What you need to know about Google’s new Hummingbird Update

Google Hummingbird UpdateSearch Engine Optimizers and website owners are familiar with the fact that Google changes its algorithm a bazillion times ever year and each time, they give the update a unique name. Some of the names may sound extremely funny because they are based on people, cities, states, animals or drinks. Some of their most popular updates were the Penguin, Panda, Pelican, Polar Bear and not to forget the Big Daddy update. The codename of Google’s most recent algorithm update is "Hummingbird".

The announcement of Google’s Hummingbird update made quite a stir in the web and SEO communities. The announcement of the algorithm coincides with Google Search turning 15 years last month. From 1998 to 2013, Google Search has come a long way and so has the way information is shared on the Internet. Today, billions of people have access to the Internet daily and the web has grown exponentially in the last 2 decades.

Unlike the Panda, Penguin and other updates which were changes to parts of the old algorithm, the Hummingbird update is a major update, much like the Caffeine Update that happened in 2010, but it is still different. The Hummingbird update sorts through the information available on the web effectively rather than simply improving the way Google gathers information. According to Amit Singhal, Google’s search chief, this is a drastic change in the algorithm since he joined in 2001.

Should you be worried?

According to Google, there is nothing new or different which SEOs and website publishers need to worry about. If you have original, high-quality content on your website, you should not be worried. Original and high quality content will always be appreciated by Google; the Hummingbird update just allows Google to process that content in new and better ways.

The next good thing is that if the past Google updates have not affected you, you will come through Hummingbird unscathed too. The algorithm was already live for a month before it was publically announced and there has not been a major outcry among publishers. There may be a query-by-query effect which helps improve specific searches, but it is not an update which will cause major traffic shifts.

In these 15 years, Google has become less of a search engine and more of a wise, all-knowing guru. Questions like "Who", "What", "When", "Where", "Why" related to your daily struggles are effectively answered by Google. Internet users have also changed the way they search online, and instead of typing in a few keywords related to a topic, they enter lengthy queries regularly. Hummingbird is addressing this search trend.

With Hummingbird, Google is trying to understand the user’s intent and meaning when they type in "long tail" searches. Google announced that it is moving away from a keyword-based search to providing niche websites to the searcher. When Amit Singhal announced the Hummingbird update, he also affirmed that Hummingbird is also an infrastructural update, which governs more than 200 elements that make up Google’s algorithm.

What do you think of the Hummingbird update? Do you think your website is now getting more visitors, less visitors or you don’t see any change in web traffic?

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Never run out of Facebook Content Ideas

I have been managing a Facebook page for the Society for Multiple Sclerosis Patients in Pakistan and have often found myself short of ideas to add to the page. So I have compiled this list of ideas which will help you keep your Facebook page updated with fresh posts and updates all the time. Just like coming up with new ideas to update your blog regularly can be demanding, coming up with ideas for your Facebook page can also be challenging.

A major issue with social media pages, especially Facebook posts, is that the post needs to be interesting which engages the Facebook fans. So before you start biting your nails, here are some great tips to help you come up with content ideas that are worth sharing on Facebook!

Keep a notepad with you at all times

Notepad
An idea can come to you anytime, whether you are in the office, going to work, shopping at the supermarket, visiting a friend or just browsing online. You might be surprised, but ideas can even come to you when you are in the shower or trying to get some sleep at night. The best thing to do when an idea comes to your mind is to note it down somewhere and document it. You can do it using a paper and pencil or using your mobile. Just make sure you document the idea before you forget about it.

Use a Planner or calendar

Once you have all the ideas with you, the next step is to organize them. Use a calendar or planner for that. If there is an event coming up, mark it on your calendar. Documenting the ideas on an editorial calendar will help you plan ahead and keep you on track. When you note down and mark it on your calendar, there is no chance that you will miss an event. Be sure to review the calendar every couple of weeks as it will help you come up with new ideas and you can also expand on earlier posts.

Generate a list of Keywords

Sit down and brainstrom for some keywords related to your Facebook page. Search those keywords on Google and list down more keywords related to your main keyword. Keywords can help you come up with lots of fresh ideas. You can also use keyword search tools to see what other keywords are highly searched and use them in your Facebook posts.

Keywords

Use images to post on your Facebook page

Check Pinterest for graphic ideas related to your Facebook page. Hire a graphic designer or use a photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop to create new images for your page. Facebook is all about visuals and Facebook users love to see videos, screencasts, cartoons and memes. I use a lot of image based posts on the Facebook page for the Society for Multiple Sclerosis Patients in Pakistan, and I have added all those images to the Pinterest page for SMSPPakistan also.

Stay up to date with industry news

Join forums, newsletters, set up a newsreader and visit niche sites and communities related to your page. This will not only increase your knowledge and make you more productive, but it will also give you a lot of fresh content ideas. Be sure to note down all those ideas and mark them on your calendar. You can even subscribe to magazines related to your specific niche and use them for more ideas. AND do not forget to use your competitor’s page as a source of ideas!

Use these tips and you will never run out of ideas to update your Facebook page ever!

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What is Guest Blogging?

When bloggers write posts or content to share or publish on other blogs, it is called Guest Blogging. This method has gained a lot of popularity recently and can be done in two different ways:

  1. When you write a post and have it published on another blog.
  2. When someone else submits a guest post to your blog.

Let’s have a closer look at what these two types really are.

Publishing guest posts on other blogs – As a blogger, you can increase the reach and exposure of your blog as well as your knowledge by writing posts and publishing them on other blogs. A guest post is not necessarily promotional stuff, but it can be on any topic which is interesting for the readers of that blog where you will be publishing the guest post. You can include a link or reference to your blog at the end of the guest post to drive traffic and users to your website or blog.

Allowing guest blogging on your blog – You can allow bloggers to guest post on your blog. This way, you will not be updating your blog yourself at all times, but you will have content / posts coming from other bloggers. Just make sure the post you are publishing on your blog is not blatant promotion and is interesting for your readers. The guest blogger can add a link at the end of the guest post to drive traffic and users to their blog or website.

Why Guest Blogging?

Guest Blogging is a great way to get backlinks from other websites to your website. The good thing is that these links stay there for a very long time unlike link directories or reciprocal link pages which are updated and cleaned regularly. Guest Blogging not only helps build quality back links to your site but it can also help drive traffic and users to your blog.

As an active blogger, you should use guest blogging to help promote your products or services. Guest blogging gets quality backlinks which help improve your website rank in search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. It is also great for branding also.

Guest Blogging may be a slow process, but it will help in your SEO efforts. Make sure you look for blogs which are related to the theme of your website or blog where you get your guest post published.

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5 Proven ways to get Targeted Traffic to your Website

When a person starts an online business, the most important thing to focus on is to get targeted traffic. Most businessmen think that by just buying a website and telling a few people about it, they will start getting customers which will help increase sales. Unfortunately, this approach never works. Without targeted traffic, no online business can run smoothly and make money.

Today, there are millions of websites on the internet which provide information to their visitors. Every day, hundreds of new websites are being made which increase the options for internet users to find any desired information online, so if you want to attract traffic to your website, then the only way is by getting your website in front of those internet users who are in search of the products and services that your business is offering. Five proven and guaranteed ways are given below which will surely help in getting targeted traffic to your website.

1. Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
PPC advertising is one of the best and low-cost ways to attract targeted traffic to a website as one can get traffic to their website for as low as 0.01 per click. These clicks can be easily tracked using Google Analytics and Google Adwords. The first step is to create hyperlinks or banners for the PPC ads. These banners are then added to your Google Adwords account and distributed to website owners who have a business website related to your website and who are willing to advertise and get paid. When an internet user visits their website, he/she notices the banner and the possibility of clicking on that banner increases. When anyone clicks on the banner, it takes the visitor to your website, increasing traffic to your site.

2. Forum Marketing
Forums are the biggest source to attract targeted traffic to a website. If the businessman has knowledge about his potential customers, then it is easy to find them. Just find the forums on which you think you will find your prospective customers. For example, if you are running a furniture business, then type “furniture+forums” in Google. See the number of posts on the forum and if it looks busy, then join the community. Post interesting information on it from time to time. To advertise your website and to get the customers to visit it, just add the URL of the website in your signature. After adding the link, you don’t have to do anything; the link will work for you.

3. Article Marketing
Article submission to different article directories is a guaranteed way of attracting targeted customers to your website. You just have to write some informative articles related to your business and submit them to popular article directories like hubpages.com and articlebase.com. You can also publish those articles on other social media websites and submit them as guest posts on related blogs. Never forget to include a link to your website in the ‘about section’ and also be careful not to try and sell your products or services in the articles directly.

4. Paid Online Article Marketing
This is another kind of article marketing where you have to pay for your articles and get them listed in article directories. The amount of money you have to pay is less, and in return, it gives more profit. By paying, it is guaranteed that your article will appear on the main page of the directories. When any targeted customer reads that article, the possibility of visiting your website and purchasing from it increases.

5. “Stealing” other website’s customers
Stealing the customers of other websites is beneficial and you can do it online as well as offline. Search for businesses that are relevant to your business. For example, if you are in a business of selling wooden furniture, try to find websites that sell plastic furniture. Then ask the website owner to advertise your website in his monthly newsletter or advertise it by sending emails to his list of customers and tell him that you will also advertise his website in your newsletters. You will surely get benefit from this deal if that website has got thousands of customers. This method will increase the sale of your products and give you profit.

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What is a unique Class C website?

An IP address is a digital address assigned to every website by the web hosting company. Normally, if someone has multiple domains, the person usually buys one hosting package to host all the 10 sites. Which means the IP address given to each website will be on the same network, like 195.183.40.1, 195.183.40.2, 195.183.40.3 and so on till 195.183.40.10. If the first 3 sub-sets of the IP match for different domains (in the example it is 195.183.40), it shows that the domains are on the same network.

Search engines check the IP address of every website linking to another site. If the first 3 sub-sets of both sites match, it means that the sites are on the same network and could be of the same owner. Therefore, they are not given so much importance.

Search engines started recording IP addresses of different websites and consider it a factor in checking the credibility of a website because links from different sites are important for a website. Webmasters started exploiting this by buying hundreds of domains at cheap rates, hosting them on the same server and linking all of them to 1 main site from all the other domains. So to avoid this, the search engines changed their policy from unique domain name to Unique Class C IP Address. Therefore, links from same Class C IP addresses should be avoided, and interlinking websites in a network of sites should also be avoided. If you do link your sites together, those links will not have a great impact on the rankings of the site and will not be considered as high quality links.

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What is SEO, SEM, SEA, SMO, SMM, SERP and SERM?

If you are new to website marketing, it may be difficult for you to keep track of the abbreviations used by marketing professionals. This post helps you understand these terms so you can use them when needed.

SEO, SEM, SEA, SMO, SMM, SERP, SERM

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO or Search Engine Optimization helps in getting the website or a web page on the top ranking in search engines. By increasing the visibility of a website in the ranking of major search engines, more and more internet users visit the website resulting in an increase in business. SEO is a great way of getting more traffic to a website. It can be done by two techniques, white hat or black hat.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Search Engine Marketing or SEM is a powerful advertising channel.It is a technique of diverting more traffic towards the website by increasing the rank of the website on popular search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is also called as Search Marketing. It can be done by two ways; by getting traffic to the website with the help of SEO and by getting traffic with the help of paid advertising (SEA).

SEA (Search Engine Advertising)

SEA or Search Engine Advertising is a technique of gaining traffic to a website through paid advertising like Google Adwords or PPC (Pay Per Click advertising). It is one of the basic areas of Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

SMO (Social Media Optimization)

Social Media Optimization or SMO is the technique of increasing a websites awareness with the use of social media communities. These social media websites include social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Plus+, Orkut and more. SMO also helps in increasing the positioning of a website on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). SMO generates publicity of a website, its products and services on social networks, resulting in increased website traffic. Social News sites, particularly Slashdot, Delicious, Digg and Social Bookmarking sites, particularly Reddit, Pinterest and StumbleUpon are also included in social media.

SMM (Social Media Marketing)

SMM or Social Media Marketing is a way of promoting a website and getting traffic to it through social media sites. The main purpose of SMM is to generate awareness of a website, the products and services that are offered through it. The process of SMM is to create attractive content to grab the attention of the social networking site users and to encourage them to share it with their friends or social networks.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

SERP or Search Engine Results Page is the list of websites which are shown by the Search engines as a result when any keyword or a set of keywords is entered into the search bar. The list shown is relevant to the keyword(s) that is searched. With the help of the list given by the Search Engine, one can optimize his/her website or a web page to get better ranking. Search Engine Optimization is done to increase the ranking of a website for specific keywords.

SERM (Search Engine Reputation Management)

SERM or Search Engine Reputation Management enhances and controls the website reputation, generates positive publicity online and destroys search engine spam. It controls the appearing of negative comments about the website before the positive ones to prevent the reputation of the website from being destroyed.

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Simple SEO Steps you can take to Improve your Website Today

As a website owner or business owner you’ve likely heard of search engine optimization before, but you probably have never signed up for SEO services with a firm or taken the time to make changes to your site that would help it rank higher in search results. Search engines are the new yellow pages, they’re the place that over 80% of consumers turn to before making a purchasing decision. That’s why it’s critical to have your business or website show up on the first page of results and ideally as close to the number 1 spot as possible.

If you’re in a competitive niche or a large market, you’re likely going to need to sign up for an SEO package to get your website on top, but if you’re in a small niche or small local market then there are a few things you can do yourself to try and get your website on page one of search results:

(1) Do some Spring Cleaning on your Website

If you’re slightly technically inclined, you can go into your website and make some small changes to the coding and content. When it comes to coding, you want to make sure you have optimized title tags, meta information, and anchor text. That means using your keywords that you want to rank for strategically in these locations to tell search engines what your website is all about.

On top of this, you also want to have quality, original content on your website. That means adding content when needed and making sure that you update this content regularly. The best way to add content is through regular blog posts on your website. This will help keep your site fresh, which search engines love, and it will help generate natural links to your website from 3rd party sites.

(2) Have a Properly Coded and Structured Website

So many small businesses hire a friend, neighbor, or kid down the block to build their website, and they end up with low quality websites that aren’t properly coded. This means websites that are made in flash, websites that are missing title tags, and websites that don’t convert well. Before you can market your website, make sure it is worth marketing and represents your business well. Your website is the first impression people will have, so make sure it’s a good one.

(3) Build some Inbound Links to your Website

Link building is a critical part of search engine optimization, so don’t be afraid to build some links on your own. You can do guest blog posts, submit articles, or try to get mentioned on a local news website. All these links will count as a vote for your website and tell search engines that your site is important and deserves to rank higher.

Again these three steps won’t rank a site in a highly competitive niche, but they certainly can rank a site in a small local market or less competitive niche. It’s a great place to start and if you find that you don’t have the time or expertise to rank your site on your own, there’s always companies out there who will take the online marketing burden off your shoulders.

This is a guest post by Brendan Egan, who is the owner of Simple SEO Group, an online marketing, web design, and SEO firm that helps small businesses improve their web presence. Brendan can be reached by visiting SimpleSEOGroup.com

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How to get Ideas for your Blog Posts

I’ve been thinking to start publishing regularly on my blog, and I needed ideas for that. I found out several good tips on how to get ideas for your blog posts, and I’m sharing them here to help other bloggers too!

Use Google News – Google news (http://news.google.com) is a great way to stay updated with industry related news. Use your keywords to find latest news and updates to find a story which interests you. You might find an interesting news story, or you can write about something you agree or disagree with. Be sure to search around for related stories to get ideas and use your thoughts while writing content. Remember, do not simply repost summaries of the news you read on Google because that will only lead to duplicate content being added to your site. If you add your opinion or view point in the article, it gives it genuine value and makes it more interesting for the readers.

Leading Industry Blogs – Find out what other leading industry bloggers are discussing and posting on their blogs. If something new is happening in your industry, you should discuss it on your blog too. Read through “expert” blogs of your specific industry and subscribe to their RSS feeds.

