Does Buying Facebook Likes Help Search Engine Rankings?

I was offered 2,000 Facebook Likes for $60 today, from someone offering a service that allows you to buy Facebook Likes. According to this unsolicited commercial email (spam), getting more Facebook Likes will increase your search engine rankings. And the sender, Nick Grey, even says that Matt Cutts from Google said so.

Facebook Likes Search Engine Rankings

Here is the email I received. Note that my domain name, LinkEarning.com, even though it has a small one-page website, has not really been developed. I’m even amazed that it has one Facebook Like. It really shouldn’t at this point.

On 8/31/13 10:49 PM, “Nick Grey” wrote:

Hello,

My name is Nick Grey, and I am a professional social media manager.
I have something to offer that might interest you. Would you like to extend your reach online? Would you like to promote your products and services directly to your target audience?
In todays world, interaction between companies and their potential and existing customers is carried out through social media. Googles software engineer, Matt Cutts, has confirmed reports that Google uses social signals, such as links from Facebook and Twitter, as a ranking factor. If you want your website to get a high rank in Google searches, your site should have a lot of links on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

You can see the current number of links/Likes to your website LINKEARNING.COM on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http://LINKEARNING.COM

I want to help you improve your link popularity on Facebook and as a result, increase its ranking in Google searches! I can place more than 2,000 Facebook links/Likes from your country on your website for $60.
For this offer, you dont even need a Facebook account or fanpage. Plus, I work without prepayment: payment is made after all the work is done!
If you have any questions, please send them to me. I will try to answer them in the shortest time possible.

I also have other offers: additional followers for Twitter channels, additional Likes for Facebook fanpages, additional do-follow SEO-links, and much more.
If this does not interest you, I’m sorry to have bothered you! Have a good day!

Sincerely,
Nick Grey

What is interesting to note is that you can go to https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http://LINKEARNING.COM and change out “LINKEARNING.COM” with your domain name and see how many Facebook Likes your domain/site has had.

While representative have said publicly that social signals are being taken into account, the official statement back in 2012 from Matt Cutts (I heard him in person say this) went like this:

Google has a 10 year plan for relying on social factors as a part of the algorithm.

So, while social factors are a (small) part of the search engine algorithm of Google, keep in mind that it takes 10 years for Google to fully “trust” the social signals. So, in my professional opinion, social signals will “count more” over time. And right now, they’ve been using social signals for only a few years now. Just because you get 2,000 Facebook Likes on a URL or domain name doesn’t mean that it will move your search engine rankings one bit.

If you were to buy 2,000 Facebook Likes from this guy names Nick Grey, most likely all of those Facebook Likes are going to be from fake Facebook accounts. There will be no social engagement after they Liked your page or your domain/site. Social engagement is key, and that’s what the search engines are watching–not the number of actual Likes.

I can say, though, that if your Facebook page has no Likes at all, and someone comes across your page, they are less likely to Like your page. This is for a Facebook business page, and not just a Like on your domain/site. No one likes to be the only one who Likes a page.

By the way–I think Nick Grey actually has it all wrong here. He should have mentioned that Bing.com has a relationship with Facebook, not Google. So, your website could potentially rank better if it has more Facebook Likes. Google doesn’t generally have access to the Facebook Like data like Bing.com does.

So, does buying Facebook Likes help your search engine rankings? No, not with Google.



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Google AdWords Keyword Tool Gone: Here Are Some Alternatives

As of today, August 27, 2013, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool is gone. You can no longer use this free online keyword research tool to get the average number of searches per month for keywords. And you can no longer get keyword suggestions from the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

google adwords keyword tool

When you click on the search result above, you will no longer see the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Instead, you get this:

Keyword Planner has replaced Keyword Tool

If you want to get keyword ideas using the Keyword Planner, make sure to sign in to your AdWords account.

To be honest with you, the former keyword research tool was okay, but I have always had problems with it. The data it delivered was always an “estimate” of the actual number of searches. And there were huge discrepancies in the data, from time to time. I don’t expect the new Keyword Planner to be any better when it comes to the accuracy of the actual data.

Since the Google AdWords Keyword Tool is now gone, and the data wasn’t always accurate anyway, here are some good alternatives:

- Bing Ads Intelligence – http://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/bing-ads-intelligence
Bing Ads Intelligence is a powerful keyword research tool that allows you to build and expand on your keyword lists using a familiar Microsoft Office Excel interface, and it enables you to easily gauge the performance of relevant keywords on the Yahoo! Bing Network. Apply these insights to improve your keyword selection and campaign performance.

SEM Rush – I love the SEM Rush tool so much that I actually have reviewed it more than once right here on my blog. And, it’s so good that I even write a monthly column for the SEM Rush Blog. My latest blog post was about how to find content ideas.

Keyword Discovery – http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/
I still like to use Keyword Discovery from time to time, especially when doing large keyword research projects. Keyword Discovery compiles keyword search statistics from all the major search engines world wide, to create the most powerful Keyword Research tool.

Google Carousel: From an End User Perspective

Google recently introduced the Google Carousel, which has been appearing in the search results for more and more keyword phrases. The Google Carousel, originally referred to as the Google Local Carousel, is not just local anymore. It’s part of the Knowledge Graph, appears at the top of many search results pages, is tending to roll out more and more for a lot more keyword phrases. If you have not seen the Google Carousel yet, it looks like this:

Google Carousel

Google must have rolled out the Google Carousel to a lot more keyword phrases over this past weekend, as it is starting to show up more often. In fact, so much so that typical “end users” so to speak (those who are not in the SEO industry but are pretty technically savvy with Google and use it a lot) started noticing it.

As an SEO professional, I was really interested in what “normal people who use Google” had to say about the Google Carousel. Not what SEOs think of the Google Carousel. After all, I have written about the Google Carousel before. I have seen the Google Carousel and have been very aware of it and how it works for a while now. But I’m “too close” to it.

So, what do non-SEOs think of the Google Carousel? Donna Mahony, from Domain Boardroom, had this to say. First, it started with a pretty random comment about the carousel, where she asked:

Anyone else seeing the big “people also searched for” banner???

Note that she mentioned that it was a banner or maybe even a banner ad that was appearing suddenly in the Google search results. She specifically asked about this particular search result:

Google Carousel Example

What I found interesting is that this is not seen by Donna as a “feature” of the Google search results. I may be putting words in her mouth, but it’s seen as a “banner”. And many people don’t like banners or banner ads. Especially when it’s part of the search results. It’s an ad. But wait.

After speaking with Donna, she had this to say about the Google Carousel:

Too me, anything that takes up the top section of a page is a banner or header. It took me a while to realize that I had even triggered it. I didn’t feel at all like it aided my search…either as a user or domainer..it hindered it and distracted me from what I was actually looking for! I hate it. I was actually expecting it to be more accurate in showing me something I WAS interested in…I LOVE the “people who bought this item also bought” in Amazon…but Amazon isn’t so offensively in your face about it…

So, what is interesting also to note is that a typical end-user thought that it does not aid her search. It actually hindered and distracted her from what she was actually looking for.

What is your personal experience with the Google Carousel? Do you like it? Hate it?

Omnicom Media Group Acquires Bruce Clay Australasia

Omnicom Media Group has acquired Bruce Clay’s Australasia division. Bruce Clay Australasia’s 70 employees will join Omnicom Media Group’s Resolution global search network.

resolution-media

Bruce Clay

Omnicom Media Group, Asia Pacific consolidated its search brands under Resolution Media in the Asia Pacific region in 2012. According to Omnicom Media, that consolidation “unified all search operations running under OMD, PHD and the flagship search arm FLOW under the single Resolution Media brand and created a leading global search marketing and optimisation platform to effectively leverage scale, data and knowledge on behalf of clients.”

Bruce Clay Australasia is the leading provider of Digital Marketing services with an emphasis on SEO (search engine optimisation) in Australia, providing clients with a full range of services, tools and training since 2006.

Omnicom Media Group (OMG) is the media services division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), the leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company, providing services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries. Omnicom Media Group includes the full service media networks OMD and PHD; the digital, data and analytics marketing platform Annalect Group; leading search agency Resolution Media; and a number of specialty media communications companies.

Google to Start Showing Company Logos in Search Results?

Based on what I am seeing using the Google Rich Snippets Tool, it looks like Google is going to be soon showing your company logo in the search results, just like they’re currently doing with Google Authorship.

Google Rel Publisher Company Logo

Just like Google Authorship, companies that have verified their Google Publisher status using Rel=Publisher as well as set up their Google Plus business page, you’ll start seeing your company logo alongside your website in the Google search results.

I have been in touch with Barry from Search Engine Roundtable, and as of this post, they have not yet confirmed officially with Google whether or not they’re going to be rolling out logos for rel=publisher.

Google to Show Company Logos in Search Results

But, based on my experience, I am pretty sure that this is going to be the case, It’s my gut feeling, since it’s a logical next step in the who authorship / publisher / Google Plus verification and transparency thing.

I first saw Kahena’s post about the company logos appearing in the Google Rich SNippets testing tool, I then wrote about it on the Standing Dog Blog, titled Google to Show Company Logos in Search Results.

SEO Agency Launches Google AdWords Campaign Targeting Blueglass

Vizion Interactive, an SEO Agency, has launched a Google AdWords campaign where they are specifically targeting searches for a competitor’s brand name. But, in this case it’s Blueglass, an interactive marketing agency that has had its share of controversy in the past few weeks. The majority of the employees at Blueglass, based in Tampa Florida, have left the company recently, and Blueglass apparently as a company (in the US) is collapsing.

The following is a screen capture of the Google AdWords ads that Vizion Interactive is currently running (as of the posting of this post):

SEO Agency

Originally posted on Jeremy Schoemaker’s Facebook page, Mark Jackson, the President and CEO of Vizion Interactive, had this to say about why they are running Google AdWords ads targeting Blueglass:

I’m the President of Vizion Interactive and thought I’d provide a perspective on this. I am friends with Richard Zwicky and had a lot of respect for what the folks at BG were able to do. That said, as you are – I’m sure – aware, BG has not provided any direct notice to their clients that they have shut down. And, in case you weren’t aware, even employees of BG have received no formal notice and have no idea (for example) if they still have healthcare insurance.

Since the “shut down”, I have interviewed many former BG folks (wonderful people) and while we may be marketing ourselves to former BG clients, we are also trying to bring on board former BG employees. To me, this is not a “bad thing”. I have witnessed my fair share of “bad” in our Industry and try to be part of the solution; not the problem. I didn’t create this mess. However, if I can, in some small measure, help folks find work (I’m told that 35 employees and as many as 35 F/T contractors were affected), I’m gonna do that.

The big question here is really whether or not bidding on a competitor’s keywords (or, in this case, the competitor’s brand name) is acceptable, and whether or not you should bid on a competitor’s brand name when that company is losing customers? Essentially, one could argue that Vizion Interactive’s motive is to “poach” clients away from Blueglass, a company that so publicly is failing.

To be fair here, I have to disclose that I formerly worked for Vizion Interactive.

Update:
Vizion Interactive apparently launched this campaign the day after the news about Blueglass broke.

Vizion Interactive, Blueglass, Greg Boser Tweet

Vizion Interactive is one of the companies rallying around Blueglass to hire their employees, as they were terminated from the company in mid-April 2013.

The Difference Between SEOs and Search Engine Marketers

During a recent comment thread on Facebook by my buddy Steve Floyd, the subject of SEOs (Search Engine Optimization pros or “search engine optimizers”) and SEMs (Search Engine Marketers or “Pay Per Click professionals”) came up. During this heated discussion, I think there was only one thing that many tended to agree on: SEOs and SEMs are very different.

Photo courtesy Unbounce.

Photo courtesy Unbounce.

How? It’s the way SEOs and Search Engine Marketers work. SEMs tend to be very willing to share “trade secrets” with each other, as they are navigating the ever-so-confusing waters of Google AdWords, Bing Advertising Intelligence, Facebook advertising, and Doubleclick. Throw in retargeting and it’s even more confusing and challenging, with everything from policies and technology changing constantly to new product offerings. If you’re in the search engine marketing industry, then you’ll know that even competitors (SEM agencies competing with other SEM agencies) will constantly share new information with each other. After all, you’re spending your client’s money, and at some point that client might be your client.

As one of the founders of the Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association (which includes both SEO and SEM, by the way), I see a lot of SEMs willing to share great industry information with each other.

In the SEO industry, however, it’s more “cut throat” and extremely competitive. It is completely different. Like night and day. Or like Black Hat versus White Hat. SEOs tend to be the opposite of SEMs, where they don’t tend to share “trade secrets” with each other very often. These “trade secrets” are always under strict confidence, and even when there are situations where really great information is shared, it even tends to be shared under a strict NDA. If you’re one of those SEOs who have attended one of DK’s amazing conference get-togethers, then you know what I mean.

SEOs deal with organic or “natural” search engine rankings, among other things (yes, we do a lot of other stuff other than link building and optimizing web pages). The “rules” of SEO are constantly changing, and what works now to get better search engine rankings (such as a certain type of link from one type of web site) may not work in the future.

In fact, if you’re an SEO and are actively doing SEO, then you will notice things–like the fact that Google, for example ALWAYS will tend to roll out an organic search algorithm update before they announce that there is an update. I remember the EMD (Exact Match Domain) update that Google did a while back. I was literally on the phone with a client at 8:00am on a Saturday morning talking about a traffic drop and why it happened–and Google announced that “update” on the following Monday. By Monday, I had already been working on changes to that client’s link profile that would counter-act what I was seeing already in the search results.

SEOs who are very good at what they do tend to not share “trade secrets” with others. If you know me, though, you can talk to me in person and I will give you probably more information than any good SEO in this industry. But that’s because I tend to share more than a lot of others. That’s just the way I am. But I can tell you that if there is something I run across because of my hard work and dedication as an SEO, I won’t share it with others–even some of the peers I work with. It could be thought of as job security–or just that the “trade secret” is too good to let someone else know about it. After all, if that “trade secret” ends up on some SEO message board somewhere, on Google+, or if it’s tweeted on Twitter, then most likely the “loophole” won’t last that long.

SEO isn’t just about loopholes, though. It’s a lot more than that. Google, by nature, is a search engine–and they will do everything that they can to stop the “loopholes” in their organic search engine’s algorithm. I applaud them for that. It just keeps us real SEOs on our toes. That’s what I love about this industry.

PPC Specialist Job Opening: Dallas Texas

Here at Standing Dog, an interactive marketing agency based in the Dallas, Texas area, we have a job opening for a PPC (Pay Per Click) specialist. Ideally we’re looking for someone who is Google AdWords certified.

Here is the official job description for the opening we have. If you’re interested, get in touch with me or you can find the job opening listed on LinkedIn and apply that way.

Job Description

Standing Dog specializes in the hospitality, real estate and entertainment industries and is seeking a PPC Specialist to assist with the day-to-day management and support of the e-marketing initiatives for our clients. Standing Dog Interactive is a full-service Internet marketing agency that provides our clients with a range of services such as website design, development, SEO, SEM, and other online media.

Responsibilities:

– Design, develop, and manage PPC campaigns; including account structure, keyword research, bid strategies and management, ad copy writing and other core PPC capabilities.
– Provide analysis of existing PPC campaign performances and devise actionable optimization insight for recommendations and strategies to align with our client objectives.
– Partner with account managers to define successful KPIs, and produce and deliver successful campaign performance reports.
– Prioritize between dozens of opportunities to choose the most important tasks.
– Remain current with industry trends, while continually leveraging new tools and industry best practices to boost efficiency of campaigns.

Desired Skills & Experience

– 1-2 years of Paid Search experience, including;
– Experience working with analytical software (i.e. Google Analytics, WebTrends, Omniture)
– Experience using offline PPC management tools (i.e. Google AdWords Editor, Microsoft Bing Ads Editor, Yahoo! Search Marketing Desktop)
– Knowledge of third party bid management tools (i.e. DoubleClick – DART, DFA)
– Google AdWords and Google Analytics Certified; preferred
– Bachelor’s degree required; preferably in a related field
– Strong proficiency with Microsoft Excel (i.e. formulas, if statements, pivot tables, formatting)
– Strong interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
– Creative, analytical and takes initiative, along with a strong attention to detail
– Ability to work self-directed, under pressure, meet agency deadlines, manage multiple projects simultaneously, and review and analyze data

Standing Dog is an Internet marketing agency comprised of recognized industry professionals. We are successful at helping companies reach their target customers, generate leads and drive revenue online. Our team of experts offers digital strategy and execution, from search engine optimization, pay per click marketing, local search marketing to social media marketing and management.

Benefits:

We offer our employees competitive compensation, based on previous experience and a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, vision, and 401K plan with employer contributions, as well as a positive and team-based working environment.

Standing Dog Interactive has made the Inc 5000, Fastest Growing Private Companies list, three years in a row.

5 Musts for Lowering CPA and Raising Conversion Rates on the Google Display Network

By Marc Poirier, CMO/Co-Founder, Acquisio

Before you get started on the Google Display Network (GDN), or even if you’re already engaged in display campaigns there, it’s important to understand the five aspects of this channel that most greatly affect the outcomes of those campaigns, and to manage these aspects with precision and daily awareness.

1. Test Keyword Lists
It’s not enough to just test one keyword against another; marketers on display networks should be making lists of keywords to test against the others. These lists will consist of the keywords you are using to go after certain topics and groups of people, and when you test them against each other you’ll garner information on how well those audiences perform and meet your needs.

Keyword lists should contain at least 20 keywords, and should be run for a minimum of two days. This gives you time to gather some click data, which can be analyzed to determine the most effective formula. When you’ve found a winner, keep making groups and testing them. It’s something that needs to be done on an ongoing basis.

2. Manage Ad Placements
What we have found is that, every now and then, a certain domain or URL will come up as surprisingly profitable. The bulk of the time, however, those pages that relate most closely to the subject you’re advertising will have the greatest success.

Because ad networks, like GDN, are not perfect, it takes a lot of time to manage the placement of your ads, and to make sure that you’re not getting a whole lot of useless impressions or clicks.

Watch carefully for those pages that seem to be getting a lot of attention without performing, and be sure to eliminate them. Those that perform well can be added to your Managed Placements, whether at the domain or page level. Dedicating more resources to high-performing pages seems an obvious strategy, but it’s important to be watching out for the good and the bad in this area.

3. Configure Bid Prices
With good keyword lists and high-quality placements, you’ll be increasing your Quality Score, which will allow you to make better decisions when it comes time to managing your bids. With daily attention to finding the sweet spot for your bid prices, you’ll be able to lower your CPA sooner than you might think.

4. Ad Testing
With display advertising, good creative is key to engaging your audience. You should always be looking for the ads that attract the most clicks and are demonstrating good conversion rates on your landing pages. This is best done by running at least two per AdGroup, giving you the opportunity to test one against the other. It’s a never-ending process that needs to be managed on a daily basis, with low-performing ads eliminated from the equation before they start taking up too much of your resources.

5. Pay Attention to Daily Budgets
Your campaigns each have a daily budget, which is a part of the overall Account budget. Those campaigns that require budget, but don’t achieve conversions should be watched closely, and eliminated when they start keeping the high-performing campaigns from improving. With more resources dedicated to higher-converting budgets, you open yourself up to more working capital, and you have a chance to go after even more conversions at the same overall ad spend.

These are aspects of display advertising that need to be paid close attention to, and all of them on a daily basis. While tools that manage all of these things for you are available and can have a great effect on your advertising campaigns, it can be done by closely monitoring both the success and failure of these important aspects of display marketing.

Keep a close eye on the results, and you’ll lower CPA while yielding higher conversions.

Marc Poirier is a professional Internet Marketer with more than a decade experience in the Search industry. He is Co-Founder and CMO of Acquisio where he leads all sales and marketing activities. He often speaks at events like SES, SMX, Ad:Tech, TFM&A and OMMA, and writes columns and articles for various publications, including Search Engine Watch, Visibility Magazine, SES Magazine, and the Acquisio blog.

Prior to his position at Acquisio, he was founder and president at Canalytics, a boutique SEM and SEO agency which was widely regarded as one of the most active Google Analytics Authorized Consultants in the world. He also held various e-marketing management positions for technology and software companies that include Komunik – an email marketing software vendor, Cognicase – a Canadian leading IT consulting and systems integration firms, aside from being a strategic consultant at U.S. based marchFIRST.

Marc began his entrepreneurial career in 1996 while working on his Ph. D. in Cognitive Science. That’s when he co-founded Webaxis Alliance, an interactive agency that worked on major Canadian web sites such as sympatico.ca and canada411.ca.

SEO Training: Strategies for Researching, Creating, and Promoting Quality Content

As a part of the ClickZ Academy Onsite Training Workshops held right before the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Chicago, I am teaching a 4 hour workshop on researching, creating, and promoting quality content. Here are the specific details of my training:

Strategies for Researching, Creating, and Promoting Quality Content
November 12, 2012, Chicago Illinois
1:00-5:00pm

Got content? Need more content for your website? Not only to comply with the latest search engine algorithm updates, the right quality content on your website is a must if you are going to attract the right visitors.

This four hour, hands-on training session, you will learn how to identify the right content topics for your website through keyword research and web analytics. Once you understand which content you need, we will discuss options for creating or hiring someone to create the content. You will then learn the proper way to promote that content to receive the maximum SEO benefits.

After attending, you will be able to:

– Understand why quality content on your website is essential to ranking well in the search engines and attracting the right visitors
– Identify quality content topics for your website based on keyword research and a review of your web analytics
– Perform competitive content research in order to identify content topics that are missing from the web and find out how much content you really need to compete
– Understand the types of content that every website should have, regardless of your industry
– Write an action plan for creating content for your website
– Understand how to promote your content properly in order to get it noticed

Here is what I’ll cover in these 4 hours, in depth:

Why Good Content is Essential to Good Search Engine Rankings
Good content is essential to obtain and maintain good search engine rankings. At the end of this session, you will understand why quality content on your web site is essential to ranking well in the search engines and attracting the right visitors.

Researching Content Topics, Keyword Research, and Web Analytics
Before you can start creating content for your web site, you need to research possible content topics, perform keyword research, and even study your own web analytics for content ideas. During this session, you will identify quality content topics for your web site based on keyword research and learn how to review your web analytics for content ideas.

Content and Competitive Research (Competitive Research for Content)
Regardless of your industry, there is content that can be written or created that isn’t on the web yet. In this session, you will learn how to perform competitive content research in order to identify content topics that are missing from the web and find out how much content you really need to compete in your industry.

Content Types (Types of Content)
Identifying Types of Content for Your web site

No matter what your industry, there are types of content that should be on every web site. At the end of this session, you will understand the types of content that every web site should have, regardless of your industry.

Developing a Content Strategy
Once you know the type of content you need for your web site, it’s time to put a plan into place to create that content. At the end of this session, you’ll be able to write an action plan for creating content for your web site.

Executing Your Content Strategy
Once you’ve created your content strategy, you need to execute that content strategy. In this session, you’ll learn how to decide if you should create the content yourself or outsource the content creation. You’ll also learn how to find the right people to create awesome content for your web site.

Promoting Content to Help Search Engine Rankings
Now that you have created the content, that content needs to be promoted on the web properly so it gets noticed. At the end of this session, you will understand how to promote your content properly in order to get it noticed both socially and by the search engines.

Who Should Attend?
Anyone who is responsible for your website’s content strategy or who works or manages search engine marketing at your agency or organization should attend this session. This includes:

– Marketing Directors
– Search Engine Marketing Managers
– Search Engine Optimization Specialists
– Content Creators
– Website Managers

This 4-hour training session is designed for those who are new to search engine marketing as well as advanced search engine marketers.

You can register for my training and the SES Conference here on the SES web site.