Tag Archive | "Higher"

Google to add support for higher quality images in search, swipe up images & 3D images

Google Images is often overlooked, but it can be a great source of traffic. Here are some new features coming to image search you should pay attention to.



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Starbucks Delivery via Uber Eats Goes National After Seeing Higher Average Sales

Based on a successful delivery trial in China via Alibaba and Uber Eats in Miami, Starbucks has announced that they are adding delivery nationwide. Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer says they are still looking at the total cost of delivery very “carefully” but they are emboldened by the higher average sale with delivery orders.

Rosalind Brewer, Starbucks COO, recently discussed the new Uber Eats partnership on CNBC:

Starbucks Delivery via Uber Eats Expanding Nationwide

We’ve had a great trial in Miami and we chose Miami because we know what the temperatures are in Miami. We’ve seen great drink consistency. We’ve seen really good leverage on the ticket, so we’re seeing both food and beverages being ordered. We’re seeing a much larger ticket when we see a delivery from Starbucks.

We’re really pleased that we’re doing this partnership with Uber. We’re learning a lot about technology integration and that’s the real result here, just really making sure that the technology comes together and then we deliver the best product for the customer.

The question around is this a profitable opportunity for us is one of the things that we’re evaluating because it does cost more to deliver coffee. But we are seeing an expanded ticket and that average ticket is really what we need to see happen as we approach delivery. We’re encouraged right now but we’re actually monitoring that very carefully.

Learned From the Alibaba Partnership in China

We’re using a lot of the learnings from China in terms of things like packaging. Not only is it an automobile delivery, we’re seeing that it’s bicycle delivery as well. So we’re understanding that very well. We’re also understanding what is the offering? Should it be the full menu and what dreams do best when they have to be delivered?

State of the Starbucks Economy

What we’re seeing right now is that something like a Starbucks cup of coffee which some assume is an affordable luxury, we’re really comfortable right now. I will tell you one thing about our holiday season that we’re in right now. We learned a lot from what we did last year and we’re really encouraged by the reusable red cup that we entered this year.

We’re doing marketing campaigns and every time we see the Starbucks name mentioned in media we get a pop in our performance. So we’re really pleased with what we’re seeing and we’re a little bit less concerned with the turndown that everyone’s talking about.

When you look at what Starbucks is doing particularly in China and in the US is that we’re still opening new stores. In China, there is still a lot of addressable market for us to participate in. You’ll see us be pretty bullish on the work that we’re doing with new stores and we’re adding delivery which is all incremental business. At this time there’s opportunity for us to continue to grow but we’re watching carefully some other things that are happening globally.

Beverage Innovation is Our Biggest Driver of Growth

The biggest driver of growth for us going forward will be our beverage innovation. You saw us earlier this year introduce a new espresso. You’ll see us bring more of our learnings from our roasteries in terms of what can happen with our beverage innovation. You’ll see us talk more about our Cold Platform, things like our Nitro Cold Brew, and then some of our other beverages that are really doing well for us right now.

The post Starbucks Delivery via Uber Eats Goes National After Seeing Higher Average Sales appeared first on WebProNews.

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How to use the Knowledge Graph for higher rankings

Contributor Ryan Shelley recommends looking into the content displayed in a knowledge card and using what you find to develop a smart and targeted content marketing campaign for your website.

The post How to use the Knowledge Graph for higher rankings appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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SEO Above the Funnel: Getting More Traffic When You Can’t Rank Any Higher

Posted by Tom.Capper

Normally, as SEOs, we follow a deceptively simple process. We identify how people are searching for our product, then we build or optimize pages or websites to match searcher intent, we make sure Google can find, understand, and trust it, and we wait for the waves of delicious traffic to roll in.

It’s not always that simple, though. What if we have the right pages, but just can’t rank any higher? What if we’re already satisfying all of the search volume that’s relevant to our product, but the business demands growth? What if there is no search volume relevant to our product?

What would you do, for example, if you were asked to increase organic traffic to the books section on Amazon? Or property search traffic to Rightmove (UK) or Zillow (US)? Or Netflix, before anyone knew that true online streaming services existed?

In this post, I’m going to briefly outline four simple tactics for building your relevant organic traffic by increasing the overall size of the market, rather than by trying to rank higher. And none of them require building a single link, or making any changes to your existing pages.

1. Conquer neighboring territories

This is a business tactic as well as an SEO one, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for reasonably uncompetitive verticals adjacent to your own. You have an advantage in these, because you already have a brand, a strong domain, a website to build upon, and so forth. New startups trying to make headway in these spaces will struggle to compete with a fairly low-effort execution on your part, if you judge it well.

Start by ideating related products. For example, if you’re a property listings site, you might look at:

  • Home insurance
  • Home valuation
  • Flat-sharing listings
  • Area guides

Once you’ve outlined your list (it’s probably longer than my example), you can do your basic keyword research, and take a look at the existing ranking pages. This is a bit like identifying keyword opportunities, except you’re looking at the core landing pages of a whole vertical — look at their Domain Authorities, their branded search volumes, the quality of their landing pages, the extent to which they’ve done basic SEO, and ask whether you could do better.

In the example above, you might find that home insurance is well served by fairly strong financial services or comparison sites, but flat-sharing is a weak vertical dominated by a few fairly young and poorly executed sites. That’s your opportunity.

To minimize your risk, you can start with a minimal viable version — perhaps just a single landing page or a white-labeled product. If it does well, you know it merits further investment.

You’ve already established a trusted brand, with a strong website, which users are already engaging in — if you can extend your services and provide good user experiences in other areas, you can beat other, smaller brands in those spaces.

2. Welcome the intimidated

Depending on your vertical, there may be an untapped opportunity among potential customers who don’t understand or feel comfortable with the product. For example, if you sell laptops, many potential customers may be wary of buying a laptop online or without professional advice. This might cause them not to buy, or to buy a cheaper product to reduce the riskiness.

A “best laptops under £500,” or “lightest laptops,” or “best laptops for gaming” page could encourage people to spend more, or to buy online when they might otherwise have bought in a store. Pages like this can be simple feature comparisons, or semi-editorial, but it’s important that they don’t feel like a sales or up-sell function (even though that’s what the “expert” in the store would be!).

This is even more pertinent the more potentially research intensive the purchase is. For example, Crucial have done amazingly for years with their “system scanner,” linked to prominently on their homepage, which identifies potential upgrades and gives less savvy users confidence in their purchase.

Guaranteed compatible!

If this seems like too much effort, the outdoor retailer Snow and Rock don’t have the best website in the world, but they have taken a simpler approach in linking to buying guides from certain product pages — for example, this guide on how to pick a pair of walking boots.

Can you spot scenarios where users abandon in your funnels because of fear or complexity, or where they shift their spend to offline competitors? If you can make them feel safe and supported, you might be able to change their buying behavior.

3. Whip up some fervor

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have enthusiasts who know your vertical like the back of their hand, but could be incited to treat themselves a little more. I’ve been really impressed recently by a couple of American automotive listings sites doing this really well.

The first is Autotrader.com, who have hired well-known automotive columnist Doug Demuro from Jalopnik.com to produce videos and articles for their enthusiast news section. These articles and videos talk about the nerdy quirks of some of the most obscure and interesting used cars that have been listed on the site, and it’s not uncommon for videos on Doug’s YouTube channel — which mention Autotrader.com and feature cars you could buy on Autotrader.com — to get well into 7-figure viewing counts.

These are essentially adverts for Autotrader.com’s products, but I and hundreds of thousands of others watch them religiously. What’s more, the resulting videos and articles stand to rank for the types of queries that curious enthusiasts may search for, turning informational queries into buying intent, as well as building brand awareness. I actually think Autotrader.com could do even better at this with a little SEO 101 (editorial titles don’t need to be your actual title tag, guys), but it’s already a great tactic.

Another similar site doing this really well is Bringatrailer.com. Their approach is really simple — whenever they get a particularly rare or interesting car listed, they post it on Facebook.

These are super low-effort posts about used cars, but if you take a step back, Bring a Trailer are doing something outrageous. They’re posting links to their product pages on Facebook a dozen or more times a day, and getting 3-figure reaction counts. Some of the lesson here is “have great product pages,” or “exist in an enthusiast-rich vertical,” and I realize that this tactic isn’t strictly SEO. But it is doing a lot of things that we as SEOs try to do (build awareness, search volume, links…), and it’s doing so by successfully matching informational or entertainment intents with transactional pages.

When consumers engage with a brand emotionally or even socially, then you’re more likely to be top-of-mind when they’re ready to purchase — but they’re also more likely to purchase if they’re seeing and thinking about your products, services, and sector in their feed.

4. Tell people your vertical exists

I won’t cover this one in too much detail, because there’s already an excellent Whiteboard Friday on the subject. The key point, however, is that sometimes it’s not just that customers are intimidated by your product. They may never have heard of it. In these cases, you need to appear where they’re looking using demographic targeting, carefully researched editorial sections, or branded content.

What about you, though?

How do you go about drumming up demand in your vertical? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

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Why the Links You’ve Built Aren’t Helping Your Page Rank Higher – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Link building can be incredibly effective, but sometimes a lot of effort can go into earning links with absolutely no improvement in rankings. Why? In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand shows us four things we should look at in these cases, help us hone our link building skills and make the process more effective.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard. Click on it to open a high resolution image in a new tab!

Why the Links You've Built to That Page Aren't Helping it Move up the Rankings Whiteboard

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about why link building sometimes fails.

So I’ve got an example here. I’m going to do a search for artificial sweeteners. Let’s say I’m working for these guys, ScienceMag.org. Well, this is actually in position 10. I put it in position 3 here, but I see that I’m position 10. I think to myself, “Man, if I could get higher up on this page, that would be excellent. I’ve already produced the content. It’s on my domain. Like, Google seems to have indexed it fine. It’s performing well enough to perform on page one, granted at the bottom of page one, for this competitive query. Now I want to move my rankings up.”

So a lot of SEOs, naturally and historically, for a long time have thought, “I need to build more links to that page. If I can get more links pointing to this page, I can move up the rankings.” Granted, there are some other ways to do that too, and we’ve discussed those in previous Whiteboard Fridays. But links are one of the big ones that people use.

I think one of the challenges that we encounter is sometimes we invest that effort. We go through the process of that outreach campaign, talking to bloggers and other news sites and looking at where our link sources are coming from and trying to get some more of those. It just doesn’t seem to do anything. The link building appears to fail. It’s like, man, I’ve got all these nice links and no new results. I didn’t move up at all. I am basically staying where I am, or maybe I’m even falling down. Why is that? Why does link building sometimes work so well and so clearly and obviously, and sometimes it seems to do nothing at all?

What are some possible reasons link acquisition efforts may not be effective?

Oftentimes if you get a fresh set of eyes on it, an outside SEO perspective, they can do this audit, and they’ll walk through a lot of this stuff and help you realize, “Oh yeah, that’s probably why.” These are things that you might need to change strategically or tactically as you approach this problem. But you can do this yourself as well by looking at why a link building campaign, why a link building effort, for a particular page, might not be working.

1) Not the right links

First one, it’s not the right links. Not the right links, I mean a wide range of things, even broader than what I’ve listed here. But a lot of times that could mean low domain diversity. Yeah, you’re getting new links, but they’re coming from all the same places that you always get links from. Google, potentially, maybe views that as not particularly worthy of moving you up the rankings, especially around competitive queries.

It might be trustworthiness of source. So maybe they’re saying “Yeah, you got some links, but they’re not from particularly trustworthy places.” Tied into that maybe we don’t think or we’re sure that they’re not editorial. Maybe we think they’re paid, or we think they’re promotional in some way rather than being truly editorially given by this independent resource.

They might not come from a site or from a page that has the authority that’s necessary to move you up. Again, particularly for competitive queries, sometimes low-value links are just that. They’re not going to move the needle, especially not like they used to three, four, five or six years ago, where really just a large quantity of links, even from diverse domains, even if they were crappy links on crappy pages on relatively crappy or unknown websites would move the needle, not so much anymore. Google is seeing a lot more about these things.

Where else does the source link to? Is that source pointing to other stuff that is potentially looking manipulative to Google and so they discounted the outgoing links from that particular domain or those sites or those pages on those sites?

They might look at the relevance and say, “Hey, you know what? Yeah, you got linked to by some technology press articles. That doesn’t really have anything to do with artificial sweeteners, this topic, this realm, or this region.” So you’re not getting the same result. Now we’ve shown that off-topic links can oftentimes move the rankings, but in particular areas and in health, in fact, may be one of those Google might be more topically sensitive to where the links are coming from than other places.

Location on page. So I’ve got a page here and maybe all of my links are coming from a bunch of different domains, but it’s always in the right sidebar and it’s always in this little feed section. So Google’s saying, “Hey, that’s not really an editorial endorsement. That’s just them showing all the links that come through your particular blog feed or a subscription that they’ve got to your content or whatever it is promotionally pushing out. So we’re not going to count it that way.” Same thing a lot of times with footer links. Doesn’t work quite as well. If you’re being honest with yourself, you really want those in content links. Generally speaking, those tend to perform the best.

Or uniqueness. So they might look and they might say, “Yeah, you’ve got a ton of links from people who are republishing your same article and then just linking back to it. That doesn’t feel to us like an editorial endorsement, and so we’re just going to treat those copies as if those links didn’t exist at all.” But the links themselves may not actually be the problem. I think this can be a really important topic if you’re doing link acquisition auditing, because sometimes people get too focused on, “Oh, it must be something about the links that we’re getting.” That’s not always the case actually.

2) Not the right content

Sometimes it’s not the right content. So that could mean things like it’s temporally focused versus evergreen. So for different kinds of queries, Google interprets the intent of the searchers to be different. So it could be that when they see a search like “artificial sweeteners,” they say, “Yeah, it’s great that you wrote this piece about this recent research that came out. But you know what, we’re actually thinking that searchers are going to want in the top few results something that’s evergreen, that contains all the broad information that a searcher might need around this particular topic.”

That speaks to it might not answer the searchers questions. You might think, “Well, I’m answering a great question here.” The problem is, yeah you’re answering one. Searchers may have many questions that they’re asking around a topic, and Google is looking for something comprehensive, something that doesn’t mean a searcher clicks your result and then says, “Well, that was interesting, but I need more from a different result.” They’re looking for the one true result, the one true answer that tells them, “Hey, this person is very happy with these types of results.”

It could be poor user experience causing people to bounce back. That could be speed things, UI things, layout things, browser support things, multi-device support things. It might not use language formatting or text that people or engines can interpret as on the topic. Perhaps this is way over people’s heads, far too scientifically focused, most searchers can’t understand the language, or the other way around. It’s a highly scientific search query and a very advanced search query and your language is way dumbed down. Google isn’t interpreting that as on-topic. All the Hummingbird and topic modeling kind of things that they have say this isn’t for them.

Or it might not match expectations of searchers. This is distinct and different from searchers’ questions. So searchers’ questions is, “I want to know how artificial sweeteners might affect me.” Expectations might be, “I expect to learn this kind of information. I expect to find out these things.” For example, if you go down a rabbit hole of artificial sweeteners will make your skin shiny, they’re like, “Well, that doesn’t meet with my expectation. I don’t think that’s right.” Even if you have some data around that, that’s not what they were expecting to find. They might bounce back. Engines might not interpret you as on-topic, etc. So lots of content kinds of things.

3) Not the right domain

Then there are also domain issues. You might not have the right domain. Your domain might not be associated with the topic or content that Google and searchers are expecting. So they see Mayo Clinic, they see MedicineNet, and they go, “ScienceMag? Do they do health information? I don’t think they do. I’m not sure if that’s an appropriate one.” It might be perceived, even if you aren’t, as spammy or manipulative by Google, more probably than by searchers. Or searchers just won’t click your brand for that content. This is a very frustrating one, because we have seen a ton of times when search behavior is biased by the brand itself, by what’s in this green text here, the domain name or the brand name that Google might show there. That’s very frustrating, but it means that you need to build brand affinity between that topic, that keyword, and what’s in searchers’ heads.

4) Accessibility or technical issues

Then finally, there could be some accessibility or technical issues. Usually when that’s the case, you will notice pretty easily because the page will have an error. It won’t show the content properly. The cache will be an issue. That’s a rare one, but you might want to check for it as well.

But hopefully, using this kind of an audit system, you can figure out why a link building campaign, a link building effort isn’t working to move the needle on your rankings.

With that, we will see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Advanced Local Citation Audit & Clean Up: Achieve Consistent Data & Higher Rankings

Posted by Casey_Meraz

Did you know that having consistent and correct citations is mandatory for any successful local SEO Campaign? If you’ve read the 2013 Moz Local Ranking Factors survey or you’ve been in the local SEO game for a while, it’s no secret how important citations are to ranking locally in Google. In fact, citations and external location signals are the 3rd most important ranking factor according to the Moz local search
ranking factors survey. This is why it’s essential that you have your correct NAP listed across the major citation sources.

So what is the NAP format? NAP stands for
Business Name, Address, and Phone Number. Having this information listed on another website such as Yelp, Citysearch, or Yellowpages acts like a positive vote for your local listings. While many people know they need to build citations to help increase their local rankings, surprisingly many people overlook having duplicate listings and incorrect listings.

Some people think they only need to update their Google My Business listing which is incorrect. In fact, according to David Mihm from Moz “If all you’re doing is updating your Google+ Local Page, you’re going to continue to see problems because “new” erroneous data will constantly feed into Google from all of its other sources.” This has been known to create bigger problems down the road. So what is the downside if you have inconsistent citations, duplicate citations, or citations that are just plain wrong?

In a nutshell you’re missing out on getting credit for that citation, it’s
hurting your local rankings in Google, and its potentially creating longer term issues when the incorrect data is scraped. Unfortunately while there are some resources you can use to simplify this process, it’s not as easy as waving a magic wand or blinking while wearing your Google Glass.

Let’s Start With The Basics: What is an Incorrect NAP?

So what is an incorrect NAP? The long and the short of it is that Google and other search engines want to give you credit for having your business name, address, and phone number listed on other reputable websites. It acts as a vote of confidence for you similar to a link in organic SEO.

You should make sure that your Google My Business Listing has your correct NAP format the way you want it displayed across the web. If any of this information is not the same as it is listed in Google My Business then you may not be getting credit for it. Additionally if you have a duplicate listing it could be hurting you as well. Just because you didn’t create or publish the incorrect information doesn’t mean it’s not polluting the local ecosystem. There are plenty of ways this can happen as I discuss a little later in this article. But first, let’s take a look of some good and bad examples of correct and incorrect NAP.

How Exact Do These Citations Need to Be?

As you can see from the examples above, I was very clear with the items I changed from the correct example. Although Google has gotten good at detecting minor differences, you should always aim to be the least imperfect. The whole reason we are fixing these in the first place is to make it easier for Google to associate the proper listings together for your business. Minor differences such as Street and St. should not be an issue. However, incorrect, duplicate, or false information is a big no no.

The long and the short of it is that the Business Name, Address, and Phone Number you want to use should be 100% correct in your Google My Business Dashboard (formerly Google Places, Plus Local, etc.). From here, you can copy this exact format on every source you wish to get a citation from.

Overall, there are three types of citations we’re trying to fix during this process. These include:

  • Duplicates -Duplicate listings on the same directory
  • Mismatches - Listings for your business that have the wrong Business Name, Physical Address, or Phone Number (or just the 800 number and no local number). This can get especially complicated for doctors and lawyers, as I will discuss later in this article.
  • Incomplete Citations - It’s important that you fill out the profiles to completion once you’ve claimed them. This includes adding photo and filling out every field there is an option for.

How Does This Happen & What Causes These? 

Just because you don’t remember creating an incorrect listing doesn’t mean there is no bad data in the local ecosystem. In fact, here are just some of the common reasons you have incorrect NAP across the web:

  • Your business moved physical locations
  • You used tracking phone numbers at one point
  • You hired an SEO to create citations or get listed on online directories
  • The data aggregators have incorrect information
  • You inherited a dirty phone number
  • You changed your local phone number
  • You used tracking phone numbers
  • You used an 800 number and not a local number
  • You have different trade name or business name variations
  • Your listing was incorrectly submitted and scraped to other sites
  • Someone in your organization setup the listings without knowledge of NAP consistency (this is pretty common)

While there is a major possible ranking benefit of cleaning up this data, there is another reason it should be on your radar too. If you’re a fan of brand consistency like me, then you want to be the least imperfect and ensure all information about your company is accurate across all mediums you control.

The example below shows just how confusing this data can be and the issues that can be caused by incorrect citations on one of these sites. (Graphic from David Mihm’s
Local Search Ecosystem)

Before We Start: Here are Some Important Things to Know 

  • If you’re paralyzed just thinking about the hundreds you need to fix, don’t sweat it. While a good long term-goal would be to clean up a lot of the data, the reality is that your first focus should be on the top citations for your industry and city. Also check out Phil Rozek’s list here and the Top 50 Citation Sources that Whitespark mentions on this page. Focus your efforts on the primary citation sources for your niche and area. Once these are fixed up you can move on. Just spend 15 minutes a day cleaning this up. 
  • Keep good records using this spreadsheet. You will need to follow up with these directories again and again in some cases. Don’t worry, I made a spreadsheet below that you can use for this. 
  • Make sure to update the old incorrect citation instead of just adding new ones!
  • This work can be tedious, but accuracy is essential. Don’t try to use shortcuts. 
  • Read Moz’s case study from David Mihm regarding cleaning up citations

Let’s Start By Identifying Possible NAP Variations & Recording Them In the Spreadsheet

The first step in the citation cleanup process is to find out exactly what information is actually out there about your business. I put together an
awesome spreadsheet you can use here. The first tab has a place to post the duplicate information. I like to color code it for simplicity as you can see in the example below:

Citation Cleanup Spreadsheet

In the example above, I have the correct business information at the top of the spreadsheet in green for easy reference and the incorrect variations in red. You will want to record every variation you find here to make our job a little bit easier moving forward. But how do you find the incorrect variations for your client or business?

I prefer to start at the source by talking to the business owners and marketing managers. After you have collected their proper NAP info, ask these questions to see if you can get any details:

  1. Have you ever moved physical locations?
  2. Is this the address you have listed on your legal business paperwork with the State and Federal government?
  3. Have you ever used tracking phone numbers?
  4. Have you ever hired an SEO company or someone to manage your online presence. Do you have a list of logins or websites they submitted you to?
  5. Do you use any lead generation services? (Sometimes they use tracking phone numbers)
  6. Does your business go by any trade or fictions business names?

Typically asking these simple questions up front can save a lot of time in the long run. If you don’t get any good info from them or they just don’t know there are several ways you can look for this information online first to make your life easier. 


After You Have Asked the Questions, It’s Time to Do Your Own Investigative Work

While the questions above are helpful, it’s important to dive a little deeper and see what you can find. These are the steps I typically take:

  1. Check the secretary of state’s filing for the business. Most have an online search platform where you can see who registered the business. If it has a different Name, Mailing Address, or Phone number go ahead and add these to the spreadsheet. We will want to check these out when searching for duplicates. (BONUS TIP: Search their filed business documents online and see if they had previously filed for a fictitious business name or DBA.)
  2. Review the company BBB listing. Check out Phil Rozek’s article on his BBB Hack for finding possible conflicting information. The long and the short of it is that the BBB.org business listings show additional reported phone numbers, business names, and addresses as shown in the example below from his website.

  3. Check Google Map Maker. By viewing the classic Google Map Maker, you can see the edit history of a business. This will tell you if a phone number or business name has been changed. To get this data simply pull up the Classic Map Maker, search for a business and then select the history tab. Once you’re on the history click “Show All Changes” in the upper right corner of the listing as shown below:


    Once you have clicked on this, it will show the entire edit history. Look for edits to the NAP over the time the listing has been live. In the example below, you can see how the business name was actually changed at one point. This is the business name I will want to record in my spreadsheet (the old one).

Once you feel like you have a good handle on this, you can start by moving on and searching for these culprits hiding across the web. Now it’s time to get fixing! 

Here is a Quick Way to See What NAP Variations Google Already Associates with Your Business


If your business is recognized by Google and has reviews on other websites the new Google My Business dashboard tries to condense that information in one place. It provides examples of listings it has associated with your listing already. I recommend checking this to see what differences it recognizes for your business and mainly used for reference. If Google detects an inaccurate citation, don’t assume that it will find others. Remember, always aim to be the least imperfect.

