Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Race to Win the Zero Moment of Truth: Google vs. Amazon

Google may have cornered the market on Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) which explains their success. However, times are changing and Google is no longer the first (and last place) people go to search, especially when it comes to commerce. It's becoming more and more common for consumers to bypass Google and go straight to sites like Amazon.

Amazon, is gearing up and challenging Google and Bing for the winning spot in the ZMOT race by developing an online advertising program. The second largest online retailer plans to replace those ads on its pages that Google supplies with a new in-house placement platform. Amazon's new system could resemble Google AdWords and make it easier for marketers to reach the company's users. The rich consumer data that Amazon has may give it a huge advantage once it's used for advertising.

As a consumer's behavior continues to evolve, so must the ways in which brands engage them. Though Google is creating more of a full shopping experience through its own property, could it continue to keep the ZMOT lead? Will Amazon help improve a consumer’s life by getting to consumers first at the precise moment when they have a need?  Let us know your thoughts!

(Picture from my trip to Stuttgart, Germany)

Best Regards,

Sara Ayala

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Tragedy of Robin Williams

O Captain! My Captain! I remember studying literature and learning about the difference between a comedy and a tragedy. Robin Williams’ life until yesterday would have seemed like a comedy. I envy people that knew him and worked with him. I can only imagine how interesting of a guy he must have been in person.

He played characters that helped shape my life. While he was a brilliant comic, it was some of his deeper roles that defined him in my eyes. A few movies that come to mind are The Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, and What Dreams May Come. His characters in these movies were inspirational to me and I am sure to many others. They taught life lessons and gave meaning to our lives beyond the everyday grind that so many of us get caught up in.

Everyone has their demons. I am sad today. I want to be mad today. I watched many recaps of his life this morning on the news. I wish someone could have helped him with his demons. I wish whatever darkness was inside him could have been better dealt with. Robin Williams was 63 years old and I believe had a lot of life left in him. How could he not find happiness in the smallest things in life when he had access to the biggest things in life? One of my Uncles that passed away early in life told me if you’ve never been to the moon, you don’t know what you are missing. That is a cautionary tale to me about knowing boundaries in life and finding happiness where it exists (right in front of us!).

I cannot be mad. Instead, I want to thank Robin Williams for all that he brought to our world during his time. I look forward to watching the movies I mentioned above with my Sons when they are old enough. I want them to be inspired and grow from them as I have.

In all the kind words I have seen regarding Robin Williams in the past few hours, one of the phrases really stands out – Make God Laugh.

O Captain, my Captain, make God laugh!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Myth on ‘You don’t need SEO’

When a well know brand goes astray and builds up a page with no SEO help whatsoever, they soon find out how much of a myth ‘not needing SEO’ really was. It is well know that Google preforms there algorithm audits every so often and is constantly changing what they consider to be penalties. Well this one brand had to find out the hard way just how much they really needed to hire someone with the proper up to date knowledge on what was acceptable and what was not.

Google is constantly trying to eliminate search spam, therefore it is always a constant and daily research for Google updates that SEO’s have to be on top of to prevent a Google penalty, and it doesn’t stop there! They have not only targeted the bad content that is produced, but they are also targeting the bad experiences as well. Google’s own Matt Cutts made a statement in a webinar, that SEO should mean search experience optimization. 

In conclusion I believe that you in fact need to have an SEO to manage the content for your page and be up to date with all of the Google updates, it is constantly and will always be ever-changing. So in case you don’t want all the work you put in to your page to be in vain then I suggest you revisit that idea.

  •  Cost Vs Investment

If you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen! That is exactly how I would put it to someone considering an SEO position. This is a sum of how it goes in the SEO world. As an SEO you always need to be on the up and up with your skills and knowledge, Google has roughly changed the algorithm at least between 50-80 times a month last year. There were also 10 major updates; including the major change of Googles new search tactics with the launch of Hummingbird. You are expected to learn and comprehend what’s happening to search, but also have an understanding of the website itself.

For example, the new algorithm goes as so:
  • The traditional three of SEO (content, links, meta tags).
  • How pages are laid out
  • How advertising is being used
  • How quickly the sites load
  • If you have implemented the code correctly (mostly for mobile)
  • Whether or not you moderate your comments
  • If the content you produce is thin or thick
  • How the site is hosted
  • How sites are severed
  • How quickly you get to the first pixel

And just when you start to learn of those changes, guess what! They change again, shift or sometimes in cases even go away completely.

Now if that wasn’t too much for you I would like to also add that SEO’s have to keep up with and understand all social media changes such as, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Blogging, whatever Google views as a natural link and more.

A good SEO will not come cheap due to the knowledge they have regarding the nature of the site and search. Onsite and off, along with all of the changes in search itself. This makes your SEO an investment instead of a liability and will also bring more in than you necessarily have to put out. Many label SEO as voodoo magic which leads clients to believe that it is not necessary or that the value is unrealistic, when indeed the outcome without it proves to be otherwise. Causing more damage in the long run.

  • Google doesn’t hate SEO

There is a lot of misinforming information as to the way Google feels with SEOs. Referring to bad content that is not helpful to the users. Well this is not so at least for the good SEOs. SEOs that are good at what they do actually produce better websites and build them up instead of down. With a better website you get better experiences from the users when they search through Google which in return makes for a better product for Google. Basically good SEOs make Google look better.

At the end of the Day Google does not hate SEOs at all, good SEOs make it better and is worth it all in the end.

  • AdWords don’t help Organic Search

Google Ad Words is a form of SEO, which technically is considered SEM (search engine marketing); definition being that Googles performance is optimized by your bids placed for certain Google keywords where, in fact Google makes most of its revenue. 

Although you may have PPC (pay per click) campaign in Google, it is not at all in common with SEO organic search (non- paid search) so buying the ads has no effect on one another, they are completely separate entities in their selves.

  • SEO is like 7-11

Much like the well know ‘7-11’ stores locate all over, just as they are open 24/7, so is SEO. With hiring a SEO you are not only hiring a person, but all the knowledge that is contained within this individual.

Many people can deceive you into thinking that have knowledge, when in fact all they are after is a quick clickbait with little true meaning or value as to what they are writing about. These articles can be very harmful to site owners, and much of their existence does rely on SEOs action with (posts, comments, etc.).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Impact of Content Marketing & SEO on Your Business

By now, you have probably heard the terms 'content marketing' and 'SEO' several times when discussing your online marketing presence. Content marketing, building links, increasing your company's search engine results presence with the help of some white-hat SEO--these are a few of the things that you can implement to help get your business in eyes of consumers without paying for Google ads.

Content marketing is more than just sharing a blog post you wrote and hoping someone links back to it. It is building your brand up as a resource for consumers, and becoming a site and source that people can trust when searching for information and for a company to work with. Here are some things to examine in regards to your current online marketing strategy:
  • Where are you right now, career- or business-wise?
  • Where do you want to be in the future?
  • Why do you do what you’re currently doing? Are there things you’re doing that are wasting time? Might adopting other practices carry you forward faster?
  • How do you know you’re making progress? Are there objective measures?
Some of the key principles you should take in consideration with your online marketing revolve around quality (no one wants to click to your page and see garbage or poorly executed content), trust (don't always push the sale, push your expertise), and intelligence (focus on communicating ideas and beliefs rather than shooting for a word count or dying to go viral). Even within the vast pages of the internet, your character shows.

What character are you showing to your potential consumers?

Inspiration can hit you at any time. When you have a great idea and you need help creating content to support your vision, contact us over at Tandem to help bring your great idea to the web.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Local Directories Are Getting Better Visibility In Google Search Results!

According to a recent article I found on Twitter, Google's recent Pigeon update is boosting local directories as well as fixing that dreaded "Yelp Problem" that some of us all know a little too well.  The Pigeon update's main purpose is to deliver improved local search results, with enhanced distance and location ranking parameters.  According to Google, the new local search algorithm ties deeper into the site’s web search capabilities, leveraging hundreds of ranking signals, along with search features like spelling correction capabilities, synonyms and Google’s knowledge graph.  Are your local directories up to date? If not, contact us at Tandem-Interactive so we can help increase your visibility in local search!

Lauren DeMarco
Member of the Tandem Team since 2012 :)

Use Schema Markups to Make Your Search Results Shine!

Google Knowledge Graph is always developing new opportunities to enhance your listing on the search results page. Help create engaging content that will make your page stand out in search results! Here are some best practices for making a ‘stand out’ search results with a small time investment.

Location, Location, Location! Your business is one of HUNDREDS of listing trying to be discovered. Focus on helping searchers find what they are looking for at your business. Stand out by providing as much information as possible for your business listing. Also, make sure that your business location is precise on the map. Having your building show up somewhere that you are not located could cause some devastating results for potential customers.

Google My Business has now integrated multiple Google Search channels to allow one listing to show in search results, on maps, and in Google Plus. End result, customers are able to find your business no matter what device they decide to use! Most users have become familiar with Google Maps, but the addition of Knowledge Graph goes beyond maps and includes store-specific reviews as well as social media channels for the business.

If your business travels (in example, a band, comedian, show, etc.), use the events, places, and dates options to provide the latest details and current info about your company and/or brand. If you search for a band in Google, you will see their playlist, band members, upcoming events and ticketing info that is relevant to your location.

By creating these enhanced listings (such as Events) you can highlight temporal happenings and locations that are relevant to the search query being performed. We see these schema markups primarily with concerts, conferences, festivals; these additions are ways of producing geo-spatial results in your search engine responses. Ticketing info can be added to web-based content markups by using the “offers” option.

You don’t have to be a famous icon to get top billing in search results for your event. Schema markup for Events and Locations also help answer any questions about what to do this weekend or next weekend. Looking for “things to do in Fort Lauderdale, FL” this weekend? Go no further than Google Carousel.

These enhanced listings options bind a point of interest for a specific location with a schematically optimized image to achieve getting your content placed at the top of organic results. If you take the time to incorporate schema markup into your event information at a local point of interest this may help influence the left-to-right order in the local carousel. Any events that are held in this geographic location are located in this Carousel, as well as staple POI’s for that city.

Regardless of your industry, if you put structured markup on your Web content, you can give off a very rich visual display in line with regular search results. This is a perfect opportunity to optimize your business to consume better and/or more real estate in the search results.

Another opportunity is to answer a question people could be searching for. Google Answers surpassed Wikipedia by including high-quality content that addresses specific questions and even includes step-by-step instructions. For example, if you are curious “how to make a key lime pie?” ask Google. The search results provide you with complete directions for baking a key lime pie.

By using the creative schema markup for Recipes, a small site can supersede the giants in the industry for top search results. Keep in mind that the surge in search referrals may be temporary. Google collects Feedback to determine which user interface features to keep in search results.

Using structured markups on your Web content can help it rise to the top of the SERP’s in many different ways. is a website dedicated to providing schema’s webmasters can use. You can also refer to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. There are also schema plug-ins available if your site is on WordPress.

Google is growing which means change. Search Engine’s number one goal is to provide the most valuable and relevant content to the search user based on the search query. We recommend that you add structured markup to important content today in order to leverage new UI displays in all major engines tomorrow. Tandem Interactive encourages questions to clarify any of our suggestions and, as always, we can help implement as much as possible if you need our help! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Google's Pigeon Update - What You Need to Know

The recent update that is unofficially labeled the “Pigeon” by Google has been impacting the local search listings that are associated with the Google Maps.

Here are some of the ‘Early Results’ that Google has seen due to the recent update:
 For all of the companies that are majorly associated with directories and review sites, (such as Hotels & Restaurants) those individual businesses are now showing up in the Google Carousel, but we still have organic listings on the search engine results pages and those are filled with directories, (such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, etc).   

So what can you do to stay relevant in the local listings?

1.      Regularly check on your industry/business related local search terms. Make sure that they have not changed, and if so, then you (and Tandem) need to tweak your strategy. 

2.      If you notice that any of your keywords are resulting in “local” search results, then it is suggested you get optimized for local search. This will help you target consumers near your business.

3.      If you notice that you are no longer finding your keywords in the local search, then focus more on Organic SEO to make certain that they are appearing in the organic results.

4.      If your search engine results pages are full of industry directories and review sites then make sure your business is showing up in those directory results, which entails you to fill out the forms completely with all the proper information so you can make sure you receive positive reviews. 

5.      If you notice that your rankings in local search are dropping -possibly the result of an update- then your resolution would be to create stronger Organic SEO signals. For example - enhancing your on-page optimization, beefing up backlinks, etc. – this is so it’s coinciding with your local optimization.

In Conclusion

This update may result as a success to some, but not others, regardless of the outcome the fact of the matter is that apparently the Pigeon update is making Organic SEO a more influential component of local search.

Tandem seeks to help you have the best presence possible within the Google SERPs. If you need help with any of these pointers, contact your Tandem team today!