Marketing isn’t just about how you promote your business. It’s a culture. It defines the way you think about your business and your customers. It lays out the future for your business. Marketing rings the cash register. It brings in the sales. It keeps your business running.
Marketing is everything.
Nothing moves off the shelf if there’s no marketing strategy in place. Marketing is everything for a business. It’s always about how the product is positioned, how it’s priced, and how it’s promoted that makes all the difference to your bottom line. It’s been that way for ages and it continues to be that way now.
Ecommerce lives on the Internet and went mobile. But only the medium changed, not trade. The principles of business still remain the same. For your ecommerce store to work, it’s not enough to make sure that your site looks great and that you now have a line of vendors or suppliers for you to source your products from. It’s not enough to list your products for sale. Well, it won’t do even if you had a few customers already.
Your customers still need to hear from you. They ought to like what you have to offer, accept the offer, and complete the transaction. There’s a circus called customer acquisition process at play here and it takes forever for a business to get the act right. Now this, right here, has to grow in numbers over time. That’s how you scale.
To get the act right, you’ll need a planned marketing strategy. Here’s how it ought to be:
The plan, the positioning, and the mindset
If you watched The Profit on CNBC, you’ll meet Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and host of the show. You’ll see that he goes by the principle that business depends on exactly three things: product, process, and people. He calls it the 3 Ps of business.
What he doesn’t tell you (or it’s not so obvious) is that he almost always starts with product positioning and thinks about a marketing strategy. He completes the deal with a shake of the hand and instantly goes about revising the business plan from scratch (in his head).
Position your product as “just another one” and you’ll have to live with “just another price tag.” You don’t make profits that way. Positioning and then pricing is all about marketing from the core. You have to solve a particular problem, and then position your offering as the best way to solve this problem. Your business plan has to account for this positioning. You then have to get into a mindset of working with numbers, pour life into your company’s mission statement, and follow through.
While you are thinking of your marketing plan, you’ll need to think about where your customers will come from. Ecommerce sites will inevitably take to the net as a first choice (it just makes sense). It’s not, however, the only reason why digital marketing is the first choice.
Digital marketing works for ecommerce stores because the target audience funneled through online marketing is already savvy. This audience already understands ecommerce and is willing to whip out the wallet. Plus, online marketing is relatively cheaper, helps you to account for expenses well, and gives you insights – almost real-time – on the performance of your marketing campaigns.
Within online marketing, you’ll need to build the right channels for your marketing.
Apart from the regular options of blogging, social media, SEO, and paid online advertising, would you be launching an affiliate marketing program? Would you be investing in an all-out inbound marketing strategy, email marketing, and mobile marketing? Would you be doing business with selected partners? Will you use traditional advertising in addition to digital marketing?
While we are at it, remember that digital marketing isn’t exactly easy. It’s not even straightforward. There’s a lot that goes into it and so it helps if you are prepared for the long haul. But then, the pay-offs are great.
Marketing was, is, and will always be the engine of trade, and this is all the more true for ecommerce. Rohan Ayyar listed out some valuable tips to market your online store over on Socialnomics.
Think. Execute. Profit.
Expending your limited resources
You have products, a store, and a plan in place. You get support from your channels and the sales will begin to come through. You need more and you can’t depend on any one source for your ecommerce sales. So, what do you do?
The answer: scale up.
You’d need the right team and the right technology to aid you in your scaling efforts. You can have multiple teams dedicated to customer support, marketing, logistics/shipping, sourcing, vendor management, customer management, etc. But then, your resources will be limited and it’s time to revisit the principles of effective management.
Use the right technology
While the point on technology came in here last, you’d be flirting with it even before you start. It begins with the right platform to create your store, going all the way to daily management, marketing, processes, inventory management, and much more.
Using the right tools makes all the difference to how you manage your ecommerce business. Tap into the emergence of SaaS and the various web-based tools available for everything from product displays to time management, from content management to hiring. Shipstation, Shipworks, Sellbrite, ChannelAdvisor.com, Stitchlabs, Ordoro, and SellerExpress.com are a few online tools that come to mind.
Your marketing plan is the answer – and the blueprint for execution – to what you need from your ecommerce business. Starting and setting up the business is one thing, marketing it and running it well is completely something else.
How do you plan to market your business? With a proper (realistically executable) marketing plan, do you think it’s possible to succeed with your ecommerce store? Tell us what’s on your mind!
When something becomes popular, myths will invariably mushroom around it. Social media has now led the way for companies and organizations to create a new sense of purpose – to build trust, to engage with customers better, and to potentially bring in business through the act of thought leadership or influence. So, social media now has hot emerging trends such as social recruiting, social selling, and social intelligence. There are trends, there’s potential, and add to it the fact that social media also happens to be completely free (unless you factor in time, money spent on tools, or payments made to staff or contractors who help you manage your networks and accounts).
