Flickr Update: Links in Comments are now No-Follow

Welcome to the ever changing world of search marketing. For those of you who have attended my training, you might remember me talking about making sure to put your website address in the comment field for each photo you upload, because it increases the number of inbound links you can create.

Flickr has now made those links “nofollow” which means that search engine spiders don’t follow those links to your website (they don’t count now as inbound links). They are still useful for humans who are looking at the photos, and the links you place on your group and profile pages are still followed, but the links in your images are now not followed.

Flickr is still a useful community to be a part of, based on shear number of users. But make sure to join other groups that have similar photos – that will encourage more people to find your photos and learn about your mission.

How Reporters Use the Web to Learn about You

I wanted to spread the word about a new study conducted by Bulldog Reporter and TEKgroup International, Inc. about how reporters are using the Internet when researching stories. The findings were released at the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Conference this year.

Summary of Findings:

  • Nearly half of all journalists report visiting a corporate website or online newsroom at least once a week, while more than 85% visit at least once a month
  • More than a quarter of the journalists studied reported regularly reading five or more blogs to research desired topics, and nearly 70% followed at least one blog regularly
  • More than a quarter (28%) of journalists visit a social media or networking site, such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace, at least once a week, while more than 44% visit at least once a month
  • Some 64% report that they use Google or Yahoo! online news services

What Does this Mean for Non-profits?

A couple of things:

1. Make sure your nonprofit website has a newsroom page on your site. The newsroom should include (at a minimum) a press contact, background flyer about your organization, recent press releases, ability to download your organization’s logo, and links to YouTube or Flickr (if you’re posting on those sites).

2. Considering reporters are reading blogs, your outreach strategy should be to include bloggers into your press contacts. Find bloggers that cover your nonprofit’s subject area, and send them information about current news and events. They won’t respond well to a formal press release, but a personalized email should do the trick.

3. Add your nonprofit to Facebook. Feel free to read my older post about how to create a profile.

4. Make sure to send out your news using pr.com or prleap.com so that your news is picked up by Google and/or Yahoo’s News, and if it’s really newsworthy, create a profile and post on Reddit.com.

Times are a changing folks! Reporters are your best friend because they can promote your non-profit’s mission to the public FOR FREE. But this will only happen if you make their job easy for them.

NonProfit using Social Media: Goodwill of Greater Washington

I’m always on the look-out for non-profits that are doing a great job of using the web to engage their customer.

In this post, I wanted to highlight Goodwill of Greater Washington, who uses a blog, a virtual runway and E-bay/MissionFish powered fashion show & auction, and a pretty cool dialogue with the vintage clothing industry to engage their customers. They promote all of this with a facebook profile, MySpace page, they joined the DC Fashionist Meetup Group.

You should spend some time watching the fashion show. It’s taking a page from Project Runway. What an innovative way to change the perception of the quality of clothing that you can find in a Goodwill Store! You can buy many of the items on Ebay, so you can buy right from your computer – supporting Goodwill’s training and work placement programs for people with disadvantages and disabilities.

How has this strategy worked for them? Months after launching the program, the effort receives more than 1000 unique visitors weekly and its shopper conversion rate is 4.5%. Even better, national media outlets like CNN, Good Morning America and the Washington Post have discovered Goodwill’s online fashion show, turning it into a national phenomenon. (from Ylan Mui, Washington Post, “Goodwill’s New Look: Cheap Can Also Be Chic,” October 29, 2007)

There are also snippets from Brendan Hurley, Goodwill’s VP of Marketing from his interview on the Diva Marketing blog that I had to share:

It was Geoff (Geoff Livingston of Livingston Communications) that taught me that we had to treat the blog just like any other product with a mission statement, logo, positioning statement, etc. Doing so has helped us stay focused and forced us to maintain product integrity so that the blog doesn’t become another blatant advertisement that will simply turn off any half educated reader. The content has value and I believe that is what keeps readers coming back.

There are valuable tidbits to learn from how Goodwill has approached using social media:

1. They realize that the blog & online fashion show are branded products that have a distinct mission and need feed, care and promotion to be succcessful.

2. They invested resources in this effort. By having an employee dedicated to managing the pieces they were able to be more successful.

3. They joined existing social groups (Meetup) within their passion to promote their mission, and are using existing tested tools (Ebay/MissionFish) to execute their strategy instead of creating something from scratch.

4. They are tracking their end results with Google Analytics to be able to highlight their success.

Silver Star! The Volunteer Center of United Way in Hartsdale, NY

I wanted to highlight another nonprofit who is uploading their photos on Flicker, the Volunteer Center of United Way in Hartsdale, NY!

They get a silver star, and they can improve their Flicker presence by:
1. Label all of their photos with something descriptive that uses some keywords
2. Spell out RSVP and add your Volunteer Center’s name, city and state to the comments for each photo
3. Add “New York” and “NY” to your tags
4. Explain why the RSVP volunteers are swing dancing. Is it a volunteer recognition event? A fundraiser?
5. Edit your Flickr profile. I’m assuming they meant to say “increase the quality and number of active volunteers in Westchester”

It’s a great first effort!

Both of theses Volunteer Centers could also join the following photo groups on Flickr:
1. VolunteerNow
2. Volunteer Does a Body Good
3. Senior Volunteers

A Gold Star! Volunteer Center at United Way of Volusia-Flagler on Flickr!

I love being able to highlight non-profits who have been through my training and have applied my principles!

Today’s honoree is the Volunteer Center at United Way of Volusia-Flagler, who has created a Flickr profile and has uploaded volunteering photos!

I would particularly like to draw attention to the details that they provided with their uploaded photo. They are using great keywords in their description, and a link to their site.

It’s a great job, and I have two more suggestions for them:
1. Edit the title of the photo so that it reads: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK Day) Project 2008
2. Add “Martin Luther King Jr. Day” (spelled out) to your tags
3. Add the photo to the existing Martin Luther King Day of Service group

But great job! Now keep an eye on your Web Analytic reports to see if Flickr shows up as a referrer of traffic to your site.

P.S. If you noticed, the Volunteer Center at United Way of Volusia-Flagler got a lot of “link love” from this post, so feel free to send me an email with how your nonprofit is using social media sites to generate traffic to your online content, and you might also be featured by me in a blog post and receive some link love of your own.

Free Online Marketing & Management Classes

I have not reviewed these classes, but wanted to pass them along in case folks find this useful.

Google Local Search Results Change

Just a heads up that Google Local has changed the number of results that it displays from 3 to 10, and based on this post from Search Engine Land your ability to ensure that your nonprofit to be displayed in that top 10 is at least in part due to positive reviews.

So for all of you managing your local search listing, I would encourage the folks you work with to create a review of your services.

For an example of what I’m talking about, type “volunteer opportunity in Chicago” into Google’s search box and see what happens. The first thing you should notice is that neither Volunteer Center in Chicago is listed (so if you’re reading this blog and work at those Volunteer Centers, I would register your Center). Also you’ll notice that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has 17+ reviews. Go ahead and click on the reviews link…notice that there’s a “Write a Review” link at the top? This is where your volunteers and folks that you work with should go to write a recommendation about your services.

Is it worth it? Did you notice that it lands you in the #1 spot for free for “volunteer opportunity + city”? That should be a part of every Volunteer Center’s “winning” keywords list, so I think it’s totally worth it.

10 Signs you are a Search Marketing Geek

OK, I have to admit that I stole this and modified from another post.

Here is my top ten list to know if your a marketing geek:

  1. You look for and point out the SEO mistakes on every site you visit.
  2. Your friends and family have stopped sending you forwarded chain emails because they are tired of being accused of spamming.
  3. You use acronyms for everything even if there is no reason to.
  4. You forget that phone directories still exist until you see the new one on your doorstep once a year.
  5. When you go out to eat you look for user reviews on the menu and can’t believe that restaurants have not embraced user generated content.
  6. You want to call up every restaurant you find that doesn’t have an operable website to offer your services – just so next time you can easily find their menu and phone number.
  7. You can’t understand why EVERY local business is not registered on local search – it’s free people! And it will let me find your phone number and address, considering I recycle the phone book as soon as it’s delivered to my door.
  8. You get caught up in the usability of every website you visit
  9. You’ve developed a new game with friends and family titled, “Can you tell me what this ad is selling and who is selling it?”
  10. You’ve put your 60 something parents through search engine marketing training so that they can help you promote your family’s website (yes, I’ve actually done this)

Does Wikipedia Link to your Website?

Wikipedia even tells you! Just follow this link, and put in your website address. Remember, Wikipedia is the most visited website in the world, so it’s worth making sure your site is mentioned somewhere in the encyclopedia!

Microsoft Hopes to Buy Yahoo, Google not Pleased

Now granted, of course Google wouldn’t want the other two big search engines to become one with a huge amount of market share, but I also have to agree that competition is a good thing for consumers.

If you want to catch up with the latest news on the potential buy, check out Search Engine Land’s compilation of opinions about the story.

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