Tag Archives: Facebook

2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors

Every two years SEOmoz polls a bunch of SEOs on what we believe influences Google’s search rankings. They assembled new data today and have released their 2011 Search Ranking Factors report to the masses. We’re always very excited by this chance to see a community overview of what makes Google tick.

The ranking factors are fairly complicated, a lot of you aren’t SEO junkies like we are, so I wanted to break down a few of the really important details from the report.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apple’s Ping: Why “$1.29 Buy” is the new “Like”

Post written by Matthew Egan.  Follow Matthew on Twitter.

The addition of a Social Network to iTunes 10 might not seem like a huge deal, you talk about music through comments, maybe rate a song or an album, you’re doing that already.  What we’re not thinking about however is how iTunes has just solidified itself as the Facebook for music, as the portal, as the interface for communication, wrapped very cleverly around a very profitable and reaching ONLINE STORE.Apple's Ping Social Network

Online Store.  Let’s focus on that for a second.  iTunes is an e-commerce product first, a music player second, and now a social network first?  What?  YES!  Apple has created a reason for you not to close iTunes, for you to flip through comments, for you to check iTunes from your phone, for you to make iTunes not just this application that you use to sync your iPhone, but instead a destination for your attention on the web.

Google’s Search Engine is such a profitable powerhouse because Google can profit on your attention.  You need to find things, you need to search, and so while you’re there Google can show you ads and occasionally (something like once out of every thousand) you’ll actually click on one of those ads.

Facebook is the same way.  By having you spend time refreshing Farmville, by having you banter with your friends, sharing photos and resources, Facebook has created not just a Social Network but a DESTINATION.  It is a place you happily sit, refresh, share, talk, brag, rant and learn from.  You can click on ads, you can “like” pages for business, Facebook is making money hand over fist because they have your attention.  Whoever has the most eyes wins.

Enter Apple.  I know some people aren’t huge music buffs, maybe this to some degree is a niche product, but I believe Apple stands to make considerably more PER USER than Facebook, and maybe even Google.  The idea that a song is only $1.29 is such a small number, that we so casually click buy, “Sure I’ll give it a shot” and boom, we’re committed, we’ve made a purchase.  This micro-transaction between the user and Apple is seamless, it’s instant and it puts fifty cents in Apple’s pocket every time you do it.

So now what?  Now Apple not only has the best micro-transaction product on the web, the backing of countless record companies, television stations and movie production houses, but now they also have your attention.  Now Apple’s iTunes IS the destination.  When you’re not playing Farmville, now you might be rapping about your favorite Justin Bieber song with your friends.

Look at the “like” button, look at how easy it is to just click “like” and suddenly you’re part of the marketing engine for that product.  Now look at the new iTunes, look at Apple’s Ping.  Every time I recommend a song, every time I share something I’m watching, SOMEONE in my social circle is going to buy it to watch it.

$1.29 Buy is the new LikeApple has created a peer network where you influence the purchases of your friends, and are then influenced by their purchases as well.

“$1.29 Buy” is the new “Like” button folks.

Apple just changed everything.  Again.

Matthew Egan is the President of San Antonio SEO consulting group Image Freedom.  When not dancing to the blues, Matthew helps web pages like yours get more traffic through content driven Search Engine Optimization.

The Power of Daily Deal Sites

If I’ve learned anything in my time as a business owner, it is that experience is everything.  Every chance you get to interact with a customer, you also get a chance to give them a truly remarkable experience.  How do you create an experience though, for potential customers who have never heard of you?
While of course, an amazing web site is a great start, reaching those who haven’t even heard about you isn’t easy.  For many of our clients we’ve started advertising through Groupon and related sites.  Let’s talk about the experience of a Daily Deal site, and how it can help power your Social Media campaign.
The average deal on a site such as this might offer 40-75% off a product or service.  You’re essentially buying a gift card at a discount, and that gift card can be used at any time within six months of the original purchase.
Let’s take a look at the three big daily deal players in San Antonio.
Groupon – http://www.groupon.com/
Groupon is the first major Daily Deal distributor and uses a model where a certain number of deals must be purchased before “the deal is on”.  According to our sources, Groupon has over 70,000 e-mail subscribers in the San Antonio market.
The current leader in the market, many contracts with Groupon require that you not deal with any other daily deal sites for a period of three to six months.  To our knowledge, Groupon has never actually enforced this exclusivity clause.
Living Social – http://www.livingsocial.com/
Living Social is a newcomer to the daily deal market, formerly a mainstay in the social space with “Pick your 5” and social media polling.  Living Social offers a daily deal, with Friday’s deal running through the weekend.
What separates Living Social from Groupon is the social media influence.  Their “Me Plus Three” offer gives you the daily deal for free if you can get three of your friends to also purchase the deal.  This kind of affiliate marketing encourages the buyer to share their chosen offer with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, thus creating a market of what Seth Godin calls “sneezers” who spread your idea wherever their social networks allow.
Deal of the Day SA – http://www.dealofthedaysa.com/
Powered by local ABC Station (and our client) KSAT 12, Deal of the Day SA advertises your brand during Television broadcasts and delivers not just internet users, but television viewers as well.
Comparing the Daily Deal Sites
Like with all tools, it will depend on your needs which service you choose to advertise with.  Your product may be best served by the built in Television exposure of Deal of the Day SA, or the affiliate marketing aspect of Living Social may inspire your customers to spread your deal for you.
Groupon has the limitation of being the first to market, so Living Social and Deal of the Day SA were both able to improve on the concept with unique directions; however, Groupon still has the largest subscriber base by an impressive margin.
The Experience of the Daily Deal
What makes the daily deal such a remarkable experience is in its very design, it is a coupon you purchase for services, typically slightly above the normal ticket price of a meal, a service, or a product.  This encourages the customer to buy more than they would on a normal visit, because really that meal, for example, is already paid for.
If you have a fifty-dollar certificate for a meal at a restaurant, you’re more likely to try that appetizer; you’re more likely to help yourself to desert.  You’re getting an amazing price, so you’re much more likely to go all out on the menu.
Imagine that same customer on the return visit.  Now that they’ve had that great experience with your menu, they’re much more likely to order that appetizer again.  You’ve offered a discount sure, but now your customers have built up a habit they’re likely to continue on their next visit.
How would buying habits like that help your business?  How might people talking about your deal on Social Sites like Facebook and Twitter boost awareness of your brand?  How would you like hundreds of new customers who didn’t know you even existed a week prior?
Daily Deals are a great way to reach new customers, spread your message and improve your profits.  What will you offer?

If I’ve learned anything in my time as a business owner, it is that experience is everything.  Every chance you get to interact with a customer, you also get a chance to give them a truly remarkable experience.  How do you create an experience for potential customers who have never heard of you?

While of course, an amazing web site is a great start, reaching those who haven’t even heard about you isn’t easy.  For many of our clients we’ve started advertising through Groupon and related sites.  Let’s talk about the experience of a Daily Deal site, and how it can help power your Social Media campaign.

The average deal on a site such as this might offer 40-75% off a product or service.  You’re essentially buying a gift card at a discount, and that gift card can be used at any time within six months of the original purchase.

Let’s take a look at the three big daily deal players in San Antonio.

Grouponhttp://www.groupon.com/

Groupon is the first major Daily Deal distributor and uses a model where a certain number of deals must be purchased before “the deal is on”.  According to our sources, Groupon has over 70,000 e-mail subscribers in the San Antonio market.

Many contracts with Groupon require that you not deal with any other daily deal sites for a period of three to six months.  To our knowledge, Groupon has never actually enforced this exclusivity clause.

Living Socialhttp://www.livingsocial.com/

Living Social is a newcomer to the daily deal market, formerly a mainstay in the social space with “Pick your 5” and social media polling.  Living Social offers a daily deal, with Friday’s deal running through the weekend.

What separates Living Social from Groupon is the social media influence.  Their “Me Plus Three” offer gives you the daily deal for free if you can get three of your friends to also purchase the deal.  This kind of affiliate marketing encourages the buyer to share their chosen offer with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, thus creating a market of what Seth Godin calls “sneezers” who spread your idea wherever their social networks allow.

Deal of the Day SAhttp://www.dealofthedaysa.com/

Powered by local ABC Station (and our client) KSAT 12, Deal of the Day SA advertises your brand during Television broadcasts and delivers not just internet users as new customers, but television viewers as well.

Comparing the Daily Deal Sites

Like with all tools, it will depend on your needs which service you choose to advertise with.  Your product may be best served by the built in Television exposure of Deal of the Day SA, or the affiliate marketing aspect of Living Social may inspire your customers to spread your deal for you.

Groupon has the limitation of being the first to market, so Living Social and Deal of the Day SA were both able to improve on the concept with unique directions; however, Groupon still has the largest subscriber base by an impressive margin.

The Experience of the Daily Deal

What makes the daily deal such a remarkable experience is in its very design, it is a coupon you purchase for services, typically slightly above the normal ticket price of a meal, a service, or a product.  This encourages the customer to buy more than they would on a normal visit, because really that meal, for example, is already paid for.

If you have a fifty-dollar certificate for a meal at a restaurant, you’re more likely to try that appetizer; you’re more likely to help yourself to desert.  You’re getting an amazing price, so you’re much more likely to go all out on the menu.

