Posts Tagged ‘search engines’
Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Image courtesy of Tarek/Flickr.
A lot of businesses have a tendency to operate in silos, or individual departments. While this may work, to some extent, for the human resources or accounting teams, it doesn’t work when it comes to search engine optimisation and marketing. It’s not uncommon for marketing teams to work separately from SEO teams, but this approach isn’t beneficial.
SEO Weaves in and out of Marketing
SEO can’t help but weave in and out of most other online marketing tactics. Consider this: SEO relies heavily on content, content needs to be targeted for a specific market by way of market research and then distributed through email, social media or other marketing tools.
As search engines increasingly value quality over quantity and pure link building isn’t a strong SEO strategy, SEO must work in conjunction with other marketing tactics to work well. SEO content should be well written and valuable to your market. It shouldn’t be spammy or created quickly and aimlessly just to build links.
SEO strategies can include tactics like blog posts, articles, white papers, website content, social media accounts, video descriptions and almost all other forms of online content that is optimised, linked strategically and published on high-quality sites.
SEO and Internet Marketing are Stronger Together
So, maybe SEO needs some marketing tactics, but does marketing need SEO? Absolutely. Marketing tactics and strategies can be enhanced by SEO.
For Internet marketing to benefit your company, people need read your content, follow you on social media and visit your website. To do these kinds of things, you need to be findable, something SEO can help you do.
As you optimise your marketing content, you will be making it easier for your market to find you online, which makes it easier for you to convert people into customers.
Keep in mind that some of your potential customers may not be searching for your business name or even product names. They could be searching for solutions you offer. For example, if you are an electronics company, some of your customers may be searching for “affordable cell phones” or “free laptop shipping.”
Use SEO to enhance your marketing strategies to make your content more findable and your campaign pieces more effective.
The Importance of Rowing Together
While it’s important to keep in mind that SEO and marketing can, and should, complement each other, it’s also important to recognise the importance of rowing together. If some of your efforts are pulling your business in one direction, while some are going another direction, you won’t be as successful as you could be.
You want your SEO and marketing efforts to pull your business in one, united effort so that your internal teams will know what your goals are and will be more productive.
Working together and coordinating on efforts like what kinds of content to use, what messaging to include and where to publish Internet marketing tactics will also help you more effectively reach your market.
If you approach potential customers and even your current customer base with unorganised ideas, mixed messages and bits and pieces of branded material that don’t flow together, you will lose their attention. They will be lost, confused and not likely to continue to do business with you.
Avoid this problem by making sure your SEO team and strategy work closely with your other marketing efforts so the two strategies can complement each other and be stronger together.
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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
Image courtesy of Ian Edward Prentice/Flickr.
Infographics can help you communicate a lot of information very easily. Their visual format, interesting content and short snippets of information can help you do anything from educate to entertain.
This type of content can help you get more exposure on social media, drive traffic to your site and even build links to help boost your search engine rankings. There are virtually dozens of ways you can use infographics, but here’s a list to help you get creative.
Types of Information to Share with Infographics
Relevant Statistics and Results from Studies
Use statistics or results from studies that would interest your market, help you gain more customers or illustrate why what you do is important. This is a great way to educate your market, which can lead to more sales.
Sales Numbers or Information about Customers
Infographics can help you highlight sales numbers and information about your customers. Why would you do this? To illustrate how many people you successfully serve, share testimonials and tell people why they should work with you.
Community or Industry Impact Information
Communicating what kind of impact you have on your community or in your industry can help you build your reputation, form relationships with other businesses and attract customers.
Inspirational or Amazing Information
Of course, infographics that include inspirational or amazing pieces of information are fun and likely to be shared online. Think amazing statistics, little-known information and new findings. Make these more effective by using information that relates to your business or products.
Goals to Achieve with Infographics
Attract new Customers
Depending on the kind of information you use for your infographic, you could use it to attract new customers. Infographics are a simple and condensed piece of content that potential customers are likely to read.
Demonstrate your Results
Infographics that include information about volunteer efforts, event results, product benefits and other similar information make it easy for you to demonstrate what kinds of results you as a business can get. This information attracts more customers and helps you establish your business as an industry leader.
Build a Reputation
As you start to establish yourself as an expert and leader, you will begin to build a reputation. Infographics that include compelling information and statistics or testimonials are an excellent way to tell your market about who you are, what you value and what benefits you can provide.
Build Links and Drive Traffic
Infographics are commonly used to build links and drive traffic. When you publish them on other sites and social media networks, make sure they link back to your own site. If you provide a piece of code people can use to embed the infographic on their own site or blog, make sure it includes a link to your website.
