Weekend Wrap 15 – Google Insider Secrets, Evil Link Building, Epic Content

Some real goodies this week from our search for the best around the Web!

See what Google are  really doing (!!) in this in-depth interview with an ex-member of the elite search quality team, the current state of SEO from those who know and where to from here… how to rid your e-commerce website of those errors that hinder your ranking, a humorous, refreshing post on evil link building methods, a look at the views of 35 powerhouse social media personalities on how to be influential on Facebook, a great post on how epic content or long-form posts in content marketing get big rewards and much, much more – plenty here for your week’s reading to keep you up to date.

A little bucolic scene this week – visiting family enjoying feeding the alpacas

Alpacas eating from buckets

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

What better way to get insights on what Google is really doing than to interview an ex-member of Matt Cutts’ search quality team. The first interview caused a bit of a storm with Google saying that this ex-Googler didn’t really work for them and disputed some of his claims. This follow-up is just as interesting and contradicts some of Google’s public inferences.

Top SEO Tips Straight From the Industry Experts [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some of the biggest names in SEO share on Hubspot their insights and opinions on what is the current state of search engine optimisation as well as giving advice on the best approaches to take. Insights from Rand Fishkin, Darmesh Shah, Stephanie Chang and Greg Shuey.

This post on Kissmetrics is a must-read for anyone working with an ecommerce website. These errors are almost the default setting for many ecommerce sites when they are first built and they will seriously hinder your chances of ranking well on Google.

And here is one just for fun. Peter Attia has put together a follow-up of 9 nasty ways to build links (and recommends you don’t do any of them). Good to see someone having a bit of a laugh when so much SEO commentary is dead serious.

Weekend Wrap 3 – SEO Site Audits, Bad Google, Scrapers, Social Ecommerce

This week we found some astonishing data about the huge gap between paid and organic clicks, Google behaving badly (again), how to prevent people stealing your content and what to do about it when they do, why you should be thinking about your audience as five year olds and much more.

Enjoy the posts…

Photograph this week is our doberman Cooper on Muriwai Beach, West Coast, New Zealand – one of our favourite daily walks.

SEO /Search Engine Optimisation

PPC accounts for just 6% of total search clicks [infographic]

You could be very surprised at the results this infographic reveals involving 28 million people in the UK  (June 2012 research) which shows stats for paid vs. organic search!  Very interesting… particularly around gender and age… worth a look!  Figures like this show just how important SEO is – Adwords consultants will disagree I’m sure!

How to Conduct a Technical SEO Site Audit

In our Weekend Wrap #1 we gave you ‘How to conduct an On Page SEO Audit’ – you can now advance to the next step and conduct a Technical Site Audit with this thorough post which includes a checklist of items to watch for.  Bear in mind, if the pages on your site can’t be crawled, then they definitely can’t be indexed by search engines.

Rank Modifying Spammers

Aaron Wall exposes more tricky (bad) behaviour by Google!  Is Google toying with you before sending your site plummeting to the target rank?  Are there any webmasters still under the illusion that Google is the SEO’s friend or has that club diminished to zero?  Read on…

Google Is Smarter Than You

This post cautions SEOs as to how they should view Google’s changes and to think deeply about how they deploy their decisions.  Why?  Because Google is smarter than most of you…. (read the interesting comments)
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Weekend Wrap 2 – Penguin fears, meta tags, Twitter tips and more

There has been a lot going on this past week and with everyone waiting for the latest updates from Google we bring you a sneak preview from some of the most influential thought leaders in the industry, plus more about what Google wants from your link building efforts, how to create fantastic ‘explainer videos’ and why telling stories is now so important.

We welcome you to call in on a weekly basis and see the valuable goodies the week brings.

First up though – a picture taken during the week of the wild daffodils in our paddock that burst through every year – Spring is on it way!

 

Enjoy the posts below…

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Meta Description Magic: Think Less about SEO & More about Click-Throughs

Hilarious! Google overshoots meta-description length for their own results! Absolute wisdom on the frequently debated meta description tag and its importance to website results.

Google: Further Penguin Update “Jolts” To Come; Panda Is Smoother & Monthly

A lot of people are getting rather anxious as they anticipate  the impending Penguin Update!  Matt Cutts even went as far as to say that the next Penguin will have some jarring effects until Google gets it right…

Why Search, Social Media and Content are Vital For Your Company’s Success

Excellent overview showing how SEO, social media and content strategy are now critical to online success.  Jeff Bullas discusses the three core pillars of digital marketing with Technology Fast 550 expert Andy Jamieson and covers some of the reasons why an integrated strategy works… “Is your company stiff, static and slow or is it dynamic, social and real?”

The Unbearable Torture Of Linking

Is 2012 the time when the scales finally tipped the other way and Google officially became the enemy?  There is a lot of panic out there and this post assures if you provide Google with what they want –  quality website, quality content, engagement…

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Weekend Wrap – SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing Highlights

Every week we come across a huge amount of amazing content from the rapidly changing world of Social Media, the almost daily upheavals of SEO and the incredible creativity of the Web’s Content Marketing Strategists.

We find the very best posts for you on a weekly basis to save you time and filter out the noise on the web so you can get the best and most up to date information for your business.

We welcome you to call in on a weekly basis and see the valuable goodies the week brings.

First up though – a pic of our old Magnolia tree reminding us that Spring is not far away with its beautiful pink buds.

Enjoy the posts below…

Magnolia tree in flower – Muriwai Beach

Here are a selection of the best articles we have found from top bloggers, marketers, social media strategists and search engine optimisation specialists.

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Nine Articles for Serious WordPress Publishers

If you’re a WordPress fan (or not) you won’t want to miss these nine articles showing the value of an online platform that does convert!

How to Conduct an On-Page SEO Site Audit

It’s one of the first steps any good SEO consultant will do before beginning a project and this detailed post talks you through the crucial steps of a site audit.

Google Will Penalize Sites Repeatedly Accused Of Copyright Infringement

Beware the latest penalty from Google that could see your site taking a dive in search results and find out why it’s dubbed “The Emanuel Update.”

How Google Finds Unnatural Links to Your Website

Are you keeping the right company?  When it comes to Links Google has warned us… hang around in the wrong neighbourhood and you will surely get into trouble!
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Is Google Adwords the new snake oil target?

The last couple of months has been a rough ride for many website owners due to the frequent punitive Google Updates and now I am seeing new serious risks appearing for business owners who are not completely up to date with how websites and search engines work. Please use the share buttons above and let your business connections know about this new scam so they can avoid a really costly mistake!

Panda Updates and Penguin Updates

It had to happen really!

Let’s look at the last few months of Google updates and the repercussions felt by a large number of websites both good and bad.

First up, the Panda was tough… and very necessary!

The first Panda update was more than a year ago and I outlined the reasons for it here.

Each of the following Panda updates seemed to be even tougher and there was some serious collateral damage as even a number of high quality sites with tons of great content were punished!

And then came the Penguin… wow!

There will be a large number of web design and development companies who add anchor text based site wide footer links to every client’s site who will be feeling the pain right now (and probably wondering why).

And it seems from the various SEO based forums that SEO companies, web development, bloggers, Internet marketing services and more in the tech services field were hit disproportionately.

But it was not just this field that were hit. Many sites who historically had work done by low cost SEO companies to “boost search ranking on Google” also noticed disturbing trends in their analytics reports after Google’s aggressive targeting of non-compliance.

And because of the close dates of the various Panda and Penguin updates it can be difficult to analyse which particular update has afflicted many sites. Duplication issues, site errors, anchor text repetition, unnatural link profiles, overuse of keywords, over optimisation, comment spam links, thin content, too many links from a particular source, links from unrelated niches? And I could go on.

Google really came out with guns blazing! They hit every possible webspam or manipulative technique they could think of in short succession.

Here is the list of some of the recent Google updates:

April 19, 2012 – Panda 3.5

April 24, 2012 – Penguin

April 27, 2012 – Panda 3.6

May 25, 2012 – Penguin 1.1

June 8, 2012 – Panda 3.7

June 25, 2012 – Panda 3.8

So, Google has decimated webspam. Nice one Google!

Matt Cutts (Head of Google’s webspam team), take a bow.

You have made the Internet a better place…

Or have you?
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Is Social Media The Next Big Bang?

I am currently engrossed in the most amazing book by Bill Bryson, some of you will probably have read it already – “A Short History of Nearly Everything” for which he won the prestigious Aventis Prize in 2004 for best general science book. It’s a remarkable book and I believe the world would be a better place if it was mandatory in every school library.

I know I would certainly have taken an interest in science if this book was around in my day and had been readily available to break down the mysteries of atoms and photons.

Bill Bryson is a gifted story-teller and he presents the study of science through this book in an articulate, friendly and light-hearted way and more importantly, in a language everyone can understand.

The most curious thing happened when I was reading this book that had a profound effect on me.  Now I’ve only read the first few chapters so far but no matter what page I turned I couldn’t stop thinking about the incredible similarities between The Big Bang Theory and the arrival of Social Media… it’s quite extraordinary.

Night lights of US West Coast

What about this analogy?

The Big Bang Theory and social media both appeared as uncontrollable events, a force majeure, something that took hold at a moment in time and has been spreading ever since.

“It took three minutes for 98 per cent of all the matter there is or ever will be to be produced and voila! The Universe was born.”

I’m not saying that the “coming” of social media technology was conceived and completed in three minutes, but we do know that this phenomena exploded onto mainstream consciousness in a similar fashion and expanded with a parallel intensity … and is still spreading.

Both events appeared with a “hiss and a roar” on a magnitude of universal proportions.

Social media keeps on expanding…

“In less than a minute the Universe is a million miles across and growing fast.”

In less than six years social media has made a major impact on our lives… and continues to mature and grow on a daily basis.

And what about this from the Book?

“In 1965 Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were troubled by a persistent background noise, a steady stream of hiss that was relentless and unfocused. It came from every point in the sky, day and night, through every season”.

(Does this remind you of  a small flightless blue bird that has its lodgings in every corner of the world?)

It was eventually discovered that this “persistent background noise” was in fact the edge of the Universe – some 90 trillion miles away!
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Twitter Analytics Tools – A Crowdbooster Review

Management of multiple social media accounts can be a huge drain on your time and resources. Never believe anyone who says social media is free! It ain’t! In this post I will review a Twitter Analytics and scheduling tool called Crowdbooster – no affiliate relationship is involved here so you get nothing but the facts without a pitch. And seeing as this is social – please share with the Tweet, Like, Share type buttons at the top.

Like most people you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of social media accounts you need to be active on if you are in business.

You are also more than likely finding that tweeting, updating, sharing, liking, +1ing, In-ing (Ha!), pinning, stumbling, tumbling, checking in, digging and every other possible permutation is WEARING you out!

I have written previously about Twitter techniques to engage – this post is about how to cut down on the amount of time spent managing your social media accounts.

Social media analytics

Say hello to the wonderful world of social automation – and before you get up on to your high horse – yes, I can hear the chorus already:

Social is all about the conversation, it is about being in the “now”, it is in real-time… 

I agree, 100%!

And you should never automate conversations in social media, or thank yous, or any other more personalised interactions. Ideally you should check into social media frequently to reply to people… in real time.

However, there are certain aspects of social media which should be automated.

Some of the more mechanical tasks associated with managing your social media can take hours every day if you do these manually.

So, tools to assist with reducing the amount of time you have to spend on social media are a necessity.
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Social Media Marketing Experts Or Amateurs?

Why should you care about social media?

The rapid rise in social media over the last few years has given business owners some pretty exciting tools to connect with their customers.  Social media presents huge opportunities for dialogue in a global market where discussion, sharing information and exchanging ideas contributes to building better and longer lasting relationships with customers.

Who can you trust?

It has also produced a whole new wave of ‘social media marketing experts’ (SMME) or ‘social media managers’ (SMM) willing to be the voice of your business and take control of your social media strategy.

Social media manager with gag

While some SMM’s will prove themselves adept in managing your business campaigns with social cohesion, it still remains intangible for them to become the ‘voice’ of your business.  There has been a lot of debate over this as business owners scream long and loud “You’re crazy if you think I have time to twitter all day”.

With changes in the Internet happening at the speed of light, finding a SMM today is an interesting proposition. There is no code to follow so you need to be sure when casting your eye around to fill this role that you ask the right questions to ensure you get the right answers.  It is essential you confirm they are fully up to date with the increasing speed of changes in the social media landscape…

Beware the amateurs and the damage they can do!

Take a look at how this ‘voice’ of the business went seriously wrong:

You may be willing to hand over the “voice” and reputation of your business to a SMM company who knows nothing about your business.  Within a matter of hours your business is  let loose in the hands of some rookie sitting somewhere in a room full of thirty or forty people in their early 20’s working on commission and claiming to be versed and trained in the art of social media – its bollocks!

Is it a good idea to outsource social media?

How they can even start to get a handle on how your business or any other business operates is beyond me when you are one of hundreds of companies being offered a monthly package with a ‘one size fits all plan.’   You don’t have to look far on any of the social media platforms to recognise some of the accounts they handle and what a dismal job they are doing.

It may seem like an easy option to hand over the tricky job of understanding and using social media to a SMM company.  However, at best you will be ignored, at worst you will effectively damage your online brand and reputation by looking inept!

So… back to square one then?

You can’t afford to ignore the mighty social media giants because you don’t understand how social media works or because you won’t invest the time to learn this stuff.
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Panda Update | One Year After The Google Bomb! [Infographic]

It has been a year now since the infamous Google Panda update was covertly rolled out.

Now is probably a good time to do a bit of analysis on whether it has achieved what it set out to do.

Panda Update on Google

How has Panda altered the way people approach search engine optimization?

Did it succeed with what Google set out to achieve?

First of all…

What exactly is the Google Panda Update?

The Panda Update could be described as a clip-on rather than a change in the Google algorithm. The algorithm itself is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the world and it is amended and updated more than 500 times a year.

The Panda Update is run periodically to improve the quality of a searcher’s experience by providing search results that are as relevant as possible. It does this by penalising sites that appear to have thin or low value content.

The Update has been run ten times that we are aware of – the most recent one on January 18th of this year!

Who was the Panda Update targeting?

There had been a major build-up of poor quality content over the last few years. A huge number of Internet marketing programs were and still are being sold to new online marketers. The potential to make a ton of money by teaching people how to manipulate search engine results in order to make sales of products, businesses or services is just too attractive to resist for some people.

And the organic results were free!

A couple of years ago you could research a keyword, write an article, create a press release, make a video, post on a Web 2.0 site and publish a blog with almost identical content and you would end up with 5 or more positions in the search results on Page One for the keyword!

Wow!
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Marketing With Twitter! It’s Not All About ROI

Twitter marketing is about giving and sharing information2012 will be the year for businesses of all sizes to seriously acknowledge social media.

Business owners now have an exceptionally powerful and proven marketing tool to add to their portfolio – Twitter!

As we all know Twitter is one of the largest social networks in the world and if you take the time to create and shape a strategy that integrates with your other marketing methods you will certainly reap the benefits.

To understand how marketing with Twitter brings business success can be a daunting prospect if you are not familiar with the nuances of Twitter and it definitely pays to get it right.

Unfortunately most companies are missing out on this opportunity simply because they have not taken the time to understand how Twitter can work for their business.

In his book  “The Tao of Twitter” Mark Schaefer says “I have studied, observed and written about hundreds of different success stories through Twitter and the social web and they all have one common formula running through them.  This is truly the path, the way, the Tao of Twitter.”  

He goes on to describe the business benefits of Twitter as being created through three elements  – one of these is “Authentic Helpfulness.”

In the case studies below I demonstrate how all of these connections have occurred through ‘authentic helpfulness’.

In all cases there was never a pitch for business and no sales page to convert leads.

The connections were made through the genuine desire to offer valuable information to educate and help other business owners understand how they too can reach out to find potential business and partnerships using social media.

As Schaefer says “Content is the new currency of the social web and sharing valuable information is the catalyst to forming new relationships and business partnerships”.
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The Social Media Benefits Of Telling Tall Tales!

What are some of your most cherished childhood memories?

…your most loved activities as a child you have grown up with and continued to love as an adult?

Most of the activities and pleasures we love as children change as we mature and become immersed in adulthood and all the trappings of maturity – career, travel, marriage and families of our own to start the cycle over again.

There does however seem to be one aspect of our childhood that never loses it’s appeal – and that is storytelling.

Tall tales bring social media benefits

 

Just think about it for a minute, at any given time you are either listening to a story being told, you are regaling one to a friend or audience, you are reading someone a story or reading one yourself.

Some smart educators and trainers use storytelling to teach new programmes, managers use them in resolving conflicts, addressing issues and facing challenges and many games are based around stories often in an outrageous form with hyperbole gaining the highest points!

Even your best kept secrets destined only for the most private ears – are stories!

Our existence is one big story made up of thousands of tales that weave together the fabric of our lives, chapters that inspire, sadden, excite, rejuvenate, sparkle, enthuse, bring a delightful end to a long day, evoke buried memories and bring joy and laughter into our lives.

Stories can also frighten, agitate, cause discomfort, scare to death, unnerve, disappoint and make you sad.

You will at some time have come across brilliant raconteurs who can recount their anecdotes and experiences with a talent that leaves you feeling the pain or pleasure of their tale, as if it were your own!

You are probably wondering how this relates to the title of this article: ‘The Social Media Benefits Of Telling Tall Tales’ but before I get to this point I want to indulge you just a little bit more.
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