Google Hummingbird: New Directions for Search

Posted on October 1, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

Google just turned 15 last week, with 70% of the market share for search on desktops and a reputation as one of the world’s biggest brands. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two PhD students, their idea turned out to be a necessary component of any business marketing plan in 2013. Along with a party, Google also introduced a new search algorithm a few days ago to further refine their ability to answer user queries effectively. What do you need to know?

Hummingbird Update

First, PageRank isn’t entirely dead-but now it is only one of about 200 factors the search engine considers before assigning a ranking. What else matters? As we’ve explained in other posts, Google now also notices things like plenty of good content, keywords, the frequency by which copy is updated, etc. as ways of deciding which results are most relevant to a particular query.

The term “conversational search” is going to be an important phrase for Google users in coming months with Hummingbird. It refers to the new emphasis Google is placing on the meaning behind search words, rather than just the way they are phrased. In the past, a user had to type in “cheese brands” to get a range of quality answers. With Hummingbird, a searcher can now even enter, “what are the best kinds of cheese?” into the search bar and get responses.

What this means for any business hoping for good SEO is again, the continued importance of quality content over simple keyword seeded copy. Web pages with lots of relevant, descriptive paragraphs will do far better with their rankings than sites who ignore the new algorithm. The best news about the new search? Stay engaging, and you’ll also stay well ahead of your competitors.


Essential SEO: Know the Basics

Posted on September 10, 2013 in SEO, SEO marketing by cmblogger

Especially for a new company, SEO can present complicated challenges when it comes to creating the right program to get ranked with the search engines. With just a few tips, however, even a fledgling small business can lay the groundwork for an effective organic search campaign.

Have you installed Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools? If not, you should. Then connect them so you’ll be able to get more information on how consumers find your website on the web. Next, take a look at the possible keywords your project manager has researched for your linking program.

Which among these phrases best capture what you sell? And even more importantly, which terms are ones that you use in the existing content on your website? Don’t pick keywords that aren’t words or phrases you want to emphasize. Remember, every page of your website needs to have at least 200-300 words of copy per page utilizing these terms. If you talk about handsewn leather loafers on your website, don’t pick the keyword “clogs” unless you’re willing to create content that describes them in detail.

Once you’ve selected the right keywords, your Captain Marketing project manager will help with a sitemap, title tags, link building and more. Consider adding a blog, a social media presence and even a paid ad campaign to facilitate your progress with the search engines. It may seem daunting, but with the right tools, even a tiny company can attract the consumers they need for success.


Essential SEO for Any Small Business

Posted on September 3, 2013 in Local SEO, SEO by cmblogger

In years past, smaller companies only selling through a brick and mortar location didn’t need to worry too much about the Internet. Only with the proliferation of mobile devices and the departure of the Yellow Pages for the land of 8 track players and the wooly mammoth did the web really start to matter. Is your small business showing up on the search engines for your customers? Consider these basics as a way to get started.

First, consider reviews. Look for relevant websites where your customers might post positive testimonials about your business. The idea is to garner authentic positive feedback-not to simply create multiple five star reviews and upload them within the hour. Encourage and reward your clients for their comments. Their reviews will help not only your SEO, but generate positive buzz among consumers as well.

Second, don’t ignore social media. Regular updates to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages will help the search engines not only find but assess you as relevant to the products and services you’re trying to sell.

Finally, update your content regularly. When you’re looking for good SEO rankings, there’s no replacement for interesting, relevant copy that’s delivered regularly to your website.  Frequent updates of industry news, product information, or even just plain old friendly communication with your consumers makes a difference to the search engines.

An effective SEO strategy for your small brick and mortar company doesn’t have to be complicated. But if you’re hoping for customers even just offline, it’s a necessary part of doing business in 2013.


Your SEO Strategy: the Perennial in Your Marketing Garden

Posted on August 13, 2013 in SEO, SEO marketing by cmblogger

When it comes to appearing on page one of the organic search results, there are no quick fixes. Regardless of whatever the latest gimmick or exciting new trend you may be hearing about from marketers who want your business and the media, SEO is never an overnight miracle. Rather, it’s still a process that takes time, effort and commitment.

First, consider your keywords. Are you using terms in your content and link building efforts that really reflect the products and services you offer, as well as the ways in which your consumers search for them on the web? While it may seem elementary to some, many businesses choose keywords that either they’re not using on their website (like a competitor’s brand name, for example) or that don’t capture the essence of what they sell.

Avoid disaster with some old fashioned keyword research to find the terms that fit your business. Use these in any linking strategy, and within the meaningful content on your homepage and the copy throughout your website. Again, while this may seem obvious for the more digitally savvy among us, it’s easy for small businesses to forget this simple but essential key to successful rankings.

Coupled with effective link building, strong social media, and a website that has been designed for speed and search engine friendly navigation, you will be able to count on your SEO program as the trusty workhorse of any strong online marketing campaign. While that may not be a flashy message, it’s the truth.


Organic Search: What It Means to Be Number One

Posted on July 9, 2013 in SEO by cmblogger

It’s a dog eat dog world out there when it comes to online marketing, and nowhere do the stakes seem as high as they do on the search engine’s first page. And for good reason. According to a new study by online data researchers, 33% of search traffic for any keyword phrase will choose to visit the #1 result on the page, compared to only 18% of search traffic who will do the same for the second place spot.

The news isn’t good for those ranked lower on page one, either. For them, traffic drops to 11.3%, 8.1%, 6.1% and lower at the #3, #4, #5 spots and beyond. Overall, the number of people looking through the results beyond the first page is dramatically lower than the search volume that page one gets, moving from 91% of a keyword’s traffic to a paltry 4.8% of the total for that term.

The numbers matter. Let your customers find you in the page one results when they’re looking for keyword phrases that match your products and services. A good SEO program can mean thousands, if not millions of people clicking on your website, and a less than stellar one can translates into an awfully quiet summer.


Putting It All Together: SEO and Google+

Posted on May 21, 2013 in Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO marketing, Social SEO by cmblogger

When it comes to getting great organic rankings, your SEO program and your Google+ pages are increasingly,  inextricably connected. Google+ pages allow you to not just engage with a wide range of consumers, but also to provide an easily accessible hub for all your social media profiles, sites, articles and even blog posts. You can link to it all from Google+. Think of it like your personal O’Hare, minus the delays.

From an SEO standpoint, every consumer who shares, links to your post or +1s it adds a valuable link to your arsenal. Google rewards those sites that are well connected to others with better organic rankings. As the company states on its website, “+1′s from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user’s query.” And if your post ends up going viral, the sky’s the limit. Google adds even more value to those links, to further encourage you to post meaningful, interesting content.

Google+ also allows you to connect with significant companies and people within your industry, referred to as “high authority profiles.” The more people that link, share and +1 your posts, the more you also become an influencer within your field on Google+.

It’s a win-win, both in terms of a successful social media campaign and as a way to unlock better SEO results for your business. By most analyses, Google+ will only continue to grow in its importance for all aspects of your online marketing strategy.

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Google Presents Inside Search

Posted on March 4, 2013 in Search Engine Optimization, SEO by cmblogger

Google Presents Inside Search

Google has created a new and updated Inside Search site, with helpful information for every consumer about how the search engines really work. Written in clear, simple language, the presentation explains the ins and outs of the world’s most utilized and powerful search engine, along with a fascinating glimpse into the way the web works in 2013. For example, did you know that today’s Internet is comprised of over 30 trillion individual pages? To index this constantly growing information source, Google crawls the web, following links from website to website, using more than 200 ways to quantify and qualify what their bots are seeing. Some of these methods are proprietary, and their techniques can only be guessed at. Others are more obvious, and include elements like site “freshness” ( how often you’re adding new content, for example), site and page quality (how easy is it to navigate your site? Is there a lot of content on your web pages, or is it simply just photographs, product titles and prices?) and user context (where is the user searching from-and where is the website located? This is why you need cities listed on your website if you’re looking for regional customers-it will help Google bots find you). In addition, the Google slideshow also lets you learn about and view actual spam removed from their searches. It’s an interesting window into what “black hat” marketing really looks like. Finally, in the brief time it takes you to watch the slideshow, Google lets you know how many searches have been conducted on their engine in real time. In the 11 minutes this writer spent on the site, there were over 29,012,060 Google searches conducted at the same time. That’s a lot of keywords.


Semantic Searches and You

Posted on September 24, 2012 in Search Engine Optimization, SEO by cmblogger

Did you know 3.5 people look up the acronym “SEO” on Google…every second? Clearly, it’s an issue for anyone who owns a business, or involves themselves with any form of internet commerce. And with Google and the other search engines changing their algorithms more frequently than teen movie stars change their hairstyles, the process frequently leaves people especially confused. The phrase “semantic search” may in fact the biggest question on everyone’s minds lately. What is it, you ask? The semantic search is Google’s newest technique for insuring its indexed results are highly accurate. It refers to the artificial intelligence that is used to not only understand the real meaning behind a search phrase. In other words, we’ve reached a place in the history of the internet where search engines can look for the intent behind the words, not just unwieldy keywords to provide results. Did you know a semantic search can now distinguish the meaning, for example, between the contractions “its” and “it’s”? Between “Captain Cook” and “Captains Cooking?” It’s all about natural language now in search engine optimization, and the implications for your SEO strategy are profound. With this kind of sophistication behind the results pages, the superheroes of Captain Marketing are in more demand than ever, working to get the kind of results small to midsize businesses need to compete in today’s super competitive marketplace.

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