Browsing articles in "SEO Blog"

How Will the New HootSuite and HubSpot Partnership Affect Your Marketing Efforts?

Jun 11, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   Social Media  //  10 Comments

Now that the excitement about the HootSuite and HubSpot partnership has died down, it’s time to really consider what this will mean for small businesses’ social media efforts. Although it’s too soon to tell whether or not this will be as beneficial as it seems, there is no denying that more and more business owners are expecting to see real leads and real conversions come from social media. Because there are so many social media outlets available, companies are quickly spending money hiring social media experts and social media data analysts to help make sure social efforts are successful (and seeing leads come from social media is much more clear-cut than the types of numbers we see today). According to the HubSpot blog, the average budget spend on social media has increased 133% in just three years.

This of course begs the inevitable questions: Is it possible to increase and gauge leads from social media, and if so, why haven’t we been doing this all along?

How Closed-Loop Social Will Work

For those who are unfamiliar, the partnership involves the all-in-one marketing software HubSpot and one of the most popular social media dashboards HootSuite, and was announced this past Wednesday. According to The Next Web, HubSpot currently claims to work with more than 6,800 companies in 46 countries, which helps them to attract visitors to their websites and convert those visitors to leads and drive growth.

This partnership aims to help marketers not only connect with customers and clients via social media, but actually create real leads and bring these leads through the sales funnel. The new beta app that stems from this partnership is known as “closed-loop social.”  Below is a screenshot that the HubSpot blog included to help marketers visualize the coming-soon app:

Why Utilizing Closed-Loop Social Matters

While the partnership seems to be a good one in theory, marketers are more interested in understanding some of the ways to leverage this partnership and really make it work for their company. Below is a list of some of the benefits that HubSpot explained are coming with this partnership announcement:

  • Monitor key terms used by your biggest customers and clients on social sites. This will help you potentially find other like-minded potential customers as well as stay involved with your current ones.
  • Nurture leads through social media, not just a follow-up email. After all, saying “thank you” via Twitter might be more effective for some (and more and more as time goes on).
  • You can setup filters for certain keywords—your company name, keywords in your industry, etc. If someone tweets “I need to buy an office printer” and you sell office printers, closed-loop social will make sure you know how to find this tweet.

Overall, it seems as though this new app is the next step in social. Being able to understand what your customers are doing on social media and then putting them through the sales funnel on a medium that they really understand (and enjoy) is absolutely going to be beneficial. Although it may take some time to master, I suspect that we will see many more social tools and marketing companies working together to perfect this idea through trial and error, and I’m sure many businesses will be following along.

How do you feel about the new HubSpot and HootSuite partnership? Do you think they have a sound idea, or is it all just the latest hype? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit: business2community.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 to Improve Website Performance with ‘Content Experiments’

Jun 11, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  19 Comments

In one of my recent posts, I talked about conducting your first A/B test. Split or A/B testing is undoubtedly one of the most effective techniques to improve your website for better performance. Though there are several testing tools (free and paid) that you can use, Google Website Optimizer (GWO) has always done a great job to help you accomplish this task.

Now, you can test the performance of your website right from within Google Analytics. Yes, Google recently announced this feature (called ‘Content Experiments’) on its official analytics blog. It’s one more effort by Google to make Google Analytics the best measurement tool for tracking a site’s performance.

The ‘Content Experiments’ feature helps you create different versions of a web page, track the effectiveness of each version and determine the version that works best for your audience.

The best part is that you can now fulfill your goals of tracking, testing and optimizing your website all in one place i.e. Google Analytics. The advanced statistical engine added to the analytics tool makes it more powerful and more useful than ever. In addition, the website experimentation process becomes easier with ‘Content Experiments’.

Testing with ‘Content Experiments’ is easier because it -

Teaches you how to set up experiments
Helps you launch new tests instantly
Allows you to choose from goals you would like to test
Comes along with easier tagging options
Makes it easy to understand the performance of different versions
Identifies the version that makes the most impact quickly
Sends you regular email updates about the experiment (to be available soon)

At a time, you can test five different versions of a web page using the Content Experiments feature in Google Analytics. If you have set up a couple of goals in your account already, you can come up with different versions of the original page and find out which one brings a higher goal conversion.

How to Set Up an ‘Experiment’
Before you create an experiment in Google Analytics, you need to do your homework. This includes identifying the goals you plan to test, selecting your conversion page and creating the variants of the original page.

Once you’re done with the preparation part, you can follow these steps –

#1. Log in to your analytics account.
#2. Go to the profile you want to create experiment in.
#3. Move to the ‘content’ section and click ‘Experiments’.
#4. Now, click ‘Start Experimenting’.
#5. Give a name to your experiment and select the versions.
#6. Choose experiment options (select goals or add new goals).
#7. Add the experiment code to the original version.
#8. Get the experiment code verified.
#9. Preview the pages and click ‘Run Experiment Now’.

After you’ve set up a new experiment, you can also save the settings for using it later. Since every experiment has a specific name given by you, you can click the name and do what you want. Content Experiments also provides you with easy modification options, if you haven’t run the test yet.

So, is it time to say goodbye to GWO?
Actually, yes! After August 1, 2012, you won’t be able to use GWO (a standalone tool) anymore. Google has already started to implement its functionalities into Google Analytics’ Content Experiments. Therefore, you should now start setting up website experiments from Google Analytics to improve the performance of your websites. You can get started with Content Experiments (if it’s already available in your account) right away by logging into your analytics account and click ‘experiments’ within the content section of your regular diagnosis reports.

Is ‘Content Experiments’ available in your Google Analytics Account? Please feel free to ask any questions or share your own opinions regarding the same.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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Explode Your Home Based Business With A KILLER Press Release

Jun 11, 2012   //   by Bill   //   SEO Blog  //  4 Comments

How would you like to explode your income potential of your home based business? Has that been your plan all along? If so, then you must consider the benefits of writing a press release.

Yes, a press release can be tough to write. They can also be denied even after you put in all that hard work. It is because of this that many home based businesses don’t even bother writing a press release, even though a press release would benefit their business beyond belief.

There is a lot to know about writing a press release and that is why I want to show you a few tricks on how to write a press release for guaranteed success. Below you will see a very short yet powerful list of tricks that will get your press release read and distributed to hundreds of news sites.

Something that is important to keep in mind is that a press release is not a sales page that will teach you how to make more sales, nor is it a self promotion of your home based business. A press release needs to be newsworthy. So, stick to solving a problem and you will get better results time and time again.

Optimize Press release For Search Engines

It is imperative to optimize your blog for relevant success or else the search engines won’t help you. Press releases are great for many reasons and one of the biggest ones is that they will get picked up by news writers and published on news sites. Now, if you didn’t optimize your press release for search engines with a mix of high traffic keywords and long tail keywords, then you will be missing out on a ton of quality and FREE traffic.

Solve A Massive Problem

Whether you are catering to the ”Home based business for moms” category or the ”Future self-employed” doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you are solving a problem. By solving a problem and putting yourself second your press release will get picked up by more news sites, which is much better than trying to sell through a press release and limiting your exposure.

Link To Your Website As A Source

Yes, this is something you probably already know, however, did you know that a link to a source is more reputable than just a link to the creator of the press release? I say this because as a source you will be seen in a different light. Think about it, what would you rather click on – a link from the source or a link to a somewhat relevant page?

In order to get the most out of a press release it is recommended that you do more than just write it and submit it. What do I mean by this – Think about using social media to promote your press release.

How To Use Social Media To Promote A Press Release

Blast Your Twitter Followers

We all know how powerful Twitter is, so why not use it to promote your press release? Just because you are releasing something to the press doesn’t mean your job is done. You should blast your Twitter followers with at least 5 Tweets during the first 3 days your press release is live. The benefit of doing this is that other’s will see it and the chances of them retweeting it will be much higher.

