What You Didn’t Do Yesterday Online That Lowered Your Rank [infographic]

A guest post by Tasty Placement

When I first started writing online, I really only thought about my interests and what I wanted to share while hoping that those were the same interests of others. If all went well, someone saw the post, linked it to someone else and a kind of web wildfire would spread throughout the virtual lands. However, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Those who write for a living online and depend on a high search engine rank are always looking for ways to connect better to their readership while also bringing in tons of new readers. I heard about this new study that looked at the importance of “Testing Social Signals,” which came in a neat little infographic by Tasty Placement. The infographic poses a simple question, “Can social media activity boost organic search ranking?” While that seems certain, there are some factors that actually make this more complicated than most would think.

The infographic details how six websites were created in similarly populated US cities with websites focused on the same niche. The domain name included the city name and a specific home service. Tasty Placement took it a bit further by promoting websites each through different social media like Google+, Twitter and Facebook. While promoting, they did what we do: follow their rankings in search engines with eager anticipation.

For those of you who love Google+, the infographic details how one targeted website generated more than a 100 Google Plus followers and raised considerably upward in its search engine rankings. Another website targeted specifically to Google Plus One yielded a slightly lower rank but overall still much higher the websites targeted to Facebook or Google. Is it any surprise that Google would favor its own social media?

All of the sites yielded some results, except for the one which was left to its own devices and had no social media promotions. While the study proved something that we have come to suspect, it was nice to see which social media connections really improved the ranking. Obviously, websites owners and bloggers are rewarded for using Google’s own system with higher rankings. Still, I was also wondering what would have happened if one website had been connected to all the social media. I can only see that being a rocket of high rankings.

This infographic was designed and developed by TastyPlacement, Inc. Click here to visit their site.

Click on image to see full sized version.

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10 SEO tasks you should perform today

This is an extract from 50 Shades of Yay, a free ebook by Nikki Pilkington

Search Engine Optimisation. Search Engine Opti...

Search Engine Optimisation. Search Engine Optimization (Photo credit: Hobo!)

SEO Tasks to help your website today!

1: Check your page titles

Your page titles are the words that appear at the top of the browser window. For example on the front page of my website, mine says ‘Social Media Marketing Support – NikkiPilkington.com – Internet Marketing Expert UK’. Titles are one of the most important aspects of SEO, as they tell Google where to put you. Change yours to describe what you do, not just to say ‘MyCompany.com’. Make each page’s title different. You should be able to do this in your Content Management System.

2: Work on your META descriptions

Although general theory says that the description tag isn’t used in determining where a website is placed in a search engine, it is still an important part of SEO. Your description is the thing that will make people click through to your site – if it’s dull, people won’t click. Again, every page should have a different description tag, and you should be able to do this through your CMS.

3: Add in some internal links

Have a look through the pages on your website and see where you can then link to OTHER pages on your website (Google loves internal links). For example, if I were talking to you about having someone else write your blog posts, I might link to the page on my site featuring my Bonkers Blogging Offer. That’s a link to another page on this site – so it’s an internal link. The link to Birds on the Blog above is an external link. Go through your pages and see where you can add internal links.

4: Look at your page names

The name (address) of the original blog post promoting this ebook is http://www.nikkipilkington.com/10-seo-tasks-you-should-perform-today. Now look at your website page names – do they accurately describe what is on your page? Page names such as /about, /contact, /services aren’t helping your SEO at all. Change them to more descriptive names: /about-your-company-name, /contact-for-xxx-service, /xxx-services-in-place for example.

 

5: Sort out your image alt tags

If you have images on your pages, take the time to use the alt tag to describe them. This not only helps with SEO, but helps with accessibility for certain types of website readers (for the blind for example). You should be able to do this in your CMS. Don’t keyword stuff them, but do describe them accurately. For example: ‘the xxx company logo’, ‘picture representing xxx service’.

6: Check your Webmaster Tools account

If you don’t have one, sign up for one now. Once your site is verified your WMT account is a veritable mine of information. It can tell you where you’re listed, who’s linking to you, any errors on your site etc. It’s also invaluable if you run a WordPress setup and get hacked at any time, as you’ll need to resubmit your site to Google through a Webmaster Tools account

7: Vary your incoming link anchor text

There was a time when SEO companies recommended that you used a single phrase as anchor text for your incoming links. (What’s anchor text?) However, with the recent Penguin update this has changed. It’s now recommended that you vary the text on your incoming links to get the best effect.

8: Change your content

Once the main pages of your website are there, it’s tempting to just leave them – after all you may have spent a long time or a lot of money putting them together, right? However, for SEO purposes it’s good to change things around a little occasionally – not whole swathes of text but maybe the odd paragraph here and there to show that the page is being updated semi regularly.

9: Add in H1 headlines

If at all possible, use your main keyphrase for each page as a H1 heading. (A different keyphrase for each page, remember?) Only use one per page though – any more could be seen as spam. H1 has the double advantage of letting the search engines know that that phrase is important, and drawing your visitor’s attention to the headline, reinforcing their belief that they are in the right place

A H1 heading appears between two H1 tags, which look like <H1> and </H1>

10: Review your results

There’s no point doing lots of SEO work if you don’t track your results. How many visitors are you getting? Are they coming in for the phrases you’re optimising for? Are any of your phrases not working? Use something such as Google Analytics on your site (I use Clicky) and check it regularly. You’ve done the work – review and measure the results. You’d be surprised how many people don’t, and only care about their positions in Google.

Want more SEO help? Get the 30 Day SEO Challenge now!

Want the other 40 Yay! tips, for Twitter, Facebook, Blogging and more? Get it over at Birds on the Blog.

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Need Social Media, Marketing, Writing or Sales help in 2013?

You’ve been asking us for a while to bundle some of our ebooks together, and what better time to do that than at the beginning of a new year?

Whether you’re looking to up your Social Media Marketing, finally getting around to writing that ebook, or are looking to kickstart your Marketing and Sales in 2013, we’ve got a Bonanza Bundle for you!

Bonanza Bundle #1 – Social Media Marketing ebook Package

6 of our best selling ebooks – from Twitter to Facebook, Linkedin to Google+, with Blogging and SEO thrown in – if you’re wanting to know more about promoting your website, this bundle is for you.

Find out more here.

Bonanza Bundle #2 – Sales & Marketing ebooks Package

From finding the customers to closing the sale and everything in between. Find out where your customers hang out, how to lead them through the sale, when to start talking about price and more with this great bundle.

Find out more here.

Bonanza Bundle #3 – Writing & Ebook ebook package

Maybe 2013 is the year you want to see your name on the front cover of a book? If publishing a book or ebook is your dream, this bundle is definitely for you – from sourcing ideas, finding out what will sell, planning and writing the book, through to promoting and marketing your tome, everything you need is here.

Find out more here.

Whichever of our great bundles you decide upon, you’ll definitely get off to a great start in 2013.

At the great price of just £5 per bundle, why not get all 3?

Happy reading!

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Google Adwords Business Credit Card – will you be getting one?

So, Google are now offering some Adwords advertisers the chance to own their very own Google Adwords credit card – an interesting development I’m sure you’ll agree.

Putting aside how cool some people will think it is to have a credit card with Google plastered all over it, is it really a good idea?

I’m not convinced, I have to admit. It all seems a little gimmicky to me.

They say:

It will be easier to keep an eye on your AdWords spending.
When your AdWords spending is on a single statement and not mixed in with other expenses, you can see what you spend every month and adjust as you see fit. Plus, it means you’ll have plenty of credit available for AdWords.

I say let’s be honest – how many advertisers really have a problem finding their Adwords spend on their usual credit or debit card? I don’t, my VA doesn’t, my accountant doesn’t – how difficult is it?

They say:

You’ll get more flexibility across your entire budget.
Maybe 2013 is the year you finally make that one big business purchase. Or maybe you’d just like to breathe a little easier at the end of the month. Either way, your existing cards will be free for other spending.

REALLY? Spending money on another credit card gives you more money to spend on the ones you already own? What kind of logic is that? Your Adwords credit card can only be used to top up Adwords accounts, so it’s not giving you access to extra money, but are Google really recommending that you spend the money you now have free on the original card you used? I’m not so sure that’s the best way to sell their new product…

They say:

And by the way, it all comes with a low 11.9% APR Representative (variable) interest rate and minimum monthly payments.

Now, I’m no financial whiz kid and I don’t know a lot about credit cards, but a quick Google search shows that that rate of APR isn’t bad. However, it’s not so good if you take the credit, pay the interest AND spend the money you’ve freed up on another card.

But I’m not here to lecture you about spending – I want to know your thoughts.

Will you be applying for your Google Adwords Business Credit Card? Do you have one already? Is it more than just a gimmick? Am I being a little cynical? 😉

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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LinkedIn gets up first, but Pinterest stays up later…

Stats and research fascinate me, and I’m constantly experimenting with the best times to post on various Social Media sites, so this fab infographic from Social Caffeine had me squealing with delight (yeah I know, I’m easily pleased).

Based on their research, all of the different sites have very different optimal times to post.

So, for example, LinkedIn users seem to be early risers, and it’s better to post your content there between 7 and 9am, but your average Twitter post isn’t going to do so well until about 1-3pm. Pinterest users stay up late and pins get clicked on into the early hours, whereas your average Google+ user isn’t paying much attention between 6pm and 8am.

You might think it doesn’t really matter, but if you take the info in the infographic below, and use it alongside a blog post I wrote recently about spreading out your blog post promotion, you could increase your blog views, interaction and enquiries massively.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on!

Three social plug-ins to boost your new WordPress site

A guest post from Mike Goodwin

social wordle

social wordle (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Everybody wants to get social with their business nowadays, often without stopping to ask if it’s actually the right thing for them to do. There’s no doubt that in some circumstances, Facebook, Twitter and even Google + can be good for your business – and luckily WordPress is well equipped to help you out if you decide it is right for you.

Now obviously, if you are setting up an online store or web-connected company you’ll want to have been through the basics first. There’s no benefit to having thousands of ‘likes’ and followers if you haven’t taken the time to set up the basics. Sites like MoneySupermarket can offer advice, as well as price comparison on things like business insurance, so could be a great place to start if you need help. However, when you start looking for help on WordPress plugins you could feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of recommendations out there. Here are five WordPress plugins that stand out among the many thousands you’ll no doubt stumble upon (no pun intended) that should be the first you start with.

Facebook Comments by Alex Moss

A simple but effective way for people to offer you their thoughts on your pages while logged in to Facebook, this plug-in is very simple to set-up and could be useful for general feedback that will be seen by others. Of course, having people able to post at will on your page – like all social media channels – comes with a certain amount of risk involved, so make sure you are able to monitor and moderate what is being said.

Twitter Profile Widget by Twitter

It isn’t always easy to keep your site updated with every single thing you are up to, but people will want to know that you are active and communicating within your industry – which is why Twitter can be so great for business. The Twitter Profile Widget allows you to place a small sidebar widget on your site that shows your most recent tweets as they go out. Be careful to share only what you want to, but add this to your site if you want to add an extra bit of regularly updated content to your pages.

Google +1 Button Plugin by AJ Batac

Whether we like it or not, Google+ isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – and as the search engine is pushing its fledgling social network more and more into its results pages it seems that businesses would do well to not ignore it. Once you have a page for your company, you’ll also want to make your web pages sharable to those who visit, luckily there are countless widgets that allow you to add a +1 button to your posts, but this one is simple and effective enough to not take up too much of your time and energy.

Social networks are a minefield for business if you don’t know what you are doing, so it’s worth thinking carefully about whether or not they are right for you. However, if you do want to make your site more accessible to the millions who now log on to their accounts on a daily basis, these three plug-ins are a great place to start.

Mike works as a technology blogger and enjoys sharing the latest tips and tricks for small businesses and startups. He lives in rural Cheshire and is a huge advocate of building self hosted sites with WordPress.

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Concerned about privacy on Google+? [infographic]

I’m a big fan of Google+, despite the criticisms aimed at it from certain quarters. A great aid to SEO, thriving communities if you know where to look, and brilliant for website traffic, I’m not quite sure where all the ‘ghost town’ complaints come from to be honest!

One thing I have seen people worrying about is the privacy aspect, so this infographic from Zone Alarm makes interesting reading.

Are you concerned about privacy on Google+?

Don’t forget to check out our 30 Day Google+ Challenge too to make the most of G+ for your business.

DIY Reputation Management: Five Tips for Business Owners

A guest post by Rich Gorman

There is a saying in online marketing circles, that a company’s online reputation is like its business card. In reality, though, that’s not really accurate — because in truth, online reputation is much more than that. It’s not just a company’s business card, but the very source of its credibility and authority. Your online reputation is what determines whether clients and colleagues will do business with you at all — or instead reject you in favor of your closest competition.

Think about it. In the Age of Google, a potential client can look up information about your business in a heartbeat. If that client only finds negative reviews and bad publicity, well, your brand is in trouble. It’s all too easy for the client to conduct another quick online search, and find one of your rival companies to do business with — a company with a cleaner online reputation.

If, however, a potential client Googles your company and finds only evidence that your business is sterling, trusted, and authoritative… well, then you’re good to go!

That’s what online reputation management is all about: Minimizing negative listings on the first few pages of search engine results, and ensuring that potential clients find only information that portrays your brand in a positive light — as a brand of choice among consumers.

A full-scale online reputation management campaign is something any company or brand should consider, but there are also some simpler, DIY tactics that any business owner can implement. Consider the following tips for protecting your reputation, and defending yourselves from online attacks on the Internet.

The first thing any small business owner should do is start regularly monitoring his or her online reputation. This can be as easy as regularly searching for your company’s name on Google, Yahoo, and Bing — but of course, setting up a Google alert is an even more effective method. Don’t just stop with search engines, though; you can also monitor what people are saying about your brand on social networks, simply through conducting Twitter searches.

Monitoring will let you know where you stand, and whether attacks have already been made against your brand. Your next step is to start playing some defense. Remember that there is nothing you can do to stop people from attacking you on the Web, per se — but you can make it so that consumers and online search users don’t ever see those online attacks. Your best bet is to build a strong, defensive wall of positive, brand-enhancing content — a wall to keep those negative attacks off the first page of Google.

A good defense means snatching up the best online real estate. Start with exact-match domain names — Your-company’s-name .com, .org, and .net. These are the pages that will likely rank the highest on Google, when someone searches for your company — and as such, you want to make sure your enemies and rival companies don’t have access to these pages! Even if you don’t plan to use all of these domains, you should buy them anyway. If you’ve got ’em, your enemies can’t use ’em.

Getting these domain names is important, but so is getting social media accounts — on Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest. Again, you may not plan to actively use all of these accounts, but signing up for them is still important.

After that, the next phase of the reputation defense campaign is building a strong, defensive wall. This is something you must do brick by brick — with each piece of content you write and publish being a brick in your defensive wall. The goal here is essentially to flood Google, Yahoo, and Bing with positive content about your company, effectively drowning out any negative listings or bad reviews. The more content you publish to these online domains and social media accounts, the better.

This is the most time-intensive part of the reputation defense process, but also the most important. It’s an ongoing job, too. Google rankings are based, to a degree, on “freshness” — so a Facebook account or a blog that has new posts every couple of days will be much more helpful to you than an account or blog that is only updated once every two months.

Here’s one final word of caution: Generally speaking, you’re going to want to resist the temptation to respond to negative reviews, on sites like Yelp.com. Responding to negative feedback may make you feel better, but in the end, it’s only drawing more attention to these undesirable listings. Better to aim for suppression — achieved through the high volumes of content mentioned above!

Reputation management is not easy, and it does require some time and a commitment to writing good, compelling content on a regular basis. With that said, a strong online reputation is invaluable. There’s no way for a business to succeed without one. As such, investing in reputation management is something no company should fail to consider.

About the Author

Rich Gorman is involved with multiple companies and is an expert in reputation management. Additionally Rich operates the official blog for the Direct Response industry where he shares his thoughts on Direct Response Marketing.

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3 Quick Things You Can Do To Promote Your Website Today

If you’re anything like me, Monday is a hectic day, and one when you’re most likely to forget about promoting and marketing yourself, and be head down bum up in client work.

I’ve recently implemented a new kind of organisation plan (I say ‘kind of’ because it’s new and I’m still working it out!) whereby I use my Mondays and Friday to do Blogging work for clients, Tuesdays and Thursdays for SEO work, and Wednesdays to plan, market myself and deal with general ‘stuff. It worked OK last week, so I’m going to give it another go this week. Nothing scientific about it, but if it works, then great!

So, less of me and back to you – if your Monday is as hectic as I imagine it is, but you don’t want to miss out on promoting yourself and your website, here are 3 things you could do today that don’t take up much time.

1) WRITE A BLOG POST

I know, blogging may not be your thing, but trust me it’s a great thing to do for many reasons. I won’t go into them all in this post, but suffice to say you’re helping Google to see that your site is expanding, adding great content (very important since the recent Google updates) and you’re helping your readers to see you as credible and authoratitive. What’s not to like?

Not sure what to blog about? Here are 21 ideas. http://www.nikkipilkington.com/21-things-you-could-blog-about-right-now/

2) SCHEDULE SOME SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

It’s easy to get tied up and let your Social Media profiles slide when you’re busy, but it’s important to keep up a
regular presence if you want to be the person people turn to when they need your services. Take 10 minutes to schedule some tweets and Facebook posts to go out while you’re getting on with your work. Hootsuite http://www.hootsuite.com and Buffer http://www.bufferapp.com are great for this, allowing you to post links, questions, videos, photos, comments, thoughts and more, then schedule them to be released throughout the day.

3) LOOK INTO PINTEREST

If you’ve heard all about Pinterest and aren’t sure whether it will work for you, it’s worth having a good look – you can
find me at http://www.pinterest.com/nikkipilkington

Pinterest works pretty well for most UK sites, generating traffic, readers for blogs, and indeed leads and sales.

I wrote about Pinterest for a client here: http://www.marketingbyweb.co.uk/pinterest-whats-that-all-about-then

If you think Pinterest is all about work at home moms posting pictures of lasagne and cleaning tips, that article is well worth a read, because in the UK it’s not.

If you want to give Pinterest a go, then it’s also well worth checking out this great offer from Leighquantrill.com http://www.leighquantrill.com/pinterest-account-setup/

As some of you know, Leigh is my eldest daughter, and has been working as a Virtual Assistant for some time now, doing great work for her clients. I’m very proud of her, and loving seeing the enthusiasm she has for social media and helping her clients. So I make no apologies for promoting her offer, instead of one of mine 😉

Whatever you decide to do today, have a great Monday – why not drop me a Facebook message http://www.facebook.com/internetmarketingbynikki to let me know what you’ve done to promote yourself today?

Happy Marketing!

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Are Pandas and Penguins making you feel a bit of a Goose?

Goose

Goose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With all the talk of Google’s updated, naming them Panda and Penguin, it would be easy to feel like a bit of a Goose when it comes to keeping up with what’s going on.

Put simply, Google made a recent algorithm update that changes how it ranks websites. The good thing is that if you were doing things right in the first place, you’re probably OK. The bad thing is that if you weren’t you might be seeing a drop in listings and traffic, in some cases quite significant.

So, what can you do to make sure you don’t fall foul of the Penguin update?

One of the most important parts of this update is to do with your linking profile.

For a long time we’ve been told that inbound links are the be all and end all when it comes to getting Google listings, and indeed they have been very useful.

In the past I’ve written about Anchor text and how it can help you, and encouraged clients to build incoming links.

However, inbound links was getting to be pretty easy to game. Choose your search phrase, buy a load of links that use that phrase as anchor text, and Google saw that your site was important – Bob’s your Uncle!

Of course, Google cottoned on to some of the more dodgy link building schemes, and sites were removed and penalised, but there were still a lot of people out there getting good results from what I would see as Black Hat techniques.

So they’ve changed the goal posts slightly.

Google has realised that when people link to your website, they don’t all use the same anchor text. Much as I’d love people to link to me with ‘social media marketing support’ as the text, they link to me in all sorts of ways:

  • * click here for nikkipilkington.com
  • internet marketing
  • social media help
  • facebook management
  • and more

This is a much more natural linking profile – I don’t tell people what to use, they link to me how they like, and this is what Google is looking for – natural linking profiles where anchor text varies.

Be sure to vary the anchor text in any links you set up (and don’t buy dodgy links, please!) and you should be OK.

The other important part of this process is your content.

Google has always liked websites that are frequently updated with great content, not just full of spacer articles and things that are generated just for search engines.

Fresh, relevant and frequently updated content is the name of the game – of course, a great way to do this is to have a blog on your site!

Basically Google is aiming to give great content to it’s readers – that means it’s trying to oust the over optimised and written for search engine sites and replace them with well written sites with natural looking SEO and content.

So if your site has been ‘overoptimised’ you may have a problem. If not, you should be OK.

And remember, don’t buy those dodgy links 🙂

If you’re worried about your traffic from Google, or want to get more, check out my Super Silly Spring SEO offer, ending today.

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