Google Hummingbird Review

Google Hummingbird Update

google-hummingbird-updateThe Google Hummingbird update has been live for sometime now. Although according to Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch, this is not so much an update as it is a whole new algorithm.

Does it matter which it is? Not really, after all’s said and done, we still need to get sites visible and people will continue to search.

What is Google saying though? Not a lot until you really go into it in depth. Then between the lines quite a lot!
They’re really focusing an mobile, both phones and tablets. Google Now is moving towards being even more of an assistant. Amit Singhal explains in a post on the Google blog. you can set a reminder to buy butter on your next trip to Safeway, Google Now will remind when you walk in the store.

They really seem very proud of their voice search, maybe on SIRI on i0S 7 it works well, but on my computer, not so much.

I asked “which is better for me, butter or olive oil?” I got results for “Which is better to boil”, not really so useful.

Knowledge Graph is also mentioned, getting better and giving more information.

It’s mobile where most of the changes are being made and, where those changes will be most notable. In an article on Forbes, Google news room is quoted as saying that the Hummingbird has been flying for several months, not just the one quoted elsewhere.

I first wrote this in 2013 and now it’s time to look at what’s actually happened. Hummingbird was indeed a whole new flock of birds. It changed how search worked because the little bird could understand semantics and context.

The Knowledge Graph got better. It’s job is to keep the searcher on the results page as long as possible. after all, Google makes it’s money from search by selling advertising via its AdWords program. With the product feed available to retailers, you can now buy direct from the search results page.

This means that Google is hoping to become the place on the web for all your needs. Having said that, Google Plus is getting less and less support because it never took off in the way it was hoped. Facebook has not only kept it’s user base but grown it to one and a half billion users, making it a powerhouse that can challenge Google.

Discover more about the Hummingbird update here

Have you noticed a change in the visibility of your site?

Engagement in Social Media Marketing

social media for small businesses

Social Media Marketing


What is Engagement?

Good question, many people look at the number of likes and shares a post gets on Facebook for example, they see loads of likes and a goodly number of shares and feel complacent that their social media is doing well.

For just a moment, think like a search engine mathematical algorithm. You’ve been given values to assign to different signals, those values added together create a hierarchy of weight for want of a better term. The heavier (or higher) the value, the more important the signal is. Seems simple doesn’t it? But the value can be used for both positive and negative signals. So a high (heavy) value on a negative signal is a very bad thing, while a high (heavy) value on a positive thing is a good thing.

So how much engagement does it take to click a like or share button? How much effort does it take, how much thought? Now think about a comment, not only do you have to click, just as you would to like or share, you have to think about what you’re going to say and you have to type it.

As a mathematical algorithm which do you think would have the most ‘weight’?

Because likes and shares can be manipulated more easily and, because the psychology of likes and shares are different they are of less value than a comment. Naturally that doesn’t mean you don’t want likes and shares, if that’s all you’re getting that’s better than nothing.

Comments are what you get when you post something that really engages people, gets them thinking and, gets them involved. It’s often said that images are the best things to post because they get shared most and that is true but, just getting things shared in a mindless manner does nothing to get you more business, does nothing to build trust, does nothing to promote you as an authority.

You need to stand out from the crowd, you need to offer content that will establish your authority in your field, build trust with potential customers and provide existing customers with such a great experience that they become willing evangelists for you and your brand.

Next time you look at your Facebook stats, ask yourself if what you’re seeing really does indicate you’ve got real engagement or whether it’s just the automatic reaction that people have when they see lots of likes and shares. They copy what others have done regardless of the content.

Marketing your business


Trying to save money by cutting your marketing budget?

Why? While many businesses fail for a variety of reason, bad management, poor reputation, hostile takeover etc. The most common reason though is simply lack of customers. If you have customers and, have ensured that you don’t lose money on each customer, then having more is good.

Once you have the number of customers you need to break even, you need more to make a profit. Sure there can be times when having  too many can be a problem, you have the newest widget and suddenly everyone wants it.

How do you supply 50,000 orders when you only have 10,000 widgets? But let’s face it, that’s not what usually happens. Normally you have your 10,000 widgets and need to find enough customers.

