The One Biggest Red Flag When Choosing an SEO Agency

The One Biggest Red Flag When Choosing an SEO Agency

Choosing an SEO Agency can be difficult, especially because there are so many agencies out there that give the industry a bad name.

An ethical agency uses SEO techniques that are accepted and advised by search engines such as Google. Agencies using spammy techniques such as over optimising websites could put your business at risk of being penalised by Google. With this in mind, when choosing an SEO agency, it’s important to look out for certain warning signs…

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Nobody Should Promise Position #1 on Google

  • You should not trust an SEO agency that promises to get you to “position 1″ of Google. Google’s SEO Guidelines state that “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” As this is coming directly from Google, it is strongly advised that you do not choose an agency that claims they can achieve this!
  • Some agencies might promise to get you to the top of Google in a short amount of time. Improving visibility in search results will take time, as there are a lot of different factors that are taken into account by search engines, and there is no way of guaranteeing results in any given time period.
  • Search engine results are ambiguous. When searching a query at different locations the results can change, and this should be made clear by any respectable agency. Users with Google accounts will also get personalised results.
  • Appearing first in a search engine does not reflect the overall performance of a business’s success online. Factors such as conversions and ROI are more important than rankings. If the traffic generated from Google isn’t converting into leads or sales, then your SEO agency isn’t targeting the right keywords.

An Ethical SEO Agency Should Be:

Trustworthy – An agency should deliver what they have promised. They should also not be afraid to admit if they have made a mistake.

A simple step to understand who could potentially be managing your SEO is to look the company up on LinkedIn. Here you can check for personal recommendations on the consultant you have been assigned, and get a feel for the size of the company.

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Helpful – An ethical SEO agency will go out of the way to delight customers.

A list of questions should be sent to you prior to the initial meeting. This shows that they are trying to understand your business and its priorities. This is also an opportunity for you to ask the agency questions and gauge their knowledge and experience.

Professional – The use of Twitter is key for SEO professionals.

When researching potential SEO agencies it is useful to assess whether the team members are active on Twitter, and also who members of staff at your potential agency follow on Twitter. This will demonstrate that they are keeping up to date with industry trends.

Over Half of Internet Users Over 65 Use Facebook

Over Half of Internet Users Over 65 Use Facebook

The trends have been pointing to older generations jumping on Facebook for a while. Now, the latest numbers from Pew show that over half of internet users over 65 use Facebook.

Overall, Facebook’s growth slowed but engagement levels increased. On other networks such as Twitter and Pinterest, the number of users rose more dramatically but engagement decreased. While some say this is due to fatigue and accounts going dormant, we speculate that the users are getting more efficient at using the networks. The can be seen in the dramatic rise of adults using multiple networks – 52% in 2014 versus 42% the year before.

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The most important finding of the study surrounds the rise in Facebook engagement. 70% of users access the site daily. That’s huge. That means that once Facebook gets its hooks into users, they tend to crave it in much the same way that people watch television daily. This is a sharp contrast to recent speculation that Facebook is suffering from being antiquated and too “uncool” for younger users.

That may be the case, but as they get older and are forced to expand their social circles through work and adult groups, it’s likely that they will be forced to come back to the “old person’s social network” if they want to engage with their adult peers.

There are definitely some gems in the exhaustive study, but overall it’s not really anything new. Facebook is huge. We knew that already.

‘While You Were Away’ Will Make Twitter More Important for Business

‘While You Were Away’ Will Make Twitter More Important for Business

Twitter was tiny. Then it was huge. Then it was irrelevant. Now, it’s on the verge of landing somewhere in between “huge” and “irrelevant” with the rollout of their “While you were away” feature.

Businesses have had a love/hate relationship with Twitter since its birth. It can be a tremendous communication tool, of course. That hasn’t changed. However, it seemed to only be of true benefit for big companies. Local businesses outside of real-time floaters like food trucks or music bands had a hard time generating a true return on investment.

The problem has been that for a local business to have any chance of getting noticed on Twitter and generating proactive benefit, a lot of time was necessary. Unfortunately, the return did not always justify the time spent. What’s worse is that it became painful for some who were finding that the positive things they tried to do went nowhere while anything negative about them that went out on Twitter seemed to go viral.

Bad news flourished. Good news got buried.

That’s in the process of changing. “While you were away” will bring real ROI for local businesses.

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One of the most appealing aspects of Facebook is its extremely intuitive algorithm. Most people take for granted the amazing complexity and uncanny accuracy of the algorithm that powers the news feed.

On the other hand, Twitter has always maintained strength in real-time exploits. See what’s happening now… and now… and now again. This meant that local businesses would have to Tweet several times a day in order to get any traction, plus engage in conversations, plus monitor for mentions, plus several other little annoying activities that made it more cost- and ROI-effective to simply maintain a basic presence and monitor briefly every day.

The new feature means that quality could trump quantity, or rather add to it. On Facebook, it’s better to post less and make it meaningful. Posting too much can hurt. With the new Twitter, it will likely make sense to focus on quality first but with the understanding that quantity will still help. In essence, “While you were away” means that you want to do whatever you can to generate some sort of interactions on some of your Tweets. If you do, your Tweets from minutes, hours, or even days ago have an opportunity to be seen by your audience in ways that were impossible in the chronological-only world of old Twitter.

Quality is new Twitter’s best friend.

Here are a few anticipatory best practices. We can’t be definitive at this point because the feature is still limited, but we can anticipate some things that you’ll want to do to bump up your Twitter quality.

  • Include images whenever appropriate. By keeping them the proper size (2-to-1 ratio) and compelling, you’ll get more attention while it’s live, giving it more potential engagement and increasing its chances of being seen by people when they log into Twitter next time.
  • Post often but spread it out so as to not get unfollowed. Every guru has an opinion about frequency. I like to keep at least an hour between standard Tweets (not including @replies).
  • Do not ask for retweets. Here’s the thing. It works. Unfortunately. Then again, panhandling at the subway station can work as well, but it’s not something that you want to do for a living. Rely on your content. They’ll retweet it if they love it.
  • Retweet and favorite others’ posts aggressively. I’m a little worried about using the word “aggressively” in this best practice because it can definitely be taken too far, but helping others will encourage them to help you. Don’t do it randomly, though. Whatever you retweet will appear on your Twitter profile. Be selective and only retweet the best content from good sources. That doesn’t necessarily mean big sources. A Ford dealer will probably notice if you retweet them. Ford corporate most likely will not.
  • Use hashtags, but don’t overdo it. Reading these, one would think that it’s written by Goldilocks. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. That’s really what you want to do with Twitter – find the sweet spot for all activities.

I hate to admit it, but I lost love for Twitter over the last couple of years. The love is getting renewed. Twitter is going to be effective for small businesses once again if they do it right.

Facebook Introduces Free Friend-To-Friend Payments Through Messages

Facebook Introduces Free Friend-To-Friend Payments Through Messages

When you chat with friends about settling debts or splitting the bill, Facebook doesn’t want you to have to open another app like PayPal or Venmo to send them money. So today it unveiled a new payments feature for Facebook Messenger that lets you connect your Visa or Mastercard debit card and tap a “$” button to send friends money on iOS, Android, and desktop with zero fees. Facebook Messenger payments will roll out first in the U.S. over the coming months.

Facebook And PayPal: Frenemies?

Rather than lean on a payments company like PayPal to power the feature, Facebook built it from the ground up from its experience processing over 1 million payments a day through its ads and games platforms. Transactions and payment info are encrypted, and Facebook says “These payment systems are kept in a secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network and that receive additional monitoring and control,” from an anti-fraud team.

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By making payments part of its oft-used messaging service rather than a standalone app, Facebook is looking to edge out dedicated P2P payment competitors like Venmo/PayPal, Google Wallet, and Square Cash, which people open less frequently. That’s the same strategy as the Square Cash-powered Snapcash feature Snapchat launched in November.

PayPal gave a statement (emphasis mine) saying:

We have had a great relationship with Facebook since 2008 and currently work closely together to deliver easy payments on a global scale for its games and ads businesses.

PayPal has always taken a partnership approach to payments and we will continue to work with Facebook and many other companies on new payments experiences that make it easier for people to send and receive money on both the PayPal and Braintree platforms.

When I asked a PayPal spokesperson if the company views Facebook Messenger payments as a “competitor,” they carefully avoided that word but eventually admitted “it does have similar technology and does a similar thing to what Venmo does.” While Venmo makes transfers with most debit cards free, Facebook’s free service will undercut PayPal’s 2.9 percent plus $0.30 fee per transaction from debit cards.

“We’re not building a payments business here,” Facebook’s product manager on the feature Steve Davis tells me. Instead, Davis says the goal is to offer P2P payments for free to make Messenger “more useful, expressive and delightful.” Since Facebook makes so much money on ads, $3.59 billion in Q4, it doesn’t have to monetize payments directly. Facebook just needs to keep people locked into its platform and seeing News Feed ads by making Messenger as helpful as possible.

Payments In Messenger

California Media was the first to report Facebook was building peer-to-peer payments into Messenger back in October when we attained hacked screenshots dug out of Messenger’s code by developer Andrew Aude. Since then, I’ve heard from several sources that Facebook was doing intense internal testing of the feature.

In the meantime, Facebook worked with PayPal, Braintree and Stripe to power auto-fill of billing details for e-commerce checkouts, and built a Buy button for making purchases from the News Feed.

Davis says the product evolved from a different initial incarnation but was cagey about exactly how long Facebook has been working on the feature. He did note that it was well in the works when the company poached PayPal president David Marcus to run its Messenger division.

“We wanted to test this and make sure we had really hit a high bar because money is extremely important.” Now its payments in Messenger is ready for a gradual public rollout stateside. Here’s how it works.

Pay Button Messenger

Once users get the feature, they’ll see a “$” button in the Messenger message composer next to the options to send a photo or sticker. When they tap it, Facebook will ask them to enter their debit card info. Users won’t have to fiddle with finding and entering bank account and routing info, making it easier than some alternatives, but they can only use Visa and Mastercard debit cards. Facebook decided against allowing credit cards because they would entail fees and it didn’t want users to get charged if they didn’t understand.

Pay HistoryFor extra security, users are prompted to set an in-app payments passcode or Apple TouchID fingerprint to confirm transfers, though they can opt out of this extra authentication in the settings. If users already have a debit card on file with Facebook from gaming, ads or donations, they can use that, too.

Once the $ button is tapped, users enter the dollar amount and hit Pay. The money is instantly taken from their debit account and delivered to the recipient’s debit account. Facebook never holds the money, though the receiver’s bank will usually take a few days to make the funds available as is standard. Both users see a confirmation message detailing the transfer status and time.

In case anything looks fishy, Facebook will ask users some extra financial security questions before a transfer goes through. Afterwards, users can see all their previous payments and funds received in the Payments History section of Messenger’s settings.

“It’s obviously not a feature you’re going to use 10 times a day,” say Davis. “But when you do need to send money, this is probably going to be the best way to do it.”

Convenience Is King

Davis explains that “conversations about money are already happening on Messenger,” as people chat about bar tabs, splitting dinner bills, and sharing the cost of an Uber. “What we want to do is make it easy to finish the conversation in the same place you started. You don’t have to switch to another app,” Davis tells me.

Now the question is whether this is the first step towards Messenger becoming a more full-featured experience. Messenger could follow the trend of monolithic chat apps of Asia like WeChat that let you make payments, e-commerce purchases, hail taxis and more. Messenger is going to have announcements at next week’s f8 developer conference, and we could see more platform ambitions from it then.

While only in the U.S. for now, if Facebook opened up Messenger payments internationally, it could help migrant workers send money home much cheaper than through high-fee remittance services. But for now, Facebook says it just wants to get friend-to-friend payments right in the States. “We’ll consider where to take it after that once we get everything nailed down,” says Davis.

Seal the deal: Google –Twitter tie up

Seal the deal: Google –Twitter tie up

Social media users have something really exciting for them as two of Internet’s largest platforms, Google and twitter have joined hands recently. According to the sources, an arrangement has been set where in all the tweets will be fed in on Google as they are posted on Twitter, unlike the earlier situation where Google had to crawl in Twitter to access the same.

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A win- win situation for both the platforms, it is sure to get more visibility to twitter messages even from non-users widening the target audience reach, making its users’ updates more easily searchable, creating potential ground for users who would not spend much time on the site.

On the other hand, Google will get an easy access to the micro blogging site’s ‘firehose’ , a constant stream of 140 character updates. Earlier the search engine had to crawl into twitter for information but its volume often made it difficult to access. The two giants had a similar deal between 2009 and 2011. However Twitter did not renew it as the site wanted to have more control over the content.

The engineers from both the companies have started working on this deal making it possible at the earliest. The outcome of this potential partnership is expected to be seen quite soon, may be by the first half of the year!

With the growing popularity of social media networking, this partnership puts its users and their comments, views, updates on high visibility through the hearth of search engine Google.

Kudos to them we say!

Social media users have something really exciting for them as two of Internet’s largest platforms, Google and twitter have joined hands recently. According to the sources, an arrangement has been set where in all the tweets will be fed in on Google as they are posted on Twitter, unlike the earlier situation where Google had to crawl in Twitter to access the same.

Importance of Social Media For Education Institutions

Importance of Social Media For Education Institutions

Social media for Educational institute : What makes it so influential? Over the past decade, communication methods have changed drastically, with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and many such platforms on the go, it comes as no surprise that there is a close connection between social media and students. It has become the easiest and the fastest way of connecting. However, the question remains of, How can social media influence educational institutes for engaging students and their parents? Here in lies the answer!

Social-media-Education

Connectivity: Social media networks are designed for the purpose of communal connections. These platforms are used by students to connect among themselves, institutes constantly communicate through websites, social media presence sharing relevant information. Having an online presence helps strengthen connectivity without any limitations on proximity.

Community building:A great way to reach out to potential students and professionals. It gives a chance to network with different industry experts and faculty of different institutions, social media can provide a better industry exposure.

Stimulate Knowledge and discussion:There is constant Sharing of information, content on Social media, giving and receiving information at rapid speeds. These include views and opinions, knowledge and many more.Social media provides platform to assess, analyze, retain and share information on a widespread.

Parental involvement:When it comes to engaging parents and encouraging them for their involvement, social media networks prove to be valuable tool for education institutes. Having an online presence through social media, Parents can easily access and view institute’s curriculum, understand class and teachers better. This helps them get clarity about the educational institute.

Visibility Advantage:According to IMAI (Internet and Mobile association of India) , 65% of the population go online to search educational content. Thus institutes with online presence have an advantage of being more visible. Also, having an online presence often contribute towards a positive approach towards the institute.

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It is evident that social media is important for educational institutes, having a widespread presence online helps institute reach out potentially. Students are actively sharing, commenting, liking, following all across social media while institutes are going a step ahead to make their presence felt.

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