Larry BraunerIn the past year, “findability” has become something of a buzzword, yet findability is much more than a buzzword.

Findability is people’s ability locate and engage with your web content through a combination of search and social mechanisms. And findability convergence is interaction you create and synergy you foster between search and social strategies and techniques.

Findability Trumps Quantity and Quality

Your web presence is at least as much governed by the findability of your content as it is by its quantity and quality. Findability activities need to be fully integrated with your web content production to permit your intended audience to find and interact with that content.

As I stated in Why Bad Things Happen to Good Content, “Sadly, very many potentially useful web sites languish in obscurity like proverbial trees falling in forests with no one around to hear them. While these web sites have excellent content, they have few readers to use or enjoy that content [i.e., they lack findability].

“Good content needs to be consumed. I would rather publish marginally good material that is highly consumed than top-notch content that merely gathers dust.”

Focus on Search and Social

Findability is necessary if your content is to be consumed and discussed. So if you’re content is good but isn’t getting enough reaction, your search and social initiatives are probably falling short.

Weekly Website Traffic from All SourcesThe New Website Traffic Case Study — Watch Company — Weeks 1-13 that I presented two weeks ago was an example of using search and social to increase content findability.

Focus as much on search and social as you do on content, and your web presence will grow.

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Larry BraunerI wrote back in November that I was launching a website and building a web presence for a small business that makes luxury watches and that also handles distribution for other upscale watch brands.

Generating website traffic is a key aspect of any online initiative, and I devised a four-part plan for attracting website visitors:

  1. Company Contact Lists - Mailing to existing lists of company business contacts.
  2. SEO - Posting search optimized web content six or more times per week on the company blogs.
  3. Social Media Sites - Reaching out on Facebook, Twitter, Small Business Network, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Amplify, Business Exchange, Posterous, etc.
  4. Community Building - Using website widgets and TweetAdder to grow a following on Facebook and Twitter, as well as an RSS and email subscriber base.

After 13 weeks of effort, I’m pretty satisfied with the growth of website traffic. However, I am very subjective, so I welcome your feedback.

Weekly Website Traffic from All Sources

Website traffic started to explode around week 9 or 10, and reached 1,741 website visits in the 13th week.

Weekly Website Traffic from All Sources
Weekly Website Traffic from All Sources
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Weekly Website Traffic from StumbleUpon

Website traffic from StumbleUpon has been fairly flat all along, averaging around 400 visits per week. I don’t know how to quantify the benefit from StumbleUpon traffic, but I’m hoping that such traffic, weak as it is, still contributes something to added awareness of the company’s watches and their brands.

Weekly Website Traffic from Stumble Upon
Weekly Website Traffic from Stumble Upon
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Weekly Website Traffic from Search Engines

Targeted website traffic from search engines is, according to my thinking, the most important form of web traffic. The effect of search engine optimized content can be both far reaching and long lasting.

Weekly website traffic from search engines to the company domain has been growing all along, but it really took off in the 9th week and exceeded 500 visits in week 13.

Weekly Search Traffic from Search Engines
Weekly Search Traffic from Search Engines
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Weekly Website Traffic from Other Sources

Website traffic from other sources including direct traffic and email traffic was substantial.

On the other hand, with the exception of StumbleUpon, none of the social media sites are yet providing large numbers of visitors, although several are providing high quality inbound links that help off-page search engine optimization.

Weekly Website Traffic from Other Sources
Weekly Website Traffic from Other Sources
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Additional Website Traffic Strategies and Techniques

Phase two, which begins tomorrow, will feature additional website traffic strategies and techniques that will accelerate website traffic growth and increase website stickiness. I look forward to presenting the results of this phase three months from now.

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Larry BraunerSearch engine optimization professionals usually have a few tricks up their sleeves. Of course, they want to generate lots of website traffic for their clients or employers.

Most so-called SEO tricks are actually legitimate techniques for tackling complex search problems, while some, like the recent JC Penney website traffic scheme — no, Penney didn’t purchase this link from me :-P — are totally reprehensible.

Every sordid detail of the JC Penney search scandal — and how JC Penny allegedly racked up much unjustified website traffic during the holiday shopping season — are spelled out in Dirty Little Secrets of Search on the NY Times website.

Every cloud has a silver lining. Google “changed its mathematical formula late Thursday in order to better weed out ‘low-quality’ sites that offer users little value,” said Amir Efrati in Google Revamps to Fight Cheaters on the Wall Street Journal website. Hopefully, Google’s new algorithm will improve its search performance and deliver traffic to deserving websites.

My Dirty Little Secrets of Search and Website Traffic

My Dirty Little Secrets of Search and Website TrafficLike other webmasters and website owners, I too want to generate truckloads of website traffic, and as you might guess, I have a bag of tricks at my disposal — my dirty little secrets of search.

I share with you four of my top secrets of search and website traffic:

  1. Help the Search Engines - Lay out your site, tag your images and your posts, and embed your internal and outbound links in ways that make it easy for search engines to determine the subject, thesis and nuances of each of your articles.
  2. Help Readers - Write articles that are easy to find and read. Doing so will help your readers and help you remain honest with your on- page search engine optimization.
  3. Don’t Cheat - As much as you’re anxious to get more website traffic, don’t do anything on-page or off-page that you wouldn’t be willing to shout out to Google, because the search engines are listening. All your tricks should be legit. If you buy links, buy relevant links from reputable sites and directories. Avoid any form of linking scheme.
  4. Keep it Simple - If you can’t explain your strategies and techniques to an intelligent layperson, they’re probably too complex. Seek ways to simplify your approach.

Honesty and transparency are at the core of my dirty little secrets of search and website traffic.

Search gurus will likely call my way simplistic, but it has permitted me — with plenty of hard work posting content, of course — to take a new watch company website from 0 to 75 search visits per day in only 12 weeks with more web site traffic on the way.

Please subscribe. A nice comment will earn you a free dofollow link back to your website or blog. :-)

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Larry BraunerSadly, very many potentially useful web sites languish in obscurity like proverbial trees falling in forests with no one around to hear them. While these web sites have excellent content, they have few readers to use or enjoy that content.

Good content needs to be consumed. I would rather publish marginally good material that is highly consumed than top-notch content that merely gathers dust.

Generating Ample Website Traffic to Your Content

More Website TrafficIf you are a blogger or webmaster, what you do before and what you do after you publish to create website traffic to your content are no less important than the creativity and effort that shaped your content.

Yet, most of us do too little of the preparation and follow-through that our content requires to succeed, as I explained in How to Hit the Right Mix of Website Traffic Sources.

Preparation can include website infrastructure design, SEO and community building. Your follow-through might include email, social bookmarking sites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ning and other social networking sites. These types of activities are mandatory, not optional.

Bad things happen to good content when preparation and follow-through are inadequate. However, the right steps taken both before and after publishing your content will enable your website traffic and content consumption to soar. I know this from personal experience.

We’ve now reached the place in the article where people usually subscribe and leave a comment. ;-)

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Larry BraunerGenerally speaking, a business entity on Facebook needs a Facebook business page, one Facebook business page, no more, no fewer.

Many businesses are trying to reach out on Facebook using only a Facebook personal profile and no Facebook business page, while at the same time, many other businesses are trying to cultivate multiple Facebook business pages. Let’s consider both of these strategies to understand why either is problematic.

No Facebook Business Page

FacebookI presented several reasons for not using a Facebook personal profile in the place of a Facebook business page in 7 Issues to Consider About Doing Business on Facebook.

Here are 10 reasons to use a Facebook business page for business instead of a Facebook personal profile:

  1. Facebook members who wish to follow your business will typically feel less comfortable adding you as friend and opening their private lives to you than merely connecting with your Facebook business page by “liking” it.
  2. In addition, Facebook has created barriers to adding strangers as friends, as I explained in 3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011: Good-Bye Facebook Open Networking.
  3. Mixing business and pleasure on Facebook personal profiles is often complicated.
  4. Because of these limitations, Facebook personal profiles will not grow virally, but Facebook business pages might.
  5. Facebook personal profile friends are limited to 5,000, but there is no limit on the number of Facebook business page fans.
  6. Facebook business-page content can be indexed by the search engines, but Facebook personal-profile content cannot. Facebook business pages can make use of search engines and SEO.
  7. There can be multiple Facebook business page administrators, and their identities will be shielded from visitors and fans. This feature offers Facebook business page administrators flexibility and some degree of privacy.
  8. Facebook business pages support applications and tabs. Personal page application tabs have gone away.
  9. Facebook business page administrators can send updates to fans. Some, not all, of the fans will actually read them, but this feature still has value.
  10. Facebook business pages come equipped by Facebook with a set of analytic tools called Facebook Insights.

Multiple Facebook Business Pages

Want more than one Facebook business page for your business? Build and grow your first Facebook business page successfully. Then, if you still want, we can discuss having multiple Facebook business pages together. ;-)

Now please, “like” my Facebook business page, subscribe to my blog and leave me a comment.

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Larry BraunerIt would be useful if you could know which social media sources, social networking sites and search terms were contributing to your newsletter and blog subscriptions.

You can track newsletter and blog subscriptions to a large extent, although not fully, using web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or Clicky, my favorites, and a trick or two I’m going to share with you.

Accurate Subscription Tracking is Impossible

I asserted in Twitter Stats Defy Measurement that “everything defies measurement and tracking.” Why should subscriptions be exceptions? :)

I believe that some subscriptions methods, such as blog subscription via the RSS icon in the Firefox location bar, can not be tracked, since that icon is external to your site, and you can only track your site itself, since tracking relies on script placed internally within the site’s web pages.

Fortunately, the practical researchers that we are, we’ll draw conclusions about newsletter and blog subscription from whatever data we’re able to obtain. We can obtain tracking data for some RSS subscriptions and most web form email subscriptions.

How to Track RSS Subscriptions

The following four steps will help you track your RSS subscriptions:

  1. Use Feedburner to “burn” your blog’s RSS feed.
  2. Post Feedburner RSS icons prominently on your blog, so that visitors will find it easy click on those icons instead of their browser’s RSS icon. There’s no need to be subtle about your RSS icons.
  3. Use off-site link clicks to your Feedburner page to segment your subscribers within your web analytics program.
  4. Study the sources and behavior of that segment of subscribers.

It’s possible that some members of this RSS subscriber segment will not follow through with their subscription or that they were already your subscribers but didn’t remember. It’s not worth losing any sleep over it.

How to Track Web Form Email Subscriptions

59th Birthday Party and Promote-Yourself Event on FacebookThis one should be a piece of cake — speaking of which, Tuesday is my birthday and you’re invited to my social networking 59th birthday party on Facebook that runs from the 11th through the 20th.

The key to tracking web-form email subscriptions is to set the subscription thank-you page to a page on your blog that’s used only for this purpose and to segment your email subscribers as a result of their visiting the thank-you page. Some visitors who submit web form fail to confirm their subscriptions. Don’t let this issue ruffle your feathers either.

You can track visitors who do confirm by using a subscription confirmation welcome page on your blog. However, after their original tracking session has timed out, they can no longer be connected to their original tracking source, so you might not be any better off than simply tracking visits to your thank-you page.

I implement both thank-you and welcome pages as part of my sign-up process, not only so that I can keep my options open, but so that I can also bring the subscriber back to my blog twice instead of once.

Additional Remarks

I use Aweber for my email subscriptions, but you can use almost any good email contact service. I recommend that you not use Feedburner for your email subscribers, because Feedburner will not afford you sufficient control over your email list.

I sometimes use Google Analytics to merge the RSS and email subscribers into a single segment, but it can be interesting to study the two groups separately.

Now, one final question: How do you prefer to subscribe to this blog, by RSS or by email? ;-)

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Larry Brauner3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011 discussed the decline of open networking on Facebook, the revival of Ning networks and the continued relevance of websites and SEO in building your web presence.

Here are several more social media marketing ideas for the new year that can be especially helpful for small business marketers and entrepreneurs.

Bigger Long-Term SEO Objectives

GoogleOne of the most serious social media and web marketing mistakes I’ve ever made was choosing Online Social Networking as the name of this blog.

I considered naming my blog Social Networking Sites but decided not to, because social networking sites seemed too competitive a keyword phrase for the newbie that I was. Online social networking is searched for 12K times monthly compared to 250K for social networking sites. 12K per month seemed like more than enough traffic to me at that time.

Online social networking was a “reasonable” keyword term. Since it was much less popular than the often searched-for term social networking sites, I hoped to rank for it relatively quickly. However, in the long run, I believe that social networking sites would’ve brought me both greater and more profitable traffic.

My blog probably wouldn’t have yet hit the #1 spot in the search engines for the search term social networking sites as it has already for online social networking, but it would’ve ranked much higher for social networking sites than the present #32 and might have still placed close to the top for online social networking.

I should have considered long term potential and selected more ambitious keywords, just as I have for Gevril, for whom I’ve chosen tough keyword phrases, such as luxury watches and mens watches.

In month one, Gevril Group received 150 search visits. I’ll let you know what happens in month two.

Ning Network Groups

Ning Social NetworksNing groups function like Facebook groups with a few welcome exceptions:

  • Your potential emailing list is unlimited. You can broadcast to Ning group members even after their count exceeds 5,000.
  • The content of your Ning group can be indexed by Google and other search engines, and the greater your group membership, the greater your authority with the search engines will tend to be.
  • Group activity is displayed in your Ning network’s activity feed and transmitted to Ning group members who elect to follow you.

I’m ready and able to assist any group owner on my new Small Business Network who’s dedicated to building a large and influential Ning group, and the group need not necessarily be business-oriented.

Connecting One-to-One

SkypeYour personal network will be strong and prosper if you focus on networking one-to-one. Speak on the phone or over Skype even one time to each person, and you’ll surely build solid online relationships.

If you’re growing a Facebook page, a Ning group or a Twitter account, individually adding one-to-one connections can amount to a large number over time — and perhaps these connections will even help you make many more.

Hope you’ll find these social media and web marketing strategies useful.

Wishing you a successful year. :-)

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Larry BraunerThe social media and web marketing space is evolving, and we must therefore continually revise our social media and web marketing strategies and techniques.

Here are several cases in point that affect social media and web marketing practice, especially for small business.

Good-Bye Facebook Open Networking

FacebookFor years, Facebook was an open social networking site that permitted members to befriend people whom they didn’t know despite mounting privacy concerns.

However, in 2010, Facebook tightened its friending policies in order to combat phishing and spamming practices.

It appears that Facebook now evaluates friend requests based on degrees of separation and profiles users who repeatedly go out-of-bounds, restricting their friending capabilities.

Consequently, we must regard Facebook as a closed networking site going forward, despite the Facebook Freedom to Share and Connect principle, and find approaches to building our Facebook networks that don’t raise red flags.

Hello Ning Open Networking

Ning Social NetworksSince the Ning shift earlier this year from free or paid networks to paid-only networks, protest from disgruntled free-site creators has subsided and, as promised, Ning has come through with improved functionality upgraded periodically.

While Ning cannot compete with Facebook based neither on popularity nor functionality, Ning is nevertheless a great platform for creating niche social networking sites and for open networking.

I’ve dedicated the Small Business Network, my own Ning networking site, to the pursuit of open social and business networking, and I would be delighted if you would join me there.

You can still share via broadcast any of your Ning content, like blog posts or pictures, with all your Ning friends, a feature not found on the Facebook or LinkedIn social networks.

Search Engine Optimization Still Pays Big

GoogleNotwithstanding my remarks in The NEW Search Engine Optimization, search engines are still the mightiest source of website traffic, and SEO is still the most vital web marketing activity.

Social media sites send thousands of visitors per month to Online Social Networking. However, Google and other search engines send much more. Having a website or blog site and optimizing it for search engines and humans is of paramount importance if you want to market successfully on the web.

Put website development and optimization at the very top of your to-do list for 2011.

Please accept my sincere wishes for a healthy, fulfilling and peaceful New Year. I look forward to growing and sharing with you in the years to come.

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A Facebook friend inquired about my top website traffic sources for 2010. I looked, and my sources for website traffic haven’t really changed much since I published My Top 10+ Blog and Website Traffic Sources in January.

My list of traffic sources is a good start for most web marketing endeavors, but it’s only that — a good start.

Hitting the Right Mix of Website Traffic Sources

Get More Web Site TrafficEach marketing initiative is different and needs its own mix of resources. Exploration is necessary to determine an appropriate mix of traffic sources for each project.

For example, StumbleUpon sent this blog 281 visitors in the past 30 days, but in the past 17 days alone, it sent the new Gevril Group web domain I’m building 991 visitors!

So far it appears that StumbleUpon may be more responsive to my luxury watches and watch brands content than it has been to my social media and web marketing content, an observation I would not have gleaned had I written off StumbleUpon based on past disappointing results.

Lists of traffic sources are easy enough to find, so too few traffic sources can’t be the cause for not hitting the right mix of traffic sources. A lack of proper experimentation, adequate traffic diversification and perseverance is a more likely cause for disappointing website traffic.

Too Little for Too Short a Time

Most new marketers do too little for too short a time to hit their mix of website traffic sources, especially with regard to SEO, a major website traffic source that requires substantial time to grow.

Check out my increase website traffic articles for many more tips and, by the way, in case you’re new, this is a good time for you to subscribe and leave a comment. ;-)

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Mastering social media one bite at a time the past few years was an effective strategy for me, as the needs of my small number of clients were modest enough.

That’s changing, as I’ve been engaged as social media and web strategist by the Gevril Group in Valley Cottage, NY, luxury watch distributor, a forward-thinking business with ambitious marketing goals.

A one-bite-at-a-time social media marketing approach for Gevril would be way too laid-back and totally unrealistic.

Gevril’s Social Media and Web Marketing Plan

Gevril Group Luxury WatchesI’ve crafted for Gevril a multi-faceted web marketing plan that matches the company’s far-reaching objectives.

All parts of my plan are to be managed and executed concurrently:

  • Community and List Building - Developing a community and building a subscriber base are impacted by nearly all social media and web marketing functions.
  • Content Creation - The story of each Gevril Group brand needs to be told, and articles, newsletters and press releases need to be written, as well.
  • Web Sites - Ivo Jackson and I are designing GevrilGroup.com. The Gevril Group website will be the hub of the Gevril web presence and a key resource for contact list building.
  • Blogging - Blogs will be used to post fresh content, such as news and product information. We’ve launched several Gevril Group blogs: Watch Brands and Luxury Watches and Men’s Watches.
  • Search Engine Optimization - SEO and social media complement each other very nicely. About 50% of my blog’s traffic comes from searches. Whenever new content is created, SEO needs to be applied. The free Google Keyword Tool is my favorite SEO resource.
  • Email Marketing - We’ll email press releases, and news about products and events to our email marketing lists.
  • Facebook - I’ve set up a facebook.com/GevrilGroup on Facebook, a social networking site I’m quite comfortable with. I hope to build an active community of watch enthusiasts around Gevril’s Facebook page.
  • Twitter - I’ve set up @GevrilGroup on Twitter and will use Tweet Adder to manage the Gevril account and build a targeted following.
  • LinkedIn - While still working on a strategy for LinkedIn, I’ve already joined many relevant LinkedIn groups. I will next create a Gevril company page.
  • Social Bookmarking Sites - I’ve lately received a lot of quality blog traffic from Business Exchange, so I created a Business Exchange topic for the watch industry. I’ll also use Digg, StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking sites.
  • Niche Social Networks - Social networking sites and forums catering to watches or luxury will help Gevril connect with watch enthusiasts.
  • Group Buying - I’ve ruled out Groupon and similar sites as potential marketing channels, but very much like GroupGain, a new website with a new group buying concept that has yet to launch.

Gevril Men's 5101 Rose Gold Avenue of Americas Automatic Date WatchThe ultimate goal of Gevril’s marketing initiatives is to increase sales by enlisting vendors and by creating more consumer demand.

Therefore, every aspect of Gevril’s social media and web marketing plan must contribute directly or indirectly to an increase in Gevril’s sales.

Please visit and follow the Gevril Group on Facebook and Twitter. I hope to see you there. ;-)

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