Autospeak-Straight Talk contains articles covering digital and social media marketing social communities and events marketing

Have you ever spent days, maybe even months working on your super awesome product, service, training series, etc? You are beyond excited to finally have it all done and are now ready to launch your baby you have worked so hard on. The day of the launch comes and you wait eagerly for the sound of your email notification that you have money deposited into your Paypal account. But instead, all you hear are crickets…. Isn’t that a devastating feeling?!

To avoid that from ever happening again, we need to take a hard look at how we are marketing. We all get the importance of marketing, but very few really take the time to make sure their marketing is good. I’m all about setting up a process that helps streamline my marketing efforts and ensures I am getting the right message to the right people.

I would like to share with you something I believe will help you with your marketing process before you launch anything.

Here are 6 things to do before launching any marketing campaign.

1. Know WHO you are speaking to.
Far too often, we get an idea and we launch forward in it without really ever being clear on WHO we are speaking to. WHO is the target audience? This is huge when it comes to writing sales copy! I recommend mapping out a perfect prospect or perfect client profile, where you ask specific questions that force you to really know WHO you are talking to and what’s going on in their mind. Without knowing this, you are just grasping at straws and wasting time and money.

2. Have your brand voice nailed down. Having this nailed down will help you stand out and resonate with your perfect audience and eliminate your not-so-perfect-audience. There should be complete consistency with all of your marketing material. If your business cards are expressing something different than what is on your web site or social profiles… we have a problem!

3. Here is one people really don’t like.. Take time to THINK. It is amazing what we come up with when we take a time out from all the noise and really think things through. During this time, you should be making sure your messaging is all about your prospect and focusing on the benefits. You should be thinking of what is going to be going through the mind of the prospect. Think through the entire process. There is a good chance you might find some inconsistencies in your messaging.

4. Focus on your core concept. When we try to focus on a lot of areas instead of being laser focused on our core concept, we water down our messaging and lose people. Know what your core concept is and stick to it. This is also relevant when writing emails, blog posts, podcasts, and everything else.

5. Find the thing that makes your offer a no-brainer. If you can find and focus on this, it will make it much harder for the prospect to be able to justify not buying from you. Which leads to number 6.

6. Search out what are the reasons your prospect is going to tell themselves not to buy from you. Find this out and you can tweak your message to handle all objectives before they even have a chance to ask.

When you take the time to really go through this process, you will have such a more solid marketing campaign and brand message. Which also means more money in your pocket!

In The Comments:

Did this help you? Do you have your own process you go through when putting together a marketing campaign?

"People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be"-Don Draper

Why do we so often ignore the very advice that can save us? The answer may very well be found in Disrupted by Stefan Pollack which is easily one of the most important books of the year, especially if you want to understand the iGeneration (sometimes called Generation Z) or anyone that was born after 1994. It isn't a Futurist book, a Library book, or even a PR / Marketing book. It's about relationships.

Ever since I entered library field about 20 years ago, people have been telling me that I am wasting my time and Libraries are dying and so indeed is the book. I have read dozens, if not hundreds of articles and books on everything from the history of libraries to why Millennials are so different from Baby Boomers and even what makes my own GenXers tick. Yet, Pollack a long time PR and Marketing guy, has finally synthesized what numerous academics couldn't - he actually explains the iGen, so even a child of the 80's can understand.

To take a step back, I have to credit Dennis Miller for turning me on this amazing book at the same time I was trying to make sense of the students who recently arrived for the fall semester. I had already ditched the idea of direct mail or even email (yes, I have gotten this advice as recently as last month and also, was recently told that Pintrest has no role in a Library or Academic institutions) or to give the ever present survey requests and was concentrating on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. All of it was me going after them with my brand - the Library. Pollack says this approach is wrong - the iGen only care about information if it is relevant to them and since they serve as their own gatekeepers and they jealously guard what they let into their circle, they will only share what they consider relevant with their peers. Unwanted information simple doesn't even get in. One of my favorite lines likens information to a wildly popular club where the iGen serve as the bouncer - everyone that is anyone is line waiting to get in, but it is the bouncer what makes the call.

So we care because... the members of iGen will not only be spending billions of dollars of the next 15 years, they will be replacing the members of Baby Boomers, Gen X and Y in the workforce. Certain truths will hold sway with them:

- The recommendation and referrals of friends, peers, and other consumers is critical to getting your message or product to them. The expert or journalistic critics only matters if they agree with them

- Mobile devices aren't a fad, they are here to stay and IT IS the leading way they get their information. Their attention is moving from TV and print to their devices. 
- They want information that's relevant and or funny. Specific niches, such as video and music streaming, augmented reality, and location-based promotions, have tremendous potential for success.
- iGen is not adverse to marketing or advertising as long as it is relevant and authentic. 
- They want a relationship, not to be viewed as mere consumers. Listen to them, Converse with them, Deliver because there are no second chances.
- Generation X was about "us versus the man", Generation Y was the "me" generation, but the iGeneration is the "us" generation - together they can change institutions and create the environment they want.

