Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: April 30, 2013 4:24 pm

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Google has announced that it will soon be launching its Google Now Service for Apple iPhones and iPads, after previously being limited to devices running Google’s own Android system.

Google Now will work with Google’s search app on the iPhone and iPad, offering users ‘cards’ filled with information designed to be useful to a smart device user without them needing to type a search request.

It works by assessing the machine’s location data and analysing the contents of the owner’s Gmail and Google calendar, as well as using past Google searches. The service could offer information such as maps suggesting the quickest route home, flight departures as well as even suggesting nearby restaurants, museums and shops to users.

The move is being described as the ‘evolution of search’ and could prove a useful asset to local businesses. By picking up on where a user is and suggesting restaurants, shops and other local services based on past searches it provides an ideal opportunity for locally orientated business to tap into their most useful clientele.

The move also allows Google to tap into the Apple user market further, after previously concentrating on its Android market after loosening ties with the gadget giant – changing from Google Maps to Apple Maps and switching its default search engine on the iPhone and iPad.

It will be interesting to see what the introduction of Google Now to the Apple market will mean for mobile search and the effect it will have on local businesses.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: April 25, 2013 4:42 pm

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It wasn’t too long ago that AdWords introduced Enhanced Campaigns, allowing marketers to target their campaigns more accordingly. Their aim? For advertisers to be able to target people based on the time of the day, location and device they’re using.

Now they’ve introduced an upgrade centre alongside to make upgrading easier for marketers with lots of campaigns to manage. Users will be able to upgrade several campaigns at a time, or merge campaigns in a few steps.

The new centre will allow marketers two options for using the upgrade centre.

Google explains:

“1. Bulk upgrade

This option provides a fast way to upgrade multiple campaigns that don’t need to be merged. Rather than upgrade campaigns one at a time, you can select several campaigns, choose a mobile bid adjustment, view traffic estimates, and upgrade with fewer clicks.

2. Merge and upgrade

If you have search-only or search+display campaigns that have similar keywords and location targets, the upgrade center automatically identifies them as candidates to merge. You’ll then be able to preview and adjust the proposed campaign settings, ad groups, and extensions for the merged campaign. By default, ad groups and budgets will be combined. Other campaign level settings and extensions in the Primary campaign will override those in the Secondary campaign.”

The introduction should hopefully make managing campaigns far easier for PPC managers and mean that PPC campaigns can be far more easily managed and targeted to the right people – meaning that money and time invested in PPC campaigns will be more worthwhile than ever.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: March 27, 2013 1:03 pm

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According to a recent Google study in partnership with Nielsen, three out of four mobile searches trigger follow up actions. These could be actions such as further research, a store visit, phone call, purchase or word-of-mouth sharing. On average, mobile search will trigger at least two follow up actions.

77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, while 17% are on the go. Shopping queries are twice as likely to occur in store.

Taking these statistics into consideration, it is important to be aware of the impact of mobile search to your business. 55% of conversions such as a store visit, phone call or purchase happen within an hour, so the information and usability you provide mobile users is extremely valuable.

With these statistics in mind, your mobile site usability is incredibly important. Customers need to be able to find the information they need quickly and easily on a smartphone so they are aware if you supply what they need.

By making sure you have a mobile website or a website compatible with mobiles you have a hugely beneficial advantage when it comes to converting searches and website visits into conversions and sales.

You also need to think about integrating mobile search into your PPC and natural SEO campaigns, so you are visible to mobile searchers. The recent launch of Google’s Advanced Campaigns allows for advertisers to focus campaigns depending on the device and locations of potential customers – meaning that you could focus your mobile search campaigns on the most valuable customers.

Mobile search is now more important than ever, and it is becoming increasingly vital to make sure you’re website is integrate.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: March 11, 2013 4:37 pm

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New research by Bunnyfoot has revealed that 40% of consumers are unaware that Google Adwords are adverts. 41 out of 100 individuals did not know that the champagne coloured box was paid-for adverts and instead believed they were the most authoritative links – highlighting that many consumers are unaware of the difference between paid and organic search listings.

81% of users clicked on Google Adwords listings as opposed to natural rankings, proving that PPC could be a valuable investment for businesses.

According to previous research from 2011 by Group M UK and Nielsen – women are more likely to click on paid search links. It also showed that the older someone is, the more likely it is that they will click an ad, with the most prevalent group over the age of 55.

This new research should make marketers aware that there are consumers on the internet that aren’t aware that adwords are ads and begin to consider it as an addition to their search campaign. The obvious benefit of PPC is that you’ll likely see much quicker results and you’ll find yourself on the front page as soon as it’s all set up.

For businesses that want quick results, PPC could be the answer and is a great option if you have the budget and resources to support it. Yet if you can no longer pay for PPC, you’ll disappear from the front page.

However, natural search is hugely valuable and with the right kind of campaign can show impressive work over weeks or months as well as maintaining a high ranking if done well. You’ll also attract visitors that avoid search engine ads.

Whether you choose to focus on one campaign or both, working on a search campaign is vital to remain ahead of the competition.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: February 19, 2013 3:26 pm

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Last week, Google announced that AdWords would be introducing Search Funnels data.

The aim is to show how users search for products before converting, allowing PPC managers to make informed decisions in Adwords and get the most from their campaign.

Google has introduced search funnel columns to add to a campaign, ad group, keyword and ads tabs. The conversion tracking is a particularly helpful new function, allowing users to add columns for many common search funnel metrics such as assist clicks, click assisted conversions and assist impressions.

This means that now PPC managers will be able to see the assisted conversion metric and help ensure they are not missing out on opportunities when optimising keywords.

Basically this now means it is much easier for PPC managers to understand what keywords might lead someone to their site eventually and lead to a conversion, even if it is not the last keyword they search. This paints a picture of the journey a consumer is likely to make to hunt out a service or product.

The news comes shortly after AdWords announced that it would be introducing Enhanced Campaigns, allowing advertisers to target people based on the time of the day, location and device they’re using.

The service enables PPC managers to manage everything in one place rather than working on and comparing several different campaigns.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: January 28, 2013 9:41 am

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Recent research released by Covario has revealed that investment in PPC is increasing. The research looked at fourth quarter global paid search analysis and reported the spending on PPC advertising by businesses throughout the world.

In the fourth quarter, paid search was fifteen per cent higher in 2012 compared to the same time in 2011 and on top of that overall annual spending on paid search last year was eighteen per cent higher than in 2011.

Europe’s search spend grew by ten per cent year-on-year during the final quarter of last year, while the America’s increased twenty-one per cent and the Asia-Pacific increased by thirteen per cent.

This adds to mobile PPC’s spectacular increase in the paid search market, that rose by thirty per cent in the fourth quarter, year-on-year.

Part of PPC’s meteoric rise could be attributed to its instant impact, helping sites get noticed above the competition. By paying for your search advertising, you eliminate the time and patience associated with natural SEO, obtaining top positions almost instantly. Not to mention no pesky algorithms to watch out for!

In a culture when time is limited and people want instant results, it is no surprise paid search is enjoying success. Marketers want instant success and consumers want to find what they’re looking for fast.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: November 28, 2012 3:24 pm

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Those that are aware of the growing importance of content marketing will be aware that investing in a blog for your business is one of the easiest ways to achieve this and provide fresh exciting quality content to benefit your search marketing.

But figuring out how to best use your blog can be a challenge as well as coming up with new topics to write about to ensure it is kept regularly updated. Here are my top tips for coming up with new blog topics and keeping it fresh and interesting:

  • Invite guest bloggers to contribute – this will add some variation and fresh insight to your blog. A guest blogger will be able to provide varied views on issues relating to your industry and could even cover a topic that never even crossed your mind. You could even invite well known industry experts to contribute or offer exclusive comments and advice.
  • Relate your blog to current events and topics to remain as relevant as possible. If something is of the moment it is more likely to picked up people searching for that particular term and will help drive more attention and traffic to your website. Read through news websites and Google News key words relating to your industry.
  • Write a profile or special feature on one particular topic so you leave other areas to cover in future blogs. If you’re a retail industry, focus on one particular product per week or find a common theme for a range of products. You could even compile lists based on their suitability for certain people or projects. If you offer a service, think of a certain area you could concentrate on and go into detail.

Blogging should not be underestimated; a study of 1531 businesses by Hubspot found that company websites that had blogs received 55% more visitors than those who didn’t as well as 97% more inbound links.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: November 22, 2012 9:30 am

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A recent survey of 1,300 digital marketing professionals by Econsultancy revealed that only 38% of companies have a content marketing strategy, which means there are 62% of businesses out there who have not tapped into the advantages of content marketing.

Despite this however, 90% believed that content marketing would become more important over the next twelve months and 73% agreed brands are becoming publishers.

So where to begin? How does a business tap into the wonders of content marketing and apply it to their company? What are the options?

  • Start a blog – Write a regular company blog (at least once a week) relating to your business and product. A successful blog should be less formal than a press release but still pay attention to good grammar and spelling and read well. Try and get individual posts to follow a particular theme so they seem structured and are easy to follow. They don’t always need to be a large section of writing; you could also write tip posts or top tens.
  • Write regular press releases- Press releases help get your brand name out on the web and increase your visibility. Talk about any new developments, deals or partnerships. You can also look for news stories that relate to the business you’re in and issue a response, ensuring you remain more visible on the web and to anyone looking in that area.
  • Invest in social media- Social media is one of the best ways to interact with clients and increase your online visibility. Using social media shows your company is modern and relatable. If somebody follows you on social media you’ll remain in their consciousness. But it is important to keep your page regularly updated; once or twice a day is best. Find interesting news stories or pictures that relate to your industry and share with your fans and followers. You could even put together themed albums on Facebook and Pinterest.

Content is far too important to ignore and as Econsultancy’s research shows, its prevalence will only increase in coming months. Stay ahead of the competition and begin investing in content now.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: October 24, 2012 1:51 pm

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An infographic is a visualisation of data or ideas which can be an effective form of relating to a target audience. The human brain is exposed to 174 newspapers worth of information a day, 99% of which is filtered out of the brain almost immediately. Infographics are in the 1% of information that does make it into the brain.  If you are considering compiling an infographic there are some important points to consider:

  • The researching and writing of an infographic should be carefully considered, with an idea of the target audience in mind and the type of information which is going to be included. Infographics should stick to a particular theme to be at their most effective and understandable. Obviously to benefit a business it should be relevant to their industry.
  • The best kind of infographic features short sharp points and statistics with information that is easy to digest and interesting. Unusual or novel information is the most likely to get noticed. See if you can find any fun facts or interesting statistics about your particular industry or product.
  • The Office of National Statistics is one of the best places to find research information and easily available figures. Alternatively, try searching for your subject along with words like ‘research’, ‘study’ and ‘survey’ in new sources like Google News.
  •  The best tone to take is friendly and informal, you are relaying simple information which needs to be read and digested quickly. Long formal words and wordy bites of content mean information is less likely to be absorbed or read. Keep the word count low on infographics and instead focus on figures and images.
  • Half of the brain is dedicated to visual function and 65% of the population are visual learners. Visuals are processed 60,000x faster than text and publishers who invest in infographics grow in traffic by 12% more. In two years infographic search volumes have increased by 800%

Infographics look to be an important tool for businesses to get noticed by the time limited customer and are set to be rapidly optimised by companies in the next few years. Don’t get left behind.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: October 17, 2012 3:46 pm

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Blogging is becoming an increasingly popular way of interacting for businesses and publishers. Blogging allows personal opinion and a friendly tone as well as opportunity for readers and customers to interact and comment.

Generating new and exciting content is an important tool to gain more exposure in search engine rankings and make you more visible. By interacting with your reader you encourage participation and loyalty as well as debate.

Here are five ways to make your blog more interactive:

  1. Monitor your blog and respond to comments in a timely fashion. Interacting with the people that comment will give more personality to your brand and push further conversation and interaction. In the case of businesses, it projects good customer service and presents you as a reliable and contactable service.
  2. Link your content to social media use. Encourage debate and questions among Twitter and Facebook posts and include comments or questions from followers in future blog posts. This allows you to gain a good idea of your demographic and their expectations as well as presenting yourself as a relatable brand.
  3. Add interactive polls that encourage debate. Polls allow people with limited time to play their part in the conversation and join in. The results will allow you to gather useful information for future blogs and gain an idea of your reader’s opinions.
  4. Tie your blog posts in with relatable current news. By staying current, you show that you are aware of the latest events and increases your visibility as people search for that news. Google News often includes blog posts within its search results and could help you draw in new readers.
  5. Include a mix of media such as video, photos and audio. If you have the available resources it can be another way of attracting new readers via links from YouTube and Google Images. Give photos descriptive names and videos straightforward titles and tags. Using video, audio and picture collages give your blog more personality and allow the reader to get a basic idea if they don’t have time to read through all your content.

Blogs can be an extremely effective tool if they are correctly optimised to attract readers, and can considerably increase the visibility of your brand.

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