Archive for July, 2012

Pinterest App Helps Small Merchants Attract Pinners

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

A new app from Lexity, Lexity Pinterest Report, enables merchants to understand how their products or services show up on Pinterest and potentially profit from the information.

“Pinterest is driving more traffic to our merchants than Facebook or Google ads in many cases,” said Lexity CEO Amit Kumar. “Many niche, small-business merchants have very compelling, unique products, so they tend to get picked up on Pinterest by people looking for cool things. We give you a view across all references to your product across Pinterest.”

According to comScore, Pinterest was the 61st most-visited U.S. web property in June, with 20.5 million unique visitors.

Pinterest itself is expected to open APIs to third parties soon; in the meantime, Lexity wrote its own algorithms and applies them to other Pinterest data sources that Kumar would not reveal.

The three-year-old company focuses on small businesses, connecting with online stores through their e-commerce platforms to automatically generate relevant keywords, track the most-pinned products, identify relevant trending products, identify top competitors, and score the reputations of Pinterest users in regard to relevant information.

For example, according to Kumar, the app can tell a store that sells lingerie, “You should keep an eye on ‘pajamas.'”

Lexity Pinterest Report can differentiate between a pinner who has tons of followers but no interest in lingerie from one whose every petticoat pin gets attention – and suggest that the merchant should snuggle up to the latter.

Pinterest has emerged as a key social media tool for merchants of all sizes. In April, Amazon and eBay both added Pinterest buttons to product pages, letting users share product images and page links to Pinterest directly. Experian’s recent 2012 Digital Marketer report found that Pinterest, now the third most popular social networking site in the U.S., could help foster “meaningful connections” between retailers and consumers.

Pinterest Report supports 20 e-commerce platforms and is priced at $5 a month to appeal to Lexity’s core customer base of companies spending less than $10,000 per month on marketing.
The company will soon release a pro version with a higher price tag that includes more sophisticated analytics.

5 Quick Ways to Lower Pay-per-click Costs

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

In a perfect world, we’d never have to worry about the cost of our pay-per-click advertising campaigns. We’d be making money on every sale, and we’d have an unlimited budget.

Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world. There are times when we have to lower PPC costs to stay within our budget.

In this post, I’ll address five quick ways to lower PPC costs and help your business profit from PPC advertising.
Before I address those five tips, however, there are two rules that all PPC advertisers should follow, whether they’re trying to reduce costs or not.

Rule 1: Set Budgets
All PPC search engines allow advertisers to set budget caps on their campaigns. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to set the budget caps very high, or even do away with the cap altogether. But if you’re looking to lower your PPC cost, it’s crucial to set daily budgets that you’re comfortable with. This will undoubtedly reduce your traffic from PPC. If your campaign isn’t as profitable as you’d like, that’s acceptable. Set a budget you can live with, and focus on getting as many conversions as you can for that budget.

Rule 2: Track Everything
One of the best reasons to use PPC is that you can track your results in near real-time. Take advantage of that by using, at a minimum, the free tracking offered by the search engines — see explanations for Google andMicrosoft. It’s quick and easy to install the tracking codes on your site, and you’ll be rewarded with useful information.

If you’re not tracking sales, leads, or conversions, you might hurt your results while trying to lower costs by pausing the wrong ad groups or keywords. Don’t fall into that trap. Track everything so you know what’s working and what isn’t.

Now that you’re following these rules, here are five quick ways to immediately lower your PPC costs.

1. Take Away the Bad Performers
When you need to lower costs, you probably should make a few changes immediately. It’s important to prioritize. Find the campaign with the highest cost, and look at the ad groups in this campaign. Are there any ad groups with a high spend and no conversions? If so, pause them. I’ll discuss how to fix them later in this article. Your goal right now is to cut costs as quickly as you can.

From there, work your way down. Have you reviewed your ad copy tests? I addressed those tests here previously, at “PPC Basics: Part 5. Ad Copy Development and Testing.” Is there one ad variation that’s pulling down performance? End that test and keep the ad that’s doing well.

