Search Engine Optimization Round-Up: April 2016 Edition

Search Engine Optimization is a must if you want to pull in any traffic from the search engines. Did you know that organic search could be driving as much as 50% if your traffic? That’s pretty hard to ignore, right? Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss my round-up’s to help keep you informed. Let’s round it up!

SEO Spending Is Neck and Neck With Advertising

Borrell Associates, a research company, says that spending for “marketing services” is even bigger than advertising. That is huge since advertising has driven content since, well, we had nothing but newspapers. So the forecast is that by the year 2020, search engine optimization will be an $80 billion industry. This means one of two things for you:

  1. You need to become a player in the SEO industry
  2. You need to improve on optimizing your website

Google Blocking Sites With Deceptive Download and Install Buttons

Sometimes SEO is more than keywords and back links. Just as Google has done with past penalties for mobile sites or spammy links, they are now blocking sites with shady buttons that are actually links instead of actual functions. Can I get a hallelujah? As much time as is spent optimizing your website for search, it would surely be a shame to ruin it all with spammy buttons and advertisements.

Ask yourself, “Is this really the optimal thing for my users? Does it help them solve a problem or answer a question?”

If the answer is no, then part of your search engine optimization plan should be to get rid of it before Google issues a penalty to you because of it.

 Mobilegeddon 2.0

If you remember last year, Google released an algorithm update that boosted the search engine ranking of website that were optimized for mobile. There’s an update coming and now they are notifying website owners in the search results when their site isn’t mobile-friendly. This is a huge piece of SEO news and one that is easy to fix, especially if you’re running WordPress. There are several plugins that will convert your site to mobile in a matter of seconds and allow you to avoid this penalty altogether. Even if your mobile site looks a bit rough, it still solves the problem while you find a better way of optimizing your website.

Is Your Homepage Optimized?

Wait, should you even optimize your homepage? Wouldn’t that cause redundancy in other areas of your website? That depends on how you go about it. Optimize your homepage for broader brand searches rather than specific keywords. There are other ways to execute proper search engine optimization of your homepage. Here are 5 of them:

  1. A carefully written title tag. You’ve got about 55 characters including spaces to compose an accurate title for your entire website.
  2. Write a description. Here, you have 150-160 characters to describe your website.
  3. Create a user-friendly menu. Make sure your website’s navigation is flawless.
  4. Have at least 300 words of copy on your homepage to help your users know what they can do from your homepage in regard to your website.
  5. Include your social links. Make sure your social media links are prominent so users can find you elsewhere.

Action Steps That Will Set Your SEO On Fire

I can’t tell you if you should pay for search engine optmiization or SEO tools or not. However, I can tell you that you can jump ahead of the game with a few simple steps:

  1. Use WordPress. I don’t recommend anything else.
  2. Optimize your homepage as outlined above.
  3. Use an SEO plugin like All In One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO.
  4. Fill out all of the snippet fields for every post and page.
  5. Use your focus keyword in your copy.
  6. Produce regular new content.

Round-Up Wrap Up

It can be challenging to stay ahead of all of the SEO trends and news. A general rule of thumb is to build and design your website for people, not for search engines. Search engine optimization can be as difficult or easy as you make it. Be sure and subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss my future round-ups!

 

Social Media Round-Up: April 2016 Edition

Social media is fast-paced, so be sure to subscribe to my blog so you can catch my monthly round-ups. These are designed to keep you informed of the latest social media news. There are actually enough social media networks these days to fuel posts like this which amazes me.  Let’s round it up!

Facebook Has Had a Crazy April

Facebook went nuts this month with updates and news. First up, Facebook Live is huge right now. Even I’ve started playing around with it a bit.

It expanded this month to:

If you don’t know yet about Facebook Live, it is Facebook’s contribution to live video streaming services. This allows you to create more engaging video events that are more interactive for your followers. To try it for yourself, tap the new status button in the Facebook app on your mobile device. Select the live broadcast icon at the bottom of the screen. It looks like a head with sound waves emanating from it.

Next, Facebook is rolling out it’s Save button to more of the Internet. Save button, you say? Unbeknownst to most of us, Facebook rolled out a feature in July 2014 that allows users to save snippets from the web like an Instapaper or Pocket type of application. With 240 million monthly users, it only makes sense that Facebook would expend this. Here’s a demo video if you’d like to see it in action.

Finally, as an added bonus, you might be interested to know that Facebook is exploring methods for users to monetize content. Some of these options include:

  • Tip jar
  • Branded content from affiliates
  • Donation option
  • Call to action buttons in posts
  • Revenue share

As long as it took to get an answer to the Dislike button, I wouldn’t expect to see any of these implemented any time soon.

HootSuite Adds YouTube to Streaming Options

If you already use HootSuite to manage all of your social media networks in one place, then you may be excited to learn that they’ve added YouTube to their list of streaming options You will now be able to approve and schedule YouTube videos from HootSuite. This is convenient on a number of fronts, but most notably being among teams. You will also be able to manage comments using the service. HootSuite is in it to win it and really is becoming a one-stop shop for social media tools.

SnapChat Rolls Out New Features

SnapChat also rolled out a couple new features this month. First up is Chat 2.0 which allows you to send your friend a couple messages and then transition to text or video chat with one tap when they respond. They say they’re aiming for their chat feature to be the next best thing to chatting in person. It sounds like they’re on their way!

Next up, they also released Auto-Advance Stories. If you have multiple stories to catch up on, SnapChat will now automatically move to the next after you finish one. A couple gestures give you complete control of the experience:

  • Swipe to advance ahead
  • Pull down to exit

Mobile Update

I also felt that it was worthy tof note that almost 80% if the time that people are spending on social media is being accessed using mobile devices. Facebook is the staunch leader while SnapChap rocks the teenage set. If your market is millennials, you need to figure out SnapChat yesterday. Even more important, if your online endeavors aren’t mobile friendly, your first priority should be to to get them that way.

Round Up Wrap Up

Big offerings this month from social media. I hope you enjoyed these social media highlights. I know all of the information can be overwhelming and that’s why I’m putting out these round-ups. I’ll be releasing these monthly on social media, SEO, and more. Subscribe so you don’t miss them!

Content Marketing Round-Up: April 2016 Edition

Content marketing is all the rage right now and with Spring in full swing, there’s a lot happening. Let’s round up the news for April 2016 in the content marketing world!

April 2016 Opportunities

Whether it’s a holiday or just the overall theme, there always something new each month that you can steal a little buzz from to boost your content marketing efforts. For example, like I said in the opening statement, it’s Spring! That in and over itself is huge. It encompasses its own set of colors, themes, and topics.

April Fool’s will have passed by the time you read this, but have you seen the sheer number of prank videos on YouTube lately? April is also Mathematics Awareness Month, and we know all about the math of a successful campaign, right? In addition, check your local, national, and global calendars for popular festivals this month and there are also Olympic Trials events taking place. You can use any and all of these topics to boost your content in the marketplace. All it takes is a little creativity.

What You Need to Know Right Now

Whether you are new to content marketing or have been creating and curating for a while, it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments in the industry. I’m going to cover a few things you need to know:

  • There are a ton of tools out there for content marketing. There are many paid tools and most of them are probably pretty good; however, the top recommendations here are Buffer with the Chrome extension so you can share and schedule content with one click from all over the web
  • Stay on the up and up! It’s your first line of offense to ensure you’re on the cutting edge so you can optimize your content and funnels
  • Create a great sales funnel. Now, this is right up our alley!
  • Build your list! Again, right up our alley. One of the first assets you build for any business is that list and it’s so easy to set up these days. When I first started, everything was in HTML, and if you didn’t know where to put it, you were lost! This is your first step right after you create a landing page or website

How Social Media Drive Content Marketing

Social media and content marketing work well together. 93% of business to business marketers agreed that social media is one of their top 5 strategies for marketing. Think of social media like a car that takes your content where you want it to be shared. How can you drive it forward?

  1. Know where you want to go. Think about what you want customers and followers to know about your business. Where is my audience? Where do they hang out online? Once you understand your target audience, you can direct your social media campaigns in the right direction.
  2. Track your results. Use a good analytics program.
  3. Consider surveys and polls to help you adjust your campaigns to fit your audience better.

Are You Using Content Marketing for Personal Branding?

You should be. Pretty much the biggest aspect of the marketing game today is branding. Even if you’re not marketing anything, having a personal brand is the new resume`. The only way to build a brand is through content. It’s how we communicate.

Think about how powerful it is for your content to be seen by a company you’d like to work with or for. Not only are they seeing your content and your brand, but they are seeing your ability to build that brand. If you can build a brand for yourself, then you can build a brand for anyone. That is huge!

Take Action

Check out these action steps for your content marketing campaigns:

  1. Take monthly opportunities into account
  2. Monitor the industry
  3. Use social media to drive your content where you want it to go
  4. Create content that builds your personal bran

Even if you’re new to content marketing, this is like a blueprint for getting started. Get in there and start creating and curating. Most of all, have fun!

 

How Google My Business Synced with Moz Local Impacts Search

Things get exciting when a couple of giants like Moz and Google My Business get together. Moz Local recently made it possible to automatically import your locations from Google My Business while playing around with the API. This process required a manual download and upload of a CSV file previously, so changing it to a single click is a welcome update. This is especially huge for companies who have hundreds of locations or franchises on multiple Google My Business accounts.

Moz Local My Business Console

While Moz Local was at it, they decided to build My Business Console, a free tool that syncs with Google My Business and automates account management a step further. There are two ways inside Google My Business to add Managers on accounts with multiple locations:

  1. Add a Manager on the Business account
  2. Add a Manger to each Location account one at a time

The first option gives the Manager quite a bit of power over the locations. The second option is tedious beyond what is feasible, so what you have here is essentially the best to way to manage multiple locations in Google My Business.

There Will Be More to Come

The Google My Business API is a relatively new addition for developers. There will, no doubt, be more tools emerging based on this new access. This API currently controls access to Search, Maps, and Ads, so I look forward to seeing what else emerges that might be useful for optimization in 2016. Yext has already developed a totally different paid option with the API. An extensive FAQ and Guides section indicates that development is in full swing using the new API.

How Does It Impact Search?

Well, it hasn’t yet, but since the Google My Business API grants access to Search and Ads, it warrants our attention. A service using this API that allows bulk operations involving Search and Ads could impact search dramatically, and would be a welcome addition to Search Engine Optimization updates. As for the Moz Local My Business Console specifically, it is not a Search tool, but rather for management purposes.

More on the Console: Do You Need It?

There are a few key points regarding the My Business Console from Moz Local. First and foremost, it is free and will remain free. As a result, you do not need a Moz account to access it. You can simply log in with your Google account details. Pretty much the only function of this console currently is the bulk control of Managers on your Google Pages, so it’s only really useful to you if you have multiple Managers and/or locations. That is not to say that Moz might not add more Google My Business functionality at a later time, it wouldn’t hurt to check it out at the very least.

Keep in mind the My Business Console is brand new as is the Google My Business API, so there are bound to be issues. If you’re doing fine with Google My Business at the moment, I would suggest waiting a bit to give Moz time to work out the kinks. Really you don’t need the tool unless you manage multiple Google My Business pages and locations as an SEO, agency, or Social Media Manager.

Wrap Up

Like I said, I look forward to seeing what other tools emerge using the Google My Business API. Also, a warning, don’t get too attached to any tools that use Google’s API’s because we know they are fond of killing off tools that they deem obsolete. Do you have any ideas for tools that would be useful utilizing the Google My Business API? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

How the Jelly Relaunch Will Impact SEO Efforts

Well, first of all, what is Jelly and the Jelly Relaunch? It’s a fair question and the fair answer from their website is:

“…a new kind of search engine powered by the fundamental helpfulness in all of us.”

Jelly Industries is being run by Biz Stone, whose resume includes Google, Twitter, and Medium. He has partnered with Ben Finkel who has an equally impressive work history including Twitter and Fluther. One day while walking and talking, Biz turned to Ben and asked him if they were tasked with building a search engine in today’s landscape of mobile technology where everyone is connected, how would they accomplish something like that. Jelly was born from the concept that everyone is mobile and connected, so if you have a question, someone out there has the answer.

How Does It Work?

Users ask a question. Jelly learns which people have the answers to what questions. Then it pairs users with the people who are most likely able to answer the question. If users need further clarification, they are able to connect directly with the people who answer.

Hasn’t This Been Done?

Actually, Jelly was first launched in 2014 after some moderate hype. This first iteration had a lot more answers than questions which was just one of the problems that plagued the start up. The idea had been shelved, but Biz Stone started talking about a Jelly relaunch at South By Southwest 2016. Biz said the Jelly relaunch will not require people asking questions to create an account, only those who want to provide answers. Check out the Jelly Twitter feed for more information from Biz’s South By Southwest lecture.

Wait, Did Someone Say “Search Engine”?

You’re getting sharp! Yes, Jelly will be a search engine which means Search Engine Optimization! One of the ideas shared by Biz Stone is that just like Google indexes documents, the Jelly relaunch will index people. That sounds a bit creepy, but what we really need to think about is what it will mean for SEO. How exactly might one go about ranking people rather than documents? Don’t over think things. The web is still made up of documents, and ultimately, so is Jelly.

How Will the Jelly Relaunch Impact SEO?

Google has been at the top of the SEO chain for well over a decade now. We depend on the guidelines and data they provide to rank websites, or at least try to rank them.

Traditional search says that when we have a question, we think of some keywords and type them in. The search engine returns many results and then we must sift through them to find our answer.

The Jelly relaunch is supposed to revolutionize search by taking our question, letting us go on with our day as usual, and then providing an answer from a human. The idea is to save us the time of sifting through search results.

Search Engine Optimization as we know it isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future. However, Jelly could give SEOs a specific platform to optimize for, especially with long-tail keywords. Question and Answer sites have been around for a long time and tend to be a research point for the most part, but just try typing a question into Google. Notice how many sites like Yahoo! Answers and Quora pop up?

Without current access to the closed beta of the Jelly relaunch, it’s hard to know what the full impact will be. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on.