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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO WITH GOOGLE+ NOW

If you haven’t already heard, Google+ is become a force to be reckoned with on the web. It’s still too early to predict if it’s a “Facebook killer”, but it’s already obvious that Google+ has caused a major shakeup of the social aspect of the web. It will affect you; I’d like to explain what Google+ is, how it will affect you, and the five things you need to do with Google+ now.

What Is Google+?

Google Plus is essentially a way to connect your entire Google experience with the people you know. Think of it as a very Google-centric version of Facebook. In fact, you will find it very similar to Facebook – except all the features, and their connection to your browsing experience, are amplified.

The most noticeable example of this is the +1 button. This works similarly to the Facebook Like button in that it functions as an upvote for pages you like. Site owners can install code for +1 on their site in order to allow people to vote, and when you vote for something using the +1 button, it shows up in your activity stream. The button also shows up directly in search results (if you’re logged in).

What are Some of the Main Features of Google+?

Instead of having “friends” a la Facebook, you have “circles” in Google Plus. These are groupings such as “Work”, “Friends”, “Acquaintances”, etc. that allow you categorize your connections with people. It gives you a bit more flexibility than the Facebook “friend” – especially since Google Plus allows you to make your own types of circles. This is a major difference with Facebook – and Google Plus has the advantage.

Another useful feature of Google Plus is it’s “Sparks” feature, which is similar to an alert feed. Not everything in sparks has necessarily been shared before in Google+, and it’s a good way to keep up with topics of interest to you.

A feature of interest to people who use instant messaging or Skype is the “Hangouts” feature, which is similar to Skype. Hangouts are virtual chat rooms that you can setup and participate in voice (using Google Voice) or text chat sessions. This can be very useful for business use.

How Does Google+ Affect the Rest of the Web?

Google+ is bound to affect the search ranking calculations, if it’s not doing so already. Twitter and Facebook shares, along with other socially-connected sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon already play a part in the ranking algorithm – and Google is sure to use +1 votes in a similar fashion. Aside from that, +1 votes already affect personalized search results. Expect to see different results delivered to you depending on what you’ve voted for in the past!

Google+ has well over 10 million users, and that number will only grow exponentially as more and more people adopt Google+ as just another aspect of the Google services most web users depend on in some way. Expect Google+ to become a vital part of social traffic – and get used to seeing the +1 button all over the web.

OK, OK…But What Should I Do Now?

There are 5 things you should do now – now that Google+ is beginning to influence the web.

  1. Grow your following, and don’t be afraid to add people.
  2. Treat it like Twitter: follow, follow, follow.
  3. Ask for shares and +1 on your posts.
  4. Add a +1 button to your site – either directly or by using one of the many social plugins.
  5. Share good content with your circles – because content is still king

(http://www.searchdiscovery.com/blog/5-things-you-should-be-doing-on-google-plus/)

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What’s Next for Content Marketing and SEO?

What’s Next for Content Marketing and SEO?

Increased focus on content will provide new challenges as more businesses invest in the area. Competition for those lucrative top spots in organic search results, is likely to increase further as more and more businesses adopt a content focused strategy. More competition in paid search too, means that budgets will need to increase in order to support the higher bids necessary to maintain visibility.

As social media reaches full maturity, so the techniques being used to
build and grow communities will need to be revised and sharpened in
order to rise above the hubbub

When it comes to social media, in order to rise above the high level of noise generated by increased adoption, boosting visibility will become even more crucial. Paid advertising, for example promoted posts and Facebook ads, will become increasingly necessary in order to reach customers. This means that companies who choose not to invest in this area and SMEs who simply don’t have the resources, will gradually loose out to competitors with deeper pockets.

Branding will become ever more important as businesses need to stand out from the competition. Smaller businesses whose activities are not currently strategically driven, will need to up their game in terms of both understanding and conveying their USPs and they will also need to get smart about how they measure their success and how they devise actionable insights.

If small businesses can remain both creative and agile, they will be able to grow their communities and more importantly, they’ll be able to leverage the power of those communities to their advantage. I’m pretty certain then that in 2014 we will see more investment into not just content marketing and relationship building, but into branding too.

Whilst opportunities will continue exist for those of us not lucky enough to have an internationally recognizable brand or large budgets, It’s not going to be easy. As 2014 progresses, small businesses will learn that investing in content marketing and developing their brand isn’t optional, it’s something they have to do in order to maintain their online visibility.

Marketing Insights for 2014

  1. Greater competition as the volume of content being published and promoted online continues to increase, making paid search more necessary
  2. Increased need to differentiate, making branding all important
  3. Increasingly necessary to pay for social media advertising alongside existing organic activities
  4. Social media continues to be an important communications with Increased adoption of Pinterest, particularly for online retailers and increased business adoption of  YouTube
  5. Responsive design will become even more widespread as the use of mobile devices for browsing the internet continues to increase
  6. Greater use of location based marketing, primarily Google Places/Google+ local
  7. Smarter metrics necessary in order to obtain clearer insights and more accurately measure ROI
  8. Strategically driven activities will become ever more widespread as social media reaches maturity
  9. Creativity, agility and innovation will become more important in helping marketers to grab and hold the attention of their audiences
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Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps

When working in an industry like social media you can’t create strategies for the present. By the time you complete your marketing strategy, all the tools and networks you rely on will have changed. In order to be strategic and be ahead of your competitors, you have to look into the future. What trends are on the horizon for social media? What’s coming next that we need to prepare for? Here’s what we think:

Step 1: Build an Ark

Nobody should “own” social media strategy in your organization. Social impacts all corners of the company, and should be more like air (everywhere) than like water (you have to go get it). Thus, the first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.

 

Step 2: Listen and Compare

It’s an old social media strategy chestnut by now, but “listen” is still good advice that’s often ignored. The reality is that your customers (and competitors) will give you a good guide to where and how you should be active in social media, if you broaden your social listening beyond your brand name.

 

Step 3: What’s the Point?

Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives. Butthe best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a more narrow rationale for social. What do you primarily want to use social for? Awareness? Sales? Loyalty and retention? Pick one.

 

Step 4: Select Success Metrics

How are you going to determine whether this is actually making a difference in your business? What key measures will you use to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness? How will you transcend (hopefully) likes and engagement? Will you measure ROI?

 

Step 5: Analyze Your Audiences

With whom will you be interacting in social media? What are the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current or prospective customers? How does that impact what you can and should attempt in social media?

 

Step 6: What’s Your One Thing?

Passion is the fuel of social media.

It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you sell, your product features and benefits aren’t enough to create a passion-worthy stir. How will your organization appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than the head? Disney isn’t about movies, it’s about magic. Apple isn’t about technology, it’s about innovation. What are you about?

 

Step 7: How Will You Be Human?

Social media is about people, not logos. 

The mechanics of social force companies to compete for attention versus your customers’ friends and family members. Thus, your company has to (at least to some degree) act like a person, not an entity. How will you do that?

 

Step 8: Create a Channel Plan

Only after you know why you’re active in social at all, and how you’ll measure social media strategy success should you turn your attention to the “how” of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest. This channel plan should be distinct, in that you have a specific, defensible reason for participating in each.

 

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Why Google AdWords Works

Using a variety of marketing platforms can compliment your marketing strategy.. If PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is one of the platforms you are considering, you’ve probably contemplated Google Adwords.  There are a few elements that make Google AdWords worthwhile.

With Google Adwords, your campaigns are completely customizable. You can target your campaigns to reach the audiences you want too. You have the ability to narrow your audience by the time of day, location, and device type (after all, there is no point in your ads reaching those in England if you are promoting a weight loss seminar in Colorado).

One of the clear benefits to online marketing is that your results are measurable. As a marketer, one of your biggest priorities is determining if your campaigns are working and returning ROI. PPC Advertising through Google Adwords is one of the most measurable online mediums. Adwords provides a variety of metrics that allow you to evaluate what is working and what is not.

By using the right resources in AdWords you can see results immediately. You can monitor the clicks and impressions. In doing so, you can determine if your keywords are working. If you are not seeing the results you want after a certain amount of time, changing or adding key words is simple.

Once you have established your PPC campaign is working, there is not a huge amount of maintenance thereafter (although you should always be monitoring the campaigns and results).

It is no secret that visually appealing ads get results. Google AdWords provides new ad formats, so you have options to differentiate your ads – ad extensions are a great resource as well!!

YouTube Comment-Cleanup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YouTube is now making it difficult for users to remain anonymous when trying to post negative or inappropriate videos and comments. Currently the site is pushing for users to use their full name when uploading videos or making comments. Rather than showing a pen name that links to their YouTube account, the site would prefer to link to the user’s Google+ account, showing their picture and full name.

This new move by YouTube will attempt to prevent any hurtful, inappropriate or negative comments to be posted onto the site. In a YouTube company blog, it was stated that YouTube is, “giving you the ability to change how you appear on YouTube, with the option to use your Google+ profile on your YouTube channel.” This idea launched after the option to have one Google-wide identity seemed popular among new YouTube users when it was first offered back in March. Now the site wants to extend this option to its current users as well.

Now when posting a comment on YouTube, the site will ask if you want to use your full name. If you decline to use your full name, you must select a reason for doing so, such as, “My channel is for a product, business or organization.”

YouTube has stated that, “We’ll help you review your YouTube content before your full name starts to display.” Furthermore, if a user changes their mind, they are able to return back to their username.

This new information about YouTube’s commenting system was released just about a month after a YouTube developer at Google’s I/O conference claimed that the website would be, “undergoing some changes to prevent bullying” in the site’s comments section.

 

YouTube is hoping that this new change will encourage users to think twice before posting an inappropriate comment. And for users who have made comments that they now regret posting, the site has a ‘Review my content’ section to view every video and comment they’ve ever posted to the site and decide if they want those videos or comments to be associated with their full name before committing to the new change.

Connecting With Brands Using Google+ Badges

 

Google’s newest widget, Google+ Badges for brand pages, lets brands use Google’s social network to promote their presence.

Similar in form and function to Facebook’s Like Box social plugin, Google+ Badges lets users either +1 a webpage, or add that webpage to their Google+ circles. While it doesn’t have Facebook’s ability to show your friends’ faces first, the widget does display the faces of other users who have +1ed the webpage.

Businesses now have the ability to create a strong presence on Google’s growing social network thanks to the launch of Google+ Badges that came alongside the development of Google+ Brand Pages.

Another feature of Google+ Badges is that it contains a snippet of code connecting your website to your Google+ page. In an e-mail to developers, the company stated, “In addition to helping us better index your Google+ page, this snippet will help you show more personal recommendations around the web by linking your +1’s on sites, your Google+ page, search and display ads.”

Additionally, Google has revealed that the badge must be included for the Google Direct Connect feature, which makes it possible for users to find a Google+ page from a Google Search. By typing in “+”then the name of a brand in Direct Connect, the search results lead users straight to the company’s Google+ brand page.

Given the success of its Facebook counterpart, this widget is certainly a necessary component for Google+. Even though it doesn’t have the benefits Facebook offers with “Open Graph,” the Google+ Badge definitely gets the job done. Google still must work to convince both users and brands that it is a social network ideal to do business through, but this Google+ widget will be of great importance in building the relevance of Google+!

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Google’s New Search Ads Program

 

 

 

Google’s latest feature AdWords, “Dynamic Search Ads” indexes your website for changes, takes keywords for your site and composes a unique search ad based off of search queries you haven’t used in AdWords.

Based on what was searched in Google, it generates a dynamic headline. This headline is separate from other campaigns you’ve set up. A key thing to be aware of with Dynamic Search Ads is that YOU write the content of the ad and Google creates the headline.

About 16% of all searches through Google everyday have never been searched before. Dynamic Search Ads allows advertisers to target relevant searches to their website with unique ads created from your sites’ content.

This new feature provides “broader exposure” to help businesses get more targeted people coming to your site. Google reported that advertisers in their pilot program have been getting a 5-10% increase in clicks and conversions in addition to an overall positive ROI.

Dynamic Search Ads lets you control your ads. You can make them show for your whole site, or restrict it to a specific page on your site.

This will ultimately benefit large clients who don’t want to have to browse through thousands of pages to see what they want to promote. Simply by providing Google the keywords to look for in their websites, Google dynamically creates ads based off those pages’ content.

You’ll still be able to view everything and compare it with the present data in AdWords, and you can still adjust your max CPC bids and negatives.

It has not been decided when this new feature will be open up to everyone, but to sign up for the beta program, contact your Google representative or sign up at https://services.google.com/fb/forms/dsabetainterest/