Do the same thing with keywords. Are there keywords that are costing a lot and not converting? Pause those too.

Once you’ve stopped the bleeding by pausing poor performers, add some controls to your account that will help improve results.

2. Use Negative Keywords
Negative keywords — see “PPC Basics: Part 4. Keyword Match Types” — are keywords for which you do not want your ads to appear. For example, for ecommerce merchants or online service providers, the word “free” is a good negative keyword, since you don’t want your ads to display to people looking for free items.

If you’re over-spending on PPC, a good way to get things under control is to add negative keywords. Even with careful keyword research — see “PPC Basics: Part 2. Keyword Research” — it’s common to discover that you’re getting significant traffic for irrelevant search queries.

To quickly find negative keywords to add, run a search query report — see Google’s explanation. Find all the terms that don’t apply to your business and add them as negatives. This will keep you from spending precious funds on irrelevant clicks.

3. Identify Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases of at least 4 to 5 words that specifically describe your product or service. The more words in a search phrase, the more specific it likely is – meaning it can be highly relevant to your business.

Shorter, broader terms are helpful for generating awareness and high traffic volume. But they’re not helpful when you’re trying to conserve cash. Instead, focus on longer, more specific terms. You’ll get fewer visits, but the visits you get will be far more qualified.

To find long-tail terms, you can use a keyword research tool or the search query report mentioned earlier. To use the search query report, find longer phrases that are relevant to your business and add them as keywords.

4. Restrict Match Types
Keyword match types — see “PPC Basics: Part 4. Keyword Match Types” — offer a great deal of control for advertisers. To cast a wide net and generate high traffic volume, it’s best to use “broad match” or “modified broad match.”

But if you’re trying to control costs, it’s better to stick to “phrase match” and “exact match.” Take a look at your keyword list, and change any broad or modified broad terms to phrase or exact.

5. Focus on Brand Terms
If you’re desperate to reduce costs quickly and dramatically, a good way to do it is to pause all non-branded keywords and focus solely on brand terms. This is a drastic measure, so use it only if needed. But if you need to make a sweeping change quickly, this will definitely help.

Summary
The best way to lower pay-per-click advertising costs is through systematic testing and optimization. But if you need to make changes quickly, try some of these tactics to lower PPC costs and increase your return on investment.

5 More Must-Haves For Every Small Business Website

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Every small business needs to have a website. But business owners aren’t exactly sure what should go on their website. A website needs to be an asset to your company. It needs to make money, rather than cost money. With that in mind, we put together a checklist of five must=haves for every small business website. We’re back with another essential checklist. Here are five more must-haves for a small business website.
Small business owners need to include all of these to make sure they’re getting the best value from their website.

1. Blog
This is a half way house between your website and a newsletter to your customers. A blog gives you the opportunity to add personality to your website and start an open conversation with your website visitors. It adds a human element to a company site, and gives you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge, products and industry. And because visiting a blog is anonymous, many more will read your blog than will sign up for a newsletter. Not only that, most blogging platforms allow visitors to comment and add to the author post. This means that having a blog allows web visitors to see that there are other people spending time on your website and interacting with your business. We all prefer to eat in a busy restaurant than an empty one!
The other real advantage of a blog is that it allows you to add fresh, relevant content to your website, which is one thing that Google really likes to see. If Google likes it, then the chances are you will be boosted up the Search Engine Results page for searches relevant to your products.

2. Customer Reviews and Testimonials
What’s the most convincing way to sell your products? By having other customers recommend them. Its one thing for you to go on and on about how great you, your company and your services are. But at the end of the day, any website visitor is going to take all that with a grain of salt. Of course you’d say that you were great! But if other customers give recommendations or reviews of your product and service, then that adds real weight to what you are saying. Of course, you’re hardly likely to publish reviews and testimonials that show you in a bad light. But if it is a genuine comment from a real person–and that person doesn’t mind you publishing their contact details, so that other web visitors can check they’re real–then that comment can go a long way to reassure people that buying from you is a good decision.

