Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

Facebook’s Graph Search and What It Means for You

Feb 11, 2013   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  35 Comments

facebookYou never quite know what Facebook has up its sleeve, and once you do find out, you never quite know if they’re onto something or if they were just having another one of those creative better-luck-next-time Facebook moments. However, just last month they announced that a new search system called Graph Search was in Beta testing. If the test does pass and we have a new way of searching for and filtering results based on Facebook data (I can see Google sweating now), it seems as though it could potentially be a great new opportunity for users as well as businesses to get connected.

How Facebook’s Graph Search Works

Facebook put out an introductory page to help those with questions see how the new Graph Search works. In a nutshell, it’s going to to help you type in searches that pull up results related to your friends. For example, I could search something like “photos of my friends in New York” and Facebook will pull up all of those results. As an individual going to New York, I might be interested in seeing some of the sights that my friends found interesting (especially great for those friends we can’t really ask—we all know that a “Facebook friend” is a bit different than someone you saw last Friday night).

Because Graph Search is still in the Beta testing stage, it is only available to select people in the U.S. You can, however, sign up to join the waiting list on the introductory page if you’re interested in possibly being one of the first. I’m still waiting for my request to be accepted, but CNETTV was able to make a great video:

One thing this video doesn’t touch on is the fact that Facebook doesn’t have all of their data and research gathered quite yet (hence still being in the beta stage). This means that if you do get to try it early, typing in certain searches might not give you a full list of results at the current moment.

Top Reasons Why Graph Search Just Might Be Brilliant

A few reasons that Graph Search is getting so much great publicity include:

  • It gives “likes” real meaning. In the past people haven’t been able to find quite as much of a reason for “likes” on a Facebook page because it can so easily be ignored. Now, businesses have a real reason to grab these likes—showing up in the new Facebook search engine.
  • Great for local search. Facebook has so much local data available at their fingertips, and it seems like the new Graph Search will really take advantage. This offers so many potential business opportunities: zip code ad targeting, local page publishing, etc.
  • Strength of connections becomes more important. For example, when people begin searching for restaurants in a particular area, it’s those restaurants that are “liked” by that person’s friends that matter. This means that a company “liking” your page might not be as beneficial as someone with hundreds of friends. After all, friends are going to look at their good friends’ results first.
  • Competitor insights. Businesses can conduct their own searches to learn more about their competition in relation to their fans.

Some experts have expressed concern that Facebook has not yet made it clear to advertisers the benefit and how to get there, but most are hoping that this will come in all due time.

How Your Company Can Take Advantage of Facebook’s Graph Search

Although you might not be able to use Graph Search just yet, you can still prepare for its arrival by checking in to different places and becoming more active clicking that “like” button. People will likely be typing in things like “SEO companies my friends like,” so you want to be on that list now more than ever, so ramp up your efforts.

It’s also a good idea to listen to a few of the points discussed above—take a look at your competition, take a look at the depth of your relationships, and think about local search and how you can advertise in that market.

What are your thoughts on the Facebook Graph Search? Do you think it sounds like a success, or do you not see much point in changing the way their existing search function works? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: money.cnn.com

AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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How Often Should You Optimize Your Content

Jan 31, 2013   //   by Brian Taylor   //   Google, guest blogging, SEO Blog  //  23 Comments

No doubt there are many different answers to this question. Some people like myself, tweak content on a daily basis. Others have never optimized a single page on their website. Ultimately, the decision of when to take time to optimize your content is up to you, but there are situations when you should take time to optimize your online presence.

Optimize your content

Image Source – Mashable

During a Redesign

Let’s be honest, the main purpose of most website redesigns is to optimize their performance. A true redesign is built from the ground up. There is absolutely no better time to ensure that your website is configured to attract maximum interest from readers than when it’s being reimagined. You can build SEO and speed optimizations right into your new design. You’ll have a better looking, faster and more productive website when you’re finished.

When Adding Content for All Pages

Adding fresh content that will appear on all the pages of your website is also a great time to optimize your content. First of all, make sure that the content you are adding is optimized. It’s going to be appearing on every page of your site. If it’s well optimized, every page will benefit.

