Social Media & Search Marketing: Not The Same Old Stuff

June 2, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Okay, kids, are you ready to kick off SMX Advanced 2009? Hells yes, you are! (We’ll pretend you weren’t out til 2am last night and that you’re actually sober right now.)

Jumping in: We have Rae Hoffman moderating the likes of Brent Csutoras, Dave Snyder, Michael Gray and Jen Miller.  Let’s see if the speakers hold true to their promise that it won’t be “the same old stuff” this time around. If not, I get to hit Rae with my orange juice. In the FACE. Huzzah!

Rae is going over the housekeeping for the show and I’m giggling at her.  She’s a moderator virgin.

Dave is up first and saves Rae from her rambling.  He’s the co-founder of Search and Social.  They do search. And they do social.  Word. He also takes a cheap shot at me. I’ll let that slide because I like him. This time.

Dave starts off talking about links. He says that estimates put Google’s index around 30 billion pages. They claim to have found 1 trillion links to pages on the Web. That means only about three percent of pages are indexed. The crawl rate and ranking algorithms for major engines are tied to links.

He talks about QDF aka the Query Deserves Freshness. The QDF solution revolves around determining whether a topic is “hot”. If news sites or blogs posts are actively writing about a topic, the model figures that it’s a topic or issue users are interested in. What do we do if the most relevant and fresh content lies outside of the 3 percent of the indexed Web?  You focus on social signals.

Google is tracking social signals through things like Adsense, Analytics, Chrome, Toolbar, Android, Wiki, Gmail, Wave, etc. Google has cameras in your house. They’re looking for fresh content and relevancy feedback. And to see you in the shower.

What are the signals?

  • Traffic: Rae ran an experiment with the launch of Tweetwasters and found that within the first 4 hours of launch, 300 pages had been indexed.
  • Engagement: Google came out with a patent for personalized network searching. He explains the patent. There’s lots of text. I’m not even attempting that. Basically, Google is looking at how people are bookmarking content to see how they interact with a site. That’s showing them relevancy and value.
  • Upstream and downstream data: If you’re on StumbleUpon and in the Sports section, they’re trying to see how long you’re staying on those pages, what pages you came from, what pages you went to next, etc. All of that is being factored into relevancy.
  • User reviews: Yahoo has a patent where they’re looking at reviews based on each review

Influencing Signals

  • Drive early traffic from Twitter: Plan out your campaign. Utilize well-crafted DMs [zomg I hate auto DMs. Don’t do it.]. Engage the top users. Track via query string parameters. Add retweet capabilities to the page.
  • Control the bookmarking of your site: Add the Delicious widget to your site so users know not only to vote on it but how to tag your content. It will give the engines proper relevancy.  Control where the submission is placed. Have a network users in place to submit work and let them know exactly where to place that content
  • Increase the use of your site: Sniff off your referrer. If you’re getting a lot of traffic from Stumbleupon, show them other pages that Stumbleupon users liked.
  • Add engagement points: Video, voting badges, widgets via widgetbox, quizzes, reviews, etc.

Next up is Brent. He’s a little worried about his time. It’s okay, Brent, it’s okay. We all love you.

StumbleUpon is a social aggregation site. People go, submit content and other users can then vote on it. Other users are then shown the most popular content. StumbleUpon works mostly through toolbars. It launched as a toolbar social platform. They had a relaunch where they did add a Web-based toolbar that allows you to use Stumbleupon through the site and not have to download the bar, which is great for wary folks.

Why use Stumbleupon? It used to be that you could stumble and forget.  That’s changed. They relaunched and they threw out a couple of really great features. They added Twitter, Facebook and SU button integration.  They’re at almost 8 million users right now. They’re growing in the number of users and the level of users. Digg and Reddit influencers have moved over. There’s a different level of involvement now.

StumbleUpon now gives links. Brent talks about a campaign he recently did about sporno (sports pictures that begin to look like porn) and the content went popular really quickly [SHOCKING!] in Humor and in Sports. It got 85 reviews.  They ended up getting 200,000 visits in a week and 845 links. The links came from sites like Gawker, Deadspin, Sonic Youth, etc.

How to use StumbleUpon

Create a profile: Are you going to be a persona or a person? Your profile needs to really sell you. Brent says to use a persona so that its harder for people to associate you with your person and why you’re really there [Eh…white hat radar going off. Why are we hiding associations? Transparency is your friend!]. Brent finds no value in being your own person in social aggregation sites. [cries] It rids you of the history of what you’re voting for. [double cry]   When you create your profile, get all the details in there. Fill it out completely.  Your Stats are really important.  Make sure your subscribers and favorites make you look active and not like someone with a business intention. Go in and stumble a bunch of things right away. Get your page full.

Get stumbling: They’ve added a Quick Submit button.  The problem is if you don’t give it a category, they’ll wait around for someone else to do it. They won’t find one for you.  The other way to add reviews is to go to

Tagging: Tag your content with categories that have a lot of people in them. Try and cross category to expose your content to even more people.    Go into the Ads section and they’ll tell you how many people are in which categories. You can use an assortment of different tags. Be smart, but also relevant.  They now have related sites that they show on the page.

Sharing: He recommends using the Send To feature in the toolbar..  It’s more manual so it keeps you from overdoing and killing yourself. The Send To forces your friends to see your page next with your message. The other option is to use the Share This option when you’re on your page. He doesn’t recommend the Share This button.  People hate that feature and they’re tryng to get rid of it. He says to be careful with it.

Some Tips: Avoid patterns with whatever you’re doing (voting, discoveries, shares, etc). Add and make friends. Post to your blog. Upload videos and photos. Tag and review. Choose a niche. Make your profile ROCK.   Choose and use the right tags. Mix it up and look natural.

Up next is Michael. He’s talking ridiculously fast. Because he hates me.

Basics: Getting more from your pictures. Take and use pictures that someone would want to look at and/or reuse. Upload a small amount of better quality pictures. Try to fill gaps of pictures that aren’t already on Flickr. Give your pictures a unique name/title with proper keywords and tags. Put your pictures under a Creative Commons license and allow commercial reuse.

Put a photo gallery on your Web site and link to your sets and best images. Find as many relevant groups as you can to submit your pictures to in order to increase internal links to your pictures. Start your own group if no other groups exist. Try and recruit new members and post pictures every 2-3 weeks.

Ask for the anchor text you want: On a LIMITED BASIS ask for keyword-rich anchor text to your Web site.

Use Flickr to highlight content: On a VERY LIMITED BASIS put links back to your Web site. Don’t be a spammer.

Creative Commons: Choose CC content for commercial content AND properly attribute all work. If you don’t, you will eventually get caught and someone will call you out. If you find a picture that you want to use and it’s not CC, ask the person first. If you’re not a PRO member, become one. It allows you to contact other members. If you can’t afford the PRO account (i’ts 25 bucks), you’re not a real player.

Use other people’s Creative Commons photos: Take other people’s photos and write content around them.  Once you create the content piece, you let them know you used their pictures in your article. Then, if they like it, the people will naturally link back to you and promote it. You’ll be more successful if you go with hobby or amateur photographers.  Give them the URL to help them link to you. Try to select the pictures of people who own Web sites or blogs and are outlink friendly.

What to do when you get home:

  • Join Flickr
  • Name, describe and tag your pictures
  • Become part of the community, give instead of take
  • Join groups and contribute and participate
  • Use your best pictures to build links to you or to highlight your content
  • Use properly licensed pictures from others to build relationships and links.

Next up is Jen. Rae broke the computer. Technical issues.

Okay, we’re good.

She talks about the site That’s what she’s competing against.  Customers have plenty to say about airlines, travel and Delta.  The first thing Dave said to her when she met him was “hi, I hate Delta”. Hee.

Delta’s First Social Media Campaign: Change is…

Delta asked customers what they wanted changed. They gave them a place to share and vote on popular ideas/changes submitted by travelers. There was a great response to that. There was momentum. Change was happening at Delta!

Or so they hoped.

In 2007, they were looking very much at New York. Operations that summer were tough. There was Travel Hell going on and executives feared a forum would turn into a bitchfest.  They launched a blog instead. It had training wheels and guardrails. They used it as a listening channel.

Where is Delta today?.

The blog has become the center of their launching platform.  They use Flickr for their blog photos. They’re creating videos on YouTube. They’re on Facebook. They’re playing in a lot of areas but they’re not very focused. They were on Flickr but they didn’t know why they were on Flickr. Integration became key to their success. Whatever they did in one channel, it had to echo in other channels too.

Internal Linking Tactics

  • Target KW list and link to main site
  • Blog links to YouTube and Flickr
  • Links back to specific blog posts

Tracking and Listening Tactics: You can’t measure what you don’t know

  • Measure with a dashboard
  • Action on key metrics
  • Give ’em more! (my head immediately went here. sorry.)  They’ll talk…and link.

The blog has helped Delta build their footprint online. Real estate in this economy is valuable.  It’s easier to compete with when you’re taking up more real estate in the search engines and are having conversations with your customers.

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