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Making the Business Case for Social Media

the positives and eliminating the negatives Latching on to the affirmatives Integrating social media into your marketing plan Evaluating the worth of social media In the best of all worlds, social media — a suite of online services that facilitates two-way communication and content sharing — can become a productive component of your overall marketing strategy.

These services can enhance your company’s online visibility, strengthen relationships with your clients, and expand word-of-mouth advertising, which is the best type. Given its rapid rise in popularity and its hundreds of millions of worldwide users, social media marketing sounds quite tempting. These tools require minimal upfront cash and, theoretically, you’ll find customers flooding through your cyberdoors, ready to buy.

It sounds like a no-brainer — but it isn’t, especially now that so many social media channels have matured into a pay-to-play environment with paid advertising. Has someone finally invented a perfect marketing method that puts you directly in touch with your customers and prospects, costs nothing, and generates profits faster than a perpetual motion machine produces energy ?

The hype says “yes”; the real answer, unfortunately, is “no.”
Although marketing nirvana may not yet be at hand, the expanding importance of social media in the online environment means that your business needs to participate.

This chapter provides an overview of the pros and cons of social media to help you decide how to join the social whirl, and it gives a framework for approaching a strategic choice of which social media to use. Making Your Social Debut Like any form of marketing, social media takes some thought. It can become an enormous siphon of your time, and short-term profits are rare. Social media marketing is a long-term commitment.


So, should you or shouldn’t you invest time and effort in this marketing avenue ?
If you answer in the affirmative, you immediately confront another decision:
What form should that investment take? The number of options is overwhelming; you can never use every technique and certainly can’t do them all at once.
Figure 1-1 shows that most small businesses involved in social media use Facebook, with Twitter and LinkedIn closely tied for second and third place. However, as the survey from Clutch notes, only 44 percent of all small businesses do any form of digital marketing.

Of that number, nearly 60 percent used social media in 2016, but 75 percent planned to incorporate some form of social media in their marketing plans by 2017. For more details, see the survey at https://clutch.co/agencies/resources/small-business-digital-marketing-and-social-media-habits-survey-2016.
Clutch.co report authored by Sarah Patrick FIGURE 1-1: Most small companies using social media focus on Facebook.

Defining Social Media Marketing The bewildering array of social media (which seem to breed new services faster than rabbits can reproduce) makes it hard to discern what they have in common: shared information, often on a peer-to-peer basis. Although many social media messages look like traditional broadcasts from one business to many consumers, their interactive component offers an enticing illusion of one-to-one communication that invites individual readers to respond.

The phrase social media marketing generally refers to using these online services for relationship selling — selling based on developing rapport with customers. Social media services make innovative use of new online technologies to accomplish the familiar communication and marketing goals of this form of selling.

The tried-and-true strategies of marketing (such as solving customers’ problems and answering the question, “What’s in it for me?”) are still valid. Social media marketing is a new technique, not a new world. This book covers a variety of social media services (sometimes called social media channels).

We use the phrase social media site to refer to a specific named online service or product. You can categorize social media services, but they have fuzzy boundaries that can overlap. Some social media sites fall into multiple categories.

For instance, some social networks and online communities allow participants to share photos and include a blog. Here are the different types of social media services: Social content-sharing services: These services facilitate posting and commenting on text, videos, photos, and podcasts (audio).

Blogs and content-posting sites: Websites designed to let you easily update or change content and to allow readers to post their own opinions or reactions. Examples of blog tools are WordPress, Typepad, Blogger, Medium, and Tumblr. Blogs may be hosted on third-party sites (apps) or integrated into your own website using software.

Video: Examples are YouTube, Vimeo, Vine.co, Periscope.tv, Musical.ly, and Ustream. Images: Flickr, Photobucket, Instagram, Snapchat, SlideShare, Pinterest, and Picasa. Figure 1-2 shows how Blue Rain Gallery attracts followers on Instagram by highlighting some of the beautiful works of art it sells.

Audio: Podbean or BlogTalkRadio. Social-networking services:
Originally developed to facilitate the exchange of personal information (messages, photos, video, and audio) to groups of friends and family, these full-featured services offer multiple functions. From a business point of view, many social-networking services support subgroups that offer the potential for more targeted marketing.

Common types of social-networking services include Full networks, such as Facebook, Google+, and MeetMe. Figure 1-3 shows how SVN/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage,
Inc. uses its Facebook page to build its brand and enhance community relations. Short message networks such as Twitter are often used for news, announcements, events, sales notices, and promotions.

In Figure 1-4, Albuquerque Economic Development uses its Twitter account at https://twitter.com/abqecondev to assist new and expanding businesses in the Albuquerque, NM area. Professional networks, such as LinkedIn and small profession-specific networks. Figure 1-5 shows how Array Technologies uses its LinkedIn page to make announcements, impart company news, and attract employees. Specialty networks with unique content, such as the Q&A network Quora, or that operate within a vertical industry, demographic, or activity segment, as opposed to by profession or job title. Social-bookmarking services:

Similar to private bookmarks for your favorite sites on your computer, social bookmarks
are publicly viewable lists of sites that others have recommended. Some are Recommendation services, such as StumbleUpon and Delicious Social-shopping services, such as Wanelo and ThisNext Other bookmarking services organized by topic or application, such as sites where readers recommend books to others using bookmarking techniques Social news services:
On these peer-based lists of recommended articles from news sites, blogs, or web pages, users often vote on the value of the postings.

Social news services include Digg Reddit Other news sites Social geolocation and meeting services: These services bring people together in real space rather than in cyberspace: Foursquare Meetup Other GPS (Global Positioning System) applications, many of which operate on mobile phones Other sites for organizing meet-ups and tweet-ups (gatherings organized by using Twitter) Community-building services:

Many comment- and content-sharing sites have been around for a long time, such as forums, message boards, and Yahoo! and Google groups. Other examples are Community-building sites with multiple sharing features, such as Ning Wikis, such as Wikipedia, for group-sourced content Review sites, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Epinions, to solicit consumer views Courtesy of Blue Rain Gallery FIGURE 1-2:
The Instagram page for Blue Rain Gallery uses strong images to grab viewers’ attention. Courtesy of SVN/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage, Inc.

FIGURE 1-3: As part of its community-branding activities, Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage describes its donation of filled backpacks and diaper bags to foster children. Courtesy of Albuquerque Economic Development FIGURE 1-4: Twitter is an excellent way for Albuquerque Economic Development to announce news about local industry.

Courtesy of Array Technologies, Inc. FIGURE 1-5: Array Technologies uses its LinkedIn presence to provide company updates. As you surf the web, you can find dozens, if not hundreds, of social tools, apps (freestanding online applications), and widgets
(small applications placed on other sites, services, or desktops).
These features monitor, distribute, search, analyze, and rank content. Many are specific
to a particular social network, especially Twitter.

Others are designed to aggregate information across the social media landscape, including such monitoring tools as Google Alerts, Mention.net, or Social Mention, or such distribution tools as RSS (really simple syndication), which allows frequently updated data to be posted automatically to locations requested by subscribers Book 2 offers a survey of many more of these tools; specific social media services are covered in their respective books.

Understanding the Benefits of Social Media Social media marketing carries many benefits. One of the most important is that you don’t have to front any cash for most social media services. Of course, there’s a downside:
Most services require a significant time investment to initiate and maintain a social media marketing campaign, and many limit distribution of unpaid posts, charging for advertising and distributing posts to your desired markets.

As you read the following sections, think about whether each benefit applies to your needs. How important is it to your business ?
How much time are you willing to allocate to it ?
What kind of payoff would you expect ?
Figure 1-6 shows how small retail businesses rate the relative effectiveness of social media in meeting their goals for acquiring and retaining customers.


Courtesy of WBR Digital FIGURE 1-6: The effectiveness of social media compared to other digital-marketing tactics for small retail businesses. Casting a wide net to catch your target market The audience for social media is huge.

By the second quarter of 2016, Facebook claimed 1.79 billion monthly active users worldwide, of which 1.66 billion were mobile users. Slightly less than 85 percent of Facebook’s traffic comes from outside the US and Canada. When compared to Google, this social media behemoth is in tight competition for the US audience.

In October 2016, Facebook tallied about 207 million unique US visitors/viewers, while Google Sites surpassed it with more than 246 million. Keep in mind, of course, that visitors are conducting different activities on the two sites.

Twitter tallied more than 109 million US visitors/viewers in October 2016 and toted up about 500 million tweets (short messages) daily worldwide. A relatively small number of power users are responsible for the majority of tweets posted daily.

In fact, about 44 percent of users create Twitter accounts without ever posting. More people read tweets than are accounted for, however, because tweets can be read on other websites. Even narrowly focused networking sites claim hundreds of thousands of visitors. Surely, some of the people using these sites must be your customers or prospects.

In fact, one popular use of social media is to cast a wide net to capture more potential visitors to your website. Figure 1-7 shows a classic conversion funnel, which demonstrates the value of bringing new traffic to the top of the funnel to produce more conversions (actions taken) at the bottom. Courtesy of Watermelon Mountain Web Marketing: www.watermelonweb.com

The classic conversion funnel shows that only 2 to 4 percent of funnel entries yield desired results. The conversion funnel works like this:
If more people arrive at the top of the funnel, theoretically more will progress through the steps of prospect and qualified lead to become a customer.

Only 2 to 4 percent, on average, make it through a funnel regardless of what action the funnel conversion depicts. In Book 1, Chapter 3, we discuss how you can assess traffic on social media sites using Quantcast, Alexa, or other tools, and match their visitors to the profiles of your customers. Generally, these tools offer some information free, although several are freemium sites, with additional data available only with a paid plan.
Branding Basic marketing focuses on the need for branding, name recognition, visibility, presence, or top-of-mind awareness.

Call it what you will — you want people to remember your company name when they’re in need of your product or service. Social media services, of almost every type, are excellent ways to build your brand. Social media works for branding as long as you get your name in front of the right people. Plan to segment the audience on the large social media services.

You can look for more targeted groups within them or search for specialty services that may reach fewer people overall but more of the ones who are right for your business. Building relationships If you’re focused on only short-term benefits, you’d better shake that thought loose and get your head into the long-term game that’s played in the social media world.
To build effective relationships in social media, you’re expected to Establish your expertise.

Participate regularly as a good citizen of whichever social media world you inhabit; follow site rules and abide by whatever conventions have been established. Avoid overt self-promotion. Resist hard-sell techniques except in paid advertising. Provide value with links, resources, and unbiased information.

Watch for steady growth in the number of your followers on a particular service or the number of people who recommend your site to others; increased downloads of articles or other tools that provide detailed information on a topic; or repeat visits to your site. All these signs indicate you’re building relationships that may later lead to if not a direct sale then a word-of-web recommendation to someone who does buy. In the world of social media, the term engagement refers to the length of time and quality of interaction between your company and your followers.

Social media is a long-term commitment.
Other than little experiments or pilot projects, don’t bother starting a social media commitment if you don’t plan to keep it going. Any short-term benefits you see aren’t worth the effort you have to make. Improving business processes Already, many clever businesses have found ways to use social media to improve business processes.

Though individual applications depend on the nature of your business, consider leveraging social media to Promptly detect and correct customer problems or complaints. Obtain customer feedback and input on new product designs or changes.

Provide tech support to many people at one time; if one person has a question, chances are good that others do, too. Improve service delivery, such as cafes that accept to-go orders on Twitter or Facebook, or food carts that notify customers where and when their carts will arrive. Locate qualified new vendors, service providers, and employees by using professional networks such as LinkedIn.

Collect critical market intelligence on your industry and competitors by watching
content on appropriate social media. Use geolocation, tweets, and mobile search
services to drive neighborhood traffic to brick-and-mortar stores during slow
times and to acquire new customers.


Marketing is only part of your company, but all of your company is marketing. Social media is a ripe environment for this hypothesis, where every part of a company, from human resources to tech support, and from engineering to sales, can be involved. Improving search engine rankings Just as you optimize your website, you should optimize your social media outlets for search engine ranking.

Now that search engines are cataloging Twitter and Facebook and other appearances on social media, you can gain additional front-page real estate for your company on Google and Yahoo!/Bing (which now share the same search algorithms and usually produce similar results). Search engines recognize most appearances on social media as inbound links, which also improve where your site will appear in natural search results. Use a core set of search terms and keywords across as many sites as possible.

Book 2, Chapters 2 and 3 deal with search engine optimization, including tactics to avoid because they could get you in trouble for spamming. Optimization pays off in other ways:
in results on real-time searches, which are now available on primary search engines; on external search engines that focus on blogs or other social media services; and on internal, site-specific search engines. Selling in the social media marketplace Conventional thinking several years ago suggested that social media was designed for long-term engagement, for marketing and branding rather than for sales.

However, more and more social media channels now offer the opportunity for direct sales from their sites. In addition to selling on major social media channels such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter (using the Buy Now feature), and Instagram (using third-party add-ons such as Olapic), you will also find selling opportunities on smaller, niche social media: Sell music and event tickets.

SoundCloud and ReverbNation, which cater to music and entertainment, are appropriate social media sites for these products. Include a link to your online store on social-shopping services. Recommend products — particularly apparel, jewelry, beauty, and decor — as Stylehive does.

Offer promotional codes or special deals to followers. Offering codes or deals on particular networks encourages your followers to visit your site to make a purchase. You can also announce sales or events. Place links to online or third-party stores such as Etsy (see Book 2, Chapter 1) on your profile pages on various services. Some social media channels offer widgets that visually showcase your products and link to your online store, PayPal, or the equivalent to conclude a transaction. Include a sign-up option for your e-newsletter.

It offers a bridge to sales.
The chart in Figure 1-8 shows the results of a 2015 Small Business Advertising survey that looked at how small businesses use various social media services for generating leads, building brand awareness, or increasing customer engagement.
Courtesy of Thrive Analytics FIGURE 1-8: Small businesses use multiple social media channels to achieve various marketing goals.

Include sales offers in a stream of information and news to avoid turning your
social media site into a series of never-ending advertisements.
Finding alternative advertising opportunities Although time is money, the magic word is free.
If you decide to approach social media as an alternative to paid advertising, construct
your master social media campaign just as carefully as you would a paid one:
Create a plan that outlines target markets, ad offers, publishing venues, and schedules for different ad campaigns.

If necessary, conduct comparative testing of messages, graphics, and offers.
Monitor results and focus on the outlets that work best at driving qualified visits that lead to conversions. Supplement your free advertising with search engine optimization, press releases, and other forms of free promotion.

Advertising is only one part of marketing !
As you see traffic and conversions building from your social media marketing campaigns, you may want to reduce existing paid advertising campaigns. Just don’t stop your paid advertising until you’re confident that you have an equally profitable stream of customers from social media.

Of course, if your ad campaign isn’t working, there’s no point continuing it. Understanding the Cons of Social Media For all its upsides, social media has its downsides. As social media has gained in popularity, it has also become increasingly difficult to gain visibility among its hundreds of millions of users. In fact, sometimes you have to craft a campaign just to build an audience on a particular social media site.

The process is similar to conducting optimization and inbound link campaigns so that your site is found in natural search results. Don’t participate in social media for its own sake or just because everyone else is. By far, the biggest downside in social media is the amount of time you need to invest to see results.

You need to make an ongoing commitment to review and respond to comments and to provide an ongoing stream of new material. An initial commitment to set up a profile is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep in mind that you need to watch out for the addictiveness of social media. Individually and collectively, social media is the biggest-ever time sink.

Don’t believe us ?
Ask yourself whether you became addicted to news alerts during the 2016 presidential campaign or couldn’t take your eyes off live coverage of the terror attacks in Paris ?
Or maybe you play Candy Crush, Words with Friends, or other video games with a passion, continuously text on your smartphone, or compulsively check email every ten seconds … you get the idea. Without self-discipline and a strong time schedule, you can easily become so socially overbooked that other tasks go undone.


As you consider each of the social media options in this book, also consider the level of human resources that is needed.
Do you have the time and talents yourself ?
If not, do other people in your organization have the time and talent ?
Which other efforts will you need to give up while making room for social media ?
Will you have to hire new employees or contract services, leading to hard costs for this supposedly “free” media ?

Integrating Social Media
into Your Overall Marketing Effort Social media is only part of your online marketing.
Online marketing is only part of your overall marketing. Don’t mistake the part for the whole. Consider each foray into social marketing as a strategic choice to supplement your other online-marketing activities, which may include Creating and managing a marketing-effective website: Use content updates, search engine optimization (SEO), inbound link campaigns, and event calendar postings to your advantage. Displaying your product's or service’s value:

Create online press releases and email newsletters.
Share testimonials and reviews with your users and offer affiliate or loyalty programs, online events, or promotions. Advertising: Take advantage of pay-per-click ads, banners, and sponsorships. Social media is neither necessary nor sufficient to meet all your online-marketing needs. Use social media strategically to Meet an otherwise unmet marketing need. Increase access to your target market.

Open the door to a new niche market. Move prospects through the conversion funnel. Improve the experience for existing customers. For example, the website for Fluid IT Services (www.fluiditservices.com) links to its Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn sites, as well as its blog www.fluiditservices.com/blog to attract its audience.
For more information on overall online marketing, see Jan’s book, Web Marketing

For Dummies, 3rd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). To get the maximum benefit from social media, you must have a hub site, the site to which web traffic will be directed, as shown in Figure 1-9. With more than 1 billion websites online, you need social media as a source of traffic. Your hub site can be a full website or a blog, as long as the site has its own domain name. It doesn’t matter where the site is hosted — only that you own its name, which appears as www.yourcompany.com or http://blog.yourcompany.com.


Though you can link to http://yourcompany.wordpress.com
You can’t effectively optimize or advertise a WordPress address like this.

Besides, it doesn’t look professional to use a domain name from a third party. Courtesy of Watermelon Mountain Web Marketing: www.watermelonweb.com FIGURE 1-9: All social media channels and other forms of online marketing interconnect with your hub website. Consider doing some sketching for your own campaign:

Create a block diagram that shows the relationship between components,
the flow of content between outlets, and perhaps even the criteria for success and how you’ll measure those criteria.

Developing a Strategic Social Media Marketing Plan Surely you wrote an overall marketing plan when you last updated your business plan and an online marketing plan when you first created your website. If not, it’s never too late! For business planning resources, see the Starting a Business page at www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business.
You can further refine a marketing plan for social media marketing.
As with any other marketing plan, you start with strategy.

A Social Media Marketing Goals statement (Figure 1-10 shows an example) would incorporate sections on strategic goals, objectives, target markets, methods, costs, and return on investment (ROI). Courtesy of Watermelon Mountain Web Marketing: www.watermelonweb.com
FIGURE 1-10: Establish your social-marketing goals, objectives, and target market definition on this form. You can download the form on this book’s website www.dummies.com/go/socialmediamarketingaio4e
and read more about ROI in Book 1, Chapter 2. Here are some points to keep in mind when putting together your strategic marketing overview:

The most important function of the form isn’t for you to follow it slavishly, but rather to force you to consider the various facets of social media marketing before you invest too much effort or money. The form also helps you communicate decisions to your board of advisors
or your boss, in case you need to make the business case for getting involved in social media. The form provides a coherent framework for explaining to everyone involved in your social media effort — employees, volunteers, or contractors — the task you’re trying to accomplish and why.

Book 1, Chapter 3 includes a Social Media Marketing Plan, which helps you develop a detailed tactical approach — including timelines — for specific social media services, sites, and tools. In the following sections, we talk about the information you should include on this form. Establishing goals

The Goals section prioritizes the overall reasons you’re implementing a social media campaign. You can prioritize your goals from the seven benefits of social media, described in the earlier section “Understanding the Benefits of Social Media,” or you can add your own goals. Most businesses have multiple goals, which you can specify on the form. Consult Table 1-1 to see how various social media services rank in terms of helping you reach some of your goals.

TABLE 1-1 Matching Social Media Services to Goals Service Customer Communication
Brand Awareness Traffic Generation SEO Facebook Good Good Good Good Google+ Good Okay Poor Good Instagram Poor Good Good Poor LinkedIn Good Good Good Okay Periscope Good Okay Okay Okay Pinterest Good Okay Okay Good Snapchat Okay Okay Good Poor Twitter Good Good Good Good YouTube Good Good Good Good Adapted and interpreted from data sources at; aokmarketing.com/wp-

Setting quantifiable objectives For each goal, set at least one quantifiable,
measurable objective. “More customers” isn’t a quantifiable objective.

A quantifiable objective is “Increase number of visits to website by 10 percent,”
“add 30 new customers within three months,” or “obtain 100 new followers for
Twitter account within one month of launch.” Enter this information on the form.
Identifying your target markets Specify one or more target markets on the form,
not by what they consume but rather by who they are. “Everyone who eats dinner
out” isn’t a submarket you can identify online.

However, you can find “high-income couples within 20 miles of your destination who visit wine and classical music sites.” You may want to reach more than one target market by way of social media or other methods. Specify each of them. Then, as you read about different methods in this book, write down next to each one which social media services or sites appear best suited to reach that market. Prioritize the order in which you plan to reach them.

Book 1, Chapter 3 suggests online market research techniques to help you define your markets, match them to social media services, and find them online. Think niche! Carefully define your audiences for various forms of social media, and target your messages appropriately for each audience. Estimating costs Estimating costs from the bottom up is tricky, and this approach rarely includes a cap.

Consequently, costs often wildly exceed your budget. Instead, establish first how much money you’re willing to invest in the overall effort, including in-house labor, outside contractors, and miscellaneous hard costs such as purchasing software or equipment. Enter those amounts in the Cost section.

Then prioritize your social-marketing efforts based on what you can afford, allocating or reallocating funds within your budget as needed. This approach not only keeps your total social-marketing costs under control but also lets you assess the results against expenses. To make cost-tracking easier, ask your bookkeeper or CPA to set up an activity or a job in your accounting system for social media marketing. Then you can easily track and report all related costs and labor.

Valuing social media ROI Return on investment (ROI) is your single most important measure of success for social media marketing. In simple terms, ROI is the ratio of revenue divided by costs for your business or, in this case, for your social media marketing effort. You also need to set a realistic term in which you will recover your investment.
Are you willing to wait ten weeks? Ten months ?
Ten years ?
Some forms of social media are less likely to produce a fast fix for drooping sales but are great for branding, so consider what you’re trying to accomplish. Figure 1-11 shows how B2C versus B2B marketers assess the ROI of various online marketing techniques. Keep in mind that the only ROI or cost of acquisition that truly matters is your own.

Courtesy of DemandWave FIGURE 1-11: In spite of the popularity of social media, it is not always the best driver of revenue. Costs usually turn out to be simpler to track than revenues that are traceable explicitly to social media. Chapter 2 of this minibook discusses techniques for figuring ROI and other financial metrics in detail. Whatever you plan for online marketing, it will cost twice as much and take twice as long as anticipated.

A social media service is likely to produce results only when your customers or prospects
are already using it or are willing to try it. Pushing people toward a service they don’t want
is difficult. If in doubt, first expand other online and offline efforts to drive traffic toward
your hub site.

Door to Door Organics is an online grocery service that simplifies shopping and inspires busy families to achieve a healthier lifestyle. The company delivers fresh, high-quality, organic, natural, and local food directly to homes in 18 states throughout the West, Midwest, and East Coast. According to Andrea Daily, vice president of marketing, the company targets a specific customer: a 25- to 44-year-old well-educated female who is married or living with a partner, has a household income of $75K+, may or may not have children, and is a savvy online shopper seeking convenience.

Since launching from its founder’s garage in 1997, the company has grown to 500 employees and plans to further expand its geographic reach. Courtesy of Door-to-Door Organics Door to Door Organics launched its social media presence in 2009 with Twitter
followed by a Facebook business page (www.facebook.com/DoorToDoorOrganicsColorado/). As Daily explains, “Since the beginning, we viewed these social media pages strategically as customer service channels where we had an opportunity to wow customers with a high level of satisfaction.” The company quickly discovered that its target demographic is most active on Facebook. It wasn’t always easy, Daily recalls, “When we first established ourselves on social media, we found ourselves continually explaining what we were and how customers could shop with us.


We soon realized there was an opportunity to leverage Facebook to tell that story,
creating a specific landing page with an animated video www.facebook.com/DoorToDoorOrganicsColorado/app/1610975439127108/
that explained how the service works.

It continues to be one of our most successful lead generation and conversion tools.” Facebook remains the company’s top channel for sharing, especially given its combination of unpaid reach through follower engagement, promoted reach through advertisements, and the large number of people on that platform.

Initially, the company’s social media growth was organic, with Pinterest added in 2011 and Instagram (www.instagram.com/doortodoororganics/) in 2013 to encourage customers to post images of their food deliveries.

The company then began launching a Twitter and Facebook page in each new geographic location it entered to “provide content that was locally relevant, from farm visits and artisan vendor profiles to invitations to join us at events,” says Daily.
“This presence allowed us to be more authentic in building local communities.” Courtesy of Door-to-Door Organics As the company expanded its social media presence, it developed strategic goals for each channel.

We take a balanced approach in leveraging Facebook to drive both engagement and conversions,” explains Daily. “Facebook’s Audience Insights and targeting tools really allow us to identify not only who is responding to our content, but also to identify new audiences that are likely to respond similarly.”

For Door to Door Organics, user-generated content on Facebook has become an important method for letting customers and fans speak for the company and demonstrate their passion for its product. “This content drives engagement, brand awareness, and digital storytelling, as well as sales and conversions.”

The company builds engagement on Instagram by writing #JoyDelivered on its boxes and delivery vans with a call to action to “Share Your #JoyDelivered Story.” This has led customers to post thousands of pictures on Instagram.

The company also uses Instagram for brand building by offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse of company operations, from packers at the warehouse to chefs creating recipes. Needless to say, all this social media activity requires a fair amount of labor.

The company has a social media manager who creates engaging content with a cohesive look and uses advertising to drive brand awareness and new customer acquisition. Meanwhile, the customer care team is actively engaged in community management, responding to fans’ questions and concerns seven days a week.

The team works with a social media calendar to plan its posting schedule by day, by social media platform, and by target audience, seeking to minimize audience overlap and maximize ad dollars. While its in-house creative team develops content, an outside agency assists with placing advertising on social channels.

To track results, Door to Door Organics uses Google Analytics to understand both traffic to the site and new customer acquisition by platform. Analytics show that Facebook is valuable for customer acquisition, second only to pay-per-click marketing.

Daily notes that a significant amount of the firm’s marketing budget is invested in digital advertising, with roughly 30 percent of advertising dollars spent on search engine PPC, and another 20 percent spent for advertising on social platforms.

She finds these two ad platforms roughly comparable in terms of the volume of new customers they deliver and the cost to acquire them. In the social media category, the vast majority of Door to Door Organics’ advertising investment is on Facebook, though it is starting to leverage ads on Instagram. Display and remarketing ads currently take a distant backseat to these two platforms.

In addition to social media and PPC, Door to Door Organics relies on SEO and email marketing for digital reach, supplemented offline with direct mail and terrestrial radio.
The company promotes its social media presence almost everywhere, from its website and emails to boxes, vans, and event collateral.

Daily has plenty of advice to offer. First, “be ready for a dialogue; in fact, invite one.
It’s the best way to showcase your brand and what your company stands for.
For us, that means being educational, friendly, and authentic.” She doesn’t shy away from negative customer feedback, instead seeing it as an opportunity to “try to make it right” and build confidence in the brand.

Second, she urges companies not to be afraid to try new things.
Some of our most successful campaigns were born out of doing things a little differently.
If it works for your business, it works for your business. Test, refine, repeat.” Finally, she adds that it helps to be an early adopter on a new platform that is gaining traction with your target audience. “Gaining reach is easier and cheaper when there are fewer brands to compete against.” The web presence for Door to Door Organics follows:

The web presence for Door to Door Organics follows:


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Putting Search Engines in Context In
This Chapter Identifying search engine users
Discovering why people use search engines Pinpointing elements for getting high keyword rankings Defining relationships between search engines
The Internet offers a world of information, both good and bad.

Almost anything a person could want is merely a few taps on a screen or a couple clicks of a mouse away. A good rule of thumb for the Internet is if you want to know about something or purchase something,
there’s probably already a website just for that.
The catch is actually finding it.

This is what brings you to this book.
You have a website.

You have hired what you hope is a crack team of designers and have unleashed
your slick, shiny, new site upon the web, ready to start making money
However, there is a bit of a problem:
Nobody knows that your site exists.

How will people find your website ?
The most common way that new visitors will find your site is through a search engine.
A search engine is a web application designed to hunt for specific keywords and
group them according to relevance. It used to be, in the stone age of the 1990s, that most websites were found via directories or word-of-mouth.

Somebody linked to your website from his website, or maybe somebody posted about it on one of his newsgroups, and people found their way to you. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing were created to cut out the middleman and bring your user to you with little hassle and fuss.

In this chapter, we show you how to find your audience by giving you the tools to differentiate between types of users, helping you sort out search engines, identifying the necessary elements to make your site prominent in those engines, and giving you an insider look at how all the search engines work together.

Identifying Search Engine Users Who is using search engines ?
Well, everyone. A significant amount of all visitor traffic to websites comes from search engines. Unless you are a household name like eBay or Amazon.com, chances are people won’t know where you are unless they turn to a search engine and hunt you down. In fact, even the big brands get most of their traffic from search engines.

Search engines are the biggest driver of traffic on the web, and their influence only continues to grow. But although search engines drive traffic to websites, you have to remember that your website is only one of a half trillion websites out there. Chances are, if someone does a search, even for a product that you sell, your website won’t automatically pop up in the first page of results.

If you're lucky and the query is targeted enough, you might end up somewhere in the top 100 of the millions of results returned. That might be okay if you're only trying to share your vacation photos with your family, but if you need to sell a product, you need to appear higher in the results.

In most cases, you want the number one spot on the first page because that’s the
result everyone looks at and that most people click. In the following sections,
you find out a bit more about the audience available to you and how to reach them.

Figuring out how much people spend
The fact of the matter is that people spend money on the Internet in increasing numbers.
It’s frightfully easy: All you need is a credit card, a computer with an Internet connection, and something that you've been thinking about buying.
The U.S. Commerce Department reports that in 2014, e-commerce spending in the United States was over $300 billion (https://www.internetretailer.com/2015/02/17/us-annual-e-retail-sales-surpass-300-billion-first-ti).

Combine that with the fact that Americans spend an average of 5 to 6 minutes of every hour online doing online shopping, and you’re looking at a viable means of moving your product. To put it simply, “There’s gold in them thar hills!”

So, now you need to get people to your website.
In real estate, the most important thing is location, location, location.
On the web, instead of having a prime piece of property, you need a high listing on the search engine results page (SERP). Your placement in these results is referred to as your ranking. You have a few options when it comes to achieving good rankings.

One, you can make your page the best it can be and hope that people will find it in the section of the search results normally referred to as the organic rankings; or two, you can pay to appear in one of the advertising slots, identified on the search results page as ads.

In the middle of 2014, it was projected that by the end of the year, marketers would spend more than $135 billion on Internet ads worldwide (http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Digital-Ad-Spending-Worldwide-Hit-3613753-Billion-2014/1010736).

While paying for ads is one way to get your business in front of Internet users, search engine optimization (SEO), when properly done, helps you to design your website in such a way that when a user does a search, your pages appear in the unpaid (that is, organic) results, in a top spot, you hope.

Your main focus in this book is finding out about SEO, but because there is some overlap, you pick up a bit of paid search marketing knowledge here and there along the way. Knowing your demographics In order to get the most bang for your SEO buck, you need to know the demographics of your web visitors. You need to know who’s looking for you, because you need to know how best to promote yourself.

For example, if you’re selling dog sweaters, advertising in biker bars is probably not a great idea. Sure, there might be a few Billy Bob Skullcrushers with a cute little Chihuahua in need of a cashmere shrug, but statistically, your ad would probably do much better in a beauty salon. The same goes for your website in a search engine. Gender, age, and income are just a few of the metrics that you want to track in terms of identifying your audience.

Search engine users include slightly more male than female users across the board.
Of the major search engines, Bing attracts the smallest percentage of users over the age of 55. Search engines even feed their results into other search engines, as you can see in our handy-dandy Search Engine Relationship Chart in the section “Understanding the Search Engines: They’re a Community,” later in this chapter.

Table 1-1 breaks down user demographics across the three most popular search engines
for your reference. Table 1-1 User Demographics Across Major Search Engines Google Search Yahoo Search Bing Search Female 47.8% 47.4% 48.7% Male 52.2% 52.6% 51.3%
18–34 35% 33.5% 35.3% 35–54 40.6% 42% 43.1% 55+ 24.4% 24.6% 21.5% Less than $30K/year 27.4% 27.6% 28.4% $30K–$100K/year 53.8% 53.8% 52.5%

More than $100K/year 18.8% 18.7% 19% For the month of July 2013 (via Compete.com)
These broad statistics are just a start. You need to know who your search engine visitors are, because demographic data helps you effectively target your desired market. This demographic distribution is often associated with search query keywords.

Think of your keywords as the words that best indicate what your website content is about and that search engine visitors might use to search for what your website offers. A search engine looks for these keywords when figuring out which web pages to show on the SERP. (For an in-depth look at choosing keywords, check out Book II, Chapter 2.) Basically, your keywords are the words searchers might actually use in a search query — what they type (or speak) into a search engine — or what the engine thinks the searcher intended to search for.

If you are searching for something like information on customizing classic cars, for example, you might type [classic custom cars] into the search field. (Note: Throughout the book, we use square brackets to show the search query. You don’t actually type the brackets into the search field.) Figure 1-1 displays a typical search engine results page for the query [classic custom cars].

Figure 1-1: Keyword query in a search engine: [classic custom cars].
Simply put, the search engine goes to work combing its index for web pages about these keywords and returns with the results it thinks will best satisfy you. As a website creator, therefore, if you have a product that’s geared toward a certain age bracket, toward women more than men, or toward any other demographic, you can tailor your keywords accordingly. You want to choose keywords that appeal to the right audience.

For example, on the classic custom cars website, you might say convertible, open-air, top-down, roadster, drop top, or rag top (all synonyms for convertible), depending on which terms people in your target demographic use. It may seem inconsequential, but trust us, this is important if you want to be ranked well for targeted searches. Figuring Out Why People Use Search Engines We’ve already established that a lot of people use search engines.

But what are people looking for when they use them ?
Are they doing research on how to restore their classic car ?
Are they looking for a place that sells parts for classic cars ?
Or are they just wanting to kill time watching videos that show custom cars racing ?
The answer is yes to all the above.

A search engine is there to scour the billions upon billions of websites out there in order to get you where you need to go, whether you’re doing research, going shopping, or just plain wasting time. Research Most people who use a search engine for research purposes. They are generally looking for answers, or at least for data with which to make a decision.

They're looking to find a site to fulfill a specific purpose. Someone doing a term paper on classic cars for his or her Automotive History 101 class would use a search engine to find websites with statistics on the number of cars sold in the United States, instructions for restoring and customizing old cars, and possibly communities of classic car fanatics out there. Companies would use a search engine to find websites their clients commonly visit and even to find out who their competition is.

Search engines are naturally drawn to information-rich, research-oriented sites and usually consider them more relevant than shopping-oriented sites, which is why a lot of the time the highest listing for the average query is a Wikipedia page. Wikipedia.com is an open-source online reference site that has a lot of searchable information, tightly cross-linked with millions of links from other websites (backlinks).

Open source means that anyone can have access to the text and edit it. Wikipedia is practically guaranteed to have a high ranking on the strength of its site architecture alone. (We go over site architecture in depth in Book IV.) Wikipedia is an open-source project; thus, information should be taken with a grain of salt as there is no guarantee of accuracy.

This brings us to an important lesson of search engines — they base “authority” on the quality of your content and the quality, relevance, and quantity of other sites linking to your
site — that's what positions your site as an authority in the eyes of the search engine.

Accuracy of information is not one of their criteria; notability is.
Search engines are prone to confusing popularity with expertise, though they are improving in this area. In order to take advantage of research queries, you need to gear your site content toward things that would be of interest to a researcher.

In-depth how-to articles, product comparisons and reviews, and free information
are all things that attract researchers to your site. Shopping Many people use a search
engine to shop. After the research cycle is over, search queries change to terms that
reflect a buying mindset. Phrases like “best price” and “free shipping” signal a searcher
in need of a point of purchase.

Optimizing your web page to meet the needs of that type of visitor results in higher conversions (actions taken by a user who meets a sales or business goal) for your site.

As we mention in the preceding section, global search engines such as Google tend to reward research-oriented sites, so your pages have to strike a balance between sales-oriented terms and research-oriented terms. Although Google and Bing do integrate products right into their regular search results, shopping is where specialized engines also come into the picture.

Although you can use a regular search engine to find what it is you’re shopping for, some people find it more efficient to use a search engine geared directly toward buying products. Some websites out there are actually search engines just for shopping..

are all examples of shopping-only engines.
And Google has its own shopping platform called Google Shopping.
When you type in a query for the particular item you are looking for, your results include the actual item instead of websites where the item is sold.

For example, say you’re buying a book on Amazon.com.
You type the title into the search bar, and it returns a page of results.
Now, you have the option of either buying it directly from Amazon.com, or, if you’re on a budget, clicking over to the used book section. Booksellers provide Amazon.com with a list of their used stock, and Amazon.com handles all the purchasing, shipping, and ordering info.

With shopping searches on Bing and Google, all those results can also be shown, mixed in with ads, so you can jump to Amazon.com, eBay, or Mike’s Bookshop just as easily. And as with all things on the Internet, odds are that somebody, somewhere, has exactly what you’re looking for. Figure 1-2 displays a results page from a Google Shopping search.
Figure 1-2: A typical Google Shopping search results page.


Entertainment Research and shopping aren't the only reasons to visit a search engine.
The Internet is a vast, addictive, reliable resource for consuming your entire afternoon,
and lots of users out there start with the search engines to find ways of entertaining themselves. They look up things like videos, movie trailers, games,
and social networking sites. Technically, it’s also research,
but it’s research used strictly for entertainment purposes.

