“What do you mean?” This is Google’s ultimate and fundamental question. They want to answer your question. They want to provide the resource you need. They want to know what you really mean. The Google BERT update began the week of 28 October 2019 and is intended to answer that question.
The acronym stands for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers”. This update from Google is about understanding human language. It began to roll out last week. It uses A.I. (artificial intelligence) on a neural network powered by machine learning. Google already knows perfect grammar, spelling, and punctuation, but it needs to know lingo, intention, and meaning. That is what BERT studies and interprets.
“Bass” can mean the lowest male singing voice or a fish.
“Rose” can mean a flower, a color, a wine, or a cut.
BERT uses context to understand meaning.
Instead of just trying to match keywords from the search to a website, BERT is trying to match your intent to a web result that gives the most relevant answer.
This is a big change! Google has said it is their biggest update of the last five years and will impact 10% of all searches in the English language. (Other major updates affected 2% – 5%.) The goal is to understand the meaning of longer, conversational queries such as:
“cost of a college degree in a job interview”
“credit report needed for car financing”
“2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa”
“sale commission to real estate agent”
“do estheticians stand a lot at work”
This will impact:
Nathan Greenberg runs our SEO strategies and in his opinion BERT is going to negatively impact websites that employ “keyword stuffing”. He also believes it is going to impact image and video search as more ADA-compliant content is created utilizing ALT tags. For Arkside clients, no strategy change is necessary. We have not observed any negative impact on any client websites at this point from Google BERT!
Bottom line: It reinforces the need to write website copy for human readers instead of search engine bots.
Nigerian princes may be going out of business, but the number of email swindles that target the marketing industry continue to grow. The reasons they appeal to our industry come from a variety of pressures: short deadlines, unreasonable result demands from clients, budget constraints, and general laziness. Here is a list of marketing email scams that our industry receives on a daily basis. If you know of one that isn’t mentioned, add it in the comments section.
This one is common and especially targets white collar businesses that are likely to care about their international and/or professional reputation. The irony of this scam is that it is based in a real threat: intellectual property theft in China.
If you own a domain and your contact details are public via the registrar, you can be targeted for this scam. You will receive an email that says the Chinese version of your domain is being claimed by a Chinese company and you have the option to block their claim. Of course, it comes at a cost. Fail to block their domain registration and they will charge you a huge fee to get it back…so act now!
Complete fraud. Unless you are selling your products or services in China, you don’t need the “Chinese version” of your domain.
“We are an American company that can get you on the first page of Google!” Sound familiar? You’re not alone. The drive to rank on Google is feverish. Business owners have finally begun to understood the revenue benefits of showing up on the coveted first page in a search result.
Thousands of companies spread across the globe know this too. They are almost never an “American company”. They send millions of marketing email scams a day from millions of different email addresses with various versions of the same promise: getting you ranked on Page 1 for an inexpensive fee.
The vast majority of these claims are bogus. You pay them – they run away. You never hear from them again. In other cases, they may actually deliver some version of search engine optimization but it will utilize “black hat” techniques that actually risks your site being completely blocked by Google or moved beyond page 100 of search results.
This is one of the more lucrative email scams because while many businesses may not care about a Chinese domain, they all care about Google.
Along the same line as the Google ranking scheme is the promise of “high quality backlinks” for your website. This gets marketers excited because backlinks are a top ranking factor for Google. For those unfamiliar with the term, a “backlink” is a link from someone else’s website to yours. Search engines place a value on these links because it indicates that someone else finds your content valuable enough to share it.
Google began to seriously address the root of these marketing scams back in 2012 with their Penguin update. Google will quickly and harshly punish a website it detects is using a non-organic link building scheme such as blog farms, paid link tricks, or spammy content.
If you pay a firm to do this, it is almost certain that your website will be punished and every dollar you spent will be wasted.
Plenty of sage-like wisdom applies here:
“You get what you pay for.”
