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The provider of affordable website hosting presents - 5 Actionable Instagram Marketing Ideas

Instagram has been around for a while but most businesses haven’t yet figured out how to best utilize the platform.

Here 5 actionable Instagram marketing ideas for you to start with!

1. Invest in Instagram Ads

This tip is contributed by Janette Speyer (Partner at Web Success Team and Hot Ice Media)

Follow @websuccess

We run a small agency in Los Angeles specializing in consumer goods. Many of our clients are in the food industry. As we all know, Instagram is a powerful visual messenger. It did not take long to convince everyone to try it out.

Our Facebook rep showed us how to navigate Power Editor. (Power Editor is a 3rd party app that Facebook uses for ad placement.) Although I am used to working on many ad platforms, this one does take a little getting used to.

The strategy

Once we found our way around the app, we were ready to think strategy. The holiday season is a perfect time to start promoting any product. So we built a concept around the time of year when shoppers are looking for new ideas. 

We debated if it was best to show the product in the imagery or just stick to a single picture that would convey the brand's qualities. 

It is often difficult for our clients to omit their packaging pics in the message. We opted to indulge them and let it run to see what came back to us.

Targeting the right audience

The benefit of using Instagram on the Ad Manager is that you can use the same parameters that you use in other Facebook ads. Our target markets are already defined and it is a good starting point for our first campaigns. We can always tweak later as the results come in.

Results

We are happy with our initial findings. Although far more expensive than regular Facebook ads, Instagram ads are worth the money. Even more so if you are if you are in the consumer goods business. Prices range from about $1.50 an impression to $3.50 on the higher side as opposed to Facebook that ranges at $.10 to $.60. 

What about B2B?

We did a personal test for our business to see what kind of engagement we would get.  B2B is not as appealing as a good piece of pumpkin pie or a turkey. Surprisingly, we got lots of positive feedback.

Here is a sample of the ad we ran

So a few takeaways

It is a visual vehicle so this is a great opportunity for "show and tell" You can use videos to tell the story It is not widely used yet. So now is the time before the noise level gets too high 80% of traffic these days comes from mobile You can use your budget for both Facebook and Instagram at the same time for more exposure. (Facebook will show that same ad on both platforms)

Paid reach is a necessity for most business. We have a unique opportunity with these low-cost platforms. Take advantage of this now before those prices go up. I was around in the days of traditional advertising and the price was prohibitive.

If you have experience in Instagram advertising, please also help SEOchat forum member in this thread.

2. Re-Market Your Creatives

This tip is contributed by Martini Fisher (Author of "History, Prehistory and Biological Evolution" and many others)

Follow @martinifisher

I started on Instagram about two weeks ago. It was only about a week before my last book came out. I used Instagram to show my face. People respond to faces and they don't get to see my face in my books, of course, so Instagram is good for that. I also used it to put a few snippets of little paragraphs and dialogs from my upcoming book, as well as some visual triggers I used.

In my research I took a lot of pictures – so I chose some good ones and uploaded them on Instagram. And I put some photos of random daily activities there.

It works for me. The photos involve my readers in my writing process, and they get a sort of "backstage pass" to what I look like and what I do on a daily basis. The dialogs I put in there give them little teasers of my upcoming book, and I met a couple of bloggers, reviewers, and fellow writers through Instagram as well.

3. Build Your Personal Brand

This tip is contributed by Sunita Biddu (Social Media Strategist & Blogging Coach )

Follow @chillingbreeze

I have started taking Instagram seriously just recently. I haven't marketed any project yet but personal brand marketing has worked very well. Well enough that it got me one big collaboration and two high paying clients. Played with this FAST social networks and figured out three most important things.

RIGHT Instagram Hashtags Matter. I could clearly see the difference in response for posts with hashtags, without hashtags and posts with right hashtags. There are some key hashtags such as "awesome", "amazing", "instagrammers", "instadaily" etc. that flood your posts with response when used. Plus the most relevant and popular hashtags about your posts. Right Timing: A post made at 9pm received 85 responses within 5 seconds of posting. A post of similar quality posted at 2pm receives hardly 6 responses. You can imagine the power of timing. Your Bio Counts. Once you attract your audience, they would like to know more about you and that's where you bio would make the difference. 4. Build Loyalty

This tip is contributed by Lukasz Zelezny (Head of Organic Acquisition)

Follow @LukaszZelezny

My personal experience with the platform differs in many ways from the potential that it offers many different brands. Any brand that wants to maximize organic reach will definitely be able to extract plenty of value from Instagram. Personally, I have not yet used Instagram for marketing in any formal capacity and I personally believe it will be difficult to use it in my specific case for selling anything in the near future.

However, there are brands that will be able to utilize the platform for marketing, and it is in some ways better than Facebook. I've read studies which show that Facebook users are far more likely to turn away from brands than Instagram users; in fact, Instagram users are actually receptive to following up with brands and engaging with them in a proactive fashion.

Instagram isn't as crowded when it comes to marketing. Virtually all marketers today use Facebook to promote products and services, but less than half report using Instagram. Because of this, I would definitely recommend that brands take a look at Instagram to see whether their business model is compatible with marketing in Instagram broader community.

It's also worth noting that Instagram doesn't filter out organic reach in order to force brands into paid marketing. Facebook used to offer a similar approach, but then limited organic page reach to boost marketing revenue. Instagram theoretically allows 100 percent of followers to see each post. Because of this, it's hard to deny that Instagram has marketing potential.

Instagram – at least for some brands – can be a great way to boost reach and fulfill marketing objectives. Its effectiveness will vary by industry and niche, but it's definitely worth looking into.

5. Extend Your Connections, Increase Your Interactions

This tip is contributed by Doyan Wilfred (Growth-hacker and content marketer)

Follow @ThinkDoyan

Just like on all the other social media platforms out there, visibility is key. 

In order to be successful on Instagram, begin with interacting. You should publish less and be actively engaging with other users.

Comments are more powerful than likes. Comment a lot!

Here’s how to manage your Instagram comments and likes.

Bonus Ideas and Resources Create an Instagram-based service. For example, this site lets you print our Instagram photos easily Integrate Instagram into your current site content to co-promote your Instagram channel and visual content using site. There’s a wealth of WordPress plugins for that (Here’s a handy guide on how to install WordPress plugins) Partner with a charity. Instagram is full of active non-profit startup that enjoy huge engagement. Support one of them to both do something good and build visibility on Instagram

Are there more Instagram marketing ideas? Please share in the comments!

The post 5 Actionable Instagram Marketing Ideas appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | 5 Actionable Instagram Marketing Ideas | 8 Feb 2016, 11:31 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - How to Rank Twitter Bios for More Leads

Your Twitter Bio is just like any other page: the number and quality of the incoming links affects the PA (Page Authority). Although outgoing links from Twitter are nofollowed, increasing your PA and influence is valuable for making your tweets and bio rank in the serps.

If your business is in a particular competitive niche or you have a new site, ranking your Twitter bio and using it to drive potential buyers to your own site can be faster and easier.

Why Would You Want Your Twitter Bio to Rank? Ranking your Twitter bio is primarily to get customers, of course! Having a Twitter bio on the home page of Google is very possible as you can see in this example for an SEO agency whose Twitter account @topcharlotteseo was third for the phrase “Top Charlotte SEO”. SEOing obviously can rank Twitter bios.

If your site is new or does not have any authority yet, gaining visibility through ranking your Twitter (or other social network bios) could be faster. As with any other page you want to rank, how many incoming links you have and the PA of your Twitter bio affect where it ranks.

The Twitter account in this example has 252 incoming links and a PA of 59. Typically, the Twitter account with the most influence for the desired keywords ranks highest.

According to SEO consultant and trainer Adrienne DeVita of Digital Media Cube:

“All of Google’s algorithm ranking factors apply to Twitter rankings, too. For example, Google bots automatically see the bounce rate if a searcher hits “back” immediately; the interaction on the landing page it links to; the keyword relation to the search; the page authority on that page; and the click through rate from their SERPs. Strive to use your phrase as the first words in your bio and tweets whenever it makes sense grammatically for the person searching – and make sure your phrase is within the first 90 characters. Put any secondary phrase you wish to rank for in characters 91-115.”

When your Twitter bio or your tweets rank, you can use them for lead generation. There are now tools that search for Twitter users and reach out to them to start interactions. The best I know for automating lead generation on Twitter is Socedo. How to Automatically Capture Leads on Twitter As you can see in the screen capture below, you can choose your target audience by checking their profession or interest. Once it identifies someone in your audience, it favorites one of their tweets automatically. Then an hour later it follows that user.

After the user follows back, Socedo can (depending on how you have your account configured), either: Start a conversation by sending them a personalized tweet Send them a message and link to your lead capture landing page Your sales team then decides whether to follow-up (by approving them), or not follow up (by declining within Socedo) or set lower priority to leads they may wish to engage at a later time.

Analytics built into Socedo allows you to modify your targeting and better qualify your leads based on your results. This video shows how it works:

If you want more details on how Socedo works, read How to Generate and Close Social Leads On Twitter. Now that you realize how important Twitter can be for your business, let’s talk about how to keep track of your conversations there. Business Dashboards for Tracking Twitter Remembering to keep on top of what you’re doing on Twitter in addition to everything else related to your SEO rankings is a challenge. Fortunately, there is a simple solution: Cyfe. Kristi Hines wrote a comprehensive blog post with a screen capture showing 15 of their widgets. Check out that link for all the widgets that already exist for Twitter (and Klout, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, and YouTube).

Cyfe offers 8 Twitter widgets plus Twitter search plus Klout and bit.ly (to see clicks on your shortened links). Here is an example layout from my Cyfe account showing the Twitter overview, Moz numbers, Twitter tweets, Twitter lists, bit.ly stats, Twitter search results for the search “growmap”, Twitter mentions, Twitter favorites and SERPs – a new widget I’m testing that hasn’t populated yet.

