Simple Digital Tricks: Blogging and How to Boost SEO Efforts

This is a quick blog to give up and coming companies a few simple tricks that can greatly help and absolutely lend towards the effort for your organization to increase your organic placement through using keywords in creative ways. SEO is still a very important tool to help reach marketing goals.

The first tip here is to remember that your blog is more than a flow of words and cool data. Overall, it helps immensely with your placement through organic search and helps SEO! Once you know what the top keywords are for your industry/company, and where your focal points should be from that perspective (adhering to your SEO strategy), it’s essential to keep those prime keywords incorporated into your content daily. And, blogs are a great way to help boost those efforts, here are a few tricks as to how to do that:

Keyword placement

Starting with a strong keyword strategy for your SEO plans, one trick for the trade is that the blog can be set up to actually repeat those keywords you want to target. It can be relative in titles, in names; you can change the URL names, and of course getting into the Technorati tags as well (we won’t get too deep into that here)….

Linking efforts

Writing content to be more search-engine-friendly is a better route to take and the effect can lead to more traffic, which is a great tip so you can skew your blog in titles and in the body of what your linking out to and incorporating into the actual content.

Remember that a little can go a long way

Long, lengthy blog posts do not have to be the way that your team does it every time. The blog can be short tidbits of information, a little blurb and a link to a new video… And, don’t forget depending upon what kind of blog software you’re using you can actually write your blogs in advance and have it post in days or weeks to come, and then incorporate those pinpointed keywords that you’re overall SEO strategist is focusing on, and bam, you have a great recipe adding a little sugar to your site!

Updating blog content frequently

The more you post, the more that the spiders crawling sites finds your site. At the end of the day, the spiders find you enough, the more content you have, and the more frequently you can get added into the schedule of returns. It helps when your pages get indexed more often the new pages of content you write will show up all the faster.

So, these are just a few tricks to help your overarching SEO plan and some things that can help on a daily basis. Cheers and here’s to all the bloggers in the world!

For more information from other industry SEO/blogging leaders, please see this whitepaper:


Natalie B. Dold

5 Tips to Surviving Google Penguin

Amidst the destruction left by Panda, Google introduced the world to Google Penguin in April, leaving many troubled and anxious as to what was coming. In a nutshell, Penguin is an algorithm designed to eliminate black hat SEO strategies and web spam. Penguin’s central purpose is to encourage quality content with the goal of promoting an enjoyable online social experience for all users. Duplicate or suspicious will be flagged and the appropriate person(s) notified of the findings. To avoid the Penguin blues, here are 5 tips to effectively combat the system.

  • Create and publish authentic content on all platforms. Change things up as you use various platforms, so content is relevant and credible.
  • Automated backlinking systems are trouble. Avoid it like the plague.
  • Ditch all “spammy” tendencies. Don’t spread yourself too thin or cut yourself short. All published information, notes and comments should be relative to the subject.
  • Exercise balance and restraint when using keywords and phrases. Commonly referred to as “keyword stuffing”, this former SEO method is extremely limited, thanks to Penguin.
  • Be prepared. Before carrying out anything, layout marketing strategy and know where you’re headed. Create a guide to keep the project on course and moving in the right direction.

Most people view Google Penguin as another disruptive bump in the online world – but by applying these tips to your marketing strategy, your chances at getting flagged are significantly lower. It comes down to a single fact:  Audiences want to connect with fellow humans, not spam bots.


Social Media vs SEO – Which Is More Important?

A company’s participation in search engine optimization (SEO) and social media has grown to be a huge priority in this digital era of marketing. However, is having the ability to be found by potential and current customers on the Internet more important than being social with potential and current customers through such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Unfortunately, they are both measured on the same scale while one is much heavier than the other. Even though it’s lighter, the value of the other’s reach can not be denied.

Millions of people frequent Facebook, Twitter and YouTube but search engines are the gurus of information and Google is the Dalai Lama. SEO is the lifeline of relevancy for everything a company does on the Internet, even social media. Unlike a consumer who just posts what they feel on their Facebook or Twitter account, a company must be very strategic in how they word the “low on sales, more on socializing tone” posts on their social media account. The business has to make sure they include keyword phrases that relate to the search engines and customers. This SEO rich content about the company and its products/services need to be filled with keyword phrases that include the business location (city or community it is available in) and product/service.

It appears that SEO is the egg and social media is the bird. Social media accounts are another attempt by a business at SEO achievement. SEO being this shell that all online content must incubate in with the hope that it will be birthed into a bird that will soar high in the search engine results (unfortunately, there are many social media campaigns with a short lifespan). The eagle-eyed social media campaigns will see their exposure and ROI increase from their not-so obvious inclusion of relevant keyword phrases within their new product/service, discounts and event posts.

SEO vs. social media … it is an unfair fight. You can’t have a strong social media campaign without considering the presence and strength of SEO techniques within it.


What Is SMO? (Social Media Optimization)

While the term Social Media Optimization (SMO) is still inconspicuous, it is exercised by companies daily through Twitter, Facebook and other major social networks via social media commentary (businesses dialoguing with their fans and followers).  Coined by Rohit Bhargava,a founding member of the social media strategy team at Ogilvy & Mather, effective social media commentary is normally dressed with a link to the company’s site along with relevant keywords and/or hashtags.

Rohit Bhargava … creating of the term Social Media Optimization

Rohit Bhargava … creating of the term Social Media Optimization

At one time, SMO was forecasted to eventually overshadow the effectiveness of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is still the major component that many companies use to differentiate their business from their competitors within search engines. SEO professionals and their clients consistently create, research and drive unique keyword phrases to set their clients apart from the next business, but what if that isn’t enough? What if your main competitor is planted in the number one spot while you flip flop from keyword to keyword only to remain in the second, third or fourth spot?

B Culture Media recently wrote an article titled, “SEO vs. Social Media – Which is More Important?” Each of these digital marketing tools were analyzed to see which one more effectively brings more traffic to your website and ultimately increases the loyal following of a product or service. The conclusion was that even though SMO is important, it is obviously an extension of SEO and can’t stand without it. However, this doesn’t lessen the significance of using SMO. Millions of people worldwide use smartphones, laptops, tablets and desktop computers to access various social networking platforms (via apps) to get the latest information on products, events and services. People want short, concise information and don’t always have time to go to a business’s website to discover what they offer.

SMO is traditionally the implementation of relevant keyword phrases during social netowrking, but Twitter and Instagram member’s use of hashtags is also a major form of SMO. Twitter and Instagram give their members the ability to search by hashtag which are considered trending topics. Websites like What the Trend let you know what hashtags are being used the most during a particular day and allow the public to determine why the popular hashtags are being used so much.

Many companies are creating hashtags to assist in the branding of their company, product, service or event. Here at B Culture Media, we often close out our tweets with #BCultureMedia or #BCM to increase our visibility within Twitter. When Digital Atlanta hosted their annual conference in 2011, they promoted it with #DigATL and encouraged attendees to use the hashtag when attending the conference’s different forums. Some companies offer special discounts for their customers who tweet the specific hashtag that is tied to whatever the company is promoting. Celebrities like Tyrese have gone as far as wearing a shirt with their Twitter address to a major award ceremony to increase their Twitter fan base.

Tyrese at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards

Tyrese at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards

Social media optimization is not the back bone of online optimization but rather an extension of it. The popularity of social media allows businesses another avenue to engage with their customers while SMO gives their marketing efforts more direction. It also helps a business reach those customers that may not be fans or followers as of yet but shows the potential customers that the company offers what the potential customers are looking for. SMO-less conversation gets lost in the multi-dialogue jungle of this social speed- networking game.


Humanizing SEO Through Google’s Panda

The race to the top of the Google search results has been shaken up a bit since the beginning of 2011 by Panda, Google’s most recent algorithm. Created by Engineer Navneet Panda, this revolutionary search engine filter has birthed another doozie for those search engine optimization (SEO) professionals who thought they had Google all figured out.

With the introduction of Google Panda (which is named after Navneet), the world’s most popular search engine is striving to show its more human side at the peak of the ever-changing communications evolution. Less spam, more user-engaging content is what’s now encouraged.

Formerly based on keyword rich content, Google gave web pages that were at least a few years old coupled with having the appropriate keyword density more priority within search engine results. This approach has allowed content-based websites the ability to rise above more interactive sites. With the introduction of Panda, the key ranking components are design, trustworthiness, speed and viewer loyalty. A website scoring high within these categories is assumed to equate to a high quality website within this new algorithm.

There has been a large influx in the number of websites that have been created between the mid 1990s and now. It is estimated that there are around half a billion registered domains living on the web with millions of new domains getting registered per month. With this increase of websites, search engines have to be more critical in how they assess the quality of a website.

Instead of rating individual pages within a website, Panda rankings are based upon the quality of the entire website. With these new factors in place, many established websites who were normally ranking high within Google have drastically dropped from the top slot, allowing more interactive sites a chance to occupy the top of the page rankings.

Containing the following elements on your website can hurt your ranking with Google Panda: low quality content, excessive advertisements, duplicate content, poor usability, poor inbound links, high bounce rate and poor keyword density. Stagnate web pages, even those with evergreen content (content that is always relevant and never really changes), have to be deleted or elevated to a more engaging level.

Social media platforms have also affected the search engine process and seems to have influenced the way Google Panda works. Social media is all about engaging your reader whether it be through discussing hot topics, images, videos, polls or games. Panda rewards those websites that keep their visitor engaged in quality content and uses diverse traffic sources to draw them to their websites. This will decrease a website’s bounce rate. The promotion of Google+ has also changed the game. Individuals and businesses with Google+ pages seem to receive priority within Google.

There are still many mysteries surrounding this new Google phenomenon. Some consider Panda a filter that is part of the overall algorithm and some consider it an algorithm in itself. The facts are that engaging content is rewarded and snooze worthy sites will fall into obscurity. So, make sure your website has a unique personality that leaves the visitor with an impression that they can share with their social media friends … especially Google+.

Through the inclusion of thought-provoking videos, quality photography and keyword-rich content, B Culture Media’s interactive websites engage your readers and decrease your bounce rate. These digital ingredients are key to creating the perfect bamboo-quality elements that Google Panda will eat up.


Social Media: What to Expect in 2012

This is going to be an exciting year for us in the social media world. With the introduction and adoption of Pinterest, Instagram and Google+, brands have a whole new way to engage with their fans & customers. By now, most brand have poured their digital foundation and have a good understanding of who their audience is and how to communicate (If you haven’t – start here!) It is now time to take it to the next level and the good folks at DreamGrow have compiled a list of what is going to be hot, what brands should focus on, and even the importance of ROI for 2012. I couldn’t agree more with what they have to say.

1. Social media marketing disappears

Social media is going to be integral part of everything we do when promoting our business. This will make social media an integral part of marketing and it will not be a separate activity. Much like SEO or email marketing, social media will be just one tool in the box.

2. Integrating social media to corporate websites

Brands start large scale integration of social media content into their digital properties. Big brands will use social media connect and user generated content to get closer to customers. This will help them get most out of true fans and brand advocates by linking their web properties to conversations.

3. More support through social media

The integration of social media will lead to people reporting their problems in their channel of choice. Social media integration lets some of those problems be handled by the peers. However, companies should find ways to avoid their social media channels becoming a glorified helpdesk. (Related Post)

4. Social CRM will make inroads in larger organizations

Social data will be added to the CRM systems to find trends in sentiment and indivitual preferences of customers. The goal is to engage the customer in a conversation and give value that binds them tighter to the brand. As brands lose control of online interaction social CRM will help them react and predict how conversations are taking place. Findings from IBM showed that in the next three to five years, 81% plan to focus on customer analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

5. Social media will influence more sales

Social media integration will allow customers to get real user opinions before making purchase decisions. Social commerce is not web shop on Facebook. It’s a digital property where people can make their decision based on marketing materials from the brand and augmented with feedback from existing customers in a form of ratings, reviews and comments. (Related Post)

6. Social commerce on mobile devices

We will lead into a new era in eCommerce where you can directly purchase from your Facebook account. With proliferation of mobile platforms social commerce will become popular on mobile devices. Facebook’s Open Graph will also let you directly purchase with Facebook credits based on recommendations by your friends. (Related Post)

7. Social media budgets will grow

Most companies will increase their social media budgets. This includes in-house spending on and outsourced services. Part of the investments go to boost their own social presence through blogs and product reviews. Rest goes to external sites like Facebook.

8. Social media advertising will grow

Social media channels are looking to turn a profit so they are looking for ways to get at your advertising budget. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others are looking into way to display more marketing messages to their users. This will increase budgets dedicated to social media advertising.

Social media advertising will grow to $5 Billion in 2012, 25% of that vill be locally targeted social advertising.

9. Social media ROI is a must

More result oriented. Still less than half of the marketers measure results from social media. Social media ROI is a hot topic but less than half of the marketers report seeing it. We see that the budgets will grow and social gets more important in the brand’s marketing mix. This means that C-level will demand results. Dollars in sales. It can be as easy as direct sales from Facebook or a bit more vague as in conversion rate of people from social channels is higher than average. (Related Post)

In the course of our conversations with CMOs worldwide, an overwhelming consensus emerged. The vast majority of CMOs believe there are three key areas for improvement. They must understand and deliver value to empowered customers; create lasting relationships with those customers; and measure marketing’s contribution to the business in relevant, quantifiable terms. Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study (PDF).

10. Rise of the branded content

Next to advertising there will be a push be in the user’s stream. This means brands need to create content that is good enough to be curated and shared. Content has longer shelf life, can be reused in different channels, has higher perceived value for customers. This means that content creation budgets may in many cases exceed the social advertising budgets. It wouldn’t be surprising if some brands will kill advertising in favor of content creation. (Related Post)

11. Content Curation and Discovery

Information explosion has created an attention deficit and people want to have a quick overview of what’s important and easily find what they need. Aggregation and content curation are going to be very important and brands start filtering information to give value to their customers.Brands will integrate curation into their IT or use third party services. News aggregation apps like Flipboard and magazine apps will find a market in corporate circles.

12. Tabletizing and mobilizing websites

Not exactly a social media thing but businesses start to make their sites mobile. Like 10 years ago companies made websites because everybody else did, now they will make their sites mobile because everybody else does. People will use more social networks’ messaging instead of regular email and IM. (Webmail providers should be worried).

13. Social gaming will grow and spill over to real world

Social Media Games have more players than prime time TV shows have viewers. In-game ads and branded game items will become important promotional tools. As social media will become more mobile so will social gaming. This means that games that are hosted on social networks, such as Zynga and EA on Facebook, will be playable on mobile devices. These kinds of games will be played on-the-go – when you’re traveling by bus, sitting in a boring lecture, waiting for your lunch. Social gaming will be integrated with real life to physically perform tasks offline that have effect in the virtual world. Engage real friends, go to locations, flash mobs, etc. The potential growth of mobile social gaming will be huge.

14. Location! Location! Location!

Location based services will be everywhere. Local information, reviews, coupons, loyalty programs and more. All tied in with your social graph. We are moving towards an era of real-time need for information. More and more people will be checking for recommendations about nearby restaurants, bars, hotels, etc. Location based services will be part of many marketing campaigns. Near-field communication chips in mobile devices get more common and will pave the way to the new era of “tap & pay” commerce. Loyalty programs will start moving towards NFC and location based solutions. NFC will be a convenient way for you to connect, share and react.

15. Most social media usage will be on mobile devices

Social media is happening in real time and people share content when it’s happening! As smartphone penetrations reaches majority and tablets become increasingly popular, sharing content will move towards mobile devices. Smartphones gives us extra depth into personalization – we can share what we want, when we want. The limits are fading! You will always be connected with social media, no matter where you are!

16. Group buying sites will add location based services

Let’s face it, it is a brain dead model. Grow a huge list by offering really cheap deals and then sell that list to businesses to get really cheap deals. Group buying will not go away but businesses will understand better what it is and use it accordingly. To spell it out: businesses buy an opportunity to let potential customers sample their offering at a hugely discounted rate in hopes of repeat business. New layer of value can be added by integrating with location based services that will alert users to deals when they are in the neighborhood.

17. Interacting with live TV in social media

Live TV shows will react to user interactions such as votes, suggestions, etc. We have the ability to change what’s happening by providing real-time feedback on social networks. TV is going to be everywhere through mobile apps.

18. News will be social

News websites will gradually be replaced by applications integrated with social media technology such as Facebook’s Open Graph. While this won’t happen instantly, we’re going down that road as we speak. People will be reading news from their dedicated applications such as iPad’s Flipboard or Washington Post Social Reader. We will take in a lot of recommendations and read the same things that our friends are reading.

19. Mobile apps will become more social

All of the successful new mobile apps will be deeply integrated with social networks allowing you to share and engage more than ever before. We will be taking in a lot of suggestions and recommendations from our friends, colleagues and other trustworthy peers.

20. Your social media footprint will grow

Frictionless sharing capabilities and social gestures will make our lives increasingly visible on social networking sites. Music, TV shows, check-ins, purchases and more will be automatically posted to social media sites. Always connected, always sharing! If you don’t share, your friends will. Some may rise privacy concerns but most people will ignore the implications and their lives are going to be more open than ever before.

21. Facebook will break the 1 Billion people mark

Where does that more than 1 billion Facebook users come from? The countries with more than 20 million people and Facebook penetration below 20% will add most of this growth in 2012. Add the potential growth of other countries and you get to a cool billion or 1.1 billion even. And that does not include China.

Social media isn’t another tool for marketers that has just hit the scene and will slowly evolve over time. It is rapidly changing monthly. Look what the launch of Google+ pages has done in such a short time! It is time brands pay attention to the trends and start finding custom solutions now. The brands that are on the forefront of these trends will be the ones noticed in 2012 and will set the trend moving forward for 2013.