Twitter broadens its AMP support to include analytics

Twitter is broadening its support of AMP (accelerated mobile pages) to include article analytics.

According to the announcement on Twitter’s developer blog, when Twitter loads an AMP version of an article, it will now ping the original article URL to record the view, in addition to passing the query arguments from the original article redirect into the AMP run-time. This will allow publishers to receive the data using the amp-analytics component.

“Pings to your original article are annotated as coming from Twitter,” writes Twitter product manager Ben Ward, “So that you can better understand the origin of the traffic, and distinguish it from organic views of your pages.”

While Twitter has supported AMP since its launch by making it possible to embed tweets within AMP articles, it has not offered analytics attached to AMP content shared on the platform until now. With this latest update, publishers will have deeper insight into how their AMP content is performing on Twitter.

“With this update, Twitter uses AMP to present your articles to more people, faster and more reliably,” writes Ward.

Twitter SEO: Ninja tricks for reputation repair

Twitter is one of my top slam-dunk assets for trying to displace negative content in search results. If your reputation has been harmed by some negative content that ranks when your name is searched, a strong Twitter account could be one of your primary resources for pushing the bad stuff lower on Google and Bing. Unfortunately, many individuals, small businesses and reputation agencies do a poor job of optimizing Twitter profiles to enable this to happen. Read on for my ninja-level tricks for Twitter SEO!

When searching for the names of individuals and businesses in search engines, Twitter accounts can appear on page one of Google and Bing if they have been properly optimized. For example, a search for Coca-Cola shows the brand’s main Twitter account on page one in the second position, just below the corporation’s listing for their official website.

In another example from Bing, if you search for Pepsi, you’ll find the official Twitter account of the brand appearing on page one for its name searches.

It’s probably borderline unremarkable to report that a search for “Trump” in either Google or Bing brings up President Trump’s Twitter account listing within the top two or three positions in the search results. But if you search on Google for other big names, you will often find that their Twitter accounts are ranking high as well.

In the example below, featuring the CEO of Tesla cars, Elon Musk, Google has evaluated his tweets to be so salient for his name search that a carousel of them are displayed in the search results, directly below his Twitter account listing.

Of course, these are astronomically popular Twitter accounts for celebrity individuals and strong brands with sophisticated social media management. However, even lesser-known names can achieve placement on page one in search engines. And, if you’re on page one, you then have a good chance of using your Twitter account to displace anything negative about you on the first page.

But this can’t happen if the Twitter account is not properly optimized. So, I’ll launch straight into some ninja tricks for maximizing the ranking power of your Twitter profile.

Optimize your Twitter handle!

I’d count this as one of the two most influential and critical elements for your Twitter optimization effort. Your handle, also known as your username, is incorporated by Twitter into your profile URLs and page titles. It also can appear numerous times in the visible text of the profile, and in links and titles pointing from elsewhere to your page.

To best optimize the handle for rankings of your name, you need to craft the handle to be spelled as closely as possible to the version of your name that people type in when searching for you. People who don’t understand search engines get this wrong all the time. Here are some tips on crafting good names:

Again, imitate the version of your name that people use to search for you. (People often leave off words like “Inc.” and “Company” when searching.) The ideal naming convention is to spell out your name, leaving out any spaces. The closer you match your spelling, the more search engines are likely to evaluate the handle to be highly relevant for your searches (e.g., @chrissmith).If your ideal name configuration is unavailable, which is more likely the more common your name is, then you will have to craft a variation on it. Try to choose an abbreviation that’s as close to the original name as possible. The higher the degree of similarity, the more relevant the search engines will consider the name compared with your actual name. Craft a name that may look like yours if read rapidly, and then test it by using that name to search in Google. If Google automatically associates the alternate version with your website and other online identity materials, then chances are good that you’re on the right track.If your name is longer than the 15 characters allotted by Twitter — which happens ALL the time — you will obviously have to abbreviate it. Again, craft this abbreviated name carefully and test it in Google. For instance, if I tried to use my full name without spaces, it would be: @chrissilversmith. At 16 characters, it’s one character too long to be accepted by Twitter. Instead, I might choose to use @chrissilversmth or @chrissilvrsmith.People love to generate “cute” Twitter handles that may not even closely resemble their actual names, and they can still rank in search (if other factors and the popularity of the profile are sufficient). You can see my Twitter handle of “Si1very” for an example of this — by the time I joined Twitter, it was difficult to get precise matches for common combos of names like “Chris,” “Silver” and “Smith.” My Twitter profile is otherwise fairly well-optimized, so I can get away with this. But if you’re working hard to get your profile to rank well in Google, DO NOT USE CUTE TWITTER HANDLES that don’t closely match your name!Do not add emojis to your username. It may look fun, but the added characters could cause your name to appear to be a less relevant keyword match when people search for you online. If you want to experiment with this later on, after you’ve solved your reputation issues, go for it. But, it could otherwise be sand-bagging your efforts.It’s tempting to use underscores for multi-word names to take the place of spaces (e.g., @chris_silver). Avoid doing this because Google does not treat the underscore as a “white space” character like spaces, periods, dashes and so on. It’s unfortunate that Twitter does not allow one to use dashes. In rare cases where it may be the best option available, you may use the underscore, but be aware that it only provides a fuzzy match relevancy that can be very weak — so, you need to focus on shoring up all other factors to ensure the page ranks well for your name searches.

Optimize your full name

In addition to the Username field, Twitter provides a “Full Name” field (some people refer to it as a “headline”). The Full Name appears prominently at the top of your profile below your profile avatar pic, and also appears with your avatar icon on all of your tweets.

The Full Name is quite important for a few reasons, including: 1) the name becomes incorporated into the profile page’s Title text, along with the username; 2) it’s displayed in larger text near the top of the page within an <h1> headline tag; and 3) it appears with all of your tweets, and this text is anchor text everywhere your tweets may appear, linking back directly to your profile page.

So, the Full Name helps reinforce for search engines what your name is, and therefore what keyword sequence the page should be considered most relevant for. As with the Username field, one has limited characters to use, albeit it’s longer than the usernames, being 20 characters long, maximum.

Make the Full Name imitate your actual name that people search on as closely as possible — hopefully the 20 characters are sufficient length to hold your full name. If not, you’ll need to abbreviate it in some way.

Leave out nonessential words, and experiment by searching on the name variations to see how Google may evaluate the sequence — does Google already associate the name you craft with your existing online identify materials? If so, that’s a very good sign.

Optimize the ‘Bio’ description field

This description field is yet another area for adding some keywords related to you. If your name is so long as to not be included in the Username and Full Name fields without abbreviating, definitely reiterate the full name in the Bio, at the beginning of the text field. Otherwise, the bio can allow you to include other combination keywords that can be valuable to your online identity and representation in the search results.

The field should certainly describe succinctly who and what you are. But you could also include the name and Twitter handle of your company, if you’re an individual, or the name of the city where you’re located if you’re a local company. Any other keywords that may be mentioned in combination with your name in searches could also be included here. (Very oddly, I note that Twitter does not use the Meta Description tag on its profile pages — something that seems like a glaring missed opportunity from a search optimization perspective. If they used it, the bio text would seem a natural fit for all or a portion of that Meta Description. Hmph!)

Fill in the Link URL and Location fields

These should be no-brainers, but they apparently aren’t, since some individuals and even businesses, will leave these blank. Filling in your Link field with your website URL can strengthen its rankings in search. Please be sure to use the proper, canonical URL for this.

Avoid using shortened links or other redirecting links. Your main website should also NOT be just a Facebook page — it should be to a standalone website about you or your company.

Check the link after adding it — typos sometimes do occur. With the Location field, this is primarily important if you’re associated with a particular place, such as a city or metropolitan area. It should be listed as “City Name, State.” Do not get coy and put geocoordinates in this field, or phone numbers or anything that is not a place name. If you’re a nationwide brand or not primarily associated with a particular locality, you may leave the Location field blank.

Tweet

You may be surprised to learn that simply tweeting a lot over time will optimize your Twitter profile, but it really does. Each individual tweet is linked back to your Twitter profile page. So, the more tweets, the more links within Twitter are pointing to your profile.

This doesn’t mean you can spam the heck out of Twitter via your account — even if Twitter anti-spam monitoring systems allowed you to do that, there are additional factors that Google uses to determine the trustworthiness and value of tweet pages. Also, if and when other accounts may retweet your posts, this produces links from their profiles over to yours as well.

Doing Twitter properly with good content can result in building a valuable corpus of links that builds your profile’s strength. More tweets equals more opportunities for links to your profile. Also, tweet frequently.

Retweets and Likes

Sharing others’ content by way of retweeting it or clicking to Like it (the heart-shaped button, also sometimes referred-to as “Favorite”), enables you to come to the attention of other Twitter users. Even better, some retweets and Likes will actually provide you with links to your profile.

Imagine obtaining a link from the main profile page of a prominent Twitter account user, such as Ellen DeGeneres or Time magazine. Well, it is possible.

Not all retweets or Likes will nab you a link, unfortunately. On a tweet’s main page, up to nine linked icons may appear from the total set of Twitter users who retweeted or Liked the tweet. Don’t obsess over becoming one of the nine, but just steadily retweet and Like other people’s tweets that make sense for your account’s topic areas, and you’ll eventually accrue some valuable links to your own profile.

Obtain more followers

On one hand, Google has stated that they do not analyze things like number of followers on Twitter. On the other hand, they do analyze links between pages in determining their relative ranking values, and they may have worked to assess the authoritativeness of identities connected to social media accounts — meaning that followers could factor in, but certainly interactions associated with links (i.e., tweets and retweets) may add up.

The more people who follow you, the more people will have a chance of seeing your status update postings, and the greater chance you have of them retweeting your posts. At my agency, we have consistently found that Twitter accounts with healthy numbers of followers tend to rank better in search.

There are multiple ways to get more followers. You can return-follow those who follow you, and follow other accounts that have a close follower-to-followed ratio. You can pay for advertising on Twitter to get followers rapidly. There are a number of other methods for increasing your followers as well, but proceed carefully, because some methods require adept experience.

Verify your account

A study done by Stone Temple Consulting found a high correlation between verified Twitter accounts and indexation of their tweets — a significant indicator that Google could consider verified accounts to be more worthwhile. The more your tweets get indexed, the more your profile page is likely to achieve ranking benefits as well.

Now, it’s quite likely that verified accounts may generally have a number of other signals that convey authority to Google, aside from a checkmark icon, so verification itself may not be the advantage that these accounts seem to enjoy. In our experience, there are many instances of non-verified accounts that rank well in Google, too. But, there could be some advantages to this, so if you wish to cover as many bases as possible, go for verification.

Link to your Twitter account

It’s amazing how many people and businesses neglect to link out to their Twitter profiles. Linking directly to your Twitter account from your primary website and other ancillary sites can help ensure it gets indexed and gives it more chances of ranking.

It also gives your website visitors a chance to connect with your tweets. Don’t forget to incorporate your name in the link’s text to reinforce the keyword relevance.

Post images and videos frequently

Tweets containing images or videos generally will have more interactions — particularly interactions like Retweets and Favorites/Likes that can be valuable to you. Sure, you may not be able to generate such content super-frequently, but you can also get value out of curating such content from other sources.

Incorporate Twitter Cards on your site

If you blog or otherwise post articles on your website on a consistent basis, set up the semantic markup code on your site’s pages to integrate Twitter Cards. They allow previews of a web page’s content to show up when tweeted, and these previews automatically make tweets much more interesting-looking than strictly text-based tweets.

Twitter Cards will pull in example photos or videos from your web pages when their URLs are tweeted, and the content will draw in users to interact with it more. If your site is delivered on the WordPress platform, then Yoast’s SEO for WordPress plugin can provide you with the proper code for Cards, making implementation very easy.

Use emojis in your tweets

As far back as at least 2009, I have recommended using emojis and other special characters in tweets because I had observed that it increased engagement rates. Others have researched this and found the same. Since engagement rates often equate with links to your tweets and Twitter account, this means using emojis can bump up your links a bit over time, too, helping your account to rank better.

Further, Google is also now displaying emojis in its search results at times, so if and when your tweets get indexed, they may also get more click-throughs from searchers. Check out this Google search listing of a tweet from Coca-Cola on World Emoji Day for an idea of just how attractive this can be:

I suspect that when you’re operating a well-optimized Twitter account, your profile link to your site and links in your tweets that get indexed by Google may help the content you’re linking to achieve better rankings. Now, Twitter has set all profile links and status update links in tweets to include the Nofollow attribute — meaning that it’s signaling for the links to not pass any PageRank benefit.

Some interpret the presence of Nofollow in link attributes as conveying zero SEO benefit. However, there are two things to keep in mind. First, it’s possible for Google to choose to ignore Nofollow for a particular site, or particular content from a particular site. So, under certain circumstances, Google may be using links from Twitter that meet certain higher-quality criteria for passing PageRank.

Second, even if PageRank is not conveyed, Google could be using tweets as another source for discovery of links — so, Twitter can potentially help your content get indexed quicker by Google, even if it might not help that content rank higher. And getting indexed earlier can enhance ranking performance indirectly. Research on this topic has varied for some time, and it’s frequently difficult to eliminate the many other variables involved in rankings.

However, in a reputation management campaign, your primary focus should be centered on helping your Twitter profile page to rank higher in Google. Any theoretical enhancement of your other content that you tweet out should be considered a nice bonus after that.

These SEO tips should help you really leverage Twitter as a major asset in your reputation repair campaign. Do not miss out on the advantages Twitter has to offer in this respect.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Report: Customer satisfaction with search drops, in social Google+ beats Facebook

Earlier this week the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released its “e-business” report. The category includes search, social media and news and information sites. Social media held steady, while the search and online news sectors declined vs. last year.

In the aggregate “search engines” dropped in customer satisfaction by 1.3 points. Microsoft properties (MSN, Bing) suffered the largest declines vs. 2016 of 4 and 3 points respectively. Google was off two points compared to last year.

The best score Google has received, since measurement began in 2002, is 86 (out of 100). The first year ACSI measured Google satisfaction it received a score of 80.

Social media as a category was stable; however there was movement among the individual players. Surprisingly, Google+ captured the highest satisfaction level of the group, with 81 points. The report attributes this to its redesign and the addition of new features.

Pinterest gained two points to capture the second highest score (78). Twitter, however, was the biggest gainer and surpassed Facebook. Of the sites measured, LinkedIn had the lowest score of 65, though it didn’t lose ground vs. last year. Snapchat was not measured.

The report is based on consumer survey data (n=4,978) and other inputs. Lower satisfaction levels for mobile performance appear to be the source of some of the lower scores in the search category, although there’s no in-depth reporting on mobile vs. desktop satisfaction.

In response to the inevitable “why does it matter?” question, representatives of the ACSI have told me in the past that customer satisfaction scores are predictive of future performance and success.

While that may be true in the US economy overall, changes in ACSI e-business scores have historically not translated into near-term market share gains or losses.

Twitter ramps up AMP

Disclosure: at the time of the writing of this article, the author was the head of product for an AMP conversion platform company. That company’s technology was acquired by Google on October 9th, 2017.

Twitter has started linking to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) from its native Android and iOS apps, shifting more traffic away from standard mobile web pages and giving publishers another reason to pay attention to how their AMPs display and perform.

Twitter hasn’t made any public announcements about the change since Google I/O in May, and it’s unclear whether the rollout is complete. But the switch is apparent in the Twitter apps if you know where to look — and in publishers’ referral analytics.

This graph shows the growth in Twitter traffic to AMP content among the national and local news publishers using Relay Media, Inc.’s AMP converter. (Disclosure: Relay Media is my employer.) Twitter referrals grew from less than 1 percent of AMP sessions in December 2016 to more than 12 percent at the end of June, when Twitter expanded AMP links from its mobile web app to its Android and iOS apps.

Sample of 35M monthly AMP views, Nov. 27-Jun. 30 2017. Identifiable traffic only; excludes “direct/none.”

Overall, Relay Media has seen non-Google sourced traffic grow from from about 4 percent of AMP sessions in December 2016 to 20% in June. That traffic is additive; total AMP sessions including Google sessions also grew significantly over the period.

Linking to a publisher’s AMPs instead of standard web pages isn’t something Twitter (or any other referrer) needs cooperation or even permission from the publisher to do. Any referrer can find the AMP URL in the source code of a standard web page and choose to display the AMP for a cleaner, faster experience, while the AMP itself remains fully intact (including the publisher’s ads and analytics).

Twitter’s use of AMP is mostly transparent to users. Twitter is linking to the publisher-hosted AMP instead of the Google-hosted version; the domain displayed in Twitter’s viewer should look very similar to the publisher’s standard URL (as opposed to the more complicated AMP URLs on Google’s CDN).

If a publisher is producing high-quality AMPs, the only thing users should notice is fast, smooth page load. For example, here’s a standard local news article (left) and the AMP version rendered in Twitter’s Android app (right). Apart from a couple of small cosmetic differences, the feel and functionality are the same.

Standard mobile web page (left) and AMP page in Twitter app (right).

This is a good time for all AMP-enabled publishers to try the side-by-side test, focusing on engagement and business performance. Here are some specific things to check:

  • Video: One of the trickiest content formats for AMP is video, since AMP’s native video component is still a work in progress with respect to ads and analytics — but without video, a publisher’s AMP content and monetization are incomplete. Many third-party players are AMP-enabled, and there’s almost always a path to get video (and ads) to work.
  • Onward engagement: AMP supports navigation menus and other clickable header elements, related stories lists, and pretty much anything else you can do on a standard web page. It’d be nice to see publishers test unique AMP engagement tactics as well.
  • Calls to action: Search and social platforms are the wide mouth of the consumer funnel.  While you’re giving users a beautiful, fast experience on AMP, you can also (politely) give them the opportunity to subscribe to notifications, download apps and so on.
  • Revenue operations: Yield optimization is as much about back-end services such as header bidding and DMPs as it is about the ads on a page. It takes vigilance to keep up with the growing list of AMP-enabled ad tech companies; remember to check with all of your ad tech partners and ask them to notify you when they become AMP-enabled if they aren’t already.

