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Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

You may be familiar, or just heard, of the periodic table of chemical elements but I thought I'd share with you the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. We have started to introduce this useful Search Engine Optimisation framework to students on both the Digital Marketing Planning and Digital Marketing Essentials courses that we run. As Search Engine Land authors note: "SEO seems like alchemy to the uninitiated" but this useful diagrammatic representation of the key factors will hopefully offer you some clues as to what you should be focusing on for success. They divide the table into "On-The-Page-SEO" and "Off-The-Page-SEO" and each element is ranked from -3 to +3. The on-the-page SEO includes areas such as: content, HTML and architecture, whilst the "off-the-page SEO" includes links, trust, social and personal. Each of these are further broken down to give you, if you're not familiar, a glimpse of what you might want to adjust.We hope that it will help you to look at SEO in a slightly different way.

SearchEngineLand-Periodic-Table-of-SEO-2013-medium-3


New Search Analytics Reports in Webmaster Tools

Google is currently rolling out a new (beta) tool within Webmaster Tools. Replacing Search Queries, the Search Analytics tool allows you to analyse your search queries in more detail. The search box within Search Analytics lets you measure 'Clicks', 'Impressions', 'CTR' and 'Position' against Queries, Pages, etc (see below). This update is certainly an improvement over the previous version and offers SEO and Webmaster folk more detail, especially as they can apply various filters. This set up very much reminds me of the dimensions and metrics elements within Google Analytics.

search2
So, let's take a quick look at its latest functionality. Notice how the selection of 'Clicks' brings in the keywords with the highest amount of clicks for the stated time period. Should you wish to add a filter, Webmaster Tools will allow you to filter in/out certain aspects (USA in countries) or compare. The date selector allows you to select a date range or compare date periods - again a very useful tool.clicks3

Let's say that you wanted to analyse the clickthrough rate for a given keyword and its relative position in Google searches, you simply select "Query" and apply "Clicks", "CTR" and "Impressions" against it. This can allow you to measure your performance against competitors or even try and see how you could improve the CTR - possibly through meta description/content or page title mods.
clicks
If you're looking at opportunities that might be going a begging, select "Clicks" and "Impressions" and measure them against "Queries". If you run down the list of keywords you will then find Google Organic queries where you're not appearing. You'll obviously need to look at the "Impressions" to work out which ones you'll wish to target. Then you'll need to work out how to optimise pages around these words to get more clicks for those keywords.

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So, as we can see this tool can be quite useful for different insights into how your web pages are performing for certain searches on Google.

Related Pages
Google Analytics Training Course (London and Cardiff)


12 Tools To Help You Analyse Competitors Online

Very often when asked to conduct consultancy for clients I will begin by looking at how effective their competitors are online. It is important to understand how you compare with your competitors and to learn and evaluate how well they are using digital tools. This is also something that the students on our CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing are asked to review as part of their digital marketing audits. So, let's take a look at some of the tools and techniques that can be used to analyse your competitors.

Using Google

It is useful to know how many pages of your competitors are being indexed by Google. We can get a detailed picture of our own pages when we use Webmaster Tools but let's see how to go about looking for this information from Google. The command for this is: "site:" for example [www.innocentdrinks.co.uk] and it indicates the numbers of pages

innocent

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Filtering Out Spam Referrals On Google Analytics

Since November it appears that a couple of domains have been sending a lot of traffic in to this website. In most cases one would argue that the more traffic, the merrier! However, in this case they were not from quality websites and directories, such as CIM, but from so-called Spambots. I'm not going in to the ins and outs of Spambots but thought I'd share a definition with you:

A spambot is a program designed to collect, or harvest, e-mail addresses from the Internet in order to build mailing lists for sending unsolicited e-mail, also known as spam. A spambot can gather e-mail addresses from Web sites, newsgroups, special-interest group (SIG) postings, and chat-room conversations. (Tech Target)

There are quite a few issues with irrelevant referrals but the one I want to look at is how it skews your Analytics results. As an organisation you want to see relevant traffic coming in to your website to help you justify the time, money and effort you have spent on digital marketing. Within your Google Analytics reporting you will quite likely be measuring how your channels work and whether goals are being achieved. Spambots can give you a distorted picture as they display traffic from irrelevant sources. There are ways to block these Spambots from your site. However, I'd like to look at how you can block them from skewing your Analytics results.

I want to firstly look at filtering out bots that you suspect are up to no good.

  • In your Admin section, select the profile you would like to filterScreen Shot 2015-02-05 at 16.45.40
  • Select Filter
  • Choose a suitable Filter Name and select Custom
  • Add Referral as the Filter Field of the site you wish to exclude
  • Type in the name of the site you wish to exclude in Filter PatternScreen Shot 2015-02-05 at 16.46.13
  • Save
  • Your excluded-domain filters will be displayed on the filter pageScreen Shot 2015-02-05 at 16.45.58
  • Any other profile can apply your filters
  • In no time you will see the filters starting to workScreen Shot 2015-02-05 at 16.45.17
  • You can now now enjoy seeing much more relevant traffic in your Analytics reports.

One other way you can try to create a clearer picture is to "exclude all hits from known bots and spiders". It was introduced by Google last summer with this thought:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 17.15.34

What you might want to consider is creating a view as a control account so that you can monitor the difference between the bot filtered and unfiltered data.

More Information
Google Analytics Workshop: Cardiff  (March and April) And London (February, March and April).


Digital Trends For Marketers In 2015

Hootsuite has written an interesting article on the 7 trends that Social Media Marketers need to keep abreast of in 2015. I thought I'd share them with with you today.

Google will rely heavily on social media signals for SEO
Google rankings are being more heavily influenced by Social media Hootsuite reckons that SEO and Social Media peeps will need to work a lot more closely with each other to ensure "their company ranks on top in Google’s SERPs."

Content marketing will be the solution to Facebook’s algorithm change
With Facebook's new algorithm Hootusite reckon businesses need tp consider "timely posts about information that provides value to your social media audience." Those with a sophisticated content strategy are much more agile as they can "select content from their blog to feature on the business page."
Bottom line - get cracking on your content marketing.

Websites need to be more mobile-friendly
Mobile phone penetration is at 52.4% globally and we must assume that you have thought of or are thinking of optimising your website for global. You should also consider optimising social media 'media' for this, too.

The new Twitter search engine will push for Tweets to be more optimized
Twitter has launched its newest and best search engine, which allows you to search tweets from its ENTIRE index right the way back to 2006 . Hashtags, images and links are as important as ever as more optimisation can result in more queries, and more business.

Social media data will inform marketing decisions
"A recent survey conducted by Hootsuite found that 60% of global organizations struggle to turn social data into actionable tactics." They see that this year the social media marketer will become a social media analyst. And they will be using this data to "inform marketing and business decisions."

A testing culture will be implemented in all digital marketing teams
Hootsuite sees that this year we will be testing all manner of digital assets including, "landing pages, website layout, online ads and emails every day." In short A/B Testing will be carried out by everyone.

The online experience will shift to a more “human experience”
As we have seen Google and Facebook make changes which are more human, so we will see marketers create social media posts that are more relevant, providing more value to customers and making engagement more human.


New Google Analytics Course To Be Launched – Starts January!

Marketing Tom Media is pleased to announce that from January it will be offering a new Google Analytics course. We have been working on it for the past 4 weeks and have now set a date for its launch: January 31st, 2014. This course is aimed at users of Analytics who would like to take their knowledge a few steps further on. It's aimed at pretty much anyone who needs to access data from this application - from those in marketing roles, sales positions, customer care or even the technical/web side of business.

Google Analytics CourseSome of the many topics we will cover are: Analytics Interface, Account Structure, Standard Reports, Customised Reports, Goal Creation, Traffic Sources, Filters, Widgets, Advanced Segments, Attribution and much more. Revised every month, we guarantee to have the most up-to-date information for your Analytics success.

If you'd like more information, visit the Google Analytics page or give us a call on 02920 005 778.


9 Things An SME Should Do BEFORE Using Social Media

I run Social Media workshops and have done for the past 6 years and in this time I have trained hundreds of people. Yet it never cesases to amaze me how many people want to start using Social Media applications when plainly they need haven't put the digital marketing building blocks in place. B2C companies want to create a Facebook page but haven't sorted out their primary web presence, B2B's want to set up a Twitter account when they have no idea who is looking on their website or where they came from. I decided to come up with a checklist of 9 Things an SME Should Do Before Using Social Media and encourage you to read them and, if you can, add some more ideas in the comments section.

Build a Decent Website - it goes without saying that you should employ a designer/developer who knows how to build websites - that are attractive, easily navigable and can be picked up by the search engines. On the Digital Marketing Planning module we teach, we discuss the idea of customer acquisition and conversion objectives and look at how you should be focused on targeting the RIGHT audience (through Search Engines, Social Media, Directories, Online PR, etc) and sending them to the RIGHT website.

Your website should tell people who you are and what you do. Navigation to products, services and company profile should be clearly visible and easily reached. Don't forget the mantra of Steve Krug, website usability expert: Don't Make Me Think. To a certain degree you should design your website like others as quite possibly customers may be searching sites of the same genre. Don't forget that powerful solutions can be built yourselves by using tools like WordPress, which are designed to be spidered easily by the search engines.

Consider Calls To Action (CTA's) - let's assume that you have managed to get the right customers to your web page, what next? What do you want these Highly Valuable Visitors to do? As a business you should know what you want customers to do on your site and you may also consider where people may be in the buying process - viewing, researching, evaluating, buying or post-buying. CTA's may include contact forms, phone numbers, email sign-up forms, downloadable pdf''s, buy buttons, reserve buttons, call-back facilities, product evaluators or even calculators. They may include Social Media share buttons and widgets, product videos, press packs, images and much more. Their inclusion should signify that you have carefully considered your target audience and thought about their needs and expectations on arriving to your site.

