Social Media Marketing

Alphonse Ha: Social Media Marketing Strategies

Archive for 'SEO'

How to Kill Google

November 10th, 2009. Published under SEO. No Comments.

Wow, this is genius and deserves a blog post:

Not sure if you read Rupert Murdoch’s comments today that Newscorp will probably block the Google search spider from indexing their news sites soon. Essentially this means that you would no longer see the Wall Street Journal in Google results. Sounds crazy huh? Suspend disbelief for a moment please because it’s actually genius and it’s actually worked already (in Korea!).

In fact, a couple of weeks ago we had this *exact* discussion on This Week in Startups. Essentially, I put forth a simple strategy for Microsoft to pursue with Bing in which they would go to content providers like the New York Times or Wall Street Journal and offer them 50% more revenue then they are currently getting from Google search referrals to be exclusively indexed in Bing.

You can read the full article here: http://calacanis.com/2009/11/09/how-to-kill-google-or-take-10-points-of-search-search-share-in-six-months/

Very gutsy move form Bing if they ever do it and it does make competitive sense. Unfortunately, the title is misleading because I don’t believe Google can be killed that easily. They are smart enough to turn the market around and make it work for them. Plus their big bucks are from ads, not really searches (although there is a correlation).

And here I thought that the only way to get away from Google was by going to the Google Opt Out Village: 😛


Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Village

photo by: Hoggheff aka Hank Ashby aka Mr. Freshtags

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Successful Social Media Marketers Gain the Trust of Communities

September 23rd, 2009. Published under SEO, Social Media Marketing. 1 Comment.

Digg announced that they recently added nofollow to some of their links. This is a significant move because Digg is one of the only major/mainstream social media to strip the noffollow attributes to the links created by their users. In order to avoid spam, all major social media: YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Wikipedia, Delicious, LinkedIn etc. apply the rel=”nofollow” link attribute.

The most significant move is that Digg did not apply the nofollow link to all of their user generated links. Their popular content will still have “dofollow” links. Google is quite happy about this and is making a push so that Wikipedia remove some nofollow links, to quote Matt Cutts:

Google does something similar with Knol. Initially Knol authors received nofollow’ed links, but as we gain more trust in authors, we can remove those nofollows. As I recently said in another video, if a site like Wikipedia had good confidence in an editor, you could imagine links made by that editor not having the nofollow attribute. So if you have a way to determine which user-generated links are trustworthy, that could be a more nuanced measure of when to use the nofollow attribute. I discussed this subject a bit more in this video in case you’re interested. It’s about 1:24 into the video:

The reason nofollow links existed in the first place is because not all links can be trusted, especially with the rise of social media such as blogs and forums. However, Google’s algorythm is very dependant on links and accordingly, it is only to their advantage to trust links as much as possible.

In the example of Wikipedia, if a person is trusted by the community, Google can trust the links that person creates because it refers relevant content. Considering that Wikipedia have pages with a Page Rank as high as 7 (some times more), having a dofollow link to your client’s website is worth a lot!

In order to be trusted in these communities, you have to invest a lot of time and contribute a lot. Therefore, it is important for social media marketers to gain authority in communities because in the near future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see social media sites a la Wikipedia and YouTube to allow some dofollow links.

Trust is earned and is easy to lose.

I guess we will see a rise of white hat SMM and black hat SMM similar to the SEO community. Once an SMM gain trust of a community it will be very difficult for him to build links within that community if everybody knows that he is building links for a client or his company. The most succesful SMM will be the ones that are transparent enough and provide relevant content to their community, even if he is paid to do it.

It is important to note that link building is very complex and that there are more factors than the page rank of the page you built a link on. Moreover, nofollow links are not completely useless either because they have shown to help in link building. However, we can all agree that a dofollow link will always be better than a nofollow link on the same page and as social media marketers, if we have a chance to build an external dofollow link on the Wikipedia page of Search Engine Optimization or Social Media Marketing, we do it!

photo by: phauly

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Semantic Search VS Social Search: The Future

July 30th, 2009. Published under SEO. 2 Comments.

social search
I want to discuss is the impact of the Yahoo-Microsoft search partnership on the future of the search industry. Reading Yahoo committed seppuku today got me thinking… Jason Calacanis states that Yahoo committing suicide is good news for emerging competitors of Google:

And so ends the second chapter of search and begins the third.

  1. Chapter one was inception up until the launch of Google.
  2. Chapter two was Google’s rise and Yahoo’s death.
  3. Chapter three will be the two-horse race of Microsoft and Google, with the inevitable emergence of a third and fourth player.

