Check Out the Workshop Lineup at SMX Social Media Marketing – Best Rates Available Now

September 2nd, 2014

Attend a comprehensive workshop conducted by leading experts in internet marketing on November 18, immediately preceding SMX Social Media Marketing November 19-20 in Las Vegas. Workshop topics: Marketing Land’s Social Media Marketing Boot Camp: The editors of Marketing Land will get you up to speed…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

The Why, What, and How of Blogger Outreach for Your Clients

September 1st, 2014

Posted by JessicaEdmondson

I. Why you should care about blogger outreach

I work at Distilled as part of the Promotions Team where much of what I do is working with bloggers. My job in a nutshell is to make the right demographic aware of my client’s product/services.

When new B2C clients ask me what the benefits are of working with bloggers, I usually say something to the effect of: it’s about marketing to people who will tell others about you (think word-of-mouth marketing).

Outreach let’s you tap into influencers’ reach and communities to get the right niche of people talking about your business, which ultimately impacts product/service trust and consumer purchasing behavior.

But, unless you’re a smooth talker (which, I’m definitely not), then this elevator pitch won’t be enough to convince your client to go with blogger outreach promotion. So instead, I’ve broken down 3 main talking points of why your B2C clients should want to work with bloggers.

Bloggers are mainly influencers

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s definition of an influencer: “A person who has a greater than average reach or impact through word of mouth in a relevant marketplace.”

Influencers can be anyone, from celebrities to your next door neighbor. But what’s interesting to note is that Technorati
reports influencers are mostly bloggers, as 86% of influencers have blogs and 88% of influencers say they blog for themselves.

And while not everyone who blogs is considered an influencer by definition, bloggers with smaller communities are proving more influential than their celebrity counterparts, as Technorati also reports 54% of consumers believe that the smaller the community, the greater the influence.

All in all: bloggers, even the smaller community ones, are influential. 

When looking more specifically at demographics, Nielsen
reports that most bloggers are women, and 1 in 3 are moms. Overall, 52% of bloggers are parents. This is why you’ve probably heard the term “mommy blogger”. But more importantly, this large demographic is perfect to tap into with family-friendly B2C clients. 

Bloggers are trustworthy sources for product/service research

When consumers want to learn more about products they’re thinking of purchasing, IPSOS
says 61% of global Internet users do their product research online.

Technorati
reports that 31% of online shoppers are influenced by blogs (and only 56% are influenced by the retail sites themselves, so that’s significant).

ConsumerPurchase2_edited.jpg

Image via Technorati

Blog posts are especially valuable for purchasing decisions

BlogHer’s social media survey
concludes that 70% of online consumers learn about companies through articles like blog posts, not ads. More significantly, these blog posts lead to consumer action, where 61% of online consumers are reported to have made a purchase based on recommendations from bloggers.

In the same breath, Burst Media’s survey
finds that 65.5% of blog readers say brand mentions or promotions within blog content influence their purchasing decisions.

BurstMedia.jpg

Image via Burst Media

II. What do blogger partnerships look like?

Earned vs. paid

Earned media is free coverage gained through promotional efforts other than advertising. When applied to blogger outreach, it is when bloggers promote your client without getting paid sponsorship fees, post fees, etc. Links and/or ranking for certain terms is never a guarantee with earned promotion. Overall, this form of outreach resembles what many PR and outreach teams do.

Paid media is purchased coverage. When applied to blogger outreach, it can take the form of brand ambassadors, paid-for sponsored posts, appearance fees, etc. Links and/or ranking should never be a factor in this form of promotion, since Google and Bing have explicitly said that this will not be a part of their algorithms (unless it looks like you’re trying to trick them into thinking its earned). But if you want a particular demographic to know about your client’s product/service, where they might not see the client’s ads in TV/Newspapers, then this is a completely valid approach to reach them.

Choosing earned or paid blogger promotion really depends on your client’s product/service and the particular demographic you’re trying to reach.

Blogger preferences on campaign opportunities

When pitching bloggers on a campaign, Technorati
reports bloggers most prefer receiving a first look or review opportunity for new products, offering prizes/samples/giveaways to their blog’s audience, as well as the opportunity to create custom content.

pref.png

Image via Technorati

Condensing these findings into 2 themes for your client:

  • Give a first look or unique experience: Think bigger than just giving out product for bloggers to review. Instead, create an experience with your product by including them in your new product/service launch, or even creating an exclusive experience just for them.
  • Give them an opportunity that goes beyond benefiting themselves: Consider including their audience when designing campaigns for the blogger. Also, leverage bloggers’ passion and expertise, not just their influence, by creating custom content for their readers, or even by providing prize or giveaway opportunities.

To give you a better look at what these two campaign styles actually look like, I’ve listed a few great examples below.

Give a first look or unique experience.

The Surprise Collection by Ariel

lala.jpg

Image via Lala Noleto

This campaign involved getting the online fashion niche talking about Ariel and its stain remover product. Ariel sent fashion bloggers surprise boxes of designer t-shirts that were so blotched with stains, that the clothing designs were completely indistinguishable beneath them. The mystery box also contained stain removal product and instructions on how to wash the material and reveal their free piece of designer clothing.

This campaign engaged its target audience and earning notable online coverage by displaying the Surprise Collection of clothing at the São Paulo Fashion Week 2013. Additionally, women could visit stores across Brazil to purchase the stained Surprise Collection with free Ariel samples to mirror the surprise reveal experience the bloggers had.

Overall, the campaign
reported reaching more than 3 million women with the story, and more than 4,200 Facebook shares, 15K Instagram likes, an average of 1 Tweet per minute during the Fashion Week event and 1,500 purchased Surprise Collection kits.

