Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

5 Facebook Marketing Pack Leaders

Sep 26, 2011   //   by James   //   Contests, SEO Blog, Social Media  //  4 Comments

This is a guest post from James Adams. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

Facebook may be the perfect way to keep in touch with friends online, but it’s also an increasingly important venue for businesses to engage with customers. As the social network becomes ever more prevalent, the marketing sector of the site has exploded – although many businesses have been thrown aside during the boom.

Find out which businesses have a handle on Facebook marketing with our top 5 pack leaders.

iTunes
You might say iTunes has got it easy, it a business with plenty of content to share and give away by its very nature, but where this Facebook page really shines is in its ‘Featured’ tab. There users find everything from free music podcasts and the option to share tunes with friends to exclusive offers, just the kind of things that tempt them to click like.

Redbull
A brand well known for its quirky adverts, Redbull has managed to bring much of the same feeling of fun to its Facebook page. The killer move has to be the relationship the drinks company has built with athletes – and the way it allows sports fans to connect to their favourite stars. Exclusive content, Redbull TV and a range of its own games and apps, this is a page easy to lose hours to.

Skyscanner
A flight comparisons site that certainly doesn’t have its head in the clouds, Skyscanner is leading the way when it comes to functional Facebook offerings. Users can post a flight request on Skyscanner’s Wall and receive a price quote and flight details back in seconds – all without having to leave the page or download an app. For example, if you were thinking of flying from London to New York in November, you would just type something like ‘London NY November’ and it would ping you back a best price and a link to the website to continue your booking. Other fun functions include a regular ‘where in the world’ where users are asked to place a holiday snap by country as well as thought provoking Q&A sessions and polls.

Toy Story
Film studio Pixar knows how to do something right, and the Facebook page for Toy Story is a perfect example of this. Not only is their page crammed with cute content, such as the excellent Toy creator’ app, it’s also nice and functional. When Toy Story 3 was released, fans could buy tickets without ever leaving their Facebook page and the same can now be done for DVDs.

Ben and Jerry’s
Already well loved for its inventive ice creams, this brand has brought the same innovative approach to its Facebook page – and with great success. With campaigns such as the app that let users turn their text upside down to celebrate ‘Flipped Out’ ice cream to apps offering free tubs, there’s something there for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Having a Facebook presence is about more than just having a Facebook page. It’s about engaging with people. It doesn’t take much work either. Could you host a monthly Q&A session? It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, where that’s marketing, construction, publishing – the important thing is to establish yourself as an expert and thought leader, or if you already have that status to use it to build a stronger social media presence.

James

James writes for PrNewsHub, a UK travel news and features blog.

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A Rebranding and Reputation Management Case Study Featuring Netflix

Sep 22, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   blogging, Contests, SEO Blog  //  6 Comments

This is a guest post from Chris Help. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

Yesterday I got an email from my wife asking “what the hell is this?” with a long, personal sounding email attached. At first glance I thought it was from her ex-boyfriend (after 3 years of marriage I still hate that guy). But upon closer inspection I realized it was from Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix. My interest was captured.

In case you didn’t know, Netflix recently announced that they were changing their pricing structure. They were offering both online streaming and rental-by-mail services starting at around 10 bucks a month. However, they were now separating the 2 services and charging 8 dollars for each one.

Hey, it pissed me off. And apparently a lot of other people as well. In fact, there was quite the stir about it online.

Now usually in a situation like this, a company will choose one of the following courses of action:

  1. Ignore it and move on.
  2. Attempt to justify their actions.
  3. Issue a public apology.

Netflix chose option 3 and did so in quite the fashion. Did they make the right choice? And how well did they pull it off? I don’t know… let’s take a closer look.

Netflix Gets “Personal” Touch

Below I have pasted the exact email my wife received. The plan is to divide it up into sections and dissect each one to see what they did, how they did it, why they did it, and if I think it will be successful. The letter is in italics to keep it separate. Sound good? Let’s get started…

Subject Line: An Explanation and Some Reflections

Eh. To me this was week. To someone like my wife who pays very little attention to emails from people like Netflix, this subject line could easily have gotten lost in the mix. And it certainly didn’t help her understand who it was from or why. Too generic. Now you’re probably saying “didn’t it say it was from Netflix in your inbox? Not exactly…it said it was from Reed Hastings, CEO and Co-founder of Netflix. The last part of his title was easily lost in the “from” column in the inbox.

