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Being able to personalise a site to an individuals wants, needs and desires is a very powerful thing.

There are a whole host of fantastic pieces of personalisation software as a service options for eCommerce sites nowadays. We’ve compiled a list of tools that use  aggregated customer data to provide better personal recommendations on and also off site through channels such as email and social media.

If you have any other pieces of data to add to our list then please comment below.

You can’t crowdfund if you don’t have a crowd and getting one to take notice of your projectcrowdfunding is often one of the largest tasks that companies face when trying to get off on the right foot. So, we’ve compiled a few tips to help your business in doing so.

Go to the Crowd for Crowdfunding

Where do the people that take interest in these projects, write about them and work with them hangout? Find out where your crowdfunding backers are talking and go to them and interact in the forums, blogs, websites and the communities they hand out in. There is no accounting for how important this is.

Once they begin to take note of your amazing idea, you’re sorted and you’ll begin to see growth as word gets out. Beginning this process is like the kindling for a fire and it’s important you realise that sooner rather than later.

Facebook and Crowdfunding Marketing

Yes, Facebook is amazing for crowdfunding marketing, however you need to think outside of your immediate group on there. Friends can only carry you and your campaign so far and you need to push for the commercial audience. This may mean you need to pay for advertising, spend hours interacting with other groups, and certainly means you need to schedule regular posts. Understanding that your chances of success rely on those you don’t know and getting to know them is vital.

Trending and Hashtags

There’s always something on trend on social media and understanding this and using it to your advantage is vital. #Trendhacking as it’s known matters a lot and taking advantage of the latest Twitter trends around crowdfunding using the power of the hashtag, using wit when responding in conversations, or adding images or even memes can help you win friends and influence Twitter users.

Viral vs Vibrant

Let’s be honest the chances of going viral are slim enough, however you can make your brand and crowdfunding marketing campaign very vibrant by being consistent on social media and in communities. Daily updates are a must.

Not about you

Remember, even though people will really want to see your progress, it’s not all just about you. Keep people interested and entertained with a little love, humour and fun here and there. Focus on giving people what they want rather than what you want to give them.

These are just some great tips that will help your Kickstarter or crowdfunding campaign to flourish.

What do you want from crowdfunding, why not tell us?

google authorship dead

 

I’ve been a specialist in SEO in London and beyond and in my time I have learned a few things and met a few people in the industry. So, I thought I’d ask them what they thought.

Google Authorship has had a bit of a tumultuous time in recent months and though Google fired the warning signs about its death a good few months ago, there’s plenty of speculation about whether its demise is permanent.

As a leading internet marketing company in London, always trying to improve, I asked some of my fellow marketers from throughout the world and we compiled a list of some of the big thinkers in the industry and gathered their thoughts on the subject.

So, is Google Authorship Completely Dead?

An SEO specialist in London (me) and those from beyond the big smoke have their say

A. jonnyp

As per the news we have seen on Searchengineland “Google has completely dropped all authorship functionality from the search results and webmaster tools.” its clearly mentioned that they will not show any authorship results, and for many people the process was a bit difficult using the rel=author in the bio and again linking that to their google plus profile. We all know this mainly happened after the guest posting hits..

Have to wait for their new algo again.. :)

A. Steve Counsell (Mr)

Google have been “flip-flopping” on the whole authorship thing in my opinion. The main thrust of Authorship when first mooted was to pull trusted conte to the top of the search results an dadd an image of the author to the left of th results. This seems to have been reserved for very prolific jounalists types and over the last few months has been removed from the results completely (here in the UK at least).

More recently and over the last week or so (August / September 214) I have noticed that my own posts on Google Plus have been reappearing in search results and have my preferred mug shot placed to the left of the search result.

I teach businesses DIY SEO and have been recommending that every business that attends my seminars and workshops make sure that they have a full and vibrant Google plus account that is links back to their content s that authorship can be verified.

Of course I cannot be sure that they’ve just softly reintroduced this or if my increase in authored content on every platform I can write for has increased exponentially but I do think it’s a good thing that Google are maybe keeping the Authorship preference around search results.

