1 Comment

SEO Tips: Where To Start With Paid and Social Ads

Search.

The golden process in which customers magically arrive to your business after making a wonderful discovery of your website in Bing, Google , and Yahoo!

Yeah, right.

Many businesses rightly invest in their search optimization. Search traffic is a very cost effective way of gaining traffic.  But the optimization is approached with a narrow scope on top SERP as the only measure of success.  In the last two years, the inclusion of social media in search results, combined with search engine refinements means that customer can discover your business in more than one way.  In fact the latest studies reveal nuanced search results that yield more conversions in a number of instances. Overlooking these researched efforts results in an overlook of more effective marketing.

Here’s how you can take advantage of these changes to better plan SEO and paid search.

Don’t fret excessively about the #1 spot in search – it’s important to improve exposure online to a search engine, but other avenues for awareness exist online.

Not being at the top of a search result is not the death of your search exposure, let alone digital exposure, to customers. The push to be #1 or #2 is valuable, but that message has been lost in context to the search query. In the 2000s keyword was paramount, and it is to degree now.  If you were a shoe maker you would like to be on top for “shoe repair” as much as you would for your store name.

But other networked devices and platforms have sprung up, to allow your business a new way to be exposed.  Some demographics rely on search more heavily than others – B2B is good example.  But many people discover new ways to engage your site and thus, your business.

Be leery of being ranked for your brand name as an end-all for search strategy

Keep in mind – being first in SERP for your personal name or business name is sometimes not a meaningful optimization. Many black hat consultants present being number one for a store name as a value, when that rank really should come natural based on page title, URL, and page description in the HTML.

Today search that brings visits is taking the form of a question happening as frequently in an Amazon Alexa as it can on a laptop.  Google noted that smartphones are the lead in a multidevice usage. And mobile users are more than likely to take action on a query – meaning call a store or make a purchase.

Review search visits and time on site improvements   

If you have launched a site, you should review search visits and time-on-site data of your web analytics solution to gain a sense for what keywords have worked. Make a list based on the trends you find.

Compare your observations against results from a site scan in Google Adwords Manager or Microsoft Adcenter Manager.  Both can scan a site your site and return a query list of words based on the site content.

Next compare this PPC-generated list to the keyword report you have examined – you are now looking for words that are on the site but really did not generate search traffic.  These identified words are now the keywords you can focus on for paid search to bolster traffic and interest. You can also:

  • Create a paid search campaign (or PPC: Pay Per Click) that includes your target words.  You can review competitiveness and plan a trial budget in your ad manager.   Using paid campaigns can increase click through in many cases when a word appears on a search result in the organic and paid search results.
  • For words beyond your paid search budget, investigate words that are used  as a Twitter hashtag for a target audience. You can then use these words in a Twitter strategy.  You can try a specialty search engine such as 48ers to see Twitter-related query results.  Set up a column in Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or another application that monitors word usage.  Monitoring helps you understand how it is used, and make adjustments for your strategy.
  • Make sure your blog is hosted at the same service as your website.  Doing so ensures that frequent posting signals to search engines that content is being updated, strengthening how a site appears against a query. Hosting a blog elsewhere is not necessarily an SEO killer, but it does create two separate mediums that must be optimize (and can be more work for some businesses to keep up).
  • Ensure the title, meta description, H1 tags, and anchor text in your webpage code contains the selected keywords.  Moreover titles and descriptions appear in Facebook postings, so make sure these descriptions make sense and are not just a series of “keyword stuffing” lines.
  • Make sure keywords appear in the image descriptions in your website code.  Make sure the file names include those words as well.
  • Link building is valuable, but you want to focus on sites that are actively maintained and relevant to your site content. instead of requesting links, develop a contribution plan – find sites to contribute posts or to maintain profiles in which your site URL can be included.
  • Insert keywords into video titles and submit to YouTube.  Many people forget that Youtube in its self is the second largest search engine.

Discipline in implementing SEO is key to making Do-It-Yourself efforts effective.  Doing so also makes you smarter as a business owner. SEO requires an appreciation of website code and structure, but not so much as to turn you into a full-fledged developer. This knowledge can help you frame the questions you have when you later need to ask for digital marketing help.

Social ads raise awareness of posts

Social ads are important, because they allow a targeted message for people who spend a lot of time on social media.  They can be set for specific interests rather than keywords.  So a Facebook ad campaign for a ski trip would be aimed at profiles which indicate skiing as an interest.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter all have social ads.  Other variations  are being developed – Facebook just announced ads for Facebook Messenger, while Amazon has been quietly introducing ads as part of its platform.   Marketers are discovering that consumers are actually starting their product searches at Amazon, with many being done via Amazon Echo.

This means to plan a solid social ad strategy, you must think of interest that your followers are generally interest in.

#BlackTwitter Infographic via @Peppermiller

Black Twitter has become a morphious description for a community on Twitter that comments  on social issues and ideas important for the African American community.   It is a group that is unlike any previous civil rights groups because of its digital influences and timing from the current cultural trends in the United States.

Pepper Miller created a nice infographic that covers basic stats on Black Twitter.  It is a good starter for a basic discussion of marketing to minority groups in an organic way.   While Black Twitter is not commercial in nature, appreciating sentiment can introduce  marketers to the social media profiles that interact with the group – ranging from small businesses to organizations who could be a potential partner for a service or product.

It also illustrated how African Americans use mobile access frequently. African American and Hispanic digital natives index higher for Twitter usage and, according to Pew Institute, index higher for mobile access.

You can learn more about Pepper Miller at her site peppermiller.net. You can also read a book review I wrote on Pepper’s book on African American marketing trends, Black Still Matters In Marketing,  at Small Business Trends.

Info graphic: Black Twitter Real and Influential by Pepper Miller on Scribd

Avoiding Call To Action Errors – A Small Business Trends Infographic

Our friends at Small Business Trends, created an infographic that highlights how call to action (CTA) is sometimes not much of  a call and creates little action.  CTA is an essential component in analytics. CTA is what creates a click, and drives the purpose behind an analysis.  What traffic actually clicked? What’s the significance?

Moreover, CTA must be optimized.  The phrases used as a CTA are tested in A/B tests.  Improving CTA is linked to driving downloads of an app or purchases from a cart. And there are a lot of factors to what makes a CTA successful.

Take a look at the infographic below to learn how businesses drop the ball on CTA.  For more small business news, follow Small Business Trends.

Calls to Action Data

Social Media Tips: 10 Best Ways To Generate Traffic for Your Blog

Boston Traffic Social Media
Boston traffic is a great metaphor for traffic flow, but for digital, you must make plans to make that traffic happen. Social media is perfect for those plans.
After every website launch, there should be a plan for generating traffic to a site. Especially if that site is a blog.
So the magic question is: How does one build visitor interest in their blog?
Well, fortunately a lot of ways exist to build traffic.  The key for selecting the right way is to  for a small business or organization, here are a few starter was to get that traffic going!
  • Submit site posts to content aggregator – AllTop, Growth Hackers, Hacker News and inbound.org are starting places to share content, Many of these will syndicate content, meaning that the posts will show on their networks. Allot, for example, will tweet posts
  • Create a video version of a blog topic – from YouTube to Facebook Live, you can create a live version for
  • Social Media sharing syndication is a long word, but it serves an important purpose.  It can automate new posts and ensure that they are available for other to see later.  dlvr.it and IFTTT are examples of these syndication tools.
  • Dedicate an email to a post topic – share a snippet of content can create interest in a new blog
  • Share for community participation and events – People research the communities profiles online in Twitter and Google Plus.  MeetUp is also a good site for meeting announcements, and learning about a group through the images they share.
  • Repackage content as a presentation. The slides can then be hosted as a Slideshare presentation or as a pdf which can be downloaded at another site.
  • Guest Blogging – appearing on other blogsites is still a good way to generate interest on your own, provided that the hosting site is a high quality site.
  • Appear on podcasts or video newscast, mentioning in talk about a related blog post. Doing so can be as effective as providing a link from a guest post.
  • Talk about tools of your trade, such as this post for Small Business Trends. Solution providers of those tools will appreciate your mention and post a link to the podcast (or blogpost).
  • Posting a link in a Reddit community relevant to your site or topic.
  • Create a slideshare version of the post, highlighting a few key points from the post.  Doing so will give another set of content that can complement a post without mimicking all the content.  So for example, a slideshare of top 10 tips for a better website could complement a post on why a site update is important to a business.
One follow up idea – make sure you are periodically checking the demographics and affinity reports in Google Analytics.  Doing so can reveal a rough estimate on the traffic quality that is arriving onto your site.  Checking the results in the affinity reports can verify traffic quality as it relates to your site topic.  The Affinity Report results can also spark some ideas for your blog topics.  Just look for what is consistent in a 30-60-90 day period (You can also decide to work on countering the resulting topics, if they are not what you want.
Overall there are a lot of ways to make traffic to your site with social media!

How to avoid fake online sites while establishing a genuine online presence

Fake content is in the news these days, thanks to accusations by the Trump administration – which itself offered positions to Breitbart, an alt-right site accused of posting misogynistic, racist, and often false news.

Avoiding fake sites has been critical ever since commercial interest arrived on the web. It can appear in many technical aspects of a website.  Link building was meant to signal to search engines that a site with a large number of links represented a quality source of material that should rank highly in a query.

But now, thanks to social media and user’s overlook in reviewing details of the post they share, it is very easy to spread and repeat information that is not entirely true.

Businesses and marketers of all levels have to be accountable. Sharing links to nefarious sites damages trust and branding.  It can also lead to legal issue

Here are some ways to protect your sites from association with a fake or susceptible site.

  • Establish a social media manager who can review sites and manage a list of trusted sources – essential for linking to highly regarded sites.
  • Examine referral sources in analytics reports for returning traffic segments – see if the sources align to your site’s purpose. For example, if you have a site dedicated to auto parts, you should see traffic from other auto parts dealers or new /used car dealers with whom you are linked. Seeing a site based in a foreign country where you are not doing business is not alarming in and off itself, but it would raise an eyebrow.
  • If you are looking for online communities to join, research their activity. Are there images of offline activity with members? Are those images consistent See if the posts in the community are “natural” or repeated spam, aggregators or generic comments.
  • On referral sites that you are interested in linking to, review the posts created – are they thoughtful with points and counterpoints? Are there author biographies that detail other posts that they have written? In fact, is there even an About Us page at all?
  • Decide how to link offline events into your online presence. Doing so attracts traffic from real people, who you have most likely engaged with in a real affair.  Their engagement creates a real environment on your social media platform, which leads to engagement will help
  • Review Facebook pages for fake fans – ensuring quality fan engagement can protect your page from being seen as a scam and from losing reach in the Facebook algorithm. According to Social Media Examiner, Facebook is rewarding pages that contain higher engagement and quality content “with greater visibility in the news feed, while pages with limited fan engagement and poor content lose positioning in the news feed.”
  • Consider an advertising budget for social media accounts. Many of the platforms have changed their algorithms, which consequently impacts the organic reach of their posts –  there are reports of Facebook having limited organic reach, such as this 2016 Marketingland post in which publishers have experienced a sharp decline in reach.  Planning a few well placed ads for increasing engagement can help drive awareness for events.  The ads can be targeted for region, as well as for interest when social media ads are used.
  • Check your followers, with apps such as Fakers from Statuspeople. The site indicates what percentage of a Twitter feed contains the following statuses: False (meaning fake followers), Inactive (accounts that have not tweeted in awhile), and Good (meaning accounts with active commentary).