Archive for November, 2013

8 Topics Guaranteed to Drive Every Good SEO Consultant Mad

November 19, 2013 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips

Sentences like “Your competitors are much cheaper!” or “We will pay as soon as all our keywords are in position 1.”  make many a SEO consultant send hurried prayers to heaven. After a while on the job, everyone experiences situations that push you to your limit. An SEO consultant’s everyday work is constantly changing and full of new challenges, but to often we are confronted with clients who have little experience with SEO. More often than not, these clients have utopian ideas concerning performance or ridiculous requirements that make even the most patient SEO consultant pull their hair.

Andre Alpar 8 Topics Guaranteed to Drive Every Good SEO Consultant Mad
We have collected eight common situations SEOs face. Writing them down, however, is intended to amuse (former) SEO consultants and perhaps open up a dialogue. Maybe this list is the perfect occasion to revisit topics and explain them once more in order to make the collaboration more effective and efficient.

“Content is only relevant for search engines…”
Creating content requires balancing additional value for users and optimization for search engines. Good SEO consultants have long since taken this to heart and roll their eyes when they hear: “Content is King!” For some clients, however, content is secondary and they don’t realize the importance of captivating text. Some even want to hide the text near the footer, to avoid decreasing conversion rates. It can be a real challenge to convince clients that content offers unexpected opportunities. Instead of hiding content, clients need to understand how essential it is to give the user a reason to share, like, tweet and – above all – to return to the site. Creating content should no longer be regarded as a duty but as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

If your customers see content production as a duty, try providing them with good working examples of how content can be optimized to increase the conversion rate. Additionally, consultants should refer to the Google Webmaster Guidelines in order to convince customers of what good content means.
Performance-Based Compensation

Clients who have mostly worked with other online marketing channels often ask for a performance-based compensation for SEO. With SEA, affiliate, and display marketing it is relatively uncomplicated to agree on compensation per click or sale, but it is nearly impossible use performance-based compensation in the SEO field. Good rankings depend on various factors that can’t be influenced by an SEO consultant.

The delayed impact of SEO is another factor that makes performance-based compensation unthinkable. SEO is a long-term, online marketing channel. The effects of the optimization can’t be seen instantly.
“Why haven’t my sales improved?”
Some clients don’t understand that SEO and conversion optimization are two different disciplines in online marketing that ideally go hand in hand. The aim of SEO is to get good rankings in the organic search results and thus generate traffic. How a site converts visitors into customers is the supreme discipline of conversion optimization. Without interaction with conversion optimization, SEO alone can’t make sales rise if the usability of the website, the service, or even the product itself are unsatisfying.

“I’ll make you an offer you can’t resist.”
Sometimes customers compare the offers of several companies and decide on the SEO firm with the cheapest prices. Of course, some SEO consultants offer an unrivaled price, but potential customers should be aware that the gap between good and bad SEO consulting is enormous. In fact, the gap is much larger in performance than in price.

Very good SEO consulting isn’t cheap – and there is a reason for this. Strikingly cheap offers go hand in hand with a low-quality service that falls short on sustainability and maintenance. Worst case, it even inflicts damage. The old adage applies: If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

In case the customer argues for the “cheapest competitor”, you can defuse this point easily. Simply ask your customer for the competitor’s service package, and compare not just costs but also benefit. A detailed evaluation of the two packages will give you the leverage you need to demonstrate why you charge more and show the value of your service.

“Our competitors do it differently…. ”
Many customers pay too much attention to their competition. Of course, you need to keep an eye on your rivals, but it is more important to build a site that meets each company’s specific needs. There are a lot of reasons why their competitors are doing things differently – perhaps they have a huge budget, or even a really small one. Maybe what they are doing isn’t actually working.

For the SEO consultant whose customer only has an eye for the competition, try providing examples of websites from different competitive fields which are well-optimized from an SEO perspective. In the end, the consultant has to argue from a best-practice point of view rather than following the herd. Since you want to be better than the competition, it doesn’t make sense to use the same approach.

SEO Consulting After the Launch of the Website
Some customers consider SEO as the cherry-on-the-top of website design and don’t consider hiring an SEO until after the website is launched. While this can be more cost-effective, there is a great deal of value in SEO advice in the early stages of web development.

In order to convince a client of this, be ready to give examples of optimization methods that should be applied before the launch of a website. For example, a well thought out URL structure. Although it is possible to change the URL structure after the launch, it causes redirects and may even diminish the value of backlinks. Failing to perform an SEO check before the launch of a website can lead to disadvantages in costs and performance. A good overview of Pre Launch SEO can be found at Moz.

SEO for Innovative Product Ideas
Unfortunately, some ideas or products are so innovative that using SEO is not profitable. If the primary keyword set has no search volume (yet), it is pointless to try and optimize a website for it. Users will not search for products or services that don’t know about. In these situations, it is vital to make the audience aware of the product through other marketing channels first.

A good example of an innovative product where SEO is not relevant is Birchbox. The members of Birchbox receive monthly boxes filled with test sizes of products with the idea that clients will like, and hopefully purchase, the products.  However, no client will explicitly search for “monthly products”. This idea spreads more effectively by word of mouth and social media marketing. Certainly, a content marketing strategy may help bring visitors via search engines on a long-term basis, but SEO will never constitute the core of the marketing mix.

Limiting Link-Marketing Actions     
Generating natural links with first-class content paves the way to the top of the SERPs. Some customers, having obtained good rankings with a relevant set of keywords, play with the idea of shutting down the volume of link-marketing activities entirely.

Completely halting link-marketing activities is a bad idea, however, reducing the link-marketing volume has not shown to be problematic. Good rankings can be lost quickly, so make sure to continually monitor results so you can head off any negative trends.

Limiting link marketing methods rarely make sense. Let’s assume that the customer gets 20 links a month via link marketing methods, whereas the competitor gets 10 links. Regardless of the power of the link, the customer will generate 120 links after six months, the competitor only 60.  If you stop building new links, the competitor can easily make up the difference in six months. Just like that, your client loses their competitive edge. Slowing volume of link marketing would, however, keep the competitive advantage if the competitor does not change their strategy. This is a simplified example and many factors influence a good ranking. Still, it makes sense to clarify complex matters using simplified examples for the customer.

These situations are likely familiar to a lot of readers. Hopefully, this reinforces how important it is that project leaders and external SEO consultants work together. The latter should be responsible for guiding the customer through the subject of SEO and assisting with decision-making while discouraging non-purposeful actions.

Of course, these examples also apply your in-house SEO colleagues and managers who might be less familiar with SEO. After you have amused yourselves with this article, why not use it to fuel an interesting and lively discussion over the finer points of SEO?

(Andre Alpar, source from:

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7 Ways Your Content Can Increase Facebook Engagement

November 19, 2013 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips


Raise your hand if you’ve ever wondered how some brands seem to dramatically and exponentially grow their fan and comment count, while others, even with a similar content strategy are still struggling. Fact is, there is real science behind what makes us interact with brands and businesses online.

While traditional wisdom points us in the direction of advice such as following the 60/30/10 formula, wherein 60 percent of your content is designed to entertain, 30 percent to inspire, and 10 percent on promotional content, it still doesn’t dive deep enough.

Since studies have shown that engagement with a brand can have a real impact on profit – comScore’s 2012 data shows a 38 percent lift in purchases for fans exposed to Starbucks advertising on Facebook, and fans of Target were 19 percent more likely to purchase at Target in the month following exposure to Facebook messages – how do we make the 60 percent more entertaining, the 30 percent more inspiring?

It’s critical to engineer your firm’s content strategy in way that makes it as engaging, and thus as effective, as possible.

Recently, members of Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania released their findings from a study on the effect of social media content on customer engagement. In the study conducted via Facebook, Dokyun Lee and Kartik Hosanagar of the University of Pennsylvania, and Harikesh Nair of Stanford, set out to investigate what type of content was more effective to engage the target audience for an advertiser on social media.

Some of the key questions they looked to answer included:

Did informative posts talking about product price or features get a better response than persuasive or philanthropic messages, or vice versa?

Did posts designed to solicit user response (“like this post if…”) actually work or did they turn users away?

How does content strategy vary across industries?

Since only about 1 percent of fans of a page actually engage with the brand by commenting, liking, or sharing posts, how can content be used to improve brand engagement?

In what is described within the study as a painstakingly thorough and exhaustive research and analysis process, they analyzed over 800 firms and over 100,000 messages, to come up with findings that had broad applicability across different types of businesses and industries.

Below are seven key points from their findings from the study and some recommended actions you can take based on those findings:

1. Persuasive Content Has the Highest Engagement Levels

Persuasive content, or content that works to build relationships such as small talk or banter, has the highest levels of engagement, especially if it contains strong emotional or philanthropic content. Interestingly, philanthropy-related content and content with an emotional hook beat out humor in terms of effectiveness when it came to engaging with consumers.

2. Informative Content Negatively Impacts Engagement

Informative content, especially content that talks about price, deals, or product features, tends to have a negative impact on engagement. However, mixing in persuasive content with the informative content within the same message stemmed the negative effect on engagement.

3. Mentioning the Holidays Decreases Engagement

Mentioning the holidays actually decreases engagement, but the theory the authors have about this is that there are so many mentions of the holidays on Facebook, that the saturation dulls the effectiveness of the message. By all means don’t shy away from mentioning the holidays at all, but do so in moderation. Try to come up with a different angle for talking about the holidays then your competitors, or what your audience might be getting exposed to.

4. Less is More

Overly long or complex messages lessen engagement rates as the study showed that they are liked and commented on less than shorter, more succinct messages. Stick to the point and the old adage that less is more. Test different lengths to see what works best for you, but shorter messages that don’t get cut off with a “read more” link are much easier for people to read and react to.

5. Make Your Posts Interactive

Asking questions or having “fill in the blank” style posts increases comments, but at the cost of likes. “Fill in the blank” type messaging is even more effective than questions for increasing comments.

6. Ask People to Take an Action

Asking for likes has a powerful impact on increasing likes, as does asking for comments, though the latter does come at the cost of likes. Be bold in asking for the action you’d like people to take. Give them interesting reasons why they should like or thumbs up the page.

Calls to action work for a reason – telling people what you’d like them to do next can go a long way toward increasing the odds that they will take that action.

7. Use Images

Photos tend to get the most comments and likes out of all types of content, even more than status updates or videos.

Have more fun with images and Photoshop – rather than posting a simple fact as just text, turn it into a little image, or post inspirational or interesting photos or illustrations that can attract attention and interest.


Reviewing the insights from the study, it’s still important to keep in mind the importance of mixing up the messages on the page. If suddenly all the content a brand posted on Facebook was only about philanthropy, it would backfire and not maintain the right brand image or customer interest. Test and devise a strategy that works best for your audience.

Have you tried other tactics that have worked well for you? Please share in the comments.

(Purna Virji, , source from:

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Google Starts Indexing App Content

November 05, 2013 By: admin Category: Marketing Tips



If you have an Android app, you’ll be happy to hear the latest feature by Google for app developers. Developers will now have the option to get their app content indexed, and that content to be opened up within the app on Android devices. This will help provide a seamless user experience for users when they are alternating between websites and apps.

Googlebot can now index the content contained within an Android app, either through a sitemap file or through Google’s Webmaster Tools. This means that if someone searches for content that is contained within an app, and the user has that app installed, they will have the option to view that content within the app, rather than just on a usual mobile webpage. For sites that have content on their main website as well as their app being displayed in the same search results, the app results will appear as deep links within the search listing.

Right now during the testing phase, indexing is only available to an initial group of developers. Signed-in searchers within the United States will start seeing these results on their Android devices within a few weeks.

App developers can sign up to let Google know they are interested in having their apps indexed. Developers can fill out an application of interest at Google but they should be aware that they do need to have deep linking enabled within their app. Developers will also need to provide Google with information about alternate URLs, either within their sitemap or in a link element within the pages of the website.

App indexing is only available for Android apps at the time. No word yet on whether it could expand to iPhone or Windows apps as well.

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(Source: Search Engine Watch)