Search Engine Optimization Guide For Beginners (PART 2)

As I have already discussed about Search Engine Optimization Technique in my first part:  Search Engine Optimization Guide For Beginners (PART 1) .

Lets discuss about Google Guidelines and many more Advance SEO techniques.

google guidlines

 

Google Guidelines

Here are some of the important tips and tricks that can be employed while dealing with Google.

do

  •  A website should have crystal clear hierarchy and links and should preferably be easy to navigate.
  • A site map is required to help the users go around your site and in case the site map has more than 100 links, then it is advisable to break it into several pages to avoid clutter.
  • Come up with essential and precise keywords and make sure that your website features relevant and informative content.
  • The Google crawler will not recognize text hidden in the images, so when describing important names, keywords or links; stick with plain text.
  • The TITLE and ALT tags should be descriptive and accurate and the website should have no broken links or incorrect HTML.
  • Dynamic pages (the URL consisting of a „?‟ character) should be kept to a minimum as not every search engine spider is able to crawl them.
  • The robots.txt file on your web server should be current and should not block the Googlebot crawler. This file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled.

Not to do

  • When making a site, do not cheat your users, i.e. those people who will surf your website. Do not provide them with irrelevant content or present them with any fraudulent schemes.
  • Avoid tricks or link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking.
  • Do not employ hidden texts or hidden links.
  • Google frowns upon websites using cloaking technique. Hence, it is advisable to avoid that.
  • Automated queries should not be sent to Google.
  • Avoid stuffing pages with irrelevant words and content. Also don’t create multiple pages, sub-domains, or domains with significantly duplicate content.
  • Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with hardly any original content.

Crawler/Spider Considerations

Crawler

Also, consider technical factors. If a site has a slow connection, it might time-out for the crawler. Very complex pages, too, may time out before the crawler can harvest the text.

If you have a hierarchy of directories at your site, put the most important information high, not deep. Some search engines will presume that the higher you placed the information, the more important it is. And crawlers may not venture deeper than three or four or five directory levels.

Above all remember the obvious – full-text search engines such index text. You may well be tempted to use fancy and expensive design techniques that either block search engine crawlers or leave your pages with very little plain text that can be indexed. Don‟t fall prey to that temptation.

Ranking Rules Of Thumb

thumb

The simple rule of thumb is that content counts, and that content near the top of a page counts for more than content at the end. In particular, the HTML title and the first couple lines of text are the most important part of your pages. If the words and phrases that match a query happen to appear in the HTML title or first couple lines of text of one of your pages, chances are very good that that page will appear high in the list of search results.

A crawler/spider search engine can base its ranking on both static factors (a computation of the value of page independent of any particular query) and query-dependent factors.

Values

values

  • Long pages, which are rich in meaningful text (not randomly generated letters and words).
  • Pages that serve as good hubs, with lots of links to pages that that have related content (topic similarity, rather than random meaningless links, such as those generated by link exchange programs or intended to generate a false impression of “popularity”).
  • The connectivity of pages, including not just how many links there are to a page but where the links come from: the number of distinct
    domains and the “quality” ranking of those particular sites. This is calculated for the site and also for individual pages. A site or a page is
    “good” if many pages at many different sites point to it, and especially if many “good” sites point to it.
  • The level of the directory in which the page is found. Higher is considered more important. If a page is buried too deep, the crawler
    simply won’t go that far and will never find it.
  • These static factors are recomputed about once a week, and new good pages slowly percolate upward in the rankings. Note that there are advantages to having a simple address and sticking to it, so others can build links to it, and so you know that it’s in the index

Query-Dependent Factors

google-confused

  • The HTML title.
  • The first lines of text.
  • Query words and phrases appearing early in a page rather than late.
  • Meta tags, which are treated as ordinary words in the text, but like words that appear early in the text (unless the meta tags are patently
    unrelated to the content on the page itself, in which case the page will be penalized)
  • Words mentioned in the “anchor” text associated with hyperlinks to your pages. (E.g., if lots of good sites link to your site with anchor text
    “breast cancer” and the query is “breast cancer,” chances are good that you will appear high in the list of matches.)

Meta Tags (Ask.Com As An Example)

Though Meta tags are indexed and considered to be regular text, Ask.com claims it doesn’t give them priority over HTML titles and other text. Though you should use meta tags in all your pages, some webmasters claim their doorway pages for Ask.com rank better when they don’t
use them. If you do use Meta tags, make your description tag no more than 150 characters and your keywords tag no more than 1,024 characters long.

Keywords In The URL And File Names

It’s generally believed that Ask.com gives some weight to keywords in filenames and URL names. If you’re creating a file, try to name it with
keywords.

Keywords In The ALT Tags

Ask.com indexes ALT tags, so if you use images on your site, make sure to add them. ALT tags should contain more than the image’s description. They should include keywords, especially if the image is at the top of the page. ALT tags are explained later.

Page Length

There’s been some debate about how long doorway pages for AltaVista should be. Some webmasters say short pages rank higher, while others argue that long pages are the way to go. According to AltaVista’s help section, it prefers long and informative pages. We’ve found that pages with
600-900 words are most likely to rank well.

In case for any queries feel free to comment.

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Jobs of the Future [Infographic]

People are becoming more and more dependent on their technology, and that dependency is deciding which careers will take off in the future. As robots are used more and more for their convenience, the area of robotics will take off exponentially. Also, people are using psychoactive drugs more than ever before, with one in five adults in the US taking some kind of mental health drug. To learn more about jobs of the future, check out this infographic presented by DegreeQuery.com.

Jobs

Core Vision Technology

 

Infographics by DegreeQuery.com.

More Evidence that Women Rule Social Media

Woman-on-a-Computer

 

Women rule social media. There have been numerous studies that show that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are dominated by women. 75% of women according to Pew Research Center use social networking sites compared to 63% of men. This is important to understand.

First, it reinforces what we already knew, that businesses should be gearing their messages around their products, services, or industry in a way that can appeal to both sexes with an emphasis (in some cases) on women. More importantly, it tells us that some businesses should consider tailoring portions of their social media strategy specifically around women. This is not a universal conclusion; it depends on the business itself. With products and services that appeal to both sexes such as cars and gadgets, the old thinking that marketing should be geared towards men is, well, old.

There’s a caveat to the study. Because of the increased emotional attachment that women demonstrate with their social media profiles versus men, it’s much easier to turn them negative towards a brand when the wrong messages are posted.

This infographic by Weber Shandwick breaks down the study and shows us that women are the “low hanging fruit” in social media marketing.

Women-of-Social-Media

How to Know in 30 Seconds if Your Facebook Presence is Working

 

Investigating

Over the last couple of weeks, my exploration into the world of effective automotive social media has turned more towards pitches and consultations. We’ve spent 9 months now digging deeper than ever before into what constitutes success and we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s pretty simple – if you aren’t selling cars and driving business to the service drive through social media, you’re not doing it right.

The posting strategies that have proven to be successful are a whole other topic that couldn’t fit into a single blog post, so for now I just want to explore the quick and easy methods that I’ve used to tell if a Facebook page is working or not. It comes down to reach, which means that the answer has absolutely, positively nothing to do with fans. I’ll demonstrate that in a moment.

First, let’s take a look at what you want to see on your page or other pages to determine if they’re posts are actually being seen and having an influence on local people on Facebook.

Low-Engagement-Ratio

 

All of the examples above have varying levels of likes, many of which are higher than most dealers. This is used to grade how well a page is doing, but it’s a false positive. The real number to look at rather than likes is the number to the right – “talking about this.” You can determine how many people are actually being reached based upon this number. For example, look at the second example from the top. It has a ton of fans so it must be doing well, right? Wrong. With only 67 people talking about it, that means that the vast majority of the “fans” are not seeing the posts at all in their news feeds.

Keep in mind that it’s a small ration of reach. In other words, the bottom example that has 70 people talking about this is reaching much more than the one above it that has 14 people talking about it. As a rough estimate, you can multiple the number of people talking about it by 20 and that’s approximately the number of people being reached by the page in a given week. In other words, the bottom example is reaching around 1400 people per week and the one above it is reaching around 380 per week.