It’s at this point that many businesses decide that they must save money somehow, they look at their overheads and see that while they’ve managed to break even, they’re not actually making any money. They crunch numbers and come to the conclusion that they must make cuts.

Marketing is usually the first to be cut. It’s strange isn’t it? The money they’re already spending on marketing to bring in more business is not bringing in enough customers, so they cut it and hope that will cure the problem.

If you’re not getting enough new customers or enough return customers, how does cutting your marketing budget help? Before you get to this point, make sure you’re spending your marketing dollars wisely.

  1. Make sure your marketing is integrated and you have have a calendar where offline and online campaigns can be scheduled together.
  2. Social media is highly important for awareness, branding, interaction and feedback. It is not however a ‘quick fix’.
  3. Good on page SEO is important to your search engine visibility, make sure it’s tightly focused and unique for each page.
  4. Ensure your off page efforts are consistent, build good links, don’t forget citations.
  5. Plan ahead but be flexible enough to take advantage of serendipitous news items to create a buzz around your product or service.
  6. Send out press releases, regular press releases create good links, keep your name in front of people and allow you to showcase individual products and services.

marketing is necessary for the success of your business



A facebook post

Facebook Marketing

facebook marketingFacebook marketing is often overlooked by small businesses because they may have tried an ad or two but not had much engagement or results. The problem can be one of several things. The most common I’ve found is that a small business has no idea who their target customer is.

As an example, a coffee shop may have an older clientele, ‘ladies who have elevenses’ anytime of day. I’m sure you’ve seen them, retired in their late sixties and older. They get together to chat and take tea or coffee either every day or once or twice a week.

They’re a loyal customer base but unlikely to be on Facebook, so unlikely to see any marketing you do on Facebook. When marketing on Facebook it’s imperative you know who you want to market to. In our mythical coffee shop, those older ladies may only be a small category of customer. maybe you have some of the ‘millennial’ crowd going in, either for lunch or on the way home, or even on the way to work, picking up a coffee and muffin to go.

These you will find on Facebook and they are worth marketing to. Coupons, special offers, special events. What special events? Well, maybe a coffee shop might do a ‘coffee tasting’ to educate people about the different types of coffee. Maybe the coffee shop has a new cake, muffin, biscuit or savoury snack they want to introduce.

This makes a great little campaign as you can advertise it on Facebook, then take pictures and get opinions on the night and post those to Facebook to show others.

Which ads to use on Facebook?

With our fictitious coffee shop above, they’d use an advert to promote the event, either clicking through to the website or, booking directly on the coffee shop’s Facebook page. Targeting the right demographic and geographic area.

Then boosting the post they put up on the page showing how the event went (always getting permission from the event attendees to publicise their photos). You can boost a post so that it gets seen by more people which will encourage people to like your page.

Think of Facebook as the place you introduce yourself and your business. It’s where you can show people who you are and what you do. It’s a place to have fun and at the same time do some serious marketing.

  • Decide who you want to market to, age range, geographic area, interests
  • Choose whether you’re going to send them to an appropriate page on your website, or back to your Facebook page.
  • Decide whether you’re going to ‘boost’ a post or create an ad.
  • Create the ad.
  • Decide on your budget.
  • Choose a time span.
  • Submit the ad for approval.

Of course there’s much more to it than that but basically those steps are what you need. Naturally you’ll need to do research to decide who your target market is. Then you’ll need to decide what your objective is in placing the ad. Is it getting people to click through to your website? Have you got a special offer people can take up? What exactly is your purpose in placing the ad?

All of these things need to be decided before you place the ad, this where so many small businesses fall down. They just advertise their product or service and offer nothing of value for people to keep coming back to the Facebook page.

In fact most small businesses don’t use Facebook correctly at all. It’s not a place where all you do is ‘sell’. It’s about getting to know people and allowing them to get to know you and your business. So find interesting things to post, some relevant to your niche, some just about life in general. Post things to make people smile or be inspired. Only post about your business if it’s interesting or informative and only post sales messages around 2 to 3 times for every 7 to 8 posts.

Hopefully you’ve found this a little helpful, need more? Check out our services page to see if we can help you or call +44 2921 28 7350 in the UK or +1 602-334-0527 in the US.

Content Creation and Curated Content

Content Creation

Every day I search for interesting content for both myself and my clients. I read a lot of different articles, some are tech based, some are lifestyle based, some are automotive, some are…. Well I guess you get the picture, I read a lot of ‘stuff’.

The reason I do that is I’m always looking for ideas on content creation, looking for content I can curate and comment on.

I came across an article today that at first I thought was a real gem. Here’s the link –

Now as I said, at first I thought this was going to be a great piece that I could share, one that would add value to my offerings and be of use and interest to my followers.

The first part of the article makes a lot of sense as content is indeed what you need to create on a regular basis if you want the likes of Google to pay attention to you. The problem is creating unique, compelling, entertaining and informative content. After all, how many ways can you tell someone about bottled water or mil spec packaging? Which is where content curation comes in. Instead of having to add to the millions of pages already talking about these subjects you would fine and curate existing articles or other formats.

You in effect become the Smithsonian of your market niche because you save your followers time by presenting them the best content (in link form) on your specialist subject. Sometimes you may just come across something that you tweet out as a link, or share on FB or G+ as just a link and a quick comment. At others, you may do what I’m doing and write your own take on an article you’ve found both are curated content.

Whichever way you do it, your job is to provide not only good information but to make it easy for people to act on that information. This is where I found the article a little lacking. Yes it has some great ideas, which I’m not going to duplicate here, you can read them and decide yourself which ones make sense for you.

It gives you ideas but doesn’t in my opinion go far enough because it doesn’t give you any resources to help you implement those ideas.

So my first addition to this page would be tell you to go to Google and Bing and search for ‘trending topics’ because you want your content to be fresh and of the moment, even though you may actually curate content that was published months or even years ago. If it’s good evergreen content, especially if it ranks well, then adding it to your list of curated content is a good thing. But the subject matter has to be current.

Curated Content takes you to where Google curates the trending queries, if you can find something here that you can spin and link to your niche you could get a nice bump in traffic. everyone loves ‘top tens’ and at this links Google curates the most popular ‘top ten charts’ song to space objects. Children’s TV to Politicians, whisky to coffee and lots I between. It may inspire you to produce your own ‘top ten’. this site will always have something to offer, even if it’s got nothing in your particular niche it is a sea of great content ideas. will give you a list of trending hashtags and will give you what’s trending on Twitter. has general subjects and if you investigate you’ll see how sites like Huffington Post use the hashtag to create content that could pull in visitors. has the trending questions, well worth mining for anything you can answer or use. Maybe even a ‘top 3’ questions answered for your niche? if you’re in a tech based niche then Techspot may be of use. is another site that can give you ideas. It also has a widget generator you can embed so that people coming to your site or blog can get the latest news direct from you.

Finally of course there’s which has an eclectic and often funny series of trending topics for you to browse through.

There are of course many more one of which is which builds a page around your search habits and brings in new content as it’s published.

Your challenge is to take these resources and curate some content, giving your own take or spin and make it relevant to your niche. Then share it with us on Facebook, who knows you may create the next viral phenomenon

Social Media Strategy and SEO

Social Media Strategy and SEO

social media marketing influenceI’m often surprised when people ask me to ‘do’ social media for them as if it stands apart from any other marketing, on line or off. Perhaps there was a time when this was true – but I doubt it.

A business needs to know what it’s spending its promotional dollars on, whether for advertising, training or events. The finance department will require receipts and, when needing to make budget cuts will want to know what it can safely force the company to do without.

The marketing department will try and argue that all of its budget is vital but without concrete proof is very unlikely to win the argument. Yet without marketing of some description, any business will fail. Before someone becomes a customer they must know you’re there.

Naturally if you offer a good product or service you will get some new customers from referrals but unless you actively work at getting those referrals and nurturing the customers you already have, referrals won’t bring in enough new blood to keep a company viable.

Nurturing those customers is where social media can shine, you can give those customers a platform from which to spread the word. But without integration with the rest of the marketing efforts it’ll be a very hit and miss affair.

What drives people to share their experiences with a company? Emotion, good or bad, when people get emotional they talk, the more emotional they get the more they talk. This is why paying attention to what people are saying about you online is so incredibly important.

Think about what happens when you get frustrated with someone who then ignores you. How do you feel? The sad news is that too many companies, large and small forget that when dealing with problems and complaints. Will some of those problems be due to the customer getting things wrong? Of course they will.  Will some of the complaints be ‘nuisance’ ones designed to get something for nothing? Naturally they will but, and here’s the kicker, it just doesn’t matter why they complain, you have to deal with it.

Ignoring a complaint will only allow it to take hold and grow, until what was once something you could easily ignore turns into something that can bring a company to its knees.

Now you may wonder why I’m not yet talking about social media and integrating it into your marketing. The answer is because everything I’m talking about is relevant to both social media and marketing. They cannot be separated.

Take Yelp, probably the most powerful review site in the US, even more so that Google + Local. It’s true that you need Google reviews to boost your rank but people who use Yelp go there first, not Google. Every second someone calls a business listed in Yelp, every second.

Yelp is a review site BUT it’s also a social site, a site where people can connect and share, not only with other Yelpers but with their Facebook friends too. They can show how popular a business is by ‘checking in’ at the location, leave a tip, take a photo, record a video, tag others they’re with as well as leave a review.

Think about that, this is a review site, therefore important for reputation management. You can advertise on it, so it’s a promotional platform. You can create ‘offers’ that people will see when they’re close to your location, so it’s a marketing platform.

Just one site, has all the components of an integrated marketing campaign. You couldn’t ‘do’ the social side without also impacting the marketing and promotion. If the social side doesn’t know about the adverts and offers that are going on this site, social can’t talk about it, enhance it, increase reach or reinforce the message.

Facebook is one platform that many people think can stand alone, just post stuff and that’s it. Not any longer, Facebook too has all the components of an integrated marketing strategy. It also has competitions, polls, sweepstakes, conversations, check-ins, reviews and questions asked about individual businesses. It has groups and apps, games and above all, a billion users, over half of which are regular users of the site, logging on daily or at least weekly.

People log on to Facebook to socialize, catch up with friends and family, favourite celebrities, music, film and too many other reasons to count. You can reach all those people or, you can target them by interest, area, age, sexual orientation, job and education. Something that is difficult with most other platforms.

How can you make effective use of this platform if you have someone ‘doing’ social media separate from the rest of your marketing?

I could go on, for a very long time, I won’t because I’m sure you’re beginning to see how everything is connected. It will only get more so.

Social Media and Content

Google has just released a new Penguin update, they’ve released other updates to the Penguin but this is such a major version that Google are calling it Penguin 2.0. Penguin targets links that are ‘manipulated’ so those that are bought or generated artificially. It’s also interesting that the word ‘thin’ is mentioned in a lot of blog posts. Thin sites, thin links, thin content, somehow being ‘thin’ on the web is not a good thing.

What if you’re in an industry where it’s difficult to create interesting informative content? That’s where content curation comes in. Google wants you to provide good content, content that is valuable, one of the ways they judge value is how much engagement your content gets. Which brings us back to social media, even your web content needs social media integration to get social signals that tell Google and other SE’s that your content, curated or not is valuable and deserves good rank.

Social media entwines itself throughout your marketing and is the way you provide social signals and proof to search engines and prospective customers. Social signals tell the search engines that your content is valuable. Social proof is how you show prospective customers that they can trust you and will be safe doing business with you.

Doing SEO today – is it worth it?

Either you provide SEO services to other companies or, you ‘do’ SEO for your own. Why are you wasting time, money and effort with something that is so labor intensive, has more chance of getting your site ‘slapped’ and puts you at the mercy of the Mighty Google and a mathematical algorithm?

No question that you have to be found in Google and other search engines but is SEO the way to do it? Not any longer. Penguin 2.0 has just come out and once again people will lose position, even where they’ve not actually tried to ‘spam’ the search engines and have instead, concentrated on so called ‘white hat’ SEO techniques.

What’s wrong with SEO you ask? Actually nothing really except every day it becomes more difficult to actually do with any guarantee that tomorrow not only will the technique you use today not work, it may get you penalized!

I’m not going into the whole Panda, Penguin, Farmer and Freshness Google updates because there are millions of pages out there on that subject and you need only type ‘what is’ plus any of the update labels to get more information than you could possibly want including, opinion, factual, subjective, objective and just plain wrong or weird.

Therein lies the problem, you as a searcher want relevant information. The search engine wants to provide it, so you keep using them and they can make money displaying adverts. As a business owner, you want to be found at the top of the results. As an SEO provider you want to achieve top results for your client.

Those objectives create the problem. Let’s say you have a business doing auto repairs, you provide good customer service, your mechanics are well qualified and your prices are competitive. How then do you stand out from the others? Because that’s what it’s all about, do you as a business offer such a high level of service and expertise that no one else come close? Sadly not many businesses do.

As an SEO provider do you ‘interview’ potential customers to ensure you only work with the best? Or, like most businesses, do you take whoever will pay your fee? Why? Why would you waste your time on a client whose service or product makes your business much more difficult than it should be?

OK, let’s just recap here. I agree that you have to be found at the top of the search engine results. I agree that somehow you have to ensure that outcome, whether as a provider or as a do-it-your-selfer.

I disagree that traditional SEO is going to work long term. Yes, if you want to keep doing a ‘churn and burn’ type of campaign for your own websites (creating the website, doing all the old SEO stuff, white, grey and black before getting ‘punished’ and having to start again) the SEO will still work to a degree. But really, who wants to put that much effort in, only to have to start again?

The reason we have to do SEO is because so many people have abused it and, because there’s so much information out there it’s difficult to stand out.

Imagine this, on WordPress blogs alone 41.5 million new posts are published EVERY MONTH these figures are supplied by WordPress themselves even more staggering is the fact that over 368 million people view more than 4.1 billion pages each month. How do you ensure your page is viewed and read?

That doesn’t take into account the number of other platforms including places like Tumblr, LiveJournal, Weebly, Joomla and old fashioned html. So we can agree I hope that being found is difficult, difficult but imperative.

Royal Pingdom state that 51 million websites were added last year alone and that the number of websites as of December 2012 was 634 million.

The figure becomes even more staggering if you estimate that each site has only 5 pages, what is 634 million multiplied by 5? 3,170 million is the answer.

How do you do it then? How do you get yourself found online?

One way is sheer brute force, if you have the money you advertise, even though the return on investment is so much less than organic results (non-advertised results). If your pockets are deep enough you can overwhelm simply by advertising everywhere. Of course, if your service or products suck, then this may eventually bankrupt the company!

Another brute force tactic is sheer number of links, as long as those links are somewhere that someone will eventually click on, a million of them spread across the net, only need one click a year to bring a million visitors to your site. So your site had better be the best converting site in existence because only a small percentage of those clicks may be from a potential customer.

Well, I don’t know about you but I’d rather find an easier way than that. I don’t have the money to advertise and I don’t have the time to build a million links. The question then becomes, what is the better way?

Social Marketing

Oh yes, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube the list goes on. These are the places where people gather to chat, brag, moan, praise, snoop, romance, ask questions and make recommendations. They’ll moan about everything from the government to the state of their underwear. They’ll talk about the idiot who cut them off on the freeway, the hot guy (or gal) they saw in the coffee shop, the auto repair shop that wouldn’t fit an oil change in and they’ll do it all, almost immediately.

You can’t stop them, they’ll talk about you whether you want them to or not, they don’t need your permission and they certainly won’t ask you if you mind. They’ll do it from their tablet, book reader, phone, laptop, game console as well as their computer. Even cameras are internet enabled so photos can be taken and shared immediately.

It’s a tsunami you can’t halt and which will drown you if you don’t learn how to surf the wave.

With the almost infinite number of places people can and do talk about things you can drown trying to reach them all, so the answer is don’t.

With all the ‘noise’ out there you don’t really want to weaken your efforts by spreading yourself and your content too thin. Yes, if you’re a Nike or Coca Cola, Disney or Warner Bros, Microsoft or Google then you have the resources to reach people across many platforms but let’s face it, most businesses are not.

You need a plan, an integrated plan, one that incorporates all your marketing efforts.



