Sponsored and Organic Listings on Google

What is the difference between organic listings and sponsored listings on Google?

When a person conducts a search on Google, the searcher is presented with two types of queried results: organic listings and sponsored listings, also known as adwords.  It is important to understand these differences as a consumer and as a business owner. These listings are divided in two parts on the search engine results page (SERP). One section is paid for by the promoted listing and the other is naturally selected by Google.

What Does Organic Mean?

Organic search results are the outcome of search engine optimization (SEO) and are sometimes known as “natural” search results.  It is based on a few factors surrounding your business. How relevant is the search query in relation to your site and/or business, and how many people actually use your site when searching for those keywords related (popularity)? With the right tools and proper structure, the more effective you are with relevancy and popularity, the better your opportunity to be seen on the search engine results page (SERP).

What is a Sponsored Listing?

Sponsored listings (adwords) are very unlike their counterpart. They are advertisements for which businesses pay.  You (as the advertiser) decide when and where you want your website to show up. With sponsored search results, the business has paid to have their website show up at the top of the search result page in the paid listings section when someone query’s a search for specific keywords.  These businesses often choose search words that pertain to their business’s product or service.

Why Does it Matter?

Knowing the difference between organic listings and sponsored listings is very beneficial when conducting searches online because it allows the consumer looking for information to understand the degree to which a search result pertains to the searched phrase.  When making a search, you can differentiate paid/sponsored listings from organic listings because search engines will separate paid listings by placing them above or below organic search results.  Additionally, search engines may highlight sponsored listings in a visual way, such as giving them a border or shaded background or a tiny box with the word AD.

Approximately 70% of people conducting searches disregard or skim over the sponsored listings, going directly to the number one organic listing.  Most people making a search will naturally select the first organic listing if it matches their search phrase, which demonstrates how beneficial it is to be in a high position in the organic listings.  However, being number one in the organic listings takes time, dedication, and effort and often requires the knowledge of an SEO specialist.  Based on searchers’ habits and the statistic above, business owners may automatically conclude that it is more beneficial to work towards a high position in the organic listings rather than spend the money for sponsored listings; however, this is not always the case.  It depends what type of business you own as to whether paid listings or organic listings would be more profitable for your business.  For example, product or brand specific companies which sell to a larger population outside of their geographic area can often largely benefit from paid listings. These types of businesses may even find that paid listings are more profitable than organic listings.  On the other hand, if your business is local in nature and focuses on one specific geographic area, then improving the position of your organic listing may maximize your business’s profit.  An excellent strategy to adopt may be to utilize both while you are working towards your higher position organically, your paid listings remain at the top to stay highly visible and attract new customers.

Use Both Strategically

Understanding how your customer shops and devising a plan for local or a wider reach of traffic will help you decide which is right for you. Regardless of which type of listing you choose, both organic and sponsored listings can be extremely beneficial to your business’s success when managed correctly. Imagine utilizing both result queries to double your exposure, take up more valuable real estate on the first page of the search engine and ultimately get more business. Google is essentially the former yellow pages directory, just a little more complicated than placing an ad once a year and letting it run its course. Partner with someone who understands how this works and will work to make it benefit your business.

Hashtags for Marketing

Hashtags and How to Use Them

Hashtags are very commonly used across social media platforms, however, hashtags may seem confusing to people who aren’t familiar with them and don’t spend as much time on social media as their younger, more social media-savvy counterparts. Hashtags allow you to search for a certain topic on social media platforms that support hashtags. The use of hashtags started with Twitter and is now also supported by the following social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

On these social media platforms, a person can either create their own hashtag or use a previouslycreated hashtag to add to the hashtag’s conversation. Anyone can add a hashtag to their message on one of the aforementioned social media platforms and then when someone goes to search for comments or information regarding the hashtag, the person’s message will come up and appear as part of the search results. Anyone on social media can create and start their own hashtag, but here are some simple guidelines to keep in mind when creating a hashtag.

First off, hashtags cannot include any spaces or punctuation, but they can include numbers. Also, capital letters can be used to separate words, but the use of capital letters will NOT alter search results. For example, searching for #TampaElectricians will yield the same search results as searching for #tampaelectricans. Furthermore, on Twitter, using a hashtag will not tweet someone directly. The @ symbol has a completely different function than the # symbol. By using the @ symbol followed by a person’s twitter handle, you can send a tweet to that person while also allowing your followers to view it.

There can be various uses for hashtags as well. One important fact about hashtags is that a person can click on a hashtag in any posted comment or message that uses a hashtag and the person will be led to a page of all of the other tweets or posts that use the same hashtag. This feature is especially useful when searching for information concerning a certain topic or event. People can use hashtags to stay up to date with information on media or news topics such as the Boston Marathon bombings – a terrible bombing attack and developing story which occurred in 2013. By using hashtags to follow relevant, current events, it is extremely easy for people to stay informed and know exactly what is happening anywhere, with the click of a button. Other times, hashtags are very broad and simply convey a general feeling, idea or common occurrence, such as #worstdayever or #TGIF. Conversely, hashtags are

sometimes so specific and unique that there are no search results attached to them, but these odd hashtags are used to make a point or add comedic value to a Tweet or post. An example of such a Tweet is “My dog just stole my sandwich #Brunothesubbandit” or “Just dropped my second ice cream cone of the day #icecreamconefail.” Moreover, people can also use hashtags to benefit their business.

Since hashtags can create a discussion around a certain topic and draw attention to that topic, they are perfect to use in order to spread the word about your business or service. For example, Toyota created an advertising campaign which features a Prius being chased by police cars and started the hashtag #GoPriusGo. The #GoPriusGo hashtag allows people to use Twitter to comment on the commercial and acts as a platform for people to talk about the Toyota Prius, which creates interest and business for the Toyota company and their Prius model.

The use of hashtags is a fun way to enhance the social media experience. This savvy use of hashtags can be very effective in drawing interest and visibility to your topic, idea or product. Small and large companies alike would be smart to utilize hashtags as a legitimate and effective advertising tool. #GetSome

What Is Social Bookmarking?

What is Social Bookmarking and How will it Help Your Website?

Social Bookmarking is a marketing tool used to store, organize, and manage all your bookmarked webpages. Favoriting and saving links to web pages they like or wish to share, will usually do so by bookmarking sites to store these specific links. Of course, these bookmarks are public and can be viewed by other members of your site. Most bookmarking sites have users apply tags or keywords that lead other users to the content on the web site. So choosing a specific tag allows users to find and view that specific content on the website, thanks to bookmarking. In some cases, users can also comment and vote on said bookmarking content.

Now bookmarking has many ways it can help promote your website to a user base. For example, websites like Digg.com along side Del.icio.us help your social bookmarking be exposed to important viral traffic. People will reach your site much quicker through this form of social bookmarking and those people who reached your content was more than likely referred by someone else whose content was also bookmarked. However, be warned, some of these social bookmarking sites will mark links out to other sites and clarify them in the category of do not follow. This then does the opposite and ruins your chance of growth with your social bookmarking. Search engines are equipped with listing any results from bookmarking sites. You will fall under the bookmarking listing and in turn have an extra opportunity for more traffic to your website.

Yet another pro is that people can often tag your site through social bookmarking sites. People who tend to bookmark have the same tendency to bookmark more than one site. Consider yourself incredibly lucky if you find yourself on multiple lists. Add social bookmarking buttons to your website because this will increase links to your blog or website which then makes it easier for readers to click and save your content.

There are digital saturation problems where people may be sharing similar content to what you are sharing. This means you have to creatively attract those to your links by setting yourself apart from others. Only bookmark sites that you know give positive ratings. In addition, make sure your tags and keywords lead correctly to your links. The last thing you want to do is create a topic with a link that does not relate to that said topic. Be creative and smart with what you share and social bookmarking can be a great added benefit to your online strategy and SEO!

 

Manage Your Online Reviews

Proactively Manage Online Customer Reviews

Managing your company’s online customer reviews is a vital part of its overall success. Before the age of the world-wide-web, management of a company’s reputation commonly relied more on PR campaigns, news reports, word-of-mouth and highly regarded critics. Today, consumers take their voice online! Competition for customers has increased, as technology has expanded. For example, did you know that search engine analytics change more than 400 times per year on Google alone? These changes can affect the way you manage your reputation and online customer reviews.

Most review sites allow for businesses to respond and engage with their customer reviews. Whether your review is positive or negative you should always thank your reviewer. They have either uncovered an area that needs improvement or shared a thought or perspective that others may have had as well- but did not voice. Having a good mix of mediocre, bad and positive reviews about your business shows potential customers a very real side to your business. No one is perfect, and not every customer will be 100% satisfied. When consumers see only positive reviews it feels invalid or fake, as though you bribed customers or had family members write only good things, and leaves you wondering what they might be hiding.

Responding to reviews shows that you value their business and you are on top of what is being said about your company. Keep in mind that these reviews, and your response, are public. If there are matters you should deal with regarding a negative review, it is best to take it off-line. Write a simple thank you and request a phone call or meeting in person to make things right, the last thing you want is to come across argumentative.

Staying Proactive

By taking a hands-on approach and remaining involved with online customer reviews, you can accelerate the success of your business. Moreover, you can increase customer satisfaction. This can help you to deliver better products and services overall. After you have launched a plan to manage your online customer reviews, you will have a measurable way to upsurge a positive online presence. By elevating your websites’ online presence, you are making your company more visible to potential customers. Correspondingly, your website traffic and sales may significantly soar upward. Staying abreast of your online reviews, can help create a better user experience. Moreover, the success of your business can be greatly impacted by amplifying positive online responses written by your customers. 

Being involved in the online conversation about your business speaks volumes regarding how much you value your customers. When customers feel valued they tend to spend more money, repeat business, and tell others about you too. Reputation management is a value-added component Dot Kom Consulting offers to our customers. It is one of many very important ingredients to search engine optimization, and one less thing our clients have to manage. Call today for a free consultation and find out what we can do for you.

Use Instagram to Socially Optimize Your Business

Instagram is quickly becoming the best place to be if you are a small business. It has somewhere around 300 million users a month so its definitely one you should be using! One of the things you have to know about Instagram is that unlike those other sites like Facebook which has a lot of bells and whistles, is that Instagram is pretty streamlined. It doesn’t have a lot of the same features of Facebook, but its designed to be all about visual aspects ie; photos and videos. If you don’t have an account with them, but you would like to set one up, continue reading below for directions, as well as how to use it to benefit your business. It’s a great social marketing tool to promote your business online.

Downloading The Instagram App

Instagram is app based. Because of this you will have to use this from your Smartphone; Windows, Apple or Android.

Create An Account

The next thing you need to do is create an account using your business email. It WILL give you the option to sign up using your Facebook, but you are a business, and this is your business Instagram account, so don’t do that! Instead, use your default business email address. You will want to brand yourself and the account. Use your business logo, something you are known for such as a specific product picture, your business picture, etc. For the username, pick something that is relevant to you ie; your name or your business name. This makes it easier for people to find you on Instagram.

More About Pictures

The picture you want to use can be picked by clicking the +photo button on the top of the page. This is the place you will choose your icon, which is a thumbnail. It should be clear enough to make out what it is, and again relevant.

Profile Information

Once you choose your photo, one that you hopefully really like, and you click okay, you will then be asked to fill out some very basic profile information such as your name and phone number. If you have a business name, include it in the name section, however, if you ARE the face of your business, use that in the name section. Instagram will also give you extra options like the rest of your profile page telling you to enter in a business URL. Make sure you do this! You can also add some of your other information like location, other social networks connecting it to Facebook and Twitter. In fact, the app has a social sharing option as well. Use it to your advantage. You should see a gear icon, once you tap it, you should see the ability to link accounts.

How To Get More Followers

There are three great ways to get followers. First, make sure that you link your social accounts! This will also allow you to “find friends.” Second, make sure that when you follow someone you like their posts. This encourages sharing, and when someone follows you, it is social courtesy to “follow them” back. Do this for them and others will do it for you also. Lastly, make sure, like with any social site, you use relevant hashtags! Hashtags allow users to search, and when they do, if your image is tagged, it will populate in the search query so that people who do not currently follow you, can- and “like” your photo. Interact with other user’s posts. They will receive a notification of your comment and check you out, if they like your content they will follow you. And finally, use other social channels like Facebook and Twitter to give a shout out and ask for followers.

Engage your followers with creative photos or updates on your business. Have you completed a new project? Or received a new shipment? There are lots of ways to keep your followers updated on your business. Keep it relevant and make sure that you use a call to action – even with in the location field. It offers highly visible space to add a URL or CTA. It is an excellent source of social media optimization that will help your search engine rankings.

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Let us know your thoughts on Instagram. What do you do to engage followers? What types of posts are most successful for you?

 

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