2012 was a busy year for SEO what will 2013 bring?

So 2012 is now over it has been a busy year, I thought I would put a blog post together to talk about some predictions for the market and to give a brief overview of what I have been up too in 2012.

Firstly here is a list of some of the things I achieved in 2012:

1. Working with several large enterprise clients in the Australian market, helping these boost their SEO and Social presence and also learning’s of SEO and social. Increasing SEO team revenue by well over mid $XXX,XXX+ yoy.
2. Speaking at SMX Sydney 2012 on the main stage on Enterprise SEO & also been involved with the Q+A panel on enterprise SEO.
3. Speaking at several local SEO and Social events.
4. Attending well over 25+ local SEO/Social Media/ Developers and Big Data Meetups.
5. Starting my own Local Search Meetup “Online Marketing Sydney” – http://www.meetup.com/Online-Marketing-Sydney/
6. Making guest posts on Several large SEO websites.
7. Creating some real buzz in the search industry by intervieing an EX memebr of Matt Cutts team which was featured in over 80 industry websites include the home page of Search Engine Round Table, Search Engine Land and inbound.org
8. Having my content picked up by some global search sites and translated into numerous languages such as chinese, Russian and more.
9. Personally have over 140+ domains and have acquired some new premium domains in 2012, in 2013 I hope to reduce the overall portfolio to 70 domains or less.
10. Effectively managed a team of content writers, link builders and SEO professionals.
11. I have sold several websites, domains and social properties in 2012 which was also a success.
12. Also took a 2 month holiday to Europe and the UK, was still doing work but and checking emails on the fly 😉

Predictions for 2013 in SEO and Online Marketing

1. More integration of Google+ into search results, More direct influence from Google+ on search lising pages.
2. Content marketing will become more advanced, if Australian businesses do not get involved they will be left behind.
3. Larger take up on advanced web analytic’s by Australian businesses.
4. Links will still be important if they are high quality and relevant to users and relevant to the content they link from.
5. Knowledge graph will come more into play in 2013, we will see a far higher integration

Also I would like to wish every one a fantastic Christmas and a wonderful New Years! all the best luck in 2013

A few images from 2012

SMX

Most checkin areas

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Things to do in Sydney new SERP Change on Google!

A buddy of mine in the office Chris Hockin, has alerted me of a new search development which I have never seen before on Google.
when you search for “Things to do in Sydney” their is a new widget with scrolling images. (see below)

Serp Layout change Google
Serp Layout change Google

After further research it does seem that this is a new version of the Google Knowledge Graph roll out, which is interesting because it does take up some serious search real estate away from PPC.

Facebook Offers – Seems you can literally offer anything!

So today I have noticed an interesting offer on Facebook where a business has offered “free high-fives” (see below) it got me thinking you could really make any thing an offer.

Joke-offer-on-Facebook
offer-on-Facebook

Now here is an example of in my eyes how Offers could alliteratively be used, where you have a physical good and it is offered for free with a purchase or at a discount price or where you are provided with a promo code (see below)

correct-offer-on-Facebook
correct-offer-on-Facebook

I decided to look into Facebook Terms and Conditions around offers, in my eyes the offers rules are pretty lax at the moment. From the rules it is evident that any type of offer and get accepted on Facebook at the moment (see quote from terms and conditions below)

“Facebook may not be a suitable place for every type of offer, and you are solely responsible for determining if Facebook is the appropriate forum for your offer.”

Have you see some funny offers on Facebook please post them below!

10 Team Management Tips – Social, SEO and Content Marketing Teams

In recent times I find myself managing more and more employees, with these new employees comes the opportunity to run a large team effectively. More recently I have taken to managing a broader team of SEO, Link building, Social Media and Content Marketing professionals.
(These tips are designed for people who manage teams of around 2-10 people)

I have decided to put together a list of 10 tips for managing teams, this is by no means a sure fire list of management tips, I have recently done 4 day corporate management course. I thought I would put together a post to provide some basic team management skills for people managing smaller teams.

Tip 1 – Set up Google Docs files for team members weekly work.

Make sure that you set up a Google documents sheet with all your teams tasks for the week and up coming weeks.

– It is advisable to make sure that all team members have their weekly tasks in a Google docs file, you can also use other team management software for tasks but from a cost point of view Google docs can work effectively.

You can sign up to Google Docs here: docs.google.com

Tip 2 – Make sure you have weekly catch ups (1 on 1’s with team members).

Make sure that you have set up weekly catch up meetings with each of your team members.

– My advice is to set up a weekly on going meeting for 15-30 minutes with team members.
– I also find that having your weekly 1 on 1’s out side the office can be good, get some fresh air and go and have a coffee.

Tip 3 – Make sure you have weekly Group meetings (with your initial team).

– Make sure that you set up a weekly group meeting where every one talks about the up coming weeks tasks, it is good to collaborate with team members because some may have less work on you can delegate work to other team members, it is also a good chance for team members to talk about any key events in the up coming week.

Tip 4 – Get to know your staff better.

– Try to get to know your staff better by going to events if they invite you, such as birthdays and BBQ’s. I think the best way to meet a new team is by going out on social ventures we usually have monthly events where people invite you out for birthdays, make the effort to go to them.
– Another thing you can do is organize team days out for half a day, where you go and do a team event for half a day, it can be any thing from a game of soccer, canoeing or even learning how to surf together.

Tip 5 – Give credit to team members when it is due!

– Make sure that you give credit to your team when credit is due, if you receive a compliment from a client or senior management be sure to pass this on to your team members, if it means sending a group all email then do it.

Tip 6 – Get employees to set up a personal blog.

– Try and get your employees to set up their own blog and blog about what they do in their job or talk about something they are interested in, in my eyes setting up a blog is a key to learning SEO and also developing content in which your employees love, in the end of the day it does not have to be a blog about work it can be a blog about an interest they have.

Tip 7 – Use time Tracking software

– Get your team to use time tracking software, its something important because if you want to show senior management how busy your team management, that is if you require additional team members you can effectively plan this way.

– A good example of time tracking is Freckle, it can be used quite effectiely: letsfreckle.com.

– Benefits of freckle is that it allows you to use graphic overviews of your team members capacity, it also shows who is working and who has time let on projects.

Tip 8 – Motivate your team members!

– Motivating team members is very important, if you are not setting your team members up with motivation on a daily and weekly basis them they may be left de-motivated.

– Challenge team members with new projects.
– Let them be involved with a big business pitch
– Let them test their skills on new business with some small clients.
– Provide training for them so they have the skills set to move to the next level.

Tip 9 – Follow up a negative with positive comments!

If you have to say something negative to a staff member, make sure you follow it up with some positive points at least 3. Everyone makes mistakes every now and then but be sure to follow up the mistake with some positive points.

Tip 10 – Setting Personal Development Plans for Staff

Set personal development and goals for your employees, employees need goals to work for examples of personal development goals can be the following:

– Setting long term goals for promotion.
– Setting training goals which you company may offer
– Setting Google tests as part of the development.
– Setting ROI based development on clients total spend.
– Setting feedback from clients on how they feel the specific employee has developed over time with them.

Finally remember to have fun when you are at work, it is important to enjoy what you do and get along with the people you are working with.

The surge in Mobile Apps and the Basics on how to promote your Mobile App!

Mobile apps are a great tool in today’s society; Apps provide businesses with new and exciting marketing methods, internal and external assistance, brand awareness, brand loyalty, promotions, increasing user accessibility, user engagement and much more. On the opposite hand, apps provide users with entertainment and education that make every day living easier and more enjoyable. But how do we make people aware of our apps, how do we make them want to download it, how do we keep them using it month after month?

mobile apps
mobile apps

There are over 700,000+ apps currently in the app store and you wouldn’t be surprised to see this figure get close to the one million mark by this time next year. How on earth are you able to make a successful app with that much competition? It’s not as simple as uploading it to the app store anymore. You have to implement certain marketing tools, not only for pre-app release but ongoing as well. With this in mind, will the app still be successful?

Let’s take a step back for a second, back to the development. When developing your app, regardless whether it’s for yourself or for your company, make sure you know who’s developing, designing and testing your app. Staying local is always a safe option, often the initial quote may be more expensive than off shoring, but over the complete project it’s often cheaper and of a higher standard. It’s crucial to have clear communication with the development company; miss communication can result in the longest game of Chinese whispers you’ve ever played. Not only will it be frustrating but it will be time consuming, a waste of money and at the end of the day the app most likely won’t be what you had in mind. Finding a company that will be able to provide constructive criticism towards you’re app, demonstrates passion for success. If you take onboard the advice given to you by your developer the more likely the app will be successful. It’s very easy to say yes sir and develop this crazy app, which the client has in mind but realistically it won’t flow, resulting in a huge mess.

Your app has been designed, developed and is currently in the testing stage. 
It’s now time to implement these marketing tools. So what are they? There is no right or wrong way to market your app, this is still a very new process within this industry. First question should be, what’s my budget? If you have money to market, great, if you don’t, that’s okay. I will be focusing more on those with little to no budget. Next question, who’s your audience? Don’t market to the world if that’s not your audience, it’s a waste of your time. Have a catchy, relevant and straightforward name, don’t be alternative.

Provide a clear description of what the app does, what features it has, who’s it targeted at, possibly some testimonials if you have them. The description should implement key words related to your app, this will allow your app to be displayed in more searches both via Google and the app store. This increases your app awareness and SEO. The description should be supported with a tutorial video and screen shots, 9 out of 10 times users will skip to the screen shots so make them demonstrate the app clearly.

Set up a social platform for promotion. Twitter or Facebook are most common, this will be used for marketing pre-release and support post release, keeping users informed on any movements within the app. Get your users involved sharing high scores, pictures, posts, reviews or whatever it is relevant to your app, user engagement will increase your monthly users while also increasing your market reach. Micro sites are often used for a similar purpose, focusing on the support side.

Form partnerships, who with?
 The more people you know, the more people you potentially have using and talking about your app. Form strong partnerships with journalists, bloggers and app reviewers. These partnerships will allow your app to be widely discussed across the net, resulting in app enthusiasts reading and potentially using your app. An app without reviews or ratings looks terrible and usually reflects on the standard of the app; ensure you don’t fall into that category.

Develop a solid press release with relevant pictures, description, the story behind the app, who’s your target audience, why your app is better than competitors, a link to the app and correct contact info, distribute this to relevant publishers. Don’t limit yourself to the large publishers, focus on specific regional newspapers and newsletter; these are free to get involved with and often a lot easier to get published in.

There are plenty of other marketing tools to be mentioned, such plenty of other offline and online methods. Regardless of all the marketing your willing to implement, it comes down to the development of the app, make a quality, well written, good looking, user-friendly app. Don’t let it crash! Preferable keep the project (design, developed and testing) internal.

This is a guest post from Chris Hackett who works as a Sales Manager at www.buuna.com in Sydney, Australia. Chris can be reached by email on: chris@buuna.com

What is Google Enhanced PPC Site Links

Google has rolled out new PPC enhanced site links, these site links are not like the old style they take up for more real estate on branded search term pages.

Enhanced site links google
Enhanced site links google

Special thank you to Stephanie who works with me who sent me across this update.

How will the Click Frenzy Australia Website go down tonight?

Today is an interesting day in Australian retailing because we will see the first combined “online” deals day. Basically what this means is we will see a “Cyber Monday” in the Australian market. I first noticed this website a month ago when a buddy of mine in the retail space said if I have ever heard of the website “click Frenzy”? at the time I said I have never heard of it! (see image below when I first started talking about this site in October)

I did some background checks and it seems Power Retail was behind it, Smart move by them as from my estimations on costs they have done very well from this website, it apparently costs between $500-$10,000 to get listed on this site, depending on how much presence you want (so especially they have made over 100,000+, sure website set up and hosting will cost a bit but its easily going to turn a big profit. Another question many users are asking is if the site will actually stay live during the launch and many estimate it will do down due to sheer influx of visitors!

Click-Frenzy-Twitter
Click-Frenzy-Twitter

Now I have looked at some of the metrics behind “Click Frenzy” too see what type of traffic they are getting and it seems if you bench mark them next to a very large Australian brand Optus they are gaining quite good awareness in the market.

With the top search terms to the click frenzy brand been:

1. Click Frenzy
2. Click Frenzy Australia
3. Click Frenzy Online
4. Click Sale

click-frenzy-trends
click-frenzy-trends

Another funny thing is all the brands who have used the “Frenzy” line in their advertising, some examples from the paid search below, the best one by far is Treadmill Frenzy, followed by Deal Frenzy and Christmas Frenzy. I am suprised they have not registered the Click Frenzy trademark with Google as every brand has free game to bid on these terms.

Treadmill-frenzy
Treadmill-frenzy

Overall it will be interesting too see if this website lasts till next year? Will we see the same thing in the US where Shop.org started as clickfrenzy.com.au and then all retailers set up a date to basically offer the deals and “leak” the deals online.

I will be shopping at 7pm tonight and on the look out for a deal or too, if you are shopping tonight please post below:

Further Questions with an Ex-Search Quality Team Member Andre Weyher

Over the last few weeks we have received many questions from readers on this blog and I also received several messages on Twitter to do a follow up interview with Andre (the Ex Google Search Quality members) to answer some questions and provide clarification towards specific points from his last interview here.

Andre-Weyher
Andre-Weyher

Question 1. How have you found the last few week’s after the article went viral, have you been contacted by many parties has Google contacted you?

The week after the interview went live was absolutely crazy. I never thought that it would cause such a stir. The reactions varied from enthusiastic to weird and even bizarre. I learned that the outside world is very divided in it’s opinions about SEO. It’s not that weird if you think about it, being an SEO is not a protected title and if I were to compare the opinions and reactions it stirred, I would almost compare it to a religion. Very sensitive, people can get extremely upset when they hear something that they don’t agree with or goes against their experiences. I think that many people forget that there is no magic formula and believe that they have found the holy grail. I also noticed that a lot of people easily forget the big picture. They are so focused on dissecting every single letter and using it to their benefit, instead of focusing on actually giving the users something interesting to read about which will in return help their rankings grow. So I believe that SEO’s should look at their field as a long term project and not as a “quick win” solution.
Also, an interesting thing I’ve noticed: many people interpreted my comments as a sort of “SEO is dead” statement. This is absolutely not the case. SEO is and should be an integral part of any online marketing campaign. It’s just an element that should come as second nature for someone who is truly passionate about the topic of his or her site. On page SEO is something that needs to be done pro-actively and intelligently. But the content part should flow more naturally instead of being looked at as a mere tool to increase traffic.
As far as contact is concerned, I was approached by many people in the industry to comment on some of the answers. Google commented on the article on Search Engine Land and I was given the opportunity to react to their comments as well, so very fair play by Danny Sullivan.

Question 2. Users on the blog have asked if you can please define further: “Commercial” for anchor text/keywords?

Absolutely, I saw this question come up quite often in the forum threads. It’s very simple really. A “commercial” keyword is a high volume and/or high value keyword! There is no official list of these words but you can make the judgement yourself very easily. Any keyword that has high commercial value like “cheap flights” or “car insurance” would be seen as commercial. People tend to over complicate this issue when in reality it’s very simple. If 90% of the anchor texts on your backlinks are commercial keywords, it’s a dead giveaway of a spammy profile, especially if the links run in to the tens of thousands. This would never occur “naturally”. So ensure you have non-commercial keywords anchor texts in there too – like the url of the website and long tail keywords.

Question 3. Users have asked if you have any examples of directories Google deems as high quality?

Good question, I’ve seen a lot of confusion about this topic and I want to be as clear as I can about it; there is no magical list of quality directories out there. There are, however a few guidelines that you can keep in mind when doubting about the quality of a directory. Pay attention to the following;
1) Does the directory demand a reciprocal link before they accept your submission? If they do, it’s a sign that something fishy might be up.
2) Perform a simple snippet search. Take a random entry, perform a “quotation” search on Google with a random sentence in the entry, are there hundreds of directories with the exact same sentence? You do the math! 😉
Apart from these 2 simple giveaways, remember the value of moderation and specialisation. Directories with a clear niche or with a very active moderator are for more likely to have value. Also, the SEOmoz list of directories is pretty up to date and good.

Question 4. You mentioned last time when I met you that META Keywords for SEO are still worth including, can you elaborate on this if possible?

Funny you should ask. I tend to mention META keywords as an often overlooked element and this causes a look of disbelief in the faces of the more experienced and “corporate” SEOs. There has been a lot of speculation about this and I appreciate the chance to expand on this topic. Part of the SEO community is of the opinion that META keywords are worthless and can be overlooked. The other (smaller) part thinks they are some kind of magic weapon. The truth lies in the middle in my opinion. It’s obvious that having correct META keywords will not make you rank on the #1 position in a competitive field. But that doesn’t mean that they will not help Google understand what your site is about! Even if Google totally disregards them from a ranking perspective, they are still being seen by the algorithm, and they can’t do you any harm, so why not include them and tell Google what your site is about?
Having said that, you shouldn’t overdo it. I see a lot of sites with a huge amount of them in the META data. Webmasters need to remember that the more of them you have, the less each one of them is worth! The less of them you put in your META data, the more powerful each one of them becomes. They might not make a difference in the battle for the #1 position for the keyword “cola” between Pepsi and Coke, but they might give a head start to the bakery around the corner, competing for the keyword “bakery in Brooklyn”.

Question 5. Finally you have been living in Sydney for a few months now how have you found the city would you recommend it?

I absolutely LOVE this city. I’ve been travelling for the last 10 years and lived in a good few places. All of them have their charm but as far as I’m concerned, Sydney combines them all. The people, the climate and the city itself, it has all the good elements from the places I’ve been before. Not to mention that there is an amazing tech startup scene here. There are a lot of very clever people working on interesting new projects. I’ve had the chance to be a part of it and it’s fantastic experience. Speaking of which, I’d like to invite all your readers to check out my new blog on http://netcomber.com/blog The amount of questions that my first interview generated has motivated me to start my own Q&A blog. I’ll be telling people about my new service and about an ex Googlers view on SEO. I’ll also give people the chance to send in their questions about search, so hope to see you all there!

Finally I would like to say thank you to Andre for doing the two interviews.

Andre will also be attending a new monthly meetup running in Sydney on the 22nd November, so be sure to sign up now here: Online Marketing Sydney

Great use of Experiential Marketing Lamborghini Taxi

Lamborghini-Taxi
Lamborghini-Taxi

Today when I was at a meeting in the city and on the way back from the meeting I noticed an interesting piece of Experiential marketing for the Need for Speed game. A $400,000 Lamborghini had been converted to be a taxi, now the sad part of the story is that you can no hail the taxi down you can only enter the car if you are a “competition winner”, we were actually trying to get a taxi when the Lamborghini drove past.

The interesting part of the campaign is that EA who runs the computer game is promoting this campaign and has pushed users online to use to the hash tag on Twitter: #mostwantedtaxi as we can see from the analysis below the tag is slowly starting to gain traction and when you monitor Twitter many tweets about the campaign do not contain the hash tag.

Twitter-mentions
Twitter-mentions

Overall I feel this is a smart way to use experiential marketing to promote a product.

Reasons why Quality Exact Match Domains are still working for SEO

exact-match-domains

Recently I was browsing online forums in the domain world, as I am personally really interested in domain names as I have been buying and selling domain names for over 8 years. For as long as I can remember domain names and SEO have pretty much gone hand in hand with SEO, as does web development with SEO. I found and interesting discussion a Sydney based web developer and Domain name seller by the name of Scott Nugent had engaged in. Basically Nugent had been calling up numerous end users who were Digital Marketing Managers to say that he has some domains for sale related to their business. A quote from Nugent below about his calls:

Out of the 8 I called, 3 of them all said the same thing: “I’ve been told exact match domains have zero value these days because Google penalizes you so I wouldn’t be interested”.

Now to further this quote from the end users, I also saw a very well known SEO company in the australian market put out this statement on Linkedin yesterday

Now that Google no longer gives you an SEO boost for exact match domains, what are the best ways to choose your new domain name?

Now these two quotes from various groups of individuals in the online marketing world has kind of baffled me, from some one who has been working in digital market I highly disagree that Exact Match Domains weight in search engines has been totally wiped out, I think a better statement to make is: Exact Match domains are still worth while if you create a quality site from them with good quality content and a decent link profile to match.

I will show below with some live examples of exact match domains still ranking well, whilst these domains are examples of quality exact match domains it is still evident their is a slight boost in these ranks for the EDM, I mean if you have a branded exact match domain people will naturally link to the website using the match link anchor text for the given keyword!

A quick search in the Australian market I can find several examples of EMD (Exact Match Domains Ranking)

1. Do a search for “Car Sales” and see carsales.com.au (current rank 1st position.)

Note from keyword: Whilst Car Sales is a very well known brand running on an EDM, it can be said that Drive has a stronger link profile yet it ranks in second position.

car-sales-SEO

2. Do a search for “Credit Cards” and see creditcards.com.au (Current Rank 3rd position)

Note from keyword: Competitors such as Credit Card Finder rank lower but the important point is that Credit Cards the exact match domain still ranks strongly.

credit-cards-SEO

3. Do a search for “Lawyers” and see Lawyers.com.au (Current Rank 2nd position)

Note from keyword: Competitor which is branded and has a strong link profile such as Slater & Gordan is out ranked by the EDM.

Lawyers-SEO

4. Do a search for “personal loans” see personalloans.com.au (Current Rank – 1st position)

Note from keyword: Outranks strong competitors, domain authority is lower, competing banks not currently out ranking for the term.

Personal-loans-SEO

5. Do a search for “loans” and see loans.com.au (Current Rank – 5th position)

Note from keyword: competitors such as yes loans have a stronger link profile yet loans.com.au still ranks higher.

Loans-SEO

6. Do a search for “Leather Jackets” and see the partial exact match domain leatherjacketshop.com.au (currently in 1st position)

Note from keyword: Competitors such as Viparo have a stronger link profile yet leatherjacketshop.com.au still ranks higher with the partial exact match domain, even looking at Viparo’s link profile you can see they have been targeting leather jackets heavily.


7. Do a search for “Jobs” and see the exact match domain Jobs.com.au (currently in 2nd position)

Note from keyword: From looking at the serps, it is evident that some of the government websites are very strong yet the EDM domain jobs.com.au is still ranking in 2nd position.

Another point to back up Exact Match Domains:

Now from my recent interview with Andre Weyher the Google search employee he provided the following insight into Exact Match Domains:

Choose your domain name wisely, having a good URL can give you a head start in the race. Good domains are still expensive and for a good reason.

Now you can take an educated guess from the statement about and the facts on hand and see that “Good Domains” usually means Exact Match Domains in high competition markets.

Now what can we say about the above research?

– Looking at keywords such as “Loans” and “Personal Loans” and “Jobs” in the Australia market it is evident that the EDM (Exact Match Domains) has some authority still in the ranks, the point is low quality EDM domains have been targeted after the last update. If you have a exact match domain I feel it is still worth investing in it but make sure that you have quality content related to the domain and build a quality link profile behind the domain.

Can Online Marketers please not make silly comments that Exact Match Domains now have no authority or benefit what so ever, it is clearly not true.

Want to meet up with me at a networking event?

To meet with me direct and talks to other Online Marketing experts in Sydney come along to our Free monthly meet up: http://www.meetup.com/Online-Marketing-Sydney/

Please let me know your thoughts on this post in the comment section below: