Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Look At The Top Web Designing Companies in Chennai - WordPress Space

web designing companies in Chennai

Type the keywords “WordPress Design Company” into a search engine and you just might be overwhelmed by all of the choices. You’ll probably see over 75 million results. That’s a lot of design companies.

Within those 75 million results are some WordPress superstars, superheroes, and maybe even a time lord or two. They are the top of the top. The leaders of the pack. But who are they? This article will take a look at who I think are the top WordPress web designing companies in Chennai. But before I tell you who they are, I’ll tell you how I chose them.

How They Made the List

Before I give you the list, I want to discuss how these designers made the list in the first place.
The first thing I did was a Google search. I found as many web designers as I could. They had to be easy to find in a search engine. That doesn’t mean they made the list just because I found them on the first page, and there may be some here that are harder to find, but that’s a start.

I then checked their Alexa ranking. Why? This is an indication of how popular their site is. It’s not the only indication of course, but it helps to narrow it down. For example, if one firm has an Alexa rank of 10,000,000 and the next one is 10,000, keeping in mind that lower is better… I went with the lower ranking. Now, this doesn’t mean that every site here has the lowest Alexa ranking. There are a few that didn’t make it to the next test.

The next thing I did was look at their site. It had to intrigue me. It had to load fast and it had to sparkle. If their own site didn’t impress me then I didn’t go any further. Of course sometimes less is more, so it couldn’t be all shiny with no substance. It had to give me the information I wanted and it had to work well. It had to give me a good indication of the kind of work they do. I wanted cake with my icing.

Next I looked at their portfolios. They had to impress me. I wasn’t necessarily looking for quantity. I wanted quality. One good sample is better than several bad samples. I approached from the standpoint of being a potential client.

The next thing I looked at is their client list. If they’re really that good then they should have an impressive list of clients. Their clients should have names that we’ve all heard before. They wouldn’t just impress me, but they would impress big names in the industry as well. I wanted names that I could recognize.

I also looked at their team. Not all companies tell this information, but it can be an indication of the skills the company has access to and can show how many projects they can handle at once. A team of just a few can produce some impressive work, but they would be limited in how many clients they can handle at any one time. Larger teams can either take on larger projects or more projects.

Finally I looked at what the company contributes back to the community. What do they do for the cause? Do they provide open source code for all to use? Do they provide training at conferences and schools? Do they donate their time to help develop the WordPress core? Do they have a blog with tutorials? A good company will give back and invest in others using the means they can.

These are leaders in the field of web design in the WordPress space. Who are they? Let’s look and see…

Founded in 2001, WebDevStudios is a team over 30 members that include programmers and authors. The team specializes in WordPress, BuddyPress, maintenance, and mobile applications. They do multisite, migration, and custom design. They pride themselves in their WordPress expertise. They contribute to WordPress and BuddyPress core development, develop plugins, and lead training sessions at WordPress conferences across the globe.

They’ve written 7 books about WordPress and WordPress. Titles include:

  • Professional WordPress Design & Development, 3rd Ed.
  • Professional WordPress Plugin Development
  • Building Web Apps with WordPress
  • WordPress For Dummies, 6th Ed.
  • WordPress All-In-One For Dummies, 2nd Ed.
  • WordPress Web Design For Dummies, 2nd Ed.
  • BuddyPress For Dummies
You may’ve heard of one of those.

Their client list includes:

  • Microsoft
  • Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
  • Discovery Communications
  • Time

Their portfolio shows 28 amazing projects that include simple personal blogs to news magazines to commercial sites. Each one gives details about the project and a link to the client’s website.
You can use their contact page to inquire about projects and pricing.

10up has a team of 108 that includes many engineers, managers, strategists, and designers. They provide ongoing WordPress development, testing, optimization, plugin development, and more. They donate their time to open source projects and platforms like WordPress, Vagrant, and jQuery. They have 21 free and active plugins for WordPress.

They volunteer, speak at, and organize industry events all around the world. They donate hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours every year through code, sponsorships, community organizing, their own projects, and sharing their expertise with others. Their blog includes tutorials.

Their long list of clients includes:

  • Google
  • Time
  • ESPN
  • Wired
  • Sales Force
  • Automattic
  • Variety
  • AT&T
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Western Digital
  • Tech Crunch

Their portfolio contains 14 projects that includes a college, mobile apps, business websites, entertainment websites, blogs, etc.

You can discuss your project design and pricing through their contact page.

Tribe is a community of developers and designers that specialize in WordPress, mobile, and rapid prototyping. They have built over 400 sites that attract over a million visitors per month each. Some even have over 20 million unique visitors each month. They work with custom layouts, galleries, social media, community sites, event management, forum integrations, live streaming, and more. They’ve been in business for over 14 years and have a team of over 30 freelancers.

They’ve won 6 Webby Awards, 2 Interactive Media Awards, the Gov 2.0 Grand Prize, a Communicator Award, a W3 Award, and a few Mayoral Commendations. The founded the Freelance Camp, speak at conferences, an invested over $300,000 into WordPress and Chili open source    projects.

Their client list includes:

  • eBay
  • Direct TV
  • CNN
  • BlackBerry
  • NBC
  • Holiday Inn
  • Boeing
  • Ask
  • Seagate
  • Verizon
  • Westinghouse
  • Motorola
  • And more

They show off their work through one of their 4 blogs (Articles, Technology, Lifestream, and Tribe News. You can subscribe to each one individually). This means that their portfolio can be a little difficult to find as you have to sort through job postings, awards, interviews, news, etc. Topics include updates to their own plugins, tutorials, interviews, etc.

You can talk to them about your design or development project through their contact page.

Rather than being just a design or development agency, Crowd Favorite sees themselves as a business partner. Their specialties include branding, design, user experience, development, integration, and maintenance. They work with BuddyPress, bbPress, and WooCommerce. They work with large enterprises and connect a variety of existing corporate systems. They perform heavy customization, data migration, software integration, and more.

Their team includes designers, developers, project managers, quality assurance specialists, and architects that specialize in all-things WordPress. They work from 6 different offices from around the globe.

The team teaches at WordCamps, they sponsor Junior Achievement, etc.

Clients include:

  • Direct TV
  • National Geographic
  • MailChimp
  • Mozilla
  • Disquis
  • Yahoo!
  • Microsoft
  • Monster
  • Tech Crunch
  • Discovery Education
  • Starbucks
  • Walmart
  • And more

Their portfolio includes case studies from 7 select projects with more projects and information on their blog under a category called Case Studies. This includes projects for clients such as colleges, blogs, and websites of all sizes from large to small. They also have info about plugins and themes.

You can contact them about projects through their contact page.

Humanmade is a design agency that works with large-scale sites and big-name clients worldwide. They are part of the VIP Partner program. They provide strategy and consulting, code reviews, accessibility reviews, content migrations, and code and hosting management. They do full site builds, migrations, custom development, WordPress network development, maintenance, and more. They specialize in big projects with high traffic that are technical and tricky. They even provide sample prices on their site.

The team is active in the WordPress community by developing plugins, tools, and they speak at WordCamps and Meetups.

Clients include:

  • Skype
  • Sony
  • PayPal
  • Samsung
  • Clickbank
  • News Corp
  • Automattic
  • Digital Trends
  • And more

Their portfolio shows 29 samples that includes basic websites, news blogs, personal blogs, online magazines, etc.

You can contact them for information about projects through their services page.

Daddy Design provides many online development services including WordPress. They can design and create a custom website or blog and make it SEO friendly. They can develop custom themes, plugins, widgets, layouts, and more. They like working with clients that are starting a business, branding their own merchandise, and bringing their businesses online. They strive to work at affordable prices for companies of all sizes.

They’ve been in business since 2006. Their team consists of programmers, designer, social media experts, copywriters, and WordPress experts.

Their blog includes web design tutorials. The tutorials include many topics about WordPress, plugins, handling custom code in themes, custom post types, adjusting settings in responsive sites, creating custom buttons, etc.

Clients include:

  • Nike
  • IBM
  • TNT
  • Universal
  • Spotify
  • Elle
  • VEVO
  • SanDisk
  • Wacom
  • Stanford
  • And more
Their portfolio shows 31 WordPress projects. Projects include blogs, news sites, magazines, restaurants, hotels, vacations, schools, e-stores, etc.

You can contact them for a free quote through the Request a Quote page.

