Synnd Pro is one of those very rare programs that really has no competition because its unique approach. We’ve been using Synnd for about three months now and have just recently begun to grasp the full extent of this powerful software. To really use it properly you have to fully understand it and so this review will be pretty extensive in comparison to our standard reviews. The fact is a hammer does you no good if you use it like a wrench and that is a common problem with Synnd users – truly understanding how to use the tool appropriately and having the correct expectations. We have also created a separate review post that is dedicated to a Synnd FAQ so check it out as well.
We’d like to thank Charles Heflin, one of the creators of Synnd and truly an online visionary for the social media marketing of today, for extending his personal time to work with us to provide you the best possible information about Synnd. I spent about 45 minutes with Charles on the phone talking about how to best use Synnd and the philosophies behind the tool and his vision for it. Charles has really led the charge behind leveraging social media in all forms of Internet Marketing since 2008 – long before it was “en vogue”. He was very candid about Synnd and gracious as well. It’s refreshing in today’s IM world to talk with someone that really gets the big picture and understands the importance of customer relations.
New Importance of Social Proof
Google has undergone numerous significant algorithm changes in the past year or so and one of the more significant changes was the Caffeine update several months ago. All of the sudden several factors that were not as important before started becoming more important in the ranking algorithms and social proof was one of them. So what is social proof?
This term gets thrown around a lot and it truly is a bit nebulous. But think of it as “buzz” in the social media sites about your site. For example, let’s say you release a new controversial blog post and Google starts seeing all kinds of links coming in and pointing to that post. Well, one of the factors that will affect your rankings is whether or not Google sees any “buzz” in the social media sites as well – Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Stumbleupon, etc… In other words, “buzz” has become something that is an indicator of natural and organic popularity. If you have a wildly successful page (in terms of incoming links to the page) and yet there is no social buzz about that page anywhere, well, that just doesn’t look natural in today’s SEO world.
So social proof is just that, it is concept of using content in the social media sites as proof that your site or blog post really is worth looking at. It can be argued that your post’s importance or relevance could be measured by the number of tweets it receives, for example. Now, we’re not suggesting that it is that trivial or simple or even that the number of Tweets a post gets is a direct factor in rankings. It and other social proof (diggs, stumbles, likes, etc…) is, however, a part of the complex Google formula and today does have an impact on your site’s rankings. To what extent? Well, only Google can truly answer that question, but we can see through various tests and SEO efforts that using social media properly can impact your rankings.
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Many, and we include ourselves in this group, have been late to adopt or embrace social media in their SEO strategy. We, in fact, have felt for a long time that it is a big waste of time and indeed it can be. However we’ve been trying to approach it with the same pragmatic approach that we take to everything and we encourage you to do the same.
Social networking can easily become an enormous waste of time if you are not careful. You can spend all day on Twitter and Facebook, etc… and produce negligible or zero results from your activities. On the other extreme there are those that use Social Media as a simple bookmarking engine used to get their sites indexed in Google and nothing more. That is the other extreme which is also misguided – there is more to social media than simple bookmarking. While we do not claim to be experts in the social media sector (nor do we really want to be) embracing social media as an effective SEO tool and recognizing how to use it properly is not only important but one of our goals in 2011 – and it should be yours as well. Enter Synnd.
What is Synnd
The name is an abbreviation and play on “syndication” and at its heart Synnd is a robust syndication engine. Synnd uses various social media networks and types of content to create a rich web of social media syndication all designed to achieve various goals. That’s not a very precise definition, is it? Well, therein lies part of the dilemma. Social media can be used to accomplish various goals – from simple bookmarking, an indexing tool, an SEO rankings tool and, of course, a social proof tool. Synnd does all of those and so as we stated at the beginning, understanding how it can help you and how to use it properly is paramount to your success.
