Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Facebook One Ups Google+ | Facebook Updates News Feed and Adds New Features

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Facebook News Feed Update – You may have noticed a few changes this morning when you signed into Facebook. There is a layout change for one, but the major change is the Facebook News Feed.    You’ll notice that you now have Top Stories, which are marked by a blue corner, and then your most recent stories just below.

So, what is a top story exactly?  Facebook is pulling stories into your news feed that they think you will find interesting or that have been posted since you last signed in.

The news feed updates got me thinking about what the affect on the Facebook EdgeRank score would be, if it would change, or if it even mattered anymore since you would just get most recent updates.  However, according to Facebook, “We determine whether something is a top story based on lots of factors, including your relationship to the person who posted the story, how many comments and likes it got, what type of story it is, etc. For example, a friend’s status update that might not normally be a top story may become a top story after many other friends comment on it.”  So, my guess is that the Facebook EdgeRank score is still VERY important when it comes to showing up in someone’s top news feed.

If Facebook is pointing out something to you in your News Feed that you don’t think is interesting, they have made it very simple to hide or “unmark a top story”.   Also, you will have more control over what you see in your news feed by creating Facebook Smart Lists. 

The Facebook Real Time Ticker:  The ticker will show real time friend activity as it happens to the right of your screen just above your chat list.   This feature allows you to hover over an item to see the full story and also gives you an option to click in and join the conversation or comment. 


Larger Images:  Facebook has made the images that show up in your news feed larger.  And, who doesn’t love that??!!

Subscribe Feeds: Facebook has added a subscribe feature to personal profiles.  What this means is that you can allow people to subscribe to your updates.  This is very much like a twitter follow.  Like within Twitter you can follow someone without them following you back.  Same thing when you follow or subscribe to a Facebook personal feed.  It’s important to note that you will only be sharing information with subscribers that you post as a public update.  This is probably one of the tweaks that Facebook has added that most closely resembles Google+.

View Shares:  Lastly, Facebook has updated Facebook Pages by adding a ‘View Shares’ link on all posts.  So, you can now see who has shared content from your page with others.

The battle rages on between Facebook and Google+.  Who is going to have the better platform?  Who is going to lose or gain users? Which platform will be more important from a business standpoint to have a profile on?  My guess is that there is room for both and the battle will continue, which is a good thing for the end user.  The more they try to one up each other the better product we have to use at the end of the day.

What are your thoughts on the new Facebook updates?

Joan Woodbrey Crocker
Enjoying the Battle

Find Me on Facebook
Find Me on Google+


Instant Upload with Google + : One More Thing You Can’t Do With An iPhone!

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Google Plus Instant Upload is a little Big Brother but very cool.  Okay, so I have to admit I was a little freaked out by this at first…

Google Plus’s instant upload is really simple.  All you have to do is download the Google Plus app onto your Android phone.  The default setting for the app is has Instant Upload enabled. So, that’s all the set up that is required.  Then all you do is snap pictures on your phone as your normally would and they automatically get uploaded to your Google + account.  So, the next time you sign into the account you will have the option of whether you want to share the picture with your circles or not.  Watch my demo below…

If you are worried about privacy or you don’t want to use Instant Upload it’s really easy to disable.  Just follow the steps below.

1. Go to the Google+ App on your phone
2. Press Menu
3. Go to Settings
4. Scroll down to Instant Upload
5. Uncheck the box so that it no longer has a green check mark

You can also open up your Instant Upload settings from here to check on upload statuses, upload existing photos, decide whether you just want photos uploaded instantly or video too, turn off instant upload while roaming etc.

Joan Woodbrey Crocker
Maine SEO


Google Plus: All You Need To Know About Google +

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Whether you are celebrating it’s arrival or wishing it away because you don’t want to keep track of yet another social network, Google Plus is here.  We will soon find out whether it is here to stay or a quick fad, but my guess is that this is the real deal.  If you haven’t had the chance to join yet make sure to go check it out.  And, If you are like me and you are thinking HOLY COW there is so much to learn and read.. Here are a few resources I found helpful gathered all in one place.

What is Google Plus and How Do I Use It:

How to Get Started With Google Plus: This is a great guide to getting started on Google + it gives great info and screenshots, but it’s a little less overwhelming than the Google Plus Collaborative Doc (below).

Google Plus a Collaborative Document: This is literally a guide to using Google Plus.  The Table of Contents lays out the document so that you can jump around and learn about the areas that you need help with.  This is probably the most in depth and useful guide I have come across.

The Google Plus Cheat Sheet: Exactly what it sounds like, a cheat sheet or glossary of terms on how to use Google Plus and what things mean…So, in case you don’t have the time (or patience) to go through the doc above.

10 Awesome Video Tips for Getting More out of Google + Don’t like to read? Check out these quick video tips!

How to: Get Your Own Google+ Vanity URL: Since Google Plus doesn’t offer vanity URL’s as of now for fear of spammers figuring out millions of Google+ users email account information, has created a small app that makes it easy to create your own Vanity URL to make it easy to share your Google Plus Profile with your friends.

How to Get Google+ On My Phone:

Get Google+ On Your iPhone! And iOS App was released today making it possible for iPhone users to get Google Plus on their iPhones.  It’s been available since the beginning on Android phones and all you need to do is go to the Droid Market, to download your Google+ app for Free.

How To Use Google Plus for Business/Marketing:

10 Things CMOs Need to Know About Google+ Chris Brogan compares Google+ to the launch of Facebook and the leap people made from Myspace to Facebook.  Giving reasons such as Google is the King of Search so they will probably have their social network affect search, they are starting up business pages, it’s connections with gmail and other Google tools you already use and it’s fast growth in it’s first two weeks of it’s launch he thinks it’s the next BIG thing!

3 Ways to Use Google Plus in Your Content Marketing Efforts A lot of great tips here on Google Plus for content marketing as well as  a great list of related articles about Google Plus, such as “Can Google+ Rival Facebook and Twitter? Some Initial Thoughts” and “Top 6 Articles On Google Plus to help you Get the Most Out of Your Experience.”

Google + Now Part of Google Analytics: You can now track your social interaction as well on your Google Analytics by adding a bit of code to your sites.  Currently this tracks Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.  There isn’t a code yet to track LinkedIn interactions.

More On Google +:

5 Ways Journalists are Using Google Plus
5 Chrome Extensions that Improve Google+
What Your Business Needs To Know About Google+
How does the Google +1 Button Affect Search

The more I research, explore, play and use Google + the more I like it.  It’s incredibly connected, dynamic and the uses are endless. For example…

It recognizes when I take a picture with my Android, and then without me uploading or doing anything it is already in my photos on Google Plus asking me if I want to share it.

My new Tag line: Google Plus… It’s So Smart, It’s Spooky!

Joan Woodbrey Crocker
Maine SEO


A Gift from Google: Happy Birthday to Me!

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

I read this article in Mashable last week that mentioned Google would wish you a Happy Birthday. Of course, I just had to try it for myself. When you add your birthday to your Google profile, you’ll see this logo on the Google homepage on your birthday.

When you click on the Google logo, they’ll send you to your profile page, where you’ll see:

Aww, Google, you shouldn’t have!

Nicki Hicks
They say it’s [my] birthday

Inner View: Google’s Keyword Research Tools (from SMX East)

Monday, October 4th, 2010

The following is a recap from a session at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East. Follow the conference and session on Twitter.

Google stats

  • Billion users, billions of searches
  • August 2008 – over 7 million search for Britney Spears, over 1,000 misspelling of Britney’s name, top 10 misspellings of those misspellings add up to over 900,000 additional searches

Longtail search

  • 55% of queries have more than 3 words
  • 70% of queries have no exact keyword match
  • 20% of queries in a given day have not been seen in the previous 90 days

What to use?

Final thoughts

  • Problem: You need features from all products, and need to use them all.
  • Keyword Tool has 2 million + users and gets 300 million + ideas a month
  • Recently, the tool was updated and relaunched, including using – specific numbers.


Why’d you get rid of the old tool?

The only infrastructure was going away. The new tool primes Google to be able to add a lot more functionality.

Geotargeting: Will that be available for the new keyword tool?

Getting stats for a city/state level is in the works.

Global monthly/Local monthly

Global: last 12 months and global search volume

Local: only what you have your settings on (e.g. English United States) Local is actually National.

What is the minimum keyword volume a keyword has to have to show up in the keyword tool?

No volume threshold. Pricing threshold. Any query has an opportunity to show up in the keyword tool.

Google has various filters to show only things that are commercial.

How much is filtered out for privacy?

No stats; but from a search advertising perspective, you’re getting a good coverage of all search terms.

Logged in vs. non-logged in

When you’re logged in to KWT, you could get up to 1,000 queries.

When you’re not logged in to KWT, you only get up to 100 queries.

Google Suggest

Keyword Tool uses Google Suggest, on top of a lot of other metrics.

Commercially used keywords

The KWT uses commercially used keyword. A trigger is when a keyword is used in an ad.

Search-based keyword tool

Thresholds on search-based keyword tool are very similar.

Search-based keyword tool is being phased out because the technology has been incorporated in KWT.

Who wants a tool that shows all the raw data of Google search terms?
EVERYONE. (Look for something like this in the next year.)

Do you pull in realtime data?

Volume numbers given are for the past 12 months.

Similar words have similar volume numbers.

Volume is rounded.

Traffic Estimator

You can get the estimated traffic for terms inputted, and can filter exact/broad the same way as KWT

Filters on KWT

  1. Commercial filter
  2. Privacy filter

Ad impressions vs. search volume

Keywords are shown for AdWords keywords that have been purchased. The search volume is for all searches.

Why am I seeing different numbers when I’m not logged in vs. when I am?

That bug should be fixed – it was because of switching over from the old interface.

How is punctuation treated?

Gather separate results for punctuation vs. non-punctuation

Baris Gultekin, Group Product Manager, Google

YouTube Search Stories: An Easy Way to Start Your YouTube Channel

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Last week, a client asked if she should look into YouTube search stories, after seeing one used by a colleague on LinkedIn.

Having never heard of search stories, I took a closer look. As it turns out, the videos are quick (it takes about 10-15 minutes to create one) and easy.

The better news? If you don’t already have a YouTube channel, this quick video is a great way to make your video debut.

How to create a search story

The steps are so easy, I really don’t need to share them. But what fun would that be?

  1. Start by deciding on seven different search queries.  You can further leverage them by changing the searches to web, blog, news, image, and more. (I caution you: make sure you choose searches you rank #1 for, as the video will zoom in on that query! Don’t worry, you’ll get to preview your choices in the window below.)
  2. Choose your musical selection.
  3. Review and publish!

And you’re done. Wasn’t that easy?

Don’t stop now. Keep creating video content because if a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth? Also, make sure that if you’re creating your first YouTube channel you brand it.

Here’s the flyte search story video.

Nicki Hicks
Quick and easy video

9 Free Keyword Research Tools from Google

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

One of the first rules for keyword research is use more than one tool. Lucky for us, Google’s got a whole suite of tools – and better yet – they’re completely free!

1. Keyword Synonyms

I quite honestly don’t use the Google Synonym Tool as often as I probably should, but it will give you some great ideas when you start your keyword research.

2. Google Insights and 3. Google Trends

Google Insights will give you a good idea of what is popular right now (including similar “hot” keywords and phrases); while Google Trends gives a better indicator of how a keyword performs over time (Google has data as far back as 2004).

4. Google Analytics

You didn’t realize your Analytics could give you insight to what people are searching for?! Sure! Look no further than the keyword section. The bottom of the list will more than likely be rich with long tail searches. Maybe you could do a better job optimizing for those keywords, or maybe they’ll give you ideas for even more keyword research.

Another great place to look for keyword inspiration in Analytics is within your site search keywords. What were people looking for that they couldn’t find on their own? You might find some opportunity there.

5. Search-based Keyword Tool

Google’s Search-based Keyword Tool is based on AdWords bidding prices and competition, but you can get a great idea of search volume using it. It’s important to remember that this tool uses keywords in conjunction with existing websites. (So, if you don’t have a website yet, pop in one of your competitors’ sites!)

6. Google AdWords Keyword Tool

To date, Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool has been one of my favorite research tools. Again, based on AdWords competition, you’ll get the added benefit of global and local monthly search volume statistics.

7. (The New) AdWords Keyword Tool

I couldn’t be more excited for this new addition to the keyword research toolbox from Google: the new AdWords Keyword Tool. That much more robust, this tool adds a new column: local search trends. Even in a few short days of using it, I’ve found that, while you have to sort through the irrelevant keywords a bit more, you’ll get a ton of helpful synonyms and related search terms.

8. Google Sets

Ironically, I saw that Kasi Gajtkowski from Hall Web Services just put up a new blogpost about Google Sets – a new keyword research tool from Google. This tool will give you more loosely related (but still relevant) keywords related to the search terms you enter. That way, you’ll really be able to expand your keyword research and get some ideas you’d never thought of!

9. Google Suggest

While it’s not traditionally a keyword research tool, Google Suggest is an out-of-the-box way to get keyword ideas.

With so many free tools to choose from, you’re bound to be a keyword pro in no time. Which is your favorite to use?

Nicki Hicks
Google Tool Savant

Is Google Buzz Worth All The Buzz?

Friday, February 26th, 2010

google buzzFirst things first, there have already been a ton of great posts on how to use Buzz and what it’s all about. If you want a really great overview of all Google Buzz has to offer, check out this Mashable post. The official Google Blog also has a post with some great video how-to’s for both the web-based and mobile Buzz versions.

Here are some of the more interesting features of Buzz – the good, the bad, and the ugly – that I’ve noticed in a few short weeks of buzzing.

Gmail Integration

If someone replies to a “buzz” of yours, it is emailed directly to you. Even more cool: you can reply to the thread directly in the email.

buzz in email

Be careful though, comment on an influential Buzzer’s(?) post and you’ll get all of the comments thereafter. There are a few options for this: a) create a filter to put any buzz comments under a specific label in Gmail, b) “mute” the post, so that you no longer get the updates from it.

Also a negative: for those anti-Googlers out there, you have to have a Gmail account in order to Buzz.

Social Integration

Buzz has the option to integrate a ton of your other social media profiles, and I can only assume there will be more to come. But for now, your tweets, YouTube videos, flickr photos, and more will show up in your Buzz stream.

connected sites buzz

Watch the conversation

Like Facebook’s commenting and “liking” features, Buzz is superior to Twitter in the fact that you can actually watch a conversation – and follow it if you’ve come late to the game.

buzz conversation

Alas, for every positive there is a negative. I love Mashable, but I unfollowed them because they were clogging up my Buzz feed. Lots of great info – I just don’t know if Buzz is where I want to get it. In the future, hopefully Google will help sort folks you follow so it’s more manageable. Again, currently you can mute a post, so that you don’t receive updates as people comment.

Mobile Integration

Access Buzz on your smart phone and you’ll see the same features, plus some – including Google Maps integration where you can see who’s buzzing around you.

buzz google maps

I’m sure that as Buzz evolves, the less than desirable qualities will be ironed out. And until then, we can figure out the implications of Buzzing and add yet another social network to our list to join.

Nicki Hicks
Follow me on Buzz

Going to the Next Level with Google Alerts: Putting Them to Good Use

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Yesterday I talked a little bit about how to set up Google Alerts, and hinted at why they’re important. Today, I’d like to focus on how you can use the Alerts you receive.

google alerts flyte new media

Do some damage control. Even the best business will have unhappy customers. Here’s your opportunity to make it right. Don’t pretend like the post didn’t happen, don’t even ask the blogger to remove it. Face it – head on – and comment; apologize for their bad experience and vow to make it better (however you can manage to). Not only will the unhappy blogger feel better (maybe even remove or update their scathing review), but anyone who reads the post and your subsequent comment will want to do business with you.

Catch the copy cats. Unfortunately, there are a lot of blogs out there whose soul purpose is to copy content from other blogs/articles and repost it. They sometimes give credit, but never their own .02. More often than not, these copy cat blogs are harmless (since Google already sees them as spam), but some are truly a more serious copyright violation.

Catch what fell through the cracks. You might already be tracking your business name on Twitter, and regularly Googling yourself. Google Alerts are a sure-fire way to catch even more mentions of your business.

Get inspired. Tracking your highly sought after keywords will result in a variety of blogposts, websites, and more that also target those keywords. You’ll find plenty of new ideas by reading through these alerts; just make sure your keywords are specific enough so you don’t end up sorting through pages and pages.

Thank people. We’ve talked about the negative, but there’s also the positive! There might be some positive blogposts out there talking about your company, product, or service. Maybe they don’t offer a link, so your backlink checker wouldn’t pick them up. Make sure you leave a comment thanking them and you could even offer them an incentive to do business with you again (% off, free bonus, etc.).

How about you? How have you used your Google Alerts?

Nicki Hicks
Tracking, tracking, tracking

How to Find Out Who’s Talking About You (and Your Business)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

I find that Google Alerts is, by far, one of the most under appreciated Google products. Leveraging it correctly can result in good PR, better blogposts, and a quick and easy way to get a leg up on the competition. Here’s how to make the most of it.

google alerts

1. Start by assigning a keyword/phrase – the more specific, the better (unless you want to sort through lists of results that don’t apply). You might want to assign multiple alerts, and they could include:

  • Your most sought after keywords and phrases
  • Your business name
  • Your competitor’s name(s)
  • Product/service names

2. Then, choose what you want to have sent to you. Choose from:

  • News
  • Blogs
  • Web
  • Comprehensive (everything)
  • Video
  • Groups

3. Receive notifications once a day, a week, or as they happen. (I find that notifications as they happen are simply annoying, but figure out what works for you.)

4. Decide on how many results you want (as to not be overwhelming).

5. Get alerts sent to your Gmail account or your feed….and you’re done!

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how to use the information you get after setting up your Alerts.

Nicki Hicks
Alert the Media

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