Categories
Blog Tools

Linkdex: What I Would Like to See

I like Linkdex, I do, although from the number of questions I ask Collette Easton on a regular basis she might disagree.

Is Linkdex the best SEO tool? No, but that is what all the APIs are for, right? Is Linkdex the best tool that is currently available? Arguable, but I am not going to get into an argument about which is the best SEO tool. Having used or seen demos of all the current SEO tools available, I can see the pro’s and con’s of using all of them.

At SEOptimise we use Linkdex to analyse large data sets, identify gaps in the market and have begun to use the new social media aspects of the software. Combine this with all the other data we analyse from the remaining toolset available, and some internal tools it can provide lots of valuable information.

With all this great information, there are a few things that irritate me. Some things that I think are relatively basic that are being missed, for the bigger more advanced features. To me, and this is a personal opinion, ensuring that the basic features are in place, and working well is key. Others will disagree, and I would love to hear from those in the comments below, but I feel that making some small tweaks can make a real difference to the product.

Below are just a few features that I think will improve the current Linkdex product, and I do have quiet a few ideas. But let me know what you think.

Overview Dashboards

As someone that looks after multiple projects, having a single view of metrics across multiple projects quickly is hugely beneficial, and would help save a lot of time.

Having the ability to see how many tasks have been completed, and by whom. What has changed, who has done what across multiple products would allow quick analysis. This would be great for those that are managing teams of people to understand exactly what is being worked on, what has been achieved and what is still be completed.

Account Profiles

How many of you work with websites that cross multiple verticals? Sell products across multiple geographical regions? I bet quite a few of you.

If you wanted to put each region/vertical into Linkdex, you would need to setup a new account for each. That means that every new account would eat up a lot of credits, and duplicate a lot of work. This could be solved if you were able to create an account that has separate profiles associated to it, similar to Google Analytics.

Examples:
Linkdex Account: – www.example.com
Linkdex Profile: – www.examples.com/uk
Linkdex Profile: – www.examples.com/usa
Linkdex Profile: – www.examples.com/fr

Based on the examples given above, you could specify that you only want a crawl to happen in the main account. This would crawl the entire website, and allow you to filter down as far as you need to go. The main account would hold all the top level data, links, rankings that you would expect including analytics data.

The profiles however, would concentrate solely on the region/vertical that was added. This wouldn’t include the data that is shown at account level, so items such as Content, and other technical aspects that you would expect to cover the entire website. Instead it would allow you to add and analyse competitors and keywords that are relevant to your region/vertical, look at influencers specific to your target audience, and other metrics that you would want to have a more granular look at including Google Analytics.

Google Analytics
With the addition of multiple profiles per account, it then brings in the possibility of including multiple Google Analytics profiles. The majority of GA accounts that I work with are broken into separate profiles, targeting specific categories, verticals or geographical regions. To me this makes a lot of sense and allows you a lot of flexibility, by only giving access to those ares to people that need it. Dan Barker or Anna Lewis might disagree with me here, but I prefer it setup that way.

With the ability to include analytics to each profile, you will be able to analyse traffic, conversions and goals from that specific areas, rather than being limited to global Analytics data. Looking at analytics data at a more granular level will make the information much more actionable, and allow you to see the work that has been carried out through Linkdex, make an impact on the target area, rather than a site as a whole.

Reporting
Reporting for a separate profile, I see as more of a geographical requirement, but it could be used to report on specific categories or verticals.

I currently manage a client that sells across multiple geographical regions, all of whom require a report. Creating a report direct from Linkdex, currently doesn’t allow me to be specific on each region. If Linkdex were to introduce the suggestions above, reporting at this level would be relatively easy. Analytics, rankings, links, influencers would all be available at a regional (category/vertical) level and make them much more actionable for those receiving them.

I think reporting has a much wider issue in Linkdex, but that is the case with the majority of SEO software on the market, but I will get into that next.

