Wednesday, May 30, 2012

5 Ways to Master Social Media Multitasking BY Jonathan Blum

Managing social media accounts across Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other sites can be overwelming for some business owners. Posting to each can simply require too much attention for time-crunched entrepreneurs.
But you don't need to be all things to all people on the social Web. And you don't need to hire a social media manager to handle it all. There are a number of cost-effective ways for you to have an active pressence on more than one social media site without devoting all your time to it.
Here are five tips and tools for how you can get your message across on multiple social platforms without wasting a ton of time -- or breaking the bank.

1. Have a strategy.
Try spending your limited time and resources investing in only the social media sites you know that your customers use. It can be better to build one or two strong profiles than to dilute your influence with a scattershot effort across four or five.

Once you determine which sites to be on, creating a social media content strategy can help you stay organized. Maybe you tweet only five times a day, post to Facebook once a day and update your business blog once a week. Laying out a strategy and sticking it to it can help take some of the haphazardness out of managing multiple social accounts.

Related: How to Create a Social Media Content Strategy (Video)
And the good news is there are plenty of free and inexpensive Web apps that can help. Bliss Control is a free tool that offers shortcuts for you to manage account settings such as privacy, profile pictures and passwords from one place. Social media dashboards such as HootSuite and Buffer are free options for managing and scheduling posts across multiple accounts.

2. Don't blindly recycle content.

Managing different accounts from the same location can create the temptation for you to use the same updates over different platforms. The probelm in doing so is that customers often follow you on multiple sites and don't want to find the same content from site-to-site.
In general, form follows function. Twitter can be effective for sharing links, thoughts and quick updates about your company. Facebook can be better for creating and sharing photo albums, longer summaries of your links and customer comments. Don’t automatically Facebook everything you tweet or syndicate your blog on LinkedIn.

Related: Finding the Best Time to Post to Social Networks

3. Don't be shy about cross-promoting posts across sites.

While social-media multitasking usually means creating content that’s unique to each platform, that should not stop you from cross-promoting content without annoying your followers. The trick is to direct users to unique or helpful content. For example, ask your Twitter followers to check out new pictures on your Facebook wall.
One free option for building automation into your social networks is a tool called ifttt, which stands for “If This, Then That.” Users can build automated tasks for more than 40 social networks and Web apps using simple conditional statements.
Sendible which starts at about $10 per month also pushes content to various platforms. It also includes metrics to track who is talking about your business and on which sites.

4. Use analytics tools to know what's working and what isn't.

Don't waste time socializing content that isn't resonating with your followers. Analytics apps can be key to figuring out which of your posts are successful and why.
Consider starting with SocialBro which is available as a free desktop app or a browser extension. It includes information on which cities your followers live in and when they’re likely to be online. Free apps such as Tweriod and TweetWhen can also help you determine optimal posting times for different networks.
Related: 10 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using -- Now

Link-shortening tools such as bitly can offer statistics on who is clicking through on the links you post. Another option is to monitor your website analytics through tools such as Google Analytics or Yahoo! Web Analytics to see how many referrals you are getting from social media sites. Web hosting services often offer this capability as well.

5. Treat followers like customers.

Try using Twitter, Facebook and, for instance, Instagram's mobile posting features, to put faces to your employees and give a behind-the-scenes look at your company. Your followers are real people and they most likely will apprecaite seeing the people behind your business and your social media pressence.
There are free Facebook apps for interacting with customers via polls and surveys. Poll for Facebook comes with the ability to add custom code, multiple-choice or written questions and extra privacy settings. Promotion Builder, by Redwood City, Calif.-based Wildfire, starts at $5 per promotion plus 99 cents per day and lets users run contests and promotions such as coupons, group deals and sweepstakes across multiple sites.
Written By: Jonathan Blum Source:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Google’s Penguin Update How Impacts Keywords

On April 24, Google released an updated algorithm with the codename Penguin. The purposes of this update are to reward websites with quality content aimed at good user experiences and penalize sites practicing black hat tactics with nefarious link profiles. Since the release of Penguin, several articles about the impacts of Google’s changes have circulated the Internet. Many website owners fear that their rankings will drop, but the key to success remains the same: providing unique, quality content for users.

Throughout the history of SEO, business owners have placed a high emphasis on keyword density and placement. The importance of these factors has changed with the new updates because Google is trying to eliminate sites with keyword stuffing and link spamming from search results. It is still beneficial to place your main keyword in the titles and beginning of articles, but keyword diversity is also important. Modifications of keywords and related phrases are good to use throughout content because they sound more natural while promoting high quality articles. Crawlers still search sites for keywords, but an over-abundance of repeated phrases will raise a red flag to Google and cause those pages’ rankings to drop.

The weighing of anchor text works in a similar fashion. The main focus of Penguin is to determine the relevance and quality of websites based on their link profiles, and the anchor text plays a large role in the algorithm’s methods. Google crawls through the displayed text of hyperlinks in order to gauge the relevance of linked pages. Before Penguin, some businesses took advantage of this algorithm by spamming links on blogs, forums and comment pages to improve their rankings. Google hopes to discourage this tactic and improve search results for users by penalizing websites that use matching keywords for multiple links. The majority of websites affected by the update maintained the same keywords for their anchor text in at least 65 percent of their inbound links.

The changes to the way Google analyzes anchor text do not limit a website’s potential for link building. The best post-Penguin method is to build a natural backlink profile with diversity in the anchor text. Using keyword variations in your anchor text will yield better results. When commenting on other sites and blogs, make sure that your keywords are relevant to the content while linking to high-quality pages. Google places negative weight on websites engaging in practices that resemble link spam, so it is best to attract natural links by producing informative content that is worth sharing.

Google’s focus has always been on providing high quality and relevant results for search engine users, and Penguin aims to penalize sites that take advantage of the algorithm’s loopholes. Websites that satisfy desires for informative and helpful content will be rewarded through higher rankings on organic search results. Keywords are good in moderation, and the bottom line is unique content that meets or exceeds expectations.
Written By: CitrineFox Source:

Friday, May 18, 2012

213 Must Have Tips & Takeaways from SMX London WordTracker 2012

Mal Darwen, Julie McNamee and Andrew Tobert were at SMX London this year. We've gathered up 213 tips and takeaways. Read through, learn, and share these tips.


1) There's no fixed date for the launch of Google Search Plus For Your World in Europe.
2) Google made 525 algorithm changes last year.
Amit Singhal
3) Check you've been penalized. If you lost ranking on some keywordss but not others, you probably weren't, it's just that some links lose value. If you file for re-inclusion with Google, it won't make any difference.
The Search Marketing Experts Panel


4) The basics in writing copy for your PPC ad:
  • Highlight your USP - include prices, promotions and exclusives
  • Tell your customers what they can do
  • Include at least one of your keywords
  • Remember user intent
  • Use tried and tested phrases such as "Official site" and "Free Delivery"
  • Use language that turns the wrong customers away
  • Match your ad to your landing page
  • Experiment
    Ben Beard,
5) Use Google Ace to experiment on ads, ad groups, keywords, placements, ad creatives, remarketing lists etc.
Ben Beard
6) Bear in mind the types of buyer out there - survivalist, scarcity, convenience, prestige, social, value-minded, fearful, goal-minded.
Pamela Olson, King Schools
7) People buy on emotion and justify with logic. It's when they've gone past the research stage to the buying stage (and you can appeal to that emotion) that you can grab them.
Pamela Olson
8) Nobody wants to make a bad decision - they don't want DRED - discomfort, risk, embarrassment or doubt. So try to allay these fears in your ad copy.
Pamela Olson
9) Use keywords such as reviews, information, testimonials, best, comparison, cost for the person at start at the buying cycle.
Pamela Olson
10) Create a sense of urgency for those further on in the buying cycle.
Pamela Olson
11) Use the term "Your Guarantee" rather than "Our Guarantee" - your prospect will feel that you're talking to them.
Pamela Olson
12) Address fears and be more product-specific by using sitelink extensions.
Pamela Olson
13) Try testing 3-4 ads at a time if you have the amount of traffic that can handle that number. Try out different headlines, offers and USPs.
Pamela Olson
14) Use call extensions if you're the type of business that that suits - eg, if you're a restaurant or taxi firm.
Pamela Olson
15) Use keyword search queries to help increase your CTR and bring down your CPC (cost per click).
Pamela Olson
16) ENVY: Your ad copy should appeal to the consumer's Emotions, Needs, give them Validation and provide the Yay factor (make them feel they've got a deal).
Pamela Olson
17) SQRs (site query reports) should form the backbone of everything you do in PPC
Ed Schofield, Expedia
18) Start with a Broad Match strategy, run that for a couple of weeks, then start using Negatives, Exact Match, Broad Match Modifiers etc.
Ed Schofield
19) 25% of consumers scan the URL for indicator of relevance in search results, so try to have a relevant keyword in there.
Ed Schofield
20) Test attribution models and understand media impact drivers.
Ed Schofield
21) Move beyond last click attribution. Last click is last year!
Ed Schofield
22) Keyword Reports with PPC - put each keyword in its own Adgroup so you can get an impression share report
Scott Krager


23) Brands possess immense SEO power.
Marcus Tober,
24) On researching SERPS, the key finding was that for the number one placing, social signals dominated (although Google+ data is not yet reliable).
Marcus Tober
25) Bounce rate, clickthrough rate in SERPs (search engine ranking pages) and time on site can all be measured.
Marcus Tober
26) A 40% average clickthrough rate (CTR) uplift is being seen with a three line sitelink and 17% with one line.
Ben Beard
27) Backlinks are still a major ranking factor, but quality matters.
Marcus Tober
28) Measure social media signals: motivate users to make your company more famous.
Marcus Tober
29) Become a brand and have recognizable products.
Marcus Tober
30) Google wants to rank the best site for the user, not the site with the best SEO.
Marcus Tandler,
31) Google wants to know which sites get lots of direct traffic (the user expects to see those sites as a result).
Marcus Tandler
32) Be careful with link profiles - use brand terms as well as target keywords.
33) Track keyword data while you still can - track Goals in Analytics (if you're not doing it now, then start).
Scott Krager,
34) Track keyword rankings - proving your case with numbers can win budget!
Scott Krager
35) Control what you can. Measure what you can.
Scott Krager
36) Share everything with your clients/boss. Transparency is coming.
Scott Krager
37) Power Articles work well: 1,000 - 2,000 words, good quality, in-depth researched material, published weekly.
Duran Inci,
38) Power Articles are what Google recommends; great content for the user; attracts links; is more effective in social.
Duran Inci
39) Identify pages with poor bounce rate/visits/time on site and de-index them (add no-indexes or no-follows to your robots.txt/).
Duran Inci
40) Microdata is not easy to implement but there are big wins if you do it right.
Duran Inci
41) 45% of algorithm search results are now personalized.
Craig Macdonald
42) Social and intent are going to become bigger ranking factors than links and on-page SEO.
Craig Macdonald
43) Don't assume there's only one English, Spanish or French language. The challenge is to find out the lexicons and slang of local users.
Jonathan Ashton, via @ShaadHamid
44) It's not a developer task to build microformats into your content - it's not too complicated.
Richard Baxter,
45) Authorship: link content to your Google+ profile, check the implementation and wait for Googlebot crawling!
Pierre Far,
46) Authorship links should be to the author's page, NOT the publisher's page.
Pierre Far
47) Make sure that your rich snippets markup is correct and complete - many webmasters do this wrongly.
Pierre Far
48) Only use relevant rich snippet markup - make it visible and not misleading.
Pierre Far
49) You can find links to Google Webmaster hangouts at
Pierre Far

Landing page optimization

50) Look for inspiration outside the bun fight that is the search results pages - otherwise everybody's ads will end up looking the same. For example, have a look at a magazine to see how it grabs attention.
Guy Levine,
51) The greatest uplifts in CTR are seen with the use of sitelinks.
Ben Beard, Adobe
52) Test your images in Facebook (check out the clickthrough rate) and whichever gets the most clicks, add to your Merchant Center.
Ben Beard
53) Don't violate design conventions - lurid colours, black backgrounds etc.
Malcolm Graham,
54) Don't make an ad too obvious eg, "Buy Me Now!" People will avoid the hard sell.
Malcolm Graham
55) An example of a very good landing page is Mailchimp
Malcolm Graham
56) If you're selling complex and expensive products you'll need lots of informative content, or people won't buy it.
Malcolm Graham
57) Offer something free with lots of branding to get good conversion rates.
Malcolm Graham
58) The home page is not a great place to send PPC traffic - it's just a waste of your money.
Guy Levine,
59) Think above the fold.
Guy Levine
60) Repeat your messages - lead the user by the hand to show them what you want them to do.
Guy Levine
61) Restrict the navagation - don't give them too many options.
Guy Levine
62) Build trust - use video.
Guy Levine
63) Every landing page should have a purpose and defined most required response.
Guy Levine
64) Use convincers (mentions in the media, awards, association membership logos.)
Guy Levine
65) Not everyone is in buy mode - use information and a two step sell to get them back to your site.
Guy Levine
66) Use forms scientifically - short increases fill, long improves quality.
Guy Levine
67) Ensure a tight correlation between your ad and your landing page copy.
Guy Levine
68) Measure specific conversion actions - not page views and time on site.
Guy Levine
69) When testing buying pages, the call to action button is the biggest priority.
Guy Levine
70) Your site should say - we are experts, this is what you should buy, please buy it from us!
Guy Levine
71) Landing page mistake: visual bullying - "Buy Now" within an enormous orange button. Brian Lewis
72) Don't use too many font treatments as it's too difficult to read.
Brian Lewis
72) Don't use rotating banners - it's distracting and slows the loading of your page.
Brian Lewis
73) Use tabs for more info etc rather than long, long web pages.
Brian Lewis
74) Make text easy to ready - use high contrast. Eg, blue on a white background.
Brian Lewis
75) 'Use cases' - defining the roles of people coming to your site. What's important to them? Price, warranty, what's their level of knowledge, where are they coming from, who are they?
Brian Lewis
76) They could be there for pre-research, early research, research on your company's advantage, browsing, pice comparison, ready to buy - create content that will be useful to all these people.
Brian Lewis
77) 4 types of trust and credibility
  • Presumed credibility (they already know your name)
  • Visual credibility
  • Industry (insignias and emblems, members of an association, "as seen in New York Times")
  • Social (testimonials and reviews)
    Brian Lewis
78) Relevance - the landing page should represent what they're looking for. If you mention an offer on the ad, point the link to a page with the offer on.
Stephen Pavlovich
79) Attention - have a clear call to action, an image that grabs.
Stephen Pavlovich
80) Show don't tell eg, Hyundai had an ad where 40 monkeys are challenged to pull apart one of their cars.
Stephen Pavlovich
81) Read "Made to Stick" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Make ideas simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and do they tell a story?
Stephen Pavlovich
82) Orientation - look at CampaignMonitor for a good one. Guide the user's hand as they go through their website so that they don't get lost. Make it obvious what they've to do next.
Stephen Pavlovich
83) Basecamp have great landing pages.
Stephen Pavlovich
84) Add a point of action reassurance underneath your call to action button (eg "You can cancel at a later date, there's a 30 day guarantee").
Stephen Pavlovich
85) "Steal" people's ideas with user testing, surveys and speaking to people in coffee shops.
Stephen Pavlovich
86) Google has changed its rule on Exact Match (it now gives close variations eg, plurals and misspellings) - you can revert to the old way in your settings.
Stephen Pavlovich

Cookie Law

87) 2011 Cookie rule asks for consent - May 25th is the cut-off date in the UK.
Andy Atkins-Krueger,
88) There are different rules for different countries - France's are some of the toughest.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
89) In the UK users need to actively configure their browser settings. But it doesn't affect analytics cookies.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
90) Your cookies should be harmless and non-intrusive.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
91) Audit your site to see if you have "aggressive cookies".
Andy Atkins-Krueger
92) Work to the lowest common denominator eg France's conditions are much tougher than Ireland's.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
93) Do a cookie audit before the Cookie law comes into force (UK). Do you know how many 1st and 3rd party cookies you drop on people's websites?
Andy Atkins-Krueger
94) One of the large Fortune 100 companies is putting the warning into a small Privacy Statement in the footer of their home page.
Anthony Haney
95) Watch what the giants are doing eg, Google and Amazon.
Anthony Haney
96) According to an Econsultancy report, 82% thought cookie opt-out is a bad idea for the consumer. But 80% of consumers thought it was a good idea.
Craig Macdonald,
97) In another survey 55% considered a cookie to be malware.
Craig Macdonald
98) Opt-out rates are low - only 2% for email (according to a US-based survey). So it may not be so bad when people are asked to opt-out of cookies.
Craig Macdonald
99) Even though the Cookie Law is so far only in Europe, US websites are going to have to pay attention because they have to tailor their websites to the lowest common denominator.
Craig Macdonald

Local search

100) Consumers are adapting to social at faster rates - be nimble.
Jonathan Ashton
101) Don't determine content with scripts for different languages - use a tunnel with hard links to country-specific urls.
Jonathan Ashton
102) Local operations need local pages.
Jonathan Ashton
103) SEOs must form good relationships with IT managers to achieve good results.
Jonathan Ashton
104) Make sure your local site is 'Venice-friendly' (the name of the localization Google algorithm) - build relevant landing pages for each location.
Aleyda Solis,
105) Maintain a flow of fresh and relevant localized content to succeed in local search.
Aleyda Solis
106) Curated user-generated content can be a great help in local search.
Aleyda Solis
107) Build citations for each location you target - collaborate with local media and bloggers.
Aleyda Solis
108) Mobilize your local presence - use tools like Screenfly to check how your site looks on a mobile.
Aleyda Solis
109) Monitor and follow local activity - stay in touch!
Aleyda Solis


110) Use a free app to promote a premium one.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
111) And use a free app if your goal is to promote your brand.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
112) Things to bear in mind - use HTML geared towards mobile, or use apps to drive traffic?
Andy Atkins-Krueger
113) Comscore reports 60% of activity on mobile phones is done at home or in the office - static rather than properly mobile.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
114) Mobile's role from 1% to 20%

115) % of mobile website visitors in the UK has risen from 1% in 2010 to 20% in 2012.
Neil Walker,
116) There's a higher clickthrough rate on mobile although conversions and transactions are still lower than on desktop. This may well change in future, though.
Neil Walker
117) Mobile usability. You have three choices: using a third party mobile site service, building a new mobile site in-house or re-designing your website using responsive design ...
Rob Kerry,
  • A third party site is currently not a good option - the site will not be attractive, duplicate content is a result, plus a broken user experience and increased bounce rates and link dilution.
  • The best option is reponsive web - re-design your website so that it scales gracefully depending on screen resolution.
    Rob Kerry
  • Site redesign: same urls, same content, better usability uses existing infrastructure and CMS but requires a website re-design use HTML5 and CSS3 and responsive design.
  • Building a new mobile site will cause duplicate content problems which you can solve with rel=canonical code but you do have more control than you would with a third party site.
  • Look at WPtouch plugin or the Magento M-Commerce platform for setting up a mobile site - though not just as good an option as responsive design.
    Rob Kerry
118) Don't automatically think of an iPhone app when designing. Think of who your customers will be. Eg China are big Android users.
Rob Kerry


119) In Google Webmaster Tools use Fetch Googlebot>Submit to Index to submit pages to Google to have them prioritized. (Up to 50 URLs a week, domains only (not subdomains)).
Maile Ohye,
120) And use an accurate (last modification date) to get your updated pages crawled faster.
Maile Ohye
121) Eliminate known duplicate pages or low quality content.
Maile Ohye
122) Only link internally to quality pages and check Webmaster Tools for any internal links to old pages.
Maile Ohye
123) rel="author" is the biggest social signal and Google is ranking individuals over companies and publishers.
Lisa Myers,
124) Link building = creativity, communication and execution.
Lisa Myers
125) Timing is becoming more crucial. Experiment about when the best time to tweet is.
Lisa Myers
126) Social is all about personality. Make sure there are distinctive voices writing for you who are known or who can get themselves known.
Lisa Myers
127) Telling an employee not to tweet is like telling a 15yr old not to drink. But if they have a big Twitter following you can give them guidelines rather than telling them not to.
Lisa Myers
128) Facebook is for a general audience, whereas Google+ and Twitter are about news and technology.
James Carson
129) Think about your influencers. You don't always have to follow A-listers. Being tweeted by someone with 50,000 followers might not be as beneficial as being tweeted by someone with fewer followers but with many who have with their own medium-sized following.
James Carson
130) Gameification - eg, have your users earn badges the more comments they make, as a way of encouraging them to do so.
Simon Heseltine
131) Hijack a large happening event, and tweet your way through it eg, Huffington Post tweeted quotes from the state of the union address as it was happening.
Simon Heseltine
132) Don't just worry about the shares you get. Look at your engagement metrics.
Simon Heseltine
133) There's no harm in re-tweeting evergreen posts as long as it's not a time-reliant post.
Simon Heseltine
134) Optimize where you put your social buttons: put them in an obvious place or you won't get shared.
Lisa Myers
135) Google+ isn't terrible, but it's not as good as Facebook. Google+ averages 3 mins per month per user on site as opposed 20 mins per user day on Facebook.
Bas van den Beld,
136) Don't think of Google+ as a Facebook competitor - it's more of a data-gatherer than a social network.
Bas van den Beld
137) People succumb to peer pressure, taking on recommendations from authorities and people we trust.
Bas van den Beld
138) When we sign up to Google+ we're passing on our identities, our friends and employees' details and information on how we're using the web.
Bas van den Beld
139) Find out what information Google+ has on you at
Bas van den Beld
140) Tell intermediaries what content you'd like to see and with a bit of luck the A-listers will get to know about your requests through them.
Bas van den Beld
141) Create content based on what your users want to see rather than what you think it should be based on.
Bas van den Beld
142) If content has been Google+1'd it will appear artificially high in the SERPs, but you may see a lower than average CTR because it's less relevant.
Kevin Gibbons,
143) The result of a case study showed that a site with no Google+ profile showed a decrease in organic traffic of 19.5% and those with a strong Google+ profile an increase of 42.6%.
Kevin Gibbons
144) Whatever you do, build up a great content team - bloggers, video producers, writers. Keep doing that and you'll start looking forward to ranking updates.
Kevin Gibbons
145) Force yourself to share something on Google+ every day.
Kevin Gibbons
146) Google said that links are like a democracy - maybe a democracy where you have to be white, male and a property owner. When they said this you needed a blog or a site and you needed to be web-savvy. These days it's much more democratic with social - anyone can comment on anything.
Danny Sullivan,
147) "If you're doing something you don't want the world to know about, maybe you shouldn't be doing it."
Bas van den Beld quoting Eric Schmidt of Google

Panda, Penguin and content

148) 43% of all searches done on the web comprise of four or more words. 64% of searches no exact match.
Ken Dobell,
149) Create highly relevant content for the user and for the search engine.
Ken Dobell
150) Panda's had a much greater impact than Penguin but they're both part of a campaign to get rid of webspam.
Ken Dobell
151) Google decides your link profile on many criteria, including age of the page, last date of edit, reciprocity, number of links, age of link, type of link (image,text), and location.
Simon Penson,
152) Content marketing is going to be key in future.
Simon Penson
153) Something has changed re using anchor text as a ranking signal. Might it have been turned off altogether?
Simon Penson
154) Remove over-optimized anchor text links avoid/remove sitewide links.
Simon Penson
155) Remove non-relevant links.
Simon Penson
156) Add high quality links.
Simon Penson
157) If you have Penguin-related problems, fix them before your Panda problems.
Simon Penson
158) Clean up your site's index by dealing with extraneous URLs.
Stephen Croome,
159) Delete or rehome orphan pages and low quality internally linked pages.
Stephen Croome
160) Improve site internal linking - tidy it up and add good internal links to quality pages.
Stephen Croome
161) Get rid of categories that have no content in them.
Stephen Croome
162) Increase the ratio of your good content by throwing away your worst content.
Stephen Croome
163) It's obvious from Google's updates that they are valuing diversity, freshness, quality and authority.
Stephen Croome
164) Content wins big long-term.
Vince Blackham,
165) If you're making infographics don't try doing it in Word and saving as a jpg - make it beautiful. Interactive ones are even better with links off to other pages.
Vince Blackham
166) Put your infographic on Pinterest and have the version on your site larger than the one on Pinterest (at least 500px width and 2500px in length), so people will have to click through to see the infographic properly.
Vince Blackham
167) Use Tineye to find out who has used your images and go after links from the sites that have used them.
Vince Blackham
168) Entity rank rather than page rank - is that going to become more important?
Simon Penson
169) Yandex said that either Google are talking to aliens or gods, or they're using the clickthrough rate as a ranking factor.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
170) People avoid spammy-looking URLs.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
171) User testing has shown that people love clicking anything with a numerical character in it on SERPs pages.
Andy Atkins-Krueger
172) Think natural when it comes to anchor text - use brand plus something else. Exact match anchor text looks like a paid link to Google.
Andy Atkins-Krueger

Remarketing and retargeting

173) Understand what the re means - do it again and do it better.
Lisa Williams,
174) Test on multiple platforms. Different ones will have different pricing structures and customer service etc.
Lisa Williams
175) Use Facebook to get a better feel for your demographics. Target your ads to different groups of people to find out which likes them better.
Lisa Williams
176) Look at your metrics to see what remarketing is doing for other areas of your marketing: brand searches, conversions etc.
Lisa Williams
177) When you're retargeting look at the sites that don't deliver and remove them.
Lisa Williams
178) "Win moment" - if you can target them on the same day you'll get a 50% higher conversion if you don't.
Ariel Bardin,
179) There is a significant drop-off in conversion after an hour.
Ariel Bardin
180) Make better decisions - make sure you make use of all your data and that it's in an accessible place.
Ariel Bardin
181) Your conversion is 136% quicker if you use search and display together. And you'll get five times more conversions.
Ariel Bardin
182) The more control you give users, the more engaged they will be.
Lisa Williams

Paid search campaigns

183) Product listing ads is relatively new and up to now there hasn't been much information on them.
Ann Stanley,
184) There are two formats for product extensions - linear usually performs better.
Ann Stanley
185) Most companies still don't use it - it will give you a competitive advantage.
Ann Stanley
186) Product listing ad brings extra brand enhancement and a better CTR, although it appears randomly. You have no control over when it is seen.
Ann Stanley
187) Use social extensions if you want your customer engaged with your business before or even after conversion.
George Popstefanov,
188) Seller ratings come from external sites such as Reviewcentre, Ciao, Trustpilot, Resellerratings as well as reviews on your site.
George Popstefanov
189) The customer must be searching on Google and you must have at least 30 unique reviews. If your rating isn't four stars or higher they won't show it.
George Popstefanov
190) You don't need to have a Google Merchant Center account for your ads to be eligible for seller ratings.
George Popstefanov
191) You can have up to eight sitelinks.
George Popstefanov
192) Use sitelink extensions as shortcuts to your best-selling products or to highlight offers, but make sure you keep them updated.
George Popstefanov
193) Dynamic search ads where Google generates the headline and the template is worth trying out. Use them if you don't have time, if you're not sure what you're doing or if you have a huge inventory which changes frequently. (Only available as Beta in Europe at the moment, but full version available in the US).
George Popstefanov
194) You can specify that Google uses just one section - eg a category, or pages that contain certain words so you are in control.
George Popstefanov
195) For your ad templates (which you create) have a universal message about your brand, use offers that apply to everything on your site eg free shipping, mention any free resources.
George Popstefanov
196) When a relevant search occurs, Google dynamically generates an ad with a headline based on the query, and the text based on your most relevant landing page.
George Popstefanov
197) With sitelinks: Test -Learn - Roll out - Test. Then do it all again.
Paul Risebury-Crisp,
198) Make sure your sitelinks point to the relevant landing page - don't have them pointing to your home page.
Paul Risebury-Crisp
199) On a mobile screen you have significantly less space so if you have sitelinks you'll take up more of it than your competitors without.
Paul Risebury-Crisp
200) Have sitelinks as part of your brand launch - don't wait for a few weeks to add them.
Paul Risebury-Crisp
201) Google Brand Logo beta - next big thing?
Paul Risebury-Crisp

SEO and social media tools

202) Majestic SEO have launched two new metrics - citation flow and trust flow, alongside their link metrics.
Dixon Jones,
203) Pay attention to your competitor rankings but don't obsess about yours.
Dixon Jones
204) For Google Analytics alternatives, try Yahoo Web Analytics.
Dixon Jones
205) Google custom search lets you input specific sites. With every algo update, create a profile of winners and losers. You can then see qualitatively what google is looking for.
Dixon Jones
206) Use Mockingbird for site mockups.
Aleydra Solis
207) Test responsiveness with Screenfly
Aleydra Solis
208) Automate social tasks with IFTTT
Aleydra Solis
209) Social Mention tracks buzz across the web and lets you see the top influencers.
Neil Walker
210) Use Google+ Ripples for Google+ analytics.
Dixon Jones
211) Basecamp for project management.
Dixon Jones
212) If you get a "you've been busted" email, correct everything before you quibble with Google.
The Search Marketing Experts Panel
213) Check you've been penalized. If you lost ranking on some keywordss but not others, you probably weren't, it's just that some links lose value. If you file for re-inclusion with Google, it won't make any difference.
The Search Marketing Experts PaneCredit Source:

Monday, May 14, 2012

4 Content Tips We Should Follow To Improve SEO & Sales

On the back of Panda, Penguin and any other updates Google has stored in the Zoo, writing SEO content has become more and more about delivering a better user experience.
Gone are the days of keyword laden text that reads poorly and lacks substance. It has been laid to rest and will never return. We’re not mourning.

With ‘quality content’ the buzzwords on everyone’s lips, identifying areas in which you can deliver a better user experience whilst adhering to key SEO techniques is the overall goal.

Below are four aspects of on-page content that enable you to naturally combine interesting, marketable content with SEO copywriting techniques, resulting in a page that is not only likely to rank higher, but turn more visitors into customers.

Before We Begin – The Nitty Gritty

Users aren’t going to read all of your content.
They won’t.
As an SEO writer it’s something you’re just going to have to deal with. OK? Have you recovered? Good.
The less content there is, the more users will read. Pretty simple but not advantageous if you’re trying to get across a number of key selling points to new customers. Striking a balance between word count and design/usability should be the focus.
When writing, remember that readers are only going to consume a short amount of information, so make the most of the advantages you have!

1). Do Your Best Work Above the Fold

The stuff you see when you first land on the page is what’s most important. Searchers are fickle beasts – they’ll click onto another page quicker than you can say “G’day”, making it vital to get your key messages across quickly and efficiently.
Headings, bullet points and call to actions (aka the 3 other points we’re going to touch on!) should all feature above the fold to ensure greater conversions.
The reality is that once you factor in header images, menu options, navigation links and alike, there may only be a small section for you to ply your content writing skills – use it wisely!

2). Keywords + USP = Conversion Heading

Forget E=MC2. The above equation is gold when you are looking to increase sales through enticing content. Every company has Unique Selling Points and benefits that differentiate them from the competition. If you don’t then odds are you’ll be out of business soon.
Balancing points of difference and benefits with focus keywords is the key to capturing your reader’s attention via headings. As a general rule, include your major selling point in your h1, second major selling point in your first h2 and so on.
Conversion headings capture the attention of readers – if you can get them to browse a couple more sentences or look at a bullet point as a result of reading your heading, it is doing its job.
Ensuring main keywords feature in your headings also creates a parallel between the search results and your website. If someone searches for ‘SEO Company’ and that same term appears in your h1, you’ve created a link that will register in the searchers mind and keep them on site.

3). Bullet Points – Your Friend for Advantages and Internal Links

Like headings, bullet points offer dual incentives for your SEO and conversion metrics. They break up the page and stand out from the rest of the text, which means they’ve got a better chance of being read.
After all, pretty dot points are easier to read than chunky text.
Conversely, filling your page with bullet point lists will dilute their impact on readers – so be careful!
Listing services and benefits within your bullet points ensures that they are easily consumed by the reader. Better yet, the information in your lists can be prominently linked to relevant internal pages, gaining you big ticks for usability from both users and search engines.

4). Call the Reader to Action and Complete the Sale/Enquiry/Download….

Remind the reader why they are there! Call-to-actions should feature more than once on a page, but shouldn’t deliver mixed messages. Keep all of them uniform with the overall goal of the page – whether it’s to buy, enquire, download or sign up.
Call-to-actions also enable you to give your main keywords another natural mention, reinforcing the buzz words that have appeared throughout your content to well and truly close the deal!
As a rule, have at least one call-to-action in your content above the fold.

Balance SEO and Sales Copy to Turn More Visitors into Customers!

It’s all well and good to get great rankings and traffic, but without proper conversion practices in place, it’s a fruitless process. Strike a balance in your content between SEO and conversions using headings, bullet points, call to actions and the area above the fold, and you’ll be closer to online domination (in an ideal world!).

Are you achieving a balance between SEO and sales copy?

  1. Do you have headings, bullet points and call to actions above the fold?
  2. Do your headings contain a good balance of unique selling points and keywords?
  3. Do you feature bullet points containing key services and benefits, and do they link to relevant internal pages?
  4. Do you have numerous, keyword savvy call-to-actions that direct visitors to the same end goal?
    Written By: Dylan Thomas Source:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2 Important Post on Google's Penguin Update by SEOmoz

5 Penguin-Friendly Link Building Tips

Since Google launched their Penguin update on April 24th, millions of websites have been falling down the rankings like losing soldiers in the battlefield! Google has been cracking down on "spammy" websites like never before.

This update has indeed been very effective at knocking down spam sites, but many believe that some legit sites have also wrongfully been hit and have voiced their opinions on Google's forums and social media outlets. Google's Search Quality team listened and has set up a form that webmasters can use to notify Google that the Penguin has been unfair to them.
If you have used any unnatural SEO techniques in the past and your website is still proudly standing on the first page, it doesn't mean you're safe. In fact, Google said that the updates will be gradually deployed throughout the next few weeks. Expect a lot of movement in the SERPs!

If you are feeling bad while reading this because you do remember using some slightly shady link building techniques in the past, don't worry, it's never too late to repent.

Now is the time to "whiten your hat" and re-think your SEO strategy. Here are some valuable link building tips that will help you not only survive the Penguin update, but safely improve your rankings for the long term...

Tip #1 - Get More Social, Leverage Your Fanbase

In 2012, social signals are more important than ever. When you post fresh content on your site or blog, make sure you share it on ALL your social pages. In fact, this should be almost like a reflex. For the lazies out there, there are tons of plugins and tools that can help you automate this process. Twitterfeed is one of them.

I have seen too many companies posting new blog posts weekly, but not sharing them on their Google+, Facebook fan page, or on Twitter. What's the point of having all these fans, friends and followers if you're NOT showing them your content? When you share useful content, you will get likes, retweets, and +1's. This not only gives you bonus points in terms of SEO, but it also helps virally spread your content far beyond the confines of your fanbase. A win-win!

Tip #2 - Link Your Inner-Pages

When link building, a lot of SEO's are still making the rookie mistake of always linking to their homepage. I understand that your homepage is the most important page of your site, but you can be guaranteed that Google will raise a red flag if a large majority of your backlinks point to your homepage and very few of them are linking to your blog posts and inner pages. It simply doesn't make logical sense for Googlebot. After all, inner pages are where the real content is at! When you look at a website that acquires tons of links naturally like SEOMOZ, you'll notice that most of the natural links they get are to their inner content pages (blog posts, videos, SEO guides, etc...)

Also, remember that it's not just about external links. Internal links are also highly important. Take some time to improve your internal site's structure by making sure the right keywords are linking to the right pages internally. This will make it easy and intuitive for both Google and your visitors to crawl your site. If you're lazy and you happen to be using WordPress, consider using a plugin like SEO Smart Links that can automate the whole process.

Tip #3 - Diversify Your Anchor Texts

Another element that Google has been cracking down on this year is over-optimization (both on-site and off-site). There's nothing Google hates more than feeling like you're trying to force it to rank you for a specific keyword. For instance, if you are targeting the keyword "New York Condos For Sale" and you're asking all your link partners to link to you using that exact keyword, Google will think it's highly suspicious.
It simply doesn't make sense for Google that all these websites would naturally want to link to you using that exact keyphrase, which also happens to be in your website's title bar and all over your homepage. *ahem ahem*

Think about it, if people were to link to you naturally, wouldn't they all be using different keywords? You bet they would, so try to vary your anchor links in a natural way. This will show Google that you're not trying to force it to rank you for any specific keywords, rather you're just trying to point visitors in the right direction. :)

Remember that Google is now smart enough to figure out which keyword relates best to your content. I also highly recommend using editorial keywords as anchor texts, such as: "click here," "read more," "learn more," etc... as these look way more natural. Again, diversity is key here.

Tip #4 - Focus on Quality, not Quantity

This has been said over and over, but it is more important this year than ever before. The game has drastically changed, folks! Google will penalize your website if you have a large amount of backlinks from untrustworthy sites. (Authority Link Network anyone?)

If you are doing guest posting, I can guarantee you that one high quality blog post from a reputable site is better than 100 posts from low quality ones. I have seen clients in competitive niches enter the first page with less than 30 quality links, while most of their competitors had hundreds/thousands of them.

Also, do yourself a favor and forget about shady link building techniques like mass directory submissions or any automated type of link. If you know someone that has reached the first page using these "spammy" techniques, you should feel bad for them. Google will eventually hit them and hit them hard. If not today, maybe tomorrow, or next month. These guys are definitely on Penguin's hit list. You don't want to be in their shoes. Going to bed every night wondering if your website will still be in the SERPs tomorrow is not a good feeling.

Tip #5 - Make Your Content Link-Worthy

Last but not least, make sure you are producing link-worthy content. Outsourcing your article writing for $5 a piece won't get you very far. If your visitors don't like your content, they will leave your site. High bounce rates = bad user experience. Bad user experience = lower Google rankings. It's really that simple. If you provide content that has value, people will stay longer on your site and possibly hit the like or tweet buttons on one of your articles. This enhanced user experience will pay off SEO-wise.
Always remember that content is (and will always be) king. That is the rule of thumb in white hat SEO. Do you think websites like SEOMOZ or Search Engine Journal need to do any link building in order to rank high in search engines? Probably not, they simply focus on delivering high quality content that people constantly link to from their websites and their social profiles.
This is the safest, most natural, and most efficient form of SEO.
Written By: AnimeR Source:

Penguins, Pandas, and Panic at the Zoo

Google’s war on lovable critters escalated on April 24th with the release of the “Penguin” update (originally dubbed the “webspam update” by Google). While every major algorithm update causes some protest, post-Penguin panic seems to be at near record levels, worsened by weeks of speculation about an “over-optimization” penalty. Webmasters and SEOs are understandably worried, and many have legitimately lost traffic and revenue. Before you go out and burn your website to the ground for fear of a penguin in the pantry, I want to offer some advice on how to handle life after an algorithm update.

1. What We Know
First, let’s review what we know. I’m going to break the rules of blogging and recommend that you stop and read this level-headed Penguin post by Danny Sullivan. It covers some of the basics and is the most speculation-free post I’ve read on the subject so far. Glenn Gabe also had a good post on potential Penguin factors.  There’s still a lot of speculation, but likely culprits include:
  • Aggressive exact-match anchor text
  • Overuse of exact-match domains
  • Low-quality article marketing & blog spam
  • Keyword stuffing in internal/outbound links
Many people have suggested low-quality link profiles in general, but analysis of Panda has been complicated by Google’s recent attack on link networks, which seems to have been manual and has probably been going on for weeks. The overlap has made analysis difficult, so let’s take a quick look at the timeline.

What’s the Timeline?

The official roll-out date for Penguin was April 24th, and it seems to have rolled out, for the most part, in a single day. Unfortunately, it came on the heels of other events. On April 19th, Panda 3.5 rolled out (most likely a data update). On April 16th, a data glitch caused a number of sites to be mistakenly tagged as parked domains. Throughout April (and weeks before Penguin), Google started sending out a large number of unnatural link notices via Google Webmaster Tools. Sadly, it seems that April really was the cruelest month.

How Bad Was It?

Google officially claimed that Penguin impacted about 3.1% of English queries, compared to Panda 1.0’s 12%. Since rankings change daily – even hourly – even with no updates, these numbers are nearly impossible to confirm, but it does appear that the impact of Penguin was immediate and substantial. This is an internal SEOmoz graph of Top 10 ranking changes around April 24th (please note that the Y-axis is scaled to accentuate changes):

Graph of Top 10 changes (Penguin vs. Panda 3.5)

Pardon the slightly cryptic nature of this graph – it’s for an upcoming project – but the core point is that the impact of Penguin dwarfed either Panda 3.5 or Google’s 4/16 glitch.

Is It Going Away?

In a word: no. Penguin wasn’t accidental, and Google is clearly serious about combatting spam tactics that have been lingering for too long. As you can see from the graph, it doesn’t appear that there were any major reversals in the few days since Penguin rolled out. Does that mean Google won’t make ANY adjustments? Of course not – it’s entirely likely that they’ll continue to tweak Penguin.
For comparison’s sake, remember that Panda 3.5 came 14 months after the initial launch of Panda 1.0. We’ve come a long way since the monthly “Google Dances” of 2003. Keep in mind, though, that Panda was somewhat unique – we believe that it feeds multiple variables into a single ranking factor that gets updated outside of the real-time index. There’s currently no compelling evidence to suggest that Penguin works in the same way. The Penguin update appears to be integrated directly into the main algorithm, like a more traditional Google update.

2. What to Do

Given the overlapping timelines, this advice applies to any Google update, and not just Penguin. The algorithm is changing constantly (Google reported 516 changes in 2010, and that rate seems to be accelerating), and I want to give you the tools to survive not just Penguin, but Zebra, Skunk, Orca, and any other black-and-white animals Google can ruin…

DO Take a Deep Breath

I’m not trying to be condescending or to minimize any losses you may have suffered. Over 17 years of working with clients, I’ve learned that panic almost never makes things better. No matter how hard Penguin hit you, you need to stop, take a breath, and assess the damage. Dig into your analytics and find out exactly where you sustained losses. Segment your data (by channel, engine, keyword, and page) as much as possible. It’s not enough to know that you lost traffic – you need to be an expert on exactly which traffic you lost.

DO Check the Timeline

Even though the overlapping timelines make analyzing the core Penguin factors difficult, the actual timeline when Penguin rolled out is clear. If you saw major traffic losses between Tuesday, April 24th and Wednesday, April 25th, odds are good that Penguin is at least part of the problem.

DO Double-check IT Issues

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been involved in a Q&A or consulting situation where a website owner was 100% sure they had been hit by an algorithm update, only to have their 17th message to me go something like this:
Oh, by the way, our site was down for 3 days a couple of weeks ago, right before our rankings dropped. I’m sure this wasn’t the problem, but I just thought I’d let you know.
Um, erp, what?! I’ve died a little inside so many times from messages like this that I’m not sure that I’m technically still human. Especially if your losses weren’t sudden or don’t match the algorithm timeline precisely, make absolutely sure that nothing happened to your site or changed that could impact Google’s crawlers. One of the worst things you can do in SEO is to spend a small fortune solving the wrong problem.

DO Quickly Audit Your SEO

Likewise, make sure that you know exactly what SEO efforts are underway, not just within your own team but across any 3rd-party contractors. I’ve had clients swear up and down that everything they did was completely white-hat only to find out weeks later that they hired an outside link-building firm and let them loose with no accountability. Make absolutely sure you know what every agent under your control did in the weeks leading up to the algorithm update.

3. What Not to Do

Panic leads to drastic action, and while I don’t think you should sit on your hands, bad choices made under uninformed hysteria can make a bad situation much, much worse. I’m not speaking hypothetically – I’ve seen businesses destroyed by overreacting to an algorithm change. Here are a few words of advice, once you’ve taken that deep breath (don’t forget to start breathing again)…

DON’T Take a Hatchet to Your Links

It’s unclear how Penguin may have penalized links, or if recent reports of link-related issues are tied to other April changes, but regardless of the cause, the worst thing you can do is to start simply hacking at your back-links. Even low-quality back-links can, in theory, help you, and if you start cutting links that aren’t causing you problems, you could see your rankings drop even farther.
I highly recommend this recent interview with Jim Boykin, because Jim has freely admitted to dabbling in the gray arts and he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to risky link-building. Tackling your problem links is incredibly tough, but start with the worst culprits:
  • Known, obvious paid links
  • Links in networks Google has recently delisted
  • Footer links with exact-match anchor text
  • Other site-wide links with exact-match anchors
Whenever possible, deal with low-authority links first. If a link is passing very little authority AND it’s suspicious, it’s a no-brainer. Cutting links is tough (see my tips on removing bad links) – if you don’t have control over a link, you may have to let it go and focus on positive link-building going forward.

DON’T “De-optimize” Without a Plan

One complaint I hear a lot in Q&A is that the “wrong” page is ranking for a term. So, to get the “right” page to rank, the well-meaning SEO starts de-optimizing the page that’s currently ranking. This usually means turning a decent TITLE tag into a mess and cutting out keywords to leave behind Swiss-cheese copy. Sometimes, the “right” page starts ranking again. Other times, they lose both pages and their traffic.
“Over-optimize” is a terrible phrase, and that alone has people in a panic. There’s nothing “optimal” about jamming a keyword 87 times into 500 words of copy and linking it to the same affiliate site. “Over-gaming” would be a better word. You think you figured out the rules of the game, so you pounded on them until there was nothing but a pile of dust on the board.
If you think you’ve played the game too aggressively, step back and look at the big picture. Does your content serve a purpose? Does your anchor text match the intent of the target? Do your pages exist because they need to or only to target one more long-tail variations of a term? Don’t de-optimize your on-page SEO – re-optimize it into something better.

DON’T Submit a Reconsideration Request

While I don’t think reconsideration will doom you, Penguin is an algorithmic change, not a manual penalty, and reconsideration is not an appropriate avenue. If you think you were impacted by the recent crackdown on link networks, IF you have removed those links, and IF you aren’t engaged in other suspicious link-building, you might consider requesting reconsideration. Just make sure your house is in order first.
Google has created a form for sites unfairly hit by Penguin, but it’s unclear at this point whether that form will result in manual action, or if Google is just collecting broad quality data. If you sincerely believe that you’re an accidental victim, then feel free to fill the form out, but don’t base your entire recovery strategy on clicking [Submit].
Fix What You Can Fix
Recently, I had a long debate with a client about whether or not they had been hit by a specific algorithm update. In the end, it was a pointless debate (for both of us), because we had two clear facts: (1) organic traffic had fallen precipitously, and (2) there were clear, solvable problems with the site. From a diagnostic standpoint, it definitely helps to know whether you were hit by Penguin or another update, but after that, you have to fix what's in your power to fix. Don't spend weeks trying to prove to management that this was all Google's fault. Isolate the damage, find the problems you can fix, and get to work fixing them.
Written By: Dr. Pete Source:

Imrpoving Your SEO Strategies after Panda & Penguin updates by Google

For the past few months, I have been practically living in an analytics dashboard, constantly monitoring my clients’ organic search data for even the smallest hint of a Google slap. If you haven’t noticed, Google has been busy updating their search products (see: NovDecJan, Feb, Mar).

On top of those changes that they have publicly documented, we are also seeing additional SEO-specific updates by Google. We’ve had a “page layout algorithm” update, Panda updates and even a bug in Google’s system that caused sites to accidentally be delisted.

Now, there’s a Penguin in the mix. Pandas, Penguins and bugs – Oh my! It’s like I’m at the zoo. And a zoo is pretty much what the SEO world feels like right now.

Also in the mix was the Matt Cutts announcement about a penalty for overly-optimized sites. And then a few weeks later, we started hearing more and more about ‘negative SEO’, which is essentially the process of sabotaging someone’s organic search rankings by generating tens of thousands of “bad” links to their website.

That is really sad, but apparently, there is evidence that it can work (although some people predict it will only work in specific situations, such as sites that already have suspicious link profiles). Yeah. Let that sink in. SEOs targeting SEOs. It makes me sick.

If you remember the good old days, you remember when Google would make one big change every once in a while. Rarely was it several major changes at once, and algorithm updates that had massive SEO implications were even more rare. The infrequency of major algorithm updates made it much easier to identify and measure the impact to rankings and all other metrics.
The best SEOs would figure out which factors changed and/or which factors had received more or less weight and then adjust their sites accordingly. This is not the case today. Lately, SEO is more like an gun fight where the dust never settles.

All Is Fair In The Land Of SEO?

Do you see that? Is Matt Cutts launching another algo update?
Do you see that? Is Matt Cutts launching another algo update?