Watch below for more details:

Ariel Surprise Collection from Rodrigo on Vimeo.

Give them an opportunity that goes beyond benefiting themselves

DIY Halloween Makeup Tutorials + Instructographics by eBay Deals

makeup-tutorial.png

Image via eBay deals blog

This campaign involved a collaboration between eBay deals and
makeup video tutorialist vlogger Goldiestarling to get in front of beauty enthusiasts and to earn topical holiday coverage in the beauty niche.

This campaign featured a series of Youtube makeup tutorials from Goldiestarling, in which eBay provided complimentary makeup that was necessary to create 3 distinct Halloween looks, including 3D Stretched Lips, Steampunk Cinderella and Anatomy of a Pin Up. Alongside her featured video tutorials were step-by-step instructographics, like
this one, featured on the eBay deals blog.

The result was a lot of attention on the professional DIY tutorials, with more than 600,000 video views and over 30 noteworthy posts of organic coverage on niche sites. Overall, this campaign was part of a larger 12-month eBay project where 20 campaigns, including this one, were launched that ultimately
drove 390% growth in sales in one year.

Give BOTH a unique experience and offer an opportunity to readers

Fiesta Movement by Ford

Ford gave away 100 new 2014 Ford Fiestas to bloggers and social media influencers in 2013 for 6 months. Those who received the new Fiestas documented their experience for their followers, bringing greater exposure to the new product launch.

Image via Fiesta Movement

What really set this campaign a part, especially to the original campaign launch in 2009, was that Ford only used the content created by these 100 people for the new subcompact’s ad campaign and launch. These bloggers and social influencers got to be part of the unveiling. And while they gave honest thoughts and feedback about the new Fiesta, Ford helped diversify their experience by assigning them missions around broad themes of the subcompact’s features. The goal for this content was to be more authentic (non-salesy) and in line with what consumers are interested in learning about with the new product.

The result of the
2009 campaign was 4.3 million Youtube views, more than 500,000 Flickr impressions and 3 million Twitter impressions, as well as 50,000 interested potential customers of the Fiesta, 97% of which didn’t own a Ford at the time.

While exact sales for the 2013 remix campaign are still unclear, Ford already has unique
demo videos and content from its 100 participants and has continued to reach thousands with the remix launch.

III. How to start working with bloggers for your client

Technorati
reports that the two top pain points for influencers with unsuccessful brand partnerships are of expectations of their time and irrelevant pitches. Also, what’s believed to be lacking the most with branded partnerships is overall relevancy to their blog and audience.

tables.png

Image via Technorati

In order to break this down for you to see what unsuccessful opportunities really look like, I’ve defined these pain points below.

Expectations by brands that my time is free
Solution: Offer a win-win

This top pain point stems from offering a one-sided relationship to bloggers, one in which you ask them to promote your client without offering adequate compensation.

Their time is valuable and the amount of time to promote brands is often overlooked. According to Jennifer Lifford, who blogs over at
Clean and Scentsible, a blog post takes about 5 hours to write and promote.

In order to make it worth their time, offer a win-win situation–one in which bloggers are adequately compensated for their time and effort.

According to Amy Latta, who blogs over at
One Artsy Mama, a means of doing that is either offering great product to review or actual payment.


I enjoy reviews and giveaways if the product is valuable enough to be of interest to my readers as a giveaway and if I am adequately compensated… but the truth is, product doesn’t pay our bills. I love spray paint, but it doesn’t send my kid to school and goodness knows I can’t eat it.

Number of irrelevant incoming pitches
Solution: Write tailored pitches

Irrelevant (crappy) pitches is also a huge pain point for bloggers and one that is easily solvable. Just write tailored pitches.

For instance, Malia Karlinsky, who blogs over at
Yesterday on Tuesday, notes that she gets this same pitch every month from a magazine.

Hi there,

The September issue of X is available on newsstands today! Check out the attached highlights sheet for more info on the issue, and let me know if you’re interested in sharing any of the features with your readers.

[Excerpt of magazine interview]

Looking forward to your thoughts!

X

She’d answer the email if it clearly provided a value to her and her readers (could she give a free issue out?).

In order to better your chance that your pitch email will be opened, read and answered, clearly identify the what (project), why (benefits to participate), and how (to get started) for the blogger.

Overall, make sure what you’re pitching is a good fit

As seen in the above chart, Technorati reported that what’s lacking most with pitched partnerships is the relevancy to their blog and audience.

Lisa Wong, who blogs over at
Solo Lisa, evaluates the relevance of pitches to her and her audience by a brief Q/A.

Do I believe in this company’s products?

Would I purchase something from this brand?

Does the brand have a good reputation?

Are they a good fit for my blog’s beauty, fashion, and lifestyle focus?

And last but not least, will this be fun?

In order to make sure bloggers answer this Q/A positively about your client’s product/service, I’ve outlined 3 main ways in vetting bloggers.

Check out bloggers’ About Me pages

Lisa’s
About Me page shows at the top what her passions are, including reviewing beauty products. Below that, she also notes her influence via Press and Blog Features where you can get a better understanding that she enjoys fashion and beauty topics.

Like with Lisa’s, let blogger About Me pages guide you in vetting what bloggers you want to work with and also in helping you understanding if what you’re pitching is actually a good fit.

Check out their current and previous posts

One of Lisa’s recent posts on her blog is about reviewing makeup products she uses on a regular basis.

Browsing through bloggers’ recent posts like this one is an easy way to discover if the blogger covers similar products and in what way.

Check out their social channels

Lisa’s
Instagram also gives good insight into what type of content she likes to share and engage with.

