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Maintaining and improving your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) can be exhausting. Every time search giant Google changes its algorithm, business owners and their webmasters are left with their heads spinning, trying to make adjustments so their sites don’t fall in Google’s search rankings.

Most recently, Google rolled out Penguin 2.0, a newer version of its previous Penguin algorithm update, which aims to cut down on web spam.

While trying to keep on all of Google’s changes can be a hassle, there are a large number of SEO factors that are unlikely to change any time soon. To help make SEO just a little easier, digital marketing firms Backlinko and Single Grain have created the infographic below, collecting some 200 factors that Google considers when ranking sites in its search results. The information was compiled from hundreds of sources, including SEO blogs and from statements made by Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts.

Here’s a glimpse, click on the image for the full infographic. Please don’t try this it home :-) , Let us help you optimize your website SEO, it’s what we do at NetScope.

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Laurie Sullivan is a writer and editor for MediaPost.2012_DMS_Sponsor_Mediapost_Logo

Search engine marketers need to put aside attempts to raise their brand’s Web site to the top of first-page query rankings through old-fashioned optimization techniques and focus on content — as well as Hummingbird, Google’s latest search algorithm for conversational search.

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Search is on the cusp of a major transformation, and marketers need to build better content, rather than try to optimize it for search engines, per Vikram Bhaskaran, director of marketing at Freshdesk. Building algorithms that allow search engines to think like consumers becomes the holy grail, he said. Marketers must create content for a specific type of customer. That will optimize brand Web sites to land for specific consumers in the No. 1 position.

Search experts warn that a combination of content, personalized search and the Hummingbird algorithm will make ranking relevant solely to the person searching for answers to questions at any specific moment in time. Google will index and rank sites across the Web based on content, rather than keywords. It’s a well known fact that has been floating around the search industry for months.

SEO by the Sea founder Bill Slawski dug up some Google patents that may provide insight on the future of Hummingbird. One patent suggests substitution of query terms or finding terms or phrases to use to expand queries. Specific words such as “Apple” can change meaning or mean more than one thing. “Or two words that might potentially be substitutes for each other are ‘felines’ and ‘cats,’” he explains.

Some people believe that brands will get less traffic to their Web sites, but consumers landing on the pages will have a specific purpose and more likely to make a purchase or download information. Chris Marentis, CEO of digital marketing provider Surefire Social, said consumers are interacting differently with search engines, “asking longer questions through voice search.”

“Build pages in the way that answers questions using subject, predicate, and object,” Marentis said, adding that gaming the system will become a thing of the past. “Use objects, images, and videos, and with the correct semantic structure the content will get grabbed into features like Google Carousel.”

Hummingbird sorts through billions of Web pages and content to return what it believes the best answers to conversational search queries, rather than those based on keywords. It works with Knowledge Graph, which connects people, places or things. The algorithm makes keywords less important, focusing more on strings of words linked together to form a conversation such as “how do I provide better customer service.”

Google began using structured data earlier this year to support a markup language, which allows marketers to tell the engine what each piece of the content on the page means. The schema developed by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo engineers provide insight into the future of search.

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Google wants technology to “step out of the way” as developers integrate it into everyday life. That’s per Timothy Jordan, developer advocate on Project Glass, speaking to i/o Conference attendees Thursday. It means major changes in online advertising for agencies and those developing apps and utilities, but what do brands need to know?

Executives at traditional brands are aware of the shifts in advertising, said Bob Goodman, senior vice president and director of user experience at Arnold Worldwide. “They can’t afford to ignore it,” he said. “They’re all looking for help in understanding what it means for them and how to improve on connecting with consumers.”

In Google’s world, search and paid search continue to support apps and utilities as the underlying technology, the reference design. Consumers won’t type a query, but rather indicate or imply the need for information through clicks on photos or interactions with contextual content.
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A click turns into a conversation and every page becomes a form of search, Goodman said. “You may not perceive yourself as performing a search, but rather navigating through content during your everyday life,” he said. “Marketers need to think more about the assets they can leverage to make use of content.”

