SEO has come a long way since its murky early days of link farms and obvious keyword stuffing. Not only are these practices unsightly and suspicious looking to potential customers, but now they will also get you into heaps of trouble with Google. The Penguin update that’s been causing site owners to nervously check their analytics has changed the way we view content. While keyword stuffing has been a bad idea for a long time, it’s now a serious offense.
Right now you’re probably thinking “Okay, keyword stuffing is bad. But how do I know if I’m guilty of it?”
Don’t be stressed. Take a look at your site and read it over. Does it look like a human being wrote it? Does it read naturally? Do you avoid squeezing phrases like “best dentist Chicago” into every third sentence because that’s what you want to rank for? Chances are you’re fine. If we learn nothing else from these big Google updates, it should be that readers should always come before the search engine crawlers.
As long as your keyword appears naturally in your content, repetition is not a bad thing. For example, if you’re trying to get your page for Vitamix blenders to rank and you have the word Vitamix appear regularly throughout the content, that isn’t a problem. After all, how can you talk about what you’re selling if you never actually say its name? It’s when you try to squeeze in unnatural sounding phrases like “cheapest price Vitamix blender” that Google may take notice.
Content should always be well written, engaging, and useful. If the future of SEO is sharing and social media, then it only makes sense to focus our efforts on the people who will be doing our advertising for us through Twitter and Facebook: our readers.
Twitter has released a bit of news that appears to have angered the developer community. But it’s not just app developers that should take pause with the latest news from the people at Twitter. Social media companies might be just as affected depending on what tools they use to run their campaigns.
Twitter is tightening its grip with the latest iteration of its API in order to assert more control over third party apps that connect to the service. The biggest change will be these third party clients will have to submit to stricter guidelines in order to gain access to Twitter. These range from stylistic restrictions (Tweets must look similar across all platforms) to having limits on the number of users that the app can support. For example, a service is allowed to have up to 100,000 users. However, once they pass this threshold they must get permission from Twitter directly in order to continue accessing the API. This doesn’t mean they will be given that permission.
So, what does this mean for internet marketers? Well, to put it simply, what are you going to do if the third party client you currently use runs into trouble with Twitter and loses functionality? Many social media marketers have a large number of clients and do all their organizing in a third party app to keep all their Tweeting in order. While no one can know if this will become a legitimate issue, this move from Twitter warrants attention. Twitter is clearly looking to rein in control in order to try to create an efficient way to bring in revenue, which it has had difficulty doing so far.
The internet is abuzz about the App.net project that has shattered its fundraising goals days before its target date listed on their pseudo-Kickstarter site. If you are a professional who handles social media campaigns or you’re a business owner looking to hire a firm to handle a campaign for you, this development should pique your interest.
Obviously, it’s much too early to start saying things like “Twitter better watch out!” because the service hasn’t even launched yet. But the business model that App.net is looking to operate under changes the way social media services may be used to advertise. In fact, the App.net team sounds downright opposed to advertising.
They can accomplish this by charging a $50 a year subscription fee. There have been previous attempts at subscription based social networks, including Diaspora, which has run into funding problems. With the buzz building around App.net and the amount of money that’s already been raised, it could prove to be a strong niche service.
Its initial reach won’t be as vast as Twitter’s or Facebook’s because 1) those services are free and 2) they have millions and millions of users. Most users are just ordinary people sharing what they like and hopefully buying things they see advertised. If App.net successfully launches, it could be a useful tool for getting in touch with major tech leaders rather than traditional customers. After all, early adopters of App.net are most likely going to be in the tech industry or business owners.
Social media experts should keep an eye on these developments. While App.net may not provide a way of marketing directly to customers, you could make some valuable, high powered connections with major players who subscribe to the site.
Are you in the market for search engine optimization services? Have you come to realize providers are not created equally? The industry is not officially regulated. That makes for interesting interactions with the good, bad, and ugly companies. It’s hard to make a distinction when every provider states their services are the best.
Perhaps it’s better to look out for things a good SEO marketing company won’t do. Consider the following.
There are a number of SEO services that will guarantee rankings. Really? That’s funny. Do they have a special relationship with Google which no one else has? That’s pretty special and preposterous. Any reputable marketing service will not guarantee rankings. Web masters’ previous bouts with Panda and Penguin prove that. If any service provider guarantees first-page rankings or anything similar, run for the hills. If SEO is done right, naturally, rankings and conversions follow; but, it can’t be guaranteed.
No Presence in Industry
The SEO community is quite lively. A bunch of people on the computer all day are bound to unite. You can find a number of brands and individuals online on a daily basis. A reputable company will not stray from its industry and like-minded personalities. Rather, a great company will have prominent presence in their respective vertical. Denying interaction with its own industry? A reputable firm won’t do such.
Lack of Recognizable Workers
So, who are the people that work at the SEO marketing company? Do you notice any of them writing posts on the company blog? Does the company have a blog? Do the workers have their own social media accounts, or possibly hosting their own blog? Are you unable to find any personalities stemming from the firm? Reputable service providers employ passionate, efficient workers. The SEO community is large and easily accessible; but, some companies don’t have recognizable workers. This could be a major red flag.
If you pay another company to do work for you, you’d expect a decent amount of contact, yes? A respected SEO marketing company will keep in constant contact with clients. Project managers and assistant managers devoted to each campaign ensure there is always a point of contact. What if you have a burning question? What if you change your mind about an initiative? What if you just want to see how your campaign is coming along? You’re entitled, but possibly frustrated if you can’t get in contact with the provider.
Social media campaigns have become an essential part of most businesses’ internet marketing strategies. When used properly, social media can be a cost effective way to get your message out there. By providing links to your best content, your followers and friends will (with any luck) share that content to their respective networks. See your name spread for relatively little expense. Think of it as crowdsourced advertising, in a way.
However, this potential to reach a tremendous audience can be a double edged sword. While your social media efforts could dramatically increase your exposure and secure you new customers, it can just as easily turn into a public relations disaster if you do not act responsibly. The clothing line Celeb Boutique learned this lesson first hand on Friday, June 20th when countless people suddenly became aware of the company…for what is probably the worst reason you can imagine.
As everyone knows, on June 20th Aurora, Colorado experienced a tragedy that the entire country is still reeling from and trying to process. In situations like this, the world turns to Twitter to get up to the second news. The hashtag #Aurora ended up being the biggest trending topic for the entire day as news developments and messages of mourning flooded the site. According to Celeb Boutique, the people who handle their PR aren’t based in the US. They also didn’t apparently bother to read any of the tweets associated with #Aurora. Seeing an opportunity, they tweeted:
#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress Shop: [ URL to product page]
In record time, Celeb Boutique was met with harsh backlash from basically the entire internet. In the end, the company paid dearly. Their reputation is tarnished and they’ve pledged $500,000 in support of the victims of the shooting. While this is a nice gesture, the company continues to receive widespread criticism.
The lesson here is simple: Always do your research. Not only could you end up damaging your brand, you could end up offending people.
Here’s a hypothetical situation for you, small business owner/independent contractor. You’ve recently opened shop. Your ecommerce site is up and functioning. You’re ready to start writing freelance articles for all the big players in your industry. The next thing you do is sign up for accounts with Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.
Now that your social media campaign is set up, it’s time to sit back and wait for those leads to pour in, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Establishing your brand online can be a full time job unto itself. A few tweets here and there can easily get lost in the shuffle.
How do you raise your profile? By being a chatterbox, of course. You should try to interact with other people in your industry as much as possible in order to say to potential clients, “Hey, I’m here. I think you would benefit from using my services.” If you aren’t doing the following, try adding more of it to your daily operations:
Comment on Blog Posts and Forums
This is the best way to introduce yourself to the community at large. If you’re looking to break into a new industry, seek out a few blogs that are respected and comment on some posts. Not only is it nice to acknowledge an author’s hard work, but people will be reading your opinions. If your input is valuable, they’ll want to learn more about you and check out your site.
Interact on Your Facebook Page
Many people make the mistake of treating their Facebook business page like some static entity. You’ll only get out what you put into it. Make it feel more like a community. Respond to comments, supply a steady amount of content and, most importantly, reach out to people in order to grow your number of “Likes.”
Use Twitter For More Than Advertising
Don’t use Twitter to just send out links to your homepage. Be a real person. RT something that catches your interest, engage in conversation, be funny, etc. The best advertising you can do is getting people to enjoy reading what you have to say. The traffic will come naturally if you give people a reason to come to your site.
Need more tips on how to get the most out of your social media network? Send me an email email@example.com