Top Google SEO tips

Have your site at the top of page 1 of Google search – or every marketer’s holy grail.  I get calls almost on a daily basis from companies who are looking for SEO expertise and who want to beat their competition by being the number 1, right there at the very top.  The trouble is that when it comes to SEO you have to follow a number of rules, but not just those that suit you, all of them!

Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail

Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These rules are essentially, yet rather simplistically for the purpose of this blog, split into a three pronged strategy: a technical approach (the way your page is built); a responsive tactic based on how each search engines work (e.g. Google and its latest algorithm and therefore links and so on) this of course feeds into the technical arena and finally a sound content strategy.  Each of these three areas is complex and require careful attention to details. You can find lots of resources online mainly as by the time books are published their content is likely to be obsolete.

I have just come across this video by Sparka and though a year old most of the recommendations are still applicable to these days, it’s like your personal map to the fabled holy grail, so don’t miss it and there’s loads more on his playlist page too!  Have a Merry Christmas too!

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Google+ and Facebook – the battle goes on.

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few months ago I wrote a very positive blog on Google+ and on how this channel was going to be much more significant to businesses than Facebook.  Generally, I remain of the same opinion that in relation especially to content management and SEO there is no doubt that a Google+ presence is infinitely superior to a Facebook one, from a business perspective, but perhaps not in terms of general audience engagement as I am trying to explain.

On this particular count Google+ has consistently failed to create sufficient ‘buzz’ and to attract a lively level of engagement in any way similar to the one of Facebook.  At least away from specialist B2B sectors, such as IT or similar, or in the few instances where brand new communities, that previously may not have existed on other social media channels were set up first on Google+.

The reasons for this lack of traction from Google+ are really quite simple and as ever are based on sociology and psychology, rather than just technology.  Let’s look at how  most of us interact across our personal social media channels.  I bet you that most of you have a personal Facebook account in which you have gathered the usual motley crowd of ‘friends’.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a passive reader of status updates or an active contributor, you are highly likely to be on Facebook as this was one of the first social media channels of this kind.  When you looked for old friends, or old flames, you instinctively searched on Facebook (way before you would have gone on Friends Reunited, do you remember that?).  I bet that even if you did so now I very much doubt you’d first check them out on Google+.  So, from a purely social perspective at least Facebook wins, by far, but as of late the battle has become even more fierce from a business angle.

Creating a good Facebook company page takes a matter of minutes, including very high levels of customisation. More importantly, finding appropriate audiences to advertise an update or to acquire ‘likes’ is a doddle.  With Facebook in just a few clicks you can search exactly for the geographical area, interest, gender and more, targeting your advert as accurately as possible.  This is not just because over the years Facebook has polished and enhanced its database exponentially, but also because they were clever enough to create a highly intuitive and user friendly interface.  Try comparing this with Google AdWord for example and not even Adword Express (apparently designed for small businesses) comes anywhere near to the ease of use of Facebook.  Beside, creating an advert on Google will simply expose you to the might of the competition and unless you’ve very deep pockets you are likely to see little benefits from it, when you could just as easily achieve similar results with some high quality content management for example.  On the other hand, Facebook can expose your brand to a well segmented audience, but it’s fair to say that this kind of audience may not be appropriate for specialist B2B sectors being much more potentially rewarding to consumer brands or campaign organisations instead.

So who wins?  Well in the end it’s the usual story of finding the right channel for you, one relevant to your audience.  However,  in terms of usability and B2C engagement, despite the growing number of Google+ users, Facebook wins.

I conclude with some anecdotal evidence. A year or so ago, when Google+ came out,  I asked all my Facebook friends if they would consider joining me on that channel.  Only one out of 200 replied in the affirmative.  Maybe I don’t have very good friends, but I suspect that most people are simply used to Facebook.  They have it on their smartphone, is bookmarked on their PC or laptop and they too have all their friends there who are equally unwilling to move.  How could they possibly consider switching over then?

It’s blindingly obvious that social media is inextricably linked to day to day social interactions.  Therefore, if you have been going to your local hostelry for several years and you suddenly decide to defect somewhere else, you’d probably end up drinking on your own at first, until you created another group in that specific location.   It’s just the same for social media channels.

This situation might change only in the light of some huge privacy cock up from Facebook, or if there were more freely available and easy to use tools that allowed you to share the same content initially across several platform, without losing the user experience of Facebook. Maybe one day we will be faced with two very serious contenders, but for now Facebook remains in the lead.

SEO basics every PR pro should know

See on Scoop.itPR, Social Media and Marketing

Instead of trying to win the battle for dominance, pros in the public relations and search engine optimization fields should be learning from one another.

Maurizio Fantato‘s insight:

As this article quite rightly states in its opening line, the  recent algorithm change by Google has ruffled a few feathers, especially in PR circles.  Much of it is speculation, more so as very few know what Google is really up to and how the next upgrade might even change the goalposts yet again (I speculate that more emphasis will be placed on cross platform and mobile integration).

What surprises me is all this talk about ‘quality’ as this was an attribute that had just been discovered and not something everyone should have been concerned with from day one.   It was always known, for example, which were the most coveted links; just as we always knew that if we provided really informative, engaging  and easily accessible content there was a much higher chance of it to be ranked highly by Google.

So what Google has done is to root out some of the bad practices. Some of these included rebroadcasting the same news item across many channels, in the hope it would make it to the top of the first search engine page, regardless of whether it was really newsworthy. This is now history, and good riddance too – it was just spam under a different guise.

We are all agreed that quality content is king.  Yet producing truly original content requires a professional approach, in depth understanding of the product or service on offer, the target audience and of all other related marketing issues.  It is an inherently expensive process, but then this is what quality is all about – ultimately only quality customers and quality agencies/consultants will survive.

See on www.prdaily.com

Google’s No Follow Rules and What They Mean for your PR Program | InkHouse

See on Scoop.itPR, Social Media and Marketing

Last week, Google sparked a loud conversation in the PR community when it issued new guidelines for something called Link Schemes. In the days that

Maurizio Fantato‘s insight:

An excellent article that sheds some lights on the somewhat confusing new guidelines on the presence of links on press releases.  Are you making full use of no follow links?  You should…

See on www.inkhouse.net

Strategy first, content later.

 

Content marketing is rapidly becoming all the rage. With the explosion in social media, and a huge range of tools and techniques available to business, everybody is suddenly becoming a content marketer.  This is true in B2C and is fast becoming the norm in the traditionally slower to react B2B sector.

The result? Noise – a lot of it.

The current situation is almost anarchic. People and companies are hurling a mass of information into the public arena in the hope that something will resonate with their audiences.

The reality is that although there is a wealth of good information being created a lot of useful content is being drowned out.  Of perhaps greater risk is that the rush to communicate creates the potential for serious media crises.

The problem is that many businesses have reacted to the social media phenomenon without taking the time to develop a carefully thought out strategy.  Consequently, there’s no clear intent or consistent delivery of brand values, while messaging in terms of content, style, frequency and impact is at best indifferent.

Let’s be clear: content marketing has the potential to be a powerful and extremely valuable business process.

But like any business process it requires planning, management, review and revision.

So before throwing yourself, and probably many of your colleagues, into the swirling waters of content marketing, ensure you have a clearly defined strategy with solid management techniques.

Here are just a few of the questions you need to consider:

  • What do you want to achieve – what will a successful outcome look like?
  • What are the key messages or brand positions that you want to communicate?
  • Who are you targeting and what makes these people or groups tick?
  • How will you gain their attention and then consistently engage with them?
  • Who in your organisation will manage the process?
  • How will content be created and quality controlled?
  • Will a third party organisation need to be used to help you create content, manage the communication tools and analyse results?
  • How will you measure the effectiveness of the process?

So many questions and probably too few answers.  So if you’d like help in developing, managing and implementing a robust content marketing strategy then get in touch with an experts.