As is common for anything this popular, there are some stupid things the world will make you believe about social media – especially eloquent will be the ones who’ve never been on social media, never gained a thing from it, lost half their mind due to it, the naysayers and disbelievers.
They’ll reiterate and repeat it to the point that you’ll start to believe. It doesn’t have to be so. Here are some of those stupid things that you can lend a deaf ear to:
Social media is for teens, kids, and losers
There are social networks for teens. Almost any social media network will have its own share of losers. Kids are usually not a part of the overall buying market (it’s the parents who buy stuff for kids). Social media might have teens and youngsters as a large portion of their collective database but that is the market at which most businesses, online or offline aim for. What’s new about that?
Most B2C businesses will find Facebook to be a social network they can’t afford not to be on. According to an infographic created by Jess3 and shared by Zoe Fox of Mashable, Facebook has long proven itself to be the most engaged of all the other networks.
It’s just not teens and youngsters who are on Facebook too. Since 2009, the average age of Facebook users has steadily been increasing. What’s more, it is now claimed that “oldies” have chased kids and teens off to other social networks!
Ignoring the losers, the 1.2 + billion people with more than 50% of them logging in everyday is a huge database. All businesses, take note.
Social media makes no sense
Social media might look like chaos. Nothing might make sense for the unprepared and the uninitiated. Conversations take on random topics, everything seems to be trending, the world seems to have gotten used to breaking news on Twitter, connecting with friends or family on Facebook, blogging on Tumblr, and networking on LinkedIn. There is, however, method to the madness, sense in every interaction, like, follow, comment, and retort for every user who makes it on any social media network.
It’s up to businesses to find the threads of connections between users who are on social media and make out what they want and what they can get out of it.
Social media is for fun
It’s fun to interact with complete strangers on social media, on a global scale. You can barge into conversations on a seemingly happening or trending hashtag. You could mention any company, celebrity, author, sportsperson, model or business magnate, and probably even elicit a response from them. It’s fun to see your name, brand, or business mentioned. It’s a good feeling to amass followers and fans.
Yet, there’s a calculated effort going into social media. Brands leverage social media and small business owners make connections that last for a long time. Authors get their publishers, salespeople complete deals worth millions of dollars, and random users consume more information through social media than ever.
It’s fun. But it’s the kind of fun that pays.
Social Media has no ROI
This is where I’m going to do most of the talking.
Just google social selling success stories and you’ll realize the extent to which the world discounts the potential of social media for ROI – in the strictest sense of cash, deals, and business. I did this and it made me rather sad. Social selling is here to stay. Add social recruiting to it, and you can actually measure how much a business can save each year by not over-relying on job boards or headhunters. Actual business deals are being made on LinkedIn as we speak. Twitter and Facebook lead to business as well – sometimes directly, but mostly indirectly.
Consider this: Following a random tweet (with a link to a post), a user gets to a website which offers for download a report put out by your company. She reads the report and lets the content marinate in her head. Ten days later, she checks your site and buys your product, because it has been developed incorporating all the desirable traits described in the report.
Not only do social networks work indirectly, but seemingly different websites also work indirectly as social networks. Read that again.
Allow me to elaborate. If you’re looking at hotel reviews, the rants and raves on TripAdvisor could lay bare the difference between truth and marketing. If you’re planning to launch a website, a simple comparison of hosting providers on WhoIsHostingThis will help you decide one that you’d prefer, based on existing customer ratings. And any company that doesn’t care about its customers better be wary of what’s being said about it on RipoffReport. You get the idea – any place where your business is the subject of discussion is social media. Where there is no ROI, there is sentiment.
When millions of people start talking, with friends, family, associates and many others, and when company names, brands, places, and people’s references are thrown about in the open, how can there be no value for beneficiaries involved?
Social media does have ROI. It’s just that it’s slower – and more indirect — than most businesses are used to.
Social media is a time suck
If you spend all day tweeting, updating your status, commenting on others’ posts, and engaging in small talk or random conversations, it’s certainly a time suck. You, however, are a business owner (or a full-fledged, well-staffed company). Most businesses have an organized effort for social media.
Social media can be boxed into a set timeframe. With all updates bulk-loaded into the right tools, all your sharing can happen in a controlled manner. Businesses are strapped for time during the day to respond, retweet, comment, and show other niceties on social media, but the Social Media Hat has some good ways to leverage your time on social media.
