Go Global Or Go Local

By Claire West, Fresh Business Thinking

Are you using the potential of local search to its full potential? Most businesses aren’t. However, businesses that target their ads locally can reach new customers in their area who are searching for a business just like theirs.

What about Global search? What are the opportunities there?

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Survival Of The Fittest: How Penguin/panda Recovery Is Forcing SEO To Evolve

By Justin Blackhurst, co-founder and managing director of Digital Next

It’s no secret that Google’s Penguin and Panda updates in April 2012 were like the coming of an ice age for the SEO world. Much like the dinosaurs and woolly mammoths of the past, many businesses were caught unaware by the sudden change in the online climate, and faced starvation in the form of reduced search traffic and de-ranking for violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines.

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Posted in SEO

Search Experience Optimisation Is The Future Of SEO

By Rafael Cantó, SEO Specialist at SDL

Since the 1990s when Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) was born, many webmasters have tried to abuse optimisation techniques to get high rankings – at any cost. SEO became not about optimising a site to make it more search engine friendly, but instead, the goal was to find sneaky ways to get higher rankings. This resulted in lower quality search results and led to SEO developing a damaged reputation that still persists today.

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Posted in SEO

UK Small Businesses set to increase SEO spend in 2013

By Abigail Phillips

 

Small to medium enterprises are spending up to £22,000 per year on search engine optimisation (SEO), and will increase in 2013 in response to recent search engine updates, according to new research by leading UK Digital Marketing Agency, Omoii.

Omoii conducted a 3 month survey of 452 UK SME’s on their digital marketing campaigns and spend over a 12 month period.

The research also found that many SME’s had felt they had taken a step back in terms of organic website traffic, reasoning that the Google ‘Penguin’ updates which went live in Q1 2012, had negatively impacted their website performance.

Steven Pritchard, Managing Director of Omoii, said “When we reviewed the analytics and ranking data against a timeline of Google updates, there was a definite correlation. The two large updates were released in the first quarter of 2012 and many of the SME’s who had been negatively affected, spent the remainder of the year trying to recover website visitor volumes.”

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The study asked a variety of questions including many on the type of strategies they would be developing in 2013. 68% of respondents stated they would be increasing SEO budgets in 2013 to help redevelop their SEO strategies. They would focus on expanding their content and optimise link building activities to fall within Google recommendations, with 59% of SME’s outsourcing their SEO campaigns to experienced agencies.

Pritchard concludes “The real insight for us was that many SME’s realised that SEO is still worth investing in despite the setbacks they experienced. For them to increase investment in 2013, really shows how the channel has matured over the years and is still seen as a necessity for many SME’s.”

SEO entrepreneurship is best rewarded in Brighton

By Abigail Philliips

 

Latest research has shown that the best salaries in the SEO industry are to be found outside of London. Leading digital marketing agency and BrightonSEO Conference organisers, SiteVisibility has conducted a UK-wide salary survey amongst 378 professionals in the search engine optimisation (SEO) industry. The findings have revealed that for many roles outside of London including those for founders and MDs, the best salaries are to be found in Brighton – renowned for being a hub for entrepreneurial digital agency activity.

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The Five “Ms” in 2013’s SEO trends

By Andreas Voniatis, Managing Director at Alchemy Viral

 

It’s that time of the year again when every two and a penny consultant starts publishing their views on what they think will be in or out for 2013 when it comes to web search optimisation for businesses. Here are five of the trends Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) experts will be focusing on come 2013.

Machine learning

It could be defined as storing and analysing a large number of elements on a client website over a period of time that will allow us to uncover statistics and patterns contributing to changes in search visibility. Some will have very lofty ambitions of attempting to reverse engineer the Google patterns and some will attempt to improve the semantic behaviour of their website to improve business.

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Mobile

It’s an ever-increasing opportunity that simply won’t go away.  Increasingly more people are using tablets and therefore trends will grow in relation to best practices for mobile including mobile specific html web- formatting. This will be particularly visible in retail businesses, as often products are sold through mobile devices.

Money-worth

Companies engaging in high effective and sustainable SEO are probably under the impression that they are paying through the nose, but they’re not. Businesses in 2013 may just come to realise that properly done SEO is expensive, but worthwhile. Deciding on low cost SEO may continue running the gauntlet and seeing website traffic drop. Businesses looking to retract on this old trend could be spending a bit more in the New Year but getting much more in return.

More reputation based

The relationship between SEO, SRM and PR is converging ever closer and more PR firms will offer SEO, the same way as SEO firms could possibly start offering PR services given the greater emphasis of search optimisation being people led and not links led.  Content marketing is the new black when it comes to link attraction  - activities PR people do day in day out.

Multilingual

More companies are realising the opportunity of SEO in different languages and territories.  What was once the preserve of global brands will start being accessible to SMEs also.  International SEO will also evolve by making more use of PR techniques to reach audiences.

Top 5 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Tips

We caught up with  who shared with us his top five tips on how to increase your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

 

1. Research your keywords

It may sound obvious but if you get this wrong, your campaign will not succeed. Really think about what you want to be found for on the web. Once you have a list of keywords, make sure they are words which people do actually search for. You can do this on Google AdWords. Do not be swayed by SEO companies which guarantee number 1 position on Google. Firstly, Google themselves advise never to trust a company which promise this as results change on an almost daily basis. Secondly, they may get you to number one, but it will probably be for a search term which has no competition as nobody searches for it.

2. Title Tags

Whilst title tags are not the holy grail of SEO that they once were, they do still serve a purpose and are an important factor to get right. Tags should be no longer than 70 characters long as this is the amount Google will display on its search results pages. They should contain your keyword/s for that page, but should not look spammy.

3. Content

This really is the most important factor to get right. Content is King, and Google are rewarding good quality, original, updated content over and above anything else at the moment. No longer can you stuff your pages with keywords and expect to stay at number one. In fact, you will get penalised for this. Successful websites these days must have a good amount of well written original content. Not only that, it must be updated regularly. This can be in the form of blogs, or news articles, or perhaps just adding more content to your pages. Ensure you have a relevant keyword for each page, and make sure that it features in the titles and content, but not too much as you don’t want your site to appear spammy.

4. Links

This year, Google releases an algorithm update called Google Penguin, which penalises spammy back links to sites. This means that whereas before, a website could benefit from having thousands of links pointing to it, whether or not they were from a relevant source, this will now be penalised. All links must come from quality, relevant sites. When you start your SEO campaign, you must ascertain whether you have any bad links. If you do, you should ask the relevant webmaster to remove the links as these can, and perhaps already have had a detrimental effect on your site.

5. Social Media

In days gone by, SEO and social media were seen as two separate entities. Nowadays, they are very much part and parcel of the same thing. Make sure you have a Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn account, and link them to your website. Update them regularly as not only will they help raise your web profile, they will also show that your company is current, and they provide valuable links to your site.

Posted in SEO

Boosting natural search performance abroad

By Andreas Voniatis at Alchemy Viral 

As Google reigns in its search engine ranking positions (SERP), boosting natural search through localised content aimed at targeted international audiences is proving key to driving natural search performance abroad.

 

Following Google’s 2012 penguin and 2011 panda SERP updates, it was user-friendly websites and trustworthy content rather than repetition that remained optimal.  The implications for international search are such that the cheap and cheerful tactics have now been eliminated.  For example, placing French words on English language websites to rank in Google France no longer apply – not that it should have done so in the first place.

 

Leading international SEO practices demands that you not only need to think global by getting the site architecture right so that the content is accessible.  You also need to act local by ensuring the content makes sense to the audience at hand.  So if you’re targeting businesses in Russia, you need to ensure your content is written by native Russian speakers and is persuasive.

 

To really succeed abroad and avoid getting lost in translation there are several stages one needs to go through.  An international SEO strategy helps to ensure your business websites hit the ground running in the countries you’re targeting, however certain considerations need to be borne in mind to get this right.

Audiences not keywords

 

Whilst traditional SEO focuses on key phrases. Whipping out your online foreign dictionary and directly translating your English keyword lists simply won’t do.  For example, if you’re selling iPhone skins in Germany you may wish to understand how people in Germany go about buying these products.  The next question begs, which demographics are buying those products.  Yes it is true you can find out which keywords generate online sales using Pay Per Click advertising (known as PPC).  It’s also true that it’s dreadfully expensive.  The alternative is to simply research who the customers are and which sites do they visit in order to learn more about the products you’re selling.  Doing so will also not only help you generate the right keywords but also understand the factors that affect their buying decision.

 

Know thy local social

 

Although Google is the most used search engine in most countries, in many other countries local brands are preferred.  For example, Yandex is the most search engine used in Russia as Baidu is the most popular search engine in China.  Understanding the nuances of these engines is critical for ensuring your practices will achieve the desired effect.

 

Persuasive local content

 

Now there we know where we are getting to, content that speaks the language of your customers is very important because it communicates trust.  That means hiring native speakers from that country that have a talent for persuasive writing.  The writer of course must understand your product and buy into the company or brand in order for their passion to show through the landing page copy.  Let us not forget also the content is even more persuasive if is hosted on a website domain that matches the country.  So if you’re selling to the Spanish market, the most appropriate option is to build a Spanish site on a .es domain.

 

International link acquisition

 

Link building has acquired a dirty reputation of late and the SEO industry is still obsessed with links even if they call it “content marketing”.  The reality is link building is what forms the Internet.  It existed before Google and it will exist long after Google.  For international campaigns, it’s imperative you acquire links from sites that your target audience read.  For example, a business website targeting mainland Chinese people must aim to get links from sites that have mainland Chinese audiences.  This could be sites with relevant and topical Chinese language content hosted on .cn domains for example.  Acquiring links in China can be achieved by building media relations in China.  In addition, hiring a brilliant copywriter for your Chinese website will also help attract links from other websites in China.

 

There is no excuse for a well thought out campaign that has a strategy mindful of the people you want to do business with in the target countries.  It not only communicates your serious intent and the respect for your potential customers, it also show avoids being lost in translation.

Improve your brand’s visibility with SEO and compete against big businesses and be seen within top search engines

By Abigail Phillips

 

One internet marketing tool which is paramount to increasing your business’ online visibility is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Research shows that over 80% of all online sessions start at a search engine. Not only does improving your SEO ranking bump you up to a higher Google page, it also lets you reach new customers and increase your visibility in search engines. 

But SEO isn’t just about using any words that are associated with your business. It is about improving your keywords that will help make your business stand out from the crowd.

 

Stephen Ewart, Marketing Manager at internet services provider Names.co.uk, said, “It’s no use making the design pretty and the words flow if they aren’t helping your searchability. Words need to become real keywords, as keywords are what help users find your website via search engines.”

 

SEO makes sure your website gets bumped up in the natural GoogleTM, Bing or Yahoo! Results. To increase your site’s visibility, Stephen recommends focussing on the following key areas:

 

1) Keyword selection - SEO helps you to select the most powerful bank of keywords you should be using. Our experts will help to guide your business on the most powerful buzzwords and phrases that people searching for your type of business will be looking for.

 

2.) Website optimisation - After the keyword selection, your website will go through an optimisation phase, meaning that your website’s html, content, images and sitemap will be closely examined and reviewed to make sure that you include the keywords you should be using to reach the top of search engines.

 

3.) Monitoring and reports – It’s then important to monitor your website’s positioning and how well you are performing in the Google ranking.  Names.co.uk offers a service where their search specialists will then monitor your website’s positioning and performance on the selected keywords. You will be sent regular detailed reports so that you can track your website’s ranking over time.

 

 

Posted in SEO

You’re Already Doing SEO: It’s Called Inbound Marketing

By Ben Gibson, Managing Director of The Search Agency

Whether or not you are actively allocating marketing budget, you’re employing SEO.

That company blog you’ve been managing?  Those social media updates, videos, and website content you’ve been creating and scheduling? The public relations team placing your content and name all on other publications?  They are all key elements in your brand’s search engine optimisation efforts and turning you in to an online marketer.

A recent article confirms that it’s time to admit that you are already spending money for SEO efforts whether you know it or not. The next step is figuring out how to integrate a holistic SEO strategy into your already existing inbound marketing plan. With the current state of search in rapid evolution, you’ll be thankful to know that you unknowingly set yourself up for success in online inbound marketing, even if you aren’t executing a fully fledged SEO strategy yet.

Take this year for example, significant changes in the search landscape, including new Google algorithm updates, the growing popularity of passive search platforms and the unification of social search has caused a fundamental shift in SEO tactics, rendering most traditional SEO strategies ineffective and outdated.

In the past, nearly all SEO strategies were built around three key onsite components: page content, link building, and site URL structure.  The most important factors in moving your site to the top of the search results page were having sufficient amounts of keyword rich content, back links, and a ‘crawlable’ site; these tactics were never really included under the umbrella of general or inbound marketing.

With search engine algorithms becoming smarter, their criteria for determining rankings have become more rigorous, looking at factors beyond traditional elements.  SEO has outgrown this onsite exclusive optimisation structure and moved into offsite territory, activity outside of the search engine, because search is no longer just happening on search engines. These new ranking factors have blurred the lines between online and inbound marketing, causing a need for a shift in how both strategies are managed.

Blending a holistic SEO strategy into your existing inbound marketing plan will boost your brand’s relevance and authority, while allowing you to better engage with and monitor potential online traffic. Overall, you will see an increase in brand awareness, site traffic and even conversions because the right people will have a much easier time finding you.

Here are some ways to realise the online optimisation potential your current strategies hold:

PR and Social Media

No doubt your offsite PR and Social Media strategies are focused on gaining exposure, authority and credibility in your space. In today’s search world, off-site authority is established when a company/brand is recognised as a topic expert that provides searchers and search engines with reliable, relevant and valuable information.

Just like face-to-face interaction, online expertise is recognised through authentic relationships with well-known brands, companies, individuals or organisations through common interests, mentions or valuable connections. Using social media platforms to interact and build relationships with industry names will gain the trust and respect of people using your site and increase visibility within your sector.

In traditional SEO practices, the only offsite optimisation was link building. This is still very crucial, even in today’s changing search landscape. Be very sure that your social media distribution includes frequent links to credible sources, as well as your own site and social profiles. When providing guest content on an outside publication, insist on links back to your own properties.

Onsite Engagement

PR and social media will drive traffic to your site, but post-click actions are what matter most.  A user’s behaviour on your site send signals to the search engines – and other users – about whether a user’s initial search intent was satisfied by the website.  Search engines have placed increased emphasis on post-click metrics such as social sharing, authority paths and amount of time spent on page before the searcher returns to the search engine results page.

It may be as easy as including prominently placed social buttons on key pages to ensure that users can easily tell social networks – and search engines – that they find your site trustworthy, relevant and valuable.  However, it may take more thought as to how to actually keep users on the page with compelling content, clear call to actions and multimedia.

Content

Having great content is, of course, fundamental for any online marketing strategy and will play a key part in online marketing success. However, it’s not just about producing high quality content, this content also needs to be relevant.  It is up to your site to give demanding and savvy online users exactly what they want; otherwise you might as well make another notch on your bounce-rate bed post.

It is important to consider how users find your site when you are considering how to satisfy their intent. One way to help develop your online content topics is to preform keyword research; this will provide insight in to what your site is ranking for. Equally, if you are not ranking for the keywords that you would like to be, creating and posting content around those key terms should gain some momentum on the search results page.

Leverage your onsite content and blog to gain visibility to the right users at the right time and you’ll see an increase in both volume and value of organic traffic.

Analytics – Metrics that Matter

Traditionally, the number of clicks has been the primary metric to gauge SEO success, however now with the possibility for inbound marketers to gather data and analyse factors like reach, frequency, social sharing, site speed, citations, traffic volume and conversion metrics; the cross-over into inbound marketing means a much improved method of measuring and analysing optimisation efforts.

If you haven’t got an in-depth understanding of search engine optimisation it can seem intimidating to think about incorporating it into your marketing plan. That said, when you break it down and realise you’ve been optimising for search all along, it becomes clear how you can give your strategy the boost it needs to be more competitive online. Both your SEO and Inbound Marketing strategies will be stronger if they work together.

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Posted in SEO