    There’s no rule that AMPs must be identical to their standard versions. In fact, AMP is a great opportunity for publishers to declutter their pages and experiment with new and simplified layouts. But, if a publisher’s AMPs are missing revenue-critical elements, or if the content is incomplete, those gaps will become noticeable as more platforms and referrers adopt the practice of AMP linking.  

    The good news is that AMP is a universal distribution format which automatically works across platforms and environments (unlike proprietary formats such as Facebook Instant Articles), and the dividends of optimization will grow as AMP audience expands.

    Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

  • Tweet Google an emoji & it will reply with local search results

    Google’s Twitter handle is now fluent in emoji. Whenever someone tweets an emoji to @Google, they will get a reply that includes a quick quip, a GIF and a link to local search results corresponding to the emoji.

    According to a report on Mashable, Google’s Twitter handle will respond to more than 200 different emojis, including a few Easter eggs.

    Google announced the feature via its Twitter feed yesterday:

    We speak emoji. Let’s talk. ? #KnowNearby pic.twitter.com/HjIMs3KPKe

    — Google (@Google) December 6, 2016

    I tried it tonight, first using an ice cream emoji, and then a taco. Both times, I immediately received a reply.

    @amygesenhues Let’s give ‘em something to taco-bout. https://t.co/MKVjm8oYWm #KnowNearby pic.twitter.com/88JWAh9g1o

    — Google (@Google) December 8, 2016

    The link included in Google’s reply tweet pointed to a results page for a “tacos nearby” search.

    I only tested out the feature using food emojis, but the #KnowNearby hashtag included in Google’s announcement tweet has several other examples of emoji-tested tweets.

    Two tried and true methods to make social media impact SEO

    Much has been written about the interplay between social media and search engine optimization. I have seen a few tips and tricks to use social media to help get content indexed and possibly see other SEO benefits, but the best way I have found to make social media work toward SEO is to use it the way it is already being used.

    Many brands use social media to build a brand, deliver great customer service or develop relationships. You can use these same focuses to have a significant effect on SEO as well.

    Build your brand through social media for SEO

    While the size and reputation of the brand are not direct ranking factors, they can have an indirect effect on SEO efforts. Use your social presence to improve your branding to have this positive effect on SEO.

    Growing your online footprint

    Rand Fishkin of Moz does a great job of explaining how a strong brand can impact SEO. Overall, people are more likely to link to a page on a site they know and trust. Having a strong and active social following can instantly create credibility to help gain these links to your content.

    Another direct way having strong engagement on social media can help SEO is the simple fact that your tweets and shares are going to get in front of more eyes and are thus more likely to get links.

    Use social media to improve customer service

    Today, customers go online to make complaints or ask questions about a product. There are many companies responding well to this, which results not only in improved customer satisfaction but in SEO success, too.

    Use social media to really “wow” the customer. There are many large brands that have been doing this well. Not only can this build your following, but it can also amplify your reach and even build links.

    One example of this is Delta Hotels. When one customer went to Twitter to point out the poor view from his room, they stepped in and went above and beyond to try to make it a positive experience for him. In the end, he was so wowed that he ended up writing a blog post about it, giving that location a link.

    You can also use Twitter to answer questions that are unrelated to complaints and carry those Q&As over to your site. Once you have seen a question come up a few times, answer it on your site. You can then reply to tweets with a link to the answer.

    Remember, you don’t have to answer questions specifically asked about your business. For example, if you are a home improvement contractor, you can write content that answers questions related to renovations you find on Twitter. Not only can this content garner traffic from the users you respond to, but it is a great opportunity to rank for non-branded keywords in search.

    Leverage relationships with social media

    With all that being said, links don’t usually happen by simply getting more people to see the content. You need to nudge other content creators and curators to get the links. Focus on building relationships and connecting with others, and use that in ways that can be used to create SEO success.

    First, build up the social media profiles you would like to use, then begin work on building relationships. Start following the people you would like to connect with. Engage with their posts by retweeting, favoriting or commenting. If you have something relevant to say, don’t be shy. When you see great content or find something helpful, go the extra mile to reach out and email them to let them know your thoughts.

    This is the more time-consuming way of making social media work to help with SEO, but once you have an engaged following and have made some genuine connections, even if it’s a small number of people, you will have a foundation you can build on and use over and over. Here are a few ways to use your active social media presence to create SEO wins.

    Create ego bait

    This isn’t new and has been overused in a few industries, but it’s still worth mentioning. One way to get someone’s attention is to mention them within content and let them know through social media. 