Here are some examples of what pages should look like after a few months or even weeks of doing the right things on their page:

High-Engagement-Ratio

 

As you can see, the engagement ratios (determined by dividing the number talking about this with the total number of likes) are much higher in this batch. Even the page at the bottom with a mere 267 likes is talked about by nearly three times as many people as the page above with over 73K fans. The number of people reached by the dealerships’ messages through use Facebook news feeds is much, much higher for these properly managed pages.

It’s not just about how many people you’re reaching. It’s also about where the people you’re reaching live.

Here’s an example of a page that is reaching a lot of people:

Wrong-Area

 

As you can see, they have 2,769 people talking about the posts. They have a good engagement ratio relative to their fans and they’re growing nicely. They are very popular in New York City and reaching more 18-24 year olds than any other demographic. You can easily tell when they started targeting more people with Facebook ads based upon the graph.

It all looks great, right? Well, considering this is a dealership in California, it’s likely that they’re focused on getting nationwide popularity. This is a very bad idea.

I went through 74 people who had liked, shared, or commented on their posts. I could not find a single person engaging with the dealership that was within 30 miles of the store. You cannot easily sell cars to people when you’re targeting the whole country. Is it possible? Sure. Is it much less likely than if you maintain a strong local following and target the people who can actually drive to the dealership and buy a car or get their transmission serviced.

In thirty seconds and two clicks of the button, you can tell very quickly if your Facebook presence is working even without seeing the Facebook Insights. I’ve shown dealers how to dig deeper into their insights to prove it even further, but these two telltale signs are very clear indicators of a page’s presence and how well it is working.

Facebook should be localized. The number of fans is a much less important indicator than the number of people who are actually seeing your posts. The sooner you understand the way that Facebook marketing truly works, the easier it will be for you to find success and start selling cars as a result.

How to Identify Potential Brand Ambassadors

Brand-Ambassador

 

Let’s assume, for a moment, that you have step one on the path to building your Brand Ambassador Factory covered. For those who don’t know, step one would be to make sure that your business is operating in a way that creates extremely happy customers and clients. There’s nothing I can say on this social media blog to help you there – run a good business and make people more than satisfied with the results you deliver. If you aren’t doing that, social media can’t fix it.

With the assumption that you’re running a good business out of the way, let’s move on to step two. You have to identify potential brand ambassadors. The initial requirement is easy – they have to like you. Unfortunately, it goes much deeper than that. Liking your business isn’t enough to make a brand ambassador. You have to look for other qualities to go along with it.

This is where stereotypes have to be thrown out. A hip 20-something isn’t necessarily addicted to their smartphone and Facebook. A 65-year-old grandmother isn’t necessarily still handwriting postcards to her grandchildren. You can’t identify a potential social media user without asking them. Once you start asking, you’re going to be surprised at the results.

Before you ask, you’ll want to make sure that your employees are prepared for the initiative. It is an initiative. To downplay it as something that you’re “playing with” or to isolate social media activity to a single person is a mistake. It takes every customer-facing employee at a company to really get the most benefit out of this. Have a meeting and even have everyone read this blog post first. It’s important that they get it before trying to sell them on the concept.

Here are some characteristics you’ll want to look for when determining whether or not to approach someone about being a brand ambassador for your business:

 

Social Media Brand Ambassadors are Social

This isn’t as much of a no-brainer as one might think. There are tons of shy people on social media. In fact, social media offers a venue for shy people to interact with their world from a safe distance which is part of its popularity. These shy people aren’t going to be brand ambassadors.

You want that person who can’t stop socializing. They are often talkative in person, sharing information without being asked. They will likely check their smartphone throughout a long transaction. If they grab it and take a peek every time it pings them with a new text message or Facebook update, they’re connected in all the right ways.

 

Social Media Brand Ambassadors are Friendly

We’ve all known that ever-connected person who is a total snob. Their profile is probably loaded with cynical comments, which are only slightly less cynical than what they say about people in real life.

Friendly people are much more likely to be brand ambassadors. They are the ones who carry an extra smile with them in case yours runs out of juice. They like you the moment they meet you and many people like them as a result.

This is an extremely important trait of a brand ambassador because these are the type of people who are willing to help you out when you ask. At the end of the day, very few people become a brand ambassador without prompting, which means that you want to identify those people who are willing to put their name behind a good experience they’ve had with a company. Remember, brand ambassadors are giving personal endorsements. It’s not like asking someone to post a positive review on Yelp. Getting them to post on their social media is a true endorsement. Since it’s a reflection of themselves that reaches their friends and family, it actually means something. It’s “skin in the game” which is why it’s so much more powerful than a simple positive review.

 

Social Media Brand Ambassadors are Extremely Satisfied

This is the moment of truth. Are they happy, and I mean really happy with your product or service? If they meet the first couple of criteria and they express extreme satisfaction with their transaction, you’ve found an ideal candidate to approach about being a brand ambassador.

You’ve done right by them and you could really use them to do right by you on social media. This is it. You’re about to get a real endorsement from a real person who is likely trusted by their friends and family.

* * *

In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss the ways to approach a potential brand ambassador and put them to work for you.

What’s Your Blog Saying? (One Quick Trick to Find Out!)

blog

 

How do you tell what your blog is about? Sure, you have ideas in your head and dreams in your heart, but it can be difficult to take a step back and look at what you REALLY are saying every day. With Facebook and Twitter Marketing, it’s easy to scroll back through your old posts and get an idea of your voice in a glance. It’s much harder with blogs, because it would take you hours to read through everything you post in a month. There is an interesting way to get a quick snapshot though.  Let us share our technique.

We suggest making a tag cloud. It’s not scientific, but it’s a great way to see your most commonly used words, which will give you a feel for the overall message of your blog.

I created one for Wikimotive.net above. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect it to be. This is Wikimotive’s marketing blog, and right in the middle you have “Wikimotive” followed by “Marketing”. Just by glancing at this tag cloud, you can clearly see what my blog is about. The bigger words are the core themes of the blog, so you’ll see the major social networks, SEO and other search terms, and plenty of things related to digital marketing. What’s just as interesting is the smaller terms, the mortar holding the whole cloud together. Here we see lesser used themes, but we also see hints of the writing style. Words like “simply” and “knowledge” aren’t the main story in and of themselves, but they help you deduce the flavor of the blog.

Head to a free site like Wordle or Tagxedo and create one for your blog today. You may be surprised to see what you had to say.

Original post about Tag Cloud Blogging can be found on Wikimotive’s blog titled, “What’s Your Blog Saying? (A Quick Trick to Find Out!)

Why You Need To Take YouTube Seriously In 2013

take_youtube_seriously_in_2013

 

If you do a fair amount of reading around social media and online marketing blogs, you’ve probably noticed a lot of people are calling 2013 “the year of the video.”

But let me ask you something first, how do you perceive YouTube? Do you see it as a social network? maybe a search engine?

In case you didn’t know, the #2 search engine in the world is not Bing and it’s not Yahoo. It’s YouTube.

Let’s talk about “Discovery” for a second…

Part of what you do for your business marketing online is trying to increase your digital footprint. You want people to find you. You need to be discovered before people can fall in love with you or your brand.

 

Still YouTube seems to be underestimated by many both as a search engine and as a social network.

Quick story

I’m currently involved in a project with a website that requires the integration of a couple of third-party services. As you’d expect when dealing with tools that are a bit technical to deal with, you need to rely on some type of training/documentation. One of these services completely fails on educating the user on how to integrate its own platform, the other provides very heavy documentation that is really hard to understand.

I immediately head to YouTube to see if I can find something there and, to my surprise, there are tons of tutorials on how to install, configure and integrate these platforms. Here are my findings:

  • Most of these tutorials are from people that had no relationship with the companies other than having used them
  • I found a guy I can hire to do the work for me, again, no official association
  • For one of the services, I found a way to avoid all this work by installing a simple WordPress plugin
  • For the other, I found a competitor that might even be a better solution

To be honest, I’d rather get this information directly from the company I’m dealing with but, it’s simply not available. And YouTube helped me find the solutions I needed.

The problem

The problem, for these companies anyway… is that they’re failing to leverage YouTube to be discovered and possibly generate new business. Of course the fact that they’re failing to educate their existing clientele is an epic mistake but that’s material for a whole different post.

