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This is the second part to my full write up of SMX London 2012, covering google+, remarketing and social shares being the new link building. This post includes tips from Lisa Myers, James Carson, Simon Heseltine, Bas van den Beld, Kevin Gibbons, Guy Levine, Marc Poirier, Lisa Williams and Ariel Bardin.
Social Shares: the new link building
The first session of the second day was very interesting, so much so that I wrote over 1,200 words of notes in an hour! It was also very enjoyable to have the panel moderated by Danny Sullivan who added a lot of charisma and energy to everything he was involved in.
Anchor and content around the anchor matter in both social and links. There are still weaknesses in the algo and some spam techniques still work.
A quote showed that Google said get involved in the community years ago, we should have known something bigger was coming!
Boost in rankings from social shares is likely to be restrained by time.
Link building is not dead, social is just one more signal to identify sites that are more relevant than others.
Google+ finally a social platform by Google that is working.
SPYW is starting to work, so social is not just a signal for ranking but will be helping CTR which then helps rankings.
Social also gives conversions itself, doubly beneficial!
Rel author tag is very important, rich snippets for authors will be a big factor, they are building rankings for people. Use Google plus to improve your authority as an author if nothing else.
Be a social SEO, job won’t be any different, it’s still about creating votes but now they’re social votes.
You don’t need to have a meerkat, just some creativity and the ability to communicate your ideas, then execute it well! The ability to communicate is essential.
Things to consider marketing through social include:
Applying link development skills to social media
Create a social community, blog, hub for research and white papers, build up social authority of the people that work in your company
Blogs increase your social shares
Social is about personalities
When team members leave, why lose their social profile? Make the most of what they have to give now and let them continue to stay positive for you by encouraging rather than restricting their social media.
James Carson discussed effective syndication to drive social shares.
Why buy social shares? it’s not like buying links!
Where should we invest time, see which social platforms are most used
Facebook has most users, then YouTube, then Twitter, as an audience, only about six million, then tumblr then gplus then pinterest. But it’s not all about the reach, it depends on your niche. Fashion sites are good with tumblr and pinterest for instance.
How to find people?
See who influences who, you don’t have to go for the A -listers, pursue those who don’t get hassled for shares so much but who have ability to influence the big sharers
What’s the Best time of day?
Recent research found that early afternoon on twitter and Facebook is most effective, tumblr is middle of the night, some day end of the week as people don’t want to be at work. Loads of data that’s not specific to verticals so test it yourself and see when your audience like to share things.
How to you make waves on Facebook? Understand EdgeRank:
Other top tips:
As you get bigger you can gain referral traffic then give links to others who can then link to your site, what goes around comes around!
Simon Heseltine, the Director of SEO at AOL, Works on a range of sites, including Huffington post, Engadget, moviefone and Tech Crunch.
Which sites get stories on twitter with over one hundred mentions?
Huffington post is doing very well on Facebook.
Have your SEO and social teams work closely together to head in same direction.
Huffington post has a very engaged community which helps them on social networks.
You can become a fan of the other commenters and user so that users can continue the conversations off the site and share things further.
Use gamification to improve interaction, loyalty and sharing.
Give away Badges for different things, when you reach certain levels you get responsibilities and value, comments are read, you can delete other comments, different colours, you can award badges, lots of things to get people to keep coming back to the site.
Have different accounts for different things, follow the twitter accounts relevant to you and the Facebook groups for the verticals you want.
As a news site they have access to things that are going to happen in political speeches, can have content ready to go live when the talks are actually being given. Share them at the time and people start coming over while it’s happening.
Always try new things
2.7 hours is the half life of a tweet, so schedule tweets for three hours after you first posted it to capture the second wind. Three to six hours later when you do the second chance tweets, you get about half the traffic but that’s another good amount of visits and shares. Think about when the next set of users wake up.
Consider which accounts to push things out through and where else to share it
Tweet to celebs, get them to engage, although this only works with certain posts.
Know your audience: What works with them? Review your stats.
Test and make sure that what you do can be successful for you. Everything depends on the vertical.
Simon was also kind enough to throw me a ball when I asked a question, and even gave me a fluffy pen after the talk! The other things in this picture I picked up from the sponsors, including Linkdex and Quantcast.
Bas van den Beld explains that Google plus is going to impact every little thing on google, although people on Google Plus are using it because they have to.
Google said among the most basic of human needs is the need to connect with others.
Why is this important?
Well, google are now looking to understand how people work and understand ‘things’ better to be able to provide improved results
How does this all translate to Google Plus?
Google have been thinking about these and how they can incorporate things.
Stop thinking about google being a social network that will compete with Facebook, that is not their main intention, their intention is to get a grip on who we are.
It’s also about data, they are gathering lots of data so they can use this to find out what we want and what we like.
They know a lot about us and are building up our profile through social signals, If you sign up to Google + you’re giving away your information. They know your other presences on the web, things we want people to know are known (and used) by google.
Google get data from a lot of properties. Find out what Google knows about you and your social circles here:
This can be a very good tool to work out who you can outreach to and who your contacts know that’s also worth knowing.
Google knows your other accounts too, and their followers, so can show you recommendations based on that account as well.
They are showing us who they think is authoritive.
Rel author, shows authority.
Showing an author who the user might think is authoritive plays on psychology to get you to click. Although Kevin shows us this might not be the case, but we will come to that shortly.
Lots of recommendation and shared results alongside results in SERPS
To optimise for this get people around you to share your stuff, be specific in who you target, pick the right people. Talk to who is influencing the people you want to see your stuff:
Find your online hairdresser, the middle-man who gives recommendations and can influence other decisions
How much SEO juice do you get from google+?
Annotations can improve your CTR by 5-10%, say google.
Kev tested this himself on his site and client sites and measured in webmaster tools to see what the uplift was. Miele had 57 votes on their home page but no brand page, another had a plus brand page, another had nothing
Wrong way round to what google say!
His other example had 9% without, 5% with, complete opposite to Google…
Everyone expects an uplift in clicks with +1s in SERPS but actually there is a negative impact
+1 is an inflated ranking
So, What’s the impact on organic?
Sites using Google Plus have seen an average increase of 42% on organic traffic compared to before using Google+.
Asos is a good example of Google+ success. Their traffic has doubled in the last twelve months!
Don’t worry about the CTR as the context does not help, so keep using google plus as the organic advantages are worth it.
Google are making it hard to avoid Google+ when you search
Social signals are a good sign of authority, it’s a risk to ignore it
Five tips to summarise:
Google + tools
Guy Levine from Return on digital
Retargeting is a simple way to interact with your users based on their past interactions with your website
Remarketing uses AdWords to show ads to previous site visitors on a Cost per Click (CPC) basis
Remarketing in Adwords is quick, cheap and has a good reporting interface
For retargeting use criteo or acquisio.
Remarketing only works with traffic that has already been to your site, with retargeting you can reach people who haven’t been to your site already, you can also run better ads.
Whatever you’re doing in digital, add the remarketing code to your site to start tracking them so that when you decide to target existing visitors you don’t have to wait for the list to build up, you can start straight away.
Good variety of ad sizes, create ads that pop out visually.
The more targeted the traffic the better response you can get
Think about the best time to target to them, it might not be best to retargeting them strait after they didn’t buy.
Think about how long to remarket for; you don’t want to show ads to people too often or for too long.
What is the purchase journey length for your product?
Upload your ads two weeks before you need them as it can take a while to get them approved.
Same applies to Facebook ads, you need a variety of ads so that you can keep them fresh.
Frequency capping is very important!
Prevent over exposure
Run placement reports to see where your ads have appeared. Have a look to see if the sites are on or off niche, or bad converters.
Ads with a low call to action that can be used to build your brand or message, you can build your brand awareness cheaply as it is a cost per click model
Create lists according to the time of year that people have been on your site, ie, a valentines list, year long cookie so you can advertise to the same people for the same event next year.
Set up Facebook ads to generate visits to a specific landing page which is tagged to create a list based on the demographic.
Get reviews to get a star rating, they’re hard to get. Use schema and review sites. Create lists of people who buy and have a gmail account and then show them an advert inviting them to leave a review.
Think about what ‘re’ means, what might the user be looking for if they were to come back?
Smaller platforms can be more helpful than Google, such as Adroll, Chango, AOL, so try multiple platforms.
Share successes, don’t just focus on the standard stats, think about how we are affecting organic and paid results. Think outside the ROI model and start thinking about how you can affect the brand model.
Lisa recommends reading the Paradox of Excellence.
Mark Poirier one of the founders of Acquisio
Mark discussed how he got in to remarketing, his early tests and what he learnt. He realised that there is Synergy between search and display, wanted to test integration.
His test shows that when you scale the volume, you increase the cost and the CPA. He was using a CPM model, which meant CPA got very high.
He tried four methods:
Site retargeting to start with, i.e. dropping a cookie when people visit your site.
There are challenges when tracking the results. It’s not as simple to report on as search. View through conversion is something to understand and use in your reporting alongside last click conversions as this helps you understand the true value of your display ads.
Challenges in quality include lists of sites that are not going to work for you, removing sites that do not work when you try them.
Results seem to be cyclical.
How to you give credit to view through conversions? Attribution is tricky.
Ads have an impact on branding.
Ariel Bardin, the Director of Product Management at Google offered the following insights:
Talking about remarketing from a search perspective, thinking about how you can use search signals in a remarketing world.
97% of users leave your site without converting (on average)
You can reach these people through remarketing
92% of internet users go online to search regularly, google can reach over 80% of these on their advertising platforms.
Marketing can be tailored based on where users have come from to get to your site.
Focuss on the moment that matters:
Days to conversion, most on first day? How many after more days? Sometimes you need to remarket fast before they go elsewhere to convert.
Hours to conversion are also important; if you can’t get your ad to the users within hours of them visiting you can lose a lot of conversions.
Build a system that adds users to your remarketing list and can remarket to them immediately. This is possible within Google AdWords remarketing lists, will be possible in DoubleClick soon.
Make sure you can remarket across all different formats. Find your audience, reach them where they are, then think about attribution modelling.
DoubleClick allows you to bring in a lot of data that you can then use. Including search terms, website activity, conversions and even CRM integration is being added.
Display and search used together in marketing can speed up and increase conversions.
Remarketing and display ads increase the likelihood that a user will search for the brand later.
Attribute across channels, what path do users take before converting?
Simplify your process to drive efficiency. Share data, take your search data and use in remarketing, use your data from multiple places to report and see how successful your traffic is.
Bring the users the right message at the right time and don’t lose out on opportunities.
Ariel’s views on cookie law:
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