I’m unsure whether Google can ever get the authorship algorithm right so that they always provide top 5 results that include the best writing, the most relevant content and that fully answers the end users search query. Having said that it;s really up to each end every one of us to create content that does all of those things for our own website visitors.

The thing I am sure about is that f website owners and authors create content that is rich in content an relevance, is well written, uses images to illustrate a point, maybe includes video and audio tracks AND most importantly FULLY answers the end users question; then Google will simply have to place that content at the top of the search results.

Is Authorship Dead? Far From it, It’s alive and kicking and headed right for you.

A. ModestMoney

Yes Google Authorship is definitely dead. Just like Google+, it simply didn’t catch on. While it was a solid concept, in practice, too few authors bothered using it. For it to be really effective it needed much more widepread usage. Without that widespread adoption it just furthered skewed things towards SEO pros as they are the ones that would be more likely to try to take advantage of it. Inevitably there would be some marketers who would straight up abuse it. Instead of trying to lump together each author’s writing, Google is more likely to rely on automated ways to gauge content as well as signals such as social media activity.

A. profcopy (Helen Baker)

I am almost sure; it is all about eliminating backlinks as a core ranking factor. The future of authorship will depend on how intensively people will be using other Google products, Google Plus in particular. The more ‘plusing’ and ‘circling’ will be happening, the more personalized search results will be offered to us, consequently eliminating (or considerably reducing the number) ‘clean’ results from to 10. This should probably force digital marketers to focus on ‘building relationships’ via Google Products rather than building links to their websites.

A. Jonathan (Mr)

Google have wanted to pin Author to Content for a while and just because this attempt has been pulled doesn’t mean they will not continue. I think they have something else coming that’s better and more automated (if they have not already deployed it). My gut tells me that they have not had enough impact with it as a manual thing so they need to get automated.

There is the other side of this – did Google do it just to collect a sample pot of data about what certain types of people write about and why? Was this just a huge survey really?

A. Cormac Reynolds (SEO consultant London)

I think it’s dead and gone beyond. Google may try something else but the chances are this is another failed experiment that will go down with Google + as a whole possibly. Who’s to know

A. David Leonhardt (President, THGM )

I am not a fan of authorship across the board, for the simple reason that most information on the Internet is not person-specific.  Good, solid information is usually institutional.

Yes, authorship makes sense for bloggers, consultants, speakers and others who publish their opinions and observations as individuals.  But there is massive news media, eCommerce, government, NGO and service company content that is not attributable and should not be attributable to individual authors.

One of the reasons that authorship died, so we are told, is that there was not a substantial difference in click-throughs for entries with author pics as for regular entries.  I suspect that is because the average person didn’t understand why there were faces next to some of the content.  Some might have thought it meant that this was the face of someone with authority (sometimes rightly so), and been more prone to click on it.  Others might have thought that this was just somebody’s opinion, and not real information (sometimes rightly so), and been less inclined to click on it.

Without fairly sophisticated surveying, it would be hard to tell just what the average non-webmaster was thinking.

For my part, the author pic tells me that it is just someone’s opinion, and unless I know that person and value his/her reputation, it would not greatly change my likelihood to click through, and might even deter me from doing so in favor of a more official page.

Unless Google creates a new “Opinion” search (like the News, Videos and other searches), I suspect that authorship is dead.  But I don’t have a crystal ball, and who knows what clever scheme Google might yet envisage to revive authorship in a more useful manner.

A. Philtrate ( The Teaching Escape Guy)

Google needs every possible signal that might be related to quality. Authorship certainly is, it’s just that in its recent iteration it wasn’t working. At some point in the next 2 or 3 years authorship will be back in a different form.

Perhaps tying it into G+ was the issue, perhaps Google will start an authorship app that is much easier and more intuitive to use than the G+ authorship one was. It needs to be much easier for bloggers and authors both to use if it is to gain any traction. Whether Google will display the authorship in its search results is a different question; I don’t believe author’s photos will be shown in SERPS.

If you’re interested in local SEO or implementing Google Authorship for your business - why not ask an SEO specialist in London and contact us for details. 

Calls to action (CTA) create clicks and clicks create leads – these are the actions you want social media fans to perform.

However, a lot of brands don’t always incorporate effective calls to action in their content and if they do it doesn’t tend to provide a holistic voice, content and strategy. These are the things that can make the difference between a few clicks and dozens of clicks and shares.

CTAs are important as they encourage engagement, clicks and shares and can make the difference between someone glancing over a post or eventually becoming a brand ambassador. So, let’s take a look at how to increase social media CTAs.

call to action

What do you do – Better Calls to Action?

You need to know what your business does, its value and what you want your customer to do before crafting a call to action. This means you need to ask yourself a number of questions:

  • What’s your area of expertise?
  • Are you different from competitors and if so in what way?
  • What do you offer that makes your brand you brand?
  • Can you solve customer’s problems?
  • What do you want your customer to do?

By knowing who you’re talking to and then crafting a message that fits with this, you create connections with customers and grab their attention.

People only Glance – Improve your CTA

People receive around 12 hours of information a day or around 34GBs – that’s a lot even though we filter out much of it. In essence, you don’t want people to filter out your CTA and this means you need to show them exactly what you want them to do. Never assume that people will know what you want them to do, so make sure to craft the CTA in clear language and with high quality imagery.

Urgency works for Calls to Action

All good CTAs have a level of urgency and this means you can’t just show people what you do, you also need to convince people to go with you over alternatives.

The best ways to do this is to understand your audience and then tap into the things they like, find convenient or are interested in. Speaking to your potential customer’s lifestyle and the needs of that lifestyle and then tapping into this through showcasing the things you offer, is a good way to create that sense of urgency.

What do they Want?

People go to particular brands when they want certain experiences and you need to connect with these people in the way they expect – plain, simple language.

Avoid using industry jargon and create CTAs that speak the same language as fans. People like people who are like them, it’s a simple fact of life and brands that realise this are going to succeed far faster than brands that don’t.

Like Everybody Else

There are some amazing statistics out there that suggest asking for a call to action, or seeing that someone else has done so, makes other people respond in the same way.

Nobody likes to be the one to step out of their comfort zone and social media showcases this to a degree. People are far more likely to retweet if you ask them to do so. In addition, Socialbakers found that there’s a 73% higher chance people will retweet if you place ‘RT’ in front of a tweet.

The point is that by asking or showing others have done the same, people will be far more likely to do so. This needs to be consistent and performed on a regular basis.

Imagery also works well with CTAs and in a lot of cases increases the amount of social real estate your post receives and so helps boost awareness and shares to your campaign and increases your CTA.

These tips can be a great help for anyone hoping to improve their call to action in social media and can help you make more of social media. Do you have any tips for better CTAs that we haven’t mentioned above?

If you need help with your CTAs or any other part of the conversion funnel – please get in touch with us. We offer SEO, content creation, web design and a whole host of services.

 

 

There are times in life when good things happen to good people and this 160 page PDF from Canuck SEO on how Google determines the quality of a site is one of those.

Take a look at this comprehensive document and see for yourself and share.

I recently read a piece on Search Engine Journal titled – ‘Content Marketing isn’t a Good Marketing Strategy After All’.

To summarise, Stoney G de Geyter makes the argument that content marketing as a route to long term success is a fallacy. The article is based around the old Chinese proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and he’ll have food for one day, teach a man to fish and he’ll have food forever’.

Margaret Thatcher and communityCommunity and Online Content

Stoney essentially pushes the idea that we as marketers or brands need to create communities, not content, as a community is far more likely to create a return visitor to your site – in turn it leads to continuous success, and through conversation allows you to develop relationships and build engaged brand evangelists.

It’s a wonderfully aspirational piece of content and one that in an ideal world is to be aspired to. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world. I’m not going to go as far as former British PM Margaret Thatcher and declare community non-existent, but I would suggest it’s a lot of effort and often nigh impossible to create.

On-Page SEO Factors

Last week Matt Cutts answered a question on how Google ranks a webpage with no links to it. On the surface, Matt cited a number of on-page factors as the ranking factor – nothing extraordinary really. However, under the skin there’s a far more interesting context – backlinks rank and rankings bring traffic. Matt of course would never say this outright, but it does go a long way to quelling the link deniers who have come to the fore of SEO very notably of late.

However, the two articles led me to think, which is king – content or links? We’re constantly told that content is king, that content ranks and that great content will give our site exposure.

The Reality of Link Building

However, we all know if I have five pieces of content of identical quality and decide to link to four with different levels of quality and one with no links at all, the one with no links will most likely rank below the other four all other factors being equal. In fact, even if the non-linked piece is even better quality than the other four, it still will probably be the piece that is the dud in the SERPs. That’s the harsh reality.

So, in this case is the quality content the king of link building? No, the links are the king. Of course, the reign of the king is going to be dependent on the quality of the links.

However, the question to be asked here is, ‘if a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one to hear it does it make a sound’, or let’s make an apt though slightly dramatic – ‘Nobody can hear you scream in space’.

Social Media

Of course, you could make the social media argument. Hypothetically, we could build a following of people, use social media to leverage the content we create and then hope those people link to the content from our promoted social media efforts. How practical is that in a boring industry? Particularly in a world where the most popular social media sites don’t officially have any say in search engine rankings?

Guest Posting

However, in a world where most people don’t intend on taking this route and are far more inclined to take the link building option – it’s going to be incredibly hard to compete. Even in light of Matt Cutts guest posting warnings, there’s plenty of other ways to build links Google most likely won’t detect for a long, long time, if ever. I’m not saying these are ideal or right, the point I make is that as long as Google relies on links, they can be manipulated.

In addition, Cutt’s declaration on guest posting looks like in reality it’s only going to impact on low quality sites there for link schemes alone. If it were otherwise the case, Moz.com and all the other industry blogs wouldn’t continue to allow do follow guest posts.

Linking Issues

And after all, a lot of links are paid for in a roundabout way – any SEO who has ever built a link for a client is seeing that client take part in a paid link. There’s money changing hands at some stage, so the link should contravene Google’s quality guidelines.

Google does of course wish to prevent such factors being the ones that determine rank, however until it finds another way of ranking, it looks likely search is going to be determined largely by off-site linking factors. Matt Cutts rigmarole about on-site ranking factors and on-site quality still alludes to this fact.

The Future of No Links

Needless to say Google is trying to change this. We’ve seen Yandex remove links as a ranking factor in local SEO around Moscow and Google has also mentioned how its trialled results without links (they’re a lot less accurate supposedly).

There’s also been discussion around a patent for brand mentions and citations as ranking factors in search. However, as you’ll see this is also fraught with difficulties owing to semantics and other factors.

The Fish Analogy

Going back to de Geyter and the fish analogy, the underlying problem is that in a lot of cases there’s nobody even giving the man the fish.In fact, the only way the man fish initially is either with a stick of dynamite, or else he starves.

Being Irish and part of a nation that tends to have three states of law, I can reconcile to a degree with the current SEO landscape. Rather than a something being legal, or something being illegal, as is the case in most countries in the Western world. In Ireland, we also have a state where something is possibly mildly illegal, but ignored for reasons dependant on the mood of the police officer (once heralded MyBlogGuest = Link scheme), your state of mind (intoxicated or otherwise) or who you are (Google owns a number of companies that have supposedly gotten away with dubious SEO practices).

In conclusion, I’m not advocating anything grey or black. However, in a world where the lines between white and black are being eradicated and a grey area is ever more evident, it would be nice for Matt Cutts and Google to offer more clarity, more openness and for the very evident hypocrisy to end.

What’s your opinion on link building and the future of SEO – why not let us know below or contact us.

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