Google has just rolled out Penguin 2.0, a large algorithmic update promising to go “deeper” than the 2012 Penguin release, which put a hurting on websites with number of manipulative links in their profile.
This prospect creates fear for many small businesses who depend on search engine optimization (SEO) for their livelihoods. But there is also a sense of confusion as the line often shifts and the message from Google contradictory.
Sorting out Panda, Penguin, and Manual Actions
Google’s Panda update is a different release than Penguin. Panda is geared toward duplicative, thin, or spun content on websites.
Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts recently stated that Google is actually pulling back on Panda because of too many false positives. This is good for news aggregators and other sites that reuse content appropriately and have been hit hard by the Panda filter.
Penguin is much harder to understand, focusing on backlink patterns, anchor text, and manipulative linking tactics that provide little value to end users. To make matters worse, Google likes to take large manual actions just prior to major algorithm updates. In 2012 we saw theremoval of BuildMyRank from the index just prior to Penguin.
Earlier this year we saw major manual action taken against advertorials. Last week Google announced the removal of thousands of link selling websites and we are hearing of a manual spam penalty against Sprint this week.
The proximity of these manual actions with major algorithmic updates is brilliant PR as it associates them together in our memories, discussions and debates – but they are very different things.
Is SEO Enough?
As small business owners move through the here we go again feelings to actually decide what to do in response to Penguin 2013, sorting out the truth is paramount. Google is clearly beating the familiar drum with the same core messages:
Build a great website.
Make awesome content with high end-user value.
Visitors will magically appear.
But the reality is that visitors don’t magically come, at least on any reasonable scale, without organized promotional activities. Many excellent websites have died a slow death due to lack of promotion. And this is where the contradictions emerge in SEO, which has demonstrated extremely high ROI compared to other marketing channels.
Long Live Online Marketing
While discussed many times, webmasters still struggle with shifting their link building activities toreal SEO strategy. They fail to see that SEO in 2013 is now integral to online marketing and no longer a standalone activity.
Whereas SEO used to be about tuning a website for optimal consumption by spiders, today’s SEO is about earning recognition, social spread, and backlinks through excellent content marketing. This means SEO is now ongoing, integrated, and strategic – whereas it used to be one-time, isolated, and technical.
Real SEO is the prescription for those who fear Penguin 2013. Here are practical activities that need to be done every month to achieve real SEO:
Continually Identify Audience Demand: Your SEO won’t be successful if it isn’t useful. To serve a need, webmasters must understand what the audience is seeking. Keyword research, as always, is critical. While doing keyword research don’t over-emphasize head terms or money keywords. Focusing on long-tail keywords renders more immediate results, increases the breadth of a website (remember Panda), and builds authority that will ultimately help the head term.
Content marketing: In my opinion, content marketing is the new link building. Earn recognition, social spread, and backlinks by giving away valuable information for free. Excellent content has high audience value and points readers to other resources via cocitation. Video is an excellent form of content marketing that is still under-utilized by small businesses. And newsjacking is an emerging form of content marketing that specifically targets hot news topics for viral spread.
Work on brand: There is increasing evidence that branded mentions are an important legitimacy signal to Google. Promoting the brand has traditional marketing benefits and also now helps SEO. But be careful not to turn SEO content marketing into an endorsement, as this crosses the line. Find traditional marketing tactics, such as press releases, to drive branding while announcing news-worthy events.
Syndicate: The “build it and they will come” philosophy doesn’t work on an Internet with more than 500 million active domain names. This is why even excellent content needs to be promoted. Email marketing, social media, community engagement in forums, and guest blog posting are efficient mechanisms for spreading the word about engaging content. Interviews, PPC ads, and local event sponsorship will also get your name and content noticed. Any activity that broadcasts your message, your brand, and builds real community discussion will ultimately support SEO, and should be considered part of the SEO process.
The arrival of Penguin 2013 has many small business owners scared and confused. But SEO remains one of the best online marketing channels.
Real SEO is the path forward for those who wish to make a long-term investment in online marketing. Forward-looking webmasters can prepare their sites for Penguin 2014, 2015, and beyond with well-researched, end-user focused content marketing that provides strong audience value.
Using modern syndication tactics, they can broadcast their message, gain audience mind-share and earn recognition. By spreading valuable content, small business can build their brands and earn bulletproof backlinks.
Sitelink Descriptions To Boost Your AdWords CTR is a no brainer. These new feature provide an extra advantage for your ad to win more clicks and increased conversion rates. Sitelinks can be used to to highlight specific products, highlight important information regarding your business, even to display a phone number for free leads. This Adwords feature is well worth looking into.
Sitelinks have been a staple of best practices since they were introduced. Sitelinks help searchers find topical information beyond the specified landing page of your ad. Last February, enhanced campaigns brought a little spice to sitelinks by including descriptions. Additional lines of text were added from your other ad copy to flesh out the sitelinks. These provided extra detail to what the searcher can expect from each link and further clarified the ad’s additional talking points.
This week Google took it one step further. For those of you who have already made the jump into the enhanced campaign world, you can now define what you want this additional messaging to say. This new format allows you to take control of your ads and drive the messaging further, helping searchers to better understand your offerings and products.
Google’s testing also revealed users clicked the sitelinks with added detail at a significantly higher rate. Beyond being explanatory this rewards those who optimize their accounts to put their ads in the best position possible adding an additional boost to those in the top spots.
If you want to get started, there is no need to opt in to a beta or do anything special. Simply create or edit one of your existing site links. When the window opens you should see two extra text boxes for description lines one and two.
Image by dmhoro via Flickr
You will see that these are marked as optional so you don’t have to use them. On the other hand, as with anything else in PPC, why not take advantage of that extra control you have in your ads?
There are a few limits to keep in mind and Google’s site link guidelines have not changed. The duplicate sitelink policy is still in effect. Dynamic insertion is not allowed in the description lines. Your description text must not be duplicates of other sitelinks either. This isn’t a major nuisance though as you should already be using specific copy to highlight each individual sitelink.
Google will rotate between the standard four sitelinks seen in the ad above as well as a two sitelink variation.
Don’t worry if you check your ads in the search engine results and you don’t see the new sitelinks. These new site links won’t always appear in your ads. There are many factors on Google’s end as to when the extra information is shown. By making sure you specify your description lines you will be poised to take advantage of when you ads fulfill that criteria.
While this isn’t revolutionary by any means, this upgrade gives you one more thing to test when it comes to ad copy. Now you can take those site links to the next level, testing more variations just as you do with the standard ad copy.
Taking Advantage of the New Format
Here at the office we have been talking about how to improve ad copy beyond the best practices. One thing we have noted in our research is that too many advertisers have very bland site links. This can be especially bad in ecommerce where the sitelinks lead to something generic like shirts or electronics. While these are helpful, there is no compelling reason why a user should pay attention to those, many other places sell these items.
This is the chance to get more creative, are there any special deals on these items, is there a unique selection or is there a way this product solves a need better than another? Going back to the shirts examples, there are many shirt variations in both style and quality. As a result, most retailers cater to a certain demographic. Using the description lines, savvy advertisers can tune their messaging to their demographic, both highlighting their product and reducing the cost of gathering too many of the wrong clicks without any conversions.
Another quick example would be a hotel ad. The advertiser found that highlighting deals worked the best in the ad copy. Why not take a chance to test a more emotional angle with the site ink descriptions. The user knows he or she is getting a good deal, now sell them on how much they will enjoy the stay. Of course more deals in the descriptions could perform better but combining messaging is something you should be testing.
As with anything in PPC the results will depend and each situation will be different. This is more reason to test, test, and test some more. I gave two generic examples but I’m sure if you think about your product specifically you can discover a great angle to test.
