Using Google’s “Query Deserves Freshness” (QDF) Model to your Advantage

google QDF algorithm

google QDF algorithm

The Query Deserves Freshness or QDF algorithm is a useful way to implement SEO for both new and old sites, by taking advantage of current events and news stories. QDF first came up as a response to an issue after Google finance would not rank for its own name. Page freshness has always been an area Google have paid close attention to, as they tend to show more respect to older content within a site, since the old pages of worth tend to attract others to link to them.

In the last part of 2006, one of Google’s goals was to try to find a way of showing new content for some of the more major search terms, whilst still also keeping the highest competitive keywords free from spam. The big question was whether it was better to provide extra respect for pages that had matured or newer content which was up to date and perhaps had perhaps more relevancy. Google has always tried to make sure that quality search results rank highly, and changing the algorithm to simply rank newer pages higher was not the answer, as results would leave out older pages which held useful information and authority.

The solution of Query Deserves Freshness means that search results depend on how popular and topical a search term is at that moment. The model decides this by examining other search queries, how much and how recently a subject has been written about. News headlines were previously included in some search results, but QDF can decide whether a specific query deserves higher ranking for recent news stories based on its current popularity status.

What does Query Deserves Freshness take into account?

  • Blog coverage
  • Overall volume of search
  • News coverage
  • Toolbar data (in some cases)

Google’s patent provides a section on methods they involve to gather this data including a sampling technique which gives them access to gather accurate information without having to look though many logs of any particular query.

QDF has gained major interest in the past few years as it provides another way of driving extra traffic into a website. For new sites, this brings a fantastic opportunity of outdoing the Google trust and getting new information to rank far quicker than normal.  When using a QDF file, it is important to release your breaking news content as quickly as possible, as traffic searching for such a ‘hot’ subject will be produced in a very short space of time.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

5 Social Media Marketing Pitfalls

social media marketing pitfalls

social media marketing pitfalls

Social media is an unavoidable part of online marketing today. It is linked with SEO, with advertising, with branding, with customer service and e-commerce and it is making businesses more effective and more accessible to their customers. Millions of web users – potential and existing customers – are members of social media networks, and social media offers a low cost, low risk, and high reward method of marketing online.

We’re going to discuss a few areas and examples which could cause social media to work against you, and negatively affect your business and its reputation.

#1 – Being Unresponsive

For example, an existing client tweets an issue and nobody responds to them – the client gets frustrated, annoyed, tweets their feelings and worst case scenario you lose a customer. At best, you just look bad. Ignoring feedback, questions and problems instantly gives a bad impression of your customer service skills. Fair enough that a random question out of the ether gets missed from time to time, but you need to look after your existing customers, and in turn they will work for you with great word of mouth recommendation.

#2Ignoring Negative Feedback

You can’t just respond to your fans and your evangelists. By all means, reward and interact with those who say nice things about you, but it’s never a good idea to ignore the badmouthing ones completely. Of course you need to be selective here – the mindless, spammy negative comments that everyone receives in some shape or form can be safely ignored – they’re just looking to get a rise out of you. But the ones that genuinely have an issue, feel hard done by, feel let down by your company – those are the ones you need to engage with, apologise to, and try to work out a solution or compensation. You really can turn a negative into a positive and completely U-turn a potentially damaging situation.

#3 – Treating Social Media as an Experiment

Some advice, in the form of an oldie but a goodie: “You get out what you put in.” Social media marketing can be of great benefit to your business, your brand, your online strength. It can boost traffic and sales and visibility. But it won’t do all that for you if you simply set up a Twitter account, chat a bit, and leave it at that. It won’t do all that for you if you sign up to a thousand different social networks but effectively contribute to none. Like any other marketing strategy, it needs planning, observation, time, monitoring and focus to be a success. Don’t treat it like something on the side – social media, whether you like it or not, is a big part of internet marketing today.

#4 – Thinking Short Term Rather than Long Term

Though it’s true that social media works in the here and now, in ‘realtime’, you shouldn’t assume that your view should be restricted to the present. When building a social media marketing strategy for your business, you need to think about your aims and goals, what you want to achieve, how you intend to implement your plans. Short term goals are great too, but if you don’t set targets, it will be impossible to track your progress and your success.

#5 –  Ignoring the Repercussions your Actions have on your Brand

Whatever you post online, whatever you tweet or share, represents you and your company. Though social media revolves around personalisation, conversation and being genuine and honest with your customers – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be professional. Keep personal and professional accounts (and opinions) separate. Social networking has the power to have a huge positive or negative effect on your brand’s reputation. Treat everyone you talk to as a potential customer and treat them kindly!

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

How SEO Has Changed

SEO UK

SEO UK

Over the years the way search engine optimisation (SEO) algorithms work has changed and developed, and will continue to do so in the future. The most recent notable examples would be the introduction of the Google Mayday algorithm and Caffeine indexing system, which added more value to long tail search terms and aimed to produce more targeted results.  In the past, SEO was much less technical, and just a few key factors added to a site would allow it to rank high within the search engines. Past results relied on implementing keyword rich content, link structure and on-page optimisation to achieve enough ranking to start extra traffic flowing to a website directly from the search engine.

As times have changed so has SEO; techniques and methods have become far more diverse and results can be, in some cases, harder to attain. However, it is a valuable skill, since search engine optimisation has come to play a massively important role in marketing and online business success. By achieving high rankings within a search engine you can assure that well targeted traffic is not too far behind it, being driven to your website.

In the SEO world it is commonly said that “content is king”. By having unique, relevant, quality content on your website, crawling search engine spiders will find the information they need to rank the site appropriately. All key search engines today also have a high respect for quality older content, which asserts authority on the subject you are writing about. Using keyword stuffing is now defiantly a no go area and should now be avoided, as once a page like this has been crawled by a search engine, it will most likely be penalized, lose ranking and waste all your hard optimization work.

Another key area to search ranking is the use of social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media is a fantastic way of not only building brand awareness but also building a respected linking structure to your website. Social networking websites are populated by millions of users per day which gives companies a great opportunity to aim key information at a targeted audience. Social media also allows you to connect with current and potential customers, giving you a chance to provide information, answer questions, solve problems and avert crises, as well as delivering a professional customer service in realtime. As with any marketing strategy, you must take the time to plan your social media approach; observe and listen to the conversations relevant to your services, research the best place to set up a social media presence and put tracking and monitoring plans in place before you start.

 Video optimisation is another area that can help ranking position if used in the right way. In the past, creating videos was very expensive, and generally only media-based companies had the means to use them. This is no longer the case, as YouTube gave rise to a more ‘realistic’ and less polished style of videos, which can be achieved with affordable digital video cameras. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and people are using it to find visual answers to their questions. Videos can add an additional facet to your company’s marketing approach and present information in an easily accessible way for your customers.

With the availability of multimedia and the enormous reach of social media, there is no excuse not to optimise all your content, for example: add links, optimized videos and images to press releases to increase their effectiveness. SEO has moved on from just keywords – it is dependable on your brand, your authority and your audience reach.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Ikroh Loves… Wiki wars, brain-boggling infographics and B2B social media

We’re back, after a week of squirreling away at our notes from the Vocus webinar. All content is up and at ’em on the blog (you can find them here in the “summaries” section), including “Everything you ever wanted to know about social media marketing (but were afraid to ask)” – a post on all the commonly asked questions from business just starting out in social media, taken from the live chat sessions.

So without further ado, on with this week’s Friday Favourites from the web-wide world of SEO, social media and internet marketing. Bring it on.

First off, a great little gathering of 5 of the best social media and B2B marketing videos for your consideration:

social media B2B marketing videos

A frankly mindblowing infographic all about t’internet….

The History of RickRolling

And “Articles of War” – an intriguing, amusing and sometimes disturbing batch of statistics on Wikipedia disputes:

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Social Media Marketing | Everything you ever wanted to know about Social Media Marketing (but were afraid to ask)

social media marketing

social media marketing

The live chats at the Vocus webinar a few weeks ago were fantastically lively and informative, with participants answering as well as asking questions that were posed to the scheduled speakers, Deidre Breakenridge, David Meerman ScottBeth Harte, Lee Odden and Brian Solis. As time was tight, not all the questions were answered, so we thought we’d scoop some up from the logs and try to give some insights.

Q1: How do I increase my Twitter following?

This was a common question, but there’s no quick answer (unless you use a mass-following tool, which might boost your numbers but won’t necessarily give you a worthwhile audience that includes valuable influencers) – it can be a slow build, however, there are ways to make a difference:

  • Write content that people want to read! Bit obvious, but just spieling out advertising isn’t the tastiest bait. Write interesting and useful articles and blog posts and link to them; create infographics, videos, slideshows and share them; make astute and witty observations; share content by others that you think your followers will find helpful. Give them a reason to follow you and retweet you.
  • Search for your audience and follow them – if you’re doing the first point well enough, they’re likely to follow you back. Use any of the numerous Twitter applications and search engines to look for relevant people and influencers who would be interested in what you have to say.
  • Get involved in Twitter chats to connect with your relevant audience – this is a great opportunity to offer advice, opinions and knowledge to key people who may become followers afterwards. Robert Swanwick (@swanwick) has compiled a Twitter Chat Master List where you can find the right subject for you.
  • Find a way to link what you’re saying to topical themes and hashtagged subjects – this gives you a more targeted audience when people search for those terms and keywords.
  • Finally, give an incentive now and again – run polls, competitions, promotions to engage and reward your loyal followers, and encourage more people to follow you.

Q2: How can I make my blog more effective?

It’s easy to feel that your blog is lost in the webiverse, but there are ways to increase its visibility and boost traffic.

  • Just like in question 1, content is key – write posts that are informative, useful, interesting and engaging. See this post for a more in-depth guide on how to write a great blog.
  • Optimise – just like your website, make sure that you are implementing keywords, links and other SEO tactics to ensure that your blog can be found and ranked by search engines. Register with blog directories such as Technorati or PostRank to add to the places you can be searched for, and to keep an eye on your blog metrics.
  • Network your blog with other social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn – link up your RSS feed, or manually link to posts you want to push out there.
  • Comment on relevant sites and blogs – not with pointless spam directing people to your site, but with genuine, thoughtful comments. If people appreciate what you’re saying, they’ll click through to your blog to see what else you’ve come up with.
  • Search for other bloggers in your field who you could invite to guest-blog (or blog swap), creating a backlink and an interesting new slant for your blog.
  • Most importantly, write posts that generate conversation – your audience will be compelled to comment, share, and your traffic will grow.
  • Distribute: get your posts bookmarked, upload them to relevant sites, copy them to article-sharing sites etc – the more places they can be found, the more they will be read.

Q3: What’s the proper Twitter etiquette on mutual following?

Well, it depends how powerful and influential you are – if you’re such a big shot you’re followed by 20K and only follow one back then good for you, but you won’t be getting much out of the social aspect of Twitter!

You don’t have to follow every person who follows you, but ignoring everyone who tries to interact with you defeats the purpose of Twitter and can be, well, a bit rude. Choose those whose tweets you actually want to read and find useful. If someone’s followed you that you don’t want to add to your following list, then at least send them a “thank you for following” personalised message to show your appreciation. It’s useful to note that you can also add people to lists without having to follow them.

Q4: How do I use YouTube for marketing?

YouTube serves as a standalone search engine that is becoming more and more powerful within social media and SEO. Using it as a marketing tool really depends on your business, your aims and your content, but there are several ways to make use of YouTube as a social media marketing tool:

  • Set up your own channel, where you can host your videos, link to your website/blog/social media profiles, hold discussions and answer questions.
  • Use slideshows or infographic videos to back up a blog post or key point.
  • Give out some personal and local information – show a behind the scenes of your company or location, introduce your staff, give a presentation on something that is important to you and your business.
  • Document case studies.
  • Film interviews with key company members, customers, associates etc.
  • Have some fun – don’t take yourself too seriously (but at the same time, don’t make a total arse of yourself!)
  • Make instructional and ‘How-To’ videos – these make up a lot of the search content within YouTube, as it’s much easier to learn from watching a demonstration than from reading an explanation.

Once you’ve uploaded a video, share it and distribute it via other social media platforms – embed in your site, your blog, link to it from Twitter and Facebook, add it to Vimeo – the list goes on. Get your content out there!

Q5: How do I measure/monitor the ROI of social media?

This is the big one, and unfortunatley, the answer is not particularly straightforward. The first thing to do is stop trying to fit social media into a traditional sized marketing box. The purpose and results of social media are less tangible than a PPC campaign, or press release launch – social media affects the reach and influence of your company, which in turn will affect its popularity and your website’s traffic, or awareness of your brand, which in turn will affect sales, conversions and profit. So how do you measure engagement?

Firstly, put monitoring tools into place – there are a ton of free tools out there, though you may find that most only cover specific areas of the metrics you are after, so you will need to use several simultaneously, or different tools for different analytics.

T o use these tools effectively, you need to have an aim or goal in mind – what are you trying to measure or track? The number of followers or fans is not the bottom line – you need to look at how those followers are interacting with you, whether they are spreading your message, whether they are driving traffic to your site and more. Focus on an objective and measure the appropriate metrics. Here are some examples of aspects you might want to keep tabs on:

  • Influence
  • Click-throughs
  • Site hits
  • Re-tweets/mentions
  • Followers
  • Fans/Likes
  • Interactions
  • Increased time on site
  • Sharing of your content
  • Comments
  • Backlinks
  • RSS subscribers
  • Image/video views
  • Number of bookmarks

For example, you’ve written a blog post on your business’ new product – you publish it, distribute it, linking to the relevant page on your site. Now you need to track its progress. In this case, you’d want to look at how many click-throughs you get to the product landing page, how much new site traffic you receive, whether people are sharing this information amongst their friends. Monitor these aspects through each of the social platforms you publish the information on – and from there you will be able to see how social media affects the number of conversions/sales from each area.

Q6: How do I show the value of social media to my boss/uncertain executives?

Another popular question, especially for companies just starting out with social media marketing. Often, businesses, or those working above marketers, don’t see the instant results of a social media presence (or, as in the point above, are not receiving targeted analytics to prove its value).

First, gather information on how competitors and other companies in your field are utilising social media – see what works, how they’re interacting, and if it’s having an impact on their brand. If you have no social media presence, chances are that someone out there is talking about you (or your line of business) anyway – go and research and see what questions people are asking, what problems they’re coming up against and what they want from you.

Second, find out where your customers are, and where you should be – in which social media community should you be making a presence for yourself? If your audience are big Twitter communicators, get talking to them; if they loiter around YouTube, upload some videos and get comments and views. Find your niche and get settled in it.

Third, take an example from question 5 above, and show your execs some hard facts and figures – and explain the power of resonance involved in social media, how it can strengthen your brand, make valuable connections with customers and act as a fantastic customer service platform.

Q7: What’s the best way to use social media for a Non-Profit organisation?

I think initial supposition is that it’s harder for a non-profit organisation to market themselves, because they are not providing a service or a product in retail terms. Contrary to this assumption, I believe that non-profits actually can do exceptionally well with social media. The very nature of social media interaction connects likeminded people for things they believe in. Social media is emotional, we participate because we want to, because we are moved or amused by something. Non-profit organisations can take this opportunity to promote their work, their aims and the issues they deal with and gain support, publicity and awareness.

A few places to start:

  • Assuming your organisation already has a website, add a blog, on which you can post content in a more conversational style, on issues and subjects that encourage comment and discussion. For example, some non-profit blogs document the progress of individuals who are fundraising by participating in a sponsored event, or post pictures and videos of success stories and company events.
  • Facebook accounts have the option of creating a page or a group for your organisation – for this, a page is generally more appropriate, because it enables you to add more structure to the profile, whereas a group might be more useful for a specific goal or issue you are trying to gain support for.
  • Twitter is a fantastic place for conversation, and raising awareness. Hashtags can easily organise a subject, and recently have been used to attract attention to issues which require donations and assistance, for example many tweeters are adding the hashtag #Pakistan to tweets which include a link to one of the various donation site for the Pakistan flood victims.
  • Make the most of multimedia and sites like YouTube, Flickr to broaden your message and distribute different types on content.

Q8: Where do I find the time to do all this?!

Well, apparently there’s this hot tub that’s also a time machine… Or, you could just make use of those ‘time management skills’ that are on your CV and get organised.

  • Focus on one thing at a time – there’s a tendency and a temptation to try to stick your fingers in all the pies when it comes to social media, since there are so many options, so many offshoots and avenues to explore. Target an objective, plan your action and monitor carefully rather than running around madly trying to connect with everyone, everywhere, all at once.
  • Set realistic goals. Choose a few things that have the highest priority for any particular day. Put the rest aside and concentrate on achieving your immediate goals. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and distracted by the fast-paced realtime world of social media.
  • Schedule ahead of time. I’m a big fan of Hootsuite for pre-composing tweets and facebook posts, squirreling them away and schedule them to be posted later (there are other social media network options for multiple postings). Then you can concentrate on other distribution and interaction.
  • Target the most active times for your particular community – look into a monitoring tool and find out when is the best time to post, to join a discussion, to comment and make yourself available at that time – it could be just one hour in a whole week that makes a big impact to your network.
  • Form a routine. Everyone and every business is going to have different needs, but as you get more proficient within social media, you will start to find a groove, and see how best to organise your time. Having a routine makes things more manageable, makes you more efficient, and rather than making you stuck into a rigid schedule, it actually makes it easier to deviate if you need to, because you know where you left off and where you need to pick up to keep on track.

I hope these were helpful for those of you starting out in social media, or feeling a bit lost in the networking world! If you have any questions about social media marketing, SEO, PPC, web analytics or any other aspect of internet marketing, please let us know and we’ll try to keep posting Q&A articles like this regularly.

Either leave a comment below (or on any other blog post that you have questions about), send us a tweet @ikroh, or post something on our Facebook wall. We’d love to hear from you and we’d be happy to answer your questions.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.