Drive greater social media traffic by playing the right Twitter Cards!

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The ever prominent presence of social media in online marketing presents a unique opportunity to open up new streams of internet traffic to ensure continued success. This reduces a reliance on Google-specific organic traffic, producing a more reliable and diverse online marketing plan. 

Companies are continually trying to make the most of all the social media platforms available to them and you do not have to look far to see that those who do it well reaps the rewards. Therefore any marketing tools that can be used on social media are widely sought after and anyone serious about their social media platforms will be sure to take advantage of these. There are a large number of such tools available at the moment, including paid for services like Facebook's promoted posts and Twitter's promoted tweets, as well as paid for ads available on both sites. 

However, there is one tool that is free and easy to use and helps drive social traffic to something greater. Twitter's "Twitter Cards" allow users to expand their tweets by adding extra features such as larger images, videos and product showcases. There are a number of different Twitter cards than can be used and they are suitable for a wide range of situations, these include promoting new products, showcasing a newly developed app or sharing a video or image. 

 

The different types

The wide variety of Twitter Cards available help to cater the kind of card used so the best consumption experience can be offered to the audience, a brief summary of each type and what they are most effectively used for will be given below.

Summary Card and Summary Card with Large Image

The summary card is the default card and includes a title and description with a thumbnail and Twitter account attribution. The summary card with a large image is similar to the standard summary card but features a prominent, large image (shown below).

 

Photo Card and Gallery Card

The photo card simply features a large photo next to the selected tweet; users can then click on this image to view a larger, higher quality version of the image. The gallery card highlights a collection of up to four photos instead of just one; again each photo in the gallery can be clicked to view a larger, richer version. 

Player Card

The player card is used to provide video or audio based media, similar to the image based cards. The video or audio based media can be played within the tweet but there is also a link provided to the original location of the content.

Product Card and App Card

The product card is the card of choice when looking to promote a product. The card is optimized for product information and displays the products' main details, as well as an image of the product and a link to where the product can be viewed (see example of a product card above). Similarly the app card is excellent at promoting new app downloads, displaying all of the relevant information of the app, as well as a description of what the app does and a link where the app can be downloaded. 

Lead Generation Card

Lead Generation cards (shown below) help to drive lead generation for your product or service by making it easy for people to express interest in any offers your business has available. Through a link provided on the card, users can sign up for offers, subscribe to emails and many other related activities. This makes it easy for users to express their interest in a product or service, increasing the potential outreach of businesses' offers.

 

Website Card

You can feature your website in a post using a website card in order to help drive click through traffic. The card displays an engaging image along with additional information about the website in order to try and drive even more traffic from Twitter to the linked website. By using the website card users will see more content about the site as well as a headline, instead of just the hyperlink that would be present in a regular tweet.

 

But surely they are hard to set up?

Actually no, the majority of the available cards can be produced by simply adding a couple of meta tags to your website, this allows your content to be linked and featured in the cards. After adding the meta tags you need to enter the URLs of the tweet you want the cards to appear on into a validator tool to be approved and once they have been approved the card will appear below your tweet. 

The more interactive cards require a bit more set up; this includes the website and lead generation cards. To set up these cards a Twitter Ads account is needed and from here these cards can easily be created. If it's all a bit confusing don't worry! Twitter's guide to Twitter Cards will give you a more detailed explanation of how to set up each card.

Once the cards have been set up you can actually review their performance using Twitter Card analytics, allowing you to see how you can improve key metrics such as app downloads, URL clicks and Retweets. The analytics also provides other useful information such as the number of impressions your cards have made and how many URL clicks, app install attempts etc. this lead to. 

 

Ultimately, Twitter Cards are an extremely useful marketing tool that can help drive your social media traffic, by making your posts stand out in a wall of text. The different types of cards available allow twitter cards to be catered to have different desired effects and are suitable for a wide range of situations. They can are powerful marketing tool that can drive engagement and action amongst users, while also being easy to set up and follow their progress. Hence, twitter cards are a tool that every company that has a twitter presence should use to further improvement their presence on social media websites.

If you are looking to more effectively use social networks sites such as Facebook or Twitter as a marketing platform, or just want to find out more about improving your online presence as a whole get in touch with Frank at +44 20 7097 8906. Frank is the founder of Orchid Box, a boutique marketing agency based in London.

