The resolution is low, the background is unpleasing, there is nothing special about this guy… Yet, it’s a powerful photo. It’s more than a man sitting on debris looking at a photo isn’t it? There is a story of pain and grief that’s easily told through the photograph.
Storytelling is what makes an content great. Whether a photo, movie or blog post, great storytelling is the difference.
Content Creation Bandwagon
The buzzword within marketing these days is, “content creation”.
“You need content for SEO. You need content for Social. You need content for your web site. “, they say.
The truth is you don’t need content. You need a good content. There are lots of sites out there with TONS of content, but their SEO and Social media endeavors are fruitless, because they haven’t figured out how to tell a good story.
Don’t just create content, create great content with a great story. If you can do that you won’t have to worry about getting people to link to or share you stuff. It’ll happen naturally, and honestly, that’s what real SEO and SMO is all about.
Not too long ago, Rand Fishkin, CEO and co-founder of Moz, released a Whiteboard Friday video that detailed a potential ranking factor called co-citation (or co-occurrence as it is sometimes referred to). Many other SEOs have since come out with posts that have agreed with Rand’s opinion that anchor text links will eventually be replaced by co-citation as the main ranking indicator used by search engines.
So, What is Co-Citation?
Source Forge gives a pretty good general definition of co-citation:
“Bibliographic co-citation is a popular similarity measure used to establish a subject similarity between two items. If A and B are both cited by C, they may be said to be related to one another, even though they don’t directly reference each other. If A and B are both cited by many other items, they have a stronger relationship. The more items they are cited by, the stronger their relationship is.”
So what does this mean in SEO? Co-citation is about a site/brand ranking for a competitive keyphrase without appearing to target it. So, the keyphrase isn’t necessarily included on the page title or on the landing page and doesn’t receive very many anchor text-focused links. It appears that search engines are ranking the brand for the keyphrase because they‘re able to connect the linking page’s content, which is related to this keyphrase, to the actual brand. Furthermore, the page with this content may not even link back to the brand but it can simply mention the brand name and the related keyphrase(s) somewhere on the page. The theory is that the search engines will be able to interpret this relationship in the future, if they’re not doing so already.
Because links, and particularly those that contain optimized anchor text, have been identified as a main ranking signal for so long, their devaluation might be seen as an end to all SEO practices.
However, I have to disagree because I believe that the same principles of a solid link building strategy still apply when you aim to earn co-citations: create interesting, relevant content that will gain attention and will be shared by visitors and talked about on social media and other sites.
If co-citation does become a primary ranking factor, brands that have a unique word or phrase for their brand name stand to benefit even more than they have in the past. Possessing a unique brand name would not only mean your brand would have an easier time ranking in the first position of organic search results for your brand name, but also your co-citations would be more easily decipherable by search engines.
For example, “Jaguar”, probably wouldn’t be a great choice as a name for a startup today because had the motor company not existed for several decades and built up some much brand equity, the first page of the search results for the term “jaguar” would most likely be dominated by results referring to the big cat jaguar as opposed to the car. If Jaguar launched as a motor company today, it might take a while before it could have the full co-citation benefit from car-related references.
It could be argued that large brands who receive a lot of mentions (whether good or bad) will have an unfair advantage with co-citation over less familiar brands. I think co-citation is dangerous without accurate sentiment measuring.
For example, if as a blogger you are writing about how much you disliked a product, such as a camera, and you mention the brand name and the keyphrase “camera,” would the brand still get credit for being related to “camera” even if you’ve written negatively about the product? What about sarcasm? How does an algorithm account for that? At least with anchor text links the author could choose how they were / were not linking to a brand site (no follow links, only mentioning the brand without linking, etc.). Now, authors / webmasters will have less control.
To counter this point, I don’t believe that search engines ever intended for authors/webmasters to provide a backlink to a brand as a “seal of approval.” For instance, Reevoo, like many other review websites, provides links to where visitors can purchase any of the products they have reviewed -irrespective of whether they have actually favorable opinion of the product or not.
Co-citations are particularly important for Local SEO and businesses in less-competitive niches (like plumbing or electrical) where many service providers don’t have websites themselves. Without very much other information, the search engines will have to rely more heavily on any mentions that they discover.
In summary, I believe that SEO professionals should see co-citation as a step in the right direction. It’s just another way in which search engines are becoming better at interpreting the content of a page and how it relates to other online entities.
Now relax and keep proving the SEO-doubters wrong with those campaigns that thoroughly shake up the digital space!
Bing hit another all-time high passing 17%, partly at the expense of Google who dropped six-tenths of a percent. Yahoo! gained slightly 0.2% up to 12.0%, reversing the earlier downward trend.
Now let’s see what happened in May!
We begin our May Marketing News recap with Penguin’s anticipated fourth update, Penguin 2.0 generation spam-fighting technology, which launched on May 22nd. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Web spam team, explained that this will affect roughly 2.3% of English queries. The week prior, Google attacked an unnamed link network affecting several thousand link sellers.
AdWords rolled out Ad Group Mobile Bid Adjustments which will allow advertisers to make multiple bid adjustments across multiple campaigns without having to click into each target individually.
May was also the month for Google’s annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco, which featured a redesigned Google+ (More details below), Hangout App, Google Maps updates, new gaming API, streaming music via Google Play, and many more exciting announcements.
Diving deeper into Google Maps, Google says it rebuilt maps from the ground up integrating Google earth and street view right in. You can create personalized maps for each city based on searches, saves, and reviews. Basically Google maps can now make recommendations for you based on your interactions. For more details, check out their YouTube video. With this change, Google is also testing new ads via AdWord location extensions. Google Maps also expanded its European biking directions, originally a beta, by adding hundreds of kilometers of bike paths.
Another thing that came out of Google I/O is conversational search. Users can go to google.com via their Chrome browser and ask questions and Google will respond just like Siri, Google Now, and soon to be Google Glasses. Conversational search takes it a bit further where the user can ask follow up questions using pronouns and Google will remember and understand the conversation.
Google also expanded its Knowledge Graph to include nutritional information for more than 1,000 foods. Users see the information when searching specifically for the food or ask related questions over voice search such as “How much protein is in a banana”.
Bing announced a new visual way for its users to consume news. Bing’s results page will feature a revolving carousel of images on top of the SERP for notable people, similar to Google’s knowledge graph Carousel from last year. If Bing cannot find fresh content within the last two weeks, it will serve up relevant results even over the last several years.
Bing also made some updates to its social search. Within its results page, Bing now features Klout integration with Klout Experts. This allows searches to find valuable answers to their questions by verifying the authorship through Klout.
On the sidebar, Bing now allows direct Facebook Interaction. Searchers can now comment on Facebook directly through the Bing social sidebar encouraging social conversation without leaving the search page.
Slightly off topic, but Microsoft announced its latest device Xbox One. This latest console includes innovative gaming technology paired with the latest Microsoft Kinect giving the Xbox real vision, motion, and voice. This allows users to play games, play live TV, connect with friends over Skype as well as connect to numerous apps. The exciting part for search is that Kinect allows the user to control the Xbox by speaking to it, all powered by Bing. Below is a video of the unveiling.
Yahoo made some changes to its front-page new stream. First, Yahoo debuted a new ad format displaying a customizable ad alongside news articles. Yahoo also now includes relevant and personalized tweets in the newsfeed.
Yahoo continued to make big waves in the news with its purchase of Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Marissa Mayer announced it on her Tumblr page saying, “We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently.” Yahoo reportedly also put in a bid to buy the “secretly for sale” Hulu.
Speaking of brands recently bought by Yahoo, Flickr unveiled the new user experience with larger images and much more storage. Below is a look at the new Flickr.
May marks YouTube’s 8th anniversary since the first video was posted on their site. In a blog post, YouTube announced it now sees more than 100 hours of video uploaded every minute as well as more than a billion people come to YouTube every month.
Rumored since January, YouTube launched paid channels with subscription fees starting as low as $0.99 monthly for pilot channels. Users who subscribe will be able to watch paid channels on a computer, phone, tablet, and TV.
YouTube also announced two new features to help video publishers. The first is automatic email notifications for when a video is done uploading. The second is that this uploaded video is automatically private, allowing users to input title, description, and fully optimize the video before going live.
Building from Facebook’s largest announcement in April, Facebook Home, May brought some good and bad news to the social media giant. While Facebook Home hit over 1 million downloads exactly a month after being launched, HTC slashed the price of the Facebook Home down to 99 cents with a two year contract.
In the beginning of May, Facebook globally rolled out Promoted Page Likes, ads geared at gaining new fans which launched in the US in 2012. Facebook also began improving their newsfeed and right column ads by increasing the image size limit for a select few advertisers.
To help its users find authentic accounts of celebrities and other high profile people and businesses, Facebook announced Verified Pages which adds a small blue check mark besides their name on timeline, search results, and throughout Facebook. Below is an example.
Twitter kicked off May by opening its ad self-serve platform to all US users. Twitter also made some updates in its ad center to provide advertisers with more details on the tweets audience like device, location, gender, and interests.
In addition, Twitter announced Lead Generation Cards in attempt to offer richer forms for advertising. Now users can expand a tweet they are interested in to see a brand’s offer. This offer will have a call to action button that will email you details. This also allows advertisers to collect email addresses for future email marketing campaigns.
Lastly, after a year chock-full of twitter hackings, Twitter finally introduces two-step authentication via SMS to protect its accounts.
Google Offers also arrived to Google+ so users can now see limited time promotions directly on their news stream if they follow brands that participate in the program such as Zagat, Hello Kitty, Nook, and art.com.
The last update from Google+ is Google’s decision to remove Google+ Games, one of the less popular features, from the social network on June 30th.
LinkedIn celebrated its 10th birthday in May. It has grown to more than 200 million users, 3,700 employees, and 26 offices around the world.
LinkedIn adds the ability to feature visual content on a user’s profile such as pictures and videos. This content can be added to the summary, work experience, or education section and other users can choose to like, comment, or share it.
In addition, Pinterest launched new “Rich Pins” that contain more information from the original site such as product purchase information or ingredients and recipes. Users no longer have to spend additional time tracking down information regarding a Pin and this is one step closer to monetized conversions for Brands.
Heather Frahm, our President and co-founder, has decided to resign from Catalyst and spend more time with her family. Beth LeTendre, co-founder and CEO, will assume her responsibilities. While her last day is undetermined, our Director of Sales & Marketing Rich Ezzo interviewed Heather on her departure from Catalyst.
Ben Spiegel, Director of Organic Search spoke on Making it Jive: Using Data to Make (and Improve) SEM Decisions at Interactivity Digital. Check out his presentation below:
For more frequent updates on Catalyst news, industry events, and featured articles check out our new company news page.
If your brand has a YouTube channel, there’s no doubt that you’ve invested countless hours into making videos, uploading videos and optimizing those videos (or having an agency, like Catalyst, optimize them for you). Wouldn’t it be great to know how your channel and your videos are performing? You can! You don’t have to look any further than YouTube’s built-in Analytics.
Where to Find YouTube Analytics
The YouTube Analytics button is conveniently placed at the top of the page when you’re logged in and viewing your YouTube Channel.
While not quite as robust as Google Analytics, YouTube Analytics will allow you to look at metrics such as views, audience retention, traffic sources and internal and external keywords. So, let’s jump in and see how this all works!
Upon entering YouTube Analytics, you’ll notice a bunch of options in the column on the left side of the page. We’ll delve into each of these more in a moment, but I just wanted to point out what the options look like.
The basic functionality of YouTube Analytics works roughly the same way as Google Analytics does. You can filter data based on a time period as well as geographic location. For example, you could filter to visitors in the US over the past 90 days. Or, if you want to get really granular, you can also filter down to just a single video. Once you’ve done that, your dashboard will provide you with an overview of your channel’s performance, as well as the top 10 videos for that time period.
One of the most important things you’ll want to get out of your YouTube channel is viewership. You want your viewers to not only get to your videos, but actually watch them.
This basic report provides some very high-level information. You’ll use this report to see the total views for your channel during a time period, estimated total minutes watched for that time period top watched videos, and each video’s individual views, estimated minutes watched and average view duration. Clicking on a video title allows you to see the geographic locations where that particular video was watched, as well as how many times and for how long the video was watched from that location.
This report does exactly what it sounds like it would – it allows you to see the demographic information for your viewership, so you can compare and see how well it aligns with the demographic you’re trying to target.
The Playback Locations report is a pretty useful one. It allows you to see where people are watching your videos the most. Are they watching on YouTube? On Mobile Devices? On Embedded Players (and if so, which off-site locations are generating the most views)? This will tell you if people are taking your videos on the go or using them on their own websites and sharing them on their social profiles.
As someone who deals with organic SEO on a daily basis, I find the traffic sources report extremely valuable. At a glance, it tells you how people found your channel – for example, if they came through YouTube advertising or YouTube Search, or perhaps they found it through Google search or something else. You’ll also get the visits from that source and estimated minutes watched from that source.
What I think is the most useful about this report is that you can click on one of the search-related traffic sources (YouTube Search or Google Search) to get a report of the keywords used to find your channel. For example, the screenshot below shows the individual keywords that someone used to find my client’s YouTube channel on Google Search (keywords redacted for client confidentiality, but use your imagination).
What can you take away from the Traffic Sources report? You can see if your YouTube Paid campaigns are working, if your social efforts are working or if your video and channel optimizations are working to drive organic search, both within YouTube and from Google. You can also see if the keyword that you’re trying to target is paying off for you or additional work needs to be done.
The metric within the Views Reports section that I find most useful, however, is the Audience Retention report. You’ll be able to see your channel’s average view duration, as well as the viewing duration for your top videos. Below is an example, with channel name redacted for confidentiality.
What can you do with this? In the example above, you can see that for the top video, the average visitor is only watching just over half of the video. Maybe it’s time to add something to it to increase engagement – an annotation halfway through that says “Look for XYZ at the end of the video”. Or maybe the video itself is too long. Or maybe the viewer’s question is answered early on in the video. There are a variety of learnings you can take away for each video based on that video’s individual attributes.
Also, as you can see above, this particular channel’s average view duration is 1:27 minutes and a typical viewer watches about 89% of a video. So, an example of the key takeaway could be that you should try producing videos of 1:27 minutes in length to accommodate your viewers’ attention span.
The YouTube Analytics engagement reports are an excellent supplement to the Views Reports because they give you a bigger picture of who your audience is, where you’re attracting them as well as where exactly you’re losing their attention. Let’s take a look at what these reports have to offer.
This report tells you where your subscribers are coming from. It can answer questions such as, “Which videos are earning the most subscribers?” “Is my channel itself helping us gain subscribers?” and “How many subscribers are being lost during each video, or due to account closures?”
This report does exactly what it sounds like it would do – it reports on the number of likes and dislikes on your channel as a whole, as well as for individual videos. It also gives you an idea of that video’s overall engagement in terms of likes, dislikes, adds to favorites, shares and other engagement metrics.
The Favorites report tells you which videos are the most “favorited” by viewers, as well as that video’s measure of engagement, calculated the same way as it was for the Likes and Dislikes report.
May is here which means warm weather, vacation time, and the April Internet Marketing News wrap up! Before we jump into April, be sure to catch up on the top March updates including new search filters on Google and Bing, discontinued Yahoo Apps, redesigned Facebook and YouTube, and new Twitter targeting functionality. Desktop search activity also hit an all-time high at over 20 billion searches according to ComScore. What does this mean for the individual search engines? Google dropped slightly (67.5% to 67.1%) while both Bing and Yahoo grew slightly at 0.2% each.
And with that, we close out March and move onto April’s top Internet marketing news stories.
Google Now, a predictive search tool originally only available on Android phones, is rolling out to more users. There have been reports of people noticing it on the Google homepage, similar to the old iGoogle. Google has confirmed that Google Now will be on iPad and iPhone with the new Google search app on iOS.
Google kicked off April by launching a new keyword bulk upload feature in AdWords which allows users to edit and remove keywords at scale. In addition, the company introduced the upgrade center for the new enhanced campaigns which will enable the same functionality of bulk uploads the enhanced campaigns rolling out this summer. Lastly, AdWords announced screen sharing functionality with an AdWords rep utilizing Google+ Hangout technology.
On the user experience side, Google pulled the related searches filter, as well as Instant previews, citing low usage. It has also announced the trial of a new quick view badge for mobile which enables users to see the page immediately without having to load the website. Currently, it seems that Google is only testing it on Wikipedia pages.
Google Analytics managers can now see real-time goal conversion reports. Check out the screenshot below.
Kicking off April, Bing redesigned its search advertising resource hub for ad managers. This new site provides a single access point for all content and resources around Bing and Yahoo advertising.
Bing ads saw some updates as well, including new site links and ad position reporting. Advertisers can now view an Ad Extension Details report showing site link performance data by campaign as well as a “Top vs. Other” column showing ad performance in the mainline or sidebar. Bing also announced new in-line search term reporting coming to Bing Ads as well as product ads coming this summer.
Furthering Bing’s dedication to incorporating social search, Bing added “Pin It” buttons on its image search. While there is no proof that more pins will improve an image’s rank, this does ensure an easier user experience for pinning images to Pinterest.
According to Dr. Ronny Kohavi of Bing’s Research and Development team, more than 50% of searchers click on the first SERP result and this number drops drastically to 4-6% on the third result. Below is a trend graph for page 1. Bing has used this data to manipulate the number of listings on page 1, which now range from 4-14 results depending on the query.
Yahoo! stayed relatively quiet in April but did make some major updates to a couple of its apps, including Yahoo mail for iPad and Android, as well as an improved weather app for the iPhone. The new weather app integrates user generated images from Flickr with local and international forecasts.
Brands can now target ads for Facebook users based on activity outside of Facebook.com, utilizing partner data such as Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon. Facebook is trying to gain more pull with large advertisers as it pieces together actionable data such as shopping patterns, email lists, and loyalty programs on its users.
Facebook continued to make improvements to its local application. One change is rebranding Facebook Nearby to Facebook Local Search. Another update pushed a revised design for brand pages in hopes users use Facebook as a local search engine.
A highly anticipated move, Facebook releases Facebook Home, a move closer to a Facebook phone. Currently only available on Android, Facebook Home is a user interface that integrates Facebook deeply into all phones functions. It surpassed half a million downloads in nine days; however, users seem to be highly dissatisfied with it giving it a 2.5 out of five stars on Google Play. Here is a first look at Facebook Home:
After much hype, Twitter launches “Twitter #Music,” a new music discovery app that uses your Twitter activity including tweets and engagements to detect music that you’ll most likely enjoy. The app also uses Rdio and Spotify to enable users to listen live to their new discoveries.
The Twitter hackings continued into April. The twitter accounts for 60 minutes, 48 hours and one CBS affiliate TV station were hacked by pro-Syrian government hackers. In addition, the AP twitter account was hacked tweeting “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” While the account was suspended almost instantly, and the White House released a brief announcing the tweet was fake, the Dow Jones dropped drastically. Twitter is now working on implementing a two-step verification security protocol which the company will be rolling out after completing internal tests.
In an effort to increase its paid search revenue, Twitter announced new keyword based targeting advertising options which enables a more effective targeting of promoted tweets to users with relevant posts.
Google continues to encourage users to utilize their Google+ log in across all its platforms. Google upgraded its Google Places dashboard with Google+ integration, another step in transferring Google Places into Google+ Local. Google also released an iPhone app for managing these listings, but removed it immediately citing that the release was inadvertent and the app will be live when they complete it.
Google also announced the end of the Meebo bar, almost a year after acquiring it for about $100 million in hopes that users will switch to Google+ and its single sign on. The Meebo bar will be retired on June 6.
App developers using the Google+ sign in, which was announced in February, are seeing an increased visibility in SERPs as Google integrates postings directly into SERPs.
YouTube and Google+ are integrating deeper as now you can manage your YouTube account and channels with Google+ pages. This will allow multiple Google+ accounts to manage a YouTube account as well as unlock improved video sharing, live broadcasts via hangouts, and a YouTube tab on your Google+ page.
LinkedIn revamped its mobile app focusing more on content such as stories and updates. This redesign bought more mobile traffic to the app, which now accounts for 27% of unique visitors. LinkedIn is also testing Facebook style people and company mentions in updates and comments to further foster user engagement.
Clayburn Griffin, Organic Search Director, wrote an article for the Raven Tools blog titled, How to measure and report social SEO metrics.
Ben Spiegel, Director of Organic Search, published part two on “Optimizing Videos for YouTube Search” that was featured on ClickZ. Ben also wrote an article for Startup nation on Twitter’s New, Bigger Stage for Small Businesses.
For more frequent updates on Catalyst news, industry events, and featured articles check out our new company news page.
Sign Up for the Catalyst Must-Have Digital Insights e-Newsletter for the latest thought leadership, industry updates, and Catalyst news.
Catalyst is Hiring! We have open positions in each of our offices, check out our Career Page for the latest open positions.
Have any questions about any of the above stories or think we missed something? Let us know in the comment section below. Also, be sure to check back in June for the next monthly recap!
SEOs rely on traditional HTML optimization as a standard tool in their fight to improve search rankings. Just as the bayonet has evolved since the 17th century, HTML is set to receive a major upgrade in the form of HTML5. The update contains a collection of new tags and APIs. Five stand out as major SE0 innovations.
“Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets.” That was President Obama’s now-famous zinger to Mitt Romney during the third Presidential debate in 2012. But the President was mistaken — the military does NOT have fewer bayonets. In fact, every U.S. Marine still receives a bayonet. Apparently, it is considered an essential weapon. The same can be said for HTML and SEOs today.
1. Nofollow’s little brothers and sisters
In 2005 Google announced that they would support a new way for webmasters to tell search engines not to pass PageRank through a link by adding a small code snippet to the link called rel=nofollow. Below is an example of a link that does not pass any PageRank:
HTML5 goes a step further and provides several new ways for webmasters to instruct search engines on how to handle a particular link. As you can see from the below table, you can now provide them with very specific directions for everything from setting the page’s language to advanced pagination. Imagine how useful it will be to tell search engines what pages of your site are in Spanish, or where your Help documentation exists.
Perhaps even more importantly, HTML5 also allows you to claim ownership of the content you create by using the rel=”author” text on your link. This development underscores Google’s heavy push towards authorship. As Google’s former CEO, Eric Schmidt, points out below, ownership will be tied directly to top rankings.
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranker higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance. ” – Eric Schmidt
2. Alt text gets some much-needed support
One of the key roles of an SEO is to take rich content that search engines have trouble understanding — such as images and video — and convert it into a text based alternative. And until now, SEOs used “alt text” as the primary way to help a search engine understand what is going on in an image. However, with HTML5’s new “figure” and “figurecaption” tags, we now have a much better way to explain images to search engines and users.
As you can see in the below box, the image, as referenced by the tag. Underneath it, the tag description works in conjunction with the alt text to explain what’s going on in the image. The difference between the alt text, and the tag is that the alt text is not visible to users, while the tag is.
Webmasters often add keywords to an image’s alt text that shouldn’t really be there. That’s because search engines have looked at the words surrounding an image to help them understand the meaning. But now gives search engines and users a clear understanding of an image.
3. Identifying the most important links on your page
In HTML5, several new tags were introduced to help you label the important parts of a page. For example, the new tag tells search engines which links are part of your main navigation, which according to the above patent, may help them pass on more PageRank. Conversely, the tag tells search engines which links are at the bottom of the page, which of course, may cause them to pass on less PageRank.
4. No more Flash for videos
Web designers love using Flash, especially to embed video on a web page. But do search engines feel the same way? Um…not so much. That’s because they have a hard time accessing the content in Flash video. In fact, without the aid of special technologies like SWFobject and video sitemaps, search engines would be clueless about a video.
But HTML5’s new tag changes all that. With the tag, you can embed a video as easily as you can an image – no Flash required. But there’s more. HTML5 now provides SEOs with a number of ways to tell search engines about additional content related to the video, such as “captions” and “subtitles.”
While Flash is a favorite of designers and creative types, AJAX is a favorite of developers and programmers looking to make their sites faster and more interactive. The drawback, of course, is that search engines struggle to read content delivered with AJAX.
But HTML5 has a solution for that. It’s a new feature called the History API. It lets developers change the URL in the address bar of the browser without refreshing the page. This subtle change helps search engines tie AJAX content to a unique URL, which is crucial for their ranking algorithms.
Overall, the improvements in HTML5 include numerous features that will help you “fight the good fight,” and improve your search rankings. It should be considered an essential weapon for SEOs today.
Dan Cristo is the director of SEO Innovation at Catalyst Search Marketing, a thought leader in the organic, paid and social space. Dan has been doing SEO since 2002, when he started his first company at age 20. An avid programmer and entrepreneur, Dan's latest project is the social media tool for bloggers, Triberr. Look for him on Twitter: @DanCristo.
LOL – you were desperate to get the factoid in about the bayonets weren’t you? I’m not surprised – what a great factoid!
I didn’t realise about the History API – I was wondering how Google could cope with Ajax. Makes life difficult to try to convince the techies that they have to adopt it though. Getting them to change title tags etc was hard enough far less telling them that they have to accommodate the History API!
Twitter now allows brands to reach consumers in a big way, by using keyword targeting. This enhancement to promoted (paid) tweets gives advertisers the ability to show ads to Twitter users based on their tweets, or their interactions with a tweet, based on certain keywords and keyphrases.
The process is somewhat similar to paid search in that it uses a list of keywords; advertisers set bids on the search terms and wait for Twitter users to tweet something or interact with a tweet that contains the terms. Terms appear in the timeline and advertisers serve up their ads to those users. The service is being rolled out across Twitter’s entire ad network on mobile and desktop in the 15 languages where Twitter Ads are currently available.
The keyword targeting tool will be available through the Twitter Ads dashboard and Twitter’s ads API.
The hope is that the ads users see will be much more targeted because the keywords will align closer to the user’s original intent. According to Twitter, “This is an important new capability – especially for those advertisers and brands that are looking for signals of intent – because it lets marketers reach users at the right moment, in the right context.”
People tweeting about cars will see ads from auto makers appear in their timelines; users interacting with a tweet about their favorite soft drink will see Promoted Tweets in their timeline about that brand. The ads will appear in the users’ timelines within a few minutes of the tweet that triggered it. Time will tell how effective this new service will be for agencies and brands.
Twitter hopes that as promoted tweets become more relevant based on user intent, that engagement with the paid tweets will increase.
Promoted tweets have not gained much ground since being introduced, so it is likely that this new advertising via keyword targeting in timeline will help push up Twitter’s ad revenue and give brands more promotional steam on the platform.
Now that bidding is keyword centric, we should start to see a deeper integration of Twitter into bid management platforms, streamlining the way agencies and marketers manage their paid search channels.
eMarketer believes that Twitter will make $582.8 million worldwide in 2013 and approach $1 billion in 2014—still far short of Facebook’s ad revenues, but a step in the right direction since Twitter made an estimated $288.3 million in global ad revenue in 2012.
Google, Yahoo, and Bing need not worry about Twitter’s new search marketing just yet because Twitter’s phrase targeting requires exact phrase matches between tweets and terms, in the exact same order, with no words in between. Keywords do not require any particular order; the series of words may appear in any order, with words in between, and still deliver a match. There are also potential issues with negative keywords and the inability of Twitter’s algorithm to discern negative sentiment. Hash tags may also serve to confuse or cloud user intent. Therefore, brands should be careful about how they implement this new tool. However, the keyword targeting in timeline is a step in the right search marketing direction.
It can be argued that Twitter has a slight edge in certain ways because advertisers can use the platform’s three targeting options—location, device, and gender—to refine their promoted tweets. These factors, combined with the advertisers’ list of selected keywords and keyphrases, can really supercharge this new marketing tool and have the potential to bring Twitter up to speed in the race for advertising dollars in the social sphere.