3. Email to a Friend
This is one of the oldest and most basic website features, and one that is sadly overlooked these days. As mentioned above, the most effective way to convince someone to buy from you is to have someone else recommend your products. An email to a friend feature on your website does exactly that –it allows a website visitor to send details of your products to someone they know, which is, of course, an implicit endorsement. Include an “email to a friend” link with each product you sell, and you will really see the benefits of the personal recommendations.

4. Social Bookmarking
Have you ever wondered what that strip of icons on web articles actually does? The icons are often accompanied with a message like “share this,” or “add this.” The icons all represent–and link to–social book marking services. Social bookmarks are a public web page where you place all the links to all your favourite websites. They’re a way of you creating a simple web page and saying to everyone “I recommend these websites.” When you place social bookmarking links on your website, you allow your website visitors to quickly add your website to their list of social bookmarks. It is yet another way of them endorsing your product.
The other added benefit is that when people link to your website using a social bookmarking service, it can also help boost you up the Search Engine Results Page for searches that are relevant to your product or service.

5. Twitter & Twitter Feed
In short, Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows you to send and receive short messages. I’m not here to discuss the ins and outs of Twitter, but it can effectively achieve lots of different things. First of all, it allows you to communicate and have a conversation with your customers or visitors to your website. Second, it allows other people to sit in on these conversations, and find out what you’re saying. Both these help add a human element to your website–turning a computer screen into a real person again. And as stated before, its so much harder for a web visitor to walk away from a real person than their computer screen. It means they will be much more likely to get in touch.

How Reputation Can Affect Your Findability

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Someone once wrote, “A good reputation is more valuable than money.” That bit of wisdom has been proven time and again. From small restaurants to big car companies, nothing can affect a business’s bottom line faster than a reputation gone sour. But many entrepreneurs forget that reputation can also play a big role in a business’s “Findability.”

The Five Factors of Being Findable. Being “Findable” means a business is visible to consumers where and when they’re ready to buy. There are five key marketing components or factors that help identify how findable a business is to consumers including: Brand, Physical Location, Advertising, Online Presence, and Reputation & Community. The degree at which a local business is engaged in each factor plays an important role in determining their overall visibility. But one of the most dynamic of the five is arguably Reputation & Community.

Reputation & Community. For years, being involved in your local community through sponsorships, memberships and charities was an important part of keeping up your business’s findability, goodwill and brand loyalty. But today there are countless online places consumers can go to generate word of mouth about the companies—big or small—that they have experiences with. Sometimes that word of mouth is complimentary, sometimes it can be outright damaging to business. Either way, that information is out there for existing and potential customers to see and use when deciding whether to buy from you. So it’s important to keep a close eye on what’s being said about your business in order to engage any damaging word of mouth in a timely fashion.

Listening. The most important thing you can do in managing your reputation is to listen. Local businesses that listen to their customers benefit by not only understanding how people feel about them, but they have the opportunity to guide the conversation rather than react to it. But, in order to listen, you have to know where you’re being talked about. Today, that means monitoring social media networks, blogs, review sites and more to see what’s being said about you. That’s where the concept of “reputation management” comes in.

Reputation management. Simply put, reputation management is the process of tracking what is being said about your business. For some, it may help to think of reputation management as a little bit like constant credit monitoring for your business. With credit monitoring, experts always say to check your credit every year, get an updated score, and review your report for unknown blemishes that you may be able to fix. However, with reputation management, checking only once a year for marks against your business is usually too late to undo any damage. Countless prospects may have already seen the detrimental information, believed it—whether it was true or not—and passed you over for a competitor. Reputation management provides an omnipresent electronic ear to the ground so you know what information is being said about your business in today’s instant social media world.