Dear Cori,

Here Mr. Hastings begins by directly addressing my wife by name. At this point, we don’t know who this is from but we think “hm, they must know me.” So we read on.

I messed up.  I owe you an explanation.

Okay, now you’ve got my attention. Not knowing who this is, I get that lump in my throat and am wondering:

  1. Who wronged me?
  2. What sort of bombshell are they about to drop on me?

So I read one—but with dread.

 It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes.  That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology.   Let me explain what we are doing.

There’s a lot going on here. But first let me state, I still don’t know who the hell this is from. That said, once I start reading and I hit the word “members” I immediately realize this same email was sent to a group of other people. My next thought is “this is an advertising gimmick.” And quite frankly, if my wife hadn’t sent it to me wondering who it was from and what they were talking about, I would have stopped reading on the spot and deleted it.

But I kept reading. Anyway, this paragraph does a few things:

  • It lets us know the company is listening to their customers’ feedback.
  • It explains what the complaints are for those unaware.
  • It offers a personal apology.
  • It lets me know that Mr. Hastings plans to explain his earlier actions in the rest of the email.

Most of this is good, except I can’t help but think I’m about to read something full of excuses. You know, someone trying to dig their way out of a hole. How about just a straight up “sorry, we screwed up!” and leave it at that? Eh...moving on with skepticism.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn't make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming.   Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us).  So we moved quickly into streaming, but I should have personally given you a full explanation of why we are splitting the services and thereby increasing prices.  It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.

Hm, I’m starting to change my mind. Mr. Hastings states a very real problem for businesses like Borders that are collapsing. Keeping up with changing times is difficult. He also makes sure to stick by his guns in respect to the pricing change, which doesn’t sound as bad now that we realize his company was in danger of going under. That said, he makes sure to admit fault for what he believes he did wrong—not adequately explaining what was happening. Keeping me, the customer, out of the loop.

           So here is what we are doing and why.

The explanation he made me realize I have been waiting for all along is about to come. I like how he let this sentence stand alone. It created a nice breaking point for the email and helped place emphasis where it should be. A great copywriting technique.

               Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD.  DVD is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection of movies.

                    I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want.  The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail.  We need to focus on rapid improvement as streaming technology and the market evolves, without maintaining compatibility with our DVD by mail service.

Mr. Hastings first explains the benefits of each of their two services. This accomplishes 2 goals.

  1. It makes me realize they are offering 2 very different services, each with its own perks.
  2. It re-sells me on their service offerings. As someone who may have become disenchanted with the company after the big announcement, this is a chance for me to remember what’s in it for me if I continue doing business with them. Another good copywriting move.

So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.

Sounds logical now that he broke them down into 2 distinct categories. Darnit all if this guy isn’t winning me over!

         It’s hard to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary:  In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”.  We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery.  We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming.

Here I picture Mr. Hastings getting teary-eyed. After all, who really likes change? The guy is tugging at my heart strings here. Meanwhile, he announces the rebranding of the original Netflix—somewhat reluctantly. And while he explains the name, which seems logical enough, I can’t help but feel like the DVD-by-mail thing is going to die a slow death. He doesn’t seem too amped on it and the streaming section gets to keep the original name. If I’m with Netflix mainly for the mail order, I’m not at all happy right now.

       Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to.  It is just a new name, and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access their DVD queues and choose movies.  One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games.    Members have been asking for video games for many years, but now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done.  Other improvements will follow.  A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated.

Knowing that I’m unhappy with the announcement, Mr. Hastings tries to save himself here. He gives a half assed attempt at assuring me nothing will change. And he even tries to make me think it’s only going to get better. But I’m no fool, Mr. Hastings. Your heart is no longer in this. The writing is on the wall. Bye bye, Netfl…errr… Qwikster!

       There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!).  If you subscribe to both services you will have two entries on your credit card statement, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix.  The total will be the same as your current charges.  We will let you know in a few weeks when the Qwikster.com website is up and ready.

If I were him, I would have put the first line of this paragraph in all bolds. Because after all, the price increase is the most annoying part of the whole thing. And now he’s saying it won’t go up…anymore. However, if I’m upset enough about the recent price change to unsubscribe, this won’t win me back. But if I’m on the fence, well--maybe.

       For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy.  The new envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo.   I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard.  I imagine it will be similar for many of you.

Rebranding without rebranding. New logo, yet still the same colors we connected with. Will the logo be enough to break that emotional attachment? He hopes not. But he puts himself in this again and explains his own emotional turmoil, bringing back that personal feeling and forcing me to put myself in his shoes… or is he trying to put himself in my shoes? Effective.

       I want to acknowledge and thank you for sticking with us, and to apologize again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them thoughtlessly.

      Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust.  We know it will not be overnight.  Actions speak louder than words.  But words help people to understand actions.

And a closing apology. What’s done is done.

Respectfully yours, 

-Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix 

p.s. I have a slightly longer explanation along with a video posted on our blog, where you can also post comments.

Ah the P.S. One of the oldest direct mail copywriter tricks in the book. He knows I’ll read the P.S. and let’s me know I have an outlet to express my thoughts. Smart.

Brilliant or Bust?

Here’s what it comes down to. I think they made some mistakes (like I bet a bajillion people deleted this email before it was ever read) but the email itself is fairly effective overall. And when you have made as many customers upset as Netflix has, the worst thing you can do is nothing. That said, I think they made the right move. A “sincere” apology with a logical explanation and no backing down.

What will this mean for their business? Only time will tell…

What are your thoughts? Reputation management success? Rebranding fail? Tell me about it in the replies.

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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SEO: Art, Science and Luck

Sep 21, 2011   //   by Shannon Evans   //   Contests, Google, SEO, SEO Blog  //  11 Comments

This is a guest post from Shannon Evans. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

Being in the SEO business now for a couple of years, I have read many articles on SEO. Countless posts discuss how SEO is both an art and science. I agree on both these points, however I also think a little bit of luck also goes into the mix.

Science
Even though no one but a few people at Google (cough Matt Cutts cough) know exactly what the SERPs are going to generate, we can do enough experiments to figure out a few things.

We know how to search relevant keywords, links from high ranking sites give us juice and what worked last month may or may not work this month. We may not have white coats and work in a lab, but SEO specialists are scientists of the Internet. We do experiments constantly and try to get our sites on the coveted first page of Google.

Keeping strict records of all link building efforts and analyzing all of the data you keep is a must in the SEO industry. Are certain keywords not preforming like they used to? Did you do something different? If not, you need to move your strategy in a new direction. In the SEO world Excel and other tools are your best friend.

Art
There is also an art to SEO. Sometimes you know a keyword may not be highly searchable, but if you play around and think of similar words you could hit SEO gold. It takes a very analytical person to be a great scientist, but in SEO you need to be analytical and artistic.

Take guest posting for example. We know guest posts help with link building, yet if you can’t write a great article chances are you won’t get  your link on many blogs. Now not all SEO specialists write guest posts. However, when looking at all the data you collect on a monthly basis, you need to be able to think outside the SEO box. How can you take your efforts to the next level. That is something your tools or Excel won’t tell you.

Luck
Ok, I might be going out on a limb here, but I think some of SEO is luck. Maybe not all the time, but there are those rare occations you just figure out something on accident—or as I like to put it luck. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does its fantastic.

It’s not to say that you didn’t implement an idea without an educated guess. However, I am a believer in luck. Maybe it’s the optimist inside me, but I think sometimes you take a leap of faith and it works. Sometimes the word luck gets used negatively, but in this instance I think sometimes when you stumble upon something that works, it’s luck.

Shannon Evans

Shannon Evans Suetos is an online marketer living is San Diego, and the owner of What's Your Two Cents?  WYTC is a blog dedicated to reporting the latest trending news topics to spark a conversation among readers. You can also follow Shannon on Twitter @ShannonEvansSM.

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Your Best Internet Marketing Asset > Your Blog

Sep 20, 2011   //   by Melvin Dichoso   //   Contests, internet marketing, SEO, SEO Blog  //  13 Comments

This is a guest post from Melvin Dichoso. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

In general, there’s just one thing that you need to be really good at, in order for you to make money or simply just succeed in your online business. This one thing is called ‘internet marketing’, and its really nothing new.  But internet marketing is a very big subject that keeps on constantly moving and a lot of people can easily get confused with it. With that in mind, in this post I will be discussing why you should utilize the best internet marketing asset that you might already have – your blog.

Why Your Blog Is Your Best Asset

Blog is your best asset for the sole reason that it covers most of the things that you need in order to market what you have competitively. Also, everyone loves blogging so it shouldn’t be really hard for you to do this. You’re not going to do blogging lividly since its not really burdensome, you know what I mean?

If you’re still not convinced, here are some of the things that should nail it down for you:

It covers relationship building

Blogging covers the most important aspect of business which is relationship building. Because you’re writing mostly free stuff, it allows your popularity to grow but at the same time it helps you establish your expertise.

This is good because over time your adding more and more people to your blog which should then help you know more about your audience. It’s also inherently obvious that people start to buy what you have when you offer them good value continuously and in blogging, the good value that you provide is free.

SEO becomes nuts

While most people are going to work hard with search engine optimization for their business, you don’t have to because blogging will take care of that.

I worked with businesses that have their blog as the main driver of their traffic and also their main weapon for boosting search rankings. You probably have seen some companies use their blogs as well to increase exposure to their sites. Also, its not hard to rank at all really. You install a wordpress blog, grab all the necessary plugins, write good content and that should be it. The best thing about blogs is that they have what search engines crave for which  is content.

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Melvin Dichoso

Melvin Dichoso is a blogger and internet marketer who writes at MelvinBlog Dot Com. He's currently giving away a free report called the Blog Marketing Guide for his newsletter subscribers. He also tweets out occasionally.

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Why World of Warcraft Made Me a Good SEO

Sep 19, 2011   //   by Mitch Monsen   //   blogging, Contests, SEO Blog  //  29 Comments
This is a guest post from Mitch Monsen. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.

Sometimes you find something that you enjoy so thoroughly (or that helps you escape so well) that it robs you of your time and poisons your relationships. For some, it’s drugs, alcohol. For me, it was World of Warcraft. This isn’t a “MMOs are Satan” post, so don’t close the page. After about a year of being “off the stuff,” I’ve had some time to sit down and really think about WoW and its effect on my life. This post is a rational look at how playing the game the way I did made me into a good SEO. In fact, the hardcore WoW raiding environment could almost be a training ground for potential SEOs, assuming they’re good at breaking meth addictions.I suppose in a way, this is a cathartic exercise for me, as I can’t recall hardly any positive memories from this time period, and this is some way of extracting some benefit from it. Either way, the principles still apply.

So why on earth would wasting life playing a video game make you a good SEO? There are several parallels that legitimately surprised me when I investigated them.

Networking/Linkbuilding
It all started with an ability to network. A lot of people can play World of Warcraft casually and reap marginal rewards and be just fine with that. I can’t. And, in order to get into the higher-tier guilds, you have to know people. No, seriously. You HAVE to know somebody, or you’ve got no shot.

As is symptomatic of nearly every situation where skill is involved (video game teams, jobs, sports teams, etc), in WoW, you had to prove you were already good/well-equipped before you’d even be considered. These requirements/expectations only increased as the game developed. So how do you get into a high-end guild that requires high-end equipment before you’re in a high-end guild? Know people.

WoW taught me to network; you’ve got to know the right people to get what you need. You have to reach out to them and pursue a real relationship. If people get the impression that you’re using them to further your own goals (gold beggars, people pleading for dungeon runs, cold-call link requests, etc), they’ll quickly abandon any semblance of a relationship that you may have had.

Analytics and Testing
High-end raiding in World of Warcraft turned me into an analytics machine. I grew a passion for analytics when I found the addon that monitored my DPS (damage per second). Suddenly, I had real, concrete results to refer to that I could use to quantify my performance. I did everything I could to see those numbers go up, and the higher I progressed in the available content, the more important monitoring these statistics became.

I started testing ways that I could improve those precious numbers. I would spend hours (yes, really) reading theoretical musings on message boards, playing with talent calculators, experimenting with sequences of abilities, maximizing my character in every way possible. I talked with several people who could not understand my fascination with this: “You’re doing math about a video game? You spend HOW much time on it?!” But I did, I really did.

And I loved it.

Eventually, I not only had to know what worked, but I had to be able to infer what would work based on upcoming changes. I had to be able to change my character to match my personal situation and not just build on the templates you’d find online. I had to outperform those around me to keep my spot in the raid. Sound familiar?

As you move up in the SEO game, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain what you’ve got: rankings, traffic, relationships, social profiles, whatever you’ve got. So by being almost required to know virtually everything there was to know about the game, I was exceptionally prepared to enter the wide and ever-changing world of SEO. Every algorithm change is a new patch, every website is a boss, every potential customer or social media contact is a character. I reveled in testing new ideas, button placements, color schemes, ad texts, page layouts, and publish times. I loved reaching out to new people, building my social networks and watching engagement rise with my backlink profile.