Website User Logs – Use your website analytics to look for “long tail” keywords or phrases which are relevant to your website. Find information about those subjects and write detailed articles about these areas. Since these keywords were used by users when they come to your site, they will be interested in reading more about them. Focusing on less popular or obscure phrases, keywords and search terms helps in bringing targeted customers and readers to your site. These keywords will also attract more traffic to your site or blog.

Search for specifics in your industry niche – You might think that there is a lot of information related to your industry published on the internet, but that is not always the case. If you start searching a particular topic, you will find areas which have minimal content published. If you are searching for it, there can be other users searching for it too. Use this opportunity to develop and write content. Do your research and write a blog post on that topic.

If you are good at tackling controversial topics, which most people find difficult to write about, you can consider writing challenging content as an opportunity. These kinds of topics are often overlooked, but can attract a lot of users to your blog, which will result in an increase in the number of comments people leave on your posts.

You might be wondering that the sources for new content mentioned above are all originating from content already present on the web, but you will be surprised to know that ideas for blog posts are mostly influenced by other web content. Use these tips to write unique, fresh and compelling content to add to your blog. You will not only find an increase in the website rankings and search engine traffic, but you will also experience an increase in your subscribers.

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Tips to Optimize a Multilingual Website

When it comes to internet marketing, being creative is a prerequisite. Sticking to the conventional marketing ideas can be detrimental in the long run as it may limit the potential of your business. One of the techniques that you can use to maximize the potential of your website is to make it a multilingual one, where people from different countries can comfortably search for the information that they want. SEO services are therefore very crucial when it comes to multilingual website optimization. There are over two hundred languages in the world and targeting most of them as a site optimization strategy can really put you ahead of the pack.

Firstly, one of the most trusted strategies for optimizing a multilingual website is through geo targeting. In layman’s language this involves creating micro sites that specifically target particular visitors from another country. To make your sites friendly for your users, the micro sites should offer the prices of the goods or services that you are offering in the currency of that particular region, along with the relevant language. Chances of your main website overshadowing the micro site will therefore be minimized. You would want to do this as the main site is usually the most optimized. However, achieving this is not a mean feat and an experienced SEO services provider is required to make this strategy a success.

Mostly, website optimization, even for a multilingual one, cannot achieve its target if there is no appropriate and adequate use of the relevant keywords. For a multilingual website you need to select and use the keywords of the target language appropriately. Do not make a mistake of merely picking keywords from your main website and translating them in to other languages; this will not work. The meaning of words and phrases change depending on the context and this can mostly happen when translation is being done from one language to another. Context and language-specific use of keywords is very crucial for a multilingual website.

Apart from making micro sites which use the target regions language and currency, along with the relevant keywords searched highly in the regional search engines for that region, you should ensure that your website has attracted inbound links that are local. Regional links are the ones that are usually behind SEO success. The main idea here is to create content that is localized with an aim to attract traffic from your target country or region.

An SEO service provider should use the inbound links of their clients’ sites to create an advantage, even if they have no control over where these may be coming from. Sticking to the basics of inbound marketing can also be very crucial. However, you still need to stick to the rules of thumb in as far as optimizing a multilingual website is concerned.

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How to view RSS Feeds in Google Chrome properly

If you are having trouble viewing RSS feeds for your site or any other website in Google Chrome, then you might be looking for a solution. Google Chrome shows a bunch of unformatted text when you click on an RSS feed button instead of a correctly formatted feed like you would see in Firefox web browser and Internet Explorer. By default, you would see something like the text shown below in your Google Chrome browser.

RSS feed in Google Chrome:

RSS in Google Chrome

This is because Google Chrome does not have a built in feature to display RSS feeds in the browser. However, the solution is quick and easy. Simply install the RSS Subscription Extension by Google in your browser which auto detects RSS feeds on the page you are reading. If the extension finds an RSS feed on the page you are reading, it will display an RSS icon in your address bar, or the Omnibox as shown in the picture below. Simply clicking on the icon will allow you to preview the feed and subscribe to it.

RSS icon Google Chrome

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