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The Twitter-Google Agreement: 4 Keys to Getting the Most from This New Development

By | April 1, 2015

Does Google Index TweetsIt’s been almost 4 years since Google has provided real-time tweets in their search results. Google and Twitter recently announced they had reached an agreement that will grant Google access to Twitter’s stream of data generated by over 284 million microbloggers. This data stream is also being referred to as the fire hose.

In the coming months, tweets will start to show up in Google’s search results in real-time. This is not to say Google doesn’t index and show tweets in their search results now—they do, but only a very small fraction of what is on Twitter. Maybe 7% of tweets are currently on Google, which is made up of tweets from people with higher than average followings. Since the original agreement between Google and Twitter expired in 2011 Google has had to crawl Twitter’s site for information, which caused only a small portion of the tweets to be indexed by Google. Once the “fire hose” is turned on, new tweets will be visible immediately.

What does this deal mean for Twitter?

Twitter is now in the digital advertising game. This deal will help Twitter leverage the billions of searches happening everyday on Google, driving more visitors to Twitter and driving up their advertising revenue. Twitter will now be able to reach and convert non-Twitter users through Google. Twitter users who are not logged in to the network will see tweets just from searching Google, which will drive further traffic into Twitter.

What does this deal mean for Google?

The user experience on Google will be enhanced by search results with a much broader amount of content. The real-time tweets will allow for users to gain access to news as it is happening, trending topics, and public sentiment.

Spam issues?

Google has not released any details on their plans for dealing with spam. But, knowing how protective Google is of their search ecosystem, they will for sure implement serious anti-spam and penalization policies for those who attempt to cheat the system and corrupt their environment.

While the real-time Twitter feeds will certainly change what users see in their Google SERPs, don’t expect anything too drastic. Google will remain conservative in what they show in their results, so anything that seems the slightest bit shady will most likely never be included.

So how does a marketer leverage this new opportunity?

Similar to organic SEO and Google, following best practices regarding Twitter engagement will only improve your results. While most social media marketers are already managing Twitter accounts, gearing up for the new Twitter-Google partnership is a perfect time to take a close look improving the strategy to increase overall performance.

Here are four steps to help you prepare and get the most out of Twitter posts in Google search results:

1. Content:

In order to be effective in both SEO and Social Media, you must first have your content strategy figured out. Plan out content that people will want to re-tweet and favorite. Frequently posting content that is relevant, interesting and helpful for your target audience is the key to a successful content marketing strategy.

2. Twitter Plan:

Plan your Twitter strategy with an objective of maximizing engagement so you are sending out signals to Google that your tweeted content is valuable. To ensure a consistent level of quality, take the time to develop a tweeting plan that increases your chances of engagement by including hashtags, short links, eye-catching images and attention grabbing copy that utilizes most of the allotted 140 characters.

3. Relationships:

It is important to build relationships with key influencers in your industry and get them to retweet your content. Not only does this expose your content to a wider, more relevant audience, which will lead to more links to your content, but Google will pay more attention to content from influencers with a lot of followers. So, even if your direct tweets are not picked up in a search, your content could still show up in a Google search as someone else’s retweet. So follow key influencers and ask for re-tweets!

4. Monitor for Success:

Since the verdict is still out on the true benefit of social media to organic SEO, keep track of all progress as you focus on your Twitter strategy. Determine a timeframe, maybe 60 to 90 days, set a start date and note the status of all relevant social media metrics, such as followers, retweets and favorites as well as SEO data such as ranking for specific keywords, inbound links, traffic source and conversions.

Since this partnership will be a new initiative for both Google and Twitter, it will be interesting to see the synergy between the two platforms. Similar to SEO and Google, following best practices regarding Twitter engagement will only improve your results. So get moving on your Twitter initiative now so you are in full swing when Google starts drinking from the fire hose!

If you’re interested in reading more about social media marketing, learn how your social media profiles are the perfect tool for reputation management and customer service.

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How To Stay HIPAA-Compliant in a Digital World

By | March 13, 2015

Nurse_using_paper_shredder_on_confidential_recordsThe Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a US law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers. Protected Health Information (PHI) is any information which concerns health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be linked to an individual.

Everybody in the healthcare field knows how hard it can be to create marketing content that adheres to HIPAA and doesn’t include any PHI or go against the PPACA. Using social media to share the patient experience and raise awareness for your organization while staying compliant can also be difficult. That said, here are some best practices that can help healthcare organizations provide meaningful content without breaking the rules.

Follow these guidelines for writing HIPAA-compliant content on social media and elswhere:

 1. Remove any and all patient identifiers.

The obvious things here are patient names or records, social security numbers, addresses, and photographs. However, this also applies to physical and mental health details, information about the receipt or payment for services, etc.

2. Keep it general.

When referencing particular cases, conditions or treatments, be as general as possible and do not describe any demographics or populations.

3. Use the ‘minimum necessary’ rule.

Less is more. The goal here is to make your point using a minimum amount of necessary information.

4. Seek patient consent in advance.

Small details such as location, time and narrative may actually expose a patient’s identity, so you want to eliminate any potential ambiguity about consent before you tell the story.

 Manage HIPAA-compliant patient feedback on social media:

 1. Take it offline.

Do not collaborate on medical advice or treatment over social media platforms. Take all individual conversation offline immediately.

2. Again, be general.

When responding to negative comments, be polite and do not include or request any PHI. An example response could be, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Could you please send us a private message so we can further assist you?”

3. Know when to remove posts.

Removing posts that could allow patient self-identification is OK.

HIPAA-compliant topics include:

  •  General health advice, ‘how-to’ guides, and wellness tips
  • Patient stories (with consent)
  • Promotion of wellness programs, services, and the latest achievements in patient care
  • General medical explanations
  • Statistics and general potential outcomes
  • Accepted courses of treatment
  • Resources for further information and education

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Download “Search Advertising Benchmarks for Health Systems” to see how your paid search campaigns stack up to your peers.

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Photo courtesy of Compliance and Safety via Wikimedia Commons.

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Consumer Brand SEO Pulse: 3.5.15

By | March 5, 2015

Welcome to the weekly Consumer Brand pulse, where we keep you updated on what’s going on in the world of SEO! Our goal is to stay on top of any new strategies and changes to make sure we are constantly using the best on-site and off-site SEO methods. Whether it’s making sure your website is mobile friendly or determining if link building is dead, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top picks of what you need to know this week:

Mobile-Friendliness Will Officially Affect Your Site’s Rankings

Last week, Google officially announced an algorithm change that would make mobile-friendliness a ranking factor starting April 21st. Google has begun to use information from indexed apps as a ranking factor for ‘signed-in users who have installed the app.’

How Google Pulls Structured Snippets from Websites’ Tables

Google Table Search pulls information tables from sites and displays it in the search results. If your site utilized tabular data, make sure you have the correct structured snippets in place in order to take advantage of this new display of information.

Google Structured Snippets

Google Now Displays Rich Answers For 19.45% Of Queries

Google’s rich answers show up at the top of the search for 19.45% of targeted queries. So, if you type a direct question into Google, there’s a chance you won’t even need to scroll to the first SERP to find your answer.Google Rich Answers

Optimizing For The Google Quick Answers Box

Although Google’s quick answer box poses a definite challenge, it’s also a huge opportunity. If a searcher can find their answer at the top of the search results, there’s no need to click on your link. However, you could also get your site’s information to show up in the answer by optimizing for it. This is especially important now that Google has started including “action-oriented” links in the answers box.

Google Quick Answers

Google Testing A Red “Slow” Label In The Search Results For Slower Sites

Google is testing a label in the search results if a website’s page speed is slow.

Google Slow Labels

15 SEO Best Practices for Structuring URLs

Although structured URLs aren’t the end all be all of SEO, they’re definitely helpful to have.

Is Link-Building Dead?

After a recent comment made by Google employee, John Mueller, implied that link building could do more harm than good, the world of SEO exploded. Basically, links to your site aren’t bad, but anything that Google determines to be a “link scheme” is no good. Marie Haynes, the founder of HIS Web Marketing, provides some great insights and interpretations.

February Social Media Updates

Facebook introduced a new mobile app which it easier to manage ads through mobile devices, Twitter launched its first official WordPress plugin, Pinterest is working on its own “Buy” button, and more.

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Rebranding the Company Name? Tips for the Digital Side

By | February 27, 2015

Companies change their names and website domains for a number of reasons, including right after a merger, completing an acquisition or just to re-launch their brand and identity. What is oftentimes overlooked, though, is how do you let the digital world know you changed your name?

Changing your legal name is usually a one-step process, albeit maybe a painful one, involving a day at your local Social Security office. But, it is the aftermath—new driver’s licenses, updated credit cards, changing bank accounts, cell phone and health insurance billing, even your email and social profiles—that causes the most chaos.

The exact same scenario plays out on the digital front when your company blasts out that presser: Your name now is changing from Widgets to Cash Craving Extraordinaire. Whoo-hoo!!! You are done. Everyone is now aware of what you’ve secretly been plotting for months. Let the money roll in.doh

But in reality… D’oh! This is just the beginning of a process that can be very painful if you have not planned for it in advance and started the ball rolling.

Here is a list of major initiatives you should have considered first:

  1. Create a New Website Domain
    • Create new URLs for your site and landing page
    • Create new tracking codes
    • Update your inbound links
    • Update your Analytics & Webmaster tools
    • Rethink your keyword focus
    • Set-up appropriate redirects
    • Make annotations in your analytics the day of the switch
  2. Refresh Your Digital Content
    • Update your logo to match your new name
    • Update this logo on all PDFs, videos, white papers, spec sheets, success stories
    • Comb through your web content and appropriately update all copy with company name. Note: This is easier if you have created a new website for the rebrand.
    • Update your content to promote and describe any potential new offerings or target audiences
  3. Update Your Paid Advertising Campaigns
    • Implement all updated URLs
    • Create campaigns for new branded keywords
    • Make updates to the content on your landing pages
    • Revise your image ads for display and remarketing initiatives
  4. Email
    • Update the server your internal/business emails are sent from
      • Update the content in all your campaigns, including nurture tracks, newsletters, and promotional emails
    • Make appropriate changes to signatures and internal links
  5. Social / Offsite Properties
    • Update your company profiles. Note: You have to petition the various social networks that host your company profile (some have a very involved process)
    • Make sure that all your employees update any reference they have from you to your corporate mark
    • Update your blog and the content in old posts
    • Manage your existing directory listings to comply with the new URL and name
    • Work with any partners to make updates to their digital content where your old company mark and domain are referenced

While this may seem very daunting, it is a fact that updating your digital presence is just as necessary as your personal identity. Plus, name recognition is a powerful tool for many companies, so a name change shouldn’t be taken lightly. The key is to prepare in advance and map out all the digital properties and assets that need to be updated before you make the switch. That will allow your process to be much more manageable and smooth.

Changing your name is just one of many reasons to update your website—read 9 signs that it’s time for a new website and find out if your site is due for a refresh.

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You might also like Fathom’s essential guide to tradeshow marketing.

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Use Social Media to Show Your Customers Some Love This Valentine’s Day

By | February 13, 2015

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching and the New Year finally at a lull, what better time than now to focus on loving your customers? Now that 2015 game plans and budgets are finally behind us, February should be a time to dedicate towards slowing down and really focusing on appreciating your customers.

You can learn a lot about your business through the eyes of your customers. Utilizing social media is one way that will help you build personal relationships with them. Here are several ways in which social media can not only help you love your customers, but get them to love you back.

1. Create meaningful and lasting relationships

Interesting content is one of the top three reasons why people follow brands on social media. Generate more followers on Twitter or likes to your Facebook page by simply putting out engaging content that sparks the interests to your customers on a regular basis. Focus on creating posts or content that relates to your customers even if it may not directly reflect information about your industry, product, or service. Create posts with open ended questions that allow for conversations and engagements or find a topic that resonates with your audience. Here are a couple of examples of engaging posts that created interactions and relationships with customers.

Social Media Social Media Campaign

2. Listen to your customers

Check your comments on Facebook and your Twitter mentions. What are customers saying about your brand, product, or service? Frequently reply to their questions or feedback and stay on top of their conversations when applicable. This can help build trust and prove to your customers that are listening and care about what they say. As Bill Gates once said, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.

3. Celebrate your customers

Give them the chance to share their stories on social media, and, share them back! Ultimately, we hope our customers share our content but on the contrary, if someone calls out your brand in a tweet, retweet them. If someone shares a helpful tip or interesting information that you think your followers would benefit from, share it on Facebook and mention them in the comment.

Social Media Marketing

Another good example of story sharing is Honda. Honda fans have been sharing hundreds of pictures, stories, and videos showing their love of Honda since their Facebook page was created back in 2009. In return, Honda celebrated its 1 million fan mark by showing personalized love back to its fans.

To celebrate customers even more, you can create special rewards or discounts exclusively for your followers and use hashtags to keep them interacted. These promotions can also help you build more followers.

4. Thank them

Let your customers know how important they are and how much you appreciate them. A simple post thanking them on Facebook or wishing them a good weekend on a Friday will go a long way in your customers’ eyes. Go out of your way to show your appreciation each month.

We can all get caught up in our own interests and business needs that we often don’t truly celebrate our customers. They are, in fact, the reason why we are able to drive ROI. It is important in this day and age to generate meaningful and lasting relationships with our customers. Not only will it keep them coming back and loyal to your brand, but it will also open new doors to customers.

Read on to learn more about increasing brand awareness with social media.

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You might also like Fathom’s essential guide to tradeshow marketing.

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