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What is it worth for you to be ranked #1 on Google?

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Did you know that over 40% of people searching on Google click on the #1 ranked result from the results page? How many keywords does your business rank #1 for?

11.90% of users click on #2 and 8.5% on #3. This reduces in increments all the way down to only 2.85% clicking on #9. The difference can be as dramatic as having 1,000,000 clicks on #1 and only 140,000 on #9. And that is a huge difference! By getting your site to rank #1 on Google you will increase targeted traffic & leads by over 1,000%!

You will notice that results that appear on the third page of Google do not even merit a single percentage point. If your website is not present at least on the first two pages of Google, to some extent, your website is invisible.

A powerful SEO campaign will increase the amount of targeted traffic and potential customers to your website and boost your sales significantly. Imagine the sort of money you could be making if you were #1 on Google for your targeted keywords. The ‘State if Digital Marketing’ 2012 survey recently proved that SEO is the #1 channel for developing leads with almost 60% of digital marketing companies surveyed saying that search engine optimisation makes the biggest impact on their lead generation efforts.

Take an advantage of our SEO service now and increase the popularity of your website.

Keep checking back here for the latest news on the SEO industry. Check out our SEO packages or contact us now if you want to get started on gathering new leads for your business.

 

Is SEO dead?

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As with the release of every Google Search Algorithm update the latest Penguin and Panda updates have caused a bout of ëSEO non-believersí to claim (once again) that ìSEO is deadî. Of course, they are completely wrong. In fact Iíd say the opposite is true. SEO is now more alive than ever and each and every business in the world (including yours) needs to be optimising their website and keeping up with the latest developments in the industry. More reason in my opinion to hire an external SEO specialist agency.

The latest Google Algorithm has indeed changed the landscape of SEO and honestly, maybe even more than any other single update in the history of Google. But thatís okay. Relax, take a deep breath and know that SEO is alive and well.

So what’s changed with the latest algorithm update?

Over optimization happened. ëBlack-hatí SEO agencies tried (successfully) to trick the system by employing dodgy tactics such as keyword stuffing, buying links, linking from too many pages in an unnatural fashion, and using hidden text to raise the profile of their clients websites. In late 2011, several SEO industry experts looked into the state of SEO through an experiment to see if Google was living up to its promise of stopping such practices working. Google has preached for years that if you build good content your website will rank well on its own. Guess what? That was not necessarily true.

In one example from the experiment two websites on the same topic which were about the same domain age were examined. One site ranked in the top three on Google and the other was on Page 5 for the same keywords. The problem is that the first website only had about 20 pages indexed and was not developing or promoting content on their website on a regular basis. The second site was in fact developing great content on a regular basis, promoting that content via social media and yet they still ranked on page 5. The experiment then looked deeper at the websites link profiles. Guess what they found? Thatís right; site #1 had a large amount of suspect links running back to it. In other words, it was obvious that the site had been ìover optimizedî and the links coming to it were of low quality. This goes against everything that Google has promised webmasters for years.

What happened next?

The indication is that this research data directly influenced Google’s latest algorithm update. Link profiles now must be varied and we are seeing websites that are regularly updated with fresh content jump up the search rankings. In contrast, we are seeing sites that had a lot of backlinks but lack of content and promotion being dropped massively.

How do I move forward?

Well if you have not picked up on it yet, you need to develop regular good quality content, and share it through social media and social bookmarking sites. That means you should be blogging and creating videos (as well as any other content) as much as possible about your industry and company’s products and services. You then need to spread this content across social channels. Social media is a great place to share this content because if you are developing great content it is likely to be passed onto friends. That combined with a good solid SEO program and good on-site SEO and you will find yourself ranking better in no time.

Keep checking back here for the latest news on the SEO industry. Check out our SEO packages or contact us now if you want to get started on gathering new leads for your business.

 

How Social Media Marketing Works

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Executive summary

This report is based on the ëPower of Likeí research series conducted by comScore and Facebook on the effectiveness of social media marketing. This report will summarise the key findings from the research study, primarily focusing on the impact of earned (organic) and paid media exposure.

This research focuses on how social marketing works and enables business to understand useful frameworks for quantifying and evaluating their social marketing efforts. The key findings of the research are listed below.

  • Businesses can maximise the impact of their social media marketing efforts on Facebook by moving beyond the idea of just trying to increase the number of fans ëlikingí their pages. Instead metrics such as reach, impact, sharing and engagement should be whatís looked at.
  • Some brands on Facebook achieve a monthly increase in ëReach Ratioí of between 0.5 and 2.0. Meaning a brand can increase the number of people it reaches through promoting content to ëfriends of current fansí through both earned and paid means, increasing exposure by 50 to 200%.
  • Facebook represents a unique marketing platform that enables a business to leverage Paid, Earned and Owned Media to maximise brand reach, awareness and resonance. Brands can use Display Ads, Promoted Page Posts and Sponsored Stories (Paid) to attract fans to a Brand Page (Owned) and then leverage that channel to market communications that then reach ëfansí and ëfriends of current fansí (Earned).
  • Starbucks noticed that through the effects of increased earned media exposure through Facebook a significant lift in in-store purchases for the four weeks they ran a special social media campaign.

Introduction

With the birth of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook businesses now have a new way to reach and connect with their brand ëfansí and the friends of those fans. Paul Adams book ëGrouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social webí explains how reaching ëfansí and then them influencing their friends is the key to getting a marketing message across to the critical mass of people to make an idea spread. Sociological and psychological studies have proven that word of mouth, reaching individual interlinked groups of friends and social proofing are all essential for marketing campaigns to work to their full potential. With the birth of the social web this has all become possible through the internet. Read more

5 Simple Ways to improve your websites On-page SEO

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5 Simple Ways to improve your websites On-page SEO

In part one of this guide to SEO mastery we will be describing 5 quick ways to improve your On-Page SEO.

First of all let’s define On-Page SEO shall we. On Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is everything that can be done on the pages of your website to maximize the potential performance it has in search engines for your selected keywords. This includes all the text, pictures and code that make up your site.

To make sure search engine robots know exactly what your website is about and exactly what keywords you are targeting it is important they are present in the ìwebsite architectureî. The below examples explain how you should edit your sites structure according to SEO best practice.

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Email for mobile

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Although for some time now consideration has been given to how websites are viewed on mobiles and indeed in many cases websites are built specifically for the channel, this has not always been the case with emails.

Receive an html email today on your iPhone for instance, and even now it’s usually hard to read the text after it has been rescaled to fit the small screen. As a result you very often you find yourself zooming in and then scrolling not just up and down, but from left to right just to read the content. Even if your eyesight is good you may still need to zoom in to be able to click on a link or Call to Action. If this is the case in your emails then you may have already lost potential customers.

So not only do we now have to think about your email creative rendering correctly across all the many desktop email clients, but we now have to consider mobile devices as well. A potential minefield.

Some companies are recognising the issues and are designing and building emails with mobile devices in mind. For example RAC and PruHealth have both taken this into consideration and Curve now delivers emails for them that render differently to the desktop version if viewed on a smartphone. To put it into context 17% of the ëopensí on a recent PruProtect newsletter broadcast to brokers and agents was on a mobile device, predominantly iPhone, and the resultant click through was as good as for the desktop version of the same email. We found that emails that are optimised for mobile way outperform standard emails, so it is definitely worth keeping this in mind.

So how do we go about it?

The first job is to get the balance right between a “creative” design and one that can work well on mobile. The first thing to remember is that the optimum design width that we should work to is 600 pixels wide, and if possible we design the email so that it is just a single column wide.

However as mentioned earlier we often have to balance creative design with functionality and therefore often we are asked to design using two columns of 300 pixels wide instead. For mobile then this would be split exactly in half showing the left hand column of 300 pixels in the screen only. By using style sheets we can prioritise content by hiding or even moving elements from the right hand column and positioning them on the left if viewed on a mobile device. The desktop version remains as you have designed it, 2 columns. But for mobile, although a longer email, you can at least read the text without having to scroll around and zoom in.

So the next time that you email your customers give a thought on when they are most likely to receive and open the email. If you think that mobile is the where they will be viewing it then make sure that what they will see can be read easily, and links can be clicked on easily.

See our RAC e-newsletter for an example of a mobile friendly email.

If you would like to discuss how we can help your company render emails across mobile devices call Curve today- +44(0) 20 8773 5592

 

Top 4 Twitter Competitions of all time

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Top 4 Twitter Competitions of all time

After hours of scouring the internet in search of fantastic examples of Twitter hashtag competitions I must say I didnít come across many that really got my heart racing. In fact, out of the hundreds of competitions I came across only found 4 really stuck with me.

Below I go into detail on each of these successful social media campaigns and show that it really isnít that difficult to make a really successful campaign yourself!

1. Uniqlo UK #luckycounter

Uniqlo UK start off my list and with great reason too. The premise behind their hashtag campaign was based around the idea that for every mention of the #luckycounter hashtag the price of a selection of their merchandise would become £0.01 cheaper.

 

This campaign also ran in conjunction with a separate ìLucky Counterî microsite which showcased the 10 items that were being discounted. To encourage more tweets – if a user clicked on one of the pieces of clothing it triggered a pre-written tweet using the #luckycounter hashtag which enabled logged-in Twitter users to tweet straight from the microsite. This ingenuous idea launched on September 7th sparked a huge amount of buzz online and drove more people into Uniqloía stores on September 9th, the day the discounts created by the tweets would be offered.

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Discover how one restaurant used Social Media to double their revenue

Discover how one restaurant used Social Media to double their revenue

AJ Bombers burger bar was founded in March 2009 by Joe and Angie Sorge. With massive franchises (Burger King, Mcdonalds) to compete against AJ Bombers knew they had to have a unique selling point – a differentiation strategy to survive.

Local social media strategy

They made it their mission ìto keep the conversation goingî. Joe and Angie understood the importance of building relationships and how social medial can help them do that. Traditional methods of ëpushí marketing such as TV, radio, billboards, print and cold calling are becoming less effective and there is no denying that fact. New less intrusive methods such as social media marketing and SEO are gaining momentum by providing added value to consumers whilst also not being pushed in their faces.

The decline in effectiveness of outbound marketing can be attributed to a monumental shift in consumer behavior. Instead of information being force-fed to consumers, people now have the power to be in control of what information they receive and how.

The world is changing as we know it, businesses now have to react locally and look after each customer as a valued individual. Big multi-national franchises like McDonalds and Burger King are unable to build strong one-on-one relationships with customers, but small, flexible businesses such as AJ Bombers and other local organisations are in a position to give each of its customers a more rewarding experience. AJ Bombers realised they could harness the power of social media to build relationships and emotional equity with each of its customers.

The power of building relationships

They figured the best way to build up relationships with their client base was to let them have a say in how the business was run. The customers have input over almost every aspect of the restaurant. They help design menu items, determine price structures, opening hours and even suggest promotions. These conversations are going on right now on their Twitter page ñ take a look yourself @AJBombers.

From the outset social media was used to reach out and build connections with burger lovers in the local area, finding out exactly what they like and what they donít, and generally finding out how they could better serve the needs of their clientele. They started hosting events at the burger bar offering free beer and food to his followers and this created real buzz online. Read more

The factors Search Engines take into consideration when ranking your website in their results

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The performance a website has in natural search results (e.g. how highly it is positioned) on Google is dependent on three main factors. Or as Johnson and McGee (2009) like to describe it: ìThe Tripod of Loveî. Three underpinning factors support your website in its attempt to be page-ranked number 1. These are; Visibility, Relevance and Reputation. Google uses these factors to determine the likely usefulness of your website.

 

First and foremost lets deal with visibility; for your website to be present on Googleís search results it first must be visible to the ìGoogleBotsî. These bots ìcrawlî the worldís websites and add their information to the ìGoogle Indexî along side their corresponding URL. So when a Google user makes a search, the most relevant information related to it is retrieved from the index and the URL is pulled out the database and shown to the user.

When designing your website it is important it is done in a certain way to make sure it is visible to the GoogleBots. When the bots crawl across the web they do not experience the site in the same way we do. Google will experience your site in what is referred to as the ìsource codeî view of a webpage (You can view this for yourself by right-clicking on this page and clicking ìView Sourceî). It has great significance as to how this source code is written and structured to how visible your site and itís content is too Google.

For example, if your website is designed in such a manner that images or JavaScript make up the navigation buttons on your site the GoogleBots will be unable to ìseeî them and therefore will not be able to add the pages to itís index. Approaching the visibility of your web pages with Google in mind will allow your pages to be added to itís index with no problem. If you’re wondering how you can add best practice structure and visibility to your website you should make sure youíre adhering to the ìWeb Standardsî (www.webstandards.org).

So now your website is visible to Google, you now must make sure it is relevant to peoples searches! The solution to making your site relevant is simple, but not as easy to implement. It comes through the concept of the ìWisdom of Crowdsî (Surowiecki, 2004, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few) and is connected with ìlinksî. Basically the premise of this concept is that the more links that exist from web pages to one particular page indicates that particular pages quality, relevance and usefulness.

ìSo if my website has loads of links to it, it will rank highly on Google in terms of relevance?Ö. What Iíll do then is create hundreds of sites myself that link to my main one and Iíll be top of the rankings! Easy!î

Unfortunately, Google knows youíll think of doing this and therefore have added a few complexities to the relevance formula. Each link to your site is scored on two scales of quality; 1. Their relevance to the target of the link and 2. Their authority within their pocket of relevance, known together as Reputation.

Reputation is the third and final leg of ìThe Tripod of Loveî and perhaps the most important. Faced with millions of sources of apparently meaningful and useful information Google has to decided which of these sites are most trustworthy. Looking at the number and the quality of links connected to a webpage allows Google to assess the reputation of it in relation to all the other web pages that include similar information.

The position of your website in the results pages of search engines are therefore completely dependent on building and continually supporting the three legs of the ìTripod of Loveî.

Find out how well your website does will our free SEO report.

Inbound Marketing

As the Internet Revolution continues traditional models (TV, radio, cold calls) of marketing are losing their appeal and new, less intrusive methods of marketing (social media, SEO) are gaining momentum by providing added value to consumers.

The decline in outbound marketing can be attributed to a monumental shift in consumer behaviour. Instead of information being force-fed to consumers, people now have the power to be in control of what information they receive and how.

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that in essence focuses on getting found by customers in an organic fashion. An effective inbound marketing tactic could include the combination of using social media and content marketing. This could include Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Linkedin and Youtube campaigns linked together with interesting, useful and/or educational content that is specifically targeted at your customers.

Your companyís presence on social media channels coupled with useful content will lead to your brand being shared and spread across the web creating buzz. The reach of your content will then grow virally. Furthermore, as content is picked up and shared from Website to Website, many links will be built to the companyís homepage and/or specific content resulting in improved visibility in search engines.

 

ROI of Inbound Marketing versus Outbound Marketing

One of the biggest reasons inbound marketing is growing so quickly is its impressive Return on Investment (ROI). The latest research indicates that inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than more traditional means.