A child of the ’80s might want to download an old-school version of the Oregon
Trail video game onto her computer so she can recall the heady days of third grade.
It's a quest made easy with a quick search on Google.
Or if you want to find out what those wacky young Hollywood starlets are up to,
you can turn to a search engine to bring you what you need.

If you’re looking for a video, odds are it’s going to be something from YouTube, much like your research results are going to include a Wikipedia page. YouTube is another excellent example of a site that achieves high listings on results pages, especially in Google (which owns YouTube).

This immensely popular video-sharing website enables people with a camera and a working email address to upload videos of themselves doing just about anything, from talking about their day to shaving their cats.

The videos themselves have keyword-rich listings in order to be easily located in video searches, plus videos show up in regular web search results as well, so videos provide lots
of ranking opportunities. Many major companies have jumped on the YouTube bandwagon, creating channels for their companies (a YouTube channel is a specific account housing many videos).

Record companies use channels to promote bands, production companies use them to unleash the official trailers for their upcoming movies, and even your business can produce videos that can be seen by searchers everywhere (not just in a theater near you). Discovering the Necessary Elements for Getting High Keyword Rankings If the mantra of real estate is location, location, location, and the very best location on the web is on page one of the search engines, you need to know the SEO elements that can get you there.

A good place to start is with keywords. Search engines use advanced processes to categorize and analyze keyword usage and other factors in order to figure out what each website is about and bring searchers the web pages they’re looking for.

The more relevant your keywords and content are to the user's query and intent, the better chance your page has of ranking in a search engine's results. Keeping the keywords clear, precise, and simple helps the search engines do their job a whole lot faster. If you’re selling something like customized classic cars, you should probably make sure your text includes keywords like classic cars, customized cars, custom classic Mustangs, and so forth, as well as clarifying words like antique, vintage, automobile, and restored.

You can read more about how to choose your keywords in Book II. In the following sections, you get a broad, brief overview on how you get a higher rank than the other guy who’s selling restored used cars. You need to know the basics, or you can't do targeted SEO.

The advantage of an SEO-compliant site Having an SEO-compliant website entails tailoring your website so that it follows search engine guidelines and communicates clearly what it’s about and in a way search engines can understand. Basically, you want search engine spiders to easily digest all the juicy content in your website and not find any red flags along the way.

Communicating well with search engines includes optimizing your page titles and metadata (the page title, description tag and keywords tag are collectively known as metadata) so that they contain (but aren’t stuffed with) relevant keywords for your subject.

Also, make sure that your web pages contain searchable text and not just pretty Flash animations and images (because search engines have limited capability to understand non-text content), and that all your images contain an Alt attribute
(a description of an image) with brief text that describes the content of the image.

You also need to be sure that all your internal content as well as your links are organized in a hierarchical manner that allows both search engines and users to easily understand what a site is about. You want to be sure to optimize every single one of these elements. Use this list (individual items are covered later in this book) to get yourself organized:

Title tag Meta Description tag Meta Keywords tag Heading tag(s) Textual content Alt attributes on all images Fully qualified links Sitemaps
(both XML and HTML, as explained in Book VI)

Text navigation Canonical elements Structured data markup URL structure (file naming, limiting parameters) Ordered and unordered lists JavaScript/CSS externalized Robots text (.txt) file Web analytics Keyword research (technically a process — see Book II) Link development Image names Privacy statement Contact information Dedicated IP address Defining a clear subject theme Another way of getting a high keyword ranking is having a clear subject-matter theme to the site.

If you’re selling kits to customize classic cars, keeping your website focused on the topic
of classic car customization not only makes it easier for users to navigate your site and research or purchase what they need, but it also increases your credibility and your chances of ranking for related keyword queries. Search engine spiders are programs that crawl the World Wide Web to search for and index data.

The more similarly themed keywords you have on your pages, the better.
It’s the nature of a search engine to break up a site into subjects that add up to an overall theme for easy categorization, and the more obvious your site theme is, the higher your results will be. It’s kind of like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and deciding you want to get a salad. You, the search engine, immediately go to the salad corner of the buffet because it’s been clearly labeled, and from there, you can do your breakdowns.

You want romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing, so you go
to where they keep the lettuce, the trimmings, and the dressings in the salad bar section.
It’s easy to find what you want if everything is grouped accordingly. But if the restaurant
stuck the dressing over with the mashed potatoes, you’d have trouble finding it because
salad dressing and potatoes don’t normally go together.

Similarly, when you keep your website content organized with everything in its proper place, the search engine views your content with clarity, understanding what you're about — which in turn improves your credibility as an expert and gives you a better chance to rank.

Siloing is a way of structuring your content and navigational links in order to present a clear subject-matter theme to the search engines. For more on this technique, refer to Book II, Chapter 4 as well as the entirety of Book VI.

Focusing on consistency Methodical consistent implementation is the principle that says
that when you update your website, you should do it the same way every time. Your site should have a consistent look and feel over time without massive reorganizations at every update. In order for a search engine to maintain efficiency, you need to keep related content all placed in the same area.

It is confusing to customers to have things constantly changing around. Search engines
and visitors to your website face the same challenge as a restaurant patron. Getting back to our salad bar analogy from the preceding section, the restaurant owner shouldn’t scatter the salad dressings according to the whims of his buffet designer, randomly moving things every time he gets in a new topping or someone discontinues one of the old dressings.

You also need to keep all your updating processes consistent. That way, if something goes wrong during your next update, you can pinpoint what went wrong where without too much hassle, since you update things the same way every time.

Building for the long term You need to consider your persistence for the long term.
How long will your website be sticking around ?
Ideally, as with any business, you want to build it to last without letting it fall behind and look dated. Relevancy to the current market is a big part of this, and if your site is behind the times, it’s probably behind your competitors.

The technology that you use to build your website is inevitably going to change as the Internet advances, but your approach to relevancy should remain the same, incorporating new technologies as they arise. In the early days of the web, for example, frames were used to build sites, but that looks very outdated now.

A few years ago, splash pages (introductory pages, mostly built in Flash and providing little content or value to the user) were very popular. Today, they are discouraged because the search engines cannot typically see much of the content behind the Flash programming and therefore don't know what the page is about. Web developers and designers should use code that is compatible with the search engines.

The Internet is an ever-changing entity, and if you’re not persistent about keeping up with the times, you might fall by the wayside. Understanding the Search Engines: They're a Community You’ll be happy to hear there are really only a few search engines that you need to consider in your SEO planning.

Each search engine appears to be a unique company with its own unique service.
When people choose to run a search using Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com, or any of the others, they might think they’ve made a choice between competing services and expect to get varying results.

But they’d be surprised to find out that under the surface, these seeming competitors are often actually working together — at least on the data level. Google’s stated purpose is to “organize the world’s information.” When you think about the trillions of web pages that exist, multiplying and morphing every day, it’s hard to imagine a more ambitious undertaking.

It makes sense, then, that not every search engine attempts such a daunting task itself. Instead, the different search engines share the wealth when it comes to indexed data, much like a community. You can see at a glance how this community works. Figure 1-3 shows how the major players in the search engine field interact.

Chart courtesy of Bruce Clay, Inc. Figure 1-3: The Search Engine Relationship Chart depicts the connections between search engines. The Search Engine Relationship Chart (subject to change; the current chart is at www.bruceclay.com/serc/) includes all the major players in the United States.

The arrows depict search results data flowing from supplying sites to receiving sites.
Only two players — Google and Bing — are suppliers. They actually gather and provide search results data, both organic and paid.

Ask.com maintains its own organic data but receives paid listings from Google.
Yahoo, on the other hand, receives its organic data but generates its own paid ads.
The chart makes it clear that when you do a search on Yahoo, for instance, the order of the results is determined by Yahoo, but the indexed results are supplied by Bing.


A look back: Search engines in the beginning Bruce Clay first published his Search Engine Relationship Chart® in 2000. Back then, more major players were in the search game, and things were, to say the least, somewhat cluttered. The chart had 26 companies on it: everyone from Yahoo to Magellan to that upstart Google.

Fifteen of those companies took their primary results from their own indexes; five of those supplied secondary results to other engines. Without a road map, it was an impossible task
to keep it all straight. But over the years, things changed. What was once a cluttered mess is now a tidy interplay of a select group of companies. This figure shows what the very first Search Engine Relationship Chart looked like.

Note: To see an interactive view of how the search engine landscape changed over time, check out www.bruceclay.com/serc_histogram/histogram.htm. Looking at search results: Apples and oranges One more thing to know about search results:
There are two main types.

Figure 1-4 points out that a search engine can show these two different types of results simultaneously: Organic search results are the web page listings that search engines find most relevant to the user’s search query and perceived intent. SEO focuses on getting your website ranked high in the organic search results (also called natural results).

Paid results are basically advertisements. — the website owners have paid to have their web pages and products display for certain keywords, so these listings show up when someone runs a search containing those keywords.

(For more on the whys and hows of paid results, you can read about pay per click advertising in Chapter 4 of this minibook.) Figure 1-4: A results page from Google with organic and paid results highlighted.

On a search results page, you can tell paid results from organic search results because search engines set apart the paid listings, putting them above or to the right of the primary results, giving them a shaded background or border lines, labeling the column as “ads” or “sponsored,” or providing other visual clues. Figure 1-4 shows the difference between paid listings and organic results.

Typical web users might not realize they’re looking at apples and oranges when they
get their search results. Knowing the difference enables a searcher to make a better
informed decision about the relevancy of a result. Additionally, because the paid results
are advertising, they may actually be more useful to a shopping searcher than a researcher (remembering that search engines favor research results).

How do they get all that data ?
Okay, so how do they do it ?
How do search engines keep track of everything and pop up results so fast ?
Behold the wonder of technology !
Gathering the data is the first step.

An automated process (known as spidering) constantly crawls the Internet, gathering
web-page data into servers. Google calls its spider Googlebot; you could refer to the
data-gathering software processes as spiders, robots, bots, or crawlers, but they’re all the same thing. Whatever you call them, they pull in masses of raw data and do so repeatedly.

This is why changes to your website might be seen within a day or might take up to a few weeks to be reflected in search engine results. In the second step, search engines have to index the data to make it usable. Indexing is the process of taking the raw data and categorizing it, removing duplicate information, and generally organizing it all into an accessible structure (think filing cabinet versus paper pile).

For each query performed by a user, the search engines apply an algorithm — basically
a math equation (formula) that weighs various criteria about a web page and generates
a ranking result — to decide which listings to display and in what order.

The algorithms might be fairly simple or multilayered and complex. At industry conferences, Google representatives have said that their algorithm analyzes more than 200 variables to determine a web page’s search ranking to a given query.

You’re probably thinking, “What are their variables ?” Google won’t say exactly (and neither will the other engines), and that’s what makes SEO a challenge. But we can make educated guesses. So, can you design a website that gets the attention of all the search engines ?
The answer is yes, to an extent, but it’s a bit of an art. This is the nuts and bolts of SEO, and what we attempt to explain in this book.

Chapter 2 Meeting the Search Engines
In This Chapter Finding common threads among the engines Meeting the major and minor search engines Finding your niche in the vertical engines Understanding metasearch engines All search engines try to make their results the most relevant.

They want to make you happy, because when you get what you want, you’re more likely to use that search engine again. The more you use them, the more money they make. It’s a win/win situation.

So when you do your search on classic car customization and find what you’re looking for right away instead of having to click through five different pages, you’ll probably come back and use the same search engine again.

In this chapter, you meet the major search engines and discover their similarities and differences, get familiar with the difference between organic and paid results, and gain a better understanding of how the search engines get their organic results. Plus, you find out about the search engines’ paid search programs and get help deciding whether metasearch engines have a place in your SEO campaign.

Finding the Common Threads among the Engines To keep their results relevant, all search engines need to understand the main subject of a website. You can help the search engines find your website by keeping in mind the three major factors they’re looking for: Content: Content is the meat and bones of your website.

It’s all the information your website contains, not just the words but also the Engagement Objects (the images, videos, audio, interactive technologies, and so on that make up the visual space).

Your page's relevancy increases based upon your perceived expertise. And expertise is based on useful, keyword-containing content. The spiders, the software the search engines use to read your website, also measure whether you have enough content that suggests you know what it is you’re talking about.

A website with ten pages of content is going to rank lower than a website with ten thousand pages of content, assuming that they are equally relevant. Popularity:
The Internet is a little like high school in that you are popular as long as a lot of
people know you exist and are talking about you.

Search engine spiders are looking for how many people are linking to your website, along with the number of outgoing links you have on your own site. Google really
loves this factor. Architecture:
If you walk into a grocery store and find everything stacked haphazardly on the shelves, it’s going to be harder to find things, and you might just give up and go to another store that’s better organized. Spiders do the
same thing. As we mention in Chapter 1 of this minibook, search engines love Wikipedia because of how it’s built.

It’s full of searchable text, Alt attribute text, and keyword-containing hyperlinks that support terms used on the page. You also have some control over two variables that search engines are looking at when they set the spiders on you. One is your site’s response time, which is how fast your server is and how long it takes to load a page.

If you’re on a server that loads one page per second, the bots request pages at a very slow rate. A second seems fast to us, but it's an eternity for a bot that wants five to seven pages per second. If the server can't handle one page per second, imagine how long it would take the bots to go through 10,000 pages. In order not to crash the server, spiders request fewer pages; this puts a slow site at a disadvantage to sites with faster load times.

Chances are bots will index sites on a fast server more frequently and thoroughly than sites on a slow server. Page speed has become very important to Google in particular and so deserves some attention.

We discuss improving page and site speed in depth in Book VII, Chapter 1. The second variable is somewhat contested. Some SEOs believe that your rank could be affected by something called bounce rate, which measures how often someone clicks on a page and immediately hits the Back button.

The search engines can detect when a user clicks on a result and then clicks on another result in a short time. If a website constantly has people loading the first page for only a few seconds before hitting the Back button to return to the search results, it’s a good bet that the website is probably not very satisfying.

Remember, engines strive for relevancy and user experience in their results,
so they most likely consider bounce rate when they're determining rankings.
So if all search engines are looking at these things,
does it matter if you’re looking at Bing versus Google versus Yahoo ?

Yes, it does, because all search engines evaluate subject relevance differently.
The big players have their own algorithms that measure things in a different way than their competition. So something that Google thinks belongs on Page 1 of listings may or may not pop up in the Top Ten over on Bing. Getting to Know the Major Engines It’s time to meet the three major search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

As we said earlier, they all measure relevancy a bit differently. Google might rank a page of content as more relevant than Bing does, so Google’s results pages could look quite different from Bing’s results pages for the same search query. Meanwhile, Yahoo uses Bing’s index of the web and ranking algorithm to serve organic and much of its paid search listings.

For this reason, deciding which search engine is best is often subjective. It all depends on whether you find what you’re looking for. Organic versus paid results One of the major ways search engines are differentiated is how they handle their organic versus paid results.

Organic results are the web pages that the search engines find on their own using their spiders. Paid results (also called sponsored listings) are the listings that the site owners have paid for. In web searches, paid results usually appear as ads along the top or right side of the window, but they also can appear lower on the page, among or below organic listings.

Paid results don’t necessarily match your search query either. Here’s how this happens. Companies can bid on almost any keyword for which they want to get traffic (with some legal exceptions). The bid price needed to have an ad show in the SERP is based on many factors, including competition for the keyword, traffic on the keyword, and, at least in Google's case, the quality of the landing page.

The better-constructed the landing page (the web page that a visitor receives after clicking an ad), the lower the minimum bid price.
This doesn't have to be an exact match. Businesses often bid on keywords that are related to their products in hopes of catching more visitors.
For example, if a visitor searches for tickets to Sports Team A, a sponsored (paid) link might show up advertising Sports Team B.

This is what's happening below in Figure 2-1. Ticketmaster has bid on [Lakers tickets] as a keyword in order to advertise tickets for a different team, the LA Clippers, and clicking the sponsored link takes you to a page for buying Clippers tickets.

The ad for Boston Celtics Tickets operates the same way. The organic links, however, should all take you to sites related to Lakers tickets. Figure 2-1: The web search results for [Lakers tickets] include ads for two other sports teams’ tickets (outlined above).

Paid results are quite different from organic results. Generally, people click on organic results rather than paid results. You can't buy your way to the top of organic results. You can only earn your way there through effective search engine optimization.

Table 2-1 lists the major search engine players (in order of their appearance) and the attributes of each, for comparison. The following sections introduce you to each search engine in more detail and talk about its organic results and paid advertising services.

Table 2-1 U.S. Search Engine Comparison Table Engine Name Organic Paid (Desktop) Paid (Mobile) Yahoo Yes. Uses Bing's index and algorithm Yes. Uses Bing Ads Yes. Yahoo Gemini Google Spider name: Googlebot Yes Yes. Google AdWords Yes. Google AdWords Bing Spider name: Bingbot Yes Yes. Bing Ads Yes.

Bing Ads Yahoo In 1994, two electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford University, David Filo and Jerry Yang, created Yahoo, a search engine and network of properties that has undergone much change in its 20-year history.

For many years, Yahoo has outsourced its search function to other providers like Google and, today, Bing. Organic results In 2010, Yahoo made a deal with Bing to power its search engine and pay per click program. That means that the organic search results in Yahoo use Bing’s ranking algorithm and Bing’s index of the web.

Paid results Because Yahoo no longer provides its own paid results for desktop searches, in order to advertise on Yahoo's network, you must use Microsoft Bing Ads (and get two-for-one exposure). Mobile advertising is a different story. In 2014, Yahoo migrated to Yahoo Gemini, its own mobile ad marketplace.

The strategy appears to be paying off; its third-quarter earnings place Yahoo in third place for total mobile ad revenue, behind Google and Facebook but, surprisingly, ahead of Twitter. Google Google began as a research project by two other Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, in January 1996.

They officially incorporated as Google in September 1998.
Organic results Over time, Google has developed into the powerhouse of the search engine realm. Here are just some of the reasons why Google is the king of search engines and shows no signs of giving up the crown: Highly relevant: Google's relevancy is one of its strongest suits thanks to its analysis of site backlinks and on-site content on the one hand, and its understanding of user intent on the other.

PageRank: PageRank is a famous part of Google’s search algorithm. PR is a numerical weight assigned to a website in order to measure its importance, based on backlinks. Enormous index: Google has indexed billions of pages on the Internet. In addition, Google search’s semantic-based algorithm and integration with other Google products (such as Gmail, Google+, YouTube, and Google Drive) give it a wide vantage point for seeing the connections between concepts, people, and other entities on the web. Advanced technology: Google is the undisputed leader, technologically speaking.

Its algorithms aggressively weed out spam from its results, and its Knowledge Graph far outpaces the other engines’ capability to understand a searcher’s intent. You learn more about the Knowledge Graph and how it affects search results in Chapter 3 of this minibook. Brand recognition: Google is so recognized for search that the brand name is used as a verb and listed in dictionaries (as in, “I Googled this the other day …”).

Most-visited web property: Google is the number one search engine worldwide (except in China, where Baidu reigns, and Russia, where Yandex tops the list). In the United States, Google has more of the search market than all the other search engines combined, netting more than two-thirds of all search engine traffic (see Table 2-2; http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press_Releases/2014/3/comScore_Releases_February_2014_U.S._Search_Engine_)
Table 2-2 comScore Explicit Core Search Share Report, U.S.

(August versus July 2014)* Core Search Entity July 2014 August 2014 Share Change Total Explicit Core Search 100.0% 100.0% None Google Sites 67.4% 67.3% –0.1 Microsoft Sites 19.3% 19.4% 0.1 Yahoo Sites 10.0% 10.0% 0.0 Ask Network 2.0% 2.0% 0.0 AOL, Inc. 1.3% 1.3% 0.0 *“Explicit Core Search” excludes contextually driven searches that do not reflect specific user intent to interact with the search results.

Paid results Google has a service called
Google AdWords that regulates its paid results for desktop and mobile. It’s a pay per click advertising model that lets you create your own ads, choose the keyword phrases you want your ad to appear for, and set your bid price and budget. Google ranks its ads based on the ad’s bid amount and Quality Score — a combined measure of the ad’s relevance, landing-page experience, and expected click-through rates, or how often the ad is clicked. Google AdWords can also help you create your ads if you’re stuck on how to do so.

After your AdWords ads are set up, Google matches your ads to the right audience within its network, and you pay only when your ad is clicked. Google provides gives an ever-increasing number of ways to target your ad audience, such as by demographics like gender, age group, annual household income, ethnicity, and number of children in the household.

AdWords also allows you to do location-based targeting and day-parting, which limits the display of your advertisement to certain times of the day. Recently, Google introduced “In-market audiences” targeting, which lets you leverage Google’s understanding of consumer  behavior patterns and find people who are actively researching products like yours.

You can potentially get a lot of exposure for your paid ads. The Google AdWords distribution network lets you advertise on Google search sites and affiliates like AOL and Ask.com. Mobile and tablet ads are also centrally managed through AdWords.

Google also offers the ability to publish ads on the Google Display Network. Consisting of more than two million websites, videos, and mobile apps, the Display Network also includes Google sites such as Gmail, YouTube, and Blogger.

Owners can earn money by enrolling in Google’s AdSense program to allow advertisements on their sites, apps, or video content. AdSense ads generate revenue for the site owners based on factors such as clicks or impressions.

Bing Bing (previously named MSN Search and Microsoft Live Search) is a search engine designed by Microsoft that competes with Google and Yahoo. It’s currently the second-most-used general search engine in the United States.

Organic results In addition to providing rich, blended SERP results on par with Google’s,
Bing differentiates itself through features like its daily full-screen home page image, a longer list of search results per page, and a rewards program that lets people earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards just for using Bing.

Bing Search also lets users easily modify the search results based upon any location they would like the search to appear from. Paid results Microsoft’s paid program is called Bing Ads, and reports are that it offers advertisers an extremely good return on investment (ROI).

Like Google, Bing ranks its ads based on keyword bid price and ad quality. Microsoft also lets you place adjustable bids based on demographic details. For example, a mortgage lead from an adult with a higher income might be worth more than an equivalent search by someone who is young and still in college.

Checking Out the Rest of the Field:
AOL and Ask.com The five biggest search engines worldwide right now are Google,
Yahoo, Bing, Baidu (a Chinese search engine), and Yandex
(a Russian search engine — see Book IX, Chapter 2 for more information on Baidu and Yandex), with Google taking home the lion’s share.

But other smaller engines that draw a pretty respectable number of hits are still operating. AOL AOL has been around in some form or another since 1983. Today AOL provides some services such as email, chat, and its own search engine. AOL gets all its search engine results from Google, both organic and paid.

If you want to appear in an AOL search, you must focus on Google. AOL uses the Google index results in its search engine. Ask.com Ask.com (some of you may remember it as Ask Jeeves) pioneered blended search (the integration of different content types, such as images, videos, news, blogs, books, maps, and so on, onto the search results page) but failed to gain any significant market share from the larger three engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo).

Ask.com changed its market strategy and now considers itself an “answer engine,” rather than a search engine. Ask.com generates comprehensive results answering question-focused search queries, pulling information from third-party directories, feeds, Q&A forums, and Google’s organic results.

Ask.com gets most of its paid search ads from Google AdWords. Ask.com does have its own internal ad service, but it places internal ads above the Google AdWords ads only if it feels the internal ads will bring in more revenue. Finding Your Niche: Vertical Engines We’ve been talking mostly about general search engines, whose specific purpose is to scour everyone and everything on the web and return results to you.

But there’s also another type of search engine known as a vertical search engine. Vertical search engines are search engines that restrict their search either by industry, geographic area, or file type. Google has several vertical search engines listed in the upper-left corner
of its home page for images, apps, and so forth.

So when you type [jam] into Google’s Images search, it only returns pictures of jam instead
of web pages. The three main types of vertical search engines are detailed in the following sections. Industry-specific Industry-specific vertical search engines serve particular types
of businesses.

The real estate industry has its own search engines like Realtor.com (www.realtor.com)
and Zillow.com (www.zillow.com), which provide housing listings, and companion sites
ike HomeAdvisor.com, which is for home improvement contractors.

If you want to conduct searches related to the medical industry, you can use WebMD.com (www.webmd.com), a search engine devoted entirely to medical
questions and services.

Questions about Hollywood stars and anyone ever connected with movie-making can be answered at IMDB.com, which stands for Internet Movie Database. If you are searching for legal services, FindLaw.com (www.findlaw.com) and Lawyers.com (www.lawyers.com) can help you search for an attorney by location and practice.

Niche engines like these deliver less traffic but make up for it in the targeted nature of traffic. Visitors who access your site using niche engines are prequalified because they're looking for exactly your type of site. Local A local search engine is an engine specializing in websites that are tied to a limited physical area also known as a geotargeted area. Basically, this type of engine is looking for things in your general neck of the woods.

In addition to their main indexes, the major search engines have local-only indexes
that they integrate into their main results, like Google My Business and Bing Places. Businesses submit a local listing to the search engines, which includes information about
the local business such as its name, address, city, phone number, categories the business may be searched under, and so on.

That means the site could pop up if someone’s looking for that type of business within its geographic area. A searcher might specify a ZIP code, city, or other geographic qualifier in
a search query to find geotargeted results, such as [Milwaukee chiropractor].
However, Google and Bing can pretty reliably understand the intent of a search.


If the engine thinks the searcher wants to find a nearby business, it displays local listings right in the search results. For example, a search for [dry cleaners] brings up website links
to businesses near the searcher, even though no location was specified in the query.

