Interactive Marketing

Lisa-authorship-1Updated 5 November 2013.

Signs have begun to emerge that Google’s ranking algorithm, the formula it uses to determine where a website or page should appear in search engine results, is using authorship signals as a factor. (Originally, many referred to this as AuthorRank, anticipating that Google would eventually assign specific search value to authorship the way page authority is assigned PageRank.)

Authorship is Google’s way of identifying individual creators of content and tying that content to each author. The more quality content an author produces and the more relationships that author has online, the higher the individual's authority.

In turn, the content produced by highly rated authors is going to be ranked higher in Google's search results than similar content by authors that have lower authority, in the same way that pages with more inbound links are given more weight.

Although authorship clearly has benefits to individual writers, it has implications for publishers, too. If your business’s marketing strategy includes content marketing, such as a blog, it benefits the company blog if the individual contributors have strong authority.

Let’s say you have been outranking your competitor’s blog by a combination of link-building, commenting and other promotional tactics. But your competitor takes steps to increase the AuthorRank of the contributors to its blog. By doing nothing else, your competitor may now begin to outrank you.

How Can Businesses Maintain or Increase Their SEO in an Authorship World

First, don’t take your foot off the gas with your regular SEO efforts. Those factors still apply.

But now is the time to start building up the authorship factor for the authors of your business’s content, whether it’s on a company blog or the company website.

Lisa-authorship-2

Ways Authors Can Increase Authority:

  • Claim authorship of content. The first step is to have a Google Profile—which is now the same thing as a Google+ Profile.
  • Same domain. Ensure that either your work or personal email address is from the domain where you're claiming content.
  • Link up. Add a link from this profile to the company blog under the "Contributor to" section. Lisa-contributor-google-plus
  • Follow the rules. On the blog (or other content), there are a few specific criteria: each post must have a byline, and you should have an identifiable photo. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a contributor page where you can create the necessary author tag.  Insert the tag <rel=”author” link=”your-googlplus-url” /> (replacing the link URL with the URL to that person’s Google+ Profile).
  • Create shareable content. Volume of content isn’t sufficient to improve an author’s authority. Quality is much more important, and Google seems to define quality by shareability: likes, shares, +1’s. Although shares across the web will help, it’s a safe assumption that shares within Google+ will be weighted more.
  • Grow Google+ followers. Quality content is one part of the puzzle. Quality following is the other. The greater an author’s network, the greater the author’s influence, especially if the author interacts with high authority profiles. Think of it like Google’s version of Klout.
  • Check your stats. See your progress in Webmaster Tools under Labs-Author Stats where you can see information about pages for which you are the verified author.

Have you noticed that Google’s own social network, Google+, plays a big part in authority? It’s no surprise. The impact of Google+ on overall search rankings on Google continues to grow, as we first noted last January.

It’s rapidly moving from optional to mandatory as a part of a social media marketing strategy—as Google no doubt intended all along.

Learn More

Most businesses are too busy growing to be experts at social media marketing and SEO, too. That’s why we’re here. Instantly expand your marketing expertise with a consultation from CDG Interactive. We’ll cut through the buzzwords and tell you what to do next—and why. Contact us today.

Champagne glasses: Don't make resolutions for 2013; make plans with these marketing tipsPersonal New Year’s resolutions are notorious for failing within a mere month or two into the new year, only to be recycled again the following January.

We’re recycling our resolutions, too, but not because they don’t work—because they do. These are optimization steps to take every year, not just once.

This year we’ll be adding to them, not replacing them, based on the experience we’ve gained and the ever-changing digital landscape.

So in addition to these resolutions, we’re adding a few more. Here's are some resolutions that will help you make the most of your digital presence in 2013:

Analytics
  • Use event tracking (if you’re using Google Analytics) to collect more granular data about what and where your users are clicking.
  • Claim your site in Webmaster Tools and connect it to your Analytics account for additional information on search queries and landing pages.
SEO:
  • Review the keywords people are using most to find your site, what pages they are going to and which pages they are bouncing from; use this information to re-optimize your site.
  • Revisit your title tags and meta descriptions to ensure what your potential visitors see in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is reflective of what they will find when they arrive on the page.
  • Ensure that your inbound links come from a variety of domains; multiple links from one highly trusted domain aren’t as valuable as links from several different domains.
Content
  • Do a content audit: identify “dead weight” pages that aren’t being viewed & remove or repurpose them.
  • Create an editorial calendar for all of your digital environments (website, blogs, etc.).
  • Prepare for the content trends that will shape 2013.
Social Media
  • Review your dashboards from the past year and look for what worked and what didn’t; revise your efforts accordingly.
  • Consider expanding onto additional platforms, like Pinterest or Tumblr.
  • Sign up for the 8-week social media 101 email course at PowerUp Social.
Conversion
  • Create a segment or filter for visits with conversions; identify how these users’ behavior differs from those who don’t convert. Use this information to target them more effectively.
Now we want to hear from you. How will you be revising your marketing strategy for 2013?
Don’t get left behind in 2013. Contact CDG Interactive today for help crafting the marketing strategy that will drive more leads and more sales to your organization in the year ahead

Champagne glasses: Don't make resolutions for 2013; make plans with these marketing tipsPersonal New Year’s resolutions are notorious for failing within a mere month or two into the new year, only to be recycled again the following January.

We’re recycling our resolutions, too, but not because they don’t work—because they do. These are optimization steps to take every year, not just once.

This year we’ll be adding to them, not replacing them, based on the experience we’ve gained and the ever-changing digital landscape.

So in addition to these resolutions, we’re adding a few more. Here's are some resolutions that will help you make the most of your digital presence in 2013:

Analytics
  • Use event tracking (if you’re using Google Analytics) to collect more granular data about what and where your users are clicking.
  • Claim your site in Webmaster Tools and connect it to your Analytics account for additional information on search queries and landing pages.
SEO:
  • Review the keywords people are using most to find your site, what pages they are going to and which pages they are bouncing from; use this information to re-optimize your site.
  • Revisit your title tags and meta descriptions to ensure what your potential visitors see in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is reflective of what they will find when they arrive on the page.
  • Ensure that your inbound links come from a variety of domains; multiple links from one highly trusted domain aren’t as valuable as links from several different domains.
Content
  • Do a content audit: identify “dead weight” pages that aren’t being viewed & remove or repurpose them.
  • Create an editorial calendar for all of your digital environments (website, blogs, etc.).
  • Prepare for the content trends that will shape 2013.
Social Media
  • Review your dashboards from the past year and look for what worked and what didn’t; revise your efforts accordingly.
  • Consider expanding onto additional platforms, like Pinterest or Tumblr.
  • Sign up for the 8-week social media 101 email course at PowerUp Social.
Conversion
  • Create a segment or filter for visits with conversions; identify how these users’ behavior differs from those who don’t convert. Use this information to target them more effectively.
Now we want to hear from you. How will you be revising your marketing strategy for 2013?
Don’t get left behind in 2013. Contact CDG Interactive today for help crafting the marketing strategy that will drive more leads and more sales to your organization in the year ahead

Ms_foundation_logoScore one for 51% of the population! CDG has just launched forwomen.org, the new website for the Ms Foundation for Women. The launch marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Ms. Foundation, which has been a driving force in the women’s movement since 1973.

The Ms Foundation is the premiere organization in the United States that addresses the entire spectrum of women’s issues—from reproductive health to equal pay to child sexual abuse and much more. In recent years, Ms had directed much of its energy to grant-making and grassroots activities and kept a lower profile with the general public.

Last year, the organization decided to complement its grant-making focus with increased supporter engagement. They were ready to be bold, provocative and even controversial, and they turned to CDG to execute a site and strategy that matched their vision.

The result is forwomen.org, an energetic and somewhat irreverent site that compels users to get mad, get motivated, and get involved on women’s issues. The centerpiece of the site is its “Action of the Week”; each week visitors to the site are given a new action to take on behalf of a specific women’s issue. (This week, Ms is asking you to tweet and email key members of Congress and tell them to pass the Violence Against Women Act before the end of the year.)

CDG also worked with Ms to streamline the site’s content and present it in a way that would appeal to a wider, yet targeted audience within the “general public.” Visually vibrant and arresting, the site highly integrated with social media, and is designed to encourage activism and education through sharing among an ever-expanding community of followers.

“We are thrilled to share our new website with the world,” says Kelly Parisi, vice president of communications for the Ms. Foundation for Women, “It is the perfect vehicle to raise awareness about our issues, reach a new audience, and expand our base. CDG truly integrated with our team to create an exciting and compelling digital platform to carry us into the future.”

We at CDG are extremely proud to unveil this powerful new site ForWomen!

Ms_foundation_logoScore one for 51% of the population! CDG has just launched forwomen.org, the new website for the Ms Foundation for Women. The launch marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Ms. Foundation, which has been a driving force in the women’s movement since 1973.

The Ms Foundation is the premiere organization in the United States that addresses the entire spectrum of women’s issues—from reproductive health to equal pay to child sexual abuse and much more. In recent years, Ms had directed much of its energy to grant-making and grassroots activities and kept a lower profile with the general public.

Last year, the organization decided to complement its grant-making focus with increased supporter engagement. They were ready to be bold, provocative and even controversial, and they turned to CDG to execute a site and strategy that matched their vision.

The result is forwomen.org, an energetic and somewhat irreverent site that compels users to get mad, get motivated, and get involved on women’s issues. The centerpiece of the site is its “Action of the Week”; each week visitors to the site are given a new action to take on behalf of a specific women’s issue. (This week, Ms is asking you to tweet and email key members of Congress and tell them to pass the Violence Against Women Act before the end of the year.)

CDG also worked with Ms to streamline the site’s content and present it in a way that would appeal to a wider, yet targeted audience within the “general public.” Visually vibrant and arresting, the site highly integrated with social media, and is designed to encourage activism and education through sharing among an ever-expanding community of followers.

“We are thrilled to share our new website with the world,” says Kelly Parisi, vice president of communications for the Ms. Foundation for Women, “It is the perfect vehicle to raise awareness about our issues, reach a new audience, and expand our base. CDG truly integrated with our team to create an exciting and compelling digital platform to carry us into the future.”

We at CDG are extremely proud to unveil this powerful new site ForWomen!

Local searches account for 20% of searches on computers and 40% of searches on smartphones, according to Google. And those numbers are projected to keep growing. If your business’ online presence isn’t optimized for local search, you are missing out on customers who are looking for you.

Fit bodyLuckily, it’s not that difficult to fix. You just need to post a few key pieces of information in the right places.:

  • Your address
  • Business hours
  • Phone number
  • Website URL
  • Photos of your business

CDG’s clients have seen great results from optimizing for local search. A Zumba and yoga studio located in Sterling, VA, Fit Body ‘n Mind, made these changes and saw changes in their traffic within two months, including:

  • an increase in referral traffic from local sites including Yelp (100% increase) and MeetUp.com (164% increase)
  • an exponential increase in search traffic that did not include their name (from 9 to 200)
  • an equally remarkable increase in search traffic that included their location “springfield, va” (from 5 to 114)

What these statistics tell us is, that prior to optimization, customers had to know they were looking for Zumba and Yoga Studio by name. Post-optimization, people who searched on “Zumba in Springfield VA” or “Yoga in Northern Virginia” we finding our client.  So, how do you get similar results? Read on.

Continue reading "Four Easy Fixes Guaranteed to Help Customers Find You on Local Search" »

Local searches account for 20% of searches on computers and 40% of searches on smartphones, according to Google. And those numbers are projected to keep growing. If your business’ online presence isn’t optimized for local search, you are missing out on customers who are looking for you.

Fit bodyLuckily, it’s not that difficult to fix. You just need to post a few key pieces of information in the right places.:

  • Your address
  • Business hours
  • Phone number
  • Website URL
  • Photos of your business

CDG’s clients have seen great results from optimizing for local search. A Zumba and yoga studio located in Sterling, VA, Fit Body ‘n Mind, made these changes and saw changes in their traffic within two months, including:

  • an increase in referral traffic from local sites including Yelp (100% increase) and MeetUp.com (164% increase)
  • an exponential increase in search traffic that did not include their name (from 9 to 200)
  • an equally remarkable increase in search traffic that included their location “springfield, va” (from 5 to 114)

What these statistics tell us is, that prior to optimization, customers had to know they were looking for Zumba and Yoga Studio by name. Post-optimization, people who searched on “Zumba in Springfield VA” or “Yoga in Northern Virginia” we finding our client.  So, how do you get similar results? Read on.

Continue reading "Four Easy Fixes Guaranteed to Help Customers Find You on Local Search" »

Kaz_sushi_googleNearly a year after launching Google+ pages for brands and businesses, the search giant continues to roll out changes to the way these pages work.

Two of the changes announced recently fulfill a long-standing request from brands—custom URLs—and a prediction we and others have made previously—merging of Google+ pages for local businesses with their Google Places listings.

Here’s what you need to know about these 2 changes to Google+ pages for your business.

Google+ Page Custom URLs

Currently, all Google+ pages (and profiles) have lengthy, impossible-to-remember URLs, such as this: https://plus.google.com/b/100984478133254575364/100984478133254575364/posts. (That’s the CDG Interactive Google+ page—circle us, won’t you?)

But Google has announced--in a post on its Plus page, appropriately—that it is beginning to roll out the ability for brand pages to select custom URLs, similar to the functionality currently available for Facebook pages.

However, in order to have access to this functionality when it’s made available to everyone, your Google+ page must first be verified.

There are two ways to do this.

First, you can request verification for a Google+ page via this form.

One major criteria to take note of: When you use this process, Google requires a “substantial” number of followers (i.e. people who have circled your page), although it does not define what that number is. Even if you meet all of the other criteria for a verified page, the verification request will be denied if your follower count is too low.

Alternately, if your page was created in the category of Local Business, you will see an Unverified marker at the top of your page. When you hover over that, you should see a Verify Now button. Click that to begin the verification process. (Full instructions for verifying a Local Business Google+ Page.)

(Not sure if your Google+ page is a Local page? Go to your page and click on the About tab. Local pages have addresses at the top of the information and a small Google Map of the location on the right side of the page.

Google+ Page and Places Merging

This brings us to the second change, the merging of Google+ Pages for local business (which Google calls Google+ Local) with their Google Maps Place listings, which began back in May.

According to Google, when the verification process described above is completed, “Existing listing information on Google Maps will now be merged with your new Google+ Local listing.”

Even if you don’t go through the verification process, if you have a Google Place, it will be converted to a  Google+ Local page automatically at some point this year.

Now what if you already have a Google+ Business Page but it isn’t a Google+ Local Page? (How’s that for confusing?) As of right now, there’s no way to join a non-Local page and Place together, but we expect this may change in the future as Google clearly wants to eliminate Places altogether.

Also unclear at the moment is what happens when a business has both a non-local Google+ Business Page and a Google+ Place. The Place listing will get converted to a Google+ Local page, but will that leave you with two Google+ Pages for your business, one local and one not?

Since this applies to us, we’ll be keeping an eye out for additional information on this particular scenario.

Help With Google+ Pages for Businesses

If you have any problems during the verification process or other functionality with Google+, try asking questions on the Google and Your Business product forum; they’re often answered by Google employees or other highly knowledgeable users.

Our social media for small business site, PowerUp Social, also has several articles on using Google+ to promote your business.

Update April 10, 2013: Google is rolling out a completely updated dashboard for Places that better integrates management of merged Google+ Local pages. The following articles provide additional detail:

For custom consulting on creating and using a Google+ Page or any other social media platform, Contact Us to find out how we can help you today.

Kaz_sushi_googleNearly a year after launching Google+ pages for brands and businesses, the search giant continues to roll out changes to the way these pages work.

Two of the changes announced recently fulfill a long-standing request from brands—custom URLs—and a prediction we and others have made previously—merging of Google+ pages for local businesses with their Google Places listings.

Here’s what you need to know about these 2 changes to Google+ pages for your business.

Google+ Page Custom URLs

Currently, all Google+ pages (and profiles) have lengthy, impossible-to-remember URLs, such as this: https://plus.google.com/b/100984478133254575364/100984478133254575364/posts. (That’s the CDG Interactive Google+ page—circle us, won’t you?)

But Google has announced--in a post on its Plus page, appropriately—that it is beginning to roll out the ability for brand pages to select custom URLs, similar to the functionality currently available for Facebook pages.

However, in order to have access to this functionality when it’s made available to everyone, your Google+ page must first be verified.

There are two ways to do this.

First, you can request verification for a Google+ page via this form.

One major criteria to take note of: When you use this process, Google requires a “substantial” number of followers (i.e. people who have circled your page), although it does not define what that number is. Even if you meet all of the other criteria for a verified page, the verification request will be denied if your follower count is too low.

Alternately, if your page was created in the category of Local Business, you will see an Unverified marker at the top of your page. When you hover over that, you should see a Verify Now button. Click that to begin the verification process. (Full instructions for verifying a Local Business Google+ Page.)

(Not sure if your Google+ page is a Local page? Go to your page and click on the About tab. Local pages have addresses at the top of the information and a small Google Map of the location on the right side of the page.

Google+ Page and Places Merging

This brings us to the second change, the merging of Google+ Pages for local business (which Google calls Google+ Local) with their Google Maps Place listings, which began back in May.

According to Google, when the verification process described above is completed, “Existing listing information on Google Maps will now be merged with your new Google+ Local listing.”

Even if you don’t go through the verification process, if you have a Google Place, it will be converted to a  Google+ Local page automatically at some point this year.

Now what if you already have a Google+ Business Page but it isn’t a Google+ Local Page? (How’s that for confusing?) As of right now, there’s no way to join a non-Local page and Place together, but we expect this may change in the future as Google clearly wants to eliminate Places altogether.

Also unclear at the moment is what happens when a business has both a non-local Google+ Business Page and a Google+ Place. The Place listing will get converted to a Google+ Local page, but will that leave you with two Google+ Pages for your business, one local and one not?

Since this applies to us, we’ll be keeping an eye out for additional information on this particular scenario.

Help With Google+ Pages for Businesses

If you have any problems during the verification process or other functionality with Google+, try asking questions on the Google and Your Business product forum; they’re often answered by Google employees or other highly knowledgeable users.

Our social media for small business site, PowerUp Social, also has several articles on using Google+ to promote your business.

Update April 10, 2013: Google is rolling out a completely updated dashboard for Places that better integrates management of merged Google+ Local pages. The following articles provide additional detail:

For custom consulting on creating and using a Google+ Page or any other social media platform, Contact Us to find out how we can help you today.

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