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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.


March 28, 2012

Want a job? Password, please! – Facebook Won’t Sue Employers for Privacy Infringements

*UPDATE*

House Republicans Votes Down Stopping employers asking for Facebook Passwords

"House Republicans today defeated an amendment introduced yesterday that would have banned employers demanding access to Facebook accounts. While the practice isn’t widespread, it has caused a big brouhaha after reports surfaced that some organizations were requiring workers to hand over Facebook passwords as a condition of keeping their current job or getting hired for a new one."

Following up on my blog post from Monday titled: "Employer’s Asking for Facebook Credentials",
I detailed an alarming situation in which there have been many reports of employers asking potential hires for their Facebook credentials in order to check their online interactions to use as a hiring factor.

privacy cartoon

Facebook stated that doing so not only undermines the privacy and security expectations of both the user and the user’s contacts, but exposes the employer to legal liability. Furthermore Facebook legal representatives have clearly stated that sharing or soliciting a user’s login credentials is in direct violation of their Statement of Rights & Responsibilities.

"If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends," Facebook Chief Privacy Officer for Policy Erin Egan said in a statement. "We have worked really hard at Facebook to give you the tools to control who sees your information. As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job. And as the friend of a user, you shouldn’t have to worry that your private information or communications will be revealed to someone you don’t know and didn’t intend to share with just because that user is looking for a job."

Initially it seemed that Facebook was considering legal action to protect its 845 million users by either getting politicians to pass a law stopping this practice, or outright suing employers shown to have asked persons to divulge their information.

"Facebook takes your privacy seriously," Egan said in a statement. "We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges. While we will continue to do our part, it is important that everyone on Facebook understands they have a right to keep their password to themselves, and we will do our best to protect that right."

Until this statement, the only advocacy group willing to protect Facebook users was the American Civil Liberties Association which has deemed these practices as an invasion of privacy and has released this video on YouTube called: "Want a job? Password, please!" in response. The video details the a scenario in which a corrections officer said he required to turn over his Facebook credential or risk failing recertification to that would allow him to work in the state’s prison system.

"It’s an invasion of privacy for private employers to insist on looking at people’s private Facebook pages as a condition of employment or consideration in an application process," ACLU attorney Catherine Crump said in a statement. "People are entitled to their private lives. You’d be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside. It’s equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person’s private social media account."

In an updated statement, Erin Egan clarified their previous statement that while it wants to protect its users from employers demanding access to their accounts, they currently have no plans to sue any employers for any such actions.

"We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think its right the thing to do. While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users."

While the practice of asking employees for private information has been occurring for a few years, it seems that recent events have helped to rekindle the controversy over online privacy and the need to protect the rights of individuals.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:36 am

Categories:Facebook,Privacy

 

 

March 26, 2012

Employer’s Asking for Facebook Credentials

There has been a rash of complaints and public outcry arising over companies asking potential employees for their Facebook login credentials. Several complaints have been filed in Canada and the United States of documented cases in which job applicants have been asked to surrender their Facebook username and password during job interviews.

1984 comic

Using social profiles as a resource to screen potential employees is not new, but demanding that users turn over passwords has garnered attention from government officials and has been condemned by Facebook as "distressing"

This disturbing trend in the US job market has legislators hastening to protect individuals from such practices. Fortunately labor laws in Canada already offer strong protection against employers asking for personal information. US laws are much more lax and there have been many instances reported where prospective employers has required employees to reveal this information as part of the vetting process. In other cases, candidates have been asked to log onto their social networks on computers at the job site or requested to become friends with a hiring manager while still in the interview process. Illinois and Maryland have both tabled legislation that would forbid public agencies from gaining access to social networks.

Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan cautioned in a post on Friday that if an employer discovers that a job applicant is a member of a protected group, the employer may open itself up to claims of discrimination if it doesn’t hire that person.

"If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password," Erin Egan wrote. “This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends," wrote Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan. "It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability."

