Posts Tagged ‘Google Hummingbird’


Follow the Money, Follow the Pins: How Pinterest-ing Should You Be?

Monday, January 20th, 2014
flickr user mkhmarketing

flickr user mkhmarketing

E-Pins are landing on Target’s physical shelves.  When last browsing the store’s home accessories section, you might have noticed Pinterest tags next to certain items. This is one recent example of how hybrid retailers translate digital pins into tags and use social media in their inventory and sales decisions. With top-pinned items selling well online, the question is, will top-pinned items become best sellers on the shelf?

For business and communications professionals looking to Pin-tegrate their social media presence, Target’s evolving Pinterest strategy provides lessons and steps, as Pinterest has become a significant part of their sales and traffic strategy.

In late 2011 and early 2012, Pinterest started driving increasingly significant amounts of traffic to retailers’ websites, becoming a top five source of traffic for several retailers, following Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Yahoo, though search is still all-dominant.

2013 was a significant growth year for Pinterest, particularly among women. In fact, Pew Research data says that Pinterest is used by one-fifth (21 percent) of adults, and that one in three women are Pinterest users.

Inspire and Create a Path from Inspiration to Purchase

Target launched its Pinterest page in March 2012, and introduced the Pin button in the lead up to that year’s holiday season. Bonnie Gross, Target’s VP of digital marketing and loyalty, said last August that Target is in fact “still experimenting … We are in the phase of doing a lot, learning a lot and figuring out what works.” Gross says that Target boards are meant to inspire and then “create a path from inspiration to purchase.”

Target.com users have been pinning (saving) favorite products on their Pinterest boards. Target’s Pinterest approach has evolved into featuring and calling out the most pinned e-items in the physical stores with Pinterest signage.

Other retailers are using Pinterest in creative ways, most recently for their Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategies. Steve Patrizi, head of partner marketing with Pinterest, says that Lowe’s created Pinterest boards of items that were about to go on sale. It was a new way of doing digital circulars to ensure they reach Pinteresters.

Retailers are leveraging their Pinterest partnerships because, as President and CEO of Walmart Stores Inc. Mike Duke said, “The biggest opportunity we have is winning the intersection between physical and digital retail.”

Follow the Money:  Your Audience is Diversifying their Social Media Platforms

Is Pinterest a good marketing opportunity for your organization? Marketers tracking markets and their social media behaviors are honing their consumer connectivity accordingly. If your customers are diversifying their social media presence, your social media strategy should reflect that.

The growth of Pinterest does not mean that your audience is abandoning other social networks. Pew found that 42 percent of online adults in the U.S. use two or more social networks and nearly one-fifth use three or more social networks.

“People are diversifying their portfolios when it comes to [social networks],” Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at Pew, told Mashable. “The addition of a Pinterest user is not necessarily taking away a Twitter user or a LinkedIn user.”

Are you Pinnable? Making your Site Pinterest-Friendly

PR and marketing professionals are used to thinking about SEO and search-engine friendliness. With Google’s Hummingbird, which launched in September 2013, SEO stopped being about keyword quantity and link-building and became about content quality strategy. Pinterest, on the other hand, is image-driven and has different rules for directing the traffic to your site.

Pinterest’s visual focus can be a hard concept for some businesses, like news organizations. But even news editors are finding ways to turn text heavy articles into a Pinterest-friendly visual format. The Wall Street Journal has been using Pinterest, in conjunction with Instragram, to cover the New York City Fashion Week.

As with other social media platforms, the idea behind Pinterest is to foster community engagement along with self-promotion. You are more likely to have a follower share on Pinterest if you include a pin on your website. Pinterest has an application to install a Pin It button to the bottom of your page. You can also have the Pin It button appear when viewers hover over images on your site. Conveniently, Pinterest integrates with other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

How has your thinking about Pinterest evolved? How much of a challenge is Pinterest’s focus on the visual? Are you finding ways to visually express your business and products? What kind of results are you seeing from pinning?

Five Tips for a Strong Start in 2014

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Five Tips for a Strong Start to 2014 - Goals and resolutions - Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasNow that 2013 has almost ended, it’s time to kick your professional resolutions into high gear. We don’t know what will come in 2014 but today we share a few goals that will keep you ahead of the pack. (For some personal goals that pack a big professional impact, check out this month’s newsletter.)

Find and tell your corporate story: One of the hottest PR topics this year has been content marketing, and that’s not expected to change in 2014. Effective content marketing requires a savvy strategy, and part of executing that strategy is telling your corporate story. Not only should all content reflect your organization’s brand values and voice, but it should also have universal appeal that also supports business growth.

How do you find your corporation’s story? It’s not really about the organization itself, it’s about using a certain platform to relate to your audience. Use resources to dig a bit deeper into the company’s history, its mission statement, and its values. Use those values and stories as pivot points to engage with your community and spread ideals and positive, consistent messaging.

Say “No” to GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Your end product is inherently tied to what you put into the project, especially your time, your energy, your content. GIGO isn’t a solution; it’s usually a last resort or a byproduct of time or money spread too thin. GIGO comes with a lot of pitfalls, like incomplete data, misleading results, poor performance, unmet goals, and having to go back and fix or re-do work you’ve already done. Assessing where your GIGO is and deciding how to fix it can be a huge upfront investment of time and resources, but it ultimately pays off in greater, long-lasting rewards. We’ll be talking a lot more about getting rid of GIGO in 2014, but for now check out this newsletter and our Seussian poem on GIGO.

Keep your goals SMART: Setting SMART goals keeps you focused and give you direction, as well as ensuring that the goal you’re setting is both measurable and achievable. SMART goals must be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. So no matter what you’re plotting – content market strategy, sales goals, or social media tactics – remember that SMART goals are achievable goals.

Keep your social media consistent: We know that in a digital, instantaneous world, updating consistently and often is paramount to staying relevant. But it’s also important to keep your organization’s digital voice consistent to maximize your brand’s impact and recognition. If more than one person runs or has access to your organization’s social media accounts, bring them together for an early 2014 meeting to refine the corporate voice and get everyone on the same page.

Similarly, ensure that someone’s consistently monitoring those social media accounts to check for comments or mentions and respond to any questions, shout-outs, or complaints. Users expect a response from a brand within an hour, especially if it’s regarding a complaint, so stay connected, and don’t forget to engage, even with a simple “Thanks for the RT.”

Think about SEO in a whole new way: SEO isn’t about keywords anymore, it’s all about semantics. Google’s Hummingbird update is changing the way the search engine displays search results. Now, it’s about content quality, not just keyword quantity and link building. Build your new SEO strategy along with your content marketing strategy, as the two will now go hand in hand. And don’t neglect Google Plus – while this seems like it should be part of a social media strategy rather than an SEO strategy, Google Plus will become integral in search engine rankings. Check out our post on integrating Google Plus into your SEO strategy for more tips.

For more SEO tips, read our newsletter about SEO strategy and our recently-updated SEO tip sheet with an SEO checklist.

Integrating Google Plus Into Your Social Media and SEO Strategy

Friday, December 6th, 2013
Flickr user Frau Holle

Flickr user Frau Holle

With the introduction of Hummingbird, Google’s latest semantic search algorithm, and the changing landscape of SEO and content marketing, Google Plus has become crucial to SEO success. Here are the hows and whys of integrating Google Plus into your content marketing and SEO strategies.

How Google Plus and SEO correlate

That Google Plus is a Google product is not the only reason it helps pages rank highly in Google’s search results; it’s also because Google Plus is “the unification of all of Google’s services, with a common social layer,” explained Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering at Google.

Optimize your Google Plus profile

The first step –after setting up a Google Plus account, of course – is to optimize your profile. Your meta description is what shows up in search results, and it’s only the first 160 characters of your organization’s name, tagline, location, and then the description. That’s not much space for a lot of information, and all that information should contain keywords targeted to what you do.

Put your most important keywords as close to the beginning as possible to ensure they show up in search results.

Fill up the links section

Completing the links section of your profile is absolutely necessary, and there are three sections for links. The first is “Other Profiles,” which should feature no-follow links to your other social media accounts. The “Contributor to” section is necessary for completing Google Authorship, so provide no-follow links to the blog you contribute to (this would be your company blog and any other industry blogs your company contributes to). Finally, provide do-follow links in the “Links” section, which should link to your organization’s blog, homepage, and any other company resources.

Set up Google Authorship

If you’re a regular contributor to online content anywhere, using Google Authorship can help boost your search rankings. Google Authorship verifies the identity of the author, and identity verification may be important in future Google algorithms. Establishing Authorship doesn’t just benefit individual authors or influencers; by encouraging regular, or even occasional, contributors to your company blog to set up Google Authorship linking to the company content, you raise your organization’s profile and the profile of those who work at your organization. Check out a complete guide to Google Authorship to get set up.

Post on Google Plus

Once you’ve set up your profile, make sure to create and share posts on Google Plus. Unlike tweets and Facebook posts, Google Plus posts are crawled and indexed. Plus, posting increases your chances of having that post shared. You don’t need to pursue +1’s per se, as +1’s don’t increase your search ranking, but by getting +1’s, it means your post is probably getting shared and linked to, establishing your credibility and increasing links back to you.

What’s your Google Plus strategy? Have you found that using Google Plus has enhanced your SEO and/or search engine rankings?

How Google Hummingbird Affects Your SEO

Monday, October 14th, 2013

How Google Hummingbird's Semantic Search Affects Your SEO and Search Engine RankingOn Google’s 15th birthday, how should SEOs optimize for its new “semantic search” so they are not left out of the birthday party?

With 90 percent of searches worldwide affected and their search engine audience changed, marketing and public relations professionals are asking what the latest Google search engine semantic algorithm will mean for their online and mobile findability and  how to make their content and SEO strategies more Hummingbird-algorithm friendly.

At Hummingbird’s launch on September 26, Google explained drivers behind the “precise and fast” Hummingbird, saying search users increasingly expect the search engines to fulfill longer, more complex and conversational search queries.  Hummingbird, with its semantic approach, is an upgrade to the way search algorithms interpret these new types of queries, as it better understands the full question and the reasons for asking it, instead of just performing the old-school keyword-by-keyword matchmaking.

Amit Singhal, SVP at Google Search, said Hummingbird is an advancement in search technology’s capacity to understand language and that Hummingbird “makes search results even more useful, especially when you ask Google long and complex questions.”

Therefore, marketers and SEOs need to determine if their pages and content are optimized not only for the evolved nature of the search queries, but also for the new semantic Googling.  With Hummingbird’s release at the end of August, you should be able to compare your search rankings pre- and post-Hummingbird to determine any changes in traffic.

With this latest search engine evolution, Google is also looking ahead to the very near future of conversational mobile search overtaking desktop searches.  And Hummingbird makes Google more mobile-friendly. Considering Morgan Stanley’s analysis in The Mobile Internet Report that mobile web use will surpass desktop internet usage by 2015, Hummingbird’s launch seems extremely timely. With desktop searches also becoming more Siri-like, Google Chrome now includes the voice search option for its desktop queries.

Google searches make up 12.8 billion searches, or 66.7 percent of the 19.2 billion searches conducted monthly.  Distant competitors are Microsoft Bing with 3.4 billion or 17.9 percent, and Yahoo with 2.2 billion or 11.4 percent, according to June’s comScore qSearch analysis.  With Hummingbird, Google might keep on out-Googling its challengers and continue being the leading filter audience between SEOs, as well as the eyes and ears of their targeted consumers.

In fact, Hummingbird’s timeliness is all the more noteworthy considering the increasing Google-Bing competition.  In a recent blow to Google, Apple replaced Google with Bing as Siri’s search engine in the new iOS 7 rolled out on September 18. Although Siri will be Bing-ing rather than Googling, for the time being Google will still remain the default search engine in Safari.

For SEOs now re-optimizing content for Hummingbird’s web crawling, indexing and semantic search, Google says that its search quality rating guidelines regarding content creation have not changed since 2012. In these guides, Google says that creating new and useful content that no other site offers through blog posts, social media services, forums and other means, will “likely influence your website more than any other factors discussed.”

The mobile overtake of desktop demands content creation that is also mobile friendly; in the guidelines Google says that “While many mobile sites were designed with mobile viewing in mind, they weren’t designed to be search friendly.” And Google offers tips to help ensure that your mobile site is properly crawled and indexed.

For additional SEO tips, check out the BurrellesLuce newsletter, 5 Tips for Enhancing Your Link Building and SEO Strategy, and our SEO Tip Sheet.

Are you seeing a drop or an increase in your rankings due to Hummingbird? How are you re-optimizing for the evolved nature of search queries and the new semantic search engine approach? How much are you relying on Google guidelines to drive your SEO strategies? What questions do you have about the latest evolution in search engines?