The Power of Twitter & Social Media Marketing

lance armstrong in los angeles for a bikerideSome marketers may not realize the capability of Twitter as an effective tool. Founded in 2006, the site is a social networking tool that also utilizes micro-blogging. Users are able to send messages, known as tweets, in real time. Twitter is noted for its ability to bring normal people and celebrities together in a virtual forum. On Twitter, everyone is able to enjoy the casual environment of sharing whatever comes to mind. Although this is a trend that is a celebrity PR person’s worst nightmare, there is no doubt that it is quickly becoming an influence on popular culture.

On September 9th, 2009, Lance Armstrong sent out a tweet inviting Los Angeles cyclists to join him on a ride at Griffith Park the next morning. With close to two million Twitter followers, Armstrong’s message was able to reach fans and cycling enthusiasts alike. Overnight, word caught on of this bike ride and over one thousand people showed up in the zoo parking lot. Perhaps, Lance could not have even imagined this huge outcome in response to his message! Unlike television, radio, or a more traditional medium, some may doubt Twitter’s ability to reach a wide audience. With a character limit of 140 words, this is just one of many examples that show just how powerful one tweet can be.

tweet from lance armstrongNowadays, the use of Twitter is really catching on. It’s not unusual to see CNN show casting Twitter feeds in response to recent events. Whether it is reaction to Joe Wilson’s outburst or Michael Duvall’s infidelities, CNN is always quick to turn to viewers for their opinions. Twitter is successful in its use to quickly spread word of interesting news. As convenient as Twitter is, it does not mean that it can be used without forethought. Twitter and the Internet can be especially unforgiving to mistakes. Even if you delete a tweet, there are functions that allow users to see what messages have been removed. As the saying goes, it is essential to look before you leap.

With new tools such as Twitter, it is important to not get too excited about their casual nature. Would you spam your customers with emails or run an ad with an offensive message? Keep in mind that the same marketing rules apply. Twitter is an influential tool and harnessing it for the right potential you will get positive feedback for its use in social media marketing. The site requires a short attention span and using it in the wrong fashion will not only tarnish your reputation but guarantees that the public will lose interest.

What’s SEO content?

So, what’s SEO Content? Let’s get right to it. Over the last several years, search engines continue to change their algorithms so they can provide the most relevant content to the end user searching. Search marketing firms have had all types of tactics to get better results in the search engines for organic results or natural listings. Some have worked well and others have failed. Some have in a way tricked search engines to rank pages higher in the search engines. This is referred to black hat SEO. White hat SEO is following all the criteria for search engines.

Today, most SEO campaigns consist of SEO content. Let’s say you are targeting 40 keywords. You must have relevant content pages on your site that relate to these target keywords. These pages will not always be your general website pages such as about, FAQ, or contact. If your optimizing a site for vintage cars, for example, than you would need to have content that is relevant to this topic. You might have an articles section on your site that touches on your 40 keywords.

Now, it’s important not go overboard on the times you mention your target keywords on these SEO content pages. In some cases this can actually hurt your results in the search engines. When SEO first started being done for websites you could just take your keyword and mention it hundreds of times on a page and that page would come up high in the rankings. That is not the case today.

So, what if you’re not a writer? You can hire a freelance writer and assign them your SEO content or you can hire a company to write these articles for you. We at emarketed offer this service.  Prices can range from $75 to $200 a page. Remember though that these do not have to be your main pages on your site and can be kept out of view for the most part if your concerned about that. The goal of these pages is to get found for your target words which will drive you traffic to your website. Once someone has gotten to your site they will be able to click through to your main pages if they’re interested in what you have to offer.

Making the Decision to use Broad Match

According to Google, about twenty percent of the queries that they receive on a given day, have not been viewed in the last three months. Some can avoid being part of this undesirable group by using broad match to help improve quality score. Quality score is determined by many variables including: historical performance of your account, landing page quality, and historical click-through-rates of your keywords. First, when you use broad match with Google Adwords, it automatically generates a list of relevant variations of your keywords. Here are some things to consider before using broad match for your campaign:

Benefits of using Broad Match

  • Save time. Instead of spending time building lists or by testing via trial and error, broad match covers all different variations of your keywords.
  • Save money. If an ad isn’t doing as well based on a certain variation of a keyword, the broad match system will automatically stop the ads and search for other variations.
  • Utilize data for trends that you might not see otherwise. Using broad match gives you traffic trends and results from trying different variations of keywords.
  • Help attract more web traffic to gain clicks and conversions.

Broad Match isn’t Right for You

  • An ad campaign for a brand conscious company may not want to stray away from their strict control of keywords; this means giving up clicks in order to maintain the brand.
  • If you are on a limited budget and already spending all your funds on your keyword advertising campaign, broad match may not work for you.
  • If rearranging the order of your keywords will cause a different meaning, broad match may bring you untargeted traffic.

Overall, broad match can help you be successful in getting more clicks. When properly managed, it can be cost effective and help you gain consumer insight about your products and services.

The Debate Between Paid and Organic Search Results

When it comes to paid and organic search results, many experts have their opinions on which is more effective. Many studies have shown that Internet users are more likely to click on the first few organic search results than the pay per click advertisements. This does not mean that PPC ads are without benefits. So, why does one have to be better than the other? Most industry experts believe that it is important to focus efforts on both paid ads and organic search in order to maximize your gains.

It is important to understand the relationship between paid ads and natural searches. Together, they can build a strong foundation that your company cannot be successful without. In the short run, a paid ad campaign is beneficial because you will receive traffic almost immediately. With PPC, you can control the content of your ads and quickly make changes. On the other hand, organic search marketing is a tedious task and it may take many months before you see any results from your efforts.

Even though this strategy may not work for everyone, it is crucial to understand the synergy between these two approaches. Research has revealed that showing up for paid and organic results increases overall click through rates. Although natural results may get more clicks, they receive even more traffic when paired with an ad campaign. Also, paid ads get more clicks when you also show up in the organic search results. Not only will the number of clicks increase, but studies show that both efforts will help increase page views, conversions, quality of the visitors, and time spent on your site. So, before you make your final decision on what to focus on, don’t overlook the benefits of using both paid ads and organic search results!

How long does it take to improve the Google Quality Score?

google quality scoreWe’ve been working on improving our client’s Google Quality Score for our paid search clients and we recently asked our dedicated Google team the following question:

How long does it take to improve the Google Quality Score?

For those of you who are new to paid search, Google now provides your ads with a quality score. The above link goes more into detail if you’re interested. In short, Goolge wants to make sure that they’re providing relevant ads for the search and will reward you if your ad and landing page relates to the search phrase.

Here’s the response from Google:

There really isn’t a set time frame. All we know is that changes to Quality Score will not happen immediately. The system may take up to a few weeks to reassess the keyword’s Quality Score in the context of the ads and landing page. Please note that during this time you may see stronger fluctuations in Quality Score than usual, as the system processes the new information.

Using Twitter to Achieve a Higher Search Ranking

It can be difficult to fully recognize the potential of Twitter as a useful advertising tool. So, how do you know if you’re doing it right? Take e-commerce company Zappos, as a good example. Zappos effectively utilizes Twitter by establishing a microsite, twitter.Zappos.com. The site obviously also links to Zappos’ site, but more interestingly links to the CEO’s Twitter account and even features employee tweets.
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Many companies use Twitter, but what makes Zappos different? Their CEO, Tony Hsieh, tweets on a whole variety of topics. Ranging from business advice, occasionally promoting his business, and even humorous updates, such as “Calling a children’s word game “hangman” just seems plain wrong”. They should invent a more humane game, like “lethal injection””.  Sometimes, it is really refreshing to see a corporate Twitter account actually be social! Users are drawn to this because it shows that a CEO understands the use of Twitter as a social media utility and is not only using the account for the sole purpose of gaining sales. Zappos has gained followers, received positive publicity, and gained exposure by being featured on sites such as Twitter of the Day.

The success of Zappos’ Twitter site has resulted in their achievement of a higher search ranking. However, there is still argument on how you can really tell if the traffic driven is accurately measured as a direct result of the Twitter account. Nevertheless, studies have shown that you get the best results when both your paid and organic search works in unison. A recent study found that you can get up to a 20% increase in clicks on your natural listing if you have a paid ad near it. Not surprisingly, the study also showed that if you show up on paid and organic search, your number one ranking gets 20% more clicks. In the end, it is important to learn from Zappo’s social approach to gaining more clicks and to think about synergizing your paid and organic search efforts to get the best results.

How Quality Score Can Help Or Hurt Your Adwords Campaign

Quality score is a somewhat mysterious variable for Google Adwords campaigns that have a real effect on the cost of your advertising. The price of your pay per click ads is determined by a combination of your bid and your quality score, which means that a good quality score can get you a higher ranking for less than the other guy is paying. So how do I get a good quality score? Well, that’s where Google is a little vague, but there are some strategies.

You can use the keyword report to discover which keywords have a low Quality Score. Once you find those weak keywords, you can use the keyword analysis tool to find out what factors are affecting your score.
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The analysis really only gives you three categories and a thumbs up or down. It may not be very useful if you are trying to bump your score up from an 8 to a 10, but it will let you know when you are way off base. The three areas that affect your quality score are: keyword relevance, landing page or landing page load time. Basically you want to make sure your keyword is relevant to the page your ad is linking to, this means including your keyword on the page, and maybe even creating specific landing pages for certain keywords. Also if the link is broken or takes a long time to load, your quality score will go down.

Quality score may not be your number one concern when designing an adwords campaign, but it’s a good indicator of which ads aren’t working at all, and anything that makes your campaign more cost effective is worth the time.

Using A Creative Commons License As An Online Marketing Tool

If you are publishing digital content to the web, an easy way to encourage people to share and distribute your work to reach a broader audience is a Creative Commons license. Providing a level of protection somewhere between a full copyright and public domain, CC actively encourages people to spread your content around in a way that would be impossible otherwise.

In essence, a Creative Commons license allows people to use your content as long as it is used and credited in a specific way, so that it is still clear who the original author is, but people can use, remix, and distribute the content without fear of legal action. The truth is that obscurity is a far greater threat in web marketing than piracy. Anything that increases your profile will ultimately result in sales, but if you don’t let your content out, you can’t gain an audience.

The truth is, people are going to reuse your content whether you like it or not, so a CC license increases the likelihood that you will be credited, linked, etc… Many influential bloggers are careful not to infringe on copyrights for fear of lawsuits. Make it easy for the people you actually want linking to you, those with credible reputations, to do so and you can be assured you will be credited and reach a wider audience in the process.

One Keyword Per Page

It’s expensive to create and optimize pages for search, so why not try to jam as many keywords onto one page as possible? Unfortunately this scattershot approach won’t increase your ranking, instead only diluting your results. The best number of organic search keywords to target per page is one.

It is important to have one primary focus on the page, one concept that the page is about.
Now of course you can have more than one word on the page, or target two words that mean basically the same thing. For example optimizing the same page for “certified public accountant” and “CPA” makes perfect sense. However, you should resist the temptation to use the same page as the search landing page for “CPA”, “certified public accountant”, “tax accountant”, and “tax services”. Although all of these words are related, you won’t end up with a number one Google result this way.

The bad news is, this means lots of landing pages. Sure it’s more work, but doing something right usually is. The more concepts you try to cram on a page, the more you confuse the search engine, so keep it simple. Just start with pages for your best keywords, and add a few more every week. Over time you will see much better results for the effort.

Not everyone agrees with this strategy, and it is possible to get a number one rank for multiple keywords when they are less competitive, but in a competitive environment, it is important to specialize and be clear with your seo strategy. Keeping your target keywords as close to one as possible will keep you from spreading yourself too thin and losing out on valuable traffic.

One Keyword Versus Multiple Keywords

How many organic search keywords should be targeted per page?

This frequently asked question seems like an easy one to answer—search pages are expensive to create so we should invest in as many keywords as possible per page, right? Wrong. Search engine experts are now telling us that having just one primary focus per page is advisable. It is impossible not to have other words on the page besides the keyword you are trying to optimize, however it is possible to have your page target one specific concept.

What about when you have two words that essentially mean the exact same thing? Landing pages can be shared between two words that have the same basic meaning. Acronyms and initialisms, which are formed using the initial components in a phrase or a name, can share the same page as the full phrase or name that the acronym is abbreviated for.  However, for whatever reason, some people want to target different messages to the people who are searching for the acronym and to the people who are typing the full phrase or name, in which case you could have two different pages.

The reason to target only one search keyword is because you want to get the number one result in Google. Even if you have a number of words or phrases that are related, you will not get the best result with that many targets. The most advisable approach is to think of highly targeted pages with just one goal. Optimize just one concept per page so as not to confuse the search engine and thus lower the page ranking. In doing so, you can include other concepts as long as they fit in with the primary concept.

In order for this to work you must create a number of landing pages. It is a lot of work but simply begin with the best matches for your site and gradually create more.