Google Event Recap – Leadership & Coaching

google santa monica
My trip to Google was great! It’s always inspiring to visit a Google office. I’m blown away that this company was started by two guys going to Stanford just twenty short years ago. Emarketed and Google are the same age! But in case you didn’t know, we’re much smaller. 😉

Due to the nature of the content and method the trainer used to coach us, it was tough to capture it live on social media. So here’s a recap:

  • Interestingly enough the event didn’t promote Google at all. Besides the free swag and being in the cool space in Santa Monica, I was not pitched on Google. At previous visits it was a pitch fest.
  • The event was all about leadership and coaching. Our coach for the day was G.A. Bartick. He’s been consulting with Google for the last 5 years. He was great! He kept us engaged for the day and memorized all our names (there were about 30 in the room). He would call on us throughout the day so we had to be on our toes. Because of this, most of the room was present for the talk (I.e. Not checking email/Instagram/texts every 2 minutes). It was a good strategy for sure to keep the room engaged. He told us his secret for memorizing our names. Here it is:
    • Step 1: Listen – Really hear the person when they give you their name. Google PartnersIf you’re like me, you can forget within a nanosecond. So he said you really have to listen and be present.
    • Step 2: Name Association – Think of someone you know in your life who already has that name and link the two. Or make something up that’s funny. I tried it out later that day when I met a guy named Jesse. Since no Jesse’s came to mind, I thought of him as the legendary outlaw, Jesse James. Another example from the event was a lady named Tiffany. He pictured her with a ton of sparkly jewelry all around her.
    • Step 3: Repetition – Try and use their name a few times when you first meet them. Don’t overdo it, but do say it a few times. You can overdo it in your imagination. So with Jesse, over the course of a few hours, I repeated his name several times to myself. And now it’s stuck.
  • The role of a coach/manager IS to continuously improve the performance of the team. Something he suggested we do at the end of each day is ask ourselves if we improved our team.
  • More highlights from the day:
    • Catch people doing more things right and fewer things wrong.
    • Coach to the future, not to the past.
    • Managing expectations can be broken down into 3 key components:
      1. Set
      2. Monitor
      3. Reinforce
    • The Skills Transfer Process – With this one, he gave an example of doing a sort of trick with transferring a pen cap to different hands. He showed Larry from the audience how to do it and then walked away. Larry wasn’t able to get it. It was clear that was the wrong way of managing this process. Then he went through the below process which was clearly the better way to manage.
      1. Explain
      2. Demonstrate
      3. Practice with Coaching
      4. Observe
      5. Feedback
  • One on One’s – His organization advocates doing them monthly. I’ve been doing this quarterly for years with my staff but have been lax over the last 12 months. The monthly plan sounds like a lot of work, but it does feel like the right way to go. He gave us a short process we can follow:
    • Purpose of the meeting
    • Outline
      • Last month’s action items
      • Last month’s goals
      • Last month’s results
      • This month’s goals
      • This month’s action items
    • Input – As you explain what you’ll be going over for the meeting, you ask if there’s anything they’d like to discuss.
    • Transition – Is it okay if we start…
  • He also asked the person that we’re reviewing to take notes and send this to us after the meeting. This is good for many reasons such as a paper trail of the meetings and to make sure they’re  listening and on the same page.
  • And lastly be the tortoise not the hare. Check out the video! Don’t rush things. Be present. Be yourself. I really liked the video and discovered it was created by Issimo.

Thanks for taking the time to read my recap. I hope you have a fantastic rest of the month!

Warm regards,

Matt Ramage   

Chief Emarketed Guy

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

How Does Google Hummingbird Affect Social Media?

Since the idea of Google Hummingbird has been introduced, there was no doubt that it would profoundly change organic SEO and search results. Another important aspect to explore is how this algorithm change has affected social media by better analyzing and processing social signals.
social-hummingbird
As we all know, social media (namely Google+ shares) do not have a direct impact on ranking. But there has been hints that Google is slowly working on a way to better count these social signals as a part of their ranking algorithm. The most difficult aspect of this is that although social votes count as a trust signal, social profiles are hard to index because of their non-static nature.

