Pandas, Penguins and Pigeons, OH MY!

Google’s changes to its search algorithm have been well documented, and it’s been a busy few years – we’ve had the Penguin and Panda updates along with Hummingbird and Pigeon. The changes are keeping SEO experts and brands on their toes as we all adjust our sites on a moving target.

Below are some key factors that we’re watching in 2015 as Google is experimenting with some new and old ranking influences for the year.

Mobile SearchMobile. Since mobile search is growing astronomically, Google is putting more emphasis on delivering the best user experience possible on mobile devices. Google has been penalizing sites that provide a bad experience to mobile searchers, and now the company is testing providing a boost for those serving up a great experience. By having a responsive site with fast load times and mobile features, sites can earn Google’s mobile-friendly label for special treatment within its ranking algorithm.  Companies can use Google’s tool to see how mobile-friendly their site is:

Multimedia Content. Google is placing more importance on featuring a range of content such as video, graphics, photos, PDFs, etc, on sites. Sites that are text heavy will need to be augmented with other media and content types. A range of content is not only effective from an SEO perspective but also drives a better user experience, which contributes to lower bounces and longer session duration. Continue reading “Pandas, Penguins and Pigeons, OH MY!” »

Does Social Media Affect Search?

Google’s algorithm updates have informed the public that good search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just about on-page optimization. Public relations now plays a big part in getting ranked higher in search engine results. Quality links from sites that have greater domain authority, such as top tier media outlets, produce higher rankings in search engine results.

Now that we know that PR can affect search, we want to define where and how social media comes into play. Google may place a high value on social media links, or they may not even matter. Can social media really affect search?

The answer is yes and no. I recently listened to a webinar hosted by Spin Sucks and presented by Andy Crestodina titled rather bluntly “How Does Social Media Affect SEO” that offered some insight.  Continue reading “Does Social Media Affect Search?” »

How To Use Outreach and Content Marketing for Buzz-Worthy Campaigns

Content and Outreach MarketingWhen considering how to tell brand stories, there are many differences when it comes to marketing, public relations, advertising and branding.

But two more recent buzzphrases have been cropping up lately: outreach marketing and content marketing.

Similar to public relations, these communications methods create and maintain relationships with an organization’s key audience. Also, these two phrases can oftentimes be public-relations strategies. Here’s how to decode them:

Outreach marketing

This tactic focuses primarily on bloggers and key social media influencers who already advocate for your brand. Similar to what is used in media relations, a brand’s contact reaches out to these advocates and finds ways to incorporate the brand into the advocates’ everyday lives. These are not just people who can talk about the brand, they are extensions of the brand.

To read more, click here.

SEO and Responsive Design

SEO and Responsive Design

The Web is now a multi-device world. Visitors to your website come from mobile phones, 7” tablets, 10” tablets, laptops, desktops and even television screens. Instead of creating separate versions of a website for each device, developers are now making websites responsive.

Responsive Design vs. a Mobile Site

Simply put, a responsive website is a single website that adjusts to the user’s screen size. Non-responsive websites require a desktop version and a mobile version to display properly for most visitors.

Check out responsive design at  via your desktop and cellphone. Notice how the URL stayed the same, yet the layout changed.

To see non-responsive design go to via your desktop and cellphone. Notice on your cellphone how the URL changed to and the layout changed.

Which One Is Better for SEO?

In most cases, responsive design is the way to go in regards to SEO. With responsive design, you only need to worry about one URL for each page. While with a multi-version website, you need to worry about employing correct coding such as canonical tags for each version of that page.

In some cases this might not be the best method. If you are trying to rank for mobile-specific keywords like “mobile games,” multiple versions of your website – a desktop version targeting “computer games” and a mobile version targeting “mobile games” may be the way to go. Since content does not change in responsive design, having a separate mobile site makes sense.

Overall, there are fewer SEO problems when using responsive design versus having a separate mobile site, but having a mobile specific website can be just as beneficial as long as you employ the right coding tags and use Google Webmaster tools correctly

Be sure you are working with a qualified and experienced SEO professional who can advise you about how to execute web design to utilize search effectively for your marketing strategy.

How do engagement and conversation on social media sites affect SEO and vice versa?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a critical role in directing traffic and leads to a company’s website. However, SEO is a difficult thing to understand, and it’s even more difficult to predict rankings.

161335395 - SEO ImageGoogle uses more than 150 signals to determine rankings. They also use a formula that changes constantly to keep you from figuring out their system. They also add in random variables to make it even more difficult to crack.

But over the past year or so, more SEO experts, social media gurus and bloggers have been saying, “Social media signals affect SEO rankings.” Continue reading “How do engagement and conversation on social media sites affect SEO and vice versa?” »

SEO & Web Design: Four Musts To Retain Your Website Rankings When You Rebuild Your Site

website design planning

Building a new website is both exciting and scary for businesses. Companies are given the chance to design something more visually impressive, but getting the design right can sometimes come at the expense of Google and other search engine rankings.

This article explains the most important steps needed to retain (or improve) your website rankings in Google when launching a new website.
Continue reading “SEO & Web Design: Four Musts To Retain Your Website Rankings When You Rebuild Your Site” »

How to Collaborate for Improved Search Results

As an integrated marketing communications agency, M/C/C has several different teams – Strategy, Public Relations (PR), Social, Advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Creative – all working to increase our clients’ presences in their industries. While each group may have their own approach, collaboration among these teams is critical to succeeding in today’s marketing landscape. Take for instance PR and SEO.

Back in the day, SEO specialists were considered code monkeys. They spent their time on client websites stuffing keywords and surfing the net looking for anywhere and everywhere to post a client’s content or links. Then came Google’s Penguin and Panda updates. At the highest level, Google implemented these algorithm changes to prevent spammy content from influencing its search results. So with that, gone were the days of thinking about SEO based solely on quantity of keywords or links.

Enter public relations. Receiving media coverage through a third-party plays a significant role in enhancing a company’s image and having links from those credible sources can have quite an impact on your search rankings. Would you rather have 10 links from sites like the New York Times or 2,500 links from a no-purpose website? Google places more importance on a few high-quality editorial links than thousands of low-quality links because they are more difficult to obtain. By having these sites promote your company and share your website’s information, the value of your website will increase, ultimately leading to improved search results.

Continue reading “How to Collaborate for Improved Search Results” »

Gold Mining in Analytics: Identifying Relevant Metrics and Filtering out Irrelevant Data

When decision makers need to make actionable choices, they sometimes rely on data from Web analytics. For the analytics’ data to be reliable, it must be relevant and filtered.

The process of providing reliable data is similar to a gold hunt for gold. First, a gold miner will find a prospective location. Then, he/she will take a sample from the location and pan (filter out) all the rocks and gravel from that sample, leaving behind only the gold. This process helps the gold miner determine why this could be a good location to continue searching or not. This is the same process one must use in gathering data from Web analytics for decision making.

The purpose of analytics is to help us better make informed decisions. In order for analytics to achieve that, one must know the story it tells and be able to reason from its information.

Continue reading “Gold Mining in Analytics: Identifying Relevant Metrics and Filtering out Irrelevant Data” »

Google Doesn’t Love Anything: A Response to PR Daily’s Article on Creating Content That Ranks Well in Google

Usually a trusted source within the PR and advertising industry, Ragan’s PR Daily recently posted an article, “17 types of content that Google loves.” Although we typically enjoy the site and find it interesting, we found the content from this article could be confusing for those just now dipping their toes in the SEO pool.

As a leader in SEO for clients, we thought it would be a good idea to go through the 17 points and clarify them.

For starters, the article’s title is misleading. You should create content not for what Google loves, but for what searchers want, because Google doesn’t love anything. Google tries to show unique and informative content based on the searcher’s “intent.” For example, are you trying to buy something, find something, learn something, etc.?

Then there are the types of content recommended for a successful Google-oriented strategy. Here’s our take:

Continue reading “Google Doesn’t Love Anything: A Response to PR Daily’s Article on Creating Content That Ranks Well in Google” »