Monthly Archives: March 2013

Where Google+ Failed and Where It Succeeded

For years Google was trying to break into the social media scene. They spent time, energy and funds into launching their own versions, which always managed to crash and burn almost as soon as they were released.

Most of us have witnessed these failures first hand, and if you want a refresher course just check out this helpful infographic that illustrated the many attempts. Google has not had the best track record, with their successes usually through purchasing already established sites like YouTube.

I Love Google+When they launched Google+ amongst a huge amount of hype and fanfare, I am sure I was not the only one poised for disappointment. After all, we had been there before and it didn’t tend to be worth the invite to check out the new site. But they managed to get it right this time, and G+ was an immediate hit.

Even with hiccups along the way, such as with privacy issues (this is Google, after all). Now that it is available without an invite, and their services have all been linked through a single login, it has continued to grow in popularity.

So, why do so many people still claim Google+ a failure?

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Statistics?

Canned Social Networks

The biggest complaint most analysts seem to have with Google+ is the numbers. Last year, the Wall Street Journal wrote a piece claiming that the social media site had become a ‘ghost town’, despite their incredibly high user numbers. In fact, the average time spent monthly on G+ was lower than Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Myspace. Ouch!

For those of us who have been paying attention, these accusations are nothing new. In the past analysts have been quick to point out that most of the profiles that are on G+ seem to be inactive, or barely active. In fact, the high user rating might be blamed on the auto-creation through Google Accounts. A point backed up by this report in 2012 that showed how few shares are gathered by G+ compared to other social media sites.

The Way They Failed

Google Plus Ghosts

I think this gives a strong indication of where Google+ has missed the mark. They never became a social network, and perhaps they didn’t mean to be. It is more a slightly socialized element to a wide array of services. But like so many of their other products, it isn’t actually aimed for the average user. In fact, it is rather inaccessible to the average social user, thanks to a unique but complicated platform design that most just don’t seem to gel with.

That gap is useability is so wide that the Huffington Post last year found that one in three of Google’s employees were inactive on the site. When even the people who work for you aren’t using our product, it is a bad sign.

The Way They Succeeded

Google+ Latte

After saying all of that, I am not suggesting that Google has actually failed. On the contrary, I think they have made some incredible progress in creating a unique kind of social network. One that is aimed more at the computer and technology enthusiasts and industry leaders than the average Joe. There is also a distinct edge for business use, and with Google Authorship they have made it a must have for the average blogger, as well.

For the first time, Google seems to be playing to their strengths rather than trying to take a bite out of Facebook. They are becoming more established within this niche, and they are surging in popularity as a result. We now include G+ automatically when we name off the major social media sites on the web, which we never would have done before with some of their other attempts.

Conclusion

Has Google+ failed? I suppose it depends on what they were trying to achieve in the first place. If they wanted an open, accessible social platform for all users on the web, then yes, they probably failed.

But if they were trying to make a business, blog and tech geek friendly version of other sites with a unique format, then they succeeded beyond anyone’s hopes. The numbers they provide are still pretty shady, and I don’t think anyone believes them when they talk about their active user base. But I am personally willing to forgive them for their fibs. As long as they never try to bring back Buzz.

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Author information

Ann Smarty

Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann Smarty is the pro blogger and guest blogger, social media enthusiast.

The post Where Google+ Failed and Where It Succeeded appeared first on SEO Chat.

Does Your Website Have Video? If Not, You Could Be Missing Out

Many people wouldn’t think there is a link between SEO and videos on your website. In fact, the two are very much related. Especially with the popularity of YouTube, video is more important than ever in getting your message across. Search engine crawlers see multimedia elements on a webpage as more diverse, as opposed to just text, so this helps to boost your SEO efforts. Of course, the video description, tags, and title all need to keep your site’s SEO in mind, too. Another benefit of this is that your website and your video could show up in the results, giving you two spots instead of just one.

