Google Panda Update Coming Soon and More Search Marketing News

June 18, 2015 by

Search News Round-Up

The search marketing industry is always changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on the latest news and best practices. Here’s a round-up of some of the most recent updates and trends. Hope you enjoy!

Google Panda Update SEO News

1. Google Panda Update Coming Soon Earlier this month, Google’s Gary Illyes announced the new Panda update will be released in the coming weeks. Illyes said the update will be more of a “data refresh” rather than an algorithmic change. What does this mean? It’s hard to tell now, but Illyes speculates some sites suffering from this algorithm may see a recovery in the future.

2. Domain Authority Decline Did you recently notice a decline in your Domain Authority? Don’t worry, so did we. Early last week, Moz released their latest Mozscape Index leaving many perplexed as to why their Domain Authority dropped drastically. This update includes even fewer URLs, root domains, subdomains and total links than the previous Index from May 5. The good news is that Domain Authority is a relative metric and is most valuable when examined against a group of similar sites. We would suggest looking to see if your competitors’ Domain Authorities dropped as well, and if they did, you don’t have much to worry about and should continue monitoring and optimizing your site as usual. It’s always a bummer to see your Domain Authority drop when you’ve been working to gain quality links, but remember it can take 2-3 indexes before Moz recognizes the new links, so don’t give up just yet.

3. Google “Near Me” Searches Double According to Google, search queries containing phrases like “nearby” or “near me” have doubled in the past year with 80 percent of searches coming from mobile devices. In response, Google has launched a new Nearby Business mobile ad product tool that features buttons to get directions or to click to call a business. A click to buy button will also start appearing on select search ads soon.

4. Google TV Attribution Last year, Google released Adometry TV Attribution, which measures the online impact of offline channels such as television and radio. Recently, Google announced that search query information is now being integrated with Rentrak airings data to help marketers better understand the important searches their broadcast investments generate.  Broadcast media doesn’t only drive people directly to websites—it drives them to search.  According to Google, “TV attribution allows companies to analyze minute-to-minute aggregated Google Search query data against spot-related keywords to detect and attribute search ‘micro-conversions’ to specific TV airings.” With this data, brands can better assess their broadcast investments, keyword performance and ad creative.   Check back over the next few weeks for more SEO news and the latest updates from key players in the world of search.

What is Considered a Good Domain Authority?

June 8, 2015 by

Our SEO team is often asked by clients, “What is a good Domain Authority?” and “What should our Domain Authority be?” These questions are tricky to answer as a website’s Domain Authority, often written as DA, is the combination of many factors. With many misconceptions and opinions floating around about what a good Domain Authority is, it’s time to set the record straight.

Before diving into what is considered to be a “good” domain authority, there are a few things you should know:

  • Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) created by Moz that predicts how high your website is likely to rank in Google’s search results.
  • Domain Authority is measured by dozens of factors, primarily link metrics such as how many domains are linking to your site and how authoritative (trusted) those links are
  • Because there are many factors affecting Domain Authority, improving it is difficult to do and can take time

So, What is a “Good” Domain Authority?

While in a perfect world everyone would have a Domain Authority of 100, only websites like Facebook and Google have a perfect score. Therefore, it’s unlikely your website will score in the upper echelon. Some SEO experts say a good website is one with a score of 35­­-50 and an outstanding website is one with a score of 50 and above, but the truth is, there’s no all-encompassing answer.

There is a common misconception that Domain Authority is a measure of your SEO efforts. However, it’s really more of a competitive metric best used to compare your site against others in your space.

Instead of fixating on a random number, compile a list of your competitors’ Domain Authorities and set the highest number as your benchmark goal. Don’t get bogged down about your score of 39. As long as you have a site that competes with the authorities of your competitors, you’re in good shape and are likely to rank higher in search results.

There are ways to bump up your score, like gaining more authoritative backlinks, getting rid of spam links and creating lots of engaging, linkable content. But, increasing your Domain Authority takes time, so don’t expect to go from a 20 to a 50 in a matter of months. Patience is a virtue!

Putting the “Y” back in Marketing – Marketing Questions to Ask

June 1, 2015 by

The Arketi team has started asking “why?” more. It’s not that we’ve regressed back to our toddler days. Rather, we believe this simple question has the power to make us, and our clients, better marketers.

As any 4-year-old will tell you, the power of “why?” lies in its implicit questioning of the status quo. Just because something’s always been done one way, doesn’t mean it should continue to be. After all, repeating the same action but expecting different results is Einstein’s definition of insanity.

So let’s put the “why?” back in marketing, by reminding ourselves to question four commonly held assumptions.

Why this target?