You can browse social channels of bloggers, like with Lisa, to see who they engage with (brands) and what they find value in sharing (posts, pins, tweets, RTs, etc.) to better ensure you’re a good fit.

IV. In short

Blogger outreach is a great way to get the right demographic talking about your client’s product/services. Bloggers will not only expand your client’s brand exposure to their community, but they’ll also affect consumer purchasing decisions.

In order to work successfully with bloggers, though, consider offering them campaigns that give a first look or review opportunity for your client’s product/services. And when pitching them, make sure what you’re offering is genuinely mutually beneficial as well as relevant to their blog and audience.

Overall, this post serves to gives you a why, what and how glimpse inside blogger outreach. For more resources on specific blogger outreach tactics, look
here and here. For more information on how to measure success of these campaigns, look here.

Have you worked on successful blogger outreach campaigns before? Tell me in the comments below! 

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

SPONSOR MESSAGE: Repositioning SEO So Everyone Wins

August 31st, 2014

Join us Tuesday, Sept 23rd at 1:00EDT (10:00PDT) for a live webcast to hear Jessica Bowman, Founder and CEO of SEOInhouse and Matt Roberts, Chief Strategy Officer, Linkdex as they discuss how a good SEO program can bring higher rankings in search engine results, improve conversion rates and…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

SearchCap: Google Author Rank Lives, Facebook Mobile Search & In-App Search Engine

August 30th, 2014

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Google Authorship May Be Dead, But Author Rank Is Not Google ended its three-year experiment with Google Authorship yesterday, but the use of Author Rank to…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

100,000 Facebook Likes!

August 30th, 2014

100000 likes chart

A big thanks goes out to the amazing QOT community as we cross 100,000 Facebook likes today. It has been a long journey to 100K likes, but the QOT Facebook… Read more

Read full original article at 100,000 Facebook Likes!

©2014 QuickOnlineTips. All Rights Reserved.

Quick Online Tips

How to Load Disqus Comments on Click

August 29th, 2014

The comments on my website are powered by Disqus, the most popular commenting platform that offers a lot more features than what the native commenting engines of Blogger or WordPress have to offer. For instance, Disqus lets me moderate discussions or reply to comments via email itself and commenters can use their existing Facebook or Twitter accounts to sign-in for commenting on web pages.

The Disqus widget is loaded asynchronously meaning it downloads the JavaScript in parallel and would not therefore impact the load time of your web pages. That said, the widget still adds lot of weight to your pages as the Disqus files will download on the user’s computer even if they aren’t interested in participating in the discussion. The other issue with auto-loading Disqus is that it makes your pages lengthy especially when viewed on mobile devices.

disqus comments

Load Disqus on Demand with JavaScript

As an alternative, you can configure Disqus on your website to load on-demand and not automatically. When someone clicks a button – like the example here – the widget will be dynamically added to your web page and not otherwise. This lazy-loading technique can be implemented in pure JavaScript without jQuery.

Step 1: Go to your web page template that has Disqus and replace the #disqus_thread <div> with the following snippet:

<div id="disqus_thread">
  <a href="#" onclick="disqus();return false;">Show Comments</a> 
</div>

Step 2: Next place the Disqus code before the close <head> tag of your web page. You’ll have to replace the disqus variables – like disqus_shortname, disqus_url, etc. – with your own parameters.

<script type="text/javascript">

// Replace labnol with your disqus shortname
var disqus_shortname = "labnol";

// Put the permalink of your web page / blog post
var disqus_url = "http://example.com/blog-post";

// Put the permalink of your web page / blog post
var disqus_identifier = "http://example.com/blog-post"; 

var disqus_loaded = false;

// This is the function that will load Disqus comments on demand
function disqus() {

  if (!disqus_loaded)  {
    
    // This is to ensure that Disqus widget is loaded only once
    disqus_loaded = true;
    
    var e = document.createElement("script");
    e.type = "text/javascript";
    e.async = true;
    e.src = "//" + disqus_shortname + ".disqus.com/embed.js";
    (document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0] ||
     document.getElementsByTagName("body")[0])
    .appendChild(e);
  }
} 

</script>

The page will have a “Show Comments” button and the comments are only loaded when the button is clicked.

Some websites have auto-loading enabled for Disqus but the widget is loaded when the reader has scrolled to the bottom of the  article. This can again be done in JavaScript. We can use the onscroll method to check whenever the page is scrolled and if the user is near the bottom, the script will load the Disqus widget.

Place this snippet near the closing </body> tag of your page.

<script type="text/javascript">
  window.onscroll = function(e) {
    if ((window.innerHeight + window.scrollY) 
        >= document.body.offsetHeight) 
    {
        if (!disqus_loaded) disqus(); 
    }
};
</script>

This story, How to Load Disqus Comments on Click, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 25/08/2014 under Code, JavaScript, Internet
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog

Are Hashtags Dead? Do Tweets with Images Get More Followers? Twitter Growth Factors (and Some Excel Tips)

August 28th, 2014

Posted by petebray

What factors go into determining how many Twitter followers you gain (and lose) each day?

I was driven in part by Rand Fishkin’s recent “mad scientist” experimentation that he touched on at MozCon. There, he noted that his tweets with images resulted in significant follower losses.

Do they? And what other behaviors result in more (or fewer) followers?


I’ve found some interesting gems.

Of course, it’s worth noting that aggregate, general trends don’t necessarily speak to your specific situation. In fact, as you’ll see, they’re often exactly the opposite! To that end, I want you to play along at home…

You’ve got new data!

If you’re a Moz subscriber who has had their Twitter account connected to Followerwonk for three or more months, then chances are you’ll find a new complimentary report there. (I also only computed these reports for those who have more than 50 Twitter followers, and who tweeted in at least 10% of the days analyzed.)

Once you’ve downloaded the report, please clean up the data. Look for any days with zero gains/losses that look wonky (i.e. something should be there but isn’t). These are either Twitter or Followerwonk outages. Delete them AND the day immediately following outage. This is important, as the day following outages usually has outsized gains to make up for the missing date. It can heavily skew any statistical analyses.

If you’re not a customer, no worries; this blog post highlights some pretty interesting general Twitter growth metrics.

(I am going to repeat this offer again in a few months—in fact, we may build it into Followerwonk. So subscribe now to ensure that you have plenty of social graph history for analysis. Please tweet me to let me know if you find this data useful. We may build it permanently into the product if so!)

Followerwonk has unique data for deep mining

We track social graph changes for thousands of users, and we compute new and lost followers on a daily basis. We’re one of the only companies that to do this (maybe the only one).

Sure, lots of sites compute net changes; but we track gains and losses, and we track who your new followers (or unfollowers) are. This is a huge set of data to explore to look for significant trends, to get hints as to what causes follower growth, and more.

This post is an introduction to that exploration. We’ll cover a lot more in future posts (including analyzing the types of users that you gain after specific Twitter or offline activity).

Let’s take a look.

I deeply analyzed Twitter content and compared it to follower growth (and loss)

I created a day-by-day summary of new and lost followers. My data set included roughly 800,000 “days” for over 4,000 users, and requiring analysis of millions of tweets.

The result was a large spreadsheet with a lot of content metrics.

For example, I determined the # of tweets with images, those with URLs, those that are “broadcasting” vs those that are @mentioning someone, and so on.

I did this because my hypothesis is that follower growth (and loss) is significantly impacted by the content that one tweets.

Let’s break out Excel

For all of my analyses, I use that old Microsoft stand-by: Excel.

I’d typically recommend R: It has a lot richer analytic capability. But it has a much steeper learning curve, and I wanted this blog post to be a bit of a tutorial, so Excel fits the bill.

If you’re following along at home, you’ll want to first
enable Excel’s “Analysis ToolPak.” Dunno why, but Microsoft chooses to turn it “off” by default. This add-on allows you to easily perform correlations, linear regression, and more.

Mean, median, mode, mangos…

As a first step, I like to get a lay of the land via basic descriptive statistics.

To do this in Excel, find the Data Analysis tool, and select Descriptive Statistics. Check the box labeled ”Summary statistics,” then select all of the columns with numeric data, and you will get a summary table.

(Of course, sometimes scientific notation is hard to read at a glance. To remedy, I highlight all of the numeric cells, right click, and select “Format Cells.” Then I change it to “Number” with 4 decimal places.)

Remember, this is analyzing 800,000 days across several thousand Twitter users. We see that the average daily account growth in new followers is about 0.2%, while the average daily account loss is 0.1%.

By the way, it’s worth pointing out that this isn’t necessarily a representative sample. It’s an aggregate of mostly Moz/Followerwonk customers. And it spans the range from very big Twitter accounts, to very small ones (where getting a few new followers will result in outsize daily % gains).

What correlates with what?

I select Data Analysis and choose “correlation.” I select all of the numeric columns as the input range.

I get a nice table of results!

There’s some interesting stuff here:

  • Weekends correlate slightly with fewer tweets and activity across the board. That makes sense.
  • Broadcast tweets (that is, those that don’t begin with an @mention) correlate highly with tweets with hashtags. Approximately 45% of broadcast tweets in our sample contain hashtags.
  • Tweets with images correlate moderately with tweets with hashtags and with URLs. And, in turn, tweets with hashtags correlate moderately with tweets with URLs. This also makes sense. In many ways, images, hashtags, and URLs are all facets of marketing. When a user employs one, he is likely to employ the other two.

Of course, the relationships between tweets with URLs and tweets with hashtags is fairly simple.

It’s a lot harder to understand, for example, what variables predict follower growth (or follower loss). After all, there are a ton of different factors at play. And, as we see from the correlation chart, only a few things stand out.

First, pay attention to the percentage daily growth of followers compared to follower loss.

Just eyeballing, you can see that people are gaining followers at roughly twice the rate that they’re losing them. (The strange diagonal lines are a side effect of small accounts gaining and losing 1 follower in a day.)

Also, take a look at RT rate and favorite rates compared to follower growth. The correlations are pretty low at less than 0.1%, but you can definitely make out a bit of a trend.

This relationship makes sense to me. RTs and favorites reflects a tweet’s value and virulence. The better the content (presumably) the more likely it will be RTed. And the more RTs it gets, the more likely that user will reach non-followers, who may then decide to follow.

The problem with correlations, though, is it’s hard to see through the noise. So many factors contribute to growth.

What we want to do is look at a variable and “strip out” all other variables’ influences.

Enter linear regression

Regression lets us use multiple independent variables at once: day of the week, time of day, type of tweet, whether it has a URL, and so on. It then isolates each one, stripping out any “interference” from the others, to test their predictive value to the dependent variable. This lets us test each variable in its pure form.

In our case, the dependent variable is the daily % followers up (or down). This variable depends on the others. (Well, that’s our hypothesis, in any case.)

It’s quite easy to perform linear regression in Excel.

Select the Data ribbon. Click on Data Analysis. Select “Regression”. Then, for the Y Range, enter the dependent variable: namely, the % followers up column. For the X range, enter all the other columns (up to 16). Select “labels” to tell Excel that the first row contains labels to name each variable. Then hit Ok.

