The first step in establishing a successful social media marketing strategy is to establish clear goals and objectives, and define the specific tactics and strategies you’ll be using in the process.
In everyday language, a goal acknowledges what you want to accomplish. It is important to define clear and measurable goals so you’re not in any doubt as to what you are planning to achieve. It is hard to achieve something if you are not clear about what you want.
Begin by setting your goals early on so that, over time, you can evaluate and measure your progress towards attaining those goals.
In the following article, Sonia Gregory explains the what and how of establishing goals and objectives for your social media marketing campaign:
Understanding Social Media Goals and Objectives
Before I get into the specifics, let’s review what a goal is (in case you need a quick refresher).
Businessdictionary.com describes it perfectly:
A goal is “an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe.”
Setting business goals for social media marketing is a critically important task when it comes time to determine progress for your efforts.
Are you wondering how to set the right social media goals?
Here’s how you can do it.
You’re always thinking too broadly if your goal is simply, “sell more”, or “get more followers”. Commit to setting goals for social media with achievable attributes that include:
The ability to be measured.
A clearly defined objective.
A timeframe by which they should be achieved.
Consider the Facebook goals examples below.
Sell 10 products to Facebook fans.
Convert 10 sales within 30 days by posting once a day on Facebook with clear CTA (call to action) and a $50 clicks-to-site advertisement.
Talk about detailed, right?
But you can clearly notice how the “weak” goal is vague. What’s more, it’s pretty unmotivating.
In this article, we’ll provide examples of social media goals using the above structure–the What and How.
In the previous article, you learned why it is so important to set goals for your soical media marketing campaign and more importantly, how to do so. In the following article by Alfred Lua, you’ll discover 9 social media goals that you can set for your business, and how you can analyse the success of those goals:
9 Social Media Goals You Can Set for Your Business (and How to Track Them)
Social media isn’t only a marketing tool, it can affect almost every area of a business – for example, as we discovered in our State of Social 2016 report, social media is a key channel for brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, customer support and much more.
So, in 2017, we know that social media can aid businesses in many ways, but how can we ensure we’re getting as much value as possible from the time and resources we put into social media?
One way is by setting goals. And a super-interesting piece of research I found, shares that goal setting can have a significant effect on an individual’s performance and happiness.
In 2010, a group of researchers in Canada studied the effect of goal-setting on the academic performance of 85 students. After four months, they found that the group that went through an intensive goal-setting program achieved significantly better results and than the control group.
Now, you should have a clear understanding of the why and how of setting goals for your social media marketing campaign. In the following video, Social Media Manager Hannah Rainford of Jellyfish discusses how to define social media success and exactly what you should be measuring.
Essentially, one of the most important aspects of social media marketing is being able to track the ROI you are receiving from your social media investment, and to accurately measure the impact it is having on your business. This is why the first step to creating a successful marketing strategy begins with defining realistic and meaningful goals and objectives that align with your overall business goals.
Whether you’re a one man band, small business or an organisation, your brand is one of the most important attributes of your business. Your brand is the main ingredient for success online, and social media will give you the channel to communicate it to your target audience on a daily basis.
Your brand is what is going to set you apart from every other businesses in your niche and give you that competitive advantage. You want your prospects to have an emotional attachment with your brand to so that they will buy and continue to purchase your products or services.
Social media provides a fantastic opportunity to effectively build your brand and communicate your brand message to your target audience.
In the following article, Neil Patel explains in detail, the process of creating a social media branding strategy for your business from scratch:
How to Create a Social Media Branding Strategy From Scratch.
One of the primary reasons that people buy products from a business is because they trust their name. If you’ve established credibility, then people easily see the value of your offerings.
Hence, as an entrepreneur, building a successful brand name should be a priority.
Established businesses approach and consult me to help with their media marketing because I’ve put substantial effort into building my own personal brand.
Social media has played a vital role in building this influence.
In fact, I would say that social media is an excellent starting point for most businesses to reach their target audience. It’s THE PLACE where consumers share their opinions about brands and interact with them.
Bop Design estimates that 80% of consumers are more likely to evaluate solutions from the brands they follow on a social network.
So, in this article, I want to show you how to build an authentic and strong brand image on social media to amplify your media strategy efforts.
In the previous article, you learned how establish a social media branding strategy from scratch. In the following article by Lyfe Marketing, you’ll learn everything you need to know to define and create your brand through social media, so that you can get into the hearts and minds of your target audience:
The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Branding for Small Businesses
Social media is turning out to be one of the most effective tools to market your brand and stand out of the crowd. When social media branding is done correctly, it can and will help you connect to your target market in an optimal way. Social media branding forms a natural but an essential part of your overall marketing efforts on major social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Social media branding is about consistently using the right methods to engage with your target audience on social media platforms. The aim or purpose is to boost brand awareness. By leveraging the power of social media branding, you can build a robust network of fans who are not only loyal to your brand but are also eager to buy from you.
In a research report published by Social Fresh, they found that the number one goal of brands with social media is to grow awareness. Which clearly shows that social media branding is a priority for most brands.
And in the following video, Gary Vaynerchuk (popularly known as Gary Vee) shares valuable tips on how to build your brand, think bigger and develop self-awareness.
So there you have it. You now have a clear understanding of how to build a strong and consistent brand through social media marketing and you’re well on your way to establishing your brand in the hearts and minds of your target audience.
Long tail SEO involves optimizing your content around long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are longer and more specific keywords or phrases of three words or more that your prospects are more likely to use when they’re getting closer to the point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search.
Searchers that use long tail keywords know exactly what they’re looking for and tend to be at an advanced stage of the buying funnel. For example, a user that enters a specific search query such as black ralph laurent polo shirt with big pony is more likely to have more commercial or buyer intent than a user that simply searches for polo shirts.
Shorter keywords are also a lot harder to rank for, which is why optimizing for the long tail keyword gives you a better chance of appearing at the top of an organic result than if you optimize for the ultra-competitive “polo shirts“. There are hundreds of polo shirt brands. If a user simply types in “polo shirt”, if you’re running an AdWords campaign, you may not want to bid for this keyword because you may not carry the particular polo shirt the user is searching for, leading to a wasted click, enough of which can become very expensive.
In fact, you may want to add such keywords as exact match negatives. This is because you want to make sure that the traffic you’re paying for has the highest chance of converting. The more information in a search query, and the longer tail it is, the more we can learn about the commercial intent of the keyword.
The fact of the matter is that long tail keywords almost always have a better click through rate, lower cost per conversion and a better engagement on site than broader, short tail keywords.
Check out this video from Moz’s Rand Fishkin on long tail keywords:
Furthermore, once you’re ranking for the long tail keyword, you will naturally begin to rank for related and much shorter keywords. So, even though you might initially be attracting less traffic by optimizing for long tail keywords, the traffic you’ll be attracting to your site will be much more targeted, focused and more commercially driven, delivering much better return-on-investment (ROI) than shorter keywords.
According to Neil Patel, using long tail keywords as anchor text and titles or subtitles in your blog give you a ranking bost over simply including them in the body.
Here’s an infographic with information on the value of long tail keywords:
Broad search queries are typically used by searchers who are at the beginning of the buying cycle. Searchers who use broad keywords are usually just starting out their research. These search terms are usually searched on much more often than specific keywords. However, conversion rates tend to be low for these types of keywords because searchers are typically at the awareness or research stage of the buying funnel. You would typically use broad keywords if you have branding goals in mind, and are more interested in getting as many eyeballs to your site as possible rather than converting traffic.
Examples of broad keywords and phrases:
“greeting cards” “kids toys” “used cars”
On the other hand, searchers who use long tail keywords in their search query already know exactly what they want and are in a more advanced phase of the buying funnel. These keywords are not searched on that often and may not be as popular as broad keywords. However, conversion rates tend to be higher because searchers that use them are usually ready to buy. You would use specific keyword phrases if you are more interested in conversions than getting as much traffic to your site as possible.
Examples of long tail keywords and phrases:
How much does a vintage christmas greeting card cost?
Where can I buy vintage christmas greeting card online?
What does a vintage Christmas greeting card cost?
Where is the best greeting card store closest to me?
When creating long tail keywords, you’ll typically start with one or two-word keywords or phrases, also known as “core” or “seed” keywords. Core keywords typically have lots of search traffic and are far too competitive to optimize for.
For example, if you are trying to write content for a company that sells educational toys, your core keyword would be something like “toys”. However, optimizing for such an ambiguos word would be a really bad idea because it would be very difficult to figure out the intent of the searcher, as people who use such words may have all sorts of motives. Furthermore, searchers who use such broad words are typically at the beginning of their research.
On the other hand, a more descriptive and specific long tail keyword such as “educational toys for three year old girls uk” clarifies the intent of the searcher. The searcher is looking for educational toys for three year old girls, and is based in the UK. People who used these types of keywords have already completed their research and are more likely to convert.
It is not difficult to come up with more specific, longtail keywords. However, how many people are searching for this keyword? Even though the search term might be relevant, if you are simply speculating on what people are typing in to search for your products or services, you’ll be guessing and could be making a big mistake. This is because the actual number of people searching in that context could be too low to bother optimizing for the particular search term.
Targeting long tail keywords simply means choosing a particular long tail keyword, and then writing content to address the user intent behind it. In other words, you’re focused on understanding the intent of the user that uses that search term in their search and what problems or challenge they are experiencing. Targeting these keywords in your content will attract engaged visitors who are interested in what you’re selling.
Developing a content marketing strategy around long tail keywords that are used to search for your products and services by your target audience is key to increasing your organic search ranking for your target keywords, and ultimately attracting the right traffic that converts on your site’s goals. If you are still using the wrong keywords to optimize your site, you won’t reach or attract the right target audience.
Increased Conversion Rates
Searchers who use long tail keywords when looking for information tend to have a higher conversion rate than other visitors. Generally, the longer the search query, the less search volume and, thus, less competition. Individually, long tail keywords may not account for a lot of searches, but when taken together, they tend to attract lots of relevant and likely to convert visitors to your website than the more general keywords such as “flowers“, “roses“, “mens shoes” and “leather jackets”.
The natural benefit of targeting specific keywords consisting of three words or more is that when you start to rank and get traffic for the longer keyword phrases such as “where is the best book store near me,” and “which book shop is open right now”, you will naturally begin to rank better for shorter versions of the keyword phrases, such as “book store,” “book shop,” and “buy books.”
