Are your social and search marketing tactics still sitting in separate silos? If so, you’re limiting your visibility in search results and almost certainly missing out on valuable traffic.
Often described as a ‘dark art’, SEO still tends to be shrouded in a veil of mystery with those specialists and agencies in the know often reluctant to share their secrets.
With 10 years of SEO expertise behind us, we can confidently reveal that there is, in fact, no great secret. Successful SEO is all about analysing your site visitors to better understand their behaviour. Apply this learning to your social marketing, and you can expect to run social campaigns with added clout.
Why social needs to align with search
Now that the search engines (Google and Bing) use social engagement metrics as a determinant of ranking, your performance on social channels absolutely impacts on your visibility in search. The question to ask is not whether social needs to align with search, but how to achieve this golden combination; your ticket to increased traffic.
Social proof: what is it?
You’ll have probably heard SEO experts talking at length about links, and the value of links back to your site. To break it down, the higher the quantity and, importantly, the quantity of links back to your site, the higher you will rank for keywords that you’re targeting. As well as links, your social engagement prowess – in the form of engagement – also reveals your authority and expertise on a topic.
Social proof, working much in the same way as links to validate the quality of your site, comes in the form of likes, retweets and shares. As any seasoned social marketer knows, engagement in the form of Twitter followers, LinkedIn shares and so on is only half the story. Your success in digital marketing will always be judged by the number of measurable conversions that can be attributed as originating from social interactions. More »
Guest blog by Ben Acheson, Head of SEO at Digivate
A terrible search engine bloodbath is on its way. Thousands of websites are going to be affected and your business’ website could be one of them. Over dramatic? Well not if you were listening to Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Webspam at the South By Southwest SEO conference in Texas this year.
The next phase in Cutts’ crusade against spam is a major change to Google’s software. This change will automate the detection and penalisation of offending websites and is expected to be rolled out towards the middle of 2012. Cutts announced the search engine’s plans to, “level the playing ground,” by targeting websites with poor content that rely on “over-optimization” rather than delivering good content.
Google is essentially getting tough on websites that use manipulative practices and these are not just commonplace, they are endemic – particularly among the current crop of aspiring self-styled “SEO agencies”.
Many businesses won’t realise their website is at risk – until their Google traffic dries up. In some cases the damage will be so severe that unravelling it will be practically impossible and a new website domain will be needed in order to escape the Google penalty.
If you don’t understand exactly what your SEO agency has been doing to promote your site then you might need to prepare yourself for a very nasty surprise later this year. If you need customers to find you in Google then the impact could destroy your business. More »
With Google’s algorithms constantly evolving and subject to regular updates throughout the year, it’s clearly impossible to drill the complex art of SEO down to bullet points.
There are, however, several cardinal sins that will almost certainly be detrimental to an SEO strategy. Even worse, they could get you blacklisted by Google. Over at searchenginewatch.com, Jennifer Horowitz of EcomBuffet condensed bad practice down to the most prevalent and fatal SEO mistakes – have you sinned?:
1. Failing to do proper keyword research
Don’t assume you know how people think and therefore how they will use search. Everybody searches differently, often based on which phase of the buying process they find themselves in. Dedicate proper resources at this stage – use keyword tools, research web stats and check out the competition to gain an edge.
2. Deciding to do SEO in-house, but never actually doing it
Do you actually have the time to handle your SEO strategy? You don’t have to outsource, but if SEO is sitting on a to-do list for months don’t expect increased web traffic from search. More »
You’re at work. It’s hot and sticky, your mouth is dry…you’re thirsty. You log into Facebook and something on the homepage feed makes you drool. Lucy likes McDonald’s new Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. Mmmm.
You Google the product and the search results are crowned with tempting money-off promotions. Next thing you know, you’re in the queue at Maccy D’s satisfying your craving.
The fast food giant has attributed its 3.1% May sales surge to, amongst other factors, new unique promotional tie-ins. Here follow three SEO tips drawn from McDonald’s latest social media strategy that will drive SEO rankings for any social page:
1. Link from your homepage
It might seem a no-brainer, but a surprising six of the top 20 most searched for retail brands failed to include any social media integration on their homepage. McDonald’s links to its promotions, YouTube,Twitter and Facebook marketing activity via its homepage. Search engines value these links highly, so miss this opportunity at your peril, and use your brand name in the link for maximum effect. More »
Creating search engine optimised copy that flows successfully is a challenge that can make or break your campaign. So says Karon Thackston, writing for PromotionWorld.com, who has compiled a handy set of SEO tips to bear in mind when drafting copy.
Thackston argues that continuity between the initial trigger (be it an ad, banner or tweet) through to the landing page is vital. This means using consistent keyphrases and seamlessly flowing copy.
Anything less will confuse potentially interested prospects, who may well drop off before even visiting your site.
The basis of writing organic SEO copy is to develop and follow the same topic from a prospect’s first exposure to your site to the call-to-action on the webpage. Thackston advises thinking of your tag sets as links in a chain, ushering the prospect from one step to the next.
“It should – in essence – work exactly like the process when writing a paid ad/landing page combo,” she says.
The next step is, ironically, to stop. Before writing, walk the exact path your prospects will walk. More »
Furlong PR is pleased to announce an expansion of our product offering to include a full search engine optimisation service, in partnership with search engine marketing experts WhyCommunicate?
We see this as a natural extension to our core blog management and social media services which are focussed on creating inbound website traffic for clients in the technology & corporate sectors.
There’s such a close relationship between online pr, social media and SEO and each discipline ultimately has the same goal – raising brand profiles online. And while SEO companies are not experts in PR, neither are PR agents experts in SEO. We need each other.
We’re initially offering two products – an SEO audit which grades websites and blogs for SEO effectiveness and a reputation management service which measures brand sentiment and recommends ways to influence negative comments posted online.
Online pr helps unlock the IP lying dormant within corporations and SEO makes it discoverable to those you want to see it – add in social media marketing and the combination has a powerful effect on website traffic.
On your wish list?
Maile Ohye, manager of Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, laid out her blueprint for a social media, content and SEO optimised website in an interview with TopRank’s online marketing blog last week.
The question that caught our attention was to do with how she sees the role of social media within website marketing activity, particularly in relation to SEO.
Here’s what she said:
“I think having a solid site: great content, good experience for users (intuitive navigation, responsive), descriptive page titles, standardized URL structure, etc., is of primary importance. A strong site is the foundation where you’ll likely make your online conversions. Once this foundation is established, the social media approach helps drive traffic, builds excitement (and inbound links), that you’ll be able to capitalize on with your solid site.”
80% of visitors to company blogs are coming for the first time, a survey from Compendium has revealed.
The findings suggest that a company blog is more important as a new business tool than was previously thought.
First time visitors come from two major sources, referring sites and search engines, confirming that good quality content that is keyword optimised, will pull traffic to company sales funnels.
Research amongst Furlong PR customers suggests that 75% of blog traffic comes from social networking sites and 25% from SEO.
Compendium’s survey also looked at use of Twitter. Approximately 43 percent of companies surveyed had established a Twitter account.
Twitter usage was highest among B-to-B companies with 87 percent maintaining an account.
Some 400 years after the gunpowder plot was revealed, political blogger Guido Fawkes is doing a better job than his namesake in laying explosive content at Westminster, particularly in the area of MP’s expenses.
While Guido plots content for his blog, the overarching battle for online visibility races on. On one flank you have the keyword and link focussed techy SEO practitioners wearing various shades of hat, white, grey & black, creating text bristling with optimisation. On the other side, PR and digital agencies advance steadily into SEO territory with content crafted to build brand reputation online with social media levers attached.
The arrival of Twitter has changed the game again and lately, in favour of the content providers. Link building has long been the covert weapon of choice for SEO experts but with Google publishing Twitter posts, content providers suddenly have a powerful new link building tool all of their own. More »
While video didn’t quite kill the radio star, as the Buggles No1 hit predicted 30 years ago, it certainly diluted the influence of stations like Radio 1, fallen from its 20 million listener, late ’70′s peak to around 11 million today.
Google’s introduction of You Tube into video search results a year after it acquired the online phenomenon, could turn out to be the event that triggered a similar decline in text led SEO.
Video SEO will suit some businesses better than others. If you put ’motivational speaking’ into a Google web search today, two videos of Peter Bland and Ruben Gonzalez appear, naturally enough, what better format to promote motiovational speaking. The textual results around them look bland in comparison. More »