Gone like a home run – not into the abyss.
Recently, I came across two great articles by Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics, and Brian Gardner, founder of Studiopress. They both had one word in common – LONG. They also confirmed what I already believed to be true: 1) long form content dominates search rankings and 2) long tail keywords promote higher quality traffic.
Long Form Content: Brilliant When Necessary
When Neil Patel says long form content converts more than short form content, he’s talking about high quality web content. He’s talking about a page that powerfully expounds on one specific point – not a page that’s unfocused and comes across muddled. Remember, even though Google is a machine, it’s a damn smart one.
More Quality Content = More Social Signals = Higher Rankings
Google is smarter than ever because it now reads social signals. That means the more tweets, likes, +1s and other social shares that your page has, the more authority it receives in search engine rankings.
And guess what receives the most social shares? Long form content.
In Patel’s article about content length, he uses one of his own famous blogs, Quick Sprout, to test word count’s effect on social metrics. To do this, he took the 327 blogs he’s written for the site and separated them into two categories: 1) blog posts under 1500 words and 2) blog posts over 1500 words. He then took the average number of tweets and Facebook likes received in each category and made a handy graph.
After crunching the numbers, Patel concluded that his posts over 1500 words received 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than his posts under 1500 words. This is just one small example, but it’s consistent with others I’ve come across during my time as a content writer at WebiMax.
Think about this: Google gives high quality long form content an advantage over high quality short form content published on the same day (assuming that each hosting website has similar authority). Because long form content ranks higher, more people are bound to look at it — and because the quality of the content is high, more people are likely to share it. This means higher rankings.
Recent evidence that the use of long form is growing: Google’s recent launch of in-depth articles.
Long Tail Keywords: It’s as Simple as Adding “What Is”
If you use any keyword tool, you’ll see that shorter terms have more competition and longer terms have less. Because the tools show that WAY more users are searching for the shorter terms, people are often tempted to try to rank for these.
Unless your website has superior domain power, however, it could take years – even decades – to rank on page 1 for a short, specific term.
You read it right – decades.
For this reason, SEO companies and web whizzes like Brian Gardner are targeting long tail keywords – keywords three words or longer. In Gardner’s article about long tail keywords, he confirms something that I discovered during my time working for a local BMW performance shop in Manayunk, Philadelphia: adding something as simple as “what is” to a popular term can have amazing results.
My own experience: As a marketing assistant at the performance shop, I developed the company’s content marketing strategy by using old school SEO tactics. I would write articles and post them on every article directory I came across: Ezine, Sooper Articles, Article Snatch, and others (recognition of my SEO ignorance at the time).
One day, I wrote a post on walnut shell blasting – a practice used for cleaning the intake valves of vehicles. Before writing it, I looked for a keyword using Google’s old Adword Keyword Tool. “Walnut Shell Blasting” had high competition, while “What is Walnut Shell Blasting” had very low competition.
Long story short, I added the “what is.” Now you can find my Ezine article about walnut shell blasting at #1 on Bing. I imagine if I posted the piece on the company’s blog instead of on multiple article directories, it would have been close to #1 on Google, too. However, as you probably know, Google has very strict duplicate content rules.
Gardner’s experience: A while back, Gardner wrote a post on email marketing – its definition, how people use it, etc. Like me, before writing it, he did some research and found that he had a better chance ranking if he added “what is” before “email marketing.” As he expected, Google rewarded him with highly targeted traffic.
When Gardner wrote his article on long tail keywords, he noted that “what is email marketing” ranked #14 on his keyword referrals list for Google Search. Pretty impressive.
According to Gardner, “the majority of searches performed are of the long tail search variety. Rather than typing in a generic word or two and sifting through pages of results to find what they’re looking for, searchers are much more likely to type in longer phrases to immediately find the specific information they need.”
Evidence that the use of long tail keywords is growing: SEO companies like WebiMax are focusing on long tail keywords’ enormous potential for highly targeted traffic to increase rankings for new and existing clients.
Imagine the online recognition that could be achieved by combining long form content with long tail keywords.
Vast like the abyss. Awesome like a home run.
When you think of Facebook, the most prominent name associated with the brand is undoubtedly Founder & CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. While his story and rise to success have been publicized in novels and films; Facebook’s COO has only recently come into the spotlight. Although Sheryl Sandberg has been a key player in Facebook’s growth since 2008, she has largely been “behind-the-scenes” of the social network. However, she recently made a significant career move outside of Facebook which is likely to help make her a household name, as well.
This year, Sheryl published her first book entitled, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Leadin which she discusses the roles of women in business leadership. As one of the most successful businesswomen in the world, Sheryl discusses the importance of women in business and offers insightful and empowering advice to professionals. Earlier this week, Sheryl was featured at an event hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce which I attended on behalf of WebiMax. During the presentation, she introduced her story to many business owners and executives in the region.
During the event, Sheryl spoke about Facebook and her role in the company. As Chief Operations Officer, she has had a hand in many of the innovations pioneered by network over the past several years, including Open Graph search and the Timeline feature, among others. Under her guidance, Facebook has become not only the world’s largest social network, but one of the most prevalent advertising and marketing outlets in the world which only continues to grow.
Professional Insights & The Future of Facebook
From a personal perspective, this event was very rewarding. Sheryl’s journey to the top of the corporate world was certainly arduous and her story is inspirational.
Surprisingly, I learned that the story of her growth as a professional parallels the growth of Facebook in many ways. From somewhat humble beginnings to international recognition, both Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook have experienced success which is certain to continue in the years ahead.
