This blog post presents some great ideas on how to approach video SEO beyond the basics of using rich snippets and getting links. It is more of a strategy session than a tutorial. The ideas discussed include: self hosting a video rather than hosting on YouTube if the goal is traffic and conversions, using different types of videos to fit your different goals, and if possible, creating videos with some SEO in mind instead of trying to optimize after a video is already created.
This is an excellent and comprehensive post on link building in the current, post-penguin environment. Not only does it discuss different types of links and how to get them (with a list of useful link-finding tools), but it also delves into an overall strategy for building a link profile. This includes how to decide if and when to remove links, tracking the progress of a link profile, and looking at what the future might bring in terms of updates.
Google has begun to show detail about medicine in the search results similar to how a famous person’s biography might show up in a SERP when their name is searched. Data from various authorities on medicine are part of Google’s knowledge graph, which attempts to contextualize words by making connections between words that the algorithm deems to be semantically related. This development will be particularly useful for any business in the medical field.
MDG advertising created this large Infographic with a lot of statistics about online holiday shopping trends. While there isn’t a lot of explanation about what these numbers mean, it’s a good visual that makes it easy to realize some powerful trends. Tablets are becoming a huge factor in that more and more people are using tablets to shop as well as shopping for tablets. Online holiday shopping also seems to be starting earlier and ending later in the year, beginning in October and going past Christmas.
A company trying to decide whether to do SEO or PPC should realize that the most successful campaign will likely implement both at some level and have a hand in numerous other marketing outlets. This article gives 10 good reasons why your company should do PPC, and specifically Google AdWords, while responsibly prefacing that AdWords should probably not be used as a replacement for SEO. Some of the best reasons are probably the first four given, which are that it is scalable, measurable, flexible, and faster than SEO.
While it was once a powerful indicator for how highly a webpage would appear in a Google search results page, Google Toolbar’s PageRank (PR) has become somewhat of a relic in the SEO world. Ten years ago, an SEO who found the green bar to be empty, showing a PR of 0 for their site, might be devastated. Today, a PR of 0 can be waved off as Google neglecting to update its PageRank tool.
So what changed? To answer this question, we should first know how PR is determined. While there are a number of factors, not all of which Google has made public information, a major factor is the quantity of inbound links to the given page. A page with high PR would give more value when linking than one with a low PR would. In the days of keyword stuffing and shady link schemes, the measure of the quantity of links could easily be taken advantage of by purchasing or automating a large number of links.
In 2003, the Florida update began to set a precedent for penalizing spammy content and rewarding quality content. This meant that it became harder to get a large number of links (legitimate or otherwise), and consequently PageRank started to matter less. This isn’t to say that it didn’t matter in terms of ranking high in Google’s SERPs, but because it was becoming more difficult to manipulate, SEO’s began to focus on it less. Alongside this, Google started to update the PR less often, causing numbers to not necessarily be current or accurate.
What seemed to be the final nail in the PR coffin was a statement from a Google employee, claiming that due to a number of hacking attempts on the PageRank data, “the PageRank that is displayed in Google toolbar is for entertainment purposes only,” and “on average, the PR that is displayed in the Google toolbar is several months old.” This means that relatively new pages that have a decent PR could show a PR of 0 for months.
Does this mean that PageRank is now a completely useless tool that should be ignored altogether? Many SEOs think so, and would prefer PR to be removed from the toolbar, so as not to misrepresent the value of a page to those unaware of PageRank’s history. Although PR numbers are potentially misleading, they need not be ignored completely. The statement made by the Google employee did not say that PR is obsolete. In fact, the statement explains that the ranks are still updated occasionally. It should also be noted that this not an official stance from Google, but simply one Google employee’s response to a question on a forum regarding PageRank. Since the “entertainment purposes only” comment surfaced, it seems to have been widely treated as an official statement from Google, but in reality, it is likely that Google still uses PageRank as a variable of at least some significance in its SERP algorithm.
So should we take PageRank into account or not? The answer probably depends on what you’re using it for and whether or not you’re supplementing it. If you’re using it as a number for a weekly report, you’re asking for trouble. If you’re using other tools like MozRank and trying to get a feel for how your page is doing, a comparison between PR and the numbers you’re getting from other tools could give you some extra insight into what’s going right and what’s going wrong with a given page.
Online marketing is littered with fails; from the small business that fails to claim their Google+ Places page to the Enterprise level B2B that thinks social media isn’t worth the time, it’s easy to fail at social media marketing. Optimizing social media goes far beyond keyword research, search engine optimization and backlinks–rather, it encompasses all of those things and more. Join us for a lively webinar discussing common social media fails–and how you can avoid common social media optimization fails.
If you’re a local business owner who still has a relatively small customer base, you know the importance of word of mouth marketing. Your new business depends on what your customers have to say about you, and (as if that pressure isn’t enough) so does your local SEO. Off-page factors have an immense impact on your local SEO success; you need to claim as many local listings as possible, and more importantly, you need reviews—lots of them. The first part is relatively easy, but what about the latter? As business owners, it’s hard to control what other people say (if they say anything at all) about your product or offering. Here are ways you can encourage reviews:
1. The Obvious – Ask them directly
This can be very effective if you’ve just provided excellent customer service. People are more likely to remember you if you directly ask them for their feedback. My hair stylist pulled this trick on me and it was very successful. I felt inclined to help her out and leave a review because she took the time to ask me in person, and because she just gave me a great haircut. It’s simple; at the end of a customer transaction simply ask “Do you have a Yelp or Google+ account?” If they respond with yes, reply with “I would greatly appreciate it if you could leave your feedback.” If they reply with no, do not ask them to create an account. This will only inconvenience them and encourage them to write a negative review.
2. Create an Email Campaign
If your business collects emails and sends out regular newsletters, try dedicating an email campaign to existing customers for reviews. Make it as easy as possible. Thank them for their business and leave a link or two to your local listings. Ask them to please leave feedback about their experience, and make sure to emphasize that you value them as a customer.
3. Social Media
Don’t underestimate your social media fans. They already “like” and “follow” you, so they will most likely be inclined to leave a review—and a positive one at that. Create a Facebook post or send out a tweet asking them to leave a review. Include a link to the platform that you are focusing on (Yelp, Google local, etc) to make it easy for them.
4. Link to Your Listings from Your Website
Again, it’s all about making it as easy as possible for your customers. Make it so that returning customers can go to your website to find your local listings. Collect image logos for Yelp, Yellow Pages, Manta, Google Places, Bing or whichever platforms you prefer, and create image links out of these. When users click on these logos, they should be directed straight to your review page. Creating image links can be incredibly easy depending on which content management system you use, but here’s the html code that you can add to your site:
<a href=”domain.com”> <img src=”domain.com/image.jpg” alt=”Leave a Yelp Review” /> </a>
5. QR Codes
Quick response codes are perhaps the easiest way to direct your customers to your review pages (especially if your clientele is technologically savvy). If you’re unfamiliar with QR codes, they’re just like barcodes that retailers use to scan prices, except that these codes can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters. QR codes can link to content on the web so that when your customers scan the code they are taken directly to your review site. Customers with QR code scanner apps (such as i-nigma and barcode scanner) can easily scan the code and leave a review with their phone. To generate and customize your code, visit myQR.co. If you’d like more details on how to use QR codes for your business, read this article by Social Media Examiner.
6. Leave Messages on Receipts
The key to getting reviews is promptly asking your customers for them. Once a transaction is complete, your customers go on with their daily lives and aren’t likely to think of you again. Print a message on your receipts, invoices, or business cards that reminds your customers to leave a review. On their way out, you should verbally remind them to leave a review, and then reinforce that request with a textual reminder on the receipt. You can even leave QR codes on receipts to make it even easier!
7. Use Foursquare and Twitter to Monitor Check-ins
Foursquare alone is a great tool to keep your customers engaged and talking about your business, but used with Twitter, it can be a great way to see who checks in. Because Twitter and Facebook are integrated with Foursquare, users have the option of publically announcing their check-in on the platform of their choice. Then, set up “twilert” so that every time someone mentions your business name, a notification is sent to your inbox. Using this information, you can personally respond to these tweets and thank them for their business and request a review. Leave a shortened link to your review page in your response to make it easy for the user. Thanks to Search Engine Journal for the great idea!
Have you checked out our YouTube Page recently? If so, you’ve probably noticed our video B2B online marketing glossary–or, rather, the individual glossary terms. If you haven’t checked out your YouTube page recently, well, you’re missing out on great videos like this one:
So go subscribe to our YouTube channel already! New videos are being added every week.
Is there a term you would like to see explained in video format? If so, leave a comment and let us know!
Double the ROI of your B2B PR Efforts: Stuff Your Agency Either Doesn’t Know, or Forgot to Tell You
Tuesday, August 14, 1 p.m. EST
Bill Leake, CEO, Apogee Results
Online marketing is becoming an ever-bigger slice of B2B marketing budgets. In fact, it’s the fastest growing component, by far. But how much of this budget is being deployed properly? And is it properly integrated with your traditional PR efforts? Despite what your PR firm is telling you, most PR agencies fail to capitalize on the broader uses and implications of search & social to bolster their efforts, missing out on some easy opportunities to more than double the ROI on your existing PR spend. Learn how to get the most out of your PR efforts through effective paid media, search engine optimization, properly utilizing social media and just generally thinking outside of the traditional B2B PR box. Learn how to turn your existing PR investment into a content and lead generation machine.
Google says Panda 3.8 only affects ~1% of queries, but does anyone really know what that means, and what does such a benign statement hide?
Think about how many queries are in total? First, think of how many sites are in Google’s index. According to http://www.worldwidewebsize.com/ Google’s index is approximately 37 billion pages. On all those pages combined, how many unique words exist?
According to Oxforddictionaires.com “If distinct senses were counted, the total (number of words) would probably approach three quarters of a million.”
It’s pretty unlikely that over 700,000 English words would be used online, however it is quite possible when there are over 37 billion pages online.
With the volume of the number words understood, how many unique combinations of those words exist? Let’s be somewhat conservative. A normal literate person should know somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 words in their first language.
When you calculate for only 2 word permutations of a literate person’s vocabulary size of 4,000 words, you get a total of 7,998,000 total permutations. Just imagine how many possible 3 word permutations there are, and the numbers become staggering!
With this insight, I think it’s safe to assume that all the keywords affected by Panda 3.8 just happen to be all the money words in the Adwords database. Think about it. If you were Google would you worry about all the possible queries, or just the ones that could make you more money?
Thanks to the Memorial Day holiday, it’s been a little quiet around here. Well, that, and it’s just been quiet in general it seems. Yesterday, though, presented a couple of interesting things in the world of online marketing, mostly regarding Facebook (and no, I’m not talking about Facebook stock falling or the photos that surfaced of Zuckerberg’s honeymoon).
Apparently the social media giant has decided to roll out a couple of new features for pages, which opens up new possibilities for social media managers. The first is the introduction of Promoted Posts, which allow page managers to promote a post in order to extend that post’s reach. With a normal Facebook post by a brand on their brand page, your reach is limited and constrained by Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm, which somehow decides who gets to see your posts. A Promoted Post, however, will reach beyond the algorithm, but Facebook hasn’t said just how much further the post will reach. This is also a paid feature, which means marketers and social media managers will need to pick and choose carefully the posts they choose to promote (if any at all). Obviously, for those that have the budget, promoted posts could be a great way to extend the reach of posts that contain links to lead gen pages, Facebook offers, special fan only promotions, etc. The billing works much like the billing for Facebook ads does, in that you set your own price, and that price is good for the lifetime of the promoted post, which is three days. The screen shot below, courtesy and copyright Facebook, shows how to promote your post.
The other change Facebook made to its brand pages is the ability to set different permissions for different types of admins. Previously, everyone listed as an admin had the same rights, which could obviously cause some issues within organizations where multiple people have admin rights to their company’s Facebook page. The new admin levels are Manager, Content Creator, Moderator, Advertiser and Insights Analyst. As the primary admin for Apogee’s Facebook page, I like that I could give different people different permission levels if necessary, and I’m sure many other marketing managers and social media managers probably feel the same way. From the agency side, I can see how the Advertiser and Insights Analyst permissions could really apply to agencies who manage clients’ social media accounts, or at the very least their social paid media. Basically, an Advertiser can create ads and view insights, and an Insights Analyst can just view insights, allowing an agency to create ads and view the analytics without the manager having to hand over full admin rights. To me, that’s quite possibly a win-win. The other cool part about this change? Page managers can now also schedule posts ahead of time directly through Facebook rather than having to use a third party application such as Hootsuite.
In Google news, the search giant unveiled the “new” Google Places–which is now a part of Google+ and will be called Google+ Local. Earlier this year we had a blog talking about Google+ and how Google’s trying to swallow everything up and put certain things under the Google+ umbrella. Apparently Places wasn’t immune to that, and not surprisingly, the move is purely monetary. The other not surprising thing is that Google says this move was also motivated by an ever increasing amount of mobile searches. One cool thing about the move is the integration of Zagat reviews, which will replace Google’s five-star system. the not cool thing? Google’s obviously trying to herd all of us into the Google+ circle and force us to use a service that still hasn’t seen widespread adoption (170 million active users as compared to Facebook’s 845 million users).
And last but not least, in other search news, Yahoo!, once known as a search engine rather than a news aggregate, unveiled Yahoo! Axis, which is a desktop (or mobile) application that allows you to search the web through the app rather than a browser such as Firefox or IE. I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet, but if Axis catches on, it looks like SEOs might have one more thing to think about regarding search engine optimization and the way we search on the web.
Not everyone in our office had access to Knowledge Graph, luckily my Google profile did have access.
For example, here is a search for “The Sun”:
First you get the regular results for “The Sun,” but notice in the right column, there is a link to find out if you meant to search for the celestial object that lights our world and gives life to all known beings.
If you click the link, you get the following results that provides you a short list of information about the sun, including data points like “surface temperature,” “rotation speed,” “distance to earth,” “mass,” etc.
If you click the bold information titles, you go into a deeper search discovery mode that provides results on information related to the original query, however it hopefully reveals deeper relationships, such as, did you know one Jupiter year is very close to the sunspot cycle. Very interesting if they are related, and enough to get someone to want to know more.
Next, you’ll see that Google’s semantic search results for the Sun’s surface temperature has references if you click “show details.”
Now that you can see the sources of the information, you can see which sites that Google is pulling data from. Since 5,778 degrees Kelvin was referenced twice out of the four sources 5,778 was the chosen number. However, if you think this is inaccurate, you can let Google know using their feedback links below the source citations.
I think this is a great step for Google, however a few questions pop up in my mind:
Will your site get more traffic if you’re cited by Google’s semantic search results?
Will users tend to never leave Google’s property if they get the “good enough” answer directly on the SERP?
How will the knowledge graph affect ad placement, or ad delivery?
Will certain types of SEO emerge with the purpose to become the cited source in the Knowledge Graph results?