Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization

Online Marketing Blog: Engage, Connect and See a Tangible ROI

Disney is a social media giant. With over 200 millions “likes” across its Facebook pages, it is one of the most powerful brands on the web. So, I’ve decided to explore how Disney accomplishes such a feat. In order to do so, we must examine how they engage with their fans and the impact that interaction has on consumers.

Disney builds a community, not just a pitch
If you look closely at Disney’s tweets or Facebook posts, you’ll notice that most of the communications are centered on interacting with fans. Their goal for social media is not to be commercial but, rather, informational. And, you can see this easily. Take their recent Youtube video about creating life-size LEGO models of Toy Story characters. The content of the video wasn’t made to promote that LEGO has a Toy Story line of toys. Instead, it tries to give something back to the fans.
  
  
Disney invests in digital publishing
Disney moves with the times. In just 18 months, it has launched more than a dozen children’s book apps. In fact, Disney Publishing has seven out of the top 10 apps in the Paid Books category. And now that Disney owns Marvel (Yes, you heard me right— Marvel comics.), they are expanding to put comics online.
 
  
Disney sees social media as a powerhouse to use

In today’s age, it still amazes me that people question the benefit of social media. Disney decided to communicate with fans and develop emotional connections with them through their social media strategy. Naturally, what’s bringing people together is a shared love for the brand. But, it’s also deeper then that. Not only are people connecting with Disney; they are connecting with each other, and that goes back to creating a community.
  
Your business can grow through the strategic use of social media. When you integrate social media with other marketing strategies, you can see the ROI clearly in the form of visitors converting into customers. Social media marketing is less about "being there" and more about "what you do when you are there".

"It's not for me", "my business is different and all referral based", or "we're too small" are not reasons not to engage in online marketing. Social and search marketing are imperative to small business growth. It is the most cost-effective form of marketing you can and should leverage. All you need is a strategy, a plan, and a company who knows how to execute the marketing plan.

Contact us today to learn how we can be your  designer radiators marketing partner, regardless of  your budget.

Online Marketing Blog: Social Media is Free, Right? Wrong!

Let’s face it; in today’s world, the idea that you can get something for nothing is absurd. So, if you aren’t paying for it, what are you giving up? When it comes to social media, the answer is time.

Whenever you are promoting your services or products online, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself spending a bit longer then you originally planned. Answering questions and interacting with customers is an time-consuming job. And if you are doing it yourself, guess how many billion tasks are you leaving undone?

On one hand, it is fun. You know what you are doing is working when people respond back and engage with you. That ripple effect is proof, if anything else. On the other, you find yourself being more and more a social media manager, and it makes you wonder how on earth you are supposed to do, well, everything.
 
And this is why several companies— ourselves included –are encouraging business owners to budget for their online marketing activities.

The idea is that if you want your website to appear in search results, to connect to more visitors or start more conversations, you need to spend an enormous amount of time promoting that. If you find throughout the year that you can’t do it yourself, this calls for hiring someone and having a budget in place will solve that hiccup.

Whether you choose to do this or not is entirely up to you, but we can’t pretend that social media is free. After all, there is a reason for the saying that time is money. And, as a business owner, you must determine how much your time is worth to you. 

Online Marketing Blog: Small Business Owners & Social Media Marketing – Is it Even Optional Anymore?

To invest in social media marketing or not to!!!

That is a question that most small businesses face when thinking about social media. But social media usage has skyrocketed and so of course everyone must invest. But how and how much seems to be more of a question.

Studies show that a whopping 70 percent of companies say they use social media, however most of them feel like it is more of experiment than a strategy. While they know that the goal is to maintain an online image, how to do that seems to elude owners.

Still, for those who haven’t jumped on the social bandwagon, 41 percent say they plan to, leaving little room to doubt that using online media is no longer optional for business owners.

In my humble opinion, the reason social media continues to be an experiment rather than a strategy is because business owners don’t seem to understand the value of marketing. Most business owners only think in terms of sales or leads. They don’t place as much importance on branding, networking, and forming a trusted network which can result in sales and leads. Let’s face it, marketing is loosey-goosey; it’s intangible; it’s nothing you can put your hands on; it’s….ok you get my point, right?

However, marketing is an important strategy that requires effort, daily focus (not weekly or monthly), and a comprehensive strategy that is all encompassing. What I mean by all-encompassing is that marketing needs to be multi-channel, multi-faceted. More about that in a future blog….

But just to close out this one, let me emphasize that online marketing is no longer optional. You gotta do it!

Social Media Marketing Blog: Is a Website a Cost or an Investment?

Small business owners are often faced with a number costs necessary to run their business. If these costs are not managed properly, the business and the owner(s) can be bankrupt before the business really gets off the ground. The biggest advantage a small business owner can have is an investment in a website to promote their product or service.

Reach Local or Global Customers
A quality website is the way to showcase your products and services. Regardless of whether your customers are local or global, your website is the best way to reach them. A well-created, aesthetically appealing, and functional website is especially important for small businesses because it is the most cost-effective marketing tool available to them.

Credibility and Visibility
Small businesses can maximize their business visibility with a comprehensive Internet strategy. Even if your services aren’t bought online, customers use the Internet to research what they are interested in buying. Regardless of the type of business you are in, your customers are researching and looking for you.

A well-designed and navigation-friendly website can also enhance your credibility. Customers can review testimonials, company information and your product or services portfolio to make an informed decision.

Brand awareness
By leveraging social networks like Facebook and Twitter, a company can gain brand awareness. Brand awareness results in more credibility for your company and will eventually drive leads and customers to you. By interacting with prospects with buy soundcloud plays agency and customers on social networks, you will build relationships that will also enhance your brand awareness.

When prospects tell me that they can’t “afford a website” or “can’t afford monthly marketing”, I wonder at their seriousness about being in business. Let’s face it. Digital (Internet) marketing is here to stay. You may hide but you can’t run from it. If you aren’t on social networks or marketing your website on search engines, how do you expect to remain viable? Look around you and check out your competitors online. Do they have a leg on you in terms of online visibility? If they don’t, that’s all the more reason to get online and leap-frog them by carving out your place in the big, competitive web world. If they do, what are you waiting for? You should’ve been online yesterday!

A website is an investment. Website marketing is “protecting your investment” and “growing your business”.

 

Search Engine Optimization Blog: What Google’s Farmer Update Means to You!

Google has recently updated their algorithm to lower the rankings and penalize content farms. In short, content farms are sites that produce regurgitated low quality content just for the sake of search engine results. While this new update has been successful for the most part, there are some legitimate businesses and blogs who have been caught up in the mess. The intended result of the update was to reduce spam that was often returned in search results. However some sites got penalized even though they weren't using black hat SEO.

You may recall that JCPenny.com and Overstock.com both recently came under Google's microscope for unethical Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics. Both companies claimed that the tactics were unintentionally underhanded. However, Google defined their tactics as ‘black hat’ and these companies saw their rankings plummet.

Content farms have plagued Google and Google users for years. The Farmer update is the latest attempt to weed these out from search results .

Defining a Content Farm

When it comes to defining a content farm, the answer can be quite complicated. Most people know a content farm when they see it, but there are other aspects to the argument that is creating problems. The main consensus is that content farms are sites that simply lift content from other sites, but Google has also defined them as sites that create content to just manipulate the search results.

An example of manipulating the search engine involves using a hot topic word as many times as possible in order to drive the page to the top of the search list. While this is the goal of many sites and businesses, it’s difficult to tell where these tactics become black hat and where they can be termed "legitimate" SEO. Since defining content farms or black hat SEO often comes down to Google's opinion, it doesn't matter what you and I think, Google decides what to do and it did.

The latest Google update is not perfect, but it is perhaps necessary. There are a LOT of sites that I would not want to see in my Google search results. Google has communicated that a web development company can write to them to let them know if you are unnecessarily being penalized due to the update and they'll do what they can to help your site not suffer from dropped rankings.

But you know what? I think that if Google doesn't want people spamming it and circumventing it, why doesn't it just publish its algorithm and let us SEO people figure out how to work it. This will make life for us SEO practitioners so much easier.Especially with the new GuaranteedSEO.Services. Just saying!!!!

Search Engine Optimization Blog: What You Say Online, Stays Online!

Baring all in public is becoming more and more prevalent what with Facebook, Twitter, and other tools being accessible from everywhere including mobile phones and wifi connections that are freely and readily available.
 
Makes you wonder if anyone cares about online privacy anymore, doesn't it? Well, it's important, so here goes:
 
Remember, if you say it online, it's public!
  
You think it's hidden behind your privacy settings. But know that websites get hacked into and your privately shared information can become publicly visible. An agreement between Twitter and the search engines means that tweets are visible in search engine results. And copying and pasting a screen shot for the world to see, by a fictional friend whom you've never met, is a piece of cake. So if it is online, it can just as easily be featured on the front page of the NY Times. 
 
The Internet doesn't forget.
 
Yep, it is permanent. You may not realize how what you say today will affect you in the future. But fast forward in your mind 20 years from today and think how you’ll feel if you read something that you posted today. So before you post anything, think if your tweet or Facebook post could potentially cause embarrassment for you or your loved one in the future.
 
What you say has consequences for others too.

We've read news stories about cyber bullying causing suicides and harassment or potential lawsuits cropping up because someone said something that could harm another.  So think about that before you post how terrible your experience with xyz restaurant was. Or think of the potential for getting sued if you malign someone online. Last but not the least, think about the consequence of you or your loved one getting fired or sued because you said something in the "heat of the moment".

Search Engine Marketing Blog: To Blog or Not To Blog

To blog or not to blog!

Well, here are two key reasons to get off the fence and begin blogging:

  • Building Traffic, Links, and Rankings: Search engines love content. The more content you publish, the better your website will fare in search engine results. Blogging also builds traffic to your website and link backs when others who read you blog link back to your website. Links and traffic continue to play a big role in building better rankings too.
     
  • Establishing Expertise: Using a blog, you can show your expertise and insight into a particular topic. When your prospective or existing customers read your insights, you benefit from their positive perception of you and your company as a solution provider in your field of expertise.
     

And when you blog, remember to use a blog utility that is within your website and not external. Remember, the idea is to build traffic internally not send that traffic to another site. Blogger and Word Press platforms offer the opportunity to blog for free on their platforms. But neither of them need the traffic! Your website does. So spend money on getting a blog utility installed within your website and start blogging today!

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Providing Search Results Faster Than You Can Think!

Thinking of something? Start typing and Google will provide you with the search results you may be thinking about faster than you can stop thinking!

Yep, Google's got the "instant" search which displays search results that are updated with every character you enter in the search box. So, Google is basically providing you an answer before you even formulate the question. No more pondering over what exactly to type when you are trying to find something. Every letter you type in will result in a set of results you can choose from.
 
Pretty cool eh?

Actually it is PRETTY DAMN annoying even as it is PRETTY DAMN cool!

The every character change results in distraction where you end up going somewhere you didn't want to go but because it showed up for a second before you typed the next character you decided to check it out. Also annoying because if you type the wrong character you end up again going somewhere where you didn't really want to go.

Also, I don't know if it is the Firefox browser I use or if it is Google's live search but the live search actually drags out the typing and makes me more prone to mistakes because a character doesn't register in the search box while it is retrieving  data. I know it's not fat fingers or my inability to type cause I can type with my eyes closed and barely make a few mistakes.

But those annoyances aside, live search is a pretty cool feature and if you stop to think about it, it's pretty awe-inspiring. And no, it doesn't stop the need to do search engine optimization in case you were thinking that. In fact I think that an even more comprehensive  Search Engine Optimization strategy may be needed in the future so that every phrase that may represent a company's business should be identified to allow that company's website to show up in the live search results.

Let's see how it shapes up but for now, hope you enjoy Google doing the thinking for you. Next thing we know Google may even begin delivering new clients to me! Hah!

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Has Yahoo-BING Search Alliance Leveled the Playing Field?

So Yahoo and Bing have joined hands to take on Google. So has the playing field for search domination leveled off just a bit you think?

After establishing the Search Alliance between Yahoo and Microsoft, Yahoo had quickly begun transitioning Bing results into Yahoo results. So now, in the US and Canada for English results only, Yahoo search experiences are now powered by the Microsoft platform. This change in other markets will come fairly soon given the speed at which the transition is happening immediately after the public announcement was made.
 
Yahoo will be displaying mostly organic results from Bing. And initially Yahoo will only deliver English-language searches via Bing. As both partners work together to leverage each other, it is not unrealistic to expect that they will soon cover more markets and include other language searches.

Google continues to dominate the search usage market with greater than 60% of users using Google Search.  So has the competitive landscape evened out a little bit with this search alliance between Yahoo and Bing. Or has Google monopoly on search gotten stronger with the search alliance between Yahoo and Bing? Will new players crop up to pick up smaller usage shares in the US and Canadian Search markets?

We're all waiting to see how this plays out….

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Facebook Places – The new way to reach your audience

When you have something that’s being used by half a billion people, it’s bound to have a huge immediate impact. So can your business when it is featured on your Place Page.
 
Facebook Places is a smart-phone location check-in feature that will allow you to share your location, find the location of your friends, and discover new places based on other Facebook user recommendations – much like Loopt, Foursquare and Yelp! provide.
 
Facebook Places has exploded as a habitual way of connecting. With people migrating their location check-ins to the network where they spend most of their time already – Facebook, it is a suite of advertising tools that provides you a way to list, claim and advertise your business.
 
You can grab your friend’s attention to your Place page by adding a story about your place page that talks all about your business on your profile. Data that you can collect on users and amount of times they check in will prove extremely valuable in tracking customers and advertising spend. What this means is that the customer that comes in every day can now be tracked and even incentivized to get a free gift for every tenth check-in. It’s like the digital/social version of the loyalty card.
 And more so, people are talking and telling others about your business therefore this has the potential for generating new referrals!
 
Offering coupons and special offers for people who check in is a natural way to tap the power of using online tools to drive offline sales. You can also make this more appealing and catchy by creating polls and inviting comments about your business. You can reward those who bring potential customers to your place page or share their experience with your business by offering them exclusive discounts or special offers.
 
All in all, Facebook Places is here to stay and I predict that advertisers will start becoming creative for leveraging Facebook Places.