Posts Tagged: Google

Hummingbird Helping Long Tail and Mobile Content

Write Great ContentGoogle released the latest iteration of its algorithm, Hummingbird, in late Summer. Most people focused on the deprecation of keywords and key phrases in the report, lamenting the rise of (not provided) data as a percentage of visitors to their site. Savvy marketers know that this has been a long time coming, as Google pushes its focus to a more semantic and mobile web. In fact, even non-savvy web users have known it was coming, as Google has done an ever-better job fine tuning search results and tracking search terms. There is even a trend emerging where people use Google’s search box auto-fill showing the most popular searches to make videos about sociological changes or issues in society. How does a content marketer excel in the new age of Hummingbird? How does Hummingbird change SEO tactics?

Interest and Relevance Matters

One of the more interesting changes for marketers and SEOs is the move to encrypted search. This is the trigger that Google pulled that made blogs suddenly see (not provided) as anywhere from 60 – 90% of the analytics for their site. By doing this, Google is forcing marketers to stop using keywords as a quick metrics for proof of success to the C-suite, as well as causing them to dig deeper to show actual tie-ins between content, social, sales, leads, downloads and other actions and conversions. It’s also increasing the relevance of the “stickiness metrics”: time on site, return visits, remarketing data, device data, and conversion drop point data. By creating compelling content and improving the metrics you are tracking, the shift away from keywords will improve your content and overall site quality and your conversion rates.

Encrypted search is not new, by any means. Google has been experimenting with this in various degrees since 2010. It’s worth noting that not every user’s search data is encrypted. You’ll still be able to get light keyword data – just not the extensive keyword lists people have grown used to. There is a way to get around this (somewhat) if you are a Google Webtools and Google Analytics power user. For the work around you’ll need to create two reports in your browser, while logged in to your Google account(s), then utilize a tool like VLOOKUP or GA DataGrabber tool to glean useful information from the reports. Search Engine Watch has a great step by step with screenshots that will help you set this up.

All of these changes mean that your content is going to have to compete on quality, not quantity. Providing a wide variety of useful, interesting content in many formats will help keep you relevant. Authorship is as important as quality content now, as well, so making sure all of your blog authors have a strong, linked social presence (especially on Google) will help build that foundation. In fact, the more links to valid publications your authors have, and the longer their web history, the more it will help your search results.

Long Tail Content

Why did Google make such a sweeping change to keywords and search data? There are several reasons. Some are speculative, such as the desire to push people into using Google Plus, and some are concrete, such as the changes in the way people search. It is less and less common for people to search simple keywords or key phrases (“high heeled shoes” or “red pumps”) and much more common for people to search the same way they talk (“Where can I get red heels in New York?”). The search engine has become a “trusted friend”, especially since the rise of Siri and Google’s voice activated tools like Google Glass.

The best content creators out there can anticipate what questions their potential customers will ask, then create content that will remain relevant to answering those questions, standing the test of time. Gone are the days of the SEO content farm with robotic, shallow content. Now people are looking for deeper content, content that anticipates and answers their needs, content that entertains in a meaningful way. Content marketers need to create content that can be expanded over time, and used in a variety of platforms and media types.

Mobile Content

Hummingbird also gives more weight to mobile content. It used to be enough to make a scaled down, less feature rich version of your website for viewing on mobile phones. Now customers are more interested in a fully responsive web site that is scaled up and feature rich, that automatically recognizes their device and adapts the design accordingly without sacrificing features. Google Hummingbird is designed to encourage that behavior, giving sites with a combination of great content and a great mobile site precedence over sites that falter in mobile.

Mobile site access is also a great reason to offer balanced content for a variety of audiences. Longer, more in depth pieces are essential for both SERPs and thought leadership, however; shorter content designed with mobile readers in mind is ideal for added mobile reach. Interest pieces and visual content are fantastic for addressing the needs of your mobile readership.

