As we all know, the Search Engine Optimization field is booming day to day with new inventions and innovations. People may not know that much of what they have learned yesterday will be out of date by tomorrow. Unless one updates his knowledge by reading SEO news/articles, there is no doubt he’ll lag back in the SEO race.

Being an SEO Professional, I hereby suggest some the factors that deal with off-page SEO. I found this forum to be the best suited place for sharing. Below is a list of some things most people may be familiar with, but I have also added a few advanced things that you may not know. Try these Advanced Off-Page SEO Strategies to market your website, get ranked in search engines, and to build online reputation (branding) for your company/website so that you can survive in this competitive SEO world.

Note: These things have to be done after the completion of on-page SEO. Before doing these things you must be aware of your competitors who can able build a negative reputation against your company/website.
ravibhushanseo-off-page-optimization

1). Community Creation in Social Networking Sites

Also known as online reputation management, this is the first and foremost step with which you have to initiate your process. Try to become a member of the most popular social networking sites like Orkut, Myspace, Facebook, Linked In, Ecademy, etc., and create a profile of your own. By doing this you can extend your network online, get connect with your friends, share things with each other, and promote your company/website to build an online reputation. This is most likely the same as Web 2.0 (Participatory Web), which means you have to show your active participation on a regular basis.

2). Blogging

This is one of the most powerful ways to promote your company/website online. Write a blog of your own for your company/website and include lots of unique content. Be precise in what you’re trying to convey for the users in your blog entry and promote your blog in blog directories and blog search engines. You can also promote your blog/website by posting comments in other service-related blogs which allow links in the comments section that are crawlable by the search engines (these blogs are commonly identified as Do-Follow Blogs). If you’re not very good at writing content for blog posts, hire a guest blogger for your blog and ask him/her to write precise and unique content so that your blog can gain more credit from a search engine point of view.

3). Forum Postings

Create a forum/online discussion board of your own and start a discussion or share topics with your friends. You can also post/reply to a thread in other service-related pre-existing forums that allow links in your signature which can be crawled by the search engines (aka “Do-Follow Forums”).

4). Search Engine Submission

Submit your website to the most popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Altavista, Alexa, Alltheweb, Lycos, Excite, etc., to get listed for free.

5). Directory Submission

Many people may say that directory submission is dead. As far as I’m concerned it is still alive. It is purely based on how effectively we are selecting those directories and how efficiently we are choosing the category for submission. Of course, I agree that it gives quite delayed results, but it is worth doing it. Submit your websites to the topmost quality directories like DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, ZoomInfo, One Mission, Pegasus, etc. Nowadays many web directories may offer paid listings but don’t go for it.

6). Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking is yet another powerful way of promoting your website, but nowadays most people are spamming social bookmarking sites without knowing how to use them. Since content in these websites update frequently, search engines like these types of sites and often visit them (this is commonly termed as Tagsonomy & Folksonomy in Web 2.0). Do some social bookmarking in popular bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Propeller, etc. You should be very careful while doing this and you must properly handle the tags which are very essential to broadcast your news on a wide area network. This may increase your website traffic based on how effectively you have participated.

6). Link Exchange

Exchange links with service-related websites (this is commonly termed as Thematic Link Exchange) that can help increase your link popularity, which is a major factor of Google’s PageRank algorithm. Beware of Black-Hats while doing exchanges.

7). Link Baiting

Suppose you have copied/published another website’s news or content in your blog/website. Don’t forget to place their website link as a reference. Do it for others and, if your content is trustworthy, let others do it for you. This is another way to increase your link popularity.

8). Cross-Linking

Link to internal pages within your site wherever necessary (this is commonly termed Internal Linking). This increases your internal link popularity ,which is another major factor of Google Page Rank algorithm. The best known example of successful internal linking is Wikipedia. Also try to get a content link from websites/blogs that are related to your site theme. Try getting a link from within their site content using a targeted keyword as anchor text (much like Wikipedia does). We know that this strategy can often be hard to implement, but these types of links have more weight from a search engine point of view.

9). Photo Sharing

Publish/share your website product pictures and make them public. Let your friends see them and comment on them too, which will help drive traffic towards your website. Do this in major photo sharing websites like Flickr, Picasa, Photo Bucket, Picli, etc.

