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Social Bookmarking: It Never Left, But Boy Howdy, Is It Back!

Social bookmarking — once the realm of Digg, Reddit, and Delicious — seemed to fade away for a little while, kept alive in the background by the various dedicated legions of SubReddits, the chaotiphiles of StumbleUpon, and other niche groups. But Pinterest brought the phenomenon back a year or so ago, and the notion of ‘tools for sharing links to stuff you love with your friends’ has only continued to expand since.

Just in the past six months, a host of innovative new ways to bookmark have evolved, inlcuding:

Pearltrees — a ‘visual bookmarking’ service, PearlTrees allows you to create what amount to mindmaps of related websites, and link to other people’s PearlTrees, allowing you to essentially literally browse the web by subject, moving from one topic to another naturally, the way the human brain intuitively arranges them.

Collectably — allows you to create ‘groups’ and ‘boards’ within the groups, then add whatever webpage you’re on to a specific group and board with three mouse clicks. You can share individual links or boards with others with only a couple of clicks as well.

StyleHive — specifically intended for bookmarking style-related goods, StyleHive is an amazing niche site if you happen to be selling clothing, hair extensions, quirky household goods, or similar items.

RedGage — a fascinating site that pays people to use it. We’re still not certain that this is going to turn out to be a decent business model OR terribly good for marketing purposes, but it certainly stands out among it’s peers.

BuddyMarks — still quite small, BuddyMarks is kind of across between Digg and Groupon insofar as it offers both social bookmarking and social coupon services from the same interface. We’ll see if that’s enough to get it growing in 2013.

There are, of course, hundreds more innovative new social bookmarking sites out there waiting to prove their value both to consumers and to those businesses looking to exploit them for their organic SEO value — and that’s exactly the point. Social bookmarking may have had a bit of a slump, but that’s clearly over – 2013 will be like 2008 all over again.

Blog Posting: Outsource, Insource, or Unsource?

So you just paid your SEO experts to perform some high-level custom blog creation, and now you’re sitting there looking at your newly-minted, empty blog, and it occurs to you: you don’t really have a good plan about who’s going to do your blog posting. Your basic options are:

Outsource
This is what most companies go with, and there’s good reason — a solid ghostwriter can learn your industry, develop a voice, and create content with serious SEO value for a moderate price. They might not whip out serious link-bait (if you want that, you’ll have to pay big bucks for a big name), but they’ll get your ranks up and get some positive comments rolling.

The advantage of outsourcing is that it comes cheap in terms of time and money, and it’s the industry standard, so you’re not going to stand out if you go with a ghostwriter. The disadvantage of outsourcing is that you’re really not going to stand out if you go with a ghostwriter — and quite often, standing out is the goal.

Insource
There’s also a pretty strong argument for getting the best writer in your office to whip up a blog article every week. It’s generally actually more expensive than having an outsourcer do it, because it takes some time and in-house people charge by the hour instead of by the word — but on the other hand, an in-house writer knows a lot more about what’s actually going on in your industry and in your company.

Unsource
Of course, if you have the ability to put words on paper in a coherent manner, there’s a couple of very good reasons to do it yourself. After all, you’re the boss — no one knows your business like you do, and you can be certain that if you’re the one writing the blog, you’re going to put out the kind of content that you want to see associated with your business.

Of course, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and take ownership of what you wrote (and how you reply to any flak you get for what you did write). If you’re not comfortable in that kind of position, unsourcing may not be the option for you.

Stay in The Right Direction with Pay Per Click

Out of order, flawed or incorrect data while optimizing your PPC campaign will get you exactly where you DO NOT want to be!

Anywhere from natural disasters to technical glitches can create Irregular performance data. Running a PPC campaign, making sure you avoid any disruption to your tracking and performance is highly important.

It may not be simple identifying any abnormal performance changes, but the easiest way to spot an issue is through being website-related. For example, going from being OK to being way off is a definite indication that there is a problem. In some cases, traffic and conversion rates will drop to zero.

Unreliable or “bad” data can appear within your campaign in numerous ways which relates to the performance statistics that may create misguidance towards your optimization. These statistics may create circumstances where a delay is held on your PPC account. The biggest threat of “abnormal data” is guiding your working party in the opposite direction you don’t want to be while optimizing your account.

Setting up automated alerts helps monitor performance trends to track down drastic issues or changes in your campaign. Google Analytics or AdWords provides assistance in setting up alerts. In order to compare time frames or find unexpected and sudden shifts setting up alerts are the way to go. Keep in mind that alerts can focus on weekends and others can compare weekends. The importance to keep alerts on weekends is because transactions may normally sink considerably on Saturday than when weighed against to Friday. A beneficial alert is to be triggered when revenue drops by more than 40 percent.

Targeted Email Marketing Can Do A Lot More Than Just Market

It’s right there in the name: targeted email marketing is pretty obviously about marketing, right? The whole point is to send your audience emails that encourage them to buy things so that you can make money…right?

