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Posts Tagged ‘SEO Agency’

Common SEO Myths: Busted!

Monday, August 11th, 2014
Image courtesy of Ged Carroll/Flickr.

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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New Google Publisher Plugin Make WordPress More Google Friendly

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

If you use WordPress, this is great news: Google has launched a plugin, called Google Publisher Plugin, that makes it easier to integrate Google products into your website. As of now, the plugin is in beta and only supports a few Google products, but it’s probably safe to say that it will be developed to offer even more.

What the Plugin Does

In essence, the plugin makes it easier for you to connect Google tools you are using with your WordPress site. The plugin can’t be used on WordPress.com sites, since those sites only allow a few plugins to be used, but it can be used on WordPress.org sites.

It was possible to use some Google tools on your site before, but in some cases you had to edit the HTML code on your site, something that takes time and is difficult for people who aren’t professional coders to do. Now, the plugin makes it easier to use some Google tools without having to edit any code.

Connect to Your AdSense Account

If you use AdSense to display ads on your site, you can now use the plugin to easily connect your site to your account. With the plugin, it’s much easier to add Google advertisements to your site.

With AdSense, you can add targeted ads to your site and earn money for the number of clicks or impressions they receive. The AdSense tool even provides a dashboard that lets you see how well your ads are performing.

Verify Your Site for Webmaster Tools

The new plugin also allows you to quickly and easily verify your website for Webmaster Tools, so you can track how visible your site is on Google. When you can measure your efforts, you can make changes that will make your site more visible to your market.

Using Webmaster Tools is a great way to track how well your site is doing, and now connecting this tool to your site is simple.

Currently, these two Google products are the only ones you can use through the Google Publisher Plugin, but as the plugin is perfected and further developed, other tools may be added.

Should You Use the Plugin?

If you use WordPress, you may benefit from this new plugin. Businesses that already use AdSense or Webmaster Tools will find it easier to connect their site with the tools, which is a major benefit.

However, if you haven’t used AdSense or Webmaster Tools before, and have a WordPress site, now may be the perfect time to start using them. Right now it’s easier than ever to integrate these tools with your site, and the benefits you’ll see when you use them can have big pay offs.

AdSense can help you place ads that are targeted to your site’s audience and earn money from your website or blog, while Webmaster Tools can help you track your site’s performance with Google. You can find out more about the plugin, and install it, on WordPress.org.

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10 Essential Things to do Before You Launch Your Website

Monday, March 18th, 2013
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPotos.net.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPotos.net.

Before you launch that new website, there are a few things you should do. In fact, failing to check off these important factors could bring negative consequences. When you launch a new site or blog, you only have one chance to get it right. Many of your new customers or readers will visit your site at launch, and if they don’t like what they see, they likely won’t come back.

But, don’t let this idea scare you. It’s entirely possible to make sure everything is in its place and working properly so you’ll have a successful site launch and start your business or blog campaign off the right way.

1. Perfect Your Design

Make sure your design is exactly the way it needs to be before launch day. Make sure things flow well and that there is enough white space so your readers aren’t overwhelmed. Now is the time to make sure everything looks sharp.

2. Proofread Everything

When the design is done, you can proofread all your site content. Double check that all the details your audience needs are included. Edit for the usual things like spelling and grammar, but also check for things like style, tone and flow.

3. Set Up and Link to Social Media Accounts

Image courtesy of SalFalko/Flickr.

Image courtesy of SalFalko/Flickr.

If you don’t already have some business or brand social media accounts set up, now is the perfect time to do it. You can use your new site’s design to personalize your account pages and add the URL of your new site in your biographical information. Then, link the social media buttons on your website to the accounts. There’s nothing like a broken social media button to make you lose a crowd of followers.

4. Make Sure All the Links Work

Go through your entire site to make sure every link, including buttons and tabs, work. The ones that interlink the pages on your site and the ones that link to outside pages are both important for optimal search engine optimisation and ease of use. Depending on the platform you use, you may be able install a plugin or program that will detect broken links for you.

5. Have Some Blog Posts Live and a Plan Ready

You can’t launch a website, especially a blog, without any posts. Have a handful of posts already live when you launch your site. It’s also good practice to have a blog posting plan for the next month or so ready. Even better, write several posts ahead of time and schedule them to go live over a period of time.

6. Create a Means of Contact

Your readers need to be able to contact you. Whether it’s to buy your services, ask a question or to report a problem, a contact form or readily available contact information is absolutely vital. If it’s not easy to contact you, your audience will lose faith in your customer service and may turn to blog comments or forums for their answers, giving you less control over how you serve your market.

7. Apply SEO Tactics to Pages

Before you launch, have a basic SEO plan in place. Part of this plan should include some on-site optimisation strategies, which should be done before you launch your site. Including keywords and meta descriptions before launching will help you influence your rankings from the day your site goes live.

8. Advertise Early and Decide How to Hook Readers

Build hype in your market before launch by using traditional marketing methods, social media and other sites you own, if applicable. You may also want to implement a way to entice new readers to visit your site, subscribe to your blog or follow you on social media. Some ways to do this might be through a contest or giveaway or by offering early followers a discount.

9. Set Up Analytics Software

Image courtesy of Colin Zhu/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Colin Zhu/Flickr.

If you don’t set up analytics software for your site before you launch it, you won’t get a clear idea of how well your site is doing. You should see a surge in traffic at launch, followed by a steady stream of visitors. If you have no idea how well your site has done over time you won’t be able to measure your success.

10. Back Up Your Site

Backing up your site is extremely important. Having a backup ready can save you from disasters like a site hack, server failure or a mistake on your part. If something happens to your site during launch, postponing your launch to fix your site could ruin your campaign. Play it safe and back your site up often.

This checklist will help you launch a working, professional site and help you prepare for a successful launch. Your market will be met with a beautiful site and everything they need to respond to your calls to action and become customers or brand advocates.

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Harnessing the Power of Pinterest for SEO Purposes

Friday, February 1st, 2013

The Pinterest craze made the visually appealing site one of the fastest growing social media sites ever. In just two years, Pinterest gained 10.4 million users. All kinds of brands use Pinterest to share visual posts that send a message and draw users to their site.

Pinterest is an excellent tool for raising awareness and reaching your target market. But, have you thought about using Pinterest as part of your search engine optimisation strategy?

By taking advantage of some of the features Pinterest offers, you can add this popular social media channel to your list of SEO tools. Here are some tips to get you started.

Write Keyword-Rich Descriptions

When you write a description for a pin, use SEO keywords. This sounds like a basic tip, but you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t follow through with this. If you are posting pictures from your website or blog, use the same keywords you want to rank for with search engines. Pinterest pages often rank highly for keywords.

pinterest result

Get Local Rankings

Make sure your profile page is accurate, uses keywords and lists your location. Remember, you can also use local, geographic keywords in your pin descriptions. However, don’t use your city name for pins that really have nothing to do with your city. This will result in having your account reported as spam. Instead, consider creating city or community specific boards where you post photos and information about your city, making it completely logical and helpful to use city names in the pin descriptions.

city description

Mix Social Media Channels

You can get more visitors to your social media links, and more shares, which can help rankings if your followers click through to your site, by cross-promoting your pins. Promote your pins on other social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to add a Pinterest button to your website or blog, making it easy for your readers to pin your content.

Pin Attractive Content from Your Site

Each pin on Pinterest has two links. The first, the image, is a no-follow link. However, the second, the text URL at the top of a pin, is a do-follow link. This means each time your pins are repined, you are gaining more traffic and more backlinks. To help you with both of these goals, you’ll need to pin images that are visually attractive and that link users to helpful information.

The link  at the top of each pin is a do-follow link.

The link at the top of each pin is a do-follow link.

By making just a few changes to the way you are already using Pinterest you can turn this powerful social media tool into an SEO tactic. Remember to use keywords and to post content that is likely to be clicked on and repined, and you’ll find entirely new ways to increase rankings and traffic.

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Invisible ROI

Friday, July 6th, 2012

One of the reasons many small businesses are hesitant to invest time and money into social media marketing is due to the difficulty in measuring ROI. Just like SEO, building a social media presence takes time and patience; the results won’t be immediately visible.

This infographic, produced by Pagemodo, outlines how marketers perceive ROI from social media, how they measure it, and also offers some alternative suggestions for measuring ROI. It’s interesting to note that the most common way to measure the success of a social media campaign is through the number of link, likes or followers. However, don’t forget that your real reach and influence may be much greater!

ROI from social media is often invisible as you can’t always see the results in the analytics. When conducting a social media campaign it’s important to remember what your end goal is. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Do you want to raise awareness of your business? Do you want to offer an extra line of assistance to your customers? From this information you can then determine how you will measure success.

It’s easy to lose sight of this goal and begin start focusing on gaining more followers and getting more likes and shares, and we become obsessed with the notion of “interaction”. Trust me, the world won’t end if people aren’t posting on your Facebook wall. If your aim is to drive brand awareness, then just having a Facebook page will increase this. Just don’t rest all of your hope of the intrepid sharers!

There has been a lot of talk recently about the power of inactive social media users. While some companies will choose to unfollow inactive users to lower their Twitter follow count, this can be an unwise move. Apart from this being a move which takes the social out of social media it also alienates a large proportion of the Twitter population. According to Mashable, of the 100 million active Twitter users that log in every month, only 60% of these have actually sent a tweet in the past month.

If you’re measuring success on Twitter (or any social media platform for that matter) through re-tweets, likes and shares, then these silent lurkers may not seem like your ideal target audience. However, it’s important to remember that your social media audience is made up of the same mix of people who make up your real-life audience. Just because a user doesn’t have enormous klout and won’t re-tweet your every word, it doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in what you have to say. How many times have you mentioned something you saw on social media in everyday conversation?

And finally, if you aren’t paying for Facebook ads or for regular blog posts, then your only real investment in social media is time, and for that you get free publicity!

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What does it mean to be future-oriented today?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

The digital world is moving forward in leaps and bounds. This can be daunting for SMEs just trying to keep up with the crowd, never mind getting ahead of the curve. You’re running a business here, and the digital world is repeatedly pulling the rug out from under you!

What’s hot and what’s not in the world of digital seems to change as often as trending topics on Twitter. More than ever before, all we can do is “wait and see” and hope that any new social networks, ad platforms, mobile marketing strategies and developments in TV are easy to adapt to.

A report from back in February has been playing on my mind recently; according to Panlogic, the ‘digital engineering’ agency, “two thirds of businesses have low confidence in their long-term digital strategy”.

Two thirds! Meaning only one in three companies could actively claim that they were confident about their digital endeavours? This seems shockingly low, although not entirely surprising when you consider the changes taking place.

As an SEO agency, Bigfoot Digital has to stay ahead of the curve and keep up to date with new developments. If we missed an algorithm update, our clients wouldn’t be very happy. If Facebook rolled out an ad network and we didn’t notice, again, we’d have some grumpy clients on our hands.

So how can you stay ahead of the game?

Read, read, read. And when you think you’ve read enough, read some more. News that is – not the Richard and Judy book club summer reads! Learn to identify which changes and developments affect you and your business. Encouage everyone in your business to do the same, everyone will approach this from a different perspective, so it will be interesting to see what you missed.

According to CBS news, you should be focusing on the strategy rather than the technology. Try to be less concerned with which social networks you’re on, and try to focus your attention on how you’re utilising it to attract and retain customers.

The report by Panlogic revealed that businesses’ digital strategy short term, project by project management, rather than an overarching concrete ‘plan’. I can see no problem with this, as it shows a flexible and responsive approach. However, as Panlogic point out in their report, there are cost-reducing benefits to having long term plans in place. If you aren’t pioneering the shifts in technology, just make sure you’re following closely behind those who are.

Do you agree with the report? And what actions are you taking to future proof yourself? 

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A likeable Twitter bot?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

One news story in particular caught my eye this week. Robert McMillan wrote an article for Wired about a man who created a Twitter bot that people actually like. Back in 2008 Greg Marra created @trackgirl as an experiment to see if she could infiltrate a network of real people; in particular, runners.

The Twitter script was designed to scour Twitter for running related tweets and copy and paste these as her own words. She also followed 5 running-related individuals per day and followed back anyone who followed her. This alone is considered good Twitter etiquette – and she wasn’t annoying anyone with porn-y content or faster than lightening responses and re-tweets.

What’s interesting about this particular bot is the reaction to one tweet about twisting her ankle. People started to DM her asking how the recovery was going and showing genuine concern. All studies in human empathy aside, this could be of genuine interest to brands.

According to Corp Comms, around one quarter of Italian and International Brands Twitter followers are actually Twitter bots, which can significantly increase a brands perceived social media standing. So what if brands were able to use Twitter bots to infiltrate their target audience and spread some subtle marketing messages?

We’re all pretty well versed in how to spot a Twitter bot, but @trackgirl was able to work around this by infiltrating one particular community. If she had been created by Nike, she could have spent time tweeting about her running endeavours, and then casually slipped in a tweet about her new Nike running shoes. Not only did the experiment prove that she could infiltrate running circles, just it also showed that people actually cared what she was tweeting about.

This raises a huge number of legal and ethical questions about the use of twitter bots to create social influence, but if the Twitter bot was using Tweets that were already in the Twitter-sphere, would the use of a bot to promote a brand really be that bad? On the one hand it would simply be a case of aggregating positive brand messages, and on the other it would be deception of a brands’ audience on a mass scale.

In the past we’ve seen the ill-effects of Twitter bots getting involved with politics as they were used to bolster and spread positive messages during the Mexican presidential election. While this technology could spell good news for brands, it would be one step closer to taking the ‘social’ out of ‘social media’.

Would you feel duped if you discovered a twitter user you were following was a bot? And how would you feel if they were spreading marketing messages? 

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Facebook and Zynga Join Forces to Take the Web

Monday, June 25th, 2012

If you had to guess, which company do you think knows more about you – Facebook or Google? Sure, Google has all of your search data and preferences – but Facebook has all of your social data such as your likes, interactions, check-ins and daily updates. When we’re talking about revenue from targeted ads, this information is as valuable as gold to advertisers.

Facebook made an incredibly smart move recently which will be of great interest to their new shareholders, but what is more surprising is how little the Facebook community seem to be reacting to this news. We’ve all become incredibly sensitized to the way out private data is used by companies such as Facebook and Google – so learning that your Facebook data is now being used to fuel ad targeting on external sites should surely send users into a rage.

Your Facebook ad data is now being used to target ads on Zynga.com, the social gaming website which started the Farmville craze. This move poses an enormous threat to Google’s position as the biggest ad revenue network. In Q1 of 2012, Facebook pulled in $1.06 billion in ad revenue, whereas Google raked in $9.9 billion (display network and Google search combined).

The Zynga move is just the beginning in what is set to be a bitter turf war as Facebook tries to take a piece of the search pie. So how will the victor be determined? It’s all a matter of relevance – the company holding the most relevant information will be able to provide the most relevant ads. Techcrunch speculates that it could be months before we those familiar little blue boxes cropping up around the web, but rest assured this will happen.

As highlighted by ReadWriteWeb, this could spell bad news for Google. Even if users continue to use Google for search, they could be directed to pages which contain Facebook ads that are far more relevant to target audience. Google will struggle to keep up with Facebook in producing a more complete view of their users online activity and preferences.

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A Guide to Blogging for SEOs

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

With the penguin update firmly in place, now more than ever, website owners are looking to content creation to supercharge their keywords and boost their link building schemes. If you’re able to write content worth linking to, then you’re well on your way to gaining free links via social media and other reputable sites.

A blog is one of the best ways to achieve this, not only does it give your company a place to share your opinion on top industry news, but it also gives search engines a reason to keep returning to your website. Here are some top tips for blogging for SEO professionals – and remember, anyone can benefit from a blog, agency or freelance!

You may need to upgrade your writing tools before starting a blog...

1. Be Original. You may have heard of article “spinning”, which basically means re-wording a piece you found online and passing it off as your own. Although some claim that this is acceptable because you put the effort in to changing the syntax and structure, it isn’t, no matter how you cut it, it’s still plagiarism.

2. Avoid Keyword Stuffing. Although your SEO subconscious may be telling you to stuff “SEO Agency” and “Search Engine Optimisation” into the article as many time as possible, this will distrupt the flow of your writing and make it horrible to read.

3. State Your Sources. One of the most vital parts of blogging is giving credit where credit is due. Don’t simply mention where you got your information from, link directly to it. Also, make sure you’re only referencing reputable sources – nothing screams amateur blogger like linking to spam filled pages.

4. Use Images. The Internet is a visual place – and an image makes it pinable and shareable. If you’re handy with a camera consider making your images available under the creative commons scheme – the easiest way to do this is on FlickR. You can then request a link to your site every time your image is used.

5. Keep Things Fresh. Don’t just churn out the same content as everyone else. Look for a new angle, and put your own mark on it. Always keep looking for new sources for your blog – don’t just reference back to the same three every time.

Do you run an SEO blog? What are the biggest challenges you faced when venturing into this realm? 

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Top Articles of the Week

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

I’m trying a new format today, rather than focus solely on news I’m going to mix things up and a bit and share with you some of the best how-to articles I’ve found on the web in the past week, along with some key trends to watch out for. Starting with this article, which guides you through how to find URLs following a failed site migration.

It happens to the best of us, sometimes things just don’t work out the way it was meticulously planned and your client’s site migration results in a mulititude of 401s. This whiteboard Friday video from SEOMoz will guide you through the process of locating those missing URLs.

If you’re running an online retail site, you may want to check out this article from Mashable. It’s an extensive article which takes you through the top 5 digital trends which are shaping e-commerce and the expectations of the customer. Take note: visual is key!

In this interview for Beet.tv Fabienne Fourquet of Canal+ discusses the social media strategy of the French premium channel and their expansion into second screen experience. Second screen is set to be huge for every industry, the reach will be wider than just TV channels and social media.

Gamification has got to be one of the ugliest newly coined phrases, yet it’s something that we all need to pay attention to when determining new social media models. This article outlines 6 ways you can Gamify your Facebook marketing strategy.

Ever wondered how to get 100,000 likes on your blog fanpage on Facebook in 1 month? This guy has shared all on Techcrunch. What’s surprising is that this article actually makes sense, it isn’t the usual success story drivel, he provides practical solutions which you can utilise on different levels depending on your budget. Well worth a read!

With summer lurking on the horizon, you might be more inclined to start thinking about event planning – be it a workshop, networking event, or company barbecue. SEOMoz shows you how you can turn your non-internet based activity into a link-building exercise. It will help you with your local SEO, and also get you links from established sources such as news sites which are otherwise difficult to attain.

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