What Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Update Means For Businesses

Strap on your seat belts and get ready to be blown away. Facebook made yet another algorithm update to their News Feeds in attempt to better the user experience and add even more obstacles for businesses. The idea behind the update is to provide a better balance (and division) of content from friends to pages, giving users more updates from their family and friends and less updates from the pizza parlor down the street.
mike-myers-gets-some-pizza-hut-in-waynes-world
Image Source: PerizHilton.com

What Exactly Did Facebook’s Update Change?

Facebook has always tried to come up with new ways to provide a quality News Feed, filled with updates from people we care about, or at the very least want to creep on. As business pages began evolving into our News Feeds, Facebook faced the battled between balancing business updates with baby pictures. Trying to find a happy middle and give users the experience they actually want, Facebook updated three sections of it’s News Feed algorithm to show more real content from real people.

Update 1:

For those who don’t have a lot of followers or follow those who don’t post often, Facebook’s first update is directed towards you. Instead of restraining from showing multiple posts from the same user, Facebook is “relaxing that old rule” so you have more content to see in your News Feeds, regardless of if it’s just 62 photos from your Aunt’s wedding.

Update 2:

I think I can speak for all of us when I say most of the important announcements about family and friends are shared on Facebook before through a call. The second algorithm update is to ensure you see each of those announcements and stay better in the loop of the exciting news. Posts from users you engage with the most on Facebook will appear higher at the top of your News Feeds. Updates from public figures and pages you follow will still have relativity on your News Feeds, but most likely won’t beat your sister’s engagement announcement on Facebook.
gen-why-engage-elite-dailyImage Source: Elite Daily

Update 3:

As a marketer, Update 3 hurt the most. Have you ever discovered a new page or business because a friend you follow on Facebook commented on the post? Facebook’s third and final algorithm update will lower the order of these stories on your News Feed, decreasing the chances of new businesses being found organically on Facebook. Apparently, users told Facebook they don’t care to see what pages their friends are liking or commenting on. Facebook listened and is lowering the possibility of you seeing this type of content in your News Feeds, pushing more baby photos to the top.
baby

What Does This Mean For Business Pages?

In Facebook’s blog post announcing these updates, Facebook gently stated that, “In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline”. So what exactly are the cases that could make our post reach and referral traffic decline even more than it already has? According to FB, it all depends on your actual posting activity and who your audience is:

  • How often you post updates
  • What kind of updates do you share (videos, text, images, etc.)
  • What time of day you’re posting, compared to what time of day your audience is online
  • What type of content your audience interacts with regularly
  • If your audience follows more pages than actual friends
Of course, advertising with Facebook is always a huge help and increases your chances tremendously of showing up in News Feeds.

What Do We Do Now?

Although update 1 and 2 don’t affect business pages directly, the overall updates decrease the chance of posts from our company pages showing up in News Feeds. Lucky for us, Facebook was kind enough to end the blog post with tips for driving referral traffic and posting. Here are a few of their suggestions and recommended best practices for posting:
  • Post Frequently
    Post frequently, without posting too frequently. Posting every hour, on the hour, is downright annoying. Limit your posts on Facebook to 1-2 a day at times your audience is online most, while quickly responding to any engagement.
  • Share Links, Photos, and a Variety of Content
    Text updates are boring and less likely to be shared on your audience’s News Feeds. Post inciting content that your audience actually wants to see and represents your brand positively.
  • Upload Videos to Facebook with a Call to Action
    This is probably the best tip they could have given. Videos have taken over social media and are currently the most engaged media. Refer to my Beginners Guide to Video Marketing for tips on shooting and posting your marketing videos.
  • ​Create Content with Social Context in Mind
    Stop writing bad posts. People didn’t share your pixelated images before, and they definitely won’t now. ​​Take time to curate quality content that you would want to share on your own page.
  •  ​​Target Your Posts
    1. At the top of your Page click Settings, then click Post Targeting and Privacy and check the box
    2. Create a new post on your Page
    3. When done, select the target icon in the bottom left corner and click Add Targeting
    4. Target based on gender, interests, age, location and more. As you refine your targeting, you’ll see how many people your post could potentially reach.
  • ​Use Trending to Find Popular Topics on Facebook and Post about Them
    The trending feature Facebook offers is similar to Twitter’s trending and highlights the top stories people are talking about. If you can relate your business to a topic, do so and include hashtags and @ mention relevant pages.

