As my fellow writers and I have recommended time and time ago, it’s a good practice for companies to use social media to supplement their other organic SEO activity. Due to the ever-increasing number of users found on networks such as Facebook and Twitter, many start-up or entrepreneur company owners are sharing their own original content effortlessly with the masses. Businesses that remain active with social media sites consistently see better traffic to their online properties than those companies that don’t retweet or post status updates. It’s an exciting time for small and medium-sized businesses to be sure, but many companies are finding that their success is somewhat limited and they don’t know why.
Although everyone touts the potential of a fully-engaged social media audience, there is also a general acknowledgement that knowing when to post a link can greatly determine the reach of one’s content. Obviously status updates about trending topics are most successful when people are not away from social media while celebrating a holiday or major event. In addition to paying attention to major events, getting a gauge on when social network users are likely online during the course of a given day is an important skill for any business owner or campaign manager to have. While developing a sense for user activity levels can be tricky, a new report released by Bit.ly can help give budding social media companies some help.
Traditional Social Media Posts Hit their Stride Early
Recent statistics from the popular link-abridging website show that popular social networks Facebook and Twitter actually see the most link activity during the earlier parts of the day. According to the site’s latest blog post, the two social media sites see their link click-through rates peak in activity starting in the morning and topping off sometime before 4 PM EST. In particular, Twitter link activity is at its highest levels between noon and 3 PM EST on weekdays, while Facebook does well during a similar timespan. Both networks see greatly diminished CTRs starting Friday and going through the weekend.
Image-Based Social Networks do well in the Evening
The Bit.ly report also states that image-centric social media site Tumblr sees the most users during the evening. From the end of the work day to around 10 PM EST, the CTRs for those links generated by Bit.ly often see their highest levels. According to the blog, Monday and Tuesday nights actually see strong activity. Friday nights are also great nights for posting on Tumblr, with heightened activity a result of the oncoming weekend.
Using these Reports Wisely
The statistics reported by Bit.ly provide more guidelines that anything else. SMB owners and social media campaign managers should always remember that the industry they work in and major events should be the prime indicators of when links should be distributed on social sites. On the average day though, the aforementioned timetables for posting should give those users who are unsure when to post their links a little extra direction.
For additional information about efficient link-sharing on sites like Facebook and Twitter, I invite readers to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am more than happy to reply to any inquiries they may have.
Everyone who writes about SEO has recognized Google’s Penguin update as the hot button issue at the moment. After a staggering 350,000 sites were affected by the company’s recent algorithm revisions, the SEO community fell into a bit of disarray over the topic. Across the board, reaction to the update has been mostly negative as only a few actually notable spam and aggregator websites were impacted by Penguin while thousands of respectable businesses were hit as well. It’s a subject that is generating a lot of buzz and has led to sites devoted to the subject and commentary from our own Jill Johnson.
Due to all the talk about the damage dealt by Google’s Penguin update, many small business owners have plenty of questions over whether their own websites could be affected. Since SEO development can be a complicated and often overwhelming subject, there’s a lot of uncertainty felt by site managers regarding what they should be on the lookout for. Although the mechanics behind Penguin are still very much unknown to the SEO community, Google has made it clear that there certain page elements that webmasters will want to avoid.
A SEO tactic almost as old as the internet itself, many disreputable online marketing agencies try to game Google’s site crawlers by placing as many possible keywords onto a page as possible. Better known as “keyword stuffing,” this technique is one that has been falling gradually into disuse as algorithms continue to be improved. Still, there are those web designers and black hat SEOs that insist on piling as many search terms onto a page as possible in hopes of more varied SERP showings.
According to Google, sites with excessive search terms are among those directly targeted by its Penguin update. As such, it’s important that one keeps his or her website clear of unnecessary keyword implementation. If a term is haphazardly thrown into a page’s content with little to no purpose, then they should be removed ASAP. The longer those keywords stay on a website, the higher the chance that Google will punish the site by either dropping its SERP placement or de-listing it entirely.
Despite how smartly designed most modern search algorithms are, some webmasters still try to exploit nonsensical text to add more weight to a page. The principle design mentality behind this black hat SEO tactic is that it’s the links that matter most and the other content is pointless. This sort of unethical optimization method is more common on article publishing directories and various spam sites rather than official websites.
Yet, regardless of how absurd these pages often look to readers, some web designers still try to add extra pages onto their sites devoted exclusively to pointless writing with preferred links. As the secondary focus of the Penguin update, irrelevant text is going to earn these types of sites a huge penalization from Google. As such, it’s important that webmasters take the time to reduce their sites’ content to relevant and purposeful content.
As new information about Penguin becomes available, we at WebiMax will relate these details to our blog readers. Should anyone happen to have any question at the present, I can be contacted at email@example.com.
Website management can be an incredibly tricky business for any webmaster or site owner. Although creating a site from scratch can be difficult enough, it’s getting web traffic and conversion rates that ultimately becomes the greatest challenge for so many of us in the industry. Startup company and small business owners in particular tend to lack the tools and knowledge necessary to turn a failing website into something which a person can be proud of. The whole dilemma can be a bit disheartening to those company owners who just want to be able to get their businesses up and running instead of having to fiddle with page attributes and social media campaigns.
Fortunately, proper SEO behaviors are becoming increasingly accessible to anyone with at least some limited eCommerce or web design experience. These days many SEO services are within the reach of SMB owners, but it’s always important to start one’s site maintenance with a fair dose of monitoring and self-evaluation. SEO consultants often extol the benefits of due diligence when it comes to website management. With the right tools, a watchful eye can truly make all the difference.
The Tools for the Task at Hand
Keeping up with a website’s traffic and overall SERP ranking is made all the easier when using top quality analytic software. Although there are numerous companies out there today that offer tools for site performance monitoring, it’s the Google Analytics toolset that is the most widely recommended. Since this set of tools is built directly into the company’s network, many novice webmasters rely on them when first starting out. Readers can find the official website for Google Analytics here.
Are your Pages Being Indexed?
A common issue for many websites comes from being improperly indexed. Many inexperienced site owners don’t realize that sometimes errors occur and search engines may miss (or actively ignore) portions of their website. If a page is seeing almost nonexistent traffic, then chances are that it may not be showing up on SERPs. When in doubt, conduct a search for your page. This can be done by going to Google and searching for the name of your site as: site:www.sitename.com
If you find that certain important pages are missing from the results, then it’s time to readdress the reasons possible for that. More often than not, black hat SEO tactics and generally poor content tend to be the leading causes behind not being indexed. Webmasters can resolve this situation by rebuilding pages with the qualities that search engines such as Google want: original content, outbound links and the distribution of relevant keywords.
Of course, there are many other reasons for de-indexes or imprecise search engine results. By registering for Google Analytics, webmasters can take a bit of control into their own hands and correct any issues that may have developed. For additional information about indexing practices, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Companies that conduct the majority of their business on the internet are always fighting an uphill battle to gain loyal fans and regular website visitors. With many industries experiencing an overcrowded marketplace and unprecedented levels of brand saturation, small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners are trying to gain that most desired of customer values: trust. Aside from the strength of their online presence, many large corporations have an easier time attracting internet shoppers due to simple brand recognition which lends itself to trustworthiness. When faced with an unknown mom-and-pop retailer and a company that has twenty years of advertising power behind it, there’s no doubt that the average person will choose to conduct business with the more well-known store.
So then, how does a SMB owner manage to gain the trust and patronage of online customers? Well, as many SEO and social media companies tell their clients, the first step towards gaining a strong online customer base is to work towards building up one’s brand. Simply put, the more well-recognized business will always have a considerable edge over those companies that hold far less clout. In order to create a business that people will flock to, SMB owners need to make their company name not only trusted, but also a prevalent entity on the World Wide Web.
Become a Certified Online Business
One mistake that many start-up businesses make when getting started is forgoing extensive certification. Although it’s a sad truth of the digital world, there are countless spammers and fraudulent companies around today that masquerade as legitimate businesses. Fortunately, online shoppers have become significantly more savvy and careful regarding their online habits. Every potential customer a SMB will see will undoubtedly be looking for signs that a website can be trusted before committing to a purchase. If an online business lacks a certain amount of certification, then wary shoppers will go elsewhere.
Aside from the requisite official channels for certification, small business owners will want to become as thoroughly guaranteed to be ethical and legit for site visitors. One excellent avenue for certification is through the Google Trusted Stores program. By submitting one’s company through this Google program, the business will receive a report card that will help ease shoppers’ minds and gain their trust. As an added bonus, Google is gradually implementing Trusted Store badges onto its AdWords results. This means that your company’s future PPC campaigns will appear on Google’s SERPs with a stamp of approval for everyone to see.
Popularity is a Sign of Trust
When someone who is unfamiliar with a business recognizes that company as a dominant force in social media, it speaks highly of their online presence. While earning a follower base numbering in the thousands can be a true challenge to any SMB owner, getting to that level of exposure can be made much easier through the right social media behaviors. Those companies looking to expand their social network influence should look into the following techniques:
- Work together with other established businesses to get a leg-up. If a company is just getting started on Facebook or Google+, it should be turning to preexisting follower bases for potential “likes” or subscriptions. Company owners should never hesitate to seek out partnerships or mutual deals with other companies on social media sites. This will grow a following much faster than otherwise.
- Once it’s begun to garner a respectably-sized follower base, a company should always be engaging users on a regular basis. By posting interesting or timely content, any business can keep its followers paying attention to its feed. An important note: posters should remember to pace themselves. Diluting a user’s stream with never-ending updates is a surefire way to lose their following.
- Always remain active in your social network proliferation. As any social media company will tell you, ignoring other networks in favor of big names such as Facebook leads to stagnation. Should follower growth begin to decline, consider switching some of your focus elsewhere. Twitter in particular is an excellent place to accrue new loyal customers.
As a business’ online following grows, so too will the ease of which users come to trust that company and recognize it as a respectable place to shop. With trust comes frequent and loyal customers, and it’s those people that will lead to consistent and steady sales. Should any SMB owner have any further questions about how to improve their brand recognition and trustworthiness, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Here we are at last, loyal readers: the final installment in my three-part coverage of the best social networks for social media marketing. Some of you may have been following my blog posts for the past couple days, but more than a few of you may be jumping in only now. In my previous discussions, I went over the importance of location-focused social websites as well as those with the best potential for growth. Now it’s time that we take a look at the overall best social networks for business owners in 2012.
While my top picks for social media campaigns aren’t particularly surprising, it’s important that we take the time to look at the two candidates closely. Most social media optimization methods are quite effective when employed on these sites, what I consider to be, the best social networks around today. At the same time, a small business owner should always play to his or her company’s strengths. Remember that not all SEO techniques are applicable to every business and that building a strong follower base should precede all other goals. With those thoughts in mind, let’s take a look at our lucky winners.
Facebook: The King of the Castle
Of course, we all knew Facebook would be in my final picks. The site’s continuing popularity and massive market share make it an excellent choice for pretty much every business around today. Although its 845 million-strong user base is a goldmine for potential customers and business-focused social media activity, getting ahold of those followers can be a bit of a challenge. Unless your company has enough brand recognition or renown to grab users’ attention at a glance, you may find yourself fighting an uphill battle for any noticeable follower base.
As a result, it’s necessary that many companies take a more personal approach to their Facebook campaigning. Yes, those 800 million users may eventually subscribe to your business’ news feed, but not without the proper motivation or the right level of engagement. For small and medium-sized businesses, this means constant interaction with current followers as well as ongoing advertisements or contests to draw in new ones.
Recent surveys have shown that the average Facebook user has around 250 friends and interacts with countless companies, organizations and interest groups. In order to remain relevant, business owners need to remain engaged with users. A few techniques for Facebook interaction include:
- Post links to trending and relevant news story. Actively involve your staff with the comments that may result from said link.
- Contests for iPads and other desired consumer goods are an excellent way to gain followers. At the same time, you’ll want to reward interested users with excellent content and engagement otherwise they’re likely to un-follow you once the contest ends.
- Become involved with other businesses or interest groups. Getting other high profile accounts to share your content helps gather those users who may have overlooked you.
Twitter: Content Delivery at 140 Characters a Second
If there is one thing Twitter is, it’s prolific. A social network that has always had positive growth trends and a user base addicted to trending topics, Twitter is on the pulse of social media sharing. Although the site lacks the visual panache of a Facebook or Google+ interface, the sheer potential a company has to generate traffic for itself cannot be overstated. With great content and the right hashtags, any business can establish a respectable following.
While there’s no perfect approach to operating on Twitter that guarantees absolute success, there are several practices that can help build up an account’s following. Social media campaigners may want to try the following:
- Use websites such as bitly to shrink down links so they can be included in tweets.
- Pay attention to trending keywords when creating tweets. If a popular term is relevant to a link or your business, attach that to your message.
- Retweet popular profiles and people in your industry. Should they reply to you, it will show up in their newsfeed and that will lead more users directly to you.
For additional recommendations on business operations for any of the social networks I’ve covered in the last few days, please feel free to contact me directly. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating SEO campaigns for small businesses can be tricky considering locality as well as competition of keywords. Many small businesses look to an SEO to be rain makers or miracle workers in establishing online and foot traffic. So how does an SEO really manage expectations of small businesses and provide results for these opportunities?
Initial Strategy Development
Meet face to face and with your research in hand related to competitors (online – related to targeted keyword). That analysis should discuss authority of those competitors and what is needed to surpass those metrics as well as a timeline. There is nothing worse then setting false expectations and needing to explain later to a client why you are behind on ROI. Outline tasks to be completed weekly as well as benchmarks and run rate reporting.
Discuss and develop plans that meet local search for organic SEO, Social Media and Paid Search. If the goal is to get users to the site immediately then focus that budget toward PPC with geographic settings. If the focus is to get foot traffic into brick and mortar then focus that spend on Social Media engagement. All the while accompanied by an organic campaign for long term increases in rankings.
Little Successes Add Up
Be certain to communicate daily with small business owners regarding SEO, PPC, SMO wins that happen. At the end of the month if your reporting is as favorable as the owner may like you can discuss these little wins throughout the month. Cumulatively, the small business campaign is one that requires direct communication and clear/focused understandings of what they may consider a successful campaign. Remember, small business means the budget they spend is a large investment for them – so be certain to spend time and money wisely.