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Facebook and Panda Update

     
2:35 pm on Nov 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I never had Facebook nor any social media account for my sites because I thought my sites were popular as it is. And I wanted my visitors to find me thru search engine, word of mouth, and referral links from other sites. NOw, my pageviews are dwindling and so is my ranking. Was I hit because I didn't have a Facebook account? Do I really need Facebook or other social media accounts for my sites?

Please advice.
4:35 pm on Nov 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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No, you weren't hit because you don't have a Facebook page. Whether or not you need social media depends on whether that's where your users hang out. I use Facebook, because a ton of my users hang out there and share my pages. I created a Facebook page and was using that like a quasi email mailing list, but now Facebook has drastically reduced the reach of my posts - unless I pay to promote them. I have no interest in driving traffic TO Facebook, so I've lessened my presence there, and am now trying to convince my users to sign up for a mailing list that I control myself.

You have to think and figure out where your users are likely to be. If you have social buttons now, take a look at the shares and see which networks are getting the most shares - that might give you a hint. For some sites, it might be Twitter; others might be Pinterest or FB. If you are B2B or career oriented, LinkedIn might be one to look at.

But social won't do you much of any good unless your audience is there, and unless you work it.

As far as Panda - are you just guessing on that, or did you drop coincide with one of the Panda announcements? How much of a drop, and was it sudden or a gradual trickle down?
5:48 pm on Nov 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Do I really need Facebook or other social media accounts for my sites?


Yes. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn (and other smaller, but quickly growing, social networks) are essential to reaching out to where your audience likely is today. That's because Google no longer has a near-monopoly on the way people search for information and answers the way they once did.

That's not to say that Google's not still dominant -- they are. But the social networks are increasingly becoming important ways for people to find information they weren't necessarily looking for, but are or may be interested in. That's part of the reason why Google launched its Google+ social network a few years back, though it hasn't really taken off in the U.S.

Bottom line, you should both add social buttons to your site's pages (e.g., the Facebook "Like" button, Twitter "tweet" button, and Google "+1" button) and also consider creating fan pages on various social media.
6:33 pm on Nov 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Even though I am a strictly bulk quantity B2B I do have a company presence on four networks, Facebook, Houzz, Pinterest and Twitter.

Facebook for me is a flop, it's seemingly not the right environment, Houzz and Pinterest users like my stuff but Twitter is the place where all my trade buyers frequent.

I don't update stuff very often however it does seem to have some beneficial effect but exactly what I have no idea!
6:54 pm on Nov 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Yes. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn (and other smaller, but quickly growing, social networks) are essential to reaching out to where your audience likely is today.


Not necessarily. I have very little presence on any of them and do just fine. My audience is elsewhere, apparently.
7:13 pm on Nov 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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My audience is elsewhere, apparently.


That's also a great point. It all depends on what your site's topic area is and the networks on which your audience is active. For some topic areas, maybe it doesn't make sense to create a fan page or Twitter account. But I'd still add social sharing buttons to my site.
7:59 pm on Nov 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't think that social media has a direct effect on ranking (though I can make a great case for it affecting it secondarily if you buy me a drink) and it is true that not everyone's audience is on social media. That being said, I would still recommend investing a little time in developing it.

A) It is like domain names. You need to claim your space on at least the popular social sites or someone else will (and you may have to pay to get it back).

B) You never know when the landscape will change. Facebook could launch a search engine tomorrow (not likely but could happen). What will you do if that happens and you have absolutely no presence on Facebook?

C) It is a kind of insurance. So you don't use it now, but desperate times call for desperate measures. You get hit by a Google Update, it is a whole lot easier to turn to social media for replacement traffic if you have a presence, rather than starting from the ground up.

D) Be creative and open minded. So you might think your audience is not on social media, but you just don't know until you try. You might be pleasantly and profitably surprised. Also, you might come up with some different views on how people use your site and content through social media.

E) It is a ready made test or survey base. Earlier in the year when we decided we wanted to have an app built, we posted to Facebook a question on what our visitors would like in an app. Within 24 hours, I had 200+ comments which helped us determine what to focus on from an audience we knew was our customer base. It would have cost us a fortune with iffy results without Facebook. Or worse, we would have just moved in blind to do it and just crossed our fingers that we knew what our audience wanted.

