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Posts Tagged ‘news’

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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Twitter’s new Analytics Dashboard Provides more Details

Monday, July 14th, 2014
Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Twitter has updated its analytics dashboard to provide more detailed information to businesses. With more information, you can see how your tweets are performing and even how your followers are interacting with them.

Who Can Use the New Analytics?

The analytics dashboard is available to businesses that have an advertising account, a verified account or that use Twitter cards. If your business has access to the previous analytics dashboard, you will be able to see the new data. You can also sign up for an account to start using the dashboard now.

What’s New?

Previously, businesses relied on basic information, like the number of retweets or favourites a tweet had, to find out how popular or successful it was. This is still a good way to get an idea of how many people are seeing your tweets and whether or not your market likes the type of information you are sharing.

But, these statistics were limiting and didn’t give businesses a very broad picture of what was happening with their accounts. That’s why the new dashboard is big news and will help businesses be more successful on Twitter.

Impressions

Now, you can see how many times your tweets have been seen on the Twitter website or one of its mobile apps. “Impressions” refers to the number of times a tweet has been viewed, not necessarily the number of people who have seen it.

Twitter allows you to see the total number of impressions for each tweet, an hourly distribution, so you can see when your followers see your posts, or the number of impressions your tweets have received in a 28-day period.

Link Clicks

Now, you don’t have to rely on third-party link shorteners to see how many clicks your links get. You can choose a specific tweet on your dashboard to see how many times a link was clicked on.

Hashtag Clicks

If you use hashtags as part of your social media marketing strategy, being able to see how many times they are clicked on can help you be more effective. Click on a tweet on the dashboard to see hashtag clicks.

App Installs and Opens

Businesses that use Twitter’s app cards will now be able to see how many times their apps were installed or opened.

Tweet-Induced Follows and Profile Views

The new dashboard will also let you see how many followers you are gaining and how many times your profile is viewed due to tweets you are posting.

If you took advantage of Twitter’s CSV export tool, you’ll be happy to know that now you can export data for up to 3,200 tweets, significantly more than the previous 500-tweet limit.

The more analytical information you can gather, the more you can assess your Twitter strategy and find better ways to reach your market. Start taking advantage of the new dashboard now by taking some measurements and then tracking different values over the next several weeks.

As you start to notice changes, find ways you can improve the way you use Twitter to get better results, reverse negative trends or just see even more success.

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Study finds 64% of Site Traffic is Organic

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Conductor revisited a study it had previously done and reanalysed data from more than 310 million website visits. The group found that 64 percent of website traffic is organic. This number is significant and highlights why businesses need to have a strong search engine optimisation strategy.

The Research

The 310 million website visits came from 30 different websites in six different industries. The visits spanned a one-year period and were closely studied by Conductor. The company revisited the study after it began to wonder if some traffic originally labeled as direct traffic was actually organic traffic. You can read more details about the study on the Conductor blog.

After looking at the research again, the company found that the majority of site traffic is organic. This means it’s traffic that comes from unpaid links from places like search results, third-party websites and directories.

The other forms of traffic the study looked at were direct, referral (without social media), paid search and social media traffic.

How you Can Benefit

Organic traffic is highly beneficial because it often brings more valuable visitors to your site. People who are looking for your business, interested in your products or may not need to be persuaded by ads are the kind of people that find your site through organic links.

Recently, organic links have been more highly favoured by search engines because they speak to the authority and quality of your website. If your content is so good and so valuable that others want to link to your pages naturally, search engines know that your site is high quality. As you gain more organic links, you could also gain higher search rankings.

Start with the Best Content

To start getting these benefits, use only the best content. Search engines favour content that is well written, resourceful and valuable. It needs to fill a specific need without being stuffed with keywords. Make sure every blog post and site page has a goal and is of the highest quality.

Use SEO Strategically

Your SEO campaigns need to be strategic if you want to see an increase of organic traffic through search results. Choose your keywords carefully and use them naturally throughout your content. Make sure your site is readable for search engines and keep adding fresh content so your site will be crawled regularly.

Work for Earned Links

Avoid low-quality link building campaigns and instead, work for earned links. The first step is making sure your content is so good that people will want to link to it. Then, share your content through social media and reach out to bloggers who would be interested in covering your business or products.

Organic traffic is valuable because it brings people who are already interested in your business to your website. This traffic can help you increase sales, boost visitor engagement, grow your email list and build your audience.

To get this organic traffic, you need a strong SEO campaign that is based on high-quality content. Know who your audience is, choose keywords carefully and make gaining earned links part of your strategy.

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5 Major Digital Marketing Changes to Watch For

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Accenture Interactive recently did a study that reveals how chief marketing officers across several industries feel marketing will change in the coming years. The study found that 78 percent of all CMOs surveyed agreed that “marketing is expected to undergo radical changes over the next five years.”

What are these changes? The world of marketing is always changing and with technology it is changing very quickly. Some of the expected changes were revealed in the study, which asked CMOs what they expect to see. Here are five of those changes and what they mean for your business.

Digital will Account for more than 75% of Marketing Budgets

Digital marketing is becoming more and more vital to business’ success. In the coming years, your company will need to embrace digital marketing tactics like search engine optimisation, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising. All of these forms of online marketing can help you build your brand, increase awareness, boost sales and accomplish all kinds of business goals.

Mobile Specifically will Account for More than 50% of Marketing Budgets

We’ve known for a while now that mobile marketing is growing quickly. In the next few years, many expect it to account for more than half of marketing budgets. If you don’t want to be left behind, you need to embrace mobile marketing.

Mobile marketing can include things like social media, mobile apps, responsive site design, text message marketing, email marketing and sophisticated technologies that allow businesses to track customers, through their smartphones, as they come into their stores.

Earned Media will be more Important than Paid and Owned Media

Earned media is becoming more valuable. Focusing on things like distributing press releases, providing high-quality content and reaching out to bloggers will result in coverage that will bring brand recognition and site traffic.

Earned links are also an important part of search engine optimisation, so producing content that people will want to link to is important to multiple aspects of Internet marketing.

Marketing Campaigns will Begin Unfolding in Real Time

Real-time marketing is made possible with social media and the ability to quickly update blogs and websites. This kind of marketing is often in response to news events or pop culture or just as a way to make a product launch more exciting. You can lay the groundwork for this kind of marketing by building up your social media and blog followings and keeping tabs on what is happening in your market, industry and community.

Analytics Skills will Become a Core Competence in Marketing

Website, social media and other social media analytics can tell you whether your marketing is working and can help you understand how to make your campaigns more effective. Keeping close watch on how your tactics are performing, how your market reacts and what kinds of results you are getting will help you enhance your strategies.

There’s no question that digital marketing is the way of the future. Your business will need to use online tactics and strategies to keep up with its competition, reach its market and succeed.

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Do these Two Things to Reach 80% of Internet Users

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Image courtesy of takomabibelot/Flickr.

Image courtesy of takomabibelot/Flickr.

When you use Internet marketing to promote your business, you want to reach as many people as possible. Some new research shows that if you include just two things in your marketing strategy, you will reach 8 out of 10 Internet users.

So what are those two things? Social media marketing and blogging.

While these two basic Internet marketing strategies may seem simple, Search Engine Watch reports that businesses that use them reach 80 percent of Internet users.

To widen your audience and make sure you are reaching your target market, you need to use both social media and blogging strategically. If you use these tactics without purpose or direction, they won’t help you achieve results.

Jumpstart your Social Media

When was the last time you reviewed your social media marketing strategy? Reassessing your strategy often will help you make sure you are using each account to its fullest potential and benefiting from your efforts.

Choose your Sites

What social media sites are you using? Look at your accounts and make sure things like your biography, profile picture and contact information are all up to date. If your fans are engaging with you and you are gaining an audience, you are likely using these sites well. Consider if there are other social media sites that lend themselves to your brand and goals.

Share Strategically

The content you create, curate from other sources or even the status updates you post should all help you reach your goals. You can accomplish all kinds of things, from increased brand awareness and sales to more email subscribers through social media. Decide whether the posts you share are helping you be successful.

Take some time to assess your social media accounts and strategies to make sure they are helping you reach your overall marketing goals.

Rethink your Blog

Your blog should also help you achieve your business goals. One of the biggest benefits of your blog is that it is a platform you have full control over. Social media sites come and go, features are always being added and removed and you don’t have complete control over how your page is branded. But, with your blog you know you have a platform that will always be there and will look and function the way you want it to.

Your blog also gives you a unique opportunity to get your own message, facts and information out there, without the risk of it being misconstrued. Media coverage, other blogs and sometimes even social media sites don’t give you full control over your message the way your blog does.

Who is Your Audience?

Think carefully about who your blog audience is. Is it potential customers? Current customers? Other businesses? What demographic information do you have about your audience? When you know who your blog is for, you can leverage it to your advantage. If the kind of content you are sharing isn’t of value to your audience, your blog won’t be very successful.

Social media and blogging are two very important Internet marketing strategies. When you use these two elements effectively, your campaign will be successful and benefit your entire business.

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How to Avoid Google’s Press Release Penalties

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Image courtesy of Rob Pegoraro/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Rob Pegoraro/Flickr.

While we can’t say for sure, it seems that Google has recently started ranking press releases on major press release sites lower. Research done by Search Engine Land and SEER Interactive found that Google’s recent algorithm update, called Panda, could have hurt press release rankings.

The research shows that press releases on major sites like PRWeb, Business Wire and PRLog decreased in rankings after the update. In fact, Search Engine Land found that some of these sites’ SEO visibility decreased significantly.

  • PRNewswire’s SEO visibility decreased by about 63%.
  • PRWeb’s SEO visibility decreased by about 71%.
  • Business Wire’s SEO visibility decreased by about 60%.

It might be a bit strong to say these numbers show “penalties,” but the fact remains that press releases aren’t ranking as high as they used to. Of course, this could be for a few different reasons, but the decreases are significant enough to encourage businesses to be careful about how they use press releases.

Press Releases are Still Beneficial

Press releases aren’t going anywhere. They are still widely used in the public relations and journalism industries to inform media outlets and publics about news items and events. They are the perfect way to make announcements and keep people informed about business and industry happenings.

But, like other content marketing tools, press releases need to be used correctly if you want to see SEO benefits. Remember when Google warned businesses to use guest blog posts wisely and to provide real value? The same idea holds true here.

How to Use Press Releases the Right Way

There is no reason to stop using press releases altogether. The key to benefiting from them is making sure you are using them the best way possible.

Stick with Real News

Originally, businesses used press releases to tell media outlets about newsworthy stories or information. Stick with this original use and only use press releases when you have legitimate and valuable news to share. Things like new locations, changes in leadership, new product launches and events are great for press releases.

Use Distribution Channels Carefully

Choose strategically how you distribute your press releases. Start by sending them to media outlets and industry bloggers and posting them on your own website. If you choose to publish them to press release sites, only use the highest quality sites.

You don’t necessarily have to avoid the sites mentioned above, but keep in mind that your press releases may not get the highest rankings if you use them.

Choose Value over SEO Optimisation

Like all other SEO tactics, choose value over optimisation. Focus first on providing information your market wants and needs, and let keywords fall naturally throughout the release. All links should be relevant and helpful, adding real value to the press release.

Press releases are an excellent, and in some cases essential, Internet marketing tool. When you keep these guidelines in mind you can use them to drive traffic to your website, earn links, raise awareness, increase rankings and promote your business.

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Vine’s New Loop Count makes Measuring Easier

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Vine has announced that it will now display the loop count, or the number of times a video has been played, for each of its videos. The count will appear on the mobile apps and on the web version of Vine, so viewers can see how popular a video is and businesses can more easily measure results.

The New Feature

The number appears just above a video, in the right-hand corner. It will be updated live as the video is looped so it provides a very up-to-date glimpse at how much a video is being watched.

It’s important to keep in mind though that the loop count only shows how many times a video has been played, not how many unique views it has. For example, if a person watches your video three times, the loop number could be larger than the actual number of people who have watched it.

This statistic is still very important though, as it can still help businesses understand how popular their videos are and give them a basic understanding of the size of the audience they are reaching with each video.

As you upload videos to Vine, track the loop count to see how they gain in popularity and what kinds of videos your audience reacts to.

Vine also announced an update to the activity feed and introduced notifications that tell you when your video has reached certain milestones, like 100 “likes” for example.

Tips for Using Vine for Business

Vine is a great way to reach your market and promote your business with visual effects. Use it like you would other social networks, by building an audience and posting to it frequently. Choose strategically what you want share so that your posts will help you reach your goals.


Demonstrate Products in Action

Vine is the perfect way to give a short, visual demonstration of your products or services in action. It allows you to show people how to use your product and lets them visualise what it will be like to use it themselves.

You can also crowdsource and ask your social media followers to submit Vines of them using your products.

Show off Your Value

Take it to the next level and use Vine videos to show the results of what your products can do. Showing before and after images, how your products solve a problem and any other value you provide through Vine is a great, visual way to communicate with your market.

Promote an Event or Location

With Vine you can give people an inside look at an event or a behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of your locations. You can show your employees, customers or guests doing things, giving people a taste of the action.

Vine’s new loop count will make it easier for you to measure your Vine efforts as you use these, and other marketing strategies, to promote your business and increase sales. If you haven’t started using Vine, look for ways video can enhance your social media marketing and then use the site strategically.

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