Search Engine Optimisation and Link Building in 2018

Let’s face it, SEO is considered by many to be a ‘black art’, by others to be a waste of time, whilst those who do agree that SEO is worthwhile will endlessly debate about what is good and what is bad, what tactics are ‘white’ and what are ‘black’.

“If you ask six SEO experts a question you will probably get 7 answers….”

Then again, if you turned to Google to ask them about SEO, they appear to suggest that they disagree with the concept (wanting their results to be natural and not manipulated), whilst at the same time knowing that without someone to help all the website owners ‘understand’ how to set up their sites so that Google can read them properly, they (Google) would be lost.

The Death of Link Building Announced Again (and Again and Again)

When it comes to the thorny topic of Link Building, not only do we see Google denouncing the process because it is not natural, we also see them desperate for some help in deciding what sites to list and what ones not to bother with. Like it or not Google needs links..

BUT, not all links are equal and there is definitely a way of gaining Google’s displeasure when it comes to building them. Do it the wrong way and your site is doomed, that is one of the known Google rules and is put into play all the time.

Turning to the Experts

This is why many businesses turn to the experts, as here they can rest easy, knowing their site will be built in a way that Google can read and the content will be created to suit the Search Engines and their readers alike. They will also know that the links built to their site will be created in such a way that it will not be penalised by Google. They will then expect that their site gets better rankings and more traffic. In many cases this is exactly what happens, but in some it does not, and sometimes it is impossible for anyone to discover just what has gone wrong, what appears to be working in one area, fails to do so in another…

Either way, you can be pretty sure that the website owner will not really be aware of what is going on and that there are many ways of creating a ‘buzz’ and the boost of (relevant) traffic that all website owners want.

The Key to Top Class Traffic

If you own a business which has a website, you will, I am sure, have been inundated with telephone calls and emails promising you top rankings on Google, sometimes for little cost. You will also have seen countless bits of software that will boost your site, often, they say, at the touch of a button….

Some of these claims will be by bona fide companies and of the software – particularly research software – can be useful, but what few of them will tell you is that it will be the CONTENT of the site that will win the day, both for getting traffic and for converting your visitors to customers.

The True Power of Content

So why is content so very important? This may seem to be a strange question, but many site owners do not give it much attention. They spend a get deal of time discussing format and presentation, but often give scant regard to the content the pages are to hold. So doing things this way is simply not going to work because there is nothing for Google to get its ’teeth’ into, so the rankings are poor. When (and if) a potential customer arrives, there is nothing to ‘make’ them want to buy or at least to take the relationship any further.

The correct way of approaching any market place (and the keyword market place of the web is no different) is to see what people want. When it comes to Google, this means finding out what phrases people use in the market sector which relate to your products, and thus the pages of your site that will be selling those products.

Reverse Engineering and Latent Semantic Indexing

Then you can start writing content that uses those phrases (and similar words using a technique called LSI (or Latent Semantic Indexing) – this being vital as Google gets cleverer and cleverer). You can even reverse engineer the top sites in Google for a given phrase, therefore TELLING you what words to use.

Pages written this way will not only give Google what it wants, but will also give the visitor the information that will enable them to decide if your product is for them or if you can help them solve the problem that drove them to search for help in the first place.
This content ought to include images, videos, flow charts and anything else that will help them to make a good decision (which hopefully means doing business with you).

The OTHER reason for TOP QUALITY CONTENT

Saying all this, content has another VITAL job to do in the battle for traffic and sales. Having good content will mean that others will link to the site and mention it in their Social Media postings, after all they will have good reason to, they will have something WORTH SHARING.

content is king internet concept

content is king internet concept

But, it is not always easy getting people to notice how good your copy is. The whole thing is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. After all, your fantastic copy can’t get links until someone finds it, and reads it. Without rankings or some form of Social Media chatter, no one will ever know it is there..

Priming the Pump (and keeping the pressure up too)

This is where SEO, Paid Search and Social Media come into play. By using all or some of these systems, website owners can start the ball rolling so that people can see just how good they, and their all important copy, is.

Great Copy Required

This is where the need for the top rate copy comes in, as even though the SEO and Social Media work above will bring in the visits, if there is nothing there to grip the audience, all the time and effort will have been wasted as no sales will be made and perhaps as importantly, no one will find anything worthwhile to come back for, mention or link to.

Without these mentions and links Google will not get the signals it wants to give the site repeatedly better rankings and thus more effort is needed to keep things going. If, however, there is something to ‘write home about’ then the links will come in, your site / product will be mentioned on Social Media, and what is more you will get repeat visits.

Are you Getting Returning Visitors?

This is just one area where Google Analytics can help. Just as having lots of New Visitors is good, a low percentage of Returning visitors indicates that you site is not delivering and people are not coming back for more.

 

Are you getting a high enough level of returning visitors?

Are you getting a high enough level of returning visitors?

If your site is one with a poor level of returning visitors, then a long hard look at the contents is a must…

The Different Processes of SEO

The term Search Engine Optimisation covers a host of things, usually divided (basically) into Technical, On Page, Off Page and Social Media.

Technical SEO

This covers the way a site is built, how fast it is, how easy it can be read and navigated as well as topics like Rich Snippets and Schema. Some of this is easy to do, some of it a bit more difficult, and not all website developers or SEO professionals cover all of these areas.

On Page SEO

Here we are talking about the words on the pages and the placement of the ‘target keywords’ in the important places on the page, all with a view of ensuring that Google finds what it needs in the ‘appropriate places’ on a sites’ pages. Of course this includes the copy / content of a site, but that is not SEO.SEO is how you make sure that the copy is found, not the actual copy itself (except that SEO will help you find out what to talk about in the first place via the Keyword / Market Research phase).

Off Page SEO

This area covers the issue of Links (and to a degree Social Media). It is these ‘signals’ that attract Googles attention and that will get the rankings and ‘seed’ traffic needed. Creating links also helps to keep the pot boiling while the site builds up its momentum.

Social Media

This is included here because even though this is nothing to do with SEO per say, it is important when considering the process of getting the site, brand and product noticed and talked about in a way that will enhance the site in Google’s eyes and extend the reach of the site beyond that of the Search Engine Results.

The Basic SEO process

In all cases it is necessary to carry out the keyword research so that you can target the phrases that are relevant to your market place AND are being used today.

The site must then be built the right way (the technical SEO bit), and then the copy created. This should be of a high quality, but does not have to be as good as it has to be for ‘Top Notch SEO’, for reasons that will be apparent later. Things such as internal linking should be carried out of course, but basically this is a ‘quick’ method of SEO.

Then the link building starts. These are built in the right way at the right speed, using techniques like ‘Power Link Structures’. Social Media signals are also created using this method. In some cases the pump is also primed by actually creating a small amount of traffic to some of the articles and posts that form a part of the linking structure.

Guest Posts Are Used in the quick method too

Guest posts are included in the ‘quick’ method too of course, but they are used differently. As you will see later on, the ‘proper way’ of placing Guest posts is to find a top Infuencer site, chat to them and get them to accept the post (or pay an lot of money for the privilege). However, this process is a LOT more expensive than just placing an article on a relevant site, so for those clients with limited budgets this is the way we go. Basically, these Guest Posts are ‘link vehicles’ and as long as they are well written (no article spinning here at SOM) and contain links that are not going to trigger a Penguin penalty, they do help, we have many examples  the prove the point.

Carrying out SEO in this manner DOES work and is the way the majority of SEO companies work.

The Top Quality SEO process

If you talk to those SEO professionals who practice only the whitest of white SEO, then they will say this is the only way, everything else being a waste of time. Well I disagree with that, but there is no doubt that this process is superior and offers a greater chance of success, BUT, it is a lot harder and thus more expensive in time and money.

This process includes all the On page SEO that Basic SEO requires, including things such as having explanatory ‘Category Pages’ for Ecommerce sites. These are needed as most sites of this type have lots of product pages that (a) often use the same words as a host of other sites and (b) are also often far too short. Thus these Category pages allow the owner to present the products they sell, with links of course to the product pages themselves. These pages can be much better at getting rankings and thus their use should be seriously considered for all levels of SEO.

Power Pages

Remember, this whole process is based on having TOP QUALITY content on your site. Such pages are often called ‘Power Pages’, their contents varying from ‘How to do something’ to a great infographic, anything that would be interesting to visitors and has not been done before (or at least as sufficiently).

Text based Power Pages need to be around 2,000 words long and contain images, videos and links to other authoritative content on the web, PLUS of course the areas in your site that you want people to see and the pages that will result in conversions and sales. Infographics can be just that, but having some words on the page as well can help in my opinion (just as having a transcript of the words used in a video can).

What to Create the Power Page About

The Keyword Research for the site would of course have been carried out first, so the target phrases are known and understood. Using these words, the bulk of the site, (the ‘normal’ pages) will be written and optimised, this including interlinking relevant pages (Google likes this).

Power pages, however, have a different mission. Their job is to get noticed BIG TIME, to become a fount of knowledge and a ‘go to’ source of information on a particular subject (relevant to the products and services of the hosting website). With this in mind it is easy to see that the very first thing you have to know is what subject to write about.

Research into Trends (or try to start one yourself)

This is where checking on trending posts and web pages can be a great help, as it allows you to see what people have become interested in over a period of time (which you can set). You can then have a look at these posts / pages and use them as a basis of your own works, all in the knowledge that people are INTERESTED in the topic.

finding trending topics

 

Of course you can also plough your own farrow, choosing a topic that is relevant to your market place, for instance ‘What is the History of Plastering’ or ‘How to choose the right lawnmower’. There are countless topics to choose from. Besides Kudani, you could also use Buzzsumo.

Writing the Page

Either way, you can start your research into what to talk about, and that will mean looking not only at the trending sites, but also at all the top INFLUENCER sites, in this instance the ones that are at the top of the Search Engines’ results for some top terms.

All the while it is vital to make sure that the page will be ‘entertaining’ and fulfil one of its main purposes, that of being WORTH SHARING.

Note, for a great definition of what an Influencer is, click this link.

Supporting Guest Posts

One important part of this SEO process is to make sure that there are links to the Power Page from trusted sites, but as it can take some time to get an INFUENCER to mention the page or allow a Guest Post on their site, the first thing that needs to be done is to place a well written ‘taster’ post on a High Domain Authority site.

Thus one post (perhaps more) is written and placed on some relevant sites. In most instances this means paying a ‘publishing fee’. Here I must state that there are some SEO’s who think that placing a post on a site that is known to take money for the privilege is worthless. However when you know that high profile sites like the HuffingtonPost take money for Guest posts, you can see that their argument holds little water.

Converting the Influencers

This starts at the website level, where some selected sites are contacted with a view to them mentioning the Power Page or by having a Guest post placed on their site. It need not contain a DO FOLLOW link as we are after traffic as much as link juice, but if they will allow a FOLLOW link then all the better.

It is best if these influences have been contacted and nurtured for some time before you make a request to place a guest post on their site (this also being the case with Social Media Influencers).
Hopefully one of the sites you contact will allow the publication and thus provide you with a link and the potential for a lot of relevant traffic.

Create a Press Release

Press Releases are a well known way of creating a ‘buzz’ in a manner in which Google approves. All the posts are the same of course, but as the links are always NO FOLLOW this does not matter. Google, it is said, really loves press releases and so one pointing to your power page and telling all about how interesting it is and how they should not miss it, is a good idea.

Posting on your Own Social Media Channels

Presuming you have some Social Media accounts, now is the time to start posting about the power page, (although maybe you have been talking about it coming for a few weeks already – another neat trick). Remember that you will have to post again and again here, Social Media posts being, for the most part, short lived, as they are soon replaced with the next tweet and thus scroll off peoples screens. This makes choosing the right time to post important too.

Contacting the Social Media Influencers

Now is the time to start contacting the Social Media Influencers. There are various ways the leaders in a field can be found and once found the ‘nurturing process’ needs to be continued. This process needs to have been started before the power page is posted, the SEO Agency in question having to have commenced this process some time before.

The idea here is to mention that they may be interested in the Power Page’s contents, perhaps also mentioning the Guest Posts that have already been posted and the Press Release. All of this with the aim of getting them to ‘add their weight’ to the campaign.
This is important, as if they can be convinced to mention the power page on their Social Media accounts, the ripples will build and build, all resulting in more traffic and higher rankings.

Monitor and Interact

Hopefully you will have had some comments on your Social Media channels and on the Guest Posts (where the sites allow). It is VITAL that you monitor these and respond as that will only strengthen the whole campaign.

In Conclusion

So there we have it, a brief summary of what SEO is, and how the two main types differ. Hopefully you can see the differences between the two approaches and can understand why SEO carried out ‘by the book’ is such a long, complicated and thus expensive process.

The good news for businesses with shallower pockets is that the ‘basic SEO’ does work in most markets, you just have to choose to approach any highly competitive areas in a cleverer manner, and not try to charge headlong in to get top rankings for highly competitive keyword phrases.

How To Use Social Media To Promote Your Business

Social media is an effective yet affordable marketing strategy that can be used to reach your target audience. Although many businesses have come to understand the power of social media in growing their businesses, there are still some marketers who are struggling to harness the real power of this asset. It is a cost-effective method of building a sound relationship with your customer and taking the business to the next level. Here is how to use social media to promote your small business.
The use of technology has helped revolutionise many aspects of modern marketing including our shopping habits. People spend a lot of of their time on social media every day and as a business, if you are not taking advantage of this trend, you could be losing a lot of revenue in the process. Social media is not only cost-effective, but it also has many other advantages for your small business. It helps share your knowledge with the customers, give your company a personality, become a leader in your industry, increase customer loyalty, assist in search engine optimisation functions, and improve brand awareness. If you are still not investing in social media marketing, your competition is taking advantage of your ignorance. That is why you need to invest in social media marketing right now.
There are different ways to promote your small business on social media. The first thing is to know your buyer. Creating the right buyer persona is the first step in developing an effective social media marketing plan for your small business. You have to use multiple platforms to promote your business. Don’t settle for one or two social media platforms when promoting your business, look at the choices available to you and perhaps more importantly, find out which ones your customers use. But make sure you study the behaviour patterns of your buyer before becoming active on social media platforms. You have to be active on the platforms that your buyer often frequents. Target your campaigns on the social media platforms that your customer is active on. That is the best way to get highly targeted clients for your company over time.
Valuable content is an asset to your small business, it helps grow your business within a short time. But you need to distribute the content via the right social channels. That is the best way to reach a wide section of your audience. Quality content will help promote your business among the followers of your customer. In fact, quality content has a viral effect when promoting your business to the right customer base. Social media is important to give your company some personality. It is not about just sharing links. It should include different posts to give your company some personality. These are important techniques to promote your small business on social media platforms.
In conclusion, social media is an effective way of promoting your small business. There are many social media marketing techniques that can help grow your business. It helps to improve the brand awareness and traffic of your business.

 

The Dutch airline, KLM has developed a social media strategy revered by marketers. The brand uses Twitter, Facebook and Instagram masterfully to provide outstanding customer service and to advance the organization’s brand narrative. As a result of this strategy, KLM makes roughly €25 million annually from social media.

Similarly, after IBM re-tooled their social media marketing strategy to focus on increasing engagement on LinkedIn, the company saw a 4X increase in sales.

“From our work in the experience economy, we’ve found that an effective social media strategy is an incredibly powerful tool to create a multiplier effect on experiential marketing,” says Daniel Yaffe, co-founder of experience relationship management platform AnyRoad. “It opens connections between the online and offline worlds and helps create brand ambassadors.”

Here are 12 ways social media marketers can revamp their social strategy to increase the success of their startup.

1. Create customer personas based on interviews.

When you think “batteries” what’s the first brand the pops into your head? What about when you think about “body spray?”

Chances are it took you less than one recall brands associated with batteries or body spray. This is thanks to the remarkable work done by marketers at CPGs (companies that sell consumer packaged goods).

Organizations like P&G (the makers of Duracell batteries) and Unilever (the makers of Axe body spray) lean heavily on marketing teams to create differentiation for otherwise ordinary products.

Marketers develop meaningful campaigns by always thinking about the customer first. Marketing personas allow the world’s best marketers to do just that.

P&G and Unilever invest millions of dollars each year in getting to know their customers. Marketers conduct focus groups, surveys and one-on-one interviews to learn what the customer wants. Then they develop marketing campaigns that make a difference.

Social media marketers should learn from the best marketing organizations by developing clear customer personas through interviews. Talk to current and prospective customers to learn about their needs and desires, then create social media campaigns that are aligned with what customers really want.

2. Use a social media analytics platform.

It’s difficult to know whether or not your social media strategy is working if you don’t have analytics to provide detailed information.

For example, if your social strategy is focused on Instagram, you should invest in a tool like Owlmetrics to understand follower engagement, growth, and click through rate. This sort of data can help marketers understand if the strategy is producing meaningful results that impact key metrics like revenue or brand awareness.

3. Start asking “the five whys.”

When something goes wrong in a Toyota manufacturing plant, company managers ask “the five whys.” It’s a way of systematically getting to the bottom of underlying problems that manifest in various mistakes. If your social media strategy isn’t working as expected, ask the five whys to uncover root causes.

4. Develop an influencer marketing strategy.

Over 95 percent of marketers who use some sort of influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. Most marketers don’t unanimously agree on much, which speaks to the effectiveness of influencer marketing.

Brands like Harley Davidson, KitchenAid, and the North Face use influencer marketing to gain access to skeptical audiences who have become weary of traditional marketing and advertising techniques.

5. Test the effectiveness of each platform in your marketing mix.

Simply because a social media platform is popular among some audiences, doesn’t mean it will work for your brand. Test the effectiveness of each social media platform in your marketing mix. Use an all-in-one social media analytics tool to compare performance across platforms.

It may also be the case that some platforms are better at producing one type of result, while other platforms are more effective at producing another type of result. For example, Instagram might be great at generating brand awareness, whereas Facebook may be better suited for generating purchases.

Read more: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/12-ways-to-improve-your-startups-social-media-marketing_us_5a2e0ee6e4b022ec613b8416

 

6 Social Commerce Trends You Should Know About

It’s great to know that your own posts get found and read, and in some cases this leads to even better things, one reader telling us about an article they had written that provided even more information on the topic we had been featuring, that being ‘Social Media’s power in the Ecommerce World’.

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We checked out the article and found it very interesting, Social Media now being an area that no one can totally ignore. At the moment, Serendipity really only uses Social Media to boost the power of the links we create. BUT, that is all set to change soon as we plan to offer a level of Social Media marketing to our customers.

Anyway, read on, and if you want to see the full article on Social Media Marketing, click the link!

Just a few decades ago, advertising only showed up in a few channels, such as television, radio, and billboards. Companies who wanted to increase sales had to shell out a significant amount of cash to get their products in front of people and there was no way they could guarantee their ads would get traction.

Social media has completely revolutionized the way commerce happens. Now masses of people spend their hours on social media platforms, consuming quantity in astronomical proportions. Companies who want to drive sales have to be innovative in their social media tactics.

