David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

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Archive for May, 2012

Google’s Penguin Update…

Friday, May 11th, 2012

…as experienced by more webmasters than I care to count:

Oh, yes. And this is how many of those same webmasters would like to deal with Google’s penguin (sorry, but you do have to watch the full 1:47 video to the end to see the full wrath of the webmasters).

 


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Digg Shouts are back! But not on Digg.

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Can you pronounce “Thruzt”?

The latest in the line of Digg-killers hits the streets…er…the Internet today.  And Thruzt is its name.  And it has several things going for it that should make Digg - and it’s evil twin Reddit - take notice.

I said at the time that Digg made a big mistake getting rid of “Shouts”.  Shouts were a means by which a Digg user could send a message to one, two three or any number of friends on Digg, seeking votes, comments, shares or whatever.

Shouts lasted only six months on Digg.  But ending them was a big mistake, because it sent people (like me) off-Digg to share content.  Mostly to Twitter.  And Digg lost users to Twitter.

Digg shouts are back, but they are not Digg’s.  They are called “Howls” and they belong to the latest upstart challenger to what is left of Digg (which is actually very little compared to Digg’s heyday when “Popping” to the front page was known to rash servers – when Shouts were part of its landscape).

Will you use Thruzt?

You can be forgiven for being skeptical about the success of Thruzt.  Other challengers have come and gone.  But Thruzt is different, and not just because of Howls.

First, Thruzt has a much more visual feel than any other social bookmarking or social voting website.  Yes, it has that Pinterest feel to it.  And in this day of the visual Web, that is a big bonus, because people will feel more comfortable browsing through the submissions.

Second, Thruzt has been previewed by a bedazzling line-up of many of the who’s who among Digg users.  It is hard to kick-start a new social bookmarking site.  But when so many “power users” are there to kick it off, I have to believe the odds are in its favour.

I was blessed with a preview of Thruzt before its public launch, and I asked its founder, Marcus Hirn (aka ZetaDog ), why he started Thruzt.

In a nutshell, he loved the old Digg, before Version 4, before Digg started bleeding members.  He doesn’t feel comfortable with Reddit’s layout.  And he kept seeing Digg lose members and lose community:

 ”I waited for over a year. I stayed very loyal to Digg but when all my friends dropped off one by one, I decided to do something about it. I thought, well if Digg won’t fix itself then I might as well build my own site.  Being a web developer in my “normal” life helped. The process with thruzt started during the summer of 2011.”

I asked him what was different about Thruzt, and he talked a lot about the Pinterest layout and how it inspired him.

“But the problem was that their site did not provide me with a great tool to promote content to 3rd party sites. It is designed to keep members on their site with the occasional click through to original content.”

And the results are…

 So he put Thruzt together with what he saw was the functionality of Digg, the communications of Twitter and the layout of Pinterest.  And here is how he describes the result:

 ”Instead of it being another social network I want visitors to see it as a game, where you use real life information, submit it and then try your hardest to get attention to it. You will need to be very clever, active and build a powerful network of friends in order become successful. Bear in mind not everyone wants that. I also want to have a site with great content. For instance we have a few interesting categories or  “paths” as we have chosen to name them. Military (marines, navy, army, cyber warfare), Household (with emphasis on family), and Body & Mind (with focus on the individual) as a few examples.”

I know more than a few people who have had dirty thoughts when the name “Thruzt” came up, so I asked Marcus where the name came from.

 ”Ha, ha, ha… Well it started with my search for action words. I wanted to have a verb that could either inspire, give indication of what the site is about, and something that would mean “moving forward’ or “boosting”. I found a bunch of words I liked but as we all know, most names have been registered .com’s already. When I found that thruzt.com (a twist on the word thrust) was available I jumped on it. It answered all my wishes. Only a few moments after I registered it, did I realize the “pelvic thrust” association. I started laughing and the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. The only drawback with the name was the spelling. It is a bit too hard to memorize and spell. But I figured that if people learned how to pronounce and spell Schwarzenegger they could eventually learn the same with thruzt. I only later realized it is a great community gimmick. It attracts laughter and people are having fun with it. I want all visitors to be thruzted. It’s more fun thruzting together then thruzting alone and I’ll thruzt any of my friends gladly.”

I am in trouble.  I could never spell “Schwarzenegger” without seeing it first.

Markers, don’t beware…but be smart.

Given that this is a blog about marketing, I had to ask the question: “Let’s say you have a blog or a website to promote.  Will you have your head chopped off like at Reddit?  What are the boundaries a webmaster needs to follow to be cool on Thruzt?”

Good news.  You are free to promote.  Promotion and spamming are not the same thing, and Thruzt recognizes this.  There will be some rules so that it’s a fair game for all, so it’s smart to play by them.  Smaller niche marketing-related bookmarking sites like BizSugar and Blokube and My SEO Community and MMOsocialnetwork encourage self promotion.  Big general interest sites like Digg and Reddit (and the old Mixx and Propeller) have always discouraged it and would treat anyone promoting a website as if they were terrorists or rapists.

But at Thruzt it looks like the quality of the content and the quality of the networking are what really counts.  Promote your political views.  Promote your hobbies.  Promote a pic that grabs you or a story you find interesting.  Promote videos of your son’s yo-yo competition entries.  Or promote your own blog or website.  Just make it interesting to others.

“As I mentioned above, thruzt is a game of social networking. If blogs or site owners think that they need to submit every story on to thruzt let them. It will still require much more then submitting to get any attention. Please note all links are no follow until they pop. You will have to work each story on to the front page in order to have traffic (if that is what you are after). Nobody likes a spammer and I think webmasters will quickly understand this. There will be some common sense rules but no more restrictions are intended.”

