Posts Tagged ‘blog’
Friday, May 24th, 2013
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Image courtesy of MicheleM_/Flickr.
Of course, one of the most important things you can do when you choose keywords for your search engine optimisation campaign is research how many people search for certain words and what your competition will be for various terms. However, an often-overlooked process is to take time to consider what kinds of words your market actually uses.
As an employee at your business, you are very close to your brand. You most likely think of your brand differently than your market does. In order to choose effective keywords, you need to distance yourself from your brand and put yourself in your markets’ shoes.
The Importance of Using Your Market’s Point of View
Looking at your business and products and trying to imagine what your potential customers may type into a search engine is vital to finding keywords that will help your SEO efforts and build your brand. If you simply guess what kinds of keywords people use, or use the keywords you think they should use, you risk choosing the wrong keywords. Even if you are able to correctly identify some of the keywords your market is likely to use, you probably won’t identify all of them, meaning you could miss out on some traffic from your target market.
What Words Does Your Market Use?
You may know the technical terms, or official names, of your products and services, but your market may not always use those when using a search engine. Brainstorm words that members of the general public would use to describe your products. These words may include replacements for brand-specific words. For example, Nike’s exercise tracking wristband is called a Nike+ FuelBand, but the general public may search for terms like “Nike wristband” rather than the product’s official name.
If you aren’t sure what kinds of words your market uses, you can do some research to find out. If you use analytic software on your website, you can find out what keywords are bringing people to your website.
Use Keywords that Solve a Problem
Consider what your potential customers are thinking by defining what kind of problem your business solves. For example, if you sell sports equipment in London, realize that people looking to buy a tennis racket may not even use the words “tennis racket.” Instead, they may be searching for terms like “sports equipment in London,” or other words that define and solve their problem. These keywords may be more general and shouldn’t replace niche, long tail keywords in SEO campaigns, but these broad keywords can help you capture a specific market.
Realize You Don’t Know Everything
As you do research into the types of words your market uses to find your website you may be surprised. We very rarely know exactly what someone is thinking when they use a search engine, so some of the words that lead people to your site may seem obscure. However, if you can understand how these words relate to your website, and they are bringing in quite a bit of traffic, you can use them as a basis for coming up with more related keywords.
Don’t be afraid to use keywords that may not have been at the top of your brainstormed list. Be open minded and realize that you don’t know everything about your market, but that by understanding how they view your business and products, you can choose more effective keywords and create a strong SEO strategy.
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Image courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
A strategic content marketing plan has the potential to help your business earn higher search engine rankings, get more website traffic, raise awareness and increase sales. When you recognize the power of content marketing and are ready to start using it as part of your digital marketing strategy, how do you know where to start?
Content marketing is a large industry with many tactics. The exact strategy you implement will depend on your brand and goals, but the following steps can help you start creating a content marketing plan.
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
First, ask yourself what you want to accomplish with content marketing. Do you want to reach a new audience or follow up with your target market? Or, maybe your content marketing goal is to get more leads or to create a social media buzz about your brand. Content marketing can help you accomplish all kinds of marketing goals, so decide what you want to get out of this strategy.
Step 2: Locate the most Beneficial Channels
Once you have identified what kinds of goals you hope to accomplish, you can choose which channels will be the most beneficial in helping you reach them. For example, if you want to reach a specific market, you can use the social media networks, websites or blogs that they are most likely to visit.
Keep in mind that while you may use a specific channel for other marketing efforts, that channel may not necessarily be the same channel you should use for content marketing. The channel you use will also depend on the type of business you have and the type of content you want to share.
Step 3: Create Quality Content
Of course, the foundation for your content marketing plan should be quality content. Focus on creating content that is geared toward your audience and that will help you reach your goals. Calls to action should be used wherever possible and your content should always be unique, helpful and engaging. Think outside the box and find new ways to get your audience’s attention and share your brand’s message.
Step 4: Measure Results
As you begin executing your content marketing strategy, measure your results. The things you measure will depend on your goals, but some numbers you could track include the number of shares or comments a piece of content gets, how much your audience engages with it, how many page views it has, how much it is shared and how many visitors respond to your calls to action. Some measurements are harder to track than others, but tracking the success of your strategy is vital to creating future plans that will help you reach your goals.
Step 5: Adjust Your Strategy Where Needed
Analyze the results of your content marketing efforts and decide if your tactics are helping you reach your goals. Then, determine if you need to make changes to your plan. You may have to try a few different strategies before you find the one that brings you the best results. You may also consider testing a few different strategies at the same time, so you can more quickly find what works for you. Your content marketing strategy will also likely change periodically depending on your current goals, your product offerings, your target market and industry changes.
Content marketing is a great marketing strategy that can help you build your brand and meet other business goals. The most successful plans are revisited often and adjusted as needed.
Monday, May 20th, 2013
Image courtesy of Ruby Gold/Flickr.
Search engine optimization best practices are always changing. When search engines, like Google, update their algorithms website owners are often required to rethink their SEO strategies so they can earn the rankings they need.
Since SEO is always changing, the tactics that are the most effective are always shifting. In the past, link building was one of the biggest optimisation tools available. Link building is still effective, but changes to Google’s algorithm mean that the types of backlinks a page has can be just as important, if not more important, than the amount of backlinks links it has.
Implementing the latest link-building techniques can help you get better rankings and can even help you avoid being penalized by search engines.
Links from Legitimate Sites Carry More Weight
Google is placing more relevance on sites that are legitimate. Spammy websites that were built for the sole purpose of link building likely won’t help you earn rankings. Instead, get links from sites with high page ranks and that are real resources. Websites that see lots of activity (like traffic and visitors) are also great places to land links, since activity influences a site’s rankings.
Earned Links are Powerful
One way to get links from legitimate sources is to earn them. You can earn links through means like guest blog posts and press releases. Another great way to get these links is to get media attention. As news outlets, or popular blogs, notice your business and mention it, they will link back to your website, helping you build links from legitimate sources. Traditional press releases are one way to help get your business recognized by the media.
Social Media Links are now More Important
Social media is becoming a bigger part of SEO and you can use social networks as you build links. Add links to your social media profile pages and include links in your posts. Not all social media website content is crawled by search engines, but links on these pages can help you get website traffic. Since traffic is one of the main goals of SEO, you are in essence still getting the same benefits. A website’s traffic has also been shown to influence its rankings, so your site could rank higher based on how many visitors and how much activity it receives.
Link Bait can Bring Big Results
Link bait, like blog posts, infographics, videos and other types of interesting content can help you build links as it is shared across social media sites and other websites. Link bait is a very natural and organic way to build links, so search engines favor it. Another benefit to using this approach is that many types of link bait, like infographics and blog posts, can help with your branding efforts.
Some SEO experts believe link building and search engine optimisation is becoming more closely aligned with branding. They believe that as businesses focus on building their brands, link building opportunities and high page ranks will follow. As search engines change to value legitimate content more highly, and even to penalize low-quality sites, there may be some truth to this theory.
As you work to develop your brand, natural link building opportunities will likely follow. Link-building techniques that focus on leveraging legitimate websites, quality content, earned links, social media and link bait can help you earn higher search engine rankings.
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
Image courtesy of patpitchaya/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
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.
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.