Keyword Marketing and SEO Update – How To Track Your Keyword Rankings

Today’s post is about how to obsessively track your keyword marketing and SEO rankings. We are going to focus on three main tools including Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and Pro Rank Tracker (a third party site).

Google Webmaster Tools

Now that the keyword data is missing from Google Analytics, the Google Webmaster Tools are my new best friend. There I can find data showing:

  • How many times my site appeared in search (impressions)
  • The number of clicks that my received (clicks)
  • How many times my site was view compared to how many clicks I received (CTR – Click Through Rate)
  • Average position (shows all the keywords that I rank for and which position I am in)

Back when I had easy peasy results in Google Analytics I didn’t pay this site much mind but now I am a whole hearted supper and pretty much stalking my results in the Google Webmaster Tools.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en

Google Analytics

Keyword Marketing and SEO Update - How To Track Your Keyword RankingsAhh my old friend Google Analytics. You fickle bastard you, no more keyword data but some really good information about which pages are ranking and the sources of traffic that are working the best.

https://www.google.com/analytics/web

Pro Rank Tracker

Probably my favorite site right now on the internet. First off, they give you 50 free keywords to track and their prices really aren’t that horrendous if you get a jones for more. They send a daily email showing whether you have gone up or down which is super cool for figuring what to write about to keep your rankings up. LOVE THEM!

https://proranktracker.com

However you choose to track your keyword marketing efforts and SEO rankings, make sure you know what you are trying to rank for and the best practices for increasing your rankings without being a spammer (no sense in hosing up your life by doing bad SEO practices now that Google has declared war on spamming!)

10 Ways Website Design Has Changed and What To Do About It

10 Ways Website Design Has Changed and What To Do About ItWebsite design is different today than it has been in a long time. Changes to how Google tells us about what keywords we should try to rank for have made a radical difference in what we should be doing and how we need to set up or changeover a website. Incorporating social media is a vital part of the equation, as is maintaining a social and blog presence.

This post came about because of two things that recently happened. First we were asked to speak about SEO at a conference which I haven’t done for quite a while (mostly everyone is enthralled with social right now). This meant that I had to get all my thoughts in order about how search is working and why we do what we do. Because I have been actively involved in search engine marketing for over 15 years, sometimes I think everyone knows the history and why we do what we do when building sites for clients. Secondly, I was overwhelmed with questions and concerns from business owners who were using a free website builder or a basic site builder like GoDaddy’s site tonight. I really was not aware that so few small biz owners did not understand the need for a strong website.

This post will cover the top 10 things I saw happening that were distressing and why they are important.

PLEASE NOTE: All of this information is for sites that want to take over additional search terms, are struggling overall in search or for brand new websites. If you have a website that is ranking well for your key search terms, leave it alone or make changes very judiciously!

1. New Content Matters More

One of the biggest changes that I think people have missed is the named update to Google called Caffeine that rolled out in 2010. This update basically changed how Google finds information. Instead of being linear, going from site to site to site “crawling” the internet, the Google search engine could now find information concurrently from all different sources at once. This means that having fresh content that is relevant to the searcher can be a huge boon to getting rankings and keeping relevant in the listings. The way to do this is to have a blog website instead of a static HTML site. Blogs have become beautiful so if you are just starting out and had a bad visceral reaction to the word blog, bear with me a bit, you will get over it when you see the rest of the post.

Caffeine Update From Google http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html

2. You Need To Post At Least Weekly

It used to be that you could build a website, have great SEO and then leave it sit there and it would slowly climb in the rankings as it “aged”. That really doesn’t work anymore. Now-a-days you need to have a structured plan for how to send out content that is search relevant, planning it over time so that you are hitting each of the keywords that you are targeting separately.

3. One Post Needs One Keyword

It used to be that you could write a post or page and cover at least three keywords (heck, years ago it was important to have lots of tags on your posts, now that is a detriment). Today’s posts have to be laser targeted and focused on ranking for just one keyword each, with content to support that one keyword.

4. SEO Content Needs To Be Longer

It is a hard and fast rule from Matt Cutts that posts shorter than 300 words are not generally indexed as well in Google. That said, some recent findings show that the majority of results for highly competitive keywords are averaging at least 1,000 words and some go well over that mark. We have found that to be the case when doing work for our clients. Simply going over the 500 word mark on key content will make a huge difference in the results that they get.

Great post from Forbes about this http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnrampton/2014/04/04/how-long-should-my-blog-post-be/

5. The Loss of Keyword Data Sucks

We had a stunning blow last year when Google totally shut off the data about which keywords were used with which posts. Now, it had been coming for a while with the “not provided” results growing, but when it totally disappeared it was definitely a blow. Now, there are some truly bright spots also. The Google Webmaster Tools has some great data that can help show what terms you rank for site wise and reverse engineering content based on that and some knowledge of what searches are being done can help pick some immediate “low hanging fruit” and get some immediate gains.

Great post about this issue http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2296351/Goodbye-Keyword-Data-Google-Moves-Entirely-to-Secure-Search

6. Talking Search

One of the things that has been a sea change for search and SEO marketing is the switchover to more mobile searching. This happens when someone, phone in hand asks a question rather than typing a search term into Google. Instead of typing “Tampa Bay Realtors” they say, “who are the best realtors in Tampa Bay” or “which is the best Realtor to sell my Tampa Home”. Those are entirely different SEO terms than someone who is just pulling up a search for “Tampa Bay Realtors”. While it is important to try and rank for the regular term, adding content that answers the other questions is also vital to going forward.

