SEO and Marketing


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
4 Reasons Organic Search Is Better

Organic Search Ranking. SEO

Remember when you used to rely solely on search engines for traffic? Remember when you worked on SEO and lived and died by your placement in Google? Were you #1? Assured success. Well, okay, maybe not assured. Success only came if the keywords were relevant to your site users, but it was the only real roadmap to generating site traffic and revenue.

Today, we live in a different world. We diversify. We use AdWords and Bing Ads. We create identities across social platforms, and we promote via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. No longer are sites living and dying by their Google Rankings. Organic is no longer one of the cool kids. Organic is passé. Or is it?

Diversification is a must, and — if we are smart in our digital marketing plans — we no longer live or die by Google’s hand alone, but have we forgotten about our organic listings and how beneficial they can be?

…The clear champion of website traffic is organic search. Overwhelmingly, organic search trumps other traffic generators, driving 51% of all visitors for both B2B and B2C businesses.BrightEdge, Cracking the Content 2014
New Trend

At our agency, we work with sites of varying sizes, from very large to quite small, and recently, we have noticed a trend at the enterprise level. These sites aren’t relying as much on Google for traffic any more. Not only are they not relying on Google traffic, but also, the sites are getting less than 10 percent (or slightly more) of their organic traffic from the search giant.

Now, it is not that these sites are not interested in Google users. In fact, they have hired us to help them increase their share. However, they are getting so much traffic from sites like Facebook that it seems there is less urgency about attracting this traffic and less willingness to change the site to meet organic standards. Not long ago, sites would urgently and unquestioningly abide by Google’s standards to court that traffic.

Yet, is this the right direction? With the shrinking of organic listings and the push below the fold across many SERPs, is organic still worth it? Here are four reasons why you should not overlook your organic listings.

4 Reasons Organic Still Matters 1. Organic Still Rocks

Although it may have changed slightly since BrightEdge published its report last year, the data still seem to hold true. Organic is simply better for delivering relevant traffic. The only channel that performs better in some capacities is paid search ads, but that is only for conversions, not overall traffic delivery (Paid Search only accounted for 10 percent of overall total traffic).

Search Results

However, we do find that by combining channels we can outperform either channel by itself.

BrightEdge research supports that a blended approach is best for delivering high performing content. Not only will combining organic and paid search increase website traffic, but it will offer a bigger return on the investment. Take Retail, Technology and Hospitality industries, for example — organic and paid search combined make up more than two-thirds of their total revenue.BrightEdge, Cracking the Content 2014

So if you are neglecting your organic listings, your paid are not doing as well as they could, either. You are leaving money on the table in both organic and paid search.

2. No Control

When auditing sites, we often see that the client is getting as much as 40 percent to 60 percent of their traffic from Facebook. This traffic is sending their visits through the stratosphere. Yet their Google traffic is low — some of the lowest we have seen for sites of these kinds (typically publishers).

Social Referrers

Chart by Simply Measured based on Parse.ly’s Research on Social Accounts

When I see this, my brain hurts a little. Yes, the love affair with Facebook traffic is very real and occurs for a good reason. A site sending you millions of visitors via a single referral source is a marketer’s dream come true. Well… it is until it isn’t.

Walled Gardens Have Their Own Rules

With Facebook (or any social media site), you are working inside a closed system, a walled garden. This means that while your section of it may be flourishing, you have no control over how that garden gets fed or if it gets watered at all.

What if Facebook decides that you no longer get to show off that garden of yours? What if Twitter decides to personalize the feed? What if Pinterest cuts off your affiliate links? These questions are very real because all of these have happened or are in the works.

When you are using social media platforms for your site traffic, you are at the mercy of that platform. If Facebook cuts organic viewing, you have to pay. If Twitter decides to segment the algorithm, how do you get seen? And if Pinterest removes all affiliate links, how do you replace that traffic?

When you don’t have control over the environment that’s driving your revenue, you may wind up with a hefty advertising bill to generate traffic that is lost when the company changes how the platform surfaces your content. Generally, these changes happen overnight or over a few weeks. That is not much time to adjust, especially for large companies.

But Google Does This Too, Right?

Well, yes and no. Sure, you can get hit with an algorithm change or penalty that destroys all your traffic. However, if you have good people who know what they are doing, this is not likely to happen, and if it does, it is easy (in most cases) to get your visits back. Panda and Penguin are another story, but if you get hit by those it is typically not accidental.

So though you may have to increase your spend in advertising to help replace the traffic while you fix your issues, the issues are fixable, and the traffic can be returned. You will not be replacing it forever, in most cases. (Again, Penguin and Panda are the exceptions because of the long time between updates.)

3. Site “Stickiness”

Social media and paid ads might be traffic generators, but they are not long-term customer creators. The bounce rates are high, and the number of pages visited is often very low, in my experience.

Of course, this makes perfect sense. If I come from my Facebook feed, I am likely to view one page and leave. What we see is that these site visitors generally view between 1.2 and 2 pages.

Facebook is meant to drive article visits, not overall site traffic and customer loyalty. Twitter is meant to promote customer loyalty, not create post traffic. Pinterest users hardly leave the site unless you are selling something. In that case,  paid ads are offering the user a reason to come visit, but not necessarily a reason to come back.

bii-social-commerce-sales-share2-1

Business Insider Social Commerce Report, Jun 2015

Organic is different. Matching keywords to user intent means you may be present in many searches. The user may find you consistently, and once they get to your site, they are more likely to stay. Organic users are still your best long-term customers. In my experience, they have lower bounce rates and more pages visited, and they are more likely to return.

So if you want to sell something or gain brand awareness, social is an excellent channel. If you want people to find your store and remember you, organic is the way to go. Diversification is key because each platform has a different ROI potential. Organic is one of the strongest of these, and organic+paid can hit it out of the park.

From our experience with large scale social traffic generators, social just can’t deliver the same level of quality traffic, even if your site sees 50+ percent of its traffic from Facebook.

4. Investment

The issue with paid referral sources, whether Google AdWords or Facebook Advertising, is that the traffic only lasts as long as you feed the meter. Pull your money, and you will see an instant dip in traffic.

As I already mentioned, these users are not seeking you out; you ran across their path and they thought “Oh, cool, something I need right now!” If they have an excellent experience on your site, they may come back, but the ratio of retained visitors from paid is low in the sites we see.

When you’re paying for your traffic, it is like renting. You get an immediate action, but there is no long-term buy-in from most of the visitors you get this way.

With organic search, the user mindset is different. In that case, the user is looking for you, or at least what you sell/offer/publish. When they find you, if you provided an excellent experience, they often come back. If you are an unknown brand, repetitive appearances across results can start to increase brand recognition and brand loyalty.

If you get into the Knowledge Graph, you are the on-page authority in the result.

Investment Levels

In addition, if you invest in organic, you can, at times, lower that investment to maintenance levels or even take a break if needed.

Though a long break is never suggested, there are times that money can be shifted and put towards other resources for a short time. A good example would be an online retailer. In the couple of weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays, you are unlikely to get more organic placement than you already have. Besides, the window of opportunity for shipping gifts to arrive before Christmas is ending, and you are heading into a slow season.

You might decide to take an “organic break” and shift that money into immediate “last minute” sales through paid advertising. Your organic will not suffer, and your money will generate additional traffic.

When you do this, if the site is still doing what it needs to do by producing content, keeping a tight rein on technical issues and monitoring its inbound link profile, you will not generally lose any significant amounts of traffic, unless you’re in a highly competitive industry, or if you changed something that damaged your site in Google’s eyes.

You cannot do this with paid. When the money goes away, so does the majority of the traffic that came with it.

Don’t Let Your Organic Die on the Vine

While you are reveling in all your Facebook visits and paid advertising, don’t forget to invest in your organic results. These results will sustain you during those times when you cannot put more money into your paid budgets.

Organic traffic is a completely different type of traffic from what you’ll receive from any paid or social channels.

