The Dark Underbelly of Social Media: Do You Know the Threats?

Social media has become an integral part of search engine optimization. Though it’s hard to hear it straight from Google, it’s quite apparent that social signals have become a major factor in ranking ever since they’ve rolled out algorithm updates like Penguin and Panda.

Due to the big hits caused from these updates, it’s common to find advice pointing individuals toward the use of social media to improve brand awareness, community interaction, and (in theory) the chance to increase search rankings through these social signals and mentions.

But lurking in the underbelly of the social media landscape are threats that present a far greater danger than we could have ever imagined.

Social, Reputation, and the Game Changer

In 2013, the Twitter feed of the Associated Press was hacked. A single tweet went out before the account was suspended. This tweet mentioned that the president had been injured by an explosion at the White House. Though completely false, this caused a massive ripple. The S&P dropped 0.9% which resulted in over $130 billion in stock value to plummet and vanish within seconds.

Consider your role as a search engine optimization professional.

No amount of keyword optimization, content production, and advertising could keep up with the spread of disinformation such as that of the Associated Press event.

What we’re dealing with here is a fundamental shift in how people absorb information. It comes to us so rapidly that users of the platforms react before they understand.

It means that the game has changed.

Placing all effort into optimizing a website isn’t good enough in these social times. One has to wonder what the point of a high ranking website if below it are countless negative reviews, status updates sharing disinformation, and YouTube videos belittling the brand.

Social media, albeit an amazing tool for connecting with others, has also unleashed a beast that can destroy reputations as easily as they are formed.

The Growing Problem within Social Media

The allure of social media is that it’s available on free platforms to anyone willing to give it a try. A good majority of individuals use it sincerely to communicate with friends, family, and connections but there are those that use it maliciously to attack brands, destroy reputations, and exploit individuals.

The following are just a few examples of how social media (and its users) have been conned:

·  It’s cheap and easy to buy fake followers. It doesn’t matter that they’re not real because their only purpose is to inflate the follower count. Individuals (and companies) do this to create a false sense of popularity. People, after all, are more likely to follow celebrity-type individuals than those with only a few. By exploiting the numbers a brand/individual may then use their power of influence (granted to them through this false sense of popularity) to push disinformation, mediocre products, or stir trouble with others.

·  The proliferation of short URL’s have led to a host of security issues. These links may disguise malicious files, web pages, or scripts which could exploit those clicking through the seemingly safe link.

·  Parody accounts, though some funny, can be misinterpreted and thought to be the person or brand they represent. One wrong update and suddenly the individual/brand needs to go into full PR mode explaining it was not from the official channels but by then it’s often too late, it’s spread too quickly, and the damage has been done.

To protect themselves from these problems, it’s now recommended web users invest in tools to prevent and thwart social network security threats through virus detection, guards against identity theft, safe search, and more.

Welcome to the Social (Engineered) Future

The use of social media will continue to grow with each passing year and with it will come those that choose to use the medium as a purpose of malicious intent. It could be an individual vindictive about another which results in slander. It could be disinformation about a brand which sends them into free fall. It could be a full-out attack which causes a total loss of control and downward spiral into chaos.

Social media, ultimately, is good but lurking in the underbelly are some very dangerous threats.

Think twice before you post. Ensure passwords are robust. Create a strategy to handle false reports. Your reputation is on the line. SEO can only do so much in terms of keeping you at the top of the listings but it will soon be social media which determines whether that effort is put to good use … or to waste.

10 Effective Online Marketing Strategies that Emerged This Year

The year is about to end. It’s the best time now to wrap up everything that has happened this year that is related to online marketing. Whether you’re a copywriter, digital marketer or business owner, these strategies are good for you to know better and understand what you can still utilize for your next year’s tactics. Below we share 10 effective online marketing strategies that have emerged this year.

1. Domain Name Optimization

Readers won’t give you a high level of trust if your website does not have a domain name that is easy to remember. A good domain name possesses the relevant keywords that should deal primary with your primary subjects. For instance, websites which sell organic plant seeds named their domains exactly as such or with other concatenated related words. Domain name optimization has been greatly proven to create buzzes in many online communities.

2. Quality and Related Content

Google has updated its search algorithm for over 500 times this year. There were the likes of Panda and Penguin which have penalized poor content and reward websites with quality content. If anything, great content ruled this year. And many are thinking that this trend will continue to next year. So make sure that every post you publish must consist of more than 300 words to be able to make it to the results page of search engines. Invest your best efforts into providing educational and valuable content to get readers’ attention.

3. Frequency of Posting

Updating of your blog regularly and frequently adds good points to your online marketing score. This will make people more attentive to your latest updates. Also, this will trigger the Google crawlers and spiders to fetch data from your blog as they prioritize ones which are active. To level up the playing field, posting as many times as possible had kept posts at the top of the streams in social media. This helped a lot in creating brand awareness.

4. Sharing to Social Media

Many business owners have seen social media as a good avenue to sharing contents online. These are networks, aside from blogs, where they can share immediate responses and also receive more personal comments from different viewers. Aside from Facebook and Twitter, digital marketers have also used the former underrated social networking sites such as LinkedIn and YouTube this year. These are sites where they had successfully increased their business-to-business marketing reach.

5. Engagement Through Email Marketing

As an excellent marketing platform, the web offers a lot of opportunities for marketers to communicate with customers and business users. One of the most emerging tools has been email marketing. Email marketing has been revolutionized to enhance customer relationship and keep them aware with the company’s offerings even when they are not subscribed to any social media or can’t check their accounts while they are in the office.

6. Online Contests

Several online contests were ran, to attract more interest of viewers. Users of social media were more encouraged to participate in different contests to grow and expand communities as target market. Users were instructed to like Facebook pages, follow Twitter profiles and re-tweet tweets, post pins in Pinterest, upload a video in YouTube and add Google+ pages among others. These were all made to build new relationships and are seen to continue to the next year.

7. Keyword Optimization

Having an attractive website design is not enough in attracting viewers’ attention. If the website is not optimized with keywords which are friendly to search engines, no matter how great the design of your website is, online users will not be directed to it. So many webmasters had used the strategy of optimizing related keywords in each of the web pages. They researched on the most searched words and phrases and incorporated them in their contents to gain higher ranking than competitors.

8. Pay Per Click Campaigns (PPC)

The display of PPC ads has been another trend that emerged to help marketing agents increase promotions of business products effectively. Simply, they had to pay and bid for a certain amount to win the ads placement in search engines and websites. These PPC ads are based on keywords pointing to their websites.

9. Guest Blogging

With a vengeance, Google penalized webmasters which allowed unrelated guests posts to be published in their websites. These include those which are stuffed with own website links and repeated keywords throughout. In the next year, guest blogging is expected to decline. The only way it still can be used as a good strategy is when content is written with valuable information.

10. Website Optimization

A stunning website is one that has a user-friendly interface, fast loading pages and nice navigation to guide users. The ease of use tops as one of the most important ways to keep a visitor reading and exploring a website. Website optimization requires call-to-action catchphrases and buttons to ensure that leads will be convinced to purchase deals and thus make a sales conversion. This strategy will be expected to stay for the year to come.

 

With this list, you should plan your marketing strategies to be implemented for next year. Coupled with the right mix and right choices to improve your customer base through digital marketing, your business will incur more profits if only you are equipped with the right marketing strategies, research and analysis to attain customers.

 

Sean SiAbout the guest author: Sean Si is the author and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. The SEO Hacker Blog is all about providing the world with the latest information in the SEO industry.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

How to Turn the Tables on Negative Website Reviews

With the popularity of online review sites like Yelp, UrbanSpoon, and other local review forums; it is harder than ever to stay on target and control the brand message of your business. Because everyone who has an opinion about your restaurant, resale shop, or computer-repair company has an open mic online, it might seem like you need a professional PR firm or online reputation management agency to handle your day-to-day Internet operations. While it may seem that social media and the Internet are against you, there are several ways you can balance the scales and increase your reputation online.

When people start to review your business, it can be beneficial no matter what their opinion is. SEO rankings will bring your site higher search results even if people have an unfavorable opinion of your establishment. Consider the bad reviews as a form of free keyword optimization and focus on the positive comments others have posted.

Usually when a manager at a restaurant walks up to a table and asks for an opinion on service, your customer might be polite and respond with a reserved opinion. In reality, their Chicken Florentine was lousy and they can take to the Internet to let loose and rant. By analyzing your reputation on review websites, you can gain valuable feedback that might be impossible to get anywhere else.

If you receive a bad review through Facebook or Twitter, the best way to respond is to be honest and transparent. Replying as quickly as possible to negative or positive reviews will allow you to alleviate the situation and resolve the conflict promptly.

Worried about receiving messages through social media and not having time to respond to them? Do not resort to a canned or automated message. Many of us have had issues with receiving impersonal letters in the mail from large companies after sending in complaints. Your Internet presence should feel natural and organic. Customers will respect a realistic online voice more than a message that makes it look like you’re going through the motions.

Because everyone is on the Internet, avoiding it completely is a terrible strategy. Engaging and calming disgruntled guests to your business will give your company a human touch and make the Internet work in your favor.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

5 SEO Disasters (and How to Avoid Them)

Search engine optimization is not an easy undertaking, as anyone who is employed at it probably knows. Whether you’re focusing solely on Google or hitting multiple engines, there is a lot of information that must be compiled, sorted, and analyzed if you want to streamline your efforts and realize success. However, there are several ways that you can throw a wrench in the works if you’re just starting out (or trying to cut corners). Here are a few of the worst catastrophes you can encounter and how to stop them from happening in the first place.

  1. Getting booted from search engines. This is not a common occurrence (let’s face it: the web is huge and there are millions of new sites popping up every day – that’s a lot for search engines to police). However, it can and does happen to websites that are breaking the rules or simply operating negligently. To avoid getting booted, make sure you know the guidelines (generally provided in easily perusable PDF format by every search engine) and stick to them as much as possible. Also, avoid black hat tactics that bring you a lot of traffic but also raise red flags.
  2. Getting booted from forums and blogs. Nothing will get you ousted faster than spamming, so avoid it at all costs. If you want to get your name on the forums to try to bring in some targeted traffic, take the time to converse with and get to know other insiders in your field. They may be able to offer advice to help you in your endeavors (and vice versa) and they may even be willing to put in a good word for you with others. As for guest posting and commenting on blogs, make it relevant, follow their rules, and post your link only once if you want to keep playing in the sandbox. The goodwill you garner will get you a lot further than the annoying practice of posting your link repeatedly.
  3. Over-optimizing. Making a play for more visitors by attaching a ton of keywords to your pages won’t really help you to achieve your overarching goal of sustainable traffic. You will likely see bursts of visitors that will never return because you don’t actually have what they’re looking for. In addition, having too many of the same keywords can cause some confusion for the search engine and you may end up sending a lot of visitors to the wrong place, which can be frustrating enough to drive them away for good.
  4. Under-optimizing. Tempting as it is to streamline the process by using a finite amount of keywords, this practice can be just as deadly to your efforts as over-optimizing. You want to choose file names that are going to aptly describe your content so that it can be found by any and all who are interested. So make sure that your minimalist tendencies don’t get in the way of forward progress.
  5. Keyword inadequacies. Choosing the right keywords is practically an art form. While you can certainly capitalize on keywords that are “hot”, dragging in visitors who are looking for something you can’t deliver will only ensure that you lose traffic in the long run. Work on making your descriptors concise and relevant if you want to see maximum results from your efforts.

This is a guest post by Sarah Danielson, who writes for Adiamor Engagement Rings where you can find a large assortment of engagement ring settings, loose diamonds, and other fine diamond jewelry.