Google’s latest algorithm, the Hummingbird, has made the development of content that speaks directly to your target audience and directly answers specific questions they might be asking, an absolute priority. In order to rank your content on Google search, rather than finding out the best keywords for your website or web pages, it is much more important to figure out the many different questions your potential customers may ask, and provide subject-relevant, meaningful and detailed answers that specifically and directly answers those questions.
It is now extremely important to anticipate the many different questions your customers and potential customers may have, and deliver insightful, meaningful solutions to those customer questions across social platforms including your blog, Google+ and other relevant communities. If you are highly focused on addressing the specific needs of your audience, your content is more likely to rank according to the Google Hummingbird algorithm.
Essentially, long tail keywords are probably some of the simplest types of keywords to optimize for, mainly because you will not see as much competition for these types of keywords as you will for shorter, more competitive search terms. In addition, because the searcher is using such specific terms rather than more generic keywords, it is very likely that they have completed their research and are now ready to buy.
Lower Advertising Costs
Long tail keywords are even more valuable for users who are running paid search advertising campaigns because the cost-per-click is lower due to less competition. In fact, you can get higher ad placements and much cheaper clicks.
If your site has experienced a sudden and significant drop in organic traffic for a number of key search terms you once ranked highly for, you may have been hit by a Google penalty. According to Matt Cutts – the former head of Google’s web spam team, there are over 400,000 manual penalties that are applied to websites that violate Google webmaster guidelines every month and are deemed egregious enough to trigger sanctions by the Google Search Quality team.
There are two types of search engine penalties as discussed here by Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s spam team.
If a manual penalty has been applied to your site, you’ll receive a notification from Google’s spam team within your Google Search Console account. If the team has found something they believe is manipulative or against the Google webmaster guidelines, it can impose a penalty.
In most cases, manual penalties are caused by off-site factors such as spammy backlinks. In extreme cases, your entire domain may be removed entirely from Google’s index. The only way to respond to a manual penalty is via a reconsideration request, which Google must then approve before the penalty is removed.
Manual Review Penalty Symptoms
Manual review penalties are usually more severe and tougher to recover from than algorithmic penalties. In extreme cases, Google recommends to retire the domain name and start all over again. When a manual penalty has been applied to your site, you need to respond by removing as many manipulative links to your site as possible.
It often involves auditing your entire inbound link profile and then contacting webmasters that own sites that link to yours, and politely ask them to remove the link. If the webmaster ignores you, you may have resort to using the disavow links tool to remove the spammy links. Thereafter, you can then send a well-written reconsideration request to Google.
An algorithmic penalty typically occurs after Google updates its algorithms. These types of penalties are typically harder to detect because you don’t get any notification from Google within Google Webmaster Tools. However, you can simply analyse your website’s traffic data in Google Analytics to see if your rankings (and traffic) took a noticeable dive on or around the time of a specific algorithmic update. If so, there’s a good chance your site may have been affected by the update.
The most popular algorithmic updates are Google Panda, which punishes on on-page infractions such as poor content quality, over-optimization of specific on-page elements, etc. and Google Penguin, which is mainly focused on your backlink profile and anchor text distribution.
Following are symptoms of an algorithmic penalty
A specific group of links suddenly stop providing value. If you find that some of your web pages have suddenly dropped out of the search engine results pages altogether, those pages could have been affected by a recent algorithmic penalty.
This is what happens when an entire private blog network that has been feeding those webpages with link juice has been identified as spam and deindexed. Consequently, your site no longer receives the link juice that those penalized links are providing.
Entire domain starts ranking lower for all or most of its target keywords or phrases. This is a clear indication that the website in question has breached Google’s webmaster guidelines. In this case, every keyword will rank 30 to 50 spots below where it did before it was hit with the penalty. What this means in effect is that Google adds 30 positions to your site every time it comes up in the search results, pushing it down three or more pages.
If you notice a drop in organic search traffic that corresponds with known algorithm updates, you can be pretty clear which algorithm update has been applied to your site. For clarification, use your analytics data and compare it to Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History.
Identifying Search Engine Penalties
The first step to recovering from a manual or algorithmic penalty is to find out exactly which penalty has been applied to your site. SEO recovery tools make it easy for you to find out exactly which penalty has been applied to your site.
Manual on-page penalties
This set of penalties are applied to sites with issues discovered on the site itself. Webmasters with these types of penalties get a message in the Search Console.
Thin Content Penalty
In 2013, Google introduced the thin content manual penalty. This penalty is designed to de-index websites that create content withlittle or no value. This type of content includes long-form, keyword-rich articles that provide no real value, and are primarily designed to rank for specific keywords. If Google’s algorithms detect that a particular page’s content is keyword-stuffed, duplicated or has a very high bounce rate, it will be categorized as thin content.
It is important to note that once thin content is detected on a website, the entire site could be penalized and removed from the search results. To be re-included in search results, you’ll have to identify all of the content that can be categorized as thin content and replace this content with original content.
Here are examples of thin content as defined by Google:
Automatically generated content
Thin affiliate pages
Scraped content or low quality blog posts
In this video, Google’s Matt Cutt clarifies what is meant by thin content:
If you receive a message that the penalty is sitewide, it means that Google considers the entire site in violation of its quality guidelines, and the whole site is penalized. A partial match penalty means only a portion of the site is considered in violation.
