Google 3.0 Is Rolling Out

Link building was changed forever following the release of Google’s Penguin algorithm in April 2012. Before that, having links to and from other sites didn’t do a lot of harm however, that all changed in 2012. Following the initial Penguin rollout, many websites have either dropped down the rankings or disappeared completely as a result. Any even slightly dubious linking will now be detrimental to your website and should be avoided completely.

This does not mean that there shouldn’t be any links at all, that would not be natural and would therefore incur scrutiny or even dismissal from Google. The most desirable links are those from authority sites pointing to yours, these are however, very difficult to achieve but you can still make good gains by having links to good quality relevant sites.

It is always a good idea to check links from time to time to ensure that they are of good quality and that they are relevant to your niche. The rule of thumb is that if a link does not look or feel natural, get rid of it. Ask yourself if you really want to be associated with toxic sites such as gambling, pornographic, pharmacies and paid for links. These types of sites are going to damage your site’s reputation with Google and as such you could be penalised for being associated with them.

As well as avoiding damaging sites, you should also be aware of how and where you place links within content. Be aware of what you are putting into the anchor text so that it is very relevant and is going to be beneficial to the reader. It is not at all natural to have lots of links contained within ‘money’ keywords, if you are not sure, check out authority sites and see how they distribute links within their text, where they place links, what pages they link to and how they use the anchor text to get their ranking.

Penguin’s purpose is to weed out sites with rubbishy links so that the audience is not directed to spammy sites. The updated Penguin 3.0 has just been rolled out so be aware of your linking strategy so that you do not incur Google’s wrath.

It’s been over a year since Google last unrolled a new Penguin update, and now it looks like they’re ready to catch up. Google recently confirmed that the most recent iteration of their large-scale “Penguin” algorithm update started rolling out late on Friday night (October 17th). One of Google’s Webmaster Trends Analysts recently hinted that the latest Penguin update would be coming out soon, but as of October 17, we have full confirmation that the update is live and currently unfolding.

Penguin is an algorithm, originally launched in April of 2012, that identifies evidence of what Google identifies as “webspam” (occurring both on and off a website), and significantly penalizes websites identified as being guilty of spammy, manipulative tactics by drastically reducing their visibility in its search results.

Like with the initial Penguin rollout and its 2.0 follow-up, there’s a chance any website will be affected. If you’ve noticed a major change in rankings and organic search traffic, you need to be proactive to diagnose and correct the actions that caused the Penguin penalty. In this article, I’ll explain how Penguin 3.0 works, how it connects to previous Penguin iterations, how to tell whether you’ve been affected, and of course, what you can do to recover if you’ve been hit.

The Penguin Update – to Date

The first official Penguin update rolled out on April 24, 2012 as a complementary partner to the Panda algorithm, which was designed to reward sites with a better user experience, while penalizing sites with a poor user experience. The Panda algorithm just saw a new refresh in the form of Panda 4.1. The Penguin algorithm covers the biggest ranking factor—external links. Penguin rewards sites that have natural, valuable, authoritative, relevant links, and penalizes sites that have built manipulative links solely for the purpose of increasing rankings, or links that do not appear natural. The original update, later dubbed “1.0,” impacted about 3.1 percent of all search queries. That may not seem like a lot, but the impact it had on the world of search optimization was stunning.

Google followed up a month later, with Penguin 1.1, and again in October of 2012 with Penguin 1.2. Over the course of 2012, Google unleashed a series of “refreshes,” which updated data, but did not make any major changes to the search algorithm. Click link to continue reading http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/10/20/penguin-3-0-the-definitive-guide-to-diagnosis-and-recovery/

Further information

Hit by Penguin 3.0?

Penguin 3.0 still rolling out

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Succeeding At SEO With Content Marketing

You will be aware of how important content marketing is to your SEO strategy. Technology is evolving and more tools are available to help us make use of these advances. Content marketing has remained fairly static however, there are now more ways than ever to communicate your message and share your content. Posting blogs, using social media and guest articles are some of the ways in which you can share your expertise and information.

