September 2013
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Monthly Archives: September 2013

To Kill a Hummingbird: How Google’s latest update isn’t as helpful as it might appear

Last week was a big week in online marketing. It began when Google took away keyword data from organic reporting and finished with the unleashing of its biggest algorithm change in 12 years – worried what this might mean for you? Then please, read on.

So let’s start with the algorithm change – the very wording of which will strike fear into the online marketers and customers who have seen their sites penalised in one way or another by the big two black and white beasts: Panda and Penguin. Hummingbird, however is not like it’s two land-based rivals, as Hummingbird is the big algorithm that our furry friends are part of. It’s main purpose is to allow Google to compute complex search queries such as full sentences. The fact that it has arrived now may be partly due to the fact that voice search on mobile devices is becoming more popular and somehow when talking directly into our devices to find something that we need, we’re unlikely to use staccato phrases such as ‘Italian restaurants Birmingham’ and instead opt for something more familiar to our speech patterns such as ‘find me an Italian restaurant in central Birmingham’.

Wouldn’t it be great then if Google could compute this data demonstrate in our analytics reports all of the long tail variations and complex questions that people have used to find our websites? Well it would, but it won’t happen and this is a direct result of the first drama of last week – the loss of keyword data for organic search.

If you read my blog post last week you’ll know that Google moved all search to https – thus encrypting all data before it can hit any analytics tools (not just Google analytics but any tool that uses data from Google search to report on traffic and keywords, etc). Hence, not provided is, or will shortly be, the only keyword that you will see.

What they have given us in one hand they have taken away with the other – or more correctly what they took away last Monday night means there’s nothing really positive to say about the bird that fluttered by at the end of the week.

Hummingbird, it is said, will ‘better understand’ the meaning behind the words – so as I sit here I am typing in ‘find me an alternative search engine that gives me the information I need to deliver better online marketing strategies and not just one that is interested in revenue from paid advertising.’ Compute that Google!

Posted by Frances Berry

Not Provided Goes Large: Has Google Given up on Giving us Keyword Data?

If you have logged into your Google Analytics account in the last 24 hours or so, or perhaps you are an online marketer then you will have noticed something strange regarding search queries and usage. Last night I did some reading around and sure enough my fears were confirmed – it looks as though Google has switched to https:// settings which means that in Analytics all search queries will show up as ‘Not Provided’

Not provided keyword data

Not Provided goes large

In effect this means that anyone who goes online and uses Google to search for the keywords or phrases that may lead to your website will still be able to do so – but you will not be privy to this data.  Google will be encrypting all of this data, so you won’t be able to see the search terms used to find your site.  The good news for those who use paid advertising with Google is that keyword data will still be available for clicks on ads and realistically, this is most likely the reason that Google has made the move – to increase revenue from ad sales.  Most of us, however, will just see it as another nail in the coffin for all those involved in delivering and building their business around a decent, honest online marketing strategy.

So if Google has gone large on ‘Not Provided’ it is time for us to look elsewhere to satisfy our hunger for keyword data.  Watch this space…

Posted by Frances Berry

A Game Of Cowboys And SEO

In the world of online marketing, SEO has developed a terrible reputation. There is good reason for this. Alongside the hard working online marketers who thrive by working alongside their clients to create the right campaign for their business, there are also thousands of shady characters that are ready to ride in and scam businesses large and small out of massive amounts of money. These SEO Cowboys are tarnishing the good name of all other search marketers.

The question is, who are these Cowboys? Unfortunately, they can be hard to spot. It is unlikely that they ride a horse, there is little chance that they will announce themselves with the clinking of their spurs, and though they use black hat tactics to rob good honest companies of hard earned money, they seldom choose to advertise this. The whole business of being an SEO cowboy is to trick clients into believing that they are the good guys that will help you make the treacherous journey to the top of search rankings safely and in no time at all. The chances are, you won’t last long on the wagon train.

With businesses being hassled constantly by unsolicited emails and phone calls, it is important to determine what makes a good online marketer. So how can an SEO Cowboy be found? Even without a giveaway black ten gallon hat, it is simpler than you would think to separate the villains from the honest SEO guys. To find out if an SEO agency really know what they are doing, there are a few key things to consider.

John Wayne SEO Meme

Image courtesy of http://imgflip.com/memegenerator

  1. First of all, take a look at their website. What does the website look like, what is the website’s content like and more importantly, how are they ranked on Google? You should expect a good online marketer to practice what they preach on their own website. If they can’t do a decent job marketing themselves online, then how can you expect them to do a good job for you? If a potential SEO company approaches you and you can’t find their website, or it is dated and free of informative content, you would be wise to leave your cheque book in your wallet.
  2. Are they making unrealistic promises? Very often, if an SEO company is making a claim that seems too good to be true, that is because it is. As many businesses want instant results, SEO Cowboys often feed them what they want to hear, rather than telling them the truth. SEO is a time consuming process, and any company claiming that they will get you to the top of Google for numerous keywords overnight is likely to be using underhand tactics. Even though this may benefit you for a short time, it will do you considerable harm in the long run. Google is never fooled for long.
  3. It is a worrying sign if an Online Marketer trying to sell their services to you is not open about their strategies, or just bores you with jargon. If somebody claims that SEO is all a highly guarded secret, or talks at you, throwing big fancy buzz words in your face, there is a good chance that they aren’t entirely sure what they are talking about. Many Cowboys are great salesmen, but not so effective at SEO. It is also important to take note of what an SEO agency wants to know about you. A good online marketer should require as much information from you as possible about your products, services, competition, market and relevant keywords.
  4. Especially in the days since Google Penguin waddled into town, Social Media is an essential part of online marketing. Is your potential SEO company active on their social accounts? Do they use them correctly and effectively? If a suspected SEO Cowboy does not make regular posts, or if they don’t make relevant posts linking back to their website, they may not be too clued up on the latest Google algorithm changes and SEO techniques.
  5. Perhaps the most important thing to remember about SEO is that content is key. Google loves nothing more than content rich websites. Look at an SEO company’s content marketing efforts carefully to see the quality of their work. If an online marketing agency has a helpful website and a high quality blog on which they post great, informative and relevant articles on a regular basis, this is a very positive indicator that they know how to perform content marketing successfully.

Essentially, a good SEO company is an open company. Online marketers should be able to do for themselves what they claim to be able to do for you, and communicate with you on a regular basis so you both know what’s going on. For SEO to work successfully, it has to be a two way relationship, where the customer gets the same out of their online marketing consultant as they give to them.

Though many people have had negative experiences with the countless numbers of Cowboys marauding as online marketing experts, an SEO company can be a valuable addition to your business. Through honesty, communication, constant research and development, and most importantly, a cart load of hard work, the right company can help your business see excellent growth.

Rob Edwards

Piracy and Cupcakes: How We Make Your Social Media Relevant

There is nothing worse than a company constantly boring their social audience with promotional tweets and Facebook updates about ‘awesome’ products or services.  Social media is not a platform for selling, but rather a place to generate brand awareness and encourage audience engagement with a view to then converting this interest into a potential sale at some point in the future. For this reason social updates ought to be engaging, different and interesting to those who may come across them – otherwise they are likely to be ignored.

At SEO it Right we pride ourselves in making our SEO, social media, online PR and email marketing relevant not only to our customers’ business and target audience but also what is going on in the wider world.  Tapping into news stories, industry updates and awareness campaigns is a great way to increase your visibility both organically and socially.

Piracy and Cupcakes

Piracy and Cupcakes – the SEO it Right team showing how important it is to be relevant

To give you an example, this morning we are dressed as pirates and eating cupcakes – not that we need any excuse to eat cake here at the SEO it Right offices, but if we did then National Cupcake Week would be a good place to start!  As for the pirate patches, well we have just returned from sailing the seven seas after a trip of plundering and pillaging…not really but as it is International Talk Like A Pirate Day there seems no better occasion to be donning an eye patch and singing a chorus of ‘What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor’.

Ok, so it is a bit of fun and it isn’t like we do any SEO for pirates, but if we did then today’s international awareness date would be the perfect opportunity for us to create some positive PR and engage with social audiences.  Besides, having a little fun makes the day so much more memorable.

To find out more about how we can promote your business through social media marketing and SEO PR please do get in touch on 0121 308 0219.  AArrrrrh! We look forward to your call me hearties!

Posted by Frances Berry

It’s All in a Day at our Birmingham SEO Office!

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your online marketing company?  Well here’s a little taster based on some of the things we do on a typical day from our Birmingham SEO headquarters.

Firstly the day will start with a cup of tea – generally made by Claire because she is the most organised.  Once the caffeine starts to tickle the taste buds we are ready to tackle a busy day ahead – because it is always a busy day if you are doing your online marketing effectively!

Monday mornings are the worst for most people which is why we like to treat our staff to a morning hoe-down as soon as they are awake.  This does not mean that we do American style square dancing around the offices but more that we gather together to talk through the most important tasks for the week ahead to ensure everyone knows what they are doing who has responsibility for getting things done.  Depending on what department you are in – sales, creative or technical – your day is going to be very different in terms of the work you do but will all be working towards the same goal – improving the online visibility of our clients.

Rather than bore you with the details let’s focus on the SEO team and what they get up to on a typical day…so without giving any trade secrets away they are skilled in creating content for clients’ sites, blogs, SEO, social media and SEO PR – in other words there is a lot of writing going on.  It is this strength in online copywriting that we are truly proud of and what makes us such a special team – there is no outsourcing here – we just keep the staff chained to the desk all day and night (only joking…though there’s a thought…).  Research also forms a big part of any day – finding newsworthy topics, identifying content is suitable for syndication, learning more about our customers so that we can be their social voice and generally keeping up with all that is new and upcoming in the big, bad world of SEO and online marketing.  That’s something else we pride ourselves on – our ability and passion for R&D – without it we couldn’t keep up with new ideas, algorithm changes and the latest technology that keep us at the forefront of our industry.

Supporting clients is another vital part of the SEO’s day – helping customers to understand reporting so that they are getting all the information they need to develop their business, answering questions and providing training are just a few examples of how we provide support.  The door is always open (apart from this week when it doesn’t work!) and we’re completely open and approachable in everything we do – I challenge anyone to find another SEO company in Birmingham or the UK for that matter who can provide the same honesty and integrity (ok so we’re probably not the only ones, but there’s nothing wrong in singing about your strengths).

Managing this business is stressful at times but then I wouldn’t have it any other way – working with a team of diverse, creative and enthusiastic staff makes coming to work each day something to look forward to and in an industry that never sleeps you can be assured that the next exciting thing is never far around the corner.

Tomorrow we will be dressing like pirates and eating cupcakes but that is all in another day at SEO it Right!

Posted by Frances Berry

Are We Experiencing Another Google Update?

There is currently a lot of chatter on this – has your site been affected?   Keep your eyes on your traffic in Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to see whether the suspected update has had an impact on your site. You can read more HERE at the SEO round table.

A Sneak Preview of the Brand New SEO it Right Football Training Tops

Here’s a sneaky peek at the brand new training tops for the Boldmere Falcons Under 8s Football team which have been sponsored by SEO it Right and were worn by the boys for the first time on Sunday:

SEO it Right Sponsors Boldmere Falcons U8's Training  Tops

SEO it Right Sponsors Boldmere Falcons U8’s Training Tops

The short sleeved tops will be worn by the boys at their weekly training sessions – the football mums were pleased to learn that the training sessions will continue to place on the Astroturf pitches so there’s no need to spend hours scrubbing at grass stains on the swanky new tops!

Official photographs will follow soon but you saw the pictures here first on the SEO it Right blog….

To find out more about the online marketing services offered by SEO it Right and how we like to help local businesses to increase their online presence, feel free to take a look at our website seo-it-right.co.uk.

Claire White