Facebook algorithm changes

Noticed that your Facebook posts aren’t getting the response that they used to? It could be due to Facebook changing its algorithm on 20th September.

Paid posts now have a far greater reach than even popular, viral posts that are organic. Some brands used paid ads on Facebook to get fans. They are now effectively paying double to reach people who already like their page.

EdgeRank Facebook logoFacebook’s EdgeRank algorithm controls the visibility of posts. It is determined by the interaction between an individual user and a page. Fans who view the page more regularly, see more posts. This has now been tweaked to favour those who have paid for posts. This has provoked a storm of criticism, particularly from brands whose Facebook reach has tanked. 

Reach dropping, engagement rising

Graph showing 38% drop in Facebook page reach

A study by media buying company, Group M Next investigated the reach of a cross section of 25 brand pages after the recent change. It showed a 38% drop in how many fans of the brand actually saw their status updates.

This belies Facebook’s denial that organic status updates are hidden from fans.

graph showing engagement with Facebook posts up 96%The only silver lining for brands is that another change to the EdgeRank algorithm takes into account ‘amplified reach’, friends of fans interacting with your posts. This has meant  engagement rates have nearly doubled.

 

Seems brands will have to up the ante on their Facebook spend to appeal to the majority of their fans while also focusing on new ways to get better EdgeRank results on Facebook by posting more images and fewer links, for example.

Four must read guides on Google Plus and SEO

It is becoming very clear that there are SEO benefits to being on Google Plus. Google are using Google Plus to personalise search results, and showing a bias towards people and brands with Google Plus accounts. This is known as Google Plus Your World and already features on the US Google site. It seems to be only a matter of time before it’s rolled out world wide.

Here are some blogs to read on Google Plus and SEO:

  1. The video above is from a blog post by Rand Fishkin at SEO Moz. It shows him doing a Google search for his own name and finding his Google Plus page outranks any other content, despite his active blogging on SEO. His advice is that every marketer should be on Google Plus.
  2. MashGoogle Plus logoable have also written how the Google Plus button affects SEO. They found that having a + 1 button indirectly affects SEO by improving your click through rate.
  3. A.J Kohn at Blind Five Year Old has looked at the internal search function of Google Plus and how it is laying the groundwork for social integration.  He wrote that adding keywords to your profile can lead to much higher results.
  4. Rory Martin at Social Media Today wrote about a white paper that experimented with the Google Plus 1 and Facebook Like buttons. SEO Effects discovered that, despite Facebook having more users, the Google Plus button was much more beneficial to brands.

Four ways to get a higher search ranking on Google

Google has made recent changes to the ranking system to allow the best quality sites appear on the first page. Search engine optimisation (SEO) tricks and black hat techniques could now lead to a website being banned by Google

So how do you appear top of Google?

  1. Blog 

Blogging is one of the best ways to boost your SEO on Google. It’s important to create  content that is relevant to what people are searching for. Having a site that regularly updates can push you up the rankings. But it isn’t enough to publish lots of content stuffed with keywords that nobody wants to read. Google will weed you out. The quality of the content matters. Great content will naturally attract people and links to your site. Don’t forget to tell people about your blog posts on social media!

2. Links

Make the most of inbound links pointing back to your site. This is not about using link farms. Once again it’s quality over quantity. You should focus on getting high quality links from popular and trusted websites.  A link from a relevant website using the same keywords will rank higher than one from a website on a completely different topic. Use anchor text around relevant keywords rather than the common ‘click here’. For example, if you’re Joe Bloggs, Landscape Gardener – it is better to wrap the link in your job title than your name.

3. Be social

Social media can be a great way to drive traffic to your site. Make sure that all your social media profiles link back to your site. If your fans or followers are activethey will like, retweet and share what you’re posting from your site. Another site to keep in mind is Google Plus, which has a +1 button. It’s not entire clear yet exactly how this is impacting on SEO. Google has stated that Google Plus users blocking a site could definitely lead to lower search engine rankings. This seems to suggest that users +1-ing your site could lead to higher search rankings. Yet another reason to focus on quality content.

 

4. Get on Google PlacesGoogle Places logo

When a user searches for a product or service, Google assumes they’d prefer somebody local.  Google Places pages will appear at the top of the organic search rankings. You should set a Google Places page for your business linking to your website. Make sure to verify you are the business owner. You can then add photos and regularly update the page with deals and news.

You may not get Google highest search ranking over night, but over time if you focus on quality content and follow these tips, Google should follow.