10). Video Promotions

Like with photo sharing, you can publish/share your product videos, expert opinions, and reviews of your product and make them public in YouTube, Metacafe, Dailymotion, etc.

11). Business Reviews

Write reviews about others businesses or ask your friends/clients to write a review of your business in major business review sites like RateitAll, Shvoong, Kaboodle, Stylefeeder, etc.
12). Local Listings & Yellow Pages

Instead of going global and facing huge competition, make your website local so that search engines can easily view your website and fetch the content. This will help you to reach a targeted audience. Submit your website to Google Local, Maps, Yahoo Local, Yellow Pages, Superpages, Hotfrog, etc.
13). Article Submission

Write articles of your own and submit them to popular article sites like Ezine, Go Articles, Now Public, Buzzle, etc. This will help you to attain some deep links for your website (though it’s usually a slower process).

14). Press Release Promotion

If you are a business/service provider then go for PR submission in popular PR websites like 1888pressrelease, Open PR, PR Leap, etc. This will help you to publish your site in Google News.

15). Classifieds Submission

Do some classifieds submissions to advertise your products for free. Try Craigslist and other major classifieds sites like Kugli, Myspace, iMadespace, Vivastreet, etc.
16). Social Shopping Network

If you own an e-commerce website, this is a good strategy for advertising and easily branding your products for free. Submit your products to Google Product Search, Yahoo Online Shopping, MSN Online Shopping, and other major social shopping network sites like Kaboodle, Style Feeder, Wists, Five Limes, Buzz Shout, Ohmybuzz, etc.

17). Answers

Participate in Answers by asking and answering relevant questions and placing a link to your website in the source section if necessary. If you don’t spam, this is another great way to increase your link popularity (Yahoo Answers, Cha-Cha, Answer Bag, etc.)
18). Document Sharing

Share your website documents like business documents, information brochures, and slides in Google Docs, Slide Share, etc. This will help you brand your website.

19) CSS, W3C & RSS Directories Submission

If you have a web design site or offer services related to web design, submit your website to CSS and W3C website directories which may drive traffic towards your website. Also submit your website to RSS feed directories which, again, will help you attain more traffic.

20). Widget / Gadget Development

Develop some interactive and innovative widget/gadget applications (such as an online poll or game widgets) for your website and publish them on your blog/website or in other popular social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. Let your friends and others vote/play/use the widget/application, which will help you increase your branding and website visits.

21). PPC Ad Campaign

When none of the above strategies work for you, go for a PPC ad campaign with your targeted keywords. Remember that you have to pay to drive more traffic towards your website through PPC.

Note: Always keep in mind that you have to be very careful while implementing these strategies. You should not spam or overdo it. Whatever you do, just plan and execute. Otherwise, you can see adverse effects.

Thanks for reading!

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Why is social media so important? More people are using social media through their mobile phones, computers, and tablets than talking, calling, emailing and texting. Do you find this surprising? I know I don’t. Some businesses have gone to the extent of allowing 30 minutes a day for their employees to use social media.
There’s a lot more to engaging in social media marketing than creating a few profiles and posting a few links. Without taking a measured approach to the situation, you’re not going to be able to make the most of what is a very powerful and influential strategy. There are thousands of other companies competing for social media users’ attention, so laying the right groundwork is crucial.

Create a strategy you can maintain
In order to be effective, your social media marketing efforts have to be ongoing. There is no finish line. As you reach goals, you need to create new ones. Otherwise, you’re sure to go backwards. By understanding the importance of having an ongoing social media strategy, you will be ahead of the game from the start. Check out the chart below illustrating the key phases in setting goals
Assess the Situation
You need to know where you are in order to get where you’d like to be. With that in mind, you should make the following assessments:
What is Your Main Goal with Social Media?
Stay focused. What do you want your strategy to achieve? There are three broad options: raising awareness, increasing loyalty and increasing sales. Select one and focus on it.

Listening – Listen to what others are saying about your business.

Tip: Use Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn search function to search your brand or product/service. It will populate a list of tweets, posts etc. that others have published. Setup a Google Alert to monitor business mentions around the web.

