Fast Five in Search – Week 37, 2014

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The goss this week in social has been all about Facebook (or as Uncle Larry likes to call it – The Facebooks). So this week’s Fast Five is a wrap-up of all the latest Facebooky goodness.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Facebook Testing Keyword Search by SiteProNews. Apparently, Facebook is expanding Graph Search to introduce keyword search on its mobile app, which will allow members to search through old posts or pages they have followed according to keyword.

2) Facebook to users: let’s walk through your privacy settings, just in case by Venture Beat. Starting this month, Facebook will be offering a privacy check-up to its users, narrated by a blue dinosaur (I kid you not) that walks them through every aspect of their confounding privacy settings.

3) Facebook Goes After “Click-Bait” Headlines with News Feed Update by Marketing Land. This week, Facebook announced a news feed algorithm change that it says will reduce the number of misleading and vague (click-bait) headlines that its users will see.

4) 4 Recent Facebook Updates Businesses Should Know by Social Media Today. A handy round up some of Facebook’s most recent announcements and updates that affect businesses.

and finally…

5) How to Use the 15 Facebook Ad Targeting Options by Social Fresh. This is not a recent post, but I get asked about Facebook ad targeting options A LOT, so thought I would include this one in today’s Fast Five.

Happy Facebooking!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 36, 2014

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It’s that time of the week again – Fast Five time. I’m feeling quite smug that I’ve managed to consistently publish a Fast Five post every week this year to date. Blogging can be a time-consuming business, but when you follow a schedule and write about topics that educate and inform, it’s also very rewarding.

If you’re enjoying these Fast Five posts, I’d love to hear as much in the comments. Feel free to suggest some topics for future editions as well. This week, we’re going to take a look back at the five most popular Q and A posts on this blog since it was first launched.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) How much should I expect to pay for SEO services? by Peter Newsome. In this post from 2009, Pete helps a SEO start-up who are struggling to set realistic rates for their brand new SEO service offering.

2) How do I avoid duplicate content created by my CMS for product pages on my site? by Peter Newsome. Another post from guest blogger Pete sees him helping a webmaster who is concerned that his Content Management System may generate product pages that are so similar in content that they may be deemed duplicate content by search engines.

3) How do I leverage Social Media to improve my SEO? by Yours Truly. In this Q and A from 2012, I explain why social media has become an integral part of SEO and suggest several ways of integrating social media marketing into your existing SEO strategy.

4) How can I get rid of malicious spam content on Google? by Yours Truly. A Q and A from March this year saw someone contact me asking for help relating to malicious content being published about them. I gave advice on how to lodge a Request to Remove Objectionable Content.

and finally…

5) Why doesn’t Google index my sitemap? by Yours Truly. In one of my more recent Q and A’s, I help a webmaster who couldn’t understand why Google wasn’t indexing all his site pages, despite including them all in his sitemap.

If you’ve got a burning question about search or search engines and you want to see it featured here as a Q and A, submit it via this form.

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 35, 2014

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in search and social. Some new features have been announced and some old ones switched off, with backlash in tow.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Search Marketers Tear Into Google Over AdWords Exact Match Change by Matt McGee. Google have isolated the search marketing community this month, with their announcement that Exact Match keywords will be phased out of AdWords, forcing all advertisers to use close variants. I’ve blogged about this before, when Google first introduced close variants as the default option for match types, but at least then you could opt-out of close variants. Not anymore. I’m not happy and judging by the backlash on social media, neither is the rest of the search community.

2) Google at Work on Kid-Friendly Versions of Its Products by Chris Crum. While we’re talking about Google, some more positive news. The company is apparently working on a new system that would let parents set up accounts for kids under 13 and control how they use services and what information is collected about them.

3) Buying Stuff Within a Tweet is Reportedly Coming to Twitter via Stripe by Mike Butcher. It seems there are businesses that want to sell products from inside tweets. Twitter is reportedly planning to add *Buy Now* buttons within tweets that will make this a reality, by allowing users to enter payment information without leaving Twitter.

4) The Beginners Guide to Establishing Personality and Engagement on a Facebook Page by Jesse Aaron. I really like case studies for how to use social media effectively and this article on Social Fresh contains some goodies. In this post, Jesse Aaron shares 7 neat tactics to use on a business Facebook page to drive engagement and inject some personality into your brand.

and finally…

5) 30+ Advanced Google Search Functions You May Not Have Known About by Craig Smith. This Infographic caught my attention because I like to think I know a lot about Google Advanced Search and I wanted to see how many of the 30 functions I already use. Turns out I knew most of these already, but not *location:* and some of the short-code searches like < tracking number >, < flight number > and so on. Neat!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 34, 2014

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I travel around New Zealand regularly, giving in-person training workshops for the Institute of IT Professionals in various online marketing subjects. My most popular workshop by far has been Social Media for Business, likely because many businesses and organizations struggle to understand how best to integrate social into their existing marketing strategies.