These days, the definition of content marketing is that the written pieces are published online so that they can be accessed by other people. The content must be interesting and have a value to those reading it so that they gain something from it. It is important to target your content to a specific audience who are interested in your niche, so it must be relevant in order to be noticed by the search engines. When people are interested in what you have written they will usually share it via social media this leads to an increase in online traffic. When the search engines are interested in all this activity, they will increase the ranking in the organic listings.

It is still important to optimise your content so that it is seen to be relevant and interesting to the search engines. Failing to do this means that they will ignore your site and as such, will not rank on the organic listings. So, do your keyword research before releasing your content so that you can ensure it has a good range of valid keywords and key phrases that appear in a natural fashion throughout the piece.

Back links are still vital for success however, care needs to be taken with link building so that the links are appropriate and niche specific, not just randomly placed or mixed in with non-relevant subjects. Social media can be a very effective way of sharing links however, search engines don’t always pay a huge amount of attention to these links.

Seo continues to evolve and develop so do keep a look out for trends that are working well for others in your niche. Be innovative and try different things that might help promote your business however, steer clear of strategies that are known to attract the wrong kind of attention from the search engines or you might find that your site is de-indexed.

 

Want to succeed at SEO? Good practices start with avoiding bad habits of the past. Eliminate ineffective practices and replace them with strategic, content-focused tactics. Here are seven great ways to do that:

1. Approach keywords strategically

Without proper keyword research, any SEO campaign is doomed to failure. Keyword research sets the stage and lays the groundwork for an SEO campaign.

Take a vague keyword phrase like “dog food.” This might be used by people seeking information on dog food or news about it (such as recalls). But a specific keyword phrase such as “buy raw dog food” is more likely to be selected by someone who’s ready to buy a specific type of canine chow.

Keyword phrases should be as specific to your company as possible and have an easy, conversational sound not a marketing vibe. Just consider how you search for things online.

Perhaps more important than selecting specific phrasing, however, is not becoming paralyzed or slowed down by the temptation to achieve perfection in keyword optimization for every text-based piece of content you publish.

While keywords form the basis of an effective understanding of — and competition for — a target market, trying for a #1 search-engine ranking (or even for a top 10 spot) for your business niche’s top keyword is usually extremely difficult when you’re starting an SEO campaign in a field with competitors who have doing this for a while.

Instead, take a long-tail approach to keywords. Consistently publish as much amazing content as you can, which naturally will include keywords, and you’ll capture long-tail search traffic. This type of traffic tends to come from keywords you would probably never find during the research phase and that are often more targeted, resulting in better conversion rates.

2. Strictly adhere to an originality rule.

When it comes to SEO, originality refers to duplicate content or the same text existing at two different URLs — something that you should always avoid. Republishing articles from other sites is not only a potential copyright infringement, but it also creates duplicate content, which can ruin your site’s search rankings.

Check to see if your site has duplicate content by using tools like CopyScape, SiteLiner and Screaming Frog. Find more details about how to identify and remove duplicate content in this article I wrote.

3. Strategically adjust your site’s navigation and internal links.

The way your site’s navigation is structured plays a major role in how search engines determine the importance of each page. Simply put, the more often a page is linked to within your website, the more PageRank flow it has and the higher it will rank in search-engine results pages for relevant queries.

Most webmasters and business owners, however, have no idea how their internal link flow is structured and are often surprised to learn that unimportant pages or ones that never stand a chance rank high in search-engines results (like contact pages) are cannibalizing the majority of their site’s PageRank flow. This offers major opportunities for improvement with relatively minor effort. Read more here http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237819

More information

SEO: why content isn’t always the answer

User-centred SEO: creating long term value

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SEO – Trying to cheat Google or is it just a Different Form of Advertising?

I recently attended a webinar run by Chris Cardell, who is well known for the assistance he has provided to numerous on line businesses throughout the World. I myself have been on one of his Adword’s courses (many years ago now) and believe that he knows an awful lot about getting more business for businesses, large and small.

But that does not mean he knows it all and that everything he says is right, in fact he said some things about SEO that I really have to take exception with. What he said, in a nutshell was that SEO was all about ‘taking on Google with all it’s rocket scientists and technology’ and that as it was such an unequal battle that it was best to avoid it in the first place….