“If you think it is expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”
Your website is arguably the most valuable marketing tool you can possess because it is entirely under your control. Google can delist you, Facebook can delete you, and the media can jack up their prices. But your website is yours to do with as you wish.
Similarly, many companies want to become apps. They know people use apps so they think they should have one -or better yet- be one!
A fairly obvious spam email will come to you or be submitted through your website “Contact Us” page. They will promise incredibly low fees to pay for a full team of IT, SEO, and design specialists. What a deal!
The odds of you getting a good website or any result at all are slim to none. Your money is paying for someone’s apartment in another country.
These marketing email scams all fall under a more insidious category of theft and security risks. The email may seem to come from a legitimate source such as IBM or Vonage or Microsoft Outlook. They look like an official notice of an overdue invoice, pending payment to your business, a halted wire transfer, or an innocent fax.
The problem comes when you click the link that is included in the email. That link will take you to an imposter website. It will ask you to “confirm” a variety of details including your email password. Now they have control. Alternatively, you may be prompted to pay the “outstanding balance” to a company with which you have never done business. With a simple wire transfer or actually providing your bank account details, your money is gone. Your account may even be compromised.
And finally, we come to the social media scam of increasing your follower count. Let us be clear now that you should not focus your attention on the size of your audience. We routinely warn our clients about the dangers of building a “Useless Army” of followers that don’t actually care about your content, much less engage with it.
All major social networks have policies and procedures in place to deal with such junk. They delete millions of fake and spammy accounts every year while their machine learning and AI-powered algorithms identify and block millions of suspect comments, likes, shares, and even posts.
The email you receive may talk about getting “real people” to follow your Instagram account or “organic engagement” on Twitter. This is a lie. If they can promise it and predict results, the operation has to be automated. This violates the Terms of Service of every major social network and risks your account being suspended or deleted.
Avoid the marketing email scams. If you want to achieve meaningful SEO or social media results, focus on creating quality content that will be of interest and use to your audience. Meet the needs of your intended customers and you will find rewards on Google, Facebook, and your bottom line.
If you would like information on how Arkside can help you achieve a 295% organic reach on social media or how to rank the same page on Page 1 of Google TWICE, then call us at 951.579.4121. We can show you how and why quality content is the smartest path to higher revenue and greater marketing ROI.
Much like Yelp, the business community has a love-hate relationship with Facebook. Recent actions may make that more hate than love. Over the last few months, Facebook has been adjusting how businesses are “rated” and how it is shared with their more-than two billion users. Their trial with 10 stars didn’t go over well. The latest shift walks away from the Facebook 5 star rating system almost completely and now focuses on “Recommendations”. What does this mean for users and businesses?
Users who want to comment on a business are now presented with a first step: “Do you recommend [business name]?” According to Facebook’s guidance, “Select ‘Yes’ to share what you love about a Page. Select ‘No’ to tell them how to improve”. If the answer is “Yes”, it becomes a Recommendation. If the answer is “No”, it becomes a review. Only after you have made this choice can you enter a rating or comments.
A Recommendation is supposed to answer the question “What do you recommend about [business name]?” Users are welcome to enter any comment they like. Now this is where things become even more interesting. Recommendations are treated like a post to the user News Feed. They type their message, select a privacy setting, and then press Post. If they select any privacy setting other than Public, the review will not be shown to the world, nor will it count toward a Facebook Page’s score. But if “Public” is selected, it will go to the Page’s Reviews (or Recommendations) tab and be shown to all users. The same is true for a (negative) review.
If the user doesn’t want to give the business a Recommendation, they press “No” and leave a review. They will be prompted with “How could [business name] improve?”. The opportunity for comments, privacy, and posting will be the same.
Assuming Facebook is trying to improve the overall quality of the Recommendations system, they have instituted a minimum character requirement. Recommendations or reviews cannot be less than 25 characters. This would prevent such typical spam as “Love it!” or “this place sucks”. A side effect of a Recommendation system instead of stars is that Facebook Business Page managers will have spend more time asking for feedback, not just “5 stars”. They will also have to read that feedback to learn from it, not just brag to a CEO that the company has a high score and assume their job is done.
The unfortunate side effect of this new Facebook rating system is that fence-sitters may be left out. The experience may not have been awesome or terrible. Just a middle-of-the-road situation. They no longer have three stars to choose. They are forced to go to one extreme or the other and must also share a comment about their experience. This could dissuade “lurkers” or introverts from contributing.
The changes discussed so far will represent a significant shift to how most businesses interact with their customers, solicit feedback, and set their own KPIs. Whether they are good or bad for business is negotiable. One new feature is a definite win for businesses: reporting inaccurate reviews. Removing a bad Facebook review is easier under the new system. Facebook Page administrators and regular users can now report Facebook reviews for a variety of reasons. According to Facebook, they are doing this to ensure more “authentic” recommendations. Reviews can be reported for:
You may have noticed that businesses still have a score. Facebook has not deleted previous ratings. According to Facebook, scores are now a combination of previous ratings and new Recommendations and Reviews. There are rumors that response time may also be somehow included, but those have not been confirmed. All of these changes mean a few things for business owners and reputation managers: stop asking for stars, thoroughly read and learn from “authentic” customer feedback, and gauge your success or failure on new standards.
If your organization is looking for professional guidance on how to effectively use this new system, contact our office to learn more about Arkside’s social media management and reputation management services.
The wait is over. IGTV is now public and offers a new capability to content creators and marketers like you to deliver long-form video on one of the most popular social media platforms. But how does this Facebook-owned technology impact the market?
For those who didn’t know, the name “Instagram” was a combination of “instant camera” and “telegram”. It was intended to be a purely visual platform without the clutter of sidebars or lengthy posts. Just square photos and a filter to share what you were doing at that moment. Instagram was very popular and earned its first million accounts in just two months.
It has since evolved, especially after being purchased by Facebook. It first launched exclusively on Apple phones and waited two years before releasing a version for Android. A very limited desktop version also came down the pike along with versions for Windows phones. Additional features such as messaging, posting multiple images in a single post, and Stories (to combat Snapchat) came later.
The new IGTV video feature is interesting because it makes two bold statements:
YouTube has always dominated the online video space. This is helped in no small part from its owner: Google. Its videos receive prime real estate in Google searches and it has built a massive dugout of content creators, corporate partnerships, and viewing audiences. Like Facebook, it is the 800lb. gorilla in the room that everyone must dance with at some point.
But Instagram is now courting YouTube content creators. They want to position themselves as a destination for new content and younger audiences that already use the platform for hours each day. For individual or corporate content creators whose target audience is an Instagram user, this is a great win. You now have a greater tool with which to connect with your audience. The measurement metrics will probably be insufficient for significant study of your audience, but it will be a start. Instagram is trying to lure creators from YouTube to offer new brand placement opportunities, partnerships, and creativity. All of this equals revenue.
The long-form video format now allows creators to collaborate with each other and do so for more than 60 seconds. It allows interviews, comedy skits, and product demos not previously possible. Again, for marketers trying to reach Instagram users, all of these new tools are exciting. Keep in mind, a one hour IGTV video is not available to everyone. You must have a large following or a certified account to receive the maximum benefit.
Yes, there is a downside. The biggest negative impact will be in platform diversity. IGTV is now a powerful contender in the realm of video destinations. You now have one more platform to which you need to direct your audience. So where does your video belong? YouTube? Facebook? Vimeo? IGTV? Obviously this means you need to understand your audience’s social media preferences as deeply as possible.
IGTV also limits how you use such videos in the future. There is no way to embed these videos on your website or in other social media platforms. You can embed YouTube videos nearly anywhere. Also, the only long-form video allowed on IGTV is something pre-recorded. That means no live long-form content. If you record for an hour, it will probably be another hour before it is done uploading.
This is actually easy to answer. If your audience prefers to consume content from Instagram over other platforms, the new IGTV is probably a strong addition to your media delivery options. You’ll have to be very particular about the type of content you place there, but your audience will appreciate the new videos.
If your audience is not primarily on Instagram, you can include it in the rare moments it may be ideal for a particular campaign, but avoid it the rest of the time. Also, keep in mind that good Instagram content may not make good IGTV content. Evolving a still image of a Mustang to a 15 minute test drive would be great. A still image of a Thanksgiving table may be enough so you don’t have to see your sketchy uncle unbutton his pants.
Facebook announced a new algorithm update today. You already know social media success continues to elude many organizations today. It isn’t hard to understand why: The algorithms governing each social media network are shrouded in mystery, competition for attention is fierce, and it takes significant knowledge to know how to trigger engagement from the audience.
Facebook announced today that they are changing their algorithm so that posts using “engagement bait” are penalized. This effort specifically targets posts from people or Pages that ask readers to “Like” it, vote with a specific emoji reaction, or share it. Facebook has been working to find new ways of keeping its users connected to the platform while balancing the desires of their business users and advertisers.
According to Facebook’s announcement today:
So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.
Additionally, over the coming weeks, we will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed. We will roll out this Page-level demotion over the course of several weeks to give publishers time to adapt and avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts. Moving forward, we will continue to find ways to improve and scale our efforts to reduce engagement bait.
The goal with this December Facebook algorithm update falls in line with Facebook’s priority in recent years: authenticity. They want content to shared that creates authentic interest and engagement. It is interesting to note that Facebook will penalize people and organizations for engagement baiting behavior. The Arkside team has noticed that whenever they are making an algorithm change to try and squeeze more money out of advertisers, they don’t apply the same standards to people. In this case, they are doing exactly that. This is a sign that they want a better experience, not just more money.
As a business owner or manager, your social media success depends on working with a team that stays current on social media changes and trends. You can’t risk running afoul of the rules and wasting your invested time and money. This new Facebook algorithm update means that you need to create engaging content that is of true interest to your audience.
If you would like a free consultation on how our accomplished team can improve your social media results, contact our office today!
(Image credit: Facebook)
Early last year, we began a search for our official social media partner. Due to the varied nature of our client list, the sheer number of profiles we managed on a daily basis, and our commitment to cross-media integration, we needed a robust platform that could grow with us and be responsive enough to handle our requests and recommendations. After testing six different platform, including industry leaders Buffer and Hootsuite, Sprout Social was our ultimate choice. Together we have grown over the last year and we are both taking our next great leaps together.
“But what does that mean for me?” Good question. We’re very excited about the answer!
The Sprout platform has already enabled us to offer incredible results for our clients. Their content curation and posting abilities are strong compliments to our unique, cutting-edge social media strategies. When it comes to social, we strive to be a social media partner. Our clients routinely outperform industry standards for engagement every month. Now we will be working more closely than ever with Sprout and creating new opportunities. These are just some of the tools at our disposal for the benefit of our clients:
From Day 1, Arkside has always believed in treating our media vendors like partners. We treasure our relationships because the media is a partner in the success of our clients. That approach has paid tremendous dividends. This week is another shining example. Sprout has worked with more than 17,000 clients over the last seven years including UPS, Bentley, Hyatt, and Stanford University. They have won more than 25 awards since their founding. We are honored to be chosen in a small group representing less than 0.004% of their client roster to help launch their new Agency Partner Program.
There are thousands of individuals and agencies to choose from that offer social media management. As Founding Members of the Sprout Social Agency Partner Program, we collaborate with their amazing team which elevates our abilities to drive new brand awareness and revenue to your business. We offer expertise in organic and paid social media campaigns. Beyond social, we can analyze, optimize, and integrate other media such as radio, billboards, and Google into your media mix for the best possible ROI on your marketing investment.
For organizations that have an in-house marketing team, we work with seamless collaboration to ensure success. They are a vital element of content development. Our CEO and Digital Coordinator can train your existing staff (once or at regular intervals) on the latest social media best practices, internal process development, crisis management, and employee empowerment.
If you are looking for a social media partner to see the best results from social media, contact us today. The consultation is free. We can even perform a confidential audit of your existing vendor to identify potential areas of improvement. Give us a call and let’s explore your possibilities!
Reviews, both positive and negative, come with the territory of being a business and online reputation management. Some reviews are positive and say wonderful things about your business. Others are negative and detail customers frustrations about their experience. Regardless of whether a review is positive, negative, or somewhere in between, each and every review should be responded to in a timely manner. Many people we speak with want to know how to deal with online reviews. About 82% of American adults read reviews before they purchase something for the first time. That’s a lot of eyes looking at your reputation, so if you make sure your voice is present in the conversation you are able to help explain the negative reviews and encourage more positive ones.
You have probably had a variety of experiences with online reviews. You may have received good ones, bad ones, or posted your own about business. They’re important. When it comes to handling ones posted about your business, there are best practices we recommend to obtain the best outcome. In most cases, you want to reply for a variety of reasons. There may be reasons to send a private message (when possible). In other circumstances it may be best to do both. Finally, the one everyone hopes for, just report the review as spam and watch it disappear. We’ll cover all of these scenarios below.
Did you know: 68% of reviews on Yelp are 4 or 5- star reviews? If your reviews mimic this trend, that’s 68% of your customer base that you are ignoring if you only take the time to respond to the negative reviews. Another benefit of responding to positive reviews, is that it helps build a better relationship with your customers, especially your “brandvocates”. If you receive a great review from Tami -a single mom, who you made feel at ease when you fixed her refrigerator- and take the time to respond to her review, you have continued your relationship by showing that you care about her opinion. People looking for refrigerator repair will see that Tami felt at ease with your service and will be more likely to hire you. Instead of just telling five of her friends that you did a great job, Tami just told thousands of other people about her experience which results in a huge group of potential new customers. Although Yelp doesn’t allow you to respond publicly and send a private message, there are times when it is good to do both. Do so on those sites that allow it. If a customer has been extremely loyal for a long period of time or referred significant business, we recommend doing both. In most cases, a public reply is sufficient.
Responding to negative reviews also benefits your business. By responding to negative reviews, you are proving that you hear your customers’ complaints, care about their experience or concerns and will do something to make it right. You may respond to Mark, who visited your restaurant and felt his hamburger was too dry. By replying to Mark, you acknowledge that you hear his complaint and can offer to comp his next meal or let him know you’ll speak with the staff so Mark will be more willing to give you another opportunity to earn his loyalty. By showing those reading your reviews that you are willing to make a situation right, you are demonstrating a commitment to customer service and great experiences.
In some cases you may not need to make amends. Often, the customer just wants to be heard and know that a problem is being addressed. An important guideline is to not take reviews personally. The public doesn’t want to see you get upset because they will think your next outburst could be directed at them.
On those sites that allow you to post a comment and send a message, doing both may be a bad idea. Ideally, you want them off the review site. Continuing your disagreement on the site is counterproductive. Be wary of the situation and act according to how you feel they will be most likely to react.
Sometimes businesses receive reviews they don’t deserve. This is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to how to deal with online reviews. For our clients, we have seen reviews posted by their competitors, customers who never actually had work done, and outlandish requests that are impossible to fulfill. These are some of the few examples of reviews that can potentially be removed. They are fraudulent in one way or another. Understand that all review sites are very reluctant to remove reviews. They aren’t interested in a factual dispute between two parties. This is true even when facts are not in dispute. You don’t have to make amends like you did with Mark, but make sure they feel heard. People are reading their review and do not understand the circumstances surrounding it. In some cases, you can explain the situation through your response but with others it allows you to get your voice into the conversation and just acknowledge that you understand how the reviewer feels.
While replying to reviews may take a few minutes out of your day, it can vastly improve your appearance to potential customers. By taking the time to reply to reviews in a timely manner you show you care about your customers, value their opinions and concerns, and are willing to stand behind your business or product. Want to learn how we can help you with online reputation management? Contact us today!
Dealing with the large social media entities and giants of the online world can be a lot like the famous Office Space TPS reports scene. In the scene, Peter Gibbons is talked to about his TPS reports by two people, a phone call, and even his friends have heard that he has been having “problems” with his TPS reports. He simply forgot about the new cover sheet policy. With each new person who talks to him about the TPS reports, they promise to send him a copy of the memo. Everyone he encounters, with the exception of his friends, doesn’t care that he has already spoken to someone else regarding the policy and the TPS reports, but knows that it is their duty to discuss the policy with him and everyone is required to live by the policies set forth by management. This is an example of corporate policy without common sense.
This is the case when trying to get help from some of the giants of the online world, if you can even manage to get help. Recently, we encountered a technical problem setting up a LinkedIn Company Page for a client. In this case, another company in Canada had long ago setup a Page using the same name as our client. The Canadian company has since shut it’s doors. Not even their website existed anymore. We discovered this and brought it to LinkedIn for assistance in creating the Page for our client. LinkedIn refuses to allow us to move forward because the company names are too similar, even though the Canadian company no longer exists. They will not remove the other company’s Page. We have gone back and forth with LinkedIn over the issue but they refuse to deviate from their procedures by using common sense.
In a different area, Google can also be frustrating. It is now extremely difficult to get any assistance from Google, but this hasn’t always been the case. Google used to have a great feature where we could live chat with tech support if necessary. They have recently eliminated this feature for many of their services, so now phone or email are the main methods of getting assistance. A phone call sounds convenient, right? It would be if the operators spoke understandable English. When operators are difficult to understand or they are constrained by following certain problem resolution procedures without applying any common sense, the solution remains out of rech.
This over-reliance on procedure can also slow down things that should be easy and prompt. Want to take advantage of Google’s holiday hour feature? Submit your hours and wait three days for approval and publishing. Want to remove a couple pictures from Bing Places for Business (previously known as Bing Local)? Make your changes and wait up to 14 days. Any time you want to make a simple change to your Google or Bing listing for your business there is a waiting period. Now thankfully Google’s isn’t as long as Bing’s, but in the world of fast moving data, any waiting period is inhibiting marketers and business owners from successfully promoting their business. Now, I’m not one to praise Yelp, but this is something they have done right. If you want to make a change to your Yelp listing, like inputting your holiday hours, those changes take effect immediately: no waiting period, no hoops to jump through. Just a simple click of a button. While there should be some changes that need to go through Google and Bing for verification, not all changes should which is why certain policies should be changed.
We all have Google My Business accounts to manage our Google listings and the Bing equivalent for those listings. We stewards of our brands control the dashboard; we know what is going on with our brands better than anyone else and would give our non-dominant arm to make sure that nothing happens to mar our brand’s reputation. At the end of the day that is what matters and how dare Google and Bing take that control away from us and decide if our holiday hours or a simple removal of a photo is good enough for our brand. That is up to us to decide.
Policies and procedures are great to have. They help determine a path to take in certain situations. However, policies and procedures are not things that determine the fate of every outcome. There are some instances that need to go against policies and procedures and involve common sense. The examples described above illustrate when common sense should be applied to existing policies. Customer service agents on the front lines of support need to be empowered to use common sense when appropriate. Policies and procedures have a time and a place but that time and place should not impact the marketing capabilities of those trying to do right by their brand. A corporate policy without common sense benefits no one.
How to rank on the page 1 of Google is one of the most coveted and misunderstood business goals of the 21st century. The holy first page. 93% of the eyeballs never go to page 2. Business managers and owners understand its value. This has opened a huge market for disreputable companies to make false promises we see every day. They usually arrive via email and look something like this:
“We can put you on the first page of Google!”
“Our program will have you ranked on page 1!”
“This patented system guarantees you will be #1 on Google!”
“You will rank #1 on Google within 30 days!”
As a company that offers and specializes in digital marketing, we fully understand the importance of appearing on page 1 of Google. It can boost website traffic, enhance reputation, and improve sales. But it can be done in two very different ways: right or wrong. The right way is worth an investment. The wrong way should be avoided at all costs. This false “Page 1 Promise” can cost you dearly.
Continue reading and you will learn why any company (with one exception) is lying when they make this promise.
Google has confirmed that there are approximately 200 ranking factors in the calculation of a page’s rank. This is a major reason reaching page 1 of Google isn’t easy. Once they are evaluated and broken down, there are perhaps 10,000 variations that are included in the Google ranking algorithm. Thankfully, Google has been kind enough earlier in 2016 to confirm it’s top three ranking factors:
1 & 2. Inbound links and content
Links and content are listed together because Google has never confirmed which is more important. Those two elements are vital but bad links or content can also result in penalties. We’ll cover those later in this post. They are directly related to the false promises of Google rankings.
RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence program which evaluates searches and the results they generate. In 2013, Google stated that approximately 15% of the 3.3 billion searches it handles every day are something it has never seen before. RankBrain evaluates those searches and the results produced. Always keep in mind that Google’s top priority is to serve the most relevant results possible. RankBrain helps Google efficiently learn about new searches and better understand what the user is searching for.
The recipe for Coca-Cola.
The formula for WD-40.
The Google algorithm. (It is called “Hummingbird“.)
The calculation of a FICO score.
These are all highly coveted targets of corporate espionage. They are secrets. Only a select group of people in the world know any one of them. That secrecy is the primary reason any company (with one exception) claiming to know the Google algorithm is lying. That one exception is Google. Much like FICO is the only company that knows the full and accurate way a credit score is calculated, Google is the only company that knows every ranking factor and their importance. It is rumored that less than 10 people at Google actually have this information. The rest of us are making educated guesses – some more educated than others.
Millions of dollars are spent every year by companies around the world trying to determine how to rank a webpage. The entire search engine optimization (SEO) industry is devoted almost entirely to this pursuit. For any company to claim they can guarantee first page ranking, they would need to know the algorithm.
An important element of the Google ranking system is called PageRank. It is an algorithm within the algorithm that ranks webpages within the search results. Its primary factor are inbound links to a site. As mentioned above, links are one of the top two ranking factors so the PageRank algorithm is vital to a site’s appearance on page one of Google. PageRank is also a primary means of dishing out penalties from Google.
Beyond the secrecy surrounding their algorithm, Google is very serious when it comes to people who try to “game the system”. Remember Google’s top priority? They don’t take kindly to people who intentionally manipulate the organic search results to circumvent search results. Such efforts have a material impact on Google’s quality. They publish Webmaster Guidelines which, when violated, can result in serious damage to a webpage’s ranking.
Google’s most notable penalty is a loss of PageRank. When Google discovers “black hat” SEO techniques such as artificial blog networks or paid links, it usually responds with a corresponding loss of PageRank. This has happened to companies such as BMW and even Google’s own Chrome browser website. The loss of PageRank -which, in some cases, goes to zero- can be coupled with the complete removal from search results of the offending blog network or site with paid links.
Companies that suffer Google penalties have reported loss of website traffic, loss of revenue, and a long climb back to page 1 of Google. Companies like BeatTheQuote.com, JCPenney, and Rap Genius (lost 700,000 visitors a day!) have all had to endure Google penalties.
Obviously, you should not be buying links, using black hat blog networks, or keyword stuffing your webpages.
Focus on creating content that is valuable to your audience(s). Educate and entertain to earn visits and time. Doing so requires a deep understanding of your market. The best SEO is organic value in the content you create. Blogs are an excellent means of regularly updating your website while providing educational or entertaining information. Pages (along with your blog posts) should be updated when needed, consist mostly of text, and include images as visual support or illustration for the material presented.
Google has a guide: ask yourself “would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” While this shouldn’t be taken literally, it should be considered whenever an SEO strategy is proposed.
If you would like to have your current website analyzed and SEO strategy created or evaluated, contact an Arkside specialist today. Our team can provide you with objective insight, identify unrealized opportunities, and present effective strategies that maximize your search engine presence.
Wondering how to engage with your target audience and tap into a larger audience of potential customers? TV is a great way to do it. “But wait,” you say, “isn’t this about Twitter?” The following Twitter case study will show you how Arkside Marketing can use Twitter to harness an engaged TV show audience and make it work for you!
22.1% of adults text friends/family about content while watching it.
By now, you have probably heard of “live tweeting”. Fans from around the world can connect in real-time over their favorite TV series or live event. For advertisers, it is a great way to connect with an audience of loyal, interested fans. Go on Twitter during a Monday night showing of The Bachelor and you’ll see hundreds of thousands people tweeting their dramatic reactions and raw emotions to what is happening on screen. Shows like the Biggest Loser, Scandal, and The Walking Dead have huge audiences that follow along on Twitter. These are called “multi-screeners”. They utilize two or more screens simultaneously; Twitter and television, in this case. Some shows take matters into their own hands and have cast members live-tweet during the show to enhance the conversation. You can participate and join the conversation as an expert! When done professionally, your involvement can expose you and your business to a new, captivated audience of potential customers.
12.3% of adults Tweet about a show’s content while watching it.
Our goal with this Twitter case study is to show we approach Twitter live-tweets and the benefit it brings our clients.
A medically-supervised weight loss program in Riverside, CA. Their program uses a combination of high quality meal replacements, appetite suppressants, exercise guidance, and dietary management.
Part of our strategy for the client was to increase their brand awareness and explore opportunities with new markets. Shortly after the strategy was approved, we learned that the TV show, My Diet Is Better Than Yours, would be airing their season finale. This was a high profile opportunity to introduce the doctor (proprietor of the business) to his unreached audience. The client was briefed on the logistics and agreed.
My Diet Is Better Than Yours is a television show on ABC that pits weight loss experts and their diets against each other to see who really has the best diet technique for their “patient”. The diets combine diet and exercise to see which diet can yield the highest percentage of body fat lost over the course of 14weeks.
The client would watch the show live and text his thoughts to a member of our digital team. These texts would then properly condensed and hashtagged with appropriate account tagging to be tweeted. Our team member would then monitor the account for engagement: Likes, Re-tweets, and inclusion in conversation. They would then reply as appropriate from the client account.
We live-tweeted the finale of My Diet Is Better Than Yours, which lasted 2 hours. The client was prepared by our team with what type of reactions would work best and how our team would convert his reactions into tweets. Our team member made sure that every tweet contained the hashtag for the show, and made sure to tag appropriate parties in each tweet. Each tweet went out no more than 60 seconds from when the doctor’s reaction was received. If someone mentioned the client in a tweet, our team member would then engage in a conversation with that person on behalf of the clinic. If any questions came up that needed an expert opinion our team member would promptly text the doctor.
Over the course of the 2 hours we:
This is the highest monthly engagement rate achieved on the client’s account as of this live tweeting event and nearly double the engagement rate of the previous month.
Summary: As you have seen in this Twitter case study, engaging with your target audience can be achieved when done professionally. It takes an understanding of Twitter best practices, experienced staff, and a strong relationship with a client. Most importantly, it can be enjoyable for everyone involved. Seek out the interests of your target market and align your efforts accordingly. Doing so creates a better relationship with your current audience and can help earn new, relevant relationships.
If you would like to learn more about how Arkside Marketing can help your business find success on Twitter and how to integrate with your other marketing efforts, contact our office today. The first consultation is free and we will analyze your social media at no charge.