During the workshop, I like to show attendees a range of case studies where businesses of all sizes have successfully used social media marketing to promote their products and services and grow their customer base. Some of the biggest success stories I share come from Facebook.

Today’s Fast Five features five of my favourite Facebook business success stories:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Pigtails and Ponys – Remember the The Work Song Nanocluster episode of Big Bang Theory when the gang pitch in to help Penny with her hair clip crafting business *Penny Blossoms* and end up briefly turning it into a successful online business? Well, that’s what Pigtails and Ponys have done, but their success is ongoing. Founded in 2011, Pigtails and Ponys sold handmade headbands in local flea markets. The Indian hair accessories start-up then used Facebook Ads to grow what was once just a flea market booth into a thriving online business, with 70% of its customer base acquired on the platform.

2) Griffins Biscuits – This one is close to home for me. New Zealand based biscuit (cookie) manufacturer Griffins were surprised to find a Facebook page set up by a customer requesting that they re-instate a childhood favorite biscuit that hadn’t been produced for many years. Griffins implemented a Facebook survey to gauge reaction and re-introduced Choco-ade biscuits in response to demand. People bought over NZ $1.5 million worth in the first month, making it the number 1 selling product in the country.

3) Scoot Airlines – Singapore Airlines owned low-cost, long haul flight brand Scoot flies to 10 destinations around Asia Pacific. Scoot achieved impressive brand awareness and a 14x return-on-investment using Facebook to drive ticket sales for its Japan flight launch.

4) Michael Kors - Fashion retailer Michael Kors (of Project Runway fame) recently celebrated 5 million *likes* by launching a limited edition shoe – a zebra print sneaker, no less – for Facebook fans only. To buy the shoe in-store, fans had to quote the secret password. The launch drove a 16-point increase in awareness of Michael Kors sneakers and led to sellouts of some styles online and in stores.

and finally…

5) Visit Florida – Florida’s official tourism marketing corporation Visit Florida wanted to promote family travel to Florida during the Summer months. Through its *Sunshine Moments* sweepstakes campaign on Facebook, Visit Florida saw a 10-point increase in people’s likelihood to consider Florida as their next vacation destination, with 18,481 people submitting photos in the sweepstakes and 279 million Facebook Ad impressions during the campaign.

Are you achieving this type of success on Facebook? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Happy Facebooking!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 33, 2014

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Today’s Fast Five is all about online education. Internet based training institutions and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become exceedingly popular in the past 10 years. Anyone with an Internet connection can now learn anything online, 24 hours a day. Today, we share five (six!) of the most popular online learning web sites. Here we go:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Udemy – describes itself as the world’s online learning marketplace, where 3 million+ students are taking over 18,000 courses in everything from programming to yoga to photography. Each course is taught by an expert instructor, all available on-demand, so students can learn at their own pace, on their own time, and on any device.

2) Khan Academy – is unique because they are a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better. They do this by providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere, completely free of charge.

3) Lynda.com – All memberships to Lynda include unlimited access to their online library of over 2,800 video courses. Lynda offers a variety of instructional courses for all levels, including technical skills, creative techniques and business strategies. Courses can be watched from your computer, tablet, or mobile device and you can create and save playlists of courses and even share them with friends.

4) iTunes U – So you thought iTunes was just to buy music and apps? Think again. iTunes U offers educational courses and provides a customized learning experience for both teacher and student. Teachers can create and manage their course and students can experience assignments, materials, and study notes all from the iTunes U app on iPad.

and finally…

5) MIT Open Courseware – MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. MIT OCW is open and available to the world and is constantly updated to reflect the MIT curriculum. The idea behind MIT OCW is for educators to improve courses and curricula, making their schools more effective, students to find additional resources to help them succeed and independent learners enrich their lives and use the content to tackle some of our world’s most difficult challenges, including sustainable development, climate change and cancer eradication.

BONUS! Search Engine College – No list of online education resources would be complete without mentioning our own ;-). Search Engine College offers online self-study and certification courses in SEO, Pay Per Click Advertising (Google AdWords / Bing Ads), Web Site Copywriting, Web Site Usability, Link Building and a range of other online marketing subjects. We have students in 65 countries worldwide, with courses available via any device, 24/7.

Happy studying!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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