Harnessing the power of Google Analytics

Nate Silver correctly predicted the electoral college results of all 50 US states the 2012 Presidential Election. His blog was the most visited page on the NY Times website during the election. This would make him the world’s leading political analyst, except he is a statistician. Despite stinging criticism from journalists and politicos who called him a ‘joke’ and his skill a ‘numbers racket’, Silver’s success shows that data does not lie.

If data can predict something as notoriously difficult to call as voting patterns, then figuring out people’s habits online should be easy. And it is when marketers make use of the analytics tools now available. Many social media sites have analytics features built in that businesses can access to track traffic to their pages.

The leading light in web analytics for marketing is Google Analytics. There’s so much information at your finger tips if you know how to use it. We at ChatterHound hold training workshops to help businesses use Google Analytics to make their online marketing more effective.

Contact us if you’re interested in learning how to track your online campaigns and make the most out of your website.

What is Google Plus?

Google + Circles logoGoogle Plus now has 100m active users. It has been described as an information network where people can share and follow interests rather than a purely social site like Facebook. So how do Google Plus features stack up?

 What are circles?

Google Plus allows you to group people into circles. This mean you can pick and choose which content to share with different circles.  It’s not a new idea. We’ve always had different relationships with family, close friends and work colleagues, Google Plus just allows us to do it online. The default circles are Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following, and can be renamed at any time.

 The Following feature is similar to Twitter. You can follow celebrities or thought leaders in your field. There are some great circles for online marketers

Circles are private. Nobody knows which Google Plus circle you’ve put them in. They can’t see the name of the circle or who else is in it.  Somebody else may have you in a close friend circle while you group them as an acquaintance, they’ll never know.

Hangouts

Hangouts are video chats with a group of up to ten people. It takes what people love about Skype and adds a social element. Families or groups of friends with people scattered around the world can catch up at a time pre-scheduled using Google Calendar.

Businesses or NGOs can use Google Hangouts to hold meetings. A great feature is that people can share screens or watch the same YouTube video during the Hangout.

Celebrities and public figures often hold Google Hangouts on air, streaming Hangouts publicly on Google Plus profiles, YouTube channels and websites. YouTube can automatically save the Hangout to be shared like any other video.

 

Google + 1 vs Facebook Like

Google Plus 1 buttonWhen you Like something on Facebook all your friends can see it in your newsfeed for a while. But then other things are posted and your like gets buried . The difference with Google Plus 1 is that when your friends later do a Google search for that product or topic, your +1 will be displayed in their results. The buzz lasts. This makes a Google Plus 1 much more useful to marketers than a Facebook Like. 

 

Games Tab

Facebook game and app invites constantly popping up on your feed can be very annoying. Google Plus instead has a games tab where people can check what others have been playing lately and then start competing with friends.

What does Facebook have over Google Plus?

Abandoned Grand Central Station NYC

700 million more users. At the moment Google Plus could be compared to a beautiful building with nobody in it. But as Google Plus becomes more integrated with search and SEO, it is only a matter of time before more people start to take advantage of it’s features.  Google Plus hit 100 million followers a lot quicker than Facebook or Twitter. Is the next stop global domination?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why use Google Analytics?

Google Analytics logoSearch engine optimization (SEO) and keywords have become central to any digital marketing strategy. But they only work when you have an insight into how people actually use your site. Using Google Analytics is the best way to achieve higher organic listings and more conversion on Google AdWords.

Google Analytics is the leading tool for monitoring traffic to your website. It provides a wealth of information about visitors to your site. However, many businesses struggle to interpret Google Analytics reports.  Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

Social media referrals

Google Analytics reports can track whether you get more traffic from Facebook. Linked In, Twitter, Google + or Pinterest. You can then use this information to decide on which pages deserve more effort.

Screen shot of Google Analytics showing pie chart

AdWords campaign tracking

If you’re a Google AdWords customer the reports will show you what people do on your website after they click on your ad. This is central to measuring conversions.  Google Analytics show you whether your landing page is converting customers. If it’s not, you can change it.

Mobile

Google Analytics shows which mobile devices are used most to access your website. You can then specifically tailor your mobile marketing efforts.

 Pages

Google Analytics tracks which pages are more popular that others. Perhaps a particular blog post, product or service is getting a lot more attention than the others. You can measure this and respond accordingly. This is very useful if you rely on content marketing.

 

Word cloud with keyword as the search term

Keywords  

Google Analytics can show you which terms people are typing into search engines to access your website. This is invaluable for SEO as you can tell whether your keywords are right.

It’s important to set time aside regularly to properly read Google Analytics reports and review anything on your site that is not serving your business or organisation.