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Posts Tagged ‘search engines’

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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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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Does Social Media Benefit SEO Efforts?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Social media marketing and search engine optimisation are two popular forms of Internet marketing. In fact, for most businesses, they play a major part in their overall marketing and communications plans. One of the most common questions people have concerning these topics is “Does social media benefit SEO efforts?”

The answer is “yes and no.” While this seems like a frustrating response, when you understand how the two can work together, you can find ways to make your Internet marketing even stronger.

What Google Has Said

Earlier this year, Matt Cutts said that Google sees Facebook and Twitter pages like other Internet pages, crawls the content when it can and returns the pages as search results. But, he went on to say that Google’s algorithm doesn’t specifically use things like number of followers or “likes” to determine how to rank a social media page.

Google never comes right out and explains its algorithm in full, but these statements do tell us a lot about how the search engine takes social media into account as it ranks pages.

Keep in mind that some social media sites, like Twitter, use no follow links, so they aren’t the best solution for link building strategies.

Should I use Social Media for SEO?

However, social media could help your SEO strategies if your goal is to get your social media pages and mentions ranked by Google. Working to promote your brand on social media could mean that social media pages related to your business will get higher rankings.

While you shouldn’t rely on social media to build links to your site, you can use it to promote your content and generate some earned links. If people see your content on social media, they may be more likely to link to it from their own website or blog, which will help your SEO efforts.

Social media can also help you drive more traffic to your website and encourage engagement, two factors that may also influence your search rankings.

Social Media and SEO Produce Similar Results

With all this discussion about social media and SEO, it’s important to remember that both tactics can be used to produce similar results. While they can’t always work together, they can both be very beneficial.

For example, if your goal is to increase traffic to your sales page, you could do this with social media, SEO, and in most cases, a combination of both. Other benefits that both strategies can bring include increased awareness, site engagement, more email subscribers and more sales.

Remember that while social media and SEO can help you accomplish different goals, they can also help you achieve similar things. When you can work toward marketing goals with more than one tactic, your results will often be better.

The complicated answer to this question is that while some social media factors don’t impact search rankings, social media can be used to supplement SEO campaigns. Use both of these tactics to reach your market, raise brand awareness and increase site traffic.

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Give your Internet Marketing a Boost this Summer

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Summertime is a great time to give your Internet marketing a boost. Right now, people are enjoying warmer weather, going on vacation and looking for projects and entertainment to keep them busy. Taking advantage of the coming months can give you a great opportunity to make more sales and attract new customers.

Depending on your business and the kind of marketing you are using, there are so many ways you can enhance your strategy and breathe new life into you promotional plans this summer. Here are a few ideas to get your creative ideas flowing.

Reassess your Search Engine Optimisation Plan

It is essential that you reassess your SEO plan on a regular basis. Trends, search engine algorithms and your business’ needs and goals are always changing. Identify what your current traffic and sales goals are and make sure your SEO plans are in alignment and will help you succeed.

Look at things like keywords, content plans, on site optimisation and other factors and determine whether each part of your strategy is working to its fullest potential.

Do Something New with Social Media

Are you stuck in a social media rut? If you have found yourself posting the same kind of content over and over and if your audience isn’t growing or engaged, it’s time to try something new. You can rethink your strategy entirely or you can just run some special summer campaigns.

Holding contests, offering discounts, adopting a hashtag or using a specific theme can help you breathe new life into your social media marketing.

Clean up Your Website

Over time, business’ websites can become cluttered and lose focus. You’ve probably added pages, buttons, images and forms over the past several months, or even years, and your site could be overwhelming and confusing to visitors.

This summer, take some time to clean up your website. Remove clutter and pages you don’t need anymore and make sure things are clear and streamlined so people will respond to your calls to action.

Now is also a good time to make sure your site is fully optimised for search engine optimisation so your pages will get higher rankings. Some things to look at include keyword use, conversion rate, site speed and how easy it is for search engines to read and rank your pages.

Plan Upcoming Ad Campaigns

This summer is also a good time to look forward and start to plan some ad campaigns. Pay per click and search ads can help you promote your business and drive traffic to your website. For these campaigns to be successful, you need to strategically plan your keywords, the sites you use and ad copy to attract and target your key markets. If you start planning now, you’ll be ready to launch effective ad campaigns that can help you increase your sales and have a strong finish to the year.

Take some time this summer to revitalise your Internet marketing tactics. When you boost your SEO and social media campaigns and clean up your website and plan some upcoming ad campaigns, your plans will be ready to help your business be successful for the rest of the year.

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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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Google Removing Author Images in Search Results

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Google has announced that it is removing author images from its search results. Google Authorship will still exist, but search results will look a little different.

Google Authorship is a way for site owners and bloggers to connect their name, through their Google Plus profile, to the content they publish. This is a great way to brand your content and build an online presence for your business. Many marketers also found that author photos next to search results increased click-through rates, helping them drive traffic to their sites.

John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google explained that the pictures will be removed to make search engine results pages (SERPS) cleaner and more streamlined. He also mentioned that Google is working on creating a better search experience across different devices and is focusing on mobile use.

The new update will also remove the Google Circle count that previously appeared next to Google Authorship search results.

Now, Google Authorship results will show the author’s name in front of the page’s title:

The Google News results will still include the author’s picture, but it will appear smaller and underneath the title. It will not include a Google Circle count:

Will this Affect Your Business?

According to Mueller, the click-through rates for the new search result formats is very similar to the rates for the previous formats.

If you have activated Google Authorship for your blog, it will look different when it appears in search results. In most cases your search results will no longer include your Google Plus profile, unless it is in the news section.

This could mean that your search results won’t be quite as visually branded and if your audience is used to seeing your picture next to your results, it could be an adjustment.

However, Google Authorship is still very valuable and this change doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Tying all of your content to your name and Google Plus profile could help you increase your search rankings and of course, will still add your name to the first line of your search results.

It’s difficult to say right now exactly how this change will impact businesses, but if you continue to use Google Authorship and strengthen your search engine optimisation campaigns, you’ll still reap the benefits of high search rankings. Things like increased traffic and brand awareness will still be a result of high rankings and Google Authorship.

If you haven’t yet started using Google Authorship, it’s still a good time to do so. Your name will appear next to your content titles, which could make it easer for your market to find and identify your content.

Start by setting up a Google Plus profile and making sure it is complete with your name, business name, contact information and URL. Then, follow the directions from Google to link your profile to your content.

You can also use Google Plus to connect with your market, share your content and participate in communities where you can promote your business.

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Search Ads Shown to Increase Brand Awareness

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Google and Ipsos MediaCT teamed up and did a study that produced some very interesting results about the power of search ads. What they found was that search ads do more than just bring traffic and leads for your business; they also increase brand awareness.

This new information could bring more to your Internet marketing strategy and change the way you use search ads on Google and other search engines.

The Research

The study had 800 participants look at various search results, with some of them seeing a control search engine results page (SERP) and some seeing a test SERP with select brands as the top search ad. Then, the people were given various keywords and asked what brand came to mind first.

The results were that 14.8 percent of those that saw the test page named the brand that appeared in the top ad while only 8.2 percent of those in the control group were able to name that same brand when given the same keyword.

In other words, search ads increased awareness by an average of 6.6 percentage points.

The research found that when people were presented with the search ads at the very top of a page, that brand name stuck with them and they began to associate the business with the keyword.

What this Means

So what does this mean for your business? It means that you can use search ads to raise awareness, not just drive traffic and make more sales. Increased awareness is valuable and can help your business create a reputation that attracts customers and helps you build your presence.

Right now your paid search campaigns are probably based on keywords that your potential customers are searching for. You use words that people looking for your business, products and solutions would use and words that are more likely to be used by people who intend to make a purchase.

This is the way you should be using these campaigns, which can bring your business a lot of sales. But, this new research shows that you can also use these ads to increase brand awareness among your market.

In addition to choosing keywords for your search ad campaigns that are likely to bring customers and convert leads, you may also consider using keywords that you want your market to identify with your business. Words that are in your business’ name, describe your business, are related to your products and that your market identifies with could help you increase brand awareness.

For example, if you want people to associate furniture with your brand, you may use the phrase “London furniture” for your paid search campaign. This will help you attract customers and increase brand awareness so people associate your business with furniture.

This research is interesting and shows that paid search ads can do so much more than bring traffic and leads. Increased sales are definitely one of the biggest benefits these ads can offer, but increased awareness is also a valuable benefit that can strengthen your business.

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Google My Business will Make it Easier to Promote your Business

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Google has launched a new tool called Google My Business that is aimed at helping businesses make themselves more visible online, connect with their customers and promote their business. This new tool makes it easier to use all of Google’s services, like maps, Google+, and reviews, and brings several different tools to one dashboard so they are easier to manage.

All the Best in One Place

Google My Business doesn’t add any new tools but it brings all of Google’s best business services to one place, making them easier to find and use. No matter what kind of business you have or what industry you are in, your market is looking for you online. People could be searching for your products, looking for your store hours or reading reviews from your current customers.

To take control of your online reputation, manage what your customers see and make it easier to find what they are looking for, you can now use Google My Business.

Google has announced that Google My Business will make it simple for businesses to:

  • Update contact information and store hours.
  • Add business photos.
  • Share news and updates through Google+.
  • Read and respond to Google Reviews.
  • Use custom insights and AdWords Express to find out how people find and interact with your business online.
  • Manage your business’ online information from a mobile app.

If you have struggled to use Google’s tools in the past, Google My Business makes it easier to use all of them to your advantage and then manage your settings to keep everything up to date.

What this Does for You

All of these tools make it easier for your market to find you and interact with your business online. They help you enhance your Internet presence so you can connect with current customers, attract new customers and establish a reputation that helps you promote your business.

Your website should serve as your online storefront and you shouldn’t neglect Internet marketing and search engine optimisation for your site. However, Google’s tools can complement your site and even make it easier to find.

One visible example of this is Google’s business listings on the right-hand side of search results pages. When your business uses Google’s services and its information is up to date, your company name, location, directions, contact information and even reviews will show up immediately and visibly when people search for your business.

How to Get Started

This new resource is very easy for businesses to use. From the Google My Business page, click on the “Get on Google” button. From there, Google will guide you through the process of finding your business or adding it if needed.

If you don’t have a local business, you can choose “Not a Local Business” from the first page in the set up process and choose “Storefront,” “Service Area” or “Brand.”

Google My Business is a great new tool that brings together several of Google’s services so businesses can easily manage their online presence. Start using it today by setting up your business and adding your information.

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How to Get People to Build Links to your Site for You

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
Image courtesy of ponsuwan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of ponsuwan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

You know that links to your website help you achieve higher search rankings and drive more traffic to your website. Your marketing and search engine optimisation strategies probably already include plans to build links, but you can also encourage people to build links for you.

When your market is helping you build links you’re benefiting from word of mouth and increased brand awareness and you will get better rankings and site traffic.

Create Great Content

Before you can encourage link building, you need to produce content people will want to link to. Your blog posts, site pages, photos, infographics, guides and other content all need to provide value and be things people will want to share.

When the content you share is high quality and is interesting, entertaining and valuable, people will want to share it through social media and on their own websites and blogs. Provide the kinds of resources that provide so much value that people won’t be able to resist sharing them.

Provide Content for Embedding

Visual content, like infographics, pictures, and videos, is perfect for embedding. Create this kind of content along with code that people can copy and paste into their own websites and blogs, which also links the content back to your website.

This is a win-win tactic because your content will get in front of more people, helping you reach a much bigger audience, and site owners and bloggers will love some free content that fits their audience.

Attract Media and Blog Attention

Another way to entice people to link to your website is to attract attention from media outlets and major blogs. One of the best ways to do this is to create breaking-news content, launch exciting products and provide something no one else can.

For example, if you are offering a ground-breaking service that is much better than anything else on the market, blogs in your industry will naturally want to write about you and link back to your website.

You can create news and get links from news sites when you launch new products, open new stores or break records. In some cases, you may need to distribute press releases to get this kind of attention and these links.

Reach out to Bloggers

If people aren’t coming to you, go to them. Reaching out to bloggers, without paying them for links, is an excellent way to build links to your website. Bloggers like to work with businesses they believe in, so focus on targeting the right bloggers and building relationships.

When people with large audiences get excited about your business and products, they will want to talk about you and link to your website, which can bring big results. You’ll not only get more traffic and higher rankings, but your brand will benefit from testimonials, exposure and recommendations from major bloggers.

As people start linking to your website, you’ll be gaining natural links that search engines love and that will help you get higher rankings. You’ll also benefit from a bigger audience, more exposure and increased brand awareness.

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