A blog of Social Media, Social Marketing, and Social Education


7 New Google Search Engine Changes

Google’s Search Engine is without a doubt the gold standard of search engines on the internet today – so naturally, when they change something in their algorithm’s, everyone snaps to attention and adjusts accordingly.

If you haven’t heard yet, Google has recently done just that.

Here is a quick run down of (in my opinion) the 7 most important changes to Google’s Search Algorithm:

  1. Frequently updated content is more important now than ever as Google is now placing a heavier emphasis on more frequently updated content over older, perhaps more popular, content. Having dates in EVERYTHING you produce is important. So if you are not writing regular content for your site — it’s time to invest in a content creator who can do this for you.
  2. Keyword rich content is KEY because Google is now creating “snippets” of your page content (excluding header and menu content)  – but be warned, using frivolous or non-applicable keywords in your content will land you in hot water with Google’s new algorithm.
  3. Links in Headers, Footers and Blog-Rolls will no longer help Search Engine Optimization – if it isn’t in the main content body, it doesn’t exist to Google.
  4. Less emphasis is given to links with duplicate anchor text. In fact removing duplicate anchor texts will actually be a great move to help increase your SEO ranking. This means you no longer want to just have incoming links use a single phrase for anchor text (which if you are unfamiliar with Anchor Text, it’s what I did just above on the words “SEO Ranking”), but rather a spectrum of synonyms and related phrases (Again, I anchored Search Engine Optimization and also SEO in this post).
  5. User reviews are now going to be incorporated into product searches along with product price and description making it all the more important to have great feedback for your products and, perhaps in the future, services!
  6. Google is now placing a larger emphasis on author names associated with blogs and insuring that content is UNIQUE – not just random spam.
  7. Content Farms have finally met their match! Have you noticed an increase in websites in the top listings of Google that are really nothing short of glorified spam-sales-pitches? You can typically spot these sites because they have the long “sales letter” format and love to utilize highlights, lots of headers, bold words and even flashing attention grabbers. These sites normally flood their URL with backlinks through excessive article distribution – while some is good, these guys take it to the extreme and ALL of the anchor words are normally the same. The exorbitant  backlinks combined with all of the anchor text words being the same are now huge red flags to Google — and lucky for us, these sites are soon to be sent packing to page 10+ of results.

Most of the research I have done on this though – aside from the new PANDA Algorithm – is saying that these updates will have less impact on the US markets than it will on the non-english speaking countries using Google Search. Though of course it is still good to consider since Google often tells us something doesn’t really apply… even when it does.

Andrew Jones

CEO, New Media Fluent (join us on Facebook)

What Is A Hashtag | How Do I Use It On Twitter

Hash tags almost in-and-of-themselves exemplify what much of this “social media” stuff is about – linking for ease of consumption.  These little hashtag icons (#) are used in conjunction with Twitter that makes ideas easily searchable and more accessible.  By simply inserting the “#” symbol before a common word or phrase, your message’s reach is immediately bolstered on Twitter as your message is now getting out to readers who may or may not be in your circle of followers if they are searching for the hashtag you employed.

Something to note, there are a few places hashtags tend to originate:

  1. Paid promotion. This is something that has been introduced relatively recently to Twitter, where companies can now pay to promote a hashtag trend for things like product launches, movies, and more.When you are on Twitter, you will recognize these paid promotion trends because they have a gold arrow followed by “Promoted”.
  2. A more organic method for these trends to come about are from  prominent Twitter figures, and large fan bases – Think Justin Bieber, there is almost always a trend associated with him.

Hashtags are great to not only get your own message out there to a broader audience, but also when it comes to research. For example, if you are searching for tweets about the positive affects of bee pollen in your diet, your first instinct may be to Google it – valid option – but if you opt for a Twitter search, you may normally search the words, “Bee Pollen” to see what comes up. Undoubtedly you will get some hits, but they may be things like “Bees tend to generate excessive pollen when they are pollinating flowers.” where the search words are bolded.

Now, try search #beepollen.  You will find that the search results, though perhaps fewer, are much more laser targeted to ONLY be tweets that involve beepollen via the hashtag.

Just be sure that whether you are searching, or using a hashtag for your own messages that the words following the hashtag are always continuous, with no spaces in between.

Another use of hashtags comes from if you are sending a tweet that you want to achieve a little more exposure than normal. In this instance, take a look at what hashtags are trending right now.  If you see, “#WeirdThingsToTry” is trending, and you’re trying to tout the positive effects of bee pollen, Tweet, “Did you know taking bee pollen each day is clinically proven to help Allergies?! #WeridThingsToTry ”  That will definitely get your tweet more exposure than normal!

You can also add several hash tags if you see one that is associated with your subject is trending but might not give the whole story, such as if #ThingsIWouldntEat is trending, “Did you know taking bee pollen each day is clinically proven to help Allergies?! #ThingsIWouldntEat #Debunked”  almost creating a quasi-phrase.

Feel free to get creative with your use of hashtags – especially those trending – as people will often ReTweet things they find entertaining.

When taking a more personal approach to tweets, it’s always a good idea to lighten the mood and have a little fun with it to keep your followers entertained.  Making a funny hash tag that will probably be unique on Twitter can produce a quick laugh or retweet. Who knows, you may even launch a trend yourself!

“I hate attending these ridiculous “meetings” every Monday – Nothing gets accomplished #SorryImNotSorry.”

One final note – don’t use apostrophes in your hashtags, punctuation marks (and spaces) end the hashtag keyword.

P.S.S. A GREAT website to find out why things are trending now is What The Trend.

Hope this helps to clear some things up!

Andrew Jones

CEO, New Media Fluent

Why Authors Need Social Media Marketing

It seems these days everyone and, literally, their dog have a presence on social media in one way or another. From Facebook to Twitter and a multitude of more niche networks in between, one observation is easy to make; Social Media is no longer an option for authors today who are interested in promoting their books and expanding their brand.

You may find yourself asking the question “What does being social have to do with writing and publishing my book?” the answer is simple – and it is everything.  For anyone who has ever written a book, you know that no one is ever going to be as vested in the promotion of your book as you are.  Therefore, it is extremely important for you to take advantage of as many promotional venue’s as possible. With over 600 million people on Facebook alone, it is easy to recognize the highly reachable group of people online every day.

Whether you opt to do your social media marketing yourself or, as many authors opt to do, outsource it – there are a few things you need to be prepared for; You must have a game plan, you need to know what realistic expectations you can have from your social media and/or your outsourcer, and you need to know the part you will be playing in all of this.

As with any marketing effort, no one ever dives in without a marketing plan of some sort. The same holds true for your social media marketing. In your game plan, it is important to create a schedule of sorts for your preparation, launch, and engagement. It is also extremely helpful to be clear on what overarching goals you want to accomplish before you begin. Do you want to attract more traffic to your website? Do you want to create more point-of sale-opportunities for your book? Do you want to become the go-to guru for your area of specialty and get featured in various media?

Begin with the end in mind and you will have a guiding hand to keep you from spending time on things that waste your time and do not fit in with your strategy.  If you go with an outsourced social media manager they should provide a game plan for you. If they do not, ASK! If they still do not, or act like they don’t know what you are talking about… get a new social media manager.

Everyone has heard stories of that “star” author who set up a Facebook page and over night attracted thousands of avid followers to their presences who engage non-stop and clamor for every ounce of new material the can produce.  These people do exist; however, they are the rarity or Internet-Urban-Myth that leads many authors to become disappointed with the results they garner from their social media efforts.  Rome was not built overnight, and neither will your social media empire. Having a realistic expectation of steady growth and knowing that social media is a marathon more than a sprint race will keep you in the proper attitude to launch and help your social media presence flourish.

People too often get caught up with the “Big numbers are best!” philosophy. It is not to say that you should not try to capture a good number of followers, but social media more and more is becoming a game of quality over quantity. No longer do people expect those with the largest number of followers to produce the best information – instead, they look to those who are ACTIVE and ENGAGING with their community as the true guru’s of their industry. Start slow, make sure your follower numbers are always going up versus down (or else you are putting out information people do not like), and engage with your followers. Create a comfortable place to encourage conversation on your profiles, and you will see your followers not only grow, but they will become loyal to you – and soon will be clamoring for every piece of material YOU can produce.

If you outsource your social media, you can expect your manager to set everything up for you and maintain the profiles day to day with regular updates and responses to questions your followers may pose. Outsourcing your social media removes much of the stress and “How will I have time for this?”  If they are writing for you, you need to make clear to them topics they can cover and what to avoid. If they are responding to people for you, be sure to work out how it will be handled. Even if they cover everything for you – it is in your best interest to have them provide you with some degree of education for engaging with your audience and put that education to work by logging in from time to time to post and respond to people YOURSELF.  The personal touch you can provide is necessary to your growing social media empire – your manager is there to take the “hard part” out of it by taking care of the day-to-day of growing your presence while leaving you with the option to partake in the fun-stuff whenever you choose.

-Andrew Jones
CEO, New Media Fluent

New Media Fluent has been in the business of helping others capitalize on social media and internet marketing since 2009. They offer a full menu of services to clients ranging from Social Media Management and Search Engine Optimization, to Web Design and Social Customer Service.  Contact New Media Fluent at http://NewMediaFluent.com/contact-us.html

Why Do I Need Search Engine Optimization (SEO) For My Website?

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

In as basic of terms as possible, SEO is organically improving the various aspects of your site including links, text and meta-information to dramatically improve your standings in search engine results for targeted keywords.

Why do you need Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

There are about 88,000,000,000 (yes that’s billion) reasons why you need SEO – because that is the number of people per month who conduct Google searches.  If you want an even more impressive number, that’s 34,000 every second. Sure you may be saying about now “Well those searches probably are not business related.” Let me stop you right there, 46% of daily searches are for products or services. Of that number, 20% are for local searches. Are you optimized locally? Did you know you can be?

Google is the new yellow-pages. Any time an actionable phrase such as “Google it” becomes a part of our daily lives, you want to be involved with it because that is where you will see your new business and leads come from. Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research on everything from prices on new televisions, to realtor reviews from others when they are looking to purchase a house.

So you have a website that provides this kind of information? What good is it doing you if no one can find it? This is where SEO comes in.

Yes pay-per-click (PPC) is an option, and I am not one to deny the results of a well planned and executed PPC campaign; however, currently 70% of the links search users click on are organic – not paid.

60% of all organic clicks go to the top three search results – 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

I try not to do any blatant pitches for my company in my blog posts, but now that you know why you have a need for SEO – let’s talk about…

What Our SEO Reports Offer You (or another competitor SHOULD be offering you, at the very least)

An executive summary paired with top strategies for you to implement now to put you on your way to increased search engine placement immediately! In this section we point out your strong points, where some weaknesses are and how you can fix them, and opportunities we see that you may not be taking advantage of.

A breakdown of your site information so you know from then on what factors of your website have the highest “clout rank” when it comes to search engines. Here again, we point out what you currently have and how to make improvements quickly.

How search engines are currently seeing your site – many people have gorgeous sites that are great for visitors, but are absolutely useless when it comes to search engine rankings. It is important to never neglect function for form because again, who will see your site if the search engines don’t rank it properly?

You provide us with any keywords you wish to see yourself optimized for and we give you information on; where you currently stand on those words, how to improve, as well as additional keywords people are searching for that you may not have thought of.

  • Keyword suggestions based on our research of your industry.
  • How to optimize yourself locally.
    Search trend information on your industry (taken from a broad scope or more locally depending on what you want).
  • All incoming links to your websites
  • Competitor information on up to three URL’s.
  • A list of 200 links for your industry and your locale to pursue link exchanges with to assist in increasing your site’s power.
  • And much, much more – check out our full list of SEO service.

Andrew Jones
CEO & Founder
New Media Fluent

Setting Up Your iFrames Fan Page App in 10 Steps

Facebook Fan Pages no longer support their “unique” markup language of FBML, but now instead they have switched entirely over to supporting iFrames for their Fan Pages. At first, I was a little hesitant about working with iFrames as I was worried it was just one more thing I had to learn to work with for Facebook- however, once I got the hang of it, it really is incredibly easy.

With iFrames you can now make your Facebook Fan Page a one-stop shop for practically anything you can do on a traditional website; capture leads, support a store front, drop in your Twitter feed, etc.

So without further adieu- let’s get on to the 10 Steps to Setting Up Your iFrames Fan Page App  (and yes, it is necessary to do an “Application” for each of your new “Tabs”.

We are starting these steps in the Developers section of  Facebook (to get there go to the bottom of any page and click “Developer” followed by “My Apps” when that page loads.

  1. Name your Facebook Application
  2. Accept terms of use
  3. Create your description of the app (if you want – if this is just to be used as a Fan Page it isn’t necessary)
  4. Upload an icon photo (if you want)
  5. Navigate to the Facebook Integration page and name your canvas page (which is what the URL will be to directly navigate to your app)
  6. Canvas URL will be the root site you are listing your site on
  7. Name your tab near the bottom
  8. Tab URL needs to be how the URL would read to navigate to your iframe on the site you are hosting the page.
  9. Save
  10. Navigate to the “Application Page Profile” and click “Add to my page”

    If you have any question- just post them in the comments section below or feel free to post them to our Fan Page wall where I will gladly answer them!
Andrew Jones
CEO & Founder
New Media Fluent

Parallel Audiences | Finding Your Customers

Hello! I’ve recently come across a new tactic which I think may actually hold some clout for getting involved with your audience. What I read was a long winded description (like the entire article), but I think I can sum it up by coining the following term; parallel audiences.

The example that was given in the article (which was from this month’s Entrepreneur Magazine by the way) I read was about a woman who ran a cupcake company out of her house and she got almost ALL of her business from social media.  She utilized Twitter to target people she wanted to follow by identifying what her demographic would be (women 18 – 40) and then thought to herself, “What are three things these women will be interested in that I also like?” she came up with; shoes, chocolate, and shopping.

After that, she began inserting herself in the middle of conversations she saw going on on Twitter in her geographic area involving shoes, chocolate, and shopping. For example, if a woman said she just got a great pair of new shoes- this woman would say, “Wonderful! Do you have a picture you can share? I just bought these this weekend (link for picture)!”  thus opening up the conversation and contributing to it. It would eventually come around that her “avatar icon” was a cupcake and people would ask why… and voila, just like that, she would have an interested new customer.

So if you can think a little bit, what is your demographic you would really like to reach? And what do you think a couple of the parallel audiences would be?

Planting these subtle seeds in your parallel audiences are a great way to obtain new prospects without coming off like a used-car-salesman.

Let me know what you come up with on our Facebook Wall!

Andrew Jones
CEO & Founder
New Media Fluent

Are Apps Necessary For Your Company?

“Is there an app for that?” has become as common of a question as “What’s your sign?” was in the days of the hippie-van. It seems- circa now, everyone from Facebook (the golden standard in this market- so much so for the longest time I assumed all iPhone’s came with the Facebook App already installed) to Groupon, Mint.com to Men’s Health have an application for some facet of their business.  So much to the point that it makes me wonder if this isn’t the answer to the elusive question; “Exactly how does one make money on the internet?”

And I’m not just talking about revenue on apps you have to pay for.

Some whole companies are being virally grown around their apps. For example, Groupon- a great concept as a website, no doubt about it, however add to that concept the convenience of being alerted when a new “amazing” deal opens up via a push-notification on your phone and you have captured the three most important motivators of the buying public; fear, greed and exclusivity.

  • Fear: There is a clock on the deal.
  • Greed: You can really save a lot of money.
  • Exclusivity: You get these deals only if you are a member/ have the app.

Obviously this motivation formula to Groupon is why the company has become so wildly successful, however, I believe Groupon’s application is a major contributing factor to the fact that they are soon set to go public with an estimated value of $15 billion!

USEFUL FACT: In 2010 overall revenue for paid apps dropped 16%!

But the question remains- do I really need an app for my business?

Before you go and invest any amount of time or money into developing an app, ask yourself a very simple question; What will the purpose of my app serve?

If you come up with a good answer to that question, then ask yourself the follow-up; Why will anyone want to utilize that purpose on their phone?

Most people will probably come up with the factor that, in my humble opinion, drives technology- convenience.

However, if you cannot come up with a convincing answer to both of these questions to the point you could; go up to anyone in your target demographic, spout off the answers, and have them clamoring over themselves to find where they can click “download”, you may want to wait for the next “big thing”.

Why? Because odds are if you cannot achieve that kind of reaction- your app will fall into the great sea of the 300,000+ apps out there… especially if you are asking people to pay for it.

Apps are a wonderful way to put your content out there, however it needs to offer something more than what users can already get on your site:

  • For Groupon it’s convenience.
  • For Facebook- it’s mobile uploads and immediate comment/photo/inbox notifications.
  • For Mint.com you never have to worry about bouncing your account as you can check it whenever with a click of a button!
  • Men’s Health- even they have exercises you can download to your app and log your results so you don’t have to print out sheets of paper to take with you to the gym.

Find your motivator- and you will find yourself with a successful app.

Andrew Jones
CEO & Founder
New Media Fluent

Facebook Launches New Platform

Tonight on 60 Minutes I watched an announcement of a new Facebook Platform who shows your friends “Who you really are.”

So really, what’s new about the new platform?

First off- much like the “New Twitter” it is going to be optional, but I see a gradual phaseout as an inevitability.

Now when people go to your profile, at the top there will be a small bar at the top with quick conversation starters such as; Where you went to school and where you work.

Then immediately after that- a row of recently tagged photos (bet you’ll think twice now about “Should I untag myself from that picture holding the beer or not?”) since people really get a better “feel” for who someone is based upon their photos… Not to mention it is typically the first thing people “stalk”.

Taking a note from Myspace (sorry, but it’s true), now you have “Featured Friends” where you can list your best friends, or teammates (such as if you’re on a soccer team and wish to give people a better feel about your soccer life).

The new experiences may be the biggest thing I take away from this. With this you can now;

  • List projects you worked on at your work.
  • Classes you took in school.
  • Favorite musicians
  • Favorite sports teams, etc.

You also can now connect with philosophical people you resonate with; from political affiliations, religious affiliations, and people you admire… What’s more, in keeping with this new platform it’s all represented visually!

The photo pages are also updated; Now you can take advantage of Facebook’s “Ultimate Scroll” which enables you to view all of the pictures without having to click from page to page and wait for all of the thumbnails to load.

Finally- it’s now even easier to find people. Now you can search based on (the traditional) name, but also hometown, school, and a multitude of other methods (I’m hoping phone number will be in there… no more wondering “Who keeps calling me from this number?!”)

The new update launches tomorrow and I’m really stoked to see all of the new additions and how seamlessly they fit in with what we already have… or vice versa.

Andrew Jones

10 Movies Computer Nerds Love

I know I keep this blog typically limited to strictly things you can use immediately for your marketing and/or business… but I figured everyone needs a good dose every once in a while of light heartedness. Enter, the list of 10 movies computer nerds (yes that includes social media buffs) love.

Keep in mind, I have done no real research on this, this is purely my opinion and some of my favorite films that I know get strong reactions from my fellow computer savvy amigos.

1. Hackers
Reason: Who wouldn’t love seeing Angelina Jolie in her very early years in a skin tight leather motocross jumpsuit?  Aside from that, this movie really showcases the underground community of hackers in the early ’90s pretty beautifully.

2. The Net
The movie that did for identity theft what Jaws did for the ocean. Academy Award winning Actress Sandra Bullock playing a late night computer game debugger (and a rather successful one at that) is what every geek who has ever logged into a chat-room prays to find on the other end of his computer screen.

3. Tron (the original)
The verdict is still out on the new film… however, I for one cannot wait to see it… but the original was a classic! Computer people tend to live in their “own world” on a daily basis anyhow. This movie transports a hacker into the “digital universe” of a computer where he plays out as a virtual warrior battling evil– again, every true nerd’s dream; be awesome, take down a bad guy, get hot girl.

