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The JCH Blog - A right old collection of random musings...

More Winds of Change In SEO

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Google Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird

Those of you that have worked with us for any length of time will know that I am always referring to the constant changes that Google make to their algorithms and the implications those have on us as businesses, regardless of whether our business is small or large.

Quite a while ago (end of 2013) I referred to what is called Google Hummingbird, which effectively was a wholesale change for the search engine. It wasn’t one of those updates that affects the work (and effectively declares any past work ‘illicit’) that SEO’s have  been doing on your behalf, (namely Penguin or Panda) but moreover a search system update.

The purpose of this change seemed to me to be made in order to cater for the increased usage of mobile devices when users are browsing the internet, and indeed searching on Google.

I’m told that in 2015 up to 60% of searching will be done on a mobile device! We’ve see that particular ‘train a-comin’ for a while now, and it looks like it’s just going to arrive in the station.

Effectively, search is going semantic (that’s fancy talk for saying that Google is now starting to understand the wording of our questions). So instead of typing “Golf Club”.. you’ll be able to ask (and this also encompasses voice activated searching) “Where is the nearest 18 hole golf club” – magically Google will also be able to analyse your position, based on the geographical locater based on your mobile, and provide you with the most appropriate results.

This sounds very civilized, but Google’s continually changing algorithms (they change them more than once EVERY day, by the way) will cause some concern for ‘some’ SEO’s who have spent much time, effort and money purely building anchor text links (that’s things like articles with the key word as the link like this: JCHCommunications – but they’ve done that at the expense of a more holistic SEO approach.

Fortunately for us at JCH, this will not affect us in the slightest (in fact it will probably help us as the lesser experienced and proficient SEO’d sites will drop away

At JCH we continue to look at the whole picture. We are constantly updating and changing our approach to SEO, we produce content for your site (that the reader wants to read – not for Google), Well written content on reputable sites will continue to rank highy.. We produce Social Content and gain social signals for your site on top of this.

Additionally we build the right kind of links, from relevant, authoritative partners., but using clever techie shortcuts to manipulate your way to the top will get tougher, we don’t participate in this and so our clients can rest assured they are protected from this.


Ghost Busters…

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HalloweenI was recently sitting in Costa (I managed to escape the office for a while and when I know I have some writing to do, Costa always seems to focus my mind) – maybe it’s the coffee! Maybe it’s Susie the barista.. no it’s probably the coffee! (Believe that and you’ll believe anything!)

Anyway, I was recently there writing an email for a ‘mindset’ marketing promotion (free e-book report – which leads into a funnel collecting email address.. I won’t bore you with it).. Anyway, I was there enjoying my skinny latte (I don’t want Susie to think I’m unhealthy.. so I trade off full fat milk for ‘skinny’ which then means I can have a large chocolate muffin, everyone’s a winner!)  Whilst stopping  a minute for inspiration, I overheard two  girls talking about Halloween. They were deciding which outfits to wear for a party.

I got me to thinking about how times have changed. I mean only a few years ago we didn’t really ‘do’ Halloween (for me “penny for the guy” was a much bigger event!)

Anyway, I started thinking about the commercial opportunities that Halloween provides (not only in the states I might add). Most marketers have embraced (or throttled) the spirit of  “All Hallows” as an opportunity and now it represents big bucks to all concerned.

Almost EVERY large company has produced some marketing led Halloween promotion. Whether it’s a ‘trick or tweet’ promotion or a Halloween video (some of the best, and I concede they do have a large budget) have received literally millions of views.

It got me to further thinking that sometimes as small businesses, we need a good reason to ‘reach out’ to our customers or potential customers, and the usual ‘have you seen how good we are at xyz’ doesn’t really cut it..

Almost everybody loves a clever Halloween (or similar) promotion. We think nothing of contacting our clients and customers with a Christmas message, but we stop short on using various (popular) events and holidays to help our businesses promote our brand or sales message.

I have therefore listed the next  possible events that we could promote together with yourselves. What about an html mailing together with some clever creative and a potential offer to potential new (or existing ) clients?

There is no reason why you can’t jump on the back of other countries’ holidays including Thanksgiving or Chinese New Year.. you could even get creative when doing this, and make it a bit fun.

Nov 5    Guy Fawkes Day
Nov 9    Remembrance Sunday
Nov 27  Thanksgiving – worth a go!
Nov 30  St Andrew’s Day
Dec 21   December Solstice
Dec 25   Christmas Day
Dec 26   Boxing Day
Dec 31   New Year’s Eve
I will provide a list of 2015 events in the New Year, it’s a good chance to do some planning for the forthcoming months and a chance to promote your company and offers (and a good excuse to hit that database)


London Then And Now

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We thought you may find this interesting.

We are always investigating new ways to help market our clients’ websites and businesses. However, sometimes you come across a pure work of genius, something that reflects on the old time values and enhances with a modern day twist.

We really enjoyed watching this video, we think you will do as well.

During the 1920s, cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene travelled across the UK with his new colour film camera. His trip ended in London, with some of his most stunning images, and these were recently revived and restored by the BFI, and shared across social media and video websites – Brings tears to your eyes….aah the good old days!
Since February Simon Smith has attempted to capture every one of his shots, standing in his footsteps, and using modern equivalents of his camera and lenses. This has been a personal study, that has revealed how little London has changed.


Off shore, …are you sure?

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A word to the wise…

We have recently been inundated by off shore companies offering to partner with us in our SEO efforts.

Some of them make a very compelling offer (financially) and on the face of it, look very interesting. More so because we are certain that our clients must be getting the same influx of emails.

We have been working on the internet now for over 10 years, and it would be fair to say that we have seen pretty much most of what is out there and of course it’s our job to keep up to date with the latest and greatest from the world of the internet.

There is so much more to providing a service than just providing the service. We believe our clients buy peace of mind, communication, expertise, local knowledge, experience and so on.

Recently we thought we would try out an Indian company that offered to promote (one of our own) websites. They promised to create a number of links, and provide articles and more. (This particular company was one of the better ones, on the face of it).

The articles they produced were pretty good. We were fairly impressed; they needed a little tweak for some language corrections, but not too bad. Their report told us that our links had been made and that was fine.

We won’t bore you with a running commentary but as time went on, the quality of the work was just awful. The articles needed so much re writing, we may have well written them ourselves. We called their office and to be honest the language barrier made it too stressful to actually achieve anything. We have the distinct advantage of knowing what we are talking about with SEO and could see the problems before they happened.

Naturally we parted company.
Now, we’re not saying that all of these companies are the same, but we can tell you we have tried out around four different companies, from different countries, all to the same ends.
We know SEO, we know what should be done and we know when it’s not being done properly, and still we have little control, as these companies (sometimes in their desire to be helpful) just don’t understand the way we communicate.

What do you want as a client?
A trust worthy partner perhaps? Someone who is there when you need them? Easy to discuss things over the phone? Communication, in a language you can understand? Expertise in the market place and experience you can rely on?
More often than not cheap is expensive, as the famous saying goes. You have to consider how important your business is to you. Are you willing to put your business into the hands of someone you have never met, in a country you know nothing or little about, not knowing what they are doing with your information or how they are representing your company?

We know we wouldn’t be happy doing that!
Of course you’ll make up your own mind, and as they say, in the world of Twitter; I’m… #just saying….


Simple Strategies for Online Marketing

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In case you haven’t began to leverage the opportunities available on the Internet for your organization, you’re leaving a lot of money behind. Making use of Internet marketing strategies and methods, you can build up your business bigger than you ever considered, with customers around the globe. Here are a few excellent Internet marketing suggestions that should increase your business.

Social Media Marketing
When it comes to Internet marketing, use the power of social media to your advantage. Creating a page for your site or business on social media sites can drive a lot of visitors to your main site, and keep your visibility high. If you leverage social media, be sure to keep your content or posts fresh and relevant, so that fans keep you on their list.

Use social media as a way to publicize your site. Research different people in your industry and send them public messages, or better yet, try this: do a search for your keyword and answer any questions people have about it. They will likely follow you, and you will get a reputation for being an authority in your field.

Even if you’ve built the greatest website ever, it won’t promote itself. You’re going to have to make an effort to sell your website to potential customers, and give them a reason to visit. Use blogs, social media sites, and face-to-face contacts to attract more visitors to your site.

Facebook

Facebook is your friend. If you have a website or online presence for your business you also need to promote that site on Facebook. You can create a page that other people can “like”, and then link them to your official site through there. It will bring you a good deal of traffic that you may not have otherwise received.

Social networks have become a high priority for internet marketers because of the sheer volume of people who use them, especially Facebook. However, there are some do’s and don’ts you should follow to make the most of this marketing opportunity. Do post your real photo as a profile picture instead of logos, luxury items or other impersonal objects. Provide some personal information instead of just trying to promote your product. Talk about your interests, as well as your favorite sports, films and books, for example. (Don’t make it all business – although of course that is important as well.. but get the balance right). Let potential buyers see that you’re a real person, not an entity.

Twitter

Increase the amount of hits you get on your website link by posting it on different social media sites. Twitter is a great resource for this, especially because a tweet with your link can be re-tweeted by people around the world. The more hits you get on a link, the higher up it will travel on a results page.

If you set up a Twitter account to help you with your internet marketing, be sure to visit it often to see what people are saying. It is important that if anyone posts any complaints on there that you address it as quickly as possible because you do not want to make someone who is already upset wait. Know that you can right a wrong if you respond quickly and appropriately to an issue.

Use these tips to bring your Internet marketing to the next level. By increasing your Internet marketing efforts, you will see a rise in your profits. Marketing your business on the Internet will take your business where you want to go; all you have to do is set the destination.


Make the most of your Online Marketing

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The Internet is constantly changing, which means you should constantly change the ways you use it to market your products. To do that, you should be sure to keep track of new marketing tips and tricks. Here are some great pieces of advice that will help give your old Internet marketing techniques a boost.

An important tip regarding Internet marketing is to be sure that prices for goods that you offer not only are competitive, but also do not undercut the entire market. This is important, because you are partially responsible for the value of the product you sell. If you offer it at a lower cost, then others will follow, and you lessen the overall value.

All of your internet marketing efforts will be for nothing if your website doesn’t work. Before you open your virtual doors to the public, be sure that you’ve thoroughly tested your site to make sure it is usable. Nothing drives a potential customer away more quickly than a buggy web site.

Users like to feel like they are not being ignored and that they are very important to you, which is why it is important that you respond to any emails, comments, or message board posts in a timely manner. If you ignore your customers it is a sure way to lose business.

The Internet may help you reach a wide audience, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change your techniques. Employing different tips and tricks will help your marketing remain fresh instead of feeling stale.


Making Mobile Marketing Work For You

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Even if you’re an experienced marketer, finding ways to reach mobile device users can be intimidating.

While some of your tried and tested methods will still work with mobile marketing, others will not get the results that you’re hoping for. This article will give you some tips that can help you to take full advantage of the power of mobile devices.

QR codes are the wave of the future when it comes to advertising. QR or quick response codes use an image that is scanned into a mobile device and hold a bit of information. Use QR codes to link mobile exclusive discount coupons or product information for your business.

You will have a tough choice in mobile marketing dealing with whether to go with mobile apps or mobile sites. You need to let the actual message choose its medium here. In other words, you should go with the flow with whatever works better with one method than the other. Don’t try to force it to go well the other way.

Here is another tip for those who wish to use qr codes for mobile marketing. When generating qr codes, be sure to use a free service. Make sure the service has tracking so you can know who scans your codes.

Know exactly what you want to offer your customers before you start out. Mobile marketing encompasses everything from simple text messaging to instant mobile coupons. Planning ahead on what you are going to offer them can make the actual implementation much easier than if you were indecisive in the long run.

Every day, more people are accessing the internet through their mobile devices. The time to reach out to these potential customers, is now.. All that’s left is to get started.

If you need any help or advice, just give us a call in the office!


Creating A Winning Email Marketing

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Email marketing is a powerful tool in today’s technology orientated, internet-based world. It can be used to interact with a customer base to increase profits, as well as gain new customers.

As powerful as the tool is, it can be easily misused. There is a very thin line between email marketing and spam…

The easier it is to subscribe to your email newsletter, the more subscribers you will have. If you have a physical store, ask your customers for their email address when they make a purchase. If you sell on a website, ask them for their address when they are ready to check out.

Design your marketing emails to be easily read on mobile devices, in addition to computers. An increasing number of people check their email messages using their mobiles. If the message is difficult to read on their phone, it is likely to be deleted without the content ever being read.

Allow people to re-join after a set period. You know from your own use of email, that sometimes you sign up for something and forget about it. Let your subscribers decide if they still want to receive your emails after a certain period. This way, you give your customers and clients even more control over their email, and that’s something your customers will respect you for.

Reflect current festivities with your email marketing messages. For example, you could have a theme focusing or referring to love at Valentine’s Day. Sending out content in tune with current holidays lets your readers know that your messages are up to date and not just old content being regurgitated by some server.

As stated before, in a world dominated by the internet, email marketing is a powerful tool. Though it can be used for good purposes, such as interacting with potential and current customers, it can be misused as well, taking on the form of spam. When you use email marketing, keep this in mind and your messages won’t end up in your recipient’s spam folder.


5 reasons Google will not like your blog…

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You’re not speaking your reader’s language

‘If I was looking for someone that does what I do, what searchable keywords would I use to find them?’

If you’re not using the right words to help you be found, then you’re not writing for your audience.

There are no keywords in your titles

If you do ‘restoration’ but nothing in your blog says so, don’t be surprised if you’re overlooked in listings.  Remember to include your keywords in all your titles and text as much as possible, without detracting from the theme of your blog.

You’re a bad housekeeper

Set up your blog to be attractive to Google.  Google’s ‘spiders’ can’t crawl across broken links or search ‘uncrawlable’ content like images, but love keyword-rich text and bullet-point lists.

Bear this in mind and keep your blog a spider-friendly place to be!

You don’t use social media

Google relies heavily on recommendation to decide whether your blog content is good.  It’s not enough for your Mum to say so, you need to actively promote your blog via social media and encourage your readers to do so too.  Tweeting a link to a blog post is a great way to introduce new readers.  Encourage comments too, they add fresh content and keep old posts ‘alive’ for longer.

You don’t link or share

Google loves links and relevant keywords linking to some of your other posts can work brilliantly.  Linking with other bloggers also attracts new visitors to your blog.  Encourage these links by inserting a ‘share’ button.  If readers like your content, they can then share it with their social media network, spreading awareness.

 


10 reasons why Google will love your website….

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You’ve got a relevant website name

If possible, choose a domain name that incorporates the most important keywords for your business.  It seems obvious, but is sometimes difficult to achieve if someone else has got there first!

You’ve got keyword-rich text

Remember that the main function of the text on your site is to impart information to visitors.  The skill lies in incorporating the keywords without detracting from your message.  Remember that Google’s not your customer; it’s the person reading your site you need to impress.

You encourage Likes and Links

Google’s geeks quite rightly think that other people singing the praises of your website carries more weight than you singing your own!

For that reason, don’t ignore ‘Likes’ or refuse all inbound links – they act as valuable recommendations for your site.

You have video clips

Your website is your virtual shop window, so a demonstration of your wares can often be very attractive to visitors.  Research shows that you are a great deal more likely to get visits to your site when you include video – and visitors are much more likely to stick around longer with a good movie to watch!

You write Blogs and Articles

Google responds well to this type of content because it is updated regularly.  Put a blog on your website and ensure you keep the content fresh to keep Google returning to it again and again.  Remember to make your blog as relevant to the rest of your site as possible…then Google will list your blog posts, bringing traffic to the main part of your site.

Your pages load FAST!

Google now uses a tool called ‘Caffeine’, which tests the loading speed of pages.  If your site is too complex and takes ages to load, Google will have finished its coffee and moved on; unfortunately, your visitors will have too!

You’ve got ‘crawlable’ content

Search engine spiders love text and ‘crawl’ through it to decide how to list your pages.  However, these spiders can’t read images, video, audio files or flash.

Don’t compromise the design of your site to please Google, but bear in mind that a flash-animated site with minimal text will be hard to search and list.

You have keyword-rich page names and titles

Page names tell Google the content of your page, so the more relevant you can make them, the better.  Similarly, the page title will be displayed to site visitors, so needs to succinctly and accurately describe the content.

You’ve completed your keywords meta-tags

You should include your most common keywords here.  Try to always think of the keywords you would use if trying to track down the service/product you provide, it is best to use a maximum of 10 keywords or phrases in this area.

You’ve completed your description meta-tags

These tags are normally a maximum of 160 characters in length and should describe your page content, so should always include your page-relevant keywords.  Make sure that these are an accurate representation of the page content.