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Is social media changing traditional search engine optimisation?

22 Nov, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Some argue that search engine optimisation (SEO) is a flawed concept. At its best, it means no more than following best practice in creating clear, accessible websites with intelligible content and meaningful titles. At its worst, it means compromising on engaging content in an effort to perform better within the mysterious algorithms that determine order rankings in Google search.

To add insult to injury, a striking post by Dan Graziano reveals that organic results may now only make up 13% of a Google search. Despite Google achieving search dominance by providing the best organic results, the company has begun to replace organic results with ‘revenue generating Google products.’ Google’s Adwords account for 29% of the page, while a Google Map takes up 7% and the navigation bar occupies 14% of the page (see image below).

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Dark social: should publishers be afraid of the dark?

13 Nov, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Have a look at any website’s analytics and ‘direct traffic’ will appear as a source alongside referrers such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. It is widely assumed that this ‘direct traffic’ is made up of users bookmarking the site or typing a site’s URL directly into a browser. However, will many readers really type out a long article URL? Isn’t it more likely that the link has been shared in a private network, such as instant messengers or email, rather than typed?

As email clients and instant messaging platforms such as Skype are not recognised as referrers, links clicked on within these networks have had referral data stripped and therefore show as ‘direct traffic’. Known as ‘dark social‘, this is the more mysterious type of traffic, where links are shared in a private yet social way.

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Google Hummingbird: should publishers be concerned?

14 Oct, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Last month, on the eve of its fifteenth birthday, Google revealed its first brand new search engine algorithm since 2001; Hummingbird.

Unsurprising, Google has not given away any specific details but it has revealed that Hummingbird is focused on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests. As online data volumes increase, we are expected to type more and more words into Google Search to achieve greater accuracy of results. Often we are required to conduct multiple searches to find the correct information, which can be a frustrating and protracted process.

The reason for this inefficiency is that the Search results we currently receive reflect the matching combination of key words that a search phrase contains, rather than the true meaning of the sentence itself. Search results produced by Hummingbird, however, will reflect the full semantic meaning of longer search phrases, and should in theory produce more accurate results.

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Is Google+ the party that people are showing up to fashionably late?

26 Jul, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

At the Figaro Digital Marketing Conference last week, Dan Patmore (Search Marketing Manager for Argos) shared his views on what trends and products digital marketers should be focusing on in the next 12 months. He pointed to insight, technological developments and the importance of the customer. He also (somewhat reluctantly) mentioned Google.

Dan described the launch of Google+  as “the party that nobody came to”.  In other words, there was a huge amount of hype, everybody got very excited, perhaps created an account, and then, nothing. He continued the analogy and surprised some people in the room (including myself) by saying that Google+ in 2013 may well be “the party that people are showing up for fashionably late.”

In January 2013, the Global Web Index revealed that Google+ had overtaken Twitter to become the second largest social network. Google+ now enjoys an impressive 359m monthly active users and brand interaction has apparently grown by 45.5% between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013.

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Followerwonk: analyse your Twitter followers for free

8 Mar, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

If you’re looking to connect with people in a particular niche on Twitter, Followerwonk could be just the tool for you. It’s currently free to search Twitter biographies, compare users and analyse followers of multiple accounts, so try it out before subscriptions kick in.

What can I find out about my followers?

By linking a Twitter account to Followerwonk, users can run a number of different analytic reports for free. Below is a list of the most useful for strategically growing a following and connecting with ‘influencers’ in a specific area:

  • Influence scores – how influential are your followers?
  • Follower counts – how many followers do your followers have?
  • Mapped locations – where are your followers located? (see below) more…

Facebook’s Graph Search: sentiment now included

18 Jan, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Not only is Facebook the online destination where users spend the most time, it also represents a massive global repository of marketing data. Companies have spent the past few years trying to understand how to leverage Facebook Pages, Likes, and other aspects of the social network in order to connect with customers and gain tactical advantage over competitors. Facebook’s Graph Search, announced this week, seems to offer brands a new tool for mining the market research data stored on its servers.

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BrainSpace: building a social brain

23 Nov, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

BrainSpace, a potential solution to outdated search technology, was demonstrated at this year’s SpotOn London. Launched by PureDiscovery, a big data startup, its goal is to let users find information that matters without having to actually look for it. Instead, the technology is designed to bring data directly to the user.

 BrainSpace is already well-established in the world of archived content; it powers semantic search across more than 350 million documents for LexisNexis. PureDiscovery, however, has set its sights much higher. By not only determining relationships between documents, but also between between people, and people and documents, it is gearing up to create a ‘social brain’ which will revolutionise search. more…

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