Monthly Archives: December 2012

Are you using Google Author?

Google Author

Google Plus has been steadily growing for the last two years, a social networking site that is owned by Google Inc. The website launched in June 2011. It has a total of 400 million registered users, of whom 100 million are active on a monthly basis.

Google Plus is self-described as a “social layer, consisting of not just a single site but rather an overarching layer which covers many of the online properties.” Google Plus was designed to rival Facebook and it’s monopoly over social networking, the field test Google initially conducted in 2011 was flooded with an “insane demand” of users looking to sign up.

Google Plus is evidently able to capture the attention of internet users based on their brand identity alone, on the day of their mobile app release it became the singular most popular application in the Apple App store. Google Plus does offer some very useful tools, particularly in relation to Online Marketing, Blogging and SEO.

What is Google Author?

Google Author is an extremely useful tool to maximise the visibility and authorship of any online author, it’s also a very effective SEO tool. Through utilising this small addition to your articles, blog or website you can potentially increase your ranking in a Google search as well as increase your appeal with the average internet user.

How Does it Work?

It simply adds a link from the content you write to your Google+ page, however with this link you’ll also be able to display a picture, a tag-line, your location, your job etc. So having a complete and updated profile page is essential, as users looking at your content may browse through to your Google Plus page as well as your website with the click of a button.

 

 

Google Author

 

As you can see, the article that’s been published by Jemma Kiss, is easily visible to the user, coupled with the authority of the Guardian and the 10,000+ Google Plus circles this author is involved with the author has immediately created a solid foundation for herself. It’s safe to say you’re far more likely to click through to a link that is coupled with images and social media information than simply plain text, the benefits of using this tool are plain to see.

Why should I use it?

The idea may sound simple enough, but it can dramatically increase the ranking of your content within Google’s search engine, studies show that having using Google Author can increase your Click Through Rate by around 20%. Evidently utilising this tool can greatly improve your SEO capabilities as well as your online presence in general.
 

Online Marketing, What’s Trending?

Online Marketing, what's trending

What’s trending in the Online Marketing world?

Monitoring the number of searches the following topics have conjured on Google is an accurate way of measuring their relevance and popularity in the world of marketing.

  • SEO: Search Engine Optimisation
  • PPC: Pay Per Click (Advertising)
  • SMM: Social Media Marketing

Using Google Trends it’s possible to measure the interest in these topics over the course of the last six years, it demonstrates how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across the world. It also demonstrates the popularity of the terms by region and country. Evidently Google Trends is an extremely useful marketing tool for monitoring any relevant searchterm.

Online Marketing, what's trending

SEO is Blue, PPC is Red and Social media is Yellow.

 

A clear pattern emerges when analysing the results;

SEO results have been steadily increasing since 2004 and has reached a plateaux in 2010, it remains the most popular search-term of the three. It began with a score of 24, before steadily increasing for several years, as of November 2012 it’s current result is 73.

PPC began as the most popular search-term of the three at 68, it has been gradually decreasing ever since, as of January 2009 it’s search results plummeted from 69 to 14.

SMM As you’d expect social media marketing returned no results until 2007, as the concept of ‘social networking’ was basically non-existent. It’s results have increased and coexisted with the increasing popularity of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking giants. As of November 2012 it holds a rating of 48.

What will happen next?

It is forecast that over the next couple of years the results will continue in very much the same manner, SEO is predicted to maintain it’s high results, PPC is expected to continue to decrease in popularity and SMM is expected to continue to increase until it conjures basically the same level of results as SEO. Of course it’s worth noting that these future results are dependent on the current state of the market and are unable to correlate with unforeseen circumstances.

Where are these results coming from?

What becomes most evident from the regional results is that SEO and PPC return the highest results throughout Asia, for instance Vietnam and Hong Kong have the highest number of results for both of these aspects of online marketing. SMM meanwhile is unique in that it generates high results from a more diverse range of sources, such as the United States, Netherlands, Kenya and other nations throughout southern and central Africa. Clearly, examining the geographical results of these search-terms through Google Trends is an extremely effective way of analysing the online market throughout the world.

Why do these results matter?

