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I Plus-one’d That Story, The New Verb

I’m predicting ‘plus one’ will become 2011’s new noun-to-verb crossover.  A few years ago, it was ‘I googled it’. Today, it’s +1 –as a verb. Pretty soon you’ll be hearing, “I read that and ‘plus one’d’ it.”

What is the new Google +1?

It is sort of like the Facebook ‘Like’ button, but with a few little Googly quirks. Instead of ‘Liking’ a page while you are browsing on that page, Google +1 allows you to tag it right from your browser window. It’s the old location, location, location again. Google seems to have just one-upped Facebook.Google Plus SocialEnergizer.com

Here is what a browser window looks like after you’ve joined Google+. It shows an enticing little ‘+1’ icon.

What will this mean? Will it be better?

Is your Google Plus One following you?

Besides being Google Plus’ new best friend, +1 is Google’s next step in perfecting their search algorithms. They’ve switched it up by having users direct the search engine in an interactive way. When a person is searching on a given set of search terms and chooses, say, the fifth page link instead of one on the first page, Google will ‘learn’ that someone thinks that the link on that page is more relevant. The long-term result will be that the Google search engine gets ever smarter, becoming more attuned to the person searching, and learning each individual’s nuances.

Here is a short video overview:

Plus one – your new business assistant

+1 is a cross between a bookmarking service and a search engine tuned to everything you’ve ever looked at –or ‘plus one’d’. Social media networking and closer interactions will come into play, as users find sites and information that their friends recommend. As +1 subtly permeates into everything you do and integrates with all your tools, plus one will become much more important than the “Like” button possibly ever could.

As Google fine-tunes their search engines to interconnect much like an assistant to the humanmind, you can see where they are going with that. Google has begun to dub experts in certain areas as having better search leverage or what is known as online klout. For example, a professional skater’s +1 would rank higher than a person that merely watches the sport.

And finally, Google, of course, is likely to favor Google. What does that mean? It’s an attempt by Google of essentially bringing SEO in-house. Instead of letting webmasters and SEO professionals stuff their sites with Google-friendly terms Google will now have a closer, more direct relationship with each searcher. This may effectively cut SEO professionals out and become far less important to rankings. It’s been reported, that +1 ranked sites are receiving remarkably better SEO rankings. This, in turn, has caused a stir of adaptation in the online business world.

Has this article been helpful? Let me know in the comment section below, or better yet. Plus one my post below!

Just can’t get enough? Here are a few more links:

Google Plus One – How will it impact SEO? – Affilorama discusses some of the reasons SEO strategies are changing.

How To Get A Google+ Vanity Url – Google+ profiles come with lengthy, numeric urls. Using this tool makes it possible to create a shortcut.

50 Random Thoughts On Google+ — Chris Brogan writes up 50 random thoughts on the new social platform.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

The World Media Awards: Why YOU Must Enroll

World Media Awards Logo

I was recently asked by Murray Newlands to support the World Media Awards coming up February 25, 2012 in San Francisco. I am often quite a skeptic and I try to look things over carefully (maybe it’s my german heritage upbringing and living in conservative Appleton, WI. And getting spam-scammed online recently). So I took a good look at the whole project and the people involved. All I can say is, the more I look things over on this subject the more excited I get. This is going to be BIG!

Here’s what Murray had to say about the upcoming Media Awards:

There are lots of remarkable bloggers and publishers doing outstanding work, and those who stand out deserve to have their hard work recognized, associate with each other, and see their readerships grow. That’s why the World Media Awards exist- to recognize and reward great contributions to media from bloggers and publishers.   In my own career, I’ve learned and benefited so much from others that I wanted to help establish some way to give back to an industry I love and show appreciation to the up-and-coming leaders. The World Media Awards will culminate in a one day event in San Francisco that will celebrate the best in blogging, forums, publishing and media from around the world.

So if you are a first class blogger, why should you enter?

1. Get Recognized- You Deserve ItWorld's Best Tile

You put a lot of effort into making your blog amazing. You know it and your readers know it. The World Media Awards is a way for you to get authoritative credit from other bloggers and industry experts. That recognition will help you develop your readership, make new collaborative connections, and hopefully have a few warm fuzzy moments that make all the late nights even more rewarding.

2. Meet Other Bloggers Who Care

Blogging, forums and most other online media is about conversation and interaction, but sometimes it’s easy to end up pecking away behind a monitor in your office or home all alone. Meeting other bloggers and publishers keeps the fire lit and the conversation going. When you enter the World Media Awards, you’ll be listed alongside other bloggers and publishers who put the same level of pleasure, attention and effort into making their blog top notch.

3. Expose Yourself to New Partners

If your blog or forum is part of your business, being part of the World Media Awards will increase your exposure by putting your name in front of countless visitors to our site and the award ceremony. That means you can find out who else is doing very good work, strut your own stuff, and expand your network of contacts and collaborators.

4. Make Yourself Irresistible to Clients

What helps your chances at winning that next pitch more than extending your network? Telling that network that you are the winner of a World Media Award. Winning an award shines a light on your success, and it serves as an example of the commitment, engagement and exacting standards you apply to your work.

5. Be Part of the Beginning of Something Big

Because 2012 is the first year for these awards, you have the one-time chance to be the inaugural winner and set the standard for the World Media Awards in your category. Getting in on the ground floor of these awards will open doors for you as a blogger and a publisher.   The bottom line is, the World Media Awards will shine a spotlight on the year’s most successful bloggers and publishers, and on the businesses that serve and interact with them.

Now is your chance to be one of them.

Twitter hashtag #wmads

The sponsors include GrowmapPace LattinVigLink and Trancos. World Media Award judges include Steve Hall, Sarah Austin, Chang Kim, Julie Wohlberg, Pierre Zarokian, Ivka Adam, Cheryl Contee, Krystyl Baldwin, Adrian Harris, Jeremy Wright, Rob Bloggeries, Dave Duarte, Tanya Alvarez, Dana Oshiro, Tom Foremski, and Judith Lewis.

Media partners include Adrants, Bloggeries, MediaVision, The Affiliate Marketing Awards, Read Write Web, My Blog Guest, Web Traffic Control and FeedBlitz. Murray Newlands is author of How to Make a Blog Book and Online Marketing; a User Guide. He is also founder of the Affiliate Marketing Awards. Born in the UK, he now spends his time in San Francisco and New York. Murray works for Audience Mindshare and consults for Trancos Ins as well as being an advisor for VigLink. Actually he is working on his new book: The Email Marketing Book.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

If Facebook Existed… A Mashup

Family and friends send some of the best material for the Saturday Morning’s Post to me. My niece, Heidi, in an email, initially sent this one. That’s how social media works, right? People you know, talking about things you find interesting –and then sharing it. I also find it interesting how many ways great Internet content is disseminated email, Facebook, You Tube. It’s countless!

To get started on this post, I wanted to make sure I was crediting the right source; I googled it. Here is what I found.

Google Search for If Facebook Existed years ago

After a bit of research, I discovered that the original author isn’t even listed in this search –wow. The original author of the first three works of creative-writing art is Coolmaterial.com, check out their website (after you read this post). And the WWII author appears to be Matthew Leeb of Collegehumor.com. And happily, the blogger with the best SEO on this topic is Vinnie V who credits his sources carefully.

BUT I also found that this very popular initial posting caused a wave of similar posts. Some are better than others, but here I have done a mashup of sorts and put all of the posts that I could find together. I think you could go on for days with similar “what if they said this back in the day” ideas. Could it possibly be a future creative-oriented game? Fun.

The Original

If Facebook existed yeara ago

Source: CoolMaterial.com

Then there was Part Two.

Cool Material -if facebook existed years ago -part 2

Source: CoolMaterial.com

Then, what if God were on Facebook?

What if God were on Facebook?

Source: CoolMaterial.com

What if these Countries were on Facebook during WWII?

OMG- WWII on Facebook Source: CollegeHumor.com

And finally, there is even a Facebook Page dedicated to this line of thought. Check it out on Facebook, of course. As you can see, once again, the wealth of the web runs deep. What did we ever do without it?

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!

Part Four – How do I know I’m not ‘spamming’? I’m just trying to promote my blog

Hopefully last week’s post didn’t make you stay awake at night wondering if you, too, were a spammer. When you leave comments on someone else’s blog how do you know it’s not spam? You can rest easy if you are leaving thoughtful comments on blogs that match or at least have something to do with your blog’s topic. In fact, commenting thoughtfully on someone else’s blog is a great way to get people to visit your own site and create backlinks. If you are cutting and pasting from one blog to another then you just may be.

White hat versus Black hat SEOwhite hat vs blck hat seo

In broad terms, SEO techniques are classified as white hat vs black hat. Just like in the Lone Ranger, if you want to be considered one of the ‘good guys or gals’ you want to be in the ‘white hat’ category. White hat SEO tends to look long-term and builds sites that are based on good design and interactivity. Black hat marketers use tactics that take whatever means to build rankings and often involve deception. One method uses hidden text where the text and background blend together. Another uses a practice called cloaking, which provides a different page response depending on if the page requested is by human or search engine. Search engines may remove black hats from their databases or reduce their online rankings.

And for God’s Sake, Don’t ‘Content Spam’ Either

Bloggers should also be cognitive of Content Spam. We all get ‘good’ at knowing what the search engines want and we want to make it easy for them to get it. If you do this job too well, you run the risk of being tagged a content spammer. Here some things to look out for:

Keyword spamming

This is using calculated placement of keywords within a page to raise the keyword count, variety and density of the page. This may include keywords that are directed more to the demographic, than what belong in the article. For example: a promoter wants to attract moms with children under 5. He or she places hidden text that may be similar to a popular women’s site hoping that the site will get picked up by search engines and will receive visits from these moms. In reality, the site might be for a matchmaking site or something similarly unrelated.

Meta-tag stuffing

This involves repeating keywords in the Meta tags and using keywords that are unrelated to the site’s content.

Hidden Text

The explanation was covered above in Black Hat SEO tactics.

Scraper Sites

Scraper sites use various programs to glean content that scores high in the search engine results pages. By taking a sampling of info from many sites, and recombining them new content is created. Some of these sites end up with higher rankings than the original writer of the information.

Article Spinning

Article spinning uses existing articles, usually taken from other sites, and rewrites the content. It is usually done by automated means or by hired writers.

Do not confuse article spinning with recycling your content. Using information from blogs you have already written and changing them up can be a good thing. It’s not what you do but how you do it. When using old content be sure to add some life and vitality to it. Can you pull out some questions for a poll? Can you do a video version? Doing things like that separates it from the dangers of article spinning.

Sometimes the lines are less than clear as to what the acceptable standards are. And when they are clear the lines themselves tend to keep changing. As with all things social media, use common sense, ask if you don’t know, and admit that you may be doing it all wrong.

Thank you for visiting my site and if you’ve read all four articles in our four-part series or if you’ve only read this one, I’d love to hear from you. Please don’t be afraid that because I watch closely for spam, I’ll think you are spamming me. Comments are what we bloggers live for! But maybe just add ‘not spam’ in your comment this time, then I’ll know for sure. I dare you.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

Part Three – Sorting Out Spam Comments in your Blog

What a thrill it is to get people commenting on your blog. That’s how it works, right? People from all over the world will discover your writing talents, appreciate your knowledge on a certain subject and leave comments. That is what all of us engaging in the social media world have all been promised, right? Well, good comments will happen, but I hate to tell you that here, too, spammers are lurking in the background.

Usually these spammers are trying to get into your site by adding links where you may not even realize it. This is called link spam and they are doing this to give their websites higher rankings by adding lots of links. These link spammers use various methods, which include link-building software, link farms (aka mutual admiration societies), hidden links and spam blogs.

So how do you recognize valid comments from a spam comment?

Many times you can recognize link spam by the nonsensical, irrelevant text and by the large quantity of links that all point to a single site. Link spam causes various problems from wasting your time in reviewing them, to clogging search engines, and in scraping content from other’s sites making real new content difficult to locate.

Sometimes it’s not easy to distinguish between spam comments and valid ones. They try to convince you with their high praise that you are literally the ‘cat’s pajaams’ (I had one that said exactly that).

Here are five things to look for and ways to clean up your comment list quickly:

1- First, delete the obvious ones, like the ones shown below entirely. Don’t let them get any link juice from your site.

Obvious Spam

Obvious spam message in blog

2- Do you know the commenter or business name behind the comment?

3- Is there content that appears original? Meaning that it responds to information that you specifically provided in your post or addresses you by name.

4- Multiple comments sent from the same address or domain.

Repeat Spam

5- Reply to their comment with a thank you and a question. Do you get an answer? If not , it’s probably a spammer.

