Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Is Twitter The Future of Search?

After reading the interviews BusinessWeek did this month with Google execs I started thinking a little more about search, where it’s headed and what effect it will have on SEOs and search marketers. You get the feeling that Twitter has search in turmoil. Both Microsoft and Google are trying to cut deals with Twitter to license Twitter feeds. In the Business Week interview Matt Cutts makes a comment that Google had crawled BusinessWeek 7 minutes before he visited it. Sadly he tried to imply that this was unique to using Google, going as far as saying other search engines could be 4 or 5 days. In my research Bing has been crawling news sites nonstop for a while. The point is that Bing and Google are very concerned with real time, Twitter has proved that real time is where it’s at.
When asked about an option to request Google results for the last 5 minutes Udi Manber, vice-president of engineering and head of the search quality group, responds “we already have that” but in the very next breath he says it’s 24 hours not 5 minutes. It’s obvious the reality of Twitter’s appeal is on his mind. tweety Does the fight for Twitter feeds mean we will see #1 and #2 results dominated by inane comments from Twitter in the future? Let’s hope not.
Amit Singhal runs the core ranking team at Google and in his interview with NewsWeek he does calm some of my fears but he also has Twitter on his mind. When answering the question “what about truly real-time search?” Amit includes in his answer “it’s not just Twitter”. Yes, it appears Twitter is on everyone’s mind. He does say that just because something is said right now doesn’t mean it should be put in front of the search results.
Who knows, maybe quality will remain the goal and we won’t see search dumbed down to reality TV.
What about Eric Schmidt? He has something to say about Twitter too. His concern is how to rank the data and include it in results. He makes the comment that “Twitter and Facebook aren’t the last things we’ll see”.
So what does all the chatter and concern about Twitter and Facebook mean for the SEO business? I can see a real issue if the search giants don’t have the resources for real-time. They might reduce the crawl on the small business sites to weeks or months so they can increase crawl times for popular sites to minutes. We might find it takes much longer to get a new site listed or a new design or content indexed. It could also be the next blow to quality. We saw what AdSense did to the web so I can imagine the SPAM tactics that will evolve once real time is indexed.

Time will tell, tweet on.

—David Blizzard

Facebook Pages in SERPs

It’s happening! Small companies that can’t afford high dollar SEO work are starting to see their Facebook Business Pages appear in the search engine results. They can get results for keywords faster and cheaper on Facebook than they can’t get with their own company website by leveraging Facebook’s authority. Will we start seeing more abuse with long keyword stuffed page names? Probably, just like page sculpting with the nofollow tag we will once again see how creative the populace is when it comes to taking advantage of something. Is there a new policy for business pages on the horizon? Should there be? Eventually it all works out just like hidden text, keyword meta abuse, and 60 character 10 hyphen domain names but how long will it last or how far will it go is yet to be seen.

Don’t get left behind, get your business on facebook but beware, your content will be indexed and it should convey a feeling of professionalism. Every marketing avenue that leads to your company is another door to your store, be careful what you put on display in the window.

Check out Hubspots free eBook: How To Use Facebook for Business

—David Blizzard

Social Networking is Marketing

Can social media be used to market your company? Yes, print media and telemarketing are giving up a lot of ground to Internet marketing and social networking could be another nail in the coffin. Social media can be used for marketing, branding, and customer relations but is it really free? Not at all, anything that takes your time or an employee’s time is not free. You need to determine the cost and estimate the value in order to budget for this avenue of marketing.

The Twitter buzz: Here are some good starter tips right from the horse’s mouth, Twitter 101 a Special Guide. You can use Twitter to mingle and rub elbows, virtually. You can find out when people are talking about your company or products and services. You can respond to questions about your service and make new connections. You can provide a link to your Twitter account on your company website and blog and give customers a look at your personal side. In moderation you can use Twitter for SEO by linking to new product releases or blog posts but it should be a low percentage of your overall tweets. Twitter is not a great SEO tool, it’s Internet marketing.

Step back now and look at your business without the rose colored glasses. Are you really so big and popular that you need to watch for tweets about your company? Is monitoring Twitter going to improve your customer service? For small companies the answer is probably no so don’t buy in too deep. Stick with the things that will benefit you.
Do you really have something to offer, something to say, or something you can give away? If the answer is yes then start tweeting and building your social network. Spend a few hours per week building a network and offering something of value. Value may be found in humorous replies, interesting sub culture news, industry news, personal experience with a product, free samples, free work, or just be that person that lets others know someone is listening. You aren’t selling your services directly, you are marketing your company.
Remember, if your customers can’t get a reply to an email or a call back because you are too busy Tweeting then you have missed the point of Twitter.

We know Facebook is the cat’s meow for personal socializing but how is it for business? It’s not anywhere near as hot as Twitter for business but the water is warm. Facebook has a different set of rules for business accounts or pages. Should you set up a company page on Facebook? If you have the staff to use Twitter to its potential then you probably have the resources to maintain a company Facebook page so the answer is yes. If you are a small company and you are going to set up a facebook page and then neglect it as if setting it up was all you needed to do then no, you shouldn’t. If you have time to make new product or service announcements then it can be useful. Did you know you can run an ad campaign on Facebook?

Some other sites to consider are and . Like Facebook, they will require some setting up and then maintenance but only occasional work is required. With both sites you need to build your connections and with MerchantCircle you can try adding coupons and get your customers to write reviews. That reminds me, Google Maps offers the ability to offer coupons and reviews too.

Blogging is probably the number one social media that can improve your visibility, build brand, keep customers informed, and it can be leveraged for search engine optimization. If you have a blog you should make it a unique host name like blog.[yourdomain].com or a unique domain name. I believe there is some value in your blog being a separate site rather than [yourdomain].com/blog. Don’t use free blog services for a company blog. You should treat your blog just like you do your company website and build something of value on a domain name that you own. Unlike Twitter where you will make connections almost immediately a blog requires marketing and SEO work the same as your company website. A blog has all of the marketing and social value of Twitter and Facebook and then some but it does require more work.

Should you use some of your advertising budget to advance your social networking? Social networking is marketing so you could justify this. You might want to take some of your print media budget and try hiring a copywriter to advance your blog until you have more time yourself or the staff to do it for you.

Email marketing, is it social networking? Yes, a newsletter is a very good example of social networking. Let people know what is new with your company, include customer success stories, contests or drawings, tutorials, you can even share videos. As long as it’s not all about a sale or laced with ads or buy now buttons then you are networking. If you are giving and not trying to sell then it’s networking. Like I said, networking is marketing.

That’s it, the basics. Smaller companies should not get caught up in the hype and neglect normal business operations. Do what you can now, grow your company and then you can increase the time you spend on social media when you have the time or staff to accomplish your goals.

—David Blizzard