Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why Sarah is not happy with latest Google Update

Google announced last week that they are going to begin to encrypt searches made by logged in users, to make search more secure. Even though you can still obtain results on keywords (logged in or not) from paid search!

What this means to users is nothing (apart from security on keeping keyword searches secret), what this meant to website owners with analytics, is that they will no longer receive referral data from these (logged in) searchers. Generally we are fans of Google Updates as they are useful in their quest to make search a more pleasant experience. Alas, we are not fans of this change.

Monitoring the number of keywords that drive traffic to our clients websites is one of our favourite analytic reports. Our Search Marketing Executives get a real kick out of telling our clients (with search marketing contracts) that the number of keywords driving traffic to their website has increased by XXX %.

We will still be able to get the reports as this update will only relate to those logged in searchers. However, it won’t be the full picture, which makes us - Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Web site usability fanatics - sad.

There is a poll being run over at SEOptimise and based on the results so far, say that this is relating to more companies using PPC ads:
Visit the poll here

There is plenty of upset on this news, one we particular like is from Ian Lurie over at Search News Central and this statement in his article Dear Google, This is war:
“Don't get me wrong - I've not opposed e-mail ads, or Street View. But you can't shut down search query data and then protest privacy. That's like leaving one bite of steak on your plate and saying you're a vegetarian.” Ian Lurie, Oct 18th
Having had time to digest the news, I can now say that personally I am livid with the move, understanding what terms people are using to find your website allows you to create a site which suits the searcher and allows you to optimise on pages that they may not like at first glance. We (Search Marketing Flashlight team) are all about creating websites that benefit user and in turn increase client revenue. Google are making themselves out to be the good guys here, with regards to respecting privacy, but what will happen in turn is that people like us (Search Marketing and Web usability Ambassadors) will not be able to do our job to full effect.

We will still be able to determine keywords used from paid search adverts, however this will cost our clients additional money. For years now we have given all our focus to ramping up natural positions and diminishing PPC ads. Are people really that bothered that Google are keeping their keyword searches and using them to benefit their overall online experience!! Really!!

When people have complained to me in the past that they hate how Google use the details in their emails to show related adverts, I can understand their concern, however my response is generally as follows; Google is a free service, if you needed to pay for it, you probably would. Google make money from the advertising, this is how they are able to offer you search results that keep getting quicker and quicker.

Why Google have thrown in the 'we care about your privacy' card now, beats me. Totally stumped and off to complete the SEOptimise poll to tick the reason why Google have made this change as: to encourage more companies to use PPC Ads.

Graham Charlton over at E-Consultancy has invited some of the E-consultancy guest bloggers and a number of search and e-commerce experts what they think of this move. Please do go and visit this page to receive a more balanced view, you will soon come to note though that several in the Search Marketing community are not happy at all, Google SSL Encryption for search queries: the experts’ view.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Friday, October 21, 2011

How to write a news article

In an ideal web world, every website would have a “News Module”. A news module is a place where a website visitor can keep up to date with what’s new with the site owner, the website business or business progress. Having a news or blog section on your website isn’t just useful for your website visitors; search engines (especially Google) absolutely love it. Search Engines love fresh, unique content that has relevance to the overall 'reason for being' of the website.

Many people struggle with what to talk about in their News. We advise that on launch of a new website, a business work with the Flashlight Search Marketing Team to scope out at least a dozen news articles for the coming year. Another common question is how long does the news article need to be and how do I write them.

To answer the first question; the length really depends on your target market, short sharp bursts of “Title: Local Coverage “We are featured in the daily paper this week, page 4, we are talking about XYX”” will do. The best news stories will also have a call to action. “We are featured on page XYZ talking about XXX, if you want to find out more before Tuesday then please call us on...”

How you write the news article could depend on the tone of voice for your company. As you read this blog post, you will note that it is quite informal and easy to digest. We are more formal in our news and give mention to targets and objectives. Please view our Rocktime news here and see if you can spot the different style.

Fiona, Communications at Rocktime, has worked with a number of Rocktime clients on the development of their news. She has written a rough template for news creation, and would like to share it with you here, to assist you in the creation of your company news.

Template for News Creation

Follow the below to help put your news story together.

Give consideration to:

Short, sharp, eye catching, optimised, with a `flavour` of the story.

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

Think of the questions:

Any good news story provides answers to each of these questions.

* Who is the story about?
* What is the story about?
* Where is the story based?
* When is the story happening? Are there any other important time factors?
* Why is this interesting? Who is it interesting to?
* How are they going to make a difference?

Keep it relevant

Keep the news on topic, keep it focused for SEO benefits and don’t forget those internal and external links.
Note: I sometimes make 'external links' open in a new window, keeping the visitor on the website and 'internal links' open in the same window; the visitor can use the back button to navigate. This is a preference not a rule. If my consideration is focused on accessibility, I would not dictate opening new windows; for best practice I would leave it to the visitor to choose.

Other essential considerations

Which image will you use?

What is your call to action?

Introducing the Inverted Pyramid

If the news is for a press publication, consider ‘The Inverted Pyramid’

This refers to the style of journalism which places the most important facts at the beginning and works "down" from there. Ideally, the first paragraph should contain enough information to give the reader a good overview of the entire story. The rest of the article explains and expands on the beginning.

A good approach is to assume that the story might be cut off at any point, due to space limitations for instance. Does the story work if the editor only decides to include the first two paragraphs? If not, re-arrange it so that it does.

The same principle can apply to any type of medium.

More Tips on news creation

* It's About People
News stories are all about how people are affected. In your story, you might spend some time focusing on one or more individuals, or on how the team is doing, or how they are feeling.
* Have an Angle
Most stories can be presented using a particular angle or "slant". This is a standard technique and isn't necessarily bad; it can help make the purpose of the story clear and give it focus. Examples of angles you could use for your story:
"Team tackles difficult survey"
"Timeline of a long service award"
"Local Company Wins Global Account”

* Keep it Objective
You are completely impartial. If there is more than one side to the story, cover them all. Don't use "I" and "me" unless you are quoting someone.
Speaking of quoting...

* Quote People
For example: "We're really excited about this award," says xxxx, "It's the highest target we've ever set ourselves".

* Don't Get Flowery
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Don't use lots of heavily descriptive language. When you've finished, go through the entire story and try to remove any words which aren't completely necessary.

Our Call to action

We mentioned above that a 'call to action' in a news story is important, they are also important in blog posts too; even if you just give the visitor a reason to engage with you i.e. leave a comment.
This blog post's call to action is as follows:
Should you require assistance with News Creation, News SEO Optimisation, News Campaign Planning, which also gives consideration to seeding out the news, then please get in contact with Fiona at Rocktime, who will happily supply you with a Flashlight Search Marketing quote and consultancy guide.

We hope you like out quirky image, which pays homage to 'Drop the Dead Donkey'

Authors: Sarah Griffiths and Fiona Anderson

Monday, October 17, 2011

Well done Domino's, £130k mobile orders in 1 day

We love this case study which was mentioned over at Mobile Marketing News earlier in the week. It mentions that Domino's Pizza's had a record month of mobile orders with 13% of their total orders coming in via mobile device, bringing in a sum of £130,000 in one day alone! What a fantastic statistic!

Domino's chief executive, Chris Moore, puts the company's sales into perspective:

"When we launched online ordering just over a decade ago, it was a huge ivestment, but one that has continued to pay off, year on year. To put this achievement in context, 12 years ago we took £100,000 in online sales a year, by 2000 we were taking £1m in a year and now we are taking £1m in a day."

Read more about the mobile application over at the Mobile Marketing website, which shares news, views and analysis of all things mobile.

This is a great testament to the value of mobile commerce and E-commerce, and shows the important of enabling customers to order and pay for their food no matter where the are.

Rocktime believes that companies who invested in mobile early will reap the rewards, but appreciate that tapping in to an unknown market has its risks. However the mobile market is growing at such a pace that today's business really needs to embrace the mobile culture or be swept aside by their competitoes, so developing a clear strategy is essesntial when considering mobile investment.

Dominos are a great example of a company who saw the market when it was in its infancy and decided to invest for the future.

If you want to discuss how mobile websites and/or mobile applications can integrate with your business, please contact the Rocktime Sales team.

Author: Martin Bradbury

Monday, October 10, 2011

Geek Video of the Month

For this month’s Geek Video we’re taking a look into the interesting internet marketing approach by BMW UK. Why not check out the above video for a demonstration of BMW’s Z4 in both reality and augmented reality.

This isn’t BMW’s first foray into the world of virtual reality, they’ve already been pondering on the practical application and advantages it could bring to their business, as mentioned by, as far back as 2009.

Whilst this is a great example, BMW UK aren’t the first to be using webcams and augmented reality; this time last year, Suzi Perry, presenter of the Gadget Show, was tasked with coming up with an ad campaign to use the most cutting edge technology. She included a similar augmented reality to the one above, which you can view here over at the Channel 5 website.

If you want to try out a virtual reality Z4 for yourself, all you need to do is print out the image provided on BMW UK’s site in black and white. After that you need to set up a webcam and ensure the printed symbol is always in view of the webcam and follow the instructions on the site from there. Enjoy driving your virtual Z4 around your work desk, floor or wherever you fancy!

You can also check out a collection of driving designs from other fans on the BMW UK’s Z4 Facebook page.

Author: Alice Cheetham

Thursday, October 06, 2011

To the creator, inventor and genius: you will be missed

We are saddened to hear the death of Steve Jobs. He was a great inspiration and thought leader in the computing world, transforming computers into digital lifestyle devices. Right now a number of poignant messages are being passed around the web on Steve’s impact.

On Google search for Steve Jobs, you may note that as a tribute the Google Homepage is directly linking to Apple, see image below.

Google report that there are currently 10929 related articles on Steve Jobs on the UK web. As a tribute we would like to add to this number. The articles we recommend are listed below. We have also taken a few screen shots of the impact and we have added these below.

The Design and Web Legacy of Steve Jobs

Mashable: Steve Jobs Obituary
Read Write Web: Steve Jobs Web Legacy
Wall Street Journal: Steve Jobs his legacy of deals

Pete Cashmore (Mashable) posts out news via Facebook, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg pay tribute.

Google’s Home Page with direct link to Apple

Celebrity Tweets

Trending Topics on Twitter

Author: All at Rocktime