We’ve been waiting for this to come along, Google’s answer to Facebook’s Like button but for search results pages. You will now start to see a tiny +1 icon next to the title of orgainic and paid (AdWords) search listings. Currently, it appears next to the Favorite star but this is expected to go away soon. The idea of this nifty little gadget is make search more social, allowing users to effectively vote up (recommend) their “favorite” listings. Okay, let’s see how long it takes the search scammers to spoof this one.
By now you’ve seen “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” TV ad campaign, featuring Isaiah Mustafa, that pulled the Old Spice brand back from the brink of irrelevance and effectively restoring it to the #1 spot in market share.
The campaign launched in February during Superbowl XLIV and by the time Procter & Gamble’s Global Marketing Officer Marc Pritchard described its success at the ANA Conference in October, Old Spice had generated 1.8 billion PR impressions (globally) and an incredible explosion of online engagement with a 2,700% increase in Twitter followers, 800% increase in Facebook fans, 300% increase in website traffic, and over 140 million YouTube views (collectively). All this translated into double digit sales.
Did you know that you can claim any number of online business listings absolutely free?
That’s right. Most online directories like YellowPages (AT&T), SuperPages, Google Places, and Yahoo! Local, automatically create a free listing on your behalf (whether you like it or not) for at least one city (most likely where your “physical” location is thought to be). They do this because they ultimately want to up-sell you other offerings for a monthly fee. Whether these other offerings are worth the money really depends on the nature of your business. A plumber may very well benefit expanding their listing to include neighboring towns.
Regardless, we recommend to all our clients that they claim these free listings if for no other reason than to protect their brand, ensuring all the information is up to date, including the links to their site, blog, Facebook profile, and online store. But there is another compelling reason to claim your free listings: Link Building.
What is Link Building?
If you have done any kind of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website (or your clients’ websites) then you no doubt have spent a lot of time on Keyword Optimization. Well, the flip side of Keyword Optimization (which focuses on what you can do on your site) is Link Building, also know as Link Popularity, which focuses on what you can do off your site. Simply put, the more people who link to your website the higher your ranking on Search Engines Result Pages (SERP).
It used to be enough to just have lots of inbound links but the spammers and scammers started using link farms (and other black-hat techniques) to spoof the search algorithms and now such tactics will get your site banned for life.
Google and company now give greater weight to the quality of inbound links not just quantity, meaning that it is better to have links from sites and blogs well-established as authoritative sources (e.g. Wikepedia, Technorati, Psychology Today).
Claim Your Listings, Build Your Inbound Links
So, having links from authoritative sources increases ranking and visibility on search sites which in turns drives quality visitors. Without costing a cent! Why wouldn’t you do this? Before you shout out time let me remind you most of these listings already exist, all you have to do is claim them and make sure the info is correct. Five minutes tops! And although many of these directories offer a lot of additional features like microblogging and social networking (intended to keep you coming back, not necessarily a bad thing), by no means are your obligated to use them, therefore, you can update and forget.
Here is my shortlist of free listings worth claiming:
- Google Places for your business and Google Profile for your personal.
- Yahoo! Local
- Bing Local Listing Center
- AT&T YellowPages
I suggest you search for your listing first before creating a new one; start with your business address and if it is not there, try your personal address. By the way, the data entered under a search engine’s local listing appears on their corresponding map. Google now enables businesses to include videos, tweets, and such right on Google Maps (read this post).
One point of clarification: claiming your listings is not the end-all of Link Building, it is really just the least one can do to protect their brand. It is an easy way to boost your standing with search engine without needing to be an SEO expert to do it. Link Building is an ongoing effort that should be part of your overall marketing strategy. I will elaborate on this in future posts.
What other listings have you found useful? Feel free to drop a comment below.
Blogging Success Summit 2011 is a live online conference for corporate and business bloggers that brings together 23 experts from the world of online media, including Richard Jalichandra (Technorati), Mike Volpe (HubSpot), Rick Calvert (BlogWorld), and Michael Stelzner (Social Media Examiner).
Event runs February 1 to February 22 (fully online). Register before January 20th and save 50% plus get $794 in free bonuses!
When Cisco decided to introduce its new Aggregated Services Router (ASR) exclusively online to reach their target audience (network engineers), the news itself attracted a great deal of media attention. But when the official campaign numbers came out, there were plenty of latte spit-takes from all, even the “gurus” of social media-dom. Here are just some of the highlights:
- 9,000 people attended the social media product launch event (90 times more attendees than in the past)
- Nearly three times as many press articles than traditional outreach methods
- More than 1,000 blog posts and 40 million online impressions
- One-sixth the cost of a traditional launch (shaving over $100,000 off its launch expenses)
Cisco’s use of social media and gaming channels for its product launch is a shining example of online marketing done right. No newbie to social media, Cisco was not shy leveraging its 22 blogs, 300+ YouTube channels, 100,000+ Facebook fans, or 2 million Twitter followers. Cisco developed content specific to the launch, including a social media widget, a 3D game, and a virtual concert in Second Life featuring eight rock bands.
I was going to aggregate all the details of this case study here but then found Casey Hibbard’s superb post on Social Media Examiner. No point reinventing the wheel so here is the full monty on Cisco’s B2B Social Media Case Study. Enjoy!