If you have received the manual action notification highlighting “major spam problems”, it means Google has identified the site as entirely spammy, with no value whatsover to users. In a majority of cases, this type of manual action results in a complete removal of the website from the Google index. The major spam penalty is most often applied to sites with scraped content and/or gibberish sites.
When Google issues a notification highlighting spam problems, it means the website isn’t completely bad. It refers to a series of pages on the site that are considered thin, duplicate or low quality content. The penalty also looks at how useful and engaging the landing page’s contents are to users. This is not a site-wide penalty, and only the offending pages of the site will be penalized.
This penalty does not result in a complete removal from the Google index, but it will be much less visible in Google search results until the offending pages are removed. Once the offending content is removed, a reconsideration request must be submitted to Google.
User-generated spam tends to affect large, user-driven sites that have been exploited by spammers and Google issues the message as a warning to the site to stamp out the offending content. In this case, Google considers the site useful but neglected. The message generally includes a sample URL where user-generated spam has been detected. Consequently, the entire site isn’t penalized.
Hacked Content Spam
If your site has been hacked due to poor security, Google will hit your site with the hacked content spam penalty. In their message to you, Google’s will include a sample URL, which will give you an idea where to start the investigation and what type of content to check while cleansing the site of spam.
The site will also get a prominent label from Google in the search results that warns users of the possible threat if they open the website. This will lead to loss of potential traffic from Google search. Submitting a compelling reconsideration request is the first step toward resolving the problem and removing the “hacked” SERP label.
Spammy Structured Markup Penalty
The prospect of getting a rich snippet is really enticing, and attempts to game the system through the use of deceptive or inflated structured data is very much on Google’s radar. If you violate Google’s structured data markup guidelines, you’ll get a notification in Google Search Console highlighting spammy structured data, and your rich snippets will no longer appear in search results.
In March 2015, Google updated its rating and reviews Rich Snippet policies, stating that these types of snippets must be placed only on specific items, not on “category” or “list of items” landing pages.
Here is an example of a manual Structured Data penalty message sent by Google in the Search Console.
The penalty message reads as follows:
Spammy structured markup
Markup on some pages on this site appears to use techniques such as marketing up content that is invisible to users, marking up irrelevant or misleading content, and/or other manipulative behavior that violates Google’s Rich Snippet Quality guidelines.
A penalty can be algorithmic or manual. A manual penalty can be partial or site-wide. Google has stated:
In cases where we see structured data that does not comply with these standards, we reserve the right to take manual action (e.g., disable rich snippets for a site) in order to maintain a high-quality search experience for our users.
Recovering from this penalty requires submission of a reconsideration request, however, once you’ve been hit with this penalty, your rich snippets will no longer reappear even after Google removes the penalty.
Unnatural Outbound Links
The unnatural outbound link penalty was issued by the Google manual actions team in April 2016, and it was designed to penalize sites that contain patterns of “unnatural artificial, deceptive or manipulative outbound links”. In general, this penalty is aimed at blogs that are specifically setup to sell links and link to all manner of sites which are not editorial references. Google penalizes the site by devaluing the site’s outbound links. This means none of the site it links to will get any SEO benefits.
Unnatural Inbound Links
This is the most frequently experienced Google manual penalty linked to the Penguin algorithm, and it is a pretty severe one. You’ll receive the dreaded “unnatural inbound links” notification in your Search Console. Affected sites are considered to be engaging in link schemes against Google’s webmaster guidelines such as being a member of manipulative link networks. The penalty’s impact can be partial or affect the entire domain. If you get hit, you could lose all of your organic traffic from Google literally overnight.
Recovering from this penalty is not easy, but this also depends on how bad your backlink profile is. To begin with, your first reconsideration request will most likely fail even if you have done everything right. Google does this to make webmasters look even deeper and clear things up that might be borderline OK.
Documentation of everything you’ve done to fix the situation is one of the primary things you need to do. Google doesn’t take reconsideration requests very seriously if that intricate documentation isn’t included. You really must show Google that you’ve done everything you can to correct the problem by showing a detailed report of what you’ve done to get rid of the toxic links. List out every dofollow link and list its contact information and action taken.
Upload the disavow file first (and receive confirmation of the change) before submitting documentation outlining all relevant steps taken to resolve the issues Google has highlighted. Include the outcomes of each attempt in your disavow file such as: no reply, removed, 5th try, pending, not contact info, etc.. Also good to list the type of link. Directory, blog post, comment, article etc. All of this will demonstrate to Google that you have really made an attempt.
Note that the domain may never fully recover unless you replace the bad links with links that have the same ranking power as the bad links. Once most of the links have been re-indexed, the algorithm must then be updated with the new information.
Now that Penguin is part of the over 200 signals used in Google’s core algorithm, Penguin-like updates more frequently so .
The Google Panda algorithm was released on February 24th 2011, and was based entirely around the concept of content. It is essentially a content quality filter that analyses the quality of an entire website’s content. It was specifically designed to lower the rank of sites with “low-quality” or “thin-content”. It targets sites with duplicate, plagiarized or thin content; user-generated spam; and keyword stuffing.