To access this simply follow the steps below:

  1. Login to your dashboard at www.google.com/mybusiness
  2. Open up one of your locations and scroll down to the reviews section.
  3. Click the blue “Manage Reviews” button
  4. Then scroll down and check under the “Reviews from around the web” heading and see what pops up.
  5. You should see the listings here of other detected reviews.
  6. You can click the “View full review on….” link and view the full review there.

  7. Check the NAP for that citation and see how or if it varies from your correct NAP. Record the differences as we can use them later in this guide. 

Start With the Data Aggregators Before Your Manual Efforts

Tools are great and help make tedious jobs like this easier. While there are some tools I advocate for this job, the reality is that most of them don’t cover the niche specific directories and others you may be listed on. That being said there are some great tools you can use to help save time and money and are recommended in my overall procedure below.

  1. Start with Moz Local. Moz Local provides a Check My Listing score which will scan your listings just by entering your Business Name and Zip Code. This will give you a score that includes the citations that are Complete, Incomplete, Inconsistent, and Duplicates from the Top 15 citation sources and data aggregators. If you’re not starting here, you might be shooting yourself in the foot. Signing up for this service which is $ 50 a year will help fix this data at some of the sources that distribute their data to many other providers across the web. You can also use this service to find other possible NAP variants. 
  2. Consider additional tools to see if they will help you. My manual methods are below but if you want to pull other data, you can also check out Brightlocal‘s Local SEO Checkup product which will show you NAP variants and the accuracy of major listings. You can also check out Whitespark‘s citation finder to start with a list of sites it detects you being listed on. They both offer great citation finding resources which will make this a bit easier. Also, Yext just recently introduced a product for fixing duplicates. While I have not had a chance to review this yet I believe it’s only for their network and it is a paid service.
  3. Once you’re ready, it’s time to move on to the manual side of NAP Cleanup using my method below. 

The Manual Cleanup Process

When dealing with citation cleanup,
efficiency and accuracy is the name of the game. I have developed a process that I find works best for me when it comes to being productive in fixing citations and removing duplicates. This is what I’m going to explain below in more details, but basically it boils down to four steps.

On the second tab of
this spreadsheet that I created for you, you will see the sheet has several columns. They are identified and explained below:

Website Put the domain of the citation source. This will help you sort it later for easy tracking.
Business Name Copy and paste the business name from the citation you want to keep here. If the one you want to keep is wrong, paste it here anyhow. We will correct it later.
Address Copy and paste the address including suite # from the citation you want to keep here. If the one you want to keep is wrong paste it here anyhow. We will correct it later.
City State Zip Copy and paste the City, State, and Zip Code from the listing here.
Phone Copy and paste the Phone Number from the listing here.
Links To Put the URL that the citation is linking to if applicable.
Issues Put the main issue here. Mention all issues if possible. If the citation is a Duplicate and has an incorrect name I would put “Duplicate | Incorrect Business Name”
URL Of Live Listing Copy and paste the URL of the citation source so we can refer to it later if needed.
Duplicate 1 Copy and paste the URL of any duplicates here
Duplicate 2 Copy and paste any duplicates here
Status I added a status column to check and update the status. Sometimes when you contact them they may not be prompt.
 
Green If you highlight the row in this color, you have confirmed there are no issues with this citation and no duplicates.
Yellow There is an issue with this listing like the company name is missing “The” in front of the name or the suite number is not perfect. Basically this is for minor secondary issues that don’t need fixing, but you could fix them if you wanted to.
Red If there is a major issue with the NAP such as wrong Name, Address, Phone Number or a Duplicate you can mark it as red. This will help us to prioritize our work later. 

Below are two screenshots of how the spreadsheet looks when you pull it up. 

Once you start finding the citations, you will want to color-code each row after evaluating the citation. This will help you prioritize your work later once your’re ready to start fixing these up. 

The Process

  1. Audit Your Citations - Using my spreadsheet and the methods listed below you can start by auditing every citation source you find for your business.
  2. Record the Data - Record the NAP information in the spreadsheet provided and don’t be shy with the details. After you have identified a problem make sure to color code the row. Red is a very important fix, Yellow is something you can fix but can wait, and Green is good meaning there are no problems and no duplicates.
  3. Outreach & Fix - Once you have a list of your action items, you can sort the list by RED or priority items. You can then outreach to these sites and record it in the notes with the date.
  4. Follow Up, Record, & Repeat – You can’t just send an email or contact form and call it good. You have to follow up. Don’t change the color of the row until the live listings are fixed. This will allow you to check and re-check until these issues are cleaned up. The reality is that some of these listings will require multiple contacts to get fixed (just like link removals). 

Finding Your Incorrect Citations

Finding these citation sources can be a difficult task. However, if you already have a list of primary citations you want to tackle you’re in a good spot. Remember that focusing your efforts on the
primary sources will provide the most ROI. 

Remember that when you’re searching for citations using these methods you will want to search for each of the ones you identified to ensure complete accuracy. In other words, don’t just search a directory by the proper business name or phone number. Also, search it with the
WRONG information you identified to see if any wrong sources come up. 

Method 1: Search Specific Directories & Websites

If you only have one business location this task gets a bit easier as there a search string you can use to narrow down your results. However if you’re a multi-location business it may not work as well (depending on how many locations you have). This search string is going to use three commands. The first command
site: searches only within the website immediately following the colon. If I just wanted to search Yellowpages.com I could type site:yellowpages.com. Now putting information after the site command will help narrow down your search. Let’s say that I wanted to search only YellowPages.com for my exact company name, but only for listings that DO NOT contain my primary phone number that is associated with my NAP. In this case I could put in this search:

site:yellowpages.com “The Reeves Law Group” -714-550-6000

  • The site: command tells Google to search only the website (in this case YellowPages.com)
  • The Quoted “The Reeves Law Group” tells Google to only return results that include the company name in that exact phrase order
  • The -714-550-6000 tells Google to not include any results that use this phone number. The minus allows you to exclude information you don’t want to appear in the results. 

If you have a list of citation sources you want to check such as the Moz Top 10 by City or Industry, you could then use these search strings, identify duplicates and problems on the primary sites. 

Most reputable websites also have an internal search function as well. It’s important to check this too as the Google Site: command only searches for indexed citations. It’s possible that the incorrect one may not be indexed yet, but could cause problems in the future. 

Method 2: Searching Google’s Index Citations

While you can search specific directories for incorrect citations if you already know the websites you want to check, what if you don’t have that list? Another easy way is to pull the incorrect results direct from Google. To do this we will use the MozBar and modify our search settings which allow us to scrape 100 results at a time. Simply follow the example below. 

Before using this method, you need to change your search settings in Google
Start by pulling up Google.com and clicking on the gear icon in the upper right hand corner of a search page. You will want to navigate to search settings where you will check the button “Never Show Instant Results” and then change the Results Per Page slider to 100. This will allow you to search 100 entries as a time. You can see the settings we changed in the picture below:

You will also need the MozBar for this. If you don’t have the extension you can download the
Chrome version here and the Firefox version here. Once you have the MozBar installed you will be ready to start scraping these results! 

When the MozBar is on and you do a search in Google you will now be able to see 100 results and easily export them by clicking the export button in the top left corner of the MozBar as shown in the example below. Once you have these results you can copy and paste them in my trusty spreadsheet for evaluation. Of course if you’re doing a lot of searches I recommend conducting the searches first, combining the results, and then removing duplicates in Excel. This will save you a ton of time! 

So Which Search Operators Should You Use?

Using the proper search operators and getting a bit creative will save you a substantial amount of time. Don’t think that you’re stuck with the ones I have provided below. Get creative and think outside of the box based on your situations. Below are some examples you can use along with an explanation of them. They are sorted by categories below.  

Casey’s OCD Pro Tip: Using Google can produce different results depending on how the data is entered on the actual citation site. For example it’s a good idea to search different Phone number variations. Some variants include: 111111111111, 111-111-1111, (111) 111-1111

Take note that when you do a search with quote around the keyword (e.g: “Keyword One”), it will search for the words in that order exactly as they appear. If you want to learn more about creative boolean search terms check out this resource


How to Find Listings With Incorrect Phone Numbers

What you should search: 800 Number -Local Number

Example: 800-644-8000 -714-550-6000          This search when preformed in Google is telling it to search for the main company’s 800 number (800-644-8000), but exclude the local phone number of the main office (which is why I used the – sign before 714-550-6000). If you have one location that uses or used an 800 number at some point this will be your primary go to search. If you have multiple locations though it will likely just return results from the other locations. You could of course add – to additional offices and search this way as well. 

What you should search: 800 Number -Local Number +Company Name

Example: 800-644-800 -714-550-6000 +Reeves Law Group         At first glance this search operator probably looks like the one above with the simple addition of +reeves. However take a closer look and notice how I took out one “0″ from the 800 number. What I am doing here is looking for a possible wrong entry but also making sure that part of the company name (in this case The Reeves Law Group) is shown in the string.  


How To Find Incorrect Business Names That Have The Proper Phone

What you should search: 555-555-555 -”Company Name” 
Searching for the office locations phone number and then excluding the company’s name using the -”company name” command will show all results for that phone number that do not mention the proper company name. This is an easy way to find variants of the business name across the internet. 


Other Searches You Can Try

What you should search : “Business Name”+”Address”         With quotes this will search for all instances of the exact business name and exact address you put in. The more specific you get the narrower the search results will be. 

What you should search : “Business Name”+”Zip code”              Doing this will give you another list of  options that could include listings without the proper business phone number.


Finding Which Citations are Correct

What you should search (Without quotes): ”City Name”+”Zip Code”+”Company Name”+”Phone Number”

Thankfully, you can also use these tricks to see which citations you have that are correct. If you’re scanning for citations this way make sure you also check each of these sites for possible duplicates as you could have one correct listing and one or more bad ones too. 


Once you have your list of sources you can us the Mozbar export option outlined above and sort through these on the spreadsheet. 

Once You Have Them Documented You Can Prioritize and Outreach

Once all of these are all properly documented comes the painstaking task of fixing them. Some of these websites will allow you to claim listings and directly edit them which is nice. Some you will have to hunt for the contact information and if you can’t find it I recommend checking their WHOIS information to get the data of the domain owner. Most reputable sites though will have some way of contacting them. 

Usually when you encounter duplicate listings, you will have to contact the website to get them removed. Be patient. Remember that in most of these cases you’re not paying to be listed on their website so their response can take some time. Be sure to document your contact dates in the spreadsheet as well so you can easily follow up. 

Here are a few tips for the outreach methods:

  • Make sure all email contacts come from an email address on your websites domain such as Webmaster@YourDomain.com. This may help the back and forth verification process where possible.
  • Some listings will require you to claim and verify them and may call the business with an automated system. Be prepared to take a few calls.
  • Always be very clear with your request but also be concise. They don’t typically spend a lot of time on these requests so making it as easy as possible with the links is recommended. 
  • Make sure to read the websites FAQ’s for removing duplicates or updating listings. It will save you a lot of time and they may already have a process in place for this.
  • If you can’t find the procedure try the contact form on the website first, then email if you don’t hear back in a reasonable amount of time. 

Contacting Websites to Fix Listings via Email


Below is a very quick and easy sample outreach email I use for some of these contacts. This example can be used if you have two listings at YellowPages.com that are on the following URLs: 

1)

http://www.YellowPages.com/Listing1

 

2)

http://www.YellowPages.com/Listing2


Sample Contact Email:

Hello,

I recently discovered that your website has two listings for my business, “Business Name” located at “Address”. I was hoping you could help me delete the duplicate listing.

The correct listing is: 1) http://www.YellowPages.com/Listing1

The listing I need deleted is: 2) http://www.YellowPages.com/Listing2

Could you please notify me once you have had the chance to fix this?

Thanks!
- Business Owner 

How This Helps
By sending out clear and concise emails you may eliminate the back and forth emails and get them done quicker. Over time you may notice that some of these websites don’t reply. The reality is that some of them won’t reply or will charge a fee to be fixed. You can make the decision on a case by case basis whether these are important enough to worry about. 

Conclusion

I hope you found this guide useful and hope it’s something tactical that you can put to use right away. Using this method you will be off to a good start at fixing up your citations. Like everything else in local search this will take time to cleanup and time to process. Let Google find and index these naturally over time and watch your local rankings soar. If you have any other tips for citation cleanup please post them in the comments below. Additionally if you have any specific questions please feel free to contact me directly anytime. Just take it one step at a time and you’ll be done in no time!

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Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

Update: This post sparked a ton of comments and debate. Read to the end for the latest updates.


Every two years, Moz runs a scientific correlation study to discover the qualities of web pages that have a strong association with ranking highly in Google. This year, for the first time, Dr. Matt Peters and the Moz Data Science Team measured the correlation between Google +1s and higher rankings.

The results were surprising.

After Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor. In fact, the correlation of Google +1s beat out other well known metrics including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage.

Moz isn’t the only one to discover this relationship. Searchmetrics, using a slightly different methodology, found Google +1s to be the highest-correlated factor they studied, and other studies have found similar results.

Here’s the million-dollar question: Can Google+ activity actually help your pages rank higher?

Beyond correlation: Why it matters this time

Back in 2011, folks may remember the controversy that erupted when Moz found a similar correlation between higher rankings and Facebook activity. At the time, Google claimed they didn’t use Facebook shares for ranking websites. Dr. Peters concluded that the relationship between Facebook activity and higher rankings was likely not directly related, but probably caused by overlapping factors such as links and high-quality content.

Now in 2013, there’s strong reason to suspect it’s different with Google+, and that the relationship between +1s and higher rankings goes beyond correlation into the territory of actual causation. (Edit: This should say “posting on Google+” instead of Google +1s. It’s clear that Google doesn’t use the raw number of +1s directly in its search algorithm, but Google+ posts have SEO benefits unlike other social platforms.)

Not only is the correlation for +1s higher than that for Facebook activity, but the Google+ platform has qualities that make it a far superior platform for SEO. These qualities suggest sharing content on Google+ has the potential to influence search rankings in significant ways.

Intentional or not, the engineers who made Google+ built it for SEO. Consider the factors that make sharing content on Google+ far different than sharing on other social networks:

1. Posts are crawled and indexed almost immediately

One of the original goals for Google+ was using it to power real-time search after Twitter cut off Google’s firehose access to its data in 2011. Since then, Google has been using Google+ to discover new content, and many web professionals have discovered that URLs shared on Google+ are crawled and indexed very quickly.

Compare this to Facebook, where because of privacy settings and restrictions on data sharing, it’s not uncommon for posts to never be crawled or indexed by Google at all.

Unlike Facebook, which hides data from Google, or Twitter, which directs Google not to follow most of its links, Google+ data is immediately and fully accessible to the company that built it.

2. Google+ posts pass link equity

Pages and posts on Google+ not only accumulate PageRank, but because links to posts are followed, they pass link equity on as well.

Using the free MozBar, you can see all of the followed links on a typical Google+ page.

When you share a link on Google+, the anchor text becomes the title of the page you are sharing. Some important things to remember about followed links within Google+:

  • Only “shared” links (the links that show up beneath your post) are followed. Any external links you add withing the post body itself are nofollowed, so these don’t pass any link equity.
  • For obvious reasons, uploaded images don’t pass external link equity. Some people like to upload a screenshot of a page and then link to it in the body of the post. While a good image may increase post popularity and click-through rate, these posts do not pass link equity.
  • Certain links in your Google+ “About” page are also followed and pass link equity.

3. Google+ is optimized for semantic relevance

Unlike Facebook or Twitter, each post you make in Google+ has most of the characteristics of a full-blown blog posting.

  • Each post has its own URL.
  • The first 45-50 characters of the post appear in the title tag.
  • Just like a blog post, entries can be long and complex in order to explore a subject deeply. Various correlation studies have show a strong relationship between longer pages and higher rankings.
  • If a post is reshared, it can accumulate internal links from the Google+ platform, all with relevant anchor text.

Because of these factors, each post has the potential to send strong semantic signals to Google’s search algorithm. This not only helps the post itself to rank in Google’s search results, but potentially sends relevancy signals to a URL shared by the post.

What about Author Rank and Publisher Rank?

Many publishers have added Google+ authorship information to their websites in order for author photos to appear in Google search results. Another hope is that someday Google will use authorship information (and perhaps publisher information) connected to Google+ accounts to actually rank websites.

While there is no evidence that Google uses anything like Author Rank at the moment, many believe it will be here very soon. In the above video, Matt Cutts of Google suggests this is a path he’d like to see Google explore.

Roadmap to rankings: taking advantage of Google+ for SEO

While there are hundreds of ways to optimize your Google+ experience, the most important activities can be summed up by these nine points:

1. Start building relationships now on Google+

It’s never too late to start. Google+ is a social network. Following great people, commenting on posts, and sharing great content not only helps to increase your own influence, but it can be extremely educational as well.

2. Post share-worthy content on Google+ to attract natural links

When you share content, don’t just post a link and walk away. Add additional value with commentary and relevant information.

Consider these examples of long Google+ posts. Each acts like a mini blog post and adds highly shareable, linkable context. I don’t recommend replacing your personal blog with Google+ entirely, but sometimes a few lines of context makes all the difference.

3. Add Google authorship information to your online content

Adding rel=”author” to your website is a no-brainer. If you guest post or otherwise contribute content to other high quality sites, ask the publisher if they will add author markup to your bio. Kane Jamison recently did this for me when I contributed content to his blog.

4. Link out to all relevant profiles from your Google+ “About” page

Think of Google+ as a primary hub of your online virtual identity. Google offers you several places to link to other online profiles, sites that you contribute content to, and simply sites that you want to share.

5. Take advantage of rel=”publisher” by connecting your website to your Google+ brand page

If you are a business, organization or brand, follow these instructions.

6. Make your content easy to share on Google+ with relevant social sharing buttons

You would think everyone wants to add social sharing buttons to their content, but some folks are just stubborn. Don’t be stubborn.

7. Completely fill out your Google+ profile with relevant and engaging information

The information you provide in your profile influences how you show up in Google+ search results and also plays a role in whom Google suggests others to follow.

8. Make it easy for people to add you to your circles

Use Google’s easy-to-create badges, or create your own to place on your own online profiles so that others can easily add you to their circles.

Follow Me On Google+

9. Make your posts public
Posts shared privately don’t pass the same juice as publicly shared post. For SEO purposes, you likely want your posts spread as wide as possible. Philipp Steuer made this great Google+ infographic simplifying the complexities of who sees your posts:

Google+ Infographic by Philipp Steuer, used with permission

Additional resources for success

Entire books can now be written on using Google+ to boost your SEO efforts. In reality, there are exactly 3 articles that contain 99% of everything you need to know:

What’s your favorite Google+ tip? Please share in the comments below.


Update:

This post caused quite a bit of controversy. Matt Cutts of Google responded to this thread on Hacker News to imply +1s aren’t used directly in Google’s algorithm.

While I take Matt at his word that Google doesn’t use raw +1s to rank webpages, the evidence seems to suggest Google+ posts do pass other SEO benefits not found easily in other social platforms. If this is not the case, I’m hoping Google will clarify.

Mark Traphagen said it best in this comment:

It is not the +1′s themselves that are causing the high rankings of posts but the fact that most +1′s on a site result in a shared post on Google+, which creates a followed link back to the post. It’s instant organic link building.

The point is not to go out and accumulate a bunch of +1s.The point is, and the evidence seems to suggest, that earning a link on Google+ is like earning any other type of editorial link, and these links have actual value with real benefits.

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4 Detrimental Dont’s in Higher Education Marketing

journey startsImagine a prospective college student just set out on a search for the right institution. This student isn’t yet ready to sit down with an admissions counselor, apply for financial aid, or even visit the school. And yet too often, higher education admissions marketers only provide late stage offers to prospective students visiting their websites. Students looking for other information like academic programs or even just an interactive map will quickly cross a school off their list if it doesn’t provide the information they want and/or need.

School marketers should closely consider the key mistakes higher education admissions offices and websites often make when it comes to attracting prospective students. Taking steps to remedy these mistakes can help boost enrollment.

1. Don’t Ignore the Top of the Funnel

Admissions appointments, placement tests, financial aid applications, campus visits — all these valuable marketing tools occur at the end of the marketing funnel when prospective students have already narrowed down their school options to just a handful. At this point, you’ve already made the cut.

The top of the funnel, though, is a critical marketing juncture. This is where higher education admission offices and marketers can capture the undecided student. Students at this level of the funnel just want basic information so they can start making a short list.

According to the 2011 E-Expectations Report on the online expectations of prospective college students and their parents, 38% of prospective students first look for information on academic programs. Students need to know if the school even offers their desired program of study. A student isn’t likely to want to contact an admissions officer if she can’t even figure out if she could even attend the school.

2. Don’t Make “Assumicide” About Application Readiness

Not every student is ready to apply to a school the first time they access your site. Many factors contribute to a student’s readiness to apply for school. Finances, family needs, work priorities, fear — all these could affect when a student applies for college. But just because a student doesn’t apply the first time he/she accesses your site doesn’t mean a student isn’t interested in your school. Higher education admission offices must recognize these students are testing the waters and will probably apply for admission eventually.

At this juncture for undecided students, school marketers should begin to build a relationship of trust and credibility, and help prospective students feel like they are a part of the school even before they apply.

describe the image3. Don’t Ignore Content Creation Opportunities to Emphasize Differentiation

The vast majority of prospective students just want the basic information about a school. They want to know about majors, locations, student life, cost, and scholarships. They’re testing the waters and building their criteria for choosing which schools to contact further. Higher education admissions offices should provide as much of the right kind of information as the can including programs of study, what makes each program unique, and information about careers and salary. If your university provides all the information a student needs, perhaps they won’t go looking elsewhere.

4. Don’t Miss Out on Growing Your List

Another key takeaway from the E-Expectations Report is that 93% of prospective students will provide their email address to a school. This provides a crucial opportunity to grow a prospective student email list and then nurture and build that relationship. Through this email list, you can provide prospective students with:

  • General Information
  • Deadline Reminders
  • Information About Student Status
  • Campus Life News

School marketers must earn those opportunities to provide late stage offers to prospective students. Providing content and educational information at the top of the marketing funnel will help you catch an essential prospective student audience. Build a relationship with a prospective student and draw them down the funnel and ultimately, to your institution.

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Why Content is Still King in Higher Education Marketing

girl on laptopProspective students today use the Internet, plain and simple. They are part of the digital generation, brought up with computers, smart phones and other digital devices. The latest report about this generation of prospective students’ online behavior and expectations when researching colleges and universities speaks volumes about the importance of providing a high quality digital content for this generation.

The 2011 E-Expectations Report sponsored by Noel-Levitz and the National Research Center for College and University Admissions specifically recommends universities and colleges maintain and deliver high quality content to both students and their parents through school websites, email and social media.

College Websites Need To Be Easy To Use

Perhaps the most important finding from the 2011 report is that one out of five students removed a university from consideration after a bad experience with the school’s website. A college’s website is the first destination for many prospective students and parents when beginning to research schools. An initial bad impression from a lousy website has the potential to turn students off to a school before really even exploring it in depth.

A university’s website should look good, be easy to use and provide students with the information they want and need most. According to students and parents surveyed, the majority first look for information on academic programs followed by admissions information, scholarships, student life, financial aid and more.  Other features on a university website like cost calculators and interactive maps are also important for recruitment purposes.  Universities must ensure students can easily access content about programs and admissions through the website without much hassle and that the content in those areas tells students what they need to know.

Email Isn’t Dead For Recruitment

It may seem today’s prospective students text message and use social media far more than email. But email still works as a primary effective means of communication simply because so many people have and use email accounts. Out of the parents and students surveyed, the vast majority had email accounts and 93 percent of students said they would provide the address to universities. The report recommends email prospective students and parents about key deadline reminders, status updates and important information about enrolling.

Social Media Is a Channel for Listening

The 2011 E-Expectations Report found one area of web content still needing further development was social media. And here there seems to be a mismatch of both university and student behavior. Well over 90 percent of colleges have a Facebook fan page and 80 percent of prospective students use Facebook. Yet, just slightly more than one-quarter of prospective students actually view a college’s social media profile. Why the disparity?

It could be the content. Prospective students said they found comments from current students the most appealing aspect of a school’s Facebook page. Students also said they valued general information and announcements about news, events and programs. The report suggests universities use social media to maintain an informal dialogue with students and avoid overt sales pitches.

The Marketing Takeaway

Prospective students and parents do want to communicate with the universities they are considering attending and they will do so in a variety of formats. Delivering great content in several mediums particularly a school’s website, email communications and social media can have positively influence a student’s final decision about attending a university.  Just like for any business’s marketing strategy great content starts out on your own website and should be cross pollinated across all your online presences.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycarthur/1415018992/

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