Big Picture Through Tedious Tasks
A major portion of World of Warcraft was doing minor, tedious tasks that never really took up much time individually, but together made a huge heap of daily errands that would suck most of the day away. But I did them, almost every day. Why? I had to keep up these grinds to get the prizes waiting for me at the end of the day.
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Mitch Monsen

Mitch is an entrepreneur with several years of experience creating optimized web content. He operates WhiteFireSEO, an SEO consulting company, where he also blogs about SEO and internet marketing. Follow him on Twitter: @mmonsen7.

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3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Call to Action

Sep 19, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   Copywriting, SEO Blog  //  4 Comments

Whether you need to create landing pages for various products you’re selling or you’re providing copy for your home page on your business site, your call to action is one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle. Nevertheless, tons of people get it wrong. In fact, many business websites fail to have any call to action whatsoever. I’ve even had clients ask me to take the call to action out of the copy I’ve done for them. It never ceases to amaze me.

But assuming you’re open to the idea of a call to action, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of yours.

1.       Avoid the generic—Yes, “Contact us now!” is nice and urgent sounding, but urgency isn’t the only thing your call to action needs. You need to avoid the generic line and add some specifics. Otherwise, you run the risk of sounding like one of those late night infomercials. How do you circumvent the generic? Make sure you explain what’s in it for the customer.

2.       Don’t forget the “how”—Research is conclusive: customers need to be told what to do. Like sheep, they need to be led directly to the proverbial slaughter. But guess what? They won’t get there unless you tell them how. You can tell a sheep to go lay down all day, but until you guide him there, nothing’s going to happen. In the same way, make sure your call to action tells the customer the exact step you want them to take.

3.       Make it visible—Yes, good copy usually ends with a strong call to action. But is it possible it can get lost there? Maybe. Assuming your copy is good enough to lead the reader all the way to the end, you still need to do something to make the call to action stand out. Italics or boldings are good for that.

But what happens if your potential customer never scrolls to the bottom of the page? For this reader, you need to make sure you have a call to action that shows up before they ever have to scroll down. Maybe at the end of the first paragraph, maybe on a button at the top of the page…

It may seem silly, but a simple sentence or two can truly make the difference between an interested party and a paying customer. What else do you do to better your calls to action?

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging Contest Update

Sep 13, 2011   //   by Gerald Weber   //   blogging, Contests, SEO Blog  //  6 Comments

This post is meant to simply update you on a couple of things regarding the contest. However if you are interested in participating in this contest please be sure to read the official Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging contest post for complete details on rules etc.

The first change is the due date to submit your post. This has been changed to October 12, 2011. We did this because last week was pretty much spent generating sponsors and awareness and we really didn’t get any contest entries last week.

OK now for the awesome news. Since we had such great sponsorship participation we are able to offer some really nice prizes. We have structures this in such a manner that if you really kick ass, you can really WIN BIG. But even if you do really well you can still win some nice loot and other non cash SEO related prizes.

With no further ado… here’s what you can win!

  • 1st place: $1000. Cash + a Lifetime “PREMIUM membership” to MyBlogGuest.com
  • 2nd place: $500. Cash + a full years membership at The SEO training Dojo.
  • 3rd Place: $350. cash + Link-Assistant.Com SEO PowerSuite Enterprise (max. functionality license)
  • 4th Place: $250. cash + 3 month subscription to SEMRush.com
  • 5th place: $175. cash + 3 month subscription to Raven Internet marketing tools
  • 6th Place: $100. cash
  • 7th place: $75. cash
  • 8th place: $50. cash
  • 9th place: $50. cash

Keep in mind these numbers could get bigger depending on how many new sponsors we get, however they won’t get any smaller! :-)

Now check out all the kick ass sponsors that made all these prizes possible!

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The SEO Training Dojo

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Lifetime membership to: My Blog Guest. MyBlogGuest.com is the free guest post exchange community where users meet to exchange guest posts and network.

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SEMrush.com – the best tool to spy on your competitors ($210 value) www.semrush.com

3 month Pro subscription to Raven Internet Marketing Tools ($297 value) Raven Internet Marketing Tools

That’s all the contest updates for now. If there is anything significant worth knowing at any point in the contest I will be posting additional updates to keep everyone informed.

Gerald Weber

I founded Search Engine Marketing Group in December 2005. More recently I co-founded viralcontentbuzz.com. which is the free platform that helps bloggers generate REAL "social buzz" on their best content. Feel free to follow me on Google+

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2 Reasons to Go Niche or Go Home

Sep 9, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   internet marketing, keyword research, SEO Blog  //  8 Comments

Awhile back I read the Four Hour Work Week. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s written by this guy named Tim Ferris who redefined his life in order to take a series of mini-retirements all year long rather than wait until he’s 60 and sick to enjoy life. He did so by placing himself on income autopilot.

Yes, it sounds way too good and too easy to be true. BUT, I learned a variety of lessons from the book. One of which is the power of the niche. He talks about developing a product designed specifically for a small group of people, then advertising it in various trade magazines.

Of course, he’s not the only person I’ve heard recommend this sort of thing.

But why niche? Well…

  1. The people who find your product are more likely to want it—Some people are concerned that if they market to an extremely specific niche, then they will cut down their sales possibilities to a small number. And while it’s true that less people out there will probably want your product overall, but we can assume that the people that DO find it will be more likely to want it. In other words, say you sell guitars. If people come to you searching for any old guitar, you may or may not get a sale. After all, what are the odds that you have the exact style and model they are looking for? But what if you marketed yourself as a seller of left handed guitars? They are much harder to come by and if someone is frustrated looking for one, by the time they find you they are more likely to buy. Now let’s take it a step up—what about left handed bass guitars? More niche, more high quality traffic. I’d venture to say your conversions would be higher.
  2. It’s more reasonable to assume you can hit top search rankings quicker—Say you’re a web designer and you’re looking at targeting that keyword (let’s assume you’ve already hit it locally). The term “web designer” gets about 4,090,000 global searches a month. Wow. Good luck getting on page 1 for that! On the other hand, let’s say you decided your specialty was the restaurant industry. If you build a niche website and hit it with a keyword like “restaurant web designer,” you are looking at closer to 2,900 global searches a month. Not very many, right? But I’d venture to say it would still pay to get the top spot for that keyword—and it would happen much quicker too.

I know what you’re wondering, have I put this to the test personally? No, not exactly. But I am in the process. I recently wrote an ebook directed specifically at new, first-year teachers. The plan was to have it go live this past summer, except I hit a snag. State governments everywhere started slashing the hell out of budgets and suddenly the steady inflow of new teachers shut off. So much for that product.

What I learned in this instance is that not only is finding the right niche important, but timing is almost everything too. So I’m holding onto it for whenever the hiring starts up again. Who knows, I may just go ahead and release it toward the end of this year and see what happens. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

So am I writing about something I really don’t know anything about? Nope. Because I have seen example after example of this line of reasoning working out. Car dealer website designers, MMA website designers, Civil War painting salesman, hospital wayfinding designers—you name it. It’s hard to argue with tangible results. So start to create niche sites today!

So my question for you is—what’s your niche?

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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The 2nd Annual Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging Contest Is Here!

Sep 7, 2011   //   by Gerald Weber   //   blogging, Contests, SEO Blog  //  39 Comments

It’s time for the 2nd Annual Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging Contest!

This year’s Donkeys Behaving Badly event is being held In partnership with Blogengage.com. If you would like a free Blogengage account (normally $29.99 but free for contestants, simply email admin@blogengage dot com with your desired username: and e-mail and your contest entry URL and Brian will hook you up with a FREE account) so you’ll be able to reply to comments you receive (see contest rules below). Blogengage will automatically syndicate your contest entries into the Blog Engage community and their portfolio of social media websites such as Blog Serp, Top Blogged, RSS Leak, Blogger Ink, Tag Serp and Blogger Tag.

Also all contest entries will be automatically submitted to blokube.com Blokube is another up and coming social voting community for bloggers and it’s free to join, so go ahead and register on blokube.com if you want to keep up with your submission there. Keep in mind social engagement at both blokube and blogengage will count towards your social engagement score. Again social engagement is a metric we use to settle any tie breakers in this contest.

What is the Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging Contest?

It’s that time of the year when the donkey starts misbehaving. All joking aside, the contest is (now) an annual contest for SEOs and Internet marketers to showcase their awesome guest blogging skills.

The contest will start today (9/12/11) and last until October 12th, 2011. Acceptable guest post topics include anything related to SEO, Internet marketing or social media Uses of Facebook etc. Although we may extend the publishing duration of the contest to get all the entries published, we will stop accepting entries 30 days from today. Email your contest entries to gweber at sem-group.net, please include any images you would like to use as well as any image credit (if applicable)

What’s In It for Me?

  • Cold Hard Cash
  • Very Cool SEO Related Prizes
  • Increased Exposure for Your Content
  • The Potential for More RSS Subscribers
  • Networking with Other Like Minded Individuals
  • Did I Mention Cash?

What Exactly Can I Win?

  • 1st place: $1000. Cash + a Lifetime “PREMIUM membership” to MyBlogGuest.com
  • 2nd place: $500. Cash + a full years membership at The SEO training Dojo.
  • 3rd Place: $350. cash + Link-Assistant.Com SEO PowerSuite Enterprise (max. functionality license)
  • 4th Place: $250. cash + 3 month subscription to SEMRush.com
  • 5th place: $175. cash + 3 month subscription to Raven Internet marketing tools
  • 6th Place: $100. cash
  • 7th place: $75. cash
  • 8th place: $50. cash
  • 9th place: $50. cash

Now check out all the awesome sponsors that made all these prizes possible!

Contest Media Partner

Contest Media Partner Blogengage

$500 Sponsors

RankPop.com Affordable SEO

$300 Sponsors

linkvana contest banner

Daniel McGonagle Link Building

SEO-Peace.com Professional link building SEO Company

$150 Sponsors

Thesis Skins

Hesham Zebida Thesis Skins

$100 Sponsors

Simple Weight Loss Tips

Scott Bradley Simple Weight Loss Tips For Entrepreneurs

Milan Matchev Health Directory

JobMob Job Search Tips

Jacob Share JobMob Job Search Tips

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Ileane Smith Blogging Tips

Search Engine Marketing Group Logo

Search Engine Marketing Group

SEO Workers Logo

John Britsios www.SEOWorkers.com

Magento Developer

Doc Sheldon’s Clinic Critical Thinking for the Discerning SEO

$50 Sponsors

Vertical Measures Internet Marketing Services

Whitney Michael Segura Greenhouses for Sale

Butch Segura Wholesale Greenhouses by EarthCare

Whitney “WeedyP” Segura Internet Marketing Blog by Whitney Segura

Ernest Segura Greenhouse Supplies @ OurCrazyDeals.com

Raxa Design Houston Internet marketing

Ana Hoffman – Traffic Generation Cafe Web Traffic

James Brown James Brown

Anwar Barake Wholesale Herbal Incense

Understand Technology with TechFume

The Tech Blog TechnoZeast

Wilderness Aware Rafting Colorado White Water Rafting

Sales Nexus online CRM

SEO Prize Sponsors

The SEO Training Dojo

David Harry A full years membership at SEO Dojo, a value of $250.SEO Training Dojo

Lifetime membership to: My Blog Guest. MyBlogGuest.com is the free guest post exchange community where users meet to exchange guest posts and network.

Link-Assistant.Com SEO PowerSuite Enterprise (max. functionality license) SEO tools

SEMrush.com – the best tool to spy on your competitors ($210 value) www.semrush.com

3 month Pro subscription to Raven Internet Marketing Tools ($297 value) Raven Internet Marketing Tools

What are the Rules?

  • Register for a SEM Group user account so you can submit your post for review. Please fill out all of your profile information. If you don’t have a Gravatar, please get one. You may have up to 3 links in your bio. If you have already published a guest post on this blog, there is no need to reregister. If you’re in this situation but aren’t sure about your login, just send me an email and I’ll let you know your existing login information.
  • You must submit your post by October 12th, 2011.
  • Your post must be original content that you personally wrote.
  • You must have a paypal account (as that is how we will be paying the winners cash)
  • On the day your post is published, you must write a post on your blog about the contest that contains a link to the official contest post and links to all of the sponsors. Click here for a pre-formatted text document of the contest sponsors. It’s ok if you hotlink the image from my server.

Post Guidelines

  • Guest posts must be at least 500 words. While they can be as reasonably long as you’d like, please don’t write a book! Please take a moment to review our guest posting guidelines
  • You can have as many links as you wish in the body of your content (Please keep this within reason). However, please limit links to your projects or websites to your bio. No affiliate links!
  • Your bio must have a Gravatar. Please use a picture of yourself, as opposed to a logo.
  • Keep your post relevant to the overall theme of this blog. SEO, link building, Internet marketing, PPC, social media and blogging tips are all acceptable topics.

How Can I Win?

  • Write a promotional post about the contest to help spread the word in the blogosphere.
  • Add Sponsors’ links to your promotional post. The sponsors are the ones making the cash prizes possible, so please show them some love!
  • Your contest submission will be judged first and foremost on the quality and style of your content. Usefulness etc
  • A high value is placed on the number and quality of comments you receive on your guest post. Be sure to interact with and respond to your commentators, because this will help you win in the event of a tie breaker. Keep in mind that ambiguous and/or spammy comments will not help you.
  • Spread the word about your post through all of your social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Sphinn etc). A high value will be placed on your entry’s number of Tweets and overall social media promotion.This will help you win in the event of a tiebreaker! (We had about 3 tie breakers last year so social engagement REALLY can help you win. Also keep in mind the social engagement (comments, tweets etc) for your post on Blogengage also count towards your overall social engagement score!
  • Keep in mind that the sooner you submit your post, the more time you’ll have to promote it. The contest early bird will likely get the worm!
  • Feel free to use the donkey image in your post.

    Special Thanks

    A few of my friends, who are also sponsors, went WAY above and beyond to help me promote this contest:

    Ann Smarty, Ana Hoffman, David Harry, Brian Belfitt – These friends all helped out by mentioning the contest in their newsletters, putting contest banners on their sites/blogs and allowing me to write blog posts about the contest on their web properties. I REALLY appreciate you guys & gals!

    If you have any questions about the contest feel free to contact me directly. I’m searchengineguy on skype and thegman on Blogengage and of course @the_gman on Twitter. You can also email me at gweber@sem-group.net

    Release the donkey! Let the games begin!

Gerald Weber

I founded Search Engine Marketing Group in December 2005. More recently I co-founded viralcontentbuzz.com. which is the free platform that helps bloggers generate REAL "social buzz" on their best content. Feel free to follow me on Google+

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Search Engine Optimization and Football…They Aren’t So Different

Sep 2, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  2 Comments

September is here and that means two things for the Gulf Coast—hurricanes and football. And since hurricanes are so depressing, let’s talk football (although football has been quite depressing the last decade for Houstonians).

So I’m sitting here watching the 4th preseason game for the Houston Texans and suddenly I have this epiphany—football…SEO…they aren’t all that different. A successful football team shares quite a bit in common with a worthwhile SEO firm. Let me show you what I mean.

They have experienced management in place

Ever heard of a first year coach taking his team to the Super Bowl? Not likely. Coaching a team to the highest level of the game takes years of experience. It also takes being surrounded with the right people. Just look at Houston—Gary Kubiak seems to be a good enough coach, but his defensive coordinator sucked. Now he has Wade Phillips on his side and the preseason has looked pretty solid (besides tonight’s game).

Now let’s apply this to the world of SEO. As you probably know, rookie SEO “coaches” are popping up all over the place. But can they deliver the results of an SEO with years of experience? The fact is, you find the right guy with the right experience then you can rest assured he’s going to boost your rankings.

The underdog may be your best option

Look at the Packers last year. Who thought they’d win it all at the onset of the season? Not me. And even in the Super Bowl, most people thought Pittsburgh was going to hand their butts to them. Wrong again! It’s good business to go with the underdog (just ask Vegas).

Now let’s look at SEOs. You have the big marketing companies that you can go to for the supposed big results. And you can wind up with an even bigger hole in your wallet. Or you can choose an underdog, a smaller SEO organization, and take your chances. Hey I did it. And I’ve seen nothing but positive results.

They have multiple players producing outstanding stats

How often do you hear of a winning team only having one player putting up good stats? Not usually. Instead, the best teams usually have multiple pieces producing winning results. Compare this to SEO. The SEO company you really want isn’t going to push everything aside in hopes for a single high ranking keyword. Instead, they are going to produce results across the board. They’ll start with your highest ranking, produce quick results, and then move on to the next. And you can see proof of these reports through their free SEO report.

Here’s to a great season

I’m excited to watch some football this season. This is also my first year to play fantasy, so I have some added interest. I’m also excited to watch my SEO guy produce results and bring me more traffic.

Here’s to a great 2011 season!

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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