Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

How to Train a Link Builder

Apr 16, 2010   //   by Jennifer Van Iderstyne   //   link building, SEO Blog  //  17 Comments

train tracks
When you’re new to link building it’s easy to get discouraged. Getting links can be challenging work, fraught with failure, rejection, mistakes, and sometimes character assassinations. Just like politics. Someone can learn how to speak in public, fund raise and debate. But you cannot teach charisma, tenacity and integrity. Those qualities are simply instinctive. Well, we may have fewer babies and grandmas to kiss, but there are certain instinctual qualities that help with learning to build links. And over time those skills can be cultivated and honed. Sure, not every link builder will turn out to be a Superstar, but with the right training most people can learn to get quality links on a consistent basis. Here’s how.

Make rules

It’s important to establish some ground rules for link builders. Make sure they know what kind of link building they are doing, and what kind of links they should be getting. Not because the link builder is stupid or a slippery character, but because certain things are just dangerous and a new link builder won’t know any better. You don’t want a new link builder to accidentally email http://www.mattcutts.com offering money or talking about Page Rank and getting links for rankings. Most people who are new to link building just don’t understand the mine field they are walking into and could easily set off a series of explosions which could rattle your entire business. Set boundaries; teach them to pay attention to details and instruct them as to where the really dangerous traps are, BEFORE they fall into one.

The best course of action is probably to provide a full scale education on the ins and outs of SEO and the function and risks of link building as a whole. But if that’s not possible, a specific set of rules is essential. And a little fear of God for breaking them never hurts either.

Set specific goals

Along those lines, link builders also need goals. Clearly the purpose of any link builder’s day is to get links. But what kind of links? What level of quality? I can go out and score 50 directory links a day or 1,000 links across one site or a network of sites. But are those really the links we want? Beware of a goals structure which is purely numbers based. Emphasizing the ends without any attention to the means can (and often will) result in cheating, corner cutting and flat out bad decision making. Define good and bad links, and use measurements which reflect those characteristics.

Teaching link builders to understand links as a part of the “big picture” can help them become more invested in the process. Obtaining a specific number of links is somewhat gratifying, but seeing the positive effect links can have on a web site can be truly exciting. A link builder will find more satisfaction when the emphasis is placed on the larger goal as opposed to the micro-chasm of simply getting a certain number of links. There will be a greater sense of fulfillment and a stronger tendency to make the right choices.

Create a system

If you let a bunch of link builders loose on a stylistic free for all you will get erratic results at best. But by creating a system for getting links, you have a process to follow. And in using a process, you can gauge strengths and weaknesses, both within the system itself and the link builders. Each step of the system should be simple and easy to replicate. It’s also helpful if each part of the process can be examined on its own and tailored to suit each link builder’s individual style.

Templates in general are good, but humanized spam is bad. If your link builder is simply a human version of a robot, then it might be cheaper just to create an automated system to serve the same function. Auto-bots don’t require health care, lunch breaks or whine when the bathroom is out of paper towels. But they inevitably lack the judgment and insight that a humans bring to the process. And everyone who’s ever gotten an automated email knows that SPAM reads like SPAM no matter how may smiley emoticons you put in the message.

team

Maximize Talents

The other benefit to using human link builders is that they are unique, and will excel in different areas. By watching how a link builder meets their goals and performs various functions of a link building system you can begin to see where their talents lie. Whether the strength is in identifying what will get links, who will give links or even just exceptional hand to keyboard speed, recognizing each link builder’s talents can be a crucial part of the training process. When link builders are allowed to focus on their fortes and use some creativity, managers will usually discover a host of new ideas, new techniques and, of course, their future trainers.

Over time most people can develop a talent for link building. Most link builders will inevitably grow the gut reaction to just know when something is right or wrong, possible or impossible, a good idea or a bad one. Yes, those instincts themselves may be difficult to “train” in someone. But with rules, goals, a system and a focus on utilizing strengths where they naturally occur, you will create a staff that is eager to learn, produce, and excel at the art of getting links.

Jennifer Van Iderstyne

Jennifer Van Iderstyne is the Online Marketing Director for Search Slingshot an Albany NY Internet Marketing Company.

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Which Type Of Twitter User Are You?

Apr 13, 2010   //   by Ann Smarty   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  56 Comments

Twitter is an awesome example of how a basic idea can be evolved into something huge. Started as the way to tell the world "What you are doing", it now has hundreds of various uses.

This is how social media works: you start a social media project and people will make it into what it should be. There is no way to control that.

Various people have different opinions on how Twitter should be used. To my mind, it is up to everyone. I am not a big fan of Twitter ethics: if you don’t like someone, just don’t follow him!

That being said, everyone has the right to use Twitter the way he wants. Would you like to know which group of Twitter users you fall into?

Here’s a quiz I made (with Gerald’s help of course) that will help you define your Twitter user type.

You are highly encouraged to share your result in the comments. You can also Tweet your result, embed it to your blog or share on facebook. Good luck!

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is a guest blogging addict and the proud owner of MyBlogGuest.com which is a free community of guest bloggers. feel free to follow here on Twitter @SEOSmarty.com

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Blog Commenting Faux Pas, Red Flags, and Best Practices

Mar 30, 2010   //   by Gerald Weber   //   blogging, SEO Blog, Social Media  //  97 Comments

As blog commenting becomes more popular as a form of link building and traffic generation, there is a steady increase of those who are trying to abuse the blog commenting system. But as many comment abusers are starting to learn, with the increase in spam is an increase in systems (such as Akismet) designed to thwart their attempts. So commenting abusers are finding more creative ways to bypass these systems and look more legit.

Commenting Faux Pas

So how do bloggers determine which comments to keep and which ones to trash or mark as spam? Here are some major faux pas and red flags when it comes to commenting.

Ambiguous Comments

“Wow, what a great post. This is my first time to visit here, and I like everything so much that I have subscribed.”

Sounds like a great comment, right? It’s easy, especially for new bloggers or those who are struggling to get comments / subscribers to fall for this type of flattery. But the problem with this comment is that it could go with any post on pretty much any site.

Comments from the Same IP

“Angie | this domain.com | angie@thisdomain.com | 122.44.77.35 | Blah blah blah blah blah…”

“Tera | that domain.com | tera@thatdomain.com | 122.44.77.35 | Blah blah blah blah blah…”

“Tom | other domain.com | tom@otherdomain.com | 122.44.77.35 | Blah blah blah blah blah…”

Many blog systems allow blog owners to view the IP address of their commenters. If several comments come in using different names, different emails, different websites, but the same IP address, this is going to be a huge tipoff that the comments are all spam.

Copied Comments

“Social media is a really nice way to generate traffic. And YouTube is the best (in our opinion) means to do it. Maybe this is because one has to invest some time and efforts in making a video, so one naturally tends to make a video which is REALLY interesting for people. It’s much easier to “tweet” something, so more often than not one “tweets” rather “something about nothing” (at the same time – unfortunatlly!! – spamming the internet).”

“I’m happy to see more and more of my favorite charities on Facebook and even on Twitter sometime. I do whatever I can to help by sharing their FB messages and retweeting their tweets.”

“I have had a facebook for a long time but it was just recently that I began using it again actively. I also created a fan page and as of now is on the building and growing process. I know i have yet more to learn regarding using facebook to its full potential and advantage. It is my first time to hear about facebook insight. Will definitely be giving it a try. Thanks for sharing.”

“Social media is a really nice way to generate traffic. I’m happy to see more and more of my favorite charities on Facebook and even on Twitter sometime. I have had a facebook for a long time but it was just recently that I began using it again actively. Thanks for sharing.”

A new trend in spam commenting is taking bits and pieces of approved comments and sewing them together into a “unique” new comment. If the blog owner is in tune with their reader’s responses, they will get a feeling of deja vu which will tip them off if they have received a copied comment.

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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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How To Create an html Signature in Gmail

Mar 29, 2010   //   by Gerald Weber   //   SEO Blog  //  21 Comments

When I first made the decision to consolidate all of my various and many email accounts over to gmail, I was initially very frustrated with the fact that Google’s gmail only allows you to create a plain text email signature. I was seriously like what the ****?! #GoogleFail!

This was a real issue for me because I have been using a nice flashy html signature for many years.

However this was only an issue until I stumbled upon a post Ann Smarty had written back in 2008 titled SEO Consultant’s Email Signature – What’s Your Tactic? One of the commentators in the post mentioned a cool firefox plugin for easily creating email signatures.

