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As the Farmer’s Update / Panda Update became a huge issue of discussion for both the SMX San Jose conference (also happening March 7-9th, 2011) and Pubcon South 2011. As all of this took place from March 7-10th, 2011, I thought we should address the Farmer’s update fallout first and get it out of the way to move on to other interesting topics!

Cartoon Farmer Horse
Here’s all the Farmer’s update information you need in one spot. summarized:

Farmer’s Update / Panda Update:

  • This next link is a great read / exercise for website owners with access to their analytics accounts who are concerned that they may have been directly affected by this update or would like to know how to check if they have. You’ll find a ‘step by step’ walkthrough of how to do this. (Written by SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin click the image to read the post)

SEOMoz Blog About The Panda / Farmer's Update at Google and How To check For it

(Source: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers)

Points Of Interest:

  • Pages With Substantial low quality can cause the rankings for an ENTIRE site to decline (even if it has OTHER very high quality pages)
  • Best Practice Is To Re-Evaluate Your Site & Look For Poor Quality Pages (e.g. anything that is not useful, poorly written, non-unique, or thin) and remove them
  • Pay attention (finally) to the overall ‘user experience’, design and site ‘usability’. Be sure not to have an overly aggressive ‘ad-to-content ratio’, or an overbearing brand perception
  • Review the way your page templates work with your content. Look for an abundance of Ads and the User Interface this provides. If you don’t like it, chances are neither will Google or more importantly your audience
  • Focus on user engagement and social media awareness to promote your sites high quality content
  • (Source – Adapted from http://searchengineland.com/the-farmer-update-new-information-from-google-and-the-latest-from-smx-west-67574)

Finished Farming? Onto the Real Stuff We Learned at Pubcon.

(I’m Happy This Update Had Nothing To Do With FarmVille And Their Millions! Enough About Them!)

Some Takeaways:

  1. Internal Site SearchUse Internal Site Search (ISS, but not the MicroSoft webserver admin software)
    • This is best for Existing and Expanding sites, not brand new ones
    • Enable Site Search Tracking in Google Analytics
    • Helps understand what your users are looking for (e.g. if you have lots of internal searches about ‘flowers’ then it would be smart to put together a list of ‘flower related’ keywords and build out some content landing pages to focus on targeting those terms (thanks @Kate Morris)
  2. Rethinking Conversion: Why People Share?
    • Altruism, Curiosity, Achievement, Sense of Efficacy, Rewards, Recognition, Reciprocity, Affiliation, Power, Collaboration.
    • Connect with these emotions in your content, or reasons to share, and you will find an increase in the life of your content
    • Your goals need to include
      • conversion to conversation
      • conversion to consumption
      • conversion to consumer
      • conversion to opinion holder
      • conversion to word-of-mouth
      • (thanks to @JeffreyGroks)
  3. Advertising on Twitter – Anti-Social Media
    • Can Quickly Build Initial Awareness For A New Product/Service
    • Trending Topics (Paid) can work well (e.g. mbtweet race by Mercedes Benz)
      • Can Pay to have a promoted account
      • Dangers: May not always be getting followers that are targeted or relevant to your business
      • If they really don’t care about your business, then it doesn’t mean a thing
      • Target people based on interests and discussions (why this is good)
    • In-Stream Twitter Ads:
      • Takes a promoted tweet and puts it at the top
      • can be REALLY valuable if done right, as people will RT (retweet) your ad. When you see that happen, success!
      • E.g. Guy Kawasaki tweeted out a buy a book, get one free deal and the presenter RT’d thinking, ‘Great Deal’ AND it was a promoted tweet, not natural, yet relevant enought to RT(Thanks @kristaneher)
    • This lead me to tweet the following:
    • Pubcon Tweet from SEORockstar

  4. Facebook For Conversions
    1. Newsletter Signup
    2. Contest Entry
    3. Webinar Listen
    4. White Paper Download

    What IS a conversion on Facebook?

    • These are the things you will want to track along with online payments for them
    • Now you can sell directly FROM Facebook without people having to leave the application to purchase. This will increase conversions, the number that was thrown around the converence was around 20-30% but more research is needed as it is fairly new and people aren’t used to buying through Facebook too much yet, but the Trust Factor with Facebook is pretty solid (e.g. it works)
    • e.g. Someone can now send you a REAL ice cream cone from coldstone, rather than a .gif of an ice cream cone you never get to eat!Ice Cream

    A Few Extra Final Takeaways:

    • Things like social media ‘chores’ can be done with Virtual Assistants, just don’t let them make any important decisions. This can really free up time and help you run Social Media more efficiently when done in such a manner that only makes things faster
    • Do A/B Testing on your Facebook iFrame pages. This blog post by Janet Driscoll Miller outlines how
    • If none of that interested you, then you can always learn how to broadcast one image on multiple screens around you! Check out the Junkyard Jumbotron from chris csik on Vimeo.


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