Reporting

As I mentioned earlier, I think this is something that is a problem that the majority of SEO tools have. Before I talk about some of the issues that I feel the tool has with reporting, it is only right that I say some of the reporting is very good, especially around the link data, content and social. The area that I believe needs work is mainly around the Google Analytics API is limited.

Analytics
At the time of writing this post, the Linkdex suite only has three widgets related to Analytics, ‘Actual Traffic’, ‘Traffic by Search Engines’ and ‘Keyword Phrases’. Improving the number of widgets that Linkdex has around analytics will allow us to provide much greater and granular detail.

Having very basic knowledge of the Google AP means that I am unable to accurately say what can and can’t be done, but having the ability to choose the type of information that you can utilise from your analytics package would be a great asset.

Automation
Currently Linkdex doesn’t allow you to automate the running of pre-created reports on set dates. This feature is extremely useful, especially for those that have multiple accounts, as well as internal teams who need to supply their superiors with regular reports.

This is a feature that I really hope that Linkdex will include in upcoming releases, as it would be truly beneficial to my clients, and those that use the tool regularly.

Download Format
One thing that I like about some other SEO tools, is the format that download is produced. If the data is provided in an easy format it allows for easy manipulation, and the ability to create subsequent tools that help with that data manipulation. The way that the data currently is exported from Linkdex. it makes it difficult manipulate. I’m not sure how possible it is to change the format of downloads, but I think this would be huge improvement.

Report Customisation
Another very small thing, is the ability to customise the look and feel of the reports. Every agency or business for that matter has their own brand template that they need to use. Having the ability to change table, graph and text colours would be a great addition. Combine that with the ability to upload your own template document (PDF, PPT), that would then be used when reporting would make the whole process a bit smoother.

Other Suggestions

  • Integration of Other Analytic Packages – Omniture/NedStat/WebTrends, etc. This would open up the tool to so many more companies that don’t use Google Analytics.
  • Keyword Categories & Sub-categories – Tags are a great way of organising keywords, but it can be difficult to identify all the keywords quickly. If you put keywords within categories and then sub-categories they will be easier to find.

Some of the suggestions that I have made above could well be in process already, I’m not privvy to that kind of information. I also understand that there is development costs involved, and they may not bring the best ROI. Linkdex, obviously have a roadmap of what they are looking to achieve and how they are going to get there. I hope that some of these features are apart of that roadmap, but if they are not then this post might give them food for thought.

Those are just my thoughts on features that I would like to see in Linkdex, what do you think? Would my suggested improvements help you? I’d be interested to see what features you would like to add Linkdex if any, in the comments below.

Disclaimer: These are my own personal thoughts, and are not those of my employer.

Update 1st March 2013: I had a call from Collette Easton to talk through some of the updates in the pipeline for Linkdex. It seems that a few of my ideas are already being implemented. Collette also suggested that she would take some of the ideas that weren’t currently on the radar and speak to the powers above. Lets wait and see what happens.

Update 6th March 2013: Another Idea has come to mind today. Since Linkdex target both Agency and In-house teams, it will be common practice to have access to more than one account, whether to be client accounts or the agency hub. Currently you are unable to use the same email address to access all those accounts, instead you need to have a separate address per account. I know I have stolen a lot of ideas from Google in this post, but it seems easier if you could use the same email address to login to all your accounts. This would then bring all the accounts into a central place and make it much easier to work and switch between projects.

Categories
Blog Events

BrightonSEO – From Back Street Pub to the Brighton Dome!

It has fast become the biggest search conference in Europe (in 2012), BrightonSEO has come a long way since it’s first meeting in a local pub. BrightonSEO, organised by Kelvin Newman and his team have done an amazing job to continue to improve and better the last conference.

In the past few weeks Kelvin has moved to predominantly event organising including both BrightonSEO and The Content Marketing Show, alongside his recruitment job-board.