For others, this is a great opportunity, they get discovered by solving the problem and answering the questions these companies are not. My YouTube search resulted in a guy from outside the company that’s about to get hired and a competitor that I wasn’t even aware of and just became an option.

Forget SEO

The reason we worry about SEO so much is because we want our websites to rank high in search engines so they can be found. The same reason we are present on social media.

But the work you can do on SEO yourself is limited and, as a small business, hiring an SEO company is usually out of the question.

Chances are you are already doing all you can about optimizing for Google.

So what do you do?

Many companies of all sizes adopted blogging instead as a marketing vehicle in the recent years to use content to be discovered in specific niches.

Now you have to take the same approach with YouTube.

YouTube in your content strategy

So here are 11 quick reasons (what do you want… I had 10 reasons and I thought of one more) why you need to consider adding video to your online marketing strategy:

  1. Again, YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. Why aren’t you there?
  2. Not everybody reads blogs, on YouTube you’re tapping into a possible new audience
  3. YouTube videos are shown on Google results
  4. Video is the best next thing to actual face-to-face interaction and it’s much better to humanize your business than written content
  5. People search YouTube to learn about products and services more than any other social network
  6. Video is easier to communicate and educate your prospects and existing clients around your products
  7. Video is easier to consume than written content
  8. Many of your competitors have no presence on YouTube, but they do on Facebook and Twitter
  9. The opportunities to produce great video quality are reachable to any size budget (even your iPhone can be enough)
  10. Videos, specially YouTube, are widely viewed on all kinds of screens (PC, mobile, tablet)
  11. YouTube videos are super easy to distribute to other social networks and to embed on websites and blogs

Online Video Stats

Comscore published this presentation on Online Video Stats last week.

These numbers are huge. Here are some of the main points you might be interested to know:

  • Online video reaches 85% of the US Internet population. It is the most consumed content format online
  • The number of videos watched online has increased by 800% in the last 6 years
  • YouTube has 153 million unique viewers, that’s almost 100 million more than Facebook
  • YouTube own 48% of the share of content (video views), The second platform is AOL with only 2%
  • Men and women are equally likely to watch videos online

 

Free QR Code Generators for Ecommerce Business Owners

Smartphones and tablets are boosting the popularity of these small 2D barcodes. Here are 5 free online services to create your own QR Codes for ecommerce marketing.

qr-code

 

As the number of consumers wielding a camera-enabled smartphone increases, so do the number of QR Codes in online and print advertising. A QR Code (quick response code) is a type of 2D barcode that can be read using special barcode readers or a camera-enabled smartphone loaded with QR reader software.

QR Codes: A Bit of History

QR codes are not a new technology. They actually date back to the 1990’s but have only become a popular marketing tool recently, due to the explosion of smartphone use. If you didn’t know, QR Code is actually a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated, and it’s an ISO standard. The company has made the specification for QR Code available for use by any person or organization, so you can use the QR codes without a license or paying a fee.

QR Codes for Online Marketing

For marketing, the big deal about a QR Code is that it can be embedded with information such as a URL, SMS message, email or plain text. Businesses can code these to do any number of different things when a customer scans it — like display text, provide contact data or even open a Web page in the browser on the smartphone.  Small business ecommerce site owners can use QR codes to let customers quickly opt-in to an email marketing list or to open a special product page with a discount offer.

If you’re thinking about incorporating QR Codes in to your online marketing strategy, here are five free online services to help you create a QR code.

Five Free QR Code Generators

1.  QR Stuff is free to use and you have unlimited use of the QR codes. With this service you can have a “Free User” account and generate as many QR codes as you like. Subscribers (those with a paid subscription fee, starting at $3.95/month) get analytics and dynamic QR code editing when using the QR Stuff URL shortener, along with other features not available in Free User mode.

QR Stuff supports the following data types: Website URLs (including YouTube Video, Google Maps Location, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare and iTunes Link), plain text, telephone number, SMS message, email address, email message, contact details, calendar event and a PayPal Buy Now link.

2.  The ZXing (short for zebra crossing) Project offers a quick and easy online QR Code generator. The project is an open-source, multi-format 1D/2D barcode image processing library implemented in Java, with ports to other languages.  The ZXing Project QR Code generator supports contact information, calendar event, email address, phone number, SMS message, plain text, URL or Wi-Fi network and Geo location data type.

3.  The QR Code Generator by Delivr lets you create QR Codes and download them in PNG, EPS, or SVG formats. You can also register on the site to access editing features, location via device GPS and QR Code tracking. Delivr’s QR Code Generator supports URLs, tweets, Foursquare check-ins, iPhone App Store downloads, Android Market downloads, Google Analytics campaigns, Coremetrics campaigns, and more.

4. The Quikqr free QR Code generator lets you create, save, print, email or share the QR Code. The free service does not require you to create an account to use Quikqr. Quikqr has partnered with Moo and Zazzle so you can easily create QR Code t-shirts and Moo cards. Quikqr supports URL and plain text data.

5.  Another option for URL data is to create and share QR Codes with Google’s URL Shortener service (goo.gl). If you often use a URL shortener, then you can try Google’s goo.gl service, which automatically generates a QR Code. Simply enter a URL to shorten, then view “details” to the right of your new short URL link. This will provide you with a QR Code to the URL you just shortened. You can right-click on the QR Code image to save and share it with others.

12 Reasons Why Your Promotion Campaign Is Not Working

12 Reasons Why Your Promotion Campaign Is Not Working

Running promotion campaigns is a great way to spice up your Facebook page, build your e-mail list or engage with your customers.

You could give away one of your products, offer a percentage-off coupon or some freebies. You could distribute your promotion campaign on all social channels, and in some cases, you’re promotion page/destination might even be receiving tons of traffic… and still, your promotion is not guaranteed to be successful.

 

In other words, people see your promotion page or tab, but they don’t subscribe. Your campaign’s conversion rate is lower than you expected.

Example

This promotion app looks very nice and $200 is good value but, where do I enter? It says “3 easy ways to enter” in the right bottom corner but 2 options are sending you to their Twitter account or their website, where there is no follow up.

The prospect has left the building and is at the corner looking for directions… you lost him.

12 Reasons Why Your Promotion Campaign Is Not Working

Why is your promotion not converting visitors to subscribers? Here is a list of the things you might be doing wrong.

12 Reasons Why Your Promotion Campaign Is Not Working

1. The grand prize is not attractive enough

2. The grand prize is very attractive so people think that they have small chances to win, as the promotion will be very popular

3. You give away an i-gadget. Giving away an iPad may be risky, a lot of fake competitions and promotions are trying to get data with the promise of an iPad, iPhone or something known and valuable

4. You use stock photos. The problem with stock photography is that they are over used, some by very shady online properties and of course, people know they cost around $1

5. You ask publicity from the winner, and maybe people don’t want to share their cellulite treatment or diet story with their friends. The price is too big to win

6. The promotion lasts too long, so people think they have plenty of time to enter and they forget after a while. There is no sense of urgency. In sweepstakes (when people may win something) 5-9 day is the ideal length. In contests (when voting is part of it), 14-20 days may be enough. The time left to enter should be visible!

7. People don’t know what to do to enter. The call to action message is missing, or the design is not clear on what to do

8. It takes time to enter because the entry form is too long, people will only give you a few minutes of their valuable time (and that’s only if they are interested)

9. People get error messages, so they give up trying. The app has technical issues

10. The entry is geographically restricted but you are promoting it all over without any segmentation

11. The terms are too complex or you are not providing sufficient information

12. Other unexpected things happen like a blackouts, the user got distracted by a shiny incoming email, etc.

Example

This promotion doesn’t seem to be trustable, it only needs my phone number. On the left it says you could win a cool iPhone but then on the right it says “iPod”. The device on the graphic appears to be a 1st generation iPhone, which is about 6 years old.

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of questionable promotions out there to grab your data. This one clearly fails in the trust department.

Social Media Promotion Campaigns

Recap

To sum it all up, there are 3 main areas of focus when planning your campaign to avoid low conversion rates:

  • Choosing the proper grand prize
  • Setting the timeline short and visible
  • And clear CTA’s (call to actions) about what to do to enter

Losing Likes on Your Page? Don’t Worry, It’s Just Facebook Cleaning House

Facebook-Fake-Profile

Facebook is cracking down on something they deem harmful to the integrity of their site, and your fans may be in danger.

You may have experienced a small dip in the total likes on your Facebook page in the last couple of days and yes, it does mean that people are fleeing your page. Why have you suddenly become so unpopular? You haven’t really – the fans fleeing from your page aren’t actually real fans.

In fact, they’re part of a subset Facebook likes to refer to as likes “gained by means that violate our terms.” To you and me, that means fake or fraudulent likes.

Late last month, Facebook announced a site-wide purge of fake likes – ones derived from malware, fake accounts, compromised accounts, duplicate accounts, and bulk purchases.

Have you seen a drop in your page’s total likes since Facebook began the purge? Do you think that Facebook is doing the right thing by upping their efforts to weed out the fakes? Would you be more likely to advertise on Facebook if you knew that the likes you may receive would be legit? 

“A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one. Real identity, for both users and brands on Facebook, is important to not only Facebook’s mission of helping the world share, but also the need for people and customers to authentically connect to the Pages they care about. When a Page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that connection involves a real person interested in hearing from a specific Page and engaging with that brand’s content.

Facebook was built on the principle of real identity and we want this same authenticity to extend to Pages,” said the company in a security note in August.

Here’s the daily data for the top 30 Facebook pages, provided by PageData. Notice anything?

Weekly growth is still up for most pages, but daily growth is in the red for most of them.Core Vision  confirmed with Facebook that the fake like purge officially began on Wednesday.

When Facebook announced the fake like initiative, they said that it would only result in less than 1% of total likes disappearing. That looks to be the case with all of Facebook’s top 30 pages. For instance, Texas HoldEm Poker only lost about 0.15% of their likes in the day, and that’s by far the biggest chunk taken from any top page.

That’s an example of one of the most-liked pages on the entire network. What does this like purge mean for your business?

Facebook says that it will help brand pages by giving them a more accurate depiction of their popularity:

“These improvements to our site integrity systems benefit both users and brands alike. Users will continue to connect to the Pages and Profiles they authentically want to subscribe to, and Pages will have a more accurate measurement of fan count and demographics. This improvement will allow Pages to produce ever more relevant and interesting content, and brands will see an increase in the true engagement around their content.”

Although most pages have only seen a small dip in their like totals (if any), some have reported more substantial losses, even up to 18% of their total likes. For that business, every advertising dollar they’ve spent in the past was going out to both real and fake users. If Facebook can’t convince page owners that buying ads on the network is going to produce real, genuine likes, then they have a major problem with this form of revenue going forward.

I assume that Facebook knows this and that it serves as at least part of the impetus behind this war on fake likes.

Page owners have a gripe as well. Take for instance this commenter who described their frustrations:

We’re cringing because businesses pay for advertising and so it appears we were advertising to both real and fake accounts and paying for every one of those clicks. I assumed ALL of my fans were real people. This is terrible on so many levels; facebook decides to clean up now and those of us who paid for advertising are down on the number of fans and now we discover that we had already been cheated out the money and the potential clients/customers (fans) we paid (at more than $1-2 ppc) for. I’m not down 10s of thousands like other pages, but I lost hundreds of my fans. To lose my time, and money from my advertising budget for this makes me feel cheated, both by facebook and by the faKebooks.

Although the fake like purge is better now than never, it could leave some advertisers with a bad taste in their mouths.

This update to their security systems will go far to improve integrity, as eradicating fake likes from fraudulent accounts is a nice fall cleaning for the network. It will be nice for page owners to know that the vast majority of their likes come from real people (who can be impressed upon). And the fact that this is an overall “increase in [Facebook’s] automated efforts,” rather than a manual one-time cleanup, is comforting.

But getting rid of the fake likes is simply treating the symptom. The problem remains that it’s incredibly easy to create a fake account on Facebook (or multiple fake accounts) and inflate a page’s like total. And it would be really hard for Facebook to create a gated system that would be tough enough to keep fake profiles out but not so tough that it prevents legitimate users from signing up.

Maybe if Facebook can treat the symptom, and focus on purging fake likes, that will be enough. What do you think?