Defining the Role of Hashtags in Search and Social Media Platforms

After Facebook “Likes”, the latest trend adopted by the social media community is Twitter’s “Hashtag” symbolized by “#”. Everyone must have heard, used or seen hashtags – an indication that it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Hashtags were used almost exclusively by early adopters of social media. But as people started to understand the mechanics of hashtags, they became widely adapted and embraced by the marketing and advertising industry, making it part of pop culture.

People have different interpretations of hashtags. Some associate hashtags with social media while others see them as a way to express the thought of the moment. Still others find them as annoying disruptions to logical discussions. These varied interpretations just point out how widely misunderstood, abused and misused the term is.

Hashtags, are in fact an efficient way in finding content that has relevance to specific topics and the people talking about said topics. Social platforms also have search facility just like in Google, Yahoo or Bing. Searches on Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, or Pinterest are made every day using words and hashtags.

What hashtags primarily do is to make visible to others on social media platforms and search engines, conversations, contents or updates when optimized with the word hashtags. If you click or search for a hashtag, you will see a display of those using hashtag in conversation. This instantly identifies an audience sharing common interests.

Using Hashtags in Search

Clicking on a hashtag is a search function. Clicking on it will reveal all updates with that hashtag along with related promoted tweets which is the same function for queries in search engines.

Creating and Registration of Hashtags

Anyone can create a hashtag. It can be registered on Hashtags.org. The same site also provides tracking for all hashtags. While there’s no clear rule on hashtag ownership, it could be vital to discussion around a trademark, event or promotional campaign.

How to Use Hashtags

People who create hashtags want others to use it as many times as possible. You should include hashtags on social media profiles if you are promoting a specific event. Or better yet, include it on the related website in a post. In many cases, hashtags pick up momentum and peaks interest of others who didn’t really understand what the hashtags meant. It used to be that hashtags are only used in Twitter but now they appear online and offline, obviously intending to promote engagement.

Why Use Hashtags?

If you want to find out what discussion your customers are engaged in or what your competitors are doing, you can use hashtags to determine and identify the frequency of discussion of specific topics, the extent of reach, and the audience sentiments.

Hashtags are also a great way to engage people in discussions. People who are interested and want to join discussions on search engine optimization on Twitter can click “#seochat”.

For widely supported hashtag-identified discussions, Twitter displays “trending” while Google+ calls them “hot topics”. So far, Facebook isn’t as transparent with hashtag activity and LinkedIn has not recognized hashtags yet.

Hashtags have also proven to be effective in streamlining communication around circumstances where other forms of communication – TV, radio and print, are not effective in reaching audiences. World events such as the Tsunami in Thailand, Superstorm Sandy, Oklahoma tornados and other similar disasters, reached global audience through hashtags. Conversely, hashtags are also used to share happy news and events like the announcement of birth of the royal baby of Prince William and Kate.

Other uses of hashtags include:

  • Promoting an event or conference

  • Reaching consumers

  • Announcement of special promotional campaigns

  • Promoting the brand

  • Anchor campaigns

Hashtag is a useful tool that can be used to reach out to new audiences, connect like-minded people and facilitate discussions and conversations making it an important part of social media strategy.


SEO and SEM: Differentiating the Two Internet Marketing Terms

Marketing has taken a different dimension – from the traditional techniques to the optimization techniques designed for online marketing. Businesses have been introduced to two marketing terms that are often confused and interchanged when it comes to what each term represents or connotes.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO and Search Engine Marketing or SEM are two different services despite some similarities in functionality. It is likely that many business owners are more familiar with SEM as it refers to the important strategies for Internet marketing. SEM includes tactics such as paid listings, search engine optimization and other search-engine related services.

SEO

One definition of SEO or search engine optimization is: the strategies and techniques are used to ensure that a website is accessed by search engine crawlers thereby increasing the chances of the website being found by the search engine. These are the strategies that affect the visibility of a website or a web page in the natural/organic or unpaid search results. Search engines like Google are driven by the desire to provide the users with the most relevant web pages pertinent to what they are looking for. The continuous update of the search engine algorithms are fueled by such desire of relevant content and information. SEO has on-page and off-page categories where specific elements are used in order to improve the page ranking with search engines.

SEM

Search engine marketing is a broader term used to include various options available to use a search engine’s technology that includes paid advertisements. It offers an opportunity to pay only for each click on the ads that leads to your website. Such advertisements will appear on the page of consumer’s specifically looking for your products, goods or services. This should result in a higher conversion rate. A popular example of an SEM strategy is PPC or pay-per-click advertisement.

The Difference Between SEO and SEM

While both terms target to achieve the same objective of getting more searchers to visit the website, they differ in the methodology they use to achieve those objectives. While SEO concentrates on organic search results, SEM uses the search engines to promote your website or business, making SEM an important follow through component of SEO.

SEM traffic is one of the most important sources of online traffic because it is specifically targeted. People use the Internet through the search engines to find solutions or information about a specific problem or need. As they are likely to see your website as part of their search results, when they click on an ad they are likely to convert. The relevancy of the displayed ads makes SEM traffic more valuable compared to others in terms of conversion.

Hence, it is probably safe to say that SEO and SEM are not competing terms. They complement each other. A website that has a solid SEO buildup and foundation has to rely on the targeted traffic that will come from paid advertising. On the other hand, no SEM campaign will ever roll if a website has no solid SEO platform for how else can the website with the paid ads be found if they are not search-engine optimized? SEO must be the first stage in promoting the site through organic optimization techniques and after the site has ranked well with search engines to ensure visitors find the site will SEM be implemented in order to achieve conversion.  SEO and SEM cannot be effective without each other.


Understand Twitter Specific Terms Like A Social Media Expert

Technology has prompted the introduction of new terms or words used to denote specific meaning or specific description for some functions. Coined words like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, infographic are just a few of the new terms that have been popularly used these days especially by people whose lives revolve around the online world.

Twitter, for example, have developed a language of their own. Some may sound funny and strange but they all are nonetheless Twitter-unique.

In order to use some of the Twitter terms like a social media pro, get familiar with these words and their corresponding meaning.

Common Twitter Language

The “at” (@) sign is used to mention another Twitter account. For example, @HubSpot. Used within the Twitter account, it becomes a link to that account’s profile. While it may be used by others as a geographical reference, @ is Twitter-specific.

Understand Twitter Specific Terms

The “hash” (#) is used to highlight keywords, events, topics or emotions in a tweet. A hashtag in Twitter turns the word or phrase into a link to easily see and screen certain tweets that contain the same tag. For example, “loving the #weather” or “feeling #tiredandemotional”.

The “caret” (˄) is also known as a hat sign and is used to denote a tweet composed and sent by an individual on behalf of a group account that is used by multiple people account. This is how it is used in tweet – “^JS”.

The “dollar sign” ($) is used in Twitter as a financial hash tag for a company’s shortened stock market name/code. For example, Google’s shortened stock market name is GOOG. “$GOOG” becomes a link to Google site.

“AFAIK” means “As far as I know”.

“CC” – its original meaning is “carbon copy” like how it’s used in memos and email. CC is a way of making sure a Twitter user sees certain content. If used with “@”, e.g. “cc @Bob” – it will draw a Tweet to someone’s attention.

“DM” is “direct message”. It’s a way to privately message a follower on Twitter. It’s a counterpart of Facebook’s “PM” or “private message”. In tweets, you’ll often see “DM me for details” or “I’ll DM you the price”.

“#FF” stands for  “Follow Friday” – an endorsement or shout out to other Twitter users suggesting that people follow them.

“ICYMI” is for “in case you missed it”. This is often used when a Twitter user retweets his/her own content from previous tweet.

“MM” stands for “Music Monday” used to suggest music you are currently enjoying or artist recommendations. While this is no longer that much popularly used these days, you may still see “#MM” tweets once in a while.

“NSFW” means “not safe for work”. This denotes a potentially inappropriate content.

“OH” is “overheard”. Used in Twitter, OH is a way of reporting a funny or eyebrow-raising comment.

“PRT” means “partial retweet” which is used to let people know some editing had been done to a tweet. It can also be used to mean “Please retweet”.

“RT” stands for “Retweet”. When another user’s tweet is forwarded with an added comment RT is used. For example, “Must see! RT @John: This video is hilarious www.funnyvideo.com”

These are just a partial list of the terms commonly used in Twitter. Some new words may be expected to develop in the foreseeable future. Just make sure, you remain updated so you can catch up with the Twitter lingo and not be left wondering.


How to Know if You’ve Been Hit by Penguin

The world of webmasters is abuzz with chaos and confusion on the most recent effects of Google’s Penguin 2.0 update. While there is an upward trend on sites that are likely to be hit, some webmasters are not quite sure if they have indeed been hit by the sweeping Penguin update, which had only one purpose after all – and that is to get rid of spammy link building practices with the corresponding punishment or penalty.

It’s one thing to know that you are using some dishonest link building in an attempt to improve search engine rankings, and it’s another thing to know for sure that your site has been captured by Penguin 2.0 to be a black hat activities advocate. But whether or not you’re sure of your offense, Google undoubtedly has you on its watch list and just waiting for the right time to make your violation known through a warning.

But instead of waiting for such warning, which you know will be coming in any time, there are some ways you can check if you have been hit by Penguin 2.0. How? Read on below:

penguin attack

  • Check analytics for a sudden drop in traffic. This is a clear indication of Penguin’s punishment if your analytics showed a plummet in your site traffic.

  • Monitor rankings and turn off location settings and personalization by adding “&pws=0” to the end of the query string in the address bar to get to the nearest truth possible.

  • Check if there’s any significant drop for specific keywords. This should be easy since Penguin skims through the pages. Don’t just check the homepage. Check your analytics and webmaster tool accounts to determine if you have lost any traffic or impressions for specific keywords.

  • Run a full Majestic SEO report so you can look through your backlinks.

  • Check for any disappearing page. Google doesn’t want to send users to a page that is inactive. Your site may have been having technical hosting problems, and if it happens when Google is trying to crawl your page, it is likely to declare it dead or inactive. This can be a serious problem if your site is de-indexed even if it shouldn’t be re-indexing can take really long time.

  • Page too difficult to navigate. Your site will get deindexed if users keep clicking the page back button to get off the site. You should make your page easy to maneuver and simple.

  • Duplication. De-indexing is almost a cinch if your site is one of those sub-shopping sites which offer what other sites are already offering. Google hates duplicate contents and if your site has such pages, you’re on your way to getting penalized.

  • Viruses and Malware. The biggest culprit could be autoblogging of content and so is unknowingly hosting virus and malware sites.

  • Technical Problems. Google’s ability to crawl and index your site may be caused by a robots.txt file that is blocking Google. To index the site, Google needs to have access on the site.

Another possible scenario could be that you have not been de-indexed by Penguin 2.0 but penalized. This means that your site is manually reviewed by a Google Search Quality Engineer and found your site to violate certain Google Webmaster Guidelines. Your site should show up if you try to search “yourdomain.com”  or www.yourdomain.com. If it doesn’t show up, then there could be other problems to your site which you need to check against.


Code of Conduct in SEO

Like in other industries, the practice of a profession is guided by specific Code of Ethics, the framework of which is based on what are acceptable practices in the industry. Doctors take their oath before they are permitted to practice their profession. Their oath sums up the principles of ethical behavior that they should adhere to in the practice of their professions.

SEO or search engine optimization, likewise has its own Code of Ethics. Unfortunately, the business has been easily tainted by the inconsiderate and unprofessional practices of some people who lack awareness in good business ethics. You’ve heard about “black hat SEO”, “spamming” or “spamdexing”. All of these terms give reference to unethical SEO practices and techniques used to advance their selfish motives and interests and defy what is required of a professional SEO.

The good news is that the people behind search engines have not stopped at finding ways to curb and put a stop to techniques and practices that are in total disregard of the SEO Code of Ethics. With the constant updates on search engines’ algorithms ultimately aimed at removing works of those who don’t adhere to the Code so that the users get genuine information that they are looking for, and not be led to sites designed to count viewership or click-throughs.

