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  • Google Authorship Dead In 2014?

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by
    authorship-featured If you've searched for anything on Google in the last month or so (who hasn't?), you may have noticed slight changes in the results. First, the author pictures next to the results conspicuously disappeared. Then, videos started to vanish for most results (except those of YouTube and other sources where video is a primary source of content). Now, author names have disappeared. According to John Mueller from Google's Webmaster Analytics team, Authorship has indeed been removed from your search results. Is Google Authorship Dead A few months ago, the same search would have displayed the associated Google+ profile picture and related information, as shown in the image below from our prior Authorship blog post: What Authorship Looked Like   Now the posts are stripped down to provide you the content that you're looking for without the fluff.  

    Why Was Authorship Removed?

    If you ever set up authorship, then you know it was not the easiest process to start with. There were several steps involved, including an update your site's code to add the markup. If you were using a CMS like WordPress, the markup wasn't too hard, but HTML sites were a little harder to modify. Since the entire ordeal wasn't an easy 1-2 step process, it had a low adoption rate.

    As stated in Mueller's post, and speculated by many, Authorship simply did not have any direct impact to an increase in clicks or rankings. A direct quote from the post:

    "If you’re curious -- in our tests, removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads. We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience."  

    Is Authorship Completely Dead?

    From search results, it appears to be mostly (though not entirely) gone. As explained by Mueller, search queries will still show relevant posts from your Google+ connections with their information. So if you were connected with an author and searched for information pertaining to them, then you may see something like this: The Google Authorship Update Keep in mind, the rel=author markup didn't just affect search; social media displays this information as well. With Pinterest, you can stand out with rich pins. As you see in the picture below, you will still see the author markup: Pinterest-Tips-Tricks   You can also see it on Twitter with Twitter cards as shown below. If you're able to edit the author Twitter handle, you'll also get another spot in the author section.  


    Although authorship has been mostly removed from Google search, it still does serve a purpose and cannot be entirely considered dead.. perhaps undead... zombie(?). You don't necessarily need to go through the process adding the authorship through Google+ to include the rel=author tag, but who wouldn't want a good branded back link on a Google product? What do you think? Is authorship just dead and should never be touched again or will you still be including it on your blog? Let us know in the comments!
  • Facebook Ads Update: September 2014

    Friday, August 22, 2014 by
    Facebook-Ads-Update-Sept-2014 In March of this year, Facebook made some changes to the way in which ad campaigns are managed; essentially providing for better campaign management via increased granularity. This allowed for significantly better A/B testing; one example being the ability to split mobile ads into a unique ad set separate from regular newsfeed ads, which proved to be exceptionally helpful. Eight months later, they're at it again with a new update.  

    Advertising Update 2014

    Facebook Ad Structure   On August 13th, Patricia Lai posted news on the Facebook PMD about new changes in the structure of campaigns.  For those who like to exercise as much control as possible over their campaigns, these will again be welcomed changes. Let's take a closer look.  

    What You Should Know

    Ad Changes On Facebook   The biggest change for the September 2014 update is highlighted in the picture above. You may remember back in March, Facebook updated the campaign structure as follows:
    • Campaign: Objective
    • Ad Set: Schedule and Budget
    • Ad: Creative, Placement, Targeting and Bidding
    The most notable change was the introduction of the ad set. For this update, Facebook will be reversing the roles of ads and ad sets.   With the new structure, it will look more like this:
    • Campaign: Objective
    • Ad Set: Schedule, Budget, Bidding, Targeting and Placement
    • Ad: Creative

    When Is The Change?

    September 1st, the rollout will begin on Ads Manager, Ads Create Tool, and Power Editor. By mid-September the rollout should be complete and all advertisers will be able to start using the new structure on October 1st.   If you are an API developer, you will have at least 5 months to update your systems because they will need to work with the new system by January 2015 at the earliest.   Advertisers, if you are using Ads Manager, Ads Create Tool, or the Power Editor, then you will see this change soon. If you are using a third party tool, you may not notice the update until 2015.   As for your existing campaigns, you do not need to make any updates to them at this time. You can continue to run these until January. At that time, Facebook will have the option to migrate existing campaigns within the Ads Manager.  