This is also a good time to tweak individual pages. You’ll be visiting every page on your website to make sure your new content is properly integrated. As you click through your content, keep an eye out for ways to optimize each page.

When Circumstances Change

There are any number of reasons why the circumstances of your situation may change. Sometimes they’re personal reasons. Other times their professional. It might be an opportune time to make some adjustments to your website, especially if the circumstances necessitate a change or update to your website.

When it’s been a While

If you’re reading this and thinking “I haven’t optimized my site in months”, that would mean now is a good time to get to work. If your website and your business are running smoothly, you may not think you need to optimize your site. After all, it doing well and so are you.

Remember that a website that is doing well is a website that is often updated. Make a point to go back and revisit your optimization strategy on a regular basis. Even if it’s just a routine checkup to make sure things are functioning properly. Your website will thank you.

Brian Taylor

Brian Taylor is the VP, Business Development at Forix web design in Portland, OR. Forix offers affordable and ethical SEO services in Portland and web design and development services helping small businesses with their Internet marketing needs.

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Top 5 Marketing Conferences in 2013 You Won’t Want to Miss

Jan 4, 2013   //   by Sarah Brooks   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  26 Comments

Top 5 Marketing Conferences in 2013 You Wont Want to Miss - SEM Group Pic 1Whether you run a business, work in marketing, or just want to gain knowledge about business and marketing in general, attending a marketing conference should be on your top list of things to do in 2013. Marketing conferences allow you to gain comprehensive knowledge about growing your business and staying current with trends related to marketing.

With the end of 2012 approaching, now is the appropriate time to see which conferences will best suit your needs so you can start booking those trips and preparing for the year to come. You owe it to yourself and your business to attend a marketing conference next year.

Here is a list of five top marketing conferences you won’t want to miss in 2013:

The Content Marketing Strategies Conference – Berkeley, CA – May 8-9, 2013

If you’re a small business owner, this is the conference for you. Hosted by dlvr.it, this event specifically helps small businesses gain understanding on the role content marketing has in demand generation, sales, and SEO. You’ll be guaranteed to leave the conference with an action plan to jumpstart your content marketing in 2013.

Guest speakers include the following companies: SAS, Cisco, Intel, ServiceMax, Kelly Services, and more. They will share their experience with content marketing – including strategies, successes, and failures. This event was sold out last year, so get your tickets early, as this will change the way you market in the future.

iStrategy 2013 – Miami, FL – April 23-24, 2013

No matter what your business specializes in, iStrategy is where it’s at. It’s a conference all about transforming your digital strategy to meet the needs of today’s online demands – SEO, SEM, social, mobile, community, and commerce. The future of digital marketing will be discussed by the country’s most prestige digital marketers, online experts, and social media gurus. Takeaways from iStrategy will include improved customer engagement, developed marketing campaigns with authenticity and significance, and a high-performing, integrated marketing system that will forever change your organization. The conference also includes networking opportunities, guest speakers, and workshops.

Hawaii International Conference on Business – Honolulu, HI – May 23-26, 2013

This is Hawaii’s 13th Annual International Conference on Business, and it keeps getting better and better. Held on the island of Oahu at Waikiki Beach Marriot Resort and Spa, this will be the gathering place for academicians and business professionals from all over the world. The main focus of this conference is to learn from each other.

Last year, over 200 participants attended representing more than 27 countries. You’ll meet and interact with those both inside and outside your own area of expertise, and gain insight as to what others are doing all across the world.

Pivot Conference: From Social Brands to Social Media – New York City, NY – October 15-16, 2013

Pivot Conference is much more than your average social media conference. It’s a conference where not only do the speakers influence the audience, but the audience influences the speakers. You’ll learn from and with each other. At Pivot 2013, you’ll learn how to influence choices and become a trusted resource, what constitutes a successful organization, meet the leaders of brand initiatives at the leading edge of Social Business, and interact with celebrities, geniuses, and billionaires.

Note: Pivot is an invitation-only conference for senior executives. If this describes you, request an invite on Pivot 2013’s website.

SMX West – San Jose, CA – March 11-13, 2013

This is an all-encompassing conference for everyone – whether you own a business, work for a Fortune 500 company, are an experienced internet marketer, or are just diving into the world of internet marketing. As an attendee, you choose which conferences and seminars you want to attend. There are more than 50 sessions on search engine optimization, paid search advertising, social media marketing, local and mobile search, and landing page conversions. Since you can’t attend more than one conference at a time, they’re all uploaded so you can review ones you attended and see ones you missed out on.

Purchase the All Access pass to get all of the conference sessions, keynotes, access to the tradeshow floor, in-person networking activities, online networking activities, parties, and more. If you still want more after the conference is over, attend an in-depth workshop on March 14th on search and internet marketing topics to learn even more. SMX West is so compelling you’ll leave wanting to implement the strategies before you’ve even arrived back home.

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer covering a wide variety of topics from personal finance and marketing to traveling and the best Hawaii hotels you can stay in during the Hawaii International Conference on Business.

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3 Things That Make Me Better Than You at Social Media (and what you can do about it)

Jan 3, 2013   //   by Pete Huang   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  25 Comments

Follow me on Twitter!

source: woofer_kyyiv @ flickr

“Sure, sure”, you’re saying to yourself.

This guy is clearly a nobody. He’s got no background, he’s not famous, and I think I have more followers than him on Twitter.

Why would he even dare to think that he’s better than I in social media?

Worthy reader, you’re going to read this post and think that I’m just bragging here.

But, you’re also going to leave with a set of action items that happens naturally for me and will become natural for you.

You see, I grew up with Facebook and Twitter. Quite literally. When Facebook first allowed anyone ages 13 and over to register, I had just turned 13.

And what has happened with people that grew up with social media is that we have developed the innate sense of sharing and the natural sense between great posts and TMI (too much information).

Here are three things that I do on a daily basis, things that connect with people, and things you should take away from this article.

#1. Be witty, inspirational or helpful, but only one.

With any tweet, I seek to 1) make people laugh, 2) motivate or 3) offer information. It’s the crux of getting any form of useful attention to yourself.

But, if you try to do all three at once, you’re going to lose yourself somewhere. People my age call this “trying too hard” or “too much information”.

When we see an inspirational quote, we’re launched into a brief spark of energy and deep thought.
When we see a witty tweet, we chuckle and admire the creativity of the tweet.
When we see a helpful link or tip, we have a small “a-ha!” moment.

Notice how we don’t have “a-ha!” moments when we laugh, nor do we feel motivated about life when we see a link to a blog post.

Pick one, and only one.

We send a different message with each tone, and mixing these tones will undermine whatever it is you want to say.

Furthermore, if you don’t have any of the three, your message will be lost. Lost, meaning nobody will care to look at it.

These are the Facebook statuses that get zero likes and zero comments, which is more disappointing to us millenials than you may think.

These are the messages that say “dinner and movie with the family~” or “this cereal tastes so good”. You don’t care about how good the cereal is. Now imagine how many other people don’t care.

The takeaway here: Each tweet (excluding replies) that you send should have ONE purpose: make people laugh, motivate or offer information.

#2. Avoid opinions that you have to defend.

Primarily, I’m referring to politics, the economy and religion.

When you post these opinions, the only people willing to respond are the people who care enough about one side or the other.

I mean, think about it. Mention the two words “Obama” and “good” and all of a sudden, you have divided the entire country into two halves, those who agree and those who don’t.

If you really want to express this sort of opinion, do it on a Twitter account that isn’t affiliated with your brand. That way, you avoid associating your brand with conflict and bias.

Millenials are particularly adept at this sort of indifference. When we post things on Facebook, we all have that hope that we score a certain number of likes. And sure, when we see someone blasting a politician, we might agree or disagree.

But in general, we are afraid of being parts of those disgusting, messy comment threads that others see and go “…ugh”.

And that’s a good sixth sense in the case of social media marketing.

The takeaway here: Avoid conflict. Your brand is a platform for you and your knowledge, not your opinion.

#3. Express all other thoughts you have.

It’s like the Three Laws of Robotics. Do anything you have/want to do, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the first two points.

That means that besides politics, the economy and religion, anything is fair game as long as it is witty, feel-good or helpful, but only one of those.

Do not hold back.

