Google + project and +1 oh and a facelift

googplusone1 Google + project and +1 oh and a faceliftThis week was just what the doctor ordered for Google. Lately, the social networks and Bing have owned the airwaves and net. Bings recent integration with Facebook made for a robust social search display, and even Myspace has taken a headline in its everything-must-go liquidation. So what gives with the massive Google rollout? Is Google really going after Facebook? Or even Bing? Is it market share? Read more

How to start a strategy with Google+

Panda turned some content kings’ worlds upside down.  These search companies have built their success on the ability to spin articles 100’s of ways and put them in 1000’s of content farms, thus generating the links and anchor text needed to raise rankings. The Panda updates changed that to some degree, and certainly made the search companies think twice. With Google+, we are beginning to see SERPs that contain articles or shares from within a social network ranking for competitive and volume searches. 

So instead of the top 3 sites being CNN, Wiki, and Huffington Post, it might include a post shared by multiple people within your social network that lives on some less authoritative domain…maybe your blog. So how do you calculate that? How do you cheat or science that? We might find out soon, but today there is not a lot of certainty. What can you do for your company or your clients? Try a couple of the following implementations to prepare for any more search fallout.

Get your team involved and get them social. If you have a sales force that is not socially-inclined, it needs to be. Now. 1. Have them share industry-relevant material. The more the better.

  • Social sharing gets reciprocated.
  • They will inject themselves into the conversation and possibly the search results.

2. Find some industry-strong sites to share your “viral” content with.

  • To me, this could sound backwards, but in order to get social networks to start sharing, you have to find a way to get the content in front socially influential.

3. Start using the new-and-improved Google Analytics.

  • Engagement and Social shares are segmented.
  • Get your +1 buttons showing up in your analytics also.

4. Target influencers for guest post.

  • Find the folks in your area (field or geo) who will contribute to your blog. If they get the shares, they get the views.

5. Test your pages and products with the +1 PPC.

  • This will let you collect data quickly on this new sharing mechanism.

   

Trade Show Search Marketing

Today I gave some advice to a client on how to assist their team at their industry’s big trade show event. B2B clients in particular can struggle when asked to think outside the box, at least when it comes to marketing. They are great when asked to about talk their products or services and even the industry. Read more

Follow Finder: A Simple Twitter Tool for Network Development

When we get called upon by a client to help establish or spruce up their Twitter strategy, a consistent challenge is how to develop the network of connections. Getting followers is of course a primary function, but most social media experts will tell you learning to listen is a key function for success. So how do you listen? Find profiles that are contributors to your desired conversations, and follow. Right? Unfortunately it’s not that easy. After a few days of searching out competitors and industry leaders a conversation can become stale very quickly. So using a tool, as simple as Follow Finder by Google can help immensely. There are many tools like this but the simplicity of Follow Finder to me is the great appeal. By using the social graph and examining elements like followers list, this app will show you profiles that might be of benefit to follow, along with profiles with similar list and follower make up as your profile. By using thought leaders profiles or competitors profiles from your industry you can quickly identify those of value. I started with making a list of 5 thought leaders in your industry, for SEO; @randfish @dannysullivan @Vanessafox @dannydover @willcritchlow Next a list of 5 brands from the industry @seomoz @Sengineland @Distilled @Sewatch @Sejournal After searching these profiles, I now have a good start on what most likely will be a the top tweets in my industry. Starting to listening can help you or your brand understand how you can use twitter effectively. It will give you a window into the different way people share content and engage effectively. No two companies are going to effectively use twitter in the same, even with in the same industry. Nobody starts with followers, but the quickest way to get them? Engage and share with unique, quality content.

Setting up goals in Google Analytics

How do I set up goals in Google Analytics and why would I want to? So what is the benefit of taking the time to set this up? Well for most businesses it can allow you to define ROI on different channels of advertising or marketing. If you are selling a specific widget, setting up a goal in Google Analytics can teach your marketing team to effectively convert customers, by easily identifying where the fallout is, and sometimes very specifically why. Google gives you the opportunity to define and track up to 10 URL’s for any one goal. Imagine the power when testing messages and assessing the value of promotions or offers? For some businesses it might be the annual report or industry white paper, never-the-less, you can learn the effectiveness of that information. If you don’t currently know the value of an online lead, you can begin to understand very quickly, thanks to goal tracking with Google Analytics. The best advice we give to our clients when discussing goals is, keep them extremely simple and limit the variable. This gives you the best chance to truly understand success. If you immediately start with too many options you might not effectively separate what is working, with what isn’t.

 

Setting up goals
(Below is an excerpt from www.google.com/webmasters/)
After you’ve thought of what your goals will be, start setting up them up by following these instructions: Sign in to your Google Analytics account at http://www.google.com/analytics/. Select the account that contains the profile you’ll be creating goals in from the Overview page. Find the profile for which you will be creating goals, and click ‘Edit’ under the ‘Actions’ column. Under the ‘Goals’ section, select one of the four sets to create your goal in (each set contains up to five goals) and click ‘Add goal.’ You can create up to 20 goals if you use all four sets.

Name the Goal.
Enter the goal’s name so that you can quickly recognize it when viewing reports. Turn the goal ‘On’ or ‘Off.’ If you choose ‘On,’ that means you want Google Analytics to track this conversion goal at this time. Turning it ‘Off’ will only make the goal inactive without deleting it.

Select the goal’s position.
The pull-down menu lets you select a goal’s position from within a set so that you can control the order in which it appears from the ‘Goals’ tab in your reports, or lets you move a goal from one set to another. Decide one of the three types of goals you want. This can be URL Destination, Time on Site, or Pages/Visit.

Defining funnels.
After you’ve entered your goal information, define a funnel if you’ve selected a ‘URL Destination’ goal type: Click ‘Yes, create a funnel for this goal. ‘Enter the ‘URL’ of the first page of your conversion funnel. This page should be a page that is common to all users working their way towards your goal. For example, if you are tracking user flow through your checkout pages, do not include a product page as a step in your funnel. Please note: Funnel URLs are treated as regular expressions. For this reason, you can include wildcard characters and use other regular expression methods if you want to match more than a single URL. Learn more about regular expressions.

Enter a ‘Name’.
If this step is a ‘Required step’ in the conversion process, select the checkbox to the right of the step. If this checkbox is selected, users reaching your goal page without travelling through this funnel page will not be counted as conversions. Learn more about the ‘Required Step’ option in a funnel. Continue entering goal steps until your funnel has been completely defined. You may enter up to 10 funnel steps, or as few as a single step. Click Save Changes to create this Goal and funnel, or Cancel to exit without saving.

Finally.
After you have set up your goals add the page to your dashboard to quickly and conveniently. Within a few hours you should see data collection taking place. If you aren’t seeing the data collect or if the numbers don’t seem to add up, look through some common errors: Using , which isn’t needed in the page description. -Not using the correct expression.(see google definitions) Not using the correct page names. Look through the steps provided by Google above again if they are all correct, make sure the pages are tagged with the correct analytics or give your analytics professional a call.

Writing Effective Web Content

It’s strange: when facing a blinking cursor, some of the best communicators in the world suddenly forget how to communicate. This presents a big problem for many companies. Writing content for the web isn’t like writing for your professor in college or your boss. Web content requires a different format and a different voice. Read more

A Visual Look into Spam and Link Farms

With the shock of panda/farmer update a few months behind us, slowly but surely data is coming out and contributing to the certainty of the update.

I often forget that in order to effectively and quickly assess data you need the information to presented in a simple and digestible format. We keep our reports for clients as singularly focused as possible, while still effectively reporting on the progress of goals. It’s the simple one-thing-to-get imagery that makes communicating an otherwise complex data set, palatable. Read more

Microsoft’s Purchase of Skype and What it means…

Buying Skype gives Microsoft a connection to 8.8 million paid accounts along with about 660 million other users world-wide. This is unlike Microsoft, which is not know for its big splash purchases. Most recently Microsoft has stepped up their marketing and search efforts with Bing. Just a few weeks ago Bing released a new webmasters tool to compete with Google and connect with website owning world. Read more

Determining the Value of SEO over at SEOBook.com, this guide seeks to focus more on the value of local SEO. For this tutorial we will be using examples related to St. Louis SEO terms because this is how we determine the value of ranking for specific terms within our industry.

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Defining the Value of Local SEO

I’ve found time and again that local business owners want to rank well for local searches but they have a hard time estimating what it is worth to their business. While there is a great article on Determining the Value of SEO over at SEOBook.com, this guide seeks to focus more on the value of local SEO. For this tutorial we will be using examples related to St. Louis SEO terms because this is how we determine the value of ranking for specific terms within our industry.

1.  Define Keywords

In order to estimate the value of SEO to your business you first have to define the keywords in which you hope to rank for in Google.  I always grade keywords in four main areas to help select the best keywords to target.  Evaluate your initial keyword list based on to following criteria:

  1. Relevance
  2. Competition
  3. Traffic
  4. Commerciality

If you’re new to keyword research I recommend taking a look at the great tutorial by Market Samurai: [The process of actually researching and selecting the right keywords is a different post altogether but for this example we will work from a sample list of keywords that are relevant to our SEO services in St. Louis.

  • seo companies
  • seo training
  • seo optimization

 

2.  Figure Out Search Volumes

Since this article is focused on determining value of Local SEO for your business we will only be looking at search volumes specific to our geographic region, St. Louis.  This step assumes you have a Google Adwords account that you have been using to test search volumes for your terms.  If you don’t, there are other less accurate ways to estimate search volumes, but for this tutorial we will focus on the PPC method since it’s the most accurate.  To see what other SEO experts had to say about this topic check our LinkedIn Discussion on “What To Do When Google Keyword Tool Shows Not Enough Data.” This is also the main reason I recommend using PPC as a tool to gather market data in the initial phases of your SEO strategy to ensure that you have an accurate projection of what SEO is really worth to your business. So to get your actual impressions/month jump into your Adwords account and navigate to the keywords tab.  Here you can find the keywords that you want to estimate the value of SEO.  If you’re campaign is regularly limited by your budget then your numbers will be skewed some but you could use the Google Traffic Estimator to figure out what the recommended daily budget is and work backwards to fine tune what your total impressions could be if you had no budget limitations.  It’s important to consider this because when valuing SEO you have to keep in mind that there is no “budget limitation” that will cause your site not to appear in the SERP’s.  I recommend running the campaign for a month for the most accurate data See the screen shot below of where you can find the search volumes for the keywords we are targeting.

3.  Estimate Traffic by Google Position

Here we use the AOL leaked data that shows clickshare by Google rank as shown in the graphic below.  (I think it’s from SEOBook)  Simply take the traffic estimates we have above

4.  Local SEO Value Calculation

So the value calculation should start with the search volume, multiplied by the % of traffic you expect to receive based on your estimated position.  I recommend an excel spreadsheet template if you plan on doing this calculation on a recurring basis. This will give you an estimate of the traffic that you might expect in those positions.  Once you know the estimated traffic then you should multiply that by your conversion rate.  If you don’t have an actual conversion rate then you’ll have to estimate.  Conversion rates vary greatly based on your design, conversion path, call to action, and actual type of conversion.   Obviously an ecommerce conversion has a higher barrier to enter, than a free whitepaper download so use your best judgement to estimate. Once you have your number of conversions simply multiply that by your average ticket amount and you have a rough calculation of the value of your local SEO.

YouTube SEO – Can YouTube Channels Really Improve Video SEO Rankings?

Can YouTube Channels Really Improve Video SEO Rankings? Yes. Using YouTube channels to improve video SEO rankings is a proven method thanks to the incredible popularity of YouTube.  It happens to be the largest video site in existence. Something even more impressive than that is the fact that YouTube comes in as the 4th largest website online-period. The art of website SEO is incredibly complex. That being said, the same is true for video SEO. Thanks to the ever-changing algorithms of search engines across the net, there is not necessarily a cut and dry answer for the exact dos and donats of search engine optimization. The question then is what steps have been proven to increase rankings in the recent past? Below are a few that have worked well for others, myself included:

1. Tags
While search engine algorithms that determine what websites should rank and where are continually changing, one thing remains constant: tags. Tags make up one of the most widely accepted ranking factors out there. Search engines use these tags to determine what the video in question is about and therefore what it is relevant to. Properly tagging the videos on your channel can only help your video to rank better. Of course, keyword stuffing is one thing that absolutely should not be done. Be sure to keep the keywords to a minimum when filling in the tags.

2. Link Building
If the concept of pointing links to your website has worked in the past, why not build links to your YouTube video channel? The more links pointing to your videos, the more relevant they will appear. One major mistake made amongst novices for SEO is the lack of using keywords for the anchor text. Pick two or three keywords you want to rank for and use those to embed the links that point to your video. For example, when pointing a link to a video that talks about satellite television programming, use the term “DISH Network” as the anchor text to embed your link. This tells the search engines that your videos are about DISH Network television programming and aids them in deciding how relevant your videos are to keyword searches for television programming.

3. Less is Just Less
When it comes to building your YouTube channel, it helps to have a lot of content on it. After all, your channel should be set up as an authority on the information it provides. The more information present, the more authoritative the channel appears. Search engines love relevant informational content from a big YouTube channel. YouTube and the content on it receive approximately 100 million visitors on a monthly basis. With the wealth of traffic possibilities available, there is no reason to not incorporate a YouTube channel into your video SEO strategy.  Those who understand how to best optimize their channels will undoubtedly notice an increase in their video SEO rankings.

This entry was written by a guest author. The author’s views below are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Evolve: The Science of Search