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Top SEO Companies in Wisconsin

Top SEO Companies in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is seeing a major increase in the number of businesses and with this growth internet marketing has become vital in order to survive and boost visibility online.

Choosing the right SEO firm is the most important and crucial step for a business, as this could make or break their internet marketing strategy.

We studied the Wisconsin SEO market and checked their work in the industry to create this database for you. We managed to speak to customers, check rankings, perform internal interviews and rank them based on their experience.

Here is the list of top SEO companies in Wisconsin:

1. Egochi

 

We chose Egochi to be the number one SEO company on Wisconsin due to their achievements in the market and for the success, they have managed to get for their clients.

The company has a total of 26 employees and is able to complete all client tasks in-house. They hold good SEO knowledge and we were able to analyze this by studying their online rankings.

Here are some of the major reasons why they made it to the top of the list:

  • Rankings: They rank for major keywords in Wisconsin, both local and national like, Milwaukee SEO, Madison SEO, Sun Prairie SEO, SEO Milwaukee, Waunakee SEO, SEO for Beauty Store, Cosmetic SEO, and SEO for Magicians etc.
  • Content: Their blog enables audiences to grab the latest SEO knowledge and news. This shows that they frequently study the market.
  • Reviews: They have 5-star SEO reviews all around on all professional platforms such as Clutch, Facebook, Google.
  • Achievements: Egochi has won the Wisconsin business innovation awards for internet marketing which makes them better than the rest.
  • Design: Their website is really impressive and we love the look and feel of it. Unlike other sites, they focused on user experience pretty well.
  • Activeness: We found them to be active on social media, on their blog, professional networks, meetups and through their website which is impressive.
  • Customer Service: The biggest strength of Egochi is their 24 by 7 customer service, which makes them available for their clients round the clock.

All these factors make Egochi rank on top of this list and their work in the industry has been marvelous. Their portfolio is impressive and their track record says everything and makes them the right choice for your business.

2. Heaviside Group

 

The companies main skillset is website design however they also hold a strong hand in the SEO segment.

They have a 5-star rating on their Clutch professional network and are located in Brookfield, WI. Their clients definitely had good things to say about them which made them make this list.

The key elements that we liked and disliked were:

  • They hold Bing Professional Accreditation
  • TopSEOs chose them as one of the leading Milwaukee SEO company in 2017.
  • Their web design is a little old and lacks to impress visitors.
  • They are recommended by 12 people on Facebook.
  • Paid Per Click management is their forte.
  • IT companies and tech products are their specialty niche.
  • They claim to send new leads for their clients through SEO.

Heavyside Group was founded by a physicist and they claim that this made them more technically skilled as compared to their competitors.

Their website claims to achieve the return on investment for their clients upfront which is a bold claim to make.

3. Esteem Digital

 

The company specializes in search engine optimization, web design, market research, and social media management.

They have an SEO strategist and a Web Designer prepared to go up against the requirements of your business.

The firm gets together routinely with SEO Experts around the globe to stay up with the latest with earth-shattering SEO techniques and changes inside the business.

Here are the strengths and claims made by them:

  • Boost exposure
  • Grow customer base
  • Build Brand Awareness
  • Increase revenue
  • Dominate Google
  • Worry-free contracts
  • Send monthly reports
  • Dominate search results
  • Social ingenuity

They specialize in local SEO and help customers achieve local rankings in Google maps and search results. This is definitely a good choice for local businesses.

4. Foresite Group, LLC

 

The company is owned and founded by Francis Morton. They aim to outperform the work of art, with genuine pertinent research.

What we love the most about them was their focus on content and the ability to create awesome content for their clients.

They claim to adjust, plan and actualize the most sensible and effective showcasing efforts in line with your requirements to advance search development.

Their innovative team consists of:

  • Creative thinkers
  • Pixel pushers
  • Digital strategists
  • Content specialists
  • Avid sailors
  • Semi-pro ping pong players
  • Craft beer enthusiasts

The owner of the business has worked for 17 years as a content developer which makes this company the best choice for content marketing and generation.

5. Bite Sized Media

 

This company has helped a lot of small businesses achieve success online.

Be that as it may, now and then you’re simply so busy maintaining your business you have an inclination that you can’t keep up.

They are a local SEO company situated in Milwaukee that enables businesses to tackle those issues.

They represent considerable authority in helping local businesses enhance their revelation on the web and draw in new clients to drive pedestrian activity and sales.

They have worked with some of the Madison Realtors and Madison Real Estate Agent and have done a good job.

List of services offered by them are:

  • Local SEO
  • SEO audits
  • Voice search SEO
  • Review management

They are a top pick for the following industries:

  • Restaurants
  • Salons
  • Gym
  • Home Improvement

Conclusion,

 

Here are the top picks from the SEO world for Wisconsin, I hope this helps you out making a wise decision of finding the right SEO agency for your business.

If you like what you found here or have any recommendations do let me know in the comments below.

 

How to Make Content Work For You

Professional Realtor blogs are a great way to market yourself as practiced by my favorite Madison realtor. They provide an extremely cost-efficient and personal way for you the Real Estate Agent to connect to potential clients and differentiate yourself from other Realtors. To be effective your real estate website should contain information that people are searching for and need when making purchasing decisions. Once they get to your site your goal should be to build a positive relationship with your clients. To do this your professional realtor blog needs to be active. You should post information that updates over time, causing them to return over and over. In doing this when next they are ready to take the next step, purchase a house, they will turn to you as an agent they already know and trust.

A Professional Realtor blog is a marketing tool like postcards, ads or word of mouth. A website is a tool to market your services, generate leads and convert them into customers. Dollar for dollar websites is a great place to spend your marketing budget. Each postcard costs $0.44 just for the stamp, sending 1000 postcards costs around $500. For every 1000 postcards, you will usually generate on average five leads. Contrast that with a blog that given proper promotion can provide you with greater exposure, more leads and in addition create lasting relationships to help you convert them to customers. All for the same price.

Potential, past and future clients visit and return to your site for the content you provide. As a realtor, you can provide many interesting types of content either from sources such as MLS or from personal experience and knowledge. Most people will visit your site for up to date listing information and return to view updated information or newer listings. It’s important to make the listings easy to share since your visitors will be sending them around gathering their friends, family and spouses opinion. A link is much easier to share then making people enter write down and enter the MLS number. The second source of content for your professional real estate blog is local information about the area. When showing homes people ask you all sorts of questions about the neighborhood, write these down, then write a blog post about each question. If one person asked you the question chances are more people have the same question and probably searching for it on google. If you create a post about it they will find your website.

Your professional real estate website is a showcase for your services, invest time in building up your site. Make sure it looks like a site you would trust using. Keep the information on it current and targeted to your audience and when they are looking to rent or purchase their next house they will choose you.

4 Ways to Get Your Business Found by Local Searchers

4 Ways to Get Your Business Found by Local Searchers

If you are like most small businesses, the success of your company is dependent on attracting local customers, whether they are in your region, state, county or even town. While it’s great to see that your website is pulling in visitors from around the country and maybe even around the world, you don’t want to waste the time or resources worrying about leads and inquiries that you can’t possibly follow up with. So, how do you ensure you are doing everything in your power to pull in those valuable visitors from across town? Check out this list:

1. Optimize your site for geographic-specific keywords.

Depending on the competitiveness of your geographic region and industry, this is a quick and easy way for you to start ranking for various keywords that local shoppers are using to search in Google, Yahoo! and Bing. To do this, make sure that the Page Title, URL, H1 tag and page content of your web pages include your geographic keyword phrase and that you are consistent across all elements. For example, check out this page, which illustrates geographic keyword optimization done right. By doing this, this company is more likely to pull in consumers in Newington, CT who are looking for replacement windows and siding. Remember, if you have multiple pages for each town/city you service, make sure they are different enough so the search engines don’t tag them as duplicate content!

2. Blog!

A blog is a great way to talk about your local services and commitment to your local market. Share case studies or success stories of work you’ve done in the past in each town, city or county. Customers love being in the spotlight, so use your blog as an opportunity to showcase them and highlight your great work. Remember to use the geographic location in your blog title and URL and promote your blog to generate inbound links!

3. Engage with local bloggers and city-specific websites.

When you engage with local bloggers from your area and share your knowledge and expertise, you begin to establish yourself as a great resource and expert in your industry. You’ll be getting your name and company in front of local readers and begin to develop relationships with influential bloggers who may be more likely to do feature stories about you in the future. While HubSpot doesn’t pull customers in from any one specific geographic location like your business may, we frequently engage in conversations on the Boston Globe‘s website, Boston.com, as well as with local technology and business bloggers, Mass High Tech and the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX). See what’s in your local area, and start interacting.

4. Sign up for accounts on ratings & review sites.

As we have seen, consumers are more and more likely to start their research process online for a local vendor, handyman, car mechanic, doctor or marketing professional. Armed with that knowledge, you need to make sure your business is listed on the major websites that provide ratings and reviews for various services.

What Do Realtors Need in a Website?

Maria Antoinette Madison Real Estate Agent

This research was conducted by Maria Antoinette an experienced Madison realtor. specializing condos for sale in Madison WI. According to the 2009 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 85-90% of real estate purchases start on the web. Even if that statistic is somewhat off, it nevertheless remains true that most potential customers now start their property search online and choose their Realtor based on what websites they find.

Over 60,000 agents serve the New England area, all of them looking for new clients. Consumers now have many options when they search the web for a Realtor or property. They can visit specific brokerage websites like RE/MAX or Coldwell Banker, browse listings at Trulia or Redfin, search Google, and much more. Most Realtor website discussion focuses on SEO and is one of the first 10 results that come up for certain search terms. While this is good practice, it remains true that all websites have the same goals and that there are already plenty of resources out there that discuss SEO in depth. I will therefore instead focus on what happens when people reach your website and how you can influence their decision to choose you as their agent.

Web usability studies have shown that users care about speed, appearance, clutter, and content. For Realtor sites, this refers chiefly to listings: buyers want to look at listings, and sellers want to see you working their listing. Today, I will focus on the visual aspect of your site. If potential customers find your design unattractive, they will likely move on to the next site. In my research for ListingInjector, I have looked at thousands of different real estate websites. I can, therefore, tell you with confidence that most sites look horrible, making the ones that look halfway decent standout. Sites are often cluttered, hard to navigate, and apparently more interested in selling mortgages than real estate services. When the web exploded in the early ’90s, people explored the medium by building sites in a simple text editor. Today, however, companies use teams of professionally trained engineers to design and build their websites. This has raised the bar of what constitutes an attractive website, and when you don’t meet your users’ expectations, it reflects poorly on your commitment to your customers as an agent.

With this in mind, here are some simple rules to follow when exploring your next site design:

  1. Keep it simple and clean. In contemporary design, less is more. When people visit your website, they are seeking specific information: sellers are looking at how you promote your properties, and buyers are looking for user-friendly listings. A common mistake is to offer an IDX service that does not flow with the rest of the site, looks awkward, or is hard to use.
  2. Know what you’re selling. Mortgage brokers and advertisers will pay you for ad placement on your home page. You should always ask yourself if $50 a month is worth the loss of commission on a potential sale. Think of your website cost as a part of your marketing: you would never put a mortgage broker’s ad on your marketing material. If you must sell ad space, do so only in a way that flows with your site’s design.
  3. Create a cohesive look. I often have seen agents spending money on a professionally designed site only to detract from their overall look with low-quality images or a poor layout. Spend a bit more money and have a graphic artist clean up your images and integrate them into your design.

Next time I’ll talk about content and how not to become a slave to it. However, if you are looking forward to growing your online presence and rank your website higher on search engines then I recommend reading this wonderful piece on real estate SEO.

Real Estate SEO Guide in 10 Steps

Supreme Real Estate SEO Guide in 10 Steps

Do you own a real estate business, If yes, then you definitely need this guide to boost your sales and build your online reputation.

Here are the top 10 steps of the Real Estate SEO guide:

1. Start an SEO Audit

Running an SEO audit is generally the most intelligent place to begin.

Truth be told, a review is a need in the event that you need to optimize your real estate site for local search.

On the off chance that your site neglects to rank locally, drive any natural traffic, generate leads, or convert customers, you have to discover why.

A website SEO audit is an enormous point in itself. For a local SEO review, focus on these areas:

Site structure: XML sitemap, robots.txt, diverts.

Page structure: Titles, meta descriptions, H1-H6 tags, ALT tags, URLs.

Content: Keyword and connection placement, structure, visual components, duplicates, appropriate sidetracks and accepted tags.

Links: Outbound and inbound, interlinking, broken links.

Convenience: Mobile-amicability, site speed.

Convey these five up to snuff and you’ll see an extensive increase in traffic and customers.

An optimized site will rank pleasantly, including for local searches.

2. Optimize Your Website

Once you’ve pinpointed all the issue areas of your website, put a sufficient measure of hours into settling them.

A consummately optimized website is fundamental on the off chance that you need to appear in local outcomes. Address all the SEO fundamentals, including:

Keyword research and analysis

SEO-accommodating URLs

Optimization of tags and meta descriptions

Picture optimization

Legitimate outbound and inner connection placement

Broken links

Sidetracks

Site speed optimization

Content optimization

CTR and bounce rate optimization

Construction

Robots.txt

XML sitemap

SSL certificate

W3C validation

In case you’re a SEO specialist, at that point you’re as of now doing these things consistently. In case you’re a real estate operator and don’t know much about SEO, enlist a professional. At the absolute minimum, employ a SEO professional to assist you with tips 1, 2, 3 and 9.

3. Optimize for Mobile

Once you’ve secured all the SEO basics turn your concentration to upgrading your real estate webite for mobile.

Why is mobile optimization important? Consider that more than 48 percent of all real estate searches are presently started on mobile.

Ensure potential customers can access and utilize your site advantageously on any mobile gadget.

Here are nine key areas to manage at the top of the priority list when moving toward mobile optimization:

Responsive design

Page speed

Hosting speed

Homepage

Site navigation

Site search

Forms

Conversions

Ease of use

These are truly imperative to your rankings and conversions. Guests anticipate that your site will load in under two seconds and will instantly leave except if you give perfect client encounter.

On the off chance that your site loads too gradually, clients will leave and search for a more easy to use site.

Likewise, if your entrance forms are befuddling, clients will likewise bounce back to the search results and look at one of your rivals.

At the point when this happens, Google will take note. Your rankings will drop if this happens time after time.

Some mobile optimization tips:

Run a Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to learn if your page is mobile-accommodating, and access the list of page loading issues that need settling.

Start up a Google’s PageSpeed Insights device to gain admittance to significantly more blunders identified with mobile optimization and load speed. Fix them until the point when you score 100 focuses.

Optimize your site’s code to erase all Flash and content components that can increase your pages’ load time.

Dispose of promotions and interstitials that square clients from getting to content. Both Google and clients loathe websites, particularly mobile sites, that are an agony to explore.

Ensure that your site’s homepage is anything but difficult to utilize. It needs to highlight outwardly engaging however not nosy CTAs, short menus with expansive, simple to-click tabs, an unmistakable search field with selectable channels, easy to understand contact shape, and a logo catch that enables clients to return to your homepage.

Optimize pictures. Lessen the extent of huge pictures and ensure that each picture includes an ALT text.

Check if your site search shows pertinent outcomes. Guarantee that channels work appropriately and don’t influence clients to zoom.

Change your blog to AMP. This will definitely enhance a site’s load time.

Address reserving issues of your site. Now and again, a site can experience the ill effects of poor performance in mobile search because of issues with hosting and storing. Ensure that the greater part of your HTTP asks for are dealt with instantly.

Reward tip: Use this emulator to check how your site is shown on various gadgets. A touch of testing never stings.

4. Get Your Business into Google

To manufacture a ceaseless stream of customers from natural search, get your business listed in the Google 3-pack.

The Google 3-pack is an umbrella term for Google My Business, Google Maps, and Google+. On the off chance that you list your business there, its perceivability in search will increase.

Clearly, clients give careful consideration to search comes about that feature depictions, ratings, surveys, and Google Maps directions.

Here are a couple of tips to control you through the procedure:

Check all required information twice before making your Google My Business account. These are your physical address, website, phone numbers, email, and so forth. When you claim your business, it will be difficult to change any information on the record.

Ensure that your physical address is right. Google will mail your authorization code to that address. In the event that you don’t have a rented office, utilize your personal residence.

Alter your Google My Business page. Determine your business hours and contact information. Include outwardly engaging photographs and an immediate connect to your homepage. At long last, compose an instructive, helpful and snappy depiction of your business.

Getting your business listed in Google is totally justified, despite all the trouble. When you claim your organization, Google will show your site in localized search comes about, allowing you to rank higher than sites like Trulia and Zillow. Physical vicinity turns into your best upper hand.

5. Enlist with Business Directories and Listings

To confirm your business and drive backlinks, you have to enroll your organization with business-and real estate-related catalogs and listings:

Make a list of registries and listings in which you might want to enroll your site.

Get ready information for new accounts: business name, physical address, phone number, email, work hours, logo, visuals, extraordinary descriptions, and so on. A few registries enable you to post content, as well.

Round out the accounts and check them consistently. In the event that clients leave remarks or rate your business, dependably answer or send a thank you message.

Since you have secured all the pined for spots, research new openings. Catalogs and listings are not that well known these days, but new players show up once in momentarily.

Place logos of enrolled catalogs and listings on your site. Demonstrate your website guests that you are a trusted and regarded business.

Here are a few registries to consider:

Cry

Thumbtack

Business index

Kudzu

Manta

Better Business Bureau

Angie’s List

Shipper Circle

CitySearch

CitySquares

Whitepages

Local.com

MagicYellow

Craigslist

Superpages

Claiming your business at the accompanying listings is additionally an absolute necessity:

Zillow

Trulia

Hurray! Homes

Realtor.com

Zoocasa

RedFin

Customers complete a considerable measure of search and research straightforwardly at these indexes and listings. In this way, you take out two targets with one shot: enhance your organic SEO details and make extra sales channels to drive more conversions.

6. Begin with Blogging

You require a blog. Legitimately optimized content that addresses the necessities of your focused on audience is your way to overwhelm local search comes about.

In the interim, as a private venture, you can’t pull out all the stops on content. Your assets are excessively constrained, making it impossible to contend with built up companies. This is the reason you ought to organize:

Instructive articles. These are blog posts about your neighborhood: schools, wrongdoing, walkability, median salary, costs, social life, excitement, eateries, and so forth. Give one of a kind points of view and depict genuine upsides and downsides of the area.

Meetings with local business proprietors. These can take an entirely vast piece of your time, yet it will be time well spent. They will show the spirit of your neighborhood and demonstrate to planned home purchasers how decent your region is. Over that, business proprietors will share these meetings on their social pages and websites, building mindfulness and expanding go after your business.

Visual content. These are your images (customary and 360-degree immersive all encompassing photographs), infographics, video tours, live-stream videos, virtual tours, and so forth.

Optimize your content for search motors before posting and sharing. Incorporate “geo” keywords into titles, captions, meta descriptions, ALT text, URLs, hashtags, and so on.

7. Make and Optimize Video Content

Videos can really recognize your business from your opposition. This is the reason you should:

Dispatch and optimize a YouTube channel

Upload videos to your channel all the time

Share (or upload) videos to your site and social pages

Run live-streams on YouTube and Facebook to pull in a bigger audience

Consider the accompanying kinds of video content:

Open house videos

Neighborhood video tours

Listings videos (e.g., “10 Best Houses Sold This Month”)

Questions and answers videos

Questions and answers live-streams

Virtual tours (utilize Matterport camera)

Your videos ought to be optimized for local search: incorporate geotargeted keywords into features, descriptions, and hashtags.

Consider including captions and setting the whole subscript in the portrayal area for better crawlability and indexability.

Likewise, adding links to your website, social pages, related listings and content in the depiction is an absolute necessity.

8. Be Social

Social media can help your SEO endeavors, however it may not really enhance your organic rankings. Nonetheless, social media is imperative since it causes you:

Associate with your focused on audience.

Build mindfulness, expert, and trust.

Increase presentation.

Drive more traffic.

Convert this traffic into clients – and sales.

As a real estate business, it’s hard to pick up perceivability online except if you have social media accounts (counting Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest). Utilize social systems to post and share your blog content, videos, and other critical things (details, news, and so on.).

You can utilize the intensity of social systems like Instagram and Pinterest to advance your site with visual content. Give clients a chance to have a look at the best home sale openings on Facebook. Make sheets on Pinterest to rearrange sticking. Share stories on Instagram.

Make a point to dd local-centered hashtags and descriptions that feature geotargeted keywords.

9. Execute Structured Data Markup

Organized data markup enables you to show rich snippets in search. As a real estate business, consider executing the accompanying pattern:

RealEstateAgent

Offer

Product

Place

RentAction

Home

PostalAddress

SearchResultsPage

WebPage

The decision of particular construction for your site depends basically on its structure. On the off chance that you don’t know which one to pick, or how to begin execute organized data markup, counsel with a SEO professional.

10. Earn Featured Snippets

Featured snippets allow your site to get to the #0 spot with right around zero exertion (gave your page is ranking in the main 10 as of now).

In any case, this is in reality just a single of the advantages of earning featured snippets. Because of snippets, you can:

Enhance rankings in SERPs.

Show your offer specifically in search.

Draw in clients who are occupied with your offer.

Increase change rates.

Google doesn’t show a featured piece for a geotargeted inquiry. As a real estate business, you can optimize your content to fill the hole. Here’s the secret:

Run a keyword analysis to filter out important, geo-concentrated long-tail keywords and expressions.

Place these chose keywords in content that issues to clients, otherwise known as inside and out, superb content.

Structure and markup your content appropriately. Utilize question-centered heads and subheads, shorter passages that could fit into a featured bit area, H1-H2 tags, tables, lists, charts, images, and so on.

Make a Q&A segment on your site. Particular answers will probably be shown as featured snippets, particularly on the off chance that they incorporate images and lists.

Conclusion to Real Estate SEO Guide

Actualize these real estate SEO tips will enable you to build a solid establishment that will enable you to command in local search.

Getting a delicious cut of the real estate pie is testing, yet don’t be debilitated. The specialty is plentiful with open door for little organizations and individual real estate agents.

In the event that you get your work done and optimize your site for local search appropriately, it will rank pleasantly – even against the most grounded listing sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Yahoo Homes.

A portion of the strategies require a significant learning of SEO. Ensure you counsel or contract a professional before venturing out. It’s less demanding to keep away from botches than settle them.

This article was written by Maria Antoinette a professional Downtown Madison Realtor.

How to improve your copywriting’s conversion rate by writing for individuals, rather than groups

What do you think is the most important element of your copywriting? The headline? The benefits? Or the product itself?

How to improve your copywriting’s conversion rate by writing for individuals, rather than groups

Well, this was the topic of Eric Graham’s (aka The Conversion Doctor) recent video – ‘My #1 Conversion Boosting Secret Revealed’ – and I don’t think I’ll be sending any shockwaves by revealing that it’s understanding your reader.

In the rush to get websites live, emails sent and direct mail in the post, assumptions are often made about the target audience’s hopes and fears. But this can be a mistake because the copy is read by individuals, not a homogeneous group. And making assumptions about your reader could mean missing a lesser known critical pain point that triggers them into buying.

So how can you build a better understanding of your readers as individuals, and avoid lazy stereotyping?

Eric’s video is packed with useful advice, so I’d recommend sitting down with a notepad and watching it all the way through.

But if you’d like a quick overview, here are a few tips you might find useful:

1. Read the magazines and blogs your target is likely to read. This will help you get inside their head and build your knowledge of the issues they’re dealing with, as well as identify what type of language to use.

2. Visit the forums frequented by your readers. Note down any questions, comments or complaints on common problems they need solving.

3. Interview at least 10 people from your target market. Prompt the interviewee with a few questions and then just let them talk. Record the calls and get them transcribed. You should then use THEIR EXACT WORDS in your copy so you can reflect back at your readers their language and mental dialogue so it engages on a deeper level (watch Eric’s video for an example).

4. Create a customer profile of 1-3 paragraphs based on your research. Your profile should describe an imaginary person matching some of the typical characteristics you’ve discovered. This could include their family, education, income, occupation, and hobbies. Then imagine you’re addressing this fictional person when you’re writing.

It’s easy to make assumptions about target readers. But often the key to effective copywriting is finding that hidden pain point or desire which unlocks people’s resistance to buying.

The best way of discovering what keeps your target reader awake at night is to actually talk to them, which is why I think tip 3, in particular, could make a big improvement to conversion rates.

Google knows more about you than your friends and family

Consumers are no longer characterized by demographic thanks to search marketing. Instead, they are defined by interest. Search allows motivated users to be matched with a brand.

This was the view of Colin Petrie-Norris, Managing Director, International Specific Media, speaking at the FT Digital Media & Broadcasting conference this morning.

Petrie-Norris shared a list of items that he’d searched for in the last few days with the audience. These included a number of innocent items intended as gifts that he said that he would rather not share with his wife to make the point that Google knows more about a user than their friends and family.

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A similar point was raised by Sir Martin Sorrell in the Q&A session after his keynote speech.

Google now has thousands of data point on an individuals search habits. Why is it then, a member of the audience asked, that Google isn’t using this data to better target customers in real time search.

Sorrell said that when Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke at WPP’s strategy meeting last year he said that Google planned to target ads based on a predictive behavior.

But for now, the technology simply isn’t there yet to analyze data and serve a result within a screen refresh according to Petrie-Norris.

The issue of personal privacy was raised several times during the morning’s sessions. The conclusion was that absolute transparency and opt-in is critical to the success.

“Why wouldn’t you want better targeting advertising?” said Stephen Nuttall, Commercial Director, BSkyB.

Social Media Measurement

There has been a vigorous and tumescent surge of activity in the social media space. You’re probably aware of it. Actually, it’s probably your fault. Everyone and their uncle and the kitchen sink is now aggressively pursuing their respective B2B social media strategies. Well, I say that, but of course, they’re not. In true B2B style, they (you) are talking about it a lot but doing naff all. The sticking point, seemingly, is measurement. The sticking point is always measurement in B2B. Talk about it, think about it, talk again, do naff all. Not without cast-iron, watertight and bulletproof case studies that prove unequivocally and beyond reasonable doubt that the measurable ROI outweighs the risk to existing brand equity. When you can prove it, then we’ll think about it some more. And do naff all. We might let someone in the company have a Twitter account. But only if it’s completely non-attributable and absolutely nothing to do with us. Just in case…

Well, I for one, am bored. I’m bored telling companies that they have to actively engage with social media for their brand to remain relevant in a digital economy and I’m bored listening to agencies pretending they have measurement matrices that prove they know what the customer’s doing and what the customer’s going to do next. They don’t. They predict. We can all predict. Here’s the thing – I predict that whatever you predict, the customer’s going to make up their own mind and do the thing that you didn’t predict. See? Boring. And it all completely misses the point of social media.

The clue’s in the name. It’s ‘social media’. The B2B opportunity is for brands to engage ‘socially’ with their customers, get closer to them, bring them closer to the brand, maybe positively influence perception and that’s it. Why does there have to be any more? Why do we need tracking tools and pipeline funnels and conversion ratios and stepped process drivers and sequential interaction protocols? Why, as part of a broader brand strategy, can’t our brands just be… social? Why can’t we have a, wait for it… a brand personality? And why have we lost sight of the fact that social media became popular for the very reason that our customers were trying to escape the corporate machine?

So. Instead of a case study, with ROI and BORING things, here’s a story. Brands are, after all, stories – living, breathing, social stories. I wrote recently about my mobile parking experiences. If you missed that memo, you can find it here. It’s a reasonable blog I think. There’s a good guy, a bad guy, triumph over adversity and a happy ending. I referenced the positive and credible attributes of RingGo as a mobile parking service provider. No biggie. I posted and went back to work.

Two days later there was a letter on my desk. Not an email. A letter. You can read what it said here. The next day RingGo found me on Twitter and started following me as well as saying very nice things about me and my brand and the post I had made. I followed RingGo back. Then I received a lengthy email from RingGo’s Marketing Manager (which she was enthusiastic enough to spend her Saturday night writing). And we’ll stay connected on LinkedIn.

I don’t ‘know’ these people. I haven’t tried to ‘sell’ anything. They’re not part of any ‘process’. We’re just being social. I feel reasonably confident they’ll be saying nice things about their experience with my brand just as I really enjoy telling this story. I know for a fact that friends of mine now use the RingGo mobile parking service because I’ve told them it’s great (and I told the world). One day, the phone will ring and someone will say RingGo suggested they call me. That’s the point of social media. It’s no more complicated than that. You can talk about it some more and wait for the measurement statistics if you insist, but from now on, I just want to help the brands that are prepared to actually do it. Talk to the Facebook page ‘cos the hand ain’t listening.

 

Scot McKee
Managing Director
Birddog Ltd.
+44 (0)20 7323 6666
twitter: @ScotMcKee

What Brands Can Learn From AC-DC

Australia’s greatest musical export AC-DC recently returned to home soil for a major sell-out tour.

These guys are simply amazing. Still rocking after all these years, packing in the crowds year after year after year. Who would have thought the band would still be one of the biggest rock acts in the world some 35 years after their formation in Australia in 1974?

POP QUIZ: What was the first gig AC-DC played? (check the answer at the bottom of the post!).

Let’s face it, any brand would kill for AC-DC’s longevity, their cross-generational appeal and the fanatical fan base that continues to buy their product year in, year out.

So what can brands learn from AC-DC?

1.  Consistency

AC-DC has been consistent in a number of ways for the past three+ decades. Angus Young’s school uniform, the driving bass and the thumping drumbeat, and the no-nonsense blokey song titles are core trademarks of AC-DC’s look and sound.

And, by all reports, the band’s concerts certainly live up to all the hype. These guys are consistent performers!

2.  No frills

With AC-DC, what you see is what you get. Joint ‘CEOs’ (spokesmen Angus Young and Brian Johnson) come across as a pair of fair dinkum blokes, no artifice airs or graces from these guys despite their exalted rock god status. The band’s attitude, like their music, is down-to-earth. People like that!

3.  Give the customer what they want

AC-DC know their audience and they don’t muck them about. This comes back to consistency. Give the punter what they want and they’ll keep coming back for more. AC-DC do that better than most.

4.  Remain true to your roots

AC-DC understands the high degree of respect their fans hold for the band’s former lead singer, the late Bon Scott. The band itself also hold their mate in high regard – as a mark of respect, they steadfastly refuse to play the anthem “It’s a Long Way to the Top” at their concerts. They’ve always remained true to the spirit of Bon Scott, and the fans respect this.

Even the recruitment of Brian Johnson was classic rock ‘n’ roll. Track down this dude from some no-name band and give him a shot at fronting one of the biggest live acts in the world. Fairytale stuff!

(Interestingly, yesterday was the 30th anniversary of Bon Scott’s death).

5.  Don’t screw the marketplace

AC-DC could make millions of extra dollops of cash if they wanted to simply by doubling their output of recorded music. By keeping the new stuff a bit scarce, they keep demand for their music at a premium. Ditto for touring.

Not touring for years builds massive anticipation for their concerts (although I suspect the reason they don’t tour much is the fact they’re all around the 60-year age mark!).

This is one brand you’re not going to see line-extended within an inch of its life!

What can your brand learn from AC-DC?

Milwaukee Business Uses Real Time Search Algorithm

Naturally, we’ve been watching the development of Google’s real-time search with interest. Everybody’s probably familiar by now with the scrolling box they’re inserting into search results:

I was reading a bit about what people are speculating is behind the real-time search algorithm and what Google decides to show. An article on eConsultancy got me raging.

The author suggests three things that may be factors in getting Tweets to show in real time search results that I can’t imagine are true – because if they are, they demonstrate that Google has no clear understanding of social media and they contradict everything I tell clients when providing training on how to use social media correctly and effectively.

1. Keywords in usernames = more relevant? Relevant to what?

First, he writes, “Username. Like domain names, keywords may help. Note that Twitter allows you to choose a username (unique) and a real name, so there’s an anchor text thing going on here.”

Now, correct me here if I’m misguided, but social media accounts should be registered to either people or organizations – and it should be clear which is which.

For example, you may be “Paul” trying out Milwaukee SEO and you may be tweeting on behalf of “Sofas and Stuff” but if you call your account “Sofa Sofa Sofa” and you follow me on Twitter, I swear I will block you straight away because that just makes you sound like a spammer trying to get followers to game the algorithm. You pollute the timeline of the site and clog it up with garbage. If, however, you actually call yourself “Paul from Sofas & Stuff” I may consider following you back – if I happen to need a sofa and depending what I find when I visit your page.

If Google is using keywords in usernames as a factor then we’re about to get a load of people registering names and descriptions that read “Sofa Sofa Sofa.”

Furthermore, a good social media account isn’t about the name of the account – it’s about the content. On a website, if you call yourself “Puppy Food, Inc.” it’s pretty likely that you won’t ever have relevant content about sofas so keywords in the name can be an indication.

If you call your Twitter account “Bob Smith”- or even if you call it “LeedsFan67” – you may at some point send out tweets about sofas which may actually be relevant and useful in response to a news story or piece of content relating to sofas.

For example, if a sofa explodes on Big Brother next week then Bob may be tweeting about it. Bob may even be a paramedic and able to discuss the dangers of exploding sofas in relation to fire or offer advice to victims on how to treat their burns.

Clearly, keywords in usernames isn’t an indicator of relevance. In fact, they may be an indication of spam – someone who calls themselves “Sofa Expert” on Twitter, at least in my experience, is less likely to be responsive to people and to engage with the community, or do more than post links to his own spam web content, than someone named “Bob” who’s excited about buying a sofa.

If Google really is using keywords in usernames to determine the relevance of specific Tweets then they’re going to find real-time search besieged with garbage and Twitter is going to have to step up its efforts to weed out spam because it’s about to be even more horribly abused than currently.

2. “Hashtags = Bad.” Or, should that be, “Hashtags=Relevance?”

eConsultancy states:

“One warning sign that Google looks at is whether or not a tweet includes a hashtag. Trending topics on Twitter – largely measured by hashtag popularity – can attract lots of junk tweets, so Google has adjusted its ranking factors for tweets that contain hashtags.

It most likely applies some kind of negative weighting for tweets that contain hashtags, especially those that trend and hit the Twitter homepage (and all user accounts).”

Hashtags are there to identify posts. For example, if you’re at a conference and tweeting about the conference you tag your posts with the relevant hashtag so even non-followers can see them. If you’re responding to a particular story, you tag your tweet with the relevant hashtag. Hashtags represent relevance when used by real users – rather than auto-accounts or spammers.

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In fact, when hashtags are abused horribly (Google “Habitat Twitter” if you need an example”), the community reacts swiftly and angrily and a huge negative publicity machine wallpapers the internet with angry messages of derision.

Surely hashtags, combined with other relevant words in a tweet, should be a marker of QUALITY, not the reverse? If Google has actually worked out ways of identifying spam accounts and sockpuppets then surely hashtags can help them understand the relevance and semantically related words in tweets?

3. Use your keywords a lot. But, is Twitter really about keywords?

Finally, the suggestion which really got me fuming is this:

Keyword focused accounts. If all of your tweets refer to ‘sofas’ isn’t it possible that you’ll be seen as a sofa expert by search engines, and positioned accordingly? Staying on-topic may help.”

So, set up loads of accounts, each based around one specific keyword or set of keywords, use your keywords repeatedly, all the time, in every tweet, every, in the whole world and that will make you an expert – not a dirty spammer? Erm, it makes no sense in a social setting.

If you’re using Twitter well, interacting with people, then you aren’t going to stay on topic. If you do stick to one topic, say, sofas, then you’re not likely to ever really have many followers, are you?

Sure, there are exceptions to the rule like someone tweeting the weather report or football results or something. But if someone is buying a sofa they might follow you for a little while, but once they’ve done making their purchase, are they really going to care anymore?

The way to make them care is by providing added value – talking about more than just that sofa purchases. Or, shock-horror, by getting to know your followers.

Frankly, this one is so open to abuse – and so against the whole point of real-time search – which is to provide relevant, topical, time-sensitive information – that I can’t imagine it could possibly work as a factor. Plus, you’d miss out on the guy in Haiti tweeting about the earthquake as it happens because you’d be too busy looking for tweets from earthquake “experts”- erm people who use “earthquake” in every tweet, that is – and that would actually make your real-time results LESS relevant.

It was all summed up in a very pithy manner by someone on Twitter, as I was writing this:

“Twitter is all about what is happening RIGHT NOW.”

He’s right. Twitter isn’t so much about expertise as about what people find relevant and important at a given moment.

Social media is NOT SEO. Don’t confuse the two.

Let me make this clear – Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media are two different things. Social Media mentions may add weight to SEO efforts and help verify the quality of incoming links, but the way Social Media operates and the way relevance and quality should be established within social media is a very different beast to SEO.

SEO is about explaining the subject matter of pages of a website and website hierarchies to a machine. It’s about helping machines to understand the most important words associated with a given piece of content and ensuring that those important words also match what users type into search engines.

Social media is about people. It’s about interaction, relationships, and communication. It is not about keywords. It is not about links. It is certainly not about how machines understand pages. So if Google is using SEO factors to determine the quality of real-time search then I’m guessing relevance is going to suffer – if not now, then certainly once SEO gets their hands into it.