Tag Archives: Social Networking

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?

What is RSS? Syndication made Simple

Published in Geek Health by

Mike Flores (or @pplusd on Twitter) asked “What is RSS?”

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and has become one of the easiest ways to subscribe to content on the web.  If you’re like me you travel to hundreds of web pages a day and you can’t organize your bookmarks to save your life, and you really want to keep track of what certain people share.

Enter RSS, or better yet, enter a Subscription Service for Bloggers.

RSS is a way of subscribing to a site through a reader like Outlook or Mac's Mail.

RSS is a way of subscribing to a site through a reader like Outlook or Mac's Mail.

There are a lot of ways to subscribe to an RSS feed.  Most RSS feed’s pop up your default RSS viewer, which I have set to Mac’s Mail program and you PC users can also setup for Outlook as well.  Once you’ve subscribed to the RSS feed you’ll get a new message in that inbox every time that web site posts an update.  I use RSS to follow blogs, and stay on top of the SEO news across sites like Search Engine Land and SEOmoz.

To subscribe to an RSS feed, just find the little orange square that looks like a wifi symbol.  Click on that and it will add the URL for that sites’ RSS feed to your reader of choice.  There are a lot of RSS readers out there so experiment some and find the one that works for you.

Most blogging software packages include an RSS service.  I use and recommend WordPress because RSS is really easy to use.  You can even subscribe to the Image Freedom Blog via RSS by clicking on the little man who looks like he’s sitting on the toilet under my photo.  Yea, I really ought to replace that. =)

For more info than you’d ever want to know about RSS check out the Wikipedia Entry.

Do you have an Accountability Partner?

Published in Geek Health by

This blog post does not apply to you.  You were born without fear.  You were born knowing which task to choose when you only have time to complete one task, and never needing to ask for advice.  This blog post does not apply to you because you never doubt yourself, you always know the right path, and you never make mistakes.

Oh, really?  Well, this blog might apply to you afterall.

My name is Matthew Egan and I am not perfect.  I’d like to think I’m in the top tier of my industry, my customer service is great, and I’ve gotten to the point where my reputation often proceeds me.  I am still far from perfect.  I have countless people whom I look up to, and I have been blessed by meeting some of the greatest minds in San Antonio who keep me honest, keep me focused, and keep me accountable.

I have an accountability partner for this reason.  I’m never alone.  It is so easy to forget that, so easy to get hung up on all of the impending To-Do list items, but if we feel truly alone we’re going to fail.  Some would like to say we’re always alone at the end of the day, that it is only up to us to get the job done, but that is only partially true.  If you surround yourself with positive, forward thinking, funny, wise, remarkable people you will never be alone.

Every week I have lunch with my accountability partner.  She and I talk about my business, we talk about her business, we talk about our families, and about our goals.  There isn’t a whole lot of structure, but we’re honest enough, and open enough where we can show fear, and show weakness, and be stripped to our elements however embarrassing that might be.  It’s hard to not be perfect, it’s hard to be flawed, but it’s all made easier when you can share that part of yourself with someone who will not judge you, someone who… wait for it… is just as flawed as you.

Who are you accountable to?  Your customers?  Your boss?  Your spouse?  Do you need someone in your life who has no stake in your success outside of your friendship?  Find that person, find that support, and you’ll be surprised how freeing it can be.

I may be a business owner, I may often work alone, but I am still a part of a team.

Are you?