Category: SEO Cardiff

Top 5 Web Marketing Tips for New Business Startups and SME’s

1. Twitter Marketing

Set up a Twitter Account and Follow up to 5,000 of your target audience.

A large proportion will follow you back and those that don’t can be unfollowed so that you can follow some more.

This could be a particular niche or businesses / consumers in a certain geographical location. Whilst you are building followers and when you have thousands of followers, send out information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience.

2. Facebook Marketing, Facebook Pages and Facebook Group Marketing

Use your personal Facebook account to connect with potential customers and partners, also create a Facebook Page and get your friends, potential partners and target audience (clients etc) to like and share your page. Whilst you are building likers & followers and when you have thousands of followers, send out information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience.

You can also set up groups for your target audiences and get some of those to join your group where you can also share information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience.

3. LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Company Pages

Make sure you have a good LinkedIn profile page that covers everything that you do including all of your skills and which links to your company website, blog and Facebook page etc. Also add links to any video that you might have etc.

Also create a Company page on LinkedIn (you need an email address on a registered domain to do this) and regularly post information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience via your LinkedIn company page and your regular posts facility on LinkedIn.

Finally on LinkedIn regularly connect with lots of people in your target audience on LinkedIn (but not to many all at once though as LinkedIn can block you). Also join lots of groups full of your target audience and connect with them via the group (Something linkedin allows you to do more aggressively than just connecting with people).

4. Blogging

Create a blog or ideally add a blog to your existing website or get a new website with a blog already included and start blogging regularly about your business, products and services etc.

This can help to improve the Seo of your website and get it associated with more keywords to help you get indexed more regularly the search engines and helping you to appear higher up and more often in the internet page ranks.

5. Keyword Content Marketing via content pages on your website

You should have an existing website or get a new website and create great keyword written landing pages for your business, as well as every single product and service and geographical area covered etc.
This will help to improve the Seo of your website and get it associated with more keywords to help you appear higher up and more often in the internet search engine page ranks helping you to get more enquiries.

If you need any help with any of the above please call: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

Online Marketing Agency Cardiff 

Looking for an Online Marketing Agency in Cardiff?

Why?

Maybe you’re looking for any of the following services?

Outsourced Online Marketing Agency Services:

  • Search Engine Optimisation / SEO – Onsite & Offsite Optimisation
  • Blogging 
  • Content Writing
  • Link Building
  • Social Media Marketing Services / SMM
  • Online Advertising

If you are looking for an Online Marketing Agency that provides  any of those Outsourced Online Marketing Services please give us a call on: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

In addition to our Outsourced Online Marketing services our Online Marketing Agency also provides:

Consultancy:

  • Online Marketing Consultancy
  • Web Marketing Consultancy
  • SEO Consultancy
  • Social Media Consultancy
  • Website Consultancy

& Training:

  • Online Marketing Training
  • Web Marketing Training
  • SEO Training
  • Social Media Training
  • Website Training

Online Marketing Agency Prices:

We can provide our services from just £100 a month, our training from £200 (for a 3 hour course), and consultancy from £250 (for 5 hours in a month).

Any questions?

Feel free to get in touch on either of our contact methods:

Call us on: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

The online marketing agency Cardiff post was written “By Mike Armstrong”

Online Marketing Agency Cardiff 

Looking for an Online Marketing Agency in Cardiff?

Why?

Maybe you’re looking for any of the following services?

Outsourced Online Marketing Agency Services:

  • Search Engine Optimisation / SEO – Onsite & Offsite Optimisation
  • Blogging 
  • Content Writing
  • Link Building
  • Social Media Marketing Services / SMM
  • Online Advertising

If you are looking for an Online Marketing Agency that provides  any of those Outsourced Online Marketing Services please give us a call on: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

In addition to our Outsourced Online Marketing services our Online Marketing Agency also provides:

Consultancy:

  • Online Marketing Consultancy
  • Web Marketing Consultancy
  • SEO Consultancy
  • Social Media Consultancy
  • Website Consultancy

& Training:

  • Online Marketing Training
  • Web Marketing Training
  • SEO Training
  • Social Media Training
  • Website Training

Online Marketing Agency Prices:

We can provide our services from just £100 a month, our training from £200 (for a 3 hour course), and consultancy from £250 (for 5 hours in a month).

Any questions?

Feel free to get in touch on either of our contact methods:

Call us on: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

The online marketing agency Cardiff post was written “By Mike Armstrong”

Link Building Services Cardiff, South Wales & Wales

Link Building Services Cardiff, South Wales, Wales

Here at MA Consultancy we offer three different types of Link Building Services to help increase the ranking of your website:

These Link Building Services are:

  • Citations
  • Blogger Outreach Programme
  • & Relevant Website Standard Links or Content on relevant sites with a Keyword Link

Costs for the Link Building Services Cardiff, South Wales, Wales:

You can get some of our Link Building Services Cardiff, South Wales, Wales for prices from just £200.

For more about the Link Building Services Cardiff, South Wales, Wales including the various different packages available, please follow the link or contact us on: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

Link Building Cardiff, South Wales, Wales

This page was written and posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Web Marketing inc SEO & Social Media Marketing

Web Design Wales

Business Services from trusted & reliable providers offering great value for money…

   

 As well as providing many business Services Online and Offline themselves, MA Consultancy also works with many trusted & reliable business service providers, who offer a wide range of business to business products or services.

If you would like to have a meeting with a professional to request a quote or for a free consultation, with some advice and knowledge about the business products or services that you require, please complete the contact form on the relevant business services page you are interested in, by clicking the link and seeing what service providers we work with.

Business Services included are:

  • A wide range of Marketing Services
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Business Exhibition Opportunities
  • Business Apps or Web Development
  • Graphic Fesign and/or Printing
  • Car Sales, Fleet provision or Car Leasing
  • Business Financial & Professional Services (Accountancy, Cost Reduction, Auto Enrolment, Legal Services, Debt Collection, Business Lasting Powers of Attorney)
  • Business Training
  • Office Cleaning etc.

Want your Business Service added to our offering?

Email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

Business Services page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Technical Website Audit Checklist for 2015

New post on Online Marketing Hub
Technical Website Audit Checklist: 2015 Edition

by christopherjanb
Posted by GeoffKenyon

Back in 2011, I wrote a technical site audit checklist, and while it was thorough, there have been a lot of additions to what is encompassed in a site audit. I have gone through and updated that old checklist for 2015. Some of the biggest changes were the addition of sections for mobile, international, and site speed.

This checklist should help you put together a thorough site audit and determine what is holding back the organic performance of your site. At the end of your audit, don’t write a document that says what’s wrong with the website. Instead, create a document that says what needs to be done. Then explain why these actions need to be taken and why they are important. What I’ve found to really helpful is to provide a prioritized list along with your document of all the actions that you would like them to implement. This list can be handed off to a dev or content team to be implemented easily. These teams can refer to your more thorough document as needed.

Quick overview
Check BoxCheck indexed pages
Do a site: search.
How many pages are returned? (This can be way off so don’t put too much stock in this).
Is the homepage showing up as the first result?
If the homepage isn’t showing up as the first result, there could be issues, like a penalty or poor site architecture/internal linking, affecting the site. This may be less of a concern as Google’s John Mueller recently said that your homepage doesn’t need to be listed first.
Check BoxReview the number of organic landing pages in Google Analytics

Does this match with the number of results in a site: search?
This is often the best view of how many pages are in a search engine’s index that search engines find valuable.
Check BoxSearch for the brand and branded terms

Is the homepage showing up at the top, or are correct pages showing up?
If the proper pages aren’t showing up as the first result, there could be issues, like a penalty, in play.
Check BoxCheck Google’s cache for key pages
Is the content showing up?
Are navigation links present?
Are there links that aren’t visible on the site?
PRO Tip:
Don’t forget to check the text-only version of the cached page. Here is a
bookmarklet to help you do that.
Check BoxDo a mobile search for your brand and key landing pages

Does your listing have the “mobile friendly” label?
Are your landing pages mobile friendly?
If the answer is no to either of these, it may be costing you organic visits.
On-page optimization
Check BoxTitle tags are optimized
Title tags should be optimized and unique.
Your brand name should be included in your title tag to improve click-through rates.
Title tags are about 55-60 characters (512 pixels) to be fully displayed. You can test here or review title pixel widths in Screaming Frog.
Check BoxImportant pages have click-through rate optimized titles and meta descriptions
This will help improve your organic traffic independent of your rankings.
You can use SERP Turkey for this.
Check Box

Check for pages missing page titles and meta descriptions

Check BoxThe on-page content includes the primary keyword phrase multiple times as well as variations and alternate keyword phrases

Check BoxThere is a significant amount of optimized, unique content on key pages

Check BoxThe primary keyword phrase is contained in the H1 tag

Check Box

Images’ file names and alt text are optimized to include the primary keyword phrase associated with the page.

Check BoxURLs are descriptive and optimized
While it is beneficial to include your keyword phrase in URLs, changing your URLs can negatively impact traffic when you do a 301. As such, I typically recommend optimizing URLs when the current ones are really bad or when you don’t have to change URLs with existing external links.
Check BoxClean URLs
No excessive parameters or session IDs.
URLs exposed to search engines should be static.
Check BoxShort URLs
115 characters or shorter – this character limit isn’t set in stone, but shorter URLs are better for usability.
Additional reading:
Best Practices for URLs
URL Rewriting Tool
mod_rewrite Cheat Sheet
Creating 301 Redirects With .htaccess
Content
Check BoxHomepage content is optimized
Does the homepage have at least one paragraph?
There has to be enough content on the page to give search engines an understanding of what a page is about. Based on my experience, I typically recommend at least 150 words.
Check BoxLanding pages are optimized
Do these pages have at least a few paragraphs of content? Is it enough to give search engines an understanding of what the page is about?
Is it template text or is it completely unique?
Check BoxSite contains real and substantial content
Is there real content on the site or is the “content” simply a list of links?
Check BoxProper keyword targeting
Does the intent behind the keyword match the intent of the landing page?
Are there pages targeting head terms, mid-tail, and long-tail keywords?
Check BoxKeyword cannibalization
Do a site: search in Google for important keyword phrases.
Check for duplicate content/page titles using the Moz Pro Crawl Test.
Check BoxContent to help users convert exists and is easily accessible to users
In addition to search engine driven content, there should be content to help educate users about the product or service.
Check BoxContent formatting
Is the content formatted well and easy to read quickly?
Are H tags used?
Are images used?
Is the text broken down into easy to read paragraphs?
Check BoxGood headlines on blog posts
Good headlines go a long way. Make sure the headlines are well written and draw users in.
Check BoxAmount of content versus ads
Since the implementation of Panda, the amount of ad-space on a page has become important to evaluate.
Make sure there is significant unique content above the fold.
If you have more ads than unique content, you are probably going to have a problem.
Additional reading:
How to Write Magnetic Headlines
SEO Copywriting Tips for Improved Link Building
The Ultimate Blogger Writing Guide
Tips to Earn Links and Tweets to Your Blog Post
Duplicate content
Check BoxThere should be one URL for each piece of content
Do URLs include parameters or tracking code? This will result in multiple URLs for a piece of content.
Does the same content reside on completely different URLs? This is often due to products/content being replicated across different categories.
Pro Tip:
Exclude common parameters, such as those used to designate tracking code, in Google Webmaster Tools. Read more at
Search Engine Land.
Check BoxDo a search to check for duplicate content
Take a content snippet, put it in quotes and search for it.
Does the content show up elsewhere on the domain?
Has it been scraped? If the content has been scraped, you should file a content removal request with Google.
Check BoxSub-domain duplicate content
Does the same content exist on different sub-domains?
Check BoxCheck for a secure version of the site
Does the content exist on a secure version of the site?
Check BoxCheck other sites owned by the company
Is the content replicated on other domains owned by the company?
Check BoxCheck for “print” pages
If there are “printer friendly” versions of pages, they may be causing duplicate content.
Site architecture and internal linking
Check BoxNumber of links on a page
100-200 is a good target, but not a rule.
Check BoxVertical linking structures are in place
Homepage links to category pages.
Category pages link to sub-category and product pages as appropriate.
Product pages link to relevant category pages.
Check BoxHorizontal linking structures are in place
Category pages link to other relevant category pages.
Product pages link to other relevant product pages.
Check BoxLinks are in content
Does not utilize massive blocks of links stuck in the content to do internal linking.
Check BoxFooter links
Does not use a block of footer links instead of proper navigation.
Does not link to landing pages with optimized anchors.
Check BoxGood internal anchor text

Check BoxCheck for broken links
Link Checker and Xenu are good tools for this.
Additional reading:
Importance of Internal Linking
Internal Linking Tactics
Using Anchor Links to Make Google Ignore The First Link
Successful Site Architecture for SEO
The SEO Guide to Site Architecture
Information Architecture and Faceted Navigation
Technical issues
Check BoxProper use of 301s
Are 301s being used for all redirects?
If the root is being directed to a landing page, are they using a 301 instead of a 302?
Use Live HTTP Headers Firefox plugin to check 301s.
Check Box”Bad” redirects are avoided
These include 302s, 307s, meta refresh, and JavaScript redirects as they pass little to no value.
These redirects can easily be identified with a tool like Screaming Frog.
Check BoxRedirects point directly to the final URL and do not leverage redirect chains
Redirect chains significantly diminish the amount of link equity associated with the final URL.
Google has said that they will stop following a redirect chain after several redirects.
Check BoxUse of JavaScript
Is content being served in JavaScript?
Are links being served in JavaScript? Is this to do PR sculpting or is it accidental?
Check BoxUse of iFrames
Is content being pulled in via iFrames?
Check BoxUse of Flash
Is the entire site done in Flash, or is Flash used sparingly in a way that doesn’t hinder crawling?
Check BoxCheck for errors in Google Webmaster Tools
Google WMT will give you a good list of technical problems that they are encountering on your site (such as: 4xx and 5xx errors, inaccessible pages in the XML sitemap, and soft 404s)
Check BoxXML Sitemaps
Are XML sitemaps in place?
Are XML sitemaps covering for poor site architecture?
Are XML sitemaps structured to show indexation problems?
Do the sitemaps follow proper XML protocols?
Check BoxCanonical version of the site established through 301s

Check BoxCanonical version of site is specified in Google Webmaster Tools

Check BoxRel canonical link tag is properly implemented across the site
Make sure it points to the correct page, and every page doesn’t point to the homepage.
Check BoxUses absolute URLs instead of relative URLs
This can cause a lot of problems if you have a root domain with secure sections.
Site speed
Check Box

Review page load time for key pages

Is it significant for users or search engines?
Check BoxMake sure compression is enabled
Gzip Test
Check Box

Enable caching

Check Box

Optimize your images for the web
Google’s guide to optimizing your images
Check Box

Minify your CSS/JS/HTML

Check BoxUse a good, fast host
Consider using a CDN for your images.
Check Box

Optimize your images for the web
Google’s guide to optimizing your images
Additional reading:
Google Page Speed Insights
Best Practices for Page Speed

Mobile
Check BoxReview the mobile experience
Is there a mobile site set up?
If there is, is it a mobile site, responsive design, or dynamic serving?
Check Box

Make sure analytics are set up if separate mobile content exists

Check Box

If dynamic serving is being used, make sure the Vary HTTP header is being used

This helps alert search engines understand that the content is different for mobile users.
Google on dynamic serving.
Check BoxReview how the mobile experience matches up with the intent of mobile visitors
Do your mobile visitors have a different intent than desktop based visitors?
Check BoxEnsure faulty mobile redirects do not exist
If your site redirects mobile visitors away from their intended URL (typically to the homepage), you’re likely going to run into issues impacting your mobile organic performance.
Check BoxEnsure that the relationship between the mobile site and desktop site is established with proper markup
If a mobile site (m.) exists, does the desktop equivalent URL point to the mobile version with rel=”alternate”?
Does the mobile version canonical to the desktop version?
Official documentation.
International
Check BoxReview international versions indicated in the URL
ex: site.com/uk/ or uk.site.com
Check BoxEnable country based targeting in webmaster tools
If the site is targeted to one specific country, is this specified in webmaster tools?
If the site has international sections, are they targeted in webmaster tools?
Check BoxImplement hreflang / rel alternate if relevant
Documentation
Check BoxIf there are multiple versions of a site in the same language (such as /us/ and /uk/, both in English), update the copy been updated so that they are both unique

Check BoxMake sure the currency reflects the country targeted

Check BoxEnsure the URL structure is in the native language
Try to avoid having all URLs in the default language
Analytics
Check BoxAnalytics tracking code is on every page
You can check this using the “custom” filter in a Screaming Frog Crawl or by looking for self referrals.
Are there pages that should be blocked?
Check BoxThere is only one instance of a GA property on a page
Having the same Google Analytics property will create problems with pageview-related metrics such as inflating page views and pages per visit and reducing the bounce rate.
It is OK to have multiple GA properties listed, this won’t cause a problem.
Check BoxAnalytics is properly tracking and capturing internal searches

Check BoxDemographics tracking is set up
Check BoxAdwords and Adsense are properly linked if you are using these platforms
Instructions for linking AdWords
Instructions for linking AdSense
Check BoxInternal IP addresses are excluded
Official documentation
Check BoxUTM Campaign Parameters are used for other marketing efforts
Google URL Builder
Check BoxMeta refresh and JavaScript redirects are avoided
These can artificially lower bounce rates.
Check BoxEvent tracking is set up for key user interactions
Event Tracking Documentation
This audit covers the main technical elements of a site and should help you uncover any issues that are holding a site back. As with any project, the deliverable is critical. I’ve found focusing on the solution and impact (business case) is the best approach for site audit reports. While it is important to outline the problems, too much detail here can take away from the recommendations. If you’re looking for more resources on site audits, I recommend the following:

Helpful tools for doing a site audit:
Annie Cushing’s Site Audit
Web Developer Toolbar
User Agent Add-on
Firebug
Link Checker
SEObook Toolbar
MozBar (Moz’s SEO toolbar)
Xenu
Screaming Frog
Your own scraper
Inflow’s technical mobile best practices

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

For more including images see:
https://omhub.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/technical-site-audit-checklist-2015-edition/

Technical Website Audit Checklist for 2015 page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Business Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales

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Our Business Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales services include:

  • Sales Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales (Telesales Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales, Call Centre Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales, Field Sales Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales, Solutions Sales & E-commerce Sales Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales),
  • Marketing Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales (SEO Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales, Email Marketing Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales, Web Marketing Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales, Social Media Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales, Exhibitions Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales),
  • Sales & Marketing Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales (all of the above),
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  • Website Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales (Website Construction, Web Design, Onsite Optimisation, Offsite Optimisation, E-commerce & SEO Consultancy in Cardiff & Newport, South Wales),
  • SEO Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales / Search Engine Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales (Link Building, Blogging, Onsite Optimisation, Social Media, Content Marketing, Content Writing),
  • Social Media Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales (Blogs, Google+ & Facebook Pages, Multiple Twiter Accounts, Video Marketing, Picture Marketing, Staff engagement with Social Profiles etc.),
  • Web Marketing Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales (Adwords, SEO, Online Lead Generation, Social Media Marketing),
  • E-commerce Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales (Online Shop Development, Pricing, Marketing Strategy, Competitor Analysis),
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  • Exhibition Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales (Exhibition Planning & Exhibition Strategy),

All Business Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales Enquiries to: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

The Business Consultancy Cardiff & Newport, South Wales page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

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Long Tail CTR Study: The Forgotten Traffic Beyond Top 10 Rankings

New post on Online Marketing Hub

Long Tail CTR Study: The Forgotten Traffic Beyond Top 10 Rankings
by christopherjanb
Posted by GaryMoyle

This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz, Inc.

Search behavior is fundamentally changing, as users become more savvy and increasingly familiar with search technology. Google’s results have also changed significantly over the last decade, going from a simple page of 10 blue links to a much richer layout, including videos, images, shopping ads and the innovative Knowledge Graph.

We also know there are an increasing amount of touchpoints in a customer journey involving different channels and devices. Google’s
Zero Moment of Truth theory (ZMOT), which describes a revolution in the way consumers search for information online, supports this idea and predicts that we can expect the number of times natural search is involved on the path to a conversion to get higher and higher.

Understanding how people interact with Google and other search engines will always be important. Organic click curves show how many clicks you might expect from search engine results and are one way of evaluating the impact of our campaigns, forecasting performance and exploring changing search behavior.

Using search query data from Google UK for a wide range of leading brands based on millions of impressions and clicks, we can gain insights into the how CTR in natural search has evolved beyond those shown in previous studies by
Catalyst, Slingshot and AOL.

Our methodology
The NetBooster study is based entirely on UK top search query data and has been refined by day in order to give us the most accurate sample size possible. This helped us reduce anomalies in the data in order to achieve the most reliable click curve possible, allowing us to extend it way beyond the traditional top 10 results.

