October 2017

11- Oct2017
Posted By: DPadmin
239 Views

How To Create Local Content For Local SEO

Local SEO can help you get an edge over the national competition by reducing competition to only your own geographic locality. To do this, you’ll need local-specific content on your website.

If you run a small business and you’re exhausted from trying to compete with your national, big-business competitors in search engine rankings, there’s no better sanctuary than local SEO. Local SEO functions on a different algorithm from national results, identifying local queries based on context and user location to bring users the top three local results “above the fold” of traditional search engine results page (SERP) entries.

Put simply, practicing local SEO can help you get an edge over the national competition by reducing competition to only your own geographic locality. To do this, you’ll need to accomplish a number of things, including establishing “local citations” across the web, updating your site to reflect your current address and location, and of course, earning more and better reviews on third-party directories.

But in addition to those things, you’ll need a strong content marketing strategy (as with any SEO campaign), and for a bit of extra local relevance, you’ll need local-specific content on your website.

How “Local” Should Local Content Be?

There are a handful of goals to meet with local content:

  • Local keyword optimization. First, including more local keywords (such as the name of your city, state, or region) could solidify Google’s understanding of your business’s relevance for its location and help you rank for a broader range of keyword queries.
  • Long-tail rankings. You could also use locally relevant content to rank higher in searches below the fold of the local 3-pack. These would include posts like “The X Best Restaurants in Denver.”
  • Local relevance. Finally, you can use local content to improve the loyalty and recognition of residents who already know you, serving as a peripheral means of increasing your reputation, reach and reviews.

To meet all these goals, your content should focus in some way on the region in which you operate, but there’s flexibility in how you can accomplish this.

What Not to Do

It’s easier to explain what not to do with local content. Even though it’s important to include keywords relevant to your geographic location, you can’t just shoehorn keywords into your content and expect to see good results. For example, writing a post titled, “How to Buy a Bike Orlando Florida” will not only alienate your users, but likely not do any good from an SEO perspective, either.

Instead, make sure your keywords fit naturally and are relevant to the content you’re producing.

Potential Topics

At this point, you may be confused about what could qualify as “locally relevant” content, or be short on ideas of how to produce this content consistently. That’s why I’ve come up with this list to inspire your brainstorming process:

  • Local events. Your first option is to take advantage of local events—and of course, there are multiple ways to do this. As an easy start, you could use a newsjacking strategy to simply report on the news that a local event exists, and help to promote it. Doing this helps show your commitment to the local population, and your involvement in the community, but you can go a step further by actually getting involved in the event itself. You could sponsor the event, set up a tent, or have one of your team members attend a seminar and report on it. The more immersed you are in the event, the better it will look—and you might even get multiple posts out of it (reporting on the upcoming event, then doing a retrospective on it).
  • Company announcements. You could also use company announcements as a way to create local content, especially if this is your headquarters or your only location in operation. Ideally, you’d frame this as a press release, announcing the introduction of a new product or new service, or reaching some milestone. When you do this, frame it in the context of how it improves the community—does this create more economic opportunities for the area? Does this improve the quality of life for your neighbors? You could also host your own local event, such as a workshop or a “family fun night,” depending on the nature of your business.
  • Location-specific specials. You could also use posts to advertise local specials, which is helpful if you’re running a chain with multiple different locations. Here, you can use a local keyword set to explain what that particular location is doing differently, and incentivize people to attend. Be careful to keep this informative, rather than advertising, if you want to keep your strategy in the realm of content marketing.
  • Business comparisons. You could also use business comparison content to attract more local visitors to your site. These are comparative posts that examine multiple competing businesses in a given industry (including yours), such as the “best sandwich shops in Orlando.” Don’t be overtly promotional when describing your own business or you’ll turn people away. Instead, be as objective as possible. These posts are extremely popular for local residents trying to make a purchasing decision, so don’t miss this opportunity to appeal to them.
  • Local considerations. Finally, you could use local news and considerations to make minor posts that captivate the interest of your local residents. For example, are there major problems with traffic, some unusual weather, or new construction that you can talk about? Again, frame it in a way that’s relevant to your local readers.

Local content is important for local SEO, but don’t get carried away. It’s not the only factor for determining your presence or position within the local 3-pack, and it certainly shouldn’t be the exclusive focus of your content strategy.

Depending on your goals and how frequently you produce new content, local-specific content should probably represent less than half of your overall blog posts—and make sure to diversify the keywords and phrases you’re using.

Source: How To Create Local Content For Local SEO

11- Oct2017
Posted By: DPadmin
141 Views

How to compete with national retailers by utilising the power of PPC: a guide for small retailers – Retail Times

What is PPC? Pay-Per-Click advertising is a form of online advertising in which you pay a certain fee each time someone clicks on one of your ads. In simple terms, if you create ad copy that contains the word “summer shoes”, and your target audience is women, PPC can enable your ad to show up as the top result in Google for someone searching “summer shoes for women”.

Most national retailers are well aware of PPC advertising and integrate it into their marketing campaigns. By doing so, they are able to dominate local listings and effectively leave local retailers behind. This also blocks local retailers from gaining access to a national audience.

Having a PPC strategy is essential to generate traffic to your website and thus, boost your sales. To ensure your PPC strategy is effective, you need to have certain practices in place.

So, what can be done to compete with national retailers who have a huge advertising budget, nationwide presence and brand awareness at a local level?

Utilise the power of location-based advertising

All the main search engines and social media platforms allow you to display ads (both text and image) in specific locations. This can be done at city or town level (such as “Oxford” or “Abingdon”) or by using a radius around a location such as “10 miles around Abingdon” or “5 miles around OX1”.

Because the message can be specifically targeted at a chosen location, it can be tailored to that audience. National retailers rarely push out local messages, focusing on a more general approach. This gives local retailers an advantage.

A few examples include:

  1. Using localised keywords as part of your PPC keyword selection, such as:
    • “Washing Machines Skipton”
    • “Dishwashers Portishead”
    • “Hair Dryers Oxford”

These searches are hyper localised and predominantly performed by people in the local area looking for a local retailer. Thus, Click Through Rates and Conversion Rates are likely to be high.

  1. Using localised messages in your ad copy to advertise your local presence. These could be:
    • “Washing machines Oxford”
    • “Local washing machine shop in Oxford”
    • “In stock in Oxford right now”
    • “Oxford’s number 1 washing machine centre”
    • “Get advice, drop in to our Warrington branch or call”
  1. Using the display URL in AdWords to advertise your location: www.example.com/oxford or www.hooversbuxton.co.uk.
  2. Promoting your local phone numbers in your ads and onsite, which increases local relevancy and can drive increases in calls, sales and revenue.

Mobile is everything

Imagine this: you are out and about, and suddenly realise you have completely forgotten about a birthday party your daughter is going to later in the day. What’s your first instinct?

Pull out your smartphone and search for “kid’s birthday presents”. Go to the nearest store that pops up. Job done.

Mobile has completely dominated the way we search, which opens a variety of opportunities for retailers. However, it can be a challenge. Local businesses often don’t recognise the importance of making their sites mobile-friendly.

Google uses mobile-first indexing, which means mobile-friendly pages are more likely to be found, as they will show up higher in search engine rankings. Use that to your advantage!

Make it easy for people to find you

The above-mentioned scenario relies heavily on a customer being able to find you easily. The first step to achieving that is by setting up a Google My Business account. By getting your business listed, and including all the relevant (and up to date) details, such as your address, phone number, website etc. you make sure customers will be able to find you quickly and easily.

When using Google Maps, and searching for a particular product, we are often shown a box which contains three listings in the local area which match our query and supply the product or service we are looking for. This box is called the “Google Local pack” – and it’s very convenient to be a part of it!

Ensuring your Google My Business account is set up properly, and linked to your advertising account will help you get the top spot and thus your address will show up for people who are searching for your products locally. 

Rank higher in Google, so people find you more often

It is universally known, that people rarely venture past the first two pages of Google (or Bing) search results. This means, as a retailer, it should be your goal to rank as high as possible.

You can achieve that by doing one of two things (or, for best effects, by a combination of both):

Create high-quality content for your website. Whether it be blogs, case studies, ‘How to?’ guides – the possibilities are endless. What matters is that it shows expertise, is comprehensive, goes deep into the subject and of course, focuses on the keywords you are targeting.

Even if you think your niche or specialism is not something you can create engaging content about – think again. Curiosity is deeply embedded in human nature and therefore you can be confident that the more quality content you create, the more people will want to read more.

The second part of ranking high is by bidding on certain keywords, which will help position your website higher in search results. For example, if you choose to bid on “Christmas gifts Durham”, a link to your page will be displayed to people searching for that term.

However, even if your listing shows up first, but the ad isn’t very enticing, they might choose a different website. Therefore, make sure you invest in good quality ad copy as well.

Plan for seasonality

You probably won’t run all your AdWords accounts all year round. It is important to look at trends data to ensure you are planning for product seasonality.

If you have been managing your account for a while, the data available to you is invaluable and can be used for more accurate creation of future campaigns. However, bear in mind that if you have a wide range of products, the seasonality of different products will be varied as well.

For more insight on how to plan for seasonality in retail have a look at our guide on how to get a PPC account ready for Christmas-time sales

Believe in yourself!

Finally, never forget to believe in yourself and your business’s potential. Being a small, local business doesn’t mean you don’t stand a chance with national retailers.

Remember, people love what they know – and being a local business means there’s a bigger chance your potential consumers will form an emotional connection with you.

Increasing your online presence is bound to increase your brand awareness. Whether you are a kid’s goods supplier or a car dealership, the end goal is for people to associate your area of activity with your brand.

Source: How to compete with national retailers by utilising the power of PPC: a guide for small retailers – Retail Times

11- Oct2017
Posted By: DPadmin
172 Views

How to Turn Your Company’s Pinterest Efforts Into a Lead-Generation Machine

By thinking like a search engine marketer, you just might discover a powerful new marketing channel.

Pinterest is one of the most underrated social networks for lead generation and customer acquisition. But, in fact, Pinterest is one of the largest social media networks in the world. Used by 175 million people, it’s growing at a rate that’s doubling and tripling in some international markets.

Since Pinterest is also a platform that grows from organic search discovery via user-generated content, it can increase brand awareness among its users, and even non-users who stumble across a Pinterest page during a search.

Business owners who invest the time in optimizing their Pinterest exposure to reach prospective customers can create a reliable lead-generation machine without needing to invest large sums of money. Here’s how to leverage Pinterest to develop your own marketing channel to yield reliable results.

Think like a search-engine marketer.

In many ways, Pinterest functions like a visual search engine. The platform combs through board titles, pin titles, pin descriptions and pin tags to surface relevant content for users. The platform also relies on users to collect and compile this content, which ultimately makes the discovery process fun and rewarding.

Given this reality, those interested in using Pinterest as a lead-generation machine should think like a search-engine marketer. The first thing marketers must do is identify a series of target keywords. Tools like Moz Keyword Explorer, Uber Suggest and Keywordtool.io can help you to identify keywords your target audience is already searching.

Once you’ve selected those keywords, it’s time to create a search-optimized Pinterest profile. Make sure that your username and profile URL include a target keyword, if that’s possible. Once your profile is created, you should begin creating boards that include topically relevant information that prospects may be searching for.

It’s also important to optimize each individual pin within a board. The name of the pin and the pin description should use a target keyword to ensure that the content you upload surfaces when a user searches either on the Pinterest platform or a search engine.

Consider advertising on Pinterest.

About 30 percent of American internet users use Pinterest and nearly 80 percent of active Pinterest users say they use the platform to help make purchasing decisions. While Pinterest may not be the first platform you think of when it comes to digital advertising, given those numbers, the platfrom could be a highly effective digital advertising channel for you.

With that in mind, Pinterest recently announced a new option for organizations with smaller ad budgets. Now, advertisers have access to a self-service option that connects potential Pinterest advertisers with a host of creative professionals who are capable of producing compelling visual Pinterest ad content. While advertisers do need to pay for creating such ad content, Pinterest doesn’t take a cut.

This referral option can be a cost-effective means for marketers to test Pinterest without having to invest the time to organically optimize a profile and create or curate content in-house.

Create a pinning workflow.

For those interested in committing to Pinterest long term, it’s important to create a pinning workflow so that you and your team regularly update your profile with relevant content. By enriching your Pinterest profile, you’ll be expanding the reach of your account. In time, increased reach will mean more leads produced from this social media channel.

Consider adding Pinterest as part of your content-production workflow. Each new blog post, ebook or infographic your team creates should be added to Pinterest as a form of content syndication.

Optimize the off-site experience.

ComScore found that social media users access their platforms via a mobile device 79 percent of the time. Marketers interested in driving Pinterest users back to a company website, therefore, should ensure that the website is mobile optimized.

Otherwise, you may be creating a poor experience for the visitor that will not result in a conversion. Alternatively, if you are able to create a pleasant mobile experience, website visitors will be more likely to convert into a lead.

Measure performance with tracking links.

In 1966, Peter Drucker wrote his famous book, The Effective Executive. In it he coined the phrase “What gets measured gets managed.” This was true over 50 years ago, and it’s still true today. A simple way to measure, and therefore manage, Pinterest performance is by using a simple tracking link. Platforms as straightforward as Bit.ly and as advanced as Marketo offer tracking links that can help marketers determine if Pinterest is working effectively, and which specific boards or pins are working better than others.

Conclusion

While most marketers are focused on optimizing social networks like Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest offers businesses an interesting collection of highly engaged users who are using Pinterest to find new products and companies. By thinking like a search engine marketer, or trying out some of Pinterest’s advertiser tools, you just might discover a uniquely powerful new marketing channel that could become your very own lead-generation machine.

Source: How to Turn Your Company’s Pinterest Efforts Into a Lead-Generation Machine

11- Oct2017
Posted By: DPadmin
112 Views

Keyword Rankings Are Meaningless: Learn How to Grade Your SEO

Keyword Rankings Are Meaningless: Learn How to Grade Your SEO

Measure organic success with relevant metrics.
Keyword Rankings Are Meaningless: Learn How to Grade Your SEO

Image credit: relif | Getty Images
Like many business owners and managers, you probably test the effectiveness of your SEO campaign by Googling the keywords you think are most important to see if you show up on the first page. And when you receive reports about your website traffic, you focus on the chart that shows average rankings for your targeted keywords.

When you’re spending good money on SEO, it’s common to obsess over your keyword rankings. You’re competitive and, to you, winning online means claiming the top spot in Google results. The problem is keyword rankings are an irrelevant metric to gauge online success. To truly understand whether your SEO campaign is working, you need to learn which measurements deserve your attention.

Relevancy gets results.

Long-tail keyword phrases are among the building blocks of an SEO strategy. They are used to optimize copywriting, metadata and link-building strategies. They serve to boost your website’s relevancy so the right web pages appear among search results for the right people in the right places.

But it doesn’t matter how your website ranks for each exact search phrase because there is wide variety in how people search — especially with the growth of voice searches — and the results Google shows each individual based on his or her history, location, device and other data.

There is no universal “page 1.” Google is customizing search results using RankBrain, artificial intelligence that analyzes search queries to provide better answers — making results less predictable and giving websites less control over when and where they appear. This means your page 1 could be completely different than what your friend sees five miles away.

Google Search Console provides proof. This tool shows the actual terms people searched when your website was among results. You’ll see your site’s average rank for those searches too. Using this data, it’s clear that you should not judge your SEO success on how one particular phrase ranks when several other similar search terms — the phrases people actually used — are showing your site in the top positions.

An SEO strategy that builds your website’s relevancy and authority in the desired geographic area will ensure the site will be visible for a variety of search phrases. This increases the number of opportunities for your website to be seen among results.

High-quality content on and off your website and using strategic link-building tactics (internal links and backlinks) is a critical component to achieving relevancy. This strategy protects the website’s viability against the frequent changes in Google’s rules and priorities.

Measure organic growth.

Now that you know to ignore keyword rankings, how do you assess whether your organic search relevancy and visibility are growing?

  • Ensure the number of new site visitors arriving via organic search is growing, month to month and year over year.
  • Ensure the number of visits and new visitors from within your target market is increasing.
  • Expect increased conversions, particularly those from visitors who arrived via organic search. Track the volume of unique phone calls to a website call-tracking number and the number of contact forms submitted.

Conversions count.

Don’t let ego fuel your obsession with keyword rankings. And remember that your personal search experience is not necessarily what your prospective customers see. Nor does it represent the effectiveness of other companies’ SEO campaigns or whether their websites successfully convert customers.

Focus on the outcome. Your goal is for the phone to ring and your inbox to be inundated with contact forms so your schedule is full. To get there, trust an expert who will build a campaign that uses a proven process, creates original branded content and monitors relevant metrics.

Source: Keyword Rankings Are Meaningless: Learn How to Grade Your SEO

11- Oct2017
Posted By: DPadmin
130 Views

6 ways IoT will make local search for SMBs scalable

Don’t turn your attention away from the Internet of Things just yet. Contributor Wesley Young contends that the data provided by connected devices could help smaller players better compete with the big guys.

In an age of artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) may seem like yesterday’s news, but, of all the technologies currently developing, it has the greatest potential for near-term changes that affect local search.

While it remains murky how AI will benefit agencies, IoT is reaching a critical point in adoption and maturing to a stage where it provides actionable data. Or, as Brian Buntz with the Internet of Things Institute stated, “The IoT is about to shift into ludicrous mode.”

The growth of the IoT is spurred by decreasing costs of hardware, such as sensors, together with the ease and availability of wireless connectivity. IoT devices already outnumber smartphones by about four times, and growth is expected to accelerate further with Cisco estimates topping 50 billion devices by 2020. The amount of data generated by these devices is enormous.

Growth in the Internet of Things

Source: Cisco

Annual global IP traffic already exceeds 1 zettabyte of data and will double by 2019, Cisco forecasts. What is a zettabyte? It’s 1 billion terabytes. Or 1,000 exabytes. One exabyte amounts to 36,000 years of HD video, the company says. And Cisco adds, if a small (or a tall, for you Starbucks drinkers) coffee represented 1GB, a zettabyte would equate to a volume of coffee the size of the Great Wall of China. That’s a lot of data.

Back in 2014, Cisco’s CEO pegged the IoT as a $19 trillion market opportunity that will almost certainly change the way consumers do pretty much everything, from working to driving to shopping to exercising, and many other things.

And a subset of IoT, the location of things market — which enables connected devices to monitor and communicate their geographic location — is expected to reach $72 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. With location being the heart of local search, IoT will impact local search and search marketing in profound ways. But it goes beyond location.

According to Goldman Sachs, there are five main IoT verticals of adoption: wearables, connected cars, connected homes, connected cities and industrial internet. The first three are those most relevant to search, as they are related to consumer intent and behavior.

ey verticals of adoption - IOT

Source: Goldman Sachs

The SMB scale issue

Servicing local businesses with small budgets has always been a challenge for agencies. It’s too much work for too little money. It’s also expensive for SMBs who don’t enjoy the scale that larger businesses benefit from when purchasing search advertising or other marketing services. Both of which lead to the high churn rates at agencies that service SMBs.

Even though search boasts the ability to know the intent of users through keyword searches and display relevant advertising in response, it still has inefficiencies that are magnified for SMBs. Understanding user intent is largely dependent on how accurately the user can express his or her needs in typical keywords.

Let me illustrate with a personal example. I recently replaced an electric cooktop in my kitchen with a gas one. But the electric cooktop used a unique 50 amp plug. Instead of hiring an electrician, I wanted to see if there was an adapter that would convert that 50 amp socket into one that would fit the standard 15 amp plug that my gas cooktop used.

Gas range adapter vs RV plug adapter

What I needed (Gas Range Adapter) vs. What I got (RV Plug Adapter)

I must have conducted a dozen searches of varying terms describing what I wanted. I was repeatedly served search ads of products that seemed to be what I was looking for. But all the products advertised did just the opposite — converted a 15 amp socket for a 50 amp plug — an issue I discovered was common to RV hookups. I finally found a product conveniently called a gas range adapter. It seems obvious now, but, since I didn’t know the name for it, I wasted a lot of time, and more importantly, clicks on irrelevant search ads.

Consumers with experiences like mine may be why so many SMBs stop buying SEM services. But if search engines and advertisers had had more data about me and about my recent offline behavior, this problem might have been avoided, and I could have been served up information that was relevant to my needs.

Better data — which IoT can deliver — will both improve the consumer experience and result in better returns from marketing for SMBs. With better ROI, SMBs can better justify spending money on hiring agencies, and agencies can spend more time doing the job right. Data will also produce better results with automated processes like programmatic ad buying, reducing time and cost for agencies.

What kind of data are we talking about?

Current data use in targeting and retargeting is just the tip of the iceberg compared to how IoT will change the landscape. It appears nothing is off-limits when it comes to connectivity. Connected products being developed include mascara, contact lenses and ink for tattoos.

Simple applications would already be improvements over former or current uses. For example, location information can be enhanced by real-time data from wearables such as clothing, shoes or smart watches that indicate speed, and thus, whether the user is passing by in a vehicle or walking down the street. And, if the user is walking, it could indicate whether the person is walking for exercise, at a pace to get to a destination or at one that would indicate window shopping. Multiple location devices on a consumer are also more likely to interact with on-site location devices such as beacons and WiFi and help improve location accuracy.

Another area of significant growth for IoT is health care. Devices like contact lenses, implants, wearables or tattoo-like connected ink can track sweat composition and body chemistry, measure blood flow and glucose levels, or even determine whether you’ve taken medication. Lack of adherenceto medical prescriptions is estimated to cause 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, making such devices arguably medically necessary.

Home connected devices — including lights, appliances, thermostats, vacuums, pillows, TVs, lawnmowers, video cams, voice assistants, scales and security systems — capture behavioral data in the home as never before.

Examples of IoT devices

Examples of IoT Devices

But the potential lies in the way data from multiple devices may be integrated to tell a deeper story. Envision knowing the sleep habits of a consumer such as:

  • how soundly they sleep.
  • what body triggers occur before they wake up.
  • how many times they get up at night and turn on the lights.
  • whether they turn the TV on.
  • how that sleep varies based on the temperature of the room.
  • whether the chip-tagged cat climbing onto the bed triggers minor allergies that wake the homeowner.

The potential for insight into consumer behavior and responding with timely information is limited only by imagination. Yet the impending impact is already something agencies and SMBs can plan for. Below I take a look at six ways IoT will boost the ROI of search marketing for SMBs, making it a much broader and viable option.

6 ways that IoT will make local search scalable for SMBs

1.Boost search ads through improved targeting

Good data will make targeting the right person at the right time more accurate. Multiple GPS-connected devices per person provide additional location data for tracking users with greater accuracy and additional IoT data will provide deeper insight into needs and behavior.

For example, your wearable knows you just worked out and are hot and thirsty, based on your sweat readings. Your car knows there is a 7-Eleven two blocks ahead on your right where you can swing in quickly. And your phone can read you a notification on a 99-cent deal for a large cold slushy drink at that location which is good for 10 minutes. You pull in, and the coupon is location-triggered and automatically applied to your credit card when you pay.

2. Customer data becomes the new competitive edge

Large buyers of marketing services gain a competitive edge in scale by spreading costs over a large volume of interactions or leads. That lowers cost per lead. Smaller local businesses often don’t have that luxury, but good IoT data that improves the conversion of leads means that you can get more customers even when buying fewer leads. So the cost per customer goes down.

Ultimately, having the right customer data — rather than scale — is the new competitive edge.

3. Identify real-world offline behavior that drives online action

Knowing more about a person’s habits or preferences isn’t just about being able to target them directly. That data, when aggregated for many other individuals, reveals trends and predictability for targeting strategies. SEL’s sister publication, Marketing Land, recently published an interview with PlaceIQ CEO Duncan McCall, who explained that offline data on user location and behavior is a better indicator of intent than online signals.

In other words, knowing real-life choices, actions and behavior predicts online decisions better than clicks, search history and page views. Presumably, this is because the offline behavior is a deeper and more complete picture of the real world, at least until we live in a Matrix-like AR universe.

And that type of data is exactly what IoT devices collect and measure. The data can provide some surprising audience insights. Data from targeting platform NinthDecimal revealed that fast-food patrons were not the best targets for a quick-service restaurant campaign. Rather, DIY enthusiasts, moviegoers and leisure travelers were better targets.

4. Boost data sharing and overcome privacy concerns with services consumers want

There’s a great concern, especially with companies that have business in Europe, over evolving privacy laws. Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which takes effect in May 2018, limits use of a person’s data unless express consent is given.

The way to overcome that limitation is to provide a product or service that the user values more than the information he or she is releasing. For example, a company called Mimo makes onesies for infants that measure breathing, sleep movements and other sensitive data. But concerned parents gladly turn that information over to the company in return for protection against SIDS or improved sleep routines.

Roomba, the maker of robotic vacuums, uses maps of your home to improve the overall user experience. The inside of your house seems like something most wouldn’t want to share, but consumers routinely choose convenience over privacy. If data sharing will make your vacuum perform better and get your house cleaner, many users will agree to it. Data might be shared with Amazon or Apple to link the device to your Echo or to Siri. It may link to any of a number of smart home devices made by Google (Nest), Samsung (appliances) or a flooring company or a retailer that carries Roomba-friendly furniture.

However, the GDPR prohibits making provision of a service conditional upon release of data if that data is not necessary to the service. While not law in the US, there certainly are discussions over similar privacy concerns. Yet again, providing related benefits in return for the data can solicit “freely given consent.”

For example, I recently installed a Honeywell WiFi connected thermostat in my home. Honeywell has since emailed me to offer a software upgrade that will optimize my thermostat settings to help save me money and states that customers save $71-$117 a year on their energy bills by enrolling in the program. I get customized reports with insights into my energy use, comparison to similar homes and tips to help track and improve energy efficiency. I’m sure those “tips” will include some referrals to vendors such as insulation companies, solar energy vendors and HVAC contractors. But I’ll likely opt in to save a few bucks.

5. Level the playing field in access to big data

One of the complaints about privacy regulations is that they favor the big players that have sufficient leverage to get consumers to consent to handing over their data. Not many opt out of using Google Maps because they don’t want to share their location data, whereas smaller lesser used apps are easier to say “No” to.

Apple is also limiting ad tracking and frustrating ad buyers, but since its revenue is not advertising-dependent, it doesn’t really care. Those restrictions hurt advertiser conversions, make retargeting less effective and reduce reach. Meanwhile, Google is beginning to block “annoying” ads in its Chrome browser, further demonstrating that decisions made by a few big players can have a lot of impact.

The explosion of IoT devices means a lot more players in the data supply chain that provide quality first-party data and widen the narrow funnel controlled by a few major players. With data being the new competitive edge, that’s a great thing for ad buyers.

For example, in my Honeywell thermostat example, ad buyers can target users directly through Honeywell’s communications to its customers, or Honeywell can use its customer data to match and target users within other third-party media outlets such as Facebook or Bing.

6. Overcome ad blocking

Ad blocking occurs because users are tired of being served ad content they don’t want. However, there are repeated studies that show users are receptive to targeted or relevant advertising.

Verve shared a study called “The Rise of Mobile Prodigies” at LSA’s Place Conference that demonstrated that young consumers want ads to be tailored to their interests, hobbies, habits and location. Forty-six percent of them even saved ads they found innovative to revisit at a later time.

InMarket shared a case study at the same event showing a 2.3x lift in purchase intent, as well as 100 percent positive social media reaction to ads they created for ProYo, a protein-rich ice cream product.

Consumers are receptive to advertising when the content and timing are right. IoT data will drive relevant content at the right moment to consumers, reducing the aversion to receiving ads. The end goal is to change the perception of ads from slick sales pitches to helpful information for making decisions at the time when consumers are researching a purchase.

Closing thoughts

IoT has gotten somewhat lost in the conversation dominated by AI and personal assistants. Yet what some have predicted as the “third wave of the internet” after the fixed internet and mobile devices is cresting towards huge volumes of devices and accompanying data.

It may seem ironic that big data is the solution for scaling small business needs, but it’s the automation, efficiency and effectiveness at small tasks that will make it cost-effective for SMBs. They will still need providers to help them determine the use cases that benefit their businesses and to match products and services with business needs. But those who can leverage the new depth of data will have a marked competitive edge in building profitable small business marketing models.

Source: 6 ways IoT will make local search for SMBs scalable

11- Oct2017
Posted By: DPadmin
93 Views

The ever-increasing importance of usability and trust in link building

Sometimes link builders identifying promising sites think only in terms of metrics. Columnist Julie Joyce explains why usability has become one the most important things to consider.

Just the other day I was showing a cool site that I’d just found to a (very intelligent and internet-savvy) friend, and he quickly became confused due to the ad placements on the site. The ads were shown on the top of the page below a nav bar, and they looked like categories for the site. So he clicked on them.

Then there was the search bar. Blacked out completely, you couldn’t see what you were typing into it, and it gave no error messages when you just hit enter. The 404 page had a broken image on it. One of the social buttons went to the wrong account.

And then I found the dreaded page with the lovely Lorem Ipsum dummy text still on it.

Bottom line: I didn’t really love the site so much anymore. It ranked well (that’s how I found it), but I didn’t trust it.

Ask yourself: Would you click on this link?

When I’m building links, I always ask myself if I’d want that link to my site if I were the client myself. I do get a bit irritated when clients complain about really nitpicky stuff, but if I were the client and my link-building company got a link on this site, I’d be super-irritated.

It’s not enough to rank well. I mean, it’s fantastic when you do rank well, of course, but everyone knows a top ranking is no guarantee that you’ll gain a new sale or a new email subscriber or whatever else you view as a positive conversion. With so much spam making its way into the top SERPs, users are finding out that they really can’t trust the rankings the way they used to.

So, while it’s really nice that you get a link on a site that ranks well and has some good metrics, if you depend on that link for converting traffic, the linking site’s usability can’t be ignored any more than yours can. Why have a link on a site that someone doesn’t trust?

I approve every single link that we build in my agency, and the main reason I’m turning down sites these days is for something related to usability. They have the metrics and look good on the screen, but something’s off. The page doesn’t load correctly until you try it three times, or it takes 30 seconds. The site is so covered up with ads you can’t tell what’s an ad and what’s the actual content. There are a gazillion pages that throw 404s.

bad usabilityAdd all of this to the usual things we look for, and you’ll see that finding a great linking partner just gets harder and harder.

