Google Medic Update Proves User Experience Is King
A Google algorithm update that rolled out at the beginning of this month delivered a major shake-up to websites belonging to health care organizations. Many are calling it the “Medic Update.”
Health care sites began seeing big fluctuations in their rankings at the beginning of the month, and in many cases, the changes were not positive.
Although the algo update affected the health care industry the most, it appeared to affect a few other industries, according to Search Engine Roundtable, such as:
Google claimed it was simply a routine “broad core algorithm update,” the same as it releases several times each year. But to us, we know this wasn’t a run-of-the-mill algo update, especially since we have various types of health care clients.
How Do Health Websites Respond?
The best response to Google’s de facto new guidelines for health care sites is to stay the course, meaning keep trying to improve on the quality of your content and user experience (UX). Don’t give up on organic SEO!
Also, if your website is offering medical advice, make sure it’s coming from a medical expert. Or, at the very least, make sure it’s signed off by and attributed to a medical professional. This will help with search engine trust and a little Google concept called “authorship.”
“Worried about the ‘medic update’? There is no fix – nothing quick and easy, anyway. The algorithm change didn’t target health sites exclusively; many websites in other categories were negatively impacted, as well. Why? The truth is, people are making better websites these days and Google expects more. If you want to rank with Google, there’s no secret: Continue to work on improving your website, make better content and create a better overall user experience. That’s what it takes.” – Jenny Stradling, CEO of Eminent SEO
Creating better content and UX is always recommended, and that’s what we do (for resellers also)! Here are a couple of articles that illustrate what we mean:
Beware Boredom: Keeping Your Content Marketing Strategy Fresh in 2018
Eminent SEO has proudly served the addiction treatment care community for more than a decade. With the opioid epidemic sweeping the country, the death toll continues to climb. What can be done?
The truth is, there is a big void that needs to be filled. The government and private insurance providers only cover so much. There’s a gap when it comes to funding the vast ongoing needs of those in addiction recovery. Insurance may cover treatment, for example, but not housing, food and other necessities. Some have been out of work, and not everyone can afford even the most basic necessities.
That’s where The ECHO Foundation comes in. Longtime recovery professional, Jim Haggerty, founded this nonprofit in 2014 and dedicated the organization to educating, mentoring and providing tools and resources to individuals seeking addiction treatment. Eminent SEO joined the effort by offering to create the branding, develop the website and manage the marketing. Together, we know we can make a difference. View the beautiful new site and, if you feel inspired, please consider donating. Every penny counts.
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”
– Coretta Scott King
Our Website Highlights
Several of our addiction treatment center clients here at Eminent SEO have asked us about this news: “Exclusive: Google unveils vetting process for drug rehab ads.” So, we took to our blog to answer the most pressing questions stemming from this recent Google development.
There’s an intuitiveness to digital marketing that if your campaigns aren’t geared toward each platform uniquely, your advertising and social spends may miss your proposed target audience. Why? See our latest neuromarketing blog post.
SEO changes so often that even last year’s techniques can be outdated. As we progress into 2018, our team took a moment to reflect on some of the outdated SEO tactics of yesteryear to develop a list of our top five.
Out of the choices below, what do you think is THE WORST habit you can have as an SEO specialist in 2018?
1. Creating one page for EACH keyword variation.
SEO isn’t about tricking Google into serving up your site. Writing content that is valuable to your users should always be rule No. 1. Google rewards websites that provide a great user experience. No user wants to read 100 pages on the same subject. Sure, that used to work. Today, it will only hurt your rankings with Google.
2. Mass purchasing links from poor directories.
Look, links matter; if we are guessing right, they always will. It’s a world wide WEB. How else will Google connect the dots? Links help search engines find useful content, too. However, not all links are created equal. A huge increase in low-quality links will definitely raise a red flag with Google. Instead, focus on quality over quantity.
3. Not conducting backlink audits EVER.
Even if you don’t buy links and work on “white-hat SEO” link-earning techniques only, that doesn’t prevent other sites from linking to you. Spammy sites that rely on scraped content, for example, can show up in your backlink index in huge numbers. Google holds you responsible for your backlinks, purchased or not. Monitoring them is key to avoiding a bigger issue.
4. Spending time looking at and studying tracked keywords ONLY.
We stopped reporting on keyword rankings as a primary organic marketing key performance deliverable years ago. Why? The data lies. Search results are now personalized, localized and even limited, depending on the device you search from. Rankings don’t tell the full story. Instead, use the amount of traffic, user engagement and quality of the leads to measure organic success.
5. Practicing SEO as if the industry NEVER changes.
If you follow SEO at all, chances are you know how fast this industry changes. As a team, we listen to podcasts, read articles, conduct studies and share new ideas on SEO daily. If you’re not making a regular effort to educate yourself on the latest news and best practices, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Education is power and, in this case, your key to success with SEO today.
It may be one of the older digital marketing channels, but it remains one of the most fruitful for businesses. You’ve got to do it right, though. Check out this email marketing tip from our CEO, Jenny Stradling:
Highlights from the Eminent SEO Blog
A recent survey revealed just how many businesses are currently trying their hand at content marketing. The number is only going to grow, so here are 3 tips on fine-tuning your strategy and setting it apart from the competition in 2018.
As for one last SEO development, our very own Zach Ankeny wrote about a recent change he noticed in Google’s search engine results pages, specifically pertaining to rich snippets and knowledge graphs. Will these changes affect your website?
It’s a time of growth here at Eminent SEO. We’re close to launching our website makeover, and that’s just the start of what we’re cooking up for the rest of 2017.
We’re also expanding our marketing capabilities by bringing on talented new creators, aiming to do even bigger and better things for our clients.
Speaking to our growth, our CEO Jenny Stradling pointed out that:
“Our ability to test, track and make real-time adjustments to our marketing strategies and websites has been the key to our success.
“You have to be flexible. You must have the ability to grow. This may seem simple enough, but plenty of companies miss it. With SEO and PPC, it’s evolve or die.”
With that in mind, this month’s newsletter will touch on business growth topics and how digital marketing can help your company stay relevant in a rapidly changing digital world.
Your Industry News Roundup
The idea of “growth” is a broad concept that can mean very different things to different organizations. For some, growth may mean bringing on more qualified specialists to the team. For others, growth may merely be measured by a change in revenue.
Regardless of your definition of growth, digital marketing is bound to play a major role in the following ways:
Expanding your customer base (the right way) is an integral part of business growth. (Search Engine Journal)
Aligning SEO data with social media is necessary for brands seeking relevance in the digital age. (Marketing Land)
The best way to think about SEO is as a business investment, not a luxury. (Forbes)
Business and Marketing Tips
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the ways that marketers are spending their budgets have changed drastically over the past four decades. The changes reflect considerable shifts in consumer behaviors, particularly the shrinking relevance of television, radio and direct mail.
Want access to more marketing tips and shareable assets? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter by entering your email address directly below.
Related Blog Articles
You’ll find more useful tidbits in these recent blog articles from Eminent SEO. We hope our latest discussions about SEO and digital marketing inspire you to shake up your strategy for business growth:
Business mentality has shifted. Profitability remains important. Notoriety is often more important than profitability, as good and bad attention can help drive profitability. (Reputation management can fix the online backlash.) Perhaps now, more than ever before, what you do in business is second to how you do it.
Why the collective enterprise shift? Why is going green in business good?
Millennials. According to the Census Bureau, millennials outnumber baby boomers. In order for businesses to be competitive and stay competitive, their product or service offerings should appeal to the millennial mindset.
Because millennials possess a DIY mentality and appreciate acquiring knowledge, knowing how to save time and financial resources whenever possible will provide you with some clues. Certain business practices will also need to align with cost- and time-effectiveness on a local, national and global scale. After all, the accepted business mantra is “Think Local, Grow Global.”
So how do we do this, attain, maintain and grow financial success without sacrificing human consciousness? Be green.
Being green in business today is far different than it was 10 years ago. Your green initiatives must go beyond a mere positioning statement. It has to literally define your existence. Seriously.
Being Green Before Was the Seed for What’s Blossomed Today
If you were in business within the first decade of the year 2000 or worked for a company back then, having the ability to say you were a “green” corporation was all the rage. There were changes to the way employees experienced the office space, eliminating the use of paper, unnecessary lighting, and low-flush toilets.
This was all a very big deal. Companies wanted to boast about these changes. So they’d do a press release about how green they were. They’d add a tab on their website menu dedicated to their green initiative so that the public would know how important the environment was to them.
Green in Business Is Good and Even Better for Industries
Construction and real estate companies seized the opportunities available in green. Energy efficiency was proving to be big business. Properties, both residential and commercial, that had low-e windows, artificial grass or solar panels seemed more attractive to buyers and tenants who were looking for built-in ways to lower operating costs. But this wasn’t enough – and that’s a good thing.
Public Outcry and Government Support Create a Brighter Hue
“The use of green products generated more than $500 million in energy-efficiency savings and more to come in 2017.” Inc.com
The spiritual floodgates of consciousness have opened up about thinking greener. With government programs now supporting the private sector in selling green products to consumers, the opportunities appear, in a word, limitless. Business, maybe even your business, needs to step it up.
What was good enough before isn’t enough today.
Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation Z Demand More
Many of today’s baby boomers came from a more holistic approach to living. Remember hippies? For them, in the 1960s and 1970s, life was all about peace, love and harmony. Those desires still live in the hearts and minds of many mid-lifers and young seniors.
Millennials and Gen Zers invoke a deeper consciousness about the products they buy. They don’t take our natural resources for granted. Water is treated like a gift: It is used for washing and rinsing in the sinks and showers of America but turned off during those moments in between. Additionally, if your business, at its core, doesn’t have an environmental social consciousness, your product or service – no matter how good – isn’t even considered.
Green Today Must Translate to a Greener Tomorrow
Consumers want to feel comfortable in the products and services they sign up for, not just for today but how they impact tomorrow. It’s a strange paradox really. Although people don’t want to “own” anything, when they do make a decision, it should make a positive difference to someone else down the road, whether it’s their family, friends or strangers abroad. Doing business green-minded allows this to play out, naturally.
Green Is Good for Business Profitability and Longevity
If you watch what’s trending (and who doesn’t), people are demanding that feelings matter. Many business success stories are not led by how magnificent their sales are but by how their business connects people. The sales funnel lives in the relationship-nurturing process.
So is there room for sentiments in business? Absolutely, and sharing them through your green philosophy is a great way to communicate them.
Going green in business is good for producing cost and time efficiencies in logistics, production, employee head count, and more. When businesses can minimize operating expenses and increase customer satisfaction, not only do they have a better ability to expand their market share, but grow positive brand awareness and existing customer loyalty, which collectively goes a long way in building longevity.
Incorporating green into your company doesn’t have to be a long-winded, complicated process. For example, allowing employees to work remotely lessens gas consumption and pollution. There are little modifications that can be made to help all of us realize the big picture: Together, we can create a more sustainable way to live and thrive.
Even if your business doesn’t directly fall into the following types of industry, you can certainly think of ways to use them to help your company’s environmental stance.
Sustainability businesses include:
Printer Ink Recycling
Home and Commercial Property Improvement
These Companies Should Make You Green with Envy
There are three different companies that I’d like to highlight as complete purveyors of green. I believe their missions will serve to inspire and remind us all that it’s never too late to do business better.
Every business that uses water, plastic or fuel, with the right alternative, can strengthen their green. Here are a few examples of how it gets done.
With its consumer focus on the millennial market, Airespot took a look at urban living and wanted to make it more proficient for professionals and local businesses. They’ve done it with one seamless app. The Airespot app is available for those living in specific high-rise apartments where getting to and from anywhere can be a challenge.
The purpose of the Airespot app is to connect apartment owners or property managers with their tenants and also put them in touch with local service providers who can make their life easier, all at a discount. Dog sitters and walkers, cleaning services and restaurants are part of the mix.
Through app use, residents can get what they want with a swipe, but what makes this even sweeter is that the more people that use the same business service, the deeper their discount. Residential logistics issues are solved.
Dynamic Water Technologies, LLC
Large-scale enterprises like resorts, hotels, industrial and manufacturing plants need expansive water systems to keep their businesses running. Over time, these systems require upgrades to sustain safety and health requirements, costing millions of dollars in new equipment and production delays.
Dynamic Water Technologies in Scottsdale, Arizona, part of Universal Environmental Technology (UET), provides businesses a cost-effective and time sensitive solution. Through best-in class technology and sustainable engineering, chemical additives to water are removed and water consumption is reduced. In fact, Dynamic’s clients experience up to 80 percent in water savings and up to 40 percent in energy savings.
The Plastic Bank
Imagine combining two of the world’s largest problems and solving them with one multifaceted idea: world hunger and oceanic pollution, eradicated. The idea behind The Plastic Bank is for people – in both private and public sectors – to work together to remove the plastic waste in our oceans and prevent it from ever getting there. But who and how?
Some of the worst offenders in oceanic plastic waste come from the most impoverished countries. The Plastic Bank offers the poor a way to generate income and sustain their own livelihood, simply by cleaning up the plastic.
Individuals can bring plastic to designated recycling centers where they have the option of being paid in local currency, or in green-generated goods or services. Sustainability drives The Plastic Bank’s entire business lifecycle.
Is Your Business Green Enough?
Truly green companies use sustainable solutions at every possible opportunity. How green do you think you are? Could your business pass the judgment of your customers on this subject?
If you’re not sure, use the following questions as a guideline:
Does your business give back to the community in every business transaction?
Does your business represent a green mentality in operations?
Does your business represent a green mentality in its culture?
Does your product or service (in its use) support a lower carbon footprint?
Do you partner with other green-minded corporations?
Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.
Marketing practices have dramatically evolved over the years, and it looks like changes within this industry are not slowing down any time soon. The boom of the internet has rapidly altered the way we target niche audiences, which means that expectations for marketing agencies have shifted. Clients are expecting a much more symbiotic relationship in which the marketing agency is held accountable for its actions, or inaction.
Building Trust is Key!
When perusing the internet for a specific need, customers support the companies they feel are transparent and which have a simple and effective solution for their dilemma. The same idea applies when shopping for a marketing agency to boost a company’s online presence.
You want your marketing firm to show transparency and point out any inefficiencies in your current tactics or approach. Gone are the days of simply clocking hours and sending an invoice. Clients are looking for creativity, speed and efficiency, as well as an agency that can be proactive rather than trying to keep it “business as usual.”