    Ask for contributions to your content

    Work with other content creators or influencers by asking for their opinions. Keep it simple at first. For example, if you want to rank for the phase, “Home Improvement Projects for Beginners,” you might ask bloggers who have DIY content what they would do. After the list is curated and you have added your own thoughts, let the people you mentioned know — and don’t be afraid to ask for a link.

    Work together to create and promote related content

    Once you have developed relationships further, you can begin to collaborate with other content creators and coordinate on content promotion.

    Building on the example above, you can share the results of your initial piece of content with the other contributors and suggest working together more. You could follow up with a series of “how-to” posts explaining the individual home improvement projects in more detail, publish them on different sites, then interlink these posts with the original one.

    Ask for comment

    With a decent following on Twitter, you can promote content and not only drive traffic but also ask for comments and feedback on your posts. This will create more content on the page, potentially increasing the likelihood of ranking for long-tail queries. If the comments are made within the social media platform (which often happens), update the post to feature the best comments, and let the commenters know.

    Final thoughts

    Overall, I don’t see simply posting to social media as a way to achieve strong results in sustained organic traffic; but by leveraging social media platforms well, you can contribute to the long-term success of your SEO efforts.

    Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

    The Associated Press Partners With Google & Twitter To Track 2016 Election Trends

    In partnership with Google and Twitter, the Associated Press has released election trends data based on candidate and election-related searches and tweets.

    Using Google Trends, the AP Election Buzz tool tracks Google “search interest in political terms.” The AP says the feature is part of the Google Political Index created by a nonpartisan group of Google’s data analyst: “It measures search interest in a weighted comprehensive list of topics associated with the 2016 election, including presidential candidates and political figures, policy issues, and current events.”

    Users can view search volume going all the way back to August 2015, in chart form or via a map, and filter the data by the past month, past week or past 24 hours.

    Along with election data from Google Trends, the AP is also tracking Twitter conversations around the 2016 election, analyzing tweets that contain candidate names, campaign hashtags and other election-related terms. More coverage of AP’s partnership with Twitter can be found on Marketing Land: Associated Press Teams Up With Twitter To Track 2016 Election-Related Tweets.

    AP’s election search trends tool can be accessed on its website here: AP Election Buzz.

    Bing has also broadened its 2016 election experience with the launch of its “Search Wave” feature, a search tool that showcases Bing’s search volume for each of this year’s presidential candidates.

    Getting Social With Search Engine Land: Our Most Engaging Stories Of 2015

    Well readers, if you can even believe it, the year will be over in a mere 48-ish hours, and as it ends, 2016 will begin. It seems like just yesterday, experts were casting predictions for what 2015 would hold for the world of search. If we have learned anything over the past 12 months (and surely, we have learned a lot!), it is that time moves pretty dang fast. (Hello? 2016, already?!) But it’s not just time that moves quickly. It’s technology. And every year, its pace seems to double.

    Yes, one of the most remarkable things about our industry surely is the incredible speed at which it evolves. New platforms, channels, tools and tactics emerge every single day, and it’s our job as cutting-edge professionals to stay as up to speed as possible. Daily digests like our SearchCap and Marketing Day can help keep us abreast of search, social and all-around digital marketing news as it happens, but as we enter into a new year, it can be insightful and inspiring to zoom waaaaay out and take a look at the stories our readers found most fascinating over the past 12 months.

    This particular roundup, part of our annual year-in-review coverage, looks at the Search Engine Land stories that generated the most social engagement on Facebook and Twitter, that is, the most combined likes, favorites, shares, comments, retweets, replies — you name it, it was tallied. (We tip our hat to Simply Measured, a social analytics platform we used to gather these metrics!)

    So, without further ado….

    Search Engine Land’s Most Social Tweets Of 2015

    For Twitter, total engagement points are defined as combined likes (favorites), retweets and replies. 

    1. Research Reveals What It Takes To Rank In Mobile Search Results by Jayson DeMers, 10/20/15 – 202 engagement points

    Research Reveals What It Takes To Rank In Mobile Search Results by @JaysonDeMers https://t.co/E7ElPHR2yw

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) October 20, 2015

    2. FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm by Danny Sullivan, 10/27/15 – 164 engagement points

    FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm by @dannysullivan https://t.co/EN5YUGsFDG #google #SEO

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) October 27, 2015

    3. Site Redesign & Migration Tips To Avoid SEO & UX Disasters by Modestos Siotos, 12/8/15 – 164 engagement points

    Site Redesign & Migration Tips To Avoid #SEO & #UX Disasters by @Modestos_ https://t.co/aE3JzCkYiB

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) December 8, 2015

    4. Google Testing “Slow To Load” Warning Label In Mobile Search Results by Barry Schwartz, 6/15/15 – 145 engagement points

    Google is testing a "Slow to load" yellow sign in mobile search results. http://t.co/BgmjlXnRHZ pic.twitter.com/ztfzHCJ9Yc

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) June 15, 2015

    5. Mobilegeddon Checklist: How To Prepare For Today’s Google Mobile Friendly Update by Barry Schwartz, 4/21/15 – 142 engagement points

    Mobilegeddon Checklist: How To Prepare For Today's Google Mobile Friendly Update by @RustyBrick http://t.co/kOd5Qj3gpT #Mobilegeddon

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) April 21, 2015

    6. Keywords Are Back For Google Shopping Campaigns! by Daniel Gilbert, 9/23/15 – 133 engagement points

    .@danielgilbert44 shares a new @adwords script for managing Google Shopping campaigns with keywords: http://t.co/z4mQ9SJUIy

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) September 23, 2015

    7. Google Panda 4.2 Is Here; Slowly Rolling Out After Waiting Almost 10 Months by Barry Schwartz, 7/22/15 – 132 engagement points

    Google Panda 4.2 Is Here; Slowly Rolling Out After Waiting Almost 10 Months by @rustybrick http://t.co/r3l0Hm6exM

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) July 22, 2015

    8. The 7 Characteristics That Can Make A Link “Bad” For SEO by Jayson DeMers, 12/14/15 – 131 engagement points

    These 7 characteristics can make a link "bad" for #SEO, says @JaysonDeMers: https://t.co/p9KH10wkaF

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) December 15, 2015

    9. Infographic: Mobile SEO Tips To Help You Survive The Coming Google Mobilegeddon, 4/7/15 – 127 engagement points

    Infographic: #Mobile #SEO Tips To Help You Survive The Coming @Google Mopocalypse http://t.co/96eEFNljHc

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) April 7, 2015

    10. DuckDuckGo Surpasses 10 Million Daily Queries  by Barry Schwartz, 6/23/15 – 124 engagement points

    .@DuckDuckGo hit a major milestone – 10 million daily queries: http://t.co/huAQMb7cOg pic.twitter.com/bNOlCpoQPZ

    — Search Engine Land (@sengineland) June 23, 2015

    Search Engine Land’s Most Social Facebook Posts Of 2015

    For Facebook, total engagement points are defined as combined likes, comments and shares. 

    1. Google Is Hiring An SEO Manager To Improve Its Rankings In Google, 7/15/15 – 1061 engagement points

    2. Google Files Suit Against SEO Firm Accused Of Robocalling, Launches Complaint Center For Users, 9/16/15 – 1017 engagement points

    3. Google Releases The Full Version Of Their Search Quality Rating Guidelines, 11/19/15 – 1017 engagement points

    4. It’s Official: Google Says More Searches Now On Mobile Than On Desktop, 5/5/15 – 901 engagement points

    5. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update Is Rolling Out Right Now, 4/21/15 – 703 engagement points

    6. Google To Begin To Index HTTPS Pages First, Before HTTP Pages When Possible, 12/17/15 – 690 engagement points

    7. Is “Facebook Professional Services” Facebook’s Stealth Project To Beat Yelp? 12/15/15 – 672 engagement points

    8. FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm, 10/27/15 – 637 engagement points

    9. Worldwide, More Than Half Of Google’s Searches Happen On Mobile, 10/9/15 – 594 engagement points

    10. Google Search Algorithm Adds Mobile-Friendly Factors & App Indexing To Ranking, 2/26/15 – 523 engagement points

    Until next year!

    Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

    Matt Cutts, SEOs Around The World Share Their #SEOHorrorStories On Twitter

    Did you notice that SEO made its way to Twitter’s trends over the weekend?

    It’s true. The #SEOHorrorStories hashtag, began on Friday by Aleyda Solis, hit Twitter trends later that night and was even seen trending over the weekend. SEOs from around the world followed Aleyda’s lead, sharing some of their worst SEO-related nightmares in just 140 characters.

    The official Google Analytics Twitter account sent out several #SEOHorrorStories tweets, and Matt Cutts — Google’s former webspam chief — sent one that would give any SEO a case of the chills.

    "I was just discussing your sites with some of the webspam team." #seohorrorstories

    — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) November 1, 2015

    Depending on which data source you look at, the hashtag was used around 1,300 to 1,700 times and had somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-11 million impressions. For more on how it all played out, see our story on Marketing Land:

    SEO Trended On Twitter Thanks To #SEOHorrorStories Hashtag

    3 Incredible Social PPC Hacks For Crazy Engagement & ROI

    My last column on crazy CRO hacks for search ads was so popular, I didn’t want to leave out the marketers toiling away in social media PPC ads. Just a few years ago, social PPC wasn’t even a thing yet; today, it’s a promotional powerhouse for both branding and performance marketing objectives.

    If you feel like you’re throwing money at social PPC but not seeing the best return possible — or worse, you’re doing it because you feel like you should but really aren’t sure how you’re doing — check these out.

    Quick Note: For the purpose of this article, we’re focusing only on social PPC as it’s available on Facebook and Twitter. Why? They’re really the best social ad venues in town right now. Pinterest and other networks might be good depending on your niche, but LinkedIn… how do I say this nicely… LinkedIn has some catch-up work to do on their PPC platform.

    Here are my three top social PPC hacks to get crazy engagement and boost your ROI:

    1. Pick Your Winners & Promote Them Like Crazy

    If you feel like your sponsored posts and tweets aren’t performing well enough to justify the spend, it’s entirely possible that you’re just choosing the wrong content to promote.

    One of the things I do religiously before even writing a piece of content is I test out the idea on my social channels. If no one is interested in the concept, is it worth my time to write about it? Probably not.

    Same idea with picking your winners for social PPC — you’re only going to promote the top 5% of your posts. The old way of conceptualizing, brainstorming, generating creative, etc. — this painstaking advertising process just doesn’t make sense when you have real-time insight into what your audience wants and thinks and reacts to.

    Use your Facebook and Twitter analytics to identify tweets with at least 2x the average engagement within a few hours of posting. I’m going through my Twitter Analytics and looking for tweets like this that are already resonating with the audience. I want people to interact with my promoted content, too, so organic performance in real time with a real audience is about as great an indicator of potential paid performance as I’m going to get:

    The higher your level of engagement, the lower your cost per engagement. Why? Because those engagements are how your paid content spreads beyond the clicks and retweets you paid for, to the organic social networks of those people.

    So, as your organic activity starts to drop off, you promote the post/tweet, effectively extending its organic life, getting in front of a paid audience and expanding your reach, as shown here:

    Key: Blue = organic impressions; Yellow = paid impressions

    Boom. You paid to promote, and suddenly your organic activity is keeping up, too. It’s like buying one paid click yields two or three free clicks. It’s a beautiful thing.

    2. Target Smarter

    There are basically two ways to generate interest in your social content:

      Ridiculously awesome social updates with crazy visuals and/or click-baity headlines to stand out and capture the attention of the masses.Messing around with your ad targeting to get in front of just the right people.

    Targeting isn’t the most interesting thing in the world, but you can get insanely specific with social ads. And you have to, really. If you’re putting your ads in front of people unlikely to care about what it is you’re sharing — who will ignore it, or maybe just click because they’re bored and it was either your ad or a new cat video — you’re throwing money away.

    Both Facebook and Twitter are now partnering with third-party, offline data providers like Acxiom and Datalogix. Basically, these guys have a ton of real-world data like purchasing behavior, net worth, travel habits, credit card habits and a lot more. The social ad platforms match the user profiles from these data companies with the user profiles of social media users, so you can target some pretty crazy specific behaviors.

    Where it gets really crazy, though, is when you start layering these insights over your Custom Audiences (on Facebook) or Tailored Audiences (on Twitter).

    Say you have a list of 10,000, 50,000 or even 100,000 customers, blog subscribers, email subscribers, etc. You have all of these people you can remarket to using social PPC, which is huge for your brand awareness, recall and even conversion.

    Layering real-world targeting data over that list allows you to get super granular and target really specific segments of your list with highly personalized content.

    3. Pimp Your Social PPC Ride

    Facebook and Twitter each have some pretty cool advertising features — and right now, relatively few advertisers are using them.

    Let’s start with Twitter Cards. Basically, cards add extra functionality to your Twitter Ads. One you should definitely try out is the Lead Generation Card, which allows users to sign up for your offer with just two clicks.

    Twitter already knows the user’s handle, name, and login email, so it autopopulates the fields for them. You can then download the CSV to export the information collected.

    These are so easy to set up; you can either create a new one or choose an existing tweet:

    Over on Facebook, you can add call-to-action buttons to your ads:

    But you can also add click-to-call functionality right to your news stream ads for mobile users:

    Of course, if you can skip the step where you send people to your landing page in an effort to get them to call you, you’re cutting out a whole stage of the funnel.

    Test out all of the social PPC features available to you on the two biggest networks. These updates aren’t just for looks — they can radically change your ROI and boost engagement by making your ads more relevant and actionable to users.

    Long story short: Engagement is critical in your social PPC ads. Likes, retweets, comments — all of these interactions help your paid content spread to organic users as well, improving your ROI. As much as I love paid search, it’s social PPC for the viral content marketing win!

    Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.