Welcome to The Zero Moment of Truth

Search Engines are the “go-to” destination for almost every question we have these days. They have become our source of general knowledge, entertainment, purchase information and celebrity gossip. The Zero Moment of Truth, a term coined by Google in 2011, refers to the research which is conducted online about a product, organisation or service before taking any action. It’s this zero moment that drives the discovery of our businesses; it’s the single moment that we need to learn to leverage to build personal and business reputation. Leveraging this moment has a lot to do with understanding search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing and online advertising channels to meet potential customers when they discover the need you can fulfil. It comes without saying that managing a robust online reputation means that you need to be able to meet your customers at that zero moment. SEO then becomes one of your primary digital marketing activities. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the fundamental art of setting up your online presence so that Google showcases you as a highly relevant result when a customer conducts an online search around your chosen topics of interest. When Google views your content as relevant, it ranks you correctly in search results, driving more organic, relevant traffic to your website and online channels. How Search Engines Work Search engines have two primary functions: Search engines use automated software, known as robots (or spiders), to follow links on websites, collecting information and storing it in an extensive database When...

Google Panda chews on fresh content

Google Panda is the latest update to Google’s Search algorithm. It basic role is to eliminate low quality websites from search engine result pages. Anton Koekemoer shows us in his blog post on Google Panda that the trick to working with Google Panda is to consider the user first. I think this is key to any web marketing. Most people are too concerned with thier SEO rankings that they forget that people need to actually use the website. I am glad to see that Google is starting to penalise websites that have poor content and that fresh website content will always be the best way to attract Google to your website. I would suggest running your website with strict strategy to create the highest quality content possible and only consider search engines after you have created great content. You can always make great content SEO friendly but making SEO content people friendly is a lot harder. Other tips to make sure Google Panda likes you Delete poor quality content on your website Change the content on pages with high “bounce rates” to improve the stickability of your message on the page Makes sure that you adhere to the basic on-page SEO techniques Are you in danger of the Panda? Quite simply you will pay the price in search engine rankings if you participate in any on the following practices: Copy content or use auto blogs to duplicate legitimate content. You are a splogger or spam blogger who copies content. [box...

Google is looking at your social network to find great content

I have written about this before in How social media affects search results but it is worth repeating. Google is now looking at your social connections to decide which content will be valuable to you or not. For example, I will always prioritise leadership articles that have been retweeted by Keith Coats. The reason is that I respect Keith’s opinion around leadership and therefore hold content he shares in higher regard than other content I simply find posted on the internet with no recommendation from Keith. In other words, people I follow on Twitter, on Facebook or on Linkedin have more opportunity to influence my search results by what they share on the internet. This video will explain it a bit better: Your social media network, and the content you share on that network, is now starting to help you achieve better search engine rankings with people who already know you. [box type=”info” border=”full”]Increase Google Rankings is a short series that looks into a few new developments inside Google that will your rankings inside Google. Google is working hard to create more relevant and more personal search results for its customers. They are actually doing great work (so well done Google!!) but the changes we will look at in this series are important to understand in order to understand how to win with our search engine marketing.[/box]

Google Chrome provides a personalised view of the Internet

Internet users are starting to leave Firefox and have started using Google Chrome. Google Chrome is fast becoming a preferred internet browser by many of the internets influencers and power-users. So lets look into how this will impact your SEO efforts in attracting the attention of influential internet users. Starred/Bookmarked Results are appearing on the font page When people bookmark pages in google chrome it syncs with their google account and prioritises those results in google search. Google does this because they believe that the most meaningful results are those that come from sources that you trust. This means that our SEO and internet marketing job just got harder. If we are not able to build trust with our consumers and our competitors are then they will most likely hold a top, front page position instead of us. Here’s an example: I have bookmarked TomorrowToday, the company where I am a Keynote Speaker and Social Media Coach. Recently I did a search on Keynote Speaker and found a page full of results that did not link to TomorrowToday. I only found TomorrowToday on the second page of the search result. However, because I have TomorrowToday bookmarked the search result displayed TomorrowToday on the front page in my starred/bookmarked listings. This listing showed up at the top of the page. Building Trust Building trust is a complicated and onerous task. It is done by building relationships with the end consumer and  learning to appreciate their unique situation. Companies and brands online need to build trustworthy communities in order to naturally...

Google has bigger privacy issues than Facebook

Everyone is talking about the privacy rights of Facebook at the moment but a very interesting statement was made by Mark  Zukerberg in a recent interview: Let me paint the two scenarios for you. They correspond to two companies in the Valley. It’s not completely this extreme, but they are on different sides of the spectrum. On the one hand you have Google, which primarily gets information by tracking stuff that’s going on. They call it crawling. They crawl the web and get information and bring it into their systems. They want to build maps, so they send around vans which literally go and take pictures of your home for their Street View system. And the way they collect and build profiles on people to do advertising is by tracking where you go on the Web, through cookies with DoubleClick and AdSense. That’s how they build a profile about what you’re interested in. Google is a great company, but you can see that taken to a logical extreme that’s a little scary. In essence it is becoming more and more evident that Google is breaking the boundaries of privacy by gathering information without consent. Google tracks most of the activity on the internet and then uses that information as they please. Mike Wronski spoke about an experience where Google potentially scanned his email and used the information to tailor advertising to him. Although this sounds like Google is being extremely clever there is an underlying privacy issue that Google needs...

Social Networks and Brand Value

This blog post is a reply to a comment made on Measuring marketing effectiveness of Facebook. The is always a big debate between internet marketers about the value of social media management verses advertising on Google. In my opinion a successful internet marketing campaign will incorporate a balance of both advertising and brand building. 1) Google is still your primary advertising vehicle Google is still the information source of the internet for most people. This means that advertising on Google will open up avenues for great return in sales and leads for your business. I will alway recommend a client to advertise on Google if they are looking to generate strong business leads or product sales. Google is a better place to have your advertising. However a good marketing campaign is not just about advertising, it also need to incorporate brand building. 2) Social Media Marketing is very different to Google advertising Social Media Marketing is not simply about advertising to your target market. Although Facebook and twitter now offer advertising tools they are not the foundations of great social media marketing. Social media marketing is an opportunity to build your brand value and position your brand in the mind of the consumer. Social media’s interactive nature allows brands to become more personal and real to the consumer. This type of brand relationship goes a long way to cultivating a loyal customer base. The big success of a social media campaign is the ability to create positive word of mouth...

What on earth is a Facebook Community page?

The biggest question I am asked as a social media coach has been “what should I use to promote my business? A page or a group?” Well now we have something new to consider: Facebook Community Pages What it looks like and why have one? A Community Page looks and feels exactly like a normal Facebook page but it has a slightly different purpose. The page is meant to be used for all the unofficial band, brand and business pages that are out there. Facebook seems to be trying to bring a more official status to a Page by letting the unofficial pages have their own platform. What’s so different about it? Basically the biggest difference is that when these pages gain popularity they have the potential to be handed over to the Facebook community. This will mean that the community page will start to look like a wiki about the page topic. Why not just use a group? My personal opinion is that Facebook is trying to phase out groups but there is no proof for that other than my gut feel. Another thought would be SEO. Groups on Facebook are not indexed by Google. So if you would like to start a community of people and wish that community had a search engine presence then a Community Page is they way forward. The other thing to remember is that pages provide user statistics. So your community page could provide some interesting insight into its users. Allfacebook makes a...

Advertising Online: Are all your eggs in Google’s basket?

Advertising online seems to be fairly straight forward. You call your Google Adwords Consultant and ask him/her to place some advertising around a few of your favorite keywords. This often generates the traffic results you are looking for and you can rest easy. I would like to suggest 3 points that may start you on a different train of thought. 1) Facebook advertising Advertising on Facebook has become the first competitor to Google Adwords since forever. The big strength with Facebook is the ability to fine-tune the demographic that you advertise to. Facebook collects rich demographic data from its users and allows you to target you audience in very unique ways. In South Africa the main weakness would be that the Geotargeting options are limited, in that the smallest geographic area you can target is the whole of South Africa. 2) Niche Markets show high levels of loyalty Banner advertising has lost its flavor over the last years or so, however niche market websites that provide banner advertising may be a great way o establish your presence in the mind of your customers. This type of advertising may become very useful for B2B advertising. The effect created with this type of advertising has a similar effect to advertising in a print based trade magazine. 3) Google will always drive traffic Google is a great medium to drive traffic to your website. I still advise clients to take on Google Campaigns as part of the internet marketing campaign. The trick is...

Submitting to Search Engines Could be a Waste of Time

There is no dispute here that submitting your website is of utmost importance. Most of the search engines on the internet need you to submit your website to them before they even know you exist online. The key to ensure this exercise is not a waste of time is to make sure that you are not doubling up on the work. I did a very extensive exercise in identifying search engines. I found that there

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