Ways to Distribute Infographics
One of the most common ways to share infographics is through social media. The visual and interesting nature of infographics means people will stop scrolling through their newsfeed to look at your post and may be more likely to share it.
Publishing infographics on your blog can help you attract traffic and encourage others to link to your website. It’s also a good way to establish your website as a good source for information and resources.
You can use infographics like guest blog posts by asking other bloggers or site owners if they would be willing to post them on their site. Look for sites with an audience that will be interested in your infographic and be likely to include the people you are targeting.
Finally, when you post your infographic on your own website, you can include a short piece of code that lets people imbed it on their own site. Be sure to include a link in the code so that people can easily visit your site and you can build links for search engine optimisation.
Infographics are a popular and effective form of Internet marketing. They can be incorporated in social media and content marketing strategies to help you reach your market and achieve all kinds of goals. Use this list to start getting more out of your infographics.
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Friday, September 12th, 2014
Search Engine Watch published some statistics from research done by BloomReach that illustrate a difference in how online businesses view their stores and how consumers view them. In general, most businesses seem to underestimate the power of their online stores.
Online Stores are Personal
Interestingly, 60 percent of the consumers in the study felt like online stores have a personal feel to them. Only 13 percent of businesses felt that way.
When you shift your thinking and realise that online shopping feels very personal to your customers, you can provide an excellent online experience. Being able to shop from home, or anywhere else, alone can make online shopping a personalised experience.
Other factors, like product suggestions, the ability to read about product specifications, see online reviews, and save items for later in an online cart, can also make online shopping more personal.
Online Personalisation is Important
BloomReach found that 34 percent of the consumers who participated felt that online personalisation is important. Amazingly, only 2 percent of businesses felt the same way.
If your customers feel that it’s important that your website or online store is personalised, it’s vital that you feel the same way.
You can make your online store more personalised for your market by making it very user friendly and keeping your customers’ needs in mind as you design it. Things like site analytics, surveys and polls can help you understand what your customers want from your online store.
Making sure your online store is personalised for your market and customers could help you attract more traffic and boost sales, so don’t pass on personalisation efforts.
Organic Search Brings Customers
The research from BloomReach also found that 49 percent of the consumers used organic search as the main way to find and get to online retailers. Only 35 percent of businesses thought that their customers find their site through organic search.
Organic search is a powerful form of Internet marketing because it can help you capture a large part of your market. When your customers get online to find a product or service, they likely start with a search.
When people search for your business name, products or terms related to your services, you want your business to appear near the top of search results. If it does, you will get more customers to your site and can make more sales.
Don’t underestimate the power of organic search when it comes to increasing online sales. Be sure your site is fully optimised and that your search engine optimisation efforts are constant and up to date.
These statistics show a divide between how consumers and businesses feel about online shopping. This divide could be holding your business back from being successful and selling more products online.
It is very important that you know what your customers want and pay close attention to their opinions and then use that information to enhance your store’s online shopping experience. Don’t assume you know what your market wants and that your opinion of online shopping reflects how your customers actually feel.
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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Kissmetrics revealed some information from a study done by Comscore and one of the most interesting statistics it found was that 78 percent of searches from smartphones result in a purchase. This is higher than searches from laptops, with 61 percent resulting in searches and from tablets, with 64 percent resulting in searches.
It is telling that 78 percent of searches from smartphones lead to a purchase. People use their phones while looking for products and details about them, business information, prices and other information they look for when considering buying something.
Another study, done by Google and Nielsen found that most people, 48 percent, who do research on a mobile device start out by doing a search.
The most common products that were purchased after a search fell into the automotive, home and garden and apparel and beauty categories. Fewer people do mobile research by starting with a branded website or app.
These facts emphasise just how valuable SEO is when it comes to making more sales, finding new customers and growing your business. So how do you make sure your mobile search engine optimisation strategy is ready to turn searchers into customers?
Simple Mobile SEO Tips
Use Mobile Keywords
Remember, people doing searches on their smartphones are likely to use slightly different keywords than they would on their computers. Potential customers are also likely to use different kinds of keywords than people who aren’t interested in making a purchase.
Try to use the kinds of keywords your customers would use on their smartphones. This could include your business name, product names, phrases that describe your services and words that are used when searching for prices.
Use a Click to Call Feature
Make it so easy to contact you from a smartphone search that nothing gets in your customers’ way. On your website, use a click to call feature so all people have to do is tap on your phone number to connect with you.
Google recently unveiled a new ad feature that allows businesses to track phone calls that result in their paid search ads. Using this is another great way to enhance your mobile SEO campaign.
If you sell products at brick-and-mortar locations, local SEO techniques can be especially valuable. Consider using keywords that include your location and using search ads that are geographically targeted.
Prepare your Site
Mobile optimisation can only go so far. If you really want to bring in potential customers through their smartphones, you need to make sure your site has a responsive design that makes it easy to use on small screens and while on the go.
The layout, amount of text, navigation and other elements of your mobile website need to be conducive to a smartphone so site visitors can browse your products, find what they are looking for and make a purchase.
There are lots of studies out there that show just how influential mobile search is when it comes to making more sales. To take advantage of this, don’t ignore mobile SEO and make sure your website is easy to use on a smartphone.
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Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
Image courtesy of Hannah/Flickr.
Link building is an integral part of search engine optimisation. The key to making this tactic work though is to build links on high-quality, relevant sites so that you’ll achieve high rankings and get valuable traffic to your site.
There are dozens of ways to build links and if you have an SEO strategy, you are likely already using some form of link building. Here are some more creative ways you can get valuable links back to your website.
Event or Blog Sponsorships
Consider sponsoring an event or blog that is related to your industry. This brings huge marketing and brand awareness benefits and lets you get some quality links back to your website. Negotiate for a sponsorship package that includes links on the event’s website, blog sidebar or anywhere else that will help you promote your business and get high-quality links.
Best of List with an HTML Badge
Create a list, either as a blog post or a page on your site, full of excellent links relating to your industry. Of course, you don’t want to link to your competitors, but you can link to businesses that you work with, partners or organisations in your community. Make this list valuable to your market and something people in your industry or community would be honoured to be included on.
Then, provide a badge with a snippet of HTML code, that includes a link to your website, that people on the list can use on their own site to show off their inclusion on the list. These kinds of lists are also likely to be widely shared on social media by those on the list and your customers, so they pack a lot of Internet marketing potential.
Online Industry Publication Submissions
Take guest blogging to a whole new level by submitting articles to industry publications. Look for news sites, association websites, educational sites and leading industry publications that have a high page rank and a large readership.
This is another tactic that can bring more than high page rankings. It can help you tap into a new audience, raise brand awareness, establish your business as a thought leader and bring on new customers.
Your Own How-to Article Directory
Set up a section on your website dedicated to how-to guides and similar resources for your products and related subjects. Then, use links to this section to answer questions on social media sites and forums, leave comments on blogs and to encourage people to link to your website.
In some cases, people may be more likely to link to a resource on your site, instead of your home page, so having lots of places for bloggers, social media users and even journalists and other businesses to link to can help you get natural, high-quality links.
Search engines are cracking down on low-quality links, link farms and links built in illegitimate ways. These creative techniques can help you build valuable links that tell Google your site is a legitimate resource and can help you earn higher rankings.
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Friday, September 5th, 2014
Image courtesy of Laia Ros/Flickr.
Earned links, or links that other people build to your website naturally, are valuable in the world of search engine optimisation. These links show Google that your website is an excellent resource and a legitimate source of content and information.
Getting these valuable earned links requires a mix of social media, public relations and marketing tactics.
Make News and Share it
One of the best ways to earn links is to make news. Things like new product launches, fast growth, new leadership, new locations and events are all types of stories that media outlets will want to cover, with a link back to your site.
Share newsworthy stories and information through press releases and by reaching out to news outlets and journalists. Also, don’t be afraid to think creatively to find connections between your business and current events to get media attention.
Become a Thought Leader
When your business becomes the go-to leader and source for information, you can build earned links to your website. For example, if you are a well-known expert on technology as it is used in education, journalists, bloggers and site owners will contact you for information and quotes for their content. These should all be linked back to your website.
Become a thought leader through your content marketing and social media plans by standing out as a resource that is valuable and reliable.
Build Relationships with Bloggers
To get to the point where people reach out to you for your thoughts and opinions as an expert, you’ll need to build your reputation through Internet marketing. You will also need to build relationships with journalists and bloggers so you’ll be the first person or business they reach out to when they write about your industry.
Building relationships takes time, but you can start by emailing bloggers when you have information they might be interested in covering, sending them press releases, inviting them to events or asking them to write a product review. Make sure you foster relationships that are beneficial for both of you, and don’t focus only on what relationships can do for you.
Be Involved in your Community and Industry
Getting involved in your community through events, research, volunteering, publishing white papers, offering samples, sponsoring other organisations or events and in other ways will help you get your name out there and become part of conversations about your area or industry.
As you build a reputation as a business that is very involved, your name will naturally come up in news reports, blog posts, other websites and forums online, which will help you get earned links back to your website.
Of course, you can’t expect to be able to passively wait for earned links. You need to continue with strong Internet marketing campaigns and actively promote your business and services.
As you make and share news, become an industry leader, build relationships with content creators and become highly involved in your community and industry, you will start to earn links back to your website, which will help you gain higher search rankings.
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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
On the heels of introducing a major update to Google product ads, the company has now introduced callout extension, which gives businesses more space on their search ads. This additional space is valuable and could help you reach your customers and make your ads more effective.
What is the Callout Extension?
In essence, callout extensions are short pieces of text you can add to your Google search ads. They let you draw attention to products, services, deals and other elements that might help you attract more customers. There is a 25-character limit for callout text, so you will need to find ways to be direct and concise.
As you can see in the example below, this ad has the words “free shipping, 24-7 customer service and price matching” as a callout extension. The words appear below the main text in the ad and above additional links.
Do Callout Extensions affect Ad Rank?
Google has said that using a callout extension will have a positive impact on an ad’s rank. So, if you use this tool your ad could appear in more search results, be seen by more people and get more clicks.
When can I Use Callout Extensions?
Callout extensions are currently becoming available to all businesses. If you want to use them, you’ll need to be a Google search ad user.
How do I add Callout Extensions?
To add callout extensions to your ads, login to your AdWords account and choose the ad extensions tab. Then, you can add callouts to your account, a campaign or an ad group.
How can I use Callout Extensions Effectively?
If you decide to use callouts for your ads, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are using them to their fullest potential.
The additional text, even though it is limited to 25 characters, can help you make your ads stand out. Use eye-catching phrases and benefits and perks that will make people want to click on your ads. Discounts, free shipping, coupon matching and fast delivery are a few examples of benefits you can show off using the callout extension.
Choose the Right Ads
Be strategic about how you use callouts. Match the right phrases with the right ads for a winning combination. Think about the audience that is likely to see an ad, and then create custom callouts that will be effective with that demographic.
This is another opportunity to use keywords in your search ads, so take advantage of it. In its announcement, Google suggests adding specific keywords as callouts to campaigns with more general keywords.
Test and Enhance
As you start using callouts with different key phrases, subjects, benefits and formats, you will start to learn what works for your business and market. Track your campaigns and results carefully so you can continually enhance your ads and callouts for the best results.
This new feature has a lot of potential to help you make your search ads more effective and see more results. If you are already an AdWords user, consider using the callout extension. If you haven’t started using search ads, contact us. We help all kinds of businesses use online advertising to reach their market and make more sales.
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Monday, August 11th, 2014
Image courtesy of leigh_east_photoman/Flickr.
Link building is a search engine optimisation technique you can use to gain rankings and get more traffic to your website. More sales, more email subscribers and a bigger audience are all perks that often come with more traffic, so link building is a strategy that can bring big benefits to your business.
There are essentially four different kinds of links and each of them is beneficial in a different way.
Natural links are the links that people build to your site without you even knowing it. They happen when someone likes your content or finds it useful and relevant so he links to it from his blog post, article, website or other web property.
These links are very valuable because Google favours links that aren’t forced because they prove that a piece of content is high quality and relevant.
How to Get Them
The best way to get these links is to produce the best content possible and work to become an authoritative resource people know about.
Earned links are very similar to natural links but they are built when you reach out to other people. They are usually on opinion blogs, review sites and news articles. These are helpful because they can help you reach a new audience and attract more site visitors.
How to Get Them
Get earned links by reaching out to bloggers, reporters and site owners with opportunities to write about your business. Landing sponsored posts, guest posts and product reviews are simple ways to generate earned links.
Built links are the links we usually think of when we talk about SEO. They are links your business creates with the main goal of gaining search engine rankings. Google penalises links from link farms and other tactics it deems low quality, so only build quality links to your site.
How to Get Them
Built links are one of the easier types to get because you don’t have to rely on other sources to get them. Some common ways to build links include distributing press releases, submitting articles to websites and adding your business, with links, to online directories.
Social Media Links
Social media links are just what they sound like, links to your website from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Search engines can’t always read these links, but they can lead to more site traffic, which could help your rankings. More traffic, a social media presence and increased brand awareness can be very valuable for your business.
How to Get Them
Of course, you can start getting these links by opening social media accounts, sharing links and building a following. Then, create content people will want to share and add sharing buttons to your website so it’s easy for people to post your content to their social media accounts.
Link building is an SEO strategy that can help you get better rankings and bring benefits like more traffic, increased sales and better brand recognition. When you use all of these link types, you’ll have a comprehensive strategy that brings results.
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Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Image courtesy of Ged Carroll/Flickr.
Search engine optimisation has all kinds of myths associated with it. Some believe it’s the best way to promote your business online while others don’t think it offers any value. While best practices, tactics, approaches and algorithms are always changing, SEO isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
When you know the truth behind some of the most common myths, you can find ways to more effectively use SEO at your business and even get upper management on board as you plan and execute campaigns.
Myth: SEO is all about spam.
Bad practices like keyword stuffing, content created just for building links and quantity over quality have given SEO a bad rap. In reality, spam doesn’t help you gain rankings. In fact, your site can actually be penalised by search engines if you use under-the-table SEO techniques.
Truth: Successful SEO requires high-quality content that targets your market.
Search engines, especially Google, are battling these practices and are favouring sites that don’t use spam or other low-quality tactics to gain rankings. To succeed, you need to produce high-quality, relevant content that was written for people first and then optimised for search engines.
Myth: SEO requires a big investment for little return.
There’s no question that SEO does require a large amount of time and resources. To gain rankings you will need to work with an expert who knows what kinds of tactics to use and how best to optimise your site.
Truth: It does take time to see SEO results, but those results are extremely valuable.
Unfortunately, SEO doesn’t provide instant results. It does take several weeks or even months to get a website to rank for a specific keyword. But, SEO can bring big results like more traffic, increased sales and better brand recognition.
Myth: SEO is all about off-site links.
Many people automatically start thinking about link building when they hear the term “SEO.” They assume that to get a page to rank, it needs a lot of external links that lead to it.
Truth: Off-site links are important, but SEO is about so much more.
In reality, off-site links are only part of the equation. To get rankings, your site needs to be fully optimised with high-quality content, relevant information, a strong site structure and keywords that are used naturally.
Myth: SEO can stand alone and my other marketing efforts will make up for a lack of SEO.
Another common myth is that SEO is in a world all its own and the strategies used here don’t need to correlate with other marketing strategies. Some people also believe that if they use social media marketing or content marketing they can skip SEO.
Truth: The best SEO campaigns integrate social media, content and Internet marketing.
While SEO is a powerful form of marketing, it can’t do everything. It can’t replace a strong social media presence or a blogging strategy. In fact, the most successful SEO campaigns work in conjunction with social media, content and Internet marketing. When all of these work together, each one will be more comprehensive and you’ll see much better results.
These are just a few of the most common myths surrounding SEO. When you fully understand why SEO is so important to your business and how it is best used, you can benefit from things like more site traffic, more sales and even increased brand awareness.
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Image courtesy of Spencer E Holtaway/Flickr.
Google has launched a new tool called News Publisher Center that makes it easier for site owners to keep the search engine updated on changes to their sites. The new tool can help news sites gain better search rankings and therefore more traffic.
If you have a news site or blog, you may have noticed that it can be hard to get your pages to rank in the Google News search results. This is because when you add new sections to your site, the search engine doesn’t always come back to rank it and add it to its search results. But, the News Publisher Center is designed to solve that problem.
Why News Rankings Matter
If your site doesn’t appear in Google search results, you could be missing a large portion of your audience. One of the best ways to attract new readers and increase your traffic is to increase your site’s rankings so your pages appear in search results when users do searches for terms related to your site.
If you keep your site information updated with the News Publisher Center, Google will be able to rank your content and display it in search results as people look for the kind of content you provide.
With more readers, you can do things like:
- Increase Ad Sales
- Get more Comments and Engagement
- Boost Product Sales
- Raise Awareness
- Gain Sponsors
News rankings matter if you want people to find your content and participate on your site.
Using the News Publisher Center
To start using the News Publisher Center, you need to verify that you own your website. This tool is only available for news sites. As of now, it is available to sites in the United States but will soon be offered around the world.
Once you have verified your site, you can start making it easier for people to find your content by telling Google when your site changes. In the center, you will be able to change your site’s name and choose labels that categorise what kind of news site you have.
Whenever you change your site’s structure by adding new sections, Google doesn’t always know that content is there. With this new tool, you can log in and add the URLs of new sections as you add them. You can also label these sections to make them easier to find on Google.
If you have a news site, log in now to make sure your site is verified and all your sections are there. Then, each time you update your site use the News Publisher Center to keep Google informed and make sure your readers can find your content.
The new tool was announced on the Google Webmaster Central Blog where you can find more details about how to use it.
If you run a news site, you don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity to boost your rankings so you can get more readers and make your site more successful. Make sure you publish high quality content, use keywords naturally and log in to the News Publisher Center to keep Google aware of changes to your site.
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