Growing up around social media, I have had plenty of experience that tells me that nobody will come to you asking for your thoughts. You have to put it out there on your own.

When you’re on Twitter and someone posts a cool picture, tell them it’s cool. An inspirational quote that you thought was great? Thank them for sharing.

The difference between social media interaction and in-person interaction is that social media lacks the element of nonverbal communication. You can’t see that a person is smiling, so you don’t know to ask them about their day.

Share, share, share.

This is the one way to differentiate your brand from other brands. This is the one way to show that behind a Twitter account is someone reading tweets and typing out replies.

And people love to see that someone.

The takeaway here: If you have a thought, you better share it. Few thoughts are stupid, and the stupid ones are often related to controversial opinion.

Using Facebook and Twitter for years has taught me how to capture attention (because it’s not given to you), how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot (because it can happen) and how to remind people that you’re still alive (because dead people don’t post on Twitter).

Be like a millenial and share more effectively.

Pete Huang

I'm Pete Huang. I show small business owners how to use social media like its second nature. Let's be friends; hit me up at @SmallBiz_Online.

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Ways to keep the big G happy and not get slapped!

Jan 3, 2013   //   by Sophie Eagan   //   Google, SEO Blog  //  21 Comments

Getting slapped by Google can be very painful for the webmaster and of course the rankings! A Google “slap” is a term that is used to label a website as Spam. One way to find out whether you have been slapped is by checking your PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns to see if the bids have gone sky high and has become next to impossible to locate your ads.

It is such a horrid feeling to know that a site you have worked hard on for a very long time is labelled as Spam, and been pushed out of the biggest search engine on the face of the planet.

Image By Stuart Miles

Image By Stuart Miles

Tips to help after the sting of the slap:

Don’t become a Spam site – The worst thing you can ever do is get your site labelled as Spam in the first place, try to avoid this entirely by not stuffing your pages full of keywords in

strange places, try to make the content look as natural as possible! All you need to do is provide good quality content and have 23 keywords in each article if nessacary.

Post fresh content – Google LOVES brand new and origional content, you will always put a smile on the bots face if you feed him fresh food! If you don’t update often he won’t return at all, think of it as a hungry dog, if you do not feed the dog he will run away in the other direction!

Build your site – If you are creating a brand new site try not to open it fully to the search engines until you have at least 10 pages of content, the reason is there is obiously no point in opening a website with just one page, it’s boring, it’s plain, you did not start a website to create just one piece of information, did you?

Narrow down your content – Try to narrow your niche down and not create a massive wide variety of topics, if you can narrow it down for example the health niche to “Exercise”. You are then telling Google exactly what your site and subject matter is about. If you are wanting to create authority website on health then by all means go ahead, just make sure you are VERY clear in every single piece of content what it is about.

Contact forms – Always make sure your website has that personal touch and has a bit of “you” in it. Put up a contact form for questions or for people to contact you, Google likes it when you make the effort to be a socialite! Just be careful of those darn spammers, if you are using wordpress use a quiz plugin so they cannot spam.

If you stick to these simple little rules nothing can go wrong, well at least on-page anyway.

Sophie Eagan

Sophia and I love Internet Advertising, I have been in the industry for around 10 years. I hope you enjoy my articles and informative posts.

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A Bid Farewell to 2012

Dec 31, 2012   //   by Gerald Weber   //   SEO Blog  //  3 Comments

Well it’s that time of year again folks. Christmas is over and we are about ready to bring in the new year. Since 2012 is coming to a close and the new year  is mere hours away, I thought it would be fun to post a short video outlining some of my New Years resolutions for 2013. Enjoy!

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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End of the World Guest Blogging Special

Dec 21, 2012   //   by Gerald Weber   //   SEO Blog  //  9 Comments

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!….

Que the music…

Since it’s a the end of the world as we know and we aren’t going to be here tomorrow anyhow I have gone absolutely crazy with the pricing on our guest blogging services.

Guest post today are $75. per post. That’s a whopping 50%. discount off the normal rate.

To get started simply call 281-727-0848 ext 5 or contact us.

Have a happy and safe Armageddon!

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 Get Your Website Crawled by Google Fast and Frequently

Dec 21, 2012   //   by Emma-Julie Fox   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  20 Comments

SEO is all about increasing website visibility by making it rank high in search engines. Companies will always strive to make their websites appear at the first page of the SERPs for searches on related keywords. In order for that to happen, their sites have to be crawled by Google bots in the first place.

It is important to note that in order to rank, all the other pages of your website should be equally competitive in the search engines, not just your homepage. Besides, internal pages are the ones that usually make it on the SERPs (except for exact keyword searches that are directly related to a website; i.e. name of the website’s company).

If you want your website to be indexed, you have to catch the attention of the bots first.

Update Your Website Frequently

Simple updates of the content on you site can already alert the bots to pay attention to your site. Long dormant websites are usually left alone because there’s nothing new to find there anyway. Simply breaking the stagnancy signals new activity and alerts the bots that there are possibly new pages to crawl.

Updating your website alone will not guarantee that your pages will be crawled quickly, nor will it guarantee that the bots will be constantly coming back to crawl new pages in your site, but it’s a good start. To keep that ball rolling, proceed with a number of SEO activities at the same time. You can get your pages crawled faster and more frequently afterwards if you follow through the rest of this list.

Generate Content

Posting new content regularly is one of the simplest ways to make sure that search engines take notice and crawl your web pages. This is why sites like Ezine Articles, Digg, Reddit and other bookmarking and article publishing sites commonly end up on the first search engine results pages. The crawling rate in those pages is both fast and frequent because they are always monitored by Google bots for new content to index.

Not all websites are capable of posting new content regularly though, as their very nature does not permit it. A company website for instance doesn’t need constant revision of their content. After all, the mission and vision of a company will not change regularly, and the company history will still be the same. Writers will be bored out of their minds if they have to keep on revising that content.

So in order for their crawl rate to pick up, these websites can create a blog page or news roll for their website. These pages will require frequent and regular posting of new content.

Check Meta Robots Tags, Page Load Speed, 404s, Crawl Speed.

Sometimes the bigger problem is not exactly your infrequent updates and content postings, but that for some reason the bots cannot access your web pages. There are so many new, attractive features that people want to incorporate in their own websites. JavaScript, for instance, are commonly ignored by the Google bots. Websites created from Flash technology and content contained in pop-up and independent Frames also cannot be crawled by Google. Keeping things attractive yet simple is one way to be sure the pages in your website can be indexed.

Don’t forget to use robots.txt to guide the bots which pages to crawl and not to crawl. Create a sitemap and make sure the headers and meta titles of your pages are done correctly. You can even initiate a crawl yourself by submitting your URL to Google.

Also, check if the loading speed of your pages is too long. Spiders have very limited attention spans and would ignore pages that take too long to load. 404 errors are also roadblocks for getting your pages crawled by Google bots.

Gather Valuable Links

Getting inbound links into your web pages is another way to get crawlers into your site—provided that the other website you are linking with is frequently crawled by Google as well. The links become virtual bridges that bots can travel through.  If you’re just linking with another fledgling site that’s not doing so well with the crawlers, then none of you is really helping the other.

This is actually an excellent reason and motivation for SEOs to work on getting high quality links from bigger, more successful websites. Link juice isn’t the only thing they can give you, but also the chance to get your pages crawled by Google.

Similarly, if you’re going to do blog commenting and put a link back to your website, make sure that the sites you’re leaving comments on are not spammed with junk comments.

Use Sharing Buttons

Advantages Of Social Sharing

Share Your Content For Better SEO Results!

 

Making your website go social is an excellent way to invite traffic and, more importantly, gather valuable links. This doesn’t always mean having accounts in all major social media websites. Sometimes merely adding sharing buttons in your page is enough to get your content and links circulating in social media networks.

You can go to AddThis.com and ShareThis.com to get sharing buttons for free. If you are using a blogging platform like Blogger and WordPress, they already provide the widgets for social media sharing. If you go to AddThis and ShareThis though, you can choose the style of buttons to put in your website.

Use Bookmarking Sites

Submitting links of your pages to bookmarking sites will not just help bring traffic to your site, it will also help the bots find, crawl, and index them. Your links will come out as new content for these bookmarking sites. Since they are constantly generating content (which means Google bots are constantly keeping their eyes on them), your page will almost immediately be crawled. The effect on the rest of your website is similar to having valuable links on your web pages.

Bookmarking sites also increases your social activity, which is another way to garner links from other—hopefully valuable and high-ranking—sites. Here are some of the top bookmarking sites you can use today:

  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • Pinterest
  • Stumbleupon
  • Multiply
  • Tumblr
  • Buzzfeed
  • Tweetmeme
  • Delicious
  • Fark

Importance of Speed and Frequency 

Take note that we’re targeting not just a one-time crawl, but frequent visits from the Google bots. These steps will help make your website become one of the search engine’s priorities and be in its radar for constant monitoring. You want Google to index your pages as soon as they go live. These points are important because all your SEO efforts will go unnoticed if your pages are not indexed in the first place.

Emma-Julie Fox

Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media, a Vancouver based SEO company. Pitstop Media has been helping businesses across North America successfully increase their search visibility. If you want to invite the author to guest post on your blog please contact www.pitstopmedia.com

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4 Simple Mistakes to Avoid in Email Newsletters and Marketing

Dec 20, 2012   //   by Brian Taylor   //   guest blogging, internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  3 Comments

Modern technologies have made email newsletters a vital part of every organization’s marketing plan. Email marketing is not a new approach but it still is plausibly the top channel for online sales due to its low cost, high return on investment and easy implementation.

Effective email marketing can help you to drive and maintain your customer engagement, foster market research and track metrics for optimization. However, you should be very careful when you make your first step in email marketing. Even minor negligence can result in your email newsletter getting filtered as spam or junk mail. Sometimes the best way to learn what is right is to consider what not to do. In that spirit, we shall now discuss the 4 simple mistakes that occur in email newsletters and marketing and the ways to avoid them.

Email Marketing

  • Not prioritizing email list building: Building an email list in a proper way should be your first priority. Nowadays people are barraged with opt-in forms and therefore they hesitate to give their email addresses to others. You have to be proactive while building your email list. You can use drop boxes or sign-up sheets in retail outlets to sign up for emails, gather names at trade shows, conferences and meetings or run a contest for prizes/giveaways.

  • Not segmenting your lists: If you want to create the right impact through your email newsletters, you have to segment your email lists properly. Only through proper segmentation of your email lists, you can ensure that the message that your subscribers read is relevant to their needs and their concerns. Make sure that you deliver timely and relevant email newsletters to your users based on their purchase history data or data provided by them. One last tip for enhancing relevancy in your email newsletter marketing is to segment your subscribers demographically. Sending triggered email newsletters based on user behavior is a strategy that produces fruitful results.

  • Weak subject lines – Not testing subject lines and email click-throughs: Most marketing professionals are not aware of the fact that a weak subject line can destroy all their email marketing efforts. Your subject line is the first thing that readers will see, and it should be crafted in such a way that it piques their interest and makes them want to read more. To increase your open rates, your subject line should be relevant, specific, engaging and should state the targeted benefit. Ensure that your subject line is crisp and does not exceed 50 characters. Avoid using marketing words such as “free”, “sale”, “save money” etc. These words may make your readers push your email newsletters to the spam folder. Instead, start with words like “Here are…”, “About your…” to win their attention.

  • Not testing HTML and plain text email templates: So now, you are ready with your email template, right? Your next step should be to decide on the format in which you are going to send your email newsletter – HTML or plain text email template. If you are going to send text-only emails, then it’s just a standard configuration but HTML email templates are much more appealing than plain text email templates.

HTML email newsletters are visual emails that attract the attention of your subscriber more effectively than words. But you can’t come to the conclusion that plain text email newsletters are outdated. Many mobile devices can render only text emails and there are some subscribers who prefer text emails over HTML. Generally, people think hitting the ‘convert HTML to text’ button in your email marketing solution, will do all the work. But this conversion tool pulls the text out of your HTML message and drops it into text module. Plain text email templates need to be formatted and organized differently to lay emphasis on important content.

Now you are all set to work on your first email newsletter. Though it is human to make mistakes, this detailed list will help you avoid some major errors and save your head.

