Archive for December, 2012

Mobile SEO and Beyond… 3 steps to Outpace Your Competition in 2013

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On December - 31 - 2012

mobileSEOSince Mobile devices are getting hotter ever hour as we move into 2013, should businesses take advantage of mobile devices in their websites? Does a business need to create a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) approach to leverage mobile in addition their regular website SEO? The answer to both questions is most definitely YES.

One needs to start with a basic Mobile Device strategy, and then decide what other web phenomenon can be used to create enhanced Mobile SEO results. For example, by combining unique characteristics from Mobile, YouTube and Social Media- we may find new opportunity doors opening for search results, bringing even better results to businesses. This article describes 3 simple steps to enhance your website beyond mobile for a fresh look in 2013:

1) Develop a Mobile Search Strategy,
2) Add YouTube videos to your website and Mobile solution,
3) Extend your social media footprint.

Get even more content marketing results by combining Mobile SEO, YouTube SEO, and Social Media SEO efforts.

1)  Develop both Mobile Device and Mobile SEO Strategies

Mobile users are searching for content that is mobile friendly. Business owners can step ahead of their competition early in 2013 by making updates to their websites ahead of their competition. With less than 10% of today’s websites that are mobile friendly, a business can definitely get ahead of competition by starting now with their own mobile solution. But beyond creating a mobile friendly website, what does one do to attract searches and get real customer results?

That is where a basic Mobile SEO strategy is needed. A great article by Bryson Meunier- “Mobile SEO is Not a Myth…”, suggests Mobile SEO ideas for a mobile unique environment to enhance Mobile SEO performance.

Knowing how search results are different between desktops and mobile creates a business advantage for mobile friendly websites. Google keeps making changes to search parameters as they try to enhance the searchers experience. Savvy business owners will need to keep one eye on Google changes, and another on their smart phone search results. Mobile SEO adjustments are not needed daily, but over a period of time, as analytical data provides the measured results for making strategic updates.

Also knowing how Mobile SEO can take local SEO to a new level of interactivity can help some business verticals; particularly where the business needs to build its local market reach. Mobile smart phone users often commute and travel to different cities. As an example, a salesman or other traveler may be looking for a restaurant, gas station, or local entertainment spot- and these searches might be added to the base mobile devices living in a particular area. Being able to target searches from a local area gives businesses an ability to capture potential customers coming into an area- much different than targeting only local desktop searches.

In addition to Mobile SEO, one might also investigate including Mobile Paid Search ads, with your Mobile SEO solution to enhance your search results even further. Because there are so few websites that have been converted to mobile friendly solutions, Mobile paid ads can give your mobile website a real advantage while your competition is playing catch up in 2013. Take advantage of the window of opportunity that Mobile paid ads can bring, before your competition recognizes the need to even have a mobile website.

2)  Add YouTube videos to your website and mobile solution

YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google this according to an article on 5 Essential Tips for Your YouTube Channel. Adding fresh new SEO relevant video content to your web solution can enhance your Mobile SEO results. Although YouTube is still building its SEO relevance, 2013 will be the year to plan to add quality video SEO content to your web solution. Make sure that your video content is also Mobile SEOfriendly, which will further distinguish your web solution ahead of your competition. YouTube videos are playing a larger role in creating relevant, fresh, quality, entertaining content for SEO search engines to find. Combining mobile searches and video SEO opens up new opportunities for businesses to stay ahead of competition in search results.

Not only does YouTube rate as a fresh new SEO source for your website, it also plays highly into search results for social media content. Although in some rating systems such as Nielsen, YouTube may not be considered as a social media entity.

See SEO for YouTube- Best Practices to get a basic understanding of what steps a business needs to take with SEO practices for your YouTube Videos. It is not just a simple matter of uploading videos, but steps are required to enhance your video’s SEO search position. Consider producing your videos in High Definition quality, because this improves your YouTube rankings. Video tags are also very important part of building your YouTube SEOposition.

3)  Extend your Social Media Footprint to enhance your Mobile solution

Mobile Internet users are overtaking wired Internet users in the next couple years, but the shift is happening faster for Social Media, this according to an article by Hootsuite CEO, Ryan Holmes. Social, Local, and Mobile (SoLoMo) is a term people will be hearing more often in 2013. Social networks sharing location information from their mobile devices, is becoming integral part to some social media environments. Certainly Business to Consumer (B2C) retailers will find new opportunities in 2013 to provide innovative offerings to consumers through SoLoMo. When creative offerings become accepted as part of the social media mind set, then SoLoMo will become a standard for new business opportunities in 2013.

Social Media is not just a capability for B2C, it also is starting to be more relevant in the business to business (B2B) market place as well. Turn the social media noise into music is a YouTube video about social media geared to a B2B scenario.

Like most other website enhancements, Social media itself provides a significant stride forward in your web solution. However the real pizzazz for 2013 is to combine social media with your SEO approach.  See an article – SEO and social media get married, which discusses what happens when SEO and social media join forces to build a strategic approach to content marketing.

Summarizing Mobile SEO and Beyond for 2013

A mobile website solution is a great idea to enhance your website for 2013 and Mobile SEOshould be a natural extension.  However, taking further content marketing steps to enhance your Mobile website solution with Social Media and YouTube videos will leave your competition wondering what happened to their website. And don’t forget to follow SEO best practices for each enhancement.

  1. Have a Basic Mobile Device website Strategy – enhanced with Mobile SEO 
  2. Add YouTube Videos to your website solution- enhanced with Video SEO
  3. Build a linking Social Media footprint- also enhanced with Social Media SEO best practices

Mark Colestock, a digital marketing strategist at WSI DigNet, helping businesses with their online marketing needs. 

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When Google sneezes…I catch a cold

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On December - 12 - 2012

There’s probably about a dozen other clichés marketing agencies can use to describe how the search engine giant plays the tune and we just dance to it (see, there’s another one).

For years digital marketing firms have been playing cat and mouse games with Google. The factors that the search engines use to determine where a website should be ranked in the search results were just too easy to be manipulated by those of us who made a career of it. Some of us played by the rules (white hat SEO) and some of us “bent” the rules (black hate SEO).

Search engine marketing is no longer about Websites; it’s about “Web Presence”. Search engines have decentralized the criterion they use to decide which Web pages rank where for what keywords.

In my opinion you can no longer rely on classic SEO techniques alone to get your Google love. I recommend a total 360° multi-dimensional approach that addresses all of the elements that the search engines currently factor into their algorithms. Below is an overview of the various components that typically go into our strategy:

 

Components:

Content:
At the end of the day, search engines look for the same thing that people look for…content that is related to what people are searching for at any given time. You have to optimize, produce and manage content that is not only designed for search engines, but is relevant to your target market.

Keywords:
You will have to do extensive keyword analysis to determine the optimum keywords to ensure success. The most popular keywords are not necessarily the best. We prefer to target “niche” keyword phrases that relate directly to your target market. Targeting multiple highly relevant phrases will allow you a better opportunity to obtain higher rankings across more keywords that are directed to people farther down the buying cycle. (As opposed to targeting fewer harder to obtain “general” phrases).

HTML:
The output of almost all Website platforms is HTML code. It is the basic building block of the Internet. Other code such as Java script or Flash is a barrier to search engines indexing your Website. You will need to ensure that your Website is built on a search engine friendly platform. Adobe’s Business Catalyst platform, WordPress, and basic HTML are always good choices. There are plenty of others as well.

Usability:
A search engines’ goal is to display the best “user experience” they can find. That means that the actual structure of the website is a major factor in determining where your website will be placed on the search result pages. Also consider how many clicks it takes for a visitor to get to any of your pages on your site. If it is more than 3…it’s too many. It’s annoying to your visitors, and search engines recognize that.

Speed:
People don’t wait more than a few seconds for your Website to render before leaving, and neither do search engines. Make sure that you use high-speed hosting and a site design that is not heavy with extraneous code which slows down the Website.

Links:
Search engines factor both internal and external links. Each Website, directory or social property that links to your site is considered a “vote” for your Website. Why else would someone link to your site unless you provided valuable information?  It is important to note, that not all links are created equal. Some incoming links are more valuable than others.

Search engines also factor “Internal Linking Structure’ (pages on your site that link to each other). Linking unrelated pages can be detrimental to your efforts. However linking relevant pages strategically in a “silo” structure will increase what we call “link juice” and consolidate the relevancy of your keyword themes.

Blog:
Search engines love blogs because by their very nature blogs are updated frequently…and search engines like fresh relevant and original content. Blog posts are indexed relatively quickly and are treated as a Web page of information by the search engines. Search engines rank Web pages… not Websites. You will want to ensure that your blog posts are designed to rank for specific keywords, but not at the expense of your human visitors.

Social Media:
No longer just a buzzword, search engines factor what they call “Social Signals” that indicate that you are interacting with your target market (thus indicating that you are relevant). Aside from the obvious advantages of interacting directly with your consumers and driving traffic back to Your Website, best industry estimates are that Google factors between 9% – 14% of their search ranking algorithm based on social signals.

Analytics:
In order to make incremental improvements we must monitor and make incremental adjustments to certain KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Time on site
  • Top entry pages
  • Top exit pages
  • Traffic by keyword
  • Etc.

Reporting:
Analytics must be distilled into a meaningful report that can be analyzed to show trends and progress without all the noise of the raw data.

Design:
Search engines are concerned with the structural aspect of design, not necessary the aesthetic aspect. It is imperative to design the website around both usability standards and search engine preferences (which typically mimic human usability factors). Remember usability…

These 11 factors are just the main ingredients that go into search engine optimization. They don’t even address other aspects of an entire Web Presence Optimization program that includes profiles and pages from LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, and reviews on Google+, and Yelp and Citysearch, etc….

At the end of the day, its Google’s world, I just live in it.

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Was Social Media Dangerous During Hurricane Sandy?

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On December - 4 - 2012

From time to time I like to showcase guest bloggers to weigh in on topics like social media and SEO. This week my fellow Digital Marketing consultant and Hurricane survivor Linda Waterhouse takes a look back on how some people abused social media during the recent disaster. Moral of the story is; don’t always believe everything you see on the Internet… Read the rest of this entry »

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