• GOOGLE LAUNCHES NEW PIGEON UPDATE — How Does it Affect Your Website?

    (Link Assistant) A few days ago Google pushed out a new and major algo update for local search (which industry’s leading SEO resource “Search Engine Land” called “Pigeon” update). There aren’t many details disclosed about the so-called Pigeon yet, but webmasters report considerable changes in their local rankings over the past few days.

    To make sure you’ve got all the freshest information at your fingertips, we’ve put up this short compilation to explain what “Pigeon” is, how it affects your rankings and how to adapt your SEO strategy for the changes.

    So, what do we know about the “Pigeon”?Google confirmed that the update started to roll out on July 24 for US English results, and it’s not yet known when the update would roll out more widely in other countries and languages.The aim of the update is to provide a more useful, relevant and accurate local search results. And unlikePenguin and Panda updates, this is not a penalty-based update (aimed at cleaning the SERPs from low-quality content), but a core change to the local search ranking algorithm.

    Now, to give you a better idea of the update, we’ve tried to outline all the changes going on (both those claimed by Google and noticed by webmasters) and give some advice for website owners who’ve been affected.

    1. Local listing packs disappear for a huge number of keywords

    What’s happening? One of the key changes seen after the update is a drastically lower number of queries that now include a local listing pack on their SERPs.

    According to SERP feature graph by MOZ Cast, this number falls from 12,1% of queries on July 23rd to only 3,3% on July 27th.

    What should you do? If over the past few days your website has encountered a traffic drop, this may well be due to the disappearance of certain of your local listings.

    If that is the case, in the short run you may need to cover the traffic losses with a PPC campaign, and in the long run — focus on getting Web search listings for those keywords.

    Tip: Re-check your rankings with Rank Tracker using the Universal search results tracking feature (go to Preferences -> Rank Checking Mode and mark the Use Universal search Results checkbox)

    Now switch to History Records tab — you can instantly see if local listings have disappeared from the SERP.

    2. Local rankings are expected to depend more on website authority

    What’s happening? The new local search algorithm is said to be more tied with the traditional Web search ranking signals.

    Simply speaking, this may mean that local rankings will now be more determined by domain authority, backlinks and all kinds of other SEO rankings factors.

    What should you do? If your local rankings have suddenly dropped over the past few days, this may mean your site’s general SEO characteristics lack behind those of your competition.

    Run a thorough competition research to see how your backlinks, content and other SEO characteristics stand to those of other high ranking websites.

    For step-by-step SEO, instructions check out the SEO book.

    3. Ranking boost is seen for Yelp and other local directories.

    What’s happening? According to the first post-update researches, Yelp and other local directory sites have seen a considerable boost in rankings. For some queries, the entire SERP is built from well-known local directories only.

    What should you do? Even if less of your potential clients may now be able to find your biz website, many more of them can find you via local directory sites. This makes it crucial to build a solid business presence on leading local directories in your industry.

    1. Find the most influential local directories in your niche

    See which directories are currently ranking high for your targeted keywords after the update.

    Tip: In Rank Tracker you’ll find top-10 ranking websites for each of your keywords in the Keyword Difficulty table:

    Now switch to History Records tab — you can instantly see if local listings have disappeared from the SERP.

    2. Make sure your business is listed in each of these directories.

    Submit your business to those directories, that are currently ranking high for your keyword, but don’t list your business yet. You can also check out this list of “Best local citations by category” formore local directories ideas.

    3. Track how rankings change for your different listings.

    This way you always know which of the listings should be your priority in terms of freshest data, biggest number of reviews and so on.

    Tip: Add all your business listings to Rank Tracker projects as competitors — this way you can conveniently track their rankings side by side with your main website.

    4. Local carousel remains a way to gain extra exposure.

    What’s happening? Unlike the usual local listing packs, local carousel results remain unaffected by the update and show up with almost the same frequency as before. This means they can still be a great way to gain extra exposure for some local keywords (though carousel listings a present for just 1% of keywords queries.)

    What should you do? Carousel results put a heavy emphasis on your listing’s image and rating, while showing all options side-by-side. So make sure to put a nice, high-quality and attractive photo in your Google+ business profile and encourage your customers to review your business.

    H/T Link Assistant

  • How Real Time Bidding Factors into Sales Strategies

    In business, visibility equals interest and, with the right marketing, interest equals revenue. Real-time bidding, the practice of bidding for, selling, and buying ad space and displays in real-time, is quickly changing the way marketers think about advertising and sales strategies. The entire process begins the moment a consumer visits a particular website, and it’s essential in tailoring the advertising and marketing experience to each separate visitor.

    Targeting User Statistics

    Proxy advertising, or the act of advertising jewelry on a jewelry or fashion site, has a long and largely successful history. It makes sense to use like-minded websites as a proxy for your own brand or product. Real time bidding changes the game by allowing you to target potential customers in a brand-new way. Instead of targeting the websites, RTB lets you target the consumer.

    With RTB, you bid for and hopefully win ad space in the time it takes a user’s website to load. In that time, you can also target that user’s statistics. Specifically, you can decide if the bid is worthwhile based on the user’s browsing history, age, location, interests, and similar demographics. You have the chance to decide if this lead is likely to convert into an actual sale, and you can use the entire process to analyze your own conversion rates.

    Redefining Your Market

    Real time bidding also gives you a unique opportunity to thoroughly redefine your target audience. You get to see if the consumers from whom you expect strong conversions actually pay attention to your ads. This can both save and make money:

    - It saves money by letting you know when a particular marketing strategy, ad, or website niche doesn’t perform the way you expected.

