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robots google brand reputation online

Robots, Google and Your Brand Online – Protect Your Brand With SEO

An Executive Guide to Protecting & Repairing Your Company Reputation With SEO

Introduction

Warren Buffet, lovingly called “The Sage of Omaha” for being one of the most successful investors and management masterminds ever, says about Brand reputation, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.”

There are few things which are as delicate as your company and personal reputation.

It takes a long time to build brand reputation, but one little mistake and all the hard work goes to waste.

Indeed, one can improve it and keep it intact, but certain strategies need to be followed.

This is the era of the cloud – online presence alone is not sufficient; one needs constant input and brainstorming which allows your total presence to flourish and grow into something unique, something spectacular.

That way, the virtual audience experiences it and the brand reputation they create in their minds boosts the image of the company, both online and offline. Also, it helps counter the competitor efforts which often are directed to kill your image online.

Reputation management using SEO is new to many executives and CEO’s but soon-to-be indispensable tool in the hands of the professional marketer, and to the benefit of the online business owners and company investors.

To make the most of this online boon, read on.

Reputation Management – Protect Your Image

Online Reputation Management is a must these days because everyone is online – be it your customer or your competitor.

Ignoring it will cause lots of lag in the way you do business, because this is the easiest way to have a good PR and improve image in the public.

People will always judge you by your actions. And, inaction on the online front will keep them wondering where you are and why you may be hiding (when you’re actually not).

Online reputation management includes creating a good name for you online, dealing with any grievances in a mature and professional way, appeasing and appealing to the customer groups and announcing the image repair communication after some uncalculated, damaging move.

It will also assist in improving how you look in brand search results, like in Google. It’s not good if your brand pops up with some bad mouthing lurking along in the search results!

It also costs the company a lot (not just missed revenue) if the search engine results are laden with negativity or poor reviews as it affects the ranking as well as the credibility of a brand.

Especially in the case of small or local brands, the word of mouth prompts and sets off the dominos against the brand and it get reflected in the online horizon as well.

It can cost the brand dearly if these negative search results or news pieces or articles are not neutralized with something positive or believably corrective.

Your brand’s reputation can be judged by its standing in the search engine’s listing.

Search Engine Optimization – A Brief Introduction For Better Leverage

This word (SEO) gets a lot of attention. But it is also okay to not understand the term fully.

Often misunderstood, this is actually the entire umbrella of planning and smart execution to make the brand name or company name via online assets more relevant and valuable to the particular search engines, and thus helping them appear in the top results for keyword searches.

What SEO does is to:

  • Improve the visibility of the website (pages) in searches.
  • Makes the pages and web addresses valuable to all search engines (including YouTube, if using videos), making your brand appear to a wider number of people. We begin by focusing on Google, and Bing, Yahoo – other search engines follow naturally, if done right.

The essential strategy then, is to create and optimize content and technical aspects to make these pointers possible.

In all this work, think about the benefits for the readers. You’ll gain great value from engaging readers.

They become happy, returning visitors who share your content, and quality assets that you build (pages, images, videos, etc) over time that are linked back to from other destinations – will readily make these rise up high in the rankings…naturally!

Robots And Their Place In A Search Engine

You must be wondering why the title includes ‘robots’?

Most search engines operate using bots or spiders which actually “crawl” (a term given to the process of scanning the internet via links) and find results which it adds to its network of gigantic, ever expanding global databases.

The bot then passes control to the indexation process (database storage) and the result is a fast display of matching, relevant results to the “queries” which a user placed in the search input box.

The most important and relevant to us here is the last function which these systems perform – ranking or prioritizing the results, and displaying them from user’s queries.

This process applies to the way in which the results are displayed – ranked according to highest to lowest relevance. There are many factors impacting the results. And, this is where SEO allows us to promote our brand to a higher search result position and hopefully, better organic click through rate.

That is the very basic and most direct application of SEO.

Actually, the entire process of supporting the algorithm a search engine uses to identify its ranking list of searches for the customer is what professional reputation managers and SEO consultants do for your brand.

Ideas for Effective Reputation Management

Despite best efforts, executive management always feels it is not enough.

This seems true especially in the case of Online reputation management because all work many a times comes for no good – people still talk about the carefully nurtured brand in a negative way online.

The reputation you have today may not stay tomorrow.

Every day, a new effort to sustain the position has to be taken – the order and priority keeps on changing, it won’t stay at one place forever. It is the online world, things are real time and can change quickly.

This is a key point to be understood.

Here are 12 important tips which will help you to improve your reputation online:

  1. Have a presence online: The brand must own a space of its own on all social networking websites, all video and picture sharing websites and professional networking websites too. These websites make elements of your online reputation face and speak for you in various ways, adjusting your communication for the variety of audience present online. There is a huge benefit and opportunity to overtake your competitor online. Make the best use of the enormous amount of potential and existing customers you can find on these trusted, authority sites.
  1. Allow these accounts to flourish: Creating accounts on so many sites is one thing. But regularly updating them, filling them up with your latest and relevant content including regular revision of the communication being uploaded, is a huge task many of us fail in. These accounts are not just to show your presence; it needs to be felt by the audience groups by getting regular updates from your accounts. It has to be reinforced, day in and day out – it is a good idea to have personnel allocated with such specific jobs as managing, monitoring and revising the content put up on these accounts. Your plan may be to hire or utilize a social media manager. The interaction will die if neglected and these accounts will serve no purpose. Note: Each market is different, so make sure you get a proper analysis before you get started. Sometimes, a simple social media analytics tool can help in the beginning.
  1. Blog consistently – Blog is like online journalism; it can be put to effective application and good benefit can be gained from engaging content and keyword based search optimization. Also, regular blogging keeps the content scene lot more alive than just drone like typing of plain, previously used information. It also allows the customer to get a slice of your brand’s daily life, connecting him/her to the brand even more and opening that window of dialog. A potential customer opening up to talk to you is always good news. Do it yourself or hire people to do it for you – the effect is same if the requirement has been briefed properly.
  1. Respond well – It is a common observation that grievances have to travel wide and deep in the company before they reach the right people for a solution. Also, negative feedback handling is often clouded with ego and prejudice, which actually nullifies even a genuine complaint. Try and see if these tendencies can be avoided. Online complains about product or service should push you to analyze your product or the channels by which it reaches the consumer, for, there may be a problem which needs sorting out. Don’t feel shy to admit your mistake and think about ways to pacify the customer.
  1. Identify your key stake holders – The owners of the brand, the top professionals and anyone of note needs to be highlighted and well profiled in online forums, blogs and authority sites because this makes them look good, and also better protected from defamation by competition. They need to have clear and defined online personalities and this need to be done using sound planning and good discretion. This is especially crucial and necessary if the professionals are already popular or media friendly.
  1. Make your products the “stars” – Make your (popular) product a star product or brand by giving it a separate space online, like a separate account or page to be managed independently of the company page or account. The specific customer will only look at that page or content and it would be easier for you to handle the information regarding that particular brand. Similarly in some unfortunate event, if the reputation of the brand goes bust, your parent company remains somewhat unaffected online, and if it does well, you can bask in that glory too.
  1. Apologize – The customer is still the King! One small tiny mistake and not only can you lose a customer but also the brand’s reputation diminishes. Whenever there is even little dissatisfaction or unrest in the consumer group, identify the scope and immediately apologize. It will make you look like professional yet humane, with a brand who values the customer’s belief and opinions. In the long run, this type of natural, personal reputation management will take you new heights.
  1. Avoid a fight – Often, the comment boxes of product/company content pages are filled with numerous to- and- fro comment wars; the seller trying to justify its point and the customer often enraged with the brand and then the seller’s attitude itself. Try not to get into arguments online because it not only affects your reputation negatively, making you look like belligerent, lowly business people but also the word of mouth defamation of this incident will further lower your credibility and public relations. Always make a point to the customer in a traditional, non-public way (try to reach them personally) so that the said communication reaches just him or her instead of the whole world getting to know of your disagreement.
  1. Use the law – When none of the above applies, try bringing the damaging and unfair defamatory and damaging content to the notice of law and get it removed from the search engine results. The SEO technique involving the law can move your issue forward and fast track courts help get you some justice. Just don’t expect Google to react quickly! Try to resolve peacefully first.
  1. Don’t let a problem become a crisis – in today’s speedy communication driven world, it is difficult to manage a problem once it is out in the open. The point to keep in mind is to prevent a problem getting out of hand in the first place. Plan well on how to use the platforms, and create a policy guide that company members must read and understand. Constant vigilance and monitoring is required to closely observe the online trends and figuring out where they cross the line. This should include the monitoring of competition as well as the activity of ex-employees who are a strong potential threat to company. Mud-slinging is quite easy and can be expected if you don’t manage it in advance. Even if a crises sets in, contact your in house or external reputation managers as soon as possible so that they can observe the complications and suggest applicable measures to correct it. Small problems becoming a wild fire crises takes nothing in the online scene, so take calculated steps and keep everyone important in the loop.
  1. Involve the customer – The customer is always first, and is the chief executive of the relationship. But, these days he is also the route to search engine and reputation management success. Try to have innovative consumers engaged. Encouraging the consumer to share videos and pictures on how they are using your services (products or ideas too) via social networking and video/image sharing websites will help your brand and likely improve your search engine rankings. This is what we call killing two birds with one stone!
  1. Look for strong capabilities within your staff – This is more of a management point rather than reputation management or a SEO process step. Matching the candidate capabilities with job profiles is the utmost duty of a higher up professional while he is hiring or recruiting the candidate. While looking for a worthy candidate for the post of a reputation manager / social media manager, one must look for a sound work history or experience which includes his story on how he helped them build a good response in the past. Ask them to prove how “before and after” study can link their performance with their capability. Also, they must “own” the brand and be qualified enough to apply appropriate tactics to help your company to the best of its ability.

Last but not the least – one thing we all must do before all of the above steps are put into practice is searching our own name and brand.

If you do this regularly, you will see what your prospects, customers, vendors and partners are seeing and get a whole lot deeper perspective about the way your brand looks online.

Have a Google alert (google.com/alerts) set up for your name and brand. This way a check on any new content can be addressed. Make sure notifications are emailed to you at least once a day or even “as it happens”. Remember: Not all of the results will necessarily be important to you, but it gives you a pulse of the Internet for your terms.

A point of note is – nothing is really private online; though you can control what communication you let out and how.  A high integrity company and brand will still not be able to control what others say about you, but you’ll understand and know the process when/if it happens.

If they are customers, their opinions can be trained to sound another way, opinions can be molded and inferences be influenced. This is done with great customer services and customer experiences. Try your best to convert them, without making anything sound or look fake. Be real, natural.

But do not hesitate in propagating corrective communication when you find something that is highly visible.

Be Proactive

One needs to be really careful and prepared for the reputation crises can strike anytime.

All days are not the same, and there is constant threat of defamation or disregard for the brand from many sources.

Be mindful that on the eleventh hour, this preparedness and proactive idea generation will help you take swift action and speedy steps for quick recovery from any small or large reputation “moment”.

Conclusion

Depending on your market, your business history and future direction, rainy days can and will happen. Make sure to bring your umbrella when it does!

Nothing better sums up the reputation management scenario over the Internet.

Allowing your visitor a good brand experience is very important to earn you a loyal and impressed customer.

Henry Ford has said, “You cannot build a reputation on what you’re going to do”.

It is obvious that reputation is being built on what you are doing, in the present and will build a correct portrayal of what you have already done.  Continue that path.

Richard Branson, the father or Virgin group and a highly successful businessman says, “Your brand name is only as good as your reputation” – so make it good enough for yourself.

It is especially important to build a good brand with sound value systems alongside a good reputation online.

Without solidness in the brand and its core, no amount of good reputation is going to hold strong for a long time, but a quality team, a great brand/product and excellent reputation management will go a long way towards success.

Good luck managing your brand online!

For a complimentary strategy review session, visit:

https://chaosmap.com/reputation-management-services-los-angeles-guaranteed/

WANT THIS POST IN A DOCUMENT? FREE DOWNLOAD:

Download the FREE Web Brief on Reputation Management For Executives here. (PDF)

how to leverage the cloud as you grow

How To Leverage The Cloud As You Grow

According to a recent report by RightScale cloud automation vendor, 93 percent of organizations surveyed either run applications or are experimenting with infrastructure as a service. And 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. The latter figure indicates a 74 percent increase just from the previous year.

All of this means that more and more businesses are using cloud-based services and the numbers are growing.

One of the key advantages to using the cloud is the ability to scale up without the need for new hard drives, computers, file storage and systems. Small businesses can use the cloud for just about everything from customer relationship management to payroll and project management.

Here are a few ways to get started.

1. Get Started With CRM

Set up a customer relationship management application from the start of your business. A recent IDC study shows that the ROI of using a CRM yield results ranging from 16 percent to 1,000 percent. Whether you’re a small business with one client or rapidly growing, you need engagement tools in place for clients to get more information and stay in touch.

Many businesses use spreadsheets to keep tabs on contacts and leads for a cost-effective solution.

But spreadsheets aren’t designed to work like a CRM application and you could lose sales in the process. CRMs can be pricey, but there are affordable SaaS solutions like Highrise or Capsule.

2. Get Professional Website Builders

Get your website up and running before you even open your doors for business to capture potential leads and spread the word. It’s no longer enough to set up a landing page and hope for the best. Today’s consumers expect websites that load quickly, have a responsive design and are mobile friendly. In 2015, businesses took a hit when Google started favoring websites that were mobile-friendly in mobile search results.

Fortunately it’s not difficult to build a website and set up a company blog to enhance your SEO and make connections with your audience. Use Best10WebsiteBuilders.com to get updates and reviews on the most intuitive web builders on the market. Even business owners with no website or coding experience whatsoever can get a website set up quickly and with all the bells and whistles you need.

Visit WordPress Developers to get more custom work done.

3. Get Cloud Storage

Pull the trigger on cloud storage as soon as you start copying contracts, invoices and presentations onto hard drives. Keeping all your digital files in the cloud offers quick access when you need it most whether at a business meeting or when you have a burst of inspiration and need your marketing plan.

There’s another reason to use cloud storage than just tucking away your files. Service like Google Docs and Dropbox offer real-time collaboration and syncing.

That means if your employees or clients want to work on a file with you, everyone can make changes and the information automatically syncs. Share folders, links and images from any device or restore old files when you need them most.

4. Get Email Marketing

In the age of social media, it’s tempting to think email marketing is dead. However, McKinsey and Company reported that email is nearly 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.

To give some context to those numbers, look at what Convince and Convert has to say. Consumers who receive marketing related emails spend 138 percent more than people who don’t.

Email marketing is simple and can be done cheaply and without much fanfare and still be effective.

MailChimp provides free services with upgrade plan features when your business is ready to scale,

There’s no fee for up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails. Once you hit 600,000 subscribers, upgrade to the “Growing Business” plan or “High Volume Sender.”

bold marketing steps chaosmap.com

Surprise Them with Bold Marketing Steps

If you’re preparing to launch a home-based business or already have one, you need to think about how you can stand out from the competition with your marketing.

Hopefully, you have hired a designer to develop a nice website and a content expert to get good, original, and relevant content on your website.

Now you need to figure out how to stand out from the millions of accounts on these sites and reach your targeted customers.

STRATEGY #1: An Element of Surprise Can Help You Get Noticed

Distinguish yourself by doing something unexpected to rouse people to take a second look. There are a lot of businesses fighting for recognition and it takes a bold step to get noticed. Guerrilla marketers thrive on the reaction, whether good and bad.

Guerrilla marketing tends to lean toward shock value, but there are examples where sheer creativity wins the day and no one is offended. A bus stop bench painted very realistically to look like a life-size Kit-Kat bar featured by Creative Guerrilla Marketing is one example.

Think of images that reflect your business, but in an unusual way.

They can be seen anywhere — down the street, in your living room, from your car. Get in the habit of taking your camera with you everywhere you go, advises Sarah Evans, who owns a successful PR and new media consulting firm, in a recent Vocus webinar.

If photography isn’t your thing, use deposit photos from professional photographers and artists, often at surprisingly low prices.

Content on Google Images is not necessarily free for others to use and artists are starting to take legal action against those who use their work without permission.

Evans also suggests going old-school and running an occasional postcard campaign targeting new and potential clients. Fresh, engaging images and content can work in an older medium like this. Think about how people still put pictures up on their refrigerators and cubicle walls.

STRATEGY #2: Video is the Way to Go

Speaking of video, online video ads have the highest click-through rate of all online advertising, according to Business Insider.

They are more effective than buying banners, hiring bloggers, and paying for link-building.

Post a video on a site like Vimeo, Vine, or YouTube that ends with a call to action, such as a quick form and a link to your site.

If you’re stumped for ideas, practice taking videos of your (or your friends’) pets.

Animals remain wildly popular in viral advertising, notes The Viral Video Blog. Animals won’t complain or get bored. Put a chess set or other recognizable game on the floor where pets may be intrigued for a few moments, sniff it out, and maybe push around the pieces.

Start filming and you might capture a few cute seconds to put out in the social media world, courtesy your business.

successful marketing campaigns for brands

3 Brands With Great Marketing Campaigns You Can Learn From

Brands are the result of great marketing.

And, marketing is a fast moving game of communication, testing and validation of results.

brand marketing campaign case studiesIf you’re looking to promote your brand, glean insights from these three brands that have great marketing campaigns.

1. Driving the DriveTime Brand

Phoenix-based DriveTime owns more than 125 used car dealerships. Much of its branding comes from short, entertaining commercials (also available on YouTube), featuring Tina and Tara, two normal-looking (if somewhat daffy) women who drive around in the DriveTime van looking for people who are having trouble getting their own rides.

drive_time_logo

They find them at bus stops, on car lots and, worst of all, on the Internet trying to qualify for a “hoodwink” loan from questionable sites.

It’s the DriveTime script and acting that hold our attention.

In 30 seconds, we learn that DriveTime works with customers to create different types of payment plans and to help them get a great used car with a Cancel Anytime Lease, which has become the DriveTime tagline.

All this information is told with humor from actors who look like real people with stories that are all-too familiar to many Americans.

A behind-the-scenes blog about making the ads reveals how difficult filming 30-second ads can be. Ten-second takes have to be shot over and over again, but DriveTime found ways to keep costs down and spirits up.

From preparing crew meals to using an old pickup to tow the DT van around, they figured out how to get the job done.

2. Fitbit’s Facebook Campaign Dials Down Marketing Costs

Although DriveTime’s commercials have been a big success, few companies can afford high-quality commercials. For many, Facebook is an affordable godsend.

fitbit-logo

Hubspot calls Fitbit’s Facebook campaign “brilliant” for taking full advantage of the platform, which encourages discussions and allows for more detail than a 140-character tweet.

But when it began, Fitbit was part of the new activity-tracking technology industry, and it wasn’t a household name on Hubspot’s list of highly-successful Facebook campaigns (which includes Nike and Microsoft).

Even though Fitbit is still a newcomer to the social media scene, Fitbit’s sales more than doubled between 2013 and 2014, according to the digital news service Quartz.

Hubspot points to the company’s content and strategy because it focuses on personal health rather than selling its products. People who like the Facebook page get fitness and health tips and encouraging essays on how to maintain a fitness regime.

And should its followers decide to buy a fitness tracker, they already have a friend in the business.

3. Sephora’s 6-Second How-To Videos

The well-known cosmetics chain Sephora created a series of Vine videos that show how to use its products.

sephora-logo

Vine’s videos last only six seconds and loop endlessly, which means you have to be concise with your message and quickly make an impact on the viewer.

Small Business Trends lists Sephora as one of the 20 brands killing it with Vine marketing because in those six seconds, the viewer sees the product, learns how to apply it and views the end result of the process.

And the best part is that the replay is constant for those who need repeated training.

capture mobile attention video use forbes

How To Capture Your Audience Instantly with Mobile Video

According to Forbes, mobile video will represent roughly 69 percent of all mobile traffic by 2018.

YouTube remains the video content king, but there are many other ways to reach your audience. With the explosion of Vine over the past 18 months and Instagram following up with video capabilities, it has become imperative to include videos in your mobile marketing strategy.

get mobile attention with video

Vine boasts a user base of around 40 million and Instagram has about 130 million users, according to NeoMobile. Brands large and small have used these platforms to convey messages through clever and captivating videos to much success.

Inspire Your Audience with Jaw-dropping Videos

Inspire your audience and keep them coming back to your page through videos that invoke powerful emotions. Either show off what your brand can do or what your product can inspire your audience to do.

RedBull is a great example of a brand that is using their mobile video strategy to bring out emotion and inspire viewers. Red Bull recently posted a video on their Instagram page of their Red Bull-sponsored skydivers flying over New York City.

The video generated 46,000 likes and reminded the world of Red Bull’s dedication to adrenaline-fueled moments.

Go Viral

YouTube generates a whopping 40 percent of their total traffic from mobile devices, so creating videos on this platform is still necessary for generating conversation surrounding your brand, according to Business Insider.

If you aren’t the creative type, use simple stock videos to engage your audience.

Viral videos are often short clips, according to Entrepreneur.com, so make sure you choose videos that can incite an emotional response within seconds.

A video posted on Beldent’s YouTube page back in November 2013 went viral this week stating some controversial claims.

The video asserts that those who chew gum are more likely to have more friends, more likely to give you a raise and less likely to pull you over and give you a ticket. For some it may be hard to believe these assumptions given that Beldent conducted the video and experiment.

Nevertheless, it got people talking and helped increase brand recognition.

Make Them Laugh

Using video to make your audience laugh is another great way to reach out and gain more followers.

Many brands have either created their own videos on Vine or enlisted the talents of Vine stars to make creative, funny videos that stimulate users.

Taco Bell is notorious for having hilarious marketing campaigns.

Remember when they claimed they bought the Liberty Bell and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell? And no one can look at a Chihuahua and not think of the famous Taco Bell dog. Recently, having added breakfast to their menu they used Vine to market their new offerings.

In the video, a young man wakes up and lumbers to the nearest Taco Bell still in his PJs only to walk out like a champion after picking up some coffee and a waffle taco.

It’s important to be cognizant of who your audience is and which platform will work the best for you. If you’re targeting a younger demographic then maybe a Vine account with quirky videos will be more useful.

If your brand appeals to adventure seekers, an Instagram inundated with scenic images and heart-pumping videos may be your best bet.

Regardless, a mobile video strategy is important in capturing and keeping your audience.

social media landing pages for leard

6 Tips to Improve Conversions For Your Social Media Landing Pages

If you’ve created separate landing pages for social media visitors, congratulations!

You’re already ahead of the many brands that make the mistake of using the same set of LPs (landing pages) for both PPC, SEO and social entry points.

But having dedicated social pages isn’t enough. Although some rules don’t change from one set of landing pages to the next, social LPs require specific action and attention.

Here are six ways to boost conversions on social media landing pages.landing pages for social media
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

1. Consistency: Let Your Brand Tie Your Channels Together

If the landing page looks different to your visitors than the social ad that led them there, potential buyers may not be sure that they’ve landed in the right place. Make sure that your fonts, color scheme, images, logo and general look and feel are synch’ed between channels.

Your design and layout have to project your brand as unmistakably yours. This consistency has to extend to the physical world, as well. Make sure your shipping labels, invoice templates and business cards all have the same look and feel as your landing pages.

2. Each Social Network Needs its Own Landing Page

If you’re promoting, let’s say, a new infographic on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, you’ll want to develop unique landing pages for visitors from each of those networks. Sure, all the pages will have the same conversion goal — to get visitors to sign up in exchange for your killer infographic. But your ads on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter don’t look the same. For the sake of consistency, neither can your landing pages.

TIP: You can use unique URL parameters to designate which layout should be used from which network.

3. Maintain Continuity in Image Dimensions

Pinterest and Google+ like portrait images. Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, favor horizontal images. Instagram photos are square. Creating dedicated social landing pages is a good start, but go further by building a set of pages to mirror the look of your content on each individual network.

Here is a social media image dimensions guide to image dimensions on all the major social networks.

4. Your LPs Need Video

Research on video use on landing pages shows that incorporating video into your landing pages not only keeps people on your site longer, but that it can increase conversions by as much as an astounding 87 percent.

Even if you don’t achieve an 87 percent boost, it is undeniable that videos are shareable, persuasive and that they can humanize your business.

5. Repeat Your Promises and Value Propositions

Like any landing pages, social landing pages and your social media strategy should contain headlines that are short, emotionally powerful and accurate. But it is especially important with social landing pages to make sure those headlines mirror the value proposition and promises articulated in the copy. If the words “Save $20 on Shoes” appear in the social ad, the same language should welcome your visitor in the landing page headline. Consistency and continuity, remember?

customer value proposition

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

6. Know Your Audience

Most importantly, the success of your social landing pages depends on how well you know your audience and whether or not you tailor your pages accordingly. For social landing pages, that means speaking to visitors who are arriving from at or near the top of the funnel. Unlike PPC visitors, who are coming to you from closer to the bottom of the funnel, social visitors are in the discovery and brand awareness phase. They are likely to have just learned about your brand, your product or your service.

Speak specifically to the visitors you are trying to convert, build landing pages that only try to convert one target audience, and don’t try to force your landing pages to do more than they were designed to accomplish. The key is consistency.

Keep your brand identity the same, and never leave your visitors uncertain whether or not they clicked the right ad.

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has  contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com

poor site architecture kills seo

How Site Architecture Can Kill Your SEO

Search engine optimization continues to be one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site, but it doesn’t work if your site’s architecture won’t allow it to.

You might think that paid advertisement is the best way to get on search results, but users tend to ignore these results.

In fact, imForza reports that 70 percent of links clicked in search results are organic and not paid. Getting to the top of organic search engine results requires site architecture that lets SEO do its job, and here’s a look at why.

Site Architecture Supports Content

Site architecture is the skeleton on which your content is built, and it is the way that both users and search engines navigate your content.

Like users, search engines need to navigate your site to find the content to curate. Poor site structure will prohibit search engines from actually finding your content. For example, if your site has content that requires user inputs to access, search engines will be hard pressed to present it in their keyword results.

Oftentimes, bad site architecture can require a complete overhaul to optimize for SEO, so it is important that you put site architecture first.

Internal Linking Gets Clicks

Internal linking is what occurs when search engine results include an indented selection of links that lead to specific categories within your site. Internal linking results are created by what is known as “shallow” site architecture – sites whose design has few pages and/or subcategories for search engines to crawl. (More important is the usability of the site for easy navigation and structure drilldown.)

Many website builders feature templates that contain three or four major categories for this very reason. Sites with too many categories and subcategories are difficult for users to find desired content within and difficult for search engines to crawl.

Sites who have a selection of categories with one or two layers of subcategories produce much more “crawlable results” whereas sites with deep architecture, in which there are many layers of subcategories, fail to produce these results.

Site Hierarchy Determines Access

Producing internal links in search engines is a product of this shallow site hierarchy. To create these results, think of your site as a four-layer cake. (Note: This is a sample only. Each website needs a thorough review, analysis and strategy development before you implement & deploy.)

The first layer is your homepage, which is likely the page that will have the most prominent SEO content and “theme” keywords on it.

The second layer is those pages that are linked directly from the homepage and often can direct visitors to products, services, contact information and other very general information.

The third layer is the specific products level, where search engines will tend to land for users looking for a specific product by name.

The fourth level is your valuable content. This is where your blog posts, podcasts, videos and other marketing content are. For those users using long tail (3-5+ words) search phrases, this is the content that tends to pop up. These links are possible to be crawled for internal linking from search engines, and they are often the pages that users land on when they are looking for answers to questions.

Business2Community reports that companies that actively blog have 97 percent more inbound links. This fourth layer is where many users first engage with your brand and build an impression about your products and services. Site architecture designed around piling your marketing content on the top layer will meet with flat results in search engines, so it’s critical that your architecture serve your SEO content.

If you want to learn more, get some more SEO training.

high performance seo websites

The 3 Most Important SEO Things You Must Do To Optimize Your Website Now

We are in a new phase of website optimization that goes beyond just the usual SEO techniques of website building. To understand this premise, we must look through the eyes of potential customers who are looking for solutions.

All of the metrics that provide for the mechanical ranking of websites still hold true in today’s competitive world, but we need to go beyond that. We will assume that you are up-to-date with search engine optimization training, long tail keywords, mobile marketing, and videos and social media marketing (more about that later) used in the optimization of your site.

Here a salient fact that must be recognized. You can get to page one of Google, but if no one understands your message and takes some sort of (positive) action, you might as well not exist.

“Who is Your Website Visitor?”

Website visitors today are very impatient. And, especially if they are coming to your site for the first time. According to Tony Haile, the CEO of “Chartbeat” the average viewer will only stay on your first page for 15 seconds, unless you can convince them that you can meet their needs. Well designed and coded templates, proper placement of images, and symmetrical design configurations don’t mean a whole lot in that short space of time. Do you know who your visitor really is, and what they are looking for?

“What is The Purpose of Your Website?”

Most business owners respond by stating that their website should actually work to bring in new customers, clients or patients. If it is there for any other purpose, the business owner is just wasting time and money. You have to capture the attention of a typical first time viewer in that first 15 seconds (or less), or you are just whistling in the wind.

Think of a time when you went to a very well designed website, but when you got right down to brass tacks and attempted to read through the content you were still unsure of the message, and if it could help you. Even after more reading, you still found it difficult to find the purpose of this business.

Unfortunately, this is a problem with many websites. The very system that is supposed to convey the message that will cause people to come “into” the store, click the button on the site for more information, or pick up the phone and call your office, leaves the reader in a fuzzy state of mind.

If your business solves a real problem for people, but the website fails to communicate that, potential customers will never discover how good you are with such a short window of opportunity.

We hear over and over that content is king, and that is still very true. Because, the one thing that people are looking for, more than anything else, is information gained from excellent content and placement. They want very targeted and focused information, and if they fail to find it they will quickly move on.

There are three major things that must occur in order to get the right message out to website visitors, so that they will want to call you, visit you, or delve more deeply into your products or services.

1. State Clearly What the Business is About – Quickly Show the Value Being Offered to your Target Audience

Hire a professional copywriter, with a track record of success. Your business must be presented as the problem solver that it is, very clearly, and to the point.

A copywriter is a professional who will “sell” your concept with words that have high impact and will be deeply informative. This quality content will outweigh flashy designs or cute pictures.

2. Communicate Vividly Why Your Business Is Different From Your Competitors

Without disparaging other businesses, clearly state what you do that the competition does not do. Your customers will catch on very quickly.

Demonstrating this proposition by video is an excellent way to get the facts right out there in the open. If you can show why you are better in the video, you don’t have to say it.

3. Establish Realistic Expectations As Well As Solid Credibility That You Deliver Your Promises

Clearly state the issues and problems that you have solved in the past, with clear-cut testimonials to that fact.

People rely on testimonials in a big way, and you will gain credibility. Also if you belong to any professional organizations and affiliations, your credibility is enhanced.

REMEMBER:

…that people are looking for solutions, and the content of your website must give them the solutions to their problems. When they fully understand that, they will come to you for help, and buy your products and services. Make sure that the information is easy to find as you develop and expand the information architecture.

content types that drive targeted traffic

12 Strategic Content Types That Drives Targeted Web Traffic

If you want targeted web traffic, you need to have a content strategy.

Below is an extensive list of 12 strategic content types that you should consider to acquire those targeted web visitors.

1. Original and Informative Blog Posts

Blog posts are an important part of you content strategy for several reasons.

  • When women and men browse the internet, they are often searching for useful content.
  • When you create blog posts, make sure to write with a purpose, whether you are telling a story or trying to help educate others on a specific topic.
  • Use your knowledge and some research to create engaging blog posts.
  • Never copy something that someone else has written.

Keep your paragraph shorts and keep the content looking clean with subheadings. If it is engaging enough and looks good, there are people who are going to share it and continue to read other blog posts you have written.

For SEO, make sure to have a keyword map and keyword research in place.

2. Creative and Useful Videos

When you want to learn how to do something, do you prefer reading a tutorial or watching one?

Even though written content is often engaging and informative, videos add a sense of personalization.

  • Create a video where you are discussing your niche.
  • Provide tips that people probably want to know about or show them how to do something.
  • While recording your videos, make eye contact with the camera.
  • Show a softer, friendlier side.

If you are funny and kind in your videos, people will relate to you, and they will keep on watching.

If your videos are interesting enough, they could even go viral.

Even Bill Gates (twitter) went viral with this video:

3. Accurate and Relevant Infographics

Infographics give you the perfect opportunity to combine facts with images.

  • You may be able to easily create your own using a photo editing software program.
  • Gather the statistics for the one you are creating
  • Research the information several times to make sure the statistics are accurate
  • Turn them into an infographic using images and fun text.

If you have never made an infographic before, you may not even know where to start.

Consider using a search engine to look at others that are already on the web.

They may give you some inspiration for how your infographic should look in terms of size and color.

Start with infographic creation tools like piktochart and infogr.am

personalprofessionalpictures4. Captivating Professional Images

Some pictures really do tell a story, so why not share them?

Instead of using pictures that belong to others, take your own with a professional camera to ensure your images look their best. Tie the pictures you have taken in with your niche.

Post them on social media accounts, especially Instagram and Pinterest, and allow people to share them.

5. Frequently Asked Questions Section

Whether you are selling certain types of products or services, having a frequently asked questions section will work in your favor.

It allows you to address some of the most common questions people tend to ask you about your business without constantly repeating yourself.

And, you can include essential keywords into some of those questions and answers, which will help you with search engine optimization.

customerreviewsareimportant6. Honest and Meaningful Reviews

Are there companies sending products out to you in exchange for an honest review?

Even if they are not sending the products to you, it would be wise to add a review section in which you discuss different products you have tried.

Your customers and followers will read the reviews and may follow your suggestions.

For example, there may be a certain product that makes life more convenient.

You could discuss what you like most about it. If your followers buy it, you are helping them out. And, if they end up loving it as much as you do, it will help build a trust between you and them.

7. Fun and Interesting Audio Series

If you are successful at what you do, why not share advice with others?

People can choose to listen to the audio series whenever they want to, whether they are on their way to work or sitting at home.

  • Create your own audio series in the form of a podcast.
  • The audio should certainly be entertaining and interesting because you do want people to continue listening.
  • Always offer something new if you want people to enjoy the podcast.

Podcast hosting here if you want to get started today.

8. Promotion via Email Messages

Quality content is not just important for your website.

While marketing for your business, the content in your promotional email messages should be engaging, fun and short. You do not have to write multiple paragraphs.

Instead, write out a few catchy sentences, offer some type of deal to your mailing list and add an image on the side.

Start simple, and work into deeper content for your members and clients. (special email segment)

Email messages are not nearly as complicated as some people think.

And, they are an essential component for your content strategy.

9. Interactive Poll

Make sure that you are inviting your followers to communicate and interact with you.

Add a poll or quiz to your website and social media accounts to ask for opinions from these followers. It shows that their opinions are important to you, but it also helps you figure out what types of improvements you need to make.

Polldaddy and Surveymonkey are great tools to help you here.

10. Monthly Business Update

There are many people who enjoy reading about progress.

  • Create a monthly business update that discusses some details about expansion.
  • Talk about improvements that you have made and goals that you have managed to reach throughout the month.

These updates may inspire others.

11. Professional Guest Posts

If you are creating guest posts for other websites, you are on the right track. However, do not forget to allow people to guest post on your website.

Of course, you get to decide who you want to allow to write these posts.

Consider selecting those who have a large following (to help push your message too) or a fantastic message to spread.

12. Current News Spot Light

Keep up with topics that are trending by including a current news spotlight that updates people about things that are going on in the world and with different celebrities.

Not only does this allow for a discussion between different people, but it keeps people on your website for a longer period of time.

If you use these types of content, there should be absolutely no problem driving traffic to your website.

Finally – total success from content marketing for corporations requires buy-in, as well as an ongoing, creative process for handling it.

Here are additional success factors: (from Content Marketing Institute)

WANT US TO HELP YOU? Take a look here.

content-marketing-success-factors

social media returns

How To Get Maximum Return From Social Media

If you’re looking to get maximum return on your time and marketing investment in social media, it’s helpful to start by picturing what your desired end result will be.

  • Are you looking to boost traffic to your site?
  • Are you trying to attract leads for an email list or offer?
  • Are you trying to engage your users and get them involved in the comment section?
  • Are you creating brand awareness?

Once you have your desired result in mind, there are a few steps you can take to maximize it.

Now, you can consider the following tips about common areas the best marketers focus on improving.

(1) Finding your target audience

A good way to do this is to develop a “buyer persona”: a complete picture of your ideal follower, including their demographics, hobbies, how they use social media, what books they read, and what other forums they use. You can use this to publish content that speaks directly to your target audience.

(2) Social media tactics

Consider the timing of your posts. For business-themed material, posting on Friday afternoon won’t work. Likewise, posting fun or leisure-related content on Monday morning is a recipe for no response. You can experiment to find the ideal timing for making your posts. Think about what your ideal user’s daily schedule is like, and adapt your posts accordingly.  For a B2B networking platform like LinkedIn – the best times are found between 10a-11am Tuesdays. (study from addthis best times to post study)

best times to post on social media graphic study

Focus on getting users to opt-in to your email list or go to your site. This will help to build your own platform, and make you less dependent on whatever social media platform is the most popular at the moment. Facebook offers on-site tools such as Facebook Connect to help with this.

For Twitter, repeat the same post at least 2 or 3 times. This will increase its visibility.

(3) Engaging your audience

Converse with, not at, your audience. One way to do this is to imagine you are writing directly to a single, ideal, follower. You can read aloud your work after finishing it, imagining your follower is sitting across from you, to test if it sounds like something you would actually say.

Ask for comments or interaction, and start or end the article with a question. If possible, reply to all comments. This will create a personal connection between you and your prospects, and result in lifelong fans and buyers. These comments will in turn give you valuable intel on your followers and how they are thinking about your content.

(4) Measuring the effectiveness of your approach

Knowing your desired end result is key here. With this in mind, you can test different approaches to triggering higher response.

(5) Managing your social media

You can use a number of free and paid tools to help with this. The free app Everypost lets you submit a single post to each of your social media accounts. Bitly, another free app, provides tracking information. Paid apps give you more in-depth, real-time tracking and recommendations. CrowdBooster and HootSuite are two of the most popular and effective paid apps.

If you take this advice and put it into action, you will be on track towards a higher response generating social media presence. Don’t forget to focus on the basics, though. Treat your professional social media accounts differently from personal media accounts, and always post with your followers, not you, in mind.

If you are working in corporate or team settings, here are some additional ideas for social media for teams.

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