As Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and other social networking sites begin to dominate the cyber world, linking to them from your website is a must. And, what better way to do it than with catchy icons? WebDesignMo.com recently compiled a list of the 20 most trendy social bookmarking icons that you can implement on your website to make it more attractive and best of all – to grab your customers’ attention from the beginning. Here are just a few of the most popular:
Freebie: Fluzzy Twitter Icon Set – This set of six icons can be used for personal or commercial projects, and can be downloaded as 256x256px or 512x512px.
Wooden Badges – Social Icon Pack – These icons come in a set of 27 and were created by Dawghouse Design Studio. The attractive badges include everything from Flickr to StumbleUpon.
Social Bookmark Sketchy Icons – These creative icons can be downloaded in .png format and are available in blue, black, and black with transparency.
IconTexto WebDev Social Bookmarks – These eight icons have a modern look and are available in PNG (128×128, 48×48, 32×32, and 16×16) format.
There’s no way around it. In the last few years, Twitter has completely changed the way information is shared – and spread – online. Now, businesses are crossing their fingers and hoping their content gets re-tweeted among potential customers and others in their industry.
A recent article by Copyblogger outlined several different factors that can help when trying to spread your information on Twitter:
Timing is everything – Research has shown that Monday through Wednesday typically sees more re-tweeting than later in the week, like Thursday, Friday, and the weekend. The research also found that there’s a rapid increase in re-tweets between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Include a call to action – One of the most common calls to action used on Twitter is simple – “Please Re-tweet.” The article pointed out that using phrases like this one, as well as “Check it out,” or “Follow this person,” can help increase the number of times a post is re-tweeted.
Add value – Your content is much more likely to be re-tweeted if it’s helpful to the reader. Some of the most informative examples include breaking news, warnings, “how-to’s,” and contests.
Social proof WORKS – The same study showed that each time a link is re-tweeted, the likelihood of it happening again increases dramatically. When posting, persuade your users to re-tweet content and you may find the benefits are tenfold.
As the New Year rolls in, you’ve probably see plenty of predictions about what’s ahead in marketing, social media, and more. But, have you heard anything about link building? In a recent article on Search Engine Journal, the author outlined some things that may change during 2011, here are some highlights:
image via Ian Sane
More links to content – Instead of solely focusing on your homepage or product page, begin linking to more of your internal pages. Content marketing is growing quickly – so make sure you move along with it.
Less use of keyword-based anchor text – As concern about penalization for over-optimized anchor text grows, the need for new anchor text has risen. Instead of continually targeting your keyword phrases, consider using your target brand or business name as anchor text. This can also help with your online reputation, since review sites are increasing in popularity.
Quality over quantity – Focus on high-quality linking opportunities instead of getting many links on low-quality sites. As experts are learning more and more about users’ link building strategies, these low-quality sites may disappear, thus causing you to lose those links.
The importance of social media – Several recent articles have shown that search engine rankings are being influenced by social mentions like Twitter and Facebook. Although these sites used to be useless when it came to SEO, they’re now being counted for relevance.
Is your business getting the reviews and positive customer feedback it deserves? Customer reviews are one of the best ways to increase your business, up your search engine rankings, and build your businesses’ credibility through the eyes of others. A recent post by Mike at Blumenthals.com outlined some great guidelines to follow when implementing a review process to your business:
Keep it current – It’s very helpful to get reviews on a regular basis. If all customer reviews are from last year, it looks fishy – not just to potential customers, but to search engines as well.
Encourage diversity – It’s better to have reviews from a variety of sites, instead of just one. When encouraging customer reviews, mention several sites like Yelp.com, Google Local, and City Search.
Plan for a negative review – No matter how great your business or how friendly your staff, you will encounter a negative review at some point. You’ll get the occasional unhappy customer that isn’t afraid to tell people what they think.
In the Blumenthal.com post titled Principles for a Review Plan, the author proposes the question of whether it’s okay to solicit reviews from customers, as some sites – like Yelp – highly discourage it.
If the approach is done carefully and thoughtfully, asking for a review can not only help your business, but can help your customers learn the importance of reviews and how they can help support local businesses.
While today the search engine algorithms rely heavily on links for ranking pages, it only makes sense that the search engines will have to increasingly weigh social factors into their algorithms. Over the last few years, the dominant “voting” mechanism to judge quality content on the internet has been the lowly hyperlink. The landscape is evolving however as new social media platforms are allowing users to easily share quality content by simply clicking a “like” button or “tweeting” about a page – No HTML markup required.
Over the last year, we’ve experienced a noticeable uptick in search engine rankings for our clients who have been running bothSEO and social media campaigns.
A recent interview with Google and Bing has revealed that links shared through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have a direct impact on search engine rankings. SEO professionals have often considered this, the interview revealed some other important findings.
What are the likely social factors that influence search?
Both search engines confirmed that the social authority of a user does matter and is used as a signal for relevancy. Bing looks at how many people the user follows and how many follow them. In addition, Google considers how many people shared a particular link.
The user’s authority is computed and evaluated by the search engine. This includes everyone from celebrities to authors, in order to determine the relevance of their tweet. Evaluating these link-sharing activities based on who is sharing them is referred to as “author authority” by Google and “social authority” by Bing.
Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “That’s great – but what does all of this mean to me?” Here are a few factors that may play a factor in social sharing and the relevance of the link:
As with links posted on blogs and websites, having 50 tweets from one account isn’t as valuable as having 50 tweets from 50 unique accounts.
The amount of “thumbs up,” clicks, “likes,” and retweets may impact how much weight is given to a specific link. And, it’s a two-way street. Make sure you’re retweeting and interacting with others so there is mutual engagement.
Along with you being considered a high-authority follower, it helps to have high authority followers and friends.
The content of your post or tweet can play a factor. When writing, pay special attention to the content and include one to two specific keywords when possible, without sounding clunky.
The consistency and patterns of your sharing behavior could also play a factor. For example, let’s say you’re a real estate agent. Linking to a home renovation article will have much more of an impact than if you link to a fashion-related blog.
The search engines may associate you with the site you’re a part of. For example, if you continually share stories or articles from your website, it might be less effective than when you share links from different sites.
Tweet and post often. Search engines like fresh content from sites that are frequently updated. This also helps with user interaction. If they know you’re continually providing relevant information, they’ll keep coming back.
Gain digital PR. Aside from links, getting an endorsement from influential members of your industry is helpful – you’ll get more followers and more important, more “high authority” followers.
If this were the year 2000 and we were in Florida, we might have sent the results to the Supreme Court to decide the winner. Instead of counting hanging-chads we’ll just pronounce co-winners for ourPumpkin SEO contest. Congrats to Rand & Scott!
As promised we’ll follow up with a step by step tutorial on how we went about carving our SEO pumpkins in an upcoming post.
What happens when SEO and design geeks get together for Halloween? Well, this year it resulted in a contest to see who could carve the best jack-o-lantern – but not your average, run-of-the-mill jack-o-lantern. Instead, we decided to carve the likeness of a few of the top SEO gurus that we follow. Check out the SEO pumpkins below.
Naturally, SEO pumpkins aren’t complete until they’re ranked and we need help with our ranking algorithm. So, to see which pumpkin should get the top spot in our pumpkin results page we’ll leave it up to you.
Vote for the SEO pumpkin that you think deserves to be at the top. We’ll tally the votes and release the results after Halloween.
Here are the pics we based the stencils from and accompanying bios:
Rand Fishkin – SEOmoz
CEO and Co-founder of SEOmoz, Rand is a thought leader and author in the SEO industry. He is responsible for the production of some of the best SEO tools around such as Open Site Explorer that we definitely recommend.
Scott Gallagher – Local Marketing Source
Scott has used his expertise and skills to help countless small and medium-sized local businesses. His Local Marketing Source course is a critical resource for running a internet marketing agency. His webinars for subscribers are packed full of industry news and developments.
David Mihm – David Mihm Inc.
Local SEO and marketing guru, David Mihm is a go-to source for the latest in local marketing and Google Maps optimization. His annual “Local Search Ranking Factors” is a must read for any SEOs that have local business clients.
Dan Thies – SEO Braintrust
Writer, speaker, & instructor, Dan Thies has been in the SEO game from the beginning. Thies has helped countless students up their SEO game through his courses. A personal favorite around NuArtisan, his link liberation campaign gets into the specifics of link building.
(We’ll also be following up with an extensive how-to guide with photos if you’re interested in carving your own)
In the world of Google’s PPC advertising service, ad rank can mean everything to your company. After all, the better position you end up with, the higher the chance that you’ll get that click your company needs. Understanding how Google comes up with that ad rank, though, seems like a confusing nightmare to most people, and if you spend any time listening to folks who want to sell site access and ebooks, they’ll tell you it will take years to understand the formula. The bottom line, though, is that it’s a fairly simple concept.
Three Major Players
In Google’s PPC service, there are three major players to be concerned about: the advertiser (that’s you), the user, and Google. All of these folks have to work together for successful ads. After all, without the user, you and Google are sunk. Without Google, you and the user are out of luck. Without you, Google can’t make any money, and users can’t find the content they need. The ad rank takes all of these factors into account.
The Starting Line
Before you take a look at ad rank, it’s important to note that every time a query is made, Google auctions the clicks. You only pay for the clicks you actually get, and what’s more, you only pay the minimum amount necessary to beat the competition, not necessarily your maximum bid. Just because you’ve bid a certain amount, though, doesn’t mean that you’ll get the top slot. Google also factors in a quality ranking, and that’s what throws off many advertisers.
Quality Ads Mean More
Wondering why Google cares about quality instead of price? It’s simple really. The higher the overall quality of its service, the better chance they have of getting users to come back to them. In this case, quality encompasses three major factors: click through rate, relevancy, and landing page quality. Click through rate is a bit like a high school popularity contest. Relevancy analyzes how well your advertisement relates both to your keywords and the services you offer. This component helps keep advertisers out who are offering unrelated services. Landing page quality makes users happy. The ad is only useful if the page users land on helps them and is easy to navigate.
The Real Equation
So, here’s the tough mathematical part of all this – finding the actual ad rank. Ad rank is determined by your bid and the quality score of your page.
Your bid x Your quality score = Your ad rank
Price is a real concern to most too, though, so it’s important to discuss it. Remember, your price and your quality score have to be just enough to beat the other advertisers, and the price you pay is determined by the ad rank of the advertiser below your bid divided by your own quality score. The only time that doesn’t apply is when you’re bid is the last one, and then you pay the minimum price determined for that auction by Google.
This really is a good formula, though, because if your quality score shoots up through great landing pages and high quality, you actually get a higher ad rank for less money.
The bottom line – better quality = better scores = smaller marketing budget = happy CEO