Tag Archive | "Terms"

Offense or defense: The secrets to bidding on brand terms on Amazon Advertising

Testing strategies to capture shoppers’ attention on a crowded shopping channel can have benefits beyond increasing paid conversions – it can boost organic sales as well.



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SearchCap: Santa tracker, Google API terms & SEO metrics

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Santa tracker, Google API terms & SEO metrics appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Coming to terms with fake reviews

In the same way that Google considers some forms of SEO to be unacceptable, they and other review sites dislike any reviews that aren’t organic — yet fake reviews are still prevalent. Columnist Kevin Lee discusses the scope of the problem and why you should resist the temptation to solicit fake…



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Yahoo is using display ads to drive search traffic for competitive terms

Ads link directly to search results for terms across a number of competitive verticals.

The post Yahoo is using display ads to drive search traffic for competitive terms appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How to Succeed in Online Education (On Your Own Terms)

nr-future-of-education

There’s a huge shift happening in the world of on-demand online education.

It’s commercial enterprises and savvy small businesses that are filling the demand for courses and lessons, rather than the typical institutions of learning.

Brian Clark saw an interesting article in Fast Company recently about jobs of the future. One job description caught his eye — there will be a large need for “freelance professors” as teaching moves into the on-demand realm.

From the article:

“The continued growth of online courses and the introduction of alternative accreditations will spawn a growth in freelance or independent professors. By 2025 all you need to start your own university is a great online teaching style, course materials, and marketing plan.”

This is what we predicted, and have been preparing people for, since 2007 with our Teaching Sells course. The difference being that the field is becoming littered with VC-backed education platforms that want you to make them rich rather than building your own platform and audience.

Yep … digital sharecropping comes to online education. Have we learned from the lessons of Facebook, Amazon, and Apple? Do you really think they have your best interests at heart?

In this 11-minute episode of New Rainmaker with Brian Clark, we’ll cover:

  • The mainstream acceptance of online learning
  • Why you haven’t “missed the boat”
  • How to make a living with online education
  • What to be aware of and what to beware of
  • The truth about leveraging a VC-backed platform

Click Here to Listen to

New Rainmaker with Brian Clark on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

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Off with Your Head Terms: Leveraging Long-Tail Opportunity with Content

Posted by SimonPenson

Running an agency comes with many privileges, including a first-hand look at large amounts of data on how clients’ sites behave in search, and especially how that behavior changes day-to-day and month-to-month.

While every niche is different and can have subtle nuances that frustrate even the most hardened SEOs or data analysts, there are undoubtedly trends that stick out every so often which are worthy of further investigation.

In the past year, the Zazzle Media team has been monitoring one in particular, and today’s post is designed to shed some light on it in hopes of creating a wider debate.

What is this trend, you ask? In simple terms, it’s what we see as a major shift in the way results are presented, and it’s resulting in more traffic for the long tail.

2014 growth

It’s a conclusion supported by a number of client growth stories throughout the last 12 months, all of whom have seen significant growth coming not from head terms, but from an increasing number of URLs gaining search traffic from organic.

The Searchmetrics visibility chart below is just one example of a brand in the finance space seeing digital growth year-over-year as a direct result of this phenomenon. They’ve even seen some head terms drop backwards by a couple of places while still seeing this overall.

To understand why this may be happening we need to take a very quick crash course into how Google has evolved over the past two years.

Keyword matching

Google built its empire on a smart system; one which was able to match “documents” (webpages) to keywords by scanning and organizing those documents based upon keyword mentions.

It’s an approach that has been getting increasingly too simplistic in a “big data” world.

The answer, it seems, is to focus more on the user intent behind that query and get at exactly what it is the searcher is actually looking for.

Hummingbird

The solution to that challenge is Hummingbird, Google’s new “engine” for sorting the results we see when we search.

In the same way that Caffeine, the former search architecture, allowed the company to produce fresher results and roll worldwide algorithm changes (such as Panda and Penguin) out faster, Hummingbird is designed to do the same for personalized results.

And while we are only at the very beginning of that journey, from the data we have seen over the past year it seems to be crystallizing into more traffic for deeper pages.

Why is this happening? The answer lies in further analysis of what Google is trying to achieve.

Implicit vs. explicit

To better explain this change let’s look at how it is affecting a search for something obvious, like “coffee shop.”

Go back two or so years and a search for this may well have presented 10 blue links of the obvious chains and their location pages.

For the user, however, this isn’t useful—and the search giant knows it. Instead, they want to understand the user intent behind the query, or the “implicit query,” as previously explained by Tom Anthony
on this blog.

What that means, in practice, is that a search for “coffee shop” will actually have context, and one of the reasons for wanting you signed in is to allow the search engine to collect further signals from you to help understand that query in detail. That means things like your location, perhaps even your brand preferences, etc.

Knowing these things allows the search to be personalized to your exact needs, throwing up the details of the closest Starbucks to your current location (if that is your favourite coffee).

If you then expand this trend out into billions of other searches you can see how deeper-level pages, or even articles, present a better, more refined option for Google.

Here we see how a result for something like “Hotels” may change if Google knows where you are, what you do for a living and therefore what kind of disposable income you have. The result may look completely different, for instance, if Google knows you are a company CEO who stays in nice hotels and has a big meeting the following day, thus requiring a quiet room so you can get some sleep.

Instead of the usual “best hotels in London” result we get something much more personalised and, critically, something more useful.

The new long-tail curve

What this appears to be doing is reshaping the traditional long-tail curve we all know so well. It is beginning to change shape along the lines of the chart below:

That’s a noteworthy shift. With another client of ours, we have seen a 135% increase in the number of pages receiving traffic from search, delivering a 98% increase in overall organic traffic because of it.

The primary factor behind this rise is the creation of the “right” content to take advantage of this changing marketplace. Getting that right requires an approach reminiscent of the way traditional marketing has worked for decades—before the web even existed.

In practice, that means understanding the audience you are attempting to capture and, in doing so, outlining the key questions they are asking every day.

This audience-centric marketing approach is something I have written about previously on this blog and others, as it is critical to understanding that “context” and what your customers or clients are actually looking for.

The way to do that? Dive into data, and also speak to those who may already be buying from or working with you.

Digging into available data

The first step of any marketing process is to collect and process any and all available information about your existing audience and those you may want to attract in the future.

This is a huge subject area—one I could easily spend the next 10,000 words writing about—but it has been covered brilliantly on the more traditional research side by sites like
this and this.

The latter of those two links breaks this side of the research process into the two key critical elements you will need to master to ensure you have a thorough understanding of who you are “talking” to in search.

Quantitative concentrates on the numbers. Focus is on larger data sets and statistical information, as opposed to painting a rich picture of the likes and dislikes of your audience.

Qualitative focuses on the words and on painting in the “richness.” The way your customers speak and explain problems, likes and dislikes. It’s more of a study on human behavior than stats.

This information can be combined with a plethora of other data sources from CRMs, email lists, and other customer insight pots, but where we are increasingly seeing more opportunity is in the social data arena.

Platforms such as Facebook can give all brands access to hugely valuable big-data insight about almost any audience you could possibly imagine.

What I’d like to do here is explain how to go about extracting that data to form rich pictures of those we are either already speaking to or the very people we want to attract.

There is also little doubt that the amount of insight you have into your audience is directly proportional to the success of your content, hence the importance of this research cycle.

Persona creation

Your data comes to life through the creation of personas, which are designed to put a human face on that data and group it into a small number of shared interest sets.

Again, the point of this post is not to explain how to best manage this process. Posts like
this one and this one go over that in great detail—the point here is to go over what having them in place allows you to do.

We’ve also created a free persona template, which can help make the process of pulling them together much easier.

When you’ve got them created, you will soon realize that your personas each have very different needs from a content perspective.

To give you an example of that let’s look at these example profiles below:

Here we can see three very distinct segments of the audience, and immediately it is easy to see how each of them is looking for a different experience from your brand.

Take the “Maturing Spender” for example. In this fictional example for a banking brand we can see he not only has very different content needs but is actually “activated” by a different approach to the buying cycle too.

While the traditional buyer will follow a process of awareness, research, evaluation and purchase, a new kind of purchase behaviour is materializing that’s driven by social.

In this new world we are seeing consumers driven to more impulsive purchases that are often driven by social sharing. They’ll see something in their social feeds and are more likely to purchase there and then (or at least within a few days), especially if there is a limited offer on.

Much of this is driven by our increasingly “disposable” culture that creates an accelerated buying process.

You can learn this and other data-driven insights from the personas, and we recommend using a
good persona template, then adding further descriptive detail and “colour” to each one so that everyone understands whom it is they are writing for.

It can also work well to align those characters to famous people, if possible, as doing so makes it much easier to scale understanding across whole organizations.

Having them in place and universally adopted allows you to do many things, including:

  • Create focus on the customer
  • Allow teams to make and defend decisions
  • Create empathy with the audience

Ultimately, however, all of this is designed to ensure you have a better understanding of those you want to converse with, and in doing so you can map out the key questions they ask and understand their individual needs.

If you want to dig into this area more then I highly recommend Mike King’s post from 2014
here on Moz for further background.

New keyword research – personas

Understanding the specific questions your audience is asking is where the real win can be found, and the next stage is to utilize the info gleaned from the persona process in the next phase: keyword research.

To do that, let’s walk through an example for our Happy Couple persona (the first from the above graphic), and see how things plays out for this fictional banking brand.

The first step is to gather a list of tools to help unearth related keywords. Here are the ones we use:

There are many more that can help, but it is very easy to complicate the process with data, so we like to limit that as much as possible and focus on where we can get the most benefit quickly.

Before we get into the data mining process, however, we begin with a group brainstorm to surface as many initial questions as possible.

To do this, we will gather four people for a quick 15-minute stand-up conversation around each persona. The aim is to gather five questions from which the main research phase can be constructed.

Some possibilities for our Happy Couple example may include:

  • How much can I borrow for a mortgage?
  • How do I buy a house?
  • How large a deposit do I need to buy a house?
  • What is the best regular savings account?

From here we can use this framework as a starting point for the keyword research and there is no better place to start than with our first tool.

SEMRush

For those unfamiliar with this tool it is designed to make it easier to accurately assess competitor and market opportunity by plugging into search data. In this example we will use it to highlight longer-tail keyword opportunity based upon the example questions we have just unearthed.

