Tuesday, 29 October 2013

What does Google Hummingbird mean for SEO?

Google announced an entirely new algorithm for its search engine at the end of September, which had already been in use for a month or so. It's called Hummingbird. Because, you know, hummingbirds are fast and precise, and so is this new algorithm. We see what you did there, Googz.

While Google has incorporated many updates and enhancements over the years, including Caffeine, Penguin and Panda, this is the first completely new algorithm since 2001. Said to affect 90% of all searches, what does Google Hummingbird mean for SEO?

While full details of the algorithm are still unclear, here's what we know so far.

What is Hummingbird?

'Search algorithm' is the term for the method Google uses to search through the billions of web pages to produce the most accurate answers for users of its search engine.

While Hummingbird incorporates some elements of the old algorithm, including the Penguin and Panda updates, it's a completely new algorithm. It's designed to work better for the sort of technologies most of us are using today, with the aim of providing a more intelligent understanding of search requests. Fancy.

How does it work?

Traditionally, the search results generated were based on the matching combination of key words a search phrase contained. With the internet expanding rapidly, this meant we had to conduct multiple searches to find what we were looking for. Which was frustrating and time-consuming.

Hummingbird looks at the full meaning of search phrases, including question words, such as why, how and where. The goal is that instead of producing a list of pages with matching words, it will be looking at the meaning of the entire sentence or question, in the hope of producing more accurate results.

Why do we need it?

Part of the reason for this change is that an increasing number of people are using mobile or voice searches. Voice searches in particular use natural language rather than a list of words.

Therefore the future of searching is likely to be a more conversational search, or 'hot wording' as Google likes to call it. This will naturally lead to longer and more complex searches, which Hummingbird will be able to cope with much better than the old search algorithm.

What does this mean for SEO?

Google has announced that the guidance remains the same for SEO and content marketers: the emphasis is still on high-quality, original content. The difference is purely in the way that Hummingbird processes the information.

The introduction of Hummingbird should create a fairer playing field for website publishers who concentrate on long-tail keywords. With the large companies and brands dominating certain keywords, the semantic search results may enable small niche websites to achieve a higher ranking for longer, more complex phrases.

It's also clear that Google is looking for relevant, trusted content. In addition to looking at links from reputable websites and social networks, claiming authorship by linking content to your Google+ profile means you will rate higher in the rankings once you've established your authority on a certain subject.

While the full implications of Hummingbird are still unknown, it's hoped we'll see faster and more precise results, focusing on user intent rather than individual search terms. Yay!

Image credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

25 best call-to-actions to use on your own blog

There are countless blogs online, and if yours is one of them, you need to ensure that your readers don't just passively lurk - especially if you are promoting products, services, or content. How, then, can you get readers to take action rather than read and simply click away? Ask them to take action in a direct way.

Such statements are known as call-to-actions, and they can make the difference between having a blog that is dull and lifeless versus one teeming with comments and activity. After all, if you are going to attract more readers and blog subscribers, you have to demonstrate that your blog is full of life and that people are engaged with the content you provide.

Here are some examples of successful call-to-actions you can incorporate on your own blog to increase sales or encourage specific interaction.


 Make your blog stand out by requiring your readers to take decisive and specific action. Photo credit: Sxc.hu user Svilen001 


Link Text in Your Blog Post 

One call-to-action you can use is linking specific text in your blog post and then asking readers to click on that link. For instance, if you are petitioning for action and you want people to fill out a petition, you would simply put "click here to sign the petition." The direction is clear, concise, and it only takes a moment for readers to follow your instructions.

An example of this tactic can be found on the page for HM Government.

Use any of these sample phrases to encourage visitors to click on text:
  • Click here to read more
  • Want to know more? Click here!
  • Follow this link to sign the petition now
  • Grab more information by clicking here
  • Select this link to get additional info

 

Ask Readers to Download

Another call-to-action that will get your readers' attentions is if you use free downloads bonuses on your blog. Free downloads will keep readers coming back if you offer them on a regular basis. Try these persuasive phrases to grab their interest and make them follow through:
  • Click here to download this report!
  • Click this link to download your free ebook
  • Enter your email address here to begin your download
  • Download our free and exclusive report today!
  • Sign up here to immediately download our award-winning white paper on sales! 

Enter This Contest

Readers love to enter contests for the fun of it, and to see how skilled they can be at a task. Contests can be a fun vehicle to use on your blog, and you're likely to get a decent amount of participation - especially if you urge not by asking, but by telling them to enter the contest. There are plenty of contests to try, from design to writing contests, so develop a contest that fits your blog's personality. To encourage readers through a call to action, use one of these phrases:

  • Hurry! Enter our contest today!
  • Click here to enter our contest
  • Want to be a winner? Enter our contest!
  • You can't win if you don't enter; sign up here!
  • Here's your chance to win a contest prize! 

Start Your Free Trial

People love free stuff, but sometimes it still takes a push like a free trial to get them to try something new. There usually is a bit of hesitation, though, because people realize a free trial means that after the trail period, they will be charged for the next installment. However, if they get a free trial and enjoy the product, they will more than likely continue to be a customer. Phrase your call-to-actions so visitors will immediately respond. Here are some examples:

  • Begin your FREE software trial today!
  • Start your free magazine subscription NOW
  • Launch your free white paper subscription right now!
  • Get your free DVD trial with one click
  • Enter your email address to begin your free product trial today! 


Encouraging readers to request product samples is a great way to get them engaged with your blog.
Photo credit: Sxc.hu user kix


Grab a Product Sample

Samples can eventually make samplers into lifelong customers. The sample can be a physical product or, perhaps, a virtual download of an application. It could also be an ebook or a sample white paper report. Here are some phrases to use for this particular call-to-action:

  • Grab your free sample
  • Try a sample of our product now
  • Get your free sample today!
  • Download a free sample of our software
  • Snag a free sample on us!
With as many call-to-actions available for use, there's no reason why you can't mix things up a bit. Be sure to try various ones to see which will get your business the best results overall. The main idea is to attract the reader's attention and then to compel them to taking action.

Contributor: Bev Sninchak is a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for print and online publications. She writes about many subjects, from managing online reputation to sharing the latest blogging tips.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Google Author Rank – what is it and how do I get mine sorted?

Google Author Rank is the hot topic in internet marketing and SEO for 2013. Oh baby. But weirdly, not many small businesses know what it is, let alone the impact it can have on their websites.

So what exactly is Google Author Rank, and how can online businesses stay ahead of the game?

What is Google Author Rank?

If you want to understand Google Author Rank, you need to have an understanding of the concept of Google Authorship, because the two are inextricably linked.

Chances are you've seen Google Authorship in action without realising. Honest. Just run a search on Google and some of the results will have a picture of the author, along with a short biography and links to their other online work. Studies show people are more likely to click on those results because they stand out. In fact some companies have seen a 150% increase in click-throughs since it was implemented. Which is a pretty damn impressive number, isn't it? One hundred and fifty percent, mmm.


Authorship allows online writers to link their Google+ profile pages to articles they've written and published online. The quality of that content is then ranked using an algorithm called Author Rank. Say you've written a bunch of top notch articles about buying property in Spain and those articles have been liked and shared a lot – then you will be viewed as an expert on that subject, so any subsequent articles you write will be ranked higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Authorship and Author Rank highlight Google's determination to cull the amount of bland, irrelevant content online, and deliver a better experience – more quality content – for its users.

How do I establish my Google Author Rank?

The first step to building up your Author Rank is to verify yourself as an author and link your content to your Google+ account. Make sure you add a good photo – head shots are best – and a biography, as well as links to any online work.

The next step is to start building up a presence. It goes without saying that the more content you claim with Google Authorship, the more visible you will be in the SERPs. But it shouldn't be any old content – it needs to be quality content. This will give your business an extra layer of credibility, as potential customers will be able to track your expertise in a specific area.

Author Rank is also linked to the Page Rank your writing features on – so writing guest blogs for other high-
ranking websites is a great tactic to build your ranking, as long as you ensure the content is linked back to your Google+ account.

Other factors to help you climb those all-important ratings are the number of +1s you receive, which act as a vote of confidence for your writing, and the amount of times each piece of writing is shared within your Google+ communities and other social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The amount of Google+ communities you're involved in will also affect your rankings, because the more involved you are, the more authority you're seen to have.

Finally, the amount of onsite engagement you have with your readers counts, so ask your readers a question and make damn sure you respond to any comments they make.

Follow these simple tips and you can work your own Google Authorship magic and stay ahead of the competition.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Why switch your website to responsive design?

Here's a serious question to ask yourself... is your website optimised for mobile? If not, WHY? We are big fans of responsive design here at Mission Imblogable!

Mobile and tablet usage is on the increase and this is only set to continue. Do you want your visitors to see your site looking its best regardless of whether they are using their phone or their computer?

Just in case you're still not convinced, here's a handy infographic to show you what we are on about!

What Is Responsive Web Design

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