Just a few hours ago Google announced an enhancement to Gmail called Google Buzz that will be rolled out over the next couple of days. What is Google Buzz? Essentially, it is the incorporation of an important part of what made Google Wave so sexy for many people (me included) – the ability to manage conversations on other platforms (like Twitter) from a central location that we already frequent – GMAIL.

So how does Google Buzz work? Below is a video outlining the cool new capabilities but if you can’t access that at the moment, here is much of the key video transcribed to text:

“Buzz goes beyond status messages. It automatically pulls images from links, shows videos in line, and lets you flip through photos the way they were meant to be seen – big and fast. You can connect to other sites you use; like Picasa, Flickr, Google Reader, and Twitter. So your friends can keep up on what you are doing on the web, all in one place.

“Buzz makes sure you see what matters most. The best part about sharing is getting responses to your post; Buzz sends these comments to your inbox to make sure you don’t miss them. You can respond right from there to keep the conversation going. If you want to make sure you friends see something, you can send it right to their inbox by adding them with an “@” reply.

“You’ll sometimes see recommended Buzz from someone you are not directly following. Buzz identifies posts that may interest you or are popular among your friends and recommends them to you so you don’t miss out. And it works on your phone, so you can keep up with what your friends, or people near you, are Buzzing about.”

Here is the official Google Buzz video followed by why Google Buzz could help Google advertisers and those with high Google rankings: Read more…

I recently tested a few tactics to determine the most effective methods of generating SEO juice using Twitter. Here are the top seven, in no particular order.

1. Choose a good Twitter handle
Choose a Twitter handle that is relevant to your company and is easy to remember. Your handle (also known as your User name) becomes part of your Twitter URL e.g. http://www.twitter.com/B_West. This creates a static URL for future search indexing. Of course the challenge is to find an available handle that matches your company or brand while keeping it as
short as possible so its easy to tweet and retweet.

2. Account names are important too
You will also want to optimize your Twitter account name to best reflect your company or brand. Your account name is what appears in your profile, next to your icon/image. This can be different than your Twitter handle. You will want to choose an account name that promotes your company or brand. Bonus tip: check your website’s natural search stats to see which variation of your brand name generates the most search activity.

3. Promote your Twitter account
Once your account is set-up the first thing you’ll want to do is build your list of followers and the link reputation of your Twitter account. An effective way to do this is to display your Twitter URL on your website
along with the Twitter icon encouraging users to “follow” you on Twitter. It’s also useful to put your Twitter link on the global footer of your website and in your email signature. Read more…

Anyone, even someone 100% immersed in online social media is likely to have moments where they just feel so overwhelmed they need to sit down and shut down their mind for a while. I can’t say I am even dedicating half of my time to online social media and I constantly find myself overpowered by:

  • the speed at which new startups are launching,
  • the new web marketing tactics emerging on a daily basis,
  • the information that is shared and is largely untapped,
  • my own ideas for new social tools that I could never find the time to launch… but still distract me,
  • the potential for the future of many of the social communities/tools I use on a daily basis,
  • etc…

Read more…

comScore’s latest intelligence shows that “teens” between 12 and 24 have dramatically increased their use of the popular microblogging tool Twitter and the kids between 2 and 11 are increasing as well (age 2?!  comScore is thorough! ). Although the demographics they chose were odd I think it is still valuable info to see that market segment growing. It is especially interesting to think of how the emergence of that demographic could improve number of breaking news stories that happen on Twitter. After all, it is safe to say that most people of that age group don’t let their messaging devices out of their reach 24/7.

A comScore chart showing significant Twitter usage growth in the 12-24 age bracket

To Tweet or Not To Tweet - an article written by Ross Dunn for the Fall 2008 edition of the Search Marketing StandardLate last year I interviewed several of Twitter’s Twitterati  (Barry Schwartz – @rustybrick, Darren Rowse – @problogger, Justine Ezarik – @ijustine, Steve Rubel – @steverubel) for an article in the Fall print edition of the Search Marketing Standard (update: shutdown as of 2013) to get their impressions on microblogging.

The feedback was, as you might imagine, excellent, and with a big thanks to the brass at the Search Marketing Standard I am now able to share the article I wrote with you in PDF format. I hope you enjoy it. Download “To Tweet or Not to Tweet” from our dropbox account.

If you would like to see more articles like this one, please subscribe to Website Magazine which is by-far the best print magazine in the industry now.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Posterous Questions Answered

On Today’s SEO 101 Internet radio show on WebmasterRadio.FM my co-host John Carcutt and I discussed how SEO relates to social media optimization (SMO). Near the end of the show I brought up Posterous and how much I like it (see “Posterous is an Intelligent Social Media Posting Tool“). Amidst the conversation I noted an e-mail discussion I had with some Posterous representatives. In the discussion I asked questions that I felt were very important in determining whether to use Posterous as a core blogging platform for a business.

A questions and answers StepForth post for Posterous.comQuestion 1) Is it possible to use a subdomain for my Posterous account? I know a domain is possible but not so sure about a sub-domain. I thought blog.mydomain.com would be great.

Answer: “blog.mydomain.com works great”

My Take: A short but very sweet answer. I am not always a proponent of using a sub-domain for a blog but the fact that Posterous offers that capability makes it all the more alluring.

Question 2) When will it be possible to use my own URL shortener? I would really rather not use yours so that I can keep all of my tracking in one place. Read more…

The Posterous LogoI recently wrote a half-teasing post about a branding issue Posterous appears to be having but I also noted that it is looking like another emerging winner in online social media and the reason is simple; it makes posting to a myriad of social media profiles as simple as writing a single email or clicking on a share button in your browser. I thought of a variety of different ways to explain how it works but I found a video that did all of the work for me. The video below from NBC’s Tech Now does an excellent job of illustrating how easy Posterous is to use and how it might help you manage your online social media persona. Read more…

Plumber man Kneeling... need we say more?Today I became aware of a very unfortunate branding issue with a new social media platform called Posterous (pronounced Post-Er-Us). First of all, you should know that Posterous is a killer application that I have little doubt will soon be a leading social media property; I will have a follow-up post outlining the reasons. Now onto a sad yet humorous (IMO) lesson in branding; Posterous appears to be commonly misspelled (and even mispronounced) as Posterious (Post-Ear-E-Us). Read more…

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

MySpace Loses (to) Face (book)

MySpace user engagement versus Facebook - from the Silicon Alley Insider, June 16, 2009Sillicon Alley Insider just released this insightful set of charts illustrating the “horrendous” drop in user engagement MySpace has experienced in the last 12 months.

Average Stay per Visit (in minutes, rounded up)

  • MySpace: May 2008 = 20 min, May 2009 = 10 min!
  • Facebook: May 2008 = 14 min, May 2009 = 16 min

Average Visits per Person:

  • MySpace: May 2008 = 14,  May 2009 = 12
  • Facebook: May 2008 = 11,  May 2009 = 16

Read more…

So much of what I discover on a given day in the search marketing industry is via Twitter. When I find interesting and occasionally hot stories I note them on our @stepforth account and/or my @rossdunn account. Since our blog often suffers from my Twitter distractions I felt I had better provide a summary on the busy days. Thus, welcome to our very first Tweet Update for June 5th, 2009: Read more…