He said a lot more on this to me, and I think it is worth reproducing it here verbatim.

 ”It is wrong to confine user behavior. I want to give users the opportunity to choose their own path. On thruzt I have tried to give them the tools and will be adding more. I have no intention of trying to restrict members in their creativity and passion for sharing and promoting whatever content they want to highlight to the world. The only “restrictions” will be what I believe are common sense rules for a community to function and to fight spam etc.”

“For instance, on all social media there is a fear of “gaming” the system. That power users take over and the individual user is pushed aside. Well that is assuming that a community is only about “popping” a story to get traffic.”

“On thruzt I will have a new approach. I will not restrict users. No, instead I will encourage all users to learn the system. Figure out clever ways to push your own stories. I believe in free markets and freedom of choice. I believe in people’s ingenuity. Thruzt is meant not to be a ‘fair’ playground where “everyone gets equal attention”. No, thruzt should be looked at more as a game, where the player has to overcome obstacles and find ways to grow in power.

There are many ways to make yourself a name. You can become a great submitter of great content in your genre, you can become a very powerful and respected (and followed) commenter, You can become a great front page ‘popper’. Or you can be one of the unknown silent people who prefer to watch and read in the shadows, perhaps with the only interaction being a thruzt vote. There are tons of ways to get attention and I believe a great community will always reward people that are passionate and active. I will run thruzt with a motto I have lived my whole life by: ‘You get what you give’.”

So, it might be more than a hybrid of Digg, Pinterest and Twitter.  Thruzt might be the first “official” social voting game – where “gaming” the system is actually part of the game.

You can find me on Thruzt at http://thruzt.com/user/history/amabaie/.  And you can follow my Howls at http://howl.thruzt.com/amabaie/.  Let’s have some fun.

 


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How to NOT Lose Money with AdWords

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Google AdWords is the perfect way for you to reach more members of your target audience online. When you create an account, you’re immediately given $100 worth of free credits. With this amount, you can instantly post ads that millions of people around the world can view. While this is a great thing, it also means that you can easily spend tons of money on your online marketing campaign without yielding a return on your investment.

Below are a few concepts that you should know so that AdWords advertising will become more effective for your business.

Keyword Research

This is to help you figure out what search terms users are entering to find you and other similar businesses, you may use one of the many free or proprietary keyword tools out there. Utilize those tools to create a good list of short and long-tail targeted keywords that will broaden your reach.

A final tip on keyword research is to remember that AdWords is a prime space for ads. This means that you’ll have to compete with others in terms of relevancy to searches. The way to win is to set a fixed budget and look for keywords that won’t cost you so much per click. Remember, that there are other keywords that your competitors haven’t exploited yet. If you only choose popular keywords, you’ll find yourself strapped on cash.

Keyword Matching

When you input your key phrases into AdWords, you’ll be given three matching options. Let’s say that your keyword is “wooden doors.”

  • Broad Match. This tells Google to match the searches that it thinks are relevant to your ads. Don’t get surprised if Google decides to match “glass doors” to your ads.
  • Phrase Match. If you choose this, Google will match your ads to searches using your key phrase in its exact form and sequence. Using the example above, Google will match your ads with “etched wooden doors” but not with “wooden front doors.”
  • Exact Match. With this option, Google will display your ad in searches that strictly matches your phrase. For instance, your ad will only be shown if someone searches for “wooden doors” and no other words.

 Negative Keywords

 Apart from the three keyword matching options above, there’s negative match, which tells Google NOT to display your ad for searches containing keywords you specify.

Quality Score

Your Quality Score is Google’s estimate of the relevance and usefulness of your keywords, advertisements, and landing pages to viewers. If you score high, your ads will rank better, additionally, your clicks will be cheaper meaning more savings for you.

Focused Ad Groups

Grouping together highly-specific targeted words with the same theme is one of the crucial steps to AdWords success. By doing so, you can track your bids and conversions better. When you know how a certain cluster of keywords are performing, you can put them on hold in order to bring your PPC spending down.

Ads Written for Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate (CTR) refers to the number of actual clicks on your ad per one hundred impressions (i.e. number of users who see your ad regardless if they click-through or not).

General keywords definitely create a lot of impressions, but result in lower click-throughs and conversions because they won’t filter your audience. Targeted keywords, on the other hand, will have a better CTR with less impressions.

If you want to improve your ads’ CTR, you should avoid very general search terms. It’s better to focus on specific keywords that more closely describe your products/services.

Position Preferences

Before, you can specify whether you want your ad to appear at the top of the page or “other” (i.e. side or bottom). But in April 2011, Google retired this option so ad owners have to optimize their AdWords accounts manually to target a specific position. An excellent way of doing this is by focusing on ads’ quality scores in order to not only drive down your PPC costs, but also improve your ranking. But should you determine that the top spot isn’t for you, since your ads are already earning is enough, then you should stick with your conservative keywords.

Targeting Search Network vs. Content Network

When you register for an AdWords account, you’ll eventually have to specify whether you want to advertise on the Search Network, Content Network, or both. Choosing content network means that your ads will be placed inside websites relevant to your keywords. Selecting search network means that your ads will be found on Google SERPs.

It would be better if you avoided Content Network because it will only bring in traffic that’s not qualified. For instance, if your website is about coffee beans, your ad can get placed in a site that’s about a song containing the phrase “coffee beans.” Because your ad isn’t relevant to the content of that site, you won’t get any traffic from it and hence your conversion rates will suffer.

Creating the perfect Adwords campaign requires constant monitoring to make the best use of your marketing dollar. With a keen attention to what works and what doesn’t, you can drive down costs and raise your CTR to improve the bottom line for your online sales.

This is a guest post by Michael Hendsbee of Convurgency SEO Toronto.

 

 


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