7. Mobile Ready Website Design

I feel like this is the first actual website design tip (probably because it is!) While blogs are beautiful now, there are some pieces holding over from the “old days” of websites that are not so great for mobile responsive websites or blogs. One of those is the wide-wide top banner across a site. Today’s best design is actually to have smaller pieces at the top so when it is on a phone it actually large enough to see something of it. We have heard numbers ranging up to 60% of website usage being mobile based now in some industries and we can’t see that number going downward anytime soon.

8. Focusing On The Home Page

Having access to the data for a wide range of websites, I am here to tell you that the majority of any site’s visitors are not coming directly to the home page. They are doing a search for something that is relevant to them and coming in on a page that important to them, then maybe hitting the home button and going to the front of the website. I wish that site owners would spend less time worrying about what their website looks like at the front door and worry more about what is behind that door, SEO and content wise. The most beautiful website in the world does no good if no one is coming to visit it.

9. Using Stolen Pictures

We are very careful to only use pictures that we have purchased the right to use for each individual client from a variety of photo sites. If your website designer does not do this, you as the owner can be liable for between $600 and $10,000 in fines. It is definitely worth it to ask the question before hiring a designer to work on your site or your individual blog posts.

10. Hiring A Cheapo Overseas Company Or Your Cousin Bob To Make Your Site

This last one makes me crazy as someone who has been in the business of websites for over a decade and a half. A company will hear about “outsourcing” and send their website design overseas to be done by people who do not speak English as their first language and who are hard to communicate with because they are multiple timezones away. Or they will use their Cousin Bob, who has just decided that he is “going to build websites”. Bob really is trying, having started researching all the bits that go into it, watching some webinars and checking out a bunch of information on YouTube, not realizing that most of what is out there is outdated and could actually hurt the efforts of his new clients.

If you are looking for some great Website Design Services, I would love to talk to you about what you have, what you need and what you would like to rank for in the search engines! Check out our Website Design Services Page or Give me a call today and I will be happy to take a couple of minutes to find out more!!! Tara 727-415-9165

WordPress Internet Marketing – Categories and Tags

So when you are doing wordpress internet marketing (like we do for some of our clients), things change depending on what The Google is doing. Stupid things. Throughout this post I am going to be adding some ideas for you and then making suggestions – PLEASE read the suggestions so you don’t FUBAR your blog and then yell at me!

Wordpress Internet Marketing - Categories and TabsWhen I started doing marketing on WordPress years ago, the prevailing thought was to have your posts in LOTS of different categories. And oh, the tags, you should have small biz marketing, and small business marketing, and marketing your small business because the Goole had not figured out yet how to follow the rabbit hole down and know that all of those references lead directly back to one blog post (or even a number of them).

So today I was talking with a client who has done a FABULOUS job writing content for her corporate wellness blog and we were taking a peek at her blog posts, categories, tags and Google analytics. Wonderfully enough, she had started with us a couple of years ago AFTER the insanity had stopped and we had her content organized into just a few, highly relevant categories.

That having been said, they were not the best categories for where her business was two years later and we are going to move some stuff around (not two categories Gluten Free and Dairy Free, but now one Gluten Free | Dairy Free).

note – DO NOT change the slug (the url words) since it may already be indexed in google, if you have the ability, seo the title and description but leave the slug alone so that the Google doesn’t think it is a broken link on your website.

note – The straight up and down line is a called a “pipe” and is a neutral in programming language. We use it frequently so that we do not cause interent problems with using an ampersand or worse a forward slash which IS a programming keystroke.

note – Having 10 strong categories is MUCH better than having hundreds of disparate categories and each post should only be applicable to one category or maybe two or it is too broad!

Interenet Marketing WordPress TagsWordPress Tags

This is a picture of my tag cloud so you can take a peek. First off, I used to use them to make sure I was talking about the right things in my posts. They get bigger when there are lots of posts (I used to have a HUGE mindset tag which is nice, but my blog is about small business marketing, doh!)

Additionally, they allow for a subset of organization that could be below categories. For example, we have industry based marketing categories on our Marketing and Media Monsters site, but then we have tags that drill down to the type of marketing like video marketing or article marketing.

Tag clouds

So, just a year or so ago I came upon a site whose admin had put in HUNDREDS of tags using a plugin. Most did not have a post associated with them, but the thinking was that all these disparate words would help with the SEO (search engine optimization).

Whenever I have a question about whether something is right to do or not, I check with Matt Cutts, Google’s frontman who tells us things about how we are doing SEO-wise. A search for Tag Clouds and Matt Cutts turns up his take on these from 2010. Now I can’t say that I have ever seen the Google spontaneously change their mind and say that something they considered detrimental was miraculously made a good thing, so I listened to Matt and took my tag clouds off!

Why is there so much bad information about SEO data out there?

Okay, I am on a tear because one of our clients who hired a bad SEO company emails us almost every day asking if one or the other tactics of theirs is hurting or just not helping. I did a bunch of research with experts in this and watched a funny (funny sad not funny ha ha) webinar where the expert went right down the line enumerating the bad SEO tricks that people were using that hurt their website’s ranking ability. read all about it in my post Keyword Marketing – Does Bad SEO Hurt.

That having been said, I get asked often why someone would do that. They got bad SEO info. They are not deliberately trying to hurt my client (I don’t think), just they took a class for sale on the internet with ideas that were 3-5 years old and already rejected by the Google.

Doing SEO work is not easy and requires that you keep your own ear to the ground and research, research, research what is working and what doesn’t. Additionally, NEVER do anything that some guru is selling a quick trick to fool Google. Generally I find these all to be old “tricks” that might of worked years ago, but don’t work today.

Seriously people, there is NO WAY TO FOOL GOOGLE! They have the smartest guys in the room working day and night to keep ahead of the spammers who are working day and night to figure out new “tricks” to use until they are broken and then sell to the dupes that don’t know any better!

