Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Growing Your Business With Customer Reviews – October 30 Webcast Learn how capitalizing on the insights from customer reviews can increase search traffic…
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Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing
In the last post, we looked at how SEO has always been changing, but one thing remains constant – the quest for information.
Given people will always be on a quest for information, and given there is no shortage of information, but there is limited time, then there will always be a marketing imperative to get your information seen either ahead of the competition, or in places where the competition haven’t yet targeted.
My take on SEO is broad because I’m concerned with the marketing potential of the search process, rather than just the behaviour of the Google search engine. We know the term SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s never been particularly accurate, and less so now, because what most people are really talking about is not SEO, but GO.
Still, the term SEO has stuck. The search channel used to have many faces, including Alta Vista, Inktomi, Ask, Looksmart, MSN, Yahoo, Google and the rest, hence the label SEO. Now, it’s pretty much reduced down to one. Google. Okay, there’s BingHoo, but really, it’s Google, 24/7.
We used to optimize for multiple search engines because we had to be everywhere the visitor was, and the search engines had different demographics. There was a time when Google was the choice of the tech savvy web user. These days, “search” means “Google”. You and your grandmother use it.
But people don’t spend most of their time on Google.
Search Beyond Google
The techniques for SEO are widely discussed, dissected, debated, ridiculed, encouraged and we’ve heard all of them, many times over. And that’s just GO.
The audience we are trying to connect with, meanwhile, is on a quest for information. On their quest for information, they will use many channels.
So, who is Google’s biggest search competitor? Bing? Yahoo?
Eric Schmidt thinks it’s Amazon:
Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo,” he said during a visit to a Native Instruments, software and hardware company in Berlin. “But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon. People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon….Schmidt noted that people are looking for a different kind of answers on Amazon’s site through the slew of reviews and product pages, but it’s still about getting information
An important point. For the user, it’s all about “getting information”. In SEO, verticals are often overlooked.
Client Selection & Getting Seen In The Right Places
I’m going to digress a little….how do you select clients, or areas to target?
I like to start from the audience side of the equation. Who are the intended audience, what does that audience really need, and where, on the web, are they? I then determine if it’s possible/plausible to position well for this intended audience within a given budget.
There is much debate amongst SEOs about what happens inside the Google black box, but we all have access to Google’s actual output in the form of search results. To determine the level of competition, examine the search results. Go through the top ten or twenty results for a few relevant keywords and see which sites Google favors, and try to work out why.
Once you look through the results and analyze the competition, you’ll get a good feel for what Google likes to see in that specific sector. Are the search results heavy on long-form information? Mostly commercial entities? Are sites large and established? New and up and coming? Do the top sites promote visitor engagement? Who links to them and why? Is there a lot news mixed in? Does it favor recency? Are Google pulling results from industry verticals?
It’s important to do this analysis for each project, rather than rely on prescriptive methods. Why? Because Google treats sectors differently. What works for “travel” SEO may not work for “casino” SEO because Google may be running different algorithms.
Once you weed out the wild speculation about algorithms, SEO discussion can contain much truth. People convey their direct experience and will sometimes outline the steps they took to achieve a result. However, often specific techniques aren’t universally applicable due to Google treating topic areas differently. So spend a fair bit of time on competitive analysis. Look closely at the specific results set you’re targeting to discover what is really working for that sector, out in the wild.
It’s at this point where you’ll start to see cross-overs between search and content placement.
The Role Of Verticals
You could try and rank for term X, and you could feature on a site that is already ranked for X. Perhaps Google is showing a directory page or some industry publication. Can you appear on that directory page or write an article for this industry publication? What does it take to get linked to by any of these top ten or twenty sites?
Once search visitors find that industry vertical, what is their likely next step? Do they sign up for a regular email? Can you get placement on those emails? Can you get an article well placed in some evergreen section on their site? Can you advertise on their site? Figure out how visitors would engage with that site and try to insert yourself, with grace and dignity, into that conversation.
Users may by-pass Google altogether and go straight to verticals. If they like video then YouTube is the obvious answer. A few years ago when Google was pushing advertisers to run video ads they pitched YouTube as the #2 global search engine. What does it take to rank in YouTube in your chosen vertical? Create videos that will be found in YouTube search results, which may also appear on Google’s main search results.
With 200,000 videos uploaded per day, more than 600 years required to view all those videos, more than 100 million videos watched daily, and more than 300 million existing accounts, if you think YouTube might not be an effective distribution channel to reach prospective customers, think again.
There’s a branding parallel here too. If the field of SEO is too crowded, you can brand yourself as the expert in video SEO.
There’s also the ubiquitous Facebook.
Facebook, unlike the super-secret Google, has shared their algorithm for ranking content on Facebook and filtering what appears in the news feed. The algorithm consists of three components…..
If you’re selling stuff, then are you on Amazon? Many people go directly to Amazon to begin product searches, information gathering and comparisons. Are you well placed on Amazon? What does it take to be placed well on Amazon? What are people saying? What are their complaints? What do they like? What language do they use?
In 2009, nearly a quarter of shoppers started research for an online purchase on a search engine like Google and 18 percent started on Amazon, according to a Forrester Research study. By last year, almost a third started on Amazon and just 13 percent on a search engine. Product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year while searches on Google Shopping have been flat, according to comScore
All fairly obvious, but may help you think about channels and verticals more, rather than just Google. The appropriate verticals and channels will be different for each market sector, of course. And they change over time as consumer tastes & behaviors change. At some point each of these were new: blogging, Friendster, MySpace, Digg, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.
This approach will also help us gain a deeper understanding of the audience and their needs – particularly the language people use, the questions they ask, and the types of things that interest them most – which can then be fed back into your search strategy. Emulate whatever works in these verticals. Look to create a unique, deep collection of insights about your chosen keyword area. This will in turn lead to strategic advantage, as your competition is unlikely to find such specific information pre-packaged.
This could also be characterised as “content marketing”, which it is, although I like to think of it all as “getting in front of the visitors quest for information”. Wherever the visitors are, that’s where you go, and then figure out how to position well in that space.
I have almost exhausted my download bandwidth for this billing cycle and, lest you assume anything, I haven’t downloaded any torrents or movies from the Internet. All I have done is updated the Macs to the recently released OS X Yosemite and also downloaded the latest version of Apple iMovie, Keynote and other Mac software.
The Mac OS X Yosemite installer is about 5 GB in size and, for some unknown reason, the Apps Store doesn’t always support resumable downloads. So if your Internet connection goes down while the installer is getting downloaded or if there’s a problem connecting with Apple servers, you get the “unknown error has occurred” message and you’ve to download the whole thing again. I have to upgrade two Apple computers – an iMac and a Macbook – so the downloads are even a bigger hit on the monthly bandwidth.
If you are like me and have more than one Mac to upgrade, here an obvious tip that will help you save data – upgrade the OS and apps of one Mac and use the same offline installers to upgrade the software on your other Mac computers.
After some Twitter hunting, I figured out a Dropbox page where you can download the standalone offline installer of Mac OS X Yosemite. This is better than downloading from the Mac Store since the Dropbox client will automatically download the file to my Mac and it can resume broken downloads automatically.
Download and extract the zip file and double-click the yosemite.app file to run the installer on your Mac. The upgrade takes about 20-30 minutes and goes through without a hitch. If the progress bar at the OS X installation screen isn’t moving, you can press the CMD+L key to open the installation log and you’ll know if anything is happening in the backgroud.
The next step is to upgrade your existing Mac apps like iMovie (2 GB), Keynote (0.5 GB), Garageband (1.2 GB) and others. They are huge file and thus, in order to save data, you can upgrade them on one Mac and transfer the apps to your other Mac computers through the LAN or a USB drive.
Here’s what I do. My iMac and Macbook are connected to the same network and thus I can easily access each other’s files through the Finder. Say I have upgraded the apps of Mac A and need to transfer them all to Mac B. I will go to Mac A and temporarily share the Applications folder. I’ll launch Finder on Mac B and open the shared Applications folder of Mac A. I can now drag and drop the upgraded .app files from A to B. It will ask for the administrator password and the files are copied. You can’t do it the other way though (copying to B from A computer).
This is the easiest approach to copy applications from one Mac to another (and perfectly legal* if you own both the computers) but a downside is that your settings aren’t transferred. In that case, you’ll also have to manually copy the associated application folders from ~/Library/Preferences and ~/Library/Application Support/ to your other Mac.
[*] Apple says that “Apps [downloaded] from the Mac App Store may be used on any Macs that you own or control for your personal use.”
This story, Upgrade your Macs without Using all your Monthly Bandwidth, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 20/10/2014 under Apple Mac, Software
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog
Did you know that your Mac ships with a screencasting software that can be used for quickly recording movies of your computer screen? You can record the microphone audio along with the video, there’s an option to show or hide the mouse clicks during the screen recording and the movies can be exported in HD formats. This very-capable app is called QuickTime Player.
And it just got better. If you have upgraded your Mac to OS X Yosemite, you can use the same QuickTime Player software to record the screen of your iOS device in 2 easy steps. All you need is an iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 and a Lightning to USB cable – it is the same cable that you are currently using to connect your iOS device to the computer or the charger.
QuickTime as an iOS Screen Recorder
Step 1: Connect the iPhone to the computer through the 8-pin Lightning to USB cable. This will not work with older iOS devices that use the 30-pin connector.
Step 2: Open the QuickTime Player on your Mac (Yosemite) and choose “New Movie Recording” from the File menu (screenshot). If you are to record screencasts of your desktop, choose the “New Screen Recording” option.
Step 3: Click the arrow near the red record button and choose iPhone or iPad as the source camera. You can also select your device name in the Microphone section to record any audio coming out of your iOS device.
Once you are done recording the iOS screen, you can use the File -> Export menu in the QuickTime Player to save the movie in .mov format at 720p or 1080p resolution that can be uploaded to YouTube without conversion.
Also see: How to Record Android Screencasts
iOS Screencasting without the Mac
The iOS screencasting feature is only available with QuickTime on Mac OS X Yosemite and requires a relatively newer device running iOS 8 or later.
If you are however using Windows, or running an older version of Mac OS X, you can still record iOS screencasts with the help of apps like AirServer, Reflector or X-Mirage. AirPlay is built into iOS and Mac OS X and these apps use the the same AirPlay technology to mirror anything on your iOS screen to your Mac or Windows computer over a wireless local network. No cables required.
This story, Make Screencast Movies of your iPhone or iPad with QuickTime, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 20/10/2014 under Apple Mac, IPad, IPhone, Screencasting, Software
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog
One question we see regularly come up is what to do if you’re targeting particular locations/regions with your site content, and you want to rank for local searches, but you don’t actually have a physical presence in those locations. The right track can depend on a few circumstances, and in today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand helps you figure out which one is best for your organization.
For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!
Howdy Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re talking about geo-targeted or geo-specific local landing pages for companies that are trying to reach many geographic regions and need to have that scale, but don’t necessarily have a local physical location in every city they’re trying to target.
So if you can imagine I’m going to use the fictitious Rand’s Whisky Company, and Rand’s Whisky Company is going to be called Specialty Whisky. We’re going to be running events all over the country in all sorts of cities. We’re going to be trying to reach people with a really local approach to whisky, because I’m very passionate about whisky, and I want everyone to be able to try scotches and bourbons and American whiskies as well.
Okay, this sounds great, but there’s going to be a big challenge. Rand’s Whisky Company has no physical location in any city other than our main Seattle headquarters. This is a big challenge, and I’ve talked to many startups and many companies who have this same problem. Essentially they need to rank for a core set of terms in many different geographies.
So they might say, “Hey, we want to be in Nashville, Tennessee, and in Atlanta, Georgia, and we’ve identified a lot of whisky consumers in, let’s say, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But we can’t open physical, local office space in every one of those geographies. In fact, we could probably only start by having a Web presence in each of those. We haven’t yet necessarily achieved sort of scale and service in every single one of those geos.” It’s not like I’m running events in every one of these the day I start. I might start with Seattle and Portland and maybe Boise, Idaho, or Spokane or something like that, and then eventually I’ll grow out.
This presents a big challenge in search results, because the way Google’s results work is that they bias to show kind of two things in a lot of categories. They’ll try and show you the local purveyors of whatever it is that the person is searching for in the local or maps results. Obviously, Pigeon had a big change and update to these, changing the geographic areas and changing the ordering of those results and now many map results show up, and those sorts of things. But obviously they’re still very present.
