Top 6 Google Organic Ranking Factors 2013

1. Keyword domains and keyword links have lost relevance

Keyword domains and “keyword in the URL” have both been devalued by Google. While a couple of years ago, having your main keyword included in your web address might have impacted rankings, helping sites rank higher for specific searches, the ‘exact match domain’ (EMD) update by Google changed the rules. Searchmetrics’ report shows just that – that having a keyword in your domain name has a very low positive correlation, having dropped from a correlation of +0.04 in 2012 to an even lower 0.01 in 2013.

2. Brands are the exception to many rules

Searchmetrics’ study reveals that brands automatically rank higher in Google searches compared to non-brands. In addition, some factors that correlate with high ranking pages do not apply to pages from brands the same as they do for non-brands.

“Brands rank high even if they fail to fulfil some of the most basic principles of SEO,” explained Marcus Tober, Searchmetrics’ founder and CTO. “For example, pages from brands are positioned in or near the top of search results even if they have less text on the page and they don’t have keywords in the title.”

3. Social signals continue to correlate very well with better rankings

This is something I believe we were all expecting to see in Searchmetrics’ report, which is the impact of social signals in rankings. The study shows that web pages with high rankings show significantly more social signals, which leads to the conclusion that social signals do, in fact, influence rankings. By social signals I mean – Facebook likes and shares, Google+ ones, (re)tweets on Twitter and pins on Pinterest. In addition, Searchmetrics’ study found that Google plus ones influence rankings more any activity on other social media platforms so it may be time to learn how to create shareable content for Google+.

Don’t forget to check out our complete Social Media Guide to find out how to use and make the most of the top social media platforms on the web.

4. Good content is always important: it comes to quality!

No matter what Google’s future updates will be, content is and will always be King. Searchmetrics’ study shows that pages with more text and more images can lead to higher rankings as they are seen as an indicator of quality. Of course, ‘quality content’ refers to providing useful and interesting information to users, which they’ll want to share on their social media accounts.

5. The number of backlinks remains immensely important

While having as many links as you can get is not as important as it used to be, getting quality links from highly visible, high ranking pages is critical and can make the difference between a well-ranked page and a poorly placed one.

Any site’s backlink strategy should focus on having a “natural link profile” with backlinks from different and diverse sources. To achieve a “natural link profile” you need to get a natural-looking spread of links with different keywords in the anchor text and not one that looks fake as if it was artificially created by SEO “experts” with absolutely no strategy in mind. In addition, make sure you have a decent amount of ‘no-follow’ links as well as links that include neutral stopwords in the anchor text such as “and”, “to”, “in”.

6. On-page technology remains one of the basics

Although on-page elements are not among the factors that can help your web page rank higher (like having better backlinks or more Likes on Facebook), not having these elements – such as keywords in H1, H2 as well as a description on-page – can get your page demoted on Google. So, while on-page factors don’t improve rankings, they do ensure rankings don’t go south.

These are all great factors to consider if you’re trying to improve your site’s rankings or if you’re just getting started with a new website and want to ensure you’re focusing on the right things.

The Amount Of Activity That Goes On Every 60 Seconds Online


3 Reasons small businesses need help with social media

Small businesses are drowning when it comes to social media. Research by Constant Contact shows that almost 60% of small businesses need help with social media marketing.

This is no surprise since social media can seem overwhelming to the average small business that’s not directly focused on social media.

As a small business, look at how you use your resources, especially owner and employee time. Attention is your scarcest resource. Take a break to determine what you’re looking to accomplish or you’ll never get past chasing the next sale. While I appreciate that the next sale is important, you must dream bigger if you want to succeed for the long term

Here are four tactics that many small businesses employ on a regular basis that can translate into social media gold in the form of content and engagement.

