December is when every business owner out there is busy getting the biggest pie from the holiday cake. So it’s very rare that you see any buzz in SEO forums. But this time, we witnessed something different. Many people were online, sharing their experiences. Just like an unexpected tornado caught them off guard, and took away everything they had. Well maybe it became way too more dramatic, but we would like to inform you that Google has made changes to their core ranking algorithms. And as a result, may websites witnessed a drop in traffic as massive as 35%!
Moz reported high volatility in search results through Mozcast as can be seen below.
A non seasonal site owner, who hardly witnesses any fluctuations witnessed a drop of 30%! However, they were not alone and this was not due to any glitch. Many other users started sharing their trauma on webmaster forums. After a thorough research, we found out that Google did make changes to their core ranking algorithms and later on they confirmed the same. The statement Google sent was "we released several minor improvements during this timeframe, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy."
We decided to do some number crunching ourselves. Our dataset of 4000+ websites and 350,000+ keywords (local and national) makes it easy for us to get a birds-eye view of how our client campaigns are performing.
Not surprisingly, we were happy to find that this update didn’t have any negative impact on our client campaigns. Most probably, the SEO deliverables which we offer saved our clients from this update. This is another example of how our strategies future-proof your business.
So if your organic leads were affected, especially around December 13th or 14th, open Google Analytics and check whether your site was hit by MACCABEES or not. If you were hit by this update OR want to make sure you’re not going to be a likely victim, we can help. Just connect with us and let our professional SEOs to do the work for you.
December is considered a pretty slow month from the SEO point of view. But This December was different. There was a lot of buzz in the SEO forums because Google dropped a big algorithm change without warning (as it always does). Many SEO experts are calling it the Maccabees update which targeted keyword permutations as well as hit some celebrity websites.
But not every update from Google was shocking. Since 2013, Google promised to add a year plus of data to search console from quite some time, which they actually delivered. Here’s a screenshot of how the new Google Search Console will look.
So, all in all, we can say that it was pretty busy December for Google just like the rest of us.
Recently Google published their quality guidelines mainly for Google Assistant and Voice Search Results. As per the guidelines; better the quality of the voice search apter will be the responses generated.
Here’s what Google wrote —
"In the past we have received requests to see our evaluation guidelines from academics who are researching improvements in voice interactions, question answering and voice-guided exploration. To facilitate their evaluations, we are publishing some of the first Google Assistant guidelines. It is our hope that making these guidelines public will help the research community build and evaluate their own systems."
Google will be evaluating these dimensions for rating voice search responses.
The full and short PDF is available as a download over here.
It seems like Google is testing a new feature, as some users have witnessed an image from the landing page, right next to the description area of the text ad.
Google spokesperson gave a generic statement regarding this — "We’re always testing new ways to improve our experience for our advertisers and users, but don’t have anything specific to announce right now."
So they neither denied nor accepted it. Google has tested many imaged ad formats over the years, and none made it to the mainstream. But we are seeing a lot of images right next to the text ads lately, so this time, they might fully role out this feature.
Last years Google launched large format mobile ads exclusively for automotive makers. It allowed the automotive company to entice the customers by showing the carousel of images of car models. Because the looks of cars play an important role, this update was considered useful for the car makers. Google might launch similar ad formats for other industries too, in near future.
We will keep you posted.
Facebook constantly keeps updating its news feed algorithm to improve user experience and to serve them with relevant and engaging content. Marketers should be always aware about these new updates, as they can sometimes cause problems to them.
Recently, Facebook released three updates that can reduce marketers organic reach. The updates are about the type of content Facebook prefers to serve its users. Businesses who want to make the most of their Facebook presence, need to pay attention to these updates.
It gives preference to videos that has intent or repeat viewership
Videos are one of the most popular mode of marketing on Facebook. But as per Facebook’s last news feed algorithm update, it will give preference to the videos which people are searching for or returning to Facebook to watch.
The preference depends on two factors:
It devalues engagement bait content
According to the latest news feed update, posts like “Share with a friend…” or “Like this if…” will be devalued and few people will only be able to view such posts.
Facebook has decided not to promote such spammy tactics to attract engagement, it has created a machine learning model to detect distinct types of engagement bait and it will take action against people or pages who upload such posts.
Here are few examples of engagement bait:
It devalues links to low-quality websites
With increasing spam and junk on the internet, Facebook will ensure that users don’t have to encounter such things by devaluing links that provide poor web experience.
Facebook has reviewed thousands of different pages linked to Facebook and has prepared a list of common characteristics that shows the web page has low-value.
Tips to ensure this update doesn’t affect the organic search of your website:
Facebook isn’t content at stopping there; it wants to become the everything app. The company has huge ambitions for the app, saying that it’s a mere 1% done with what they’re planning on doing with it. Given what they’ve recently begun, that number seems to be a fair estimation.
Facebook, which has nearly 1.5 billion users, obviously wants their users to utilize Messenger more fully and integrate it into their daily lives, but it’s not going to be solely for individuals anymore. They have recently unleashed Messenger for Business, which provides businesses with a valuable tool to keep in contact with their customers.
The app works both for customers and for businesses. For customers, it allows individuals a way to communicate directly with customer service, similar to a live chat feature found on many websites. For companies, the new Facebook Messenger allows them to contact a type of mailing list when special promotions or events of interest arise.
Of course, companies must determine what counts as useful information and what constitutes spamming.
Companies seem to be toeing this line very carefully, letting customers engage more with them than vice versa. One way they are accomplishing this is through utilizing chat bots as Imperson is doing.
Imperson is a company that utilizes AI to engage customers in simulated conversations. Over Messenger, they have begun to utilize this app to full effect, engaging users with characters from Back to the Future and Unfriended. In the case of Unfriended, they were able to virtually chat with Laura Barnes, a disturbed teenager from the film, prior to the film’s release. Upon the release of the film “Laura Barnes” would notify them, as well as when the movie was released on DVD.
This strategy has been touted as an important and effectual tool for marketing. The core idea of engaging a customer in a fictional world isn’t a new one. The television show Lost was famous for developing “alternate reality games” where viewers were able to engage with extra materials and unearth new stories related to the series, rather than be a passive viewer.
It is in this way that Messenger is being utilized by companies like Imperson to offer a give and take experience with the customer, rather than having a customer be somewhat of a passive participant in the product or service.
With such innovations from Facebook will certainly come more innovative solutions from businesses regarding how to capitalize and further engage with customers.
“Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission - to make the world more open and connected.” – Mark Zuckerberg
When something is made into a movie, we know that something is very popular. Otherwise, movie producers wouldn’t waste their time on such a thing. So when the trailer of the movie, The Social Network was released, people were not much surprised. For not only is Facebook that popular, it has become part of their staple food, so to speak. The majority of us use Facebook and it has become part of our lives.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, here’s a brief history:
Originally called thefacebook, Facebook was founded by former Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (while still at Harvard) who created the company as one of his hobby projects with some financial help from Eduardo Saverin. Within months, Facebook and its core idea spread across the dorm rooms of Harvard where it was very well received. Soon enough, it was extended to Stanford and Yale where, like Harvard, it was widely endorsed.
Before he knew it, Mark Zuckerberg was joined by two other fellow Harvard classmates - Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes - to help him grow the site to the next level. Only months later when it was officially a national student network phenomenon, Zuckerberg and Moskovitz dropped out of Harvard to pursue their dreams and run Facebook full time. In August 2005, thefacebook was officially called Facebook and the domain Facebook.com was purchased for a reported $200,000.
Zuckerberg seemed to be going nowhere but up, but in 2006 the business mogul faced his first big hurdle. The creators of Harvard Connection claimed that Zuckerberg stole their idea, and insisted the software developer needed to pay for their business losses. Zuckerberg maintained that the ideas were based on two very different types of social networks but, after lawyers searched Zuckerberg's records, incriminating Instant Messages revealed that Zuckerberg may have intentionally stolen the intellectual property of Harvard Connection and offered Facebook users' private information to his friends.
Zuckerberg later apologized for the incriminating messages, saying he regretted them. "If you're going to go on to build a service that is influential and that a lot of people rely on, then you need to be mature, right?" he said in an interview with The New Yorker. "I think I've grown and learned a lot."
Although an initial settlement of $65 million was reached between the two parties, the legal dispute over the matter continued well into 2011, after Narendra and the Winklevosses claimed they were misled in regards to the value of their stock.
Zuckerberg faced yet another personal challenge when the 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires, by writer Ben Mezrich, hit stores. Mezrich was heavily criticized for his re-telling of Zuckerberg's story, which used invented scenes, re-imagined dialogue and fictional characters. Regardless of how true-to-life the story was, Mezrich managed to sell the rights of the tale to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, and the critically acclaimed film The Social Network received eight Academy Award nominations.
Zuckerberg objected strongly to the film's narrative, and later told a reporter at The New Yorker that many of the details in the film were inaccurate. For example, Zuckerberg has been dating longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan, a Chinese-American medical student he met at Harvard, since 2003. He also said he never had interest in joining any of the final clubs. "It's interesting what stuff they focused on getting right; like, every single shirt and fleece that I had in that movie is actually a shirt or fleece that I own," Zuckerberg told a reporter at a start-up conference in 2010. "So there's all this stuff that they got wrong and a bunch of random details that they got right."
Yet Zuckerberg and Facebook continued to succeed, in spite of the criticism. Time magazine named him Person of the Year in 2010, and Vanity Fair placed him at the top of their New Establishment list. Forbes also ranked Zuckerberg at No. 35—beating out Apple CEO Steve Jobs—on its "400" list, estimating his net worth to be $6.9 billion.
So the movie was not entirely correct. Perhaps, that is understandable as movie directors tend to spice up the plot. But there is no doubt, Facebook has become the greatest social network on Earth.
So, according to that infographic made just a couple of years ago, the average Facebook user is 38 years old. We would have thought that it would be teenagers that will be the bulk of users, but no. The Facebook appeal has been great for adults. Why is that so?
Here’s a study made by the Pew Research Center proving that Facebook indeed is the platform of choice of adults:
"Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, but a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms. Some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites. In addition, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in to the site on a daily basis." These are among the key findings on social networking site usage and adoption from a new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.
Despite recent growth by services such as Pinterest and Instagram, Facebook remains the dominant social networking platform
As in previous Pew Research surveys of social networking usage, Facebook remains the dominant player in the social networking space. Some 71% of online adults are now Facebook users, a slight increase from the 67% of online adults who used Facebook as of late 2012.
A report by CBS also shows that parents are enjoying Facebook as much as their children. And it seems, when parents started connecting with their children, the latter are no longer are as happy as their parents. You guess why.
But the question still remains. What is the reason why Facebook appeals to adults? We actually have five reasons for that.
A study by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., published in Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking found that viewing and editing your Facebook profile could boost your self-esteem. This research is based on Objective Self-Awareness theory, as reported by Adoree Durayappah, in a Psychology Today article. The theory suggests that people the view the self as both a subject and an object, and that Facebook can be a tool to promote greater self-awareness.
Jeffrey Hancock at Cornell University has published research in the Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking journal which concludes Facebook can have a positive influence on the self-esteem of college students because Facebook by and large, shows a very positive version of ourselves.
While many may argue that social media networks only distract employees, research shows the opposite may be true.
Research from David Mielach found that a 10-minute Facebook break makes employees happier, healthier and more productive.
The study examined workers in three groups: one that was allowed no breaks, one that was allowed to do anything but use the Internet and one that was allowed 10 minutes to use the Internet and Facebook. The Facebook group was found to be 16 percent more productive than the group that was not allowed to use the Internet and nearly 40 percent more productive than the group that was allowed no breaks.
"Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf on the Internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher net total concentration for a day's work, and as a result, increased productivity," said Brent Coker of the department of management and marketing at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
Imagine that, Facebook helps with productivity. Well, it does seem possible, as a happy worker is a busy worker.
I have a love-hate relationship with the Facebook platform. I know that I need to be on it because I have spent years building a brand with a small, but study group of followers, yet I know it really hasn’t added much to my life in the way of real new friendships or business opportunities.
So, the question remains, if it doesn’t get me new friends or business, why do I spend so much time on the site? Working on a tight deadline today, I was feeling the stress. I needed some relief, but instead of getting up and taking a walk, I logged onto the Facebook site. In an instant, I was into the lives of other people which helped calm my nerves.
I didn’t have a second to spare, yet I still logged onto Facebook. Why would I do that? Because we all need some relief from our stressful lives and with the Internet sites within a click away, we are able to stay in our seat and still venture out of our “stress-zone”, where we can look at pictures of people we like seeing, including ourselves, and read inspirational messages from those that send them our way every day.
There can be no doubt that this is true since Facebook has become our number one pastime. For some, as we’ve mentioned before, it has become staple food. Our day will not be complete without Facebook. Take out Facebook from our lives and we might show withdrawal symptoms.
30 minutes is of course an exaggeration. But make it 4 days, who knows?
There have been some great posts on the Econsultancy blog discussing the changing state of Facebook and the reach of organic and promoted content, as well as the options available. Edwyn Raine recently wrote 'the combination of a variety of advert formats and a highly affordable media network make it gold dust to reach new customers.'
Essentially it's a good way to educate potential customers as to your offering.
Pricing is a particular bonus of Facebook advertising as Facebook's model is to promote good content that customers are interested in. That means, the better your ads perform, the higher click-through rate, and the lower the CPC.
Add to this increasing costs in the uber -competitive AdWords and Facebook is tempting lots of people in to play. First quarter results saw Facebook's profits at $642m. As you can see from the chart below, ads are Facebook.
