Category Archives: Social Media

Why Google Author Tags are important and how you can easily add them.

This blog post has two purposes. The first is to explain why Google Author Tags (also referred to more broadly as Authorship) is something you should consider implement on your own blog. The second part is to introduce a new flowchart that will help you accomplish this with step-by-step instructions. If you are already familiar with the benefits of Author Tags, you can go right to the flowchart.

Google Authorship one of the best things about Google+ accounts.  Simply put, these tags allow you to associate your Google+ account with bylined content you have published on your own site (and potentially others). If your name is listed as the author of the content, you can associate it.

Here are the key benefits…

Getting your photo is Google search results

Once you associate your Google+ account with your content, this association extends to search results where your photo shows up next to results that include your content.

Google Author Tag in Search Results Example

Example of photo in search

While there hasn’t been a comprehensive study of how much additional traffic sites get from a photo appearing in search, a number of blogs have seen traffic increase from 15% to 50%. When I added author tags, I saw a 20% increase in traffic.

Getting an extra chance to engage with people doing searches

Google also provides something unique in search that is only for people using Author Tags. If someone clicks on a link to your content, spends some time on your site, and then clicks back to search, they will at times see links in the search results to additional pieces of content you have written. These additional links appear below the initial search result link that they clicked on.

You get a second chance at capturing reader interest with Google Author Tags

Example of additional chances to reach searchers with your content

Getting ahead of Google’s continued move to making Author Rank a key element of what results show up in search

Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman, has a new book coming out, and The Wall Street Journal published a number of short paragraphs from it, including one that points to the future value of Google Authorship.

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

I don’t believe that Google will ever eliminate anonymous content from search, but for content that you feel comfortable publishing under you own name, the future value of of Google’s Authorship program becomes clear.

Now that you know the benefits of Authorship, I highly encourage you to check out the flowchart I made to get your own account setup with Google Author Tags. I feel it is the best piece of how-to content I have worked on.

 

SlideShare vs Scribd

Quick Summary

SlideShare is best for hosting high-quality, business focused presentations and documents. The clear choice if you are willing to pay for a premium account that offers analytics and lead generation. 

Scribd is for best for bulk document uploads or high-quality imbedding options for your own site. You give up a strong branded experience for free analytics.

SlideShare vs Scribd A comparison of services which one is right for you

Why use either?

  • Another way to reach customers. Both of these sites have broad reach.
  • A way to host your presentation or document with the option of imbedding it on your own site.
  • Another way to capture share of search (i.e. more search results that have your content).

How SlideShare and Scribd make money influences their sites and should influence your decision on which to use.

While both sites have advertisement on them. Slideshare allows users to select a pay option to completely remove ads from your document and user page. Scribd doesn’t offer any premium package for the brand (i.e. the uploader) and instead runs ads against all upload document. If getting someone to download your document is a goal, Scribd likely isn’t the best service for you. See this from their advertising page:

[A]fter 6 weeks, a document uploaded to Scribd it is no longer freely available for download. The user must then either upload a document to get one in exchange, or create an archive membership for unlimited downloads.

Traffic and the kinds of traffic

Both sites get similar amounts of traffic with Slideshare increasing getting more, but I think the key is the kind of traffic each site get and how they brand themselves. Slideshare is focused on business information including presentations and reports, while Scribd seems to allow almost anything. If you have a look at the Scribd home page and featured sections, most of these pages focus on consumer oriented books and textbooks.

I rarely see Scribd rank for Google searches I do. It could be that I am not doing the right kind of searches, but I have done thousands of various industry, marketing and general searches in the past year and have seen one or two Scribd result from all of those. This could be because they lean toward books and government documents (thus why I don’t think they are the ideal fit for myself or many clients). So that gets them some serious volume.

On the other hand, I routinely see Slideshare in the first page of results for many searches.

High volume uploads favors Scribd

One advantage of Scribd is that their code for embedding provide a superior presentation of content. This has resulted in online publishers like TechCrunch and Mashable using Scribd to imbed documents on their own sites.

Scribd is also the best choice for bulk uploading and hosting of documents. When you have hundreds of documents that need to be shared, Scribd is a superior solution to Slideshare. This is reflected in Scribd being the official document share site for the U.S. Federal Goverment including the White House, Congress and FCC.

The Experience

Slideshare offers the ability to pay a premium to remove ads. Scribd does not.

In addition, Slideshare premium users can control their own pages look which allow brands to better control the user experience.

That said, if you don’t want to pay a premium for hosting or analytics, Scribd is a good choice since they provide analytics for all their accounts and don’t charge any fee.

As I mentioned earlier, if getting someone to download your document is a goal, Scribd likely isn’t the best service for you due to them forcing readers to pay for a premium service or upload a document in order to download.

Downloads can be particularly important for larger purchases in the B2B space where the researcher might not be the decision maker.

Summary

Both services do an exceptional job of doing what they do. If you are focused on lead generation, promoting thought leadership and are willing to pay a premium, SlideShare is the site you should choose.

 

Who is a good plumber? – How Facebook is bringing back the power of a Like.

Trying to piece together Facebook’s announcement today from live blogs had me frustrated. Why would I care which of my friends like both Star Wars and Harry Potter (that is all of them). 😉

But after thinking about the new Open Graph Search system today, and then reading Erin Griffith’s piece on marketing potential, I can see some uses, and the biggest one I see as a marketer and business owner is that Facebook is going to become a powerhouse for lead generation.

I wrote last year about how Facebook was decreasing the value of a Like. Other writers questioned that notion, but as I talk to small business owners and Page Admins, they consistently talk about how their reach and engagement decreased in August and September of this year.

It felt like Facebook had tricked many of into putting effort into the system, only to then pull the rug out from under us. While I still don’t think  a third party service, including Facebook, should be a place to focus marketing and advertising budgets, the Open Search Graph is certainly going to bring back the power of the Like.

How Facebook Open Graph Search will change the value of a Like.

Let’s use the example of looking for a plumber. In the past you would likely do a Google search or ask for recommendations on a social network. With Facebook Open Graph Search you just type your search into Facebook.

“Who is a good plumber?”

Facebook already has an extensive social graph just for you, and it seems they have figured out some natual language search.

If not from the start,  then eventually you will likely be served up with a list of plumbers in your area that have the most likes from your friends.

This is a simplistic example of what Facebook could do. It is more likely that they will eventually weight your whole social graph into the results. You are more connected to some people? Then their liking a plumber will be more important. Your friend took the time to engage with said plumber (I know, get a life 😉 ), then that like will be weighted more.

Even with those qualifications, the Facebook Search return a list of plumbers with your friends images associated with the plumber. 

You might look at a couple of the page or maybe then Google the same inquiry, but none-the-less, Facebook becomes an essential place you look when you are searching for a service. 

That is lead generation, and that has been where the money has always been and likely will continue to be in the future.

Google dominates internet advertising because they understand intent. Facebook just took a significant step to figure it out too.

Why you still shouldn’t put all your “Likes” in Facebook’s Basket

We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that the results will stay purely based on the open graph data. If Facebook is successful at generating leads this way, the next step will be to allow businesses to get priority listings based on sponsored results.

Just as Google gives additiional placement to companies who pay for placement, so too will Facebook when they have a system figured out.

Those who have worked in any lead generating system understand that the game is always changing. The same type of dynamic nature that we have seen with Facebook Edge Rank and Google search algorithms will occur in Facebook search.

If you put a considerable amount of time into Facebook, the Open Graph Search should be viewed as a positive development. If you haven’t put time into Facebook, keep an eye out for opportunites as this new search features plays out.

A Year’s Worth of Actionable Blogging Tips

This is part of my year in review series.

While I blogged about a number of these tools and tips previously, this post highlights my favorites and includes additional information.

Organize your projects, blog posts or anything else, with Trello.

Trello Free Organization Tool - Easy to UseMy best tip for this year is to try Trello. I blogged about my use of this service in March and have used it more and more throughout the year. The bottom line is it uses a digital notecard format to organize anything.

If you already use Trello here are my Bonus Tips:

Shortcuts for common Trello functions

Also check out their blog to keep up on new features and use cases

Quickly research the social sharing of any page with SharedCount

SharedCount is basic analytics and research tool. It tells you how often an individual page has been shared across social networks. You aren’t going to be making indepth reports with this tool, but it is good for quick research.

Never make a blog post without an image.

People like images. Perhaps more importantly, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn pull images from your blog whenever a post is shared. Don’t give up that space. You can create a text based images in minutes to take advantage of this with Recite This.

Fill in the blogging gaps by getting personalized news to inform your curation.

As much as I would like to blog about everything that peaked my interest, there isn’t enough time in the day. I am so inquisitive, I would need a couple extra days a week. 😐 Much of the gaps are filled by being active on different social media channels. For me that is Twitter. If you are going to find things to post about it, it helps to keep up on industry news. This blog post goes through some of the the best personalized news services.

Compose anywhere. Have access everywhere with Evernote.

Evernote for blog organization and compositionI have found this year that Evernote ends up being where I put anything that isn’t in my email program or saved to Dropbox. My normal compisition pattern is to start in Trello to organize ideas, and then I craft longer posts and reports in Evernote. Read more about how I used Evernote to blog.

When in doubt take the next step.

I feel like this personal blog post on working on difficult projects might be my best advice for 2012. If you ever have trouble getting something done, give it a read.

 

 

SnapChat is not about sexting

Tech pundits (and the rest of us) need to stop being dirty old men.

Several tech pundits, who I generally respect, have decided they need to put their spin on Snapchat, and their spin is largely wrong and obviously not influenced by talking with active users of the service.

After seeing and responding to tweets by @JoshuaTopolsky and @Jason today, I had got to point where I had to write on this issue.

Just like many of the mainstream tech journalists couldn’t understand, and still don’t understand the appeal of Pinterest, they now can’t wrap their minds around posting a picture that will be gone in 12 seconds. These writers will shoot down someone who doesn’t understand the intricacies of their own beat, but they are fine putting a one word label on SnapChat: sexting.

Everything doesn’t needs to be permanent

The holidays presented opportunities to talk to active Snapchat users, and while I wouldn’t expect them to  talk about their own unsavory use, they wouldn’t mind expressing gossip around Snapchat or anything else. And there wasn’t any. Many of their friends are using the service, and they are using it at a rate that is similar to sending texts. Snapchat lets them document their life with quick (2-3 seconds to share) photos, and they do it all the time.

Some journalists have done a good job explaining these motivations including actual talking to users.

A piece by J.J. Colao was one of the first to document the motivation for SnapChat use:

 Snapchat then, is an effort to bring that fun back into the digital world. Users can take the ugliest, silliest, most compromising photos they want, usually in the form of a “selfy” or a self-taken picture of oneself. After sending them to friends, those photos then disappear, forever, in 1-10 seconds. It’s private, instant and fleeting, more an extension of texting than a social network rival to Instagram. “The main reason that people use Snapchat is that the content is so much better,” Spiegel says. “It’s funny to see your friend when they just woke up in the morning.”

Jordan Crook wrote in TechCrunch about his sister’s use.

My sister was 14 when the iPhone came out, first got on Facebook at age 13. Unlike myself, her friends have had smartphones (and have been taking pictures with them) throughout their entire high school (and now college) career. And many of them are now documented neatly on her Timeline.

The pressure to maintain an appropriate, attractive presence on the Internet has weighed on me since college. It’s been with her for her entire life.

This is the difference between the people writing about Snapchat and the people using it.

My sister is one of the biggest Snapchat users I know, and the pictures she sends me of herself are awful. That’s not the usual for her. She’s 19, and will force our family to stand in 100-degree weather for hours to get the perfect shot of her smile.

The snaps she sends me could be called ugly — her on the porch, in the dark, with a goofy look on her face. If she was posting this on Facebook, or Instagram, or even sending it to me on MMS, it wouldn’t be the same picture. It wouldn’t be so ugly.

But there’s an intimacy that comes with Snapchat that makes those pictures safe, and much more enjoyable than seeing yet another perfect picture of my sister on Facebook. I see her as she really is.

Did we not learn from, “Who wants to read what you had for breakfast”?

Twitter makes no sense until it does. But even Twitter is not about creating long term content. Do you really think that many people are going back and reading your tweets from an hour ago? Or that even a popular tweet will be read in a couple days? Twitter continues to be about the moment, and Snapchat is an extension of that idea.

Get outside of your own head.

I get where the labeling pundits are coming from. I barely have time to tweet and having the time to create a full blog post seems like a luxury. But I am not a tween or teenager. If I am going to take the time to take a picture or  write something, I want the value of it for myself and others to last more than 12 seconds. But that doesn’t mean I am going to force my own lifestyle assumptions on the younger generation. They have time; they have technology.

The fact that Facebook’s Poke app is falling down the app charts almost as fast as it went up in nothing new. New generations want their own service. They want to differentiate. They sure as hell don’t want their new thing to be associated with Facebook. The early adopter and the adult Facebook crowd don’t have time for Snapchat, and I think the kids are more than fine with that.

A use case is not THE use case.

Snapchat is used for sexting. So is SMS (where the term comes from), email, Twitter and Facebook. Jason Calicanus wrote a whole blog post about the dangers of Snapchat and sharing nude pictures. Yeah, it isn’t smart to share revealing pictures that can be captured permanently, but this behavior will happen with or without  Snapchat. There needs to be education around the topic. But when Calicanus claims the only use case for Snapchat is sexting, that is flat out wrong, and it clouds the water for any real discussion. The number of pictures being shared on SnapChat leads to every indication that this more of a fun, life blogging app.

I don’t have the time for frequent Snapchat use and likely never will, but I am not yet the old man who blindly yells from his porch, “KIDS THESE DAYS”. Nor am I the person who can only think of one use case (that happens to be sexual) and then put that motivations on millions of kids using this app.