I’ve noticed a trend in my consulting business of late that more and more businesses are interested in my SEO coaching services rather than a full-on SEO program.
Hiring an SEO coach to complement the DIY SEO efforts can be ideal for some businesses that have a marketing staff with technically savvy employees.
DIY SEO helps keep costs down over hiring a professional SEO consultant to manage your entire campaign, so long as you’re able to efficiently manage the SEO process in-house.
That said, I’ve put together this list of 5 must-have tools for DIY SEO, should you choose to keep your SEO efforts in-house.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner
If you’re conducting a DIY SEO campaign, you’re most likely already in-tune with who your potential customers are and what they might be searching for to find you online.
That said, the first task to address in DIY SEO after you’ve identified your target audience and come up with a rough draft site map of your website is to conduct keyword research around your business’ products or services.
A great tool to conduct this keyword research is the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. It’s free of charge easy to use.
Then simply start typing in relevant keyword phrases at the top of the page, and click on the “Search” button to get a list of suggested keywords to target and what their monthly search volumes are.
An SEO Friendly Content Management System
Most companies don’t have a full time development staff to manage their website content updates, so it’s more than likely your marketing team will need a dynamic website that’s built on an SEO friendly content management system (CMS) in order to make site updates.
It’s important to make sure that the CMS platform your company chooses to build its website on is fully equipped with everything you need in order to execute your DIY SEO strategy. If you’re using WordPress, you need to make sure you have a reputable SEO plugin such as the Yoast WordPress SEO pack or the All-in-One SEO pack. Both of these SEO plugins give DIY SEOers the ability to manage the essential on-site SEO elements for DIY SEO including Meta Titles and Descriptions, SEO Friendly URLs, Canonical URLs, etc.
You could also choose another SEO friendly CMS such as Exponent CMS, which is my personal favorite, that has each of these SEO friendly features self-contained within the system.
Another great free tool provided by Google is the Google Analytics, which allows you to continually monitor you website’s traffic to help you identify trends and traffic sources. For those who are conducting a DIY SEO campaign, Google Analytics is essential for tracking the organic search traffic that comes to your website from your DIY SEO efforts.
In addition, you can set up Goal Conversions that tracks important visitor conversion activity such as an online sale, a contact form submission or an email newsletter signup. Staying on top of your website’s analytics can give you the information you need to make any necessary tweaks to your DIY SEO plan and to track its progress over time.
Webmaster Tools are an essential configuration resource for DIY SEO that you’ll need to effectively manage how your website is indexed by the search engines. Once you’ve verified ownership and installed webmaster tools onto your website, you can get access to a bevy of information of how Google sees the overall health of your website.
You can get information on crawling errors and Robots.txt notifications that a search engine spider encounters, as well as get a better picture on what relevancy your website has on certain keywords and the traffic/impressions that you’ve garnered from them.
You can also submit XML sitemaps for your website that tell Google about each page on your website, how often they’re updated, etc. Webmaster Tools also allows you to request that certain pages be removed from the search index.
Moz.com Pro Tools Suite
No I’m not a paid endorser of Moz.com’s Pro Tools, but I’ve found them to be a great resource for a variety of on-site and off-site SEO metrics, and if you’re doing a DIY SEO campaign, I highly recommend you subscribe to them.
Yes, there is a cost to the Moz.com Tools, starting at $99/month for up to 5 campaigns, but I’ve found the insight they provide to be well worth the cost.
There are multiple features to the Moz.com Pro Tools, which include:
- keyword ranking and organic traffic data reports that run once a week
- a letter grading (A to F) on the effectiveness of the on-site SEO that you’ve done for certain keywords on a page by page basis
- crawl diagnostics that identify critical errors, warnings, and notifications that you need to be aware of on your website that might hinder your DIY SEO efforts
- competitive link analysis that allows you to compare your website’s link profile authority with up to 3 of your competitors
- the Open Site Explorer tool which allows you to analyze your back link profile, as well as the link profiles of your competitors
- a social dashboard that tracks social engagement such as Retweets, Fans, Likes and Traffic
If you’re going to take on the task of planning an executing a DIY SEO campaign, make sure you’re well equipped with helpful tools that can assist you along the way.
