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What makes one SEO company successful and another fail? There could be a multitude of factors, but according to a recent study by Ascend2, chances are social integration is the key. Successful SEO companies integrate social media into their SEO plans and strategies far more than companies who report they are struggling.

Ascend2, a popular research agency, surveyed nearly 600 businesses and marketing professionals from around the world and asked the participants to rate their own companies’ SEO success. The survey then compared the answers from the 15 percent who rated their companies as “very successful” with SEO and the 18 percent who reported being “not successful.” This creates a relatively small sample size, but the findings are still interesting, and as Matt McGee from Search Engine Land suggests, would appear to hold up to larger samples.

By far the biggest difference between the companies is their use of social media within their SEO strategy. Their charts show that 38 percent of those reporting “very successful” with SEO are doing extensive social integration, while only two percent of the “not successful” companies say they are. On top of that, a full 50 percent of the “not successful” companies report doing no social media integration at all. Frighteningly, when looking at the results of all those surveyed, almost a quarter of the companies said they were not integrating social media into their SEO strategies.

Ascend2 Chart

The full report is available for free, though you do have to give your contact information. You would think at this point most SEO professionals would be aware of how important social media is to your SEO strategies. These results however show just how many companies are working with strategies that are behind the times and dragging their companies down.

On January 15th, Facebook announced they will be starting their own personal search engine called Facebook Graph Search. That’s right, the little white bar at the top of your page now has an actual purpose. The search engine relies strongly on “likes” and other relevant Facebook information such as page popularity and location signals.

While this new change could lead to some interesting methods of finding businesses close to you (for example, Facebook claims you will be able to search things like “Italian restaurants that my friends have been to”), but it also has business owners and SEO experts wondering how to take advantage of Facebook’s search. As Matt McGee found out however, Facebook was already ahead of everyone.

They released tips for how to make sure your business gets found in the Graph Search. Releasing these tips helps them as much as it helps others use the search, because it will help business position themselves to appear in the search while simultaneously populating the search engine for Facebook.

The most important things to know are that Graph Search is only available for a few right now, but it will offer local search from the very start, and the search results are created by compiling information created and shared by businesses, especially through their pages.

That doesn’t mean you have to have a page for your business however. It will help enormously, but businesses also will show up so long as customers or visitors have tagged them as a “place”.

We will have to wait to see just how Facebook’s Graph Search works once it is unveiled for the wider public. It could become another gimmick type feature of Facebook that many don’t use, like the FourSquare like ability to check into locations is treated at the moment. But, it is possible Facebook’s new search engine could be a useful tool for finding local businesses.

Bing published their first set of webmaster guidelines in the Help section of Bing’s Webmaster Tools to offer guidance on the best SEO practices for their search engine.

While not nearly as detailed as Google’s webmaster guidelines, hat is seemingly on purpose. According to Matt McGee at Search Engine Land, Bing aims these guidelines at “business owners” to help them “understand the broad strokes of search marketing.”

For more detailed information, look into Bing’s Webmaster FAQ’s.

 

Andre Weyher worked on Google’s Search Quality/Webspam team for two years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Recently, he spoke with James Norquay, a digital/search marketer from Australia, offering insight that possibly could help search marketers and web marketers understand Google’s SEO strategies.

Since Matt McGee published his initial report on Weyher’s comments on Search Engine Land, Google has released a short statement denying Weyher worked on webspam engineering or algorithms, but Weyher stands by his statements.

According to Weyher, everyone on the search quality team covers a specific “market” and his was content quality and backlink profiles.

Speaking about the Penguin update, Weyher says, “Everyone knew that Penguin would be pointed at links, but I don’t think many people expected the impact to be as large as it turned out to be. At this stage a webmaster is out of his mind to still rely on techniques that were common practice 8 months ago.”

He emphasizes the shift to anchor text ratios, which has been a frequent piece of SEO advice following the Penguin update. His statement could confirm Google’s perspective on anchor text ratios.

If Weyher’s statements are to be believed, they could be a source of great insight into Google’s SEO strategies. However, even if you take Weyher’s words as truth, he would have been just one member of Google’s huge team, which he confirms when he says in his defense of the original interview, “No one within Google knows the entire picture apart from maybe 1 engineer, 1 level under Larry Page.”

 

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project recently released it’s findings from a phone survey of about 1-thousand US adults. As Matt McGee reports for Marketing Land, the survey aimed to discover who exactly is using various social networking sites. Some of the findings you may have already assumed, such as, Pinterest is dominated by women and those with good, higher paying careers are using LinkedIn. All of the information is valuable, however, so you can tailor messages on specific sites to the demographics that are most often found there.

Facebook

66-percent of Internet users are on Facebook, which is by far the highest percentage of users. Users are fairly evenly distributed between men and women, education level and annual income. The biggest advantage Facebook features is the captivation of older Internet users. 56-percent of those age 50-64 have an account, which makes Facebook the clear top choice for marketing to the older crowd, despite the fact that younger users also flock their.

Twitter

Though Twitter does not hold a large market share of Internet users overall, it is almost entirely populated by well-educated men and women under 50. The annual income data is well dispersed across the spectrum, which sets Twitter apart from LinkedIn.

LinkedIn

As I mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is generally used by successful professionals over the age of 30. Its clientele is made up of 36-percent of Internet users with college degrees and 34-percent of Internet users with an annual salary over $75-thousand. With the exception of Facebook, which posted large percentages in every category thanks to their sheer number of users, LinkedIn is by far the leader in those two categories.

Pinterest

19-percent of female Internet users have a Pinterest account and that number is almost certainly still growing. Though their ages tend to skew younger than 65, you can reach nearly every female group through Pinterest.

Instagram and Tumblr

These image based sites returned data that is remarkably similar. Their users are mostly young, 30 or below, with at least some college experience. Oddly, Instagram features a large number of well-off users, 16-percent of those with a salary above $75 thousand. Tumblr is more evenly dispersed and, if anything, tends to attract those with a salary below $50-thousand per year.

 

McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrities Study results have been released for this year and the news is bad for Harry Potter fans. Emma Watson is the most dangerous celebrity to search for.

The title was held by Heidi Klum last year, but she has dropped off of the list. Searching Watson’s name has a 12.6 percent chance to leading to dangerous sites that offer spyware, adware, viruses and all other sorts of dubious content.

Also of note in this years’ list is the lack of men. The entire top ten are female. The only man to appear in the top 20 is Jimmy Kimmel, who was ranked number 13. Last year only two men appeared on the list.

The message is clear; if you’re searching a female celebrity, be careful what you click on.

 

For more information, read Matt Mcgee’s article at Search Engine Land.