Archive for July, 2010

Like, What’s the Deal with All These Like Buttons?

Facebook’s new ‘Like’ buttons explained, in plain English.

By now you’ve probably heard that Facebook has done away with the idea of ‘Becoming a Fan’ of a Facebook Fan Page, and has instead replaced that function with a ‘Like’ button.  So now, you can ‘Like’ a friend’s photo or status update, and you can also ‘Like’ the Fan Page of your favorite businesses or products, such as Boston Logic or Dunkin Donuts.  When you ‘Like’ a Fan Page, it’s the same as ‘Becoming a Fan’ used to be in that you will now receive messages from these Fan Pages in your News Feeds (unless you ‘Hide’ them).  Most people have no trouble understanding this change; it’s more of a name change than anything else, right?  Right.

But what about the OTHER ‘Like’ buttons?  The new ‘Like’ buttons you’ve been noticing on several websites all over the internet, on sites like BostonLogic.com, Yelp.com, NHL.com, Levis.com, etc.  These new website ‘Like’ buttons were announced at the F8 conference this past April and are part of an expansion of Facebook to help you personalize your entire online experience. These new ‘Like’ buttons can be added to any website, even specific and multiple pages of your website.
levis Like buttons

So now, not only can you choose to ‘Like’ the Boston Logic Facebook Fan Page while on Facebook, but you can also choose to ‘Like’ our website, or our blog, or a specific blog post (like just this particular blog about ‘Like’ buttons), or even our listing on Yelp.com when you’re browsing the internet.  Basically, anytime you find one of these new ‘Like’ buttons somewhere on the web, you can click it to show that you ‘Like’ whatever content is on that web page, much like when you share something on Digg or Yahoo Buzz, etc.  But that’s not all!

Facebook Like Button is everywhere

If you’re already logged into Facebook (I know that I, for one, keep a browser page with Facebook up for most of my work day) clicking the ‘Like’ button will post a notice on your Personal Profile Wall (aka Mini-Feed) stating that you’ve ‘Liked’ whatever it is you’ve clicked on and provide a link to that website.  If you’re not logged in, a popup window will appear and prompt you to log into your account, and then a notice with a text link to what you’ve ‘Liked’ posts to your Profile Wall.  If you change your mind, you can click the ‘Like’ button again, and it disappears from your Profile Wall automatically.  You could also go manually delete it from your Wall, but that would not undo your click on the website, so your click would still count on the tally for that button; this difference is actually significant, here’s why:

That ‘Like’ button on the web doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with a Fan Page on Facebook, which is a good thing, because otherwise there’s be a Fan Page for every style of jeans Levis offers!  Instead, the webmaster (or owner) that installed the ‘Like’ button on the website you’re visiting is given an invisible back-end Admin Page (using their personal Facebook Profile ID Number), which actually functions much like any other Facebook Admin Page.

warren-like-admin

From this ‘secret’ Admin Page, the webmaster can see who has clicked on their various ‘Like’ buttons and send out notifications to each group of ‘Fans’ (anyone who clicked any ‘Like’ button) that will appear in each Fan’s Facebook Newsfeeds.  So, even if you never ‘Liked’ or ‘Became a Fan’ of the Levi Jeans Facebook Fan Page, you DID click the ‘Like’ button on the Levis.com website next to that wicked cute pair of shorts- essentially granting Levis permission to send you notifications regarding the shorts you liked or related items, promotions, etc. via your Facebook News Feeds.

facebook-admin-pages

Currently, the ‘Like’ buttons you click while browsing the web don’t show up in your friends’ Newsfeeds, only ‘Liking’ a Facebook Fan Page does.  This is good news for people with lots of interests/ ‘Likes’; you’re friends won’t hate you for spamming them with all your internet window shopping, but you are giving the companies, websites, and brands you’re interested in a quick way of reaching you with cool offers and such on your own terms.

