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Posts Tagged ‘seo’


Friday Small Business Roundup: Lead Generation and More

October 11th, 2013 ::

You’d like more leads, wouldn’t you? We thought so. Read Rieva Lesonsky’s post 5 Ways to Generate More Leads and start getting them.

Is your email campaign working? You’ll never really know unless you learn How to Measure Email For Engagement and Sales. Read Monika Jansen’s post to learn how.

If You Advertise on Facebook, You Need To Know About Power Editor. Read Monika Jansen’s post to learn more.

Are you using content marketing? See how you measure up to other businesses – read Rieva Lesonsky’s post How Companies Use Content Marketing to Generate New Leads.

7 Types of Content That Search Engines Love

May 13th, 2013 ::

LoveOne of my favorite sources of marketing information is MarketingProfs – I learn so much from them. In a recent post, they wrote about the types of content that Google loves the most. I went through the list and pulled out the top 7 types that I thought were most relevant for small businesses – and that you are probably already doing.

Here are the 7 types of content that search engines like and you should be creating (if you’re not already):

1 – Interviews

Search engines like interviews for 4 main reasons: they get read, they get backlinks from the interviewee (bonus if the persons is an expert), backlinks are from trusted sites, and the content is unique.

You don’t need to conduct interviews in person unless you want to tape it and turn it into a video. I conduct most of my interviews via phone, but you can do them via email, too.

2 – Lists

Lists are usually fun, easy to scan, and easy to read – and readers love them. Search engines like them as long as the content is unique, and – bonus for you – they can be really easy to write.  You can do lists of your favorite industry books or blogs, best airports for business travelers, best pieces of advice you ever got, top industry best practices – you get the idea.

3 – Resource Centers

Creating a resource center on your website is a new content marketing trend for small businesses.  Think of it as a library of your content – ebooks, top blog posts by category, products, services, FAQs, etc. Because people share them, link to them, and spend time on them, search engines love them.

4 – Social

Did you know that Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks are pulled up when you conduct a search? So, yes, the quality of the content you post on your social media accounts – and the amount of interaction it gets – helps boost your search rankings.

5 – Case Studies

Because case studies built around client success stories are interesting, people read them and share them. Your customers will link back to and share your blog posts, all of which is activity search engines really like – but you know that by now, don’t you?

6 – Predictions

You know the blog posts and articles that always come out around the new year that list industry predictions? People love them, read them, comment on them, and share them, so they tend to great search rankings.

7 – User-Generated Content

Search engines love user-generated content, whether it’s blog posts, images, or videos. Hold a contest that requires entrants to submit original content; if you allow others to comment on and vote for submissions, search engines will go crazy for all of the interaction.

Have you created content that showed up in the top of search results? What drove so much interaction?

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

6 Top Myths of Social Media

May 6th, 2013 ::

mythsDespite the incredible amount of information out there on how to use social media for marketing, a few bad practices still linger. At best, following them makes you look like you’re new to social media, but at worst, you could get flagged for spam.

Here are the top 6 worst practices, or myths, in social media:

1 – You MUST be active on every social media network.

Well, sure, if you want to waste your time, go for it! But it’s highly doubtful your customers are active on every social network. Beyond Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you really have to do your research to see if your audience uses Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, etc. Some popular social media listening tools include Google Alerts and Social Mention.

2 – Automate all updates to save time.

The first rule of thumb when it comes to social media is to be social. Do you automate texts, emails, and phone calls to your friends? Of course not! You can’t have a conversation that way. You can automate certain things, like blog posts and major news releases to go out, but otherwise, treat social media like a cocktail party and be present.

3 – Auto-DM new Twitter followers.

Automatically sending your new Twitter followers a direct message (DM) is such an impersonal, spammy practice that it will leave a negative impression on your followers and make you look like you have no clue what you’re doing. Instead, send them a short, public note around your area of interest: “@newfollower Thanks for the follow! What aspect of social media are you most frustrated by?”

4 – Auto-publish the same content on every social network.

Again, this will make you look like you don’t know what you’re doing, because every social network is different. It’s OK to tweet and pin a few times a day, but it’s not OK to post on Facebook or LinkedIn a few times a day.

5 – Respond to all negative comments.

While it is generally a good idea to respond to negative comments in order to fix a situation, remember that some people are just mean. Instead of getting into a virtual shouting match, do what you can to address the complaint, and then leave it. That person will only look worse, while you’ll look better for taking the high ground.

6 – Just wing it.

If you want to actually generate results, you can’t “wing” social media. You need to have a plan. For starters, you need to know what content you will post where and how often. If you want to learn more, check out one of my recent blog posts, The Online Marketing Project, Part 2.

What other social media practices make businesses look like they don’t know what they’re doing?

Image courtesy of lifehappens.org

How to Find the Best Keywords for Your Business

April 25th, 2013 ::

Typing on a keyboardI was recently tweaking my website, and one thing I did was make sure I had the right keywords integrated throughout the site. That little exercise got me thinking about how to identify the best keywords for a business, especially one that is in a highly competitive industry or market.

Let’s back up real quick. For those who don’t know what a keyword is, Google defines it as “any word or short phrase that describes a website topic or page. The more a keyword is used by searchers and websites, the more attraction power it has.”

Keywords are important. If you want to rank high on a search list, you need to do two basic things: create new content to keep your site fresh and use strong keywords throughout your content and Web pages.

Here’s how to audit your website and identify what keywords to use:

Give each Web page a purpose

Look through your website and make a list of each page: name, category (product page, about page, etc.) purpose. By defining your pages, you will have a clearer idea of what keywords to research and which keywords to use on which pages.

Brainstorm keywords for each page

Go back to your page list. Quickly think of the keywords that are most likely to be used when conducting a search on that topic. If keywords overlap from one page to another, that is perfectly OK. No need to edit – yet!

Check your list against the Google Keyword Tool

This tool sets the standard when it comes to keyword research – webmasters and SEO experts rely on it.  Simply type in a word or phrase, and you’ll get a list of similar keywords with a count of how often each word is searched, along with info on which words advertisers think have most value.

Keep in mind that the more competitive (valuable) a keyword is, the harder it will be to rank high in search results for that keyword. Revisit your list, and throw those out. Don’t be tempted to use keywords that rank super low; no one uses them. Your best bet is to go for medium-values.

Consider using long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are entire phrases – like “non-toxic ways to get rid of ants” rather than “pest control.” They are less competitive, but they work very well for SEO purposes, and they convey user intent, which is great for lead conversion purposes.

Do some competitive analysis

Use the keywords you chose to conduct searches. As your competitors pop up, take a look at their sites. What meta-titles are they using (those appear at the very top of the browser window)? Next, conduct a keyword search for your competitors’ sites using semrush.com (handy little tool, isn’t it?) to understand what they’re being found for.

Finalize your list

Now that you have done all that research, plug your almost-final list of keywords back into the Google Keyword Tool to make sure they’re not too competitive, but that they do deliver results. Finalize your list, integrate them on your website, and you’re good to go!

Have you ever done in-depth keyword research? What did you learn?

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: Infocaptor Bubble My Page (SEO Tool)

March 20th, 2013 ::

Infocaptor

If you’re having a hard time figuring out whether your SEO strategy is working and you’re struggling to make sense of your website analytics, sometimes it helps if you can visualize the data. Infocaptor’s Bubble My Page scans your website for word content and coverts the keywords into a bubble word cloud so you can see what words you’ve used often on any given page of your website. (Only the first 100,000 bytes are read from any page.) The tool is useful to help you keep on target when writing content for your site by providing an easy way to visualize whether you’re sticking to your keywords and topics.

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Social Media Strategy

December 11th, 2012 ::

yes and noTo make sure you’re avoiding common mistakes when using social media for marketing, follow these simple rules:

Do: Have goals

Before you get started, decide how social media marketing fits into your overall marketing strategy. Do you want to find better quality leads, engage with and retain current customers, generate word of mouth?  How do your goals complement the other pieces of your marketing strategy, like your blog, SEO, content creation and online advertising?

Don’t: Dive in without a plan

An editorial calendar will keep you organized. Decide what you are going to post when and on what network.  Take timing into consideration, as well: What times are your fans and followers more likely to see your activity?

Do: Use social media consistently

Randomly using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and any other social network is a waste of time. Inconsistent use of social media sends a signal that you don’t care about and are probably not that interested in your customers.

Don’t: Ignore SEO

Search engine optimization is important for any online activity, whether it’s your blog or a how-to guide on your website. Sharing content on social media is great, but to snag a wider audience, make sure all that content on your website is optimized with keywords so search engines redirect people to you.

Do: Use visual content wisely

People engage with images, so when you use them, think about how to make your brand fun and accessible. You can showcase products and services, fans and customers, user-generated photos, your logo, employees, events – get creative!

Don’t: Make it all about you

Social media is not a one-way bullhorn. People love to talk about themselves, so be sure to focus your social media activity on your fans and followers. What do they like? What do they care about? How can you help them?

Do: Engage

This is a corollary to the above: social media is a conversation. Respond to direct messages and mentions on Twitter, comments on Facebook, messages on LinkedIn, etc. Ignoring people is no way to build a community.

Don’t: Assume anything

Don’t assume you know what social networks your customers and potential customers use or what sort of information they find most valuable. You have to do your research first, or you will be wasting your time (hint: ask them).

Do: Measure the right metrics

Likes and retweets are not marketing metrics – they’re popularity metrics – and the two are not the same thing. Instead, measure how much traffic Twitter and Facebook are sending to your website, how many downloads your content and shares your blog posts are getting, and how many leads from social media are converting into customers.

Did I miss any do’s or don’ts?

Image courtesy of wellhappypeaceful.com

5 Steps to Keep Your Sales Funnel Full

December 10th, 2012 ::

Sales funnelNo matter how long they’ve been in business, a lot of small business owners are not very good at keeping the sales funnel full. You’ll do a marketing blitz, get super busy and focus on work. Because you’re so slammed, you will then ignore marketing and sales. Then your projects wrap up, and you’re back to square one – you need to do another marketing blitz.

The better, less frantic approach is to always be marketing – it’s the best way to keep your sales funnel full, especially if you tend to have a long sales cycle. Here’s a 5-step process to ensure those marketing blitzes become a thing of the past:

Step One: Create valuable information

Your goal is to first get people onto your website. Devote time each week to creating valuable content, like blog posts, white papers, eBooks, infographics and videos, that are full of keywords.  Potential customers will find your site when they go searching for information on a specific topic.

Step Two: Pump up the SEO

Your goal remains the same: get people onto your website.  Make sure your website is fully optimized for all the keywords you want to be found for, including location if that’s relevant. Even though it’s not technically SEO, use hashtags on Twitter to make it easy for people to find you.

Step Three: Convert Web visitors

Now that they’re on your site, your goal is to convert visitors into leads. There are two ways to do this: 1) If you’re offering an eBook or free demo, direct them to a landing page and ask for basic information before they can access the item. 2) Use compelling calls-to-action that direct visitors to do something – contact you, sign up for your e-newsletter, like you on Facebook, etc.

Step Four: Nurture and qualify leads

At this stage, your goals is to stay n touch with potential customers and build the relationship through social media and email marketing. Because you’ll stay top-of-mind, when they’re ready to buy, they’ll think of you first. You can also offer specials or coupons, to speed up the decision-making (on a personal level, this always works for me).

Step Five: Analyze your efforts

Your final goal is to simply look at your process and see if people are getting caught up somewhere in the process. Is a piece of content not attracting website visitors? Are people leaving your site when they reach a certain page? What offers are converting more leads into customers? Adjust, and continue.

What do you do to keep your sales funnel full?

Image courtesy of outsideinview.com

Content Marketing 101: The What, Why and How of Using Content to Generate Leads

October 26th, 2012 ::

Content marketingContent marketing has become quite the trend this year. If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to creating digital and print marketing pieces specifically to market your business to your customers.

The benefits of content marketing include:

  • Creating trust
  • Building thought leadership and expertise
  • Building and solidifing relationships
  • Improving search results
  • Increasing Web traffic and leads

There are many pieces of content you can create, repurpose and share via social media and on your website. In my opinion, the top 7 by popularity and effectiveness (but in no particular order) are:

1. Articles

Seek out opportunities to write for trade or general interest publications, both digital and print, on your area of expertise.  Reach out to editors and propose topics that would be of interest to their readers.

2. Blog posts

Writing blog posts for your company’s own blog is great for search results – search engines reward websites that are frequently updated with new content. You can also seek out opportunities to guest blog for a partner company’s blog or an industry blog.

3. Case studies

Turn your projects into stories that explain a client’s challenge, your solution and the results. Case studies need not be long and technical – 3 paragraphs of 2-3 sentences each should suffice.

4. Enewsletters

A short, monthly newsletter is a great way to not only stay top-of-mind with your audience of potential, current and past customers, but also share your expertise and industry news.

5. Ebooks

Repurpose content from articles, blog posts, case studies, and presentations by creating an ebook in which you share tips, tricks and how-to’s.

6. Presentations and Webinars

If you hold or participate in events like seminars, workshops or webinars, consider your presentation part of your content marketing strategy, either by repurposing it whole or in parts.

7. Videos

Marketing videos can be entertaining, educational or a hybrid of both.  When done well, a video will not only engage your audience, but also drive leads to your website.

What kind of content marketing has worked well for you? What would you like to try if time and money were no option?

Image courtesy of adrants.com

6 Tips for Creating a Successful Blog

October 10th, 2012 ::

BloggingSo, you’ve decided to finally start a blog – awesome! And congratulations! Blogging is fun, but it’s also a lot of work.  To make sure your hard work actually pays off, follow these 6 tips to ensure your blog is set up properly and ready to hit the big time:

1. Choose a niche subject

Do your research first to choose a subject that you are not only comfortable writing about on a regular basis, but that also has little or no competition online from other blogs.  A Google search will help with this. I recently did it for one of my own clients (a CPA), and confirmed that no one else is writing about her area of expertise.

2. Use a Web designer and developer

Unless you are one of the above or highly technical by nature, don’t try to put together your own blog or it could look unprofessional – or not function properly.  The investment in a professional will be worthwhile.  I have learned this the hard way.

3. Optimize your site

Turn to an SEO expert to ensure your site is thoroughly optimized for search.  In the meantime, do keyword research on Google to find the keywords and phrases most often searched for – and use them in the title and body of your posts.

4. Write engaging posts

Easier said than done, yes, but in general, an engaging post is:

  • short – 300 words
  • visual – include an image or video to emphasize your point
  • easy to read – write the way you talk
  • actionable – give your readers a specific tip on how to do something better
  • humorous – people like to be entertained

5. Publish several posts before launching

Once you launch and publicize your blog, people will skim your posts and scroll through several of them to get a good idea of what you write about.  Be sure you publish at least five, preferably more, posts to give potential readers a really good idea of what they can expect from your blog.

6. Categorize and tag your posts

You want your readers to easily find previous posts, and the best way to do so is to categorize them based on topic and tag them based on subjects covered.  So a post on the topic of “Facebook “could include the tags of “photos, videos, engagement, contests,” etc.  You get the idea!

Good luck!

Any other tips you’d like to share around setting up a blog?

Image courtesy of blog.hubspot.com