What can Yahoo Learn from Google?

internet marketing tools, seo tool, social media marketing, Earlier this year I noticed an exodus of marketers, techies and PR types flocking towards Google+. Along with their experience and interests they brought conversations, content and insight to the table which helped Google+ reach new heights of activity. Google+ also received a lot of flak for its slow adoption rate, when in reality it’s actually one of the fastest growing social networks out there! But how did they do it?

Google+ built a creeping strategy around the assumption that their incentives would attract a certain type of person. Their target market shared mutual interests for marketing, PR, technology, and blogging. Together the users of Google+ proudly create, share and +1 content because Google rewards it’s users with SEO benefits from +1’s and higher exposure through Authorship. Writers are also very eager to have their faces beside their work as it increases familiarity and works towards a sense of credibility and trust with the specific author.

I’m sure all of you know that Yahoo recently acquired Tumblr and is showing signs of having learned from Google’s creeping strategy. But instead of going after the techies and marketing types it’s focusing its reach on the creatives of cyberspace.

While marketers are said to a harmonious blend of scientist and artist it’s evident by the platforms being fought for that you can’t find a harmonious blend of interests in a single platform. While Google is building its foundation of users at an alarming rate, Yahoo is strategizing against its competitors by claiming a very valuable resource: creativity.

Even though their contributors are painfully tacky in their articles I haven’t lost faith in this old gem, Yahoo –because with the help of Tumblr finding creative writers will be a cinch.

Author: Anthony Baisi

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What is SEO or Google’s Panda and Penguin? How do they Affect my Page Rank?

Search engine optimization is when you optimize your on-site content as well as your content off-site for Search Engine’s crawlers. Search engines release crawlers that literally crawl the web and look for new data or updates to existing data. The crawlers take this information and report it back to the search engine who then determines how credible a website is based on the quality of on-site and off-site content. However, there are said to over 200 factors affecting your page rank but a large portion of your placement can be controlled through smart content and proper tagging.

There are four sides to SEO and a lot more to Page Rank, however for brevity’s sake we’ll only discuss SEO:

  • Positive On-Site SEO
  • Negative On-Site SEO
  • Positive Off-Site SEO
  • Negative Off-Site SEO

Once the search engine can justify your credibility and quality of content it will reward you by giving you preference in the search engine result pages. The higher the quality the more Google rewards you, and don’t forget about Bing and Yahoo, they like quality too.

Search Engine Optimization really got a jolt when Google released its high quality algorithm, Panda in April, 2011. Even though this algorithm was released in 2011 to improve the quality of search referrals it still continues to remind us that quality is better than quantity.

In April, 2012, Google released another quality algorithm but this one is targeted at decreasing the prevalence of webspam. Google labels webspam as using blackhat techniques to increase web presence through loophole tactics that don’t benefit the user, but rank the website higher than it deserves.

Some blackhat techniques you should note:

  • Keyword Stuffing – overloading your website with keywords resulting in unnatural looking content.
  • Trolling – Creating an emotional or irrelevant response in order to conjure conversation through any means necessary –even being an ass.
  • Link Schemes – excessive link exchanges, buying or selling links.
  • Cloaking – Misleading users and search engines through different content and URL’s, think re-directs.
  • Duplicate Content – Deliberate duplications in order to trick search engines, seriously though? The jokes on you.
  • Hoaxes – Posts and articles that say they will donate, or award a certain achievement for comments, likes, or shares. I know you’ve seen these on Facebook (100,000 shares and this cute baby girl gets a puppy!)

Google’s Panda Algorithm:

Google’s Penguin Algorithm: 

How do we get good page ranking and build solid SEO that reflects our quality and integrity?

How about good old fashioned, quality networking? Try to build relationships with fellow bloggers, marketers and strengthen your network and communications.
Thought leadership, start a blog that allows guest contributors and open commenting. This will allow people to share worthwhile resources and discuss these topics with interested visitors as well as the website’s staff. Eventually, if the content keeps them coming back you will have fostered a community of though leadership. Another branch of Thought Leadership, which includes many of the same elements of is called Opinion Leadership.