These results are an effective method of measuring the popularity of these aspects of marketing, the online marketing environment is dynamic and consistently changing, therefore it’s extremely important to keep up to date on these types of results. Your online marketing strategy should always be relative and reflect the popularity as well as the geographical proximity of these results.

Keyword Research: The Fundamentals

Keyword Research

Keyword Research

One of the many areas of Online Marketing we specialise in is Keyword Research, the following post will give you an idea of the process as well as how it can benefit your business. Many businesses neglect this aspect of SEO, Keyword Research is the foundation of any SEO strategy, getting to know your online environment and your competition is crucial.

What is a Keyword?

It’s important to define exactly what a keyword is. A keyword is a single word or a multi-word phrase that an internet user inputs into a search engine in order to find specific web content.

Keyword Research

This image shows twelve keywords associated with the keyword “online marketing” and the amount of exact local monthly searches it generates.

It helps to know exactly what a keyword is before you choose what keywords you’re going to target.

The Process:

The objective is essentially to target what keywords are popular and likely to generate traffic, how much competition your business will face in targeting these words and basically identifying which keywords are suitable for your page.

The end result will likely look something like this;

Keyword Research

As you can see, the data illustrates which keywords are unlikely to generate traffic, the keywords that face too much competition and the keywords that are realistic to target.

Why should I use Keyword Research?

Search engines base their rankings primarily on “text content” and it’s contextual relevance to a specific keyword.

For instances a search based on the keywords “online marketing services Birmingham” would like to see results specified on these conditions.

Not all keywords are equal however, some keywords have a higher average volume of monthly searches than others and the level of competition varies from keyword to keyword. The more specific the keyword the more “commercial intention” it possesses, for instance a search such as “Adidas footwear” is more specific than simply “Running shoes” and therefore the searcher is more likely to invest in the product.

Making the right choice in keyword selection is a vital aspect of SEO, no matter how highly you rank in a google search, if you’re not targeting the correct keyword, it’s likely you’re following an ineffective SEO strategy.

The three aspects of Keyword Research:

Each of these aspects are vital within Keyword Research and must be considered in order to perform the most effective SEO strategy;

1.Search Volume:

Gaining traffic to your website is perhaps the main ambition of any SEO strategy, therefore it’s a good idea to target keywords with a high level of popularity (monthly search volume). The higher the monthly search volume the higher the potential of traffic you can attract.

Becoming the number one option for a keyword with a low level of interest will not generate a high level of interest in your website.

2. Competition:

This is another vital aspect of SEO, the internet is always becoming more competitive as more and more websites are created. The more competition for a specific keyword, the more difficult it becomes to rank highly within a Google search. For instance competing with a website such as Facebook based on the keywords “social network” would be extremely difficult as it already owns a significant portion of the market.

Even if the level of interest in the keyword is high, if there is too much competition it may not be worth pursuing the keyword as you are unlikely to be successful.

3.Commercial Intention

As mentioned previously in this post, commercial intention is an important aspect to consider, the more specific and targeted the keyword is, the more likely it will generate traffic that is interested in the information or product on offer.

A user searching for a “Cheap Ford dealer in Aberdeen” already knows what he/she is looking for and is therefore more likely to purchase a product than a user who searches for “Racing Cars”. Targeting the first set of keywords may not generate as much traffic as the latter, however it is likely to generate more genuine interest in the product.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what Keyword Research entails and how the process works, At Mint Online Marketing we offer this service as part of our SEO strategy. So if you want to attract real traffic and interest in your product or service then contact us today. 

5 things the Auto Industry can teach YOU about Online Marketing

 

Online Marketing

What you can learn about Online Marketing from Car Manufacturers.

The auto industry represents a massive market that invests a huge amount of money in digital marketing campaigns. If you’re looking to gauge the engagement of your business with digital media and online marketing, look no further than the auto industry. An auto manufacturer’s marketing campaign can become a useful source of information and provide valuable tips to benefit your own online marketing strategy.

It’s evident that the industry understands the importance of an effective online marketing campaign and the potential customers it can attract. Here are five essential lessons you can learn, to improve your online marketing strategy.

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”:

Car manufacturers select and design their themes and advertisements carefully, when they run a successful campaign, they stick with it. The auto industry spends valuable time and resources tailoring it’s online and television advertisements to suit a specified audience. If a strategy you’ve implemented resonates with your customers, it’s likely the foundation of your plan was solid and appealed to your audience.

  1. Interactive online advertisements add value:

Many car manufacturers strive to implement interactive advertisements on their websites, through this they are able to offer a useful and personal service to their consumers. If you’re scanning the web page of any major car manufacturer you are likely to come across a digital, interactive advertisement. Many car manufacturers configure their websites to allow users to “customise” their vehicle of their choice, for instance offering the customer the option to install GPS or heated seats in their new car. This form of advertisements speaks to consumers, giving them a unique and personal experience, think of it as adding toppings to the pizza of your choice.

  1. The Auto Industry is consistent:

Car manufacturers strive to achieve consistency throughout their marketing campaigns, have you noticed that their television adverts mirror what you see on billboards, in a magazine as well as the design of their website. This consistency is to ensure you’re synonymous with their current marketing campaign as well as with their brand in general.

  1. Online Video Marketing is vital:

Previously the auto industry has dedicated the bulk of its marketing budget to television advertising, now the industry has had to move with the times and concentrate on online video to engage with their customers. Through utilising online video and video hosting websites such as ‘YouTube’ any company can become more engaged and more accessible to it’s customers.

  1. Not every campaign should serve the same purpose:

Advertisements and marketing strategies can serve different purposes, some campaigns will concentrate on brand identity and strive to encourage familiarity between the customer and the identity of the customer. Some strategies will seek to generate revenue and display new products, others will seek to give customers the final ‘push’ in committing to purchase a product. It’s important to understand the numerous roles an advertisement or online marketing strategy can play in creating the best campaign possible.

The auto industry has cracked the code as far as online marketing is concerned, they’ve achieved these results through utilising an effective strategy both on and offline. As a result any business, whether big or small would do well to identify and utilise the strategies employed by the industry.

‘Bigging up’, Link Building and its benefits

Link Building

The benefits of Link Building, and why you should do so.

The process of link-building has been well documented, some of the more obvious tips such as ‘get your video to go viral’ are easier said than done. Similarly, attempting to create quality content is always a good idea, whilst these tips are helpful on a general level it can be difficult to adhere to these guidelines at all times. It’s worth considering that even if you have some of the best content on the web, if it’s not getting the attention it deserves it’s relatively useless as a marketing tool. If you are a small business with very low influence on a global scale it can be difficult to get your unique information to the attention of the mass-market.

With that in mind here are some helpful tips for helping ‘little guys’ big up the ‘big guys’;

Build relationships, not links:

Whilst a re-tweet from a cultural icon on Twitter may get you a thousand followers, it may be a better long term strategy to develop relationships with businesses of a similar stature to yours, creating a relationship that thrives on mutual benefits and the consistent sharing of information.

It’s a good strategy to dedicate time to scan the internet for content from within the search industry, commenting on interesting articles on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +. Following users that share interesting information is a useful self promotion tool. Maintaining an updated RSS feed is also a useful strategy, this is a good way to find articles that may interesting and useful to your business. This will also make sure your social following is receiving current, quality content on a regular basis.

Make the right relationships:

It’s not always easy to instantly become ‘best friends’ with Sky News or a similar company with such a high level of authority. Spending valuable time and resources plaguing this type of source will likely be an unfruitful experience. It’s important to build the right kind of relationships at the opportune time, sometimes a more realistic approach will benefit your campaign in the long run. It’s a much more effective strategy that is mutually beneficial for both parties involved.

Ask yourself… Why would anyone benefit from sharing my work?

An effective way of encouraging others to share your information is by not only promoting the content of others but adding to it in the process. Giving feedback and positive reinforcement about the content of others, take content you found and give them a short review before sharing the information.

It’s a sensible strategy to start off small, look for businesses and websites of a similar stature to yours, building relationships with bloggers who are receiving little or no attention for example and those who would be pleased to receive feedback from other users.

Try to make sure the articles you promote are from plethora of sources and authors, building a wide and diverse network. Contact the author and tell them you’ve shared their content and what aspects you enjoyed, giving them a ‘shout-out’ so to speak, ask them to share the article once more and you’ve successfully self-promoted your own business and created a mutually beneficial arrangement.

  • Hence you’ve added to another users content, this encourages users to contact you in the future as well as to visit your website.

Another effective strategy is to boost the overall authority of your site. Through linking to other material and associating with other users and increase the likelihood they will then share your content to boost the existence of the link.

Persistence is Key.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that this should be a long-term goal, therefore your strategy should reflect this. It can be frustrating as well as disheartening for a small business to be continually shunned by sources with superior presence and authority. Keep in mind that if you continue to plug away your strategy will eventually bring you the results and justify the time and resources you’ve dedicated to the process.

Expert tips for YOUR Twitter Bio

Twitter Bio

Realising the potential of your Twitter Bio.

Many businesses favour quantity over quality with regards to their Twitter followers, it’s thought that the amount of followers you have is directly related to how successful your business has become. This isn’t always the case, after all what use is having 50,000 if only one 100 are relevant and interested in the product or service you offer. Being perceived as a successful business solely based on the amount of Twitter followers is an essentially flawed system, many businesses find this so important that they ‘buy’ followers in an attempt to create the illusion of popularity.

This guide will explain the significance of your bio and the role it has to play in gaining a group of relevant followers who are interested in the information and service you can provide.

Those measly 160 characters may seem insignificant but they can be crucial in defining the purpose and set up of your business, your Bio may be the difference in the followers who ignore you and those who will click every link you post.

It’s important to understand the reasons why people chose to follow one another whether it’s to learn something, discuss interests or be entertained by the information you provide. Targeting a specific group of followers may be more beneficial than the entire mass-market, these are your ‘fan-base’ so to speak, these are the users who will ReTweet your information and possibly invest in your product or service.

Here are three tips you can use to revamp your Twitter Bio.

Write about your interests:

This is particularly important, Why are you using Twitter? What do you do? Etc.. If you list yourself as a social media expert for example, you will be expected to act accordingly and offer that service to your users.

Get your priorities straight:

It’s vital to prioritise just what it is you’re attempting to get across to your followers, what defines your business? Individual personal information such as your hobbies in your free time are likely to be irrelevant.

Keywords are Vital:

Twitter functions as a search tool, so it’s a good idea to understand this in your Bio. Using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in your profile is an effective way of garnering attention and interest in your Twitter account as well as your business in general.

Twitter Bio ‘Don’ts’- Common Pitfalls:

Wasting your limited space on a quote or something that is irrelevant to your business. Quoting a cultural icon may be motivational to you, but your Twitter followers want to know about you and your business not the people you admire.

Don’t use a Bio you’ve used elsewhere on another site, it’s important to ensure your content is unique rather than copying and pasting from other sources.

Make sure you utilise the 160 characters, this is only a snippet of information so displaying the right information and maximising the space is a good idea. It’s also important that you stick within the restrictions, having information cut off looks unprofessional and gives a bad impression of your business.

There are some of our ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ with regards to your profile, hopefully you understand the significance of your Bio and the role it has to play in getting the right kind of attention for your business. 

Are you using Pinterest?

Pinterest

Pinterest is a website that launched in early 2010, the site is designed to share articles and images from social media, users can “Pin” content that interests them and share it with others, users can also browse other pinboards and “re-pin” images to their own collection.

Pinterest

Pinterest stated that the aim of their site was to “connect everyone in the world through the things that they found interesting”

Using Pinterest for Social Media Marketing can be a great way to garner more traffic to your site. In January 2012 it was suggested that Pinterest directed more traffic than Linkedin, Google+, Reddit and YouTube combined. Understanding the Pinterest’s potential from a Social Media marketing and SEO perspective may significantly improve your overall marketing strategy.

With this in mind we’ve pulled together a few things you should know about Pinterest and how it can benefit your business.

1.Pinterest is visual: Pinterest separates itself from other types of Social Media by being so visually orientated. For many here lies a stumbling block, if your site lacks imagery you may have to re-think your strategy.

2.Commenting and Likes are essential: Try not to be self-centred, commenting and engaging with other users is essential, use the @ to directly communicate with other people and businesses, sharing is a vital aspect of the website.

3.Pinterest is followed by Google: Be sure to use keywords when creating a pin because Google does pay attention which of course makes Pinterest an effective SEO tool

4.There are more Women than Men: As is with many Social Networking sites, there are more female users than male, make sure you’re aware of your audience and who you’re targeting

5.Pinterest is Addictive: New users spend an average of 15 minutes a day “pinning” which is a remarkable amount of commitment to such a new site.

6.Connect your Pinterest with Facebook & Twitter: Connecting with your already existing friends adds another dimension to your online interaction with them, since it’s heavily interest based. Pinterest is a useful tool for forging and improving business relationships too.

Finally remember your profile is important, fill out your details and make sure you’ve inserted the appropriate keywords to make sure your page, and most importantly enjoy yourself!
 

Simplify your Online Marketing Strategy

Online Marketing, simplicity

Marketing Simplicity

Technology has made online marketing possible, without the world wide web the concept of online and social media marketing would not exist, in the process however marketing itself has become more complex. It’s easy for customers to become confused by the technology and jargon involved.

Customers prefer it when things are kept simple, companies such as Apple and Google are built on the idea of simplicity. When browsing Apple’s web page, the design and the layout are visibly sleek. The website also thrives on user experience through interactivity, customisation and online video. This simplicity is reflected in the design of the product, therefore this becomes a consistent theme associated with the branding, product as well as in marketing.

One of the reasons the late Steve Jobs succeeded as the co-founder and chairman of Apple was because he focused both the product and the marketing strategy on simplicity.

Putting Customers in the Driving Seat:

Sometimes worrying over stats and figures can result in confusing and neglecting the experience of the customer, whether in the design of the website or through marketing strategy.

Content is King in Online Marketing

This is also important as far as SEO is concerned, Keyword Research and On Page SEO are extremely important in attracting traffic and customers to your website. However if the content of your website does not conform to these standards then what reason does the user have but to stay on your site, this is known in the industry as “bouncing” which also severely affects your position within a Google search. If your SEO strategies have succeeded in attracting a user to your page, the content, design and layout of your site will have to ensure he/she stays there. Ensuring the perfect balance between the keywords and the content of your page is essential.

Simplify your Strategy:

It’s important that customers become synonymous with your brand wherever they see it, whether surfing your page on their desktop, mobile or tablet and even scanning through your social media pages. Ensuring consistency as well as simplicity will ensure that the customer recognises exactly what your brand and your product is all about.

7 Tips for Marketing your Facebook Business Page

Facebook Business and Marketing

How to market your Facebook page

Your Facebook page, or “Timeline” as of 2011 is your window to an audience of around 900 million people, that’s why it’s incredibly important to utilise this space in the most effective manner possible. For a small or medium sized business Facebook represents the opportunity to appeal an unparalleled audience, for free. Thus Facebook represents a viable solution as a marketing tool for any business lacking the resources to advertise a product service on prime-time television on a Saturday night.

There are some Facebook practices that should be common sense, update your content, provide information, be friendly and reply to fans. Here are some tips to increase the presence of your Timeline, the foundation for any Facebook marketing campaign. If you’re a small or medium sized business, you may find this guide provides useful information for the initial set up of your Facebook profile.

1. Images are Important

With the development of the Timeline in place of the regular page, imagery has become increasingly important on your page. Social Media naturally makes brands more accessible to the public, use imagery to capitalise on this. Social networking provides a good way to market the ‘social’ side of your business, giving the public a way to see behind the slogans and technical aspects of your company.

2. Make the most of your Cover Photo

“The new cover photo captures culture and essence of a brand and can showcase their products — it’s the first thing people will see when they visit a brand’s page” – Facebook spokesperson.

Think of your cover photo as the first impression your business makes on your potential customers. You don’t have to be an online marketing genius to realise that the cover photo is the most eye catching feature on your Timeline, it’s therefore important that the photo you use is appealing, relevant and also a high resolution image.

Your profile picture is located within your cover photo, this makes an ideal location for your logo or another relevant thumbnail style image, this smaller image will accompany you in comments and posts so make sure you’ve made a suitable choice.

3. Pin or Highlight your most important posts

As a result of the update, the content on your page is no longer sorted in chronological order alone, it’s possible to highlight the posts of your choice to get them where your audience will see them. You can do this by selecting the star in the top right corner of any post on the page. It will then become larger and promoted higher up on the Timeline.

4. Organise your Apps

Just below your cover image you’ll see the space for apps, this may include photos, videos, notes and thousands of other options such as customised apps. This space gets more visibility than anything below on your Timeline.

5. Provide Exclusivity

Giving exclusive offers to your customers provides an incentive for them to engage with your brand, competitions can give your followers an incentive to engage with your product as well as encourage others to ‘like’ your page. Keeping the competition simple with a tempting reward will encourage a lot of submissions on your page and will increase your overall online presence.

6. Milestones

You don’t want the early months of your Timeline to look like a graveyard, populate your Timeline with memorable milestones. This is a good way to inform your customers of what your brand has achieved, for some this may be as small as hiring a new employee for others it may be reaching 1 million likes. Updating your milestones is an effective way of letting your followers know how your business is doing as well as celebrating your achievements.

7. Love your fans

Engaging with your fans should be the foundation for any social network strategy. Through utilising all of these tips you should be able to build a strong fan base that is engaged and passionate about your brand and therefore willing to invest in your product or services. Understanding the important of Facebook opens up a huge opportunity to find and interact with potential customers.

5 ways Twitter Marketing can target your Local audience

 

Twitter Marketing

Twitter Marketing & your Local Audience

The internet has allowed business to extend their reach beyond geographical and financial constraints, businesses are no longer confined by local marketing restrictions. However some businesses consider the world wide web irrelevant to their network of customers, after all what use is the internet to a local Café whose customers live within a five mile radius? With the development of Social Media however, the internet has become far more personal, the online focus for businesses has become increasingly important.

The development of Social Media has brought with it the importance of location, through Social Media information can be tailored by local businesses to target only the relevant and interested customers. Businesses who ignore the benefits of the internet risk losing out on the opportunity to utilise Social Media and it’s location based software.

To some, the concept of ‘local’ marketing can refer to one nation, to others local may refer to a city, town or village. How can a business identify people based on a specific location you may ask?

There are several ‘Apps’ tailored specifically for local marketing strategies, the most notable example being ‘Foursquare’ an enterprise that began in New York in 2009. However the easiest and perhaps most effective tool to use is Twitter.

Twitter  Marketing, Local Marketing and follower behaviour

Twitter users often reveal their location as a by-product of expressing their thoughts and opinions, sometimes unknowingly. People will ‘follow’ others for many reasons, one of the most common however is that the information they share will personally affect them based on their proximity, for example a News station may tweet information on local traffic. It is possible for businesses to search for relevant Twitter accounts to target based on their geographical location.

1. Newspapers:

A Newspaper’s Twitter account is a great source to identify and target followers. For example followers of Newspapers such as the Guardian or Observer are likely to be UK based, the majority may be middle-aged or mature adults, following a Newspaper is an effective way of targeting an audience based on their political and social views. Following a local Newspaper would also be an extremely effective way of narrowing your search perimeters.

2. Radio Stations:

In a similar way to targeting a Newspaper, targeting a radio station is an effective way of specifying the location, age, and interests of a network of potential customers. For instance, followers of BBC Radio 1 are likely to be young adults and people in their 20’s, followers of Radio 4 are likely to be more mature with a difference in their interests as well as their financial situation.

3. Geographical Location:

It is possible to utilise the longitude and latitude of a location to identify Twitter accounts in a specific region or country. This method may seem difficult and time-consuming however it’s nevertheless an effective way of identifying a location with great accuracy. This method will also identify users who have enabled their device to be visible based on location, this will likely be able to display a high number of results.

4. Local Companies:

It may be worth targeting followers of a business on a similar or local level as a potential way of isolating customers with an interest in the type of product or service you offer.

5. Location Names:

As a somewhat less reliable method, analysing followers by searching the location name on a broad basis may be beneficial to some businesses.

These are just some of the possible ways that even the most locally focused business can raise their profile, become more accessible to the public as well as generate revenue through realising the location based benefits of Social Media. Make sure you’re reaping the benefits of utilising Twitter as an Online Marketing tool.