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Common SEO Myths Dispelled
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Despite the increasing maturity of the SEO industry, there are still many unfounded beliefs, practices and tactics that website owners adhere to in an effort to top the search engine result pages (SERPs) and oust their competition.

Regardless of how many times these myths, half-truths and lies are repeated, they will never help an enterprise optimize its digital efforts. Let’s debunk four of these fallacies.
MYTH #1: Organic & Paid Search Cannot Play Nice

Many website owners fall into two types: those who choose between SEO and paid search advertising/ marketing and those looking for the “right” balance of the two.

This topic in a Sept. 2013 white paper, The Search Sandbox: Paid Plays Well with Organic. When analyzing the relationship between paid and organic search marketing for a major retail division of Hewlett Packard (HP), Kenshoo found definitive evidence that running paid search alongside organic results provided positive value.

“This research puts to rest the controversy over running paid search advertising for brands that have strong organic coverage,” said Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer at Kenshoo in a company statement. “Our study shows that visitors arriving from paid search are more profitable than those arriving from organic search, even when you take into account traffic acquisition costs.”

The report found that paid search drives higher net revenue per visit (NRPV, which is paid search revenue minus the direct media costs from those clicks) than organic search. Plus, even with an organic result at first position, consumers still click and convert on paid listings 39.6 percent of the time. Perhaps even more importantly, Kenshoo reports that paid search is the only viable option when organic results fall off the first page, garnering 93.1 percent of a keyword’s click share (percentage of total clicks achieved when both a paid search and organic listing appear together).

Even if NRPV was equal, having an extra (paid) link on the SERP is more valuable than having just the organic link, according to the search marketing company. By leveraging a paid listing, for example, it takes up space where a competitor’s ad may appear. There is also value in the data that marketers can collect from paid search, such as the originating query or keyword that initiated the ad. Kenshoo recommends companies figure out where the gaps are in their organic search presences and use paid search to fill in those holes.

Kenshoo, and other well-informed agencies, subscribe to the truth that smart marketers are those embracing holistic approaches to search engine marketing. They are also likely the ones getting the most out of their investments.
MYTH #2: SEO is for Search Engines, Not Users

Search engines are evolving; and the richer, more dynamic experience they want to provide users is also changing the way companies need to approach on-site optimization today.

“SEO is not about gaming the system; it’s about making great content and great sites that provide value, are structurally sound and easily navigable by user and search engines alike, as well as demonstrate viable authority. It’s not easy, but it is absolutely worthwhile,” said Smarter Searches Internet Marketing Director Courtney Herda.

The recent Hummingbird update is the perfect example of Google’s affinity toward user-centric search — providing quicker, more relevant information to users. This algorithm change also marks the beginning of a new formal, broader use of semantic markup in the digital age.

By using schema.org markup, for example, websites are essentially providing additional layers of data to enable search engines to associate their sites with user queries. More specifically, since the Hummingbird update addresses how “conversational” or “voice” search queries (that take into account context, location and more) can be more useful for a searcher, site owners must provide an immense amount of information to be included in their results and semantic markup provides the optimal way to do that.

Hummingbird Feeder: Discover five semantic markup use-cases to implement today at wsm.co/seonectar.
MYTH #3: Social is not the New SEO

SEO and social is becoming one of the most effective marketing combinations. The only surefire way to leverage the new social-SEO is to create relevant, rich content that consumers want to consume and, of course, share, like, retweet, +1, etc.

“There’s a saying that says ‘Correlation does not imply causation’ and this applies to SEO,” said Smarter Searches’ Herda. “If you create great content, people will share it. If your content gets shared, it must be great.”

While there might not be an absolute direct correlation, it’s not difficult to see that share-worthy content can benefit your total digital presence.
MYTH #4: SEOs Are Scammers

This industry is closing in on two decades and SEO still doesn’t have a governing body. Companies rely on for profit companies to tell them what they can and can’t do on their websites — at least if they want to appear atop the SERPs. Over the years, many black and gray hat agencies, consultants, link builders and more have polluted the industry, leading to the common misconception that SEO is a dark art and an industry made up of liars, cheaters, scammers and spammers. Even to this day, according to Herda, it is the most common concern that SMBs have about the practice.

The fact is, according to Herda, that legitimate SEO agencies can do great work. Similarly, many of the agencies that have stood the test of time have evolved into integrated marketing agencies, taking holistic and white hat approaches to Web success.

“The spirit of SEO is to improve your website so that it ranks better,” said Herda. “When done correctly, this means the user engaging in search is getting a better experience when visiting your site because your site is more relevant to their queries.”
The Truth Will Set SEO Free

In the end, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting your business higher in the search rankings, but by leveraging a 360-degree strategy to SEO and looking at content creation, social signals, marketing mix and user experience, you’ll be living, working and optimizing in SEO truth. Let’s work together to take advantage of SEO!
Shot me an email and let’s talk.

