SEO Isn’t Dead, It’s Evolving

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Many Marketer’s claim that SEO is dead, their practices outdated and no longer relevant – tut tut tut!

SEO certainly is not dead, it’s a Marketing practice which is merely evolving. With the explosion of Social Media, changes to search engine algorithms and an emphasis on link building, Marketer’s & businesses now need to evolve to optimise their SEO efforts.

Keywords

Keyword stuffing is an SEO practice which is certainly dead, actively penalised by search engines that forces businesses to focus on content rather than randomly placed keywords. Interesting, relevant and engaging content needs to be achieved in blogs and web pages – but keywords need to be included in that content to enable your target market to find you.

Do your research to identify keywords used by your competitors and target audience. Conduct free keyword research on your competition by right clicking your mouse on their web pages and select “view page source”. Much of the text is written in HTML code, but you don’t need to be an expert to decipher the basics. Look for “meta keywords”, now many recently developed websites don’t include this, but researching competitors in your industry will highlight many companies whom will have this included. Select 5-10 most frequently used keywords across your competitors and you now have relevant keywords for your own copy – and also highlights your weakest competitors. Likewise, look for “meta tags” and “title” to gather keywords to help boost your SEO presence.

Personally I reaped success in SEO projects by using the excellent keyword tools available from http://moz.com/ Moz can be used for free for 30 days and a very reasonable $80 per month thereafter. The tool generates keywords used most frequently from major search engines, showing the exact words/phrases used by your customers. For small businesses you should only need to use Moz for 2-3 months before reaping a positive ROI, or just the months free version may also suffice.

NOTE: Don’t use the “meta keywords” on your own website, this is an outdated practice penalised by search engines.

Social Media

Social Media according to SEO is simply another avenue where your content can be viewed by your audience. It’s vital to integrate your Social Media sites with your main website, allowing you to build authority with the key products/services you offer. Use the keywords/phrases used in your website and include them in your Social Media posts. Engage with your audience and apply social listening – What keywords are your audience using? What keywords have are your audience responding or not to? Ask your audience “What would you type into a search engine to find a particular product/service?” RESEARCH, ANALYSE, LISTEN and MEASURE.

It’s not just your web pages which appear in search engine results, so utilise Social Media as a lead generation tool to redirect customers to your website to increase sales.

Link Building

Link building is one of the most important weighting factors to boost your search engine visibility. Make efforts to ONLY include link building partnerships with companies who offer relevant and complimentary products/services – make sure they add value to your customer’s needs and wants. How many websites have you visited where those websites are cheapened by displaying adverts and links to companies with no relevance to their industry?

Include links to your clients, suppliers, distributors, news sources or relevant stakeholders and follow one golden rule of link building – BUILD LINKS ORGANICALLY.

Do you think SEO is dead? How do you think SEO has evolved? I’d like to learn from other businesses to see how you approach the topic SEO, thanks 🙂

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Why Should I Learn Social Media When I Can Do It?

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Social Media is easy right? You just set up an account on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all the other Social Media platforms start posting and you’re away – wrong!

You can’t simply read a few articles about being a Lawyer, Accountant or Business Professional and simply become an expert, so why is Social Media any different? So many people think that gaining certificates or learning Social Media courses isn’t necessary – well that’s a slap in the face for the Social Media industry and the professionals within. In fact it’s an insult to the entire concept of education.

Let’s explore why learning Social Media helps to compliment on the job experience.

Decision Making

Whether you’re a Marketing Professional or Business Owner you must avoid making mistakes at all costs. Whilst it’s true that people learn by making mistakes it should be noted that making mistakes on Social Media negatively impacts your customers and business. Why would you risk gambling with your clients business by refusing to learn about Social Media? – that’s just arrogant and dangerous.

Mistakes can be prevented and decision making improved if people take the time to learn about Social Media from accrediting bodies and companies.  Trial and error isn’t an effective or advisable method of decision making.

Timeless Fundamentals of Social Media

Social Media isn’t a stand-alone discipline, it incorporates SEO, Content Marketing, Lead Generation, Sales, HR, Customer Service, Advertising, Marketing Integration and so much more.  To understand the multi-functional use of Social Media one must firstly learn the basic fundamentals.

The most common complaint about learning Social Media is that the design of courses can’t keep up with the rapidly changing pace of Social Media. Yes platforms change, new ones appear and older ones evolve but there remains a set of fundamentals which can stand the test of time.

Social Media is a place to connect and engage with human beings, building relationships and being social is the key to success on Social Media.  Once you’ve formed relationships with your target audience the concept of sharing relevant, useful and informative information will always be an area of importance regardless of how fast Social Media changes.

Analysing your Social Media activity and customer responses require the use of on-site or 3rd party tools making the concept of testing and measuring timeless. New tools and apps are constantly being created, you don’t need to know them all – simply how they should be used and the benefits they reap.

The fact that Social Media changes so frequently, this should encourage educators to provide fresh material and certainly cannot be accused on being static or out of date.

Experience

I spent the 1st 30 years of my life with a somewhat anti-academic approach to work and my career until I realised that I couldn’t gain the experience I needed so much as I lacked the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed. It’s a classic example of the chicken and egg, how can you gain experience unless my skills are in demand?

Of course you need experience to prove you can apply what you’ve learned, but you need to learn 1st.

Do you think Social Media certificates and courses are a waste of time?

Which Social Media Platform do I choose?

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A good place to start is to ask your prospects and customers what Social Media platform they use – but this won’t always give you the exact answer you’re looking for.

Often conducting market research provides a low level of response so you should learn a little about some of the most popular Social Media platform available so you can make an informed choice.

We’ll explore 5 main features of 5 main Social Media Platforms to help you make those informed decisions on what Social Media platform your company should use.

Facebook

1) Over 1 Billion Users

The most widely used Social Media Platform in the world

2) Fastest Growing Demographic 55-64 Age Group

Teen Market using Facebook less than previously

3) Build a Business Page Separate from your Personal Profile

Recommended to set up a personal profile and NOT a Business only page

4) Excellent Targeted Advertising features

Good for local small business targeting local consumers
Aim for likes & turn them into regular followers
Use the Insights Feature to measure the demographics of people who like and share your posts

5) Suggested methods of Marketing = Competitions, Events & of course Relationship Building

Twitter

1) Over 500 Million Users

2) Micro-Blogging site Using only 140 Characters to Communicate your message

This helps businesses be more concise in how they Communicate on Twitter
Short bursts of information are ideal for Time-starved consumers
Your message has around 10 seconds to make an impact on readers

3) Excellent Customer Service Tool

Respond in real-time – Consumers expect a quick response
Respond quickly to negative comments – turn into a positive

4) Post Regularly

Several times a day
Establish optimum times of the day to post – Morning, Afternoon or Evening

5) Target Customers & Connect with Industry Peers

Follow & be Followed
Share & Be Shared – Share posts from other people/companies
Target customers based on location, industry & interests

LinkedIn

1) 225 Million Users

2) Ideal B2B Platform

LinkedIn provides a Transparency to your small business & personal skills, specialities, credibility & experience – Individual & Company Profile
Excellent Platform for Networking with Peers & Prospects
A must for any Small Business operating in the B2B Market

3) Join LinkedIn Groups

Estimated 1.5 Million LinkedIn Groups
Permitted to join up to 50 Groups
Recommended to join no more than 20-30 initially to ensure you’re contributing to those groups
Adhere to Group Rules

4) A Business Page is required for Paid Marketing

Target B2B Market
Small Businesses may experience a relatively low Volume of Clicks but the Conversion Rate will be Higher

5) The 3 C’s of LinkedIn

*Community
Treat each Group like small Communities
You’re simply one person who’s part of a wider community with shared interests

*Contribute
Distribute your Small Business Blog – Make sure the Content is Relevant to the Group & Discussion
Share external articles from News & Information sources – Share & Be Shared

*Comment
Answer Questions from your fellow Professionals, Customers & Prospects
Ask Questions – Utilise LinkedIn to Conduct Market Research
Finish your Group Posts with a Question to encourage others to Comment

Pinterest

1) 70 Million Users Worldwide

2) 75% Female Demographic

Highest Percentage of Users access Pinterest from people using Tablets & in particular the iPad
Women use Pinterest to get ideas & inspiration
Men use Pinterest when they Plan to Buy

3) Ideal Platform Creative Industries:

Most popular Pins shared are Recipes
Use Images, Graphics & Infographics
Pinterest is like Online Window Shopping

4) Easy to Use – Pin It Button

Pin It Desktop Button to Share Interesting finds from the Internet
Pin It Button on your Company Blogs & Website – Make it easy for people to share your Pins

5) Create Pinterest Boards

Showcase your products
Create Boards based on the Specialist Areas of your Small Business
Other People will follow your Boards

Google +

1) 500 Million Users Worldwide

You need a Google Account (Gmail) to have a Google+ Account
Google + can be used in a Personal Context or Business

2) Links to other Google Products

SEO Benefits
Google Adwords
Good for Content Marketing

3) Google Circles & Hangouts

*Google + Circles
Share Content with Selected Individuals
Be alerted and have people in your Circles alerted when you post any fresh content
Be as Broad or as Narrow as you wish

*Google + Hangouts
Voice & Video Chat
Host Live Webinars
Hang out with friends & colleagues in a Group Setting – Have a Group Discussion

4) Join Google+ Communities

Similar to Groups on LinkedIn
Join Google + Communities relevant to your Target Market
Join Google + Communities Relevant to your Industry

5) Plus Ones +1’s

Similar to Likes on Facebook
Quick & Easy way for people to share your posts

Check out your competitors and see what Social Media platforms they use which will also help to establish the platforms used by your customer-base.

What Social Media platforms do you use and why?

Marketing your Small Business Blog

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Now that you’ve started your blog, it’s time to put it in front of as many pairs of eyes as possible. There’s no point in putting in the blood, sweat and tears if nobody reads or benefits from your blog.

Small businesses usually have little to no Marketing budget so this article will explore ways to promote your blog using only sweat equity.

Sign Up

Your blog should contain interesting, engaging and practical information that people find useful. You’re giving away information tips and tricks for free so ask for something in return – their email address and/or social media details. This way you can build a database of prospects and you now have their contact details to facilitate relationship building with your target audience.

Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blogging site and you’ve got 140 characters to capture the attention of passersby to make them read your blog. Videos, images and infographics will help to increase engagement but with Twitter you need to focus on words.

Post your blog everyday for 2 weeks, change the heading until you find the winning formula. Don’t think “what heading shall I use to describe my blog” – answer questions, solve problems and think like your customer.

LinkedIn

Join groups on LinkedIn relevant to your industry and target audience. Post your blog onto LinkedIn groups and if your blog is interesting then you’ll begin to gather feedback and open up debates.

Don’t just use LinkedIn groups to promote your blog, contribute to conversations and make your opinions heard so those very people will have an interest in reading your blog because they know who you are.

Google +

The most important reason to consider Google + or any other Social Media platform is to communicate with people according to how they communicate, and Google + is growing in size.

However SEO is a critical reason to use Google + to promote your blog. WordPress is an excellent platform for creating a blog, so just copy and paste your work into Blogger. Last week’s blog Small Business Blogging touched on the SEO benefits from blogging and if you want to get seen on Google then get on Google +.

Join communities, much like groups on LinkedIn share your blog content and always respond to comments, +1’s and feedback.

External Promotion

Your existing network is finite and therefore limits the exposure of your blog to your followers, friends and friends of friends. Personally I feel that building credibility and trust so you can create long term relationships is the most important aspect of a blog. Of course you want to sell, but gain credibility, trust and build relationships 1st – then you can sell to people who trust you.

Put your blog on someone else’s platform, you obviously lose an element of control but the benefits of leveraging their experience and fan base can seriously boost your exposure. The reason I recommend this method is because it works. I was recently approached by a company who read my blog on an external website which wouldn’t have been possible using only my own WordPress account.

Here are some of the best B2B platforms to help you catapult your blog into the big league:

http://www.business2community.com/

https://exploreb2b.com/

http://www.businesszone.co.uk/

An up and coming platform http://www.thewriterssocial.com/

When promoting your blog on Social Media always remember to share and be shared, build your network and grow your audience.

Use external platforms to build your fan base by sourcing websites which look for authors/bloggers like you to help provide them with interesting and fresh content.

Why don’t you blog? What problems do you experience? Got a blog already but not being seen? Your comments are welcomed 

Small Business Blogging

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Why Blog?

If you can talk then you can blog, that’s all blogging is – talking with words. Some people may struggle a little with writing a blog, but anyone can do it if you have a passion for your business.

Writing a blog can help differentiate you and your business from your competitors. There are very few original ideas and businesses as competition has intensified in most industries.

The most important question to consider when blogging is “What value does my blog add?” Always start with the customer in mind by asking yourself:

• What questions do my customers ask?
• What problems can I solve?
• Will my blog benefit my customers?
• What does my customer want to read?

So why blog? – To build credibility and trust. Demonstrating your credibility can only be achieved by sharing your knowledge and skills. Once your customers view you as being credible in your industry, you can then nurture customer relationships to build trust.

Of course the end product of blogging is to sell, but you don’t necessarily have to do this directly – focus on communicating, engaging and building a mutually trusting relationship with people.

WordPress – Free Version

Ideal for new bloggers is the free version of WordPress which is easy to use and customise. HTML for non-technical people is confusing, but WordPress makes this easy for you by having simple buttons which do all the work for you. You can alter the font, size, layout and background; add URL links images and other media to your blog to make it more engaging and appealing.

Once you become more experienced and advanced with blogging, you can consider upgrading your WordPress account which is fairly inexpensive.

Branding

WordPress have a good range of themes for your format and layout which can be tailored to match your company Brand. Keep colour schemes, logos, images, text and language consistent with your website and other Marketing material to maintain a consistent Brand image.

Link all your Social Media accounts to your blog, and link your blog to all your Social Media accounts and website. This ensures Brand consistency, but also allows you to direct people back to your website increasing the likelihood of a sale.

SEO

SEO – Another scary word for us non-technically minded people, but again WordPress make this easy for you. Add the appropriate tags (keywords) and categories to your blog so people can easily find your material. Make sure you use keywords in your blog and the headline, if you don’t know what keywords to use just ask your customers. Ask them what they would type into a search engine to find a company like yours.

WordPress provides you with an option to enter meta data, this sounds technical but it’s actually really easy to implement. By entering the tools menu you can add meta data to optimise your SEO with Google and Microsoft (Bing). You must firstly have a Gmail and Hotmail email address. Follow the WordPress instructions and then copy and paste the required code from Google & Bing into your WordPress account so people can now find your blog when making internet searches.

Get Started

Anyone can blog and WordPress makes it easy to put together and distribute. If you run your own small business then you obviously have a passion for what you do – so get typing and let everyone know how good you are.

Stay tuned for the next blog from King’s Content – Marketing your Blog

For a free step by step guide on how to start a WordPress blog please leave a comment and I’ll send you the guide 🙂