In between organising BrightonSEO, The Content Marketing Show, running the Job-board and continuing his work at SiteVisibility, I managed to ask him a few questions.

Daniel: How did BrightonSEO start?

Kelvin: It’s really a happy accident, a few search people had met up in a pub for a drink and we thought ‘if we arrange a couple of presentations we could go down the pub earlier. ‘ when we had to turn people away at the door of that event we thought we might be on to something but the growth of the event has just blown us away. For the upcoming event in April we’re expecting 2000 people along.

Daniel: What were your expectations when you started out with BrightonSEO?

Kelvin: I didn’t really have any huge expectations with the first event, my main aim was to make sure a few people came along so I wasn’t sat in the pub on my own. As times moved on I have started to set myself goals for the event; one of the big landmarks was becoming the biggest event dedicated to search in the UK, which by our reckoning, we achieved with the last event. Now our big aim is how can we consistently provide great talks you just wouldn’t get at any other event, and ideally do that with a greater variety of speakers than other SEO conferences.

Daniel: Tickets for BrightonSEO, always sell out very quickly. How quickly did they go this year?

Kelvin: They were all gone in under six hours which really impressed me, last time we had 1300 registrations from the general ticket release, this time we had 2000. I do wonder if we’ll ever hit the limit or people interested in Search in the UK!

Daniel: Last years BrightonSEO was heavily focused on content. What can we expect to see at BrightonSEO this time around?

Kelvin: We’ve spun out the Content Marketing Show as an event in it’s own right now which inevitably mean some of the talks we might have programmed for BrightonSEO we’ll hold back for that event. If there’s a theme to the upcoming event it’s either the increased micro-specialisms of search like Video/Mobile/Local etc. or about the business of SEO, covering challenges like scale, managing clients that sort of thing.

Daniel: You always get some great speakers at BrightonSEO. What do you look for in a speaker for your event?

Kelvin: A real passion for topic is a great start, I pick people who’ve demonstrated expertise in the past in talks at previous events, written great blogposts or put together podcasts or similar. We also ask after every event who people want us to programme, and once we’ve filtered out all the suggestions for Matt Cutts and Seth Godin we normally have a good hit list of people to approach.

We don’t really have a ‘call for speakers’ as I think that tends to attract the ‘usual suspects’ who speak at every event. That doesn’t mean they aren’t excellent but it does mean they’re not as original or compelling as some of the other speakers out there.

Daniel: BrightonSEO has become one of the leading SEO conferences in the UK in a very short period of time. Where do you see the conference in 5 years time?

Kelvin: In five years time we better have hover boards! Joking aside we want to take BrightonSEO from strength to strength and really make the training course element of it the best in the industry. I’ll be spending quite a bit of time on our job board www.jobsinsearchmarketing.com, I’d like the Content Marketing Show to be as big as BrightonSEO and look at launching some new events.

They might be based on specific verticals, other disciplines or maybe even different geographies. We’ve got lots of ideas just need a few sponsors interested on going on the journey with us!

Thanks Kelvin

Have you been to BrightonSEO? What are your thoughts on the conference and how it has evolved? What are your thoughts on the current speaker list, and who would you like to see speak? What would you like to see at future events? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
Blog

The Link Building Book by Paddy Moogan

This week has seen the release of the long anticipated link building book by Paddy Moogan. I have been lucky enough to pin Paddy down in a hectic week of book sales and blog posts to answer a few questions about himself, the book and link building. Feel free to ask him any further questions in the comments.

Daniel: For those that don’t know, can you give us an introduction, and how you got into SEO?
Paddy: Sure, I’m an SEO Consultant working for Distilled in their London office. Although I’m currently based in New Zealand as I’m on a sabbatical. I got into SEO during University when I was studying for a Law degree, I wanted to make some extra cash so I setup a bunch of websites to make money from Google Adsense. Naturally I wanted to learn how to make these rank higher so I started to learn more about SEO and eventually got a job working for a web design and development company near Birmingham.

Daniel: Since joining Distilled you become known as someone that is an excellent SEO, specifically link building. What is it that you like about Link Building and how did you get into it?
Paddy:I didn’t really mean to become known for link building to be honest, it just kind of happened after a few popular blog posts! I got into it at my previous job because for a long time I was the only SEO so I had no choice but to dive into it myself and get it done. I have to admit I didn’t particularly enjoy it at first but when it started to have a positive effect on client results, it become much more satisfying and I was far more motivated.

Daniel: Before writing the book, how did you learn what link building methods worked?
Paddy: Mainly by testing. In the early days when I was still learning, I’d test random theories on my own websites (and occasionally on others!) to see what worked and what didn’t. I didn’t always get it right but eventually I started to see what I needed to do in order to help clients. If I’m honest, it wasn’t until late in my previous job and joining Distilled that I started to think more about link building in the long term and what types of links would stand the test of time. I’ve learned a lot at Distilled because there are a lot of creative people there (far better than me) and you can’t help but learn with each project you work on.

Daniel: Who has been your biggest influence on your SEO career?
Paddy: It is hard to pick a single one! My old boss Steve at Pin Digital was a big influence and inspiration for me because he had a way of cutting through the noise and making me think how Google may think. Since joining Distilled, Will and Tom Critchlow influenced me massively and really made me step up in the way I think about SEO.

About the Book:

Daniel: What was the reason for writing the book?
Paddy: I’d always wanted to write a book of some sort, just to see if I could do it really because I sometimes struggle with seeing personal projects through to completion. I’d originally planned on it being a print book but that didn’t work out for a few reasons so I decided on the eBook format. It actually started off as a big blog post but then grew much bigger and eventually I decided I may as well do it justice and make it as good as I possible could. I had a lot of encouragement along the way and this certainly helped me get it done, lots of people also pointed out that no one had really written anything on this scale before which was just for link building.

Daniel: Did you read any link building books prior to writing your version? If so, which ones, and what was your views on them?
Paddy: There was actually a quite visible lack of books focused just on link building as mentioned above. I’d read a few SEO books like the one from Danny Dover and The Art of SEO and whilst I enjoyed them, link building was only a small part of them which encouraged me to pursue my own.

Daniel: What goals have you set for the book?
Paddy: I haven’t if I’m honest. I did put some money into the book for things like design, proofing etc so I did want to at least make sure I got that back! But apart from that, I didn’t really have any hard goals. All I really want is for people to enjoy it and take at least one thing from it which they can action and use to help their websites. If I get feedback that says people have done this, I’ll be happy because with link building, just one idea can lead to many links which makes the book investment worthwhile.

Daniel: Would you like the book to be the “Go to” resource for link building?
Paddy: That would certainly be nice and if readers feel it is deserving of that, I’d be very flattered. I wanted to write something that would be great reference material too, so being known as a go-to resource would show that I’ve achieved that.

Daniel: The book is targeted at both Beginners and Advanced SEOs. How difficult was it to write for both audiences?
Paddy: Very! After writing about a third of the book, I sent out a survey to SEOs asking them for feedback on what they’d like to see included in it. One of the questions was along the lines of “What would you like to be covered in an advanced section?”. The diversity of responses was amazing, it really showed me how subjective “advanced” is and from that point, I knew that I was going to have a challenge to cover all levels to make everyone happy. I’ve done the best I can to cover as much as I can on all levels and as mentioned above, if everyone who reads it takes at least something away which they can use, I don’t think it matters whether they consider it advanced or not.

Daniel: With the constant updates to the algorithm, will you be regularly updating the book?
Paddy: Yes. This was key for me because one of the concerns I heard from people was that a book on SEO / link building is out of date soon after publishing, so I’ll definitely be updating it. I’d like to do a big update every 3-4 months if I can and of course this will be free to readers.

Daniel: Call me old fashioned (I am only 28), but I like a good hardback or paper version. Is there plans for a printed version of the Link Building book?
Paddy: Until I got my Kindle and started travelling, I was the same! I have someone working on a design for a print copy right now. So if it works and I can make it work in terms of the costs, I’ll certainly make print copies available.

Daniel: What’s next for the Link Building book?
Paddy: A break from writing for me for sure ? I want to step back a bit and take some time to take in the feedback I get and start looking at how to make the next update better for everyone. I don’t want to push out small updates to the book, I want each update to be significant and worthy of the readers time.

Link Building Questions:

Daniel: I saw a presentation by Paul Madden at SearchLove about outsourcing part of the SEO process, and I have since had several conversations with people about the same process that you described in the Link Building book.
a. How far would you go with the outsourcing process, and would you outsource the prospecting for all of your clients, or just those in a competitive industry.
Paddy: I saw the same talk on video and loved it, I’d been fortunate to know a little about Paul’s process whilst writing the book so I was able to do my own testing with it. I’d certainly outsource for my own projects (I have done that) but it would need a lot more consideration if I were to do this for a client. I’d be comfortable outsourcing lots of research and data gathering, but I’d probably always play it safe and not hand over outreach that is on behalf of a client. That’s just me though, I know a few people who do this and are successful with it.

Daniel: When conducting outreach, what have you found to have the best success rate. Web-based email (Gmail, Hotmail) accounts or business email address?
Paddy: The best success rate I’ve had was 15 links from 16 emails, that was from my Distilled email account. I can honestly say that all my outreach for Distilled clients has been from my Distilled account. If I’m doing freelance work, it will be from my personal Gmail account using my real name. I will occasionally use a persona but that is the exception rather than the rule and usually means that I will hand it over to the client at some point so they can keep it going if they wish.
I think it is a good test of what you’re outreaching too. If you’re not keen on using your agency email address, should you really be doing the outreach in the first place?

Daniel: Do you believe in using personas for blogger outreach, or would you recommend the honest approach?
Paddy: I’ve touched upon this above and from experience, I’ve used the honest approach and used my own name. Occasionally I’ve actually got links because people know me from my SEO work and were happy to help! I’ve recently used a persona because I like to test approaches and I like to know that I can hand this over to the client if I stop working with them.

Daniel: If you only had one link building method to choose, which one would you use, and why?
Paddy: Good question! In the current climate, content based link building is top of my list. I know this probably isn’t what people want to hear but it sure is nice to build links that you know aren’t going to be devalued by the next iteration of Penguin!

Daniel: With the changes to the algorithm, do you still believe link building will be a tactic used going forward?
Paddy: Definitely. On the whole, it works as a strong signal in the algorithm and is what allowed Google to steam ahead of competitors in the early days. Even with the increase in social signals, I can’t see it overtaking links as a signal anytime soon. I do however think that the types of tactics we use will change based on Google updates.

Daniel: Thanks for your time.

Reading the book has justified my decisions for a large number of link building tactics that we use daily, but has also made me think about a few other angles. I personally think that this is a must read for any SEO and Link builder no matter what level you are currently operating at. You can buy it here – www.linkbuildingbook.com. If you are still not sure, then see what others think of it below.

Categories
Blog Tools

3 Tools I Will be Using More in 2013

During 2012 I used a lot of different tools, some were really useful, but some I found made things more difficult. I like to use tools if they help, make things more efficient or provide value to the project that I am working on, but there are plenty of tools that I am currently using that need to be reviewed.

Below are 3 tools that I will be using a lot more of in 2013.

1. Google Drive
For those of you that haven’t heard of Google Drive, where have you been? Google Drive is the renamed Google Docs. All the functionality has been retained, plus the addition of some nice features including, the ability to add documents to your Gmail account directly from Google Drive.

