As you know, the digital marketing world is a big, fast-moving place. It seems that every channel evolves every day. So one of the biggest parts of any digital marketer’s job is to keep up with headlines in their area.
At North Studio, a number of people work on SEO, but it is mostly my specialized area of knowledge, so it’s my job to keep up with trends, best practices and updates by Google.
Recently, Google has released major updates to their antispam algorithms. However, the biggest headline was the update to the Penguin algorithm.
You know that saying, "life imitates art"? Don't believe it? Walk into the average business office at 9am on a Monday morning. That's not an episode of The Walking Dead in there; it's just your coworkers.
So before running for the zombie preparedness kit, try running to the nearest Starbucks instead. That being said, just because we're not expecting World War Z any time soon doesn't mean we can't apply practical lessons we have learned from watching our favourite scary movies to our daily lives.
The meeting: the most dreaded work activity that generally wastes everybody’s time and can leave us more confused than clear on what has to be done.
Why not rethink the way you lead your meetings so that everyone comes out of it with the information they need, and much faster than they thought?
Scroll through our slideshare below to learn how.
Share your other effective meetings tips with our readers below!
One of the challenges of B2B is finding the right type of content that will interest your audience and get them to consider you as a potential provider of products or services. It’s easy to see content from a B2C perspective: consumers like to get helpful information and get to trust a brand before making a purchase. But why should it be any different for B2B? After all, they are still buyers with needs, challenges and objections; they’re just buying for a company rather than for themselves.
With this in mind, it’s not difficult to start thinking up some content types that would work well with B2B buyers. They are a bit different from B2C, but they can still be effectively reached through inbound marketing. (more…)
The leading edge of the Millennial generation, born in 1980, is turning 34 this year. But don’t be fooled by their age; Millennials are actually very different from their 35+ counterparts, especially when it comes to media consumption and technology.
Experian’s Millennials come of age report highlights the major demographic, psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural trends of this generation. Here are 5 facts from this report that every marketer should know if he or she wants to succeed at reaching them. (more…)
It’s Friday again! Yay! And Canada Day is coming up next week, so I imagine that many of you have an extra-long weekend ahead.
But an extra-long weekend is no reason to slack on our reading. As usual, I found 5 interesting pieces this week to keep you learning and investigating for just a bit more before you enjoy the official beginning of summertime. (more…)
On this week’s reading list: Email marketing, email marketing and more email marketing.
This week was busy with dad stuff, but lots of other things happened on the digital marketing blogosphere. Let’s have a look at this week’s reading list.
First, Facebook will let you review your marketing file and edit it. You know when you click “I don’t want to see this ad”? You’ll now be able to see what Facebook does with this information. They’ll also let you choose what kinds of ads you want to see. Are you going to use this new function or do you just glaze over any and all ads? (more…)
Good Friday everyone! I hope you had a great week and that a nice weekend is awaiting you. Here in Victoria, the weather has definitely been summery.
To finish your week on a reflective note (remember that article from last week about taking time to stop and reflect?) or in learning mode, here are my 5 favourite articles I read this week. (more…)
Hello marketers, business owners and everyone reading us! It’s been a great week here at Stikky Media, with lots of moving and shaking. We’re at the edge of an amazing leap forward (I’ll get back to you on that when I can officially announce it) and I think it’s going to be Stikky’s best year ever. (more…)
We live in a pretty awesome place. There is the ocean a stone’s throw away, a beach at every corner, the mildest weather in Canada, mountains all around us, the best hiking trails in the world, some of the best food on the West Coast, and many, many other perks. But one thing that only locals know is Victoria’s highly engaged social media crowd.
Our dinner choices are fueled from blogs and UrbanSpoon reviews; our events are plastered all over Facebook and Twitter and are always full; our people use Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and direct messages on Twitter to meet each other for coffee or dinner. Hey, we’ve been named the Canadian Capital of Selfies for a reason! (more…)
There are certain personality types that characterize a great number of online marketers. It’s important to clarify that ‘online marketing’ is a category of work that involves an extremely wide range of skills. There are the esoteric analytical stats gazers, the flamboyant social managers and the idiosyncratic content maestros. (more…)
It’s been a short 4-day week here in Canada, but we still have some interesting content for you to read over the weekend.
First, we have this ebook from Contently about content marketing measurement. The most interesting insight? 90% of content marketers are not sure if they are measuring their efforts effectively. A short but enlightening read. (more…)
It’s always an interesting time in the digital marketing and SEO industries when Google rolls out algorithm updates. Professionals get all abuzz on social media and blogs, everyone begins to search for information on the update, and then we check our own metrics and our client metrics. Sometimes Google tells us when they are rolling out these updates, but more often we are kept in the dark.
This week, Google has confirmed that they have rolled out two webspam algorithm updates: Pay Day 2.0, and Panda 4.0.
"Do you know what today is [spammy websites]? Payday.” Okay, that might not be the thought behind the naming of the algorithm update (I’ll explain the reason below), but it actually works. Google is essentially giving a little payback to spammy areas of the web.
Search Engine Land was among the first to post an update confirming that Google had indeed rolled out an update to their Pay Day 2.0 algorithm update. They stated a Google spokesperson told them:
Over the weekend we began rolling out a new algorithmic update. The update was neither Panda nor Penguin — it was the next generation of an algorithm that originally rolled out last summer for very spammy queries.
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team confirmed on Twitter:
The first Payday Loan update started to roll out around June 11th 2013. Both Pay Day updates target niche spammy areas of the web. Google specifically mentioned that the keywords around payday loans and porn-related keywords would be targeted. It should only affect a small percentage of websites, but we will keep our eyes peeled for more affected keywords.
The Panda algorithm update first rolled out in February 2011. Since then, there have been dozens of updates to it. This algorithm targets on-page issues such as thin content, content farms, and other content quality metrics. More than ever, Google emphasizes clear, relevant and original content written by experts; this is the time to rethink your approach to content production to ensure that you follow Google's guidelines and produce the type of content that attracts good rankings.
Some previous updates have been on 10-day roll outs, so we'll keep an eye for any changes in our metrics and our clients'.
Are you curious about more algorithm updates? Moz has a good record of Googles Algorithm change history.
Since its meteoric rise to popularity in 2011, Pinterest has garnered a lot of attention from marketers and social media professionals. We know that visual marketing is a very effective way to reach your target market–after all, “a picture is worth a thousand words” isn’t a cliché for no reason. Pinterest, with its focus on beautiful visuals, easy sharing and an intuitive user interface, has everything marketers need to get their products known and shared. (more…)
Welcome to volume #1 of the Friday Reading list. Every week, you’ll find a list of curated content picked from the best blogs and webzines. We’ll go over the range of topics we work in here at Stikky Media: social media, content, SEO and more. Of course, you can always email me and let me know what you’d like to read about! (more…)
During my lunchtime walk today, I was listening to a marketing/entrepreneur podcast that I really like. As a writer and content creator, I like to know how people are able to build careers and make businesses based on content and expertise. In the episode I listened to today, one of the hosts answered a listener question about the value of SEO and if it was worth paying a firm or a specialist to do it.
Of course, as I work in SEO on a daily basis, I can't say I was particularly happy with his answer that no, SEO wasn't that useful and that many SEO specialists tend to have, well, shady practices. His argument: good content speaks for itself, and over-the-top optimization, especially in shady link building (which Stikky Media doesn't do, thank God), can actually hurt your efforts on the web. He said to just use a keyword in the title if it fits, but otherwise focus on creating good content.
Evaluating SEO's true role in digital marketing
Many clients come to us asking for SEO because they hear that it's the most effective way to rank well on Google. But few understand SEO in the larger contex of the web: this incredibly noisy, ever-expanding world of information that needs to be described, tagged and "keyworded" to help people find the information they're looking for.
My personal experience as an SEO writer and content producer has taught me one thing: that the power of SEO tends to be overestimated. It doesn't matter how good your SEO is: if your content is boring or badly written or wrong, people will not stay on your website. SEO just gives Google more information about your content, but it doesn't magically make your content better. Actually, too much SEO can make your content worse. And, worst of all: with every Google algorithm update, all your SEO work needs to be re-evaluated and re-done. It's not a very strong foundation to build success on the web.
Don't get me wrong–SEO can be useful. A good SEO overhaul can boost up your rank in your chosen keywords. But SEO alone cannot correct uninteresting or uniniformative content, nor can it replace a complete and comprehensive digital strategy. And too much SEO is an alarm signal for Google: that maybe you're trying to game the system. And Google doesn't like it if your try to game its system.
The new digital strategies should be focused on content
I want to take us backwards for a minute. The internet is such an integral part of our lives now that we tend to forget what its role really is. The web is a repository of information. A big library without shelves. Sure, sellers and marketers of all ilks (good and not so good) have taken control of some parts of it–mostly the ad part. But it doesn't meant that the nature of the web has changed: it's still just an enormous virtual library with tons of books, articles, movies, audio clips and pictures. When I want food, I go to the grocery store. When I want information, I go on the web.
SEO isn't information. It's meta-information (or information about information). SEO is a way to tell Google what your content is about, but that's the extent of its usefulness. That's why you can't really have effective SEO without a strong content-based digital strategy. Because in the end, people are looking for content, not keywords.
So if you're thinking about getting SEO services to boost your ranks and get more leads, that's great! But you shouldn't separate SEO from content. After the early on-site optimization work, you still need to create useful, entertaining, interesting content. SEO doesn't relieve you of the hard, constant content hard work that needs to be done in order to be successful on the web.
So what can I do?
At this point, you're probably wondering what you can do if SEO isn't the virtual panacea you were expecting. Take heart: the solution isn't too complicated. The solution is in consistently excellent content. (I said simple, not easy!) SEO is part of that content work, but thinking that SEO is the be-all and end-all of digital marketing is a mistake–and a mistake that can be costly in the long run.
Do you have a holistic digital strategy that begins with content? How much do you consider SEO in your digital marketing efforts? Let's talk!
No, we’re not talking about a new wine-related social network (although that would be awesome), but rather a new video-based app now owned by Twitter called Vine. It’s all the rage these days, with celebrities like Tyra Banks and Emmy Rossum posting Vines on their Twitter feeds.
Here’s a quick Vine I made especially for this occasion:
1. What does it do?
Vine is super simple: you take a 6-second video that the app posts as a video loop on Twitter and on Vine feeds. The video is looped automatically.
2. How does it work?
You start by downloading the app on your iPhone. There’s a simple tutorial in the app to show you how to make a video–it works by the touch of your finger.
After making your video, you can share it with your social networks.
3. Where can I share the videos?
The Twitter integration makes it easy to share the videos directly with your followers on Twitter. The app also connects to Facebook so you care share it with your fans as well. If you embed your Twitter feed on your website, you’ll also be able to share your videos that way.
4. How can I use it?
Vine can be useful for your internet marketing in a variety of ways. It gives you an opportunity to be creative and show your business from a fun, creative angle. You can take a funny video of the staff or show how your product works.
6 seconds doesn’t seem like much, but if you watch other people’s videos, you’ll see that you can fit in a lot of content in these few seconds. The advantage: you can make an impact before your audience’s attention span fades. And the best videos? People will watch them over and over again.
Think of Vine as a video version of Twitter: conciseness and originality are key. As with any new social network, it’ll take a while to unlock its full potential, but Vine’s popularity is growing so quickly that it can’t be ignored for very long.
Want to know what the world is talking about right now? Looking for a juicy search term? Need to kill a few hours? Then check out these powerful social search engines:
A real-time social intelligence engine that analyzes activity across all the major social networks. Bottlenose’s fancy algorithm, called “StreamSense,” uses in-house natural-language processing, personalization and semantic techniques to figure out trending topics and trending content.
Their never ending sea of updates is called a “stream,” and gives users a comprehensive overview of top links (including newspaper articles), recent posts, trending topics, trending images and recent comments for any given search term. You can even check out trending people, which is great for connecting similarly-minded folks.
Bottlenose launched its public beta form in May 2012. Since then, it has fielded 3 acquisition offers (including one suspected offer from Twitter) and scored nearly $1 million in financing from ff Venture Capital and Prosper Capital.
A conversation search engine that lets you explore top links, tweets, photos, videos and “experts.” You can instantly see the number of mentions—by the minute, hour or day—for any term, phrase, username link or hashtag. Topsy also features a special influence algorithm that displays the most pertinent and popular social results, but the real gem is the social analytics tool that lets you visually compare up to 3 queries.
As a testament to their powerful social analytics, Topsy expects to index and measure approximately 250 billion items by the end of 2012, with over 16 trillion pre-computed metrics.
A simple, easy-to-use tool that measures over 100 social media properties directly, including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc. View top keywords, top users, top hashtags, sources, reach and even sentiment (positive, neutral, negative).
Social Mention is pretty basic, but it does dive into some deeper measurements:
Strength: The likelihood that your brand is being discussed in social media
Sentiment: The ratio of mentions that are generally positive to those that are generally negative
Passion: A measure of the likelihood that individuals talking about your brand will do so repeatedly
Reach: A measure of the range of influence
You’re probably aware of the court battles between Apple and Samsung, but do you really know what all the fuss is about? This nifty (and expertly drawn) video from OnlineMBA.com explains it all—in under 2 minutes.
When Google announced back in April (2012) their acquisition of PostRank also meant its ultimate demise, I started a board on Quora asking what alternatives to PostRank exist for determining the relevancy of an RSS feed.
Infographics have a profound impact on both traffic and social actions on websites and blogs around the Internet. No wonder this phenomenon has been continuously growing since back in late 2009 when it started to become popular!
Photoshop is one of the best photo editors around, but what if you don’t have it, or just want to crop a Facebook cover photo and get on with your life?
Enter: Free online photo editors. These no-download, no-subscription services let you do just about anything, from cropping and resizing to sophisticated retouching. Here are five of the best worth checking out:
Created by two former Picnik engineers, PicMonkey is hands-down the most user-friendly, visually-appealing online photo editor out there. It’s great for simple photo manipulation, but is also expansive enough to do more advanced enhancements. Not Photoshop-style advanced, but just advanced enough to keep things lean and quick.
The wonderful world of Pixlr features a basic photo editor as well as a more advanced editor with Photoshop-esque tools. One day you can crop and resize a photo, and the next you can create an image from scratch using the massive feature set.
iPiccy is a frills-free photo editor that makes it super easy to get in, make your changes, and get out. But the best thing about iPiccy is that it has an excellent collage maker with tons of advanced shapes—a rare find in the world of free online photo editors.
In case you’re wondering why Ribbet seems so familiar, it’s because it looks EXACTLY like Picnik. Ribbet isn’t affiliated with Picnik or Google in any way, but it’s built on the same platform as Picnik (Google released the open source software shortly before they closed Picnik) and retains many of the same features that you’ve come to know and love.
As its name suggests, BeFunky is all about adding pizazz to your photos. A free account gives you access to almost 150 fun digital effects, from Warhol-style pop art to Instagrammy retro filters. BeFunky also has a basic photo editor that lets you do essential tweaks, like cropping, resizing and adding lipstick to your dog.
Do you keep emails, files and text messages forever? Is your desktop littered with icons and shortcuts? Do you still have the first season of Lost?
The bad news: You may be a digital hoarder. The good news: You’re not alone.
Did you know that 90% of Americans who have a mobile device have it within three feet of them 24 hours a day? Or that nearly 42% of US mobile subscribers now use smartphones, along with with 44% of mobile users across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK?
A Japanese court has ordered Google to change part of its autocomplete search function after a Tokyo man claimed it ruined his life.
In 1998, Google reported that it handled 10,000 global searches a day. That number jumped to 4 billion searches a day in 2010, according to a report from comScore. That’s 175 million Google searches per hour, or 2.9 million per minute.
The first Google Doodle was born in the summer of 1998, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin took a vacation to the Burning Man Festival. The Doodle they created was simple, with the festival’s iconic stick man loitering behind the ‘O’, but users loved the playful addition to an otherwise simple logo.
It’s safe to share with friends of friends, right? I mean, you kinda know them. They’re the people you were introduced to at your girlfriend’s birthday party, or the ones you met in passing at the mall. It’s only 2 degrees of separation, so why not let them see all your photos?
Superbowl XLVI has a Social Media Command Center. Seriously. While you’re tossing back chicken wings and yelling at the television screen, a team of 50 will be monitoring the digital field from the comfort of their 2,300 square foot space in downtown Indianapolis.
We’ve all had it happen: You befriend someone on Facebook and find out they know the girl who gave you the chicken pox in grade 3. It’s a little creepy, but a recent Facebook study shows our connections are becoming a little less coincidental and a lot more scientific.
Not only do online college courses help bring a person closer to earning one of the many available degrees, but some of them can teach important life lessons in the process. Here are some online college courses that offer more than just credits.
If British police get their way, rioting hooligans will soon be banned from using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger. Senior officers met with each individual company following last summer’s riots to learn how perps use the networks to stir up trouble, and to find a way to ban them for violating the networks’ terms and conditions.
Recent studies prove it: increased engage,ent between educators and students cia email and social media has a positive effect on learning. Check out this infographic to see the schools that rule the web.
Lego (or LEGO, for all you trademark sticklers) has finally found the perfect mix of tech and toy. It’s called “Life of George,” and it’s a clever combo of classic brick-building and iPhone magic. Adults, prepare to be amused.
Today I realized the internet actually comes from somewhere. That might sound silly, so think of it in Santa Claus terms. Until I was 9, I never put much thought into the concept of Santa Claus. He appeared when he was supposed to and did was he was supposed to. Then one day, I applied some logic to the Santa situation and realized my presents came from somewhere real.
Ever wondered where some tech companies got their strange names? Well, wonder no more! This handy list will not only satisfy your curiosity, but also make you thankful for not having to send out a Twitch, Sky Peer to Peer your friends or find websites on David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web.
It’s common knowledge that Facebook is the internet’s #1 time waster. Thanks to its unlimited opportunities for keeping (and creeping) in touch, the average user spends about seven hours a month on the site. That actually seems like a low estimate given the large number of people who insta-comment and became angry when you refuse to post photos of last night’s social gathering, but seven hours is still impressive.
Missouri’s newest law—the “Facebook Law”—has caused an uproar among teachers, students and others who believe it violates their freedom of speech and association.
Why? The law forbids teachers and students from befriending each other on Facebook. That’s not the law’s only concern—it also touches on things like background checks for anyone having contact with a student and reporting alleged sexual misconduct within 24 hours—but the social media aspect is naturally the only thing people are making a fuss about.
If you thought The Social Network was the ultimate blend of film and Facebook, think again. Toshiba and Intel have paired with Hollywood A-listers to create a blockbuster-style thriller that you, the consumer, can control.
It’s not surprising that hear that New York Rangers forward Sean Avery is at the centre of yet another controversy.
The 31-year-old former Vogue intern teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign and released a 30-second video for “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” over the weekend, becoming the first professional athlete in New York to publicly support marriage equality. And according to the HRC, the Rangers, as an organization, are now rallying behind Avery in support of the campaign.
In the past couple of years, the popularity of lipdubs has skyrocketed, especially with university students. Last fall, UVic created an epic lipdub video inspired by another UVic, located in Spain.
But UBC has taken lipdubs to a new level. Their 10 minute video has gone where no lipdub has gone before—underwater—and features a unicorn, scuba divers and the first successful Old Spice parody I’ve ever seen.
Kids, put away your hand-me-down baking soda and vinegar volcanoes—science fairs just got a whole lot more interesting.
Google is about to hold the first ever global online science fair, which means first place no longer depends on the child’s ability to use poster board and scotch tape. Kids aged 13-18 submit their work via Google Sites, and must include either a slideshow or a video on their homepage. They can also use YouTube, Docs, Maps, Earth, Search or any other Google-y tools.
Are humans predictable if they know they’re being predicted?
That’s not something I think about every day, but the NY Times’ latest interactive feature does bring up this question.
They created a digital rock-paper-scissors game that uses artificial intelligence to conquer opponents. In a truly random game, each player should win, tie and lose one-third of the time. But because people aren’t random, they can be studied, analyzed and defeated.
A few days ago, Disney purchased Togetherville, which is essentially Facebook for kids.
There’s a retweet swirling around Twitter that says the Grammys lost 17 billion+ views after Esperaza Spalding won over the Biebs. Hmm.
With a world population of about 6,775,235,741, that would mean each person would have to love Bieber with 250% of their heart. And even with herds of dedicated Bieberites running wild on this planet, I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.
I’ve gotten used to the blasting over at the Uptown construction site, so when I felt a big rumble at 8:30 this morning, I completely ignored it. But while I quietly ate my oatmeal, Twitter lit up with earthquake-fueled chatter.
Even though Egypt is in the midst of an Internet and SMS blackout, the rest of the world is glued to the web, watching. Protesters and journalists have found ways around these roadblocks and are using social media to inform and organize.
Following #jan25 or #egypt on Twitter produces an amazing amount of results. By the time you read the first few, you’re already five hundred tweets behind. Many protesters are posting via proxy server, and some journalists are even using landlines to phone tweets back to their headquarters.