Our firm recently hosted a roundtable for some 70 B2B marketing and PR executives. Nearly all agreed that small, tightly defined prospect lists – maybe as few as 50 or 100 names – are the new norm. Shotgun campaigns aimed at a broad list of targets simply no longer pay off. These days, we see Marketing working with Sales to define highly targeted groups of prospects by asking, “why is this prospect group a true bull’s-eye for us?”Marketing questions to ask

Why this content?

At the same CMO roundtable, 9 out of 10 marketers said they plan to develop more content in the year ahead. That said, all agreed that content is under greater scrutiny and subject to higher expectations. The “content for content’s sake” approach of recent years has led to content overload, and untenable marketplace noise. Avoid content fatigue by asking, “why is this content something a solid prospect will value?”

Why this channel?

In the rush to jump on the social media bandwagon and leverage marketing automation, many of us are guilty of putting channel above the content in their marketing mix. Now dawns the realization that channels are key but not all channels are right for all content, or all audiences. Pinterest for engineers, anyone? Let’s start every campaign by asking, “why does this communications channel trump audience or offer?”

Why this metric?

Big data is powerful. But it can also mean big headaches. Big dirty data is like a New Year’s Day hangover that won’t go away. Many marketers are waking up to the reality that 20–30 percent of prospects in their databases go bad annually. We all acknowledge data and analytics are no longer nice-to-haves but must-haves. But before we open the data floodgates even wider, let’s ask ourselves, “why is this a metric we need to know?”

“Why why why?” is a new mantra for B2B marketers when it comes to marketing questions to ask. Answering the “Why?” ensures marketing leaders, teams and outside partners put themselves in the best position to drive bottom-line results and deliver business value. As the art and science of marketing continue to merge, let’s all heed Einstein’s other sage advice, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Searching For Leads Online – Search Optimization

May 27, 2015 by

Online search lets scrappy startups be found by new customers as easily as established providers. Which sounds great – unless you’re the established provider.

That was the challenge facing Ian Oxman, vice president of marketing for Aderant. It’s his job to ensure Aderant – the world’s largest independent provider of legal software – remains the market leader and is included on every potential buyer’s shortlist.

When every brand is shouting, “shout louder” isn’t the answer. Instead, this savvy marketing VP decided to shout smarter.

It’s a cliché – and probably unfair – that whenever you talk with a lawyer, “the meter is running.” But the truth is, in the majority of legal firms, tracking how much time is spent on each client’s case is still essential to billing and profitability.

These days, most attorneys have moved from paper timesheets to automated time tracking. Like everyone else, the legal profession increasingly relies on technology for documentation, scheduling, and of course, billing. Legal software is big business, and there are plenty of providers vying for a slice of the attorney’s IT budget.

Banking on ranking

Like all of us, law firms considering new software usually start their search online. So, Oxman was concerned to find that Aderant’s website was not “ranking” – displaying near the top of the page – in Google’s results pages. Legal software is a hot space these days, and competitors were drowning out even well-established providers. Not being seen could mean not being shortlisted – and that could mean lost sales.

Aderant was already working with Arketi Group on a number of marketing initiatives, but the BtoB agency also has a thriving search practice, so Oxman teamed with Arketi digital marketing consultant Amy Jones to tackle his Google visibility challenge. She quickly identified multiple areas for improvement, starting with basic search engine optimization techniques, such as optimized title tags, description tags, and strategic internal linking.

Additionally, many of the sites that ranked better than Aderant in search results pages had been around longer, and as a result, had more incoming links from other sites – the most important factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. Aderant needed some innovative strategies to cultivate more incoming links from other respected websites.

Diagnose, then prescribe

Arketi started by developing a keyword strategy for Aderant. Using a mix of analysis and brainstorming, the team developed a list of all the words and phrases prospective buyers might type into Google when searching for legal software, and analyzed how frequently each term was being searched for.

Then they reviewed Aderant’s website to find pages with content containing or related to those potential search terms. A search term for which there was no obvious page of content indicated a missed opportunity to appear in search results. New page content would need to be written specifically to target users searching for these terms.

Arketi also helped Aderant optimize existing pages that had the potential to rank better for frequently-searched terms (aka search optimization). One tactic was to embed product collateral into the pages. This enriches the site for visitors who might find it convenient to download a fact sheet; more importantly, when “structured data” mark-up is applied, it helps the search engines better understand what each page is about.

Staying on top of things

Google’s algorithm assigns particular weight to pages that have many incoming links from other sites, so developing more links was key to increasing and maintaining Aderant’s rankings. Arketi approached link-building in classic PR fashion – strategically “pitching” great content to relevant, industry sites.

Fortunately, Aderant already had strong collateral with which to start this process, and the team worked to supplement this content by creating additional compelling “linkable assets.” An existing whitepaper was distilled into a catchy infographic, and a second infographic was created to outline the findings of an industry survey.

