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Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past 20 years, you will know that websites and Internet usage is increasing substantially every single day. Companies are basically non-existent if they do not have a web presence. If you are not accessible across multiple online platforms by 2015, consider saying goodbye to your business before the years end. This article is going to highlight why 2015 is going to be the biggest year for digital marketing, and why, if you haven’t already, it is time to invest in a digital marketing strategy.

Key Statistics

    • 12.5 million Internet subscribers in Australia in June 2014 *
    • 40% increase in broadband downloads *
    • In 2012-2013 the proportion of Internet users purchasing or ordering goods or services online was 76%, this has only increased since then *
    • 90% of smartphone owners in Australia were using Internet on their phones on a daily basis in 2013 ^
    • Users accessing the web via mobile devices have gone from 18% – 29% in just one year (December 2013 – December 2014). #

Business owners need only look at these statistics to know that establishing, maintaining a promoting their business online is essential in order to obtain more customers and thus grow sales. Make a head start in 2015 by getting your digital strategy underway with the help of a reputable company.

It is predicted that mobile usage will continue to grow exponentially over the next 4-5 years. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you are potentially losing out on a huge amount of traffic, leads, and potential customers.

Increasing Traffic Through Mobile Responsiveness

Cashing in on the market will be made far easier with a fully responsive mobile site. It is not too difficult to ensure site is optimised for mobile. First off, however, check the ‘friendliness’ of your site on Google’s Mobile Friendly Test – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

If your site is indeed mobile responsive, go through the checkout process on your site from such a device and check out how the process would be for an external user. A mobile optimised checkout that is easy to use and understand is extremely beneficial for the satisfaction of customers.

Younger Generation Web Usage

The biggest and highest growing market sector in 2015 and beyond is Generation Y or ‘the Millennial’ generation. These web users respond to Internet marketing because the large majority have grown up with ready access to the web and they are now at the age where they are willing to spend their money. In comparison to this generations older counterpart, they are far more likely to spend their money online rather than go into actual stores.

In around 2003, online shopping started to become mainstream and ever since this time, online revenue has only gone upwards. Over a decade later, revenue from online shopping websites has gone up and up, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

We have the millennial generation to thank for the rise and rise of online usage and in terms of spending online. Apart from spending big online, this generation also love to interact via social platforms, presenting the perfect opportunity for discussions to occur around your brand or products – further driving engagement and spreading the word on your offerings. Relationships between your brand and your customers should be driven through social media.

The statistics and the numbers don’t lie, 2015 is shaping up to be a big year in the way of maximum online exposure and sales if you optimise your digital strategy correctly.

•    * www.abs.gov.au – Australian Bureau of Statistics
•    ^ www.ourmobileplanet.com
•    # www.gs.statcounter.com

A Quick Overview of the Animals

The following are 3 different updates given animal names, each are relevant to the updates of 2014; a brief description of each has been given.

Penguin:

A search filter first introduced in April 2012 that serves to better catch sites that were spamming search results through buying links or obtaining them via link networking sites to boost their search rankings.

Panda:

Introduced in February 2011, the ‘Panda’ algorithm filter stops sites with poor quality content (and resultantly, as Google sees it, poor quality information) from finding their way into the top search results. Generally it is content that has far too many keywords or duplicated content that is penalised.

Pigeon on Google Maps of MelbournePigeon:

First released in June 2014, Pigeon is a major local search update aimed at providing more useful, relevant, and accurate search results.

Payday Loan:

This is a search filter that (whilst not an animal) is very relevant and one to keep in mind. The Payday Loan Algorithm targets “very spammy queries” such as payday loans, and other highly spammed queries.

Major 2014 Updates

Each of the below updates occurred at various points during 2014, all are relevant and crucial to understand if you want to get ahead in the search engine marketing world because it is variations of the below that will continue to occur throughout 2015 and beyond.

 

February 2014:

  • Top Heavy 3: sites that have too many ads “above the fold” were penalised earlier this year. Above the fold refers to what appears on the screen before scrolling down and serves to benefit the overall users experience.

panda on Google search page

May 2014:

  • PayDay Loan 2.0: This update supposedly affected international sites and different languages to varying degrees.
  • Panda 4.0: This rollout started in the US and has (as of December, 2014) made its way across the UK, Canada, and Australia. The update has been used to help small businesses and websites that create only the best quality content be more visible in Google’s search results. This update supposedly helps out smaller businesses with less financial stability by rewarding them if they truly exist to help out Google’s customers and provide them what they are searching for.

June 2014:

  • PayDay Loan 3.0: 3.0 came about less than a month after the last update. This update was targeting spammy queries rather than specific sites (that of 2.0).
  • Pigeon 1.0: This was the biggest change of the year for local businesses. The Pigeon algorithm was created to help users find more “useful, relevant, and accurate local search results”.
  • End of Authorship Photos: After search engine marketers had spent months optimising their Google+ pages with the use of photos, Google decided to remove authorship photos. The resultant views were of indignation and frustration. Apparently this update was an effort to remove the clutter from search results.

September 2014:

  • Panda 4.1: The filter was made more precise with this update. Low quality content was affected in an effort to promote what may be small or medium sized sites so long as they were producing high quality content.

October 2014:

  • Penguin 3.0: Although this update affected less than 1% of search queries, it is still notable thanks to the way it helped boost search rankings for sites affected by the previous Penguin update but have since then removed their web spam. Similarly, the update caught and affected sites with new spam.
  • Pirate 2.0: First introduced in August 2012, the Pirate update filter is designed to prevent sites from ranking well in Google if they have lots of copyright infringement reports. This update showed Google’s efforts to continue to fight digital media piracy and targeted a small group of suspect websites who were consequently dropped in the SERP’s.

December 2014:

  • Penguin Double Take: ‘Double-Take’ is the result/effect of the updated Penguin algorithm (3.0) and not an actual update.

Visual content draws people in, lets visitors understand your brands identity and its target market and has the potential to drive user engagement. This infographic highlights 5 of the key reasons why using visual content will benefit the online presence of your business.

infographic with the advantages of visual content

magnifying glass over word SEO

SEO is becoming more integral than ever to the success of a business. Online marketing is now considered by most businesses to more important than offline. This is thanks to more businesses choosing to forgo a traditional office. They instead run their business entirely online. 2015 is definitely the year to get into online marketing. Some businesses have been focusing on their online presence. 2015 will offer them of new opportunities for growth. 2014 saw the emergence of a number of marketing trends. A number of major Google updates affecting SEO also came into effect. Predictions for 2015 indicate these trends expanding. There will also be some new trends.

Mobile Optimisation

More consumers than ever are browsing the web via their smart phones. Optimisation of websites is becoming increasingly important. This means that when customers access pages on their phones, the pages re-size themselves to fit the dimensions of a mobile screen. Another benefit of optimising for mobile is that it offers easy navigation options. There are strong indications that Google are planning to use mobile optimisation as a ranking factor. This will force wesbites to begin catering to their mobile consumers. If businesses do not optimise, their rankings will certainly take a hit.

Honest Links

The quality of your inbound links is still a major indicators of authority. Inbound links represent those links that only lead to your website. There are a number of popular methods for getting inbound links. Building quality links increase your ranking on search engines. It will also increase the type and quantity of traffic your website is receiving.

Organic Search Results

Paid searches can help with the advertising of a business. However, it is organic search results that will determine the success of a webpage.  Most consumers will rely on organic search results to find information. Generally, organic searches are seen as more trusted. With Google constantly updating its algorithms, organic search results can be unpredictable. Choosing a professional company who understands the updates can help your business can stay on top of search engines. The result of this will be domination in the online space within your industry.

Content Marketing – Just as Important As Ever

Content is extremely important in SEO. A recent slew of Google updates (such as the Penguin 3.0 update) has made the creation of good quality content more important than ever. Every Google update makes algorithms more sophisticated and able to return better search results. The creation of good content is becoming ever more important to the success of a business.

Some websites try shady black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, and the insertion of bad links. These websites are heavily penalised by Google. When it comes to content, there is no substitute in the end for high quality, engaging, and informative content.

