Local Search and Mobile Search Optimization #Pubcon Austin 2015

Brian-Combs-Loren-Baker

This session at Pubcon Austin featured Loren Baker and Brian Combs addressing the overlap of local and mobile SEO

Loren Baker, VP of Business Development Foundation Digital

Localization of SERPs

If you’re using a rank tracking tool that only gives you Google USA data, then you’re not getting the full picture. Rank is based on personalization and geographic location. With the knowledge graph, any organic result beyond 1 or 2 shows below the fold. News, reviews, maps, images all draw users attention away from the top ranking organic result.

That’s why our ranking tools at AuthorityLabs enable you to account for rank variations by location, keyword usage, and desktop or mobile ranking. Our reports can also help clients understand their placement in knowledge graph and local pack positions.

Are you ranking along with blogs, guides, and things other than your direct competitors for key terms? Those results will change based on location.

Tactics for Competing

  • Geographical Hierarchy – prioritize
  • Nested URL structure. Include rich data with local schema markup
  • Local landing pages need to be authentic as well as relevant to the local customer base. Neighborhood guides help users discover you.
  • Local social profile must link to local pages. Specifically, if people are searching for you on their phone.

Produce content local influencers will like, link and share.

Brian Combs, CEO ionadas local LLC

Mobile

Mobile matters because a larger and larger percentage of search users access via mobile. Second screen interaction happens on mobile. 40% of sites are still not mobile-friendly (portent.com study)

Google will determine on a page by page basis. It should affect mobile results only. It’s not tablet specific. Based on page cashe. Will affect organic rankings. May affect local.

Test your site for mobile-friendly results.

Responsive web design, dynamic serving, and separate URLs are all mobile friendly.

Responsive Design

  • Easier to share and link
  • No redirection required
  • Less content engineering
  • Easier for googlebot
  • Implementation is generally easier

Dyanimc Serving

  • Easier to share and link
  • No redirection required
  • cContent can be specific to device

Separate URLs for Mobile

  • Two versions of the site
    • www.yourbrand.com
    • m.yourbrand.com

Recommendations

  • javaScript, CSS and images must be crawlable
  • check robots.txt
  • Optimize titles and meta descriptions
  • Use schema.org for rich content
  • Google mobile-friendly test
  • Test with different devices

Design Recommendations

  • Avoid flash
  • Avoid pop-ups
  • Format for mobile – font size and content formatting
  • Watch out for faulty redirects
  • Design for fingers

Not Ready?

  • Don’t panic
  • Use appropriate speed – don’t rush a crappy mobile site out
  • Benefits will happen quickly

Best SEO Strategies from 2015 #Pubcon Austin

SEo-Pubcon-SessionChange is the only constant for anyone in the Internet marketing industry. SEOs know this better than anyone and many clients live in fear of the next Google algorithm update. So, what do some of the top SEOs in the industry say needs to be the focus of your search efforts for the remainder of the year?

Following is a summary of the take-aways from the presentations by Tony Wright, Rob Woods, and William Leake during Pubcon Austin.

Tony Wright, CEO/Founder WrightIMC

Mobile is the new black. To survive mobilegeddon we need to go back to the basics. SEO is not about links. Code, content, connections, and communication are all critital to successful search engine optimamization.

Link building is about relationships. Easy links don’t exist anymore. Link building is more like a PR campaign. You have to talk to people to gain a link from a quality site. You have to pour into influencers.

Move SEO out of the IT department. Search is marketing. SEO as IT is like putting the chess club in charge of the prom. They understand how the equipment works, but aren’t motiviated by the communications going on via that equipment.

Rob Woods, Independent Consultant, Rob Woods Consulting

Before you go crazy about mobilegeddon, estimate the impact of losing mobile search traffic and assess the cost of converting your site to a more mobile-friendly site against what you’re currently earning on mobile search conversion. Page speed matters. Check your own site speeds in comparison to your competitors. Page load speeds are critical on mobile data. PageSpeed Insights from Google will give recommendations.

