It’s no secret that technology can change on a daily basis. What’s popular and effective one moment — especially as it pertains to online marketing strategies — may be dated and useless the next. As a professional, it’s important, even critical, to stay ahead of the trends to offer your clients the most valuable SEO services possible.
In order to keep your methods current, check out the following predicted SEO trends for 2014.
Voice Search Parameters
Search engines are changing regularly, and many are moving in the same direction. The major players have long since realized that computer usage has become a regular part of the lives of most people. This has lead to a new concept – that people type like they talk and think, not like robots.
With this in mind, search engines have created and released new algorithms, like Google’s Hummingbird, which produces search results based on what it believes the searcher meant, not what was typed into the query box. Based on this, SEO strategy must be modified to include long-tail keywords and a more natural feel.
Increase in Online PR Optimization
Inbound marketing has quickly taken the form of an online PR specialist in order to accommodate Google’s link building parameters. While only 42% of companies are currently using an agency’s online PR services, according to a report by Econsultancy, 33% of companies said they plan to use the service soon in the future.
Building links through getting placed online news articles may be more difficult. But the additional benefits, such as branding and reputation marketing on top of SEO, makes it an attractive option for companies.
Social Media Matters and Will Continue to Matter
The vast majority of individuals and brands have a social media presence of some sort. It’s where both people and companies go to make connections. In fact, it’s overtaken porn as the place that Internet users spend the majority of their time. The bottom line: if you’re trying to reach someone, social media is probably one of the best places to make a first impression.
It’s predicted that over the next year, social media marketing will be more critical than before and could be the most profitable strategy any marketer or SEO professional can utilize. Additionally, social media now factors into page ranks in search results. If a brand is looking to build credibility, social media engagement is a must.
Quality Content over Quantity
In the past, the popular idea was that the more frequently content was posted, the higher the search ranking could be. With the introduction of “smart” search engine crawlers, this has changed. To be recognized as valuable, content must be authoritative.
What does this mean? It means that all content should be well-researched and well-documented, that sources should be used wherever possible and that content cannot be pumped out quickly without regard to referencing source material. In 2014, we’ll see the trend of longer content blog posts that are packed with videos, images and graphics. These posts will be used as linkable assets.
Another aspect of authoritative content is now the writer. Google is now using rel=author as a form of ranking for articles in the search results. In 2014, we’ll see the number of pictures beside listings in the SERPs increase as more marketers realize the power of a Google+ Authorship.
While this is a basic overview of some of the changes to come in the next year, much remains to be seen. New releases in groundbreaking technology could change the online marketing landscape in an instant. To be the most effective marketer or SEO professional, it’s essential to stay abreast of current trends, to educate your staff if applicable, and, most importantly, to demonstrate the value of staying current to your clients. 2014 is approaching quickly; are you prepared?
Any individual first starting out creating a website or a blog can be rather confused by the options and offerings at WordPress. At first blush, it appears as though there are two different versions of the same site.
For any individual that has already built a website somewhere else using an FTP client, notepad, Word, Dreamweaver or other tool most likely has a basic concept of content management systems (CMS) technology. Other CMS solutions include the basic WordPress platform and an additional self-hosted WordPress that utilize the same technology. Each one offers its own significant advantages and disadvantages.
WordPress vs. Self-Hosted WordPress
Standard WordPress advantages include:
• Very easy set up
• It is free – hosting handles up to 3 GB
• With hundreds of servers, there is never any downtime, even with high traffic
• All content automatically remains fully backed up
• No maintenance required – all upgrades, setup, backups, security and spam are always fully maintained by WordPress
• A fully secured SSL dashboard – makes for safe log on over a shared network
• Huge traffic brought in by the community at WordPress
Standard WordPress disadvantages include:
• Over 200 WordPress themes available – Not all themes function properly (although there are alternatives)
• No self generated uploaded customize themes allowed
• No modifying PHP coding to run behind the scenes
• No uploaded plug-ins allowed
Self-hosted WordPress advantages include:
• Very easy set up
• No maintenance required – all backups, security and spam are always fully maintained by WordPress
• Easy capability to upload any customized theme
• Easy capability to upload any plug-in
• Maintain complete control to alter any code
• The ability to use higher quality WordPress themes (templates) for a more aesthetically pleasing design and better functionality
Self-hosted WordPress disadvantages include:
• The need for a web host that will charge a monthly fee
• The possible requirement for additional technical knowledge
• Personal responsibility for safeguarding against spam
• Personal responsibility for WordPress software updating
Making a Decision
The easiest way to decide whether to use a self hosted WordPress, or the free version, is a simple one. If the company decides they can work within a controlled environment without the need to have freedom on how their website behaves, then selecting the free version of WordPress is for them. However, if the company needs to have more control, wants to select from higher-quality themes, and use their own plug-ins, then selecting the self-hosted WordPress will provide better results. In a direct comparison, a self-hosted WordPress platform is not restricted in any way, and the free version is.
Improving the Web Design
There are significant benefits to using a quality WordPress theme, to generate a better web design. Improving its functionality will keep visitors coming back for more. The improvements include:
• Continually Updated Fresh Content – Both the online visitor and search engines enjoy continually updated fresh content on the site. The more content that becomes indexable by search engine spiders, the higher the SEO ranking in search engine queries. Fresh content should include informative content, great advice, and visually appealing images and video.
• 2 Way Communication – Any business can quickly create a human face to the company by using two-way dialogue on the site or company blog. This communication can include:
• Announcing updates and company news
• Online marketing promotions of services and products
• Informative tips on the company’s niche market
• New products or services available
• Showing appreciation to customers through testimonials
WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)
• Continuous RSS Feed – By setting up and utilizing a free burner account (for free) the website can provide options for email subscriptions and/or RSS readers of the company blog. The content can easily be automatically pulled into the company’s social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
• Full Control – Having full control over the company domain utilizes the best functions of a blogging or website platform. Full control offers complete flexibility to handle any technical requirement.
• Ease of Use – WordPress offers an easy write-to-publish solution for posting or updating content on the blogging site or website. Maintenance on a self hosted WordPress blog or website is easy and does not necessarily require any coding experience.
• Clean Coding – What makes WordPress so phenomenal for online blogging sites and websites is its ability to utilize clean coding. Using the best clean code can make uploads and downloads quicker while eliminating many of the back door problems where hackers and cyber-thieves can do the most damage. WordPress avoids many of these problems by producing valid compliant code. It is the number one reason why they are the most highly respected blogging site in website platform in the world.
Whether a company chooses to go with the standard free version that WordPress offers, or opts for the self-hosting solution, the platform for both options is the best available. By utilizing the best WordPress themes, and taking full advantage of the plug-ins and add-ons, any company can develop a site they can be proud of.
Social signals are increasingly contributing to enhancing search rankings of websites.
The number of social recommendations and social shares is a primary social signal that search engines consider while ranking websites.
Another important social signal is social sharing by high authority social users in your niche. When a niche influencer, for instance, retweets you or tweets your content, the website can look forward to moving higher on the SERP
Now that we know what are the social signals that enhance search rankings, it is time to offer some tips that help you take advantage of these social signals and enhance search rankings significantly.
Top 10 Tips to Maximize Social Signals for Search Rankings
Social Signal #1 – Garner Maximum Social Recommendations and Social Shares for the Content
1. Write high quality, original relevant content that adds value to readers. Such content promotes readers to ‘like’, ‘tweet’ or +1 the content on their own social networks and also encourages social sharing for the content.
2. Attempt to create viral content. Viral content touches a cord within the readers, and promotes widespread social sharing, increasing the chances of higher search rankings.
3. Place social media sharing buttons obviously and optimally on your website to facilitate easy sharing by your website visitors.
4. Include a strong call to action asking people to share your content.
5. Encourage people to ‘like’ you and share your content on social media by giving them an incentive. A discount coupon or free product sample can often meet the case. Twitter tools like ‘Pay With A Tweet are ideal for this purpose.
6. Share others’ content, so that they share yours in return.
Social Signal #2- Social Sharing by High Authority Social Media Users in your Niche
7. Establish relationship with top influencers in your niche via social media. Comment on their posts and share their content. Even though they may have larger number of followers than you, the gesture will be appreciated and will pave the way for establishing a relationship with them for future social shares.
8. Request niche influencers to share your content. A simple email is all that is needed for high authority social media users to share your content, if your content is really great and adds immense value.
9. Send free samples, discount coupons for your product, service to niche influencers requesting for a review. You could also request them to mention your product, service, your company on their social media network. More often than not, such requests are honored. And social mentions by high authority users are sure to bump up your rankings.
10. Showcase your expertise in the niche with your insightful comments and analysis on social media, making influencers sit up and take notice. Now they will be more prone to sharing your content on social media when you request them to do so. Because they are convinced that you will add value to their followers.
What strategies have you used to take advantage of social signals to enhance your rankings? And don’t forget to share this post if your found it useful.
Yasir Khan is a leading SEO consultant and strategist based in Canada. Click here to contact Quantum SEO Labs, the SEO company founded by Yasir.
Press release can be a viable SEO proposition and can mark your spot on page one of the search engines. Press release is a marketing strategy you can use at any stage of your marketing plan but is especially beneficial for those marketers who are wishing to gain authority via the search engines through press release distribution.
Way back when, a newsworthy announcement was often made by shouting “Hear Ye” Hear Ye”!! In modern times news was announced via Newspapers, magazines, TV and Radio and now we have the natural progression of the internet.
Press Release and the Internet
With so many people trading newspapers for news online it makes sense for you the business owner to put your information where the most eyes will see it. Many small business owners aren’t aware that online news is also a viable proposition for getting their business or new product out there via press release distribution.
Free Press Release Vs Paid Press Release
It was suggested years ago if you were just starting out and using press releases to drive traffic, that you would use free press release distribution sites because they were just that Free! However, its very time consuming to write and then distribute your content to hundreds of sites to put your press release in front of those who are looking for what you have.
You know what they say if it’s free there is usually a cost somewhere and in this case you pay with your valuable time.
With paid press release distribution you can virtually sit back and relax and let a distribution service take the load off, while you spend your time doing what you love best.
Marketers Media is a press release distribution service that will do all the hard work for you and also offer the following benefits….
~ Increase in brand awareness & reputation
~ Greater online visibility and brand presence
~ SEO and traffic driving with press release
~ Proprietary syndication technology that provides wider syndication and publication.
~ Quick and prompt support
~ Next day publication
Press Release Format
There is a precise format to follow when writing a press release and every distributor has their own rules that you should read carefully. Such rules include an image of a certain size, headline must not be too long (under 80 characters) and have an active verb and subject. Your press release content should be between 350 and 800 words and be legitimately newsworthy. Remember, check your press release service guidelines to make sure you are sticking to the rules of that particular service.
Marketers Media will deliver your Press Release to the following Networks
Get your press release distributed to Associated Press, New York Times, UPI, Washington Posts, Houston Chronicles, CBSNews, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Google News, journalists, bloggers, TV, Radio Stations and more!
Social media coverage and RSS PRNewswire Syndication
Marketers Media partners with Associated Press, an American news agency renowned for heavily making its contribution through newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States.
News and Media archives including Dow Jones Factiva, Comtex, Acquiremedia, Outbrain, LexisNexis, AllVoices and Press Association.
Press Release Media List 700+ premium media outlets including New York Times, CBS News, Houston Chronicle, United Press International, Sacramento Bees and more!
Over 30,000 media journalists and bloggers!
English: The New York Times building in New York, NY across from the Port Authority. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fit Press Release into your Monthly Marketing Budget
This is the easy part. You would think that a press release distribution service that offers all of the above would charge at least a couple of hundred dollars. When you see the benefits and return on your investment you will be prepared to pay the low prices that are offered by Marketers Media and even if your budget is low you can still fit a small amount for at least one press release per month. You will be amazed at the amount of traffic you will receive to your website for such a small investment.
Increase your traffic
With widespread press release distribution to more than 750 premium media outlets and a wider audience reach, your traffic will increase up to 60% – 70%. Your business will also experience an increase in Brand Awareness and Reputation with greater online and offline Publicity.
Now almost anyone can use affordable, widespread press release distribution to reach wider audiences and get greater online visibility.
Click the Banner Below to Submit your Next Press Release
“To Continuously Be Successful You Must Do Different Things Continuously!”
Without a 2013 Marketing Plan you are setting yourself and your business up for failure.
For the small business owner, online marketing procedures and tactics can be a never ending headache. This is especially true for those businesses without a marketing plan.
What makes it even worse is the mountain of so called experts and gurus sipping cocktails on sun drenched beaches in the Bahamas, promising you can make millions.
Having worked with many small business owners over the past years, I am yet to find the magic trick that will allow me to lay on a banana lounge on a sun drenched beach and achieve massive success. As a business owner or if you are starting a business, you’ll be aware that marketing is the lifeline of your business and without a marketing plan your target audience simply will not find you.
With the correct marketing plan and system in place your business can attract a regular flow of clients, leads and sales to your business. These days many small businesses are hiring marketers to do this for them which eats considerably into their marketing plan. This is great if your business can afford it however, many people starting from scratch or even in their first couple of years would rather put their marketing budget into tools and systems that will help their business run more efficiently.
Having a marketing plan in place will be the difference between a successful 2013 taking forward steps and scratching your head half way through the year wondering what you are doing wrong.
Here are a few steps to take into consideration to optimize your marketing plan.
Understand your target audience
Understand your target audience and why they need your product or service, why they buy, know their pain and ask questions via online surveys to get to know what your client needs from your business. This is also forming a better relationship with your client/customer that will last a lot longer than trying to sell them on your product.
What value are you giving your clients? Perhaps you need to re-evaluate what makes you stand out from your competitors and what makes you unique and the way you communicate with your clients and prospective clients.
Your marketing plan should also include the following…..
A mix of paid and free marketing strategies should be implemented into your marketing plan. Facebook advertising, banner advertising (online display) on high authority websites or Google advertising are a few examples of paid marketing strategies and should be a strong backbone to your marketing plan for 2013.
Not everyone can afford paid marketing strategies however, I would advise you not to go full speed ahead into a Google Pay Per Click marketing campaign until you are more experienced in this strategy as I have seen many marketers come unstuck after spending thousands of dollars with little or no results.
Assuming your website is already up and running on the WordPress.org platform or has a WordPress.org blog attached to it, you should be good to go with the next strategies. If your website is not yet set up, it’s not difficult to start today and be up and running with a basic website within 24 hours. You can find more information on how to set up your new website here.
Be sure all your newsletter and website information are targeting the right audience. Write a plan for your content at least a few months in advance and know how you are going to distribute your content so it reaches your audience though search, display and social media. Always have a call to action at the end of your content so your readers know the next step to take to obtain what you are offering.
Onsite conversion strategies
Don’t forget the many other marketing strategies to implement in your marketing plan such as video marketing, email marketing, press releases, engaging with your clients via social media, content sharing and a consistent SEO plan to see your business make new heights in 2013.
January 2013 marks a new beginning, a new month, a new quarter, the first month in 2013 and a new chapter in your business. 2012 may not have worked out the way you planned and that’s ok, just don’t drag your old ways of 2012 into 2013.
Part of your marketing plan should be to know and how to implement the different marketing strategies within your business. These are many and varied as mentioned above and if you are only using one of two of these strategies you could be losing customers and new leads into your business. Without a marketing plan that covers most of what I have spoken about here you are missing out on genuine customers that want what you have no matter what your service or product. Let’s face it….. if your business was right under you customer’s nose where they are looking for what you have…. You wouldn’t be reading this now.
The biggest problem with most marketing plans is that many business owners don’t know how to implement most of these strategies and don’t know where to go to learn how to implement these powerful marketing strategies. The internet is a BIG place where you can easily get lost in the amount of information online, spend thousands of dollars outsourcing to the wrong people or on PPC (pay per click) advertising as I mentioned above.
The biggest factor to my business success over the past few years has been… having a support team when I’d come across online obstacles. Being able to find answers to my questions and having the support and experience behind me that has helped grow my business. You can’t run a successful business online by yourself and have success, if you don’t have the network and support to turn to when you don’t know the next step. You would now be thinking to yourself “what has Sandy’s business success have to do your my marketing plan for 2013”?
I certainly would not have had the success I am seeing in my business if I only used one or two marketing strategies in my marketing plan. Over the past 4 years I’ve learned every marketing strategy possible which makes it possible for me to implement and grow my business into the future. Of course as the internet changes I need to keep up with these changes so I can continually reach my target audience who are searching Google for what I offer.
Make 2013 your year to be a success online. Extend your marketing plan so that your business can grow not just for this year but growth to sustain your business for years to come.