When content marries with mobile, mobile will truly excel. 

At the moment, content is universal. You do some research, get the lightbulb moment and then write an article. You publish this to the web and, hey presto, it’s available on desktop, tablet and smartphone.

The content itself will soon be responsive though. Text will actually change depending upon the device. Content will adjust automatically just as a responsive website would adjust to the device it is being displayed on. 

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Articles will be much shorter and concise on small mobile screens, with more bullet points. On desktop, the full version will be available.

Content needs to be responsive in order to serve users better.

Some apps have already gained popularity in this sphere. Yahoo! bought Summly which is kind of an app version of responsive content marketing. 

Duplicated content

With all these versions of responsive content how will search engines deal with duplicate content issues? Well, the answer lies in Google’s latest developments – artificial intelligence (AI) and. 

Google will soon be able to discover strong entity connections between content and keywords. As content is published it will note the devices too. Engines will know BlueHost优惠码 that content is from one domain and it has various versions for each device, just like a responsive web site. It will then plug this information into its 3D index, which .

Why would search engines invest in responsive content?

Publishers and technology companies have united to form faster loading mobile webpages in a project called . This is a step in the right direction for mobile. Our attention span is much shorter on mobile because of the busy environment we are often in when we are holding the device. Responsive content marketing aids this.

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Responsive content marketing will truly segment and personalise the mobile journey to create an even more comfortable experience.

Google has recently got clever with mobile by adding Tap Now to Google Now. Google Now is based on picking up on searches on multiple devices. 

The next addition of Tap Now would be to add a responsive content layer so we can, at the hit of a button, pick up on content on the device of our choice and to enable content to be efficiently rendered on that device for the greatest possible user experience. 

With Google’s clear support for mobile, it is only natural that this mining of content will merge with mobile: ‘responsive content marketing.’

Get more info at  on .

Via: 

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In this blog post I am going to provide you as much insight about the process as possible so you can make an educated decision about what to pay for SEO and how to work with your chosen agency.

How much is this going to cost me and tell me why?

This is typically one of the first questions I get asked  by business owners or marketing people like you, once they’ve decided to go with SEO as their primary traffic strategy.

The answer is “It depends”.

You hate that answer right?  We all do.  You hate it  because you think it’s just another angle  digital marketers use to squeeze more money out of your wallet.

The reality is that there are many things that go into determining the right price you should be paying for SEO services.

In this blog post I am going to provide you as much insight about the process as possible  so you can make an educated decision about what to pay for SEO and how to work with your chosen agency.

I’m also going to give you my opinion about how SEO services will be bought in the future.

The Importance of SEO

In my time as a digital marketer,  I’ve seen “SEO” sold from anywhere from $499 a month to $40,000 a month.

Value can be found at each of these price points and anywhere in between – depending on your specific circumstances, but to make sure  you are getting value you need to understand in detail what SEO is and why it’s important for your business.

Amongst business owners there continues to be a lot of confusion about SEO, with many people still confusing Paid search and Non-Paid search.

With Google being the largest referrer of search traffic, both paid and non-paid, SEO is critically important if you want to have a steady, consistent flow of targeted traffic to your site.

SEO helps search engines understand what your page is about and how relevant it is to users. And if your pages are relevant and sufficiently authoritative, you will be rewarded with a high visibility search listing and traffic to your site.

What do SEO’s actually do for their money?

When you engage an agency to “do seo” for you,  they traditionally do any or all of the following activities.  This list is constantly growing along with the changing nature of the role of the SEO agency.

Some of these activities are one-off and might only occur at the commencement of a campaign;  others are ongoing.

Read the list below and take the time to understand what your agency is doing for you.  That way there  will be fewer surprises and you’ll be able to ask more insightful questions.

Market Research

This involves researching your company,  its competitors, your products, your industry  and the online marketing tactics and strategies that are most effective in your space.

In Depth Competitor Research

Involves researching your competitors and their marketing tactics and strategies in  detail. Specifically their online marketing activities that assist with growing their visibility in search engines. This includes analysing:

  • Their link profiles to understand how they are acquiring quality  back links, critical to strong rankings and visibility
  • Their on-site optimisations to understand the keywords their pages are targeting
  • Their content marketing activities to understand how they are using content for link attraction – a critical element in the current Google environment.

Strategy Development & Implementation

This involves developing strategies for your business to help improve your sites’ performance in the organic search results. For most  small businesses these strategies are mostly the same.

Larger clients in competitive markets however,  require a little  more creativity to develop  approaches that  get results in the face of stronger competitors.

When you have a strategic engagement that costs many thousands of dollars, you are paying for the experience and creativity of theSEO consultant involved.

If you are investing a bunch of money in SEO you should expect a strategy that is more than just “We’re gonna get you these awesome links – 50 a month guaranteed.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is at the heart of everything an seo does.

In the past this was a simple process of researching the keyword phrases that prospective customers typed into the search engines, making an assessment of the relevance and competitiveness of the keywords, choosing target keywords for your websites pages and then drafting the require on site optimisations to help pages rank for these keywords. (Simple right?)

Even with the changes in Google where all searches are encrypted and the keywords people use to find you are not passed into your analytics, understanding keywords is still critical because they help you to understand your customers and how they search for you online.

This in turn helps your SEO team write compelling content, page titles and meta descriptions. (Those bits on the page that help Google figure out what a page is all about)

For smaller  businesses with a small number of pages on their site, keyword research  typically happens at the beginning of an engagement and helps the SEO team  the preparation optimised  page titles,  meta descriptions and content improvement recommendations.

