@Buzzfeed Commits Social Media Murder on @VirginMobileUSA Brand

We have seen it before, a brand which commits brand suicide on social media by reacting insensitive or just plain stupid. What usually happens, is that the brand fires the social media agency, posts an apology and is done with it. But have you ever seen a partner of a large brand commit murder on social media? Brand murder..? This is what just happened to Virgin Mobile USA. Let me explain...and let this be a lesson kids...

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Virgin Mobile USA as partner of Buzzfeed

We all know Buzzfeed, the pageview hording, social media pushing, meme aggregation website started by former founders of TheHuffingtonPost. From Wikipedia:

BuzzFeed is a website that combines a technology platform for detecting viral content with an editorial selection process to provide a snapshot of "the viral web in realtime". Co-founded in 2006 by Jonah Peretti (who is also cofounder of The Huffington Post), BuzzFeed is located in Manhattan, New York in the Flatiron District.

In itself a strong concept, where the platform of Buzzfeed combines clever ways to use social network sites to get more visitors to their content. Facebook comments are very well integrated, where the comments are directly placed on people's wall. I use these here as well, so feel free to leave a comment.

Brands can partner with Buzzfeed to sponsor a page for their brand, where the right navigation bar is showing the brands latest Facebook and/or Twitter posts. This could work out for a brand, if they are in need to get more visitors of Buzzfeed to like their Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter. This is what Virgin Mobile USA is doing, apparently the company is a partner for Buzzfeed, where there is a page full with articles. So far so good you would think...

The Virgin Mobile USA page on Buzzfeed

But what happens if you let the editors of Buzzfeed place any article on the brand page of their partners? And what happens when those articles are automatically promoted/sponsored on Facebook by the brand? Right, you could get a horrible mismatch between how a brand might want to be perceived by the users of its products, and how it actually portraits itself. Let's have a look at the following Facebook Sponsored post by Virgin Mobile USA I spotted today;

Sponsored Post by Virgin Mobile USA on Facebook
Yes, you are reading that right, the post Virgin Mobile USA is promoting on Buzzfeed is mocking people for not being that pretty, handsome or cool, so we hope we will never see those people to promote themselves on OKCupid. Let me repeat this, Virgin Mobile USA is promoting the discrimination of people based on how these people look like! And yes, Virgin Mobile USA is prominently placed right next to the offensive article on the Buzzfeed page, just check out this screenshot:
Screenshot of Virgin Mobile USA Partner page on Buzzfeed

Responses on Facebook on the endorsement of Virging Mobile USA of a Buzzfeed articleLuckily, this all plays out in social media world, where the brand now can get immediate feedback on their Marketing campaigns. And with this one from Virgin Mobile USA, people are for sure letting the company know they disapprove of the endorsement of the Buzzfeed article! Here are a few:

  • Anybody else think it's a little unprofessional for VM to be making fun of people? You're a phone company FFS
  • This is totally inappropriate for a nation wide company to be doing! What if one of those people was your own customer???
  • What kind of jerk company puts up insulting and degrading advertisements like this? Poor judgment...
  • I really hope Virgin Mobile has the permission of these 20 people to be bashing them publicly. Because if they don't, it's not only wrong, but VM can have the living hell sued out of them for this.
  • Screw you all. These people may be ugly, but they deserve love and they can use their money how they feel.
  • Is this a joke? Really?! How about this for a post: One Person Who Will Be Cleaning Out Their Desk at Virgin Mobile Tomorrow.

This time it was not the brand itself committing suicide, but the partnership with Buzzfeed really put Virgin Mobile USA in a bad light. Any brand should pay attention to their sponsored posts that go up on Facebook, and what kind of content they associate their brand with. Unless you want to use the "insult" hook to get people to "love" your brand, you better stay away from such insulting content!

 

 

LRR Sign of the Times in SEO

LRR stands for Link Removal Request, and some site owners are going apeshit about how they need to clean up their link profile. Personally I got one LRR so far, on a link which was completely editorial, so I didn't complied. The company did use some questionable tactics to get backlinks for a competitive vertical around voucher coupons...

As an SEO, I know how to handle these requests. Either you fight it, and get your site reported in the link disavow tool, which could have a negative side effect later on. Or you just remove the link, and be done with it. But what if you are not an SEO, and you run a successful blogger network, which has been the target for spammy guest bloggers who are trying to take advantage of your authoritative website to get direct match anchor text inserted in the guest blogger profile bio! Yes, that's been happening at a large scale, and now those companies are trying to clean up their act. I guess it was just a matter of time to see these kind of pages pop-up on websites from real businesses...

Link Removal Request confirmation page

Avoid 1 Star Reviews in SERP: Dynamic Schema integration

I stumbled on this Yelp snippet the other day. Normally you would expect to see rich snippets increase the click through rate of your result, but in this case, I doubt it.

Yelp one star review snippet

What if Yelp would be smart with Rich Snippet optimization and take it one step further. Dynamically implement the schema code based on the review score. This way you could avoid 1 star reviews to show up as rich snippets in the SERP's.

Something like:

>If AggregateRating =< 3 don't implement AggregateRating markup

>If AggregateRating >3 implement AggregateRating markup

This way, Google would most likely not show a one star review rich snippet for those places which suck...


Google Local Reviews

So this is how Google is trying to get more people familiar with their local business reviews product, and compete with Yelp; at popular events for the San Francisco Hipsters you might see a team hired by Google trying to convince people to try out the product. They actually expect you to review a couple of local businesses right there on one of the laptops. Just to make you familiar with the product. And what do you get for all the data you just entered and the time you spent, right.. a T-shirt.

 

 Google local reviews, trade a tshirt in exchange for your time and local knowledge

Google local reviews, trade a t-shirt in exchange for your time and local knowledge, write some reviews on local businesses and learn how the system works

Penguin Updates, Bring IT ON

With a lot of chatter on Twitter, it's probably safe to say that we are on track to see a large update hitting the search results just in time for the annual SMX Advanced in Seattle (from the chatter, it's most likely going to be a Penguin update). Like clockwork, Google gives the SEO's something to talk about, and since this is the advanced version of the SEO/SEM conference, it's a big update. Apart from all the discussions on the version number, it's incredible to see how SEO's stumble over each other to write "the news" what Matt Cutts have said online, and what you could expect from the next update.

Matt Cutts fro Google Tweets about Penguin 2.0

 

SEO's across the world are loosing their heads, and take the words of Matt Cutts all as a mantra. They shiver in fear on how the wrath of The Google might come down on their site, causing all kinds of trouble. But as my buddy Ryan ranted already:

We need to stop analyzing every word @mattcutts says like it’s some lost scripture and start paying attention to the meaning of what he says....

...

Remember when Matt said that Page Speed was a “all else being equal we’ll return the faster site” type of factor? That fits perfectly with the tree and dynamic weights I just talked about.

Instead of looking at the big picture, the meaning, and the reasoning behind what Matt says, we get too caught up on the literal definitions. It’s the equivalent of thinking David and Goliath is a story about how there are giants in the world rather than a story about how man’s use of technology helps him overcome challenges and sets him apart from beasts. We keep taking the wrong message because we’re too literal.

 

But I think some website owners should be afraid of what's coming down the pipeline, because if your site back-link profile looks like this, it might still works at the moment, but for how long...?


Does this look like a Penguin back link profile?

 

The funny thing is, the linking this site has done, still works like crazy. Check the sites visibility in search using the tool from Search Metrics. As you can see, the X-axes are not corresponding on the same timeframe, however, you can clearly see the search visibility of this site increased with the large jump in back-links in January of this year.

searchvisibility-spam

The next Penguin update will be larger than the previous ones. Next Penguin update will be a larger one than just a data refresh

Next Penguin update will be a larger one than just a data refresh

 

So, if you are already getting a ton of link removal requests, expect your inbox to show a flooding of new link removal requests rather sooner than later! Will you comply with the request, or have the requestor take more aggressive steps, like legal threads and stuff. I've heard of some very aggressive take down requests, even with authoritative domains. So far, I've received only one take down request, but have not taken the link down, since it was purely editorial. If the webmaster has screwed up their own link profile by being way to aggressive, that would be their problem. So I stand by Kim here, No I Will NOT respond to your disavow link paranoia. Bug off! 

So bring it on.. I'm ready for another Penguin update!

Black & White Penguin with a red bow tie

 

Planning a Content Marketing with In-Page Analytics?

With the launch of a new city in the Neighborhood projectLos AngelesAirbnb just launched the largest number of city Neighborhoods so far, 61. I really enjoyed day dreaming with the great pictures of Neighborhoods like MalibuSanta MonicaVenice or Hollywood. Maybe one day we will have the chance to move and live in Los Angeles, which has always been a secret dream for me. But then again, San Francisco is also not too shabby! I love walking around in the Richmond District, and get a sense of the Asian, Russian mixture of the Neighborhood and make great street pictures.

Another dream home town for me has been New York. Maybe a little bid too much out of our league, as living in a Neighborhood like TribecaSoHo or West Village with 3 kids is just very difficult. Let alone we would ever be able to afford a Townhouse at the Upper West Side! Brooklyn seems to become the new hot spot in New York, especially as the New York Times just published an article on how Hispters are taking over Neighborhoods like Williamsburg, or how they call it Will.I.Amsburg. But enough for the dreams I might have when winning the lottery, what I thought would be interesting to talk about what to search for or to look at for you as a marketeer to plan a content calendar for the pages you have on your site. To conduct this research, I'm using the following tool:

  • Google Analytics; with the in-page analytics reporting

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How To Use In-Page Analytics To Direct Your Content Marketing

In page analytics are an often overlooked tool for conducting user research, and a great way to get new topics to write more on. And the best thing is, your users already told you those topics are the ones they are interested in! From the Google help document (underline and red mine)

In-Page Analytics is available under the Content section on the Standard Reporting tab. It lets you make a visual assessment of how users interact with your web pages

So looking at which Neighborhoods  in New York we would need to write more about, I pulled up the In-Page analytics on the New York Neighborhood page, and used the Color bubbles to showcase popular Neighborhoods based on what the users have clicked on.

Neighborhood heatmap

Where the colors give the scale of popularity relative to each other. This means, the warmer the color, the more clicks the link got in the time period I checked (data was for the month of April).

What stands out, is that there is one Neighborhood in particular popular, and the only one which gets a red color: Upper East Side. Some Neighborhoods didn't even got a color, so it's safe to say, these are the least well known, or not so popular neighborhoods in New York; these are:

Honestly, I never heard of these either, except for the name civic center, which we have here Civic Center in San Francisco as well.

Popular New York Neighborhoods Stacked Up

So pulling all the New York Neighborhoods in a spreadsheet, and making a bar chart of the results, it shows how all the Neighborhoods stack up on popularity:

Popular New York City Neighborhoods stacked up

 

Now it's only a matter of creating a massage map per Neighborhood and research the topics before the editor can start writing.

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You can access the report in Google Analytics in two ways:

  • In Standard Reporting > Content, click In-Page Analytics.
    This option opens the report on the page you identified in your profile settings.
  • In the Pages report (Standard Reporting > Content > Site Content > Pages), when you drill in to a specific page, click the In-Page tab.
    This option opens the report for that page.

Airbnb Blog Running on WordPress, Genesis & Websynthesis

With Posterous closing, a race started a couple of weeks ago to move the Airbnb blogs from Posterous to WordPress. Lucky me, I have a number of years experience with WordPress, and more lucky me, I know people who even have more experience with WordPress and WordPress hosting. The Airbnb blogs are now running on the following stack:

teach them young So yesterday evening, I was busy checking all the migrations with my little man with me. Teach them young they say..

Just in time for our major Trust announcement this morning. Now, all we need to do, is create a new child theme, so that we can style the blogs completely according to Airbnb standards... So much opportunity to expand right now, having full control! Love it!

Other blog we migrated is the Nerds at Airbnb! Worth it to check out if you are into coding

#TornadoWeek Hashtag Pushing

Check out this creative way of getting people to engage with your brand on Twitter.
The Weather channel is having their Tornado week.
And now you can make the interns suffer from high winds.
The only thing you would need to do, is tweet with the hashtag #tornadoweek in your tweet
I can't wait for Shark week... But then again, that would entail the interns of Animal Channel
Check out the site on the Weather channel. Can we call this: Tornado Week Intern Blow Out
Tornado Week Intern Blow Out
From the site:
Our Weather Channel interns got so excited about Tornado Week they wanted to recreate a Twitter powered Tornado in our office - so we did, and sat them right in the middle of it! Now you are in control of the winds. Every public mention of#TornadoWeek on Twitter raises the scale and boosts the winds. You can even Tweet at the interns using the @TornadoWeekhandle. Hit 1,000,000 mentions and we will turn up the wind for a full blown EF-5 tornado inside the Weather Channel offices!

Always Be Linking, Especially with Students

Always be LinkingOne thing I'm trying to learn fast, as this is a big black spot in my SEO skillset; Link Building. First rule of Link Building: ABL

Always Be Linking ABL

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Take up every opportunity to gain a true endorsement in the form of a link. And what better opportunity to get a new backlink than when a group of MBA students from Berkeley get a tour in your office, and you just happen to have your DSLR, with an awesome lens on it with you! Snap a couple of grou pictures and start chatting...

Me: "So, did you like the tour..?"

Group lead: "We sure did, we are a bunch of MBA students from the Haas Business School in Berkeley"

Me: "Is that right..?"

Group lead: "Hey, any chance we can get a hold of those pictures you just took of us?"

Me: "Yeah, sure where would you post it"

Group: "We have a Facebook page..."

Me: "Don't you have some sort of journal on the Berkeley.edu website"

Group lead: "Sure, we can add it to our newsletter, which is published online"

Me: Bingo..!! "Great, I will send you the file, would you mind giving me a credit link in it"

Group lead: "Sure, no problem man..!"

Me: "Thank you, and I hope you guys had fun here in the office..."

So, here you can download a large version of the picture. Now I hope they will follow through...

Instagram SEO, This is How You Boost SEO Traffic Through Instagram

Say what Instagram SEO?, Yes you can use Instagram to boost your SEO traffic. However, not in the traditional way of boosting your SEO rankings or visibility, but in a much smarter way; boost the search volume of your #1 rankings! Let me explain;

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 I'm Topsy Turvy

Two years ago, I spoke at a conference called EVO, the evolution of women in social media. I got the opportunity to help a bunch of successful bloggers refining their SEO strategy. The workshop I did, ended up being 3.5 hours, just 30 minutes over the planned time. It was a great session, as all the attendees were sucking up the information we as SEO's live on a daily basis.

Here is where I met Ashlee from I'm Topsy Turvy. Ashlee has been blogging for a 6 years now, and decorating cakes for over 7 years. Guess what she is blogging about, right, cake tutorials. And not easy, simple cakes! No, these are works of art! Check out the following cakes I spotted on her website:

Over the course of the last two years, I interacted with Ashlee a couple of times on Twitter, we met again on different conferences, and I interviewed her to speak about the success she had seen on her blog. Over the last two years, the traffic to her site has exploded. I wish I could take some credit for it with the SEO workshop, but fair to say is that Ashlee creates truly exceptional content, and makes magnificent cakes for people to celebrate birthdays, weddings or anniversaries.

Where I hope I have played a role in her success, is creating a certain mindset on how to market this exceptional content, and put it to work towards her business. If we talk about a long term strategy that works for SEO using content like cake tutorials, you would need to think about how you are able to get your content in front of the right people, so that they will link to it, place citations in other media, and use you as an example for successful ideas. (see this post!)

As SEO's we often only focus on getting more, pages in the index, and rank higher with these pages to capture the existing traffic. But what if you would be able to stimulate more people to search for a certain phrase. What if you know you already rank #1 on that phrase? Than you don't need to worry anymore about your rankings, you can just reap the benefits from the increase in traffic, as more people search for your #1 keyword phrase.

Pot Of Gold Cake Tutorial

Imagine my surprise when I opened my Instagram stream last Sunday, and the evidence of genius was staring me right in the face. Her I saw a picture of one of Ashlee's cakes innocently shared on her Instagram stream. And not some ordinary cake, it was a Pot of Gold Cake.

Using Instagram as an SEO traffic booster

Let me explain why this is genius:

  • Ashlee wrote a tutorial on how to make a Pot of Gold Cake. She published the tutorial on February 27th. Weeks before St. Patricks day is actually happening. This means the post has enough time to start to rank, and be the first one for people to find if they are searching for inspiration on what cake to make for St. Patricks day. 
  • Apart from using the normal social media channels to market this tutorial, Ashlee also uploaded pictures of the cake onto Instagram, where she made sure these have her logo watermark in the right corner.
  • But here comes the kicker: Ashlee also added the title of her tutorial as text on the picture being shared on Instagram. As Instagram does not allow you to add a link in the description, this is a great way to get people's attention. And what do you think people will search when they would like to know how to make a Pot of Gold cake...? Right...

If you know you rank No1 for a search phrase, why not stimulate the interest, and boost the volume of searches!
If you know you rank No1 for a search phrase, why not stimulate the interest, and boost the volume of searches!
Well done Ashlee, you can count on me to use this as an example on how to use Instagram as your marketing tool to boost your SEO traffic!

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