Whether you use sitelinks to highlight specific products, give extra information on your business, or something experimental and creative, these new features can provide that extra edge to win more clicks and increase conversions. Go ahead and explore the feature and take advantage of this new format to get ahead of the competition.
In order to beat the competition in this dog-eat-dog world, growing companies require a solid and well organized SEO strategy that increases their margins in the business world. If there is no foreseeable ROI from a digital marketing campaign then it should be scrapped for something that will, indeed, provide a good return on investment. This is paramount regardless of whether you implement such local marketing strategies yourself or if you hire a good SEO company to manage them for you.
The problem larger businesses have is that marketing executives can be overwhelmed by the time it takes to keep up with all the rapidly changing SEO services and search engine algorithm changes as well as the time it takes to implement productive strategies. A good quality SEO company can lift a huge burden from executive shoulders and get the ROI necessary to remain competitive.
Here are some key strategies for larger brands to implement in order to keep the competition at bay.
Organize and Align
Various departments in larger organizations can sometimes actually be fighting against themselves when it comes to implementing SEO services. For example, several departments may be using the same keywords to promote different products or services which cause competition between internal departments of the same business. This, of course, is detrimental to growth.
To eliminate internal competition between your own departments, you want to organize and align them so that each team is producing its own results based on known and structured criteria. Therefore, research the best keywords for each team and assign them appropriately. By taking this one step of organizing local marketing strategies and aligning goals, you can more successfully promote various web pages as well as strengthen other digital assets.
Overcome Technological Hurdles
Those big businesses operating internationally may find that their systems are actually auto-generating pages that produce duplicate content or are hitting country code snags when information is being crossed over to top domains.
To overcome such hurdles you have to have a good understanding of how your technological systems work within the parameters of your SEO local marketing strategy. This takes setting your strategy up as a priority in order to implement SEO services properly throughout the company.
Remain Up-to-date On Changes
To stay competitive and keep from being knocked down by search engine optimization changes, you have to remain current on what those big, chugging engines are up to. You don’t think that’s a big deal? Do you believe that Google’s rollout of Panda followed by Penguin were the last changes? Wrong.
Last year in 2012, Google alone made more than 20 major policy updates to their monitoring systems as well as a slew of minor tweaks. Google has an army of engineers that are constantly working to find ways to “better” the search process, all of which affect search engine optimization in one way or the other. If you ignore these changes then you will find yourself throwing away valuable time and money on SEO strategies that not only don’t work but could actually harm your rankings.
Turn Over the Reins
An SEO system is much like a fine car’s engine. It must be consistently checked and tuned up in order to reach maximum performance and this is normally carried out by experts.
Keeping your SEO systems operating at peak performance also requires regular tweaking by experts. If you are experiencing any of the above problems within your large company, turn over the reins to our professional SEO company for expert SEO management and implication of up-to-date and effective SEO services.
A lot of talk is taking place amongst SEO Service companies discussing how a site's bounce rates effect it's rankings in the SERPS. After running thousands of successful campaigns for clients we tend to agree that the bouince rate of a site does play a significant role in how well it ranks.
But like everything else there are a lot of xfactors that come in to play that you may not be aware of. The excerpt posted below touches on some of these factors and has some pretty darn good information to boot.
So check it out and let us knopw what you think of it.
What is the significance of Bounce?
In case you have a high bounce rate, do you start pulling your hair and get paranoid? Not everyone coming to your site is going to make a purchase or convert to your goals.
Consider the following fact, your website has good SEO and therefore a visitor comes and lands on the relevant page gets the contact details or a phone number or downloads a PDF file from your site and exits. This does not count as a bounce although the visitor still visited only one page on your website.
The point is you have to consider the context of the bounce rate.
For example there is a doctor’s website. Patients often search for the Doctor’s name, land on a page that has the doctor’s information, look up information, make a note of phone number, and hours and exit the landing page. Now this is a bounce in the classical sense, but the website provided all the information the patient wanted on the landing page itself.
Typically some people have short attention spans. Getting them on the doctors site and out of the doctor’s site still provided an essential service.
Now the key to consider is a doctor has several types of patients: existing patients, prospective patients, new patients, serious patients, and ordinary or routine care patients. For the existing patients this bounce rate was good, but for a prospective patients it will be considered bad as the patient did not explore the site further.
Now if we factor in the source. The source was a search for a specific doctor and action. Couple this information with the landing page and you will have a profile of the patient who wasn’t looking to seek treatment, come to the emergency for treatment or attend a counseling session.
Let’s consider another scenario of a group of potential patients. The patients have already learnt about the doctor’s expertise via a email, yet they came back to the landing page and checked some information.
It is noticed that bounce rate spikes up on special occasions. For example the future patients will save the email or bookmark the webpage and come back again to check the doctor’s timing before coming to the clinic or visit the landing page to get the address or directions. Now these cannot be considered bounces. Therefore to draw the conclusion that the marketing campaign failed is wrong….More at Relationship between Context and Bounce Rates … – SEO Services
At times we catch ourselves checking our bounce rates even more than we do our site rankings. It's something you need to keep an eye on for sure. As always if you have any questions on this topic or any other for that matter we are available via the telephone number you see listed in the top right hanbd corner of this page. So don't be shy about giving us a call.
The goal of SEO services is to drive a large number of visitors to your website in the hopes that some of them will convert into customers. Although a variety of techniques are used, this is the desired end result in the search engine optimization services game.
Basically, to lure a large number of people to view your content, whether it is through articles, blogs, videos, or a combination of them all, you have to give them something they desperately want and are greatly interested in. The problem lies in how do you know what the people want? And where do you find them in large numbers?
Following is a good SEO services method you can use to find out what the masses are seeking and how to lure them to the webpage or pages of your choice.
Go Ye to the Forums
If you want to know what the mainstream talk is all about on any subject, you have to go to where those people are talking. Online, one of those main places happens to be forums. Forums are social outlets for people to inquire, complain, seek, observe, and basically ask for and receive information. Forums are excellent sources to trove for ideas and apply local marketing techniques.
In order to find forums that are discussing ideas and asking questions concerning your specific niche, go to Google and type in ‘forum:niche’ (for example: forum:scuba diving). You will receive a list of all forum matches related to that specific search subject (in this case scuba diving). You then want to visit each forum. Keep in mind that some forums require registration first while others do not.
Do Term Searches
Once you are in a forum, you can browse through some of the current conversations to get a gist of what people are talking about at the moment. However, you can get more specific ideas for good subjects to write on by doing a search within the forum for specific terms used. Look for either a search field or search tool within the forum.
Search such terms as ‘advice’, ‘I’m looking for’, ‘question about’, ‘want to find’, etc. There are numerous terms which can lead you to sought-after information so use your imagination and do some digging. Search results will deliver threads on the term you supplied and you should scan the thread to see what they are specifically looking for and talking about.
When you find threads that need something that you can provide, viola! There’s your next blog post, article, video, or whatever you want to create. Write your text and then be sure to exercise local marketing skills and offer a link to it on that forum and several others where people desire to acquire the same information.
By utilizing this one local marketing skill to meet these hungry needs of the masses and specifically target what they are hungering for, you set yourself up to receive a large influx of visits. Keep in mind, not only will the ones seeking that information visit your site, but so will many others watching those threads. Also, people whose needs are met through your content will mention you in the forums or other social areas when questions about that information arise.
Utilizing forums to glean information on what the masses are searching for is an excellent SEO services technique that will reward you with good results. Contact us to tap into other powerful SEO services provided by our SEO company.
Perth SEOd recently performed search engine optimization services for my Record Label “Digital Dollar Productions”. From the onset, they were very professional and informative every step of the way. They helped me to select well-targeted keyword-phrases and strategically positioned my website on the first page of Google; directly in front of my target audience with very specific and relevant search terms. Thanks