On behalf of everyone here at WebiMax, have a Happy Thanksgiving!
There was an excellent piece in the Atlantic last month about the power of “dark social.” Dark social is, essentially, the links to your site that you can’t account for. That is, you don’t know where your visitors are coming from. When looking at your analytics, you have to keep in mind just how limited you are. In many instances, a majority of your sites views won’t come from a specific referrer. There is no referrer data if someone comes from a dark social source, such as instant messenger or email.
This reinforces the truism that “content is king.” Shareability, whether you can tell if your links are coming from Facebook or not, is what will improve your visibility. When you provide quality, useful content on your site, you increase your chances of someone coming along and saying, “Hey, this is cool. Let me IM this to a few people around the office.” Sure, in this day and age they would probably link to you on Facebook, too. But there are no guarantees. Just speaking personally, I share much more through dark social than I do on my Facebook because I know when only a select few people might find what I’m reading to be of interest.
We have a tendency to pore over data and trends, and we should, but don’t lose sight of the fact that it is impossible to track everything. Analytics are limited. It’s hooking readers’ interest that should always be the primary goal.
Of all the popular social media companies out there, Facebook always feels like the most troubled. It also has more users than any of its competitors, so criticism is easy to come by. Ever since it’s lackluster IPO, the company has been scrambling to come up with a way to reassure investors that they are worth the billions they were valued at. Responding to market pressures, Facebook has aggressively pushed the message that they are focusing their energy on becoming a mobile service first and foremost. As more and more users access the internet primarily through their phones, Facebook is rushing to change the way they operate in order to meet the needs of changing demographics.
They’ve restructured their staff, requiring all of their developers to have skills in mobile application development. Whereas previously the company had a small, dedicated staff that worked exclusively on mobile, now mobile is factored into every project. For example, the team which develops the Messenger service (you know, the Facebook instant messaging feature that is both really useful and often infuriating?) also has to develop for the mobile app version of Messenger at every step of the way.
The most important thing Facebook needs to tackle first is getting its mobile app working properly. If you own an iPhone, you’ve no doubt noticed the constant updates that keep coming out. As of late, they’ve all been for the better! Hopefully with time they can get the app moving fast enough that it’s always an enjoyable experience.
As expected, social media is on fire this morning and will continue throughout the day as both President Obama and Governor Romney secure their votes from the American people. Both candidates have a strong social media presence but it appears the incumbent has a slightly larger lead on Twitter, evidenced by the amount of activity and trending topics that involve Obama and not Romney.
I was speaking with the Washington Post yesterday describing the major role that social media will play on Election Day and it seems to be coming true. Arguing that President Obama seems to have a stronger social media influence is evidenced today by the fact that 3 out of 10 trending hashtags on Twitter involve President Obama while none represent the Romney / Ryan ticket. What’s more, President Obama is even running a sponsored and promoted initiative today through Twitter. This could indicate positive news for the President as Governor Romney has an inferior presence on Twitter today.
An infographic by OpenSite designed to show the impact of social media and the Election indicates that this year, 4 out of 5 adults will gather their election news through the internet. It furthermore explains that 53 percent of adults will fact-check claims made by both candidates online this year. The most staggering number is the fact that 40 percent of eligible voters will use social media to help them make their decision this year on who to vote for. Given these statistics and the current influence of President Obama, he looks to have an advantage.
CNN has one of the better live election maps and is tracking the votes all day as they come in. NBC News provides a comprehensive 2012 Election Book that includes statistics, battleground map, advertising spending and more. FOX News also provides a live election map including up to the minute updates from the polls.
SEO is almost constantly evolving, growing and becoming more complex, but regardless of how search engine optimization techniques change; content will always be an important component of online marketing initiatives.
While a majority of my posts emphasize the benefits of rich content and multimedia within Internet marketing campaigns, the role of blogs, articles and other on-site text is as crucial as ever before. In fact, creating more effective and “SEO-friendly” content is a primary objective of many campaigns.
Since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates made their now-infamous debuts, words like “quality” and “relevance” have become prevalent in the SEO community, but creating strong, relevant content is only the first step. Search engines actually encourage the promotion and distribution of such content and have even developed useful tools to help authors achieve greater visibility within the SERPs. The following strategies are amongst the most effective in the industry for authors and marketers looking to enhance the reach and visibility of their content:
When properly utilized, Google Authorship can be an excellent resource for content creators and can help to increase overall visibility and social engagement within Google+.
Notice how a Google search of the term “Chris Countey” returns results from sites on which our own SEO guru is featured as an author? Additionally, when Chris is mentioned by other contributors with authorship enabled, those results appear prominently on the SERP, as well. Authorship offers distinct advantages to content creators and definitely provides value within SEO campaigns.
Social Media Promotion
Outside of G+, networks such as Facebook and Twitter provide prime promotional real estate. Sharing, tweeting and liking have played a part in social media marketing and optimization campaigns for quite some time now, but using these platforms to promote blog posts, articles and other content has also helped many SEOs achieve greater success and higher visibility.
PR & Media Outreach
There are opportunities for content creators that go beyond guest blogging and social promotion. PR efforts such as press releases, media outreach and interviews provide major platforms for content creators to enhance their audience on a local, national and even global scale. Some Internet marketing firms are already offering PR services and more are likely to jump on the bandwagon in the months ahead due to its proven success.
Speaking of PR, I’ll be presenting at next week’s Agile SEO Meetup and further elaborating on the role of public relations and media outreach within online marketing campaigns. Click the link to check it out live next Monday (the 12th) at 7pm EST or tune in online via Webex.
There are more than 23 million small businesses in the United States, representing 54 percent of all U.S. revenue. While the majority of these firms oftentimes have smaller marketing budgets versus larger firms, competing against the majors becomes an integral component to any small business marketing strategy and thus a major focus for sustainable growth.
Key statistics gathered from the Small Business Administration indicate that since 1990, as big business eliminated approximately 4 million jobs, small businesses actually added 8 million new jobs. While small businesses are essential components to the overall economy, it is becoming more challenging to compete in a global climate dominated by higher leveraged organizations; until now.
Lesser expensive and highly efficient marketing tools have entered the marketplace and such tools including social media, mobile marketing, and even paid search components now find their way in to small business strategic planning sessions. While these tools have proven to be extremely effective for the small business sector, there remains a significant percentage of small business owners who have been hesitant to accept the change. Given the fact that the median age of the U.S. based small business owner is 49.25 years, this generation is historically hesitant to change their marketing methods and incorporate modern-era marketing including using smartphones versus television and billboard advertising.
There are presently 116 million U.S. smartphone users, a representation of 37 percent of the overall population, according to eMarketer. While mobile marketing has become a larger piece of the pie, a recent study indicates that only 20 percent of local businesses said they are implementing mobile marketing. Simply put, businesses that focus the majority of their operations within a defined geographic radius are missing out on potential consumers, while larger competing firms are scooping up the opportunity. Take, for example, a local coffee shop losing business to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.
Leveraging social media is cost-effective and can dramatically increase the efficiency of a small business marketing strategy. Consumers are on social media. They are no longer tuned in to the TV and radio through the workday as much as they are checking in on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. In fact, Facebook just crossed the 1 billion user mark and Twitter has an average of 6.9 million daily active users. Creating brand awareness and enhancing visibility through the use of social media has become a major asset to small business.
With the increase in small business advertising through the use of social media, mobile, and paid search, these firms are able to effectively reach their customers directly, using less resources than big business. Lesser advertising and marketing expenses can help a small business compete on price against the larger firms which can ultimately improve their bottom line and create sustained growth even in a recovering economy.