What Does the Future Hold?

Google is not heavily pushing the use of Google+ for no reason! According to many experts, being active and relevant on Google+ will be a crucial role in social media, if not already. Regardless of what Google decides to do with these social signals, your participation on Google+ (and other top social networks) can only work to your advantage in building a trustworthy reputation and gaining name/brand recognition.

Hummingbird’s Ties to Smart Devices

In a way, Google Hummingbird can be seen as a response to Apple’s Siri. Not only are conversational queries targeted, but content written in that manner has been rewarded. Google has also been experimenting with displaying results based on a user’s location, which will play a strong role on smart phones. Check out our related post: Google Rolls Out Carousel for Local Search Results.

Why Social Media Marketers Should Care About Hummingbird

HOW DOES GOOGLE HUMMINGBIRD AFFECT SOCIAL MEDIA?

At the end of the day, everything from content creation to what users find will end up being connected and shared through social media. Whether it’s Google Authorship on your website or query friendly posts on your blog, social sharing is the middle man that makes all the difference. This is, and will continue to be, an important method of how your relevant content will be crawled and found.

Social media is important because it introduces the factors of freshness, authority, relevance and interest, all rolled into one With keeping that in mind, it’s no wonder that such emphasis will be placed on social media as Google Hummingbird continues to impact search results.

So, before you dismiss social media as NOT being related to organic optimization (especially for Google Hummingbird), you should be reminding yourself of how important it is!

Visit Emarketed on Google+ today: https://plus.google.com/+Emarketed

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Dear Blog, Are You There? It’s Me…

Over the past few years, blogging has changed and so have my thoughts on it. Starting my 6th year on this blog, it’s nostalgic to look back and reminisce about the past. Most notably, when comparing blogging best practices.

blog-writing

An exercise used in writing is what you would tell your younger self. Sure, it’s an activity mostly used for diaries or journals but it can also apply to blogs. Why not? Here are 5 things I would tell my younger self about blogging.

1) It’s not all about keywords

Short-tail and broad keywords have been targeted since blogging was first associated with SEO. It was all about using and repeating keywords in a blog post. Nowadays, that is seen as overoptimization.

Instead of pushing certain keywords, it’s a good rule of thumb to target long tail and more “conversational queries”. This includes answering FAQs and common questions. They key here is to focus on content as a whole rather than keywords on their own.

2) Links aren’t everything

Links and keywords used to go hand in hand. As often as you could push desired keywords, it was about getting links. More links with more exact match keywords was once a good thing and the ultimate goal of why blogs were used in SEO. Nowadays, we certainly know better and that this can lead to an unnatural link warning.

Natural links aren’t solicited or paid for. Instead, the idea is to build good content so that people will want to share it naturally.

3) Blogs are an extension of your brand’s personality

Blogging

In the past, blogs were hardly thought of to convey any human aspect of a business. Blogs were strictly meant for business and part of the SEO process. Today, blogs consist of more than just keywords and links. We want blogs to be found, read and shared. This means posting things that aren’t necessarily just for SEO purposes. Posting about events, company news and just your own personal thoughts are a different way to incorporate a human touch in a business blog.

4) Think about cross promotion

At one time, blogs were seen as a standalone cog in the SEO wheel. It was something you did and left alone once you were finished with writing. Now that social media marketing is growing in importance, we know that blogs can play a crucial role in that strategy – content creation. Social media thrives on sharing content and blogs should provide fresh content that can keep the conversation flowing.

Blogs were once something built to bring in customers, which (trust me) isn’t going to happen with a little pull. Now, blogs give readers a reason to read, research and share. Blog readers aren’t going to just come across a badly written blog. Luckily today, the mentality for blogging and social media helps a great deal of exposure.

5) Google is going to change more than you think!

Over the years, it can be argued that blogs have dwindled in importance. They once counted for and played a huge role in ranking for desired key terms. Because those processes have been abused and spam, it’s time that Google looks at blogs in a different light. This is why Google updates have also targeted unnatural blog strategies (excessive guest blogging, blog/link schemes, and advertorials).

Although this seems like a disparaging way to look at blogs, the twist is in how blogs have changed. Blogs play a different role by helping a business get discovered and are seen as a signal of trust and authority.

Lessons Learned

Part of growing up is recognizing change and applying that on how to better yourself in the future. Blogs have given us all a lot more to think about in these past few years. And you can expect it to grow again soon. Try this exercise out for yourself and let us know what you came up with. Follow us and Tweet us @emarketed.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Google’s January Updates and What They Mean For SEO

Google, Updates

Authorship Reduction

A new year often means new changes and Google is no exception. In January, we saw the results of the great Google Authorship “purge”. But this reduction of Authorship was brought to our attention as early as October 2013. Take a look at the graph below to see the timeline of Authorship reduction since this first public announcement of changes to come:

authorship-30day

As you can see, Authorship in search results have dropped greatly in the projected 30 day period.

What Does It Mean?

Losing Authorship on your search terms can be a big hit to your business. The problem is that Google felt like there were too many Authorship results, and rich snippets to begin with. Which is why they were working to tone things down. The important thing to remember is that there is no clear answer at this point.  Some experts speculate that the loss of Authorship can be attributed to: certain industries, Authorship authority (or Author Rank) and even website authority.

One thing does go without saying, you can’t depend on Authorship showing up as a guarantee. Because there is so much that is unclear, the best we can do is to keep doing what we’re doing: work on your reputation by building up website and Authorship authority. But don’t forget to stay tuned for the latest news.

Exact Search Queries in Webmaster Tools

If you’ve checked Google Webmaster Tools recently, you may see a vertical line at 12/31/13 indicating that there had been a Google WMT update. From this point on, Google will report the exact number of search queries, instead of displaying a rounded number. This may be a result of Google wanting webmasters do a better job in analyzing website data. Or it could be a result of criticism that Google doesn’t give website owners enough information. People are going so far as to use third-party tools (like StatCounter), which Google probably doesn’t want to promote the practice of.

What Does It Mean?

Google Webmaster Tools is now more accurate, with the ability to give you exactly what you’re looking for, including exact impressions and clicks for a given keyword or page. You can even search for a specific date or a given date range. If you have any more questions, check out the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog post here.

Google Adding Dates to Your Content

This post on Google Product Forums gives an example of when Google automatically adds a date to your content. Interestingly enough, this page no longer ranked in Google once that date was added to the page’s snippet. There are many questions to ask in this scenario: Why would Google add a date to a page? How can a date affect the page’s CTR? Is this just a fluke or something Google is working on implementing on a wider scale?

What Does It Mean?

Since this specific example didn’t have a specific answer, we can only assume that it’s a bug that will be fixed once it’s passed onto the team. But it does raise the concept of keeping fresh content on your website. Snippets for in-depth articles come to mind. Even if it’s not something that I’ve seen in results, it still means that something is in the works on Google’s end!

 

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Using Advertorials in SEO Content Marketing

Google has a long standing policy on how it views links from advertorials. The explicitly say that it goes against their policy to sell links that pass PageRank. First off, let’s review what advertorials actually are. Advertorials are content that is written like an editorial piece but they are really just content that  advertisers pay for to get published.

Clear Intentions
The intent behind these “stories” is to get links on major news sites and therefore pass off the link juice back to their site. And therein lies the problem. According to Google, these types of link have to be clearly marked as advertisements or sponsored. The links also need to have a rel=”nofollow” attribute attached to them to show search engines that they aren’t trying to game the algorithms.

The problem that Google (and readers) have with advertorials that they aren’t clearly marked as basically being paid ads. Without proper disclosure, it’s misleading to have content that intends to sell to readers. And publishers don’t have to be paid to violate Google’s guidelines. They also aren’t fond of publishers receiving gifts or other forms of compensation for publishing the stories.

Still Thinking of Using Advertorials?
Passing off advertorials as high quality content is a risky move and just when you think you can’t get caught, you can get slapped with an ugly penalty (see: Interflora). If this method of marketing still seems appealing, it’s important to go by Google’s rules and a) clearly mark content as sponsored and 2) follow through with the no follow attribute.

Advertorials aren’t a new tactic but Google has seen a rise in businesses taking this route, hence all the articles and videos against advertorials. In the long run, informative and quality content will help your website’s staying power and we aren’t talking about it through the form of advertorials. The difference is that advertorials tend to be more sales-y and self serving, whereas “evergreen” content is actually helpful.

Google’s Official Stand
Check out what Matt Cutts has to say about advertorials in the video above and let us know if you think it’s fair or not.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Was Penguin 2.0 What SEOs Expected It To Be?

Penguin 2.0 (or #4) officially rolled out on Wednesday May 22, 2013 but tools like MozCast showed turbulent weather in the days before Google’s long awaited algorithm update. If you haven’t been counting the days, Penguin 1.0 first rolled out on April 24, 2012.

Changes Foreseen
Matt Cutts and Google warned that there were many drastic changes to come before summer. But now that that it’s here, there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much “jarring” and “jolting” changes as when Penguin first rolled out. Still, there were casualties from this update as SearchMetrics found, specifically in the industries of: online gaming, porn, and even brands like Dish and The Salvation Army.

Big Data for a “Big” Update
Taken directly from Dr. Pete’s post, here are the changes within industries as seen by MozCast data:

33.0% – Retailers & General Merchandise
31.2% – Real Estate
30.8% – Dining & Nightlife
29.1%  – Internet & Telecom
26.0% – Law & Government
24.4%  – Finance
23.5%  – Occasions & Gifts
20.8%  – Beauty & Personal Care
17.3% – Travel & Tourism
15.7%  – Vehicles
15.5% – Arts & Entertainment
15.4%  – Health
15.0% – Home & Garden
14.2%  – Family & Community
13.4% – Apparel
13.1%  – Hobbies & Leisure
12.0%  – Jobs & Education
11.5% – Sports & Fitness
7.8% – Food & Groceries
-3.7%  – Computers & Consumer Electronics

Best Practices Going Forward
Although it’s too early to distinguish the best methods of “recovery” for the latest Penguin update, some things remain to be clear:

– Raise authority with quality content and active engagement with your readers
– Take advantage of Authorship and other structured data for reviews, breadcrumbs, product prices and more
– Improve social signals and point it back to your site
– Natural content and links will win in the long run over black or grey hat techniques
– Co-citations, social mentions and natural links are an important part of your backlink profile
– Think about how you can earn more readers, clicks and links instead of buying them
– Disavow bad, questionable links and work on building better ones
– Recovery may not be an option

Better Alternatives and Options?
Perhaps, from what Google has been saying, SEOs expected the worst to happen or in the best case scenario, for their affected site to jump back to what it was. This doesn’t seem to be the case as only 2.3% of queries were affected and some people just continued to stay where they were. Remember, only about 9% of sites affected by Penguin claimed recovery.

This last point is something that you might not want to hear, but it may have to be something that needs to be done. But as a business owner, it might be just the thing that your website needs to move on and survive. Waiting over 1 year just for the off chance that your site will recover is a long time to wait for something that is uncertain. During that time, you could have worked on building a new, better site. Especially since there is so much information on website best practices and white hat techniques, which is drastically different than methods that were acceptable in the early 2000’s. Change isn’t what we always want, but sometimes it’s what we needed.

If your site was hit by Penguin 1.0 and there still seems to be no improvement after 2.0, it’s time for a change. Contact us today for more information on your specific case.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Mid-May Marketing Recap & SEO News

SEO
Matt Cutt says, “Pretty much every SEO should watch this video…(unless you prefer surprises)”. Watch it now!

Social
Abercrombie & Fitch’s chief executive Mike Jeffries speaks candidly: “We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” Talk about a social media fail and PR flop!

Local
1.1 million local businesses have claimed their profiles on Yelp. The company said that this is an astounding 58% increase from the first quarter of 2012. Read more here.

Mobile Search
Straight from Inside AdWords, shoppers who use mobile more are more likely to spend more in store.

Have any other stories that caught your eye so far this month? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Google Event at Emarketed Office!

Do you love Google?
Does Google love you?
Join us next Tuesday March 5th at 10 am for a talk broadcasted live from Google Headquarters.
We’ll be providing food and have room for 20. Please RSVP.  We’ll hold a bagel for you. 🙂

Click here to reserve a spot.

Event Agenda

Live-stream starts at 10 pm PST.

Keeping Up With the Evolving Digital Landscape

Lisa Gevelber,
VP of Americas Marketing, Google

The world is changing. The evolution of technology is giving people the opportunity to do extraordinary things. We’ll share how Google is evolving alongside this changing world, in the way it thinks about its brand and its marketing.

The Zero Moment of Truth: Reaching Customers When It Matters

John Nicoletti,
Director of Agency Development, Google

Whether we’re shopping for corn flakes, concert tickets or a honeymoon in Paris, the Internet has changed how we decide what to buy. We call this the Zero Moment of Truth, and we’ll share how this changes the way businesses reach their customers. We’ll talk about reaching the right customers when it matters, with the right message, using Google AdWords.

Working and Winning with an Agency: A Fireside Chat

Bickey Russell,
Head of Channel Managed Agencies, Google

We know small businesses can be hesitant about spending with an agency. We’ll discuss best approaches to working with an agency and what resources the Google is providing agencies to help their clients succeed.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Happy Halloween 2012 – Costume Origins and Ideas

Happy Halloween!

This spooky day isn’t complete without costumes, candy and having a good scare. But have you ever thought about the origins of Halloween costumes? This all began as a season of celebration (and superstition), as people in ancient Celtic culture would dress up to scare spirits away. These costumes often involved spirits, ghouls and other frightening things. Over time, Halloween and the idea of costumes became more popularized to be more child and pop-culture friendly. Aren’t we lucky that people everywhere can now enjoy Halloween in their own different way?

Here are some online marketing-themed spooky costumes:


Black Hat SEO (also available in white and grey hat)


Google (other options include: Bing, Yahoo, AOL, DuckDuck Go. You can also bring back the oldies like Ask Jeeves and Dogpile!)


Evil Penguin (also available in evil panda)

Sleazy salesman (Cold-caller selling questionable SEO services… enough said!)


Content scraped (Hit by bots that crawl and steal your content while slapping on spammy affiliate links? You’ve been scraped!)

Let us know if you have any other good ones!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Online Marketing Lessons to Learn from 3 Scary Movies (Part 2)

Happy Halloween Eve! Get ready for some more lessons from scary movies:

4) Gremlins
Gremlins and links – what do they have in common? One is cute and cuddly (Gizmo/white hat) and the others are just plain nasty (Mogwai/black hat). In the movie, the bad gremlins multiply quickly and can cause havoc if left to their own devices. (If it were only so easy to kill bad links with bright light…)

As we know, there are different types of links and automated services might not be the best. Links should be earned a few at a time and not by the dozens or hundreds one day out of the month to catch up. Even Google recently said that website submission services can be harmful to your site. Proceed with caution and just like having your own Gizmo, some people just aren’t ready!

5) The Fly
In this cult classic by David Cronenberg, Dr. Brundle turns into a human fly in an experiment gone awry. His ultimate wish is to be fused with his wife and unborn child to become… you know, the ultimate fly-human-hybrid. After his plot is foiled, he begs his wife to put an end to his misery – which she does.

Does this sound familiar to your website? Some owners can go overboard with content, design, over-optimization, thin content, and questionable SEO tactics over the years. Pair that with an exact match domain and you’re bound to be buried by Google in the post Panda and Penguin world. There’s a time for it and some people just need to know when to end it all… and start over new. This means 301 redirecting your content or affected URLs to a new domain and starting fresh with new content. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Don’t let the monster consume your pride and work things out before things get any worse.

6) Friday the 13th
At the end of the film, just when you think the masked killer is dead, there he is! Not only does Jason live but he also survives 11 other sequels including trips to space, hell and an intense battle with Freddy Krueger. The same goes with SEO. Many people claim that SEO is “dead” but it has really taken a life form of its own and is constantly changing to adapt to the evolving search marketing landscape. You can go on and on about how search engine optimization is a dying art but at the end of the day it comes down to the truth – SEO lives (and so does Jason Voorhees)!

Read our previous post here and let us know what you think!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.