One of the primary challenges that businesses face in online marketing is keeping their existing customers engaged with their brand, as well as being able to interact with potential new customers who visit their websites.
Below we list several website optimization methods that can help make your website more interactive for users to help your business achieve this level of engagement with site visitors.
Produce Content Worth Reading
The most beneficial strategy you implement to make your website more interactive is to develop content that is worthy of interaction.
No matter what format you post your content, whether that be in the form of a sharable video or in a blog post that allows commenting from users, if the content isn’t valuable or interesting to a user, they won’t be compelled to interact by leaving a comment, liking your posts, or sharing your content with others.
Integrate Social Media Elements
Integrating social media elements into your website design is an excellent way to make your website more interactive.
Among the social media elements you can implement to make your site more interactive for users are social sharing icons so your site visitors can easily share your exceptional blog posts, videos, web pages easily with their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Pinterest contacts.
Integrating other social media elements such as your Facebook or Twitter feeds, so that your social media pages are easily accessible, or integrating “Sign in with Twitter” or “Sign in with Facebook” login options also makes your website more interactive – and socially relevant.
Provide Incentives to Your Site Visitors
Keeping your site visitors engaged by offering incentives to keep coming back to your website is a great way to make your site more interactive for users.
Offering them discounts on services, awarding random giveaways for liking or sharing your content, providing coupons or free information when they sign up for your company eNewsletter or a free eBook are all excellent ways to make your site more interactive for users.
Make it Easy to Contact You
This might be a simple suggestion, but it goes a long way for the overall effectiveness of your website for users. Ask yourself some of these questions:
- how easy it is to find your company’s phone number or email address?
- is there an easily accessible contact form allowing users to get more information about your products or services?
- does your website offer a live chat feature for users to immediately interact with someone in your organization who can get them the information they’re looking for?
If the answers to these questions aren’t positive, you’ve got room to improve when it comes to making your website more interactive for users.
These website optimization strategies are just the tip of the iceberg when making your website more interactive. If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your company website or effective website design strategies, contact me today for a free consultation.
In small business, every decision is a major one. Hiring the wrong employee, choosing the wrong vendor, or spending your marketing dollars in the wrong place can set you back dramatically.
For small businesses that see great opportunity to expand their client base online, choosing a competent search engine optimization (SEO) consultant to make their investment is essential.
SEO is the process of building a website’s relevance, credibility and authority with the search engines. These three objectives work to develop higher natural rankings (and in turn more search traffic) for the website when users search for specific keywords. Small businesses often times work with SEO consultants to help them achieve these objectives, but not all of them end up achieving their ultimate goal.
Why, you ask? Because not all SEO consultants are built equal. The truth is, some folks out there who market themselves as “SEO experts” simply just throw up smoke screens (and excuses) in front of their clients until the money runs out.
If your small business is in the market for a competent SEO consultant to help execute a small business SEO strategy, here are 5 questions you should consider asking them to help qualify their competence:
1) Do You Guarantee No. 1 Rankings?
This question will quickly quickly help you determine whether the SEO consultant is worthy of your trust. The fact is, No SEO consultant can guarantee natural rankings because they aren’t the ones who own the search engines! If you run into a consultant who promises you No. 1 rankings, you might want to think twice about their credibility and whether or not you want to do business with them.
2) How Do You Build Rankings For Your Clients?
SEO isn’t brain surgery. Be wary of SEO consultants who overuse SEO jargon and a mess of other technical terms to explain how they execute their clients’ SEO programs. Yes, SEO is a practice that is based on a multitude of different factors, but it can easily be explained in layman’s terms.
Make sure that the SEO consultant covers both on-site and off-site strategies that they utilize. Among the topics your SEO consultant will discuss are:
- Keyword research and competitive analysis
- Meta tag optimization and optimization of on-page content
- Off-site strategies such as Content Marketing, Social Media, Blogging, etc.
Be sure they don’t subscribe to any automated SEO linking networks to help build rankings for their clients – these programs to far more harm than good.
3) How Important is it that I get Involved with Social Media?
Nowadays if your Internet marketing strategy doesn’t include social media, your strategy isn’t living up to its full potential. Social media signals and social sharing is a part of how Google ranks your website’s content. The more it’s shared, Liked, Tweeted, and +1ed, the better the opportunity it will have to rank toward the top of the search results.
Social media also affords businesses an opportunity to increase the awareness of their brand with both prospective and existing customers. Keeping consumers engaged with your brand through social media by asking them questions, giving away freebies, Re-Tweeting them or giving them a mention helps to build trust, long-term brand loyalty, and keeps your company Top of Mind. While this doesn’t pertain entirely to SEO, the consultant should be aware of the power of social media can have for small businesses in growing their online presence.
4) Can You Provide Examples of Your Work?
This question’s purpose is multifaceted. First, it helps you determine the quality of work that the SEO consultant has produced for other clients, including how competitive the keywords were they achieved rankings for and what industries they’ve performed SEO for before.
Secondly, the answer of this question can give you a better idea of the typical caliber of client the SEO consultant works with and what the consultant’s fees might be to take on your project.
5) What Reporting Should I Expect and How Often?
Staying on top of the overall performance of your campaign is a must – especially for small businesses. Knowing where your marketing dollars are being invested and what you’re getting in return for that investment is an important expectation to have when selecting your SEO consultant.
Among the reporting you should expect from your consultant are:
- Website traffic reports segmenting Direct, Organic and Paid search referrals
- Ranking reports for your targeted keywords for the three major search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing)
- Link Building/Content Marketing reports: What articles where submitted and where.
- Citation Building Reports: What local business directories were claimed, optimized, etc. for the time period.
- An analysis of the performance and suggestions moving forward.
The frequency of these reports might vary from report to report. Some of these reports could be delivered on a weekly basis (Traffic, Keyword Rankings), while others might be delivered on a monthly basis. Be sure your SEO consultant has a well-structured reporting system to keep you well informed on the performance of your campaign.
These five questions will go a long way in helping your small business determine which small business SEO consultant is the most qualified to take on your project! If there is any way I can be of help to you in your SEO endeavors, feel free to drop me a line!
Despite what some search engine optimizers might believe about the value of article marketing as a viable resource for SEO campaigns, it is clear to me that articles definitely hold significant value. It was really a knee-jerk reaction for SEOs to discredit the use of article marketing for off-site optimization in a post-Penguin landscape.
I can see why some of the SEOs (that got penalized by Penguin) believe in this negative stigma for articles, but the way SEOs were using articles (spam) prior to Penguin and the way articles should be utilized now is the main reason why I still see the inherent value of article marketing.
The key to the value of articles nowadays is the same key to any content that is produced in a post-Penguin world. Content needs have value!
Well-written and well-optimized articles still have great value for organic/natural search, and for multiple reasons. If an article has value it can have one or multiple benefits, including:
- Becoming link bait for users who enjoy the content (authority)
- Providing contextually relevant content for carefully thought-out back links to your money pages (relevancy)
- Your article being shared with other users (viral content)
Again, the key to article marketing in today’s SEO landscape is developing high quality content that is both interesting and valuable to readers.
So if you think you’re up to the task of crafting this level of exceptional content for article marketing, here are my 5 favorite article marketing platforms that you should give a try.
Ezine was the first article marketing platform I ever tried out. At first I was a little put off by Ezine’s slow-to-publish ways after submitting my article content, but after awhile I really saw the value in Ezine because they CARE about the articles they publish. They have a rigorous quality assurance process that takes several days (for basic memberships) to get through once you’ve submitted your article for publishing, going through three separate reviews before it’s allowed to be published on the site.
Ezine is a very popular article marketing platform with nearly 460,000 authors who contribute great content to the site, of which I am one of. As an expert author you’re allowed up to two links in your author profile per article that you submit, which is nice for contextually relevant link building.
Squidoo is my favorite platform for article/content marketing because it is highly interactive and allows for multiple forms of content within one “lens.” With Squidoo, you’re able to upload images and videos that complement your text articles to give the reader a more visual experience. Squidoo has several built in modules that allow you to expand on your text content by adding link lists, social media, news feeds and ecommerce product feeds (Amazon, etc.) to your lenses to further your user’s understanding (and enjoyment) of your content.
Squidoo also has built in social sharing icons, as well as a community of users who are able to like your content and leave comments about it which obviously shows the value of your content. Coincidentally, some of the most powerful links back to my website come from Squidoo because of the high PageRank that the lenses are able to achieve. This is a great platform!
Tumblr is an interactive blogging platform that is great for creating your own blogs to post and share your articles on. Tumblr is totally free and is a network of nearly 77 million blogs (of which I run and post on several.)
The nice thing about Tumblr from an article marketing perspective is that it’s also a social type of network that allows users to subscribe to other Tumblr users’ blogs so they can follow each of their latest posts. Users can also re-blog your content on their blogs which is great for more social sharing and visibility among users.
Go Articles is another free article marketing site that allows you to submit your content. I don’t particularly care for the user side interface of Go Articles for submitting your article posts (I find it clunky and sort of a pain) but this platform does have some advantages.
In a post-Penguin world, having a highly diverse back link profile is critical, and with Go Articles you’re allowed up to 3 links per article, but any links you put in the body of your articles is assigned a “no-follow” tag. This is good for diversity, but if you’re going to spend the time creating great content, you at least want one good “do-follow” link for your efforts, which Go Articles allows you to insert in your author bio information.
Because most websites don’t want ho-hum content posted on their websites, guest blogging has always been a great way to build high-quality links back to your website. With the need for contextual relevancy when generating back links, seeking out other websites relevant to your industry to contribute your content to has become essential for building authority for your website.
The other website likes it because they’re getting well-written and valuable content for free. Search Marketers like it because it increases brand awareness and gets you a free relevant back link (or two) to your site. It’s a win-win situation for both sides.
If your SEO consultant tells you that articles no longer have value in helping you achieve top rankings, they were the ones looking for short cuts to get them. Articles are absolutely relevant for SEO today so long as they have something of value for the readers. Marketing great content is the future of SEO. Those who don’t “buy in” will soon be weeded out.
For marketing professionals, there are two different fundamental practices for marketing to consumers – Outbound marketing and inbound marketing.
Outbound marketing strategies include many old-hat channels of reaching consumers by pushing out direct mail pieces, radio, TV and billboard advertising, or cold calling to attract sales.
Inbound marketing is the new-school ideology of reaching consumers through Internet marketing channels such as SEO, email marketing, social media, content marketing, and other strategies that work to drive inbound traffic to your website.
The role of an inbound marketing agency is to help their clients:
- Get found by consumers who are searching for what they have to offer
- Convert users into leads and sales
- Analyze the inbound marketing strategy to identify ways to improve performance metrics
Below I outline the core elements that your inbound marketing consultant will utilize to promote a well-rounded inbound marketing strategy that will drive traffic to your website, increase conversions and improve client acquisition.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of building relevancy, credibility, and authority for your web pages by optimizing them for targeted keyword phrases. SEO uses a mixture of on-site and off-site techniques from developing optimized content on your site to promoting your content off-site through a variety of social media, blogging and content marketing initiatives that help build links, promotes credibility and increases your overall authority on the subject. When executed properly, SEO is a highly effective means of inbound marketing because it increases traffic to your website. SEO is also highly effective for increasing conversions, with a rate of nearly 15% conversion as compared to a conversion rate of just 1.7% for traditional outbound marketing strategies.
At the core of any successful inbound marketing campaign is exceptional web content. Developing a content marketing strategy that effectively communicates your business’ brand through a multi-channeled approach helps to shape an inbound marketing strategy built for success. Crafting exquisite content that is interesting to read, listen or watch and has value to web users is the essential ingredient for a successful content marketing strategy. Keeping a diversified approach to content marketing by using videos, podcasts, blogs, articles, whitepapers, and infographics helps your brand reach a wide range of Internet users who may be interested in what you have to offer. According to HubSpot, companies that participate in blogging 15 or more times per month receive 5x more inbound web traffic than businesses that do not.
Social Media Marketing
Among the most effective inbound marketing strategies for companies and marketers today is social media marketing. Businesses can connect and engage targeted consumers who are interested in their product offerings, as well as promote retention of existing clients through various social media platforms. Among the channels that businesses should consider utilizing to communicate their brand (as well as promote their content) are Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Each of these platforms has a unique audience that your business can speak to, offering discounts and other promotions that build inbound traffic (and sales) and increase overall satisfaction and client retention.
Email marketing is an inbound marketing strategy that offers companies a measurable, scalable and cost-effective means of communicating their brand to targeted consumers. Email marketing provides a medium for promotion of your web content to drive more inbound traffic to your website. It also offers a means for promoting your company’s products and services, as well as any specials or discounts that your targeted consumers might be interested in. With email marketing you can increase traffic and brand impressions that lead to more sales and growth of your client base.
Website Conversion Optimization
One of the most overlooked aspects of inbound marketing is optimizing your website so it captures more conversions (leads or sales.) In inbound marketing, you can drive as much highly qualified traffic as you want using social media, SEO, email marketing or content marketing, but if those efforts don’t lead to conversions, you’re wasting your money. Be sure to work with an inbound marketing agency that understands the intricacies of driving more conversions. Among the website optimization techniques that your inbound marketing consultant might utilize are stronger calls to action, special on-site offers to visitors, custom landing pages focused on conversion, and simple navigation structure to promote easy access to web content.
When your company invests in an inbound marketing campaign, it’s important to continually measure the performance of your campaign on an ongoing basis. Doing this analysis allows you to identify potential shortfalls in your campaign that can be improved. It also allows you to identify additional avenues that your company should be using as part of its inbound marketing strategy. The overall growth and performance of your campaign hinges on this analysis process.
A well-rounded inbound marketing campaign can pay huge dividends for your company by increasing inbound traffic and generating more leads and sales. To learn more about developing a successful inbound marketing campaign, contact me today for a consultation.
To rank well in the local organic search results, your web pages need to be highly relevant to local searchers. To accomplish the rankings you desire, you can optimize your website for organic search, a process known as local organic search engine optimization (SEO.)
Achieving top local organic results is a time consuming process, but when executed correctly, local organic SEO campaigns can pay huge dividends for local businesses with an influx of highly qualified search traffic from local consumers.
So how does organic SEO for local search work?
Essentially local organic SEO works by increasing the overall relevancy of your website’s content for targeted keywords that users are searching for. In addition, a significant amount of ongoing off-site work must be done to help build the overall popularity and trust for your website with the search engines and with users.
These two processes work together to boost your website’s ranking in the local organic search results and to boost the amount of search traffic your website receives from local consumers. Even though the organic SEO process takes time, it also provides incredible return on investment because of the high trust that you’ve built with users and the search engines that leads to sustainable rankings.
Below are some ways that your local SEO strategist will work to boost the relevancy and rankings of your website with a local organic search campaign.
Locally-Focused Keyword Research
Any successful local SEO campaign starts with in-depth keyword research using a variety of tools. During the keyword research phase of your campaign, your local SEO company will uncover the most relevant keyword targets that will be the most beneficial for ongoing success. During this process, your local SEO consultant will analyze what your local competitors are doing and then turn to a research tool such as the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to search for suggested keyword terms.
In local SEO, keyword research is highly specific, as most targeted keywords will utilize a geo-modifier to narrow down the target audience. For example, if your company offers pest control services in Atlanta, Georgia, then your keyword targets would probably include such geo-specific terms as “Atlanta Pest Control” or “Pest Control Atlanta GA.”
Highly Creative, Highly Optimized SEO Copywriting
Once your local SEO strategist has uncovered your targeted keyword terms, they’ll turn things over to a professional SEO copywriter who will create well-optimized copy for each of your web pages. A seasoned SEO copywriter knows the ins and outs of best practices for content structure on a page. He’ll use your targeted keyword phrases in your web page header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) and he’ll also use just the right amount of targeted keyword inclusion throughout the body content of your web pages.
Professional local SEO copywriters will also be able to hand craft geo-focused Meta Tags for each of your web pages including your Title, Keywords and Description tags which tell the search engines what your web pages are about. These keyword phrases also light up in Bold type on the search engine results page (SERP) for users when they search for your terms, which lets users know that your page has got the information they’re looking for.
Local Content Marketing & Link Building Initiatives
Once the initial on-site work is done for your local organic SEO campaign, your SEO consultant will then need to devise a diverse and effective content marketing strategy to promote your website through a variety of local channels. Creating diverse content that people want to read is essential for a successful local search strategy nowadays. Such content that your SEO strategist can produce are SEO press releases, blogs and other article marketing ventures, video production and optimization, creative infographics or audio podcasts that can be distributed through various channels.
They key for your content marketing strategy is producing awesome content and then sharing it so users can find it. Particularly for local organic SEO benefits, sharing your content on local websites in your region is greatly beneficial. It helps build credibility and trust with the search engines, and increases the chances of a local consumer seeing (and sharing) your content. Sharing your content on social media is also critically important. Getting the word out through social media greatly increases the chances of your content going viral and users linking to your content from their social media profiles and/or websites, thus further boosting your ranking potential.
Optimize Your Google+ Local Page
Your Google+ Local business page is just another great opportunity for you to capture valuable real estate in the local organic search results. With more and more local results showing up on the SERP, Google’s free listings for local businesses (Google+ Local) are a very important ingredient for a comprehensive local search strategy.
To optimize your Google+ Local page, you must first claim and verify ownership of the listing. From there, you can fill out all of your pertinent business information including your hours of operation, website address and a description of your products/services. From there, getting Google+ users to leave reviews about their experiences about doing business with your company is another essential element for optimizing your page to increase its relevancy to local organic search.
These are just a few of the key strategies you can use to boost your company’s rankings in the local search results. To find out more about local SEO, contact me today for a free consultation.
In a post-Penguin world, SEO will be led by what it always should have been – great content. Producing, distributing and recycling great content is the future of SEO, and if your website doesn’t have a fine-tuned content marketing strategy, be prepared to be left in the dust.
Creating and marketing exceptional content, whether that be a blog post, infographic, video, podcast or any other interactive content, will be essential for websites to both build and maintain organic rankings for the foreseeable future. And really it makes perfect sense.
It’s always been Google’s goal to provide web searchers with the most relevant and authoritative content related to their search queries. Over the years, Google’s search results have been muddied by less-than-ethical SEO companies that have spammed the Internet with thin, garbage content that had little to no value (but were riddled with links) in an effort to gain top organic search rankings for their clients. Those days are now long gone after Google put the kibosh on websites that gained rankings from spammy link profiles promoted by websites with zero authority.
So now to survive, SEO companies that didn’t previously practice good ethics will now be forced to do so to stay in business and the No. 1 method to do so will be content marketing.
With this in mind, below I’ll outline 3 essential strategies for content marketing that will help websites build authority (links), gain relevancy and drive traffic (and rankings) to their websites.
Create Diverse & Exceptional Content
This should be a no-brainer, right? You’d be surprised. Despite Google’s push to clean up web content, the Internet is still flooded with content with little to no value. To successfully content market, you have to produce compelling and meaningful content for the users to read or the success of your SEO objectives are sure to follow suit.
In content marketing, content comes in a variety of ways from simple blog posts and whitepapers to more interactive content such as podcasts, videos and memes. Each of these pieces of content (if exceptional) can play an essential role in increasing your website’s popularity, but also drive top rankings for targeted keywords and in turn more traffic to your website.
With so many channels and mediums to produce content on, it’s important to diversify your content and mix a variety of articles, blogs, videos and images as part of your content marketing strategy so you can be sure to reach a diverse readership.
SEO-cial is a new buzzword going around in the SEO industry because of the major inclusion of Social Media signals in Google’s highly sophisticated algorithm. It’s now not just best practice to socially share your content on a variety of social media channels such as Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, etc., it’s now imperative to do so to have any sort of chance and getting your content ranked.
Nowadays socializing your content is incredibly easy with a variety of free social sharing widgets that you can install on your websites to share your content on multiple social media platforms with just a few clicks.
So why is it so important that you get SEO-cial with your content? When you share socially, your exceptional content has a far greater chance of going viral and reaching hundreds (if not thousands (millions?)) of Internet users. Assuming your content is exceptional and has something of great value to offer web users, you’re also far more likely to get re-shared, liked, +1ed and LINKED to naturally by other users.
Article marketing and blogging are the most traditional mediums for content marketing. It’s the battle-tested, tried-and-true method for building valuable links back to your website. There are many free blogging platforms available to start your blogging conquest, including: WordPress.com, Blogger and Squidoo. Each of these platforms has their own unique benefits. WordPress is very search engine friendly. Blogger is owned by Google. Squidoo is highly powerful and can generate some serious PageRank (see 5 Reasons Why Squidoo Rocks for Content Marketing) for your back links.
When blogging for SEO, don’t forget to optimize your posts for the search engines using best practices for Meta Tags, and links. And as I said above, definitely don’t forget to socially share your blogs on various social media websites.
Content marketing and striving to create exceptional content is the future of SEO (and that’s the way it ought to be!) These 3 strategies are great ways to build more authority and trust with the search engines, and also to build relevancy for users and rankings in the search results.
For small businesses that are looking to gain traction with local consumers online, social media marketing has become an incredibly effective and cost efficient method of connecting with local consumers and increasing brand visibility in the local search results.
A recent statistical analysis from social media analytics provider Pingdom offers significant insights to the demographics of users, signifying similar usage of social media platforms by both men and women surveyed (47% for men and 53% for women), as well as an even usage of a variety of social media channels by the younger segment of users (18 to 24) who do not dedicate themselves to just one social media site.
These statistical insights insights provide great perspective for small businesses in that it’s important for them to trial and error each social media platform in an effort to identify which social media channels are the most effective to reach their ideal consumers.
Social media has become an essential ingredient for building brand visibility and loyalty for small businesses competing in a local marketplace and to simply ignore social media as a viable source of web traffic and customer engagement can be huge lost opportunity.
With this in mind, I’ll now identify three simple strategies for small businesses to help effectively use social media to promote their business.
Evaluate Your Local Competition
We all know the adage keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. This concept has some validity in local search. Before you decide on a strategy for your social media campaign, scope out what your rival local competitors are doing in their social media efforts. Find out what social media platforms they’re on and what sort of content they’re publishing. Identify how popular they are. How many likes/followers do they have? How are they marketing their service offerings. These insights can help you plan a local social media strategy that will engage your customers in an effective manner that will surpass the efforts of your local competitors.
Consistently Engage Your Followers
Your followers are your (current and) potential customers. Interact with them. Ask them questions. Poll them on how to provide better customer service or ways to improve your products. And if you’re effectively engaging them on a consistent basis by posting new content and getting feedback from them, don’t ignore what they have to say. That’s the fastest way to burn a bridge with a consumer. If a consumer voices his/her opinion about your small business via one of your social media pages, take that complement or criticism seriously. Respond to users who post on your walls or Tweet at you in a professional manner. As I explained in this blog post, that interaction can go a long way for a consumer. Consider social media an opportunity to continue to improve your products/service offerings for your consumers.
Provide Incentives for Your Followers
As I eluded to in my previous post about conversion optimization, consumers LOVE deals (and free stuff.) An excellent social media strategy for small businesses is providing exclusive offers to your followers on each of your social media properties. Incentives keep your social media followers interested in your brand. Offering something of value such as 50% off your next cup of coffee or offering a discount code for free shipping to your social media followers is a great way to keep them loyal to your brand – coincidentally, it’s also a great way to increase sales, as well.
The job of a search engine optimization consultant has evolved greatly over the last few years. No more is SEO just a narrowly scoped task to get clients ranked in the top 3 for their targeted keyword terms and then calling it a day.
Top rankings are nice, but that’s not the ultimate goal of the client who is paying the SEO consultant to his/her services. It’s all about return that they receive for their dollars invested in the Internet marketing campaign.
What separates the top Internet marketing companies from the mediocre ones is their understanding of how to optimize their clients’ websites not only for the search results, but also to capture more conversions (sales/leads) from visitors who land on their clients’ websites. This element of Internet marketing is known as website conversion optimization.
Varying Definitions for “Conversion”
“Conversions” can be defined in multiple ways depending on the website’s functionality and set of goals. Ecommerce websites have an easy definition for “conversion” in that if someone makes a purchase on the site, they’ve converted.
For other lead-generating websites, a website conversion can be construed in a few different ways. For example, if you’re a realtor, getting a lead (phone call or email contact) from a prospective listing simply gets that site visitor into the realtor’s “conversion funnel.” It’s then the realtor’s job to sell themselves as the right agent for the job to the person. But the Internet marketing company can’t necessarily help in that process once the initial contact is made, so the contact itself is considered a website conversion.
For other websites that are more concerned with information gathering for future marketing purposes, capturing a website visitor’s name, email address and phone number would be a website conversion.
Ultimately, the goal for any business whether it be ecommerce or offline is to make a return off the investment they’ve made in Internet marketing. If your SEO company is driving traffic to your website, but you’re not receiving any sales, leads or other website conversions, then you’re not going to be receiving a return on your investment.
Optimizing Your Website for Conversions
It’s important to understand that in Internet marketing and website optimization, web design and SEO go hand in hand. There are several key elements to optimizing a website for higher conversions. Some of which deals with SEO and others that rely on an effective website design. Below are some ways in which website conversion optimization relies on each of these sides.
Conversion Optimization and Web Design
In terms of website optimization, simply having an attractive website doesn’t guarantee a user will convert. Here are some ways that web design elements play into a user’s overall experience and ways to increase the likelihood of a conversion:
- Simple, easy-to-use navigation to get the users to the information they’re looking for.
- Utilization of appealing graphics that have a strong call to action such as enewsletter signups, eBook downloads, discounts and deals, free information, etc.)
- Creation of custom landing pages for SEO-targeted keywords.
- Easy to find placement of pertinent contact information.
- Inclusion of social sharing icons on each page of the website for easy sharing amongst users.
SEO and Conversion Optimization
When it comes to SEO and its role in bolstering website conversions, there are both on-site and off-site factors that can play a significant role. Here are just a few:
- Utilization of cross linking to other related internal pages on the website that might be of interest to a user.
- Crafting highly optimized, but balanced web copy that is well structured so it speaks to the search engines, but also convinces a user that the product or service they’re reading about is of value to them (ultimately turning them into a conversion.)
- Using link building and content marketing initiatives to help achieve high rankings for “conversion oriented” landing pages on the website (i.e. product landing pages on ecommerce sites, etc.)
- Promoting the website and its conversion-oriented pages in a variety of Social Media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+
Feel free to leave your thoughts on SEO vs. website conversion optimization in the comments section below.
Webvolution Designs, LLC, launched a brand new website and branding campaign for Cloudpoint Geographics – a company offering Geospatial services in central Illinois – in May.
Webvolution provided logo design consultation for Cloudpoint’s rebranding efforts before redesigning its company website, Facebook, Twitter and Blogger pages.
Our Website design company developed the new website on the Exponent CMS open source content management system. The new CloudpointGeo.com features a slide show and dynamic blog updates from Cloudpoint’s Blogger.com account. The website also has an email signup feature to receive email notifications of new blog posts on the Blogger site.