Search & Social focuses on how search engines are weighting social media influences, share signals and user rating data to provide users with a more ‘personalized’ set of results. In addition to exploring the growing intersection of search and social networks, columnists provide insight on how to integrate search marketing and social activities for optimal results and more targeted traffic from these channels working together.

The Hottest Reads In Search & Social In 2012

search-social-featured We already shared the news that Jordan Kasteler took home the top prize and had a second entry in our overall list of most read columns for the year, both of which appeared here in the Search & Social column, alongside several other worthy reads. In 2012, "social signals" became one of the most talked about topics among SEO's and social media marketers, as the prevalence of Google+ and Bing/Facebook social results have captured our attention. Yet many feel we're still very much in the early stages of social signals having a major impact in general search engine results. That sh [...]

Real Relationships Lead To Search Marketing Success

How far do your relationships extend across the Web? This question is totally relevant to digital marketing nowadays. No longer are the days of just plain and simple on-page SEO. I have read countless articles about link building vs. relationship building, seen Whiteboard Fridays and attended panels at conferences about the subject. The obvious conclusion being: relationships are kind of important. Wouldn't you agree? Yes, Relationships Are Important! Well, perhaps I take that concept a little too literally because I have made some fantastic friends online, and in many cases, have ta [...]

Take Twitter Campaigns To The Next Level With SEO Data

Twitter Firehose You drive amazing amounts of traffic to your sites, grow conversions and engage with thousands of users over social media. Want to take your search and social efforts to the next level? Try forming a Social-SEO super group to exploit synergies, foster collaboration and deliver better results across Social and SEO. Integrating your online marketing efforts is all about breaking down silos and delivering amazing results for brands and agencies. Social and SEO marketers can be a big part of this. As marketers, our ultimate aim is to have one marketing super group with PPC, SEO, Social and [...]

9 Search & Social KPIs To Start Tracking Right Now

If you don’t measure what you’re doing in search and social media, how do you know if what you’re doing is working? How do you know if you’re helping or hurting your business—or having no effect whatsoever? How do you know that all those hours and/or wages aren’t being wasted? How do you know you’re getting positive results? At the end of the day, how do you know what you’re doing is worth it? Answer: you don’t! Measuring your SEO/social media successes and failures are the only way to improve — and to confirm that your strategies are helping your business mo [...]

Who Should Win The 2012 Social Media Election?

With today being Election Day, I figured it would be appropriate to write a post related to politics. Then I thought better of myself and realized it would pretty much be impossible to write anything about the election without getting overly political. To be completely honest, I don’t follow politics that closely, so I wouldn’t be the guy to write that anyway. Unless of course, the post had nothing to do with politics and was entirely related to social media. So that’s what we will do. Let’s present the facts and vote for the leader of the free world, entirely based on their soci [...]

14 Ideas To Utilize Custom Variables For Search & Social Tracking

Custom variables are one of the most (if not the most) powerful tools Google Analytics has to offer to better understand your audiences from search and social. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most underrated and underused. So, if they’re so useful, why do so few sites utilize them? For the same reason that custom variables (CVs) are so powerful: they’re infinitely customizable. In other words: there is no one-size-fits-all variable. It doesn’t come equipped straight out of the gate; additional assembly is required. You’ll need to set it up yourself to match your site’s a [...]

6 Ways To Integrate Your On-Site & Social Efforts

Authorship Since search and social have had more of a convergence, the idea of the "hub" has become stronger, providing one main place to drive your existing audience and capture their attention. Most marketers or brands make the mistake of having social media be their "go to" place and they neglect any semblance of a strong blog or website strategy. This results in is a lost "segment" of users – those who engage on social networks but never actually make it to your site and truly show interest in your brand. Social leads to the sharing of content, but conversions and revenue are harder to quan [...]

Making Your Site Sticky For Both Search & Social Users

You are probably well aware of the benefits of making a "sticky" site. Sticky sites — engaging, well-designed sites that visitors find irresistibly hard to leave — offer dozens of benefits for your business and sales, including: A lowered bounce rate (because visitors stick around longer) Increased brand understanding and awareness (users learn more about you while browsing your site, and thus feel more comfortable investing/subscribing in your brand) Higher traffic and increased social shares (more eyes on more content = higher chance of sharing = more referral traffic from sha [...]

Using Social Ad Metrics & Messaging To Shape Your Local Content Strategy

Geo Rankings Understanding how your message resonates on social media can be one of the key factors in making sure your content resonates with the community you’re targeting. When you integrate local targeting and messaging into the mix, it can make for a strong content campaign that gives you plenty of metrics and data to review, tweak and adjust while tracking organic movement.. While this strategy style is very calculating, with tremendous ability for link generation, it's not something that is scalable for movement if you're a one person team. To demonstrate this, we'll primarily review integra [...]

7 Important Digital Assets To Optimize Brand Exposure

It’s no secret that personal branding is important. So is branding your Brand. Basically, what I am trying to say is, we all want to get found online. Well, in some cases, people don’t. But generally speaking, the goal is to get more exposure. Which is why, it boggles the mind as to why some people only focus on the standard "SEO signals" but ignore other important optimization opportunities. A couple things recently happened which caused me to do a digital self evaluation: My Meta descriptions on my blog weren't showing correctly (apparently Yoast and Thesis don’t play so nicely [...]

The Hidden Cost Of Cheap SEO & Social Media Labor

pennies-coins-money-featured Fact: All businesses, large or small, want to save money wherever they can. I understand this. I sympathize with this. What I don’t understand, however, is why so many businesses try to take the cheap route and cut corners in their online strategy— and then are dumbfounded when they get scammed/receive terrible results/get blocked by Google. I know how devastatingly costly it can be to launch, maintain, and grow a business. But there are certain aspects of building a business where it’s never okay to cut corners. You wouldn’t hire an inexperienced, too-cheap contractor to build t [...]

Google Search Results Show Some Facebook User Posts Leaking Out Of Walled Garden

[caption id="attachment_130897" align="alignright" width="192" caption="Walled garden"][/caption] Facebook has earned its reputation as an AOL-like walled garden by keeping most of the content generated within Facebook hidden from those who haven't logged in. Not only does a login screen stop general Internet users from viewing Facebook content without logging in, it also impedes search engine indexing. Currently, Google can index: a limited view of Facebook user profiles "Fan" Pages, including user posts Facebook comments left on third-party sites At one point in time, sea [...]

Helping Or Hurting: The Debate Over Google+ Local

google-plus-local-featured It’s been two months now since Google replaced Google Places with Google+ Local. The reactions thus far have been mixed: SEOs hailed it as a revelation for small businesses, while consumers were left scratching their heads over the new Zagat system. Google+ Local has the potential to be everything this column is about: the intersection of search (indexed local search listings) and social (integrated Google+ business pages). It’s a major update from the number-one player in the local search game: 97% of consumers say they research local businesses before making a decision, and Google [...]

Lessons From The Auto Industry: Leveraging Social For Organic Traction

Links are not often thought of as a by-product of a great social campaign. Often the goals of those working on social profiles for a brand revolve around a simple goal: Getting more followers and building an audience. This is a strong goal that makes sense, but rather short sighted. There's more to social than simply having a sounding board. If you leverage your fans and followers correctly, they'll be your key to naturally generating links and mentions around your brand. The big question is: I've built up these social channels. Now, how do we take advantage of successful social media p [...]

Free Things & Stupid People Help Us Win The Internet

I read a lot. If you ever happen to see me riding the train to work, or waiting for something, you can be sure that I will have my head down, staring at my phone and scrolling through my reader to get the latest information and changes in the digital world. This is usually where ideas come to me. I often read posts from others giving tips on social media success and ways to better connect with our audience. Usually, these great tips include giving something away for free, or some kind of promotion. And for good reason, because when done properly, it really works. In my recent intervie [...]

It’s Not WHAT You Need to Go Viral – It’s WHO

Everyone dreams of going viral. Think of the traffic! The links! The search signal boosts, the audience growth, the brand awareness! It’s true: going viral does wonders for both search and social. I’ve already written  about what makes content go viral, but we too rarely consider the who - the users who make content go viral in the first place. Every Virus Needs A Host Just like a physical virus, viral content requires vectors: people who pass the viral content along and "infect" others. Yet even though the audience is essential for virality, we too often focus on just the content it [...]

How Social Signals Could Potentially Influence Local Search Results

For a local business, localized search results are lifeblood to them. Focusing on a local SEO strategy can often have a bigger impact on their business model than focusing on the full organic results. A lot of smaller local businesses aren’t blessed with an extremely large marketing budget and could have potentially resorted to tactics that caught them up in the Penguin filter. There are ways to take advantage of the local space without spending an extraordinary amount of money, while leveraging your social community at the same time. When Google+ integrated local places in May and sta [...]

Combining Entity Search & Social: A Chat With Bing’s Duane Forrester

In the past month, Bing has made some significant changes to their layout, integrating with Facebook and other social platforms, drastically adding value to their product. The question I wondered out loud was, how do we as marketers leverage this new social visibility. How do we become one of the influencers that show up in a given search? Take a look at this image below. This section is independent from your connections. Somehow, Bing has begun using social data, to determine who is an authority and worth listening too. This is a tremendous opportunity from a personal branding perspe [...]

Is Presentation More Important Than Content Itself?

Is content presentation more important than content itself? In a word: Absolutely. Yes, you’ve heard the "(Quality) Content is King" argument for years, and I’d never deny that that having quality, original, must-read content is essential to any content strategy. But the visual presentation is your first impression with the Web visitor: it’s what makes the visitor decide whether or not to consume the content in the first place. If your content looks boring, time-consuming, salesy, or unprofessional, your visitor will click out of your content before reading the first paragrap [...]

How To Tweet What You Want, Because Content Matters

With the trends that we are seeing in the search engines as they become more and more social, I think it is fair to assume that social sharing will be a major part (or at the very least, be a piece) of consideration in any future updates. This is exactly why it’s more important than ever for marketers to understand what aspects of Social Media and which social signals actually help us and our clients get maximum visibility in the search engines. To be clear, I have always been, and (unless proven other wise) will continue to be a proponent of quality. Having said that, I did at one poi [...]

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