Now where can Libraries come in:
- The iGen is different. We must recognize this and embrace it. Not make excuses, not tell them what they want or need, but accept this and deal with it in a respectful and thoughtful manner. 
- Traditional methods of information delivery (newspapers, serials, even books and movies) need to address the above facts, especially the mobile devices. Why did make it and Boarders Books didn't?
- Content Curation is the name of the game. As Pollack says "Curating content means implied objectivity about who you are and what you are offering. There is no attempt to "sell" when you are collecting valuable information and offering it to people who are looking for it.... Becoming skilled curators of information gives consumers a reason to listen to your brand. You are providing valuable information that they (iGen) want, and you are helping them connect the dots." Sound familiar?
- The iGen is smart. Where previous generations had to earn knowledge via memorization or finding it, this generation simply can access it. To be relevant to the iGeneration Libraries need to be seen as being necessary and a valued brand.

Developing the kind of relationships that last matter to everyone. The iGen wants what they want, we can adjust to the new reality or forget about it and carry on with business as usual. The choice is ours.

By Scott DiMarco

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No. 1 Position In Google Gets 33% Of Search Traffic [Study]

(Posted on Sep 13, 2013 at 06:37PM )

New findings from online ad network Chitika confirm it's anything but lonely at the top. According to the study, the top listing in Google's organic search results receives 33 percent of the traffic, compared to 18 percent for the second position, and the traffic only degrades from there:


For the top 10 results, Chitika found:


A similar study by the Chitika team back in 2010 showed comparable results, and Chitika suggests the findings validate the importance of SEO for online businesses.

"While being the number one result on a Google search results page is obviously important, these numbers show just how big of an advantage websites of this type have over any competitors listed below them. The importance of SEO for online business is seemingly quantified by these latest statistics, which, judging by their similarity to those observed as part of the 2010 study, are not likely to change significantly in the near future."

For many, it'll come as no surprise that the findings also showed a significant drop in traffic from Page 1 to Page 2 results. Page 1 results garnered 92 percent of all traffic from the average search, with traffic dropping off by 95 percent for Page 2.


And whether you're on Page 1 or Page 4, Chitika reports the top position consistently sees more traffic than others on the page. On Pages 2, 3 and 4, traffic dropped by 27 percent, 11.3 percent and 5.4 percent respectively from the first position to second position.

For this study, Chitika examined tens of millions of online ad impressions where the user was referred to the page via a Google search. Chitika says that from the referring Google URL, the study was able to extract the position the page was on within the prior search results page.

For more information on Chitika's methodology for this study, you can download the full reporthere.

Interpreting Rankings and Traffic Data

Rankings as the sole indicator of SEO success are only as important as the traffic they drive. And even though rankings for a particular query may waver in the search results from one user to the next, data shows time and time again that the top positions are winning. last year released a study that showed 53 percent of organic search clicks go to the first link.


And a 2011 study by Slingshot SEO showed the No. 1 organic position in Google received 18.2 percent of clicks, with the second position at 10.05 percent and the third at 7.22 percent.


Understanding what any one ranking means to your SEO campaign in terms of traffic and conversions is the key to unlocking that ranking's value. So while studies like these can be important in educating stakeholders for buy-in, use the data wisely.

Work to understand the methodology of these types of studies, and use your own expert insight to extract how this data can reinforce the work you're doing as a marketer.

By Jessica Lee

DealerNet Services

Recently there have been several articles posted about outdated and/or less than effective or ineffective (quick fix and cheap) SEO and Social Media plans being marketed to unaware and uniformed clients.

First of all if you are not familiar with a product or a service you should be seeking information and advice from various knowledgeable sources in order to make the right decision for you and your business. If you don’t as in anything you open yourself up to subpar or ineffective results.

Digital Marketing is an ecosystem where the seamless integration of a systems components is essential for its functioning - a central point where all the elements converge.  Today You must approach it holistically.

The complexities and constantly changing landscape of digital marketing takes the right tools, years of experience and constant study to be able to properly navigate and effectively  implement a truly effective marketing initiative.

To give you an idea of this complexity, I have brought up a few points here to convince you of the intricacies of Digital Marketing and its constant evolution.


Creating A Plan That Works

 Its location culture, ideals and its people make every business unique. Every marketing strategy, therefore, must also be unique and to do that you must understand your company and your local market.

You must have a strategy to generate interest for a specific product or idea. It’s an assessment of each individual company, and a constant work in progress in determining which forms of social media will work best for you.


1.Do you have a plan?



 Did you know that now, thanks to Google’s Panda update bad web design and poor navigation will get you poor search rankings.  Google decided to start watching people’s habits in an effort to produce better search rankings.

So with that thought in mind Google rewards sites that have good navigation and design with higher organic search rankings because they stay longer and navigate


 Compare that to a poorly designed web site that people simply land on the site and leave within seconds because of its look – Google in particular, but the others as well, will now penalize poor design by lowering its ranking on the organic search lists.


2. Is your website up to date technologically with website design that is easy to navigate?



3. Did you know that Organic SEO is more effective and will produce better results over the long term than Paid search?


Link Building

Did you know that it is becoming apparent that with the new algorithms used today, link building is something that can land you in trouble with search engines and possibly penalized you with lower page rankings and possibly being removed from other search engine listings .

On the other hand there are also articles out there advising businesses on how to increase their in links in order to improve their search rankings in Google, Bing, and Yahoo.


