Social Capital: Online Video and Photo Usage

Chalk another one up for the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and focused on reports exploring the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.

One of their latest studies covers how photos and videos have become important indicators of social capital online. The sample group fell into two general categories: people who share photos and videos they created are called Creators and ones who repost photos and videos they discovered online are called Curators. Pew found:

  • 46% of adults online post photos and videos they have created themselves
  • 41% reposted photos and videos from other online sources they discovered
  • 56% of internet users do at least one of these creating or curating activities
  • 32% do both creating and curating

These findings highlight how people are becoming much more comfortable about sharing photos and videos, but more importantly for SEO consultants like us and businesses like our clients it shows evidence of people valuing photos and videos online and being willing to both create and share them. These trends could provide valuable and effective marketing opportunities for companies who smartly leverage photos and videos within their social media programs.

What social media platforms did the study cover? Good question: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter were naturally included, but also Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr for the first time (Strangely, Google+ continues to be either overlooked by most web studies or there is a perception out there that it is still not “mainstream” enough to be included).

See the full study on how photos and videos have become social capital and included is a full explanation on how the study was done. Please contact our Philadelphia SEO firm for any help with your company’s social media programs or how to better utilize photos and videos.

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2012 Election’s Impact on Manufacturing

The issues of outsourcing jobs and unfair trading practices have gotten a lot of attention from the federal, state and local campaigns and local and national media. However, there are other issues of vital import to  the manufacturing sector today’s election may impact that have received less or little media or campaign coverage.  Those include the future of tax credits, tax reform, workforce development initiatives, energy policy and health-care reform.

Many manufacturers utilize tax credits for equipment and other capital purchases, research and development and to retain jobs in the United States. Once the elections are settled, those could come to an end depending on the outcome of the presidency and the composition of the Congress. Bonus Depreciation, the R&D Tax Credit and Section 199 Domestic Production are just a few of the manufacturing tax credits that are set to expire at the end of the year unless renewed by Congress. Which ones will survive? No one knows since the issue has been tabled during the election process with both parties reluctant to make tough choices that could turn off potential voters. Yet, January is right around the corner and those choices will need to be made soon as part of avoiding the larger “fiscal cliff” facing our nation.

More comprehensive tax reform has also been floated by both parties to varying degrees and the choices involved in deciding how that reform is constructed and implemented are other important factors to watch. Details have been largely non-existent from any of the media reports or campaign talking points and it will be interesting what actions, if any, are taken in the coming months.

Workforce development remains a major issue for manufacturers nationwide. We see it with our clients and many other companies that continue to struggle finding employees they need and the skills they require. This seems strange looking at the high numbers of skilled unemployed currently and the young job seekers entering the job market, but manufacturers tell me the current educational system is not producing enough skilled engineers, machine operators and other technical labor necessary to push innovation, productivity and revenue growth. Federal support for programs to help reverse these trends may hang in the balance of this election.

Energy policy has been talked about more than most of these issues, but the visions on the federal and many state levels differ on how we approach energy independence, climate change, innovation in renewable energy sources and the investigation/acquisition of new sources of fossil fuels. These impact the price of gas, electricity and other items critical to manufacturing not only in the management of their facilities, but also related to the development and transportation of their products.

Health-care reform has also been a hot topic for manufacturers for years now. With the passage of ObamaCare, as it has been coined during the presidential campaign, accusations have been levied that it has cost jobs, will raise costs and is not reflective of what the majority of Americans want. Yet it also expanded health insurance coverage, stopped insurance companies from ruling on pre-existing conditions and allowed children to stay on a parent’s plan longer during tough economic times. Will and can it be repealed? Will we go back to the previous status quo? What will companies be expected to do with their employees? All are open questions that may start to be answered depending on today’s election.

The other possible situation is, regardless of who is elected President and the composition of Congress, our federal government stays in gridlock and the extreme partisanship continues to be the handbook they both read from for years to come. This is a vital election cycle for manufacturing, but also for all of us.



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SEOmoz Survey of SEO Consultants Mentions Blue Horseradish

A couple of months ago we received an inquiry from an organization in the northwest US which contained four questions about SEO practices. With a little bit of savvy investigating, we were able to track the inquiry back to SEOmoz, one of the leading providers of SEO tools. SEOmoz told us they were doing a survey of SEO consultants and asked us to keep their survey a secret until it was released. Interestingly, they found Blue Horseradish by searching for Philadelphia + ”SEO Firm,” “SEO Services,” and “SEO Company”.

The survey How Many SEO Consultants Actually Know What They’re Talking About? was released yesterday in SEOMoz’ “The Daily SEO Blog”. We were pleased that they mentioned Blue Horseradish as being one of only three companies “clever” enough to figure them out.  Thanks SEOmoz for mentioning us.

The survey results, from 28 respondees, indicated a high level of expertise and mostly good advice from these SEO consultants.  It’s good to know that many consultants provided a high level of expert advice. As some comments on this article pointed out, this is in stark contrast with the ineffective tactics often described by those spammy unsolicited emails from low quality SEO services.

Check out the article and survey, and thanks again SEOmoz for the mention.

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SEO Copywriting for Google: Natural & Relevant is Best

SEO CopywritingSEO copywriting consists of a blend of educational and marketing text designed to communicate effectively to two distinct audiences: people and the search engines.

Each audience have different purposes for visiting a website, but the common theme is both look for relevant and valuable information that convinces them a particular company is a good resource and offers valid products or services within a certain niche.

People want to find the best solution for the problem or need they are trying to address and the search engines work to reward the company websites that provide those best solutions by ranking them highly for the relevant keyword searches.

The seo copywriter must satisfy these needs by providing that relevant and natural information in a persuasive yet soft-handed manner for both audiences. Very few appreciate a hard sales pitch anymore especially when the information presented leaves out important details or is focused primarily on the marketing aspect. At Blue Horseradish, we recommend copywriting focused on people and the educational aspect primarily and believe writing in a natural way works best for the search engines as well.

A recent interview by Karon Thackston, president of the Marketing Words, Inc. web and SEO copywriting agency & author of the Step-By-Step Copywriting Course, with Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam Team, reinforces this approach. Previously, a popular practice for keyword optimization focused on repeating exact keyword phrases throughout the page copy to match the specific phrase a person used and achieve a high ranking on the search engines.

For instance, if a person searched for ”marine force sensors” the copy would include that phrase multiple times and in multiple places on the web page. Now, Matt Cutts states including the exact phrase is not as necessary and that page copy that naturally includes the exact phrase and “marine”, “force” and “sensors” separately would be optimal matches and could receive positive results.

Karon Thackston asked several very relevant questions that get to the heart of this approach in her interview:

KARON: Can you confirm and/or comment on whether keyphrases always need to be used in their original form and if it helps or hurts to also use the words within the phrase?

MATT: Keyphrases don’t have to be in their original form. We do a lot of synonym work so that we can find good pages that don’t happen to use the same words as the user typed.

In general, though, if the words are on the web page (not in a spammy way, of course), that makes our job easier because we don’t have to rely on synonym matches to find good documents.

KARON: Has proximity of the keywords on the page also gone by the wayside? And, while we’re on the topic, is it still best practice to include keywords in certain locations on the page? For instance:

1. Headline 2. Subheads 3. Alt tags 4. Anchor text link Etc.

MATT: People can overdo it to the point that we consider it keyword stuffing, and it hurts. I would just make sure you do it in natural ways where regular people aren’t going to find it stiff or artificial. That tends to be what works best.

KARON: So, then, you’re saying perhaps put the original keyphrase on the page once or twice (to help Google out), and then just use the individual words within the phrase throughout the rest of the copy? If so, that’s what I’ve been suggesting for years.

In light of all the recent changes with Google, would using the keyphrase numerous times (which is what everybody has gotten used to doing over time) hurt the page’s ability to rank? I’m not talking about the infamous keyword density. For years most people have been taught that you do keyword research to find what people are searching for, and then you use those phrases (provided they are relevant) within your copy, within anchor text links, etc., etc. Still true or…?

MATT: Correct, as long as it’s done naturally, not artificially or in a spammy way.

As I’ve always said, “Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines.” It’s just not necessary. The next time you write a new page of copy, test this approach to writing for the engines and see if you get as good (or better) results than before. I’m betting you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

That last quote by Matt Cutts tells the tale in a nutshell. Write natural and relevant copy for people and the value will be obvious to them and the search engines. Contact us for any help with your SEO copywriting needs.

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SEO Industry Survey – What SEO Consultants Work On

2012 SEO industry-surveySEOMoz is a leading provider of SEO tools and has a lot of good resources for SEO work that Blue Horseradish utilizes on a regular basis, especially their Open Site Explorer, used for link analysis. Every two years they do an SEO industry survey; see the full results at: SEOmoz 2012 SEO Industry Survey.

Of interest was this survey result about the top 10 inbound marketing focused actions that SEO practitioners actually spent time doing (as % of respondents). See chart below courtesy of SEOMoz.

2012 SEO Industry Survey

This is a pretty good mix of the many things that Blue Horseradish works on for clients that are “inbound marketing” related. The list does not include some of the basic SEO activities that we regularly provide like keyword research, content creation/SEO copywriting, web analytics, and link building – it seems these are not in the category of “inbound marketing” but are included in the section of the survey called “Service Mix and Demand”.


  • Blogging is the most popular item in this list and customers who blog regularly benefit with more traffic and referrals.
  • Social media and articles/guides are good tactics too.
  • We’d like to see our clients utilize video more and those who do employ video are typically quite successful with it.
  • We don’t see much with polls/surveys and we haven’t done much with infographics…. yet.

This SEO industry survey tells us that Blue Horseradish and its clients are on the right track. Thanks SEOMoz for the survey!


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