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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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econsultancyby Danny Ashton 22 November 2013 15:04

This post from caught NetScope’s attention because it actually testing in real world examples, in other words case study with data, the results of one such tool. A link building tool, Zemanta?

Some great insights here. As with many of the interactive or digital tools that have proliferated (and continue to do so), the bottom line comes back to the knowledge of the marketers on your team. Platforms are just platforms, people that know how to use them is definitely a key that you should look at when deciding on digital partners. The tool is only as good as the user but you have to start with the performance and service of the tool. At that intersection is where you can begin to achieve marketing value and optimize ongoing results.

linksOne of my favourite talks from SearchLove London 2013 was Hannah Smith’s ‘23, 787 Ways To Build Links in 30 Minutes’.

Among Hannah’s tips for sustainable link building, she mentioned a neat tool that helped her pick up 257 links at around $14 per link.

This tool was Zemanta, a seemingly fantastic way of providing scalable outreach.

We are always looking for ways to improve our outreach process so I was very eager to give Zemanta a try, especially after hearing what the company had to say.

Their pitch was very promising: Our content would be placed in front of bloggers who were just about to write related posts, and the better the content the more links we would get. What is more, the case studies featured some outstanding links from big sites such as Forbes.com, Wall Street Journal, etc.

When I read Moz CEO Rand Fishkin’s quote, I was sold:

I’m not just a fan, I’m a believer – Zemanta is a remarkable way to build great links.

We decided to test Zemanta with 10 infographics that we knew had already done well during ‘cold outreach’ to see how many links we could get.
10 infographics, 30 days, $1,318.72 investment: the results

Quantity:

Total Earned Links: 21 (as reported by Zemanta)
Cost Per Link = $62.79

Although the results weren’t quite the ‘under $20 per link’ I had imagined, at first glance didn’t look that bad. Managing the outreach for our outreach campaigns in house, I know all too well the importance of quality links. So I decided to take a deeper look.
link authority chart

In exploring the links further, I was shocked. I found that nearly 20% of the links were out of action. Two blog posts had been removed, One site was offline and another site was 301 redirected.

21 links has now been reduced to 17

I then checked how often these blogs were updated. After running the report, I found out that the last posts made by four of the blogs were over six months ago.

17 links has now been reduced to 13

I then pulled these links in order to remove any blogs with a citation flow of zero. Shockingly, five more links were crossed off the list.

13 links is now eight

I then explored the eight remaining links as ranked by Moz Rank:

Quality

The average link from this campaign had the following characteristics:

Majestic Citation Flow = 14
Majestic Trust Flow = 5.5
Moz Rank = 3.70
5 of the sites posted within the last 3 days
3 of the sites last posted over 1 month ago.

Total cost for one of these links = $164.84

Maybe I at this stage, I shouldn’t have expected anything more, but there was not one editorial link.

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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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With Keyword Planner, Google has combined the functionality of Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator to make it easier to plan search campaigns. That’s why Keyword Tool is no longer available. You can use Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaigns.

sej-keyword-planner

To access Keyword Planner, sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com. Click the Tools and Analysis drop-down menu and select “Keyword Planner.” Keep in mind that the anonymous keyword tool is no longer available. But if you were using it for other reasons, you can still get keyword ideas with Keyword Planner. All you need is an AdWords account. If you don’t have an Adwords account, learn how to create one.

Google AdWords also added several new features with Keyword Planner. As you start to use Keyword Planner, you’ll likely notice some differences between Keyword Planner and Keyword Tool. Read on to learn more about what has changed.

We can help you sort through the changes, making sure your budgets are optimized. Contact us for a SEO Audit today.

No question that relationships in the commercial real estate industry are the key point of difference. Operationally, the challenges for REITs once the deal has been vetted, financed and acquired is revolves around leveraging communication technology to ensure that property data & inventory availability information to potential clients. NetScope provides a comprehensive technology services, across the digital communication channels & devices (web, mobile, social media, paid search, SEO & email) to ensure a Web presence consistent with their business strategy.

biomed1Clients like BioMed Realty Trust, Inc. continue to innovate their web presence. Recently, NetScope’s team had the opportunity to handle a brand update/web development project designed to emphasize the importance of relationships in BioMed’s go-to-market strategy.

In addition to the “must have” searchable property listings, BioMed took bmr youtube editadvantage of YouTube in providing video property overviews and senior management interviews. Once again, reinforcing the brand positioning.

GA Mobile Chart ExampleUnderstanding the importance of a comprehensive digital strategy, Biomed developed a mobile site as well. Interesting note and sign of the times, the mobile traffic increases continue to be a growing percentage of the overall site traffic visits.

 

 

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NetScope is excited to be working with DivcoWest, a commercial REIT, real estate investment trust led by Stuart Schiff, CEO. DivcoWest’s strategy is acquisitions in key emerging US technology markets. Divco has acquired a sizable Silicon Valley portfolio. The portfolio’s tenants include Google, Apple, Huawei, NEC, Stryker and Fujitsu.

Providing space to the country’s top technology firms, it’s important that Divco maintains an innovative Web presence. NetScope is currently re-building Divco’s Web technology from the ground up. Efficient access to relevant real estate industry data, property data and investment information is critical.

devicesr-solutionsProviding an outstanding B2B customer experience for users that is efficient and consistent whether it be from a desktop, mobile smartphone or tablet device is a company responsive designpriority. Property look-up tools for clients and customers that are always on the go is critical, given the growth of usage by consumers. Mobile device access will be a key focus of the new web inventory availability functionality that will be enabled using responsive design technology.

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Michael Beresford, President, NetScopeBeresford SES
September 12, 2013

 

I’m writing this article today from the SES Conference & Expo in San Francisco. SES is the leading global event series for search and social marketing, with a focus ses-sanfrancisco2013on tactics and best practices. And we have some for you…

As an agency that is focused on adding value and improving client results, there are great insights being shared here at the show. NetScope (a digital marketing services agency) will be leveraging the resources picked up here by plugging them into our website. So stay tuned. Let’s take a look at my Top 5 key best practices that will garner results regarding link building.
Search engines drive ecommerce with 7% of consumer sales online and influencing 89% of offline purchases. No new news here, but the changes keep a coming so it’s easy to get sidetracked on quick fix solutions that don’t stand the quality test of time.
SEO and SERP rankings are created from a variety of factors. The good news is that when you focus on delivering quality content that is dynamic, relevant and informative you will drive traffic to your site.
We have all heard the age old adage, it’s better to give than receive. I would revise that a bit stating that it’s better to give TO receive!

The power of link building is as a real person talking to real people not bots.
1. Boost your search engine rankings
Inbound links are the most important factor determining the position on search engine results pages (SERPs). Google now actively looks for low quality links and content and might penalize the sites it finds. SEO based on anything but quality content and link building is dead, can you say Penguin?
Google also has slowing increased the importance of social signals and social media, providing a more opportunities to build your site visits.
2. Bring direct visitors to your site
People who do click through are typically interested, a potential customer, advocate and cheerleader. Interested because they’ve just read about you; so be ready to convert them. So make sure your home page or any deep content on your site has ways for them to buy, or at least the ability to capture contact information, email, blog signup or social media follow link.
3. Quality content=links (mandatory), establish your authority
No matter which industry you’re in, there’s an informal community of websites, news sites, blogs, magazines, portals, experts, commentators, forums, and discussion groups that your customers consult to stay current.
The more people come across your company, products and value added quality content on important sites, the more they will see you as a leader. Anything that adds credibility to your content, adds link attraction and website traffic, so don’t forget to add, “As featured in … NY Times.com”, or give attribution to that authority website that is being quoted.
4. The Link Investment Fund: The gift that keeps on giving!
Inbound links significantly impact your rankings, increasing traffic to your site. All search engines look at the age of a link and the pattern of acquired links. So the value of your inbound links builds overtime. Links are an investment; the return is dependent on the quality of the content, the authority of site linking and the quantity.
5. People provide links, not bots!
Matt Cutts at Google reminded us today…it’s all about links, which isn’t simply doing a press release…it’s real content Remember it’s people, not websites that do the linking. Netscope always goes the matt cuttsextra mile to create mutually beneficial relationships.

 

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Agile Marketing: Adapting for a Complex Business Environment

Curated and edited from a post by Amy Bishop

……..for several years, the explosion of marketing technology has changed marketing strategy, business management and organizational culture.

8-9-2013 11-10-28 AM

Scott applies agile methodologies to the increasingly complex world of marketing and explains why marketing teams should consider adopting agile marketing processes.
5 Core Values of Agile Marketing Management

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Responding to change over following a plan
Remarkable customer experiences over formalized internal procedures
Testing and data over opinions and conventions
Many small experiments over a few large bets
unconventional-marketing-david-armano
Similarly, David Armano pointed this out several years ago by illustrating the differences between “conventional marketing” and “unconventional marketing.” David explained that unconventional marketing is focused on adapting to complexity — very much in the same way as agile development. You start with a little strategy. Then engage in iterative cycles of plan-design-launch-mesure that are executed tightly together. After several iterations, you step back to reflect on insights learned and patterns discovered to impact the development of the next little strategy.

Agile marketing methodologies work best in marketing that can be broken down into small, discrete components and strategies that can be delivered incrementally and adapted over a series of sprints. Be guaranteed, this won’t work in every case, but there are many situations and marketing programs that work great in an agile process.
Marketing Missions Ideal for Agile Marketing Management

Content Marketing
Social Media
Web Development
Search Engine Optimization [SEO]
Mobile Application Development
Marketing Automation
PPC Advertising
Landing Pages & Offers

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.
google-adwords-square-logo
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:
redbull
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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