What do you think of Facebook’s new algorithm update? Comment below and tell us what steps you’ll take to protect your business page against the new update.

Local Search and Mobile Search Optimization #Pubcon Austin 2015

Brian-Combs-Loren-Baker

This session at Pubcon Austin featured Loren Baker and Brian Combs addressing the overlap of local and mobile SEO

Loren Baker, VP of Business Development Foundation Digital

Localization of SERPs

If you’re using a rank tracking tool that only gives you Google USA data, then you’re not getting the full picture. Rank is based on personalization and geographic location. With the knowledge graph, any organic result beyond 1 or 2 shows below the fold. News, reviews, maps, images all draw users attention away from the top ranking organic result.

That’s why our ranking tools at AuthorityLabs enable you to account for rank variations by location, keyword usage, and desktop or mobile ranking. Our reports can also help clients understand their placement in knowledge graph and local pack positions.

Are you ranking along with blogs, guides, and things other than your direct competitors for key terms? Those results will change based on location.

Tactics for Competing

  • Geographical Hierarchy – prioritize
  • Nested URL structure. Include rich data with local schema markup
  • Local landing pages need to be authentic as well as relevant to the local customer base. Neighborhood guides help users discover you.
  • Local social profile must link to local pages. Specifically, if people are searching for you on their phone.

Produce content local influencers will like, link and share.

Brian Combs, CEO ionadas local LLC

Mobile

Mobile matters because a larger and larger percentage of search users access via mobile. Second screen interaction happens on mobile. 40% of sites are still not mobile-friendly (portent.com study)

Google will determine on a page by page basis. It should affect mobile results only. It’s not tablet specific. Based on page cashe. Will affect organic rankings. May affect local.

Test your site for mobile-friendly results.

Responsive web design, dynamic serving, and separate URLs are all mobile friendly.

Responsive Design

  • Easier to share and link
  • No redirection required
  • Less content engineering
  • Easier for googlebot
  • Implementation is generally easier

Dyanimc Serving

  • Easier to share and link
  • No redirection required
  • cContent can be specific to device

Separate URLs for Mobile

  • Two versions of the site
    • www.yourbrand.com
    • m.yourbrand.com

Recommendations

  • javaScript, CSS and images must be crawlable
  • check robots.txt
  • Optimize titles and meta descriptions
  • Use schema.org for rich content
  • Google mobile-friendly test
  • Test with different devices

Design Recommendations

  • Avoid flash
  • Avoid pop-ups
  • Format for mobile – font size and content formatting
  • Watch out for faulty redirects
  • Design for fingers

Not Ready?

  • Don’t panic
  • Use appropriate speed – don’t rush a crappy mobile site out
  • Benefits will happen quickly

Check out the one easy-to-use tool to set benchmarks and track how these suggested updates affect rankings over time.

Learn MoreTake the AuthorityLabs Tour

Best SEO Strategies from 2015 #Pubcon Austin

SEo-Pubcon-SessionChange is the only constant for anyone in the Internet marketing industry. SEOs know this better than anyone and many clients live in fear of the next Google algorithm update. So, what do some of the top SEOs in the industry say needs to be the focus of your search efforts for the remainder of the year?

Following is a summary of the take-aways from the presentations by Tony Wright, Rob Woods, and William Leake during Pubcon Austin.

Tony Wright, CEO/Founder WrightIMC

Mobile is the new black. To survive mobilegeddon we need to go back to the basics. SEO is not about links. Code, content, connections, and communication are all critital to successful search engine optimamization.