Wisetamp to the rescue! Fortunately Wisestamp is now also available as a Google chrome extension

Once you have the plugin installed, as you can see from the screenshot below, the WYSIWYG editor is very simple, straight forward and easy to use. You can easily switch between visual and html mode, as well as add your blog’s RSS feed, IM ID’s and all of your social networks along with their icons.

Other Key features

  • Easily switch between email signature (business & personal)
  • Easy to use WYSIWYG editor (switch between visual & html mode)
  • Ability to add your blog’s RSS feed
  • Automatically insert signature into webmail Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo mail, Hotmail etc
  • Easily include instant messaging ID’s & icons
  • Ability to link to all of your social profiles (48 different options)
  • Easily add an image or logo
  • Quick preview

For those of you that haven’t received an email from me yet, here is what my current email signature created with wisestamp looks like.

Wisestamp has a nice gallery of email signatures where you can see some additional examples for inspiration.

Bonus Tip

Add a nice RSS subscribe button to your signature using feedburner

Search Engine Marketing Group Blog

Feedburner has a very neat RSS email signature widget. Here are the simple steps. Login to your feedburner account, click on your feed, click on publicize, click on email signature.

Now you will have several options to customize the look and feel. Once you have it the way you like, select (just give me the code) from the drop down menu and you can just paste this into the html editor for wisestamp.

Do you have any cool email signature tips? Please let us know about them in the comments.

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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7 Tips for Winning SEO Copywriting

Mar 27, 2010   //   by cory   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  13 Comments

SEO Copywriting is typically not a difficult skill to master. Provided that you have some grasp of how keywords function in your writing and write well without grammatical mistakes, you can usually be sure that the search engine optimization of your writing has already been taken care of for you. However, there are ways that you can take your SEO content to the next level.

  1. Think About the Man AND the Machine. Do not make the mistake of assuming that only the crawlers need to like your SEO Copywriting. You can write pages that earn you a very high rank on Google but, if visitors do not enjoy reading it, they will likely not trust the content or link back to it.
  2. Get Rid of the Fluff.Whenever you complete a sentence, ask yourself what value it gives to the reader. Of course, introductions will have some expository information. However, the remainder of your SEO Copywriting should be good solid facts and information.
  3. Dense Keywords – Not Saturated Keywords. Your main keyword should be situated at the beginning of your article, in the majority of paragraphs in your main body and relatively close to the end. Do not try to overuse keywords in your article. Total keyword saturation should be around 2-3%.
  4. Bringing Words Out With Accents. Save your bold, italic and underlined words for keywords. This will bring keywords not only to the attention of your readers, but to the attention of search engines. However, using these techniques too often, especially when the words are not keywords, can have a detrimental effect on your SEO Copywriting.
  5. Content is King, Lists are Emperors. Today’s Internet readers love lists. If your article cannot be a list, be sure to include a few within your article. Lists are a great way to squeeze some keywords economically into content and are easy to scan.
  6. Frames = Mistakes. It’s very simple. Do not use frames. They will destroy your content and likely prevent it from being recognized properly by search engines. Enough said.
  7. Keep HTML Code Simple. HTML code is a simple tool to help you keep your content organized. However, stick to simple HTML codes when creating content. Paragraph, header and list tags as well as a few strong tags on keywords are all that are needed with good SEO Copywriting.

This is a guest post by Corry Cummings, who enjoys internet marketing and content writing. He runs a custom content creation business.

How to Write Better Press Release Headlines

Mar 9, 2010   //   by Mickie Kennedy   //   Press Releases, SEO Blog  //  34 Comments

What’s the most important factor that determines whether your press release gets read by an editor or thrown away? It’s the headline. With editors and journalists receiving hundreds of press releases each day, they typically scan over the headlines to determine which ones seem interesting enough to read fully.

With that in mind, your goal is to write a powerful headline that sucks cynical editors and journalists in, making them want to learn more about your story. This gives your press release the best chance of getting picked up, earning your company valuable coverage.

Here are some tips to write better press release headlines.

  • Strive for being clear rather than clever—Don’t write your headline to impress other writers by showing how “clever” you are. Editors are only concerned with trying to figure out what your story is about. Your press release headline should clearly reflect what’s covered in the body of your press release. Focus on answering as many of the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions in your headline as possible.

    Here’s a little test you can run to determine if your headline is clear enough or not. Send just the headline to several friends. Ask them to describe what they think the rest of the story is about. If they can’t make a decent guess, it’s probably time to rewrite your headline.

  • Make sure the headline is accurate—Don’t try to trick editors into reading your press release by misleading them in your headline. A misleading headline might grab their attention for a moment, but it will lead to them getting upset when they find out you’ve duped them. This will cause you to lose all credibility, and it will burn any potential relationships you have with the media.
  • Ditch the hype—Sure, the goal of press release distribution is to build brand awareness and to create a buzz around your brand. However, that doesn’t mean you should treat your press release like an advertisement for your products and services. It’s not. So, your headline shouldn’t sound like Billy Mays (RIP) wrote it. By all means, be interesting, but above all else, be factual and straightforward.
  • Lists work—There’s no denying it: List headlines just work. You see them on blogs, magazine covers, and in newspapers. The reasons lists work are because they clearly describe what the story is about, are easy to scan through quickly, and can create controversy and debate.

    So, when you’re thinking of an angle for your press release, try to find a way to structure it in list form. I think you’ll find it gets a lot more attention than most other headline formats.

  • Keep it short—If you can’t get the main idea across in about 10 words or less, you don’t have a good enough grasp on what your message really is. Remember, the reporters and editors you’re sending your press release to are in a hurry. They’ll likely only give you a few seconds of their attention, so you need to get your message across quickly. Focus on creating concise headlines that clearly deliver your message. Write several different versions of your headline to find the perfect combination of brevity and clarity.
  • Include the targeted keyword—Never forget the importance of optimizing your press release. The search engines tend to favor press releases, giving them high rankings for the targeted keywords. Always try to get your main keyword in the headline, and whenever possible, place it toward the front of the headline.

Do you use press releases to spread the word about your business? How have your press release marketing efforts helped your business? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here: press release samples

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FamousBloggers.net Guest Blogging Contest

Mar 4, 2010   //   by Gerald Weber   //   SEO Blog  //  15 Comments

I’ve entered a Guest Blogging contest over at Famousbloggers.net. Here is a link to the post if you want to check it out How to Put the Kibosh on Content Scrapers & Thieves

If you are interested in participating in the contest here are the details.

Contest sponsors:

Contest Prizes started at $248 and reached $447.75

  • $50 Cash via PayPal from MMO social network

  • $50 cash via PayPal from DesignGizer.com design bookmark site

  • $15 cash via PayPal from making money online IBlogZone.com

  • $199.75 worth 5 copies of Fresh Journal theme from SimplyFreshThemes.com ($39.95 for each theme)

  • $95 worth 5 copies of 70 Posting Ideas from BetterBloggingforBloggers.com ($18.95 for each copy)

  • $38 worth of 2 free one month memberships (see where people click on your site) from CrazyEgg

Contest winners:

The contest is going to have 5 winners, which means a very big chance for you to win one of our prizes, and if you think about the great benefits of guest blogging you will find your self a winner in all cases.

Who can participate?

The contest is open for everyone who writes any related topic to our blog categories, and this means anyone can be part or it as long as you write unique and fresh post specially for the contest. PLZ make sure you have a valid PayPal account, we are not able to use any other service to deliver prizes.

They will accept only high quality articles related to these niches:

Making Money Online, Marketing, Blogging Tips, SEO, Promotion, Branding, Social Networking, Web Design and Development.

Contest Guidelines:

  • Take a look at FamouBloggers.net submit your article page before start writing your post.

  • Create your account on FamousBloggers.net

  • Write your post and submit it to your Famous Bloggers account.

  • Write a very simple post on your blog with links to our sponsors above & prizes

  • Promote it the way you like! (send it to all your social media friends)

How to win?

First of all (remember) this is a writing/popularity contest, means the useful good content force readers to like it, so be sure to make your post from that type! Then start promoting it using social media, bookmark sites, and even on your blog, this will grantee the maximum exposure for your post and your blog, and don't worry.. we will help you on promoting your post and share it with our community readers.

Contestants will collect points depending on:

  • Quality of your post

  • How many valuable comments

  • How many Tweets

Contest Start/End

The contest is already running and will end at 31 of March 2010.

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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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6 Google Search Query Tips

Mar 3, 2010   //   by Eric Gesinski   //   SEO Blog  //  15 Comments

This is a guest post by Eric Gesinski who does SEO in Tulsa and Tulsa website design.

Searching on Google is one of the core elements of good SEO research. Find your competition, see who’s listed for certain keywords, and more. But if you know some of the tricks to the Google search query parameters, you can learn a lot more.

photo credit:dullhunk

Here are 6 Google search query tips to help SEO:

1) “intitle:”/”allintitle:” Using this followed by your keywords will show you who’s strongly targeting these keywords by putting them into their title tag. Using just “intitle:” will show any of the keywords you’ve queried in any order, but not necessarily all the keywords. Using “allintitle:” will show all results with every keyword you’ve listed in their title tag, in any order. Putting your keywords in quotes after “intitle:” or “allintitle:” will show only listings who have all the keywords in that order in the title tag. By doing this, you can see who’s got at least the basic SEO down to compete for this keyword.

2) “inanchor:”/”allinanchor:” This query will show you who Google has found that has the highest number of links with these keywords as the anchor text pointing to these pages. The top listing has the most links pointing to this page with that anchor text, and it goes from there. Again, using quotes will show who’s using the exact phrase for their anchor text. By dusing this query you can see who you have to beat in anchor texted links (according to Google) to rank higher for that keyword.

3) “intext:”/”allintext:” This query isn’t as important as it used to be, since good SEO doesn’t weigh so heavily on keywords in on-page content (more on title tags and anchor text), but it can still be useful. This shows which pages are using the keywords most in their content. PageRank does affect the order of the listings for this query, so a site with a higher PR value will show up higher than another page even with the same keywords used a similar quantity on their page.

4) “link:” This fits well with the “inanchor” query for backlink research. If you put a domain or a page address after this, you’ll find out what other pages are linking back to this page. There are other tools that some people prefer to do this job, but it’s a quick way to find out what backlinks somebody is using.

5) “site:” If you don’t know this trick, this is one you really need to have in your arsenal. Using this followed by a domain name will show all pages in that domain that Google has crawled. If you add keywords after this, it will show only the pages in that domain that match the query. This can be used to find out how many pages from a site Google has in their server cache, as well as looking for specific information within a domain. This trick can even be used to find all sites of a particular class about a certain keyword phrase by typing in something like “site:.edu” with your keyword.

6) “info:” Another trick that is often missed. This will basically give you shortcuts to find out more about a domain or a specific page that you put after this tag. From the results page on this, you can find the cache (which will display the last time the page was crawled) as well as a few of the above options (“link”, “site”) plus pages that are similar to the indicated page (the “related:” tag) or even just a pure query on who has that specific term listed on their site. It’s a mix of the Google query tricks in one place, but if you know each of them uniquely you can do each separately on your own.

Learning how to use each of these can make for very powerful tools to use for your SEO research and goal-setting. It can help find out who your competition is and how effective they are at different SEO elements.

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Eric Gesinski

Eric Gesinski does Tulsa website design, Tulsa SEO, and other local internet marketing services for the Tulsa area.

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How To Do Keyword Research With EBay

Feb 27, 2010   //   by Adriana   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  28 Comments

This is a guest post by Adriana Copaceanu who loves doing
keyword research and talks about her online adventures at My Online Business Journey

It’s a fact: in order to start a successful online business you need to research your market first. Do you struggle finding the right keywords for your niche? It’s not hard if you know how to do your research. Many use Google’s External Keyword tool, the WordTracker tool, or a tool that pulls their data from one of these. And there is nothing wrong with it, but if you want to be ahead of the game, you need to be a little more creative, and research in ways that others don’t.Today we’ll take a look at how eBay can help you with your keyword research.

Go to the home page of EBay, and start typing your main keyword in the search box. Let’s say I was researching “men’s watches”. As soon as I start typing my phrase, there is a drop down box that shows several potential key phrases.

Click on search and you’ll be taken to a page that lists men’s watches, of course.

But what’s important is that you look right under the search box, at the related searches, and you’ll notice some more specific phrases:

mens fossil watches

mens watches seiko

mens watches rolex

If you go over at the google keyword tool and search for “mens watches”, you won’t see any of these searches, yet, they have many exact searches daily. Let’s take a look:

As you see, none of the 3 key phrases discovered above with the eBay search are on this list. So let’s just enter those individually in the Google tool and see what happens.

Surprise, surprise! These key phrases have quite a good number of exact searches.

What you do next, is go back to the EBay search and dig for more key phrases. Click on any of the “related searches” and you’ll get more specific terms. For example, if I click on the “mens fossil watches” which I discovered above, here is what I see:

This search uncovers at least 2 more key phrases I may be interested in: “mens guess watch” with 5,400 exact searches and “mens diesel watches” with 1,600 exact searches. You can go on and on and on, and discover key phrases your competitors won’t, just because you dug a little deeper and thought creatively.

Five Ways to Get More Out of Twitter

Feb 26, 2010   //   by Elisa   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  7 Comments

I see this all the time: someone makes a half-hearted attempt to try Twitter and gives up after a day or so because they fail to see the point. While Twitter isn’t for everyone (or every business), I’d bet that 9 times out of 10, that person isn’t seeing the value because they’re not giving it a proper chance and don’t know what to do with it. Twitter isn’t a ride – you can’t just climb in and wait to be wowed. It’s a tool, and you do have to learn how to use it.
Here are some tips for getting ramped up on Twitter, so you can start to see the business value and have a little fun with it too.

Ever have the feeling that you just don’t get Twitter?

  1. Use a Twitter client
    I firmly believe that you need a client to get the most value from Twitter. Most of us on the marketing team at WordStream use TweetDeck, which has a number of advantages over Twitter’s standard Web interface. (Other options include Seesmic and HootSuite.)
    For one, it refreshes automatically, with (modifiable) notifications so you can read tweets as they happen. This is important because Twitter’s real value is in real-time use. Reading everything you missed over the weekend is mostly pointless. When you use Twitter in real time, you can interact with people, spot trends as they’re happening and respond to questions and problems before it’s too late. (Likewise, you can get help with questions that aren’t easily answered through search.)
    Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you have to be on Twitter all the time. Like any other social application, Twitter can be a distraction from work. But devoting a little active time to Twitter every day will make its strengths (both for marketing and making connections) much more apparent.
  2. Be generous with follows at first
    You’ll get a lot more value out of Twitter if you have more followers. The larger your audience, the more business contacts you can make, the more traffic you can send to your site, and the more influence and trust you can potentially wield. One of the easiest ways to build up your follower list is to follow others. Start with well-known influencers in your industry and pay attention to who they follow and interact with. Many will follow you back – if not, try sending a relevant @ reply to one of their tweets, which will help get you on their radar.
    It takes time to gain a large number of followers, so have patience. Also, remember that you can always unfollow later if someone’s tweets aren’t adding anything to your stream.
  3. Create lists or groups
    Twitter now has a native list feature, which is a great improvement; however, the Web interface only allows you to see one column at a time. With a Twitter client, you can set up columns and view multiple groups side by side.
    There are a number of ways you can use columns to your advantage. You can separate those you actively engage with on a regular basis from those you follow more tangentially. You can separate by specialty (for example, if you work in search marketing, you can set up columns for PPC marketing specialists, SEO specialists, social media specialists and so on). You’ll find this organizational ability especially helpful as you expand the number of people and brands you follow.
  4. Create columns for mentions of you and your company
    This step is absolutely key to getting the most out of Twitter. If you don’t pay attention to who’s talking to and about you, you’ll never experience Twitter as a conversation – it will just seem like a million people talking to themselves.
    In both the Web interface and Twitter clients, you can save searches of your Twitter name and other terms you might want to follow (such as the names of your products), but a client makes it easier to track those mentions in real time. (You’ll get a notification when a new tweet appears in these columns.)
  5. Follow up on as many mentions as possible
    Knowing what people are saying about you is great, but it’s not enough to monitor mentions. Respond to them! This is especially important for reputation management – if someone asks you a question or has an issue with your company’s product or service, you should respond in as timely a manner as possible. (It should go without saying, but don’t just acknowledge them; offer to help.) It’s not worth getting involved in social media at all if your business is going to seem faceless and unresponsive to existing and potential customers.

But Twitter isn’t just a tool for protecting your brand. You can follow up on positive mentions too. If someone retweets your tweet or recommends your product, thank them! If it’s someone you don’t know, follow them. This is a great way to build goodwill and grow your follower base.

If you haven’t tried the above tactics, you haven’t really tried Twitter. So get back on the horse and I guarantee you’ll at least see what all the fuss is about.

Elisa Gabbert is the Content Development Manager at WordStream, a provider of advanced SEO Tools and pay per click software for search engine marketing efforts. To get in touch with Elisa, send a note to egabbert at wordstream dot com, follow her on Twitter, or check out the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog, where she’s a regular contributor.

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