As Matt Cutts, Google’s head of spam, put it in a blog post when announcing the first iteration of Panda in 2011:
“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”
In a nutshell, Google wants webmasters to focus on delivering the best user experience possible on their websites so they can send users to the most relevant pages with the highest quality available on the web. If your site has a certain amount of what Google describes as poor quality content that provides little or no value, the entire site will be categorized as a low quality site, and it will be filtered from ranking high in the search results. Panda rollouts have become more frequent, so both penalties and recoveries now happen faster.
The Panda also made “user engagement” a ranking factor. Here are some of the factors considered by the algorithm:
how does the visitor engage with the website’s content when they receive it?
does the visitor share it?
does she comment on it?
does she stay on the site a long time?
does she access more than a page on that site?
does she leave within 30 seconds of arriving on the site?
does she return to the site or mention it independently afterward?
Today, even pages that are a perfect keyword match may now be filtered from the search results due to weak user engagement. So, ranking at the top of the first page of Google is not just about creating high quality content and getting more social signals and relevant backlinks pointing to your site. It’s also about how visitors to your site engage with it.
Panda is a site-wide penalty, not a page penalty. This means that if a site has just a certain amount of poor quality content that has been penalized by Panda, then the entire site falls below Panda’s quality algorithm, and the whole site is filtered out of the top ten search results.
Note that unless you have a considerable amount of low quality content, you won’t get hit with a manual penalty from Google. You just won’t rank high no matter what you do. If you’re experiencing ranking issues, don’t automatically assume that you need more links. Rather, consider performing a comprehensive content audit to identify whether or not your site does have a lot of what Google defines as thin, low quality content that provides little value.
Google Penguin looks for spammy and irrelevant links. The algorithm works by analyzing the inbound link profile of every website for over-optimized anchor text. If a backlink profile contains backlinks without branded anchors, naked URLs, or universal anchors (ie, “click here, more info, read more or here), then the link profile is heavily optimized, and the site is likely to be susceptible to a Penguin penalty. Having non-descriptive text links such as “read more”, “Click here,” “check out this website,” and “visit us here” are great ways to keep your profile looking natural and richly diverse.
In addition, there are three main backlink factors that can be used to identify these types of link patterns:
Link quality – Sites with a natural link profile will include both high and low quality links. Manufactured link profiles tend to have lots of just low quality links or only high authority links (like from a private blog network).
Link growth –Sites with manufactured link profiles tend to build lots of links within a very short period. Sites that build links naturally tend to build links steadily over time. Avoid unusual spikes in link growth.
Link diversity – Legitimate sites attract links from diverse sources (contextual, blog comments, news sites, resource sites, etc.). However, links from very few sources (such as blog comments and directories) are considered manipulative.
Rather than affecting the ranking of an entire website, Penguin now devalues spam by affecting the ranking of individual pages based on spam signals.
On April 21, 2015, Google released the mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. The update was designed to boost mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results. This update primarily boosts the rankings of the most mobile-friendly sites, so if your site is not mobile-friendly, rather than being penalized, it will be pushed down in the search results.
One of the best ways to prepare is to test that Google considers your web pages to be mobile-friendly by using its Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Avoid software that most mobile devices can’t render, e.g, Flash.
Use responsive design
Use a text size that is easily readable on a small screen (typically 16px or more)
Google’s Top Heavy Update looks at your page layout and if it finds that the ads above the fold are excessive, it can be penalize your site and downgrade it in the search results.
According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog when the first update came out in 2012, Google stated that they had received “complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.”
This is a site-based penalty. That means that either all of your content is penalized or none of it is. Google has also confirmed that they will not penalize all sites with above-the-fold ads, but just those sites that occupy too much real estate vs. useful content in the top section of a webpage.
Google released the Payday Loan update to identify and penalize web sites that use black hat techniques to improve their rankings for heavily trafficked search key word queries like “payday loans,” “Viagra,” “casinos” and various pornographic terms. The update targeted spammy queries mostly associated with shady industries like super high interest loans and payday loans, porn, and other heavily spammed queries. The first payday loan update occurred in June of 2013. Payday loan update 2.0 occurred on May 16, 2014, with Payday 3.0 following shortly thereafter in June 2014.
The “Pirate” algorithm was released in 2012, and was specifically designed to algorithmically penalize the growing number of torrent sites that were mainly used for pirating media and software. Google took a strong stance on piracy, which is essentially stealing copyrighted content.
The algorithm works based on copyright reports. If a site has a lot of copyright violations, it will be penalized by this algorithm. While new torrent sites can be established, they will be removed from the search results each time the algorithm is run if they have accumulated enough violations.
Google Fred was a fairly significant algorithm update released in March 2017. The majority of sites that were affected were blogs with thin and low quality content on all sorts of topics. The sites had a large amount of ads or affiliate links spread throughout the site, and seem to have been created for the express purpose of generating revenue rather than solving problems for users.
No matter what you’re selling on Facebook, the most effective marketing strategy is to create an engaged community of fans that you regularly communicate and interact with through page post engagement ads and apps such as Facebook Messenger.
And this is the biggest difference between Facebook and other PPC platforms like AdWords and Bing Ads. The thing is, you need to build an emotional connection with your target audience on Facebook. If the people you are marketing to are not engaged with your brand, they will simply not buy from you. Yes, you might get a few sales here and there, but when that happens, luck or price usually has a lot to do with it. That’s really not good enough because you’ll find that your customer lifetime value is very low.
Giants like Apple and Nike have spent millions building their brand, and most people already have an emotional connection with them. Consequently, no matter what type of ads they share on Facebook, they’ll get the engagement they’re looking for.
Social media has made it so that you don’t need to spend the millions that these companies have had to spend, but you do need to know how to leverage sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to develop that crucial emotional connection with your target audience so that they are engaged with your brand.
And it is simply not enough to post great content. You need to build a 2-way relationship with your audience instead of simply broadcasting at them. This means the people you are talking to have to be responding to what you’re saying with likes, shares and comments, or the relationship will be one-sided. And we all know how well one-sided relationships work in real life.
Building a community will obviously require a lot of hard work, but the rewards will be well worth it because you will stand out from those competitors that are simply burning money on expensive ads, and your laser-targeted audience will be highly engaged with your brand. This will not only slash your advertising budget, but Facebook will recognize the relationship you have with your audience, and things will be a lot easier for you. Furthermore, the search engines will also notice the social signals gravitating towards your brand, and they won’t be able to ignore it.
You should seize the opportunity to deliver tons of value, build trust, rapport, and desire for your product or service, and then transition into how your product can fulfil their desires or solve their problems. This is why it is important to be an expert or at least be highly knowledgeable in what you’re selling so that your audience can rely on your knowledge and expertise as you build up interest in your product or service.
With this level of engagement where they are already liking, sharing and commenting on your posts, you woud have built up so much trust and credibility, and you’ll have a better chance of converting them into lifetime customers.
Who is your ideal target customer?
One major mistake that most advertisers make on Facebook is not fully researching their ideal target customer. Understanding your target audience and creating a buyer persona is critical to the success of any Facebook advertising campaign. This is the person who, on paper, is most likely to buy from you, most likely to find your posts interesting and most likely to become highly engaged with your brand. To be effective, you need to understand the motivating beliefs, fears and desires that influence the buying decisions of your personas.
With recent data from Statista showing that Facebook has 1.86 billion monthly users, you need to be laser-focused in terms of who you put your ads in front of. It’s not just about how many people you can reach, but also how precisely targeted those people are.
Targeting the right audience is absolutely critical to the success of Facebook ads. You need to ensure that you embrace an audience of people that are going to be receptive to your ads. No matter how great your ad, if its not reaching the right audience, your campaign will fail.
The good news is that Facebook provides advertisers with a range of powerful tools that provide access to a wealth of data about its users. They spend millions on detailed dossiers from 3rd party data brokers about their users’ offline lives. These brokers collect information from public records, online activity and purchase history and re-sell it to other companies for marketing purposes.
With this information, you can even target people who:
Got engaged recently
Are fans of a specific football team
Donate to charity frequently
Are in the market for a certain kind of vehicle
Buy the types of products or services you sell
and this is what sets Facebook apart. All of this data provides powerful insights that allows you to put the right message in front of the right audience. if you know who your perfect customer is, then you can make sure that you invest all your time, effort and budget into reaching those people, and the result will be far more profitable and far more rewarding.
For example, lets say you’re a golf coach looking to sell your high ticket coaching program designed to help keen golfers improve their swing. The Facebook interest targeting tool can help you find people from all over the world who have indicated that they like to play golf, are fans of a number of top golfing stars, have shared status updates and articles about golf and have liked a number of golf-themed pages.
However, this does not make them potential buyers. In fact, even if they play golf, it doesn’t mean they care enough about the game to invest in a highend coaching program or that they have the means to do so. Yet, this is where most advertisers end their research.
Showing your ad to a cross section of these users may very well lead to a campaign that might generate lots of likes and shares and ultimately low clicks, but very fewbuyers. And there’s nothing more frustrating than an ad that generates a ton of engagement but very few conversions. What you should be looking for are targeted, potential buyers, not just people who are fans of the sport or have liked golf pages.
With the right research, you’ll be able to find out crucial information such as their deepest desires, demographics: location, age range, gender, interests, motivations, income level, lifestyle, behaviour, buying habits, page likes, etc. All of this information will help you build up a picture of your ideal target customer, and you’ll know precisely who you’re going to be speaking to.
Once you know enough about your target audience, you’ll know how best to craft an ad that will attract and appeal to that specific audience. This is the kind of data you need to attract customers that are right for your business and develop advertising campaigns that bring you serious returns on your initial investment.
Interest targeting is pretty big on Facebook because it allows you to target people by their interests. But you need to be very careful here because it is not very clear how Facebook determines an interest. Just because someone has shown an interest in something doesn’t mean they actually like it enough to pay for it.
For example, some fans of Venus and Serena Williams may have liked, shared and commented on several tennis related articles and magazines that featured the sisters. Those users might also be fans of their Facebook pages. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that those fans like or are interested in the sport. Yet, the Facebook algorithm will deem them as interested in tennis because they have like pages of the sport’s superstars, and have engaged with a lot of articles on the sport. This is why you cannot rely solely on interest targeting.
Hot and Cold Audiences
Another mistake that many advertisers make on Facebook when selling high-ticket items is advertising to warm and cold audiences in exactly the same way. A cold audience consists of users that have never heard about your business, product or service, and your ad is their first introduction to your company. On the other hand, a warm audience consists of users that have had some exposure to your brand. They include fans of your Facebook page, users that have visited your website, watched your video, etc.
If you’re selling a t-shirt, laptop or other low-cost item, you can perhaps get away with sending cold traffic directly to your website, although it would be much better to aim to build relationships with your target audience. On the other hand however, selling digital products or high-ticket items is a different ballgame and requires a completely different strategy.
You cannot just go for the jugular by sending this type of traffic directly to your website. You’re asking too much of your target audience who don’t know anythng about you. You need to first of all establish trust and credibility by aligning yourself as an expert in your niche with relevant, engaging content that is useful to them. More importantly, you need to demonstate that your product or service can solve a specific problem for your viewers. To do this, you need to build a sales funnel.
The Facebook Algorithm
Understanding how the Facebook algorithm works is crucial for running successful Facebook ad campaigns. Along with the advanced targeting capabilites of Facebook, the intelligence of the algorithm is what makes Facebook marketing so powerful for advertisers, and you need to know how it works and how to work with it.
For example, it is important to realize that the algorithm is driven by relevance and efficiency, and prioritizes content that is relevant to and personalized for a particular user. So if the algorithm feels that a user will not be interested in an ad, it will not display your ad to the user.
Consequently, if you have selected conversions as a campaign objective, the algorithm will not display your ad to users who do not have a history of converting on the types of products you’re selling. But once it identifies a converter, it will begin to look for similar characteristics in other users. This has the effect of maximizing advertising budgets.
It is important to realize that the algorithm needs time to identify converting characteistics, and Facebook suggests that it generally requires at least 25 conversions per ad set per week to identify users with those characteristics.
Creating Your Sales Funnel
Selling digital products or high-ticket items on Facebook requires an enormous amount of trust, and a sales funnel allows you to effectively establish this trust by focusing on their deep desire or biggest frustration. In addition to a professional website, you need the following tools to create an effective and result-oriented Facebook sales funnel.
An Irresistible Freebie
A freebie or giveway is a fundamental component of selling digital products or high-tickets on Facebook. This freebie can be a comprehensive PDF report, an educational video, a short eBook, a slideshow presentation, etc. At this point, what you need is something that breaks the ice with your prospect and allows you to capture their contact details.
Whatever format you choose, the content you choose to use for your sales funnel must be relevant and useul to your target audience. It needs to really grab the attention of your target audience and motivate them to engage with you.
You also need different types of content to cater to different types of buyers, some of whom may be at different stages of the buying funnel. You need to ask yourself what someone in your industry who isn’t ready to buy would find interesting. All you should be trying to do at this stage is get their contact informtion by differentiating your ad from the thousands of ads that the prospect has already been exposed to so that you will be memorable.
Examples of freebies include:
Video tutorial or webinar
Discount or coupon
Web-based or downloadable tool
Checklist or template
To create the most effective giveaway, you need to have a deep understanding of the most common challenges, frustrations and pain points of your target audience. If you want to be remembered, your freebie should address a very specific niche of users, solve a real problem and be easily actionable.
For example, say you want to get qualified leads for your restaurant. Some people may choose to use recipes as their freebie. However, the problem is that there are thousands of recipes freely available on the internet, and asking people to subscribe to your newsletter in return for a few recipes may not be very effective.
What you could do instead is target a specific niche of users such as pregnant mothers who have identified themselves as vegan, are passionate about cooking and are fans of a famous vegan chef like Jamie Oliver. Your freebie could be advertised as “15 delicious vegan recipes for expectant mothers inspired by Jamie Oliver”.
An Optimized Facebook Page
You need a compelling and super-optimized Facebook page that will enable you to engage and learn more about your target audience. Your page also provides the opportunity to humanize your brand and put your business top of mind with your target audience.
A Facebook Landing Page
An attractive and compelling Facebook landing page is a key part of a successful sales funnel because this is what will convert your traffic into leads. The goal of the page should be specifically to deliver your freebie and collect users’ data.
Facebook allows you to create your very own landing page (or landing tab) on your brand’s Facebook page so that your target audience can provide their details without having to leave Facebook. People will be more likely to part with their personal details when the landing page is located within a Facebook page as compared to when it is on your website.
As an alternative to the Facebook landing page, you could use Facebook Messenger ads (discussed below) to engage cold traffic. Messenger ads allow users to send a message to advertisers clicking a Send Message button on the ad. Instead of being taken to a landing page or website, users engage in a one-on-one conversation with the advertiser that they can facilitate with a specially created Messenger chatbot. This means that rather than building an email list that you can use to communicate with your prospects off Facebook, you’ll be building a messenger list that you can use to communicate with your audience on Facebook.
Facebook Messenger Ads
Instead of asking for the sale right away, Messenger ads allow you to engage the prospect by inviting them to message you for a chat where you can answer questions, reassure users and overcome objections or barriers to purchase. And you can automate the entire process using chatbots.
The reason why Messenger ads are so powerful is that they enable real-time, collaborative conversations and allow you to position your product or service to the buyer’s specific problem. In addition, Facebook currently allows you to send broadcasts to your entire subscribers free of charge.
With over a billion people using Facebook Messenger and open rates of 80% open rates compared to 20-30% with email marketing, Messenger is much more effective at building relationships and generating sales through conversation selling.
If you need any more convincing about the effectiveness of being responsive to potential customers, Harvard Business Review conducted a study to see how a company’s response time to leads would impact their qualification rate. The study found that responding to a potential lead within five minutes of a customer reaching out to you will increase your odds of closing the deal by 400%. Furthermore, 73% of customers prefer talking to companies via live chat rather than email. And 56% of people would rather message you than call you for customer service.
And the results are speaking for themselves. It’s still early days, but Globe Telecom has already reduced calls to their hotline by 50% with the implementation of Messenger Ads.
The Facebook Pixel
The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that enables your website to talk to Facebook ads manager. If you will be driving traffic to your site, setting up the Facebook pixel is critically important, and you need to do this before setting up your advertising campaign.
The Facebook pixel tracks visits to your website, engagement and conversions so that you can see how many people are converting into a lead, putting products into carts, viewing specific pages or actually buying stuff from your website.
It also helps you analyse the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding how people are interacting and engaging with your website so that you can effectively optimize your campaign and build targeted audiences. This data will also help the Facebook algorithm optimize your campaign for whatever conversion goal you choose.
For example, the pixel will feed through to the algorithm, the types of people that are converting based on their demorgraphics and interests. Once this is clear, the algorithm will understand who is most likely to click on your ads and will begin to show your ad to a similar group of people because those are the people that are most likely to convert on your specified goals.
Everyone with a website needs to use the Facebook pixel, whether you’re running Facebook ads or not. Its always a good idea to get the Facebook pixel installed on your website so that you can start gathering and collecting data so if you ever decide you want to launch a Facebook ads campaign, you’ll have a lot of useful data already.
It is the first thing you should do when you setup a campaign. It is added to the header of every single page of your website or throughout your landing pages or throughout your funnel. With the Facebook Pixel on your site, you can show specific ads to certain users, based on what they have done on your site.
It will also help you build custom audiences of people that look at specific pages or products so that you can retarget them based on the actions that they took. For example, if certain users looked at product x but didn’t buy, you can show them ads with coupons for product x to encourage them to convert on that product.
Conversions from your Facebook ad
Facebook can start tracking your campaigns and measure real world outcomes from your Facebook ad campaigns. For example, if you’ve setup a campaign to drive traffic to your website because you want people to sign up to an email list by downloading a PDF report, the pixel allows Facebook to find out how many people downloaded the report from the traffic you received from your Facebook ad.
This will enable Facebook to deliver your ads to more of the right people to get the conversions you want. Without the pixel, Facebook would be unable to optimize your ad for conversions. They can optimize your ads to get clicks to your website, but if they have no way of understanding which of those people are actually converting, then they cannot optimize for that.
With the Facebook pixel, you can set the outcome to be to optimize for conversions, and they’re going to focus on getting more people to download your PDF rather than simply getting people to visit your website. This is a massive benefit because it’s driving a more tangible business result.
Saved audiences are your core audience. They are a cold audience who have never had any exposure to your brand. They are an audience you build from scratch, and are based on demographics, behaviours, interests, etc. If you don’t have an email list of people to remarket to, this is where you’ll start from, and then build custom audiences later. At this point, your campaign objective would be traffic so that you can use the saved audiences to see what action each user would take on your site and then build a custom audience from them.
Installing the pixel on your site allows you to build audiences from people who converted, or from similar audiences to reach new people. For example, say you sent people to your website and they ended up converting, you can build an audience of those people who converted on your site goals and remarket to them or upsell to them with a product, and, using that audience who downloaded the report, you can build a lookalike audience using that source audience.
Custom audiences allow you to target people with whom you already have some sort of relationship or connection. It is much easier to get a conversion out of people that are familiar with your business, rather than targeting people that are cold and don’t know anything about you or what your business is about.
It is important to start building a custom audience from day one so that you can start getting results a lot quicker. Using the Facebook Pixel, you will be remarketing to people who have already engaged with you in some way. For instance, people who have visited your site, subscribed to your newsletter, engaged with your Facebook page, downloaded your app and engaged with it or viewed a video that you have put out on Facebook.
To illustrate the power of custom audiences, say you have an ecommerce site on which you sell the latest range of Beyonce tank top dresses. By embedding the Facebook pixel on pages of your online catalogue, you can target the collection on Facebook to Beyonce female fans in a particular country with interests in fashion and shopping who have visited your site.
You can then remarket to those fans who have viewed and put the products in their shopping cart without checking out with a time-sensitive coupon that will encourage those users to complete their purchase right away. You can also create custom audiences of people who visited specific pages of your site so that you can target them differently.
Lookalike audiences allow you to scale your marketing efforts extremely efficiently. A lookalike audience allows you to reach people who have a similar profile to your current customers. Basically, you want people who look like your ideal customers, who are the same age as your ideal customers, and live in the same location as your ideal customers. It is a way to extend the reach of our campaign to reach a very large audience of targeted users. This will give your campaign the highest likelihood of working from the get-go.
What Facebook actually does is to use a source audience such as a custom audience of website visitors to find similar people on Facebook. This makes it possible to turn a source audience of 10,000 prospective buyers into a highly targeted audience of over 100,000 users. Although it is possible to generate a lookalike audience of millions of users, you’ll generally want to keep your audience between 50,000 to 100,000 to keep your audience as tightly focused as possible.