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Social Link Building Strategies

Since people like, share, tweet more than they traditionally link, the influence of social mentions in SEO is currently a hot industry topic. Some SEO experts consider them essential for improving rankings. Other professionals give them a very low influence value . And several SEOs could care less about them one way or the other. Then there’s Google and Bing. The two search engines are desperate to understand social metrics in order to improve their algorithms, so much so that they are trying to coax Facebook and Twitter into sharing more data. This should be a signal to those in SEO that a unique opportunity exists to successfully leverage the knowledge gap and aggressively build out their social mentions. Of course, this is easier said than done. In addition to the technical issues that both search engines face, Google’s Webmaster guidelines do not cover any third party services, freeing spammy Facebook accounts and Twitter shares of any violations. Welcome back to the pre-Florida update days! But there are ways to effectively build your social links; some you may already be doing and others you probably should start doing.

Facebook Likes
When Facebook Likes came on the scene in 2010, few could anticipate their search significance. The fact is obtaining likes is a necessary component of any SEO strategy. Though integrating a Facebook social plugin or comment feature is the standard method of attracting likes, there are many approaches to increasing this metric. White hats swear that great content will attract more likes. SEOs employing more grayish practices buy likes via Fiverr.com, Ebay or other services. The really dark forces goes as far as faking like buttons. Marketers with deep pockets will create contests, full-fledged Facebook campaigns or run traditional advertisting campaigns to build a great like-base. The value of a like is as dependent on the competitive landscape as it is the number of accumulated thumbs-up. Take the like temperature of brands in your industry to determine how aggressive you want to become. Same rules and assumptions apply for Facebook shares, which should carry more influence on search since they are harder to get.

Tweets and Re-tweets
Generating an impressive amount of natural looking, quality tweets and re-tweets is something that only larger Twitter accounts can accomplish. Utilizing paid tweet services is certainly an option, but efficiency might be limited due to the fact that most of them are marked as disclosed ads. A more interesting option is Paywithatweet.com or Tweetfordownload.com These services allow users to generate Tweet plugins, which then enable users to download a file for a tweet or share. This could obviously be used for any downloads or for simply replacing long form fields, which usually come with a high drop-off rate.

Another important part of building followership and increasing re-tweets is keeping an informative and constantly updating Twitter news stream. Bufferapp.com is great for developing steady tweet velocity. Sharing content by scheduling relevant tweets helps keep your followers engaged. It also allows an easy way of collecting quality tweets while surfing the web.

Google +1

With Google’s recent move into the social space Google+1 is shaping up to be the equivalent of a Facebook Like. The average user tends to share a link only once or twice, mostly via Facebook and Twitter). The +1 browser extension , developed by Ashkan Soltani and Brian Kennish, allows users to do both with one click.

If you plan to increase your social backlinks with Google+1, share the browser plugin on your site. This step is similar to the one you took to share the Alexa toolbar way back when to boost your Alexa ranking.

Google + 1 can also be leveraged to drive paid search traffic via sites like Stumbleupon or Plentyoffish.com.  But in order to truly gage your social traffic performance, you need the tools. When it comes to Google, it’s best to keep tracking in the family. Google Analytics, as do a host of other web analytics vendors, now supports social plugin tracking. Before setting up your campaign, be sure to measure the best converting Google+ page on your website and track accordingly.

For Social Backlinks, it’s Value over Volume

Just as there is a right way and a wrong way to drive SEO results, there are definite social metrics building strategies to follow; use creative approaches to attract new social mentions ; utilize new software to support and track your social efforts just like you track your backlinks.  Understanding SMO best practices and the constantly changing search engine guidelines  ranking factors can give your campaign a competitive edge.  Simply stated, it’s not a matter of how many social mentions you have. It’s about maximizing and recognizing their value.

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January 5th, 2012
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    Visibility Indexes And The Super Long-Tail

    In 2011 the major headlines of the search publications covered the Panda update and Google’s war on the long-tail. Within the search industry, but also in larger publications it has been widely reported that Google’s Panda update was introduced to eliminate rankings for sites of little value.

    Companies such as Demand Media have been literally trashed across the web for polluting the web with low quality content.

    Influential bloggers and even main stream media called “Panda” the end of content farms like Howstuffworks.com, the of price comparison portals such as Pronto, the death of review sites such as Ciao.com and ultimately a great thing for the internet.

    This data was all backed up by SEO Visibility scores from various vendors across the globe. But what did really happen:

    The Panda update hit only a tiny fraction of the search queries that are daily going on. This has to do with the fact that up to 25% of the daily searches are complete new queries. This could be new words, trends, inventions, brands or other stuff that just nobody typed in before.

    That’s why everyone in the industry needs to make sure to remember that visibility scoring is based on a limited amount of data. It’s a great indicator about where the wind might be blowing at that particular moment in time, but it’s far from being accurate.

    The issues with accuracies just has to do with the fact that the SEO Software market is very fragmented and larger companies, which would allow significant infrastructure investment, do not exist in the SEO industry. Even the leaders in SEO enterprise software have active revenues under $15 million / year.

    If you take all this in consideration it is not surprising why companies like
    Demand Media still print a good junk of money despite their visibility score being down.

    Even certain industries such as e-commerce shops with lots of products such as Custom Printing by Print Lion or massive content download sites such as Tradebit are still doing very well b/c their super long-tail traffic hasn’t been affected.

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    December 16th, 2011

    Tracking Social Media Engagement

    Tracking social media engagement is difficult to do. Unless you simplify it and concentrate on Shares, Likes, Tweets and Google+s. And that’s exactly what the new Google Analytics does. And they do this very well:


    Posted in Google Analytics | Trackback | Comments Off

    November 5th, 2011

    Google Analytics Premium Going After Adobe’s Sitecatalyst

    While most Analytics vendors turned a little bit quite over the past few months, Google now popped up again with big news: Google Analytics Premium.

    The price tag is approx $150k/year, which is pretty much all the clients that Adobe’s Sitecatalyst is going after. Here are the features:

    • Dedicated Customer Support
    • 4hrs Data Freshness
    • Custom reports in a few clicks
    • Segmentation on the fly
    • Attribution modelling
    • Conversion values for all channels
    • Live technical support



    Posted in Google Analytics | Trackback | Comments Off

    September 30th, 2011

    Twitter Web Analytics

    Finally the time has come and Twitter launched the official Twitter Web Analytics Counsel in Beta. First screenshot here:

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    September 14th, 2011

    Social Media Analytics Book Review

    In his Social Media Analytics Book, Marshall Sponder takes you beyond the basics of why social media is important and how to best set up your business’s Facebook page. Instead, in the course of reading this book, you will learn what data you can extract from social media, how to measure that data and how to put those measurements to use no matter what business you are in.

    This book isn’t specifically written for small business, but many of the ideas and tools covered can be adapted to business ventures of any size. The book explains how marketers and business owners need to understand what kind of information is available and how it can best help their business. Emphasis is placed on deciding what information you want to gain from data before committing to a platform or vendor.


    The Social Media Analytics Book does a fantastic job of examining the dozens of social media analytic platforms out there and discussing why some of them are more useful than others. Sponder is able to clearly and concisely cover platforms and tools from the perspective of a business owner instead of a computer wonk, saving you hours of frustration and possibly thousands of dollars from poor vendor choices.

    Chock full of interviews and fascinating case studies, Sponder’s book provides a clear roadmap for small business owners, executives and everyone in between. He takes the time to interview the developers of various analytic platforms about what their products are designed to do, and then breaks down those interviews into language that the average business person can understand. All of Sponder’s interviews, case studies and arguments are backed up by links to companies and articles that are easily accessed through the book’s digital version.

    Throughout this easy-to-read book, the author comes back again and again to how important it is to craft a personal approach to social media for your business. So many vendors make “false claims” and try to lure in the unsuspecting with outlandish sales pitches and unattainable promises, but Sponder gives his readers a guide for separating the quality vendors from the “others”.

    Anyone looking to up their digital strategy and get the most out of their investments in social media can benefit from this book. With its unblinking look at the state of social media monitoring today, Social Media Analytics is a strong tool for understanding the changing media around us and developing ideas for how to best utilize it going forward.

    The book can be found at Amazon (print & digital), Barnes&Noble and most other (online) book shops.

    Posted in Social Media Analytics | Trackback | Comments Off

    August 31st, 2011

    Multiple Touch Points Analytics

    Back in the day when we old analytics folks looked at the launch of Google Analytics, it was clear that the mass approach will come with a few downsides. One of those downsides that Google Analytics and many other analytics solutions faced, was the fact that user decisions happen via multiple touch points and not via a single action. Only Coremetrics was able to offer that, which is why many online retailers decided to got that route.

    Times have changed……now Google Analytics is offering multiple touch points analytics and with the seamless integration of Adwords it’s a huge improvement for any Google Analytics user.

    Here’s the full video:

    Posted in Coremetrics | Trackback | Comments Off

    August 25th, 2011

    The People Behind Google Analytics

    This is a pretty cool video from the Google Analytics team. Interestingly the video is about the re-make of Google Analytics, but what I am more interested are the people behind the product. Check it out:

    Posted in Google Analytics | Trackback | Comments Off

    June 4th, 2011

    Utilizing Investment Forecasting Technology For Predicting Traffic Patterns

    After a recent business trip to California I stranded in the airport bookstore trying to find a book for my 6 hrs flight back to NYC. I usually avoid the bestseller shelf (how cool!) and head straight to the “business” section (quite boring heh!).

    Usually I just look at the cover and try to figure out if the Guy Kawasaki’s, Seth Godin’s or Malcolm Gladwell’s released another one of these marketing books. I usually know the books from past reads or am just not interested in the topics, then turn around grab a water and head back to the gate. However, this time I actually didn’t leave, but rather walked over  to the finance books section.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 27th, 2011

    Controlling Buying Habits

    Experts studying the field of online purchasing behavior have witnessed a significant change in the way that users connect with online booking websites.

    In the travel industry the changes from social media can be seen with the big ships such as Expedia and even SMB’s such as boutique hotels and niche travel sites. Everyone has to adapt their business model to the social media changes, that are happening right now.

    Nothing really new (for the pro readers here), but what’s interesting is that the show Eyefortravel.com (April 21st and 22nd 2011) summit focuses on examining consumers’ purchasing habits and predicting how buying habits will change in the future.

    It’s very interesting to me that the show’s organizers understood that the developing changes in the travel industry are centered on communication styles.

    The travel industry seems to be especially effected by the interaction of their users through Facebook, Google, FourSquare, GroupOn. Nowadays these social media channels are instrumental in influencing the masses to develop an interest in their business. These new tools also allow a new way to manage productivity such as employee downtimes.

    The way conversions happen today is not the same as they used to. The new type of business climate will be run truly by the users and business owners can determine how to keep the company relevant and increase revenue despite what may occur behind the scenes of the business.

    2011 is really a big year for many online businesses. You adapt to the newest trends and take every single client important. Otherwise you’ll fail rather sooner than later

    Posted in Social Media Analytics | Trackback | Comments Off

    April 25th, 2011
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