Food for Thought: Series II

I had shared some noteworthy articles last month and decided that it’s a good habit to keep up.

Search: Not Provided: What Remains, Keyword Data Options, the Future

What happens to SEO efforts and Digital marketing when one of your major chunks (organic keyword level data) is not available. Avinash Kaushik gives advice on how to go about working with keyword data and why Google started encrypting organic traffic.

This is a far better approach than simply bitching about Google and hatching conspiracy theories of Adwords trying to maximize their revenues!!

Google+ Guide for Small Businesses

A detailed and step by step guide for Small Businesses to develop their presence on G+. Not only is it very thoughtful, but also it provides links and answers to all the quetsions that you might get stuck. And an awesome UI to boot as well!!

Disillusioned with Facebook? Here’s a way forward

It’s easy to dismiss Facebook as a time sink and a negative ROI generator. I did that. However as time went by, I realized that maintaining a presence on social networks is almost a health factor these days. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger walks us through some of the more important things to keep in mind as you go about trying to rustle up a community on Facebook. All the Social Media Managers out there, you HAVE TO read this.

How to track online RoI of offline marketing

This post is quite close to my heart. It is about measuring the Return on Investment (RoI) of Offline advertising. Traditionally to calculate the RoI, brands would use agencies which specialized in marketing surveys. However, with the boom of Indian e-commerce and the influx of venture capital, most of the online mediums have started offline advertising as well. How does the digital marketing manager of such a firm tackle the RoI calculation? Here is a basic explaination of how you go about Trackign RoI of Offline advertising.

What is Life?

What is Life? is based on a series of lectures delivered at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies by Erwin Schrodinger. This was first published more than 50 years back, and it has found its way in the blue nothing. The PDF file is a lengthy dialogue which meanders through the physical composition of a cell to the destruction of the identity of life using means such as hypnosis. I have to warn you that if you do not take lightly to abstract concepts and discussing them for the sake of discussion itself, then do not read this document. Having said that, this is Food for thought after all!

Food for Thought

The Slow Winter

A hilarious take on Moore’s Law. If you have studied hardware and transistors, then definitely read through this article. Do note, that it’s a PDF document. What is Moore’s Law? … well

Moore’s law is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years.

5 Dos and Don’ts of International SEO – Whiteboard Friday

I had earlier written about Moz’s Aleyda and her checklist for International SEO. Last week Moz had a Whiteboard Friday with Aleyda running us through that Checklist. For people wishing to target other geographies where they do not have any presence, this is a must see video.

Six Visual Solutions To Complex Digital Marketing/Analytics Challenges

Avinash Kaushik gives simple and clear answers to most challenges that digital marketers. The explanation uses Venn Diagrams to make strong points. If you are a HiPPo (Highly Paid Person with an Opinion), then do take some time from your busy schedule and go through this. If your organization is not actively working on any analytics initiatives, then it is high time that you should start!

Sexy Up Your Marketing Data

Annie Cushing shares her presentation from SMX East and drives a point home. For marketers to make sense to the top management, data visualization is crucial. People prefer looking at great looking data instead of just a series of numbers.

Google Webmasters explains Search Appearance

Google Webmasters Explains Search Appearance

This month, Google rolled out a new help feature in their Webmasters tool. If you have been working on your site’s SEO, then probably you know most of this, however, its good to see how Google has nicely summarised this in one helpful page.

If you are not completely confident about your SEO fundamentals, then this is one thing that you should do immediately!

How to setup your Google Authorship correctly

I was intending to write this post for some time now, however this brilliant infographic by Mervik Haums was available and its a great resource of tips of getting your Google+ Authorship setup.

Google Authorship Checklist

To put this in a nutshell,

  1. Ensure you have put your best DP on your Google+ profile
  2. In the post you are writing, ensure that your name is displayed as the anchor text with a link pointing to your Author Profile with rel=author
  3. In your Author Profile, have a link to your Google+ profile with rel=me

I did this the earlier day for Good Home Advisor, and it worked within the next couple of days.

PS – Google Authorship has been nerfed by Google and the data is no longer available. Just one more example in the SEO industry when everyone starts abusing a particular rule, Google nerfs it!

Go Google+ for higher SERPs on Google

Once you launch a site, the work is not done … in fact the work of a webmaster has just begun! One clear metric for the success of your site (especially early on) is site traffic. Over a period of time as your site matures and you get a better sense of what drives your site, you will tend to discard this metric, but initially it is always traffic.

Search as a major component of Traffic

Traffic Split for kidakaka.com
Screenshot from Google Analytics on the traffic source split. 82% search, 14% direct and 4% referral (I have to drive this up!!)

One good component of traffic is search, traffic that comes searching for content relevant to your subject. Yes! There are people out there who are actively searching for things about which you want to write!! Right from narrow niches such as Pathare Prabhu Recipes to broad gulches such as Being Awesome in Excel.

For content rich websites, Search is a major component contributing to the site’s traffic. For example, 70% of my site’s traffic comes from Google Search! This is actually higher than what I wanted it to be and I try to bring it down by driving traffic via other sources, however I will always want a good fat 40-50% traffic coming to my site via search.

In fact when I started working on my site on a regular basis around 6 months back (as part of my new year resolution), I hardly realized that it would make such a big difference to the traffic split.

How to acquire Organic traffic?

There are a lot of agencies out there who promise that they will ensure that you would start ranking on your set of keywords. Here’s a starter for post for those who want to get into SEO, go read this and stop paying agencies a lot of money for barely scratching the surface.

If you want to acquire organic traffic, then write good content … write about things that move you, about things which you are passionate about. Write from the heart, and forget about those grammatical mistakes. If you have a friend who is a grammar nazi, get him/her to review your post later on.

Ranking that Content higher on Google

So now that you have a stream of content on your site, how to ensure that people who are searching for your subject matter actually end up finding your website?

This is where your friends and social circle comes in!

Sharing your content with friends and getting them like/+1 the content is a social signal that search engines read. This acts like a testimonial for your site in the eyes of the search engine.

See this for yourself, take one article on your site and like this on Google+. Then search for this article via your friend’s Google id … note the before +1 Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) and the after SERP.

Google+, you have my attention

Here is a list of things that you need to get setup on with Google+ –

  • Setup Authorship on Google – This will link your Google+ profile to the content you create. It also ensures that your Google+ profile pic is displayed besides the content you write and this gets shown when someone is searching for the content that you have written. Stats provided by Google on this suggest that linking Authorship will get you a 30% boost in your organic click-through rates Authorship_of_Kidakaka
  • Be active on Google+ – Make this a part of your daily routine. Google+ is good for content discovery, try and meet new people on Google+, focus on increasing the number of people who are in your circles and who have you in their circles. This will increase the visibility of your content on Google for at least those people. In case if you have had some interaction with them, then chances are they would want to read what you have to say about the subject that they are currently searching!
  • Get those Google+ Shares – To initially start off, ask your friends to share your site on Google+. This works. It does wear down on your personal equity, but what are friends for if not to help you out :-D

Don’t simply take my word for this. Even Moz (erstwhile SEOMoz) says that there is correlation between Google +1s and Higher SERPs. In layman’s terms what this means is that the more +1s on Google+ your article gets, the higher will it rank on Google.

So get on this network and start using Google+! Instead of wasting time liking lolcats on Facebook, try and use your spare time

Checklist for International SEO

international seo checklist

I always get into a quandary when it comes to setting up the SEO strategy for a site which spans across multiple geographies. What would the best course of action be, to use sub-directories and depend on the equity of the main site, or to spawn separate Top Level Domains (TLDs) and increase the quanta of work.

In fact sometimes this becomes a case of Analysis-Paralysis … inaction which comes from considering too many pros and cons.

This is where Aleyda Solis has shined through with a simple infographic for people like me. Here’s the gist of this, and that’s why I love this infographic –

If you have content for all the different TLDs, then go ahead with multiple TLDs since that’s the best approach. If you do not have that much content, then you can use language based sub-directories with the hreflang attribute and meta content language.

Bing eyes Desktop Search Market

Microsoft’s search engine is one of the lesser known search engines on the web. With lesser known I mean that its far behind in terms of market share with respect to the market leader – Google.

One thing that seems to be working in their favour though, is the So.cl is doing better than G+. Now, in an attempt to nudge out Google from the King of Search Engines, Microsoft has rolled out a new update with their Windows platform. The Bing Desktop.

Good features, and I do recommend this because I like beautiful wallpapers on my desktop :), is that Bing auto-changes the desktop on my Windows. It’s a simple feature, but its different from what Google Desktop does. The rest of the features are pretty much the same as Google Desktop (including the search bar when you hit Ctrl twice).

Google increased their business by focusing on their main product – Search. I think Microsoft is taking a page from that strategic move … focus on pushing products via their flagship product – Windows.