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New Google Tool lets you Track Phone Calls that Result from Ad Clicks

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Image courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Google has announced a new tool, called website call conversions, that makes it possible for you to track the phone calls your business receives after people click on ads. This ability can help you find out how to increase the number of calls you get and even make more sales.

Other AdWords tools like click-to-call ads, call metrics and calls as conversions can help you track the number of calls that are made when people call your business from an ad, but not the calls people make after exploring your website. Website call conversions gives you a way to track those calls.

How Website Call Conversions Works

Chances are there are a lot of people that see your ads, click on them and then explore your website before they decide to call your business. You probably already know this is happening but you don’t have a way to actually track and measure that activity.

With website call conversions, you can find out how many phone calls you receive when people click on one of your ads and explore your site before they make a call. You can track calls made when people click on your phone number or dial it on their smartphone.

When you add a snippet of code to your website, Google creates a forwarding number it uses to track these phone calls. You can even assign value levels to calls and find out what keywords and ads generated the calls.

Why this Information is so Valuable

The number of phone calls your ads generate is just as important as the amount of traffic they generate. Knowing how many phone calls your business receives due to ad campaigns can help you understand how to grow your customer base.

Learn What Spurs People to Call You

Website call conversions lets you find out what keywords and ads are most successful in encouraging people to call you. This can give you incredible insight that can help you generate more calls from customers who are interested in buying your products.

Design Better Campaigns

As you learn what drives phone calls, you can use that information to design better campaigns to get even more calls from potential customers. You’ll know which keywords to use and what kinds of ad designs and messages work best for your market.

Target your Efforts for Better Results

This new tool lets you assign value to calls that come from different pages on your website. As Google explains in its announcement, you may place a higher value on calls that come from a products page and a lesser value to calls that come from your home page. Then, you can find out which ads bring those valuable calls and then design more ads that are similar to generate even more valuable calls.

Google’s new website call conversions tool will make it possible for you to discover what keywords and ads are leading people to call your business, so you can generate more leads and increase sales.

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Facebook puts an end to Like-Gating

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Image courtesy of Adam Fagen/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Adam Fagen/Flickr.

A few days ago, Facebook announced some platform policy changes and one of those could affect your social media marketing strategy. Businesses will no longer be able to use like-gating to incentivise people to “like” their Pages.

What is Like-Gating?

According to Facebook, like-gating is the practice of requiring a user to “like” a Page before he can see some content or view specific tabs or applications. In other words, it’s the tactic of forcing people to “like” a Page before they can see exclusive content.

Businesses used like-gating as a way to build their Facebook following and increase their reach so that when they post content more and more people would see it.

What’s so bad about Like-Gating?

Facebook has explained that it is banning the tactic because it leads to inflated numbers of “likes.” The company said: “To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives.”

In the end, this will be good for your business because it means that the people who “like” your Page are more likely to do so because they have a genuine interest in your business. These are the people you want to target because they probably fall into one of your target markets and it will be easier to convert them from Facebook fans to customers.

Can I still Incentivise People for “Likes?”

This new ban doesn’t exclude all incentives. Your business can still require people to “like” your Page before they enter a promotion, login to your app or checkin at a place. So, even with the ban, you can still encourage people to “like” your Page if you are offering them some value other than exclusive content.

What should my Business do?

Always follow the site’s rules and guidelines when you use social media. If you are currently using like-gating tactics to encourage people to “like” your Page before they can see exclusive content or access some tabs on your site, you will have to find other ways to build a following.

However, you can still ask people to “like” your Page before they enter a promotion, login to an app or checkin at a place on your Facebook Page.

In short, this policy change means businesses will have to start working harder and smarter to get more “likes” for their Pages. The best way to do this is to offer quality content and make your account one that people in your market will want to follow so they don’t miss out on the latest news, tips and information from your business.

As you do this, you will find that your Facebook audience will become more valuable. The people who will “like” your Page will be those who are genuinely interested in connecting with your business and who are more likely to be the people you are trying to reach with your Facebook marketing strategy.

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Google Unveils News Publisher Center for Site Owners

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Image courtesy of Spencer E Holtaway/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Spencer E Holtaway/Flickr.

Google has launched a new tool called News Publisher Center that makes it easier for site owners to keep the search engine updated on changes to their sites. The new tool can help news sites gain better search rankings and therefore more traffic.

If you have a news site or blog, you may have noticed that it can be hard to get your pages to rank in the Google News search results. This is because when you add new sections to your site, the search engine doesn’t always come back to rank it and add it to its search results. But, the News Publisher Center is designed to solve that problem.

Why News Rankings Matter

If your site doesn’t appear in Google search results, you could be missing a large portion of your audience. One of the best ways to attract new readers and increase your traffic is to increase your site’s rankings so your pages appear in search results when users do searches for terms related to your site.

If you keep your site information updated with the News Publisher Center, Google will be able to rank your content and display it in search results as people look for the kind of content you provide.

With more readers, you can do things like:

  • Increase Ad Sales
  • Get more Comments and Engagement
  • Boost Product Sales
  • Raise Awareness
  • Gain Sponsors

News rankings matter if you want people to find your content and participate on your site.

Using the News Publisher Center

To start using the News Publisher Center, you need to verify that you own your website. This tool is only available for news sites. As of now, it is available to sites in the United States but will soon be offered around the world.

Once you have verified your site, you can start making it easier for people to find your content by telling Google when your site changes. In the center, you will be able to change your site’s name and choose labels that categorise what kind of news site you have.

Whenever you change your site’s structure by adding new sections, Google doesn’t always know that content is there. With this new tool, you can log in and add the URLs of new sections as you add them. You can also label these sections to make them easier to find on Google.

If you have a news site, log in now to make sure your site is verified and all your sections are there. Then, each time you update your site use the News Publisher Center to keep Google informed and make sure your readers can find your content.

The new tool was announced on the Google Webmaster Central Blog where you can find more details about how to use it.

If you run a news site, you don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity to boost your rankings so you can get more readers and make your site more successful. Make sure you publish high quality content, use keywords naturally and log in to the News Publisher Center to keep Google aware of changes to your site.

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Most People Consider their Smartphone a Central Part of their Life, and not for Traditional Reasons

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

New research backs up the idea that we are very dependent on our smartphones and even proves that people aren’t using their phones for traditional phone tasks. Knowing how people in your market use their phones, you can more effectively target your customers and leverage your mobile marketing tactics.

Depending on your business, mobile marketing could play a key part in your marketing strategy and even help you reach more people. It could also help you accomplish things like increased brand awareness, site traffic and sales.

We’re Hooked on our Smartphones

Exact Target did some research into how we use our mobile devices. The company found that 85 percent of the people who responded to its survey consider their mobile devices a central aspect of their lives. The vast majority of people depend on their smartphone daily and feel that it plays a major role in their day-to-day lives.

We already know how prevalent smartphone use is. No matter where you go, people are glued to their smartphones reading news articles, using social media, sending text messages, playing games, shopping and browsing the Internet.

We’re doing more With our Smartphones

In Exact Target’s survey, 89 percent of the people surveyed feel that smartphones help them stay in touch with family and friends and keep up with events. The fact that people use their smartphones for more than making phone calls is no surprise, but the statistics that prove this theory are stunning.

According to a 2013 study by Nielsen, the vast majority of time people spend on their smartphones isn’t spent doing traditional things like making phone calls, sending text messages or accessing contact information.

In fact, the study found that only:

  • 9% of the time people spend on their smartphones is spent sending text messages.
  • 3% of their time is spent using the phone dialer.
  • 2% of their time is spent using the address book.

This means that just 14 percent of the time people spend on their smartphones is used to contact people. So what are people doing the rest of the time? They are using mobile apps.

Your Business and Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing can be loosely categorised into three areas: social media, Internet and apps. When you find ways to use each of these three areas to promote your business, your mobile marketing plan will be stronger.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are commonly used on the go. Make sure your social media strategy is mobile friendly by remembering that people on the go are looking for short pieces of information.

Make sure your website is easily viewed and used on the small screen of a mobile device and consider mobile advertising strategies like paid search ads and banner ads.

Finally, consider whether a mobile app can benefit your market. Not all businesses need their own app, but if you can offer real value to your market and promote your business through an app, this tactic could be very beneficial.

Mobile marketing is absolutely essential right now as the majority of people feel they depend on their smartphone every day and are using it to access websites, social media and apps.

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Mobile Ads Shown to be very Effective in Generating Clicks and Engagement

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A new study, done by xAd and Telmetrics reveals that mobile ads are very effective. The world of mobile marketing opens up all kinds of opportunities for businesses, from email marketing to social media marketing, and ads are a tactic that you shouldn’t ignore.

The following statistics come from the research and provide some insight into what mobile ads are capable of and how businesses can use them more effectively.

50% of Mobile Shoppers Say Ads are Informative or Helpful

Half of people who shop on their mobile devices say mobile ads are informative or helpful. This means that people are actually paying attention to ads and are happy with what they see. Your market is more likely to be receptive to your ads if they are strategically targeted.

