Spending time understanding and tracking trends in your competitive landscape will positively impact the metrics you care about. And sharing both the traffic and revenue growth and insights you gain may make you a star in the executive suite.
Recruitment is a make-or-break activity for SEO teams. Recruit the right person, you’re golden! Here’s how employers can find a great SEO without paying a “search recruitment consultant” and tips for junior/mid-level SEO pros looking to move up.
SEO is leaving behind its history of being a bunch of tactical executions and becoming more of a high-level strategic affair – one that combines good marketing with meaningful content that drives users to a web presence that is sound in usability.
For search engine marketers — and the companies who depend on them — things just got a little tougher. SEO companies, most still reeling from the impact of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, aren’t going to like what the CEO of LinkSmart reported in Forbes on Jan. 22.
It’s not just links that are taking a hit from Google — now keywords are in trouble too, according to Pete Sheinbaum, who was the CEO of Daily Candy before taking the helm at LinkSmart. Google put an end to the easy acquisition of links, which for more than a decade had been essential to search engine rankings.
Links remain important, but their overall value has diminished. Worse for SEO specialists, quality links have to be earned. Google stripped sites of many links they deemed forced, purchased or otherwise tainted and now makes it harder for sites to gain links. Content marketing and social media marketing are usurping SEO’s dominance in link-building as Google now rates links based on perceived value — a link from an article published in a high-authority magazine or shared on Twitter — gets more Google love than links from ezines and directories.
Google Shields Search Results Data
And now, Sheinbaum says in Forbes, keywords are also losing their importance in marketing.
Google isn’t discounting keywords as it did links. But it’s making it harder for websites and advertisers to know what keywords drive traffic. Google is keeping much of that information to itself and may become increasingly stingy about releasing it in the future, Sheinbaum says.
If, for example, your marketing strategy revolves around keywords such as “how to make money online,” you may be paying a search engine company to put those keywords in anchor text and spending money on pay-per-click advertising based on the phrase “how to make money online.”
Google is not stopping you from spending money this way, but the company is making it harder to track results. You may not know if someone visited your site because of the keywords or because of some random reason.
What happened? Google used to freely pass along reports about keywords. But for any site that uses Google analytics — and about 57 percent do, according to study by Optify — Google keeps this information private. This is good for Google — it acquires information for its own advertising purposes — but bad for other companies who sell advertising based on traffic and keywords.
This means that marketers and advertisers are going to have a harder time analyzing traffic on their websites — and justifying their rates to website owners. Owners who want to get the most out of their marketing dollars — and SEO companies who want to keep earning their fees — will have to look beyond raw data and try to look deeper into the meaning of traffic rises and dips.
If traffic rises on a Tuesday, falls two days later and picks up five days after that, simple data will no longer provide the reason. It will be necessary to examine what changed on Tuesday — content was published on a high-authority site or a new ad campaign launch — what happened in the four days of slower traffic and on the fifth when traffic picked up.
New Strategies Needed
Todd Mumford , CEO of SEO Visions, says the information in the Forbes article should not alarm search engine specialists. For one thing, he says, Google started shielding keyword information months ago and savvy online marketers and company owners are already employing new strategies to test the strength of campaigns.
Mumford, interviewed for this article, cited three key ways to analyze traffic data despite Google’s attempts to keep the information to itself:
1. Google Webmaster Tools
These tools allow website owners to see statistics on daily average traffic, prominent search queries, ranking position and other statistics.
These tools do not, however, always provide accurate results. Google webmaster tools reports, for example that DavidAndersonWealth.com ranks at position 81 in the US, but it has rested in position 33 to 38 for several weeks.
2. Site Search
This tool helps owners and markets understand keywords relevant to a customer buy cycle — you can find out what keywords customers click on (or ignore) when they’re on your site and adjust accordingly. Mumford says websites can synchronize site search with Google to help synch up their data with Google’s.
3. Site Surveys
Mumford says site surveys can be a very effective way to collect data provided your website has a decent amount of daily traffic. Such surveys can be more valuable than Google analytics, he says, because they do a better job of capturing user intent. Questions, ratings and comments on your site tell you more about your customers — and how to market to them — than the keywords they click on.
When you understand your customers, you can match keywords to their intent without Google’s help. If, for example, your site visitors click more frequently on words such as “lose weight now” than “get healthy,” you can build your content and marketing accordingly.
Traffic analysis requires more nuance — and more guessing — and companies may make more missteps than they’re used to until their tracking skills become better refined.
Google is growing up and forcing website owners and online marketers to grow up, too.
David Anderson is an entrepreneur, business guru, mentor and author. Based on 30+ years of experience from the UK, USA Europe and Canada, David and his team have shared their “secret sauce” that has worked time and time again and helped “ordinary people achieve extraordinary things”. Visit David Anderson Wealth.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
Ever wonder how much dough those search marketers are raking in? Yeah, me too. Professionals who carry the title tend to keep pretty hush-hush about their earnings, but an agency called SEMPO manages to dig up the goods each and every year.
SEMPO is a worldwide not-for-profit agency that represents search and digital marketing professionals. SEMPO has teamed up with ClickZ to present the 2013 survey, and if you’re in the industry, you can access the questionnaire here. SEMPO has conducted this study for many years but, in 2012, the findings shifted to reflect the dramatic changes in the search landscape that went down during the year.
What It’s All About
SEMPO’s questionnaire is a yearly study of the entire search and digital marketing industry, and this year will contribute to almost a decade’s worth of data. The survey seeks to measure the current income level of those working in the industry, and it takes factors such as location, job duties, and level of expertise into consideration.
According to Search Engine Land, SEMPO attempts to mine information about SEO and SEM jobs that span from new hires to chief execs. Researchers also hope to discover how salaries vary based upon the global markets professionals serve. The survey asks questions about bonuses and other perks, SEM budget amounts, and other aspects of each participant’s role in his or her agency.
The more search marketers who participate, the better — a large number of participants will yield results that are far more accurate. In turn, this will help us all learn more about the search marketing industry as a whole.
SEMPO’s 2012 Findings
SEMPO issued a press release announcing the findings of its 2012 survey in September of last year. The release reported key findings of the study, including tactical use of social media, higher amounts spent on paid search activities, and an increased emphasis on reputation and branding.
The 2012 report managed to survey more than 900 different search marketing agencies spanning the globe. Thirty-six different countries were represented in the 2012 data set, and it included information about quite a few different areas of the industry.
Here’s the skinny: the 2012 survey found, despite the unstable global economy, the search industry was coming up roses. It proved to be surprisingly stable even though there was such major upheaval in the search environment during 2012. According to the press release, new tools and platforms played a role in the stability and, although professionals reported some of the same goals as they had in years past, some survey answers highlighted unanticipated new trends in the industry.
The Game Has Officially Changed
Two findings from the survey that I found particularly relevant for SiteProNews readers included the following, pulled straight from SEMPO’s official press release in 2012:
• Survey responses show a drop in the blunt objective of driving traffic, but it remains a key goal for search engine optimization (SEO). Perhaps more interesting is the doubled number of agencies citing brand/reputation as a goal, up from five percent in 2011 to more than 11 percent in this year’s survey.
• As with SEO, agencies evaluating their clients’ goals for paid search noted a significant rise in seeing brand/reputation as their top objective. This appears to have come largely at the expense of “generating leads” that, nonetheless, remains the top goal. The researchers surmise that for some organizations, especially those with sophisticated attribution methods in place, using pay-per-click (PPC) as an “assisting” channel that builds and supports brand terms and ideas has a greater cumulative effect on lead generation than campaigns designed for immediate returns.
This data is extremely telling if you stop to think about what went down last year that led to the findings above. Google’s onslaught of rockin’ new algos and updates forever changed the way search marketers operate and the game is now on a completely different playing field.
Take the first bullet point, for example: The responses of the survey pointed to a decline in the “blunt objective” of driving traffic. That was the singular focus of search marketers in previous years, but as the press release noted, that zinger wasn’t even the most interesting aspect of the discovery. The biggie was the number of search marketing firms that cited brand/reputation as a goal more than doubled.
Takeaway: It’s all about creating a unified presence on the Web if you want to get anywhere. Gone are the days of fly-by-night websites raking in the traffic with nothing but killer keyword sets and link-blasting software — and the algos are only getting more sophisticated. Now, it’s not about the tools you use or the data you mine — it’s about who you are as a brand.
The second bullet point above is even more curious. It notes that agencies representing paid search advertisers also cited brand/reputation as a top goal in the study. Companies are using PPC as a stepping-stone toward the goal of unified branding across the Net for their clients instead of as an isolated lead-generation tool. This is huge. These findings mean all the chatter we’ve heard in the search community over the past year indeed holds true — to make it online, you must become a brand.
Daunting… intimidating? I know, I know. I’m right there with you. But if you step back for a minute and ponder all this info, it sort of makes sense. If you brand a website, get active on your branded Twitter account and Facebook page and you begin connecting with others in your niche across the Web, a funny thing will happen — people will begin to recognize you and traffic will flow to your site through virtual word-of-mouth.
Google may have initiated the changes that started the domino effect leading to this new emphasis on brand management, but complying with Big G will produce a rather ironic result. By doing Google’s bidding, you’re essentially freeing yourself from its clutches — traffic will begin to recognize your brand and begin to find you… without the help of a search engine.