I totally agree with this on the basis that trying to battle with Google is like trying to stop the tide coming in, it is simply not worth it. But true SEO should not be about taking on Google, rather, Google should be considered a friend, a friend that you want to help to find the very best information on the Internet for a particular subject, a category that you trust should include site you are trying to promote (which of course means that the site should be a good one).

So how do you try to get Google to see things the way you want? Certainly not by ‘tricking’ them, with some dubious tactics, be they on page or off page. No instead you must take a leaf out of the advertising world, as here they don’t try to trick their potential customers, but rather they ‘bring  the fact of the existence of their product to  people’s attention’.

People then either ‘buy it’ as they like what they see, or not, it all being down to the quality of that product, something that of course includes the ‘packaging’, as well as the perceived worth of the product by what others say about it and how  many others have bought it.

In my view, this is just what SEO is about, you have to bring the site to Google’s attention, make sure that enough other people ‘seem’ to like it, whilst also ensuring that the ‘packaging’, (the Titles, tags and of course all that vital content) are up to standard.

There is a lot to all of this of course, and there are many ‘rules’ that you have to follow if you want to get (and keep) it right, and the creation of that content and keeping it fresh is a huge job, but if you want to ‘convince’ Google rather than ‘trick’ it that is what you have to do.

In the end success will come to those sites that ‘advertise their presence to Google, get enough real people to mention it / like it, and, most importantly, deliver the goods (the content) ‘ at the time Google decides to get serious about considering giving it a placement.

So don’t try to trick Google, just try to help them believe and understand that your site ‘deserves’ a place at the top of their listings for some appropriate search terms.

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How SEO Has Changed In Recent Years

As we all know, it is so important to create and publish only the highest quality content. This has actually always been the case, you might have got away with publishing any old stuff years ago but now, the search engines want more and it’s not just them, visitors to your site want to read something interesting and that is well written. In order to find your articles, you need to make use of good keywords (long tail keywords are very useful for local searches). Beware of keyword stuffing, this has been frowned upon for a number of years now and you will be be punished if you do this. Be creative with your keywords, use other ways of saying the same thing and make sure that they are what people are searching for. The search engines are getting smarter and can interpret what a searcher is looking for with more success than ever before. Due to Google’s algorithms, the quality of the results has improved and as such, the sites with the best articles will rise up the organic rankings. Social media plays a part here as well, when a visitor likes what they read, they will generally share it with others which of course generates more visitors to your site. Find out more about how SEO has changed over the last few years and how you can make yours better, read on.

Change #1: Don’t Miss Using Google’s Keyword Tool

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool has been gone for about a year now (replaced with the new Google Keyword Planner).

Many bloggers, myself included, relied heavily on this tool; however, I think our reliance was misguided. The keyword tool only measured what people were willing to pay for and was really created for products. It was specifically created to work with AdWords and while the hack that most of us used it for was fine, its data was probably not as relevant as we believed – at least, for those of us more interested in organic search results who didn’t use AdWords. In retrospect, I now feel freed from hours of pouring over results that may or may not have had a beneficial return on the time I invested. There are better ways to find out optimal keywords than these keyword tools.

Modern SEO Strategy #1: Go To The Source for Answers

You should be using Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and going to the source for SEO information. Instead of wondering what’s new, good or outdated, simply start following and watching Matt Cutts’ Google Videos, which are organized by topic at SEO In House, to answer your questions.

If you installed Analytics a while ago, make sure you are upgraded to Universal Analytics and have the new code pasted into your site. Really dig in and examine your analytics. Click your blog under “Webmaster Tools,” go to Search Traffic, select Search Queries and download the table. I advise importing it into Excel, so you can sort it. It will give you the real story of how people are getting to your site.

Change #2: Google is Smarter than You Think

Some years back, I had a small business client who spent a ton of money engaging an SEO firm. They researched a 3-word phrase and then created a page where they repeated that phrase in a document – ad nauseam. No human would read that page. At the time, that kind of SEO was technically acceptable. Personally, bending and shaping words to match the exact 3-5 word phrase I believed people to be searching for has always been a painful exercise for this wordsmith.

How could I put my name on something like that and still build my reputation as a writer? Turns out, you can’t.

Thankfully, Google can handle whatever you write. It’s smart enough that you can place the group of words in the same or near order and still get the juice for your keyword phrase without being redundant. You do have to be careful as your long tail grows, but my best advice is just to write the best you can. You will find that from time to time, you are writing articles with no other way to say a word. For example, I just completed a piece on grass fed vs. conventionally raised cattle. There’s no other way to say either of those terms accurately, so they were repeated throughout the article. Good for my SEO, but not necessary every time.

Modern SEO Strategy #2: Use Your Head When Writing

It’s time for all of us to go back to Journalism 101 and write or curate valuable content for our audience.

If you have a new blog, don’t write too much until you start to build readership and connect with the leaders in your niche. Headlines and descriptions should entice or scare people into clicking. Articles should give provide readers with something they need and engage them, even if there is a call to action in it that benefits you. Click here to continue

Further information

Back to basics: how to get SEO right

4 ways quality content improves SEO rankings

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Consider Your SEO Strategy Carefully

Using SEO to improve your website’s online profile is a sensible thing to do. However, there are so many different facets to SEO that you could be forgiven for being confused as to what to use and how to use it. Finding the right routes to take for your site is going to be essential for success. Using a combination of SEO methods that is best suited for your site and your business will help raise your site up the rankings. Set a well considered strategy, which you have prepared and planned carefully. Be prepared to change course as and when necessary so that if you find one thing is not working, you can adapt it or switch to something else. Using social signals and backlinks are important however, make sure that any links you have are good quality, relevant and go to different pages, i.e. don’t always link to your home page. Prepare your keyword list carefully, make sure that these are being searched for and you can also make use of long-tailed keywords which are actually very useful for local searches. Intersperse these sparingly through your content and change them around if you can so that the same word or words does not come up time and time again. Your content should be unique and written for a human reader as opposed to writing purely for the search engines, if people find it interesting, they will share it with others and return for more as and when you post it. Attracting visitors is crucial to the success of your strategy and the search engines do take note of visitor numbers, how long they stay and whether they share your content.

SEO platform and search analytics firm Searchmetrics has released its 2014 SEO Ranking Factors and Rank Correlations report, which it says provides an “in-depth definition and evaluation of the factors that have a high rank correlation with organic search results.”

The study, which is focused solely on Google results, found high-quality, relevant content ranks better on average and also that the well-optimized technical performance of a page contributes to a good ranking.

In addition, Searchmetrics says the quantity and quality of backlinks remains crucial because new features have been revised to improve the quality of results. What’s more, the correlation values regarding coefficients out of the social sector have decreased slightly and the growth of the average total number of signals per position was small, Searchmetrics adds.

And, finally, for the first time, Searchmetrics says it measured user signals and found there is a relationship between rankings and higher click-through rates, lower bounce rates, and a high time-on-site.

Searchmetrics provides the following tips to “survive and thrive in a constantly changing SEO world”:

Tip #1: Create Robust Site Architecture

Before webmasters can look at content or optimization, they must build their sites correctly and Searchmetrics provides a list of Do’s and Don’ts for site architecture:

Do

  • Include a well-balanced number of good internal links
  • Aim for short loading times
  • Keep sites up to date
  • Maintain presence of all relevant Meta tags

Don’t

  • Lose focus
  • Focus only on the technical aspects of the site

sm-figure-1

Tip #2: Pay Attention to Keywords in Titles and Descriptions

Rankings for proper use of keywords in onpage copy have increased from 2013 to 2014. The chart below shows the correlation between keywords in titles, tags, and descriptions and rankings. Click here to continue

Further information

Why internal links and hub pages are the key to SEO success

The Google feature that can improve your SEO

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Google Authorship Has Been Retired

We all ( or at least we should) know about the benefits of high quality content for publishing online. It does not matter whether this is on your personal blog or for populating your business website, good content is of interest to many people and is of course what the search engines are looking for too. Google made it clear some time ago that it would not be tolerating what it considered to be rubbishy spammy content and sites that were found to contain such writing would be penalised severely. So, as well as implementing their menagerie of algorithms to weed out the undesirables, they also came up with the idea of authorship. The whole idea of this was to reduce the amount of anonymous posts, put faces to the names and give credence to experts in their field. What Google did not bank on was the fact the there were lots of people, many of whom are respected experts, who did not want to be dictated to in this way and who refused to take this up. The result is that Google have now retired their authorship project. This will please some but will be a disappointment to others.

Google introduced authorship support over three years ago, leading webmasters and anyone concerned with SEO to jump through a new set of hoops to make sure their faces were visible in Google search results, and hopefully even get better rankings and overall visibility in the long run. Now, Google has decided to pull the plug on the whole thing.

Do you feel that authorship was a waste of time? Are you glad to see it go? Is Google making the wrong move? Share your thoughts in the comments.

To be fair, Google called its authorship efforts experimental in the first place, but for quite a while, it looked like it would play more and more of a role in how Google treated search results, and more specifically, the people providing the content that populates them. Of course Google seems to be relying much less on people (at least directly) for search result delivery these days, favoring on-page “answers” over links to other sites.

Google never came right out and said it would use authorship as a ranking signal to my recollection, but it did go out of its way to really encourage people to take advantage, recording multiple videos on various ways to implement authorship markup on your website. As time went on, they added more ways to implement it, sending a signal that doing so would be in your best interest.

They also added features, such as display of comments, circle counts, etc. They added authorship click and impression data to Webmaster Tools. They dropped the author search operator in Google News in favor of authorship. They added authorship to Google+ Sign-In less than a year ago. It seemed that Google was only valuing authorship more as time went on.

A year ago, Google’s Maile Ohye said, “Authorship annotation is useful to searchers because it signals that a page conveys a real person’s perspective or analysis on a topic.” Emphasis added.

Also last summer, Google’s Matt Cutts said, “I’m pretty excited about the ideas behind rel=’author’. Basically, if you can move from an anonymous web to a web where you have some notion of identity and maybe even reputation of individual authors, then webspam, you kind of get a lot of benefits for free. It’s harder for the spammers to hide over here in some anonymous corner.”

“Now, I continue to support anonymous speech and anonymity, but at the same time, if Danny Sullivan writes something on a forum or something like that I’d like to know about that, Click here to continue

Further information

The end of authorship

Dropped authorship, an imminent Penguin & Google recon

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DIY SEO, is It Possible and is it a Good Idea?

The world of SEO is quite complicated to get your head around, but once you have the basics under your belt, there is no doubt that anyone can do SEO, you just need the training, time and tools, at least that is my view and effects how we approach discussions with potential customers in that where they so have the time, we always suggest that they do as much as they can.

The problem we come across more often than not though is that they don’t have the time to do SEO, just as much as they don’t have the time to do their own accounts.

But for some, the idea of doing their own SEO is really appealing, and for them being able to obtain resources from the web is really great. We are therefore really pleased to be able to point people at this page.

Is do-it-yourself (DIY) search engine optimization (SEO) possible if you lack SEO experience?

“DIY SEO is not just possible, it’s usually preferable,” according to Eric Ward, a noted linking strategist and publisher of the Linkmoses Private newsletter. “Nobody will care as much about your business as you.”

Whether you’re a small business owner or an online marketer at a large company looking to enhance your SEO, the most important thing is to “recognize that the techniques and tactics a DIY SEO’er must use are not universal,” Ward says. “A site that sells hand-carved boomerangs requires different SEO techniques and tactics than a site that sells bobsled parts. While there are some technical aspects to SEO that are common, the ultimate success or failure of your site will be based on SEO and promotion strategies that differentiate you from everyone else.”

We’ve grouped the following 25 invaluable DIY tips from SEO experts into four categories: Keywords, Links, Blogging and Social Media, and Strategies. (Click the links to jump directly to additional sections.) A few of the recommendations may be beyond your technical reach, but understanding the concepts will help you work more effectively with SEO professionals.

Click the link for the full story on DIY SEO

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30% of retailers see SEO agencies as “expensive” and unable to deliver

It’s always interesting to see what comments make about SEO, it is after all a difficult task and one where you just cannot promise good results. Any SEO company will try their best of course (within the budget they are allowed), but with Google ‘making things up as they go along’ (or at least that is what it often feels like) it can be very very difficult to get the results the customer wants.

That said, there is also the issue of what the customer does want and the question ‘Can the website deliver’, even when traffic is delivered. This is a point taken up by some of the people commenting on the blog below, as they point out that some companies simply believe that they deserve a first page position and to ‘sell’ whilst not really understanding what Google and their customers want.

The former point is one that really demands understanding, as a good site in Google’s eyes is one that does not just ‘sell’, but provides good and useful content to visitors. It is also worth pointing out that it is indeed foolish to openly trick Google, but that does not mean that some fancy SEO footwork cannot bring some good results…

Please read the item below and if you want to see the full article on SEO Agencies and Results click on the link:-

Nearly a third (32 per cent) of UK retailers see organic search (SEO) agencies as “expensive” and unable to offer them clear results while 15 per cent find them disappointing, according to research from OneHydra.

Of the 200 retail e-commerce managers and marketing directors questioned the majority (82 per cent) said search marketing is an integral part of their business model but on average less than 20 per cent of their SEO requirements were met in the last 12 months.
It was found that most work with an agency in some capacity, either in partnership with their own in-house team (37 per cent) or exclusively (37 per cent). Only a quarter handle SEO in-house.

David Freeman, head of SEO at Havas Media, said he often hears businesses and marketing teams discuss the difficulties of getting SEO projects implemented.
“However, we must consider that development teams normally have a continuous stream of work to implement and changes for the greater good of SEO performance won’t get implemented by default,” he said.

“SEO teams need to understand the way their clients/internal teams operate and accompany SEO recommendations with a clear commercial case.”
Freeman explained this commercial case should allow work to be prioritised accordingly and alleviate some of this wastage. However, he added that it is “vital” that SEO teams understand the capabilities and limitations of the content management systems to ensure that the recommended changes are feasible to start with.

Meanwhile 17 per cent of respondents stated that the lack of a “strong business case” was the key reason for being unable to implement changes, but by far the biggest barrier for companies was “technological resource and capacity”, a problem which 71 per cent of respondents cited.
Andrew Girdwood, head of media innovation at DigitasLBi, said it is a shame that so many sites are still built without SEO in mind.
“An approach that blends media savvy, like SEO, with brilliant design and build capabilities should not be seen as a luxury but as a necessity for brands. The approach helps save money in the long term.”

Regarding spend, the research found that a quarter of retailers could be wasting more that £100,000 a year on failed SEO procedures, of which many don’t even make it through the IT Department.

However, Oscar Romero, head of search strategy and product at Starcom MediaVest, said this figure is difficult to quantify due to changes implemented by Google.

“Since Google began restricting visibility of keyword data in 2011 under the (not provided) label, businesses have been denied fundamental information about how their sites were performing in organic search. As Google further increases online security measures, the proportion of keyword data being labelled as (not provided) is reaching close to 100 per cent. With this lack of visibility on keyword-level performance, businesses are faced with the significant challenge of how to assess ROI and justify future investment in SEO.

“Over time the industry has developed a variety of alternative methods to define SEO metrics and targets, including analysis of rankings and landing page performance.

“However this is not able to replace the level of data previously available to search marketers and renders the ability to assess the performance of SEO in isolation very challenging.”

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Using Social Media For Customer Service

Social media has many uses for business marketing however, it can be  a very powerful voice for customer service. Virtually everyone uses social media in one form or another and as such a dissatisfied customer can very quickly and easily give your firm a bad review that can spread like wildfire. On the other hand, a good review can really help your business’s reputation which in turn can lead to new clients. This is why it is important to monitor the social media platforms you are using for your business, it is no good setting up accounts and posting now and again and then not bothering to interact or engage with your followers or even worse, just posting continual sales pitches. Of course you can use it for the occasional sales pitch but followers want more, they want information, discussion and a bit of fun as well. It does require a degree of dedication and if you can’t do this yourself, you should delegate this task to someone who will be diligent, interact with followers in a fair and non-judgmental way and flag up or solve any issues that might arise. As with any customer service, it is important to address problems as soon as they arise. Similarly, thanking those who give praise is also appreciated.  So, if you thought social media was just another marketing tool, think again, use it to promote your good customer service.

With the modern man attached to his smartphone at the thumb, today’s consumers often look to social media as the go-to route for customer service interactions with brands around the world.

Additionally, there’s a greater incentive for brands to satisfy needs and fix problems expressed on social. An irate traveler in an airport only influences other irate travelers. An irate, inconvenienced traveler on social media influences their followers – and potentially many more.

Personally, I now default to seeking support and service first on social media. Often, these interactions begin when I hear two of the most inconvenient words in any language:

“Flight Cancelled.”

These words imply all sorts of misery: long lines, angry travelers, overbooked alternate flights, missed connections and hours on the phone with airline customer service. Except not anymore.

On a recent trip, my wife and I experienced the dreaded cancellation, and all 150 to 200 people from our flight were told to go to the main customer service desk for rebooking. Anxiously waiting in line, I started tweeting at the airline.

There was no Twitter version of a phone tree, no time being put on hold. Within minutes, a person (indicated by a signature like this at the end of their tweets: “^LC”) got back to me. The representative requested I follow their account so we could discuss flight information via Direct Message instead of by publicly tweeting.

Less than 10 minutes after the initial cancellation, I had our rebooking – all via Twitter. We were still 20 to 30 minutes from the front of the line at customer service, and most of the people in front of me were on the phone – on-hold – with the airline.

The best part? We were rebooked on a plane departing within 15 minutes. If we’d waited on traditional customer service options, the flight would have been long-gone.

Traditional service options would have left me a frustrated, stranded traveler. I would have hours to tweet snarky comments about the airline. Instead, it had a satisfied customer – already on Twitter, ready to share my experience. Click here to read on

Further information

When social media doesn’t work

The top 7 social media trends of 2014

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Audit Your PPC Campaign For Maximum Effect

Pay per click can be a very useful tool in your online marketing armoury and there are many ways to make use of it. It can be used particularly well when targeting local markets and also for launching new lines. Selecting the keywords is one of the most important aspects when planning a PPC campaign. Choosing the right keywords will mean the difference between success and failure so doing enough research to give you a good spread is vital. Once you have your keywords, writing an eye catching advert is next on the list. As with any advertising, make sure that your advert sounds inviting and that it is relevant to the products or services you are selling. Having a PPC campaign is all well and good, however, it is quite important to look at how it is doing and to analyse data and results so that you can see what is working and what is not. This will allow you to change things that are not working and streamline your campaign. It can be a very economical method of marketing when done well, so read on to find out how to audit your pay per click campaign.

Whether you’re building your own PPC campaigns or working with a PPC vendor or agency, it’s important for business owners to understand how to evaluate their AdWords campaigns. To help you ensure you’re getting the most out of your campaign, and provide some guidelines to assess your efforts, here are the six most important steps of conducting a PPC audit:

Campaign Structure

A well-structured campaign enables you customize ad copy, landing pages, keywords and bid strategy to effectively reach each segment of your target demographic. Campaigns should be differentiated based on service lines, products or current promotional activity. Utilize ad groups to further narrow down groupings within those segments. Separate out an ad group for “blue shoes” so that you know you won’t be targeting people searching for “red shoes”.

Keywords and Negative Keywords

Use your search details report to discover expansion opportunities or cut words that are not converting as well you’d like. Create new ad groups and expand your account or build your negative keywords list to ensure that your ads don’t show for irrelevant searches. Are there some keywords that perform much better than others? Make bid adjustments to increase your chances of appearing on the first page for these words more frequently.

Examine Ad Copy

In Google, you can use the Ad Preview Tool to see if your ads are showing up for the keywords you are bidding on, in your targeted locations. If you are happy with the position of your ads, take a look at your ad copy and see which versions of your ads get the most clicks and conversions. Swap out ad copy that isn’t as enticing or contains outdated promotional text for newer versions.

Location targeting settings

Pull a geographic report to determine if there are new areas to expand into and where you should limit spend. If you’re spending a lot of money in areas where there are no conversions, it might be time to pull out of that location and reallocate your budget to an area with higher conversion rates.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/6-tips-auditing-businesss-ppc-campaigns-0939073#t5IeddhPYrTIfhEv.99

Further information

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