Yahoo’s Suicide Opens Doors for Smaller Players

With Twitter revamping their home page and putting search front and center, Bing integrating Twitter in their search, Facebook owning the information of over 250 million users across the world and Google developing Google Friend Connect to compete, that 3rd and 4th player won’t be looking on the sideline; they will be major players.

In fact, using the Yahoo-Microsoft news as an example, I was thinking that we are getting flooded with information more than ever. Google’s rise to prominence was due to its ability to filter and sort information. However, it is now becoming easier to publish ourselves and accordingly, more and more people are doing it. Moreover, social media creates more lines of communication, hence the rise in the level of the flood.

Google is no longer relevant

Searching on Google is no longer enough. When I heard about the Yahoo-Microsoft deal, I wanted to read more than the facts of the deal. I wanted to read insightful opinions, its impact on the search industry, etc. It took me 2 days, reading multiple websites and tweets, before I found Calacanis’ insightful post thanks to a RT (retweet) in a Facebook Status.

Since I have been using Twitter, filtering information has become a priority. I unfollowed a lot of “gurus” in the industry and “power users” because they just post too much. I decided that the most important information will reach me through RT anyway, thus following them is unecessary.

Social Search is filtering by people instead of robots

Semantic search has been a hot topic lately but I think that social search or social filtering of information might be where the money is at. By social search, I don’t mean finding people online, rather I mean how information can be filtered and sorted through online social interactions. I am picky about the people I follow on Twitter because of the pertinence of the information they deliver.

In a way, I have developped my own search engine by choosing the people I decide to consume their information. Titles of the web page or articles is instrumental in my decision to click but the distributor of the content is perhaps even more important.

It only makes sense, doesn’t it? That people filter and sort information rather than robots? Of course, I am aware that algorythm or “robots” would still be needed to sort the social information but atleast, it is social based rather than link and keyword based. We have always resorted to referrals and recommendations from other people or from people we trust. Why stop now?

Social Search is not (only) Twitter

Thus, whoever can develop the best social search engine will be the new Google. Twitter seems to have a head start but I don’t believe they have the firepower to get it done. Social search is more than just tweets, albeit tweets are currently a great ressource, other forms of social interactions such as comments, ratings, sharing, etc come into play. I just wonder if Google will be the new Google or if somebody else will.

With the flood of information, I am becoming more reliant on people feeding me information than Google. I believe that semantic search is necessary but social search is indispensible.

Perhaps “social search” is the wrong term. Any suggestions?

How do I Know I can Trust you?

What do you think is the role of trust in the social search engine? How can it be measured or calculated? Can it be calculated?

photo by: Clearly Ambiguous

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SEO, Rel=nofollow and PageRank Sculpting (Oh My!)

June 18th, 2009. Published under SEO. 1 Comment.

Google hinted their position on using the hyperlink rel=nofollow tags for internal linking and basically stated that through a clean linking architechture, PageRank sculpting is recommended. However, Search Engine Land recently reported that at SMX Advanced, Google anounced how PageRank flows through nofollow links. The long story short is that nofollow links are a PageRank black hole rather than redistributing the PR to the dofollow links and This raised a big concern in the Search Engine Optimization community.

I believe that Aaron Wall of SEOBook and Randfish of SEOMoz make good suggestions.

SEOMoz state that they will perform tests and come back to us. I am under the impression that SEOMoz’ position is to leak as less PageRank as possible from the page by finding alternatives to mask outbound links without using nofollow with the following options:

  • Option A: An embedded iFrame on the page containing the links you don’t want the engines to follow (remember not to link to the iFrame URL, and potentially block it using robots.txt)
  • Option B: Links that call a Javascript redirect script with access blocked for search engine bots (as Google is also now crawling basic javascript and counting links through it)
  • Option C: An embed in Flash, Java or some other non-parseable plug-in that contains the desired links
  • Option D: Settings that turn off links for non-cookied or non-logged-in visitors

SEOBook‘s position is the opposite. PageRank leaking is not a big deal because there are so many greater factors influencing SEO:

  1. Comments offer free relevant textual content that helps your pages rank for a wider array of related keywords.
  2. Allowing some relevant outbound linking makes the page more useful, and makes some people slightly more likely to want to comment.
  3. When you are competing for core keywords in big, competitive markets the SEO game comes down to industrial strength link building, public relations, social networking, branding, advertising, and other aspects of classical marketing.

I would be very interested to hear about what SEO Theory‘s Michael Martinez has to say about this nofollow drama.

I think I side more with SEOBook on this issue and I wonder if the title : “Expert SEO Testing: Usually Worthless” is a jab at SEOMoz. Nevertheless, I agree that having comments in an iframe is a waste because they can raise the credibility of the page as well as creating context for Google to judge incoming and outgoing links. The same can be said about any practices that not only hides links but any User Generated Content as well. As much as I am as dissapointed in Google as Randfish stated. I have to say that I beleive Google is smart. Basically, Matt Cutts just anounced that due to abuse of nofollow, Google had to make a change. Nofollow was introduce to fight spam and later paid links. It was not created to block internal PageRank flow. I beleive there is more to this than Google is telling us. Thus, the reason why I like Aaron Wall’s position on not paying too much attention to the nofollow hype.

Here is where my Social Media Marketing kicks in. I think we can have our cake and eat it too. Taking Will Reynolds’ advice on not wasting too much time analysing nofollow links using his Youtube Channel as an example, it has a lot of comments, a lot of views, a lot of videos. Google would be crazy to not use that wealth of information. The amount of times the videos was shared, liked, added to favorite has to add towards determining the authority of that page and hence of that link. I will take Will Reynold’s position and believe that some authority or link juice or pagerank or relevancy or whatever-you-want-to-call-it must be transfered to the outbound linked page.

My suggestion is that comments and/or any UGC should have a rating system and in turn, the rating system will help Google determine relevant links/content. If comments are making pages more social, why shouldn’t they be affected by social actions? A system where users can vote on other UGC  just as they vote on the original content. The best content will be floated to the top similarly to LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo Answers or Get Satisfaction.

I like what Aaron Wall suggest because it follows Google’s (Matt Cutts’) recommandations. Spending time and energy focusing on quality content is more important. If you are a small web site fighting for small to midsize search engine results’ market share, you can compete by using a small link building strategy combined with proper meta, titles, h1, bold, keyword in URLs, etc. practices. If you are a large website ie: publishing and traditional media companies battling in a competitive market, you will need to use your traditional offline marketing to get a competitive advantage. Finding juice retention strategies is not an efficient use of your time.

UPDATE: June 18, 2009

I found Michael Martinez’ position on this on Matt Cutts’ blog but I am still interested to hear him discuss this on an SEO Theory level… oh well…

You cannot prevent people in the SEO industry from buying into nonsense and bad advice. PageRank sculpting has always been a waste of time and resources.

However, despite numerous attempts by Googlers over the past two years to persuade people to stop engaging in BAD SEO PRACTICES, the SEO community has continued to try to sculpt PageRank.

It’s Google’s index. Let them manage it anyway they please. A truly good SEO would never develop a site just for Google anyway. There are plenty of other search engines out there and collectively they still draw more monthly searchers than Google.

But then, the SEO community (which now holds itself to the standard of measuring success by number of conversions) is still focused on the obsolete metric of counting pageviews for measuring search market share rather than actual search conversions.

No one should be surprised at all the weeping and gnashing of teeth going on right now in the flames of PageRank hell.

It is pretty clear that SEO Theory and SEOBook stand on the same side of the fence on this one. I think SEOMoz are spending too much energy finding ways to conserve PageRank leaking. I find it is a more micro view of SEO where as Aaron Wall and Michael Martinez are offering a macro approach to this nofollow issue.

What I am taking out of this nofollow/PageRank drama is that Google is officially saying that PR is becoming less and less important. I think Google is shifting away from PageRank and their algo is most likely dependant on something else that they do not want to divulge yet because by keeping the SEO/black hats guessing, they will control spam better in the search results.

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The Power of Hyperlinks

May 21st, 2009. Published under SEO. No Comments.

In SEO, I find that too many people get lost in link building, nofollows, dofollows, anchor keywords, page ranks, ect. I think we need to step back and really understand how powerful hyperlinks really are. In a matter of a click, we can have access to so much information. Why aren’t marketers more excited about this? My guess is because hyperlinks are so embedded in our daily life that we forget about them.

In traditional marketing, say advertising for instance, people would see your ad and the experience stops there. The internet and links allow that person to go further. Imagine if every billboards were clickable? Marketers would make sure that the public receives the full branding experience. That same feel that display/merch teams create for customers when they walk into a retail store.

Imagine: A customer is able to “click” on a billboard ad and he is instantly transported inside the store in the exact aisle where the product advertised is located.

That is called online marketing. The difference is that, let’s be honest, online banner ads suck. They are mundane and not creative. So people do not click (pun intended). I am not very interested in PPC or banner ads so I will keep that discussion for another blog post.

I want to bring you even further. Imagine that rather than clicking on a billboard ad, you can click a video or a book or even an experience your friend has recently been exposed to?

That is social media marketing. I believe content marketing is at its best through social media marketing because it is the most effective form of word of mouth. The anchor for its effectiveness is in the hyperlinks.