 

 

Local businesses take off with Google's new Pigeon update.

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When Googles' new Pigeon update was released on the 24th July it was met by mixed reactions with some experts saying that the results would be beneficial to them and others stating that they would not. Not much is known of the actual changes that this update will bring as the details are being kept largely secret but the fact that Google has mentioned it means that it is a significant update.

With the update Google has moved to improve the distance and location ranking parameters and delve deeper into web search capabilities through the use of search features like Knowledge Graphs, a massive collection of real life topics and their connections, spelling correction and more.

A greater emphasis has been placed on the searcher's location in search engine results pages and this is one of many developments that this update has brought about. This improved focus will lead to more organic local results being shown, resulting in more useful, relevant and accurate local search results being provided. An example below shows how the results of a search for "ice cream" have developed with the introduced of the Pigeon update.

Before the update was introduced the search gave some general results which were not necessarily local or relevant for the searcher as they were not in close proximity to the searchers current location. The search results given before the update are shown below.

After the update was implemented much more localised results are given, highlighting how the distance and location parameters have been improved and how Google have switched their focus to providing more relevant, local search results.

However, it has also been noted that local directory sites have been getting increased visibility and on occasion have been appearing above individual locations such as restaurants and hotels. A search for "London Hotels" brings back a list containing solely directory style pages in the organic results (shown below), with individual hotels not appearing until the second page of search results. These include URL's from Expedia, londontown, travelsupermarket, hoteldirect and lastminute.com. 

Additionally, the update is known to have also fixed a problem with yelp results appearing below results for Google+ and other pages, even if the user specifically included "yelp" in their search query. The results will now show yelp results above all other results, when "yelp" has been included in the search query, including the websites and pages of the restaurant or establishment itself (when "Da Vinci's Restaurant yelp" is searched, for example).

Thus, it isn't clear whether the new update will increase or decrease web site referrals for businesses in general. What is clear is that Google has taken a big step towards providing more relevant, local search results and has also boosted the visibility of local directory in search results as a result of this update. 

 

Finally, Google has altered the way we carry out search, changing the way we see local results and how we use directory based sites to find the information we require. As a result of this some small businesses will benefit significantly from now being placed on localised results due to becoming more prevalent in the carousel and in Google and Google Maps search results, due to them being based in close proximity to the searcher's location. Other, larger business may get pushed out of search results due to the increased visibility of directory based sites, affecting their performance as a result of the new Pigeon update.

To find about more about search and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for you and your business give Frank a call on +44 20 7097 8906. Frank is the founder of Orchid Box, an online marketing company based in London.


 

First authorship is scrapped, now video snippets are snipped as Google moves to favour its own media properties.

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It seems that Google can't be pleased when it comes to the presentation of their search results. Reports have indicated that there has been a huge 44% reduction in the number of video snippets present in search results. A report by SEER interactive which shows the number of video snippets for a "iPhone 5 review video" search had fallen from 10 videos across 10 domains to  5 videos across 3 domains over the course of just 5 five days. 
 
A number of large sites such as Amazon, Zappos, New York Times and Boston.com have been the worst affected by a 28% drop in video thumbnails, according to Mozcast (shown below).
 
 
Some sites however have not been affected by this change and these include the Google-owned Youtube, which have the monopoly of video snippets in search results at 74.8% (shown below), as well as Vimeo and Vevo.com. 
 
 
This development comes less than a month after Google announced it would removing the profile photo and circle count from authored results in the Google search.
 
Talking about youtube have you seen this? You can watch Youtube videos within Google result pages.
 
 
So, it seems that Google is finding excuses to favour its own property, using visual improvements to search results. 
 
Could this this mean that video thumbnails will be completely removed from search at some point in the future? 
 
A Google spokesman stated that "We'll continue to show video snippets where it's relevant" and separately Google's John Wueller wrote "We're still showing video snippets, seeing changes from time to time is normal" on his Google+ page .
It is clear that, like Google authorship, video thumbnails are just being revised instead of removed completely; this shows that Google is constantly testing and getting user feedback.
 
 
What shall I do now?
 
Well, as Youtube will be The Video Channel of choice, we suggest starting a YouTube marketing campaign for your website. Competition isn’t as bad as traditional search (Adwords) and £500 could buy you 20,000 views or more.
 
This will increase your visibility online through an additional channel. Moving your reliance on Google to a more multi-channel marketing approach will make your business less dependent on Google’s random update that leaves your business vulnerable and could even destroy its presence in days.
 
If you want any advice on Video Marketing on Youtube, get in touch with Frank@orchidbox.com  from OrchidBox.com a boutique software agency based in London.
 
Orchidbox, always thinking, always helpful….

 

Size Matters. The route to better content strategy through adaptation for all device screen sizes.

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Whether we like it or not, it is human nature to judge a book by its cover and when it comes to viewing content the presentation and suitability is vital in determining its success. 

The constant changing nature of content consumption presents a challenge to content producers: ensuring their content is suitable for all devices (smartphones, laptops/PCs and tablets). Facebook released gargantuan ad figures of $2.5 billion for the Jan-March quarter earlier this year and the majority of this figure was made up of mobile-based advertising, the first time mobile devices have outperformed PC's. It is clear then that a more complex content strategy is needed to take better advantage of the multitude of platforms used by content consumers today.

Multi-screen usage

It can be seen that the key to creating the best content to be used on a range of devices is to understand their behaviour and usage patterns. From this a greater knowledge of why, when and how devices are used can allow improved content to be created. 

To gain the desired deep understanding we would need to identify; the most prominent type of content viewed on each device, when each device was used and how long we spend on each device during an interaction.  

 

The person behind the screen

So far I have stressed that the key to exceptional multi-platform content is to focus on a devices usage patterns, although this is important there should also be a focus on the user who is trying to access your content on their device. By understanding the needs of the user you can create content that is better aimed at the necessary audiences.

Through the segmentation of your audience you can separate each "segment" of your audience, giving them a clearly defined set of needs and traits. For example, one segment of your audience might be men over 30 who like to catch up with news on their smartphones during their commute to work. 

By defining each segment of your audience a better idea will be gained of how you can produce content that either a certain section of your audience or the entirety of it will find interesting and useful, ensuring that throughout content creation a key focus is being placed on your audience.

Usage-Why, when and how

Understanding what your audience use each device for and their behaviours when using them allows content to be aimed at consumption for specific platforms. Thus ensuring it remains relevant and suitable for the platform it is being aimed at. Recently carried out research has enabled us to gain a better idea of when devices are used and what they are used for (table shown below).

 

A number of conclusions can be drawn from this research that helps us identify how to aim content at each device in the most suitable manner.

Tablets are typically used at the start and end of the day, as well as the weekends, and are used to keep us entertained and help us to relax. As a result of this, tablets are increasingly being used to carry out research, as well as online shopping, with their medium interaction time (from the graph shown below). 

Tablets are becoming the number one device for sellers in term of conversion, making them a critical platform for online sellers. Furthermore, users are leaving more reviews on tablets than other devices so ensuring the review and comment system is fluid and responsive is similarly vital.

Smartphones are clearly the most mobile of devices and so are suitably used during the peak commuting hours, as a result of this they are used mainly for small chunk browsing for quick updates and news stories. A recent study by Google has identified how much time we spend on average when we use our smartphone, tablet or PC, the results from this study are shown below. 

 

Smartphones have the shortest average interaction time, meaning that users will want to find their desired content quickly. Accessibility and touch screen navigation support is therefore vitally important for mobile devices as users will be moving around multiple blog posts and the ever popular social media, allowing greater content consumption.

Small, easy to understand list and image heavy posts are the most suited for smartphones and it is critical to ensure the responsiveness of content is high.

Desktop Computers are the easiest platform to produce content for as it is the device that has been used for the longest and it has allowed us to gain experience with producing content for this platform. 

Longer, more in-depth articles come into their own on desktop computers as we spend more time during interactions with a desktop computer, however all content forms work well on this platform. A more interactive experience should be offered on desktops to take advantage of their superior browser capabilities over the other devices and to harness the full potential of a larger screen experience.

For all devices it is imperative that your content is easily accessible to your desired audience. A consistent content experience and a clear, easy to use menu structure will make it easy for users to come back to content they have already viewed and continue searches when switching devices. 

Content Design

This may all seem very daunting; having to ensure content always stays focused on the audience whilst also factoring in the differing behaviours and natures of each device. The way to consistently accomplish these two important areas is to have a structural plan which is checked as content is produced. 

The main areas to cover in such a structural plan include the following:

  • Ensuring you meet the needs of all segments of your audience
  • The continued creation of content that is suitable for each device; smartphone, tablet and PC
  • The use of different content types that are relevant to your auidence (articles, blog posts, info graphics etc.)
  • The use of features like images, lists and graphs to keep content interesting and unique for every device platform

This will help you to produce continually relevant and suitable content for all platforms and not be left behind by the ever changing dynamic that is content consumption.

By creating content that is suitable for any device you can achieve the best content strategy possible, taking advantage of the wide audience that exists when combining that of each device platform.

At Orchid Box we are experts on search and content, to find out how to improve your content's visibility in search results call Frank on +44 20 7097 8906.


 

Remember the little photos next to some Google search results??

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Well they're gone...!!

3 years after it was released, Google are removing the little images that appear next to authored content that was originally so popular. initially, Google authorship was widely acclaimed as it allowed content producers to improve the visibility of their content in search results and  it was simple to get authored content. Lately, Google has cut back on the amount of authorship content shown, improving the overall quality of the author snippets and thus making authorship a greater sign of quality.

With the proposed changes, the by-line of the authored content will remain, but author photos and the circle count (number of times that article had been shared amongst Google+ users) will be removed completely from the search result.

The old authorship design (shown below) was more distinguishable in search results due to the presence of the author photo next to the search result.

 

The new design (shown below) removes the photo completely so that only a by-line with the author's name is visible, thus making the search result harder to stand out among all search results.

 

Why were author photos  removed?  

Perhaps loading search results on mobile devices would be faster and free up space on the small screens of mobile devices ?  Google found that the number of times the simpler authorship results were clicked was similar to the previous design; making the photos  somewhat obsolete.

Although we can no longer use author photos as a tool to improve the visibility of content, Google authorship still matters. Authorship indicates to the searcher a sign of quality that isn't present in non-authored results. Even though the authored results will be less visible amongst search results, the fact that Google has simplified the presentation of authorship results instead of getting rid of them entirely shows that they are still committed to using author authority as a search factor.

So, authorship is something we can still use to improve the visibility and image of content in Google search results.

If you’d like to know more about the subtleties of search and content, and how this affects your brand profile, please call frank for an initial consultation: +44 20 7097 8906

Check out our Google Plus page: https://plus.google.com/+Orchidbox/

 

 


 

Orchid Box a truly international SEO company

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This week in February 2014, we have expanded our European team with the addition of Marion, Anita, Ayoub and Amanda. Orchid Box is now a truly multinational company with over 7 major European languages spoken in the London office.

International SEO is fast becoming our main strength and by using talented multilingual copywriters and our bespoke outreach technology, we are one of the few UK agencies  able to deliver 500 articles a month in over 15 languages across the world. Our culture of constant learning / self-improvement is an integral part of what we do here at Orchid Box and it has  beenproven to work exceptionally well in the last year. Our continual staff feedback on our home-grown technology is an essential part of our workflow to optimise their daily tasks and the quality of work that gets delivered.

We have asked Marion, Anita, Ayoub and Amanda to write a quick bio about themselves and why they have decided to join our growing European team. 

Anita Worbe

 I come from Lyon, home of all the great French food!  I really love my  city because, unlike Paris, you seldom feel stressed. You have your  active working schedule, but on the other hand, you have all the  benefits of living in a large and vibrant city, perfect for students!

 This isn't my first time in London or the UK,  I spent the last six months  further developing my skills at Coventry University as part of my Bachelor of Management studies.

In my spare time, I love meeting up with friends, travelling and submersing myself in new environments. I am a bit of a Social Media fanatic and Orchid Box’s high involvement in the ever-changing world of SEO allows me to discover more about technology and marketing. 

Marion Malherbe-Manchia

 I was born in Paris but I live Sanary sur Mer, a little city close to the  sea. It is small but very nice and it’s always sunny. I have completed  my Bachelor degree in Commerce and Management in Kedge  Business School situated in Marseille, in the South of France.

 I am very social; I enjoy meeting my friends, going to cinema,  travelling. I find London less stressful than other large cities  because you have all the benefits of a large international city   with   amazing opportunities to work.

I am currently working for the Orchid Box international outreach team and I look after content production and webmaster liaison. I am planning to expand my role in the next few months learning more about the technical side of Search Engine Optimization. Orchid Box is expanding and ever evolving and I am excited to be part of it. 

Ayoub Amanchar

 I was born in the city with the largest bike routes in the world;  Amsterdam and I have roots all the way from Morocco; the country  with the famous Tajine! During the summer I try to spend a part of  my holiday in Morocco. In Amsterdam I studied Marketing and  Economics and I am actively pursuing a minor degree in online  marketing.

I am very social, love to travel, play sport and meet new people. I find London a great place where you can develop your skills and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city at the same time. It has a lot of different restaurants, where you can enjoy various kinds of food from all over the world. I also enjoy exploring the magnificent buildings across the city.

I work for the outreach team hunting down websites who are highly relevant for our customers through SEO practices. I will be working to develop my skills to a higher level and trying to find out more about website development as well as the technical side of SEO.

Orchid Box is expanding and I’m glad to be part of it.I am excited to gain new skills that will develop my portfolio further.

Amanda

 I am a California native from Los Angeles. I am a fourth year student  at California State University, Long Beach. Long Beach is located  west of LA along the California coast. The city is best known for its  diversity, beaches, and great weather. I am working towards    earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Business with an emphasis in  Marketing. I am currently studying at the University of London for the  2014 Spring semester as part of a study abroad program. Some of my interests include baking, hiking, coffee, going to the beach, trying new restaurants, and traveling. This is my first trip outside of the U.S., which is quite exciting for me. During my stay in London, I hope to explore as much of the city as possible, try many new restaurants and cafes, and take many weekend trips throughout Europe.
I came to Orchid Box as intern in order to gain real world experience in the marketing field. I hope to learn more about online marketing and SEO through my internship at Orchid Box. I felt that an internship abroad would not only teach me about marketing, but also how to efficiently conduct business internationally. Orchid Box felt like a great fit for me because the company incorporates both marketing as well as international business.


 

How to Add Google Plus Authorship to a Shopify Site

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Adding Google authorship to content is now an important step for many sites and content creators. Enabling your content to display its author gives your listings in the search engine results a potential increased CTR of over 20%.

Including it on your site is relatively straight forward and platforms such as Wordpress make the process even easier with the brilliant SEO Yoast plugin. However, we found that adding G+ authorship to a Shopify site was slightly more difficult.

We searched high and low on the Shopify forums for an answer and although its incredibly useful resource we couldn't find a straight forward way of achieving our goal.

Our aim was to add an author to every page of the site - all except product pages.  So to do that we created a tiny bit of code that would allow us to do that. Here’s how.

To include Google Plus Authorship on your content pages of your Shopify site:
         

  • Navigate to your Shopify dashboard
  • Click themes > template editor
  • Select ‘theme.liquid ‘ – This is the main template file and applies to all pages, including product pages, on your site.
  •  Include the code below:

    You can copy and paste the code from here:

{% if template != 'product' %}  <a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>  {% endif %}

Here it is in action:

A product page without G+ authorship:


A normal page with G+ authorship:


But you’re not done yet! The final step is to link your Google plus account with your website. For a comprehensive guide on how to do this check out Googles authorship guide.


 

Aujourd'hui Google Agit Contre Buzzea - le Réseau de Lien français

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Buzzea a déjà posté un message sur leur site reconnaissant la pénalité de Google et ont prévenu tout le monde de leur fermeture. Si vous êtes une SEO française ayant besoin de plus de liens de qualité. Contactez-nous, nous pouvons vous aider sans utiliser de réseaux et votre client ne sera pas pénalisé.

-- if you don't speak french --

Today Google is Taking Action Against Buzzea - The French Link Network

Buzzea has already posted a message on their site acknowledging the Google penalty and telling everyone they are closing up. If you are a french SEO in need of more high quality links. Get in touch, we can help and we won't use networks and we won't get your client penalised.


 
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