In the light of these reports, Facebook is warning employers not to demand login credentials from job applicants stating that is a blatant violation of privacy and of the Facebook term of use. Companies that access user profiles could easily find themselves facing a barrage of discrimination charges.

Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut want Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether employees asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews violates federal law.

Job seekers are within their right to ask employers to explain their motives behind obtrusive questions. Even if candidates resist such strong-arm tactics experts caution they should be on the lookout for more insidious ones.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:14 am


 

 

March 2, 2012

Beanstalk Minecraft 1.2 Contest

UPDATE: Contest has been EXTENDED until May 31st 2012 in order to give all participants a chance to finish their masterpieces.

As I mention on the blog yesterday, Minecraft 1.2x has been released, and today they are already at 1.2.3 (gee that’s easy!) after fixing some bugs.

Announcing:

Beanstalk's Minecraft 1.2 Contest

Minecraft Map Making Competition

  • First Prize: Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) tablet + Minecraft PE installed (~$300 value)!
  • Top 5 entries will be featured!
  • SMP, CMP, CSP, or SSP!
  • The Beanstalk map contest runs until May 31st, 2012
UPDATE: While we finalize map-upload options, if you want to submit a map for us to download please use this link so we know to send your submissions to the right folks. Thanks!

 

We really play a lot of Minecraft here and we have always wanted a 3d fly-by of a Beanstalk.

It wouldn’t be too hard to make something in SketchUp or pay someone to make something in 3DS or Blender, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun or as cool as doing it in Minecraft.

The problem we had was the man with the $50 to give away really felt that there should be a castle at the top of the Beanstalk, way above the clouds, for a ‘Jack’ to explore.

Up until recently there were only hacks/mods to make Minecraft maps above 128 z levels.

Now with Minecraft 1.2x and it’s Anvil format maps that issue is moot. Now there’s LOTS of vertical space to make the beanstalk, and a giant size castle!

The end result would be something like this without the limits that were in place when this video was made:

Personally I’d like to go for a giant beanstalk with a hollow interior, sort of twisting as it gets taller and more slender at the top. I’d also want to try and make something giant sized that works.. Like a light cube that’s built so that it still lights up when you hit a giant switch? Or a giant wood+wool version of a bed with a real bed placed just dead center so it looks right and is still functional?

Maps can be submitted from creative or survival, and it can be a multi-player or single player map, they just can’t require texture packs or mods to be scored. So you could fire up a server, invite a few friends, and raffle off the prize amongst yourselves, it’s up to you.

Maps submitted are ours, so you can’t send in a link to a server or a video, we want maps we can load up and test in-game. We might even offer the maps for download, but we’d have to confirm there’s zero ‘Easter eggs’ obviously.

For fairness we’ll pick the top 5 maps just to make sure we have some ‘say’ but the #1 map will be selected by voting (most of us are huge gamers/nerds so anyone can submit, anyone can vote).

I am trying to get something set aside as prizes for the top 5 (on top of the winner prize), but right now it’s up in the air and the only thing we can offer the runners-up is your name in print and your mapping skills featured/recognized on-line.

Beanstalk 1.2 Demo Map

This map was made for explaining the contest and as a summary of the changes in the 1.2 release.

Sadly we’re also busy SEOs and we can’t be doing keyword research while we’re building maps so I have to push this out ‘as-is’ and hope it’s still handy as a reference and gives folks some ideas, like how to get up a vertical shaft quickly.

Beanstalk 1.2 Demo Map Download
Beanstalk 1.2 Demo Map Download (DX version)
(DX version has 2 very large Menger sponges, and is very CPU intense. This ClearLightstone texture pack has a special ‘Menger’ Gold Brick texture.)

NOTE: Due to the differences between the weekly builds and the release versions, this map has some unusual lighting features that are not currently easy to re-produce.

This was especially difficult for me when I was making the ‘Beanstalk’ sign in the distance and only some blocks leak light. Once the lighting glitches are consistent I’ll re-visit that sign idea and animate it.;)

Up for entering? You can do so here.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:14 pm


 

 

February 8, 2012

Facebook & Google Concede to Indian Censorship

Following closely on the recent SOPA, PIPA and ACTA debates, an Indian court has ordered 21 technology companies, including Google and Facebook, to remove content it has deemed offensive. The Indian branched of both companies have complied with the rulings and have been asked to remove certain pages deemed to be religiously, socially or otherwise morally offensive.

Gandhi Censored

As in the rest of the world, Internet policing and censorship continue to be contentious topics. In India, authorities have passed laws that require web hosts to remove illegal or inappropriate content from their servers within 36 hours of notification.

Google has long held the reputation for being an advocate of freedom of speech and resisting government censorship but recent expansion into new markets is bringing many new challenges. Both Indian branches of Google and Facebook have not yet responded publicly to this censorship order.

David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer stated on the Google blog:

"Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement.

We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we’ve faced; it’s entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China."

In the past Google has endorsed a "don’t be evil" motto that has served them well by endearing themselves to the public. Free-speech advocates have chided Google for backing down to the Indian government. Google and Facebook are not alone in the debate over internet censorship. Even Twitter has recently unveiled a system which will allow the microblogging service to block out specific pieces of content based on local government laws and regulations.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:39 am


 

 

February 6, 2012

New Facebook & Twitter Addiction Study

A new study posted on the Medical Daily website, reveals that the need to check social accounts such as Twitter, Facebook or even email for updates may be even more tempting than using alcohol or cigarettes. In a study led by Asst. Prof. Wilhelm Hofmann of the University of the Chicago Booth School of Business, more than 200 participants between the ages 18 to 85 were given Blackberry phones to gauge their willpower "in the wild" outside a laboratory setting.

The study had researchers message the participants 7 times per day over 14 hours for 1 week asking the participants if they were experiencing a desire at the moment or had experienced an urge within the last 30 minutes.

The researchers went on to ask the participants about the type of desires they felt, the strength of the desire and whether or not it conflicted with other desires and if they resisted or submitted to their urge.
Researchers said that there were 10,558 responses and 7,827 "desire episodes" reported.

The study found that that as the day wore on, willpower became lower. Their paper says highest "self-control failure rates" were recorded with media. "Resisting the desire to work was likewise prone to fail. In contrast, people were relatively successful at resisting sports inclinations, sexual urges, and spending impulses, which seems surprising given the salience in modern culture of disastrous failures to control sexual impulses and urges to spend money."

It is especially hard for people to resist the desire to work even when it conflict with other goals such as socializing or leisure activities because "work can define people’s identities, dictate many aspects of daily life, and invoke penalties if important duties are shirked."

Hofmann suggested that the desires for media may be harder to resist because of its high availability and also because it "feels like it does not ‘cost much’ to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist," according to the Guardian.

"With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs – long-term as well as monetary – and the opportunity may not always be the right one. So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still ‘steal’ a lot of people’s time," he said to the publication.

Hofmann said that he and his team of researchers made it very clear to participants that answering the BlackBerry phones did not count as a case of submitting to an urge. He said that participants did not feel a need to use them, and the phones only alerted them once in a while and "if anything was more annoying than pleasing" he believed. He added that there was nothing else the Blackberrys could have been used for besides answering back to researchers. The study results are expected to be published in the journal Psychological Science.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:19 am


 

 

February 1, 2012

Which Social Site Do I Use? Part 4: Social Media Terminology

the thinkerThis is the last in our series of "Which Social Sites Do I Use?" In Part 3, we discussed how to link your social sites together to maximize their effectiveness. In this last installment we will cover some commonly used terminology to help get started in the world of social media.

Twitter Tweets/RT & Mentions:

  • A tweet is simply a message posted on Twitter. While all agree on usage of tweet as a noun, people disagree on whether you "tweet" or "twitter" as a verb.
  • RT stands for retweet: Users add RT in a tweet if they are reposting something from another person’s tweet.
  • A mention is any Twitter update that contains @username anywhere in the body of the Tweet; this means that replies are also considered mentions.

Google +1 Button, Circles & Sparks:

  • The +1 Button: Each time you click +1, you’re adding to the batch of sites that you are attaching to your online profile. You’ll find your full list of +1′s in a special tab on your public Google profile. You can show your +1′s tab to the world or choose to hide it.
  • Circles: You share different things with different people. But sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles make it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself, just like real life.
  • Hangouts: Bumping into friends while you’re out is one of the best parts of going out and about. With Hangouts, spontaneity hits the web. Whether you’re home in your pajamas or hitting the streets with your mobile phone, video hangouts let you bring up to 9 people into your world. It’s the next best thing to everyone being there.
  • Sparks: Google Spark would start on a single idea. Then, this idea would grow from collaborators’ comments, likes, and other ideas branching from this "spark". There would be connections, more connections and collaborating, and soon, a whole tree of ideas and support. A web of ideas revolving around a single motion, a single vision, linked by tags, keywords, and web links.

Facebook Likes & Recommends:

  • The Like Button lets a user share your content with friends on Facebook. When the user clicks the Like button on your site, a story appears in the user’s friends’ News Feed with a link back to your website. People are more accustomed and more familiar with this term. It is considered a more subtle action, and some people might feel less hesitant about liking something (rather than recommending it).
  • Recommend Button is a considered a stronger action than a "Like" and usually works well for negative (but interesting) content such as news stories. Followers may be more compelled to click a recommended link in their feed though some people may feel less compelled to make such strong action as a "recommendation" There is a perception that you would only recommend something that you firmly agree with or feel confident about recommending. Recommend also places a larger snippet in the Facebook news feed.

Take-Aways:

  • Don’t rely only on Social Networking. Use it in conjunction with a well developed, multi-tiered approach with might include traditional advertising.
  • Be willing to commit a significant amount of time, stay engaged and offer quality content.
  • Social media is about building up relationships online and instilling trust in your brand.
  • Engage with a deep understanding of your long-term business goals and mission statement and integrate them as part of an overall marketing strategy.
  • Put Social Buttons only to the most important networks on your site. Don’t overwhelm your visitors with too many.

Social media and networking is responsible for the biggest revolution in marketing and is undoubtedly responsible for the changing face of modern business networking. Staying engaged with your followers through social media allows businesses to stay closely connected with contacts, followers and customers in ways that traditional advertising and marketing could not.

Any business that is not fully engaged in social media is missing out on a increased customer base, increased sales and the potential for unparalleled growth.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:26 am


 

 

January 31, 2012

Stacking up Google optimization efforts

We keep optimizing our meta tags, keywords, link structure, content densities, markup, etc.. etc.. But how does Google optimize itself for us? If this is any sort of ‘relationship’ what’s Google been doing for us lately?

Comparing work done

Anti-Spam DMARC Efforts

One of the big problems with promoting on-line is the folks who don’t care about courtesy or the rules and they just spam everyone/anyone. The best way to cope with this is to never buy products we have seen ‘spammed’; Yet this has been a nerd mantra for so long, and clearly the consumers never got the message because spammers still get paid.

Because of all the abuse, legit advertisers have a bad reputation even before they get started. This is why we have captchas, whitelists, RBLs, and many many other annoying services that some people actually pay to use.

This is why we can't have nice things

Major email providers like Google and Microsoft (including Yahoo!/Hotmail), are working to ally with major online sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, PayPal, and more to work on the DMARC system to cope with not only spam, but phishing, fraud, password scams, ID theft, etc..

In a nutshell DMARC is:

..a technical specification created by a group of organizations that want to help reduce the potential for email-based abuse by solving a couple of long-standing operational, deployment, and reporting issues related to email authentication protocols.

Essentially it’s going to make ‘authenticated’ mail much more commonplace in hopes of raising the global bar on email authentication to help eliminate the spam problem. Still too long winded with the explanation?
Here’s an illustration of DMARC:

This is why we can't have nice things

New Privacy Policy

I’ve witnessed a lot of complaining about this move, and yet I haven’t seen one logical complaint I could ally myself with. Personally, I’m a GMail user who has already invested the deepest amount of privacy I can into Google just by using GMail. Each time Google releases a new product, if I use the same Google account as I do with other Google services, I ‘expect‘ it to be smart and use what Google knows about me to the fullest.

If I wanted a privacy division between Google Maps and GMail, I’d make a separate account and use multiple logins so that if I am hunting for the closest guitar shop I won’t have to deal with Guitar adverts getting special preference when I am logged into GMail. In fact, if I was looking for a gift for someone and I really loved the focus Google has on ‘me’, I might just use a fresh browser instance to keep Google from getting confused.

Fresh browser instance?! I know, that’s jargon and we promised to explain ourselves, so a quick demo of this is to load Chrome (sorry Moz lovers) and then right click on a normal link. In the right click menu you should see this:Chrome Incognito Option

This will open a Chrome Incognito window :
Sites in this tab will not see browser history!
Try visiting your popular sites to test!

If all goes well, as long as you use the incognito window, you will be able to use Google services, and others, without them easily tying the info to a particular account.

Keep in mind that the alternative to a unified privacy policy is a system where the users have to read each privacy policy for every Google service to make sure they understand each service. Then, if you wanted your data to be shared between services you’d have to not only go and manually ‘share’ the information, but you’d also better be praying or something to find a way to motivate Google spend the time to enable the link between services because as we know already, Google doesn’t waste much resources on things that aren’t going to be popular. When you make something like this automatic it changes the entire functionality of that idea and what would otherwise be a ‘wasted effort’ suddenly becomes a ‘big win’.

Kicking Keister in Kenya


If you haven’t read about the Mocality debacle (link removed ), you really aren’t missing that much, it’s more of a ‘How the heck?’ than anything.

In a nutshell:

There was a Google contractor in Kenya using Google IPs and identifying themselves as a Google entity that had been ‘scraping’ the sign ups from Mocality and stealing them away with lies.

When Google first heard of the situation there was a “No freaking way, let us investigate and get back to you.” response from the powers within Google looking into the issue. As things unfolded it became clear that Mocality was indeed providing honest information and that something very bad was happening over in Kenya under Google’s name. Google’s own team leads were ‘mortified’ over the details of how the situation unfolded.

At this point the head of the Kenyan offices for Google, Ms. Olga Arara-Kimani, has resigned stating she felt personally that ‘the buck‘ stopped with her and she wanted to take full responsibility.

While no official statement has come from Google there are signs that the investigation is over and that Google is already implementing measures to prevent something like this from happening again. I expect we’ll hear a few more details as things unfold.

How’s Chia Bart? Well he’s in limbo, and I haven’t started the re-plant. Time for a vacation I think? :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:23 pm


 

 

January 24, 2012

Focus on the profit

In the first minute of the offical ‘hard hitting’ video called ‘Focus on the user’ they stab at the heart of the Google+ social search issue:
They do a search for ‘cooking
Then they click on the ‘most relevant cooking result within Google+
Afterwards they compare that with a search for ‘Jamie Oliver‘ and complain:

cooking‘ isn’t very relevant to the latest info from ‘Jamie Oliver

Twitter and Facebook wimper about Google+ social search

Don’t believe me that they did this? Go watch it again, they actually want us to feel outrage that ‘cooking’ doesn’t link us to the most relevant info for ‘Jamie Oliver’.

The authors of the plugin fully admit that they are getting the results info from Google itself, and just don’t want to say the words “Google is simple showcasing it’s services” instead they want to make it out to be a matter of ‘evil’ and ‘holding back’. If they didn’t at multiple times in the video slip up and show how you can still get the top results without using their plugin I’d say they had a case.

As much as there is to roll my eyes at, from an SEO standpoint, everything about focusontehuser.org is brilliant. The back-links must be pouring in, and I saw a very clever ‘click here to get your results to show’ link in the video that could be a real profit mill for them (their marklet’s broken right now or I’d investigate).

Don’t get me wrong, I know this scripting project was backed by Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace (it’s still going), so it already had some deep pockets, but in my opinion, it looks like the devs had some deeper ‘evil’ ideas?

While we are still on the ‘Google+ Social is Evil’ topic, the changes to support nicknames, pseudonyms, and maiden names is apparently done and now you can socialize however you wish on Google+. A more ‘evil’ company would have stuck to the original, and far more profitable design which requires valid names and serious privacy commitment.

To read more about the new Google+ naming policy put out on Monday just hop on over to Bradley Horowitz’s Google+ page.

I know this is the part where I slap up a picture of Chia Bart’s amazing growth and progress.. but someone decided to help him out and drain his water tray so he’s really wilted right now and I’m trying to get some life back into him. Perhaps I’ll do an update after lunch if he perks up? :)

Bart sprang back a fair bit, had to zoom to see the wilt!

SEO news blog post by @ 11:23 am


 

 

January 23, 2012

Which Social Sites Should I Use? Part 3: Linking Social Accounts

This is the third installment of my blog series on using social media to promote your brand or business. The first two parts are here:

Now that you know how to setup your social accounts and who the main social players are, it is time to tie all of your accounts together.

TwitterFeed

TwitterFeed is a program that allows you to syndicate several RSS or Atom feeds and sends them directly to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook (and a few others) This allows you to produce a steady stream of content to your social sites that will help to increase your level of activity. You will also want to check each social platform you use to see if you can like other social sites you are using.

the thinker

  • Use only high PageRank news feeds from reputable sites. Ensure that the feeds are not coming from your competition as they will invariably contain promotions which may lure your readers away. Stay focused on relevant news topics to keep your readers engaged.
  • Include your company’s blog feed into TwitterFeed. This is the best way to not only keep your followers tuned in to current news about your industry, but enables you to send out specific, content designed to convert your followers into customers.

Most social platforms allow you to spread your updates across other networks which can lead to syndication loops. An example would be syndicate your TwitterFeeds to Facebook and Twitter and then inadvertently telling Facebook (or LinkedIn, etc.) to send status updates into Twitter.

Because the RSS feed comes into Facebook as a status update, you get the same RSS going to back to Twitter. This can have the unwanted effect of you being penalized for distributing duplicate content which can severally affect your site’s search engine rankings.

The real secret to success with social media is to stay actively engaged with your audience on a consistent basis. The more you participate, the greater the reward will be. You should consider spending at least a few days per week engaging, responding and generally participating in all of the networks you are connected with. The real "trick" to social media is to be consistently involved with your community by sharing content, Tweeting (and retweeting), commenting on other posts and producing high quality, relevant content for your followers to share.

Klout.com

It is one thing to stay actively engaged across your social networks, but how do you measure success? Indicators for measuring your success may include the number of contacts and followers you have, the increase in conversions, or the number of likes or retweets your posts are getting.

If you are wondering about your progress once you step in to the social world, you can use a web utility like Klout.com to follow your progress. The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage you influence others. The Klout Score uses data from a variety of social networks in order to measure:

  • True Reach: How many people you influence.
  • Amplification: How much you influence them.
  • Network Impact: The influence of your network.

TIPS

  • It is important to keep your public and private networks separate and distinct. Do not use your personal Facebook page to promote your business. Create a separate, personal space where you can chat with grandma and put up those pictures from your "crazy weekend."
  • Choose a marketing representative or individual from your company that does not mind having a public profile linked to your business account and that you feel will portray your company in the best light.
  • Build up your marketing representative’s online persona by following only legitimate, valuable businesses and people. It is of vital importance to aim for quality or quantity.
  • Avoid promotional networks on Twitter such as #TeamFollowBack and similar groups that attempt to lure you in to following them in return for gaining followers from them. These may have a short time gain, but if you cannot vouch for the validity of each and every member of this network you may find yourself associated with those that do not share your ethics or personal values. It is also an attempt to game the system which will inevitably lead to several penalties.
  • Once you have a solid, well-developed persona, complete social profiles and have gained a some followers, you can create a business page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php ) and Google+ (http://www.google.com/+/business/ ) and consider getting involved in a few secondary social networks.
  • Ensure that your website keeps your viewers socially engaged with social media button that readily allow them to share, like and otherwise spread your content.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:19 am


 

 

January 11, 2012

SEO Effects of Social Search

Yesterday we covered the hot topic of Google’s social search from a very ‘news’ perspective. If you haven’t watched the tour video take a minute and hit play on the video below.

The truth is that Google is rolling this new search functionality piecemeal just in the same way as most of the recent features. So if I try to explore the option from my work account I get no offers and I’d have to cheat to go play with it right now.

However, on my personal account the option comes right up and my personal account has a smaller social circle than my work account so it seems to me that it’s just a work-in-progress at the moment.

A visit to the Google Inside Search site gives us a bit more confirmation:

If you aren’t seeing the features of Search plus Your World, don’t worry, we’re rolling them out over the next few days.

.. so if you’re not getting the option to try it out, it should come along soon!

Here’s a ‘hands on’ example of ‘Search plus Your World’ for a phrase I personally talk about a lot, ‘minecraft’:

Demonstration of Search plus Your World using the phrase 'minecraft'.

The first thing that occurs to me is that Danny talks about Minecraft WAY more than anyone else, but the second thing that gets my interest is that there’s nothing in the results that I wouldn’t have read or couldn’t get from poking my head into Google+.

Going back to that video from Google that we linked earlier, I have to admit this looks like a very over-hyped feature where 90% of the interesting parts of the video aren’t things we can do with the new search feature. This almost feels like a Microsoft product that was invented by marketers as something to market with zero user interest?

Well that’s my opinion dealt with, but what about SEO factors of this new feature?

A ton of questions come to mind that need to be answered, here’s a few :

  • Who stands to gain from these types of searches?
  • What sites will be negatively impacted?
  • What should websites be doing to take advantage of this new feature?

The first one’s easy, Google, and particularly, Google+ will gain the most from this new search behaviour. Google has always wanted you to find what you want within their domain/services, and limiting your search to a Google owned property, selling it as a great feature, works so well for Google’s overall goals. If you don’t believe that Google wants to keep you inside their services, as you use Google products challenge yourself to consider ‘What more could Google do to keep me inside their networks?’ and I think you’ll start seeing all the efforts they are making to give you what you want instantly vs. leaving Google to visit an external site.

Social media sites that were getting a lot of commercial traffic/advertising will be the hardest hit by this move. If a client came to me and said “We’re on all the big sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Squidoo, etc.. but we haven’t bothered with Google+.” I would be forced to assume they were Australian with such an opposite approach. The same thing would follow with campaign strategies where a company looking at time spent vs. returns would be silly to start a social media campaign anywhere but on Google+ first.

If you have a website that isn’t already following the guidelines for linking between Google+ and your site, you need to start there and then work on building up followers. Ideally you want people talking about your products/services more than your competition so I’d strongly urge someone within your company to engage in Google+ social media efforts on a weekly basis if not more. While it’s pointless to have infinite reach and zero relevance, you also want to be very ‘friendly’ doing whatever it takes to get people to take enough interest in your company pages to follow, +1, add to circles, etc..

In fact the last bit of advice will be a recurring theme for early 2012 where we will be looking at super organic ways to get your product/services out to relevant sections of the internet.

A good example would be a product that is easy to find on-line, but very technical/tricky to work with. Selling the product puts you in the same group as everyone else selling that product, but offering expertise on that product will raise your profile quickly while generating interest/informing potential clients. If you can get links from grateful recipients the effort will pay for itself, and the people you come in contact with are very likely to draw in more clients due to the way that social media is sharing business leads via friend connections.

Typical of Spring, the sooner you plant this ‘social seed’ the sooner it will grow into something that can support your on-line efforts.

Speaking of growing, Chia Bart is getting a little leafy already!

Chia Bart is sprouting nicely.Bart’s beans are sprouting!

SEO news blog post by @ 3:17 pm


 

 

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