How Social Media Effects Search Engine Rankings

If you are not aware of this, there have been massive changes in the world of SEO in the past few months and may sites that have enjoyed top rankings for years have suddenly found themselves nowhere.  Yes, this is partly due to both the Panda and Farmer updates Google has made, but this is even bigger!   After much speculation about search engines factoring social media influence into website rankings, we no know that both Google and Bing have both stated that  SOCIAL MEDIA IS AFFECTING SEARCH RANKINGS!  This is huge news!  Social media and search have merged.  This is your wake up call.

What I mean is, if someone influential shares a link to this blog post, it is that much more likely to show up in search results than it would if I just applied all of the traditional SEO tactics to this.  You know, the ones that most of you are probably paying through the nose for to some so-called “SEO Expert”  or company who has been taking advantage of you for the past 12 months!  So now, all of the sudden, people and their opinions suddenly matter when it comes to your search engine rankings.

Just to be clear here, we are not talking about the old news that is Google Social Search or Realtime Search.  We are talking about search that hundreds of millions of people do every single day.  You know…your customers and more importantly, your potential customers who are searching for your product or service.  Everyone knows that Google uses their secret algorithms that include PageRank. number of inbound links and all the other good stuff.  Here is the new difference…now rather than just looking at a page’s authority based upon factors that are easily manipulated, search engines are starting to look at human authority too.  Basically the social signals that are being sent to and from social media sites billions of times each day.  Google and Bing have both gone on the record to say that authoritative people and pages in the social world lend their authority to pages they promote and tweet.   In the case of Bing, the search engine takes into consideration how often a link has been tweeted, as well as hwo influential the users are that share it. Google answered that it only uses the data in limited situations (as vague as their algorithm) but they ARE using it.
As for Facebook, Bing pays attention to links shared that people share on their profile if they are marked as “everyone” and links shared from company pages.  Google is as usual fairy vague in how they measure Facebook posts, but they say in no uncertain terms that it plays an increasing role in how your webpages are ranked.There is also speculation that the number of Likes and level of interaction are also critical numbers.
So how does this affect your marketing plan? Here are three takeaways that you should keep in mind as social media and search become more intertwined every day.

GET OFF THE BENCH
YOUR BUSINESS AND PRODUCT NEED TO HAVE A PRESENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA NOW!   YOU ARE ALREADY LATE TO THE GAME.

If you’ve been avoiding it because you don’t care to fill that piece of your marketing plan just yet, or your company is too conservative, or someone in upper management doesn’t get understand why it is important (how many times have you heard these excuses!?), now is the time .  Everything is integrating together and will continue to become more connected and important. If you build your presence now, you just may buTime for social media actionild the relationship with influencers that you’ll need when social media and search truly mesh…because that day has come!  It is possible that one day in the every near future, we will see that you can’t have a good ranking without social media influence.  Everything we are seeing is leading to that conclusion and the search engines are confirming it.

Regardless of what you or your company may think of Facebook Pages, they are certainly the most visible to the search engines.  Not only that, but they are also available to people who do not currently have Facebook accounts (we heard there are a few people in the business world who still do not have them).  If you have been meaning to jump into the world of Facebook, now would be a good time.  If you already have a Page and have been just passing time and basically letting it take care of itself, now is the time to pay attention and whip it into shape.  From today forward, you must always think about search when you are busy being social.  Use the keywords and phrases that support your search goals when linking back to your website or blog post.  Simple to do right?  You can also start networking with other Pages to help spread your content and give it a better chance of being seen by people who you may not know or know you.

MAKE INFLUENCE A PRIORITY
This should not come as a big surprise, but Influencers are more important than ever. Why do you think us marketing people call them Influencers anyway?  One decent way to find them is to take a lobe a social media influencerok at their Klout score or just take a look at the size of their networks (we call that their Influence Stream)  and the quality of their interactions.  When you find someone with a good score, a large  influence stream or know how to interact with their followers/fans…the hit the “engage” button.  Take the time to target the Influencers who are in your niche or category and share your interests.  Figure out what they love (it should be easy if you actually read their posts and tweets) and create a strategy designed to get a conversation started with them.  Once you build a relationship with them it is likely that they will share your links and social interactions with their influence stream.

Here is another crazy idea.  Become an influencer yourself because being an influencer is just as important as having relationships with others.  Social media has broken down the barriers to becoming a thought leader and some of the most unlikely people in the world have built huge influence streams through social media.  There are a bunch of steps you can take to become an Influencer and to make yourself morebuild your Klout Score influential.  More on that later.

