Archive for March, 2012

Content marketing set to benefit as Google bids to ‘humanise’ searches

March 30, 2012

New semantic search technology will penalise over-optimised sites…

by Brian Oliver

As part of its efforts to ‘humanise’ its approach to search, Google is understood to be planning the most significant changes yet to its search algorithm.

It is not replacing its current keyword-search system, but intends to blend it with new semantic search technology that will increase its ability to read and understand a page (and its content) almost like a human. This, says Google, will help to improve search accuracy and provide more direct answers to users’ queries.

The new algorithm – called Google Penguin –  goes even further than last year’s Panda update which downgraded the page-rankings of content farms and low-quality, advertising-heavy websites full of aggregated duplicate content.

Google’s new semantic technology will reportedly group data into three categories: people, places and things. It will then analyse every word and interpret how various keywords relate to each other – instead of simply counting how many times a specific keyword appears.

Role of content marketing enhanced

Observers believe these changes will further enhance the role of content-led marketing and will boost the page-rankings of websites that focus on delivering high-quality content to visitors.

At the same time, keyword density, backlinks, and on-page optimisation will become less important as a result of the Penguin update.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam Team, recently warned that sites will now be penalised if they are aggressively over-optimised.

“We’re trying to level the playing field a bit,” said Cutts. “All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over-optimisation or overly doing their SEO – versus those making great content and great sites.

“We’re trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it – like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links, or go well beyond what you normally expect.”

Cutts said Google wanted to reward people who “make a compelling site, make a site that’s useful, make a site that’s interesting, make a site that’s relevant to people’s interests.” 

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About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

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CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

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Consumers trust branded website content more than ads, says Nielsen report

March 28, 2012

The growing importance of using quality content to attract potential customers to your company website is highlighted by a new study which found that consumers trust branded website content more than TV ads, paid search advertising, online video ads, or ads on social networks.

According to Nielsen’s new Digital Consumer Report, 52% of the people surveyed said they trust companies’ official websites when they find them through search engine results or other methods. But only 36% of respondents said they were willing to put their faith in PPC ads served up in this way.

The report underlines the fact that consumers are more likely to be drawn to a website containing well-written articles designed to inform or ‘educate’ rather than content that is simply trying to sell them something.

Consumers also have much greater confidence in content on branded websites than television advertising, the report found. Only 46% of those surveyed felt TV ads could be trusted.

According to the report, only 32% said they trust social media ad campaigns and online video advertising. Less than three in 10 felt they could rely on online banner ads, display ads on mobile devices, and SMS ads on mobile phones.

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Image courtesy of Gadgety

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CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

 

Frequent publishing helps to improve ROI in content marketing

March 17, 2012

by Brian Oliver

Publishing quality content on a regular basis is a key factor in increasing companies’ return on investment (ROI) in content marketing campaigns – that’s according to a new report from internet marketing company HubSpot.

The percentage of companies that gain new business from content marketing decreases as publishing becomes less frequent, says Hubspot.

The company’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing report discovered that 92% of businesses that publish multiple articles every day tend to acquire more customers directly through their blogs and have a higher rate of sales conversions.

However, the study found that just 10% of companies actually publish new material every day. The majority of users of content marketing only post new articles on a weekly basis.

BENEFITS OF FREQUENT UPDATES

The report found that a content strategy that includes frequent updates has several overall benefits. New content brings search crawlers back to index more pages which, in turn, helps with search standing. And a regular helping of recent content attracts a more positive response from Google’s new ‘fresh factor’ algorithm.

Potential customers are also more likely to see your website as a more trustworthy authority when you consistently publish valuable content.

COMPANY BLOGS BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT

According to Hubspot, another key takeaway from the new study is that businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the value of a well-written blog that delivers quality content. Some 81% of companies described their blog as “useful”, “important” or “critical” – with 25% rating their company blog as “critical” to their business.

In addition, 62% of the companies surveyed said social media had become more important to them as a source of leads in the past six months.

Significantly, the study also found that content marketing campaigns can attract new sales leads at a much lower cost per lead than outbound marketing activities … typically about 61% lower, according to Hubspot.

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About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

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CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Bing, Yahoo and Ask growing, but Google still dominates UK search market

March 11, 2012

by Brian Oliver

UK content marketing campaigns should continue to focus on achieving high rankings on Google’s search engine results pages, according to the latest UK figures released by digital intelligence service Experian Hitwise.

While search engines such as Bing, Yahoo and Ask managed to marginally boost their share of UK search volume in the four-week period ending 4 February 2012, Google remained the clear market leader.

The Experian Hitwise figures show that Google.com and Google.co.uk achieved a combined total of 90.84% of the 2.3 billion visits to search engines made by UK internet users during this period. However, Google’s share slipped slightly – down 1.11% from a total of 91.75% in December 2011.

Meanwhile, Bing received 3.78% of UK search volume (up 0.14%), Yahoo 2.31% (up 0.09%), and Ask 1.83% (up 0.09%).

UK visits to search engines were 4.5% higher in January 2012, according to Experian Hitwise, with nearly 100 million more visits than in January 2011.

Some 89% of buyers now turn to Google, Bing or other search engines to find information on products, services or businesses before making a purchasing decision – that’s according to a February study by strategic communications firm Fleishman-Hillard and market research company Harris Interactive.

The study underlined the importance of creating high search engine results by implementing an integrated content marketing strategy – publishing high-quality original content that provides sales prospects with useful and valuable information when they conduct searches.

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About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

How content marketers’ interest in Pinterest is growing almost as fast as the site itself

March 6, 2012

Following in the footsteps of Facebook, Twitter and Google+, another social media site, Pinterest, is fast emerging as a valuable distribution platform for content marketing – especially if you’re targeting a female audience. More than 87 percent of Pinterest users are women.

Pinterest is a visually-driven social network where users create virtual bulletin boards and fill them with their favourite images from around the web. People share images by ‘pinning’ them on pinboards in a range of categories such as fashion, cooking, and crafts. Other Pinterest users pass them on by ‘repinning’ them to their own pinboards.

Launched in 2010, Pinterest has grown from 1.6 million unique visitors in September 2011 to an amazing 11.7 million users last month. It is now driving more traffic to company websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent report from content-sharing site Shareaholic.

As the fastest-growing social site, Pinterest is becoming an increasingly important content marketing tool. Many of the images being ‘pinned’ and ‘repinned’ are actually marketing materials for brands.

The ‘pinned’ images allow companies to promote their products and brands in a highly sharable forum. Most importantly, the marketing images retain their source links and can therefore help to drive traffic to brand websites and encourage brand adoption among the fast-growing Pinterest community.

For a closer look at how Pinterest is becoming such a major marketing tool, take a look at this excellent infographic created by MDG Advertising

Marketer's Guide To Pinterest: Pin It To Win It [infographic by MDG Advertising]

Infographic by MDG Advertising

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CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Majority of UK companies intend to increase marketing budgets this year, survey reveals

March 3, 2012

Some firms now investing 25 percent of marketing spend in content marketing.

by Brian Oliver

The majority of UK companies are planning to increase their marketing budgets this year, according to MindMetre Research’s latest forward-looking survey of British business.

After canvassing more than 2,000 large and small British companies, the annual MindMetre Marketing Barometer, published at the end of February, found that some 57 percent of firms plan to boost their marketing budget in 2012. Only 18 percent intend to cut their marketing spend.

A similar survey 12 months ago showed no net increase in marketing spend – suggesting that there has been a marked surge in optimism among British businesses after a timid 2011.

“These forward-looking survey results augur well for 2012,” said MindMetre’s managing director Paul Lindsell. “If marketing budget trends are taken as a forward indicator of overall business sentiment, it may herald the beginnings of a true upturn for Britain Ltd. Unlike other studies, which only track the activities of Britain’s very largest businesses, this study embraces representation from the full range of company sizes.”

INCREASING INVESTMENT IN CONTENT MARKETING

At the same time, other surveys have found that companies are planning to boost their investment in content marketing this year after recognising that high-quality original content can play a key role in moving customers through the buying process.

Some firms are now spending a quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing, according to a study by the Content Marketing Institute.

The importance of implementing an integrated content marketing strategy was underlined by a February report from strategic communications firm Fleishman-Hillard and market research company Harris Interactive. The report found that 89 percent of buyers now turn to Google, Bing or other search engines to find information on products, services or businesses before making a purchasing decision.

Fleishman-Hillard’s findings support the idea that creating original online content aimed at providing relevant and valuable information to consumers or B2B buyers – without using pushy sales language – will help businesses appeal to new prospects.

ADOPTING NEW TECHNIQUES

Lisa Turner, marketing director at the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing, said she was encouraged to find “solid research” backing up anecdotal evidence and the Institute’s own findings.

“These are exciting times for marketers,” she said. “Difficult economic conditions taught us to be agile, flexible, adopt new techniques and to make every marketing penny count. Now that confidence appears to have returned, it’s that ability to embrace change and to prove marketing’s worth that will bring the greatest rewards going forward.”

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About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications

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CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing