Julie Hume

Julie is a career Marketing-Communications professional, having served as Director of Communications for Amari Hotels and Resorts, and Content Director for eThailand. For the past several years, she has worked independently as a writer, SEO specialist, and Social Media Marketer for a variety of clients. Julie enjoys a good mug of coffee, long walks with her children and dog on the island where she lives, and a good laugh watching professional comedians.

SEO Without CRO is a Plane Without an Engine

Are you practicing SEO... without the "engines" of CRO?

Are you practicing SEO… without the “engines” of CRO?

What is it that you want to achieve with your company website? Is the end goal the sheer glory of seeing your web appear high in the search engine pages for random keyword phrases? Or perhaps the c-suite execs push for numbers – the more people that arrive at the site each month, the better?

Of course not.

Search engine rankings and number of visitors are meaningless unless they convert into leads or clients. Even if the only goal of the website is to provide information,  it is still desirable that the visitors that land on the site have an interest in the topic and their path through the site to find the information they seek should be productive.

The point of the website is  to have visitors interact with it in one or more of  any number of pre-determined conversion goals. SEO gets the visitors to the site but CRO gets them to interact with it and hit those conversion goals. (more…)

Why You Must Review Your Site’s Link Profile

Avoid the backlink beartrap

Avoid the backlink beartrap – clean up your link profile.

Way back in the mists of internet time, Google noticed that sites which performed a useful service tended to attract natural links. Web-owners chose to link out to sites which complemented their own or served their own web visitors in some way. For example, a site selling holiday accommodation might link out to local restaurants, tours or transport information.

This system worked well for both those searching for information and for the website owners themselves. By going to the effort of seeking out quality websites to link to, the website owners created a source of information to which visitors would return. The sites which made a point of providing quality information naturally attracted links from related sites.

Unfortunately, while this system worked well for all involved, once it came to Google’s attention they decided that organic links could be used as a method of judging a site’s quality. Although Google is notoriously close-mouthed when it comes to their ranking algorithm, it soon become clear that the number of links pointing to a site was significant. Cue linkbuilding frenzy.

Discredited Linkbuilding Tactics

Bad Link Building

Just say no.

Services sprang up right, left and center promising to drum up hundreds of links within days. Schemes and scams abounded.  They still do. Look at the image to the left which was cut and pasted from a service in the wild. Wow. 56,999 backlinks for $5. It sounds too good to be true. Doh.

  • Blog Commenting
  • Link Wheels
  • Blog Network
  • Guest Blogging
  • Article Directory Spam
  • Site wide Links
  • Widget Links
  • Poor Quality Directory Spam

The Intent Behind a Link

While some of the techniques used were spammy and intended to game Google from the outset (hello, Link Wheels!), others like blog commenting and guest blogging only become spammy when you consider the intent. It is fairly obvious that a comment on a mommy blogger site from a user calling himself – and linking to – Hot Asian Chicks is likely to be a spammer. However, a commenter on the same site giving tips on baking the perfect pie is likely to be the real deal.  In the end, both Google (and smart, honest marketers) want to be about authentic links — you know, from people who really think your site content IS worth a link.

 Google Slams the Brakes On

In April 2012, Google launched an update, initially known as the Webspam Algorithm but soon given the name Penguin. Like the Panda Update which came before, this newcomer had teeth.  Here is how Penguin is described by Chris Meier in the excellent Positionly blog:

A little more than a year after first introducing the Panda update, Google introduced Penguin – a webspam algorithm update. Panda specifically targeted sites and pages with low quality content, while Penguin was designed to target pages that were boosting their rankings by spamming Google. Popular techniques included: Keyword stuffing, Link schemes, Cloaking, Sly redirects, Doorway pages, and Intentional duplicate content.”

