Monthly Archives: March 2013

Using Facebook to maximise your marketing

facebook

A recent survey has suggested that Facebook receives 3.2 billion likes and comments on average every single day, these figures are incredibly impressive and should not be dismissed when considering the use of Facebook to maximise your business online.

With the impressive usage as well as ever-strong branding Facebook has globally, it is no wonder this free and easy to use social media platform is one of the most popular form of marketing for any business.

Free to use- Creating a page on Facebook page for your business can happen within five minutes and costs nothing but can make all the difference to their profit. With such easy access to a powerful social media platform it makes sense to utilise Facebook as a free, easy to use tool to enhance your business potential and expand your network quickly.

This is particularly useful for smaller companies and businesses on smaller marketing budgets as social media can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool when utilised properly and they all still remain completely free to use.

Invest the time- Investing the time in your Facebook page not only makes your readers ‘share’ and generate interest around your page but it increases the growth of your business with little to no effort. By investing a small amount of time on your company’s Facebook page and creating a strong presence with ‘likes’ you are securing your company’s inclusion in conversations and acquiring connections with people online.

Generate interest on your page for free with images and videos that attract and grab attention, they don’t have to be related to your business but just something that will generate interest and activity on your page and encourage people to talk about your company and mention your business.

Visual aids- As mentioned previously Facebook actively encourages people to interact and generate interest with images and video sharing. Pictures keep people interested and are far more popular than lengthy blogs and by creating interest around your business’s account with quirky imagery your popularity on Facebook will quickly increase.

This also refers to the branding of social media sites such as Facebook as the logos have become very powerful brands in their own right. Seen everywhere from adverts on television to posters on the street, the social media icons are powerful enough to appear on the front page of your company’s website and people will immediately know what they are.

Recently SEO experts have found that strong and regular activity on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, generates more traffic on the business website and therefore enhances your page ranking. By maintaining any sort of presence on these huge social media sites can make all the difference when it comes to SEO and page rank and are all completely free to use.

Linking your business’s homepage to your social media sites and vice versa will not only ensure a better flow of traffic and general visits but enhance your page ranking overall, maximising your SEO and presence as a business.

The 360* Approach to Online Marketing

online marketing
One of the main pitfalls businesses often fall in to during their online marketing campaign is the concept of relying too heavily on one aspect of the spectrum.

Too frequently a business relies on a singular approach, it’s these businesses that are often hit by changes in Google’s algorithm. Similarly those who rely too heavily on paid search may be missing out on the benefits of an effective SEO strategy, often all you need to undertake a successful SEO campaign is patience and the relevant expertise rather than significant monetary investment.

The more efficiently all aspects of your online marketing strategy work together the more focus Google will place on the content you share and in turn the higher your pages will rank within Google’s SERPs.

A good place to start is with an audit of your website which can illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of your site. From there, you can re-evaluate your selection of keywords as well as your overall content strategy, you can also take a look at which aspects of SMM would suit your business.

It’s important to question whether your content strategy is working effectively, so it’s a good idea to measure the engagement of your blogs, tweets etc.. How many comments, shares and likes are you receiving on a regular basis.

Google Analytics is a great tool to use to measure the strength of your online presence.

What your business focuses on largely depends on your goals and the nature of your presence but as a general rule it’s a good idea to take a holistic approach that includes as many features as possible.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):

Keyword Research

On-Page & Off-Page SEO

Link Building

Social Media Marketing (SMM):

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Linkedin

Pinterest

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Google Adwords

Facebook Paid Advertising

Linkedin Paid Advertising

Stumbleupon Paid Advertising

Online Press Releases:

Copywriting

Distribution

If your business is neglecting any of these major aspects then it may be time to revise your online marketing strategy.

Google Glass or the Smart Watch? The battle for next gen Technology

google glass

What does this mean for businesses and for our privacy?

Technology has developed dramatically in the last decade, it appears that we are now reaching the stage where applied science is so advanced that ideas that could only be imagined in science fiction are now becoming part of reality.

google glass

This rapid growth in technology has dramatically changed our day to day lives and how businesses and brands communicate with their following, less than five years ago the idea of watching video on the way to work would have seemed far-fetched now that we are essentially contactable wherever we are, businesses have had to change the way they engage with the public whether it’s through social networking or online video.

The latest development that’s caught the attention of the masses is the concept of a wearable computer or an augmented reality device.

Industry giants Google and Apple are now fighting to gain a foothold in this new generation of technological advancement;

In recent weeks Google has revealed its latest innovation, Google Glass. A head-mounted display that displays information in a similar fashion to the smartphone, the device can be activated via voice command. The device may even be integrated with prescription lenses in the future, it’s speculated that the device may be released as early as this year.

There are rumours that Apple is in the process of developing its own “smart-watch”, a wearable computer that can be attached to your wrist, whilst Samsung is also rumoured to be developing a similar product.

What does this mean for our privacy?

Google Glass has been attracting some concerns over privacy issues, if you’ve seen the viral adverts then you’ll be aware that the device can record video on command, if these devices are set to become commonplace in society then how will it impact on our sense of privacy.

It remains to be seen how are privacy will be affected, who will be defined as complicit as far as being recorded is concerned, many people may be recorded with one of these devices which can then upload their image to social media, all without their permission.

For Businesses

Being able to watch and video as well surf the web, through a lens or through a smart-watch will change the way businesses contact their audience as well as how commercials and advertisements can reach a targeted demographic.

But for now, what we’re wondering is what will become the most popular.

Would you prefer to wear a head-mounted device or a smart-watch? Are you content with a simple phone in your pocket? Let us know.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Twitter, on its 7th Birthday

twitter facts

Just in case you didn’t know Twitter celebrates its 7th birthday this week

Both Twitter and YouTube are celebrating this week, it has been seven years since Twitter first started, which makes it a great time to chart the history of one of the biggest online presences.

Twitter celebrated 7 years since the site first went live, with a video charting the site’s history from its humble beginnings to its presence as one of the most popular social networking sites on the web.

With that in mind here are seven things you may not know about Twitter:

  • The phrase that’s been retweeted most frequently is “four more years” after Barack Obama retained his presidency
  • On average we Tweet around 400 million tweets every day
  • The first ever tweet was by its owner Jack Dorsey (with a typo): “Just Setting up my twttr”
  • The official name of Twitter’s bird is Larry Bird, named after an NBA basketball player
  • Jack Dorsey doesn’t use a desk, he works from a single iPad.
  • Twitter didn’t create retweets, replies, hashtags, a mobile app or social ads—it was created by users and developers in its ecosystem. Those features were later supported by Twitter, unfortunately these users will not inherit any of Twitter’s profits
  • The initial idea for Twitter was created in a playground: “an idea so simple that you don’t even think about it – you just write” This moment of inspiration has turned Twitter in to a multibillion dollar company

twitter facts

Twitter’s influence as a marketing tool is undisputed, what Twitter has as an advantage over other social networking sites is its potential for discussing breaking news. The hashtag allows businesses to join in on discussions that are relevant to the brand.

To give you on idea, Twitter was mentioned in 26 of 52 nationally aired advertisements during the Superbowl in the USA, compared to Facebook, which had a measly 4.

So if your business isn’t taking advantage of Twitter, then there’s no better time to do so, than on its 7th birthday.

Top 10 Google Tools for Marketers

google tools

Google offers plenty of helpful tools for marketeers everywhere and it’s good to know that you can use all of them on just one login.

Businesses should certainly look to take advantage of these tools, especially as the following tools are all free to use!

1.Google AdWords

Google AdWords is free to use, but if you’re not getting enough traffic through organic search then you should consider undertaking a paid search campaign.

Essentially you can bid for a specific set of one or more keywords and dramatically increase the amount of traffic your website generates. The fact is, businesses are reliant on Google to generate the highest level of exposure, so launching an effective PPC campaign could be exactly what you need to get your website out there.

2.Google AdWords Keyword Tool

This is an extremely useful tool for PPC, SEO purposes and for keyword research, this tool can help you select which keywords generate the most traffic and what has the most competition to help configure the ideal keywords for your website to target.

It will also suggest additional keywords that are suitable to your business.

3.Google Alerts

Google Alerts offers a useful way to stay on top of the latest news relevant to your market, (we recently covered this on the blog) you can use the tool to let you know when a specific search term is mentioned and choose to have updates as they happen, every day or every week.

You can have alerts delivered straight to your email inbox or your RSS reader.

4.Google Analytics

This is one of the most advanced tools that Google offers and is particularly useful as far as online marketing, web development and blogging is concerned. You can use Google Analytics to learn more about your audience, your traffic sources, your level of social engagement and much more.

This is definitely one of the most useful tools on the web and it’s free too.

5.Google Calendar

This tool offers an easy way to keep up with events in your business’ calendar, you can share events with your coworkers or fellow clients, you can also set reminders and alerts via email for important events.

6.Google Docs

Google docs offers an excellent way to share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and tables with your fellow employees, which can be edited in real-time. This also saves on the amount of paper you need to print and distribute in the office, since any important document can be shared digitally.

7.Google +

Google’s social media platform has developed significantly in recent years, with around 500 million registered users. The search engine is ensuring the social network is incorporated into almost every aspect of the web, your Google+ presence is now an important ranking factor.

8.Google Trends

This tool offers an excellent way of tracking and monitoring what’s trending on the web, which makes Google Trends incredibly useful for blogging purposes and for joining in the discussion on a topic relevant to your business.

9.Google Places

If you want your business to target your local market then Google Places is extremely useful, by adding your business you can encourage others to view and review your business which will help your SERP ranking.

10.Gmail

Google Mail is now the leading mail provider with more registered users than any other provider, it also offers more space than the likes of Hotmail, AOL etc..Gmail is easy to use and offers some useful services such as an intelligent smart filtering system.

As you can see Google offers far more than a simple search engine function, businesses are reliant on the company for much more.

A History of Google

history of google

A brief history of Google and its development from search engine to tech giant.

Google has a monopoly over the search engine market, details of its dominance range from having a 65% to 80% share of the search industry, but the Google brand has come a long way since then and it has now expanded to become one of the world’s most well-known brands.

The company was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin whilst at university (who still own around 16% of the company) with the intention “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”

Functioning as a search engine it fought off competition from the likes of Ask Jeeves, Yahoo and more recently Bing.

The company’s rapid growth since its incorporation has triggered a range of products and acquisitions along the way, for instance one of its major purchases was YouTube in November 2006 for just over one billion pounds, which signaled its intent to become more than a simple search engine.

history of google

Google purchased YouTube in 2006

Last year Google earned around $50 billion dollars in revenue, an increase on the previous year.

The company is now far more than a search engine

It now offers a diverse range of services;

Google plus:This is the site’s attempt to make inroads in to the social media networking industry which is primarily dominated primarily by the likes of Facebook and more recently Twitter. Google+ has made a significant impact however and now it consists of more than 500 million registered users.

Gmail: As of June 2012, Google’s mail service is the most widely used web-based email provider with over 400 million users worldwide with a larger capacity than many of its rivals including Hotmail.

Google also offers many other services including an office suite and desktop services.

One of the more significant development in recent years has been the company’s foray in to the tech market.

Google has now extended its services in to mobile technology, with the development of the Android mobile operating system. Android mobile devices have made a significant impact on the smartphone market although it is still inferior in terms of revenue when compared to Apple.

history of google

The company now has its own product in the desktop and personal computer market, the Chromebook runs on its own Google Chrome OS operating system and has become a popular and cost-effective product.

history of google

Google now leads the market in developing the first “augmented reality wearable computer”, titled Google Glass. This head-mounted display device will allow the user to connect to a computer and the internet without the need to use his or her hands.

history of google

This futuristic innovation is one of the first of its kind and signals Google’s intention to develop previously intangible technology.

Despite Google becoming a leading manufacturer of tech products, it still generates the majority of its revenue through AdWords, which signals just how important it is to be on Google’s front page, many SEO strategies still revolve around getting a website on the front page of Google. The search engine has dominance over what websites are visible to the public, getting on the front page of a SERP can signify a potential goldmine for businesses as as far as traffic and subsequent revenue is concerned.

Google is now integrating Google plus as part of its ranking algorithm, by making its own social network a ranking factor, this will encourage businesses to sign up for its services and put more focus in to its Google+ marketing campaign. By offering additional services aside from that of a regular search engine Google is attempting to monopolize all activity on the web, tools such as Google Analytics and Google Trends ensure that we rely on the company for more than simple search engine functions.

Thanks to its dominance over the search engine market the company has been able to invest in other areas, businesses are still reliant on Google to ensure their information is visible on the web and essentially the entire SEO industry is devoted to optimizing websites accordingly.  

Stay on top with Google Alerts

google alerts

Using Google Alerts for content purposes

Theoretically you can use Google Alerts as a way to monitor whenever your name is mentioned on the internet, whenever a blog post or news story (if you’re important enough) mentions your name Google Alerts can emails you with an update as it happens.

This demonstrates just how effective Google Alerts is as a tool for content purposes, you can be notified whenever your company name is mentioned or when people are talking about a subject that you’re interested in, even with a topic as specific as pay-per-click advertising for example.

The process is more personal than Google News, with information tailored to your needs, you’ll be notified as it happens or whenever you’d prefer to be updated.

It can be extremely useful to have information at your finger-tips when you get to the office or turn on your computer each morning, particularly if you’re an aspiring blogger looking for inspiration for your next article or if you’re a business looking to get in on the discussion surrounding a specific topic.

As long as the information is indexed on the web, Google Alerts can find that information and deliver it you.

google alerts

Setting up an Alert is easy:

  • Just enter your search query, use quotation marks to search for specific nouns
  • Choose the result type, from ‘everything’ to news, blogs, video or discussions
  • Choose how often you want to receiver an alert, ‘As-it-happens’ for minute by minute updates, once a day or once a week for occasional alerts
  • You can choose to receive ‘only the best results’ or ‘all results’, you may wish to use the best results option for a topic that’s heavily saturated and the alternative for more specific topic
  • You can also choose where and how to send the alert via email or RSS feed, an email may be more suitable for unique alerts, alerts delivered in bulk may be better suited to RSS feeds or a business email account.

Now that you know the benefits of Google Alerts and how to use the tool, you’re free to reap the rewards so get out there and start searching!

New Google AdWords Clients Can Get Up to £200 of free Credit!

google adwords

How would you like the opportunity to get up to £200 of credit Google AdWords?

Well the good new is, you can. We’ve been offered the opportunity by Google to give 10 of our luckiest clients some free Adwords credit.

It’s called the Spend Match Offer, whatever you spend on Google AdWords within the first month we can match in the second month (up to £200) thanks to the offer we’ve been given by the kind people at Google.

Want to give it a try? It’s pretty simple, just get in touch with us via the usual methods, email, Twitter or via the phone for more information.

Now has never been a better time to sign up for Google AdWords.

Hurry though we’ve only got 10 opportunities left, don’t miss out on the opportunity to drastically improve your PPC results.

google adwords

 

 

Even Big Businesses Can be Punished by Google

google

Interflora suffers a major setback ahead of Mother’s Day

Last week it was revealed that Interflora, the UK’s longest serving flower delivery network had been punished by Google for breaching the Search Engine’s SEO guidelines (The Webmaster Guidelines).

This was big news in the marketing and search engine optimisation community, as this was a clear demonstration of a major business being reprimanded by the search engine’s latest updates.

It’s unusual for such a high-profile brand to be penalised so severely but Google clearly felt the need to make an example to signify that no business is immune from punishment if it follows the more underhand tactics of SEO.

These tactics are colloquially known as ‘black hat SEO’, Google has realised that Interflora is guilty of these kind of tactics, a large number of regional newspaper websites were found to have the wrong kind of links to the Interflora homepage.

These links were designed to improve the site’s PageRank, the links were intended to boost Interflora’s position on Google. Links within advertorials that are paid for are not meant to increase PageRank which is what the business was guilty of doing.

The newspapers who took part in these links were also punished.

Google has taken serious action against the retailer by removing the websites from many of its SERPs, it’s worth mentioning that this is likely to be a temporary measure, but the story becomes far more significant given the timing as Mother’s Day is fast approaching, one of the key dates for florists everywhere.

Interflora will no longer feature on Google’s front page which will have a big impact on its sales leading up to the 10th of March.

On the 4th of March Interflora did feature for some keywords on Google’s SERPs but only on its second page which is hardly impressive for a business of its standard it’s therefore likely to lose out to its competitors.

Google did not comment specifically on the story but did recently release a statement explaining its standpoint on underhand SEO tactics.

Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam at Google:

“Google has said for years that selling links that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines…Google does take action on such violations”

Indeed Google has sent out a clear message to all businesses, whatever the stature, this is a keen reminder of how vulnerable businesses are against restrictions imposed by the search engine.

A guest post by Bright Future Software, check out the site for all your outsourcing needs.

How Google+ can Benefit Your Business

google+

How Google+ can Benefit Your Business

As we’ve covered recently on the blog, Google is constantly changing its algorithms, this leaves many businesses vulnerable if their SEO strategy is somewhat one-dimensional. One development that’s become increasingly prevalent in recent years is the way social media is being integrated in Google’s rankings. Businesses with an active and engaging social media presence are being rewarded by climbing up Google’s SERP.

Social Networking now acts as an SEO indicator leading businesses to invest time and resources in to having active social media accounts with a significant following.

However Google is now attempting to stress the importance of its own social networking “layer” (Google+) as a ranking factor, this in turn will encourage businesses to sign up based on the ranking incentives it offers.

So if gaining access to around 500 million registered users doesn’t appeal to your business then perhaps the benefits to your SEO strategy may encourage you to set up an account or at least convince you to have a more active and engaging presence on the site.

Whilst Google hasn’t specifically explained how Google+ operates from an SEO perspective it does take in to account the number of +1s you have on your website and how many times your content is shared through Google+.

Note: Even if you don’t promote content through Google+ you can let others do the work for you, simply by allowing others to share your information via the +1 button.

The buttons are becoming increasingly important from an SEO perspective, +1 buttons in particular are starting to act as a more significant indicator than both Facebook likes and Twitter shares as far as SEO is concerned.

Because of Google’s monopoly over the SEO industry, any business with an online presence is subject to its algorithm changes, integrating Google+ as a ranking factor is an effective way to encourage businesses to actively use the site.

Of course Google+ does have its merits as a social networking site, particularly for businesses.

The Benefits of Google+

Google Author is one of the lesser known benefits of having a Google + account, simply by integrating your picture in Google’s search results pages studies show that you can increase click-through rate to your pages by around 20%. Of course you’ll need a Google + account for the HTML tag to work, this is certainly an intelligent way for Google to encourage people to sign up.

google+

Google + Communities are a great way for businesses to find and engage with a targeted audience, even for very specific topics like PPC or SEO, Google+ offers a great way to engage with other businesses and gain access to a demographic interested in what your business has to offer.

Here’s an example

Usability: The site is fairly simple in design, which is part of its charm. By signing up for a Gmail account your Google+ account is automatically created and linked with your email address, how you use your account is up to you, you can access the site simply by pressing the + link on the top of your Gmail account.

google+

It’s also a simple and clean looking site, with a design that’s similar to Facebook, it isn’t as formal as Linkedin (you don’t have to ask for permission to connect) and is catered more towards businesses than Twitter.

Google Circles: This is an easy way to divide friends and followers in to useful categories, which means you can tailor what information you share for each individual audience. Businesses may be interested in what you latest blog post is about but not what you’ve been doing on the weekend. Google Circles provide a useful way to tailor what you share, keeping business and personal apart if necessary.

Getting Involved

All you really need to do is get involved, simply by keeping an active account and allowing other users to share your information through Google+ you can improve the ranking of your page and get access to a vast amount of people. You can do this by either activating an account or making sure your pre-exisitng account remains active, share interesting information, engage with others and integrate +1 buttons on your website.

So if you aim to take your Social Media marketing strategy to the next level or wish to improve your SERP ranking, Google + is definitely something you should look to utilise. To reap the benefits that Google+ can provide you simply have to become more involved in its social sphere or risk losing the edge to your competitors.