Communicating – This is about getting your message across to your target audience. This could be for you current advertising efforts and making it more socially interactive.
Make it Viral / Word of Mouth – Connect with key influences / customers in your industry and make them spread the word. i.e. Retweet, Share, Like, Google +1’s etc.

Customer Care – Social Media is fast becoming the future of customer service. You can help your customers with a support enquiry and other customers can help each other.

Example: I tweeted about how frustrated I was not being able to get a HP driver for my printer, even though I contacted them several times via phone and email. Within a few hours, a HP representative contacted me via Twitter to resolve my issue.

Understand your customers’ needs – Receive customer feedback and understand the needs of potential customers through a customer feedback form, complaints form or survey.
Identifying Your Target Audience

Who is Your Audience?
Social media is all about connecting with others. First think about your target audience and study/learn about them.

It is important to understand how they contribute in social media and through which mediums. Social media users generally fall into the following categories:

Creators: These users are responsible for publishing content such as blogs, websites, video, music etc.

Conversationalists: Update their social networking site by updating their status & posting tweets

Critics: Users who actively review and rate products. Make comments on blogs and contribute to content and online forums.

Collectors: Users who vote on websites & add tags to photos.

Joiners: These users create social media profiles on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Google Plus

Spectators: They search the web reading blogs, watching videos on YouTube, reading forum posts and tweets.

Inactives: Does not do any of the above.

Through surveys and other data, learn as much as you can about your target customers’ challenges, needs and wants. Use online survey tools such as Survey Monkey or User Report and read this article to learn more about creating an effective online survey. By knowing where your audience falls on the spectrum, you’ll have an easier time creating an effective social media strategy.

How to Proceed?
After determining a course of action, put it in writing. Make sure your entire team is on the same page.
In the meanwhile, make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Put Your Plan into Action
With the completion of the planning and assessing phase, you should be ready to implement your social media strategy. The key to doing so effectively is by using a content calendar. This is crucial for keeping you focused and your efforts on track. Assigning responsibility to tasks makes people accountable as well. I found this detailed content calendar (Free download) by Populate Digital. This calendar will specify the theme of the content that you will use in your campaign, when and where it is shared, who creates it and the mode of delivery.

To enhance your social media strategy, you should plan on using a variety of different tools. Use hootsuite for your social media management. Social media icons and plugins should be added to your website, e-commerce site and on content pages. Make it as easy as possible for someone to share and like your stuff. Promote your social media networks on company emails, letterheads, invoices, business cards and other places. Use promotions and contests/giveaways to engage your target audience and get them involved. Continually demonstrate what you have to offer.
Use paid advertising, such as StumpleUpon Paid Discovery or Facebook Advertising to promote your business outside your reach.

Tip: Make sure your social buttons on your website are visible. Tools such as ShareThis or AddThis are simple plugins that can add social buttons to your website.

Evaluate Your Success
You should give your social media strategy a little time to gain momentum; after about two or three months, you should perform an in-depth evaluation to determine whether your strategy is producing results or not. Specific metrics such as shares, likes, subscribers, click rates, sales that originated in social media channels and conversion rates should be analysed with care.

Monitor your social media engagement through Online Monitoring Tools such as Klout or Edge Rank

Tip: A free tool Google Alerts can help you monitor your brand keywords to listen to what people are saying about you.

If your efforts seem to be producing results, run with it. Don’t just rest on your laurels. Mix things up a little. Now is the time to roll out Facebook ads, live question-and-answer sessions, Google Hangouts and other webinars, contests that span across multiple social media outlets and more.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat
To ensure the ongoing effectiveness of your social media strategy, go back to the beginning and start again. Lay out a new plan with new objectives based on fresh assessments. Implement a revised plan with updated goals. Evaluate its success by analysing specific metrics. By continually going through this cycle and building upon what you learn, you will be able to achieve incredible results through your social media marketing efforts.

In order to achieve success on Facebook you need a community. That’s a fact. If you don’t have a community, you don’t have anyone listening to you, and if there’s no one listening to you, it’s difficult to build brand awareness and deliver ROI.

You need a community filled with people who like you and share your content with like-minded friends. But it’s not just about the quantity of Facebook likes that you collect, it’s about the quality; attracting Facebook likes from a group targeted to suit your business goals whose comments (and endorsement!) can increase your shares on Facebook.

So here are ten quick and easy tips to drive targeted Facebook likes to your business page.

1. Complete your Facebook Business Page Profile
Your Facebook Page is the first thing people see when they come to visit you on Facebook. Let visitors know why they should like you! Create a catchy description and make sure you categorize your page correctly. Also make sure to list your address, phone number and hours of operation (if applicable). Not only will this inform your potential followers, it will tell Facebook what kind of organization you are you so they know to show your page when users are searching for companies like yours – which can increase your Facebook likes even more!

2. Ask friends, business partners and other contacts to like you on Facebook
Friends are like underpants. Some snap under pressure, some are a little twisted, but some will give you support. When you first create a Facebook Page invite your supportive friends, family and business partners to like your Facebook Page. These initial likes will give you higher social media credibility and visibility. Then, alert your customers, prospects and your other social communities, and promote your Facebook page anywhere you mention your website. If people don’t know your Facebook page exists, they can’t like it.

3. Add social plugins to your website
Visitors on your website should be able to find your Facebook Page easily. My recommendation is to use Facebook’s Social Plugins, like the Like box plugin, to get more Facebook likes. These plugins include a like button, your recent posts, and pictures of some of your fans.

4. Find out what interests your community
With Facebook’s new Graph Search it’s really easy to find out what interests your target community, and post relevant content to increase Facebook likes.

Let’s say that I have a Facebook Page for my new pizza restaurant in San Francisco. To learn more about my target community’s interests, I search for “Favorite interests of people who like Restaurants and live in San Francisco, California.“ Facebook tells me that my target community also likes cooking, wine tasting and traveling.

Facebook Graph Search Results
I also want to see the interests of my competitors’ communities, so I search for “Favorite interests of people who like Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza,” and I find out that they like cooking, chocolate chip cookies, eating, food and partying.

This information is great to have at hand when I’m thinking about what to post on my Facebook page. By posting content that my audience is interested in (for example, suggesting which wines go well with my pizza) they will share it with their friends and help me get more Facebook likes. This same content will also attract likes from people who come to my Facebook page from my website, email signature, or a Facebook search.

5. Use Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are another great way to increase Facebook likes. To get the most out of your ads, you can target by your community’s interests to find people similar to your current fans.
In the image below, you can see how I’ve used the information that I got from Graph Search and how I’ve targeted my ad for my new pizza place.

Facebook Ads
Experiment with different types of ads to see what works best for your organization, and make sure you choose the option that allows Facebook users to like your page directly from the ad.

6. Run a contest
There are many companies that have created successful contests on Facebook that resulted in many thousands of Facebook likes. But there are some things that you need to know before you create your own contest. For starters, make sure that your contest follows Facebook’s promotion guidelines. Your contest must use a Facebook app, which allows you to create a fan-gate, so that only those who first like your page can participate in the contest. Apps also have a unique URL, so you can promote your contest with a Facebook ad and increase Facebook likes even more.

Also, when you create a contest make sure that your app is working for mobile users, that the content of the contest is funny, that it’s easy to participate and that the contest encourage users to share their result and participation with their friends.

7. Like, and interact with, other companies
Did you know that you can engage with other company pages as your Business Page on Facebook? This is a great way to build awareness among like-minded companies and their followers. To do this, visit your Facebook Page, click on “Edit Page” in your Admin Panel and select “Use Facebook as YourPage.”

Facebook Like as Page

Finding companies to like and interact with is easy. Use Graph search and search for e.g. companies, pages, places that is of interests for your company and like these Pages (you can’t like personal profiles).

After you have liked some Pages, you can view your company’s Newsfeed and engage with the pages you like. Not only is the company likely to follow you back, but their engagement with your page will help you increase Facebook likes amongst their followers as well.

8. Publish engaging content
It’s important to publish engaging, entertaining and interesting posts on a regular basis, and to keep an eye out for the posts that get the most engagement. If your posts are valuable to your followers, then they will share your posts with their friends, helping you increase your Facebook likes. Images are among the best types of post for driving engagement so make sure you publish images your followers can relate to and will like. You may also want to include calls to action in some of your posts, asking followers to like, comment or share your content, or ask your community a question.