Backlink BearTraps

Google is always on the lookout for ways that their search engine might be being gamed by those trying to get low quality, irrelevant sites to appear higher in the SERPS than they deserve. This constant tightening of loopholes means that what was a legitimate SEO tactic a couple of years ago is now verboten. It may be that the first the web owner knows about a poor quality link profile is when he receives the following scary email from Google:

Unnatural inbound links

Google has detected a pattern of artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site. Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank are violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to globaldatavault.com/. There may be other actions on your site or parts of your site.

Recommended action:  

  • Use the Links to Your Site feature in Webmaster Tools to download a list of links to your site.
  • Ensure that unnatural links pointing to your site are removed.
  • When these changes are made, and you are satisfied that links to your site follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, submit a reconsideration request. If you’re unable to remove links pointing to your site, please provide as much detail as possible in your reconsideration request.
  • For an updated list of manual actions currently applied to your site, visit the Manual Actions page. If no manual actions are listed, there is no longer a need to file a reconsideration request.
  • If we determine your site is no longer in violation of our guidelines, we’ll revoke the manual action.

An Ounce of Prevention

There is no question that inbound links are still an important ranking factor. Here is what Searchmetrics say about them in the introduction to their excellent 2014 Ranking Factors Study:

Backlinks: The quantity and quality of backlinks remains crucial as there are many new features introduced this year that have been revised to improve the quality of the results.

What has changed is the very strong emphasis on the quality of the link. Is it coming from a reputable site? Is it coming from a relevant page? Is the site the link is coming from seasoned and cited often on the topic of the post it is linking to?

Going forward your link building energy will have be targeted on building high quality connections however before that perhaps you need to take a trip back in time and see what beartraps have been left in your path through outdated linking tactics or downright spammy techniques.

Stay tuned for the next post to find out how to take a long hard look at your current link profile and clean it up preparatory to embarking on a quality link building campaign.

 Read more in : Sticking a Fork in Link Schemes: Penguin, Guest Posts and the Impact on Link Building

What is SEO and Why Isn’t It Dead Yet?

Is SEO dead

Spammy Engine Optimization is SEO is deader than a dodo but Search Engine Optimization is very much alive and well.

In the last two years there have been countless articles published on internet marketing websites and online publications declaring that ‘SEO is dead’.  In fact, if you were to do a filtered search on Google for webpages that contained the SEO is Dead term published in the last month alone, you would find hundreds from which to choose. So, is it true?

Is SEO dead?

Well yes and no. Scammer SEO is dead. The kind that relied on creating false profiles and blasting thousands of links to spammy link directories. The kind that involved  ‘spinning’ the same piece of content multiple times and plastering the resulting gibberish all over the web. That kind of  seo worked for a while to get dubious sites ranked well  for terms that they really did not deserve (more…)

Online Healthcare Marketing – Mayo Clinic

English: Mayo Clinic Rochester Minnesota - Gon...

English: Mayo Clinic Rochester Minnesota – Gonda Building (3rd Avenue SW) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not so long ago healthcare marketing was seen as being faintly unseemly if not downright unethical. In fact a paper titled, Physicians’ and consumers’ conflicting attitudes toward health care advertising by F.B. Krohn and C. Flynn, published back in 2001 was dedicated to exploring the differing opinion between doctors and patients regarding advertising medical services.

At the time, many medical professionals saw advertising as ‘…potentially unethical, misleading, deceptive and likely to lead to price increases.’  Consumers on the other hand, those potential patients, felt that healthcare advertising led, “…to higher consumer awareness of services, better services, promotes competitive pricing, and lowers rather than raises health care costs.”

One can only hope that those physicians opposed (more…)

Using Google+ for B2B Marketing Success

Google+ for B2B

Join us on 08.29.13 (last Thursday in August) at 10:00 AM PST/1 PM EST — register now for free. Don’t forget to send your comments and questions to #WebDXSocial via Twitter and Google+ both before and during the session.

After a slow start, Google Plus has come racing to the front of the pack, now surpassing Twitter in its number of active users. Whether they are already actively using Google Plus or not, internet marketers, particularly those in the B2B arena can not afford to ignore its potential. To do so, would be to risk being left in their competitors’ dust as they make use of the network’s robust tool set for marketers.

No matter how much sense it makes to chart new territory however, it is always better to have a guide or two that can show you where the treasure is buried. In this, our third Live Social Strategies session, Webdirexion are proud to introduce three respected social media marketers Michael Procopio, Debbie Horovitch and Ryan Bush. Each will be generously sharing their own tips and experiences of using Google Plus for B2B Marketing. (more…)

Social Media and Healthcare Marketing – Live Tweeting

Healthcare Marketing - Scanadu

Modern day personal medical devices are reminiscent of body scanners used in Star Trek.

At Webdirexion we often comment on how much our working lives have changed in the last twenty years. However, amazing as it has been for us to ride the wave of internet development how much more incredible must the journey have been for those in healthcare?

Not even touching upon the scientific progress that has been made in practical medical equipment like CT-Scans  or modern day prosthetics, just look at what a difference the internet and mobile technology has made to the medical professions. Take ThermoDock and Scanadu as examples. Who would’ve thought (more…)

One Great Reason to Outsource Internet Marketing

Outsource marketing Saves TimeOf all the great reasons to outsource marketing – especially your online marketing –  there is one that, to me, is the most compelling of all. It saves money!

Hey, what can I say. I’m Scottish and I love a bargain. But honestly, if I was a small business owner who had decided the time had come to get serious about internet marketing , I would be looking to do two things.

1. Find a great agency that has the skills I am going to need to get my company website and social marketing flying.

2. Decide on which in-house member of staff is going to be responsible for communications with the external agency.

Do you know why I think number 2 is so important? Because (more…)

What is the New Public Relations?

Webdirexion Social Strategies Broadcasts with Panel of Experts

A panel of experts will addressed this topic in the first of three Social Strategies broadcasts (register today).

What Exactly is Public Relations?

Just out of interest I asked Google, ‘what is public relations’. The first result I got was : the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by an organization or a famous person.

That seems a bit broad so I went to an excellent source, the Public Relations Society of America. Their definition of Public Relations is : a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between (more…)

Social Media Marketing Power Live Broadcast

Webdirexion Social Media Marketing Power

Our second broadcast on “Social Media Marketing Power” was on Thursday july 25th at 10am PST. Register now for future broadcast updates.

Okay, is there anybody out there who has not heard of the power of social media marketing? Anybody at all?  No, I thought not. If you are in any way, shape or form involved in internet marketing then you already know that you should be creating, executing and tracking your social media campaigns. The trouble is, unless you have already have social media networking experience, where do you start? Once underway, how do you calculate ROI on your efforts and if you have limited time and resources what are the most efficient and effective ways to tackle a social media campaign?

As with many other topics, you can find a lot of practical information on social media networking available on the internet. Often though, no matter how many tutorial type posts you read, you may have a question related to the application of your social media plan or how to track performance. Wouldn’t it be great to (more…)

Mobile Healthcare Marketing

Webdirexion Healthcare Marketing Solutions

Quick… which site is more ready to engage mobile site visitors and why? We’ll analyze that question in this article.

According to the excellent MM&M/Ogilvy CommonHealth – Healthcare Marketing Trend Report, healthcare marketing spend in 2013 is forecast to show a slight dip while that segment of budget related to digital marketing is on the rise. With the number of adults turning to the internet to research health and treatment options, compare prices and seek doctor reviews it is not surprising that this would be so. Is your healthcare marketing site mobile ready?

According to the Pew Internet Mobile Health 2012 Report :

  • 85% of U.S. adults own a mobile phone
  • Of these 53% own smartphones
  • 52% of smartphone owners gather health information on their phones

Of course a great website is key to healthcare marketing on the internet  – as long as (more…)

Online Healthcare Marketing – Scott and White Healthcare

According to the How America Searches: Health and Wellness Report by Noah Elkin, of iCrossing, the internet is the most widely used resource for health information. When the report was published in 2008 it stated that:

  • 59% of adults used online resources to obtain health and wellness information
  • 55% go to their doctor
  • 29% talk to relatives, friends or co-workers.

Obviously there is an overlap – presumably because some people use more than one method of accessing healthcare information. If this report were published today,  you would expect the percentage of those using the internet to source health related information to be even higher given the constant growth of the sector of the public which regularly accesses the internet.

Any hospital or private clinic that is not making full use of the internet as a healthcare marketing channel is most definitely losing out on (more…)

Getting Started with Google Hangouts

For anyone launching a B2B social media campaign, Google Hangouts offers a winning combination of live broadcast, client communication, social network communication and content creation. If you have not experienced a Hangout on Air yet, it is sort of like a webinar, but with a select number of speakers visible and public access. Questions can be accepted via social media hashtags and answered live on air. The end result of a Hangout on Air is a recording which can be edited and embedded on your site or elsewhere. So, have you tried Hanging out with your colleagues yet?

Webdirexion Meeting using Google Hangout

Above, the Webdirexion stream team meets for a session on client projects, and online marketing in a Google Hangout.

As a content and outsourced marketing agency Webdirexion has, from its very inception, been (more…)

Matt Cutts Advises on the Most Common SEO Errors

Is your SEO not on a solid foundation?

A lot of websites are still leaning away from quality SEO campaigns — something they really need to get straight from the foundation up as Google continues to roll out more Panda and Penguin updates.

As a busy MarCom executive, you’re aware of the need to pour energy into the creation and distribution of quality  content (if not, you’re behind the eight ball). You’re also working your social marketing strategy and looking for new ways to bring corporate messages to your audience. All well and good. But is it possible that you are attempting to build a high tower on shaky foundations?

You can throw all the advanced internet marketing tactics at your site that you like, but if you do not take care of your basic on-site seo then your success will be as fleeting as melting snow. You still need to get your site spidered and indexed in order for articles to be indexed and appear in search engines for related organic terms.

“The point of the Panda was not to penalise sites for all links but for poor linking practises. Google’s contention all along was that a good quality site with rich content will accumulate links naturally.”

So who better to ask for advice on basic seo mistakes than Google’s own (more…)

Use of Hashtags – Listening to your Market

Use of Hashtags in Social Media

Did you know you can set your own campaign hashtags? You can also magnify your reach using hashtags.

Even though social media marketing is growing as a B2B tactic, marketing managers are still reluctant to dive in – maybe  because they think it could be a time drain with no measurable results. If that describes you, then the good news is that the ROI on social media marketing can be tracked and that there are tools available that will help you and your staff hit the ground running with your launch into social waters. One of the simplest tools available is the humble hashtag, and smart use of hashtags can spell the difference in a campaign.

You may have seen hashtags and have some idea of their importance in the Twittersphere and on Google+, Instagram and the like. According to the Wall Street Journal, even Facebook is getting in on the act, although they add, “It is unclear how far along Facebook’s work on the hashtag is and the feature isn’t likely to be introduced imminently.”  And, LinkedIn appears to be working on embracing hashtags too.

Hmmm. Wonder what is taking them so long? A hashtag is (more…)

What’s in a Successful Landing Page?

“You can’t nurture what you don’t convert” is a quote from one of the recommended resources below, and sums up the entire value of keen focus on strategy, creative, testing and improving landing pages. Nurture leads and grow them into sales when you develop a successful landing page.

A/B versus Multivariate Testing

This infographic by Invesp, provides an excellent introduction to different types of testing plus key elements and steps in a successful campaign.

Which Landing Page Version Gathers More Leads?

The average “lift” (increased completion of a goal, which for B2B often means leads gathered at your landing page) resulting from a smart landing page campaign is around 45% for the last 5 tests reported at A/B Tests.  That’s why Webdirexion has made this a core service area (see a recent client example here).  There are different types of tests available, so we wanted to start out this curated landing page solutions post with an infographic that explains multivariate testing versus A/B testing.  Key takeaway:  avoid testing for small improvements while ignoring the big concepts. 

Designing Landing Pages That Work

Landing pages that workThis article by Karol K on Six Revisions first defines (more…)

The Importance of Having a Website Content Strategy

Valentines Chocolate Torte

Forget the wrapper, I want chocolate!

A website is like an expensive box of chocolates. The outer carton may have a satin finish, the letters embossed in copper foil, the edges die-cut love-hearts and the whole lot wrapped in a purple satin ribbon. Gorgeous! Who cares? Let me at the chocolate!

Say that pretty box did its job and enticed the browser to buy. How happy will he be with the purchase if its contents are past the sell by date, the chocolates covered in mold and the sweet centres fermented and rotten. Eeew.

The same is true of a company site. The outer design may be picture perfect but if there is no website content strategy the material it contains may (more…)

Internet Principles of the Mad Man, Part II

Last week we looked at the first six of  Ten Principles of Effective Print Advertising and how they may be translated into principles of internet marketing. Two in particular seemed cut out for Don Draper – Grab Them By The Eyes and Appeal to Their Appetites.  Here is the rest of the set:

Website with black backgroundWhen Possible Heighten the Contrast

Conventional wisdom dictates that website readability is negatively affected by inverted color schemes – that is a dark background with light text.  In Sawyer’s Print Advertising paper, however, he notes that ads with black backgrounds “… are disproportionately represented among the highest scoring ads of any year.”

Hmmm. That is interesting, don’t you think? Well, if you are tempted to go for the dark background color scheme you may be heartened to know (more…)

Internet Marketing Principles of the Mad Men: Part I

Back  in the day, giants like Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy and William Bernbach blazed a creative trail that made imaginative magic out of printed paper. What can they teach us that may be applied to internet marketing today?

So what makes for a great print advertisment (and what does that have to do with internet marketing principles anyway?)

Some years ago, Philip Sawyer, then of Roper Starch Wordwide, prepared a gem called The Ten Priciples of Effective Print Advertising. In short his principles were/are: (more…)

Google+ Local – Going Local Down in Acapulco

Search returns just aren’t what they used to be.  In fact, in some situations (explained here) it’s next to impossible to even get your site listed on the first page of search returns anymore.  Here are some observations on Google’s current tactics, what it means to your business, and what you can do about it. 

If you haven’t noticed the proliferation of Google + Local in the search results well then, you haven’t been paying attention. With apologies to anyone who doesn’t appreciate having a Phil Collins ear worm for the rest of the day let’s dig into this a bit deeper by Going Local Down in Acapulco.

A fairly obvious one to start with (more…)

Potted Internet Marketing Predictions

Developers also provided predictions on how mobile will change the retail shopper’s behavior, including their views on in-store shopping behavior, the mobile wallet concept, and the likelihood that users will make more purchases via their mobile phone than via their credit card in 2013.”

Merry Christmas - pass the sherry.Christmas Traditions and SEO

It’s that time of year, isn’t it? Everywhere you go you hear the tinkling of sleigh bells and Christmas music on a loop. I don’t know about you but by the time it gets to the big day I am ready to strangle the nearest Santa and I’m only merry because I downed the sherry that was meant for the trifle.

But, there is more than one kind of Christmas tradition. There is another that sweeps the planet and it involves every industry, sport and interest large or small … the prediction tradition. Yes, everyone from celebrities to scientists, comics to content marketers – they’re all at it.  Of course, this year’s predictions are particularly poignant as, at least according to the Mayans, they may well be the last. Ooo er.

There are lots of really brilliant seo 2013 predictions out there already. My brief addition to that mix is: (more…)

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