Selection of The Best Social Media Channel

March 25th, 2010

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Today’s Article

A Pipe Dream or a Feasible Task?

To answer the above question, one needs to understand a few basic ideas.

There are only two ways of getting Web traffic – either you let your visitors find you which is rather a passive method, or you actively search for places where your targeted visitors may hang around and personally engage them into communication. While the first type is illustrative of SEO and the traditional paid advertising approach, the second is more the Web 2.0 style, and may include blogging, blog commenting, participation in forum discussions, posting and voting for articles, social bookmarking, and so on.

Imagine what effect your efforts in social media marketing could bring.  For example, communicating your company news to your existing and prospect customers for your brand exposure and following their feedback is one task, while receiving quality backlinks and traffic to your site are the second and the third tasks.

Next, if you look for inexpensive traffic from social media as your primary goal [its quality can hardly be compared to search engines’ paid and organic search traffic], you should understand that your message should have a great viral potential and your landing page should justify visitors’ attention. Otherwise, in spite of a possible visitor deluge, you will be back to square one.

There are different and often quite opposite opinions on the value of traffic from social media. There are Web experts who consider it to be garbage, but far more people tell about the importance of social media for creating brand awareness, getting customer feedback and attracting traffic. So the logical conclusion is not all products and services can be efficiently promoted on social media sites.

Let’s see what effects you can expect from the leading social media entities.

According to Compete’s most recent data (February 2010, also mentioned further), Facebook is the largest social media site with over 127 million unique monthly visitors. Both corporations and one-man-bands can use Facebook for creating their company and product brand awareness quite effectively, but you cannot expect much traffic and link popularity increase in connection with your Facebook activity.

YouTube comes second having more than 90 million unique visitors. YouTube is a good playground for your branding efforts, whether you are a small business company or corporation. A well-crafted creative video will become a valuable brick in your link popularity building. But since video files are hosted by YouTube itself, you can attract solid targeted traffic to your site only if your video includes a smart call to action requiring a visit to your site.

Twitter enjoys 20+ million unique visitors. Being a blog in nature, it is best for communicating company news if you are a large corporation, and for establishing your brand reputation if you are a small business, especially if you do consulting work. Don’t expect much traffic from Twitter as a reply to your marketing attempts, and shortened URLs in tweets are useless as SEO links.

Digg’s potential with more than 37 million unique visitors is a great place to release provocative information, but not for general marketing efforts. This is why so many marketing gurus have abandoned this battlefield. But if you can provide information in the format appreciated by Digg enthusiasts, you can receive rich traffic from this resource and a valuable link.

27 million unique users of Flickr have made it a great social medium but only if you have some photo and image materials to promote your brand among Flickr visitors. So if you are a web design company or your business can be represented by artwork, you may find Flickr a decent place to have a presence in.

The LinkedIn business network (14+ million unique users) is good for both individual experts and larger companies to establish and support their brands. Personal and company profiles appear high in search results for a name request and your company news can be released for members of the various “groups”.

The audience of StumbleUpon (4+ million unique users to their website) is not limited to just those who have visited their website. Most ’stumblers” activity is performed when a visitor to an interesting webpage clicks “I Like It” via the StumbleUpon toolbar in their browser. StumbleUpon is a very good traffic referrer if you publish and bookmark helpful, interesting content. Be sure to submit your own material by clicking on your own toolbar.

When considering if your business will benefit from your promotional activities in social media, you should focus on how the nature of a channel itself (news/article/video/image sharing, personal or business social network) fits your business, and what effects (brand recognition, good SEO links, targeted or just rich traffic) you can expect from your efforts.

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You may find a printable PDF of this newsletter issue in the ‘Whitepapers’ section.

SEO Companies’ Visibility Rate

Are SEO companies as good as they claim to be on their sites? Will they return the efficiency they promise? Are their skills qualified? The only way to find it out is to check how they optimize and promote their own sites.

Here we share Top 10 SEO Companies according to their search visibility rate for February 2010.



Click here to see the complete rate.

Web CEO analysts use objective evidence to rate SEO firms according to their search engine visibility. SEO companies’ visibility rate is calculated using a special formula that considers the positions of SEO companies’ sites in search engines results pages for the keywords their potential clients use, popularity of these keywords and number of competitors.

Learn more about the formula.

Here you can see how Top 10 SEO companies’ visibility rate has changed from December 2009 till February 2010.


Top 10 SEO Companies Trends

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Online Brand Popularity Measurement

March 10th, 2010

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The deeper information technologies penetrate our lives, the more powerfully you and your customers can use them for decision making. All we need to make the best available choice is reliable information – from eyewitnesses, first-hand users, reviewers, and experts. Search engines and news feeds give you a good idea if your brand is established and how it is perceived on the Web. But sites providing user-generated content – shared opinions in the form of ratings and votes, reviews and comments, tags and bookmarks – are even more important places for you to check brand reputation, and measure brand popularity.

What are the measurable signals of brand popularity?

Search for mentions of your brand name, create benchmarks, and run comparisons with your top competitors. Brand popularity metrics can be monitored at:

  • Major search engines for both search volume (Google) and the number of found results.
  • Blog search engines (Technorati, Google Blogs) for the overall number of blog posts, tags, comments, blog authority rates. There is no need to track all the blog search engines – select one or two with the results that you find most representative.
  • Sites consisting of user submitted content (Digg, Reddit, Newsvine, etc.) for votes and comments.
  • Twitter for found search results, followers, retweets.
  • Media sharing sites (YouTube, Hulu, Yahoo Video, Flickr, Deviantart, and many others) for the number of uploads and downloads, views or listenings, video/image/photo/music ratings, number of comments.
  • Social bookmark sites and toolbars (Delicious, StumbleUpon, Diigo, and others) for tags and saved bookmarks.
  • Product and service review sites if applicable (Epinions, Ratings, Buzzillions etc.) for the number of reviews, pro and con votes, ratings.
  • Forums for the number of search results, threads, user reputation, connections.
  • Social networks for engagement facts such as the number of connections, profile completeness, recommendations, participations in groups, Q&A, etc.

At the same time, brand reputation measurement should rest not only upon the numbers being quantitative characteristics of popularity, but also upon qualitative evidence. An analysis should also include the prevailing tone of the reviews, articles or comments.

How to automate the brand popularity analysis

The market has replied to a social media boom with numerous buzz and sentiment analysis tools. The most comprehensive solutions are quite costly. Nielsen’s Online Measurement, Sysomos’s MAP and Heartbeat and Radian6 are outstanding web buzz tracking and analysis solutions covering tens of millions of blogs, social networks, groups, boards and other CGM platforms, but a typical ‘do-it-yourself’ small business marketer could hardly afford them.

So if the perspective of paying a three- or even four-digit monthly fee is beyond your purse, a healthy approach would be to focus your analysis on a) the most popular (and crowded) social media and b) the most targeted (niche) sites while using free tools to check your brand reputation on them. The below free services will automate your brand reputation monitoring task rather efficiently.

  • Major search engines – use the Web CEO Keywords tool to retrieve the search volume from Google and competition numbers from all the major search engines.
  • Blog search engines – Nielsen BlogPulse is a great free service to see brand popularity trends. You can also use BlogScope for the same purpose.
  • For Twitter info analysis, you can use TweetVolume.

Measuring positive and negative sentiments is still difficult to achieve via automated measuring services. Scoutlabs service (which is quite expensive) brings the best results in sentiment analysis and trend building. To our best knowledge, the current technologies for automated text meaning recognition are far from perfect. This is why, to guarantee the most accurate results, some expensive reputation management solutions offer manual sentiment measurement.

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Web CEO Metrics

Here we are sharing the generalized numbers from our HitLens Web Analytics service. It covers 300,000+ websites from all over the world.

Microsoft’s Bing has grown its number of queries from 5% to 8% of global searches. Little by little, Yahoo’s visitors are declining with 8% of all Internet searches compared to the previous year’s 9%. Google continues to dominate – it refers 81% of all searches.


Global Search Engines(%)

You can see how visitors are being referred to websites.

Search engines hold the first place as a principal site visitor referrer, and their share has significantly grown compared to February 2009. Bookmarking and linking, with shares fluctuating between 20% and 22% during the last year, refer an almost equal number of visitors. The number of search marketers who use paid advertising has increased.


Visitor Referrers (%)

SEO Experiment

Competition Number Comparison

This time we’ve queried the major search engines for approximately 1,000 popular and unpopular keywords and then grouped them by common themes. As a result, we’ve got the number of search results (competition) that each of the requested search engines returned.

A long time ago, search engines expressly boasted their search indice volumes. Now they don’t disclose this information, but we all want to have at least indirect evidence of how large the major search engines’ indices are. From the diagram, we can see that Yahoo! is a champ in serving search results (competitors) for popular and unpopular keywords. Google comes second and Bing comes third. But does Yahoo have a quality advantage? And is the Yahoo’s search index size larger because it has more unique sites in it? Or is it more likely that Google and Bing have more advanced technologies in dynamic page indexing and they are able to filter out dynamic URLs pointing at the same pages? A good point for a further research study, isn’t it?


SEO Experiment

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