Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Reach and Frequency: SEO Secret to Brand Building on Google?

For those of us who have been in search engine optimization (SEO) for a number of years, we can recall the days when SEO efforts were measured by a ranking report, alone. That is to say, you might pick your top 50 keywords, dump these into a rank checker, run a report monthly, and determine whether these 50 keywords moved up successfully or fell in the search rankings.

SEO Evolution

We evolved. We:
  • Incorporated reports on link building efforts.
  • Started to incorporate increases in natural/organic search traffic from our web analytics reports.
  • Started breaking out branded versus non-branded keyword traffic.
  • Started looking at conversion rates (what percentage of our organic search visitors were completing lead forms and/or buying products from our site).
  • Incorporated call-tracking and looked at conversion path, to include multi-channel conversion tracking.

What’s Next?

As someone who came into the SEO/digital marketing space from a traditional marketing background (radio/television/print), it’s fun to think about where we’re heading next.
It’s been my belief, since Google’s Vince update of February 2009, that Google was going to begin to figure out how to fix the “cesspool” of search results (as Google’s Eric Schmidt called it) by placing heavy emphasis on “brand”. How, then, does one build a brand in today’s digital marketing marketplace?
Back in the day, building a brand came down to a formula I learned while studying advertising:
Reach (number of people who received your message) X Frequency (number of times those people received/were exposed to your message) = Gross Rating Points (GRPs), or otherwise the “effectiveness”/value of the marketing campaign.
Has the practice of SEO evolved to the point where we need to start looking at reach and frequency, again?

Reach & Frequency is Dead, Long Live Reach & Frequency!

There are many who have said that reach and frequency is an outdated measurement of marketing success. Until recently, I was one of them.
Google AdWords used to promote reach and frequency metrics for CPM-based ad buys. As my colleague Josh McCoy will often say, if Google’s reporting on it, chances are it means “something” in their algorithm.
Well, Google is reporting on it:
Perhaps we’re evolving to a point where we should consider reach and frequency metrics – not as a replacement, but as an additional metric to show value of our SEO efforts.

Brand Building & Measuring Modern SEO Success

Today’s SEO incorporates many methods of creating and promoting content. Some content is
  • Video – perhaps views on YouTube is an SEO metric? 
  • PR/public relations – should we incorporate number of mentions in the press? We certainly try to measure the backlinks produced from such efforts. 
  • Blog content that goes viral. 
  • Infographics.
There are loads of tools available to SEOs nowadays to help to measure “success”, but I don’t think we’ve gotten to the point where there is a super-tool that can bring all of this together (if you guys know of one, I want you to comment below so that I can check it out).
When we develop an infographic, and promote it through social channels, if it’s done well, we can earn quite a few good links. Aside from the links, there are some instances in which the link was removed, but the brand value of the infographic can remain.
If you’re exposing your brand to a mass audience, there must be some (SEO?) value in that, right? It’s building your brand.
I believe that SEO has reached a point where you could make an argument that some traditional metrics of building a brand should be incorporated into reporting of “success” for SEO. If you can build the brand, shouldn’t it help natural search engine rankings?
If more people are searching for your company’s name, because you’ve created great content, promoted it, earned links/mentions/retweets, etc., shouldn’t that help SEO? Should SEO be given any credit for an increase in branded searches, or even increases in direct traffic?

What Was (is?) Old is New Again?

Perhaps we’re evolving toward a model that factors reach and frequency. If we can compile all of the information on exposure of the brand and how these efforts lead to higher rankings and/or more traffic (organic/direct or otherwise) and how – through multi-channel analysis – these efforts are leading to conversions, then perhaps we'll help position SEO as more than “just” a direct response marketing effort?

Twitter Planning To Roll Out New Brand Specific Pages Soon

Via SimplyZesty:
Shortly after rumours circulated about Facebook’s introduction of Timeline brand pages at the end of the month, Twitter’s equivalent, which was revealed during the site’s redesign back in December, is rumoured to be appearing over the next few days.
Business Insider are reporting that the company will be introducing these pages sometime shortly after February 1st.  The brand pages will be similar to Facebook’s Timeline and Google+’s brand pages, borrowing qualities from each, and will include e-commerce features which will be integrated into these pages.
The aim is to turn these pages into something more than just a stream for a particular brand. Business Insider quote a source who says that the new pages “will give brands the ability to build platforms on their pages that could include iFrame environments, allowing users to play games or shop on a brand’s site without actually leaving the Twitter environment”.
The pages are expected to be similar to the enhanced pages Twitter allowed a few brands such as McDonalds (pictured) and Coca-Cola to play around with. What these new pages mean is that Twitter are trying to become a more viable company by giving brands a special presence on their pages, and a step towards making the company profitable.
How exactly this will work is unknown but since e-commerce will play a part, a system where Twitter receive taking a small percentage of any transactions made through the site, similar to Apple’s deal at the app store, could be a possibility. However, the small problem is that not everyone uses the main Twitter site, instead either using a third-party app or accessing it via mobile.
These brand pages have been around for a while so Twitter have had a fair amount of time to iron out any flaws or problems they may present, so brands can certainly expect these features to be rolled out sooner rather than later.

INFOGRAPHIC: Is Pinterest The Next Social Commerce Game Changer?

Published by Monetate :
Social Networking websites continue to drive a growing share of referral traffic. Although Google+ has garnered a lot of attention recently, another new player has entered the game and could be appearing in your website referral traffic reports. Here is how Pinterest is reshaping social commerce for online retailers.


Saturday, 28 January 2012

INFOGRAPHIC: Klout Score vs. Retweets

Published by ooomf at 
Check this Infographic designed and published by Ooonf showing your Klout Score vs. number of your tweets retweeted.


5 Ways to Manage Your Social Influence

By Corey Ellis at Chase Web Solutions: 
PR is no longer just a one way direction of business image information – social media has turned  main street into a multi-lane highway in which information travels back and forth at radical speeds. Conversations are generated at the click of the response button and the public itself is now a primary part of public relations activities.

The conversation is public relations

So in essence, we the public are now a big part of corporate public relations. Publicity is no longer something that is generated by the company or its PR department itself; it is often in the hands of the people and customers who are only speaking their opinions. From blogs to comments, just a few lines of text and a picture will play a big part in a company’s image.
This applies to your strategic alliances, too.  You are “built by association.”   So, how do you get known as a “good” thing?  How DO YOU create buzz?

#1. Have a valid place in the conversation
Consumers talk about brands every day. While it may not be the first place they look, eventually consumers visit a brand or manufacturer’s web site to find information about a product. Be sure to offer information that answers questions.

#2. Use your voice and have an opinion
Think about “voice.” How does your voice tie in with your conventional advertising? What are you doing and saying on the website? Are you reflecting your brand’s personality across your entire communications strategy? Listen to what people are saying about you, and have an opinion.

#3. Be relevant
Understand what’s important to consumers as they talk about your product. Then be relevant when responding to their needs.

#4. Be responsible
You can have all kinds of modes of communication with people, but they’ll only appreciate it if you’re up front about who you are. Be responsible about your identity.

#5. Remember that it’s a social interaction
Always keep in mind that when people make a decision about something, it very seldom happens in isolation.

The image you want- the image they create

So what can you do to make the move towards benefiting from social media public relations?
For starters, make sure that you have pages on popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, and be sure that these pages are well-maintained. No one wants to “not be heard” so make sure that if some is talking to you- talk back. The worst thing you can do is leave a page to the unguided hands of the public.
Because our everyday customer now has the ability to publish with the power to change the image of your company, presenting an image to the public that influences them towards positive action is the next step in the public relations world. Things are changing, but they change to make us better and help our audience to help us right back.

Corey Ellis is the Founder of Chase Web Solutions and an SEO Consultant in Raleigh, NC. Follow him on Twitter @chasewebsites

Twitter uncloaks a year's worth of DMCA takedown notices, 4,410 in all

By at Ars Technica:
On almost any given day, Twitter receives a handful of requests to delete tweets that link to pirated versions of copyrighted content—and quickly complies by erasing the offending tweets from its site.
That fact itself is probably unsurprising to people familiar with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown process, which gives sites like Twitter a "safe harbor" against lawsuits related to user behavior and uploads—so long as the sites don't knowingly tolerate pirated material or links to such material.
But Twitter has taken the unusual step of making DMCA takedown notices public, in partnership with Chilling Effects, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and several universities. The site shows 4,410 cease and desist notices dating back to November 2010. While most of 2011 shows daily or near-daily activity, there is just one notice in January 2012, suggesting either that Twitter is suddenly receiving fewer DMCA takedown notices or that the database is not quite up to date. (If we find out from Twitter or Chilling Effects, we'll update the story.)
Scrolling through recent takedown notices, you'll see names like Magnolia Pictures, Simon and Schuster, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, among those of many other media companies. A typical takedown notice contains links to tweets that in turn link to websites where pirated versions of copyrighted material is distributed. Attempting to locate the actual tweet from the notice invariably leads to a error page saying "Sorry, that page doesn't exist!" Movies, music, footage of cricket matches and stolen photographs of an actress in states of undress have all inspired DMCA notices.
Twitter was already submitting data to Chilling Effects prior to this week, but this latest iteration makes it easier for users to locate Twitter-specific takedown notices. If you search the Chilling Effects site, you can also find many thousands of DMCA notices issued to Google, but Facebook has kept its own notices private.

Twitter's censorship process accompanied by greater transparency

Twitter's history of deleting tweets to gain safe harbor under the DMCA illustrates that it's not strictly an anything-goes platform, but Twitter says it at least wants to make the deletion process transparent. "One of our core values as a company is to defend and respect each user’s voice," Twitter said. "We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can't. The Tweets must continue to flow."
Twitter's expanded partnership with Chilling Effects was announced along with Twitter's new program to censor tweets on a country-by-country basis.
"As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression," Twitter said yesterday. "Until now, the only way we could take account of those countries’ limits was to remove content globally. Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country—while keeping it available in the rest of the world."
Twitter's new policy has been criticized for allowing censorship, but EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn tells us it is actually a positive step that will lead to less censorship. Blocking tweets in only certain countries is better than deleting them worldwide, she said. "I think the proper target of people's outrage ought to be the countries that do the censoring," she said. Even in countries subject to Twitter's nation-specific blocks, users can likely circumvent the blocking by using Tor anonymizing software, she said.
Twitter hasn't yet used its new ability, but said "when we are required to withhold a Tweet in a specific country, we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld." Deleting tweets is nothing new. What is new is Twitter's ability to prevent people in only one country from seeing specific tweets.
Chilling Effects is designed to inform people about their online rights and help them navigate a legal process that the groups behind the site believe has a "chilling effect" on legitimate Internet activity. "Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals and corporations are using intellectual property and other laws to silence other online users. Chilling Effects encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to 'chill' legitimate activity," the group says on its website. (One porn site and copyright holder, by the way, made the interesting argument in 2010 that publishing certain takedown notices on Chilling Effects was itself a copyright violation, because the notices contained copyrighted images.)
It is clear that many of the Twitter takedown notices are aimed at bot-like accounts that continue to link to pirated material even after specific takedown requests are granted. Others are just casual Twitter users, including one who complained about the DMCA after one of her tweets was deleted because of a link she posted to the Pirate Bay.
The tweet in question linked to a piece of sheet music that costs $105, and the takedown notice sent to Twitter reads: "We ask that the Twitter public not be encouraged to visit infringing sites. Kindly remove this tweet. We have contacted as well."
Twitter has a page for reporting copyright infringement available for copyright owners and authorized representatives of copyright owners. It also contacts Twitter users after complaints are filed. "If we remove or restrict access to user content in response to a notice of alleged infringement, Twitter will make a good faith effort to contact the affected account holder with information concerning the removal or restriction of access, along with instructions for filing a counter-notification," Twitter says in its copyright and DMCA policy.
Twitter users targeted by DMCA takedowns can file counter-notices by responding to Twitter's e-mail notification. Counter-notices are forwarded to the copyright holder who issued the takedown request. If the copyright holder does not respond within 10 days, Twitter may re-publish the deleted tweet. But within the 10-day period, the rights-holder can seek "a court order to prevent further infringement of the material at issue," Twitter says.

Facebook May Register For IPO As Early As Wednesday

Posted by Jackie Cohen at AllFacebook:
Facebook may submit paperwork as early as Wednesday to register for an IPO (initial public offering) that could be the largest of all time and make the social network one of the world’s most valuable companies.
The rumor first appeared in The Wall Street Journal, which said that Morgan Stanley might lead the underwriting, and that Goldman Sachs might play a major role.
The Journal puts the IPO valuation in the range of $75 billion to $100 billion, the lower end of which was the outcome of the last SharesPost auction, which closed at $34 per share one week ago.
Assuming the number of outstanding shares remains at 2.35 billion, Facebook’s current value is $79.9 billion.

Read The Full Artcle Here

INFOGRAPHIC: How To Increase Clicks On Your Tweets

Via SocialMouths:
If you are an entrepreneur using Twitter as part of the marketing strategy for your business or you are a blogger trying to improve your traffic, one of the most important metrics you look at is how many clicks your tweets are getting, specially when those tweets are containing links to your own site.
The formula here compares the number of clicks against the number of followers in a Twitter account at the moment of that tweet to calculate CTR (Click-through Rate).

With this formula, you'll be able to look at which tweets perform better depending on:
  • The length of the tweet
  • Where you position the link
  • The frequency of your tweets
  • Some of the most common terms used
  • and when we tweet

This infographic is from Dan Zarrella.