■■■SEO-101 ■■■

Press on the picture to Purchase,
Or to Know More ..Click
Knowledge is Power

Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
In This Chapter Discovering where people search Understanding the difference between search sites and search systems Distilling thousands of search sites down to three search systems Understanding how search engines work Gathering tools and basic knowledge You’ve got a problem.

You want people to visit your Web site; that’s the purpose, after all — to bring people to your site to buy your product, or find out about your service, or hear about the cause you support, or for whatever other purpose you’ve built the site. So you’ve decided you need to get traffic from the search engines — not an unreasonable conclusion, as you find out in this chapter.

But there are so many search engines! You have the obvious ones — Google, AOL, Yahoo!, and Bing (formerly MSN) — but you’ve probably also heard of others: HotBot, Dogpile, Ask.com, Netscape, and EarthLink. There’s also Lycos, InfoSpace, Mamma.com, WebCrawler, and many more.

To top it all off, you’ve seen advertising asserting that for only $49.95 (or $19.95, or $99.95, or whatever sum seems to make sense to the advertiser), you, too, can have your Web site listed in hundreds, nay, thousands of search engines. You may have even used some of these services, only to discover that the flood of traffic you were promised turns up missing.

Well, I’ve got some good news.
You can forget almost all the names I just listed — well, at least you can after you read this chapter. The point of this chapter is to take a complicated landscape of thousands of search sites and whittle it down into the small group of search systems that really matter. (Search sites? Search systems ?
Don’t worry; I explain the distinction in a moment.)

If you really want to, you can jump to the “Where Do People Search ?”
section (near the end of the chapter) to see the list of search systems you need to worry about and ignore the details. But I’ve found that when I give this list to someone, he or she looks at me like I’m crazy because they know that some popular search sites aren’t on the list. This chapter explains why.

Investigating Search Engines and Directories
The term search engine has become the predominant term for search system or search site, but before reading any further, you need to understand the different types of search, um, thingies that you’re going to run across. Although out on the Interwebs you will hear the term search engine a lot, perhaps almost exclusively, I like to sometimes use the term search site.
Why ?
Because there are many search sites that either don’t use search engines (they have directories instead, as I explain below) or get their search results from somewhere else.

Take, for instance, AOL.com (http://www.aol.com
One might be forgiven for thinking that AOL.com is a search engine; after all, it has a big search box right at the top, and if you enter a phrase and press Enter, or click a colored SEARCH button, you get search results.

However, AOL doesn’t own a search engine, despite the fact that you can search at the AOL site. (Indeed, many people do search at AOL, around 200 million times a month). Rather, AOL gets its search results from the Google search engine. Hence my desire to differentiate between search sites (places where you can search) and search engines (the systems that actually do all the work).

It’s an important distinction, as this chapter explains later. Search sites, indexes, & engines Let me quickly give you a few simple definitions: Search Site: A Web site where you can search for information on the Web.

Search Engine: A system that collects pages from the Web, saves them in a massive database, indexes the information, and provides a mechanism for people to search through the data. Search Index: The index containing all the information that the engine collected
and searches.

Search Directory: A system that contains some basic information about Web sites,
rather than about collected and indexed Web pages. Index envy Late in 2005, Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com) claimed that its index contained information for about 20 billion pages, along with almost 2 billion images and 50 million audio and video pages.

Google (www.google.com) used to actually state on its home page how many pages it indexed — it reached 15 billion or so at one point — but decided not to play the “mine is
bigger than yours” game with Yahoo! and removed the stat. In 2015, Google reported that it had discovered 60 trillion pages, though not all were indexed; still, some reports claimed that, in 2014, Google had 65 billion pages in its index !

Whatever the actual number is, just assume that it’s more than you can shake the proverbial stick at. (Yahoo! doesn’t even have a directory these days; rather, it uses the search-results index from Bing.) Large search-index companies own thousands of computers that use software known as spiders, searchbots, or robots (or just plain bots) to grab Web pages and read the information stored in them.

These systems use complex algorithms — calculations based on complicated formulae — to index that information and rank it in search results when people search. Google, shown in Figure 1-1, is the world’s most popular search site.

Figure 1-1: Google, the world’s most popular search engine, produced these results.
Search directories Before there were search engines, there were search directories.
A directory is a categorized collection of information about Web sites.
Rather than containing information from Web pages, it contains information about Web sites.

In fact, before Google was even a twinkle in its fathers’ eyes, Yahoo! directory was America’s dominant search site; “The Google of the 1990s,” as I’ve seen it described. Directories are not created using spiders or bots to download and index pages on the Web sites in the directory; rather, for each Web site, the directory contains information, such as a title, description, and category, submitted by the site owner.

The two most important directories, Yahoo! and Open Directory, have staff members who examine all the sites in the directory to make sure they’re placed into the correct categories and meet certain quality criteria. Smaller directories often accept sites based on the owners’ submission, with little verification.

The most significant search directories in recent years were owned by Yahoo! (http://dir.yahoo.com) and the Open Directory Project (affectionately known as DMOZ due to its original name — Directory Mozilla — and its domain name, www.dmoz.org; see Figure 1-2; the Open Directory Project actually is a volunteer-managed directory owned by AOL).

However, search directories are simply nowhere near as important today as in the past. In 2011, in fact, Google gave up on its own directory; until then, http://dir.google.com led to a Google directory based on the Open Directory Project data. Figure 1-2: The Open Directory Project. And just weeks before I began work on this edition of SEO For Dummies, Yahoo! closed down its directory, barely informing the world.

Can DMOZ be far behind ?
Especially as it’s been a decade since one of its founders suggested that it really served no purpose ?
Probably not.
These directories are becoming pretty irrelevant to average users; most users don’t know they even exist. Google dumped its directory, Yahoo! Directory just expired, and it’s unclear whether the lights are on at DMOZ (it’s very hard to get a site into that directory these days).

In fact, there’s a good chance that the only reason Yahoo! continued its directory as long as it did was the $299 annual fee it got from the companies submitting to it.
(Just sayin’!) However, directories may still be useful to your SEO efforts, Chapter 14 will address it. Spidered Directories I wasn’t sure what to call these things, so I made up a name: spidered directories.

A number of small search sites don’t use spiders to examine the full contents of each page in the index. Rather, spiders grab a little background information about each page, such as titles, descriptions, and keywords. In some cases, this information comes from the meta tags pulled off the pages in the index.
(I tell you about meta tags in Chapter 3.)

In other cases, the person who enters the site into the index provides this information.
These are a form of directory, but they are generally created programmatically rather than by site owners requesting inclusion.

(Yahoo! Directory was, and DMOZ still is, perhaps, “hand built” by using data submitted
by site owners.) A number of the smaller systems discussed in Chapter 14 are of this type.
Pay-per-click systems Many search sites provide pay-per-click (PPC) listings. When you search at Google, for instance, you’ll see results that come out of Google’s main index,
but also small text ads.


Advertisers place these small ads into the PPC system, and when users perform their searches the results contain some of these sponsored listings, typically above and to
the right of the free listings. Pay-per-click systems are discussed in an additional chapter posted at www.SearchEngineBulletin.com.

Keeping the terms straight Here are a few additional terms that you’ll see scattered throughout the book: Search site: This is a general term I use to refer to a Web site that provides search results; a Web site that lets you search through some kind of index or directory of Web sites, or perhaps both an index and directory.

(In some cases, search sites known as meta indexes allow you to search through multiple indices.) Google.com, AOL.com, and EarthLink.com are all search sites. Dogpile.com and Mamma.com are meta-index search sites.

Search system:
This organization possesses a combination of software, hardware, and people that indexes or categorizes Web sites — the system builds the index or directory you search at a search site. The distinction is important because a search site might not actually own a search index or directory.

For instance, Google is a search system — it displays results from the index that it creates
for itself — but AOL.com and EarthLink.com aren’t. In fact, if you search at AOL.com or EarthLink.com, you actually get Google search results. Google and the Open Directory Project provide search results to hundreds of search sites. In fact, most of the world’s search sites get their search results from elsewhere (mostly Google these days); see Figure 1-3.

Search term: This is the word, or words, that someone types into a search engine when looking for information. Search results: Results are the information (the results of your search term) returned to you when you go to a search site and search for something. As just explained, in many cases the search results you see don’t come from the search site you’re using, but rather from some other search system.

SERPs: I don’t use the term much, but you’ll hear others in the business talking about the serps. It simply means search engine results page, the page that appears after you search. Natural search results: A link to a Web page can appear on a search results page two ways: The search engine may place it on the page because the site owner paid to be there (pay-per-click ads), or it may pull the page from its index because it thinks the page matches the search term well.

These free placements are often known as natural search results; you’ll also hear the term organic search results and sometimes even algorithmic search results. Search engine optimization (SEO): Search engine optimization (also known as SEO) refers to “optimizing” Web sites and Web pages to rank well in the search engines — the subject of this book, of course. Figure 1-3: Look carefully, and you’ll see that many search sites get their search results from other search systems.

Why bother with search engines ?
Why bother using search engines for your marketing ?
Because search engines represent the single most important source of new Web site visitors. You may have heard that most Web site visits begin at a search engine.

Well, this isn’t true, though many people continue to use these outdated statistics because they sound good — “80 percent of all Web site visitors reach the site through a search engine,” for instance. However, way back in 2003, that claim was finally put to rest. The number of search-originated site visits dropped below the 50 percent mark.

Most Web site visitors reach their destinations by either typing a
URL — a Web address — into their browsers and going there directly or by clicking a link on another site that takes them there. Most visitors don’t reach their destinations by starting at the search engines.

However, search engines are still extremely important for a number of reasons:
The proportion of visits originating at search engines is still significant.
Sure, it’s not 80 percent, but with billions of searches each month, it’s still a lot of traffic. According to a report by comScore published early in 2015, Internet users in the United States were performing more than 21 billion searches at major search engines each month (with 29 percent of those searches coming from mobile devices).

Many billions more searches are carried out in other search sites, such as map sites (MapQuest), video sites (YouTube), retail sites (Amazon, eBay, Craigslist), and so on. It’s likely that more than 35 billion searches are performed in the United States each month, 2 to 3 searches every day for every man, woman,
Child, and baby in the United States.

Of the visits that don’t originate at a search engine, a large proportion are revisits — people who know exactly where they want to go. This isn’t new business; it’s repeat business. Most new visits come through the search engines — that is, search engines are the single most important source of new visitors to Web sites. It’s also been well established for a number of years that most people researching a purchase begin their research at the search engines.

(Except for those who don’t.
As I discuss in Chapter 15, many, perhaps most, product searches actually begin in sites such as Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist.But then, I think it’s important to understand that these sites are search engines; they are, in effect, product-search engines.)

Search engines represent an inexpensive way to reach people. Generally, you get more bang for your buck going after free search-engine traffic than almost any other form of advertising or marketing. Here’s an example.

One client of mine, selling construction equipment to the tune of $10,000 a month, rebuilt his site and began a combined natural-search and paid-search campaign, boosting sales to around $500,000 a month in less than two years. It’s hard to imagine how he could have grown his company, with relatively little investment,

So quickly without the search engines !
Where Do People Search ?
You can search for Web sites at many places. Literally thousands of sites, in fact, provide the ability to search the Web. (What you may not realize, however, is that many sites search only a small subset of the World Wide Web.) However, most searches are carried out at a small number of search sites.

How do the world’s most popular search sites rank ?
That depends on how you measure popularity: Percentage of site visitors
(audience reach) Total number of visitors Total number of searches carried out at a site Total number of hours visitors spend searching at the site Each measurement provides a slightly different ranking.

Although all provide a similar picture with the same sites generally appearing on the list, some search sites are in slightly different positions. The following list shows the United States’ top general search sites early in 2015, according to comScore:

Google sites: 65.4 percent Microsoft sites (Bing): 19.7 percent Yahoo! sites: 11.8 percent Ask Network: 2.0 percent AOL, Inc.: 1.2 percent Remember that this is a list of search sites, not search systems. In fact, the preceding list shows groups of sites — the Microsoft entry, for instance, includes searches on Bing.com and MSN.com. In some cases, the sites own their own systems. Google provides its own search results, for instance, but AOL doesn’t.

(AOL gets its results from Google.)
Yahoo! gets its results from Bing, thanks to a Yahoo!/Microsoft partnership — known as the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance — that was implemented in August 2010. (Look for the little Powered by Bing notice at the bottom of Yahoo! search pages.


It’s been reported that Yahoo! wants out of the agreement—so it can go back to using Google search results!—but can’t figure out how to break the 10-year contract with Microsoft.) The fact that some sites get results from other search systems means two things: The numbers in the preceding list are somewhat misleading. They suggest that Google has 65.4 percent of all searches. But Google also feeds AOL its results — add AOL’s searches to Google’s, and you have 66.5 percent of all searches. Additionally, Google feeds search results to various other sites, increasing that number further.

Microsoft feeds not just 19.7 percent of results but, when you add in the Yahoo! searches, powered by Microsoft, actually over 31.5 percent. You can ignore some of these systems. At present, and for the foreseeable future, you don’t need to worry about AOL.com. Even though it’s one of the world’s top search sites (though admittedly still far behind Google, Yahoo!, and Bing), as long as you remember that Google feeds AOL, you need to worry about Google only.

You don’t really need to worry about Yahoo!, either; as long as Bing feeds Yahoo!, you can think of the two as essentially the same index. Now reexamine the preceding list of the U.S.’s most important search sites and see what you can remove to get closer to a list of sites you care about. Check out Table 1-1 for the details.

Table 1-1 The Top Search Sites Search Site Keep It On the List? Description Google.com Yes The big kid on the block. Lots of people search the Google index on its own search site, and it feeds many sites. Obviously, Google has to stay on the list. Bing Yes Bing creates its own index, gets many searches, and feeds data to Yahoo!. So Bing is critical. Yahoo.com No Yahoo! is obviously a large, important site, but it gets its search results from Bing, so as long as you’re in the Bing index, you’re in Yahoo!.

Ask.com (previously known as AskJeeves.com) Yes It has its own search engine and feeds some other systems — MyWay, Lycos, and Excite. Keep it in mind, though it’s small and relatively unimportant compared to Google and Bing. AOL.com
No Fuggetaboutit — AOL gets search results from Google.

Based on the information in Table 1-1, you can whittle down your list of systems to three: Google, Bing, and Ask. The top two search systems are very important, accounting for 95 percent or more of all search results, with a small follower, Ask, which provides results to many smaller search sites. There’s one more system I’m tempted to add to these three systems, though: the Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.org).

This directory system feeds data to hundreds of search sites, so if you can get listed in here, it’s a great thing, and, in fact, in earlier editions of this book, I have included it. However, whether you actually can get listed these days is another matter, so I’m going to leave it off the list, though I look at it in more detail in Chapter 14.

To summarize, three important systems are left:
Google Bing Ask That’s not so bad, is it ?
You’ve just gone from thousands of sites to three, and only the top two are critical.
(The only reason Ask.com gets included on such lists is that even though it has a tiny share of the search market, there’s nothing below it on the list that comes close.)

Now, some of you may be thinking, “Aren’t you missing some sites ?
What happened to HotBot, Mamma.com, WebCrawler, Lycos, and all the other systems that were so well known a few years ago ?”
A lot of them have disappeared or have turned over a new leaf and are pursuing other opportunities. For example, Northern Light, a system well known in the late 1990s, now sells search software. And in the cases in which the search sites are still running, they’re generally fed by other search systems. WebCrawler, for instance, gets search results from Google and Yahoo!, which means, in effect, from Google and Bing.

AltaVista, the Web’s first big search index, has been owned by Yahoo! for years, but now the domain merely redirects to Yahoo.com. The same goes for AllTheWeb (for the geeks among you who remember it) — another domain redirect to Yahoo.com. If the search site you remember isn’t mentioned here, it’s either out of business, being fed by someone else, or simply not important in the big scheme of things.

When you find a new search system, look carefully on the page near the search box,
or on the search results page — perhaps at the bottom of the page in the copyright message — and you may find where the search results are coming from. You’ll also want to work with some other search systems, as you find out in Chapter 14.

In some cases, you need to check out specialty directories and indexes related to the industry in which your Web site operates or submit your site to Web directories in order to build links back to your site. In addition, in Chapter 15, you find out about the product search sites — hugely important for those of you selling products.

And in Chapter 20, I tell you about the video sites — YouTube, for instance, is the world’s third most important search engine, after Google and Bing. However, the preceding systems — Google, Bing, and Ask.com — are the most important general-search systems. And again, only the first two are really critical.

Google alone provides almost 70 percent of all search results. Get your site into both Google and Bing , and you’re in front of probably around 99 percent of all searchers. Well, perhaps you’re in front of them. You have a chance of being in front of them, anyway, if your site ranks highly (which is what this book is all about). Search Engine Magic Go to Google and search for the term personal injury lawyer.

Then look at the blue bar below the Google logo, and you see something like this: About 42,800,000 results (0.48 seconds) This means Google has found over 40 million pages that
it believes match these three words in some way. Yet, somehow, Google has managed to rank the pages. It’s decided that one particular page should appear first, and then another, and then another, and so on. (By the way, this has to be one of the wonders of the modern world:


Search engines have tens of thousands of computers, evaluating a trillion pages or more, in a fraction of a second.)
How do they do it ?
How on earth does Google do it ?
How does it evaluate and compare pages ?
How do other search engines do the same ?
Well, I don’t know exactly. Search engines don’t want you to know how they work (or it would be too easy to create pages that exactly match the criteria of the search system for any given search term, “giving them what they want to see”).

But I can explain the general concept.
When Google searches for your search term, it begins by looking for pages containing the exact phrase. Then it starts looking for pages containing the words close together, and for synonyms; search for dog and Google knows you may be interested in pages with the word canine, for instance.

(One Google source claims that synonyms come into play in around 70 percent of all searches.) Then it looks for pages that have the words scattered around. This isn’t necessarily the order in which a search engine shows you pages; in some cases, pages with words close together (but not the exact phrase) appear higher than pages with the exact phrase, for instance.

That’s because search engines evaluate pages according to a variety of criteria.
Search engines look at many factors. They look for the words throughout the page, both in the visible page and in the nonvisible portions of the HTML source code for the page. Each time they find the words, they are weighted in some way. A word in one position is worth more than a word in another position. A word formatted in one way is worth more than a word formatted in another.

(You read more about this in Chapter 7.)
There’s more, though. Search engines also look at links pointing to pages and use those links to evaluate the referenced pages: How many links are there ?
How many are from popular sites ?
What words are in the link text ?
You read more about this in Chapters 16 through 18.

Stepping into the programmers’ shoes
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about SEO.
Some of it’s good, some of it’s not so good, and some of it’s downright wrong.
When evaluating a claim about what search engines do,
I sometimes find it useful to step into the shoes of the people building the search engines;
I try to think about what would make sense from the perspective of the programmers who write the code that evaluates all these pages.

Consider this: Say, you search for personal injury lawyer, and the search engine finds one page with the term in the page’s title (between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> tags, which you
read more about in Chapters 3 and 7),
and another page with the term somewhere deep in the page text.

Which do you think is likely to match the search term better ?
If the text is in the title, doesn’t that indicate that page is likely to be related in some way to the term ?

If the text is deep in the body of the page,
couldn’t it mean that the page isn’t directly related to the term, but that it’s related to it in some incidental or peripheral manner?

Press on the picture to Purchase,
Or to Know ..More Click
Knowledge is Power

Exploring Facebook Marketing
In This Chapter Discovering Facebook’s marketing potential Looking at four key Facebook marketing strategies Mastering the art of Facebook engagement Examining Facebook’s global market opportunities Understanding the basics of Facebook marketing Seeing the benefits of selling from the Facebook platform Facebook is the most powerful social network on the planet.

With more than one billion active users, Facebook presents a unique opportunity to connect with and educate your ideal audience in a way that your website and your blog can’t even come close to matching. The reach of the Facebook platform has grown exponentially in the past few years and will only continue to get bigger. In fact, the number of Facebook Pages created by brands was over 50 million in February of 2013.

Today, almost anyone or any company can find a following on Facebook, from big brands such as Starbucks to small mom-and-pop shops. Facebook’s platform can turn a business into a living, breathing, one-to-one online marketing machine. Facebook has changed the game, and there’s no better time than the present to jump on board.

In this chapter, we cover why Facebook should become a key marketing tool to help you grow your business. Specifically, we look at Facebook’s massive marketing potential, its expansive capability to reach your ideal audience, and the core strategies you can implement today to seamlessly add Facebook to your marketing program.

Seeing the Business Potential of Facebook We have good news and bad news for you when it comes to Facebook marketing. The bad news first: Facebook marketing isn’t free. Sure, it doesn’t cost actual dollars to get set up with a presence on Facebook, but it will cost you time and effort — two hot commodities that most business owners have very little of these days.

You have to account for the time and energy it takes to plan your strategy, set it up, train yourself, execute your plan, build your relationships, and take care of your new customers after you start seeing your efforts pay off.

And although you don’t need to be tied to Facebook 24/7 to see results, dedicated time and effort are essential when creating a successful Facebook marketing plan, and your time and effort are anything but free. And for the good news:

This book and our collective experience can help you streamline your Facebook marketing efforts and eliminate the guesswork that often goes into figuring out anything that’s new and somewhat complex. Remember this very important fact:
You are not in the business of Facebook marketing.
Your job is not to become an expert or a master of Facebook.

As you navigate this book,
Remember that your job is to be an expert at your business — and Facebook is a tool that you will use to do that. Take the pressure off yourself to master Facebook marketing. This will make all the difference as you master the strategies outlined throughout these pages. Facebook can help you create exposure and awareness for your business, increase sales, collect market data, enhance your customers’ experience, and increase your position as an authority in your field.

However, before you can start to see real results, you must determine why you’re on Facebook. Asking yourself what you’re after If you take the time to ponder the following questions, you’ll gradually begin to create a road map to Facebook marketing success:
Why do you want to use Facebook to market your business ?
More specifically, what do you hope to gain from your use of Facebook, and how will it help your business ?
Who is your ideal audience ?
Get specific here. Who are you talking to ?
What are the demographics, needs, wants, and challenges of the folks who will buy your products, programs, or services? What do you want your ideal audience to do via your efforts on Facebook ?
In other words, what feelings, actions, or behaviors do you want your audience to experience? How can you be useful ?
Finally, remember that Facebook is a friend network where brands are relatively unwelcome. How can you use Facebook to be useful to your customers ?
Using Facebook to your advantage


When you’re clear about why you’re on Facebook, you’re better able to design a strategy that best fits your business needs. We explore many potential strategies through the course of this book. For now, though, in the name of helping you better understand how you can use Facebook to market your business, here’s a list of just a few ideas you can implement when you embrace Facebook marketing:

Set up special promotions inside Facebook, and offer special deals exclusively to your Facebook community. You could create a coupon that your visitors can print and bring into your store for a special discount, for example.

Offer Q&A sessions in real time. Your visitors can post questions about your niche, product, or service; then you and your team can offer great advice and information
to your Facebook community. Highlight your Facebook fans by offering a Member
of the Month award. You could choose and highlight one fan who shows exemplary participation in your Facebook community.

People love to be acknowledged, and Facebook is a fantastic platform for recognizing your best clients and prospects. Highlight your own employees with an Employee of the Month feature on your Facebook Page. Profile someone who’s making a difference at the company. You can include photos and video to make it even more entertaining and interesting to your audience.

Sell your products and services directly inside Facebook. Include a button that
links your fans to an electronic shopping cart to enable them to buy in the moment.
You have many opportunities to promote and sell your products and services on Facebook. The preceding list is just a glimpse of what you can do inside Facebook’s powerful walls.

Many more opportunities await you, as we explain in later minibooks. Reaping the benefits for business-to-consumer companies When it comes to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, one of the greatest advantages of Facebook marketing is the ability to engage one-on-one with your ideal clients.

By asking questions, encouraging conversations, and creating personal engagement with your customers and prospects, you can build relationships in a way that wasn’t possible before social networking took the marketing world by storm.

Although we all know that consumer brands with big marketing budgets can attract millions of followers on Facebook, there’s still room for the little guys.

Here’s a thought experiment: Rather than feel frustrated because your company can’t compete with big-brand giants on Facebook, turn the success of those companies into an opportunity for you to model the best and learn from them.

Here are four key strategies that the big B2C companies have adopted in their Facebook marketing strategies to help them stand out from the rest:
Acknowledge your fans.

The B2C giants on Facebook do a fantastic job of  spotlighting their fans. When fans feel appreciated, they continue to engage with your Page. One great example of this strategy comes from Oreo, which knows a thing or two about standing out. Oreo created a campaign to spotlight what fans think about Oreos.

Fans share their videos, photos, and stories via a Facebook app, providing Oreo with limitless content and customer loyalty. Oreo’s Facebook Page has millions of fans, so those folks must be doing something right! See Figure 1-1. Figure 1-1: Oreo can wow its audience by creating unique experiences. Know your audience. When you’re clear about who you’re communicating with on Facebook, you can create experiences around your audience’s interest and likes.

An example of a B2C company that’s in tune with its audience is Red Bull, as evidenced by that Page’s custom apps and unique content. The team behind Red Bull’s Facebook Page knows what its audience will respond to best and then delivers. A series of online games and apps for fans, for example, is geared toward sports and high-impact competitions, as shown in Figure 1-2.

Mix up your media. Facebook strategies that infuse a variety of media, including photos and video, often draw a bigger crowd. One example is JetBlue’s airline terminal live music shows. JetBlue knows that many of their customers appreciate culture.

Working with local and independent artists, they presented live music concerts at several of their locations, as shown in Figure 1-3. So not only are they using videos, but they’re also providing rich cultural experiences in addition to affordable and enjoyable air travel! Very smart, JetBlue! Have fun.

Face it, most people log on to Facebook to have fun and connect with friends. Interacting with businesses is a distant consideration. That doesn’t mean, however, that these users aren’t a captive audience! The key is to infuse fun into your Facebook activity when appropriate. Figure 1-2: Red Bull keeps it fun with its Red Bull Arcade on Facebook. Figure 1-3: JetBlue shares performing artist info with their fans.

Going viral When a video, article, or other piece of content goes viral, it means that people are continually sharing that content long after the first few hours after it’s published. For example, someone might post an amazingly funny video on YouTube.

People start to pass it along to their friends by e-mailing the link, posting it on their Facebook Pages, and tweeting about it. If a massive number of people begin to share the video, it will appear on major news websites, and even late night TV. When that happens, the virality of that video can increase exponentially! Photos are viewed more than anything else on Facebook.

They go viral quickly because when a fan posts a photo, that photo is sent to the News Feeds of all their friends. Hundreds of thousands of potential new fans will see these photos. When reviewing these four strategies illustrated by some well-known B2C companies, remember that you, too, can create these experiences for little or no cost.
Again, model the best that’s out there, and make the strategies work for your own business. Reaping the benefits for business-to-business companies

We know that Facebook marketing works well for B2C businesses, but if you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company, you may be wondering whether Facebook makes sense. In short, the answer is yes! In fact, according to the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Research Report from HubSpot, 41 percent of B2B companies have reported acquiring a customer through Facebook.

Not only can B2B companies incorporate the four key strategies mentioned in the preceding section, but B2B companies also have a unique advantage over B2C when it comes to Facebook marketing: Facebook’s platform is designed to support exactly what B2B companies need to be successful in attracting clients and securing sales.

To better explain this idea, here are three factors that make B2B a perfect fit for Facebook marketing: B2B has a smaller potential customer base. B2B companies don’t have to constantly focus on growing their numbers of followers to hundreds of thousands; instead, they can put the majority of their focus on nurturing the relationships they already have. Facebook is a platform that thrives on one-to-one relationships. Buying decisions in B2B rely heavily on word of mouth and reputation.

Businesses that are looking to make a huge buying decision often want to know what their peers are doing and how they feel about a product or service. Facebook’s open network allows people to see who their peers are interacting with and what they’re talking about at any given time, therefore making it easy to find out what others think about a product or service. B2B generally has a higher average price point than B2C.

When the price of the product or service is considered to be high, the client is likely to seek out information and content to support buying decisions. On Facebook, content is king. The more high-value content a company can generate, the more likely it will be to attract the ideal client base and become a Facebook success story.

For B2B companies, connection, knowledge sharing, and reputation management are key ingredients of success. Facebook’s unique platform can help optimize these key strategies. Developing genuine relationships with customers and prospects No matter whether your business is B2B or B2C, it really comes down to one person talking to another. No one wants to interact with a faceless brand, business, or logo. We all want to buy from a friend — someone we trust and feel comfortable engaging with regularly.

Facebook allows us to move beyond the obstacles of traditional marketing (very one-sided) and instead communicate with our clients and prospects on a one-on-one level by putting a face with a name, making the entire exchange more human. Creating one-to-one customer engagement Engagement is crucial in mastering Facebook marketing. If you build rapport and can get your Facebook community talking, your efforts will go a long way.

It’s one thing to broadcast a special promotion on Facebook, but it’s an entirely different experience to ask your fans a question related to your products and services and receive 50 responses from people telling you exactly how they feel about what you’re selling. In many cases, this real-time engagement can be priceless.

In Figure 1-4, the popular online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos.com asks its female fans about “girls night” preferences for fingernail polish color preferences. Figure 1-4: Ask (a question), and ye shall receive. One very successful Facebook marketing strategy is to ask your followers interesting questions.


It’s human nature to enjoy talking about likes and interests; therefore, encourage sharing by asking your fans to express their thoughts about their likes and interests. It’s a great way to increase fan engagement. Providing prompt customer service Before the days of social networking, phone calls, e-mails, and handwritten letters were just about your only options when it came to reaching out to your clients.

Today, you can send a tweet or make a Facebook post to inform your customers of new features, benefits, or changes to your products or services. Social media allows you to get the word out quickly, making it easier for you to keep your customers informed and satisfied. If you optimize your Facebook marketing experience, you can provide your customers a superior customer experience — a much richer experience than you’ve ever been able to offer before.

Not only can you create a social media experience in which you’re keeping your customers informed, but you can also give them an opportunity to reach out to you. Imagine this: You sell shoes. A client orders a pair of your shoes online and receives them in the mail. When the shoes arrive, they’re the wrong pair.

That client logs on to Facebook and posts this message: I just received my much anticipated pair of red stilettos in the mail today … too bad the company messed up and sent me sneakers instead! I’m frustrated! At first glance, you may think that a post like that would hurt your business. On social sites like Facebook and Twitter, however, you can turn a potentially bad post into an opportunity to gain a customer for life.

Imagine that you respond within just five minutes with this post: Julie, we are so sorry that you received the wrong pair of shoes! We are shipping your red stilettos overnight, and make sure to look for the 50% off coupon we included in your box as well. Two pairs of shoes are always better than one! Here’s what’s great: The opportunity for real-time problem solving is powerful.

You not only just saved a sale and made Julie a happy customer, but you also showed anyone watching on Facebook that you care about your clients and will go above and beyond the call of duty to make them happy. This type of experience wasn’t possible before social media came on the scene. You can find out more about online tools that will help you monitor who’s talking about you online in Book IX, Chapter 3. These tools will help you stay in the know and in tune with your customers.

They will also save you precious time and effort when managing your Facebook activity. In addition to proactively monitoring Facebook for customer service issues, you can use many robust tools to create a virtual service desk directly inside Facebook. Livescribe, for example, has incorporated a support desk directly into its Facebook Page.

As you can see in Figure 1-5, you can ask the folks at Livescribe a question, share an idea, report a problem, or even give praise directly from that Facebook Page. Figure 1-5: Check out the Livescribe Facebook support desk. Customers commonly use social media sites to post questions or complaints.

If you provide a designated place for support, you’re likely to keep your customers happy and turn them into repeat buyers! What’s even more important is that others can see these posts. Then fans and potential buyers can go to this custom app to get answers or see what others are saying about the products. It’s another great way to educate fans about your products and services. In addition, this tool can cut down service calls when it’s executed correctly, saving your company time and money.

Creating a shopping portal Facebook’s expansion into the e-commerce sector might forever change the way we shop. In the past, creating an e-commerce website took a lot of money and even more time. Today, Facebook’s platform — interwoven with third-party apps — has allowed millions of businesses to showcase their products and services and to sell them online.

(To find out more about how third-party apps can be part of your Facebook marketing strategy, check out Book V.) When it comes to the kinds of shopping interfaces you can create on Facebook, you have two options: A storefront: Here’s where potential buyers come to browse products.

When users want to buy, they click the Buy button and are then taken to a separate, e-commerce website to finalize the purchase. Currently, this type of shopping interface is the most popular, but we’ll likely see the second interface option (see next bullet) catch up soon.

A fully functioning store: Your second interface option involves creating a full-blown store where shoppers can browse and purchase without leaving the Facebook environment. You can find one example of such a fully functioning store on the Facebook Page for the Grandma Mary Show.

Here, you’ll find a buying experience within Facebook where you can buy an e-book
directly from that Facebook Page, as shown in Figure 1-6. Figure 1-6: The Grandma
Mary Show allows e-book purchases from directly inside the Facebook e-commerce platform. When Facebook users post about products they love, the users’ friends
naturally want to know more.

This curiosity creates viral exposure for your products and services. Facebook offers an extremely valuable opportunity to showcase your products and services and to create a new portal where you can sell your goods. Using Facebook with the Global Market Few people would deny that the social media phenomenon — and Facebook, specifically — is growing at a staggering pace.

Online users in Australia, Japan, and Italy all show even stronger adoption of social media than Americans do, and those in China, Denmark, and Sweden are said to be adopting social media at the same rates as Americans. Going international To give you a glimpse of the magnitude of Facebook’s global reach, here are some statistics provided by Facebook as of April 2014: More than 1.3 billion active users.

More than 60% of Facebook’s active users log on to Facebook in any given day.
More than 945 million active users access Facebook through their mobile devices monthly, and people who use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook as nonmobile users. Young adults continue to be the heaviest Facebook users, but the most rapid growth is among those 50 years old and older.

This group is the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook today. Although the United States is the largest country on Facebook, the UK is Facebook’s second-largest market, with more than 23 million users. Brazil and Indonesia are in the third and fourth spots. With more than 80 percent of Facebook users located outside the United States, it’s essential to understand Facebook’s place in the global market.

Facebook breaks down barriers and makes introducing your products and services to international audiences easier. Here are some opportunities you can explore to extend your brand’s footprint in the global market: Use Facebook advertising to reach international audiences.

You can target 25 countries with one Facebook Ad, or you can target one country at a time and drill down into specific cities within the country. You can also create multiple ads and target numerous cities in the countries you want to target with your ads.

The more localized you make your ads, the better chance you have of reaching
your ideal audience. Translate your content. With the rise of international markets
on Facebook today, consider translating your content on Facebook. In fact, English accounts for only 31 percent of language use online. Facebook has its own crowdsourced translation product: Facebook Translation app.

In many countries, the majority of people do not have access to computers with Internet access. Mobile devices are making it possible for Facebook to reach more people, however. Understanding Facebook Marketing Basics Facebook can supercharge your existing marketing efforts by giving you a platform to grow your audience, create deeper connections, and create new experiences to foster loyal client relationships.

Facebook’s unique platforms that let you market and promote your brand online are your Profile and your Facebook Page. The Subscribe button, which is optional, allows Facebook users who aren’t your Friends on Facebook to subscribe to your updates, meaning that they can see your public posts in their News Feeds. Subscribing to someone’s personal account is a lot like following someone on Twitter.

In other words, you don’t have to be Friends with someone on Facebook to see their Public posts. If you’re marketing a personal brand, the Profile with a Subscribe button may be perfect for your marketing outcomes. There are some strategic marketing reasons to have a personal account with the Subscribe button.

We cover the complete marketing strategy for activating your Subscribe button in
Book II, Chapter 1. The other way to market on Facebook is via a Facebook Page.

Pages are like digital storefronts, or places where your prospects can take a digital walk around your business to learn more about your brand and what you have to offer. Here you can highlight your best programs, products, and services to interact with an interested audience.

A large portion of this book is dedicated to creating and optimizing your Facebook Page. Before we get into the how-to’s and strategies, though, we point out a few of the most important details you need to know to get off on the right foot. Marketing on your Page and your Profile Although you’ll soon find out all you’ll ever need to know about the differences between a Profile and a Page, for the purposes of starting things off, here’s a quick rundown: When you sign up for Facebook, you create a Facebook Profile.
A Profile is meant to be all about you.

It has been referred to as a living scrapbook of your life.
It highlights who you are and gives details about your life experiences over time.
With the addition of the Subscribe button, you now have the option to make some of your posts public and other posts private.

The opportunity to select who sees your posts gives you a unique advantage by allowing you to be selective and use your Profile to connect with family members and friends, as well as to post information about your business. Promoting your business or brand for monetary gain via a Profile goes against Facebook’s terms of service.

It isn’t against the rules, however, to mention your business and keep your relatives, friends, and those subscribed to your Profile informed about new happenings with your business. A Facebook Page is designed specifically to highlight your business, and its purpose is to allow businesses to communicate with their customers and fans.

Those who follow your Facebook Page expect to see promotions and conversations about your programs and services, so it’s perfectly acceptable to promote your business on a Facebook Page.

For a more comprehensive understanding of Profiles and Pages, check out Book II, Chapter 1. Developing your Page to be a hub of activity Your Facebook Page can serve as a meeting place for people who have similar interests and values. Involve your customers in your conversations by asking them questions and encouraging them to share their thoughts.

One way you can create a hub of activity is to encourage your fans to use your Facebook community as a platform where they can connect with other like-minded individuals.
You can become the go-to source in your industry, for example, making your Page the
hub of your industry’s latest news and happenings.


By delivering valuable content via your Facebook Page, you’re setting up your company as the authority — a trusted advisor.

One great example of a company using Facebook to position itself as the go-to source for an industry is HubSpot, a major player in the marketing automation software space (see Figure 1-7). Figure 1-7: HubSpot Facebook engagement activity.

During the course of this book, you’ll have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with many strategies that can help you create a unique hub of activity, including a bunch of strategies we show you in Book VII. Understanding privacy options


To be continued: Wish you Happy new year


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