We see them a lot. MozCast sees a very high percent of local intent queries even sometimes without the city modifier. If you’re in a geography, you search for a whisky store, and you know what? Liquor stores and specialty liquor companies and that kind of stuff, they’re going to show up in your search results here in Seattle in those Maps local boxes. So that makes it tough.
Then the other category is, of course, the organic web results. That’s where folks like this, Rand’s Whisky Company and other folks who are trying to scale their local presence, need to show up because you really won’t have an opportunity in those local results unless and until you have true local physical space. So you’re aiming for those Web results.
You’re oftentimes competing with people like Yelp and Angie’s List. A lot of the old Yellow Pages folks are in their directories and guides. Then sometimes, occasionally there will be a company that does a great job with this.
So there two companies that I want to call out. One is Uber, which everyone is pretty much familiar with, and Uber has done a great job of having their website contained in unique portals for each city in which they operate, unique social accounts, unique blogs. They really have put together a segmented operation that targets each city that they’re in. They do have physical space, so they’re cheating a little bit on this front.
Then another one is a company called Ride the Ducks, and Ride the Ducks has different websites for every city that they operate in. So there’s a duck tour in Boston, a duck tour in Seattle, a duck tour in Los Angeles, all this kind of stuff. You can ride the ducks in any of these cities.
Now let’s say that you’re a startup or a company starting out, and you’re thinking, “Okay, fine. I’m going to have my Specialty Whisky page for Seattle, and I’ll just put some generic information in there, and then I’ll replace Seattle with Portland, with Los Angeles, with Baton Rouge.” That’s my Baton Rouge page. That’s my Los Angeles page. This is called the find and replace.
Even if you push this out, even if you customize some of the content on this page, try and make it a little more specific, have a few addresses or locations, you will fail. Unfortunately, Angie’s List, who I mentioned, they do a really terrible job of this. They have a lot of pages that are what I call find and replace pages. You could just plug in nearly any city, and that’s what the results would look like. They do rank. They are ranking because they were early and because they’ve got a lot of domain authority. Do not think that you can copy their content strategy and succeed.
The next one is a little bit more scaled out. This is a little bit more like what someone such as a Yelp or TripAdvisor might do for some of their landing pages. They’ve got some unique info in each city. It’s the same for each city, but it’s scaled out and it’s relatively comprehensive. So, my Specialty Whisky Seattle page might show our favorite bars in Seattle. It might show some recommended stores where you can buy whisky. It might show some purveyors, some vendors, that we like. It could have some local events listed on the page. Fine, great. That could be good enough if the intent is always the same.
So if every city’s intent, the people who are searching for restaurants in Portland versus restaurants in Seattle, you’re basically looking for the same thing. It’s the same kind of people looking for the same kind of thing, and that’s how Yelp and TripAdvisor and folks like that have scaled this model out to success.
If you want to take it even one step further, my final recommendation is to go in that direction of what Uber and Ride the Ducks and those types do, which is they essentially have a customized experience created by a local team in that city, even if they don’t necessarily have a physical office. Uber, before they open the physical office, will send people out. They’ll go team gathering. Yelp did this, too, in their history as they were scaling out.
That kind of thing is like, “Hey, we’ve got some photos from some of our events. We’ve got a representative in the city.” This is Seattle Whiskey Pete, and Whiskey Pete says, “Yar, you should buy some whiskey.” It’s got a list of events. So Knee High is stocking up for the holiday (presumably at the Knee High Stocking Company, which is a great little speakeasy here in Seattle), and whisky at Bumbershoot. You can follow our @WhiskySeattle account on Twitter, and that’s different from our @WhiskyPortland, our @WhiskyLosAngeles or our @WhiskyNewYork accounts. Great.
There’s a bunch of top Seattle picks. So this is a very customized page. This experience is completely owned and controlled by a team that’s focused purely on Seattle. This is sort of the Holy Grail. It’s hard to scale to this, which is why this other approach can really be okay for a lot of folks trying to scale up and rank for all of those geo terms plus their keywords.
What’s the process by which you go about this? I’m glad you asked because I wrote it down. Number one, we want to try and determine the searcher’s intent and how we can satisfy the query and at the same time delight visitors. We’ve got to create a unique, special experience for them and delight visitors in addition to satisfying their query.
So for Seattle whisky, I can show them where they can buy whisky in the city. I can recommend some bars that have a great whisky selection, and then I can delight them by showing some tips and tricks from our community. I can delight them by giving them special priority access to events. I can delight them by giving them a particular guide that they could print out and take with them or the ability to register for special things that they couldn’t get elsewhere, buy whiskies that they’d never be able to get, whatever it is, something special to delight them.
Number two, I want to select the group of keywords, and I say group because usually there are a few keywords in every one of the verticals that I’ve talked to people about. There are usually between 3 and about 20 sets of keywords that they really, deeply care about per each geography. Do be careful. You’ve got to be wary of local colloquialisms. For example, if you’re in the United States, whiskey is often spelled with an “e”, W-H-I-S-K-E-Y, whereas in the U.K. and most of Europe, most of the rest of the English language speaking world, it’s spelled W-H-I-S-K-Y with no “e”.
Also you want to take those groups, and you want to actually combine them. So say I’ve got a bunch of keywords over here. I might want to say, “Hey, you know what? These three keywords, whisky tastings and whisky events, that’s the same intent.” I don’t need to create two different landing pages for those. Let’s take those and bunch them up and group them and make that one page. That’ll be our Seattle Whisky Events page, and we’ll target tastings and events and festivals and whatever other synonyms might go in there.
Third, I want to create a few of these, one of these two models of really amazing pages as a sample, as an instruction for all future ones. This is what we want to get to. Let’s make the best, most perfect page for Seattle, and then we’ll go make one for Portland and we’ll go make one for Los Angeles. Then we’ll see how do we get that into a process that will scale for us. You want that process to be repeatable. You want it to be well-defined. You want it to be so that a content team, who comes in, or contractor, an agency can take that document, can look at the examples, and replicate that on a city by city basis. That’s going to require a lot of uniqueness. You need to have those high bars set up so that they can achieve them.
The fourth and last thing for these pages you’re creating is you’ve got to be able to answer this question: Who will amplify this page and why? By amplify, I mean share socially, share via word of mouth, share via email, link to it. Who will amplify it and why? How are we going to reach them?
Then go get them. Go prove to yourself that with those two or three amazing example pages that you made that you can actually do it, and then make that part of your scaling process.
Now you’ve got something where you can truly say, “Yes, we can go geo by geo and have the potential to rank in market after market for the terms and phrases that we care about in the organic results.”
Long term, if you have a lot of success in a city, my next suggestion would be that you move from this model to this model where you actually have a local team, just one person, even a contractor, someone who visits. It doesn’t have to be a permanent resident of that city. It can be someone who goes there a month out of the year, whatever it is, every few weekends and owns that page and that experience and that section of your site for that specific geo that produces remarkable results.
They build relationships. That furthers your press, and that furthers your brand in that town. There’s a lot of opportunity there. So that’s eventually where you want to move to.
All right, everyone. I hope all of you out there who are building local, geo-targeted landing pages at scale have found this valuable, and I hope you’re going to go build some phenomenal pages. Maybe someone will even start a whisky company for me.
All right, everyone. Take care. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday.
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You can only speak and write English so how do you converse with a person in China who writes Mandarin but doesn’t understand a word of English? Google Translate is no doubt a good option but it is going to be tedious for you (and your Chinese friend) to translate each and every sentence manually before sending them through any messenger.
How do you break down the language barrier and chat with someone in another country when there’s no ‘common’ language between the two parties? Microsoft is building a version of Skype for that will allow real-time translation for voice and video calls. You can watch the video demo though the actual software is expected to become available for Windows 8 later this year.
There’s another option now for people looking to have multi-lingual text chats – Google Sheets. Since two people can work on a Google Sheet simultaneously, it can actually work as a simple chat client. And if you integrate the same sheet with Google Translate – which is easy – the text typed inside Google Sheets can be translated in real-time and automatically (Demo GIF).
Multi-lingual Chat with Live Translation
Here’s the idea. You have two participants speaking different languages that have opened a Google Sheet at the same time. There are 2 columns in the sheet for each participant. Now Participant A can write text in his own language in column A and the translated version in Participant B’s language will appear instantly in the second column. And vice-versa.
To get started, open this Google Sheet and choose File -> Make a copy to make your own copy of the sheet in your Google Drive. Now hit the share button in your sheet and share it another person with “edit” permissions (since he or she would write the text inside your sheet).
That’s pretty much it. All you have to do now is put your name and your friend’s name in cells C4 and G4 respectively. Also select your native languages from the drop-down in cell C5 and C6. Now type anything in the yellow cell and it will appear in the second column in the participant B’s language. Similarly they can write in the green cell and the translated text would show up in your column.
Internally, the sheet is powered by Google Scripts. And it supports all language pairs that are supported by Google Translate from Hindi to French to German to Tamil. Give it a try!
Update: Some suggested that Google Talk supports translation bots and thus can solve a similar problem. Possible but Google Talk has migrated to Google Hangouts and a Google community manager confirmed in a thread that Hangouts do currently  support chat bots.
This story, Use Google Sheets for Multilingual Chat with Speakers of Different Languages, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 16/10/2014 under Google Translate, Internet
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog
SEO is subject to frequent change, but in the last year or two, the changes feel both more frequent and significant than changes in the past. Florida hit in 2003. Since then, it’s like we get a Florida every six months.
Whenever Google updates the underlying landscape, the strategies need to change in order to deal with it. No fair warning. That’s not the game.
From Tweaks To Strategy
There used to be a time when SEOs followed a standard prescription. Many of us remember a piece of software called Web Position Gold.
Web Position Gold emerged when SEO could be reduced to a series of repeatable – largely technical – steps. Those steps involved adding keywords to a page, repeating those keywords in sufficient density, checking a few pieces of markup, then scoring against an “ideal” page. Upload to web. Add a few links. Wait a bit. Run a web ranking report. Viola! You’re an SEO. In all but the most competitive areas, this actually worked.
Seems rather quaint these days.
These days, you could do all of the above and get nowhere. Or you might get somewhere, but when so many more factors in play, they can’t be isolated to an individual page score. If the page is published on a site with sufficient authority, it will do well almost immediately. If it appears on a little known site, it may remain invisible for a long time.
Before Google floated in 2004, they released an investor statement signalling SEO – well, “index spammers” – as a business risk. If you ever want to know what Google really feels about people who “manipulate” their results, it’s right here:
We are susceptible to index spammers who could harm the integrity of our web search results.
There is an ongoing and increasing effort by “index spammers” to develop ways to manipulate our web search results. For example, because our web search technology ranks a web page’s relevance based in part on the importance of the web sites that link to it, people have attempted to link a group of web sites together to manipulate web search results. We take this problem very seriously because providing relevant information to users is critical to our success. If our efforts to combat these and other types of index spamming are unsuccessful, our reputation for delivering relevant information could be diminished. This could result in a decline in user traffic, which would damage our business.
SEO competes with the Adwords business model. So, Google “take very seriously” the activities of those who seek to figure out the algorithms, reverse engineer them, and create push-button tools like Web Position Gold. We’ve had Florida, and Panda, and Penguin, and Hummingbird, all aimed at making the search experience better for users, whilst having the pleasant side effect, as far as Google is concerned, of making life more difficult for SEOs.
I think the key part of Google’s statement was “delivering relevant information”.
From Technical Exercise To PR
SEO will always involve technical aspects. You get down into code level and mark it up. The SEO needs to be aware of development and design and how those activities can affect SEO. The SEO needs to know how web servers work, and how spiders can sometimes fail to deal with their quirks.
But in the years since Florida, marketing aspects have become more important. An SEO can perform the technical aspects of SEO and get nowhere. More recent algorithms, such as Panda and Penguin, gauge the behaviour of users, as Google tries to determine information quality of pages. Hummingbird attempts to discover the intent that lays behind keywords.
As a result, Keyword-based SEO is in the process of being killed off. Google withholds keyword referrer data and their various algorithms attempt to deliver pages based on a users intent and activity – both prior and present – in order to deliver relevant information. Understanding the user, having a unique and desirable offering, and a defensible market position is more important than any keyword markup. The keyword match, on which much SEO is based, is not an approach that is likely to endure.
The emphasis has also shifted away from the smaller operators and now appears to favour brands. This occurs not because brands are categorized as “brands”, but due to the side effects of significant PR activities. Bigger companies tend to run multiple advertising and PR campaigns, so produce signals Google finds favorable i.e. search volume on company name, semantic associations with products and services, frequent links from reputable media, and so on. This flows through into rank. And it also earns them leeway when operating in the gray area where manual penalties are handed out to smaller & weaker entities for the same activities.
Apparently, Google killed off toolbar PageRank.
We will probably not going to be updating it [PageRank] going forward, at least in the Toolbar PageRank.
A few people noted it, but the news won’t raise many eyebrows as toolbar PR has long since become meaningless. Are there any SEOs altering what they do based on toolbar PR? It’s hard to imagine why. The reality is that an external PR value might indicate an approximate popularity level, but this isn’t an indicator of the subsequent ranking a link from such a page will deliver. There are too many other factors involved. If Google are still using an internal PR metric, it’s likely to be a significantly more complicated beast than was revealed in 1997.
A PageRank score is a proxy for authority. I’m quite sure Google kept it going as an inside joke.
A much more useful proxy for authority are the top ten pages in any niche. Google has determined all well-ranking pages have sufficient authority, and no matter what the toolbar, or any other third-party proxy, says, it’s Google’s output that counts. A link from any one of the top ten pages will likely confer a useful degree of authority, all else being equal. It’s good marketing practice to be linked from, and engage with, known leaders in your niche. That’s PR, as in public relations thinking, vs PR (Page rank), technical thinking.
The next to go will likely be keyword-driven SEO. Withholding keyword referral data was the beginning of the end. Hummingbird is hammering in the nails. Keywords are still great for research purposes – to determine if there’s an audience and what the size of that audience may be – but SEO is increasingly driven by semantic associations and site categorizations. It’s not enough to feature a keyword on a page. A page, and site, needs to be about that keyword, and keywords like it, and be externally recognized as such. In the majority of cases, a page needs to match user intent, rather than just a search term. There are many exceptions, of course, but given what we know about Hummingbird, this appears to be the trend.
People will still look at rank, and lust after prize keywords, but really, rankings have been a distraction all along. Reach and specificity is more important i.e. where’s the most value coming from? The more specific the keyword, typically the lower the bounce rate and the higher the conversion rate. The lower the bounce-rate, and higher the conversion rate, the more positive signals the site will generate, which will flow back into a ranking algorithm increasing being tuned for engagement. Ranking for any keyword that isn’t delivering business value makes no sense.
There are always exceptions. But that’s the trend. Google are looking for pages that match user intent, not just pages that match a keyword term. In terms of reach, you want to be everywhere your customers are.
Search Is The Same, But Different
To adapt to change, SEOs should think about search in the widest possible terms. A search is quest for information. It may be an active, self-directed search, in the form of a search engine query. Or a more passive search, delivered via social media subscriptions and the act of following. How will all these activities feed into your search strategy?
Sure, it’s not a traditional definition of SEO, as I’m not limiting it to search engines. Rather, my point is about the wider quest for information. People want to find things. Eric Schmidt recently claimed Amazon is Google’s biggest competitor in search. The mechanisms and channels may change, but the quest remains the same. Take, for example, the changing strategy of BuzzFeed:
Soon after Peretti had turned his attention to BuzzFeed full-time in 2011, after leaving the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed took a hit from Google. The site had been trying to focus on building traffic from both social media marketing and through SEO. But the SEO traffic — the free traffic driven from Google’s search results — dried up.
Reach is important. Topicality is important. Freshness, in most cases, is important. Engagement is important. Finding information is not just about a technical match of a keyword, it’s about an intellectual match of an idea. BuzzFeed didn’t take their eye off the ball. They know helping users find information is the point of the game they are in.
And the internet has only just begun.
In terms of the internet, nothing has happened yet. The internet is still at the beginning of its beginning. If we could climb into a time machine and journey 30 years into the future, and from that vantage look back to today, we’d realize that most of the greatest products running the lives of citizens in 2044 were not invented until after 2014. People in the future will look at their holodecks, and wearable virtual reality contact lenses, and downloadable avatars, and AI interfaces, and say, oh, you didn’t really have the internet (or whatever they’ll call it) back then.
In 30 years time, people will still be on the exact same quest for information. The point of SEO has always been to get your information in front of visitors, and that’s why SEO will endure. SEO was always a bit of a silly name, and it often distracts people from the point, which is to get your stuff seen ahead of the rest.
Some SEOs have given up in despair because it’s not like the old days. It’s becoming more expensive to do effective SEO, and the reward may not be there, especially for smaller sites. However, this might be to miss the point, somewhat.
The audience is still there. Their needs haven’t changed. They still want to find stuff. If SEO is all about helping users find stuff, then that’s the important thing. Remember the “why”. Adapt the “how”
In the next few articles, we’ll look at the specifics of how.
Microsoft Excel and other programs in Microsoft Office provide a handy feature called “Quick Styles” to help you quickly format a selected range as a striped table. The table can have zebra lines meaning alternating rows are formatted with different colors (see example).
Google Sheets do not support zebra stripes (yet) but you can use conditional formatting combined with a simple Google Formula to create a formatted table. You can apply alternating colors to both rows and columns in Google Sheets easily.
Here’s the trick.
Open a Google Sheet and choose Conditional formatting from the Format menu. Select Custom Formula from the dropdown and put this formula in the input box.
Select a Background color for the rule and set the range in A1 notation. For instance, if you wish to apply alternating colors to rows 1 to 100 for columns A to Z, set the range as A1:Z100.
Click the “Add another rule” link and repeat the steps but set =ISODD(ROW()) as the custom formula and choose a different background color. Save the rules and the zebra stripes would be automatically applied to the specified range of cells.
Tip: If you wish to extend this technique to format columns with different colors, use the =ISEVEN(COLUMN()) formula. Simple!
This story, How to Color Alternate Rows in Google Sheets, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 16/10/2014 under Google Docs, Internet
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog
Do you know that you can restart your Android phone in safe mode much like your Windows or Mac computers? Press and hold the Power / Sleep button on your phone and you’ll be presented with an option to Power Off the device. Tap and hold that option and you will now be able to reboot your phone in “safe” mode.
