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Google is 14 Years Old and Under Arrest

Well I guess ’14′ is not a very important number, since Google’s own birthday doodle is an animated GIF:

Google's 14th Birthday Doodle Gif
Does that really say PooP?

.. unless you count this ’14′ year old girl with ’14′ million views?

[iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lXbC1p8jaKU?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]

That’s evil Google, even if you didn’t actually make that the top search result for ’14 years old’, it’s very evil. ;)

Stop! Jail Time!

Speaking of unintentional evils, Google’s chief executive in Brazil, Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, was arrested and then released after a Brazilian court found him guilty of violating South American pre-vote election laws.

Fabio’s crime? He denied a request to have politically sensitive videos removed from YouTube.

The same judge also ordered a .5 million dollar per day ‘penalty’ for Google to pay if it continues to host the videos!

Since the videos are not in English and most of the news sources are English, finding these ‘horrible’ videos isn’t very easy.

Here’s one explaining a connection between the candidate for Mayor, Alcides Bernal, and a money laundry scheme with a co-operative taxi service.

[iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/OUPRVnnBeds?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]

My Portuguese is pretty non-existent, but even without Google TranslateOpen in a New Tab, it’s pretty clear that the candidate for Mayor isn’t being promoted favorably in this video.

Google is facing similar political pressures over the recent anti-Muslim videos, including fines, however they are all currently being left online by YouTube/Google as it’s very clear that no rules of the service have been violated and removing the videos would merely make people want to share them even more.

Bearded Sikh Woman Teaches Reddit A Lesson

In fact these political types could learn a great lesson from a young Sikh woman who recently was ridiculed for not tending to her facial hair/beard over on Reddit’s r/funny boards : source

Ugly remarks like: “Transgender Sikh Dwarf” didn’t phase Balpreet!

Rather than get upset, Balpreet Kaur, took the attention as an opportunity to register with Reddit as a new user and explain herself in a calm respectful manner.

This resulted in a huge cultural awareness among the thread readers, and she is currently being hailed as an outstanding example of how to handle criticism.

Here’s the full storyOpen in a New Tab (with twitter reactions) over on CBC News.

You go girl! :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:36 pm on September 27, 2012


 

Vote Jeff Brandes for .. I really don’t know ..

I really don’t follow Canadian politics that closely, much less US politics, much less US political activity on a state level, but today I wanted to vote for Jeff Brandes after watching a YouTube video from his competition:

My apologies if the video is removed by the time you click on it.
It really is that bad.

Watching that video is like watching a really well polished piece from The Onion vs. a serious attack on a political candidate.

If you’ve been reading this blog for long you’ll notice a few articles about Google’s self driving cars, and Google Drive (totally unrelated, nerds!), so you know we don’t look at them as “Black Magic”.

The beginning of the clip is a quote from Forbes:

“Driverless Cars for All: More DANGEROUS Than Driving”

This is so misplaced that today Forbes even commented on the video pointing out the original article title was:

“Driverless Cars For All: An Idea More Dangerous Than Driving.”

.. and actually focused on the freedom to still pilot a car once they are able to drive themselves.

The Onion Logo

The video continues to ramp up the stupid by showing how old ladies that wander into traffic are risky, and repeats a clip of a Prius steering wheel spinning from lock to lock, as if that’s how we should think robots drive.

My guess is that someone neglected to tell the elderly who helped with this ad that a robot driven car is not only less likely to run over pedestrians, but also a solution to the elderly needing transportation.

Wasn’t it just last month they announced that Google’s driver-less cars have logged more than 300,000 miles of driving without a single accident? Are the folks that made this advert over a month behind in technology news?

The end of the video wraps up with how ‘out of touch’ Jeff Brandes is but this is a man who wants driverless cars which can avoid pointless return trips/parking, and to hire people to collect tolls on clogged bridges to reduce traffic, in a state with ongoing job cuts and pollution issues.

