01 April 2013

Facebook announces updates to Mobile Apps Install Ads platform

Facebook has revealed two new updates to it Mobile Apps Install Ads platform in order to make it easier for marketers and developers to create and tailor these types of ads.

First introduced in October 2012, the changes will allow marketers and developers to reach the right people on the right devices. The update means developers will now be able to reach specific version of Android and iOS operating systems as well as target people using WiFi as opposed to 3G for larger app downloads.

The ad create tool has also been updated to ensure that it is easier to build/launch Mobile App Install Ads. The changes aim to make the process simpler and more akin to sponsored stories and Page like ads where you can get a campaign up and running in minutes, with the ability to build Mobile App Install Ads is now inside Facebook’s basic ad creation tool.

One of the biggest companies to utilise the platform since its launch last year was mobile operator O2 who chose to do the initial promotion for its new Tracks music application on Facebook Mobile App Install Ads first. Over the first three days the advertising reached some nine million UK Facebook users and charted at number six on the Apple App Store.

Russian game developer Social Quantum and US-based fashion exchange service Poshmark have also made use of the platform in recent months.

07 September 2012

Choosing Keywords to rank on

I get a lot of questions about SEO... but here's a common one I've been hearing a lot lately:

"Which keywords should I focus on?"

It's hard to give a blanket answer about keyword selection because every business is different.

But here's some advice that'll probably apply to your situation.

If you're choosing between a few different keyword variations, focus on the one that's most relevant to your business. And specifically, you want to focus on keywords that have HIGH "
buying intent."

I'm talking about keywords where there's ZERO doubt that this is a prospect interested in your products or services. (In other words, no tire kickers.)

Here's a hypothetical example to explain my point.

Let's imagine you're a dentist based in Cape Town and you specialize in cosmetic dentistry.

What keywords should you focus on?

Let's imagine you're deciding between three options:

1. The keyword "dentist" - 
2. The keyword phrase "Cape Town dentist" - 
3. The phrase "Cape Town cosmetic dentist" - 

My advice: You should focus on "Cape Town cosmetic dentist" because it's the most relevant keyword - even though it's got less search volume.

And there are 2 reasons why...

Reason #1. Get Faster Rankings

It's much easier to get ranked on the first page of Google for a more specific phrase like "Cape Town cosmetic dentist" than for a shorter phrase like "dentist."

(In the SEO world, these long phrases are known as "long-tail keywords").

It's common to be able to rank for a 3+ word long-tail phrase within 1-2 months, but you might have to invest for 6-12 months or longer to appear on the first page of Google for a shorter phrase.

Reason #2. Get More Customers
And here's the even more important reason to focus on relevant long-tail keywords: you'll get more customers.

If people search Cape Town cosmetic dentist and land on your website, they'll be
way more likely to become a patient, versus if they just searched "dentist" or "Cape Town dentist."

Think about it...
WHY do you want to rank on the first page of Google anyways?

Rankings alone won't get you customers. Traffic alone won't get you customers. In order to get new customers, you need traffic PLUS

You need people to land on your website and then contact you and do business with you. And you'll enjoy much higher conversions if you focus on keyword with clear
buying intent.

When in doubt, focus on more specific, more relevant, longer keyword phrases.

10 August 2012

Yahoo Search results now powered by Bing

The Yahoo and Bing team informed SES San Francisco attendees of the major benefits of the search alliance.   In the near future, 30% of the market share will now be managed through one adCenter.  As of yesterday, Yahoo organic results are now being powered by Bing.
Here are 6 steps to prepare for transition as Advertisers:
  • Keep your existing adCenter account and augment: this maintains historical data and allows months to focus on enhancing account structures.
  • Analyze campaign and AdGroups: Familiarize yourself with adCenter features, perform campaign analysis and build out your campaigns, check your structure and campaigns post – account transition (make sure you are familiar with import mapping of campaign & ad group settings, and tweet where necessary).
  • Maximize keyword coverage: understand keyword differences across platforms. Make sure to bid on plurals, variations, and popular misspellings of the queries that matter to you most.
  • Match types: match types in adCenter are aligned with the industry standard.
  • Budget for the increase in impression and click volume: managed advertisers are required to sign new IOs for the unified marketplace and Yahoo reps are now ready to guide for Q4 budget allocation for Bing and Yahoo. Self Serve advertisers should seek online help through adCenter.
  • Monitor, measure, modify and repeat: optimize accordingly.
Now that your ads are taken care of, how should you prepare your site for the transition? Anthony Garcia with Bing states that ranking is 100% based on how Bing indexes and ranks relevance for sites. Content is still king and SEO principles remain unchanged. Make sure that you give Bing crawlers access to crawl sites.  Change user agents from msnbot to bingbot (Oct.1). Be sure to continue to use Yahoo Site Explorer because oversea markets will take longer to transition.

