Currently viewing the tag: "seo"

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, 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


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:


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.


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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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”, 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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All I asked was that you set up our content management, SEO, social media, landing pages, e-mail marketing, mobile app, B2C portal, Facebook page & promotions, AdWords, lead tracking, CRM, reports and dashboards.

Was that not simple enough for you, Higgins?”

We got you covered, contact us.

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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
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

Download The Playbook.

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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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SEO Audits: What to Expect

One of the challenges that plagues the search marketing industry is a lack of standards around the quality and scope of work. Different agencies and consultants will use similar words to describe very different deliverables and processes. One of the most abused of these is the SEO Audit.

Clients have told me bitter tales of ghosts of “audits” past that didn’t live up to expectations, like the big-brand shoe retailer that paid $10,000 over three months’ time for a two-page Word document containing weak, tactical recommendations. I thought my client was exaggerating for effect until he emailed me the product. To protect their investment, businesses need to understand what to expect from an SEO audit and which questions to ask to ensure they’ll receive the quality and scope required.

What Is an SEO Audit?

An audit commonly begins a search marketing engagement with a client. The goal is to identify the challenges and opportunities the client’s sites have for improving their SEO performance to drive more brand impressions, visits and conversions. The input is a client’s web analytics, access to search tools like Webmaster Tools, the client’s own site and the search results themselves. When combined with SEO knowledge and experience, the SEO professional has what he or she needs to analyze the site and document a strategy to improve organic search performance.

A complete SEO audit will have at least three sections: (a) analyzing the challenges and opportunities for a site’s technical aspects, (b) keywords and content, and (c) link authority. Sometimes these are split into separate audit documents, but no audit project can be considered complete without covering all three areas because they’re all interconnected. Hundreds of ranking factors combine to form each search engine’s algorithms. As a result, thousands of decisions of all different sizes come together across those three areas of SEO — technical, content, and authority — to impact a site’s organic search performance according to those algorithms. For example, content relies on technical elements like platform configuration, architectural structure and others to amplify keyword signals and boost rankings. For link authority to be beneficial there has to be some sort of keyword signal to amplify. Ignoring one area leaves the other areas weaker – and in some extreme cases completely crippled – as a result.

The analysis documented in an audit is critically important for a couple of reasons. The first reason is trust: A detailed analysis of the current situation builds trust in the work done between the client team and the SEO professional. Also, because SEO is a combination of marketing and development disciplines, the client team needs to understand the underlying issues that impact SEO performance. Without this educational aspect of the audit, the team may implement a tactic to improve SEO today but undo its good work by making the same decisions tomorrow that caused the SEO issue in the first place.

In addition to analysis, an audit needs to contain a strategy to improve SEO and next steps to implement that strategy. Here we come back to the three elements of SEO. The strategy needs to address technical, content and authority opportunities in proportion to their value, with particular focus on the areas that will have the largest impact on the SEO performance of the site. Sounds reasonable, right?

Note the difference between a strategy and what might be called an SEO task list, which contains a list of recommended tasks to complete. Without the strategy, a task list conveys no priorities or comprehensive plan of action. Tasks may be taken or not, either way, because there is no sense of the importance each plays in the overall SEO strategy. However, without the task list the strategy is just a fluffy ideal that’s difficult to translate to actions.

Clearly, an SEO audit requires both a strategy and a prioritized action plan. The strategy builds off of the analysis to identify how the client can capitalize on the opportunities to improve their organic search brand impressions, visits and conversions. And the prioritized action plan breaks the strategy down into discreet projects or deliverables that can be put to an agreed upon timeline and executed against.


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Did you know?

Google AdWords is rolling out enhanced campaigns to help businesses more simply and smartly manage your ad campaigns in today’s multi-device world.

Why enhanced campaigns?
… People are constantly connected and moving from one device to another to communicate, shop and stay entertained. In fact, a recent study of multi-device consumers found that 90% move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task. There’s also a proliferation of new devices — PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, hybrid devices, mini-tablets, televisions, and more. And there are many more digital screens and devices to come, with the lines between them continuing to blur. For example, as devices converge, consumer behaviors on tablets and desktops are becoming very similar.

This creates great opportunities for businesses, but can also make marketing more complex and time-consuming.

With enhanced campaigns, instead of having to cobble together and compare several separate campaigns, reports and ad extensions to do this, the pizza restaurant can easily manage all of this in one single place. Enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads, based on their context like location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns.

Enhanced campaigns will most certainly improve conversions (ROI) in a multi-screen world, although transitioning may involve some initial changes.

We borrowed this tagline from Honda, How Can We Help?

In communicating with clients over the past 4 ½ years in the industry, I have been asked many questions about how SEO works. Many of which seem to be very common and I think you’d be surprised at how many of them are asked by nearly every client or potential client.

Here, I’ve listed the top 3 in hope of answering them before you have to ask.

1.       Can’t I just do it myself?

Yes. There is no question about it, you can absolutely do it yourself. You can find everything you would ever need to know about SEO on the internet for free. However, if you were to do SEO on your own, you would have to do the following.

A.       Set aside about 2 years of your life learning the ins and outs of SEO; SE friendly web-design, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, link building, blogging/vlogging, content optimization, social media marketing, etc. Also, in the process of learning the foundation of good SEO, you would have to stay on top of industry trends to make sure that your not doing anything to harm your websites success.

In addition to learning everything you need to know and staying on top of industry trends, you would have to actually execute all of the action items all by your lonesome. There is no possible way you would be able to run your business and execute an effective SEM campaign simultaneously without assistance.

2.       Why does it take so long to acquire high rankings?

This is an excellent question and probably the most common. The answer is very complex and there is really no simple way to answer it, however, I’ll give it a go anyways.

A.       Site Authority.

Site authority has a lot to do with how much the search engines trust your site. Just like in a human relationship, it takes time to build trust.

B.       Competition

In most cases, you are competing with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of other web pages that are trying to achieve rankings for the same keyword. It takes time and a lot of effort to surpass well optimized competition…especially if they have been around and optimized longer than you have.

3.       Cant I just pay the Search Engines to rank my site better?

No. You can pay for pay per click ads, but you cannot pay for organic rankings.

Hopefully, this entry has been helpful!