What should you check?

Generally speaking, I encourage our team to do an initial quick check on a few things to see if a site is even worth digging into. We do look at metrics like Domain and Page Authority (at our clients’ requests) and we check things like the country that is sending the most traffic to the site. If we don’t see any big red flags (like 90 percent of the traffic is from Hungary and it’s a US blog), then we dig deeper.

Is the content any good? My goodness, you would be amazed at all the crappy content on the web, and on highly ranking sites. I don’t mean that it’s just not my thing. I mean that it’s written with incorrect grammar and rampant typos, and there’s no real structure to it. I recently refused to order some clothes that my daughter wanted from a site where it looked like they had gotten a 4-year-old to write their “About Us” page. They didn’t list a phone number. The descriptions of some of the items we looked at seemed to be whatever happened to come with their terrible system. I don’t want to buy an item where there’s no image but there is a line reading “insert photo of tan shirt here.”

Oh, and I love to check for a Viagra or Cialis hack. Yes, those are still all over the place! Do a “cheap online order viagra” search in Google and you’ll see.

viagra hackWe can’t forget mobile, either, and that’s only getting more important. You know when you’re on a smartphone and you go to a site that looks like a tiny version of its regular self? Why lose the chance for a mobile conversion by placing a link on a page that won’t even be seen by users on a smartphone? By the way, I like Mobi to check this in a variety of formats, but there are various tools available.

mobile check

Stop forgetting users with visual difficulties

Years ago I had a blind user show me how he navigated the web. Something I wrote then is something that I STILL see today, and it drives me nuts:

If [they] are reading a webpage that has links on it that aren’t coded to look like links which are easily recognizable as gateways to another page or site, they obviously aren’t going to find them and click. Of course, neither am I — most likely, neither are you, even if your vision is 20/20.

Sometimes webmasters (and maybe the people requesting the links) are so intent on staying “safe” that they make links blend in as if they weren’t links. It’s awful. We sometimes get links for clients and have to request that the links LOOK LIKE LINKS. How stupid is that? Why in the world would you not want your link to be clicked on? If I see a site doing this, I’m just left wondering what else they’re doing and what other bad things I have not yet found.

Always always always LOOK AT THE SITE!

It’s very clear: poor usability breaks trust. The problem is that discovering it can take time, and isn’t attached to an easy metric, other than maybe page speed. Again, we’re left with that pesky requirement to actually look at the website upon which we’re seeking links! We have to spend time going through it! And so we should.

Source: The ever-increasing importance of usability and trust in link building

11- Oct2017
Posted By: DPadmin
147 Views

How to make sure your local search marketing is up to scratch | Search Engine Watch

For local businesses, having a strong presence in the local search results is fundamental to those all-important conversions.

Just to be clear, a “local business” refers to any business that has either a physical location that offers face-to-face contact with the customer, such as a showroom or shop, or one that offers a face-to-face service within a certain area.

When it comes to local search, it’s simple: if searchers can’t find you on the web, then frankly, you don’t exist. It’s the way of the modern world.

It’s all very well dominating the SERPs for your more general target keywords, but if you fail to rank highly for location-specific terms then you are missing an almighty opportunity.

When users are searching for a local term, they are far more likely to be looking for a service or product. Hence why the conversions on local search tend to be higher, and why you need to ensure that your local search engine marketing is up to scratch.

Of course all the usual SEO 101 stuff applies. Offer an unrivaled user experience, nail your on-site optimization, provide exceptional content and build quality links.

Those fundamentals will set you up for ranking well for local search terms, but there are extra steps you must take to differentiate yourself from the competition and really bolster your local SEM strategy.

Local business listings

The first place to start is with local business listings. Ensure that your business is included in all the major directories (Yell, Yelp, Thomson Local, etc.), as well as any industry specific ones. Some listings may already exist, and it may just be a case of claiming your business so that you can take ownership of the listing.

We recommend keeping track of all your business listings in one comprehensive spreadsheet to save you repeating or forgetting any entries. It also enables you to be consistent (more on this in the next point) in your information across all listings.

Remove all duplicated entries, as multiple listings for one business or location can become confusing, both to potential customers but also to Google. And we certainly don’t want to be confusing the Big G.

Be thorough but don’t be reckless. Avoid spammy directories as these could have a detrimental effect on your SEO. Deploy a spot of common sense to identify the spammy directories but if you are really unsure then it’s worth checking the spam score via Moz’s Open Site Explorer or via other similar tools.

Google My Business

So this technically falls under business listings, but it’s so important we’ve given Google My Business it’s own subheading. Arguably the most important business listing because, well, it’s Google. Remember to implement the following:

  • Claim your business via a verification process
  • Include accurate information: contact details, location and opening hours
  • Carefully select a small number of highly relevant categories to represent your business
  • Ensure up-to-date branding, such as in any images of logos or premises
  • Use high quality images to represent the business

Be comprehensive and accurate in the information you provide in order to strengthen your Google My Business profile and improve your chances of being featured in Google’s three-pack.

For further information, have a read of Google’s guidelines on representing your business. Don’t forget to also cover off the equivalent for Bing and Yahoo with Bing Places and Yahoo! Local.

NAP consistency

NAP consistency sounds a like a fancy term but the concept is very simple. NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number, although it is sometimes expanded to NAP+W to include website address too. As mentioned above, it is crucial that your business information appears consistently across the web.

This is particularly important to consider if your business has changed address, contact details or even rebranded. Any mentions of your business will need to be checked and updated to ensure accuracy.

Simply google your business name (do the same with your previous business name if you have undergone a name change) and work your way through the listings. Maintain a spreadsheet of your progress so you can keep track.

Reviews

Reviews can bring both utter joy and absolute misery to any business owner. Unfortunately you cannot simply ignore them, as reviews are indeed used as ranking signals in the eyes of the search engine. This is especially true for your Google My Business reviews.

Not only are reviews important in terms of local rankings, they are also key in terms of click-through rates. According to a recent study by BrightLocal, 74 per cent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.

Apart from providing the most incredible customer service you can muster, how else can you seize some control over your reviews? No, this isn’t about getting your mum, brother and great-nan to write a review for your business. It’s about a bit of gentle encouragement and managing a bad customer experience before it reaches the review stage.

It is also important to check the rules and regulations of each review platform, as they all have very different policies on asking customers for reviews and responding to them.

We’ve had several clients who have received a negative one-off, anonymous review that is either quite clearly spam, or in some cases, a bitter competitor or personal enemy. These situations can get a bit sticky, but sadly there isn’t an awful lot you can do.

Generally people won’t be deterred by one bad review, and the best course of action is to encourage other happy customers to get reviewing. This will push the bad review down and push the average star rating back up.

Many review platforms allow you to reply to reviews. This can be a good opportunity to set the record straight but you have to be careful about it. For this reason, sometimes it is best to get someone who is not as emotionally invested in the business to either write the response or edit it before it gets published. Be professional, remain calm, and kill them with kindness.

Location pages

If you don’t already have location pages on your website, then you could be missing a valuable opportunity to target all the relevant locations. For each key location that your business operates within, create a page dedicated to that location on your website. This is easier if you have a unique physical address in each location, as it is important to include as much location-specific information as possible.

Where there is a physical location, be sure to include an interactive map and images to further enhance the page. If you do not have separate physical addresses, try including testimonials and case studies relevant to each location.

This will help you to avoid duplicating content across your location pages; it’s a fine art to differentiate the copy, but do it right and it can have seriously good effects on your local SEM strategy.

Schema markup

Once you have your location pages set up, the cherry on the cake is schema markup. The whole concept of structured data can sound very daunting to markup newbies, but it’s easier than it sounds. Schema markup simply helps search engines to understand what your website is about.

This is particularly important for local information, as it will help those spiders crawl your location pages and you’ll benefit as a result.

According to a study by Searchmetrics, pages with schema markup rank an average of four positions higher in search results. Now that’s a pretty good incentive. Get your head around schema markup and you’ll have that crucial advantage over your competitors in the local search results.

Ensuring your local search marketing strategy is up to scratch needn’t be difficult or convoluted. Follow the above steps and obey the usual SEO rules. With some hard work and perseverance, you’ll start dominating those coveted top spots and see your conversions skyrocket in no time.

Source: How to make sure your local search marketing is up to scratch | Search Engine Watch

11- Oct2017
Posted By: DPadmin
223 Views

Amazon SEO: A guide to improving your rankings on Amazon

Did you know that 55% of online shoppers turn to Amazon to begin product searches?

“Amazon has become the reference point for shoppers,” Jason Seeba, head of marketing for BloomReach told Bloomberg Tech. “Shoppers will go to Amazon first to find a product and check prices.”

If you are looking for a launching pad for your products that your target audience likes and finds useful, Amazon is it. To get the most from your listings on Amazon, however, you will need to employ some SEO tactics to showcase your products and business.

The following will serve as your guide to expert Amazon SEO and ranking your products on the largest online retail site in the world.

Understanding Amazon results pages

Knowing the intricacies of how Amazon displays products can be very beneficial to getting your products seen. They pretty much have two results page formats.

There is the list view with 15 product results covering all departments.

Also the gallery view with 24 results per page displayed when specific categories or departments are searched.

Understanding the results pages is kind of like knowing how many positions there are on a Google results page, with their own types of ads and organic results.

Other key aspects of Amazon’s results pages are the filter fields located on the left hand side of the page (sidebar).

A user that navigates the filter will get a subset of the originally search query. This makes completing all the fields in your product listing increasingly important.

For example, if you are listing a “16GB” iPhone 6, you will want to make sure that field is filled in when listing the iPhone. Otherwise, shoppers interested ONLY in the internal memory size of 16GB could possibly miss your listing.

There are also sponsored products listed in the bottom section of the results page. These products are PPC optimized, just like the AdWords ads you can find on Google SERPs.

Just like Google ads, you want to have a tight grouping of keywords, only this time you want them stuffed into your title or description bullet points.

Understanding Amazon’s query parameters

The next bit of Amazon anatomy you should take note of is the query string parameters the platform uses. Having a working knowledge of these query parameters will help get your products in front of consumers who are more likely ready to make a purchase.

If you are familiar with how Google builds URLs based on their set of query string parameters, Amazon’s will be easier to mentally digest.

The top three worth examining are:

  • Field-Keywords: This one is rather straightforward simply the keywords a user types in the search field. For example, “iPhone” or “Samsung 7 Case” would qualify as field-keywords, and Amazon will place them in the results URL.
  • Node: This is a very good query parameter to know, since this is the numeric number relevant to Amazon’s categories. For instance, if you were selling a camera, you would enter the node ID 502394 representing the “Camera, Photo & Video” category.
  • Field-BrandTextBin: This is essentially the brand field, and it can be quite useful for measuring your products with others of the same brand. If you are an iPhone reseller, than iPhone should be in your field-keywords, as well as your field-brandtextbin.

The hierarchy of nodes is also important:

To get more insight on how Amazon builds query parameters for products you can navigate the filter fields a bit. Clicking around on it will show how each category or selection can manipulate the URL.

Ranking on Amazon like a boss

To maximize your Amazon SEO efforts there are a few foundational ranking factors to put into action. Knowing exactly what to focus on when listing your products will get your products in front of more consumers.

Amazon uses data to determine what a user sees after a search query.

This data can be:

  • Product Pricing
  • Search Terms (keywords)
  • Range of Selection (color, models, etc.)
  • Product Availability (stock)
  • Sales History
  • Customer Reviews (star ratings and comments)
  • Click volume

There are two main categories the above factors fall into, Performance Factors and Relevance Factors. Performance factors are interesting, because these are what signals Amazon to rank products based on how much money they will make by doing so. Relevance factors are the relevancy the product has after a user search.

Performance based ranking factors

The following performance factors are vital, because they essentially equate to more profit for Amazon. This compels them to rank products with these optimized factors higher. Simply put, if your product sells well when ranked higher, it will be sure to get more search love.

Conversion rate

Conversions are pretty obvious ranking factors, but one of the most challenging ones to pin down. There are a few tactics you can employ to potentially show Amazon your product is converting well.

Amazon is tricky when it comes to getting a clear picture of conversions. You can see metrics such as units and sessions, but not enough data to really control, or A/B test.

First, find your conversion data in Seller Central by going to Reports > Business Reports > Detailed Page Sales > Traffic.

You will need to see the Unit Session Percentage to get the information needed. The Unit Session Percentage is (units ordered/number of Sessions) per product listing.

To ensure you are getting the most from your conversions in order to improve your rankings, you will need to adjust your buy box percentage. This is especially important if your products are in high competition.

For example, weighting your units ordered per buy box will signal to Amazon that you are converting more.

Optimized images

Images are important performance factors to improve your Amazon rankings. If you are not following their image guidelines, you may be losing a lot of potential customers.

Amazon requests that sellers upload product images 1000 x 1000 pixels or larger. Why? This will make your images compatible with Amazon’s zoom feature, and images optimized for zoom sell better.

Remember, performance factors are all about how you can provide a higher profit for Amazon. If they say zoom increases sales, then your images better be zoomable. This simple tweak to your listings can boost your rankings, and have a snowball effect for increasing conversions, which in turn will also impact your rankings in a positive way.

Product pricing

Price is another major factor in the ranking snowball effect you can leverage for optimal Amazon SEO. There is no secret that price is a major buying decision for consumers. If your product pricing is better or comparable to other sites, chances are, consumers will opt to buy your product via Amazon.

The more sales you receive on Amazon, the more sessions, the more conversions, and better rankings of your products.

A good example of comparable prices across similar products is for refurbished iPhone 6 16GB smartphones.

The market for iPhone 6 mobile devices is so saturated, sellers need to make their products as marketable as possible.

You should do a bit of Amazon product research in your category as well. You want to make sure your product price is also better or comparable to other sellers that will be alongside you in the results pages.

For instance, if you are selling refurbished iPhones $100 more than other sellers, you may find your rankings less desirable. This could happen due to low conversions based on higher pricing, or Amazon concluded your products would not fare well, thus ranking them lower from the get go.

Amazon ranking factors based on relevance

Now that you know how to optimize for the performance factors that Amazon uses to calculate its profit, it’s time to look at relevance factors. Relevance factors are all about search query relevancy, and can be easier to optimize for than performance factors.

6

Product listing title

The title you choose for your product listings are in fact one of the most important relevance factors. It is where you will place your most valuable keywords, as well as a few other description related search terms to help users find your products on page one and above the fold.

A few essentials to include in your title are:

  • Product Brand
  • Description
  • Line of the Product
  • Color
  • Material
  • Size or Dimensions
  • Quantity

Amazon, like Google, does advocate against keyword stuffing, but valuable keywords should be placed in your product title. A good title will influence users to click on your listing. Giving consumers a very clear idea of what the product is will secure a higher CTR.

However, a title jam packed with just keywords may have the opposite effect, causing users to shy away from your listing. Keep it clear and concise for the best results.

The smart watch listing above is an example of what to AVOID.  You want users to BUY your products – so tread carefully that line between keyword stuffing and usability.

Brand

Including the brand of the product you are selling is very important. The brand field for a product listing will be shown and it will be linked to other products by the same brand.

Think about how you would search for your product as an Amazon user. For example, if you want to purchase a new Samsung smartphone, you would type “Samsung” as the first word in the search field.

Some sellers may find themselves in a bit of a conundrum if they have a product with different brand names. The Apple Watch Nike+ would be a good example of this.

You’ll see that this top rated Amazon seller used Nike twice in their product listing:

What exactly would you enter in the brand field for this one? The best place to start would be checking the highest monthly searches for each potential brand keyword. Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer are both good platforms for keyword research. Whichever brand gets the most monthly searches wins!

Bullet points vs. paragraph descriptions

There are a number of ways you can take your Amazon SEO to the next level. Some are slightly challenging, and some, like using bullet points in your product description are super easy.

Using bullet points rather than paragraph descriptions can give your products a rankings boost. Why? People like very concise information that is easy to digest. Amazon knows this and products with bullet points tend to convert better.

Here’s a perfect example of a bullet point product description that converts:

Including keywords, branding, size, color, and any other optimization factors in your bullet points will increase your products rankings. It is a quick tactic to employ, and you may just be surprised by the results.

Rethink your search terms

Relevancy factors on Amazon are all about fulfilling a user’s search query by meeting the expectations of their search terms. This Amazon SEO tactic can get confusing, because it is unlike the search engine optimization and PPC search terms you may be more comfortable with.

For example, let’s say you were selling an unlocked iPhone 6 with charger. You have five search term fields to make the most of, so what would you list?

Your search terms may have looked like this:

  1. Search Term: iPhone 6 16GB
  2. Search Term: Apple iPhone 6 “space grey”
  3. Search Term: “unlocked” 4G iPhone 6
  4. Search Term: iPhone 6 with original charger
  5. Search Term: iPhone 6 smartphone 16GB

Now let’s look at the Amazon guidelines for filling in product search terms:

  • You have 50 characters per search term
  • There is no need to repeat words
  • Commas don’t matter
  • Quotation marks are not good
  • No need to use variations of words
  • Leave out misspelled versions
  • Word order may make a difference
  • Spelling differences and synonyms are good

With the above in mind, here’s what your search terms could look like:

  1. Search Term: iPhone 6 16GB unlocked with original Apple charger
  2. Search Term: space gray 4G international unlock with accessories
  3. Search Term: Apple smartphone 6 generation factory unlocked GSM
  4. Search Term: iPhone 6 dual core mobile device 8mp camera
  5. Search Term: iOS Model: 51-F3A8-A92R 1.4 GHz Cyclone Processor

It may be challenging at first to make the most of your product search terms. However, one easy way to get the information you need to maximize this relevancy factor is to browse a few products on page one of Amazon similar to yours.

Make Amazon SEO part of your product listings

The above tips and tactics are some of the most important factors that you can use to improve your Amazon rankings. In some instances, Amazon SEO is similar to the optimization tactics you would employ for search engines. However, there are a few factors that are quite the opposite.

Make sure you understand how Amazon ranks products in your niche to get a leg up on your competition. Get the most from your conversions, keep your products in stock, and optimize for relevancy factors to ensure you land on page one of results pages.

What Amazon SEO tactics do you have the most success with?