A cautionary tale.

I have a client who’s just opened a new auto repair shop in Houston. He was told not to do anything without including us in the ‘need to know’ communications. He decided to get some flyers printed, then he was going to give them out to stimulate interest in his new business. The flyer had a free offer and you’d think people would be happy to at least take advantage of it.

Not so, locally a news item came out about RFID tracking chips being embedded in paper flyers. People got the wrong idea and the campaign fell flat. $2,500 wasted on a campaign I knew nothing about so couldn’t even talk about it online. I asked the client why he’d not told me about this (even though we’d had long conversations about marketing integration), his reply was “Well it was just a flyer and it wasn’t online.”

Now of course, he wishes he’d not only listened but actually paid attention!

No matter whether you’re a business doing your own SEO/on line marketing or a company that provides the service. GET A PLAN

A note to providers of SEO Services

If you’re concentrating on getting your clients ranked, or getting them visitors or any other metric you may have negotiated payment for, unless you get them business, they will be problematic and they will leave for what they perceive are greener pastures. Put another way, a smooth talking competitor who offers them an increase in business will steal your clients.

Which Social Media?

Once you decide to enter the social media waters, it’s tempting to think you can and should post on all of them. If you’re a national or multinational conglomerate, this may well work for you. You will after all have the resources to task individuals with managing your social media profiles and building a following as well as promoting the brand.

For small and most medium businesses though it’s insanity to try and do that. The sheer volume of unique, interesting and above all engaging content that must be produced is overwhelming. If you only spend an hour a day doing all that you must do to grow and get business from your social media accounts, it means that with only four (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest) you’ll need to spend four hours a day ‘doing’ social media. In that time who is taking care of actually running the business?

A short course in social media.

Create a profile, fill it out making sure it’s optimized for your broadest keywords and has a compelling bio. Upload images to personalise your profile pages. Upload content.

Now comes the hard work because now, you have to build a following. No good following Kevin Costner in the film ‘Field of Dreams’ and think that a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality will work, it won’t.

Firstly, no one is going to pay attention to your content unless they know it’s there.

Secondly, no one is going to pay attention to your content unless you give them a reason to.

Thirdly, without the first two, you’re not going to get business from your efforts and unless all you want to do is listen to your own voice, that’s why you’re doing social media, to grow your business.

Growing you connections on social media takes time and effort, you need to find people you want to connect with, preferably someone in your industry who already has a following. Connecting with them and posting something that they will share will put you in front of consumers with the added implied recommendation of a trusted source.

Now multiply that by the number of networks you decide to use and you can see that very quickly you’d have no time to actually run your business.


Making more of mobile!

Mobile Marketing Inspiration

Does buying paint immediately strike you as an experience for your mobile phone or tablet? Would you consider it something that would easily translate into a useful mobile experience?

PPG Pittsburgh Paints is showing that something as traditionally boring as “watching paint dry” can, with a little thought turn into something useful and which helps businesses make sales.

This company has created an app for tablet devices that allows you to take a photo of your room, then use the app to ‘paint’ the room different colors. Great for homeowners to try out new colors and combinations, brilliant for painters and decorators as well as interior designers to showcase their ideas and ‘sell’ them to prospective clients.

This is an innovative use of mobile technology and shows just what is possible when you start to think about how to incorporate the latest technology into your marketing efforts.

Search Engine Rank – Is It Time To Look At It Differently?

Search Engine Rank

Most people with a business and an interest in using online marketing obsess about their rank in search engines and in particular Google. In this day and age that may not be the best metric with which to measure the success of your online marketing efforts. In general, it’s probably true that the higher you rank the more visitors you’ll get and the more business you’ll do.

Unfortunately with the personalization of search, especially by Google rank is now very elusive to pin down. For SEO service providers this causes a problem. It’s difficult, if not impossible to provide clients with rank that they can verify themselves. For buyers of SEo services it causes the same problem in reverse, they get told they rank in certain positions for certain keywords, so they go to check. Then they find that either their site is nowhere to be seen, is lower than they were led to believe and in some cases they find they rank higher.

When this happens trust becomes an issue, how do they trust their SEO provider is doing a good job? before you either buy or sell SEO services you need to come to an agreement on what metric you will use as a measure of success. To do this you have to choose a metric (or preferably combination of metrics) that you have some historical data for that you can then use as a baseline. If you don’t track any metrics for your business you MUST start now. Without them you can’t forecast adequately, if you need to raise capital you won’t be able to as you have no way of accurately showing costs.

From a marketing point of view you need to pay attention to more things than search engine rank, you need to know where your customers come from. Where are you advertising, how much does it cost? You need to know how much it costs you to acquire a new customer. The simple way is to add up everything you spend to advertise and market your company, including printing, design, and all costs associated with providing marketing materials of any description on a monthly basis. Then divide this by the number of new customers you get each month and that, broadly speaking is your customer acquisition cost.

You can read more about this here and her’s a link to an online calculator.

CAC is only one of the things you need to measure, for example what is the lifetime value, the average value, the initial sale value? All of these can be measured and should be. You as a business owner need to know these things, how else will you know where to adjust to make the most profit?

If your CAC (customer acquisition cost) is $50 and the first time average sale value is $49 you’re losing money but unless you actually track these numbers you won’t know. Therefore you might want to measure success by how much it costs to get a new customer from SEO and what the value of that customer is.

Ranking A Website

So many website owners have a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. When it comes to ranking a website there are a lot of things that are needed. One of the most important is information, this is what we call the content, it must be relevant to the theme of the website, it’s no good having film reviews on a site that sells coffee beans the 2 are not relevant to each other.

Ranking a website requires good content, it requires content that is informative and that can help a potential customer make the decision to buy from you.  This content should be provided in as many ways as possible, text, video, audio, images and slides. You want to allow people to ‘consume’ your content in as many ways as possible. I’m a reader, I like to read, my son is very visual, he likes to watch videos to get the information. My niece on the other hand likes to download her information as podcasts (audio) so she can listen to it while she drives to work and back.

Ranking Factors

Ranking factors are different than the content need to rank a website. Ranking factors are required by the search engines and each is different but they do have things in common. The biggest of which is genuine valuable one way back links and good engaging content.

Depending on whether you want to rank locally or nationally the ranking factors may differ, local rank needs local back links more than national ones. National rank is less dependent on local factors and needs a lot more citations and links, especially in highly competitive industries.

Concentrate on providing great informative content, spreading the word on social sites and building those relevant and valuable back links and you will improve the search engine rank for your site regardless of whether you do the SEo yourself, or employ the services of an Seo provider.

Happy ranking!

Google Shares Shock – will it affect search and SEO?

October 18th 2012 and Google looses $29 billion off it share value. Commentators say it’s because they’ve lost focus on their ‘core’ business and are stretching themselves with things like the buying of Motorola.

Will this affect search and SEO and if so how? Well, let’s look at it without all the hype. So Google shares have lost value, but that’s not the same as money is it? After all if you pay $10 for a share in a company, then it goes up in value to $15 unless you sell it, you didn’t actually have that extra $5 did you?

Sure you had the potential but you could argue that any lottery ticket has the potential to be worth millions, yet if it doesn’t win, you don’t go around bewailing the loss of that potential do you? Well unless you’re like my husband who’s convinced every week that his ‘numbers will come up’ of course 🙂

The question is though will it affect search or SEO? Answer, no, not really. Google still provides the majority of searches world wide, 67% in the US and higher in Europe. With those numbers why would a drop in share price affect the search arm?

Let’s be sensible, Google is still leading the world of search and although other engines like Bing, slowly one percentage point at a time has edged it’s way back into the search landscape it still has nothing like the reach of Google.

Google makes it’s money from advertising, that’s it’s core business, to continue that it needs to stay at the top of the search engine pile. I certainly wouldn’t like to bet against them – yet.

Just because this share shock has occurred at a time when Google was growing at a phenomenal rate and, I don’t think it’ll affect SEO or search, doesn’t mean to say Google can be complacent. It needs to continue to refine it’s search results whilst levelling the playing field so that small businesses can compete with the giants.

Google reaches into every area of the internet and so by default our lives. I don’t think that dropping ‘pretend’ money off its value is going to cause it too many problems do you?