Facebook has shown us the money. What is great about advertising on Facebook is that you can choose your own demographic. Because a lot of user’s personal information is on Facebook, including location, requesting for a specific kind of audience is easy. That’s why Facebook is king among all other social networks.
And the number one reason why Facebook appeals to adults is…drum roll please…
Facebook is also in the business of matchmaking.
Research shows that nearly 60 percent of singles will friend someone new on Facebook after meeting them in person. If they like what they see, 25 percent are likely to contact their new love interest via Facebook.
Once the courting is over, nearly 40 percent of those social networking adults will update their relationship status on Facebook, with just 24 percent telling their friends first.
Facebook use between couples will continue through the dating process, the research shows. Throughout the day, 79 percent of couples said they send partners Facebook messages or chat on the social network. In addition, more than 60 percent would post romantic messages on their significant others' Facebook wall.
Yes, that last reason has enough appeal for adults to log in on Facebook. Happy hunting!
How to Incorporate Video into a Marketing Strategy
There are many ways to incorporate it into a content marketing strategy that works for your business:
>>Re-purpose that blog post that was really successful into a video.
>>Interview people in the industry.
>>Have a CEO or executive talk about the purpose or motto of the business.
Now that the video is created, however, the question becomes where should it be posted?
Posting on Facebook
Why might someone choose to post a video on Facebook?
>>>>Everybody else is doing it. A Marketing Land article looks at a survey conducted by SocialBakers that shows more and more marketers are bypassing YouTube and posting straight to Facebook. If the competition is doing it, then it is smart to follow in suit.
>>>>While it is harder in general to break into the Facebook game organically, videos are more likely to be picked up organically on the site than other content.
Posting on YouTube
Why might it be a good idea to post a video on YouTube?
>>>>Many experts suggest that it is the best option.
>>>>YouTube has become the second largest search engine out there.
>>>>It is owned by Google, which means it might be ranked higher.
>>>>It is cheaper because it is hard to break into the Facebook world organically.
>>>>People tend to watch YouTube videos longer than Facebook ones.
Posting in Multiple Places
There are great reasons to use videos in marketing campaigns, and those benefits can be realized in most public places they get posted. However, why choose one?
The real answer to the question of where a video should be posted might just be wherever other content is being posted. In other words, put videos on Facebook and YouTube.
With well over 1 billion users, no matter what your market niche is, you’re bound to find targeted customers on Facebook. Luckily, Facebook offers relatively low costs advertising solutions with easy-to-create ad campaigns that you can use to reach millions potential customers.
Using Facebook Ads you can promote your pages, your posts, websites, opt-ins or just about anything else you can thinks of. Facebook calls this your campaign type and you can have as many active campaigns as you want. The ads will display either in the news feed itself or inside the right-hand sidebar. This placement is also your choice and depending on what type of ad you are displaying.
The budget for your ad is easy to control and can be adjusted anytime. Your ad can run for a set length of time or until your daily maximum is reached. You can pay based on impressions or clicks and success can be measured on a analytics dashboard. Using Facebook ads can lead to more traffic and higher conversion for your products and offers.
A simple outline of the steps are as follows:
One of the most unique features of using Facebook ads is the amount of targeting you can do for desired customers. You decide who sees your ads based on demographics and even hobbies. This helps you attract only those people who are likely to be interested in what you’re offering, saving you time and advertising dollars. Modifying your targets will change the amount you have to pay for the ad so this is another way you can control your costs as well.
As with any professional marketing campaign you will want to test your ads in order to increase your traffic and opt-in rates over time. Facebook ads are a great way to boost your business without spending a ton of money from your marketing budget.
It’s easy to get excited watching the number of “likes” and “re-tweets” accumulate. You feel important, like someone is listening to you and agrees with your brand. But does the number of “likes” you get on a social media post translate to brand recognition and more sales?
Counting your follows and tracking the amount of “likes” or “favorites” you get is an easy way to track success but it’s missing a few key metrics like, why people liked the post and whether or not the post converted anyone from a prospect to a sale. There are a lot of reasons why someone might click the like button on your Facebook business page or post including things that have nothing to do with your business, like the fact that their friend liked it or maybe because they thought the image you used was cute or funny. You’re not really going to find out if your social media accounts are making an impact until you start engaging with your followers.
Engagement is the conversation that happens about your brand online, it could be between you and your customers or it could be between your customers and their sphere of influence. With engagement an intentional action takes place that raises awareness about your business, your article or your post. Interaction is a much better validity test to your social media endeavors.
So how is engagement measured? There are several paid services out there but you can do some research yourself for free as well. Here are three easy and cheap ways to track your engagement: