Infographics for SEO Benefit

Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “The SEO Benefit of Infographics.”

Search engine optimization professionals don’t usually recommend creating more images, but infographics can have a real benefit to SEO. Typically, images are used in place of textual content to convey the same message visually. Consequently, images tend to be viewed as detrimental to SEO efforts. Infographics, however, are in a class by themselves because they can quickly convert to links and shares that benefit SEO.

USA Today’s print newspaper popularized infographics in America years ago with its bite-sized front-page informational images. The same concept applies to the Internet, where visitors expect to receive information and entertainment instantly. The instant digestibility and visual appeal of infographics lure visitors to learn more.

  • Creating Successful Infographics
  • Hosting and Promoting Infographics
  • Infographics Gone Wrong

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

InfoGraphic vs InfoVideo, Which Would Win in the Wild?

Super cute link bait infovideo from MDG Advertising about Pinterest. It’s a bit hard to read at times, but is painfully cute nonetheless.

The video format is interesting but I wonder if it would have gotten more shares as an infographic instead of a video? Or perhaps an HTML5 interactive piece where you could roll over different components and have the data zoom out to the foreground or the sizes of the elements change?

It would be very interesting to do a test of some sort to determine which format was the most effective. But I can’t think of a way to format such a test. If you do it sequentially — first video then static then HTML5 — you risk the latter formats getting less buzz based on saturation of the information from the previous formats. But if you release them simultaneously on different social platforms — say YouTube for video, Pinterest for static and Facebook for HTML5 — you obviously risk the biases introduced by the size of the audiences there.

I suppose you could always do standard A/B testing of the format on your own site, but the most interesting thing is what happens to the information off your site. Where and how it’s shared. Which formats have stronger reach on which social networks. You can make suppositions but what if the data surprised us? What if the sheer volume of Facebook users wiped the floor with YouTube sharing? And would that change if the primary home of the video was a blog post on your site that embedded the YouTube video rather than sending traffic to Facebook or YouTube itself to see the video? So many interesting questions. Too bad I’m an SEO and not a data analyst.

Thanks to Melissa Fach over at SEJ for the post idea.

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Do Mobile Apps Need SEO?

My latest article at Practical eCommerce, read it in full here.

You betcha they do. The world of mobile applications is foreign territory to most Internet marketers. App development requires different skills than traditional website development. App planning and design forces marketers to understand the limitations of different platforms and devices. But once an app is developed and ready for download, how can users find it, or even know of its existence? There are, after all, millions of mobile apps.

Users can find a mobile app through the various app stores as well as via searches on Google and other search engines, provided the app pages are optimized for that purpose. Interestingly, search engine optimization for mobile applications isn’t all that different from SEO for any other digital asset or website.

Search engine optimization for mobile apps and the app stores that offer them is about two things: keywords and links. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Search engine optimization for websites boils down to three basic concepts: getting crawled, optimizing content, and building credibility through links and social media mentions. The only thing different about SEO for mobile apps is that it isn’t the app itself that’s being optimized; it’s the page on which the app sits.

Read more about “SEO for Mobile Apps and App Stores” and how Victoria’s Secret and Groupon are doing it right. »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

My Geeky Valentine: Candy Heart Link Bait

The folks at Necco developed a sweet link bait campaign for Valentine’s Day to celebrate the introduction of new social messages like “TWEET ME” and “TEXT ME” — design your own Sweethearts conversation hearts.

This fun little bit of link bait gives you the power to say whatever you want in your candy heart conversation! Feeling romantic? Bitter? Sad? Witty? Sweet? No problem, say it with digital candy in public on Twitter or in private via e-mail.

Dear search geeks, here’s a sample Valentine for you and our favorite search engines. Try it yourself; the app is available free for the iPhone as well as at the campaign’s microsite.

From a link building standpoint, Sweethearts is putting a lot of effort into generating buzz for the app and the launch of the new candy messages on their Sweethearts Twitter profile and their Sweethearts Facebook profile. Nicely done, Sweethearts — good interaction with fans and frequent but not overly repetitive tweets and posts about the app and the launch.

The piece I see missing is consistent cross channel promotion. There’s a blog / Twitter contest that doesn’t mention the app and some strong news articles focused on the new candy messages that may or may not mention the app but don’t include links to it. So there’s a some promotion of the candy and the new messages happening, but it’s not being tied consistently together to also promote the link bait outside of Twitter and Facebook. In addition, there’s no mention of the app on the official Necco Sweethearts product page, or the games page, or the news page. The Necco homepage does have a large image feature and link, but that’s the sole mention as far as I can see.

The app is one piece of the launch’s promotional campaign, but it’s an inconsistently mentioned piece. From a link building standpoint, the app represents sweet link bait. But it needs promotion to succeed as link bait. Without promotion, link bait is like a tree falling in the woods. If no one sees it fall or stumbles over it later, it may as well not exist. Which means it won’t drive the quantity of links that it could with stronger promotion. Stronger ties with press relations, online marketing for the site, e-mail campaigns and other marketing channels would strengthen consistency of promotion for the app and naturally generate more links.

I only stumbled over the app as I was tweeting something else. I happened to notice the small suggested app link on my Twitter homepage and clicked it because I love Sweethearts. They were my favorite Valentine’s candy as a kid. The Twitter link is a boon, but it rotates with 15-20 other links. It’s not a persistent, visible presence to drive eyeballs or link juice to the app’s microsite.

Maybe the app wasn’t designed as a link building tactic. That seems likely since it has no links to pass link popularity in to any other Necco or Sweethearts web content or social profiles. I find that extremely surprising. The app developer gets a link, iTunes gets a link for the iPhone app store, but Sweethearts doesn’t link to its own site or profiles. OK, perhaps SEO and link building weren’t taken into account at the beginning. But since Necco has already spent the resources to dream up and develop the app, why not link back to the primary Necco site, promote the app more strongly with the promotion they’re already doing for the new messages launch, and get more buzz and link popularity for the campaign’s cost?

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.