Where Is Localised Search Headed In 2014?

By RowanComments Off on Where Is Localised Search Headed In 2014?

Local Search

Guest post by Brianna Flierl

If you’re a small business owner with a largely local clientele, I’m sure you’d like to know the answer to this question.

The fact is, local SEO is constantly evolving, and new web development tools and landmark updates to search engine algorithms are the root of this.

The way things are going, there’ll be some definite changes to the way we search for a good restaurant or a top-rated auto mechanic.

Like any entrepreneur, your main goal is to profit from your venture. In this technological era, that means adopting a contemporary marketing strategy.

To make this work, you need to get a feel for the direction search is heading to in relation to your local website or social media pages.

Are you ready to see some predictions? Read on!

  • G+ is becoming more integrated into the overall Google search experience. This year, expect to see all of this company’s products merging, held together by Google authorship. So, start ramping up your engagement on the said social network.
  • The value of structured data markup schema for websites will increase. Make sure to “clearly” mark out the following for Google crawlers:
  • Business address
  •  Featured products
  • Consumer reviews
  • There will be a wider roll out of Google Carousel on all local categories, which could have a significant effect on rankings for branded keywords.
  • There will be more focus on social media integration and diversification. Twitter and Facebook are not the only platforms out there to use in promoting local businesses. Entrepreneurs must learn to broaden their horizon and explore the possibility of marketing on mobile apps.
  • In the past, Google has made it clear that users want to see local results for many queries. Both large companies and small businesses should optimise specific elements to obtain better rankings on local SERPS. See the list below:
  • Content
  • Citations
  • Links
  • Offline marketing tactics

Do you own a store in Devon or Bristol, or any other local business in England? You might want to consider engaging the services of a company offering local SEO services in the UK.

  • With the recent launch of Hummingbird, you’ll also need to start investing in better content for your website. This move will help you become more visible on search results pages.
  • Video marketing is also another technique that should be adopted. The web is moving towards a more visual space where videos, images and infographics reign supreme. If you want your brand to remain relevant, take the multimedia route.
  • 2014 could very well mean the end of fake reviews. Online users are now a sophisticated bunch; they can see through testimonials masquerading as publicity tools. Offer quality products and great customer service, and the five star ratings will come pouring in.
  • The number of mobile searches will continue to grow every day. This means more and more consumers are comfortable with purchasing from their tablets or smartphones. Now is definitely the time to create a mobile-optimised website that’s user-friendly to facilitate more conversions.
  • Natural language search will also be big in 2014. Logical queries will take the place of cryptic keywords so it’s important that you consider these when planning your optimisation strategy.

Author Bio:
Brianna Flierl is a freelance writer for Localised Search, a company that offers local SEO services in the UK. With over 25 years of combined experience in the industry, it specialises in creating bespoke local search optimisation strategies for clients.

SEO

Marketing Lessons From Global Leaders

By RowanComments Off on Marketing Lessons From Global Leaders

SiteZulu Website Builder

Guest post by Brianna Flierl

If you want to have the best chance of succeeding with a new business, you could do a lot worse than to follow the lead of the global leaders and focus on online marketing to ensure that your business is highly visible from day one.

Whilst some of the biggest companies may spend millions on their corporate sites, you can produce a professional-looking site using SiteZulu business website builder or one of the other free web development and design tools that can be found online.

More important than the amount of money you spend is the effort that you make to get your message across clearly. These free online tools will allow you to achieve this aim without spending a penny, which could be very handy in the early days when money is tight.

Design considerations

  • It can be hard to create a new site from scratch but with an online website builder, you will be presented with a number of basic themes that you can use as a starting point when developing your first site. To avoid the most common mistakes that newbies are prone to make, read the following tips.
  • Loading times are of vital importance. Whilst it is true that relatively few people use dial-up internet connections these days, there are numerous other factors apart from connection speed that can affect the time it takes for a visitor’s browser to receive a response from the server on which your site is hosted. For this reason, it is a good idea to avoid using extremely large images as backgrounds for your pages or to advertise the products you are selling as they could exacerbate any loading time issues that visitors are already experiencing.
  • Clear navigation is essential. If you want to make sure that visitors to your site are able to find the information they require as quickly as possible, you need to provide them with an easy way to navigate your site. Creative menu designs can be very effective but well labelled menus that are neither too complicated to be practical nor too simple to be of much use are the best choice if you want to make life as easy as possible for your visitors.
  • Text should be easy to read and to the point. It can be tempting to try unusual colour schemes such as red text on a black background but unless you want to give potential customers a headache and send them scurrying away to your competitors, this is probably a bad idea. If you keep in mind that you are trying to create an effective marketing tool and not aiming to win a prize for the most outlandish website design, you should be able to avoid dropping any clangers as far as readability is concerned. In order for your marketing messages to be effective, they absolutely have to be easy to read.
  • Use animated images sparingly, if at all. Unless the nature of your business demands animations on your website, it is probably best to avoid them. In common with larger pictures, they can have a detrimental effect on loading times and, furthermore, they can be very distracting when they are placed next to important textual content.

Conclusion

When you start a new site, it is best to avoid ideas that are too avant-garde and stick to tried and tested layouts instead. The web design principles that work best in 2014 are much the same as those that have always worked well so do not spend too much time trying to reinvent the wheel when you are putting together your very first website.

Author Bio:
Brianna Flierl is a freelance writer for SiteZulu business website builder, a specialist when it comes to the web design and development. A company aiming to help clients make a simple yet professional-looking site more easily.

Marketing

The Ranking Power Of Facebook And Social Media Sites

By RowanComments Off on The Ranking Power Of Facebook And Social Media Sites

Ranking Power Of FacebookSince the latest algorithm updates on Google, (Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird), social media has become a lot more important as a ranking factor for websites.

Many back links that used to work no longer work, and may even work in reverse. For example, here is a list of back link methods that are no longer effective, depending on the authority and relevance of the sites you get the links from:

  • article directories (low quality auto approve sites that publish syndicated or duplicate content)
  • directory sites (low quality directories that only exist as a place to make back links from)
  • social bookmarking sites (only a small handful of these are still beneficial)
  • blog comments (relevant comments on high quality moderated blogs may work)
  • forum signatures
  • RSS feed submissions
  • profile links
  • .edu and .gov links (depends on how you get them)
  • links from resource pages or blogrolls
  • paid blog networks like Buy Blog Reviews or Build My Rank

What This All Means For The Future Of SEO

The Future Of SEOWhat Google seems to be trying to tell website owners and SEO companies with each update they make to their algorithms is that they don’t like people who build back links just for the sake of SEO.

They don’t like having to sort through billions of pages of rubbish to try to find the real sites, although given that the internet has been built that way for over ten years, they can’t completely change the way that back links determine rankings, or the low quality pages that were made just for back links would rise to the top of the search.

So, the future of SEO is definitely not in the quantity of back links, but in the quality, and those quality links are going to be all that really matters.

The idea is that they’re trying to find the sites that people have linked to naturally, of their own accord, because they thought it was something legitimately worth linking to.

What links are other people most likely to make when they want to share or link to your site? Social media shares and blog posts, and those are the main back links that really work these days.

Guest posts or natural links to your site from other people’s sites, and social media shares and engagement, plus high quality on-page SEO. That’s the future of SEO.

The latest tweaks to the Google algorithms have been about trying to work out the meanings of people’s search queries, and trying to answer a question with the right answer, not just to find a page with the same words on it.

It’s important to update your site regularly with high quality content, lots of words, lots of photos, a good bounce rate, lots of social media shares and a natural looking link profile that doesn’t look like it was made by yourself, or an SEO company.

The Other Side Of Social Media SEO

Facebook The Future Of SEOLinks from social media sites like Facebook are no follow, (Google Plus is an exception), which means they don’t pass on any page rank, and even though it’s better than ever before to get social media shares, it’s also easier than ever before to try to rank your social media pages on Google, rather than the other way around.

What that means is that it’s actually easier to rank a You Tube video, a Facebook page or a Google Plus page, especially a local Google Plus business page than it is to rank a website.

If you make a Facebook page and a website on a new domain at the same time and build the same amount of back links to each, there is no question that the Facebook page will outrank the website, so long as you do a few things to show that the page is popular.

For example, you need a lot of likes, which you can get through a targeted Facebook Ads campaign, and you need lots of tabs and photos, and to post regularly on the page.

It’s good if you can get people commenting, liking and sharing your posts, it all gets counted by Google. If you do a search on any large celebrity, public figure or company, you will almost always get their Facebook page on the first page of that search.

Google has realized that people want to see the social media pages of whoever they’re interested in, because that’s how they can get in contact with and see the updates of anyone in the world.

This makes it surprisingly easy in this harsh and confusing SEO climate to rank for almost any phrase you want. It doesn’t just work for celebrity names and companies, if you can convince Google your page is important and popular, it works for almost any phrase.

That’s why I recommend all my clients do keyword research and find a phrase with thousands of exact match searches a month for the title of their page. Most of them don’t have large search volumes for their company or site name, so that’s the wrong title to give your Facebook page in that case.

You can make more than one page, in fact it’s probably a good idea if you do make more than one, because then you can link them together, which is also important, getting internal links within Facebook.

The way to do this is by liking one page with the other, while using Facebook as the page. This creates a permanent link from one page to the other on the front page.

Creating Custom Tabs

Custom Tabs For Facebook PagesIt’s a good idea to make your Facebook page as complicated as possible, or to have as many different tabs on it as possible, with lots of quality content, in fact you can put your entire site on your Facebook page, and sell directly from a custom tab, or many.

The best app to use for this is Static HTML: iFrame Tabs, which allows you to put anything you want on a tab in HTML form, and the different options let you easily add You Tube videos, subscription forms, Pay Pal buttons, photos, or literally anything you want.

You can write blog posts, put affiliate links in, even have your actual website in the iFrame so people can visit your site without leaving Facebook.

You can use this app for up to ten different tabs, and if you need anything else, there apps like Contact Form for a simple contact form, Twitter, You Tube, and I was using this great app called Just Redirect, but it seems not to be working at the moment.

As for building back links, I find that a good place to start is with articles on HubPages, Yahoo Contributor Network, Squidoo, and possibly Ezine, then I do social media shares on all the large sites, and social bookmarking on only the large social bookmarking sites like Digg, Linked In, Stumble Upon, Delicious, and maybe Pinterest and Friend Feed.

Then it’s a good idea to find guest posting opportunities on quality, relevant, authority sites with a high page rank and domain authority.

By combining a targeted Facebook Ads campaign to get real fans and customers with SEO, on a page on a site that has huge authority already, you find that doing one thing helps the other, like the fans help the SEO, and ranking on Google gets you free fans.

Over time, your fan base builds, like an email list, and if you do the SEO and keyword research right, you will rank for the phrase with less effort than ranking a site.

All in all, this means that it’s one of the most cost effective ways to run an online marketing campaign, and for a simple idea like selling a single product, you probably don’t even need to have a website at all.

Or if you do, it’s probably best to focus the SEO on the Facebook page, and use the website as a place to make a good quality back link from and not to.

Get In Contact To Talk About These Services

For more information on the subjects talked about in this post, or if you want to get anything done on social media generally, get in contact with me via the contact form.

I offer a range of different internet marketing services, basically I can do anything you want if the price is right.

SEO, Social media

Essential Marketing Skills For 2014

By RowanComments Off on Essential Marketing Skills For 2014

Marketing Skills 2014Employers need emotional intelligence, strong leadership, and excellent writing abilities across multiple platforms if they want to be frontrunners in a highly competitive marketplace.

Effective, interactive marketing requires collaboration and cohesion, but those are no longer the only sought-after stepping-stones that can lead to amazing success stories.

A professional marketer’s bag of tricks should be packed with many talents, such as competence, the desire to develop additional skill, and being capable of deploying those abilities proficiently.

The list of functional qualifications is long. It includes data analysis, research proficiency, understanding consumers, and shopper marketing.

Here are 7 main functional and soft marketing skills that can bring your company into the spotlight in 2014.

1. Influential Storytelling

Marketers looking to improve their skills should pay attention to what today’s consumer wants. Look at recurring trends!

The companies that are on the top are those that deliver high-quality content across multiple platforms. They use a variety of ‘voices’ to get their messages across.

Who can deliver? Experienced writers can create content for both the consumer and B2B (Business-to-Business).

It is imperative that marketers understand the role digital and content marketing plays throughout all the communication solutions that are used today.

The content should be versatile and appealing to numerous audiences. Brands need to tell their story in order to connect with their followers.

Using honest analogies and anecdotes has been quite effective. By connecting on an emotional level, consumers will feel involved. It is also an excellent way to influence their purchasing decisions.

2. Try Something New


The world is constantly evolving, and marketers refusing to adapt to the changes are doomed to fail. Senior leaders have great qualities, but are often stuck in a rut.

Many organisations have noticed this trend, and started concentrating on junior recruits with a flair for innovative ideas, but also a strong commercial insight.

The candidates can demonstrate how their non-traditional ways of thinking can improve a company’s marketing campaigns. They look past all the boundaries others keep focusing on.

3. Data Analytics

There is such a tremendous amount of information on the Internet right now that the idea of having to investigate it all can be overwhelming.

Dealing with Big Data does not have to keep you awake at night. There are many tools currently on the market data-savvy marketers can use to analyse the steady stream of online information that is relevant to their company.

Understanding the impact this information can have on what they are trying to accomplish can be extremely helpful when planning their next marketing strategy. The results will be far more impressive.

It is a great benefit to employ candidates who are not fighting technology, but are rather embracing it. These employees are also eager to work collaboratively all across the board.

4. Understanding Modern Consumers

Although reading a few chapters from a Sigmund Freud manuscript would not hurt, there really is no need to get a psychology degree.

Marketers can benefit greatly from understanding consumer behaviour, and why people buy certain products and not others that are quite similar in nature.

With a bit of knowledge, you will be able to harness the sudden changes in the attitude of shoppers, apply the information to your marketing planning, and maybe even influence, and manipulate a buyer’s actions.

5. Strategic Thinking

One of the biggest hurdles to achieving marketing success is poor data processing practices. If you want to stay relevant, start documenting your advertising strategies.

Stop focusing aimlessly on virtually useless content. It is like a mouse in a labyrinth. The critter squanders a lot of energy and time running aimlessly back and forth in an attempt to reach that rewarding piece of cheese in the centre of the maze.

For businesses, this would also be a waste of money. What can an eager marketer learn from this? Never give up on basic, rational, and strategic thinking.

6. Strong Leadership Qualities

Determined leaders will always be respected in their sectors. They are in control of their businesses, even when facing tough financial times and economic downturns.

Great, natural leaders are emotionally intelligent, innovative, and resilient. They do not falter when a project goes south. Actually, these professionals see it as a challenge, and will not give up until a problem is fixed, and goals are reached.

Natural leaders are smart and bold. They can make decisions quickly, and know when to trust their gut feeling, which is not the case with manufactured leaders.

Although these individuals have been trained to take charge, they often lack confidence when making critical business decisions.

7. Intellectual Curiosity

Progress would not exist if people did not have a healthy dose of curiosity. Just think about it. If the first humans had ignored fire, where would we be today? CMOs like candidates who are ambitious and curious.

It demonstrates innovation and passion. Intellectual curiosity encourages problem solving, now and in the future.

In today’s multi-channel world, businesses and technology evolve at such an incredible speed that it is essential to learn, be able to adapt promotional and marketing tactics fast, and find alternatives with ease. What is new today could be outdated tomorrow.

About The Author

Belinda Darlenne works for Lava Digital, an Australian company that offers web design, social media marketing, and internet marketing services.

Marketing