You can also subscribe to Google Webmaster Central Blog’s RSS feed to stay update with the latest Google announcements.

Some points to keep in mind:

  • Don’t be afraid to try – Remember what I said about keyword stuffing, produce your content to provide complete and comprehensive information on the subject. Create something that keeps them coming back.
  • Be nitpicky – All errors should be cleared, dead links, grammar, spelling, check facts –remember journalistic integrity.
  • Be yourself – No, no, no copying. No duplicates either.  Be original.
  • Avoid confusion – Yes, flash is cool and so is making money on advertising, but don’t go and let the ads take over your website.
  • Birds of a feather flock together – Try not to post on blogs or sites that seem shady or sketchy (using blackhat techniques). Google will associate those links with your website and this is a good example of negative off-site SEO.
  • Read lots – Finding inspiration is a big part of being original, take time to read, discover new blogs, writers, designers, illustrators, whatever you find remarkable.
  • Be Social – Share your knowledge and don’t be afraid to share your best tactics either. People come to communities like this to learn, we can all reach our goals if we share what we know.

    Author: Anthony Baisi

What About Google?

google+With all this talk about Twitter’s Vine, Facebook’s Graph Search and content being king, I found myself thinking, what about Google? This led to a discussion this morning with a colleague where I couldn’t explain the difference between a Google+ Community and a Facebook Group. I couldn’t let this uncertainty sit for long so I quickly jumped to it and developed a little clarity on Google’s Social Network.. Google+ Communities offer businesses a platform where they can quickly find a large amount of relevant people that all share similar interests.

People join these communities because they have similar interests with the founder and hope to learn, grow and build their network. Through sharing, the group becomes more knowledgeable and gains reach with every new member. Google Communities allow people to manage a public or private group where they can house an unlimited amount of members. But, unlike Facebook, when you share in your public or private GC your comments will not show up in your network’s feeds. They will only show up on your page if you allow them to. GC’s allow for unlimited discussion categories as well as events and hangouts. Members of Google+ are also permitted to participate, create and moderate within the community. An added bonus to GCs is that the network is relatively more organized than Facebook groups. With +1 you can also share anything from across the web with your community. Ultimately, GC’s are very similar to Facebook Groups, but with subtle differences, better organization and SEO benefits. It is more discrete, provides more services and if you use it, Google rewards you.Google-Authorship2

I’ve read a lot of flack on Google+’s popularity based on its adoption rate, and how it was a ploy to copy Facebook. You’re wrong. I was also guilty of believing this. What really convinced me was how much I started using Google myself. This was shortly after I found out that Google’s search recognizes +1’s coupled with the discovery of Google Authorship. Employing Google Authorship as a PR channel has proved very beneficial to Google as they are now the second largest social network, next to Facebook. I’m calling it a marketing channel because it has helped Google build their social network around business trends and technology. I mean that it is now largely populated with geeky types who write, advertise; and you know what else? Know PR like the back of their hand. These writers encourage people to check out their articles and share their work via Google+ because big media sites pay these writers by the traffic they generate. The writers are also eager to get their faces beside their latest posts in Google’s search results because it increases their familiarity, credibility and following.

Google also corralled small business owners for the purpose of showing up in Google Maps and local searches. The added value of showing up in searches requires business’s to set up a Google+ Local Business page and you need a Google+ account to do so. This has resulted in a surge of accounts and why not? As business people we are taught to opt for the win-win solution, right?

Some say that this was Google’s plan all along. That it chose to rise to the top with the “slow and steady” approach. Personally, I don’t know if I believe that, but I do believe that by the end of the year Google+ will present some exciting new features as well as a much larger audience.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Facebook Slams Twitter: Stonewalling Spurs Social Media Melee

4792969199_ae396dbfbfSocial media just got more interesting as Facebook stonewalls Twitter’s Vine application from integrating with its own platform. This sparring match first began when Twitter blocked Instagram links from opening directly on its site. Now irked, Facebook moved to close access to Yandex, the Russian social search app, as well as Voxer’s messaging service.  With a start like this, 2013 could prove to be a conflicting year for social media as the big get bigger and the walls get higher. This trend for independence has businesses in the tech industry pushing for widespread services of their own. The movement is evident with actions like Google going social, Facebook introducing Graph Search and acquiring Instagram, Yahoo acquiring Flickr, and Twitter introducing Vine. In contrast, these portfolio upgrades also come with a negative side as they build walls between platforms curbing the openness and integration of their user’s media.

While Android finds satisfaction in higher levels of openness companies like Apple have made the choice to become more independent. Apple’s iOS6 walled off Google Maps and continued to launch their own map application for its users. However, most users found this to be a downgrade and opted to install Google Maps anyways. Google’s CEO, Larry Page stated that they found greater success with getting their product out there on the web, but now with many new platforms it feels like they are taking a step backwards. This happens because companies are trying to wall everything off, seeking a superior social platform while impeding on the rate of innovation.money hungry

When it comes to social media companies the people are the product and as such we build the company’s reputation and credibility. What makes sharing media more enjoyable is the compatibility between said platforms allowing us to share with our entire network. Users expect their customer experience to be able to be spread throughout all chosen channels of service. But when Facebook blocks compatibility from complimentary companies such as Voxer and Vine they diminish the enjoyment and usefulness of their own service.

As the battle continues for the one stop, superior social network Facebook’s size and social information search makes them a clear contender. But, applications like Graph Search encourage rising concern for how social networks will actually use our private data. A sure guess is to say that these companies will continue to fight for openness and will be under close examination by privacy advocates.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Facebook Stirs Uproar with Privacy Advocates

facebook-graph-searchYeah, it’s true you don’t get the chance to take on a force like Google every day, that is, unless you’re Facebook. This challenger so to speak, has launched its new addition to the platform and has dubbed it “Graph Search.”

There is speculation however, that this was long predicted ever since Facebook’s growing presence started to rattle Google’s confidence on the web, especially in the online advertising market. In an interview between Wired and Larry Page, the CEO of Google said that “Facebook was doing a really bad with their products.” Seems a little disagreeable to me. But, if Google didn’t feel threatened by Facebook, why would they want to venture into the social media industry and not remain the search engine king?

We’ve seen a search engine go social with Google+ and now we get the chance to experience a change of suit with Facebook introducing its own search capabilities. However, this search engine is a little bit different as in users get the chance to search for answers from their friends and friends of friends. We know it may not be the place to go when doing research or simply solving a bet at the pub; but we can start discovering interests in people we didn’t even know before, right? But, the real question is whether or not Facebook will keep Graph Search as a private, social search that only includes personal networks, which makes for entertainment but limits the potential value. Or, Facebook permits personal data accessible to Graph Search in order to make it more valuable, thus hurting privacy advocates and tarnishing its core value: connecting with friends in a trusted environment.
spying
For business, Graph Search shows potential as a new form of marketing by introducing a better way to understand their target audience. A business could use Graph Search to gain insight into attitudes, opinions and interests of their audience. This could be filtered down to their favourite activities for Sunday afternoons, favourite locations, favourite artists, and favourite celebrities. Gaining this sort of knowledge helps companies leverage their efforts and ensures an impacting message. Hypothetically, a company could use it to find out a selective segment’s preferred artist and favoured hangout. That company could then incorporate these two customized elements into a highly profiled advertisement for that segment, guaranteeing a genuine interest.

Ultimately, Facebook’s dilemma has sparked the interest of its users because it infers that Facebook may possibly capitalize on what we’ve confidently shared with our friends. We’ve seen Instagram’s privacy debacle washed away with an increase in users and activity, why would this be different? After acquiring Instagram, will Facebook keep the momentum of its new counterpart and continue to push privacy concerns? Even if Facebook has over 1 billion users, making it the 3rd largest country in the world; do you think a stint like this would actually cause a loss in activity, or simply a shrugging of the shoulders?

Author: Anthony Baisi