Monthly Archives: January 2013

Infographics in Social Media Marketing

infographics

So what is an Infographic?

An Infographic is a useful image that displays information visually, complex details can be broken down and displayed in an image instead of through pages and pages of text. Think of mind-maps, flow charts, graphs, spider diagrams etc…

infographics

Using an Infographic is a great way to break down complex information in to something that’s easier for the reader to comprehend. You’ll often find these types of images in magazines, newspapers and now of course, throughout the internet.

In the same way that an Infographic image may break down the anatomy of the human body, it could do the same thing when explaining the fundamentals of SEO for example.

How does Infographics relate to Social Media?

You don’t need to be a marketing genius to realise that images are easier to comprehend than simply text alone, many people may not have time to indulge themselves in a lengthy explanation regarding a certain topic.

As far as Social Media is concerned, infographics are becoming far more likely to be shared, commented on and engaged with than just textual content.

Take Pinterest for example, which was the fastest growing social network in 2012, this type of social network thrives on imagery and visual content. You may think this type of social network would simply involve cute pictures of animals (which it does have) but business related infographics are also popular, what better way to explain a seemingly rigid topic than through an easily digested image.

That’s not to say using infographics would dull down your audience, your information can be as detailed or as simplified as you’d like.

Simply put, if you’re looking to move on with the social media generation, it’s important to recognise the growing significance of infographics and how they can help you gain engagement with your followers and most importantly gain traffic to your website.

What is Twitter Vine?

Twitter Vine

Last week Twitter launched “Vine” everyone is talking about it (not all for the right reasons) but what exactly is “Twitter Vine”?

It’s an addition to Twitter that allows users to embed a six second video within their own Tweets.

In October last year Twitter purchased Vine Labs, which was a start-up company based in New York. Vine Labs consisted of only three men, the app is still a standalone service but has now been integrated in to Twitter.

Videos posted through the App are on an Infinite Loop, which capitalises on the emerging popularity of memes and animated gifs which is a kind of image format that’s extremely popular on the internet.

What are they saying about it?

Michael Sippey, Twitter’s Vice President; “Like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vines inspire creativity”

Dom Hofmann, co-founder of Vine; “They’re little windows into the people, settings ideas and objects that make up your life”

Where can I find it?

The Vine App is currently only available on the Apple App Store, it remains to be seen whether other OS’s will pick the platform up.

How does it work?

It’s pretty simple to set up too, just download the app, sign in using your Twitter account and it’ll sync your details.

You record a video by simply using the camera button in the corner and pressing your finger on the screen while you record. Taking your finger off stops the recording, putting it back on starts it again, so you can draft your own cuts and sequences.

It even records sound!

Why does it matter?

If you’ve read our previous posts you’ll know how visual social media is becoming, in a way it’s surprising that Twitter hasn’t integrated this kind of software. It’ll give your Twitter account the option to feature short, snappy videos and it’s these videos that are likely to generate engagement.

Finally, The Controversy

Vine hasn’t come without issues, if you’ve been paying attention to the news lately you’ll see that some rather “inappropriate” material, shall we say, has appeared through the Vine app. This hasn’t gone down well with Apple, who’s squeaky clean reputation has been tarnished as a result.

Online Video in the Digital Age

online video

Years ago marketing experts would have deemed Online Video as insignificant, now thanks to the likes of YouTube, video is everywhere you look on the web.

YouTube was created in 2005, Google purchased the site the next year signifying just how significant video hosting had become on the web. The site now has an estimated 800 million unique visits a month and includes around 4 billion hours of video.

YouTube has become somewhat of an online powerhouse, Google has taken advantage of the brand by using the website for advertising purposes.

On Demand

Online Video has become a crucial factor in Online Marketing, almost every electronic device has the capability to facilitate and record video from mobiles, to tablets, to desktops. This technological development means that we’re reachable wherever we are, we can watch video at home, travelling to work etc..

Why Social Media Matters

Social Media allows us to share and engage with video, whether it’s advertising or otherwise, this has given online marketers the incentive to invest in online video and ultimately to create video content that has the potential to go viral, which is essentially a goldmine for any advertiser.

Both Social Networking Giants Facebook and Twitter have integrated video software, meaning that users can post and share video seamlessly.

Video Advertising

Research firm eMarketer says that video is actually the fastest developing form of Online Advertising. Spending in this department has reportedly increased 46% last year.

Spending by YouTube’s top 100 advertisers is also thought to be rapidly increasing.

Take 2012 sensation “Gangnam Style” for example, the video generated more than a billion hits on YouTube, any advertisement attached to the video would gain access to an enormous audience.

It appears that advertisers are becoming increasingly fond of online video as a marketing strategy. In a way advertisers are bringing what they know from television advertising in to the digital age.

To summarise, Online Video is becoming more and more significant and will continue to do so in the coming years, both for Advertisers and for Marketing purposes in general. As a small business you need to bear this in mind, your website and social media accounts must become more visual and must support Online video. Remember posting Videos is free on sites like YouTube,get started by setting up a channel and start posting!

Is SEO Becoming Extinct?

SEO is dead

Google is always developing and modifying its own algorithm to determine exactly the right content for each individual search, the changes they make continue to have a negative effect on millions of websites throughout the world.

Their aim is clear to all concerned, Google is attempting to create a new SEO generation that’s relies solely on original and relevant content.

SEO experts have advised companies to avoid relying on one aspect of Search Engine Optimisation since the concept is subject to continuous change. It’s advisable to take a 360 degree approach to this aspect of Online Marketing, covering all the bases will mean your site is less vulnerable to be hit by the aforementioned algorithm changes.

The Google Penguin and Panda updates in 2011 and 2012 have already informed the Online Marketing community of their intentions, Google is always seeking to clamp down on SEO’s more dark-handed tactics.

Increasingly Search Engines are becoming increasingly focused on websites with a continuous supply of interesting, unique content which has given rise to blogging and RSS Feeds as an SEO strategy.

Businesses should really take a look at every option, particularly Social Media.

SEO strategies that are considered essential may not be as significant in five years. When developing your SEO strategy you simply have to be dynamic and forward thinking, keeping an eye on current trends and predictions is an essential practice.

Perhaps the real question is not whether SEO will cease to exist, instead businesses need to look at how it will develop, a sound prediction would be that SEO will become increasingly focused on Social Media Marketing.

One thing that’s for certain is that content is still king and that’s what Google as well as any other Search Engine will be basing their strategies around for the coming years, so you should be too. If you have decent content, Social Media will become your own marketing conduit.

SEO certainly isn’t dead but it is changing, so your strategy must change with it too.

Why you should use Humour as an Online Marketing Strategy

 

online marketing

Your customers enjoy a laugh just as much as you do, Marketing can sometimes be a dry and humourless industry where customers face a barrage of unstimulating information every day, particularly through social media. So an advertisement that brings a smile to someone’s face will definitely make your brand stand out of the crowd and could separate your business from one that fades in to the background.

online marketing

As an SME business you face an advantage over large corporations, it’s easier for a smaller business to make off colour jokes without being scrutinised by the media. Brand giants tend to try to avoid controversy at all costs, as they’re constantly at risk of causing uproar. Like it or not, controversy sells so as an unrecognised business you’re able to take advantage of that!

Of course your business has to adhere to branding guidelines, but as an SME business you’ll certainly have more flexibility to inject some humour in to your marketing campaign.

Here are some ideas on how to do so;

Keep an eye on current topics

Make sure your content is up to date, referencing pop culture is always a great way to get attention to your web page. For example writing a blog on a current topic whilst planting a humorous spin on things will likely make your post more readable and as a result more likely to go viral.

Strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.

Videos & Images go Viral

It’s difficult to write content in Online Marketing that’s so hilarious that it captures the imagination of the public and becomes mainstream, you’re far more likely to do so using videos and imagery. This is what makes social media networks like Pinterest and Flickr so popular. Even if what you’re sharing isn’t directly related specifically to Online Marketing it’s always useful to build your brand identity.

Making your website more visual is always a good idea whatever your intention.

Give your titles a punch line

Make your titles short and snappy with a punch line to really capture a reader’s attention. A title that brings a smile to the reader’s face will always have a higher click-through-rate than a run of the mill effort.

Make your posts personal

If you’re creating content, your style of writing can determine the difference between viewers who finish your article and those who get bored half way through. Writing with a personal touch from your own experiences and with a light-hearted tone will always resonate with the reader rather than simply following a robotic, detached approach.

Readers always appreciate the personal touch and are more likely to find something believable as something funny.

These are just some of our suggestions, essentially it’s up to you how you inject humour in to your information.

The 3 Ultimate On-Page SEO Tips

on-page SEO

On-Page SEO (as opposed to Off Page SEO) is the process of making your website more relevant to search engines.

Every SEO strategy is different depending on the website but the fundamental idea is to make your website as relevant and search engine friendly as possible. Failing to optimise your site correctly means you have less of a chance of becoming visible via Google or any other search engine.

Google is always changing the way it ranks websites, take a look at the recent Penguin and Panda updates for example, so making sure your SEO strategy is up to date is essential. What might be considered essential at one point may become outdated very quickly such as is the nature of SEO.

So what does Google really want?

Google wants content that’s informative to the given subject and most importantly, unique.

This should be the focus of any SEO strategy but as far as On-Page SEO is concerned there are a number of quick fixes you can use that are consistent and necessary to improve your search engine rankings.

1. Meta Titles & Descriptions

Make sure your Meta Titles and Descriptions are up to scratch, these should inform both the user and the search engine of what your specific page is about and how relevant it is to the subject. The format for writing Meta Titles and Descriptions is relatively simple, make sure they target a primary keyword and a secondary keyword, capitalise the primary keyword in the title and make sure they don’t exceed the character limit.

Maximum 70 for the title and 140 for the Meta Description.

A useful guide for more info; ““Your Guide to Optimised Meta Titles”
2. Make your inner pages accessible

What we mean here is to make sure your site can be easily navigated by the user, by using a useful tool such as Google Analytics you can analyse how clickable your website is, how long users spend on each page and how they exit your website. Your goal should be that your traffic should click through from page to page on your website rather than accessing a single page and exiting quickly.

This can be done through internal linking, such as a link pointing to a another helpful article on your site, like this > “Click Here
3. Make sure EVERY page on your site is unique

As previously mentioned in this post, Google’s ultimate intention is to make the most interesting, informative and unique information visible to the public as quickly as possible. Your search rankings can be penalised for re-using your own or any other information on the web without permission.

www.copyscape.com is a useful website that can help you counteract plagiarism on your website.

So there we have 3 hand picked on-page SEO tips to use at your convenience, feel free to use them!

The Top 10 Web 2.0 Sites

Web 2.0

A web 2.0 site is a name that was coined in the early days of the internet for sites that use technology beyond that of regular static pages. The name comes from O’Reilly Media’s Web 2.0 Conference that was held in 2004. Although the name suggests that Web 2.0 is a newer, updated version of the internet that’s familiar to the public it’s simply the name given to the ways software developers have modified the initial version of the work-wide-web.

What does a Web 2.0 Site look like?

Web 2.0

Instead of viewing a website passively, a web 2.0 site could allow users to interact with each other through Social Media as well as allow user-generated content.

This can be found in social networking sites, video sharing sites, web applications, blogs and more.

So, to give you an idea of the type of website that uses this format, Here are 10 of the most popular Web 2.0 sites out there.

1. Facebook: Unsurprisingly Facebook is the most popular web 2.0 site, Facebook has become one of the most widely recognised brands in the world and has been described as a website that defined a generation, the website thrives on user-generated content, images, applications, video and more. The website now generates an estimated 750 million visitors per month, with around a billion users world wide.

2. YouTube: Although some are unfamiliar that the website is a Web 2.0 site, like many other sites on the list it focuses on user-generated content rather than content of its own. It’s estimated that the site receives 450 million visits per month making it the second most popular site on the list.

3. Wikipedia: The Internet’s chief free online encyclopedia thrives on content from well-informed (though not always) users on an enormous variety of topics. Users are free to add and edit information as they please, pending approval by the site. Contrary to many other sites on the list, the website thrives on volunteer donations. Nevertheless the site generates around 350 million visitors per month.

4. Twitter: This social networking site is perhaps the most improved social media brand of the last two years making massive inroads in to the domination of Facebook. The site is estimated to be worth around 7 billion pounds and gets around 200 million unique monthly visitors.

5. Craigslist: Is a classified advertisements website for products, services, jobs and CVs. The site was invented by Craig Newmark in 1995 and has become increasinly popular in the United States and throughout the world, generating around 160 million visitors per month.

6. WordPress: (Which I am using as we speak) Is the perfect example of a Web 2.0 site, it allows users to manage and create content for their own websites, it is an extremely useful tool for web and content management. WordPress generates an estimated 150 million unique visitors a month.

7. IMDB: The “Internet Movie Database is an online database for movies, television shows and video games. Users and critics alike use the website to review visual entertainment as well as individual actors, the site is owned by Amazon and generates around 100 million unique visitors a month, it also has a rapidly developing mobile presence!

8. Flickr: Is a popular image hosting and video hosting website that boasts an impressive online community. The site was purchased from Ludicorp in 2005 by Yahoo! The website thrives on user generated content, whether it’s images, videos or when used as a tool for bloggers. It’s estimated that the site receives around 90 million unique visitors per month.

9. Blogger: Is a blog-publishing website that allows users to create and promote Blogs. The site was bought by Google in 2003, the blogs are hosted by Google via a subdomain at blogspot.com. The Site has an estimated 75 million visitors per month!

10. Tumblr: Is a social networking website and a microblogging platform that allows users to post multimedia and other content. Users can follow each other’s blogs or make their blogs private. It was estimated that in 2012 that the site had over 77 million blogs live on the site. It now generates an estimated 60 million visitors per month.

So there we have the 10 most popular web 2.0 sites on the internet, these websites focus primarily on user-generated content and social media which is why they have become some of the most visited pages in the world today.

 

Top 10 Article Directories

article directories

An article directory is essentially a website that possesses a collection of articles on several different subjects and topics, this type of website is also sometimes referred to as “content farms”.

Article directories can accept articles from any contributor and from any source providing the information is topical and unique.

This post details some of the best sources for blog posts, articles and information on the web.

1. eHow: Is an online “how to guide” website with more than a million articles and nearly 200 hundred thousand videos that offer instructions on various topics. These articles are created by freelance writers and cover a broad range of topics, who are then payed for what they write. This website is often referred to as a “content mill” and is one of the most well known sites on the list.

2. EzineArticles: One of the most popular article directories on the web, there are literally millions of articles. A useful website to use to promote your website or blog free of charge. Posting your information on Ezinearticles can potentially lead to a significant increase in traffic, which is the case with the majority of these article directories.

3. Articlebase: Is a popular free article directory where any user can submit an article for promotion, one of the most popular sites on the web for article marketing and article promotion.

4. Squidoo: Is a website that often pops up in lists of the best and most useful article directories. This is a revenue sharing article directory where users can submit informative articles in exchange for an increase in traffic, it’s also possible to gain direct revenue through posting articles.

5. Hubpages: Is a great place for web users who are looking for financial gain by submitting unique and useful articles. This is possible through their revenue sharing programme, this is a useful website for freelance writers to get paid for their work.

6. Suite 101: Is a similar website, in a similar fashion to Hubpages users can submit their articles and earn money. Suite101 displays numerous advertisements to accompany their articles to distribute revenue to their authors. Suite101 are actually one of the first to offer an article directory service, starting as early as 1996.

7. Buzzle: is a simple article directory services that consistently receives thousands of visitors per day, users who want to promote their website free of cost can submit articles here and gain some significant traffic.

8. Helium: Can help promote content on the internet for free, it’s a useful website for increasing your backlinks, many authors publish through this website in order to gain potential traffic to their own blogs.

9. Bukisa: Another article directory where you can earn money for submitting articles. The website has an effective revenue sharing programs through the use of advertising.

10. Goarticles: Finally, Goarticles is one of the largest free article directories on the web, there are millions of articles from numerous authors, these articles can be reprinted on your blog or your website.

As you can see there are many potential benefits to using article directories, whether it be free traffic, revenue or backlinks to your website, so check out some of these great websites today!

 

Your Guide to Optimised Meta Titles

meta titles

For many of you reading this post your first question will be;

What is a Meta Title?

A Meta Title shows the name of a web page, the title will usually be displayed at the top of your browser and informs the reader about what exactly they’re looking at. More importantly however these titles are read, by search engines.

Why do they matter?

The Meta title is very important as far as your search engine rankings are concerned, as an SEO strategy it’s important that they’re written with search engine robots in mind. They of course have to make sense for the reader but the wording should be based on the relevant keywords your website should be targeting, as well as its relevance to your content. You could argue then, that Meta Titles are actually more important for search engines than for the users who visit your site.

Essentially then you have to keep the balance between being readable for search engines and making sense for your average visitor, with that in mind here are 5 mistakes you should really avoid.

  1. Stuffing too many keywords in to the titles, this can be seen as Spamming.
  2. Branding all your Meta Titles the same on every page.
  3. Naming all your pages with your Business Name or Brand.
  4. Making the titles too long, Search Engines stop reading your titles after 70-75 characters, limit your title to 70 characters including spaces and punctuation.
  5. Failing to capitalise any part of the keywords you’re targeting.

Keyword Research is a fundamental aspect of writing efficient Meta Titles, so it’s vital to do this before you even contemplate optimising your titles, for a useful guide check out our “Keyword Research, The Fundamentals

A good format to use would be…

Primary Keyword> Info/ Incentive> Secondary Keyword> Business Name (if you have room)

Examples: Good vs Bad

  • Tips on GROWING FLOWERS, from Gardening Experts, How To Grow Flowers
  • flowers

Try and repeat the keywords no more than twice, the keywords should be relevant to your content, limit the use of punctuation to save space and don’t forget to use capitals to draw attention to the keyword.

A good Meta Title will help Search Engines understand the focus of your page, by repeating the a keyword phrase that would be found throughout the content. It should be informative yet concise, try and make the most of the 70 characters you’re given.

So there you have it, check out the many other guides on our blog for more Online Marketing info!

3 Ways to Create The Best Content

content

Many websites have gotten in to the habit of regurgitating news stories in an attempt to pass themselves off as an informative website, simply posting a link to Justin Bieber’s latest haircut isn’t exactly helpful to your audience and it’s more than likely it’s gone viral already. What you really need to ask yourself when sharing information is;

What am I offering that no one else can?

We thought we’d give you some simple advice on how to give your audience the right kind of content whether through your website, your blog, or the links you post through social media. You can apply these three simple aspects of content creation to any information you share.

So here’s three aspects of content creation you should be considering.

Know your Audience:

This is a simple concept in principle, it’s knowing who’s visiting your site and what type of person they are. Then consider whether what you’re writing/sharing would appeal to them. This is also something you’ll need to consider if you’re looking to extend your target demographic, ask yourself what can I offer that I’m not offering already? A good tactic is to keep the balance between offering a speciality or expertise in a particular subject and becoming one dimensional. Your website may not be able to cover all the bases, but a subject topic that’s too specific will likely limit how much your traffic will grow.

Intent:

What are your visitors intentions when they visit your site? Are they looking for funny animal pictures or serious journalism? Take this post for instance, I’m aware as I’m writing this, that the type of information I’m sharing may be helpful to a blogger that’s trying to establish his or herself and is looking for a strategy to help create interesting content.

As a business you’ll have to consider whether your audience is one that is likely to skim over your informative pages and blogs or one that’s willing to invest in your product or service.

Presentation:

If you’re attracting attention and traffic to your website you’ll have to consider whether your information is visually stimulating and easy to read. We are by nature more likely to respond to visual imagery than pages upon pages of text. As far as blogging is concerned your audience is much more likely to engage and finish reading content that’s concise which is why posts offering simple tips and “top 10 lists” are popular.

A good tactic is to look at how long visitors stay on your website, as well as each individual page, do your visitors click from link to link or see your homepage and run a mile. It’s possible to use tools such as Google Analytics to measure these factors, like the ‘bounce rate’ for example.

Creating the right type of content, particularly unique content is part of the foundation of Online Marketing and perhaps the main reason SEO exists especially as far as search engines are concerned. So that’s why it’s worth asking these types of rhetorical questions before you start sharing a picture of a cute cat.

cute cat