Scheduled posting on Facebook

A lot of my clients are building Facebook pages, and that is really a need these days. Social media integration is something that all businesses need to consider if they are wanting to increase trust and presence on and offline. So that is me basically saying if you haven’t started a Facebook page, and a Google + page then you better get on it!

So one of the features that has been frustrating for some, is the lack of being able to schedule posts onto a Facebook page, and not have to stress about it.  This feature is why Hootsuite has been so successful, and other programs like it.  If you haven’t heard of this tool before let me give you a quick rundown.

Hootsuite is a tool that allows you to connect all of your social media accounts into one place.  You can then schedule out various posts and status updates within their system and these updates will then be posted automatically for you.  You can also post images and video which makes your posts more engaging and interesting.  Cool eh? One other nice thing is if you are a single entity their basic account is free! So head over to their site and check them out if you are interested.

Now, one thing though that is interesting is that in the last few weeks Facebook has rolled out this feature within your page itself! Which can be very handy if you are in a rush, or are not wanting to mess with some other program like Hootsuite that you just don’t have time for.  So now, what is great is how you can post updates weeks in advance, or in the past, to keep your fans updated on what kinds of things are going on in your company, etc.

It’s fairly simple to use as you can see in this picture:

Simple eh? I know! It’s great! and gets me excited! As always let me know if you have questions or thoughts. They are always appreciated!

Google Maps is now Google + Local

So what happened? Why would my Google Places/Maps not be showing up? What exactly is going on here?

Well Google has gone and done it again. They have started the process of migrating the Google Maps/Places over to Google + Local profile pages. This is a really exciting change and something that has been speculated within the Local SEO industry for the past year or so since Google + was first introduced. It to me is really interesting and at first I was a little scared to see this happen, but it is exciting to see that this is going to start getting more people to use Google +, and be more engaged in local businesses that they associate with. In a small way it is Google’s attempt to force you to use their social network, but in all reality though, it is a great platform where your property can be discussed and will increase your reach within Google’s network. Here is the official post that is from the Google Blog: “Finding the best places to go is an essential part of our lives, as are the people and resources that help us make those decisions. In fact, the opinions of friends, family or other trusted sources are often the first we seek when looking for the perfect restaurant for date night or the cafe that makes the best latte ever. Today, we’re rolling out Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+. Google+ Local helps people like my husband turn a craving—“Wow, I need brunch”—into an afternoon outing: “Perfect, there’s a dim sum place with great reviews just two blocks from here. Let’s go.” It’s integrated into Search, Maps and mobile and available as a new tab in Google+—creating one simple experience across Google.

Local information integrated across Google From the new “Local” tab on the left-hand side of Google+, you can search for specific places or browse for ones that fit your mood. If you click on a restaurant, or a museum (or whatever), you’ll be taken to a local Google+ page that includes photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people you know, and other useful information like address and opening hours. Google+ Local is also integrated across other products you already use every day. If you’re looking for a place on Search or Maps, you get the same great local information there too. You can also take it on the go with Google Maps for mobile on your Android device, and soon on iOS devices……..”

The blog post continues by describing how Zagat’s (which was purchased by Google last fall) rating system will be implemented for all properties. This is the breakdown of the rating scale:

Each individual user rating will be a 0 to 3 scale

3 Excellent

2 Very Good

1 Good

0 Poor to Fair

Google will then take these ratings and times them by 10 to get an average score

26-30 Extraordinary to Perfection

21-25 Very Good to Excellent

16-20 Good to Very Good

10-15 Fair to Good

0-9 Poor to Fair.

Then you and you’re friends reviews will actually be implemented into your search results, as you can see here in this video:

So this is what business owners should expect as far as ratings go when they are looking at their Google + Local pages.  Also customers can post their reviews on these pages to go along with their rating. Once that has been in place,  you as the owner can post your thoughts and respond to those reviews; if they are negative or feel that there is a need to have them addressed. In the end Google expects things to end up like this:

It is a very exciting change and something that businesses needs to get on top of. Take a look at your local listing and make sure you have it connected to your Google + page. If you don’t have one, please build one! I would be happy to get this taken care of for you. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this new update in the comments below.

PS, this is a little more in-depth compared to the post I originally wrote on Property Solution’s Blog which can be found here

Understanding How Google Search Works

What are the secrets of Google? How does one game the search engines in order to get your website up on the top of your search results? So say if I wanted to be on the top of the Google for SEO Guru Utah? What would I have to do to beat out everyone else? Well there are tactics that you can use that will give me a short term result, but in the long run is not going to benefit me. There are a lot of people that will try and get to to practice the “Black Hat” methods of altering search results, and it is not going to be of great help to you. I promise that in the long run you will regret following any of those practices. What you need to do is follow the tried and true methods that all SEO marketers practice. Quality content and links. It is how it always has been and it is going to be the greatest benefit for you.

Now one thing that a lot of people who have want to get a start in doing SEO will want to understand exactly how a search engine works. Not just for the education, but also for the understanding of what their mission is and what it is that they want to accomplish for their visitors. Matt Cutts is at it again with another great video that is very good at explaining what happens in a very short amount of time. It to me is really interesting, and I hope that you find it as engaging as I did when I first watched it.

So I hope that made sense. There may have been some things that he talks about that might be a little over your head, and if so please post in the comments anything that you would like a better understanding of. I love teaching about SEO so if there is anything I can help clarify then I would be happy to give you some more information. Post your comment here or write me an email.

Keyword Rankings, and Choosing Your Keywords

Here is another video that I did for work talking about choosing your keywords.  The tool that I am using to show different amounts of traffic is the Adwords Keyword Tool which can be found here

It is what the industry uses when wanting to do keyword research and finding what people are searching for. Keep in mind though that the numbers that you see as the amount of searches is not going to be 100% accurate, but will help give you a good idea of what the range is in searches.  So here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxO5yyama5A

Now, also keep in mind that there are a few different types of keywords that Google uses.  There are Broad, Exact, and Phrase.  The default you get for normal search results is going to be Broad.  This means that they keyword is going to be within the context of a search, so “apartments in Salt Lake City” is a broad search term where the keywords are close to each other. An Exact is “apartments Salt Lake City” so it is exactly how it’s typed. Then Phrase is “apartments that are within Salt Lake City area” so they keywords are withing the phrase of the search.  Most of the time I like to search for the Exact match so that I can get a good idea of what that specific keyword term is like. Others may have a different preference.

Also where I am showing the “competition” section, that is the competition that you are seeing for the Adwords.  That isn’t always going to give you a good indication of how competitive that keyword is in the Organic search results, but can be worth considering as well.  A good way of finding how competitive a term is is to look at the sites that are within that Organic search result. Is there a Wikipedia page, or some other more authoritative site? That can tell you it might be harder to rank, but is not impossible.  If you can use a tool to see how many links or leading towards a site, such as “SEO Quake,” then you can get a better feel of what amount of links you need to get leading to your site.

Of course if you have any questions about anything that I’m talking about please let me know. I’d be happy to answer any questions that you have and help you know what would be best for your website!

Google + Gets a Facelift

As of Novemberish of last year, there has been a new social network out on the internet called Google +.  This is kind of a new venture for Google, but not really that new for them. Buzz was one of their first attempts at creating a sort of social network where people could write and talk about things that they were interested in, but it didn’t really seem to catch on that well.  Working to build a connection with Facebook was a failed effort, and then loosing their information from Twitter was kind of a let down as well.

So Larry Page took the reigns and started to see that a lot of the trends and changes of the internet were happening in the social media arena.  With almost 1 Billion people on Facebook you can kind of get the idea that it has made a huge impact.  But with Facebook now being in bed with Bing there was the problem that they weren’t going to be able to get all of that data, likes, and links that people were sharing with each other. Larry’s solution was for Google to create their own social network. I mean when you have the backing of one of the biggest companies in the world, it seems like a very possible thing to accomplish. Along with the fact that most everyone that uses the internet has a gmail account, or watched a video on youtube, or if you are a webmaster have a connection to Google Analytics.

So the push began, it was a little small at first, and it was a very exclusive club for you to get onto Google +, and businesses didn’t even have a presence at the beginning.  Slowly as time went on though more and more people started to sign up.  Now as far as we know there are over 100 million people that have an account. Do we know how much they are using it? No, and to be honest I haven’t really touched my Google + profile as much as I use Facebook.  Things may change though from the recent changes they have made.

In this video you can see some of the changes that they have made to the layout:

Google has pushed to revamp their design and layout. Make it more modern and simple. And that is where a lot of things are moving towards. I mean look at how simple it is to post a picture on Pinterest. Basically it’s just a few clicks and you are done.

With this new simpler approach I might start using my Google + more, branching out my network and getting more people following what I’m writing here. Good for SEO and just nice to have more of a presence.