One way to define a product is to tell about what it is, another is to tell about what it is not. Many make the false conclusion that Synnd is just another social bookmarking tool such as Bookmarking Demon. Bookmarking Demon has been around for some time now and is a very solid application for using social bookmarking as an effective SEO strategy – both for indexing and other purposes. However, Synnd is much more than just simple bookmarking as that is just one of its goals.
Architectural Overview of Synnd
To really understand why we have been so impressed with Synnd, you need to understand the architectural design of the software. This is the backbone of the program and is the single most important aspect of its design. Much like the foundation of a house defines the shape and form of a house, the software architecture of a program defines and constrains what it can and can’t do. Synnd is based on leveraging its membership to the maximum potential of all. It does this via the creation of an automation software that runs on every single customers site and this automation server (called the Remote Automator) must be running at all times.
This Remote Automator is like a robot that acts on behalf of the Synnd network utilizing your computer and IP. So, let’s say that you queue up a bookmarking project for example and it consists of 20 bookmarks a day for a maximum of 120 bookmarks. The Synnd server then divvies up this job of 20 bookmarks a day and spreads them out – assigning them to various Remote Automators across its vast network of users (at this point Synnd has more than 1500+ users). That means that when you get those 20 bookmarks, they will come in a natural way from 20 different users all geographically dispersed.
This is not some proxy software that is using spammy techniques by registering 200 accounts and rotating through them, etc… This is a live network of users. So every client is also an active participant in this network. Now, don’t worry, the active part just means that your Remote Automator software is up and running.
So, you have a large 1500+ member network of slave computers that perform tasks as assigned by the Synnd server and this entire network acts in your behalf to support all of your social media syndication efforts. Are you beginning to understand just how relevant and important this architecture is?
How Can Synnd Help You?
As we’ve talked about above, there are lots of different pieces to this social media marketing puzzle and Synnd fills them all. Some are easy to track results for and others are more nebulous but here are some of the ways that you can use Synnd to help your marketing efforts.
- Promote Any URL – You can use Synnd to promote anything that has a URL – any page on your site. When we say promote we mean create social buzz in the various networks and sites it supports. Some of these will have restrictions and not all promotions will be available to all content types, but you have a vast array of options.
- Automate Your Social Marketing – Rather than spending two hours a day going around and bookmarking and tweeting your sites and pages, instead you can simply queue up a job and let Synnd do it for you. You can specify how many actions to take per day and a maximum for the project, so you have complete control over the rate of promotion.
- Drive Traffic – Now please don’t misunderstand this. Traffic is but one aspect of Synnd and it is not primarily a traffic driving machine. However, you will see increased traffic as a result of sustained usage of Synnd. For example, as a result of using Digg and Stumbleupon, we have had days where they sent over a 100 users to our site. Does this happen all the time? No. Can you control it? Not really. Your content and its appeal will have a lot to do with the viral nature of the social media buzz and the traffic it generates. However, over time you will begin to get a fairly consistent influx of traffic as you build your social media profiles and exposure.
- Generate Backlinks – Again, Synnd is not really a backlink generation tool. However, that is one of the many side benefits of it. As you create social buzz around your content and site it will stimulate natural and organic linkbuilding that is unsolicited. This is a tremendous long term advantage and shows just how much Synnd can leverage your time and resources.
- Increase Your Visibility – As you continue to use Synnd over time you will begin to create an ever growing social presence that will serve to create more and more visibility to your site and brand.
- Increase Your Rankings – It is a well proven fact that creating social buzz around your site is noticed by Google and will yield better rankings – both site wide and at an individual URL level. If you think about the mission of Google – to provide the best possible answer to the user’s question – well, it only makes sense. Google sees this social activity around your site and/or URL and concludes that you are more relevant and have fresh and engaging content that creates a quality user experience. That is exactly what Google is looking for and will lead, in time, to better rankings.
- Help You Take Your Content Viral – It’s every online marketer’s dream to get a piece of content on their site to go viral. By viral we mean that it gets so much buzz around it that everyone is dying to see it and passes your URL around like a cheap party favor. Next thing you know you’re on the front page of Digg and getting hundreds of users to your site. Now, does Synnd guarantee this? Of course not. But what it can do is give you that push of wide exposure that, if you have the right piece of content, can help catapult your content into the viral spiral. It takes a solid push to get there and Synnd can be that push. Whether or not the content has what it takes to truly go viral, well, that’s more art than science.
- Create Social Proof – This is probably the single most important factor surrounding Synnd. While it seems a big nebulous and ill-defined, the concept behind it is sound. If you want to be taken seriously by Google well you need to have a presence in the social media world and Synnd creates that presence for you.
As you can see, some of these items are easily tracked and others are more esoteric. I’ll be very candid – it took us some time to really get our heads wrapped around Synnd. There is a lot to it and it is a very different way of thinking. This is not simply about linkbuilding. In fact, it has very little to do with linkbuilding. And that is, as you know, our core focus here.
But the reality is that as times change we need to grow and adapt with them. Mike and I have been too slow to adopt the social media angle but we’re firmly embarking on that journey now. However, it is still a pragmatic approach for us. You’re not likely to see us hanging out at the local social media bar, but we are actively using tools such as Synnd that automate and leverage social media for the tool it can be. We encourage you to do the same.
What Networks Does Synnd Support?
Well, this is the very pleasant surprise of Synnd – it supports a wide array of networks and all of the big ones you really want. Many of these social media tools only support a very narrow list of sites or a huge list of meaningless sites you’ve never heard of. Synnd balances that and gives you all of the core sites you could ask for and enough others to create a wide network of top tier social media sites.
The following are currently supported (click on the image to zoom in).
How It Works
Synnd works on an earned credits system. While this can be a bit of a pain, it is vital to the way their system functions. Remember the architectural core underneath Synnd is this network of Remote Automators. So way they do is reward you with credits based on the up time of your Remote Automator. That is why we stress this point. You must leave your remote automator running at all times. When it is running the Synnd server can delegate tasks to it and that earns you credits. If you do not leave it running you will not earn credits – it’s that simple. Then when it comes time to promote your content if you don’t have the credits necessary you will either need to earn them or purchase them.
The easiest way to do this is to install the remote automator on an extra pc that you can simply leave connected to the Internet and turned on. If you’ve got an old laptop or a secondary computer that you are not using much, that is the simplest and best way to go. You will want to make sure that it doesn’t shut itself down or go to sleep (suspend mode) and prevent the Synnd server from accessing it.
You can earn up to 1500 credits per month via your remote automator with the Synnd Pro account. But remember, if you don’t leave it running 24/7, you won’t earn those credits. You can also earn credits in other ways by spending a few minutes running some additional campaigns each day to earn extra credits. This is pretty simple and can easily be delegated off to a junior team member or VA if you want.
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The first thing you need to do when getting started with Synnd is setup your social media accounts for the various networks it supports. This takes a little time, but it is a onetime effort so it’s well worth it. It is a required task in order to use Synnd. Remember, the Remote Automator is going to use these accounts to act on your behalf to promote content for others (just like their Remote Automators will be promoting your content). NOTE: As of 2/28/2011 auto account creation has been added for Synnd Pro users – good stuff!
To launch a campaign, you first create it and select the types of campaigns you wish to run – social news campaigns, bookmarking campaigns, micro blogging campaigns, blog commenting campaigns, facebook campaigns, article marketing campaigns, etc…
Next you go through and set them up. How many actions to perform per day, the maximum number of promotions before stopping the campaign, the keywords, the URL, the title and the content as required for each campaign type. Obviously this data will vary by campaign type.
All of the content supports spinning and you definitely want to spin it to a high degree. If you just put the exact same content out there on 120 tweets for example, well, how obvious is that to Google? I mean, think about it, how natural does it look to have 120 different people use the exact same text? I can’t stress this enough – garbage in, garbage out. If you don’t put in the effort with Synnd don’t expect it to product miracle results.
After that, it’s pretty much on autopilot – just let Synnd go out and automate the tasks you’ve assigned it. Our suggestion is to do this as a twice a month process and just queue it up. Going a full month without review is not really advised because you may have campaigns expiring that need attention. One a week or once every two weeks makes good sense. You don’t want to overdo the admin portion of it or you will just defeat the time savings benefits that Synnd affords you.
A Brief Overview of Synnd Campaign Types
As we’ve identified above there are various types of campaigns that you can launch. You won’t be able to use all of them necessarily for every promotion you do. Think of this as your list of ingredients to pull from – pick a few and mix ‘em up…
Bookmarking – This is the most basic from of social media content – a simple bookmark to your URL. Bookmarks are useful for various reasons, however and create social proof demonstrating that various people are bookmarking your site/URL. They are also handy for getting content indexed. Bookmarks are also among these least restricted types of campaigns you can create so they are applicable to most any content or URL.
Social News (voting sites) – A social news campaign is more picky and won’t be applicable to every URL you want to promote. It should be quality content and not promotional or commercial in nature. Think of this as content bait for your site – quality and engaging articles that you can use to vote up and drive traffic, buzz and links to your site.
Twitter and Facebook campaigns – Each of these is very specific and are two of the most popular campaigns you can create. Today Twitter and Facebook are the top two sites out there and Synnd fully supports and integrates with both of them. Facebook support has just recently been added.
Article Syndication – We can’t tell you much about this as we’ve not used it ourselves, but you can submit your articles via Synnd as well and let them send them out for you. The list of sites looks fairly limited, however, and really this is not the forte of Synnd. Most of our readers will likely already be employing article marketing with tools such as Article Demon or Article Marketing Robot and we suggest they continue with those. Use dedicated submitters for article marketing and let Synnd focus on its core features – that’s our advice.
Blog Commenting – Blog commenting used to be a huge tactic used to great success. Then, like everything, it became abused by spammers and largely discounted. The fact is, however, that a certain amount of blog commenting – both DoFollow and NoFollow – is important to creating a natural linkbuilding profile for your site and we still do blog commenting to this day even though it is not nearly as effective as it once was. Synnd takes a rather different approach and rather than spamming sites with irrelevant blog comments, it will allow you to create your own comments and have them posted on your posts via other user accounts. In essence you can control the quality of the comments and still have them come from apparently natural sources via the Remote Automator. You can also submit your URL for others to leave comments on (to earn credits).
As you can see there is a wide selection of different types of campaigns that you can leverage to promote your site. Not all will work for every site or URL and it is encouraged to mix them up a bit. Also, keep in mind, that as you setup these campaigns to really mix up the daily max and max total promotions for your campaigns. You want some campaigns to be heavily promoted and others to be lightly promoted. Try to follow our mantra and keep it natural by emulating what human nature does. Some posts have wild success and others mediocre – that’s the law of averages. So try to replicate that behavior in your promotional strategies.
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A Cloud Computing Sidebar…
If you really get serious with Synnd, you could look at a cloud based server solution such as Rackspace. Here you can rent a Windows Server and install Synnd there and just let it be. Of course, this only makes sense for serious power users and those that are perhaps already considering a cloud based server for other purposes as well. We made this shift at the beginning of the year – gradually moving everything to a cloud server – and I have to say it has been one of the best business decisions we’ve ever made.
Our transition is not yet complete – it’s a process – but within the next few months we will have 100% of our operation in this type of an environment. If you’ve never tried one of these out, take a look – it’s pretty wild. You can access your server via RDP (remote desktop protocol) and it creates a new window that has your entire server instance in it. It is as if you are sitting in front of the Windows server – start menu, all apps, etc… all run within a window from your local computer. You can even copy and paste from the server instance to your local system via the clipboard.