Reading a website can be cold and impersonal. Even with the most descriptive of text, it can be hard to convey emotion through words. Video allows you to speak your message on your site your way. It will be as if your clients already know you before they even officially become clients. While most people don’t like seeing themselves on video, no one knows your business like you do. Be your brand ambassador, don’t be afraid!

What if I Can’t Afford Video Production?

Videos don’t have to cost a lot of money to produce. Most computers today come with a built in camera and some sort of basic editing software. Or better yet, try and shoot your video in one take and no editing will be necessary. Smart phones and digital cameras also have the ability to shoot video, and small flip-cams are becoming more and more affordable.

Many lawyers have begun using videos on their website, since they are in a competitive industry. For example, when I searched for “south Florida personal injury attorney” I came across this video. It was done in one take, with very little post production.  I found his video which contained a link to his website.

Keep your video short, around 2 minutes or less. It is ok to reiterate information that is already found elsewhere on your site. The chances that every person who visits your site will read every page and watch your entire video is pretty slim. Don’t overestimate the attention span of the average internet surfer. Even if some of the information is repeated, then it just further engrains the message into the viewer’s head.

I Made My Video, Now What?

A lot of companies that specialize in SEO are already aware how to optimize videos. If you are using a web marketing company, they should be able to help you with embedding the video as well as optimizing your video. Most web companies have SEO experts and web design experts working side by side. A web designer will be able to advise on the best placement of the video, and adjusting the size of the video player if necessary. SEO experts will optimize the video’s title, description, tags, and permalink if applicable.

If you do not employ a web marketing company, search for YouTube videos in your industry. For example, if you are in shoe repair, type “shoe repair” into the search box. Several shoe repair companies have created videos. The Delmar Bootery in Albany, NY has this video on YouTube, which also appears in a Google search for “Albany shoe repair,”. When I visit their website, I see that they have the same video on their homepage.

More than Just YouTube

There are several websites available for hosting videos to embed on your website. Viddler, Vimeo, and Flickr are just a few sites that also provide video hosting. Facebook also hosts videos, and this could be used to drive traffic to your social media site. 

The Friday Traffic Report blog has compiled an impressive list of video hosting websites. Not only is this list exhaustive, it provides the page rank of each site. There are also additional links that can help you to further market your video, if you are so inclined.

With these tips, your website will be a more personal, multi-media experience for visitors. This will also increase your chances of showing up in search engine results. 

Author information

LeslieDuncan

LeslieDuncan

Leslie Duncan is Orlando SEO Content Developer

The post Does Your Website Have Video? If Not, You Could Be Missing Out appeared first on SEO Chat.

The Number of Google Results Found: What It Really Means

You know the scenario well: you do a search on any engine, and in seconds you are given your results. You stay on the first couple of pages, probably within the first few websites offered. Because there is no way you are going to go filtering through the millions (or even billions) of websites that it gave you to choose from. I doubt you have ever even gone past the third page, much less ventured to number ten and beyond. What would be the point?

If you did start to click on later pages, you would find out that the results they say they found aren’t actually there. Instead, you get a message saying that they have omitted around 90-99% of the websites that came up, and that message will be repeated on every page you try after the initial results they chose to include. What’s going on? Does that mean they don’t really have those results?

What Search Query Results Really Mean

Search Engine Results

One of the reasons that engines like Google or Bing can find so many results is that they don’t bother to collect them for your use. The chances that you will need them are slim to none, and even if you did by chance require a deeper web page, you wouldn’t be able to find it. There are just too many to sift through. Instead, you would have to go back and narrow down your search terms to get a better list of choices, something we are all pretty used to doing by now.

But those results still do exist. The milliseconds it takes to conduct a search are that quick because it has sorted the most relevant sites based on your search terms. These use a ranking system to put them higher on the list, while other sites are left behind. If they were to offer you the billions of websites they have in their database that contain your search term, it would take a very long time to load them, indeed. Just imagine the less-than-one-second loading time for around 700 results. Not try to imagine applying that same time frame to billions.

Yeah, it wouldn’t work out very well for the average user that doesn’t want to spend months getting an entire internets worth of websites they will never need, never use and never be able to search through.

In other words, what the search results found number really means is how many mentions of that keyword they have in their database. Not how many results have been cultivated for your personal use from the search engine. Which is something I am sure we can all be thankful for.

Image Credits: 1

Author information

Ann Smarty

Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann Smarty is the pro blogger and guest blogger, social media enthusiast.

The post The Number of Google Results Found: What It Really Means appeared first on SEO Chat.

What Is Growth Hacking?

Every once in awhile a new buzz word will start hitting the business world, and with online marketing and ecommerce now the big thing, it is usually within this genre that the most talked about become known. One suck word that has been making the rounds the past few months is ‘growth hacking’, a process many companies – and even experts – are still in the dark about.

Normally, I try to stay away from anything that looks like it is going to be a fad. This came onto the scene appearing to be in the same ilk as other forgotten schemes, but it has since began to prove itself to have staying power. Most often when this happens it is because it has been shown to be effective, at least in the short term.

If you want more proof that growth hacking isn’t your usual one-trick pony, companies are beginning to jump on board to find growth hackers themselves. While the argument could be made that they are just responding to the idea of snake oil pretending to offer quick growth, I don’t personally think this is the case here. Growth hacking seems to have something real and stable pushing it, and if used the right way I can see it having a lot of potential.

But What Is It?

The term was originally coined by self-professed growth hacker and startup marketing extraordinaire Sean Ellis. Probably the best and most concise definition I have found on the web comes from Aaron Ginn, however. He defines growth hacking as:

“One whose passion and focus is pushing a metric through use of a testable and scalable methodology.”

My own definition would be that it is the process of finding the right trick or ‘hack’ that allows for accelerated and accumulative growth. Used for awhile now by savvy marketers in the background of startups that have become the biggest names on the web, think of it as the first step to achieving growth, but not a process for continued improvement.

How People Do It Wrong

The biggest mistakes you are seeing with companies who use growth hackers fall under the header of unrealistic expectations. They think having someone who is growth driven in their corner is going to launch them into superstar status by using a magic buzz word that holds unlimited power. That might seem like an exaggeration, but the scramble by businesses to hire people on for this method speaks for itself.

Growth hacking is a great launching point. One of my favorite examples of how it worked by was LinkedIn, which found the ‘hack’ of keeping it centered on high end corporate networks instead of trying to give it a more mass appeal within the business world. By inviting only professionals to the site, founder Reid Hoffman managed to push interest to the exclusive minority who would generate enough interest to turn it into the powerhouse it is today.

You will notice that the example above is not a long term one. Growth hacking never is; eventually, you will need to change your strategy in order to take advantage of the changing user base and needs of your brand. Failing to adapt once you have found and exploited your hack will inevitably lead to beating a dead horse.

Conclusion

Growth hacking is demonstrably useful, and not a ‘fad’ in the ways you would suspect. Yes, it is a process that many people are going to drop before they get the full benefit of it. But that falls back into the lack of understanding of what it is meant to do for you in the first place. Those who find their hack and use it to get a burst of initial growth are going to swear by it, for good reason.

What do you think of the popularity of growth hacking? Have you found success yourself using the method? Let us know in the comments.

Image source: One way

Author information

Ann Smarty

Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann Smarty is the pro blogger and guest blogger, social media enthusiast.

The post What Is Growth Hacking? appeared first on SEO Chat.

10 Cool Pinterest Plugins for Your WordPress Blog

Pinterest is hands down my favorite social media site. Sure, Twitter is great for the hashtags, and Facebook the definition of the perfect all-in-one social website. But there is just something about that unique format, and the thrill of a more visual site. Just the overall layout is unlike anything we have ever seen before.

Since I opened up my own account a year ago, I have to admit that I have a serious pinning addiction. I spend way too much time on the site, and my boards are a chaotic mix of thousands of different images. Especially food related, given my love of cooking. I have found some of the best recipes of my life on that site…and some of the worst.

I also have a couple of WordPress blogs, and I have found they are all rife for Pinterest inclusion. After all, I spend so much time adding things to make boards that I might as well incorporate actual work into it. Something much easier to do now, thanks to the many different Pinterest plugins created for the blogging platform. Yay!

1. Unofficial Pinterest RSS Widget

Unofficial Pinterest RSS Widget

Don’t be fooled by the ‘unofficial’ status of this plugin. It is one of the best WP widgets available, and deserving of the number one spot on this list. It creates a little sidebar with your most recent pins in thumbnail form. It updates with a live feed based on your RSS. Then links to the actual pinned image, allowing people to easily repinn or follow you.

2. Pin It On Pinterest

Pin It On Pinterest

At the end of your text box when drafting a post, this plugin will create a little box that allows you to create a description for the post. Then when you publish it will make a little Pin It button at the end, which will use that description as the default whenever anyone shares the link. Super easy, with no need for customization.

3. Pinterest Pin It

Pinterest Pin It

Specify images that can be pinned from a post, or allow all images on the page to be. Then add a simple Pin It button at the end for people to use. The basic version of this plugin is pretty straight forward. But they do have a premium version you can buy that has customizable pin it buttons, buttons for other social media sites and more.

4. Pin It Block

Pin It Block

Not everyone likes their content being shared without their strict permission. If you are one of the people who would prefer your content not make its way to Pinterest, you can use this blocker. It will keep people from pulling any images from your WordPress blog, either through a bookmark button or directly via URL upload.

5. Pinterest Image Pinner

Pinterest Image Pinner

This is a lightweight option for people who only want the most basic plugin available. It just puts a small Pin It button on all images, and does absolutely nothing else. The button is tiny and will be in the corner of each image, on the bottom right.

6. Follow Button

Follow Button

Everyone spends so much time focusing on getting people to pin their content. Yet, they completely forget about the importance of getting people to follow their boards so they can see new content as you post it. This is a simple button that directs people to follow your Pinterest account. It just adds it into the sidebar, where you can drag it to where you want it. You can select which button you want, out of eight options of differing size, color and with or without a slogan. Or specify your own image to use.

7. WP Pinner

WP Pinner

This is your run-of-the-mill pin button. It allows you to pin quickly from your own site, and gives your users the chance to do the same. Nothing special here, but it works just as it says it will.

8. Digg Digg

Digg Digg

Not actually a Pinterest specific plugin, this one actually allows access to a huge number of social media sites. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Sphinn, Designbump, WebBlend, StumbleUpon, TweetMeme, Topsy and many more are all covered. It creates a floating sidebar with all of the selected options for you to customize.

9. Pinterest Lightbox

Pinterest Lightbox

Anyone who uses the NextGEN Gallery plugin will love this one. It incorporates that with Pinterest to make a single button to go on all images within your Gallery. It will sync the NextGEN image title, description and URL for both the image and page automatically. If your site has a lot of photos, this is a must have.

10. Pretty Pinterest Pins

Pretty Pinterest Pins

Pull the latest pinned images from any user on Pinterest. Then crate a pretty showcase with a follow button in the sidebar. I love this plugin, as it makes it all look genuinely good, rather than the less impressive pin galleries I have seen.

Are you a Pinterest fan with a WP blog? Do you use another plugin you want us to know about? Let us know in the comments.

Author information

Ann Smarty

Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann Smarty is the pro blogger and guest blogger, social media enthusiast.

The post 10 Cool Pinterest Plugins for Your WordPress Blog appeared first on SEO Chat.