Brian Taylor

Brian Taylor is the VP, Business Development at Forix web design in Portland, OR. Forix offers affordable and ethical SEO services in Portland and web design and development services helping small businesses with their Internet marketing needs.

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Did You Know That Unethical SEO Practices Could Hurt Your Reputation?

Dec 20, 2012   //   by Heather Legg   //   Plagiarism, SEO, SEO Blog  //  6 Comments

Did You Know That Unethical SEO Practices Could Hurt Your Reputation - SEM Group Pic 1With SEO so important to Google rankings, many sites are doing anything they can to boost their traffic and their rankings. However, unethical SEO practice, or black hat techniques, can actually hurt your online reputation and make your rankings fall quickly and even get your site penalized. It’s best to stay away from any kind of unethical SEO practice and keep a solid, clean reputation.

What Are Some Unethical SEO Practices to Stay Away From?

*Spun Content – This is taking a previously published article and rewording/rewriting it to say that it is original. However, it’s different than using an article as a source of information and writing your own from it; that’s okay with proper referencing and citing.

Article spinning, on the other hand, takes a well-written, informative article and substitutes words and rearranges sentences, often making the new article garbled and unreadable. If this shows up on your website, it looks a bunch of mish-mash and, though it may contain SEO keywords, will lower your ranking, as it’s basically garbage. Stay away from this!

*Duplicate Content – This one is pretty self-explanatory; it’s taking well-written material that someone else wrote, copying it, and calling it your own. Sure it has those valuable keywords, but guess what – it’s plagiarism. This can severely lower your rankings and your online reputation.

*Poor Quality Content/Over-Optimization (Nonsense Words) – Believe it or not, some website owners will fill their content with nonsense just to get their keywords in. This may have worked long ago and given them a somewhat high ranking because of the use of keywords, but not anymore. Now it will simply lower your ranking because no one wants to read a bunch of nonsense with keywords randomly stuck in. Google ranking techniques, formulas, and algorithms have become more advanced to detect this, and instead of raising your rankings, this one will put any site that does this at the bottom of the barrel.

Did You Know That Unethical SEO Practices Could Hurt Your Reputation - SEM Group Pic 2*Invisible Text – This may be the strangest, most unethical one of all. When a site uses nonsense, keyword-stuffed material placed on their site in invisible text (using a color that blends with the rest of the site), it’s unethical. This one is a red flag to lowering ranking and penalization.

The above practices all fall under the Black Hat category, but there are other things that will hurt your reputation as well. These are some things that simply make you look bad.

*Bashing other sites – Just like your mom taught you not to talk about other people, don’t bash other sites. It just makes you look bad. It may not hurt your Google ranking per se, but it can hurt your online reputation. People may not want to do business with you or visit your site if you have a habit of talking smack about other sites – how do they know they’re not next?

*Giving False Information – Don’t say something just to draw customers in. This doesn’t help anyone, and when customers stop coming to your site, it will hurt. Don’t make promises you can’t keep or accusations that are unfounded. Keep your information up-to-date, honest and ethical, and your rankings will go up, instead of the other way around.

*Linking to Unethical Sites – Here’s another playground lesson – don’t hang out with the bad crowd. Sometimes you are judged on the crowd you keep, so if someone unethical links to you, don’t link back. Your customers should be able to trust the links you offer them, and if you take them bad places, they certainly won’t come back. Google can also detect this and lower your ranking. Your site is a reflection of you – keep it clean.

It’s tough out there in the world of ranking. Though it may be tempting sometimes to try something new, and perhaps not completely honest, don’t do it. The risk isn’t worth it, and you want your site to be something you can be proud of. You don’t want your customers to come to you for the wrong reasons; they won’t come back.

Google has become much more advanced in the way they rank and how it’s figured out, so what may have once worked will now only get your rankings lowered and your site possible penalized or even dis-banned.

Here’s one more playground lesson to go by – and this should cover it all – play nice. If you continually use original, creative, honest text and material and stay away from the unethical practices, your site will do just fine.

Heather Legg

Heather Legg is a blogger who writes on small businesses, online reputation management services and staying true to yourself.

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