Brands need to broaden their notion of the meanings of “advertising” and “media.” Technologies like Google Glass and Google Now, as well as apps like Google Maps, transition the ad industry into the era of content-driven advertising. Content in multiple forms that can move across screens with contextual relevance will become crucial to the way brands reach consumers. Google isn’t the only engine moving in this direction. Bing and Yahoo have begun to make changes too, but they have yet to become as vocal.
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That transition began when Google served the first answers to queries in the search results, rather than required searchers to click on the link that took them to a page, according to Raymond James Analyst Aaron Kessler. Ultimately, Google gets paid for sending traffic to other sites, so they will likely want to continue using that model, he said. It allows Google to move farther down the funnel to offer information similar to travel comparison sites. You can make a similar argument for other publishers, he said, pointing to Facebook’s recent Atlas acquisition to improve attribution tracking.

Krishna Subramanian, CMO at Velti, said the next generation of online advertising points to multiscreen advertising, which will lower acquisition costs for gaining new customers. “Google Glass will provide the location-based data that gets tied back into ad targeting,” he said. “People initially talked about serving coupons to a consumer standing in front of a Starbucks, but the real value will become tying together all the data to identify the daily path they travel and the frequency in which they do it.

Editors Note: How many think readers think this was the pioneer to Google Glass? Please share your comments/opinions.
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May 15, 2013 at 10:32am ET by logo275x65

In an update on the early progress of the transition to enhanced campaigns last night, Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP, Ads and Commerce at Google — and the lead on enhanced campaigns — said that close to two million campaigns have been set to enhanced. That’s up from 1.5 million Google quoted on the first quarter earnings call on April 18.
Results From Early Adopters

Based on positive case studies from clothing retailer American Apparel, financial services provider Woodbridge Structured Funding, and an unnamed luxury shopping brand among others, Ramaswamy says early adopters of enhanced campaigns are seeing better conversion rates and lower costs-per-click, while saving time on management.
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Ramaswamy was also keen to point out that several companies that had not bothered with mobile targeting in the past are now driving calls and conversions from mobile ads. The new phone call conversion metric now available in the AdWords UI allows companies to capture call conversions. Ramaswamy says that, on average, total conversions reported in AdWords have risen 150% for those advertisers tracking click-to-call conversions.

A classifieds website in France now sees one-third of its traffic and conversions coming from mobile. With the mobile bid adjustment set at 125%, CPA has remained steady. Woodbridge Structured Funding, also with a 125% mobile bid adjustment, has doubled leads from smartphone calls.
No More Big Feature Updates Before July 22

Given the recent introductions of Upgrade Center and ad group level mobile bid adjustments, several companies have been waiting to transition to enhanced campaigns in the event other new features are announced. I asked Ramaswamy if other changes are coming and if those companies should continue to wait.

Not surprisingly, his answer was, “No,” companies should transition now and not wait until the last minute. “I’m pretty confident that the feature set that we have now will fully support the migration,” he stated, and continued saying it’s unlikely there will be any other large features introduced before the July 22nd migration date. His advice: “Migrate now instead of waiting to fight for time later.”
The Great Tablet Debate

One of the biggest objections to enhanced campaigns from advertisers has been the loss of tablet targeting. Tablets and desktops are now combined, and only smartphones can be bid on separately. Ramaswamy said Google does not have any case studies on companies that had been running legacy tablet-only campaigns and have now transitioned to enhanced campaigns, but would look into getting some.

As Google has maintained since February, he says the need for tablet targeting is “as much a matter of perception as it is a kind of reality,” and most advertisers did not split out tablets, in part because it was too complicated to set up and manage separate campaigns. His replies won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following this issue and asking Google to revert back to device targeting available in legacy campaigns.

Google has consistently said that while savvy marketers did see tablets as a predictor of demographics in the early days of the iPad, tablets are now a mainstream device, and those differentiators between tablet and desktop activity have largely disappeared. Nothing has changed, publicly at least, on that position.
Advertisers Of All Sizes Have Been Migrating

Ramaswamy says advertisers across the board have been transitioning to enhanced. Many large advertisers who rely on the API exclusively were among the earliest adopters. Google is also seeing mid- and small-level advertisers transition quickly, as well. Ramaswamy said they track the migration data by advertiser type internally, but would not be making that information publicly available.

Has your company made the transition yet? If so, what kind of results are you seeing?

