Tag Archives: Google

 From here on out, a marketing plan that consists of (and even more importantly, relies on) “rank well in Google” is a bullshit plan. Because Google doesn’t care about you, or your website or your business. They care about theirs.

From:

GOOGLE PROPAGANDA, SEO AND WHY MARKETERS NEED TO WAKE UP

Want a great search engine ranking? The best way to get it is to forget about it. Build your business. Market your business. Let Google do what it does, while you do what you do.

Marketing Strategies For 2014: Tearless and Fearless (4 Tips)

marketingstrategy2014

Wondering about your marketing strategies for 2014? Many small businesses earnestly create marketing plans, but our strategies last as long as New Year’s resolutions.

Invariably, Murphy’s Law applies. We want to try the latest big new thing (content marketing, perhaps) but whatever we try turns out to be more complicated than we expect. Or it needs more resources that we have. So we pull back and focus whatever’s familiar, even if it’s expensive, and no longer works as well as it once did.

Let’s look at four tearless and fearless marketing strategies. Tearless because they’re free. They just take time. Fearless because they’re easy.

1. Do more of whatever worked for you in 2013.

What worked for you in 2013? If you’ve got an ad that’s been running in your local paper for three years, keep it up. Your customers are used to your ad. They expect to see you there. However, consider experimenting a little. Could you run special offerings for new customers?

If you’re using Twitter to manage customer service, keep doing that. Consider creating a Twitter-specific page on your website to welcome new customers, and tell them who you are.

2. Get found online: blog.

Does your business need a blog? Probably, if only because it will:

Improve search engine rankings – The more content you produce, the more likely you will be found by your prospects when they are researching your industry online. As long as you have a content marketing strategy in place, optimizing for specific long-tail keywords, you should see a significant increase in search engines rankings.

Here’s the easiest and laziest way to answer the “blog or not?” question. Check your competitors’ websites. If they’re blogging, your customers will expect you to do the same.

If you hate writing, post images of your products, your customers, or your town. Blog whatever YOU like. Treat your blog and your Twitter account as your customer service department: help your customers, and your prospective customers, and you can’t go wrong.

3. Forget about the “shares.” Think: “conversions”.

If you’re using social media marketing, Search Engine Journal offered this advice in content marketing trends for 2014:

The main thing that we expect to see in the New Year is for marketers to shy away from the cheap, clickbait content that inflates “vanity metrics,” and move more towards creating niche-specific, high quality content that provides value to their followers.

When you provide valuable content, your visitors will stay on your website longer. This gives you more opportunities for conversions (sales.)

4. The Web means Google and that means Google+.

If you’ve ignored Google+, revisit the network.

As Brett Nuckles suggests:

Getting on Google+ will help Google’s Web crawlers index your site, leading to higher placement during a Web search. It will also ensure that customers get the right information when they search for your business on Google.

2013 has been a big year on Google+; the network is becoming more useful by the month. Google’s sinking money into it. Studies suggest that Google+ has over 500 million users, and that almost 70 per cent of marketers want to learn more about the network.

What marketing strategies are you thinking about for 2014? For me, the mix is much as before. I’ll be blogging, and will remain active on social media. Wherever you are in the world, I wish you much success in 2014. :-)

write a book book coaching

, and on Twitter: @angee

5 Keyword Tips To Inspire You: Never Run out of Content Ideas Again

keyword content ideas

Curses! Google’s turned off the free keyword tool, which means you need to log in to AdWords and use the Keyword Planner if you want Google’s data. But what if you want to use keywords to inspire your content creation, rather than to buy ads?

A little digression. Please be aware that since Hummingbird flew out of its cage, it’s vital to consider your audience, and its needs, rather than create content to any keyword formula. So these days, Google’s free keyword tool would be much less useful anyway. (We all feel better now, right?)

Let’s look at five keyword tips which ensure that you will NEVER run out of content ideas again.

1. Consider user intent, and focus on “themes”

I love this insight from Aaron Wahlstrom. He discusses how to find content ideas without using Google’s free keyword tool, and in the age of Hummingbird:

This is why keyword “themes” and specific theme landing pages will become more important. For instance, if a user historically was using the queries “A great SEO company for a B2B industrial company” versus “B2B SEO”, you may have received vastly different results. However with Hummingbird, the intent behind this search is largely the same. In this case, it is important to now have a page which targets a theme of Industrial B2B SEO, with good content, which will capture both of these queries.