No matter what you niche is or your your site size, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to having a social presence.

IMHO, being on social media now is like a company having a website was 10 years ago. Some people poo-pooed it, but now everyone from the smallest mom & pop to the biggest corporation has one.
9:39 pm on Nov 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Just make sure you keep your eyes on the prize. The goal is to get people to come to and stay on your own site. Not Facebook's, or Twitter's, or anyone elses.
10:44 pm on Nov 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The goal is to get people to come to and stay on your own site. Not Facebook's, or Twitter's, or anyone elses.

When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, can you really say you are driving traffic to them? I mean, it is a little like saying you are driving business to Google by having AdSense on your site. Technically true, but if you are not there to do it, someone else will.

I understand what you are saying, but I think the ship ahs sailed on that line of thinking.

Whether you promote Facebook or Twitter on your site, people will go there with or without you being there. If you are not there, your competitor will be. The other social media is questionable in this regard, but Facebook and Twitter is so ubiquitous that sites the size of ours can no longer consider themselves to be driving traffic to them.
4:13 am on Nov 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Hanna won me over. Thanks for your point by point explanation especially point A. The weird thing is while searching for my main site on Facebook and Twitter, somebody else stole the name and look and feel of my site and the category is almost identical too. Wow. I'll file DMCA to Facebook and Twitter on that!

It's good to know that I was not hit by Panda because I don't have a Facebook page (but I don't believe that for a second.) My earnings started to decline in April then quite badly by end of June and it never recovered since. Could you tell me if that's the same time Google Panda updates were rolled out?
12:59 pm on Nov 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I understand what you are saying, but I think the ship ahs sailed on that line of thinking.


Not for me. I don't mind finding my users on Facebook (or them finding me) but my goal is to get the conversation moved OFF Facebook and back onto my sites. And capture their email addresses. And it's worked out pretty well. Supposedly Facebook will be decreasing reaches of pages *again* in January (which means fewer of the people who 'liked' your page will actually see your posts) The writing is on the wall there.

I don't have all the algorithm update dates to hand, but you can find them in Google. I know there was a major update at the end of May, because one of my sites that was a false positive for 18mos suddenly recovered almost literally overnight (and I hadn't done a thing to it except update it like all the others)

But that doesn't mean you were hit by Panda. There are over 500 changes (large and small) to the algorithm every year according to Google, that means more than one a day. So if your traffic declined, it could be a number of things; you'll have to delve into your analytics to figure out why.
3:11 pm on Nov 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Social media has never brought me much business on the 7 b2b sites I run. Ranking wise, no particular difference I'm aware of either.

I agree though that it's worth a little time, but the problem with spending a lot of time creating fan pages and a community on FB is that your 'community' is then over there, and controlled by FB, and FB could change the way you interact with it or start charging whenever it wants - because FB owns FB. Multiply that by 4 and it's a lot of maintenance and potentially 4 split places to manage communities. I had this before, a community of 30,000 and the site made a change which wreaked havoc with how I was able to drive, manage and monetise it.

So for the long term view, never forget that the best place to congregate all the individuals that you might consider your community is on your site, where you can make what you want, nobody can take them away and nobody is going to start charging.
6:44 pm on Nov 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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FB could change the way you interact with it or start charging whenever it wants

Kind of like Google & traffic then? And yet we all kowtow to that one.

I am just saying, yep, it is better to bring the community into your own site but the fact of the matter is that community exists on FB and more and more people don't want to join communities outside FB.

It is no different to say that getting traffic directly to your site is better than getting it from Google. Sure it is, but a vast majority of people will still go to Google first (and sometimes, just so they can type your company name or URL into the search box). And for that reason, it would be near suicidal to just say - "Not gonna let my site appear on Google because I only want to develop traffic that comes directly to my site."

FB has gotten to a size and has so monopolized the idea of community that it is hard to simply not have it in your mix. I know on a personal level, because I don't use FB to communicate with friends and family, I get left out of their conversations and connections ALOT. Sure, I can complain that they should drop me an email or call me or text me or make some effort to interact with me beyond FB, but they don't. FB makes it too easy not to. Afterall everyone is on FB, right? - at least in their terms of thinking.

I really can't see that a business and those people would be all that different. And maybe it is not quite there yet with businesses, but I don't see it being that far off.

Use to be people didn't mind doing business with you if you didn't have a website. Now I know people who won't do business with you unless you have a website. They consider companies without websites (even like their mechanics and dry cleaners) to be archaic or just non-existant. How far off till they feel that way about a FB page?
3:02 pm on Nov 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Do I really need Facebook or other social media accounts for my sites?


It depends on your topic and goals.

If you're looking for regular "followers," then Facebook, Twitter, etc. are probably useful.

If you're looking to attract people who are interested in what you offer at a specific point in time (e.g., planning a trip to Luxembourg, fixing a broken household appliance, or finding a source of rubber thingamajigs for your widget factory), search is likely to be a far more important source of traffic.
3:15 pm on Nov 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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They consider companies without websites (even like their mechanics and dry cleaners) to be archaic or just non-existant. How far off till they feel that way about a FB page?


Where on earth are you living that the people are so shallow?

I can assure you that I know very many, extremely successful businesses that have found no necessity for a website or Facebook, I also know of many businesses who only have Facebook with absolutely no necessity for a website.

It's all about one's market, horses for courses, and not everyone is obsessed with turning their business and comfortable family life into a mega corp.
3:35 pm on Nov 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Go where your users are, if your users are using social stuff, better go after them. The additional social sharing does bring extra traffic, traffic is traffic.

If users are not using social stuff, forcing the implementation onto your site will bring no positive results other than annoying users.
4:23 pm on Nov 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Where on earth are you living that the people are so shallow?

I can assure you that I know very many, extremely successful businesses that have found no necessity for a website or Facebook, I also know of many businesses who only have Facebook with absolutely no necessity for a website.


Good for them! That's great that they have such strong word-of-mouth and reputation among their customers that they don't need to market themselves online.

For most businesses, however, (especially new or young ones) the biggest challenge is making your potential audience aware that you exist. That's where all of these social media tools can help you -- I don't think it logically follows that if you use a Facebook page to market your business, then you're by definition a shallow person.

Still, there's a lesson in what you say. And that's for each of us to strive to make our websites/products so good and engaging and compelling for our audiences and our customers that we don't have to rely solely on a Facebook page or our Google rankings for them to seek us out.
6:02 pm on Nov 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Where on earth are you living that the people are so shallow?

Welcome to the modern world then. Many people in the urban & suburban US, especially among millennials and Gen Xers who live and die by their smart phones, don't want to or simply don't know how to interact with companies that don't have webpages or some other form on online contact (many small business are turning to FB pages as an alternative to their own webpages). It may be a sad fact, but a fact never the less.
7:22 pm on Nov 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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especially among millennials and Gen Xers who live and die by their smart phones,


I comprehend what you're saying however within Europe I have especially noticed just how many of these groups of people are turing to mums, dads and grandparents and actually seeking out their advice and especially so for specialist services where finding good tradespeople can be very difficult and especially so in large cities. It's amazing just how many people, young and old, distrust flashy corporate websites and definitely so when they ask their prices!

many small business are turning to FB pages as an alternative to their own webpages


Yep, without a doubt and I mentioned that in my previous post. Locally we have all kinds of Facebook pages for selling, buying, lost, found, even crimes have been spotted and Facebooked before the police even knew!
10:14 pm on Nov 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to the modern world then. Many people in the urban & suburban US, especially among millennials and Gen Xers who live and die by their smart phones, don't want to or simply don't know how to interact with companies that don't have webpages or some other form on online contact (many small business are turning to FB pages as an alternative to their own webpages). It may be a sad fact, but a fact never the less.


I think that was true a couple years ago, but I don't think it's true now. Pretty much everyone I know is pulling back on Facebook pages for brands or businesses in favor of FB ads that point to websites instead of FB pages. It costs more, but it makes more sense, given how drastically FB has reduced its reach. One of my pages has 10,000 fans - I made a post yesterday that reached 18 people. That's not a success story (nor worth my time) to my way of thinking.
10:26 pm on Nov 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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10,000 fans - I made a post yesterday that reached 18 people.


I feel special 4,000 fans 24 reached.
12:35 pm on Nov 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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" 10,000 fans - I made a post yesterday that reached 18 people."

Wow. How is that even possible to reach that few people with so many FB followers. Looks like FB controls what post to show to their users. That's not good.
1:50 pm on Nov 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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How is that even possible to reach that few people with so many FB followers.

I don't know Netmeg's particular situation, but there are several things that can cause that to happen. She could be triggering their promotional/clickbait algo. People who do see the articles over time could not be clicking on them so they are shown less to people over time as well. Or other things as well. I know my percentage of views to followers is much better than that so keep in mind that results vary.

I have always thought of FB as like an email list. Even with a great email list, you really can't expect more than an open rate of 2-3% followed by a CTR or 2-3% after that. Sure, some people get more, some people get less.

As with all things internet marketing, there is a degree of optimization required for making FB and other social media successful.

I personally have always been surprised, given that WebmasterWorld is so heavily SEO, that there is not more talk about FB optimization or Twitter optimization (or all the others). For the most part, I see people who talk about making social media work like it is some kind of magical mystery that cannot be fathomed. And these are the same people who will spend hours dissecting every tiny aspect of the latest Google update and discuss ad nauseam how best to phrase their title tag for maximum CTR in the SERPs.

When you consider that almost as many people visit Facebook a month as visits Google (and almost more people visit Facebook than Yahoo and Bing COMBINED), why the SEO community, who has been harping about trying to wean itself off Google for over a decade now, acts like FB is just not a nut to crack. I find it very confusing.
1:59 pm on Nov 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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why the SEO community, who has been harping about trying to wean itself off Google for over a decade now, acts like FB is just not a nut to crack. I find it very confusing.


We cracked it years ago. And now we see the diminishing trend, so we're moving on to other things. There's a LOT of current articles and blog posts about Facebook's diminishing returns in the marketing world, if you really are confused about the lack of enthusiasm. Facebook wants to be paid for page promotion, and they're going to keep reducing reach until they get it. And that's their prerogative, but it doesn't work for my business model, nor a lot of others business models.
6:44 pm on Nov 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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There's a LOT of current articles and blog posts about Facebook's diminishing returns in the marketing world

As there are about Google and the SERPs as well as the fact that they would like to drive you to pay there as well, and yet everyone still keeps pounding away at that one.

Every argument I see against and for FB, I could replace the word FB with Google and have the exact same legitimate argument.

My question is why have people given up on FB while clinging to Google?

I don't expect you specifically, Netmeg, to answer in regards to your sites. I get it. It does not work for you business model (as you have mentioned repeatedly). But why is this the case for the web community as a whole? Surely, the entire web cannot say "it is just does not work with their business model".

Why is it when Google changes the game completely, everyone leaps over a cliff to figure it out and when FB does, everyone shrugged and went "eh, I give up"? Is it really possible that FB figured out what Google could not, which is to create a puzzle so hard that no one felt the need to figure it out?
7:30 pm on Nov 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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My question is why have people given up on FB while clinging to Google?


FB gives a couple hundred visitors a month (at best)

Google provides thousands of visitors a month
11:06 pm on Nov 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Why is it when Google changes the game completely, everyone leaps over a cliff to figure it out and when FB does, everyone shrugged and went "eh, I give up"? Is it really possible that FB figured out what Google could not, which is to create a puzzle so hard that no one felt the need to figure it out?


Think user intent.
11:51 pm on Nov 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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There's a LOT of current articles and blog posts about Facebook's diminishing returns...


Facebook Has Finally Killed Organic Reach. What Should Marketers Do Next? [blogs.forrester.com]

Ogilvy reported that in February 2014 large brandsí Facebook posts reached just 2% of their fans (a number that was falling by .5% per month). And earlier this year a Forrester study showed that on average, only .07% of top brandsí Facebook fans interact with each of their posts.

- Add social relationship tools to your own site.

- Stop making Facebook the center of your relationship marketing efforts.
 

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