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4/1/2014 2:55:24 PM

LinkedIn kills Product and Service pages

LinkedIn kills Product and Service Pages for business accounts

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or don’t have a LinkedIn business page, or even an Internet connection –in which case, how are you reading this in the first place?-, you might have heard that LinkedIn just decided to eliminate Products and Services Pages from your business account. The announced date is around the corner -April 14, 2014-, and you really want to catch up with LinkedIn before the site obliterates all this information and you find yourself with an almost blank company page. But don’t worry,we have the keys to help you overcome he problem.

What do I do with my LinkedIn product and services information?

LinkedIn Product and Service pages

LinkedIn launched its Showcase Pages in November, and after a few months of running-in they expect us all to move into them. These pages are extensions of your company page that allow you to extend your online presence by creating specific LinkedIn pages for your products and services. The main aim is for you to build long-term relationships with highly targeted audiences around each product or service that you offer.

These pages have their own wall, which allows you not only the possibility to add specific descriptions about your products and services –like you did in your company profile-, but also lets you publish status updates. This is especially useful because every time your followers engage with your updates, they will spread the information within their own networks, giving your business portfolio more visibility and increasing consumer awareness.

How do I create a Showcase Page?

To create a Showcase Page you just need a few minutes and administrator permission for the LinkedIn Company page:

  1. Identify those areas of your business that need a Showcase Page. If you had Products & Services pages, that would make the process easier; just remember that you’re meant to publish relevant information for each Showcase page on a regular basis, so just make sure that each business area is up to the challenge.
  2. Go to the “Edit” dropdown menu on he right site of the company profile and select “Create a Showcase Page”. LinkedIn creates the page straight away, so make sure you have thought about it through and through and have most of the service information ready.
  3. Our most important recommendation for your page optimisation is to include a good cover photo. It will make you stand out from the crowd.

Can I keep my LinkedIn product & service recommendations?

Finally -and if you were lucky enough- you might have some followers/client recommendations on your services pages, you most likely want to keep them at any cost. In this case, and according to LinkedIn, you should either copy the text from the tab into your own document. You can also request a copy from the social network for any recommendation made before March 4, 2014 –this service will be available until May 30, 2014.

Related information:

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3/21/2014 10:34:49 AM

Guest blogging is dead, long live guest blogging

We had been warned. Google’s head of Webspam team, Matt Cutts, has been talking a lot about guest posting lately and about how the golden age of guest blogging was coming to an end. But it wasn’t until last week that the biggest search engine put its warnings into practice, and struck one of the biggest Guest Posting Networks online, MyBlogGuest. This penalisation confirms what Cutts advanced in January, guest blogging is dead, and Google has already begun its personal purge.

Google's Matt Cutts tweets about guest blogging and MyBlogGuest penalisation

@mattcutts: Today we took action on a large guest blog network. A reminder about the spam risks of guest blogging: http://goo.gl/cnkoFA [Twitter] 19th May 2014.

The rise and fall of guest blogging

Long gone are the days when guest posting was considered not only an acceptable practice, but also something desirable. Back in the day, having a qualified blogger writing an entrance to your site was an honour. What wasn’t appealing about it? You had a specialised writer who thought you were important enough to be worthy of their words. Your site was good enough for somebody to make the effort to put pen and paper –aka fingertips and keyboard- to work and offer you something original for free. In return you were more than willing to add a link to their own site, and help them get more traffic and a relative improvement on their PageRank.

Long gone are those days. With the expansion of content mills and other more than questionable practices, high quality content has become nothing but a needle in a haystack of spam blog posts. And Google is more than willing to turn the whole haystack into ashes if it’s the only way to find that needle.

What about quality guest blogging?

Rules for guest bloggingWhat about fair quality content? What about those guest posts that really add to your site? Is Google going to penalise you for them? The short answer is no; however, things aren’t that simple and there is always a “but”.

In general, the best thing to do is follow Matt Cutts own advice: “I [Matt Cutts] wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”

Google’s John Muller also gives a solution for this problem: “I think sometimes it can make sense to guest blog on other peoples’ sites, and drive some traffic to your site because people really liked what you are writing, and they are interested in the topic, and they click through that link to come to your website. But those are probably the cases where you’d want to use something like a rel=nofollow on those links.”

So basically, make sure you know who is writing for your site, and add a “Nofollow” to their links. Better safe than sorry.

That makes sense. But what is a “nofollow” link?

“Nofollow” could be explained as a way to tell search engines to ignore a specific link to a specific page and, consequently, to not take that link into account for PageRank. Using this tag will still send traffic to the linked page, but the referral won’t affect its SERP position.

Therefore, “Nofollow” links should allow you to publish guess posts while keeping Google from messing with your site.

How do I create a “nofollow” link?

How to create "Nofollow" linksWhen you insert a link into a blog post, the HTML should look something like this:

<a href="example.php">Example Page </a>

To create a “nofollow”, add rel="nofollow" after the URL:

<a href="example.php" rel="nofollow">Example Page </a>

Guest blogging is dead, long live guest blogging

Ultimately, Google is trying to change everything to remain the same. Penalising guest blogging as a linkbuilding strategy implies separating the wheat from the chaff, eliminating spam, and keeping quality content in order to return to the golden age of guest blogging.

Related information:

3/11/2014 11:08:25 AM

How to choose the right SEO company & what to ask them

How to choose the right SEO company &amp; what to ask them

A good digital strategy is as important as a good web design if you want to reach your customers. With millions of people using search engines, social networks and other tools to find the right business that fulfils their needs, it is now more important than ever to develop the proper SEO strategy. But how can you choose a provider? How do you know that the company you contact is the best for you? Just follow this simple advice.

What should I look for in an SEO company?

Google the company’s name to find about previous projects. If they did a poor work, chances are there’s some bad reviews out there.

Check the Domain authority of their own site using tools like Open Site Explorer and make sure it’s optimised. Use this tool to compare different companies’ websites; the higher the domain authority, the better they are optimising their own site, and the more likely they are to do a good job on yours.

What should I ask my SEO provider?


What’s your past experience?

You want to know if they have experience with businesses similar to yours and the results they achieved. This will give you an indication of what to expect from them.

Do you outsource the work?

You want to know how much control they have on the process. This will come in handy if you are not happy with their work and need them to change something.

Do you offer subscription services?

SEO is not a sprint, it is more of a marathon, so make sure to contact a company that includes post-optimization maintenance. You might not want it at the moment, but you might, eventually, and dealing with a company that offers that service will save you time and money.

What should I expect from your work?

This is a tricky one, but a trustworthy company won’t promise impressive pageviews in a week –if they do, they are either lying or using black hat tricks, and you definitely don’t want to mix with them. As I said before, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and it tends to take a few months to achieve SERP results. Therefore, a good service provider will help you set short and long-term priorities. They will ask you which pages or services are the most important for you, and use them as the starting point for your strategy.

How often will I talk to my account manager?

Regular communication is crucial to know how the SEO strategy is affecting your business. Mutual trust and respect are essential.

What results do you expect?

This is a tricky question, because it’s really difficult to predict exactly what would happen. As a rule of thumb, don’t trust anybody that ensures you the first position with your keywords. Don’t trust those that cannot set specific goals either. The goals must be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Do you do benchmarking?

Competitive analysis is essential to know how to target your competitors online, so make sure the company checks what they are doing and responds accordingly.

How will you choose my keywords?

First of all, Google’s last algorithm change, Hummingbird, means that the search engine is less focussed on keywords themselves and more in user intent - the “overall meaning” of a search. Therefore, it’s not enough to get a list of keywords anymore, but your SEO service should provide you with word combinations and suggestions on how to create content to enrich your website and offer what your users are actually looking for. That’s what will make the difference.

Secondly –and this is really important-, it is the company that chooses the word combinations, that’s what you’re paying them for. They can ask if you have any suggestions –a starting point-, but they should respond with many more ideas.

Finally, it is very easy to be found with really specific (obscure) word combinations. What you want is to get a better ranking with combinations people are actually going to type, so use common sense and keep questioning the SEO company if you are not sure about their choices.

Will the optimization include a general analysis of your site?

As I said, SEO is not only about keywords anymore, it’s also about improving the overall user journey and UX. A good SEO firm should be able to provide recommendations on other areas of your site like design, navigation, coding, content, incoming links or conversion optimisation. Every part of your website counts, and everything needs to perform at its best.

How do I choose the right SEO service?

In the end, choosing an SEO and Google analytics provider is like buying a good pair of shoes: make sure you feel comfortable, choose quality over price, and make sure you won’t get blisters after a few days. So ask questions and if you don’t like the answers, just look for more options; the right provider for you is out there, so just keep checking.

Related information:

2/18/2014 10:26:13 AM

How to set up your Google Analytics goals step-by-step

The last time we talked about Google Experiments and how this free tool from Google Analytics could drastically change your UX by comparing different versions of the same page and the impact they have on your users. But one of the requisites to use this tool is setting goals in your Google Analytics account in order to actually check the effects of each option not only on your customers, but on your overall business performance. Today, we are giving you a beginners guide to set up your goals and get a step closer to achieve your objectives.

What is the function of Google Analytics Goals?

Goals help you measure the completion of certain actions of your web visitors.

How to set up your goals?

Google Analytics goal setting

  • Sign in to your Google Analytics account.
  • Click ‘Admin' on the top-right corner of the screen (1)
  • Select an 'Account' on the left (2), a ‘Property’ (3) and a ‘View’ (4)
  • Click 'Goals' (5)
  • Click ‘Create a goal’

Google Analytics goal setting

  • Chose Template or Custom (6) and click 'Next step' (7)
  • Insert a ‘Name’ (8), choose the ‘Type’ of goal (9) and press ‘Next step’ (10)
  • Insert ‘Goal details’(11)
  • Press ‘Verify this Goal’ (12) before finishing setting your new goal to test if it works properly.
  • Click ‘Create goal’(13)

Once you create a goal you cannot delete it, but you can turn it off. Turning a ‘Goal’ off –changing the ‘Recording’ status to ‘OFF’- means you won’t be able to retrieve data from it until you set it back ‘ON’.

Setting Goals: template or custom Goals?

 

Template

Google Analytics can suggest some standard Goals tailored to meet the needs of specific industries –if you don’t see templates in the setup, edit your property, select an Industry Category and save your changes. There are 4 main categories –‘Revenue’, Acquisition’, ‘Inquiry’ and ‘Engagement’: try to set at least one objective for each.

Custom Goals

Choose custom to set Goals without any suggestions.

How can I edit my goals?

If you want to edit a Goal, click its name in ‘Goals’ and edit it in the setup form.

How many Goals can I set up?

You can set up to 20 Goals per reporting view.

I set my goals, but they are not working. What's wrong?

As professionals, we know that Google Analytics is not always as straight forward as we wished it was, and that it can give a headache even to the most experienced web owner. Next month we will publish a follow-up feature with the most common problems we have encountered and how we fixed them.

Related information:

1/28/2014 3:16:28 PM

Google Experiments: how to turn your average website into an economic success

back icon and shopping cart icon

Sometimes setting goals for your internet based business can be rather disappointing: not enough customers sign up for your newsletter or your customers don’t purchase what they get into their shopping baskets. Most of the time, the problem is related to the implementation of the website, and an accurate analysis of different versions of what we say and how we present it could save us lots of headaches. This is the point when Google’ Content Experiments can help turn an average web page into a success.

What is Google Experiments?

Google Content Experiments is a Conversion Rate Optimisation -CRO- tool for Google Analytics that allows you to test up to 5 different versions of the same page in order to improve your goal completion or your web metrics. The application tests how some of your visitors respond to each version and allows you to identify which changes are worth implementing depending on the impact they would have on your website’s performance.

Is Experiments worth your time?

We live in a fast-paced environment in which most businesses’ motto is ‘time is money’ and nobody denies the importance of getting profits. But sometimes we underestimate the long-term benefits of optimising our resources. This is rather obvious if we take into account a recent report from Econsultancy and RedEye, which states that ‘for every £92 spent acquiring customers, just £1 is spent” in conversation rate optimisation.

Any money invested in CRO will improve your business’ overall performance. If you use it properly, Google Experiments can help you adapt your website to your customers’ preferences, making sure that they engage with your content and find it easy to navigate your site. Therefore, you could not only gain more customers, but also more revenue per customer, if users are actually interested in what you have to say. So it’s worth a shot.

What can you do with Google Content Experiments?

  • Compare the performance of up to 5 web pages using a random sample of your visitors
  • Decide how many of your visitors are part of the experiment
  • Set your objectives
  • Get updates by email about the progress and results of your experiment

Why should you use Experiments instead of traditional CRO tools?

Experiments shares some features with both A/B testing and MVT. It lets you compare full pages like A/B testing, but allows up to 5 variables like M.V.T. So, whilst you don’t have the precision of a dedicated MVT tool, it is relatively easy to implement and administer Google Experiments, which is what most businesses need.

What do I need to do?

To use Google Experiments you need to set some goals into your Google Analytics account, to fill in a few forms and to add some code to your web. For more detailed information read our follow-up posts: How to set up your Google Analytics Goals Step-by-Step and A Beginners’ Guide to Google Experiments.

 

Related information:

1/14/2014 3:06:04 PM

Google+ Local: 7 tips to optimize your business page

If you own a business and you are looking for a fast SEO option, you
probably have found that Google+ Local could be a quick option to give your company a boost. But having an account is not everything; one of the things you have to do to achieve a spot in a Google search is optimize your profile, so follow these 7 tips to you portray all the relevant information to make your page shine.

How to edit Google+ Local

1. Complete your profile

The biggest benefit of Google+ Local for your business is the possibility to list all of your contact information, so it’s essential that you fill in every gap to get better results: address, phone number, website, operating hours and description.

Address, Postcode, City and opening hours on Google+ Local

2. Use the right keywords on your description

Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to identify which ‘search terms’ your customers might search and use them on your business description.

Company description Google+ Local

3. Use a local phone number

There is nothing more off-putting than a 0800 number. So use a local number: it will prove you are actually a local business and it will be cheaper for your customers, so it’s a win-win situation.

4. Customer Reviews

Use your upload section to ask your customers to leave reviews. If they are good, these testimonials will give you credibility and people will be more interested in your business.

Comments on Google+ Local

5. Add photos and your logo!

Imagery is a must on social networks, and on Google+ local, the more, the better. It’s not a matter of uploading anything remotely related to your business, but if you have paid a professional to design a nice logo for your business, it’s always good to show it. Also add some pictures, these will catch your customers’ eye and make your company more real.

Google+ Local Logo and main information

6. Upload your content

If you have a blog -and let’s be honest, you probably do-, you’re likely sharing your posts on Facebook and Twitter, so treat Google+ the same way and upload your content regularly. It will only take a few minutes and Google will reward you for your effort.

Share your blog posts on Google+ Local

7. Add your Google+ Local Page to your website

Google is quite self-centred and seems to give more value to pages that link to their platforms, so add a link to your Google+ profile on your corporate website to improve your positioning even more.

 

 

Related information:

1/7/2014 3:06:00 PM

From Google+ Local to Google Result Page: the importance of Google's social network

Some weeks ago, we talked about creating a Google+ Local Page to give a boost to your business' positioning and help you reach the big prize: a place in the first page of Google results. Now we want to show you why this is possible, by explaining the path your information follows from the social network to the search engine.

1. Google+ Local

Once you create it, your Google+ Local page will look something like this -but with more information, of course, because you will have an optimised profile. You can also add an image instead of the map to personalise it even more.

Google+ Local Page

Your business contact data would be here, as well as a logo or a picture.

Business information for Google+ Local

Your customers will see your location here, pictures of your business and your products or services.

Google Street View and Pictures on Google+ Local

And they will be able to leave reviews too.

Customer reviews on Google+ Local Pages

2. Google Maps

Your business will also appear on Google Maps with your current contact details, as well as your website, and customer reviews. "More info" will connect directly with your Google+ Local page.

Google+ Local on Google Maps

3. Google Search

If your clients Google a product or service and a location, Google might show Google+ and Google Maps results on the first result page. Therefore, if you have optimised your profile, your business should appear in this section, making it easy for your prospective customers to find you.

Google+ Local on Google search page

Your positioning within this list is connected to your physical location and the accuracy of individual searches: by city, neighbourhood or postcode, for instance.

Google+ Local on Google search page

Related information:

12/6/2013 11:29:07 AM

Google+ Local: an SEO shortcut to the top

Google+ Local, Google Maps

If you are a local business, you might have noticed that positioning yourself on the first page of Google search results is proving more and more difficult as other companies increase their SEO efforts to fight for one of those precious spots. So maybe it’s time to reevaluate your strategy and get a shortcut to the top by registering your business in Google+ Local for free and letting Google do part of the promotion for you.

What is Google+ Local?

Google+ Local, formerly known as Google Places, is a free online platform where any business can register their location, contact information and opening times in order for searchers to find everything in one place. Prospective clients can access it through Google’s homepage, Google+ and Google Maps by making web searches like ‘dentist Liverpool’ or ‘Chinese restaurant Manchester’ and it allows them to engage with and review businesses in their local area.

Why should you join Google+ Local?

Its main advantage for businesses is that Google+ Local pages tend to be listed above the standard Google search results, providing a good positioning with minimum effort, and therefore helping you to reach and engage with a wider audience. According to a recent report from MDG Advertising 59% of consumers use Google every month to find local businesses and 50% of all mobile searches are centered on local results -61% of those result in a purchase.

This is not surprising, since that Google+ Local’s business verification system, as well as the possibility for customers to write reviews about products and services, make this registry accurate and trustworthy. Therefore, businesses with good reviews are perceived as a safe bet.

How do you register?

Joining this registry is easy and completely free. To create a Google+ local page for your business you’ll only need a Google+ profile.

  1. Log into your Google+ home page
  2. On the left side, under ‘Home’, click on ‘Pages’
  3. Click ‘create page’ (upper right side)
  4. ‘Local business’ or ‘Place’
  5. Introduce name or address of your business:
    • select your business
    • if your business doesn’t appear on the list, select ‘No, these are not my
      businesses’ or ‘I've correctly entered the business’ and enter your business
      details.
  6. Click submit.

Google+ Local profile optimization

Once you have set your account, you need to make sure that it’s optimized to improve your results, so follow these tips:
  • Verify your account as soon as possible.
  • Complete your account information: it’s worth spending a few minutes writing a proper description of your business (300+ words) that includes keywords and services, as well as your contact details –choose a local phone number- and some pictures.
  • Choose your business category as accurately as possible.
  • Link the page of your website that is more appropriate for your business: homepage, contact page or services offered.
  • Add a map with the location of your business to your website using Google Maps.

 

Related information:

11/4/2013 10:33:33 AM

Opinion: Has Google Analytics Lost the Plot?

I’m one of those odd people who like statistics.  I don’t enjoy statistics but I like that statistics can reveal things buried away in large sets of numbers.  Statistics is a tool to move unreadable data into forms (usually graphs) that make it comprehensible.  From that comprehension, actions can be created with a supporting rational based on more than a gut feeling or intuition.

So you’d think I’d be a big fan of Google Analytics.  It lets you turn (hopefully) large amounts of data about what people do on your website into meaningful patterns to action.  That means you can improve your website so you can respond to your visitor’s needs.  Do they find the information they want?  Buy the product you’re selling?  Fill in the form you want to get them to?

I am a fan but I’m starting to thing Google Analytics is losing the plot…

Does Google need to do analytics on their analytics and their customers?  They keep enhancing the tool adding more cool features.  Features that you would need to employ a full time analyst to benefit from and to keep up with. 

The only way Google directly make money from Google Analytics is through Premium Analytics at £90,000 a year.  Everyone else is left to the free offering.

How many organisations can afford that?

Here’s a back of the envelope calculation. Premium Google Analytics costs £90,000 a year.  Then you’ll want at least one analyst to make sense of the data.  A quick search suggests a web analyst is going to set you back £30,000-£60,000 a year depending on where you’re based.    Allowing for the all the miscellaneous costs of employing someone let’s say an Analyst and Enterprise Analytics is going to cost £150,000 a year.

You’re going to want them to improve your website by more than that to justify the cost.  Say they can improve profits by 10% a year.  You’re website needs to be bringing in a profit of over £1,500,000 just so they can cover the cost of employing them from the extra profit they bring in.  For the sake of argument, let’s say your online stores profit needs to be £5,000,000 a year and turnover £10,000,000 to justify the outlay.

That’s ruled out a huge chunk of all the businesses in the UK.

So in most organisations, Analytics becomes a job attached to another job.  How many organisations have Google Analytics, and confronted by so many reports and options, simply fall back to how many hits they got and never take any real action?

Is it time for a solution for analytics to do what Google did to search?

In the ‘90s search engines had slow loading home pages cluttered with adverts, news, directory links and loads of clutter.  Google’s search came along it was simply a search box and a button on a page.

Do we need analytics that serves the vast number of SMEs?  A solution that provides them with insights and information they can action to improve their websites?  Something at a monthly price they can afford – not free – but within their reach and expertise?  Maybe it’s a new tool or maybe it’s just a layer over Google Analytics.  Maybe it’s just as simple as an Advanced and Basic mode button in Google Analytics.

9/6/2013 3:20:10 PM

Answers Engines, not Search Engines

In early August, Google launched another new feature into their US search engine results pages, In-depth Articles, which aims to surface quality content on broad topics, which Google claims make up approximately 10% of peoples’ daily search requests.

This is a further move by Google to make its results more relevant to us, improving our user experience and giving us the answers we require, whilst keeping visitors in Google’s pages. Importantly, this trend in rich functionality is not isolated to Google, other search engines are following suit. In the BBC’s recent round up of alternative search engines (yes, there are alternatives to Google) Yandex, the largest search engine in Russia is piloting a feature called ‘Islands’, blocks of content that users will be able to interact with in the search results page without any need to visit the third party site that is the source of that content.

Rich content is also not limited to search engines, social media platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest are providing ways to mark up content on your website like products, photos, videos and even recipes so that they can supply more detailed and useful information to your audience in these social networks.

Although rich snippets and structured data did not feature highly in the recent Moz 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors study currently, many of the search engine professionals polled believe that these tactics are going to play a bigger role in assisting search engine ranking going forward.

Combine this with the popularity of social networks, particularly content communities like Instagram and Pinterest, and you have two very good reasons why you need to pay attention to your visitors’ user journeys and how you can maximise your visibility across their potential media touchpoints. Increasingly, your customers are interacting with content in far more diverse ways than on your website. Search engines, apps, intelligent agents and social networks, all giving us the answers we need, wherever and whenever we want to them; it’s time to get your content there, before your competitors do.

Authored by Ian Cockayne