If you are a small business owner who is growing an internet empire to last, do not use tricks. Just hire a company that has strong white hat tactics and who will take the time to help your business grow online on strong foundations!

Social Media Marketing – 3 Reasons You Can No Longer Ignore Google+

For me, Google+ and social media marketing go together like oreos and beer…not great together but superb on their own! Today we have a guest post from a marketer who talks about why you can’t ignore Google+ in your social media marketing efforts. Should you want a detailed description of how Google+ effects your page rankings, please see our previous post Google Universal Search – How Google+ Effects Small Business Marketing.

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Social Media Marketing - 3 Reasons You Can No Longer Afford To Ignore Google+Google is notorious for releasing widgets that enhance our lives both personally and professionally. From their search engine, gMail, Google Docs, the Android operating system and now Google+. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year, in late June 2011 Google launched their social network, Google+. It quickly rose in popularity with early adopters and initially there was constant talk about this being the Facebook killer and it would be the be-all end-all of social networks.

That talk has since stopped, but with over 250 million registered users, we can’t simply ignore this network. You must understand that it won’t overtake Facebook but it does have a lot of great benefits for your business, let’s take a look at a few of them.

1. Google+ Search

When you’re doing a search query in a search engine you get a lot of results back and sometimes it’s difficult to decipher which are worth it. With Google’s Search+ functionality, Google can personalize the results based on people in your network. When you search for a term—say, “jewelry Minneapolis, MN” — Google will populate the SERP with content that is personalized to you. Photos, links and status updates that are related to people in your Google+ network are more likely to be above the fold.

Transforming search results by interactions, connections and activity you have on Google+ is powerful because it instantly adds social proof to a page in the user’s eyes because a friend or colleague said this page was valuable. It is a crucial piece for SEO because it can boost a company’s page to the first listings when it normally would have been buried deeper.

2. Google +1 button

The +1 button has changed within Google+ and isn’t as apparent as it used to be — you must now hover over to see it — but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. When someone +1s your site, page or content, Google leverages this in personalized results. This is one the key indices of social proof in the network, much the same as a Facebook like.

It is crucial to make your +1 and social sharing buttons easy to find because if sharing is seamless and easy your users will be more likely to do it. Many organizations have implemented a floating sidebar that scrolls down as the user goes down the page. It’s always right in front of them, which is key.

3. Fast indexing

Google wants its products to be relevant and since they have their own brand to protect, they are able to index Google+ pages very quickly. Unlike when you add a new page to your website where it may take several days or weeks for Google’s spiders to crawl the content, G+ posts are sometimes indexed within minutes. You can see the benefit of this especially for timely content.

Google is a force to be reckoned with and it’s important to follow their trends because they have a lot of control over how your business is shown in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). They’re giving you the tools to succeed with their platform, so use them. Don’t underestimate Google. As a wise musician once said, “If you don’t like funerals, don’t kick sand in a ninja’s face.”


Jayme Pretzloff is an accomplished young marketer whose passions lie within SEO and social media marketing. He currently works as the Online Marketing Director for Wixon Jewelers, the premier jewelry store in Minneapolis, MN and serves as the Marketing Advisor for Blue Line Defense who teach Minnesota Permit to Carry courses.

Google Universal Search – How Google+ Effects Small Business Marketing

So yesterday I talked about “getting to the top of google” and touched on how google has different results for different people (that is called google universal search). Today we are going to take a visual peek at what that looks like in real world small business marketing searching and how utilizing social media and especially Google+ makes a huge difference!

Small Business Marketing, Google+ and Universal Search

Google plus one universal searchAs a social media marketing company, we get our peeps on the Google+ and circle related people for them. BUT what does that mean in the real world? If I listened to the rumors, Google+ doesn’t have very many people using it and it isn’t as fun as Facebook for the average user, right?

In the picture, searching with Tara Jacobsen (me) logged into google, I get ALL kinds of people results. I get to see how many of my friends have plused one the blogger link, I have a picture of that nice Darren Rowse from Problogger, whose blog I read and who I have circled on Google+. Along those lines, Jay Baer is also in my circles, and there is his happy little face, big as life. The other search was done with proxify.com which anonymizes the search and takes out preferences and friend links. There you can see some are the same links, but no Jay, AND it added a video result (not sure why the video icon didn’t load, but I promise it worked!).

Google plus one universal searchBut maybe that is just me, right? Nope! This is another result from one of our realtor client’s account. Deb Ward, Clearwater Realtor Extraordinaire, is friends with Stacy Hansen, so when we did a search for ENTREPRENEUR MARKETING using her account, up jumped the result!

So whether you believe in Google+ plus as a social platform or not, I am totally ON BOARD as a way to increase search engine rankings for our peeps!

About those "We can get you to page 1 of google emails"!

So I am astounded that those “Get You To Page 1 of Google” emails still work! In today’s search engines, there is only one constant, nothing is the same for each user and having a SEO (search engine optimization) company make that claim and get my peeps all worked up makes me crazy!

Getting on page 1 of google for what?

Let’s start with the keywords. When you hire a company to “get you to page 1 of google”, they are going to have you pick some keywords that you want to rank for. I can tell you, most business owners do not know what a good thing to rank for is! Consider Realtors, mostly they want to rank for their town and the search term “realtor”. So let’s break that one down…

Most people looking for a realtor who are going onto the internet search for the term realtors (with an “S” at the end), just like you wouldn’t look up St. Pete Plumber, you would look up St. Pete plumbers. So right off the bat, you could get to page 1, but for a term that doesn’t matter much.

Also there is a difference between the term Denver Real Estate and “Denver Real Estate”. In one I put the quotes around the whole phrase, meaning that the words have to be in that exact order. Without the quotes, they can be in any order and don’t necessarily have to contain all the words. Search results for Denver Real Estate are 163,000,000 and for “Denver Real Estate” are 5,450,000. If I was a snarky SEO company I could tell my customers that I had gotten them on page 1 for something both obscure (with not so many searches) AND have the quotes to make it easier to accomplish, with my client never the wiser.

Page 1 is a mess!

The Google Experiment - Getting To Page 1 of GoogleOkay, so what I was just talking about was straight ranking. Now let’s talk a little bit about other factors that effect what gets shown to YOU by google when you search.

It matters where you are because google knows the IP address that you are searching from! So if you search for hot dog stands, you do not get the ones in New York City, you get the ones closest to where you are, maybe some news about hot dogs stands and possibly some hot dog stand pictures.

It matters who you are because google follows you around the internet, figuring out what you like the most. Do you like videos, you will see more video results. Do you have friends on Google+ who have liked something, maybe you will too! If you are logged into google, you are effecting the search results you get.

The Google Experiment

So today I took a couple of hours to go over what results look like from all different browsers and all different types of people. Here is the breakdown of what I looked at:

  • Tara Jacobsen – I logged into google with my login
  • Realtor – I used another computer and logged in with a Realtor client’s google account
  • Proxify – This is a service that allows you to access the google from a generally blank slate
  • Retail Company – This company does sales and marketing but with big box stores, not my little moms and pops
  • iPad – On my iPad I logged out of google and did the searches (this seemed to be a little tainted I think because I got similar results to what I got on my real computer logged is as me)

So we have different people searching on different browsers (nothing I can do about my IP address so I am sure that affected the results too!)

What I found when searching for term Entrepreneur Marketing (no quotes) was there WAS some consistency in the top places, but after that, there were some REALLY big differences in what google returned as results. Here are my big take-aways.

  • None of the searches had any videos for this search term (the video link was to a page with a video, not the cute embedded videos on the search pages).
  • Proxify (who didn’t have any relation to anything else) showed indented listings (the ones under the main listing) for both my site and entrepreneur.com. They also did not get nearly as many listings as the other searches did.
  • I was surprised to get news results as I generally do not see those in my searches. I am not a newsy kind of gal!
  • The realtor had really weird results compared to everyone else! She had A LOT of friend connections in her results as she is pretty well connected online. She had links from three different friends on this search.
  • I thought it was REALLY interesting that I logged out of google on my iPad and got VERY similar results to logged in my big computer.
  • If a SEO company told you they could rank you for entrepreneur marketing, they would have a hard climb. Both Entrepreneur.com and MarketingArtfully.com (my site) have spent YEARS working on SEO to rank for these terms and would not be easy to knock off!

So, there you have it! A little bit about why those emails about getting you to page 1 of google are, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, total crap!


 

Google search engine marketingLooking for a good marketing company that can help with ALL your needs?

We work with small business owners to help you with your online presence, from Google search rankings to social media marketing.

This is not a get rich fast scheme, but a solid marketing plan by a company with over ten years of experience in the online marketing field! Give us a call today to find out more 727-415-9165!

Social Media Marketing – What You Should Be Doing Now

Social media marketing is HARD! I have never worked with a marketing platform that changes more than this giant kerfuffle of sites and places that you need to have a presence on, oh and they change it constantly so that you have to be on top of what you should be doing now!

A little bit of social media marketing background. I just checked the “when did you join Twitter” website and it says I started my Taradactyl twitter account on November 30,2007. WOW, That is going on 5 years now and over that time I gathered well over 10,000 followers. The reason I start there is that this was my first foray into using social media as a marketing platform. According to facebook, I started over there July 21, 2008 after talking with a friend who said it might have some further marketing implications than posting pictures of kitties and puppies.

Upon discovering that social media marketing would work for me, we decided that we would take our mad marketing skills and start doing social media for clients. At the start, this was relatively easy as it was just a dorky LinkedIn profile, a Facebook Profile and a Twitter account that was fed by a blog. BOY did we think we were cutting edge, and dang, looking back was it easy-peasy compared to today. Basic graphics and post some stuff, and BANG you are done.

Today I have to say that if you are NOT a graphics artist or video maven, social media, website design and blogging are out of the reach of most small business owners. We have targeted for our clients the top social media sites that are effective for small business marketing today (I will break out what we recommend below, just remember that if you are reading this tomorrow it may have changed again by then…:)

Blogging for social media marketing

Blogging for social mediaI am a HUGE proponent of blogging for social media marketing. I have this site and get SCADS of opportunities from having a big robust site with lots of content. People find us through SEO (search engine optimization), I have a place to put my speaker stuff, talk about entrepreneur marketing and discuss small business and social media marketing. Because I take the time to write good content and have a strong opinion, people read what I write and I have become an expert in my industry.

Now let’s talk about blogging for the small biz owner. Seriously, who has the time to post 1-2 times per week, getting “pinable” pictures in there for your additional social media sharing (more about “pinability” later)? Additionally, aggregator sites like networked blogs and rss graffiti no longer have the impact of posting so you need to pop over to Facebook and the like to post your entry.

Having a blog means having graphics, the overall look and feel, marketing buttons, and blog post pictures.

Facebook for small business marketing

Social media marketing facebook page and profileOkay, I go back and forth on this one. Originally, we used the customer’s profile (human) to do marketing, then we switched when Facebook launched business pages, and now I am in a quandary. I REALLY like some of the new features of the business pages and you HAVE to have one like the old yellow page ad was mandatory, BUT…and I think this is a HUGE but for our small business people (not corporations, small biz owners) people don’t like to talk to your brand, they like to talk to YOU.

What does this mean marketing-wise? We manage lots of different types of social media, restaurants, resorts, doctors, realtors, art sites, etc. Some of them have great results talking as a page (our restaurants are especially effective this way), but the realtors, spa owners and the like bomb as pages. If you are considering hiring a new hairdresser (ladies, you KNOW what a big deal this is), you don’t care as much about the salon as the service and personality of hairdresser right?) This makes it hard. How much personal information to share while still keeping a professional demeanor.

I share mostly marketing on my Tara Jacobsen profile but do have pictures of my puppy after having tater tots. The tater tots post got a lot of likes and comments, while some of my marketing posts fall on the floor with a thud. Seriously, most people are on the Facebook for socializing and learning more about people, and not so much for buying stuff.

Does this mean you can ignore a page and only use your person, nope! It could change again and you would be WAY behind the curve AND it is just a cost of doing business today. You have to have a presence, both as a person and a business.

Twitter for small business marketing

Social media profile - taradactylEveryone who loves twitter, raise their hand. Okay, the two of you can put your hands down now. But seriously, twitter is a GREAT platform for social media marketing. It allows you to post your message, target specific geographic or cultural users and computers love twitter.

WHAT? Why would computers like Twitter? Twitter has what is called an “open API” which means developers can make programs that pull from twitter. You can hook your blog directly to Twitter and there is nothing to stop it from appearing to all your followers. You can use hashtags (#) to mark your posts as being in #denver or about #marketing.

It is also easy to connect with people on the Twitter. I have “talked” with best selling authors, my marketing heroes and even a politician (accidentally) once.

Google+ for social media marketing

google plus small business marketingGoogle+ is still in it’s infancy. The thing to know about it is that THE GOOGLE owns it. Seriously. Right now, that is all that we need to worry about. You need a business page, you need a profile and you need to post on there.

The other thing you want to do is to start circling people (same as adding friends on the Facebook). You can have 5,000 people in your circles and can target different industries.

As a business tool, right now, it is not that great, but it will be!

YouTube for small business marketing

Videos, that’s right, videos are going to be half of the backbone of the new internet within a few years. People do not have time to read anymore, they want to watch a quick 2 minute video that gets the point across. Think about it, what if I had a video right below here where I TELL you my top pics instead you reading them. I can tell you that I had to CRAM all of this into 2 minutes which was not easy BUT now I will have a place to put a backlink to my blog and you get to “hear” my picks instead of reading them!

Pinterest for small business marketing

Social Media Marketing - PinterestAgain, this is a rather new entry to social media marketing scene and I have heard from more than one person that Pinterest is for women. Not so and I will tell you this one or one like it will be a hot player in the next few years.

So what is pinterst? It is a visual photo sharing site. You can make “boards” with your interests and save things to look at later. So let’s talk about this. I have a board with marketing (of course), a board for good website buttons for future reference, a board on crafting and a board on bees. Most of my repins (sharing on Facebook) come from my success quotes, but I am building a circle of friends on here just like I did on Twitter and Facebook in the past.

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP

Okay, I know for many of you who have reached the bottom of this page, doing this type of marketing is out of the question time-wise and ability wise (believe me, I KNOW, I was sad this morning thinking about all the changes we would have to make our clients new Facebook business page timelines next week!!!)

That having been said, if you think this is too much to handle and would like to find out how to hire a top-notch social media marketing company, give us a call today to find out more!!! 727-415-9165

Google Plus – A Handy Dandy Overview For Small Biz Owners and Entrepreneurs

Google Plus is going to be a great tool for small biz owners and entrepreneurs, once it gets a little bigger! So you should wait right? WRONG! There is SUCH a first responder advantage to getting in there (especially business owners who are NOT social media nuts like I am!)

Google Plus Small Biz EntrepreneursCircle me on G+! http://gplus.to/taradactyl

Basically, if you get in there early, everyone else can find you. If you come to the party late, you have to go find everyone.

For me, this is a no-brainer so, Step 1 get into google plus (if you need an invite, send me a message with your email address, preferably a gmail address, and if you seem like a real person I will send you an invite).

Setting Up Your Google Plus Account

This one is dead easy! Make sure to fill out all of the bits INCLUDING links to your other social media profiles, blogs, websites, etc. I would make sure that the first paragraph is stunning and that your blurb expresses who you are (sometimes that is all someone will know about you before deciding to put you into a circle!)

As with any social media site, this should be about you and what you can do for THEM! Make sure your bio tells them that you will be posting FABULOUS content about your industry and you are excited to be doing that.

Making Circle Friends

Circles are the strongest piece of the puzzle for me. They allow you to segregate your lists into pieces (I have circles for Denver Friends and Denver Realtors – I would put Denver Realtors into the little circle AND into the big general circle). There has been A LOT of talk about why having too many circles is bad, but I am convinced that this is my sweet spot. In this example, if I was doing a general marketing class in Denver I would post it to my Denver Friends circle – if it was a Realtor Marketing class, I would just post it to my Denver Realtors.

Google Plus CirclesBIG TIP about circles! If you don’t include the “Public” circle when you are posting things, it will look like you are not active SOOOO….make sure you use Public, Your Circles AND Extended Circles so that everyone you know, the public and people who circle your circles can see your posts.

Google Plus Overview For Small Business Owners

Here’s the skinny, if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur using social media marketing, I would love to see you spend a couple of minutes diving into Google Plus today! If nothing else, post a couple of things, set up your profile and add your clients (who are on already) to your circles!

How To Write A Blog Post That Will Rank In Google

It is amazing how many bits go into writing a blog post that will rank in google. While there are a million different posts out there on this topic, this post is laser focused on one of the more practical aspects – keyword marketing.

