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Social Media is Forcing Us to Tell The Truth… “Transparency” – Great Article!

Transparency: Social Media Is Forcing You to Tell the Truth

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You Better Tell The Truth! – Smackwagon

“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.” —Hunter S. Thompson.

Dr. Thompson would have loved to write about the immoral alliances between politicians, the press and the police that led to yesterday’s execution of News of the World. He’s not here to do that, and social media has replaced gonzo journalism as a force targeting corporate irresponsibility and enforcing transparency—in this case irresponsibility in media itself.

Although closing down the Murdoch’s flagship publication was inevitable under the circumstances, the timeline was accelerated by the realization by major brands such as Ford that advertising in News of The World might not be such a good idea. What’s remarkable is the speed at which advertisers shifted their position on News of The World.

“I sourced some more advertisers from Sunday’s News of the World,” said Andy Dawson, who goes under the twitter name @profanityswan, “and urged my Twitter followers to copy and paste the tweets if they felt strongly about the hacking story. Within about 90 minutes, it had started to snowball, and my timeline was filled with people tweeting at various companies.”

According to Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent for BBC Mobile, “a random collection of loosely organised people with no one leader have come together to deal a blow to the finances of a powerful media organization.”

Welcome to what political analyst and writer Micah Sifry has dubbed “the uncomfortable Age of Transparency.” Sify argues that we are in a generational and philosophical struggle between older, closed systems and the new, open culture of the Internet. Despite the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the publication of secret documents continues around the world, and citizens are demanding more accountability from government leaders and corporate executives.

In 2007, Fortune magazine estimated that there were 70 million blogs, up from 15,000 in 2002. Many blogs and websites target a particular industry or corporation and tap inside sources eager to leak information without revealing their identities and putting their relationships or jobs at risk. As an example, protestbarrick.net helps group researching and advocating around mining issues, particularly involving Barrick Gold.

“Businesses now really need to understand something that governments, dictators didn’t understand. Someday you’ll be busted. Anything you do will be known. Social media’s gonna get you, and if you’re lying we’re gonna know,” Egyptian filmmaker Amr Salama said at the annual Cannes advertising festival last month.

Today, global corporations run the risk of being busted at any time. The best defense against this is transparency. The problem is that business people don’t know what transparency looks like or how to assess whether or not their companies are, in fact, transparent.

What transparency means to business has changed dramatically. According to the Business Dictionary, transparency is the “minimum degree of disclosure to which agreements, dealings, practices, and transactions are open to all for verification.”  However, in their 2008 book, Transparency: Creating a Culture of Candor, authors Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, and Patricia Ward Biederman describe transparency as “the free flow of information within an organization and between the organization and its many stakeholders, including the public.”

Volkswagen’s Transparent Factory puts corporate transparency in a new light. “Die Gläserne Manufaktur” is an automobile production plant located just 100 meters from the Dresden Botanical Gardens in the city center. It blends with the beauty of the ancient German city. Visitors are more likely to think it is an art gallery or modern office block than a car factory. No noise, dirt or pollution emits from it, and passers-by can see in real-time if things are moving, working and shipping. It is likely that Die Gläserne Manufaktur has reduced Volkswagen’s risk of being targeted by social media activism.

Is it possible to attach key performance indicators to something as intangible as transparency? Shel Holtz and John Havens, authors of Tactical Transparency, have developed the following framework for assessing transparency, to which my company, Impakt Corporation,  has added specific measurement criteria.

Leadership: The leaders of transparent companies are accessible and are straightforward when talking with members of key audiences.

Values: Ethical behavior, fair treatment, and other values are on full display in transparent companies.

Culture: How a company does things is more important today than what it does. The way things are done is not a secret in transparent companies.

Business strategy: Of particular importance to the investment community but also of interest to other audiences, a company’s strategy is a key basis for investment decisions relating to increasing transparency.

Employees: Employees of transparent companies are accessible, can reinforce the public view of the company, and are always able to help people where appropriate.

Results: Transparent companies are clear about the results of all business practices, both good and bad. Successes, failures, problems, and victories all are communicated to all stakeholders.

Charles Green founder and chief executive of Trusted Advisor Associates believes that it’s also important to remember that transparency is about more than processes and measurement. “If a company manages itself significantly by values then it is more likely to be transparent,” he says. “The reason is simple when you think about it: You can keep total secrecy with a hierarchical, need-to-know, numbers approach, but managing by values requires a lot of open communication.”

In a recent TED Talk, Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock said transparency is scary, unpredictable and risky. Last week police, politicians, and the media found out that in the age of social media not telling the truth is even more risky and transparency is paramount. As one former Fleet Street editor said: “This is Britain’s Arab Spring.”

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Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO: Top Tips & Tutorial

Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO: Top Tips & Tutorial

Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors is designed to illustrate the most important things that can help you gain traffic from search engines such as Google and Bing. This is our companion guide designed to explain the table in more depth and provide a tutorial into the world of search engine optimization.

Search Engine Ranking Factors

There are four major groups of SEO ranking factors:

  • On The Page Ranking Factors
  • Off The Page Ranking Factors
  • Violations
  • Blocking

Within each group are are subgroups, as further pages of this guide will explain. Each of those subgroups contain one or more individual SEO factors.

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Factors – Smackwagon

Those two letter acronyms you see on the chart? That’s our play on the periodic table of elements, and its two letter representations of each element. The first letter of each “SEO element” comes from the subgroup that it’s in. The second letter stands for the individual factor.

Factors Work In Combination

No single SEO factor will guarantee search engine rankings. Having a great HTML title won’t help if a page has low quality content. Having many links won’t help if they are low quality links. But having several positive factors can increase the odds of success. As for negative factors, they obviously can worsen the odds.

On The Page Factors

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On The Page SEO Factors Summary

On The Page search ranking factors are those that are entirely within the publisher’s own control. What type of content do you publish? Are you providing important HTML clues that help search engines with determining relevancy? How does your site architecture help or hinder search engines?

Off The Page Factors

Off The Page ranking factors are those that publishers cannot directly control. Search engines use these because they learned long ago publisher signals alone don’t help relevancy. Some publishers will try to make themselves seem more relevant than they are, for example.

More important, with billions of web pages to sort through, looking only at on-the-page clues isn’t enough. More signals are needed to better estimate what are the best pages for any particular search.

Violations

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Violations

Make no mistake. Search engines want people to perform SEO. They provide help directly about SEO techniques and encourage this, because good SEO can improve their listings.

However, there are some techniques that they deem “spam” or “black hat,” acts that if you do could results in your pages getting a ranking penalty or worse, being banned from the search engines entirely.

Blocking

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Blocking

Blocking is a new class of ranking signal. This is where searchers themselves may decide they don’t like pages from a particular web site, even if those web sites don’t violate any traditional spam rules.

Blocking has a big impact on what the individual who blocks sees, but it also has an impact on what every searcher sees.

Weighting

All the factors we show are weighted on a scale of one to three, as shown in the top right corner of each factor. Three is deemed most important, something that you either should especially pay attention to, because it has a bigger impact than other factors.

That doesn’t mean that factors weighted only two or one aren’t important. They are, or they wouldn’t have made the chart. It’s just that they are off less importance in relatively speaking, in terms of everything on the chart.

The weighting is also our opinion, based on what search engines have said, surveys done of SEO and our own experience in watching the space over time. They’re not perfect; not everyone will agree with them. But we think they’re a useful general guide.

Violations and Blocking factors are also weighted in negative numbers, with negative three being the worst.

“Missing” Factors & The Guide’s Philosophy

Some experienced SEOs may be wondering why some factors aren’t shown. How come ALT text or bolding words aren’t included as important HTML factors, for example?

The answer is that we don’t think those things are that important, relatively speaking. We’re not trying to encompass every possible signal (Google has over 200 of them) and sub-signals (Google has over 10,000 of those).

Instead, the goal with the Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors and this online companion guide help those new to SEO focus on the big picture and perhaps help some experienced SEO hit the “reset” button if they’re feeling a bit lost among the trees of the SEO forest.

That’s why this guide doesn’t try to get into the debate over whether having your most important keywords be at the beginning or end of an HTML title tag. Nor are we trying to assess if H1 header tags carry more weight than H2 tags.

We’re purposely avoiding being so specific because such things can easily become overkill. Instead, we want you to understand that your pages should have descriptive titles, that indicating page structure with header tags may help, and topping things off with easily deployed meta description tag is a good idea Do these things, and you’d probably addressed 90% of the most important HTML-related factors.

Similarly, it’s not whether a good reputation on Twitter is worth more than on Facebook. Instead, it’s trying to help people understand that having social accounts that seem reputable in general, which attract a good following and generate social shares, is a good that may help you with your search efforts.

But I Want More!

Having said that, some may want to drill down into specifics, to the degree anyone can agree on this. In that case, the SEOmoz Search Engine Ranking Factors survey is worth looking at. Every two years, it tries to harness the collective knowledge of what hundreds of SEOs think are important and specific ranking factors.

You might also look at the Covario’s SEO Audit Score whitepaper, which can be downloaded here, though you have to go through free registration to get it. It analyzes some specific factors from nearly 1 million pages to try and determine what’s most important.

Over time, we’ll add other links to detailed surveys like this. But we do hope you’ll keep any specifics in the context of the fundamentals our table covers. Also see our What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization? page, which lists some useful guides to the fundamentals (including one from Google itself) along with many more SEO resources.

Of course, the guide you’re reading now is also a great resource for understanding the key SEO factors anyone should know. Use the “Next” link below to continue reading forward through the guide. The “Everything” links will let you easily jump between sections.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Social Media Success Varies By Country and Economy

Social Media Success Varies By Country and Economy

Different strokes for different folks right? Well, with social media that holds true as a study conducted by Regus shows. eMarketer provides the following chart examining the success in social media levels in a variety of countries

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Companies that Use Social Media for new Clients

What the next chart shows more than anything is not so much about how social media impacts revenue but more so how the overall economic climate does.

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Companies Not Using Social Media for new Clients

While we all want to see information that confirms our thoughts on the success of social media it is critical to remember that social media is not a standalone deal. It is part of how we communicate overall with customers. Social media cannot overcome poor economic conditions but it can influence people in ways that have not been available in the past.

As a result, that last chart shows that even in the harsh times like we are experiencing in the US social media could provide an incremental bump in revenue that may not be found otherwise. Of course attributing that bump to just social media can be a dangerous line of thinking as well so we all just need to exercise some caution and make sound conclusions.

SNAP! Ahhhh, never mind. It’s the Internet. Just say whatever you want and people will believe it, right? :-)

So go be social and sell everything![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

SMACKWAGON

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