Create an Unforgettable User Experience

Google updates focus on the user experience a website is delivering to its visitors. UX in becoming a more important ranking factor in search results. Setting up your website so that it is visually pleasing, easy to navigate, and simple to use, will help your business rank more highly.

Vary Your Social Media

Social media doesn’t have a direct effect on the ranking of the business. However, it can still impact search results. Google tends to listen to what brands are being talked about on social media. Share content based around your brand on a variety of trusted platforms. This will impact well on your rankings.

2015 & Beyond

SEO has been growing in importance. 2015 suggests that SEO will become more important to the success of a business. With Google constantly updating its algorithms. SEO has become a constantly changing field. It offers a huge number of opportunities to those businesses who learn it. 2015 suggests that while things like UX and optimisation will grow in importance. Other aspects of SEO such as organic search results, content, and social media will be as important as ever.

Tree with Different Keywords

How the Art of Optimising Your Website Has Changed

As the algorithms used by Google become more refined and the results they yield become ever more relevant, the art of keyword optimisation has had to change. A company can no longer simply spam an article dozens of times with the same keyword and expect to get on top of page one of Google.

Updates such as Panda and Hummingbird means that good content and a much more holistic approach to keyword optimisation must be used to ensure successful results.

The Changing Landscape of Keyword Optimisation

So what exactly has changed in keyword optimisation over the years? Many changes have been made, from the small, to updates that have impacted search results as much as 7%.

When Google was much less refined, old keyword optimisation techniques were quite similar to what we would now refer to as Black Hat SEO techniques. Some of these included:

  • Meta description and meta keyword stuffing
  • Link farming
  • Doorway or gateway pages – fake pages stuffed with content solely designed to help businesses rank more highly.
  • Keyword stuffing

New and Improved Techniques for Keyword Optimisation

We’ve established that the above techniques tend to do a lot more harm than good for your website. So what should you be doing to get the most out of your keywords?

It goes without saying that you should be creating content that engages and entertains your audience. Great content makes up a huge part of the success of all SEO. However, when deciding on how its views the keywords used by a website, Google considers quite a few different things.

TD-IDF

Also known as term frequency – inverse document frequency. This looks at the frequency with which the keyword appears, compared to how often it is expected it will occur. This simply means that common words like ‘the’, ‘and’, and ‘when’ have a particualarly low TD-IDF. This is because they are so common. However, words like ‘Antarctica’ and ‘philosopher’ have a higher TD-DIF. They occur with much less frequency. Having a high TD-DIF won’t automatically boost rankings. When considered in line with other indicators of keyword optimisation it becomes relevant.

Synonyms and close variations

Gone are the days where a keyword had to be an exact match for it to count. Nowadays, Google algorithms becoming more refined. Many close variations can be used instead for keyword optimisation. Take the keywords: ‘Antarctica holiday’. They could also be phrased as ‘holiday to Antarctica’, ‘Antarctica travel’, ‘travelling to Antarctica’. These changes represent a huge leap in the quality of the content that can be generated. Content writers are no longer restricted by awkward or unnatural phrasing for their keyword matches. They are able to use language that flows much more naturally.

Term relationships and semantic distance

Term relationships and semantic distance refer to the ways in which terms and keywords interact. This is in paragraphs, sentences, HTML elements, and content in general. This refers to the way in which Google knows that ‘forest’ is a word that related to ‘pine tree’. This is an example of the two words being linked, even over several blocks of text. Generally the closer together the words are, the more likely it is they are going to be considered as linked. Words a sentence apart are more likely to be linked than words a paragraph apart.

The Changing Power of Keywords

The algorithms Google uses are being constantly updated so they become more and more complex. As a result, searches are able to identify high quality content and rank it more highly. Keyword optimisation is an integral part of ensuring your websites is ranking highly. Staying on top of the changes implemented, using trustworthy, organic techniques, and crafting content that is engaging, entertaining, and informative will help ensure your business continues to rank highly.

If you need a complete overhaul of your digital strategy, or even if you would just like some suggestions on where your business can improve, Punch Digital is always available for a chat. You can contact us at our website, or via phone or email.

A Look at the Major Google Updates that Have Happened Throughout 2014

Google is a company that believes strongly in testing concepts and ideas to see how they work. Certainly it is a great way to see the effects made, and leads to the search engine giant getting some excellent data to work with. However, it also means that websites have to deal with a constant list of Google updates being rolled out. Google are constantly refining their algorithms, changing them between 400-600 times a years. However, only several of these changes actually have a noticeable impact on search results. Here we’ll look at several of the most significant changes that have occurred during 2014, and the impact they’ve had on search results.

The Removal of Google Authorship

What was seen as a minor change to Google authorship in the form of the removal of author photo snippets in July this year, quickly turned into something much more significant with Google announcing in late August they would be dropping the authorship project altogether.

Over the past three years Google put a lot of effort into trying to make Authorship work. They made small tweaks, and significant changes, but in the end they decided the work simply wasn’t worth the results. There were two main reasons for behind Google dropping the program. The first was that Google Authorship simply hadn’t taken. The rates of adoption by webmasters and even authors themselves were low. The second reason was that the information provided by authorship was seen to have limited value to users. In some cases it was believed to have detracted from the results.

In future, Google are focusing their attention on another big project of theirs, Google+. The idea is that searchers will begin to see relevant Google+ posts in their search results, and on the right hand side of the screen. Whether or not this latest Google update is adopted by users remains to be seen.

Google Updates to Pigeon

The major Google update for Pigeon this year was related to creating more relevant local search results. The changes to the algorithms were made based on improving search parameters and distances. Unlike the highly visible updates made to Panda or the complete removal of Authorship, the changes made to Pigeon were relatively low-key and took place mainly behind the scenes. However, many local businesses reported noticing small to significant changes on their ranking as a result of this update.

Panda 4.1

Google made two major updates to Panda this year. Following on from the 4.0 update that was designed to prevent websites with poor, low quality content, from ranking highly, the 4.1 update refined and updated some of the changes made in the 4.0 update. 4.1 continued on in the same vein as its predecessor, in that it penalised websites with mediocre content, as well sites that engaged in keyword stuffing, and other black hat SEO practices. The changes hit some websites quite hard, with search results being affected by as much as 7%. 4.1 wasn’t quite as big a change, with searches being affected by around 3% – 5%. However, 4.1 was also a chance at redemption for websites who had been hit hard by the previous update. It allowed those websites that had taken the time to make the suggested changes, and implement better quality content to begin ranking highly once again.

The Constant Stream of Google Updates

Google is constantly updating its algorithms, and for some businesses, dealing with the ever-changing nature of the search engine can seem daunting. Still, there is a general pattern present in Google updates. It basically comes down to creating a website that is useful to your customers, filled with relevant, high quality, engaging content. It also involves using trusted ‘white hat’ SEO techniques to ensure you are ranking well organically.

If you want to get on top of the latest Google updates, or you just want to begin ranking highly once again, contact us at Punch Digital.

03 Oct 2014

Content Marketing Done Right

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Pen on a table ready for content marketing

Content is at the heart of a superior SEO strategy, and can help make or break your website. As an incredibly important sales tool, your website is there selling for you day in and day out, no matter what you are doing. The website is also usually your business’ first point of contact with both your current and potential clients, which means it needs to look, feel and read great.

Content is not only about writing. Content can be posted in the form of images, videos, infographics, social media statuses and slide shows. By diversifying your range of content, you are able to appeal to a wider audience, allowing for more interactions to occur. Social media marketing ties in very closely to this, as it is at the core of creating user engagement and interaction. Posting quality content on mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (Google’s favourite, of course) and others, can help you spread the word about your business without you having to toot your own horn.

Social media posting of content is also great for networking and creating new connections with businesses that are similar to yours, or with other though leaders in the industry. Following the major players in your particular sector on Twitter or ‘Liking’ them on Facebook can get you recognised, and can help you to build your list of contacts and interact with them in a public space. Whilst many companies may not want to take your telemarketing or new business development calls, it is highly unlikely that they will leave a post on one of their social media pages not catered to, as it will look bad for their image.

Creating quality content for your onsite website pages is vital, as your website is the main hub for all things ‘you’, or realistically, ‘your business’. If you have just created your website, a once-off “SEO-ing” is simply not good enough. SEO is constantly changing and updating its methodology due to the fluctuations in Google’s algorithms. This means that you too must update your strategies and ensure that you are using content that is SEO-friendly. This means conducting SEO keyword research and placing the keywords you are targeting into your website content, in order to increase the likelihood of it being found on the first page of Google.

Placing a number of appeals into written content, such as humour or emotion appeals is a great way to relate to people on a more personal level, and to provide them with the useful, relevant and interesting information that they will not only read with joy, but will also pass on to their family, friends, uncle, and their sister’s cousin’s dog’s owner’s first wife. Content that goes viral is an instant and brilliant way of gaining major traffic to your website and increasing those all important conversions.

Cross-promoting content is another great way of helping you reach a larger audience if your own audience is not so big. Creating a ‘Blog’ section on your website and making relevant posts that might mention a particular company or brand, and then linking them to your content, may make them very appreciative, and they might just do the same for you.

Content marketing is not all that hard once you get the hang of it, and incorporating it into your SEO strategy is a crucial step to increasing web traffic, reaching company goals, and ultimately increasing your profits. For more information on content marketing and to get started with SEO, speak to an SEO agency today!

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 12.38.50 pm

Google’s favourite activity in the world seems to be changing its algorithms. From Panda to Penguin, Hummingbird to Pigeon, Google just can’t seem to keep still. By constantly changing and evolving, Google shows just why they are the number one search engine, ensuring that the results you find are always precise and relevant to your query.

The main benefit Google is seeking is to provide you with is value. Value for your questions, time, and for using Google to search. By creating the latest update, Panda 4.1, Google has aimed to increase traffic to websites of small and medium sized businesses that have high quality and relevant content, which is genuinely useful. It has been said that making a sale creates a customer today, while helping someone out creates a customer for life. By helping you find exactly what you want, Google builds its brand loyalty, and in order to do this it needs to provide quality results non-stop.

Small and medium sized businesses have been seeing a large increase in traffic to their websites, assuming they have been posting useful, relevant and unique content. In addition to this, it seems that those organisations operating in the news, content and download sectors have experienced big gains, whilst those focussing more on games, lyrics and a few medical content sites have taken a hit. Why is this? Because games and lyrics sites usually have thin content. ‘Thin’ content refers to content that is not unique or relevant, but is rather poor or spammy.

Sites with thin content generally see web traffic due to their inherent popularity or brand awareness, however Panda 4.1 is giving the little guys a chance to stand out from the crowd and be found due to their genuinely high quality content. It has also given a chance to those sites that were previously hit by the Panda 4.0 update to redeem themselves and gain back their rankings in order to increase website traffic and ultimately reach their business goals.

Major benefiters from the Panda 4.1 update include Savings.com and HotelGuides.com, while Hallmark.com and even Microsoft’s own Office365.com software site lose out in the situation. Google’s Pierre Far has commented on the matter, stating that the smaller sites are now being given more attention, allowing Google to diversify its content to include more high quality small and medium sized sites. The reason the update was announced was because it was not a simple refresh like the previous changes.

As confusing as SEO updates may be, once you wrap your head around them you can utilise them to your advantage, making sure your site is ranking and receiving the traffic it truly deserves to get those all important conversions happening! Panda 4.1 offers a lot of opportunities to businesses. For more info or to create a strategy that adheres to Google’s algorithm updates and works for your business, speak to a professional SEO company today!

social media

The Secret to Making Social Media Work for You

Social media is booming. Facebook especially. Many businesses seem to think it’s a great idea to hop online. But it’s not always as easy as creating a page and posting whatever you feel like. The content posted needs to be well targeted, relevant, and engaging. Social media is a great platform for reaching potential customers and spreading word of mouth. Whether or not these activities actually lead to conversions is a whole other question.

Crucial for Engaging with Younger Audiences

Social media marketing is great for younger audiences. This involves gaining attention or increasing traffic to your website through the use of social media sites. Most young people are always online, checking their phones, or interacting with their iPads and apps (more so than interacting with each other even). Reaching them online becomes easier than through most other means. Studies have suggested that people’s reactions to content and their triggers for sharing it are emotional, practical and social.

The Appeal of Social Media

Emotional appeals work by tugging at the audience’s heart strings. This inspires them to share the content which has moved them in some way. On the other hand, functional content, such as descriptions can be shared around by those who want to be recognised by their friends as experts. They may want to make themselves seem like a good source of information. They can do this by sharing explanations of how to fix, build, cook, or create something.

How Social Media Improves SEO

Social media marketing is great for SEO. It helps create social signals to the company website. This makes it seem more credible! This method, combined with link building and onsite content creation is the best way of driving traffic to your website. Increasing user engagement as well as awareness of your brand. After all, if no one knows who you are, how can they ever make a purchase from you?

Of course, not all companies necessarily need to use social media to create sales. Companies with older target audiences who generally don’t use Facebook, Twitter and other similar mediums may find no use in promoting their products or services via social networks. They may prefer to use traditional methods of advertisement. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still use social media to create signals to your website, as these are always valuable in Google’s eyes.

Building an SEO campaign may be tough, so if you are unsure how to go about it, speak to an SEO company today about what they can do for you!

seo

What is Being an Entrepreneur all About?

Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business with the hopes of achieving one’s goals. They have a strong passion for what they do. Of course, almost anyone can call themselves as an ‘entrepreneur’. What sets the successful ones apart from the rest is their undying passion for what they do. This is backed by a foundation of research, knowledge and strong skills.

Working from the Ground Up

Developing your own business is never easy. It is harder when you alone are building it from the ground up. Executive Creative Director of Saatchi and Saatchi, Paul Arden that once said, ‘Talent helps, but it wont take you as far as ambition.’ This is a rule for entrepreneurs to live by. Achieving your business goals and desires is only possible if you believe you can succeed.

So where does SEO fit into all this? The world is one of ever-advancing technology. Many entrepreneurs have decided to take their businesses online. They use a number of onsite means to communicate their messages. This explains what they are truly all about. SEO is the part of the puzzle that helps increase traffic to your website. It helps let these messages flow and spread to the desired target audience. This allows many young business owners to get recognised by peers and industry leaders alike.

Using SEO to Propel the Success of Your Business

When you first start developing a marketing plan for your business, it is important to think of all the different ways in which you can reach your customers. SEO combines content marketing, social media and link building to not only help market your company, but also to really express your thoughts and ideas. Many specialists insist that SEO is all about content, and this is partially true.

Content is what brings people in to your business. It drives clients to take an interest in what you are doing and to get involved in the process. Posting content online on your website, as well as social media networks such a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and many others, allows people to engage with your company. It is the best source of open and honest feedback that you can receive.

Make Sure People Know You Exist

Arguably, the toughest part of starting your own business is getting your name out there. There may be a million and one other competing companies all claiming to do the same things that you do, and better. The point of content marketing is to not only show how you do something, but to express how you do it better. You can voice the news and updates that get you excited. Also delve into why you started the business in the first place. After all, if you don’t believe in the power of your own products and services, no one else will.

Link building is another important aspect of SEO, as link building activities will help to boost your page rank and authority, allowing your company to be viewed as a credible source, and once again increasing the likelihood of you being found. Having links to your site from strong authority websites such as Wikipedia, YouTube and other social signals is a fantastic way of demonstrating your credibility, and producing a transparent image for your business, wherein a number of sources are mentioning and discussing who you are and what you do.

Networking is a vital aspect of entrepreneurship, and can help you get the links that you need from the people that you want. Of course, many people, especially those who are higher up in the industry, won’t just give away links and shares to your website just for nothing, so maybe suggesting a bit of cross-promotion once you are already up and running may be a smart move to make. For more SEO tips and advice, or for a chat about how you can optimize your business website, speak to a professional SEO agency today.


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