3 SEO UPDATES and 1 SURE FIRE STRATEGY TO WIN
First, Google unleashed the Panda series of updates, followed by the Penguin Update and just recently the Penguin 2.0 update. The search engine optimization industry has just been flipped upside down. And it seems like animals that start with the letter P are to blame! Google keeps changing their algorithm to punish websites that try to manipulate Google’s rankings in order to improve the quality of results being displayed.
If you’ve followed our advice from the beginning – you’ll find a nice boost in your rankings! If you cheated though, you may have found yourself penalized, or worse, missing from the search results altogether!
Here’s what you need to know:
- Google still says that your links should be editorial, natural, and primarily benefit the user. This excludes easy link building tactics such as forum/blog comments, bulk directory submissions, press releases, and even mediocre guest blogs.
- Google promised, and is now following through on their promise to penalize websites that don’t play the SEO game how they say it should be played. Google rolled out the Penguin 2.0 update to punish sites that use link building strategies Google doesn’t approve of.
- Social Media is vitally important. New ranking correlation data shows that 7 of the top 8 SEO factors are social media related! This proves Google’s effort to reward sites who are focused more on the user and less focused on trying to game Google’s algorithm.
What does it all mean?
If you want to continue to outrank your competitors on Google, your SEO and link building strategy must be based on providing amazing value to users, and attracting links based on that value you provide.
Greetings all. You may have noticed the length of time since our last blog post. We have been in heavy development getting ready for a huge new release. Mark your calendar. April 15th, we will push out Version 4 of our internet marketing platform.
This time we are not just including minor updates and improvements either.
As you know, we take user feedback very seriously and this time we really asked ourselves how we can close the gaps.
So here is what we did:
- Content Management
One thing everyone wants today is a content management system. We all use them to make website edits painless. However, one of the primary complaints we have is our competitor’s tools being coupled with a second rate CMS and being locked into a system where their business becomes stuck. We feel your pain and we figured, why reinvent the wheel. Instead we decided to use the CMS most popular online. Now you will be able to fully manage your pages and posts on your remote WordPress site through RhinoSEO.
- Social Integration
We already provide tight social integration with Twitter and Facebook. You can schedule status updates to go out at pre- selected times and even completing manage your profiles from within our system. In Version 4 we bring this functionality to LinkedIn. That’s not all. We are also providing more analytics on these channels than ever before. Who delivers the most relevant traffic? Who delivers the most leads? Now you can measure all of this in comparison with your oth er outlets like our email marketing to see the effect of your efforts.
- Automated Emails
In our last update we introduced drip campaigns. With this release, we have revamped them to reuse emails on campaigns and a easier was to cross promote across lead initiatives.
- Google Analytics Integration
Many ask us what the difference between our analytics and Google. Our answer is always simple. We track differently, as do all analytics applications. Ours is more marketing driven, but now our answer has changed. There is nothing different. Now not only do we show you our normal analytics, but we show you Google Analytics within the same dashboard. Now our users get the best of both worlds.
All of this ties into our ‘Work Once, Publish Everywhere’ methodology to make sure you work less to spread your message and focus more on following up on your leads.
The new Bing will roll out with IE9. Bing has some interesting enhancements, they are clearly rolling-up their sleeves in their goal of cutting into Google’s search market share. Some of the new enhancements include:
- HTML-5 Powered
- Instant Search
- Smarter Quick Tabs
- Interactive Homepage
- Expanding Links
Bing has already changed things up a bit by adding background images to their homepage. They are taking this idea several steps further. If you have HTML-5 enabled, you can view full-motion video backgrounds as well as zoom in and out on static images. The video background loads quickly and doesn’t require any special plugins.
The new Bing reminds me of how you interact with smart phones, where screens slide smoothly and the transition is clean and automated as opposed to how pages change currently.
Google released their instant search last September, Bing’s really is no different in the “search previews as you type.” This update kind of gets lost with the other enhancements, but still helps improve their user experience.
There will be quick tabs near the top of your browser just below the search box. These will be relevant to your search, so in the demo video below, when you Bing “San Francisco” you’ll be presented with quick tabs such as weather, flights, news, maps, web etc. These tabs and the search bar will be fixed at the top of the screen, even when scrolling down on the results page. The related searches on the left stay as well. This makes sense keeping this information and functionality handy so you don’t have to scroll up or down on the page to access it again after scrolling. The transitions between tabs are smooth and slide left and right so you don’t really feel like you’re leaving the page you are on.
Now that netbooks and handheld devices are gaining in popularity, the screen size for many is smaller. To accommodate this, Bing will display only links at the bottom of the search results pages. Once you begin to scroll down, the descriptions/captions will expand (accordion out). This frees up an other wise limited screen real estate.
Most of these enhancements come from visitor behavior research. They’ve been paying attention to what people do and how they interact and took this information to better enhance the user experience. There is more coming, but so far it looks great!
Check out the new Bing/IE9 demo video below:
What are your thoughts on the new Bing/IE9?
If your business doesn’t already have a blog, chances are you have at least entertained the idea. Blogs come with many benefits and responsibility. Blogging is not easy and successful blogs come with a certain level of commitment. The more you put into your blog the more you can expect to get out of it.
Try your hardest to get on a content schedule. What I mean by content schedule is to determine your goals and how many weekly posts you expect it will take to meet these goals. A content schedule is your commitment. If you determine that two new posts a week will help your cause, then put it on your calendar to do so.
If you develop a conscious blogging strategy, you can reap some of the benefits below.
Long tail keywords
If you’re somewhat familiar with search engine optimization, you might already be familiar with the long tail of search. What this is in a nutshell are specific, highly targeted keywords. These keywords may not send a ton of traffic, but the clicks they generate can be very relevant and convert well. Individually the keywords have a low search volume, but if you rank well for a lot of them the combined search volume can be well worth your while. Long tail keywords are often less competitive too.
Blogs are a great tool to help you cover a lot of ground for long tail searches. Each new blog post is a new opportunity to have content that supports long tail searches. The beauty of blogs is you can often get long tail traffic without really even optimizing for it. Of course if you have a list of keywords to use then by all means use them, but your content alone will open doors you may not have even thought about. If you have been blogging for a while you have probably already noticed the traffic your posts have garnered from the search engines, a lot of it is probably from keywords you now rank for that you didn’t really think about at the time you wrote the posts.
Search engines love content
You might be tired of hearing “content is king” but this phrase is coined for a reason. Content is powerful. Search engine spiders love crawling new content. New content keeps your site fresh and the search engines coming back often to index your new pages. Having new pages indexed regularly will have a positive impact on your SEO efforts. Think of it this way, each new page is a potential doorway to your website and another opportunity for your brand to be found.
More inbound links
Blogs are a great way to earn new inbound links. Write good content and the links will come. This can happen a couple different ways. Your readers and visitors can share your content for you as well as bookmark your pages. You can do the same. It is a good best practice to share your content throughout your social network. Submit your blog posts to social voting sites like Digg, Mixx, Reddit etc. Also submit your posts to other social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Each site your content is featured on is another opportunity for a new inbound link. As you might have heard, inbound links are kind of a big deal in SEO.
There are lots of benefits to blogging and blogging often. Look at what you have on your plate and work time into your schedule to site down and write new content on a weekly basis. Be consistent. If you commit to do a new post a week, then try your best to do so. Remember all the benefits of blogging. Encourage others in your organization to contribute as well. Having multiple contributing authors can really lighten everyone’s load and have a huge impact on the health of your blog and online marketing.
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social sites for business. Learning how to use LinkedIn effectively can be a little overwhelming at first. Don’t worry, we’ll break down some of the best places to start.
Complete your personal profile
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people have outdated and/or incomplete profiles. Make sure all your information is up-to-date and correct. Include important details about your current position and company. One important thing to make sure you remember is adding links to your website and blog in your profile.
Create a group
When businesses ask me how they can use LinkedIn effectively, one of the first questions I ask is if they have a LinkedIn group. LinkedIn groups are a great way to open up communication between you, your brand and other industry professionals. Groups enable you to share recent blog posts, create discussions, add job postings, network and more.
One great strategy is adding your blog posts to the discussion area. This gives your members an opportunity to read and discuss your content. It gives you an opportunity for additional traffic to your blog.
You weren’t thinking of stopping with only your group were you? Joining other industry relevant groups multiplies the benefits of creating your own group. Joining other groups will enable you to enter discussions, link to your recent blog posts and network with other professionals in your industry. Submitting your blog posts in the discussion area to other groups will dramatically broaden your reach, exposure and new site visitors.
LinkedIn Answers is another powerful tool. You can post and answer questions. Where is all the power you ask? Answering questions related to your industry gives you credibility, shows you as a knowledgeable resource and can be a great lead generating tool. Just be sure to not “over sell” yourself or your company in the answers section. People are there for help, not for sales pitches. Providing help, answers and direction can be enough for people to reach out to you if they want to hire you professionally.
Make new connections
Believe it or not, LinkedIn was created around making professional connections (I’m being sarcastic of course . LinkedIn makes it easy to network with those in your industry. Reach out to co-workers, clients and even people you have talked to in one of your groups. You never know what your next connection could do for you professionally.
There are a wealth of useful tools in LinkedIn. You can research companies, competitors, potential job candidates and more. Recruiters and sales teams rely heavily on the data they get from LinkedIn.
There are many other ways to use LinkedIn effectively, the best advice I can give you today (outside of what I mentioned above) is to login and spend some time on the site. Keep your account active and current. I know this sounds cliche’, but get involved. The more time you spend the more you will learn. The more you learn could present you more website traffic, leads and other potential life changing events.
Reach out, get involved and be active.
If you have a blog and Facebook, you’ve probably already wondered how to publish your recent blog post to your Facebook wall. This is an easy process that you can actually do in Facebook and only takes a few minutes to complete. Follow our step-by-step process and you will sync the two up in no time.
- Log into Facebook
- In the top right corner of the page, click Account > Manage Pages
- Select the business Facebook page you want to add your blog posts to.
- In your tabs (Wall, Info, etc) you will see Notes, click it. (you may have to click the plus sign to see it)
- In the Notes tab, on the left navigation you will see Edit Import Settings under the Subscribe heading.
- Insert your blogs RSS feed url in the box, check off the box below and click Start Importing.
- Check everything to be sure it is working correctly.
Thats it! From now on when you publish a new post, it should populate on your Facebook fan page wall for your fans and friends to see. Don’t get discouraged if you do not immediately see your post on our wall right after publishing, it can often take hours before it updates your wall.
If you have cable TV or internet, you probably now know who Ted Williams is. If you happen to have been in a cave for the past few days, Ted Williams was the homeless man with “the golden voice” that is now a global internet sensation. Just last week, he was just a homeless man begging for money. Now, in a few short days, he has multiple job offers and one even comes with a home. All this from a video uploaded to YouTube and shared on Facebook. One share led to another, and another and, well, you know the story from here.
The point of all this is the power of social media and the viral effect it can have. Sometimes news goes viral on it’s own. Sometimes there is a “secret” campaign behind it all.
Making your news go viral is no easy feat. There are steps you should take to help your cause and give your news the push it needs to have a chance to spread virally.
Get involved in social media
Like the old saying goes, “you can’t win the lottery if you don’t play.” Don’t expect your news to spread if you are not involved in any social networks. The “golden voice” was able to spread due to the simple fact that there was a video shot, uploaded to YouTube and shared on Facebook. If the video was never uploaded to YouTube and shared, there is a solid possibility the world would still not know who Ted Williams is.
So, what does this mean exactly? This means you should get more involved in social media. Don’t limit yourself to just one network either. There are hundreds if not thousands of potential networks to get involved with. Some of the general bases you will likely want to cover are Facebook, Twitter and it is a good idea to throw in a few social news sites like StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit. Creating profiles on these networks is not enough. You have to get involved and build networks on each site. You will need people to share your news with in hopes your message catches on.
There is no place for selfishness in social media. Even though you are getting involved for self promotion, don’t have a self promotion attitude. Pay attention to what others share. If you find stories that interest you, SHARE THEM. It’s a safe bet that if you don’t show others any love, they will not show you any. Treat social media like karma, do good to others and others will be more apt to help you.
Put some thought into the messages you hope to spread, or don’t. What? As I mentioned earlier, there are two types of stories that go viral. Those that are well planned, and those that just kind of happen. With this being said, it is obviously a good idea to put your thinking cap on to create content that is noteworthy that people will feel compelled to share. On the other hand, don’t limit yourself. To be on the safe side, give all your content a chance. You never know what story can catch on.
Ok, so now your pumped and ready to share your story with the world. Great! One little note though. Are you in a position to handle an insane amount of traffic if your news catches on? When stories go viral, it can send literally millions of visitors to your site within a 24 hour period. I’ll tell you from experience, if you are not set-up for that kind of traffic, it will crash your site in a heartbeat. Check with your hosting provider to ensure you can handle traffic surges. What good is your story going viral if you can’t keep your site up for people to view your content?
Don’t rack your brain for a good story, push it and then have nothing happen. Keep trying. Back in the day, I submitted all kinds of content to Digg, with no luck. Then one day, a story of mine caught on out of nowhere and hit front page. It sent millions of visitors to my site which in turn crashed the site. I wasn’t prepared. The point is, you never know what will catch on, so don’t be discouraged when your favorite content goes nowhere. Just like the odds of playing the lottery one time and winning, you have to keep playing to increase your chances of winning.
So we are in a new year and you have new goals. Research, read, watch and learn how and why stories go viral. Try yourself, rinse and repeat. If you do this, your time will come.
It’s a new year and I’m assuming you have some new business goals. I’m even willing to bet that some of those goals have something to do with your website. Am I right? If so, here are 5 ideas to get your online marketing off to a great start.
Audit your calls-to-action - What do you want your website visitors to do? Contact you right? Are you making it easy for visitors to do this? If you have to think about it chances are they could be improved. Every page on your site should have a prominent call-to-action. This should include your telephone number as well as some sort of contact form or at least a link to a form. Don’t just have a contact page on your site and think that is all you need. You only have a short period of time to convert your visitors and if they have to look for a way to contact you, many will not.
Add a sitemap - Not only do you want to make it easy for your visitors to navigate through your website, but it is important the search engines can easily crawl your site as well. One of the easiest ways to address this is with a sitemap.
Start a blog - The two biggest things from an SEO standpoint are content and inbound links. A blog can help with both of these if you work it right. Try to get yourself on a blogging schedule of at least one new post a week. Be sure to share your content out through social media to attract new inbound links.
Start link building - As mentioned above, content and links are what will carry you the most in the search engines. Try to be conscious of your inbound links and find ways to attract more new links. It is best to get relevant industry links when possible.
Employ lead nurturing - Every industry will have a different sales cycle. For those that have a longer sales cycle, lead nurturing is essential. There are many things you can do to keep your brand in front of your prospects. One easy way is through marketing drip automation. Drip campaigns are a great way to keep communication open without necessarily eating-up a lot of time.
Now you have a short list of things that can have a huge impact on your online marketing. So, what are you waiting for? Go start the new year off right and complete what is on this list. Good luck!