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Posts tagged search

More clues to Googles direction in social

During the week this image cropped up on Google Plus,it’s taken from the article ‘Larry Page On How To Become Part Of The Google+ Knowledge Graph‘…

Larry page quote

To me this confirms what I have been thinking…

They know more than we think…

For the man in the street, it must seem like Google knows everything  For those of us who work on the Internet, we know their algorithms are pretty dam good. However, as good as we think they are, they are much more ahead in understanding the real world (when it comes to search) than any one really knows.  Where as Facebook is creating a social graph of their own little world, Google is creating one for the Internet, albeit it’s currently focused around Google Plus.

Rich Snippets and Microdata is an important tool

As Google implements more and more of their own social graph, it’s going to be come much more focused on people. Microdata will allow authors to own their content. This detail will not only show up in search results but will have an impact on search itself. What are friends like and how we connect will influence what Google puts in front of us.

Google Plus is here to stay

Many are saying that Google is betting everything on Plus and it own implementation of the social graph. If you take a look at the many products Google has put out in there, just how few have survived! Is it a case of keep testing until you find something that works or do they keep getting it wrong? For all the naysayers out there, no – Google is not failing time and time again. In fact how may people have been inspired by the saying, ‘if you want to succeed, fail and fail again’.

I think Google has been testing the waters by dangling products in front of us to see what bites. How different is that from any other modern company?



Top 5 tips on how to keep visitors onsite longer and to encourage them to come back


You go to a lot of effort to get visitors to your website. All that time spent on social networks just to get a few more people to your latest and greatest blog post. You invest money in great photography for your online shop. The SEO expert does his thing, your designer does theirs. A lot of time and effort goes in to increasing the traffic to your site.

The most important thing you must realise is that unless you encourage visitors to stay or a reason  to come back – they are gone for good.
Continue reading Top 5 tips on how to keep visitors onsite longer and to encourage them to come back

Pinterest drives more website traffic than Yahoo or Bing

shareaholic traffic sources

Recent figures show that you can get more traffic from Pinterest than Yahoo, according to Shareaholic, a provider of social sharing buttons and widgets with more than 200,000 publishers using its tools.

The latest post on Search Engine Land, Pinterest Now Sending More Traffic Than Yahoo Search, Shareaholic Says, looks at the numbers…

In a blog post today, Shareaholic says Pinterest was the fourth biggest traffic source in August among its publishers — beating out Yahoo organic search, which fell to fifth. Overall, Google search was the top traffic source, followed by direct traffic and then Facebook in third. (See far right column below.) Pinterest also passed Bing as a traffic source back in June (also noted below in red).

While Google will maintain the crown for King of search, it seems that other search engines will be out done by social networks.

If you want to know more about using Pinterest then see this post, Need to know Pinterest better? Grab this guide now!

Video:Gentle overview of how Google search works

Have you ever wondered how Google search works? Here is a video by Matt Cutts that explains how it works but with out the confusing detail…


Details on Google’s February Panda update

Google Panda Updateq

This month Google has been making some major changes to how it ranks pages and sites. Website Magazine has an in depth report (Google SEO: Algorithm Changes – February 2012) as does Search Engine Land (Google Confirms Panda 3.3 Update, Plus Changes To How It Evaluates Links, Local Search Rankings & Much More)

One thing I would like to highlight is Google’s enhanced focus on ‘Local’. From Search Engine Land…

Here’s another one, along with the link evaluation signal, that I’m actually surprised Google would so openly reveal. The company says traditional algorithmic ranking factors are now playing a bigger part in triggering local search results:

Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.Traditional SEO has played a bigger part in Google’s local search since the launch of Places Search in late 2010. And now it sounds like that dial is being turned up a little higher, too.

Google’s post also says local results are being improved because of a “new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.”

Another thing that is important comes from Website Magazine…

Image Index Expanded (codename Images Universal): Google has expanded the size of its images index which means more relevant images on a larger set of queries. Visual assets are playing an increasingly important role in SEO, so ready those pictures!

For a gite and holiday rental owners, write about your local area and name names and take pictures, plenty of pictures!  Optomising your pictures for Google is easy and now more than a just a good idea.


How to Improve Your SEO

This is a guest post by James Williams who is the Community Manager for TM International, a Paris-based recruitment agency

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important things to consider when building an online marketing strategy. The challenge lies in maintaining relevance in the eyes of search engines, and as Google is by far the largest and most influential search engine (with over 1 billion hits per month) one of the most important aims of your online marketing strategy has to be to dominate Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Without implementing solid SEO strategies you’re website will be about as useful as a shop with no windows and no sign. You want, or should I say need, people to find you and with a few simple strategies you can.

So here are some things that we have done, and that you can do, to improve our website’s SEO strength.

Firstly, you need to think about your URL with regard to two things: Format and Content. Now I’m going to assume you know not to use spaces in your URL but what is quite a common mistake is putting in an underscore to separate words. Due to the algorithms embedded in a search engine like Google, this will cause it to identify the URL as one big word and therefore will reduce your chance of people finding you in a keyword search. However, what you can do is use dashes – problem solved. The content of your URL is also crucial. If you include what are known as “stop words” such as “the”, “what” or “it” the chances are most search engines will actually ignore them and therefore weaken you’re SEO. So take a look at your URL(s) and make sure they are formatted correctly and remove stop words.

Another classic (and essential) trick to improve your SEO ranking is by identifying and utilizing keywords. By using keyword rich title tags on each page of your website you can give yourself the best chance of dominating SERPs and therefore maximize potential income. It’s important to take <title> tags (found in the title bar of the browser) into consideration as search engines use them to ascertain what type of content appears on the page. If you enter keywords into your <title> tag instead of your company name it will prove advantageous for your SEO ranking. Be careful not to exceed the 60 character limit though, as it would be cut-off. You can also add a list of keywords to your back office which site visitors cannot see. For example we specialize in the recruitment of bilingual assistants and secretaries and therefore have identified every relevant keyword and added it to our list.

To track the progress of your site rankings you can use an analytics program, the largest being Google Analytics. Using the different tools involved you will be able to track which keywords, search engines and traffic sources are proving most beneficial in terms of bringing in business. This information is invaluable when it comes to identifying how to improve your SEO ranking. As a Community Manager I use Google Analytics to know where to spend my time. I can understand what works well, what needs improvement and ultimately I can measure the benefits of my efforts.

It can also be very beneficial to add a blog to your site. If you regularly update your blog with new posts and fresh content you can drive traffic to your site through an improved SEO. This is because search engines love fresh content. So, I try to update our blog about 3 or 4 times a week to give our site’s SEO the greatest advantage. Blogs can also be a great way of interacting with customers, and potential customers, which not only helps you in a marketing context but also increases the value in an SEO context. Now more than ever “the fresher the better” applies to your website and its SEO ranking, as Google have recently announced a change to its search algorithm. So keep it fresh!

So there are some simple SEO tips to get started with. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s now becoming more and more apparent that you need to stay up to date with potential future trends so you can adapt and maintain and improve your SEO ranking. With the buzz around Google+ being “the next big thing” for business the result is sure to affect SEO in a big way. I won’t go into too much detail or attempt to predict the future but it seems that the “+1” feature is likely to become particularly important when developing an SEO strategy. Companies will have to adapt their strategy to optimize for recommendations to stay ahead of competitors. Searching is becoming social; Make sure you stay ahead of the curve.

3 good reasons why you should take a few minutes in naming your pictures

Blog posts with pictures can do better than those with out. Not just the ones that appear at the top but also ones used to demonstrate a point or to illustrate an instructional post. However have you given any thought to the names you give your images?

A quick lesson in HTML

When it comes to adding pictures to a web page, you are supposed to use CSS. That does not work on dynamic pages, WordPress is a good example. So to get images to appear we use

<img src="imagename.png" alt="description-of-image" title="extra info">

The ‘alt’ part is used to provide useful text for browsers that do not render images, like ones for the blind,  some can read out loud. The ‘title’ part is for extra information.

Give some thought to your picture names

There are three very good reasons for giving thought to the names of your pictures.

Reason 1, WordPress

How often have you reused a picture? How long did it take you to find it? By naming your picture with words that have meaning to the blog post, you can find them quicker in the search function.

Reason 2, Google Image search

Use words in the picture title that are meaningful to the blog post. Take for example a picture of a fishing rod, why not name it, ‘fishing-rod-carbon-fibre.png‘. Sounds much better than, ‘picture-001.png’. It is also related to the blog post about fishing, when a Google Image search for fishing rods is performed, you are more likely to be seen higher up in the results.

Reason 3,  relevancy

In my previous posts about relevancy, I discussed how blog posts can be linked in such a way to show that they are related, something Google is very keen on. This can also be done with images.

As mentioned in point 2, name the picture relevant to the theme of the post. The ‘alt’ tag should be a description, not just a word or two. The title tag should also contain relevant words to the post. When Google index’s your page, it will find the image and relevant words useful to image search. Also, useful to demonstrate relevancy and improve your standing in search results.

Naming your image

Don’t be scared to use a long name, use dashes to separate words (Google will then take them as separate, it will join words with underscores).  Always ensure you have permission to use stock photos but unless specified, rename them. Spending a few minutes thinking about the image name will be worth it!

Google safe searching will disrupt SEO efforts

From the Google Analytic’s blog, Making search more secure: Accessing search query data in Google Analytics

As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, particularly for signed in users, we believe that protecting these personalized search results is important. As part of that effort, today the Google Search team announced that SSL Search on https://www.google.com will become the default experience for signed in users on Google.com (see the Official Google Blog post to learn more).

What this means is that the search terms used to find a site will not be passed on to the site you are visiting.

When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google “organic” search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site. Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic. You will continue to see aggregate query data with no change, including visits from users who aren’t signed in and visits from Google “cpc”.

To simplify things, when you check out your analytic’s to see who is visiting your site – you will no longer get to see the keywords that they used.

This affects users who are logged in to Google and using Google to search.

What sort of visitor is coming to your site?

Internet users find your business site in different ways. How they find you also indicates what sort of visitor they are and what they are looking for.

From a search engine

If a visitor arrives at your site from a search engine then they are most likely looking for an answer to a question. They could be looking for a product to suit their needs. Are you making it easy for them?

Remember that they are arriving on a page within your site and not the home page. Ensure the navigation is easy so that they can find similar products and services that might suit them better.

From Facebook

Facebook is group oriented, friends and family etc. Facebook pages creates groups of people who like what you and your business do. Make sure your site keeps them interested.

Do something really well and it will spread within the group, do something bad and it will spread even quicker.

If you write updates with links to your latest post, remember they may well leave comments on Facebook and not on your blog.

From Twitter

Twitter has evolved in to a networking site for the here and now. It’s not so much group oriented or close nit as Facebook but more like a large crowd. They like to share with tweets and retweets. Twitter users like to be the first to share new stuff they have found.

You can exploit that by creating exciting content on your site. Make it easy to share it on Twitter.

Track and measure where they come from

Use a good analytic’s system such as Google Analytic’s. Check to see where visitors are coming from and which pages they are reading. Are Facebook visitors reading different content to Twitter visitors? Are search engine visitors more likely to buy?