Recently, Facebook achieved one of its most significant milestones since its launch in 2004 when the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social network reached one billion users on September 14th. For Facebook, attaining a user base that consists of 1/7 of the world’s entire population is a major accomplishment. However, many of the small businesses which utilize Facebook as an online marketing and advertising outlet are still skeptical of the network’s ability to enhance their revenues despite having the most massive user base on the Web.
Small business owners are not the only ones concerned with Facebook’s performance as an ad revenue-driven organization. The company’s stock value remains unimpressive and many investors are reluctant to add Facebook to their portfolios, regardless of the brand’s ever-increasing visibility. While the announcement has undoubtedly granted the world’s largest social network substantial bragging rights, it has seemingly done little to really enhance the company or its profitability.
However, a more interesting statistic has also been revealed by Facebook as of late that may prove beneficial to their brand. As of April 2012, the network’s monthly user growth had fallen to 1.74%, the lowest it has been since its 2004 debut. Today, Facebook claims it has reached 2.04% monthly growth. This marks the first increase the network has seen in over 13 months and could help to restore investor confidence in the brand going forward.
Although it is critical for Facebook to increase their viability to investors and improve their company’s waning stock values, it is just as important to build consumer confidence. As a business driven almost entirely by advertising revenue, Facebook must take greater measures to attract advertisers, particularly small to mid-sized businesses which account for a large percentage of online advertising revenue.
Facebook’s audience is clearly larger than ever before and maintains the greatest potential as an advertising and marketing platform; but the company should begin to investigate other revenue streams in order to grow from a fiscal perspective.
E-Commerce is the most likely route and could put Facebook in direct competition with online retailer, Amazon. The development of a “Facebook Store” could position the company as a formidable competitor and drive up share prices, while simultaneously making Facebook more attractive to advertisers. Additions of features such as the “Promote” button and the soon-to-be-released “Want” button are definitely steps in the right direction, but a more comprehensive strategy may be necessary.
For now, Facebook’s popularity may be unparalleled, but its profitability is minimal at best. Business owners have yet to see any discernable benefits from the network’s growth to upwards of 1 billion users and an investment in long-term revenue enhancement should be considered an essential component of Facebook’s business model. If the network is able to successfully expand its offerings beyond its current capabilities, the future of Facebook will not only be secure, but beneficial to small business owners, as well.
As our own Chris Countey reported just moments ago, Google’s Matt Cutts announced at #PubCon in Las Vegas earlier today that the world’s most prominent search engine is releasing a “Disavow Links” feature within Webmaster Tools.
Formerly, the removal of damaging, low quality links from Google’s consideration was a tedious and often difficult process. Going forward, removing such links (once they are located) will be a much less complex procedure and the tool is expected to be one of the most useful resources in the digital marketing industry.
The Disavow Links page, which is now live within Webmaster Tools states:
“If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site.”
The tool will utilize a new “disavow.txt” file, which will work similarly to the long-standing “robots.txt” and specific pages containing links (or even entire domains) can be added to the file and subsequently eliminated as a ranking factor.
While this tool has been rumored for quite some time and even hinted at by Cutts since July, the official announcement and debut of the new resource is a major leap forward for SEOs and is certainly going to impact the industry for the foreseeable future.
On September 4th, 1998, two Stanford University students named Larry and Sergey formed a privately-held company called Google, named after the Internet search engine they had begun developing more than two years earlier. Today, that company celebrates fourteen years of innovation and success.
As Google continues into its second decade, ongoing efforts have been made by the company to ensure an even more successful future. Developments such as Gmail, Google+ and Chrome have made the brand relevant beyond search and important algorithm updates such as Panda and more recently, Penguin, have established quality and relevancy as key components of the brand’s patented Web search functionality.
For Internet marketers, Google’s longevity and consistent dominance of the search market has made the brand a focal point of many campaigns and initiatives. Since the early days of search engine optimization, Google has been instrumental in virtually every campaign. Going forward, the online marketing industry will continue to construct campaigns with an emphasis on Google and utilize its proprietary tools such as Analytics and AdWords to create more effective campaigns.
Google’s innovations are certain to be ongoing and SEOs will subsequently need to strive to design campaigns that remain effective against future algorithm updates and other critical changes. Today, as Google begins its fourteenth year, SEOs should evaluate their strategies and enhance their focus on quality in order to remain in the SERPs for years to come.
Happy birthday, Google.
Following the recent appointment of new CEO, Hubert Joly, Best Buy is now beginning its turnaround and attempting to return to its former profitability. While the retailer initiates its restructuring plan, both Best Buy and Joly remain prominently featured in news headlines, blogs and throughout social media. Although the public response to Best Buy’s management changes has provided the brand with enhanced visibility on the Web, the company must now take measures to monitor and manage its reputation in order to maintain a positive brand image.
Some companies struggle with terms such as “complaints”, “reviews”, “scams” and “rip-offs”, however, those may not be the biggest adversary for a company with the worldwide identity that Best Buy has forged for itself as a leading retailer. Instead, the primary focus for Best Buy’s marketing division should be terms such as “Hubert Joly” and “Best Buy CEO”. These keywords are expected to have a high search volume and any negativity associated with them must be neutralized using reputation management techniques.
An effective strategy for Best Buy to remain reputable during this transitional phase would be the development of a customer engagement plan. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive feedback and reviews on their website, blogs and on social networks will boost the brand within the SERPs and help to suppress any potential negativity.
It is essential that the company maintains a positive reputation in the months ahead and a proactive approach is necessary. Best Buy must implement a “call-to-action” to keep its satisfied consumers while also remaining focused on gaining valuable market share online.
Many brands struggle to gain recognition in the SERPs and throughout social media, but achieving visibility is not the only important element of Internet marketing. A company’s reputation is crucial and managing that reputation is necessary in order to maintain a positive image both on and offline.
Discovering Reputation Concerns
Throughout both search results and social media, reputation concerns can often be easily identifiable. Features such as suggestive search have been advantageous to business owners and online marketers in discovering potential brand reputation issues. Keywords such as “scam”, “ripoff”, “complaints” and other similar terms may accompany a brand or individual’s name in suggested searches and these results should be identified and subsequently managed to avoid gaining a negative profile online.
Developing a Strategy
Customer complaints and negative reviews can greatly impact a company’s image and should be carefully monitored in order to design an effective reputation management campaign. While every strategy should be customized and tailored to fit the brand, there are certain techniques that should always be utilized. Encouraging satisfied customers to add positive reviews and feedback to social networks and other authoritative sites is a great way to fortify a strong reputation or rebuild a damaged one.
Once a successful reputation management strategy is designed, it is important to maintain it. To ensure a positive brand image remains in place online, long-term maintenance is required. Brand and keyword research are part of the ongoing efforts involved and being proactive is also useful in preventing future reputation issues.
The importance of a strong online reputation is virtually immeasurable and is a crucial component of both Internet marketing and brand management.
For more on reputation management, see Todd Bailey’s latest video on our YouTube Channel.
On Wednesday night at the first ever Agile SEO meetup hosted by WebiMax’s own Chris Countey, I delivered a presentation regarding the value of rich content and its place in the future of online marketing. I discussed the growth of video on the Web and how it has gradually become a more powerful marketing tool for those who properly utilize it. However, the development of a successful digital video marketing campaign is a complex and involved process that may seem daunting to some. In fact, following my presentation, several attendees approached me with questions and concerns about the video production process. I’ve designed the following guide as both a response to those Agile SEO attendees and to help those not present at the meetup to better understand the value of rich content in online marketing.
Arguably, the greatest challenge of any marketing campaign is the initial development process. Determining the best course of action to maximize visibility and enhance revenue can be difficult and this holds true in relation to video SEO campaigns, as well. The planning or “pre-production” phase is the logical starting point for rich content creators. The pre-production process involves developing a script or an outline of the video itself and evaluating the budget and anticipated timeframe for completion. Pre-production is a crucial part of video development and should never be overlooked, even by the most experienced video producers.
The Production & Post-Production Process
Once the video is planned, production can begin. This process includes recording or otherwise generating all of the content to be featured within the video. After the content is created, it is then edited (if necessary) and uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Tout or a number of other popular video sharing websites in the “post-production” phase.
Optimizing Rich Content
Just like web pages, videos can also be optimized to increase their visibility in the SERPs and throughout social media. Creating original, relevant titles, descriptions and keywords for videos as well as enhancing social engagement are the cornerstones of the video optimization process.
Video viewership will continue to rise online in the years as the accessibility and quality of rich content on the Web increases. Going forward, video SEO will not only become a more significant element of digital marketing campaigns, but a crucial factor in achieving greater overall brand awareness online.