Adjust how your blog or website is set up

There are some simple things you can do to deter link spamming in the setup of your website like: adding validation software like CAPTCHA, making comment links “no follow”, not allowing multiple consecutive submissions, and blocking certain keywords (Levitra, etc).

Use an anit-spam software like Akismet or Discus. This software helps by showing multiple email addresses, allows you to track back to the IP address easily and allows you to tag comments for spam, and approve or disapprove comments. I also like it because I can reply to a commenter without using my email address and putting that at risk.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

Part Two – Spam on Social Networks

Recently I got scam-spammed on Facebook by reposting an entry on Amy Winehouse’s death stating that it was getting more media attention than several soldiers who were killed in action. I should know better, right? Maybe you saw it, too? Oops. Sorry! How did I find out? Shortly after I posted, I received an email from a friend that said it was an inaccurate message. The exact same message had circulated about a year earlier using Lindsay Lohan’s name. That got me mad enough to write this blog. People need to know how insidious spam has become.
'Folding the flag.' photo (c) 2008, Sam Craig - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Chuck Anastasia has done a nice job researching and straightening out the facts. What I learned from this incident was that in the future before I repost anything, especially posts honoring our fallen soldiers, I will check them out first. The great disrespect these soldiers’ families have experienced and the great pain caused to them is horrible.

Increasingly, social networks are experiencing viral marketing tactics that use embedded links that cause great harm to ever larger groups of people. They lure people to click on these links in many deceptive ways, some will say a person is missing and to click on the missing persons flyer, some say your system has a worm virus called “insert name of horrible sounding virus here”, some use a celebrity breaking news item, some use the lure of checking out ‘who’s checked your profile on Facebook’, etc. Similar links can be embedded in quizzes, games and apps. After the individual clicks on one of these embedded links a variety of things can happen. Some will take control of your address book and send malicious messages to your friends and some will download viruses, spyware or Trojan horses right onto your computer.

Plus, there are other tricks that these spammers employ. If you are asked to “Sign Back into Facebook” beware! This is a sign that they are phishing for your password. Legitimate sites, using Facebook Connect, will open a new window with the URL starting with ‘facebook.com’. Do not type in your password using any other domain name. If you are asked to connect to an app and you are unsure of it, simply ‘deny it’ or ‘leave App’.

Where should you check first?

1- My first spam, scam, fraud and urban legend point-of-reference is Snopes.com. They have a treasure trove of information categorized on most everything. If the story is true, they say so. Although they didn’t have the Amy Winehouse on Facebook story yet, I still use them often.

2- I plan to continue checking Coolsparks, Chuck Anastasia’s blog. The comments from the Lindsay Lohan blog, posted over a year ago continue to come in.

3- About.com does a nice piece called Urban Legends.

Next week, for part three of this four-part series, I’ll talk about “Sorting Out Spam Comments in your Blog”. If you missed last week on recognizing spam, click here. Hope to see you then. Thank you for visiting.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

Spam, Not The Ham. How Do You Recognize It?

Do you always know if and when you’re being spammed? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell. It has become so prevalent in our daily lives that I am writing a 4-part series, starting this week on spam, what it is, how do you recognize it and what are the best ways to manage it.

First, what exactly is spam?
'Spam' photo (c) 2008, Andy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

We experience spam everyday, but what is it? According to Wikipedia, Spam is the use of any electronic messaging system that sends bulk messages indiscriminately. In 2011, the estimated figure for spam messages is around seven trillion. Fraud and lost productivity are the costs of this illegal activity and are largely borne by the public as a whole.

Although originally referred to as the sending of unwanted emails, the use of the term has now broadened to include other media like: instant messaging, forums, search engines, blogs, wikis, mobile phones, and social networking sites. Spam messaging ranges from openly blatant messages that ask you to send money to a foreign country for some reason or another, to phony ads for Viagra, to cunningly difficult to detect messages that contain embedded links.

Most of us are used to seeing spam emails and can easily recognize them because the people that sent them are either unknown to us or the messages sent are completely out of character for these people. As we enter the larger world of social networking, forums and blogging the people we interact with, by design, are not necessarily known to us. Spotting spammers is becoming more difficult. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for detecting spam.

In the next three weeks, I’ll break down how spam can change, depending on the venue, and what you can do about it. There is a lot to cover on this topic, and as things keep changing, it becomes more important everyday to keep up to date with what is going on in the world of spam.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

Make People See Your ‘It’, A 5-Step Approach

Here’s a short story on innovation from Seth Godin that I’d like to share. It brings home what we do and why it matters.

The sad, true tale of Otto Rohwedder'Wonder Bread' photo (c) 2005, Anthony Easton - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Otto Rohwedder invented sliced bread. He focused, like most inventers did, on the patent part and the making part.

The thing about the invention of sliced bread is this- for the first 15 years after sliced bread was available no one bought it, no one knew about it. It was a complete and total failure.

And the reason is that until Wonder came along and figured out how to spread the idea of sliced bread, no one wanted it.

They found that the idea of sliced bread like the success of almost everything is not always about what the patent is like, or what the factory is like, it’s about can you get your idea to spread, or not.

Ideas that spread, win.
(story as told by Seth Godin, SethGodin.com/sg)

 

I love this story and most things from Seth Godin. From a brand and social media perspective, he’s dead on. I think most people in medium to large-sized companies understand this story and how it relates to what they do quite easily. Medium-large-sized businesses usually employ agencies that help them ‘think out of the box’ and ‘stand out in the crowd’. They spend a lot of time and energy doing exactly that. At least that was my experience working with Cargill and Kimberly Clark. If you run a small business, I think it’s more difficult to understand where this fits in and how to act upon this little piece of wisdom.

Small businesses simply do not have the budgets to employ a New York or even an Appleton, WI ‘agency’. So what do you do?

1- Start by learning to understand your business from the ‘outside’.

How do your clients view your business? Take your blinders off. How do they see you in comparison to your competition?

2- How do you want them to see you?

Is there anything as special as ‘sliced bread’ about you or your business? What’s your niche?

3- Are you capitalizing on any special niche you have?

Pull together a small group of trusted clients, friends and family. People who care enough to be candid with you and care enough to get their heads around what you’re trying to do. Brainstorm on ways to stand out. Be remarkable. Be bold!

4- Put a plan into action.

Decide which idea or ideas you want to try out. Remember, the best ideas are not necessarily the most expensive. Don’t worry if your first attempts are not perfect. Wonder Bread probably didn’t get it right the first time either.

5- Evaluate.

Keep an eye on who and how many people are involved with your idea. Is it spreading? No? Then change it up. Do something different. Yes, it is spreading? Change it up again. Improve on what you’re doing based on feedback. Your audience expects and deserves it.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

Cleaning before the Holidays? Think freecycle.org

I was doing some of my pre-Thanksgiving cleaning this weekend and realized that I routinely use what may be one of the most powerful, but underrated examples of Social Networking. It’s freecycle (www.freecycle.org), a social networking site that allows people to post their unwanted items and pick up needed things –all for free! The posting is free and the stuff is also free. It was established to keep stuff out of landfills.

Social networking and Inbound Marketing

Social networking, the backbone of Inbound Marketing, creates groups of like-minded people, now commonly called online communities, tribes and movements. Just looking at the effectiveness of freecycle.org illustrates how successful it can be.

Freecycle does more than just keeping stuff out of landfills. One of its strongest benefits may be an unknown and unplanned one: critical giving for those less wealthy, dare I say, poor. My husband and I found giving on freecycle.org is, well, priceless.

Why freecycle is priceless

A while back, we decided to buy two new mattresses. The old ones had to go and we posted them on freecycle.org.  A young couple called to pick up our son’s old mattress. When they arrived the young wife was verging on tears. She explained that their washer had broken on Monday, Tuesday the refrigerator broke, and that very morning, Thursday, her son had woken up and said “Mommy, my bed is biting me”. A spring had broken through the top and was literally sticking him.  After they left, my husband and I felt a warm feeling that we had not experienced in years.

The giving of the second mattress produced similar results. We posted it online and a lady called us saying that she would like to pick up the mattress for a friend. When she arrived, she told us that her friend was actually a young pregnant woman with a six-year old son. She was so happy to get the bed for them because they had been sleeping on the floor! The young mother was 6 months pregnant and the mattress was coming to her at a perfect time.

We learned that the reason mattresses are in such high demand is that places like St. Joes and Goodwill cannot take them due to health laws. Seems someone overlooked something with this law.

Anyway, we have found “just the right way” to get rid all of our unwanted “things” is on freecycle.org, a social networking site. They will allow pretty much anything to be given away -not just mattresses. Check freecycle.org out and make someone happy.