28 June 2012

Google Penguin - The new Google algorithm

The Google Penguin algorithm update is nothing to worry about if you continue writing articles naturally, and without endless keyword repetition. The update has been designed to catch out those relying on ‘black hat’ web-spamming techniques to boost their rankings, and not those that have gained their ranking position fairly and honestly.

A search engine’s clients are those using it to find information, and Google is only trying to improve that service for its customers – and by assisting the search engine to achieve this you can take a big step towards a good ranking. Google is not particularly targeting poor quality content here, although you will suffer if your page text is full of unnecessary instances of your keywords. What concerns Google is the source of the links back to your website, and the anchor text you use that people click onto reach your individual web pages.
So that’s it basically – how to keep the Google Penguin algorithm update happy. To be more specific:
Your Web Page Content
Keep writing articles, but keep it natural and avoid keyword spamming. The Google Penguin update has been designed to detect what is known as webspam, a component of which is keyword stuffing – trying to influence spider algorithms by excessive use of a keyword in an article or web page content.
You should work to a maximum of around 1% keyword density. The more discerning article directories apply a keyword limit to your submitted articles. Ezine Articles for example applies a 2% limit – that includes similar terms, such as ‘article writing,’ ‘writing articles,’ and ‘write articles’ all being regarded as the same keyword; even ‘articles’ would be read as a keyword.
I would suggest using a keyword density of no more than 1%, if that. 2% should be regarded as a top figure.
Taking ‘golf balls’ as an example of a keyword you are using on a page in a golfing site, you would use the word ‘golf’ in terms such as ‘golf shoes,’ ‘golf apparel’ and many others. The algorithm has no idea of your intended keyword, so it will list what it believes appropriate from the semantics of your page. It will take ‘golf’ as a keyword and, if that exceeds a certain figure (nobody but Google knows what that is), your page is liable to be dropped a few places in the rankings for any of its keywords.
So write naturally and don’t worry about keyword density, other than to keep it low, although not so low that the main topic is lost. Forget numbers in your article writing, and write naturally and sensibly – as if you were speaking to the person reading your article.
Your Anchor Text
Many people use the same anchor text in their links time after time. Mix it up: when you are writing your resource, box or creating in-text links that readers can click, it makes sense to use your primary keyword or phrase as the anchor text (the text that is highlighted as a link). Avoid the use of the same keyword or phrase all the time. If your website focuses on article writing or article marketing, avoid the temptation to keep repeating the word ‘article’ in the text.
You can employ a number of alternative words, such as dissertation, essay, passage, content, copy and so on.’ Synonyms can often be difficult to find, particularly those meaning exactly the same in the same context, so if you are stuck for alternatives, check out an online thesaurus such as Thesaurus.com and you will find a whole host of them. You may lose the benefit of links back to your web pages if Google Penguin calculates your links as being over-repetitive (an algorithm is a mathematical formula and hence does not use human values).
Your Linking Strategy
The Google Penguin update looks for a diverse source for the links leading back to your web pages. Your search engine listing position will suffer if large numbers of backlinks come from the same website or from a recognized links farm. The same is true if your links are predominantly from poor quality web pages and pages not directly connected with the topic of those to which they link.
Mix your links between different sources, and also different types of source. For example, don’t have all your articles published on the same article directory. Make as sure as you can that the links leading back to your website (backlinks) are not all from the same source – or even similar sources, but are mixed between different article and web directories, Squidoo lenses, forums, blogs, private web pages, etc.. Make sure your links come from multiple sources.
So, if you avoid excessive keyword repetition, vary your anchor text and mix the source of your backlinks up, you can kick the penguin in the rear end and tell it to get lost. Google’s purpose is to provide its clients with a good search experience – the search engine is not particularly trying to punish you – and the Google Penguin update is how it is achieving that. So keep writing

16 April 2012

How GoogleBot see's your website

If you want a website that works for both people and search engine spiders like GoogleBot, you have to spider check your work. It sounds obvious and simple, but if you don’t spider check your work – how do you know it works?

Search engine optimization or SEO is an environment where humans have limited visibility. There is definitely a limit on how much human eyeballs alone can see in terms of how the GoogleBot sees your website without actually spider checking your work on Google.
Search engine spiders like GoogleBot are robot software that crawl your website for ranking. Google says compared to humans, “Bots access pattern is completely different” – one of the greatest understatements in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines!
People tend to assume Google rankings are much more automatic than they actually are due to this difference between how humans view a website and how robot search engine spiders view it for ranking.
If you’re an SEO and live and breathe Google’s algorithms, many of the problems you deal with on a daily basis are related to bridging the gap between what works for human visitors to your website and what works for search engine spiders that bring traffic.
Search engine visitors are the most affordable way of getting free targeted traffic to your website. However, one of the biggest SEO mistakes most people make is assuming their web designer is also a search engine optimization expert.
In most instances, you should not expect the person primarily concerned with the look and feel of your website and its coding to also keep up with the latest in Google’s algorithms that are constantly evolving and updating. While web design and SEO are both at the heart of your website’s functionality, never assume your web designer is also an SEO expert.
SEO is a different knowledge and software set than most web designers can devote time to or should be expected to stay on top of. SEO is also a one strike you are out environment. You can do a hundred things right, but get one important element of SEO wrong and it can undo everything else you do.
The question that can often make this point clear is to ask your web designer, “How do you spider check your work?”
Although Google’s Webmaster Guidelines provide tools and guidance on how to check a website through a spider’s eye view – like looking at the site with a Lynx text based browser or using the Googlebot tool in Google Webmaster Tools – in fact, very few web developers have actually read and followed Google’s guidelines.
This is why spider checking your website is so important to see if what you thought you were communicating on the Internet is actually being seen and ranked on Google. If you haven’t spider checked your website, you simply can’t tell if it is working on search engines. Here are a few easy ways to do that.
First enter the following in the Google search box:
A site:search is the single most important diagnostic search on all of the major search engines that tells you how that search engine views your website. Don’t put a space after the colon in a site:search or you won’t get the right results.
Because your root domain without any slashes after the domain name is the top of your site’s hierarchy, you always want to see your root homepage as the top result of a site:search on Google.
If you don’t see your homepage at the top of a site:search, there may be a problem. Most of your ranking strength is focused in your homepage where the majority of the external links to a site usually point. The lack of appearance of your homepage at the top of a site:search on Google is one of the ways you can see if your site is under a penalty or downgrade – although this is not conclusive evidence of that fact alone.
Note carefully how your homepage displays with a site:search in Google’s and Bing’s listings. 65 characters are displayed of your homepage title in blue text at the top of your search engine listing, 150 characters of meta description appear under it – or a snippet of text from your body text that matches the keywords from a search request.
Click Your “Cached “Link
Next, on Google and Bing move your cursor to the right of the search engine listing to make your “Cached” link appear. On Yahoo, the cached link appears below the listing. Note the cached date – the last time the spider returned to your site for ranking.
If you get the result “Your search – site:yourdomain.com – did not match any documents,” that means either your site is not being crawled and indexed on Google – or you’ve entered the domain incorrectly so check your spelling carefully. It is also possible it has been removed from the index as a result of a penalty, although most of Google’s penalties don’t result in this extreme an action.
One thing you do want to look at is if Google is displaying the cached date immediately, or sitting on the results for a while running spam tests before publishing them. If Google is publishing the cache immediately, that’s a good sign.
Click “Text-only version” of your Google cache
Click the “Text-only version” link in the upper right corner of Google’s cache.
This strips the website down to the body text and image alternative text associated with graphic images that Google sees for ranking. After clicking the “Text-only version” link in the upper right corner of Google’s cache, many websites have major portions of their site or even the whole site disappear – meaning Google can’t see your content for rankings.
Clicking back and forth in Google’s cache between the “Full version” and “Text-only version” of your website is how you spider check your work to see if GoogleBot and humans are seeing the same thing.
Google only gives you rankings for keywords it sees on your website in the “Text-only version” – unless you have links that show those keywords.
Unless you perform this test, you simply can’t tell if spiders are seeing your site properly or not – and very often, they aren’t and the web developer and site owner don’t know it. When Google can’t see important elements of your site as humans do, the result is that you have been hidden rather than promoted on the Internet.
Spider Check Your Keyword Densities
Next, enter a search you want to compete for, and find your search result on Google. Once again, move your cursor to the right of the Google listing to make the “Cached” link appear and click it. Now you will see exactly how Google sees your keywords. They are highlighted in the cache.
To get an approximation of your site’s keyword densities (should be between 1-2% in most cases), copy and paste Google’s “Text-only version” into Microsoft Word and get a word count of how many words Google sees in the body text and image alternative text of the page. Now do a “Control find” for your keywords to see how many times they are actually mentioned.
A 1% keyword density is your keywords appearing once in a hundred words – 2% twice in a hundred words. You can compete for many searches with keyword densities outside of this 1-2% average, but you may not compete across as broad a range of searches as each keyword algorithm is very unique. Keep in mind your rankings are also dependent upon your keywords appearing in the link text pointing to your site which you can’t see looking at the webpage because it is an offsite ranking factor.
Other important ways to spider check your work is with Google Webmaster Tools that give you a wealth of diagnostics about how your site appears on Google, and Google Analytics that shows your traffic and what keywords are actually bringing visitors to your site.
While spider checking your work on Google takes less than thirty seconds involving three simple steps; 1) Move your cursor to the right of your Google listing to make the “Cached” link appear, 2) Click your “Cached” link, and 3) Click the “Text-only version” link in the upper right corner, never assume your webmaster has performed this vital test.
If after doing this test, important elements humans see on your webpage are not visible to the GoogleBot, your content has been effectively hidden from the Internet in terms of search ranking. You need to study Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to diagnose what the problem is – and carefully follow them if you want people to find you at the top of the rankings for a Google search.

04 April 2012

What do you expect from your SEO Company?

Those of us in the SEO industry operate by some pretty simple principles. We're in business to help clients succeed. Success can mean many things, but, to most businesses, every lost ranking position looks like lost business! As SEOs, SEMs, link builders and inbound marketers, it's important to be successful – not just for our own sake, but also for the companies we work for.

I often tell our clients that it is in our own best interest that they succeed because our success is tied directly to theirs. If they fail, we lose.

But the reverse is also true. If the SEO company fails, the client loses. This is the dual struggle that many companies, including mine, fight against. We want to do everything necessary to make sure our clients succeed. The problem is that not all clients are doing the same for their own success. As the service provider, however, the burden often falls onto us to deliver what is in clients' best interest, even if they are not willing to.

Who's looking out for you/me/we/us?

It's nice to think that doing what's in the client's best interest is really in the client's best interest. Unfortunately, it's not always true. Sad to say, but the “something for nothing” entitlement mentality has taken hold, even among business owners. It's nice that the Internet gives us all kinds of cool things for free. But not all good things are available at no cost. Those that rely solely on what is cheap or free only shortchange themselves.

In SEO, clients may purchase services that provide xyz, based on their budget and hopeful outcome. But when xyz isn't enough to get them where they want, the client then expects the SEO to deliver abc on top of it.

The last thing any SEO wants to hear is, “Why am I not ranking for this keyword?” On the flip side, the last thing the client wants to hear is, “Because you're not paying for that!”

Imagine taking your vehicle to a car wash and paying for the basic wash service. When your car comes out, it's all sparkly clean, except the engine needs to be cleaned, the inside detailed and it could use a coat of wax. Now, the car wash company wants you to have a nice, clean, shiny vehicle. If you're not happy with the wash, you won't be a repeat customer. But it's silly to pay for a wash and then be shocked that the wash alone wasn't enough to make your car look just the way you wanted!

This is what SEOs face all the time. Clients taking a lower service but being upset because they get the lower results!

My best interest is in your best interest

Whenever two companies do business together, their best interests almost universally become one. What is good for you is good for me is good for you.

Businesses come to SEOs because they want (nay, need) to make money. The SEO also wants (nay, needs) to make money. Both need profits to survive. It's in the best interest of both companies when both companies are profitable.

If one is not profitable, it affects the ability of the other to hold up their end of the contract. What would otherwise be a nice long-term and mutually profitable agreement becomes an agreement where, ultimately, neither benefit in the long-run. Your business agreement is out of balance.

If you only look after yourself, then you'll find that no one is willing to work with you, which shortchanges your own efforts. On the other hand, you can't only do what is best for others; otherwise, you won't be able to deliver as promised, which also shortchanges your own efforts.

If you think always doing only what's in your customers' best interest is really the right thing to do, then I challenge you to give away all your services or products free of charge for one year. Wouldn't your clients/customers be better served by such a move? Wouldn't that allow them to get a higher profit margin or keep more money in their pocket?

Of course it would, but it certainly wouldn't be in your best interest. Nor could you do that indefinitely. Sooner or later, your ability to give your clients what they expect will suffer. They'll be unhappy and so will you!

SEO clients need to ensure they are not demanding more than they are willing to pay for, just as SEOs must be willing to do everything they can within the framework provided to get the best results possible. It's in both the SEO's and the client's best interest to ensure they have a mutually beneficial agreement that sets proper expectation for results and that neither takes advantage of the other or allows themselves to be taken advantage of.

17 March 2012

Facebook Timeline for Pages - Love or Hate it, it's here to stay

If you have not yet converted your Facebook fan page over to the new Timeline design, your page will automatically convert on March 30th, 2012 which is coming up fast. This post covers the majority of basic settings and features you need to know. Even if you’ve upgraded, you’ll find some tips here!

1. Preview

You have a chance to preview your page(s) first, made all the edits you wish, get it just the way you want it, then publish. Look for the preview option at the top of your page in the old design. Or, see a list of your pages here and turn on page preview mode. Before you publish, at minimum just have an attractive cover image loaded.

2. March 30

Your page will automatically convert on March 30. My advise is don’t wait. There really is no strategic advantage to waiting … okay, maybe if you have a really hot custom landing tab with a like-gating campaign that’s going extremely well. Otherwise, go for the upgrade now and lead the way by educating your fans on all the new features.

3. Cover Image

Dimensions for the large cover image is 851 x 315 pixels.  If you upload an image that’s smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size. The image you upload must be at least 399 pixels wide. Facebook encourages you to change your cover image as often as you wish. Newsflash: each time you change your cover image, this posts on to your wall and goes out into the news feed of your fans. You may find the activity itself doesn’t get great Edgerank (visibility score in the news feed). So, what you can do is hide the activity on your wall, then share the new cover image with a call to action in the textual area, e.g. We’re celebrating 10,000 fans today and just changed our cover image in honor of all of You! Click like if you like! -To be clear, that message does *not* go ON your cover image itself. You’re posting your cover image on your wall with the message as a description.)

4. Image rules

Do not put contact info, calls to action, or arrows pointing to the Like or Share button on your cover image. See the Page Guidelines here. Contact info should go in your about section. The no calls to action rule is likely because Facebook has been very generous with this large piece of real estate … however, the company does not want us to run hogwild with all manner of promotions and campaigns for free! Those come at a price and are called Facebook ads! And the new Premium Ads and Reach Generator. And, the one I’m most excited about: Offers (that one is actually free to set up, though currently only available to large brands).

5. Profile picture

Your profile picture is always a square and is displayed at 125 x 125 pixels or 150 x 150 pixels, depending on the size of someone’s screen. The photo you upload must be at least 180 x 180 pixels. Facebook discourage page owners from changing their profile picture that often. This is the primary, instantly-recognizable image that tracks you throughout Facebook wherever your posts go and wherever you comment as your Page.

6. Landing tab

You can no longer set a default landing tab. Make good use of the cover image, instead (see #3 above) and the three main apps (see #8 below). Plus, drive traffic to whichever tab you wish (see #7 below).

7. App URLs

Custom apps all still function, including the fan-gating feature. Each tab/app still has a unique URL so you can drive traffic from inside or outside Facebook to any ‘landing page’ you wish.

8. Showcase apps

Just below your cover image, your ‘tabs’ are now displayed as apps or views. You can have a max of 12, though only four are always on display. The first one is always Photos and cannot be moved. ‘Views’ are Facebook’s default apps or features such as Photos, Events, Likes, Notes, Map. Apps are all third party apps.

9. Custom thumbnail

You can add a custom thumbnail image to all your apps. The dimensions are 111 x 74 pixels. These are great areas to get creative and add seamless branding, calls to action, and specials. To add/change a custom thumbnail, first expand all apps by clicking the small down arrow to the right of the four app display. Then hover over any app > click the edit pencil > click Edit Settings > click Change next to Custom Tab Image (opens in a new window) > click Change > upload an image. Voila. The image loads and saves right away. (I have noticed bugs with this feature and have often seen other pages’ thumbnails appear… you may need to upload a couple times to get your image to stick!).

For more tips and advise - contact Scream Media / H2l today 021 5590800 - Social Media Marketing courses also on offer