Monthly Archives: July 2013

Multi-level Google Suggest Keyword Research: Featured Tool of the Month

Last week we featured Google, Bing, Amazon, Youtube Keyword Suggest Tool that will fetch keyword suggestions for any phrase you put in and, most importantly, it will dig deeper and fetch suggestions for [your phrase + each letter of alphabet] like this:

keyword suggestion

Today’s featured tools also uses Google Suggest as data source but instead of letters, it expands each phrase to the second and third levels like this:

Google suggest - 3 levels

So meet today’s featured tool: Related keywords tool

Start with Level one to get the “core” of what you will be digging deeper to:

core phrases

List of core phrases you will be expanding

Then go to Level two to expand each phrase from the “core” list:

Google suggest results - level 2

Level 2 of keywords

Finally, switch to Level 3 to expend each and every phrase from the second level:

Google Suggest results - level 3

Level 3 of keywords

Now, feel free to download you huge list of phrases and brainstorm!

The sweet thing about that tool is that you actually see what *people tend to type*. Unless many keyword research tool (Google Adwords External being the most popular one), this output won’t be skewed towards commercial phrases. This list is exactly what people are interested in!

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Search and Social Edition: Content Curation Done Right

The overwhelming amount of information we have to deal with nowadays gave birth to a great concept: Content creation. The open nature of the web and how we communicate with this content is a unique force that has never been seen throughout history. But once the content has been created, what do you do with it? More importantly, how do we filter out the useless or irrelevant content while keeping the best?

This brings us to content curation, the next step in the evolution of information on the web. Whether it is a blog post, news article, infographic, video or anything else, it has to be monitored for quality. Once something with real share value has been found, it has to be cataloged, categorized and put somewhere that others can easily find it. It is the job of the content curator to do this.

There are some very nice people in the Internet Marketing industry who took the trouble of going through feeds and piles of information and news creating the one-stop weekly read for us. Here are the highest quality ones:

seo content curationSearch and Social Content Curation Sites

SEW Weekly

This is a weekly podcast show discussing the recently hot topics in SEO. The audio format lets you multi-task: Listen to what they talk while still being able to type :)

Kikolani’s Fetching Fridays

Kikolani Fetching Fridays is the official curation site of freelance writer Kristi Hines who has been around for quite some time and you get to admire the consistency of her Fetching Friday’s collection. I wish she could turn them into the weekly newsletter too!

PRSay’s Friday Five

Five news per addition, mainly social media, brand and PR related: Very focused and very well-done!

Fscinteractive’s What we are reading

This is a very original compilation of online marketing news created by these awesome women: One paragraph per person. That’s a very smart way to engage your whole team into content curating too!

More? Please tweet to @seosmarty and you’ll be included :)

What is your favorite example of an SEO curation site? Let me know!.

Image Credits: 1, 2.


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Google, Bing, Amazon, Youtube Keyword Suggest Tool: Featured Tool of the Week

A couple of weeks ago we made our favorite collection of tools public at SEOchat. From now on, I am going to feature one tool a week to bring up all the glory of that section.

Today’s featured tool: Google, Bing, Amazon, Youtube Keyword Suggest Tool

The tool collects as-you-type “suggestions” you would see each time you use any of the above search engines – and to expand the list, it also tries to add each letter of the alphabet after your core keyword for you to have a huge list of phrases.

keyword suggestion

The great thing about the tool is the different nature of search engines that are included. With it, you can see:

  • General search results people tend to type in Google and Bing when starting a search with your core query
  • More commercial results they search for in Amazon
  • More entertaining results they type into Youtube search engines.

Keyword suggest results

Keeping that in mind, the Suggest tool can become a huge brainstorming help (just scrolling through results will give you lots of content ideas)! It can give you come local content ideas as well:

Local results

To navigate the results, click any letter on top of the list.

You can also select any key phrases and run “part two” of the tool that will expand those phrases for you even further:

Expand even more

You can select any phrases and get CPC and search volume for those in “Part 3″ of the tool:

cpc and search volume

Lastly, you can export your final keyword list to keep it for the reference or send to your content team.

If you notice any bugs or have any ideas on how to improve the tool, please use “Feedback” button.

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Ann Smarty

Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

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

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How Facebook Hashtags Work

When I first heard that Facebook was enabling live hashtags on their site, I was surprised. Not that the move had been taken (Twitter hashtags have been around since 2007!), but that it had taken so long to do it. After all, services like Flickr and Instagram have had them for ages, and Twitter remains Facebook’s main competitor. People like hashtags, and they should have been utilized for the largest social networking site a long time ago.

But despite being based on the same principle as those other sites, they are not exactly the same. Facebook itself has a much different format than other social networks, and operates as its own platform. It does not have the image centric nature of Pinterest, for example, or the live algorithm and openness of Twitter.

So, how does the hashtag work on Facebook, and what is it good for if not grouping content across a disconnected network?

How Hashtags On Facebook Work

Facebook hashtags

The tags will still group content. However, it is meant to group more for public pages, and for people on your list. It also might search profiles without their privacy settings enabled. Remember that unlike Twitter, Facebook has many more users who prefer to only share things within their tight network of friends. So their use of hashtags wouldn’t violate that policy, making it a more insular community and harder to group (which makes hashtags less usable for setting up and participating in Twitter chats for example).

When you do put in a hashtag, it will form a clickable link on your status or reply. Clicking on that hashtag will take you to all public results on pages and profiles using the same tag. Even if the original came from a place offsite, such as from being synced with Twitter or Flickr, it will still be clickable and show up in results.

Facebook hashtags are also supported by Graph Search, which has both public updates from friends in your network.

The “related” hashtags feature is also sweet but I wish it were better adopted (I had to run a dozen of popular searches before I managed to see related threads):

Facebook related hashtags

What Is It Good For?

While there is some benefit to the average user, the truth is this step is aimed much more towards businesses and brands. It allows you to track trending topics and conversations in real time, in a way once reserved for Twitter. Analytics have become more integrated, which will be good news for professional users and marketers.

But groups and pages can also use it to find like minded individuals for causes, affiliation or just fun. Already cause groups, especially activists from all niches, have been putting hashtags to good use.

Other people have pointed to engagement and some other pros to the hashtag on Facebook. But it all comes down to the same thing: marketing. This is a great move for people who want to take advantage of trending content and topics, and utilize tracking for their brand.


Though this is a cool step, I doubt it will be nearly as successful as Twitter. The site isn’t open enough, and so a lot of the potential for tracking is limited. Unlike its counterpart, most Facebook profiles are private, that is the nature of that site. But we will have to see over time if I am wrong and the idea really takes off.


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Ann Smarty

Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

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

The post How Facebook Hashtags Work appeared first on SEO Chat.

Zurker: a Marketing Study

By Terri Wells

Social networks face an uphill struggle when competing against Facebook. Few networks know this quite as well as Zurker. Now eighteen months old, the site welcomes a growing number of members, but has faced a serious struggle simply to get the word out.

You can read my original piece on Zurker, written in February of last year. Then, the social network was less than two months old, and offered its members a unique proposition: own the network to which you belong. Every member earned a vShare – short for virtual share – for every member they referred. These shares would convert to real shares once the corps of Zurker to which the member belonged gave out one million vShares, and the site could be incorporated.

More details about vShares can be found at the link, but the point is, members would actually own the network, and therefore have a say in what it did and didn’t do. Nick Oba, who came up with the idea for Zurker and styles himself as the custodian, emphasizes that there will never be censorship on Zurker. He strongly protects his members’ privacy, allowing them to fine-tune who sees any content they add. He’s also proven fairly responsive to member ideas and requests – at time allows. He is currently Zurker’s only programmer.

Still, with many of the complaints made about certain other networks pertaining to privacy and censorship, you would think Zurker would be better known. And it has grown. In February 2012, it boasted about 10,000 members. Now, its nine separate corps hold nearly 440,000 members; 28,714 members own a total of 347,200 vShares. That’s not bad for a social network that’s been in closed beta since the beginning, and only entered open beta in March of this year.

It has, however, been very challenging. Not the least of the challenges was the interface. It was and still is a work in progress, different enough from Facebook to confuse users. “We started off with a fairly raw product,” Oba admits, but “it has been adapted to how people actually use the social network.” With the addition of Zones about a year ago, Oba made it easy for users to submit ideas and changes. He often comments on these ideas right away, and adds them not long afterwards.

When members see this kind of responsiveness, they get proactive about marketing what they think of as “their” network. So while Oba spent most of 2012 working on the interface and other features, and the press lost interest in covering Zurker, the Zurker Marketing Team (ZMT) spontaneously formed. Made up of active Zurker members, “they worked fairly hard to tell bloggers about Zurker, and were successful in getting at least one prominent blog post,” Oba recalled.

Member marketing is potentially a two-edged sword. On the one hand, what could be better than word-of-mouth marketing? On the other hand, you can’t really control the ways that your members promote you – and it might start looking like spam to some people. That’s not the only problem, alas; a Wired UK post by Lea Simpson in May 2012 skewered both Zurker and Oba, and the company is still trying to live it down.

So what about hiring a professional marketer? Public relations firms are pretty expensive for a company that is trying to be financed only by its members. You see, members can also buy vShares, but nobody can buy more than 500; they cost $1 per share. Oba has managed to code and keep the network mostly up and running for around $120,000 since he started. “We were supposed to hire a publicist…and when I informed the ZMT about that, it effectively took the wind out of that initiative (unfortunately the hire didn’t work out),” Oba explained.

Still, Zurker does have a reasonable media pack, courtesy of the ZMT. The lesson here would be to try to work with any members promoting your business, and not at cross purposes.

Some businesses run contests to encourage member activity and get new members. Zurker tried this as well, but Oba proclaimed it “a total disaster.” The contest involved getting some members to sponsor iPads and holding a drawing; members would be entered to win an iPad if they got five “Zurks,” the social site’s more friendly alternative to Facebook’s “Likes.” But according to Oba, “everyone associates ‘win an iPad’ with spam. There was no noticeable uptick in signups or activity as a result of this promo.” One can almost hear a sign of exasperation in Oba’s words as he states that “That’s the last time I ever try to bribe people to show up with shwag.”

So what about other, more conventional means of promotion? Oba notes that they tried advertising, first on a newsletter, and then on blogs on SocialSpark. While the newsletter brought a lot of clicks, Oba was not happy with the conversion rate. “People weren’t taking us seriously because they came via an ad,” Oba elaborated. SocialSpark was better, but it wasn’t worth the expense, as it is “better suited for manufacturers advertising actual consumer products the bloggers can give away to their readers.”

What is the lesson here? According to Oba, “what we learned is that advertising is not cost-effective for spreading the word about a social network. It’s very surprising that Facebook still advertise heavily on AdWords/AdSense.”

As a result of these lessons, Zurker has actually shifted away from marketing and advertising. Oba says that they’re now focused on building a better product, building a better community, and reaching out to the media. That last has been particularly tricky, as the site is old enough to not be “new” anymore in the media’s eyes, so possibly not quite so buzzworthy.

Still, Zurker has come back; a look at the numbers tells the story. While Oba admits that the majority of people sign up and disappear, when I returned to the community after a long absence, it was clearly more vibrant than before.

My impetus to return was the result of what may have been Oba’s best “marketing” yet: gently nudging old members with several emails, and then threatening to take back their vShares if they didn’t respond. He also installed a Zurker owner rating system to show activity levels. It displays publicly, to the left of the owner’s name, as a colored circle. If it’s green, it means you’ve “zurked” something at least once a day for the past seven days, and you’re in good standing. There are several other levels: yellow (subpar), amber (poor), red (critical), and grey (new owners who are pending). At the red level, owners risk having their vShares frozen, docked, or forfeited altogether.

This approach met with some ill will among some members and owners, understandably. But in coming back, some rediscovered why they’d signed up in the first place. The thing is, even with what many have called a “clunky” interface, Zurker seems to encourage interaction, and the sharing and discovery of things you won’t necessarily on a social network on which you know everyone.

Because you can click on your own list of interests to find others who’ve listed that interest as well, it’s really easy on Zurker to find people with whom you might want to connect. And thanks to Zones, which work a little like Twitter hashtags, it’s also easy to find interesting posts and photos with which to interact. Because people can reply to comments (they can be nested up to 12 layers deep), it’s easy to interact, even if you don’t know the commenter or poster in person. And because so many on Zurker don’t know other members personally, many of the members actively enjoy reaching out to others and making new online friends.

Make no mistake, though; it’s the member buy-in, on several levels, that’s really helping. When people feel like they own the network and have a say in it, they will go out of their way to help newbies find their footing. That happens a fair bit now on Zurker, and there are groups spontaneously organizing on the site to encourage it even more (by trying to maintain a presence on the Help channel, for instance).

Oba acknowledges this; he even credits it with why Zurker seems to be making a comeback even after the initial buzz wore off. “Getting initial buzz is not that hard if you have a good concept and half-decent implementation, and most start-ups do manage to get to that stage,” he notes. “Surviving the initial spike and going for a hockey stick is much harder. In our case, we came back even though the initial buzz petered out…because the members have a vested interest in the project.” Oba is certain that “that wouldn’t have happened” if they were just users. And he may be on to something here. Time will tell. One thing is certain: Zurker is still around after a year and a half, with a more vibrant community than you’d expect for a social network with one developer and $120,000 of crowd funding from its members. That’s a respectable achievement.

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Terri Wells

Terri Wells

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