The Facebook Cover Photo –prime real estate for you to visually represent what your company is all about. Are you adhering to the latest guidelines? Is your cover photo compelling enough to draw user engagement?
Facebook has proven to a valuable asset for many businesses over the last several years and has helped many companies expand their online presence considerably. From “mom-and-pop shops” to some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands, Facebook has been targeted as one of the top marketing and advertising platforms on the Web.
In fact, Facebook is second only to Google in terms of unique visitors per month and this nearly unparalleled visibility gives the network a considerable audience (currently over 1 billion active users worldwide) and provides businesses an opportunity to have their products and services showcased around the world.
However, like all marketing and advertising zones, Facebook maintains guidelines which all of its users, including businesses, must adhere to. Following Facebook’s gradual deployment of the controversial Timeline feature last year, many companies attempted to capitalize on new functionality such as the Cover Photo. The large banner which spans the upper third of all Facebook profiles and business pages is, ostensibly, prime real estate for advertisers and marketers. Facebook understood this and created a set of guidelines strictly pertaining to the new Timeline layout.
The latest and arguably most important revision to these guidelines: Cover photos must now be primarily imagery and only as much as 20% of the photo itself can be composed of text.
This update is aimed at businesses which utilize the cover photo as an advertising tool rather than a branding resource. With imagery now playing a larger role than ever before, Facebook marketers and advertisers will need to utilize more captivating and engaging photos to gain exposure and increase brand awareness.
Going “Under Cover”
Facebook cover photos are still an integral part of the network and businesses should continue to recognize them as such, but while these photos are expected to be lighter on text in the months ahead, there are still several areas where text content is essential to create an effective Facebook marketing strategy. Profile/About fields, Timeline posts and image captions are more than just informational – they’re valuable!
These should be used to include links back to your site and critical information about your business, as they each represent possible conversion opportunities and can provide more relevant site traffic.
Like Search Engine Optimization & Marketing, Social Media Marketing requires a balance of skill, research, knowledge and data collection. Over the next several months, many businesses will undoubtedly unveil new Facebook cover photos in order to abide by the new guidelines and a new form of “Visual Social Marketing” will emerge as brands try to create more effective imagery. With popular networks such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr at the forefront of an online “image revolution,” businesses will need to adapt in order to provide a more visually-enhanced user experience to remain successful in the highly competitive social media marketplace.
What images visually represent your company’s mission and values?
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 reported extensively last week when Facebook’s quarterly earnings were made public, they are actively looking for additional ways to increase their revenue from all corners of their business. Our CEO, Ken Wisnefski talked with Bloomberg TV about Facebook, their latest earnings, and the direction of the company going forward. Check out the video here, and the follow-up blog post that discusses some of Ken’s additional ideas. All eyes are on Facebook to determine if they will be able to initiate winning programs and added revenue streams. A primary aspect of this process is finding new, viable ways to advertise on the platform. In this vein a promising offering is Facebook Exchange, their new Real-Time Bidding (RTB) service.
RTB is where both marketers and advertisers have the opportunity to purchase digital ads in real-time. This allows advertisers to buy targeted ads based on real-time data they are receiving about what Facebook users are doing and where they are going elsewhere on the web. Armed with this information, advertisers can target users specifically based on actions they have been making and those that they are likely to make in the future. By knowing where they have been and what they were doing, for example looking at or searching for certain types of products, it can be ascertained what they are interested in buying right now.
And that is the difference. The real-time element changes the game; as the immediacy of these online actions forces advertisers to act fast in order to capitalize on a closing purchase window. This process can prove lucrative for both Facebook and the advertisers themselves as they traditionally see greater return on investment with such ads. Full details regarding Facebook Exchange are not fully available, but there is buzz and it is mounting. When it arrives in its full capacity, it could mature Facebook’s advertising suite, providing greater confidence of its overall viability as a company.
And the next frontier…could very well be video. According to Forrester, digital video advertising will likely hit $5.4 billion by 2016, representing an increase of 250% over the video spend in 2011, and is 5% of the amount spent on TV. It appears Facebook Exchange will deal with image-based ads to start, but capitalizing on the power and emergence of video, could be the next move.
Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com for more detail on this subject.
The social gaming company, Zynga, is facing serious financial difficulties. Yesterday, the company reported losses in the second quarter of 2012 and the subsequent stock devaluation saw shares drop by 39% to just $3.09. These figures indicate a decrease of almost 70% from Zynga’s initial public offering in December.
Additionally, roughly 15% of Facebook’s revenue is attributed to Zynga’s offerings on the social network. As WebiMax CEO Ken Wisnefski predicted yesterday on Bloomberg Television, Facebook also saw its stock values drop yesterday. While Facebook is likely to rebound by the end of 2012, Zynga may not be so fortunate. The two companies have vastly different business models, but Facebook is decidedly more versatile and adaptable. Rumored upcoming features such as the “Want” button indicate that Facebook may be investigating E-Commerce as a potential future revenue stream. Should such efforts prove successful, they could diminish or even eliminate the need for Zynga’s games as a major source of income. Although Zynga is developing new games outside of Facebook, the company’s potential for alternative revenue is much more limited and there may be difficulty entering new markets.
Despite the stock decline and disadvantages, there is still hope for Zynga. The company should utilize its own substantial social media presence to better promote and market its newer titles. If Zynga is able to achieve the previous success of older titles such as FarmVille by capitalizing on its social user base, the company could foreseeably become more profitable on a long-term basis.
Currently, Zynga is on a challenging road to financial recovery. However, the implementation of proven Internet marketing strategies may be the answer the brand is undoubtedly looking for.