4. Do you want to take this chance?

If you want to improve your search engine rankings and attract new customers you might do better by creating good content to attract people with content that will engage them. This engagement will create the type of indirect links that the search engines are looking for today through comments and sharing-social interaction.

It can’t  be all about you anymore it also needs to be about what is important to them-How they feel about something and what is going to draw their interest. It is about bringing them to you not just you going to them.

And don’t confuse the word social as just sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus –to name a few - Because these are just a part of SEO as a whole as you will see.

A report released by Experian Marketing Services in mid January 2013 summarizing web trends of 2012 revealed that search engines are a key factor in web traffic sources.  Search won the web traffic race with a staggering 49% of traffic to web sites compared to 3.8% from Facebook and 1% from YouTube.


Citation Building


5. How many of you know this term? And are they up to date?


Citations are defined as references to your business name and address on other web pages, even if there is no link to your website.

Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms of the major search engines. Businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.


Web Site Optimization

Today this could be defined as a seamless integration of system components which is essential to be able to function properly - a central point where all the elements converge. The coordination required to synchronize all the functions of a web site can be overwhelming.


6. Are you overwhelmed yet?


Web Page Optimization

“The web page is the most important social media development of all time. This is a weighty statement... but it’s also a true one.” Says  Steven Aresenault, CEO of One Big Broadcast.

“No other form of content sharing has had such a dramatic--and long-lasting--impact on companies. These pages serve to inform and attract. They are the first impressions and the final thoughts. And using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will reinforce what they do. Web page SEO is meant to increase a brand’s visibility.”


6. Do you know this?


Social Media Integration

The world of Digital Marketing has changed. Consumers are flocking to the Internet seeking information about their favorite brands and products. They want the immediacy of networking; they want the ease of web site posts; they want instant communication. 
And they’re willing to give their loyalties (as well as their dollars) to companies that offer these things through social integration.

 Social integration is the process of linking media forms to the Internet. It’s meant to increase a brand’s reputation, as well as subtly promote specific products or events.
It’s also connected to the way individuals shop. 
Consumers are now spending their time--and their money--online. They’re seeking out company web sites, utilizing social media as a way to learn and buy. It’s estimated that:
71% of users rely on online information for all of their purchasing.
79% of users seek out company social accounts (like Facebook or Twitter, etc.) to receive updates and incentives.
81% of active social media users favor companies and products found in their networks.
70% of active social media users do the majority of their shopping online.
The statistics are startling--if only because they can no longer be ignored. 
Social integration is linked to consumer awareness. Companies that embrace networking, blogging and more become part of an ever-expanding circle of accounts. They are connected directly to the demographics they need, bringing traffic to their sites.
A business that isn’t integrated is a business that’s losing money.


7.Were you aware of this?


SEO and Social Automation Platforms

there are also SEO and Social automation platforms available that can save valuable time which translates into valuable resources. But the key to how they function is in their design and the team behind it who will be consulting on a consistent basis  on changes and new developments and strategies that will keep you at peak performance.


8. Do you know about SEO and Social Automation Platforms and how they function?

9. Did do you know they existed?



Measure, measure, measure.  Analytics are an essential component required to measure the effectiveness of you marketing. You must be able to gauge where your marketing is being the most effective and adjust accordingly.

Your marketing company should be consulting you on a regular basis to help you understand the information contained in the analytics that they provided and work with you on adjusting to increase you marketing’s effectiveness.

One article I read this past week that made a good point that a company that does not offer analytics is a company be should avoided-. Good advice. And another pointed out that if they don’t want to do an audit of your current marketing platform before they start making suggestions or giving you prices-Walk away-More good advice.


10. Do you have SEO and Social Analytics?


There were 10 questions throughout this article. Did you answer them? How did you answer them?  Where you familiar with them? Or maybe you had just heard about or read a little about them.

If you are unsure or unaware of any of the questions posed throughout this article it may be time to have a SEO and Social Integration specialist audit your marketing initiatives effectiveness.

If you are a Dealer Principal or General Manager you must understand the enormous impact of all this is too great not to have some knowledge so you can at least ask the right questions and stay informed on a continual basis. This is not something that you just sign up for and forget-it is a process that must constantly be monitored and adjusted to maintain or improve its effectiveness.

To give you an idea of the impact of an ongoing, properly structured and executed plan- I can tell you that I am personally aware of a dealer client who holds the top spot in many high traffic search terms and has increased web traffic and visitors by 400% and sales by 25% by having the properly integrated platform in place supported by knowledgeable professionals.


11. Did that spark your interest?  


And as I stated at the beginning of this article these are only some of the components that are involved in structuring an effective Digital Marketing campaign. Content and strategies must be constantly changing and adjusted to keep up with new Technologies, Social Trends and Changes in search engines sophisticated algorithms.

This post is only to make you aware of the complexity of the rapidly changing Digital World of marketing with the hope that you will delve deeper and get specialized competent advice- and one more question- 12. Will you be rewarded for your efforts? I’ll answer this one-Yes.

Written by Bill Cosgrove

DealerNet Services

Instafax should exist. If it doesn’t already. Am I right?

For now… it is becoming obvious that Instagram is the future of social media, for better or worse. Folks are taking #petselfiez. If you really want to follow NY Fashion week, Instagram is THE platform to keep up with. And as dark as it is, the Assad’s have joined Instagram as some weird PR move.

And let’s not forget the big news of Facebook now allowing contests in the news feed. The whole “like this post to win an iPad” is no longer a faux pas, well at least not officially. There is one simple reason for this. The news feed is where Facebook makes money.

But wait, didn’t Facebook just turn down the volume on “low quality” content last week? How much do you wanna bet that contest-based posts start getting penalized as low quality content soon and you will have to pay to promote them?

You will continue to see these two trends colliding. Facebook is learning a lot from Instagram. It is mobile. It is young. It is growing fast. Keep an eye on how Facebook and Instagram continue to learn from each other.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to work on that Instagramming of faxes project with me, let me know.

To the insights!

1. Choosing The Right Contest Prize

Contests are a staple of social media campaigns. But it is hard to decide between giving away an iPad or a Kindle Paperwhite, right? Click above to read a few smart thoughts on the topic by Social Mouths.

2. Create In-Depth Articles To Build Authority On Google

Google called and she is kind of tired of your 300 word summary articles. She told me to share that. And yes, Google is a she. Only a woman could be that smart and helpful. Gini Dietrich has a great writeup here about how to start taking advantage of Google’s new feature that spotlights longer form and informative content.

3. What To Post On Facebook, No Tricks

What if I told you that Facebook only changed two new things in the past month? Yes, you are right. I would be lying. Turns out the new Facebook insights are starting to be available to most people now. And get handy intel about what content is working for you.

4. These Facebook Stats Will Make You A Social Advertising Hero

The way we market on Facebook is changing. Getting fans from the news feed to a conversion page is now a big part of how Facebook can benefit the bottom line for any business. Justin Kistner breaks down some new data for you here. Definitely worth a click.

5. Social Brand Forum 2013

social brand forum

The next Social Fresh Conference is not for 6 months or so. If you can’t wait that long, we know of a few other hot social media conferences that aren’t too shabby. Next up is Social Brand Forum and they’ve got some smart folks coming down to Iowa for this two day social education shindig. Check it out, thank us later. Or now, you know, your call.

6. Angry Airline Passenger Buys Promoted Tweet To Get Even

Ever had a bad experience on an airline? Ok, ok, take it easy. You’ll hurt your neck nodding like that so hard. Turns out one passenger wanted to get even with his airline so much for losing his luggage that he spent $1000 making sure Twitter knew the story. If this becomes a trend, things are going to be interesting.

7. How About 17 Tactics For Gaining More Twitter Followers

We all know if you could just get a few more Twitter followers, life would be a little easier. Well, you’re in luck. SEOmoz, now Moz, has been beefing up their Twitter analytics tool, Followerwonk. It is a little known and high quality Twitter resource. This list is a high quality resource for anyone looking to expand their Twitter success.


Using mobile sites, apps, and emerging technologies to build loyalty.

 With the meteoric rise of mobile devices and tablets, it’s no surprise that mobile is a way of life and is here to stay. In 2012, there were 121 million smartphone users and 94 million tablet users in the United States alone, representing a 31% and 180% increase over 2011, respectively.1 Mobile devices have changed the way consumers interact with businesses, and today’s digital marketers must understand how consumers use different devices to be able to build and optimize mobile marketing strategies that deliver the right mobile experience to each mobile user. 

In addition, 2013 marked a significant shift in how mobile users are accessing websites. According to the Adobe Digital Index,2 global websites are now getting more traffic from tablets than smartphones, with 8% and 7% of monthly page views respectively. Given that tablet visitors spend more per onlinepurchase with U.S. retailers than visitors using smartphones,3 tablet traffic is proving to be more valuable in terms of e-commerce and engagement and represents significant implications for the development and optimization of mobile strategies. 

Results from the Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey show that consumers are using their smartphones and tablet devices to connect with brands in a variety of ways, and they are increasingly moving back and forth between different devices and form factors. Mobile is a unique channel, with different requirements for smartphones and tablets, and this channel must be integrated into the overall marketing mix. It is imperative that businesses understand who their mobile consumers are, how they access sites or apps, which devices they use, and what their expectations are for a positive experience. By understanding the consumer through analytics and measurement, businesses can optimize their mobile channel to enhance their online presence, engage better with their customers, and achieve business objectives.
Download White Paper Here

A recent blog post on Moz by Cyrus Shepard caused quite a stir in the SEO community. This stir was rooted in part over lack of understanding of the difference between correlation and causation, and in part because the author clearly tried to bridge the gap himself in his writing and imply causation where there was no evidence of such.

Before we dig into that, as well as a couple more examples, let's first get a better understanding of correlation, causation, and – for good measure – coincidence.

Merriam-Webster defines them each as:

  • Correlation: a relation existing between phenomena or things or between mathematical or statistical variables which tend to vary, be associated, or occur together in a way not expected on the basis of chance alone.
  • Causation: the act or process of causing.
  • Coincidence: the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.

The difference then is that correlation doesn't make the claim that one event causes the other, just that they occur together statistically in a way that wouldn't be expected based on random chance. One can view this as similar to consistent coincidence.

Causation, on the other hand, claims that two or more events are tied together directly. And coincidence, as we are all likely aware, occurs when two events happen at the same time but aren't at all related.

Let's put this into real-world examples.

  • Correlation: If you eat three square meals every day promptly at 8 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 6 p.m., there will be a sizable period of time twice per year where your dinner time will correlate to the sun setting. An outside observer for this fixed duration may easily claim that like Pavlov's dog, your hunger for dinner is caused by the setting of the sun. Obviously this isn't true, but for this period the two events correlate.
  • Causation: If you're walking down the street, texting all the way and walk face-first into a lamp post, you will get a bruise. While obviously texting doesn't cause facial bruises (though in this instance there is a correlation), the event of striking one's face against a hard object is the direct cause of the bruise. Thus, this is an example of causation.
  • Coincidence: If you're sitting in a coffee shop and say hello to your friend and at exact the same time someone's phone rings, this is a coincidence. The mere sound of your voice doesn't inspire the ringing of phones and statistically one wouldn't expect the event to occur together outside of random chance.

It's very important to understand and remember the difference between the three and to question data based on an understanding of this difference. In fact, below I've included a link to an article on "spurious correlation" (which the meal-time situation noted above is an example of), but for now these definitions will work well.

With this in mind, let's look at the claims made in the Moz article noted above and explore some other examples that you likely have (or will) encounter while monitoring your rankings.

Google +1s and Search Rankings

To begin, you may want to read the article I'm referencing which can be found here.

Now, credit where it's due. The article is properly titled, "Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings".

With this wording as the use of the word "correlation" throughout the piece, the author acknowledges that there is no evidence or testing done to prove that +1s directly impact rankings, but that pages with higher numbers of +1s tend to rank higher. However, the whole article isn't on +1s so let's go through the points one-by-one that the author discusses.

1. Posts are Crawled and Indexed Almost Immediately

The author's assertion here is that content will get indexed faster if it's posted and shared in Google+. I have seen no large-scale tests of the speed with which content gets indexed by being linked to on standard Google+ profile vs. just being part of a highly crawled site; however there is evidence that a page can get crawled quickly via a strong Google+ profile.

Author's Claim: Accurate, but perhaps too optimistic.

2. Google+ Posts Pass Link Equity

The author claims that shared links pass link weight simply because they're not nofollowed (whereas other links are). Now, this brings up an interesting question: Does the fact that Google nofollows some links necessarily indicate that they pass weight to the others?

One could ask, "Why nofollow some if you aren't going to pass weight to any?" More likely than passing link weight from the easily abused environment that would breed goes back to point one – they will crawl the content that is shared (i.e., followed) and not crawl additional links, thus seriously restricting the benefits of comment spamming on stronger profiles.

I can't say the conclusion that the links are nofollowed just to pass crawlers and not link juice is heavily tested or based on more than an understanding of what Google's trying to accomplish and the pitfalls if they started passing link weight through Google+, but I will assert that it's far more likely than Google setting themselves up to be a link spam property.

Author's Claim: Unlikely

3. Google+ is Optimized for Semantic Relevance

The author claims that the ability to essentially write full blog posts into Google+ adds semantic relevancy to a URL shared by the post. It's true that Google has gone to lengths to ensure that the post page is unique and optimized. It's almost as if Google would like to rank its own site for the posts it contains. That part isn't to be debated, of course.

The real question is: does Google assign relevancy from a Google+ post to the URL shared in it?

If we think about what Google would be trying to accomplish, knowing that they do use Google+ for indexing, it makes sense that Google would use the same technology they use on their general relevancy analysis internally. Now, does Google use that to credit the target URL or do they use it to assign relevancy to their own post? That's a different question, and one which hasn't yet been answered openly (and likely never will, but if Matt Cutts would like to voice his thoughts please consider this the invitation).

Because the task is simple (make sure the description of a link you're sharing is accurate and contains a summary of the content) and the only pitfall will be that it passes no semantic weight to the target URL but does result in a better optimized post, I would add this to the "do it either way" list. It's not going to hurt, it may help – and even if it doesn't help directly, it may result in higher click-throughs and even your Google+ post ranking.

Author's Claim: Possible

Other Notes

The author goes from there to discuss ways to optimize a Google+ profile. One thing is certain, having a Google+ profile and using it is a good idea.

Whether you find Google+ of a high direct value or you simple have it in a "Google said to drink the Kool-Aid so I did" kind of way, more trust signals are being added to the Google web of services and the more trust you can send, the more trustable you are. The advice the author gives (especially in regards to the authorship tag which will directly boost the trust of your profile) is solid.

Now, you may be asking at this point, "The title mentioned +1s but you haven't touched on those. Why?" Interestingly the article itself doesn't cover much about +1s.

The author asserts that, "the relationship between +1s and higher rankings goes beyond correlation into the territory of actual causation," but retracted that with the next sentence added after publishing, "This should say 'posting on Google+' instead of Google +1s. It's clear that Google doesn't use the raw number of +1s directly in its search algorithm, but Google+ posts have SEO benefits unlike other social platforms," which leaves one scratching their head. The title and the image used right at the top to assert its accuracy is based on +1s and yet we're now to learn that it was never intended to be about +1s?

I find that unlikely, and perhaps a response to Cutts coming out and stating, "If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn't mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking." There's actually much more he said which you can read here but that's the gist. The article, it seems, is incorrect in the implied assertion that +1s aid in higher rankings.

What Does This Have to do With Causation, Correlation & Coincidence?

At this point, you may be wondering why I started this piece with an explanation of causation, correlation, and coincidence. Throughout the article we had to put on our thinking caps and make this assessment whether we knew we were doing it.

At its core, the question was, "Do +1s improve rankings?" Ignoring Cutts coming out and saying "no," we have to address the probable reality which would be that a strong web presence and brand are going to attract more +1s.

Similarly, a strong web presence and brand are going to attract higher rankings and more links. Did the +1s lead to higher rankings? No. The strong web presence leads to both. This is a correlation, not causation.

What Are Some Other Examples?

Whether we know it or not, we make this assessment often; sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly. With SEO we often have to play probabilities and go with the most likely scenario in any given environment, so let's look at a couple other examples.

You Changed Your Title Tag and Your Site Dropped the Next Day

I hear this quite often (though you can substitute H1 tag, description, content, etc.). Rarely do such changes impact rankings that quickly.

The first place to look is to enter the URL into Google and see what they're presenting to visitors. Is the title the new or old one? If it's the old title then your page hasn't yet been cached, if it's the new then it has. The conclusion would be different for each event.

1. Your Title Hasn't Changed

If the change hasn't been cached, then the probability of it impacting the results is extremely low if any.

This is an example of coincidence as opposed to either correlation or causation. It's important to know this as not knowing will delay any efforts to addressing the real cause of the decline.

Rather than spending time undoing changes and waiting, praying, and wondering why it's not working, you'll want to look for other changes that took place; updates, warnings or penalties, etc.

2. Your Title Has Changed

In this event, the change may indeed have impacted the results, but before assuming causation you'll need to investigate other possibilities.

For example, if the environment was exactly the same as in the situation above (i.e., title hadn't changed) with the sole difference being that the crawlers were working hard and the page got cached, the same drop would occur and you may mistakenly draw the conclusion that it was due to the title adjustment.

This is perhaps the worst-case scenario as there is a clear and obvious culprit, albeit incorrect, and without questioning whether it too may be a coincidence, you may spend time and effort directed at correcting the wrong issue.

Here we have to add the title to the list of possibilities, but not ignore everything else.

You Changed Your Title and Traffic Grew

First, congratulations. Traffic is a much easier factor to look at, as there are far fewer variables.

If you rank for phrase X and your rankings stay the same, you'd expect to see the same traffic. If the traffic goes up or down after changing a title or description (remembering that it will have no click-through impact until Google caches it and begins displaying it in the SERPs) then one may (and most likely will) jump to the conclusion that this is an example of causation. That a title of format A will yield an improvement in traffic of B, this may well be the case but, as with the title example above, other factors need to be considered.

Some other questions you will need to ask are:

Is this new traffic to the same page/source?

I've unfortunately had to inform people that the spike they saw was from a different source of traffic when they mistakenly assumed an increase in traffic overall meant that their Google traffic had improved.

To know whether we're dealing with causation we need to look only at a specific set of traffic (example – traffic to that specific page and only from Google) to know whether the two are tied together.

Remember, traffic to other pages doesn't count.

Are you measuring the right timeframe?

Remember that most sites have weekly, monthly, and annual trends.

If you notice a jump in traffic two days after a new title went live you can't compare those two days vs. the 2 days prior. That may well have you comparing Monday and Tuesday with Saturday and Sunday.

The simplest comparison is to wait a week and compare full weeks of data. But assuming you don't have the patience for that (it's OK – I rarely do either) you can compare with the same days the week prior (assuming no special circumstances such as holidays or ranking changes).

Even this isn't ideal. I prefer to compare with the same days the year prior if possible, but this requires the rankings to have held (unlikely) and for you to have a solid grasp of the year over year traffic trends in your sector (i.e. if search volume is up or down overall you may see false positives or negatives based not on the title, but on overall search trends).

Assuming that you're comparing things correctly, you can now assume causation and apply similar changes elsewhere.


I came across an interesting piece in my travels that covers a lot of SEO well (including the +1 discussion) and that is a piece on "spurious correlation" that can be found on the Everyday Sociology Blog.

I've used the term correlation loosely in this article; however, what we're talking about in the +1 example is spurious correlation, which is a situation that isn't at all related, but changes at the same points. An example drawn from the article:

"One student had gone out partying the weekend before, and while sitting in the bar watching his friends during the evening, he noticed that people who had the most fun dancing were also those who were most likely to throw up by the end of the evening. It's not that dancing made them sick ("A" causes "B"), or that being sick make them have fun dancing ("B" causes "A"), rather there is a third variable, alcohol consumption ("C") that leads to both fun dancing and sickness."

To that end, I would task each and every one of us to sincerely ponder correlation, causation, and even coincidence with each assumption about SEO we make. At best, it will save you time and energy; at worst, it'll force you to fully understand all the angles of a situation before tackling it.

DealerNet Services

Facebook has made another change to how you can market on Facebook.

Is this good news or not?

A couple of years ago, they decided to forbid running promotions directly on the page and made the use of a third party app mandatory. This restriction is now gone.  You can now run a promotion without using a third party app.

There are still rules though, and not everything can be done. Nonetheless, this can be a good option in some instances, or a very poor one in others.

Let’s review the pros and cons of this new possibility.

#1. The good part

So what you can do when running a promotion on your timeline and why can it be a good option?

The new terms of service and the accompanying FAQ they have put together are pretty clear about what you can do:

  • You don’t HAVE to use a third party app anymore to run a promotion on your page (you still can, but it is not mandatory)
  • If you run your promotion directly on your page, entries to the promotion can be made by either posting on the page, liking or commenting a page post, or messaging the page.

If you have a small audience and want to offer a prize, it’s now super simple:

  1. Post to your page that people may just “post” or “message” the page or “like” or “comment” a post of the page
  2. Tell them you’ll pick a winner among the ones who have done so

Super fast, super easy and free!

You can even pay for ads and get the concerned post displayed to more people than your usual organic reach (between 5 and 50% of your fans). The ad part is probably the main motivation for Facebook to change its rules by the way, but that’s a different story.

A good example would be the following:

  • You have a small business and a couple thousand fans and you are launching a new product
  • You want your fans and the world to know about it
  • At the same time you want to engage with the announcement
  • Create a post announcing the launch
  • include a nice picture and ask your fans to find a name for the new product using the comments on the post
  • Pick the name you like among the comments and you have a winner.

See an example below.

Facebook Timeline promotion

This is a win-win situation.

  • Your new product launch gets some eyeballs
  • The engagement is legit
  • The winner is selected according to criteria they can understand and agree on 
  • As you’ll probably not have more than 50 comments the selection will be easy

All good!

#2. The bad bit

What is not allowed and why it can be a nightmare.

If you are allowed to accept entries by having people commenting or liking a page post (or post/message the page), you are not allowed to get entries by having people sharing a page post. As the share is the action on a post that has the most “viral” potential, this is a bummer. Likes and comments will have very limited virality, not to mention posts and messages which will have very little or no viral effect whatsoever. In a nutshell, this kind of contest will not reach fans other than your own fans, unless you pay for ads…

If you have a bigger page and a relatively engaged audience, running a promotion directly on your page can really become a nightmare.

#3. The ugly side

This is where is gets ugly.

1. Not easy to publish rules

Firstly, there is no easy way to publish the rules of your promotion. In most countries, rules are mandatory and even if they are not, having them is a safeguard. You can add them to the post or link to them within the post, but the post will look a lot less appealing.

Notice that in the example given by Facebook and shown above, there are no rules. Notwithstanding that this will be against the law in most states or countries, this will be likely to generate disgruntled fans if they think the way the winner was picked is not “fair”.

Be prepared to hire a lawyer ;-)

2. Bad scrolling experience

Secondly, there is no easy way to scroll through a long list of comments or likes on a post. If you have more than 50 comments or likes, be prepared for a painful scrolling experience. For posts with more than 1,000 likes like the one below, clicking on the list of likers and clicking on “see more” 20 times to display them all and “fairly” pick a winner among all of them, will be time consuming. You could still give up the scrolling and save time, but then, back to the previous point: rules. You will be unfair to the participants and will probably face very unhappy participants. Not the right outcome…

Not to mention all the big pages that have 10,000 likes! You got the idea.

The worst part of this potential nightmare is that even pages with a reasonable audience may face this situation pretty quickly. If you offer a compelling prize and use ads to promote the post, you may very rapidly end up with hundreds if not thousands of likes or comments. Good luck with that.

Facebook Timeline promotion

Caption: if you have to scroll through the 1,191 people who have liked this post to select a winner, be prepared to spend some time scrolling…

What promoting on the Facebook timeline won’t help you with

This change will not help you with some core social media marketing goals such as:

1. Get more fans

If you run a promotion on your timeline, you cannot create a “fangate”. In other words, participants do not need to like your page on order to participate. Since it is possible for non-fans to like or comment a post on a page they don’t like, you’re stuck.

An awful lot of pages are using contests and promotions to grow their fanbase. Without a third party app, forget it.

Facebook Timeline promotion

Caption: fan gates are only an option if you use a third party app.

2. Get qualified opt-in information (including emails)

Another value of running contests and promotions on Facebook is the ability to collect qualified information about your fans, especially their email address. This is possible with third party apps as they offer to install a Facebook app and gather profile information and/or they ask participants to fill in a form.

That data can then be used for emailing and marketing purposes and can add significant value to your Facebook Marketing efforts in the long run.

If you run your promotion directly on your page, you will collect peanut, nada. That’s a big bummer.

Facebook Timeline promotion

Caption: Qualification forms to gather valuable data is only available in third party apps.

3. Access a significant audience for free

When you run a third party app, you usually pay a monthly fee (like $29) and can then freely promote your contest or promotion several times in your newsfeed. As you’ll only reach a portion of your fans each time, if you do it 8 or 10 times in the course of the month, you will probably reach most of your fans for free!

Facebook Timeline promotion

Caption: Using an app allows you to post several times to your fans to reach a greater portion of them over time, all for free.

If you run your promotion directly on your timeline, in most cases, you will only reach your fans once for free, therefore reaching only a small portion of them for free. Reaching more fans will cost you money (in Facebook ads). And at the end of the day, it may well cost you much more money in Facebook ads than it would have cost you to pay for an app, especially if you have over 20,000 fans.

That is a big issue to seriously consider if the budget is one of your main motivations.

Does that mean that running a promotion on your Facebook timeline without a third party app is not a good idea? Certainly not, but it may not be a good idea depending on what you are trying to achieve and the size/engagement of your page.

Given the fact that there are a lot of third party app solutions that are very affordable today, the cost is not really what’s at stake here. You can actually end up paying more in ad to reach your audience, or waste a TON of valuable time managing your promotion if it goes sour. What’s at stake is to really understand the pros and cons and see which path will help you reach your goals smoothly and efficiently.

What about You?

Your turn? What do you think about this latest move from Facebook? Any thoughts you’d like to ad?

Guest Author: Emeric is the co-founder of AgoraPulse, a Paris and San Francisco based Facebook Marketing Software launched in 2011. AgoraPulse is used by more than 17,000 Facebook Pages.




I recently read a posting someone made referring to an article at MSN Money reprinted from US NEWS entitled “5 sneaky car dealer sales tricks” they did not like saying that these types of articles confuse the public and asked why do they have to say that we are always on the bottom of the food chain. (Or top of the complaint chain)

 I started in the Automotive Industry in 1977 and the same things were being said then and here we are 36 years later and it hasn’t changed. The simple fact that nearly everyone owns an automobile makes the Automotive Industry a target of accusations of misdeeds and unethical conduct. And as in any business in many cases the shoe fits.

 Being one of the largest Industries in this country is why we hear more bad news about the car industry and don't hear as much about products like replacement windows, security systems or anything still sold door to door, or online scams where the most deceptive sales strategies and outright frauds are utilized.

Fortunately most People ultimately form their opinions and make their decisions based on their personal experiences. So safe to say with the number of sales made in the Automobile Industry people for the most part are satisfied customers.
The reach that multi-channel marketing provides today can work against a company or can give companies an opportunity to use this type of bad PR to their advantage by engaging people socially on how they conduct business.

 In this case a dealer might use this in some form of advertising: unfortunately these things happen in every industry sector and it is unfortunate, but we would like to let you know that we have been a member of this community  for over (15) years and have a track record of treating our customers fairly and honestly. Come and take a look and let us make you a satisfied customer.

The simple fact that the Dealer is talking about it gives them an air of credibility. By putting a positive spin on this negative press you just might turn the tide to your advantage and gain a few new customers.

Personally I would like to go on the list of complaints about the amount of lousy customer service being given by almost every large company today in order to add every cent of profit they can to their bottom line. The ironic part of this is, is that we keeping filling their coffers and letting them get away with it.

And this includes Airlines  (they out and out lie to you about delays and problems and then don’t want to help or what about that bag of peanuts and cup of coffee you get now on that 3 ½ hour flight. And in Retail (try finding someone to help you or what about standing in line forever to pay for your purchase or the terrible customer phone service (if you can find a number to call)- I feel better already.
The point here is that negative feedback and PR can offer an opportunity to engage and find of a way to turn those negative events into something positive and productive.
By Bill Cosgrove
DealerNet Services

Here are some statistics for your review:

“The complaints filed with BBB are not only a barometer of customer satisfaction, but the rise in complaints also shows that consumers are increasingly relying on BBB for assistance in resolving disputes with businesses,” said Stephen A. Cox, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. 

The cable and satellite TV industry received the largest number of complaints with 30,985, a 5 percent decrease over last year. The cell phone industry ranked second with 27,293 complaints but saw a 29.6 percent decrease over 2009. Rounding out the top three, new car auto dealers received 24,698 complaints, an 8.1 percent decrease over the previous year.

Following are the top 10 industries by volume of consumer complaints filed across North America with BBB in 2010:

 Industry Total Complaints Rank by number of complaints1  Percentage increase over 2009  Percentage of Resolved Complaints2
 Television - Cable, CATV & Satellite  30,985  1  -5.0%  98.6%
 Cellular Phone Services & Equipment  27,293  2  -29.6%  92.1%
Auto Dealers - New Cars  24,698  3  -8.1%  87.4%
 Banks  22,648  4  -24.3%  98.5%
Collection Agencies  15,876  5  .5%  80.2%
Auto Dealers - Used Cars  14,520  6  6.1%  70.6%
Auto Repair & Service   13,178  7  3.5%  65.6%
Furniture - Retail   13,018  8  -1.1%  79.1%
Internet Shopping  12,950  9  -39.8%  61.4%
Mortgage Brokers  9,545  10  17.8%  81.0%

The local search ranking algorithm can seem like a mystery at times. There are so many factors that are involved leaving many local marketers to wonder which elements are the most important to focus on. Is it the completeness of the Google Places profile? Or maybe it’s all about citations and reviews. Does the proximity of the business to the center of a city come into play?How about the relevancy of information across 2nd and 3rd tier local search engines? Truth is that it is these and many more factors!
Earlier this month, David Mihm and Moz updated their annual survey of local search ranking factors which is based on the wisdom and experience of a variety of local search marketing professionals. The original report is concise and includes things such as general ranking factors, specific ranking factors and negative ranking factors. Want to get a quick visual of what factors are more important than others? Fortunately, the folks at Doublespark have created the following infographic which illustrates the results.

DealerNet Services
[Click image for full size version]