Yep, it’s like something straight from The Onion, but the tears are more pain than laughter. At least the competition is getting a load of attention/traffic sources from the video, far more than anything else they have put out.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:52 am on August 14, 2012


 

SOPA Friends: Internet League of America

The recording industry, agents, and vendors of music aren’t the only ones spending way too much of their profits on lobbying the government. Major internet companies that see the harm of bills like SOPA/PIPA are spending the time and money to fight back against this lobbying.

[jwplayer config="SmallThumb" mediaid="4737"]

Not to be confused with SuperFriends..

This organization is less about crime and more about reasonable expenses for making sure government is making informed decisions.

Google alone spent $3.9million in the second quarter of 2012, and $5.4million in 2012 total so far trying to help government see the internet as more than just a ‘series of tubes’.

Google isn’t alone in fighting for your rights, Amazon’s spending between Jan 2012 and June 2012 was pegged at $1.34million, EBay spent nearly as much at $827k, and Facebook also jumped into the fight for $650k of lobbying.

It stands to reason then that if they all had the same message a lot of time and money could be saved by joining forces, and this is how the Internet Association has come to be.

With Google, Amazon, EBay and Facebook already signed into the Internet Association it’s already huge and it’s still in the ‘coming soon’ phase of setting up.

This new group should not be confused with existing organizations like The Internet Defense League which are seeking other solutions to keeping people informed as to threats to online access/freedom.

A few sites (RIAA partners?) are panning this as ‘evil‘ and un-Google for companies to work together to support a shared message to the government, but I think anyone who knows the extent of SOPA/PIPA and other bills will see that spin for what it really is, fear and loathing of anything that stands in the way of an easy profit.

Google Fiber

Google Fiber Appliances
Remember us writing about Kansas City dark fiber, Google’s plans to light it up, and the various media/recording industry fears/objections?

While I was composing this article on the new Internet Association I managed to eavesdrop on the details coming from the live broadcast at the launch of Google Fiber in Kansas this morning.

Google Fiber Announcement Center

Here’s what I caught (again this was just details I overheard and not officially published):

  • Google Fiber is run right to your house
  • A fiber-conversion firewall appliance converts the optical signal
  • The Google fiber-wall has built in WiFi and 4 gigabit RJ45 ports
  • The WiFi radio is very fast (no specs given) and features a guest portal system
  • Google Fiber offers TV boxes that act as WiFi boosters
  • The TV boxes stream Netflix/Youtube in HD quality with more options to follow
  • Google’s TV boxes work with Bluetooth headphones and can be controlled by Bluetooth devices
  • Currently purchasing a TV box will including a free Nexus 7 Tablet that acts as a remote control for the TV box.
  • $300 is mentioned as the ‘construction fee’ to send a Google rep to your home to install the fiber cable.
  • $120/mth for the TV and Gigabit Internet package (on 2 year contracts the $300 fee is waived)
  • $70/mth for just Gigabit fibre internet (no install fee for 1yr contracts)
  • $Free/mth 5mbps down, 1mbps up, of capped fiber access to anyone who wants to pay the $300 install fee
  • The free service option is guaranteed for anyone in the service area for 7 years
  • You can pay the $300 fee off over time if you wish as an incentive to connect everyone regardless of income levels
  • 1TB of Google Drive storage (directly linked to the Fibre) comes with the $70/mth and up packages
  • No mention of monthly data use caps, but they would need to be fairly generous

Google Fiber Building in Kansas
Apparently they are deciding which homes get fiber first by running a lobbying contest where they reward the communities that lobby other communities the most. The speaker tried to sell this as ‘doing it for Kansas’ and ‘spreading the word about what fiber really means’, but of all the announcements, there was no applause for
this.

Clearly most of Kansas is tired of waiting for Google Fiber and would like to start actually using it vs. running around ‘competing’ with other communities for the first chance to get hooked up.

It’s an odd move for Google but you have to respect that they had to find a fair way to select the first communities to get connected.

UPDATE: They have published the official Google Fiber data plans and yes, there’s NO DATA CAPS. Wow.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:25 am on July 26, 2012


 

The Google/Netflix Internet Land Grab

There are indications of an apparent paradigm shift occurring with how your favorite streaming content is delivered to you. There appears to be a “land grab” by large corporations to move their servers next to their ISPs networking infrastructure in order to minimize lag and increase profits.

land grab game

In a typical setup, when you want to watch a YouTube video, your traffic get sent across your ISP servers, over the internet then to the website’s data center (where the movie is) and then sends the data back to your ISP and then to your computer.

There is a growing move by large content delivery networks to move to a more streamlined infrastructure by moving CDNs to the ISPs. This allows companies such as Google and Comcast to save a lot of money in bandwidth traffic charges from their ISPs by reducing the amount of bandwidth required by these services and the ability to speed up the delivery of the content to consumers. Reports indicate that as many as 100 CDNs are looking to move theirs servers to a co-location setup with service providers.

Google has been making the move with its own content delivery network for several years now, and Netflix has just announced that it will be following suit in their Netflix Open Content Delivery Network. Over 70% of all Netflix traffic is being served in through server’s setup directly at several ISPs. Prior to January all of their traffic was being distributed through CDN companies such as Level 3, Akamai and Limelight.

CDN Traffic

The Internet is in its Golden Age of video. There is such a large volume of traffic being generated from online video and movie providers that many networks are striking up deals directly with the ISPs themselves to get as close to the source as possible. Video providers such as Netflix can lower their operating costs by paying less for bandwidth and be able to deliver content at higher speeds (and even HD content). However, it is only the largest content providers that can afford to do so, which inevitably forces out the smaller players in the market, squashing all competition.

Editor of StreamingMedia.com Dan Rayburn doesn’t call it a land rush.“Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and others are doing this,” stated Rayburn, “There are a handful of companies that are large enough,” he says. “But you have to be a certain sized company doing enough traffic.”

Andy Ellis, chief security officer with Akamai agrees that companies are moving to cache their content locally with ISPs, but stated that there are many services such as security and analytics that Akamai can sell them. “I don’t think we’re yet seeing a land rush into the ISPs,” he says. “I think you have to be really, really big to be interesting enough to the ISPs.”

On the surface, this could sound disastrous for third party CDNs, but we have seen time and again how competition can keep the marketplace robust and lower prices for the consumer.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:04 pm on June 11, 2012


 

It’s all coming up Google?

When it’s my turn to tackle the SEO news for our blog I first look specifically at ‘technology’ news headlines for relevance, and then I usually filter it out a bit to nail a topic that our readers can relate to/find useful.

Today’s news feed looks like I just went to Google’s news blog and did a copy/pasta, yet in reality Google WAS the news this morning.

Here’s the list of headlines:

    • Google places is gone and now merged with Google+ Local
    • Google Plus places now features Zagat review information (Kyle mentioned this in yesterday’s blog post)
    • Facebook drops Google chrome as a recommended browser (and then removes the whole page)
    • Google’s new ChromeOS Chromebox is available for purchase
    • Google’s not yet available ’5-core’ Nexus 7 tablet makes a sneaky appearance a few days early on a benchmarking website
    • And a new Google World of Wonders video from Japan:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u58wgeS-jC4

Google+ Places

First impression?

“Pretty cool, and very personalized information about locations in my area.”

Right off the bat it told me where Dave likes to eat..

Which was funny because he’s recommending a restaurant that’s famous for either utterly ruining every aspect of the dinning experience or totally nailing it.

Google Plus Places
Dave must be lucky. ;)

So like anything on-line:
Zagat reviews aren’t perfect.
Everyone has an opinion.
People have unique interests.

At least this is Google, so we know that it’s trying as hard as it can to learn and suggest things to ‘me’ based on personalization.

So if the first visit doesn’t introduce you to your new favourite restaurant/pub/coffee shop, I wouldn’t write it off, just try it again later.

Stock isn’t the only thing dropping over at Facebook

This image has been popping up in Google/Technology news all morning:
Facebook Unsupported Browsers

Since Chrome and Safari both share the ‘webkit’ engine, there’s almost zero possibility that Facebook is dropping support for Chrome.

In fact I would say this is more about making Opera stand out vs. dropping support for Chrome. Especially since the FB developer page used to recommend Chrome!

Given that FB pulled this link down completely, I’m going to venture a guess that this was even possibly a mistake.

Chromebox for Sale

The Chromebox is a cute little SFF (small form factor) PC from Samsung with the ChromeOS preloaded and ready to go.
Google Chromebox
You can pick one up today for $329.. However if you don’t want some extra hardware, or wait for something to ship, you can download and install ChromeOS on an old laptop, or inside a virtual PC, to give it a try and see what’s good/bad about it before investing.

Thanks for going open source Google, we love you, again. ;)

Google Nexus 7 Tablet?

June is on my calendar for a ton of reasons, one of which is that it’s ’6 months’ from the date that Google said they were planning to launch a tablet ‘in six months’. :)

Asus is apparently the manufacturer, so the tablet will be sturdy.
NVidia’s ’5 core’ Tegra 3 Processor will be doing the thinking, so it will be fast and power smart.
NVidia also supplied the ULP GeForce graphics processor, so 3d graphics/games are supported.

Beyond those stats we’re really guessing based on this leaked info:
The unit that popped up on the benchmarks was running Android 4.1 JRN51B, at 1280×768 resolution, had 1GB of RAM installed, and 16GB of local storage.

So for now this is just a huge teaser and we’ll have to wait for a more official announcement.

Last day for Beanstalk Minecraft Map Submissions!

LAST DAY TO ENTER!

 

If you didn’t already know, we’ve been running a Minecraft Map Contest for the last two months and this is the final day for entries!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:56 pm on May 31, 2012


 

USA Dot COM

How do you feel about the US ‘owning’ .COM (and .cc, .net, .name, .org, and .tv) regardless of the international needs of the internet?
USA dot COM
Well the U.S. government feels pretty good about it and is exercising a controversial level of control over these TLDs by squeezing the US based VeriSign.

The logic is: if the businesses that control the domains are operating on US soil then it’s American controlled.

There has always been a desire to de-Americanize the internet by restructuring core components outside of US controlled entities but the cost and fears of this sort of uber-nationalist attitude have been ever-present roadblocks. It is sadly ironic then that the US itself isn’t safe from the whims of the local government.

Why so much attention when this has happened hundreds of times previously?

BoDog Poop'd On

Last week a Canadian registered .com (BoDog.com) was taken offline by federal US authorities because the site was making it possible for American citizens to gamble on-line with payouts.

BoDog.com’s business practices are not illegal globally however and having the site shut down by US authorities has a lot of people, myself included, complaining that this is going way too far.

The reason BoDog.com went down under US pressure is because it was registered with DomainClip in Canada which is merely a VeriSign subcontractor. Even then, you have an international business shuttered by the whims of one country’s governmental policies.

VeriSign is throwing it’s hands up in the air proclaiming innocence and pointing out that they are just abiding by court orders that the US based company is lawfully obligated to follow.

So does this mean that you should toss your SEO campaign aside and find a way to register the site outside of VeriSign’s control? Not necessarily.

Unless you are running a site that isn’t US based at all, or likely to come under fire from the US Government, there isn’t much to fear from this situation, at present. If you run an international gambling site and you made the mistake of registering it with a VeriSign affiliate, then you might want to go change it, quickly.

Personally, if this sort of activity continues unfettered, I expect to see a strong push for the ITU to take over some or all of ICANN’s roles. The internet isn’t just an American thing, it can’t be, and the international community won’t tolerate meddling much longer before some sort of action is taken.

And finally, on a different topic, yet similar struggle for control, I have to give Bing a mention for this amazingly bad anti-Google ‘Googlighting’ video:

Yep. Bing used YouTube to burn Google.

For anyone too young to remember 80s television, this was a parody of Moonlighting (TV series) and boy did they do a bad job of Bruce, not that their version of Cybil was much better.. ;)

Most companies can survive simply by putting their best foot forward. Bing seems to think this isn’t enough and that we need to be informed of how dumb we are buying using Google’s framework of tools.

Google was so moved by this advert that Mark Striebeck, the manager of GMail, wore a similar tie at a recent Google technology demonstration to show some good sportsmanship.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:17 am on March 6, 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:
[jwplayer mediaid="3484"]

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 on March 2, 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 on February 1, 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 on January 23, 2012


 

Which Social Sites Should I Use? Part 2: Breakdown of the “Big 5″

Continued from Part 1 of “Which Social Sites Should I Use?“:

Once you have established a strong following across these main five sites, you can consider participating in a few niche social sites based upon your industry, services or geographical location. The social properties you employ define your overall social persona. Subsidiary aspects of social media can be realized in terms of company branding, building company legitimacy and trust, and online reputation management.

Breakdown of "The Big 5"

Facebook

the thinker

Traditionally, Facebook was typically best for personal relationships and getting reacquainted with friends and acquaintances. You can also use it for work colleagues with whom you have personal relationships.

With the advent of Facebook Pages, businesses can now separate their personal and business faces into different "pages" You can think of this as a Yellow Pages advert promoting your business. It gives your viewers a chance to see some of your products and get to know a little about your company and their online social presence.

You can build Groups and add Events to further engage your followers. The success of a Page is based upon the number of "Likes" from visitors it receives. It is important to have a strong and reputable personal profile that will be connected to the Business Page to act as an administrator.

Facebook is best for "private networks" but is useful to generate an online business presence

LinkedIn

This is the most popular site for maintaining your professional business networks. You can search and connect with former work colleagues, business partners and network with people that you may not know but may be in a related industry.

Different sections of the site allow for employee recruitment in order to facilitate the hiring of your next employee. This is a particularly great feature as people in your business network may be able to personally recommend an individual in your industry. You can list current promotions and have colleagues or clients recommend you which helps to build a more credible profile.

LinkedIn is your "professional network"

Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform as it only allows for posts (or tweets”) limited to 140 characters. Although Twitter is not a website in the sense that Facebook or LinkedIn is, it is starting to adopt similar functionality. Recent additions of pictures, follower suggestions and groups seem to indicate that Twitter may be moving toward more of a destination site, rather than only a platform.

Twitter allows you to connect with a much broader group of people. Because you can follow someone that does not necessarily follow you back, connections can be one-way or two-way and allow you to broadcast status updates, links, etc without needing to have an involved conversation. However, those businesses that do pro-actively engage their followers find that Twitter is an effective medium for connecting with a large number of people and organizations without the formality of a "friend request".

Twitter is for your "public network"

Google+

Google+ is considered the company’s fourth foray into social networking. The New York Times have declared it as Google’s biggest attempt to rival the social network of Facebook, which had over 800 million users in 2011.

Google+ integrates social platforms such as Google Profiles and Google Buzz and introduces new services called Circles, Hangouts and Sparks. Google+ is currently available as a web site and is reported to be available soon as a desktop application. It is already available as a mobile application.

Google+ is best for advertising your business, as well as for public and private interactions

YouTube

Created by three former members of PayPal and launched in 2005, YouTube offers a site for users to upload, view and share videos. Traditionally, YouTube did not seem to be advantageous to online business promotion and was considered a personal social site. Increasingly the video platform has become a standard medium for the promotion a business. By creating a YouTube account, users are able to create a public "channel" where owners can upload video files showcasing products and offer promotional information.

Remember that the larger your social network, the more time that will be involved to maintain it. Stick with the main 5 (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+) and choose only a few from the specialty niche oriented social groups. It is always best not to spread yourself too thin. It is better to have a closely formed network with a good number of quality followers than it is to have a larger network spread over many social sites that you are not engaged with.

You need to link accounts together to increase their effectiveness. Linking can become a bit complicated if you are dealing with many social sites. You may want to create a text document that shows where your feeds are being syndicated to (see example).

YouTube is akin to a "television audience"

In Part 3, we will discuss Linking Your Social Accounts

SEO news blog post by @ 10:56 am on January 9, 2012


 

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