4 SEO trends communicators should track

By Marisa Abeyta 

Ranking first on a Google search engine results page (SERP) is considered an honorable achievement—but it’s not the only goal that matters.

If you don’t rank first, there’s a lot you can do to improve your organic search results.

Here are four search engine optimization trends to embrace:

1. Combat ad blockers by optimizing organic search rankings.

“Ranking without links is really really hard. Not impossible, but very hard.”
— Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, October 2016

Research shows that 30 percent of all internet users will employ ad blockers by 2018. Although nearly every page you view, app you download, link you click or product you buy is tracked, you can block cookies (tracking), use anti-spam software, skip ads and customize social media feeds.

[RELATED: Overcome your biggest challenges in internal comms, PR and social media]

To optimize organic search rankings:

  • Integrate a multichannel SEO strategy.
  • Perform keyword research and target strong keywords that are relevant to each channel.
  • Optimize content for searcher intent.
  • Incorporate brand keywords.
  • Provide high-quality content and keyword-rich links.
  • Track and analyze your data.
  • Engage your audience on social media.
  • Optimize your website with a responsive web design to be mobile-friendly.

2. Build trust and avoid spam.

Social media platforms and search engines will continue to introduce new rules to prevent the spread of fake news, ensure data security and provide relevant information.

This year, Twitter updated its policies by introducing new anti-spam rules. Twitter now prohibits identical content—like the duplicate tweets many businesses posted regularly on multiple Twitter handles. Follow Twitter’s new rules or else you risk getting some (or all) of your accounts shut down.

This is nothing new to marketers who are familiar with Google’s algorithm updates. For example, in 2011 Google began penalizing duplicate content in order to punish low-quality “content farms.” “Content farms” are web pages stuffed full of low-quality content from other sites to drive ranking on search engine results pages.

Google’s aim is to provide searchers what they want, which is high-quality, relevant and valuable content.

To build trust online:

  • Create well-written, authoritative content. Don’t be misleading.
  • Promote brand awareness and value by telling your company’s authentic story.
  • Ensure that your audience’s expectations on your content meet reality.
  • Send press releases consistently as an organic approach to telling your company’s story, building trust and engaging your audience.

3. Take advantage of mobile technology and “internet of things.”

According to Doantam Phan, a product manager for Google, Google’s “algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in (their) results.” For this reason, you need to ensure that you consider mobile web browsers when looking at SEO.

“Internet of things” (IoT) will also advance this year. As consumers begin using their network of internet-enabled devices in their cars and home appliances, like virtual assistants Siri and Amazon Alexa, you need to ensure your content is accessible on various devices. Content marketing for tablets, laptops, smartphones and watches requires similar SEO best practices for desktop and mobile.

To increase organic reach for mobile and IoT:

  • Build links.
  • Lead with the most important information.
  • Incorporate multimedia like photo, video or audio in your content to boost engagement.
  • Add strong keywords in metadata descriptions.
  • Use a mobile-friendly test.
  • Write conversational content that’s shareable and compatible on various devices.
  • Use campaign tracking links to analyze engagement and click-throughs.

4. Keep up with the latest updates.

Google and other search engines continue to favor quality over quantity, regardless of whether the search is conducted via desktop or voice assistant. Voice-activated search is fast and convenient. Optimize your web pages and content precisely to serve search intent.

To meet the latest search engine requirements:

  • Encrypt your website with HTTPS. Don’t get marked as “not secure.”
  • Create strong, authoritative URLs that contain keywords.
  • Write rich content in natural language.
  • Cater your content to answer voice-activated search queries precisely.
  • Start early, be active and utilize Google Analytics.
  • Pay attention to format.
  • Add a call-to-action on web pages.

Marisa Abeyta is a Senior Customer Content Specialist, SEO Certified team member and expert on press release distribution. She’s been with Cision since 2013. Connect with her on LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on the Cision blog.

(Image via)


Don’t Let Your Headline Get Cut Off!

“Not everyone wants to play the game, ‘What’s the last word in the headline?’” says Andy Bechtel, associate professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill.

So, write web heads that don’t get truncated by Google, social media channels and mobile apps or else you’ll lose your readers’ attention.

How short? Make sure your web heads are short enough to:

  1. Get seen on Google.

Google’s search results display only the first 63 characters of your headline. To avoid getting your head cut off on Google, keep headlines to 55 characters or fewer. Remember: Google never bought a product, voted in an election or supported a cause. So write headlines for humans; optimize them for Google.

  1. Get shared on social media.

How will your headline look when it shows up on Facebook, Twitter and other social sharing sites? To avoid getting your head cut off on social media, aim for 55 characters or less.

  1. Get seen on mobile devices.

Mobile apps and websites often truncate long headlines. To avoid getting your head cut off on mobile apps, follow AP’s guideline and limit headlines to fewer than 40 characters.

  1. Reach readers on the go.

You have only a few seconds to reach mobile audiences before they swipe left or leave for another site. They want to scan at a glance, not study for a minute. Plus, long headlines get lost below the fold or take up too much valuable real estate of mobile screens.

To avoid getting your head cut off, keep your web head to 8 words or fewer, or about 40 characters. That’s the length readers can understand at a glance, according to research by The American Press Institute.

But online, shorter is better. My personal preference is web heads of 6 words or less, or about 30 characters.

In the end, it’s important to remember: Those extra words aren’t worth losing your head over. So when writing for mobile audiences, write headlines to go. Keep your head short.

Ann Wylie (WylieComm.com) works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. To learn more about her training, consulting or writing and editing services, contact her at ann@WylieComm.com.


5 Evidences that You’re Not Ready for Press

newspapersThe simplest truth for business owners to remember is that they must invest in their brand (as well as their personal professional brand) before they invest time and money into gaining media attention. 1000% Guaranteed: If your product or service is amazing, unique, better than your competitors, and your followers and clients can’t stop telling the world about you….the media will come!

5 Evidences that your Brand is Not Ready for Press…

1. You don’t have a brand

You have an idea. You have created a product or service that none or few have yet to pay you for. It may be remarkable or even breathtaking, it could even be the beginning of a multi-million dollar enterprise! Unfortunately, it has not successfully hit the market yet and credible journalists do not report on potential.

2. You do not have any followers

You do not have to become a viral sensation to be successful! However, having at least a few hundred people who consistently rave about how awesome you are will build credibility within the eyes of the media and your target customer.

3. There is no revenue

Almost every journalist loves a good rags to riches story or to be able to boast a company’s soaring financials. Since 50% of all start-ups fail, reporting on the successful ones is a joy to the media. Your product may be perfectly brilliant but without revenue the media will view it as a hobby not an enterprise.

4. Your product is mediocre

There is a saying in media, “Dog bites man is not news, man bites dog is news”. If your product is common like your competitors with the same price and similar qualities, the media will not come running. If you have a scarf company that is not news. If a single mom created hand-woven scarfs in her home, using the rarest fabric on the earth, and donates 25% of revenue to cancer research…that is news! How are you unique?

5. You have not researched the media

If you are a serial dater of the media and sending broad, mass pitches to every and any journalist you are not ready for the media! Think of the single person who goes around a club or social setting handing his or her number out to EVERYONE. How ridiculous do they look? Approaching all media gets you no where because every journalist has a specific audience. You must first research the media and find out which outlet covers products similar to yours and how your offerings can specifically benefit a journalist from that outlet.

5 Solutions to get you press ready. 

1. Build a brand

Before you hire a PR firm (GASP), spend your dollars on your brand. Make sure your logo is spectacular, your website is superb, and your customer service is unbeatable. You may be a mom and pop but make sure you look like a cooperation. Give your company a dazzling personality and do not cut corners, hire professionals and the best of the best to transform your vision to reality.

2. Build a social media following

Interact and post thoughtful content on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook. Re-post all that you see that is awesome, follow influential people, and share your company’s updates often. Also, kindly ask every client to give you a review on Yelp, and share your testimonials on your social media outlets. Do not simply “sell” on social media. For example, if you owned a dog food store your Facebook post should not read “Dog food on sale $12.99 buy now”. Your post should be an adorable photo of a dog that says, “Like this photo if you love dogs”, this is an example of engaging VS selling.

3. Make money

Invest and make sure your product is the highest quality and if need be, spend money on advertising (not to be confused with PR). 10 years ago advertising meant having a $50,000 budget but with today’s digital platforms and solutions you can advertise effectively for hundreds of dollars. If your budget will not allow for it seek referrals, look for places to sell your product online or what ever it takes. If you fail to make any real profit after 12 months of advertising and selling, go back to the drawing board and figure out why your product is not selling itself and redefine who your target customer is.

4. Make your product better than the rest

For this it is time to stalk your competitors. Evaluate what makes their products sell and examine your own product and ask yourself how can you create the same value they have but even more. What is your man bites dog story? Where can you not cut corners but be incredibly detailed? How can you use your product to tie and uplift your community?

press5. Marry the media

You read right. If you sell an organic household cleaner find yourself a journalist who is known for following and reporting on the dangers of toxins and the importance of healthy home care. Read their editorial calendar like the Bible, follow their social media, and pitch them as someone who is able to in the future provide value to their readers. Do not do the failed, traditional “Feature me please” pitch. Instead, try a, “I am a fan, nice to e-meet you, I have tons of material that your audience will find valuable so if I can ever be a resource for you please let me know” approach.

via presswho.com
follow @PressWho


Growing your personal brand on social media

Excellent advice from Pattie Lovett-Reid, chief financial commentator, CTV News – 5 ways to grow your personal brand on social media.

Watch Pattie’s interview with BNN’s The Street.

ANALYSIS: Are you narcissistic if you’re on social media?

That was the question posed to me at a family BBQ on the weekend. I found myself defending those of us who use social media to get a message out, build a brand, or purely for the entertainment value. Admittedly I’m a late adopter, having only joined Instagram this past week and Twitter a few years back. However, prior to engaging I asked experts in the field about ways to build a profile the right way, and I looked for some convincing that what I was doing was in fact a good thing to do.

Here is what I learned:

Social media is here to stay and employers hire people to ensure the person portrayed on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram is the person they think they are hiring. It has happened more than once where a candidate has been disqualified for a job after a social media search unveiled a less than ideal candidate. The question then becomes how do you develop a social media brand that shines a light on you in a good way, and helps to build your brand, not destroy it?

There are some obvious rules to live by, such as never post when you are angry, if it is late at night or you don’t have all the facts.

Here are a few things I found helpful as I embarked on this brand building social journey.

1) You need to take ownership of your brand. And yes, we all have a brand so you have to decide what it is you want to be known for.

2) Stay on top of trends, understand how your business is evolving, and be aware of changes in rules and regulations that impact you and your industry.

3) Think very small steps. Your brand will grow over time. It isn’t about doing one big thing right, it’s about doing a lot of little things right. It can take years to build and just one Tweet to destroy it.

4) Always look for opportunities. It is okay to think outside of the box, but stay aligned to the goals of your organization. You don’t want to pursue a personal brand that is misaligned to the strategic initiatives of your organization. It is unlikely you will ever be bigger than the brand you work for.

5) Be authentic – authentic success, real success starts and ends with you being – you. Authenticity helps to build trust and in turn translates into your brand.

Finally, we all have to learn to say “no.” There is a tendency to want to say “yes” to every request that comes your way but by having the strength to say “no” allows you to walk away from the opportunities that don’t align with the personal brand you want portrayed.

When it comes to social media, I’m still a rookie and learning to proceed with caution. Accept it for what it is – a platform to get your message out, not a podium to hide behind, and finally don’t let it become a productivity killer.

Of course the best piece of advice I already knew intuitively – never post anything your Mom wouldn’t be proud of.

As the Chief Financial Commentator for CTV News, Pattie Lovett-Reid gives viewers an informed opinion of the Canadian financial climate. Follow her on Twitter @PattieCTV


CEOs still need to step it up on social media!

As of April 2015, CEO participation on social media is still low. That said it is becoming increasingly more important and more common for CEOs to step out from behind the desk and into the digital spotlights of social media.

I have been writing and preaching about this for years now! As the graphic shows below, a “social CEO” (aka a Cheif Executive Officer who uses social media for to benifit and for the overall “good” of his or her organization!) is still rare.

Good news is there are at least a few leaders out there demonstrating what it looks like and how social media can benefit their personal and professional brands. Keep in mind that Laurie Pehar Borsh PR specializes in the production and management of CEOS and other high-level, high-profile executives on social media. No! A busy executive should not go at this alone (that could be the issue).

CEOs and Social Media
Source: MBACentral.org


Is your social media presence hurting your job search?

You hear a lot about what you shouldn’t post on social media, but employers are starting to grow weary of hiring candidates who lack a social presence all together. Take control of your brand by balancing your personal and professional image to attract recruiters.

Is social media hurting your job search

By Sarah K. White | CIO.com

Social media can make or break your career. We’ve all heard at least one story of an employee getting fired over a Tweet or Facebook post. And when you apply to a job, most hiring managers will first turn to Google to vet your background and qualifications.

Whichever way you swing it, you can’t avoid social media anymore, and how you manage — or don’t manage — your social presence can make or break your job hunt. It’s time to take control of your image and start thinking of social media as personal branding.

Why does it matter?

Continue reading… Continue reading “Is your social media presence hurting your job search?” »


Personal PR on the Global Stage

I haven’t been contributing to this blog, I know in quite some time (I mean SOME time). I edit and produce for my clients. Always the plumber with the leaky faucet, but no more. Do as I say, not as I do right?

Had to share this great blog post (continue reading here), but here’s the lead in… love the gifs on this one!

Developing a Personal Brand on a Global Stage
By Shalee Hanson

I was in sixth grade the first time I remember anyone talking to me about Internet safety: “Do not EVER, put any personal information on the Internet. Don’t give out your real name. Never give out your address, or your birthdate or any other personal information. The Internet is dangerous.” To be fair, they were warning us about Internet chat rooms, so, I get it; but I remember thinking it was strange that we had this tool that connected the world and all we were ever going to do was lie to each other with it.

Fast forward to 2015, and Facebook knows my full name, date of birth, my last four places of employment, every city I’ve ever lived in, my phone number and anything else someone may want to know about me. In fact, more often than not, when I’m going to meet someone for the first time, or shortly after I’ve met them, I will spend time checking out their social channels to figure out what they’re like. Let me reiterate, before anyone in the world has ever met you, they can develop a sense of who you are. What does your personal brand say about you?

giphy

It’s crazy to think about, really. Thirteen-year-olds who have Twitter don’t even know that what they’re tweeting right now is going to be a part of their personal brand forever. If they tweet some nonsensical garbage about hating America, and years and years later they run for president, someone will find that tweet and the whole world will know that when they were thirteen, for whatever reason, they said they hated America. Is it fair? No. But it happens.

Whether you’re a regular person, a public figure or even a brand trying to navigate your way through the social playing field, here are some tips on how to develop your personal brand on the global stage:

Read the full article here – says it all!


CEOs who aren’t using social media are doing their organizations a massive disservice.

What a title for a blog post – in my line of work, it better amount to some SEO for myself or else. No, I do not right a lot (these days) on my blog. Too busy running blogs and social media networks/campaigns for my clients, but I HAD to take a time out today to share this one “theme” again! This article (post) on Ragan.com, one of my regular daily go-tos for all the latest PR/Marketing news, says it all:

Study: CEOs aren’t using social media to full potential
CEO.com and analytics firm Domo found that more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 chief executives have no social media presence at all.
By Matt Wilson | Posted: September 9, 2014

CEOStudy_jpg_600x0Among Fortune 500 chief executives, only one, Mark Zuckerberg, is on all five major social networks. It probably helps that he invented one of them.

About 68 percent of the other CEOs have no social media presence at all, according to new research from CEO.com and business analytics firm Domo. Of the 162 chief execs who do have social media presences, 110 are only on one social network.

Read the rest of the study/article >here.

If you follow me on social media or this blog, you know I write about this “growing issue” a lot and have been preaching this since the dawn of social media (2003). Lots of CEOs and other C-suite professionals have heard my cry and have allowed me to help them become and remain more visible on social (and digital in general) media. In my opinion, this “push-back” so to speak is more so about having the time and the ability to do what it takes to be successful with social media. There are way too many people out there trying to push all of these fancy options for these executive leaders. It’s overwhelming! And do their corporate marketing or even outsourced PR firms handle all a CEO or any C-suiter for that matter, ON SOCIAL MEDIA. 99% OF THE TIME = NO. But, well its social media and everyone should know how to navigate it and use it right? NO!

Most CEOs leave the marketing and PR to other people in the organization they operate, but then it is assume that they have to handle their own social media outreach. Well, I am here to tell you the do not have to! Most of the guys and gals who are super active on social media DON’T handle themselves on social media (just like they don’t handle themselves on a red carpet or on a press-media junket). Social media IS media, media is media. Don’t go at it alone and especially if you run a Fortune 1000, 500 or 1 company…even a small, under 50M company. BUT a C-suite leader can’t just NOT be present online – like the article says, CEOs who aren’t are doing their organizations a massive disservice. Not to mention an under represented image as it applies to the company – in the ever-growing digital media space.

And Obviously, it’s about having a certain style out there in the biz world (as I always say, not everyone can be a Richard Branson or Bill Gates or even Donald Trump) on social media. Strong and Silent can work, as can Loud and Clear – it’s about being yourself and being real and approachable. Being active on social media is more than just about how much you say, it’s also a lot about what you do (or don’t do).

I think, I can safely say, that I know how to “lead (executives) into the light”… of being present on social (and yes, ALL of digital) media. Here are some fo the articles I’ve written “in this flavor” over the last few years:

Why your managing partners need to be on social media

Come out from behind the brand and start operating like Sir Richard Branson…

Is outsourcing social media right for you?

reputationRemember when it comes to personal or business promotion: There is no such thing as social media marketing, it’s called being able to market and promote (publicize) on social media. Further more, social media was built for humans to connect with other humans (do the math). Executive leaders will serve their organizations well if there are open to connecting and allowing others to approach and get to know them via social media. Press and media outlets also do most of their research (looking for sources, comments and so forth) online and via social media. And when a CEO is mentioned in a mainstream media article or interviewed on the air, etc. It’s important to have the online presence up and running for those instances as well. At the end of the day, all of that in combination could play out well for the organization as a whole. Putting someone in one’s corner to manage of all that on one’s behalf just may be the key to getting more CEOs (C-suite)


Is it your turn to take the Ice Bucket Challenge?

In honor of those whose lives have been affected by #ALS, Jaffe, the legal industry’s leading full service marketing and PR agency, has accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge. Yes, all of Jaffe. Click the video above to watch the Jaffe team make their contribution to the worldwide #IceBucketChallenge phenomenon. Jaffe has nominated the entire Legal Marketing Association membership to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge and support ALS… let’s all work together to find a cure!

I guess I need to jump in here and do the same… stay tuned for my video…

“Personal PR” at it’s finest, wouldn’t you say?


Why your managing partners need to be on social media

Originally written for Jaffe – the legal industry’s leading full-service PR and marketing agency (July 2014).

How can law firms use social media to attract more clients and further their public reputations? As a digital publicity specialist working with executives in the social media space, my first response to that is to put more managing partners on social media and optimize their personal brands for the good of the firm’s.

In today’s new media world, leaders – including law firm managing partners – have the added responsibility to be the face of their organizations on social media just as they are expected to represent the company offline. However, buy-in for this notion has been slow. It was reported in 2013 that 70 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs still were not using social media. In my opinion, things have not changed a whole lot in a year, and that especially holds true for the legal industry.

Act as a Spokesperson
Traditionally, marketing and public relations executives (in most industries) have been responsible for advocating and communicating the message about a company and its benefits to the public, while corporate leadership has been charged with “shaping the market” as a thought leader. And, up until now, the outlet for thought leadership has been traditional media, i.e., print, radio and television.

But various executives are bucking this stereotype of the silent leader, including Richard Branson of Virgin; Doug Conant of Avon and the former Campbell Soup CEO; Peter Aceto, the former CEO of ING Direct, now with Tangerine; and Bill Gates former CEO of Microsoft. Perhaps they are more inclined to be visible online because they are known to the public as the founders of their organizations and products, or, in some cases, they were naturally drawn to social/digital media from the get-go.

It’s only natural that a law firm managing partner who is not overly personable by nature will be less open and approachable on social media. He or she may be an exceptional leader, but may not be as vocal about his or her passion for the legal industry, and that’s OK. Not everyone can act in the same bold way on social media as the likes of Sir Richard Branson. However, managing partners are leaders, and therefore they need to do more than manage the direction of the firm. They also need to manage the law firm’s image by acting as its spokesperson, setting the tone for the firm, including the development of a viable digital persona across social media.

Get Social Media Support
Of course, a managing partner is accountable for the law firm’s brand in terms of whatever they say and do online and off. Their opinions can be taken out of context on social media, as information can be amplified, instantaneously transmitted and easily misinterpreted.

This is why it can be a prudent measure to put someone in place to manage your law firm social media, or at least edit and consult managing partners on the use of social media, to assuage any fears. This can be the job of the firm’s PR/marketing agency, the in-house marketing department or someone who is dedicated to supporting firm management.

In the digital age, law firm management shouldn’t be asking whether social media is right for them. The question is how they will use social media to enhance not just their own images, but the overall brand of the firm.