As technology advances, so does our means of communications with others and the public. The radio and television were two technological mediums that companies used to advertise to their target audience. However, since the mid-1990s, the Internet has drastically changed the way we share information. It has turned into a new way for businesses to market their products or services directly to their target audience. Online platforms, such as websites and social media, offer a lot to companies such as higher ROI on their marketing campaigns and more business.
Research shows that more than half of all U.S. residents and more that 3/4 of all U.S. adults are online. A recent survey found that 92% of online adults use search engines to find information on the Internet, with 59% who do so on a typical day. Of these daily searches, 46% are for information on products or services. 89% of U.S. Internet users search online before they make a purchase, even when the purchase is made at a local business.
With an astounding amount of people and potential customers online, it is important for Winnipeg companies to have an online presence so they do not miss out on opportunities and business that could be found on the Internet.
Top 5 Ways to Create Strong Online Presence
1. Website – This allows companies to post valuable information about their company and their products or services. It is a centralized location where users can learn about what the company has to offer. 60% of all organic clicks go to the top three organic search results. With correct SEO and keyword placement and number of indexed pages, websites are able to rank on search engine results – helping them get found by users who are searching for topics related to their company.
2. Blogging – 65% of daily internet users read a blog. By keeping a frequent blog, 2-3 times a week, you are contributing to your website’s SEO and are generating traffic to your site. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that do not. Businesses that blog at least 20 times a month generate 5 times more traffic and 4 times more leads than those who only blog a few times a month. Blog posts need to be valuable and remarkable content and need to be of interest to your target audience. Instead of solely company news, you should write about industry updates or other information that is of value to your target audience. By continuously updating your blog with industry updates and information you are positioning yourself as a subject matter expert. Also, by opening up the comment box, you are allowing direct communication between you and your potential customer – a place where you can offer advice and suggestions.
3. Facebook – 93% of U.S. adult Internet users are on Facebook. As of date, there are more than 800 million active users on Facebook. When users “like” company pages get updates made to the business’s profile, such as new wall posts (blog and industry news updates), pictures, videos, discussion questions and more. Facebook allows companies to easily provide updates to followers as well as interact with users via comments.
4. Twitter – There are 100 million monthly active users on Twitter with over 250 million daily tweets. Companies with over 1,000 Twitter followers get 6 times more traffic. 70% of U.S. Twitter users are more likely to recommend the brands that they follow. Twitter accounts allow companies to share quick industry or company news, as well as blog posts to followers. Since posts are only allowed to be 140 characters, they are read quickly by followers, allowing them to easily decide if the topic is of interest to them. These updates can link back to your website or blog to drive traffic to updates you have made. With more than 1/2 of active Twitter users following companies, brands or products, it is important to make sure your company creates a continuously updated page for them to engage with.
5. LinkedIn – As of date, there are over 135 million professionals on LinkedIn. Company profiles allow businesses to connect with other professionals and establish themselves in a professional setting. They are also able to provide status updates on industry or company news as well as blog and Twitter updates to its followers. It grants companies the opportunity to network with others in their industry as well as become members in groups consisting of other members that may be of interest to them.
Anyone can build a website and make it active online. Once the search engines get to crunching through your pages is when the bots take your site apart. There’s a number of stand by factors which are widely known to influence your credibility online and recently some newer metrics have began to come into play.
Two of the most talked about and widely accepted forms of online credibility are linking on your website, both links coming in, and going out. The inlinks, or backlinks if you prefer, are the way that websites can lend credibility to each other. The more credible your link coming into your site, the better your site will be received on the SERPs.
The opposite of an inlink naturally, is an outlink. The more you link your site to other sites online, the more you can increase your authority in your niche. If you’re not careful when you outlink to another site however, you can inadvertently damage your website, or the site you’re linking too.
Some of the easier to control facets of improving your credibility online involve straight forward, albeit it often forgotten, steps in your websites construction. Making your website easy to navigate for users makes it easier for people to bookmark and return to your site on multiple visits. The second step which makes things easier for you online is to include a way for the search engines to easily naviget your site as well. The best way to assist with that is to include an XML sitemap. Taking the added step to keep it up to date as you add and edit pages is essential for building and maintaining your reputation on the web.
Your websites reputation online is just as important as maintaining your SEO measures in order to keep on top of your niche. Make sure to take the time to investigate who may be linking to your site and your content and that any links you may have going to other sites are in good working order.
Working in the field of search engine optimization, you can sometimes run into one of your most dangerous client. Dangerous perhaps, is a rather strong word but let me explain a little and then you can make your own judgement.
There are millions of pages on the internet about SEO, SEM, social marketing, etc. There are experts that number into the millions as well if you were to believe all of the results when you search for search engine optimization expert as well. A problem with having so much.. information available for consumption is you tend to end up with large amounts of people who think they know what they’re doing. And more often than not, that blog that they read only told them a portion of the steps necessary where SEO is concerned. This point, is where the ‘dangerous’ part stems from.
When you’re dealing with a client who has done a lot of reading on the web about SEO, you start to run into some frustrating situations. Hopefully they just like to have a conversation occasionally about SEO, ideally questioning what they’ve actually read for themselves. Your worst case scenario would have to be your client poking around at the work that you do on their site for them and, at best unravelling it, or at worst completely ruining it. And as terrifying as that may seem, it can even get worse yet. When your client has a tech who actively builds onto and maintains their site, it can turn into a bit of a stand off.
It’s a thin line to walk when your client thinks they know what SEO is, but that line gets blurred when they try to push what they know as the method they would like you to use on their site. Horses for courses, if you don’t know what you’re doing where SEO is concerned, it’s best that you just sit back and work out how to capitalize on the influx of new traffic.
Republican Rick Santorum has had a few.. issues over the course of his public running for the head of the US office. All politics and personal opinions aside, Santorum has run into the most recent iteration of what used to be known as Google bombing.
A few years back if you visited Google and searched for the term ‘miserable failure’ the first result used to be the then president of the US, George Bush. Santorum unfortunately hasn’t been so lucky with what he’s become associated with, but the methods as to why he’s momentarily stuck there is due, in part, to how SEO works.
The bare basic principles of SEO – you create content, you contact people to link to it and repeat over and over again until you’re the king of the mountain. Backlinks, the fuel for SEO is what keeps you flying high in the rankings. An extremely popular social community, Reddit, has decided that the politician will remain associated with this alternate meaning for the near future at the very least.
You can think of the woes that he is experiencing as you will, on a technical note however it needs examination and repeating. Until Google, Bing and Yahoo outright remove a website from it’s index, it can and will continue to rank for the term(s) with which it’s been written to be found for. The act of completely removing a site from the index is an extreme measure that the search engines rarely wield, let alone with permanency. It needs to be noted that irregardless of the poor quality of the links, the relevance and sheer number linking to the offending website are what is keeping the politician tied to his less than stellar ‘definition’. To quickly deal with the issue the search engines could enforce a nofollow on the Reddit site but Google in particular deems itself a color blind indexing machine. Mr. Santorum would do well to contract the skills of a search engine optimization expert to assist with his character control.
So Google made a little bit of a blunder with their Chrome advertising it seems and what was the end result? Well perhaps the best way to understand what happened and it’s ensuing result, the algorithm needs to be a little more understood.
The Google search algorithm was intentionally designed to go out and read as much of the content of the web as it could find. It pays no heed to race, color or quality of the content. It doesn’t care how pretty your pictures are, how impressive your flash intro is or how quickly you can flip through your menu items on your navigation bar. It takes in the content of the web and spits it out when you ask it a question. It’s because it’s so simple that there needed to be filters put into place and penalties levied against people who either managed either by accident or on purpose to get around the quality controls put in place.
Paying for pagerank, that intangible mega star of the Google world, is a heavily punishable offence in the quality control guidelines. So it came as a rather big surprise when it was found suddenly, that Google was seemingly paying for advertising which was passing pagerank to its Google Chrome web page. The skeptics of the web automatically assumed that the Google machine would just shrug, apologize to the web, as they didn’t intend for it to happen, and everyone would be on their way. The outcome however, was actually the opposite.
Matt Cutts, via is Google+ account had the following to say of the incident:
“Google was trying to buy video ads about Chrome, and these sponsored posts were an inadvertent result of that. If you investigated the two dozen or so sponsored posts (as the webspam team immediately did), the posts typically showed a Google Chrome video but didn’t actually link to Google Chrome… we did find one sponsored post that linked to www.google.com/chrome in a way that flowed PageRank.. we only found a single sponsored post that actually linked to Google’s Chrome page and passed PageRank, that’s still a violation of our quality guidelines”
So okay, it was found out there was a minor slip in what was intended and what was the actual result, so what did they do?
“In response, the webspam team has taken manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome for at least 60 days. After that, someone on the Chrome side can submit a reconsideration request documenting their clean-up just like any other company would. During the 60 days, the PageRank of www.google.com/chrome will also be lowered to reflect the fact that we also won’t trust outgoing links from that page.”
If anyone ever questioned as to whether the machine would point it’s gun at itself, question no longer. As the webspam team has shown, no one is above the rules set with quality searches in mind. So bear in mind when you next work on your websites SEO, ensure that you’re following the best practices and the search guidelines readily found all over the web, else you’ll find yourself flung deeper into the ranks than you could imagine.
A question often asked in the course of a discussion with a client, whether new or existing, is how do we determine our costs as a search engine optimization company. It’s not a single, or simple answer as each clients needs are unique as anyone fully involved in the industry will tell you.
One of the factors which determines your cost for your SEO, is what types of keyterms you desire to optimize your website for. If you own a company which manufactures toys and you’re the new kid on the block, being able to drive your website up in the SERPs is going to be difficult. Doing just a generic search for the term ‘toys’ returns 1.9b (yes, billion) pages. Granted that’s a rather generic term to try and optimize for, but each term is met with it’s own challenges to overcome where keywords are concerned. The number of terms you’d wish to be optimized for also lend to the maintenance cost of your website.
Another determining factor that affects your overall cost is the overall quality of your website and it’s content. If we need to sit down with you and assist you in rewriting each and every page due to lack of quality content, it’s a necessary step which needs to be in place before we even begin to think about scouring the web looking for back links for your site. As well, if your website is full of choppy code which needs to be addressed, or even if your website is so woefully out of date that a complete rebuild is in order, these also contribute to the overall costs.
These are only a couple of the factors which contribute to your companies online advertising budget, thankfully however if you need to rebuild your website or rewrite your content those are often one time costs. The consistent maintenance which needs to be addressed to continue ranking well in the SERPs however, is where the majority of your budget needs to be directed. And as the web becomes more and more competitive, that budget will need to be adjusted every 12 months or so.
If you’re building yourself a website for the purposes of getting your brand out there and it’s your first foray into online marketing, there are some key points you need to keep in mind. Whether it’s your first step into digitizing your presence, or you’re well versed with the jargon, a refresher course is always a prudent way to dissect your presence and how effective your search engine optimization has been implemented.
How is your content written? Is it clearly worded for visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for? Or have you crammed your pages with industry specific terms which only those ‘in the know’ could have any knowledge of? When you’re creating content for your website, new or established you need to keep your target demographic in mind. You also need to bear in mind the overall theme of your site as you create your content. Your keyword balance needs to in the forefront of your mind as does your target audience.
You should take the time to examine your website navigation and how your pages flow as you follow your pages. Is your menu well ordered and intuitive to the user? Or do you have it crammed with every single page within your website? Just because you may offer 35 different services as a company, doesn’t mean you need to build your menu with a flyout of 35 different pages. A sitemap takes care of a great deal of the indexing for the robots and allows them to follow it to double check your links for you.
A consideration to keep in mind as well, what is your target area. Are you searching for multi-national rankings, or do you want to own your local market. Your site needs to be tailored to your needs, sometimes shooting for a smaller target, can lead to larger gains as time goes on. These are only just a few of the good practices you should employ as a website owner or builder, but they’ll go a long way towards helping reach your goal of ranking well on the SERPs.
Google has announced 10 search changes – a mix of algorithmic, crawling, and user interface updates. Better long-tail indexing and parked domain detection are among the announced changes. Additionally, Google has committed to writing a new post with algorithm updates each month.
The 10 Changes
Here’s a quick breakdown of the 10 changes and what they mean for you:
- “Related query results refinements.” More results will be excluded when synonyms and related terms conflict with other words or phrases in the search query.
- “More comprehensive indexing.” Google is getting better at finding long-tail documents, making long-tail optimization even more important.
- “New ‘parked domain’ classifier.” Google now detects parked domains more easily, making them less likely to show up in the SERP.
- “More autocomplete predictions.” Does what it says.
- “Fresher and more complete blog search results.” Blog content now has a faster and deeper indexing system, making your blog even more valuable and likely to surface on the SERP.
- “Original content.” Google has “added new signals to help us make better predictions about which of two similar web pages is the original one.” In other words, Google has added some scraper counter-measures.
- “Live results for Major League Soccer and the Canadian Football League.” Does what it says.
- “Image result freshness.” Google is now better at finding fresh images for news queries.
- “Layout on tablets.” Tablet users will see some changes in the color and layout that make Google more usable.
- “Top result selection code rewrite.” The code that “ensures that we don’t show too many results from one site” has been rewritten. While it will behave the same as before, it is now “easier to understand, simpler to maintain, and more flexible for future ex tensions.”
Rob D. Young
There are many steps which are part of a successful organic SEO campaign. There’s all of the little steps like writing good content, making sure you have the titles and meta tags in place and having a menu which is comprehensive. When you’re finished with the good practices pages, you begin to read about one of the time intensive steps of the campaign, link building.
Since Panda has reared it’s head over the last year or so, there’s been chatter about how the SEO game has fundamentally changed. That scrapers and content aggregators, the black hatters and the link buyers would just disappear and we’d have pristine, precise results. Time has started play it’s part and while the scrapers, aggregators, black hatters and link buyers have mostly been swept away, there has recently been a new call to revamp the way the system has been working. The desire to change the link building metric portion of the search game sometimes comes up in discussion as the points for and against the practice are argued. When you break it all down to the basic points, primarily every search engine will tell you the same thing: content is king. If you produce quality, relevant content, you will rank in the SERPs.
The kicker about producing this kind of content however, is you will naturally receive back links to your site and it’s pages. When you’re a new site and you need to visit and email possible consumers and possible partners in the same niches, building those back links takes time. But they will be built, they will be taken as a metric by the search engines and until an algorithm can come along which can read and evaluate content as a user would, link building will be relevant. It will be an important portion of any and every organic SEO campaign no matter how big or how small. The success of your link building campaign can be directly tied to how much work you’re willing to put into contacting those who are in an industry which compliments your own.
It’s reassuring, that even though some businesses out there are slow to improve their websites or their online marketing toolset, the trend is slowly but surely shifting. While still only a fraction of the marketing dollars spent out there, the numbers are showing that around 17% of most businesses marketing budgests are being spent on online marketing. Any positive growth is good for everyone involved.
A great graphic depicting some of these changes has been put together, which outlines some of the changes coming about in the marketing world. In the US, 70% of the businesses out there have indicated that they will be increasing spending on social media advertising (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) and 64% also chimed in to add their budget is increasing for SEO as well. With consumers spending more and more time searching online for their next purchase, it’s much more advantageous to get into the game now, as opposed to later. The longer you wait, the greater your costs are going to be. Surprisingly however, it came back that 17% of businesses out there planned on increasing their marketing budgets on print media, which is much like buying stock in Yahoo these days. I kid, I kid, all jokes aside however, almost anyone out there who has a job has access to the internet. It should be no surprise that on average people spend 3+ hours browsing the internet. 84% of people who use the internet, spend their time searching for information on what has caught their interest, there are billions of searches per day.
There’s a great deal more information which can be gleaned from the stats, have a look and take a moment to conisder your marketing plans. Are you on the side of innovation and forward thinking? Or trying to cling to an outdated, unmeasurable stand by. Just remember that the longer you wait, the more difficult the game becomes.