Twitter Moves to a Visual Look

Looking ahead to Twitter's new look.
Looking ahead to Twitter’s new look.

In our new visual and video saturated world where images, pins, and cover photos are all the rage, Twitter has stagnated with their text-based layout until now. Coming soon to your Twitter profile is a “Facebook-like” look that has a much more interesting visual look and feel.

I hardly ever click into my Twitter profile as I almost exclusively use third part apps to build and send my content three times a day to my various Twitter accounts. With a new image-interesting profile coming to Twitter accounts, Twitter may soon become a platform-venue like Facebook. All the better for Twitter to promote ads on a page if they can attract users back in to view profiles of people they follow or for that matter to spend more time actually “on” their profile then sending things “to” their profile.

Here’s a great article to give you some visual previews of the Twitter’s new look. When you see the huge cover, ability to post more images and video, favorite posts, and to create more visual interest you’ll say just like me, “wow this sure looks like Facebook!”

I’ll be updating my Twitter profiles with the new look in the weeks ahead, as I do, I will create a tutorial so you can update yours too.

 

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AdWords the New Keyword Discovery Tool

What About Keyword Data???
What About Keyword Data???

In the name of privacy Google has been stripping away one by one the tools website owners and SEOs have used to identify important keywords that drive organic traffic.

First, it was Google’s announcement that they were moving only to https:// and that they would no longer supply keyword data for organic search activity in your Google Analytics account. This was sold to the public as a way to keep you the user secure from prying eyes. The dreaded “not provided” for keyword data started to appear in all Google Analytics accounts for more than 60% of the recorded traffic.

Now Google is stating that they will not even flow AdWords search terms into Google Analytics. Although I do not believe that this change can be passed off as a user security enhancement, it clearly is a move on Google’s part to enhance their own ROI. Due to this soon to be enacted change, the only way a website owner can now know AdWords search terms is to login to their own Google AdWords account. Some data is available in the Google Webmaster Tools site but only the top 2,000 queries and only for a 30 day period. This data will no longer appear in Google Analytics.

“This change means that Google AdWords is not becoming the world’s most lucrative keyword search tool.” Nancy McCord, President of McCord Web Services

Remember when you used to pay for a subscription to WordTracker so you could optimize your own or client website’s with words with a high KEI index? Is this the direction that AdWords is moving in? Do we need to have a running AdWords account while we are optimizing a website so we can see keyword traffic?

To me it seems like Google has decided to start closing access to their own services and are moving to a pay to play model.

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What’s the Perfect Length for Social and Blog Content?

All things perfect!
All things perfect!

What’s the perfect sized blog post? How about a tweet, is 140 characters too much? Who says that a longer Facebook status update is better, is it really? In an article found online at Buffer, I’ve found what one author says is the perfect length for everything. But are those tips and suggestions right?

Below are personal recommendations on what works best for each platform based on what our own customers and readers seem to like best.

Twitter – what’s the perfect tweet length?
Although Twitter only let’s you enter in 140 characters including spaces do you ever wish you had more room? Sure but less room? Kevan Lee says the perfect tweet is 100 characters and that these short tweets get 17% more engagement. I have to say that from my experience tweets that are this short typically are teasers for videos, spam, or sharable quotes. Does that mean that you should start shortening your tweets? I say no, but make your tweets work harder by linking or pointing to something meaningful to your audience.

Facebook – what’s the perfect length for a status update?
Customers do think that more is better when it comes to paid writing on Facebook, but does more necessarily translate into more engagement? Buffer says the perfect Facebook status update is 40 characters long. Wow, that seems pretty short and hard to really even express what a link in your updates is all about. From my personal experience about 150 to 160 characters seems about best for Facebook. Facebook updates with an image or linking to a page with an image (so Facebook will show a thumbnail) seem to get the most response.

Blogging – what’s the perfect length for a blog post?
Buffer says the ideal blog post is 1,600 words. 1,600 words translates into more than three pages of a Word document. When was the last time you read this much content on one website? Unless the article was enriched with data, statistics and unique research from a highly authoritative writer and on a topic that was really important to me or about something I wanted to learn about, I have to say that the chance of having a real audience be engaged from introduction to conclusion would be pretty slim.

Recent studies have been done on how Internet and screen reading have cut the general publics attention span. Internet articles are not read like books or print articles but rather scanned. Have too much content, not enough white space, blocks of content that are more than two sentence long and you risk losing your reading audience.

My customers vote with their pocket books and our top selling blog writing levels are those at 200 to 250 words per blog post followed by 140 to 300 words per post long. I personally like blog posts that are 300 to 350 words long as this is just long enough to flesh out a topic and really have something interesting to say.

So what’s your perfect length? Just as a point of reference this post is a little over 500 words long. If it was the supposed “perfect blog post” it would be three times this long!

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Bing Ads Announces Product Ads

Google and Bing Product Ads Generate a Strong ROI
Google and Bing Product Ads Generate a Strong ROI

New into the e-commerce product selling market with product images in their search results, Bing Ads enters with a new service offering called Bing Product Ads. With huge returns for e-commerce stores and familiarity with Google Shopping (previously known as Product Listing Ads), Bing Product Ads is sure to be a hit. For early embracers of this new program the ability for them to own their product market on Bing is a huge incentive to move in fast. Well, at least for now, while there is not strong competition for buyers. You can read Bing’s full announcement.

I have found the biggest stumbling block to businesses moving into either Google or Bing’s product program is the creation of the data feed. It is onerous to create the taxonomy to match both Bing and Google’s criteria that allows for them to sort and return your products in ads.

I have however found that Lexity may provide the solution in regards to data feed creation. For Bing Ads, Lexity provides several tiers of service with monthly fees plus a click budget, and services over 36 different shopping carts. With big business now being done starting with consumers clicking a picture of a product in search results and then moving all the way to the purchase process Lexity provides the right service at the right time.

Although not everything that Lexity sells in their own toolbox has value, the Bing Ads and Google Shopping programs are of important note and something that e-commerce stores should definitely consider using. The ROI that I have seen from clients of mine that are using Lexity to create the product ads for Bing and Google is extremely good.

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How to Place Locally on Google – National Service Provider with Several Locations

Google Partner Badge
McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

In our series on placing for local searches on Google, this is our last option and one of the toughest although there are still some smart things to do to attempt to reach local buyers. This article is for the scenario when you have a business that has one or several far flung locations but sells nationally.

Here’s what I’ve found works for location specific placements when you are selling nationally.

1. First, see our post from 4-8-14 on how to rank for one city. In this twist of one business selling nationally, again it is key to put all your location addresses in the footer of your website. If you have more than three or four locations, I would do a location page for your website and then just list the city and state names in the footer hyperlinking to your specific location page. You may have offices in only one city or two, but having the local addresses is still key. However I would add a tag line after the locations stating something like “Serving clients nationwide for 10 years.” Make sure in your content that you are talking about your nationwide services.

2. Here a page for each state may not work or may be too cumbersome and the truth is that a nationwide provider will be at a disadvantage when compared to a local provider for location specific searches. Make sure that any city you are located in however, does still get mentioned by location as you do still want to place locally for your branch offices.

3. Setting up a Google+ Local page for each location is really key for organic placement where you have a branch office. Take some time and put some thought into what you will write and make sure the pictures and videos if you have them (highly recommended) are unique to that location.

4. Where you can, make sure you validate your Google+ Local page. A PIN will be hard copied mailed to the physical address. Your staff needs to be vigilant to find this PIN envelope. It will look like junk mail and will have NO Google ID on it. Nothing will show on Google until you validate and then typically a two to four week delay after verification to show in the results is not uncommon.

For nationwide providers the reality is that to be visible locally you will need to move into paid search if you want prominence on local placement. There is simply no way to scam Google into showing a Google+ Local page or for that matter even be able to validate one where you do not have a physical location. By setting up your AdWords program to target local city names or state names with dynamic keyword insertion your ad will appear up at the top of the page for these important location searches just not in the organic section.

One caveat on this. I have found that when you can own the state organically, Google will preferentially show your results in many cases for all cities in that state. So it is not a bad thing to create location specific pages but the content must be unique, of value, not keyword heavy and be state specific.

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How to Place Locally on Google – One Business Multiple Cities

Image of a Google Maps exposure on Google.com.
Image of a Google Maps exposure on Google.com.

In our series on how to place locally on Google I will be looking at the next easiest scenario which is one business with physical presences/offices in multiple cities. This is also a fairly easy scenario to place locally on and similar in some ways to the actions that you would take for the one business with multiple locations in one city.

Here’s what I’ve found works for location specific placement.

1. See our post from 4-8-14 on how to rank for one city. In this twist of one business multiple cities, again it is best to put all your location addresses in the footer of your website. If you have more than three or four locations, I would do a location page for your website and then just list the city and state names in the footer hyperlinking to your specific location page.

2. Again as in the single city with multiple location pages a unique page for each location is in order linked from the all locations page. What is very important to understand is that the content on these locations pages MUST be unique. You cannot simply copy the one location and then drop in the new location. Try to write something of value about each unique location.

3. Setting up a Google+ Local page for each location is really key for organic placement. Take some time and thought into what you will write and make sure the pictures and videos if you have them (highly recommended) are unique to that location.

4. Make sure you validate your Google+ Local page. A PIN will be hard copied mailed to the physical address. Your staff really, and I mean really, needs to be vigilant to find this PIN envelope. It will look like junk mail and will have NO Google ID on it. I have had many clients have significant delays in validating and have required multiple sends of the validation letter as it is simply missed. Nothing will show on Google until you validate and then typically a two to four week delay after verification to show in the results is not uncommon.

This scenario and the one on Tuesday are fairly simple to enact but very important. With mobile searches being delivered preferentially local content the activity from local searches and local exposure is simply too huge to discount.

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