Adding a widget is as easy as clicking on what you want and doing some very simple configuration. You can resize and move each window to wherever you want it. When you mouse over graphs, additional information appears in a pop-up. These are only a few of the massive number of widgets available for other social networks, analytics, advertising, sales and finance and much more.

The image below shows details for a specific date showing tweets, following, listed (in Twitter lists), and Favorites. This data is not live so there is a delay of about 24 hours. (You can see another example in Kristi’s post linked above.)

Should You Bother to Rank Tweets? We focused on Twitter bios rather than tweets first because Google indexes only 7-9% of all tweets according to this comprehensive study by StoneTemple on how tweets could impact your SEO and what tweets Google is likely to index. It includes: Data on 133K+ tweets to see how Google indexed them Of 138,635 tweets only 7.4% were indexed! Twitter users with more followers have more indexed tweets (21% > 1 million; 10% for 10k-1M; 4% under 10k followers) Images and/or hashtags seem to “increase your chances of getting indexed, as the percentages are significantly higher than the average overall percentage of 7.4%.” “26% of the tweets with an inbound link from sites other than Twitter got indexed. That is nearly 4 times as much as the overall average rate of indexation.“ See that post for more details on their study. As you can see, getting your Twitter bio to rank – and keep ranking – is far more likely than getting any particular tweet indexed – much less getting it to stay on page one in the search engines. Twitter Best Practices Some of us have been power users of Twitter since they started. I’ve gathered everything you need to know about Twitter into one post called Twitter Best Practices. From the basics for beginners to advanced strategies, everything important to know is in or linked from that post.

Have questions? Leave me a comment and I’m happy to assist. Twitter Best Practices from Julie Weishaar

The post How to Rank Twitter Bios for More Leads appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | How to Rank Twitter Bios for More Leads | 30 Jan 2016, 12:14 am

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Expert Interview with SEO and SEJ Contributor Ben Oren

With over 10 years of experience handling SEO at the highest levels, Ben Oren has seen it all and done it all, twice. He has worked in medium and large agencies managing the internet marketing strategy for super brands like WSOP, Babylon and more, which he now combines with consulting and strategy for various medium and large clients after co-founding an internet marketing agency. Ben has also tackled marketing under start-up conditions, as he is the co-founder and CEO of an innovative e-commerce app. Ben has truly tackled online marketing from every angle – conversion, SEO, PPC, E-mail, UX, content, and more – and the insights he’s accumulated have made him a regular contributor at leading industry publication Search Engine Journal. Q: Over the years, you’ve worn many ‘hats’ and fulfilled different functions for different clients: in-house, agency, consultant, auditor. How do you feel that has contributed to your professional development? A: I believe anyone interested in ascending to the top of their field today can’t settle for only one type of working experience, be it in-house, agency, consultant or other.

Personally, this variation in work type has greatly contributed to my professional development, and particularly, enhanced my ability to adopt a broad perspective when assessing problems and ways to tackle them. There are usually two main variables to consider when faced with a business dilemma: the first is the industry itself, which in our case is internet marketing. It’s dynamic by nature and constantly evolving, meaning that there are countless solutions to every problem.

The second variable is the client’s niche, and everything having to do with their positioning within it – company size, marketing budget, online readiness, online state (penalties, priors, filters, etc). Every single stakeholder has their own interests, limitations and special considerations when facing a business decision, and having an in-depth understanding of these can only help communicate and strategize better to reach an optimal solution. Q: As an experienced marketer and entrepreneur, what is the greatest misconception you’ve come across among start-ups trying to use social media in order to ‘break’? A: I can actually think of two basic assumptions which are misconceptions that lead start-up heads to choose social media marketing.