We developed a method to extract data day by day to greatly increase the volume of keywords and to help improve the accuracy of the
average ranking position. It ensured that the average was taken across the shortest timescale possible, reducing rounding errors.

The NetBooster study included:

65,446,308 (65 million) clicks
311,278,379 (311 million) impressions
1,253,130 (1.2 million) unique search queries
54 unique brands
11 household brands (sites with a total of 1M+ branded keyword impressions)
Data covers several verticals including retail, travel and financial
We also looked at organic CTR for mobile, video and image results to better understand how people are discovering content in natural search across multiple devices and channels.

We’ll explore some of the most important elements in this article.

How does our study compare against others?
Let’s start by looking at the top 10 results. In the graph below we have normalized the results in order to compare our curve, like-for-like, with previous studies from Catalyst and Slingshot. Straight away we can see that there is higher participation beyond the top four positions when compared to other studies. We can also see much higher CTR for positions lower on the pages, which highlights how searchers are becoming more comfortable with mining search results.

A new click curve to rule them all
Our first click curve is the most useful, as it provides the click through rates for generic non-brand search queries across positions 1 to 30. Initially, we can see a significant amount of traffic going to the top three results with position No. 1 receiving 19% of total traffic, 15% at position No. 2 and 11.45% at position No. 3. The interesting thing to note, however, is our curve shows a relatively high CTR for positions typically below the fold. Positions 6-10 all received a higher CTR than shown in previous studies. It also demonstrates that searchers are frequently exploring pages two and three.

When we look beyond the top 10, we can see that CTR is also higher than anticipated, with positions 11-20 accounting for 17% of total traffic. Positions 21-30 also show higher than anticipated results, with over 5% of total traffic coming from page three. This gives us a better understanding of the potential uplift in visits when improving rankings from positions 11-30.

This highlights that searchers are frequently going beyond the top 10 to find the exact result they want. The prominence of paid advertising, shopping ads, Knowledge Graph and the OneBox may also be pushing users below the fold more often as users attempt to find better qualified results. It may also indicate growing dissatisfaction with Google results, although this is a little harder to quantify.

Of course, it’s important we don’t just rely on one single click curve. Not all searches are equal. What about the influence of brand, mobile and long-tail searches?

Brand bias has a significant influence on CTR
One thing we particularly wanted to explore was how the size of your brand influences the curve. To explore this, we banded each of the domains in our study into small, medium and large categories based on the sum of brand query impressions across the entire duration of the study.

When we look at how brand bias is influencing CTR for non-branded search queries, we can see that better known brands get a sizable increase in CTR. More importantly, small- to medium-size brands are actually losing out to results from these better-known brands and experience a much lower CTR in comparison.

What is clear is keyphrase strategy will be important for smaller brands in order to gain traction in natural search. Identifying and targeting valuable search queries that aren’t already dominated by major brands will minimize the cannibalization of CTR and ensure higher traffic levels as a result.

How does mobile CTR reflect changing search behavior?
Mobile search has become a huge part of our daily lives, and our clients are seeing a substantial shift in natural search traffic from desktop to mobile devices. According to Google, 30% of all searches made in 2013 were on a mobile device; they also predict mobile searches will constitute over 50% of all searches in 2014.

Understanding CTR from mobile devices will be vital as the mobile search revolution continues. It was interesting to see that the click curve remained very similar to our desktop curve. Despite the lack of screen real estate, searchers are clearly motivated to scroll below the fold and beyond the top 10.

NetBooster CTR curves for top 30 organic positions

Position

Desktop CTR

Mobile CTR

Large Brand

Medium Brand

Small Brand
1 19.35% 20.28% 20.84% 13.32% 8.59%
2 15.09% 16.59% 16.25% 9.77% 8.92%
3 11.45% 13.36% 12.61% 7.64% 7.17%
4 8.68% 10.70% 9.91% 5.50% 6.19%
5 7.21% 7.97% 8.08% 4.69% 5.37%
6 5.85% 6.38% 6.55% 4.07% 4.17%
7 4.63% 4.85% 5.20% 3.33% 3.70%
8 3.93% 3.90% 4.40% 2.96% 3.22%
9 3.35% 3.15% 3.76% 2.62% 3.05%
10 2.82% 2.59% 3.13% 2.25% 2.82%
11 3.06% 3.18% 3.59% 2.72% 1.94%
12 2.36% 3.62% 2.93% 1.96% 1.31%
13 2.16% 4.13% 2.78% 1.96% 1.26%
14 1.87% 3.37% 2.52% 1.68% 0.92%
15 1.79% 3.26% 2.43% 1.51% 1.04%
16 1.52% 2.68% 2.02% 1.26% 0.89%
17 1.30% 2.79% 1.67% 1.20% 0.71%
18 1.26% 2.13% 1.59% 1.16% 0.86%
19 1.16% 1.80% 1.43% 1.12% 0.82%
20 1.05% 1.51% 1.36% 0.86% 0.73%
21 0.86% 2.04% 1.15% 0.74% 0.70%
22 0.75% 2.25% 1.02% 0.68% 0.46%
23 0.68% 2.13% 0.91% 0.62% 0.42%
24 0.63% 1.84% 0.81% 0.63% 0.45%
25 0.56% 2.05% 0.71% 0.61% 0.35%
26 0.51% 1.85% 0.59% 0.63% 0.34%
27 0.49% 1.08% 0.74% 0.42% 0.24%
28 0.45% 1.55% 0.58% 0.49% 0.24%
29 0.44% 1.07% 0.51% 0.53% 0.28%
30 0.36% 1.21% 0.47% 0.38% 0.26%
Creating your own click curve
This study will give you a set of benchmarks for both non-branded and branded click-through rates with which you can confidently compare to your own click curve data. Using this data as a comparison will let you understand whether the appearance of your content is working for or against you.

We have made things a little easier for you by creating an Excel spreadsheet: simply drop your own top search query data in and it’ll automatically create a click curve for your website.

Simply visit the NetBooster website and download our tool to start making your own click curve.

In conclusion
It’s been both a fascinating and rewarding study, and we can clearly see a change in search habits. Whatever the reasons for this evolving search behavior, we need to start thinking beyond the top 10, as pages two and three are likely to get more traffic in future.

We also need to maximize the traffic created from existing rankings and not just think about position.

Most importantly, we can see practical applications of this data for anyone looking to understand and maximize their content’s performance in natural search. Having the ability to quickly and easily create your own click curve and compare this against a set of benchmarks means you can now understand whether you have an optimal CTR.

What could be the next steps?
There is, however, plenty of scope for improvement. We are looking forward to continuing our investigation, tracking the evolution of search behavior. If you’d like to explore this subject further, here are a few ideas:

Segment search queries by intent (How does CTR vary depending on whether a search query is commercial or informational?)
Understand CTR by industry or niche
Monitor the effect of new Knowledge Graph formats on CTR across both desktop and mobile search
Conduct an annual analysis of search behavior (Are people’s search habits changing? Are they clicking on more results? Are they mining further into Google’s results?)
Ultimately, click curves like this will change as the underlying search behavior continues to evolve. We are now seeing a massive shift in the underlying search technology, with Google in particular heavily investing in entity- based search (i.e., the Knowledge Graph). We can expect other search engines, such as Bing, Yandex and Baidu to follow suit and use a similar approach.

The rise of smartphone adoption and constant connectivity also means natural search is becoming more focused on mobile devices. Voice-activated search is also a game-changer, as people start to converse with search engines in a more natural way. This has huge implications for how we monitor search activity.

What is clear is no other industry is changing as rapidly as search. Understanding how we all interact with new forms of search results will be a crucial part of measuring and creating success.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

For more including images see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/long-tail-ctr-study-the-forgotten-traffic-beyond-top-10-rankings/

This page about SEO and Page Rankings has been posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Double up for Free on Bargain SEO & Social Media Marketing Services this Winter

Double up for No Extra

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Our Christmas / Winter Special offer is to double up on all of our Services for No Extra Cost. As you can see from visiting our online shop we offer a number of Marketing Services & Training Services for prices from jut £100. With all our services you can buy either time or actions and the double up offer gives you twice as much service as usual for no extra cost.

If you are looking for Marketing Services / Web Marketing Services or Marketing Training please select the service of interest and purchase via the online shop (remembering that you’ll get twice the time or amount than that quoted on the online shop).

If you want to discuss the price for a tailored marketing solution or a combination of a few of our services in one package, please call: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com .

The double up offer is valid for the months of November to January.

The Double up for Free on Bargain SEO & Social Media Marketing Services this Winter page is written “By Mike Armstrong”

20141115-005428.jpg

Double up for Free on Bargain Marketing Services this Winter

Double up for No Extra

20141115-004954.jpg
Our Christmas / Winter Special offer is to double up on all of our Services for No Extra Cost. As you can see from visiting our online shop we offer a number of Marketing Services & Training Services for prices from jut £100. With all our services you can buy either time or actions and the double up offer gives you twice as much service as usual for no extra cost.

If you are looking for Marketing Services / Web Marketing Services or Marketing Training please select the service of interest and purchase via the online shop (remembering that you’ll get twice the time or amount than that quoted on the online shop).

If you want to discuss the price for a tailored marketing solution or a combination of a few of our services in one package, please call: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com .

The double up offer is valid for the months of November to January.

The Double up for Free on Bargain Marketing Services this Winter page is written “By Mike Armstrong”

20141115-005428.jpg

Sales & Marketing Training Courses Cardiff, Newport, South Wales, Wales or the rest of the UK

Business Training including Sales & Marketing Training Courses in Cardiff, South Wales, Wales
Business Training

For Sales & Marketing Training Courses Cardiff, Newport, South Wales, Wales or the rest of the UK including;

  • Web Marketing Training Courses,
  • Social Media Training Courses,
  • SEO Training Courses,
  • Blogging Training Courses,
  • WordPress Training Courses,
  • Content Writing or Content Marketing Training Courses
  • Other Tailored Sales & Marketing Training Courses such as Telesales, Field Sales, Exhibition Sales, Networking, Account Management or Solution Sales Training Courses

Please visit our online Sales & Marketing store, Social Media & Marketing Masterclass, Sales Training Wales or Sales Training Cardiff pages on Eventbrite or call: 07517 024979 (or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com) with your requirements.

Sales & Marketing Training Courses Cardiff, South Wales & Wales Prices:

All of our off the shelf Sales & Marketing Training Courses are £200 for 3 hours or £500 for a full day. Our tailored training courses can be any amount of time for a price to be agreed.

Sales & Marketing Training Courses Cardiff, South Wales & Wales formats:

We can train individuals one on one or in groups of people up to 100. The training can be interactive, with the use of laptops and smart phones etc. or can be presentation style with the use of PowerPoint and questions and answers, or a mixture of both.

Who our Sales & Marketing Training Courses Cardiff, South Wales, Wales are suitable for:

We train all level of users or individuals and can adapt our training to the audience so can deliver strategy training to board members, management and business owners, and can provide basic setup, basic usage, beginner, standard or advanced versions of our courses for different staff members, business owners or users, depending on the existing levels they are at.

The “Sales & Marketing Training Courses Cardiff, Newport, South Wales, Wales or the rest of the UK” page was written “By Mike Armstrong”

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SEO Tips / SEO Advice / Blogging Advice

New post on Online Marketing Hub

How to Be the Best Answer with Topic Targeting
by christopherjanb

This weekend I had the good fortune to present at the Minnesota Blogger Conference where nearly 300 local bloggers gathered to learn, get inspired and network.

For my part, I gave a presentation on how blogs are still an incredibly useful tool for marketing. Keeping the reason for blogging top of mind as well as empathy for reader preferences in how they find, consume and act on information are essential if a blog author expects marketing outcomes from their efforts.

When a blog or any content hub can become “the best answer” for the topics that are important for buyers, the return on blogging goes way, way up. One way to execute a content plan to become known as an authority is through topic targeting.

For experienced multi-channel and integrated marketing pros, this kind of approach is going to be fairly common. But for the vast majority of bloggers, whether they be corporate or enthusiasts, the shift from writing for yourself (or your brand) to writing to satisfy specific audience needs is a fundamental shift.

Topic targeting starts by answering a few key questions:

How do you want to be known? How do you want your product or service to be known? What are you, your brand, product or serve the “best answer” for? That singular distinction is essential in order to stand out.
What questions relevant to your area of expertise do buyers have? What information do they need in order to move from curiosity to specific interest to transaction?
As you come to find the sweet spot between how you want to be known and what customers care about, that’s the focus of your topic targeting plan.

Topic targeting is an approach that involves creating resources, experiences and connections that result in an undisputed affinity between a target topic and your brand.
On a large scale for large companies, this is essentially brand marketing. For a small or medium business without massive budgets or resources, these 3 phases below represent a practical approach to becoming the “best answer” wherever customers are looking.

Inspire:
When starting out from a position without prominent authority on your desired topic, one of the most effective ways to close the gap between where you are and where you want your brand to be is to connect with those that already have the authority and community you desire. Recognizing topical influencers in a creative and qualitative way with an emphasis on inspiring readers to think in new ways about the topic is a good start. Co-creating content with topic influencers is also particularly effective. Your target topic will drive which influencers you engage with, the questions and interactions you have, and the titling of the resulting content.

Additional inspire tactics include speaking events that are “on topic” in the conference scope, track and/or title of your presentation. Social engagement promoting target topic content and events should also align. Comments made on industry articles (blogs and online magazines) are also opportunities to create affinity. Blogging about the target topic from different perspectives (what would a buyer need to know from start to finish) is also an effective directed content effort that will contribute to becoming the best answer.

Lastly, a limited number of guest posts on relevant, high profile blogs and contributed articles to industry magazines and websites on your target topic will provided added support for your brand and the target topic.

Desire:
Anticipation is a gateway to topical authority. Continuing to blog on the target topic and growing influencer relationships will lead to even more community engagement opportunities. Consistent creation of useful and entertaining blog content as well as alignment with industry influencers will create a very powerful mental state amongst your blog readers: anticipation. A community that can’t wait to see what you’re going to publish next will be instrumental for amplifying content and stimulating new perspectives on your target topic. That desire leads to advocacy, evangelism and scale for reaching a target audience in a highly credible way.

Acquire:
Demand for information and expertise leads to demand for your solutions. As authority is built on your target topic represented by the content you create on your own websites, third party references to your brand as an authority, growth of your community around the topic and advertising activities, there are several opportunities to show more tangible evidence of expertise: Some examples include:

Case studies
Definitive topic resource/guide
Events – online and off
Industry survey and report (annual)
Lists recognizing experts in the topic (annual or quarterly)
All of these tactics provide opportunities for readers to move from awareness and learning about the topic (with your brand at the forefront) to consideration and action – leads and transactions. Consumers increasingly expect to be able to educate themselves to a purchase decision and making it easy to find, experience and act on your content isn’t just good content marketing, it’s what buyers want.

Specificity is essential with topic targeting as are patience and persistence. This is an earned achievement that also needs to be maintained. But once consensus and momentum are achieved, the ability to attract those actively seeking what you have to offer will expand the value of your content beyond lead generation and sales to other means of monetization – sponsorships, advertising, syndication.

To apply the approach mentioned in this post will require some homework – research in your market or industry to see what kinds of content and messages resonate with the target audience. That’s where the audience Discovery, Consumption and Action model for understanding your audience comes in to play. It is also a continuous effort that can start simply and scale based on what works and what doesn’t.

But the most important thing if all, is to start: How do you want to be known? How does that fit with what your customers want to know?

For more on this SEO Tips /SEO Advice / Blogging Advice post or content marketing in general see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/how-to-be-the-best-answer-with-topic-targeting/

The SEO Tips / SEO Advice / Blogging Advice page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

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Content Marketing & Content Writing for Search Engine Optimisation

If you are adopting or implementing a content marketing strategy and looking to provide content writing on a blog or a website to help improve your ranking under certain “Keyword Searches” in the Internet Search Engine Rank Pages (SERP’s), then you should look to post or write content regularly.

You should also write 300 to 500 words and should use the keyword (or keyword phrase) that you are looking to rank high for regularly throughout the content, and within your Headers and meta descriptions etc.

If you are looking for help with a content marketing strategy, content marketing or content writing services or Keyword Analysis or hot spot details in order to get the most out of your content or your content marketing please call: 07517 024979 | or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

*If you like this SEO post you might also like this other SEO post:

SEO Tip / Search Engine Optimisation:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/blogging/seo-tip-search-engine-optimisation/

The Content Marketing & Content Writing for Search Engine Optimisation page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

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How to Increase your Business Website Page Ranking in the SERP’s / SEO Tip..

If you want your Website to improve its ranking in the Internet search engines, and have it associated with more keywords in order to get more traffic integrate a blog to your website and start a content marketing strategy!

Write about your products, services, staff, events, case studies and offers and share you marketing material.

If you need help use the advice of a content marketing specialist or outsource some of the content marketing services to an outsourced service provider like MA Consultancy:

07517 024979 | maconsultancy1@gmail.com

*If you liked this SEO Tip – You might like our Social Media & SEO Training:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/social-media-training-cardiff/social-media-training-cardiff/

*Or this other SEO Tip:

SEO Tip / Search Engine Optimisation:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/blogging/seo-tip-search-engine-optimisation/

The How to Increase your Business Website Page Ranking in the SERP’s / SEO Tip page was written “By Mike Armstrong”

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2014 Local Search Ranking Factors

New post on Online Marketing Hub

Announcing the 2014 Local Search Ranking Factors Results
by christopherjanb
Posted by David-Mihm

Many of you have been tweeting, emailing, asking in conference Q&As, or just generally awaiting this year’s Local Search Ranking Factors survey results.

Here they are!

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Hard to believe, but this is the seventh year I’ve conducted this survey—local search has come a long way since the early days of the 10-pack way back in 2008! As always, a massive thanks to all of the expert panelists who in many cases gave up a weekend or a date night in order to fill out the survey.

New this year
As the complexity of the local search results has increased, I’ve tried to keep the survey as manageable as possible for the participants, and the presentation of results as actionable as possible for the community. So to that end, I’ve made a couple of tweaks this year.

Combination of desktop and mobile results
Very few participants last year perceived any noticeable difference between ranking criteria on desktop and mobile devices, so this year I simply asked that they rate localized organic results, and pack/carousel results, across both result types.

Results limited to top 50 factors in each category
Again, the goal here was to simplify some of the complexity and help readers focus on the factors that really matter. Let me know in the comments if you think this decision detracts significantly from the results, and I’ll revisit it in 2015.

Factors influenced by Pigeon
If you were at Matt McGee’s Pigeon session at SMX East a couple of weeks ago, you got an early look at these results in my presentation. The big winners were domain authority and proximity to searcher, while the big losers were proximity to centroid and having an address in the city of search. (For those who weren’t at my presentation, the latter assessment may have to do with larger radii of relevant results for geomodified phrases).

My own takeaways
Overall, the
algorithmic model that Mike Blumenthal developed (with help from some of the same contributors to this survey) way back in 2008 continues to stand up. Nonetheless, there were a few clear shifts this year that I’ll highlight below:

Behavioral signals—especially clickthrough rate from search results—seem to be increasing in importance. Darren Shaw in particular noted Rand’s IMEC Labs research, saying “I think factors like click through rate, driving directions, and “pogo sticking” are valuable quality signals that Google has cranked up the dial on.”
Domain authority seems to be on its way up—particularly since the Pigeon rollout here in the U.S. Indeed, even in clear instances of post-Pigeon spam, the poor results seem to relate to Google’s inability to reliably separate “brands” from “spam” in Local. I expect Google to get better at this, and the importance of brand signals to remain high.
Initially, I was surprised to see authority and consistency of citations rated so highly for localized organic results. But then I thought to myself, “if Google is increasingly looking for brand signals, then why shouldn’t citations help in the organic algorithm as well?” And while the quantity of structured citations still rated highly for pack and carousel results, consistent citations from quality sources continue to carry the day across both major result types.
Proximity to searcher saw one of the biggest moves in this year’s survey. Google is getting better at detecting location at a more granular level—even on the desktop. The user is the new Centroid.
For markets where Pigeon has not rolled out yet (i.e. everywhere besides the U.S.), I’d encourage business owners and marketers to start taking as many screenshots of their primary keywords as possible. With the benefit of knowing that Pigeon will eventually roll out in your countries, the ability to compare before-and-after results for the same keywords will yield great insight for you in discerning the direction of the algorithm.
As with every year, though, it’s the comments from the experts and community (that’s you, below!) that I find most interesting to read. So I think at this point I’ll sign off, crack open a
GABF Gold-Medal-Winning Breakside IPA from Portland, and watch them roll in!

2014 Local Search Ranking Factors

For more on this article or content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/announcing-the-2014-local-search-ranking-factors-results/

The 2014 Local Search Ranking Factors page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

SEO News from recent Online Marketing Hub post!

New post on Online Marketing Hub

SEO Teaching: Should SEO Be Taught at Universities?
by christopherjanb
Posted by Carla_Dawson

This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz, Inc.

SEO is a concept that has been around for years and some universities have incorporated it into the curricula. A while back, I posted this question on Moz and noticed some very strong opinions on the idea that SEO should be part of formal education. Search Engine Journal also posted an article on the idea that SEO should not be taught in universities. We (I co-wrote this post with Aleksej Heinze, who also currently teaches SEO) obviously believe SEO should be taught in higher education and got together to discuss how it benefits the SEO industry and how SEO can be incorporated in higher education. Aleksej teaches SEO in the U.K.; I teach SEO in Argentina.

Before I get started with the pros and cons, I want to share with you some opinions from people in industry on the topic of SEO in universities.

Wil Reynolds (Founder – Seer Interactive)
1. Do you believe universities or higher education institutions should equip students with the skills to meet industry needs?

Yes, people take BIG loans to go to the university in the U.S.; we should at least make sure when they graduate they have the skills that are in…demand in the workplace.

2. Are SEO skills something you believe are lacking in industry?

Not sure. “SEO skills” is a broad phrase.

3. Do you think teaching SEO in universities gives credibility to the profession?

Not really, I think the profession has credibility. Teaching SEO in universities gives a student a great platform to learn and to be prepared for one of the industries that is in desperate need of talent.

4. Do you think teaching SEO in universities benefits the industry?

Yes, but I think SEO is too narrow, according to many definitions. If you think about it, SEO is as much about technical as it is about link building [or] keyword research. To teach the broad definition of SEO you’d need a pretty multi-disciplinary group to teach it. Maybe we’d just teach it as part of a digital marketing rotation.

Stephen Lock (Head of Content & Inbound Marketing, Linkdex.com)
1. Do you believe universities or higher education institutions should equip students with the skills to meet industry needs?

Yes, it makes sense that universities, where appropriate, offer courses that are based heavily on industry demands, especially if the course/institution has been marketed as…tailored for employers.

2. Are SEO skills something you believe are lacking in industry?

They definitely are. There is a real shortage, and due to the fast-moving nature of the field, knowledge is quickly outdated, meaning even experienced practitioners aren’t always great candidates.

3. Do you think teaching SEO in universities gives credibility to the profession?

I believe it does, although it is one of those fields where it’s common for people to…come from a broad range of backgrounds. The skills required are so diverse that it’s also understandable that people who have studied one field can adapt. From experience, employers are more interested in the person, their attitude and capacity to learn. However, SEO in universities can only be a good thing for the industry.

4. Do you think teaching SEO in universities benefits the industry?

Teaching SEO, I believe, would benefit the industry, as the skills shortage is so acute and it is so common for entry-level candidates to come from many different backgrounds. My final thoughts are that SEO is so broad as a discipline that calling it just SEO may not do it justice.

What we can see from these and other opinions we received for this article is views are still mixed since SEO education is not clearly defined. Where do you start with a subject area that touches such a broad range of disciplines, including technical, content and engagement? However, the vast majority of our respondents were
positive about the need to integrate SEO in higher education!

Pros to teaching SEO in universities
Eli Overbey wrote a great article on this topic
here, but me and Aleksej took some of the ideas one step further. Basically, we identified problems in industry and how teaching SEO in universities might help the industry.

How teaching SEO in universities may benefit the industry
Industry Problem How SEO in higher education might alive the problem?
Long sales cycles – Selling SEO is a lot about educating your potential client. Today’s student is tomorrow’s potential client.
Students who learn SEO formally (and not just on the job) are likely to have a broader understanding of its benefits, and therefore, be able to “sell” it more effectively to clients.

Lack of Credibility – Most SEOs learned SEO on the job, or through reading great books like “The Art of SEO” and reading great articles on the internet. However, few formal institutions recognize it as a valid marketing technique. SEO is not taught in many marketing related programs. Creating an educational standard for SEO increases the credibility of the field. Treating the discipline as if it was law, engineering, etc., would elevate SEO to a discipline seen as requiring a significant period of study before it can be practiced.
Everyone says they know SEO. Without a recognized standard for the field of SEO, anyone and everyone can say they know SEO.
Clients with bad experiences don’t trust SEO companies. Showing clients you have a certified person on your team may alleviate this situation.
Long recruiting cycles. Recruiters currently have to give SEO tests to verify that the job candidate in front of them really knows SEO. A certification or a degree does not guarantee you know the subject (this is true for lots of fields), but it is an excellent filter and a great starting point.
SEO is constantly changing, making it hard to keep up. Law, medicine and most other subject areas are also constantly changing, and content and concepts are updated accordingly. The same can be true for SEO in universities.
Clients challenge your techniques (ex. “Why don’t you use the keyword meta tag?” or “Why are you using parallax scrolling when it is not SEO-friendly?”) This happens in all industries and being able to reference an independent institution and a high-quality article will probably reduce discussion time.
There is a high demand for SEO skills. Below you will find articles that mention demand for SEO skills in industry. Universities are in the business of creating professionals and satisfying workforce demands.Higher education institutions are often criticized for their lack of relevant educational courses that will equip students with the skills to meet specific industry needs.
SEO is relevant today and will be well into the foreseeable future.

Cons to teaching SEO in universities
We do see some negatives to teaching SEO in universities, but we see them more as issues to be mitigated.
John Weber did a great job identifying the difficulties in teaching SEO in his article on searchenginejournal.com. We agree with several of the points in this article. However, we see them more as issues that can be alleviated through great program development.

Obstacles Potential Solutions
Google makes changes to its algorithm constantly. This exact topic should be brought up in the classroom. Students get that what they learn in school is somewhat “academic” and may be slightly out-of-date, but is still useful.
(On a side note, laws change all the time, yet law is taught in school.)

SEO is complex. It requires analytical and creative skills. Case studies are a great way to teach complex concepts and creativity. Law, perhaps, is similar to SEO in that it requires analytical and creative skills to be successful, and it is taught in universities.
No one absolutely knows “the magic formula.” This exact topic should be brought up in the classroom. This is true with many professions. Medicine is not an exact science and continuously evolves. Physicians often prescribe differing treatments for the same diagnosis.
Current flaws in academia
We also see lots of flaws within the academic world regarding SEO, specifically the fact that if the subject is taught, it is mostly taught as an extension (vocational) course or optional part of an MBA program.

Here are some universities that offer SEO:

University of California San Diego, U.S – taught as an extension course
City University London, U.K. – taught within a digital marketing program
Georgetown University, U.S. – taught as a course within a public relations and communications program
University of Salford, U.K. – taught as an extension course as part of BSc Business Information Technology, MSc Marketing and the Salford MBA course
Universidad Católica de Córdoba, Argentina – taught as a course within a digital marketing program
Universidad Blas Pascal, Argentina – taught as a course within a digital marketing program
Universidad Siglo 21, Argentina – taught as a course within a digital communications and social media program and as a online course
University of Sydney, Australia – taught as a course within a Joomla Framework
We feel SEO should be included as part of many other degree programs.

Please note that mentioning the concept and explaining it is not the same as teaching how to do SEO. In some cases, the concept should be mentioned and included, and in other cases, SEO should be fully taught. For example at Salford Business School, students are expected to plan, execute and evaluate live SEO campaigns and report on their results. This kind of SEO learning helps in job interviews where students can show their own artefacts and discuss what they have done and learned from their practical SEO experience.The academic world
has not incorporated the subject in a holistic manner.

How could SEO be incorporated into higher education?
Degree focus SEO Concept (not to be confused with course) to be incorporated in program Comments
Master of Business Administration (MBA) How to use SEO as a business strategy for long term sustainability of business? Not many MBA courses recognize SEO as a strategic tool for developing value for their business. Hence a number of businesses are missing growth opportunities in the online world.
Advertising How to use SEO with viral marketing and word of mouth as an advertising technique?
Is Inbound Marketing an advertising technique?

Television ads are no longer as effective as those created for YouTube with viral sharing in mind.
Web design/ computer science Designing for Search Engines – Is SEO part of web design? SEO is not taught in many web design or computer science schools. This has major issues/benefits for agencies that try to turn a non-SEO-friendly website into one that can be crawled by search engines.
Marketing Organic search engine results are an important marketing channel, and this concept does not have visibility in the educational system.
Many marketing programs talk about SEO as if it is something that’s useful to someone else. We are all individual brands who can learn and use SEO (e.g., integration of keyword research allows for better digital consumer profiling and learning about the digital personas to be engaged with in marketing mix).

Public Relations (PR) Synergies of online PR with content development strategies and long-term link building Many PR ignore the benefits of SEO and miss out on the mutual benefits that an integration of SEO and online PR could provide.
Journalism Writing text for online readability and scanability (e.g., using headings, bullet points, etc.) Many journalism courses are still based on great headlines and catchy first paragraph, but these are great techniques when combined with SEO, too. Not thinking about the online audience means you miss a lot of reach with articles that are “thrown” onto the web without much consideration.
We argue for wider adoption of SEO at university teaching because of these three reasons:

Shaping the SEO industry
Starting with understanding SEO principles at the university-level, we are shaping the digital marketing professionals of the future. Recognizing the growing range of opportunities that digital marketing creates as a consequence of good SEO practices offers an invitation to the industry for new talent. Offering SEO at universities will not stop cowboy SEO practices, but at least it will reduce the use of such practices out of incompetence.

SEO is no longer a “dark art”
By demystifying the process of SEO, companies will be more likely to employ SEO professionals by recognizing and better appreciating the value they create. SEO is no longer perceived as a “black box” or “dark art” and individuals who might be supervising others will be more able to expect higher standards and discern whether someone is using unwelcome practices.

Good SEO practices will make our industry sustainable
By integrating SEO into wider advertising, digital marketing, journalism, web design, PR and MBA courses, we are able to create a better long-term future for SEO as a profession. Having SEO skills applies to many disciplines, and business would be prepared to pay for these skills as soon as they recognise the return on investment that good SEO can create. By teaching SEO in higher education, SEO will appear more professional, which will lead to long-term sustainability.

Is there demand in the industry for SEO skills?
Universities have often been criticized for offering courses not relevant to industry needs. Students invest in higher education to broaden their horizons, but also to obtain skills that equip them better for their chosen profession. The underlying principle is that universities have to offer “universal knowledge and skills” to improve innovation and skills of the world we live in. So if an industry demands SEO skills, then perhaps it is time for higher education to respond? Here are some articles that show workforce demand related to SEO.

2012 – Conductor –
Demand for SEO Professionals Has Never Been Greater [Study]

2013 – Bruce Clay –
Studies Reveal SEO Analysts are in High Demand

2013 – Search Engine Land –
SEO Talent In High Demand — How To Hire An SEO

Here are some great stats from the articles above.

Studies show a 112 percent year-over-year increase in demand for SEO professionals, with salaries as high as $94,000, as reported by Conductor, an SEO technology company based in New York.
Search Engine Land surveyed the SEO industry and found that 93 percent of respondents expected their SEO business to grow by the end of 2013. It makes sense, then, that 82 percent of respondents also reported plans to hire additional SEO staff this year.
Digital Journal proclaimed “there is no doubt that a career in an SEO agency as an SEO professional can be an exciting and rewarding one. Stress levels would match the lows found in other online positions, while the employment opportunities in such a fast growing business are obvious … Mid-level strategist and management roles can earn from $60,000, while senior marketing directors can expect to approach six-figure sums.”
First-hand experience – Aleksej Heinze
Salford Business School is currently leading a European project, a Joint European Masters in Digital and Social Media Marketing (
JEMSS). This project aims to develop the digital marketeers of the future. JEMSS is a partnership between five European Universities and two commercial organizations, one of which is a digital marketing recruitment agency based in Manchester, the UK.

As part of this project, an extensive consultation with digital agencies and in-house teams has been conducted across five European countries. This multi-stage research project started with a brainstorming session that included ten UK-based agencies in December 2013. They were looking at the top
10 digital marketing skills for international business. The key skill identified as part of this focus group was Search Engine Optimization.

The views from the UK-based agencies were also inline with the online survey results from students and potential students regarding digital marketing courses. The list of 25 skills was developed through the initial focus group with industry practitioners. We can clearly see that SEO tops the table of skills needed when developing knowledge and skills in the area of digital marketing. This online survey was completed by 712 respondents across several countries. We were interested to look at five countries taking part in the JEMSS project: Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania, Poland and the UK. At least 50 respondents for each of these counties were collected to have a representative sample group.

Do people want to learn SEO?
Looking at the generic searches related to learning SEO/SEO courses in various parts of the world we see some interesting trends:

This Google Trends screenshot See link below) shows some of the main terms related to the popularity of SEO courses. We can see there is a major difference between “SEO training” and “SEO courses.” This can mean most people are seeing SEO as a vocational skill and not an academic course. It is also interesting to note that the location for those interested in “SEO courses” tends to be in India, the U.K. and the U.S. More research should be done in to identify additional hot spots throughout the world.

First hand experience – Carla Dawson

My students are eager to learn about SEO. Many of them make comments like “Carla, we have been waiting for this class” or “This is the best class [in the] program.” In the SEO class, I notice that students pay closer attention than they do in other classes. Multiple requests have been made by my students to “offer a second course or a seminar” so they can learn more about SEO. It almost seems as if the SEO course has more value than some of the other courses. In class, I get questions like “where can we learn more about SEO?” “What sources are reliable?” etc.

Conclusion
Long gone are the days gone where
universities were run by nuns and monks and the main courses included Latin, metaphysics and theology. Most universities are becoming businesses that develop educational products, research and sell them.

If you believe that universities or higher education institutions should equip students with the skills to meet specific industry needs, then perhaps SEO or better yet “Search Marketing” is ideal for universities?

SEO touches so many fields and in our opinion it should be incorporated in various degrees not just offered as an extension course. We would love to hear the communities opinion on this topic so please comment below!

This article was co-authored with Aleksej Heinze from the University of Salford Manchester.

For more on this SEO article or content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/seo-teaching-should-seo-be-taught-at-universities/

SEO News from recent Online Marketing Hub post page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Link Building

A recent post on Online Marketing Hub

The Future of Link Building

by christopherjanb
Posted by Paddy_Moogan

Building the types of links that help grow your online business and organic search traffic is getting harder. It used to be fairly straightforward, back before Google worked out how to treat links with different levels of quality and trust. However, the fact that it’s getting harder doesn’t mean that it’s dead.

What does the future hold?

I’m going to talk about links, but the truth is, the future isn’t really about the links. It is far bigger than that.

Quick sidenote: I’m aware that doing a blog post about the future of link building the week of a likely Penguin update could leave me with egg on my face! But we’ll see what happens.

Links will always be a ranking factor in some form or another. I can see the dials being turned down or off on certain aspects of links (more on that below) but I think they will always be there. Google is always looking for more data, more signals, more indicators of whether or not a certain page is a good result for a user at a certain moment in time. They will find them too, as we can see from
patents such as this. A natural consequence is that other signals may be diluted or even replaced as Google becomes smarter and understands the web and users a lot better.

What this means for the future is that the links valued by Google will be the ones you get as a result of having a great product and great marketing. Essentially, links will be symptomatic of amazing marketing. Hat tip to
Jess Champion who I’ve borrowed this term from.

This isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be. That’s the point.

To go a bit further, I think we also need to think about the bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, there are so many more signals that Google can use which, as marketers, we need to understand and use to our advantage. Google is changing and we can’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on.

A quick side note on spammy links
My background is a spammy one so I can’t help but address this quickly. Spam will continue to work for short-term hits and churn and burn websites. I’ve talked before about
my position on this so I won’t go into too much more detail here. I will say though that those people who are in the top 1% of spammers will continue to make money, but even for them, it will be hard to maintain over a long period of time.

Let’s move onto some more of the detail around my view of the future by first looking at the past and present.

What we’ve seen in the past
Google didn’t understand links.

The fundamental issue that Google had for a long, long time was that they didn’t understand enough about links. They didn’t understand things such as:

How much to trust a link
Whether a link was truly editorially given or not
Whether a link was paid for or not
If a link was genuinely high quality (PageRank isn’t perfect)
How relevant a link was
Whilst they still have work to do on all of these, they have gotten much better in recent years. At one time, a link was a link and it was pretty much a case of whoever had the most links, won. I think that for a long time, Google was trying very hard to understand links and find which ones were high quality, but there was so much noise that it was very difficult. I think that eventually they realised that they had to attack the problem from a different angle and
Penguin came along. So instead of focusing on finding the “good” signals of links, they focused on finding the “bad” signals and started to take action on them. This didn’t fix everything, but it did enough to shock our industry into moving away from certain tactics and therefore, has probably helped reduce a lot of the noise that Google was seeing.

What we’re seeing right now
Google is understanding more about language.

Google is getting better at understanding everything.
Hummingbird was just the start of what Google hopes to achieve on this front and it stands to reason that the same kind of technology that helps the following query work, will also help Google understand links better.

Not many people in the search industry said much when
Google hired this guy back in 2012. We can be pretty sure that it’s partly down to his work that we’re seeing the type of understanding of language that we are. His work has only just begun, though, and I think we’ll see more queries like the one above that just shouldn’t work, but they do. I also think we’ll see more instances of Googlers not knowing why something ranks where it does.

Google is understanding more about people.

I talk about this a little more below but to quickly summarise here, Google is learning more about us all the time. It can seem creepy, but the fact is that Google wants as much data as possible from us so that they can serve more relevant search results—and advertising of course. They are understanding more that the keywords we type into Google may not actually be what we want to find, nor are those keywords enough to find what we really want. Google needs more context.

Tom Anthony has
talked about this extensively so I won’t go into loads more detail. But to bring it back to link building, it is important to be aware of this because it means that there are more and more signals that could mean the dial on links gets turned down a bit more.

Some predictions about the future
I want to make a few things more concrete about my view of the future for link building, so let’s look at a few specifics.

1. Anchor text will matter less and less
Anchor text as a ranking signal was always something that works well in theory but not in reality. Even in my early days of link building, I couldn’t understand why Google put so much weight behind this one signal. My main reason for this view was that using exact match keywords in a link was not natural for most webmasters. I’d go as far as to say the only people who used it were SEOs!

I’m don’t think we’re at a point yet where anchor text as a ranking signal is dead and it will take some more time for Google to turn down the dial. But we definitely are at a point where you can get hurt pretty badly if you have too much commercial anchor text in your link profile. It just isn’t natural.

In the future, Google won’t need this signal. They will be much better at understanding the content of a page and importantly, the context of a page.

2. Deep linking will matter less and less
I was on the fence about this one for a long time but the more I think about it, the more I can see this happening. I’ll explain my view here by using an example.

Let’s imagine you’re an eCommerce website and you sell laptops. Obviously each laptop you sell will have its own product page and if you sell different types, you’ll probably have category pages too. With a products like laptops, chances are that other retailers sell the same ones with the same specifications and probably have very similar looking pages to yours. How does Google know which one to rank better than others?

Links to these product pages can work fine but in my opinion, is a bit of a crude way of working it out. I think that Google will get better at understanding the subtle differences in queries from users which will naturally mean that deep links to these laptop pages will be one of many signals they can use.

Take these queries:

“laptop reviews”

Context: I want to buy a laptop but I don’t know which one.

“asus laptop reviews”

Context: I like the sound of Asus, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony laptop reviews”

Context: I also like the sound of Sony, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony vs asus laptop”

Context: I’m confused, they both sound the same so I want a direct comparison to help me decide.

“asus laptop”

Context: I want an Asus laptop.

You can see how the mindset of the user has changed over time and we can easily imagine how the search results will have changed to reflect this. Google already understand this. There are other signals coming into play here too though, what about these bits of additional information that Google can gather about us:

Location: I’m on a bus in London, I may not want to buy a £1,000 laptop right now but I’ll happily research them.
Device: I’m on my iPhone 6, I may not want to input credit card details into it and I worry that the website I’m using won’t work well on a small screen.
Search history: I’ve searched for laptops before and visited several retailers, but I keep going back to the same one as I’ve ordered from them before.
These are just a few that are easy for us to imagine Google using. There are loads more that Google could look at, not to mention signals from the retailers themselves such as secure websites, user feedback, 3rd party reviews, trust signals etc.

When you start adding all of these signals together, it’s pretty easy to see why links to a specific product page may not be the strongest signal for Google to use when determining rankings.

Smaller companies will be able to compete more.

One of the things I loved about SEO when I first got into it was the fact that organic search felt like a level playing field. I knew that with the right work, I could beat massive companies in the search results and not have to spend a fortune doing it. Suffice to say, things have changed quite a bit now and there are some industries where you stand pretty much zero chance of competing unless you have a very big budget to spend and a great product.

I think we will see a shift back in the other direction and smaller companies with fewer links will be able to rank for certain types of queries with a certain type of context. As explained above, context is key and allows Google to serve up search results that meet the context of the user. This means that massive brands are not always going to be the right answer for users and Google have to get better at understanding this. Whether a company is classified as a “brand” or not can be subjective. My local craft beer shop in London is the only one in the world and if you were to ask 100 people if they’d heard of it, they’d all probably say no. But it’s a brand to me because I love their products, their staff are knowledgeable and helpful, their marketing is cool and I’d always recommend them.

Sometimes, showing the website of this shop above bigger brands in search results is the right thing to do for a user. Google need lots of additional signals beyond “branding” and links in order to do this but I think they will get them.

What all of this means for us
Predicting the future is hard, knowing what to do about it is pretty hard too! But here are some things that I think we should be doing.

Ask really hard questions
Marketing is hard. If you or your client wants to compete and win customers, then you need to be prepared to ask really hard questions about the company. Here are just a few that I’ve found difficult when talking to clients:
Why does the company exist? (A good answer has nothing to do with making money)
Why do you deserve to rank well in Google?
What makes you different to your competitors?
If you disappeared from Google tomorrow, would anyone notice?
Why do you deserve to be linked to?
What value do you provide for users?
The answers to these won’t always give you that silver bullet, but they can provoke conversations that make the client look inwardly and at why they should deserve links and customers. These questions are hard to answer, but again, that’s the point.

Stop looking for scalable link building tactics
Seriously, just stop. Anything that can be scaled tends to lose quality and anything that scales is likely to be targeted by the Google webspam team at some point.

A recent piece of content we did at Distilled has so far generated links from over 700 root domains—we did NOT send 700 outreach emails! This piece took on a life of its own and generated those links after some promotion by us, but at no point did we worry about scaling outreach for it.

Start focusing on doing marketing that users love.
I’m not talking necessarily about you doing the next Volvo ad or to be the next Old Spice guy. If you can then great, but these are out of reach for most of us. That doesn’t mean you can’t do marketing that people love. I often look at companies like Brewdog and Hawksmoor who do great marketing around their products but in a way that has personality and appeal. They don’t have to spend millions of dollars on celebrities or TV advertising because they have a great product and a fun marketing message. They have value to add which is the key, they don’t need to worry about link building because they get them naturally by doing cool stuff.

Whilst I know that “doing cool stuff” isn’t particularly actionable, I still think it’s fair to say that marketing needs to be loved. In order to do marketing that people love, you need to have some fun and focus on adding value.

Don’t bury your head in the sand
The worst thing you can do is ignore the trends and changes taking place. Google is changing, user expectations and behaviours are changing, our industry is changing. As an industry, we’ve adapted very well over the last few years. We have to keep doing this if we’re going to survive.

Going back to link building, you need to accept that this stuff is really hard and building the types of links that Google value is hard.

In summary
Links aren’t going anywhere. But the world is changing and we have to focus on what truly matters: marketing great products and building a loyal audience.

For more about link building or content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/the-future-of-link-building/

Link Building page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

The Future of Link Building – SEO Tips

A recent post on Online Marketing Hub

The Future of Link Building

by christopherjanb
Posted by Paddy_Moogan

Building the types of links that help grow your online business and organic search traffic is getting harder. It used to be fairly straightforward, back before Google worked out how to treat links with different levels of quality and trust. However, the fact that it’s getting harder doesn’t mean that it’s dead.

What does the future hold?

I’m going to talk about links, but the truth is, the future isn’t really about the links. It is far bigger than that.

Quick sidenote: I’m aware that doing a blog post about the future of link building the week of a likely Penguin update could leave me with egg on my face! But we’ll see what happens.

Links will always be a ranking factor in some form or another. I can see the dials being turned down or off on certain aspects of links (more on that below) but I think they will always be there. Google is always looking for more data, more signals, more indicators of whether or not a certain page is a good result for a user at a certain moment in time. They will find them too, as we can see from
patents such as this. A natural consequence is that other signals may be diluted or even replaced as Google becomes smarter and understands the web and users a lot better.

What this means for the future is that the links valued by Google will be the ones you get as a result of having a great product and great marketing. Essentially, links will be symptomatic of amazing marketing. Hat tip to
Jess Champion who I’ve borrowed this term from.

This isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be. That’s the point.

To go a bit further, I think we also need to think about the bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, there are so many more signals that Google can use which, as marketers, we need to understand and use to our advantage. Google is changing and we can’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on.

A quick side note on spammy links
My background is a spammy one so I can’t help but address this quickly. Spam will continue to work for short-term hits and churn and burn websites. I’ve talked before about
my position on this so I won’t go into too much more detail here. I will say though that those people who are in the top 1% of spammers will continue to make money, but even for them, it will be hard to maintain over a long period of time.

Let’s move onto some more of the detail around my view of the future by first looking at the past and present.

What we’ve seen in the past
Google didn’t understand links.

The fundamental issue that Google had for a long, long time was that they didn’t understand enough about links. They didn’t understand things such as:

How much to trust a link
Whether a link was truly editorially given or not
Whether a link was paid for or not
If a link was genuinely high quality (PageRank isn’t perfect)
How relevant a link was
Whilst they still have work to do on all of these, they have gotten much better in recent years. At one time, a link was a link and it was pretty much a case of whoever had the most links, won. I think that for a long time, Google was trying very hard to understand links and find which ones were high quality, but there was so much noise that it was very difficult. I think that eventually they realised that they had to attack the problem from a different angle and
Penguin came along. So instead of focusing on finding the “good” signals of links, they focused on finding the “bad” signals and started to take action on them. This didn’t fix everything, but it did enough to shock our industry into moving away from certain tactics and therefore, has probably helped reduce a lot of the noise that Google was seeing.

What we’re seeing right now
Google is understanding more about language.

Google is getting better at understanding everything.
Hummingbird was just the start of what Google hopes to achieve on this front and it stands to reason that the same kind of technology that helps the following query work, will also help Google understand links better.

Not many people in the search industry said much when
Google hired this guy back in 2012. We can be pretty sure that it’s partly down to his work that we’re seeing the type of understanding of language that we are. His work has only just begun, though, and I think we’ll see more queries like the one above that just shouldn’t work, but they do. I also think we’ll see more instances of Googlers not knowing why something ranks where it does.

Google is understanding more about people.

I talk about this a little more below but to quickly summarise here, Google is learning more about us all the time. It can seem creepy, but the fact is that Google wants as much data as possible from us so that they can serve more relevant search results—and advertising of course. They are understanding more that the keywords we type into Google may not actually be what we want to find, nor are those keywords enough to find what we really want. Google needs more context.

Tom Anthony has
talked about this extensively so I won’t go into loads more detail. But to bring it back to link building, it is important to be aware of this because it means that there are more and more signals that could mean the dial on links gets turned down a bit more.

Some predictions about the future
I want to make a few things more concrete about my view of the future for link building, so let’s look at a few specifics.

1. Anchor text will matter less and less
Anchor text as a ranking signal was always something that works well in theory but not in reality. Even in my early days of link building, I couldn’t understand why Google put so much weight behind this one signal. My main reason for this view was that using exact match keywords in a link was not natural for most webmasters. I’d go as far as to say the only people who used it were SEOs!

I’m don’t think we’re at a point yet where anchor text as a ranking signal is dead and it will take some more time for Google to turn down the dial. But we definitely are at a point where you can get hurt pretty badly if you have too much commercial anchor text in your link profile. It just isn’t natural.

In the future, Google won’t need this signal. They will be much better at understanding the content of a page and importantly, the context of a page.

2. Deep linking will matter less and less
I was on the fence about this one for a long time but the more I think about it, the more I can see this happening. I’ll explain my view here by using an example.

Let’s imagine you’re an eCommerce website and you sell laptops. Obviously each laptop you sell will have its own product page and if you sell different types, you’ll probably have category pages too. With a products like laptops, chances are that other retailers sell the same ones with the same specifications and probably have very similar looking pages to yours. How does Google know which one to rank better than others?

Links to these product pages can work fine but in my opinion, is a bit of a crude way of working it out. I think that Google will get better at understanding the subtle differences in queries from users which will naturally mean that deep links to these laptop pages will be one of many signals they can use.

Take these queries:

“laptop reviews”

Context: I want to buy a laptop but I don’t know which one.

“asus laptop reviews”

Context: I like the sound of Asus, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony laptop reviews”

Context: I also like the sound of Sony, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony vs asus laptop”

Context: I’m confused, they both sound the same so I want a direct comparison to help me decide.

“asus laptop”

Context: I want an Asus laptop.

You can see how the mindset of the user has changed over time and we can easily imagine how the search results will have changed to reflect this. Google already understand this. There are other signals coming into play here too though, what about these bits of additional information that Google can gather about us:

Location: I’m on a bus in London, I may not want to buy a £1,000 laptop right now but I’ll happily research them.
Device: I’m on my iPhone 6, I may not want to input credit card details into it and I worry that the website I’m using won’t work well on a small screen.
Search history: I’ve searched for laptops before and visited several retailers, but I keep going back to the same one as I’ve ordered from them before.
These are just a few that are easy for us to imagine Google using. There are loads more that Google could look at, not to mention signals from the retailers themselves such as secure websites, user feedback, 3rd party reviews, trust signals etc.

When you start adding all of these signals together, it’s pretty easy to see why links to a specific product page may not be the strongest signal for Google to use when determining rankings.

Smaller companies will be able to compete more.

One of the things I loved about SEO when I first got into it was the fact that organic search felt like a level playing field. I knew that with the right work, I could beat massive companies in the search results and not have to spend a fortune doing it. Suffice to say, things have changed quite a bit now and there are some industries where you stand pretty much zero chance of competing unless you have a very big budget to spend and a great product.

I think we will see a shift back in the other direction and smaller companies with fewer links will be able to rank for certain types of queries with a certain type of context. As explained above, context is key and allows Google to serve up search results that meet the context of the user. This means that massive brands are not always going to be the right answer for users and Google have to get better at understanding this. Whether a company is classified as a “brand” or not can be subjective. My local craft beer shop in London is the only one in the world and if you were to ask 100 people if they’d heard of it, they’d all probably say no. But it’s a brand to me because I love their products, their staff are knowledgeable and helpful, their marketing is cool and I’d always recommend them.

Sometimes, showing the website of this shop above bigger brands in search results is the right thing to do for a user. Google need lots of additional signals beyond “branding” and links in order to do this but I think they will get them.

What all of this means for us
Predicting the future is hard, knowing what to do about it is pretty hard too! But here are some things that I think we should be doing.

Ask really hard questions
Marketing is hard. If you or your client wants to compete and win customers, then you need to be prepared to ask really hard questions about the company. Here are just a few that I’ve found difficult when talking to clients:
Why does the company exist? (A good answer has nothing to do with making money)
Why do you deserve to rank well in Google?
What makes you different to your competitors?
If you disappeared from Google tomorrow, would anyone notice?
Why do you deserve to be linked to?
What value do you provide for users?
The answers to these won’t always give you that silver bullet, but they can provoke conversations that make the client look inwardly and at why they should deserve links and customers. These questions are hard to answer, but again, that’s the point.

Stop looking for scalable link building tactics
Seriously, just stop. Anything that can be scaled tends to lose quality and anything that scales is likely to be targeted by the Google webspam team at some point.

A recent piece of content we did at Distilled has so far generated links from over 700 root domains—we did NOT send 700 outreach emails! This piece took on a life of its own and generated those links after some promotion by us, but at no point did we worry about scaling outreach for it.

Start focusing on doing marketing that users love.
I’m not talking necessarily about you doing the next Volvo ad or to be the next Old Spice guy. If you can then great, but these are out of reach for most of us. That doesn’t mean you can’t do marketing that people love. I often look at companies like Brewdog and Hawksmoor who do great marketing around their products but in a way that has personality and appeal. They don’t have to spend millions of dollars on celebrities or TV advertising because they have a great product and a fun marketing message. They have value to add which is the key, they don’t need to worry about link building because they get them naturally by doing cool stuff.

Whilst I know that “doing cool stuff” isn’t particularly actionable, I still think it’s fair to say that marketing needs to be loved. In order to do marketing that people love, you need to have some fun and focus on adding value.

Don’t bury your head in the sand
The worst thing you can do is ignore the trends and changes taking place. Google is changing, user expectations and behaviours are changing, our industry is changing. As an industry, we’ve adapted very well over the last few years. We have to keep doing this if we’re going to survive.

Going back to link building, you need to accept that this stuff is really hard and building the types of links that Google value is hard.

In summary
Links aren’t going anywhere. But the world is changing and we have to focus on what truly matters: marketing great products and building a loyal audience.

For more about link building or content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/the-future-of-link-building/

The Future of Link Building – SEO Tips page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Recent post from online marketing hub blog regarding bounce rates!

A Recent post from Online Marketing Hub

This is a Big Problem on Many Websites. Here Are 6 Simple Ways to Fix It
by christopherjanb

A few days ago I started reading Dr. Robert Anthony’s “Magic Power of Super Persuasion”and surprisingly, I found out something really useful that can be applied online.

Let me explain.

People who listen to others and show an interest in their stories tend to attract more friends. These kind of people are also perceived as trustworthy. On the other hand, people who talk only about themselves, either of good or bad, are perceived as weak, shifty or untrusty.

The same thing happens with websites.

Remember that the “www” is only a protocol, a communication bridge between the information provider and the consumers. If the website’s owner is shouting out loud how great his products or services are, he is often confronted with rejection. On websites and blogs this is called “bounce rate“. They come to your site read one page and bounce out without reading anything else or clicking on other pages.

This is one of the key performance indicators of a website or blog and it is a major issue. This is a big problem on many websites but their owners don’t know it.

Why measure the performance of your site?
Let me take a guess. It’s because you want more from your online business.

Your most precious tool is the website that helps you to achieve the business objectives. In order to get to the desired goals, you need to define metrics and set up a target value to see how are you doing against your objectives. I know that this may sound like a first year college marketing class, but it is essential to understand the importance of measuring the right metrics.

Why measure bounce rate?
A 70% Bounce Rate is telling you that more than half of the website’s visitors are going away without visiting more than one page. Ouch! This is terribly bad, especially if you don’t manage to do micro-conversions such as Facebook Likes, Newsletter subscriptions, etc. The fact is that you probably constantly lose prospects for your business without having a hook or idea about how to make them return to your website ever again.

This will cost you.

How to find your bounce rate?
Log in your web analytics software – I’ll use Google Analytics as an example. You can access the following reports by going to Behavior>>Site content>>All Pages.

Moving forward, you need to find out why are these things happening on your website. You have two simple and cheap ways to get this kind of information:

1. Web analytics
Figure out bounce rates for each important page of the website.

If it’s an ecommerce, include in the analysis the homepage, category page, product page. Don’t try to look at the cart page, because it has to deal with another metric – the cart abandonment rate.

On the other had, if you run a blog check the homepage and the pages with the highest traffic volume.

Pro tip: Only analyze the most popular pages. These pages need to be optimized either to increase the time on site or to optimize conversion rates. This is a matter of prioritization based on potential, importance and ease.

2. Customer’s feedback
Use surveys to find out directly from visitors what’s making them to run away from your website. A few examples of questions to discover abandoning reasons and get insights:

Question 1: What determined you not to subscribe to one of our plans?

It’s to expensive
I don’t need it now
I’m comparing prices
I don’t know
Question 2: Can you tell us what would you like to see on this page?

Open answer: […]”

The most common causes for high bounce rates
There are a few key causes for high bounce rates.

1. Poor website design
You have only a few seconds to convince people that your site is credible. If its design isn’t appealing, you need to consider some fixes. I don’t recommend you to do a entire website redesign, because it may lead to a drop in conversion rates. The main reason for this drop is the sudden change that would confuse people who visit the website regularly and who is are already consuming your content or products. My advice is to use conversion optimization tactics to improve the design step by step without wondering how a change would affect the website’s key performance indicators.

2. There is no “Call to Action”
People arrive on the website and they don’t know what to do. If they’re not encouraged to do anything, they’ll consume the information they need and then go away.

Create a conversion funnel and make sure to track each goal. For example, in the first phase, your goal would be to transform visitors into subscribers. Here, you can apply some email collecting tactics that I’ve talked about in a previous post about growing an email list. But collecting emails is not enough. You need to move subscribers to the next funnel stage and transform them into leads. In case you have a complex product, you may want people to sign up for a free trial and try your product.

3. The website’s traffic is irrelevant
This may take you back to defining your business objectives. What’s the website’s role in the business? How does it support your business and how do you make money with it? If these questions don’t have clear answers, you wouldn’t know where to work on improvement. Another reason would be that your Adwords Campaigns are poorly managed.

4. The website is difficult to use
Have you tested the website at its launch? Are you sure that people don’t get stuck when they navigate on its pages? Consider a usability testing or a flow analysis in Analytics to spot the blockages on your website.

6 Simple Fixes to Reduce Bounce Rate
1. Focus on conversion rate optimization
Create a plan for conversion rate optimization and then start to improve the website step by step. I encourgae you to bookmark this link; it’a a complete guide to creating an effective A/B testing plan and it includes tips on how to integrate A/B testing in the conversion rate optimization strategy.

2. Optimize load time
Third party plugins have a negative effect on load time. Check out this infographic to learn more about what’s causing pages to load in time and how to fix speed page issues

3. Check for technical errors
Analyze bounce rates by device, resolution and other similar segmentation criteria. Go deeper with the analysis to figure out the anomalies and fix them.

4. Make links intuitive
Figure out how easy is to follow the links to the conversion page/thank you page and ensure that visitors can intuitively click through without thinking too hard.

5. Consider optimizing the Adwords campaigns
Remain committed to what you promised to the visitors in the ads. Also, keep the same tone of voice, fonts and colors on the landing page. Don’t drive visitors that clicked on one of your ads on irrelevant pages because it increases the chances to bounce.

6. Eliminate confusion
Have clear call to actions on each important page of your site.

Notice that these guidelines can help you in your attempt to reduce bounce rate, but remember that your website is unique and there is no “one size fits all” solution. You just have to start analyzing your website and see why are things happening like this and not in the way you want them to happen.

For more see:

http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/this-is-a-big-problem-on-many-websites-here-are-6-simple-ways-to-fix-it/

Page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Are you looking for SEO Services Cardiff?

Would you like to get more leads, website visitors or customer from the Google Search Engines?

Do you want to get to the top of the Internet result pages for your core Keywords, including the products & services that you offer?

If you answered yes to the above and you are from Cardiff or the wider South Wales area then the SEO Services Cardiff on offer from MA Consultancy are for you!

About our SEO Services Cardiff!

The SEO Services Cardiff we offer include On-site Optimisation and Off-site Optimisation.

On-site Optimisation includes Blogging, Content writing, Key Word Grouping, Image naming and Keyword improving within Meta tags, Meta Page Descriptions, URLs and Headers etc. This also includes increasing time spent on site and page views as well as decreasing bounce rates.

Off-site Optimisation includes Social Media Marketing, Link Building, Content Marketing, Directory Listings, Adwords Marketing and other Marketing techniques & ways of increasing traffic to your website!

What the SEO Services Cardiff we can provide can do for your business!

All of the SEO Services Cardiff that we offer including the on-site optimisation services and the off-site optimisation services will help your business website to increase its ranking and it’s position in the Search Engines Page ranks. This will improve the number of web visitors and enquiries that you receive which (*as long as the products and services that you are offering are in demand and competitively priced against others) would result in you getting more customers!

*If the increase in traffic and enquiries were not resulting in more customers I would also be able to help you improve your product offering or proposition in order to help you get more customers.

As well as getting you more website traffic, enquiries & customers our off-site optimisation services including Directory Listings and Social Media Marketing services will also help to increase your brand awareness whilst the on-site optimisation service of blogging can help improve your standing within your industry as well as increasing the number of Keywords and subject areas / topics that your website gets associated with.

Costs for our SEO Services Cardiff!

As the amount of SEO work required can vary on the competitiveness of the Keywords you are looking to rank for and the geographical territory that you want to be found for my costs are quoting for on a bespoke basis once I’m able to review the market and determine what is involved to get you the results that you need.

Our SEO Services Cardiff can cost from £100 a month up to £1,000 a month and would be subscribed for a minimum of 3 months but can often be required for 6 months or even 12 months to achieve the desired results.

If you need to rank high on page 1 for less competitive keyword phrases, on a local Cardiff basis, against competitors with less SEO activity the costs would be far lower than of you were looking to rank high on page 1 for High competitive keyword phrases, on a UK basis on a Sector where all competitors are taking part in a high level of SEO activities themselves.

What to do if you are interested in our SEO Services Cardiff?

If you would like our SEO Services Cardiff or simple want a free review or a no obligation quotation please call us on: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

The SEO Services Cardiff page is posted “By Mike Armstrong”