Posts Tagged ‘blog’
Monday, May 20th, 2013
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Yahoo! has announced that it will work with Twitter to include tweets in the site’s newsfeed section. Yahoo! has long been a source of news about world events, sports, politics, entertainment and more, and the move seems to show that Twitter is becoming more recognized as an important news source.
In a Yahoo! blog post, CEO Marissa Mayer stated: “Updates direct from politicians, celebrities, media outlets, and other publishers have become an important source of real-time news and information.” The statement seems to reiterate a common theme in social media circles: traditional news sources can’t keep up with breaking news the way Twitter can.
Changes to the Yahoo! Website
Visually, the update is relatively small. In the stream of news articles, users will now also see tweets that contain breaking news or announcements. The tweeted news will include the Twitter handle of the person who shared the post underneath the headline. These posts will also include a “Follow” button, allowing readers to easily follow newsy accounts.
The Marketing Impact
It’s not yet known what kinds of businesses and whose tweets will be highlighted in the Yahoo! newsfeed. It’s likely that tweets from big corporations and news outlets, as well as tweets that are popular and newsworthy will be shared.
More and more people are using Twitter as a source for news, whether it is hard news regarding local, national, or international topics or news from brands, businesses and groups. This means that it is more important than ever that your business shares news through Twitter.
You probably already use press releases, blog posts and earned media coverage to promote your business and share your latest news with your market. But, are you also using Twitter to share news? If you aren’t, now is the time to start.
Even if your tweets aren’t featured on the Yahoo! News page, the move signals a change in the way people expect to be informed about news, and your business needs to follow by using social media to inform its followers. Consider tweeting breaking news, links to blog posts that announce a company change and even finding ways to relate current events to your business.
The idea of using a current event for marketing purposes is known as real-time marketing. You can use Twitter to execute these strategies by staying up to date with current events in your industry and community, and when these stories relate to your business, leveraging them to promote what you do. Be careful not to take over a story, or be insensitive to a situation, which is known as news hijacking, since this approach will only backfire and hurt your company’s image.
Social media and the way news is delivered is always changing, and the latest Yahoo! feature may be one of the first glimpses into how the two mediums could be used together. Businesses can take note and adjust their social media marketing strategies to allow them to leverage the newsy aspect of Twitter.
As Twitter becomes a more common news source, how will your business react? If you don’t already have a solid Twitter following, will this industry change prompt you to build a bigger presence on the site?
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Your business blog is a marketing, search engine optimisation, social media and public relations tool. It allows you to reach your market, get your story out there and drive traffic to your site. As your blog acts in all these capacities, it can help you indirectly make money as your business grows. However, there are also ways you can earn money directly through your blog.
Whether your entire business is based on a blog or your blog is just one aspect of your business, these tips can help you earn more money from your blog.
Participate in Affiliate Marketing
When you become an affiliate marketer, you will partner with a company and get paid based on the number of products you sell or the number of leads or traffic you generate. Some bloggers see a lot of success with affiliate marketing, and this approach may work for your blog.
To make money this way, you’ll need a large audience and a good sense of how to pitch products to your market. Good affiliate marketers are able to persuade their audiences to purchase a product without losing readers. Usually affiliate marketing is implemented through links or ads on a blog and many times the links are included in actual posts. Marketers can sell products by posting product reviews or sales pitches or by simply mentioning and recommending products.
Earn Sponsorships or Sell Ads
Of course, your ability to gain sponsorships and use ads will depend on your blog. If your entire business is based on your blog, you may be able to take this approach. However, if your blog is just one entity of your business, you may not want to send potential customers to sponsors and advertisers, since that would likely hinder your own sales.
Many bloggers that have large, niche followings are able to earn revenue through sponsorships and ads. Sponsors who want to get their name in front of your audience and encourage your readers to visit their website will often pay a monthly or yearly fee to have their logo and links added to your site.
You can also sell ad space on your blog or write sponsored, or paid, posts to earn money from businesses that want to sell their product to your audience.
Sell a Product
This may seem like an obvious way to make money, but many people don’t associate product selling with blogging. You could use your blog to market an ebook, a newsletter subscription, a paid forum or any other product. The secret to doing this well is finding or producing a product that will appeal to your readers. For example, if you are a food blogger your audience may be interested in purchasing a cookbook you created or subscribing to your recipe newsletter.
Selling a product through your blog is slightly different than the classic business approach. Many businesses sell their products first, and blog second, treating their blog as a necessary aspect of their website. However, if you’re a good blogger, you could focus on building your blog, then introduce your products as an additional offering, next to your blog posts.
Your blog has the potential to add to your bottom line. Whether your blog is the foundation of your business or it is a branch of your larger organization, these strategies can help you reap monetary benefits from quality blog posts, a niche target market and a substantial following.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
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The right keywords for your brand and company are the foundation of a successful search engine optimisation strategy. If you’re just starting SEO at your business, or if it is time to revamp your current strategy and reassess the way you do things, choosing keywords is a vital step in the process.
Brainstorm Keywords that are Relevant to Your Brand
Start by brainstorming a list of keywords that are associated with your brand. Your list could be quite long, since it will include very general words as well as more specific words that reflect your business, what you do, your products and your services. Remember that the point of brainstorming is to come up with as many ideas as possible, so don’t hesitate when building this list.
Put Yourself in Your Markets’ Shoes
Now, consider your markets and think about what kinds of words they may use when they conduct searches. Think about words people would use if they were specifically looking for your business and words they might use if they are looking for the kinds of products and services you offer. This part of the process requires you to think differently, since you are likely very used to thinking about your business from an insider’s point of view.
Check Your Analytics
If you already have a website or blog with analytics, check to see what kinds of search terms are bringing people to your website. As you look at this list, add keywords you haven’t already thought of to your list of potential keywords.
Narrow Down Your List
At this point you likely have a nice long list of potential keywords. You probably have more than you need or that you can realistically target. Go back down your list and cross off the keywords that are extremely general and highlight the ones that you think will bring the best results. You may want to keep the words your audience is already using to find your website and words that are more unique to your specific business.
Add Long Tail Keywords
Examine the remaining keywords and add long tail keywords wherever possible. Long tail keywords are key phrases that make a more general keyword more specific. For example, a general keyword would be “printing services” long tail keywords would be “London printing services,” “affordable banner printing services,” or “sign printing services in London.”
Research Search Volume and Competition
Use a tool like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to decide which keywords you should target. Search for the keywords you have on your narrowed-down list and look at how many people search for the term and how competitive it is, or how hard it is to rank for the keyword. Google’s tool allows you to see related search terms, which can help you add more targeted keywords to your list.
When you finalize your keywords, keep in mind that you may have a few different categories of keywords to target. You may want to try to rank your product page for one keyword, and your home page for another keyword. You may also decide to use different keywords for different link-building and SEO techniques.
Many businesses want to know how many keywords they should target, but the answer to this question will be unique to each business and its goals and industry. Every business and every campaign will require a different amount of keywords. Also keep in mind that as your campaign develops and you begin ranking for certain words, or as your business changes, your list of keywords will also likely need to change.
Monday, April 29th, 2013
Image courtesy of Widjaya Ivan/Flickr.
Google Plus is an excellent content marketing tool from both a social networking and search engine optimisation perspective. The growing user base allows you to get your message in front of a bigger audience that can also help you share your content. From the beginning, it became clear that Google was going to use Google Plus to help it determine where a page appears in search results. You can leverage these benefits by using Google Plus wisely.
If you haven’t already set up Google Authorship for your blog, you’re missing out. Google Authorship links your blog posts to your picture and profile, links all of your content together and ranks pages linked to your name higher. Have you ever noticed a Google search result with someone’s name and picture next to it? This is Authorship in action.
Enabling Authorship on your blog links your Google Plus profile to your content, so when one of your posts appears in search results, your name and picture will be next to it. This is a great branding opportunity, and it also helps with SEO efforts, since Google ranks Authored content higher than other content.
Another benefit of Google Authorship is the related content listing. When someone stumbles across one of your blog posts on a page of search results, he may also see links to other content written by you. This can help you build your brand and increase traffic to your content.
Google favors legitimate content, and it uses Google Authorship as one way to differentiate between genuine content and spammy content. Using Google Authorship will help your page rank higher as Google recognizes it as natural, high-quality content.
Build a Google Plus Audience
Just like any other social network, the audience you build on Google Plus can help you gain more traffic, which can increase your page rank. When you have a large, engaged audience that clicks on the posts you share and that passes your content on to their connections, you’ll start to see results. You can grow your audience by using hashtags and participating in Google Plus communities.
Depending on your business, you could even start your own Google Plus community to create another channel you can use to reach your target market and communicate with it on a regular basis.
Use Links and Keywords Wisely
Google Plus allows businesses to use links in their about section, an opportunity you should take advantage of. Of course, these links are very helpful for your audience, but they can also boost your rankings. Use keywords as the anchor text for links that go to your website, but make sure your content is still people-friendly and doesn’t look spammy or forced.
Your keywords should also be used in your Google Plus posts, so that your posts will appear in search results when your connections search for those keywords, thanks to Google’s Social Search.
Google Plus is a growing social network with an added advantage: it very directly impacts search results. You can optimise your content marketing tactics by using Google Plus features to gain more traffic and better search rankings.
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
There are lots of well-known search engine optimisation tips for blogging. You know that you need to use keywords, share your blog posts, and build links to them. However, have you ever considered why blogging is such a vital part of an SEO strategy?
Blogs House Fresh Content
It’s no secret that search engines love new content. Websites that are regularly updated with new content are crawled more often, which means they often earn higher page ranks and appear higher in search results than other sites. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to make sure your site always has fresh content.
Blogs Drive Traffic
The amount of traffic a website receives is one factor that determines what kind of page rank it has. Interesting, controversial, insightful and helpful blog posts can drive traffic to your site. If you share your posts through social media accounts, RSS feeds, press releases, email marketing campaigns and newsletters, more people will visit your website.
Blogs Help with Off Site Link Building
Link building is an essential part of SEO and more recently, natural links are becoming more valued by search engines. Your blog can help you build natural links to your site as people share your posts across social media and other websites and blogs.
Blogs are a Place for Internal Link Building
It’s incredibly easy to link from your blog posts to some of your previous posts or site pages. Internal links are a powerful SEO tool that you can put to use every time you write a blog post. Add anchor texts that are keywords and you’ll see even more benefits.
Blog Post URLs are Easy to Crawl
The easier your site’s URLs are to crawl, the easier it will be to gain rankings. Most blogs have basic, understandable URL structures that make it easy for search engines to crawl and rank your site. Each time you write a blog post you are adding content that search engines can easily crawl.
Blogs Create Site Activity
The level of activity on your blog can influence your search rankings. Sites that have more comments and user interaction usually rank higher than those that do not. You can use your blog to build a community around your site that encourages people to link to and comment on your blog posts.
The ability to earn higher search engine rankings is one of the biggest benefits of maintaining a company blog. To make the most of these benefits, create an attractive blog with unique and interesting content. Then, use a content calendar, internal linking strategy and social media strategy that helps you leverage each post.
Friday, April 19th, 2013
Image courtesy of Rawich/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Does your content marketing plan need an overhaul? Or maybe you haven’t used content marketing and are ready to try something new. Every plan will vary depending on your business, but there are some characteristics every successful content marketing plan needs.
Relevance to the Correct Market
The content you create needs to resonate with your target market. Every content marketing task you undertake, from blogging to posting podcasts, needs to be done with your target market in mind.
To leverage your opportunities, you need to have a content marketing strategy to follow. Your strategy should consist of a defined target market, messaging, calls to action, content creation and publishing plans.
As you create content with your target market in mind, make sure it is meaningful. Content that is created just for the sake of creating new content or linking back to a website doesn’t have much marketing potential. Create content that appeals to your market and that builds your brand.
When you undertake a content marketing campaign, consistency is key. Create a content schedule and decide when and how you will share your content, and then stick with your schedule. Consistency is about more than just sharing regularly though, it also means using the same messages throughout all your content.
Branding can help you create a consistent look and feel for your content. It can also help you build your reputation, grow your business and increase your sales. If your audience instantly recognizes a piece of content as part of your brand, you will build your reputation and your content marketing campaign will be much more successful because your audience will be more likely to respond to your messaging.
Some of your content will most likely be published on your own website, blog and social media channels. However, you should also publish content in other places. Identify influential websites and blogs that you can share content through. These publishing opportunities will give you the chance to share your content with your target market and even reach new audiences.
Content marketing can include more than just articles and blog posts. Get creative and find ways to use images, videos, podcasts, infographics, interactive content and even crowd-sourced content. Using different kinds of content can help you stand out from the competition and get your market’s attention. Sometimes, when a business uses the same kind of content for a long period of time, its audience begins to tune it out. This strategy can help you avoid this problem.
Compelling content that sparks engagement can help you drive traffic, create a social media buzz and generate more leads. Engagement has also been shown to help increase search engine rankings, bringing more traffic to your site. Engagement takes time, since you will need to interact directly with your audience, but it will pay off in the end.
Calls to Action
The majority of your content should include a call to action. Consider what you want your audience to do, and then find ways to include it in your content. Remember to make your calls to action clear and easy to follow.
The best content marketing plans evolve over time. As you find what works for your market and what doesn’t, you will need to adjust your plan. You may also find that over time your audience is tuning out your current tactics, and a change of pace can help generate renewed interest in your brand. As your market and business changes, your content marketing plan needs to adapt.
Including these 10 characteristics in your content marketing plan can help you build a strategy that will help you reach your target market, encourage your audience to respond to calls to action and build your brand.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
In general, creating links to your website is a good thing. It can help you boost your search engine rankings, drive traffic to your site and help you reach new markets. There are two different ways to get links to your site: earning them and building them.
The difference between these two strategies may seem subtle, but each can have a vastly different effect on your search engine optimisation campaign.
Link earning is accomplished when a brand earns a mention, and link back to its website, on another site or blog. This type of link can be very beneficial because it is often from a legitimate site that gets lots of traffic and may have a high page rank. It is a natural link, not forced and not on a website that is built for the sole purpose of boosting the rankings of another site.
Common link earning strategies include:
- Guest blogging,
- Social media posting,
- Blog commenting,
- Form participation,
- News article and press release placement, and
- Website or blog sponsorship.
Earned links are highly valued by search engines because they are seen as legitimate. These links can also be excellent tools to help you build your brand. As your business reaches new audiences and becomes associated with other sites, your brand will become more recognizable and you’ll have more channels you can use to share your message.
Link building is still used in some instances, even though Google’s 2012 update devalued links created with these strategies. In essence, link building is the process of creating links back to your site in artificial ways. Some link building practices are:
- Link buying,
- Article marketing,
- Exchanging links,
- Using link networks, and
- Submitting to article directories.
All of these strategies can help you gain links to your site, but these tactics are less natural. They are forced and therefore, search engine are beginning to ignore them. Most of these link-building strategies won’t get you very far with your marketing efforts either. They likely won’t help you reach your target market and won’t help you build a reputable brand.
These days, link earning strategies are bringing more success to SEO campaigns. Using these tactics can help you build relevant, natural links that search engines will favor and can help you build your online presence and brand.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
Real-time marketing is being used by more and more businesses as a way to engage with markets and leverage current events, turning them into marketing opportunities. If the whole point of real-time marketing is that it is spontaneous and dependent on what is happening in the moment, how can you plan for it? How can you successfully use real-time marketing in your business?
Understanding Real-Time Marketing
In essence, real-time marketing consists of tactics that are employed in response to a current event. Sometimes these tactics are aimed at a large audience; think billboards, press releases or social media posts. Other times the tactics are aimed at individuals in the form of customer support or social media comments and responses.
Because social media allows for timely responses and lets companies get a message out to a huge audience in very little time, social media is a popular channel for real-time marketing.
An excellent example of this type of marketing is an image Oreo tweeted during the U.S. Super Bowl. The much-anticipated game was being watched and followed by 108 million people when the power in the stadium went out. The game was delayed for 34 minutes, and Oreo jumped on the opportunity with the following tweet:
Oreo’s well-known Super Bowl tweet.
While this response was spontaneous and wasn’t completely planned, it’s clear that Oreo was prepared to launch a real-time marketing tactic through social media.
How to Implement Real-Time Marketing
You can’t always plan real-time marketing in advance, but you can take steps that will make it possible for your brand to use these tactics when the right time presents itself.
Identify the Best Channels
As with many other marketing strategies, you need to identify which channels will be the best for this type of marketing. Social media is commonly used for real time marketing, but you can also use your blog or even more traditional channels like billboards or press releases. When you have identified the channels you want to use, listen to the conversation or news that is being talked about on that channel so you can identify real-time marketing opportunities.
Be Aware of Opportunities
Being aware of real-time marketing opportunities may be one of the biggest preparations you can make. Know when an event is likely to pave the way to launch one of your tactics and then be ready to act. For example, big events or industry developments can provide opportunities for your business to react with a marketing message. One way to find these opportunities is to follow blogs, news sites and to use Google alerts.
Image courtesy of the waving cat/Flickr.
Have a Marketing Team at the Ready
Just like Oreo did with the Super Bowl, you can have a marketing team ready during previously identified real-time marketing opportunities. During large events, new product launches, or holidays, this team can be ready to deploy a message through the channels you have chosen. Your marketing team can also constantly listen to your channels to watch for and respond to these opportunities.
Engage with Individuals in Public Forums
Real-time marketing doesn’t have to be targeted at huge audience. In fact, some very valuable marketing opportunities happen between a business and an individual. However, in order to use these interactions as marketing opportunities, they must take place in a public forum like social media sites or on your website or blog. Some easy ways to implement this type of marketing include responding to your customers’ questions, responding to comments and thanking people for mentioning your brand on social media.
Real-time marketing can be a fresh way to reach your audience and when done correctly, it can resonate with a group of people. Your business can plan for these tactics by identifying channels, becoming aware of opportunities, having a marketing team at the ready and engaging with individuals in a public forum.
Monday, April 8th, 2013
With all the talk about how important website and blog analytic are, trying to figure out what all the numbers and terms mean can be overwhelming. Most statistics relating to the success of your website are important, but there a few basic measurements that are fundamental to understand how your site performs and how you can improve upon it.
The most basic website statistic is traffic amounts. This refers to the number of visitors that come to your website. It can be very useful to track traffic numbers over time to see how well your site does as it grows and attracts a larger audience.
Things like new marketing campaigns, social media efforts and successful blog posts can influence your traffic numbers. If you take note of which efforts seem to boost your traffic, you can market your site more successfully by focusing on the tactics that move the numbers.
Bounce rate refers to the number of people who visit a page on your site and then immediately leave it, without exploring the other pages on your site. A high bounce rate on a specific page can mean that visitors aren’t able to find what they are looking for on your site or that the page lacks a clear call to action.
High bounce rates are not uncommon on blog post pages. Often readers visit your site or blog to read a specific article, and once they have done that, they leave your website.
The exit rate is very similar to the bounce rate. The exit rate is a measurement of how many visitors leave your website from a specific page, even though they may have already explored other pages on your site. This statistic is important because it can tell you where readers lose interest or where they successfully find the information they need. It can be hard to understand why people leave your site, but analyzing pages with a high exit rate can give you some insight into why they leave.
Time Spent on Site
Knowing how much time your readers spend on your site can give you an idea of how compelling your content is and how effective your site is. The time people spend on your site will depend on which pages they are viewing and why they are there. It will also depend on what your want your readers to do on your website. Sometimes, increasing the amount of time someone spends on your site will increase the likelihood that he or she will respond to a call to action.
Traffic referrers, or the websites that send people to your website are very important to marketing campaigns. Traffic referrers can be other websites, blogs, forums, social media accounts, press releases or any other website that includes a link to your website. Knowing which sites tend to send more traffic to your website or blog can help you increase your overall traffic numbers.
These statistics can help you better understand how your site is improving and what you can do to help it grow even more. There are analytic software packages available that can give you even more detailed information about you site’s performance, but free options, like Google Analytics, can also help you track your site’s numbers. As you develop your site and blog, watch these numbers and find ways you can improve your marketing strategy.
Image courtesy of Sam UL/Flickr.
Using search engine optimisation content the wrong way, or producing content the wrong way, can be detrimental to your SEO campaign. While SEO strategies and best practices are always changing, there are certain practices you should avoid.
Keyword Stuff Content
Possibly the most obvious SEO error is keyword stuffing, or the act of filling your content primarily with keywords. Keyword stuffing is viewed negatively by search engines, so your efforts won’t be likely to help your rankings. The best way to use keywords is to include them in your titles, headings and a few times throughout your article. The more naturally you use your keywords the better. Writing content for your target market, and then adding SEO elements in natural ways, is a good way to avoid keyword stuffing.
Generate Fake Reviews
Google recently announced that it was penalizing fake reviews and even removing sites with fake reviews from its index. Reviews can definitely boost your rankings and benefit your other marketing efforts, but paying for positive reviews or just creating fake ones will hurt your business in the end. Your site will be penalized by search engines and your brand will likely suffer.
Duplicate Your Content
Search engines favor unique content. This SEO rule has been around for quite some time, and remains in force. It may be tempting to reuse your blog posts by posting them on several different article directories, but this practice won’t help your rankings and will only waste time better spend on more useful strategies.
Ignore Titles, Meta Descriptions and Tags
Each of your site’s page titles, meta descriptions and tags have the power to influence your site’s rankings. Optimising these for keywords can reap big rewards. This optimisation can be done through your site’s code, or, depending on what kind of platform you use, you may be able to use a plugin or other tool to make adding keyword-rich descriptions easy.
Fail to Balance On-Site and Off-Site Techniques
Both on-site and off-site SEO techniques need to be implemented if you want to see a change in your site’s rankings. Optimise your site for keywords and meta descriptions, and also use keywords to link back to and drive traffic to your site. Both types of SEO need to be used in conjunction with, and compliment, each other to achieve the best results.
Forget to Track Efforts and Results
As you execute your SEO campaign and use different types of optimised content, it is absolutely vital that you track your efforts and results. First, tracking results can tell you when you are successfully reaching your goals. Second, keeping track of what strategies you use and when you implement them can help you understand what is working for your brand. Then, as time goes on, you can focus your efforts on strategies that bring the biggest return on your investment.
Despite shifting SEO trends, these negative practices can harm your marketing efforts. If your business is currently using any of these strategies, either eliminate them from your plan altogether or find a way to change your approach to avoid these SEO pitfalls.