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...

Popular Myths Associated with SEO

With the social media platforms, content recommendation services and search engines all trying to tout their services to perk up the traffic to your website, the search engine optimisation or SEO gets lost or acquires a secondary position. Added to this, there are several myths about SEO. These myths should be dispelled and the importance of SEO should not be undermined, as they can offer huge benefits to the entrepreneurs. What Is SEO? SEO or search engine optimisation is the process of enhancing the visibility of a web page or website in the search engine’s unpaid results. This is referred to as organic, natural or earned results. In general, the higher or earlier a website ranks in the search engine’s page results, the more frequently the sites appear on the search results list and from the users of the search engine, it receives more visitors and these visitors are converted into customers. SEO targets various kinds of search, such as local search, academics search, video search, image search, industry-specific vertical search engines and news search. The Popular Myths Associated With SEO: Myth #1: Optimising Meta Titles and Description in Search Engines over People Search engines and Google continue to emphasise in creating content that guides user’s experience to the best content. If you are optimising the keywords in such a way that speaks more to Google than to humans, you would be punished in search engine rankings. Thus emphasis should always be on the customers and not the keywords. Myth...

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...

How valuable is your website in B2B purchasing decisions?

The invention of social media and blogging has left a big question unanswered in the online marketing realms. Just how valuable is a company website in business to business purchasing decisions? Well it seems that they are very valuable but not neccessarily influential in in the three stages of purchasing. This information comes from the Buyershpere report which I believe shows great insight into the platforms neccessary to create business to business sales leads from the internet. A Summary: How important is your company website? When looking at buying business services there are three stages of the purchase that have been identified: Identifying and defining the need Indentifying potential suppliers Final selection of the supplier In all three stages a company’s website was the primary channel used to gather information, even more than web searches. In stage one industry press, word of mouth and events were next in line as channels used to identify and define the need for the purchase. The company website in this case has the opportunity to establish brand, share product details and specifications and add value to the different purchase stages. the interesting fact that rose oot of the study though was that the company website had very little influence on the conclusion of each stage. The effect of social media on business to business purchasing decisions It’s all about influence! Every stage of the purchase cycle revealed that  social media channels and word of mouth were the primary influential channels that influenced the decisions...

How social media affects Google search results

Google is still the primary place that people go when looking for something online. Social media has become the number one activity on the web. The reason social media had become so popular is because it is a natural extension of who we are. We are social people, our social circles define us, encourage us and potentially groom us into who we are to become in the future. It is only natural then that people would spend time sociallising online if they had the option. What does this have to do with search? As I always say in my social media presentations, search is all about delivering relevant results to your search query. Relevancy on the internet used to be related to the amount of links linking back to a website (this was Googles primary way of discovering relevant, topical websites). Social Search Now Google has launched Social Search which takes into consideration your social connections on Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else. This means that articles written by peers may be higher in your search results than another persons search results. Google describe the impact of this best with a video example of someone looking to travel to Zurich: To put it simply, the bigger your network on Facebook and Twitter the more impact you could have on people’s search results. If you would like a more personalised search experience visit www.google.com/profiles and update for profile.

Is Facebook getting bigger than Google?

A few weeks ago I wrote on the Ideat blog that Facebook had the potentional to become the King of the Internet. This was highlighted by the fact the Facebook had been the most visited website in the US a week or two earlier.More recently Facebook has become the most popular searched brand in the US. What has become more interesting is that in South Africa 82% of the online population are on Facebook and 74% of the population are actively involved in social networking.  In March we also saw the launch of Google real-time search in South Africa, which brings social media updates into Google. There are also develoments, made by google, that mean you have better search potential in Google if more people are following you on twitter. What is taking place is a fundamental shift in the way people use the internet. People are choosing to network, search, discuss, aggregate and understand the internet through social networks, of which Facebook is the largest. This has meant that Google has had to go to the social networks to get the information that people are intesteted in. So the question: Is Facebook getting bigger than Google? What about in a South African context? What do you think?

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...

Harboring a healthy skepticism for the internet

I was thinking about the opportunity that exists on the internet the other day and I started to think about how many people have jumped into the internet and failed dismally. I think that this has happened because of a disregard of the hard work involved in running an internet marketing campaign or online business. So many people speak to me about this amazing business idea that involves developing a small website and then sitting back and watching the money roll in. Unfortunately the internet does not work like that. I wish it did, but it doesn’t! It takes hard work, dedication, persistence and and innovative mindset to stay ahead of the pack. At time its even important to maintain a healthy skepticism for the internet and its possibilities. Just to keep us on our toes!!

Great search engine ranking comes from great content

The role of a search engine is to provide the searcher the most relevant content. So naturally it makes sense that you should do well by simply providing content on the internet that is relevant to your target market. I recently read an article that was retweeted by @QuirkEducation from Daily SEO Tip that made me very happy to see that the old school tricks of the trade are slowly becoming an historical method of search engine optimisation. In this article Christopher Holland highlights “7 widely believed myths of SEO” and I wanted to take some time to comment on my experiences with 5 of these SEO techniques. 1) Submit your websites to search engines “It has been at least 5 years since this technique has been necessary and all you need to do is obtain a few backlinks and make sure your not blocking robots from crawling your website.” I recently launched a website for a non-profit organization called LIV who have started a village for orphans and widows, where the website was indexed in about one day. This was achieved because the team at LIV sent and email to their loyal database announcing the new website. Someone on that mailing list linked back to the website and ‘magically’ we were indexed with Google. In the first two weeks the website was live  it was already experiencing a substantial volume of search engine traffic. 2) Keyword Densities “So instead of spamming, I recommend that you write great content targeted...

Hyperlink Code

Even though this may seem like the simplist information to most people on the internet there are times where it is useful to know how to write the HTML code for a hyperlink. So for all those people out there that may need to know (all the marketing, non-code guru, people like me), here is the code to add a text link using HTML. <a href=”http://www.domain.com”>www.yourdomain.com</a> will become www.yourdomain.com

Cost of a website upgrade? Part 2

In the previous post we looked at the importance of making sure that we consider three major users of our website when we decide to perform and upgrade on our website. The current users of the website The stakeholders of the website The advertisers on the website I would like to shift the focus onto another very serious aspect of consideration. This would be the technical aspect of the website that needs to combine simple tricks of the trade to make sure that you do not lose any traffic for search engines. Ensuring your search engine traffic continues Search engines save versions of your website on their own database. When people search for your website in a search engine like Google they are not searching the entire internet but rather a version of the internet that is saved inside the Google database. This means that when you do an upgrade of your website there are still older versions of your website that are searchable for a while. These older versions link to very specific website addresses and if you have deleted any pages during your upgrade or renamed any pages this traffic will not find your website. Also remember that other websites may be linking to you and that if you change your website URL structure you may lose all the backlinks that are helping you to gain a good position in the search engines. One of the more concerning aspects of all the broken links that can be created...

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