The first wrong assumption is that it’s free, and if we invest efforts into building a large audience then it’ll be free to advertise to said audience whenever we’d like to push our product and company. The second wrong assumption is that building a large, loyal follower base is relatively easy. To address the first assumption, social media marketing is far from free, both when considering (1) the cost of producing high quality content by a dedicated content professional, and (2) the drastic downsizing of organic post reach in favor of paid advertising, carried out by social networks such as Facebook. The current trend is to move towards a paid model, whether it’s by impressions or clicks – meaning that posts on a business page will only reach a very small percentage of that page’s followers unless you pay – ending up in a miniscule chance for a positive ROI. As to the second assumption, a truly engaged, sizable, real audience that’s interested in a product or service rather than only having followed in exchange for a one-time offer, is challenging to achieve. Community growth takes time, resources, clear strategy and long term commitment towards gaining potential customers through social media, and retaining existing customers through social media. It necessitates a level of social media presence that not every start up realizes: real time response, professional outputs and engaging storytelling. Unfortunately, time and again I see start-ups entrust no-one with the task of maintaining social accounts, ending up with deserted business pages that never took off and serve as a sad, outdated reminder. In the worst examples, the page is also flooded with questions and complaints that go unanswered, several damaging reputation. In short, my recommendation to any start up interested in using social media is to build a sustainable strategy and be realistic about what it entails in terms of budget and man-power. Social media is a tremendous, powerful vehicle with many advantages, but for those to materialize it takes serious performance, patience and persistence. Q: In your early days in the online marketing industry, you mainly handled SEO, but now you’ve branched out into content, user experience, conversion and a well-rounded understanding of marketing for large organizations. Do you believe that SEO’s future is questionable, and is that why you’ve distanced yourself from it? A: I didn’t leave or distance myself from SEO. SEO is here to stay and will be around for a very long time; it’s just changing and developing, requiring us to adapt our methods and practices accordingly. In my career development, I chose to expand my knowledge by tackling different aspects of online marketing, never neglecting SEO. I don’t think the future of SEO is questionable, but I don’t think it’s necessary or appropriate for any business. SEO has undergone a transformation both in the way it’s performed and in the way it’s perceived. It is no longer regarded as a stand-alone channel, but rather as an integral part of a holistic marketing strategy. As a result, an SEO professional needs to be considerably knowledgeable about content strategy and social media, otherwise effectiveness will be hard to assess or measure. Another component that’s constantly changing is Google’s algorithm, growing more and more sophisticated with every passing day. Links don’t behave as they used to, relevance is no longer measured the way it was, and engagement level holds greater weight, leading to the marginalization of spammy practices. If one fails to keep up regularly with all of these changes, it can be impossible to move forward and understand exactly what works and how. Q: You’ve started and managed a start-up; do you have any tips to share from your experience, particularly regarding marketing a start-up? A: Co-founding and managing my start-up, I encountered three main limitations:

having a limited budget limited man-power limited time On one hand, you’re constantly feeling like you’re behind and that, any moment now, you’ll stumble on an article about an unknown competitor doing exactly what you’re trying to do, but better. On the other hand, you lack the budget and financial justification to recruit more personnel in order to accelerate development. These two lead to a shortage in time – there’s never enough time when working on a start-up! This is shared by all start-ups I know, and it often leads to the irresponsible misplacement of valuable funds in dubious marketing shortcuts publicized in who-knows-where. The combination of lacking real marketing know-how and not investing in expert guidance, is a sure way to throw time and money down the drain without any results to speak of. Therefore, my best recommendation is to hire a marketing consultant – someone with rich, varied experience and results under his/her belt – to guide the existing team on the best uses for their time and money. Marketing efforts will still be carried out by the existing team members; however, they’ll be monitored by a professional and form part of a strategy that’s been tailored to the start-up’s niche, state, budget and competitors. Sure, it’s an expense, but it yields results and, more importantly, it can be thought of as an investment: empowering the existing team to handle marketing and slowly decrease dependency on external consultants and agencies. Q: Outside of your experience with start-ups and small businesses, you’ve handled online marketing endeavors for enormous, international corporations such as WSOP, Caesar’s Entertainment, Babylon, Bouclair Home and more. Please highlight the professional methodological and executional differences when working with both types of companies. A: Methodologically, surprisingly enough, there isn’t much of a difference. The difference lies in the ability to execute more advanced methods, and the subsequent quality of said execution. Larger companies have a clear advantage thanks to their budgets and recognizability, lending them greater possibilities that small and medium businesses don’t have access to. For instance, if a large, leading corporation is interested in a partnership with a well known figure, its clout and deep pockets mean it’s likely it will come to fruition as long as there’s agreement between both sides. Small and medium businesses often don’t have the means or access necessary to even garner initial interest. On the other hand, small businesses benefit greatly from a shorter decision process and a quicker, more efficient turnaround time. Corporations often struggle with miscommunication between different departments, sometimes yielding mediocre execution for otherwise brilliant campaigns. For example, the content and marketing department may not have direct, ongoing communication with the sales department, ending with a marketing campaign that isn’t optimally geared towards the company’s actual end clients.

The post Expert Interview with SEO and SEJ Contributor Ben Oren appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Expert Interview with SEO and SEJ Contributor Ben Oren | 22 Jan 2016, 4:07 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Choices in How to SEO a Multilingual Site

While growing businesses by expanding to additional countries or languages is a great way to increase your income, it is more complicated than you may realize – especially when it comes to SEO. This site for a southern California criminal defense attorney has content written in English using Google Translate to create pages translated into Spanish. Notice the choice in the top right corner for English – Espanol. Click on the buttons and you’ll see that the pages change between English and Spanish. In this example, a separate site is not needed because both languages are targeted at ranking in the U.S. If this attorney had a second location in Spain, then ideally he would have a separate domain registered with a country code TLD and hosted in Spain. With locations in two countries, the easiest way to rank is on separate domains. How much effort is the company willing to invest in ranking in separate countries? Will you register a country specific domain for each language or use languages in directories? More expense and work is involved with separate domains: Building additional sites Paying to host multiple sites Renewing multiple domains Even international sites as large as Wikipedia do not necessarily use separate domains. If you look at Wikipedia.org you will see that when you click on a country you are taken to a subdomain that uses the country code as the name of the subdomain. For example: es.wikipedia.org for Spanish de.wikipedia.org for German it.wikipedia.org for Italian These subdomains use the same letters as country-code domains for Spain (es), Germany (de) and Italy (it), but they use en for English rather than us for U.S. or uk for the U.K. Read How to do Multilingual SEO for WordPress Sites to get a better idea of your choices. The WordPress multilingual plugin available on that site makes translating and doing SEO for multiple languages much simpler. How Search Engines Recognize Languages While search engines can detect languages, it is best to use the <html lang=”xx”> tag to indicate the language a page is in. For more details, read Multilingual Sites and Search Engines: Part 1. According to that post, “global corporations as a rule have separate sites (and most often separate domains) for the countries they operate in.” While that is the most effective method, it does require more work to create and maintain. SEOChat Supermod GabrielG suggests you can even “get sophisticated and detect a user’s language, geolocation, or other characteristics and serve the appropriate language site, in case Gooogle doesn’t do that automatically.” Why Machine Translation is NOT Good Enough While using Google translation or some other machine translator is the least expensive way to go, these translations are very inaccurate and sometimes impossible to even understand. While there are translation plugins, do not use them unless you just cannot afford a human translator. Do not sully your brand’s reputation by skimping on content in additional languages. Using human translators is a must. If you do not have someone within your company capable of accurately writing in the language, contract with a company that specializes in language translations for business. Keep in mind that being able to speak a language does not guarantee a person can write well in it anymore than assuming that everyone who speaks English can become a paid writer or editor. If you use machine translation, you will end up with major brand reputation issues. See this infographic from Understanding and Avoiding Communication Blunders. Hopefully you now understand why machine translation can never take the place of using the best human translators who are excellent at both translation and content development. Duplicate Content on Multinational Websites If the languages involved are totally different (English and German, for example), there is no duplicate content issue. Having the same content on pages written in languages that are closely related – such as UK English versus US English – would definitely create a duplicate content issue. See the Brick Marketing post Duplicate Content on Multinational Websites for more details about duplicate content. Nick Stamoulis wrote: “If your site takes a massive hit in visitors and rankings for at least three months (enough time to call it a trend), your site might have been flagged for duplicate content.” The goal is to SEO a multilingual site so that it will rank in each location. For that, separate sites are best, but even with one site your goal should still be to rank each page if at all possible.

The post Choices in How to SEO a Multilingual Site appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Choices in How to SEO a Multilingual Site | 19 Jan 2016, 6:09 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Is 2016 The Year Bing Takes On Google?

Bing Gains Ground As Google Loses Browser Contracts

Bing has reached a record-breaking 21% share of the search engine market. Find out what this means in relation to the current market leaders, Google.

Imagine a world where we ‘Bing it’ to get the answer to a burning question rather than ‘Googling it’. 2016 could well be the year that sees this become a reality.

The Rise Of Bing

Bing, the search engine owned by Microsoft, is rapidly gaining ground on Google, who have been the dominant search engine giant for more than a decade.

Bing hasn’t always been a success story. In recent history, the Microsoft search engine was costing the company roughly $1 billion per quarter. There were calls by many to ditch the search engine market altogether. However, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella saw something in Bing that others did not and committed to investing in the service. His instinct has paid off and Bing is now making a profit of approximately $1 billion per quarter.

It is likely that the increase in profitability has come from the mass release and rollout of Windows 10 and Surface devices, both of which use Bing as their default search engine. Similarly the Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone operating systems are also pre-installed to have search results powered by Bing.

The Proof Is In The Stats

The search engine market share statistics speak for themselves. Bing has now reached a 21% share of the search engine market for the first time, whilst Google hangs on to a massive 64%. Google is of course still comfortably in the lead, but the speed at which Bing is increasing their grip on the market is likely to make them uneasy given that search results are Google’s core business.

An honourable mention should also be given to Yahoo who are hanging on to a market share of approximately 12%.

Companies Ditch Google

In January of this year, an enormous ten year contract begins between AOL and Microsoft, which sees AOL introduce Bing as their default search engine. AOL, which is now owned by Verizon had previously been using Google for their search results. Unfortunately, a comparable story occurred last year when Google also lost their contract with Mozilla, who chose to use Yahoo as the default engine in its browser. This was huge news at the time as it represented Google’s largest loss in search engine market share since 2009. 

Safari Traffic

In addition, there are rumours that Apple Safari, who currently use Google on their iPhone devices, might also be considering going with Yahoo, Bing or even their own in-house program. This would be a significant blow to Google, as reportedly more than half of mobile traffic in the USA comes from Safari, according to data collected in December 2014.

If Google continues on this downward spiral at the same time that Bing are on the up, then it’s only a matter of time before the two shall meet in the middle. However, when it comes to Google, it’s safe to say that they like a challenge and aren’t scared to shake things up. However, the same question was asked last year, and the change was not as dramatic as expected. Watch this space to find out what developments the current search engine market share leader will come up with to hang onto the crown in 2016.

The post Is 2016 The Year Bing Takes On Google? appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Is 2016 The Year Bing Takes On Google? | 18 Jan 2016, 9:25 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines: What Stood Out for You?

A few weeks ago, Google has published their official Search Result Quality Rating Guidelines instructing their human raters on how to evaluate Google SERPs.

The guidelines provide lots of insight into how Google defines quality and what they mean their algorithm to understand.

I asked fellow marketers and bloggers to provide their main take-away from the guidelines and here are the answers:

Quality is Equivalent to the Average User's Judgment of Quality

Phil Turner

Follow @EP_pturner

My main takeaway is that Google is looking for pages that help searchers, exactly as it has always said. Quality is basically equivalent to the average user's judgment of quality.

Yes, that is still vague, but we all know a low quality site when we see one. Similarly we all know a high quality one. We might differ in the details, but if we are talking about general perception I think most people will agree.

Keep Your Content Fresh

David Trounce

Follow @MalleeBlue

Google's Quality Rating Guidelines are a reminder for small business, especially e-commerce, to keep their content fresh. The Guidelines give special attention to freshness as a measure of its "High Needs Met" (HNM) ratings.

Page 141 of the report tells us,

"For these queries, pages about past events, old product models and prices, outdated information, etc. are not helpful. They should be considered “stale” and given low Needs Met ratings. In some cases, stale results are useless and should be rated FailsM."

If you are providing product information, make sure it it is well maintained with current data. This should include a review of the on-page SEO factors such as buzz keywords and relevant trends. You can also add value and improve your score in this area by adding fresh content surrounding product updates and new releases by a well maintained blog on your site.

For E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) websites, (which might include technology blogs or tutorial sites, for example), the freshness scale is less important since a fair amount of content in this field does not change (Think software tutorials or a first aid procedure). But business should still take advantage of the freshness factor and aim for a High Needs Met Rating by updating, improving and adding value to existing, static content from time to time.

YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) Sites Are Held to Higher Standards

Tom Shivers

Follow @tomshark

According to the guidelines, Evaluators hold YMYL sites to higher standards.

YMYL is short for Your Money or Your Life sites and include medical, financial, health, safety, sites that require personal identification, provide advice on major life issues, even ecommerce sites that sell expensive products or products that have major life implications:

Online banking pages Pages that provide info on investments, taxes, retirement planning, home purchase, buying insurance, etc. Pages that provide info on health, drugs, diseases, mental health, nutrition, etc. Pages that provide legal advice on divorce, child custody, creating a will, becoming a citizen, etc. There are many other web pages that fall under YMYL at the discretion of the Evaluator.

When an Evaluator identifies a YMYL site, they will research its reputation:

Does the site have a satisfying amount of high quality main content? Does the site have a high level of authoritativeness, expertise or trustworthiness? Does the site have a positive reputation? Does the site have helpful supplementary content? Does the site have a functional page design? Is the site a well-cared for and maintained website?

YMYL sites must convince Google Evaluators that they possess a healthy level of credibility and online reputation.

Google Strives to Identify "Main Content" on a Web Page

Casey Markee

Follow @MediaWyse

I thought one of the big takeaways for me was Google's emphasis on "main content." Google was clear in instructing raters that they should be on the lookout for, and actively encouraged to, downgrade pages that have a hard time distinguishing main content from ads or other distractions on the page.

To me this is all about user experience and Google's continual desire to make sure their index provides preference to site pages that have a clear separation between advertising and content. Quality raters are encouraged to provide a less than helpful rating on pages where the lines between this separation is blurred. And that, to me, provides a great benefit to users.

Google Does Rely on Humans for Algorithm Evaluation

David Waterman (SEO Rock Star)

Follow @SEOWaterman

Having worked in the SEO industry for over 10 years, the release of the latest Google Quality Rating Guidelines is yet another reminder that Google doesn't rely 100% on bots and algorithms to determine quality online content.

It layers on a human component to ensure the results Google provides are quality and match the true intent of the search query.

Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

Graeme Watt

Follow @zenagency

The biggest takeaway for me was to make your site mobile friendly if it isn’t already. A large proportion of the guidelines was focused around mobile and it is clear Google now views this as a sign of a quality website.

If this is the case, it means that anyone producing amazing content on a site which is not mobile friendly is going to be viewed as low quality. This should be avoided at all costs. 

Google Wants to "Think" Like Human Beings Do

Louie Luc

Follow @BuzzNitrous

"Quality" and "relevancy". It just couldn't be simpler than that. That's what users are searching for when they use a search engine like Google. That's what Google wants to offer its users. Google aims at thinking more and more like a human being so that it may "understand", "feel" and "see" what a user understands, feels and sees when he / she visits a website suggested by a Google search. And what are people looking for? Quality relevant sites or web pages.

Put Your Users First

Doyan Wilfred

Follow @ThinkDoyan

Put your users first and foremost.

Write high-quality, in-depth, well-researched articles. Write for users. Optimize for search engines. Provide helpful navigation-think breadcrumbs. Invest in clutter-free, User-friendly, mobile-friendly design. Display your address and contact information clearly. Create and maintain a positive reputation. Content won't save you if you send hitmen after your customers (true story!). Expert Content will be Rewarded Irrelevant of the Domain Authority

Cormac Reynolds

Follow @BrightonCormac

From what I can gather, one of the main takeaways is that we're coming increasingly closer to a point where quality, expert content will be rewarded irrelevant of the domain authority of a website.

It seems the algo is coming increasingly intelligent and capable of determining the best content, so those that put the effort in sharing details and info will be rewarded. Personally, we're probably still a while away from this as an absolute, but from the look of the guidelines things are going that way.

The Fundamental Principles Are The Same: Provide Quality, Put the User First…

Tim Felmingham

Follow @timfel

There's really nothing new here, it's very similar to the guidelines leaked (supposedly unofficially!) in 2008, and a few times since. The overall message is the same as it always was – you need to build sites with original, quality content that provides real value to the searcher.

They have defined a quantitative process for assessing this, including Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, and how well it meets the searcher's needs. The process is interesting, but not revolutionary, it's simply a formal definition of what we all understood anyway

Many people will flock to this document, in the hope it will give some insights into how to 'game' the system, which of course it won't! Although the general principles of the guidelines will be familiar to anybody involved in SEO, it's still well worth a read, just to make sure there aren't any key areas you have missed in your own site. It will show you how to view your site through the eyes of a Google rater, and more importantly, through the eyes of a user.

The Emphasis is on the Quality

Nashaat

It's clear that Google prefers information posted by a human rather than machine generated information to evaluate quality. They also place more emphasis on relevant indicators such as time spent on the website etc. and customer reviews. Again, the emphasis here is on content of the reviews and not the number of reviews.

And what’s your main take-away?

The post Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines: What Stood Out for You? appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines: What Stood Out for You? | 12 Jan 2016, 10:25 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - How to Use Social Media to Boost SEO

In his Entrepreneur post “Good Social Media Boosts SEO,” Larry Alton admits that we do not know how social media affects SEO because we don’t know how much emphasis Google places on social interactions and signals. Alton writes, “Here’s what we do know: Google pays attention to social interactions such as likes, retweets, shares, and even +1’s.” I like his analogy that Google is an “independent filing system” for a continually ” expanding library of virtual content” online. He argues that Twitter gets our content indexed more quickly and social search measures performance. More importantly, all social networks are indirect link-building mechanisms. The more your content is shared across social media, the more likely a content creator will find it and decide to link to it. Targeting the Right Audience Just getting content shared is not enough; the point is to get content to your target audience. Targeting the right audience is just as important in social media as it is in SEO. Start with this tip from Capital Merchant’s “Tips to Improve Your Social Media”: The most important thing is to define your audience. Think of your ideal customers and write down any and all information you can think of about them. Be specific with regard to gender, race, age, and profession. The more info you can think of, the better. Now expand it a bit — you want to have three to four different target audiences that will get your messaging at different times, letting you cast a wider net and still be able to figure out what messaging resonates with what customer. Nothing is more important than reaching potential customers and clients, rather than wasting marketing money on people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer. It is not just a matter of getting impressions. The point is to get interactions: favorites, retweets, reshares, likes, +1s, stumbles, and especially clicks. Those interactions are likely to also be important to SEO value. Mentions on social media improve brand recognition, increasing clicks during searches. The tighter your focus on the correct audience, the stronger your results will be. SEO Specific Social Media Strategies In his Forbes post “6 Social Media Practices That Boost SEO,” Jayson DeMers argues there are six social media strategies that definitely improve SEO. His first strategy relates to growing the number and quality of your followers. Our social media profiles have their own trust flow and page authority, which is affected by the quality of sites linking to them. This is easily seen by comparing Twitter accounts for writers who contribute on major sites to non-writers. Look at @Kikolani, @GrowMap or @SEOsmarty and compare them to the average Twitter account. This holds true on all social networks. They are authority sites, and although the links are typically nofollowed, they are still considered valuable as indicators of trust. According to “How Valuable Is That Link?,” a post gleaned from a forum discussion with SEOchat member PhilipSEO: “Some observers think that a nofollow link from a trusted site still passes along some kind of SEO value, even if it doesn’t pass any link juice. Phil states that ‘Many have reported and speculated, for example, that nofollow links from Wikipedia and similar high-trust sites can provide a great boost to rankings in spite of nofollow.’” It seems safe to assume that social media accounts can develop higher trust rankings dependent upon where the links originate. This could include which other authority sites mention them or reshare their content. If those links are dofollow, the Page Authority (PA) of those social media profiles will be higher. How to Use Social Media to Boost SEO Does it then follow that shares from higher trust and PA social media accounts are more valuable for SEO purposes than shares from ordinary accounts? I would say, yes. It is possible to use social media to boost SEO. SEOGenius Director Bruce Smeaton drills down even further: “I think the key is in understanding what ‘more valuable for SEO purposes’ really means.” It stands to reason that a highly trusted social channel is, by default, going to generate more shares than a social media property with lower authority. And by doing so, the likelihood of these shares turning into links increases accordingly. This in turn results in higher traffic volumes being directed to your site… and this is where the magic starts. No, it doesn’t matter whether the links are “follow” or “nofollow.” What really counts here is that the traffic generated indirectly via social media interaction must impact positively on your site’s perceived value and authority. To quote the words of Search Engine Journal’s Dario Zadro, “What is more likely happening is that Google is recognizing these social signals as ‘brand signals,’ which they love.” If higher trust and PA matter, it is highly likely that relevance does as well. There are tools like Klout and Kred that measure influence. Kred is of particular interest because it measures influence by topic. No doubt Google algorithms can measure what is most relevant to any particular social media account. By identifying which social media users are most influential on any particular topic, they are also most likely to be valuable for SEO purposes. SEOs need to be thinking about how identifying and using influencers will impact their SEO rankings. Those who do not will be wondering why competitors are outranking them without having any idea why.

The post How to Use Social Media to Boost SEO appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | How to Use Social Media to Boost SEO | 7 Jan 2016, 2:27 am

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - 7 Cool New Social Media Networks, Apps & Tools to Check Out in 2016

The New Year is fast approaching and it’s the best time to try something new. I know the feeling: You are likely to have found your comfortable spot right now… You have platforms you enjoy, tools you find useful and apps you chose to download to your phone.

However social media world is changing fast: You are either keeping up or quickly become irrelevant. Here’s the inspiration for you: new social media tools to check out in 2016.

New Social Media Platforms

Blab

This is a social media network for video chatters. If you tried Periscope and joined at least one Google Hangout on Air, let me put it simply for you: Blab is right in the middle between the two.

Join and set up group video interview, meet new people and connect to influencer sin real time!

Yik Yak

You have probably seen screenshots of Yik Yak all over the web lately. It is a platform that is all about local sharing on a social wave. You download the app, narrow your location via GPS, and communicate with anonymous people in your area.

It is still growing, so some cities are pretty dead. But larger urban areas have exploded in activity, and you can find plenty of conversations, or start your own.

Ello

Are you a creator who wants to connect, be inspired by, and be an inspiration to other creators? Then Ello is for you. Upload your content, edit it, share it. Then go and look at what others are creating.

This is a great social network that will give you one on one interaction with others that share your passion. So download the app and say ‘Ello!’

Now, if you have problem getting used to new social media networks, First Site Guide has an excellent write-up called "How I Learned to Love Twitter!" that tells a story many of us are so well aware of: How we first join a social media community and feel helpless and lost and how to ultimately overcome that!

Social Media Dashboards

Cyfe

Cyfe is your only way to make sense of the buzzing social media world: Archive social media streams and search results, monitor social media statistics and set up reputation management dashboards. Cyfe has something for everything.

Plus, Cyfe supports an insane amount of social media networks you can track: Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook for Business, Google Plus, Youtube, Vine, you name it!

Social Media Mobile Apps

Social apps aren’t all about Facebook and Twitter anymore, or chatting applications. Whole networks have been created that you may have never heard of, with specialized services you will love. These are some excellent newer ones that have gained a ton of traction this year, and are continuing to grow. You gotta check them out!

Kleek

Facebook’s friend feed and its algorithm are an annoyance for most users at this point. Kleek integrates with the social network to give you more control. It works by connecting to your account and letting you create your “cliques”.

Only the people you want will show on your mobile feed. It will also alert you to special events, such as birthdays or invites from those people. Super simple, but helpful. Think of it as making Facebook yours, without having to create secret groups and flick between feeds.

Storehouse

This is a really simple, basic app that will change how you view, collect, curate and share media forever. Take your chosen photos and videos and create a story that you can tell to anyone you choose.

Everyone knows that a lot of social interaction online these days is visual storytelling. This takes it to the next level, all from one small and easy to use application.

shots

Yes, that is the real name of the app, smiley face and all. The concept is just as silly: this is an app that not only allows you to take selfies, it demands it.

You take the shot, you edit the shot, you share the shot. It is the best way for you and your friends to indulge in some harmless, fun vanity. Take photos or videos. Upload with descriptions and send to anyone you like.

You probably don’t need even more time wasting apps to catch your attention. But admit it, at least a few of the social media startups on this list have you curious. It’s OK, we won’t tell anyone if you want to go and take a peek. We are just as addicted ourselves.

Do you have a social media app that you think belongs on this list? Let us know in the comments!

The post 7 Cool New Social Media Networks, Apps & Tools to Check Out in 2016 appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | 7 Cool New Social Media Networks, Apps & Tools to Check Out in 2016 | 10 Dec 2015, 3:05 am

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