To uncover related keyword opportunity around the first question we type in something similar to the below:

This will highlight a number of phrases related to our question:

As you can see, this gives us a lot of ammunition from a content perspective to enable us to write about this critical subject consistently without repeating the same titles.

Each of those long-tail terms can be analyzed ever deeper by clicking on them individually. That will generate a further list of even more specifically related terms.

Soovle

The next stage is to use this vastly underrated tool to further mine user search data. It allows you to gather regular search phrases from sites such as YouTube, Yahoo, Bing, Answers.com and Wikipedia in one place.

The result is something a little like the below. It may not be the prettiest but it can save a lot of time and effort as you can download the results in a single CSV.

Google Autocomplete / KeywordTool.io

There are several ways you can tap into Google’s Autocomplete data and with an API in existence there are a number of tools making good use of it. My current favourite is
KeywordTool.io, which actually has its own API, mashing data from Google, YouTube, Bing, and the Apple App Store.

The real value is in how it spits out that data, as you are able to see suggestions by letter or number, creating hundreds of potential areas for content development. The App Store data is particularly useful, as you will often see greater refinement in search behavior here and as a result very specific ‘questions’ to answer.

A great example for this would be “how to prequalify yourself for a mortgage,” a phrase which would be very hard to surface using Google Autocomplete tools alone.

Forum searches

Another fantastic area worthy of research focus is forums. We use these to ask our peers and topic experts questions, so spending some time understanding what is being asked within the key ones for your market can be very helpful.

One of the best ways of doing this is to perform a simple advanced Google search as outlined below:

“keyword” + “forum”

For our example we might type:

This then presents us with more than 85,000 results, many of which will be questions that have been asked on this subject.

Examples include:

  • First-time buyer’s mortgage guide
  • Getting a Mortgage: Boost your Mortgage Chances
  • Mortgage Arrears: What help is available?
  • Are Fixed Rate Mortgages best?

As you can see, this also opens up a myriad of content opportunities.

Competitive research

Another way of laterally expanding your reach is to look at the content your best competitors are producing.

In this example we will look at two ways of doing that, firstly by analyzing top content and then by looking at what those competitors rank for that you don’t.

Most shared content

There are several tools that can give you a view on the most-shared content, but my personal favourites are Buzzsumo or the awesome new
ahrefs Content Explorer.

Below, we see a search for “mortgages” using the tool, and we are presented with a list of content on that subject sorted by “most shared.” The result can be filtered by time frame, language, or even by specific domain inclusions or exclusions.

This data can be exported and titles extracted to be used as the basis of further keyword research around that specific topic area, or within a brainstorm.

For example, I might want to look at where the volume is from an organic search perspective for something like “mortgage paperwork.”

I can type this term into SEMRush and search through related phrases for long-tail opportunity on that specific area.

Competitor terms opportunity

A smart way of working out where you can gain further market share is to dive a little deeper into your key competitors and understand what they rank for and, critically, what you don’t.

To do this, we return to SEMRush and make use of a little-publicized but hugely useful tool within the suite called
Domain Comparison Tool.

It allows you to compare two domains and visualize the overlap they have from a keyword ranking perspective. For this example, we will choose to compare two UK banks – Lloyds and HSBC.

To do that simply type both domains into the tool as below:

Next, click on the chart button and you will be presented with two overlapping circles, representing the keywords that each domain ranks for. As we can see, both rank for a similar number of keywords (the overall number affects the size of the circles) with some overlap but there are keywords from both sides that could be exploited.

If we were working for HSBC, for instance, it would be the blue portion of the chart we would be most interested in in this scenario. We can download a full list of keywords that both banks rank for, and then sort by those that HSBC don’t rank for.

You can see in the snapshot below that the data includes columns on where each site ranks for each keyword, so sorting is easy.

Once you have the raw data in spreadsheet format, we would sort by the “HSBC” column so the terms at the top are those we don’t rank for, and then strip away the rest. This leaves you with the opportunity terms that you can create content to cover, and this can be prioritized by search volume or topic area if there are specific sub-topics that are more important than others within your wider plan.

Create the calendar

By this point in the process you should have hundreds, if not thousands of title ideas, and the next job is to ensure that you organise them in a way that makes sense for your audience and also for your brand.

Content flow

To do this properly requires not just a knowledge of your audience via extensive research, but also content strategy.

One of the biggest rules is something we call content flow. In a nutshell, it is the discipline of creating a content calendar that delivers variation over time in a way that keeps the audience engaged. 

If you create the same content all of the time it can quickly become a turn-off, and so varying the type (video, image-led piece, infographics, etc.) and read time, or the amount of time you put into creating the piece, will produce that “flow.”

This handy tool can help you sense check it as you go.

Clearly your “other” content requirements as part of your wider strategy will need to fit into this strategy, too. The vast majority of the output here will be article-focused, and it is critical to ensure that other elements of your strategy are also covered to round out your content output.

This
free content strategy toolkit download gives you everything you need to ensure you get the rest of it right.

The result

This is a strategy we have followed for many of our search-focused clients over the last 18 months, and we have some great real-world case studies to prove that it works.

Below you can see how just one of those has played out in search visibility improvement terms over that period as proof of its effectiveness.

