Monthly Archives: February 2013

2013 – The Year of Quality: Guest Publication

2013

Over the last few years Google has placed an emphasis in placing quality websites in their top places for search terms and this does make sense. You can finally be sure that if you place quality content on your site Google will acknowledge this and you will see the rise in SERPs which you deserve.

This in turn means that your SEO efforts this year need to focus on adding good quality to your website. Carefully carried out research along with interesting and user engaging content is the way forward in your quest for a top spot in the Google search results.

Along with your content being of good quality we can use the word for link building campaigns too. Instead of creating vast quantities of links on low quality article directories, blogs and so forth you should focus your attention on finding as many quality links as you can for your site. Ideally you should be looking to build an authority website (the time of the small micro niche sites is over) and thus having low quality links is not an option as it reflects on your site and thus quality is the only option. However this does not mean that you should stop building blog links and the sort for small traffic but you should limit the amount and instead look for the perfect quality links.

Places to find good quality links may be hard to find and therefore here are a few places to search:

Creating link bait – In 2013 link baiting is going to become more and more influential in standing out from the competition. It doesn’t matter if its blog posts or viral videos; you can create link bait that will certainly attract inbound links to your site.

High traffic guest blog posting – First you have to find the best blogs in your niche and write up incredible articles to go with it. If you can write informative articles which offer real value above and beyond the norm then you are on to a winner. This is the time where knowledge in your niche plays a vital role and allows you to gain that extra advantage. Once you have your content you can offer guest posts to the blog owner; anything between 1 to 6 posts a month. If you can manage to do this on 4-5 blogs then you are guaranteed to get a lot of targeted traffic to your site along with the added bonus of quality links which we have mentioned.

These are just a few examples of ways to improve your SEO in 2013 and it shows you that finding quality links in your niche will pay you huge dividends in increasing your traffic and SERP rankings in the coming months.

“Closing Credits” 

Thanks for reading this guest post, I’m Charles Floate – Owner of Rank2Bank- SEO, SMM & PPC Blog and SEO / SMM Expert for Bootcamp Media. I hope you have a successful SEO Campaign for 2013, and I hope these tips put some ideas into your head!

Online Marketing – The fresher of the Marketing world

marketing

Only six years ago the idea of marketing online was simply a pipe dream, spoken about with apprehension but not fully understood and hardly ever practised within business strategies. Fast forward six years and most businesses are benefiting highly from and using some form of online marketing. From free, easy-access social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook, to simple website building and instant blogging. Online marketing has simplified and enhanced business and business strategy to such an extent, some companies are solely online and can generate money simply with their online presence.

With such a fresh and popular response, it is no surprise companies are recognising the importance of a strong online presence as it is globally used by millions of consumers. Through this online presence alone, customers are able to contact any company with issues and concerns they have with a simple click of a button, forcing businesses to act fast to keep on top of demand. Social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook have enhanced business simply by boosting profile and awareness with various promotions and competitions. This then expands the business awareness as more customers choose to access their own social media site, for free, being instantly exposed to the campaigns etc. For such a new and innovative form of marketing, online has proved one of the most effective and fastest methods, bringing business and customer together in a direct and less intrusive manner. Unlike traditional methods with newspapers, leaflets, promotional posters etc. online marketing targets consumers and customers directly, advertising something similar to an item they have ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ via social media. This also targets potential new customers, as companies are able interest them with similar products and messaging based on search terms and other related items they have looked up.

The long-term exposure of online social media marketing heavily outweighs other traditional methods as well, profiles and various campaigns and adverts have the opportunity to go viral and will remain online forever unless a company decided to take it down or the stop the advert. Whereas posters and adverts printed in papers etc. only last as long as the publication and are more likely to be forgotten as they offer a lot less exposure. As well as being incredibly popular and globally recognised, social media has introduced a savvy and demanding new consumer when it comes to marketing, as people search for reviews and opinions as well as researching reputations of companies before purchasing anything. Sites such as twitter and Facebook have meant companies need to work extra hard in building good communications with their customers as consumers are able to directly complain or give negative press as well as positive response on public forums and social networking sites.

With social media being so easily accessed and globally used in modern society it is no wonder more and more companies are choosing to use platforms such as twitter and Facebook for their marketing campaigns, with such a high success rate.

By Emily Isaac

How To Write A Blog, Creating The Best Content

best content

How to Find and Create The Best Content

If you’re an aspiring blogger it can sometimes be difficult to find the inspiration and the incentive to start writing. Whether you’re writing for a business or a personal narrative finding the right topic is essential, this is why we’ve prepared a blog to guide you through the writing process and how to find the perfect topic to write about.

Before you even put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard in today’s lingo) you should have an idea about what people will be expecting from your content, why they visit your blog and the kind of demographic your content attracts.

My Audience:

This will of course depend on your topic, if your writing is orientated towards the Business and/or Marketing sector, you can make an educated guess that your content will attract anyone from young adults to the middle aged. With this demographic you’ll have to take in to account people from a diverse range of backgrounds in a number of occupations, from start-up bloggers, SEO specialists, web designers to business executives.

Your audience is perhaps the biggest factor to take in to account, in order to cater your content towards your target demographic it’s important to find out what type of content attracts the most engagement and the most traffic.

With Google Analytics you can find out who’s visiting your website and where they’re leaving your page.

Pay close attention to your bounce rate as well the engagement you get from your content, discussion is a signal that your topic has posed an interesting question or concept.

From a practical perspective, why not compile a list of your 10 most popular blogs to see what’s driving traffic to your website and what people are keen to discuss, you could always ask your reader’s for more feedback on what they’re finding interesting and informative.

Finding Inspiration:

best content

Great topics aren’t always easy to come by, even for professional writers and bloggers. Finding the right subject can be the most difficult aspect of blogging and it’s what people have found to be most difficult.

Writing content isn’t just about coming up with a unique idea, you can create content just by seeing what’s out there, looking at examples and putting your own spin on a topic rather than coming up with it yourself. This type of writing is known as a Curated Article.

As well as general brainstorming and discussion there are other ways to find some inspiration, here are some of the most effective ways of finding something that’ll spark your readers interest.

Topsy: This is a very useful website that we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, you can use this tool to find out what’s trending on the web and what’s being discussed through Social Media, it also features a handy Twitter Analytics tool.

Reddit: This is a huge social media news aggregator, it’s ‘funny’ section alone gets around 6.5 million views.

Google Trends: You can search topics via image, product or mentions. You can even choose to narrow it down by country and category.

Followerwonk: Find out what people based in your industry are talking about, not just the general public.

BuzzFeed: This website organises the most shared pieces of content on the internet.

TopTenz: This a particularly useful website for an aspiring blogger, rather than find out what people are talking about, you can find out what people are writing about.

In general social media provides an excellent way for you to find out what’s happening, writing about something that’s current is always likely to be more popular than something that’s grown stale and as a rule of thumb something that’s controversial tends to attract more discussion.

There’s also the matter of guest blogging to take in to account, getting a fresh perspective from another writer can give your website a fresh outlook so looking to collaborate with others Is a useful strategy. You may even get to write on their blog too, which could be a useful link-building opportunity for your website.

These are just some of the ways you can come up with an inspirational idea, don’t forget that promoting your content is just as important as the writing process, even if you’ve written the most interesting article of the year if it’s not accessible it’s almost non-existent as far as the internet is concerned.

Have You Been Hit By The Latest Google Update?

Google Update

Millions of websites have been hit by Google’s latest update, the SEO industry continuously faces this kind of setback on a regular basis. For businesses this kind of algorithm update is of a similar scale to the Wall Street Crash or the current Global Recession as far as their online presence is concerned.

Businesses are seeing their online stock plummeting as many websites disappear from Google’s front page in to obscurity.

It’s been nearly a year since the initial update was first announce in 2012,

Many web pages suffer a significant dip in traffic and as a result a loss of revenue.

Any mention of Google’s Penguin or Panda update leaves businesses and SEO enthusiasts in a state of panic. For those who work in the SEO industry there is a genuine concern that they’ll risk losing business or even their own jobs, businesses who outsource their online marketing and SEO needs often lose faith in the industry due to its sheer unpredictability.

Google Update

Why are these updates happening?

Google is forever developing and modifying its own algorithm in order to determine the best content for its users. These updates tend to prosecute ‘black hat’ SEO strategies, which are the name given to the more underhand tactics used, keyword stuffing, cloaking and duplicate content for example.

It can be tempting for businesses to use these kind of tactics, as they do bring short-term results but ultimately you’re likely to end up being heavily penalised by search engines for attempting to fool the system.

What Does Google Want?

Google ultimately wants to rank high quality, relevant and unique pages for its users, that will always be the intention of any future update.

SEO strategies often suffer when they rely solely on a singular tactic, the industry is always subject to change which is why effective strategies must always rely on a 360° degree approach that fundamentally focuses on content.

For websites to safeguard themselves against future changes in Google’s algorithm it’s essential to focus on a holistic approach to SEO based on a wide variety of tactics. Relying too heavily on one aspect effectively means putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak

Content is King.

As far as SEO is concerned, content will always be the main focus, where other areas are subject to continuous change, in many ways content is the only aspect of SEO that can be relied upon. Google will continue to attempt to improve user experience so ultimately you’ll have to ask the question of whether your site offers enough to rank.

Don’t Just Count Your Likes

facebook

Many businesses measure the strength of their Social Media Marketing campaign by the number of likes or followers they have however sometimes the stats can be deceiving…

Take Facebook for example;

Over the years you may have fought tirelessly to reach 1000 likes on Facebook, of course this is an achievement for any small business or start-up company, after all it can be difficult to gain any sort of online presence without any existing concept of brand identity.

But How Many of those followers are actually viewing your content?

The fact is that many people will ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your content looking for their own purposes, they’ll want you to like their page and follow them back.

Some will like your page initially but the information you share may not be what they hand in mind, they may even resort to hiding the information from their news feed.

So how do you measure the effectiveness of your SMM strategy?

It’s all about engagement

There’s simply no use boasting about the thousands likes you have if you’re audience isn’t engaging with you. Comments, retweets and sharing are vital.

So ideally you need to focus your strategy on getting followers that are part of your demographic, they can be localised, of a certain age group or interested in a particular concept.

There are some simple rules to stand by as far as maintaining your followers:

  • Don’t Spam; Regurgitating information repeatedly or repeatedly asking your followers to purchase your product will likely clog up their news feed and force them to click “unfollow”
  • Keep it light; Social Media users don’t always want to be reminded of heart disease or death for instance, no matter how much it may raise the chances of them buying your product.
  • Focus on Engaging not Selling: Begging your followers to buy your product or invest in your services will almost definitely turn them away.
  • Keep it Visual: It’s no coincidence that videos and images are shared the most through social media, as human beings we’re far more likely to digest visual information than text based content.

No matter how much you want to brag about your Facebook friends or Twitter followers as a business they’re simply not as much of an asset if they don’t engage with your brand so you should always focus on maintaining your audience’s interest.

Last Year Facebook Mobile Users Exceeded PC Users

facebook mobile

For the first time on record, in the final quarter of 2012 Facebook recorded more mobile users than those on a PC device.

There were 680 million mobile monthly active users compared to the overall total of 1 billion.

157 million of those only accessed the site through their mobile.

Facebook’s mobile presence has been rapidly increasing in recent years, largely due to the overall development of mobile technology.

  • There were only 245 million monthly mobile users in 2010.

Evidently however it’s clear that businesses have had to adapt their strategies to conform to the ever growing presence of mobile technology.

The company boasted over £800 million pounds in ad revenue in the final quarter of 2012, nearly £200 million of that was generated via mobile.

Experts say that this growth in mobile revenue will show progress to investors in the future.

What does this mean for Small businesses?

Smaller businesses have to follow suit, ignoring mobile users means you’re significantly reducing your potential audience.

Making your site mobile friendly is easier than you might think; here are some simple ideas to implement.

  • Make your site more visual, think videos, images and infographics
  • Increase your font
  • Increase the size of click through buttons on your site
  • Simplify your homepage, think the minimalist approach

Have a look at this post on making your page “Tablet Friendly”

The amount of users accessing your page through a mobile device is only going to increase, so make sure users aren’t frustrated by an ‘unfriendly’ mobile site.

Linkedin Closes Two Of Its Services

linkedin

Linkedin Answers and Linkedin events have been scrapped, these are a couple of changes to be aware of if you use Linkedin in for professional purposes, particularly if you use the social networking site for business to business marketing.

It seems there was no official statement by the company over the closure of Linkedin events, the information was actually released in the company’s “help centre” menu.

Linkedin Events actually closed in November if you weren’t already aware, this service provided an easy way to organise events through social media but evidently it has not received demand for the company to continue investing in the service. Clearly the company believes it’s no longer relevant enough to continue as a service, instead it’s supposed that the company wants to fully focus on developing company pages.

Linkedin Answers closes at the end of this month (January 2013), the service was created to provide expert answers to business related questions though clearly this service is also not worth the time and resources relative to its demand.

The company did release an official statement for this closure stating;

As of 31 Jan 31, Linkedin Answers will be retired from Linkedin. We will be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across Linkedin”

It’s suggested that part of the reason for the closure of the latter service is due to the high levels of spam on the answers forum.

Either way the two services are no longer active, Linkedin users will have to find other ways of organising business events as well as finding business related answers.
 

Top 5 Hashtag Research Tools

Research tools

Following our recent post on the hashtag, we’re going to share 5 of the best tools to use to target your local audience, find the right people to follow and the right people to engage with (you’re welcome).

1.Twitter Search

First of all, the most obvious yet one of the most useful tools, you can use the toolbar on the top of the page to search for people and trends relevant to your business or your marketing strategy.

For example you could search for the Guardian newspaper, view their followers and isolate followers who are likely to be a certain age, based in the UK and with certain political views. You can also search for keywords relevant to your business to see how highly your ranking.

2. Topsy

Topsy provides a comprehensive analyses of millions of Tweets, then uses the date to rank content and trends.

It provides instant access to conversations from what’s happening now to Tweets from years ago.

3.Hashtags.org

Hashtags.org provides essential info and research to help businesses improve their social media presence.

They’ll publish useful blogs and articles that can help small businesses improve their social networking strategies.

4.Social Mention

This is a social media analysis and search platform, it can gather data from user generated content from anywhere in the world and condense it in to a single stream. You can easily track what people are saying about a new product, a company or any topic in particular.

This tool includes data from Twitter: Facebook, YouTube & Google.

5.Twitter Reach

This tool makes it easy to track your own Twitter campaigns, analyze tweets about hashtags you’ve mentioned or your brand name.

You can also get expert social analytics, this tool offers a great way to track brands, marketing events and allows you to run effective marketing campaigns.

So there you have it, 5 of the best tools out there handpicked by Mint for your convenience.

The Hashtag Generation

The term “hashtag” was branded word of the year in 2012 (whatever that means), there’s also a baby who’s supposedly been named hashtag, who I’m sure will be cursing her parents for years to come if that’s true.

Either way there’s no ignoring the term, it’s all over the internet and has turned out to be a shrewd tactic from social media giant Twitter. Even when you’re watching television, you’re not free from the presence of the hashtag, programmes practically beg you to hashtag their show.

The fact is the more a topic is hashtagged, the more it’s discussed in social media and the more buzz it’ll generate. This has become an incredibly useful tool for Marketing purposes, getting something “trending” is regarded as gold dust for businesses.

What is a Hashtag?

If you’ve been living in a cave for the last 5 years you may be unaware of its presence. The hashtag symbol looks like this;

hashtag

Its Purpose

The hashtag essentially acts as a signal, putting a hashtag in front of a subject will indicate that you’re discussing a certain product/topic/person etc..

The more a topic is hashtagged the more it’s being discussed so something like #USelection would be talked about by millions of people on Twitter.

Marketing Purposes

Assuming you have a Twitter account, as far as businesses are concerned getting something trending is the ultimate goal. Even though it may be near impossible to get a small business brand to trend worldwide, the more a relevant topic is discussed the bigger the audience you’ll attract.

Hashtagging is also a useful tool to tap in to for whatever’s current at any given time, if you look at the left hand side of your Twitter account you’ll see a diverse range of popular trends. So businesses can get involved with whatever’s going on at the moment, getting involved in a popular discussions such as #iphone6 will give you access to a huge audience, you’re much more likely to get engagement on a popular topic than something that’s not relative to anyone but yourself.

Twitter Hashtags are an essential Research tool

You can use hashtags to find relevant people and businesses to follow and engage with, so it’s a great tool for targeting a specific, relevant audience.

So you might not be able to get your local fruit and veg seller to trend throughout the globe, but hashtagging is an essential tool to get followers, engagement and most importantly to direct traffic to your site.