Posts about: search engine marketing

Penguin 2.1, bad links and the importance of staggering your SEO/Social Media strategies

28 November 2013
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In August 2013 I took over the SEO and Social Media Marketing for a letting agency which specialised in student accommodation in Liverpool – Liverpool Student Lets. They were somewhat unhappy with the company that had been providing their SEO.

The first thing to do was to perform a full audit of the on-site and off-site optimisation. What I found was not an entirely pretty picture. The website was visually engaging and very professional, although with a few tweaks needed to optimise it for Google, such as adding H1 and H2 tags.

The website was performing moderately for its targeted keywords. It had a domain authority of 21, which was perhaps a bit low, but the website had only been live for a year.

Things got interesting when I started to look at the link profile of the website. Unfortunately I found it to have a lot of very spammy links. For instance, links from blog comments on irrelevant blogs in the USA, and numerous links from low quality bookmarking sites. However, as the website’s rankings did not seem to be suffering I decided to prioritise other aspects of the site such as optimising the keyword usage across the site’s pages. My intention was to come back later and analyse each link individually, before deciding what to do about them.

Another surprise came when I examined the on-site blog. Approximately 50 posts had been made over the course of a year, however I was quite shocked to find that the blog was not indexed in Google. This meant that all the hard work that had gone into the blog had been for nothing. Looking further into the blog, I found that many posts were less than 300 words, and some were quite repetitive and badly written. Any images were not optimised. I wanted to index the blog, but first I had to remove some posts and optimise others. I used knowledge that I picked up on the SSMM course to optimise these posts, and on October 4th 2013 at approx 5pm, I submitted the blog page to Google for indexing.

I was quite horrified to find that a few days later the site had dropped in the rankings, moving from page 1 to page 2 for the most important keywords! I decided that I had not optimised the blog posts well enough and started trying to improve them further. This had no effect on the rankings.

When Penguins attack…..

I later realised that at almost the exact same time that I indexed the blog, Google announced and rolled out the latest update to their Penguin algorithm – Penguin 2.1. For those who don’t know, Penguin is the part of Google’s algorithm that deals specifically with links – periodically Google roll out an update which is meant to spot bad linking practises and penalise sites accordingly.

The realisation that 2 things had happened at the same time (indexing of blog + rollout of Penguin 2.1) created a problem. Which was to blame for the reduction in rankings? There was no message about bad links in Webmaster Tools, although Google does not always advise penalised sites in this way.

Having looked at the blog I decided that the more likely culprit was Penguin 2.1. Therefore the bad links became the priority. I compiled a list of the links in Excel, recording the url, the domain authority, TrustFlow and CitationFlow (MajesticSEO’s own measurement systems of link value). I also made a note of how to contact the webmasters, where possible. It is important to keep good records of efforts made to remove links, because if you later wish to use Google’s disavow tool, then you must follow Google’s advice ie. that you must provide evidence of all efforts undertaken to remove links. So I began contacting the webmasters, of which only one has replied to me and removed the link. Many of the links had no contact details available. Once I have attempted contact three times to each webmaster, I can add them to my disavow list, either as a url or an entire domain. The use of the disavow tool itself is somewhat risky; Google clearly advises that using it could result in worse rankings for your site. I intend to use it soon, though, in the hope that it will put the site back on page one where it belongs.

Although we will hopefully see some improvement after this process is completed, there has still not been any confirmation regarding which of the 2 events on Oct 4th caused the drop in rankings.

There are a few lessons to take away from all of this :-

1. Beware SEO practitioners who use bad linking practises! There are still plenty of them around it seems….

2. Stagger your SEO strategies. If you implement 2 changes at the same time, then you cannot easily separate the effects from each of them. It is worth keeping a note of when you implement strategies, so that you can see the effect on traffic they have on traffic.

3. Once Penguin hits your site, it is not simple to recover. Indeed some SEO practitioners state that any penalties will not be repealed until the next Penguin update (which is usually every 6 months), whilst others think that a proper link removal campaign, followed by use of Google’s disavow tool, and finally submitting reconsideration requests, can result in the removal of penalties sooner.