As I mentioned earlier, SEOs are now living in a zoo, where every day feels like an adventure in controlled chaos. And with ‘negative SEO’, we’ve got a situation where SEOs are basically trying to eat each other. So instead of a zoo, maybe it’s more like Jurassic Park.

With Google’s Panda and Penguin updates affecting so many sites, I’m paranoid that my sites might be next.
One moment, I’m seeing a minor fluctuation in my traffic, and it’s like I’m hearing the footsteps while staring at the water rippling in the cup on the dashboard. Then, I feel like I’m riding in the jeep with Jeff Goldblum as we try to outrun the tyrannosaurus rex. And I’m a white hat! I’m the good guy!
I’m building fresh, quality content. I’m spending hours and hours researching market trends and creating value for my site’s visitors. I’m *not* buying thousands of links on private blog networks. Rather, I’m spending time contacting webmasters of websites related to my niche to advertise and build contextual links that make sense for my site.

I’m active on the social media front. I’ve invested in usability, information architecture and landing page optimization. But none of that matters because lately it seems like Google is targeting blackhat SEOs, but in the process they are affecting whitehats and blackhats alike.

I can’t help but think that there have been quite a few false positives related to Panda and Penguin. In fact, it must be a high number, as Google created a form to complain that your site was unfairly targeted.
Google may be targeting spammers and blackhats, but they are also inadvertently chasing people who actually care about their websites’ value, content, and overall marketing campaign. Google shows no sign of slowing down.

In that classic scene from Jurassic Park, the T-rex chases the jeep for awhile and then gives up. I can only hope that Google does the same. At least give us a chance to catch our breath.

Don't move! He can't see us if we don't move.
Don't move! He can't see us if we don't move.

So we’re living with Panda, Penguin, and all the other updates going live every week. Sometimes I think I’d feel safer if I just didn’t move. Maybe Google won’t see me if I don’t do anything at all. But I can’t do that. I’m not going to live like that. But I will be smarter about everything that I do and recommend.
So where do we go from here? Below are some tips for moving forward and getting settled on your piece of land in the SEO zoo.

Link Building

If you are managing SEO and link building for a big brand, I recommend ceasing all paid link building campaigns. I’m sure I’ll take some heat for that recommendation, but I just can’t recommend paid link building to big brands right now. It’s just too risky at this point in time.
If you have a knowledgeable, experienced link builder working for you and you haven’t been slapped by Google in any of the recent updates, then you are probably okay.
However, it’s still a big risk, especially when you consider what you are risking. But if you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket and if you must insist on maintaining some form of paid link building, here is my advice:
  • Stop building exact match anchor links.
According to pretty much everyone, this is the biggest red flag in the land of links. If all of your links say ‘blue widget’ because you want to rank for ‘blue widget’, then Google will eventually punish you. It’s just not natural to have all of your links be exact match anchor text. You should be diversifying the anchor text, focusing more on links that mention your brand and less on links that mention non-branded keywords.
Don’t balk at links that say Read More, Here, or Having these types of links will make your link graph look more organic (pun intended).
  • Make your link building consistently inconsistent.
For example, if you have a budget of $2,000/month, then you are probably building a set amount of links each week or each month. And when Google looks at your link growth, what they’ll notice is that your link count is growing by the same number each month.
This type of is link velocity is unnatural, especially if you’re buying all the links from one network. It’s easy for Google to notice this type of paid link growth because Google is smart. So be more like a MLB pitcher: throw some fast balls and some change-ups. Don’t make it easy for Google to find a pattern in your link growth.
  • Diversify the quality (read: PageRank) of the sites you are buying links from.
If you are only buying links on sites with PR1 and higher, it is easy for Google to detect because that is unnatural. Obviously, you want to get links from sites with PR here and there, but don’t strictly focus on that factor.
Be very selective in your paid link placement. Diversify your paid link portfolio. Go for a range of sites that are big, small, popular, unpopular, no PR, higher PR, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to buy nofollow links. Don’t ignore potential links from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. However, as you get more selective, be ready to spend more on links.
  • Buy a site/blog instead of buying links on a site/blog.
Buying a blog can be a much more effective use of your money in the long run. You’ll get a lot more value than just the links, and you won’t run the risks of being penalized for buying paid links.
  • Find all the free links that you already have.
Get familiar with your 404 reports, log files, and broken internal links. Check Webmaster Tools. Look for any indication of internal and/or inbound links pointing to inactive URLs. Look for links that are being 302 redirected to a final URL. Also look for URLs that are going through multiple redirects. Make sure all links are finding their ways to your active pages without passing through 302 redirects or some sort of redirect chain.
When I’m beginning a new SEO campaign, it never ceases to amaze me how many broken links I find in Webmaster Tools accounts. Sometimes the numbers is in the thousands. These are free links! These are free links that you earned! Make sure they are 301 redirected to active URLs!

Creating Content

Because paid links are a little too risky for me right now, I’d recommend moving the majority of any paid link budgets over to the budget for content creation. And when it comes to content creation, here are some of the ways you can spend money to add unique content and value to your site:
  • Write how-to guides
  • Develop infographics
  • Dust off the old corporate blog and start publishing new content on a daily basis
  • Build microsites
  • Build new landing pages
  • Create a buying guide for your most popular product categories
  • Write weekly press releases
  • Create video reviews of your products
The thing about great content is that it will generate links. But more importantly, great content will add more value to your site’s visitors. Just be sure to promote your new content. Encourage your visitors and customers to share your content and products.

In the end, you may be surprised that you get more bang for your buck with rankings via content creation than paid link campaigns. Also, the lessons you learn with content are priceless. It can really help to educate entire businesses about what their website visitors are looking for, enjoy, dislike, prefer, etc. You can use that information to make your site better overall.

Obviously, I could also include an entire section in here about the importance of being active on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. But I’ll leave that to the social media folks.

I could also write a how-to guide outlining the importance of AgentRank and setting up the rel=author and rel=me tags for all your authors and contributers, as a recent study reported that 17% of SERPs are showing author integrations. But this post is already getting too long. So maybe I can write about that next time.

"That's right, Sam Neill. I would make an awesome SEO." - Jeff Goldblum
"That's right, Sam Neill. I would make an awesome SEO." - Jeff Goldblum

In the meantime, hang in there. Be smart. Be cautious. If you can, wait for some of the dust to settle before you make any moves that could in any way risk your search rankings.

As Jeff Goldblum puts it in the movie: “I’m simply saying that life, uh, finds a way.
As an SEO living in the days of Pandas and Penguins, I, too, will find a way.
Remember that in the end, Jeff Goldblum makes it out of Jurassic Park alive.
So if you’re stuck and needing help making a decision about your SEO campaign, just ask yourself: What would Jeff Goldblum do?
Written By: Kerry Dean Sources:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

30 Web Trends for 2012: How SEO, Search, Social Media, Blogging, Web Design & Analytics Will Change by Tad Chef

It’s this time of year again! In the previous years my web trends lists were very successful, both as predictions and by traffic or number of shares.

People working in the web industries want to know what’s ahead.
So for 2012 I want to tell you again what’s coming up. Basically I’m not predicting anything here; instead I just list trends you can already see and measure, but which will be obvious next year.

Good bye PageRank and links – links and PageRank matter less and less. In 2012 more ranking factors will probably be about other signals than conventional a href links. Google will use all kinds of other data including feedback human quality raters to overcome the big decade long link buying spree.
Freshnessthe latest Google update is perhaps more important than the high quality update dubbed Panda. Nobody cries about it because it wasn’t about penalties for sites but about improvements for searchers this time. This is good news for big news sites and bad news for brands with questionable business practices. The bad news will show up on top.
Quality – the Panda update wasn’t really about pandas, as I hope you know:  it was about ”high quality” sites. Thus focusing on quality metrics that entail usability, readability and overall usefulness is key in 2012. Underpaid quality raters are out there to get you, sometimes even without a look on your actual site.
SEO is just a part – SEO isn’t dead in 2012, but it’s more and more part of bigger ideas and concepts. This year it seems it’s not SEO 2.0 or findability anymore. The new en vogue terms are content marketing, inbound marketing, digital marketing or Internet/online marketing (again). SEO practitioners do just stuff meta tags, but their tasks now encompass much more.
SEO marries CRO – The two disciplines, SEO and CRO or conversion optimisation are just two sides of one coin. While SEO focused on getting traffic, CRO concentrates on making this traffic work for you. I’ve watched these two disciplines converge more and more. In 2012 you will rarely have one without the other. I know I predicted this for 2011, but many people still tried to divide the two sides of the same coin.