SEO

SEO as we knew it is effectively over, thanks to Hummingbird. There are some tried and true tactics that will stay in place, but this is the first big push away from SEO and into more semantic web results that include not just keywords, but sentiment and grammatical patterns, as well as a push to be mobile friendly.

In fact, you can achieve two goals – getting more people to your content via mobile devices and increasing your mobile SEO – simply by combining short and long form content. By creating image-based, easily consumable short form content as a mobile gateway to your longer, more in depth pieces you can increase conversion from click to engagement on mobile, and increase the traction of your site content.

Google Hummingbird is a dramatic change, but not a fatal one. The smart, agile company that is focused on a multi-faceted content strategy including deep content, snackable content, visual content and mobile will succeed in this new SEO landscape.

(Einstein image made with the fun Einstein Image Generator)

 

Social Media Metrics, from Novice to Expert

This week I did a webinar with Demand Metric on tips and tricks for advancing your metrics knowledge.

The entire video is embedded below.

Thanks so much to Jerry Rackley and team for having me. You had a great group with great questions!

Overview:

Getting from Novice to Expert

Marketers that understand the value of social media are nevertheless often unsure the best approach to monitoring and measuring their social media efforts. This free webinar, presented by Leslie Poston, author of “Social Media Metrics for Dummies” will help you sift through all the information available about social media monitoring and metrics so that you can know what’s being said and measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts.

Using principles from her book, Leslie will teach attendees of this webinar:

How you can feel like your efforts online are measurable and full of purpose and direction.
How applying metrics to the whole organization for a true social business model will help you drive sales and grow your brand.
How metrics should lead to more than one goal: marketing and brand awareness, sales, competitive intelligence, human resources, content marketing plans and more.

Buy the Social Media Metrics for Dummies book here for more like this. Have a copy already? Review it here.

Wrap Post: From Dummy to Genius Metrics Webinar with Awareness

Seminar on Metrics for Awareness

View more presentations from Leslie Poston

(Having trouble viewing the slides? Try this link.)

I had the pleasure of presenting a webinar on social media metrics for a group of people* via the Awareness Inc. webinar series this week. This is the second webinar I’ve done with Awareness and I enjoy it every time. The people who sign up are always engaged and ask fantastic questions.  I know there is a recording on Awareness, and you can grab it here.

I was asked to create a list of the tools I mentioned. I only touched the tip of the iceberg with tools listed and the potential of metrics in the webinar. An hour is so short when you’re discussing such an important and comprehensive topic! (By the way, Walter Schärer attended from pretty far away and took some fairly good notes, linked here for your reference. If you also took notes, let me know and I’ll link to your post.) Regarding tools, there are many, many more tools in the book, and instruction on how to create many of the metrics we discussed (available here), but here are those tools I was able to mention this week for you:

1) For more information on the reverse tracking of the metrics of Occupy Movement sites that I mentioned to illustrate my point that metrics is a two-way street, I refer you to Tim Lebert’s post detailing his findings

2) Awareness, Inc’s Hub

3) Google Analytics

4) KISSMetrics

5) Ripples (Google Plus)

6) SocialStatistics (Google Plus)

7) Bit.ly (Twitter, etc – URL shortener with stats)

8 ) Ow.ly (Twitter, etc – URL shortener with stats)

9) HootSuite(see above)

10) TweetReach (Twitter)

11) Page Lever  (Facebook)

12) Edgerank Checker (Facebook)

13) TubeMogul (Youtube – uploader with stats – now called OneLoad)

14) PinReach (Pinterest)

15) Pintics (Pinterest)

16) Pinerly (Pinterest)

17) Pinpuff (Pinterest)

18) MailChimp (Email)

19) Constant Contact (Email)

20) WhatCounts (Email)

21) Localytics (Mobile)

22) Google Alerts (Competitive Intelligence)

23) Search Alerts for Ebay (Competitive Intelligence)

24) Advanced Twitter Search (Competitive Intelligence)

25) Slick RSS (Competitive Intelligence – any RSS reader will do, pick your favorite)

26) ChangeDetection (Competitive Intelligence)

27) HowSociable (Competitive Intelligence)

28) SocialMention (Competitive Intelligence)

29) Majestic SEO (Competitive Intelligence)

30) SEO for Chrome (Competitive Intelligence)

31) W3 Patrol (Competitive Intelligence)

32) W3 Techs (Competitive Intelligence)

33) Regular Expression Checker (Competitive Intelligence)

34) GA Data Grabber from MTAnalytics

35) Christopher Penn (Great source of actionable info)

36) Avinash Kausik (Great source of info)

37) Radian6 (Metrics + Sentiment)

38) Custom Scoop (Metrics + Sentiment)

39) Quantified Self Movement (Metrics Outside of the Box)

40) Nicholas Felton (QS Example)

41) Fitbit (the device I use to track exercise, sleep, etc)

*And by “group of people” I mean well over 1000 signed up. Thank you so much, that was an honor.

I use Creative Commons Search to find awesome, available for use images for my slide shows. Credit for the images that made this slide show more awesome go to:

Marc_Smith, Adbusters, Seattle Municipal Archives, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Search Engine People, craigCloutier, Anonymous9000, klipfolio, mtanalytics, stockerre, filmnoir 1, Nicholas Felton

Google Plus for Music

I did a brief talk as part of a series of sessions by a very interesting and diverse group of music industry types at music 2.0 in Boston, MA this week.

I thought I’d put up the slides and record some fresh audio to give everyone a refresher.

If you can’t see the QuickTime movie below for whatever reason, Google Plus for Music is also on my Slideshare channel.

One thing I didn’t go into in my talk, mainly because it was a little advanced and I only had 15 minutes, was the Hangout With Extras feature. I highly recommend checking this out if you are an artist looking to collaborate as it pulls in Google Docs (lyrics) and other features to allow you to actively talk, chat, edit and record while in a Hangout. It’s the little blue link that appears on the “get your mic ready” page when you begin a Hangout.

Pinterest and the Power of Play, Google Plus and Search Changes

I didn’t have time to write a post today, finishing the next book is my main focus this afternoon, but I did quickly chat about Pinterest and Google’s new social search. I’m interested in your thoughts:

Video inspired by this post on Facebook today and this post on Google Plus

QIK Video: AdWords Credits

The credits are first come, first served. How to get them is in the video – good luck!

SMBNH October at Phillips Exeter Academy: Circles of Influence

Register for SMBNH At Phillips Exeter Academy: Circles of Influence in Exeter, NH  on Eventbrite

Welcome to SMBNH: Circles of Influence: Google+ and How Social Media Empowers Users to Unite, Grow and Shape Communities

With a focus on large scale communications and communites as well as small scale, we explore how social media has helped nations topple, companies grow, politics change, local movements get off the ground and more. Whether it’s news regarding Libya’s conflicts or supporting a local talented artist by creating community and communication, these flexible tools help make it happen.

Phillips Exeter Academy SealThis month we are being hosted by Phillips Exeter Acedemy in Exeter, NH.

From their Mission page:

“Exeter seeks to graduate young people whose creativity and independence of thought sustain their continuing inquiry and reflection, whose interest in others and the world around them surpasses their self concern, and whose passion for learning impels them beyond what they already know.”

Some of our brightest stars have attended Phillips Exeter Academy and benefitted from their philosophy.

This month’s focus brings us a well rounded group of speakers as well.

The morning begins with an address from Phillips Exeter Academy, then seques into our three speakers, starting with

Leslie Poston, Founder of Magnitude Media and co-author of Twitter for Dummies, contributor to the Social Media ProBook and author of the Grande Guide to Social Advertising, as well as (coming in 2012) Social Media Metrics for Dummies, will address some of the privacy concerns faced by educators and others when building communities. Then moving on to

John Herman, Media Literacy Educator and Founder of NH Media Makers, author and polymath as well as a very special guest from Google will talk to you about building community, applying media literacy best practices and other topics related to Google +, and will demonstrate several of the Google + capabilities live during the talk.

We’ll then be closing the morning with our featured speaker:

Grant Sanborn, Director of Interactive Marketing for HCA Healthcare. Grant will speak about the challenges and best practices he’s experienced in building an online community around a 17 hospital group, including Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

There will also be a one hour campus tour of Phillips Exeter Academy immediately following the breakfast as well. We encourage you to take part.

All of us at SMBNH look forward to seeing you all there.

Follow Leslie, John, Grant, Phillips Exeter Academy, SMBNH on Twitter before the breakfast for up to the minute updates.

Circle Leslie, John, or Mike from PEA on Google + to get in the spirit of the breakfast.

Twitter for Business Radio Spot

If you missed Online Marketing with RSS Ray on WS Radio this week, I did a segment on Twitter for Business. Listen now at:

1) The RSSRay site: Part One and Part Two

2) On iTunes

If you ever needed a clear example of how fast social media evolves, note that on the Wednesday we recorded the show, Twitter was still feeding Google the full firehose. Two days later, Twitter pulled the firehose access to immediate tweet indexing by allowing the Google deal to expire, meaning that Google search results for tweets are now just as useless as, well, Twitter searches for tweets or Bing searches for… well, anything.

It wouldn’t be such a big deal for Twitter to kill the access (I’m betting in either  bid for more money from Google’s deep pockets or as a preemptive strike against the very slick Google +), if Twitter’s own search worked well. But it really doesn’t, and hasn’t for some time.  It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out, especially in light of some of out other favorite tools, like Twellow, also revamping themselves to be less useful lately.

 

 

Video Markets Expanding

Two news items popped up this week that I’m liking and that indicate some interesting crossover not only in platforms but in online and offline audiences thanks to some new tools and some big name companies embracing user generated content.

While YouTube is moving away from the user generated content and organic discovery that made it so interesting (as is Cisco, with its closing of the Flip cam division that we discussed earlier this week), and that made it the powerhouse it is today in favor of commercial, channeled content paid for by corporations and syndicates, Apple, Netflix and Google are thinking far ahead of branded channels and embracing the user.  Apple in particular is rumored to be building a video based model designed to compete with both YouTube and Google’s Google TV efforts [full article in Forbes].

One key comment in the article, that Agencies want curated channels, stands out for me. Agencies may want it, but users are crying out on social sites for a la carte TV and web video where THEY are in charge of what they watch, and where it is truly affordable, not some outdated Nielsen rating system or brand.  Because of this, I think users will continue to flock to solutions that let them choose their own content, and that whatever company can pull it off well, and make it easy for them (as opposed to the high learning curve involved in creating your own a la carte television and video experience as it stands now with tools like Boxee and others) will win.  This makes me excited to see Apple jumping into this arena – they are well known for making fabulous user interfaces and focusing on usable design – the geek in me can’t wait to see what they do with TV once they leave behind the idea of Apple TV, etc as a “hobby”.

With Netflix adding in a user generated component, the user could have some exciting choices coming up. Netflix has a bit more clunky interface than Apple and as yet no way to divide your account into family members so your ratings and recently viewed don’t get contaminated with other people’s tastes, but it has the advantage of currently being integrated into more places like PlayStation 3, etc.  This could bring some interesting options to the table for the content generators that are willing to create semi branded content as opposed to full on content channels.

As someone with one foot in marketing, I know why brands want their own branded channels, but as a user as well, I think that is taking the easy way out.  I’d be much more intrigued to see the brands that find a way to conquer the market with great content without having to hold the users hostage to one channel to do it.  What is your favorite brand creating video successfully without holding users hostage to a branded channel right now? Can you think of any?

 

 

 

Know The Social Cost Of Your “Social Graph”

Let’s play Buzzword Bingo for a moment. The average internet user, logging on to Facebook or Twitter or MySpace to find family and friends, has no idea what “social graph”, “social leverage”, “semantic web”, “online presence”, “social engagement”, etc means in the online world. They are just so many buzzwords floating in the wind. Heck, a lot of self proclaimed social media ‘experts’ don’t know, either – not really. That lack of knowledge are what companies like Facebook who use mining your personal data as a business model bank on when they make frequent UI (user interface) changes and launch things like Beacon (from a few years ago) or this week’s “Like” feature.

Why pick on Facebook when companies like Google have similar issues? Because Facebook’s mangling of user privacy is quite intentional, happens frequently, affects even those who don’t really ‘live’ online like some of us do; whereas for Google it is more a side effect of the services they offer than a purposeful business model, I think, and one that has a severe downside for them in a variety of ways. Think back to the Buzz launch recently and the issues and outcry that caused for Google. Because it isn’t their business model, but a side effect, they were quite quick to remedy the issue.

Facebook’s launch of what I’m thinking of as the ‘ubiquitous like’ puts user apathy, lack of internet education and the need for awareness front and center for me. Why user apathy? Think about it: how many of the internet users you know are proactive about checking their privacy settings on all platforms weekly, and again with every new change like the ubiquitous like, and diligent about reading those long, boring TOS (Terms of Service) and EULA (End User License Agreement) pages regularly (or heck, even just when signing on the first time)? Not many, right?

A lack of education and awareness about common internet practices, best practices and being proactive about your own basic online safety comes into play also. So many companies and educational institutions still don’t have even a basic social media education, much less any sort of social media or online guidelines for their employees and students. It’s appalling, and it’s creating and/or reinforcing a gullible, overly trusting generation of users who can’t figure out how to protect themselves, or worse, don’t see a need to.

Not knowing how much this apathy and lack of knowledge and awareness can affect you in terms of privacy and safety is the greatest cost on the internet right now for the end user. Each time you interact blindly online, it has a potential consequence, of varying degrees of import, no matter where you are. This is no different from real life interactions, but for some reason, people have trouble making the mental leap that there is no more great divide between online and offline life anymore. There is no separation of personal and professional, and things you share actually go a variety of places and programs to be sifted, studied, archived, stored, and used.

You might wonder why someone who has a strong social media component to my job would advocate for caution. That’s just it, I’m advocating for caution and awareness, not silence or lack of sharing! The engagement you find online has many more positives than negatives, but just like anything you do, inherent risks that you can take time to minimize.

On Foursquare? I am. I love Foursquare. Don’t check in a location alone. Simple common sense. Don’t leave your home unattended if you have ever checked in there and then go on a trip (though I’d recommend against home check ins anyway for safety reasons). Again, common sense. On Twitter? Having a public Twitter fight? Talking about your drug use? Crowing about cheating the tax man? Talking about how you evade your collection agent? All of that is indexed by Google and out there for all to see (and now also by the Library of Congress). Again, this is all common sense. On Facebook? I bet you haven’t checked your privacy setting in eons. Go to this post by GigaOm and check (and change) them right now. You may be shocked at what Facebook is tracking, all because apathy makes people not go back and make sure their privacy settings haven’t changed on a fairly frequent basis.

There are hundreds of social networks out there and they all have some benefit to users and to companies and organizations. the positives FAR outweigh the negatives – many of my business collaborators and close friends are those I’ve met online through three years on Twitter and time spent cultivating relationships on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. But don’t be stupid about it, folks – just like in real life, look both ways before you cross the street, don’t take candy from strangers, etc. You learned everything you need to know to be safe online in kindergarten, I promise, you just need to be proactive about your own safety and privacy.