WordPrax works with clients from startups to established enterprises. They do custom WordPress development for $18 an hour. They develop custom plugins and themes, SEO optimization, perform site migrations, provide 24/7 tech support, and follow ISO 9001 processes.

They have over 350 WordPress professionals and they’ve done over 50,000 projects in the 10 years they’ve been in business. Clients choose the team structure and reporting procedures. They don’t mention anything on their site about community activities, but I still included them in this list because of the client list and quality to price ratio is extremely high.

Clients include:

  • CNet
  • Popular Science
  • Kodak
  • Texaco
  • Cushman and Wakefield
  • Asos
  • Daa
  • Timr
  • And more

Their portfolio includes 15 projects ranging from schools to personal blogs to business. The projects are screenshots that open in a lightbox, giving you a close look at the client’s homepage.

You can contact them about your project through their contact page.

Range is a VIP partner that performs migrations, plugin development, code auditing, theme development and customizations, branding, UX design based on data, WordPress hosting, and website scaling

They have a small team of 5 that consists of developers, designers, a project manager, and a creative director.

They love using open source tools in their development and they love giving back to the community. They’re active in community development, they’ve provided free plugins and themes, contributed to WordPress core releases, taught 45 sessions to the global community, and they comment in repositories. They share their code and speak at international WordCamps. Their blog provides articles in web development concepts. There’s even an article about photography.

Clients include:

  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Disney
  • Ooyala
  • And more

The portfolio includes 32 case studies which gives some information about each project with lots of photos of the finished work. Projects include personal blogs, e-stores, community multi-sites, magazines, schools, news sites, personal branding, etc.

You can contact them about a project through their contact page.

WerkPress develops WordPress websites from basic sites to enterprise-level. They will also customize your current website. They use their design process to:

  • Discover – learn about the client’s culture, market, customers and competition
  • Create – use the talent’s to solve problems visually and technologically
  • Evaluate – refine the work and evaluate it against the client’s project goals

They have a team of 17 that specialize in WordPress design and development. The team consists of designers, UI/UX strategists, and creative directors. They regularly speak at and attend national WordPress events. They provide many articles about WordPress design on their blog.

Clients include:

  • NASA
  • Whirlpool
  • Flipboard
  • Glitter Guide
  • Boise State University
  • Traackr
  • Redline
  • Aveda
  • And more

Their portfolio is found at their parent division: WestWerk. The portfolio includes 12 samples that includes Boise State University, River Rush Brewer, Minnesota Opera, Pikes Peak Brewer, Marsh, KingSolutions, Essential, RN Construction, Sharper Management, Del Sol, Mien Kielo, and the United Nations.

You can contact them about a project through their contact page.

Wrapping Up

Well, that’s a look at the top best web design company in the WordPress space. They all have some things in common: they provide high quality services, they have an impressive list of clients, they have a great-looking portfolio, and they all contribute to the community in one way or another.

Now I’d like to hear from you! Did I leave out your favorite? Do you disagree with one of my choices? Do you have a design company to add? Tell us about it in the comments below!

For more details visit us @ web designing companies in Chennai

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Don’t Get Left Behind: 6 SEO Trends That’ll Affect Your Traffic

SEO services in Chennai

In the U.S. alone, we conduct an average of 12 billion web searches each month. Some of these searches are conducted by your ideal customers.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, the good news is that 70% of the links search users click on are organic results.

To truly sustain your search rankings, you need to respond to changes in search by focusing on industry trends. After all, whenever Google releases an algorithm update, the face of search changes.
You may not actually see these changes, but they’re there. That’s why you must always stay updated and align your content to user’s needs, in accordance with the then-current algorithm.
As you continually do so, not only will you generate organic traffic, but your personal brand will also take a new shape – and attracting clients will no longer be a hassle.

Blogging generates the most traffic for companies, and when you’re consistent at it, blogging leads to more search traffic. In fact, blogging is the #1 traffic-increasing factor, while SEO is #2

SEO traffic

You might see fluctuations in search rankings – that’s normal – but if you’ve built your site correctly and you’ve consistently published high-quality content, you don’t have to worry.

Use these trends to drive a steady stream of organic traffic to your pages.

Trend #1: Diminishing focus on keywords and search rankings

Search user experience is significantly affected by the devices people use: tablets, PCs, smartphones, etc.

People now consume information on platforms that weren’t there when Google launched its search engine.

For example, consider the share of digital minutes based on devices and demographics. You can see that 54% of millennials (18 – 24 years old) use search engines on their smartphones, while people in their 50s still prefer to use search on PCs.

The consumption of information across channels, devices, and applications means Google has to level the playing field.

Since 2013, there’s been a significant shift in the way Google ranks web pages. Let me share a brief case study with you that’ll show you what I mean:

Back in 2012, I met a close friend at a social media conference. There, he told me that he’d been raking organic traffic in for every keyword he chose.

He showed me a handful of his pages that ranked highly in search results. Some of his content was pure crap (sorry, dude), and yet he made a lot of money selling SEO services and affiliate commissions as well.

Fast forward to 2014 – his tune has completely changed. He’s still a friend, but he refused to change with the times. His best performing keywords tanked, his income followed suit, and most of his high-paying clients left him.

My friend failed to recognize the obvious: Focusing solely on keywords and links isn’t enough to improve search rankings. All of the SEO best practices as we know them are worthless – if you’re not meeting users’ needs.

Mind you, Google still relies on keywords to understand the specific audience that’s searching, but not as much to gauge the usefulness or relevance of your content.

Let me show you some examples:

Go ahead and search for the keyword “best gold jewelry cleaner.”
You’ll be hard-pressed to find any product page in the top 10 results. Instead, you’ll find pages with in-depth, high-quality articles.

You’d think that Google would rank a store selling gold jewelry-cleaning solutions highly. But that wasn’t the case here.

Why is this so?

It’s partly because, over the years, Google has employed skilled developers, programmers, and psychologists to help them understand and test what people really want.

In the example above, Google has found through user insights and behavior data collected over a long period of time that people looking for “gold jewelry cleaner” aren’t actually after a product, but instead they want helpful information.

They’re looking for an article or a video that’ll show them how to clean their jewelry.
Let’s look at a few other examples:

When you search for the search phrase “buy whiteboard” you get these results.

Did you notice that none of the top organic results are affiliate sites or blogs? Instead, they’re all high-authority shopping sites – Best Buy, Staples, etc.

So why did Google rank these web pages higher than sites owned by individual marketers?

Well, it’s because over time, Google has collected a lot of user behavior data that tells it these searchers want a credible shopping site. They’d rather buy a whiteboard from than from

Consequently, trying to rank for head keywords with buying intent is like trying to outrun your own shadow. It’s difficult at best – maybe even impossible.

These trends aren’t going away. It’s not like Google’s just wants to see how it goes. These changes are here to stay. Your choices are to keep doing what you’re doing or learn to adapt.
It’s the same for virtually every keyword – either content pages or top shopping sites are at the top of the results.

For instance, a search for “top hybrid bikes” yields similar results. A few years back, that keyword would have produced results including a comparison table of some sort. But today, the #1 result is a well-written article;

Is it still possible to rank highly for exact keywords? For example, when you place your main keyword in the title of your content, does it work? Yes, but there’s a catch.

The fact that you placed the keyword in the headline isn’t the determining factor it used to be. It’s the overall user experience that your web page creates that counts.

Let me show you an example using a keyword that we use all the time: “write content headlines.”
You may think that Google will rank content pages with the exact keyword in the title tag higher than other pages, but the top 10 results tell a different story:

Do you see exactly why targeting a particular keyword and hoping to rank highly for it is no longer the best SEO strategy?

Let’s take a more critical look at the above results. Notice that the #1 result contains the keyword “write an irresistible headline.” So why does it show at the very top? Where are those exact match pages?

They’re not ranking because those pages don’t provide useful information to users. People haven’t been satisfied with the pages, and so they didn’t share or link to them.
That said, there are proven ways you can still drive organic traffic. Keep your mindset focused on these goals:

a).   Build brand visibility: Think of SEO as the process of increasing brand visibility across different channels.

One way to do this is to republish your content on social media networks. For example, you can use Facebook to improve your SEO by passing link juice to your useful content pages.

And you’ll get results similar to someone who curates content. According to Curata, over 50% of marketers who curate content indicate that it’s increased their brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO, web traffic, and buyer engagement.

This means that you should get active on social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and Periscope.

The more places where your site’s mentioned, the more data Google collects on it. Eventually you’ll see an improvement in your rankings, as long as you continue to publish new content.

When you’re building brand visibility, you’ll get better traffic, regardless of whether you’re targeting a particular keyword.

Some top brands dominate Google’s top 10, not because they’re good at SEO, but because they’ve got strong social media presences. For example, ranks #1 for the popular keyword “handmade gift tags.”

Why is no site linking to Etsy’s web page? it could be that isn’t actively promoting the page. They don’t have aggressive SEOs building links for them.

So how is Etsy dominating the SERPs, then?

Etsy was able to rank #1 for a high volume keyword phrase because of its brand visibility across social media networks.

People who purchased handcrafted gift tags from loved them, and told their friends and colleagues about it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms.

You’re probably beginning to understand the trend, but does this mean that social signals improve search rankings? I can’t say that definitively since Google hasn’t said as much.

But I can say that social signals boost brand visibility, and when Google has collected a lot of that kind of data, it’ll rank the web page in question more highly.

As further proof that SEO is no longer about keywords, but brand visibility instead, the 2nd and 3rd results for the same keyword (“handmade gift tags”) are Pinterest boards.

b).  Create richer content experience: Smart SEO professionals are creating useful content these days.
They’ve come to realize that inbound marketing generates profit. According to HubSpot, “54% more leads are generated by inbound than by outbound.”

Rich content improves your customer’s experience, and when customers are happy, they’ll buy your product. The better you are at giving customers a memorable experience, the more likely they are to buy from you.

Create a richer content experience for users by answering their questions.

Since keywords are difficult to rank for these days, I recommend you use Quora to find relevant questions that your target audience is asking.

For example, if you’re selling to B2B companies, you could go to Quora and find related questions:

Quora provides what I call “conversational search terms.”

You’ll notice that certain keywords don’t look like typical keywords. For example, in the screenshot above, one of the Quora questions is:

Are your prospects using social media to find you?

If you research for keywords using Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner, you’re not likely to find any keyword that looked like that.

That’s because Google doesn’t store these conversational search terms in their database. Users may not type them into the search engine, but those questions are worth answering.

Instead of trying to compete with big brands with strong domain authority, complement what they’re doing through creation of in-depth and helpful content, by targeting conversational search terms.

If you create the right content to answer these questions, you’ll find that your conversion rate will increase.

If top brands like Amazon, Etsy, and Best Buy are already dominating for money keywords such as “buy Hp laptops,” what about other long-tail keywords such as “top places to buy HP laptops” or “where to buy HP laptops online”?

Content is the way forward. The more content you produce and distribute to build your brand visibility, the more long-tail search terms you’ll start to rank for, even if you weren’t targeting them directly.

After all, this study found that 70% of search traffic is long tail.

So for now and in the foreseeable future, there’s less focus on keywords, and more attention on user questions, insights, and intentions behind every keyword.

Trend #2: Increasing importance of social signals

I’ve already talked about the impact of social signals on search rankings, in that they improve brand visibility.

Moreover, social signals can raise domain authority and page authority, even if the links from Facebook posts and Tweets are nofollow.

When you diversify your content distribution across different social portals, especially those with strong organic performance, you’ll notice that you’ll earn more links.

A recent study on customer experience found that when people shop at your site and enjoy the experience, they’ll talk about their purchase.

However, this is a double-edged sword. News of bad customer service reaches twice as many people as praise for good customer service.

Google now reports “practically 100%” of manual actions. So often times when you discover many people giving negative reviews of a brand on social media platforms, Google will roll out a manual penalty on it.

With a manual review or action, a human being at Google will review a particular site that’s gaining some social signals and decide to issue a penalty against it (usually manual actions are indeed penalties).

The manual review might be triggered by a spam report from an outsider or just Google’s regular policing.

Manual site reviews were fully deployed a few years ago. For example, in 2011, JC Penney was hit with a 90-day penalty for paid links.

Wikipedia ranks highly for every known keyword in this world. Are they targeting these keywords just to rank them highly?

On the contrary, the site just consistently publishes great content covering every aspect of a subject. Because of this, its content is some of the best around – people link to it, recommend it, and share it on social media networks.

Of course, Wikipedia is a huge site with lots of domain authority. But that social influence they’ve been passing to their web pages is what makes them strong.

Social signals may not produce an immediate SEO result, but if you keep at it, it’ll produce results in the long-term.

There’s still a correlation between links and search rankings. It’s important to balance the equation between social signals, links and rankings – that’s where the power is.

The bottom line is that whether or not social signals improve search rankings, you should create a social presence that will give potential customers the opportunity to know your brand and promote it for you.

Get back to the objectives of networks such as Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter. These sites exist to help you connect, communicate, and give people a taste of what you’re promoting.
In my opinion, social signals produce long-term results and impact search rankings in a very significant manner.

Trend #3: Increasing value of earned links

When I began my blogging career, I believed that “if you build it, they will come.”

That never happened. Brian Dean will agree with me on this: promoting your content to increase public awareness and earned links is much more important than most bloggers realize.

Yes, links are still a determining factor in organic rankings, but the way those links come to you matters a lot.

These days, if you don’t have a proven content marketing strategy that will help you “earn” links instead of continuously chasing the next shiny link-building strategy, you’ll keep struggling to generate organic traffic.

Earned links are those links that come to you without your active participation. Just like earned media, they’re a result of the value that you deliver. Your content has to be great before someone will link to it.

In other words, when you get a link from a guest post, that’s not earned. You made it happen. But when someone writes a post and links to you (especially in a contextual link), you’ve earned that link.
Google still has a long way to go in understanding whether a link is earned naturally or built, but it’s already doing a great job.

So my advice is: Don’t worry about how Google will determine if a link is earned.

Just focus on creating awesome content, and then get it in the hands of influencers who will amplify it. You’ll observe a dramatic increase in your search performance.

Trend #4: More focus on broken link building

Many link building strategies look suspicious and may make your site susceptible to Google penalty. But with broken link building, you don’t have to worry about that.

Broken link building may perhaps be the most effective, white-hat link building strategy in years. In particular, broken link building is appealing because the success of the campaign is directly proportional to how much good you do for the web.

A broken link is simply that – a link that’s no longer functional. When you click the anchor text, it takes you to a 404 page, or an invalid page.

Out of the 5 major inbound strategies for building links, broken link building is the most effective, and a safer way to improve your search performance without raising a red flag.

Inbound links are still a powerful ranking factor that Google uses to rank web pages. But as you already know, the era of “quantity” links is long gone. What you need are quality links.

Look at links in terms of their ability to provide long-term SEO value.

Make sure that the source of your links is credible and is performing well already in search results.
The practical steps behind broken link building are straightforward:

Step #1: Find resources pages related to  your industry: Just go to Google and search for a resource page that’s relevant to you with these strings:

links + keyword
resources + your keyword
“useful links”
“useful resources”
“useful sites”
“useful websites”
“recommended links”
“recommended resources”
“recommended sites”
“recommended websites”
“suggested links”
“suggested resources”
“suggested sites”
“suggested websites”
“more links”

Let’s assume that you want to find a resources page related to “blogging.” Here’s the search string and result:

Step #2: Check the links on those web pages to identify dead or broken links: Now we have to check if there are broken links in any of these resources that Google already ranks in their top 10.

So let’s see if any of the outgoing links on are inactive.

First, visit the dead link checker tool. Plug your resource page URL into the search box. Click the “single webpage” so that only that URL will be checked. Then click the “check” button.

17 dead links in a single resource page. This is bad for or any site, really, so you’ll be doing the site owner a favor by suggesting a replacement for those links.

Step #3: Contact the site owner or editor for the site, tell them about the broken link, and suggest an alternative link – your own useful content page.

If the recipient has even basic SEO knowledge, they’ll understand the implications and respond to you.

You can model your email after this email template. Make it relevant to the site you’re targeting and send.

When you get a positive response, then you can send your relevant and irresistible resource (blog post, article, guest post, YouTube video link, PDF report download link) that can be used to replace the dead link.

You can take advantage of hundreds if not thousands of links that break every year on sites in your industry.

Pipeline Intelligence, a gas pipeline and project news source, leveraged broken link building to rank for its primary keyword “pipeline intelligence report.”

Trend #5: Brand mentions and co-citations will impact search performance

Some have called brand mentions and co-citations “building links without links.” It’s neither a new SEO term nor something that Google asked the SEO world to do.

However, it’s a strong SEO trend because of its impact on the overall perception of a link in relation to the Google Penguin update and the anti-spam update.

When Google began devaluing low-quality links, and started paying attention to the domain and page strengths of incoming links, co-citations became extremely popular.

What’s a co-citation?

Co-citation is the new way to amplify the power of your links without direct linking.

KISSmetrics defines co-citation as the situation whereby one website or brand is mentioned but not linked to by two different sources.

For example, Site B mentions Site C, and vice versa with no actual hyperlinks – just a mention.

If that sounds hopelessly complicated, just keep in mind that what Google is after is how your content-driven strategy helps you build influence, such that other people will mention your brand – not because of any actual links between you and that other site, but because you deserve it.

The concept is simple: “good websites link to other good websites.”

For example, I link to Moz blog posts a lot, not because I want to help them improve their rankings (that’s not my job), but to provide my readers with a useful piece of content related to the topic that I’m writing about.

There’s no single specific strategy to get your brand or site mentioned or co-cited. It boils down to creating high-value content on a consistent basis.

For example, when you think of SEO, which blogs come to mind? Probably the same ones that come to my mind: Moz, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, QuickSprout.

When you think of blogging, which blogs come to mind? Problogger, BlogTyrant, Bloggingwizard, etc.

And for content marketing? I’d recommend Content Marketing Institute, Copyblogger, MarketingProfs, Content Marketing Up, Convince and Convert, etc.

You get the point.

If you want to get brand mentions from other blogs, start by creating epic content. With epic content, you can command attention and get your content in the hands of influencers who’ll amplify your reach.

Trend #6: Optimized search across platforms, devices, and channels

Are you prepared for the mobile gold rush?

Your target audience is no longer in one spot on one device. Mobile has taken over.

Let’s try a little multiple-choice quiz: Considering the numerous devices and platforms that your target audience browses the web with, which device should you optimize for?

 Phone watches

Trick question. There isn’t one single answer. The answer is “E. All of the above.”

Google wants to satisfy users, no matter what device they’re using. The mobile-friendly update which became effective on April 21, 2015 reinforced the importance of giving mobile users an equal playground with PC users.

You’ll notice that in this post, I’ve stressed the importance of the SEO trend towards emphasizing what users want instead of the keywords they use.

That’s the same thing that’s at play here. One of the predictions in Q3 of 2014 was that mobile local search volume will exceed desktop by 27.8 billion queries.

Google said that more of its searches take place on mobile devices than on desktop computers in 10 countries, including two of the most populated nations (US and Japan).

Moreover, a recent mobile search study by Yahoo! Hong Kong revealed that the total number of searches on mobile devices has seen a 43% increase year-over-year.

The study also shows how Hong Kong citizens conduct searches on these two popular platforms:

When you think of optimizing your content for mobile users, 3 things should come to mind:
i).  Search: Identify the search queries, ads, and keywords that are bringing users to your site’s pages from different devices.

Weigh the search queries against each other to fully understand how to create the right content mix.

ii).  Content: Which content draws the most users to your site and landing pages? In each stage of the customer buying cycle, what content format is gaining the most traction?

Do you see any difference in the content that mobile users want vs. what desktop users want?

iii).  Workflow: How does your content on the page perform overall? Do the layout and menus help users navigate your web pages easily?

You can find out when you use visitor monitoring tools such as What path do mobile phone users take, compared to the paths taken by tablet users and desktop PC users?

Check your Google Analytics for user data. Identify the landing pages (pages that users entered your site on), and exit pages (pages they exited from).

All of these activities will reveal a lot about user behavior and how to structure your content to appeal to your users, regardless of the platform, channel, or device they’re using to access your site.


Given the real-time nature of searches and how Google may decide to rank web pages tomorrow, you need to get prepared beforehand by expanding your brand’s social media presence.

This helps you build strong influence and enhance brand mentions and co-citation, which are social signals that will impact your search rankings in the long-run.

Personally, I like to know as much as possible about the latest Google update and trends in organic search rankings, but I never let the changes control how I see SEO as a whole.

The time-tested SEO best practices continue to produce the best results, when paired with attention to user experience.

For example, I consider keywords a tool that allows me to understand my customers. It gives you insight about user psychology and how to persuade your users to trust you and buy from you.

By identifying these keyword phrases, I get to know firsthand the thought pattern of my ideal customer.

So I focus on creating useful and interesting content that addresses their thoughts and desires, without overusing the keywords.

If you decide today to consistently create the best content you can – content that’s better than what’s out there, – and promote it across social media platforms, you’ll ultimately improve your search rankings, drive organic traffic, and more importantly sustain your rankings.

Which other SEO trends do you think have a strong impact in search rankings and organic traffic generation?

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Social Media Marketing In 2016

Earlier this week we covered the ineffective, outdated social media tactics that should no longer be used in 2016. But what about the new tactics brands should be leveraging? Below are five of the top social media efforts that marketing professionals should consider utilizing next year in order to make an impact and better connect with their audiences.

The five things you should be doing in social media marketing in 2016 are:

1 – Engage With Bloggers and Social Media Influencers

You’ve likely heard of brands partnering with bloggers and social media influencers or celebrities, and it’s for good reason – it works. According to RhythmOne (formerly Burst Media) marketers made an average of $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 of paid media spent on influencer marketing in 2014. By all estimations, this is only set to continue or even increase. Nielsen has reported that 92% of consumers trust earned media (such as recommendations from friends and family) above all other forms of advertising; and with ad blocking likely to become a larger problem for marketers in 2016, gaining earned media will become exceedingly important.

social media marketing
Social Media Marketing

2 – Start Live Streaming

Whether you’re B2C, B2B, a non-profit or a personality, live streaming is something to try in 2016. Consider these ideas: B2C companies or personalities can show the “behind-the-scenes” perspective or “the face behind the brand” to humanize themselves and forge connections and loyalty. B2B companies can stream valuable information to their current and potential customers by explaining how their offerings can benefit the viewer, or provide tips to help the viewer do their job with better quality, efficiency or results. Live streaming can allow non-profits to pull on heart strings by showing the real time impact they are making or the hard work and dedication of their team. This is just scratching the surface of the many beneficial uses of live streaming for brands. It’s no longer just Meerkat and Periscope (not to mention Google GOOGL +1.43% Hangouts) as options either. There are now companies like and most recently Facebook, proving the growth of live streaming is likely to continue.

3 – Social Media Advertising

Let’s start by being clear that organic social media efforts, such as posting to your brand’s social media channels or engaging in online conversations, is different than paid social media efforts, such as Facebook FB +2.61% or Twitter TWTR +5.88% advertising. They are separate practices that both  appear on social media channels, but they co-exist and benefit each other in many ways. According to Forrester Consulting, seeing ads on social media channels is the top way social media users find out about new brands, products or services. Since the majority of U.S. adults use social media, this is impactful. eMarketer also shares that between 20-25% of people visit the store or website after seeing a social media ad on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest; and between 14-17% bought the product or service. If you’re not already utilizing this channel, it’s time to develop a social media marketing strategy (and budget) for 2016.

4 – Offer Deals or Promotions

Would you like to develop a larger audience base, gain more customers, and measure conversions from social media in 2016? Treating your social media fans to special offers is a great way to achieve all three. Your loyal customers might connect with your brand on social media because they love you. But eMarketer reports that most people do so because they are interested in buying your product, receiving an incentive (i.e. sweepstakes, discount, or gift card) or to get regular coupons and promotions. Mixing special offers into your content calendar is a way to keep both the brand and consumer happy.
social media marketing

5 – Begin Employee Advocacy Campaigns

Most companies spend a considerable amount of time trying to get external audiences to talk about their brand. But what about activating your internal audiences (i.e. employees)? It’s generally easier and less expensive than other advocacy campaigns, and who better to promote the brand than your own team? As mentioned previously, more people will trust this word-of-mouth marketing (even if coming from an employee) than they will hearing it from the brand itself. Brands such as IBM have succeeded with employee advocacy campaigns and today’s social media managers can get assistance from several platforms that exist solely for this function.

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