    Major Hints For Coming Updates

    Facebook Ad Update "This will also pave the way for launching advanced delivery controls, audience management, and a campaign spend cap in the near future."   It is very exciting to see this platform evolve. Hopefully these new advanced controls will prove to be another useful evolution.   What do you think about these new changes and the path that Facebook is on with their advertising platform? Will it become everything that Adwords isn't, or just another platform that doesn't live up to the hype? Let us know in the comments!  

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  • What Is A Dark Post On Facebook?

    Friday, August 15, 2014 by

    The featured image on this article is not a post that you will find anywhere on the HostGator Facebook Page.  But yet many people have seen it. How? The answer: Dark Posts.


    Dark Post - What Is It?

    According to the definition from Google, a dark post is the following:

    An unpublished post is a status update, link share, video or photo that was never meant to be shared as an organic post. Staying true to its name, it’s never published but is only surfaced as an ad.

    Basically, it’s a Facebook post that you control exactly who sees it through ads. If you have seen the main image on this page on Facebook, then that means you have seen one of our dark posts targeting you.


    Why Dark Post?

    The purpose of these posts are to create a message for a specific goal without cluttering up the newsfeed for those who would see it as irrelevant. For example, if you’re trying to sell your services and all of your followers already use your services, then it wouldn’t make sense for them to see an ad on their newsfeed for your services. However, you still want to post a message for selling your services to drive sales. This is where dark posts come into play. You can create a dark post with a message to sell your services and use that to advertise to your target market.


    How To Create A Dark Post On Facebook

    Facebook has a video on creating dark posts and you can find it here. Unfortunately, this video is very outdated. The power editor no longer looks like it did in the video. This walkthrough will show you how to create a dark post so that you can put Facebook to work for your business. Please note, we will be using Google Chrome because the power editor doesn’t work in other browsers.


    1. Visit the Facebook Power Editor.



    2. Click “Download to Power Editor” and choose the choose the advertising account you wish to download. For many of you, there will only be one option. For those who manage accounts for multiple clients, make sure you select the correct account. You don’t want one client paying for the ads of another.


    3. Select the + sign under Campaigns.



    4. Determine the Campaign Name, Buying Type (I always choose auction), and the Objective. The Objective is what you’re trying to achieve with your ad (Generate leads, get website traffic, increase page likes, etc)



    5. Now that you’ve created your Campaign, click the Ads tabfacebook-ads


    6. Click the + sign again to create an ad


    7. Select the campaign you just created, create an ad set, and then name your ad. (You can also create your campaign from this point if you’d like) organize-facebook-campaign


    8. In the Creative tab, you can choose the Facebook Page that you wish to use for the ad and the post.


    9. Once you’ve selected the page, under Page Post, click the + at the right.



    10. From here you can choose the Post Type: Link, Photo, Video, Status, Offer. For this example, we’ll create a Link. I’ve set one up just for this article.



    11. Be sure to choose the option “This post will only be used as an ad”. It should already be selected but make sure it’s there.


    12. Review your post.



    Now that you’ve created your post, you can begin to use it for your ads. This article does not cover how to create ads and how to target customers but the opportunities are virtually endless. To get started, check out this article on basic Facebook ads. Be sure to come back to the blog as we will add more articles about more advanced Facebook methods such as targeting and optimization.


    Hopefully we have shed light on what a dark post is and you have found this information valuable. If you have any other questions about Facebook, please let us know in the comments. We will be more than happy to write about what you want to know.


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  • Stand Out On Pinterest With Rich Pins

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014 by
      If you haven’t started using Pinterest to share your products and blog posts yet, then you should start doing so. Especially if your target market happens to include a fair percentage of females. Although it may sound cliche, I will still say it: Go where your customers are. And Pinterest is definitely home to a lot of active users. But how do you stand out in the crowd of pins? The answer is actually pretty easy.  

    Rich Pins

    If you’ve been following the HostGator blog and have implemented some of the suggested seo strategies, then you've likely already optimized content such as meta data and share buttons. If you’re using WordPress or another CMS, you may be able to find a plugin to add these if you haven’t already. For sites created without a Content Management System, you will need to manually add these tags onto your pages. For information on what is needed for Rich Pins and how to apply, please review the Rich Pin Documentation.  

    What Do Rich Pins Do?

    Simple Answer: Make You Stand Out. Whether on the home page or within a board, there is a sea of pins. With Rich Pins, you will pop out in the crowd. Take a look at this picture of a Pinterest live feed: Pinterest-Rich-Pin You may have noticed that, unlike most of the other pins on the page, the HostGator pins display:
    • The title in bold
    • The associated Favicon
    • The title of the source blog
    These extra cosmetic enhancements make these pins stand out in the crowd, drawing the audience’s attention. If you have physical products on your page with prices, it will even show the price! This shows the viewer that the product is for sale and if they like what they see, they’re just a click away. But the enhancements don’t just stop on the boards. Your actual pin has new features too. Taking a closer look: Pinterest-Tips-Tricks  

    Just like on the board, you’ll see some of the same features: bold title, blog title, favicon, but also the Author's name. For products, you’ll also see the price. However, there’s one additional feature that is not just helpful for SEO, but will show even more content to your readers, enticing them to click your site’s link! This is your meta description data! For most blogs/product pages, this is the first few sentences of your content. But for those who know how to optimize their meta description, this can be your sales pitch! If used properly, you should start driving targeted leads to your page straight from Pinterest.


    How To Get Rich Pins?

    First you need to make sure your page is optimized for this. The link for tips on this is posted earlier in this article. After you’re optimized, you can validate the pin using the Rich Pin Validator. If successful, it will allow you to Apply. The turnaround time on this can vary from a single day up to several weeks.


    Hopefully this helps you stand out on Pinterest! Good luck!


    Do you have other Pinterest tips? Please share them in the comments below.

  • Twitter Cards, What Are They?

    Friday, May 9, 2014 by
    Twitter's advertising platform is still young, but it's setting itself up to be really strong.  It still has plenty of areas for improvement, but if I had to describe Twitter Cards in one word, it would be FANTASTIC! In my personal experiments, Cost Per Engagement is down from $0.50-$1 to $0.05-$0.20.  For those of you who don't know what an engagement is, it's every-single-action on your ad. This means a click on a link, picture, your profile, retweet, favorite, or reply. With all those ways for people to engage, you unfortunately do sometimes pay for things you don't want; in the advertising world, that's lost money! With Twitter cards, you can create a clear Call to Action(CTA) with less characters and less channels to engage. I'll explain each of these cards below:  

    LeadGen Twitter Card

    This is geared towards email marketers. If you build your list or are just thinking about building your list, then these are an easy way to do so. You can set it up where you can download email data or have it sent to your CRM such as Mailchimp or Salesforce. There's a small list of CRMs that Twitter says are compatible with Twitter Cards, but if your CRM can receive POST data, then you "should" be fine. Don't quote me on that, though. These LeadGen cards can be used in many ways. You can capture their email and send them to a page to download an ebook or a special landing page on your site. If you have an autoresponder setup with your CRM, you can automatically send them a coupon code or digital product via email as soon as they click your call to action and agree to give you their email address. Either way, you now have their email address to be able to market to them later. But DON'T SPAM!  
    NOTE: You will need to have a privacy policy on your site that you can link to. Almost every email marketer should know this and have one on their site. If not, you can review HostGator's Privacy Policy as an example.

    Website Twitter Cards

    These are quickly becoming my favorite. You know those links you have in your tweet for either your website / landing page or picture? GONE! You can now insert a picture and that becomes the link. Granted, it's probably a lot smaller of a picture than you want, and the dimensions are a pain to work with, but if I can decrease character space and increase effectiveness, then I'm all for it. I've seen campaign engagement go up from 1%-3% to 10-20% and I couldn't believe it! I certainly recommend trying these out in your strategy if you haven't already. Personally, I think they need to add some more CTAs other than "Read More" because people won't just use this for website views. They'll want more strong signals to buy or download. Hopefully this feature will come soon enough.  
      While I've been impressed with the results I've seen thus far, it's always worth noting that early adopters usually see better numbers than those that begin to use it after the first wave of users. And as with all marketing efforts, a large part of it is simply finding your niche. Have you started to use the Twitter Cards? If so, tell us about your results in the comments below.
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