Things like the ad design, copy and messaging need to be designed for your target market. Whenever possible, use social media and advertising platforms that allow you to target your ads to specific demographics.

More than 40% Clicked on Ads Because they are Relevant

More than 40 percent of users said they clicked on ads because they felt they were relevant. According to the survey, mobile users deem ads relevant when they speak to their interests, are related to past purchases, are locally targeted or include coupons.

40% Report Clicking on Ads with Half Taking more Action

Almost half of the people surveyed, 40 percent, said they click on mobile ads. This is a significant number and shows that when ads are well targeted, they can help you drive traffic to your site.

Of that 40 percent, half took more action like looking at the company’s website or looking for more product information after clicking on the ad. Once you generate clicks, you can encourage people to take more action if your content is relevant.

Half of People who Clicked on Ads wanted to Make a Purchase within the Hour, 70% Did

But, people aren’t just clicking on ads, they want to make a purchase. Half of those who clicked want to make a purchase within the hour, and 70 percent of them actually did. This statistic shows that ads can do more than help you drive traffic, they can help you make sales.

If you can capture attention and provide relevant information, there’s a good chance that people who click on your ads will become customers.

57% Who Clicked on Ads want to see a Business Phone Number

Interestingly, 57 percent of people who clicked on ads reported that they want to see a business phone number on the ad. While this seems like a small detail, it shows that a majority of the people who respond to your ads are looking for an easy way to contact you. Just adding your phone number could make your ads more effective and help you gain more customers.

Mobile Internet marketing is essential if you want to reach your market and grow your business. This latest research shows that mobile advertising can be a successful way to reach your customers, drive traffic and increase sales. If you haven’t already implement mobile marketing at your business, now is the time to get started!

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Can You use LinkedIn’s New Sponsored Content Feature?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Image courtesy of mars_discovery_district/Flickr.

Image courtesy of mars_discovery_district/Flickr.

Recently, LinkedIn made it possible for all users to publish content directly to the website. Now, it has announced a new feature called direct sponsored content that could help you reach more people and grow your audience.

The ability to publish content on LinkedIn and share it with your followers as a way to build your brand and showcase your expertise brings a lot of opportunity to your content marketing plan. But, this latest feature could do even more, making it easier for you to target your market.

Direct Sponsored Content

LinkedIn already offers sponsored posts that businesses can use to reach more people on the network. This new feature is very similar, but allows businesses to create sponsored content.

With the tool, your business can post content directly to LinkedIn’s feed, without posting it on our business page, and target it to a very specific group of people. Of course, the benefit of this is that you can make sure content with specific messages reaches the right people.

Your page’s administrator will have the ability to respond to comments on the sponsored content and can even track a few basic analytics like number of clicks, impressions, interactions and followers acquired for each piece of sponsored content.

To use the feature, you need to have a business page and use LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions. When you are logged in to your dashboard, you will see the new option to create sponsored content. You can see a video tutorial on how to start using sponsored content on LinkedIn’s content marketing page.

Should You use Sponsored Content?

If you already use sponsored posts or LinkedIn is already part of your social media marketing strategy, you should consider using sponsored content. This new feature can help you take your LinkedIn strategy to a new level and get more out of your account.

Even if your business isn’t using LinkedIn yet, now is a good time to consider adding it to your Internet and social media marketing plans. The site has grown and could potentially help you reach a large audience.

LinkedIn is a unique social media site because it attracts a different audience than many of the other social media sites. There are more than 300 million LinkedIn users with 15 million users in the UK alone. The site is also growing quickly, with more than two new users signing up every second. According to LinkedIn, there are 39 million students and recent graduates using the site, and this demographic is the site’s fastest growing group of users.

LinkedIn also says that its users did more than 5.7 billion searches on the site for professional-themed topics in 2012. These numbers tell us that LinkedIn is a major social network with users who search the site for content regularly.

If your business wants to target students, young professionals, industry experts and other businesses, LinkedIn is a great channel to use. To get the best results, use LinkedIn to reach this specific market, build a strong following, engage with other users and experiment with sponsored posts and content.

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Google Launches Free Dynamic Sitelinks for AdWords Users

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Google has announced a new perk for AdWords users: dynamic sitelinks. Now, businesses will benefit from automatically generated links to specific pages on their site, which can help them draw in more customers.

The new links have already been launched in all countries and they are free. You do not have to pay an additional fee when you set up a campaign and you don’t even have to pay for the clicks on these links. You will continue to pay for clicks on your ads’ headlines and extensions.