Every year, these tactics change as social media platforms release new options. What trends can we expect for 2017? Here are 6 you need to know about.

It’s All About Those Videos

Have you noticed that video is everywhere?

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Periscope have all released the option of live streaming video. Additionally, all these platforms offer the ability to create video ads. Even now, YouTube now has shoppable ads before videos. It also allows companies to create simple calls to action so that viewers can purchase their products.

Expect to see more companies tapping into the power of live, shoppable video even more in 2017.

Companies like QVC and the Home Shopping Network have long demonstrated that live video can generate huge amounts of sales. Now almost anyone can create live videos in which they demonstrate and sell products.

Because these videos can be so highly targeted, they represent a massive opportunity for advertisers.
If the live video trend continues, we should expect to see almost every company selling their products live on social platforms.

Cashing In On Those Impulses

Marketers have long tried to tap into impulsive buying. Whether that’s encouraging consumers to call immediately or offering a limited-time discount, impulse buying has always been deeply integrated into the shopping experience.

However, impulse buying is increasing at a staggering rate with social networks.

Platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow consumers to make purchases without ever leaving the platform. And while not exactly a social platform, Amazon has one click ordering to make it all the easier to purchase without thinking.

Companies know that impulse shopping can drive a huge amount of revenue and are doing everything in their power to make it as simple as possible for customer to purchase without thinking.

In 2017 we should expect to see more and more companies implementing impulse buying options across social media platforms.

Pinterest, for example, isn’t just a place for posting recipes and interior decorating ideas. They now offer a “Buy Now” button which allows consumers to make immediate purchases from the platform.

Considering that a massive amount of Pinterest users visit the site for product-related ideas, it’s a huge opportunity for marketers.

95% of websites are HURTING their Own Google Rankings

We have checked hundreds of websites over the years and the sad fact is that 95% of them are actually doing things that will make it harder (or impossible) to get rankings on Google.

95percent

Is Your Site One of the 95%?

The question that you (as a business website owner) might well be asking is MY site one of the 95%?? Of course, you may not be bothered, thinking that your site’s ‘job’ is just to ‘be there’ when someone wants to check on you. But that is really a waste, your site could be doing so much more than just sitting back, waiting for the occasional visitor…

Brochure Sites

Brochure sites are sites that are just meant to act, well, as an online brochure, a means to impart information about a business to anyone who is interested. They are often just visited by people who having heard about a company (or maybe they met someone at a networking event?) want a bit more information before they contact them for a quote etc.

A Wasted Marketing Opportunity?

This is a good way of using the power of the Internet (saves on a lot of brochure printing for a start), BUT, is it also a wasted opportunity? The thing is here you have a website, full of (hopefully) interesting stuff about your business, the services that you offer and ‘what makes you special’ and yet no great efforts are being made to get more people to read it all. This must be a wasted opportunity, as any one of those visitors (that the site is not getting) could be a potential customer…

So What Are These Sites Doing Wrong?

The fact is that there are many ways that business sites are ‘getting it wrong’ when it comes to getting Google to ‘like’, and thus give their pages a prominent position for a given search term. Some of them are quite basic mistakes too and could easily be fixed with a few clicks (and a little bit of thought).

Some Examples of the Mistakes Sites Make

The Title Tag

You may not notice (although Google always does) this one, as it a bit hidden, but if you take a look at the top of your Internet Browser window, you will see the ‘Title’ information for the page you are looking at. In many cases you will see words like ‘Home’ or ‘About Us’. Whilst not being incorrect (as you would be looking at the Home or About us page), they are not really very informative to the very ‘person’ you really want to impress and that of course is Google.

Think about it, would not a phrase like ‘IT Support Services | Computer Repairs’ ‘tell’ Google a bit more than the word ‘Home’? It really is a no brainer and so very easy to fix….

The Meta Description

When you look at a page you don’t even see this (not even at the top of the Browser), it only being visible in Google’s search results, under the Title and the URL of a site. This might make you think that it is worthless from an SEO point of view, but you would be wrong. It is true that the words in the Description do not have a lot of clout SEOwise, but if you leave the field empty or use the same one on many pages, you run the risk of making the site appear to be ‘lazy’ as far as Google is concerned and that ‘black mark’ could make all the difference when Google has to decide what site to list for a phrase you want to be found for.

Again, a few clicks on the keyboard can make the problem go away.

The Elevator Speech

Another thing you should bear in mind is that a good Description can make all the difference when it comes to getting that all important click from the Google search results. Think of this 160 character text block as your ‘elevator’ speech and create one that would make someone just have to click through to your site, as it is only then that you get a chance to start that dialogue that could result in a sale or enquiry.

The Header Tags

This is another of those things that you will probably not have noticed (and yes you guessed it, Google is looking at this too), other that is that the text might look a bit bigger. But why is the correct use of Header tags important? To explain this I need to give you a bit of a history lesson, it all starting with the way that documents are constructed. This actually goes back to the time that newspapers were laid out using lead type as here the editors had to be able to let the people who were laying out the type which bits were the important, that is, what words (like the Headlines) needed to be big. This was all done using a ‘Header Tag Number ranging from 1 to 6 (or something similar).

This rule set was used when the code that describes how a page would be displayed on Wordprocessors and screens was written , it again being used to control how words would be displayed. This in turn fed through to the language that controls printers and also, most lately, how web pages are rendered by Browsers, this of course being HTML.

The Advent of CSS Styles

In the early days on the Internet there were in fact only a few ways you could control how big the words on a page were, these Header tags being one of them. Today of course you can control the font, size and colour of the text on your webpages using CSS Styles, but the importance of the Header tag lives on as Google still use these to work out which words on a web it should take more notice of, something that is vitally important when trying to get your page to the top of the results.

A Problem With Web Designers

It must be said that most sites use these Header tags, but the problem is they are often used incorrectly, the majority of web designers still using them to control the size of text, often compounding the issue by then using them for such terms as ‘Home’, ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Blog’. Highlighting words like these to Google is useless, far better to use them to point out to Google those words that you want to be found for like ‘IT Support Prices’ or ‘Best Anti Virus Software’.

Putting this right is a little harder than both of the above, but it is still not that big a job and makes your site that bit better in Google’s eyes and thus that bit more likely to get a good listing in their results.

Links – The Popularity Voting System of the Internet

Whilst the majority of the power that links bestow come from links to a site from other sites (so called ‘backlinks’ as they link back to you), the links FROM a webpage to other sites and the INTERNAL links in a site are also important. The first tells Google that you are a part of the community that makes up your market place (as well as pointing them at some other valuable resources, which Google likes to see), whilst the second type helps Google understand what each of your pages is about as well as helping people move about your site. As Google rates sites that offer the best ‘user experience’ higher than others, such internal links can only help.

Incoming Links

Whilst the links to a site cannot be put right by making changes to the site, they are a vital part of the ‘battle’ to get a site listed on Google, accounting for about 40% of the marks that Google allocate when deciding what site to list for what term. However, the fact is that the majority of sites either don’t have the any (or enough) links or have the wrong sort. Both of these can really hinder a sites chances of getting a first page (or any) ranking. Fixing them can take a long time and a lot of work though and has to be done very CAREFULLY.

 

SEMANTIC SEO and the Words on the Page

Semantic SEO is all about making sure that Google understand what a site is all about, thereby ensuring that it’s ‘meaning’ is fully comprehended. This is easier to do than you might think, the major thing to get right being to make sure you use the right words on the page. The right words of course are the words that Google wants to see. The good news is that Google will tell you what these words are, all you have to do is to ask in the right way, this being done by ‘Reverse Engineering‘ the top pages on Google …

Writing the Right Copy

Armed with these words and phrases, and a good understanding of the subject (it helps if you are a genuine expert) you can then write the right copy, adding some images, and if you can audio and video components as you go. Sprinkle some internal and external links at the same time and you have gone a long, long way of cracking this particular nut.

 

Polishing the Spitfire

You may not believe it, but it is said that back in World War 2 they used to polish the photo reconnaissance Spitfires (as well as painting them pink so that they were harder to spot in the dawn or dusk skies) just so that they could gain a few mph, something could make all the difference, life or death in this instance, when being chased by enemy fighters.

If you follow the guidance above and fix any of the items mentioned in the above information, it will in effect polish your website a little, perhaps gaining just enough extra speed to get your site onto Page 1 of Google and thus get the extra traffic that could make all the difference to your business.

 

Need Help With the Polishing?

However, if you need help with the polishing, even if it’s just some assistance in finding out what bits to polish the hardest, please do give us a call. We are here to help and offer a lot of free advice and assistance.

Google’s New Tweet Section. What Will It Mean For You?

We have seen Tweets in the Google Search results before, so this is not new, but I suspect that the way they are being chosen and integrated is different this time around.

Tweets Showing in Google's SERP's Again
Public domain from pixabay

From a marketing perspective though, all that matters is that it is happening and that therefore any business should start thinking that bit more seriously about using Social Media and Twitter to better effect.

As I have mentioned previously, Social Media is important for SEO too, it being an increasingly important factor in the way Google chooses what site to list. This makes Oscar Wilde’s comment “There is only one thing in life worsr then being talked about, and that is not being talked about” even truer, if for different reasons…

The other thing to take from this interesting article is that by the looks of it, the hashtag #, could be being used to selec

Google and Twitter have been teasing us with a new integration of tweets into Google search results for months, but this week they finally made the official announcement. Real-time tweets are now showing in Google search results on mobile devices with desktop integration to come soon.

The integration takes the form of a carousel that appears in search results, which lets you swipe sideways to see various tweets. It only appears on some searches, and it’s unclear how and when exactly Google decides to show them. The examples we’ve seen have been for Twitter profile searches, celebrity searches, and newsy/trendy topic searches.

The placement of the tweets in search results varies. I assume it’s based on now relevant Google feels those tweets are to a particular search. If the search is related to an event, perhaps Google will be more likely to show them toward the top while it’s actually happening. I’m only speculating.

Google isn’t saying much of anything about how it determines what tweets to show or how it shows them. It’s refusing to answer questions about this, and the blog posts from both Twitter and Google on the integration are pretty short and vague. It’s easy to understand why this would be the case. They don’t want people to game the system and abuse the feature.

It’s entirely possible that we’re only seeing the very beginning of what Google will ultimately do with its newfound tweet access. We spoke with Stone Temple Consulting’s Eric Enge about the new integration, and he believes Google will be doing a lot of experimenting and potentially evolving its use of the tweets.

Earlier this year, after Google’s deal with Twitter was announced, we had a conversation with Enge about some studies his company had conducted, including one that analyzed Google’s use of tweets at the time. There were a lot of interesting findings in those, which you can learn more about here. Now that the new integration is live, we wanted to see what Enge thought about it, and if he can see any validations or contradictions to what the study found. Here’s what he told us:

Right now the integration between Google and Twitter is quite light. Currently, it’s only visible from Smartphone devices. In addition, it’s clear that they are experimenting. For example, when you search on a name, such as “Taylor Swift”, you see tweets that she has put out there. Yet, the initial release showed tweets that mentioned her. This is typical of Google, where they experiment with different implementations to see what works best, before settling on one for the longer term. I expect this experimentation to continue.

What this means for visibility in the short term is not much at all. This process is in the very early stages. Think of this as Google proving that they can access, process, and leverage the data from the Twitter firehose. I’d expect more substantial integration sometime soon. The whole process may take months to play out.

What I’d love to see is Google do something involving personalization related to Twitter. I.e., if you share a link in a tweet, and then later search on a related topic, that particular article might rank higher in the search results. I have no way to know if they are getting enough info to implement something like this, but it would be a very cool feature for them to be able to add.

As you know, our two most well-known studies on Twitter evaluated how Google Indexes tweets, and how to maximize Twitter engagement. The current integration tests between Google and Twitter don’t really feature anything that would dramatically change the conclusions of either of those studies. I think the real story is yet to come.

Frankly, I expect both studies to change. Twitter indexing could well skyrocket, as our indexing study showed indexation rates for Tweets of just over 7%. Imagine if this jumps to 50% or more. This could be a huge deal!

In addition, the simple act of rendering tweets in search results will not create a new source of engagement, which is whether or not you are able to get displayed. In particular, how timely are you with Tweeting our news. If you are fast with this, your tweet will get far more attention than ever before.

Overall, I think this initial integration is big news because it’s the start of a process. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds!

It does seem like Google may use hashtag searches as an indication of when users might want to see tweets. While not all hashtag searches yield twitter results, others mainly related to things that are being talked about a lot at the time do.

Under Google’s previous Twitter deal, it had a realtime search feature, which included tweets in addition to content from other services. It would be cool if they could bring content from other sources like Instagram, Facebook, etc. into the carousel, at least for hashtag searches as hashtags extend well beyond the Twittervese these days. Either way, Google’s approach seems like all the more reason to include hashtags in tweets for visibility purposes. It is unclear how often people are actually searching Google for hashtags however.

Please see the full article at http://www.webpronews.com/what-does-googles-new-tweet-section-mean-for-you-2015-05

Semantic SEO and Google, the (not so) Blind Man

In some of my previous posts, and when discussing SEO with my clients, I’ve often alluded to Google being like a blind man in a department store. I used this analogy as, without some help, both the man and Google could easily get lost and not be sure that they were in the right place.

In the case of the blind man, this would result in him leaving the store without making a purchase (perhaps never to return); in Google’s case it could mean that they will not understand what the site is really all about. This could be catastrophic as far as getting rankings for just about anything is concerned.

Leaving signposts on your web pages

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Of course, in a store you have Braille signs, but what is the equivalent on a website? The answer is of course the Meta Title, Description and Header tags of the pages. Using these to inform Google about the content of the pages is a great first step; even though it’s very much part of the ‘Old SEO’ it’s still vital today.

Google ‘the not so blind man’ and old and new SEO

Even with all of its power and the new SEO practices that it’s forcing us all to follow, Google is still like a blind man in that it needs help to ensure that it gets the right end of the proverbial stick. There is however a huge difference between Google of old and the one that is evolving before our eyes.

If you’re of a certain age, you may remember the TV series Kung Fu. In it, David Carradine stared as a Shaolin monk (Kwai Chang Caine) who, through the training he received, became a martial arts expert. However, it’s not David that’s interesting here, but his mentor, Master Po. Po was totally blind, yet he could ‘see’ everything, pointing out the grasshopper at the feet of the young Kwai Chang – something the latter, even with his perfect vision, had missed.

Today, Google is like Master Po: it can’t see everything, but it can see a lot and all that it does see is taken into account when considering what site to rank for what. But it’s vitally important to understand how it is planning (and to some degree already is) to use this enormous amount of data. That’s because this is the big difference between old and new SEO.

Old SEO equals keyword matching

To be fair, old SEO was more than simply matching a keyword phrase to the ‘best’ sites for that term; even the old systems had 200 or so ‘factors’ that were taken into account. But in the end, it was mostly to do with how well the ‘signposts’ you placed on a site (be they in the Titles, Headers or copy, not to mention all those links) matched the keyword phrase; that’s what really counted.

This of course led to gaming of the system. SEO companies would alter the pages of a site to SHOUT the target keywords to Google. And to reinforce the message they’d create thousands of links to reinforce the message. Pages without any real merit reached the top of the listings and Google came out with more and more rules to try to combat the situation. It was a time of new trick after new trick, with each one being found out and the gains it had brought removed. But it worked, and to some degree still does.

The days of Old SEO are numbered

Google, it seems, concluded that it wasn’t going to continue with this ‘arms race’. Instead, it would change the game entirely. In my view, it didn’t do this out of spite; I believe Google just wanted to ensure that it would always be able to pick the best sites for any phrase and never be tricked again.

This was no mean task, but Google has a plan based on the fact that, instead of just matching keywords to sites, they will (try to) look beyond the words to the meaning of the search phrase – in other words, what you or I, as searchers, are really looking for.

This was one of the reasons for the introduction of the Hummingbird update (technically this was more like changing the engine than replacing a part of it, but let’s call it an update for simplicity). In doing so, Google wanted to be better able to understand what people wanted when they used the new Voice Search feature on smartphones. (By the way, according to the experts, the reason for this is that people express things differently when speaking, compared to when they write them down.)

The reason it’s called Semantic SEO

This leads nicely to the reason this whole process is called Semantic SEO. Semantic is a Greek word that means ‘meaning’. As Google is trying to work out what the intent (and what it really means) behind a search phrase is, this has led to the whole process being called Semantic SEO.

Google does more than just try to work out what the real user intent behind a search phrase is. In order to come up with matches in its database of sites, it must also understand the real meaning of any page. To do this, it must work out what the content is trying to say; that is, how it can help, inform and entertain.

It is thus vital to understand what message you are trying to put across with any content. You can read more advice on this in the next post.

But how does Semantic SEO work?

This is the big question for anyone who wants the best rankings possible for any relevant search phrases. But it’s here that we hit the first real change. You see, even though keywords still have their importance, they’re not the be-all and end-all that they used to be. That’s because Google no longer relies on simple keyword matching.

So, if Google isn’t using the words on pages to decide what it should list, what is it using? This is where it gets tricky to explain; basically, Google will look at the information, the real meaning of a page and the site it is part of, and the purpose behind its creation. It will also look at what others say about it (and on it in the case of comments) before deciding if this matches the meaning behind the search phrase.

Being found when you’re not even being searched for

This is what Serendipitous Search is all about. It’s another another huge change to the old SEO because Google is now more of an ‘answer engine’ that provides suggestions for sites it thinks might be useful – even though they don’t include the keywords being searched for.

The more you make your site answer the questions and needs of your potential customers, the more Google traffic you will give you.

 

Semantic SEO and the feedback loop

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This is another very interesting (and potentially scary) thing about the new Google. Not only does it look at the words on pages, their meaning, links to and from a page, and social media comments (as well as who made them). Google also looks at the data it has gleaned from the billions of searches it makes every day and sees how each one went.

This means that every time a site is listed, Google can tell how popular that site was from the CTR (click-through rate) to the site. It has been using this methodology for years with Pay per click (AdWords); adverts getting the best CTR are charged less than those with low CTR. With organic listings there is of course no payment. But if a site’s Title and Description don’t get people to click on the link, Google will eventually notice and simply stop giving that page a listing for that term. You can imagine that, if this happens too often, a whole site could just disappear from the rankings. So beware and do check the CTR in your Webmaster Tools.

There’s more too. You see, a site could well have a really great Title and wonderful descriptive text causing all who see it to click through. You might think that’s good news, but if the site doesn’t live up to the visitor’s expectations and they click back to Google to try again, Google will notice this – and conclude that, for that term at least, the site doesn’t deliver the goods. As with poor CTR, this could eventually lead to the site not being listed at all.

Google will also use the feedback process to ‘learn’ what people want to see in the first place, which helps it understand what the meaning of the search was really likely to be about. This allows Google to make its best guess about what sites it should list for any term, and then just sit back and wait to see how people react. If they click on a site and don’t bounce, then they’ve got it right. But if they bounce they haven’t, so Google ‘learns’ with every decision searchers make. What’s more, it will never forget and will keep updating its knowledge all the time. Spooky, eh?

There’s more too. You see, a site could well have a really great Title and wonderful descriptive text causing all who see it to click through. You might think that’s good news, but if the site doesn’t live up to the visitor’s expectations and they click back to Google to try again, Google will notice this – and conclude that, for that term at least, the site doesn’t deliver the goods. As with poor CTR, this could eventually lead to the site not being listed at all.

Google will also use the feedback process to ‘learn’ what people want to see in the first place, which helps it understand what the meaning of the search was really likely to be about. This allows Google to make its best guess about what sites it should list for any term, and then just sit back and wait to see how people react. If they click on a site and don’t bounce, then they’ve got it right. But if they bounce they haven’t, so Google ‘learns’ with every decision searchers make. What’s more, it will never forget and will keep updating its knowledge all the time. Spooky, eh?

The above process is made even more powerful by the fact that, just as Google can deduce what a page or a site is about (and therefore what answers and information it gives), when it really does satisfy a user it can then deduce the original intent. This is yet another part of the great feedback loop.

Semantic SEO and gaming the system

As we’ve seen, it’s the copy and how well the message and meaning of a site is put across to Google and any visitor, that really counts in the end. The former to get a listing in the first place; the latter, in effect, to keep it.

There is, of course, more to convincing Google than the copy, though I think this will take the lion’s share. Inbound and outbound linking, the social media signal and the level of interaction (including sharing) are also major factors.

Although it may be possible to game the system by creating a bigger social signal than the site really deserves, the experts’ view is that this will be more and more difficult, with Google looking at each person who comments or Likes, then deciding if they’re real or not. If they are one of the millions of fake profiles set up in the past, they will count for nothing, and may even damage a site.

Thus under the intense scrutiny of Google, it may be as hard and unproductive to create huge amounts of social signal as the process of creating thousands of worthless links…

This doesn’t mean that a small quantity of such links and signal are useless. Both can ‘prime the pump’ a little so the real power of the site is allowed to shine through. If this is the case, a small level of gaming (or old-fashioned SEO work) still looks as if it will be worthwhile.

However, if the page or site in question doesn’t really deserve a high ranking, it will eventually be denied one when people tell Google that it’s no good via low CTR’s and high bounce rates. Therefore, the whole process depends on having a site that answers visitors’ needs. And that means high quality, useful content delivered via words, pictures and video.

The new Semantic SEO

So what will the new SEO process look like? In my view it will still start with the keyword phrase. After all, this is the start of the process and can’t be ignored. The next stage is to try to work out which words are likely to be used by someone who has the intent to react with your site in the way you’d want. This could be to buy something, or simply to understand that you could help them with their problem or needs.

Once you’ve decided on these words, you can reverse engineer the Google results to see what sorts of words it likes to see.

Combine this data with the questions that are being asked, and the problems that your site solves, and you have the recipe for a perfect page that answers people’s needs and uses the words Google expects to see. Interestingly, the latter neatly covers the area of LSI (Latent Sematic Indexing) – without all the effort.

Once this page is created, and you’ve placed all the standard ‘blind man signposts’ on it, you can proceed to getting it noticed via old-fashioned links and social media.

As you can see, the above includes some old SEO practices, this being for the simple reason that they’re still as relevant and required as they were several years ago.

The biggest change and the greatest challenges are to understand what you should write about and post on a site, and how you can generate the necessary signal on Social Media. I’ll cover this in my next post.

Driving More Traffic To Your Website

Just having a website is not enough, it needs visitors. Think about how people will find your site, when you consider all the websites there are out there, finding one specific site is like searching for a thimble in a giant warehouse stuffed with things. Obtaining targeted traffic has to be co-ordinated and organised so that it is a proper marketing strategy. So, how do you go about attracting the right audience to your site?

First and foremost, you need to use a good range of keywords and key phrases that are relevant to your niche, in your published content. It is always a good idea to perform a thorough keyword research so that you are aware of what terms are being searched for. Don’t forget local keywords and long tail keywords, these can lead to a valuable increase in business.

Make use of social media. These days, social media is an important aspect of any online marketing strategy. It is however, important to know which platform or platforms that your customers use. There is no point in being on one that they don’t use, the whole point is so that you can interact with them. Social media can really help with brand recognition and for lesser known companies, it can give them a real boost. You will need to engage with your followers, this need not take a long time, just a few minutes a couple of times a day. Remember, it is a 2 way conversation and should not be used just for the hard sell, you will lose followers faster than snow melting in the midday sun if you just use aggressive selling tactics.

Set up a blog. Having a blog is another way of driving traffic to your site and it doesn’t cost you anything. There are plenty of free web 2.0 blog sites that you can use to publish your blog on. Writing about things you are passionate about will pass on that enthusiasm to your readers. Make sure that you write really interesting articles that people will enjoy reading and will share through social media. Readers want to gain something, so a little titbit of knowledge or some fun and interesting facts will go a long way to encouraging readers to return. Video blogs can be a great way of conveying useful information.

 

 

Social media marketing and SEO are two tightly interwoven strategies. Both are organic, inbound strategies that focus on building an appealing identity that naturally attracts visitors. Since social media relies on high-quality content and a visible, strong brand presence, the efforts you spend on SEO can doubly improve your social media reach, and as most search marketers will tell you, your social media presence can greatly increase your search rankings.

Unfortunately, when discussing how social media can influence your Google rankings, most search marketers leave out the details. Rather than discussing exactly how and why increased social media attention can improve your SEO, it’s written off as a generality, leaving social media marketers to wonder whether their strategies are actually effective.

To remedy this, I’ve compiled a list of six social media practices that are shown to effectively boost your SEO. For more ways social media benefits online marketing campaigns, see “The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing.”

1. Growing Your Number of Followers. The total number of followers and connections your social media profiles contain does have a significant influence on your rankings. A company with 100 Twitter followers won’t receive nearly the ranking bonus of a mega-corporation with a million Facebook likes and a million Twitter followers. However, there are some stipulations to this; Google can detect the quality of your followers, meaning buying 100,000 proxy Twitter followers isn’t going to do much for your overall rankings. Instead, you’ll need to build your following organically.

Growing your number of followers is a slow process, but effective so long as you’re consistent. Present your brand uniquely and consistently, using the same voice to update your users on a daily basis. Post useful articles, helpful tips, open inquiries, and general discussion items, then follow up with your users by engaging with them in conversation directly. Conversations and direct customer engagements are the key to building and retaining a sizable, interactive following, since they encourage current followers to return and help build your authority for new, potential followers.

2. Encouraging External Inbound Links. Social media is also useful because it encourages more external sites to link to your content, and the more diverse external links you have, the more authority you’ll gain in Google’s eyes. Of course, the catch to this is that you have to have high-quality, authoritative content to begin with. Otherwise, you’ll have nothing to use to attract links.

In this case, social media serves simply as a broadcast channel. Your content, assuming it’s original and useful, is going to serve as bait, and your social channels are going to serve as fishing poles, putting the bait in front of the right eyes. Use hashtags to gain visibility for your initial rounds of syndication, and don’t hesitate to bring your content into existing threads and discussions. Doing so will improve your social reputation as an authoritative leader, but more importantly, it will maximize your potential external link sources.

3. Optimizing Your Posts for Searches. This strategy also relies upon pre-existing content, but it opens a secondary channel for search. In addition to news articles and Knowledge Graph entries, Google also tends to favor popular social media updates in the top sections of its SERPs. It’s a key, somewhat temporary position you can attain by making sure your posts are optimized for the opportunity.

Read more http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/01/27/6-social-media-practices-that-boost-seo/2/

Making the most of SEO

It is so important nowadays for businesses to have some sort of social media presence. With virtually everyone having access to social media, it is a great way of interacting with your clients, improving your customer services and attracting new customers. Business branding is how you should look at using social media rather than as a sales pitch. Yes, you can use it for sales promotions however, this should be done very sparingly, people do not want to see a permanent sales pitch and you will lose followers faster than snow melting in the desert. Work your pitch as a way of sharing information, tips, advice and even as a way of showing the lighter side of life. Be seen as a business who is expert in their field and who is always happy to share knowledge. Your own profile should not be neglected. Create a professional profile which contains genuine information that shows you as a real person.

 

Social media is all about sharing and interacting so spend some time doing this. Start a conversation and see what people say. Do not get into arguments, that would be completely unprofessional and will also show your company in a very bad light. Try to be respectful online, remember that what you write is there for all to see. Be enthusiastic and positive, these qualities can be a real magnet. Honesty and kindness should be employed at all times, this does not mean that you have to be either a soft touch or a push-over but it will show a better side to you and your business.

 

Yes, it is that time of the year again when everyone starts to predict what SEO will look like in the coming year. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. There are public updates as well as refreshes and tweaks that occur on a regular basis. Rather than throwing out theories or predictions, I want to discuss five things that you should already be focusing on as we enter 2015.

1. ROI Should be the Metric You Track, Not Keyword Rankings

Determining whether or not an SEO effort is successful based on keyword positions is completely reckless. Ranking reports that show your website is ranking high for a bunch of keywords looks great but it doesn’t always translate to leads, sales and revenue. In fact, some SEO companies will target low competition, virtually useless keywords, just so they can tell you that you are ranking #1 on Google.

As a business owner, which statement would you want to hear from your SEO company?

  • Great news! Your website is number one on Google for the keyword ‘free widget information’ but we don’t know if it has produced any revenue. Buy, hey congrats — you are number one! Woo hoo!
  • Last month’s infographic was responsible for earning 72 inbound links and it also pulled in 67 leads, 18 sales and17,360 in revenue.

Is a fancy keyword ranking report more beneficial or knowing what your return on investment was? If you aren’t measuring the success of your SEO effort in terms of ROI now is the time to start.

2. Earning Links Instead of Building Them

Inbound links are going to remain the biggest signal, or vote of confidence in terms of authority and trust, that Google uses in their algorithm. This isn’t going to change. Not in 2015 and probably not in the years to come.

For the past couple of years the focus has turned to building high quality links. Well, this has evolved into a hybrid SEO-Public Relations approach, and watch for more companies to combine their SEO strategy with a more traditional PR approach moving forward.

Earning a single link on a high quality relevant website is valuable for multiple reasons including SEO, attracting referral traffic and brand exposure. Look for traditional PR and SEO to work hand-in-hand in 2015.

Click link to continue http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-long/5-things-your-seo-strateg_b_6341032.html

13 SEO mistakes that are easy to make

 

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

Don’t dismiss PPC as part of your strategy

You might think that there is no place for pay per click or PPC in your online marketing strategy and this may well be true. However, do not discount it as means to rapidly increase valuable traffic to your site. It is important to identify and understand your audience before you begin so that you are targeting the right people from the start. There are now many channels you can make use of, from the traditional search engine PPC to social media and this is why it is important to understand who you are aiming your campaign at. There is no point in setting up a campaign on a channel where your target audience is not likely to subscribe to, this will be a complete waste of time and effort. When you have chosen your channels, make sure you measure everything as this information will tell you where you can make adjustments to improve return on investment. Here is some useful information to help you set up a winning PPC campaign.

Creating and managing a pay per click advertising strategy for your business can be a truly daunting task.  While pay per click advertising, or PPC, is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your website, it can also be risky. Without a properly managed strategy, you can end up paying more than your potential return. Fortunately, there are methods proven to optimize your PPC strategy. Here is a brief pay per click definition, along with the five basic principles of any PPC strategy.

What is Pay Per Click Advertising?

Pay per click advertising is a type of online advertising where the advertiser only pays when a web user clicks on an ad. In search engines, PPC ads can be differentiated from regular search results by their prominent placement, which is typically above or to the right of the search results. Often PPC ads will also be marked as “Sponsored Ads” or “Sponsored Links.”  Advertisers place bids on keywords or phrases designed to match search queries of your target audience. The rates charged for a PPC ad vary depending on the popularity of the keyword or phrase.

Track Measurable Conversions

Unlike other forms of advertising, PPC does not scale. As you get more traffic, you will continue to pay more money because your cost per click will stay constant. The best way to avoid losing money is to track conversions. A conversion can be defined as any useful action a visitor to your website takes. While it doesn’t have to be a sale, it needs to be measurable and valuable to you in some way.

Crunch the Numbers

While PPC can be pricey, it is worth it if you are profiting from all those clicks. Generally, the amount you spend per click needs to be less than the total profit earned per click. While your initial direct profit from your PPC campaign may not meet this guideline, it is important to consistently crunch the numbers in order to know if your PPC campaign is a success.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/5-basics-ppc-strategy-0777682#r50RYKoIYPbwo60M.99

Further information

Getting creative with PPC campaigns

3 important considerations for mobile PPC

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