    - It makes money by making it easier to tailor your strategies in real-time.

    If one website doesn’t work or if one ad falls short, you can quickly move on to more lucrative options.

    Streamlining Your Budget

    No business wants to lose money. With traditional marketing, it can take longer to discover a potential marketing failure, and by that time the money’s already spent. You’re at a loss, you’re in the red, and you’ve lost prospective customers in the bargain.

    RTB takes some of the mystery out of the marketing game. It happens in real-time, so as you bid for ad space, you know your budget, you can see how much you’re spending, and you know your cash flow statements. The risk of wasting money decreases significantly, and because you can keep up-to-date on how much you spend and how worthwhile it is, you can quickly discover positive trends and identify successful websites and ad campaigns.

     

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  • RTB Zeitgeist: Most Marketers Don’t Understand Automated Ad Buying

    Transparency is automated advertising’s final frontier. Unfortunately, it’s still an issue and it’s the thing most responsible for preventing programmatic from realizing its full potential. A recent study by Forrester Research showed 67% of marketers are unaware of automated buying technology, don’t understand it, or need to learn more about it to apply it to campaigns. Programmatic’s efficiency has been proven, however a lack of transparency is preventing full-blown adoption and it doesn’t stop at a lack of education.

    Marketers are also wary about how money is being spent when it comes to automated ad buying and where ads bought programmatically are being placed.

    Marketers, if you don’t understand programmatic, you’re not alone. [...] See all stories on this topic

  • Webinar: SiteScout RTB 2.0 Tour (Mar 4, 2014)

    Site Scout is one of the premier DSP (Demand Side Platform) available for ‘self-serve’ organizations.

    Webinar: SiteScout RTB 2.0 Tour (Mar 4, 2014) Since releasing the beta version of our new interface, we’ve been getting a huge amount of interest in a training webinar. So, we’ll be hosting our next webinar during the first week of March, giving a guided tour of the new SiteScout RTB 2.0 platform. During this webinar, Steve Monti will give a live tour [...]See all stories on this topic

    Webinar Replay: SiteScout RTB Video Overview (2014-04-10) Yesterday we hosted a great webinar, lead by Matt Sauls, which covered all the details of our new video capabilities. So if you’re interested in learning a thing or two about video RTB, just sit back, relax, and check out the replay below: For the best viewing experience, we highly recommend watching with HD enabled [...]See all stories on this topic

    SiteScout RTB Update: Introducing Video! Today we are thrilled to announce the addition of video campaigns to the SiteScout RTB platform! Video campaigns are a whole new format that we are proud to introduce as an exclusive part of our new user interface. In other words, our old interface will not be supporting video campaigns. For you, this is big [...]See all stories on this topic

  • Should I Use Paid Links for My Website?

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question from clients: “Should I use paid links for my website to help my ranking and traffic?”

    In short, it depends.  As a general rule of thumb I highly recommend clients stay away from paid links to boost Pagerank or game Google in the keyword ranking game.  Why?  First of all, it’s against Google’s TOS.   Secondly, if you get caught by Google, they will bury you in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) most likely never to be seen or heard from again.  To most that spend years building up their online presence for one website, this is totally unacceptable and quickly becomes a mute issue never posed again.

    In fact, Google just reminded us yesterday of their stand on paid links.  Google even provides an outlet of reporting those that violate their TOS on paid links so you you must be very cautious and expect the worst if you venture down this slippery (well defined) slope of buying or selling links.

    However, getting paid advertising (links) makes total sense.   This type of paid links look similar on the surface but most assuredly are different under the covers.  The main difference can be summed up as: Paid links manipulate search engine results and ad network links do not. It’s the former that can and does get website owners in trouble.

    Paid advertising networks are certainly an acceptable means of attaining a wide breadth of targeted exposure to your site and comes highly recommended by many, myself included.  This avenue certainly makes sense when your website is new and you want to gain traction in the niche providing you have the budget for it.

    Win Earned, Owned and Even ‘PaidLinks With Content – Search

    searchenginewatch.com2/11/13

    Digital marketing is about much more than simply links, but links are the fuel that powers visibility, whether it’s through social, organic, or paid tactics. Here’s how to maximize the value of the content marketing campaigns you

    Is it time to ditch Advertorials as an SEO tactic? – Pete Campbell

    www.petecampbell.com2/22/13

    Google has slapped 600+ UK regional newspapers on the wrist for selling links. Do advertorials continue to For the unfamiliar, ‘Advertorials’ is a buzz-word traditionally associated with newspapers and magazines, in which some allow advertisers to insert a paid-for-article within their print publication or online. The real magic Over the past day, Google decided to slap the PageRank of 600+ regional newspaper websites in the United Kingdom. Snapshot of Google

    Why Do Paid Links Violate Google’s Rules? Matt Cutts Speaks

    blog.flippa.com12/6/12

    Matt Cutts Speaks on Paid Links Violating Google’s Rules, a Defense of the Panda Updates, and SEO Tips You Should Avoid Matt Cutts has answered a question many.

    Paid links is much too complex of a topic to cover everything in this article.  The objective of this article is to simply make all website owners aware and “leery” of paid links to boost your online presence and to make sure you ask the right questions to the person or company that is recommending it — take extra precautionary measures to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of paid links.  Believe me, it can happen.