Matt Cutts, the lead Spam Engineer at Google revealed just this last week that Google is not using Facebook or Twitter posts or profiles for index ranking. This is very big news and a change in what Google has stated about how social impacts their algorithm.
Here’s the bottom-line about using social media and Google rankings:
1. Google is not ranking your site based on the activity you have on social media profiles like Facebook and Twitter.
2. Google does look at links that are shared on these social sites just like they look at content pages when they can spider the content.
3. Google is concerned about using social profiles to create “identity” as this may change or be blocked over time.
4. Google is not recording, for their algorithm, the number of likes or followers a social profile has.
5. Matt Cutts states that he personally likes social profiles for sharing and driving traffic, but does not recommend using them as an avenue to impact Google search placement.
This is an interesting change for Google as previously Google has stated that it did include likes and follower numbers as part of social signals and that these social signals impacted organic placement.
My recommendation is to continue to use Twitter and Facebook if it makes sense to do so. Some businesses have a rich forum on Facebook and should not abandon their followers just because they now don’t get SEO juice from activity there. But for SEO’s to encourage social media interaction now appears to be just one more SEO tactic that Google is clearly disavowing as a way to get organic placement.
If you have teens you already know Facebook, but do you know Ask? Ask is an app accessed from within Facebook that encourages your teens and children to tell all about themselves. Scary if you actually take the time to read what your kids and teens are posting there and the questions that are asked of them.
Here is a scenario that is playing out right now in our family as a cautionary tale. One of my kids has been pretty open about herself on Ask. All her answers to questions from Ask are then posted to her Facebook profile. Her Ask profile page and Facebook page are automatically linked by the app in Facebook.
Routinely she gets asked all kinds of questions by people many anonymously. She answers nearly all of them. Her young wisdom, sense of fun, and essence are clearly revealed at Ask. This is very troubling for a parent. Recently she got friended at Ask by a person called Tyler Damon Allen. This person has pushed his way into my daughter’s life and she has reacted as if this was a real and legitimate love interest. What got me concerned was all the emotional drama this person had:
1. Supposedly the same age as my daughter in school, but birth date was two years older.
2. Was a teen but did not have an online presence or even a Facebook page.
3. Stated he was in England because brother had cancer. Then decided he actually lived in New York.
4. Claimed he was going to commit suicide and needed my daughter to talk him down.
5. The next day claimed he had a serious longboarding accident (this is a skate board) and posted images of his body damaged. But there is snow in the ground right now in New York and England and you could only get these types of injuries if you were shirtless or boarding with a T-shirt on not a heavy coat due to weather.
6. Then Tyler D. Allen decided to create a Facebook page so he could chat directly with my daughter. His profile picture did not match his Ask Profile. Haircolor and facial features were different. Hmmmmm… I did a search and found his Facebook profile picture at a clip art site.
Scary scenario for any parent – right? You bet. If you have teens it is important to know what they are doing and sharing online. There are bad people out there not only sexual predators, but emotional predators.
This is what I did. I sent a friend request to Tyler and then sent him a Facebook message letting him know I was watching all online interaction and would not hesitate to report him to the authorities for cyber stalking as my daughter is a minor and that the legal penalties were fierce. I recommended that he cease all contact with my daughter. There are laws about cyber stalking especially when it comes to minors. The predator may be located half way around the world, but data shows that they may also be in your own community and may actually be a family or extended family member.
Sometimes an emotional predator will build a relationship and then move into the sexual arena. Anyway you look at it someone who is hiding their true identity and then interacting with your teen is a potential recipe for disaster. As parents we have to all work together to keep our kids safe by education, monitoring what is online about them, and stepping in when need be.
So often a prospective clients approaches us for Google AdWords Services as they have heard AdWords is great for lead generation. But, sometimes a prospective client may need a quick review on how not to use AdWords. Here’s my short list to help demystify what AdWords is and is not.
How Not to Use AdWords
1. Do not use AdWords if your ad budget will preclude you from participating in the “real” money keyword auction. If you want to spend $1,500 per 30 days and AdWords says your keywords need a maximum cost per click of $23.00 to appear on the first page of results, do not expect to get lead conversions as your program will only show on peripheral keywords and so the traffic you get from AdWords may never convert to your expectation. If your budget is this low and your click cost that high, consider investing instead in AdWords Express or other forms of low cost advertising like Facebook or Twitter ads.
2. Do not use AdWords if you are already having money issues. It can take sometimes as long as 60 to 90 days or even longer for a program to really start generating leads and sometimes the reality is that the leads generated are lower than a prospective client may have expected. Understand that the conversion rate of a typical ecommerce store is under 2%. Do not move into AdWords expecting conversion numbers of 20% or higher when they may really be closer to 2%. And remember, as the cost of your product or service moves up your conversion numbers will move down.
3. AdWords is not really the place for a business that is already floundering financially. Google will spend whatever you allot to it without real regard for your desired conversion dreams. Get your account manager to help you understand the average cost per click and potential conversion numbers before you start advertising. Although your results are all dictated by the auction marketplace, if your product and services are over priced and are not selling for other market driven reasons, promoting them on AdWords will not bring sales. Fix the real problem with your sales and market competitiveness first!
What AdWords Really Can Do
1. AdWords really can drive leads and grow your business! That’s the good news. I’ve done it and seen it happen. The key is to be competitively priced, offer something for sale or as a service that is of value – AdWords can expose your products and services to a wide audience that you may never have been able to reach without it.
2. Your AdWords program can pay for itself and generate profit for your business. It does not happen the day your program starts running typically – although I have seen it do just that for some businesses, but for most sales and leads typically happen in week two or three after start.
AdWords is hands down the best lead generator that I have found for my clients and I feel that it provides reach and exposure that is unparalleled. But your budget must be high enough to really be able to support performance based on your industry. A software firm that spends $1,500 a month will get very different conversion results than a similar software firm that spends $8,000 a month.
So often a prospective clients approaches us for blog writing services as they have heard blogging is great for their website visitors; to provide value to readers and to build links for search engines. But, sometimes a prospective client may need a quick review on how not to use blogging. Here’s my short list to help demystify what blogging is and is not.
How Not to Use Blogging
1. Do not use blog posts as brochure content. Posts that are repetitive about your services or loaded with keywords about your services as seen by search engines as having no value and defeat the purpose of blogging which is to create slow natural link growth. Who will want to link to posts all about YOU when they may want to be selling their OWN services?
2. Blogging does not typically drive lead traffic. Read number one again. If a post is all about you and simply repeats content from your website, it is doubtful that a prospective client would have landed on your blog first or would find you in the search engine results and then convert from your blog. That client will typically first find your website and convert from there. If you are really looking for leads, blogging is really not the best fit for your investment rather Google AdWords would be a far better investment.
3. I do not recommend using blogging with the focus of picking up content from other sources and pasting that content into your blog post field. You unfortunately are not fooling search engines into thinking that your content is unique, of value, linkable, and for that matter index worthy. If you use Copyscape Premium and find your same content that you selected online for your blog post already at 20 or 30 sites you may actually damage your own organic placement. Blog post should be unique content created to provide value to your readers.
What Blogging Really Is
Blogging is great for building value for your readers, growing your website link numbers slowly and naturally, improving user time on your website, can lower your overall bounce rate, and to create authority as a subject matter expert for search engines. It is not really a great lead generator and when used inappropriately may even hurt you with search engine placement.
AdWords remarketing has been around for a while, but AdWords has made some nice changes recently and if you haven’t tried remarketing or tried it previously and did not have success, it is time to try it again.
Remarketing audiences are easy to set up. You’ll access the audience creation feature from the slide out library menu on the left of your Google AdWords control panel. Go to the Shared Library and then Audiences. Build a new audience for your needs. I recommend one to target the whole website and then refine to specific audiences using tag rules.
Then create a new Display campaign. At set up, select remarketing as your option and the steps are very simple you will select your audience (pulled from your shared library) and then create text and display ads using the Display Ad Builder.
Once your audience lists hits 100 people, Google will start to serve ads. I have to say from experience that this process is now so simple and streamlined that it should be used by every account using AdWords. I like to set the daily budget at about $10 a day and pay about $.79 a click for most account initially. I have found that nearly all account are having conversion success with remarketing.
If you haven’t given AdWords remarketing a look, now’s the time to check it out to see if it would work for you