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Welcome to another weekly digest of material from my website grahamjones.co.uk. Enjoy. problems. What Google wants is our websites to be “natural”; indeed that’s what human beings also want. It means that the best SEO “technique” is simply to produce quality content and then let people link to that naturally, recommending it on social networking sites for instance. True, there are other “techniques” which SEO experts can prove to work. But what those SEO experts don’t know is just when Google will decide “enough is enough” and pull the plug on your search engine positioning. For Interflora, they are big enough to pay their way out of the situation using Google AdWords more, until their organic search position is restored. But if you are a smaller brand than Interflora could you afford to lose search engine ranking places, dropping from number on to the fourth page? And could you afford to buy advertising to get you out of that hole? You can avoid both of these issues by doing what Google tells us to do: • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings Interflora is the world’s best-known brand for sending flowers; indeed, you have probably used it to send flowers to a loved one, or as a gift. So you would expect that if you searched for the word “interflora” on Google it would come up as number one on the list. And that was indeed true for years – until last week. Now if you search for the word “interflora” it is 13th on the search results – not even on the first page. Interflora also held the number one spot for the word “flowers”; now the company has dropped, overnight, to 49th position for that word. So what has happened? Why has the Interflora brand been hit by the powers-that-be at Google? Simple. Interflora wasn’t playing the game by Google’s “rules” – rules, of course, which Google doesn’t actually tell us because they are part of their intellectual capital and therefore if we knew them they’d lose their competitive edge. There are all sorts of speculative rumours on SEO websites and forums as to what Interflora did wrong. But what is commonly accepted is that Google penalised Interflora for some misdemeanour, probably to do with the way it was getting links. But whatever the issue, it is a reminder that “techniques” and “methods” of getting noticed by Google can sometimes cause us
Interflora proves SEO can be harmful
Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/grahamjones/~3/3IHBllG9KHM/ interflora-proves-seo-can-be-harmful.html
• Create a useful, information-rich site In other words, just add engaging content….! If you to decide to play SEO tricks someone may have to send you some flowers from Interflora to cheer you up when your site is demoted by Google. Related posts 1. Search statistics reveal interesting behaviour 2. Your attitude is the key to successful search engine ranking 3. Google changes 50 things (+ to do list for your rankings)
Stop checking the Internet late at night…!
whatever is “late” for you is not a good time to be looking at screens. Simply going back to the “old days” and having a book at bed-time could be just the right recipe for sleep, lack of stress and keeping the weight off…! Related posts 1. Habitual website behaviour will help you succeed 2. Print this page if you want to remember it 3. Running an online business leads to massive stress
Online video content can reduce web impact
If you are reading this late in the evening…STOP…! Just bookmark it and come back to it tomorrow. Honestly, you will be so much better for it if you do. Late night reading of blogs, checking emails and so on is commonplace. Indeed, web traffic statistics show that there is a steady increase in online usage as the evening wares on, with people checking into their favourite blogs or to Facebook or to their email account just before going to bed. But such behaviour could be bad for you – really bad. It turns out that the amount of light we receive by staring into screens affects the production of the hormone melatonin. This hormone is crucial in the body’s time-keeping system – indeed it is central to the issue of jet-lag. When we receive a lot of light into our eyes, it switches off melatonin, telling us to stay awake. Researchers have found, for instance, that just two hours of iPad use at maximum brightness can suppress melatonin production. What this means is that looking at computer screens late at night can delay sleep. But, you still have to get up at the same time the next day, which means in reality you could be suffering from constant sleep deprivation. And that’s not all..! The amount of light we receive is also related to our hormones which control hunger. When we receive more light we feel more hungry. Consequently, a constant over-supply of light could make you constantly more hungry. It may well be that the “obesity crisis” is nothing to do with fizzy drinks and giant burgers in themselves. It is just that as we all sit facing screens, getting more light into our systems, we feel constantly hungry and end up eating more. And if you thought that was bad enough there’s another reason why late-night Internet usage may not be a good idea. It can lead to stress. People tend to fire off negative emails later in the day. They want to “get off their chest” that thought that has been troubling them. So they write that negative email, which you then read at 11pm. At that point there is nothing you can do about it, so you end up stewing over it, adding to your sleep deprivation and increasing your stress hormones, leading to additional potential health issues. So what is the answer to all this? Simple – have a deadline when you will not look at any kind of computer device. What works for you might be different to what works for other people – but by neotint Online video content is an everyday part of the Internet; we are all used to seeing videos. Indeed, on average each of us watches around 75 minutes of online video every week. But is it any good for your website? Because so much online video is consumed you might think that having video content on your website is essential. Indeed, if you don’t have video content within your website aren’t you looked upon as out-of-date? Without video you might give the impression your web content is rather old-fashioned. There is huge demand for online video too, so it seems to make sense to meet that demand and produce loads of online video content for your website. In fact, many businesses are now turning their websites into video portals it seems. However, not too fast…! It may well be that there is a danger in online video content. And sure enough recent research suggests we may need to think again about online video. On any web page there are various visual stimuli – headings, images, advertisements and links, for instance. When we are presented with several different visual stimuli we can cope with up to four different things at a time. So we see the headline, the advert, the picture and the hyperlink all in one go. But, the research has found, that when we have an audiovisual stimulus – like an online video – we can only focus on that. In other words if you have an online video on your web page people will not see the other things which are competing for their attention. The video grabs all their attentional resources and your adverts and links, for instance, may as well not be there.
Online video content should be for specific reasons only
The research suggests that video should be used for a highly specific purpose – focusing the attention of your web visitor. It means that you need the video to include the links you want people to visit, rather than have them on the surrounding page, for instance. Or you need the video to go to a specific page once it has finished playing, rather than assume the viewer will see the logical next place to go. If you want people to really focus their attention on your message, then it turns out that online video content is excellent. But if you are using video simply as an enhancement to a web page, it transpires it means people will ignore all the other content and so you are limiting the impact of your pages. Ultimately it means that deciding whether or not to use web video content is not as straightforward as we once believed. Related posts 1. Show them the money 2. Confident buyers need different websites 3. You must laser target your website visitors
website can alter the perception of your readers. Far from taking the negative comments with the proverbial pinch of salt, it seems we actually give them some credence. This means that if you want your blog or your website to convey the right impression you need to weed out those negative and rude blog comments. Related posts 1. Website choices depend on similarities, not differences 2. Blog Post Comments Help More Than Your Blog 3. Even young people prefer face-to-face
Facebook can reduce conflict
Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/grahamjones/~3/RgC9dBjdRNo/ facebook-can-reduce-conflict.html
Blogs with comments need attention
Facebook critics are fond of pointing out how it can be used for bad things. They cite examples of “trolling”, of bullying and of hate campaigns. And yes, it is true that Facebook can be used for such negative activities. But so can letters or the telephone. With over a billion active users on Facebook it is inevitable that there will be some nasty people on it – but they are in the minority. The vast majority of Facebook use is positive. Indeed, studies show that around 90% of all comments on social networks are positive ones; we only very rarely say negative things about each other. But sometimes people worry about who they connect with and the negative impact it may have on them or their image. One particular group of people who get concerned about this are young people who cannot dream of being “friended” by their parents. Goodness me…! Having your Dad as friend?
Blogs with comments can appear to be “alive” and to be interesting to readers. However, sometimes comments are an illusion. Often, blog comments are nothing more than spam created by some blog bot software, automatically injecting spurious comments into your web pages and blog posts. There is another problem with comments – one of the human kind. Sometimes, comments can be negative – not often, but occasionally. Most blog comments are actually positive. But every now and then you can get rude comments on your blog, saying nasty things. Conventional wisdom is that readers realise such comments are rude and negative and take them with a pinch of salt. The theory is that we are wise enough to work out that the rude commenter is being just that, rude. We, apparently, see the blog for what it is and are likely to ignore those rude and negative comments. If only the theory were true. Research suggests that our conventional wisdom about blog comments could be false. In a clever little study of blog comments on the reporting of scientific news, researchers found that the negative comments and the rude additions can actually sway the opinion of the reader. In other words, even occasional rude or negative comments on your
But how true is it that having your parents as Facebook friends is a problem? Or is it assumption? Research provides the answer in the form of a study comparing students who have their parents as Facebook friends and those who do not. It transpires that having a parent as a Facebook friend is far from negative for the student. Indeed, it turns out that what is originally perceived as a problem for teenage privacy actually becomes a tool by which parent-child relationships are improved. Teens think that their private life will be invaded by their parents, but that doesn’t happen. What does happen is that parent-child conflict is reduced and overall the relationships are improved. Far from being negative for teenagers and parents, Facebook turns out to be a force for good. It should come as no surprise really. The simplest way of reducing conflict – whether between parent and child or client and supplier – is increased communication and understanding of each other. That’s what Facebook provides. So, if you worry about what Facebook might do for the relationship between you and your customers, fear not. It is probably going to improve things quite a bit. Related posts
1. Unfriending is not a good idea 2. Facebook boosts businesses in unusual way 3. Attractive friends make you more popular online
Creating Web Content in Five Steps
is updating daily, you need to update twice a day. In other words, do more than your competitors. Research shows that most website owners are updating their sites with new content once a week, on average. So, the chances are your timetable only needs to allow for two new pieces of content each week. Once you have decided on the frequency, work out which days and times are most suitable for you. Then allocate a specific one-hour slot in your diary for content production. Once it is in your diary, that time is no longer available for meetings or other activities, which means you have to produce some content.
Step Two: Do some research
Find out what your target market really wants to know. Use keyword research programs, like Market Samurai or Advanced Web Ranking, to find out what people are really interested in. Conduct surveys using things like Survey Monkey to quiz your audience about the kinds of content they want from you. Also, try to go out and meet your website visitors; get to know them and analyse what they want in terms of content. You will find creating web content much easier if you really understand your audience requirements. Don’t neglect research in finding out what content you need to create.
Creating web content is a constant challenge these days. Indeed, for many online businesses the task of coming up with fresh web content on a regular basis is the block to their web success. In order to succeed in the search engine stakes, you need new, exciting, interesting and different content which you produce more frequently than your competition. If they add content every day, you need to do it twice a day if you are to be ranked higher. Similarly, if you are to get your online business mentioned in social media, to get people Tweeting about you, then you need to have something new or fresh. People don’t discuss old things, but chat about “the latest”. If your web business is to be part of the social world, you need fresh, new content to stimulate such conversations. Without new, vibrant content on your website you can’t really participate and benefit from the web’s two key arenas – search and social. Furthermore, you can’t fully indulge in email marketing because you have nothing new to tell the people on your list; they only want to get emails if you are telling them something they don’t already know. Producing new content is now essential to your online business survival. The problem for most businesses, however, is that they run out of ideas. They fill their website with “everything” they have to say and then cannot think of anything to write about. Bloggers face a similar situation – they start their blog full of enthusiasm and then after a few weeks run out of ideas; over 90% of all blogs that have ever been started currently lie dormant, untouched by their owners who simply cannot think of anything more to say. So, here are five straightforward steps which will help you in the process of creating web content – even if you have run out of ideas…!
Step Three: Create some themes
In amongst your research and your discussions with your visitors you will find some common themes. Now try to match these themes with the kind of marketing messages you want to provide. You should produce up to 10 different themes, allowing you enough different subjects to cover the average month of creating web content. Now allocate one of those themes to one of your timetable slots and then the next theme to the next timetable slot and so on. Now you know, for instance, that on the first Monday of the month you will be writing about your first theme. This provides you with some focus and prevents you from having “writer’s block” where you cannot think of what to write and sit there facing a blank screen…!
Step Four: Get some stimulation
You need something to help you generate ideas. So, organise yourself a method of collecting ideas. This could, for instance, be a notebook, a page in Evernote or a loose leaf folder where you throw in some notes. But have a central place where you collect anything which is related to any of your themes. If you want, you can have a separate notebook for each theme, or a separate folder, for instance. That way, when you come to the timetabled time slot for a particular theme you can go straight to your notes and see what ideas you have. Any time you have an idea, just make a note of it in the appropriate place – even if you are not scheduled to be creating web content on that subject for a few weeks. You can gain ideas by following relevant blogs, news sites and press release services in something like Google Reader, where you can combine feeds from these other sites into groups which are categorised according to your content themes. That way you will have a massive and readily available collection of stimulating ideas.
Step One: Create a timetable
It doesn’t matter at this stage if you can’ think of anything to produce in terms of content, but having a timetable is essential. If you don’t have a written down schedule of when you will produce your web content, you will be unlikely to do it. Indeed, having a timetable is sometimes all that is needed to create web content..! But what kind of timetable do you need? The answer is to check on your competitors. If they are producing new content once a week, you need a timetable for twice a week. If your competition
Step Five: Just write
One of the key problems facing people creating web content is staring at a blank screen, or going on some kind of web surfing expedition in the hope of finding some stimulation. But if you have organised your themes and you have your notes handy you are in a good position to produce something. But if you don’t start writing, nothing will happen. So, instead of seeking inspiration or trying to produce something which is perfect, just start writing
something, anything, based on the theme which is appropriate to the particular time slot. It doesn’t matter if it is poorly written, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make much sense and it doesn’t matter if you think people won’t be interested. Just write something on your specific theme at the relevant timetable time. Once you have got something written, then you have the raw materials for turning it into a much better piece of content. One of the problems which many people have when creating web content is that they don’t actually start creating anything. They sit there, staring at a blank screen hoping for divine inspiration and then head off and do something else when they can’t actually think of anything. Simply writing something will get the process started. So, there you have five straightforward steps to help you in the process of creating web content. Get me to help you with your creating web content strategy – take a look at my web content strategy and planning service. Related posts 1. Seven ways to get your website noticed – WITHOUT using the Internet…! 2. The Five Cs of Great Web Content 3. 3 Reasons Why Your Staff Should Blog
Related posts 1. Free products are not valued less than paid for ones 2. Online pricing tactics can backfire 3. How to charge the right price online
Website choices depend on similarities, not differences
Just how different should your products and services be? Conventional wisdom is that each of your online offerings should have real differences so that people can make a clear choice. But like many pieces of “conventional wisdom” this might just be assumption, rather than anything based on evidence. Online you cannot move these days for services which give you”choice”. There is the free version, the bronze one, the silver service or the gold plated product. Each of the services or products is outlined in a table where you can easily compare the difference between them. Except comparing things is not as easy as it first seems. When things are so different we find it hard to compare. New research shows that if the differences are only slight, we find it easier to make a choice. In other words, when things are similar we find it easier to choose between them, So, when it comes to the typical three-column price table on the web, rather than showing vast differences, you should show similarities. When the “Premium” version is actually rather similar to the “Standard” service you will find your sales go UP because people find it easier to make a choice. If, however, you make the differences significant, people cannot make a decision as easily and hence you reduce your chances of making a sale.
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