Keywords matter but not in the way they used to. It’s not the words on the page but the meaning behind them. Does the content on page answer the questions behind those search terms? Pay attention to how keywords appear together in both queries and on page. Google can understand the relationship between the words in a search term and the words that actually answer the question. In case you’ve missed it, Google has become sophisticated enough to understand a user’s intent behind a search query. It’s important to adapt to how your customers and the public talk about what you do.

Link building is about relationships and outreach. You can still get hit by Penguin. Make sure that you are cleaning up backlinks. Do it on a monthly basis. Monitor new links for negative SEO.

William Leake, CEO Apogee Results

There is not one golden strategy that fits every business. Your strategy will depend on the goals for the business and the relationships with your customers. SEO is cooking, a blend of many things. Define victory first. Many agencies do not challenge their clients enough. SEO can’t be treated like a commodity. Rankings aren’t the end result, rankings make success possible.

Make sure that metrics and measurement are aligned with business goals. Considered purchases are where we are not properly measurement and attribution. Move away from last click attribution. Email tends to steal the thunder from search. Search is what refreshes the email list.

Consider how you can cross-pollinate your messaging through your entire marketing structure. Lean into the other marketing channels to enhance search. Search is the big dog in consumer and small business circles, but it becomes a smaller player in business with large B2B relationships.

Relationships and social signals matter. If ranking is all about what you say about yourself on properties you control, Google is nothing better than Altavista. Content has to be culturally authentic for the geographic areas you hope to rank for. Google is going to continue to move the content bar.

​Infographics 101 – How To Create A Viral Infographic ​

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything you put time and effort into went viral? We can send praise to the Google gods as much as we want, but in order to make anything go viral nowadays you have to put in good ole fashion work.

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Image Source: Tumblr

Sharing your infographic online is no different. There are hundreds of thousand of infographics out there. In fact, if you search the term “infographics” in Google over 43 million search results populate. Everything from the latest blog post about infographics (like this one) to different tools and programs you can use to create an infographic appear in search results.

So, how do you get your infographic to not only show up, but be shared across networks? Follow the below five steps, do even more research than necessary, and begin your road to virality.

Viral-InfographicsImage Source: Shout ME Loud

 

1. Developing Your Infographic Content

The first step in making an infographic go viral is by providing readers with valuable content and data. What information do you want to portray to the world? Do you have data that no one else has or that your demographic would be interested in? Create an infographic!

Providing Emotional Content

Data and statistics are the core of infographics, but emotion is what drives sharing. Readers need to feel attached to the content in one way or another, whether that be through curiosity, amusement, greed, sadness, anger, or passion. A great way to incorporate such emotions in your infographic is in the headline. Touch on people’s needs and wants right away with a captivating headline, while carrying emotion throughout with supporting statistics.

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Image Source: Piktochart

Including a Call to Action

No company creates infographics for fun. There is always a purpose and business goal behind each infographic: increase sales, website traffic, link building, lead capture, or useable internal content. What helps accomplish the goal, while gaining a viral presence with an infographic is by inserting a call to action in the beginning or wrapping up the infographic with a CTA at the end. Give the viewer a reason to keep reading or desire for more information.

2. Designing the Perfect Infographic

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Image Source: Visual.ly

When it comes to infographic design, the most ideal way to accomplish this task is by hiring a company that specializes in infographics. This streamlines the process and allows your design team to focus on their client’s design projects. A few of the better companies that specialize in infographic design are:

If the budget isn’t there for hiring an infographic team or if you have top-notch designers in-house, there are several different programs and resources available to assist with your infographic design.

3. Sharing on Social

Upon content and design completion, a social media sharing plan needs to be developed. Throwing an infographic into the cyber-wild and hoping enough people will like it enough to share isn’t realistic. Yes, there are infographics released by companies with large enough followings to go viral. But, for a guarantee of viral sharing you’ll need a social media plan, an embeddable infographic on your blog (makes it easy to share), and a solid scheduling tool.

Twitter

Sharing your infographic is easy using Twitter. It can be organized in specific Twitter lists, @ mentioned to influential people, and direct messaged to users who have shared infographics before. Use a tool such as Followerwonk to identify such users and hashtags.

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Because tweets are constant and very rarely overused, it makes Twitter the best place to share an infographic consistently.

  • In the beginning of your infographic launch, schedule your #infographic to tweet 3-5 times a day (morning, afternoon, mid-afternoon, evening, late-evening).
  • Use completely different sentence structure and previews so users are still given unique content while discovering new pieces of the infographic.
  • Post images of different sections of the infographic, use call-out points with links, and tweet those extra statistics that didn’t make it to the final design round.

In-between posting snippets of the infographic, share your regularly scheduled tweets and blog posts. This will help break-up your feed and give Tweeters even more variety. After a few days of constant posting, cut back to once a day for about a week. A month later you can increase and decrease tweets depending upon the past month of interaction and feedback. If you’re over-inidating users with your infographic on Twitter, they’ll let you know. Listen and respond accordingly for your future Twitter posting calendars.

Pinterest, Tumblr, and Flickr

These primarily image-based social networks are the perfect place to share a new infographic. Optimizing the caption will be the most important step during upload. Hashtags and keyword phrases that relate to the content on the infographic, as well as hashtags that are trending within the topics, will help make it go viral.

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The preview size on these networks is also smaller than the actual size of most infographics, sometimes cutting as much as 1/4 depending upon length. Use this to your advantage by highlighting sections of the infographic as a preview, similar to Twitter. This gives opportunity for a call to action in the caption or a pop-up graphic on the shortened infographic with a link to the rest.

“Discover the other 8 reasons why #craftbeer has become so popular in #America
with the rest of our #infographic: bitly.com/infographic!”

Facebook

You must share your infographic on Facebook. It’s the top social network, regardless of poor organic reach, and has great potential for viral sharing. To ensure a large audience reach and views on Facebook create different Facebook ads, such as Promoted Posts and custom audiences.

Develop a budget for Facebook ads and keep the infographic ads active for at least the first month of launch. This will increase the likelihood of it being viewed and shared. For example, refer to advertising on billboards in big cities. The more you see a brand’s ad spread across multiple platforms, the more you’re reminded of it.

Honorable Mentions

  • LinkedIn. This business and networking-focused social network is a great place to share infographics of educational value. Post the infographic to groups it relates to, share on your own feed and @ mention people who would appreciate and share it.
  • Instagram. The size of Instagram images are much too small to include all of the infographic. That’s why Instagram is another great network to give sneak-previews with links to the rest. Take screenshots of the most attractive and data-driven parts of the infographic and post on Instagram with related hashtags. #infographic #awesome

4. Submitting to Directories

Directories specific to infographics are great sources to quickly get your infographic out there, while gaining SEO benefits, such as backlinks. There are tons of directories out there happy to share your infographic. Here are a few:

5. Re-Activating Your Guest Posting Super Powers

Just as you scouted for potential bloggers and companies to share blog posts (and links) with, create a new list of potential websites to share your infographic with. Using the same research tools you would for blogging (Ontolo, Group High,) develop an organized Excel doc of potentials and their contact information.

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Reach out to them personally and give them a reason to share, mainly why their audience would enjoy it. This will increase your chances of them sharing it, as well as create new online relationships with similar brands.

love2Image Source: The Quizzical Llama 

Extra tips to make your infographic go viral:

  • Press Releases. Create social media and SEO-specific press releases with several different statistics included. It’s okay to include some information about your company, but remember to keep the focus on the infographic and why it relates to them.
  • Self-promote. Send your infographic to people you know and your email list, while posting on all of your social networks. Don’t be afraid to “spam” your family and friends with your new and exciting project. Develop an angle that will make any audience want to press “share”.

Some Ideas for Food and Fun at #Pubcon Austin

Pubcon-Austin

Howdy and welcome to Texas, y’all. One of the best things about the smaller regional Pubcon conferences is the local culture. For the upcoming event in Austin on April 20th, Pubcon attendees will be able to sample a slice of life as varied as cowboys and hipsters. No matter what you’re into when it comes to food and activities Austin has so much to offer that you’ll wish you had booked a couple of extra days to hang around and take it all in.

FOOD

Austin boasts an incredible food & drink culture. Think BBQ, Tex Mex, food trucks, gourmet coffee shops, and microbreweries. There’s a fantastic sampling of all of this within easy walking or biking distance of the AT&T Conference Center on the University of Texas campus. My good friend and foodie extrodinaire, Kathryn Hutchins of austingastronomist.com, gave me a few recommendations to pass on.

  • The Carillion – Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this dining spot is located in the same building with the conference center allowing you to avoid the Austin traffic completely. Much of the ingredients for their artisan menu are locally sourced and amazingly fresh. Be aware that you may need to make reservations for this popular dining spot.
  • Hopfields – Maybe craft beers and a burger are more your style. Located about a mile down Guadalupe Street, this popular hang out offers craft beer on tap and one of a kind gourmet burgers. Skip the car and take a short bike ride or a long walk to keep from feeling guilty about the calorie splurge.
  • Blackbird and Henry – If wine, cocktails, and dinner with a European flair are what you really crave, then Blackbird and Henry is the place for you. Also located within a block of Hopfields, this foodie’s delight also boasts fresh ingredients from local Texas farms. They serve dinner every night and lunch Tuesday through Friday. Be sure to reserve your table in advance.

Bonus Selection – As I was cruising Yelp I spotted one more place I could not leave off the list.

  • Daito – If you love sake and sushi, this is your place. A leisurely 20 minute walk down Guadalupe will take you to another world. The owners and most of the staff are from Osaka and graciously serve Austin’s most authentic Japanese cuisine.

FUN

Dining is just the beginning. Hop on one of the shuttles running from the campus into the core of downtown Austin. You’ll find tons of live music all along 6th Street starting at Trinity. There’s also the wearhouse district on 4th street that offers jazz and speakeasy style cocktails. There are tons of museums and galleries. And, don’t miss out on the uniquely Austin experience of the flight of the Congress Avenue Bridge bat colony. If you’re sticking around for an extra day, please treat yourself to a walk, bike ride, or jog along the trails around Lady Bird Lake, or rent a kayak and get on the water.

As a resident of the greater Austin area, it is my pleasure to show you a little bit of our southern hospitality. Come find me between sessions, or give me a shout on Twitter (@socialmicheller). I’m happy to point you in the right direction to anything you’d like to do or eat.

Getting Ahead of the Facebook Marketing Curve – Part 2

facebook

As we discussed in part 1 of this series, the Facebook audience is not exclusively on Facebook but spread across a network of mobile apps.

It is then no real surprise that the news with the most impact for marketers had to do not with the latest content type supported on the Facebook newsfeed, but with how businesses can interact and track customers in the wider range of Facebook apps and apps developed for Facebook.

Messenger Power

During the course of the conference keynote we were given a look at new features available in Messenger and more very soon to come. Mark Zuckerberg announced to the very excited crowd of developers that Messenger is no longer just a messaging app, but a fully realized stand-alone platform. Expect to see lots of mobile apps developed especially for the way people communicate with one another and very soon businesses, via Messenger.

The first big change to Messenger is already available for users.

Apps within Messenger

Did you know that while 300 million people use Instagram, there are currently 600 million users on the Messenger app? Is that an audience large enough to get your attention? It should be. And these are users that are already accustomed to sharing not just text messages, but photos, videos, map locations, and links to things around the web that interest them. Facebook also recently launched the ability for people to send money to one another via Messenger.

Screenshot_2015-03-26-11-09-30

Just of a few of the options now available to Messenger users

 

As a platform Messenger is a new opportunity for app distribution, discovery, and attribution. Right now Messenger users are able to find, install, and use several apps designed to add fun and emotional context to their messages without leaving Messenger or the conversation. For brands, this is an opportunity to create something fun and emotional for users and build a top of mind awareness in the minds of potential customers.

Messenger has the potential to become the direct one-on-one real time brand to customer communication that Twitter had hoped to become.

If your business is already considering building a mobile app, how might you rethink the development to take advantage of this opportunity to have a direct connection in the palm of your customers’ hands?

Messenger Business

customer-service-facebookWhat if customers could contact businesses directly and quickly without having to deal with phone routing systems, long wait times for an email response, or hit and miss monitoring of a Twitter account? What if a customer could use Messenger to make a reservation, place an online order, track a package, or get more information that would bring them to your door?