Link building is about relationships. Easy links don’t exist anymore. Link building is more like a PR campaign. You have to talk to people to gain a link from a quality site. You have to pour into influencers.

Move SEO out of the IT department. Search is marketing. SEO as IT is like putting the chess club in charge of the prom. They understand how the equipment works, but aren’t motiviated by the communications going on via that equipment.

Rob Woods, Independent Consultant, Rob Woods Consulting

Before you go crazy about mobilegeddon, estimate the impact of losing mobile search traffic and assess the cost of converting your site to a more mobile-friendly site against what you’re currently earning on mobile search conversion. Page speed matters. Check your own site speeds in comparison to your competitors. Page load speeds are critical on mobile data. PageSpeed Insights from Google will give recommendations.

Keywords matter but not in the way they used to. It’s not the words on the page but the meaning behind them. Does the content on page answer the questions behind those search terms? Pay attention to how keywords appear together in both queries and on page. Google can understand the relationship between the words in a search term and the words that actually answer the question. In case you’ve missed it, Google has become sophisticated enough to understand a user’s intent behind a search query. It’s important to adapt to how your customers and the public talk about what you do.

Link building is about relationships and outreach. You can still get hit by Penguin. Make sure that you are cleaning up backlinks. Do it on a monthly basis. Monitor new links for negative SEO.

William Leake, CEO Apogee Results

There is not one golden strategy that fits every business. Your strategy will depend on the goals for the business and the relationships with your customers. SEO is cooking, a blend of many things. Define victory first. Many agencies do not challenge their clients enough. SEO can’t be treated like a commodity. Rankings aren’t the end result, rankings make success possible.

Make sure that metrics and measurement are aligned with business goals. Considered purchases are where we are not properly measurement and attribution. Move away from last click attribution. Email tends to steal the thunder from search. Search is what refreshes the email list.

Consider how you can cross-pollinate your messaging through your entire marketing structure. Lean into the other marketing channels to enhance search. Search is the big dog in consumer and small business circles, but it becomes a smaller player in business with large B2B relationships.

Relationships and social signals matter. If ranking is all about what you say about yourself on properties you control, Google is nothing better than Altavista. Content has to be culturally authentic for the geographic areas you hope to rank for. Google is going to continue to move the content bar.

​Infographics 101 – How To Create A Viral Infographic ​

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything you put time and effort into went viral? We can send praise to the Google gods as much as we want, but in order to make anything go viral nowadays you have to put in good ole fashion work.

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Image Source: Tumblr

Sharing your infographic online is no different. There are hundreds of thousand of infographics out there. In fact, if you search the term “infographics” in Google over 43 million search results populate. Everything from the latest blog post about infographics (like this one) to different tools and programs you can use to create an infographic appear in search results.

So, how do you get your infographic to not only show up, but be shared across networks? Follow the below five steps, do even more research than necessary, and begin your road to virality.

Viral-InfographicsImage Source: Shout ME Loud

 

1. Developing Your Infographic Content

The first step in making an infographic go viral is by providing readers with valuable content and data. What information do you want to portray to the world? Do you have data that no one else has or that your demographic would be interested in? Create an infographic!

Providing Emotional Content

Data and statistics are the core of infographics, but emotion is what drives sharing. Readers need to feel attached to the content in one way or another, whether that be through curiosity, amusement, greed, sadness, anger, or passion. A great way to incorporate such emotions in your infographic is in the headline. Touch on people’s needs and wants right away with a captivating headline, while carrying emotion throughout with supporting statistics.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 7.57.39 PM

Image Source: Piktochart

Including a Call to Action

No company creates infographics for fun. There is always a purpose and business goal behind each infographic: increase sales, website traffic, link building, lead capture, or useable internal content. What helps accomplish the goal, while gaining a viral presence with an infographic is by inserting a call to action in the beginning or wrapping up the infographic with a CTA at the end. Give the viewer a reason to keep reading or desire for more information.

2. Designing the Perfect Infographic

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Image Source: Visual.ly

When it comes to infographic design, the most ideal way to accomplish this task is by hiring a company that specializes in infographics. This streamlines the process and allows your design team to focus on their client’s design projects. A few of the better companies that specialize in infographic design are:

If the budget isn’t there for hiring an infographic team or if you have top-notch designers in-house, there are several different programs and resources available to assist with your infographic design.

3. Sharing on Social

Upon content and design completion, a social media sharing plan needs to be developed. Throwing an infographic into the cyber-wild and hoping enough people will like it enough to share isn’t realistic. Yes, there are infographics released by companies with large enough followings to go viral. But, for a guarantee of viral sharing you’ll need a social media plan, an embeddable infographic on your blog (makes it easy to share), and a solid scheduling tool.

Twitter

Sharing your infographic is easy using Twitter. It can be organized in specific Twitter lists, @ mentioned to influential people, and direct messaged to users who have shared infographics before. Use a tool such as Followerwonk to identify such users and hashtags.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.41.10 PM

Because tweets are constant and very rarely overused, it makes Twitter the best place to share an infographic consistently.

  • In the beginning of your infographic launch, schedule your #infographic to tweet 3-5 times a day (morning, afternoon, mid-afternoon, evening, late-evening).
  • Use completely different sentence structure and previews so users are still given unique content while discovering new pieces of the infographic.
  • Post images of different sections of the infographic, use call-out points with links, and tweet those extra statistics that didn’t make it to the final design round.

In-between posting snippets of the infographic, share your regularly scheduled tweets and blog posts. This will help break-up your feed and give Tweeters even more variety. After a few days of constant posting, cut back to once a day for about a week. A month later you can increase and decrease tweets depending upon the past month of interaction and feedback. If you’re over-inidating users with your infographic on Twitter, they’ll let you know. Listen and respond accordingly for your future Twitter posting calendars.

Pinterest, Tumblr, and Flickr

These primarily image-based social networks are the perfect place to share a new infographic. Optimizing the caption will be the most important step during upload. Hashtags and keyword phrases that relate to the content on the infographic, as well as hashtags that are trending within the topics, will help make it go viral.

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The preview size on these networks is also smaller than the actual size of most infographics, sometimes cutting as much as 1/4 depending upon length. Use this to your advantage by highlighting sections of the infographic as a preview, similar to Twitter. This gives opportunity for a call to action in the caption or a pop-up graphic on the shortened infographic with a link to the rest.

“Discover the other 8 reasons why #craftbeer has become so popular in #America
with the rest of our #infographic: bitly.com/infographic!”

Facebook

You must share your infographic on Facebook. It’s the top social network, regardless of poor organic reach, and has great potential for viral sharing. To ensure a large audience reach and views on Facebook create different Facebook ads, such as Promoted Posts and custom audiences.

Develop a budget for Facebook ads and keep the infographic ads active for at least the first month of launch. This will increase the likelihood of it being viewed and shared. For example, refer to advertising on billboards in big cities. The more you see a brand’s ad spread across multiple platforms, the more you’re reminded of it.

Honorable Mentions

  • LinkedIn. This business and networking-focused social network is a great place to share infographics of educational value. Post the infographic to groups it relates to, share on your own feed and @ mention people who would appreciate and share it.
  • Instagram. The size of Instagram images are much too small to include all of the infographic. That’s why Instagram is another great network to give sneak-previews with links to the rest. Take screenshots of the most attractive and data-driven parts of the infographic and post on Instagram with related hashtags. #infographic #awesome

4. Submitting to Directories

Directories specific to infographics are great sources to quickly get your infographic out there, while gaining SEO benefits, such as backlinks. There are tons of directories out there happy to share your infographic. Here are a few:

5. Re-Activating Your Guest Posting Super Powers

Just as you scouted for potential bloggers and companies to share blog posts (and links) with, create a new list of potential websites to share your infographic with. Using the same research tools you would for blogging (Ontolo, Group High,) develop an organized Excel doc of potentials and their contact information.

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Reach out to them personally and give them a reason to share, mainly why their audience would enjoy it. This will increase your chances of them sharing it, as well as create new online relationships with similar brands.

love2Image Source: The Quizzical Llama 

Extra tips to make your infographic go viral:

  • Press Releases. Create social media and SEO-specific press releases with several different statistics included. It’s okay to include some information about your company, but remember to keep the focus on the infographic and why it relates to them.
  • Self-promote. Send your infographic to people you know and your email list, while posting on all of your social networks. Don’t be afraid to “spam” your family and friends with your new and exciting project. Develop an angle that will make any audience want to press “share”.

Some Ideas for Food and Fun at #Pubcon Austin

Pubcon-Austin

Howdy and welcome to Texas, y’all. One of the best things about the smaller regional Pubcon conferences is the local culture. For the upcoming event in Austin on April 20th, Pubcon attendees will be able to sample a slice of life as varied as cowboys and hipsters. No matter what you’re into when it comes to food and activities Austin has so much to offer that you’ll wish you had booked a couple of extra days to hang around and take it all in.

FOOD

Austin boasts an incredible food & drink culture. Think BBQ, Tex Mex, food trucks, gourmet coffee shops, and microbreweries. There’s a fantastic sampling of all of this within easy walking or biking distance of the AT&T Conference Center on the University of Texas campus. My good friend and foodie extrodinaire, Kathryn Hutchins of austingastronomist.com, gave me a few recommendations to pass on.

  • The Carillion – Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this dining spot is located in the same building with the conference center allowing you to avoid the Austin traffic completely. Much of the ingredients for their artisan menu are locally sourced and amazingly fresh. Be aware that you may need to make reservations for this popular dining spot.
  • Hopfields – Maybe craft beers and a burger are more your style. Located about a mile down Guadalupe Street, this popular hang out offers craft beer on tap and one of a kind gourmet burgers. Skip the car and take a short bike ride or a long walk to keep from feeling guilty about the calorie splurge.
  • Blackbird and Henry – If wine, cocktails, and dinner with a European flair are what you really crave, then Blackbird and Henry is the place for you. Also located within a block of Hopfields, this foodie’s delight also boasts fresh ingredients from local Texas farms. They serve dinner every night and lunch Tuesday through Friday. Be sure to reserve your table in advance.

Bonus Selection – As I was cruising Yelp I spotted one more place I could not leave off the list.

  • Daito – If you love sake and sushi, this is your place. A leisurely 20 minute walk down Guadalupe will take you to another world. The owners and most of the staff are from Osaka and graciously serve Austin’s most authentic Japanese cuisine.

FUN

Dining is just the beginning. Hop on one of the shuttles running from the campus into the core of downtown Austin. You’ll find tons of live music all along 6th Street starting at Trinity. There’s also the wearhouse district on 4th street that offers jazz and speakeasy style cocktails. There are tons of museums and galleries. And, don’t miss out on the uniquely Austin experience of the flight of the Congress Avenue Bridge bat colony. If you’re sticking around for an extra day, please treat yourself to a walk, bike ride, or jog along the trails around Lady Bird Lake, or rent a kayak and get on the water.

As a resident of the greater Austin area, it is my pleasure to show you a little bit of our southern hospitality. Come find me between sessions, or give me a shout on Twitter (@socialmicheller). I’m happy to point you in the right direction to anything you’d like to do or eat.

Getting Ahead of the Facebook Marketing Curve – Part 2

facebook

As we discussed in part 1 of this series, the Facebook audience is not exclusively on Facebook but spread across a network of mobile apps.

It is then no real surprise that the news with the most impact for marketers had to do not with the latest content type supported on the Facebook newsfeed, but with how businesses can interact and track customers in the wider range of Facebook apps and apps developed for Facebook.

Messenger Power

During the course of the conference keynote we were given a look at new features available in Messenger and more very soon to come. Mark Zuckerberg announced to the very excited crowd of developers that Messenger is no longer just a messaging app, but a fully realized stand-alone platform. Expect to see lots of mobile apps developed especially for the way people communicate with one another and very soon businesses, via Messenger.

The first big change to Messenger is already available for users.

Apps within Messenger

Did you know that while 300 million people use Instagram, there are currently 600 million users on the Messenger app? Is that an audience large enough to get your attention? It should be. And these are users that are already accustomed to sharing not just text messages, but photos, videos, map locations, and links to things around the web that interest them. Facebook also recently launched the ability for people to send money to one another via Messenger.

Screenshot_2015-03-26-11-09-30

Just of a few of the options now available to Messenger users

 

As a platform Messenger is a new opportunity for app distribution, discovery, and attribution. Right now Messenger users are able to find, install, and use several apps designed to add fun and emotional context to their messages without leaving Messenger or the conversation. For brands, this is an opportunity to create something fun and emotional for users and build a top of mind awareness in the minds of potential customers.

Messenger has the potential to become the direct one-on-one real time brand to customer communication that Twitter had hoped to become.

If your business is already considering building a mobile app, how might you rethink the development to take advantage of this opportunity to have a direct connection in the palm of your customers’ hands?

Messenger Business

customer-service-facebookWhat if customers could contact businesses directly and quickly without having to deal with phone routing systems, long wait times for an email response, or hit and miss monitoring of a Twitter account? What if a customer could use Messenger to make a reservation, place an online order, track a package, or get more information that would bring them to your door?

This is the motivation behind the development of Messenger Business. Facebook hopes to facilitate a better communication experience for brands and their customers. This experience would be very personal and very in-the-moment for the consumer.

Think about it, with Messenger Business Facebook is giving you the opportunity to have a direct open line of communication at the moment that your customers are thinking about you. That moment may even be when they are in the middle of a competitor’s store and wondering if you might have a better deal or a nicer quality product to offer. This isn’t a passive search and goes far beyond “showrooming,” this is active real-time communication with your customers.

What will your business need to do to take advantage of the opportunity when it becomes available?

Analytics for Apps

As you know from building a website and developing products and services, creation is only the beginning. To keep doing business requires continual understanding of customers’ needs and tastes. That understanding comes from data. In order to give developers and businesses a better understanding of how often people come back to an app you’ve developed, where they might be dropping off before conversion, and whether or not your marketing campaigns are reaching the right audience with the right information.

The analytics offered by Facebook for apps is cross-device and takes into account the real person rather than relying on cookies for tracking. Is your app drawing three distinct audiences from desk-top, tablet, and mobile, or is your audience really a much smaller highly engaged group of people that use several different devices to connect with your business? Facebook offers to help you determine the answers to those questions.

Combine that data with your SEO and web analytics and you begin to get a much clearer picture of your customers and how they wish to conduct digital business with you.

Facebook Audience Network

The Facebook Audience Network was first introduced last year at f8 to help app developers monetize their apps by offering to display Facebook ads. What makes ads in this network so powerful are the native ads that have the same look and feel of the app they are displayed in. As we mentioned in part one of this series, the audience you can target via Facebook isn’t necessarily on Facebook. That audience is spread out across a whole network of mobile apps.

Word of Caution

Is your business ready for the next wave of technological advancement? Have you yet to catch up the current wave of mobile usage?

Tapping into these powerful tools will drive great, qualified traffic to your business presence online. But, if the core of what you do is not ready for mobile visitors, that traffic might do more harm than good. As you consider how you want to get ahead of the marketing curve via Facebook, make sure that you are ready for the mobile audience onslaught.

  • If you already have a mobile site or an adaptive site, make sure that it is up to date and loads well in the various mobile platforms. Don’t get hit with mobile performance penalties as the new Google mobile algorithm rolls out.
  • Get your hands on the tools that can help you make sense of your mobile search rankings, mobile traffic and mobile user behavior. Authority Labs will be launching a new mobile toolset very soon.
  • If your business is not yet mobile-friendly, you are already way behind the curve and need to reach out for expert help. As a part of the Authority Labs community, you are already a part of a network of experts that can help you take your business to the next level.