Marketing Through Community Management

 

Integrating different marketing tactics into your digital marketing strategy increases its chance of being a success. Engaging with the rest of the community seems to be a pretty good idea. A community manager can make the work easier for you as you keep your followers and customers engaged. Driving traffic is easy just by sending out social signals.

1.Know the path you are treading
Marketing means you start by making plans because it will be your basis in checking your progress or output. It’s not all about quantity especially when you reach out a community. It actually boils down to the quality of relationship that you will build with a particular community.

2.Be realistic
Goals must be realistic enough because you need to bite off only what you can chew. Community marketing speaks for itself. You don’t need to reach out too many people for your marketing to be a success. Make sure it is something you can handle so you don’t go overboard.

3.Show dedication
Community management requires time, effort, attention and adaptability that must be consistent. You must be willing dedicate 24 hours of your time daily and there’s no excuse to that because anything can happen at any time of the day.

4.Socialize
Are you a people person? Well, if you are not, you should start becoming like one because you need it in handling your community management project. You are the face of your brand so you might as well learn to face people at all times especially during tough ones.

5.Measure
Will your efforts become an epic fail? Measure them so you would get an idea if it will be a success or a failure.

6.Inspire your audience
Give power to your audience (the community) by keeping them engage with awesome social media content. You can even ask them to initiate conversations.

7.Share stories
People love stories no matter how short they. It gives people an idea that you are human and easy to reach making them feel encouraged to engage with your conversations.

Posted in Uncategorized

Underscores vs. Dashes

Should you use an underscore or a dash in URLs? And why should you care?

This debate crops up time and time again within the SEO community. In attempt to clear the air, I looked into what Google has said on the subject and scanned up to 3,000 search results.

What Google says

This is Google’s most recent post on the subject on the Webmaster Central Blog:

“Webmasters asked about the difference between how Google interprets underscores and dashes in URLs. In general, we break words on punctuation, so if you use punctuation as separators, you’re providing Google a useful signal for parsing your URLs. Currently, dashes in URLs are consistently treated as separators while underscores are not. Keep in mind our technology is constantly improving, so this distinction between underscores and dashes may decrease over time. Even without punctuation, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to figure out that bigleopard.html is about a “big leopard” and not a “bigle opard.” While using separators is a good practice, it’s likely unnecessary to place a high priority on changing your existing URLs just to convert underscores to dashes.”

Source

Date: January 22, 2008

This confirms what Matt Cutts wrote back in 2005:

“So if you have a url like word1_word2, Google will only return that page if the user searches for word1_word2 (which almost never happens). If you have a url like word1-word2, that page can be returned for the searches word1, word2, and even “word1 word2.”

Source

Date: August 25, 2005

3,000 results put to the test

I thought I’d check whether this still applies today. I buy Google plus followers and I googled allinurl:click here for websites with “click” and “here” in the URL, and scanned the first 3,000 results on Google.com, Google UK and Google Australia for supporting evidence. The search returned a number of variations, with + (plus sign), – (dashes) and other variations on “click here”.

However, a search on allinurl:click_here returned only websites with “click_here” in the URL. This confirms that underscores still aren’t treated as word separators in URLs, whereas dashes and other punctuation marks are.

 Underscores vs. Dashes

Note: Whenever possible, use dashes over underscores. Using underscores as word separators in URLs and file names could still prevent your pages from showing on relevant searches. If your URLs already use underscores, Google advises against renaming your files just for that.

Posted in News & Trends

Target “Long Tail” Searches with a Hub & Spoke Content Strategy

It’s common knowledge that the “long tail” is where the bulk of searches lie. However, connecting with users searching across the incredibly diverse web of search phrases can be a challenge. Solutions exist in the form of user generated content, content management systems and more. This post discusses an approach that I have used with some success.

Target "Long Tail" Searches with a Hub & Spoke Content Strategy

A hub and spoke approach to content generation

When writing new content for your website it helps to use a structured approach. I call this a “hub and spoke” approach to content creation, which expands a simple root term into increasingly targeted variations. If your target keyword is “car insurance”, first order keyword variations could include “car insurance companies” and “car insurance comparison” for instance. In turn, you could expand each of these into second order variations, such as “car insurance companies in Sydney” or “car insurance companies in Melbourne” if relevant.

Dos

  • Create unique pages with bespoke content for each of your target keywords. Build your target key phrase, and variations around this phrase into your content – these could include singular / plural variations, as well as past / present or future tenses. Your pages can’t be all things to all people. Hub and spoke keyword research provides a blueprint for site architecture.
  • Build links to your pages from relevant hub pages and back. You could also consider building internal links between each of the spokes to support their rankings. A content management system could help automate the creation of internal links. Turn to your SEO consultant for external links and help with your internal link profile.
  • Tailor your link anchor text to help search engines understand the theme of your of your destination pages. It also is a good idea to vary your anchor text to keep your link profile natural.

Don’ts

  • Keyword stuffing. Creating keyword-targeted content isn’t about keyword density – a popular misconception within the SEO community. Instead, use meta tags and HTML tags to help search engines understand the theme of your page. For instance, H1, H2 and H3 tags can be used to prioritize keywords on any given page.
  • Thin content. It can be a challenge to find the right balance between too little and too much copy. Write too little and you page could capture too few variations around your target keyword. Write too much and you could dilute the focus of your page. I have found that copy between 300 and 400 words works well.
  • Duplicate content. You could be tempted to scrape content, replicating others content substantively or in full. When Google detects two or more pages on a site with duplicate content, it will choose one of them to list. Furthermore, your site could attract indexing and ranking penalties if Google believes that duplicate content is shown with the intent to manipulate rankings. Search engines aside, duplicate content creates a poor user experience which is unlikely to drive ad revenue or conversions.

How long for results to come through?

This will ultimately depend on the competitive landscape and the strength of your domain. If your site is authoritative, crawled on a regular basis, your keyword-targeted page could make it onto the first page of Google within days.  If your web page is ranking too low in your opinion, this may be an indication that your key phrase requires additional support in the form of external link building, and perhaps better optimised internal linking.

Posted in Tips & Tricks

What’s the Value of a Facebook Fan?

What's the Value of a Facebook Fan?

Do you ever ask yourself “what is the value of a Facebook Fan”? Nielsen and Facebook conducted survey into the reach and effectiveness of social media advertising campaigns, comparing traditional paid media against “earned media”. The study provides valuable insights into social adverting formats that work.

Valuing “earned” vs. “paid” media

Nielsen measured the extent to which 3 Facebook advertising formats drive reach and brand impact. Please click the picture for a full screen view.

  1. Traditional paid ads on the Facebook homepage;
  2. Traditional paid ads on the Facebook homepage in a social context – in this instance, the ads shown also mention the names of any of your friends that have a relationship with the brand. This is a common and lightweight form of social advocacy on Facebook.
  3. Organic impressions are social stories that appear in your friends’ newsfeed as a result of your interaction with the brand.

Nielsen tested each format against 3 metrics important to brand advertisers: how likely users are to notice an ad (ad recall), to take away its message (awareness) and to increase their interest in making a purchase (purchase intent).

The effectiveness of social ads

Audiences exposed to ads with social information are more likely to remember the ad and act on it. Of note, purchase intent increases fourfold from a delta of 2% to nearly 8% when users are exposed to social ads.

“Earned” impressions are the most effective social format

Homepage ads are most effective when users are also exposed to mentions of the brand in their newsfeed – Nielsen terms these mentions “organic impressions”. This underscores the need for advertisers to drive engaging homepage adverts – traditional paid ads on the Facebook homepage are the key to unlocking “earned” media across the Facebook platform.

However, “earned” media has limited reach               

The amount of organic impressions can vary widely, but is typically a small percentage of the reach of any given social media campaign, according to Nielsen. This is because users have a relatively weak propensity to engage with ads. In other words, social ads can enhance the perform of traditional paid media campaigns, rather than replace them altogether. Paid media remains the key to reaching the largest user base.

While the study has a bias towards Facebook, in that the 14 campaigns selected were representative of the most successful campaigns with a “Become a fan” button, it does provide hard to come by figures about the effectiveness of social media campaigns.

Posted in Social Media

How Google works

How Google works

Understand how Google and other search engines find, rank and return relevant results in a split second. There’s more to search than you might think.

Search engines crawl the web for content…

Search engines use robots (programmes also known as spiders or crawlers) to browse the web and discover new content. Robots follow links on the pages they browse, and Sitemap data provided by webmasters, for content discovery.

Googlebot is Google’s main web crawler. It discovers new and updated pages to be added to the Google index. It also makes a note of links that have expired. Googlebot uses an algorithmic process to determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site. In an interview with Erik Enge, Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed that “the number of pages that we crawl is roughly proportional to your PageRank” – in other words, the greater your PageRank, the more pages Googlebot is likely to crawl and index.

…index your content for fast retrieval…

Robots scan every page to create an index of the words they find. A search engine index is similar to the index in the back of a book – it lists the pages on the Internet where every word is used. When scanning pages, search engines typically ignore commonly used words such as “the”, “a” and “for” and other stop words. Removing stop words helps search engines contain the size of their index, without compromising the quality of their results. See Google’s exceptions to “every word matters” for more.

Caffeine, Google’s search index, processes hundreds of thousands of pages in parallel. According to the Google Blog, “if this were a pile of paper it would grow three miles taller every second. Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day. You would need 625,000 of the largest iPods to store that much information; if these were stacked end-to-end they would go for more than 40 miles.”

