Fast Five in Search – Week 47, 2014

fast-five

 

This week I’ve been taking the Google AdWords Certifications in order to re-satisfy the minimum requirements for my agency to achieve Google Partner status. So it’s not surprising that AdWords-related posts have caught my attention most often this week.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) AdWords Gets Local Google Forwarding Numbers by Chris Crum of WebProNews. Lots of new AdWords features were announced by Google this month, one of which is local Google forwarding numbers, which advertisers will be able to display on their ads. These will have local area codes with number displayed and may inspire more clicks/calls from searchers in the vicinity of the business.

2) AdWords New Demographic Charts Offer Visual Insights on Age, Gender & Parental Status by Ginny Marvin of Search Engine Land. Another new Google AdWords feature is Demographic Charts. These new charts show detailed reach metrics for your ads on the Display Network across particular demographics including gender, age and parental status. The new charts can be accessed via the Demographics tab under the Display Network section of AdWords and can be viewed by impressions, clicks or conversions.

3) 7 Alternatives to Google AdWords for Small Businesses by Adrienne Erin of SiteProNews. As a small business owner, this post jumped out at me. In it, Adrienne explains why AdWords may not always be the best ad network choice for small businesses with limited budgets. She offers up several economical alternatives for advertisers who are currently disenchanted with AdWords.

4) Delving Into the Auction Insights Report by Helena Clark of Search Engine Watch. I’m a big fan of the AdWords Auction Insights reports, so I was pleased to see a recent post dedicated to this. Basically, Auction Insights reveal several different statistics about your search campaigns: impression share, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, top of page rate, and outranking share. Because the report provides information on advertisers who participated in the same auctions as you, it provides a loose benchmark for your performance against other advertisers in the same industry. Strangely, Helena’s article does not include how to find your Auction Insights reports in your AdWords account, but you can access them by selecting your campaign, ad group or keywords, then clicking on the box next to the metric you are measuring, clicking on *Details* at the top of the table and then choosing *Auction Insights* from the drop-down menu.

and finally…

5) How Google AdWords Works (Infographic) by Lindsay Kolowich of HubSpot. If you manage Google AdWords campaigns for a living like I do, you will eventually get asked the magic question: “How does Google determine where my ad ranks against other advertisers?”. Well, this handy Infographic now saves you the exhausting task of explaining Ad Rank to a non-technical person. I’ve printed it out and stuck it to my office wall. I’m even tempted to carry a copy in my wallet for those awkward networking events.

Happy advertising!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 39, 2014

fast-five

 

So it’s already Fast Five time again. This week is pretty much all about mobile marketing, with a sprinkling of Google and Facebook into the mix.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) More People Accessing Internet Via Mobile Devices by SiteProNews. Experts had predicted a massive upswing in mobile Internet usage with the birth of the iPhone and iPad, but the rate of growth has taken everyone by surprise.

2) How Responsive Web Design Works by HubSpot. And while we’re on the subject of mobile devices, this cute Infographic published by HubSpot is a handy reference about responsive design and why you need it. If this doesn’t convince you to switch your site to a responsive design template, nothing will.

3) Everything Happening Right Now on the Internet by Digital Marketing Ramblings. Regardless of the misleading title, this graphic is quite an eye-opener. It’s actually a snapshot of the Internet in real time, showing you how quickly data is generated and accounts created on some of the web’s most popular sites including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon.

4) Facebook Working on Private Sharing App by Mashable. With their privacy protocols consistently in the news for all the wrong reasons, Facebook is reportedly working on a new app designed to encourage private content sharing. Apparently, the app will provide users with a grid-style interface from which to share private moments with friends and family.

and finally…

5) Google+ Is No Longer a Requirement for Creating a Google Account by Marketing Land. Google’s unpopular decision in 2012 to make a Google Plus account a mandatory part of the Google account creation process appears to have come back to bite them. In response to demand, Google has dropped the requirement and now made Google+ account creation an optional choice when signing up for Gmail and other Google products.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 28, 2014

fast-five

 

It’s very chilly today here in the best little capital city in the world, Wellington, New Zealand. I’m rugged up against the cold and sporting fingerless gloves as my fingers traverse the keyboard, hunting down some Fast Five deliciousness for you all.

It’s another mixed assortment this week, featuring a little bit of Apple, a lot of Google and a pinch of blogging. Enjoy!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Panda Pummels Press Release Web Sites: The Road to Recovery by Russ Jones. Even high-trafficked, Google trusted sites aren’t immune to Google algorithm updates. In this post, Russ explains how the latest iteration of Google Panda has taken a chunk out of traffic from media darlings Search Engine Land and Seer Interactive and what lessons we can apply to our own sites as a result.

2) How Apple and Google are Disrupting Education and Changing the World by TopDegreesOnline. You know I’m a sucker for a good infographic and this one is a cracker. It shows the evolution of education with the advent of technology and the two distinct approaches from tech giants Apple and Google as they endeavour to forever change how we learn.

3) The EU’s Right to Be Forgotten is a Mess & How Google’s Making it Worse by Danny Sullivan. While we’re still on the subject of Google, the company’s recent legal loss in Europe has led to one hot fuss. In case you’re unfamiliar with the case, in May this year, the European Union Court of Justice ruled that Google could be compelled to remove information about individuals from search results as part of a new, EU-specific “right to be forgotten.” The PDF factsheet on the subject will bring you up to speed. Apparently, confused interpretation of the ruling and Google’s attempts to collaborate with it are triggering Internet censorship concerns the world over.

4) Is Your Blog a Lead Generation Machine, if Not Here is Why by Bryan Eisenberg. This bookmark-worthy post sees Bryan share his most successful techniques for converting blog readers into customers / subscribers. Rather than a long-winded blog post, Bryan has embedded his recent SlideShare presentation on the subject, featuring no less than 73 slides of conversion magic. Grab a coffee before viewing this one!

and finally…

5) The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Media Kit by Stacey Roberts. So ProBlogger has been running a theme week about Partnering With Brands. As part of the theme week, this post by Stacey Roberts is a step-by-step guide to creating a media kit for your blog or site. A fantastic resource, the post discusses what a media kit is, why it is useful, what it should include and how often it should be updated.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Q and A: Are infographics a good investment for SEO purposes?

QuestionHi Kalena,

I’m the SEO for a large online employment agency well known across the US.

Our major competitor has been using a lot of infographics in their blog lately and it has paid off for them in terms of their social media presence and traffic to their site. Our company is about to hire someone who can design infographics for use on our Facebook page to see if they will also work for us.

I have two questions – firstly, the price range seems to vary widely for infographic design services. Can you recommend some good quality infographic design experts who charge reasonable rates?

Now for my second question. One of the design companies we are considering claims that infographics can contribute a lot to SEO efforts, especially since Google Panda and Penguin basically crushed any link building efforts we used to spend a lot of time on. My concern is that I don’t want my company to spend thousands of dollars on infographics only to find out later that they have no SEO benefit whatsoever. I would rather them spend the money to hire blog writers to get more content published on our site.

What is your opinion on this and do you think that having custom infographics designed would be money well spent?

Thank you
Mike

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Hi Mike

What a timely question! One of my clients is actually considering investing in infographics, after seeing the results they have had on traffic levels for one of their regional sites in Asia.

In terms of SEO benefit – yes infographics can contribute to SEO – assuming you design them with search engines in mind. By that, I mean pay close attention to the title and headings on your infographic, the keywords used in your filename, the tags you use to categorize it and the format it is saved as. As social media goes hand in hand with SEO strategy these days, it makes sense to invest in content that will increase your social media reach and therefore create more links back to your site.

If you save your infographic as an image, be sure to include a logical alt img attribute including relevant keywords to describe the content when you embed it. If you embed it in a web page, you can have more control over the optimization of that page and the way it is shared, so I would definitely recommend that. Embedding it in a page also ensures that when you share it, people are taken back to your site, rather than viewing it on another platform.

If you have a Facebook page for your company, you could consider embedding it / sharing it there, as long as that is where you want the traffic to end up – this will be of more indirect SEO benefit – the logic being that people will eventually end up on your site after spending time on your Facebook page / reading about your products and services. My recommendation would be to embed it on your site/blog and then share the post via your social networks.

Whether you share it as a static image or a blog post via social networks, remember to tag it thoughtfully (Facebook) and use a short tweet description (Twitter) to enable others to retweet it without having to edit your description. Same rules for Pinterest – use popular, related category tags to ensure you get as many re-pins as possible.

If you use one of the new Infographic creation tools online like Piktochart (see below), your infographic may have an interactive layer embedded that allows you to enter search engine indexable content such as keywords and a description. This means that search engines will be able to crawl the content of your infographic as they crawl your web page.

Now, as for the other part of your question about whether I can recommend any good quality infographic design experts, I actually I did some research for my client about Infographics recently, to see if there were any online apps that could create them easily. It turns out there are several.

Here are the best ones I’ve found:

1) Infogr.am – this is super easy to use and free. I was able to help my son create an infographic for his homework within about 20 minutes. It includes a few basic templates to choose from and straight-forward functionality to produce something very quickly. It publishes direct to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or you can simply share on the web via URL.

2) Piktochart – I like this one the best – it has high resolution graphics, hover tools, some neat interactive elements, an easy to use interface and even built in SEO. Only problem is the free version comes with just 6 themes and layers a watermark over the top, so there really is no choice but to go the Pro (paid) version to get over 100 themes/templates and remove the watermark. However at USD 29 per month or 169 per year, the price is reasonable to justify this.

3) Visual.ly – this is probably the most sophisticated of the three – it has different free/paid versions for different consumer markets and lots more templates and design styles to choose from. You can publish direct to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest or you can download your creation. You can quickly create infographics based on 2 or more competing hashtags, Twitter accounts or existing web pages as well. It also has a built-in marketplace if you want to high an Infographic designer who specialises in using Visual.ly if you need help creating your own infographics.

Hope this helps!

 

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