The SEO Code of Ethics, in summary are principles that enhance website usability, help search engines find and rank the sites according to their real value to the users. Those who adhere and follow the Code strive and work hard to build functional, content-rich and content-optimized websites or webpages that provide genuine benefits to the end users.

The anti-Code of Ethics practitioners produce work that has various tactics that deceive users into believing that they have the information they “promise” to have. They are the ones who abused the different optimization tools and techniques in their own “creative” and deceitful ways which are destructive to SEO functionality and effectiveness. They have utmost disregard for the future of the Internet community.

The SEO Code of Ethics include the following provisions, all of which point to implementing techniques and strategies that are beneficial to the end users:

  • No SEO professional will inflict harm intentionally to online clients

  • No SEO professionals will violate any published, circulated and enforced rules of search engine or directories with intent

  • No SEO professional will deliberately harm, deceive, mislead or offend a consumer or customer

  • No SEO professional will violate any laws intentionally

  • No SEO professional will falsely or maliciously represent the content of the client site

  • No SEO professional will claim ownership of others work not theirs to begin with

  • No SEO professional will lay false claims on their own education, abilities, training, experience, standards of performance, certifications and accreditations, trade group affiliations, and technical know-how and expertise to others

  • No SEO professional will engage in activities that have conflict of interest without prior notice to all parties involved

  • No SEO professional will set unreasonable and unobtainable client expectations

  • All SEO professionals will offer internal or external dispute resolution to their clients

  • All SEO professionals will ensure the protection of the confidentiality and anonymity of their clients with respect to privileged information and materials that imply testimonial support for the SEO professional

  • All SEO professionals will work to their best ability to increase or retain the rankings of client sites using only acceptable techniques

Manipulative Site: Using the Browser Back Button

In the competitive world of online marketing, despite Google’s strict stance on sites and webmasters that do not conform to the general guidelines set forth by Google and other search engines, there still exist those who use black-hat SEO strategies in exchange for quick yet short-term high page ranking. These webmasters are the impatient ones who cannot wait a few months for white-hat SEO strategies to show some ranking results. Instead they go to the trouble of circumventing the guidelines and use them deceptively in order to achieve the desired page ranking.

Google has always been very vocal about the primary reason behind all the algorithm changes that the search engine had so far gone through. And that is to get rid of sites created by black-hat SEO strategists and provide the users with the best quality search results for every search query made. When Google detects some tricks being used by some webmasters, it digs deeper to find out what other similar efforts are being tried by the unscrupulous webmasters. Those black-hat practices somehow get Google to be more inquisitive and critical of the intentions of those webmasters, eventually leading to more changes and updates to weed out the Internet of sites that do not merit ranking by the search engine. So, unless these black-hat webmasters stop doing what they’re doing, Google is not likely to stop at hunting them down.

The most recent test case refers to some user complaints citing a seemingly deceptive technique used where new pages are inserted into the user’s browsing histories. As soon as the users click the “back” button on their browser, the users apparently end up on a new page that they have never visited before. Users coming from a search engine results page (SERP) may think that they are going back to their search results but in fact they are taken to a page that looks very much like the search results page, which is actually not a search results page but an advertisement page.

Google emphasizes that their quality guidelines do not allow deceptive or manipulative behavior, which remain enforced to this day. According to Google, this stance was never removed from the guidelines. It has remained unchanged since it was first published more than ten years ago.

With this discovery, Google has become more intent in protecting its users. Options surfacing include Google taking action by removing those manipulative sites or any site which violate their quality guidelines permanently from the search results. Google also reiterates that if website owners believe that their site has been impacted by a manual spam action and is no longer violating Google’s guidelines, they can always request Google to reconsider.


Leveraging Social Media for Small Businesses

business in social presence

Digital marketing is without a doubt the way to go for almost all business in today’s generation. And there’s a very good reason for that. For one, almost all businesses are increasing their use of the World Wide Web and social media platforms as they find these very effective in reaching out and connecting with their customers. More and more people are becoming aware that they can grow business faster if they use the leverage of social media. And at the same time capitalize on the fact that smartphones ranked as the best technological solution for small businesses. In other words, the best digital marketing outsourcing service is to be directed towards using the various social media platforms optimized for smartphones and mobile devices.

Consider the results of a recent survey by Citibank – 70% of the respondents used their company websites as a marketing channel; 41% indicated they used social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in the last year; and 62% shunned the use of email as a marketing technique. This tells us that the trend is definitely pushing towards the online world. Most of the small business owners are relying more on their online presence and channels to help grow their businesses.

Why Social Media?

While other bigger businesses that have been more aggressive with their marketing strategies have already succeeded in achieving their target goals, the small business owners are slowly but steadily realizing the effectiveness of online marketing channels. They are recognizing the benefits they will reap if they can increase awareness of their business, engage with their customers and enhance the business growth through strategies and techniques that are specific to social media platforms. The small business owners are seeing that social media is an efficient and cost-effective technique and strategy to grow the business.

And this trend is clearly indicated by the findings of the same Citibank survey. The use of social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn has increased by 6% since 2010. Attesting to such increase is the nearly three-quarters of business owners who find that their website has been effective in generating more business for their company and another 34% that said they will be using smartphones in the future for their marketing activities and plans.

Today’s business environment is hooked in the World Wide Web. Consumers go online first for any information they need on a product, service or other things. They do their search queries even when they are on the go – using their mobile devices and smartphones. And if small business owners miss this reality and failed to keep their online visibility strong, they would have a lot of catching up to do against those that have been more forward-looking.

The truth is, small businesses stand a great opportunity to maintain connection with their customers, engage with them, and allow social media to reveal more of their business and what they can offer to their customers and every Facebook fan and Twitter follower with whom their customers interact with, in the social media network. They may need to get the best digital marketing outsourcing service provider to help them sort out how they can capitalize on the huge viewership and follower-base of each of these social media platforms. And it will be worth the investment and will pay off with business growth.


Hummingbird’s Impact on Online Marketing

humming bird impact in online marketing

Google has been known to shake the online world every now and then with their unending series of algorithm updates and more. All in the name of giving the users the best and most useful search results. So, they can’t be fault for wanting that, can they?

Even if it meant that your job will be a little more difficult. Your content need not just focus on keywords or link profile. So adjustments had to be made to keep the site where it should be.

The Biggest Update

This is the first major revision to the main Google algorithm in 10 years. In simple terms, the Hummingbird update is aimed at returning search results based on Q&A format. Google thinks that because people are no longer using phrase or keywords to search, it is becoming increasingly important to return results that answer specific questions.

With Siri, people are asking “What is the best Mexican restaurant in Chicago?” Siri will likely return results in response to that question. In plain language, this means that the content can no longer be limited and confined to just being interesting and informative. The content needs to have audience engagement and feedback. With Hummingbird, this is the same kind of thinking employed – in Q&A format.

Impact of Hummingbird

The new Google algorithm update is said to revolutionize the way B2B companies market their sites in search. The old concept of paying a few thousand dollars to do a basic SEO setup will no longer be an effective tactic for these types of companies. B2B space is usually not very competitive in an online atmosphere.

For sites that have been creating contents and blogs that answer questions people usually ask in sales meetings, Hummingbird will be a breeze. It won’t be a big change and it’s unlikely that you have seen a traffic decrease. That means your strategy is working fine.

If you’re still stuck with the usual SEO associated keyword rich contents, you might want to think about the following tips to help you with Hummingbird.

Tweak Your Contents

Contents may be tweaked in a few ways to test your search results.

Answer the questions people ask in sales meetings. Consider yourself being on the spot whose response is awaited by those in the meeting room. Then you will be expected to deliver real answers. The focus is more on the human behavior behind a search. The search process has become more of a conversation with specific details. Hummingbird wants to pump out answers that relate to the context of the question instead of just zeroing in on just one or two small words.

  • Do Interview Series. This is done by many bloggers already. PR professionals are great at this. This jives well with Hummingbird because it’s in the Q&A format. Contents are then geared towards giving direct answers to the questions asked.

  • Use Webinars. Those who are hosting webinars can consider themselves one step ahead. There are two things that can be done:

    • Transcribing a content of a webinar for the website

    • Answer the questions asked during the webinar in a blog post or an article content

In essence, Hummingbird has just made the importance of high quality and relevant content climb up the ladder. This SEO element has not been negatively affected by all the algorithm updates search engines have implemented so far. Instead, in every update, its importance is emphasized and highlighted to make everyone understand what good, quality and relevant contents mean to everyday searchers.

Ultimately, Hummingbird aims for a result that has been Google’s and other search engines’ objective ever since – to provide the searchers with the most relevant and useful content they are hoping to find every time they make an attempt to look for sites that can give them what they need.

Hummingbird is not designed to hurt anyone. It is meant to improve the user’s experience by eliminating online garbage.


AdWords Mobile PPC Performance: How it Stacks Up Against Desktop

In the online world, mobile technology is undoubtedly taking up everyone’s attention as mobile users are increasing day after day. Google, for instance, has been rolling out updates for AdWords with focus on mobile strategy.

But what happens if mobile and tablet campaigns are required to be included with desktop? What impact would it have on the PPC results? Most advertisers have no specific mobile strategy and this is much attributed to their rather slow embracing of mobile strategies, probably thinking it will pass anyhow.mobile-ads-performance

The following provides a snapshot of observations made on mobile and tablet behavior on “average” clients for a short period of time.

  • Impressions. Search impressions on mobile or tablet ranged from 7 to 40 percent of the total impressions. It showed a low mobile display rate of only 6 to 30 percent based on search by type of client. Impressions aren’t clicks or visits. It helps provide an idea as to volume and opportunity.

  • Click-through rate (CTR). It showed that mobile tends to have the same CTR as desktop, or in some case better CTR. You can pump up CTRs by optimizing with mobile specific creative and offers.

  • CPC best deals. Lower CPC results from “mobile with full browsers” campaigns. CPCs are 30 to 60 percent lower than the average. This means there are more opportunities to further explore the bargain CPCs. However, CPCs for tablets were higher than desktop. This is interesting because there is no bid adjustment in Enhanced Campaigns for tablets.

  • Conversions. Conversions for all mobile campaigns targeting all devices pre-enhanced features are at 3 to 12 percent of the total account conversions. Conversion is leaning heavily towards tablets. Some of them were even tablet only conversions.

The conversion results from mobile devices are not that impressive and instead rather disappointing. There are a host of factors that this can be influenced by – volume, usability of the mobile landing page, or offer.

A study by Google/Nielsen which was released in March showed that 3 out of 4 mobile search queries done on mobile devices trigger follow-up actions, regardless if it’s further research, store visit, a phone call, purchase or word-of-mouth sharing. With this, mobile activity may just be the starting point driving multi-channel conversions if you know the right approach.

  • You should look at the overall mobile traffic on the website from all sources. Compare these data to paid search results to understand its similarities and differences.

  • Check and evaluate the page every time you visit – check the time spent on site and conversions from mobile, and engagement from mobile. If the results are low, even if you have new mobile campaigns, you may still get the same results. The solution is optimization of the website experience.

  • Optimize the site for a more mobile experience, which means more specific pages, conversion paths, or offers that are easier or quicker for users.

  • Dig into paid search settings. You can do this by reviewing previous mobile CPCs and making the necessary adjustments on enhanced campaign percentage to similar. Identify the trends by reviewing locations or time of day and consider bid adjustments to capture this.

  • Plan ahead. There are many ways to increase conversions – based on what you know and what you will learn. You need to know if you will focus on bids, ad copy, landing pages, conversion path, or all of the above.

Vital SEO Metrics that Matter

People have been running around like crazy talking about the latest Penguin 2.0 update and most of them, are those whose websites have been hit hard by the update. The SEO landscape has indeed changed dramatically in a short span of time. Algorithm update after algorithm update, sites that do not conform to the basic principles of good SEO practices; continue to take the brunt of such efforts to weed out the World Wide Web with unnecessary content rubbish and garbage which were traded off for instant page rankings.

Penguin and Panda always made it their primary business to let people feel that they are serious about their game plan. When it’s about Panda or the new Penguin 2.0 updates, it will surely have that big impact on the future of SEO. But aside from Penguin  and Panda, there is another one that is a low-profile game-changer that has an equally dramatic impact on SEO. That is “Search Plus Your World”.

In essence, Search+ personalizes your search results. Google evaluates your location, brand mentions, your social media sphere, your friend’s search history, including your own search history. In other words, it’s customized results which mean that two individuals may do a search for the same keyword term but each individual will have different results, based on the such factors as location, brand mentions, etc.

This can become a real big problem for any SEO practitioner especially when the number of searches for specific terms multiplies into thousands, because you may not be able to give your client the consistent rankings in the top three spots on a number of keywords. Most clients still have the old-school way of viewing SEO results. Not, it’s time to introduce your client to new-school SEO reports since Search+ already killed normal page rankings. In order for your client to appreciate your SEO efforts, you need to get them familiar with the vital SEO metrics that matter in line with all the algorithm updates that have taken place over the years. You can pull these metrics from Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools.

  • Average Rankings. Google developed Search+ to serve two purposes. One, they want to give the end users the best possible results, and two, they want to give the SEO practitioners the tools that they need to stay on top of the game. With Average Rankings, you have the ability to gauge how many links in Google are being seen across the board. Average Rankings measure all impressions. This is the first metric that you should show your client since they would still want to see ranking reports. You can generate an average ranking report and show them how their pages and website are performing overall.

  • Impressions. This report was used in the old internet marketing days against click-through rate to develop a conversion ratio. This time, with Search+, it is important to know who is seeing what, where and how often. You want to know if your page is even showing for your keywords. And if it does, where?  seo metric for growth

  • Visitor Growth. This report in Google Analytics is a baseline growth metric which provides a rather straightforward report. If the trend is going up, it means you are succeeding, but if the trend is flat-lined or going down, it means you are failing. You can also calculate expected qualified leads from a traffic – or your reach. It is important to report accurately by separating the new visitors from the repeat ones as that will impact your report. For example, it may be a good sign about your content being compelling, if you pulled out the repeat visitors report. However, if the ratio is skewed to new visitors, the report might tell you that there’s not enough substantial content although there may be good headlines.

  • Conversions. This is what most clients would like to see, after all. This report will help your client see how those impressions are turning into profit. This will also allow evaluation of ads, copy and keywords to see if they are working together, or if people are leaving your site in your sales cycle. Your conversion goals will help you decide. Conversion is decided on two measurements:

    • One-per-click. This conversion means that you’re measuring a single action such as signing up for a newsletter or downloading a report. The goal is: impressions versus conversions.

    • Many-per-click. These are the goals which don’t get an end with a single action. For example, if you are trying to measure the path an agent takes through your purchase path. Many-per-click is what you need for this measurement.

  • Exact Match. This looks a lot like the PPC Exact Match tool. You are targeting a specific URL and you will only get reports for the particular URL. This tool is especially useful for established businesses that are working on a rebrand; new businesses where local search is an important part of your SEO strategy. With this metric, you can narrow your efforts to one accurate URL, and eliminate the confusion that could arise from similar URLs.

  • Regular Expressions Match. This may be considered as an extension of the Exact Match metric because it allows you to bring similar goals under one umbrella. You are telling Google Analytics to hunt down metrics on any page within that family of URLs. You can’t see URLs with those keywords that flopped.

Conclusion

With Search+ there’s no other way but to start using these metrics in order to monitor and check your SEO efforts for a certain client. Especially nowadays when algorithm changes easily come and go but without affecting your SEO endeavors and efforts, it is important to have the tools that will help you validate your work. While this practice is no longer new, validating your work has gotten a lot easier since you know the right metrics to share. And more importantly, how you can get your client to understand and appreciate your SEO undertakings. With these top seo tools you can help them understand that along with the changes in SEO landscape, so are the indicators other than just high page rankings, which in this case should show them that the most important gauge of SEO success is on conversion.


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