Yesterday, a live Twitter session that the National Football League hosted directly with their commissioner, Roger Goodell, certainly created a lot of interest. With the NFL draft only days away, the notion of stirring up some buzz likely motivated the NFL to “expose” Goodell to the millions of fans waiting with questions.

As one would expect, Goodell was barraged with an array of legitimate questions but also a large amount of complete nonsense. #AskCommish provided some extensive humor at the expense of Goodell, and likely set the path for other public figures to avoid such an open conversation with the masses.

 

(An example of the quick wit of Goodell)

I think these sort of “good” ideas are going to start to fade out as someone with the stature of Goodell may not want to be subject to the public bashing that can come with an open forum. To his credit, Goodell came off as quick witted and funny in many of his responses. I am sure he thought he was going to answer real hardcore football questions, but he was a good sport and did a nice job dealing with some of the nonsense that was thrown his way. The NFL, while a big business, is still entertainment.  And this format was entertaining for the fans, but I’m not so sure it was the type of entertainment Goodell was looking for. As we saw a few weeks back in the response to the NYPD’s desire to upgrade their social media engagement, sometimes the best ideas can go terribly wrong.

My favorite Tweet from yesterday is below:

Is Snapchat a true marketing opportunity?While social media has dominated discussions related to marketing, the question that often arises is how to effectively leverage social media for a strong return on investment. The ability to see value has been harnessed and realized through Facebook, Twitter, and to some degree LinkedIn and Instagram, but the platform that has Internet marketing experts currently buzzing is Snapchat.

Sure, it’s gained a large amount of popularity amongst the high school to college age demographic and it’s famous for turning down a huge payoff to continue to push forward as “the next big thing,” but how can it really be used as a tool for marketing?

Since it is still gaining steam, it’s only really prevalent amongst the younger generation. Savvy marketers like McDonald’s and Taco Bell have begun to promote Snapchat videos which they migrate from their other social media channels. This sort of marketing is effective because it furthers their brand, and marketing powerhouses like McDonald’s can afford to have LeBron James in their ads…which your average business has no chance of accomplishing. These ads are low-cost to promote and the only real cost is likely to pay LeBron whatever sort of unreal payday he receives for being in the ads. But this still leads to the same question, can your everyday business benefit from Snapchat marketing?

It’s not a simple answer, but I would say that Snapchat can be an effective marketing tool for businesses that are targeting a younger clientele. These businesses can promote specific products, offer discounts, and utilize the Snapchat “Stories” feature to entice their audience to engage their brand.

For marketers that cater to an “older” demographic, Snapchat isn’t going to provide them with the sort of value they need to make their marketing efforts worthwhile. Over time, this may change as there was once a time when Facebook was viewed only as a platform “younger people” used…and we all saw how quickly that opinion changed.

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.

Facebook and Twitter Bar 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.

With football season now in full swing, everyone is wearing their favorite team jersey, talking up their team’s success, and undoubtedly expecting big wins and accomplishments for their team. What makes this American sport a favorite among many is that there is always something brewing. From drafts and trades, to injuries and outstanding plays and performances, football season certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. Even fantasy football has become an increasingly popular pastime – and football fans are serious about their team picks. So, what do football and SEO have in common?

If you work in SEO, your main goal is to make it to the top. Well, the same can be said about football. But, they have more in common than just winning. It’s also about perfecting a winning strategy.

Have a strategy

To win anything, you need a game plan. Like designing a play in order to score a touchdown, you need to put together a strategy to help your website make its way to the top. Do you have the right set of tactics for your marketing efforts? Are you able to measure, track and adjust your tactics?

Know your competitor

This is one of the most important points in your game plan. Just like knowing the current standing of an opposing football team, where does your competitor stand in the SERPs? What is your ranking in comparison to theirs? If they are higher than you in the Google standings, what actions are you going to take to move above them? How do they promote a similar product or service, and how can you promote yours better?

Work as a team

Just like a coach needs his team to execute a play, you need a team of online marketers to work together to help you reach your goal. From developers to link builders, content writers and social media marketers, it’s important that you are all aware of the strategy for a successful play.

Be willing to improve

No one ever made it anywhere by sticking to the same routine. If a game plan has failed, why continue to run the same plays? The same theory can be applied to SEO campaigns. If you want to make it to the top of the SERPs, you can’t always stick to the same strategy – you need to discover and find new and better ways to get to the top.

Play by the rules

While football players have referees and whistles, marketers have Google algorithms. You have guidelines to play by to ensure that you play fair. It’s crucial that you play by Google’s rules and make it to the top without performing black hat techniques. A skilled and experienced SEO company will go about winning the right way.

Get noticed

In football and SEO, you don’t want to just win, you want to get noticed. Press releases, articles, blogs and social media are all intricate parts of putting your business in the spotlight. When an SEO campaign works properly, you’ll feel the need to celebrate like a receiver who just snagged a touchdown for the victory.

Jen DeShields - Blog ImageI have a lot of different tasks as a Content Writer here, and if there’s one task I enjoy doing, it is creating infographics.

Infographics are a fun way to create a visual element for presenting information, and they give clients content that embodies the essence of share-ability. Infographics can be wonderful promotional tools, but only if they’re made correctly (for examples of excellent infographics, visit the Daily Infographic for examples from around the web). If you’re thinking about making an infographic for your company, remember to keep these five tips in mind:.

Tip #1: Remember that it’s not about you

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they create an infographic is intensely focusing on their company or a particular product. Infographics are meant to share information with others, not act as a blatant advertisement. Filling the infographic with the company logo and product descriptions will almost ensure that it won’t get shared, and sharing is the entire goal of creating an infographic. Discretely placing your company logo somewhere in the graphic is fine, but avoid making your company the focus of it.

Tip #2: Keep it simple

When it comes to infographics, simplicity is important. If you pick an idea that’s too complex, your infographic will either be too wordy and difficult to understand, or it won’t engage the reader. Instead of picking a complicated and very specific topic, think of an overarching idea that you can easily break down into different sections.

Tip #3: Show, don’t tell

Infographics should be able to tell someone information about a certain topic, but they shouldn’t heavily rely on words. Sometimes you need a sentence or two to be able to get the point across, but avoid making your infographic full of lengthy paragraphs. Photos and graphics often speak for themselves.

Tip #4: Avoid the obvious

Infographics should be teaching the reader something that they didn’t know before, and if you fill it with common sense facts, you won’t be seeing a lot of shares on your Pinterest or Facebook pages. If you’re creating an infographic about filing taxes, don’t tell your audience that April 15th is tax day and that they could face penalties if they don’t file on time. Tell them pertinent information and statistics about the number of audits the IRS gives out each year, the most common mistakes people make when filing, and the average refund amount Americans receive.

Tip #5: Create a unified visual theme

Infographics are supposed to be informational and visual, so it’s very important for your infographic to have a unified visual theme that flows well. Some people find that it’s easy to use their company’s colors to design the infographic, and others use the same font as their company logo or slogan to covertly slip in some subtle advertising. Avoid using clashing colors or using different fonts, as it can make the infographic look unattractive and disorganized.

HBA Expo ImageWebiMax is fortunate enough to have a booth at the HBA Global Expo in New York City from now through Thursday. Guests who attend this event will get to see exhibits from some of the top brands in the beauty industry from all around the world. Whether you want to check out some new products and technology, learn about the current trends, or find ways to promote your own beauty products, the HBA Expo has it all.

As with nearly any industry, brand development and consumer relationships are integral to retailers in the field of cosmetics. Getting to know your consumers is the best way to help create the products they want, and reaching out to your customers is the best way to get to know them. In today’s technological world, this often means using social media, blogging, integrating user-created content onto your site, and marketing online. The workshops at the HBA Expo cover these points. I’m particularly excited for Beauty Goes Social: The Link Between Content with Consumer Behavior, a workshop where I hope to get new ideas about how beauty companies can use social media to market their products and make new suggestions. It’s no secret that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are huge players in the beauty industry right now, helping fashionistas and makeup artists to gather inspiration and gain traction. I’m excited to see how different cosmetic companies use it to spread the word about their products.

Beauty in the Digital Age is another workshop of interest, which will cover how “going digital” was once a way for brands to be ‘hip,’ but is now a marketing and selling necessity. I think it will tie in nicely with the e-commerce event I attended last week – digital marketing and e-commerce most definitely go hand-in-hand.

If you plan on being in NYC this week, definitely stop by our booth, which is number 1033. We’ll be set up all three days for the entirety of the event. Hope to see you there!