Tag Archive for twitter

Digital Marketing Weekly – Issue 7

It’s been 5 months since I last posted Issue 6 on Search News Central, so i thought it was a good a time as any to try and bring it back based on how much interesting news has been released over the past few weeks.

Google Android is now in real-life – Google has announced that it’s purchased Boston Dynamics an advanced engineering company that has built robots Pentagon’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). Boston Dynamics most recent and freaky robot is the WildCat a 4 legged robot that can run fast on all types of terrain up to a speed of around 26km/h. Early statements have said that Google doesn’t plan a move towards being a military contractor on it’s own but far too many people have linked this purchase to the rise of Terminators and Skynet. According to the NYTimes Mr Rubin has indicated this “moonshot” project to take several years before commercial robots are available. This is the largest robotic company Google has purchased to date so it will be interesting if it’s not the last company it buys.  I wonder if all the robots will be forced to run on Android now?

Twitter reverts changes to block functionality – Twitter has responded to a torrent of user anger and reverted a change to how “block” function works.  The big rollback was a welcome change as despite over 225,000 users signing a petition on Change.org Google is not willing to change their user comments back to the old platform that didn’t require Google+. The change by Twitter was speed up as it was linked to safety concerns that users couldn’t block abusive users and prevent retaliation.  It will be interesting to see how Twitter adapts it’s blocking feature so in the future it’s not always possible to tell when a user has blocked your account.

Twitter announces multi-year licensing agreement with Pitney Bowes – In a smart licensing deal Twitter has improved it’s geocoding, reverse geocoding and mapping for the Twitter platform.  Going forward Twitter will be able to use Pitney Bowes Location data via API to support better and more accurate location sharing in Tweets.  This is particularly relevant for the almost 60% of 500,000,000 daily tweets sent from mobile devices.  It’s also going to be particularly important for expanding and improving Twitter Advertising products that are based on accuracy of users location. It might also be interesting if Twitter adds location check-in functionality similar to Foursquare or Google+ now that it has a list of addresses of carefully verified and validated places.

PitneyBowes Twitter Deal

Instagram emulates Snapchat & WhatsApp – Instagram has finally launched a direct message functionality “Instagram Direct” that allows their users to send text, photo and video messages privately.   The communication platform allows for one-to-one messages or to a group of up to 15 people, this group function emulates one of WhatsApp most popular features.  There is also some Snapchat functionality as you can delete messages you have sent, and like Facebook it will show who has seen your message.

Instagram has also taken some functionality from Twitter as only people that follow you can send you private messages, but if someone you are not following sends you a message it will be held in your requests so you can decide if you want to view it.  I hope that Twitter doesn’t open up the Instagram Direct feature to “sponsored” messages as that will likely upset more than a few users and I do have concerns about the ability for non-followers to send you messages you can review before viewing it.

Google allows for App Indexing in Google Search – Google is expanding it’s dominance of mobile apps with the ability to deep link into Android apps in-app content from within Google search results on Android devices.  The App-Indexing feature has been getting more press of late but none of the beta partners of the program have released any insights on the success or failures of deep linking to their Android apps. It will be interesting to see if the next part of the beta test needs to expand deep linking into to iOS devices but that might not be in Google’s long term interests but it maybe good for mobile users. The feature is also only currently available in the US but it should expand into other English markets in 2014.

allthecooks_srp

Google changes how Gmail handles images – Google has made an interesting move on how it handles images within Gmail.  Gmail has typically elected not to show images to protect users from unknown senders until this point but now Google is serving every image in your email from it’s own “secure” proxy servers.  While Google is not killing off the old “ask before displaying external image” functionality it can still be found I’m wondering how quickly spammers are able to adapt their strategies to take advantage of this new feature.

Apparently email marketing software platforms may actually rejoice at the change as MailChimp has already pointed out most email marketers embed a unique image in the email that will still trigger the email if it’s served locally or via Google servers.  Because the new Gmail solution only loads the image once email marketers won’t be able to see multiple email opens it will just record the first open.  Previously users had to enable images to trigger the tracking pixel so people could open and read emails and remain invisible but with the Gmail solution they might suddenly become visible straight away.

The big insight that this change might have on email marketers is that Google is expanding it’s (not provided) concept to user IP addresses.  So previously when users clicked to enable images to show they also provided valuable data such as IP address but if this is now served by Google’s proxy servers this data will be masked.  So the question is Google doing this change to keep “messages safe & secure” or doing it mask user information from email marketers?

Images Now Showing

EW Scripps has acquired digital video provider Newsy – One of the most successful digital news channels that has also successfully navigated a multi-platform world.  The move by an established media player to acquire a fast moving and successful start-up is a smart play and it will be interesting to see if they expand the beyond the current syndication channels. Newsy is currently producing thousands of videos per month for AOL/Huffington Post, MSN, About.com & Mashable including their own primary branded channel.  This deal might be the restart of traditional players expanding into new markets by acquiring smaller proven start-ups instead of over paying to get attention grabbing headlines on startups with “potential”.

Social Media and its fit with SEO

Bill-Clattering White StorkSocial media is a perfect channel for diversifying SEO strategies because it can directly impact on revenue lines – it has a low cost base (time), and can help with lead generation and customer support.  Google has been pushing more of its internal resources into Google+ and integrating it with all its other products, providing clear insight into how important social is to Google. As a small business owner you can easily set up a social profile on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook or Google+ and start to build an audience with very little investment.

The advantage is that individual and small business owners have a lead over big corporate players as there is no need for legal or marketing to sign off for every posts or tweet that is sent out, you can adapt your strategy as you go. Small business can also benefit around using social as it allows the adjustment of messaging to suit the audience if initially it doesn’t work, if you test something and fail doesn’t mean thousands of lost dollars it just means a small setback.

Sharing Guidelines

The key to a successful social media strategy is to don’t make them all identical channel sharing the same content all about you, your brand and your products, to succeed you want to share social love across other people, products and brands.

If you are doing social mostly for SEO and Branding you can certainly share links to your website content including products pages but also include links to great customer reviews and good news items about you, company, staff and your products.  My advice is if you want to improve the chances of success you don’t want to make your social channel just about you. Filling the channel with up to 80% of its content about other people, products or businesses can show your audience (and the search engines) that you’re an expert about this topic.

Reputation Management

A big reason to be using social for SEO is to control the “brand” results that users see when they are searching for you. An example is when you search for “Pepsi” they have three of their company controlled social profiles showing on the first page of Google.  The advantage is that this reduces the chances competitors or businesses with similar names can steal away branded traffic. An SEO insight is that a large amount of your search traffic will always be branded, so you want to ensure you capture as much of this traffic as possible and social channels; Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest are great ways to do this easily.

Social Trust Factors

One key insight is there is little use in buying blocks of “fake” fans or spamming other social channels to get noticed in Social Media as there is a social trust factor. Anyone can easily do directory submissions, comment spam or obtain paid links but the Google Penguin algorithm has been penalising online businesses who previously engage in these aggressive tactics as their only SEO methods.  Social works well because a good social media presence can be broken down to quality and community engagement and generating trusted brand links back to your sites but can be broken down further based on importance:

Twitter

  • Quality of your Twitter followers
  • What is the ratio of Tweets to ReTweets
  • Relevance of your Twitter Followers
  • Number of Twitter followers

Facebook

  • Number of Shares of your posts (content is quality/relevant)
  • Number of Comments on your posts (content is engaging)
  • Number of Likes (number of fans)

Google+

  • How many people have you in their circles
  • How many +1s your posts receive
  • How many shares your posts receive
  • How many comments your posts receive
  • How many +1’s your page/website has
  • Is your account a “verified name”

Pinterest

  • Number of Followers
  • Ratio of Followers to Following
  • Number of Followers of individual boards
  • Number of Likes of your pin
  • Number of comments on your pin
  • Number of Repins of your pin

The more authority your social channels have, the more impact they will have on your SEO efforts. An authentic social channel will also drive real visitors/consumers to your website and the more relevant your social audience the better quality these visitors will be, translating to revenue that  you stand to make. Having a small dedicated and engaged social audience is far better than having thousands of inactive accounts run by bots as they will potentially be your customers.

Google+ Local

Google made a large overhaul to its Google Places product last year which integrated more of their local search, business data and reviews into their Google+ social layer.  The importance is that the Google+ social network now also directly impacts on your local search ranking factors. The more social interactions, photos and reviews your Google+ Local listing has the more prominence that your listing will get in Google.

Share of Social Mentions

If you are looking across all of the main social media channels, it’s easy to see how people see your content as important or interesting.  It’s possible to influence a single channel such as Facebook or Twitter but it’s very hard to “fake” authentic social mentions across multiple channels. Social media will only help your SEO long term if your social channels are authentic as search engines know it’s hard to fake authenticity. There are also other factors such as frequency and consistency of social shares and engagement that is typically harder to fake so can be a good guide to judge authenticity.

What is your social karma?

The final consideration on using social media for SEO is that it’s important to examine what is the general sentiment being discussed around your brand online and in social conversations. You need to have a general understanding across social channels as to if the current tone around your brand/products is negative or positive and how you might be able to engage via the appropriate social channels to diffuse the situation.  If there are existing negative conversations they might be encouraging future consumers to go elsewhere such as buy from competitors or report you to the state Office of Fair Trading.

Social Media can help SEO

If you focus on creating interesting, relevant and engaging content you will find that it helps improve your SEO campaign overall, by building authority signals but it can also help with your link building activities, but social media does takes a lot of effort so it’s a good time to start today.

Force Twitter Profile Header Update

Twitter launched it’s new profile centric “ME” pages this morning on US morning tv show, but the problem is that like any update you have to wait.  It seems verified accounts have been given early preference to the new twitter header feature, but I discovered you can force the update by visiting https://twitter.com/settings/design.  I have also outlined the steps below to show you how easy it is to enable to new twitter header image.

Step1 - Old Profile

Step1 – Still Seeing Old Profile

Step3 - Select a new Twitter Header Image

Step3 – Select a new Twitter Header Image

Step4 - Save & You Are Live!

Step4 – Save & You Are Live!

Rupert Murdoch Tweets

It seems that Rupert Murdoch has finally got around to claiming the existing “Fake Rupert Murdoch” twitter account that was created back in March 2009. In a low profile launch Jack Dorsey has tweeted that it is in fact the real Rupert Murdoch who is now in charge of the account.

That statement is backed by the small blue verified twitter account tick that is now showing on this account. But in what is a social media fopaux, Mr Murdoch has not replaced the standard Egg avatar with his real image which fuels suspicion among Twitter users that it’s still a fake account or a publicity stunt.

Rupert Murdoch

The tweets have been fairly awkward so far leading to some fairly open and aggressive responses from users on Twitter.  There seems to be a learning curve and it looks to be a lot steeper than the poor old guy expected. The general feeling is that unlike traditional press that Rupert was able to censor, the public may find out how thick his skin really is on an open forum.

You can track the number of tweets mentioning Rupert here, and a warning a lot of them are NSFW, including wishes he was dead, personal attacks, requests for him not to follow them back, and generally attacks around any and all News Corporation properties.  After all the outspoken anger around News Corp and News of the World scandals, social media now has an actual account/person to focus their anger towards which may end in tears.  The biggest outspoken critic of any significance speaking out on Rupert Murdoch joining twitter so far has been John Prescott.

 

 

So there is some interest in the media/journalist area as I can see a number of them are already following Rupert’s account back, the real question will be how long until someone crosses the line and provokes Rupert enough that he takes a swipe at them publically.  This will be a real test of his patience as well as his anger management as so far the social media sphere doesn’t appear to be all that warm to the idea Rupert is now playing on their playground.

Rupert’s Choice of followers?

What is going to be a very interesting insight into how Rupert thinks is who he starts to follow as this is now public information and may be a great insight.  He started with Jack Dorsey, then Mark Pincus and now Plaid Larry Page….?

Fastest growing account ever?

The account seems to be attracting interest with around around 50 new followers being added every minute so far which could put him at around 1.7 million followers within the next 24 hours. That looks to be well on track to smash Charlie Sheens 1 million followers in 25 hours and 17 minutes, but the question is how many people will stick around unless Rupert actually adds some value to his tweets…

Refresh trends to end 2011

In what looks to be a trend that appears to be ramping by business up as traffic patterns typically decline as the year ends. A product relaunch can be at times risky if users love your existing design/functionality or if you take away or hide popular features within a new interface.

Twitter Relaunch #letsfly
Twitter relaunched its platform with a new version of twitter “Fly” which is designed for a more common experience across Twitter.com and mobile devices. Their relaunch was focused on bringing everything under 4 new tabs but not everyone has responded positively to the radical change to the interface. Their new interface seems to bring them closer to a Facebook style interface but even with an improved search function the new interface has been found confusing by a number of their users.

YouTube interface Refresh
In what was an expected move YouTube finally flicked the switch and rolled out its interface across all its users bringing the interface closer to the other Google properties. The rollout was unusual for Google as it was not progressively rolled out but was done in a single update which was fairly risky for the company considering the size of the audience that could be impacted. The new interface brings the platform up to scratch with a new look and feel but also seems to make it easier for Channels and Google to maximise both their advertising revenue but also the branding and visitor experience as YouTube chases higher quality content.

Path upgrades to 2.0
One of the big upsets to the idea that a refresh could hurt your growth or revenues was Path, who after upgrading their platform saw a reported 30 fold increase in user sign ups. Their personal journal style platform offered new and improved lenses; greater privacy and less noise for their users which was a successful and welcomed refresh ending 2011.

WordPress goes Sonny
While it only appeared to be a minor update going from WordPress 3.2 to WordPress 3.3, the actual admin interface refresh too a large step forward. The new more responsive admin design offers better functionality for adoption to smaller screens such as tablets. The new liquid layouts and scaling media seemed focused on the growing audience of Mobile users that WordPress needs to cater for if it’s platform is to continue to grow. The media support gets a welcome boost as does the co-editing functionality and is certainly worth the update even with the increased number of sometimes annoying notification tips.

Google Toolbar relaunched
Google just recently rolled out a consistent black Google toolbar across a number of its platforms which made navigation more consistent for users across Google properties.

Google Black Toolbar

Google Black Toolbar

Google Toolbar relaunched (again)
Just as most users had started to see and accept the new Google black bar at the top of Google pages they introduced another Google bar within a few months. The new interface has now moved the navigation to under the Google icon and centralised the search panel across Google properties. The new Google menu is a bit more confusing way to navigate Google products and the quick links are surely going to be missed by most users and will change how you navigate within Google properties.

Gmail refreshes
Gmail has been one of the slowest adopters of new Google features over the past few years but there has been a number of recent improvements including the overhaul started in July. While the navigation had a big upgrade the search functionality is still below expectations. The biggest issue for users is to get used to the new streamlined conversation view which strips out much of what was previously shown meaning searching an email thread can be more time-consuming. The biggest benefit for the mobile users is the elastic density which allows easy changing of display to suit any device automatically.

Blogger refreshed
While it happened a few months ago Google’s blog platform got an update as part of the overall Google product refresh. The biggest elements to get updated was around streamlining the blogging experience but also improving the audience analytics and insights information for admins. Recently there has been the addition of the ability to publish your Blogger posts straight to your Google+ circles. There is certainly a fair bit more work needed across the Blogger network to match WordPress or Tumblr but it’s a good start to finish off 2011.

Color 2.0 tries again
Following on from what was a slightly disastrous launch, Color decided it was time to start again following on from the success of Instagram. The new app updates focus around a “visit” which also now allows for sharing of 30 second movie clips but also offers a visual timeline similar to the new Twitter/Facebook streams. The question is it all too little and too late with the new website being far too forceful to remind users to login to interact, and their mobile app does not work on a majority of Android devices.

Facebook Timeline rollout
Based on the growing amount of media its users are sharing online Facebook has finally rolled out its timeline feature for all accounts. This is not yet enabled on all accounts but is available if you want to upgrade your profile globally. Finally Facebook is learning its a global platform and not limiting features to it’s US users. Learning from its privacy failures in the past it now offers a 7-day review period before anything that appears in your timeline is made public. It will be interesting to see how many users fill in the blank spots in their timeline as more accounts enable Timeline. There has already been so many complaints about Facebook interface refreshes it will be interesting how warmly this overshare functionality might be accepted.

Watch the Facebook Timeline (download video)

Ending 2011…
So it seems that a number of platforms have taken the time to allocate resources to updating their interfaces, how many will rollback functionality after user riots during 2012? Mostly it seems the interface updates revolve around making them more usable on mobile devices so will desktop users benefit from this continuous update process or will it led to more resentment and drop off?

Twitter for Newsrooms

Twitter Media Logo

Twitter Media has rolled out a nice platform update in the last few days that offers a best practice guide for Newsrooms wanting to use twitter to report and publish better. There is a growing need for media organisations to start to follow some consistency and not mix and match terms between Twitter and Facebook and it’s obviously upset the right branding people inside the Twitter Media term who put a fair bit of effort into the contents of their expanded Twitter media platform.

The Twitter Newsroom tips and guides cover 4 primary areas

  1. Report (Search Strategy,Finding Sources,via Mobile)
  2. Engage (Effective Tweeting,Personal Branding)
  3. Publish (Tools,Display/Brand Guidelines)
  4. Extra (Support,Blogs,Partners)

It’s really a fairly decent overview but the platform needs a fair bit more promotion to ensure journalists know that it is there and that it contains valuable information they should check out!

France Bans Social Media

Under what is an interesting government decree passed back in 1992 which prohibits news organisations from promoting brands during newscasts, the countries TV council has now enforced the law that prohibits specific mentions of Twitter or Facebook on TV. It’s an interesting move as many networks are pushing and promoting Twitter & Facebook over their company websites so it might please their webmasters but is it taken free-market law too far? It’s raised some interest in Australia with the government-funded ABC heavily promoting platform but it’s typically banned from promoting commercial partnerships.

Quick video review of the portal

I’ve published a quick video review of the service and found there is certainly some great content and advice there so check out the video below and check it out.

Google Plus +1 for Websites goes Live

Google Plus One

It has taken some time but finally Google has rolled out their +1 button for websites, it was leaked early and it hasn’t been a well-kept secret but its already starting to cause concern among both bloggers, webmasters and SEOs on what it all means for them.  The obvious big point for bloggers is that it offers you one extra way that people can show their appreciation for your blog or article by voting it +1 but will it dilute the clicks you previously attracted to your other social buttons?

Webmasters are likely the biggest losers in this game as they are the ones that have to work out how to implement it dynamically quickly but also ensure that it matches with their social media strategy plans and their designers don’t have a breakdown when they see how the button destroy their carefully balanced world.  SEOs are probably the most cautious about the new button and I haven’t heard of many who are happily clicking the +1 button linked to their Google account just yet… it’s going to be a massive trust issue to give their social media graph to Google on a silver platter.

Early Issues with +1 Button
TechCrunch shows how it’s going to be a nightmare for webdevelopers who will have to look at changing their websites to accommodate the extra button but also make sure it plays nice with all the other buttons. The other issue is also trying to get the button centred it seems to have a preference for ignoring the code and choosing to be left justified.  You can see below that until you elect to like that particular page or website you will be presented with a shitty visual experience that because it’s an iFrame you don’t have too much control over at this point. Much of the button chaos was previously solved by ADDTHIS which was an easy way to add in multiple buttons or use a combination or image and buttons but recently it’s fallen out of favour as website narrow down the number of social media services they really care about and choose to focus on just one or two.

Google Plus One IssuesWordStream has also highlighted the issues with websites now having to deal with half a dozen buttons which all have different actions, sizes and even purposes.  The confusion of the consumer is likely and it seems early installations of the button is showing issues of the button vanishing even with users are opted into the +1 experiment and logged into their Google account. Early bugs and issues might shake the confidence of the launch partner websites as it seems a number of them have not bothered to roll it out just yet.  They have got some free publicity by promising to roll it out in the near future but also have time to sit back and evaluate how extensively they will roll it out and when that might happen.

The big issue I can see is that the style of the button doesn’t really fit in and it will take a fair bit of good will to get publishers to start promoting it as heavily as they do with Twitter or Facebook.  If you visit HuffingtonPost you are greeted with a popup requesting you should connect with Facebook, I struggle to think how long it will take for publishers to have that same popup saying Why don’t you login via your Google Accounts. The Connect with Facebook platform and message works well with consumers the login via Google Accounts just doesn’t have the same appeal to most users.

Ray of Sunshine from Mashable?

The only ray of sunshine is from Mashable who are very heavily promoting the +1 feature below its Mashable share widget, while the article is possible skewed in asking for a response there are 10 times the number of +1 than there is Facebook likes. The only thing that is not clear is if the placement of the button by Meghan Peters in the middle of the article got a majority of the +1 votes, but Linkedin got 25% more shares than +1 and Twitter got almost 3 times the amount of shares as +1.  So it’s interesting that the Mashable story was more popular to share via Twitter and Linkedin than it was via Facebook or even +1 buttons the article was focus on, but it makes sense as what is the current benefit of +1 is not yet visible.

The article about the +1 button launch over at TechCrunch got a massive number of votes and again around 10 times the number of Facebook likes and had the button in the standard spot with the rest of them, but Twitter didn’t fare as well so maybe the platform is more suited to Technology blogs than the social media types that Mashable attract.

Social Media Share Buttons

Should Facebook be worried?

Based on these two articles it’s likely the biggest loser in this social media war might actually be Facebook in the short-term, but I would prefer to allow people to easily share my content with 600,000,000 Facebook users at this stage. The only loser I can see at this point is the number of blogs willing to also include the Facebook “Send” button once they add the Google +1 button, but until Google rolls out some analytics around the impact of the button to match Facebook’s analytics it’s going to be a tough call to make either way.

Social Button overload?

follow the lost agencyFollowing on from Twitters Tweet button there is now the one-click Follow button which does now offer the ability to keep users within your website rather than sending them away to Twitter, it also means that you know need to consider offering two buttons on your website just for Twitter.  The benefit of the Tweet button is that it promotes sharing of content even amongst your existing followers where the follow button just increases your followers who may share your content at some point in time.  It should be fairly easy for twitter to follow Facebook’s lead and use an iFrame and sense if you are an existing follower and then only show you the Tweet button but if you are not following them you get first shown the Follow button. It is a big step beyond using third-party platforms like ShareThis or AddThis but it’s a very much a stop-gap solution but it’s also likely to be used differently in a site such as next to the article authors replacing the previously used @Thelostagency hyperlink.

If you want to add the one-click follow button you can find the resource here but the downside you don’t get any Twitter analytics but you can easily tag up the button with web analytics. I’ve tried to change some of the settings such as the colour background to be used and if it should show the follower count but it really seem to do what it wanted and appeared to alternate between showing and not showing a follower account.

Social Sharing Widgets are dead?

It will be interesting how AddThis and ShareThis integrate the new Google +1 button as it’s a much smarter solution than having to decide which button you are going to keep just in case people want to click it and which button is going to get used by your visitors.  It might be the case that they actually grow their market share as it’s going to be much easier to replace the chaos that see above with a simple widget so don’t discount them just yet.

Facebook Share better

Facebook has long had the monopoly of Like buttons that have spread across the web but the recent addition of the “Send” button seems almost redundant as when you select to like something you can share it on your wall but the use of the share button works on the expansion of Facebook’s messaging platform.  Instead of just sharing within the Facebook platform you are able to share to an email address which moves beyond Google +1’s limit audience of those logged into their Google account. As not many people yet understand the potential of the button or even how to use it there is a relatively low-level of adoption and even big sites are still struggling to see its benefits over just having the “like” buttons.

WordPress.com blogs left out

Again as with many scripts you try to a widget WordPress.com automatically strips out of the code, it’s moves like this that will slow the adoption of the +1 button across the massive WordPress.com blog network.  It might be in time that WordPress rolls out an official feature you can enable Google buttons on your blog as they did with the Twitter share button.

Update: WordPress has now updated their Twitter widget to allow you to easily enable the Twitter Follow button so it’s again another step ahead of Google & Facebook, only downside is it’s having some teething issues right now so you might just see an error message on the right side of this blog.

Open to Mischief?

The only thing that button does rely on is a trust element as you can specify the URL that is getting the vote so you could take liberty with that and place it elsewhere on any site to gain votes for another site.  It’s likely there are some safeguards in the Javascript but it’s likely going to be a fun week for the early adopters who have a bit of technical understanding around the javascript it uses to power the button.

Google Products soon

With the rollout it seems the promised updates to start to show Google Plus One data in your account has not yet materialised so the question is when will this data start to show in your webmaster tools.  Also according to the official blog post +1 buttons are apparently been progressively rolled out across Blogger, Google Product Search and YouTube but nothing has been seen just yet….

Add +1 to your pages to help your site stand outHow to add Google Plus One?

I’ve published a quick guide with tips on How to Add Google +1 to your website.

Related Images: