The web is a place for new and shiny things, for fads and sexy new start-ups. Like many of us, web “experts” have short attention spans and tend to jump from one fad to the next. Over the last few years I have heard a consistent refrain that Search is dead or dying and being replace by something new or better.
In 2012 the discussion around search have been even more vigorous following Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Some have even claimed this will kill the SEO industry.
SEO is more important than ever, it just needs to be addressed differently.The only people suffering are the SEO’s who cling to old-fashioned strategies that are no longer effective.
Lets look at the facts:
- Eighty-two percent of consumers researched a product before buying it according to latest Forrester report
- Search engines are still used by around 92% of all internet users
- Here in Australia, Google continues to enjoy approximately 94% share of all search traffic according to Stat Counter.
- Crucially, being found on page 1 of Google is still the best way to drive qualified traffic to your website.
- The higher your Google search ranking , the more likely you will receive a click through to your site, as this graphic from Search Engine Watch displays.
A lot of the “search is dead” hysteria has been due to Google’s apparent punishment or discounting of unnatural link-building. This has long been the main tactic of many SEO’s and is how they measure and charge for their services. So while it might mean the death of SEO for for practitioners, the fact that Google is placing less emphasis on link-building is a good thing for consumers. It mean that results are steadily becoming more relevant. Smart SEO’s know this and are addressing it.
What is also becoming apparent is that social media is becoming a significant factor in search results. Most experts now agree that Google and Bing are paying attention to the amount of social activity around posts and pages on your website, even if Google is paying an unnatural amount of attention to its own network. The smart marketers are making sure they have a holistic approach to search and social to achieve the best results.
As Neil Perkin says in his recent analysis of the industry:
“….whilst SEO may not be dying, it is certainly changing and changing fast. As the link between so-called ‘earned media’ and search engine results gets stronger and as the data sources that form results become more numerous and more complex, the requirement is increasingly for SEO to be integrated into everything that the brand does. That means not only the quality of your content, but how you produce it and what you do with it. The skills of a good SEO person have always been about increasing visibility of content and getting it in front of people who are prospective buyers/customers/consumers. And that skill will surely be in more demand than ever.”
SEO isn’t going away anytime soon. Its changing rapidly but as long as so many consumers are logging on to research and purchase SEO will remain an important and necessary task. Honestly, we’re only at the beginning of the online shopping revolution. The numbers will grow exponentially in the next 5 years.
The question now is whether your SEO strategy reflects the current state of the search industry. If it doesn’t then its likely your results will be far from optimal.
Have you noticed how many image-based sites and apps are taking off lately? Instagram, Pinterest and Tumbler have really caught fire, and for good reason; we all love great images. As they say, a picture says a thousand words, and that’s why visual storytelling is so effective.
According to this new infographic from communications company M Booth and media measurement and analytics company Simply Measured, visual content is not only popular, it’s also driving engagement. Consider these stats:
- Videos on Facebook are shared 12X more than links and text posts combined.
- Photos on Facebook are liked 2X more than text updates.
- 42% of all Tumblr posts are photos.
- 100 million Youtube users are taking a social action on videos every week.
- Photo and video posts on Pinterest are referring more traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and Google+.
I know from personal experience that using great images can be very effective. This year I have seen traffic to this blog explode largely due to publishing and sharing more infographics and helpful images. My company’s GetSticky site began using a really nice, clear diagram to display our services and its led to more inquiries than ever. Meanwhile our NLYZR site uses video and bold graphics to get quickly to the point. We keep testing and refining along the way, but these tactics have really helped.
What are you doing to tell your story visually?
BestVendor has just released the results of its 2012 Freelancer Survey, revealing the most popular tools and apps for freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Freelancers are a huge part of the workforce, with 42 million in the U.S. alone. And as one-man (or more commonly, woman) operations, they typically have to manage everything from accounting to sales to operations. BestVendor wanted to know: What are the most popular apps used by freelancers? Below is an infographic showing the top 25 based on data from nearly 100 freelancers
The single most popular tool? Überpopular file-sharing, storage, and back-up service DropBox. Evernote, the electronic memory app, comes in at No. 4.
Which ones do you use? More importantly, which ones should you be using?
Most of us now know that effective use of social media can be highly beneficial for business, but have you ever wondered when is the best to post your message to reach and engage with the most people? Fortunately Bit.ly have done the research on this and have the answers courtesy of this nice infographic by Raka Creative. They’ve worked out the best times to Tweet for click-throughs and the best times to post on Facebook for click-throughs. How does this compare with your experiences?
The Olympics is considered to be the greatest sporting event in the world as well as the oldest international sports extravaganza. Leading up to the London Olympics 2012, Beijing as the host of 2008 had ushered in an era of glitzy grandeur to the event which made the games a big hit all over the world. When every continent comes together for the Olympics with the urge to create a historic event every four years, you would expect the Olympics to sync well with times. Sadly, the upcoming London Olympics 2012 has just been plagued with a controversial statute.
The IOC, International Olympic Committee, has set aside a few very strict social media laws for this year. As per the social media laws stipulated for 2012 Olympics, every post, tweet or blog, in short any online content being circulated through social media or social networks, must be in a first person narrative. Which implies that every piece of information posted online should be in a diary type format necessitating the fact that the poster, tweeter or blogger is giving a firsthand account and speaking for himself or herself.
If these social media laws were not enough, the IOC further states that no videos can be shared from the Olympic village and if athletes were to post any photos or any sort of content about their peers or other competing athletes then they would have to seek permission from the concerned athlete or athletes prior to doing so. What the social media laws for this year Olympics imply is that there would be a sort of social media ban on athletes and everyone involved in the event. This is a form of censorship being imposed and the social media laws basically amount to a social media ban.
What the IOC had in contemplation while announcing these social media laws is not well ascertained at this stage but the sporting community and also a huge section of the online community are not very happy with these social media laws. Putting a social media ban would not only limit the exposure of the Olympics but telling the athletes what they can do, share and what they cannot is simply something that would not go down well with most sportspeople, not to mention the hundreds of millions of social network users.
The IOC is certainly out of touch with the social media phenomenon to have come up with these laws which are nothing short of a social media ban.
Is there an industry more affected by social networks and mobile technology than the travel industry? Possibly not.
When I first traveled overseas postcards and the weekly letter were the main means of communication. These days we’re rarely disconnected from home, our next destination or the people and places we visit.
Mobile technology has turned travel on its head. Now 3 in 4 travelers use a mobile device while on the move. We can check in with our airlines, search and book accommodation with AirBnB and much much more.
The following infographic is by the team at MyDestination.com and has some excellent stats for those researching travel and technology.
When the Olympics start in London on Friday, 27 July they will be forever known as the social media Olympics. At the last Olympics in Beijing in 2008 any news from there may have found its way onto the Internet via blog posts and the occasional video being posted and re-posted on YouTube.
Since then the explosive growth of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest has changed the media landscape dramatically and this time around the impact of social media on the Olympics will be huge. In the past people may have sent text messages, e-mails or commented on forums and chat rooms about the most interesting aspects of the Olympics. Can you imagine the volume of traffic that will be going through all the social media sites as soon as an event has taken place?
As soon as Usain Bolt crosses the finishing line there will be thousands if not millions of posts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. People will be posting on Facebook to get interaction from their friends about the race. Twitter will be buzzing with all sorts of comments, jokes and anecdotes about what just took place. Pinterest will be awash with folk pinning a whole variety of photos that have been lifted from news sites all around the world.
What kind of impact do you think that the social media Olympics will have on newspapers? By the time a journalist has written their piece, the editor has chosen the relevant photos and the rest of the newspaper printed and delivered, there will be very little in the newspaper that has not already been seen, discussed and dissected by the vast majority of the civilised world. The impact of social media on the Olympics could render newspaper coverage superfluous.
Many people will be watching the Olympics not on TV but on iPads and various other mobile devices. Every single bit of news that comes out of the Olympics will spread through the social media like wildfire. It is going to be very difficult for the media to compete against the more popular social media sites. It will be interesting to see the increase in the volume of traffic that is generated by the social media Olympics.
A lot of the athletes themselves will be posting comments on Facebook and Twitter and it is here that most people will go, rather than tune into TV to see any interviews. People now expect news to be delivered immediately and are impatient. If you want to see results, comments, quotes or photos of any of the events it is most likely you will go to one of the social media sites for instant gratification.
2012 will be the first true social media Olympics. The data that emerges over the next few weeks will be telling. Take your mark, get set…..Tweet!
These days businesses are needing to totally rethink how they reach their target customers. A great example is marketing to males. In the good old days, when traditional media was king, the easiest way to reach a male audience was to buy spots in men’s magazines or the reliable 30 second TV spot in sports programs.
These days its not so straight-forward as our attention is divided between so many mediums and the internet is beginning to dominate.
Here’s a really good infographic from the team at iProspect for those businesses looking to target the affluent male consumer. Is your marketing strategy in line with the latest online trends and statistics? (Note: this is from the USA and the geographic references apply to America only).
Here’s a selection of tweets…and more importantly the links….I’ve read or shared in the last week that are worth keeping (also a bit of an experiment in link longevity).
- Journalists, it is time to break free and become media owners: economics.com.au/?p=8994 — Mark Pesce (@mpesce) June 19, 2012
- A must read manifesto for entrepreneurs, business owners & marketers bit.ly/MqZu7k #shifthappens — Steve Sammartino (@sammartino) June 13, 2012
- Why cyclists should never pay rego smh.com.au/executive-styl… via @smh — Gordon Whitehead (@The_Git) June 14, 2012
- [Infographic] Which are the best social media sites for SEO?su.pr/2bYrQa — Craig Wilson (@mediahunter) June 18, 2012
- Why do you curate? The 3 intents of curation and value creation bit.ly/MD1TvG — Ross Dawson (@rossdawson) June 19, 2012
- Read it RT @jonaholmesMW: Where in the msm would you get analysis like this? Nowhere? bit.ly/KQ5Xqt — Carol Duncan (@carolduncan) June 19, 2012
The rapid advancement of technology, especially online technology, presents a multitude of challenges and opportunities. Its something I am keenly aware of as I do business with a wide range of organisations whilst also trying to launch new ideas and applications into the marketplace.
I consider myself to be pretty conversant in the latest happenings in the digital world, but even I have to ask around at times or risk missing opportunities. So I can’t even imagine how the average business owner, marketing manager or government agency must feel trying to keep up with such a rapidly changing environment.
The roll-out of the National Broadband Network only increases the need for knowledge in order to understand its implications and opportunities.
What we desperately need is someone who can help connect the dots.
- Someone neutral and knowledgeable who can point us in the right direction.
- Someone who is talking to government agencies and knows where funding is available.
- Someone who can help advise organisations about putting together good tenders and inviting the right people to pitch.
- Someone passionate enough about the industry and region to identify opportunities and help them to fruition
- Someone who can help provide training options to those who need it.
Fortunately in Newcastle we now have that someone, Gordon Whitehead aka @the_git.
And that brings me to a significant announcement. After 6 years at Sticky, Gordon is moving to a new role that has evolved from his founding of The Lunaticks. The project is called Digital Newcastle and Gordon will be doing all the above and more.
He’ll be connecting the dots between government, government agencies, local business, education, start-ups, digital agencies and services providers.
To be clear: this is a new role with a different organisation and totally independent of Sticky.
I’ll be signing on as a sponsor of Digital Newcastle and I encourage other agencies to sign on as well. Collectively we’ll all benefit from this initiative and it will only be truly effective if the right dots are being connected.
I’d like to congratulate to Gordon on this exciting new role. Already he has garnered considerable support from local government and business groups, and I urge all Newcastle and Hunter businesses and agencies to support him so he can help the entire region flourish in this burgeoning digital economy.