The new SEO and the part that it plays today

There has been a lot of talk about SEO being dead over recent months, but in my view, to paraphrase Mark Twain, “reports of SEO’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Why am I so sure about this? Well to use an expression that is said to have been used by the famous Sherlock Holmes (but never was it seems) it’s ‘Elementary my dear Watson’, because quite simply ‘Google Needs Help’ to reach it’s own goal of listing the best sites for any given search term.

Google Needs Help in Deciding What Sites to List

This, some may say is a bit of a bold statement, but when you come to think of it, it’s totally true and always has been. It may actually be even truer today, as Google have stated that they want to list sites with ‘Good Content’. They go on to say that one of the ways they ‘decide’ on what ‘good is’ is by seeing how many times the content has been shared, and of course this ‘sharing’ needs people to take an action and ‘share’ ,  ‘like’ or link to a site’s content.

The Old Old SEO

If you go back in time in SEO, it was all very simple, you just keyword stuffed a page, and then built lots and lots of links to it, this was enough to get any page listed, but that was a long time ago indeed and so  much has changed.

The Old SEO

Moving forwards in time a little, we see that it was Links that were the ‘silver bullet’ some people going so far as to say that they could get a blank page into the listings purely by the power of the links. One example of this was the ‘Google Bomb’ a technique that was used to get Google to come up with sites referring to George W Bush if you searched for ‘miserable failure’. This won’t work now of course, Google making changes back in 2007 to make sure that Links themselves would not work this way anymore. It however did work then and is an example of how Google took note of links.

The Arrival of Social Media

The arrival of Social Media however really changed the whole area of SEO, many of the ‘brownie points’ that Google gives to sites being re-allocated from the areas of On Page SEO and Links to Social Media ‘Chatter’.

This is really the change that you need to take into account, regardless of whether your business is active in Social Media or not, as just because you are not ‘talking about yourself’ does not mean that others are not (this by the way is another topic and is all about Brand Management / Protection, more on this another time).

Social Media Signal

It is this ‘Social Media Signal’ that is the real ‘killer’ today, Google ‘Wanting’ to see comments about a sites content in Twitter, Facebook  on the Social Bookmarking sites etc, as this in their view means that the pages must be interesting.

Content Marketing

However, it is not ‘good enough’ these days to just have good content on your site, you also need (especially in tough market places) to have interesting information on other sites, this process being known as ‘Content Marketing’. But even here it is not enough just to post this data, you have to make sure that this ‘shared content’ is itself ‘shared’ on Social Media sites.

How this Helps Google Decide to List Your Pages

This is of course the crux of the matter, as once you understand what you need to do to ‘help’ Google you will understand why SEO is still so very important…

Google the Blind Man

I believe that Google is much the same as a blind man in a department store, sure he will find the right department given time, but if he is helped, he’ll find it a lot faster (and perhaps before he just leaves) and be ‘happier’ when he does.

Helping Google find the right pages on a site starts with making sure that the site is well built and is structured to be ‘Search Engine Friendly’ (you would be surprised just how often sites are not built the right way even today). This includes, but is not restricted to, using the right Titles and Header tags for the pages. These together with a site map really helps Google know what the pages are about and where to find them.

Then there is the Links to a site. These are not anything like as powerful as they used to be, but they still count. You do however have to be careful as Google has many rules covering the linking arena .

Lastly, but not least we have the Social Signal mentioned above.

But What Part Does ‘Modern’ SEO  Play?

First, SEO means keyword research, as it is this that drives the On Page SEO (the words on the pages). Following the SEO rules then ensures that the site is built with the Search Engines in mind (so that all the pages can be found and SHOUT the right words).

Links are next on the agenda. Now whilst Google only really wants  to see links that are built by independent reviewers / visitors to a site and not by the site owner (or their agents), this is not always possible as people often won’t find a site unless it is listed on and Engine, so it really is a chicken and egg situation.

This means that the pump must be primed a little to start with at least, links being created by ‘artificial’ means. This is of course not liked by Google, but they know that it goes not and will turn a blind eye unless it is done in totally the wrong manner.

The New SEO’s real difference to the Old (and really old) SEO is that of Social Media.

As Google looks for social signal (the sharing / liking / bookmarking of sites) it is not surprising to find that today there is a huge industry whose one aim is to artificially create social signal to a site’s content or to its shared content. At the moment, in my view this is going a bit crazy and Google will no doubt put into place some checks and balances, so any work today has to be done carefully, but there is no doubt of its importance.

All the above helps the blind man

All of the three areas of the NEW SEO help the blind man find your site’s pages and what is more important understand what they are about and to at least ‘believe’ that they are ‘liked’ by others and are worthy of listing.

I hope that by now you will understand that SEO is far from dead as Google still needs help in deciding what pages to list for what.

If you would like to discuss your requirements, or just want to know a bit more, then please do contact us, we’ll be pleased to help.

 

Social media as part of your online marketing strategy

Social media has become a major part of many people’s lives and for the B2C business, this is an opportunity not to miss. It is a way of connecting with customers, informing them of special offers or new lines or just giving them interesting information. The beauty of social media, is that it can be used in a variety of ways to get your message across and allows your customers to engage with you. We are all aware of the power of the social media for business but with so many different platforms, how do you know which one will be best for your company?

There’s no doubt about it – a strong social media presence can lift your brand. But while you may be tempted to put your product in front of as many eyeballs as possible – there are over 550 social networking sites, according to KnowEm.com – not every business needs a presence on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook… (the list goes on). So here’s what to consider before signing up on your next social media platform.

 

Don’t chase the shiny object

Before registering for any social networking channel – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ are the most trafficked and most prominent – find out where your customers are and “fish where the fish are,” says Randall Craig, president of Toronto’s 108 ideaspace, a web and social media strategy firm.

 

It’s easy to be seduced by the latest offering, but sometimes a brand simply doesn’t align with a channel’s user base, and the result can be fruitless appeals to a disinterested audience.

 

“For example, it makes no sense for a management consulting firm to do a video contest on YouTube, but it might be perfectly appropriate for a consumer products company,” says Craig.

 

Businesses also need to clearly understand what they want to achieve from joining each channel – whether it’s to develop customer relationships, improve customer service, increase loyalty and cross-selling opportunities, reduce costs, or generate sales – and how they’re going to do this.

And don’t think of your social media efforts as just a tack-on to your marketing strategy.

 

“Your social marketing should impact everything from new leads, sales, customer service, new candidate recruitment, internal collaborations and your company’s overall results,” he says.

 

Pull out the calculator

 

While social marketing tools are typically free, there can be significant costs associated with creating a comprehensive social media strategy. According to a recent Forbes article, it takes a mid-size company at least 32 hours a month to successfully manage just one social media channel. Additional expenses can include legal fees, plus expenses related to promotion, search engine marketing and staff training.

– See more at: http://www.starbusinessclub.ca/technology/4075/

Further information

How to choose the right social media tools for your business

How your business can benefit from social media

Making the most of Google+ for your business

These days having a prominent presence in social media is very important for businesses and professionals. With so many different sites, how do you know what to choose? Well, it is a good idea to have an idea of which ones your customers use and harness those to get your message across. Google+ is becoming quite a big player and as the Google search engine makes use of the information in Google+, it really is a good idea to have a profile/account there too. Using it could not be easier, see this handy guide to help you make the most of your account.

Since its makeover in May, Google+ has been steadily winning a war of aesthetics over Facebook, which has yet to roll out its redesigned News Feed to all users.

While a visual overhaul is a great way to draw in users who have long neglected the mandatory social component of the Gmail address, Google+ has yet to succeed at making some of its new, highly powerful features more noticeable.

To the average person who may only casually use Google+, it’s a better-looking yet more empty social hub when compared with its competitors. When taking into account the ways in which Google+ is in fact a richer, more discussion-based and interactive experience, the social network begins to look like a far better place to spend one’s time online.

Luckily, these somewhat lesser-known features are not at all hidden, but do take a bit of explaining. Here’s three of the best Google+ has to offer today.

Hashtags: Google+’s Discussion Discovery Feature

Facebook made a splash last month with the debut of its own hashtags offering, mostly because it was yet-another move aimed at beefing up its discovery offering with features that have worked wonders for other services.

But while hashtags are synonymous with Twitter and the trending war between it and Facebook, Google+ has in fact had the hashtag feature since last year. The important question is: is there any more utility with Google+ hashtags than you get on other platforms? It turns out that yes, there is, for a number of reasons.

Most importantly, what makes Google+’s hashtag option not only easier and more elegant to use, but more functionally powerful as well, is the fact that clicking a hashtag does not take you away from the page and away from what made you click in the first place, as it does with both Facebook and Twitter. Click here to continue

Further information

Complete user guide: Google+ pages for business and brands

How to set up a Google+ page for your business

What Makes A Great Facebook Post?

There is a lot of talk on the web today about Social Media and how it is the new SEO, the new way to get traffic to any website. Such talk is perhaps fuelled by the number of businesses that are leaping onto the Social Media bandwagon in huge numbers.

With this in mind I have just created a page on the SOM website to fill in some blanks about Facebook and Edgerank

Here’s an excerpt:-

Facebook is a Complex Beast !

Facebook is however a much more complex beast and requires a much more formulised approach.

One of the first things that you have to contend with is the matter of Edgerank as your score here will directly influence the power of your posts. As Edgerank is itself a measure on how good your posts are, getting this right results in a truly virtuous circle, good posts resulting in a higher Edgerank, that in turn leads to more people seeing them, which in turn results in a higher Edgerank and so on.

It is obvious then that you must use Facebook in a manner that produces the best possible Edgerank, which means that you :

  1. Should post frequently (thus reducing the negative influence of the ‘Time Decay’ factor)
  2. Should create posts that appeal to the reader so that they ‘Like’, ‘Comment’ or ‘Share’ them (this increases the positive effect of the ‘Affinity’ factor)

  3. Should write posts that where possible engage the readers enough to Comment on them as this has a higher ‘Affinity’ weight.

Getting this right will increase the Edgerank of a brand and thus cause more and more people to see any post, which if they do engage those readers in the right way WILL increase brand awareness and thus sales. The extra ‘Social Signal’ created also has the added advantage of improving Google results, the impact of all these people ‘talking about’ a brand/domain name being something that they cannot ignore.

http://www.serendipity-online-marketing.co.uk/Facebook-Edgerank.asp

Facebook’s new tracking app could stir up a whole lot of trouble

If you use your mobile device to communicate with your social media sites, Facebook are in the process of developing an app that can track your location. The idea is that they can target appropriate adverts to your device. However, there are many who think that this is a bridge too far where your privacy is concerned. Of course it will be up to you whether you get the app and then turn it on.

             Facebook is reported to be developing a new mobile app that will track users’ geolocation even while the app isn’t running. It is scheduled for launch in mid-March.

The purpose of the app, according to a report in Bloomberg, is to help users find nearby friends – but it has the potential to do much more, and is the latest in a series of attempts by Facebook to gain traction in – and monetize – the mobile market.

Facebook’s location journey started in 2010 with a product called Places, a location check-in app. A year later it was killed off and replaced by Nearby, an app that combined location with context – but could easily be turned off. But Nearby didn’t last either, and was pulled last summer. “This wasn’t a formal release — this was just something that a few engineers were testing,” Facebook told Wired magazine.

Meanwhile, the company had acquired Glancee. Glancee offered a new direction – Glancee is about ambient social geo-data while Nearby was a check-in app. “We spent a lot of 2012 working to improve the foundation of our mobile products”, a Facebook representative told Read Write. “… Nearby positions us well to offer more location aware features on mobile in the new year.” Click here to continue

Further information

Facebook creating location-tracking app

Facebook may be mapping out a location-tracking app

Facebook risks fresh privacy row with tracking app

Facebook’s new search engine

Facebook has launched a new search feature to its site. This feature allows users to search for goods, services, photos, recommendations or whatever within their social network and will provide information for users to view. The idea being that it keeps visitors on the site rather than having them switch to a search engine for information. Another benefit of this could be that companies whose products or services are being recommended will see a sharp rise in enquiries and/or purchases. If businesses can create a trusted Facebook profile and interact with followers, this could lead to a more prominent profile.

Facebook hopes you’ll use its new social search feature, Graph Search, to find everything from dentists your friends recommend in New York to restaurants they’re talking about in San Francisco. But while the tool appears to be a smart way to glean insights from your connections, experts say it is inherently limited by the amount of useful information shared within a user’s social circle or made publicly available by those outside that circle. That means it may take time—and effort on the part of Facebook users—for it to be truly useful.

Graph Search, which was announced Tuesday and is available to a handful of Facebook’s billion users, allows you to use natural-language terms to quickly search through all the people, places, images, and interests listed in your social network. It also searches publicly available information on Facebook, so a search for “Photos of Paris, France” would show more than just snapshots taken by your friends. And information from the rest of the Web is delivered through a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Click to read on

 

Further information

Facebook unveils social search tools for users

Facebook’s search tool could be big money maker

Facebook radically revamps its search engine

Reaching your target audience

With advertising budgets so restricted these days, it is very important that any campaign or strategy reaches the target audience so that you have the best chance of conducting business. But how do you go about reaching them? Here are a few ideas to help you.

Your content marketing plan is finally ready. You articles have been written, proof-read, fine-tuned and the finished products are exquisite. You are ready to launch your business-to-business content marketing campaign.

Excellent!

But . . . exactly how are you going to reach your target market?

You need to determine where online your target prospects spend their time. For contacts you already have, you can simply ask. Request they fill out a survey telling you which websites they visit, which blogs or forums they read, which associations do they follow, do they spend time on Twitter or LinkedIn or other social sites? Offer a free whitepaper in exchange for their completed survey.

For reaching new prospects you will need to take additional steps to help you determine what your market prospects find interesting and relevant and where they look for it. With this information, you can customize your messages, focus your marketing, and target your ideal market.

Step One: Focus on thinking like your target prospect. What do they want? What do they need? What are they interested in? Traditional marketing is focused on what you are offering and why the consumer needs it. With content marketing the focus changes to what the consumer is in need of, and how you can provide a solution to that need. Click here to continue.

 

Further information

How to reach your target market

Reaching your target audience

Using your blog to reach your target market

How to successfully reach your target audience via Facebook

Should the search engines be worried by search facility offered by social network sites?

The social networking sites are now offering search services, so do the likes of Google and Bing need to up their game? Business has been making use of social networking to increase awareness and connect with customers so being able to find new customers via social networks could be a real gold mine. Take a look at the following articles for more information.

Are you getting more traffic from social media than you were a year ago? How’s it looking compared to search? Let us know in the comments.

There are plenty of sites out there that are getting more traffic from social media sites than they are from search engines. In fact, Google’s constantly changing algorithm almost demands that sites diversify their traffic sources and rely less on Google (the clearly dominant search engine) for the bulk of their traffic.

Doing great in Google now? There’s no guarantee that will last. You’re relying on an algorithm, and algorithms don’t care whether or not they have a substantial impact on your business.

Social media, on the other hand, is much more about people, and regardless of where they share it, people will always share good content, and are not necessarily influenced by over 200 mysterious signals when they share it with their own networks of friends and followers.

With that in mind, it might be good news that social media is apparently gaining ground against search in terms of the traffic it can drive to websites.

Paid Content’s Robert Andrews has a short, but interesting piece on the subject, citing UK Experian Hitwise data indicating that UK visits to major search engines dropped by 100 million through the month of August to 2.21 billion, and dropped by 40 million year-over-year. He shares the following comentary from Hitewise: Click here to continue

 

Further reading

Facebook now lets you delete your search history

Survey says Facebook search engine could have 22% market share

Facebook is doing search, should Google be concerned?

 

Running Competitions For Traffic Generation

If you are looking to create traffic to a site then running a competition could be a great way to go. I have heard numerous stories about the effect these have had on increasing traffic and Facebook ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ so I am pretty confident in suggesting to my customers that they give it a go. There are however a few rules that need to be followed and it needs to be carefully planned and it all needs to be followed up in the right way.

As with the area of Social Media, this means that it will take a deal of time to do ‘the right way’ but from what I have seen it could certainly be worth it!

Running a Competition for Traffic

If you are looking to generate extra traffic to your website look no further, competitions can do that, but there are few important points when your goal is specifically to bring traffic to your site:

  1. Include competition information back on your website
  2. Ensure entrants must visit your site in order to enter
  3. Link back to your site whenever you promote the competition!

Why?

The first question to ask yourself is why are you running a competition at all? What is your goal? What you are hoping to achieve? Although I am specifically going to write about running a competition to increase traffic to your site, the basics of running a competition are very similar with just minor tweaks to achieve different goals. Other reasons to run competitions:

  • To build links
  • To build brand awareness
  • To increase social followers
  • To get rid of surplus stock
  • To promote a specific product or service
  • To build an email list

What?

What are you going to give away? The prize is a vitally important component to any successful competition and will be heavily influenced by the above reason for running. For the purpose of increasing traffic there are no real limits to what you could offer. That said, there are a few top tips I would give for selecting a great competition prize. I’m not a huge fan of the extremely obvious – money, iPad/Pods etc, etc so try to do something different:

  1. Be creative in your prize selection
  2. Offer something unique
  3. Make sure it’s related to your niche
  4. It doesn’t have to be expensive

After running numerous competitions in various industries, above all I have found that a prize highly relevant to the website you are promoting almost always brings the best results.

See the full story at: http://www.koozai.com/blog/branding/using-competitions-for-increased-traffic-links-and-brand-awareness/

As for SOM, we are going to be suggesting this to our customers, running competitions on both Facebook and via their sites.

Best of luck if you try one and I do hope you are a WINNER!

How to make Facebook work for your business

 

Social networking is here to stay and with so many different platforms for you to choose from, you may well be at a bit of a loss to know which one to choose from. One of the most popular ones is Facebook which has millions of users worldwide. Getting your business onto Facebook can really help it connect with people, whether they are customers or not. It can enhance your business's online profile and as we all know, the internet can be so influential in business these days. We have found some articles that might help you make the most of Facebook for your business.

Facebook is a social networking site where users can connect with each other and with various forms of content and applications. Facebook now claims over 500 million active users and that number continues to grow steadily. It is the third most trafficked website in the world (behind Google and Yahoo) and the most heavily trafficked social media site in the world.

Because Facebook is the largest social network, having a Facebook Business Page (a.k.a. Facebook Fan Page) is a great way to stay connected with prospects and customers on a site that they likely visit on a daily basis. It also allows you to facilitate a more personal connection with your audience. You'll be able to share company insights, industry updates, pictures, videos, and more with your audience. You'll also be able to get your fans' opinions via polls and comments on your updates….More at How to use Facebook for Business

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