The Roaring PJ - A Social Media Blog

Does GooglePlus Really Help SEO?

Posted on by Melanie Yunk


Ever wonder about the benefit of GooglePlus? Should you add your business? Google+InstaHow about following a business? Does GooglePlus help SEO? Should you post on GooglePlus or +1 a post? And, what’s GooglePlus’ viability as a social network or does Google intend to dismantle it? Many questions abound over G+, so let’s talk about it and the significance of GooglePlus for your business. And, believe it or not, how it relates to a grocery store!

The Scoop on Google+

First, despite some rumors and misunderstandings about the undoing of GooglePlus, it remains a viable and important social network. Last summer, Google reorganized the business and announced changes to detach GooglePlus from other Google products. The detachment removes the requirement of a Google+ account for one to use and interact with other Google products.

For example, YouTubers expressed strong dissatisfaction when Google required viewers to login via GooglePlus in order to comment on videos. This requirement killed the interactive nature of the video platform and left viewers and YouTubers, alike, frustrated. YouTubers rejoiced over news of this change. As well, Google needs to up its game with Google Photos to compete with Apple and iPhoto. Detaching Google Photos from Google+ makes the photo product more attractive, interesting and user-friendly.

The GooglePlus SEO Value

Despite unhitching from other Google products, GooglePlus serves a tremendous value and continues as an ongoing, operable social network. With a newfound focus on an interest-based social experience, G+ allows its users to engage around like concerns and past times. As well, and perhaps more importantly for some, GooglePlus remains critical for SEO.

My favorite analogy of the importance of SEO persists from my days in the food business. Just as brands strive to acquire maximum space on grocery store shelves to promote visibility and influence sales, marketers aim to maximize space on a search engine results page (SERP) to drive optimal traffic to their content and sites. Multiple vehicles drive online traffic, but great SEO achieves SERP “shelf space” that other marketing activities cannot drive or control.

Why does GooglePlus influence SEO, you question? It stands to reason that GooglePlus, being a Google product, impacts SEO quite considerably. One may not reach as large an audience directly through posts on Google+ as one may reach through other social networks. However, the indirect reach – via SEO and Google search benefits – yields crucial results and increased traffic when content appears higher and more often in search results. Likening this back to my grocery store analogy, when a brand takes a greater share of shelf space it increases the chances of purchase.

The GooglePlus SEO Tip

At Roaring Pajamas, we create Google Alerts to watch for specific keywords on GooglePlus. We receive an alert when our tracked keywords appear in G+. This makes our lives easier because we know now know exactly where on GooglePlus to look, and when.

Have your tried Google Alerts? Check it out for the keywords and key phrases that hold meaning for you and your business.

The G+ Bottom Line

Remember GooglePlus; don’t put it on the back burner. You should have a GooglePlus business page. You should +1 posts when you or your business agrees. And, you or your business should follow other respected businesses. While you may not dedicate as much time to the network as you do to other, more trafficked and interactive networks, GooglePlus contributes compelling SEO value that simply cannot be ignored.

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How do Google Ads Impact Organic Search?

Posted on by Kent Yunk


Why Maximizing Revenue is Bad for Google

In a recent change to Google search results, Google Ads no longer appear on the right side of the search engine results page (SERP). Instead, Google now only shows ads at the top and bottom of the page. As well, the search results page now includes up to four paid ads at the top of the page, thus pushing organic search results way down on the page. Many questions and strong feelings surround this change, including how it will impact the CPC (cost per click) for Google Ads, how it will influence SEO and how it will affect the average Google user.

While the change to the search results page layout does ensure consistent results for both mobile and desktop users, this change also serves Google’s interest to increase advertising revenue. Extensive research shows users read Web content in an F-shaped pattern, with most time spent reading on the left side of a page. The heat maps below, a product of Nielsen Group research from years ago but still relevant today, clearly illustrate the F-shaped reading pattern.

f_reading_pattern_eyetrackingGoogle, of course, knows better than anyone how users behave on the Web. In addition to knowing where and how user eyes move, Google knows exactly where users click and what layout presents the best opportunities for Google to maximize their value.

The addition of a fourth Google Ad at the top of a SERP indicates Google’s recognition that the top space of the page is the most valuable real estate for revenue purposes. That additional ad, though, pushes organic search results down on the page – typically well-below the fold. By way of example, I recently searched for “Hotels in San Francisco”. As you can see in the screenshots below, the entire first screen fills with Google Ads. Scrolling to the second full screen shows a map provided by Google with results in the area. The third scroll of the screen finally shows organic search results for “Hotels in San Francisco”.

google search

What does this mean for users? In time, the data will tell us exactly how this change impacts Google Ads, SEO, organic search and the average user. At Roaring Pajamas, though, we think Google’s drive to increase advertising in search results may alienate users. By pushing organic listings so far down the page, Google forces the user to spend time looking at advertisements rather than consuming content likely more relevant to that user’s needs. Since Google’s organic results have historically been both excellent and relevant, a non-savvy user (or even a savvy user in a hurry) may not realize the results at the top of the page are paid advertisements. Over time, customer confidence in Google results may erode; users will be frustrated by bad results and time wasted finding relevant results. This recent post on Techpinions, The Danger of Over-Monetization, supports our theory. I particularly like the assertion that, “There’s a tipping point at which Google will go too far in pursuit of a higher ad load and end up pushing users away rather than generating ever-higher mobile ad revenues.”

What are your thoughts on this change to Google Ads and search results? Do you find yourself clicking on ads you normally wouldn’t because they are higher on the page than previously? What do you see as the long-term implications on organic search to the average user? I’m interested in your thoughts. I will continue to monitor this over the next many months and will likely post an update in an upcoming blog post.

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Improve Your Instagram for Business with These 7 Tips and Tricks

Posted on by Melanie Yunk


Earlier this year, I wrote of new year’s resolutions for social media, where we InstaBiz_instarecommended using more images and expanding to new platforms. Using Instagram for business provides the opportunity to achieve both of these resolutions, as well as the occasion to explore a more visually- and aesthetically-oriented style of social media.

Our team at Roaring Pajamas spends considerable time studying and honing the art and science of Instagram. With the help of our resident Instagram expert, Kelly Adame, we compiled tips and tricks to help businesses learn how to use Instagram. Here are our thoughts on how to make your business roar on Instagram.

Consider Frequency and Timing

At Roaring Pajamas, we suggest posting once a day, four to six times per week and mainly on weekdays. Occasionally, though, the team mixes it up with a weekend post. For timing, find a couple of times a day that work best and alternate between those times with each post.

Kelly recommends identifying the “sweet spot” of days and times with the greatest Instagram engagement. Careful, hands-on monitoring of the account yields optimal engagement metrics.

Create a Look, Feel and Voice Consistent With the Brand

As with any marketing effort, consistent look, feel and voice help brands achieve the greatest success. This applies to the types and content of photos used, filters (if any) employed, fonts and words imposed on images, captions written and other Instagram accounts followed.

For an excellent check on brand consistency, inspect the business Instagram feed in aggregate; click on the brand profile to see thumbnails of three images across and three or four images down. Viewing multiples posts at once clearly shows the cohesiveness of the visuals and story. If it looks funky and incongruent, adjust the imagery going forward.

A little confession, we recently audited the Roaring Pajamas business Instagram feed and realized we have some work to do. While our Instagram-specific posts follow brand guidelines, the images in our blog posts that we cross-promoted on Instagram were not visually united. Firm believers in practicing what you preach, we implemented plans to change this… like stat!

Form a Hashtag Strategy

In our experience, five to 12 hashtags per Instagram business post proves ideal. We don’t use trending hashtags and prefer a combination of popular, moderate and less popular hashtags.

A few other hashtag rules:

  • Use only meaningful hashtags; don’t use non-relevant tags just to get likes or followers. Such examples of non-relevant, gratuitous hashtags include #instafollow #instalike #likeforlike.
  • Apply hashtags after a caption otherwise the copy appears messy. That said; if one must include a hashtagged caption, stick to just one hashtag.
  • Consider devising custom hashtags to establish a gallery of your content. For example, Stella and Dot created #stelladotstyle to showcase stylists and customers rocking the brand’s jewels.
  • Search a hashtag before using it to ensure it makes sense for the brand and that it doesn’t have other meanings. Some hashtags are used by people to post negative content, nudity, obscene language and other types of content not suitable for business. We make sure hashtags are “good for business” before using them.
  • Review and use our 5 Hashtag Rules post, all of which apply to Instagram.

Develop and Edit Images and Other Visuals Like a Pro

Not everyone is a creative director or graphic designer but, even without those credentials, most everyone can utilize a myriad of applications and make an Instagram feed look professional. Four of our favorite tools for creating and editing visuals include:

  • Canva: Empowers users to create cool graphics in multiples sizes quite simply.
  • VSCO: Offers excellent editing and filtering options available on iOS and Android.
  • Word Swag: Allows users to add text to photos easily via an iOS app.
  • Moldiv: Lets users combine and edit multiple photos to make amazing collages.
  • PicPlayPost: Makes it easy for users to combine photos, videos, GIFs and music to create a video collage for posting on Instagram and other social media.

Employ Instagram Tools

Enhance a brand page with selections from the ever-growing crop of Instagram tools. Some of our faves include:

  • Hootsuite: Allows one to format posts, follow competitors, observe hashtags and keep track of keywords.
  • Iconosquare: Provides excellent statistics on best posting times, engagement details and other key metrics.
  • Latergramme: Equips users with a simple tool to manage and schedule images on social media.
  • Repost: Makes it easy to repost favorite photos and videos on Instagram while giving credit to the original poster.

Establish Best Practices and Guidelines

Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, and this adage certainly applies to social media adoption. We’ve learned many lessons over the years about best practices for business use of Instagram. In addition to everything above, check out these “Instagram DON’Ts” our team lives by:

  • Don’t make every post about selling.
  • Don’t make your captions too long. We like captions no longer than a paragraph unless it’s for a contest or giveaway that requires more information.
  • Don’t forget to be personable or get personal. For a personal brand, a personal presence in images and on the page is non-negotiable. Do this by showing behind-the-scenes shots, office views and candids while out and about.

Learn From the Best

Follow brands you admire and gain a sense of what makes them great. A few businesses on Instagram our team enjoys following include Starbucks, Refinery 29, Target, Tieks and – for major shoe envy – Louboutinworld.

In addition to our thoughts on here, Social Media Examiner’s 26 Tips for Using Instagram for Business provides excellent ideas to get started. We also regularly read the Instagram business blog for success stories, unique insights on growing a business on Instagram and the latest platform news.

Anything we missed? Let us know and happy Instagramming!

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  • Melanie Yunk Founder Melanie Yunk cooks up the perfect recipe for building customer engagement using her fresh take on digital marketing strategies as the key ingredient. Melanie launched Yunk Consulting in January 2009 and began creating social marketing campaigns and optimizing sites for clients. Today, Melanie’s successful business grows under the Roaring Pajamas name. As social media and search engine optimization change rapidly, Melanie and her team are available to provide creative digital solutions for your business.
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