All of that growth directly correlates with a huge growth in the number of URLs receiving traffic from search and that is a key metric in measuring the effectiveness of this strategy.

In this example we saw a 15% monthly increase in the number of URLs receiving traffic from search, with organic traffic up 98% year-on-year despite head terms staying relatively static.

Give it a go for yourself as part of your wider strategy and see what it can do for your brand.

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On Pink Hair, Marketing, and Business on Your Own Terms

image of Copyblogger CCO Sonia Simone

It’s always interesting being in an airport as a person with pink hair — especially when I’m traveling for business.

Pink hair is a little more mainstream these days (curse you, Nicki Minaj), but it still gets attention.

Small children think I’m some kind of live-action muppet, which I enjoy very much.

TSA security officials look at the combination of the pink hair and the business jacket, and give me a puzzled smile. My fellow business travelers give me confused looks … mixed, sometimes, maybe with a tiny bit of jealousy as well.

Anything you do that’s visibly different will get people telling stories in their own heads. Pink hair seems to inspire stories about freedom from arbitrary rules, about navigating the economic changes of the 21st century, about 4-hour workweeks.

The 4-hour workweek part is bogus, but the rest of it has some merit.

I first dyed my hair pink in a kind of post-corporate stress disorder statement — I’m not going back there.

I had attitude about corporate when I was in that environment. Career-limiting kinds of attitude. And I’ve never particularly gotten over it.

I’m sure that I should have behaved myself better and been a little more politically astute. But I’ve never been all that good at that. Ah well.

When I first declared independence with my hair, I was a fledgling freelance copywriter with definite ideas about writing, content, business, and ethics.

Funnily enough, now I’m a reasonably seasoned business owner with definite ideas about writing, content, business, and ethics.

I’m still very much the same person (you can see what I used to be like in this post), but a more seasoned version. (That post is where the quote in the blog image above comes from …)

These days I’m a professional pink-haired marketer.

What the heck does that even mean?

It’s not about the hair, of course. It’s about the symbolism.

It’s about making sure you’re living by rules that make sense for you.

To be honest, it’s also about getting successful enough to follow your own rules.

You might have noticed that we launched a giant podcast network last week. It’s been a kickass experience — both friendly rivalry (we’re all trying to figure out how to beat Demian Farnworth’s numbers on Rough Draft) and the cheers of Go Team! to see everyone hogging up so many spots in the iTunes Top 20 business and marketing podcasts.

Our production team have been superheroes, working very, very hard to make this look easy.

My own little corner of our network is about living by your own lights — as a professional, but also without pretending that our careers aren’t a vital, core part of our lives. You aren’t one person at work and one in your “real life.” Work is real life, and we should treat it that way.

So far on the show I’ve gotten cranky about the lies that our culture tells about business, and geeked out on talent and creativity with my friend Sean D’Souza.

In the months coming up, I’ll be riffing on:

  • Productivity for flakes, head cases, and other natural disasters
  • Some harsh truths (and some awesome ones) about how social media works
  • Figuring out what makes customers buy from one business versus another
  • How to handle risk without losing your mind (or your house)
  • How to manage your team with more heart, empathy, and effectiveness
  • The mistakes that businesses and marketers make over and over … and how to do better

I’m also doing Q&A sessions where I dig deep into audience questions, to try and uncover the general business lessons that can benefit the greatest number of people.

(If you want to ask a question for the podcast, you can leave it in the comment section on any of the existing or new show posts — I’ll be picking the ones I think have the greatest general applicability. You can also tweet me @soniasimone.)

I don’t have all the answers

I don’t know it all, by any means. I’m not a mogul or a guru or a wise old lady on the mountain top.

I’m a working professional who cares about being a good human being, about doing meaningful work, about having solid relationships with my family and friends, about helping other people with my business.

I’m walking the path, with as much awareness as I can, and talking about what I see as I walk it. If you are too (no matter what your hair color), I welcome you to join me there.

You can check out the existing shows here: Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer

And if iTunes is your thing, you can find me here: Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer on iTunes

And of course, if you feel moved to subscribe, rate, or review the show in iTunes — well, that would be amazing. My great, great thanks to those who already have.

About the author

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

The post On Pink Hair, Marketing, and Business on Your Own Terms appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Pitching Search Marketing In Traditional Marketing Terms

For those selling search marketing to customers, especially those customers new to the concept of search marketing, it’s often useful to pitch search marketing services in terms the customer already understands.

A lot search marketing theory and practice is borrowed and adapted from direct marketing. Direct marketing concepts have been around since the 60s, and may be more readily understood by some customers than some of the arcane terminology sometimes associated with SEO/SEM.

Here are some ideas on how to link search marketing and direct marketing concepts.

1. Targeting & Segmentation

A central theme of direct marketing is targeting.

On broadcast television, advertisers show the one advertisement to many people, and hope it will be relevant to a small fraction of that audience. Most television advertising messages are wasted on people who aren’t interested in those messages. It’s a scattergun, largely untargeted approach.

Search marketing, a form of direct marketing, is targeted. Search marketers target their audience based on the specific keywords the audience use.

Search marketing is concerned with the most likely prospects – a small fraction of the total audience. Further, if we analyse the visitor behavior of people using specific keyword terms post-click, we can find out who are the hottest prospects amongst that narrowly defined group.

The widely accepted 20-80 rule says that 20% of your customers create 80% of your business. An example might be “luxury vacations France”, as opposed to “vacations France”. If we have higher margins on luxury travel, then segmenting to focus on the frequent luxury travel buyer, as opposed to a less frequent economy buyer whom we still might sell to, but at lower margins, might be more in line with business objectives. Defining, and refining, keyword terms can help us segment the target market.

2. Focus

Once you get a search visitor to your site, what happens next?

They start reading. Such a specific audience requires focused, detailed information, and a *lot* of it, or they will click back.

It is a mistake to pitch to an “average” audience at this point i.e. to lose focus. If we’ve done our job correctly, and segmented our visitors using specific keyword terms, we already know they are interested in what we offer.

To use our travel example above, the visitor who typed in “luxury vacations in France” wants to hear all about luxury vacations in France. They are unlikely to want a pitch about how wonderful France, as a country, is, as the keyword term suggests they’ve already made their mind up about destination. Therefore, a simplistic, generalized message selling French tourism is less likely to work.

Genuine buyers – who will spend thousands on such vacations – will want a lot of detail about luxury travel in France, as this is unlikely to be a trivial purchase they make often. That generally means offering long, detailed articles, not short ones. It means many options, not few. It means focusing on luxury travel, and not general travel.

Simple, but many marketers get this wrong. They go for the click, but don’t focus enough on the level of detail required by hot prospects i.e. someone most likely to buy.

3. Engagement

One advantage of the web is that we can spend a lot of time getting a message across once a hot prospect has landed on a site. This is not the case on radio. Radio placements only have seconds to get the message across. Likewise, television slots are commonly measured in 15 and 30 second blocks.

On the web, we can engage a visitor for long periods of time. The message becomes as long as the customer is prepared to hear it.

4. Personalized

The keyword tells you a lot about visitor intent. “Luxury travel France” is a highly targeted term that suggests a lot about the visitor i.e. their level of spend and tastes. If we build keyword lists and themes associated with this term, we can personalize the sales message using various landing pages that talk specifically to the needs of the visitor. Examples might include “Five Star Hotels”, “Luxury Car Hire”, “Best Restaurants In Paris”, and so on. Each time they click a link, or reveal a bit more about themselves,we can start to personalize the message. Personalized marketing works well because the message is something the prospect is willing to hear. It’s specifically about them.

We can personalize the journey through the site, configuring customized pathways so we can market one-to-one. We see this at work on Amazon.com. Amazon notes your search and order history and prompts you with suggestions based on that history. One-to-many marketing approaches, as used in newspapers, on radio and on television typically aren’t focused and lack personalization. They may work well for products with broad appeal, but work less well for defined niches.

5. Active Response

We’re not just interested in views, impressions, or reach. We want the visitor to actively respond. We want them to take a desired, measurable action. This may involve filling out a form, using a coupon, giving us an email address, and/or making a purchase.

Active response helps make search marketing spends directly accountable and measurable.

6. Accountable

People either visit via a search term, or they don’t.

Whilst there can be some advantage in brand awareness i.e. a PPC ad that appears high on the page, but is only clicked a fraction of the time, the real value is in the click-thru. This is, of course, measurable, as the activity will show up in the site statistics, and can be traced back to the originating search engine.

Compare this with radio, television or print. It’s difficult to know where the customer came from, as their interaction may be difficult to link back to the advertising campaign.

Search marketing is also immediately measurable.

7. Testable

Some keyword terms work, some do not. Some keyword terms only work when combined with landing page X, but not landing page Y. By “work” we tend to mean “achieves a measurable business outcome”.

Different combinations can be tried and compared against one another. Keywords can be tested using PPC. Once we’ve determined what the most effective keywords are in terms of achieving measurable business outcomes, we can flow these through to our SEO campaign. We can do the reverse, too. Use terms that work in our SEO campaigns to underpin our PPC campaigns.

This process is measureable, repeatable and ongoing. Language has near infinite variety. There are many different ways to describe things, and the landing pages can be configured and written in near infinite ways, too. We track using software tools to help determine patterns of behaviour, so we can keep feeding this back into our strategy in order to refine and optimize. We broaden keyword research in order to capture the significant percentage of search phrases that are unique.

Further Reading:

Categories: 

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The Ultimate Glossary: 120 Social Media Marketing Terms Explained

social media marketingOn the web today, things change fast. New applications launch every day, and existing applications continue to evolve and add new features. Just this year we witnessed the debut of Google+ and the introduction of Facebook Timeline. Even the Merriam-Webster Dictionary started adding a few to its collection!

Thus, while we’re all learning about social media and inbound marketing as well as teaching others about it, having a resource that quickly and clearly explains all of the basic terms and applications is critically important.

I hope that you will pass this blog post along to others in your organization and maybe even print it out to have on hand when others have questions related to social media marketing. And for even more inbound marketing-related terms and definitions, check out The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Glossary.

Social Media Marketing Dictionary: 120 Terms to Know

A

AddThis – AddThis is a social bookmarking service that provides a code users can put on their websites so that when people visit that site, they have the option to share via Facebook, Twitter, etc. Its analytics service can show you which pages are trending, where people are interacting with your brand, and what they’re saying about your content on Twitter.

Algorithm – An algorithm is a set of formulas developed for a computer to perform a certain function. This is important in the social sphere as the algorithms sites like Facebook and Google use are critical for developing content-sharing strategies.

Application Programing Interface (API) – An API is a documented interface that allows one software application to interact with another application. An example of this is the Twitter API.

Avatar – An avatar is an image or username that represents a person online within forums and social networks.

B

BackType – BackType is a social media analytics company that helps companies measure their social engagement. Previously, the service started as a blog comment search engine.

Bitly – Bitly is a free URL shortening service that provides statistics for the links users share online. Bitly is popularly used to condense long URLs to make them easier to share on social networks such as Twitter.

Blip.TV – Blip.TV is an online video sharing site that provides a free and paid platform for individuals and companies who host an online video show.

Blog – Blog is a word that was created from two words: “web log.” Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or a business with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Blogger – Blogger is a free blogging platform owned by Google that allows individuals and companies to host and publish a blog typically on a subdomain. Example: yourblogname.blogspot.com

Blog Talk Radio – Blog Talk Radio is a free web application that allows users to host live online radio shows.

BoardReader – BoardReader is a free search engine that allows users to search for keywords only in posts and titles of online forums, a popular form of social networking.

Boxee – Boxee is a social video application that allows users to watch online videos on their TVs and computers. Users can share and watch videos from a variety of online videos sources for free.

Bookmarking – Bookmarking online follows the same idea of placing a bookmark in a physical publication–you’re simply marking something you found important, enjoyed, or where you left off to continue reading later. The only difference online is that it’s happening through websites using one of the various bookmarking services available, such as Delicious.

C

Chat - Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the internet but traditionally refers to one-to-one communication through a text-based chat application commonly referred to as instant messaging applications.

Circles - Circles are clusters of a user’s friends on Google+, meaning you can group certain people you choose to connect with on your Google+ into a certain Circle–such as colleagues, college connections, family, etc. When you want to share content with only these individuals, you include that specific Circle in your post’s sharing options.

Collecta – Collecta is a real-time search engine that includes results from blogs, microblogs, news feeds, and photo sharing services as they are published.

Collective Intelligence – Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision-making in social networks.

Comment – A comment is a response that is often provided as an answer or reaction to a blog post or message on a social network. Comments are a primary form of two-way communication on the social web.

Compete – Compete is a web-based application that offers users and businesses web analytics and enables people to compare and contrast the statistics for different websites over time.

Connections – The LinkedIn equivalent of a Facebook ‘friend’ is a ‘connection.’ Because LinkedIn is a social networking site, the people you are connecting with are not necessarily people you are friends with, but rather you met in brief, heard speak, or know through another connection.

Craigslist – Craigslist is a popular online commerce site in which users sell a variety of goods and services to other users. The service has been credited for causing the reduction of classified advertising in newspapers across the United States.

Creative Commons – Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. It provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.

D

Delicious – Delicious is a free online bookmarking service that lets users save website addresses publicly and privately online so they can be accessed from any device connected to the internet and shared with friends.

Digg – Digg is a social news website that allows members to submit and vote for articles. Articles with the most votes appear on the homepage of the site and subsequently are seen by the largest portion of the site’s membership, as well as other visitors.

Disqus – Disqus is a comment system and moderation tool for your site. This service lets you add next-gen community management and social web integration to any site on any platform.

E

Ebook – An ebook is an electronic version of a printed book. However, most ebooks are not actually available in print (unless you print them). These are typically published in PDF form.

Eventbrite – Eventbrite is a provider of online event management and ticketing services. Eventbrite is free if your event is free. If you sell tickets to your event, Eventbrite collects a fee per ticket.

F

Facebook – Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study, and live around them. Facebook is the largest social network in the world with more than 800 million users.

Firefox – Firefox is an open-source web browser. It has emerged as one of the most popular web browsers on the internet and allows users to customize their browser through the use of third-party extensions.

Flash Mob – A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.

Flickr – Flickr is a social network based around online picture sharing. The service allows users to store photos online and then share them with others through profiles, groups, sets, and other methods.

Forums – Also known as a message board, a forum is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dialup bulletin board system.

Follow Friday (#ff) – Follow friday is a trend via the hashtag #ff every Friday on Twitter. Users select other usernames and tweet them with #ff in their post, meaning they recommend following those Twitter users. People tweet at their favorite brands, colleagues, celebrities–you name it!

Foursquare – Foursquare is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close physical proximity to each other. The service uses a system of digital badges to reward players who “check in” to different types of locations.

Friends – No, not your pals you play poker with on the weekends. We’re talking Facebook friends. These are individuals you consider to be friendly enough with you to see your Facebook profile and engage with you.

G

Google Chrome – Google Chrome is a free web browser produced by Google that fully integrates into its online search system as well as other applications.

Google Documents – Google Documents is a group of web-based office applications that includes tools for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheet analysis. All documents are stored and edited online and allow multiple people to collaborate on a document in real-time.

Google+ – Google+ is Google’s new social network. It differs in that it promotes social sharing that is more similar to how people share in real life by providing features such as one that limits who you are talking to, creating 1-on-1 conversation.

Google Reader – Google Reader is an RSS reader that allows you to aggregate various blogs and sites and collect updates to new content in one location. You can log on whenever you choose, and the latest content from multiple blogs will be in one stream so you don’t have to navigate to each site individually.

Gowalla – Gowalla is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close psychical proximity to each other.

Groundswell – A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. (Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Groundswell, pg. 9)

H

Hangout - A Hangout is a video service on Google+ that allows you to video chat with up to 10 Google+ users are a time. You can name these chats, watch YouTube videos during them, open a Google Doc with colleagues, and much more.

Hashtag – A hashtag is a tag used on the social network Twitter as a way to annotate a message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#.” Example: #yourhashtag. Hashtags are commonly used to show that a tweet, a Twitter message, is related to an event or conference, online or offline.

hi5 – hi5 is a social network focused on the youth market. It is a social entertainment destination, with a focus on delivering a fun and entertainment-driven social experience online to users around the world.

HootSuite – HootSuite is a web-based Twitter client. With HootSuite, you can manage multiple Twitter profiles, pre-schedule tweets, and view metrics.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a programing language for web pages. Think of HTML as the brick-and-mortar of pages on the web. It provides content and structure while CSS supplies style. HTML has changed over the years, and it is on the cusp of its next version: HTML5.

I

Inbound Marketing – Inbound marketing is a style of marketing that essentially focuses permission-based marketing techniques that businesses can use to get found by potential customers, convert those prospects into leads and customers, and analyze the process along the way. Inbound marketing leverages tactics such as SEO, blogging, social media, lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing, and analytics. It is in direct contrast to outbound marketing, which utilizes traditional interruptive marketing tactics such as direct mail, trade shows, print and TV advertising, and cold calling.

Instagram – Instagram is a photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and in just over one year, it has gained almost 15 million users. Currently, it is only available for iPhone devices.

Instant Messaging – Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time, direct text-based communication between two or more people. More advanced instant messaging software clients also allow enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling.

J

Joomla – Joomla is a content management system (CMS) that enables users to build websites and online applications.

K

Klout – Klout is a measure of social influence. The service allows users to connect various social accounts such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc., and then provides every user with his or her Klout score. The score is out of 100–the higher the score, the more inlfuence you have on the social world.

L

Lifecasting – Lifecasting is a continual broadcast of events in a person’s life through digital media. Typically, lifecasting is transmitted through the internet and can involve wearable technology.

Like – A “Like” is an action that can be made by a Facebook user. Instead of writing a comment for a message or a status update, a Facebook user can click the “Like” button as a quick way to show approval and share the message.

Link Building – Link building is an aspect of search engine optimization in which website owners develop strategies to generate links to their site from other websites with the hopes of improving their search engine ranking. Blogging has emerged as a popular method of link building.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of June 2010, LinkedIn had more than 70 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

LinkedIn Today – LinkedIn Today is LinkedIn’s own version of a social news service. Every industry on LinkedIn (marketing, journalism, technology, etc.) has its own LinkedIn Today. Stories are selected based off which ones are posted and shared the most by users of LinkedIn.

Lurker – A lurker online is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, social network, or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates in the discussion.

M

Mashup – A content mashup contains multiple types of media drawn from pre-existing sources to create a new work. Digital mashups allow individuals or businesses to create new pieces of content by combining multiple online content sources.

Meme – A meme on the internet is used to describe a thought, idea, joke, or concept to be shared online. It is typically an image with text above and below it, but can also come in video and link form. A popular example is the “I Can Has Cheezburger?” cat meme that turned into an entire site of memes.

MySpace – MySpace is a social networking website owned by News Corporation. MySpace became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006 and was overtaken internationally by its main competitor, Facebook, in April 2008.

MyPunchbowl – MyPunchbowl.com is a social network that facilitates party planning and provides members with ideas, invitations, favors, gift registries, photo/video sharing, and more.

N

News Feed – A news feed is literally a feed full of news. On Facebook, the News Feed is the homepage of users’ accounts where they can see all the latest updates from their friends. The news feed on Twitter is called Timeline (not to get confused with Facebook’s new look, also called Timeline).

O

Opera – Opera is an open-source web browser. While not as popular as Firefox, Opera is used as the default browser on some gaming systems and mobile devices.

Orkut – Orkut is a social networking website that is owned and operated by Google. The website is named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. Although Orkut is less popular in the United States than competitors Facebook and MySpace, it is one of the most visited websites in India and Brazil.

P

Pandora - Pandora is a social online radio station that allows users to create stations based on their favorite artists and types of music.

Permalink – A permalink is an address or URL of a particular post within a blog or website.

Podcast – A podcast, or non-streamed webcast, is a series of digital media files, either audio or video, that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.

Posterous – Posterous is a blogging and content syndication platform that allows users to post content from any computer or mobile device by sending an e-mail.

PostRank - PostRank monitors and collects social engagement related to content around the web. Essentially it helps publishers understand which type of content promotes sharing on the social web.

Q

Qik – Qik is an online video streaming service that lets users stream video live from their mobile phones to the web.

Quantcast – Quantcast provides website traffic and demographics for websites. The tool is primarily used by online advertisers looking to target specific demographics.

R

Real-Time Search – Real-time search is the method of indexing content being published online into search engine results with virtually no delay.

