As we enter the final month of a promising year of economic recovery, I'm continuing to round up the best of the Econsultancy blog.
Here you'll find around 30 posts that are definitely worth your time; either great practical advice, the best of our opinion pieces, interesting case studies, or what you definitely need to know about changes at the main tech players.
Feel free to comment on any of the posts, as our authors are always keen to extend the debate.
Last month, with the help of Dr Pete Meyers from Moz, we looked at how PPC ads are changing and what they will look like next year.
Some of these predictions have already happened, such as the yellow 'ad' labels and less obvious background shading.
One of the themes of that article was Google's efforts to make ads blend in more on results pages, something Dr Meyers referred to as 'ads in sheep's clothing'.
This is now happening in Google's UK results, with the top PPC ads on some brand searches resembling results more than ads.
An argument for not reporting results in marketing: if you find yourself in times of crisis having to report frequently, try reporting on actions rather than numbers.
Report on the things you did rather than the traffic you achieved.
Here is my argument for not reporting results in marketing...
Pretty sounding search algorithm updates (Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin...) have plunged many digital publishers into peril as their content plummets out of search engine results pages in consequence.
The decline in visitors impacts the performance of ads, which hits revenue. Under pressure from the publisher and ad sales team, the media title’s SEO and editorial teams try to reverse engineer Google’s update and work out new tactics that will improve their search engine performance.
In the main, quality publishers producing compelling shareable editorial need not worry too much about Google algorithm updates. Google’s focus has generally been to prioritise quality content.
However, a key objective of the Hummingbird update is to accommodate the fact that more searches are being conducted, and more content is being consumed, on smartphones.
As people are beginning to use their smartphone’s voice recognition functions to actually talk to Google search apps, Google has started to respond to search terms given in natural speech, a key part of the Hummingbird update.
'Big whoop', right? No. Massive whoop, especially for the 68% of the UK’s 175 top publishers do not have a digital site that displays effectively for mobile devices.
The techniques of content or the bigger genre of online marketing are not new, they’re just digitized. If you start looking seriously for the origins of digital marketing, you'll ultimately land in 300BCE.
At its heart, digital marketing is persuasion. And if we’re talking about the basics of how to persuade, we should start with Aristotle.
Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and father of rhetoric, set the gold standard for persuasion. All digital marketing is a shadowy form (Hahaha! Philosophy joke. Anybody?) of his original tenets.
You could say that the basic principles of digital marketing are just ancient Greek wisdom dressed up in plaid (that’s what we digital marketers stereotypically wear in the States, at least).
According to our recent Digital Landscape Report, Russia has the highest number of internet users in Europe, and represents a potential growth market for ecommerce.
In addition, just under half of Russia's 61m web users are buying online, though a mistrust of the finance industry means that cash on delivery is the prevelant payment method.
There are barriers though, such as mistrust of retailers, and the risk of parcels going AWOL due to the number of people living in communal apartments.
However, as our report, and this two part infographic from Search Laboratory shows, there are many opportunitues.
PR is no longer the future of SEO. It already is PR.
SEOs recognise this, and the majority are now carrying out online PR: whether they call it that or not, all decent SEOs are now creating content and reaching out to online influencers.
General marketers realise this. In a survey we recently conducted of 250 UK marketers, 52% said that PR and SEO work closely together in their organisation, and a whopping 71% think their PR agencies are experts at SEO.
But how are those PR agencies performing in their newfound position as SEO experts?
One of my favourite talks from SearchLove London 2013 was Hannah Smith’s ‘23, 787 Ways To Build Links in 30 Minutes’.
Among Hannah’s tips for sustainable link building, she mentioned a neat tool that helped her pick up 257 links at around $14 per link.
This tool was Zemanta, a seemingly fantastic way of providing scalable outreach.
This week we’ve got some really juicy stats from Tesco, John Lewis’ Bear and Hare, Facebook and other more prosaic but useful numbers on mobile and retail.
Get stuck in and please send through any interesting titbits that may be worthy of inclusion next week.
For more stats, check out Econsultancy's Internet Statistics Compendium.
Alt text is an important yet occasionally overlooked part of making a site accessible to all users.
It is a simple bit of HTML code that essentially describes an image that appears on a web page so that the user still knows what the image represents if they are visually impaired or if the picture simply doesn’t display correctly.
The alternative attribute can be input within the ‘alt text’ or ‘alt tag’ of the image element and the exact wording used depends on the context of the image as much as the content itself.
An additional benefit is that it provides a semantic description of images for search engines. This can attract additional traffic through Google Images and has a positive impact on SEO.