When the phone is in safe mode, you’ll see the words Safe Mode in the lower left corner of the screen. Apparently I am very late to the party – the safe mode feature has been available in Android for many years – but it does seem to solve two problems:
If your Android phone freezes or crashes on startup, or randomly restarts, you can force restart your phone in Safe mode and uninstall any of the recent app(s) that may be preventing your phone from working correctly. Now when your phone is in safe mode, you would only see the factory-installed apps on the phone but you can still go to Settings -> Apps to uninstall any apps that you have recently downloaded.
If your Android phone has become slow over time – because of all the installed apps, themes and widgets – you can use the safe mode to temporarily turn the tortoise into the hare without having to do a factory reset. The phone becomes insanely fast in safe mode and you can still use all the Google apps including Gmail, Chrome, Maps, Calendar and so on. The device feels more responsive too.
To exit the safe mode, restart your device by holding the power button, then power off and restart. The device will open in the normal mode automatically. All your apps and screens are preserved but the one big downside with Safe mode is that will log you out of all the non-Google apps. So if you have Android apps like Dropbox, Twitter or Facebook on your phone, you’ll have to login again in all these apps.
This story, Restart your Android Phone in Safe Mode to Troubleshoot Problems, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 08/10/2014 under Android, Gadgets
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog
Hey there Mozzers. This is a collaborative post between myself and a good friend of mine, Matthew Sweezey. Sweezey is the head of B2B Marketing Thought Leadership at Salesforce.com and he knows a whole lot about marketing. We’re excited to share this post with you and look forward to your feedback in the comments below.
In 1999, AdAge released its list of
most influential advertising campaigns of all time. At the top of the list was ‘Think Small,’ a campaign that introduced the Volkswagen Beetle to America. It was given top honors not because of its graphical juxtaposition, or its catchy copy, but rather its honest approach. It was the first major campaign to go against what the American consumer said they wanted. When Chevy was telling consumers bigger was better, Volkswagen acknowledged their shortcomings and advised consumers to, ‘Think Small.’
When a brand is able to make a sincere connection with a consumer, something incredibly powerful happens. Beyond mere fleeting impact, that moment of connection provides a foundation for long-term advocacy, loyalty, and a sustainable bottom line.
The average consumer in today’s market is exposed to more than 5,000 advertising messages per day, wields more computing power in their hand than NASA had to land a man on the moon, and can make a decision about your website in 1/20 of a second. Consumers are overwhelmed with images, and sales pitches and desire a more emotional connection from the companies they support. With this amount of noise, and such fickle consumers, companies who are able to genuinely connect with their customers and community of supporters will have a strategic advantage over those who don’t.
As businesses, we should not look at marketing solely as the ability to sell things, but as the conduit for building relationships. Nourishing this conduit requires all the same steps as any relationship building: For reasons both emotional and practical, you have to build a real connection, listen and take action based on what you hear, prioritize the relationship itself, and deliver on the promises you make.
Being authentic and genuine isn’t something that companies can fake. Consumers are smart, and they expect a lot from the brands they choose to support. More than a great product or service, it’s the
passion and cause at the core of the company that builds this much deeper emotional connection between the brand and the customer. All of which can be fostered through personal, meaningful, and relevant content.
Always does a pretty incredible job of this in their #LikeaGirl campaign.
At the heart of this video is a powerful topic that attracts the attention of girls (and women) everywhere: the confidence that girls possess dramatically declines during puberty.
Always is on a mission to “champion girls’ confidence.” This is a cause that anyone who watches this video can be inspired to change, but certainly the target is girls and women all over the world.
What’s so captivating about the video is that
Always uses the authenticity of story and the transparency of a behind-the-scenes video shoot to build a powerful, emotional association with their brand. An approach that wouldn’t work if Always was taking up this cause just for the numbers on social. Because all of the people in the video are genuinely invested, the message is delivered with conviction not only from the director but also the young adults who are featured in the commercial; they all believe it, too.
What’s great about campaigns like #LikeaGirl, and others like this that Always supports, is that Always isn’t solely focusing their content on promoting their products. They’re supplementing self-promotional efforts with real causes, revealing their sympathy and sensitivity to things that are important to their customers. If they’re this compassionate on the sociological side, and they actually live up to these expectations when their customers are using their products, the relationship will be easily formed, and the deep, emotional connection to their brand will be built.
Making a connection with personality
What if you don’t have a universal cause like girls’ confidence or a large budget to work with? You can build an authentic and emotional connection with your customers and community even when doing simple things like administering a survey.
In order to improve their video hosting product, Wistia created a “Take a Survey” video, featuring their entire company actually doing the Hustle, in order to collect useful feedback. Remember, Wisita is only a fun brand because they choose to be. The video hosting industry is not a sexy, or an exciting one, however they used their content to show off their personality to build a connection with their customers.
What Do You Want to Learn from Wistia? | Wistia at Work
Rather than going with the generic (and more expensive) gift card or iPad raffle, they decided to use something that was genuine and aligned with their culture as an incentive to complete the survey.
This was not a stretch for Wistia. Their personality and natural brand authenticity shows through in everything they do in their marketing. The sincere enjoyment Wistia has in creating these types of videos is infectious and builds an instant, emotional connection with their audience. People loved it so much, Wistia earned their highest engagement on a survey ever. They saw this as a chance to make a connection even though they were asking you to take a survey.
For Wistia, and for companies building an emotional connection in general, it’s not about doing things like this just to market; it’s got to be part of your culture. That’s where the authentic and emotional connection really comes from. Wistia’s customers know that they genuinely care about what they think and they’d do anything, even dance The Hustle, to show their commitment to the relationship. This is a bond that will help them maintain a connection with their customers long-term.
Making a connection in a boring niche
But the thing is, if your company is not in an innately creative industry, that doesn’t mean you can’t create an emotional connection with your customers. You just might have to work a little harder to figure out what will initiate that bond.
Emotional connection most certainly comes from authenticity but it also comes from a shared interest. Both Always and Wisita have a shared interest with their fans. Always sells feminine products, so supporting and championing young women is an easy fit. Wisita is a video hosting company, so educating (or asking for favors) through video is a natural place to make that connection.
In boring industries, for companies who are willing to dig a little deeper for a common interest and also use some personality, there’s just as much opportunity to forge the emotional connection. You can start by capitalizing on
Ian Lurie’s Random Affinities to identify the possible interests of your customers. All you need is two random ideas that don’t necessarily have any connection except for a shared interest with your audience.
It’s a great way to show your customers that you have a personality and because you’re working to spark that emotional connection, you’ll have a much easier time building that relationship.
You can also forge an emotional connection by getting involved — both on and offline — in things outside your niche: joining, supporting, or sponsoring community events or causes. But again, the effort needs to be genuine, so pick a cause that you truly believe in and would support regardless of the recognition or positive regard you would earn from your customers. The passion that you feel will be both contagious and attractive to your potential audience.
It’s one thing to provide the opportunity for your customers and community to give their feedback and voice their desires. It’s entirely another to show them you’ve listened by responding through action. When you truly listen to someone, you gain their trust, and more importantly, their respect.
Seamly is a company who uses surplus fabric to create unique and limited edition clothing. They take listening to a whole new level by aligning customer feedback with production. They crowdsource in order to design the next pieces in their line.
Seamly collects the feedback on their website and then begins producing the apparel.
Additionally, as Seamly addresses challenges that arise during production, they provide their audience with an opportunity to participate in making decisions that ultimately affect them.
Listening at this level will not only make a difference in Seamly’s products (and their sales), but in the relationships they have with their customers. Being human and showing their customers that they’ve been heard will build a deeper and lasting connection with the company and their brand.
When you make great things, and you connect with your customers on this level, they love you. They write about you. They tell their friends. They do the work for you.
The thing about listening is that it’s not just about interaction. It’s about providing the opportunity for actual human people to participate in your company’s market research. Seamly is focusing on what their customers actually need rather than just following a fashion trend. They’re not designing their clothes based on what a focus group put together with an ad agency in New York. They’re not allowing the fashion world to dictate. They’re creating and detailing garments that their actual customers like.
Seamly’s approach works because they’re listening to their customers and giving them exactly what they need. That makes Seamly real to them because they’re communicating an understanding of each of their customer’s individual needs. That’s real. That’s genuine. And that’s exactly what inspires trust and loyalty.
Human responses increase sales
There’s a large online bridal retailer who ships thousands of items every day, and on occasion they make a mistake with an order. In an attempt to humanize their brand and listen to their customers (rather than just doing what they, as a retailer, would prefer), they set up a split test to determine which way of apologizing to their customers would be most effective.
To Group A, they sent a $ 50 dollar gift card, and to Group B, they personally called to apologize. Once the experiment had been executed, the retailer followed up with each group of customers to ask them if they would be likely to buy from them again.
Group B, the group that received a personal phone call apology, was twice more likely to buy from them again. Because they listened, this retailer discovered that a personal, human connection — not a gift card, and not an email, but a real live human conversation — was more meaningful to their customers.
This may not be true for every company or every customer, but finding out directly from your customers what they prefer and then doing exactly that, will show them you’re listening, you care, and you’re worth their money, advocacy, and support.
In his book
Permission Marketing, Seth Godin pioneered the idea of content marketing. Create something of value that will motivate people to provide you with an email address. The problem is, we’re competing for attention among so much noise, so earning that conversion has become increasingly difficult. There are over 80 billion business emails sent every week and over 200 millions hours spent on YouTube. Consumers have access to a lot of content, and are weary of another brand sending more emails into their already cluttered lives.
Conversions are a by-product of great relationships. Relationships built on empathy, transparency, and honesty are the ones that last and drive a lifetime of conversions.
The key to creating content that will convert is to optimize for the relationship with the consumer, not the conversion.
About a year ago, Mack Web launched a community building guide. It was our first big “product” and although it took us about 8 months to finish it, we were confident that all of our hard work was going to make a big statement about our company and brand. We thought giving it away for free — no email address and no monetary transaction required — would make the biggest statement of all.
It definitely did.
In less than 12 months, Mack Web earned nearly 6,000 guide downloads (not to mention 373 inbound links). We didn’t require anyone to provide an email address in order to download the guide, but since the guide has launched, we’ve experienced all kinds of amazing benefits including increasing our organic email subscriptions by 50%. The most common feedback we received after launching the guide was that the people reading it couldn’t believe they were giving it away for free.
Mack Web probably could have charged for our guide, but we’re confident that giving this level of content away, no strings attached, helped to make a lasting connection with our audience in the very early and formidable stages of building our brand. At some level, we’ve planted a tiny seed with 6,000 people by providing them something of value for free, ultimately by first earning their trust.
People know when you’re not being genuine and putting on a front just to get something in return. If you’re not thinking of the customer first and providing them with the things they need, it won’t matter if you have an email address; you won’t build a connection or earn the opportunity of a relationship.
The trick Mack Web learned from giving something away without asking anything in return?
You don’t need any tricks.
Lead with integrity and put your customers ahead of your bottom line.
There are undercurrents to every digital interaction you have with your customers. Every promotion, everything you say about your brand, everything you convey about your brand is a promise. Every conversion, every time they choose to buy, download, or subscribe is an agreement. You promise to provide something of value or to care about certain things or to work toward certain goals; they promise to engage with you as a result.
But here’s the twist: each of these promise-and-deliver interactions is actually a negotiation for further, richer engagement. How you deliver on your promise dictates what happens next: do you build a relationship or do you lose a fan?
There are over 150 million blogs online and 500 million tweets per day. The content choices a person has are endless, so you have to give them a reason to engage with you – to deliver on the value you promised, the value that attracted them to you in the first place. You can’t afford to take the consumers for granted and forget that it’s a negotiation, because they certainly won’t. They are constantly bombarded by ads, by links, and by reminders that they have many, many options.
If you fail to remember this, you may be spending money only to drive people away.
In a study Sweezey conducted of over 400 B2B buyers, he found that 71% of consumers have been disappointed with the content they downloaded from a business. Of those 71%, 25% would never read content from the business again due to their disappointment.
This is, quite simply, because they really don’t have to. If you don’t care to fully listen to and empathize with their needs, to provide them the fullest, richest experience, they can easily find the relationship they are seeking elsewhere. Not surprisingly, 49% of consumers who have a bad experience with content said it had a serious effect on their trust of the brand.
A few weeks ago, I did a webinar for Piqora. There were almost 900 people who signed up for the Webinar, and because I was the presenter, Piquora offered to provide me with the email list. Immediately I told Piqora that we wouldn’t have any use for the list. I’m not overly fond of companies automatically adding me to a list I didn’t sign up for and I didn’t want to return the annoyance and drive people away from our brand, especially at first experience.
In fact, depriving our audience of choice goes explicitly against one of Mack Web’s values: human-centricity. If there’s a practice that personally annoys us, using it on others would be a pretty severe break in the promise of our own brand.
Still, it would be a shame to pass up on the opportunity to connect with these 900 people. So instead, Mack Web asked them:
We didn’t get all 899 people who signed up for the webinar, but what we did get was 66 people who, by their own free will, felt confident about connecting with Mack Web this way. That effort was the highest signup month we’ve ever had.
The best part for us though, was getting feedback like this:
Because this is how it could have gone:
We’ve all been there. You voluntarily sign up to listen to a webinar, or download a whitepaper you’re really excited about reading. But then, immediately following, in addition to the content you wanted, you also get spammed with all the stuff you never asked for. Immediate relationship infringement.
Giving readers the opportunity to choose demonstrates respect for their needs which makes you human. Then, all you have to do is continue delivering on the experience that your audiences expects so that you can maintain their trust ongoing.
Follow through both on- and offline
Delivering on your promise as a company needs to happen on every channel, not just your website, social, or email marketing. The experience is everything before, during, and after the interaction, and you must meet customer expectations both on and offline.
Kmart did great work humanizing their brand with the ‘Ship my Pants’ campaign of creative TV commercials, but the experience falls flat when it comes to their actual stores.
The majority of reviews of the Chicago, Illinois Kmarts fall below 3 stars. Some even as low as 2 out of 5.
Where Kmart has gone wrong is by treating their marketing and their in-store performance as separate entities. To reconcile the difference between their ads and their stories, Kmart could choose to be transparent about the subpar performance offline. They could share their plans for improvement with their customers. If their customers and community are aware that they are facing issues and trying to tackle them, rather than covering them up with a creative campaign, Kmart may earn their compassion and trust.
Everything you do as a company communicates the experience of your brand, not just your marketing copy or paid ads.
Every touch point offers an opportunity to develop an honest relationship with the people who are coming in contact with you. Put honesty and authenticity first and you’ll provide an amazing experience with your brand.
The good news and the bad news
The good news is that all of this stuff is pretty simple. We’re all human beings. We all work with other human beings. We all know that we need to treat our customers how we would like to be treated.
The bad news is that simple is not the same thing as easy. Humanizing your brand, building trust, fostering an authentic and lasting connection with your customers is hard work. It doesn’t necessarily scale. And unless you can tap into some genuine, authentic passion of your own, the connection is going to be a whole lot harder to ignite.
The companies that can do this stuff and do it well are the ones that have, at their heart, a purpose deeper than making money. Maybe it’s something everyone can connect to like
Always advocating for girls everywhere. Maybe it’s something closer to home like providing wearable, unique clothes tailored to your customers’ needs and tastes like Seamly. Whatever your goals, your real passion and drive for that meaning beyond money will keep you going, will inspire you to relentlessly improve your products, and will ensure that your brand is memorable and desirable to your customers.
Which is why all this humanizing stuff has to start from the inside. In order for it to be successful, you have to get the whole company on board and genuinely excited about providing the full human experience to your customers. If your marketing doesn’t
come from your core, it’s not going to forge a genuine and emotional connection with your customers, and it certainly won’t help you foster the growth of a community.
Flashy ads can help you stand out for a moment. But for the longest-lasting and most loyal customers, you don’t have to outspend or outdo everyone else. You just have to outthink them and do the simple stuff that real humans do.
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Prime Reasons for, why SEO plays in enhanced web traffic
It has been recently found that, the strategies opted by the SEO Birmingham companies have become critically significant to the success of small businesses. If your online business is not making use of SEO Birmingham, this write-up discusses prime reasons why you should opt for the local strategies used by SEO Birmingham companies.
As per the recent findings, more than 39% of the NETIZENS experience problems while searching for the local businesses over the Word Wide Wed. People know about the existence of the local business, but suffer inconvenience while locating web information about such businesses. The major reason behind such inconvenience suffered by the Netizens is that such business fails to understand the relevance of SEO Birmingham. Thereby, if your business provides products and services over the web nationally or internationally, search engine optimization can be of great help over making the brand visible on the search engine results.
Nowadays, more and more people rely on the Internet for finding local businesses
There have been times, when the local business did not worry about the scope of SEO, just word of mouth has been more than enough for spreading their existence to the local consumers. But, today as per the statistics more than 84% of the people make use of the Internet medium for locating the local businesses. No telephone directories, people rely on search engines.
Thus, it becomes essential to change the traditional marketing strategy to modern day strategy of online marketing.
SEO Birmingham costs a little less
If you are considering Adword strategy to capture the online marketing domain, you must be aware of the fact; the popularity of the keyword chosen is directly proportional to the amount of the fee paid. Selection of local keywords means lesser keyword competition, which means you need not pay extra costs.
Helps in reaping the benefits of advanced Google features
SEO companies in Birmingham, such as SEO Results4u at Avon House,
435 Stratford Road,
B90 4AA 0121 746 3121 also contribute to the SEO landscape of their local area, be it Solihull, Birmingham or even the wider West Midlands area.
People are actually unaware about the fact, Google plus has changed the traditional way of Internet usage. If the keywords chosen are relevant to the domain to the local market, you very wisely unlock enhanced services offered by Google:
A map representing the physical location of a business
Appealing pictures with respect to the business
Make use of the reviews posted by the user
Truth be told, without using the local platform of SEO, Google plus fails to recognize your business, which clearly means lack of authentic information over the web.
Local SEO encourages better and enhanced credibility
People trust Yahoo, Bing and Google with their eyes closed and believe, these magical search engines have remedies for each and every query. It is a well-accepted notion among the commoners, the brands that appear in the top search lists are most wanted and authentic service providers. So, if you want people to believe in your brand's credibility, Search Engine Optimization adds credibility to your brand power among the commoners. Local SEO adds credibility as well as a definite increase in the web traffic.
Your Peers are using
Business is all about competition. Your peers are using it and yielding the benefits, why aren’t you?