Google+ but not as we know it and how the G+ break up affects your SEO

google-plus-breaking-up-2015Going, Going, Google+ Gone

Since Google+ was introduced it became one of the must haves to help boost your SEO. G+ and YouTube from Google gave website owners the optimum resource for search engine optimisation. No matter whether it was personalised search results you were looking to improve or gaining increased organic reach G+ was a key driver to get Google on your side and to build on SEO for your businesses. Anyone searching for terms would see posts in Google+ being posted in top spots and YouTube helping with video promotion was also part of the social move by Google. But all this is set to change with Google’s change to G+ and its reorganisation into:

  • Communication
  • Photos, and
  • Streams

The three new areas were announced by Bradley Horowitz, the new VP in charge of the changing face of Google social media. In a recent Google blog on 27th July, Bradley commented:

“When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes.”

And these changes are still in an embryonic stage and include:

  • A more focused Google+ experience
  • Moving Google+ Photos to the Google Photos app
  • Putting sharing into Google Hangouts
  • Using Google without a Google+ profile (hurrah!)

The move makes perfect sense because since G+ was installed in our mindset the general concensus was that it didn’t quite hit the mark of knocking Facebook or Twitter off their respective pedestals. It had some nice features, some confusing features and a lot of irritating features like not always being able to access other Google products without a G+ profile. With photos becoming increasingly important (e.g. Facebook acquiring WhatsApp and Instagram) the move makes sense and Google+ has seen a lot of pick-up in the image area. Google Hangouts has had a solid following and the move to breakout Google+ into streams signifies that Google has recognised that it has strengths but not the overall Social Media clout it thought it might achieve.

Changes to your SEO activities

Q: Should I ditch my Google+ business page?

Definitely not! You should keep your business page (and if you haven’t got one, then set it up now!) The “Google My Business” section of Google+ is still key to search results and allows you to add and verify business listings – these are the details that appear in organic search results and in Google Maps. You should ensure that you manage this business page to enter all correct business details, add up to date photos and videos – and to make sure that you stay on top of, and respond to customer comments.

 Q: Is it time to split my YouTube & Google+ accounts?

Again, not yet. On YouTube’s own blog they say:

“Do NOT do it right now or you’ll delete your YouTube Channel!”

Google+ has been a good tool for locating people with similar interests but in its new guise it will help ensure that the people are actually using it, and where useful, should help it thrive. Your activity on Google+ has been sharing itself across the platform and once the separation occurs (G+ split from YouTube) comments will only appear on your YouTube channel. This is great news as it should raise engagement on YouTube. At the moment comments include Google+ activity and these tended to go to the top of the comment section, which discouraged interaction as the comments just listed the activity of a video being shared – not a lot of meaningful feedback. Keep an eye on the split as you’ll need to make a positive change to split your G+ & YouTube channels to take advantage of the SEO gains of a focused YouTube offering.

 Q: How do capitalise on the changes?

Reading between the lines of the announcement and the focus on ‘Photos’ the clue here is that Google are still placing a major importance on imagery. This means ensuring that you are using images liberally across your website, when they add value and when they are relevant – just posting holiday photos on your business website doesn’t hack it with Google search! But also make sure that the images are setup correctly, tagged correctly and pushed to Google search with Webmaster tools and if used in a blog use blog posting indexes. So if you are moving to a new generic/vanity TLD you won’t have a loss of SEO – but remember Google needs to know what’s happening, just moving without following the SEO rules WILL upset your current ranking. You can read more about getting on top of Google SEO with our guide

To see other areas of website SEO check out these links:

► Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and approaches: ‘How to be found in Google Searches

► Why Social Media is so important to SEO and Google: Using Social Media Profiles for SEO

Google Penguin 2.0 is Live – are you ready?

Google Penguin 2 - is your website ready

Penguin 2.0 – is it relevant to your website? Well, if you are interested in keeping your website at the top of the Google rankings then you need to make sure that your website is ready for Google’s Penguin 2.0 to – the latest and major update to Google’s search algorithm.

Google-Penguin-2Matt Cutts, Google’s Search Engineer and key spokesman for all things Google, first announced that there would be the next generation of Penguin in March. He officially branded it Penguin 2.0 in tweets earlier this month and earlier this week he said it was rolling out late Wednesday afternoon on the channel “This Week in Google”.

“It’s gonna have a pretty big impact on web spam,” Cutts said on the show. “It’s a brand new generation of algorithms. The previous iteration of Penguin would essentially only look at the home page of a site. The newer generation of Penguin goes much deeper and has a really big impact in certain small areas.”

In his blog post , 22nd May 2013, Cutts added more details of Penguin 2.0, saying that the rollout is now complete and affects English language queries, and that it affects non-English queries as well. He said:

 

We started rolling out the next generation of the Penguin webspam algorithm this afternoon (May 22, 2013), and the roll-out is now complete. About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact.

This is the fourth Penguin-related launch Google has done, but because this is an updated algorithm (not just a data refresh), we’ve been referring to this change as Penguin 2.0 internally. For more information on what SEOs should expect in the coming months, see the video that we recently released.

What does Penguin 2.0 mean to your website?

The main thrust of this release is to clamp down on ‘spammy’ backlinks i.e. links that have been bought or add no value to the ranking of your site. Backlinks must adhere to key rules, they must not:

Come from sites built exclusively for the purpose of SEO
Use overly-optimised anchor text throughout
Come from adult or other “bad neighbourhood” websites
Come from sites that are irrelevant to your own site and its content

Download the key features overview of Google Penguin 2.0

And if you are not managing your website SEO – email us now to discuss how you can ensure your website is adhering to 2.0 and previous Google guidelines to manage your visibility on Google search results. Or call us on 0843 289 3060.

 

Sales Prospecting Gets Smart in Outlook/Gmail

Sales Prospecting Gets Smart - Sales Crystal Ball Shows and Tracks Prospect Activity

Sales Prospecting Gets Smart Crystal Ball Approach Shows and Tracks Prospect ActivityJust imagine … that you had a sales prospecting crystal ball. (No, not the ‘dreaming one’ that shows you how you are going to be rich and famous through amazing sales feats!) But a crystal ball that works like a two way mirror, so that you see what your sales prospects are doing right now and just how interested they are in your company and services.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

Well technology just delivered a sales prospecting crystal ball. Now you can stop ‘wondering’ if prospects are interested and know that they are ‘real’ and not time wasters by showing you exactly how they responding to your email proposals.

With the market pressure on most companies (even without a triple dip recession!) sales leads and prospects are still high on the agenda. Reacting to hot prospects, ignoring time wasters and staying ahead of the competition is crucial. Well actually it’s essential as illustrated when Forbes ran a survey of 10,000 companies and found that:

Companies don’t respond fast enough to sales leads

And the main reason sales people (and these days, no matter what your role, we’re all sales people) don’t follow up fast enough is because we don’t really know, for each prospect, when is the right time. When is it too fast to follow up and upset your prospect? When is too slow and you have to start all over again?  And when is it too late to continue your sales prospecting because have you missed the boat? Or worse your competition followed up at the ‘right time’ and closed the deal!

It’s a problem that I’ve seen time and again while working with companies of all sizes from a one person sales company to sales teams of 50+. Forbes results are 100% right, in sales prospecting, timing is everything in closing the cheap car insurance toronto ‘deal’.

So when I ran across a company called ContactMonkey that provides an app for Outlook and Gmail that gave me my own ‘sales crystal ball’ and told me…

  • when a prospect opened an email
  • where they were when they opened it
  • what device they opened it on
  • and how many times they opened it

 I got very excited!

email-tracking-sidebar[1]

Suddenly I could see immediately when a prospect opened the proposal they’d asked for. If I send the email at lunchtime and they open it straightaway on their mobile, then again a short while later on their desktop, I know they are interested. I can follow-up in the knowledge that the sales prospect is real and they are actively reviewing. What better time to make contact?

Some of the great things that got me excited!:

  • I can focus on active prospects to maximise ‘the sales moment’. If I have 10 prospects then why waste time with the 7 that haven’t opened the email? Much better to focus on the 3 ‘real’ leads that are reviewing my proposal.
  • I can quickly prioritise ‘hot prospects’ by filtering the display to only show prospects that have opened the email several times
  • Knowing when an email is opened means I know when to call to make contact. No leaving voicemails when they are out. I see when they open the email with display bubble. I know how long it will take for them to get a feel for the contents of my proposal and then I can strike while the proverbial iron is hot.
  • ContactMonkey is integrated directly in my email so I can handle everything from one place.
  • Clicking a ContactMonkey alert takes me straight to the email so I know which email they have read, and can call with all the information right in front of me.
  • All email opens are integrated with my CRM so I have historical and sales tracking
  • It’s really a no-brainer when it means I am ramping up the effectiveness of my sales prospecting cycle.
See ContactMonkey in Outlook
See ContactMonkey in Gmail

As Forbes highlighted in their survey report:

The Internet is shortening our attention spans, but sales teams still have absolutely no idea how fast they need to respond to inquiries to be effective and they don’t have the technology to help them do it.

With ContactMonkey I have the technology and the information to know how fast and when to respond. That just leaves the rest to me and gives me a major advantage over my competitors in sales prospecting.

How marvellous that technology can deliver my very own sales crystal ball to my email. Dreams do come true after all!