Take that, Googlebot.
Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the Net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
Often, the first step one takes to optimize one’s website for the search engines involves keyword research. To be honest, though, you should perform that keyword research BEFORE you do SEO – in fact, you should probably do it before you even build your website! Keep reading to find out why.
I need to tip my hat once again to Stoney deGeyter at Search Engine Guide. He discusses five steps one needs to take to organically grow one’s search engine ranking. I’m in Central Florida, so right now is a great time to think about growing things (or at least starting them indoors before the last frost). And that gardening metaphor is more than apt.
Think about keywords as you would think about the seeds you use to grow your garden. You may start by thinking about what you’d like to grow, but before you even buy the seeds, you’d research what kinds of plants grow well in your area. For example, I like certain homegrown tomatoes, but if I lived further south I wouldn’t dream of growing them except under specifically controlled conditions; South Florida suffers from a serious nematode problem. Which is a pity, because you’d figure the climate is perfect otherwise…well, as long as you keep in mind that the growing season is different because it gets too hot in the summer for tomatoes to do well. (Big surprise to those of you further north, yes?). And don’t even get me started on the soil consistency…
Now before I take this metaphor too much further, let me explain what I’m trying to point out: if you don’t do your research, you could end up with some really unpleasant surprises. You might want to use a keyword that gets a lot of traffic, but also has a lot of competition. You might want to use one particular keyword for your product, but find that your customers use a totally different word for the same thing. Or you could get some pleasant surprises…like the time I grew a tomato plant and had it last for more than two years, when I’d heard that one usually must replant every year. Not in Florida, apparently, or at least not with that particular plant! But you’re not going to know unless you do the research.
You wouldn’t even begin to create a full-scale garden without researching your plants, and you shouldn’t even begin to create a full-scale website without doing your keyword research. Just like the plants, keywords are the key elements to your website; it’s what the site is all about. Yes, I know, it’s all about content and giving a good experience to the user (and helping you conduct your business, of course), but your content grows from the categories you choose, and those categories are your keywords.
Keywords are like tomatoes; raw or cooked, you can use them in everything. And plenty of people do. This luscious red fruit happily goes into salads, pizza, stews, soups, chili, on burgers (as both tomato slices and ketchup), pasta sauce, and so much more. As deGeyter points out, “keywords can help you build navigation, titles, descriptions, content and blog posts!”
Your keywords help you market your website; they tell everyone what your website is all about. And by “everyone,” I mean the search engines, your visitors, your writers, your suppliers, those who create your product or service, and even you. And that’s why you should get that research done BEFORE you build your website. Because if you don’t, you might find yourself fighting to grow tomatoes in July in South Florida in soil that’s full of nematodes. Good luck!
Facebook will unveil a new video-ad product this year as its largest attempt to date to attract big ad dollars from TV advertisers. Video advertisers will have the chance to target video ads to large numbers of Facebook users in their news feeds on both the desktop version of Facebook, as well as on mobile phones and tablets.
On the desktop version of Facebook, the video ads are expected to grab a user’s attention by expanding out of the news feed into webpage real estate. They are also working on a way to ensure the video ads stand out on mobile apps.
Advertisers will be able to show their video ads to desktop users of Facebook, but Facebook has been highlighting the mobile versions of the product in meetings with ad agencies, demonstrating the product on both tablets and mobile phones. With Facebook’s scale, advertisers could target demographics as they do on TV as well as use the gross ratings point currency they use for TV.
At the top of the list of concerns is the autoplay function, which is often viewed as intrusive and sometimes as a source of fraud in the video-ad market, when autoplay ads count toward a view even if someone isn’t watching them. Additionally, there is concern that Facebook visitors will quickly become tired of ads from advertisers with which they or their friends have no relationship, even if advertisers tailor the ads based on information in a person’s profile.
With one billion users, Facebook has become an increasingly useful tool for brands and its use is crucial to have a strong social presence.
Whether your brand is fully established or just starting out, launching a marketing campaign can seem a bit daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a timely or expensive process. There are several small, simple things you can do for your brand on Facebook.
Below are a few tips on how businesses can take advantage of the new video ads feature on Facebook.
1. Application-publishing platforms
For small- and medium-sized businesses, social media budgets are nowhere close to those of global brands, which can afford multiple custom applications and promotions on Facebook. However, large budgets aren’t required to launch a lot of the basic applications seen on Facebook.
Services such as North Social and Pagemodo provide the kinds of applications that most businesses need. Also, most of these services provide a “freemium” model that offers some applications for free.
Keep in mind that you won’t get a customized app, but you can manage the content and visuals within pre-developed apps that are available. This may be a good first step into the Facebook world if your budget is a main concern.
If you have to provide a report of Facebook metrics to your boss or client, the best time-saving tip is to export the Facebook Insights data to an Excel spreadsheet. You can see which status updates performed best, if your audience responds well to video and get a sense of what’s driving your ‘likes.’
Click the ‘export data’ button. In the pop-up that appears, select the data type and date range.
Once you’ve done this and downloaded the file, open it in Excel and apply a filter by going to the data tab and clicking on ‘filter.’ Once this filter is selected, you can quickly filter any key metrics in ascending or descending order, which is a very powerful trick when analyzing your Facebook marketing and engagement efforts.
3. Local content
Nobody wants to visit a Facebook page with an enticing offer, only to learn that it’s not available in his or her region. Nor do they want to land on a brand page where all the content is in another language.
Allow users to recognize that you are connected with their location by providing details and assets specific to where they are.
When you have to target languages, Facebook allows you to make status updates for users with certain language settings. So, Facebook users who have French or Spanish as their default language on the site will only see your content that is in their native tongue.
4. Facebook Ads
Buying Facebook ads is a wise, cost-effective solution that can help increase your brand’s visibility throughout the Facebook platform. Most people don’t realize how easy they are to set up or that you can buy in with a small ad spend.
Facebook’s ‘like’ ads provide users the opportunity to ‘like’ your fan page from any page they are on. These ads are relevant because they keep users engaged and informed with the latest in your marketing campaign.
5. Promotions and changes
Consumers seek out special offers, and retailers will offer an abundance of limited-time discounts, free shipping, door-busters, and ‘act now’ events during the season. Though time-sensitive promotions are great tactics for motivating customers, they also put added pressure on brands. Communications, regardless of channel, must be timely.
Interactive call-to-action buttons are critical to drive the performance of any offer type presented within video ads. In the absence of interactivity, a next-best approach is adding a promotion code, or even a QR code that can be scanned with mobile devices.
Forty percent of the top 50 Internet retailers offer “buy online, pick up in-store” programs. “Pick up at a store near you” is convenient year-round, but even more so during the holidays, when shipping delays and out-of-stock notices are most common. Promote this option in your video ads.
Smart video advertising will help your online business target and engage holiday shoppers through relevant messaging that enhances the customer experience. An engaging video ad will attract more site visitors and drive sales. Keep these tips in mind when developing a campaign for the new video ads feature on Facebook.
Yo Noguchi is an experienced freelancer, guest blogger, and frequent contributor to a blog hosted by Benchmark E-mail, one of the world’s global provider of event marketing services.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
With 55 sessions on topics covering everything SEO, PPC, social, analytics, local, mobile, video, and much more, SES New York 2013 will once again be a must-attend event for marketers, advertisers, agencies, and business owners of all skill levels.
If you are marketing smart and not hard, you find your customers where all their attention is focused. Nowhere else will you find people more focused than on their mobile devices and, to top that, did you know that it takes an average of three seconds to open your message?
More than two-thirds of the population now has a mobile phone and is active on the Internet. Facebook says more than 500 million of its subscribers use its service on their mobile phones, and these have twice the activity level of those accessing Facebook from a laptop or desktop computer.
It seems that mobile marketing is now a necessity.
Here are 10 ways to nab customers with mobile marketing:
Text messaging: This is the technique that is used most often with mobile marketing. Get your customers to opt-in to your database and confirm they want to hear from you, then send them offers they will find hard to refuse.
Mobile advertising: Place advertisements on mobile content websites like blogs and mobile newspapers.
Mobile e-mail: Most people can receive e-mail on their Smartphones. Ask your subscribers to text you their e-mail addresses and sign up for an e-mail list. You have more options with e-mail than with texting alone, such as graphics. You can give more detail, and you can offer a mobile coupon. Have an opt-in box on your website for this.
Mobile applications: You can create apps and list them in the app stores such as Google Play. Customers can find you through the store and download your app. You can then send offers through this app.
MMS (Multi-media messaging): These are messages that can use pictures, a lot more text, sound and video. It works the same way as text messaging.
Mobile Internet and QR codes: You can use a mobile version of your website and QR codes to send your mobile visitors to your site.
Voice messages: Have an interactive voice response system answer your phone calls and give your phone number to your customers.
Mobile content: You can send customers links to interactive content such as images, videos, slideshows and other downloads which will lead to more traffic and more signups.
External ways: You can advertise through Wi-Fi, mobile newspapers and GPS.
Mobile search: Many people search online from their mobile devices for a product or service that is near them. Make sure they will be able to find you by providing directions and maps from your website.
If you are a savvy marketer, you will make sure you can be found by mobile marketers in all the above ways.
Article by Hannah du Plessis. To learn more about mobile marketing and how it can help you, visit Attraction Marketing today, and sign up for the mobile toolkit.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources