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Google Finally Kills Off Google Authorship

Read this in-depth article about the end of Google Authorship written by  and me for  

Google not only will no longer show authorship in global (logged out) search, but will no longer track any data from rel=author markup.

BUT Google+ posts will continue to show with authorship-style rich snippets in logged-in search for people who have the poster in their circles. For more on that see http://www.stonetemple.com/google-plus-search-power-personalized-punch-for-your-target-market/

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Why Is Google Removing Author Photos from Search?

By now you've probably heard that Google over the next few days will be removing author photos and follower counts from search results. Qualifying authors can still get a byline on results for their content.

Read the post below for my take on why this may be happening. There is also an lively and extensive comment thread on the original post.
Google Is Removing Author Photos from Search. Why?

Anyone who follows me knows that I have invested heavily in trying to be one of the foremost experts on the subject of Google Authorship and Google's overall desire to be able to identify authors as topical authorities.

So you might imagine that it came as a huge shock to me when I heard the announcement today that Google will be removing author photos entirely from Google search results. Some might expect I'd even consider it a blow. I don't, but more on that below.

In addition to removing the photos, they will also no longer show Google+ circle counts for Google Authorship authors. All that will remain is a small byline in the result. For more details see http://searchengineland.com/google-plays-authorship-search-results-dropping-profile-image-google-circle-count-195163

Cleaning Up the SERPs
Google's +John Mueller had the following to say about this change:

We've been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices. As a part of this, we're simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count. (Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.)

And that's why this doesn't come as a huge surprise to me. Google has been telling us (and signalling by much of what they've done) that the game for the future of search is now to be won or lost on the mobile playing field. But with the addition of a street band's worth of bells and whistles on the SERPs these past few years, they had set themselves up for a very wobbly and inconsistent search experience.

In short, mobile users want things simple and clean.

It's the same thing most of us do when we realize it's finally time to unclutter our houses. Ultimately, some things must go. You hold up each object and try to think of ways you could justify keeping it, but in the interest of the bigger project (a cleaner, less cluttered house), that old bowling trophy goes into the waste bin.

The End of Authorship? Hells No
That's how I think the decision process went down at Google. I think they understood the value of the author photos, but at the end of the day, whatever that value was, it was not greater than the value they'd gain by uncluttering their search pages.

Google Authorship continues. Qualifying authors will still get a byline on search results, so Google hasn't abandoned it. 

Besides, the bigger project here for Google I think is not author photos in search but the much ballyhooed but so far elusive "author rank," the ability to confidently determine who the content creators are in any given topic whom most people trust, and boost their content when appropriate. At SMX Advanced this month +Matt Cutts indicated that was still a priority, but was also still a long way off in being accomplished.

This is a long haul project folks. Don't head for the lifeboats every time Google makes a change.

Am I disappointed to see the photos going? I sure am. But such is the search business. Google isn't driven by whims or emotions. If they're doing this, they're doing it because their data and testing tells them it will be for the better in the long run.

The biggest downside I see is that probably now there will be less incentive for new people to use Authorship markup. But I have a feeling Google isn't worried about that. As I've been saying, they know that most people never would adopt it anyway. They've got to be working on the ability to identify authors and their content without depending on markup.

That's coming, but it will take a while. Stay tuned!

For another very thoughtful take on this development, I highly recommend this post by +Eli Fennellhttp://stonet.co/TkfMpU

#googleauthorship   #authorship   #googleauthorrank   #authorrank  
ADDENDUM

After reading through tons of comments overnight, I made a further long response. Since many people may not read through all the comments, I'm adding it here:

I want to address the idea that this is the abandonment or "the beginning of the end" for the concept of Authorship at Google. I just don't think so. Rather just like I think we are entering into the maturation phase of the place of Google+ in the Google universe, so we are now entering the maturation phase of Google Authorship and its related concepts. 

I believe that Google very much wants to pursue and eventually master the idea of author authority in search. It fits very well with their overall move into semantic search and "things over strings" or "entities over keywords." They know the future is in search becoming more and more like the way we make connections in the real world. And real life human personal authorities are at the top of the list of those connections.

But this is a much harder project than most people understand. You could really see Matt Cutts struggling to get that across to the audience at SMX Advanced when he was asked about author rank. He wouldn't outright deny that author data might be already in use in some small ways. (He confirmed to me in a tweet a few months ago that it can be a factor in qualifying for In Depth Articles, which I already knew.) But his major message was two things:

1. He really believes personally in the concept of author rank and would like to see it happen.

2. BUT the implementation of it as a direct ranking factor is still probably years off.

Here's why (from me, not Matt):

1. Google has realized that rel=author is at best a tiny first step toward understanding author authority. It has never been adopted by more than a tiny minority of the web's authors, and even many of them have implemented it incorrectly.

2. Therefore, author authority is going to have to be based on much more sophisticated means of machine-based identification and understanding. The rudimentary technologies to do those are already in existence, but they need far more refinement before Google will trust them to affect search results. 

3. Even if Google can better understand who the authors of content are and what the content is about (without depending on cooperative coding by those authors), there is still the whole question of what signals do you then use to assess which authors are more "authoritative" than others? Traditional link signals? A good start, but leaves a lot out of the equation. Social signals? Google has said again and again that social signals are a) hard to access for them in anything but Google+ and b) notoriously hard to interpret correctly.

So...I think Google remains committed to the whole project of identifying the most reputable and trusted authors on given topic areas. But I think it is a very long term project, and we are only at the beginning. Furthermore, Google Authorship has not been abandoned. It still exists, even if it now has a more reduced role in search results.
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This 'How to (not) fail' deck from Wieden and Kennedy is probably the single greatest presentation on marketing I've ever seen... it really challenges a lot of misconceptions and buzzwords we have in the industry. 

If it starts to challenge you be sure to track down Byron Sharp's book 'How Brands Grow'... unfortunately so much of what we talk about in terms of engagement, core users, targeting and preference just doesnt stack up to the facts!

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Ultimate Guide To Influencer Marketing

Read More: http://colehousedigital.com/influencer-marketing-the-ultimate-guide/

Brands, agencies, and even Presidents, are using the services of "influencers" to deliver targeted messaging to niche audiences.

Younger generations are becoming more disconnected with traditional advertising and more disenfranchised with traditional "celebrities".  So how do you go about delivering messages at scale to these groups if the old ways aren't working so well?

Enter the digital influencer: They have a popular blog, YouTube channel or millions of followers on Instagram and many of them hold more power than traditional celebrities when it comes to influencing digital campaigns.

When this kind of marketing is done well it is the most effective and targeted promotion you can do online.  This post covers:

--Benefits of working with digital influencers
--How to identify an influencer
--How to contact an influencer
--Types of influencer marketing
--How to get mileage out of your influencer
--How to measure success of an influencer marketing campaign

I am interested in adding more ways of finding niche influencers to the list of services I have recommended, so please tell me if you have had any experience in working with digital influencers and how you went about finding them.

#influencermarketing   #digitalstrategy  

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Follower Strategy

Does anyone have a specific strategy for following people on social media?

How do you define this strategy?

What do you do each day to make this strategy work for you?

Love to hear your thoughts.

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"I read How to Win Friends and Influence People, and I did the exact opposite of all the lessons in it. I'm going to do my best to maintain the same level of candor and transparency - or else I'll probably just get incredibly boring." -Aaron Levie

This is pretty much how I have been living for the last few years. Guys like John Legere (CEO, +T-Mobile), Aaron Levie (CEO, +Box), Ari Emanuel (CEO, WME), and Elon Musk (CEO, +Tesla Motors), and heck - +Gary Vaynerchuk too - are my idols, when it comes to the way they run and present their businesses.

Being open and transparent, even sometimes to the point of coming off as rude, if it means getting the point across faster and more effectively - is worth it to me. And it seems to work for those guys.

This is why, from time to time, I do call out companies and "professionals" who just don't seem to know what they are doing. It's unfair to the small business owners who may hire that agency or individual to run their campaign, potentially ruining their business in the process.

And it can serve as a wake-up-call to get their act together.

Sometimes the way a person responds to that kind of criticism online can prove that they know what they are doing, or that they have changed or evolved for the better. It's like a Rip off Report for a business. You can make it a black mark on your record, something you have to try and drown out of the search results... or you can respond well and not only win back an old customer, but potentially win other people over as potential customers when they come across it.

Anyway, I am hugely honored to have been interviewed by +Avtar Ram Singh.  I feel a lot of love for him, but that just may just be the Stockholm Syndrome from the interview. Read on here: http://beta21.circussocial.com/interviews/heres-why-most-internet-marketers-are-wrong/
#socialmedia   #contentmarketing   #advertising  

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Should You Share Your Content Only Once on Social Media? I Say No

In my +Marketing Land May column linked below, I set forth an argument that only sharing your own content on social media once (when it is first published) causes many missed opportunities for more traffic, follower building, and reputation enhancement. 

Please read the article so you "get" the strategy I'm recommending before you critique. I am not advocating spamming your social networks with your own links. But if done thoughtfully, and well-spaced, you can get much more gain from multiple shares of your own content.

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What are OPP, OPA, and OPC, and how can they help you build your social media presence?

Another great hangout this weekend from the folks at +Social Media Hangout, today. If you missed it, we have several time-stamped notes your pleasure and edification.

OPP = Other People's Platforms
OPA = Other People's Audiences or Authority
OPC = Other People's Content

Differences:

OPP: Social media is a major example. You're using a platform someone else created and owns, to expand your reach/business/growth/brand. - 9:29

OPA: Helping to elevate other people, by giving them shoutouts, interviewing them, inviting them onto hangouts, and establishing bonds on the platform, publicly. - 16:42

OPC: Sharing articles/content written by other authorities. - 13:25

Advantages:

OPP: Broad reach, compared to your own blog, for example.

OPA: You're building organic/authentic social proof and authority, by creating these public bonds, and repositories of unique information, while building both of you up. - 23:22

OPC: You can't possibly cover everything, this helps you get important content out to your followers on a regular basis - and it also contributes to OPA. - 11:38

Disadvantages:

OPP: You're helping to build this platform, but what happens if the platform shuts down, or the owner decides to start limiting and charging users? (ie. Facebook) - 10:02

OPA: If you go overboard, it can be unwanted, or stalkerish (think the overly attached girlfriend meme). - 20:30

OPC: Similar to OPP, what if that content you've been promoting - a Hangout on Air, say - disappears? (Hint: Cultivate your own mailing list, as +Mia Voss does, just in case) As Eric mentioned in the comments, you can also get in trouble with OPC if you don't provide enough credit to the original author. - 37:57

How the HOA folks got started building authority on social media :

+Ben Fisher - 46:40

+Dustin W. Stout - 49:01

+Kristoffer Howes - 50:55

+Eric Enge - 53:12

There's a lot of great info here, so be sure to catch the full show if you can!

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Why ‘Community Influence’ is the influence score that matters
(Via +PeerIndex)

The concept of 'Community Influence' or 'Niche Influence' presented and measured by PeerIndex is refreshing, and helps to make the process of influence measuring and analysis more reliable and applicable.

"Measuring influence online has been something we at PeerIndex have been working on and perfecting for a few years now. Having a score that can tell you, not just how many followers a person has, but how much their opinions and content are respected and engaged with is extremely useful."

Read more here:
http://blog.peerindex.com/community-influence-influence-score-matters/

#onlineinfluence   #onlineinfluencer   #influencermarketing   #influencemarketing   #influence  
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