Social Media as a Marketing Service

Dave Snyder asked me to post a topic to the Search and Social study group, but thought it may be a good idea to post my same question here and see what you all think.

Last week we did a quick local SEO 101 presentation/training session where a highly-regarded PR firm attended. We were happy to see them, and had an engaging conversation on the impact of SEO and social media in the PR landscape.

But this in itself presents a challenge for anyone who works for a search marketing firm. With the growing comfort level for search marketing and social media at agencies and internal marketing departments, how does an SEO firm work with a client who already uses an advertising agency or PR firm that offer the same services? Do you “consult” on the projects that are already “optimized” by other agencies? Do you start offering these other services, expanding solely from search (such as social media efforts)? If so, how do you introduce social media as part of a search strategy? Do you provide the content development and syndication service as part of social media plans?

Of course, the folks in this arena are well-versed in social and the impact on search, but once presented with a potential client who has enough understanding to be dangerous (yet still confused), the challenge of _not_ sounding obtuse and buzz-wordy is a big one.

I’ve done a little research on social media specifics that you can actually offer as a service, but most service descriptions I’ve found (mostly from agencies) have been very broad, with lots of marketing-speak that just make my eyes roll.

As you can imagine, this could go in many different directions, and would love to hear your thoughts, or if you’ve come across the same challenges. I’ll be happy to compile the results and share the feedback.

Quick and Dirty Tactics for Video Optimization and SEO

Blending listings from news, images, video, local listings and book search engines, Universal Search from Google will be delivering video more often to the top spots. There are steps to take when thinking about marketing video online, which extends a lot further than just creating a channel on YouTube.

Basic SEO tactics still apply – video optimization really uses mainstream search optimization

Write a relevant, but catchy, video title: Use related key phrases that is relevant to your product, service or brand.

Optimize with tags: Tag your video with key phrases that people are likely to use or based on keyword research. No need to hold back on tags.

Don’t forget your video file name and meta description: Use keywords in your video file name. And don’t forget your thumbnails too.

Develop inbound and cross links: Use keywords as anchor text to link to your video from other areas of your site.

Provide transcripts: This may be difficult to put right on the page, but you could provide an outline of the transcript with the option to download the full version. This helps optimize the copy on the page.

Video best practices help with marketing and SEO

Keep videos short: Rule of thumb is five minutes max online. 1-3 minute segments is better. If it’s a longer segment, break it out into multiple clips. Use good titles and tags, and provide thumbnails for each segment with descriptive highlights. It’s easier for users to pick up where they left off without having to go back to the beginning. Also it offers the opportunity to use more keywords, and helps when users are viewing video on mobile devices.

Use video as an entry point to your other content: Post videos on YouTube, vMix, FaceBook, etc. to provide links back to your site and other content.

YouTube it: YouTube own more than half of all video traffic online. If you post to any user-generated video site make it YouTube. Video search engines are already there, including Google.

Try the Google Video Upload Program: it’s a great tool to upload batch video.

Provide a video sitemap.

Syndicate your video with RSS: Use a publishing tool that supports a Media RSS output, and the optional Media RSS enclosures related to SEO. The most important fields for optimizing video data are the title, description, and keywords.

Offer social bookmarking tools: Provide icons and options to digg, StumbleUpon, delicious, technorati (for blogs), Facebook, etc.

Be viral: Provide the option for users to embed the video code onto their own site.

Brand your video: You’re going through the trouble of creating the video and syndicating it, make it yours and put your logo on it.

Allow comments AND ratings: Videos that receive higher ratings from users are the ones that users tend to favorite and save.

Measurement – who is watching your video and how often?

Now that your video is well-optimized, it’s time to do some tracking. Segments you want to measure for video activity include:

– Overall and individual time spent
– Most watched videos
– Videos with both the highest conversion rate (call-to-action) and the highest abandonment rate
– Failure rates (number of people who could not open the video in their browser)
– If you capture ratings and comments, include the most popular videos with the most feedback.

If you can, create a special section for your video content (subdomain, video site map, video archive on your site, etc.), in order to track how many people are watching your videos. Any web analytics software package can measure this, including Google Analytics. And ifyou use FeedBurner for RSS, it offers trackable items the free package, including measuring total subscribers and total downloads.

Need more? Check out other these sources:

SearchEngineWatch.com

BruceClay.com

SEO-Space.com

SearchEngineLand.com

There are many more, please share.

3 Newbie Takeways from Search Engine Stategies

This post may seem a little late in the game, but I just started at HMG Search Marketing as Organic Search Manager 2 weeks ago, where my first piece of business was to attend the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York. Initially, I admit I was a little intimidated by the giant brain dump I was going to encounter, but soon realized that I already had a good SEO foundation from MaineToday.com, and finally relaxed to take it all in. I have pages and pages of notes, but here are my top 3 takeaways that can make a difference in search and internet marketing:

1. Analytics are useless unless you can drive real and meaningful action. That means, unless you can segment your audience, page views, uniques, referrers, etc. are all pointless bits of data. Segmentation is defined as the goals and motivations of visitors; what keywords did they use to find you? Where do they come from? Was it a social link? Other in-market links? Did the visitor engage with your site? Incorporate that into other stats, and you’ll get am actionable conversion rate. From there, build a story. People like stories, they don’t like numbers.

Side note about analytics: it was mentioned a few times that site stats are never accurate. Look at the trends, build your story from there. And don’t forget to look at the bounce rate. If something is not working, shouldn’t you look at it?

If you haven’t checked out Avinash Kaushik’s blog, Occam’s Razor, go now.

2. Did you know that 64% of search engine users are looking for business information? So if you’re into B2B, your SEO/SEM strategies need to follow the sales process. When you reach your prospects early, make sure that your PPC ad copy and your landing page copy reflect that phase in the buying cycle. There’s s a great opportunity to grow leads when people are only “researching” the web. Also offer multiple ways to have this prospect interact with you. They may not want to be contacted right away, so provide free content through a blog or whitepaper. Offer tools, or a tour of the product. Perhaps develop a microsite. Validate the inquiry, qualify the lead, then start the sales process.

3. Mahalo. Have your heard of it? You may have. Now, since I’m a newbie, I haven’t. But I have heard a bit about Jason Calacanis and the controversy that surrounds him. So Mahalo is worth sharing. In Jason’s words, it’s a “human-powered” search engine; basically, user-generated search results. Where is this going? To keep it short, it’s potentially the search source where your friends (trusted sources), crowds (recommendations and reviews) and machines (the search engines) meet. And if any site owner has disagrees with it’s Mahalo ranking, it is discussed, in public, so everyone can access it. I don’t know what to make of it, but he’s definitely a smart guy and on to something.