Well, sure. Everyone wants to have money. But thinking of targeted email marketing as a source of nothing other than cash in your pocket is dramatically undervaluing this incredible tool. Really, when you have a list of people that regularly reads your emails, you don’t just have a marketing tool — you have a podium, and an audience.

We’re not telling you to go out and start spouting your political ideals or religious views to people on your email marketing list — that’s economic suicide. But there are a lot of things that your audience could be doing to help you other than buying your stuff, and there’s no particular reason not to ask them to do those things. What if your target market was out there:

Doing social bookmarking of your best content on sites like Pinterest, Reddit, and Google+? Not only does that activity automatically share itself with their friends and followers, but if a particular bookmark gets enough upvotes, you could end up with a traffic surge because you showed up on the front page of some list or other.

Posting testimonials and stories related to your product or service on Facebook, Twitter, or even their personal blogs? Every instance is another backlink to your landing page, making it the best kind of SEO: the free kind.

Affiliate-selling your products for a cut of the commission? Not every product can be set up to take advantage of that kind of thing, but if you can manage to win a few affiliate marketers by putting the offer out to your list, it’s pure profit on your end.

There are always ways that you can profit from someone’s actions rather than from their credit card numbers — and if you’re using targeted email marketing, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. Just be creative and put the offers out there!

6 Small Business SEO ProTips

Start With Your Budget
The single most distressing fact about small business SEO is that it requires both time and money, and the less money you can put in, the more time it takes. That’s because the effects of SEO are cumulative, and the more you pay, the more an optimization company will do for you in a given time-period. So the first thing you need to do it figure out how much you can afford to put in each month, knowing that the more you put in, the faster it’ll become profitable.

Go Local
For a small business, it makes much more economic sense to invest in local internet marketing than in broad-scale marketing. Unless your business happens to be able to ship all over the world (or offers an entirely digital service), you don’t want to pay your optimizer to get hits from London and Senegal — you want customers that will actually buy from you.

Pair with PPC
SEO taking as long as it does to work, you might want to consider a pay-per-click marketing campaign to go alongside your SEO campaign. Yes, it means spending even more money, but PPC has bottom-line results the very next day, and if you calculate your percentages right, you can use the profit from your PPC campaign to pay for itself plus the SEO work you need done.

Be Penguin- and Panda-Approved
‘Penguin’ and ‘Panda’ are (vaguely) recent Google updates that made a lot of SEO techniques invalid. Don’t work with any optimizer that isn’t able to explain why their techniques are still valid under Panda and Penguin.

Look For Similar Results
Many search engine optimizers will take any old customer that comes along, without paying much attention to the details of each customer’s unique market and circumstances. Ask a potential SEO company if they’ve had success with customers like you, and ask them to show you. If they can’t, check out their competition and ask again.

Settle In For the Long Haul
Even after your SEO efforts start showing a profit, you’re not done — if you cut off your SEO spending the moment you see positive numbers, you’re going to be overtaken by a hungry competitor who is willing to spend enough to knock you off your top spot. SEO spending is something you’ll be doing for as long as you intend to have an Internet presence — just keep looking at the RoI and remind yourself that it’s well worth every penny.

Meta Descriptions

Working with Meta description tags is just as important as your keyword phrases. In fact, they are somewhat included with each other. Incorporate the most effective and relevant keyword phrases in your page’s Meta description tag. During the case of a title tag, focusing on equal keyword phrases, as used with your page titles and body text is extremely important for the outcome you desire. To boost your web page’s relevance on major search engines use fewer and highly targeted search phrases.

Quick tips:

  • Make sure that each page on your site has a specific Meta description tag. Each keyword must be relevant to that web page.
  • A proper meta description tag contains 25-30 words
  • As priority, the most important keywords should be placed in the beginning of the Meta description tag. This increases higher chances of better search engine rankings.
  • Repetitive and excessive keywords should be highly avoided!

In relation to Meta description tags are Meta keyword tags, Meta robot tags, and many more. These are the main tags associated and giving signal to web-wide crawlers, aka Google.

In conclusion Meta description tags are of much support for SEO and is very much well worth utilizing. Leave the meta tags to your affordable SEO company to handle!

Marketing

Marketing, defined, is a process of communicating a valuable service or product to others. Selling is one aspect of marketing however, advertising is the overall strategy. Advertising and promoting your product or service is an essential aspect of “marketing”. According to the American Marketing Association, the term, marketing is the activity and creation for communicating, delivering, and exchanging offers that deliver value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Any business offering a specific type of product or service will need some type of marketing to expand their branding and visibility. A crucial marketing strategy is online marketing. Online marketing may also be known as internet marketing. Some examples of online advertising include several advertisements on different search engines. Other examples may involve banner ads, blogs, social network advertising, online classified advertising, advertising networks and more.

Internet marketing solutions incorporate search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, content creation and marketing, link building and much more.

The main target for marketing is exposure. More visibility is done through marketing strategies and one of the most beneficial ways to do so is through an affordable internet marketing company. The internet is a main resource for people. Whether searchers are in need of a service, an answer, a phone number or location address the internet is constantly being used worldwide. What better way to promote, advertise, and market your business or product through what is being utilized numerous times daily; THE INTERNET!

Take some time to invest into a proper internet marketing company that will offer and guarantee organic search results along with paid advertisements. A full internet company that can offer a wide verity of solutions is your solution!

Local Internet Marketing Means Finding a Local Internet

When you first start your business and you realize that you need an Internet presence to really compete in today’s market, there are two routes you can go: you can market world-wide, which totally works if you’ve got a product you can ship anywhere or a service you can offer via the Internet, or — much more likely — if you have a localized target audience, you can use local internet marketing.

But in order to use local internet marketing, you have to have a local internet…right? Some people are snickering here, because of course there’s no such thing as a local internet — or is there? No, no there’s not; but there’s something close: there’s a way to make a search engine only pay attention to the places near you. All you have to do is add an unambiguous location name to each of your small business’ SEO keywords.

The key here is “unambiguous” — unfortunately, if you’re a vehicle wrecker working in Toledo, Washington, you’re not going to be able use keywords like “scrap yard Toledo”, because there’s a much more famous Toledo that has wreckers that have that particular keyword under lockdown. You’ll have to either use “scrap yard Toledo WA” or even go a bit out of the way and use “scrap yard Chehalis”. (“scrap yard Castle Rock” is messed up because of the larger Castle Rock, Colorado!)

Once you’ve figured how to explain where you are to Google in a way that won’t confuse the poor titanic computational interface, you can get your SEO team to start the process of getting those newly-localized keywords linked to your landing pages. That part works just exactly like world-wide search engine optimization — the process is identical, just the keywords are different.

So there might not actually be anything called a ‘local internet’, but there’s certainly a way to put strict limits on what part of the broad Internet that a search engine pays attention

Questions to Expect From Your SEO Consultant

First and for most, your SEO Consultant should engage conversation with you about your goals. Expect specific questions about sales goals, and overall business goals.

How Long Has Your Site Been Activated?

This may not seem like an important question, however, it has a lot to do with your visibility on search engines. The longer your site is up and active the longer Google has to recognize it. Putting time and work into your site is the main factor but if your site is fairly new, more work and patience is involved and should be expected.

What are Your Products and Services?

Everyone involving in the growth of your company needs to know the main product or type of services you want to distribute.

Regardless if your main goal is to increase your visibility or overall sales, your “must-have” products or services are priceless to know. This specific information is essential to prioritize focal services top to bottom.

Who is Your Primary Targeted Audience?

This question is not only important for your affordable SEO company but also important information you should be aware of. This is an overall strategy for marketing, but this can also drive plans for engine placement and ad messaging.

Your consultant will go over targets for impressions delivered to your specific targeted audience.

Are There Specific Offers You’d Like to Promote?

It’s important for your consultant to know what promotions and offers you are providing. If you’re on the fence about running a PPC ad this is even more crucial in order to test these specials through your PPC campaign.

To receive and immediate response PPC is a great way to distribute marketing messaging. Testing your promotions through PPC you are able to analyze through your audience in an efficient way what receives attention and profit, rather than, what doesn’t.

 

Organic SEO In The Black and White Era: Not Harder, Just Different

Organic SEO is one of those fields that’s constantly evolving, and every once in a while gets completely overturned by a change from the top — in this case, ‘the top’ meaning ‘Google’. In the past couple of years, a number of once-commonplace SEO practices have been deemed ‘ungood’ by the Goog, with the result that many people who considered themselves decent search engine optimizers suddenly found that their toolbelt was nearly empty. But is SEO actually harder since Google’s “black-and-white” updates (Panda and Penguin) hit?

No. It’s not harder — you can still accomplish the same kinds of results in about the same timeframe as you could a couple of years ago. But it is different, because the tools that you have to use to get the same website SEO‘d properly have changed radically.

Two years ago, you could bust out a daemon that would sign up your website to 2,000 different website directories in a matter of hours, pay a Bangladeshi family to create a dozen Web 2.0 properties and linkring them, and of course hire a hack ghostwriter to bust out a few dozen vaguely-related articles and put them up on EzineArticles.com, and you’d be doing ‘good SEO’.

Today, you have to work a bit more carefully — you have to have, among other things, a good writer and a social media expert. The same time you used to spend waiting for your daemon to finish, you’ll have to spend describing to your writer what it is you want him to do. The same money you used to spend on the Bangladeshi family and the ghostwriter, you’ll have to give to your writer to pay him to create 3-4 good, high-quality articles. And the effort you put into posting articles and linking Web 2.0 properties, you’re going to have to put into spinning each of your few articles a dozen times and then posting each of those dozen variations across different article directories.

The end result of all of this careful article writing and distribution is going to be about the same as your slapdash efforts of a couple of years ago — it just takes a different kind of content and a different attitude toward SEO to get the job done these days.