Imagine that same customer on the return visit.  Now that they’ve had that great experience with your menu, they’re much more likely to order that appetizer again.  You’ve offered a discount sure, but now your customers have built up a habit they’re likely to continue on their next visit.

How would buying habits like that help your business?  How might people talking about your deal on Social Sites like Facebook and Twitter boost awareness of your brand?  How would you like hundreds of new customers who didn’t know you even existed a week prior?

Daily Deals are a great way to reach new customers, spread your message and improve your profits.  What will you offer?

Do or Don’t? Clients on Facebook

Published in Geek Health by

It has been a very active week!  Last night we recorded TechInTwenty with fellow SEO pro Ryan Kelly from Pear Analytics.  Launched the first mySA Voices Blog and have been very busy getting ready to launch several small business sites here in San Antonio.  About a week ago I promised @AnaFlores that I’d blog about drawing that line between clients and friends on Social Networks.

I’ll sum up this entire article, don’t draw any lines!

You should never publish anything on any social network of any kind that you wouldn’t want a potential employer or client to see.  That isn’t to say you should not be yourself, but if you’re the best there is at keg stands in your circle of friends it may be best not to let that get photographed.

Social Networks are a part of your personal marketing, and @lettergirl covered this very recently in her video.  You have to BE CAREFUL what you put out there, and that means posting honestly but also tactfully.  It can be nice not to feel alone when we post our personal struggles online but some of those are better just shared with friends in person and not left online forever.  Immediate affirmation vs. long term value.

I have clients on my Facebook and I have friends on my Facebook and because of that I follow the same guidelines I follow on this blog.  If I sit down with a client, do I want them to know this about me?  Do I want this to come back to haunt me?  Could this be taken the wrong way?

At the end of the day, our personal brands are becoming more and more important.  How do you want to be represented?

How do I get people to my Web Site?

Now that you have a web site, now that you have placed key words all over your site, your topic is well described, how come you’re getting zero hits?!  Getting listed on Google is about so much more than placing Keywords on your site.  The process, called Search Engine Optimization, is about being linked to by other sites, both in and outside of your industry.  How do you accomplish this?  If you’re a big business, you may turn to an Optimizer like myself who cycle through link directories in our sleep, BUT if you’re willing to do your research you can optimize your web site without paying anyone a dime.

Back Link Watch

The first step in any optimization campaign is research.  What is the competition doing?  What is working?  What can you easily do?  Start your campaign by finding your biggest competition, and putting their web site URL through Backlink Watch (www.BacklinkWatch.com).  You’re probably not sure what you’re looking at, so I’ll explain.  Each site you see in a Backlink Search is a site that links to the web site you entered, in this case your competition.  Every directory they are posted in, every friendly site that links to them, or maybe even a blogger who liked their service (or was paid to say they liked it) linked to them.  Every link to your competition raises their Page Rank in the eyes of a Search Engine like Google, so building your own backlinks is step one in bumping them off page one.

How do I get linked to?  The number one most ethical most tried and true method of getting your site linked to is by simply creating compelling content, and creating it often.  If you post a blog article about your business, about working in your industry, and you do this twice a week you can create content that when found will be shared and linked to by bloggers and in social networks.  Now, don’t misunderstand me, compelling content is not an announcement of an upcoming sale or some other kind of advertisment.  Internet users are savvy folk, they’re looking for insight into your business, your team, not your marketing spiel.

But I don’t blog, will people still link to me?  The best way to gain easy backlinks is through Web Directories.  An example of a Web Directory is Best of the Web, which is one of the oldest and most indexed directories on the internet.  Submission to Best of the Web involves a yearly or lifetime fee, but because of its size and the frequency that Google and other engines index them, this is the one site I’d recomend paying for a listing.  Do you remember the backlinking tool, BacklinkWatch?  Take a look at your competition, are they listed in directories?  Why not go ahead and submit yourself to those directories and even the playing field.

Google Local Business Center

Is your business listed in the Google Local Business Center?  Does your business have a Facebook Page?  Have you posted to Yelp?  Are you active enough online to micro-blog via Twitter?  These are all excellent ways to generate references to your business online without spending any money at all.  When I first arrived in San Antonio I utilized these methods for Image Freedom and quickly became the #3 local hit on Google, and shortly after my competition started copying these methods and I’ve had to stay on top of the game.  Do a search for “San Antonio SEO” and you’ll see a handful of businesses only listed as “San Antonio SEO” in Google Local because it worked for me.

I’d wager in a month or two all of my competition will be similarly listed, because I passed them having only been in town for a few months.  That’s page one placement, and I haven’t spent a dime on paid listings, advertisements, or text links.  So in the end, you get what you put into your optimization campaign.  Professional SEO is always the sure fire way to gain page rank, but on a budget, there are plenty of steps you can take without a professional to elevate your web site to online success.