The Big Four of reputation. There are four main areas that local businesses should think about when considering online reputation:
1. Visibility – Regardless of what kind of business you own, it needs to be visible in all the places people might find you online. That includes search engines, directories, industry/professional sites, local sites, and more. Where are you appearing? Are there reviews on any sites you may not be familiar with? Can your customers find your best reviews?
2. Reviews – What are your customers saying about you? Are youresponding to these in the right way? Reviews aren’t just for movies and restaurants anymore. Everything from attorneys to zoos get reviewed by consumers these days and many times those reviews get republished on other sites. So it’s more important than ever to monitor what’s being said about you.
3. Social Media – What is the “buzz” around your business? Can your customers find you on Facebook? Are they mentioning you in their status updates or tweeting about you? Are they checking into your business on Foursquare?
4. Competition – It’s as important to keep an eye on your competition as it is to monitor your own reputation. What are their customers saying? Are you being mentioned in the same comments? How can you learn from that?

You’re not helpless. Almost every business eventually drops the ball at some point. And that disappointed customer may vent their frustrations in ways that will be less than flattering to your business. So while you can’t control what they say and where they say it, you can control how and when you’re able to respond to it.

Reputation management provides businesses the opportunity to address a negative situation and turn it around into a positive one. You’ll look like a caring and responsive business in the eyes of other customers by making your gesture in a public forum. So you could not only win back the customer you might’ve lost, but possibly gain dozens more with your proactive response.

Cytoxan

6 Ways to Improve Your Online Presence and Visibility

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

According to Nielsen, roughly 274 million people in the U.S. now have Internet access. In another study by TMP Directional Marketing, 80 percent of US adults under 35 consider the Internet their main source for local information. A third study shows 97 percent of all consumers use online media to shop locally.1 The point is, if your business still isn’t online yet, you’re missing a wealth of new, qualified and highly motivated leads.

Getting found. Considering online is primarily where you’ll find most of today’s local shoppers, having a strong online presence is extremely important for promoting visibility. Even 58 percent of those buying offline will research products and services online before buying. That number rises to 87 percent among college graduates and those earning over $75,000.2 If your visibility is low, so are the chances of consumers finding you when they’re ready to buy. Here are six ways to increase your online presence and increase your visibility.

Have a website. In today’s world, many would say your business may as well not even exist if it doesn’t have a website. And given how consumers are searching for information these days, it may not exist through the eyes of potential customers if you don’t have one. A website is a basic building block of an online presence and, for many consumers, essentially validates your business. It is the place your business will ultimately be found and chosen. But as many entrepreneurs have discovered, just because you have a website doesn’t mean you’ll get found. A website is an essential tool that should be part of any integrated marketing solution. And since Google reports that 1 in every 3 searches from mobile devices are now local, having a mobile version of your website can only help increase your findability.

Pay for search engine marketing (SEM). This type of marketing improves a business’s online and mobile visibility through paid ad placement. SEM uses a pay-per- click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) model, where businesses select key phrases relevant to their line of work. The business will appear in a search result ad when users search for that key phrase. If they click through to the business’s website using the ad or sponsored link, then the business pays for that lead. SEM offers businesses many benefits including the ability to:
• Maximize online exposure by placing you in the paid search results near the top of the page
• Tailor your ad message and keywords to suit your needs
• Track results with greater precision
• Establish a monthly spending cap
• Pay only to reach consumers who show an interest in your product or service

Use search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is all about figuring out key search phrases customers would use to find your business and incorporating them into your site. The more your website content matches up with the specific searches people do, the more relevant your site will be considered by search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. As a result, your business page will rank higher than others and you’ll appear closer to the top of a search results page. SEO allows you to:

• Improve the rank of your website in the free search results
• Raise your position on the page
• Increase your visibility for free
• Grow the traffic to your site

Add custom videos. A video link found online is 52 percent more likely to be clicked than a standard text link.1 In the U.S., we are the number one video consumers in the world. In fact, Alexa ranks YouTube as the third most visited site on the Internet behind Facebook and Google. Consumers like to be able to see your business, your store or office, your staff, and your products in living color and full motion. Plus, videos are 53 times more likely than text pages to show up on the first page of search results.4 Some of the many other benefits of using video on your site include the ability to:

• Tell your story visually
• Increase chances of your content going viral
• Differentiate your site from competitors
• Get 18 percent more viewer attention than TV commercials

Use online banner advertising. Most Internet users have probably seen plenty of banner advertising while surfing online. Typically, they’re the small, rectangular ads seen across the top, bottom or along the side of a page. If you click on one, it immediately takes you to the advertiser’s website or their landing page. Just a few years ago, banner ads looked to be fading in popularity. But, thanks to technology centered on how they are bought, sold and targeted, banner ads are making a big comeback. Today’s banner ads get exposed to the most relevant target audience by strategically advertising on websites that would appeal to the site’s users.

Targeted banner ads reduce wasted coverage and bring in more qualified leads for less. Some of the other benefits of banner advertising include the ability to:

• Guide prospects along the purchase path
• Provide up to a 27 percent lift in online sales5
• Offer up to a 17 percent lift in offline sales5
• Increase brand awareness
• Easily measure results
• Compete with national brands
• Build credibility with future customers

Reputation management. In the world of reputation management, knowledge is power. You can’t manage what you don’t know about. Reputation management is the process of tracking what is being said about your business. It provides an omnipresent electronic ear to the ground so you know what information is being said about your business and allows you to check for accuracy, share the good stuff, and respond—if needed. Reputation management benefits businesses by:

• Ensuring consumers find only the best version of your business
• Allowing you to keep tabs on what is being said about your business
• Providing the opportunity to address any damaging information in a timely manner
• Listening to social buzz about your business
• Helping to keep an eye on the competition

More visibility, more business. Increasing your online presence is one of the best ways to increase your visibility for customers trying to find you. Local businesses need to develop a coordinated offline and online marketing program to reach across the myriad of ways today’s digitally savvy and mobile buyers search and shop. Test your business’s visibility right now for free. Take a few minutes to get your Findability Score by answering five simple questions about your business.

1 – Source: Kelsey Group, Mobile Market Research, 2010
2 – Source: Pew Research Center
3 – Source: YuMe and IPG Media Lab, April 2012
4 – Source: GigaOM 2009
5 – Source: comScore 2008

3 Digital Marketing Initiatives That Complement Your SEO Program

Monday, July 16th, 2012

“While SEO will always be a good bet for generating long-term value,” writes John-Henry Scherck at Renegade Search, “it doesn’t necessarily have to be the only aspect of a good digital marketing campaign.”

There’s no reason to sit around waiting for SEO to take effect when you can bolster your burgeoning optimization program with short-term creative initiatives.
Scherck offers a number of actionable suggestions, such as:

Improve your website. All the traffic in the world does no good when your site—which is, in effect, your online salesperson—can’t close the deal. “If your website looks dated, disorganized, and sloppy, first-time visitors may associate those qualities with your actual business,” Scherck notes. Conversely, a well-designed site with logical navigation and valuable content will reflect well on your brand’s capabilities.

Create linkable assets. You probably have link-building campaigns, but outstanding content will also generate natural links—in other words, unsolicited links from people who liked what they saw and wanted to share it with others. By definition, the blog post that inspired this newsletter is a linkable asset.

Hire a public relations expert. The best PR professionals have established relationships with the media who cover your industry—in other words, direct access to editors who can offer the most coveted backlinks. Even better, PR teams tend to create natural-looking backlink profiles.

The Point: Accessorize. It may take some time to see results from your SEO campaign; in the meantime, build on those efforts with complementary digital marketing initiatives.

Five QR-Code Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Marketers remain bullish on the potential of QR codes, but a Temkin Group study in April found that only 24% of US adults are actually using them. So notes Dan Wilkerson in an article at Mashable.

According to Wilkerson, there are five common mistakes being made by QR-code marketers that are turning consumers off. Here they are, with some suggested solutions:

Poor content. To marketers, QR codes are cheap, trackable, and easy to create. But using one costs users time and effort: They have to download an app to read it; it isn’t clear what kind of info they’ll unlock; and 90% of the time, the site they land on isn’t optimized for mobile. Suggestion: Improve your offers. Promise a discount, the first few chapters of a book, a free drink, a video.

Poor consumer awareness. A study of college students by ArchRival found 78.5% don’t know how to scan a QR code, Wilkerson reports. Suggestion: Ensure your market is educated on what actions to take with a QR code (and why it’s worth their while)!

Questionable value. QR codes most often link to a company site or landing page, the logic being that it’s “saving” users the work of entering a URL. But most users don’t know how to use these codes, receive little education on what they’ll get upon scanning them, and, when they do use them, endure a hit-or-miss scanning process to get to valuable content.Suggestion: Before implementing a QR code campaign, determine whether it will really save a user more time and offer more value than a 10-second Google search.

Poor location. We see QR codes everywhere, with their context rarely considered. Suggestion: Test your implementation in a real-world scenario to ensure your code is appealing, practical, and useable.

Poor aesthetics. A little help from Photoshop can make QR codes look less ugly without affecting their scannability. You can also generate codes with 30% redundancy, meaning you can remove 30% of the code and replace it with your logo or info about what it actually unlocks. Suggestion: Get creative; make your unique QR code actually attractive and useful.

The Point: Don’t hop on a bandwagon without knowing how to drive it. Taking the time to produce a great QR code will set you ahead of those who leapt in head-first—and now regret it.

Avoid Social Media Slip-Ups: Three Tips for Managing Your Online Reputation

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Though most social media failures may not be as spectacular as Kenneth Cole’s error—the clothing company infamously jumped on a hashtag bandwagon in 2011 and things went spectacularly wrong—social media can prove damaging for your reputation if you get it wrong.

In recent months, we’ve seen just how quickly your company’s failure can go viral. Overnight, the once respected health and wellness chain LA Fitness went from hero to zero, thanks to the power of Twitter. The story spread quickly and left some serious stains on the company’s good name. You can spend years building up a solid reputation for your business, but it only takes one rogue tweet to ruin everything.

Social media isn’t just about the potential harm to your brand’s good name, however. Social media is also a great way to monitor what people say about your business.

1. Respond to Brand Mentions

Dashboard applications, such as HootSuite and TweetDeck, are great tools for managing your social media and monitoring your reputation. Those applications let you set up custom fields that alert you every time your brand name is mentioned—whether folks use your Twitter or Facebook handle or not.

That means you can respond to all brand mentions, tweets of your posts, and negative comments. By responding quickly and doing your upmost to resolve the issue, you can preserve your company’s good name.

By responding to positive mentions, you can cement a reputation for excellence. You can prove that customer satisfaction is important to you, and you can show a more human side to your business. That will encourage people to use your services or to buy from you again.

2. Have a Social Media Crisis Plan

Even if you sensibly use social media, you should develop a crisis plan. If the worst does happen, you need to be quick to act to salvage your reputation. Whether the crisis is a rogue tweet or a negative brand mention, you need to know how to act in that situation.

If someone posts something potentially damaging about your company, don’t jump in and react rashly and rudely. Instead, message the person, ask what the issue is, and how you can help resolve it. Often, people don’t expect a reply; they will calm down if the issue is at least partly resolved.

Similarly, make sure you have a course of action to take should you receive some negative PR. Use your social media platforms to restore faith in your brand. But be careful not to actively shift the blame, especially if you are actually in the wrong.

3. Use Social Media Best Practices

To prevent a social media slip-up, you should outline social media best practices for your business. They don’t have to be strict guidelines but a general agreement about what content should (and shouldn’t) be posted. It may be advisable to stick to posting your work, relevant posts from your industry, images you’ve taken yourself, and a few human elements to your company.

Posts can be taken the wrong way over social media, especially as people can’t tell your tone of voice.

Therefore, it is important to remain professional but show a little personality. At least this way, you are more approachable to your clients.

Your online reputation is often the difference between your making a sale or your losing one. The Internet has made it very easy for customers to research what real people are saying about you before they buy.

Clare Evans is a copywriter at Bird and Co.

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

With smartphone’s taking the majority share in mobile phone usage in America this year, it’s easy to see that the future of Web is mobile. No one can afford to ignore it.

Astute advertisers, developers, and brands are creating experiences that connect, convert, and engage their audiences before the mobile revolution consumes them.

Still on the fence regarding whether to make the move to mobile? We at AD:60 have compiled an infographic that lists 10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site. The list should obliterate any reasons against putting mobile at the top of your digital must-haves.

Here are a couple of stats from the infographic:
8% of all digital traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.
60% of smartphone users make more than $100,000 per year—double the US household income median.

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site

Google’s Knowledge Graph and SEO: Search Gets Smarter

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

In this article, you’ll learn…
• How Google’s Knowledge Graph affects searchers
• How Knowledge Graph affects SEO
• Why Google is getting smarter

Google recently entered the semantic search sphere with its Knowledge Graph update.

Semantic search changes the way a search engine “thinks” about a search term.
For example, if you searched for “Leonardo” five years ago, you’d get a list of websites featuring content that included the word “Leonardo.” Today, Google understands that Leonardo is a name, likely relating to a Renaissance artist, an actor/producer, or—in some cases—a ninja turtle.

Let’s say you’re searching for the “da Vinci” variety. Based on your search history and a slew of other things, you’ll either be asked to choose or be taken directly to one of those pages where you’ll receive some background facts, information on some of Leonardo’s famous works, and some related searches—all generally handy information—without leaving Google.

What does Knowledge Graph mean for searchers?
Google now provides the following:

• Disambiguation. Now that everyone, their moms, their companies, their dogs, and their kids’ bands all have a Web presence, Google has had to figure out what a searcher actually wants. Thanks to Knowledge Graph, those options are easy to find, helping eliminate the need for re-querying.

• Topic summaries. Once a searcher has narrowed things down, Google provides a fact summary (not unlike a Wikipedia page) that contains handy, related information and useful links.

What does Knowledge Graph mean for SEO?
As search engines evolve, they’re getting closer and closer to providing humans with exactly what they’re searching for. The problem with that from a search-engine-optimization (SEO) perspective is that many search marketers have made a lot of money gaming the system and getting sites without relevant content to rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Here are three ways SEO will be affected by Knowledge Graph:
1. Google gets it. Thanks to the information it collects from users, Google now has a certain level of comprehension about each query (which, in and of itself, is one of the most impressive advancements in artificial intelligence).

So, a useless site packed with all the right SEO elements is more likely to be flagged as spam than ever before, making unethical/brute-force ranking strategies far less likely to succeed.

The Google spider is likely also beginning to recognize blatantly rehashed/reworded content, too, making duplicate content trickier to avoid.

2. Users are less likely to manually re-query. When a user doesn’t find exactly what she was looking for, the old method was simple: search again (i.e., re-query). Blowing the old “Did You Mean” out of the water, Google now provides helpful search suggestions based on the aforementioned search-term comprehension and more re-query data than you can reasonably shake a stick at. Therefore, ranking on esoteric rearrangements of search terms is becoming a thing of the past.

3. Google gives the people what they want. Sometimes you just need an answer, and if you can get that from the new fact summaries… you have no reason to go anywhere else. Sites offering freely distributed information surrounded by ads just won’t fly anymore. Users won’t click through to “read the full definition” if Google provides it right up front.

Content is still king
The real takeaway here is that good, fresh, engaging content is still the king of the Internet.

As search engines start thinking more like humans, the best ranking strategy will be to give people what they’re searching for rather than tricking them into clicking on ads, leading them through link farm after link farm, or otherwise misleading them in any way.

That isn’t to say that you should stop trying to use keywords altogether; just use them naturally. Google can now comprehend keywords, so keyword phrases that benefited from non-semantically relevant reordering just don’t have the power they once did (i.e., a reordering of the words that didn’t significantly change the meaning such as “inventor Leonardo” and “Leonardo inventor” mean the same thing, and they produce similar search results).