How to write a blog post that will rank on googleWhen you sit down to write a blog post, the first step is to make sure that you have a topic that you are interested in and which will compliment your three main keywords for your site. My site is all about small business marketing, entrepreneur marketing and realtor marketing so I HAVE to talk about some kind of marketing (which is good because I am obsessed with all things marketing).

The next step is to start writing. Put down everything that you think is going to be relevant and interesting WITHOUT worrying about what keywords you are going to be using. Yesterday I started out writing a post about “Using national marketing campaigns for small business marketing” because I had seen a good link posted by one of my friends on Facebook. This is the first paragraph (which I use for my description) when I started:

The easiest way to jump start your small business marketing is to use national marketing campaigns. Piggy backing on something that a national company has spent GAGILLIONS to produce is a great way to help build YOUR brand!

Interesting to me, easy to research BUT after I got a little ways in I started wondering if anyone was searching for that! It is great to be a purist and write about what you are interested in BUT I want people to actually find and read my words also. Come to find out that NO ONE was searching for that type of thing. Now this doesn’t mean that I have to scrap the whole post and start again. I did a search on the google external keyword tool and found out that 135,000 people search for “funny youtube videos” – now that is MUCH better! So I kept writing my post about “funny youtube videos” when I realized that doesn’t have anything to do with marketing (and I am not funny but that is for another day!). RATS.

Okay, so I need to get it into the realm of marketing so I checked and there are 1,300 people searching on google for “funny youtube commercials”. A MUCH smaller number but probably people who are going to be at least a little interested in what I have to say about funny videos and marketing.

Here is the final description that I can up with for my “Use Funny YouTube Commercials For Small Business Marketing” post:

The easiest way to jump start your small business marketing is to use funny YouTube commercials for small business marketing. Piggy backing a funny YouTube commercial that a national company has spent GAGILLIONS to produce is a great way to help build YOUR brand!

I KNOW – that seems like an awful lot of effort just to get your keyword marketing right, BUT it actually took about a half an hour to write the post and 15 minutes to “fix” all the keyword problems. At the end of the day I am happier with how it turned out AND am way more likely to rank well in the Google!

Writing Evergreen Keyword Blog Posts

Writing evergreen keyword rich blog posts is a great way to generate traffic for your site. Once you target a keyword phrase, all you have to do is make sure that the technical bits are right and you should rank well for that phrase.

Writing Evergreen Keyword Blog PostsIn my business there are two types of blog posts (1) ones that I can write off the top of my head and that are great for generating a little bit of traffic and reinforcing my keyword ranking for may main three search terms, small business marketing, entrepreneur marketing and realtor marketing and (2) evergreen blog posts where I want to rank consistently over time for a specific keyword or long tail phrase.

What exactly are evergreen blog posts?

Evergreen blog posts are ones that do not change over time and which are keyword rich in content that you want your site to rank for. In my case I target marketing terms like social media, direct mail (newsletters, postcards, logos and collateral), email marketing, keyword marketing and blogging as subsets of my main three keywords. In this way I can rank highly for entrepreneur marketing PLUS postcards or realtor marketing PLUS postcards.

When you are just starting out it is great to have those major keywords in mind and then use minor keywords to add up to the whole. For example, you might write about bookkeeping tips and tricks, then how to do your general ledger and which accounting software is best to use, all which help google add up to the fact that you provide small business bookkeeping services. The Google is super smart and knows the little bits of the whole which make up the major evergreen keywords.

So how do you find out what keywords you should be TRYING to rank for?

  • I check my google analytics and see what search terms people are looking for that they use to get to MarktingArtfully.com even if I haven’t targeted them that way yet. For example, I found out that I ranked well for the term “funny realtor postcards” even though I did not have a post specifically targeting that (although I did have a direct mail post about postcards and did have those other words in there). With a laser focused post I was able to truly rank for the tip top of page one for that search phrase.
  • I use SEM Rush to see what words I rank in the top 20 of google for, and reinforce those so that I can keep my standings or branch out to different targets.
  • I check the google external keyword tool to see what keywords are better. For example, yesterday I wrote a post about Email Marketing Writing Great Subject Lines. When it started out it was actually a post about writing great email marketing headlines because that is how I thought of it. Luckily, I popped over to google and found that no body but me calls them that and that there are 14,800 searches a month for the phrase “email subject lines” as opposed to “email subject line” which is only 9,900. I will take that extra potential 5,000 visitors anyday!

Extra tip – I have a habit of writing about things that are not necessarily in my “marketing” niche. I rank on page one for such obscure terms as “customer demographics” and “selling to c personality types” which I rank twice on the first page for because I am interested in how the DISC personality types work with sales and marketing. BEWARE BEWARE that you do not let your personal interests drag down the focus of your site. Check your tag cloud on your blog to see which words are big so that you can tell if you have fallen off track. As you can see on the right side of my blog, I am doing okay with my keywords but sometimes “mindset” gets big and I have get back on track!

For August our DIY Small Business Marketing Membership will have videos on exactly how I do all these cool keyword researches for my sites and my clients! Make sure you are signed up to get the scoop!

Do URL Keywords REALLY Matter Much To Google?

Does using URL keywords help drive organic traffic from google and other search engines is on my mind today. The URL keywords efficiency at getting google to notice a website is controversial but REALLY interesting.

URL Keywords and GoogleThe URL Keyword Controversy is a big deal in my world, probably not so much in yours BUT it does affect your online business empire! The URL (or Domain Name) keyword question is about whether using keywords in your domain name would increase your ranking in google and other search engines. So instead of picking www.abccompany.com you would pick www.wesellwidgets.com.

We have many clients who are adamant that they want to use their business name as their domain name for their blog (check out more information about the difference between blogs and websites). We have even had prospects that have sent us pages long emails about why we are nuts for trying to steer them towards using keywords in the web name where they host their blog instead of having their company name.

Well, if you think that having search engine keywords in your domain name helps, then using your company name as a your blog URL is silly. Since lots of people are looking to buy widgets or whatever you are selling and few people are searching for your company name, naming your URL your company name is counter productive. Here is a video from Matt Cutts (the google guy) who says that keywords in the domain name do help a little bit. Well, I will tell you, I will take every advantage I can get for my clients.

Additionally, it has been proven anecdotally over time with our clients. If we name a website www.HomesForSaleVictorvilleCA.com, they will rank for on page one for that common search term (there are over 30,000 searches for that term a month and over 173,000 search results to compete with) so why wouldn’t you do that instead of using the Realtor’s name which does not have enough search volume to register. I also have a colleague who got traffic and leads from an intervention steps website with a good keywordy url that did not have any backlinks or anything else to help promote it, so more evidence from a third party even!

Just as an aside, that does NOT mean that I think you should use a long, convoluted URL like http://bestrestauranttampabay.com for your marketing pieces, OF COURSE you will buy a good url like www.SnookersBlog.com and POINT it at your Best Restaurant Tampa Bay keywordy URL. BUT to google, since you actually built the blog or website on the good keywords you get a little bonus!

To muddy the waters a bit more, here are some somewhat supporting and contrasting posts from google about the benefits of having keywords in the URL:

Taking Advantage Of Trends On Google

Taking advantage of trends on google is a great way to get increased traffic to your website! Here is how a website took advantage of the new iPad launch to get increased traffic to their website from google.

Taking Advantage of Trends On GoogleWhen using my new iPad, I noticed that it would be MUCH easier to have icons on the desktop that linked directly to websites rather than using the bookmark feature from within the Safari browser. I did a search for “how to add an icon to your ipad desktop” and found this link “How to Make an iPad Icon for Your Website or Blog” but below that was an indented listing of how to do what I wanted.

OfZenComputing did a great job of finding keywords that people are searching for now and having a post out there that was great bait for generating incoming links. Here are some of my observations about what they did right!

Ways that this site took advantage of trends on google

  • Using the keywords in their title that covered a number of different searches
  • Naming the picture on the page “ipad bookmark to home screen” which increased the chances of google listing them
  • Internally linking the first post they wrote with the followup post the next day, reinforcing the keywords internally
  • Providing valuable information that people need (what you needed to do was blatantly obvious after I saw it so don’t assume that your knowledge has to be extremely technical)
  • The second day they made a photoshop picture that you could use to make your own icon on your website so that people could bookmark you too and gave it away for free

Tools to find out what is a hot topic right now – so how do you know what is trending now?

  • Watch the real news – many times you find out what is happening on the interwebs by watching the network news. It is their job to cover topics people are interested in.
  • Go to Google News and see what they are covering
  • Use Twitter Search to see what is hot right now and to do searches on keywords that you are interested in targeting

How to Choose the Right Keywords for Your Small Business

How to choose the right keywords for your small business is one of the most important things that you can do with your marketing efforts. This post features guest author Reid Peterson, Internet Marketing Educator at growthinharmony.com!

Keywords Small Business MarketingFor those of you that don’t know by now – your keywords do matter.

That doesn’t mean to choose a keyword like “Real Estate” because you are a real estate agent and you sell real estate. You would spend the rest of your life competing for a search result ranking that might make page 5. (if you’re lucky)

And you might think you’re clever and choose “Real Estate Denver CO” because you sell real estate in Denver, Colorado.

Guess what? Instead of taking a life time to rank high in search results pages, it may take a decade. (and if you’re a rock star- like one who would publish two or more blog posts per day, it you might get to #1 rankings in a year.)

Yes, SEO companies promise you page 1 rankings (and often #1 ) by tomorrow, but even if that is true (which I’m still waiting for someone to video blog their success of that), you would have to pray that the views of your website are converting to business. Are they?

So your website success (earning business from the people who view it) starts somewhere- where exactly is that “somewhere?”

It starts with keyword research and you have to be both very smart and creative about the keywords you choose. Here’s how to use your smarts and creativity to choose the right keywords for your business:

1) Know your customer. And I mean know them well- all five senses (maybe avoid what they taste like though.) You’ve probably heard that you must know your ideal customer’s needs (wants) but do you know how they react to the emotional umcomfortabilities that create their needs and wants? Yep, you must know that!

2) Listen to how your customer communicates. What words do your ideal customers use to speak or write? Those are your keywords right there! (I now feel complete but also compelled to write more)

3) Test the words your ideal customer uses. Now that you know what your customers say to express their needs, you have to see if there is enough search volume for these phrases. Google “google external keyword tool” for a free method of checking the search volume for these phrases. You can also use wordtracker (not sure if it is free) or a software that I think is inexpensive: Market Samurai (this is what I use and it serves me well.) When you select your tool, determine how many searches is enough for your business to prosper from.

4) Wordsmith the phrases that you select. You may have thought “Real Estate Denver CO” was a great keyword phrase because it has a specific location included in it, but guess what? Other real estate agents have also done the same thing. The competition is probably very high to compete for. Instead, get even more specific (and creative). People searching real estate online may be in the market to buy a home… Why not compete for the search term “buying a home in Denver?” (You may be surprised)

5) Use your smarts. Your final step is to analyze the key words/phrases that you’ve creatively crafted. Use analytics (in your head) to assess the relevancy of the phrases. Do they represent the language/communication of the community that represents your ideal client? If you were a good business person and listened to your ideal client speak emotionally about what they need, would you hear them say the keywords that you selected? If not, it’s time to go back to being creative and come up with new ones.

