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Beyond the Black Hat: Contemporary and Common SEO Strategy Mistakes

Posted Thu, February 6, 2014 by Julie Short

If you’ve been working on updating your business’s website, you’ve definitely come across the ubiquitous concept of SEO – and have probably been confused about how to effectively implement it.


And SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. For one, SEO best practices change every few months – these are collectively referred to as “white hat” SEO. And if your site doesn’t already drive a large amount of traffic, you have to execute an elegant SEO strategy to stay on the search engines’ good sides. Here are a few bad moves to avoid when you’re starting in on your SEO campaign.


White Hat SEO No-No’s

  1. Linking like it’s 2010. If anyone tries to sell you hundreds of links for a small price, or an SEO “blast”/“quick SEO” – run, don’t walk. Today’s SEO is all about directing authority and relevance to a site for legitimate reasons – not paying a less-than-reputable article directory to house some shady links to your pages. Links are essential and beneficial – but they do not grow on outsourced trees.
     
  2. Not paying attention to links at all. On the flip side, your site won’t gain much traction if nobody is linking to it once you launch. The concept of “link building” is dramatically different than the outsourced link farm bonanza you might have heard about in earlier years. But off-page links remain one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site going forward. Getting links that point to your site is time-consuming, to be sure, but well worth your effort – as long as you’re employing a decidedly white hat SEO strategy. Point Blank SEO has a useful (and affordable) tutorial here.
     
  3. Weak title tags and meta descriptions. Google pays a lot of attention to your titles – H1s – and also to your subheadings (H2s) and meta descriptions. While there’s no need to splash “BEST SANDWICHES INDIANAPOLIS” on your site like lamb’s blood on the front door, some strategic word smith-ing can boost your visibility to search engines and local searchers alike.  
     
  4. All images, no text. Your website should be visually striking, yes – but that doesn’t mean it needs to be completely Flash-based or full of in-your-face sliders. For one thing, these sites can confuse your readers; and from an SEO perspective, it just doesn’t make sense. Search engines “read” the text on your site, but they can’t read images – which means you’ll have a tough time getting your site optimized and ranking.   
     
  5. Duplicated text. More is not more when it comes to white hat SEO – especially when it comes to the text content on your site. Avoid using the same title tags and body text on different pages, as you’ll miss out on the opportunity to inform your readers (and the search engines, of course) about what you actually do.
     
  6. Not using free, white hat SEO tips and tools. SEO firms might act like search engines are the enemy – but really, they’re some of the most helpful (and accessible) SEO resources out there. Google’s webmaster blogs and videos cater to both industry insiders and business owners. And then there are sites like Moz, Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Land that offer super-informative blog posts, free tools, and up-to-the-minute industry news so you can be knowledgeable about – and learn, hands-on – SEO best practices. And when you’re just starting out with a new website or SEO campaign, you’ll probably find that free tools are sufficient!  
     
  7. Being antisocial….media. We’re not saying you must have a personal Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Google+ account, but social media is extremely important to your business’s visibility. A regularly updated social media account also shows your customers that you’re interested in their community – not just their business.
     
  8. Not having a blog. No need to post a daily, crazy-involved piece. But a blog that’s updated regularly – even monthly – can help you build authority to your site and credibility in your brand. Share your blog posts via email newsletters and social media – places you know you’ll have an audience.
     
  9. Using a third-party site to host your blog. There is one caveat to having your own blog. Repeat after us: I will not blog on someone else’s domain. Buying your own domain or adding a page to your site might cost more and take a bit of your time, but think of it as an investment that quickly pays for itself. If you create informative content about your business’s specialty and your area of expertise, you’re making yourself an authority in the field. If your blog lives on a different domain, your authority goes to that business – not to you. So – have your blog-cake and eat it, too.
     
  10. Neglecting local SEO strategy. Local SEO is a bit different than your typical SEO strategy. Instead of driving traffic to your site with high-quality links and social mentions, it focuses on assuring that your contact information is the same across multiple sites, directories, and platforms. (In the eyes of search engines, inconsistency reads as fraudulent practices.) Local SEO also allows you to establish a business page on Google+. Your position on Google Maps also plays a big role. If you’re a local business, local SEO is crucial to a successful SEO strategy.   

A high quality SEO campaign takes a bit of time and practice. And if your business is expanding, you might want to let the pros take care of it. Contact Web Revelation about a simple, effective SEO strategy for your company – your site will thank you.

white hat SEO - 880, med comp.
SEO strategy - 1600, med-high comp.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : websites , SEO


What is CRM? A Guide for Newbies

Posted Thu, January 30, 2014 by Julie Short

The world of marketing is full of acronyms. Every modern marketer knows what an FAQ is, but other acronyms – CPC, CTR, and MFA, to name a few – are not as well understood by many of us. Here’s one you need to know: CRM. Whether you’re a marketing newbie or just interested in learning more about this mysterious acronym, here’s a quick guide to navigating CRM.

First things first: What does CRM stand for?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Successful CRM entails a company-wide strategy designed to increase profitability and reduce costs.

At the heart of this strategy, the company as a whole – especially the marketing, sales, and customer service departments – works to create a two-way interaction with its customers so as to better understand customer needs and behaviors.  An efficient CRM system imports relevant information from several sources into one central location, making this information available to your marketing team and other key players in your organization.

Marketers implement CRM through various methodologies, software and internet applications. These tools help you keep track of customers in an organized way.

What is CRM, really?

A theoretical definition is all well and good – but exactly what is CRM in practice and how can it help your business? Although CRM is a pretty simple concept, it has grown to include all kinds of software and strategies – mainly because various consulting firms and software vendors try to create their own brand of CRM.  Here’s a more application-focused explanation:

  • A CRM system compiles all of your customer information in a central location and makes it accessible across your team.
  • Marketing tools within CRM assess the effectiveness of your current email, social media, search, and telephone campaigns by tracking the number of responses, clicks, leads, and deals these methods generate.
  • CRM software can provide tech support to customers; automated customer service capabilities can increase efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Successful CRM helps you identify strong leads and focus your marketing energy on these high-potential leads.
  • An automated CRM system improves your bottom line by eliminating duplicate efforts, unnecessary expenses and ineffective campaigns.

Effective CRM tools organize, automate, and synchronize marketing, sales, technical support, and customer service efforts in a way that makes the information you gather meaningful and usable.

That is what’s tricky about CRM: its exact functions and capabilities vary widely from one system or organization to another – but the overarching meaning remains constant. You use CRM to learn what your customers need and want.

Implement CRM across the board at your company.

If you’ve been handling customer data and relationships manually, you might be put off by the idea of adding a whole new system to manage something you feel is under control. But there are a few factors – a lack of customized customer relations, unorganized customer data in a hundred different places – that might make you realize that your spreadsheets (or Rolodex – we won’t judge) just aren’t cutting it any more.

Ask your employees – and not just the marketing team – how they feel about their relationships with customers. If they feel strained or stretched in too many directions, it might be time to consider implementing an across-the-board CRM system.

Let the experts at Web Revelation help you implement an effective CRM strategy. You’ll finally have time to take care of your existing customers – and time to find new ones, too.

 

Posted in : CRM | 
Tags : CRM


How Should You Prioritize Your Social Media Marketing?

Posted Thu, January 23, 2014 by Julie Short

By now, most businesses agree that social media marketing is no longer optional – you have to maintain profiles on the major platforms if you want to compete in today's world.

But, deciding how to split up your time (or even money) between the different social media sites themselves is an entirely different matter. If you look hard enough, you can find a number of very good reasons to prefer any of them over the others:

  • Facebook still has the largest reach, in terms of daily visits and new content;
  • Google+ is affiliated with the world's most popular search engine, and is the fastest growing of the social networking sites;
  • LinkedIn is built for business, and can make networking with clients easier;
  • Twitter takes very little time, and can allow you to spread your marketing messages in a viral way;
  • Some studies show that Pinterest is the most reliable for e-commerce sites looking to generate click-throughs to online stores.

As you have probably guessed, we could go on with more bullets until you are thoroughly confused. But, if you're like most of us, you don't have the time, energy, or manpower to focus on all the social media sites at once. So, how do you decide where to place your priorities?

Here are a few tips to help you sort things out:

Remember that much depends on your industry and location. The answers that work for a small bakery aren't going to be the same that apply to a manufacturing company. Context is important, especially when it comes to social media marketing.

Pay attention to your customers. In a lot of cases, you can find out what social media sites are most important to you simply by going where your most important customers or clients go. Chances are, other buyers who fit the same profile will prefer the same social networking sites.

Study the analytics. As a rule of thumb, you want to pay the most attention to the social media sites that are showing you the biggest results. That means going back to your business website analytics and seeing which profiles are generating visits and conversions.

Don't be afraid to experiment. Regardless of what results you're seeing now, though, don't be afraid to experiment and see if you might be able to reach new markets (or at least engage customers in a different way) by trying social sites you haven't paid attention to in the past.

Are you getting the right kind of advice from your Internet marketing partner? What about bottom-line results? Now might be the perfect time to talk to WebRevelation and see what we can do to help your business grow.

 

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : websites , social media


How to Generate Content That Attracts Decision-Makers

Posted Thu, January 16, 2014 by Julie Short


Far too many small and medium-sized businesses treat content marketing as something they simply have to do, or an item that they need to check off a list. If you ask the business owners or marketing executives in question why, they might tell you something about search engine optimization or engagement, but the truth is they really don't have a strategy tied to the articles, blog posts, and other content they create.

That's probably better than not generating any content at all, but it isn't the kind of approach that's going to do a lot for your business, either. A better way to think about content marketing is to develop a strategy to attract decision-makers to your business website, interest them in your point of view, and then get them to take action.

Here are eight easy tips to help you do exactly that:

1. Build your content as part of a plan. Magazines, major websites, and newsletter publishers all plan their content weeks or months in advance to ensure they remain consistent and stay on topic. You should do the same.

2. Use cutting titles. Did you notice how the title of this article cut right to the heart of an issue that a lot of business owners and executives care about? Open your content with something that's interesting, timely, or inspires curiosity.

3. Start with an attention-grabbing hook. If the first few seconds’ worth of your content aren't interesting (usually the first paragraph of an article, or the opening moments of the video), you can be sure viewers and readers will click elsewhere.

4. Do your research. You can add a lot of credibility to your content by taking advantage of current statistics, relevant quotes, or new studies.

5. Find the right length. Your content should feel like it’s short, sweet, and to the point – even if you need longer to explore a topic. Break something up into different sections, or a series, if you need to in order to stop things from going on too long.

6. Give a strong call to action. After someone has viewed regular content, make it clear what you would like them to do as a result. Decision-makers are busy people; don't leave them guessing about what comes next.

7. Don't gloss over your resource box. Often, readers or viewers will look at a resource box before your content to see whether they can trust your ideas. Make sure your most prominent qualifications are listed.

8. Pay attention to the comments that are generated. Sometimes, the real value in a piece of content is in the comments it generates. The feedback you get could lead to sales opportunities, or at least ideas for more content in the future.

Here's one more bonus tip: Content works best when it's released continually, so put these tips into action early and often to get the best results.

Looking for an Internet marketing partner that understands how to create profitable websites? Get in touch with WebRevelation today to see what we can do for you.

 

Posted in : Website Content | 
Tags : marketing , content


Turning Social Media Blunders Into Marketing Opportunities

Posted Thu, January 9, 2014 by Julie Short

In some ways, social media can be a wonderful tool for marketers and business owners everywhere. After all, if you have a healthy following on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you have a virtually free, instant way to communicate ideas to your fans, customers, and colleagues all at once.

And then again, you also have a way to say the wrong thing to all of these groups at the same time… not to mention anyone they decide to pass it along to.

We already know you aren't the kind of person to post something you shouldn't on the Internet, and especially not in a space as public as a social media site. But, what happens when an intern or employee does it for you? Or when something you meant to be private ends up being seen by people it shouldn't be? What about when something you posted is taken in a completely unintentional way and offends an important customer?

You probably get the point. The more you use social media marketing, the more likely it is that you're going to run into one of these situations sooner or later. When you strip away things like body language and context, misunderstandings are almost certain to take place.

What matters isn't that you find a way to avoid every social media marketing mishap, but that you know how to respond to it. Here is how we teach our clients to turn social networking blunders into marketing and customer service opportunities:

Don't bury your head in the sand. When someone calls you out on social media, staying silent is essentially the same thing as saying that you just don't care. Even if that's actually true, remember that other customers, prospects, and contacts might be paying attention, and you certainly don't want to offend them at the same time. So, make a point of following up on messages and responding to issues and complaints that come your way.

Apologize if you need to. As most of us learn at one point or another, the important thing about an apology isn't that it's spoken or written, but that it appears to be genuine. If you're struggling to come up with a sentiment that will appease the other party, try to see things from their point of view. If it seems like you might have written a post on something that you shouldn't have, say you're sorry in a heartfelt way.

Get back on message. Acknowledging a problem, and apologizing, are one thing, but dwelling on the issue is another. Unless there’s some reason for you to come back to the same challenge, clear things up and then get back to other topics that matter to your readers and contact.

Don't give up. Some businesses, in the face of a social media "oops," decide to either stop posting altogether, or to turn their profiles into sources of very generic content. Neither is a very good choice if you want to keep attracting the attention of new customers and get them talking about your ideas. We learn the most from our mistakes, so don't be afraid to keep pushing forward and posting new material.

If you're looking for more great advice on web design, Internet marketing, and social media, come back to our blog soon. Or better yet, get in touch with a member of our team today and ask for a free consultation.

 

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : social media , marketing


Is Your Business Website Singing Google's New Tune?

Posted Thu, January 2, 2014 by Julie Short

In late September, Google rolled out its latest major algorithm update – nicknamed "Hummingbird" – which might just bring the biggest-ever shifts to search engine optimization.

If that seems like an overstatement, we understand. The previous "Panda" and "Penguin" algorithm updates generated a lot of press, and most businesses quickly discovered that the sky really wasn't falling, regardless of what they might have read on Internet marketing forums. And yet, a little bit of context is in order. While Panda and Penguin affected 5% of searches each, at most, early studies show that Hummingbird has changed results on more than 90% of all search queries.

Beyond the raw numbers, Hummingbird isn't just another algorithm change, but the first real step toward a new way of thinking about search results. It's not so much an update as it is a shift in philosophy. Whereas Google and the other search engines use to consider different terms independently, and then try to find good matches for them within indexed web pages, the focus now is on understanding the intent behind the search string.

In other words, Google is no longer satisfied to show you results for the exact phrase you are looking for… instead, it wants to anticipate the answers and information you need, and deliver those as quickly and accurately as possible.

For searchers, this means more precision and a heavy dose of common sense. For marketers and business owners, it means singing to Google's new tune if you want to continue to see traffic flow to your site.

Here are a few steps you can take to get started:

Stop worrying about traditional search engine optimization techniques. Because Google is adopting a contextual approach to determining search results, things like keyword density and inbound link volume no longer matter in the way they used to. The focus is on high-quality content from here on out, not simple statistics.

Focus on visitor engagement. One of the ways that Google figures out which pages are "better" than others, in the absence of strict keyword-matching, is by looking at the way visitors behave on the site. If they spend a lot of time, click through to other links, or comment on it in their social profiles, it's going to gain more credibility – and see more search traffic. Build your content accordingly.

Organize your content for readers and viewers. Beyond coming up with great content, it's important that you organize it in a way that's easy for readers to find, scan, and search. The old rules of "one topic per page" don't necessarily have to apply, especially since you're not trying to divide keywords between one page or section and another.

Keep the great content coming. With Hummingbird in place, the best content is fresh, unique, and interesting to readers. So, even though you might not need as many keywords as you did before, you do still need lots of timely and relevant articles and blog posts.

Looking for creative ideas and experienced Internet marketing advice? Get in touch with WebRevelation today and see what our team of experts can do for you.

 

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SEM , content


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