Google does it again – Google has quickly reacted to competition from small contenders like Blekko, Ixquick and DuckDuckGo. It has appropriated all improvements and features by these faster competitors – be it the removal of content farms by Blekko or the introduction of SSL search by Ixquick or referral blocking by DuckDuckGo, Google offers it all now as well.
Even more confusion – last year I predicted more clutter in Google results and was nevertheless unprepared for the wide range of changes leading to portal-like search results. In particular, many changes on local searches lead to even more information stuffed in the SERPs. Furthermore, the manifold social enhancements such as who +1′ed, shared or authored a post make the SERPs look like a collection of gif clip art. I’m afraid this won’t be the end of this trend of more confusion.
Search without clicking – in 2011 several small moves by Google showed a tendency to show search results as content directly on Google, thus making a click to the actual page not necessary anymore. We will see more of it until people start suing Google for stealing their content.
Google does it already on Google News, Google Places and Google Images. It also owns YouTube, where most video searches end up. They want the same thing for text search as well. They don’t want people to leave Google properties at all. Google+ brand pages just add to it.
Google reads your mind – we already got used to the sometimes annoying instant search results that appear even before you type something meaningful. Google works on more ways to find out what you need and give it to you even before you ask. Just consider the multiple data sources Google now has about you:  Google toolbar, Chrome, Profiles, Plus, search history…
Speech recognition – Siri, the speech recognition ”assistant” on the latest iPhone, makes people talk with their phones and it’s extremely popular already. In 2012 we will see Apple’s competitors come up with similar tools so that we don’t need to talk to people or type in search queries anymore. Is this the end of SEO as some journalists assume (just like some suggest after every other major change in the search industry)?
No, it just means different kinds of queries, maybe more colloquial or clumsy ones. Maybe more dialogue with your search engine, for example ”I want something to eat”. I can’t imagine people just saying one, two or three word queries in public without looking silly. So they will talk as they do with other people.
Mobile grows – no surprise here. Mobile search will grow in 2012 again. How big it will become? Some pundits suggest that more than 1/5 of all searches will be conducted via mobile devices.

Social media
Google+ stays tiny – Google+ is being heralded and pushed by Google in search results because it’s still tiny – it hasn’t even reached a social networking market share of 0.5%, while Facebook owns approximately 65% of it.
Facebook losing ground – despite its almost monopolistic position, Facebook is already losing ground. In 2011 Facebook lost 6 million users in the US. The various privacy scandals and annoyances, along with alternatives like Diaspora, Google+ or Tumblr, will accelerate this process in 2012.
Oversaturation – it has been evident for a while already, but in 2011 most people noticed it: people can’t join more social media sites and spend even more time there without spending 24h on social networking and creating user generated content. We witnessed this when Quora appeared and demanded constant attention and production of high quality content.
Also, the emergence of Google+ has shown that most average people already have enough to do with Facebook and the likes. In 2012 it will finally become obvious that the social networking and UGC market is saturated and that creating another site that demands time and effort is not a valid business model anymore.
Social bookmarking vs social saving – last time I predicted the death of social bookmarking. In a way I was right, though luckily Delicious, the original social bookmarking site, has survived. Nonetheless it moved on to a different model of sharing links. Other social bookmarking sites or their competitors have created something that has no name but that I’d like to call social saving.
People are saving snippets or whole webpages using tools like Diigo, Evernote or to collect, edit and share them. The future is bright for these type of tools in 2012 as webpages, articles or blog posts you want to bookmark vanish faster than you can look.
Curation – Curation is the collection of resources by an editor or a user who acts as an ad-hoc editor. Search engines like Blekko or Rollyo use curation but also third party services that create “Twitter newspapers”. With the relaunch of Delicious as a curation site for compiling small lists (aka stacks of links), the idea has been given another push. Adding +1 votes to search results is another kind of curation.
Social CRM goes prime time – customer relationship management (CRM) and social media converged for a few years now but there was no perfect solution to merge those two. In 2011 Nimble CRM appeared. This tool is so simple to use and flawlessly combines CRM, email and social media sites Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in one place, so that you can save lots of time and effort when trying to generate leads right on there on social media sites.

Quantity vs quality – in 2011 people blogged less often, but when they blogged they wrote long articles. With the new freshness algorithm Google just introduced, the process might get reversed, as now the latest articles are more likely to show up on top in the top 10.
Tumblr – miniblogging is still growing, at least the market leader Tumblr. Why is Tumblr such a success? It’s a bit like Facebook, a bit like blogging and a bit like Twitter, but it combines the best of all of them. You can like or “heart” postings, you can reblog them and you can use a pseudonym like on Twitter. In 2011 many high level bloggers even moved their blogs from WordPress to Tumblr for the sake of simplicity and ease of use. Also, never underestimate the huge Tumblr audience.
Corporate blogging failsbusinesses dump blogging in order to invest in Facebook marketing some statistics suggest. This is like giving up your office and doing business from Starbucks. Despite logic, this seems to be an appealing business model both in real life and online. Why host your own website and practice SEO, networking and advertising to get people to visit it when you can rent a “table” at Facebook. This is quite a short-sighted and risky move but business people tend to follow this trend.
Line breaks – for the sake of readability bloggers use more text-decoration, lists and breaks. Some overdo it though it seems. Not every line needs a break after it, not every post has to be a list and every second word has to be bold.

Web development
No more Flashthere will be no Flash on Android and RIM tablets and smartphones anymore. Thus the original Flash will die finally. Adobe is already working on a HTML5 implementation instead. So Flash will be probably resurrected based on Web Standards.
UX surpasses usability – if you believe Google Insights for search is a reliable statistic, you can see that in 2011 the interest in UX or user experience design has outgrown the dwindling popularity of the keyword usability. Fewer and fewer people are satisfied with usability because it’s too limited. The overall user experience, which includes emotional states of the user in its ideas, is the more important discipline of both.
@​font-face usage - I remember it as if it was yesterday, when I first heard about the @font-face CSS method to embedding web-safe fonts to websites around 2004; I couldn’t wait until web browsers started supporting them. It took almost a decade and half a dozen font replacement techniques to make this CSS3 method work in most modern browsers. Now most browsers support it and we already see an abundance of websites using beautiful and readable typography. In 2012 we will probably see this going mainstream.
HTML5 innovation – when HTML5 came up, the hype was huge but I rarely ever noticed some HTML5 that wowed me. Most websites still seemed to look boring. Yes they were readable, usable, maybe even findable but what about the 21st century design I’d expect in 2011? Well, now the sites that really use HTML5 to create a design beyond a few boxes start appearing in larger numbers.

Referral keywords - Google proprietary SSL search kills the Google keyword referrer. You can’t even see it on an SSL site, as Google removes the keyword using a script. Thus people will finally look at conversions not keywords.
Klout – no other metric has been so obsessed about both in a positive and a negative way recently. People love and hate Klout as if it was a nation or a religion. Whether you like Klout or not, it’s the elephant in the room. The social media influence measurement may be flawed at the moment, but it’s still the best there is. Also, Google has similar metrics for authors or might acquire Klout in the near future, maybe even in 2012. What’s safe to say is that in 2012 you won’t just measure websites but also people.
Rankings, traffic – simple SEO metrics such as rankings and traffic die a slow death. The search referrer blocking by Google may be only the last nail in the coffin of simplistic SEO metrics. When you can’t even see what keywords people use and thus can’t segment your search traffic properly, this metrics becomes useless.​
Real time analytics – Google finally caught up with the competition this year, adding real time features to Google Analytics. At least a dozen of other vendors have been offering real time data for a while, and even better than Google Analytics if you ask me.
ROIbusiness people finally seem to overcome the ROI frenzy. ROI is important for both SEO and social media campaigns, but you can’t quantify everything by chasing after Return On Investment. It seems that in 2011 this simple truth has dawned on marketers and analysts all over the place so that we can sit back and watch other metrics in the coming year.

Feel free to add more trends you want to get noticed in the comment section or on social media.
Written By: Tad Chef Source: