Oct 21 2013
It seems like for the past three years marketers have been predicting that “this will be the year for mobile.” I’ve stated it but the mobile tsunami that we thought would absolutely flood the market in 2010 has turned out to be a slow leak of new, constant mobile adopters in 2013. We know that mobile is a big deal asmobile internet usage is projected to overtake desktop internet usage in the near future. However, as a local business you may not see or understand the value of “mobile” but according to a Google study about 50% of mobile searches have local intent and 88% of those who looked for local information on their smartphones take action within a day.
I can spout off more convincing stats but if you are a local business and you know you want to maximize your mobile – local presence, here’s what you need to do:
It kind of goes without saying but it is ultimately the first step into the mobile/local foray. A mobile site is important 48% of users stated that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business. For businesses that have more than one location make sure that each business has it’s own landing page on the website.
Once again another “gimme” but extremely important. As you move forward with a local/mobile approach being consistent with how your name, address, phone number and website is a must. Especially if you have multiple locations make sure that you are consistent as this information reflects your business and will be used to cross reference and validate a business.
Tons of business directories exist but start with Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, Superpages and City Search. Essentially you need to claim and verify your business and make sure that any current information provided is correct and consistent with what was established in step 2. Beyond your NAP you’ll also need to make sure you provide a proper business category and description. Don’t forget about any industry specific directories, BBB or local chamber of commerce.
A business listing/profile will also be called a “citation” and the general rule of thumb in local SEO is that the more listings a business has, the better. However, finding and managing these citations outside of the big business directories can be difficult. At this point in the game I would recommend looking into a service like WhiteSpark or Yext that allows you to create, manage and grow your citations. A nice thing with using a service like WhiteSpark is that they are not only able to find citations but they also have the ability to determine citation quality and help you find unstructured citations that could be found outside of a business directory on blogs, newspaper websites or event listing websites.
This is just the surface on maximizing your mobile – local experience but taking these easy steps will be able to take any business in the right direction.
Sep 30 2013
Building rock-solid SEO that stands the test of time.
2011 was was two years ago and in the digital world that is an eternity, in two years time the technology inside your phone, computer, TV, website and just about every other electronic device will be eclipsed by newer, faster, smarter, “better” hardware, software and systems. We are always in a constant state of upgrades, updates, versions and anything “new” is rapidly out dated. In this state of exponential digital growth it seems like complete nonsense that anything two years old in the tech spectrum would still be relevant in our ultramodern-iPhone 5 slinging world of the future.
When we dig further into the digital world and look at Google a lot has happened to search since 2011. With major algorithm changes like the Panda and Penguin updates the search industry definitely falls under one of those constant updates, upgrades and “what’s next” facets of technology. With all of this in mind, and Google constantly tweaking it’s algorithm, could a site that was created and optimized in 2011 still rank strongly in Google today?
In early 2011 we wanted to get one of our client’s site ranking better in Google so we went through our standard SEO process and did some thorough keyword research, content creation and on-site optimization. The optimized site was launched in March of 2011 and we haven’t looked back or touched the site from a SEO standpoint in 2 years. Yes, that’s incredibly risky but all that “old” tech is still working for us and year over year the site’s traffic from Google continues to grow.
In general, when talking SEO I always recommend maintenance, re-alignments and updates however with our particular client we didn’t have budget to do so after site launch so we simply had to ride the wave of the initial site optimization and develop a site that could hopefully stand the test of time.
With all of this on the table, here’s how we made a rock solid site that was meant to stand the test of time and remain on Google’s good side.
|Organic Traffic from Google||Traffic Increase %
(compared to previous year)
|Traffic Increase %
(since optimized site launch)
Mar 1, 2010 – Feb 28, 2011
|Year One (optimized site launch)
Mar 1, 2011 – Feb 28, 2012
Mar 1, 2012 – Feb 28, 2013
|Year Three Projection
Mar 1, 2013 – Feb 28, 2014
So when it comes time to talk ROI of SEO and bang for the buck these are some solid results to share. Not every site will have this type of success and I’m not suggesting that SEO is a “set it and forget it” tactic but with the right strategy and planning building a solid SEO site can stand the test of time.
Photo Credit: Janet Ramsden
Sep 16 2013
In my last post, I took a look at the evolution of blogger relations and the sponsored post. Since bloggers are not taking pitches for earned content nine times out of 10, sponsored posts are the way to go.
The obvious negative here is that you’re paying for the post, which means the era of earned blog posts is essentially over. You’ll need to manage your client expectations to this effect, and in some instances, even work with them to partner with marketing to fund the efforts. That said, there are some important advantages to sponsored posts, namely that agencies and their clients now have more control of what is being said about their brands online.
Here are 9 tips to ensure you are getting the most out of sponsored posts.
What are your tips for great sponsored posts? Let us know in the comments!
[image credit: ownyourmoney.com]
Jul 22 2013
There are two main types of questions we ask on Google. One is the “instant-gratification” question… “Who was that actor?” “How do I hide a post on my Facebook timeline?” “Where’s the nearest Starbucks?” Google finds the answer, and you’re done.
The other is the broader, “life” question. These questions aren’t answered just by reading the first line of text under your search results. These questions require more reading, more research. These are questions that further your education, whether you’re interested in change management, becoming a better leader or even PR 101… the list could go on forever. These questions are answered by using
Google to find news articles or books… or, something in between, like an eBook.
More and more brands find themselves creating eBooks to answer these broader questions for their customer-base and insert themselves into the conversation about their industry. And, more often than not, the eBooks have serious flaws.
Through CRT/tanaka’s research and experience creating eBooks, we’ve found seven key tips for eBook success:
It’s an eBook. NOT a brochure. If you want to write a brochure, go ahead, but don’t pass it off as an eBook. Remember what I mentioned above? These books are meant to answer “life” questions. Your eBook should first and foremost be an educational work for your clients. Pick a topic surrounding your industry that generates a lot of questions from potential customers. Then, write about that topic in an unbiased way. Don’t worry, if you play your cards right, your brand will come across in tips 2 and 3.
Use your brand guidelines as you write your eBook. Ensure your brand’s tonality is present. Utilize your graphics, fonts and colors. This way, as individuals read your book, they’ll be receiving your brand’s message without a hard sell. They’ll think of you as a partner who has educated them about a topic of interest.
This is where our leads will come back around to your company. Be sure your eBook is rich in links back to your company’s blog, videos and other content. By driving your eBook readers back to your website and other online properties, they’ll begin their journey through the conversion funnel.
Don’t forget to keep it interesting. Yes, you’ll be using your brands fonts and logos, but don’t be bland and don’t only use your company’s stock photos. Find some other eye-grabbing graphics to keep your readers interested.
Our attention spans are waning these days. Your readers want your eBook to deliver the information they are seeking quickly and in a digestible format. Use your best judgment, but I tend towards 10-15 pages, and heavy on graphics. If your eBook is getting longer than that, you might be trying to cover too much, and you should consider splitting it into two separate eBooks.
At this point, in should go without saying. Make sure your eBook is mobile-friendly and it looks just as great on a desktop as it does on a tablet or phone. You never know what device your potential customers might be using the day they run across your eBook.
Now that you have this incredible, educational eBook that your potential customers are clamoring for, help them find it. Use a keyword rich SEO landing page with plenty of social share buttons for Facebook, Twitter and the like. Link back to your eBook’s landing page from your blog. Share it with your key influencers (whom you’ve already built great relationships with ;-)) and ask them to help spread the word on their online properties. When people search on your eBook’s topic, you want them to find you!
What are your tips for eBook success? Would love to hear in the comments below!
Apr 15 2013
You and your client may be on the fence about allocating marketing or PR dollars towards a search engine friendly website and content. If that’s the case and you want to increase traffic, raise awareness, generate sales or leads on your website search should be a part of your digital strategy. Here are a few basic stats on why search is a valuable tactic:
Feb 15 2013
By, Rosalie Morton (@rosaliemo)
Infographics took the PR and content marketing world by storm about a year and a half ago. In case you missed it, an infographic is an visually engaging illustration that brings data and facts to life, while telling a story. Essentially, infographics give jazz hands to what could be boring data. Very social media and blog friendly, they are also easy to share.
Here are a few ways to make sure your infographic stands out from crowd and generates the media attention it deserves.
1. A Story Line – Before you get started with design, you need to map out the story you want your infographic to tell. It needs a beginning, middle and end, supported with compelling factoids and data. One of the most successful infographics we created was this one for Air New Zealand, which tells the story of their 30-year anniversary of their Los Angeles to London route. From the amount of food consumed, to the number of miles flown and top pop songs, we covered the gamut in an engaging way (so engaging, it was picked up by leading travel blog, Jaunted). Here’s just a snippet:
Dec 17 2012
My post from last week talked about some digital trends and tactics for 2013 but I didn’t really focus too much on SEO. I talked about a few paid search trends but I wanted to dedicate a full post to really cover where things are headed and the perception of search engine optimization.
With the rise of the social web and articles like this one pronouncing “The Death of SEO” one has to ask, is SEO dead? SEO is not dead. Legit, quality content driven SEO is a thriving marketing tactic that continues to grow and deliver a high ROI. What is dead is the crappy, spammy, deceptive “SEO” of the past. The days of buying links, spinning articles and “manipulating” the search results have been killed by Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates. Even the term “search engine optimization” feels a little out dated as SEO is really about content marketing and less about trickery these days. At its core, the goal of a search engine will remain to deliver quality results in a user friendly manner.
Search engines are still really basic machines that rely on keyword relevancy and link popularity signals. This is there backbone and hasn’t really changed since the inception of indexing the web. As technology evolves we should see strides in a search engines ability to index other content. The future will bring better technology that allows a search engine to crawl images and video more efficiently. What about voice recognition? A lot can and will happen with voice recognition in the future and search will be impacted by these advancing technologies.
The rise of the social web has made an impact on search. Social hasn’t taken a piece of the search pie but the pie has now been expanded to include social media. Social is here to stay and it will continue to integrate and evolve with search. The data associated with your social activity may influence future rankings creating a more personalized search experience. Google’s jaunt into G+ pretty much verifies this theory as user are asked to “plus one” websites that they like. Social is a validation technique outside of the web but even on the web more social based search activities may start to sway algorithm based searches. Site’s like Blekko rely on human editors and not algorithms in order to personalize and socialize the search experience. With users maintaining topic tags, search results can be more relative and accurate to the query.
I barely scratched the surface on where the industry is headed but these were some of the concepts that resonated with me that got discussed at SMX East. Search is still an abundant and growing industry and it will be interesting to see where it goes in the future.
Nov 30 2012
A Google AdWords Case Study
For one of our clients the answer is yes, a $500 spend in Google AdWords did yield a 20% (19.5% to be exact) spike in traffic to their website. Here’s how it all worked out.
Our client, a local staffing agency knew that a large nationwide online retailer was looking to build a warehouse in the Richmond Virginia area. As this employer searched for staffing solutions via a search engine, our client wanted to make sure that their site and brand were visible in Google.
Our client’s website was not optimized for organic search and was not easily found through Google and ranked poorly. Knowing that this online retailer had an aggressive timeline we didn’t have enough time to do a full site audit and proper organic site optimization.
Time was not on our side, the instant nature and exposure that Google AdWords offers seemed to be a perfect solution. Google AdWords has many benefits but with a minimal amount of time and budget we knew that we could start generating impressions and visits to our client’s website.
Our first step was to do some brief keyword research and discover popular keywords relative to our content and to what the employer would be searching for. Not knowing where our client’s potential partner would be searching from, we created two main ad groups that used different location targeting parameters.
Our first ad group focused on a 50 mile radius of the Richmond area. Our goal with this group was to make sure that anyone in the area searching for “temporary staffing” etc. within that 50 mile radius would see our ad.
The second ad group we created targeted searches outside of the state of Virginia. Not knowing the geographic location of where our employer would be searching from we wanted to make sure that our ad would get displayed for a “temporary staffing va” search that originated from New York.
With our keywords researched, ad groups set up, landing page created and bids in place it was time to launch our ads.
Our ads ran for 3 months and generated over 9,000 impressions and over 500 visits to our landing page. Click through rates were around 5% and our ads averaged a 2.9 position in Google. All good metrics in my book, when looking at the website’s analytics, traffic to our landing page from the ad’s counted for almost 20% of the site’s visits during this 3 month time period. So, yes, in the case of our client, a $500 spend in Google AdWords did generate almost a 20% spike in traffic.
AdWords Metrics Screenshot
Landing Page Analytics Screenshot