend thousands of dollars to create a bunch of content because that will help you rank higher sounds easy, but what if you do that, and the end result is NOT higher rankings? And I know this can happen, because I have seen it happen.

But this does not mean things are hopeless. An ironic result of the renewed focus on creating quality content is that many sites are missing out on link opportunities that are not based on having hundreds of pages of stellar content.

In keeping with my goal of providing very specific strategies that you can pursue now, here are a few linking strategies a site can pursue, even if it might not have the most engaging, magnetic, sticky or shareable content in the world.

None Content Based Link Building Case Study

Here’s the scenario. You operate a farm equipment parts store. You sell new, used, and rebuilt combine parts, tractor parts, and farm equipment. Exciting things like Return Pans, Wood Bearing Blocks, Keystock and Slotted Grates. You even have Conventional and Rotary Concaves. You’ve been in business fifty years, you know your clients, they know you, and they are not eagerly anticipating your every tweet, could care less about your rss feed, and darn sure don’t have time for Facebook or your blog. Why? Because they are business growing, cultivating, and harvesting the stuff you and I eat every day.

The website for this company has no blog, no feed, and no twitter account, isn’t on Facebook, and has no interest in these things or a mobile version of their site. I know it is absolutely possible to develop a content based strategy for them and try to convince them they need things like videos of every product, a hired logger to write about farming related topics, someone to manage the twitter account (that they need to create), etc. I’m not arguing that with you. But the client is simply not interested. They don’t want to spend the money on their web site. That’s not their expertise or passion. They know farming, and simply want to be found by searchers, or noticed via links in the right places where their customers might be.

So any new content is off the table. Now what do you do?

There are still hundreds of high value link opportunities available, if you stop thinking about it as link building and think of it like marketing and public relations.

Potential Industry Connections

I start by asking the client questions, such as…

Are you a member of the National Young Farmer Educational Association or any other industry specific associations, like The Georgia Young Farmers Association, or The Georgia Seed Association?

Have they ever reached out to trade magazines with web sites, like Southeast Farm Press?

Do they offer any small scholarship opportunities to college students who are Agriculture majors?

Have they joined or donated money to organizations such as The Humane Farming Association, The National Farmers Market Association, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, The Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association?

At this point, you should see exactly where I’m, heading with my non-content based linking strategy for this client. Almost every business has a collection of organizations that they either are, or may want to consider, becoming a part of, participating with, and reaching out to.

The sublime secondary effect of this approach is you often end up with links that help you rank higher, even if that was not the goal in the primary intent. For me, the best links are the links you are glad you have, regardless of whether or not they have helped your search rank, because they are helping your business.

You don’t always need content. You need to think differently.

(Source: searchenginewatch)

2013 Digital Strategy Best Practices for Your Business

August 15, 2012 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips

By Jon Schepke, August 15, 2012

Investment in digital continues to soar! When the IAB released the IAB Internet Advertising Report for the full-year 2011, it demonstrated impressive 22 percent year-over-year growth for digital marketing and offered further excitement for digital marketers operating in just about every marketing channel out there.

According to the IAB report, investments increased across the board:

  • Investments in mobile, the fastest growing of all categories, increased 149 percent
  • Digital video grew 29 percent, up to $1.8 billion in 2011 revenue
  • Search revenues increased 27 percent to $14.8 billion in 2011
  • Display retargeting grew 15 percent

The problem with these soaring investments is that they hint at a potentially huge problem in the marketing departments of brands across the globe. While spend grows fast within channels, most brands still fail to take a holistic approach to managing digital marketing, and that causes gaping inefficiencies.

According to “Integrate to Accelerate Digital Marketing Effectiveness,” a study released May 29, 2012 by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, just 9 percent of the global marketers surveyed say they have a highly evolved digital marketing model with a proven and clear path of evolution. Simultaneously, 36 percent report a random embrace of marketing point solutions that aren’t well integrated or unified.

Marketers focus a great deal of importance on scalability. When they select a bid management technology for their paid search efforts, for example, most marketers understand that solution will likely need to manage larger campaigns next year than it will be managing right out of the gate. What marketers often overlook is a technology’s ability to adapt.

Making Information Available

It’s what we all do. We make sure people can find the data and information they need wherever they seek it.

We use paid search ads to make data available about the products and services we offer. We leverage search engine optimization and local tactics to ensure consumers near our locations can find our stores, offices and businesses. We deliver local deals and promotions to the palms of nearby consumers’ hands via mobile.

The examples are endless, but they all accomplish the same basic task of connecting consumers with the information, data, products, directions or other resources they seek.

All sorts of problems arise, however, when each marketing channel manages data in its own silo. Duplicate information about store locations, products and countless other types of critical business information turns into misinformation. Maintaining data accuracy and integrity takes four times as long when four different channels manage information independently.

Unifying a Single Data Source

Eventually, marketers will want every piece of data housed in a single location. They’ll keep that data clean, versatile and accurate, and it will fuel everything from local search to display to voice search to paid search to SEO. Someday it may even power digital billboard advertising, neurological advertising or any other futuristic marketing application you can dream up. We’re not there yet, but marketers shouldn’t wait for the holy grail.

Marketing automation tools already help brands maintain unified, clean sets of data that can be shared through many marketing channels. Huge strides have been made in recent years, particularly in the areas of SEO and local search.

Some of the world’s top brands are adopting marketing automation technologies that leverage one clean, unified data set to accomplish amazing things with simple and drastically reduced workloads. Take location information, for example. CMOs are tapping marketing automation technology to empower hundreds or thousands of local dealers, agents, franchises and retail stores to simply and effectively run promotions and keep their location and contact information visible and accurate.

The systems house data in one spot for simple and effective updates to be made, and they turn these updates over to website location pages, mobile pages, Google+ Local pages, Facebook pages, Bing Local pages, directories, ratings and review sites, and more.

A unified data source can go a long way to ensure consistent branded experiences for consumers across all digital touch points. With the right automation technology, organizations can leverage adaptive models to enable quick testing and adoption of new marketing channels as they emerge. As new applications for data emerge, some of these tools will evolve right along with the industry, plugging marketers in quickly and effectively. The benefits are both numerous and substantial.

Advocating for Change

Maybe this all sounds well and good but seems like it might be someone else’s problem to solve. After all, what’s a search marketer supposed to do about all these holistic technology and data management issues?

For starters, care about making a difference and start in your own silo. You can play an active role in tearing down some of those walls. If you work in paid search, for example, start collaborating more with SEO and vice versa.

After you’ve torn down some of your own silo walls, consider going further by encouraging:

  • Investment in technologies that evolve with consumer behavior and cater to emerging technologies, gadgets and resources
  • Moving ever closer to a single source of unified location, inventory, product and other critical data
  • Adoption of content management and distribution systems that save time while boosting accuracy and visibility
  • Cross-channel optimization and analysis to improve effectiveness and accountability

Remembering Tomorrow as You Plan for Today

Clearly, we all need resources that help us accomplish this year’s goals most effectively, but today’s great performance and tomorrow’s growing success don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The more we can unify efforts and technologies across marketing channels the more effective we can all become and the more success we can help our brands achieve.

( Source: searchenginewatch )

Learn from Leading Practitioners and Your Peers at SES San Francisco 2012

August 10, 2012 By: admin Category: News

By Laura Roth, August 9, 2012

Just days and counting to the start of SES San Francisco at the Moscone Center on August 14.

Acknowledged as the leading search and social marketing event in the industry, this is where your education begins, improves, and excels. No matter where you are on the learning curve. SES has become a different kind of conference experience.

In customary style, SES kicks off with a kick-ass keynote. Having travelled across three continents with SES this year, digital marketing evangelist with Google, Avinash Kaushik, lands in his own back yard. Hammering home his theme of “Business Optimization In A Digital Age” Avinash has been delighting and enlightening audiences in London, New York, Shanghai, Toronto, and now San Francisco.

Day one of SES actually sees more Googlers than you can shake a stick at when they present an entire track of their own. Learn the latest local, social, and mobile strategies for Google Adwords, tools for targeting search and display and the latest tips and tricks in search marketing management.

And in a year when SEOs started sounding more like zoologists with Pandas and Penguins in every breath, get the scoop from the sharpest minds in the industry on how to stay out of trouble and safely grow your organic traffic online.

Learn From the Guy Who Wrote the Book On It

With the years of experience our speakers have, many of them have written the most popular books on how to succeed as an online marketer. One of the best-selling books out there right now is simply called “Optimize” by industry thought leader Lee Odden Catch his solo session “Optimize B2B Content Across The Sales Cycle” on Wednesday morning.

Another great read is the recently released “Global Search Engine Marketing” book. Whether it’s reaching Europe’s biggest markets that captures your interest or understanding the Asian markets, authors Anne Kennedy and Kristjan Mar Hauksson will be there to share their expertise along with other Global SEM experts.

If you interest lies more with Big Data, look no further than best-selling author Bryan Eisenberg who will be packing everything marketers need to know about big data into an hour long intensive session on Tuesday morning.

And it doesn’t stop there….the SES agenda is full of bestselling authors who are the best at what they do.

Learn From the Guys Teaching the Industry

Everyone likes to know that they are not only learning from the top experts, but the best instructors. At SES San Francisco you can be safe in the knowledge that you will get just that. Many of our speaker faculty are responsible for instructing the industry in key themes across the online marketing landscape through the ClickZ Academy.

From Thom Craver who will be deep diving into Web Analytics to Shari Thurow who will be telling you all you need to consider on Information Architecture for the modern website you will find the best teachers ready to pass on their valuable knowledge to you.

If it’s keywords you’re after, let Bill Hunt share his keyword modelling expertise with you or if it’s optimizing social media that keeps you awake at night, Lisa Buyer together with key brands will provide top tips for getting it right.

Learn From the Industry’s Leading Practitioners

At SES we pride ourselves on bringing you the people who make things happen – the practitioners. The agenda is packed full of leading practitioners from big brands who are ready to share their experiences to help you find that winning formula.

As online marketers we all know that optimizing conversion is the key to success. Mikel Chertudi of Adobe will be taking you right through from strategy to execution in 3 key steps on Wednesday.

Crispin Sheridan of SAP will be presenting a PPC and multi-touch attribution case study focusing on customer behaviour across all digital channels (bought/owned/earned).

On the other end of the industry scale, SES San Francisco brings you representatives from leading platforms and brands in the industry such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Facebook will be showing you how to build your brand more effectively using Paid and Earned and LinkedIn will be analyzing how to mine social media data to add value so don’t miss your chance to hear from the brands leading the way in innovation in our industry.

Learn From Your Peers

But at SES you don’t have to just sit back and listen to the experts – for the first time at SES you now have the opportunity to talk back and get your opinion heard! In this brand new open forum track taking place on Wednesday, SES Talkback, you have a unique chance to collaborate and discuss what you’ve learnt with leading industry experts.

These four sessions covering mobile, blogging, search and social in Asia and the future of search provide the perfect forum for you to get directly involved in the agenda so make sure you check it out.

Carrying on the theme of talking with the experts, SES most popular new session format is making its debut in San Francisco this year. Following on from successes at SES events across North America, Europe and Asia this year, Meet the Experts gives you the chance to set your own agenda and get your questions answered.

The format is simple. Each table has a theme or a topic (link building or display advertising, for instance) and two experts from the SES agenda are ready and waiting to share their expert knowledge. Join a table, chat, learn and then move on to the next table (or stick around in the same place).

There’s no need to rush around all 32 tables in 1 hour as the session takes place on both Tuesday and Wednesday, giving you plenty of time to meet everyone you want to meet. Better still both sessions lead directly into networking events allowing you to continue your conversations over a beer or lunch.

Learn Hard, Play Hard!

Which brings us nicely onto the other side of SES, Networking! SES is never short of networking events and parties and San Francisco this year is leading the way for social events.

The SEW Eliminator quiz is new to SES San Fran and provides the perfect opportunity for you to show off your industry knowledge and make new friends and business contacts. From the Meet and Greet on Monday night, to Webmaster Radio’s infamous Search Bash, and Good Beer for a Good Cause, there is no shortage of evening entertainment so make sure you check out the schedule and we’ll see you at the bar!

Speaking of networking, make sure you head to Vivastream.com and join the SES community. To find out more on how to make the most of this online community, check out this handy guide.

The event is now just one week away and there’s still time to sign up. If you haven’t registered yet don’t leave it much longer – register here. SES San Francisco 2012 is set to be our best ever SES and we look forward to seeing you there!

Facebook Ads Improve Results for Search Campaigns

August 07, 2012 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips

Marc Poirier, August 3, 2012

Everyone seems to have their own explanation for what Facebook ads should or shouldn’t do for your marketing campaigns.