I first played around with the daily % gain.

Adjusted R Square is the statistic to pay attention to. Here, it tells us that our model explains over 4% of the variation in new followers.

Doesn’t sound like much, right? But, actually, it is!

Consider if you were able to explain 4% of stock market movement. Or interest rates.

Remember, too, that this is across thousands of users and 800,000 combined days.

So what’s moving the needle here?

Pay attention to the ones I’ve highlighted. Look at the coefficients: these tell us the impact that a one-unit move in the independent variable has on the dependent variable.

By way of explanation, consider that the average daily follower growth for a user is 0.00196 (or 0.196%). On weekends, we can expect a drop of 0.000453. That doesn’t sound like much, but that amounts to a 23% drop in follower growth!

Of course, while you don’t want to mistake correlation for causation, you might take some general lessons from this analysis in terms of follower growth:

Each additional tweet with an image or hashtag corresponds to a 2% increase in new followers.

This makes intuitive sense. The use of hashtags (found in 45% of broadcast tweets) exposes content to others it might not normally reach. Similarly, images make content more attractive for casual viewers of one’s account.

Each additional retweet a user makes is associated with 4% more new followers.

It’s hard to know why there’s such a strong relationship with this one. And, by the way, I am talking about retweets a user makes of others (not ones his content earns from others). I suspect it’s because RT’d content is typically better-than-average content. It probably makes one’s timeline more attractive to previewing users, and may result in RTs of the RT (thereby exposing you to a new audience). Moreover, the attachment of one’s name and avatar (both on the RT itself, as well as associated with the originating user) likely accrues additional views.

Engaging with others is associated with 6% more new followers.

This confirms that Twitter shouldn’t just be a broadcast medium: that it’s important to engage and respond. It likely increases your overall RTs, exposes your content to others (via those watching the engagement from others’ timelines), and more. However, in our analysis, the out-sized gains may be “artificially” inflated by the accounts in our analysis that have zero engagement. These somewhat spammy accounts simply broadcast out links and other flotsam, and are therefore associated with far fewer new followers.

Each additional tweet with a URL is associated with fewer new followers.

Do links really add a ton of value to your followers? Particularly if that content is already ricocheted all over one’s existing network? Probably not. And so it may turn off new followers. As well, see my theory above. Tweets with URLs are the mainstay of spammy accounts. To the extent that our analysis included these users, the association between fewer followers and URL tweets is strengthened.

Weekends are terrible: you can expect 23% fewer new followers.

Save those tweets for the weekday!

Creating great content (and therefore getting RTs and favorites) is good.

Kinda obvious. But it’s nice to see this confirmed. There are strong associations with more new followers and retweets and favorites of your content. These actions, and retweets particularly, hint at the importance of virulence: the more RTs you get, the more exposure your content has to potential followers outside your network.

These are just general rules after analyzing many 1000s of days and users.

Things change dramatically when you analyze specific users. Through regression, and a bit of trial and error, you can uncover some pretty magical growth factors. (Well, I consider them magic anyway.)

Enter Rand: Do his image tweets result in fewer followers? What about conferences?

I used linear regression on just Rand’s data: his daily follower growth and tweeting metrics. Here are the results:

We can explain 15% of Rand’s daily follower growth variation in our model! This makes sense, because it’s custom tailored to Rand and so will fit better than the one-size-fits-all model from the aggregate analysis.

There are two standouts:

  • On weekends, Rand can expect a 22% decline in new followers.
  • Each additional image Rand tweeted associates with a 4.6% drop in new followers.

This confirms Rand’s own experiment: when he purposely spent a few days tweeting travel-related images. Perhaps these tweets were too off-topic? Or maybe his sudden change in tweeting behavior is to blame?

As he points out, it’s interesting that RTs and favorites of his tweets aren’t associated with new followers for him.

After all, in our general analysis, we do see that they play a significant role for most folks. Perhaps Rand’s retweeters are typically the same people over and over? Or in the same universe of folks who already follow Rand? (Thus he gets exposure to few new folks.) Interesting considerations for future research.

Rand hinted at something else in his email: that he feels that conferences are the real growth driver for him.

And he’s right!

I coded the days Rand spoke at conferences. Adding this variable (and removing a few others) bumps Adjusted R Square up to 20%. Conferences account for a notable part of the variation in Rand’s follower growth.

Yep: every time Rand speaks at a conference, we see an associated 31% greater daily growth in new followers. (Incidentally, I also analyzed days Rand did White Board Fridays, and these weren’t significant.) 

What’s cool about using regression is you can test hunches such as this. If you look at the arrows in the chart above, it’s not immediately clear that those days are “more” than others. Remember, after all, that a ton of other factors contribute to each day’s gains (or losses). Through regression, we’re able to strip out influences from other variables, and focus just on one influence.

In the analysis of your data, maybe you want to code different events you attend? Or days when you make a blog post? To do so, just create a new column in the spreadsheet. Mark each day as a 0 when you didn’t write a blog post (or whatever); and a 1 when you did. Then include this in your regression as one of the independent variables.

Time to get negative? What drives follower losses?

So far I’ve highlighted what drives follower growth.

But we can also run regressions on follower loss. Remember, in Followerwonk, we track new followers and lost followers separately. Follower losses are those users who unfollowed you on a given day. Simply use as your dependent variable the follower loss column. And, as we did before, all of the others as your independent variables.

Here’s a really interesting one for a major sports team.

We can explain 22% of their follower loss in our model.

Notably:

  • Each broadcast tweet is associated with a smaller follower loss of 1.4%. Broadcasting tweets are good. As are RTs and contact tweets with others.
  • Hashtags and URLs perhaps turn their users away? They are associated with significantly more follower losses: particularly for links!

I also encoded when they won or lost games. Winning games had little effect.

But for each losing game, their follower loss increased by 56%! That might seem kinda obvious: but not necessarily. Since games are typically on weekends, you might assume that follower loss is simply a “weekend effect.” Via regression, though, we know it’s not. That losing days are significantly associated with losing followers.

Key takeaways

  • The types of content you tweet have significant impacts on attracting and keeping followers.
  • Hashtags probably aren’t dead.
  • Each tweet that includes an image, has a hashtag, is a retweet, or mentions someone associates with 2-6% more daily followers.
  • Just as it does with Rand, your account will likely have individualized factors that move the needle for you.
  • You can explore these via Excel! Check your Followerwonk account for a complimentary spreadsheet of your Twitter activity.
  • Don’t forget to follow me @petebray so that I can test whether this blog post significantly moves my follower count! :) And let me know what you uncover.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

How to Sell your Music on the Internet

August 27th, 2014

It is now easier than ever before to sell your music to a worldwide audience. I’ve been a musician since childhood, and while education, travel and then working for a living got in the way of my dream of becoming a guitar hero, I have never given up hope. Indeed, I’ve spent the last couple of years writing and recording an eclectic mix of songs. The next obvious step was to find some way to get them heard, which is where the advent of social media came into its own.

Sell Music Online

Where to Sell your Music Online

While MySpace is something of a musical backwater these days, despite Justin Timberlake’s intervention, it is still a place to post one’s songs and updates for a musically oriented audience. Much stronger and with a better sense of community though is SoundCloud. I began uploading instrumentals and songs to Soundcloud several years ago, but then opted for a paid account to get more comprehensive statistics as well as pretty much unlimited space for audio files.

Followers on SoundCloud are commonly fellow musicians and, as with all the other social networks, you get more out of them the more you put in — follow others, listen to their music and leave comments and more people will reciprocate. There is importantly also the option to add “buy” links to other services through which your listeners, audience, fans, even, might pay to download a track or two.

The first potentially profitable option I came across was ReverbNation. It is very similar to SoundCloud — you can create a profile and start adding your music, you can set a price or make it free to download. Also, you can either take all the profits after the site’s commission, or opt to share with a charity of your choice. In my case, I give a proportion of every sale to the Fender Music Foundation.

It may just be my experience, but ReverbNation seems a lot quieter in terms of community than SoundCloud and although I get a steady stream of profile views, few people seem to listen there. Moreover, ReverbNation messages users quite frequently with offers of music promotion, which seem to rely on one having paid for a “press pack” up-front.

The next site that appeared on my radar was BandCamp, which also lets you upload your songs and artwork and set a price. The big advantage is that your fans have the option to show their true devotion and pay more than the asking price if they really like a track or album. I have had some success with marketing on BandCamp, although, again I don’t think I’m ready to give up the day job just yet.

Sell Music on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play

Of course, in the music download world, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon MP3 and Spotify are the primary paid outlets and the most well-known among legitimate downloaders. Getting your songs and music album on to these music sites generally requires you to have proper music management and a record label but there are other ways to get listed as well.

The likes of music distribution platforms like CDBaby and TuneCore take an upfront fee and will act as a proxy for a record label to get your music on to iTunes and other online music stores. Your music uploads will appear in stores worldwide. These services, like Audiam also have a partnership with YouTube and you are paid a share of the ad revenue whenever your music is used on YouTube videos.

DistroKid on the other hand charges an almost negligible annual fee, does not take a cut of the profits and nevertheless allows you to upload as many songs as you like each year. It takes a few days for your tracks to propagate to iTunes, Google, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer and Rdio, but it is a very slick and simple process.

In addition, there is loudr.fm which is similar to DistroKid for getting your songs on to iTunes, Amazon, et al quickly and seamlessly, but with one important difference – it lets you upload and sell “cover” versions of other people’s songs by taking care of the licensing and royalties for the songwriter. The service charges no upfront fee but takes a relatively large cut of any profits from the download stores.

Music Distribution Services – Comparison

Service Upfront Cost Sales Commission Supported Music Stores
BandCamp None 15% of the total sales None
ReverbNation $ 19.95 per month None iTunes, Spotify, Google Music, et al
CD Baby $ 12.95 per single 9% of the revenue from music sites iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Beats Music, Shazam, Facebook, YouTube, et al
DistroKid $ 19.99 per year None iTunes, Spotify, Beats, Rdio, Deezer, Google Play, Amazon MP3
Loudr.fm None 15% of the sales revenue iTunes, Pandora, Spotify and Google Play
TuneCore $ 9.99 per year per single None iTunes, Amazon MP3, Google Play, Spotify, and more.

 

Obviously none of these music services will make you a guitar hero if you do not have the musical chops and even if you do, you will have to spend a considerable amount of time marketing and sharing the links to see any substantial return. When I was a youngster, going viral was all about getting spots and feeling ill, today, I would be very pleased to go viral with Spotify and to get a spot on the iTunes charts. Rock on!

David BradleyDave Bradley (Wikipedia, Twitter, Blog) is an award-winning science journalist based in Cambridge, England, with a rekindled dream of becoming an online guitar hero in middle age. He has various recordings on the sites mentioned above including a full album of eclectic electric and acrostic acoustic songs on BandCamp.


This story, How to Sell your Music on the Internet, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 26/08/2014 under Music, Internet
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog

Measuring SEO Performance After “Not Provided”

August 26th, 2014

In recent years, the biggest change to the search landscape happened when Google chose to withhold keyword data from webmasters. At SEOBook, Aaron noticed and wrote about the change, as evermore keyword data disappeared.

