Articles written in February, 2011

February 23 2011

Google’s Social Search Update

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Every time I write a post about a Google search update, it is always focused around things Google is doing to improve the way users can find relevant content quickly and easily.  This post is no different.  Just a few days ago, Google began rolling out an update that is taking social search  to a new level. There have been many updates over the last few years in an effort to unite social and search, and we can only assume many more updates will come with the growing popularity of social media. 

With this most recent update, if you are logged into your Google Account you may begin to see listings shared by your connections within the organic search results. (In the past, data from social connections was limited to the bottom of the search results.) These new social listings will be denoted with an additional line added to the listing, telling you which of your connections shared the link. As the image found in this Search Engine Land post shows, the listings from social connections are often given a higher importance.

This seems to make sense in that if one of your friends has shared a link related to your specific search term, you would likely be more interested in that link instead of one that does not have an “endorsement” by a friend or connection.  Keep in mind that any listings as a result of this social search update will be specific to you (as your connections are going to be different than the next person looking for something similar). Google has access to tons of information on the web and these social search results can be pulled from your connections on sites such as Twitter, Flickr, FriendFeed, Picasa, Gmail, your Google Contacts, etc.

Other things to keep in mind are that you must have your social accounts connected to your Google Account.  If you don’t link your social accounts in any way to your Google account, or if you are not logged in to your Google Account, you will not see these social search listings.  Google will even assist you in connecting your social accounts if they find accounts that are specific to you (such as through the same usernames, etc). This way you can then easily link them to your Google Account.

There is a way to currently see who you are connected to through Google’s social circle page.  You can build these connections by associating your social accounts with your Google Account as mentioned above.  It will be interesting to see how this change to search results influenced by social media will evolve over time.

February 21 2011

SEO Benefits of YouTube

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In a recent blog post on leveraging SEO benefits of video, I mentioned how YouTube is an excellent way to drive visitors to your website.  Equally important is allowing individuals to access your YouTube company page through adding a YouTube link/button on your website.  From an SEO perspective, frequently adding fresh content to your channel and properly tagging your videos will allow you to utilize YouTube as an SEO channel.   

Properly “Tagging”? Just remember this: “TDK”…Title, Description, Keywords.
 

  1. Title-Make sure that it’s enticing and keyword rich.  Go back to your video and determine the main subject or topic matter in the recording.  The word or short phrase that you decide on should be included in the title.  This is because the search engines weight anything in the title very highly.  Another tip: remember to keep your title to 70 characters or less.
  2. Description-Creating a persuasive description and putting it in sentence form are two key items to keep in mind.  While it is best to keep the description around 155 characters, it is more important to make sure that it is compelling, so that individuals will click through to your page.
  3. Keywords-Select two or three keywords to be featured as tags. Your keyword or keyword phrase should mirror the main topic of your video and should be included in your title. 

SEO benefits are the greatest payback from coordinated efforts to frequently produce video content and properly tag them.  While it does require resources, mainly time, using YouTube is an inexpensive way to gain brand visibility and rank in search engines for your important keywords.

February 9 2011

Leverage Video for Conversion and SEO Benefits

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While recent hot topics have centered around mobile and social media in the interactive marketing industry recently, there are a few marketing tools that have received less attention that are worth mentioning.  One of these is the use of video.   Videos are unique as they can be used on your company site, on YouTube, and through email marketing.  All of these opportunities allow you to drive viewers to your website, ultimately improving your chance of converting a prospect into a client.  Video has proven helpful for boosting conversions and can be a relatively inexpensive marketing tool.  

According to a Nielson report released in August 2010, 70% of global online users watch video.  Knowing that statistic, why not try it out? If your company is using video, you may have noticed that your videos show up in Google search results.  This is because Google actually puts video production into its search placement algorithm.  Frequently adding new video content to the channel will strengthen your rankings in natural search results.

If you are considering video as a marketing tool, here are five useful tips for a successful campaign:

  1. Keep your videos short.  According to Visible Measures, users tend to drop off after viewing 10-60 seconds of a video.  In fact, 20% of viewers drop-off after ten seconds of video and 44% drop-off after 60 seconds.
  2. Optimize your video players.  Increasing the video player and adding action buttons (“Play” or “Click to View”) may increase view-through-rates.
  3. Make sure people can find your video.  To increase the likelihood of your video being discovered, submit a video sitemap to the search engines and leverage other channels to feature it as well.  Using YouTube and Facebook can help drive viewers back to your website.
  4. Don’t forget about mobile.  With the increase of mobile users, many viewers will try to view videos over a small screen.  Therefore, ensure your videos are accessible from mobile devices.
  5. Video content can be educational.  Introducing new services or products through video is a great way to get the word out.  Demos and “How-To’s” can give your company credibility, as people will look to use as a resource.

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