On larger sites such as e Commerce sites keyword research is typically an ongoing activity that drives monthly optimisations to help get more and more pages ranking in the search results.

On site Optimisation and Recommendations

This involves anything to do with optimising the pages of your website.

Based on their research, your SEO agency will be drafting page titles and meta descriptions, recommending or making updates to content, creating new pages, improving internal linking, fixing duplicate content issues, setting up and configuring your blog, installing social sharing buttons.

Pretty much anything to do with your site that will improve the search engines ability to find your content and rank it is what they will be taking care of.

On site optimisations are where some of the biggest gains can happen. The simple act of  including the right keywords in a well crafted page title often sees  pages suddenly jump into the rankings now that Google knows what it is about.

In the past your SEO agency might have been chasing links to these pages with these keyword phrases in the anchor text.  The reality is that Google is smart enough to figure out what keywords are relevant to rank for.  You and your agency should focus on building the overall domain authority and trust which will help these pages rank for the many keyword variations included in the page titles.

Content Strategy and Development

With the importance that quality content now plays in getting found online, most seo’s now offer content strategy and or content development services.

This can be as comprehensive as a Content Marketing Plan for your business or as simple as sourcing blog posts for your blog.

Most agencies now offer content marketing as a separate service that they want you to purchase in addition to SEO.

The reality is, given it’s importance, content strategy and development should be considered a key element in any ongoing SEO engagement.

If your SEO agency is not doing this for you then you need to be asking hard questions about why not?

Rich Snippet Optimisations

Rich snippets simply refers to the extra bits of text and images that appear around your content in the search results.  Google Authorship is a type of rich snippet which is no longer being used.  Others include star ratings on product review ratings, recipes, videos.

For a simple explanation of what Rich Snippets are check out this post.

Reporting and Insights

Reporting is an activity that can vary greatly in terms of what you get and the time invested in producing the reports for you.

At a minimum you will (or should) get a set of standard SEO reports that might be as simple as some traffic reports and ranking reports.

Better SEO agencies will provide information on goal conversions (whether they be sales, sign ups or other goals) and the contribution that SEO or organic search made towards these goal conversions.

Larger clients with more complex businesses should  get more than just a data dump.  They should receive “insight” into what is happening, why and what this means in light of your business goals.

Information about which traffic sources are driving the best (or lowest cost) conversions, information on competitors and about updates in Google’s algorithm and what it means for your strategy.

Expect to pay extra for additional reporting or insight above the standard reports that everyone receives.

Account Management

Broadly speaking this is the cost of taking care of you, the client.  It includes the time an account manager spends talking to you about your campaign goals, briefing the SEO team and meeting with you to discuss your report and results.

If you are a small client you will typically get only nominal account management which might be at the on commencement of an SEO campaign and monthly when the report is delivered.

If you are investing under $1,000 a month don’t expect to be talking the ear off your account manager unless you want to reduce the time spent on actually working on your account.

GET BETTER EDUCATED AND ASK BETTER QUESTIONS AND YOU WILL GET MORE VALUE FROM YOUR ACCOUNT MANAGER.

I’ve seen agencies where this role is done by a dedicated account manager and agencies where the account management role is taken on in part by an seo campaign manager; that is a technician who knows a lot about SEO.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. With a dedicated account manager, the agencies  SEO team spends more time actually “doing SEO” for you while the account manager answers your questions.

However in the situation where you are an enterprise level client you  expect to be able to ask questions and get insightful responses quickly.  Sometimes having to go through the account manager results in miscommunication via Chinese whispers and wasted time.

If you are a big enough client ask to talk directly with the seo campaign manager to get your technical questions answered directly.

Just be aware that as an enterprise client, you will be paying for the account managers time whether you are aware of it or not.

Remember from the agencies perspective, this can be a massive time and cost sink if not managed correctly.

As long as both you and the SEO agency are aware of the account management cost and both of you have matching expectations, any friction can be minimised. You can get the information you need while the agency can get on with doing the work needed to get you results.

 

SEO Pricing Models

Now to the Meat n Potatoes.

There are various pricing models for the delivery of SEO services.  The choice depends on your specific needs and the size of your organisation.

Hourly Rates

Hourly rates are often used when the work can be broken into many discrete tasks and you juts need those specific tasks done.

The benefit is you can easily allocate a discrete cost to each activity and make sure you are not getting charged for inefficiencies.

However expect to pay more per hour to compensate the consultant or agency for the costs associated with managing time and billing at an hourly rate.

If you are using hourly rates for anything make sure you review the output after an agreed upon set of hours to make sure you are getting value.

Fixed Price Services

Most SEO agencies have a list of services  they offer for a fixed price.

Typically these are the component tasks that make up a larger seo campaign.

Good examples of these services include:

  • Keyword Research
  • Conducting an SEO Audit
  • SEO Migration Planning
  • Drafting On site optimisations such as page titles and meta descriptions

Fixed price services are an ideal way of testing out a new SEO agency before committing to a longer term retainer.

Project Based Pricing

Where your needs are more complex or you have a fixed period project like a new mini site to build, SEO agencies are open to quoting on a project basis.

Depending on your projects needs they will provide you with a custom proposal to conduct specific SEO work on your behalf.

Project based pricing is good when you already have a creative agency or web design company doing most of your work and you need the services of a real SEO specialist to take care of your SEO needs for the life of a specific project.

Retainer

The retainer model is the most common form of pricing model in the SEO industry.

Retainers make sense because of the broad ongoing nature of SEO work.

Most SEO campaigns have a discrete set of activities which logically follow a set order.  In the beginning agencies do the research. They make and implement recommendations about fixing technical issues on your site. Then they  move onto ongoing marketing activities.

This way each month specific activities are conducted by the agency for you.  Then each month you get to assess how much this activity contributed to the online performance of your business.

Agencies like retainers because they can budget revenues and costs and plan activities for the months ahead.

Heres how to make retainers work:

  • Collaborate with the agency in the development of a 6 or 12 month campaign.
  • Take the time to understand what the agency will be doing for you each month
  • Make sure you are aware of your commitment in terms of resources, providing answers promptly to questions and implementing optimisations when requested
  • Involve the agency in your traditional marketing plans for the year ahead so they can tailor their strategy to leverage any offline work being done.
  • Get clear about how long things take to happen.  SEO takes time so in those early months track the agreed upon activities in the absence of high search visibility and sales which might take a few months to kick in.

This gives both you and the agency visibility into what is going to happen and when. That way they can plan their activities around your traditional offline marketing activities while you can manage your expectations as to what the results will be and when.

Retainers are typically offered as Packages at different price points.  In the next section I’m going to discuss these in more detail.

Which SEO Package Should I choose?

The SEO Package is simply the best way to sell SEO retainer services.  There is a package to suit each budget and requirements level.

This is done for several reasons.

The first is that you have the ability to  self select depending on your budget allowing  you to test SEO at a price point you can afford.

The second is pricing packages allow agencies to create a standard set of services, which they know in advance how much it will  cost them to deliver.

This allows them to budget revenues and costs and resource for the delivery of SEO services.

Most Retainer packages typically fall into the following general categories. (Allow for regional variations but the types of businesses that fall into these bands is generally accurate.)

Small – Generally Up to $1,000

Suitable for companies just starting out, or which have a single local geographic area.

Think local retailers, local service providers such as plumbers, electricians, doctors, cosmetic surgeons, new small commerce businesses.

These campaigns typically should include local search optimisation to help you rank for local searches.

An example of a small local business that suits this category is Event Management Company Triumph Leisure Solutions.  They are an event management business with a very specific geographic target confined primarily to Sydney.  The type of work they should expect from their agency would be the acquisition of local directory links and citations to support  their optimised  Google My Business listing.

Medium – Between $1,000 to $4,000

Suitable for businesses with an established online presence,  which target a national or international audience or operate in more competitive niches.

Think multi unit retailers, larger online retailers, wholesalers, larger brands making the move into online marketing.

An example of this mid-sized business is Otium Group.  They provide Self Managed Superannuation services to a national audience of clients.  They compete in a space filled with highly authoritative financial services companies and government sites.  The type of work they should expect from their agency is would include content asset development, outreach and promotion as well as content amrketig strategy.

Large or Custom – $5,000 and above

Budgets beyond $5,000 are typically for enterprise businesses targeting  national or international audiences in very competitive markets.

Think car insurance, life insurance, travel, tertiary education, credit cards, home loans and personal loans.

An example of this type of enterprise client is NRMA.  They are a national insurance company selling a wide variety of highly competitive products.  Their site naturally attracts tons of links due to their traditional media spend and so ‘link building” is not the primary concern.  Rather their agency should have a strong focus on technical seo as which has the potential to benefit the site much more than a few more links.  In addition the agency would be providing strategic content marketing advice as well as competitive analysis and tracking.

Which package you choose depends on:

  • The size of your business and your budget
  • The geography you target,
  • The competitiveness of the industry in which you are competing
  • Your specific business goals,
  • And your level of understanding of what you are engaging the SEO agency to do for you.

The more educated you are about online marketing, the better you will be able to choose an SEO package that suits your business needs and the less chance of mismatched expectations between you and your agency.

SEO Ranking Guarantees – Real or False

I’ve always disliked SEO guarantees. Many (not all) of them prey on the ignorance of the customer and their trust in the agency to do the right thing.

Typically an SEO ranking guarantee says “We guarantee to rank your website on page 1 for your keywords within 3 months or else your money back”

Here’s the problem with that statement.

Which search engines?

The guarantee typically does not state in which search engine so it could include Yahoo or Bing which provide very little traffic when compared to Google.

Which keywords are they targeting?

The agency offering the guarantee typically selects easy keywords that might have very little search volume or competition and are easy to rank for.

Why are they easy to rank for? Because they are completely irrelevant and no one else in their right minds is chasing them.

Some of the keyword phrases they include as evidence of the guarantee could have been ranked for by simply publishing a blog post with the keyword in the title.

Furthermore, keyword rankings in and of them selves have long since lost their position as the number 1 KPI or metric.

There are broader metrics that are better aligned to your business goals or are better indicators of improved organic search performance such as Non Paid Organic Conversions or the # of unique keywords bringing visitors to your site.

So take SEO guarantees with a of salt and don’t rely on them for assurance that you are getting a no risk deal. 

How to Get the best out of your SEO Agency

I bet through this blog post you’ve been waiting for this section right?  How to I keep my agency accountable?

Most areas of conflict arise because of issues around expectation management.

That is you did not get what you thought what you were getting or the agency thinks you are demanding more than they promised or sold you.

Key areas around which conflict arises include:

What are you doing for me?

If you don’t understand what the agency is doing for you then you will get frustrated when their bill arrives.

Make sure before you start you have a detailed campaign plan that breaks down the proposed SEO activities by month.

If you don’t know what these activities are, make sure you ask your account manager in advance.

How do I know this is working?

If you are looking at the wrong metrics or your expectations about how long positive results are going to take are misaligned then you are going to get really frustrated.

Before the campaign starts make sure both you and  the agency are clear on what your business goals are and how the SEO agencies activities are going to contribute to helping you achieve them.

Decide on the metrics that you are both going to track and make sure the metrics tie back to your business goals.

Create a simple report tracking these key metrics and just focus on them.

Chasing vanity rankings is no longer a viable goal. SEO is now a much broader more complex activity now than ever before.

This SEO thing is taking far too long?

If you need or expect instant traffic then SEO might not be where you should be investing your online marketing dollars.

Safe, sustainable SEO takes time to implement and get results but once your site is performing well it’s the gift that keep on giving.

If you need instant traffic then you might be better served by using Paid Traffic such as Google Adwords rather than SEO.

To learn more about the discussions that occur between agencies and clients watch this discussion between @rand and @dejanseo about the future of SEO and agencies.

 

The Future of Buying SEO

The SEO world has changed massively in the last two years.

In the past you were able to “manipulate your way to top rankings” with paid or artificially created links.  Many companies were happy to take the risk of link building this way because the payoffs from a page 1 ranking were huge.

However things have changed.

Google is getting more effective at detecting and penalising ranking strategies that go against their terms of service.

Nowadays to get sustainable rankings and organic visibility  you need to earn then through well promoted quality content;  with the goal of acquiring enough links, authority and social signals so that Google will grace your site with higher visibility in the search results.

How will SEO be priced and sold in the future?

Here are some of my thoughts on how SEO services will be priced and sold in future.

  1. There is going to be a large growth in agencies offering you content marketing services, whether included in your SEO campaign or sold separately.  It’s already happening now.  At the smaller end of town this will be in the form of blog content creation services and social media services.  At the top end of town in the form of strategic content marketing campaigns covering  content strategy,  content development  and  content promotion.
  2. Good SEO agencies are going to change the conversations they are having with you as a business owner.  They will be talking with you about sustainable SEO, content marketing, social media and it’s importance as a part of content promotion, new ways to measure SEO performance.  If you are not having these discussions you are talking to an agency that hasn’t kept up with the times.
  3. SEO guarantees will be gone.  A guarantee implies they can control the outcome.  SEO agencies will stop offering these as business owners like yourself become more educated.
  4. Retainers will continue to be the dominant way to provide SEO services. The composition of work done will change however. Think more content marketing.  There will also be a large growth in providing educational services where your agency will help you and your team understand the massive changes in online marketing and how to take advantage of them in your business.
  5. There will be less “SEO Services” and more “Online Marketing Services sold.  The reality is that while SEO is a critical part of making sure your website gets visibility in search, now more than ever it is just one part (albeit an important one) of the full range of online marketing services you need to bring to bear to make your business successful online.  For some insight into how the responsibilities of SEO have changed in the last few years check out this blog post from Moz.com called The Responsibilities of SEO have been upgraded.
  6. SEO & PR.  At the end of the day they do the same thing.  There is going to be more focus placed on how the traditional PR and promotional activities you implement can be optimised to benefit your online visibility.

 

Key Takeaways for Business Owners and Marketing Managers

Here are the key things you need to be doing as a business owner to help ensure a successful SEO engagement with your agency.

  1. Educate yourself.  A more educated business owner or manager can make better decisions.  Too busy to learn?  That’s not an excuse anymore is it? Subscribe to the Moz.com Blog and review the content weekly or choose an agency who is interested in educating you.
  2. Have better discussions with SEO providers.  The ideal SEO agency should be trying to educate you about why you need to invest in content, blogging, audience development etc.  If they are simply talking about tactics like article marketing, comment spamming, or  #1 rankings, ranking guarantees then walk away.  They haven’t kept up with the times.
  3. Demand and work to a detailed plan.  Have a detailed plan in place so you know what is being done each month.  The plan will help manage your expectations and give you assurance that you are getting value each month.
  4. Embrace content marketing & social media.  Miss the old days when you didn’t have to invest in blogging and content?  Too bad.  You now have the budget for it because within 2 years the old paper based Yellow pages will be gone and you can invest that money in content and building a social media audience that can be used to promote your content.  I have made this transition for my own ecommerce businesses and have  even created a Content Marketing Business offering the same content creation services for other businesses.
  5.  Choose the right metrics.  Take the time to work with your agency to develop a simple way of tracking the right metrics for your business.  There are a ton of good articles about this.  If you and your agency agree on these metrics up front there is less chance of disagreements down the track.

In Summary

SEO as a service you buy has evolved massively in the last two years.  So should the way you engage someone to “do SEO” for you.

In all likelihood, the retainer model will continue to be the most popular way to engage an agency to deliver these services for your business.  However what will change is what you get for your money.  More content marketing, more social media, more education and consultation.

As a business owner and manager you need to get more educated about what is being done for you and how long it will take to deliver a return for your business.

Got question?  Agree or disagree with anything I’ve said?  Please comment below and let’s have a chat.

Via: How Much Does SEO Cost? 

 

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The Goliath in any industry will always have their version of David. Sometimes they may have more than one.  

Right now Google has their standard competitors and a recent upstart called DuckDuckGo.  

Just like Ello was to Facebook, DuckDuckGo will not retain or use consumer data. This has caused a lot of digital media outlets to cover this challenging newcomer.  

I applaud what they are trying to do. DuckDuckGo is filling a niche that in the world of the internet today solves a major issue consumer’s face… privacy.  

I took a look at some of our own client’s data points to see how this search engine was performing and provide my own point of view.

Growth

Our client base in 2015 has seen a 181% increase in referring traffic from DuckDuckGo. This compares to 30% growth in traffic coming from Google.  

While those are some impressive growth numbers, it is off a very small base and represents only 0.2% of total search engine traffic vs. 81% for Google.  

visitsbymonth

marketshare

So we have a challenger with a growing (albeit small) base.  

Performance

DuckDuckGo has the third best conversion rate and lowest average order value.

Assuming equal volume across all engines and forecasted revenue from each engine (10,000 x AOV x conversion rate) Bing would be your top choice with Google and DuckDuckGo at a virtual tie.  

Does that make any of these search engines better or worse? Not necessarily. This data is only directional. We didn’t look at the ratio between paid and organic search traffic when considering these metrics. I can tell you that it is different for each specific client and sometimes by very wide margins.  

convrate

aov

forecasted

Here are two things I think all search marketers need to think about in relation to DuckDuckGo, or any time you are confronted with a newcomer:

1) Check into it for yourself

Before your clients ask, Bing powers these search listings so it’s likely that you are getting traffic without doing anything. Take this point not just about DuckDuckGo, but any number of ad tech or publisher opportunities. You can’t be too dismissive of new things.  I know you are getting cold bluehost calls and emails all day long, but there may be a needle in that haystack. Which one will it be for you? This is a hard one because you can’t let every shiny new thing take you away from your core business, but dedicating some time and budget to the latest platforms and tools is a worthy endeavor.

2) Educate your family, friends, clients and colleagues

I’ll save my point of view on data in advertising for another day, but in short I’m a big fan. Sure just like anything else there is a chance of something going wrong as it relates to privacy, but those same risks exist in many other parts of your life. Data provides us with a better experience. You are going to see an ad, so why not make it one that is relevant to you? 

DuckDuckGo has done a very smart business thing by taking a market concern and turning it into a solution. I just wish people were a little more open about their data as they are with sharing what they are eating on Facebook all day.

I admire the spirit of DuckDuckGo and the entrepreneurship behind it, so congrats to them for making a splash. Here’s to hoping this is a growth opportunity for all search marketers and that maybe this will not be an entirely ‘Google world’.

Get more info at  on Search Engine Visibility.

Via: 

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What to do when someone trashes your company online

 

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest marketing techniques as more and more come our way, but it’s always important to take a step back and make sure that you have a good foundation in place and none of your previous tactics are slipping.

In local marketing, businesses put a lot of effort at the start and then let it fall by the wayside as the year moves on.

2016 is the perfect time to refresh some of these “must-have” local techniques. Check out these Local Marketing Tactics for Boosting the Growth of Your Small Business:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Local SEO means you’re optimizing your website for the local web search so that your business shows up in a location-specific query. For example, “Laundromats near me” or “best coffee in New York City” would both be considered local searches.

As Google prioritizes local listings and puts them at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), it’s an excellent way to gain visibility.

When it comes to local search, there is less competition because you’re only dealing with your competitors in the area. So, it’s easy to get the results you want and bring in the targeted audience.

Google’s research on understanding consumer’s local search behavior reveals a great information for small business owners.

50 percent of mobile users and 34 percent of tablet or computer users visit a store within a day of their local search. It means local SEO has a great impact in increasing business sales.

Keep one important thing about local SEO in mind:

You don’t have to be a company with one or two physical locations to get the benefit. Even if you’re a national company, or you work only online, local SEO can still make an enormous difference in your business.

How do you get started with local SEO?

It’s a big topic, but it mainly has to do with making sure you have local accounts on all of the major search engines (Bing, Yahoo!, and Google) and use of right local keywords for the target audience and area. You can learn more here to understand the importance of local SEO for small businesses.

Facebook Advertising

Social networks aren’t always the first thing companies think while building local marketing strategies, but Facebook advertising is an exception.

It’s an inexpensive way to advertise your business to the target audience. Like Google, Facebook also knows buying and click patterns of all their one billion plus users. They are experts in putting the ads in front of a relevant local audience.


Ask for Reviews and Get Listed on Review Websites

Reviews are becoming the “must-have” in 2016 for all companies, particularly, who focus on local search marketing. According to a BrightLocal study, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Get your products listed on all of the major reviews sites — notably Yelp, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Consumer Reports, Amazon and more — and then make sure that you’re managing those websites.

In other words, keep your information up to date and completed, and always be ready to tackle the negative reviews in a healthy way.

Although you aren’t allowed to offer any gift for an excellent review, build more confidence by working hard on your product’s improvement. It will lead to better reviews in future. As Google and consumers like to see companies with strong reviews, get ready for more sales.

By putting a “Review Us” link on your homepage, talking with your loyal customers, and urging your social community to get involved, you can help increase your numbers over and over again.

Work with Complementary Companies in Your Area

It’s tough to work with your competition when it comes to local marketing, but you can build your online empire with complementary companies. This sort of partnership can help you spread the word to the same audience.

For example, a content marketing agency in the area may want to team up with a web design company, a dog treat company may want to team up with a dog groomer, or even a lawyer may find it beneficial to partner with a personal finance accountant.

Recommendations go a long way. So, this is an excellent way to put yourself in that position and earn trust.

Attend, Speak, and Host Local Events

In other words, get involved in the community as much as possible. If you can sponsor a little league team in the area, it leads to a great exposure.

Join your local Chamber of Commerce and event committees to get involved and get your business out there. Contact with the journalist in your area. Advertise in the local papers, and even host your event to get people excited about a product launch or simply bring the community together.watch full film Alien: Covenant 2017

If you’re the type of company that can create memorabilia for your business, hosting your local events or setting up a booth at other events is the perfect place to make this happen and, hopefully, see some free exposure in the future.

Via: 5 Effective Local Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

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Flash Forward: The Future Is HTML5

After significant security failures, thirst for user resources and industry-wide pressure, 2016 will be the first year marketers will not have Flash to fall back on as a crutch. Thankfully, new technology is readily available to take its place. Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

As an interactive element, Flash has been intertwined with the user experience since its inception. With Web design now more important than ever, marketers must turn to other tools to maximize how visitors interact with their Web elements. 

RESPONSIVE DESIGN UX 

Steve Jobs built the case against Flash five years ago. In that time, the globe was gifted 12 different iPhone iterations with no sign of slowing down or using Flash at all. In fact, mobile supremacy has prompted industry-wide marketer response in the form of responsive design. 

According to comScore, total digital media usage has grown 49 percent with mobile apps contributing to 77 percent of time spent. Mobile browsers are also seeing a strong growth at 53 percent. Mobile devices overall account for 62 percent of all time spent with digital media. 

More companies are paying attention to these shifts in technology and user behavior and crafting strategies to stay visible. This has to be the year to ensure their Web elements are accessible to mobile audiences. The best approach is using standardized coding languages understood by all devices – namely, HTML5.

HTML5 AIDS DISCOVERY MARKETING

HTML5 ensures that all the important multimedia elements used in Flash are here to stay – without any cumbersome digital bloating. You can still embed interactive video, audio and other elements to grab a user’s attention and direct them to new content, but there’s another bonus that might not be immediately apparent — marketers now have more streamlined access to an important aspect to discovery in SEO. 

Flash websites were notoriously difficult to rank in Google due to their lack of searchable content. Websites built in HTML5 make it easier for search engines like Google to crawl its onsite copy with more transparent SEO. They allow elements like links, headers, image alt-tags, anchor text, meta titles and meta description tags to be optimized better without disrupting an engaging on-site experience for users.

LOAD TIMES UX AND RESPONSIVE DESIGN

It’s no secret that Flash increased the size of Web pages. In 2016, users don’t want to download any files in order to access a site just because it has Flash. 

Readers are time-conscious, especially when they discover your page with a clear intent to read, watch or buy. What’s more, people go to your website for information, not animation. Any extra time it takes to load your website is time they spend looking for alternatives rather than engaging with your content. 

Removing Flash serves as one more website optimization to keep readers engaged with your content faster and longer. Improved load times also lead to higher SEO rankings and user experience will get a much-needed boost. Keeping users on your page holds no value without well-written content that solves user needs and drives conversions.

Forward-thinking brands have already graduated to HTML5, but Flash still persists in 15.6 percent of the world’s top 1000 websites. The technology is here – 2016 needs to be the year to optimize your website content before you lose your visitor engagement to the competition.  Get more info at Virtual Focused Marketing on HTML 5.

– See more at: Flash Forward: The Future Is HTML5

Lawyer Branding Revealed!

Friday Five

When most people think about “,” the first thing that comes to mind is the visuals: logos, images, color schemes. But branding is much more than visual elements. It’s the connection a human being has to a product, service or even another person — and it’s the main factor influencing consumers to do business with that product, service or person. Essentially, branding is a huge reason why you give people money for stuff.

The most effective branding focuses on the psychological and esoteric components — the root level, where the synapses that create the mental connection between a thing and wanting to give up your money for that thing actually form.

Lawyers Need Branding (Yes, You Do)

Here are five things to get you thinking beyond the superficial, and more about branding on a deeper level for your law practice.

1. Branding is good for you. Love it or hate it, you need branding. Why? If you are a solo or part of a small firm, you need to be able to differentiate yourself from all the other lawyers who are just like you. Why should someone choose to hand over his hard-earned money to you instead of someone else? People need a reason to choose you. So give them one. And if you’re with a big-ish firm, guess bluehost what? You need branding, too. It’s just in this case, you need to use the branding of that big firm to your advantage! That firm is already a brand itself, most likely with its name, the genre of law, the caliber of lawyers (and clients) it hires, just to start. Those are the things that have built its reputation and define its values. If you don’t align yourself with some part of that brand, you’ll just blend in and you definitely won’t be operating at your potential.

2. It makes a human connection. With all the lawyer jokes, it is not surprising that there is dissociation with the idea of lawyers being humans with real feelings. But lawyers are people, too, of course! So when you think about your brand, put yourself in your clients’ shoes. If you were a client, what would you want? What would you look for in a lawyer? How would you be feeling about your situation? Sympathy and empathy can go a long way here because they affect how you treat clients and other lawyers … which creates your reputation and represents your values, which in turn have a direct effect on what your brand is all about.

3. It’s not “marketing and advertising.” Marketing and advertising may certainly be components of branding and help in the development and reach of the brand, but in a vacuum, they are not branding. Think about it like this: Branding is a pull mechanism while advertising and marketing are push mechanisms. Branding pulls people into something; advertising and marketing push out information. Good advertising and marketing campaigns will push out information or data about the brand, which, if successful, help tell the audience about the brand and why they should do business with the brand. But it is the brand itself that pulls people in for business. Once the ads and marketing push out the information, the relationship with the brand might strengthen or weaken. If it strengthens, the brand pulls people in.

4. Branding is everything. I always say, “Branding is the ribbon that runs through everything that you do.” It runs through all of the things you do in your legal business — including your work product and how you treat clients — and for your legal business: Your marketing and advertising campaigns, your writing, your logo, your images, your public speaking, the way you dress, the things you choose to blog about. Your brand ties everything together. Everything you do must reflect your brand.

5. It’s not as hard as you think. Many lawyers avoid branding because they don’t know where to start. With the right information and right tools, branding is not as hard as you think. Admittedly, it is probably more complex than you think, but that doesn’t make it hard, necessarily. Passion, personality and persuasion are the keys to branding at .

You may have followed the various murmurings on Twitter and beyond about a possible algorithm update from Google. Certainly the data seemed to suggest that something was happening.

It was rumoured to be the much anticipated Penguin 4.0 update, but it turns out that there has been a new roll-out of Panda, and it’s a biggie.

This time around Google has made Panda part of its core ranking algorithm, meaning that it will bepaying more attention to site quality signals than ever before. 

Google confirmed the update to Jennifer Slegg over at The SEM Post.

Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a phentermine site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.

This seems straight-forward, though Google’s Gary Illyes has sown some confusion with this reponse to a question on Twitter from Pete Myers of Moz. 

Jennifer published a super comprehensive guide to Panda yesterday, and has updated it to include some further pointers from Google.

A few takeaways:

Websites affected by Panda can still rank, if they have pages of outstanding quality:

“The Panda algorithm may continue to show such a site for more specific and highly-relevant queries, but its visibility will be reduced for queries where the site owner’s benefit is disproportionate to the user’s benefit.”

If you’re worried Panda then you need to compare and contrast:

“If you believe your site is affected by the Panda algorithm, in Search Console’s Search Analytics feature you can identify the queries which lead to pages that provide overly vague information, or don’t seem to satisfy the user need for a query.”

You need to stop thinking about the volume of visits, and focus on being useful:

“At the end of the day, content owners shouldn’t ask how many visitors they had on a specific day, but rather how many visitors they helped.”

Build some new paths, rather than trying to cover up your tracks:

“Instead of deleting those pages, your goal should be to create pages that don’t fall in that category: pages that provide unique value for your users who would trust your site in the future when they see it in the results.”

This puts to bed a lot of the chatter about Penguin 4.0, but proves the effectiveness of a bunch of SEO tools, which did a good job of detecting activity. 

I’d seen a bunch of comments the week after Christmas, with various people suggesting that they had seen some ranking changes. But there was nothing definitive.

Dawn Anderson then raised a flag late last week, pointing to data from Algoroo, which showed a lot of dramatic movement. 

Other SEO experts started to speculate. Dan Petrovic said that it looked like “a multi-purpose update”, and one that was happening across the world. 

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(Image credit: Dejanseo)

Barry Schwartz collated a bunch of other comments from the community and some more screenshots and data, from the likes of Mozcast. 

UPDATE: Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed that Panda is part of the core algorithm, but that this part of it hasn’t been updated. 

In addition, while some sites may have experienced fluctuations recently, these have nothing to do with Panda. 

Contact  for content marketing advice.

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As 2015 draws to a close I can all but hear content marketers dreaming up the click bait headlines that will run amuck in 2016.

Rolling over to a new year is a trigger point for “this or that is dead” articles; you would think that Google only makes update at the end of the year the way articles start popping up. That being said, here are five link building tactics that will still work in 2016 unless Google does decide to actually make a yearend change, in which case, we will cover it here, so sign up for our  if you haven’t already.

1. Guest Posting is Finally Dead

Low-quality guest posting for the sake of building keyword rich anchor texts has been a bad idea for a few years now, if you are still doing this, it is time to get up to speed. If you are reaching out to high-quality sites that market to your audience, guest posting is never going to die. Even if it didn’t boost your rankings, it would still send qualified referral traffic, an instant win. So next time you read about the imminent death of guest posts in a headline, save your time and read something useful like how to build high quality links without writing a ton of content or tips on how to

2. Web 2.0 Link Building No Longer Works

In the past many link builders would start link building campaigns off by creating blogs on sites like WordPress, Blogger and Rebel Mouse. In the past, a single article, often times spun, would be added to the blog and linked to the money site. These blogs would then have high volumes of low-quality links built to them in order to boost the Page Authority hosting the link. This method is no longer a good idea, as a matter of fact it should have ended in 2013 at latest. 

That being said, you can still derive value from building out Web 2.0 sites. They can be a good source of traffic, can help you control your online brand reputation, and they can still be part of a good link building strategy. In order for them to have value though, you need to spend the time to create blogs that actually offer value to the reader. Every site should be set up as a standalone blog that people would want to read. Quality content, regular updates and ongoing link building to these blogs are a must if you go this route in 2016. Here is a of Tumblr, a Web 2.0 site being used by a brand properly.

If you don’t have the time or resources to manage Web 2.0s properly, focus on outreach link building instead.

3. PBNs are All You Need

Done correctly, private blog network (PBN) link building can be pretty low risk and incredibly powerful. These types of links are like dynamite though. If you aren’t experienced, using them is dangerous. Failing to use them in just the right quantity can be disastrous and they are not always the best solution. If you are not familiar with building PBNs, don’t risk it, there are too many things that can go wrong. If you are using them, don’t make the mistake of using only these types of links. Link diversity is very important and you should be diversifying your efforts by getting links that drive traffic as well.