The motivation to withold this data, according to Google, was privacy concerns:

SSL encryption on the web has been growing by leaps and bounds. As part of our commitment to provide a more secure online experience, today we announced that SSL Search on https://www.google.com will become the default experience for signed in users on google.com.

At first, Google suggested it would only affect a single-digit percentage of search referral data:

Google software engineer Matt Cutts, who’s been involved with the privacy changes, wouldn’t give an exact figure but told me he estimated even at full roll-out, this would still be in the single-digit percentages of all Google searchers on Google.com

…which didn’t turn out to be the case. It now affects almost all keyword referral data from Google.

Was it all about privacy? Another rocket over the SEO bows? Bit of both? Probably. In any case, the search landscape was irrevocably changed. Instead of being shown the keyword term the searcher had used to find a page, webmasters were given the less than helpful “not provided”. This change rocked SEO. The SEO world, up until that point, had been built on keywords. SEOs choose a keyword. They rank for the keyword. They track click-thrus against this keyword. This is how many SEOs proved their worth to clients.

These days, very little keyword data is available from Google. There certainly isn’t enough to keyword data to use as a primary form of measurement.

Rethinking Measurement

This change forced a rethink about measurement, and SEO in general. Whilst there is still some keyword data available from the likes of Webmaster Tools & the AdWords paid versus organic report, keyword-based SEO tracking approaches are unlikely to align with Google’s future plans. As we saw with the Hummingbird algorithm, Google is moving towards searcher-intent based search, as opposed to keyword-matched results.

Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. It may better understand the actual location of your home, if you’ve shared that with Google. It might understand that “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might get that “iPhone 5s” is a particular type of electronic device carried by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words

The search bar is still keyword based, but Google is also trying to figure out what user intent lays behind the keyword. To do this, they’re relying on context data. For example, they look at what previous searches has the user made, their location, they are breaking down the query itself, and so on, all of which can change the search results the user sees.

When SEO started, it was in an environment where the keyword the user typed into a search bar was exact matching that with a keyword that appears on a page. This is what relevance meant. SEO continued with this model, but it’s fast becoming redundant, because Google is increasingly relying on context in order to determine searcher intent & while filtering many results which were too aligned with the old strategy. Much SEO has shifted from keywords to wider digital marketing considerations, such as what the visitor does next, as a result.

We’ve Still Got Great Data

Okay, if SEO’s don’t have keywords, what can they use?

If we step back a bit, what we’re really trying to do with measurement is demonstrate value. Value of search vs other channels, and value of specific search campaigns. Did our search campaigns meet our marketing goals and thus provide value?

Do we have enough data to demonstrate value? Yes, we do. Here are a few ideas SEOs have devised to look at the organic search data they are getting, and they use it to demonstrate value.

1. Organic Search VS Other Activity

If our organic search tracking well when compared with other digital marketing channels, such as social or email? About the same? Falling?

In many ways, the withholding of keyword data can be a blessing, especially to those SEOs who have a few ranking-obsessed clients. A ranking, in itself is worthless, especially if it’s generating no traffic.

Instead, if we look at the total amount of organic traffic, and see that it is rising, then we shouldn’t really care too much about what keywords it is coming from. We can also track organic searches across device, such as desktop vs mobile, and get some insight into how best to optimize those channels for search as a whole, rather than by keyword. It’s important that the traffic came from organic search, rather than from other campaigns. It’s important that the visitors saw your site. And it’s important what that traffic does next.

2. Bounce Rate

If a visitor comes in, doesn’t like what is on offer, and clicks back, then that won’t help rankings. Google have been a little oblique on this point, saying they aren’t measuring bounce rate, but I suspect it’s a little more nuanced, in practice. If people are failing to engage, then anecdotal evidence suggests this does affect rankings.

Look at the behavioral metrics in GA; if your content has 50% of people spending less than 10 seconds, that may be a problem or that may be normal. The key is to look below that top graph and see if you have a bell curve or if the next largest segment is the 11-30 second crowd.

Either way, we must encourage visitor engagement. Even small improvements in terms of engagement can mean big changes in the bottom line. Getting visitors to a site was only ever the first step in a long chain. It’s what they do next that really makes or breaks a web business, unless the entire goal was that the visitor should only view the landing page. Few sites, these days, would get much return on non-engagement.

PPCers are naturally obsessed with this metric, because each click is costing them money, but when you think about it, it’s costing SEOs money, too. Clicks are getting harder and harder to get, and each click does have a cost associated with it i.e. the total cost of the SEO campaign divided by the number of clicks, so each click needs to be treated as a cost.

3. Landing Pages
We can still do landing page analysis. We can see the pages where visitors are entering the website. We can also see which pages are most popular, and we can tell from the topic of the page what type of keywords people are using to find it.

We could add more related keyword to these pages and see how they do, or create more pages on similar themes, using different keyword terms, and then monitor the response. Similarly, we can look at poorly performing pages and make the assumption these are not ranking against intended keywords, and mark these for improvement or deletion.

We can see how old pages vs new pages are performing in organic search. How quickly do new pages get traffic?

We’re still getting a lot of actionable data, and still not one keyword in sight.

4. Visitor And Customer Acquisition Value

We can still calculate the value to the business of an organic visitor.

We can also look at what step in the process are organic visitors converting. Early? Late? Why? Is there some content on the site that is leading them to convert better than other content? We can still determine if organic search provided a last click-conversion, or a conversion as the result of a mix of channels, where organic played a part. We can do all of this from aggregated organic search data, with no need to look at keywords.

5. Contrast With PPC

We can contrast Adwords data back against organic search. Trends we see in PPC might also be working in organic search.

For AdWords our life is made infinitesimally easier because by linking your AdWords account to your Analytics account rich AdWords data shows up automagically allowing you to have an end-to-end view of campaign performance.

Even PPC-ers are having to change their game around keywords:

The silver lining in all this? With voice an mobile search, you’ll likely catch those conversions that you hadn’t before. While you may think that you have everything figured out and that your campaigns are optimal, this matching will force you into deeper dives that hopefully uncover profitable PPC pockets.

6. Benchmark Against Everything

In the above section I highlighted comparing organic search to AdWords performance, but you can benchmark against almost any form of data.

Is 90% of your keyword data (not provided)? Then you can look at the 10% which is provided to estimate performance on the other 90% of the traffic. If you get 1,000 monthly keyword visits for [widgets], then as a rough rule of thumb you might get roughly 9,000 monthly visits for that same keyword shown as (not provided).

Has your search traffic gone up or down over the past few years? Are there seasonal patterns that drive user behavior? How important is the mobile shift in your market? What landing pages have performed the best over time and which have fallen hardest?

How is your site’s aggregate keyword ranking profile compared to top competitors? Even if you don’t have all the individual keyword referral data from search engines, seeing the aggregate footprints, and how they change over time, indicates who is doing better and who gaining exposure vs losing it.

Numerous competitive research tools like SEM Rush, SpyFu & SearchMetrics provide access to that type of data.

You can also go further with other competitive research tools which look beyond the search channel. Is most of your traffic driven from organic search? Do your competitors do more with other channels? A number of sites like Compete.com and Alexa have provided estimates for this sort of data. Another newer entrant into this market is SimilarWeb.

And, finally, rank checking still has some value. While rank tracking may seem futile in the age of search personalization and Hummingbird, it can still help you isolate performance issues during algorithm updates. There are a wide variety of options from browser plugins to desktop software to hosted solutions.

By now, I hope I’ve convinced you that specific keyword data isn’t necessary and, in some case, may have only served to distract some SEOs from seeing other valuable marketing metrics, such as what happens after the click and where do they go next.

So long as the organic search traffic is doing what we want it to, we know which pages it is coming in on, and can track what it does next, there is plenty of data there to keep us busy. Lack of keyword data is a pain, but in response, many SEOs are optimizing for a lot more than keywords, and focusing more on broader marketing concerns.

Further Reading & Sources:

  • Occams Razor: Search Not Provided
  • Four More Ways To Crack The Not Provided Code
  • Easing The Pain Of Keyword Not Provided
Categories: 
Keywords

SEO Book

Google “Knowledge Vault” To Power Future Of Search

August 25th, 2014

Google’s Knowledge Graph is being used to supply increasing amounts of structured content in PC and mobile search results. It’s part of an evolution that began with “universal search” and accelerated with the requirement for “answers not links” in mobile. Now…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Prime Reasons for, why SEO plays in enhanced web traffic

It has been recently found that, the strategies opted by the SEO Birmingham companies have become critically significant to the success of small businesses. If your online business is not making use of SEO Birmingham, this write-up discusses prime reasons why you should opt for the local strategies used by SEO Birmingham companies.

As per the recent findings, more than 39% of the NETIZENS experience problems while searching for the local businesses over the Word Wide Wed. People know about the existence of the local business, but suffer inconvenience while locating web information about such businesses. The major reason behind such inconvenience suffered by the Netizens is that such business fails to understand the relevance of SEO Birmingham. Thereby, if your business provides products and services over the web nationally or internationally, search engine optimization can be of great help over making the brand visible on the search engine results.

Nowadays, more and more people rely on the Internet for finding local businesses

There have been times, when the local business did not worry about the scope of SEO, just word of mouth has been more than enough for spreading their existence to the local consumers. But, today as per the statistics more than 84% of the people make use of the Internet medium for locating the local businesses. No telephone directories, people rely on search engines.

Thus, it becomes essential to change the traditional marketing strategy to modern day strategy of online marketing.

SEO Birmingham costs a little less

If you are considering Adword strategy to capture the online marketing domain, you must be aware of the fact; the popularity of the keyword chosen is directly proportional to the amount of the fee paid. Selection of local keywords means lesser keyword competition, which means you need not pay extra costs.

Helps in reaping the benefits of advanced Google features

SEO companies in Birmingham, such as SEO Results4u at Avon House, 435 Stratford Road, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 4AA 0121 746 3121 also contribute to the SEO landscape of their local area, be it Solihull, Birmingham or even the wider West Midlands area.

People are actually unaware about the fact, Google plus has changed the traditional way of Internet usage. If the keywords chosen are relevant to the domain to the local market, you very wisely unlock enhanced services offered by Google:

  • A map representing the physical location of a business
  • Appealing pictures with respect to the business
  • Make use of the reviews posted by the user

Truth be told, without using the local platform of SEO, Google plus fails to recognize your business, which clearly means lack of authentic information over the web.

Local SEO encourages better and enhanced credibility

People trust Yahoo, Bing and Google with their eyes closed and believe, these magical search engines have remedies for each and every query. It is a well-accepted notion among the commoners, the brands that appear in the top search lists are most wanted and authentic service providers. So, if you want people to believe in your brand's credibility, Search Engine Optimization adds credibility to your brand power among the commoners. Local SEO adds credibility as well as a definite increase in the web traffic.

Your Peers are using

Business is all about competition. Your peers are using it and yielding the benefits, why aren’t you?