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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Clean up your backlinks or face off with Google Penguin

The Penguin: ‘Please, don’t hurt me! I didn’t mean it!’

It wasn’t all that long ago when getting as many links as possible pointing back to your site was top priority and it didn’t really matter too much where those backlinks were coming from. The goal of course was to position your website on the first page of Google and other top search engines such as Bing and Yahoo.

The quantity of backlinks was extremely important and many websites were rewarded with good search engine rankings and as such were placed at the top of the list when anyone carried out a search query.

Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on which side of the fence you were on at the time), the bubble burst as the major search engines started to evaluate the quality of the links pointing back to your site.

This switch from quantity to quality caused all sorts of problems for those websites that were originally set up with “quantity over quality” link building methods.

Google penguin

The Penguin: ‘You don’t really think you’ll win, do you?’

Google first released their algorithm, code name Penguin, back in April 2012. Rankings quickly fell and many sites were penalised for having backlinks from sources now regarded as black-hat link building tactics. The latest update, Penguin 3.0, was released on 17 October 2014.

As a result, many of today’s SEO specialists need to deeply audit client websites and remove the offending backlinks. This is probably one of the most painstaking and time consuming tasks in SEO and yes, I’m speaking from experience as we have been called in many times to clean up toxic link profiles that have been built by other companies. I almost called this task unrewarding as well but that’s not quite true. The reward is the recovery from a Penguin penalty, or watching a client website start to improve in page rank, traffic and authority in their niche because you’re actually doing your job. So it has become a critical SEO task to clean up your backlinks regularly.

The Penguin: ‘I believe the word you’re looking for is “Aaahh”!’

If you want to use Google as your search engine of choice (and why wouldn’t you – Google is still the most popular search engine in the world with almost 70% market share?), you really have little alternative but to do your best to stick to Google’s rules of engagement. You only need to look at Google’s webmaster guidelines to see for yourself the types of penalties you could incur should you choose not to adhere to them.

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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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100 ideas and topics to make your blog sizzle

This post is my response to a couple of the biggest challenges many of our clients face when it comes to creating great content for their blogs.

The two challenges are:

… you don’t have time…

… you don’t know what to write about…

A successful business owner always has something to do, so not having time is the norm. Think of your blog as income generating – you need to make time for it.

In this post I want to concentrate on the second answer – you don’t know what to write about.

What if I was to give you an easy solution?

Ideas and topics for blogs

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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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The return of the Weekend Wrap – Vol 21 – Web Marketing insights

It’s been a while since we collected a bunch of exceptional posts from our favourite sites about SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Conversion Rate Optimisation and all the other stuff that makes the online space so fascinating and challenging. Well, we’re back with some incredible Web Marketing insights that you will find riveting, educational, informative and thought-provoking, so much so that you will (hopefully) want to share with others. If you want your skills, your website or your business finely tuned and operating at maximum potential join  us for the best of the week!

First up is our gorgeous winter sunset over Ohope Beach. Spring flowers are everywhere and with summer on the way, we can’t wait for swimming, margaritas and BBQs.

Ohope Beach Bay of Plenty

Storytelling is the buzz word we hear everywhere, but it’s nothing new!  Going back in time we can see that cavemen were actually the first storytellers (and the infographic masters) with their cave paintings that told their story 40,000 years ago, giving us an insight into how they lived.  Modern storytelling is a main part of our lives as it educates, informs, enlightens and entertains, interprets your experiences and above all, communicates information.

If you need any proof of this, work your way through the posts below and you will be convinced of the benefits for your business and how you can weave your story into all your online communciations.  Some seriously good reads here.

Our SEO sections looks at why we should be embracing Google+, more on links, getting back to basic SEO and why… and the Ultimate Guide to SEO for eCommerce sites.

Why is social medial the new paradigm and what happens if we don’t get on board?  We can really learn a whole lot from Generation Y who are mastering this space and making a big societal impact with their knowledge of technology.

Last but not least two great posts on conversion rate optimisation, why we need landing pages and how crucial the speed of your website is.

 

Content Marketing

3 Ways to Get What You Want by Giving People What They Want

The masters of content give us some very valuable information in this post about marketing and connecting your product or services to consumers’ desires, the psychology behind it and how to turn your customers into unstoppable evangelists at the same time.

This Will Be The #1 Business Skill Of The Next 5 Years

Everyone loves them, everyone tells them, they have been around since the beginning of time and they are unique in their cause and effect. Stories continue to entertain, surprise, delight, enlighten, create indelible memories and cause us to make changes. What is different about stories now is the way they are being used for business and the opportunities storytelling creates – we are told it’s a skill we need to master.

The New Rules Of Content Marketing

With the emergence of digital, social and mobile platforms producing an explosion of content, the most important element of content marketing is “creating engaging and effective stories.” The word from Michael Brennan is…

give your buyers engaging, compelling, thoughtful stories and they will gladly give you their attention, respect, and business:

(heard this before somewhere)??
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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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Weekend Wrap 20: What is SEO? UX myths & the ultimate LinkedIn cheatsheet

We kick off the Weekend Wrap with some easy to grasp  SEO basics – it’s good stuff and it is in an Infographic for ease of reading.

For the more advanced SEO geeks there is a technical post with step by step instructions on how to avoid duplication and have correct optimisation for WordPress.

Did you hear about Interflora disappearing out of search around 14th of February?  Have a look at this post and make up you own mind as to why Google refuses to comment. Why is Interflora is showing up so quickly, just 11 days after being penalised?

If you’re not up with Google+Local you will definitely want to read this one – insights from David Mihm – the authority on Local Search.

Moving to social media and the hottest social business platform right now seems to be LinkedIn.  If you think it’s just a portal to showcase your C.V. think again… there’s an awful lot of business done on LinkedIn and this is one of the best guides to effective LinkedIn use we have seen.

Next up Copyblogger asks the question – is it time for content marketers to abandon Facebook? What do you think?

We have found some brilliant posts in the content marketing field including a very comprehensive resource for everything you can think of related to content strategy and SEO – Huge! check it out!

There are posts on creating remarkable content (high end stuff), web copywriting tips from one of the best, a 3 step process to writing content…

And there’s lots more…

The image this week comes from our new location where a lone gull sits looking over Ohope Beach – which has just this week been voted the Best Beach in New Zealand.

New Zealand beach image

SEO/ Search engine optimisation:

What The Heck Is SEO And Why Should I Care?

This fantastic infographic from Point Blank SEO is a back to basics, simple introduction to SEO for people who do not really want to know about the complexities of SEO implementation. Exactly what is SEO? Simple concepts, a brief history, easy to understand explanations for the newbie or for people in your organisation who are not up with digital marketing and SEO.

SEO Friendly WordPress in 12 Steps

Right, now that the easy stuff is out of the way it’s time to get into a more technical post on how to correctly optimise your WordPress site to eliminate the dreaded duplication issues that Google is unimpressed by and to ensure your site functions as well for SEO as possible. Nice post, useful step by step instructions – check it out.

Interflora Gets Its Google Rankings Back, 11 Days After Penalty

This story lit up the SEO blogs in the last few weeks. Massive UK brand Interflora was removed from Google for paid link strategies which breached Google’s guidelines. Every news site that accepted their paid advertorials had their Pagerank reduced to zero. You can imagine the loss of revenue this would mean for Interflora (and for the news sites). They must have worked day and night to remove the non-compliance and then 11 days after the penalty they are back – but with lower page positions. I think some of the sites that have had to wait 3 or even 6 months would not be impressed with the speedy return.

Google refused to comment about Interflora’s disappearance from its search results, but two days after the penalty — and another penalty that lowered the visible PageRank of some UK newspapers — Google issued a warning against “advertorials” that pass PageRank.

UX Myths That Hurt SEO – Whiteboard Friday

SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Fridays are always very informative and come straight from the fore-front of SEO thought leadership – especially when hosted by Rand Fishkin. This one looks at common User Experience myths that actually hurt SEO efforts. Particularly interesting is the use of stock images to enhance a page versus one with just text – which one do you think would work better?
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Weekend Wrap 19: SEO predictions, social proof, renegade content marketing

There’s been a lot of talk, controversy and opinions shared on where SEO is heading for 2013.   The first post in the Weekend Wrap for this year is from Eric Enge at Search Engine Watch where he gives his SEO predictions for the ever changing world of search.  We follow that with the essential SEO elements of keyword research – is it the most important part of SEO?

If you have ignored Google+ in the past, it might be a good time to read this post from Dejanseo where they explain the difference between authorship and author rank and whether author rank will be factored into Google  in 2013.

No,  link building is not going to go away and Jon Cooper sets the record straight in this enlightening post and tells us why it’s here to stay.

Mike’s post ‘8 SEO fundamentals for marketers and agencies in 2013’ is a good read and if you’re in the marketing game you will want to be informed on how content strategy, social media and technical compliance will be critical to web marketing.

Other great posts offering valuable insights for social media proof, link building for ecommerce sites and our last post for the week comes  from John Doherty on The Future of Cross Platform Publishing.

The image this week is from our new office in Ohope Beach

High Profile Enterprises view

 

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

SEO Revelations for 2013

It’s crystal ball time and in this post Eric Enge shares his picks for what Google is likely to do this year. As Eric says – one thing is for certain – there will be many major changes this year and the first big one will not be far away.
Great post looks at the essential SEO element of keyword research. Top SEO Nick Eubanks takes you through a range of strategies from basic through to more advanced. SEO without keyword research will be a waste of your time. Check this out.
Confused about authorship and author rank? This post separates the 2 concepts nicely and shows why it is important to know the difference. What are the odds that author rank will be factored into one of Google’s updates this year? Pretty high I think. Time to get more active on Google+!
Jon Cooper nails why link building is not going away any time soon and gives examples of why actively chasing links does not have to be black hat or at all manipulative. If you have an interest in the coalface of SEO this is for you.

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