Right now, sitelinks appear below paid search ads. The links direct people to specific pages on your website so you can more easily target your market and strategically drive traffic to your pages. For example, an ad for used cars might include a sitelink that directs people to car listings or contact information on your website.

Now, Google will use a person’s search history to automatically display sitelinks that are likely to be of interest to him. These dynamic sitelinks will help your ads attract more people and make it possible to display more relevant information.

How it Works

Google explains that when someone is searching the Internet for a product, she usually does a few different searches and clicks on different results. This information tells the search engine more about what the user is looking for. Google will use this information to display dynamic sitelinks below your ads in an effort to display more relevant information and help you target your market.

While you won’t have to pay to use dynamic sitelinks or even pay for the clicks on these links, you will still be paying for headline and extension links. If your dynamic links lead to more of these clicks, you may be paying a little more for your AdWords campaigns, although they could bring more value.

The new dynamic links will appear on web browsers on desktop computers, smartphones and tablets.

What Dynamic Sitelinks can Do

Dynamic sitelinks can help you more narrowly target potential customers and drive more traffic to your website. These links make it easier for you to offer what people are looking for, which makes them more likely to become your customers.

Search Engine Watch found that dynamic sitelinks do have an impact on AdRank and Quality Score.

How you can Start Using the New Feature

To use the new sitelinks, you must be using Google AdWords campaigns. When you set up a campaign, be sure to select “Search Network with Display Select” or “Search Network Only.”

If you set up your own sitelinks for your ads, these will be the default for the campaign. Google will always show the links you set up automatically unless the search engine determines the dynamic sitelinks will be a better fit according to a user’s searches.

Businesses can also opt out of the dynamic sitelinks program through Google support.

Dynamic Sitelinks are a great way to help you enhance your ads and make them more effective. If you are using AdWords, strengthen your campaigns by making sure they are strategically planned, are using the best keywords and that you have enabled dynamic sitelinks.

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Foursquare and LinkedIn go Even more Local

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Image courtesy of Michael Verhoef/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Michael Verhoef/Flickr.

Both Foursquare and LinkedIn have announced new features that take their networks to a whole new level. Local search engine optimisation has long been valued among businesses and Internet marketers, and now social networks are looking for ways to use local features to expand their services.

For example, Facebook recently added a feature called Nearby Friends that lets users see where their friends are so they can connect in real life and communicate about local areas, destinations and sites.

Foursquare Personalises Local Search

Foursquare has always been about location, but now it is taking that speciality to a whole new level with personalised local search. This feature changes the way search works for users and could highlight what social media users are looking for.

The mobile app will rely on a user’s check-in history and answers to a few questions about personal preferences to provide search results about local places designed specifically for that person. Foursquare says that no two local search results pages will be exactly the same.

Search results will also be served based on tips, check-ins and photos that other users have submitted since Foursquare began. In other words, the social network has made local search personalised by using its database of information, along with personal preferences, to provide results about places the user is most likely to be interested in.

Foursquare hasn’t specified when the feature will be available, but says it will be rolled out soon.

LinkedIn Offers new Connected App

LinkedIn is now offering a new app, called Connected, for iPhone users that makes it easier to strengthen relationships in person. While the new app doesn’t add any location-specific features, it does encourage people to use LinkedIn in a local way.

The app makes it easy to be prepared for meetings and working lunches so you can take online relationships offline and strengthen your professional network. Connected will also help you keep track of what your contacts are doing and helps you keep up with things like job changes, birthdays and other events.

In other words, Connected makes it easier to network in real life and to make relationships more than just an online connection. Right now, the app is only available to iPhone users and is already on the iTunes store.

Does Your Business Embrace Local?

Facebook’s, Foursquare’s and LinkedIn’s recent updates show a trend in social media. People are looking for ways to make in-person interaction easier and want to make social media more personal. They want personalised search results and social media features that help them foster real-life relationships.

What does this mean for you? It means that to keep up with trends and market desires, you need to find ways to meet those personalised, local needs. Whether you have a small local shop or a large brand, look for ways to provide personal experiences and don’t forgo real-life interaction and experiences for online engagement.

Social media and Internet marketing should be used to supplement the experience your customers have when they work with your employees or visit your location. These recent changes to social media networks show that more and more people are expecting this kind of service and when you provide it, you will attract more customers.

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Facebook Testing new “Buy” Feature

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Facebook has announced that it’s testing a new feature that will let users buy products from businesses directly through the site or mobile app. This addition has the potential to make increasing sales through Facebook easier for businesses and could increase conversion rates for ads and posts.

