Mike Morgan

Mike Morgan writes primarily about developments in the SEO landscape and about Content Marketing and Social Media strategy.

What are SEO audits and why do you need them?

Most organisations now realise that SEO is a hugely important element of any marketing strategy.

SEO dictates the level of visibility of your brand and is an inextricable part of any content marketing strategy.

So how do you ensure that your websites tick all the right boxes?

How do you make sure that your websites are performing as efficiently and effectively as possible?

SEO Audits

To begin with search engine optimisation is now all about value and quality. Content is King… right?

Not so fast!

Your content may be exceptional and your website might be state of the art in design and user experience but if you make any mistakes you will attract varying degrees of loss of trust or you will be marked down as a preferred solution to a given query.

The rise of technical compliance

This has been an incremental process and Google has been very clear that fast, efficient, error-free websites that don’t suffer from thin content or spammy backlinks will perform well in Google’s search results.

A series of major algorithm updates have targeted specific ranges of tactics – Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, Pirate, EMD, HTTPS/SSL, Payday Loan, Page Layout, Hummingbird, DMCA Penalty and several unnamed and unannounced updates.

Overall the requirements are fairly clear. But working through the increasing range of needed compliance factors has become increasingly complex.

Google Webmaster Tools

Webmaster Tools has become an essential addition to website performance analysis and this is where a large portion of research can be done. Google has been continually adding features to this tool and gives recommendations on what can be improved on your site.

This is also where Google advises if you have received a manual penalty for non-compliant behaviour or if you have security issues such as malware.

It is not surprising then that I recommend every website must have Webmaster Tools added and the data should be continually monitored.

Other recommended tools

There are a number of very useful tools that take care of different elements of your website. We use the Moz Suite, Ahrefs, Majestic, Screaming Frog and others to look at and analyse backlink profiles.

A clean, high quality link profile is extremely important. Any sign of manipulative behaviour and penalties can be severe resulting in removal from search results or a dramatic reduction in visibility.

What are SEO audits and how do they work?

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How an inbound marketing strategy can double your revenue (with full strategy)

This post is a comprehensive case study that details a project which High Profile Enterprises has been working on since early 2011. It details not only website growth but also increased revenue and gives a full blow by blow account of each element of the full strategy. It was first published here on the TrinityP3 blog.

In late 2010 Darren Woolley, MD of TrinityP3 decided to take an informed risk. He believed that the future of business was tied to inbound marketing strategies – particularly SEO, content marketing and social media.

Out the window went traditional advertising, lead generation services, cold calling and paid search engine marketing.

TrinityP3 embarked on an integrated inbound strategy in early 2011. These are the results of this bold move and I will share a blow by blow account of the strategies used for TrinityP3 to more than double its revenue in just 3 years.

Taking a gamble on inbound marketing

The ROI for digital marketing

There is a lot of debate about the return on investment for digital marketing strategies, particularly when it comes to content marketing and social media marketing. At the end of 2014 we published a 27,000 word ultimate guide to assist marketers in navigating the tricky waters of digital marketing.

Many experienced marketers struggle to identify the important metrics and to demonstrate real value from their efforts. There is so much conflicting information out there that it can be difficult to work out who really knows what they are talking about.

In May 2013 I published this post which tracked the correlation between 300% website visitor growth and an increase in revenue of 38% for TrinityP3.

Considering the GFC and tough conditions in the business environment at the time, this was a very useful demonstration of the effectiveness of inbound marketing when all elements are managed carefully.

It is now time to share with you what we have worked on, our processes and strategy and what the results look like in real terms – increased revenue.

So, we are sharing our “secret sauce”.

Are we crazy to give away the step by step process to achieve B2B growth through inbound marketing?

Not at all. If you are a regular reader of this blog you will already understand our commitment to sharing the knowledge. “Knowledge is power” has been a philosophy for TrinityP3 right from the start (15 years ago) and the new connected web offers exceptional opportunities to help others and to build a reputation for thought leadership by sharing insights.

More on that later. First up I will share our analytics and financial results and then I will give a comprehensive account of how we achieved this.

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The ultimate beginners guide to Twitter

Are you struggling to get your head around how Twitter works? And how you can get real return for your efforts?

This post started because I was having trouble finding a guide online to Twitter that was current and useful for our clients – so I decided I needed to make one myself.

So here it is…

My beginners guide to Twitter

Here are a few simple steps to improve your Twitter appearance and to amplify your reach and performance. I’ll break it down into a few of what I consider to be the most important areas.

Twitter is well worth the effort in learning how it all works. It looks like the simplest of the social media sites but its complexity will surprise you. Twitter brings great value in communication, access to information and in content promotion and it is an amazing platform for building relationships.

Twitter profile optimisation

If you look at my Twitter page @meetmikemorgan you will see how I have completed the important elements that people are looking for when they visit a page.

Twitter header image

The Ohiwa Harbour scene is the Header Image. The bio image is one of me fishing – a high res shot. The bio is complete and the website link is added.

So, let’s get started on getting your profile optimised…
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20 top web marketing posts – The Weekend Wrap Vol 22

Boom! Matt Cutts from Google drops a bomb that shifts the SEO world on its axis!

How does this affect your web marketing strategy?

And that’s just the beginning – this roundup of the best from the web includes my nomination for the content marketing “post of the year” to date, as well as a scathing analysis of the fall from grace that Facebook is experiencing with B2B marketers.

Plus it’s that time where the SEO experts gaze into their crystal balls and tell us what Google is likely to do this year (good luck with that!).

As a bonus we have some very cool User Experience examples, the lowdown on both meta descriptions and introductions, the best in content marketing tools, a very useful technical SEO plan, and why you might consider jumping from Facebook to Google+ and much more.

Enjoy…

Ohope Beach New Zealand

Ohope Beach looking a bit moody – much like many link building scalers after Matt Cutts’ announcement…

 

Search Engine Optimisation

Keep Writing Quality Content: SEO Bloggers React To Matt Cutts’ Claim “Guest Blogging Is Dead”

The big news in SEO this past week has been Matt Cutts – head of Google’s Webspam Team announcing on his blog that “guest posting for SEO is over”. Although the spammy end of guest posting has been in Google’s sights for some time now the way it was announced was a little surprising. I know we are all sick of those barely coherent offers of guest post junk but this announcement angered a lot of top marketers as well with its broad sweeps. Cue this post from Search Engine Land which asked several top SEO bloggers for their views.

Matt Cutts Declares Guest Blogging “Done” … Are We All Screwed?

This one from Copyblogger responds to Matt Cutts comment in his post:

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.

So the responses and debate flew and many larger media organisations felt the need to counter the inference that all guest blogs are spam… not happy!

Time for Guest Blogging With a Purpose

This response from Jen Lopez on Moz points out the differences between what Matt Cutts was actually talking about and high quality multi-contributor blogs. Guest post with a purpose other than gaining a contextual anchor text link in the body. Think about branding, credibility, traffic, visibility, authorship. And Jen also gives a few tips to help your strategy stay on the right side of any future algorithm update.

Google Propaganda, SEO and Why Marketers Need to Wake Up

This last one which takes the Google announcement and really runs with it is a great piece by the often provocative Rae Hoffman.

And now, we’ve added sites who allow guest posts to the chopping block. And if you think webmasters aren’t running around – right as you’re reading this post – disavowing legitimate sites where they have legitimate, useful guest posts (I’m not talking “made for guest posts” sites here people) then your head is buried in the sand.

A scathing missive on Panda, Penguin, bullying tactics and hypocrisy. Don’t miss it!
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What does Google Hummingbird mean for Marketers?

This post was originally published on the TrinityP3 Blog.

There has been a massive shift in the way search works over the past couple of years. You could say that the internet is starting to grow up a bit. And one of the biggest innovations in search has been rolled out in the last couple of months – a new algorithm known as Google Hummingbird.

Let’s take a look at a bit of background first.

Any major changes in search will have a significant impact on anything else in the digital marketing field. Google rules the kingdom and when Google makes changes everyone takes notice and adjusts strategy – or they should.

There are very few platforms on the web that can afford to thumb their noses at the search giant. Every day you are using more of their products – just think about it – Gmail, Chrome, Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Google+, Google Places, Google Maps, YouTube, Adwords, Search, Picasa, Android, Google Drive…

Google Hummingbird

Why has Google changed the face of the web and why should you care?

Google’s business model is based to a large degree on selling advertising. Yes, those ads that appear in the top three positions. Those ads that run down the right side of your search results. Those “Shopping” results with images and prices that look a lot better than the plain, old text results.

The reason they are so successful at selling these ads is their complete dominance of the “organic search” space. No one can come close – Bing and Yahoo trail miserably behind and as much as people like the idea of DuckDuckGo it really is nowhere near being a viable threat.

Now comes the balancing act – Google wants to increase revenue but does not want to sacrifice a reputation for offering the most accurate answers for any given query. This is across billions of searches and a potential series of results based on billions of web pages.

As soon as Google becomes seen as purely an advertising network their value is gone. Searchers must continue to see the most relevant web pages served up or they will go elsewhere.

Organic search delivers this accuracy which is why it is trusted above the paid results. Anyone can pay for a position but organic placement must be earned.
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120 strategies to promote your business blog [Infographic]

Promoting a blog (or website) has become increasingly complex.

It is now not particularly useful to simply hit the publish button and expect the world to embrace your creative genius.

To promote your business blog effectively you need to understand a large range of disciplines from SEO to Social Media, from User Experience to Conversion Rate Optimisation, from Email Marketing to Content Promotion, from Open Graph Tags to Authorship…

And much more.

Business blogging image

ROI on content marketing and blogging strategy

I recently created a post for a client site which described our comprehensive content strategy and which demonstrated the relationship between growth in website visitors and growth in revenue.

In other words it dispelled the myth that digital marketing ROI is impossible to measure. You can read the post here.

So, you can measure ROI but the road to increased revenue is often a long and intensive process.

Missteps along the way can lead to a slowing down or even a reversal of progress so you need to understand the common mistakes in Content Marketing in order to avoid some of the many pitfalls.

In the end it all comes down to a bit of effort to learn how content works online – what is necessary and what can be downright risky

As a business this is extremely important on a number of levels.

Avoiding the online marketing services cowboys

How can you possibly make a judgement about whether a particular supplier really understands the area they consult on without first having a reasonable understanding yourself?

It is very easy for agencies or consultants to simply baffle with technical jargon and buzzwords.

Are they offering case studies? Are they prepared to give contact details for a number of other clients? How do their own online efforts look? (and don’t accept any excuses about being too busy looking after their clients to have a decent website/social media presence/company search engine presence…)

OK, on with the 120 strategies Infographic.

The Infographic that is a part of this post was initially brought to my attention via a friendly outreach email from the creator – a digital marketing agency in The Philippines. I have to admit that I ignore a very large percentage of outreach emails – mainly because they have not bothered to check out our site first (despite saying they like the site) or because they are offering us SEO services ( to a company that specialises in SEO strategy) – you know the ones:

 I will provide customized website promotion solutions specifically tailored to every customer’s needs. I provide full-service of modern techniques and will follow the Panda, Penguin and Zebra update by Google geared towards increasing potential traffic and visibility of your website.

This one really cracked me up – this guy is offering SEO solutions that are friendly to Google’s Panda, Penguin and Zebra updates…

Shame that there is no such thing as the Zebra update. The Zebra Update was discussed (tongue in cheek) on some SEO blogs earlier in 2013 and several people started referring to a potential upcoming Google update against lower quality ecommerce sites as the Zebra (another black and white animal… geddit?)

Anyway I digress.
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Impending Google updates and what your business needs to know

Matt Cutts – head of Google’s search quality team (and as a colleague commented the other day – one of the most powerful people on the planet) has made a new video. This outlines in his usual friendly, noncommittal manner what Google is doing in the next few months as far as the hugely influential search algorithm goes. (Google seldom pre-announces anything!)

In other words…

Things are about to get very rocky in the website sea!

Hold on to your hats everyone!

Google has “pre-announced” a number of areas where they are going to seek out and punish sites that are using “black hat” SEO techniques to artificially push sites up Google’s search results. Again.

The unfortunate thing is that your site might very well fall into this category without you even being aware of it.

We do have sympathy for the cause…

No one likes cheats and no one likes lazy people gaining big returns for very little effort (or if you are Black Hat – being smart enough and entrepreneurial enough and technically brilliant enough to subvert the biggest business in the world to make money)

The problem with black hat is that it is not a long term business proposition. Awesome for quick buck hacks but scary for real businesses and reputations.

To be honest I think it is amusing that these guys think they are smarter than a couple of hundred of the world’s top engineers…

But, back to the impending Google updates.

The importance of the Penguin Update

No one expected the first Penguin update to be as game-changing as it was.

The SEO world shifted on its axis – any manipulative “link building” was suddenly at best almost worthless and at worst a huge detriment to a client website and business.

I won’t go into Penguin 1.0 detail here as it has been very well covered elsewhere.

But the major outcome from our perspective has been the elimination of a huge number of cheap, automated, low quality SEO services offering the world’s riches for tuppence.

And there have been real benefits for great websites that are technically sound, that offer great user experience, that have high quality, well structured content, that have a commitment to fresh, high value information and a social sharing strategy. These benefits can be profound as I documented in this ROI/website visitor growth case study.

And true to his word Penguin 2.0 has just been rolled out. It is too early to make any judgements around whether it has been more effective, more punitive and whether the desired outcome has been achieved.

We will track this closely as the next days and weeks pass.

I am sure there are a lot of very nervous people out there right about now…

Before I digress further let’s get right down to what Mr Cutts is promising in the next few months.

Here’s the video:

And for those of you (like me) who are way to impatient to wait for a video to slowly roll out here is a helpful transcript (thanks Ross Hudgens)

So what are the big takeaways from the announcement?

My first thought is that like an iceberg only a small portion will ever be visible above the surface. Google seldom gives a warning of impending action and if it does you can guarantee it will be big!

Forget the platitudes and forget the cuddly Matt Cutts persona.

This will be a rocky road for many.

Impending Google updates and what you need to do

Penguin 2.0 – Now live

In my opinion this is the biggie. This has been telegraphed as far back as SMX West in early March and it has been built up as an update to be deeply concerned about if you have ever strayed across the line.
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Are you making these big content marketing mistakes?

Recent research reports all indicate that marketers are struggling with a number of elements around content marketing.

Many are spouting the old “Content is King!” adage but a large number are stalling when it comes to measuring results or understanding what is working and what is not.

The reasons for this confusion become very clear when we dig below the surface of a number of content marketing strategies.

So many of the fundamentals are missing that many brands are wasting their time and money.

Successful content strategy is not just about publishing blog posts. The requirements are a lot more complex than that so I have put together an overview of the most common mistakes I come across when reviewing and auditing websites.

Here are my top 8 content marketing mistakes in no particular order:

Content Marketing Mistakes

1.    Publishing is not frequent enough

You have a company blog and you have committed to creating and publishing content on a regular basis. All runs well for the first few months and then everyone who has signed on to write gets busy.

And one of the first things that gets left behind is the blog writing.

Your site drops from a couple of posts a week to maybe a monthly post and then you realize further down the track that no one has published for a couple of months.

Freshness and frequency are big ranking signals for Google (and let’s face it Google has more than 90% market share in New Zealand and Australia for search).

All of the momentum in content visibility that your early enthusiasm gained is slowly slipping away.

If we look at the potential of regular posting with my SEO hat on (and of course assuming the content is relevant and good quality), let’s say you have committed to just two 500 word posts per week.

That’s 4,000 keyword focused words a month and 8 new pages on your website.

Yes, that’s 48,000 keyword relevant words in your first year and 96 new pages on your site

Now take a look at your main competitors.

Can they compete with this amount of value?

2.    You are not delivering value

This one involves quite a major shift in mindset.

Not that long ago business talked about protecting IP. Business ensured that their methodologies or practices were kept away from any public forum out of a fear that competitors would use the information and take a slice of the pie.

Non-disclosure agreements anyone?

Well, the game has changed and those who understand how the new socially motivated consumer and business operates, are giving value on a consistent basis. Look at any of the major tech based startups in the past few years and see how much value they are sharing.

Step by step tutorials, cheat-sheets, free templates, white papers, training through webinars, free versions of browser extensions and online tools and much, much more.
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Shockwave Flash has crashed – How to fix it once and for all!

Are you sick of super slow browsers and constant crashes and every time the culprit is Shockwave Flash?

Is this familiar?

Shockwave_flash_has_crashed

 

 

Frustrating?

Well, fear not!

This problem was really bugging me a few months back and it got to the stage where I was going out of my mind because of the frustratingly slow browser.

Hey, Chrome is supposed to be fast, right?

So I tried Firefox for a while…

That was even worse (sorry Firefox fans!)

The next step was to try Google…

Shockwave Flash crashing Chrome

A highly laser focused Google search – multiple phrases and  tricks to get through the rubbish to a real solution.

Now that was a joke!

You may have already found a few of the sites I went to.

Why do tech guys have to over-complicate every thing they do?

The huge amounts of code changes, browser settings and PC setup adjustments blew my poor feeble SEO mind!

Finally I found the Shockwave Flash has crashed solution!

And it was easier than you could imagine.
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The Best of SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media and CRO – 2012

2012 has been an incredible year for those of us who work online or who have an interest in search, social or any of the other variations in web strategy.

SEO in particular has seen upheaval after upheaval and Google has been instrumental in changing the way web marketing works or doesn’t as the case may be.

Anyone close to SEO will have watched as Google rolled out Panda update after Panda update, threw in a Page Layout update, an Exact Match Domain update, sent out link warnings and banished sites to the outer reaches, and generally shook  things up to such an extent that only the foolhardy would even contemplate manipulative techniques, black hat or webspam.

Best of SEO in 2012

2012 was also a year when social media really crossed over to the general business population in a big way. Even here in New Zealand most SMEs made the leap and invested time or money in their social media presence. As always the big players – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Youtube made frequent and significant changes to their platforms. The result of all this flux in social media means that it is essential keep your finger on the social platform pulse the whole time.

The big winners in 2012 were without a doubt content marketing and blogging and this is mostly down to Google’s efforts. The benefits of an integrated approach to content marketing, technical SEO compliance and social media authority have grown significantly as the year has progressed. Any business that is not considering a content based approach in 2013 will struggle to remain competitive online. (There, said it!)

Midge has done a great job this year in finding every week the very best content published on SEO, social media, content strategy and conversion rate optimisation and has delivered in our Weekend Wrap a combination of thought leadership, tutorials, opinion pieces and even some humour.

We hope you have found the posts educational, inspiring and thought provoking – we certainly have!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Weekend Wrap up on the right here – we won’t spam… ever!

And while you are here please feel free to share with the social media buttons at the top – many thanks!

Here is my roundup of the very best of the Weekend Wrap – enjoy!

SEO

The future of SEO in 2013

Start with this great post from Stoked SEO who ask a number of the most influential SEO writers what they think will happen with Google and search in 2013.

Some of our favourite SEO people here: Jon Cooper, Jason Acidre, John Doherty, Julie Joyce, Paddy Moogan, Will Critchlow and more. Great insights!

Breaking Down the Mormon SEO Strategy

This post from Distilled was a bit of a surprise.

Who would have thought that a church would focus on an intensive SEO campaign and that they would be competing for phrases like Jesus, Church or scriptures.

Fascinating stuff and I really like the comment asking about the Mormon Church’s “conversion” rate! 🙂

An Open Discussion on the Current State of Link Building

This post stood out not only for the calibre of the SEO thought leaders taking part in the discussion and the quality of the information but also for the unique structure of the post and its informal concept.

Link building has definitely changed substantially in 2012.

We Can Do Better Than This

This is one of the standout posts of the year.

Jonathon Colman put together this epic piece which challenges many SEO writers to up their game with their content and to be more creative and inspirational with what they are producing and with the conversations they are having online.

2012 Year In Review: Important Shifts In Google SEO

This post by Tom Schmitz on Search Engine Land is a nice summary of some of the more important SEO changes from 2012.

He covers online reputation and trust, Google and webmaster notifications, over-optimisation penalties, Panda, Penguin, Pirate updates and lots more.
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