Reddit – Reddit is similar to Digg. It is a social news site that is built upon a community of users who share and comment on stories.

Retweet – A retweet is when someone on Twitter sees your message and decides to re-share it with his/her followers. A retweet button allows them to quickly resend the message with attribution to the original sharer’s name.

RSS Feed – RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of  web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs and videos in a standardized format. Content publishers can syndicate a feed, which allows users to subscribe to the content and read it when they please, and from a location other than the website (such as reader services like Google Reader).

RSS Reader – An RSS reader allows users to aggregate articles from multiple websites into one place using RSS feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and more efficient consumption of information. An example of an RSS Reader is Google Reader.

S

Scribd - Scribd turns document formats such as PDF, Word, and PowerPoint into a web document for viewing and sharing online.

Search Engine Optimization – Search engine optimization is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via unpaid or organic search traffic.

Second Life – Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab that was launched on June 23, 2003. Users are called “residents,” and they interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one another, and travel throughout the world.

Seesmic – Seesmic is a popular desktop and mobile social application. Using APIs, Seesmic allows users to share content on social networks such as Twitter and Google Buzz from the same application.

Sentiment – Sentiment is normally referred to as the attitude of user comments related to a brand online. Some social media monitoring tools measure sentiment.

SlideShare – SlideShare is an online social network for sharing presentations and documents. Users can favorite and embed presentations as well as share them on other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Skype – Skype is a free program that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users. Additionally, users can purchase plans to receive phone calls through their Skype account.

Social Media – Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.

Social Media Monitoring – Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and responding to mentions related to a business that occur in social media.

StumbleUpon – StumbleUpon is a free web-browser extension that acts as an intelligent browsing tool for discovering and sharing web sites.

T

Tag Cloud – A tag cloud is a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word content of a site, typically used to describe the content of web sites.

Technorati – Technorati is a popular blog search engine that also provides categories and authority rankings for blogs.

Timeline – Timeline is the new Facebook format for personal profiles. It is essentially a digital scrapbook of a user’s life, displaying their profile in an actual timeline format so they can see at exactly what point in time something a story occurred.

Trend – A trend is seen on every social network. Facebook shows what is trending when multiple users are sharing the same link or discussing the same topic. Google+ highlights trending topic when a user conducts a search. Twitter has a section to the bottom right of its home feed which clearly shows what topics and hashtags are trending in tweets. And LinkedIn shows what industries (in LinkedIn Today) that a certain story is popular.

Tumblr – Tumblr lets users share content in the form of a blog. Users can post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, or email.

TweetDeck – TweetDeck is an application that connects users with contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and more.

Tweetup – A tweetup is an organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter.

Twitter – Twitter is a platform that allows users to share 140-character-long messages publicly. User can “follow” each other as a way of subscribing to each others’ messages. Additionally, users can use the @username command to direct a message toward another Twitter user.

Twitter Chat – A Twitter Chat is a chat or discussion that is held on Twitter and is open to all users. Questions are prompted from the user hosting the chat, while anyone else can respond using a particular hashtag. The hashtag is the marker for someone participating in the chat. HubSpot has its own chats hosted every other Tuesday via the hashtag #inboundchat.

Twitter Search – Twitter Search is a search engine operated by Twitter to search for Twitter messages and users in real time.

TypePad – TypePad is a free and paid blogging platform similar to Blogger. It allows users to host and publish their own blogs.

U

Unconference – An unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered on a theme or purpose. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees and sponsored presentations.

USTREAM – USTREAM is a live interactive broadcast platform that enables anyone with an internet connection and a camera to engage and stream video online.

URL – A URL is most popularly known as the “address” of a web page on the web (e.g. http://www.example.com)

V

Video Blog – A video blog is a blog the produces regular video content often around the same theme on a daily or weekly basis. An example of a successful video blog is Wine Library TV.

Viddler – Viddler is a popular video sharing site similar to YouTube and Vimeo in which users can upload videos to be hosted online and shared and watched by others.

Vimeo – Vimeo is a popular video sharing service in which users can upload videos to be hosted online and shared and watched by others. Vimeo user videos are often more artistic, and the service does not allow commercial video content.

Viral Marketing – Viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives through self-replicating viral processes.

W

Web Analytics – Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.

Webinar – A webinar is used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the internet.

Widget – A widget is an element of a graphical user interface that displays an information arrangement changeable by the user, such as a window or text box.

Wiki – A wiki is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser, allowing for collaboration between users.

Wikipedia – Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its millions of articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.

WordPress – WordPress is a content management system and contains blog publishing tools that allow users to host and publish blogs.

Y

Yammer – Yammer is a business communication tool that operates as an internal Twitter-like messaging system for employees within an organization. It is used to provide real-time communication and reduce the need for e-mail.

Yelp – Yelp is a social network and local search website that provides users with a platform to review, rate, and discuss local businesses.

YouTube – YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos. Three former PayPal employees created YouTube in February 2005. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $ 1.65 billion, and is now operated as a subsidiary of Google. YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world.

Zoho – Zoho is a suite of online web applications geared toward business productivity and collaboration.

Zooomr – Zooomr is a online photo sharing service similar to Flickr.

What terms did I forget? What would you like to see added to this list?

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