Friday, 27 January 2012

Saudi Prince Goes On The Record About $300M Twitter Investment [VIDEO]

By Lauren Dugan at Media Bistro:
Late last year, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi Arabian businessman and the founder and CEO of Kingdom Holding, invested $300 million in Twitter. And he spoke to CNN this week about why he chose Twitter to add to his growing portfolio of tech companies.

As Alwaleed explains to CNN, he’s not new to the tech scene. his company was an early investor in Apple, Amazon and eBay, among other top tech companies.
He says that Kingdom Holding chose Twitter because they believe it will be around for the long-haul:
“We don’t believe we came in at the early stage, but clearly we don’t believe we came in at the plateau stage. We see that this company’s viability and its continuity and its resilience will be there in the decades to come, and that’s why we proposed to be an investor…”
Alwaleed was also asked about any possible political motivation for owning a large chunk of Twitter, given that it was instrumental in the Arab Spring uprisings. However, he responded that this was a purely economical investment, with no political intentions.
Prince Alwaleed also addresses whether he still feels comfortable with such a large stake in Apple now that Steve Jobs has passed away, whether News Corp should become less of a family company, and a new news channel that he has planned. You can check out CNN’s interview with Prince Alwaleed below:

Spotify now has over three million paying subscribers

By Sam Byford at The Verge: 
The debate goes on as to how good subscription-based streaming services are for the music industry, but it's clear that adoption is on the rise. While Spotify revealed that it had reached two and a half million paying subscribers at the end of 2011, it's already hit the three million milestone before January is out. That's three million people making monthly payments of either $4.99 / €4.99 / £4.99 for ad-free listening, or $9.99 / €9.99 / £9.99 for mobile streaming — over 20 percent of the service's active user base. Of course, the most potentially significant driver of Spotify's growth is its recent launch in the US, along with its integration into Facebook, and managing director Ken Parks told the Financial Times that the plan is to keep expanding into new markets.

It's Time To Stop Ignoring LinkedIn Company Pages

By Harry Hoover  at SocialFresh:
LinkedIn Marketing seems to be an afterthought among the other high profile social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
But there are some good reasons that your company should set up – and keep current – your own free LinkedIn Company Pages.
LinkedIn calls the Company Page a company’s profile of record AND a powerful way to speak to millions of professionals through word-of-mouth recommendations and trusted testimonials.
It’s essentially a LinkedIn profile for a company.

Why Does Your Company Need One?

Think of it this way, the Company Page helps humanize your organization.
It allows the page visitor to look behind the curtain, to learn about the people behind your brand.  In fact, you already may have a default page automatically generated by LinkedIn. If your employees have LinkedIn profiles using email addresses from your company domain, chances are you have a Company Page.
How do you find out if you already have one?
Use this LinkedIn company search.

LinkedIn Company Page Benefits

The LinkedIn Company Page can be a potent force to help you build your brand with a professional audience. It’s your hub on LinkedIn that allows you to:
  1. Build credibility
  2. Bring your brand to life
  3. Activate your employees and customers as brand ambassadors
  4. Boost your recruiting efforts
  5. Share customer recommendations and testimonials
  6. Update followers about corporate happenings
  7. Promote your products, services and corporate content
  8. Measure engagement
Convinced you need a LinkedIn Company Page?
Well, let’s take a look at the features and how to set up one.


There are four tabs – three public – on your Company Page.
The overview tab gives you an opportunity to introduce people to the human side of your company. Visitors to the overview see your blog posts, Twitter feed and who in their network works at your company.
The career tab offers you a great opportunity to promote your job openings to the 120 million users currently signed up on LinkedIn. If you upgrade from the free page, you  are able to deliver much more content about jobs, your brand and your employees.
The products and services tab is a powerful feature, allowing you to promote your most important or newest products and services. Additionally, customer recommendations and testimonials about your products appear here, too. So, it’s a good way to virally spread the word about what your company does well.
Finally, we have the private analytics tab.  It is visible only to you and designated page administrators. Here you can see your page views and unique visitors benchmarked against similar companies.

Build Your Page

Now, let’s build out our Company Page. You can start here, if you didn’t find a page in the aforementioned Company Page search.
Gather up all the information you’ll need before you start filling out the profile. This includes:
  • An email address in your personal profile that is linked to your company domain
  • Your company name (be sure to use exactly the same company name as the one listed in your personal profile. For example, My Creative Team and My Creative Team LLC would be seen as two different companies.)
  • Names of page administrators
  • Logo
  • Corporate information such as:
    • A minimum of 250 characters describing your company
    • A list of specialties – keywords and phrases describing your product/service strengths
    • Blog RSS feed and Twitter account
    • Company size/type
    • Web URL – allows you to list your website or blog domain
    • Industry, operating status, year founded
    • Products or services, as well as people who would provide recommendations or testimonials
Fill out the Company Page profile as completely as possible, and once this is done click “Publish.” After the page is published you will be able to add careers, as well as edit your products and services tab.
Now, you are ready to promote and activate your page.  More on that and a look at some companies using pages effectively in our next installment.

We do ads, PR, marketing and social media work for Fortune 1000 clients. Let's chat at View Full Profile

Twitter now able to censor tweets in individual countries

By @gordonmacmillan,at The Wall UK: 
In a blog post today Twitter said that it now has the ability to selectively block tweets on a country by country basis. In a blog post Twitter said it could “reactively withhold content from users in a specific country”.
The change means Twitter can reflect national sensitivities and where freedom of expression comes with a fair dose of censorship.
It could mean for instance in France and Germany where Nazi-flavoured content is restricted or in China where a lot more is restricted.
It also harks back to the long ago time that Yahoo! faced the wrath of a French court for not blocking French users from accessing Nazi memorabilia sites.
At the time, back in 2000 Yahoo! said that it did not have the technology to track which countries its users were from. It later banned the sale of such memorabilia.
The move would put Twitter in line with Google’s search results and how it deals with China and elsewhere. It is a sort of coming of age for the microblogging service and likely connected, in part at least, with its desire to expand internationally. Some are likley to say the move is about censorship and is connected with a desire to launch a Chinese service sometime in the future.
“As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content.
“Until now, the only way we could take account of those countries’ limits was to remove content globally. Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why,” Twitter said in a blog post.
Twitter says it hasn’t used this ability yet, but says that if and when it is required to do so it will attempt to let users know, and it will clearly mark when the content has been withheld.
As part of that transparency, it says it has expanded its partnership with Chilling Effects to share this new page,, which makes it easier to find notices related to Twitter.
“One of our core values as a company is to defend and respect each user’s voice. We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can’t. The Tweets must continue to flow,” Twitter said in a blog post.

INFOGRAPHIC: How To Use Social Media To Power Your Business

By Shea Bennett at Media Bistro:
The growth of social media is pretty astonishing.
Not only has it happened almost overnight – both Twitter and Facebook fully opened their doors to the general public less than six years ago – but the rate at which users and brands have adopted and embraced these channels into their personal and professional lives is incredible – and it’s not showing any signs that it’s slowing down.
Facebook and Twitter now boast a combined membership of more than one billion users, and both platforms have only began to tap into the non-Western world. With billions of eyeballs still up for grabs, businesses of all shapes and sizes, and in almost any field, can build and engage huge communities, driving awareness, traffic and sales.
This infographic from marketing agency Wilson Cooke takes a closer look at the how and why of promoting your business online.

World Map Of Social Networks

by at
The rise and rise of Facebook is a media phenomenon on a scale never witnessed before. The world’s most populated social network is pretty much conquering every country it enters. Italian blogger and digital strategist Vincenzo Cosenza’s latest ‘World Map of Social Networks’ is an excellent illustration of Facebook’s increasing dominance. Cosenza tracks Facebook’s activity in 136 countries and it is currently the number one social network in 127 of these.

According to Facebook’s Ad Platform, Facebook has over 223 million users in Europe, 219 million in the US and over 202 million in Asia. Even though Facebook is still banned in China, Cosenza believes the network will soon register its one billionth user. This is likely to happen before the Summer of 2012.
Facebook’s all conquering stride is quickly reducing the number of top social networks around the globe. In June 2009 there were 17 social networks that held the number one spot in at least one country. By June 2011 there were just nine and by December 2011 Facebook had reduced this number to six.
The remaining six social networks that can claim a number one spot are Facebook, Zing, Ozone, V Kontakte, Odnoklassinki and Drauglem.
The biggest scalp Facebook took recently was Google’s Orkut network in Brazil. It remains to be seen how long it will take before Facebook literally conquers the world. Not long it appears.

YouTube refreshes Video Editor, Video Manager, and Browse

By Chris Ziegler at TheVerge:
YouTube has updated and visually refreshed a few features today — and these tweaks should appeal to consumers and creators of video alike. First up, Browse has been freshened to allow direct access to more categories and channels of video which can be subscribed to right from the page. That's really the extend of the end user-facing changes; on the creation side, Video Editor has gotten a full-on "visual overhaul" with easier clip trimming and a new timeline. It's not going to replace Premiere — or even iMovie, in all likelihood — but it'll be a great way to handle some quick and dirty edits right from the web. Finally, Video Manager also gets a visual refresh along with search history and the restoration of a couple popular features that had previously disappeared: like / dislike stats and sorting of your videos by popularity. The Browse and Video Editor changes are available immediately; the revised Video Manager will be rolling out "over the next few days."

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

INFOGRAPHIC: What is SEO? (Getting More Leads)

By Future Simple:
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a regular topic these days for any business with a website. Experts write blog posts, compose white papers, pen books, and give lectures on the importance of obtaining natural search results.


INFOGRAPHIC: Foursquare says it grew 3,400% in 2010

By LA Times at
According to Foursquare's graphic, 381,576,305 check-ins took place last year worldwide. The last country to check-in in 2010 was North Korea.


Notification Control: Set All Your Social Network Email Notifications From One Place

I don’t know about you, but over the past few months my inbox has been flooded with notifications—”So-and-so is following you on Pinterest,” “What’s-his-name wants to be your friend on Path,” “Bruce Willis is now following you on Twitter!”  OK, Bruce Willis isn’t actually on Twitter, but if he was I’m sure he’d be following me.  Anyway, dealing with all those notifications can be a pain, but a couple of teen entrepreneurs, Ben Lang and Tim Kendall have taken it upon themselves to make your life easier with Notification Control – a service they put together to let you manage all of your social media email notifications from one place.

Ben and Tim, inspired by MyPermissions, put Notification Control together as a weekend project.  Notification Control links to the notification settings pages of most popular social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Path, StumbleUpon and more, making it easy to clean up your notifications in one sweep.  Think there’s a service they should add?  Just shoot Ben a message.
Going to each service individually and trying to figure out where to set your notifications is a pain, which is why most of us haven’t done it until now.  Notification Control makes the process oh so much less time consuming and annoying.  Check it out at and let us know what you think!

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.

How to Get Old Facebook Back

By at Mashable: 
 Much to the annoyance of many of its users, Facebook is always changing. The recent Timeline revamp is the last in a series of tweaks to the social networking service, some good, some bad, and some just plain ugly.
Do you like the news “ticker?” How about the revamped chat? Does the highlighted news style bother you when you miss out on gossip?
We have identified five older Facebook features and functions that we used to enjoy, and found extensions for Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers that get them back.
We know we can’t stop progress in the long term (and we wouldn’t want to), but for the sake of some short-term peace of mind, we’re going retro with some tweaks to suit our preferences.
Let us know in the comments about any Facebook features that drive you nuts, and we’ll see if we can find a few options to “fix” them.

How to use Twitter Effectively

By Belinda Whittaker at SocialBakers:
Are you getting what you want from Twitter? Whether you are a pure beginner with few tweets and an egg as your profile picture or someone who tweets daily, here are a few points that will help you get the most out of your Twitter.
Be Social!
While this may sounds obvious, too often individuals and businesses set up a Twitter account in order to create another direct marketing channel. They want followers and they want their message to be spread through their followers but they become discouraged when they can’t reach that goal. Remember that Twitter is about conversations, so if you enter the “Twitter-verse” only talking about yourself, your company, and what interested you – you will become “that guy” at the party that everyone starts to avoid.
Want to be the life of the party? Tweet things that are interesting and engaging of course, but be social with your followers. You can see your followers’ tweets in your timeline and when you hover over a specific tweet you will see the option to “retweet” the message. Another option is that you can choose “reply” to the tweet, so you can speak to your follower directly. By taking interest in your followers, you create relationships and build social media equity.
Follow Back
Reciprocity is a key element of Twitter culture. Keep notice of those who are following you and follow them back. Twitter has made this more transparent, now when you click on followers you will see next to each person the option to follow them if you aren’t already. Debates have raged over the years about this issue and I’ve heard all of the complaints – to many followers is too much noise, the feed moves too quickly, etc – however during those years both good business practice and Twitter-etiquette has shown that following back brings more followers.
Each time that someone follows you, you have a chance to engage with them when you follow back by sending them a message thanking them for following you and letting them know that you’re interested in learning more about them. Also if you are worried about too much “noise” in your Twitter feed, then be sure to use the LISTS options to separate those you are following into different groups so you easily filter out the noise and highlight the conversations you want to follow. Another great way to manage your list and conversations is by using TweetDeck, a free application that can be used on your desktop as well as on your android or iphone.
Find New People to Follow
The easiest way to find new people to follow is by clicking on “Who to Follow.” Twitter will suggest followers based on who you follow, who they follow, and similar interests you share. While this is a great resource, you will be limiting yourself if this is the only function you use. One of the best ways to find interesting followers, who may also be potential leads for you and your business, is to monitor conversations around key words. Twitter has significantly improved their search function since the spring, so now you can simply search on any key word to see who is using that key word in their tweets.
Use Hashtags
If you’re not using Hashtagsthen you are missing out on the opportunity to spread your message to a much wider audience. Hashtags act as a kind of standardized search function on Twitter so that people who are not following each other can still have conversations around a certain topics. This is often used for general topics like #socialmedia, specific events like #w2s for the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this October, and even television shows and news programs like #theoffice or #bbc.
If you want find out what a hashtag is being used for, you can look it up on which is an excellent resource that will show you how popular the tag is and even which days of the week and times of the day it is most popular. One of my favorite new resources is Trendsmap, which shows a real-time mapping of Twitter trends across the world. You can either look at a specific location to see which hashtags are trending, or you can look up a specific hashtag and see in which parts of the world people are using it.
All in all this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Twitter resources. However by starting with these four suggestions, you’ll see your follows grow, your message spread, and your enjoyment of Twitter increase. Don’t forget to check out Socialbakers Twitter statistics!

RapidShare and MegaUpload attorneys draw defensive comparisons to Dropbox, YouTube

By Bryan Bishop at The Verge: 
It's been less than a week since MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom was arrested and the file-sharing site seized, and we've already seen a wave of reaction, with one competitor disabling its own sharing functionality and hacker group Anonymous attacking the RIAA, Universal Music Group, and others. Now it's time for the PR battle, with attorneys from RapidShare and MegaUpload using comparisons to services like iCloud and YouTube to defend their respective sites in two recent interviews.
Speaking with Fast Company, RapidShare's Daniel Raimer points out that the basic technology of uploading and downloading a file is the same for RapidShare and MegaUpload as it is for Dropbox or Apple's iCloud. File sharing isn't the problem, he says; it's the business motivation behind it that's a cause for concern, and that's where RapidShare is in the clear. "The main difference is, what exactly is your business model? Are you aiding piracy? Is your intent to make money by attracting pirates and getting attention from copyright pirates?" Touting RapidShare's repeat-infringement policy and quick response to copyright violaitons as proof of its anti-piracy bona fides, he makes a point of saying that the company is "definitely aiming for legitimate use," even while acknowledging that RapidShare is "facing more illegal content than others."
MegaUpload's US attorney Ira Rothken strikes a different tone in an interview with Ars Technica, decrying the use of force in Dotcom's arrest and implying that the government did not go through proper channels when dealing with the site. He suggests a DMCA takedown notice followed by a civil suit would have been the correct course of action, pointing to Viacom's lawsuit against YouTube as a reference point. "Whatever allegations that they can make against MegaUpload they could have made against YouTube," he said. Of course, in recent years YouTube has implemented extensive audio and video fingerprinting to help protect copyrighted material.
With public sentiment having had such a tremendous impact on the recent debate over SOPA and PIPA, we imagine we'll be seeing more of this type of jockeying for popular opinion in the coming months. As for MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom himself, his legal travails are just beginning.

Monday, 23 January 2012

7 Quick Tips to Keep Your SEO On Track in 2012

By , at SearchEngineWatch:
Once again, we've rounded the corner on a new year and many of us find ourselves re-evaluating our performance throughout many of life’s facets, whether it's how much we exercise or how well we eat. Just as we would to continually yearn to better ourselves, we have to take a moment and reevaluate what we’re doing to continually achieve within organic search visibility.
Taking a look at your overall SEO strategy from time to time is a great way to slow down, breathe, and see if you're still on track for SEO success. Any long-standing effort in life deserves an evaluation from time to time.
No SEO success is realized without solid benchmarks. It's important to continually compare progress to past dates to assess improvement.
A new year provides a great point to review year-over-year data to get a big picture of SEO success without the rigors of seasonality and other factors that can mar short-term analysis. Beyond assessing numbers and percentages, it’s also a great time to assess overall strategy, assess where SEO is going, and adjust accordingly. Plus, it’s nice to get away from all those numbers every once in a while!


It’s a New Year…Time for a Review of Your SEO Campaign!

So, you’ve spent the last year building that “sports car” of a site. In actuality, many of you have been trying to stay abreast with the fast moving world of SEO and find yourselves looking at something resembling more like a "Mad Max" vehicle. For those of you who aren’t Mel Gibson fans, I’m alluding to the fact that you have added to a site little by little and as new SEO opportunities and trends emerge you find yourself looking at a site pieced together that isn’t so pretty.
I must admit that I’m guilty of this from time to time. I’ll take a look back and see that we have added a link, page, content snippet, etc. here and there and when I take a look at the big picture I have multiple links to the same page on a given site page, over-usage of keywords, or – even worse – lack of intended keyword focus on site page. You’ve been so busy monitoring the day-to-day worries of rankings, traffic, 404s, 301s, duplicate content, and on and on and haven’t doubled-back to see what the compilation of your team’s efforts are portraying.
So, how do we review our SEO strategy and ensure we stay on track?

1. Site Mission and KPIs

Revisit the mission of the site/company as well as the KPIs for the site. We know where we want to go with the site, are we still on track.

2. Review Annotations in Google Analytics Timelines

Hopefully you're extremely organized and have notated all changes and implementation dates for SEO initiatives and don't have to fish through email for hours.

3. Look at Your Link Profile

Utilize a tool such as Open Site Explorer and review your overall anchor text counts. Have you gone hog wild in the last year with non-branded keyword anchor text and forgot about branded linking?

4. Assess Top Keywords

Review Google Webmaster Tools and assess the top keywords and their variations found on your site. This helps to provide a holistic view of what Google’s understands your site content to represent.

5. Review Internal Page Links

Stay in Google Webmaster Tools and review your most heavily linked internal pages. You might be surprised that you have unknowingly added certain page links across the site in navigation etc. over the last year and now these are showing as more important than other key site pages.

6. Are You Ranking for the Right Keywords?

Now, head over to your site. Review your targeted keywords, the intended pages for which you want to rank for, and the pages that actually rank for the terms. That is if it does continue to rank.
Ensure that if you’ve added additional content, whether it’s text or images, that it still helps to support the keyword theme of the page. Have you added internal links into the copy whose anchor text may be too similar to the respective page’s keyword theme, confusing search engines? In other words, don’t link from the bicycles page to a product page with the anchor “bicycles.”

7. W3C Validation

You have had a year of designers/developers making continual changes to the site. If you haven’t been continually monitoring this, run a W3C validation to ensure your code is still clean as well as page load tests to assess any page elements dragging down load time.


Granted, this quick spot check of your SEO strategy doesn’t ensure SEO domination in the new year, but you may be surprised that it can show from a 30,000 foot view that too many small steps to the left or right can leave you far off the path in your journey for SEO success. Now, hopefully you’ve cleared your head of any SEO insecurities and you have more time to get back to your other New Year resolutions!

StumbleUpon: 10 Tips and Tricks for Power Users

By at Mashable: 
Thousands of websites are created every day, yet sometimes the Internet feels a bit stale. How do you filter through all of the junk when you want to discover something new?
StumbleUpon is a site that randomly shuffles through websites, curating content and information specifically for you. Since its start, the site has surpassed 20 million users, and continues to be a dominant source of traffic for the world’s top social media sites.
According to StumbleUpon, the site delivers more than 1.2 billion recommendations per month, and users spend seven hours per month stumbling. Most surprisingly, according to this infographic, the average stumbling session lasts 69 minutes.
Those numbers might seem a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t have that kind of time to devote to the site. However, there are a few things you can do ahead of time, and while stumbling, that’ll provide you with the best sites specific to you. Here are 10 ways to get the best stumbles

1. Plan Ahead
If you take the extra steps in the beginning to completely fill your profile, you'll have a better experience. The more customized you make it, the better results you will see when stumbling

2. Interests
Fill out your interests. That's how StumbleUpon will know exactly what you like. Not sure what to put? There's a "Discover Interests" page that suggests general topics, such as arts or crafts, that you might fancy.

3. Channels
On the Discover page, you'll find a "Channels" tab that lets you filter through various RSS feeds of popular brands, people and websites.

4. Be Specific
You can also narrow it down to an even more specific category of interest. For example, if you want to stumble Great Danes, type it in the search bar at the top left.

5. Give Your Honest Opinion
Each vote up or down helps the website cater to your personal interests. Don't be afraid to vote down on a website; it'll help cancel out the ones that are similar

6. Specific Stumbling
If you've found a website you'd like to explore further, click next to the thumbs up arrow to stumble one specific site. If you want to stumble through the ones you've liked already, go to your profile under your photo and click "Stumble My Likes."

7. Filtering
Want to check out strictly funny videos, like this epic speech from a first-time biker? Under "Ways to Stumble" on the tool bar, the "Modes" option that lets you filter different mediums, such as photos, videos or news. You can also browse your followers and sift through your interests.

 8. Friends
Interested in what your friends are stumbling? Connecting with people who have the same interests as you also helps personalize your experience on the site. You can also view the stumbles your friends have liked by going to their profile and clicking the "Stumble My Likes" button

9. Sharing
Found a cool photo or idea you want to share? Click the speech bubble on the toolbar, and you can post to any of your social media sites. You can also leave a comment on the page for anyone else who stumbles upon that site.

10. Look Back at Past Stumbles
Once you start liking several different posts, it can be difficult to backtrack, which is where the "thumbs up" also comes in handy. Looking for that cool view of Paris you stumbled upon? It's logged in, along with all of your other stumbles in your profile.