Going through this process of using your creativity and smarts will help you select the right keyword for your business; Ones that reflect the needs of your ideal clients. Also, ones that provide the comfort that your clients are seeking (which means sales for you!)

Reid Peterson teaches people how to market their business online. He teaches in focus group formats; empowering business owners to learn self SEO, Social Media, and Better Blogging methods. To learn more about Reid Peterson and how you can master your own online marketing, visit http://growthinharmony.com

New Google Search Features and What They Mean

There are some big changes in how Google delivers search results. The three that I am obsessed with right now are the Google and Twitter real time search results, the Google local search functions and the Google “your friends” search results.

Google Real Time Twitter SearchGOOGLE REAL TIME TWITTER RESULTS

Google returns twitter results in real time right on the search page. Did you know that? Did you think of how that could effect what you post on Twitter? Now don’t get me wrong, they are not posting up to the minute “tweets” on every topic BUT they are posting tweets on trending topics like they did during the superbowl for “superbowl ads”. There they were returning real time twitter results at the top of the search page right under the first organic listing.

So when you post to twitter are you using your keywords? Google is a giant database that has nothing to use to categorize your information other than words (OK – I know that they are working on categorizing videos too but that is a post for another day!) SOOOO when you post a tweet about your blog post or a Facebook note or something else that leads from your breadcrumbs back your main site, make sure you great keywords as part of your 140 characters!

Here is some great insider information on the google blog about the real time twitter search results.

GOOGLE LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS

This one is pretty annoying to marketers. Basically it means that Google can change the results you are shown based upon your IP address, whether or not you are logged into google when searching and even some of what you have searched for and clicked on previously.

This means that although you do a search and your site shows up in the top ten results on the first page, that may not be the case all across America (or even across town). The way to check and see if you are seeing a true result is to go to a proxy site like the elegantly named Hide My Ass and THEN type in the google search site. This will allow you to see what search results are coming up without all the baggage that comes with using your computer at your home or office.

Additionally, this means that there is no easy SEO solution!!!! If someone calls you and guarantees that they can get your site on the first page of google for a search phrase, ask them how they are going to accomplish that so it works globally. Additionally, paying lots of money for one search phrase is silly – if you are going to spend that kind of money use adwords and get lots of search phrases!

YOUR FRIENDS GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS

Google Friend Search ResultsLast but not least, Google now tells me the search results that my friends are returning. My blogging buddy Michael Martine over at Remarkablogger is “ranking on the first page” of my search results for internet marketing because google knows that he is is in my gmail contacts. THAT IS HUGE! That means that people google thinks are connected to me will see MY results on the first page.

Many times small business owners want me to tell them how social networking benefits them. They want to know that all that effort they are putting in makes a difference. Well, if you had asked me last week for a really great reason to have friends, and twitter friends and big contact lists in google I may have answered differently. Today with google buzz starting up and then seeing these new search results, I am more committed to growing large networks than ever!

Google Buzz and Gist Updates

There are some really new things happening like google buzz and gist which could be a great way to keep up with your contacts and what they are doing across Facebook, Twitter and their blogs. Warning, if you want the world to be the way it was 20 years ago and not have to continually learn, change and figue out new technologies this is NOT the post for you!

Google BuzzGOOGLE BUZZ

Google Buzz is here (just FYI I didn’t know it even existed until 2 days ago so you are not very far behind the curve…:) What I have found it to be thus far is an incorporation between my google contacts and my gmail in conjunction with their blog posts and twitter tweets and more. It showed up as a little button below my Inbox. Now I did request to be added to it so I am not sure if it would have just showed up anyways or not – just in case here is a link to Google Buzz.

The way that google finds these items to post is by searching what you have entered in your google profile so make sure that your blogs, facebook and twitter accounts are up to date!

I will do a more in depth post on this alone once I understand what it is BUT there is always a first responder advantage so get signed up and worry about the rest later!!!

gistGIST

This seems like it could be really neat…or a huge waste of time! Basically what it is is a way to load all of your favorite people’s social networking and blog stuff into one place and then be able to keep up with them all at once across platforms. That having been said, it seems like it might take A LOT of time getting all that stuff loaded in initially. I think if it catches on A BUNCH then eventually other people will load their own stuff and you won’t have to do it BUT there are not that many people preloaded now.

I am going to write about the benefits of being first to market on Monday so make sure to check back!

Social Networking Will Replace Google?

So why do I think social networking will replace google and how does that make this post a followup to telling the truth? (I wrote a post a couple of days ago about why I think that telling the truth is the best way to conduct business!)

Firstly, I attended a Jeffery Gitomer training session and he said that “truth” is going to be the new standard for business and he cited the Enron bunch as people who scammed the system and got caught, much to the detriment of their businesses. Well that training was BEFORE the huge financial meltdown that has occurred because of what is perceived as Wall Street defrauding the public.

Secondly, I then attended a training session (I get A LOT of training!) where a tech guy said that google will be irrelevant in 5 years. GOOGLE and IRRELEVANT in the same sentence? How can that be?!?!?! Well it just so happens I agree with him to a point. I DO think people will still “Google” you to see if you are who you say you are, BUT I also think that social networking will become so large that if you need a referral you will just ask someone you know – online!

Many of my online “friends” I have never met in person but I trust them and their judgement. If I needed a plumber here in Colorado (I am new), I would NOT go to the yellow pages OR google, I would ask my online realtor friends if they had a good referral! If I needed a dentist, doctor, printer, good travel agent, ANYTHING, I would ask my “friends” first. And as more and more people join these networks it will become more apparent that goole will be less attractive and referrals more-so.

So have you googled yourself lately in relation to your business? Does it show you? Check out “Tara Jacobsen Marketing” and you will see LOTS of entries that show that I am who I say I am on google – that is a very good thing!