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Marketing Titbits – a Google + update, become a Photoshop expert and Snapchat

1. Google + update
When talking about social media with clients, one of the questions we frequently get asked is what about Google +? Is it worthwhile investing time in? The short answer is, probably. Google + is quietly going about its business, amassing 250 million users (150 million active) at the time of writing and with current growth at 10 million users a month.

Having access to its user base is one benefit, but we feel it is the SEO benefits associated with being active on it that are really where businesses can take advantage. After all, if you want to succeed in enhancing your website’s ranking in Google, it is fairly logical to assume that you need to play by Google’s rules. Google + now represents one of those rules.

We should also stress that this is not just an assumption. We are finding increasingly that activity and shares on Google + are having a positive impact on search engine rankings in Google.

To get started, we’d suggest implementing 3 things:

1. Create a Google + Local Page.

2. Add a +1 share button to the pages on your website.

3. Start sharing your content and importantly that of others, complimentary to your business.

We have found that once you start getting on top of these 3 areas, there is a marked increase in the search engine rankings of your website. Give it a go and see what you think.

2. Get to grips with Photoshop

If you’ve ever wanted to get to grips with Photoshop but have never had the time or budget to take classes, CreativeLIVE is for you. 2 weeks ago CreativeLIVE hosted Photoshopweek, 6 days comprising of 40 different online classes from Photoshop experts, catering for all levels of Photoshop expertise. CreativeLive have compiled all 40 of the training sessions into an online course available for download at a significantly reduced rate. If you are keen to hone your Photoshop skills this is well worth taking a look at. More information can be found here.

3. Snapchat

If you haven’t heard about it yet, you soon will have. It seems a week doesn’t go by without yet another social media ‘next big thing’ popping up onto the ever-evolving digital landscape. Snapchat has caught our eye recently; and if the 60 million + pictures and messages sent a day are anything to go by, Snapchat may just have a future. What sets it apart from the plethora of other messaging services out there is that the images sent through it only exist for a maximum of 10 secs and then are gone forever.

The appeal seems to stem from the impermanent nature of the communications. Unlike Facebook etc., your content is not indexed and accessible online indefinitely. It is also free (so far) from the increasingly intrusive adverts that permeate Facebook and other social media platforms. This, combined with the ease and spontaneity of the service, seems to have tapped into an as yet unsatisfied need amongst the younger population.

As to how businesses can make use of Snapchat, the jury is still out. It is clearly a very effective way of communicating in real time with an audience. Whether your target audience is engaged, is another matter. Watch this space! Take a look here.

Marketing Titbits – MarketingWeekLive, When Advertising Goes Wrong and PageSpeed Insights

1. MarketingWeekLive – get your ticketsThe UK’s largest marketing event takes place between the 26 – 27th June 2013 at London conference venue, Olympia.

With over 450 exhibitors addressing all things marketing, a plethora of free ‘conference’ sessions from some of the world’s largest brands, networking opportunities and learning seminars, MarketingWeekLive is a great event to attend if you have an interest in marketing.

To find out more information about the exhibitors, insight seminars, speakers and to book your tickets, click here.

2. When Advertising Goes Wrong

We found this great blog last week showing 23 unfortunate advert placements. If you fancy a laugh take a look. It just goes to show that you can design and proof adverts all you like but there are some things outside your control, like where and how the adverts are placed. Our particular favourite is the billboard promoting heart disease awareness, placed alongside a Burger King ad promoting 2 ‘Croissanwiches’ for $3!

To see all the images, click here. Let us know which is your favourite.

3. Page Load Speed Insights – Improve your Website’s SEO

When attempting to improve your website’s SEO credentials it is easy to overlook an increasingly important factor – PageLoad speed.

A webpage that loads quickly offers an improved user experience. Faster page loads are shown to decrease bounce rates and improve conversion rates. As such, they are also thought to be a factor the search engines use when assessing your website and then positioning it in search results.

To find out how you can improve the page load speeds on your website, the nice people at Google have provided a free tool, PageSpeed Insights, to assess the pages on your site and suggest ways of improving the page speed.

Take a look to see how your site performs and how you can improve it.

 

#MarketingTitbits – Top 100 Global Brands, Microsoft vs. Google and Mobile Payment Apps

1. The top 100 most valuable global brands of 2013
The annual BrandZ most valuable global brands list has been released and Apple keeps hold of the top spot for another year.

According to Millward Brown Optimor, the BrandZ list compilers, the Apple brand is worth an eye-watering $185bn.

Peter Walshe, Brandz global director explains the value of a ‘brand’:

“What we see with the most popular or powerful brands is that brand lasts a lot longer, is more robust and doesn’t tend to slip as much, whereas the finances go up and down,”

The Apple brand is ahead of its nearest competitor, Google, by $70bn dollars, demonstrating that despite its recent share price decline, Apple’s brand loyalty still stands it in good stead.

The top 10 looks like this:

Ranking Brand Brand value 2013 ($M)
1 Apple 185,071
2 Google 113,669
3 IBM 112,536
4 McDonald’s 90,256
5 Coca-Cola 78,415
6 AT&T 75,507
7 Microsoft 69,814
8 Marlboro 69,383
9 Visa 56,060
10 China Mobile 55,368

To see the full list click here.

 

2. Don’t get ‘Scroogled’!

When two corporate giants like Microsoft and Google decide to battle it out, the odds are it is going to get nasty. This time it is Microsoft’s turn, in the form of a cutting parody of Chrome’s ‘Now. Everywhere.’ Ad.

The video is the latest iteration of Microsoft’s ‘Scroogled’ campaign, designed to highlight the commercialisation of our data by Google, for its own profits.

It is speculated that the video was only ever designed to be seen internally at Microsoft. You can decide for yourself.

Microsoft’s Chrome Ad Video Parody

Whichever way you decide to view it, it all feels a little bit like sour grapes from Microsoft. For so long the industry bully, Microsoft has not been having it all its own way of late, whilst Google continues to go from strength to strength. Perhaps instead of spending time coming up with videos attacking other companies, Microsoft should focus its resources on creating an operating system people actually want to use!

 

3.  Mobile payments apps to improve customer service

If you are a small business and would like to take credit / debit card payments but don’t want the hassle of setting up card machines and dedicated lines etc. then these handy little apps are for you.

Not over from the US yet, Square is one of the market leaders. It is an app designed for iOS and Android mobile devices, which allows users with the simple addition of a free card reader, to take card payments via their phone or tablet.

Its rival, Intuit, has crossed the pond and offers a very similar experience, except provides a streamlined card reader, with a chip and pin keypad, for users to take card payments.

Whichever app you go for, adding the facility to take card payments to your organisation is a great way of improving your customer experience, making it easier for customers to pay for your services and products.

SEO: Content is key!

SE0-Content-Final3-1Over the past few years, there have been several changes to Google’s SEO algorithms. It feels as if as soon as companies start to master search engine optimisation, Google decides to move the goal posts. This can be frustrating for businesses; however, quite rightly in our opinion, each evolution of search is driven by improving the experience for the end-user, so it is important for companies to get their SEO strategy right, in order to make the most of their website.
With the SEO goal posts constantly moving, knowing how to improve the page rankings and performance of your website is often easier said than done. With this in mind, over the next few months, we will provide you with a series of blogs to help you demystify SEO and improve the visibility of your website.

 Creating content for your website isn’t about embedding as many key terms and phrases on your site as possible.  Google can distinguish between content that adds real value and content that has been posted solely for SEO purposes.

 

Use keywords, headers and page titles to support your text:

Quality content is the key! Most end-users aren’t looking to read long, academic papers; instead, they’re skimming the text, looking for what they need. Search engines do a similar job when indexing your site. Include keywords in the page title, headers and toward the top of the content. By doing this you are giving your website the best opportunity to be placed higher in search engines for those terms. Don’t be tempted to bombard your readers with links or bury the answers to their questions underneath vast swathes of ‘fluffy’ text that adds nothing to the reader’s experience or knowledge.

 

Write for your audience, not the search engines:

It is important to include good content that has been written for your end-user and not for a search engine. Before you can create great content for your website, you have to understand who your target audience is. Who are you talking to? Who is most likely to buy your product or service or religiously read your blog? If your target audience is a group of engineers, the content you create and the tone you use is going to be different than if you were targeting the over 50s looking for information on pensions and investments.

 

The frequency of your content matters:

Uploading one blog every few months isn’t going to generate the results you desire, but producing content with value on a regular basis is! Being a marketing company ourselves, it is extremely important for us to practice what we preach. During the busy Christmas period, we didn’t upload as many blogs and top tips on to our website as we would usually. This had a knock on effect on our search engine rankings. By increasing the frequency and quality of our content, we have experienced firsthand the positive impact on search engine rankings afforded by regular quality content updates.

 

Schedule and plan your content:

In order to help your online marketing stay on track and make the most of what good quality content can do for your website, we would recommend creating an editorial calendar to help support your marketing plan. Strategically plan out the order, topic and timing for each blog or news piece.  Don’t feel like you have to be the sole source of content for your website. Introduce different voices within the organisation and get employees involved in providing fresh content. You might be surprised by how much good quality content is available right at your fingertips.

 

Don’t forget to measure your website analytics:

Once you have started the process of making your content more search-engine friendly, it is important that you measure your results. Tools like Google Analytics will allow you to review traffic levels and identify any particular trends associated with the content on your site.

 

Stay tuned for more top tips to help you improve the visibility of your website.

SEO: Video makes a difference

seo-image-final!Last month, we provided you with a series of top tips to help you improve the visibility of your website, by uploading regular, quality content.  To help you make the most of your website, the second part of our ‘demystifying SEO’ blog delves into the world of video and viral marketing.
If executed correctly, video content can be extremely beneficial when trying to improve your organisation’s position online.  The average internet user views 32.2 videos a month and it’s been shown that videos can increase the number of website visits by 55%. It has also been predicted that by 2014, 90% of website traffic will be video. With numbers that significant, what business would argue against the incredible opportunity video can offer your organisation?

In order to use video to boost your online presence, it is important to consider the following points.

1.  Outline your SEO goals, strategy and content:

With SEO and video, it’s important to first establish what you want to achieve. Do you want to increase your social presence? Generate lots of views on YouTube, or perhaps create more tailored traffic to your website? Designing and making the video is the simple part, but companies often fail when it comes to defining goals and putting an online strategy in place. Goals can include:

  • Improving website traffic as a whole or for specific pages
  • Generating social shares and creating a viral campaign
  • Increase sales from your website
  • Building your brand awareness online

In addition to this, you will need to decide what type of video you want to produce. Over 80% of the videos that list in Google’s search results are informational. Pushy sales videos do not tend to rank as well within Google, so it is important that you produce content that appeals to your target market and adds value.  Video content can include.

  • Client testimonials
  • Introducing your organisation and team
  • Product demonstrations
  • Top industry tips
  • Fun viral video about your organisation

2.  Include a title and description within your videos:

Search engines look at the information you have provided about the video and compare it with the context of the page that the video is on. If the page title and the video title match up, there is more of a chance that you will get a higher ranking on Google.  It is also very important to make your video’s title specific; you are much more likely to rank higher when the keyword is not too general.

3.  Take into account the length of your video – less is more

Most people would rather spend two minutes watching an interesting video than spend ten minutes reading an article. Statistics show that people tend to engage with online videos for 2.5 minutes on average, so when making your video, try not to make it too long in order to keep you audience interested.

4.  Duplicate your video across several platforms.

To reap the SEO benefits associated with video, you will need to include your content on several different platforms. There are numerous outlets for you to take advantage of, the most important being YouTube.  Having recently celebrated their 8th birthday, YouTube is now one of the most viewed websites in the world, generating billions of hits. Once you have created a YouTube channel, you can then embed the video on to your website and include it on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to increase the exposure and linking potential.

5.  Create a Video Sitemap

Once you have included the video on your website, you will need to create a Video Sitemap. Currently search engines can’t look at what is in the video, so the Video Sitemap tells the search engine everything it needs to know about the content, for example, the title, description and duration.

6.  Measure the success of your video with Google Analytics:

Like any other marketing activity, you will need to measure your results.  Free tools such as Google Analytics will help you establish if your video content has increased the level of traffic to your website.  You could produce a couple of different videos and compare the results, this will determine the type of content that your audience responds the best to.

Even though video isn’t new to the web, many businesses fail to make the best use of tools that will take their video and SEO results to the next level. If you are going to invest time and money in boosting your SEO, start considering video in your marketing mix.

Not only is video a great way to share your story, it’s also  an effective way to build links back to your site and if you target your audience in an exciting, unique way, maybe your video will even go viral. This is where the major search engine optimisation benefit comes into play.

#MarketingTitbits – ‘Line’ the next big messaging App, Google launch marketing course & 10 bizarre businesses

1. Messaging app ‘Line’ takes on WhatsApp & Viber with 200million + usersIf you want to make free phone calls and send free messages to your friends then Line could be the app for you. What makes Line different from the plethora of other communication apps out there is its ability to allow users to send free unique stickers and emoticons.

Since Line launched two years ago it now has in excess of 200million users and is the most downloaded app in over 40 countries, putting it alongside WhatsApp and Viber. Line’s success with stickers has prompted the likes of Facebook and Path to add similar functions to their services.

If you want to know more about the next big thing – Line, then click here.

2. Do a course in Google marketing for £1000

Google has announced that it will launch an internet course to help people to get into the marketing and advertising industries. The course, which is based at the Squared office on Tottenham Court Road, has already been trialled in the ‘real world’ in the form of 6 week full time courses with graduate workers from London’s marketing and advertising agencies.

As of August 22nd the course will be available online so that anyone can access it from home.

If you are interested in Google’s new course and want to learn more then click here.

3. 10 bizarre businesses that you didn’t know existed

You probably never knew any of these strange businesses existed. But all over the world people are finding weird and wonderful ways to meet the needs of their clients and make some money while they’re at it. Perhaps it’s the tough economic climate that inspired these entrepreneurs to do what they love and perhaps their weird business ideas will inspire you to do something you love – no matter how obscure it is!

Who would have thought there was a demand for cheese sculpting?

10 Bizarre Businesses.

 

#MarketingTitbits – Hootsuite, shopping and Science World

1. Hootsuite – for begginers
If you haven’t heard of Hootsuite already then it is about time that you did. The social media management site now has 7 million users in over 175 countries around the world. It is basically a website that allows users to integrate all their social media channels and control posts across them; particularly handy for businesses.

This week, we’ve found a great article on Mashable entitled ‘A beginner’s guide to Hootsuite’. If you don’t already have Hootsuite or a struggling with it then we suggest you check it out. To read the article click here.

2. How is shopping changing in the future?

The way that we do our shopping is changing rapidly. More people shop online now than they ever have before, especially the generation of 14-19 year olds. This week we came across a very interesting article in Marketing Week that explores how the face of shopping is changing and how brands can and need to keep up with it. To have a look at the article click here.

3. Wonderfully creative adverts from Science World Vancouver

The Science World Museum in Vancouver is notorious for its slightly controversial exhibits –Body Worlds and The Science of Sexuality exhibitions being just two examples that courted controversy. This risqué and alternative attitude extends into their marketing. They are now known across Vancouver for their innovative and attention grabbing campaigns. They have amassed a vast array of eye-catching and intelligent adverts that have been used around the city to raise awareness. We think they are brilliant, so thought we’d share some with you. To have a look at some of them and get inspired click here.

Top Marketing Tips This November

  1. Moneyengine – a great new app, which for the next couple of days is free. Could be customised for your business.
  2. Gumnotes – if you are like us, you may have come across note management software before but never persisted with it. Then we came across Gumnotes. This free software allows you to make notes about documents, websites, spreadsheets, in fact just about anything, then attaches the note to the document or file so it pops up.
  3. Want to keep on top of your Google Analytics – try this great desktop reporting tool calledPolaris. A great way of keeping your website stats visible.