As social and search continue to become inseparable, who you are and who you know is more important that every.  Online is starting to mimic real life.  We have all heard the old saying “It is not what you know, but who you know,” and that is truly starting to play out in the world of search engine rankings.

BE SOCIAL
Being social is a BIG deal. I’m not talking about just being on social networks but interacting with people and sharing content. Just like you share information with other people about your favorite restaurant or band, you can share your favorite website links and info.  If you share with them, they will share back with you and before you know it you will be social!   If I sharBe social nowe your link, you are more likely to share mine…righ?  makes sense if you think about it.  basically if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours.   If I put my content all over the web, people are more likely to find it. You know the old saying, “the more stiff you throw against the wall…”   I am not condoning randomly vomiting your content onto the web, because you do need a strategy, but that should be pretty damn simple.  If I include your opinions in my blog post, you’ll may want to tell everyone about it and now I am getting you even more exposure, while getting more for myself at the same time.  It is almost like you are going to start to act like a human being online.  What a concept!  If I partner with other company pages on Facebook, we open doors for each other to share information with like-minded audiences.  Wow!

CONCLUSION
Being social is already a big deal and extremely important for marketers and brands.  Now that it being social actually affects your search engine rankings it is more important than ever.  It is time to jump in the deep end of the pool and get going.

Come on in… the water’s fine!

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Great Tips Business Travelers

Even though I took American Airlines to task in my last post (read it here) I still have to travel for business.  In my role at the Big Fat Mouth, the social media agency, I usually travel a week or two each month.   That involves packing the right gear, fighting my way through security and spending time in the airport, all of which can be challenging to say the least.  It sure seems that there are more delays and cancellation of flight than ever before, so spending extra time in the airport seems to be a given.  Fortunately, I stumbled across this great infographic on the Best Airports for Business Travelers and figured I would share it here.

If you want me to spend more time in the airport, fill out the form below and I will hop on a plane and take you through our capabilities and case studies to show you how your business can leverage the power of social media.  More importantly, we will show you how to actually measure it and make sure it positively effects your bottom line.

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American Airlines Sucks

Truly the worst customer service in America

When was is that the Airlines in this country decided that the customer was the least important part of the equation?  It is just mind blowing how inconvenient air travel has become in the past few years.  Not only has it become a major pain in the butt, but the people who work for the airlines seem to have been given some type of pass to be nasty to the customers who pay top dollar to be treated like cattle.

So why the rant?  My wife was scheduled for a flight this afternoon at about 4:30 and she figured since she had some time she would go to the airport and see if she could go standby on an earlier flight.  There were three flights before hers and there were between 3 and 10 empty seats on each one of them.  Now logically you would figure if you have a later flight and there are empty seats on an earlier one they would welcome you onto that flight.  That is where you would be wrong if you were flying on American Airlines.

You see… she went to the airport 5 hours early and asked if she could  go standby on an earlier flight.  They told her no, but she was more than welcome to pay another $75 to change to an earlier flight.  She replied “no…I  am willing to go standby and see if there is an open seat.”  The cow behind the counter told her that she could not do that and would have to pay the $75 to change her flight.  Being thoroughly annoyed by the attitude of the woman employee behind the counter she asked if it would be possible to speak with a supervisor, to which the sky cow said “only on the telephone.”

When the supervisor finally got on the phone my wife calmly explained that she had recently flown on American to both Tel Aviv and the Far East and was a decent customer.  She asked if it would be possible to go standby on one of the next three flights.  The supervisor at RDU Chris Clark, told her no that there was no such thing as standby any longer as it kept people from buying inexpensive fares and going standby on better flights.  In her disbelief my wife asked him if he was serious and he told her he was serious and that he was done with her and hung up the phone.  Now remember that she is a good customer and American Airlines just does not care.

Figuring she might be able to talk to the gate personnel, she went to the gate where the agent told her the same thing…that just this past Friday they had gotten rid of all standby flying to get people to pay more for their tickets.  She asked if there were empty seats on the plane and the guy told her there were 6 empty seats, but he could not help her.  He did at least acknowledge that it was ridiculous.

I guess the bottom line is that there is no other industry in the world that gets bailed out by the federal government and then turns around and does everything they can to screw the people who gave them the money to save their assess.  Well…maybe Wall Street too, but the airlines are the biggest assholes in the country.  I was under the mistaken impression that they were in the customer service business, but apparently they couldn’t care less about the customer’s experience… only the fare.

I can tell you that I personally will never fly American Airlines again and I am going to do everything in my power to spread the word and let everyone know that AMERICAN AIRLINES SUCKS!

Please spread the word and let your friends know that all American cares about is that you pay the most for your ticket and you are truly just and after thought to them.

Posted in air travel, American Airlines, customer service, social media 101, the social media badass, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Where The Hell Are You Going?

This is the time of year when everyone seems to be heading to someone’s house for the Holidays.  If everyone is going somewhere else, then why are there still so many people here?

If you want to know where they are going and how they are getting there, check out this infographic and see.

winter travel infographic

TALK WITH THE SOCIAL MEDIA BADASS

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Why We Are No Longer Friends

So, if you spend enough time on Facebook, you will see that you have been “de-friended: by someone. What the hell? Why were you kicked out of the circle? Well… take a look at the infographic below to see the top reasons people de-friend you on Facebook as well as a bunch of other interesting Facebook stuff!

 

Jonathan Ressler is The Mouth That Roared at the social media agency The Big Fat Mouth.

 

 

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Does Your Facebook Page Make The Wrong First Impression?

The Social media Badass Talks about Facebook bad impressions

If you are trying to create a positive image for your brand or service, it is important to greet your guests with a big smile and a handshake. Well, that does not change if you are trying to create that positive image on Facebook or another social platform…other than the fact that you have to make the impression with images. It is absolutely mind-blowing how many Facebook pages are ugly and uninviting. My favorite stupidity is when brands have new visitors land on the wall, which is full of text and random photos. So here is the Badass Thought of The Day –

Don’t have your new visitors land on your ugly wall that is full of text and comments that may not be relevant. Instead have them land on a custom tab that gives them the image that you are trying to project for your brand. How can you expect them to “Like” your page when they don’t even know what it is all about?

Creating custom tabs is more important than ever on Facebook. As the new personal profiles become available (no set date for brand Pages yet) this week you will start to see some really interesting used of the new layout. Until we all know what will happen with brand pages, you can control where your potential fans land and what they see and how you make that first impression.

Having a professionally designed landing page will pay massive results when it gets those “lookers” to decide to become fans of your brand. Imagine what you could do with tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of fans. The truth is that people decide in the first 10 seconds whether or not they are going to “Like” your page. You might as well do everything you can to swing the odds to your favor.

Remember… you only get one change to make a first impression.

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Is Your Facebook Tab Sagging in the Middle?

Facebook and PizzaHave you ever had a slice of Pizza with just way too many toppings?  You know the kind that sounds really good when you are ordering it…the one that satisfies your salty, sweet, spicy and other taste desires?  You can’t wait to eat that masterpiece, but when it comes it is just too hard to handle.  Stuff flying everywhere and then it all collapses in the middle.  You end up more aggravated becasue while you initially thought it was the ultimate pizza, you figured out (the hard way) that is was just too much for one slice.

Well, the same goes for your Facebook Fan page…you just can’t have all the toppings on one tab.  You know those tabs that are longer than the entire page, but they have a lot of stuff on them?  Those tabs suck.  Not that all of the great ideas you have on the tab are not great, because they likely are great ideas, but people just don’t want to process all of that stuff on one tab.  You have to break the information up and put it onto multiple tabs in smaller and more digestible chunks.  Just like you might eat one pepperoni slice and one pineapple slice of pizza, you just don’t put them together.  The same goes for Facebook tabs.  Don’t make them unmanageable.

The best bet is to limit your custom tabs to one great idea per tab.  This way you don’t overwhelm you fans with too much information in any one place.  Most people do not want to scroll through photos, watch a video, see your products and then enter a contest all on one tab.  If your goal is to get people to enter a contest, then get right to the point and don’t muddy the waters with a lot of other stuff you are dying to tell them.  Again, just like you have to resist the temptation to load your pizza with garlic before a date, you have to resist trying to tell your whole story on a single tab.  That big tabs consistently take an ass beating from the individual tabs.  There is tons of data to back that up.

So when someone tells you it is a good idea to build that loaded tab, take a moment to remember that when you put too many toppings on the tabs it will cause your brand to topple and will be unenjoyable to consume!

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