Tag Archives: SEO

Google Plus: An Awesome Inbound Tool for People and Their Business

Google+
Google Plus is offering people and businesses new ways to engage with their network and customers

Google Plus has been steadily gaining user-ship as people and businesses begin to realize the added benefits that a Plus account will add to their online presence. This post will discuss what Google Plus is, what the benefits are to you personally as well as your business, and how to get the most out of your account.

What Is Google Plus?

The assumption is that most of you reading this blog already know at least something about Google Plus and therefore this section can be skimmed briefly as you make your way to the more in-depth sections later on.

Google Plus is a social network that was created by the Google Search Engine. It effectively connects users to their contacts and allows them to upload content types including text, video, links, and links onto their profile so that their followers can interact with that content as well. This creates an easier way to channel content in a meaningful way to those who you are trying to reach.

Google Hangouts are a way for people to connect with up to 10 people at the same time over webcam, through text.  I will discuss further in the next section.

What is the Benefit of Google Plus to You and Your business?

First of all even though it is implied, I should mention that within your personal account, you are able to create business pages which are a great place to inform internet viewers about what your business does, how to get connected with them, and to engage them in the meaningful content that you have uploaded there.

One of the best things about Plus is that it is a subset of Google, the most popular and powerful search engine in use today. You can best believe that when you post something on your Plus account, it carries more weight in a Google search than something any of the other social networks. If Google is a fan of your business because you have done a great job optimizing your profile, then you’ll do a better job when it comes to search results. Google also has a feature called “+1” which is the equivalent of the Like button on Facebook. People use it to show that they have found your content interesting, engaging, funny, etc. Having these +1s associated with your profile will help to raise your search engine results even higher.

Google Places are a great tool for local businesses hoping to gain customers from an increased online presence. When people search locally from their smart phone, having an optimized Google Places setup will help to put you higher on the list of results.

Google Authorship is a way to take ownership of the content you have created and distributed around the internet. It gives you more authority and is a verification that the work is your own. This acts as a ranking signal in Google’s ranking system and therefore this can be a helpful tool in increasing your viewership and trust in the communities that you are reaching out to.

Finally, Google Insights is a way that will help you to measure your efforts. Insights will give you information about what has been working, what your traffic is, and where the traffic has come from. This will be your proof that your hard work has been paying off.

I mentioned Google Hangouts earlier and the possibilities are endless on how Hangouts can be used. A few of them include business meetings, holding interviews, face-to-face interactions with family and friends, meeting an interested follower, etc.

Personally, I use Google Hangouts for business meetings once or twice a week in order for each team member to update everyone on their progress over the last few days. It is a great way to meet without wasting the time to travel to a meeting spot. Most of my experiences have been positive, however occasionally I will run into issues with the losing connections to the group, losing sound, lagging screens, and other user interface issues. Some aspects of real life meetings have not been duplicated yet and therefore the program isn’t perfect. But if you need something that gets the job done, Hangouts can become your friend.

How to get the most out of your Google Plus Account

If you want a more in-depth breakdown of this section, visit Stephan Hovnanian’s page on Optimizing your Google Plus Profile

The first and most important is optimizing your profile so that it can be reached by your target market as easily as possible. Part of this optimization is taking advantage of your About section by using it to shamelessly promote yourself. Give visitors links to the websites that you want them to visit, use effective keywords, and tell people what it is you’re all about and why they should follow you. Also, as mentioned before, setting up authorship will increase your credibility and ranking.

Make sure you add a professional photo of yourself as your cover photo. Also, make sure that your make your photo more visible by embedding keywords into the image file as well as the caption.

What do you think?

This section is added because I’d like to see what people think about the fact that Google has recently a made it possible for anyone on Google Plus to email anyone else on  Google Plus without previously having their email. This seems to me like it could encourage some people to join Plus, however, is it worth risking the comfortability of current content users by opening up this Pandora’s Box? I see this as an opportunity for spammers to take over your inbox and I am not sure that I support it. As a side note, there is the ability to opt-out of this feature, but I personally think that it would be more on the up-and-up if they made this feature an opt-in instead.

What are your thoughts?

 

Anyways, thanks for reading!

A Breakdown of How Search Engines Work

Search Engines

Search engines work on a three part system of crawling, indexing, and ranking in order to find the information and get it to the user in the most relevant way possible to them.

Crawling is the process of a search engine sending out user agents called spiders into the world wide web in search of web pages. Once they reach a web page, they will document its existence add it their database of websites, and then record any follow through links that might be connected to the site for future exploration.

Once sites are recorded, websites are then indexed according to their keyword usage, term frequency, and any co-occurrences that exist which would render them more relevant to the user. In addition to these, topic modeling will also be used, which is the engines considering more complicated relationships between different words and phrases that tend to come up together. Through this process they are able to better identify which words and phrases should be grouped together.

In addition to these activities, a caching system is used to keep records of each site, store information, and help determine relevance. The problem with caching for SEOs is that any change that is implemented will not show up in search engine results until the indexing process has re-cached your sight, which could be hours or days. Therefore, evaluation of SEO techniques must be done once the site is re-cached to avoid misinformation.

The final aspect of search engines back-end is the ranking system they use to determine the most relevant content for users. Search engines use algorithms that contain the variables discussed in the indexing section in order to rank and determine which position they are returned to the user. Users will search the engine for keywords, the engines will check their index, and then pages are assigned their score based on hundreds of other signals relating to the page. The pages are then ordered from highest to lowest based on their score and shown to the user. This all occurs in less than a second.

SEO Implications

SEO

What does this mean for companies? This means that there are countless opportunities for success as well as failure based on your ability to implement relevant content that fits within the guidelines of the algorithms that are used by search engines. Here are a couple of tips to get you started on optimizing your website to increase your page rank.

1. Search engineshave a lot of trouble reading and analyzing content that is in formats such as Flash, JavaScript, AJAX, images, and videos. If you are going to use these to increase the aesthetic appeal or interactive ability of your website, make sure to include a lot of descriptive content surrounding the difficult formats. That will help search engines to analyze the content and give more relevance to the site.

2. Before analyzing the effects of any SEO tactics that have been implemented, wait until the website has been re-cached, so that the any change in traffic will be measure effectively. This can be checked on Google by typing in cache:domain.com with your domain being the entered rather than domain. This will allow you to see the how recently you have been checked out by Google.

Enjoy, and happy searching!

 

 

Conent Marketing: How Building Trust Can Help Build Your Brand

The topic of the day is content marketing. But what exactly is content marketing? It’s a marketing strategy that focuses around coordinating your businesses development of content building, social media presence, and search engine optimization efforts in a consistent and meaningful way in order to maximize the effect that each would have individually. Each of these facets of your companies online presence are important individually, however you will see the most effective outcome if you successfully link the three of them together. Now let’s talk a little more specifically about how content marketing comes to be.

Content

The first and most crucial aspect is the development of content. Whatever social media and search engine optimization you use, it all means nothing to a content marketing strategy if there is no content to guide people to through your social media and SEO efforts. So what makes for good content? Well, deciding what is good content starts with identifying what it is that your desired customers are interested in learning more about. If you are able to correctly anticipate your customer’s needs then you can build content that is relevant to them. If you give customers bad information, you will lose credibility quickly.

Image

So, seriously guys, make sure the content is accurate and relevant to your audience.

One of the key ideas to consider throughout the process of content creation is the understanding that you are serving a customer need and therefore, you should develop content with the same level of quality that you would have on your company’s main product or service offering. This content is going to be an extension of your companies image which means that it is important to put quality first, otherwise people will assume that your product is of similar quality to your content.

So, what should be your goal with the development of content? Your goal should be to become the expert on whatever subject you write about and have the people searching your subject seek out your opinions in the matter. Your overall goal is to capture the hearts of these people, have them view you as a subject matter expert, and therefore when the time comes where they are interested in making a purchase, they already trust your judgment and hopefully recognize that you will also carry that quality over into your actual product or service, and therefore they will choose you over a competitor.

Now, some skeptics would look at this strategy and question whether it is ok to gain an audiences trust and then use that trust to foster business transactions. To this point, I urge those skeptics to consider that it is important to distinguish content creation for the sake increasing your search engine rankings from creating meaningful content in order to prove your competence in a particular subject matter to potential customers. Consumers today want to research prior to their purchases and see the bigger picture before making a purchase. Content marketers are there to offer opinions on the subject, and if the needs of the customer correspond with the benefits of the product offering, then guiding customers to the point of purchase becomes the final step in the process.

Social Media

The use of social is essential to the sharing of information about your business. If the content is there, but nobody is talking about it, it won’t have as much of an impact on your ability to build an audience of engaged listeners. You can use social media and blast your followers with posts encouraging them to check out your website, or buy your product. This will lose you followers fast. That isn’t to say that you can never promote your business through your social media, however if that is all that you are doing, your audience’s attention span will not last and you will soon find yourself with a considerably shorter list of followers. However, if you are posting links to relevant content that is of interest to them, they will not only continue following you and engage with your content, but they will also become one of your most important forms of promotion. When someone sees a retweet from one of their friends, they are more likely to trust the source. Every retweet is free exposure to 10’s, 100’s, even thousands of new potential audience members and therefore taking advantage of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn are going to be an essential aspect of your content marketing efforts.

Search

Finally, search engine optimization will come into play. However, if you have effectively developed content, and are guiding it through your social channels, your SEO work is almost complete. The rest just focuses on making sure that your use of keywords is optimal. Keeping in mind that search engines are continually getting smarter, however, they still need you to stay within their algorithms in order for them to search you. This means that you should integrate real terminology into your content because while you and your audience may know the relevance of nicknames, metaphors, and other creative justices that can be taken, Google may not have the capability to search that criteria, and you can lose considerable traffic when your keywords are not explicitly stated.

 

 

Content marketing is so important to the marketing mix because of the fact that it doesn’t interrupt people. People consider their time to be of great importance to them, and when you take that time away from them, they can become slightly irritated with you.

Image

 You are not brandishing your product in front of anyone’s face. People are actively seeking information on the subject and you are simply giving them a place to become more informed. These customers are already farther along in the purchase process than any customers you would reach through traditional efforts, therefore these are more qualified leads that you are reaching for a fraction of the cost. The fact that you are spending less money to engage more qualified leads while simultaneously developing the owned media that reflects positively on your brand makes the decision to develop a content marketing strategy a no-brainer. So, to gain a better understanding of content marketing, I recommend going out and taking a look at some examples of content on the web.

One example that jumped out at me as particularly creative is the Kraft iFood App that was developed by Kraft Foods. The app contains a database of recipes that use Kraft brand foods wherever possible in order to show give readers more reason to buy Kraft products. It also allows you to create a shopping list for when you go grocery shopping. This is a great way to engage shoppers because you are helping to make the food buying and cooking process as easy as possible for the customer. In addition you are able to promote your brand by suggesting that they use your products while preparing the recipes listed.

Recognizing the importance of content marketing as we move deeper into the digital age where customer engagement is key will have a profound effect on your company’s ability to connect with their audience. Having recently joined an agile planning software startup myself, I’ve begun developing a strategy for using content marketing to increase the strength of our brand. I will begin by developing a blog that focuses on informing readers about the benefits to an agile approach to software development. The goal of the blog is first of all, to educate ourselves on the problems that customers are running into in the software development world. Using the problems identified, we will be able to build our content in order to answer the questions that the audience has about software development, what agile can do to help, what issues currently exist with available agile software programs. From there, it is about engaging with the customer. Asking them their opinions on what they would like to see out of an agile software company will also allow us to increase and streamline our features offered in order to create the strongest user interface possible and this versatility will help to make us the most sought after product on the market. Simultaneously with the development of content, we will be developing a social media presence which will give our audience additional voice as well as act as a conduit for the increased site traffic we hope to see from our content development efforts.

Insights on Inbound Marketing and the Workings of SEO

Inbound Digital Marketing

Are your traditional marketing efforts continually leaving you with a lower than expected ROI? It could be due to a lack of inbound marketing techniques which are becoming more essential to capturing new customers than ever before. But what is inbound marketing?

content marketing

Inbound marketing focuses around the creation and effective placement of engaging and relevant content related to your industry that consumers will come across in their web browsing. The idea behind developing this content, is that when a potential customer is searching for information regarding a subject that interests them, they will come across your content and become familiar with it and once there is a certain level of trust, they will be more likely to listen to your suggestions. Within the content, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to plug your product or services, and because of the fact that you have already created value for them, they will be more likely to choose you over competitors. This content can be hosted on the business website itself, or elsewhere on the web, providing links to your website.

inbound marketing

One of the keys to successful inbound marketing is the quality of the content. The goal should be to focus your efforts on creating content that is accurate, interesting, and genuinely helpful to the consumer. Any content that you create will reflect on your business. Even if people aren’t aware that your business is the one creating the content it will reflect on you because the links to your website will create a trigger in the minds of the consumer, causing them to associate the bad or biased information with your business.

The people who are reached have already proven an interest in the product or service, therefore, they are farther along in the customer awareness cycle. These people now just need to be brought into the stages of brand liking and preference, which is accomplished through the trust you develop by continually striving to provide the most accurate and helpful content. A customer who believes that you are the most knowledgeable and well-intentioned in the industry will not only become your lifetime customer, but will also become one of your biggest salespersons. Through their word of mouth, reposting, and the buzz they create in the social media world, these customers will help drive traffic to your business, increase your sales, and reduce your need for expensive outbound marketing techniques that are less likely to have as high of a ROI.

inbound marketing 2

Effectively Measure Social and Email, While Guaranteeing Content Optimization

Hubspot is an inbound-marketing software company that has been helping businesses rethink the way reach their customers for years. They recently introduced new products that will change our ability to measure success in our social media and email marketing efforts. They have also developed software that optimizes content across all platforms.

Social Inbox

I’ll start by introducing Social Inbox. This software program allows you to identify which social media interactions are from your customers, and which ones are from your leads. This gives you an increased ability to coordinate your social media efforts more efficiently and provide more human interactions with your customers than ever before.

By taking a database of your leads, opportunities and customers, Social Inbox connects them to your social media interactions.  This distinction increases the human aspect of communication because you are able to address them in a more appropriate manner considering your current relationship with them. This is great for a marketing manager or a sales team who is able to identify high potential leads, and personalize an approach to them based on their profile information.

Signals

Signals is another software program that helps companies to manage their email campaigns and measure success. Signals allows the user to analyze emails on categories such as:

1. Did they open your email?

2. Did they click through?

3. Where did they click through?

4. What they are doing currently with regards to your content

5. Whether they became a potential sales lead.

These types of measurements are important to a business, not only for the fact that they let you know about the above mentioned items, but they give you the ability to see if your campaigns are effective, or if you’re just wasting your time.

Content Optimization System (COS)

This tool is one that is going to make user interface experts very happy in the future. The responsive design that is built into the program means that when you look at the website, social, email, blog, or any other online marketing campaign, the content will be optimized for your viewership by automatically adapting to the context of the users device. Cell phones, tablets, desktops, laptops, and whatever crazy next generation devices they throw at you.