Tag Archives: traffic

Pinterest Traffic: 3 FAST Tricks You Can Use Today

Pinterest Traffic: 3 FAST Tricks You Can Use Today

Want some Pinterest traffic? Some of my clients still don’t believe that they can get useful traffic from Pinterest. While it’s true that Pinterest won’t send you masses of traffic when your account is new, the traffic you do get pays off. It’s engaged, and responsive – conversion rates for Pinterest are 50 per cent higher than for other sources.

Let’s look at some FAST tricks which will increase your Pinterest traffic quickly.

By the way, we’ve just released a new program which helps you to make the most of Pinterest – Pinterest for Writers: Creative Strategies To Increase Your Writing Income FAST. It’s aimed at writers, but the information works for any small business.

1. Find and Reach Out to Influencers in Your Niche.

If you’re used to doing outreach for links, you know how to approach people. Firstly, create some boards, with great images. Pay attention to your pin’s descriptions, and add hashtags. Treat optimizing your boards and pins just as you would any other search engine optimization (SEO) project.

Then, reach out to other pinners in your niche – pinners who are targeting an audience which is similar to yours. Make a list of these pinners, and follow their boards. Comment on their pins, and repin them. Contact your targets, asking them to pin one of your pins. At this stage, don’t be greedy. Ask for a single pin, but don’t stop there. Aim to form a relationship. Pinterest is a social media network… get social.

Mention your pinning colleagues in pins you post. “Mentioning” on Pinterest is just like mentioning on Twitter. Make sure you’re following at least one of their boards, then use the “@” symbol, and the pinner’s user name. They’ll be notified of your mention.

You’ll find other Pinterest tips and tricks here.

2. Create Attention-Grabbing, Share-Worthy Images.

Images are at the heart of Pinterest. Here’s an excellent post on how to create share-worthy images. It gives some great advice:

Social media expert Kim Garst matches audience expectations with useful tips by regularly posting images with social media advice and tagging them with #biztip.

Her community shares these problem-solving tips like wildfire, which results in an exceptionally high organic engagement rate on Facebook.

Initially, working with images will feel clumsy and unnatural. Have fun with it; do your best. You may not be a designer, but you have innate creativity. You don’t need a Photoshop subscription. I use Picmonkey and Canva more often than I use Photoshop.

3. Share Your Pinterest Presence: Let Everyone Know You’re on Pinterest.

It’s easy to forget this – I do! Let people know you’re on Pinterest. Add Pinterest widgets to your website, and promote your boards and pins on other social media.

Did you know that you can embed pins? Embed your boards and pins onto your website and blog. The more people who know you’re on Pinterest, the more people will find your boards, and the more followers you’ll get. More followers means more Pinterest traffic, and as we’ve said, Pinterest traffic converts.

So, there you have it: three FAST and easy tricks you can use today to get Pinterest traffic.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Web Content Dilemma: Guest Posting, Yes or No?

Web Content Dilemma: Guest Posting, Yes or No?

You want traffic, so you post Web content to your website or blog regularly. It works. However, with a tsunami of content flowing onto the Web each day, it’s very hard to get noticed. You decide that you need more content to draw traffic.

One day you have a lightbulb moment, and decide that you need to write guest posts for popular websites. They get much more traffic than you do, and they offer a link back to your site. So you offer an article to a popular site. Your article is accepted, and you get your link, and a trickle of traffic. Your daily traffic is increasing.

Guest posting is amazing, you decide. It works! So you spread yourself far and wide, posting on others’ sites, and chasing links.

I love guest posting, and enjoy posting on sites like LifeHack. However, Google’s Matt Cutts has repeatedly warned that overdoing guest posting may not be a great idea. Sooner or later, Google will come down on websites which chase guest posting links.

The solution is…

Post your best content on your own website.

MOZ CEO Rand Fiskin, in Why Guest Posting and Blogging is a Slippery Slope suggests:

For your marquee content, your best stuff, I strongly – see how I’ve underlined strongly – strongly suggest using your own site. Reason being, if you’re going to put wonderful stuff out there, even if you think it could do better on somebody else’s site, in the long term you want that to live on your own site.

The problem with guest posting is that even if your name is on the content, you’ve lost some rights (maybe all rights, in some cases) to the content. Even if your guest posting venue merely claims exclusivity for a couple of weeks, and you retain all rights, the content nevertheless is posted on someone else’s website.

It’s a dilemma. Should you guest post, or post your Web content primarily to your own website?

When to guest post…

Consider your business goals, as well as your marketing goals. What do you want to achieve in the longterm? If your aim is to be a thought leader in your industry, your choice is obvious: post your best content to your own website. Make the most of your content too – repurpose it. Integrate your content with the rest of your website.

When should you guest post? Ideally, when you want to form a relationship or partnership on the website on which you post your Web content. Or, guest post on a website which is read by your target audience.

Consider that guest posting your content is a short-term solution. Yes, you get links, and those links may be valuable right now. However, you’ve lost control of that content.

As Rand Fiskin suggests in his article, guest posting can be a slippery slope, if you look on it as an easy way to get links and traffic, and start to scale it. Some links can damage your website.

We’ve discussed repurposing your content. As time goes on, you can reprise your content too, as long as the content lives on your own site.

Web content is valuable. Think carefully before you give your best content away too cheaply.

Quick update… is guest blogging DONE?

Some hours after I posted this post, I received Matt Cutts Declares Guest Blogging ‘Done’ … Are We All Screwed? from CopyBogger.

(Giggle) Love the title. 

I went to the source, Matt Cutts, who’s made it clear that he’s talking about guest blogging solely for SEO:

Added: It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.

You can create guest posts as Web content to your heart’s content. Just make sure you’re not doing it SOLELY for links. And keep your best stuff on your own site, as much as possible.
Blog management

, and on Twitter: @angee

Increase Web Traffic and Consumer Engagement With Pinterest: 3 Easy Ways

Increase Web Traffic and Consumer Engagement With Pinterest: 3 Easy Ways

Want to increase your Web traffic with Pinterest? Not only does Pinterest drive traffic, it also enhances consumer engagement. Make it easy for consumers to pin your images. When their followers see your images in their streams, they may repin, giving you more opportunities for traffic.

These tips are easy to implement, and at least one will give you a “duh!” moment because it’s so simple. By the way, if you’re in an unglamorous industry, and can’t easily source glitzy images, you can nevertheless use Pinterest as traffic source.

Denise Wakeman suggests:

In fact, you don’t need stunning photos or a sexy topic to attract followers on Pinterest. Joan goes through the steps she uses to create images of helpful how-to tips, even for the most boring topics, using nothing more than PowerPoint, and then cross-promotes each tip to her blog, website, or a social media site.

I often use Keynote on my Mac to create text-focused images for Pinterest. Several of my students use MS Word to create Pinterest images. Alternatively, download the free Open Office office suite, and use its Impress app to create your images.

If you want a Web-based image creator, I’ve become a fan of Canva. It’s a free app which creates gorgeous images suitable for pinning. You can create custom images sizes in Canva: for Pinterest, images of 600 x 900 work well – I created the image at the top of this post in Canva and PicMonkey.

Tip 1. Hand-craft descriptions for your pins.

Make it as easy as possible for people who are searching Pinterest to find you. I had a “duh!” moment a few weeks ago when I realized that I’d ignored my pins’ descriptions, even though I know that you need text and keywords to enhance search-ability.

Each pin has its own “page” on the Web, so in SEO terms, think of a pin’s description as a page description. You’re given 500 hundred characters for a description, which is around 100 words. Add a keyword as a hashtag, and describe your pin. In addition, consider adding a URL to your pin, and asking for repins.

Tip 2. Comment on others’ pins.

Engaging via commenting on pins gets traffic to your Pinterest boards. When you comment on others’ pins, anyone reading your comments can click on your name, which is a link to your Pinterest account.

If you spend just ten minutes a week commenting, it will give you an uptick in followers and traffic.

Tip 3. Add text to images when appropriate.

Text helps your images to stand out in people’s streams, and can encourage consumer engagement with your brand. Not every pin will need text. If you’re pinning products however, including text with a product’s primary benefit can drive a click. Adding your logo can help too.

An article in Mashable recently reported the Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter and LinkedIn. If you’re not getting your share, implement these three easy tips today.

Pinterest Power: Get Up to Speed On Pinterest, It’s More Useful Than You’d Think

Pinterest Power: Get Up to Speed On Pinterest, It’s More Useful Than You’d Think

Are you using Pinterest for your business? I know that many businesses aren’t. On the other hand, I’ve run into several companies which use Pinterest as their one and only website; that’s something I wouldn’t have considered, but it works for them.

We discussed how to lure customers via Pinterest, and if you’ve been holding off using Pinterest, here are three tips which will help you to get up to speed.

1. Get up to speed fast.

Not sure how you’d use Pinterest?

Jeff Sieh suggests (and provides a clever video):

One definite way you can use Pinterest for your small business and drive more traffic to your website or blog is by optimizing your pins for search purposes. Create compelling descriptions which include your relevant keywords but remember there is a 500-character limit. Make your descriptions count by being short, concise and strategic in what you say.

2. Use Pinterest for market research.

Keep in mind that 80% of Pinterest users are women, and Pinterest has 500,000 business accounts. This makes it a happy hunting ground for researching your target market, and competitors.

5 Ways to Use Pinterest for Your Business suggests:

Before you undertake any marketing campaign, you have to undertake market research first. With Pinterest, you can gather all the valuable market research in one place without anybody else knowing. Pinterest’s user friendly and visually appealing nature makes it easy to compile all the relevant data (videos, blogs, infographics, and much more) related to your target market.

3. Grow your boards.

On Pinterest, you pin your material onto boards. Create boards for your products, your customers, and just for fun.

Your boards aren’t static. Check them frequently, as they grow.

Karen Leland suggests:

Rearrange your boards. If you want to reorganize the order in which your boards appear, simply place your cursor over your name in the main toolbar in the top right corner of your screen and select “Boards” from the drop-down menu. You’ll now be able to see all your boards. Located just above your boards and smack dab in the middle of the page is the “Edit Profile” button.

Did you know that you can even pin boards onto your website?

Pinterest drives traffic, and as we said: “Pinterest drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn — combined.”

Get up to speed today; you’ll be pleased you did.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

27 Million Pieces of Content Are Shared Daily: How Will You Survive The Content Craze?

27 Million Pieces of Content Are Shared Daily: How Will You Survive The Content Craze?

Are you creating content for your small business? If you are, you may be happy with the increase in traffic, but are you happy with your conversion rates?

You create content to grow your business, so it’s essential that you create that content with conversions in mind. We discussed growing your content to support your marketing goals well over a year ago. It’s even more important now, because the competition for attention is so much greater.

Think about the flood of content which spills onto the Web each day. KISSmetrics reports:

According to a 2012 study by AOL and Nielsen, 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared every day. By now, the mantra of “content is king” has been relentlessly drilled into our collective heads – but more isn’t always necessarily better.

(Read the article, it gives you some great ideas for getting ready for 2014.)

Yes, that’s 27 MILLION pieces of content – in 2012. Within a few weeks, 2014 will be here, so that research was 12 months ago. It’s scary to think that that 27 million might be 50 million pieces of content per day by now.

Think conversions, rather than traffic.

Measuring the effectiveness of your content via traffic is easy, so that’s what everyone does.

Instead, consider measuring via conversion rates, rather than traffic.

If you do that, you’ll start thinking differently about your content.

In her excellent KISSmetrics article, Sherice Jacob predicts that companies will measure content by conversions in 2014:

Success will be measured according to the metrics that matter for that particular industry – whether it’s number of downloads, order volume, quality leads or a combination of those criteria.

Content is for your customers: what’s in it for them?

You’re creating content for your customers, aren’t you? Sad to say, most companies are not.

Look at the “Current Trend: What Type of Content is Created Most?” graph in Sherice’s article. You’ll see that well over half the content that companies created was about news and current trends, or about the company itself.

Why? Because creating that kind of content easy; it’s an ego boost, too. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Occasionally.

But when you talk about yourself you can’t expect great conversions. Your content is for your customers. I talked about WIIFM (“what’s in it for me”) in yesterday’s article on headline copywriting, and said:

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think about your ideal customer (or your email recipient, your blog’s readers, etc.) Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them.

Measure by conversions in 2014.

Create user-focused content in 2014, and measure by conversions. It’s the only metric which counts.

What to do now: check your content.

Take a look at the content you’ve published in the past 12 months, especially your “greatest hits.” Is the content customer-focused?

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Blogging In A Wasteland? 6 Quick Tips To Get Targeted Traffic

Blogging: 6 Quick Tips To Get Targeted Traffic

When your blog gets little to no traffic, you can feel as if you’re in a wasteland, talking to yourself.

You know you need content, so you’re working hard. On the other hand, perhaps you already have lots of great content, but Google’s slapped you silly. Result – a trickle of traffic, on a good day.

You’re close to giving up.

Please don’t. You can get free, targeted traffic, and will fall in love with your blog all over again. Let’s look at six quick tips to get traffic.

1. Get social media buttons (obvious, and essential)

Do you have social media sharing buttons on your site? It’s easy to overlook this. Make sure that they appear on every page of your website, especially on your blog.

Shareaholic offers publisher tools, including share buttons, and tracked eight of the most popular social media platforms to see which were driving traffic:

Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are dominating. These three social media power players collectively accounted for 15.22% of overall traffic last month. Given their community and share-friendly nature, it’s no surprise that they top the list in traffic referrals and have grown more than 54% each in share of overall visits.

2. Get easy inbound links: polish up your social media profiles

You can’t be active on every social media platform which might drive traffic. Choose two, and polish up your profiles on those sites.

I’m most active on Twitter, and Google+, so I keep those profiles updated.

Even if you’re not active on Google+, it’s a good idea to polish your profile there. You get a special section in your profile called Links. Make sure you link out to your online properties there, and if you contribute in any way to other sites, add the links to the “Contributor to” area. This helps Google to identify you across the Web.

3. Get busy reviewing on Amazon

I had a real “duh!” moment when I read this tip from Jennifer Bourn:

You can use your Amazon reviews as a sort of satellite blog, a place to offer your insights, intelligence, and helpful advice to consumers trying to find the right book or product. This is an opportunity for you to be helpful, to be visible to a new audience, and to be positioned as an expert, all at the same time.

I’ve never considered reviewing on Amazon, preferring my own websites. I just changed my preferences. :-)

4. Get moving with YouTube

Did you know that one BILLION unique users visit YouTube every month? Yep, you read that right: one billion.

You may not see yourself becoming a YouTube personality, but you can post short tutorial videos there, as well as videos related to your products and services.

Hunt up the presentations hiding on your hard drive, and post them to YouTube.

If you have a Windows computer, download and install Windows Live Movie Maker.

On a Mac? Keynote will send your presentations to YouTube too.

5. Get going on Slideshare

Did you know that Slideshare is a search superstar?

CMI suggests:

Since a strong search presence is a huge boost for content marketing, SlideShare could be just what your brand needs for more successful content marketing. Think of SlideShare’s link juice as rocket fuel for the content you post on the platform. All you need to start borrowing some of the professional network’s clout is a coordinated plan.

Slideshare is one of the top 150 online destinations, so start creating presentations for some of that traffic.

6. Get active in online communities

With hundreds of thousands of online communities, you’ll find at least one community where you can get active.

Start by getting to know the community, and fill out your profile – this gives you an inbound link to your site.

Then, ask questions, and join in the discussions. You can share your knowledge,and learn from others too. Of course, you won’t spam. However, do create a signature file (most forums allow and encourage this.) Your signature gives you another link.

Is your blog driving you crazy? Get help.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Content Marketing: Top 10 Creative Ways To Use Info Products in Your Business

10 Creative Ways To Use Info Products in Your Business

Content marketing is HOT for a simple reason. It’s cost-effective. You get an awful lot of bang for your content marketing buck.

If you’re thinking about using content for marketing, you may confine your ambitions to blogging, and Facebook pages. While there’s nothing wrong with that, consider broadening your horizons, to info products.

Blogs and social media pages have a big challenge: they’re ephemeral. You can create a wonderful, traffic-generating blog post, which gets a trickle of traffic for years. While it’s valuable, and can do a great deal for your business, it’s still just a blog post.

A book on the other hand is a book. Suddenly you’re an author. At a more humble level, a white paper or a report is a product. It’s a discrete entity. It’s not that I have anything against blog posts and the like. Heaven forbid. I’ve been blogging since 2000, and loved blogs while other businesses were still scoffing at “online journals.” A blog’s wonderful, but info products are entities.

Let’s look at creative ways you can use info products in your business.

1. Demonstrate expertise: become a thought leader

Want to become a thought leader in your industry? Write a book. Seth Godin is the pattern card for thought leaders in marketing. The man’s a genius, no question. Authors are respected.

No time to write a book? Hire a ghostwriter, or write a white paper, report or short ebook.

2. Generate income opportunities

You can generate income from info products in many different was:

  • Offer them as inducements to sign up to a mailing list;
  • Sell them on Amazon or the Web;
  • Create online classes and courses;
  • Attract traffic and links.

3. Get more traffic (Google isn’t the only search engine)

Speaking of traffic: Google isn’t the only search engine which sends you traffic. Aside from Yahoo and Bing, consider that Amazon, iTunes, and YouTube are search engines which can send you traffic.

Podcasts and videos are popular info marketing tools for this reason: traffic.

4. Generate more leads

As we’ve said, a blog post is just that. Hundreds of thousand of blog posts are created each day.

If you create an info product however, it’s something for your site visitors to download, pass around, and keep.

5. Build your brand

Info products build your brand. Produce a book, and you’re an author… an authority. Produce ebooks, or a magazine, and you’re a publisher as well as a business person.

As 2014 speeds towards us, many more businesses will use info products like magazines to publish regularly to build their brand. I love Twitter, but a tweet has a life span measured in seconds. Every info product you create builds your brand now and in the future.

6. Become an author: build reputation

We’ve mentioned Seth Godin. He’s an info product powerhouse, who understands marketing and publishing. His reputation rests on a sold foundation of books.

7. Create ebooks to enhance sales

In the early 1990s, if you strolled into a bookshop, you saw brick-sized software manuals stacked to the ceiling. Yes, they were necessary. I can remember reading my Lotus Agenda manuals as if they were holy writ.

Those manuals were also content marketing. Businesses displayed those manuals on bookshelves.

Nowadays you don’t have to kill a forest. You can use ebooks to enhance your sales. Think about what you wish your customers knew about your products. Create a downloadable ebook to tell them.

8. Create workbooks to help customers get more from your products

Most products lend themselves to a workbook or two.

Selling T-shirts? Create a workbook which shows customers how to draw their own designs onto your T shirts. Then create a contest for the best designs.

In real estate? Create a workbook/ journal/ app to help your clients to move house.

9. Create white papers and reports to inform

Your business produces a mass of research and stats. Use that information to create white papers and reports.

Tip: get creative with this. If you can’t stand to read your own white paper, your customers won’t read it either. Use straightforward language, and don’t be boring.

10. Create videos and podcasts to entertain (and inspire)

Your videos and podcasts are info products. By all means upload them to YouTube. Don’t stop there however. Make the most of them by compiling them into downloads on your own website, where your customers can find them easily. Info products you create to teach your products also promote your products – and they’re info products in their own right.

Techsmith for example does an amazing job with their tutorial videos as you might expect from a software company devoted to helping their customers to create images and videos.

Here’s what I like about the way Techsmith handles its tutorials: they’re entertaining, and informative, as well as being inspiring.

So there you have it – ten creative ways to use info products in YOUR business.

Discover my info product creation service.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Amuse Me! 6 Fun Twitter Tricks: Get More Attention and Followers

6 Fun Twitter Tricks

Twitter’s a social network. It’s easy to forget the “social” aspect if you’re using it for business, but if you’re serious all the time, your followers think that they know what to expect from you and will tune you out.

Why not surprise them?

Build some fun into your tweets. Chances are that you’ll get more attention and followers.

Let’s look at six fun Twitter tricks.

1. Humor always works, but keep it clean

You can be funny on Twitter. Here’s some advice from Parks and Recreation writer Megan Amram:

Usually the tweets that I do are like one-liners with some kind of twist that fits in a very small area. I’ve definitely tweeted things, though, that then became blog posts.

She suggests that puns and wordplay work: “jokes that are popular on Twitter are very often wordplay or even jokes that have funny spelling or whatever.”

Tip: be aware of the branding connotations of your humor. Even if you’re posting on your social Twitter account, rather than a work account, keep it clean.

2. Brand yourself with eye-catching images

Dan Zarrella studied 400,000 randomly selected tweets, and reports:

Tweets with images uploaded to pic.Twitter.com were nearly twice as likely to be retweeted while the use of Twitpic increased the odds by just over 60%. On the other hand Tweets that used Facebook or Instagram links were less likely to be retweeted.

Image marketing’s huge. You’ll get more attention in your Google+ stream with large images, and Pinterest’s image-focused.

Start collecting attention-getting images now. Take your own photos with your cell phone, and explore stock image libraries.

3. Tell me a (short) story

Everyone loves stories.

Alan Rosenblatt suggests:

Now that Twitter displays images within the timeline, hashtags can gather a story timeline easily and present on a single webpage, complete with illustrations. And the story comes with a narrator (the tweet text), a visual (the image) and a dialogue (the caption).

Consider how you might share your brand’s stories on Twitter, in 140 characters or less. Tip: keep your tweets well UNDER 140 characters, to leave room for retweets.

You could tweet:

  • Customer stories:
  • Staff stories;
  • Stories about your brand’s history.

4. To be continued… Tell a long story

Andrew Fitzgerald’s TED video on Adventures in Twitter fiction gives some excellent examples of novelists and storytellers using Twitter creatively.

@RealTimeWWII live tweets World War II, for example.

 

You can use the live tweets strategy too. Why not live tweet your product launch? Your webinar? Many events lend themselves to live tweeting.

Make a list now, of events you could live tweet.

5. Use a funny hashtag to stand out

You can get attention with hashtags you create – especially if they’re humorous. (A hashtag is the “#” pound sign in front of a word; it makes the word searchable.)

Your hashtags:

  • Can consist of words and number squished into a single word;
  • Should be unique (use them to identify your brand or event);
  • Should be short – if they’re too long, you’ll run out of characters, and won’t leave room for retweets.

Here are some examples of funny hashtags on which you can model your own.

6. Create a humorous persona for your brand

Remember the “Get a Mac” advertising campaign?

… against a minimalist all-white background, a man dressed in casual clothes introduces himself as a Mac (“Hello, I’m a Mac.”), while a man in a more formal suit-and-tie combination introduces himself as a Windows personal computer (“And I’m a PC.”).

These personas were hugely successful.

Consider creating a humorous persona for your brand.

Not sure how to create a persona? From Lee Davis:

A fun, easy way to get to know your potential customer and understand how to engage them is to conduct an Empathy Map* exercise. All you need is a whiteboard, plenty of post-its and markers and about two hours.

Once you’ve created at least one persona, put a humorous twist on it, just as I’m a Mac/ I’m a PC did. (Empathy is vital.)

So there you have it – fun Twitter tricks to get more attention and followers. Try one of these tricks today.

 

, 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

Blogging: 5 Fast Ways to Get More Business Via Your Blog

business blog

You have a business blog. Is it getting business for you?

While there are many benefits to creating and maintaining a blog (credibility, find-ability, trust), few businesses bite the bullet and commit to getting business via their blog.

Let’s look at how you can put your blog to work.

1. Write About Your Products and Services

Whenever I get a new blogging client, I check the blog to see how tightly the blog’s integrated with the business.

Many businesses do this brilliantly, but there’s always room for improvement.

Do this now: check your customer service reports. What questions are your customers asking? Answer the questions on your blog. You know your products. Help your customers to get the most from them.

2. Get Sponsors

Why not offer other businesses the chance to advertise on your blog, by sponsoring content?

There are sites which automate sponsored posts. However, it’s better to get sponsorships yourself. Sponsored content is a form of native advertising.

“Native advertising” has been hot for the past year. If you’re not sure precisely what native advertising might be, there are many definitions. It’s a slippery beast to try to nail down, because there are so many varieties.

In essence, I agree with Ian Schafer, that native advertising is old-school advertorials revamped:

The loudest such critic, Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer, considers native advertising in this case just a re-packaged version of advertorials, a timeworn ad format for print media. Schafer’s definition is a bit different: “Advertising that takes advantage of a platform in the ways consumers are actually using it.”

Do this now: offer allied and related businesses the opportunity to sponsor content on your blog.

3. Increase Your Reach: Multiply the Effect of Your Content

You can multiply the effect of your content to get traffic and sales by repurposing your content.

Consider:

  • Turning your blog posts into an ebook (or a series of ebooks);

  • Creating presentations from popular posts;

  • Creating YouTube videos based on blog articles.

Do this now: compile blog posts on a theme into an ebook. You can offer this free, in exchange for contact details.

4. Collect and Cultivate Leads (Inbound Marketing)

Are you collecting leads from your blog? Encourage blog readers to:

  • Sign up to your mailing list;

  • Call you for a product demonstration;

  • Visit your Facebook and/ or Google+ pages, follow you on Twitter, visit your Pinterest boards.

Do this now: add social media buttons and widgets to your blog.

5. Use Your Blog to Differentiate Yourself from Your Competitors

Think about your competitors. Your blog offers you the perfect opportunity to differentiate yourself.

Do this now: make a list of ways you’re different from your competition. Next, make another list on how you can expound on those ways on your blog.

Blog traffic is hard-won. When visitors do arrive, make sure that your blog’s doing its job, which is getting business for you.

, and on Twitter: @angee