Content pages were developed with well-crafted copy about each infographic. Arketi then pitched the content to influential legal industry bloggers and sites, many of which embedded the infographics – along with the all-important link back to Aderant as the source.

Moving on up

Organic search optimization is not an overnight process; patience and persistence are called for. But sure enough, within a few months, the Aderant site began to show ranking improvements.

This time last year, Aderant ranked on the first page of Google for four of its target terms; today, it ranks for 21 terms. On Bing, it’s a similar picture: at the start, Aderant was not on the first page for any target term; today, it ranks for 18. This bump in search visibility has paid off in site traffic. Initially, the site received around 5,200 visits a month, from 3,700 visitors (some visit than once). In recent months, those numbers have averaged almost double that.

Much of this improvement has been the result of Arketi’s link-building strategy. Referral traffic – that is, visitors arriving on the site by clicking a link on another site – has increased 34 percent year-on-year. Indeed, just one of these link-building blog posts alone – “The Emergence of Tigers and Bears and Other Law Firm Trends,” which includes an infographic and survey findings – has drawn several hundreds of visitors to the site.

When Oxman looks back to where the site was a year ago compared to its performance today, it’s clear the search effort has paid off. Not that he spends much time looking back. Search marketing is an ongoing battle, so the Aderant and Arketi teams are already working on new strategies for maintaining their hard-won position and advancing the brand’s visibility online.

Mixology Monday – Limoncello

May 4, 2015 by

Our last #MixologyMonday was a bit special. It was several weeks in the making, and it helped ring in out very on Holiday, Arketi day!

This isn’t a drink you can have fast, but the anticipation is part of the fun. It’s a great refreshing drink to start off Spring and Summer.

Here is our setup:


I prefer using the Reyka Vodka as it has a cleaner taste after absorbing the oils of the lemons. The bottle is from Ikea, a bit of food grade cheesecloth from the supply store, and the key here is to use organic lemons. These lemons are going to be releasing all of their oil into the liquor. Make sure they are as clean  and as pesticide free as possible. Then, suspend the lemons over the liquor using the cheesecloth to hold the lemons and sealing them within.


Once you suspend the lemons inside, leave it to sit.

Four weeks later…the fun part comes!

Once it’s done sitting for the full month, pour the lemon mixture into a new clean bottle, straining out any sediment that might have come from the lemons or cheesecloth. I use a coffee filter here, but if you want it to be a bit cloudy, a standard strainer will work.  Pop it into the freezer, and let it sit!

This is where I diverge from many of the recipes. Most recipes have you mix in your simple syrup immediately but I prefer to chill it in it’s own. I used rock sugar from a local asian market to give it a more earthy flavor, but white fine sugar will work just fine.

Here we are all ready to go. Combine the ice cold and frosty limoncello, cold simple syrup, a dash of fresh lemon juice and a bit of lemon zest in each glass.

What’s so lovely about doing it this way is that you can vary the proportions of syrup to alcohol on a glass by glass basis. Making it stronger or sweeter depending on personal tastes. I’ve found the best ratio is 1:1 of alcohol and syrup, then just a splash of lemon juice to the mix.


It’s a great as an after dinner drink or just to end a warm day with. Try making some yourself this Summer!

You can find more details and a full recipe here and here.

Mobile-Friendly as a Ranking Signal for Google

April 21, 2015 by

Google is rolling out an updated algorithm – that factors in “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal – on April 21 (that’s today!).

Clients are asking us a few questions.

  1. 1. What does this mean?

Google will be increasing the visibility of sites that are optimized for mobile.

  1. 2. What should we be doing?

If you don’t’ have a mobile optimized site, you should begin work to create one. Don’t freak out though. Google is not going to penalize your site because it is not mobile-friendly. Google may, however, rank another site that is mobile-friendly – when a user queries a term that is relevant to what you offer – over yours.

If you have a mobile optimized site, good news for you. Your site may now perform better than it was on the search engines because it may outrank those that are not mobile-friendly. Think more traffic!

We think the most important thing to point out is, your site should be optimized for mobile, regardless of Google’s algorithm update. A mobile optimized site will improve site performance and conversions rates. It will provide users – who are more than 60% likely to use a mobile device or tablet to perform research (comScore report) – a better experience. If you’re site is not optimized for mobile already, this should have been on your radar prior to Google’s announcement of the algorithm update. Don’t you want to improve site performance? But more importantly, don’t you want more conversions?

If mobile optimization is not a top priority for your company, here’s a push to make it one.

We’re constantly telling clients that first and foremost, do things on your site that will improve the user experience. Usually, those activities are beneficial for search as well. Google’s algorithm update is a great example of that case in point. Optimize your site for mobile – which will improve a user’s experience – and Google will reward you for it.


When Bad Pitches Happen to Good Journalists

April 7, 2015 by

Quick Tips for Delivering Value to Reporters

Imagine for a moment that a majority of the people you work closest with are completely dissatisfied with your contributions. Pretty awful thought, right? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what PR professionals are facing with journalists. According to PRNewser and Forbes, a whopping 68 percent or journalists are unhappy with the current state of PR pitches, a.k.a. our emails (and bad pitches).

Let’s take a cue from Olivia Pope and “handle” this pitching problem. PR pros can’t afford to waste opportunities to generate awareness and earn visibility for the brands and products they represent. The following are a few quick tips for delivering valuable pitches:

  • Do Your Research

While there isn’t a silver bullet for securing news coverage, the more tailored your pitch is, the more likely you’ll earn media interest. Fire up Google and research outlets and reporters that cover the topic you’re pitching. Then craft a personalized email that ties your story idea to their specific beat.

  • Tell a Compelling Story

Relevance is important, but keep in mind, just because a reporter covers technology doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll cover your product or company. In other words, give the reporter a compelling story to tell. A good rule of thumb: focus less on the actual product/company and more on the people it helps and the impact it makes.

  • Paint the Picture with Visuals

Take your story a step further, and show journalists why it’s newsworthy. Part of journalists’ dissatisfaction with PR pitches is the lack of visuals supplied. In fact, a recent survey from ISEBOX states that 80 percent of journalists feel frustrated in needing to spend more than 30 minutes collecting visual content for stories. Have a photo, infographic, or video that supplements your pitch? Share it!

To sum up, quality is always better than quantity when it comes to pitching. Before reaching out to a reporter make sure your pitch is valuable by ensuring it’s relevant, compelling, visual, and of course, brief.

How do you add value to your pitches? Share your tips with us.


Georgia’s 2015 State of the Industry Report

March 30, 2015 by

Last week, the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) released its 2015 State of the Industry Report featuring insights into the rapidly changing landscape of Georgia’s technology industry. Specifically, the report dives into technology job growth, STEM education and the latest and greatest Georgia-grown technology platforms.

To check it out for yourself, visit the interactive website where you can learn about the 10 key findings.





TAG is a leading industry association dedicated to educating, promoting, influencing and uniting the technology industry in Georgia. This report contains information on the current state of this industry as well as results from our latest TAG Technology Decision Makers Survey primary research study.

Rise of the Chief Marketing Tech (and Sales) Officer

March 24, 2015 by

I recently heard Bill Nussey, president and CEO of Silverpop, speak to a group of marketers where he advocated the need for organizations to create a chief marketing tech officer role. The notion is interesting and something I’ve seen discussed across several marketing blogs.

I’d like to take that thought a step further and propose that companies create a Chief Marketing Tech Sales Officer. After all, these three functions working closely with prospects and customers, and it just seems to make sense to have one person responsible for all.

While I love the idea of a CMTSO who breaks down department silos and seamlessly collaborates with everyone across the enterprise, will there ever be one? Probably not. It’s a bit far-fetched to think one person could or should assume responsibility for all three roles. However, I can see the CMO naturally taking the lead on owning the customer experience over all three functions. Apparently I’m not alone …

From a January AdvertisingAge article, a Gartner study revealed 25 percent of CMOs said the most-increased expectation CEOs have for them is to lead customer experience.

But what’s shocking is that customer experience is the area marketers have made the least progress in.

Why the disconnect? Is customer experience simply the latest buzz phrase that everyone expects to fade away? Or do CMOs lack the skills necessary to bridge organizational divides?

Tell us what you think. What’s the current state of CMOs, and what does the future hold for them?

Mixology Mondays at Arketi: Paloma

March 9, 2015 by

#MixologyMonday is back for round two at Arketi Group. The second installment of mixology Monday was headlined by a beachy drink to get us ready for the warm Spring weather to come: the Paloma.

Hailed the most popular drink in Mexico, little is known about the historical origin of the Paloma. However, it is a common belief that the tasty cocktail got its name from the popular folk song “La Paloma” – meaning “the dove” in English – written by Spanish composer Sebastián Yradier in the early 1860s.



Serves 1


1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup mezcal or tequila

1/4 cup club soda


Pour some kosher salt on a plate. Rub half of rim of a highball glass with a grapefruit wedge; dip rim of glass in salt. Combine 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, and 1 teaspoon sugar in glass; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in 1/4 cup mezcal or tequila, add ice, and top off with 1/4 cup club soda. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

To make it skinny, substitute agave for sugar!

We heard a number of our clients love a little tequila, so we were very excited to share this recipe for our Mixology Mondays. Be sure to share you favorite tequila cocktails with us in the comments section below!