Posts Tagged ‘Search engine optimisation’
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Image courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
A strategic content marketing plan has the potential to help your business earn higher search engine rankings, get more website traffic, raise awareness and increase sales. When you recognize the power of content marketing and are ready to start using it as part of your digital marketing strategy, how do you know where to start?
Content marketing is a large industry with many tactics. The exact strategy you implement will depend on your brand and goals, but the following steps can help you start creating a content marketing plan.
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
First, ask yourself what you want to accomplish with content marketing. Do you want to reach a new audience or follow up with your target market? Or, maybe your content marketing goal is to get more leads or to create a social media buzz about your brand. Content marketing can help you accomplish all kinds of marketing goals, so decide what you want to get out of this strategy.
Step 2: Locate the most Beneficial Channels
Once you have identified what kinds of goals you hope to accomplish, you can choose which channels will be the most beneficial in helping you reach them. For example, if you want to reach a specific market, you can use the social media networks, websites or blogs that they are most likely to visit.
Keep in mind that while you may use a specific channel for other marketing efforts, that channel may not necessarily be the same channel you should use for content marketing. The channel you use will also depend on the type of business you have and the type of content you want to share.
Step 3: Create Quality Content
Of course, the foundation for your content marketing plan should be quality content. Focus on creating content that is geared toward your audience and that will help you reach your goals. Calls to action should be used wherever possible and your content should always be unique, helpful and engaging. Think outside the box and find new ways to get your audience’s attention and share your brand’s message.
Step 4: Measure Results
As you begin executing your content marketing strategy, measure your results. The things you measure will depend on your goals, but some numbers you could track include the number of shares or comments a piece of content gets, how much your audience engages with it, how many page views it has, how much it is shared and how many visitors respond to your calls to action. Some measurements are harder to track than others, but tracking the success of your strategy is vital to creating future plans that will help you reach your goals.
Step 5: Adjust Your Strategy Where Needed
Analyze the results of your content marketing efforts and decide if your tactics are helping you reach your goals. Then, determine if you need to make changes to your plan. You may have to try a few different strategies before you find the one that brings you the best results. You may also consider testing a few different strategies at the same time, so you can more quickly find what works for you. Your content marketing strategy will also likely change periodically depending on your current goals, your product offerings, your target market and industry changes.
Content marketing is a great marketing strategy that can help you build your brand and meet other business goals. The most successful plans are revisited often and adjusted as needed.
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Image courtesy of Ruby Gold/Flickr.
Search engine optimization best practices are always changing. When search engines, like Google, update their algorithms website owners are often required to rethink their SEO strategies so they can earn the rankings they need.
Since SEO is always changing, the tactics that are the most effective are always shifting. In the past, link building was one of the biggest optimisation tools available. Link building is still effective, but changes to Google’s algorithm mean that the types of backlinks a page has can be just as important, if not more important, than the amount of backlinks links it has.
Implementing the latest link-building techniques can help you get better rankings and can even help you avoid being penalized by search engines.
Links from Legitimate Sites Carry More Weight
Google is placing more relevance on sites that are legitimate. Spammy websites that were built for the sole purpose of link building likely won’t help you earn rankings. Instead, get links from sites with high page ranks and that are real resources. Websites that see lots of activity (like traffic and visitors) are also great places to land links, since activity influences a site’s rankings.
Earned Links are Powerful
One way to get links from legitimate sources is to earn them. You can earn links through means like guest blog posts and press releases. Another great way to get these links is to get media attention. As news outlets, or popular blogs, notice your business and mention it, they will link back to your website, helping you build links from legitimate sources. Traditional press releases are one way to help get your business recognized by the media.
Social Media Links are now More Important
Social media is becoming a bigger part of SEO and you can use social networks as you build links. Add links to your social media profile pages and include links in your posts. Not all social media website content is crawled by search engines, but links on these pages can help you get website traffic. Since traffic is one of the main goals of SEO, you are in essence still getting the same benefits. A website’s traffic has also been shown to influence its rankings, so your site could rank higher based on how many visitors and how much activity it receives.
Link Bait can Bring Big Results
Link bait, like blog posts, infographics, videos and other types of interesting content can help you build links as it is shared across social media sites and other websites. Link bait is a very natural and organic way to build links, so search engines favor it. Another benefit to using this approach is that many types of link bait, like infographics and blog posts, can help with your branding efforts.
Some SEO experts believe link building and search engine optimisation is becoming more closely aligned with branding. They believe that as businesses focus on building their brands, link building opportunities and high page ranks will follow. As search engines change to value legitimate content more highly, and even to penalize low-quality sites, there may be some truth to this theory.
As you work to develop your brand, natural link building opportunities will likely follow. Link-building techniques that focus on leveraging legitimate websites, quality content, earned links, social media and link bait can help you earn higher search engine rankings.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
As you’ve probably heard, Google just wrapped up its developer’s conference known as Google I/O. The annual conference is the venue for new product releases, major updates and announcements that have the potential to impact consumers and businesses.
Here are the biggest announcements from the conference:
New Google+ Design
Google+ has been gaining momentum, and Google unveiled a new design to go along with all the growth. It’s true that Google+ may not exactly be Facebook, but it does have 190 million users, and the value it can bring to search engine optimisation campaigns is no secret.
The new multi-column layout displays posts in an entirely new way, which is reminiscent of Pinterest, and boasts bigger photos and makes it easier to use hashtags. Google Hangouts has updated messaging features, notifications and saved conversation features.
Faster Chrome Speeds
Google’s browser, Chrome, has more than 750 million users. At Google I/O the company announced that users will now see faster video speeds and payment processes. It has also launched a few experiments and projects that show off just how fast Chrome is and to give businesses an idea of how they can benefit from the speed.
Talking Search and Google Now Geographical Reminders
The way users use Google’s search engine has changed: people can now ask Google a question (vocally) and the site will speak an answer. This feature is available for laptop and desktop computers using Chrome. Google Now also received a major update with the ability to provide geographical reminders. Users can now get a reminder at a specific location (like at the office or at the store) on their mobile devices.
Google Play Music All Access and Google Play Leader Boards
This new product may signal that Google is interested in competing with companies like Rhapsody and Spotify. Google Play Music All Access is a subscription-based music service that lets users listen to millions of songs for a flat monthly fee.
Google Play was updated with real-time multilayer leader boards, so players can more easily compete with their friends.
Enhanced Google Maps
Google Maps has been enhanced with added features, and better images, that are intended to make the service more personal. Users can star favorite places, write reviews, and see business descriptions on maps. Google Maps is already a powerful app and it was widely celebrated when it debuted on the iTunes store, making it available to iPhone users. More personalization and more unique features will likely make this app even more popular.
This year’s Google I/O updates didn’t disappoint and developers, businesses and users everywhere are excited about the changes. Will your business benefit from these announcements?
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
Facebook has unrolled a new feature: the ability to comment on posts from Bing search result pages. When a Facebook user searches for a term, Bing displays relevant posts from the user’s friends on the right-hand side of the page, where searchers can now add a comment. Another new feature is the ability to add a new Facebook post from Bing.
Last year, Bing added social search results from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, but today is the first time users have been able to interact with those results from Bing. For users to use the new features, they will have to login to Facebook through Bing.
Are Social Results Helpful?
Social search results aren’t anything new; Google has been offering it for years. But, how useful are these results? If someone is searching for information through a search engine, does he care what his friends think?
There may be cases where social search results are helpful, but it may be more likely that the results are more for fun, adding a new dimension to social media. However, even if a searcher doesn’t think he cares what his friends have to say about a topic, he may still see related posts and be influenced by them.
Studies have shown that people value their peers’ opinions. When someone’s friends are all talking about a new product, that person is bound to become interested as well. People’s friends and family members also have a tremendous influence on one’s decisions.
For example, if a searcher is researching a product, and sees a post from a close friend that speaks highly of the product, the searcher is more likely to purchase that item.
How Can Marketers Use the New Feature?
Perhaps the biggest way your business can use Facebook and Bing’s new feature for your marketing campaign is to bolster your social media marketing efforts. Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and with social search results, it becomes even more powerful. Knowing that your target market may see social media posts that mention your brand when they use a search engine, you can make an effort to create more of a buzz about your business on social media. As more of your customers post about your company, your business will be more likely to appear in social search results.
Encouraging customers to post positive messages about your business, products, services and events can have a big impact on your overall success. Taking advantage of this feature can help you leverage people that are influential over your target market, so you can gain more customers.
Another benefit of this feature is that it adds one more way companies can earn search engine results. If you are using a search engine optimisation campaign, you can add this feature to your list of tools that can help you earn higher rankings. While these rankings may not directly bring traffic to your website, they can help raise awareness about you brand and spur people to seek out your company.
Facebook and Bing have worked together in the past to bring new features to users, and this latest update is just another example of how the two companies are influencing the way social media and search work. Your business can take advantage of this feature by recognizing that your social media presence is growing increasingly important, that you can leverage comments from influential people and that you now have one more way to gain search rankings.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Image courtesy of patpitchaya/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
The right keywords for your brand and company are the foundation of a successful search engine optimisation strategy. If you’re just starting SEO at your business, or if it is time to revamp your current strategy and reassess the way you do things, choosing keywords is a vital step in the process.
Brainstorm Keywords that are Relevant to Your Brand
Start by brainstorming a list of keywords that are associated with your brand. Your list could be quite long, since it will include very general words as well as more specific words that reflect your business, what you do, your products and your services. Remember that the point of brainstorming is to come up with as many ideas as possible, so don’t hesitate when building this list.
Put Yourself in Your Markets’ Shoes
Now, consider your markets and think about what kinds of words they may use when they conduct searches. Think about words people would use if they were specifically looking for your business and words they might use if they are looking for the kinds of products and services you offer. This part of the process requires you to think differently, since you are likely very used to thinking about your business from an insider’s point of view.
Check Your Analytics
If you already have a website or blog with analytics, check to see what kinds of search terms are bringing people to your website. As you look at this list, add keywords you haven’t already thought of to your list of potential keywords.
Narrow Down Your List
At this point you likely have a nice long list of potential keywords. You probably have more than you need or that you can realistically target. Go back down your list and cross off the keywords that are extremely general and highlight the ones that you think will bring the best results. You may want to keep the words your audience is already using to find your website and words that are more unique to your specific business.
Add Long Tail Keywords
Examine the remaining keywords and add long tail keywords wherever possible. Long tail keywords are key phrases that make a more general keyword more specific. For example, a general keyword would be “printing services” long tail keywords would be “London printing services,” “affordable banner printing services,” or “sign printing services in London.”
Research Search Volume and Competition
Use a tool like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to decide which keywords you should target. Search for the keywords you have on your narrowed-down list and look at how many people search for the term and how competitive it is, or how hard it is to rank for the keyword. Google’s tool allows you to see related search terms, which can help you add more targeted keywords to your list.
When you finalize your keywords, keep in mind that you may have a few different categories of keywords to target. You may want to try to rank your product page for one keyword, and your home page for another keyword. You may also decide to use different keywords for different link-building and SEO techniques.
Many businesses want to know how many keywords they should target, but the answer to this question will be unique to each business and its goals and industry. Every business and every campaign will require a different amount of keywords. Also keep in mind that as your campaign develops and you begin ranking for certain words, or as your business changes, your list of keywords will also likely need to change.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Snickers has launched a new search ad campaign that relies on people misspelling words in their Google searches. The company purchased Google ads for misspelled terms so when a searcher enters one into the search bar, he or she will see the Snickers’ ad.
According to Mashable, Snickers’ bought about 25,000 terms for the campaign. When one is typed into the Google search bar, the user sees an ad that states: “Oh Deer. Its Hard to Spel When Your Hungry. If You Keap Making Typing Mistakes, Grab Yourself a Snickers Fast.” The ads direct users to YoureNotYouWhenYoureHungry.com.
To determine which words to purchase, Snickers’ applied an algorithm to a list of 500 commonly searched terms to create a list of more than 25,000 misspelled versions of the words.
The clever campaign depends on the hundreds of thousands of typos in search terms used every day. It also brings the brand to the front page of more search terms, which may not all be directly related to the candy bar.
It’s reported that the strategy has successfully placed ads in front of about 500,000 people in just three days. The company also says that this audience represents Snickers’ target market.
Google’s Search Ads
If you’re not familiar with Google’s search ads, they are essentially a way to tie ads to search terms. A business can purchase certain keywords that will trigger their ad displays in a users’ search results. Google offers several types of search ad extensions, such as comparison ads and media ads. Businesses can even display products and their address through product and location extensions.
Usually, a business will purchase keywords its target market is likely to search for. Keywords that are products, services, needs and phrases that include locations are all conducive to this type of marketing. The idea behind search ads is that if a person is searching for terms related to a specific business, he is more likely to become a customer when he sees a related search ad and clicks through to the company’s site.
When someone searches for one of 25,000 misspelled words, a Snickers ad, like this appears. Image source.
Will it Work?
A video released by the company explains that the campaign is intended to target bored office workers who may miss social media ads if their office has blocked the sites. Of course, these aren’t the only people that are likely to see the ads.
The idea is relatively simple but it could bring huge results. All things considered, it’s hard to imagine what kinds of search terms a company like Snickers’ would want to target when buying Google Ads. Words like “candy UK” or “chocolate UK” are very broad, and one has to wonder if ads associated with those terms would be effective. It could also be the case that Snickers has already purchased more relevant keywords, and this campaign is meant to be an additional search marketing effort.
With this campaign, Snickers is able to reach a very large audience in a short amount of time. According to its claims, it’s also able to reach its target market. While this type of campaign wouldn’t work for many companies, Snickers may have found a unique tactic that could help the company reach more people through search marketing, increasing its revenue.
Monday, April 29th, 2013
Image courtesy of Widjaya Ivan/Flickr.
Google Plus is an excellent content marketing tool from both a social networking and search engine optimisation perspective. The growing user base allows you to get your message in front of a bigger audience that can also help you share your content. From the beginning, it became clear that Google was going to use Google Plus to help it determine where a page appears in search results. You can leverage these benefits by using Google Plus wisely.
If you haven’t already set up Google Authorship for your blog, you’re missing out. Google Authorship links your blog posts to your picture and profile, links all of your content together and ranks pages linked to your name higher. Have you ever noticed a Google search result with someone’s name and picture next to it? This is Authorship in action.
Enabling Authorship on your blog links your Google Plus profile to your content, so when one of your posts appears in search results, your name and picture will be next to it. This is a great branding opportunity, and it also helps with SEO efforts, since Google ranks Authored content higher than other content.
Another benefit of Google Authorship is the related content listing. When someone stumbles across one of your blog posts on a page of search results, he may also see links to other content written by you. This can help you build your brand and increase traffic to your content.
Google favors legitimate content, and it uses Google Authorship as one way to differentiate between genuine content and spammy content. Using Google Authorship will help your page rank higher as Google recognizes it as natural, high-quality content.
Build a Google Plus Audience
Just like any other social network, the audience you build on Google Plus can help you gain more traffic, which can increase your page rank. When you have a large, engaged audience that clicks on the posts you share and that passes your content on to their connections, you’ll start to see results. You can grow your audience by using hashtags and participating in Google Plus communities.
Depending on your business, you could even start your own Google Plus community to create another channel you can use to reach your target market and communicate with it on a regular basis.
Use Links and Keywords Wisely
Google Plus allows businesses to use links in their about section, an opportunity you should take advantage of. Of course, these links are very helpful for your audience, but they can also boost your rankings. Use keywords as the anchor text for links that go to your website, but make sure your content is still people-friendly and doesn’t look spammy or forced.
Your keywords should also be used in your Google Plus posts, so that your posts will appear in search results when your connections search for those keywords, thanks to Google’s Social Search.
Google Plus is a growing social network with an added advantage: it very directly impacts search results. You can optimise your content marketing tactics by using Google Plus features to gain more traffic and better search rankings.
Friday, April 19th, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
There are lots of well-known search engine optimisation tips for blogging. You know that you need to use keywords, share your blog posts, and build links to them. However, have you ever considered why blogging is such a vital part of an SEO strategy?
Blogs House Fresh Content
It’s no secret that search engines love new content. Websites that are regularly updated with new content are crawled more often, which means they often earn higher page ranks and appear higher in search results than other sites. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to make sure your site always has fresh content.
Blogs Drive Traffic
The amount of traffic a website receives is one factor that determines what kind of page rank it has. Interesting, controversial, insightful and helpful blog posts can drive traffic to your site. If you share your posts through social media accounts, RSS feeds, press releases, email marketing campaigns and newsletters, more people will visit your website.
Blogs Help with Off Site Link Building
Link building is an essential part of SEO and more recently, natural links are becoming more valued by search engines. Your blog can help you build natural links to your site as people share your posts across social media and other websites and blogs.
Blogs are a Place for Internal Link Building
It’s incredibly easy to link from your blog posts to some of your previous posts or site pages. Internal links are a powerful SEO tool that you can put to use every time you write a blog post. Add anchor texts that are keywords and you’ll see even more benefits.
Blog Post URLs are Easy to Crawl
The easier your site’s URLs are to crawl, the easier it will be to gain rankings. Most blogs have basic, understandable URL structures that make it easy for search engines to crawl and rank your site. Each time you write a blog post you are adding content that search engines can easily crawl.
Blogs Create Site Activity
The level of activity on your blog can influence your search rankings. Sites that have more comments and user interaction usually rank higher than those that do not. You can use your blog to build a community around your site that encourages people to link to and comment on your blog posts.
The ability to earn higher search engine rankings is one of the biggest benefits of maintaining a company blog. To make the most of these benefits, create an attractive blog with unique and interesting content. Then, use a content calendar, internal linking strategy and social media strategy that helps you leverage each post.
Monday, April 15th, 2013
Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
In general, creating links to your website is a good thing. It can help you boost your search engine rankings, drive traffic to your site and help you reach new markets. There are two different ways to get links to your site: earning them and building them.
The difference between these two strategies may seem subtle, but each can have a vastly different effect on your search engine optimisation campaign.
Link earning is accomplished when a brand earns a mention, and link back to its website, on another site or blog. This type of link can be very beneficial because it is often from a legitimate site that gets lots of traffic and may have a high page rank. It is a natural link, not forced and not on a website that is built for the sole purpose of boosting the rankings of another site.
Common link earning strategies include:
- Guest blogging,
- Social media posting,
- Blog commenting,
- Form participation,
- News article and press release placement, and
- Website or blog sponsorship.
Earned links are highly valued by search engines because they are seen as legitimate. These links can also be excellent tools to help you build your brand. As your business reaches new audiences and becomes associated with other sites, your brand will become more recognizable and you’ll have more channels you can use to share your message.
Link building is still used in some instances, even though Google’s 2012 update devalued links created with these strategies. In essence, link building is the process of creating links back to your site in artificial ways. Some link building practices are:
- Link buying,
- Article marketing,
- Exchanging links,
- Using link networks, and
- Submitting to article directories.
All of these strategies can help you gain links to your site, but these tactics are less natural. They are forced and therefore, search engine are beginning to ignore them. Most of these link-building strategies won’t get you very far with your marketing efforts either. They likely won’t help you reach your target market and won’t help you build a reputable brand.
These days, link earning strategies are bringing more success to SEO campaigns. Using these tactics can help you build relevant, natural links that search engines will favor and can help you build your online presence and brand.
Landing pages, or the pages your potential customers see when they click on one of your ads or a search result for a specific keyword, are extremely important in the digital marketing world. Usually, these pages are built with the intent of capturing the attention and information of a specific target market or selling a product so a business can fulfill sales goals. The features you include on your landing page can make or break its success.
Boldly Stated Call to Action
The number-one thing any landing page needs is a clear call to action. After all, the whole purpose behind creating a landing page is to encourage your audience to do something. If your audience isn’t sure what to do, or if your call to action doesn’t include very specific instructions, your landing page will not be very successful. Make your call to action bold, straightforward and easy to see.
Answer the “Why?”
The copy on your landing pages should tell readers why they need your product or service or why they should respond to your call to action. One effective way of doing this is by telling your market how your business can fill a need. Another way of doing this is to clearly explain why your product is better than any other similar product. When you answer “why” someone should engage with your landing page, your market will be much more likely to respond to your calls to action.
Skype’s landing page clearly answers the “why” question and gives visitors a reason to sign up for the service.
An Offer or Reason to Engage
Your landing page’s offer will be closely related to your call to action and answer to the “why” question. People aren’t likely to give up their contact information or contact your customer service department if they don’t have a good reason to do so.
The offer may be very obvious and your audience may be seeking it out. For example, if you run a local deals blog and are using a landing page to gain subscribers, chances are that people found your page while looking for discounts. This audience is ready to respond to your call to action almost immediately.
However, sometimes your audience may find your page while searching for a related term or simply out of curiosity. If this is the case, you will need to make your offer very clear and appealing to this group or people as well so viewers will become potential leads.
Intuitive Design Elements
Dropbox has a landing page with a very intuitive design. Viewers can watch the video for details on the product or set up a free account without having to search for a sign-up form.
The design you use should compliment your call to action. Use elements like pictures, contrasting colors, arrows and buttons to help your viewers understand how to take advantage of your offer. Landing pages that send readers searching for answers or for a way to connect with your company are not very successful.
You can use heat map tracking software to find out where your viewers are most likely to click and then design your layout accordingly. Make sure your contact information and any submission forms are designed and situated in a way that they can’t be missed.
Testimonials that Persuade
SurveyMonkey’s landing page includes a call to action, explanation of benefits, and a list of corporations that use the product.
Testimonials from people your target market identify with can be a powerful way to persuade readers to become customers. Choose some testimonials that are from people in your target market or from people who are likely to influence your potential customers. Another way to use testimonial information is to include details about how many people use your product or how many positive reviews your service has received.
Landing pages are often the one thing that is between your business and a new customer. Make the most out of the opportunity by including these features so your readers will be more likely to respond to your calls to action.