Get Friends To Share On Facebook

Having your friends or fans share the link to your press release is a great way to get noticed. This strategy has worked for many people in the past, so why not do it yourself. The trick to getting your friends and fans to share a press release on Facebook is to make sure it caters to their needs.

Use Pinterest

Lastly, pinterest is the third largest social media site after it recently passed LinkedIn. It is because of this that you should create a eye catching image and pin it on Pinterest. It may not get picked up right away, but it doesn’t hurt to get more links out there to your recent release.

By promoting your press release on these three social media sites you won’t just get the average news sites picking it up, you will get all the little guys as well. It is recommended that you look to be everywhere in regards to your press release because some bigger news sites use the smaller news sites as a gauge of what is hot and what isn’t.

Well, there you have it. If you want to explode your home based business, then a press release is one of the best ways to do it.

Bill

Bill Achola is on a mission to help small business people get traffic they deserve. If you’re one of them, check out his Affordable SEO Service for Small Business that will drive targeted traffic to your website. Be sure to follow him on Twitter

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LinkedIn Hacked: What Security Precautions Can You Take When It Comes to Social Media?

Jun 8, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   Social Media  //  6 Comments

Whether it has affected you or not, a headline reading “LinkedIn Hacked: 6.5 Million Passwords Leaked to the Web” gets people thinking. Social media security has always been a constant discussion since the networks began to grow in popularity, yet as with many things security, businesses are still staying basic when it comes to protecting their accounts. While changing your password is a great idea and trying to monitor who you are connecting with might help deter a hacker, a business should be taking more serious precautions. Hackers can hurt not only your social media presence, but actually hurt your SEO if they can figure out a way into your website. This naturally brings us back to that very familiar question: What can I do to keep my accounts secure?

Tips and Tricks to Avoid a Social Media Breach

It first helps to understand a little bit about security. There are many different types of security software out there to help a business stay secure, but there aren’t many that focus specifically on social media. After all, security for other aspects of a business—finances, important records and documents, etc.—is often a bigger concern to businesses. However, security software and precautions will generally cover everything online. In other words, if you were to implement security precautions to help protect your financial information, your social media and SEO efforts will likely be protected as well.

Below are a few basic things you can do to help make sure your passwords and accounts are secure across the board:

  • Bitdefender Antivirus Software – It is extremely important that you have some sort of software in place to help with your online security. I have used Bitdefender both with my company as well as for personal use in the past and highly recommend this software because it is affordable and works well with all types of computers. It was rated the #1 antivirus software of 2012 by Top Ten Reviews and is something that will help keep your entire computer protected, including your social media and SEO passwords.
  • Get Patched – Making sure your computer is patched, or making sure that you have the latest software updates, will help eliminate your risk of hackers. The reason that you always need to keep your system updated is because hackers can often figure a way around certain software, so new software has to be implemented.
  • Password Manager – Setting up a browser password manager will help your company create passwords that are more difficult to crack and help you remember these passwords. Although there are many different types of password management tools, I find KeePass to be one of the easiest to use and one of the most successful (and it’s free!). You can learn more about KeePass here.

There are also new software and new tactics that have emerged specifically for SEO and social media. It is important that businesses take precautions not only from hackers, but also from potential employee abuse. Below are a few different tools you can use and approaches you can take when it comes to SEO and social media specifically:

  • Hootsuite Security – The social media dashboard Hootsuite has put a lot of effort into social media security. You can setup secure profiles so that you have to approve everything that gets posted onto any of your accounts, and setting up limited permissions makes certain that employees can only create drafts of all your social media messages. Finally, this tool allows you to turn on HTTPS, which will encrypt your information so that hackers cannot see your information if they try to break into your accounts.
  • Avoid Add-Ons – People are usually pretty careful when it comes to downloading something onto a computer, but for some reason people are usually not as careful when it comes to social media. It’s easy to download an add-on or click “ok” when asked if the add-on can have access to your account. This is one of the easiest ways for a malicious program to get into your account and take your password and personal information.

Security will unfortunately always be an issue when it comes to online marketing, so it’s good to continually go back and check what security measures your company has in place. Security is something that needs to constantly be updated (as annoying as it may be), and keeping up makes this easier. After all, if a hacker can get into a site as large and protected as LinkedIn, there is a good chance your site could be next.

What do you do to help make sure your social media accounts and SEO efforts are protected? Do you use any tools that you find helpful? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit: defensemedianetwork.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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Google Places is No More, Long Live Google+ Local!

Jun 4, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  19 Comments

Things are changing pretty fast now. Google continues to make one move after another – launch of Google Plus, quicker algorithmic updates, roll out of Panda and Penguin. You can stay tuned as more exciting pieces of news come your way. However, here’s one that should attract the eyeballs of all local business owners. Yes, Google’s newest move is the launch of Google+ Local.

If you thought Google+ (the search giant’s social network) won’t stick, you need to think again. Though Google Places is not closed completely yet, millions of these pages have been converted into Google+ local pages. According to Google, this step is taken to improve how people discover and share local business information within Google+. Google, therefore, makes this effort to help local businesses leverage the potential of the Google Plus community.

Now, isn’t that a sensational change?

What one can really wonder is how this dramatic transition of Google Places pages to Google+ is going to impact business owners who have products or services to sell locally.

As Google Places pages are replaced with Google+ Local pages, Google Plus now features a new local listing tab (towards the left of your Google+ page) for businesses. That means your local business pages will become more socialized with the launch of Google+ Local.

The Newly Added ‘Local Listing Tab’

Here’s how it happens –

Connect your local business with millions of Google+ users
Let people find your business via Google search, maps, mobile and Google+
Make it easy for customers to recommend your business

Now, users can use different ways to find a local business. The recent transition of Google Places pages to Google+ Local widely increases the visibility of your company information by making Google Plus a new search destination with all its highly user-friendly features and functionalities. Imagine what happens when all the social features of Google+ are implemented into your business pages. This will certainly add new life to your business by making it more interactive for both existing and prospective customers.

SEM Group’s G+ Local Page

Definitely, the benefits that you have now as a local business owner far outweigh those that Google.com provides at the SERP level.

One of the best things about this roll out by Google is that it changes the way reviews were done until now. Since all the reviews will now be linked back to the reviewer’s Google+ page, there will be no anonymity. And it will highly discourage those that intentionally leave fake negative reviews on company’s business pages. Additionally, it will create a tough situation for companies that indulge in leaving bogus or non-legitimate reviews on their pages.

In the midst of all these changes taking place, business owners also need to pay careful attention to how it changes the local SEO requirements. You should be informed that all the Google+ Local pages will be indexed. Whether it’s about creating more Google+ votes and social signals or optimizing your local pages for increased visibility in Google search results, this transition also creates more opportunities for doing SEO.

What to Do Next!
Now that Google Places pages are moved to Google+, local businesses that aren’t yet familiar with how this social network works need to increase their knowledge and learn more about the same. Eventually, all the social functionalities of Google+ (i.e. hangouts, sharing, voting, and circles) will be added to your local business pages. That’s why it’s really vital that you become well-versed with all that Google+ has to offer.

How do you see this transition? Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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How to Know When It’s Time for SEO Marketing Services

Jun 1, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO  //  14 Comments

Many startup companies put SEO last on the list because you can “fake it.” A business absolutely has to have a finance department and an IT department because these are such specialized fields, and many see paid search as beneficial because you can see the results of your campaign immediately, but many assume that SEO can be figured out by anyone. It’s a long process and it takes a while to see results, so that can just be put on the back burner for a little while, right?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to discover that SEO is not easy to figure out and SEO does need to be part of the initial strategy for a startup company. However, many small startup companies can get away with implementing SEO strategies without enlisting the help of SEO marketing services. This then begs the question: How do you know when it’s time to hire an SEO marketing service?

Top 5 Clues You Need SEO Marketing Services

For those who are unfamiliar, SEO marketing services can come in two forms: In-house or agency SEO services. No matter which route you decide to take, an SEO marketing service is in charge of your organic search rankings. Below lists a few clues that tell you when it’s time to stop attempting SEO on your own and begin searching for SEO marketing services:

1.    If you’re so overwhelmed with social media that you are only sharing your own content.

Social networking is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of SEO and user experience. In fact, Google+ is now beginning to integrate social and SERP rankings. This makes growing your social media communities extremely important although it can be time consuming. You must try and build a community of strong followers and industry leaders on at least LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. With the new Facebook Timeline layout and the new social media analytics tools, social media is becoming more and more overwhelming. If you are finding that your company cannot manage building these different communities and sharing others content, it’s time to get help.

2.    If you find that you can’t understand the Google Panda/Penguin algorithm changes.

Seeing that your rankings are dropping is one thing, but understand why they have dropped is quite another. Google is constantly changing their algorithms that determine where a site will rank on a SERP, so it’s important that your company is able to keep up with all of these updates and really understand what they mean. If you’re finding this is too much to handle or you don’t understand the terminology, you have your second clue.

3.    If you’re still ignoring your competition and keyword research.

Those who don’t have a lot of experience in SEO generally just plug in a few keywords here and there and try and track the results. While this is a good strategy, it is only a fraction of the things needed to create a successful SEO campaign. It’s important that your company understands how to complete keyword research for SEO and look at the competition to determine where improvements can be made.

4.    If you’re getting hit with Google penalties and you can’t understand why.

This is one aspect of SEO that a small business can probably figure out on its own, but it would likely be time consuming. SEO marketing services, whether an agency or an expert, can usually tell right away what needs to be changed on a site—Meta descriptions, content being copied, authorship tags, etc. Google penalties need to be tended to right away to ensure that you don’t get banned from the search engine, so if you realistically don’t think that you have time to figure out why you’ve been penalized, an SEO marketing service is probably a good idea.

5.    If your website is designed for aesthetics and not user experience.

Many websites begin by trying to look nice. Although this is a big plus, this isn’t always best for SEO and user experience. You want your site to be easy to navigate for users as well as search engine bots. If you’re unsure how navigation changes between the two or if you created your website without any consideration for either type of navigation, you’re likely due for a redesign. An SEO marketing service can help.

Usually an SEO marketing service can come into your company and tell you quickly what needs to be changed and what needs to be added to your current strategy. The practice of SEO is now a full-time job, and as businesses get larger it doesn’t make sense to continually assume you’re doing SEO correctly and effectively. If any of these clues are popping up in your business, it’s a good idea to at least get a consultation by an SEO marketing firm.

Photo Credit: culpwrit.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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10 Reasons Why Your Site’s Rankings Won’t Be Affected by Penguin [Infographic]

May 29, 2012   //   by Aleh Barysevich   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  27 Comments

Rolled out over a month ago, the Penguin update keeps causing a stir in the SEO community. Some webmasters are removing links and keywords in panic, others are sharing tips on how to overcome the Penguin’s grave aftermath.

Whether you’re new to SEO or have been driving websites to Google top for years, listen up.

There’s nothing new nor drastic about Penguin – it’s just another Google’s quality-related update. There were many updates before Penguin, and many will follow.

Whatever the update is, you’re on the safe side if you craft your SEO strategy in line with Google guidelines and don’t fall into “SEO is dead” panic.

Wondering if your SEO strategy meets Google’s search quality expectations? Want to stop sweating about Penguin, adopt a positive outlook and a broader perspective on the current state of search?

Learn why your site’s rankings won’t be affected by the Penguin update:



Infographic transcription:

10 Reasons Why Your Site’s Rankings Won’t Be Affected by Penguin

Off page

1. You ensure sufficient anchor text variation

Aggressively used exact match anchor text is the most widely reported Penguin-related risk factor. You’re on the safe side if you’ve developed a link building strategy which combines relevant keywords and decent amount of anchor text diversity. [1]

2. Your backlinks are relevant and diverse

As with all Google updates, previous and coming, quality of your backlink portfolio was, and is to remain important (unless Google redesigns its PageRank algo).

Your site’s rankings are unlikely to be affected by Penguin if your inbound links

- come from thematically-relevant sites
- are diverse by type: guest blogging, valuable forum posts (not profiles), media coverage campaigns (newsworthy press releases and such), social media shares
- point to various pages of your site, not only the home page

3. You’re not involved in link manipulation schemes

You have nothing to worry about if you’re NOT into any of these: building link wheels, submitting spam links (e.g. automatic submission of forum posts and blog comments) and other types of links intended to manipulate PageRank and search results. [2]

4. You work hard at social media engagement

In the search world today, social media engagement is a must. Make sure you include rich, interactive element types on the page e.g. video, images, social media buttons, moderated comments, PDF downloads, etc, to increase your visitors’ engagement. [3]

When targeting social networks, pay special attention to Google Plus. Google is said to be creating an influence metric that will impact how content is ranked within search, and Google Plus might well be the center of this effort. [4]

On page

5. You have enough compelling and unique content

What your website covers should be just the opposite of “thin” content.

Take a hard look at what value your website is providing: ultimately, it’s those sites that provide that something extra that Google wants to showcase on the first page of search results. [5]

6. You shun abundant on page optimization:

- You don’t build internal links with your main keyword stuffed all over the place, be it site copy, your site’s header and footer, h1, alt and <b>/<strong> tags.
- Your pages’ titles and descriptions vary from one page to another and sound as natural as possible (with user in mind).

7. You avoid keyword stuffing

For your pages not to trigger Google’s keyword stuffing penalty, you need to either forget about keyword density and write as naturally as possible, or spot the ideal keyword density which works for your competition. [6]

Common sense

8. You don’t panic and don’t fall into SEO asceticism

Even if you’ve spotted warning signals of poor SEO practices on your part, don’t panic, i.e. don’t take pseudo-appropriate actions like removing backlinks and keywords. Learn your lessons, and work out a new comprehensive SEO strategy.

Guilty of using only one anchor text variation? Perform an additional round of keyword research to add more diversity to your anchor text list.

Building links of one and the same type and linking only to the home page? Research more advanced link building opportunities and analyze which pages of your site (other than the home page) are worth linking to.

9. You know Penguin is neither the first, nor the last Google update

Florida, Jagger, Real-time search, Panda, Search+ Your World – since 2003, Google has implemented several quality-related updates, wreaking havoc in the SEO community and causing “SEO is dead talk”. Yet, none of them proved to be fatal for SEO. Neither will this one. [7]

10. You realize that there are SEOs who survive any update

Here and there in search results, we see examples of websites ranking despite any much-hyped-over update. [8]

Without favoring any of the SEO techniques used by the webmasters, let us bring these cases to your attention to show that Google search quality updates are not worth your agony.

Aleh Barysevich

Aleh Barysevich is a Marketing Director and Co-Founder of Link-Assistant.Com, the company that makes SEO PowerSuite website promotion toolkit for bloggers, webmasters and online marketers.

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‘Appreciation’ is Key to Building an Online Community!

May 28, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  4 Comments

Creating an online community of loyal followers is not important only because it helps you expand the presence of your business and fulfill your goals. An online community can also help you create a new product or develop an entirely fresh approach to your present activities. However, building a community around your brand is not child’s play. It involves understanding your organizational strong points, your business goals and the staffing qualifications.

Definitely, gaining a deep insight into the demographics of your target audience is where you start. Apart from knowing what your audience’s requirements are, you also need to know the purpose and plans of your business. At the same time, it’s vital to be well aware of your limitations.

But, there’s one more thing that you need to focus on – ‘appreciation’.

If you’re really serious about building an online community around your business or brand, you need to learn how to appreciate. First you need to identify the genuine contributions of your community members and then find ways to appreciate or reward those activities (participation, loyalty and patronization) in one way or another. It’s not just the members of the community that need appreciation. In fact, you need to appreciate even the non-community members.

So, you need to know how to appreciate. Appreciating community members or customers is an excellent way to make them feel passionate about your brand, compel them to visit over and over again and encourage them to interact with the new members. That’s how you keep an online community growing and going really strong. That’s how you build momentum among the audience. That’s how you expand your business and make more money.

Why you really should care about creating a strong online community is due to the fact that it follows you throughout the company’s lifecycle.

Here’s how you should appreciate –

a) Say ‘Thank You’ publicly
b) Respond to questions in a timely manner
c) Organize contests and giveaways
d) Share your best customer stories
e) Offer rebates, coupon codes and discounts
f) Start affiliate and incentive programs
g) Give away rewards for referring others
h) Ask for your customer’s feedback and suggestions
i) Live up to your promise

Basically, there are four big reasons that would compel people to do things – recognition, power, money and sex. By getting involved, the members of your community are doing plenty of good for your brand. To build a strong online community and keep it growing too, you need to give something back and continue with it in one form or another. It’s about making something happen in the everyday life of your customers and community members.

Any online community will have both ‘active’ members and ‘silent’ members. So, it’s important to pay attention to those secret members as well. Most importantly, you need to be consistent in you efforts because community building is not a one-time activity or task. Keep on benefiting from the online community and continue to give back to get even more.

Remember, a strong online community is the proof of your brand’s genuineness and credibility. The loyal followers of your brand can quickly elevate your business to new heights. So, let them speak for your business!

What tips do you have in mind to build an online community of loyal followers around your business? Let’s talk back in comments.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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Joomla SEO Plugins for the WordPress Graduates

May 25, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO  //  14 Comments

Although WordPress is still amongst the most popular program to create a website, Joomla is gaining speed. Joomla sites allow for easier customization and are considered easier to use than WordPress, so more and more websites are beginning to get creative and try something new. Unfortuately, while Joomla may have content management and usability down, it lacks when it comes to SEO. WordPress does a good job of helping users customize a website for search engines right at the start, but Joomla requires users to install a plugin.

Joomla plugins work in the exact same way as WordPress plugins—you download the plugin and then click “install” once you are in the admin section of your blog or website. It doesn’t take long to download a plugin, but there are quite a few different choices.

Most Popular Joomla SEO Plugins

Joomla plugins are not nearly as discussed as WordPress plugins, so it’s important to really do your research before making your decision. Different plugins work well with different SEO skills and different SEO levels. Below lists five of the most popular Joomla plugins:

1.     Smart SEO is all about the Meta data: Great for Beginners

This is probably the most well known plugin for a Joomla site. The plugin is great for beginners because you can navigate around your website and make changes to titles, descriptions, and Meta tags right there on the page. A bar will appear at the top of the screen and let a user know which fields still need to be filled in; thus helping walk a beginner through the process.

2.     SEO Pagination is all about page titles: Great for Beginners

This plugin puts a focus on creating unique titles for pages. Being that duplicate content is one of the most important things to avoid when it comes to SEO, this is a great plugin for beginners who aren’t used to creating unique titles. It’s easy to use and great for websites that have a lot of different categories.

3.     Joom SEO will help you save time automatically: Great for Beginner to Intermediate

If you think you might know a little bit about SEO but are not sure, this is a great plugin. This plugin will automatically create your Meta data for you to help save you time. Most SEO experts will recommend checking this data, which is why it helps to understand a little bit about SEO, but in general the plugin has good reviews and seems to automatically create great Meta data for a website.

4.     Sh404SEF incorporates Google analytics and social sharing: Great for Intermediates

This plugin takes things a step further by offering Google analytics and social tracking to help make SEO decisions. It’s important that you understand how to read analytics and reports in order to take full advantage of this plugin, but it is said to have great customer service.

5.     Unicode Slugs SEF is for the person who loves fancy features: Great for the Advanced

This plugin allows a user to add in punctuation and different types of characters to a URL, which can help make sure your site is unique (and these types of characters are just as easy for Google to fine!). Definitely a plugin for someone who really understands SEO.

Although creating a Joomla site may be overwhelming if you are used to WordPress most find (myself included) that it is actually very intuitive. However, it needs some help in the SEO department. Installing SEO plugins should be the first thing that you do when you get create to publish content on your site.

Do you use any particular Joomla plugins? Which have worked for your website and which have not? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit: blogohblog.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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A 5-Step Formula to Conduct Your ‘First A/B or Split Test’

May 22, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   internet marketing, SEO Blog  //  6 Comments

If you ask me what the most effective method of boosting the performance of a website is, I’ll give you an instant reply – ‘split testing’. And I really hope you wouldn’t like to differ with me on this point, would you? Since I stepped into the internet marketing industry, I have met very few (can count them on my fingers) webmasters or web property owners who bothered to utilize split testing to find out what worked best and improve the rate of conversion.

Why do most of the internet marketers ignore split testing, while investing plenty of time on just guess-optimizing their websites over and over again? Optimizing your sites on the basis of gut instinct or guesswork may bring you better results. But it won’t ever tell you what really works and what doesn’t. Split testing is the single most effective technique to ensure the best ROI possible.

Split or A/B testing is a proven technique to discover what makes the most impact on visitors, thus helping you to tweak your sites appropriately and improve the rate of conversion. Though conducting a split test consumes time, the result will be much more than the effort that you invest.

So, are you ready to conduct your first split test ever? Don’t worry. Given below is a very simple 5-step plan that you can use to get started.

#1. Choose a Web Page
Find those pages on your site that help you fulfill some important goals. Select a web page that focuses on a specific goal and have one call to action. If you think improving a web page can increase the number of sign-ups, boost online sales or assist you in achieving other significant conversion goals, you can conduct a split test for that specific page.

#2. Create Another Version of The Selected Page
After you’ve picked an important page that you would really want to split test, it’s time to create a new version of the same. To create the new version, you’ll need to list out all the important elements (that you think can increase the conversion rate) the original page contains.

You should decide to test these –

Headings and subheadings
Introductory paragraph
Images
Call to action
Links
Color
Placement of elements
Pricing
Offer (bonuses)
Related Products

You may focus on other important elements that your selected web page contains and make the necessary changes to create the new version. So, you’ve two different versions – Page A (original) and Page B (new).

#3. Set Up the Test
Now, you’ll need a software or tool to set up the test. If you have adequate expertise, you can make use of Google’s Website Optimizer. Otherwise, you can hire the services of an internet marketing firm that’s known for conducting split tests. There are also several paid split testing tools that you can use. No matter which split testing tools you use, you should make sure that it’s easy to set up, easy to understand and accurate (in terms of tracking results).

#4. Experiment
The two versions of the page (original and new) will either be shown randomly or simultaneously to visitors. The tool that you use will track the number of visitors, the rate of click-throughs and the rate of conversion for both the pages. Make sure you run the test for an adequate time span and that your sample size is big enough to track accurate results.

#5. Use the Version That Works Best
Analyze the results of the split test and go with the variant that makes the most impact on your site’s visitors.

Have you ever conducted a split or A/B test for your website? Please feel free to share your experiences and opinions.

Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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