Do your on-site SEO - have you thought about the content that you will display on your website? Do you actually know what keywords people are using to find your site?  Have you used online tools like Google Suggestion Tool or Google Trends to discover words? You will need to think about creating high quality page titles, using keywords that your target audience may type in to Google, headlines which match and content which follow the theme. You will need to pay attention to the use of keywords in anchor text (though not for the page you're on), image alt attributes, meta description and the URL. And make sure to keep away from keyword stuffing!

Do your off-site SEO - this is primarily achieved by people linking to you. Through company websites, blogs, news sites, directories, associations, even Wikipedia. You also have to add in to the mix social media and online PR. Ideally, people will want to link to you for the quality content and relevance of your site. They will, hopefully, link to you using anchor text, which looks like this: Social Media Course London. You may want to use tools like MOZ's Open Site Explorer to discover what your competitors are searching for and start speaking to those who rank highly for your targeted keywords. Here are some top tips from MOZ on the subject:

Get your customers to link to you.
Build a company blog. Make it a valuable informative and entertaining resource
Create content that inspires viral sharing and natural linking
Be newsworthy.
Find directories or listings of relevant resources.

Add your site to Google Webmaster Tools - tell Google that you're the owner of your site. All you do is add a html page to your site, a html tag or connect your analytics and your site will be verified by Google Webmaster Tools. This resource allows you to upload sitemaps to Google, view 404 errors, find out who links to you and a whole lot more. It also allows you to control which sitelinks you DON'T want to appear in Google searches for your website. Webmaster Tools also allows you to add sitemaps of your website.

Google Places for Business - if people use a Keyword + Local Search word, e.g. "Cardiff Hotels", they will probably be served up with a SERPS page that has a few organic listings at the top (under the Google AdWords) followed by around 60 7 Google Places listings and then more organic listings underneath. People are increasingly clicking on these listings to get to website content. Make sure that you have claimed your Google Places listing and added descriptions and content. You may also want to encourage your clients to leave reviews on Google reviews, too - these will display when you type in your local searches.

Google AdWords - OK, we've completed all of the above and we still want more traffic. Well, Google AdWords could be the tool which will help you get to those customers who your SEO and Google Places can't reach. It can also help you target people in different countries and help you entice customers away from your competitors. But beware! You have to carefully plan and structure a Google AdWord campaign and think carefully about what you want to achieve. AdWords are triggered by keyword searches, in much the same way that organic listings are, and work on the principle that the advertiser only pays when their ads are clicked - the cost of each click can range from a few pence to upwards of £20 or more for high value words.

Set up Google Analytics - if you're driving traffic to your site, you will want to know that it is the right traffic and to find out what people are doing on your site. Google Analytics is an application that allows you to see where people are coming from, what keywords they used, what countries they're from, and what they're doing on the website. It lets you know which keywords resulted in which sales, where people came out of your website and which online activity works best for you (Google Organic, PPC, Email or Social Media). Every digital marketer needs to have as much information as possible to tell them how their online presence is working and Google Analytics does this - for FREE!

Email Marketing - we mentioned customer acquisition and conversion before, well Email marketing is one of the key tools for customer retention and extension. With your website presence you should be able to develop a quality database of contacts - from people purchasing, downloading documents, trialling your products, enquiring or just adding their name to your email list. These are people who ave taken the time to learn/buy/understand your business and its offerings and they are also people who will listen to you. Email marketing is one of the great tools of digital marketing and, when used correctly, can deliver huge rewards to your business.


Using Blogs to Build Your Knowledge of Social Media and Digital Marketing

Many people tend to rely on Support guides, tutorials or articles from sites like Mashable and Search Engineland to inform them of new advances to platforms like AdWords, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like. However, a rich source of information can be found on the corporate blogs of companies like these. Product announcements, feature changes, tutorials, case studies and much more can be found on these sites. Updates and news from these sites can be gleaned by following them either though Wordpess subscription or following them on Twitter and Facebook. What you will find is that many of them are using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to let others know about their blog articles. Here are a selection of those sites.

Here are some links to Digital and Social Media Marketing Blogs

Google AdWords Blog
Google Analytics Blog
Google Webmaster Tools Blog
YouTube Blog
Facebook Blog
Twitter Blog
Instagram Blog
LinkedIn Blog
Flipboard Blog
Pinterest Blog
Google Blog (including Google+)
WordPress Blog


Revolutionising Mobile Payments

This Autumn, Marketing Tom Media will start rolling out its latest course - the CAM Diploma in Mobile Marketing. We have been successfully delivering the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing for over two years now and are really excited to offer this new course. Whilst developing the course material we have come across some really neat apps and we plan to share them with readers over the coming months. Here's one that you may not be too familiar with in the UK - Mobile payments. Mobile Payments have been around for a little while but now companies like Square, PayPal and Google Wallet are really starting to ratchet up their marketing push on these exciting new products. We have identified a few videos from some of the big players to give you a flavour of what is on the horizon for UK retailers and shoppers in the months to come. We're sure you will start seeing a big increase in shops and other businesses who employ these services.

Here's Google Wallet

and here's Square:

And this is the UK's new kid on the block, Mpowa:

Useful links
Starbucks backs Square for mobile payments in shops