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Original Article

Why Twitter, Facebook And Google+ Are Must Haves In Your SEO Arsenal

It seems like the world has gone “socially crazy” with more and more social networks launching every single month.  It can be tough for a business owner to keep up with all the new networks, in fact as internet marketing experts we even find it hard to keep up. 

The time for excuses though is starting to pass, if you’re not on the big 3 social networks then you’re not only missing out on social traffic, but you’re also missing out on search traffic.  You see, recently Google and Bing (the two “real” search engines) have updated their algorithms to incorporate more social results.

In fact Bing is releasing a large-scale update, which is the start of its transition to a “social search” platform.  Something that is certain to ruffle a few feathers at Google and see them taking their updates one step further.

What Does This Shift To Social Search Mean For Every Day Business Owners?

It’s simple, if you’re not currently an active user of Twitter, Facebook And Google+ then you or someone in your business needs to get active.  Content shared via these social networks is now being indexed and used in search engine results.  Not only that but sites which offer actively integrated social content are also getting a boost.

Phrases like “Google It” and “Facebook Me” have now extended with users of your website being asked to “Share It”, “Tweet It” and “Like It”.  These actions are not only helping to extend the reach of your content but also positively impact your search engine rankings.

Simply put, if you’ve avoided Twitter, Facebook and Google+ like the plague, now’s the time to change your stance and start embracing social media, at the very least to help your search engine rankings.  Now I know this may sound daunting to business owners but the reality is social media is getting easier and easier to manage.

In fact now there’s a whole suite of tools available for you to share content, update statuses, build applications and engage customers which means you don’t even need to be “on these social networks” to be “on these social networks”.  We know, it sounds weird, but the reality is most business owners don’t have the time to actually engage on social media, and that’s why tools are needed to make the process easier (watch out for a post on which tools to use shortly).

Let’s face it, with these new changes to Bing and Google making them more “social” the prediction that “social media is a fad” was a long way from the mark.  Social media is here to stay and if you don’t want to be left behind you need to embrace it and start integrating it into your daily marketing.  Not only will you see improved search engine results but you’re also going to see more traffic to your site, you can’t deny the fact that social media generates traffic!

The only question that remains is: When Will Google Announce It’s New “Social Search” Functionality?  Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts…

Today’s Image Comes From PC World

Original Article

Attention Seeking Facebook Status- Can they harm your career?

We’ve all done it at one point in our life. I know I have, in particular my high school years were filled with attention seeking facebook status’s (ASFS).

At the age of 16 I definitely wasn’t thinking about prospective employers surfing through my facebook page and reading through my status updates, thankfully I grew up and very smartly removed any such posts.

Unfortunately ASFS have become somewhat of a trend, particularly for women. That’s right I said women, not girls. It seems that my news feed is suddenly inundated with the moans and groans of these women I know and to tell you the truth I don’t care and I can bet no one else does either.

Employers have been quick to say that they will check out a prospective employees social media page before an interview. If an employer can see that you spent the past week whingeing about your current job it’s not going to put you in a favorable position.

Now once you’ve gotten the job, don’t think for one minuet you’re going to get to go back to your whinging ways, your employer can still keep tabs on you and what your saying through your facebook, so be careful. Now there’s 3 steps you could take to minimize this risk

1-    Don’t add your boss to facebook

2-     Don’t add colleagues that you don’t know well to facebook

3-    Don’t whine about work or anything for that matter on facebook

Has this happened to someone you know? 

 

Original Article

How To Pick The Right Website Designer…

When it comes to getting your website designed, there’s a lot of options available to you.  You can choose a freelance designer, you can choose a website development company or you could even give it a try yourself.  The hardest part is choosing the right option… 

…Let me put it this way, have you ever been to a food court before where there’s 10 or even 20 options to choose from?  It can be overwhelming and often you go with the “easiest” choice rather then the one you really wanted or the one you actually needed.

The same can be said about website design, with so many options it’s too easy to choose the cheapest or the quickest, rather than choosing the option that’s right for you. 

How Do You Choose The Right Website Designer?

Unfortunately there’s no “one way” to ensure you choose the right website designer, but there is a single step you can take right now to ensure your decision is more likely to be the right one…

…Get Prepared

We know, it sounds corny but ultimately this is the biggest mistake clients make when they first see us.  They have an idea of what they want but they haven’t expressed that idea in writing or in a sketch.  You see, by not expressing their idea previously they haven’t really invested the time and energy they need into planning.  What generally happens is as the first design for the website is created you start to think more about what you want, and one design turns into 2, and then into 10 as your idea on what your site should do evolves…

The best way to ensure that you have the “right website designer” is to ensure that you have the “right idea” before you even see one website designer.  Don’t decide half way through you want a flash video, because quite possibly your designer’s not going to be able to do this for you.

Which means you then have to search for another designer, who can integrate with your current site, this takes time and resources.  Now there are tools that make it easy for you to “get your ideas on paper”, tools which help you to visually plan your website and your ideas.

Obviously these ideas don’t need to be your “final ideas” but by mapping it out you will stimulate thought and planning which will result in you getting clearer on your end website product.

What Tools Can I Use To “Get My Ideas On Paper?

As we mentioned earlier there are tools that help you to “mock up” how you want your website to look.  The one that we recommend (and is free) is called Mockingbird.  You can create a simple “picture” of what you want your website to look like and then use this with your designer.

Very simply, using a drag and drop interface you can drag in menus, images, videos, buttons, text areas and search boxes to create a mock design of how you want your website to look.  Your designer can use this as a guide to build a site, which suits your requirements.

The old saying of “A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words” is true when it comes to website design, and this one website “mock up” you create could eliminate hundreds of headaches down the track.

The best part, once you’ve got your one mock up, you can show it to multiple designers and get quotes almost instantly!

Now it’s important to note that Mockingbird isn’t the only tool which you can use, if you’re not confident on a computer then feel free to just get out a piece of paper and a pencil…You’ll be amazed how quickly your website starts to take shape in front of you…You’ll also be amazed by how much time and money you save on your website design because your more organized!

If you’ve had experience with other website Mock Up tools leave a comment below, so others can also learn from your experience!

Today’s Image Is From www.andertoons.com

Original Article

Majestic SEO Releases Flow Metrics
 

Today one of the industry leaders in SEO analysis announced they are raising the bar again by adding visualisation charting of link profiles.

To date no company has been able to accurately assess and provided data within a time frame (every day) that would be useful to any SEO’s on such a large scale.

The new feature released by Majestic SEO graphs the trust flow and citation flow that passes through to a particular site.

Here’s an example

Trust Flow

Majestic SEO has created their own trust flow indicator by initially manually reviewing sites and I assume giving them a rank. Now allowing their machines to take over (after careful assessment), we have a tool that not only plots the trust flow of a link but also compares it to the citation flow on the same visual.

Citation Flow

This is based off Majestic SEO’s existing AC Rank calculator. It assesses the quality of a page that links to your site based off the quality and number of the links that point to it. Before we only had a table to try and compare the results, and if you were an excel junky then you could compare a number of sites, but for the average Joe that wants to see instant results you can’t go past the new visual format.

Why is this important?

With SEO’s and want to be internet marketers yelling “the sky is falling” after Google’s latest slapping binge on low quality links, this new tool couldn’t come at a better time.

With more emphasis on higher quality or you’re out type update dates happening, now is the time to be spending more time seeing what the best in your industry are doing.

Oh one more thing..

Check out the new Link Profile Fight Tool where you can pit 2 sites against each other to get a visual representation of link profiles. So much more fun than looking at table of numbers J

 

Jump on over to www.majesticseo.com and have a play with it and let us know your thoughts?

Original Article

Bing Takes Another Chunk Out Of Google

Experian Hitwise just released results that show Bing now accounts for just over 30% of all searches done in the US. This is made up of Bing partners like Yahoo, Facebook and of course Bing.com it’s self. 

The growth over the last 3 months has been very steady and interestingly if you look at the charts by Experian Hitwise you will see in the same period that the number one search engine Google has drop every month.

Add to this, Bing’s plans to integrate their search with most of the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Linkedin and even Google’s own Google + (Ha!) and Google looks like it might get knocked off it’s dominant position within the next 12 months. 

It appears that while Google is trying to take it’s share by being greedy and controlling everything Bing has taken a more entrepreneurial approach by collaborating with others. This seems to be working as Bing’s rise in market share is growing much faster than what Google did in the early days.

Google Vs Bing

What’s This Mean For Search Engine Optimisation?

This is a big wake up for search engine optimisation companies around the world, especially with tsunami of trouble that Google has been causing with the latest updates to Panda and the new algorithm Penguin.

A few SEO’s have been talking about optimising for Bing for a while now but the trend hasn’t really caught on, however this clear movement away from Google can’t be ignored any longer.

While there isn’t a lot of information about optimising for Bing in the market place yet it is clear that optimising for Bing and Google are very different.

While Google is still (even after Panda and Penguin) heavily weighted on the quantity and quality of backlinks, Bing seems to care less, but at the same time seem takes into account the anchor text of links more than Google does.

Where Do I Place My Bets?

With both companies making hundreds of changes each year and appearing to go in different directions, SEO’s are going to have to choose which engine they are going to optimise for, because Google is heavily focusing on stamping out people that manipulate anchor text within the backlinks while Bing prefers it (for now).

This could create a huge split in that people optimising for Bing might be penalised by Google with their more aggressive stance on so called “web spam”.

With so many shifts going on at the same time across various Search Engines the only thing that is certain is that anchor text links will still be relevant for a long time, though the amount of backlinks seems to matter less, and social media is NOT a “Maybe” for SEO it’s a “Must”.

Which Search Engine do you prefer and why?

Original Article

Sexual Social Media

This is what happens when young men have too much time on their hands to play on the internet!

social media

Original Article

A Straightforward and Effective Approach to Market Research
Approaching market research

Market Research is where all successful sales and marketing strategies are born.  It enables businesses to set the direction for their web marketing campaign, draft prospect personas, prepare their sales playbook and draft a clear marketing message just to mention a few.  Needless to say, it is crucial to take the time and actually get it done right – trouble is that this is where a lot of web marketers often black out.  Are we to approach marketing research with costly focus groups with online marketing experts and isn’t that how the top guns do it?

Now focus groups behind two-way mirrors may indeed be the approach that the top guns are taking but keep in mind that we all have access to something a lot better – the Internet!  Yes we can all get this type of research done with lower cost and across a wider scope.  Let’s check out a simple and straightforward approach to go about it – if you are looking for specific tool and strategies you may want to check out our recommended tools for online market research.

Getting Market Research done

Now prior to getting into the strategies and tools that you can look into for getting market research done, there are several things that you need to consider which would help you approach the task with a straightforward and effective methodology

Determine exactly what information you are looking to unravel – identify the specific things that you need to know for effective web marketing. Don’t try to get it all answered in one go.  Otherwise you are not going to find out anything meaningful.  Here are a couple of things that you ought to figure out while breaking them down into specific categories relevant to your business:

  • The competitors that you’ll have to deal with
  • Are you trying to solve a real issue that people are really dealing with?
  • Any dissatisfaction people are having in the kind of products or services that they offer?
  • In what way do your targeted prospects usually prefer to communicate or lookup information?
  • How much money people are willing to spend for the products or services that they offer
  • Is your product or service enticing or interesting enough?
  • Psychographic and demographics

Come up with questions and think about how they are going to be answered by prospects – determine what questions you need to ask to get a comprehensive data (including follow-up questions).  There’s nothing worse than having marketing research done only to realize later on that you’ve missed out on some logical questions that would have helped you understand your market better and having to do it all over again. Take the time to go through hypothetical conversations and prepare all the questions that you will need to ask before starting your research.

Seek out the individuals that are best suited for your market research – research in online marketing can be targeted towards buyers instead of leads or online users in general.  If this is the case, you need to consider key characteristics that these people possess.

The best approach to asking questions for your research – What is the best and most effective way to ask your questions among online marketing prospects?

  • Surveys
  • Twitter – do you have a large number of Twitter followers?
  • E-mail – do you have an email list that presents suitable contacts for your marketing research?

Analysis – of course to make sense of all the information you’ve collected, you’ll have to analyze it and this has to be properly done according to the kind of information you’ve been gathering which could either be qualitative or quantitative in nature.  For instance, let’s say you are looking for quantitative data about how much interest is out there for the product or service that you are offering, you need to look at the number of people who responded positively versus those who’ve responded negatively or otherwise had shown indifference in order to decide whether to push through or scrap the project.  In the case of qualitative data, you may want to consider the qualities that most of your target prospects find most valuable or the number of ways they are actually making use of your product or service and seek out new means of utilization that you overlooked to consider as well as identify issues that people are having regarding your product or service and how to rectify it or further improve it!

One needs to think of market research as a consistent and on-going process.  The insights and information you acquired will likely yield more interesting questions that have to be asked.  Take every opportunity to communicate with target customers and find out all that you can about their needs and what you can do to best address it.

Original Article

Making Sense of SMS Marketing

SMS marketing or short messaging service is probably the most popular aspect of mobile marketing and although the concept seems to be a no-brainer, SMS marketers often find its correct execution to be fairly difficult to accomplish.  It appears simple enough on paper – send out text messages to prospects to improve sales but as a private individual doesn’t the whole idea strike you as rather intrusive?  When is it appropriate to implement this tool as a part of your inbound marketing campaign?

    Taking the right approach to SMS Marketing

Approximately 98 percent of marketing messages sent via SMS marketing are opened and more than 90 percent of them are opened in less than 3 minutes.  This makes short messaging service extremely valuable as a marketing tool but at the same time, it shows how important it is to get it done right.  As a mobile marketing tool, you are dealing with a medium that people find important in their daily lives.  After all, do you want your prospects to remember your business as one that spammed their mobile devices with useless and irrelevant messages?

What does SMS marketing have to offer you?

SMS marketers think of SMS as a low cost approach to marketing but mobile marketers also need to consider the fact that it may cost prospects money when they receive your text messages.  Hence it is important for mobile marketers to use SMS as a specific tool via an opt-in program and ensure that your messages are relevant and offers value to its recipients.  What are some of the great things SMS has to offer your business as a marketing tool and how should one go about doing it?

Actively engage and communicate with customers – Just as it is with any other marketing solution, SMS marketing is only effective if you are dealing with people that are interested in the products or services that you offer and would like to hear from you.  Thus it makes perfect sense to use short messaging service, as a means to actively communicate and engage prospects which you’ve determined to be truly interested in what your business has to offer.  It can for instance be used as a mobile marketing solution to identify and offer rewards and incentives to loyal customers that bring you repeat business.  Marketing or promoting your product or service can be done by other more appropriate web marketing channels (social media and business website).  SMS marketers can use it to interact and communicate with interested customers and actually give them something that they need and want.

Service Reminders and Alerts – Customer service and marketing is something that goes hand in hand and mobile marketers will find that there is a huge opportunity behind SMS to strengthen customer service and hopefully yield more sales.  Among the primary benefits of SMS marketing is that its an engaging and real-time mode of communication - perfect for issuing SMS receipts and requesting ratings for customer experience. Mobile marketing works because it is interactive in nature and when done right, can drive a lot of value making the life of customers a lot easier.  Think about it – instead of having to make phone calls, service or product updates, receipts and having to log on to websites or send emails to provide feedback, all these can be arranged by exchanging a couple of text messages.

Generating Sales – The value of short messaging services as a marketing tool isn’t at all limited to existing clients.  For instance, SMS marketers can go for location-based SMS campaigns.  Mobile marketers often find that it takes only a little nudge for local prospects to actually make a purchase when provided with time-sensitive information about products or services that they may be looking for.  SMS marketers can launch a social media marketing campaign to entice online leads to make use of an opt-in app on their mobile devices for discounts and offers in their local area.

The key to successful SMS marketing is to effectively and correctly seek the permission of prospects who are not only looking to opt in and check out your offers but also would like to actually be marketed to via text messages. Indeed this mobile marketing solution can prove to be extremely effective in furthering business goals and one that must be respected as a means of communication in order to maintain a stellar and likeable reputation among prospects!

Original Article

Bad Spelling and Poor Grammar Affecting Page Rank

In this video by Google’s number one spam cop Matt Cutts, he first denies and then basically confirms straight after that part of Google’s algorithm to determine the quality of a page looks at spelling and grammar of the information on the page.

Whether the algorithm actually picks up that the spelling and grammar  is incorrect as part of the page rank or if it’s in combination with the user engagement of the page and time spent, it’s a good reminder to run everything through a quick spell check.  Tip: Before publishing your content walk away from the computer for an hour and come back with fresh eyes to proof read if you are worried about there being mistakes.

What are your thoughts on incorrect spelling and Grammar on a site?  Does it matter to you?

Original Article