Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Once upon a time, "the old SEO" ruled the website marketing world. This was during the early, pioneering days of online marketing -- before it was typical for a small business to have a website and long before your grandmother had an online presence that could rival a teenager. The old SEO strategy centered around one primary factor: Link Building. But today, link building as a direct SEO tactic is completely dead. The fact is, Google has found smarter ways to measure the popularity of your website: it's called social media.
The fact that social media is critical to your online presence (and your search engine rankings) is often a tough pill for small business owners to swallow. It can be a difficult marketing strategy to measure, and it can seem like a strange way to grow their business.
But the days of easily measuring your SEO strategy are long gone. It's no longer about building X amount of links and creating Y amount of optimized content pages on your website. These old approaches to getting search engine attention are very static. The new strategy is about being dynamic, engaged, and interactive within your marketplace. Social media is the only place you can make that happen.
Here are six reasons social media needs to be an important part of your website marketing and SEO strategy for years to come:

1. Link building was always about social proofing.
Think about it - why did Google ever allow links to determine which websites ranked above all the others? The answer is simple: links were like "votes" for your website. The more votes you get, the better off you are. So SEO companies started building links (aka "votes") manually. Then, Google -- to counter all of the fake voting -- figured out that some votes should count more than other votes. So SEO companies went around manufacturing websites with the best votes. And Google, finally, realized that SEO link building would never work long-term for ranking websites. So Google started penalizing websites with "fake votes" (which is basically anyone who pays a company to do SEO link building for them). Seeing a trend here? The idea behind links as a ranking factor is a very good idea, but since it's become so easy to manipulate, Google  has been forced to turn to social media channels which do the same thing but are much harder to manipulate. Link building was always about social proofing.

2. Social media allows you to "crowd source" your link building.
When you have a following on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, you create a team of fans who can share your content. That's what social media is all about, folks -- being social! (Imagine that.) So when you write a new blog post on your business blog, you can take that content and share it on Twitter and then get some of your followers to share your content. You can also get your website visitors to share pages of your site and your blog on social media by adding simple social buttons to allow people to quickly and easily "vote" for your content right there on your website. Sure, many of these people will never become your actual customers, but that's not your objective here. Your objective is to build buzz and attention around your website.

3. Being social is the fastest way to multiply your presence online.
The problem with old school SEO link building is your always building "signs" to your website in places where nobody is looking. It's something like buying a billboard in the desert. Social media, on the other hand, is a dynamic world of interaction and activity where things are constantly happening in real time. This is why it's so crucial that you have a social media PRESENCE -- not just social media accounts where you never or rarely post anything. You've got to be active, you've got to be social. This is the fastest way to multiply your online presence simply because it's where everyone is. If you get in front of the right people (which is a matter of consistency, not luck) then you can build some buzz around your business and your website.

4. Social signals is a real thing.
I'm sure you've heard the term "social signals" floating around out there. Love it or hate it, this is a real thing. Google is definitely measuring your website's "pulse rate" on social media channels. How often do you share content on social channels? How often do people visit your website for social channels? How many fans/followers do you have? Does your website have social sharing elements available for visitors? Social signals really is the new "link building" metric you should be concerned about and worried about. Forget about how many links you have -- especially if you're building fake links -- and start worrying about the health of your social media presence.

5. Social links bring real traffic to your website.
95% (or more) of links from SEO link building never bring a single new visitor to your website. They just sit out there pointing to your site and not really doing anything else at all. This was the other major revelation Google had: They realized that by promoting links as a way to popularize your website, they were creating a web filled with spam and junk all designed to get more links (and only that). Most SEO companies build links on sites that will never bring you an actual customer. They're just fabricating links to try and boost your search engine positions. Now that it doesn't work, you're basically throwing money down a drain every time you pay for link building. Social links, on the other hand, have the real potential to bring real people into your  website AND into your social followers or social circles. This means at some point these people could very well turn into a customer or a content promoter for your business.

6. Google hates link building.
The bottom-line is link building doesn't help your search engine rankings. In fact, it could hurt you far more than it will ever help you. Google has been very clear about this - stop building fake links to your website and start focusing on providing value and being of value within your marketplace. Social media is the very best place to achieve that goal online today.
So there you have it - 6 reasons social media needs to play an important role in your search engine rankings strategy. At the end of the day, search engine rankings are still very critical to your long-term success online. Don't make the mistake of investing in shady, short-term practices and risk hurting your business long term.
Get on the right SEO track today and start building a more authentic social media presence today!


Posted by Johnson Callen On 20:54 No comments READ FULL POST

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012 via flickr

SEO and link building are critical aspects of marketing online. They can mean the difference between reaching a growing target market and finding great success or falling flat and remaining stagnant. However, as search engines have gotten “smarter,” and audiences have become more aware of what they’re exposed to online, paid links have become harder and harder to use without penalty. Check out the criteria below to ensure your paid links will not hinder your search rankings and other online efforts.
Google’s Guideline and How to Follow It
Displaying advertisements on your site is an easy way to improve credibility while bringing in a little extra revenue. Recently though, some sites have lost their Google rankings or have been removed from results altogether because they don’t stand up to one simple rule.
Officially, the guideline published by Google states: “Make reasonable efforts to ensure that advertisements do not affect search engine rankings.”
It’s important to note that displaying ads is legal in Google’s terms, however, if these ads affect ranking, it’s gone too far. To ensure your paid links do not hurt your own site, or the sites that they are displayed on, consider the following tips:
  • Make sure any links or ads have a “nofollow” or are redirected through files that are excluded by any robots.txt.file. Tools exist to double check if you’re unsure.
  • Advertising purchased through search engine programs, like Google AdWords, are generally fine.
  • While affiliate advertising or advertising through press releases while linking back to a site are acceptable, checking against the aforementioned robots.txt.file is important to protect your brand.
  • When using a third party to purchase advertising space, make sure they follow the guideline to ensure your safety pertaining to search rankings. Using the wrong advertising service could do more harm than good.
Sometimes, however, even when a high level of caution is used, it seems as though certain pages and brands are penalized by Google. How does this work? How can the search engine sniff out the paid links? What can you do to avoid this?
It’s simple. Google has set up 5 basic criteria that their algorithms use to determine whether a sites’ paid advertising affects rankings, as prohibited by the rule above. Understanding these rules is critical to a successful, “legal”- in Google’s eyes – paid ad campaign.
Flat Out Link Sales
Certain sites and brands make a habit of explicitly selling links. For instance, a webmaster sells a link to another webmaster in exchange for a specific amount of money, which is clearly advertised and displayed. It’s common sense that this would be easy to detect while raising red flags. In situations like this, following the “nofollow” rule is absolutely essential. However, for protection, it might be better to avoid situations like this altogether. One misstep could ruin a site for life. This common scenario is one of the most prevalent, and therefore the easiest for the search giant to detect.
The Value’s Proximity to Money
Google’s second criteria for evaluating whether a link is paid – and therefore alarming – or generic is how close the value of the ad is to the money. This can be confusing and difficult to understand; what was paid for the ad. Is it a gift card for a certain dollar amount that would closely match how much the ad would be sold for in dollars? Or, is it a simple marketing material – a pen, a t-shirt, a $5 gift card to a coffee shop – more of a “thank you” than a payment? This distinction can be evaluated by the search algorithms in milliseconds and therefore should be carefully examined before setting out on a paid link campaign.
Gift or Loan?
In some situations, companies try to avoid the payment situation completely by offering free samples for review. These reviews, while not traditional ads, still link back to the site in question, leading to an increase in traffic and possible conversions. This is not in question, however, the way the review was handled is. If the product for review – laptop, car, subscription, exercise equipment, whatever the case may be – is given freely with no expectation of return, it is a considered a gift and can therefore be questioned – it’s much closer to a paid link. If, however, it is loaned out with an expected date of return, it is safer for all parties involved.
What’s it Mean for the Audience?
Say your company or brand hosts a conference or large event. Maybe just a simple meeting or focus group. What is your intent and what is the intent of those in attendance? If you’re holding a conference where small thank you bags are given out, with zero expectation in return, and those items are reviewed, fine. If, however, the gifts are given out with the clear expectation that those in attendance will link back to your site, there’s a definite intent. This is generally not kosher.
Is it a Surprise?
This may seem insignificant, maybe even a little silly; but, to the search engines, especially Google, it matters more than you may think. Did someone write a positive review about your company that you’d like to reward without warning? Or, is there a popular blogger that covers your industry that you’d like to attract? Send a gift – more of a “head’s up” than something with expectations. If, however, that line is crossed, and the gift is given with the clear expectation that a review or link will come back to your company as a result, the “surprise” effect can be lost and penalized.
Some of these rules and regulations may be surprising. Who would have thought a search engine could find information relating to these guidelines and sniff it out? However, the fact remains, they can and do. Sites that cross the border between acceptable and not find themselves in situations that can be hard to recover from where rankings are concerned.
Protect your brand, understand the Google guideline and do what you can to be sure you’re covered in any scenario.