Correction: This article originally stated that total conversions have risen 150% with the inclusion of click-to-call conversions and has been corrected to state that the increase is an average seen in AdWords reporting by those advertisers tracking phone call conversions.

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Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Now Let Advertisers Highlight Their Google+ Follower Count, Get Improved In-App Targeting4-22-2013 1-17-04 PM
by TechCrunch|April 22, 2013

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Google+ is finding its way into every Google product and AdWords is no exception. Starting today, AdWords advertisers can easily highlight their Google+ follower counts in their enhanced campaigns. On average, Google says, ads with these follower counts have “a 5-10% higher click-through rate” than regular ads.

The company, is seems, tested these new ads with the help of a number of major brands, including Red Bull, National Geographic and H&M. Here is what these ads look like:
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To be eligible to show these annotations, businesses need to have a Google+ page with a verified URL and the Google+ page needs to have “recent, high-quality posts and a significant number of followers, meaning 100 for most businesses.” These new social annotations are automatic for all enhanced campaigns and won’t incur any additional cost.

Showing follower counts in ads isn’t totally new, of course. Google launched its “social extensions” for AdWords last year. Those, however, have to be set up at the campaign level while this new integration into enhanced campaigns is automatic.
Enhanced In-App Ad Targeting

Enhanced campaigns, it is worth stressing, are still a pretty new feature in AdWords and the focus here is on creating ads that can businesses can run on desktop and mobile without the need to set up multiple campaigns.

With today’s release, Google is also making some general improvements to these enhanced campaigns. Specifically, it’s making it easier to target in-app ads “based on people’s context like location, time of day and device, with enhanced campaigns.”

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SEO 2013,  as Forrester Research put it recently at SMX, “If you want to wow the search engines, you have to wow your customers. Build a site that they want and can use.”

Here’s a simple truth: People like pretty things. Consumers’ penchant for good-looking images, websites, graphics and other media is largely responsible for the rise of visual content marketing: Infographics are one of the fastest rising content types and Brafton is constantly reporting on cross-web updates that reward companies for highly visual content (ie: the new News Feed). Visual media is great for users, but marketers who have always valued content for SEO may struggle to leverage images for search visibility.

In a recent Webmaster Central video, one site owner asked Matt Cutts about SEO value from visual content. The site owner pointed out rich graphics and images have given him a lower bounce rate, longer dwell time and more conversions. Even as a visual update to his site improved core success, he was concerned about reaching search audiences, asking:

“Will Google have an issue with the lack of textual content on the site?” – inquiring webmaster

The short answer from Matt Cutts is yes:

“Google does still want text.” – Matt Cutts

Still, Cutts recognized the user demand for images – and isn’t SEO about what’s good for users? He proposed two solutions.

1. Include text content around images. He referred to alt image titles as an example.

Your site might have more user interaction, time on site, conversions – all that stuff – because it’s prettier. We see that better design can help people use and enjoy your site more.

Depending on the type of graphic being used, Brafton also recommends adding accompanying or contextual text in the form of blogs that analyze or explain an infographic, captions that describe a photo, transcripts that let video viewers jump to the insight they most want, etc. (For more information on accompanying text for infographic strategies, check out our related white paper or review our video marketing guide for tips on the SEO side of video content.)

2. Make “really pretty text.” Cutts recommended Google web fonts as a resource for sites to find visually appealing options for text.

Cutts candidly explained that sites shouldn’t move to all images if they’re considering SEO: “At this point, I wouldn’t count on Google being able to do OCR (optical character recognition) of all the images on your site.” He suggested great website design through appealing fonts is a good middle ground for a site that is “pretty but still indexable.”

It may seem what’s good for users and what’s good for search are at odds if Google can’t crawl images. Still, marketers should consider that Cutts took the time to answer this query precisely because Google wants to find ways to reward sites that create good user experiences. His statement that Google can’t do OCR at this point may suggest the search engine is working to adapt its algorithms according to what’s good for users, instead of demanding marketers adapt their sites according to what’s simplest for Google.

Earlier this month at SMX, Cutts and Bing’s Duane Forrester agreed that user experience is increasingly important to SEO. As Forrester put it, “If you want to wow the search engines, you have to wow your customers. Build a site that they want and can use.”

 

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