The Roaring PJ - A Social Media Blog

Can You Survive Instagram’s Updates and Other Social Media Changes?

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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Just when we thought we found the perfect social network, shift happened; Instagram announced updates and social media marketers everywhere began worrying like ChRPJ Blog - Social Media Changes - Image for Blogicken Little. With the coming addition of an Instagram algorithm to determine the content order in a user’s feed, is the social media sky falling? What do the impending updates to Instagram mean to social media marketers? Should we all freak out?

According to Instagram, “You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.”

The newly announced Instagram algorithm intends to improve user experience by showing content most relevant and interesting to the user. As Jenn’s Trends – one of our favorite authorities on Instagram – further reminds us, Instagram says “the order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”

What does all of this mean to social media marketers and businesses on Instagram? No one knows exactly how this algorithm will work. However, for a brand or a marketer, the job description remains the same; one must continue to create, curate and distribute the best possible content in order to inspire, engage and grow an audience. So, if a brand or Instagrammer presently sees fantastic and growing engagement, we feel pretty confident in thinking that their content will continue to be seen uninterrupted.

If a brand currently struggles with engagement, then creation and curation of better and more engaging content persists as job number one. Time to understand exactly what followers like, what they love, and how to attract more of them. Instagram updates or not, if this code hasn’t yet been cracked, there remain bigger issues to worry about than a new Instagram algorithm.

Instagram Update Freak Out

If you follow Instagram even casually, you likely noticed the seemingly collective Instagrammer freak out a couple of weeks ago. Almost everyone and their mother begged followers to turn on notifications so no one wouldn’t miss a single post. Did that leave you wondering about the significance and urgency of turning on notifications?

At Roaring Pajamas, we believe it both unnecessary to turn on notifications and – quite literally – too noisy. Think about it, do you really want to hear that annoying “bing” each time one of a handful (or more) of Insta-faves posts? Instead, spend time liking and commenting on posts. Give Instagram’s mysterious new algorithm reason to know which posts and posters you like or love. And, of course, let your favorites know what you love so they can create more of that special Instagram magic.

Other Social Media Changes

While Instagramers plead for followers to turn on notifications, a couple of other social media changes, or lack thereof, also made some news.

Starting on March 29, Instagram intends to update the video capability for users to share videos of up to 60 seconds. Apparently, 15-second videos didn’t prove long enough to fully showcase one’s creativity, especially since in the last six months the time people spent streaming videos increased 40 percent!

In addition to the Instagram updates, Twitter recently announced that – despite rumors – it is not changing tweet character limits. Jack Dorsey stated that Twitter intends to keep the 140-character limit, as it “allows for of-the-moment brevity.” Enough said.

Can You Survive?

While these are the most buzzed-about recent social media updates, the Roaring Pajamas team also finds that social media platforms often make smaller and unannounced changes. No doubt we will see many more changes in the coming months, both large and small. The team at Roaring Pajamas plans to continue to monitor and keep you posted on the Instagram updates, Twitter changes and the myriad of other large and small changes along the way. And we assure you that, despite what Chicken Little may say, the sky isn’t falling. Social media marketers need to stay on their toes, keep current with updates and – most importantly – continue in the business of creating awesome content. Do that and you will survive.

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Does GooglePlus Really Help SEO?

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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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

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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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  • 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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