Yet, most seem to suggest that we need to look beyond actual clicks, and come to an understanding that they influence conversions, but you have to look beyond your analytics to see the results.

Even Facebook executives have taken to saying that one must look beyond actual statistics to find the good in Facebook ads. This is a little bit like a drug company saying that you must ignore the fact that you still feel pain when you take their pain medication; it really doesn’t make for a good method of selling your product.

Despite the fact that Facebook itself appears to be having a little bit of trouble actually demonstrating to marketers why it is that they should be adding budget to Facebook campaigns, marketers are finding their own ways of evaluating the true value of a Facebook ad campaign.

Measuring Results

The results may be somewhat confounding and difficult to measure, because marketers may be looking in the wrong place.

The results of any online campaign should be viewed, analyzed, and interpreted. And all of this needs to be done by viewing more than just the results of a campaign within its own silo; to get precise about the results of online marketing activities, especially when interpreting how display ads on Facebook are working, it is vital to be able to interpret how these activities are effecting other online activities.

Facebook Adds Life to Search

What we have found, over and over again, is that Facebook ads improve branding to the extent that branded search results increase significantly. When running ads targeted to very specific groups using the best practices for ensuring that they get noticed, customers who didn’t bite the first time got interested, and started looking for more information.

The great part of this is that it allows a search strategy to be successful at a much lower rate. Knowing that the keyword that you generally have to throw the lowest bid price at is your branded search term, you can see already how generating interest through display on Facebook can not only increase the volume, but also lower the price of each acquisition.

If you can generate the interest, and be present when they’re searching for your branded term, you’re able to increase conversions for less money, allowing you to have more of your budget working for you.

Set Phasers to Sell

With the social network getting set to allow marketers to retarget customers directly on Facebook, advertisers are going to have an amazing opportunity to increase their brand recognition in a safe place.

One reasons many brands have shied away from retargeting campaigns is that they don’t exercise enough control over the placement of their branded ads. With the “Facebook Exchange”, marketers will have an environment in which they can retarget customers, and even if those views, or even clicks, don’t lead to conversions right then and there, they have increased their visibility, which will lead to an increase in branded searches.

A Smart Investment

Facebook advertising opens the door to increased visibility, giving people a reason to get interested and find out more on their own accord. Once someone expresses interest in a brand by searching for it directly, they are much further along the path toward a conversion, and far more likely to become a paying customer.

Investing in Facebook ads now, and investing in Facebook retargeting in the future, gives you the ability to increase your conversions from search and lower your cost-per-acquisition. By employing advanced attribution methods, you will be able to see exactly where your investment dollars are going, and remove all doubt as to whether Facebook ad campaigns are working for you.

Fake Facebook Profiles Top 83 Million

August 01, 2012 By: admin Category: News

By V3

More than 83 million Facebook accounts are fake, the social network has revealed in a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). That represents 8.7 percent of Facebook’s user base.

The 10-Q filing reveals that Facebook is aware of a large portion of accounts plaguing the site that shouldn’t be there, with 4.8 percent of users (well over 45 million) owning “duplicate accounts”, which aren’t allowed under the terms and conditions of the service.

Beyond that, there are around 2.4 percent (just under 23 million) of “user-misclassified accounts”, where users have created “personal profiles for a business, organization, or non-human entity such as a pet”, which are meant to be hosted under its Pages section.

Lastly, some 1.5 percent of users (around 14 million accounts) are “undesirable”, which refers to user profiles that “are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, such as spamming”, Facebook explained in the filing.

Adding these percentages up and applying them to the last reported user base of 955 million means there are roughly 83,085,000 fake accounts in total on the site.

Despite these fake profile numbers, it’s important to remember that Facebook still boasts some 872 legit accounts.

The revelations are yet more bad news for the firm, as it attempts to improve advertising revenues and grow its share price after a disappointing flotation on the stock market in May.

The report comes a week after the firm reported its first public earnings, which revealed a loss of $157 million for the quarter, sending its share price plummeting by almost 10 percent to its lowest price since it hit the market in May.

The firm’s share price fell below $20 for the first time today, almost half its flotation value of $38.

Meanwhile, AllThingsD reported that Facebook is losing three executives: Ethan Beard, director of platform partnerships; Katie Mitic, platform marketing director; and Jonathan Matus, mobile platform marketing manager. All three announced their plans to leave the company yesterday.

Source: searchenginewatch.com