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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter: May 2011

Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter, which looks at some of the recent news and developments in the field of web search and online marketing.

This month's issue includes tips and advice about better link building strategies which should be used to improve rankings, increase brand awareness and visitor traffic from other online sources. We also take a look at how Google develops their social side with the new +1 button, which enables people to recommend content on the web. Finally, you can read about the updated version of Google Analytics which has a new interface and some useful new features.

You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter, either by month or by subject. You can also follow our Facebook page for updates during each month, or we will also post news on our Twitter account.

On to this month's edition...

Better Link Building Strategies

Link building is an essential component of any SEO campaign and can often make a real difference to the ranking positions that a website can achieve. Increasing the inbound links to a website is an on-going process that needs to be implemented to support and improve rankings, as well as increase brand awareness and visitor traffic from other online sources.

A good link building strategy helps to increase the number of links to a website and, if done correctly, can help to drive increased visitor traffic from search (and in particular, Google) due to improved ranking positions, and from other relevant websites which potential customers might be visiting.

Link building campaigns are rarely complex or technical you just need to have a clear plan to follow and to devote some time to the research, submission and administration of the links. There is no "quick fix" to building successful links and it often requires a long term strategy to gradually develop links over time. In fact, if you attract too many links to your website too quickly, it can alert the search engines to possible unusual activity and potential ranking penalties.

There are several core stages to a successful link building campaign, as follows:

* Link audit: you need to see where you currently have links on other websites and assess how big a task your link building campaign might need to be. You should have your website listed on Google's Webmaster Tools to see how many inbound links are recognised by Google, but you can also review these through Yahoo and Bing as well.

* Competitor link research: you should also assess the number of inbound links for your main competitors, which means those websites ranking above your for your chosen search terms. You can't see the full picture of links through Google, but researching Yahoo and Bing can provide more information and a benchmark to aim for.

* Identifying link sites: the above research will help identify some potential sites where your link should also appear, plus there are ways to identify other sites where your link should appear ideally alongside content that's relevant to your market and can include sites like online directories, social networking sites, article and press release sites, plus video sites. Also don't forget customer sites where you might be able to add or exchange a link.

* Submitting links: once you've identified the websites to use, you need to go through the submission process and see if you can get a free link, or whether it requires a reciprocal link or payment. In the latter two cases you need to assess the relative value to your site, but reciprocal links in particular can still be effective.

* Reviewing links: The administration of a link building programme can be extensive and requires regular reviews, possible resubmissions, further research and assessment of the link results being achieved. You should always be on the lookout for new sites where links could be added, as long as these sites are good quality and relevant to your business.

Link building work should be allocated at least 2-3 hours a month and maybe more, depending on the scale of the task. And it has to be ongoing, to help improve your website's ranking potential as well as to protect your existing rankings against competitor activity.

If you'd like more information about how the Web Marketing Workshop can help your business through an effective link building campaign, please contact us now.

 

Google Develops Their Social Side with +1

At the end of March, Google launched their "+1" button, which enables people to recommend content on the web. Widely compared to Facebook's "Like" button, this is seen as another attempt by Google to enter the social networking space, after the poor response to Buzz last year.

The Google +1 service (pronounced "Plus One") is gradually being rolled out from its beta development stage and is mainly available to users in the US at the moment. It's designed for people who are logged in to their Google account to recommend web pages and other content to their social networks and Google hopes that this will become a widely accepted and used system.

Searchers will see the +1 button against all search results in time both organic and from Google AdWords and these will be greyed out. Once a user clicks the button it will appear as a coloured icon and the recommendation will be logged against the user's Google profile, so that they will have a record of the recommendation and their network of friends will also see these details. The user will also see those sites that their friends have recommended as being tagged with the coloured +1 button.

In addition to the +1 button showing up in the search results, Google will be also be making a +1 button available for web users to recommend something without leaving a website. This is part of Google's goal of providing quality search content on the web and thus will allow good quality content that is shared to positively impact its SEO rankings. This is expected to have a significant effect upon SEO, as content that has many +1 "stamps of approval" will probably rank better in the search results, at least as one of the signals used by the search engine.

There has been much talk about how the elements of social networking will be used to contribute to search results, in the same way that links do at the moment. However, after the initial "buzz" around the launch of +1, Google has to get this system accepted and used by people and +1's will clearly face an uphill struggle to compete with "Likes" from the Facebook system.

If you'd like to know more about the Google +1 button and what impact this may have on search results in the future, contact us now.

 

A New Look for Google Analytics

Google has recently released a new version of their popular Analytics product, with a new interface and some useful new features. At the moment, existing Analytics users will just see a link to the new version within their account, but eventually it's likely that Google will transfer all accounts to the new interface by default.

If you're used to navigating around the existing version of Google Analytics, the new version can be quite disorientating to begin with. However, everything that's currently available is still there, but you just need to get familiar with the new layout and links to find what you need.

Initial impressions of the new interface are good, however and there is some major new functionality throughout the redesigned platform. Firstly, Google says that it's easier to get the required information through a faster, streamlined interface, although as noted above, this can take some getting used to at first.

There is a better emphasis on custom reporting through an improved reporting system that enables pre-filtered reports and the creation of additional data views. Notably, if you want to run different reports from the dashboard screen, you can now create multiple dashboards to meet these needs. There is also an enhanced Event tracking for interactions such as downloads and video engagement, and another new feature is the introduction of Plot Rows that provide the ability to graph and compare any two rows over time.

The enhanced dashboard is a particularly useful feature as custom widgets can be set up to track almost any metric. Another welcome change is the ability to use an Event to trigger a Goal, as this feature will allow more complex user behaviour tracking to be set up much more easily. Several disadvantages at the moment is that data can't currently be exported by PDFs or email, and you can't link Analytics to AdWords or AdSense accounts. However, these functions are expected to be "coming very soon", according to Google.

On the whole, the changes to the Google Analytics interface are logical and well thought out, but users will need to relearn the navigation around the account and get familiar with the different layouts and new functionality.

If you have access to Google Analytics, we recommend that you give the new interface a try and if you need any help from us, please get in touch.

 

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter

Readers of our Web Marketing Blog will have seen that after nearly 4 years and over 460 posts, we decided to end the blog and provide news and updates on the web marketing sector through the social media channels. This reflects the changing nature of the online market for communication and allows us to be more flexible in updating our clients and followers with the latest developments. Therefore if you use Facebook or Twitter, you can now follow our news and updates using these channels:

Follow Web Marketing Workshop on Twitter Regular updates will continue to be posted through our main Twitter accounts:

Follow Web Marketing Workshop on Facebook More detailed information will be posted on our Facebook pages:

 

We hope you've found this month's newsletter useful. Please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website's performance. Also, if there are any issues you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, please submit your suggestions to us.