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Comply Direct – an exercise in keyword strategy

28 November 2013
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A Direct method of Compliance online

Comply Direct are a government approved compliance scheme for UK organisations obligated by the Packaging Waste Regulations and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations.

We are a trusted and expert business and compliance partner for over 800 companies in the UK so Comply Direct have made it our aim to develop an online presence to ensure that searchers get exactly what they are looking for when making compliance and guidance queries into search engines and on social media. Read more…..

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SEO Checklists for Healthcare and B2B Websites

28 November 2013
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How to Optimise Websites for Performance

In large B2B and public sector organisations, many managers face similar problems when running their websites.
They have a high level view about what a high performance website should be like. But the intricacies of SEO techniques are not for them. Give them detailed explanations plain English that will support their decision making. Then enjoy having a hand in building and maintaining a high performing website for your customer.

What is a high performing website?
Websites that perform well:
• Meet the needs of the people using them
• Achieve the business goals for which they were created.
The trick is to make sure that the website is optimised to meet both needs. Every page should provide a core message that people can find and understand.

SEO Checklist – the Basics

Below are some SEO basics to work on when domain and page authority need improving to meet your company’s standards.

Web Optimisation is For Your Users

First and foremost, focus on what people need rather than what the organisation needs. At the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust,  the website’s primary users are its patients, next of kin, family, close friends and medical professionals. These users seek information about:  symptoms, conditions, treatments, care, clinics, locations, facilities and consultants.  The website is being optimised by putting them first and focusing relentlessly on helping them to achieve their needs.

Website Performance Measures

When a CEO asks about website performance, what is the most useful information to give them? Forage through the masses of statistics on Google Analytics and come up with nuggets that tell managers what targets have been met. Check the all-important tracking code, set up goals on the pages where your primary users complete tasks and you’re good to go. Avinash Kaushik provides expert help directly through the Google Analytics help pages.

Keyword Research for Search Engine Optimisation

SEO revolves around keywords so do your research. Some keyword research sources are:
• Documents and files already published that focus on your key services
• Your customer service team (at the Royal Liverpool Hospitals this is the Patient and Liaison Service Team) for questions frequently asked
• Internal search engine statistics
• Google Webmaster Tools
• Google Analytics
• Introduce your manager to and show them comparisons between the links and keywords competitors are using.

Writing Optimised Web Content

An optimised web page contains a title tag, meta description, navigation links, tagged <H1> <H2> <H3> and images, headings, subheadings, hyperlinks within text and compelling copy.
Title tag
The title tag position is real estate on a web page and the first word is given the most importance. Use 6 to 15 words, or up to 70 characters including spaces, and make it unique.
Meta Description Tag
Although not rated by search engines, this helps people find what’s relevant to them. Write a meta description of 150 (250 maximum) characters of informative copy, unique to that page. Including a benefit encourages click through.

Optimising images

Label images with descriptive alt text that makes it relevant for people using screenreader software. This will meet W3C accessibility standards too. For example: new-royal-phase1-floorplan. Not: DMC31002.
PDF and document files
Use primary keywords for PDF and DOC file titles. For example: medical-education-newsletter.pdf

URL and File Structure

Write unique URLs with primary keywords. For example:

Compelling copy

Write one core message per page and cut anything superfluous.
Focus on the primary audience and the calls to action for each page.
Write the primary and secondary keywords in the first sentence of the first paragraph, two or three more times throughout the page and in the last sentence.
Page length should be between 200 and 400 words.
A good test: can your gran understand it?


Links hold everything together and are essential for rankings.
Write hyperlinks like this: More information on pain medicine
Not:     Click here for more information on pain medicine.
Links within text are rated more highly than lists of links.
Are all links correct? Check broken ones using the W3C link checker tool.
Redirect – 301s – permanently moved pages to avoid ‘page not found’ (404) errors.

Page Loading Times
Pages should load in 2-3 seconds. Test using Pingdom to investigate slow loading times.

Clean code
Use a W3C validator to check quality and highlight errors.

More Site Optimisation Checks – Beyond SEO
Site structure and the technical development of a website affects search engine ratings. Fix the above SEO basics then try some off-site optimisation for best results.
For more information, connect with me on twitter @sue_lister, on LinkedIn and Google+.

Sue Lister

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How To Use Social Media For Business

28 November 2013
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Being the Marketing Manager at social media is a big part of my marketing plan – Should it be a big part of yours?

Self-proclaimed social media gurus bill social media as the messiah of online marketing – where as I believe social media is an important weapon in your marketing arsenal but it won’t turn water into wine!

Social media is important for business and all businesses should have a social presence. Having social media pages and profiles will add new ways for your organization to be discovered and accessed by potential customers. It will also help your business dominate the first page of Google – if a potential customer types your organization into their search engine and your website is number one followed by your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages it lowers the chance of them clicking through onto a competitor’s website.

This video gives few reasons why your business should be using social media

Here are some important tips I’ve learned during the search and social media marketing CPD at Salford University:

Don’t just try to sell your product or service – be social, talk to your customers, create relationships and build a community that know and trust your brand and they will promote your company all over the world for free.

Something I found successful was to do a competition. When you have a decent number of competition entries and a bit of a buzz surrounding your page post a voucher code offering some money off – this will gently push people from your social media page to your website and give them an incentive to buy a product or use your service.

Have a strategy! Plan what you want to post in advance – this way you will be prepared for seasonal trends like Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas. You will be providing regular content to your audience and not spending hours flicking trough Google images looking for funny pictures of cats to post.

Provide quality content that your customers will want to engage with. I focused on getting people interacting with each other on my organizations social media pages. We achieved this by giving away a kindle every week until Christmas – every week we would ask a different question i.e. what was your favourite childhood book? Who is your favourite fictional character? Their answer would be their entry into the competition. This sparked interaction! Within minutes people were not only sharing their favourite books but reminiscing with each other about childhood memories and other books they enjoyed.

We Buy Books Kindle Giveaway

Don’t worry too much about bad feedback; even the most famous household names have unhappy customers who leave bad reviews. With social media everything is in public there is no hiding. Your priority should be to solve any problems a customer is having quickly. People will look at how you deal with problems and if you deal with them correctly people will recognize this and know if they have an issue with your organization it will be dealt with promptly and in the appropriate way.

  • Create awareness
  • Build a community
  • Customer service
  • Promote your latest offers
  • Competitions

Remember people use social media in their leisure time and don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches. Use social media wisely and your customers will sell your brand for you!

Ben is the the marketing manager for and is responsible for creating, managing and enhancing products and services so that they reflect well on the companies brand. Analyzing and investigating price, demand and competition, devising and presenting marketing plans and strategies, promotional activities, writing reports and monitoring performance.

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Copywriting for Search – Get Your Copy Right, You Must

28 November 2013
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SEO Copywriting – Why Content is King (and what you can do about it)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Devious Webmasters, would-be marketers and sloppy content writers are blighting the World Wide Web with spammy content, underhand tactics and dubious links…

There was a time when the world of website content was a wild frontier, plagued with mean tricks that would get your site up the rankings quickly and easily, and while it might seem that online copy is leading a clean-cut existence nowadays, the dreaded Black Hatters and lazy content writers (think Darth Vader and Boba Fett) are still at it. So just how do you stay clear of the penalties handed out by the likes of algorithm update, Google Panda, and keep your site ranking well?

The web is made up of content – that’s what it is; a behemoth Smörgåsbord of files and folders full of documents, images, videos and so much more. So it stands to reason that in order to have a well-ranking website your content should be wholesome, good and honest (think Princess Leia and R2D2).

Google (and those other search engines we occasionally hear about) is becoming increasingly more attuned to the way in which content is written and, more importantly, how it is understood by the most technically advanced element of the internet, the humans. Content is still very much king (or, er, emperor?) and with the recent release of Google’s Hummingbird update ushering in the dawn of semantic search, that mantra isn’t looking like it will go away anytime soon. In fact it’s going to get increasingly harder for the bad guys to ‘outsmart’ the search engines as they dynamically learn the values and trademarks of well-written content.

Darth Vader's helmet

Definitely Black Hat

Princess Leia

A clean-living White Hatter

Images courtesy of LucasFilm and The Walt Disney Company

The Top 10 Steps to Better Content

Making significant gains in Google’s organic search listings needn’t be cloak and light-sabre (‘black hat’).  Follow these 10 steps to becoming a Content Jedi:

  1. Write for people first and worry about ‘bots’ later.
  2. Choose your keywords carefully and use them wisely.
  3. Don’t get SPAM-tastic – No-one likes a thorough keyword stuffing and Google seriously hates it!
  4. Mark up your page with a relevant structure (headings, sub-headings, bold text etc.)
  5. Better Meta – Help search engines to understand what’s going on with good meta data.
  6. Keep it interesting – Include some dynamic content such as images, videos, polls etc.
  7. Keep it relevant – Writing about red widgets? Then don’t try and sell me casinos and ladies of the night.
  8. Build some trust – Create links to and from relevantgenuine, trustworthy sites.
  9. Share it – Don’t wait around for people to accidentally trip over your shiny new content, tell the world.
  10. Tell Google – That’s right, you can let the boffins know too! Google Webmaster Tools is a great place to start.

For more tips or help with content writing, web design and online marketing please visit Outsrc Web Design and drop me a line.

Remember, the force is with you, mostly.

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Google Now: Getting To Know You (and anticipating your every move)

28 November 2013
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google now

Working as the marketing executive at digital marketing agency Fast Web Media means I’m surrounded by industry experts banging on about search, tech and social. My role is very varied; on any given day I’ll be posting on our social media accounts, writing blogs, drafting copy for our websites, running email campaigns, dealing with clients, or organising the odd trade show! I find I’m no expert in any given field but know bits and pieces of the areas that apply to me.

One topic that has caught my attention recently is the growth of Google Now. I actually own an Android operated phone but didn’t quite catch on to Google Now until I started reading about it in blogs. I then noticed that my phone seemed to know what I needed to search for before I even told it what I wanted… spooky!

For those that haven’t heard about or used Google Now, let me take it back a step:

Google Now’s tagline is “The right information at just the right time” and that’s exactly what it is. Google Now is voice activated information services with a personal organiser. But it’s much more than that, as it’s personalised to the nth degree and the system learns more about you as you use it, being able to connect to your lifestyle and show you the kind of information you’re likely to need at the right time. The video below explains this:

It can sound confusing, so let me elaborate. At around 5.30pm Google Now knows that I’m likely to start making my way home, so will automatically show me up to date traffic information from the office to my home.

Not impressive enough? Ok, if you’re out and about in Manchester and you’re looking for restaurants, Google Now will give you information and directions about restaurants in close proximity to where you are. Based on your location, it will also have weather reports ready, latest scores from your favourite sports team or up to date stock information.

It can gather information straight from your Gmail and display flight information if you’ve recently booked a flight, and take it one step further by showing you the best route to get to the airport on the day of your scheduled flight, using the type of transportation it thinks you’re likely to be using. If you’re near the airport (and flying with American Airlines), it will find your boarding pass in Gmail and bring up a check-in QR code without being asked and gives you the weather report for your destination. Once you get to your destination, it will find local events, attractions, and restaurants. It can also give you the time back home, currency conversion, translations and more. Impressive enough yet?

It then organises all this information in a logical fashion using ‘cards’, automatically displaying them when you’re more likely to need them. As Google Now gets to know more about you, these cards are customised and will appear on the search bar of the Google Now screen.

I haven’t been using Google Now very long so my screen isn’t filled with ‘cards’ yet but Google already knows where I live, where I work, and that I drive there; so shows me up to date traffic and weather information. It also knows what football team I support; so shows me latest scores. Here’s an overview of what my page looks like:


In future, I expect to see flight information, package tracking information, restaurant information in my area, events linked to my recent searches, hotel bookings, news, stock information… the list goes on and on!

I’ve heard of Siri, is this the same thing?

Siri was really the pioneer when it comes to voice activated search, but Google Now takes this a step further. Much like Siri, it can answer questions and search the web, but apart from just assisting, it can anticipate your requirements using your calendar, Gmail, historic search and your current location. In this article, Marcio Cyrillo argues this exact point, and his conclusions point to the fact that Google Now takes it an evolutionary step further.

As a marketer, why do I need to know this?

Whether you’re an online marketer or not, there’s no denying this is an incredible advancement. But it’s undoubtable that those working in the world of online marketing will be asking themselves what this means for SEO and how they can stay one step ahead of their competitors.

The trend for marketers to analyse big data and determine what their customers want, what they need, and when they need it is only growing and Google Now is adding fuel to the fire with its predictive search capabilities. Search is evolving and becoming more relevant, and although there is still no talk of “Google Now Rankings”, it’s clear that local SEO will play a major role in making sure your business is featured in the right place at the right time.

In the same article referenced above, Cyrillo argues that Google Now could also be the stepping stone to completely changing the “number of links” mentality. The culture of SEO being all about linkbuilding in bulk is dying out and this is just taking us one step closer to those practices becoming obsolete.

For those businesses that still haven’t developed their Google+ local pages and garnered Google reviews, now is the time to wake up! In this regard, any business will gain a clear advantage in outranking their competitor in a local search.

Fascinating… or a step too far?

Google Now can only learn more about you if it has access to as much information about you as possible- this means Gmail, Calendar, search history etc. It could be a major step in making our lives easier… but is it perhaps a step too far? What about privacy issues? How much information is too much information?

As with everything, there’s a positive and a negative side to change, it’s more a question of personal preference. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find this change not only fascinating but mind blowing- how amazing is it that your phone knows exactly what you need?

But what about you? Are you looking forward to seeing where Google Now will take us or are you concerned that Google will have access to too much information about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter or Google+!

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Why Community Counts!

28 November 2013
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As a Marketer working at Magma Digital Ltd, a PHP Web Development agency building bespoke business critical systems, the power a Community has, is becoming increasingly apparent . One of the greatest aspects surrounding the programming language, PHP, is the Community that it has created – across the world there are many user groups organised to support PHP Developers.

Magma Digital play a key role in the organisation of the annual PHP Conference in Manchester, PHP North West (PHPNW). The Conference is run by developers, for developers, the aim of the Conference is to improve the web industry through new innovations and the improvement of developers skills. PHPNW is one of the largest PHP Conferences in the UK alongside PHPUK in London and PHPNE in Newcastle.

We gain a large amount of kudos through the recognition of our efforts for the PHP Community. This enables Magma Digital to further reach our audiences through our various social media channels. Many of you may wonder how reaching out to more Developers may benefit us? Well, Magma Digital have recently embarked on a significant growth plan, where we have been on the lookout for talented PHP Web Developers to join our team. Many of our followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ have shared our jobs with their followers which has enabled us to reach our target audience by doing nothing more than putting the time into creating the social messages.

As one of the least ‘geeky’ people within Magma, I often find myself getting excited by the results of our social media communications to the point that many of the Developers in the office have labelled me as ‘Data Nerd’. To ensure you really see the return you’re getting from your social communication, track anything and everything possible. At Magma, we use the URL shortener to shorten our links (less characters, yay!) but this also enables us to track the amount of shares and clicks for any particular link.

When we first embarked on our growth plan, we needed more developers and created the ‘Magma Hiring’ link. The first broadcast of this link over social media saw a return of over 200 clicks in the first two days. Over the last two years we have used this link for all our job advertisements and have seen over 2,000 clicks. There are a number of ways to check the statistics of a specific link, the first which I find the most simple is to add a + sign to the end of your link. So in this example it would be

Since we began to use the hiring link in December 2011, we have recruited nine new developers most of which have come from our social media. In addition to the recruitment success, we have seen several recommendations to adopt projects that have come from other developers within the PHP Community.

We believe that supporting the communities we are involved in by giving a helping hand, has enabled us to make Community count! Our communities have seen the effort we put into making the web a better place and consequently they want to do their bit to help us out.

When you’re engaging on social media don’t forget that if you help people, they are more inclined to want to return the favour when you need it!

ABOUT Heather Taylor

Heather is Marketing Executive at Magma Digital Ltd specialising in business critical systems to help improve business processes and efficiency. Some examples of systems include payroll systems, pharmacy systems and legal trade systems.

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Why Digital Marketers Need A Personal Blog Site

28 November 2013
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When you’re responsible for digital marketing for a large company, it can be hard to try out new ideas, which is why you should have a personal blog site to use as a tester.

That way, you can use it to experiment without needing to get things signed-off by senior managers or provide definite ROI, and without waiting for internal IT or external agencies to implement your suggestions.

New Adventures In Hi-Fi

Having your own personal blog site gives you the change to be at the cutting edge of digital marketing, even if it’s harder to get there in your day job.

This is even more important if you are looking for work and don’t have a company site to work on.

You need to prove your skills are up to date and providing results, so where else but on a site of your own?

So , while I’ve been on the Search And Social Media Marketing course, instead of trying out the new things I’ve learned on my company’s website (which is in the process of being redeveloped anyway), I’ve been testing them on my own blog site.

If you don’t already have your own site, here’s some top tips:

  1. Think carefully about what you want to write about
    If you are genuinely passionate about something, it’s a lot easier to motivate yourself to keep the blog updated and the content you write will be more engaging. If you’re writing content that people want to read and you have the enthusiasm about it to work hard promoting it, you’re more likely to succeed. If you can find a niche area, even better.
  2. Get it set up properly
    If you’re serious about running the blog as a tester site, you need to set it up as a hosted site, rather than going for the free option. So if you’re using WordPress, it’s from, not You should aim to use a hosting company based in the UK rather than the US, to help boost your site’s speed, but obviously check reviews to find out about reliability. If you’re using WordPress, installing plugins like Yoast’s WordPress SEO is basically essential, as is getting Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools set up.
  3. Halloween movie features

  4. Write good, engaging, original content
    Before starting to write, it’s best to try and do some keyword research – using Google Keyword Planner, for example – beforehand to work out who your audience might be, what they might want to get from the article and what keywords and phrases you should include. Before Halloween, I wrote content aimed at people who were trying to decide what horror movies to watch, so I published reviews and features around that theme, fitting in phrases that people would search for, while obviously keeping the content fun and informative to read.
  5. Promote it (with money)!
    There’s two routes to go down.  One is to pay for advertising via Facebook or Google, etc, but given that this is a personal blog, you’ll be spending your own money and aren’t likely to make it back. But it’s still worth having a play with it. You’ll need to set up an AdWords account to use Keyword Planner anyway, and for about £30 you can run a campaign that will bring people to your site and give you an idea of best practice for if you run ‘real’ campaigns at work. I did this on Google Ads and Facebook Ads for my Halloween content, with ads based around helping people decide what to watch, and saw a big upturn in traffic.
  6. Promote it (for free)!
    Social media is your friend here. It’s easy to find your audience on Facebook or Twitter or Google+ or Pinterest with just a bit of research, and then you can use those platforms to build up traffic to your site. Google+ might not seem an obvious one to go for, but it’s becoming increasingly important in SEO terms (setting up Authorship is a must) and there may well be a Community on there that would welcome your content with open arms and clicking fingers.
  7. Link build
    This used to mean lots of grey hat activities, like buying links or signing up to link farms and directories, but these are potentially disastrous nowadays. You need to earn good, authoritative links through promoting your site in the ways mentioned above. Tactics like guest posts can still work, though you might well end up with a ‘no follow’ link, thus denying you link juice, you’ll still get traffic through it. I’ve done contributions to sites like the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed and have had decent levels of traffic coming through both. Using tools like Moz’s OpenSite Explorer will let you know what kind of quality links you’ve got coming through, while Webmaster Tools can help you identify any problems.

Most of all, if you’re doing this for yourself, you need to have fun and not be afraid to experiment. If you learn from your mistakes, it’ll stand you in good stead to get things right the first time when it really counts.


James is Digital Marketing Manager for Manchester Solutions, having previously worked as an online football journalist and charity Communications Officer. He also runs film, TV and music blog New Adventures In Hi-Fi. You can get in touch with him through Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+

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How to make your existing content drive more traffic to your website, using Google Rich Snippet Micro-Data.

27 November 2013
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As digital marketers, a large portion of our time is spent creating content for the websites that we look after. This content is most often used to help drive more traffic from Google organic search, increase click-through-rate (CTR) add value for new and existing customers. Ultimately, we want our content to make more money for our business.

In a dream world, all content that goes on the web would be useful and unique and provide the right information to our target customers. Sometimes this is not the case, so before creating any new content, it’s a good idea to look at any existing content you might have and see if there are any quick wins to be had.

Increasing traffic from organic search using Google rich snippet data

Of course, there are a number of things you can do to re-purpose your old content such as adding images, graphs and extra information  but here were are going to look at adding Google rich snippet markup to your content in order to try and drive more organic traffic from Google and ultimately make more money out of your existing content for your business.

You might have seen something like this in the Google search engine results:

Kraft Serp

This is a recipe for Oreo CupCakes which is a really good example of a brand or company using rich snippet data to drive organic traffic from google to a certain webpage.

As you can see in the image above, the brand has implemented reviews, rating, cooking time, calorie count and video rich snippet data on their page

Different types of Rich Snippet MicroData and the code to implement them

Rich Snippet MicroData lives within the HTML of your webpage. The Google Structured Data Markup Helper is a really useful tool for anyone wanting to tag their webpages with Rich Snippet Micro Data.

How to mark-up existing content with rich snippet data

The thinkmoney website has an article section, but the existing content is only tagged with Google Authorship Rich Snippet Data. We could still add a few more tags to show Google that are a real company and a useful resource, and rank pages higher in the SERPS.

Step 1

Decide on the article you want to mark up – i’ve picked one of the more recent thinkmoney articles, this page has elements like images, phone numbers, titles, authorship mark-up.

Step 2

Visit the Structured Data Mark-Up Helper, select ‘article’, and copy and paste your HTML (you can find this by viewing the source code on your webpage).

structured data markup helper

Step 3

Start Tagging – click the blue button to start adding your Rich Snippet Tags into your HTML.

google rich snippet data helper

Step 4

You can now select elements on your page – such as images, titles, authors and the article body to add the Rich Snippet Tags to your HTML document.

In the example below we are adding a date rich snippet – this will show up in your search engine result listing like this:

Example Result:

vogue serp

As you can see – there is now a date stamp on this listing – this affirms to google that this article is fresh content, and deserves to have a high ranking in it’s index.

Step 5:

There are other Rich Snippet Tags you can add (if your article contains those elements) its really easy to add them in – just click each element you want to add.

Nearly done….

All you need to do now is download your new HTML file with your tags, and give it to your developer to upload to your site.

Rich Snippets are just one way of adding value to your existing content – you never know – this might be just the edge you need to elbow out that annoying competitor!

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The Power of Social Media in Events Marketing

27 November 2013
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We are all aware that social media plays a key role in marketing and business communications. Through growing up in a generation where everything was discussed online, whether it be homework, love interests or music, it was evident that online social networking had provided the general public with an opportunity to reinvent themselves entirely from behind a computer screen. The new quick and easy method of converting through an instant messenger, uploading photos and finding out information, without having to visit the local library, was revolutionary. Everything became easier. People could communicate with each other from anywhere in the world – and from this, millions of potential customers became accessible.

In the field of events, this created a huge opportunity. The old marketing techniques of sending out press releases and contacting local media was no longer the key to boost your attendants. People were relying on social sites to gain feedback from others in order to consider attending an event. Therefore, once your target audience had been identified, all you had to do is go to the sites where they would typically visit for information – and promote.

Social media had provided the public with a platform to create potential connections before, during and after an event had taken place. It had given potential attendants the opportunity to network, share topics and join discussions, giving the event organizer the chance to monitor these interests and create relevant content in order to involve their audience.

Why did I choose to talk about events marketing?  Because I had seen living proof of the importance of social media after I managed an event myself.

Before I took the Search and Social Media Marketing Professional course, I had graduated from my Music Journalism degree at The University of Huddersfield this year. During my time studying, I had gained experience in various roles outside of university i.e. I had volunteered at an LGBT radio station and worked on a programme of my own, I had written countless music articles and reviews for websites and I had worked as a volunteer Press Officer for an independent record label for almost a year. Sitting in a cold, stone-walled office writing press releases in a leaky old building covered in graffiti near Great Ancoats once a week, dealing with stroppy musicians with no direction, and sorting out drunken old rockers who refuse to pay the entry fee on gig nights, I can honestly say – it was fun while it lasted.

However, during my time working for the label, to mark their two year anniversary I managed and organized an event in the Huddersfield area with a fellow peer from university. During the marketing stage of the event, I managed the Facebook and Twitter accounts to give potential attendants the opportunity to invite others and network with each other, while I would continuously post content and updates relevant to the event. Through this, we were acknowledged by students who blogged about it, and published it in the student newspaper. Then word reached the Huddersfield Examiner who wrote an article about the event. During this time, we also had the musicians and record label promoting the event through other websites and social platforms; therefore, through all of the promotion we generated online, we managed to fill the venue to the brim with attendants. Although the venue was facing the university and fairly popular, the staff informed us that they had never seen it so busy in their time of being open. In the end, it had worked wonders for our sales and we had made a fantastic profit – accomplished entirely through the use of social media and online marketing.

I began working for Salford Professional Development as a Marketing Officer in August. Since I began working for SPD, I focused my attention to the social media platforms immediately and brought up the Likes, Connections and Followers noticeably in a short period of time.

I was also managing the social media for the Salford Media Festival, and through continuously posting and tweeting updates and news, we were generating more interest, supporters and even some ticket sales through Twitter and LinkedIn. I took advice from a social media expert and ran a campaign to give away two free tickets to the festival in exchange for Follows and Retweets on Twitter, in just two weeks we gained up to 200 more Followers and, as predicted, people were Retweeting like no tomorrow. An important rule in marketing – people love free stuff! In conjunction with this, we paid for a temporary Facebook advert, which almost doubled our current Likes in just 3 weeks of being live – this gave us a good head start to build Likes. Through continuously posting news and updates on social media, we began to see the traffic coming through to our websites on Google Analytics. Approximately 6% of our click rate traffic for the Salford Media Festival website was referred from social media, namely Facebook and LinkedIn. It doesn’t seem much, but it makes a visible difference. Interestingly, although the most visible activity and interaction we receive is through Twitter, there wasn’t any noticeable traffic coming from this platform, as followers preferred to Retweet, rather than explore links. I would advise to keep Twitter for interacting with your audience in simple ways – by using Retweets and hashtags – as Twitter users like to keep things straightforward, but ensure your content on Facebook and LinkedIn is appealing and engaging enough to generate clicks to your website links.

In Events Marketing, it is vital to share, post and tweet continuously and consistently. Generating excitement and anticipation towards the lead up to an event is important. Link building and contacting relevant websites to help with the promotion is also a good way of branching out and reaching a wider audience, as it generates more interest and response. We offered various media-based websites discount codes off ticket prices to promote to their members for Salford Media Festival, which proved successful for our revenue.

I chose to attend the Search and Social Media Professional course so that I could develop in the area of online marketing and social media enough for the company to see a real difference from the marketing generated by myself. I didn’t have experience in Search Engine Optimization, therefore the SSMM course seemed like the perfect opportunity to progress and put some new skills into practice.

I took the course simply because, although I entered my teenage years during the explosion of online interaction, SEO and social media marketing are completely different notions. They involve technical strategies and consumer awareness, rather than just socializing and sharing. In order to reach business success, there’s more that needs to be considered when marketing in the virtual world.

Overall, the course has taught me how to build links effectively, how to engage your audience through social media content and create effective campaigns, how to make use of keywords, how to use Webmaster Tools to keep up to date on your click through rates and what interests your audience, and to make use of all social media platforms to create brand awareness. I intend to integrate all of these tactics into my work.

In today’s digital world of sharing and networking, marketing your services online can take The Water-Cooler Effect [or Word of Mouth Marketing], to a powerful new level. Campaigns can go viral overnight. The key is to think outside the box, identify with your audience and research their needs, and never underestimate human emotion. The recent Christmas ad campaigns by John Lewis and Sainsburys will tell you that.

I already have many plans and ideas for SPD, through taking the course, in order to create brand awareness and generate more sales, and I hope to continue my progression in the field of Online Marketing, using the experience and knowledge I have gained –hopefully accomplishing some noticeable results.

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