Gini Dietrich of SpinSucks.com has a great post on Social Media Today, which points you to the right apps that help you avoid being sucked into the vortex. Social media doesn’t have to be a time-suck when you learn how to manage your time, leverage the many tools available, and strictly ration your time.
If it’s all about time management, why should engagement get a bad rap?
So you finally decided to market online, set up a blog for your business and you start to see some great results, the last thing you want is for one of your competitors to come and drag you back down. You may not realize that they can do this, but it is possible. Unfortunately there are a few different methods that they can use to drag you down, so to help you out, we are going to take a look at some of the more popular ways.
Out Ranking You
The first and most obvious way is to just out rank you. If a competitors outranks you, they are going to bump you down. While you may not like it, that is a part of online marketing. You ended up pushing other people down by ranking higher, so you should expect the same when someone else has out done you.
There are some easy solutions to this problem. Don’t stop marketing to get higher ranks or keep your #1 spot. If you continuously market and use good SEO tactics, then you should be able to keep lower competitors away. If you do see them still outrank you, you may need to bump up your marketing efforts.
A great way to gain authority and increase rank is to build a healthy link profile with other sites that are relevant to your niche. The only problem with this is that what happens when one of those sites has been caught using bad tactics or lowered in quality? They end up losing rank and authority and all of the links that are attached to that site will be dragged down with them.
That is why when you are link building, it is always important to only post on websites that are reliable and trustworthy. No matter what though, you will never have control over all of the websites, so if you do notice some links that are bringing down your rankings, you can always use the disavow tool that Google provides to us. You just let them know which link you do not want to be associated with and they will assist and removing them from your link profile.
Before using the disavow tool, you should always try and contact the website first. A lot of the time they will understand and will have no problem just removing the link. This makes the whole process much more clean and simple.
Black Hat Tactics
If a competitor decides they are determined to lower your rankings, then they can use black hat tactics to try and get your site down. The most popular way is when competitors post your link to completely irrelevant sites and spam it. Unlike the previous example, this is being done intentionally, and can easily be proven. This will not only lower your rankings, but it takes a long time to recover from it. For example, if they decided to link your website to thousands of pornographic sites, then you would need to remove them all and contact Google to have them review your situation. While you may not think your competitors would do that, it can be pretty easy. There are tools that will submit links to all of the websites that allow free back links.
To counteract this, you need to always keep a close eye on your link profile and if you see that this is happening to you, report it right away. Search engines are aware of this type of behavior and have ways of protecting you, so the sooner they know about it, the better it is for you.
Review sites can be such a good place to find traffic, customers, and help your brand… but it can also be a place where your website goes to die. It has been known for competitors to write bad reviews just to make people go over to them, but nowadays it can eventually hurt your rankings. Major review sites are a place where a large chunk of consumers go to get all of the information they need, so if they stop coming to your site due to bad reviews, your rankings will be affected.
Keeping an eye on major review sites will help with this issue because even if they do decide to write something negative, you can defend yourself and also get it removed if it isn’t true.
Whether you’ve already been blogging as a hobby or want to create your own blog so you can start writing about a subject that interests you, most people who blog don’t want to keep the information they write to themselves. Instead, they want to share it with as wide an audience as possible. And because it can take a fair amount of work to build and maintain a sizable audience, it’s normal to want to earn some money for the time you put into blogging.
Now, despite what sleazy info-products may advertise, blogging is not a solution for getting rich overnight. While it is still possible to build a successful blog, doing so requires time and consistency. That being said, if you already have a blog, there’s no reason it can’t start earning some money now. Even though it may not be a huge amount at first, seeing any money coming into your bank account can be very motivational and make you want to put even more effort into blogging.
So, if you want to earn your first dollar from blogging and then continue making more money, here are the top six options you have for monetizing your blog:
The main appeal of AdSense is that it’s very easy to add to a blog. While most people with any online experience agree that it’s not the best way to maximize the value of your blog’s traffic, if you’re interested in giving it a try or want to fill some extra space on your blog, this guide has everything you need to know about optimizing its implementation.
The two big reasons many people prefer monetizing with an affiliate program instead of AdSense is because they get better targeting and higher payouts. If you like the idea of using this option but are afraid it will be too difficult to set up, you’ll be happy to know that the BuildYourWidget.com plugin makes it a breeze to create a showcase for your site that allows you to display any affiliate products that you want to sell to your audience.
Private Ad Sales or Sponsorships
While it definitely requires more work, it’s possible to sell your own ad space instead of having it handled by AdSense or an affiliate network. It’s also worth noting that if you’re already using the Build Your Widget plugin on your site, you can easily update your product showcase based on any private sales deals you close.
Another option for filling your showcase widget is to create and sell your own digital products like ebooks. If you’re worried that it’s going to be too hard to process your own payments and handle delivery, a comprehensive solution like Gumroad is ideal for selling digital products.
Although there’s not an exact metric for determining this point, once your blog hits a certain level of traffic and influence, people will begin viewing you as an authority in your field. Because regular readers of your blog will know just how much valuable information you can provide, they may want one-on-one time with you. A great way to provide that time is to create a paid community through your blog. This will provide you with a new revenue stream, as well as allow you to engage more with the most passionate members of your audience.
Services, Speaking Engagements or Conferences
Just as with starting a paid community, once your blog gets enough traction, there’s really no limit to the ways you can monetize it. Depending on your specific niche, you may find that launching a service is a good fit for your audience. You may also decide that you want to spend more time away from your keyboard and in front of audiences who want to hear you speak. Additionally, you don’t have to limit yourself to only speaking at other events. Instead, you may ultimately decide that you want to sponsor your own conference.
With all these ideas in mind, one thing about blog monetization that’s worth remembering is you don’t have to limit yourself to just one option. In fact, most bloggers find that using multiple methods allows them to maximize what they earn from their blog. Also, don’t ever feel that you have to stick with a specific monetization option. If you feel like it’s not generating as much as it should, don’t be afraid to test out another form of monetization to see if it’s a better fit for your blog and specific audience.
The year 2013 has seen a real surge in mobile technology in areas like SEO trends. As a matter of fact, mobile technology is overtaking everyone’s expectations, and that is a pattern that is definitely going to continue. As consumers integrate phones and tablets ever more into their internet use, it becomes all the more important to cater to those needs.
A great example of this happened just last night. Sitting at a venue waiting for the beginning of a concert, there were screens advertising other shows happening in the coming months. Someone behind me expressed interest in a concert happening a couple of weeks from now. I could hear them behind me, using their smartphone to access a local ticket seller.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t get the site to work properly. “Why don’t they have an app?” he muttered, as he tried to get through the captcha that was creating a compatibility issue with his device. He would have had a much easier time had he known that another ticket retailer had a mo bile website and mobile app to make it easier to make purchases on the go. I had used it to for the very show I was waiting to begin.
If you are reading this, I have to assume you have a mobile site already. That is great, but it means nothing if people don’t know about its existence or have a positive experience using it. Marketing that mobile site is a crucial element to the whole process. Otherwise, like my fellow live music lover last night, your target audience won’t be bringing in the profits that they should be.
Don’t panic. Marketing a mobile site is similar in most ways to marketing any other. You are just targeting a slightly different user base. Here are seven great ways to market your mobile website.
- Use a Good Platform For The Site. Not all mobile services are created equal, and when you are using a bad platform for your mobile site you are asking for trouble. You want a service that is customizable, upgradable, easy to use and has all of the tools and features that you need. Luckily, there are a lot of good ones out there to choose from. One example is Mobi Manage, which actually breaks things down into specialty categories like auto, retail, associations, real estate and more. They also offer marketing packages, so you can control your campaign and aim it at a mobile audience from your dashboard. For something more basic and cheaper (though less feature heavy) you can try MobiSiteGalore.
- Use SMS. Have you seen those little notices on business sites offering people the chance to get special offers through text messages? This is a fantastic approach, and an affordable way to market directly to the mobile crowd. You can either put it somewhere on your site itself as a subscription service, or offer it as a selection when someone makes a purchase or creates an account. But you have to give people an incentive to accept this marketing form, such as special offers by text only.
- Make An App. Having a mobile website is a great idea. But many smartphone and tablet users would prefer to have an app where they can directly engage with you, your content, and your products. You may find this a better goal for your particular brand, as consumers love making in-app purchases, or being able to quickly navigate a site in such a simple way.
- Launch a Mobile Ad Campaign. Unlike traditional ad campaigns, these are made specifically for mobile users and screens. Often attached to ads or mobile site pages, it is a cost efficient way to improving your visibility on the mobile market. You can buy a cost-per-click program that is similar to others you might use for online advertising. But it is usually better to buy a bundled package of 1,000 clicks.
- Enhance Your Bidding. Mobile users don’t do that much searching. It makes up a tiny sliver of the amount of time they are going to spend on the web through their smartphones. You have to make the most out of every second, which means using enhanced bidding features to narrow down data. One of the best articles I have seen written on this topic was by Jeremy Hull on Clickz.
- Make Your Mobile Site User Friendly. It isn’t enough to have an adaptive or secondary mobile site that offers the same content. Users want something that is easy to navigate, offers them the features they need from a mobile perspective, and is less content heavy. Remember to only include the most crucial elements of a website on the mobile version. Offer plenty of easily accessible links to other related pages. Streamline the process of making purchases as much as possible.
- Use Your Mobile Site. One of the most important parts of marketing is making sure what you market is high quality. Use your mobile site yourself, and often. Be honest about how good it is, what features it has, what can be added and taken away. Use other mobile sites to see how they have handled certain parts of their design.
It is important to have a mobile website these days. Just make sure people know it is there, and that their experience using it is a positive one. If you manage those two things, you will be in good shape.
Back in the beginning of SEO marketing, long tail keywords were considered one of the best ways to gain traffic. Over time they have lost their appeal, being replaced by shorter, more popular keywords. However, the internet changes and there is a lot of value to be found in long tail keywords as can be seen in this infographic by HitTail. You just have to know how to make it work for your business.
Understanding Long Tail Keywords.
It’s important to understand what long tail keywords are. Ian Lurie describes the long tail as “Specific, niche search phrases, usually more than 2 words in length, that offer a low competition, low search volume and high searcher intent. “ For example, instead of the keyword ‘shirts’ you might have the phrase ‘dress shirts for church’ which is much more specific and gives you a far greater idea of what the user is actually looking for.
What People are looking for?
You must find the long tail keywords that users are looking for in regards to your business. If you have a business that sells dress shirts, then you want to know what people are searching for related to dress shirts. Suggester is an excellent free tool that will show you exactly what people are looking for in regards to your phrase.
Make the information work for you.
Once you’ve discovered what people are looking for, it’s time to do something with that knowledge. Now this may sound easier said than done, or like it’s going to be more trouble than it’s worth, but it’s not. The conversion rate for long tail keywords is far greater than that of short keywords because it receives a significantly greater amount of traffic as illustrated here on The Moz Blog making it an incredibly valuable tool when used right.
So how do you actually use this to your advantage?
Neil Patel describes exactly how you can focus your efforts on turning the benefits of long tail SEO into profits by focusing not on your page ranking, but on high converting landing pages based on the long tail keywords.
Don’t Abandon Other Methods
Obviously long-tail SEO should not be your main marketing tool, but it is a highly valuable one that can significantly increase your website traffic and ultimately your sales. Some suggest that having a solid SEO strategy in the first place will eventually create long-tail SEO which is true; good SEO should lead to your site getting picked up when someone uses a longer search term.
However, what optimizing for long term SEO does on top of that is create a broader net with each part working on its own to increase your site’s visibility. For example, a really good fisherman is going to go catch a lot of fish with skill and the right bait with just a pole, but a really good fisherman is going to catch a lot more fish if he also adds a fishing net to what he’s already doing.
Using long tail SEO is a great way will help increase your visibility, your traffic, and your sales if you use it right. It was the marketing tool of the past and it’s quickly becoming the tool of the future as well.
It’s something you hear time and time again in the web development and SEO community, “search engines love WordPress”. Many who are new to web design or are administering a WordPress site for the first time may automatically assume that WordPress comes SEO-optimized out of the box. Well, it doesn’t. There are several tweaks and plugins you must deal with first in order to make your WordPress installation SEO-friendly. Before you install any plugins, be sure to adjust your permalink settings. To do this go to Settings->Permalinks. Change these settings to anything but default. Because WordPress posts and pages are generated dynamically using a combination of PHP and MySQL the default URL string can be quite messy. I prefer to use “post name” settings, where the title of your post is what appears in the URL. Unless you’re running news site with high levels of traffic I would stay away from using the category structure. It creates canonicalization issues which causes certain content to get indexed multiple times.
After you’ve adjusted your permalink settings then it’s time to add a few essential WordPress plugins for SEO.
1) Yoast SEO
Simply put this is the most comprehensive plugin for technical, on-site SEO. It directly accesses your .htaccess and robots.txt files to perform a number of rewrite and redirect functions. Among its capabilities:
- Titles and Meta – This section allows you to force rewrite titles (individually adjust title and meta descr. at the page level) and allows you to noindex subpages, the meta keywords tag, and keep search engines from using DMOZ and Yahoo directory listings to automatically populate meta information in search results. You can also set defaults for post and page titles, categories, and author archives.
- Social Settings – This section makes it easy to administer the FaceBook open graph on your website. This is a nice feature for adding social interaction to your website. You can also access Google Plus and Twitter analytics. The most valuable thing from this section may be the ability to see FaceBook insights from within your WordPress dashboard.
- Sitemaps – While some debate the importance/overall effect of manually adding site maps yo your website the Yoast plugin makes it easy to administer. Hide/disallow directories at your convenience.
- Internal Links – Here you can adjust breadcrumb settings and taxonomies for different posts and categories.
I used to use Platinum SEO but I’ve found Yoast’s plugin to be more comprehensive. If you plan on utilizing self-hosted video you may want to check out the Yoast Video plugin. It automatically creates video site maps on your website, which (in theory) utilize metadata to produce rich-snippets in search results.
2) W3 Total Cache
Page caching is a popular way to enhance the speed of your website. W3 Total Cache aims to improve user experience by reducing the time it takes to download a web page by storing elements on the users browser so when they go from page to page they don’t have to “re-download” things. Some notable features:
- Page Cache – This increases the scale of your web server by reducing response times.
- Minify – When you’re adding multiple plugins and/or working with a premium theme you run into the problem of their bring too many style sheets. Minify combines the style rules onto fewer sheets.
- DataBase Cache – Since page and post content is stored in MySQL databases it’s smart to optimize the performance of them.
- CDN – Integrates with whatever Content Delivery Network you use. If you have an media-heavy website I highly suggest using a 3rd party to host the files.
Browser caching is by no means a new concept. This plugin makes it easy to administer caching from within the backend of WordPress.
3) Quick Page Post Redirects
Rather than go in and make manual edits to your website’s .htaccess file (which requires FTP access and a certain level of coding knowledge) Quick Page Post Redirects allows you to add redirects from within the WordPress backend. This plugin is very comprehensive and has steadily added features since I’ve been using it. Notable features include:
- Master Override Options – Allows you to set master options for that turn off all redirects, make all redirects “nofollow”, open in new windows and much more.
- Plugin Clean Up – This option will clean up (erase) all of the redirects you’ve perviously set with the plugin.
- Quick Redirects – The performs basic manual redirect options. Sometimes when we have broken links or canonical issues we want to “clean things up a little”. We can manually redirect specific URLs in this section.
- Redirect Summary – Gives an overview of all the URLs you’re redirecting using this plugin.
Performing redirects can be a tricky enterprise. Webmasters sometimes go crazy with redirects and can seriously mess up their indexation with search engines. Use this plugin carefully.
There are literally hundreds of SEO-related plugins that aim to boost your organic traffic and overall visibility in search engines. You can SEO-optimize your website until you’re blue in the face but if the content that you’re pushing out there sucks all of your efforts will be in vain. Making your WordPress site search engine “friendly” doesn’t guarantee you high placements in search results. If you’re looking for a quick fix to bring traffic to your website then you may want to consider PPC/Display advertising. It’s pricey but often times effective in understanding what visitors do when they get to your website. With keyword reports disappearing in Google analytics (thanks to encrypted search) PPC can offer insight into how well your site scores when people have specific, keyword-driven queries. SEO should be considered a long-term strategy. Covering your bases in regards to the technical SEO aspects is only the first step.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is slowly adding video advertisements to its site. YouTube, on the other hand, has tons of video advertisements on its dashboard or features one before you’ll be able to watch the video clip. Because of this trend, it’s safe to say that utilizing videos in every possible application has been the largest push done by social media sites these days.
But how are videos important to those who visit a website? Does it have an impact in terms of SEO rankings?
Surprisingly, adding videos on the website can make a lot of difference if done correctly. As a matter of fact, it helps increase the user’s experience since 17% of Internet users are willing to hang around in a certain site to watch a 3-minute video. And when it comes to value of time, 3 minutes is already considered valuable especially for advertisers.
In order to maximize the use of video and help increase your website’s SEO ranking, here are some tips and tricks to help you get through.
Tip No. 1. Words still matter, a lot. Words are often neglected when making a video, thinking that people are just going to watch anyway. The truth is, it’s still needed. Upload transcripts to the video page since it works as a framework for SEO. Otherwise, you may use the ‘description’ area to post the transcript of your video.
Tip No. 2. The keyword phrase should match the title of the video. Choosing the right keywords is crucial since the ‘searchable’ factor of your video depends on it. It helps index your video for people to see. The good news is that search engines are helping you come up with the right keywords according to your content. When you’re able to find the accurate matches for your content, use those words in coming up with a video title. Aside from the title, these keywords can also be included in the ‘description’ section.
Tip No. 3. Quality is still important. Every video created should have both a quality dialogue and video resolution. Even if you are able to come up with the right set of keywords but the work lacks quality and content, viewers will leave or worse, post negative comments. Keep in mind that aside from making something out of those videos, you still want to share something to the people and that is “information.”
Tip No. 4. Sharing is the key. If you are able to provide a quality content that is watchable and acceptable to the viewers, there is a greater possibility of sharing it to various social media sites. The number of likes and comments on the video itself will also matter. And once you’ve seen the positive feedback from the public, you know you’ve successfully done your part.
Tip No. 5. Upload the video on YouTube. It may sound as a cliché but YouTube can definitely help boost your SEO ranking. As the second largest search engine, YouTube has 1 billion visitors every month so the chances of getting your video noticed, especially if it’s a quality one, is really high. Plus, it has various sharing options which viewers can use. So when it comes to video hosting, YouTube should be your first option.
Tip No. 6. Keep your videos crawling. YouTube may have provided various sharing and embedding options. Unfortunately, site owners were being penalized because they have been abusing the system intended only to enhance the user experience. In further increasing your rankings, you may want to utilize the “old-school” embed option – the html tag. This way, you are assured that your video will be indexed without having to worry about paying for penalties.
Tip No. 7. Create a Video Sitemap. A video sitemap is the culmination of all your SEO strategies. When you’re able to make a sitemap exclusively for your videos, search engines will use it as a single stop to index relevant videos which viewers can easily see. There are several ways on how to create a sitemap depending on the video hosting platform you will use. You can check out Phile Nottingham’s step-by-step instructions for more information.
These tips do not guarantee anything. Although it may take some time, these tricks are proven to increase the video’s ranking.
It’s incredibly important to have a system when it comes to monitoring your backlinks because things can get so confusing. Because creating a link profile is so important when it comes to ranking well on a Google search results page, companies and individuals are finding tons of creative ways to earn a variety of links—infographics, forums and comments, cross-linking, social media networks, contributing guest articles, etc. It’s best to start creating a strategy for monitoring your links early so you can benefit later as your backlinks start to add up.
Keeping everything straight is a great way to find new link building opportunities as well as make sure that no spam websites are pointing back to your site in any way (Google will bring your rankings down if you’re connected to spam-type websites). You want to make sure you have authoritative links, and you want to make sure that the links you have earned remain active, and the Monitor Backlinks tool is a way to make that happen.
How the Monitor Backlinks Tool Works
You sign up here first and then will have access to your account and your personal dashboard. On the dashboard you will have the option to add links or domains. You have two different options when it comes to adding your links, which are shown in the screenshot below:
If you choose the option where you connect with Google Analytics, you’ll also be prompted to add in your competition. This is a really great feature and it’s all automated, so you don’t have to do much work (side note: it can take up to 24 hours to gather all of the data). Once you choose what you want to do, you’ll have all of the different options discussed above and you’ll be able to see them all on your dashboard. As you can see from my sample dashboard below, I can filter all of my links to make things easier and even export the links if I wanted to back up all of the information:
If neither of these options work for you, you can scroll down the page just a bit and see three other options: Check your backlinks for free, import links from a CSV file, or bookmarklet (adding from the browser).
Monitor Backlinks Pricing Options
Prices vary from $19 to $99 per month with the option to create a custom package with a custom price. The particular trial that I used was the premium version, or the version that allows you to monitor the most backlinks, because it gives you access to everything. This package typically costs $99 per month, but you can try it for 30 days free. This is what I did at first and the plan I’m going to stick with after the 30 day trial.
The Monitor Backlinks Verdict: Easy to Use with Excellent and Relevant Options
First, this tool was incredibly easy to use. As you can see from the dashboard screenshot above, you have filters you can use that don’t take you to another page or leave you feeling like you can’t find your data. It’s really all there, in one place, and I know exactly how to see it and exactly how to add more domains and more likes (a big red “+Add” button is just what I need when worrying about something as confusing as backlinks).
Second, because I can connect with my Google Analytics, I really felt like I was able to get a clear picture of all the links without missing a beat. It wasn’t my responsibility or the tool’s responsibility to find the links—it was Google Analytics, which is something I trust. Overall I felt incredibly confident using this tool and I know that there are tons of possibilities the more I add to it.
Lastly when it comes to pricing, I would say that the tool is priced well. You have many different options and different plans (more than the usual 3), and I don’t think many would really need to monitor an unlimited amount of domains, so that brings down the price. In comparison to other tools of its kind, this one is definitely the best I’ve seen and something every serious link builder, guest blogger, or SEO should have in his/her toolbox.
A Few Issues with the Monitor Backlinks Tool
The thing I found a little bit confusing was the dropdown menus at the top of the screen, one labeled “dashboard” and one labeled “SEO tools.” It took me a while to realize that these even existed, and when you click on an option it takes you to an entirely new page that might be a bit confusing. Almost everything is in one place except for these few choices. Below is a screenshot of the choices you have that you could easily miss:
You also have a credit system for the Advanced Backlink Checker tool that doesn’t seem to be discussed much. This is something else that I missed, and I was left confused about how I earned credits and why I wanted them. I got an email from the CEO saying I earned one credit, and this left me confused. You can find your credits under your profile picture in the top right hand corner, and when you click it you see this screen:
Apparently you buy credits, but I wasn’t really aware that this was an option so I had to spend some time deciding if the Advanced Backlink Checker tool was really worth it. In the end, I just felt like any type of credit system was making things disorganized.
Cool Extra Features Monitor Backlinks Offers
What makes a tool go from great to absolutely amazing are the little extra things that the company does to help make your life easier. I found a few of these little hidden gems as I’ve gone through and used the tool:
- There is a live chat option at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen so you can ask any question, any time.
- CEO Razvan Girmacea actually emailed me as soon as I started my premium version trial to let me know who he was and how I can contact him if I need anything. This isn’t something I’ve found with any other tool, so it was a great feature.
- If you post your Monitor Backlinks custom link on your Facebook or Twitter page, the company will actually give you $25 for each user that signs up for a premium account.
If you’re interested in getting started with a free trial of Monitor Backlinks, visit this link. Here you will find pricing information and be able to sign up in a matter of seconds. Once you do sign up, come back and let us know what you think of the tool.
Making the most out of your small business reputation online involves many of the factors that build your brand to begin with. Using your reputation as leverage to push down negative results in search engines while at the same time increase sales, reduce costs, or build relationships can occur naturally as your company’s reputation grows. Simply put, there are five factors that will help you to optimize your company’s reputation online and help remedy any online reputation management issues.
Leverage Strategic Online Relationships
Keeping pace in today’s business environment demands that your company remain sharp in every area of business. However, in the real world there are simply too many aspects of business to be experts at everything. So, it’s a good idea for companies to establish and nurture strategic relationships with other experts. The strategic relationships may lead to outsourcing contracts or distribution points in the future. Healthy relationships with other experts and leaders in related fields may be the key to giving your company a friendly advantage. In addition, guest posting opportunities may arise to allow you to post content on their sites or vise versa – drawing in visitors as well as helping with SEO.
Make Quality Improvements
Prioritizing the bulk of your organization’s resources into one specific area can serve as the catalyst for a world of growth. Your organization needs to continue to perform its basic functions to a high standard in order to both build and benefit from its reputation. It is only right that your organization should be benefiting from your foundation work. However, being the best at what your company produces will solidify your place at the top of the industry and likely the top of the SERPs.
Eventually, other industry professionals will reference your work, link to you, and consider it the new standard. As an added bonus, focusing on your core competency amasses cost savings. The savings usually get noticed when a company is able to retain money that it would have otherwise spent on labor unrelated to their actual product or service.
A study conducted by Hubspot showed that social media produces double the amount of leads as telemarketing, direct mail, or trade shows. Hubspot went on to report that companies with more 1000 Facebook likes also receive roughly 1,400 website visits per day. Those are powerful statistics once you consider the fact that leads generated through social media are 13% higher than average (HubSpot). Meanwhile, let’s not overlook the fact that access to the most popular social media platforms is free of cost. Social media is the greatest tool that we know of for capitalizing on a quality brand name.
From an SEO perspective, social media accounts can be a great way to claim your brand and push down branded results in search engines that may rise to the top that you don’t want to be there.
Leave an Impression on Your Core Consumer Online
Understanding your customers is essential for staying relevant. Today’s consumers need to be engaged quite often. During the course of interacting with your audience you will know if their needs are changing. Providing great customer service means being able to adapt to the ever changing need of your audience. In order for this to happen, your business needs to correspond with consumers frequently. Using a good resource such as Reputation.com can increase your online presence. The Reputation Facebook Page also provides regular updates that you can glean information from for future use.
Accessing your particular client base is likely to differ slightly from other businesses. Nonetheless, interacting with them on a consistent basis can help spread positive word of mouth marketing. Here are 3 tips for staying in tune with your core consumer base:
1. Poll your customers to find out what they think
2. Interpret your poll results in a way that helps you to understand their preferences.
3. Place yourself in the shoes of your customers
Create an Online Public Relations Campaign
Public relations refers to the management of public attitudes. It is important to any company that the public receive them in a positive light. A bad public perception is a disaster in the making. Therefore, companies that want to have a good overall reputation need to put effort into positive public relations campaigns. Companies need to be able to provide consumers with a good image from unbiased sources. For this reason, public relations campaigns usually involve press releases and media news releases, which often rank very well in search engines. Public relations campaigns are also excellent ways to gain favor in the sight of your peers in business.
Look to utilize each of the above business reputation tips to help drive positive results to the top of search engines for branded terms as well as grow and maintain your existing business online.