4. The Matrix (Part 1)
If anyone just made a negative groaning sound, I’m going to jump through this screen and hit you. Face it- The Matrix was THE hacking film of the new millennium. Aside from the – at the time – groundbreaking special effects, again it took the common nerd-fantasy reoccurring them (Be awesome, kill the baddie, get the girl) to a whole new level.   On a personal note with this one– it was the first DVD I ever owned. I had it before I even had a DVD player and I would have to go watch it on my Dad’s Dell.

5. Wargames
This movie goes back to the early days of hacking and command based computer systems, but for the novice computer nerd- starting with the basics is always a good place to begin. Basically, a kid hacks into a backdoor of a government supercomputer who runs “war games”, almost destroys the world, fights off the evil computer and in the end gets the girl (I told you, there’s a theme).

6. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
While this movie came out in 2009, I dare say it has only recently hit the radar of the majority of Americans when the book by the same name rose to the top of the best seller list. This film breaks slightly from  our traditional formula as it deals with a female hacker living with Asperger’s Syndrome who teams up with a detective to solve a murder mystery.

7. Swordfish
Hugh Jackman is the hacker, John Travolta is the crazed bank robber villian, Halle Berry is the beautiful/mysterious/genius temptation… need I really say more?

8. Mission Impossible
Job 3:14 is still a significant number and a verse of the bible I know and can credit to this movie. Tom Cruise (at his prime) plays a top secret James Bond style spy who assembles a team of other agents to carry out a European mission. It has TONS of action, betrayal, travel (which is good because true computer nerds don’t leave the house often), and of course — a computer hacking secret agent.  In terms of an overall good movie, this one should be at the top of the list, not the bottom.

9. The Thirteenth Floor
In my opinion this film never gained the amount of attention it deserved. It was an extremely well done film with a great story line somewhat in the vein of The Matrix meets Tron.  Basically a computer scientist creates a world where participants can take over the life of a computer generated human, the programs don’t know they are being controlled and life always carries on after the user “jumps out” which can make for some interesting situations “plugging back in” (such as coming in in the middle of a gun fight). Interesting premise which leads me to–

10. Gamer
I actually did not like this film very much, but for the following reason; I thought it was horrifyingly accurate of the path our society seems to be on with our obsession with “Reality” and true “Virtual Reality” where we control real people. Watch this movie if you want to get a glimpse of the future I hope we never achieve.  A positive note though- I love the kid’s computer room! I may never leave if I get one of those.

11. Inception (Honorable Mention)
I honestly completely forgot about this one until just now.  Um… I think it was about computers and hacking the brains and dreams of people… but to be honest the movie was so confusing I really can’t be certain.  Definitely see it though!

Story Telling A New Marketing Tactic

I was just reading over an email I received from Trend Central titled “What’s Your Story?” and it was all about how stores and service providers (the three listed in the article were Heirloom, Chic & You Shall Find, and Etsy; “Saved From The Fire” Series) are beginning to create stories to integrate into their marketing messages.

I personally find this to be a genius idea.

Case in point, one advertisement that has always stuck with me was the Master Card ad about the little puppy traveling across America to find his way back home to his owners. You know the one I’m talking about and probably just visualized it yourself. My point is solved… The commercial showed the story unravel in a few different segments during the Super Bowl, but practically everyone was talking about it not only the next day- but while it was going on! People could not wait for the next commercial break to see if this time the dog was going to make it home.

When combined with this recent trend email I cannot help but wonder a little- Is story telling the new marketing?  In traditional advertising, it was always a common practice to “tell a story about a product”, however for a while the industry became saturated with flashy graphics, beautiful models and other frivolous eye candy and forgot about what people were genuinely interested in; stories.  I think it’s time for us to go back to basics.

So, now you may be wondering; “How can I integrate this into my company?”  Try creating back stories about your products (yes, tell the stories about how your products came to be). If that’s too boring, you may want to take a leaf from Chic & You Shall Find and simply make the stories up!

A slightly more practical application for business, be it service or product provider, would be to make a video once a month… you can do twice, but just make sure when you start you remain consistent. When you do the video, talk to your audience, tell them what’s gone on in the past month, what you are excited about, good business news, whatever it is just remain genuine.

Adults are just taller children- we enjoy stories as much now as we did then.

Andrew Jones
CEO & Founder
New Media Fluent