  1. Answer customer questions. Regardless of your business focus, your prospects have questions about the product and why they should buy from your firm. You know the major questions that your prospects ask. Just put your answers into writing. You can place this content on your blog and post about it on social media. If you have photographs, graphics or video to enhance your response, include them. Don’t forget to link to this answer on the appropriate product page of your website.
  2. Offer styling advice. This works for a variety of small businesses such as clothing stores, interior design, makeup, and other fashion related categories. Use photographs to show prospects how your products look in action. You can just lay your clothes out so that your audience can tell how they coordinate. This works with photographs and videos.
  3. Show before and after images. This works well for a variety of businesses like a hair salon or fitness center. Use photographs to show how customers look. Be careful how your ask customers to participate and get a release with their signature to ensure that you’ve got rights to use their image. (BTW—I suggest that you check with a lawyer regarding your release form.)
  4. Spotlight your customers. Let your customers tell their stories related to your product. Since writing may seem daunting for many people, use photographs of your customers using your products. This works well for crafting businesses where customers can show off their handiwork.

Can social media help graduates find a job? Perhaps…

As the thermometer continues to nudge up towards 30 degrees, students across the country are dusting off their suits and dresses and donning graduation robes and mortar boards.

As they struggle through the heat of the ceremony their minds may start to drift towards what happens next in their lives. Whilst some will be going on to further study many will be thinking about the jobs market and starting their careers.

Although it is a difficult jobs market for graduates and talk of under-employment as well as unemployment still remains, it does feel like the sun has brought with it increasing optimism.

One thing is certain – it is a brighter picture for graduates now than at the start of the financial crisis in 2008/9; those who can showcase their skills the best and focus their determination in the right areas are likely to prosper.

survey commissioned by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) of its 209 members reports significant areas of expected growth in vacancies available outside London including consulting and engineering firms, utilities, IT, telecoms and retailers. It also shows that many areas of the country are now equal with the South East’s median starting salary of £25,000 for the first time.

In fact, according to a survey by High Fliers Research of The Times 100 best-known and most successful UK employers for graduate recruitment (voted by students), graduate vacancies with these employers for this September are up by 4.6% on last year, taking graduate recruitment to its highest level since 2008.

Still, it remains a tough job market and graduates need to be well prepared to tackle it.

Make the most of your skills

It has been suggested that on average there are 85 applicants per graduate position. So if you want to succeed in getting the job that will kick-start your career you need to ensure that you maximise your chances and showcase your skills in the most effective way.

At 1994 Group universities there are lots of opportunities for students to prepare for the world of work and gain employability skills – in fact we created our own employability webpage to highlight some of them. The University of Essex’s award winning ‘Frontrunners’scheme was the first of its kind in the UK to offer students part-time paid work placements within the University: It provides a great way for students to gain experience working on graduate-level projects.

Lancaster University have the Lancaster Award: To gain the Award students must complete six different activities in four different categories, monitor and record the skills they have gained and complete a graduate-level application form and panel interview.

For those who have taken advantage of these kinds of opportunities it is vital that they can show how these skills will transfer into an employer’s work place. This involves being able to reflect on the experiences you have and being able to draw out the wider lessons. Working behind a bar during term-time – for example – teaches many valuable skills such as time management, team work and working with money. The key is being able to reflect on these experiences and think how these could be applied more widely.

Graduates with less work experience will need to consider how they have gained employability skills in other ways, whether through volunteering, project work, participating in a sports team, travelling and roles in student societies to name a few examples.

For students that are still studying at university, the earlier you begin to think about ways to build and showcase your skills, the better prepared you’ll be when it comes to graduating and entering the job market. A survey by GTI Media, Great Expectations, which examines students’ expectations and experience of how universities contribute to their employability, shows that more first year students are beginning to use their careers service than 6 years ago – the message has started to filter down that planning for your career is a long term process which is worth thinking about well in advance.


Not only is it important to focus on your skills but graduates should also take advantage of the help and advice available at university and elsewhere. The university careers service will be able to assist you with your CV and job hunting plus they can tell you about events such as graduate job fairs where you can meet employers, face-to-face, and make contacts.

These events allow graduates the opportunity to make a good impression on potential employers that could prove worthwhile in the future. Other types of networking events and conferences could also be invaluable as they may just help your application into the ‘yes’ category instead of the ‘maybe’ pile when employers are shortlisting.

Do your homework

Graduates should be prepared for challenging interviews. Keep up-to-date with current trends and issues in your chosen sector and sign-up for any relevant free updates or newsletters. Join websites such as LinkedIn and follow sector leading companies on Twitter to gain an insight into the industry; you might not be lucky enough to secure your dream job through Twitter but it could offer an interesting perspective on current issues which may give you the edge in an application or interview.

It’s estimated that over 60% of jobs are never advertised so, as well as using social media and networking events, graduates should think about sending out speculative letters to employers.

Think long-term

As a graduate and as a recruiter, my fundamental advice for new graduates would be totake advantage of all the tools available to help you succeed. Make the most of opportunities where you can gain new skills and do as much research as possible for each position you apply for.

In tough economic times and a highly competitive job market, it’s better to have a longer-term plan rather than a short-term view. For instance, assessing whether graduates are in employment after just six months of finishing their studies does not provide a broad picture of the graduate job market. Being prepared to wait six months to find the right job might seem tough now but it probably won’t seem so long at the end of a 40+ year career.

How can social media help you expand your business? Find out how

Facebook has always been a way for friends and family to stay connected. But recently it has gained popularity as an online tool to help market businesses.  Facebook’s goal is to give people the power to share ideas and make the world more open and able to stay connected with each other.

There are over 1 billion active facebook users that log in monthly. So it was only a matter of time before business’ realized the potential to get their name out there.  A business can sign up by starting a Facebook Fan page.

Previously business listed on facebook would try to get Fans. They changed that to Likes which i like way better. When someone likes your business page, all of your updates will be posted to their wall. So every time you share some useful information, your facebook page members can see it and share it with their friends.  Posting funny messages to get your name out is usually the quickest way to get some likes. However, if your business is a funeral home, maybe jokes is not the way to go. You need to have a plan on what your Facebook business account is all about before starting up.

How Can Social Media Help my Business? There is a pretty simple answer. By spreading your business’ name out to all the local facebook users, you get recognition. So the next time someone thinks, where should we go to eat? or who is a good insurance agent? people will now know your name.

If you aren’t sure Facebook is right for your business, check out the tips below here to see if you are up to the task.

Maintenance: Starting a facebook page just to say Hey I have a facebook page, is not going to do anything for you. Social media requires regular attention. If someone comments on your wall or on a post you sent, you need to respond to them rather quickly. By doing this you can keep the conversation going and keep the future clients attention.

Get Hot off the press Info: Keep your Facebook page updated with prime and original information. With some witty comments or maybe some humor, you can get your status shared by followers and easily get some new likes. This will help keep your current followers coming back and definitely attract new ones. The posts that your followers put on your page are then visible to their friends. So be sure to follow up as soon as possible.

The Approach – 

As a business you can advertise to a number of different crowds. For example, if you are advertising for your sexy underwear shop, you can target girls from ages 18-30. Or if you are selling energy drinks, you can target males with any age group you would like. Figure out who you are looking for. Things will be much easier for you then.

Page Name –

If the name of your company is We Sell Barbecue Sauce, LLC. Agency, Incorporated, and you always refer to the business as We Sell Barbecue Sauce, name your page the ladder. No one cares about the legal name and you want people to know it is the same place. Be sure to keep it professional. You don’t want your facebook page to look like a 12 year old created it. Plus, your business will be easier to find when people do a search for your company on Facebook or Google, both of which may be helpful as you manage your online reputation.

Link to Other Social Media-

If you have set up Twitter, Linked-In, or any other social media, you can link your Page to most of those accounts. Linking all these social media sites together can be very helpful. Having unique content on both Facebook and Twitter can keep your Followers entertained and will continue to see your updates.

Add a Photo –

You need to be recognized. If you have a logo for your company, add it to that page. If not, take a picture of something people will recognize to keep them familiar. For example, if your company is in a downtown building that everyone sees regularly, take a picture and use that as your photo.

All About Us

There is a section on facebook that is a description of who you are and what you do. You need to give a brief description. Not a one word answer or even a few. People will look at that to find out more about the business. If possible, create a slogan your company can use to get more recognition. This section is also where your contact info will be including the phone numbers, fax number, website, emails, and anything else you want to add.

So how can social media help my business? The posts and comments you write should not always have to do with your sales or your business plan. Decide what percentage of comments will be random facts or jokes and the other about your business. Here are some tips –

Page Content: One great way to use facebook is post about business events in the Facebook events tab. Another is to give out exclusive discounts to your Facebook Followers. Provide useful information about topics that are brought up by your ideal customer. You can include intriguing details about your products or services, just don’t get pushy. No one likes pushy salesmen or saleswomen.

