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5 Quick SEO Hacks

SEO, an acronym for ‘search engine optimization’ has become an absolute necessity in digital marketing.  Optimizing your site for Search Engines requires a lot of strategic planning, many spreadsheets and hours of research.  For most companies ongoing optimization requires a full-time employee or consultant dedicated to just that.   While your site may have already been and hopefully continues to be optimized with appropriate and research based Headers, Meta Descriptions and Keywords, there are still quite a few strong methods of increasing organic traffic that you need to utilize.

Here are 5 SEO Hacks You Need To Know:

SEO HACKS

1. Webmaster Tools

  • Google Webmaster Tools is a brilliant way for digital marketers to analyze and track the success of their site optimization.  Use webmaster tools to check on keyword rankings, positions and click-through rates.  You can also see if your site has been flagged for any spam or other issues preventing you from ranking higher.

2. Blog

  • Your blog is going to become your greatest asset in increasing your online authority with both search engines and customers.  Every time you create new content you are giving search engines a jolt to crawl your site.  Tip: Use the keywords you find in webmaster tools to generate new blog ideas!

3. Social Media

  • First and foremost, you need to create a Google Plus business page….now.  Secondly, make sure you are sharing your web pages and content on the platform as Google Plus posts get crawled and indexed almost instantaneously. According to The Moz Correlation Study in 2013 “After Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor. In fact, the correlation of Google +1s beat out other well known metrics including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage”.
  • Also, do make sure you have a presence on all the other social media platforms.  Alike Google Plus, public posts on each of the other platforms also play a role in rankings.  If a post is shared, liked or pinned- the search engines see that past/page/event/product as a true authority on that subject.
  • Make sure each and every page, post, product and event have social media sharing buttons.  You need to make the process of sharing as easy as possible for your fans.

4. Website Speed 

  • Your website speed is an important element in search rankings.  Google will measure a “page load time” and will factor those numbers in to its ranking algorithm.  Load speeds may slow down if you have many large graphics on the page or unused plugins on your site.  See your page load time statuses on Webmaster Tools.

5. Quality and Relevant Content

  • Search engines value the user experience more now than ever before.  If the content of your site is relevant to the search terms you show up for, your site will be rewarded with higher rankings.  For example, if you sell video cameras on your site, but populate your adwords or meta descriptions with keywords like “iPhone Cameras”, the search engines will stop showing your page because of a problem with relevancy.  Make sure the keywords you are using to optimize coincide with what the user will see and get from the page they land on.
  • This rule also applies to quality content.  Each page has the ability to provide visitors and users with a unique experience.  The on page content should be populated with everything the visitor wants to know about the product or service.  The quality of the content is a factor to your rankings, so make sure you have a optimization expert creating the best user experience possible!

 

2 New Facebook Updates for Businesses and Pages

Facebook has recently made 2 updates that will shake up how you use the Social Networking platform to market your business.  And, if strategized correctly, you will see a positive outcome from both these changes!

Change #1 | Facebook Page Manager Tracking

On February 20, 2014, Facebook introduced a new feature to allow Page Administrators to see which of their page managers posted a status update.  The update shows under the company name of each post ( see visual below).  All admins of the page including moderators, advertisers and insight analysts will see the name of the poster next to the update.  It is not visible to the public.

Facebook Manager Posts

 

 

Benefits of Tracking Facebook Mangers’ Posts:

For companies that have multiple managers or content creators on their business page this will help with tracking, metrics and success measurements of each employee. 

  • You can now track whose content generates the most likes, shares or comments and provide incentives or bonuses based on performance.
  • You can utilize this information when training social media interns or entry level employees as a means of providing constructive criticism and suggestions.
  • If you outsource your social media to freelancers or a marketing company, you will gain better insight as to who is doing what and when.
  • It is an overall means of holding all your digital marketing employees accountable.


Change #2 | Tagging Another Page In A Status:

On February 25, 2014, Facebook began rolling out a new algorithm for page status updates.  Going forward, if your page writes a post and tags another page in that post, your post may been shown to the followers of that tagged page.  It is worth noting, however that Facebook will only show the posts that are relevant to followers with a history of interacting with that correlated content.

Benefits of Tagging Another Page in your Page Status Update:

  • Exposure to the followers of the tagged page, which may have thousands of more fans than yours.
  • Creating a give/take relationship with the other brands/pages that have the same target audience.  For example, when you tag another page, you are giving them exposure to your fans.  Hopefully, they will want to “give back” and promote you as well!

7 Beginner Tips For LinkedIn Marketing

LinkedIn, known as the “Social Network for Businesses” has immense potential to provide users with the ability to network with-in their own industry and more importantly find and convert customers.  As opposed to Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, where statuses lean towards the light, funny or more personal, LinkedIn offers users with a platform to encompass strictly business updates and news related statuses.

7 Beginner Tips to Marketing on LinkedIn:

  1. Update your profile, oftenFirst, make sure your personal LinkedIn profile is completely updated.  LinkedIn even tells users how well their profile is performing (see picture below).  Your profile is the driving force behind how you will be viewed by potential customers, job seekers, employers or possible partners.  It’s also wise to spruce up your profile once every few months.  Every time you update your profile, your connections or network (depending on what your privacy settings are set to), will see it in their feed, making updating a great “exposure tool”. LinkedIn Profile Marketing
  2. Setting up a company page. LinkedIn is regularly changing the way company pages operate.  Make sure you stay on top of the trends and that you have an updated company page.  Here are some quick tips:
    1. Keep your company description written in a style that reads well to customers.
    2. Link to your website.
    3. Make sure to utilize the services and products aspects of the page.
    4. Create a strategy for the types of updates you post on the page vs. your profile.
    5. Post jobs on the company page, and share that in all your groups, resulting in driving traffic to the company page.
    6. Encourage your employees to update their profile linking to the page and to share any page or job openings.
  3. Update your status with relevant information. By providing your connections with the latest news, updates and blogs in your industry you are positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field.  As with updates on other social media platforms, keep your statuses “engage-able”. 
  4. Join groups.  There are two types of groups you may want to join on LinkedIn.
    1. Groups of professionals in your industry.  Doing so, will enable you to share ideas, network, cross refer and hopefully give you a chance to learn from one another.
    2. Groups of customers.  Ideally you have done appropriate research on who your target client is.  Find the groups that your customers are in and get your name out there!
  5. Get Recommendations.  There is something to be said about the phrase “give a little, get a lot”.  Take time to truly recommend a co-worker, employee, client or consultant.  By giving your honest positive feedback, that person will likely recommend you in return.  When a potential client comes to your public profile (and yes, they will check you out on LinkedIn before agreeing to do business) and sees you have many positive recommendations, it will compel that client to trust your expertise even more.
  6. LinkedIn ads.  If you have a specific campaign to market, and the budget to allot for it, LinkedIn ads may be beneficial for you.  LinkedIn ads allows you to sponsor updates, target demographics and even use videos.  Make sure to consult with an expert first to get the best ROI.
  7. Look at someone’s profile to get them to look at yours.  It seems borderline stalker, but it works.  If you want someone to see your profile or notice you, simply look at his/her profile.  He/she will get notification that you looked at his/her profile, and it will prompt that person to check out what’s new with you, which is why it’s important to routinely change up your profile.

 Click here to benefit from an expert’s direction on your LinkedIn strategy.

New Trending Feature On Facebook

Facebook is rolling out a new feature titled “Trending” (currently only in a few countries and only available for certain users) on the right side of your homepage.

Trending According to Facebook: 

“Trending shows you the popular topics and hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook. You’ll see stories from people and Pages who’ve shared them with you or have shared them as Public. From the right side of your homepage, click a topic that’s trending to see what people are saying about it.”

Facebook Trending Feature

How The Trending Feature Can Increase Your Business And Brand Awareness:

Up until now, using hashtags was not something that proved to be effective for businesses.   A Social Media Examiner article from October 2013 explains:

“According to EdgeRank Checker, Facebook hashtags have done nothing to help with additional exposure for your brand. In fact the opposite is true.
The research indicates that posts with hashtags are not only less likely to go viral, but also make people less likely to engage with the content.”

Now however, Facebook is using popular hashtags, personal preferences, user engagements and user “likes” to decide what they display in that user’s trending column.  This means it is very important for your Facebook strategy to now include trendy hashtags to increase your exposure.  When a user clicks on a “trending” keyword, they will see all posts about said keyword.  You want your posts in there!

3 Tips To Using Hashtags On Your Business Page:

  1. Find an already popular industry related hashtag and use it in your post.
  2. Create an amazing hashtag unique to your business and ask your best fans to use it as well in related content posts.  As an example: ask fans a question and tell them to use the hashtag in their answer.
  3. Use a well known celebrity name, something big in the news or an upcoming popular event.  It’s already trending, the work is done all you have to do now is incorporate it into your posts!

Word of Mouth Marketing; Then and Now

word of mouth marketing

It was only a few years ago when the term “Word of Mouth” was interpreted literally: Person A heard about Product or Service directly from Person B’s mouth.  Through the past few years, it has taken on a completely new meaning as communication on a whole between people has drastically changed.

Many businesses, primarily small-medium sized ones were built on and sustained by customer recommendations and through the “old word of mouth method”.  As technology expands, our communication skills among people, customers, families and friends has adapted as well.  Many schools have lessened curriculum on cursive writing, and increased curricula surrounding computer skills and even teaching coding and social media.  People now share life history, pictures, and personal stories through social media, texts and emails.  When someone is looking for a suggestion of a doctor, service or product, they crowd-source online.

So how do we utilize this relatively new way of communication and still hold on to our word of mouth marketing strategy?

5 Ways to Increase your Word of Mouth Online Marketing Success:

  1. Generate likes on your products, services and pages.  Make sure your website is optimized with social media buttons.  While in the past, people verbally told their friends they liked something, now people are share their preferences through “likes” and clicks.  When one person “likes” a website, Facebook business page, LinkedIn update etc. all of their followers are potentially exposed to seeing that “like”.  Just as with the traditional word of mouth, this new way is powerful in that people “trust” what their friends share and like online.
  2. Solicit Positive Reviews.  Set up your company YELP, Google Maps, Facebook and LinkedIn pages and encourage your happy customers to write a short review about why they come to you.  These reviews are magnificent in that they are always available (24/7!) and can be found by just about anyone looking for information on your company.
  3. Watch your “company” with Google Alerts.  Strategically outline important Brand and Industry keywords and sign up for notifications whenever those keywords are mentioned online.  Then, JOIN THE CONVERSATION.  If someone is searching in an online group for a product or service you sell, Google Alerts will let you know so you may answer them in that group in real time.
  4. Become the thought leader in your industry.  The more you position yourself as the expert, the higher the likelihood people will recommend you to others for that service.  If you are blogging all the time about a specific subject, you will be seen as the professional, even if that reader has never used you before.  When people read your blogs, watch your videos, see your tweets and posts about industry related services or products, they begin to respect and TRUST your knowledge.  They then feel comfortable recommending you to others as that expert!
  5. Find influential people in your target industry.  This one takes a bit more research work, but there are always tweeters, bloggers and facebookers who love to write about YOUR product and industry.  They have tons followers who already trust them, and they can become a very strong ally when it comes to recommending your services.  Find them, befriend them and join forces to create an equally beneficial partnership!

How to Decrease Unsubscribe Rates

Too often I receive a blast from a small or medium sized business that just makes me cringe.  For example, the other day, I received an email from a company that had information in it for its current clients, which I am not.  It made no sense that they sent it to me, but odds are, they sent it to their entire list.  There are clear ways to increase your unsubscribe rate, and not sending relevant information to your entire list is the biggest one.

Unsubscribe button

According to an Epsilon Study in 2009 67% of North Americans unsubscribe from a company’s email list because they found the content irrelevant.   Follow the tips below to increase your open rates, decrease your unsubscribe rate and encourage overall engagement with your email readers.

6 Steps to Decrease Unsubscribe Rates:

  1. Use your email provider to create segregated lists.  No matter if you only have 50 subscribers or if you have 30,000 subscribers, each subscriber is unique, has his/her own needs and should be treated as such.  Remember your lists are only seen by you and your marketing team so do not worry about the subscribers knowing which list they are on.  Utilize the list option in your email platform and separate subscribers by services, products or client type.
  2. On your sign up form create interest choices.  This is the best way to truly gain an understanding of what you client wants.  Let your client decide which list they want to be on!   Keep the choices less than 6, as too many choices can lead to a subscriber abandoning the sign-up altogether.
  3. Import your own list of current clients.  Keep an updated list of your current clients in your email database.  Use this list to send updates about client related events, updates, and information that pertain to just the active customer.  The same goes for creating a list of potential customers.  Think of each subscriber as in a different phase of the purchaser’s path.  Your email communications need to nurture each lead appropriately according to his/her place on that path.
  4. Keep the titles (and content) relevant to the audience.  Even if they personally signed up for your list, a subscriber still needs motivation to open the email.  Make sure the title is as relevant as the content in the email!
  5. Only send one large communication piece to the entire list per month.  The second reason people unsubscribe?  Too many emails.  If you are sending more than one large blast to your entire list each month, you become a nuance and also devalue the information you are sharing.  By limiting your large blast to once a month, you create anticipation from your customers.  Make sure your ‘entire list’ email combines “something for everyone”.
  6. Make sure your “forward to a friend” button is prominently displayed.  Did you know that depending on your email provider, and unsubscribe process, if someone forwards your blast to a friend (using the traditional forward method, not the button in your email), the friend can unsubscribe the original subscriber?  All the friend has to do is forget it was sent as a forward and click the unsubscribe button.  To avoid “wrongful unsubscribes” make sure you place the “forward to a friend” button at both the top and in the footer of the email.  By using the button, friends can not unsubscribe for the sender.

To learn more about increasing subscribers, click here.

URL Best Practices

A question that comes up often as companies rebrand or delve more into digital marketing is: should a URL have a branded name, company name or be keyword targeted?  Below we take a look at each aspect and the best practices of choosing URLs.

What is a URL?

A URL, aka Uniform Resource Locator is what most people refer to as the “web address”.  The URL is a string of characters that help browsers identify the website file location.  Typically, the URL is located in the top of the browser in the ‘address bar’.

Should my URL be SEO friendly?

url best practices

Yes.  Ideally, everything dealing with your site should be SEO friendly.  However, there are different ways of achieving optimization.  So while, having a URL with keywords can be helpful in specific situations, you must keep in mind that in order to rank well and receive a high quality score with the search engines, a URL of your entire site should exemplify what a visitor will see on the website.  Therefore, the main URL of your site should be more in line with your company name or brand as opposed to just the keywords.

Why choose your company name as your URL:

Often, searchers want to click on a trustworthy link.  That means the link should have your name in it to increase clickthrough rates.  Then make sure you have a killer meta description that outlines the keywords the web searcher may be looking for.  For instance, if someone is searching for “coffee shop in Chicago”, and a search result comes with the two choices of “www.BestChicagoCoffeeEver.com” or “www.TheBrewCrew.com(as the actual company name)”, the clickthrough rate will be higher on the branded company name URL.  Please note that if designing keyword URL’s, the rank of the URL may also be lower if the URL sounds to “gimmicky”.  Another reason to have your company name as the URL is because you want to be easily found by customers searching for you.  If your company is called “Bob’s Fences”, but your URL is www.Californiayardexperts.com you may lose visitors due to them not knowing how to find you or which link goes to your website.

How can you optimize URL’s?

Feel free to leave a comment with your URL experiences and what has worked for you!