I have been an avid Dropbox user for a long time now, but with the issues they have had recently, I wanted to find something more secure and reliable. I looked around for a long time, and found nothing that was suitable, so I continued with Dropbox. Since the relaunch of Google Drive, Google have introduced the ability to drag and drop files into your cloud storage, either directly into your browser or to folder located on your device.

With this simple but effective addition, Google Drive was an easy replacement for Dropbox, whilst retaining the same usability. I think Google Drive will be the biggest change to the toolset that I use in 2013.

2. Procrastinator
If you are like me, you can distracted pretty quickly! For me the main culprits are BBC Sport and Twitter. You know I love my sport, therefore I check BBC Sport regularly, looking for the latest sports news. I use Twitter to keep up to date with the fast paced industry that is online marketing, and have found it an essential tool in finding content that I might not of otherwise come across.

This can become a problem especially when you have a deadline to hit, this is where procrastinator comes in. Using the Procrastinator Google Chrome app, you can block websites from being visited during a certain period of time.

Procrastinator allows you to enter the websites that you want to block yourself from, and the times that you don’t want to visit. Once you have set your times, and you visit a blocked site, you are given a slap on the wrist and politely asked to go back to work. This tool has saved me a considerable amount of time, stopping me from visiting the sites that distract me the most. If you are not using something similar, then I highly recommend it.

With any tool/app you can always get around it, and in this case, it is by using a different browser, or checking your mobile phone. If you are looking for a way to stay focused during certain times of the day, then this browser app is great.

3. Trello
I became a big fan of Trello towards the end of 2012, mainly due to using it more often in-house. I became such a fan, I started to use it for some personal projects as a free resource for managing projects, and giving clients access, and full transparency to the project.

Trello allows you to create tasks that can be assigned to associated to chosen members. It includes filters such as comments, votes, to-do lists, labels and due dates to make managing your project as easy as possible.

What I really like about using Trello, is the ease of usability. Some questions that I have when using basecamp, is how do I use it? Since using Trello, I haven’t had that issue. For our internal process at SEOptimise and own personal project Trello is going to be an amazing asset.

For my personal projects I have been using Trello alongside Toogl to measure the amount of time that had been spent on each task. I find that Toogl compliments Trello extremely well with the use of the desktop application it makes it extremely useful. I am just hoping that the guys over at Trello or Toogl will edit the tool to allow integration.

Do you use Trello? What other tools do you use alongside Trello to make the tool even better?

So there you have it my 3 tools I will be using a lot in 2013. Do you use any of these tools? What other tools/apps do you feel are invaluable to you? What tools do you recommend that I look at in 2013? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below or on twitter @danielbianchini.

Categories
Blog SEO

10 Stats to Justify SEO

This post was originally published on Search Engine Journal

Have you seen the potential of SEO but are struggling to convince your boss or colleagues?

You are not alone. SEO can often be viewed as a difficult, techy oddity, and not something that every company needs. Small-scale businesses often think they won’t benefit from spending money on online marketing.

To help you explain the potential of SEO and justify your request for increased spending, I’ve compiled this list of 10 statistics that I find particularly compelling:

1 – There are over two billion people online

A study by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) discovered that the number of internet users across the globe has now exceeded two billion.

In 2010 alone, more than 226 million people came online for the first time. Market researcher IDC predicts that by 2015, an astounding 2.7 billion people worldwide will be online.

That’s about 40% of the world’s population, which is a lot of potential customers.

2 – 38 million of them are in the UK

If your business doesn’t want to target international business, then your boss may not care about the rapidly growing number of internet users in the developing world. But even so, the numbers for the UK market are compelling.

Research from the Office for National Statistics shows that 38 million UK adults used the web last year. Of those, more than 30 million accessed the internet at least once a day.

You’d pay a lot of money to have a shop on a street that had that kind of footfall!

3 – 31 million are actively shopping online

The ONS study found that 31 million people purchased goods or services online in the 12 months to August 2010.

What’s more, the higher their income, the more likely they are to use the web. The research body found that 98% of people with an income exceeding £41,600 used the internet. That compares to just 69% of adults with an income of less than £10,399.

So, many of your potential customers are using the internet to shop – and the wealthier they are, the more likely they are to do so.

4 – These customers spend hours online

On average, an online adult in the UK spends 22 hours and 15 minutes on the internet each month, according to the UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM).

That’s an increase of 65% compared to just three years ago. Interestingly, 22.7% of that time is spent accessing social networks and blogs, showing just how important a social marketing campaign is alongside your SEO efforts.

5 – People spend billions online

Despite the economic woes, spending online continues to grow. In August 2011 alone, UK shoppers spent £5.2 billion on the web, according to the IMRG/Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

That’s 14% more than in the same month, the previous year.

6 – 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine

So, people are spending a lot of time and money online. But does that necessarily mean that you need SEO?

The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. A study by Forrester from 2006 found that 93% of all internet traffic comes from a search engine. You cannot afford to be missing out on that many potential visitors.

7 – Google dominates all

Although you should rank for all search engines, it makes sense to prioritise Google.

Google received more than 92% of search engine traffic in 2010, according to Statcounter.com. The runner up, Bing, gained just 3.17% of search engine traffic.

Such a compelling statistic also shows that it’s a good idea to funnel paid search spending towards Google.

8 – Customers click on top-ranking links

If you operate in a niche market then you are potentially already appearing on the first page of the search results for the major keywords.

This might make you think that it’s not worth investing in SEO to drive you to the very top of the results pages.

But you’d be wrong. A study by Optify showed that the top ranking website has an average click-through rate of 37%, while 60% of the clicks go to the top three results.

9 – Britons are online on the go

If you want to target customers on the move, you might be advertising on buses and in free papers. But market research agency IDC has predicted that soon more users will access the web through their mobile phones than through computers.

And according to the Office for National Statistics, 71% of 16 to 24-year-olds are accessing the internet using their handsets, so clearly you should be advertising to them online.

Who needs a poster on the bus?

10 – 41% of businesses are winning customers using social media

A successful SEO campaign works hand in hand with a social media strategy – and it’s never been more important to be targeting customers socially.

Research by workplace provider Regus shows that 41% of UK firms are successfully winning customers through their social networking efforts. Not only that, but 48% use social platforms to engage with their existing customers.

Your SEO spending will boost your social marketing – winning you business through two different channels.

Categories
Blog SEO

Mobile Search, a Missed Opportunity for SMEs

This post was originally published on Search Engine Journal

With Internet use on smartphones set to overtake desktop browsing by early 2013, it is surprising that businesses—big and small—are not taking full advantage of mobile search.

A recent study by telecommunications giant T-Mobile indicates that 46 percent of local businesses are not visible when users search via smartphones. For those local businesses that took the step to improve visibility for smartphones saw the benefits, with 44 percent experiencing more customer inquiries.

With the time for mobile revolution apparently being now, here are some techniques to help SMEs take advantage of mobile search and get ahead of their competitors.

Local Listings

Both Google and Bing provide free local listings in Google+ Local and Bing for Business. Setting up and completing these local profiles will enhance your company’s visibility within the SERPs for certain local keywords.

Although this seems obvious to the majority of online marketers, only 16 percent of local businesses had registered their business on Google+ Local (formally Google Places).

Local profiles are not restricted to Google+ Local or Bing for Businesses. There are plenty of other local profiles that SMEs should be adding their business to, including:

  • Yelp
  • Brownbook
  • Hotfrog
  • Crunchbase

When creating local profiles, it is imperative that you use the same information on all websites. This includes supplying the same address and phone number across the board.

Using Getlist.org, you can quickly determine which local listings your company is visible on and how you can improve.

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Making your website easily accessible on multiple devices is becoming a necessity with the vast range of desktops, tablets, and smartphones that are available. With 70 percent of users taking action within an hour of completing a search on their smartphone, creating a mobile-friendly website becomes a far more appealing prospect.

With the majority of SME businesses using open source CMS platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, or Magento, making your website mobile friendly can be extremely easy. For WordPress websites, I have found WP-Touch as a good way to make sites mobile friendly, while I have used the “mobile plugin” module for Drupal.

For those that have a hand-coded website, services such as Telnames can be a better option, providing a mobile-optimized, top-level domain to run alongside the normal website.

Make sure that your mobile-friendly website URL (or .tel) has been added to your local listings to provide the user with the best possible experience when searching via a mobile device.

Optimize for Mobile & Local Search

With Google indicating that over half of all search queries on a mobile phone have local intent, it is essential that you optimize your website for your local area.

There are many factors to consider when optimizing your website for local search. David Mihm’s Local SEO factors survey provides some great information on what people consider to be the most important ranking factors.

Some factors from the survey include:

  • Business address
  • Location targeted keywords
  • Local citations
  • Location in title tag

What techniques have you used to improve your SME visibility in mobile search? Are you seeing an increase in mobile search traffic to your SME? I look forward to hearing your comments below or on twitter @danielbianchini.

Categories
Blog SEO

Investigating Panda & Duplicate Content Issues

This post was originally published on White.net

During a recent analysis of a website (blog with less than 50k visitors a week), we came across some interesting factors that led to us taking a different approach to investigation.

The Problem:

  • The site faced 20-40% drop in traffic corresponding with periods in roll outs of the Panda Algorithm.
  • The site saw a loss in rankings, but no consistency across them – some keywords moved down a few positions, while others went off the first 2-3 pages of the SERPs.
  • The site is a blog, and as a result most of the content written was original and unique, and written by a single person based on their research and experience.
  • The site has been in existence for over 6 years and attracts a lot of natural links – in fact no link building to the site has ever been carried out.

From the above, this doesn’t seem like your typical target for Panda, but the dates of the traffic drops were too much of a coincidence.

Categories
Blog SEO

Mobile SEO: Google Finally Provide Recommendations & Guidelines

On the 6th June at SMX Advanced Google via Pierre Far finally gave us clear guidelines and recommendations on mobile SEO.

As most you are aware Google launched a new Google-Bot back in December 2011 specifically for Smartphones, allowing them to crawl content that is specifically aimed at the smartphone user.

Following on from that, Google have now provided us which configurations they support:

  1. Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.
  2. Sites that dynamically serve all devices on the same set of URLs, but each URL serves different HTML (and CSS) depending on whether the user agent is a desktop or a mobile device.
  3. Sites that have a separate mobile and desktop sites.

The recommendations on responsive design or using alternative stylesheets hasn’t come as a surprise. With responsive design becoming more and more popular this was the obvious choice for Google to be championing.

With this announcement I hope that more and more companies will move away from the mobile & desktop version of the website and start providing a single online presence for all devices. SEO aside this will provide a much better user experience for all those visiting the website on multiple devices.

For more information on what Google have recommended visit their webmaster central blog.

Categories
Blog Events Presentations

Technical, Content and Local SEO – ionSearch

On Wednesday 18th April I spoke on an SEO panel at the very first ionSearch conference along with Stu Owens (Bloom Agency), Jonathan Alderson (TwentySix) & John Hickling (BlueClaw). The panel discussed eCommerce SEO, with the audience asking questions specific to the issues that they are facing.

During the session, Stu, John and I each gave a quick presentation on different areas of eCommerce SEO including Link Building, Technical and Local.

I have included my presentation below for those of you that were unable to attend the conference. The event was enjoyable, and I am hoping that I will be asked back to speak in the main auditorium at the next event in April 2013.