Auto Generate Posts: You can automatically insert the content from your blog posts and tweets into your Facebook page. This can help you to keep your content refreshed and will show up to date activity on your site. Consistent activity on your Facebook page will help your Page rank higher in search engine results. Just make sure you are not constantly posting the same thing everyday. If you post about the same topic as previously discussed, keep it updated. You don’t need to have the same conversation more than once.

Get Feedback from Followers: There are many ways to encourage your followers to interact with you on your Facebook Page, including discussion boards, surveys, and reviews of your products or services. Giving the ability for customers or consumers to voice their questions and opinions on your Page can keep them engaged and connected to your business. It will also give you feedback into your consumer’s wants and needs to figure out if you are doing something wrong.


–  Set up a link to your company’s Facebook Page on the home page of your company website.

– Set up a link to your company’s Facebook Page in your email signature.

– Make sure your personal Facebook account has liked your page.

– Use Twitter to announce your new Facebook Page and offer discounted deals for new members.

– Link the new Facebook page to your Blog or any other social media sites you belong to.

– Use Facebook to write about the latest news in your area

– Encourage your members to share your comments

Video of the Week

Top 16 sites with over 100 million active users

This is a list of all virtual communities with more than 100 million active users.

Rank Name Registered users Active user accounts Date of start Date launched Country of origin
1 Facebook 1+ billion
1 billion
October 2012 February 2004  United States
2 Tencent QQ 784+ million
712 million
September 2012 February 1999  China
3 Skype 663+ million
280 million
January 2013 August 2003  Estonia
4 Google+ 500+ million
235 million
December 2012 June 2011  United States
5 Twitter 500+ million
200+ million
December 2012 March 2006  United States
6 LinkedIn 225+ million
160 million
January 2013 May 2003  United States
7 Tencent Qzone 597+ million
150 million
September 2012 2005  China
8 LINE 150+ million 
150 million 
May 2013 2011  Japan
9 Odnoklassniki 205+ million
148 million
April 2013 March 2006  Russia
10 Sina Weibo 400+ million
100+ million
February 2013 August 2009  China
11 ВКонтакте 200+ million
100 million
April 2013 September 2006  Russia
12 Nimbuzz 150+ million
100 million
June 2013 April 2007  India
13 Dropbox 100+ million
100 million
November 2012 September 2008  United States
14 Windows Live 100 million
100 million
December 2012 November 2005  United States
15 Instagram 100+ million
100 million
February 2013 October 2010  United States
16 Tumblr 110+ million
100 million
May 2013 February 2007  United States

Note: An “active user” is defined by Facebook as a user who has interacted with the community in the last 30 days. This includes “Liking” from 3rd party sites without actually visiting the site.  Other sites define this in different terms.

Google+ Are you using it?

Google+ is a multilingual social networking and identity service owned and operated by Google Inc. It is the second-largest social networking site in the world, having surpassed Twitter in January 2013.  As of May 2013, it had a total of 500 million registered users, of whom 235 million are active in a given month.  Google has described Google+ as a “social layer” that enhances many of its online properties, unlike conventional social networks generally accessed through a single website.  The question is Are you using it?


The Future of the CV

We are moving to more of a digital and social age where paper is printed less.  What  does the future hold for the CV?  Having been in the recruitment industry for the past 8 years i have noticed more and more people using their Linkedin profiles as a catalogue of experience.  This seems to be easier to update, maintain and share to prospective employers.

We recently came across this lovely website

You can login via linkedin or facebook and it will graphically represent a visually crafted CV of your skills, education and work experience.

When was the last time you updated your CV?

Iran to control social media sites, says police chief

Iran’s police chief Esmaeil Ahmadi Moghadam said ”smart control” of social networks would ”not only avoid their disadvantages, but will also allow people to benefit from their useful aspects”.

“The designing of intelligent software to control social networking websites” is underway, he said, as cited by the 7Sobh daily.

Facebook, Twitter and many other social websites are blocked by an official filtering mechanism as part of Iran’s strict Internet censorship.

But many web users in Iran, where half of the 75-million population is connected to the Internet, have found ways around the blocks through sophisticated software known as VPN despite it being declared illegal in Iran.

What are your thoughts on this?