Just Keep It Simple
With so many new technologies to track demographics, results, etc., marketers will have to take the initiative and become proficient in these programs and software to alleviate client stress. There’s just too much for the average client to keep up with. By becoming the expert, marketers are able to simplify the tasks of the client to save them time and labor dollars, as well as the stress of trying to learn new programs.
Pricing Structure and Effectiveness
Moving forward, evolving marketing agencies are beginning to get hip to the idea of pricing based on effectiveness rather than productivity. Clients now are looking for outside-the-box thinking and proactivity in their campaigns, and many of these tactics aren’t “billable.”
It’s easy to track time spent, projects completed, dollars per hour, etc., but how exactly do you bill a suggestion to change a strategy or creativity? Well, agencies sure are figuring this out if they want to stay relevant!
What About Content Marketing?
Content marketing has evolved and become much more intuitive and niched. Advances in technology have allowed this new generation of marketing to move at lightning speed to rival the shortened attention spans of millennial users.
Content marketing isn’t as simple and direct as it has been in the past. Marketers now have the ability to actually reach out to their demographic of consumers with features like geo-fencing and push notifications. This type of proactive and intuitive marketing allows businesses to gain more traffic by identifying their customers and sending them valuable content, rather than waiting to be searched for.
The Rise of Technology in Content Marketing
The rapid and relatively recent explosion of technology continues to challenge marketing agencies to improve their strategies by providing immediate feedback, tracking and general analysis of websites and content. Since a major goal of content marketing is to generate interest in and traffic on a particular website, simply tracking final sales would be an inaccurate and incomplete measure of success.
Evolving marketing agencies need to look for programs and software that provide enough information to be able to shift tactics in a reasonable time frame, so that they avoid investing time and money into a failing venture.
How Does an Evolving Marketing Agency Measure the Value of Its Content?
This is a tough question to answer since there isn’t a clear distinction between digital and traditional marketing anymore. Compelling content isn’t as simple and straightforward as it used to be. It isn’t just informational; it’s personal. It requires much more creativity and must possess an empathetic tone to customers.
Keep in mind, however, that the same blueprint cannot and will not work the same for each business. This is why it is imperative for agencies to invest in content creation and stop thinking of it as an expense.
The need for journalists with strong PR backgrounds is also on the rise. This particular skill-set is essential in creating the right type of content to generate “clicks.” The initial investment in this type of content has the potential to drum up business for years to come.
The Blurred Lines of Media Convergence
Another development that evolving marketing agencies need to keep their eyes on is the convergence of media platforms. This means that several current platforms will eventually blend into a single digital form. As this happens, content will become more diversified and the quality and value at which it is produced will increase.
The downside, however, is that as information becomes streamlined, many demographics will become underrepresented and unheard from. Those controlling the technology driven industry run the risk of losing potential customers when content is no longer relevant to diverse markets.
The Business-to-Business Element
As if the marketing game hasn’t changed enough, another element to consider is B2B, or business-to-business marketing. Creating value is the name of the game. Many companies are beginning to understand that other businesses are a huge source of revenue for them. However, some are now realizing they can’t market to a business the same way they market to an individual consumer.
B2B marketing promotes the sale of goods and services to other businesses in a way that adds value to the prospective client’s practices. The trick is to market in such a way that a business that purchases your product becomes willing to endorse your name. You have to make it clear what’s in it for them.
The Change Is Here
The content marketing arena has proven to be an aggressive force in redefining the slowly dying career track of journalism. Subsequently, evolving marketing agencies are currently paving the way for the future of their industry by quickly adapting to the technological advances in our ever-advancing digital world. Companies must be able to understand how their audiences are receiving and responding to their messages, so they must hire agencies that can provide compelling and creative avenues to reach a range of consumers.
The expectation of marketing agencies is changing, as are the litany of challenges they face in staying ahead of their competition. These agencies are required to be much more transparent and show more empathy toward potential clients. Evolving marketing firms are learning to get out of the driver’s seat and instead walk hand-in-hand with their clients. The relationship is changing, but if agencies and their clients can learn to meet in the middle, the result will be a new and satisfied customer – which is the greatest result of all.
Looking for a marketing agency that offers customized solutions for your needs and meticulously tracks all results while maintaining the utmost transparency? Talk to Eminent SEO today at 800.871.4130.
Earlier this month, several reports stated that Google started issuing a specific warning to various webmasters. The message hit at one miscue: “unnatural” outbound links.
Google reportedly first started sending this message out on Saturday, April 9, via email and Google Search Console. While it probably took some webmasters aback, others likely knew they had it coming.
In either scenario, the webmaster is going to have to make some clear changes before submitting a “reconsideration request” to Google in order to get his or her rankings back.
Let’s look further at the heart of the issue plus what the best practices are when it comes to outbound linking.
What the Outbound Link Warning Said
Google warned certain webmasters that it detected a “pattern” of outbound links that is “either unnatural or irrelevant,” violating the search engine’s Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore, the search engine applied a “manual spam action” to the website in question.
Google added that the unnatural links it detected appear to be trying to “artificially boost” other sites’ search engine rankings. Basically, to Google, it looked like the sites that were flagged were trying to pass so-called link juice to other websites, among other suspicious practices.
How Webmasters Were Directed to Fix It
Google’s stern warning about outbound links was essentially a penalty upon the sites that were flagged. Receiving a penalty either hurts a website’s search rankings or kills them altogether. The penalty won’t be lifted until Google does a manual review of the site.
For the websites that received this latest warning, the webmasters behind them were directed to either manually remove the links in question or add “nofollow” tags to each one. The piece of code for asking search engine crawlers to not follow a link, if you’re wondering, is rel=”nofollow”. Once the webmaster has sufficiently addressed the outbound linking issue, Google advised sending a reconsideration request.
What Is an Outbound Link?
Just to be clear about what an outbound link is, it’s any clickable link that takes the user to an external website, which is why it’s also called an external link.
In today’s SEO climate, it’s recommended to be very judicious about how frequently you include an outbound link on your website. Any link (internal or external) that you don’t add “nofollow” to will be taken into account by search engine crawlers, making it a “dofollow” link, effectively.
If you’re linking to a low-quality website, a dofollow link could actually hurt your SEO value. Also, too many links (whether internal or external) could lower the search rankings potential of that particular webpage. Therefore, it’s best to use nofollow tags every so often when you’ve got a webpage with an abundance of links and/or if you’re linking to sites with low domain authority.
When Google issues a manual spam action on a website, it can apply to either a site-wide match or a partial match. A site-wide match means Google detected an issue on every page of a website, likely in a sidebar, the header or the footer. A partial match means the issue applied to just a single webpage or a certain set of pages on the site in question.
How Certain Websites Ran into This Issue
For quite some time, a common website practice was to link to several other websites either through text or images placed on a sidebar or in the footer of a page. Granted, this was never an SEO best practice, but some webmasters did this either as a partnership with other websites or because they simply liked those sites and wanted to give a subtle shout-out to them.
These type of links could often be paid for as kind of a one-way means of drawing some SEO power from an authoritative website. In other cases, the two sites linked to each other in a type of affiliate marketing scheme.
Today, this practice is going by the wayside, and Google may have just delivered it its final blow with the recent penalization of sites with unnatural outbound links. For a good example, let’s look at the website behind the screenshot that seemingly every media site is featuring when reporting on Google’s outbound link warning: SammiTheBeautyBuff.com.
While nothing looks amiss when you first land on the homepage, if you scroll just a little ways down, you’ll see a right sidebar that features several logos that link to other websites – all under a section called “Memberships.” Inside each review, there are also several product links (or that may have been for undisclosed free samples – but more on that point later). At first glance, this area may be what earned the website a penalty from Google.
The webmaster of this beauty products blog must have gotten the message, because if you dig into the source code of the homepage, these are all nofollow links. If they weren’t before, they are now.
Say Goodbye to Blogrolls
If you used WordPress to create a personal blog in the past, you were practically encouraged to add a blogroll to your site. Also known as a links menu, a blogroll is a way to list other blogs and sites you find valuable or that are relevant to your specific blog. The blogroll can be easily added using a widget in WordPress, and it will show up in the footer or sidebar of your blog or website, depending on the theme you use.
Here’s an example of a blogroll in somebody’s sidebar, without calling out the site that is using it:
WordPress is far from the only content management system or website builder that features a blogroll option. But, no matter which content management system you use, a blogroll or links menu is a feature you’re going to want to ignore going forward – if you care at all about search rankings.
A More Recent Development: Penalties for Exchanging Links for Free Products
After Google started issuing outbound link warnings, the tech giant eventually clarified why it was handing out penalties. According to Search Engine Land, the penalty appeared to be targeting free product reviews. This is because companies that provide product reviewers free merchandise are often looking for a dofollow link from the reviewer’s website to theirs.
So, Google has effectively put the kibosh on this practice. Can product reviewers still receive free stuff and write about it on their blog or website? Certainly. Google just asks that they disclose when they receive free items and then nofollow any links to the company that provided the product. This explains why the aforementioned Sammi “The Beauty Buff” was called out by Google earlier this month.
If, in fact, only free product reviews were the target of Google’s recent penalties, then most of these penalties would likely be classified as partial matches. An individual product review is generally going to take up only one webpage, rather than resulting in a site-wide external link just for the free item(s) provided.
Did Google’s Recent Warning Apply to Inbound Links?
So, for the most part, websites weren’t getting penalized for having another site link to them, no matter how spammy or irrelevant the backlink appears to be. Instead, the sites hosting such a suspicious link are the ones that primarily landed on Google’s radar.
What to Do About Your Outbound Links
Even if you’re not a product reviewer, now is as good a time as any to review your website’s outbound links, since Google will certainly continue to target suspicious linking practices.
If your website has a static, site-wide sidebar, are there any external links featured? You can ask the same about the footer. It’s time to nofollow those links or contemplate if they even need to be there in the first place.
Other than those areas, you can also go through some of the individual pages of the site and the blog to see if there’s any area where someone happened to link to a plethora of external sites. You need to go in and nofollow most of those links, if they aren’t already, and consider if each and every link is even helpful for the user in the first place. If not, remove as necessary.
If your website has a partnership with another in the form of a dofollow site-wide link to theirs, tell them that current SEO best practices call for you to get rid of the link. Or, perhaps, you can compromise with them and turn it into a nofollow link – and maybe decrease the number of pages it shows up on.
Are ‘Nofollow’ Links Still Helpful?
Perhaps your site has scored a link on an authoritative website, but their webmaster wants to remove it in light of recent SEO events. See if they can just nofollow the link to your site instead.
Yes, the link juice goes away when someone adds a nofollow tag, but that doesn’t mean the link can’t still have value in a different way. If the hosting site draws tons and tons of visitors, some of them are eventually going to see and click the link to your domain, resulting in increased traffic for you. The number of clicks on your link per visitor is probably going to be pretty small, but it’s still better to give them that option than to not have it there at all, right?
But What if I’m Linking Back and Forth Between Several Interconnected Sites?
If you have a main website and a few microsites, or just several “sister” sites, it doesn’t hurt to feature links to all related sites in the footer of each one of the properties. Google is pretty savvy at understanding when sites are related. You don’t even have to nofollow the links in this case.
However, if we’re talking about dozens of websites, no matter how well they go together, you should avoid interlinking them, even with nofollow tags. In a 2014 Search Engine Watch article, Google engineer and video personality Matt Cutts was quoted as recommending only up to five links in the footer to other related websites. He added that if you operate 50 to 100 related websites and are thinking about interlinking them all, don’t do it – or, at best, only link to the four or five most relevant sister sites.
Internal and External Linking Strategies with Eminent SEO
Need help with evaluating which links to remove from your site and then actually getting it done? Eminent SEO can clean up not only your outbound linking strategy, but we can optimize your site’s internal linking strategy as well. We also can remove and disavow spammy or low-quality links that lead to your site, as well as help you recover from any search engine penalties you may have suffered.
We have been helping clients with their internal and outbound linking strategies for more than 11 years, and we’ve been updating our processes with every step of Google’s evolution. To learn more about optimizing your website with proper linking practices, contact Eminent SEO today at 800.871.4130.
A sale is a sale. You may have different ways of getting there, but as long as you make the intended sale, the means of getting there hardly matter, right?
Well, if you’d like to consistently make more of those sales, understanding your target market and the best strategies to employ are going to be imperative. First of all, are you hoping to sell a specific product or service to another business, or is your product for mass consumption? In other words, are you in a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) organization?
If you’re not sure, you’d better figure it out pretty quickly. But, you probably do know, so let’s get deeper into the differences between the two outlooks. Keep reading to find out how the strategies of B2B and B2C companies differ when it comes to marketing and ultimately making a sale.
The Target Markets of B2C and B2B Companies
B2B-oriented companies usually boast a specific offering or set of offerings, and, therefore, they tend to have a narrow, highly targeted audience. For example, a company that produces large medical machinery will likely target hospitals and perhaps some private practices. There’s no reason a business of this sort would market to individual consumers, who would have no need for these appliances at home.
B2C businesses, however, usually market to a large audience of individual consumers. While there are ways to home in on a more-focused audience, these companies generally have to market in a way that has mass appeal. Some companies design products with a specific end user in mind, while others churn out products that are really for anybody and everybody. Whichever type of business it is, it’s all about making that sale and keeping revenue coming in.
The Logical Vs. Emotional Appeal
Although B2B and B2C companies both want to offer a product that solves a customer’s problem, the paths they take to get there are often very dissimilar. When it comes to B2B sales, companies generally make a logical appeal to try to sell to other businesses. These organizations put more time into building relationships and providing educational resources, hoping those efforts will elicit a sale. B2B firms tend to offer products or services that are more complex and expensive than what B2C companies provide, but the former group must spend more time educating prospective clients how the product can help their business.
A prime example of how to market a B2B business is the social media agency Social Quant, which actually focuses exclusively on Twitter. Many businesses are on Twitter, but many businesses don’t know how to use Twitter, especially when it comes to building a high-quality following. That’s where Social Quant comes in.
The Twitter-focused agency doesn’t spend all of its time making a pitch for its services, though. Its blog posts and eBooks offer innumerable tips on how to use Twitter, which any user (business or individual) can benefit from. Ultimately, Social Quant is educating the public and building up a certain level of trust that will eventually lead to a few businesses inquiring about social media help. The company’s useful advice is available to anyone, but when it comes time to who’s going to pay their bills, it’s other businesses who have taken the relationship one step further.
Meanwhile, B2C businesses generally don’t spend as much time schmoozing a client and building a relationship prior to the initial sale. Instead, the marketing departments of B2C companies often make an emotional appeal to consumers, hoping that their products provide some kind of instant gratification to the buyer. Building a relationship in this case consists of offering a trustworthy product that consumers buy over and over, or on which they stock up at one time. B2C companies need to focus on providing great customer service, concise education and special deals so they can flourish and earn repeat business.
Check out the emotional appeal and attention-grabbing strategies at work in a commercial released earlier this year by a B2C company, Hefty.
Similar to Super Bowl commercials, the concept of this ad has just a faint connection to the product being peddled, but Hefty has successfully grabbed the viewer’s full attention while helping build brand recognition. They’re probably hoping that you’ll equate the quality of the commercial to the quality of their products. This type of ad should appeal to a wide age range, as well. Next time you’re in the grocery store, you may just opt to buy some Hefty plastic cups over those ubiquitous red Solo cups, and Hefty’s hilarious commercial may have something to do with it, overtly or subliminally.
Differing Sales Cycles
As a rule of thumb, B2C companies operate on a short sales cycle. They need to catch a consumer’s eye and perhaps provide a quick bit of education prior to the point of purchase. Additionally, if they want repeat buyers, they’d better offer a product that the customer enjoys. For example, if a company makes an all-natural food products that sits on a shelf in the store next to similar items, that company needs to have packaging and even some quick literature (such as, “Why is all-natural better?”) that piques the buyer’s interest. Most consumers make purchases from B2C-oriented companies every week, even daily, and many of them are made with little prior research, if not on a whim.
On the other hand, B2B organizations operate on a long sales cycle, sometimes taking several months before turning a lead into a sale. In these situations, businesses have to be vigilant in nurturing a relationship through the entirety of the sales cycle, building brand loyalty along the way. From initial engagement to the point of purchase, B2B companies need to continually educate and hold a lead’s interest, making sure the prospect doesn’t develop cold feet or disillusionment with the process prior to the final sell.
No matter if you work in a B2B or B2C company, you must start to develop an idea on your ideal buyer, how long it typically takes to make the sale and what motivates the buyer to purchase from you. There is some crossover between the two types of companies, and some businesses do a little bit of both (selling to individual consumers and other businesses), but any organization ultimately will thrive if it understands its audience and figures out how to market to them accordingly. For any skilled marketer making a job move, the transition from a B2B firm to a B2C company (or vice-versa) probably shouldn’t be too difficult, but there certainly are separate techniques to master, and it’s best to know the differences ahead of time.
What’s New in SEO: Google Keeps the Top Spot to Itself in Local Search
Early in August, Google implemented a fairly big shakeup in its search results by making its “local pack” more exclusive, as we explained on our Eminent SEO blog. More information about the local search feature has come down the pike since. Not only are there now only three spots in the local pack, but the box is featured in the first or second spot of the non-paid results much more often than it used to be, essentially meaning Google-approved businesses will always show up before any other.
A new report by seoClarity says the old local 7-pack only used to appear in the number one slot of the search results 25 percent of the time. However, the results box has been showing up in very top spot 93 percent of the time ever since shrinking to three featured businesses. Moreso, the local pack now shows up either in the first or second spot 99 percent of the time, versus just 31 percent before the change-up. The move to a 3-pack means there is more territory on the first page of results for organic listings, but it appears they all will almost always fall below the local pack now. For more on the eye-opening study, see seoClarity’s report.
August Eminent SEO Social Media Roundup
Max and Meg found themselves in various new situations as part of our social media outreach in August, including partaking in a popular meme near the beginning of the month. We also kept it light with some humorous posts and we shared a photo of our great team lunch at Olive Garden. Take a look at the best posts from our social media accounts in August. Which one is your favorite?
August Marketing Blog Roundup
We took our blog efforts up another notch in August, sharing timely information and tips on topics such as SEO, social media and branding on our Eminent family of blogs. Below, check out the top posts we published in August, including the aforementioned in-depth look at Google’s move to a smaller Local Pack. For more marketing and SEO news, how-to’s and tips, we invite you to follow our Eminent SEO blog.
Early in August, Google somewhat quietly shrank its renowned 7-pack in local searches to a 3-pack. While that means more competition for local businesses to earn one of those three spots, it does open up some opportunities on the first page of local search results. Read about how businesses with a local focus can take advantage of this shakeup.
If you have a hand in an ecommerce site, read these 10 crucial tips for help on getting your website to begin to shine in the search results, which will help you gain more traffic and, ultimately, more sales. Who wouldn’t want that?
When it comes to boosting your social media presence by buying followers on Twitter or other platforms, just say no! For one, there are tools on the web where anyone can look up your account and see how many fake followers you have. For other reasons why you should abstain from buying subscribers, check out this post.
Have you figured out what sets your business apart from the competition and who your targeted customers are? If not, it’s time to get started on developing a brand strategy. See this post for some tips to keep in mind as you’re building a strategy for your company.
Featured Service: Website Blogging
Many clients do not realize how important blogging is to the overall health of a strategic website marketing campaign. When done properly, optimized blogs can dramatically increase the authority of your website. Why? Google loves to see fresh, relevant content. It tells them you care about your visitors and want to provide them with the latest and greatest information you have to offer. Because Google wants to provide its users with up-to-date information, it will give a higher ranking to sites that add optimized, unique and relevant content more often.
Since blogging is such an important part of organic marketing, why would you let an amateur handle it? Leave the blogging to the pros and watch the traffic and conversions come in.
You’ve wanted to use Twitter for your company, or maybe you’ve already established an account, but if you’re a small- or medium-sized business, you’re probably having trouble gaining interaction or any ROI on the social media platform.
Heck, even many large corporations have trouble getting many Twitter users to care about what they’re tweeting. But if you are trying to use Twitter to generate sales, leads, or interest in your brand, there is some light at the end of the tunnel: Research shows there are reasons why your company should be active on Twitter, and that the proper strategy can help you succeed on the platform.
Why Should My Business Be On Twitter?
You might think of LinkedIn as the place to put on your proverbial sport coat and start making a sales pitch, but a recent Forbes study found there’s a better place to do it. Twitter has emerged as the No. 1 platform for sales prospecting, edging out LinkedIn and Facebook, respectively, according to Forbes’ research. Jill Rowley, a startup adviser, told Forbes she learns more about a buyer on Twitter than LinkedIn – whom they follow, who follows them and what they tweet about and retweet.
How A Business Should Tweet
First and foremost, businesses should aim to be engaging on Twitter and ready to interact with any user who shows genuine interest. Small Business Trends advises companies to be personable on the micro-blogging platform. For example, if one of your colleagues is celebrating a birthday, or if your team is gathered at a recognizable venue, a tweet or two with photos of the event goes a long way in peeling back the curtain to your company and showing Twitter users you’re relatable.
However, don’t be too personal on your Twitter timeline. The Twitterverse is sort of a buttoned-down place where business can be conducted, but sharing a little TMI will almost always have an adverse effect.
As far as volume of tweets, a new Hootsuite blog post recommended not to tweet too much, and not to tweet too little. Posting several tweets subsequently that don’t build on each other is a great way to turn some of your followers off. Conversely, tweeting too little will make users bored with your brand and will reflect how little commitment you have to the platform.
It is okay to send the same tweet more than once, particularly if you have an ongoing campaign you’re trying to draw attention to, but tweak the copy or attach a different picture so it looks different each time, and don’t post the same idea more than once or twice day. Also, make sure to post a variety of tweets in between the ongoing message you’re trying to deliver. And for the best times to tweet, a Hootsuite blog post last year said many studies point to 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3 p.m., but it may be beneficial for your company to post in the evening, as well. Just consider whether your business goes for a national or local audience, and if it’s the latter.
What A Business Should Tweet
Your business Twitter account should reflect your expertise in your field. Apart from the tips and industry knowledge you possess that can be shared on the platform, feel free to share links to recent publications on topics related to your field. Your Twitter followers will appreciate the insight, even if it didn’t come from in house.
A recent Twitter blog post recommended adding value to the products you offer, such as how to use the items in ways consumers probably never thought of before. Also, invite Twitter followers into a community; tell them what you tweet about, what customers you serve and what kind of incentives they might expect. That leads us to highlighting exclusive prizes and giveaways. There’s no greater way to draw in some potential customers than to tweet about giveaways, promotions, deals and contests you’re running. Additionally, remember to include a call to action in several of your tweets. Simply saying “follow us” and including a compelling reason why can go a long way.
And most of all, remember: photos, photos, photos. Try to include photos in as many tweets as possible. Mashable reported in 2013 that tweets with photos that can be instantly seen in a user’s newsfeed (e.g. not Instagram links) garner 94 percent more retweets than text-only posts. Food photos tend to do well, as do pictures of recognizable landmarks or destinations. Memes are also acceptable to include in your tweets, provided you can make a relevant connection and not choose something that might offend your followers. As long as you have rights to whichever photos you want to tweet, go ahead and post them and make sure the text of each tweet logically ties into the image.
Don’t sound like a soulless robot in your tweets, and be engaging on the platform and ready to react to your followers or what other leaders in your industry have to say. If you’re mentioned in a tweet or asked a question, be sure to respond to it! Also, try to follow back anyone who has just followed you, as long as their account looks legitimate.
Not every tweet from your business’ account has to make a sales pitch, but such posts will be more effective as long as you are engaging and expanding your audience with a steady stream of compelling content and commentary.