Social Media Roundup - November 2013

Content Marketing: 10 Best Practices for Success
Content marketing has become a major force on the Internet in the past couple of years. As Google continues to tighten up its algorithms to penalize shady search engine optimization practices, and the competition for attention intensifies, the only sure thing for smart marketers is creating great content. In his blog, "The 10 Commandments of Content Marketing," Jeff Bullas, author of "Blogging the Smart Way," lays out what he considers the top 10 things to know for successful content marketing. These include 1) Create the best content you can; 2) Write awesome headlines; and 3) Create focused content. If you are looking to get better at content marketing, the full list is well worth reading and adopting.

The Multiscreen World: Reaching Customers on Any Device
Savvy marketers acknowledge that their customers live in a multiscreen world. Customers today own multiple devices and they use them all, often to search for the same things. An article by Eliza Steely on the online marketing blog TopRank cites a Google study showing that 90% of users employ multiple screens to achieve their goals. All businesses today need a strategy for reaching users. The movement to mobile search is a done deal, and every website needs to become responsive. Now we also have to get better at coordinating our messages for the different platforms and figuring out how to best get them to work together.

Google Hangouts Now Offers Google Helpouts
Users of Google Helpouts can now connect on Google Hangouts with verified experts who Google has chosen to provide one-to-one help on various subjects. Weight Watchers and Sephora are two of the brands participating. This program is brand new and it remains to be seen if Google will be able to control quality enough to make the service worthwhile, and whether people will accept expert advice offered through the platform. Associate Editor Kelsey Jones explains the new program on Search Engine Journal.

Google's Hummingbird Update Affects Nearly All Searches
Good information about the Hummingbird update to Google's algorithm announced on September 26th. Google says the update affects more than 90 percent of all searches. In fact, writes Jim Yu in his blog on Search Engine Land, "Google's Amit Singhal later said it was perhaps the largest change to the algorithm since he joined the company back in 2001." The heart of Hummingbird is semantic search, or what Google calls "conversational search," which allows Google's updated algorithm to understand the intent and contextual meaning of the words used in queries. This continues the move away from old-fashioned, keyword-based search engine optimization toward a more natural, content-based strategy.

Facebook Page Fun with Social Games
Facebook's algorithms are intended to help people see more of the things that matter to them most. This can make it hard for page owners to keep their fans engaged and their pages visible in fans' news feeds. Cas McCullough, writing on Social Media Examiner, lays out four ideas for simple social games that page owners can use to get people interested again, bring them back, and deliver the boost they need in their rankings to make pages show up prominently in fan timelines.

Myspace Is Back: Should Your Brand Consider It?
Myspace is back. And while it's not going to catch up with Facebook anytime soon, 24 million new people have joined in the last four months, bringing the fan base up to about 36 million. The site has had a total makeover and is much better-looking and less "busy" than the old Myspace. Blogger Albert Costill, writing on Search Engine Journal, says, "It has a beautiful horizon layout that has a Pinterest-meets-Tumblr vibe with extra-large images, full-screen video, and to drag-and-drop content. Users can also create multimedia playlists and share them with friends on Facebook and Twitter." If your demographic is on the youthful side, the reconstituted Myspace is worth a look: 70% of Myspace users are 35 or younger.

It's an iJungle Out There! (Are Your Competitors Doing You Online Harm?)
Whether you know it or not, there are things your competitors can do to affect your website rankings negatively. Jo Guzman, writing on the Search Engine Marketing Group blog, points out that your competitors can use several different methods to achieve these nefarious ends. For example, they can:

  1. Outrank you. You can't rest on your laurels. Internet marketing is a long game.
  2. Lower the quality of your links. Inbound links from poor quality websites can drag down your rankings. Keep an eye your link profile, and know how to use Google's "disavow tool," which lets you tell Google to ignore links.
  3. Use "Black Hat" tactics. The example she gives is a competitor linking your site to irrelevant sites and then spamming it from them. Watch your link profile, and report any bad activity - fast!
  4. Use review sites. Keep an eye on these sites. Anybody can say anything, or pretend to be anyone they want. Check those reviews regularly, and have a plan in place to counter the negative or questionable ones. What you don't know can definitely hurt you on Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc.

The Ultimate Secret Weapon of the Internet
Closing on a lighter note... Fire your SEO. Get rid of the social media intern. Lose the consultant. The only thing that consistently attracts people to websites on the Internet is... cats. There are more than 30 million online searches for the word "cats" every month, writes Alex Benton on One video, "Keyboard Cat," has been watched more than 33 million times on YouTube. There's also a great story in this article about the hot, on-demand taxi service Uber getting in a jam with feline funny business.

Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to"). Based in Shelburne Falls, Mass., he helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or

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