Here’s how this could work for you in practice. Let’s say that you own a garden center, and you’ve been targeting specific keywords for fertilizers in your content. You’ve been writing about fertilizer brands, when and where to use fertilizer etc.

Corral all the “fertilizer” content you have, to see what you’ve got. Next, create an “everything you always wanted to know about fertilizer but didn’t know who to ask” page. Interview your own fertilizer expert, and the rest of your staff too. You want your new page to be as comprehensive as you can make it. Link out to the fertilizer content you already have.

As Aaron suggests in his article, this is your “theme landing page.”

As you corral the content you have, and create your page, 1001 new content ideas will emerge.

2. What’s in the news? Create alerts for your favorite keywords

Go to Google News, and enter your favorite keywords, one by one. Create alerts for them all.

I just entered “fertilizer” into Google News, and got the result you can see in the image below.

keyword in Google News

Depending on your keywords, you may get a lot of results, or very few. Either way, you’ll get some inspiration for content ideas.

3. Use Google Suggest: go through the alphabet

This is my favorite easy, keyword content idea inspiration-getter. All you do is go to Google.com, and enter your keyword, plus a letter of the alphabet.

In the image below, I entered “fertilizer”, and the letter “a.”

Google Suggest

Google Suggest

Just meander through the alphabet, and see what ideas you get. You’re sure to find several ideas which inspire content.

4. Hello Amazon: enter your keyword, and browse books on your topic

Depending on your keywords, you can get some great inspiration here, especially for your “theme” landing pages.

Just enter your keyword into Amazon Book Search, as in the image below. Then check out the Tables of Contents of any books which appeal to you, using Look Inside/ Table of Contents.

Amazon for content ideas

5. Use Soovle, for inspiration-at-a-glance content ideas

Wedded to Google? Google isn’t the only search engine. There are lots more, but don’t worry, you don’t have to click your way through them all. Let Soovle do it for you.

Soovle

As you can see in the image above, Soovle pulls from several search engines, including Wikipedia, Amazon, and YouTube, to give you lots of content ideas.

So there you have it. Five ways to get ideas for content, using keywords, and without using Google’s free keyword tool.

Need content? Contact me today.

, and on Twitter: @angee

“There is no longer any value in serving up generic or commodity information. With Hummingbird and semantic search, Google is getting better at using machine learning to understand the world’s knowledge base. The main reason for Google Search to exist, from Google’s point of view, is for people to be exposed to AdWords ads, the source of most of Google’s income.”

From Matt Cutts at Pubcon 2013: Authorship, Authority and the Future of Search.

Surviving Social Media: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Social Media: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

When I mentioned Twitter, the client snapped: “We tried it. Social media doesn’t work!”

I’ve heard that before. After the meeting, I checked the contentious Twitter account – what there was of it. Twenty random tweets over three months.

If you feel that social media isn’t working for you, it’s time to take a close look at what you’re doing.

Could you avoid these mistakes?

Mistake 1. Lack of planning

Are you planning your social media campaigns? For best results, integrate social media into the rest of your marketing – social media should be part of all your marketing efforts.

You can:

  • Integrate social media with search marketing (SEO). Create content around your marketing plans, and use social media to encourage engagement;
  • Integrate social media with your email marketing. Ask questions, then encourage recipients to respond on social media. Again, this encourages engagement with your brand;
  • Integrate social media with events. What events are coming up? An “event” can be anything at all. Perhaps you’re launching a product, or are scheduled for a trade show… If you’re sponsoring a sports team, tweet and post about upcoming matches.

Mistake 2. Impatience

Your social media accounts take time to grow. Five followers and likes become 50, and then 500.

Tip: buying followers doesn’t work. Your accounts will grow organically, as you promote your presence, and engage on the networks.

Mistake 3. Failure to engage

Social media is social. Be available, and engaged. Encourage your customers and prospects to chat to you. Respond to queries. Ask questions.

Consider offering coupons, and running contests.

Woobox specializes in social promotions; it’s used by two million brands. Visit their site. They offer many ways for you to engage your customers and develop new followers.

Mistake 4. Hashtag dumping

You’ve seen hashtags: words preceded by the “#” hash sign which identify messages on a specific topic. Although they’re useful, they’re ugly and confusing when they dominate a message.

Use them as they’re meant to be used, and create your own to identify promotions. If you’re running a Christmas picture contest for example, you could ask people to post an image with a special hashtag, such as #mychrispic. Your hashtag can be anything you choose. Keep it short, and identifiable – make sure it’s not already in use.

Mistake 5. Wordiness

Whichever network you’re on, keep your messages short. Attach images to your messages: they get more retweets and Likes. People browse social media; images catch attention.

On Twitter, you’ve got 140 characters, or around 25 words for a message. Don’t use all 140 characters. Leave space for retweets.

You have more space on other networks. Google+ gives you lots of room for your messages, but even there, use a mix of short messages, with the occasional longer post.

On Pinterest, images are vital; they’re the key to repins and engagement.

If you feel that social media isn’t working for you; try again. You may discover a powerful new marketing tool.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Google’s New Hummingbird Search Algorithm: 3 Things to Do Now

Google's New Hummingbird Search Algorithm

Google’s 15 years old, and like any teenager, it’s changing fast, and turning into an adult. A VERY smart (and somewhat scary) adult.

If you were online when Google was born (aka “the good old days”), you considered that search engines were indexing machines and relaxed. You simply went to town on keywords, and called it done. Your websites ranked, your content was found, and all was well with the world.

Happy days. Things were much simpler then.

What’s a Hummingbird?

A hummingbird is an itty bitty nectar-drinking bird with a super-fast metabolism.

So, why did Google call the new algorithm “Hummingbird”?

Google told us the name come from being “precise and fast.”

With Hummingbird, Google brings together personalization (Google knows who you are and where you live), semantic search, and mobile search.

Tip: if your website’s not optimized for mobile devices, do that now.

Google’s building on its strengths

Google’s always been focused on delivering fast and relevant results. Now it’s going a step further. It wants to become your personal assistant:

Personal Assistant Vs. Information Retrieval

You can clearly see where search is acting less and less as information retrieval and more as a personal assistant. Apple’s SIRI leverages semantics as well, initially using it to enable interoperability and the scheduling of services when a natural-language query is initiated. Google Now has similar functionality.

Three things to do now

Lots to love, right? But how will Hummingbird affect your search engine traffic? No one knows, because Hummingbird isn’t just an algorithm update, it’s a completely new algorithm.

The good news is that Hummingbird was live for a month before Google announced it, so if you didn’t see a massive change in traffic, you probably won’t.

Let’s look at three things you can do to thrive with Hummingbird.

1. Give your audience what it wants: focus on intention

Mark Fagan, of iProspect, said:

(Hummingbird) may represent a step change in the way that SEO practitioners optimize content, since there will be less focus on the exact phrases used and more on the underlying meaning. It’s all about trying to deliver better search results for consumers, which is a good thing.

It’s vital to understand your target audience, and the intentions behind their search queries. Cut loose from keyword-focused content creation, and think of your audience’s interests and needs.

Check Google’s content guidelines too.

2. Say hello to Google+: it’s all about people and trust

Does Google trust you? Google wants to know you, and the people who know you, and the people you know, so start using Google+ if you aren’t already doing so.

Here’s an excellent article on why you should be doing that:

The addition of real people to the Google search algorithm and the ability of the algorithm to learn what people really like, and want, will result in the best companies, products and services rising to the top in both search rankings and business. Competitors with poor products and services will fade way regardless of size. This is not something that can be fixed by throwing money at it.

3. Run a great business, and create great content

Chris Kilbourn wrote about SEO in the age of Hummingbird:

So what does all this add up to?

If you don’t want to spend your time following Matt Cutts around like a lost puppy, then here’s what it boils down to: DO create great content for real people and DON’T try to trick them. OK?

Hummingbird frees you

In summary, if Hummingbird works as it should, you don’t need to worry about anything other than running a great business, and promoting it well, both online and offline.

, and on Twitter: @angee

 

photo credit: Gonzak via photopin cc

Content Explorer: Three Easy Ways to Discover Great Content to Share

web content

Looking for great content to share? If you’re a content creator and curator, you spend endless hours both developing, and looking for valuable content for your audience.

Prismatic: the content you want, when you want it

After the sad demise of Google Reader, users were looking for a replacement.

Although Prismatic isn’t Google Reader, in many ways it’s better. It’s easy and fun to use. Here’s what one of the founders said:

Prismatic begins learning about your interests before you use the product. Within seconds of signing up, we’ve analyzed what you and your network share and discuss, and we make initial guesses about how much you like topics like “Science Fiction”, publishers like “io9”, or how interested you are in things that individual people share (even those outside your network).

Prismatic helps you to stay up to date, so that you can curate the best content for your audience. The more you use it, the better it understands you and what you need. Slate called it the “world’s smartest news-reading app.”

Triberr: the discovery and sharing platform

What’s Triberr? Mike Allton reports:

Members join Tribes based around specific topics and categories so that each blogger is sharing and reading blogs from other similar bloggers. I’ve been a member of Triberr personally for a while now, and can attest to the enormous impact it’s had on website traffic and reader interest. Triberr currently boasts over 50,000 tribes and over 2,000,000 visitors a month sent to member blogs.

I’ve only joined Triberr recently, but it’s already one of my favorite ways to discover and share content.

Google+ Communities: get the latest insights from others who share your interests

Google+ says about its Communities: “Talk about the stuff you’re into with people who love it too.”

You can create your own Communities, as well as join others’. With thousands of Communities, you’re sure to find people who share your interests. Those people share content, so you’ll find the latest and the best content.

I’ve joined dozens of Communities, and while I can’t keep up with them all, if I have a question, or want to catch up with the latest information, a relevant Community is just a couple of clicks away.

Aside from content, Communities can help you to gain visibility:

Posting within public communities is visible outside the community too… your engagement in a community… is still getting the highly-coveted Google rankings juice that helps get you found in search. Posts on G+ rank similarly to blog posts, so together with Google’s increased emphasis on the importance of +1’s and their secret algorithms, your online influence will spread as you gain influence among your peers in the community. Sweet!

You need tools to help you to survive the tsunami of content which flows onto the Web today. These tools help me, and they’ll help you too.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Social Media Smarty: 5 Sizzling Tips To Ace Google+ Today

social media Google+

You’ve heard about Google+ and you’re wondering what it can do for you.

If it’s just another social network, why bother? You’re tweeting, and you have Facebook pages. Why commit to yet another network which you need to monitor, and on which you need to develop content?

One word: Google. Another few words: identity, relevance, and search engine results.

In his book, Google chief Eric Schmidt said:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

No one outside Google knows just how Google+ affects SEO, but you can assume that it does.

Charles Arthur in The Guardian, decided that:

Google+ isn’t a social network. It’s The Matrix.

Read his article, and you may well agree.

Look on your interaction on Google+ as an investment in your future. Google and the other search engines are important to anyone who does business online. You may not want to join yet another social network. However, once you see that your engagement on Google+ has positive effects, you’ll want to continue.

AJ Kohn has an excellent article on Google+ SEO:

In a nutshell Search+ transforms your search results based on the connections, interactions and activity you have on Google+. It is the largest search personalization effort ever attempted by Google.

Let’s look at five smart ways you can ace Google+ today.

1. Use it like a blog: attract a new audience

Mike Elgan’s a Google+ enthusiast who blogs on Google+. A Google+ post is like a blog post. It has its own URL, and you’ll often see articles from Google+ in the search engine results.

While using Google+ as your business’s blog is an option, it has significant drawbacks. When you’re using to blogging with WordPress or on some other service, you’ve developed the environment you want, to attract the audience you want.

Look at blogging short posts on Google+ as a way to attract a new audience, and funnel them where you’d like them to go.

2. Win attention with images: prettiness gets pluses

When you look at your stream in Google+, you’ll see that images get attention. We’ve talked about image marketing on Google+, and said:

Take your own photos. These photos don’t have to be taken with a super-duper digital camera, you can take them with your cell phone. I’ve just taken a couple of snaps with my cell phone which I’ll be using in an image marketing campaign for client.

Carry your phone around with you, and snap away.

Google+ is almost as image-focused as Tumblr. Build an inventory of images for Google+. If you’re using Pinterest, you can repurpose some of those images.

3. Write now, post later with the Chrome Do Share extension

"Do Share" Chrome extension

“Do Share” Chrome extension

When you use the Do Share Extension for Chrome, you can create your Google+ posts whenever you like. Do Share will schedule your posts for you, so that they’re published at times they’ll get the most attention.

If you’re running a promotions campaign, you can set up Do Share with posts at the start of the campaign. You’ll be notified of comments to your published posts in your Inbox, so that you can respond to them.

4. Create and join Communities: meet friends and engage them

Create and join Google+ Communities: your Community posts appear in the search results. Use Google Ripples to see how your content is shared.

5. You’re a curator on Google+: share with commentary

When you create a Google+ post, you can choose a type: text, photos, links, videos and events. However, be wary of posting posting naked links. Add commentary so that you get more pluses and shares.

Look on yourself as a content curator. When you’re posting material other than text, adding commentary helps SEO – you can even use hashtags. Google+ will add a primary hashtag for you. When you add commentary, it means that there’s more text for Google to index.

, and on Twitter: @angee

10 Easy Ways to Get More out of Your Business Blog Today

cute cat

#Caturday star power

Want to get more out of your business blog? You can. Each of the tips below will take you less than ten minutes to implement. If your blog isn’t (yet) enhancing your bottom line, it soon will be.

1. Got goals? Set ONE goal for each blog post

Just as you need goals for your blog, you need a goal for each piece of content you create. Usually, when a blog languishes, it’s because there are no goals for the content.

When you create a blog post (article), create a goal.

It can be simple:

  • Explain how install batteries in Product X (to cut down on support requests);
  • Share a customer’s review (to show social proof, encourage sales);
  • Share five photos from last week’s launch party (fun, show we’re real people who are approachable).

Or complex:

  • Develop our brand;
  • Compete with Company B on _____ (whatever.)

Try this: create a blog post template, and right underneath the title, add “THIS POST’S GOAL IS: ____.”

2. Share: ensure that your content is sharable

Want to be found? Encourage your site’s visitors to share your content.

It’s easy with social media plugins. If you use a popular service like WordPress, you’ll find plugins galore. If you’re implementing your own blogging solution, visit the social media networks of which you’re a member, and get the code for their “share” buttons.

Try this: add share buttons to your blog.

3. Get content from important people in your industry

Contact thought leaders in your industry, and ask for an article for your blog. The worst they can say is “no”, right?

You’ll have the most success with this strategy if your thought leader is promoting a new book, or a speaking tour.

Try this: make a list of successful people who can inspire your customers. Approach one person a week, via phone or email.

4. Got a list? Get one, and make becoming a subscriber a no-brainer

In this blog post, I suggested that you stop giving your leads away:

I’ve been working with a couple of clients who are busily promoting Twitter and Facebook. That’s not a good strategy. That’s throwing your leads away.

I’ve been using aweber to manage my mailing lists for over a decade. Whatever mailing list manager you use, create your own list. Then make becoming a list subscriber a no-brainer.

Try this: create a “goodie” for your subscribers. A coupon code, or a downloadable item, is easy to implement in a few minutes.

5. Revamp older posts: add action items, and calls to action

We talked about goals, in our first tip. In addition to goals, add calls to action to your blog posts.

A call to action can be simple:

  • Ask a question, and then ask for responses in your comments;
  • Ask readers to share the post via one of your social media buttons.

Try this: edit an older post today. Add a call to action, then promote the post on social media networks.

6. Integrate your blog with your website

Some blogs are like red-headed stepchildren. You visit the company website, and there’s no indication at all that there’s a blog. That’s a shame.

Be proud of your blog. Add your blog to your website’s navigation.

Try this: add links to relevant blog content to your product pages.

7. Do more with popular posts

Got a blog post that’s receiving hundreds of Likes and shares? Lucky you! Now make the most of it. Write new blog posts extending the original, or on a similar topic.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger fame wrote, How I Turned a Guest Post into 3 Million Visitors and Over 150,000 Social Media Shares:

  • 3 million unique visitors
  • 131,000 ‘pins’ on Pinterest
  • 25,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook
  • 19,000 RT’s on Twitter

No matter how modest your successes, bang the drum.

Try this: find a popular post. Can you extend the idea with a Part 2 of the original?

8. Persona-fy: target each blog post for a specific persona

We’re all individuals. However, the people who visit your blog will fall into broad groups. You can segment your traffic in any way you choose, but do create at least two personas.

We discussed personas in this post. Basically, a persona is a fictional representation of a segment of your traffic.

Try this: think about your audience. Create two personas.

9. Build a community around your blog (slowly)

You can build a community in many different ways. One of the easiest ways is by asking for comments.

Also consider creating a Facebook or Google+ page for your blog. It will take time to create a community. Be patient.

Try this: create a Facebook or Google+ page for your blog’s community.

10. What’s missing? Add images for added share-worthiness

We’ve talked about image marketing. Images on your blog posts make them sharable on sites like Pinterest, and Google+, which are heavily focused on images.

caturday on social media

It’s #Caturday on Google+

Of course you’ll post images relevant to your business, but consider other images too. “Caturday” is a a popular hashtag on Google+: on Saturdays, people post images of… their cats. Or just cute cat images they’ve found.

Try this: think beyond your blog. What great images do you and/ or your staff own? Post them on the social media pages you’ve created for your blog.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: somenametoforget via photopin cc