Social Media Beginners

Posted by | Posted on 9:36 AM

Social Media Beginners: Using SEO and Social Media to Build Brand Authority (Part 1)
ou may be at a point where your site has lots of usable and compelling content. Unfortunately this isn't always enough to gain new readers and revenue. It could be time to build a link strategy to boost your brand authority and site ranking. The way to begin is by making partnerships, starting conversations and trading links so more webmasters (and their readers) know who you are.

Why? The majority of computers and much of the media are now social, so it's time for you to break out of your bubble. Getting your site optimized can be time consuming and often you won't see the results of the labor for a few weeks, if not months. A site that ranks well is the outcome of shrewd planning and lots of effort with few shortcuts. You have to make good decisions early in the process to gain a good amount of momentum. Basic SEO strategy is a lengthy process, and you can find out smart ways to begin here.

Similarly, incorporating social media into the public face of your business is a long process that will take time to reach its potential. Success in social media relies on cooperation and engagement with your clients and customers (and sometimes even your competitors). Where do you begin?

Basic Inbound Links: Inbound links are widely regarded as a necessity for high ranking in the search engine listings. Search engines view links to web sites as a vote in favor of their importance. If popular sites like your site, then search engines like your site. It resembles how high school cliques are formed. What this means is the more authoritative a site, the more powerful their link seems to search engines. If the link goes to your site, then search engines think your site also holds part of that authority. The authority of a site is gauged by its page rank (PR). This is a standard 1 to 10 scale Google assigns to pages based on hundreds of qualifications, 10 being the highest rank with most authority.

Part of best practices in building page rank and authority is submitting to directoríes and sites that point back to your site. But don't waste much time sending tons of random links out to directories with very low PR. Your time is better spent sending a few well-optimized links to popular sites that share context with content on your site. For example, if your business sells consumer electronics, then you want links from authoritative sites that review electronics brands you sell.

Other important aspects of in-bound links are:
  • Don't do too much too fast. The rate of growth for incoming links should not ever be more than 20% per month. If too many inbound links pop up at once, search engines get nervous and your authority may suffer.
  • The links should contain phrase-rich descriptors (page descriptions, alt tags for photo links, and/or your business name). The link structures should vary from site to site - they don't have to be wildly different, just dissimilar.
  • Avoid lots of effort (but not all) directed at link building on sites that feature a "no follow" rule for back links. This eliminates most SEO value to your link. You can see which sites do this by investigating the source code, and no-follow commands are usually within a javascript applet.
Social Media can be a powerful tool in building both traffic and PR for your website if you adhere to a few rules. More about that later.

What are the Main Inbound Link Types?

Directional Links: These are standard links back to your site from a variety of web sites and directories that include a combination of title, short description, and/or a business logo.

Content Links: These are links to your site found within the body of content authored by you. The content is usually several paragraphs of text and infographics such as a press release, a blog post, research and white papers, or other information-based articles.

Social Media Links: Using social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others are a great way to see who is saying something about you, but also a good way to tell others what you're doing. You can also provide your services as an industry resource or expert who gives advice to those who need it. The overall requirement is simple, but time-consuming: participate in conversations, don't just sell.

Social Sharing Links: These are referenced from media objects (e.g. videos, images, etc) that serve to indicate the author of the object. This strategy can include posting of "how to" videos on your related topics as well as creating a variety of directional links from bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon or

In the next chapter, we'll discuss Directional Links and Content Links and where you can begin building them for inbound traffic boosts.

The world as the eagle - Google Updates

Posted by | Posted on 5:20 PM

One-hundred and fifty years ago today, on October 13, 1860, James Wallace Black shot the earliest still-existing aerial photograph in the U.S. He took the picture from a hot air balloon suspended above Boston Common, and the result, titled "Boston as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It," is truly beautiful. The photo is part of the archive at the venerable Boston Public Library, along with other important historical images of the Boston area, and is particularly significant because most of the area visible in the photo was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1872.

James Wallace Black, Balloon View of Boston, 1860.

From the collections of the Boston Public Library, Print Department, Boston Pictorial Archive.

Flash forward 150 years: Aerial imagery is widely available and used in countless professions, from archaeology to conceptual art. The folks who created Google Earth devised a way to stitch aerial and satellite imagery together into a seamless, searchable map of the world and make it available to anyone with a computer. On top of that basemap of imagery, Google Earth users have contributed to the creation of a 3D, photo-realistic virtual world by using tools like Google Building Maker, which makes it easy for anyone to use aerial imagery to model 3D buildings for display in Google Earth.

We at Google owe James Wallace Black a debt of gratitude; without his early experimentation with aerial imagery, Google Earth may never have come to be.

In a happy coincidence, October 13 is also the first anniversary of Building Maker, and we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate the contributions of a dedicated community of 3D modelers in the 101 cities around the world where Building Maker is available. Here’s a look at two of our top modelers and their creations:

Peter Sih (aka PeterX), lives in San Jose, Calif., but has created models all over the world. He tells us: “Modeling with Building Maker you get almost instant gratification. I learn a lot by modeling places I don't know as well as places I know well. Modeling for GE ties together my lifelong fascination with geography, architecture, travel, photography and computers."

Pavilhão Carlos Lopes - Lisbon, Portugal

Grant Firl (aka Grant F) lives in Fort Collins, Colo., but concentrates most of his modeling efforts on Albuquerque, N.M. He tells us: “I choose to model with 3D Building Maker for many reasons. Principally, I think that the 3D buildings layer is a very worthwhile tool and I view it as both a privilege and a kind of duty to help fill in content. Secondly, it is both fun and rewarding to create models of physical buildings, especially given the opportunity to share them to Google's users for their use and enjoyment. Thirdly, the 3D buildings layer provides a unique way to preserve and share the hard work and inspiration of actual builders and architects.”

Albuquerque Plaza - Albuquerque, N.M.

If you haven’t tried Building Maker yet, it’s very easy and fun. You pick a building and construct a model of it using aerial photos and simple 3D shapes—both of which we provide. When you're done, we take a look at your model. If it looks right, and if a better model doesn't already exist, we add it to the 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth. You can make a whole building in a few minutes.

Technology has come a long way since James Wallace Black took his photo of Boston, and glass-plate-negative box cameras in hot air balloons have given way to airplanes with mounted camera arrays. But what hasn’t changed is how technology gives us new ways to look at out world. Check out Google Building Maker and build the picture of your world.

New Facebook Groups

Posted by | Posted on 9:06 AM

Why Not Everyone is a Fan of the New Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups Draw Mixed Reviews

Some people really like Facebook's new Groups feature. Influential tech blogger Robert Scoble could hardly praise the feature enough. He used the phrase "massively cool" more than once in his description. He's not alone. Many are welcoming the opportunity to separate their friends into different groups and communicate in different ways with them (like chat, email lists, and integration with third-party apps).

Some are less than thrilled with the new feature, however.The feature was announced during an event based around the concept of giving users more control, but it appears that more control doesn't necessarily mean complete control. Jason Calacanis, for example, found out the hard way that anyone can be added to a group, regardless of whether or not they actually opted in (hat tip to Matthew Ingram). The group creator has the ability to make the group open, closed, or secret.
Calacanis found out he was added to a Facebook group for NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association), along with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington. At, Jason posted an email he sent to Facebook informing them of what happened. He closed with, "If you guys want to run these new features by me before you launch them, I can probably save you from a couple of privacy law suits each year."

This is really the kind of thing you would think Facebook would want to avoid after all of the privacy brouhaha earlier this year. Of course not everyone is going to have people adding them to questionable groups, but if it can be done, some people just aren't going to be comfortable with it.

Finding Marketing Value in the Cloud

It's not much different from tagging in Facebook Photos, a feature that I've frankly had issues with myself. It's nice that anyone can tag you in a photo and have that show up first thing in the photos on your profile isn't it? Groups adds that extra layer of association though, which some my find even more objectionable, as with Calacanis' case. With this kind of functionality, people could be made to look like they're Nazis, KKK members, pedophiles, Justin Bieber fans, or anything else. Granted, users can report groups to Facebok:

I can definitely see the feature being abused for politics. It's probably already happening.

The feature does appear to only let you add people who you are friends with to Groups, so you may want to choose your friends carefully. It may not be a good idea to be friends with just anybody, and if you are, at least keep up with your notifications. You will be notified when you've been added to a group.

The email feature has received some criticism as well. If you are added to a group and you don't keep up with your notifications, you may find your inbox getting filled up by people in that group posting things. You can put an end to this by opting out, but some feel you should have to opt in to this feature to begin with.

What do you think of the new Facebook Groups? Let us know.
Hulu Should Be Better at What it Does
Chris Crum | Staff Writer

Why Doesn't FOX Want Us to Watch Its Programming?

Late last week, a deal between FOX and DISH Network came to an end, leaving DISH Network subscribers without FX, FOX Sports, and the National Geographic Channel. FOX raised their rates and DISH didn't want to pay. While the two companies continue negotiations, some of us wonder how we are going to watch the shows that we regularly enjoy.

There are at least 5 shows I regularly watch on FX, and I have DISH Network, so naturally, this presents a problem for me. 3 of these shows are currently in mid-season. Now, I get to figure out where to watch the next episodes. My first thought was Hulu. They have FOX and (FOX-owned) FX content. I remember watching full episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" there some time ago. I remember that they even had episodes a week after they aired. I can deal with that if I have to.

Too bad they don't do that anymore.

Looking at that show's page now, there are no full episodes available, let alone the newest ones. Now the show's page on Hulu says they're able to post new episodes 30 days after they air, starting later this month. The same goes for "The League". The Same goes for the "Sons of Anarchy". Awesome. Thanks Hulu. Thanks FOX.

AdAge has an interesting and timely article about a speech given by Hulu CEO Jason Kilar this week. According to the article, he basically told the "big media" to either serve consumers or lose them. AdAge's Nate Ives reports:

That's particularly true because media consumption is basically an optional activity, he said. It's habitual and important for most of us, he argued, but no one's going to actually die if they don't see the latest episode of "30 Rock." And within media, as the magazine publishers in the room were well aware, mushrooming options mean you've got to serve consumers or lose them. It's no sure thing that a young person's going to watch "The Amazing Race" instead of visiting Facebook. "Content is discretionary, so you better focus on convenience," he told the audience.

Convenience. What a concept. It seems like FOX is going out of its way to make it as inconvenient as possible for me to see the shows I watch. Meanwhile, DISH claims to be keeping up the fight.

"We regret that FOX Networks, the owner of some Regional Sports Networks, FX and National Geographic Channel, removed their channels from the DISH Network line-up," the company says. "FOX has demanded a rate increase of more than 50%. An increase this large would force DISH Network to pass these costs on to our customers, which we are unwilling to do during these tough economic times."

"DISH Network will continue to work tirelessly for a fair agreement in order to bring these channels back at the earliest possible time." Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll bring the channels back in time to see episodes that haven't even aired on Hulu yet, so we'll either have to DVR them while we wait to be caught up.

Google Apps highlights – 10/8/2010

Posted by | Posted on 7:05 AM

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label "Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

Over the last couple weeks, we rolled out new settings in Gmail for email traditionalists, and some features in Google Docs to make it easier to work with document revisions and imported spreadsheet data. We also had big news to share about bringing Google Apps to all K-12 students in New York state.

Try Gmail without conversation view

We think conversation view in Gmail is a big time saver, because it automatically groups related messages into neatly organized discussions. But over the years we’ve heard from many people accustomed to a traditional inbox that conversation view drives them nuts. Last Wednesday we introduced the option for people to turn conversation view off or on in Gmail Settings if they’d like. With this option, messages are delivered to the inbox individually, like you see in most email applications. Threaded or unthreaded—now it’s your choice.

Better revision history in Google documents

One of the ways Google Docs is different from other office software is its ability to automatically save and display every revision ever made, even if multiple people have edited a file together. Last week we made revision history in Google documents even better, by simplifying how revision time stamps are displayed, speeding up how fast you can flip through sequential revisions, and highlighting changes made by different editors with different colors, so you can quickly scan for who changed what. Go to “File” > “See revision history” to try it out.

Better data import in Google spreadsheets

We also improved Google spreadsheets recently with better data import options. For example, if you’re importing information from a .csv file, you can create a whole new spreadsheet, append to the current sheet, add a new sheet to your existing spreadsheet or even replace your entire spreadsheet with the new version. We also upgraded the import preview pane to show a snapshot of how your spreadsheet will look after import, so you can verify that things are set the way you want.

Who’s gone Google?

Tens of thousands of businesses, schools and organizations have made the switch to Gmail and Google Apps since our last update. And on Tuesday, we announced a new agreement with the state of New York to bring Google Apps, including training and support to 697 public school districts, as well as all non-public and charter schools across the state. New York is the fifth and largest state to “go Google” throughout their K-12 system, joining Oregon, Iowa, Colorado and Maryland. We’re unbelievably excited about the opportunity to enrich the classroom for more than 3.1 million students and hundreds of thousands of teachers in New York.

We hope these updates help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps. For details and the latest news in this area, check out the Google Apps Blog.

Social Media Marketing is Dying

Posted by | Posted on 9:37 AM

If nothing is certain, one thing is - social media is losing its magic. What once was a new and improved way to keep in touch with your closest loved ones has become just another sales pitch to convince you to sign up to another dreadful business prospect, newsletter, product, or service. There is no opening or closing - simply raw advertisements that lack sincerity. The people advertising their products don't care about you or your general interests. They're too set on the idea that you're going to sign up and turn them into a success.

What's wrong with this picture? Could it be that the advertisements lack taste and real value, or could it be that the people who want your business care less about who you are and what you are interested in?
[Links From PR9 Sites!]

What business entrepreneurs are forgetting is that they are on the other side of the fence of social media. They are on the advertising end, which means without a real connection to the "the people," they are getting nowhere. At some point, a real connection needs to be established or otherwise all efforts to make a sale or spread the word are pointless.

The truth? No one cares about you unless you care about them, particularly when it comes to social media. Let's say that you've got an account with Facebook. Each day when you see those tiny red notifications, you're dead sure that they signify a message from your friends or family. Unfortunately, you open your inbox and all you see are loud advertisements. What do you do? You delete them, and you do so automatically without any interest whatsoever about what they say.
[1000 Visitors to Your Site!]

Advertising gurus are no longer "gurus," they are simply annoying spammers who have no clue what they are doing. Business owners are missing the point. If their emails are getting read, it's only by other advertisers just so they can compare tactics and techniques. Another sad part of it all is that no one is coming up with new techniques. Everybody is following someone who they think is successful, but in reality, no one is making any money because of their lack of effort and knowledge.

If you haven't noticed (and you most likely have), all online entrepreneurs go about advertising their businesses in the same way. First, they request you as a fríend or become a follower (Twitter). Some of them may greet you with a "thanks for the request" or some other similar phrase, while others jump straight to the point and start bombarding you with their "winníng" sales pitch. Who are you more likely to communicate with? Nothing screams "delete" louder and faster than a sales pitch.
[Forget Expensive PPC Advertising - There is an Alternative!]

Some of the "thanks for the request" people might actually make it, as long as they don't jump the gun too quickly. Unfortunately, the majority of them end it right there and automatically go on a link-posting frenzy, and immediately begin flooding your inbox with details about their products with no mention of how they might benefit you individually. It's almost as if they are "demanding" that you purchase from them without any clear reason as to why.

On the other hand, some people are making sales. They are the ones who take their time in getting to know people. They ask questions and take a true interest in their prospects. Developing customer relationships is the most important part of advertising on social media because in the real world, customer relationships are a must.

It helps to wear the shoe on the other foot. Picture walking into a store with workers that aren't friendly and don't seem to have your interest anywhere in their top priorities. They are anxious for you to purchase something and that is it. They don't care what you purchase or why, they just want your money. When you leave, they want you to come back over and over, even if you're not interested in what they've got. It's a horrible experience for both you and them.

When you look at it from a different perspective, it helps to see why social media is dying for your company. What people want is warmth and a display of interest in who they are, not lousy sales pitches. As soon as business professionals establish a connection, then they might have a chance, but until then, it's best to just stick to more familiar means of advertising and leave social media to what it was always meant for. Bring common sense back to your marketing.

What does the future of display advertising look like?

Posted by | Posted on 1:19 PM

This afternoon, we gave a keynote address at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s MIXX Conference in New York, entitled “Display 2015: Smart and Sexy.”

As you know by now, we’re investing significantly to make display advertising better for users, advertisers and publishers. Display advertising really is at the heart of what we’re doing at Google these days. 99 percent of our top 1,000 clients are now running campaigns on the Google Display Network. And last year, they increased their spending on display advertising by over 75 percent.

Today, we explained why we think display advertising is about to go through the biggest and most important revolution in its history. We made seven predictions about where display advertising will be in 2015:

 50 percent of ad campaigns will include video ads bought on a cost-per-view basis (that means that the user will choose whether to watch the ad or not, and the advertiser will only pay if the user watches). That’s up from very little today.

 Today, advertisers are starting to deliver ads that are tailored to particular audiences. Many are using real-time bidding technology, so that they can bid on the ad space that they think is most valuable. In 2015, 50 percent of these ads will be bought using this real-time technology.

 With smartphone growth skyrocketing, mobile is going be the number one screen through which users engage with advertisers’ digital brands.
 Today, the “click” is the most important way that advertisers measure their display ad campaigns, but it’s not always the best measure—especially if an ad campaign is designed to boost things like brand awareness or recall. With new measurement technologies emerging, in five years, there will be five metrics that advertisers commonly regard as more important than the click.
 Just like most news articles on the web today can be commented on, shared, discussed, subscribed to and recommended, in 2015, 75 percent of ads on the web will be “social” in nature—across dozens of formats, sites and social communities.

 Rich media formats work. They enable great creativity and interaction between users and advertisers, but today they only represent about 6 percent of total display ad impressions. That will increase to 50 percent, for brand-building ad campaigns.

 All the investments that are making display advertising smarter and sexier will help publishers increase their revenues. Display advertising is going to grow to a $50 billion industry in five years.
We also wanted to visualize the face of the display advertising revolution, so we demonstrated four exciting new technologies:
 We demonstrated some new video ad formats we’ve been testing on YouTube that we’re calling “TrueView.” These will roll out later this year. These ad formats give people the option to skip an ad if they don’t want to watch, or to choose from multiple ads the one they want to watch. Importantly, advertisers only pay if the user chooses to watch their ad.

 We showed some of the things that are becoming possible with our new Teracent technology. This technology can dynamically alter the creative elements of an ad in real-time to make it more relevant and effective, depending on factors like geographic location, language, the content of the website and the time of day.

 You might be familiar with Google Goggles, a way to search the web on mobile devices just by taking a picture. We gave a preview of some experimental uses of Google Goggles that could one day enable advertisers to deliver great display ads to users. Imagine pointing your phone’s camera at an ad for a car in a magazine, and having the car appear in 3D in your mobile device. Or pointing at a movie poster and having the movie trailer play in the device, right in your hand. No QR codes, no downloads!

 We even showed a fun example of what rich media can do—our speech was broadcast live in a number of expandable ad units across the web, and was updated with tweets in real time.

Google adwords Reports that have moved to the Campaigns tab

Posted by | Posted on 11:42 AM

To make it easier for you to analyze your account's performance, we're adding more advanced reporting options, previously only accessible through the Report Center, to the Campaigns tab. With these changes, you can manage your campaigns and analyze their performance all in one place.

The following report types are already available on the Campaigns tab:

If you have these types of reports saved in the Report Center, they'll soon be copied to the Control panel and library , a new area on the Campaigns tab where all your reports will be stored. Once they've been copied to the panel, please start using the Campaigns tab if you want to create new versions of these reports.