Tag Archives: search engine marketing

When Your Brand Message Doesn’t Match How People Search

Courtesy of SEARCH ENGINE LAND.

SEO is all about words. Which words people search with; how to use them; and where to put them. Choosing the right keywords is imperative to the success of any SEO campaign.

Unfortunately, selecting these keywords isn’t always as simple as it would seem. Many B2B companies have very specific marketing and messaging philosophies that may not always line up exactly with the way prospects search.

What? We Can’t Use Those Words!

This is not a new problem. It is often said that SEO is the art of compromise. There are times when a B2B company is presented with SEO recommendations and the response is, “we don’t want to use that word/phrase on our website”.

While the keyword or phrase may be highly relevant and have great search volume, the phrase itself may not be appealing from a brand message perspective.

For example, your marketing team may refer to your service as “demand creation”, but the vast majority of your prospects are searching for “lead generation.”

Your CEO may be in love with the term “enterprise telecomm services”, but most buyers search for “call center.”

What should a B2B marketer do if their company’s brand messaging does not align with the way prospects search?

Six Factors To Consider

Here are six factors to consider when evaluating whether or not to include keywords in your SEO strategy:

  1. Keyword relevance
  2. Search volume
  3. Competition
  4. Searcher Intent
  5. Market Position
  6. Internal vs External Industry Jargon

Relevance & Volume

First, does this word or phrase describe your business or your products/services? Is it highly-relevant to your business? If yes, the keyword should at least be considered for inclusion in your SEO program.

Second, does research indicate that this keyword or phrase is commonly used?

Look at total search volume as well as the amount of variations of the keyword or phrase. If volume is high for both of these metrics, this phrase is most likely often used by prospects in relation to your business.

Competition

A third data point to consider is whether your direct competitors are using the phrase.

If a majority of competitors use these words on their websites – there’s probably a very good reason why! Be cautious about going against market trends when it comes to common search phrases and the way people describe your products and services.

Searcher Intent

Can you tell if the person conducting the search with this keyword or phrase is looking for your product or service offerings? Or does this word/phase have a variety of meanings and uses?

For example, acronyms often have high search volume, but searcher intent can be hard to determine due to different meanings.  ”ERP ” usually means Enterprise Resource Planning, but it can also mean Effective Radiated Power, and Electronic Road Pricing!

In order for a keyword to be an effective element of your SEO campaign, the intent of the searcher must be to find the exact service your firm offers.

Market Position

The next factor to consider is market position.

If you incorporate a keyword/phrase into your website, will it negatively impact your company’s position in the market? This may be the case if the keyword describes only a small part of your overall service offering or is not entirely reflective of your company.

Overall, if it is not likely that having this keyword (or phrase) on your website will negatively impact market position or audience perception then the risk associated with including this keyword or phrase in your SEO program is low.

Industry Jargon

Finally, the issue of industry jargon must be addressed.

It can be hard to remember that a word doesn’t always carry the same meaning to the whole world that it does within your company. B2B marketers often create a new description for products or services that they believe sounds better than the common name or search phrase.

While it is important to have a unique selling proposition, the new description may not match the way your target audience would describe your product or service.

Remember, successful SEO is dependent upon speaking the same language! Beware of building your SEO strategy around internal marketing jargon – rather than the words prospects actually use to search.

SEO Benefit vs. Market Position & Perception

In my opinion, an effective SEO program requires that a company stand behind all of the keywords and phrases they are targeting. These six considerations can help you evaluate the pros and cons of including keywords in your SEO strategy.

There are times when a B2B company must adapt their brand message and times they should stay the course.

SEO agencies and B2B companies alike must thoughtfully consider the potential impact a keyword can have on SEO results and how this keyword may influence the market’s perception of your firm.

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MultiMedia Press Releases Get 77% More Views

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Courtesy of Website Magazine.

Distributing press releases through services such as PR Newswire has for years been a highly effective marketing strategy for businesses on the Web. New data from PR Newswire, however, indicates a significant development regarding the effectiveness of today’s releases.

A recent update to the company’s Web analytics program enabled it to compare the copious data that details the activity press releases generate on PR Newswire.com. A closer inspection of the data confirmed that press releases with multimedia elements generate up to 77 percent more views than text-only releases.

PR Newswire’s research reveals that marketers can increase the number of views by 14 percent simply by adding a photo, and that including a video will raise that number to 20 percent. The percentage more than doubles to 48 percent more views with both a photo and a video, and adding additional elements such as audio or PowerPoint to photos, video and text will result in 77 percent more views than a text-only release.

The study determined that the increase in views is due to the fact that multimedia news releases (MNR) are more broadly distributed than text (non-MNR) press releases. Each element of a multimedia release is distributed separately and can attract its own audience on social networks and search engines. Videos, for example, are distributed to more than 70 video-specific portals.

The effect of distribution is illustrated clearly in the stark contrast between traffic sources for text press releases versus traffic sources for multimedia content. Search engines are the primary drivers of traffic to text press releases while other web sites are the primary drivers of traffic for multimedia content.

Multimedia news content is shared much more enthusiastically on social networks. The number is driven somewhat by the fact that multimedia press releases generally include a variety of sharable elements such as photos, video and slides in addition to text. The wide distribution of these elements as described previously also plays a part in driving the sharing process.

Nonetheless, the differences in the degree to which multimedia releases are shared more frequently than plain text is striking. Across the one-month sample of content on PR Newswire.com, multimedia releases were shared 3.53 times more often than text releases. Text releases were shared, on average, .99 times per hour per release while MNRs were shared, on average, 3.5 times per hour.

Multimedia content also has a longer shelf-life, holding the audiences’ interest for more than twice as long as text press releases. On average, text press releases generate visibility for 9.4 days while multimedia press releases generate visibility an average of 20 days. The higher degree of sharing also contributes to extending the message life.

100% Organic: 25 Super Common SEO Mistakes

What follows are innocent mistakes that many SEOs make. Courtesy of SeachEngineLand.  Some of these things catch even the best of us…

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1. Google AdWords Keyword Tool Set To Broad Match

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool defaults to “Broad match” mode, which yields useless data from an SEO perspective — useless in that the numbers are hugely inflated to include countless phrases incorporating the search term specified. For example, the Keyword Tool reports 30.4 million queries for “shoes”, but that includes multi-word phrases such as “dress shoes,” “leather shoes,” “high heeled shoes,” and even “horse shoes,” “snow shoes,” and “brake shoes.”

In Exact mode, the search query volume for “shoes” drops to 368,000. The difference between those numbers is striking, isn’t it? So always remember if you are doing keyword research for SEO in the AdWords Keyword Tool: untick the box next to Broad match and tick the box next to Exact.

2. Disallowing when you meant to Noindex

Ever notice listings in the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) without titles or snippets? That happens when your robots.txt file has disallowed Googlebot from visiting a URL, but Google still knows the URL exists because links were found pointing there. The URL can still rank for terms relevant to the anchor text in links pointing to disallowed pages. A robots.txt Disallow is an instruction to not spider the page content; it’s not an instruction to drop the URL from the index.

If you place a meta robots noindex meta tag on the page, you’ll need to allow the spiders to access the page so it can see the meta tag. Another mistake is to use the URL Removal tool in Google Webmaster Tools instead of simply “noindexing” the page. Rarely (if ever) should the removal tool be used for anything. Also note that there’s a Noindex directive in the REP (Robots Exclusion Protocol) that Googlebot obeys (unofficially). More on disallow and noindex here.

3. URL SERP Parameters & Google Instant

I just wrote about parameters you can append to Google SERP URLs. I’ve heard folks complain they aren’t able to add parameters to the end of Google SERP URLs anymore — such as &num=100 or &pws=0 — since Google Instant appeared on the scene. Fear not, it’s a simple matter of turning Google Instant off and URL parameters will work again.

4. Not using your customer’s vocabulary

Your customer doesn’t use industry-speak. They’ve never used the phrase “kitchen electrics” in a sentence, despite the fact that its the industry-accepted term for small kitchen appliances. Your customer may not search in the way you think makes intuitive sense. For example, I would have guessed that the plural “digital cameras” would beat the singular “digital camera” in query volume — yet it’s the other way around according to the various Google tools.

Sometimes it is lawyers being sticklers that gets in the way — such as a bank’s lawyers insisting the term “home loan” be used and never “mortgage” (since technically the latter is a “legal instrument” that the bank does not offer). Many times the right choice is obvious but it’s internal politics or inertia keeping the less popular terminology in place (e.g. “hooded sweatshirt” when “hoodie” is what folks are searching for).

5. Skipping the keyword brainstorming phase

Too rarely do I hear that the site’s content plan was driven by keyword brainstorming. Keyword brainstorming can be as simplistic as using Google Suggest (which autocompletes as you type and is built into Google.com) or Soovle (which autocompletes simultaneously from from Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, Wikipedia, Amazon, and Answers.com). The idea is to think laterally.

For example, a baby furniture manufacturer discovers the popularity of “baby names” through looking at popular terms starting with “baby” and decides to build out a section of their site dedicated to related terms (“trends in baby names”, “baby name meanings”, “most overused baby names” etc.).

6. Mapping URLs to keywords, but not the other way around

It’s standard operating procedure to map all one’s site content to keyword themes (sometimes referred to as primary keywords, declared search terms, or gold words.) What’s not so common is to start with a target (i.e. most desired) keyword list and map each keyword to the most appropriate page to rank for that keyword and then optimize the site around the keyword-to-URL pairs.

For example, “vegan restaurants in phoenix” could be relevant to five different pages, but the best candidate is then chosen. The internal linking structure is then optimized to favor that best candidate, i.e. internal links containing that anchor text are pointed to the best candidate rather than spread out across all five. This makes much more sense than competing against oneself and none of the pages winning.

7. Setting up a free hosted blog

Free hosted blog platforms like WordPress.com and Blogger.com provide a valuable service. Over 18 million blogs are hosted on WordPress.com. They’re just not a service I would sign up for if I cared about SEO or monetization. They aren’t flexible enough to install your own choice of plugins or themes/frameworks to trick out the blog with killer SEO. And for Heaven’s sake, don’t make your blog a subdomain wordpress.com. For $10 per year, you can get a premium WordPress.com account under your own domain name.

Did you know putting AdSense ad units on your WordPress.com blog is against the service’s Terms & Conditions? Much better to get yourself a web host and install the self-hosted version of WordPress so you have full control over the thing.

8. Not properly disabling Google personalization

Not long ago, Google started personalizing results based on search activity for non logged in users. For those who thought that logging out of Google was sufficient in order to get non-personalized results, I’ve got news for you: it isn’t. Click on “Web History” in the Google SERPs and then “Disable customizations based on search activity”. Or on an individual query you can add &pws=0 to the end of the Google SERP URL (but only if Google Instant is off, see above).

9. Not logging in to the free tools

Some of the web-based tools we all use regularly, such as Google Trends, either restrict the features or give incomplete (or less accurate) data if not logged in. The Google AdWords Keyword Tool states quite plainly: “Sign in with your AdWords login information to see the full list of ideas for this search”. It would be wise to heed the instruction.

10. Not linking to your top pages w/your top terms on your home page

The categories you display on your home page should be thought through in terms of SEO. Same with your tag cloud if you have one. And the “Popular Products” that you feature. In your mind translate “Popular Products” into “Products for which I most want to get to the top of Google.”

11. Not returning a 404 status code when you’re supposed to

As I mentioned previously, it’s important to return a 404 status code (rather than a 200 or 301) when the URL being requested is clearly bogus/non-existent. Otherwise, your site will look less trustworthy in the eyes of Google. And yes, Google does check for this.

12. Not building links to pages that link to you

Many amateur SEOs overlook the importance of building links to pages that link to their sites. For commercial sites, it can be tough to get links that point directly to your site. But once you have acquired a great link, it can be a lot easier to build links to that linking page and thus you’ll enjoy the indirect benefit.

13. Going over the top with copy and/or links meant for the spiders

Countless home pages have paragraphs of what I refer to as “SEO copy” below the footer (i.e. after the copyright statement and legal notices) at the very bottom of the page. Often times they embed numerous keyword-rich text links within that copy. They may even treat each link with bold or strong tags. Can you get any more obvious than that? I suppose if you put an HTML comment immediately preceding that said “spider food for SEO!” (perhaps “Insert keyword spam for Google here” might be more apropos?)

14. Not using the canonical tag

The canonical tag (errr, link element) may not always work but it certainly doesn’t hurt. So go ahead and use them. Especially if it’s an ecommerce site. For example, if you have a product mapped to multiple categories resulting in multiple URLs, the canonical tag is an easy fix.

15. Not checking your neighborhood before settling in

If you’re buying a home, you’d check out the area schools and the crime statistics, right? Why wouldn’t you do the same when moving into a new IP neighborhood. Majestic SEO has an IP neighborhood checker. This is especially important for the small-time folks. You don’t want to be on the same IP address (shared hosting) with a bunch of dodgy Cialis sites.

16. Doing too much internal linking

Don’t water down your link juice so much that only a trickle goes to each of your pages. An article page should flow PageRank to related topics not to everything under the sun (i.e. hundreds of links).

17. Trusting the data in Google webmaster tools

Ever notice Google Webmaster Tools’ data doesn’t jive with your analytics data? Trust your analytics data over the webmaster tools data.

18. Submitting your site for public site review at a conference where Google engineers are present

Doh! (Insert Homer Simpson voice here.) Unless you’re absolutely sure you have nothing weird going on within your site or link neighborhood, this is pretty much a suicide mission. Corollary: talking to Matt Cutts at a conference without covering your badge up with business cards. Note this mistake was contributed by a guy we’ll call “Leon” (you know who you are, “Leon”!)

19. Cannibalizing organic search with PPC

Paying for traffic you would have gotten for free? Yeah that’s gotta hurt. I wrote about this before in Organic Search & Paid Search: Are they Synergistic or Cannibalistic?.

20. Confusing causation with correlation

When somebody tells me they added H1 tags to their site and it really bumped up their Google rankings, the first question I ask is: “Did you already have the headline text there and just change a font tag into an H1, or did you add keyword-rich headlines that weren’t present before?” It’s usually the latter. The keyword-rich text at the top of the page bumped up the keyword prominence (causation). The H1 tag was a correlation that didn’t move the needle.

21. Not thinking in terms of your (hypothetical) Google “rap sheet”

You may recall I’ve theorized about this before. Google may not be keeping a “rap sheet” of all your transgressions across your network of sites, but they’d be foolish not to. Submitting your site to 800 spam directories over a span of 3 days is just plain stupid. If it’s easy enough to see a big spike in links in Majestic SEO, then it’s certainly easy enough for Google to spot such anomalies.

22. Not using a variety of anchor text

That just doesn’t look natural. Think link diversity.

23. Treating all the links shown in Yahoo Site Explorer as “followed”

Don’t ask me why YSS includes nofollowed links in its reports, but it does. Many YSS users wrongly assume all of the links reported under the “Inlinks” tab are followed links that pass link juice.

24. Submitting a Reconsideration Request before EVERYTHING has been cleaned up

This may not be “super-common” because many SEOs have never submitted a “Reconsideration request” to Google. But if you have or plan to, then make sure everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — has been cleaned up and you’ve documented this in your submission.

25. Submitting to the social sites from a non power user account

Nothing goes flat faster than a submission from an unknown user with no history, no followers, no “street cred”. Power users still rule, Digg redesign or not.

Bonus tip: Stop focusing on low- (or no) value activities

Yes I’ll beat on the meta keywords tag yet again. Google never supported it. All it is is free info for your competitors. Guaranteed there are items on your SEO to-do list like this that aren’t worth doing. Be outcome-focused, not activity-focused. Focus on what matters.

Of course this wasn’t an exhaustive list. There are many, many more. I could easily make this a three article series too. I will try to resist the temptation. 😉

What mistakes are you seeing your co-workers, clients, and competitors make? Share them in the comments!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

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Stephan Spencer is the Vice President of SEO Strategies at Covario. Formerly the founder and president of natural search marketing firm Netconcepts (recently acquired by Covario), and he is also the inventor of the GravityStream SEO proxy technology, now rebranded as Organic Search Optimizer. He is also an author of the O’Reilly book The Art of SEO along with co-authors Rand Fishkin, Jessie Stricchiola, and Eric Enge. He blogs primarily on his own site, Stephan Spencer’s Scatterings.

Does Google Instant Mark the End of SEO?

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

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by Chris Crum  Courtesy of WebProNews

Google Instant Considerations for Search Marketing

A reporter (I believe she was from AdAge) attending Google’s Q&A about Google Instant pointed out that the new search feature tends to favor big brands. This isn’t really surprising, as it is these brands that are more likely to be searched for most often. After all, they’re big because people know them.

Do you think Google Instant is a threat to SEO? Share your thoughts.

iCrossing has a list of brands that come up when you enter each letter of the alphabet (not all are brands, but many are). A is for Amazon (not Apple), B is for Bank of America, M is for Mapquest (not Microsoft), N is for Netflix, P is for Pandora, V is for Verizon, and Y is for Yahoo.

You must keep in mind, however, that the instant results are personalized. Google takes into account things like your location and your surfing habits when providing you results.

Google Instant doesn’t necessarily make things any easier on small businesses, but it’s showing big brands in cases where Google probably would’ve suggested big brands anyway. If users do a lot of local searches, it’s possible that Google could show more local results (including small businesses) for those users, I’m speculating.

Steve Rubel says that Google Instant makes SEO irrelevant. “Here’s what this means,” he says. “No two people will see the same web. Once a single search would do the trick – and everyone saw the same results. That’s what made search engine optimization work. Now, with this, everyone is going to start tweaking their searches in real-time. The reason this is a game changer is feedback. When you get feedback, you change your behaviors.”

He’s not wrong about that, but I’m not sure that makes SEO irrelevant. Google has been showing different results to different users for quite a while now. This is really just an extension of that.

Businesses might want to try (and have other people try) doing searches for keywords that they would expect people to use to find their site. See what comes up (keep in mind the personalization) and work from there. Easier said than done no doubt, but it’s something to consider. Think about what kinds of people will be interested in your products and what other kind of searches they might be doing. It’s not a science, but again, perhaps something worth considering. It might mean getting to know your customers better, which can’ t be a bad thing anyway. Maybe it means asking them to take surveys. Maybe it doesn’t.

The whole thing doesn’t help organic SEO’s case in the old SEO vs PPC debate. I’ll give Rubel that.

Speaking of PPC, Google says Google Instant changes the way it counts impressions. “It’s possible that this feature may increase or decrease your overall impression levels,” says Google’s Dan Friedman. “However, Google Instant may ultimately improve the quality of your clicks since it helps users type queries that more directly connect them with the answers they need.”

Trevor Claiborne of the Google Analytics Team says that Analytics users might notice some fluctuations in AdWords impression volume and traffic for organic keywords. “For example, you may find that certain keywords receive significantly more or fewer impressions moving forward,” he says.

You should read this post on the Google Webamster Central blog. It says that impressions are measured in three ways: the traditional way, when a user clicks on a link that appears as they begin to type, and when a user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of 3 seconds.

Sidenote: Google’s Matt Cutts weighed in on the whole will Google Instant kill SEO thing. “Almost every new change at Google generates the question ‘Will X kill SEO?’ Here’s an video I did last year, but it still applies,” he says.

He says, however that over time, it could change SEO. “The search results will remain the same for a query, but it’s possible that people will learn to search differently over time,” says Cutts. “For example, I was recently researching a congressperson. With Google Instant, it was more visible to me that this congressperson had proposed an energy plan, so I refined my search to learn more, and quickly found myself reading a post on the congressperson’s blog that had been on page 2 of the search results.”

Google Instant will likely become increasingly important to search marketing, because not only will it roll out to more countries (it’s starting in the U.S. and a select few others), but it will soon come to mobile and browser search boxes. Each of these factors will greatly increase how often Instant results are displayed.

The mobile factor actually has implications for Google retaining a substantial amount of mobile searches in general. The better (and quicker) Google can give results on any kind of query, the less reason users have to go to different apps to acquire certain information.

Google clearly said that ranking stays the same with Google Instant, but it will change the way people search. It will affect their search behavior, and that is what search marketers are going to have to think about more than ever. You should also consider that some people will simply deactivate the feature, leaving them open to Google’s standard results.

Tell us what you think of Google Instant. Do you like it or not?

Add Video & Audio Content to Raise Your Search Engine Rankings

Take a look at these amazing facts about YouTube…

• YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet

• If YouTube were a country it would the 3rd largest in the world

• YouTube gets 1 billion views a day

• 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

For a marketer, these statistics are hard to ignore.  What’s even more interesting is that although YouTube is certainly the largest online video website, it’s actually only one of dozens of popular sites including MetaCafe, Viddler, Vimeo and more.  Add to that social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace that also let you upload videos and you can see that video is more popular than ever.

Savvy marketers have picked up on this trend and are using video marketing to drive enormous amounts of traffic to their websites.  And more website traffic ultimately means more sales both online and offline. 

Why is video marketing so powerful?  According to some studies, people remember only 10% of what they read and 50% of what they hear and see.  Additional research shows people are 3-4 times more likely to respond to video than the written word.

As if that information weren’t enough, according to a users view study done by Kelsey Group, after viewing an online video: 55% of consumers visited the web site, 30% went to the store and 24% made a purchase.  Can your other marketing efforts boast those type of results?  Most can’t and don’t!

And here’s the icing on the cake…I’ve seen video listings show up on the first page of Google in as little as an hour.  That is truley amazing!

What can you use video for?
• Testimonials – Cick here for some great examples of effective video testimonials
• An introduction to your website or company – Click Here for good example of a video introducing a website
• To explain difficult subjects in a way that viewers can see for themselves
• The ability to better demonstrate complex problems and solutions
• To answer frequently asked questions in a more personalized manner

The best part is that if you want a way to dominate page one on search engines like Google, then video is one the best, fastest and most effective way to do so.  And guess what?  You can upload videos to most of these video websites for FREE!

But hold on you say, if it were that easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?  There are main 7 reasons:

1. Most business owners don’t know how powerful video can be.  Now that I’ve shared some of the facts with you, consider yourself informed.

2. Many marketers familiar with other types of marketing are unfamiliar with how to make an effective video – one that is compelling enough to get and keep a prospect’s attention.  An easy place to start is simply answering some of the most frequently asked questions your customers ask

3. No call to action – One of the most important things that gets left off most videos is the call to action.  What do you actually want your viewer to do.  Be sure to include words like call, click or visit.

4.  Not optimizing your video so it gets noticed by the search engines – this is where it becomes as much art as it is science.  This is where you want to engage the advice of an expert.  Extensive keyword research, competitive analysis and various other methods are key.  If you want to really dominate page one this is a critical step.

Each page on Google has room for about 10 search results.  I have been able to capture as many as 6 out of 10 spots on page 1 for my keywords time and time again.  It just stands to reason that I now have a 60% chance of being clicked on than if I only had 1 listing.  Now that’s page one domination!

5. Not having a video marketing strategy – You need to decide what you are trying accomplish before you start.  Are you trying to drive traffic, sell something, brand a product or service.  If you start with end result you want and work backwards, you’ll improve your results dramatically.

6. Sending video viewers to the wrong place –  You can do everything right to this point and then sabotage your efforts by sending viewers to the wrong place.  You must strategically prepare your website before sending traffic there.  In simple terms, if you are selling apples, don’t send them to the fruit stand page, send then directly to the “apples for sale page”.  In other words, don’t send viewers to your home page and make them search.

7. Not utilizing or including social media marketing websites in their your video marketing distribution.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and other Web 2.0 websites are great places to show off your videos.  These sites are not just for teenagers.  Your customers are already there so you need to be there too.

Now that you understand the power of video marketing, it’s time to get started dominating page one!

Courtesy of David Carleton’s Wise Guy Marketing.

Social Media Checklist for Internet Marketeers

Having outstanding content is crucial in a good social media campaign, but  many times the overall framework around the campaign can make or break your initiatives. Not only do you want to make sure that your campaign is overwhelmingly successful, but that you can track all of the metrics of this success.

Content related items

  • Thoroughly check your hosting – Make sure that your hosting can withstand a flurry of traffic – that can many times cripple a server. Contact your hosting provider and see if they could handle 25,000 visits in a 5 minute span.  Many people think they are going to do alright, but end up crashing during primetime, wasting all their work.
  • Doublecheck your content – Many times, even with excellent bandwidth and a reliable host, webmasters can shoot themselves in the foot in their execution of the content. Say you have 100 images to accompany a top 100 list and they all measure about 40kb an image. Your host’s processor might have the allotted amount of bandwidth for the data transfer, but the processor might get crushed trying to serve the 100 images to 10,000 visitors a minute and crash the site. Use things like Amazon S3 or Flickr for image hosting and YouTube or Vimeo for video hosting, so you won’t strain your own hosting resources.
  • Think about social voting buttons & badges – One thing that can bring voting to a halt is the lack of voting buttons on a page. If using buttons and badges, make sure that each button is going to the specific place and pre-load as much as possible so that users won’t have to think as much.
  • Look for events to avoid – Even the most awesome content in the world would have gotten lost during Michael Jackson’s funeral, when all of the social networks were crippled by the bandwidth. Many events are impossible to avoid, but there are so many others (elections/ceremonies/holidays …etc) which can be avoided.
  • Schedule launch for primetime – Make sure that you are giving your content its due and launch when you think you will have the most success; don’t just launch when it is done. If launching on Twitter, select the time of day and week where you think you will have as much pickup as possible. Same with the social news/bookmarking sites, make sure to set yourself up to utilize your networks to the maximum.
  • Analytics check – This is a no-brainer, make sure that you are tracking as much as possible during a campaign.  Having instant access to traffic stats is ideal, as you will be able to find out what is working well and try to exploit similar outlets.
  • Make sure additional support is ready – If looking to bolster your campaigns with other forms of marketing such as PPC campaigns, press releases, blogger outreach lists  or contextual ads, make sure that they are all set and ready to launch.  Many times these methods have an approval process or a good deal of footwork that have to be done before they can be launched. Make sure everything is buttoned down before launching.

Baseline Reporting

  • URL link check – View the number of inbound links to that specific page. Why? You should be tracking as many metrics as possible so that you can show detailed results to clients. Tracking the number of inbound links pre-launch will enable you to give your client direct results from the work that you have done.
  • Domain link check – This is mainly for smaller websites, but is still a great practice to track for all clients. One of the byproducts of promoting a specific page is that the main domain will garner links as well as the specific page in question. For many sites, every link counts and you want to make sure that you track everything!
  • Track overall pickups – Before launching, make sure that you have the proper resources to track all mentions of the campaign so that you will be able to justify the chatter about your campaign. SocialMention, WhosTalkin & Raven SEO Tools all have built in monitoring (as well as many others out there) that will allow you to really find (and save) what people are saying about you.
  • URL ranking report – One of the main results that you will see from a successful social news site is a quick lift in the SERPs. Tools like SEMrush allow you to find out what a specific page is already ranking for (if ranking for anything at all). Then, 30 days after your campaign has ended, you will be able to show hard evidence of increases that your Social Media Campaign has made on your SEO efforts.
  • Domain ranking report – Just like the ‘domain link check’ successful promotion of a specific article will most likely help your overall domain authority, so do some basic groundwork on how the entire site is performing in the SERPs before launching your campaigns.

With this checklist, you should be properly equipped to not only run a successful campaign, but also be able to show cold hard facts on the success of any campaign as well!  Courtesy of SEARCHENGINELAND.com