Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Top Five Google Plus Features

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

With the recent roll out of Google+ three weeks ago, there has been much talk about Google’s attempt to stomp all over Facebook and other social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. So far the Google+ platform is available by invitation only, as they are still tweaking the system and working out the bugs.  I was able to set up a Google+ account two weeks ago and so  far I really like what I’m seeing.

Keep in mind that at this early stage, Google+ works only with Google accounts that have an active Google profile. If you haven’t created your Google profile, you will not be able to sign up for Google+. Judging from the feedback I’m seeing from other users, there are people who love what Google is doing, and then there are those who doubt Google’s ability to create a social media platform that will actually work well and catch on with the Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter crowds.  After all, say the doubters, this is Google’s third attempt in the social media realm.

This time, however, I think they are on to something, and have created a powerful social media tool with a great deal of potential.  G+ integrates what I like most about the other platforms and adds a bit more.

Here are my personal Top Five Favorite Google Plus Features:

#5 – Hangouts – Hangouts is a great way to communicate face to face with anyone via video chat.  It is very easy to set up and, in my experience, works better than Facebook’s Video Chat feature. The interface looks good and is incredibly easy to use.  You only need to download a simple plug-in the first time you initiate use, and you are ready to chat!

Google Hangouts

#4 – Sparks – Sparks is a feature that enables you to find, create, and ultimately share topics of interest and use them like a news feed source for information.  Topics can be broad like the pre-set categories “movies”, “gardening” or “comics”.  You can also create targeted topics like “1950’s Horror Films”, “Growing Tomato Plants”, or “X-Men” by using the Find stuff you’re interested in… search bar.

#3 - Photos / Instant Uploads from Android – For someone like me who is always forgetting to dump the pictures out of my phone, this feature makes photo uploading unthinkably easy!  All you need is the Google+ for Android app and your photos automatically upload themselves to your G+ account immediately after they’ve been taken.  The app is much easier to use than Facebook's upload interface and the photos are quickly uploaded into a private album, by default.  You can set to share them with one or more circles when you upload or you can keep them private and share later. So simple.

#2 - Mute Posts – The Mute post option came so close to being number one on my list. It is a simple thing, but oh, so necessary.  If you have a topic on your Stream feed that no longer interests you, or a conversation that you don’t care to follow, you have the ability to get rid of it via the mute, report, or block options. Link To is also an option in the menu if the conversation is something you want to pass along to others.  Mute post is the kind way of saying "shut up" or "not now" to someone on Google+!

#1 - Circles (and Streams limited sharing capabilities) – Circles is definitely my favorite feature of all!  Circles allow you to add people to different groups and categorize them.  For instance, I currently have a few different Circles categories:  friends, work, family, & following.  Each of these are groups of people I interact with differently.  For instance, I probably wouldn’t share pictures of my weekend exploits with my family or work circles, but would with my friends circle.  I can use the family circle to keep up to date on the upcoming family reunion, and I can chat with co-workers about the latest and greatest SEO happenings in my work circle.  The best part is no one has to read conversations from me that do not pertain to them.  Each circle sees only what they need to see.  No superfluous junk!  If you do happen to  have a big announcement you want to share with everyone, you can easily do that as well.  You do not have to be in your Circles to segregate your posts, you only need to designate who gets to see what right from your posting bar in Stream (via Share what’s new…).

In a not so tiny nutshell, those are my top five favorite features that Google+ has to offer right now.  Keep in mind that what we are seeing in these early stages is Google+ for the individual. With the scheduled roll out of Google+ For Business later this year, Google has the means to integrate much of what they already excel at (search, Google Checkout, advertising, analytics, mapping, and communication) and bundle everything together in one tidy and potentially powerful package for business entities. More on that when Google releases it!

by Tammy Smith SEO Analyst, Page 1 Solutions, LLC

Friday SEO Link Love – May 14 Edition

Friday, May 14th, 2010

We’re introducing a new feature here on White Hat, Black Belt: A weekly link wrap up where each optimizer shares their favorite articles from the week! Let’s get started…

Patti: I follow former co-worker Everett Sizemore because I like his style and he’s an invaluable resource here still at Page 1 Solutions. He posted this yesterday about how long-tail keywords generate better conversions. He shows a case study of a client who was trying to show for big keywords that were pretty much already cornered by a huge competitor. By targeting the long-tail keywords that are more specific to his client’s business, he now owns that area of the SERPs, and their page views have skyrocketed. Let the data speak for itself!

Tara: One hindrance of web analytics is that we are too often given data that is specific to a given client, leaving us without the ability to scale our data and compare across clients. This blog entry by Rich Devine of ZAAZ breaks the mold a little by showing us a way to compare Demand against Delivery across several sites… and with a simple formula to boot!

Debby: As always, I’m a fan of the White Board Friday post by Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz. This week, he talks about Google’s May Day update where a lot of us saw a drop off in the traffic from long-tail keywords from Google. The best lesson to take away: Breathe deeply and relax!

Becky: My favorite blog post this week has to be Local SEO Planning Tip – Determine the Geo Limits of a Search, posted just today by Mike over at Blumenthals. I used it to take a look at a client’s Google boundaries this afternoon during a discussion about whether or not to target Santa Clarita. (His office is in L.A.) Understanding the geographic limitations of any given search is a HUGE advantage. Big, big kudos and love to Mike for this one!

Mike, Kristen, and John aren’t around today, but I’ll wrangle their opinions next week! Have a great weekend, everyone!

5 Lessons from the Road: Address Your Audience!

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Whew! Just got back from a whirlwind wedding, honeymoon and road trip combo – and of course, being the web junkie that I am, I couldn’t help but think about work. (Bad Tara, bad!) Here are some lessons from the road on how to address your online audience!

5. If they want X, they’ll probably want Y. One thing that really impressed me about our honeymoon cruise to Ensenada was how well our cruise liner had thought of everything we could possibly want to do (or spend money on). For example, they plan on doing a formal night on the cruise, which is great for fools like me who like to make anything romantic. Then, as you make your way to your formal dinner, feeling dressed to the nines, there’s a staff of professional photographers waiting to take your portrait. I couldn’t turn them down! Even with the $20/print pricetag.

You can take this lesson and apply it to your website by really thinking about which services or products your clients will want in addition to what they’re offering on the page. For example, a cosmetic surgeon’s page on liposuction might be a great place to put a Call-to-Action for brachioplasty (arm lift) or buttock augmentation. This helps your bounce rate, time on site and helps convert visitors to patients.


Choosing your URL : Take a long term approach

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

The URL you choose for your business’ web site can play a major factor in the long-term success of your online marketing campaigns, and of your business. I want to outline in the next few paragraphs some of the do’s and don’ts for choosing a URL that will work for, not against you. (more…)