Organic is what people are looking for; the rest of these simply put things in front of people who may or may not be seeking what you offer. We know that approximately X number of people are looking for Y every day. So if we can get on front of those people, we have a much greater opportunity to create long-term relationships and increase our overall ROI.

Diversification is good, but organic still rocks. Make sure you don’t neglect yours.

The post 4 Reasons Organic Search Is Better appeared first on Search Engine Land.


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
Social Profile SEO: Optimizing For Rankings & Search Visibility
Bloomua / Shutterstock.com

Bloomua / Shutterstock.com

Social profiles are great assets for building your online presence. They are great for expanding your reach, for customer retention and engagement and for amplifying content. But they can also be great for capturing more search visibility for your brand.

In today’s world of negative third-party reviews online, which can rank very high (cough, Yelp) for brand searches, you need as many online assets as possible to push negative content down in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Don’t get me wrong, though — you should do right by customers and provide good service to avoid negative reviews. However, we don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes negative things can appear in the SERPs about your brand.

The ideal scenario is to have your website and social profiles dominate the first page of your branded SERPs. This is great because it’s all assets that you own, which will help you control what searchers see and your brand perception.

Google announced recently that they will be inserting Tweets into Web search, so this is another opportunity to layer social into your branded Web searches.

Here are some examples of both good and bad brand SERPs.

The Good

This search results page for “Brooks Brothers” is full of links to properties that the brand controls, including numerous social media profiles.

Brooks Brothers Social Profile SEO

The Bad

This search results page for Target is full of negative publicity (including news coverage and a low review for their iTunes app) and links to just two social profiles, their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Target Negative Results

The Ugly

Similar to Target, this search results page for Subway is also teeming with negative publicity, most of which surrounds their former spokesperson, Jared Fogle. It’s possible that this content might be less visible in organic results if better care had been taken to optimize social profiles, although it’s a big enough story that it would probably still appear in the “In the News” area.

Subway Negative Results

On-Site Social Integration

To help boost the rankings of your social profiles, you should link to them from your website. This seems like common sense, but you would be surprised by how many sites don’t link to their social profiles (or only link to certain ones).

Linking to all your social profiles will help pass authority to them (unless you are using a nofollow tag around the links, which I don’t recommend). This will also help increase exposure of the social profiles, which can lead to more followers and social engagement.

Onsite Social Profile Linking Elite SEM

Social Connect Buttons Onsite Jcrew

Other Linking Options

Some other great ways to increase relevancy, discovery and traffic to your social profiles is to do the following:

  • Specify your social profile links in an Organization Schema markup code on your website. Click here to learn more.
  • Include links to your social profiles in your company’s emails.
  • Link each social profile to the others where possible. Facebook, Google + and YouTube have enough profile real estate to highlight your other social profile links.
  • Link to your social profiles, where possible, from third-party sites/profiles that you control, such as a slideshare.net profile.
Social Profile Optimization

Below are recommendations for optimizing some of the more popular and widely used social profiles. I’m covering Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram, but many of the recommendations can be applied across other social media profiles, as well.

General Tips

The following tips are applicable to nearly any social media account:

  • Branding. Ensure your profile is set up with high-quality branded images where appropriate.
  • Updates. Make updates on a regular basis so that visitors don’t think you’ve abandoned the account. How frequently you post updates will depend on the platform, but be sure to space out any promotional messages so it doesn’t feel like a barrage of advertisements. Try to keep things conversational.
  • Profile Completeness. Nearly every social account contains places where you can add content, links or other types of helpful information. Make sure you fill out all applicable fields — the more information you provide, the stronger your profile will appear to search engines.

Facebook

  • Branding. When setting up your profile with images, don’t just upload a profile photo and cover photo. Add a variety of photos in an album that shows who you are and what you do. Be sure to claim your vanity URL, too (for example, Facebook.com/zappos).
  • Updates. Keep the profile updated on a frequent basis, ideally at least once per day. Be sure to leverage hashtags where appropriate.
  • Page Info. Populate the page info section of the profile with as much content as possible. Include history, mission, services, awards, etc. — the more content, the better. Macy’s has done a great job with this.

Macy's Facebook Profile SEO

  • Custom Tabs. Use custom tabs to highlight additional content. This will help increase exposure of certain content, increase profile engagement and make the profile more content-heavy (which is great for search indexation). Custom tabs can include feeds of other social profiles such as Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube. Time Warner is doing a good job leveraging custom tabs. They have tabs dedicated to highlighting free shows and a contest.

Time Warner Facebook Custom Tabs

Twitter

  • Branding. Twitter allows you to set up a profile picture and a header image, as well as a background color for your profile page (you can choose from a selection of available colors or use a custom one using the color’s hexadecimal number). Ensure that all images and colors are on brand.
  • Updates. Keep the profile updated on a frequent basis, three to four times per day, if possible. It is very important to leverage hashtags on Twitter. This will help aggregate your tweets and may also increase the chances of your tweets showing up in Google Web search.

Hashtag Search Google Web Search

  • Content Types. Be sure to incorporate different media types, such as photos and videos, into tweets.

YouTube

  • Branding. Use high-quality branded images, and be sure to claim your profile’s vanity URL (for example, https://www.youtube.com/EliteSEMInc).
  • About Section. Populate the “About” section of the profile with as much content as possible. Include links to your other social profiles, as well. Adorama has done a great job with their YouTube channel optimization.

Adorama YouTube Channel SEO

  • Updates. Have a solid content calendar where you are uploading video content on a frequent basis (weekly or monthly). Be sure to leverage video playlists to add more content value to your channel. For more information on YouTube channel optimization, click here.

Pinterest

  • Branding. Pinterest allows for a very small branded profile image, so make sure the image you choose can be easily seen at a small size (like a logo). Additionally, if you confirm your company website with Pinterest, you’ll be able to add your logo to any Pin that came from your site.
  • Boards. Create as many relevant boards as possible, which will make the profile more content-heavy. Macy’s is doing a great job with their boards.

Pinterest Boards SEO

  • Pin Descriptions. Add descriptions to your pins to not only add value to users but also to make your profile more content-heavy.

Pinterest Pins SEO

LinkedIn

  • Branding. LinkedIn profiles allow you to upload a company logo and a banner image.
  • Content. Populate the Info section on the Home tab of the profile with as much content as possible. Leverage the “Showcase Pages” option, as well, if you can. Here’s an example of Microsoft’s LinkedIn company page.

LinkedIn Company Page SEO

Instagram

  • Content. Leverage both images and videos.
  • Descriptions. Add descriptions to your images and videos. Be sure to use hashtags.

Instagram Posts SEO

 

The post Social Profile SEO: Optimizing For Rankings & Search Visibility appeared first on Search Engine Land.


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
Look Out Siri, Google Now & Cortana, Facebook M Wants To Be Your Digital Assistant

facebook-newlogo2-1920

Facebook wants to be your digital assistant. The social network today announced it is testing a Siri-like personal assistant called M.

The service is a blend of artificial intelligence — similar to that which powers Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana — and human input, and Facebook believes that combination will make M better than its rivals. Like Siri, M will be able to give recommendations about the best places to dine in a city or help people pick a gift for a friend, but M will also be able to complete tasks such as making a restaurant reservation or having the gift delivered.

Facebook’s VP of messaging products David Marcus announced the test in a Facebook post this morning:

Today we’re beginning to test a new service called M. M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that…

Posted by David Marcus on Wednesday, 26 August 2015

 

Marcus’s post was short on details about how M will work, but Wired was given an advanced look. Wired reported that a test is being carried out for a few hundred users in the Bay Area and will eventually be rolled out for all Messenger users. For human input, the company has a team of M trainers sitting with Facebook engineers to help make sure user queries are answered appropriately.

The Wired article is a must-read for those interested in Facebook’s motives for entering this market.