4. SEO Software is “Only for Spammers” or is a “Push Button Link Building Solution”

There are tons of pieces of SEO software on the market today that range from automated link building tools like GSA Search Engine Ranker to tools like Scrapebox, often referred to as the Swiss Army Knife of link builders. Automated link building is not a good idea in 2016 unless you know exactly what you are doing, why you are doing it, and fully understand the risks of your methods. Other pieces of software are also wrongly demonized by those who don’t quite understand the many legitimate uses for those phentermine tools. Take Scrapebox for example, it was originally made to be a bulk comment spam tool and for that purpose, it is not useful to link builders any longer. On the other hand, you can use the tool to find broken links, locate resources pages at scale, and to pull URL lists from even huge sites, all of which are legitimate uses. Next time you read about a tool being the reason for an SEO failure, remember, no tool is better than its operator.

5. Link Building is All You Need

This may seem obvious to some of you but I have gotten numerous calls from people asking for our link building services and wanting to pass on any on-page SEO reviews or edits. As I touched on last week, and with it, our role as marketers has also evolved. In order to successfully promote and rank a site, technical on-page SEO, page speed, UX, content assets and link building are all needed. If you want to get to and stay on top in 2016, you need to build assets that deserve to be ranked and that users will enjoy.

Bonus Tip: Stop Asking – Start Researching

I see and hear one type of question all the time. How many links do I need? What anchor text ratios should I use? How long does my content need to be? Etc. Etc. Etc.

The truth is, there is not a set number that you should shoot for across the board. If you are trying to rank for roofing services in St Louis, take the time to see what the top 10 sites are doing and make a side by side comparison of those metrics. You will quickly see that every keyword, niche and location takes a different combination to rank so stop asking for generalizations and spend that time doing research. Contact us at for help with content marketing for your small business.

– Via

Search Engine Optimization Results Can Level Off

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a fickle mistress; anyone who seeks to tame her needs to stay on their toes or risk being forgotten in the recesses of search engine results pages (SERPs). Regularly updated search algorithms and the ever-growing dominance of digital marketing has led to the unending refinement of SEO tactics.

That said, there are times when SEO practitioners might find themselves asking what they should focus their efforts on, especially when it seems SEO campaigns are stuck in a plateau.

The answer lies in a play written around 411 BC by the Greek writer, Sophocles: “A man, though wise, should never be ashamed of learning more, and must unbend his mind.”

Beginning an SEO campaign is an exciting period in the life of any business. If a company decides to undergo the work in-house, it will be greatly rewarded with knowledge that will help steer it when undertaking future Web projects. Similarly, if a third party is brought in, there’s the excitement and anticipation that comes when eagerly awaiting tactics to start showing results.

Once keyword research has been completed and landing pages decided on or created, the real fun begins. Companies can then start implementing on-page optimization and building up a library of content that allows a company to promote backlinks.

If everything has been researched and put into practice correctly, there should be pages starting to head upward in SERPs after this initial period.

The next stage is pretty much always maintenance – fixing mistakes, improving existing site issues and tweaking anything that doesn’t give optimal results. This can take anywhere from a couple of months to several years depending on how big the site is and how competitive desired keywords are.

As time goes by, maintenance requirements will begin to decrease if those in charge of content and web development are on form and don’t create more issues as they go along.

Is Search Engine Optimization Set & Forget?

So when the website is finally ranking highly for the desired keywords and traffic has greatly increased, surely it’s time to kick back and relax, right? Wrong.

After all the easy SEO fixes have been made, it’s likely traffic and keyword ranking will start to plateau and although the website could be attracting a lot of attention, it’s easy to get stuck at just decent rankings.

This is where good old Sophocles comes in. At this point in an SEO campaign, there is a need to ‘unbend minds’; things are good, but they can always be better. It’s time for a refresh and this doesn’t just mean new tactics.

This is a great opportunity to learn more, not just about SEO, but about topics intrinsically linked like Web development, design, analytics, content marketing, AdWords, email marketing and so on. ‘Never be ashamed of learning more,’ never let the mind mimic an SEO plateau.

As for tactics, there are always new alleys to go down.

Ensuring content is being used in the best possible way is a great place to start. Is it getting to the right people? How can it reach a similar and yet previously untouched audience? These are good questions to ask when kick starting the campaign out of the plateau.

Tools such as Followerwonk, SEMrush and Buzzsumo are great at analyzing what clients or competitors are interacting with or consuming and can help tailor content more specifically.

In addition, a new round of keyword analysis is a great idea at this point. If a website is dominating for its chosen keywords, it might be time to explore similar terms people are searching for. Content needs to be created for these terms and suitable landing pages developed.

If traffic is high – thanks to an abundance of high ranking pages – but conversion is low, the solution is to pay more attention to the customer funnel on the website. Google Analytics makes it possible to see the behavior flow of visitors through a site and analyze where – if anywhere – the customer journey is going awry.

This is also a good point to dabble with new things previously overlooked, whether it’s AdWords, different social media platforms or multi-language targeting.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of trial and error to see what works, especially when it comes to SEO. Remember, getting to the plateau is not a negative. In fact, some sites will never get past the stage of fixing issues. The best way to look at it is to get creative and go on a quest to improve digital knowledge. In short, visit Virtual Focused Marketing for solutions,

– See more at:http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2015/12/01/unbend-your-mind-to-overcome-an-seo-plateau.aspx?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter