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Picks of the Week: Aug. 22-28

In today's Picks of the Week, we share resources on: keyword research and prioritization tips, including how to balance brand messaging with SEO; why companies need to own their online assets; news about Facebook privacy, Google+ integrations, Eloqua's IPO and Yammer Connect; and a sweet SEO tool that evaluates site server performance. Enjoy!

SEO

6 Keyword Research Mistakes You Might Be Making

James Agate (@jamesagate) shares six common errors people make when prioritizing keywords, and selecting the words and phrases used to optimize website pages and other content. A few of his examples include: 

  • Being unrealistic about the strength of the site and competitiveness of the keyword, and targeting words and phrases that are simply out of reach. Agate notes that though more specific, longer-tail keywords may offer a smaller piece of the pie, they are more likely to drive targeted visitors. In addition, long-tail words can quickly add up, as famously shown by Chris Anderson.
  • Focusing on traffic without considering conversion. By looking at keyword options and considering which indicate intent to purchase, and pairing this with historical buyer data, focus optimization around the terms that are most likely to generate sales.
  • Selecting keywords that are out of context. Run manual searches to help determine what specific words and phrases tend to mean to audiences, and whether they are applicable for the content at hand.

For details on these, and Agate’s other three tips, see his complete post.

And, for another great article on keyword research and prioritization, see Kristie Colby’s, What to do When Your Brand Message Doesn’t Match How People Search. Here, Colby explores the delicate balance of brand messaging and optimization, and offers tips to develop findable content that is both true to your brand and tuned in to prospect and customer needs.

Business & Marketing Strategy

The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Online Marketing Efforts

Sonia Simone (@soniasimone) offers a valuable lesson to entrepreneurs, business leaders and marketers alike: When it comes to your company’s online presence, it is imperative to have a standalone website that you control, built on a domain that you own.

Simone dives into the concept of digital sharecropping, or “building your business on someone else’s land,” including its potential pitfalls and how to avoid it. The biggest downside? You don’t have control of your data and content.

Though there are ways to back up your social media and other online data, it’s in your business’ best interest to invest in something of your own to avoid the possibility of it being taken away.

A personal sidenote and supporting story: Last week, I was trying to find the daily special for a pub down the street from my home. Though the establishment has a Facebook page, and is listed on Yelp and a few other review sites, its website was built on Ning. Remember last year when Ning disabled free groups? Now, this pub’s “website” has a gigantic overlay, asking visitors to encourage the group creator to reactivate the network, which was (in)conveniently hiding the information I was seeking. This is a perfect example of what can happen to businesses that rely on digital sharecropping.

Check out Simone’s full article for more on digital sharecropping, and tips to keep control of your company’s online identity and assets.

In the News…

Facebook updated some of its privacy settings, giving users more granular control over what they share with whom. Enhanced features impact status updates, profile information, photos, tagging and more. Though Facebook reps say that the changes had been in the works for some time, there has been a fair amount of speculation that this is Facebook’s first swing back at Google+ and its inherent focus on privacy and selective sharing.

Google linked its +1 button with the Google+ social network. Now, when users “+1” a page on a website, they are prompted to share it with the circle(s) of their choice on the Google+. In my opinion, this is a very smart move, and could be a way for Google+ to sidestep the issue of people trying to find room for another social network, or figuring out what links belong on Google+ versus other sites.

 

Marketing automation software company, Eloqua, filed for IPO, seeking $100 million. For an analysis on what this may mean for the future of marketing, and highlights of Eloqua’s S-1 filing, see Scott Brinker’s (@chiefmartec) article, Eloqua Files for IPO, New Bellwether for Marketing Tech.

Internal social networking site, Yammer, released plug-ins that allow users to connect it with other business applications, including the ability to embed Yammer feeds. At the PR 20/20 office, we're pretty excited about the possibilities this offers.

Bookmark of the Week

Awesome SEO tool from Ian Lurie (@portentint) and PortentThe Server Response Code Tester, A.K.A., The Responsinator. Use this to test site server responses, which can negatively impact site performance if they aren’t working properly. You just input your site’s URL, and The Responsinator will spit back the results of a few basic tests, an overall grade, and suggestions on how to fix any errors found. See the blog post about it here.

What were your top stories of the week? Comments are open for your opinions.

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