I want to leave you with a great video @olegr shared with me. This Youtube clip is created by Michael Wesch, an assistant professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University. It offers great insight about the power of hyperlinks and content. It discusses Web 2.0 and the future of the web.

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Conseiller SEO Canoe.ca

April 29th, 2009. Published under SEO. No Comments.

Conseiller SEO

J’ai remarqué que Canoe.ca recherche un conseiller SEO. Je devine donc que connaître l’ensemble des aspects techniques reliés :

  • au référencement
  • à l’optimisation des pages (“on page” et “off page optimization”)
  • à l’indexation
  • et l’évaluation stratégique des mots-clés (sélection des mots-clés et position des mots-clés)

sont importants mais je pense que le SEO et le SEM n’est qu’une étape. Si le but de Canoe.ca est d’augmenter l’achalandage, attirer le trafic des médias sociaux est donc un bon début mais est-ce que payer pour des publicités payantes dans les médias sociaux est assez? Le PPC peut être très efficace si le public est bien visé.

Par contre, l’important ce sont les objectifs et le plus grand défi pour le conseiller SEO-SEM de Canoe est de ne pas se perdre avec les chiffres du nombre de visites, les rangs dans les résultats de Google ou le Page Rank. Si les objectifs sont d’engager avec les sites influents et de développer une relation fructueuse, alors le conseiller SEO doit être apte à communiquer avec le webmestre, le responsable ou même les membres de la communauté du site en question et construire une relation de confiance. L’implémentation de la bonne stratégie médias sociaux est cruciale car les médias sociaux sont des excellents canaux de communications d’échange, de partage et d’engagement.

Bien analyser la population de Youtube, Facebook et surtout Twitter peux permettre au conseiller SEO-SEM de bien cibler la population pour le contenu voulu et donc permettre une grande chance à la page voulu d’être partagée exponentiellement. Lorsqu’un site Internet est souvent partagé ou discuté par des amis, il est beaucoup plus prône à gagner des visiteurs réguliers.

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SEO ya Digg?

April 15th, 2009. Published under SEO. No Comments.


Today I want to test Digg for an SEO purpose. I currently work at Agence de placement Télé-Ressources as a communications and marketing coordinator. I have been trying to rank my company for a keyword and so far so good. I was able to position Agence de placement Télé-Ressources on the first page of Google. However, of course, I want to be in the top 3 in the SERP. I just realized that Digg has do follow links. Not only that, the name of the article, chosen by the Digger / Digg User, is in the title tag, in the H1 and in the URL (although it uses underscores rather than dashes for spaces).

Of course, this digg page has very little authority unless it gets dugg a lot and ends up on the first page… Who here thinks a link is still a link and an optimized link is still an optimized link?
If you would like to help me in my experiment, please digg the article : Agence de placement !

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Official Google Blog: Search the rainbow

April 8th, 2009. Published under SEO. No Comments.

Google Semantic search

Google never cease to impress. Google can now search by colors! Is this a preview of semantic search

Today, I’m happy to announce that you too can use our color filter in your own image searches. Just search for something the way you normally would, such as [tulips]. On the results page, click on the “All colors” drop down in the blue bar and choose a color. For example, try restricting your results to [yellow tulips]. Want to see purple tulips instead? Simply click on the color filter again, select purple, and voila — you have pages of beautiful images! – Donald Tanguay, Software Engineer

Congratulations Google! This is quite exciting!

Photo by: jaqian

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Googlebot crawling behavior

March 20th, 2009. Published under SEO. No Comments.

After numerously updating my job’s website’s home page in order to rank better for a keyword, I noticed something very interesting.

Googleblot crawled the home page 3 days in a row and updated the cache.
However, not all the hyperlinks were updated in Google cache. I hardcoded the home page and removed many links and despite being crawled later that night, the text in the cache was updated but not the links.  They remained there.
Yesterday, I changed the alt tags in a couple of image based links and today, I learned that googlebot crawled the page again but despite removing the links that it didn’t yesterday, Google’s cache of the home page did not update the anchor of the image hyperlinks (the alt tags).
I hope Google will crawl it again today and update the cache.  I am curious to see what will happen to the image link anchor text.
I have heard that Google doesn’t index more than 100 hyperlinks and Google only index up to 150k but the home page is 17k and has 43 links.  I wonder how many links does Googlebot crawl on a page at once.

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http://tinyurl.com/alphonseha

August 10th, 2008. Published under SEO. No Comments.

Mon propre tiny url!
http://tinyurl.com/alphonseha
🙂

and my tiny url of the google translator of my page:
http://tinyurl.com/alphonseha-en

Je me demande si c’est bon ou mauvais pour le SEO. Est-ce que quelqu’un sait?

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