9. Be active
By now you know that you should publish engaging, interesting and entertaining content. But how often should you post? There is no magic number but there are best practices and analytics to guide you. Post at least one status update per day, and experiment with the timing of your posts to see when the majority of your followers are active. People are unlikely to like your Facebook page if you don’t post regularly – and they certainly won’t engage with your content (or help you get more likes) if they don’t see your posts.

10. Measure, analyze and learn
Use Facebook Insights to find useful metrics on your page performance. You can see things like reach (how many users are seeing your posts), engaged users (how many users engage with your posts) and new likes (when and why do you get new followers). These metrics will help you understand what’s driving your likes and engagement, so that you can adjust your posts accordingly. If you would like to know if you have good engagement, or want other recommendations for improvement, try out our free Facebook analytics tool, LikeAlyzer.

Would you like to add any tips for getting more Facebook likes? Did I forget something? Please add a comment and, if you like the post, feel free to share it with your friends.

There are many social media analytical tools just as there are many reasons to use them. Social media has shaken up the world of business by offering up valuable raw data. It is imperative that companies become familiar with and utilize tools that can mine and analyze this data to help them make intelligent business decisions.
This data can be used to provide insights to:

Marketing – They can determine what products or services to market, which ones to drop. Information can be used to create or modify marketing campaigns.
Sales – Regional territories can be analyzed to improve sales in under performing areas.
Customer Service – Where is company service lacking? Monitoring complaints can lead to improvement.
Corporate Head Office – Data and Key Performance Indicators can be analyzed to determine strategies to move the company forward.

Before choosing an analytic tool, you need to define your objectives. Do you want real-time reports, dashboards or raw data to mine? Perhaps you want something that is simple and easy to use for your staff. Let’s have a look at some of the tools that are available.
Google Analytics

Not only does this tool gather website metrics but it also gathers social metrics in real-time. Information and data is available through dashboards and reports. A nice feature is the multi-channel analysis which reports what channels your customers interacted with prior to a purchase. Another great feature is the ability to capture stats on your web-enabled mobile devices. If you are just starting out monitoring social media, this is a good tool to use and it’s free.
HootSuite

HootSuite offers 3 solutions to choose from. Start with the free version and then move up to the pro or enterprise version when you are comfortable with it. This tool will execute and monitor campaigns across numerous social media platforms. Tweets and messages can be automated and mentions of your business can be monitored on platforms like foursquare and LinkedIn. Dashboard, reports and raw data are available.
KISSmetrics

This tool is very powerful to gather your customer’s feedback and provide metrics that a company can use to improve revenue. They can tell you where a customer came from, what they did and what led them to become a customer. Analysis includes the lifetime value of your customer and how to improve your sales numbers.

Buffer

Buffer has powerful capability to post and share your data to social media platforms. This content can include posts, twitters, videos, pictures and content. The ability to push out content to mobile devices is available as well as detailed analytics about how many likes, retweets and shares you receive. Prices are as low as $10 a month with a free trial version.

SocialFlow

SocialFlow is used by companies like National Geographic and The National Post to monitor in real-time when the best times are to push out content. Knowing when to publish information is very useful to increase engagement of your potential and existing customers. Targeted content will be delivered at the right time to the right people. They also offer an advertising solution by monitoring real-time conversations and targeting the right ads with the right people to maximize conversation rates.

Argyle Social

This tool is useful in the B2B industry. It’s features work with your current social media marketing platforms to provide analytics for existing and potential prospects. It can help you to identify better leads and deeper relationships. Automated tools are available to schedule your posts reports and marketing content.

Tracking conversations on social media is a great way to grow your business. It is critical to stay informed about leading edge tools and the future of social media. Subscribe to a RSS feed or an online newsletter that discusses this topic. The bottom line is that you need to use social media to grow your bottom line!

The key to making the most of social media is listening to what your audience has to say about you, analysing the data and, finally, reaching social media business intelligence; using all these insights to know your customers better and improve your marketing strategy.

If you are a social media rookie, this list of the Top 10 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools might come in handy. When looking for a tool, it’s a good idea to try a couple of them and choose the one that suits your needs best.

However, bear in mind that these tools are not an alternative to Enterprise-level tools, such as Brandwatch, which brought social media monitoring to a new level, offering a much higher variety of services and in-depth analysis. It all depends on your needs.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best free monitoring tools:

1) Hootsuite

This is a great tool that allows you to save time when it comes to managing your social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+.

The weekly analytics reports and the excellent team management facility (delegating tasks, sending private messages) can be very useful when there’s more than one person handling the social media accounts.

2) TweetReach

TweetReach is the right tool for your business if you’re interested in monitoring how far your tweets travel, as TweetReach measures the actual impact and implications of social media discussions.

It is a good way of finding out who are your most influential followers, implicitly guiding you towards the right people you should be targeting when aiming to share and promote online content.

3) Klout

Klout is probably one of the most controversial social media monitoring tools. There are those who hate it and claim that its scoring system is completely inaccurate, and that trying to interact with them is an impossible mission (curious thing as they provide interaction-measurement services), but on the other hand, some people find it useful, as it measures influence through engagement on Twitter and it is a good means of keeping an eye on what people think about your brand, and to see what influences them the most.

In this way, you can adjust your posts according to your target audience’s interests and increase your engagement rate.

4) Social Mention

Quite popular among social media enthusiasts, Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites. It is probably one of the best free tools on the market, as it analyses data in more depth and measures influence with 4 categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach.

5) Twazzup

Twazzup is great for social media beginners looking for Twitter monitoring. You just enter the name you want to track and you instantly get real-time updates, meaning the most active top influencers, top RTd photos and links, and most importantly, the top 10 keywords related to your search.

6) Addictomatic

If aiming to get an overall view of a brand, Addictomatic can be very useful and as straightforward as Twazzup. The only difference is that Addictomatic focuses on a variety of platforms such as: Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, Bing News, Delicious, Google, Ask.com, etc. It’s really useful for keeping an eye on recent industry developments and brand reputation.

7) HowSociable

A free account allows you to track 12 social sites, including Tumblr and WordPress. However, if you’re interested in 24 more, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. a pro account is a must.

HowSociable’s approach is a bit different as it breaks down scores for different social media platforms, allowing you to see which social media platforms work best for you and which ones need further development.

8) IceRocket

This tool offers blog, Twitter and Facebook monitoring in 20 languages, as well as results graphs that you can play with. It allows you to choose the periods of time you are interested in monitoring.

It can be used for keeping an eye on your blogger activity, as they have around 200 million blogs in their database and they also provide the possibility of finding the latest trend terms related to your search.

9) TweetDeck

TweetDeck covers the basic needs of any Twitter user, so is a good option for beginners. It’s a great tool for scheduling tweets and monitoring your interactions and messages, as well as tracking hashtags and managing multiple accounts. However, it lacks in regular updates and can be prone to bugs.

10) Reachli (formerly Pinerli)

As image and video is quickly becoming indispensable for many businesses, our last recommendation for you is Reachli; a tool that measures and optimises video and image content. It offers various features for measuring image and video effectiveness, and is particularly famous for its Pinterest analytics.

Which are your favourite free social media monitoring tools?

Determining which tools are right for you requires a clear definition of your objectives. Some are real-time, highly customized dashboards that enable you to manage multiple accounts, use shared work spaces, and respond on multiple social networks with one click. Others are simple, effective, and lightweight, and provide the right amount of functionality.
Google Alerts (Free) | Get email updates of the latest relevant Google results (Web, news, etc.) based on your queries.
HootSuite (Free and $) | A social media management system that enables teams to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one dashboard. Includes audience identification tools, the ability to streamline workflow, and custom reports. I use HootSuite to manage my company’s Twitter account.
Icerocket (Free) | A free resource for brand monitoring, it taps the Web, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, and delivers easy-to-read results in one page.
Klout (Free) | A tool that finds the influencers in your audience so you can target and empower them to become advocates for your brand.
Netvibes (Free and $) | A platform that tracks clients, customers, competitors, and your reputation across media sources, analyzes live results with 3rd party reporting tools, and provides media monitoring dashboards for brand clients.
Pinpuff (Free) | Similar to Klout but focusing only on the Pinterest, it measures the how people share images about your brand and the influence that results.
Plugg.io (Free) | Manage and tweet from multiple accounts, get friend suggestions, and automate syndication via blogs and news sources.
Social Mention (Free) | A real-time social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google, etc. into a single stream.
TweetBeep (Free and $) | This app is like Google Alerts for Twitter: Choose some keywords and receive daily search results via email.
TweetDeck (Free) | Very similar to HootSuite, only without all the bells and whistles, this client enables you to tweet and track mentions, people, and keywords.

What is authorize and capturing in payment gateway

Have you ever wondered exactly what happens when you hand over your credit card details online for a purchase? You may have a thorough understanding of the process flow of an online credit card transaction but what happens behind the scenes? Understanding exactly what happens when a credit card is processed online is important and that is why any merchant operating an online store should read this article.
To better explain an online credit card transaction a merchant should be aware that an online credit card transaction is actually made up of two parts: Authorization and then Capture.
What is a credit card Authorization?
A credit card authorization, as the name suggests, is an authorization for a specific amount of funds from a credit card holder. As a merchant when you process a transaction on behalf of your customer an initial credit card authorization is sent to check if the customer’s credit card is valid and that he or she has sufficient funds to complete the online transaction. Assuming the customer has sufficient funds the total amount of the online transaction is then held and deducted from the customer’s credit limit.
It is important to note that even though the funds are held and deducted from the customer’s credit limit that the funds are not automatically transferred to the merchant’s settlement account. So if the customer has been deducted the online transaction amount and they are not able to access the funds then how does the merchant retrieve the amount owed?
What is a credit card Capture?
The credit card Capture is the missing piece of the puzzle that allows a merchant to have the funds that are owed to him transferred from the customer’s account to the merchant’s account. As you can see the online transaction amount does not reach the merchant’s settlement account until the funds are captured. What is interesting is that a merchant specifies the total amount to capture from the customer’s account.
This means that if a credit card Authorization was issued for $10 from the customer’s account that the merchant could issue multiple credit card Capture requests until the $10 amount is reached. For example, the merchant may issue 5 x $2 Capture requests in order to retrieve the total online transaction amount owed.
How long does a credit card Authorization last?
This is a very good question and it would not hurt for everybody to read this section. A credit card Authorization has a specific time frame in which the merchant is able to issue a credit card Capture to retrieve their funds from the customer’s account. This time frame unfortunately is not set in stone and differs depending on the card scheme (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diners etc.) Generally speaking a credit card Authorization will become void after 10 days or so.
If a credit card Authorization has not been Captured by the merchant by the specific time frame specified by the particular card scheme the credit card Authorization becomes void. The funds are then no longer held from the customer’s account and are put back into the customer’s account.
Using the example above, if a credit card Authorization was issued for $10 and the merchant had not Captured these funds from the customer’s account in the specific time frame then the $10 would be credited back to the customer’s account and the $10 would be made available to the customer to spend again.
Credit card Authorization and Capture
At this point some merchants may be wondering why they have never been required to Capture funds. They simply have an online merchant facility which processes transactions and the funds are then settled to their merchant account. This is the scenario that is most common and generally speaking merchants do not have to worry about Capturing funds on their own.
Plain and simple every online credit card transaction that takes place consists of a credit card Authorization and credit card Capture. In most cases a credit card Capture is automatically sent on behalf of the merchant by the merchant’s acquiring Bank and this is why merchant’s are not required to manually run this step by themselves.
Who needs credit card Authorization and Capture?
There are specific business models that will require the ability to have control over when they issue a credit card Authorization and credit card Capture. A simple example of this would be a computer repair company that sent out employees to fix computer problems. Assuming they have a service cost of $50 this is how the process would look:
The Customer books computer repair specialist for $50
The Computer repair company issues a credit card Authorization for $50 to the customer’s credit card
The credit card Authorization is successful and therefore the Computer repair company knows that the Customer has the funds
A computer repair specialist is sent to the Customer’s house on the booking date which happens to be three days later
The computer repair specialists fixes the customer’s issue and notifies head office that the job has been completed
The computer repair company issues a credit card Capture for $50 from the customer’s credit card
The $50 is then transferred from the customer’s account to the computer repair company’s settlement account
This is a simple scenario in which the merchant can benefit from having control over when they issue a credit card Authorization and credit card Capture.