This is the motivation behind the development of Messenger Business. Facebook hopes to facilitate a better communication experience for brands and their customers. This experience would be very personal and very in-the-moment for the consumer.

Think about it, with Messenger Business Facebook is giving you the opportunity to have a direct open line of communication at the moment that your customers are thinking about you. That moment may even be when they are in the middle of a competitor’s store and wondering if you might have a better deal or a nicer quality product to offer. This isn’t a passive search and goes far beyond “showrooming,” this is active real-time communication with your customers.

What will your business need to do to take advantage of the opportunity when it becomes available?

Analytics for Apps

As you know from building a website and developing products and services, creation is only the beginning. To keep doing business requires continual understanding of customers’ needs and tastes. That understanding comes from data. In order to give developers and businesses a better understanding of how often people come back to an app you’ve developed, where they might be dropping off before conversion, and whether or not your marketing campaigns are reaching the right audience with the right information.

The analytics offered by Facebook for apps is cross-device and takes into account the real person rather than relying on cookies for tracking. Is your app drawing three distinct audiences from desk-top, tablet, and mobile, or is your audience really a much smaller highly engaged group of people that use several different devices to connect with your business? Facebook offers to help you determine the answers to those questions.

Combine that data with your SEO and web analytics and you begin to get a much clearer picture of your customers and how they wish to conduct digital business with you.

Facebook Audience Network

The Facebook Audience Network was first introduced last year at f8 to help app developers monetize their apps by offering to display Facebook ads. What makes ads in this network so powerful are the native ads that have the same look and feel of the app they are displayed in. As we mentioned in part one of this series, the audience you can target via Facebook isn’t necessarily on Facebook. That audience is spread out across a whole network of mobile apps.

Word of Caution

Is your business ready for the next wave of technological advancement? Have you yet to catch up the current wave of mobile usage?

Tapping into these powerful tools will drive great, qualified traffic to your business presence online. But, if the core of what you do is not ready for mobile visitors, that traffic might do more harm than good. As you consider how you want to get ahead of the marketing curve via Facebook, make sure that you are ready for the mobile audience onslaught.

  • If you already have a mobile site or an adaptive site, make sure that it is up to date and loads well in the various mobile platforms. Don’t get hit with mobile performance penalties as the new Google mobile algorithm rolls out.
  • Get your hands on the tools that can help you make sense of your mobile search rankings, mobile traffic and mobile user behavior. Authority Labs will be launching a new mobile toolset very soon.
  • If your business is not yet mobile-friendly, you are already way behind the curve and need to reach out for expert help. As a part of the Authority Labs community, you are already a part of a network of experts that can help you take your business to the next level.

Learning How To Everything Part 2: Tips For Maintaining A Great Client Relationship

Relationships are hard. Especially when you’re income is dependent upon their success. Your customers and clients need to believe in your company and ability to give them a strong online presence. When you do your job correctly and communicate clearly, maintaining client relationships doesn’t have to be so difficult. Here’s a few tips to help you get through the many hurdles of client success.
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Image Source: Giphy

Know Your Stuff

Have you ever been asked a question you weren’t sure of by a client? It can be an awkward situation as the professional when you don’t have an answer for everything. This is especially true if you don’t handle the response well and start mumbling or act uncomfortable. A good way to respond is by being completely honest and inform the client you’ll do research and get back to them with an answer, instead of trying to fake the front.

Customer Success Manager at Rivet, Stephanie Carls, has encountered several of these types of questions and offers a way around these sticky situations.
“Have confidence when you give suggestions to your clients. As your relationship with your client grows, so does their confidence in you as someone who can offer suggestions for best uses of your platform.  If you waver on decisions, it starts to give clients an uneasy feeling. They always want to know you are looking out for their best interest and will provide the best use cases for their programs.”

Simplify Your Verbiage

SEO is complicated. Especially when you’re trying to explain what an algorithm is to the local barber shop owner. Take your time and approach what you’re trying to say from the clients perspective.
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Are you using marketing slang in your descriptions? What you think is common jargon can become language barriers between you and a client. Explain in detail what they can expect, and what that really means. Improving your rankings on Google may not mean anything to a client. Making them show up on page one of Google means everything. Understand what language works best for them and accommodate.

Communication is Everything

If a spontaneous meeting is needed because of errors or a lack of communication, take advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with your client and evaluate the situation. Clients need to hear what you’re really trying to say and what actually happened. That doesn’t mean you have to be defensive or automatically look at the conversation as a negative thing. Instead, look at client conversations and meetings as a way to deeply connect with the client, reassure your professionalism to them and the company’s ability to exceed their expectations.

There are several tools that can help streamline meetings and make yourself more available for communication. Felena Hanson, CEO and Founder of Hera Hub, a coworking space for women, uses several different tools to communicate to her customers and potential business partners.

“In building a platform for hundreds of female entrepreneurs we are consistently making sure we are creating a productive coworking space where everyone has a voice and can easily find the resources they need.  I sometimes feel like I use every communication vehicle known to man to ensure that we’re staying visible with customers (our members) – Facebook groups, Google hangout, email, text message, and good old fashion face-to-face connections.  We use some of the same tools to support our franchisees.  Thank goodness for FaceTime, Skype and GoogleHangout or I would be on a plane to the East Coast every other week!”

Be Aware of Your Deadlines

When giving estimates and deadlines to clients, it’s important to make them feel like they’re you’re only client. We all know they’re not, but making them feel like they are priority is important for relationship building.

That doesn’t mean you have to promise a 24-hour turnaround when you have other projects with tighter deadlines. Give yourself more time than you need so you’re always delivering early, while still accommodating their needs. It’s the idea of under promising and over delivering. Making too many promises when you’re nervous or because you don’t know how to say no won’t make a great impression after having to continuously apologize for delays.

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Image Source: Giphy

Correct Your Mistakes

Every once in a while you or someone on your team will make a mistake. Even though us perfectionists try our best to avoid failure, of any kind, mistakes happen. If you’ve made a rather large or highly unexpected mistake, calculate what a valuable response would be and reciprocate with such. 

If you’re contracted to write four blog posts a month, and accidentally used one of their images incorrectly, take responsibility and ensure it won’t happen again. Throw in a free blog post for next month or some form of compensation that shows you really care about the issue. You’ll quickly see how fast the client is willing to forgive you and grant you their trust, once again.

What If My Client Is The Worst?

worst-client
We’ve all had that one client. That one who truly thinks they’re your only client and expect the world delivered to them on a silver platter. Those can be tough clients, but not because of their neediness. The toughest part is learning when to fight your battles and when to stop typing and start doing. Here’s a few tips for lowering your blood pressure:
  • Breathe. Before you start your lengthy email rant of how unfair everything is, take a deep breathe. Every one of your clients and customers are important, equally important, and are the foundation of your company and the business you work for. Mistreating one because you can’t keep your temper together is not a reason to loose a client.
  • Look at the other perspective. For your client, their business is their everything. Just as is it for you. If results aren’t coming in as expected or budgets are tight, take a second and reflect on all of the business road bumps you’ve overcome and how important succeeding is to you. It’s just as important to them, so have a little bit more compassion and understanding when dealing with client hurdles.
  • Don’t forget about the bigger picture. Have you gotten in the habit of doing the same tasks over and over again, forgetting what the overall goal is? It’s important to have regular meetings, reporting, and communication with your client to make sure you both are on the same page. This also gives the client a designated time and place to voice their concerns and opinions, instead of constant emails and phone calls out of the blue.
  • Know when to adjust. If the amount of time you’re spending on a client exceeds how much you are getting paid from such client, it might be time to reconsider the relationship. Does the client have enough budget so you can charge what you think is right, while being able to give the client actionable results? If so, plan out ahead of time and draft up a proper response to approach the increase.
  • It may be time to “fire” your client. Unfortunately having to “fire” clients is a real thing and does come up for all of us. How you do it makes all the difference for your future reputation and branding. If there is someone else you know who would be a better fit, refer them to your client. Don’t 100% throw your client out without a final month of service or at least a great referring company who can better help them. 
Whether you have tons of clients or just a few, maintaining great client relationships is the most important thing you can do for your business. Never dull your value as a company, but more importantly never dull the value of your clients. Happy client=happy life!
Do you have a great client story? Share it in the comments below!