If you DO want to share whatever it is you’ve found to ‘Like’ on the internet in your Friends’ News Feeds, many ‘Like’ buttons display the option to ‘Write a Comment’ once you’ve clicked it.  If you do this, it will broadcast your comment and a link to the page you were on to all your Friends.

i-like-free-seo-advice

So, like, feel free to ‘Like’ what you ‘Like’, like wherever and whenever you want, and share it however you like!

like-buttons-syndicate-to-facebook

To learn more about Facebook’s other new features that you can also utilize for your social media marketing campaign, visit the Facebook blog.  If all this new ‘Like’ button stuff sounds like something you want to implement, but you don’t have the time or know-how, let Boston Logic help you by signing up for an Online Marketing Campaign!

SEO for Video and YouTube

In light of a recent query on how to optimize video, and a recent launch of some demo videos on YouTube, we wanted to shed some light on the topic. Especially considering that if YouTube was a Search Engine, it would easily be the second largest in the world after Google. If you are lacking some technical experience, resources, or budget to host your own video, creating it and uploading to YouTube is an excellent way to get great SEO results for your videos. We’ve written this post to make sure you do everything you can to maximize influence, ratings, and views.

When you upload a video onto YouTube, the algorithm that the site uses to sort results in a search is based on three criteria:

  • Having Text in Descriptions and Titles
  • Recent Trending and Total Number of Views
  • Ratings for your video

So what can you do to optimize a video you have just uploaded? Here are some tips!

1. Optimize your Title Text. Did you know that you have 99 characters to optimize your title text? Use your keywords selected from your SEO campaign and any additional keywords or phrases you’d like to rank for when users conduct a search. Also remember to include your branding and additional descriptive text for your video. Lastly, check out the #1 spot for your keywords: aim initially for #2, as related videos can substantially boost your views.

2. Optimize your Description. After your title, you have another additional 5,000 characters. Use all this space to be as descriptive about your video as possible. As stated before, user ratings also influence ranking, invite others to rank your video and share the embed code.

3. Tag Optimzations.
Again, using relevant keywords in your tags Useful for search terms you use in your title text and description, including names and branding.

When you upload a video, you are often prompted to select or deselect sharing options. Here’s how to make the most out of each!

Privacy – When you work on a video, it is youtube_iconjpgunderstandable to put the video under a “private” setting. Don’t forget to switch this to “public” when you are ready to show the world!

Comments - It’s up to you whether you want to enable comments. Just remember: if you disable commenting, users will go elsewhere to talk about your video, your brand, or your message.

Video responses can also help boost your video’s  views because they are linked to your video

Ratings directly impact your ratings, so make sure to select “yes”.

Embedding via social media and blogs can seriously boost views, in addition to get your message to users outside of YouTube, so we recommend that you keep this enabled.

Syndication also through social media to boost your views will help your video rank higher in Google and YouTube,  so make sure to keep this enabled.

To Get Views:

Have a great “hook” After a user views the first 8 seconds of your video, YouTube considers this video “viewed”. Be sure to hook potential viewers to have them watch past this time, and ideally your whole video!

Embedding video on product pages or in your blog can encourage discovery of your website and boost video views.

Distribute the links to your videos in your company’s online press releases and embed them into your  social media releases.

Promote more views of your video by purchasing Google AdWords.

Use Playlists to chunk your videos into smaller segments and then link them all together.

Getting ratings:

Rank your own video. We promise we won’t tell.

Encourage others to rank your video by including the request within your video or its description.

Video may be a valuable tool to consider when evaluating your real estate search engine marketing mix. If you have succeeded with uploading a video, let us know! Be sure to check out our YouTube video channel, where we have more helpful tips and tricks for real estate SEO and other assistance with real estate websites.

Real Estate Branding Secrets Revealed

The topic of last month’s LogicClassroom Webinar was on Personal Branding and SEM. Maybe you’ve taken time since then to consider your personal brand: but have you taken any steps toward realizing an end result?
Your real estate brand is more than just a logo on your business card or a custom real estate theme website. You also don’t need to be a superpower like Apple to make an impression. We thought we’d break down some steps you can do RIGHT NOW to start branding effectively for yourself. And to give you an extra push, we are also going to give an excuse before we show you how easy it is to get started.

Excuse: Branding Is Hard

Branding is not difficult. You simply must hone in on what exactly it is that you want your business to stand out for and to whom. You also must make the commitment to this message through every company message. Creating and maintaining your brand is simply a matter of assuring that your message is consistent and clear. If you are branding an office, make sure that all employees and partners are able to verbalize your message.
brandExcuse: Branding Is Expensive
You can work with any budget to create an effective brand. The key is not cash, but more about defining the specific target audience that you want to receive your message, and to make sure you have identified their needs and offered a solution to be delivered through your brand.
While your brand is reflected in your business logo, it is often more in that. The other extreme when considering branding is Apple, as they have an overwhelming brand presence and budget to back it up. However, creating a consistent and clear message, identifying a target audience to brand to, and sponsoring what you can afford, such as those 2 or 3 highly targeted events will prove to be a very effective means of marketing.
You can also pull back and live your brand through everyday business practices. For example, your company’s message on your voicemail, or signature on every outgoing email. Do these reflect your brand, and the message that your company (or you) stand for?
Excuse: Branding Isn’t THAT Important

Ever hear about those private equity firms that buy brands for millions to acquire the loyal customer base? Brand equity is a substantial piece of your business identity. You can also see this when customers purchase an outfit for 3x as much at Express instead of the Gap. Your brand, if effective, can potentially translate into bottom-line sales.
A strong foundation and targeted message are important. Eventually, your brand will guide all other company marketing decisions to grow, including your product’s price points and who to partner with.
Excuse: I Can’t Find the Right Designer To Express my Brand
While you can create your own brand and brand strategy, it may be worth investing in a designer to create the best execution of your brand’s vision as possible. The best place to start? Your  real estate website design.

Sequoia especially specializes in custom real estate website design. It’s essential that you communicate the right message visually, and our developers can make that happen with customized themes and templates for website design. Good designers will create a theme that will convey the message of your company effectively, and is absolutely worth the investment.
Excuse: Branding Doesn’t Work Immediately
While this is true, there is a huge difference between direct-response marketing and branding. Your customers need to experience your brand several times before it becomes memorable. Branding is also about “mindshare”, which is the space in your target market’s mind when they see your logo or hear your name. And that takes time to build up.
While it’s important to revitalize your brand and keep it updated, try to avoid changing your branding every quarter in order to raise sales. You’ll make slight tweaks to your brand, but you’ve already put in the thought and effort, remember?
You also need to give your customers a chance to respond to your brand. While things may be quiet the first three months, many potential leads haven’t heard your message through the noise of your industry.
Bottom line: Put in the effort and research, stick to it, be consistent and patient. In due time, your brand will pay off!

Source Article: Shattering Branding Myths

Normalizing Search Engine Traffic Reporting

We’ve all known about Google Trends for a while. I’ve had a thought about using Google Trends to normalize our search engine optimization campaign reports. Let me explain.

If your campaign is producing 1000 visitors per month in month 1, then 1100 in month 2, then 1200, that’s great. Let’s say that the trend in month 4, 5, 6 then goes 1200, 1150, 1100. Well, that’s not so good, it was going up ~10% per month, now it’s falling about 5% each month. Well, if the site is optimized around a set of target search terms, and then other traffic comes from halo terms, then to assume that the SEO is providing more or less traffic is also to assume that search volume for this family of terms is constant.

If we used Google Trends to normalize, we might find that the number of times a term was searched on fell 15% during those down months. So, the 10%/month upward trend was actually sustained.

google-trends

Another way to look at this is to simply ask, what percentage of potential clicks did you get? If this percentage is trending up, then you’re in good shape. This means you’re taking more market share.

Another way to think of this is the following: Let’s say that you’re doing search engine optimization for a site that sells air conditioners. Let’s further assume that you start the SEO campaign on January 1st. Well, no one is really looking for AC units in January. Then, in April, you start to see an upward traffic trend, it goes higher and higher and peaks in August. Then, by mid September, you’re not seeing any traffic from the search engines. You start Googling around and see your site, but no visitors.

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that people just aren’t buying air conditioners in October. So, you’d pretty much expect to see less traffic. In this case, the best way to judge if the SEO campaign is succeeding is to either look a target terms and catalog placement in search engine results pages, or to normalize your numbers. Take a benchmark at the beginning of the campaign, say a ratio of traffic to searches, then, each month you’d want that ratio to climb. This way, you’ll know if your SEO is working, regardless of market trends.

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