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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50 things you could do today to promote your website…

… or 50 Shades of Yay!

If you can manage to put down Mr Grey, and drag your mind back to your business ;) let’s take control of your website.

twitter logo map 09

twitter logo map 09 (Photo credit: The Next Web)

For any small business owner it’s easy to feel shackled to your website, chained to Google, and to tie yourself in knots worrying about how to bring in the traffic.

My 50 Shades of Yay will give you release from all of that frustration, allowing you to fulfill your potential and giving life to your website.

50 Shades of Yay!

50 Shades of Yay is an ebook split into 5 different areas of promotion. This blog post aims to give you a sense of each section, but you’ll need to download the ebook to get the full 50 (don’t worry, it’s free).

Yay! 1 -SEO

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.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the free ebook now and please share with other people!

Yay! 2 – Blogging

1: Sort out your tags and categories

Tags are like keywords for your blog – you should add 4 or 5 to each blog post. Let’s say you wrote a blog post about children needing sunblock in the summer – your tags could be: children, kids, summer, sun care, skincare.

Categories are there to help you and your readers, so use them. They’re different to tags in that they can be more generic, and relate to areas of interest, topics, rather than specific posts. So, a telemarketing blog may use categories such as these: telemarketing, telesales, appointment setting, business development, lead generation. All related to telemarketing, but in different areas.

Tags and categories help search engines and readers – use them!

2: Write an editorial calendar

If you’re rubbish at blogging, the best thing you can do is put together an editorial calendar. This is a document that plans your blog posts for the next month, 3 months, however long you want. It not only makes you think about what you’re going to write, it gives you a sense of resposibility to then write it :) WordPress has a great plugin called Editorial Calendar  that allows you to look at each month at a glance and enter topic ideas for the future. Or just make your own in Word and stick it above your desk!

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and why not mention this blog post in your next blog?

Yay! 3 – Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

1: Ask for the business

We’re so bombarded with people telling us that we shouldn’t use Twitter to sell, and social media is about being social, that we’re scared to put a foot wrong.  I’m not saying those statements are wrong – anyone who has known me for any length of time knows I’m a great believer in the ‘Social’ in social media.  However, most of us are there to build our businesses – we’re not just in it for a laugh. So I’ll be interested to see how many of you take up my next challenge – which is to ask for the business.  Not from your followers, but from people they know.  In the true spirit of networking, ask your followers if there’s anyone they could refer you to:

–       Who do you know who needs xxxx, I’d love an introduction

–       If anyone says they’re struggling with xxxx pass them my way, I may be able to help

–       Do you know someone looking for xxxx, please introduce me to them

No hard sell, no desperate please, just straightforward networking. If you see others posting this kind of thing, think about who you’ve seen or know who has been saying they have that particular problem recently, and introduce them.  I get a lot of my suppliers from Twitter, but I also post Tweets looking for suppliers that get no response – one of those could be one that may bring you business.  So go on, ask for the business – I dare you ;)

2: Track your results

As in anything, it’s nice to see how well you’re doing on Twitter. There are many tools out there to measure Twitter impact, both free and paid. Twittercounter www.Twittercounter.com will track the amount of followers you have, predict how many you’ll have in X days and allow you to see how many Tweets you’re sending a day. Tweetstatswww.Tweetstats.com – this is an amazing free application that will graph your Tweet stats for you.  Tweetreachwww.Tweetreach.com – will tell you how many people your Tweets reached, counting reTweets – well worth playing with.  SocialMentionwww.socialmention.com – allows you to track mentions of your name in various social media and is very addictive! There are many paid Social Media tracking systems out there – of these, in my opinion, Sprout Social is the best – www.sproutsocial.com. Pricing starts at $39 per month.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now – then please pay it forward by Tweeting about this post.

Yay 4! – Facebook

1: Update your description

I see many Facebook Business Pages not using their description effectively. The ‘about’ description is the text that will appear when someone shares your page on their profile – use it to fully describe your page so people will know what it’s about. Change it regularly and track what works best.

2: Highlight a post

Once you have written a post on your Facebook page, if you hover next to your name and click the star, this ‘highlights’ the post. What this means is that the post is made double width and thus gets more attention from visitors to your page. I’ve used this to good effect to promote my 30 Day Challenge books, so it’s well worth doing for important posts.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section?  Download the ebook now – please consider posting this to your Facebook wall and share the love 🙂

Yay 5 – Extras

1: Pinterest – rename your boards

When you first start with Pinterest, it’s tempting to give your boards funky and funny names – but that’s going to do you no good in search. Look at your boards and give them names that mean something and are likely to show up in a search. As an example, my board called So True is never going to turn up in a search (which doesn’t matter because it’s only quotations and funnies) but my board named Business Blogging Beginner To Pro, and the one called Facebook for Business, does show up. Don’t just give your boards generic names such as ‘blogging’ and ‘telemarketing’ – think this through as an SEO exercise and use your keyphrases where you can.

2: Forums – change your signature

Often when you sign up to a forum such as UK Business Labs, you’re entitled to use a signature file with links. You set it up, include a bit of HTML to create a signature, and Bob’s yer uncle, your signature is set in stone, to be appended to any post you make. If you’re like most people your signature will stay as it is for months, maybe even years, with no change. But if you regularly change your forum signature you not only create interest within the forum itself, you’ll be developing varied links into your site (which Google loves).

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and consider sharing this post on Pinterest, in forums, LinkedIn etc.

Bonus Yay!

1: This post – share it on your networks ;)

Yes, that benefits me, of course. However it also benefits you. Why? Well, for one, your networks will appreciate the share and probably remember you for it, making them more likely to recommend your content in future. Secondly, if you tell me that you’ve shared it, *I’M* more likely to promote your content and share your Tweets etc in future.

So, go ahead, Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumble, Digg, Pin, Blog and more – and if you’d like to offer ebook as a free download on your own website please drop me a line on nikkipilk@gmail.com

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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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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!

Fancy £1000 of free email and direct mail marketing a month – for free?

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Yeah, I know, they say that you get nothing for nothing in this world, and you get what you pay for and all of those other cliches.

But having seen this offer Tweeted by a couple of my friends, I checked it out and it seems that it is legit.

Royal Mail, via Huddlebuy, is offering £1000 of free marketing to 2 lucky people!

The prize consists of:

  • Data lists of 2,000 prospects
  • 1000 E-mailshots
  • 50 Postal Mailshots
  • Up to 40% off Parcel Postage
  • 2hrs of Free Marketing from Huddlebuy (1 time only)

Not just once (apart from the last item) but every month for a year!

If you’re a start up or small business then this could really help out, which is why I’m sharing it with you.

Well, that’s not the only reason, because if you win via my tracked link, *I* get the same too – and I quite like getting things for free 🙂

What’s the catch?

I can’t really find one. OK, Huddlebuy are obviously looking to build up their email list, as it seems that you have to sign up with your email address.

And they’re hoping this will go viral because the more times you share / tweet / email the link they give you to other people, the more entries you get.

But let’s be honest, you can unsubscribe from any email newsletters, and you don’t have to share if you don’t want to, you can have just the one entry.

So really, I don’t see any catch (or I wouldn’t be participating myself)

What do we have to do?

Just visit the promotional page (that’s my tracked link BTW) and submit your email address to be in with a chance – the page will guide you through all the sharing stuff if you want to do that.

Good luck!

More info on Huddlebuy (from their website)

Huddlebuy are the UK’s and Europe’s largest daily deals site for small businesses and entrepreneurs – providing exclusive deals to a rapidly growing community of more than 50,000 businesses.

 

 

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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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Are you more Twitter than Facebook?

This made me smile this morning – depending on the day, I’m either Facebook or LinkedIn 🙂 Which social network are you?

Which Social Network Are You?

Which Social Network Are You

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10 Personal branding mistakes to avoid on Twitter

If you’re serious about using Twitter for business, then it’s work checking out this great infographic from LinkingR.com.

In summary the mistakes you could be making include:

  1. Not following people who interest you, and automatically following everyone who follows you.
  2. Automatically unfollowing people who don’t follow you.
  3. Having no picture, or using a picture that isn’t ‘real’.
  4. Using an irrelevant Twitter name.
  5. Not filling in your Twitter bio.
  6. Not using lists to filter the noise.
  7. Not having conversations with people.
  8. Not checking your @ messages and direct messages.
  9. Posting links without actually reading the content.
  10. Only sending one type of tweet.

I think I’d add to this #11 – never retweeting people – retweets are a big part of building relationships.

What would you add to the list?

Want to make more of Twitter for business? Check out my 30 Day Twitter Challenge!

 

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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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New Email Marketing Tactics

A guest blog by Samantha Peters

English: email envelope

English: email envelope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a consumer wants to find the best business credit card for his company, he is going to start looking for as many options as he possibly can. If a traveler wants to avoid airline bag fees, then he will want to be placed on lists of airlines that email out airline specials that pertain to his needs.

More people are connecting to their favorite vendors through email, and that is causing more vendors to market to new clients via email. The key to email marketing is to utilize new tools that are available and update older methods to reach an audience that will be interested in your marketing message.

Social Networking

One of the advantages of social networking is that you can reach millions of prospective clients from all over the world at the same time. The way that you can utilize this resource to help build your email database is to allow customers to click on a button that will get them placed on your email list.

When customers are reading through your latest offerings on the social networking websites, they are often inspired to want more information on your product and your company. When you include the option to get more information via email in your social networking presence, you are doing a lot to increase your marketing exposure.

Segment Your Email List

The problem with email lists is that people will often send a single message to everyone on their lists. Do marketing surveys with your email clients to help segment your list into categories that will apply to what you are trying to sell. Your customers will want to fill out marketing surveys because it will insure that they only get information on the products they will really be interested in. This increases the effectiveness of your emails and helps to prevent people from opting out of your emails.

Create Emails for Smartphones

Smartphones are becoming extremely popular and more people are getting their emails via their phones. When you create your marketing emails, keep smartphones in mind. For example, keep your subject short so it will be easy to read on a smartphone and avoid including images and attachments that will make it difficult to open an email on a phone.

Marketing with email is constantly evolving. If you want your company to be able to take advantage of a growing audience of prospects, then you need to find effective ways to use marketing emails.

This Guest Post is written by Samantha Peters, an avid blogger who manages The Tech Update  and enjoys writing about new marketing tactics and new developments in email marketing strategy.  Samantha can be found on Twitter here.

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