Here’s a telling excerpt:

Facebook’s goal is to make Messenger the first stop for mobile discovery. Google has long had search locked up on the desktop: Right now, if I’m looking to treat my summer cold, and I’m in front of my laptop, I begin by googling “cold meds Upper West Side.” On mobile, however, I may pull up any number of apps -– Google, Google Maps, Twitter -– to find that out, or I may just ask Siri. Facebook starts at a disadvantage on mobile because it doesn’t have its own operating system, and therefore users must download an app, and then open it. Marcus hopes to make up for that by creating a virtual assistant so powerful, it’s the first stop for anyone looking to do or buy anything.

“We start capturing all of your intent for the things you want to do,” says Marcus. “Intent often leads to buying something, or to a transaction, and that’s an opportunity for us to [make money] over time.”

If M can provide a more efficient service than its competitors, Facebook can boost the number of people using it on mobile and eventually spur revenue from their transactions. That’s the kind of win-win Marcus was brought in to accomplish at Facebook, which in June 2014 hired him away from PayPal, where he had been CEO. In less than two years, Facebook has more than tripled Messenger’s users to 700 million.

The post Look Out Siri, Google Now & Cortana, Facebook M Wants To Be Your Digital Assistant appeared first on Search Engine Land.


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
3 Incredible Social PPC Hacks For Crazy Engagement & ROI

TOP SOCIAL PPC HACKS

My last column on crazy CRO hacks for search ads was so popular, I didn’t want to leave out the marketers toiling away in social media PPC ads. Just a few years ago, social PPC wasn’t even a thing yet; today, it’s a promotional powerhouse for both branding and performance marketing objectives.

If you feel like you’re throwing money at social PPC but not seeing the best return possible — or worse, you’re doing it because you feel like you should but really aren’t sure how you’re doing — check these out.

Quick Note: For the purpose of this article, we’re focusing only on social PPC as it’s available on Facebook and Twitter. Why? They’re really the best social ad venues in town right now. Pinterest and other networks might be good depending on your niche, but LinkedIn… how do I say this nicely… LinkedIn has some catch-up work to do on their PPC platform.

Here are my three top social PPC hacks to get crazy engagement and boost your ROI:

1. Pick Your Winners & Promote Them Like Crazy

If you feel like your sponsored posts and tweets aren’t performing well enough to justify the spend, it’s entirely possible that you’re just choosing the wrong content to promote.

One of the things I do religiously before even writing a piece of content is I test out the idea on my social channels. If no one is interested in the concept, is it worth my time to write about it? Probably not.

Same idea with picking your winners for social PPC — you’re only going to promote the top 5% of your posts. The old way of conceptualizing, brainstorming, generating creative, etc. — this painstaking advertising process just doesn’t make sense when you have real-time insight into what your audience wants and thinks and reacts to.

Use your Facebook and Twitter analytics to identify tweets with at least 2x the average engagement within a few hours of posting. I’m going through my Twitter Analytics and looking for tweets like this that are already resonating with the audience. I want people to interact with my promoted content, too, so organic performance in real time with a real audience is about as great an indicator of potential paid performance as I’m going to get:

twitter-ads-promoted-tweet

The higher your level of engagement, the lower your cost per engagement. Why? Because those engagements are how your paid content spreads beyond the clicks and retweets you paid for, to the organic social networks of those people.

So, as your organic activity starts to drop off, you promote the post/tweet, effectively extending its organic life, getting in front of a paid audience and expanding your reach, as shown here:

twitter-ad-impressions

Key: Blue = organic impressions; Yellow = paid impressions

Boom. You paid to promote, and suddenly your organic activity is keeping up, too. It’s like buying one paid click yields two or three free clicks. It’s a beautiful thing.

2. Target Smarter

There are basically two ways to generate interest in your social content:

  1. Ridiculously awesome social updates with crazy visuals and/or click-baity headlines to stand out and capture the attention of the masses.
  2. Messing around with your ad targeting to get in front of just the right people.

increasing-social-engagement

Targeting isn’t the most interesting thing in the world, but you can get insanely specific with social ads. And you have to, really. If you’re putting your ads in front of people unlikely to care about what it is you’re sharing — who will ignore it, or maybe just click because they’re bored and it was either your ad or a new cat video — you’re throwing money away.

Both Facebook and Twitter are now partnering with third-party, offline data providers like Acxiom and Datalogix. Basically, these guys have a ton of real-world data like purchasing behavior, net worth, travel habits, credit card habits and a lot more. The social ad platforms match the user profiles from these data companies with the user profiles of social media users, so you can target some pretty crazy specific behaviors.

facebook-ads-behavioral-targeting

 

Where it gets really crazy, though, is when you start layering these insights over your Custom Audiences (on Facebook) or Tailored Audiences (on Twitter).

Say you have a list of 10,000, 50,000 or even 100,000 customers, blog subscribers, email subscribers, etc. You have all of these people you can remarket to using social PPC, which is huge for your brand awareness, recall and even conversion.

Layering real-world targeting data over that list allows you to get super granular and target really specific segments of your list with highly personalized content.

3. Pimp Your Social PPC Ride

Facebook and Twitter each have some pretty cool advertising features — and right now, relatively few advertisers are using them.

Let’s start with Twitter Cards. Basically, cards add extra functionality to your Twitter Ads. One you should definitely try out is the Lead Generation Card, which allows users to sign up for your offer with just two clicks.

twitter-lead-generation-ad

 

Twitter already knows the user’s handle, name, and login email, so it autopopulates the fields for them. You can then download the CSV to export the information collected.

These are so easy to set up; you can either create a new one or choose an existing tweet:

twitter lead gen cards

Over on Facebook, you can add call-to-action buttons to your ads:

website-conversions-facebook

But you can also add click-to-call functionality right to your news stream ads for mobile users:

click-to-call-facebook

Of course, if you can skip the step where you send people to your landing page in an effort to get them to call you, you’re cutting out a whole stage of the funnel.

Test out all of the social PPC features available to you on the two biggest networks. These updates aren’t just for looks — they can radically change your ROI and boost engagement by making your ads more relevant and actionable to users.

Long story short: Engagement is critical in your social PPC ads. Likes, retweets, comments — all of these interactions help your paid content spread to organic users as well, improving your ROI. As much as I love paid search, it’s social PPC for the viral content marketing win!

The post 3 Incredible Social PPC Hacks For Crazy Engagement & ROI appeared first on Search Engine Land.


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
Dynamic Advertising: The Key To Scaling Personalized Ads

display-ads-ss-1920

After a great deal of time and effort, you’ve finally collected enough data to identify meaningful audience segments. Now what?

Marketers are excited about the prospect of being able to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. Unfortunately, while collecting data is easy, finding smart ways to use it is much more difficult — especially for larger brands who need to scale their advertising to encompass hundreds, thousands, or even millions of products.

That’s where dynamic ads come in. With dynamic advertising, you can create customized, personalized ads that are dynamically generated based on audience data you’ve collected.

In my column on Marketing Land today, “Scaling Programmatic Advertising With Dynamic Ads,” I explain the various flavors of dynamic advertising available to digital marketers, including:

  • Google’s Product Listing Ads
  • Google’s Dynamic Remarketing Ads
  • Facebook Exchange (FBX) dynamic retargeting
  • Facebook Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs)
  • Third-party dynamic product retargeting

Want to learn more? Click here for the full article on Marketing Land.

The post Dynamic Advertising: The Key To Scaling Personalized Ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
Facebook’s Hello App Another Incremental Step Toward Local Search

facebook-search2-ss-1920

Facebook continues to take baby steps toward offering a local search product. Yesterday the company announced Hello, a new dialer/caller ID app that also offers local business search:

You can also search for people and businesses on Facebook and call them with just one tap. So if a friend tells you about a new restaurant in your neighborhood, you can use Hello to find their hours, make a reservation and get directions, all without leaving the app.

The new app will identify callers connected to you on Facebook and allows users to block calls. It’s a logical app for Facebook to build as part of its “portfolio” strategy. The most interesting part (to me) however is the local search component of the app.

Users are able to search for specific businesses by name. They can also do category searches such “plumbers” or “sushi.” Generally the category search experience is not great, with a mix of Facebook contacts and incomplete local business listings.

If you locate a desired business, however, you can call it, add it to contacts or get directions (using Google Maps). Users can also click through to the company’s Facebook Page and see friends’ comments and user reviews and ratings. It remains to be seen whether Facebook will seek to integrate Messenger’s new business chat feature into this app.

Facebook Hello

Overall, Facebook Search still an unrealized offering. Yet the company is seeing pretty massive volume. In yesterday’s earnings release the company said, remarkably, that it sees more than a billion mobile searches per day — that’s right, per day.

This shows the user demand and the revenue potential that exists for Facebook in search. Local search in particular is a significant, untapped opportunity for the company. In the middle of 2014 Facebook rolled out an updated Places Directory.

But late last year when the company updated Graph Search it neglected to make local search a strong element of the product. Consumers are already looking for local business information and ratings and reviews on Facebook. I fail to understand why the company hasn’t created a separate “places app” to date. Alternatively it could improve the local search experience in the main Facebook app.

Consumers will undoubtedly be conducting local business lookups in the new app Hello. But as a product it’s another incremental but incomplete step toward a better local search offering at Facebook.

The post Facebook’s Hello App Another Incremental Step Toward Local Search appeared first on Search Engine Land.


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
Using PPC Marketing to Make Content Go Viral: Here’s How It Works

gone-viral-sign-ss-800

Last year around this time, I wrote a column showing marketers how you can move beyond newsjacking and actually make the news, instead.

Well, another year has passed, and this lightning-speed evolution we’re seeing in people-based marketing has uncovered a whole new world of possibilities for making content go viral. You don’t have to spend hours researching and pitching publications, crossing your fingers and hoping for a bite. When you make the news, you can intentionally amplify it more than ever before, earning your company a ton of PR, website traffic and valuable backlinks in the process.

I’ve been using PPC marketing for PR and content promotion with great success, and I am going to show you how a minimal investment in it can generate huge wins for your campaigns.

What Is People-Based Marketing?

People-based marketing, identity targeting… it’s all based on drilling down into audience segments to the point where you can almost target specific individuals with your ads.

Correction: You can actually target specific individuals with your ads, but you need to use this power only for good, never for evil. In case you missed it, a marketer named Brian Swichkow played a prank on his roommate last year to see just how far he could push this idea and… well, it went pretty far.

He made a Custom Audience consisting only of his roommate (a sword swallower who had trouble swallowing pills, apparently) and started targeting him with ads like this:

people-based-marketing

His roommate was actually paranoid he was being followed — the ads were that specific and personal.

It’s a crazy story for these two to tell their kids one day, but this ability we now have to target people based on their employment, income, age, location, interests, past purchases and more opens the door to a whole new world of online PR.

It makes PPC function a lot more like email marketing, meaning you actually know who you’re promoting your content to instead of putting it out there in search or display to groups of people.

Automating PR Pitching With PPC Marketing

Advances in online marketing tech have allowed us to automate so many tedious, time-consuming processes — so why not PR pitching?

Here’s what it typically looks like if you’ve created an awesome piece of content and want to share it with the world:

  • Identify influencers and news media.
  • Hope you already have relationships with at least some of them so you’re not pitching them all cold.
  • Scrounge around for emails and Twitter handles and other contact info you can use to reach out to them.
  • Either draft a form letter people can smell as a mass communication a mile away, or spend a ton of time personalizing your pitches.
  • Pitch, pitch, pitch and hope you catch the interest of at least a few people, without ticking them off or annoying them to the point they don’t want to hear from you again.

The old way of pitching sucks, okay?

So here’s what I’ve been testing out. Here’s an article I published in the fall, late on a Friday afternoon when news was breaking:

goodbye-google-plus

I shared it on social media channels, including my Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. But who is going to see it so late on a Friday afternoon?

What I did next was create a custom list of influencers in Twitter Ads.

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It’s even better on Facebook, where I can get super granular by layering demographics on top of lists. For example, targeting folks on my list with specific job titles and interests to further improve targeting.

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What this does is (very inexpensively) put your story in front of journalists, industry experts, and people with a big social following. Your content shows up in their news feed or activity stream, where it’s hard to miss. Of course, those people can then either click through and read or share your story with their own networks.

The Value Of Making Your Content Viral With PPC

It only took a few hours for the story to start showing up in news publications like Marketing Land, citing me as the source of the story:

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Over that weekend, a ton of news media picked up the story and credited my post. This one blog post ended up earning me hundreds of media mentions! And you know what’s crazy? I didn’t have to spend hours and hours pitching people, which just annoys a lot of journalists anyway.

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There’s a snowball effect that happens when you can get your content in front of the right eyes right away, just after it publishes. One journalist takes note and writes about it. The next few who see your sponsored content think, Hmm, why haven’t I heard about this? When they do a quick search, they can see that another news outlet already picked it up. They want to get on it, too, before it really blows up.

This meant tons of traffic to my website — over a hundred thousand unique visitors. Were they all customers? Of course not, and that’s not all that matters, or even my primary concern when I’m content marketing in this way.

All of those links and mentions from high authority news sites (CNET, Fast Company, Gizmodo, the Inquirer, LifeHacker, etc.) are fantastic for our company site. The exposure is great for branding and gets our company in front of a way larger audience — an audience I can then tap into and target using remarketing ads, because although not all of them will be in the market for PPC software, some certainly will.

The best part? I spent a grand total of $50 here. That’s all-in. No huge monthly PR agency retainers here. It’s getting your content in front of a smaller number of influential people that matters, not just the quantity of people, and since you generally pay for clicks and engagement, it ends up not costing much at all. It pays to be a bit picky with your ad targeting!

Key Takeaways
  • You need a solid foundation of interesting content to expose to influencers and media.
  • Identity-based ad targeting turns social PPC ads into super-targeted PR pitches.
  • Giving content a boost with paid promotion out of the gate begets way more organic viral sharing.
  • Layering custom audiences with demographics and interests is a super powerful way to get your content in front of just the right people.
  • Paying to get eyes on your content is never a waste if your content is relevant to your business. It’s what you do with that traffic afterwards that counts.

The post Using PPC Marketing to Make Content Go Viral: Here’s How It Works appeared first on Search Engine Land.


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
Facebook Post Search Is Finally Coming To Android Devices

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Android users, left out when Facebook launched its revamped search product in December, are finally being included. Late last night, we received a notification on an Android phone that it is now possible to find posts that have been shared in the social network.

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Today, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the rollout on Android has begun, and that it would continue in the coming weeks.

In December, Facebook rebranded Graph Search as Facebook Search on the web, mobile Facebook site and iOS devices. It’s only available for users using the U.S. English language setting.

Facebook Search gives users the ability to search within posts shared with them, by friends and pages that they follow. Facebook said in December that the search-within-posts functionality was users’ top feature request during nearly two years of testing of Graph Search. They were less interested in being able to search within all public posts, which had been the original plan.

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For more information about Facebook Search, see the company’s search microsite.

The post Facebook Post Search Is Finally Coming To Android Devices appeared first on Search Engine Land.


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
SearchCap: France & Google, Rugby World Cup & DuckDuckGo

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the Web.

The post SearchCap: France & Google, Rugby World Cup & DuckDuckGo appeared first on Search Engine Land.


09/21/2015 04:11 PM
SMX East Is Next Week! Connect With The Best & Brightest.

The chance to learn cutting-edge, proven SEO and SEM tactics is what makes SMX East a must-attend event. But connecting with others who share your interests and challenges is just as valuable. At SMX East, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with more than 1,500 others like you, whether you work in-house or at an agency, […]

The post SMX East Is Next Week! Connect With The Best & Brightest. appeared first on Search Engine Land.