Posted by Johnson Callen On 18:04 No comments READ FULL POST

Sunday, 16 March 2014

There are 3 main reasons to host a blog on your site. They are, in some order of importance:

Search optimization: Even if you only have time to post to your blog once a month, that is still more often than you might otherwise go in and make updates to your website. Search engines like Google give preference to sites that are updated frequently and have no content each time they are ‘crawled’. So having a dynamic website can really help you rank more highly, and be seen by more web users. Another way your blog helps your search ranking is by giving you a reason to have lots of keyword rich content relating to your business or industry on your site, with phrases that people who you’d like to reach will be searching for.

External links: When you put helpful, unique and relevant content up on your blog, it’s likely that other people in your space will find it, and possibly share and link to it. This can be customers who are sharing your content with friends on social media, or industry experts who refer to you on their own blogs and websites. Not only does this expand your chance of social discovery (reaching a larger audience through amplification and virality), it can also be a great boost for your search ranking. Google views your site as more relevant when other sites link to it – especially sites that have lots of credibility. So when credible sources link to your site, it’s like their vouching for you to search engines.

Customer engagement: A somewhat more romantic reason to maintain a blog is to engage in an ongoing relationship with your current and potential customers. Transparency is one of the most influential characteristics a business can have. Allowing visitors ‘behind-the-scenes’ access to your industry, and a glimpse of your personality, is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition and inspire loyalty.

So, are you ready to start blogging yet? The good news is that as blogging has become more and more common, it’s become progressively easier to add a blog to your site. If you’re a Webs user, you simply have to add the free Blog app to your site, adjust a couple of preferences and you’re ready to start blogging.

Posted by Johnson Callen On 19:48 No comments READ FULL POST

Monday, 10 March 2014

Fallen Tree. By SingleDadLaughing
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
Not to get too philosophical, but the message behind this musing has similarities to that of content promotion. For our purposes, it can be used to allude to the creation of content that nobody will consume. If promotion isn't part of your content marketing strategy, your content could go unnoticed and fail to make the proverbial "sound".
If you want your content to make an impact, drive traffic to your website and bolster lead generation efforts, you must have a content promotion strategy in place. This is just as important as content creation – remarkable content that nobody consumes not only has no value, but is also a waste of time and resources. These 4 content promotion tips will help you expand the reach of your content and boost your overall content marketing strategy, so that the content you've created works as an effective digital marketing tool.

1. Leverage Social Media

Social media is valuable because it allows you to leverage the connections of all your fans and followers. It can increase exposure, create awareness and contribute to overall brand authority.
Furthermore, social signals such as Likes and Shares have been confirmed to affect organic search engine rankings.
You already have a social media presence – leveraging that presence to promote your content is an inexpensive and effective strategy.

2. Conduct Outreach

Building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with key influencers in your industry should be a priority as it can significantly help with brand awareness.
If you can get well respected websites or knowledge experts to carry, publish, distribute or promote your content, it will vastly increase its reach and by association, the reach of your brand.

3. Focus On Public Relations

In much the same way as outreach, PR can increase traffic, create brand awareness and bolster your brand messaging.
By leading with high-quality content, your PR efforts can ensure that your brand messaging resonates with your audience, converting them into brand ambassadors.

4. Use Paid Advertising

Promoting your content organically is crucially important, but paid advertising campaigns are also a critical facet of any SEO strategy.
Paid content promotion is an invaluable tool for getting your content seen by the right audience on the right venues, and improving your online presence. Whether display advertising, paid social or pay-per-click, paid advertising allows you to target your content toward your ideal audience.
Posted by Johnson Callen On 19:11 No comments READ FULL POST
Humans are social beings and almost every aspect of life that we consider important is founded on relationships. The internet has created an entirely new relationship dynamic, which when nurtured with care and attention, can lead to some of the most effective marketing strategies of today.

1. Offline

Making connections is best done personally. Put a name and a face to your brand and company. Even if this doesnt directly generate links, itll make doing so much easier in the future. Even if you dont have a bricks and mortar shop, networking in your local area can bring many referrals for years to come.
Businesses have connections other than consumers: suppliers, service providers, industry-related businesses and a whole host of others, and there are many ways to turn these natural contacts into a solid online relationship strategy.
Take part in local events. Be seen and get acquainted with your local community. Attend charity events, festivals, functions at your town hall, school fetes; anywhere you can think of. Be active and stay active.
Know your area. Introduce yourself to other businesses in your locality. Do some shopping. Chat with store owners; chat with customers, get to know their habits and their wants.
Attend conferences and leading industry events. Talk to anyone and everyone. Hang around after the talks to meet and mingle with the speakers.
Support government-funded events or projects. Show people that you care about what happens in your area. This will not only help you gain good working relationships with local authorities, but also endear to the local community.
Learn peoples names. This seemingly obvious touch can make all the difference.

2. Social Media

Building connections is the essence of social media, and never has the reach potential of businesses been so great.
  • Follow industry or niche thought leaders. Where else can you get the best industry advice, trade secrets, insights or news 24/7?
  • Join groups and communities and be active
  • Interact with their social updates. It shows your interest as well as your expertise. Don't be shy. The more you interact, the more visible you will be on their network. In turn, their followers can potentially be your followers.
  • If its of value; share it or like/favourite/+1 it.
  • Invite people for a Google Hangout. Its as close to a face-to-face meeting as youll get online. Invite both thought-leaders and novices; often, this brings much needed perspective. People who routinely socialise with those of their own abilities are liable to miss glaring issues or ideas that others are in a better position to highlight.
  • Take the initiative. Organise webinars, online conferences, lectures, interviews, or open-forum discussions. Write up the notes and publish them for the wider community to see. You can be assured that if you give proper accreditation, all those who participated will be glad to share them with their own community.
  • LinkedIn is a relationship-builders dream. Everyone on LinkedIn is there for the same reason: to promote themselves to the business arena and to build relationships that can do something for them. According to statistics, 85% of B2B marketers dubbed LinkedIn as the most effective social networking platform in content delivery and 61% of professional networking that social media users do are in LinkedIn. Take advantage of this openness to connecting.
  • Ensure your G+ account is completed in its entirety. Join groups – not just industry-relevant groups but also ones that are personally appealing to you. Be sociable.

3. Social Media is Your New Customer Service Avenue

Aside from reaching out to niche thought leaders, social media is the perfect tool for customer service as well as developing your overall business image.
Respond quickly. Treat social like a telephone. A quick response is essential. Act too late, and the question is left hanging for all to see.
Show your love. Social media can be both extremely personal and impersonal. A personal touch on a feed that can be viewed by the masses is a very nice thing.

4. Outreach

Image Src:
Interaction and reaching out to other websites is a staple of online marketing. It's also an excellent way to build relationships with others, and massively broadening your reach.
  • Know your niches websites. Become an active member of the popular websites within your niche.
  • Visit their blog. Show your interest and get to know them better. Not only may you gain valuable insights, but you may also help boost their sites' traffic. And the more traffic your contacts' sites gain, the more valuable your blog partners will be.
  • Comment on posts and answer questions. It's your chance to offer your opinions, insights or knowledge about relevant topics. Show the readers what you know and possibly earn a following from their audience. Use your own name when commenting, and link back to your website. Always use the same name. Dont be afraid to include a link to some of your own work if it adds value to the post
  • Offer them a post on a relevant topic. Share what you know by writing articles, creating how-to videos and publishing white papers. Ensure your written work is shareable. Know how to write a viral title, enticing snippet text, and scannable content. Captivating images are also vital.
  • Use Google Alerts and to alert you to discussions taking place, and questions being asked around the web. Jump straight to it whenever the opportunity arises and be the first to provide a great answer.
  • Link to your contacts/thought leaders in your own articles. Seek out amazing content and quotes from your connections and link to them. Theyll sure appreciate it and might well return the favour.
  • Invite great writers to participate on your own blog. Outreach should not just be about adding content to other peoples sites. Pick authors whose work you genuinely enjoy reading, and reach out. What a compliment it is to be asked.
The more your consumers realise how much you know, the more trust you. Despite what Matt Cutts said about guest blogging, it is still one of the most efficient ways to share your knowledge and show your expertise in your niche. As long as you're doing it to build relationships and not spammy links, you'll be alright.

5. Ask for Opinions

Asking somebodys opinion is a special thing to do. There are numerous ways to do this:
  • Ask! By far the best way is to ask, one-on-one. Whether its in-person, by e-mail or on social, or by telephone. Simply, ask. Youll often discover things that have been right under your nose all along.
  • Customer surveys. Feedback from customers, at specific points of their online journey, is among the most valuable data you can collect. Quantitative data from Analytics can only show you so much. Its the qualitative data where the moneys at. Know:
  • Why a user failed to/completed their purchase
  • What appealed and what didnt about certain products
  • Entry/exit behaviours. Because they can be really different
A great tool for creating surveys is Qualaroo. Its a code that you can embed in your web pages that analyses visitor behaviour and delivers targeted surveys.
  • Ask questions of industry-relevant people. Asking competitors; or referring to them on your own blog, increases trust in your brand. It shows youre more interested in helping people, and the bigger picture, than you are in personal gain. Using this technique will serve you very well in the long run.

Fostering trust and loyalty around your brand

Cultivating a good image – a.k.a. brand building " is another method that is so quickly made and broken online. Consumers are more inclined to become and stay loyal to a brand when they can easily associate with them and they believe the company shares their ethics, beliefs and opinions.
Nurture connections. Care for all your relationships. Brands that earn people's loyalty not only gain repeat business but also their active support. This means voluntary recommendations to their family and friends, which is likely to convert into potential customers. After all,

The Bottom Line

Word of mouth, building a leading brand, having near-infinite potential growth, establishing yourself as an authority, and providing first-class customer service " are these not the traits of a hugely successful business? Relationships are at the very core, and the internet is the greatest tool weve ever had for achieving all these and more.
Posted by Johnson Callen On 19:10 No comments READ FULL POST
Twitter is a useful form of social media, as it allows the user to impart quickfire tidbits of information. But this simple format shouldn't be mistaken as easy. Finding engaging and valuable content can be hard, especially when you need to constantly update. For Twitter to be truly effective, it requires regular tweeting.
Coming up with interesting and varied content for your Twitter stream is the key to better engaging your followers. You are catering to a target demographic, whether it is those who already follow you, or those who might in the future.
Here are some simple ways to find and post interesting content that is properly narrowed down for your interest group (Mind that this article is NOT about talking back to your users which is by far the most important social media interaction type. This article is only about finding great content to post on your Twitter stream; Interacting will be one of the next topics.).

1. Look At What's Trending

(No more than once a day: By just broadcasting hot news you have a good chance of boring your followers)
Twitter trends
This is the easiest way to find content that appeals to your followers. Twitter has a section on your home page that shows what is currently trending. Sometimes it will be something directly related to your industry, though usually not. The point is to find something you think your followers will want to discuss.
Quite often you will find these trending topics already being posted by your followers, and you can just join in on the conversation. You can also see what is trending elsewhere, like on Google, or other social networks. Even if it hasn't become as hot as some other topics on Twitter, it still has a buzz going.
5 Ways to *Quickly See What's Trending:
  • See Twitter trends
  • Search Google News
  • Look at Google Plus /explore section. Here's how trending hashtags work on various social media networks.
  • Look at your most favorite / relevant subreddit
  • Search Google Insights

2. Use Multiple Types Of Media

(No more than once a day: Visual updates are attention-grabbing but you many social media old-timers still hate them)
visual tweets
Don't just focus on text tweets or posting links to your blog. Twitter is acceptable for all types of media. Photos, videos, comics, infographics, and even audio clips and podcasts can be shared there. They might not get that many retweets, but you can usually count on a fair amount of favorites, and plenty of comments. Plus, you have the added benefit of drawing new potential followers who have found it through search.
Here are some ideas for visual Tweets

3. Have The Right Tools

Vitsl Conte Buzz
There are plenty of tools out there that are meant to help you find relevant, well written content to share specifically on social media. One good one is Viral Content Buzz.
(You can use the tool to throw stories you liked into the "Buffer" feature which will spread them throughout the day so that your followers are not overwhelmed)
What makes that a great social media tool is you aren't just sharing your content on your own Twitter. You are having others share your content out for you on multiple social networks. Then you can take fresh content from the people who shared you, and share what they have to offer (Are you still with me? :) ). It helps you both ways (share + get shared): It gives you plenty to show your followers, and gets your content out there on the wider social web.
Screenshot courtesy of Infobunny

4. Search Hashtags and Keywords

(A few times a day: Hashtags may annoy some of your followers)
Sometimes you just have to manually go looking for whatever you want to find. Twitter makes that easier than most, thanks to their live update and search features. Hashtags are a good place to start, though don't forget to also look for general keywords. You would be amazed by what you can find with nothing more than the on-site Twitter search feature. Be sure you look for loosely related keywords and tags, as well. Sometimes the best content is only somewhat affiliated with your industry.

5. Look At What Followers Like

Spending a couple of days gathering some info on what your followers usually retweet, favorite or post is important. You can get a measure on what it is they are looking for. But there is some content that is more shareable than other types. Humor is probably the most popular, as everyone likes to laugh. Asking (and of course answering) a question is another highly engaging Twitter update, just don't overdo!
A few tools to help you better understand your followers:
  • Twitter analytics inside Twitter ads lets you see your "Best" tweets in terms of interaction. Check back a few time a week to learn from your experience.
  • FavStar lets you see your recently favorited+retweeted Tweets and your most favorited+retweeted Tweets
  • Both SocialBro and Tweriod let you better understand which time your followers are listening
Posted by Johnson Callen On 19:08 No comments READ FULL POST

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Baidu will launch a search engine next year customized for Thailand, which features among its priority markets for overseas expansion.

Thailand's Internet business has high potential for growth, fuelled particularly by the availability of high-speed broadband service, said Baidu's global marketing director Richard Lee, in a Bangkok Post report.

"We are committed to continue investing in Thailand with no concerns about the current political uncertainty," Lee told the news agency. He pointed out up to 65 percent of Thailand's 25 million Internet users used Baidu products and services, which it is looking to monetize through online advertising.

The Thai-language search engine has been almost three years in development, according to Lee. There will also be Thai versions of eight of its other popular products including anti-virus and PC performance boosters, he added.

The company will also next year provide search engine marketing and optimization free to firms that want to expand to the Chinese market.

According to Lee, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil and Egypt are the four emerging markets where Baidu is expanding. The company also has a presence in Japan, South Korea and Western Europe.

Baidu is the most dominant search engine in China with over 75 percent market share. It has recently also been diversifying into new spaces such as wearables, mobile operating systems, and smart TVs.
Posted by Johnson Callen On 00:13 1 comment READ FULL POST
It has been an incredibly eventful year in terms of updates from Google. Major 2013 changes included further releases of Penguin and Panda, Hummingbird taking flight, and the shift away from providing keyword data thanks to encrypted search.

Many have gone so far as to ask whether SEO as a profession is dead: for one interesting perspective, see my recent Forbes interview with Sam Roberts of VUDU Marketing. My own take is less alarmist: Google has taken major spam-fighting steps that have shifted the playing field for SEO professionals and anyone trying to get their site on the map in the year ahead.

At the same time, the need for an online presence has never been stronger, while the landscape has never been more competitive. The potential to make a real ROI impact with your company's online marketing initiative is greater than ever. But defaulting to so-called "gray hat" tactics no longer works. Instead, SEO professionals need to step up and embrace a more robust vision of our area of expertise.

You might call it a move from tactician to strategist: the best and most successful players in our space will work to anticipate Google's next moves and respond to them with laser focus. In a sense, the infinite digital game of chess that is SEO will continue, but the rules of the game have become more complex.

Through a mix of what I'm observing and reading and what I'm seeing working out in the field today for my clients, here are some suggestions for companies and SEO professionals that are thinking ahead to 2014 for their digital strategies.

Everything You Learned in 2013 is Still Relevant, Just Amplified
When you look closely at the targets of the 2013 updates (ie, websites that cheat their way to the top of the rankings or provide no value to visitors), I anticipate seeing these carried forward throughout 2014. We can continue to expect micro adjustments to Panda and Penguin that continue to target both link quality and content quality.

Smart marketers will benefit from keeping a close eye on their link profiles, and performing periodic audits to identify and remove inbound links built unnaturally. High quality content investments will remain critical.

A solid SEO performance in 2014 is going to be built on a foundation of really understanding what happened in 2013, and what these changes mean both strategically and tactically for SEO. SEO really has changed in critical ways.

Content Marketing is Bigger than Ever
Content marketing will move from buzzword to mature marketing movement in 2014. From an SEO perspective, Google will be looking at companies that have robust content marketing efforts as a sign that they're the kind of business Google wants to support.
Think of all the advantages of a good content strategy:
    Regular, helpful content targeted at your audience.
    Social signals from regular sharing and engagement.
    Freshness or signs that your site is alive and growing.
    Increasing authority connected to your body of work.

Sound familiar? It's the very approach to SEO that all of Google's recent updates have been designed to shape.

What changes you need to make in 2014 depends largely on where your company stands now in relation to an active content marketing strategy. Companies with existing content strategies will need to assess the role of mobile, specifically.

If you've just begun to move in the direction of content marketing, it's time to really commit and diversify. If you haven't started yet, it's time to take the plunge.

Social Media Plays an Increasingly Visible Role
Social media has been a major player in the digital marketing landscape for the last few years. First we saw the rise of mega platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In the last couple of years, visual content from networks like Pinterest, Instagram, and various micro-video services haa swept through.

Today, diversification is a major trend: depending on who you're targeting, it's no longer enough to be active on a single network. In fact, The Content Marketing Institute recently released a study that the most successful B2B marketers are active on an average of seven networks. Companies and SEO professionals will need to be asking the following questions in the year ahead:

    Are we taking our social media seriously? Are we employing the pillars of strong profiles, good content, reciprocity, and engagement?
    Is easy social sharing enabled for all of our content?
    Does our content strategy include a dissemination phase that includes maximizing its potential for distribution through social networks?
    Are we active on the social networks that matter in our industry?
    Are we active on the social networks that matter to our customers?
    Are we active on the social networks that matter to the search engines? (See below for more thoughts on making that strategic investment).
    Does our social media marketing strategy stimulate the level of social signals required to achieve our goals?

Google's updates are likely to increasingly rely on social signals as active human curation of good content.

Invest in Google+
In addition to strengthening your overall social media marketing position, it's going to be absolutely critical that you are investing in your Google+ presence.

Moz's most recent study of ranking factors confirms that Google+ is playing an increasingly significant role in a solid SEO ranking. The immediate areas to focus on include:

    Establishing Google Authorship of your content, and tying it to your Google+ account. Authorship, which brings your body of content together, will play an important role in the SERPs as well as strengthening your Author Rank.
    Those +1's add up. It isn't clear exactly how much Google +1's directly contribute, but it's fair to say that it's a major factor in the "social signals" component of Google's algorithm. I expect this to increase in the year ahead.

Hummingbird Was Just the Tip of the Mobile Iceberg
2014 will be the year of mobile SEO. Hummingbird was just the very small visible tip of a very large iceberg as Google struggles to respond to the rapidly shifting landscape where half of all Americans own smartphones and at least one-third own tablets. Those statistics will probably shift upward, maybe dramatically, after the 2013 holiday season.

As a result, your site's mobile performance matters to your SEO rankings. Properties that you're trying to rank need to be designed first for mobile and then scaled up for the big screen. If you don't have a mobile-optimized website, this needs to be your top priority in terms of SEO and design investments for 2014.

Some underlying changes that happened with Hummingbird, including the increasing importance of both semantic search and Knowledge Graph, will continue to grow in influence. Practically speaking, this is to help prepare the search engine for the rise of voice search associated with mobile. But it also has direct implications (which we're still learning about) for broader SEO. This is one area that you should pay close attention to, from how you structure your content to what content you choose to put out.

The Long Versus Short Debate
Which is better, long content or short content? The answer depends on who is creating the content, who is reading it, what it's about, in what context it's being consumed, and how you define "better."

For the purposes of this argument, which form of content will help you best prepare to rank well in 2014? Frustratingly for some, the answer is more "both/and" than "or."

Vocus recently cited a study that showed that the top 10 results for a specific keyword search tended to be more than 2,000 words in length. The validity of that study has been debated, but it's probably fair to say that length is a proxy for depth of expertise and value delivered to the reader.

Google values both expertise and value. As a result, we've seen a trend where the "minimum desirable length" for text-based content has shifted from something in the range of 550 words to articles in the range of 1000-plus words.

Yet we're also confronted with the reality of the mobile device: if I'm reading about something I'm only moderately interested in, there's a high probability that I won't want to scroll through 2,000 words on my iPhone. That leaves content marketers faced with the challenge of producing mobile-friendly content, which tends to be (in a sweeping generality) much, much shorter.

Proposed solutions have run the gamut from content mixes to site architectures that allow you to point readers to specific versions of content based on their devices. This is great for the user experience, but where it all comes out on the SEO algorithm front remains to be seen. For now, I'll just acknowledge that it's an area of concern that will continue to evolve and that it's something you should keep your eye on.

Advertising and PPC has a Shifted Relationship with SEO
Since Google made the decision to encrypt the vast majority of its searches, our ability to access keyword data for research purposes has been restricted. However, there's a loophole. Keyword data is still available for advertisers using PPC on Google's platform.

More SEO budgets may be driven toward PPC simply because access to the data may otherwise be restricted. It's also possible that we'll see the release of a premium Google product to give us access to that data through another channel from Google in the year ahead.

Guest Blogging Remains One of the Most Effective Tactics, With a Caveat
Guest blogging has exploded in the past year, and it's going to remain one of the most effective means of building quality inbound links, traffic, and branding exposure in 2014. However, it's absolutely critical that you're creating high quality content, and using extremely stringent criteria when selecting your target sites.

In other words, you need to apply the same high ethos approach to guest blogging that you do to the rest of your SEO efforts. If you dip a toe into spammy waters where guest blogging is essentially scattershot article marketing with a 2014 update, you're likely to be penalized in a future Penguin update.
Posted by Johnson Callen On 00:12 No comments READ FULL POST

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Are you doing business and wanna improve your SEO (search engine optimization) using Google plus? This post instructs the Google plus SEO strategy and some ways to improve it.
Ranking well in search engines is essential for every business to target and get potential clients. Most of the internet marketers use social networks, share worthy information to get genuine social signals to please search engines and get succeed in their business. Useful Google Plus features and its SEO strategy make the people to use it widely for their personal and professional use.

Google Plus facts and stats of 2013 

Google Plus has over 343 million active users now and about 60% are daily users. 40% of internet marketers are using Google Plus and +1 button is used more than 5 billion times per day. Almost 67% of people have planned to increase their activities in Google Plus and 70% wants to learn more about it. Recently Google Plus had dominated monthly visits of Facebook and twitter with no. of visits per month at 1,203 million. Amazing stats of Google plus, isn’t it?

Google Plus SEO strategy
Google has already cleared that the no. of +1s have no impact on search rankings, but Google Plus profiles and pages do have and you could increase the chances of getting the targeted visitors from Google organic search result with it. So to get high SERP, recognize the following Google plus SEO strategy.
1. Google Plus posts are crawled & indexed quickly.
2. Each post of Google plus pass link equity and if the shared post is valuable, it send semantic signals to search algorithm of Google.
3. If the username has been mentioned many times in the Google plus posts by others, it would build up a good rank for that profile page. Posts from that profile will rank better in search.

8 ways to improve the Google Plus SEO strategy
Google uses variety of tools and signals to decide the quality of the website (Each page of the website) to give rank on search engines. For that, the basic Search engine optimization and getting quality links from other websites are more important. So most of the digital marketers are using Google plus for business to get some SEO benefits. Let’s check some of the ways to improve the Google plus SEO strategy now.

1. Have a complete Google Plus profile
Your Google plus profile page tells your entire business history, so it is essential to complete all the required fields like adding real name and image, website details with description, etc. and get verified by Google. Adding Google Plus Badge on your blog/website would help you to gain credibility and followers.

2. Share High quality content consistently
Provide solutions, interesting facts, and unknown stuffs to your readers; engage them with your quality content. Also do conversation on the shared Google plus post and this would assist you to make high-ranking on web searches.

3. Get Google Plus Authorship
Getting authorship from Google for your Google Plus profile page would make you popular in the web searches as the Google plus snippet will be shown with your profile image, name and no. of followers in your Google plus circle.

4. Use G+ button often
+1 of Google Plus is similar to Facebook like. It comes along with your Google Plus profile and it let the readers to click on it to express their fascination towards the shared content. If the readers did so, it is like sharing your content on their network. If more people clicked the +1 button on your share content, it would send signals to the search engines saying that your content is more relevant.

5. Make use of featured link
The featured link of the Google Plus post is a do-follow and you could make use of it to share your website links. I used to see people sharing the link in the description filed along with the description of the content. If you do so, the link juice would not be passed to your website/blog.

6. Grow your Google plus circle
Google plus SEO strategy would be enhanced by following influential people related your field and adding link-minded people to your Google plus circle. The larger your Google Plus network, the more you influence the people’s search results who have you in their Google Plus circles. Buying Google Plus fans would result in a lower search profile, so add the relevant people manually to grow it further.

7. Include Keyword in the description
While sharing the information on Google plus posts, include appropriate keywords in the description (specifically in the first line). It would help you to drive traffic to your website/blog from the search engines. You could make use of Spark, a Google plus feature to add videos and information automatically related to the shared content by setting up of the keyword searches in it.

8. Take part in Google communities
To engage, learn and share the helpful stuffs associated to your business, do take part in various Google Plus communities. The more you stay active here, the more you get favor from search engines and this would let you to advance your brand name. 
Posted by Johnson Callen On 00:47 No comments READ FULL POST
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