What we Know About the Feature

We don’t know very much about this new feature yet, except that it will add a “buy” button to some Facebook ads and posts. This way, people can buy products through Facebook without leaving the site or app.

Facebook explained that the payment will be secure and users will be able to store their credit card information on the site or check out without saving payment information. It also states that payment information used on Facebook won’t be shared with other advertisers.

According to the announcement, the feature is currently being tested with some small and medium-sized businesses in the United States. Facebook says it will be assessing feedback, so it may be safe to assume that if the feature works well it could be available to businesses everywhere.

You can find out more about the test on the news section of the Facebook for business website.

How Businesses will Benefit

While this new feature hasn’t been expanded for all businesses and Facebook advertisers, it is an interesting development that could benefit your business later. Facebook seems eager to stay relevant and to entice more businesses to use the service and buy ads. If the tests go well, and the new feature is unrolled for all businesses, you could use it as a major part of your social media marketing campaign.

The addition of the “buy” button would give you a way to include a very visual and clear call to action. When you advertise products or just post information about them to your page, you could make it much easier for people to make a purchase.

Conversion rates could increase because making purchases would be faster and easier and customers could buy things as they use Facebook. People may be more inclined to make spur-of-the-moment purchases, especially if they don’t have to stop what they are doing.

Currently, advertisers can include links to their website and product pages, which makes it easier to convert people into buyers, but does require some extra work. The ads need to be enticing enough to convince someone that they are worth clicking on and exploring further. With the new button, some of that inconvenience could disappear.

How to Make more Sales Now

In the meantime, you can make sure your ads and posts are as optimised as possible to increase sales. Start by using ads that are appealing to your target market and make the shopping experience better. Link directly to a page where users can make a purchase and make sure the checkout process is easy.

To enhance your page, work to build a following of people who are likely to become customers and then post strategically so people will be interested in visiting your website where you can convert them to customers.

We’ll keep an eye on this test and keep you posted as it develops and if it becomes more widely available to businesses.

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The Most Common Link Building Tactics and How to Use Them

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Moz has published its annual link building survey and the findings reveal a lot about how businesses use link building as part of their search engine optimisation campaigns. While industry standards have changed and things that were once considered good practice are now discouraged by Google, link building is still a legitimate SEO and Internet marketing strategy.

The study analysed responses from consultants, agencies, SEO and digital marketing business owners, other business owners and SEO managers. The results are compiled into an infographic so you can easily see what experts think about current link building strategies.

The link building tactics used most by the survey respondents can inspire you to find ways to enhance your own SEO campaigns.

Numbers represent votes by survey participants. Image source.

Numbers represent votes by survey participants. Image source.

Content and Outreach

Content marketing and SEO can work hand-in-hand to help you promote your business. Start with high-quality content and then make sure it is optimised with the correct keywords and links to your website.

Your content marketing plan should use content that provides value to your market, establishes your business as an industry expert and encourages people to take action. Use marketing channels, like social media, blogs, and popular websites, to make sure your market sees your content.

Infographic Promotion

Infographics allow you to convey a lot of information very easily. They are interesting to look at, visually attractive and break lots of information into smaller pieces that are easier and faster to take in.

To use infographics for SEO purposes, create some code your blog visitors and social media followers can use to embed the image onto their own website. This code should include a link back to your website.

The best infographics are professionally designed, include interesting information and are on topics that interest their target market.

Guest Blog Posts

Google has recently cracked down on low quality and illegitimate guest blogging. But, when done the right way, guest blogging can be an excellent form of link building. Only post content on high-quality sites that are reputable and don’t just exist to build links.

For optimal results, look for blogs that have lots of readers and attract your target market. Make sure the content you post provides value to the audience and also helps you raise awareness of your brand and promote your business.

Resource Pages

Resource pages are collections of links to articles and pieces of content that are all related. They aim to help people solve problems, offer comprehensive information and provide value. You can use resource pages on your own site and include content from third-party sources as well as a few links to your own content.

You can also create quality content and become a popular industry resource so that others will be more likely to include you on their resource pages.

Some of the less common tactics mentioned in the survey include:

  • Competitions and Giveaways
  • Local Citations and Business Directories
  • Forum Profile Links
  • Link Wheels
  • Social Bookmarks
  • Web Directories
  • Press Release Submissions
  • Blog Networks
  • Paid Links

Any kind of tactic you use should aim to provide value, be professional and use high standards. Link building should play a part in your SEO campaigns and these commonly used tactics could help your business gain higher rankings.

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