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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Fast Five in Search – Week 32, 2014

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Move over Google! This week, we’re all about Bing. Let’s get straight to the good stuff.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Bing Looks Abroad by TechCrunch. According to internal sources, apparently Bing is “embarking on the most ambitious geographic and product expansion in its history”. TechCrunch has the lowdown on what this could mean.

2) How Does Bing Choose the Title for My Web Page? by Bing Blogs. Apparently, Bing doesn’t always choose the content of your title tag to display in the SERPs. Who knew? In this post, they explain why.

3) 3 New Bing Ads Geotargeting Features Now Available by Search Engine Watch. Bing Ads recently announced updates to its geotargeting that include more visibility, control, and improved radius targeting for advertisers. This post from Search Engine Watch explains the changes.

4) Filtering Low Quality Links in Bing SERP by Bing Blogs. In this post, Bing reveals how they control the quality of their search results and the methods of spam detection they employ to keep things positive.

and finally…

5) At Five Years Old, Bing Has Come Far, Yet Has More to Grow by Search Engine Land. With Bing turning five this week, Search Engine Land looks at some of their reasons to celebrate, including market share increase and growth of the search platform across Microsoft’s range of products.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 31, 2014

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We’re all about Google in this week’s Fast Five. No Bing, no Yahoo, just Google. Let’s get straight to it.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Promoting Modern Websites for Modern Devices in Google Search Results by Google Webmaster Central Blog. Google has introduced a new feature into the search results this month. When Google algorithms detect pages that may not work on a searcher’s device Google will now indicate this to searchers within the search results pages.

2) New Study: Search Ads Lift Brand Awareness by Inside AdWords Blog. It has been suggested for some years now that when consumers see AdWords ads appearing alongside organic search results for the same company in the Google search results pages, they have higher brand recall than consumers who just see organic search results. A new study run by Google and Ipsos MediaCT has proven this, revealing that search ads lift top-of-mind awareness by an average of 6.6 percentage points.

3) Segmenting Brand and Generic Paid Search Traffic in Google Analytics by Google Analytics Blog. Last month, Google Analytics introduced a new feature which automatically identifies brand-aware paid search clicks. That is, Analytics can now identify query terms which demonstrated visitors who had previous awareness of your brand. This means that you can now split your “paid search” channel into two separate channels: “brand paid search” and “generic paid search”. This can be done both for Multi-Channel Funnels (for attribution purposes) and for the main Google Analytics channel grouping.

4) Searching For the Right Balance by Google Official Blog. The “right to be forgotten” ruling against Google in May from the European Court of Justice is causing increasingly large ripples across the search industry and even spilling into the media at large. In this very enlightening post, Google’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, explains the massive challenge Google faces in figuring out what information they must now deliberately omit from search results. He also discusses openly why Google disagrees with the ruling, calling it very vague and subjective. Drummond reveals that Google has already received over 70,000 take-down requests since the ruling, most of which have arrived with little or no context.

and finally…

5) Mirror Your Android Phone to the TV With Chromecast by Google Android Official Blog. As of this month, Nexus and Android device owners can mirror their Android phones and tablets to their TVs using Chromecast, so they can see their favorite apps, photos or anything else, exactly as they see it on their mobile device, but on the big screen.

Happy Googling!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 29, 2014

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If you’re a long term reader of this blog, you’ll know that I sometimes write articles for SiteProNews. Sometimes I’ll get a reader question here and I’m able to say “I just wrote an article about that topic” and point to the article over at SPN. But apart from the occasional Q&A reference, I’m not great at promoting my own articles.

So for today’s Fast Five, I thought I’d share with you the last 5 articles I wrote for SiteProNews.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) What to Blog About When You Have Nothing to Blog About – This article was inspired by the many, many webmasters who approach me about the difficulty they have finding topics to blog about. In this article, I bust the “blogger’s block” myth and show you just how easy it is to come up with topics for your company blog. I even suggest a range of topics to suit blogs in various industries.

2) Five Must-Have Spreadsheets for Online Marketing Professionals – A short piece that highlights five spreadsheet-based marketing tools that I use myself or recommend on a regular basis.

3) 11 Easy Ways to Build Editorial Links – Another article inspired by questions I get on this blog. This one talks about all the ways you can safely build incoming links to your site in the wake of Google Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates. This is a two part article, with Part Two over here.

4) A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Domaining – I wrote this article after my recent experience trying to sell a domain I’ve owned for over 10 years. It’s an introduction to the murky but profitable world of domain flipping and includes a detailed list of domaining resources.

and finally…

5) 20 Free Marketing eBooks You Need to Download Right Now – Trust me, you’ll want to bookmark this one. This article is a review of my favorite free eBooks and White Papers relating to marketing, categorized by theme. In the article, I’ve linked to the jump page from where you can access the PDF file for each freebie.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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