These cloud servers are also great if you have remote workers. You can create a separate login for each of your desktop tools like Article Demon, for example, and allow your team members to login as that utility login and access the tool they need. This gives you the ability to expand your operations in a very cost efficient manner because you can run it through a single license and allow the login to ensure only one person is using it at a time.
Okay, back To Synnd… We’ll do a full write up on Cloud Computing in the very near future.
Different Synnd Versions Available
There used to be three tiers of Synnd – Lite, Pro and Enterprise. But they have since abandoned the Lite version which leaves just Synnd Pro and Synnd Enterprise. We have used both versions. We started out with Pro and then migrated to a large Enterprise account now. The fact is, however, the Pro version actually has some benefits over the Enterprise and is much more affordable at just $97 a month whereas the Enterprise starts at $297 and goes up from there – $497, $997 and custom pricing.
NOTE: Synnd Enterprise is now available in a smaller package starting at $147. Also, if that is still more than you want to spend or you just need Synnd for a single site and don’t want to have to worry about writing your own content, etc… you can pick up a Synnd Slot through us for just $79 a month.
Synnd Pro is likely to be the most appropriate option for you. You’ll have to do a bit more work by providing it the content, but things like Facebook support and Blog Commenting are currently only available in the Pro version. The Enterprise version is meant to be more of a do it for you solution. It is much more expensive but is simpler as well because you don’t have to muck around with the content – they handle that for you. However, you also lose a lot of the control over details of the content that can give you less than optimal results. With the Enterprise version you do not have a Remote Automator and you simply get a bundle of credits which are included based in the package you purchase.
What We Don’t Like About Synnd
As we’ve said, we’ve been using it for over three months now and have used both Pro and Enterprise versions. Overall we are very fond of the system – especially the robust architecture it supports. Our complaints come more from a usability standpoint.
The system is solid, but it lacks many navigation and search options that would truly make it much more productive. We would like to see Synnd expand dramatically on the searching capabilities so that you can quickly and easily find specific data to make adjustments. We would also like to see them add some sort of “tag” or code that you could filter on. So, for example, if you wanted to group activities for a specific site of yours you could “tag” them for easy grouping, searching, filtering and reporting. There are basic search and reporting features in the system now but they are easily outgrown and we would like to see this area of the user interface expanded upon greatly.
Furthermore, while Synnd has great automation tools, we’d like to see that same automation mindset applied to the interface itself. So that you could setup certain things to automatically occur such as generation of reports by project or tag.
We would also like to see a more structured and streamlined training process and usage recommendations for Synnd as well. There are a couple of guides available but they are a bit light on specific guidance. This is a bit of a tough subject because no two sites or niches are the same so you can’t expect a “formula” approach, however, there could be some more specific guidelines. Look for a ‘Best Practices’ guide from us in the days to come as a free download to supplement Synnd’s own recommendations with our findings over the past three months.
When it comes to social media marketing Synnd is the de facto standard in the industry and with good reason. Quite simply there is no other software out there that really competes with Synnd. They have created a very intelligent system and network that does not leave any footprint or expose your bookmarking efforts. They have also crafted the design of the network to really leverage its power – the larger the grow, the more powerful the network becomes – but at over 1500+ users strong it is already the most formidable social media network available.
Want a more affordable option?
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Synnd Pro Bonus Offer
Synnd has quietly become one of our favorite tools, but you will need some content to be sending that social proof too, so that is how we are going to help you. If you purchase Synnd Pro through our link we will send you THREE (3) FREE custom written articles each month you stay subscribed to Synnd. The articles are provided by ArticlesOnTap.com, so you are guaranteed they are top quality, 100% unique and custom written articles of between 400-500 words in length. You will also receive a 10% off coupon code for any future orders of articles from ArticlesOnTap.com. You won’t find a Synnd coupon code, but ours will be worth more to you in the long run. To redeem your bonus simply follow the Synnd Bonus instructions. Once we confirm your purchase was made through our link, you will receive your bonuses.