…order search results by relevance…

Every time you run a search, a search engine scans its index of the web rather than the live web. Search engines do two important things: first, they return only those results that are relevant, and second, rank the pages in order of perceived importance.

Whereas early search engines relied on how often a keyword appeared on a page, Google uses over 200 signals, including the PageRank algorithm to rank pages by importance. Every year, Google is known to make upwards of 500 adjustments to its algorithm to improve search quality and fight spam. See the SEOMoz Search Engine Ranking factors survey for more information about this topic.

…show results almost instantly.

Finally, search engines decide how to format the search results. Search results usually include a title, a snippet, the URL of the page and a link to a cached copy of the page. While Google reserves the right to show whatever snippet it feels best matches the search query, it does allow webmasters to hide the snippet and/or the link to the cached page altogether through robots META tags.

Posted in News & Trends

CTR by Ad Position Revealed

Did you know that the top position in the paid search results can increase your click-through and conversion volumes exponentially? This report draws on intelligence from over 1,000,000 Google searches across 10 large search engine marketing campaigns to shed light on the relationship between ad position and click-through rate.

Why Ad Position Matters

It’s common knowledge that ads appearing in the highest paid positions usually experience a higher click-through rate (CTR). However, surprisingly little research has been published on this subject. Few people know how fast CTR falls for ads that appear lower down the page, or even what is the distribution of CTR across ads beyond their own campaigns.

 CTR by Ad Position Revealed

I conducted research using the paid search accounts of ten of First Rate’s clients. Our research revealed that ads showing in position #1 experienced an average CTR of 17%. In other words, an advertiser can expect to attract 17 clicks for every 100 impressions when his ad appears in the top spot. Ads that showed in position #2 also drew significant attention, with an average 13% CTR recorded over the period. Interestingly, click-through rates flattened across positions 4 to 7, before tailing off.

This has produced some interesting insights:

  • If an advertiser is appearing in position #4, then can they reduce their bids and maintain their CTR even at a lower paid position? Our research suggests this is be possible;
  • If the advertiser is appearing in position #3, then how big an increase in CTR could they secure by lifting their paid ad position? Our research suggests ads in position #1 experience more than double the CTR of ads in position #3.

The Long-tail Generates Higher CTR

Ad position is only one the factors that influences click-through rates. Other factors include the relevance of your ad to the search query, the number of competing ads, and the quality of organic search results.

Our research shows that long-tail search queries experience substantially higher click-through rates. This result holds true across all paid ad positions. For example, ads appearing in position #1 can record an average CTR of 32% for long-tail searches featuring 4 words and more. Conversely, the same ad can attract up to 12% CTR for short-tail searches featuring up to 3 words.

CTR by Ad Position Revealed

Short-Tail vs Long-Tail Searches

Short-tail searches on non-brand keywords typically occur in the early stages of the buying cycle, when people are driven by informational needs. Longer tail searches arise further down the buying cycle, when people are likely to pay more attention to ads and convert.

First Rate research indicates that 3-word searches compose 30% of all searches. Long-tail queries featuring 4 words or more account for 58% of all searches.

 CTR by Ad Position Revealed

Interestingly, few marketing managers know how to successfully capture long-tail searches through paid search campaigns, preferring instead to bid on short-tail, high-volume phrases. Based on this research, they would do well to expand their search campaigns beyond the short-tail, with a campaign and ad group structure that capture medium- to long-tail searches.

How to Reach the #1 Paid Spot

Appearing in the top spots above search results can have a transformational impact on your Internet marketing campaigns. If your focus is on brand-building, a top position will help grow your impression share and increase brand awareness.

If, however, your focus is on conversions, a top position will maximize traffic to your landing page and grow your bottom line, as long as you have struck a balance between your cost per acquisition and revenue per conversion. Importantly, if the incremental cost of bidding to the top ad position is not offset by a higher conversion rate, you could end up blowing out your CPA, making the achievement a hollow one.

Advertisers often ask us how they can target the top placements above search results. For any given search, AdWords opens these positions to the highest ranking ads only if they meet a certain Quality Score and CPC bid threshold. Reaching out to long-tail queries with compelling ad text is one of the ways you could get there.

Study methodology

This study draws on actual search queries across 10 Google AdWords accounts managed by First Rate. Campaigns selected included advertisers from a broad range of categories, including insurance, banking and retail. Together, these campaigns accrued 1,299,969 impressions and 133,418 clicks on the Google Search Network between July 1st 2010 and September 30th 2010. Campaigns were primarily based in Australia. Importantly, brand searches for First Rate clients were excluded from the results, to remove the natural bias between bran

Posted in News & Trends