Digital Marketing Archives - Page 2 of 7 - Klaxon

The Three Cs of SEO Explained

There are two sides to SEO (search engine optimisation). Cat and dog

The first is highly-complex, sprawling, and almost incomprehensible. A ball of algorithms, which change daily, and are guarded more vigilantly than the Enigma Code. The only way to determine the gears behind these gargantuan beasts of search is by: trial, error and billions upon billions of records, analysed for months at a time.

Whilst the other can be summarized in three words: content, context and conversation!

Content

We’ve been producing content since man first discovered that chisels work pretty well on cave walls. Content should be easy, because content is everything! From a scrappily taken photo in the small hours at an office party, to the magnum opus you’ve spent a decade writing, it’s all content, and it all tells a story.

That’s why content is arguably the hardest part of SEO. You can produce: blog posts, videos, graphics, etc, until the cows come home, but if it doesn’t enrich the story of your business, it’s as good as useless. Or worse, degrading to your audience, confusing to Google, and detrimental to your brand. This is why many content producers give up, they find their content doesn’t resinate and it becomes little more than white noise: all because they don’t understand their audience.

Google is becoming better every day at understanding whether a piece is well written, a video is exciting, or a graphic is engaging. It’s all about telling a story for your clients.

Context

If content is king, then context is his closest advisor.

Google’s approach to understanding the connections between content online is becoming increasingly human, and whilst that’s terrifying for anyone trying to ‘game’ their way onto the first page, it’s a hallelujah moment for the rest of us. Dozens of sources are used; maps to determine if your site is relevant locally, on page data to understand if content is enjoyable, but overall, the most important are links.

These links between pages are measured in two main ways:

Domain Authority – how trusted and influential your site is, determined by the breadth, relevancy and quality of the people who link to you.

Page authority – similar to domain authority, but focused on the topics covered on a particular page.

The best way to describe context online is like a friend at the pub.

Let’s call him Guy. Guy is a builder. He has a strong knowledge of his trade, you know this because you’ve known each other for years. Guy has a lot of recommendations from a lot of important sources, who support what he says with relevant information. This is domain rank.

Guy now (slightly drunkenly) starts a conversation with you about homing pigeons. You trust Guy as a person, but he has never talked about this topic before, so you take it with a pinch of salt, until people who are influential in the field support the conversation. This is page rank.

Search engines are rapidly developing the way they form links between content, to create connections which are similar to the way we do offline, with the goal of making your experience more natural and tailored to your tastes.

Conversation

SEO is rapidly becoming more socially focused, both online, and off. When I talk about conversation and SEO, it’s so much more than an odd tweet or acquiring Facebook likes.

Conversation, at least in my eyes, is a culture. Conversation is about having the confidence to actively engage in discussion, not just about your site, but around it. Demonstrating that you’re so knowledgeable about your business that you can make conversation; and ultimately direct people to your website.

This is where SEO comes full circle. Make content, provide context to fuel conversation: your customers will ask questions, which helps to define your content. This is not about throwing links into every corner of the internet, or spamming social media until your followers run away screaming, it’s about proving credibility, and overwhelmingly showing that you’re respectable people to do business with.

Search engine optimisation is becoming less about finding out how search works, and more geared towards a great experience for your customers. For now, in 2014, search still treads a line between code-breaking and content-driven simplicity. Every day Google is taking steps to make using their service better for users, which ultimately means a more effective channel for lead generation — but only if you create the content, context and conversation that Google is clamouring for.

SEO - the three cs

Optimised content, rich context, and vibrant conversation should be your SEO goal for 2014… as for 2015… I’ll let you know when Google changes its algorithm… again.

If you have any questions about search and how it can benefit your business, I’ll be happy to answer any questions in the comments below.

…0r if you fancy a chat I’m always available @YianniPelekanos on Twitter.

Past, Present & Future of Web Design

“Our website has a life of its own.”

This was said to me by a client last week as I ran them through our monthly marketing review meeting. And he was quite right. It does. We spend a considerable amount of time with this client making sure their site does three primary things:

1. attracts new visitors interested in their service
2. allows those visitors to self qualify and convert into enquiries
3. acts as a resource for their clients (and prospective clients)

This requires it to constantly evolve as we keep up to date with new web dev techniques, algorithm updates from Google, fresh content from the client and so on. It really is a living, breathing organism. As I suspect is any decent website in this day and age.

What’s coming next in website development then?

Well quite a bit and the infographic below from a US based hosting company spells it out quite nicely. Why not round off your week by taking a look through how web design has evolved since Sir Tim Berners-Lee got us all started way back in 1991 and what’s coming down the road next.

Past, Present & Future of Web Design

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

What does a Great Linkedin Company Page Look Like?

B2B Marketers: did you know you can create a company page as well as a personal profile on Linkedin?

If not then it’s certainly time to think about getting your company page setup. Linkedin company pages are a great way to help your company find and recruit talent, but they can also form part of a content marketing campaign. As you build your page and attract followers, you create another platform for which to share useful content and engage with your target audiences.

You can also use your company page as a way to attract recommendations for your products and services too, creating a sense of social proof which should help with prospective customers.

If you need help with creating a company page take a look at the FAQs here. For inspiration and ideas of what a good company page looks like, take a flick through Linkedin’s own list of the Top 10 Company Pages from 2013 in the slideshare below:

Utility Marketing is All About Adding Value

I spoke at a British Dietetics Association event in London this week about utility marketing and blogging…

Alongside me was founder of Engaging People, Mr Bernie Mitchell. Between us we attempted to convince an audience of professional dietitians that they should be blogging.

Well actually we took it a bit broader than that, promoting the idea as a professional you should generally be adding value to your target audience. That’s essentially what utility marketing is all about. Blogging is just one tool, but you could also use all and any online media to support this objective.

We were speaking after a lady called Ann Gates who runs Exercise Works. Ann spoke beautifully about the value of social media and how she is growing her business using twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Ann is a force to be reckoned with and a useful case study for dietitians to follow.

The point about utility marketing is that you should be providing exactly that. A utility for your target audience.

Find out:

> who they are

> what they want / need, and

> the questions they have that relate to your field of expertise

Once you know the answer to these questions, start engaging with them on the platform of their choice. If your audience reads blogs to get information, write a regular blog. If they watch videos, post short clips and YouTube. If they engage with pictures more, curate a Pinterest board. You get the point. Produce something of value to your target audience and you are half way there.

The real secret sauce of course is bringing together all of these resources into a platform of expertise. Something you can be known for, whether that’s a paediatric nutritionalist, or an expert in cloud security topics. Once you have a platform of authority that you own and control, you have a significant marketing opportunity to build on.

If you attended the event (or even if you didn’t attend) and have any questions please add them in the comments below. Bernie and I will do our best to answer them for you.

Thanks again for having us BDA London and for sending us away with a bottle of wine and some divine belgian chocolates. Now that’s what I call a diet.

Interview with a Marketer: Mitch Joel on Life in a Digital World

I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing one of my marketing heroes last night.

Life in a Digital World with Mitch Joel

I felt a bit like a cross between Seth Godin and Michael Parkinson – all be it with a fraction of their wit and intelligence – when I had the pleasure of interviewing Mitch Joel at the London Bloggers Meetup. We had an audience of 50 or so bloggers, marketers and comms professionals all keen to get the lowdown on everything and anything digital.

Mitch is a well known personality in the digital marketing world. He’s President of digital marketing agency Twist Image, a frequent blogger and podcaster at Six Pixels of Separation and now an established business book author too.

Mitch joined us as the London Bloggers Meetup to talk about ‘Life in a Digital World’ and to introduce his latest book Ctrl Alt Delete. It was far from a book pitch, in fact it was much more thought provoking and inspirational than that.

Mitch shared his perspectives on everything and anything we threw at him to do with digital, fielding questions for an hour before he was whisked away to a client dinner.

Early on in the interview Mitch set the tone of the conversation by saying ‘marketing is a function of digital’. This nicely elevated the conversation above social media marketing which is surely by now a rather hackneyed topic.

In Ctrl, Alt, Delete, Mitch gives an overview of his ‘five movements’ that are changing the face of business. You’ll have to read the book the get the full story, but essentially:

1. People want direct relationships with brands

2. Consumers want utility and value from marketing

3. There are passive and active media channels to explore and a right and wrong time for both

4. Data is fundamentally changing how brands interact with consumers

5. We are entering a one screen world

These make a lot of sense to me. However the data story particularly resonates. Having recently produced a conference on the theme of ‘next generation research’ I’ve had my eyes opened considerably as to what information is available to marketers and what this means from a marketing optimisation point of view.

The digital data trail we leave behind as we navigate our lives online is really quite staggering. I’m in two minds as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but as consumers we all have to realise there’s nothing free on the internet. If you want to use Facebook, twitter or any social network without charge, the trade off is you give them a licence to use your data. Get used to it, or get off the net.

You can read a much more in-depth review of Mitch’s thoughts and ideas from Phil Szomszor here. This is one event where I would have liked to be in the audience as well as being the interviewer.

Mitch was everything I expected of a marketing maven, but to my surprise and delight he was also really quite self-effacing too. No diva behaviour at all and this only heightened my admiration for the man.

Following on from Mitch I chaired a panel session with David Keene (Head of Enterprise Marketing UK & IE, Google), Phil Szomszor (Head of Business and Digital at Firefly PR) and Rob Wilmot (Entrepreneur and investor) where we embellished on the topic and discussed the Google stories du jour: G+, Hummingbird, authorship, how enterprise is using G+ and more.

We also had a chance to play with Google Glass which was an experience. I’m not convinced I’ll be a customer when it launches, but you have to admire Google’s innovation.

Overall a truly great evening. Hat tips to all of our speakers and to Google UK who hosted us at their splendid offices in Central London.

 

Interesting Week for Search Engine Marketing

This week has seen three notable search engine stories surface, all of which are worth reviewing for search engine marketing purposes.

Search engine marketing

1. Google Hummingbird

Every now and again Google comes out with an update to its search algorithm.

The idea is to continually improve the quality of its search results to help you find what you are looking for. More recently you will have heard of the panda and penguin updates, but the latest update – Google Hummingbird – is very significant for search engine marketing.

It’s much more of a fundamental shift in how Google’s search algorithm works. Google expects the way people will search the web in the future is much more likely to be via long questions than keywords. This will be emphasised as web users move to voice commands (think Apple’s Siri) over typed search queries.

The way we search for something when we talk is likely to be different to how we type.

For example you might say: ‘I need a new cartridge for my HP all in one printer.’

But you would probably type: ‘HP all in one print cartridges.’

Up until now most websites have been optimised for search around keywords i.e. the latter of the two examples. But you might need to rethink that strategy if you want to maintain your search position.

Keywords are out, strong content based around longer search key phrases are in. 

You can find a more detailed technical explanation of Google Hummingbird here.

2.  Dark Google

If you’re running a web analytics package, or any kind of marketing automation, chances are you pay close attention to the search terms people use in order to find your site.

It’s a pretty fundamental piece of information.

But it has been getting increasingly difficult to get a clear picture of what those terms are as Google has been withholding this information for ‘data privacy’ reasons. I know from experience with our marketing automation platform that more often than not the search terms are withheld.

But there is a work around. 

You can still access all of the search data if you’e a Google Adwords customer i.e. better make sure you advertise with Google if you want to know what search terms your customers are really using.

There’s a good post on Search Engine Land if you want to know more.

3. Bing it On

In an attempt to topple the Goliath of Google, Microsoft’s Bing search engine i.e. David, launched the bingiton campaign.

The idea is based on a study bing conducted recently where survey respondents blind tested the search results on bing versus the results on Google. Apparently 53% of searchers preferred the results on bing, 34% chose Google and 13% really felt neither was better than the other. A bit like the Pepsi challenge says The Independent.

Now that’s a challenge worth taking. So we did.

Unfortunately for bing we chose the Google results in five out of five search queries.

This only confirms my suspicion that at 53% the level of preference is surely too tight to build a successful campaign around? I’d love to see what metrics bing is using to measure the success of this campaign.

All that just goes to show, you simply cannot rest on your laurels when it comes to search engine marketing.

 

Interview with a Marketer: Mitch Joel on all things Blogging

This week I had the enormous pleasure of interviewing Mitch Joel, President of digital marketing agency Twist Image.

Mitch joined me on the London Bloggers Meetup podcast with my co-host Bernie Mitchell to talk about his 10 years of blogging. It’s an interesting look at his journey, from starting out to build a platform for his fledgling agency, to what it is now: a voice to be reckoned with on digital marketing.

If you are looking for an example of great b2b content marketing, Mitch and his Six Pixels of Separation blog and podcast is a fine place to start. If you just want some ideas to ramp up your digital marketing I highly recommend you subscribe.

To listen to the interview jump over to the London Bloggers Meetup site here.

 

Pinterest Advertising for B2B Marketers

I’ve previously written and spoken about the use of Pinterest for B2B Marketers.

In fact we have a presentation slide deck on the subject you can download here. We think there is a case for B2B marketers to use Pinterest, assuming you have the right campaign objectives in mind.

If you are unsure, run through this checklist first. Answer yes to all and you could build a case for adding Pinterest to your social media mix:

> Is there a social media policy in place?
> Is your audience on Pinterest?
> Have you defined a content marketing plan?
> Are there appropriate image assets created, bought or identified?
> Do you have resource & authority to execute on another social channel?
> Can you track & measure the impact?
> Have you defined objectives / goal paths post click?

I was interested to see the announcement last week that Pinterest will “start experimenting with promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses”. See the full announcement email below.

It might soon be an option for you to add Pinterest to your advertising mix too.

pinterest for b2b marketing

The Importance of Owning your Digital Marketing Outposts

With the abundance of social platforms and cloud based digital marketing software at your fingertips, it’s important for b2b marketing pros to build the right digital footprint for their businesses.

digital marketing technologies

There’s an awful lot of content available on the web to help you make an informed choice. But a factor you might not think about so much is control. If you’re using any cloud based tools or social platforms, how much control do you really have?

Remember these are important digital marketing outposts for your business. 

You could spend a lot of resources building your presence on a social platform, or learning how to use a digital marketing tool, only to find it’s not there in three, or six months time.

I’ve heard the phenomenal Avinash Kaushik talking about this before. Every business needs a website because it’s the one place on the web you have complete control over. It’s the place where you get to decide exactly how it looks, works, tracks, adds value and most importantly, whether or not it remains open for business.

You can’t say that with facebook, or Linkedin with their ever changing rules of marketing, or new formats of ads for example. Each time they make a change, you have to learn it all over again.

But it’s the same with your software as a service / cloud based partners too. Is that marketing automation platform, landing page provider, analytics tool open for the long term? If not you might be wasting valuable resources using them. Do your homework and select your partners carefully.

Whether social media platforms, or digital marketing services. Ultimately you may find you don’t have the control you need for them to be a good investment of time and money.

Why Adding a Podcast to Your B2B Inbound Marketing Mix Makes Sense

Marketers the world-over are churning out content for their b2b inbound marketing programmes, but not everyone is producing a podcast.

Using a podcast in b2b inbound marketing

Does this present an opportunity for your brand? Is there time to stake a claim in this relatively unchartered territory for business to business marketing?

Of course there are b2b podcasts available. In fact podcasting is not a new tactic, but it really has yet to fulfil is potential. If you look in the iTunes store under the category business, or management and marketing you will find a wide array of podcasts available.

But the number of these podcasts regularly updated and actually effective in generating sales opportunities is largely unknown. Certainly there are some examples of really great b2b podcasts such as:

Six Pixels of Separation from digital marketing agency Twist Image

McKinsey Quarterly from analysts McKinsey

Estates Gazette podcast on construction sector issues in the UK

For Immediate Release by Shell Holtz and Neville Hobson for PR and communications news

There’s a lot that can be learnt from simply listening to these podcasts; not just the content but you can also pick up ideas on:

> content types

> show length

> format

> frequency of publishing, and

> production values

Apart from the relative lack of competition to reach your audience, in contrast to blog posts or tweets where the volume is astonishing, why else would you consider adding a podcast to your b2b marketing?

Here are three great reasons why you should add a podcast to your mix:

1. Podcasts reaches parts other content can’t reach

We have already established there is a lot of noise on the web. B2B marketers have switched on to content marketing and the result is lots and lots of content of varying quality, much of it optimised to attract the same search engine traffic as your marketing.

What then is the best way to cut through the noise? 

Create something new, or original, or both.  Not just the content itself, but the format too.

If you are a systems integrator, or an IP lawyer, or an architect you will have an opinion on something in which you are an expert. Package that up into attractive bite sized audio chunks and you’re well on your way to showing your expertise and some personality too. Best of all your audience will consume the content at times when there are fewer distractions.

The podcast will live on your website, but also on people’s smartphones, in their pockets. This is b2b mobile marketing at its best. They will switch it on during their train commute, or while driving to work. You have their attention largely to yourself. Now that’s prime time.

2. You can build your network

Grabbing people’s attention, particularly target customers and potential partners is not always easy. Particularly in these time starved days in which we all work.

However by being the producer of a podcast you could take a different approach. Try inviting your target customers to be interviewed on your show. I bet you will get a more favourable response.

People like to be given their three minutes of fame, even it that means an interview on a b2b marketing podcast. Use your new tool wisely and not only will you build your networks, but you will also build relationships with industry influencers, target customer, partners, the list goes on.

3. It’s easier than you think

The technology required to record a podcast is readily available. We’ve been working on a podcast recently featuring interviews with influential bloggers. Our choice of technology: Skype. Yes the production values may not be slick, but it matches our budget.

If you have deeper pockets, it is not too difficult to find a consultant or a marketing agency (us for example) that can take care of the production, packaging and promotion for you.

The point is: it’s very accessible for any marketer to setup a podcast and integrate it into your existing content marketing programs.

There you have it. If you are looking for something new to liven up your b2b inbound marketing mix, consider a podcast. Speak up and share your talents. In no time at all you will create an asset that cuts through the noise and engages your buyers throughout the buying cycle.

Let me know in the comments if there are other b2b podcasts you listen to and recommend. What is it you like about those podcasts.