3 SEO Benefits of Being a Google+ Expert

Last Monday we talked about how to become an expert on Google+ with your business profile. Google+ is fast becoming one of the most popular social media platforms, thanks to its integration across multiple internet platforms. Incorporating Google+ into your Google marketing strategy is a smart business decision, establishing you as an expert in your industry. If done correctly, when people Google search business your Google+ profile can come up. Whenever you use your Google+ account correctly in correlation to your overall social media marketing scheme, you will three great benefits:

Via Flickr AJC1

Via Flickr AJC1

  1. Boost SEO. Google+ is one of the few social media websites that spans across multiple platforms and has great rankings in search engines. This makes it easy to integrate your Google+ account into your overall SEO marketing strategy. Other social media platforms, like Facebook, work best internally. This means that, while you can find anything you need on Facebook, it will not often appear in a Google search unless you type “Facebook” at the end of your search.

    Google+ makes it easier to use keywords while still creating great content that is not forced to match keywords. Google+ helps people refine searches with quality information that is recommended by other users. This is a huge advantage over other kinds of content platforms, since Google is now penalizing website that overload keywords without quality content.

  2. Makes it easy for others to recommend your business. Whenever anyone adds your Google+ business profile to searches, it gives your business precedence in Google search results. When someone in the circle searches for your product or service, you will show up first. In order to get this great Google+ benefit, you need to start networking with other businesses in your industry on the platform.

    You can also get a bunch of +1s from users who have never seen your page if you implement this function correctly. The button automatically comes up in search results and allows users to instantaneously recommend what they find.

  3. Begins word of mouth connections. This can be accomplished by using Google+ hangouts. Hangouts are live video conferences where three or more people participate. People primarily care about what your product or service can do to help them. In order to foster word of mouth marketing, you need to give people the chance to talk about themselves. Hangouts help customers feel special and valued by your business. They give customers a unique experience they will be sure to talk about.
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How to Start a Successful Business Blog

Many companies want to know how to start a business blog because of the importance it plays in a marketing scheme. When you learn how to make a successful blog for your business, you can reap all huge benefits by increasing your brand awareness. Successful blogs are also a great source of revenue that can finance future marketing efforts.

Businesses who start a blog produce content on a regular basis, increasing their SEO rankings and spreading brand awareness. They also set up the business as an industry leader who is knowledgeable and genuine. As you are implementing a blog, make sure to keep certain tactics in mind.

Via Flickr photosteve101

Via Flickr photosteve101

  • Stick to your market niche. If your business is in retail, keep all blog topics on retail. However, you do not want to make the blogs just general retail topics. While it does give you more ideas for content, there are hundreds of blogs about retail on the internet.

    Focus on a specific aspect of your market niche, such as writing only about young men’s fashion. This topic is not general retail, but it is also not so specific that half of an audience does not find the information they need.

  • Make content entertaining and easily readable. First and foremost, content needs to be conversational. Even if you write for a tech blog, write the posts using I, you, and we. Make jokes throughout, especially insider technology jokes that your readers will love. The posts you write need to be entertaining and personable with content that solves a problem for the reader or educates them.

    Break up lengthy paragraphs with line breaks and make sure to divide the blog content up with subheadings, italics, bullet points, and photos. This diversity in content will make the blogs easy to read and appreciated by followers. Following these steps when you are crafting posts will help you build a loyal readership in no time.

  • Focus on Google search rankings. This means utilizing correct SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. This requires correct keyword placement and research in order to see higher search engine rankings. There are many internet guides and books available to help you develop the best SEO practices, but there are a few easy things you can implement to get started.

    Make page titles unique, accurate, and brief. They need to catch the attention of the reader so they click on it, but be short as well. A description meta tag should be used. Keep URLs short and easy to spell and remember. Use relevant and descriptive text for the anchor link. For example, instead of saying, “Click here,” type “learn about carpet installation” with the appropriate link. There needs to be an alt description for photos and the blog needs to be easy to navigate as well.

  • Be social. Even when you have customized your blog and content to be Google-friendly, you cannot rely on just that to get readers. Share your posts through all of your social media accounts and interact with any responses to shares. You also have to be social and join in the blogging community. This can be accomplished many ways.

    Link to your sources for the articles, and other blogs, throughout your post. Comment on these blogs saying you linked them in your post. Follow similar blogs in order to get noticed. Engage with commenters on your blog in order to keep them as loyal readers. Get to know them so they feel valued. Guest blog for others and invite people to guest blog for you.

  • Keep length, consistency, and traffic in mind. Surprisingly, detailed blog posts are worth more on Google search rankings than shorter posts. On the first page of Google search results, each page has at least 2,000 words of content. However, do not fill up posts with fluff words to hit the 2,000 mark. All content needs to be useful and authentic.

Make sure to post new blogs consistently. If you start blogging three times a week, then you need to always blog three times a week and on the same days. The more you blog, the more your content will be viewed. It is very easy to get new traffic to your blog, but hard to keep people invested in visiting. This can be changed by building a community of followers. Respond to all emails and comments and get people involved by having them take surveys about what content they would like to see.

How Tumblr Improves SEO Ranks – Part 2

NOTE: After this post, Tumblr will now be on Thursdays with YouTube and Vine will be on Saturdays with Instagram.

Tumblr is a unique way to blog and offers many other marketing benefits over other social media platforms. It is a creative way to express your brand and can cause a new group of fun and loyal clients. Tumblr can also be a great way to improve your SEO ranks. This can be done many ways, including special Tumblr titles, URLs, and keywords.

Via Flickr buyalex

Via Flickr buyalex

Promote Yourself and Improve Visibility

While Tumblr is not optimized for business, there are still many promotional elements that you can use. The option for followers to reblog your content allows your brand to be shared and viewed by many different people across several platforms. There is also a Like option which adds notes to your posts, increasing the visibility of your Tumblr blog.

Drive Traffic to Tumblr Posts

Proper use of keyword in the tag section, reblogging, and Likes all increase the visibility of your posts. This drives more traffic to the posts and your blog. When people want to share the post across different platforms, they have to go to your blog in order to share the permanent link of the post. This further increases your brand awareness.

Discover Great Content

Tumblr is crafted in order for users to find great new content. They incorporate hashtags along with keywords when people are searching for content, meaning you do not need to have a ton of followers in order for your content to be discovered and reblogged. Great content is discovered and shared many times without having a single follower.

Combine the Power of Facebook and WordPress

What makes Tumblr such a unique platform is the ability to incorporate the best aspects of popular content social media sites, like Facebook and WordPress. Tumblr has the ability to blog, like WordPress, along with the social sharing capabilities of Facebook. Tumblr lets you optimize the blog with a wide variety of content and content sharing features. Even the content you want for your posts have a ton of options for customization.

Check out part one of how Tumblr improves SEO next Thursday! In the meantime, let me know what you think of Tumblr as a social media platform in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!

How to Make Your Facebook Posts Stand Out – Part 2

Facebook marketing for business is an often talked about subject. While there are many great Facebook tips for business out there, it is hard to find discussion on what makes a post stand out from the others on a user’s news feed. There are certain things businesses can do to make their posts on Facebook more authentic and noticeable.

There are seven basic things you can do to make your posts engaging and memorable. The first three we talked about last Friday. Here are the remaining four things you can do to grab the attention of the quickly scrolling user and stand out in the virtual crowd.

Via Flickr mkhmarketing

Via Flickr mkhmarketing

  1. Shorten all links in posts. Many URLs you will share are long, causing people to not want to click on them. Use popular link shortening websites, such as Bitly and Tiny URL to shorten the link. Bitly will choose a name for the link while Tiny URL lets you add a custom end alias. Choose one that will grab reader attention and make them want to click on the link.
  2. Provide a call to action and hashtags. A call to action is when you write a post and put click here, learn more, read more, share this, or what do you think at the end of it. You are telling the user what you want them to do. This will increase user engagement and direct traffic how you want.
  3. Hold contests every few months. Contests are a great way to get user engaged since contests are fun! You could have users share a post in order to win one of your products or services. To make it more inventive, hold a caption contest where you post an interesting photo relevant to your market and ask people to caption it to win a prize.
  4. Find out what time of day is best to post. By looking at Facebook Analytics, you can find the best time of day to post in order to get more user response. For a few months, post three or four times a day at different hours, such as in the morning, at lunch time, in the afternoon, and in the late evening. Then look at your analytics to see what time of day users are engaging most often with your post.

    You can also only post six in the evening to midnight when most people are home. Analytics show that, overall, people are on Facebook more Thursday through Sunday than they are Monday through Wednesday.

Don’t forget to check out the second part of the post that was released last Friday! In the meantime, what are your favorite Facebook posts to see from businesses? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!

Ways to Optimize Your Business YouTube – Part 3

When it comes to search engines, YouTube is the second most popular one on the internet. If your business has the creativity, time, and budget for it, making YouTube videos to market yourself is a great way to engage your customers. Before uploading, you need to know how to make your YouTube channel SEO friendly and how to promote YouTube videos with optimization.

Optimization is necessary if you want your YouTube marketing campaign to be successful. There are 800 million monthly views on all YouTube videos with hundreds of videos being uploaded every day. There is a lot of competition. For your videos to be seen, you need to understand how to optimize every aspect of your channel and videos.

Via Flickr clasesdeperiodismo

Via Flickr clasesdeperiodismo

Video Tags and Description

Your tags need to match the keyword research we talked about in Part 1 of our YouTube optimization guide. Use keywords that are part of your overall marketing strategy to connect all of your platforms. Also use keywords specific to this video and for YouTube search results.

The description needs to include these keywords as well, along with a few other things:

  • Using keywords in your description gives another boost to your SEO.
  • Descriptions let viewers know what you are offering.
  • Only the first 160 characters will show up right under the video without clicking Read More. It will also be the only part that shows up on search engines, so optimize the first two sentences with your keywords.
  • It works best when you use the same keywords at the beginning of your title and description.
  • Place a call to action at the end of the description.
  • Include links to the previous or next video.

Stat: 100 million people take a social action on YouTube every week.
Tip: Do not be stingy on the description. You have a lot of space and you need to use it! Always add links to your website, blog, and social media profiles at the bottom of the description.

Playlists

Remember all the different kinds of content you can create from Part 1? You can divide the different types of content into playlists. This allows followers to get to the content they want to see. And, since playlists automatically go to the next video in the set, they may stick around and give your videos more views. Some good examples of playlist categories include:

  • Products
  • Work Life
  • Industry News
  • How-To’s
  • Charity
  • Client Testimonials

Stat: Playlists increase engagement and tie into your video content strategy.
Tip: Get creative with your playlists! Make sure your categories fit the personality of your brand. So, if your brand is funny, make your playlists funny. If your brand is quirky, make the playlists quirky.

Via Flickr labnol

Via Flickr labnol

Engagement

The most important key to success with a YouTube marketing plan is engagement. When your viewers are engaged with the videos, they will explore the brand and become loyal followers. This is done a number of ways, including creating great content, but starting a conversation with your viewers is one of the best. When you interact with your audience, they feel valued by the brand and will become loyal to it. Here are three ways you can start conversations on YouTube:

  1. Give updates. When you upload a video about something that is happening in with your brand, update the description on how it is going, or create a new video about it. Make sure to link to the new video in the old video’s description and annotations.
  2. Respond to channel comments. Your channel is going to act as a discussion board for your brand. Take some time every week to go through the channel comments and reply to questions or great comments. Even reply to negative comments, but do so professionally. Do not start a flame war.
  3. Respond to video comments. Video comments are more specific than channel comments. The three days after you upload a video, respond to a few comments a day. Then check back on the video every few days for two weeks to respond to comments until you upload a new video.

Stat: Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month.
Tip: Not only do you need to start conversations, you need to be active in commenting. This makes your brand seem human and likeable.

Promote

You need to promote on three platforms: subscriptions, social media, and cross promotion. Promoting these three ways will help you build audience touch points and loyalty among your viewers. This is similar to the call to action we talked about in Part 2.

  1. Subscriptions. At the end of each video, either tell people or have an ending screen that tells people to subscribe to see more of this kind of content. End each video with an exciting look at upcoming videos so they will be more willing to subscribe.
  2. Social Media. Have buttons in your video, description, and channel that tell people to click to share the content or click to follow your brand on other platforms.
  3. Cross Promotion. Not only should you ask viewers to share content on social media, you should also share it on your own platforms. Every time you upload a new video, share it on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and any other social media platform you use.

Stat: 500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook.
Stat: Over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute.
Tip: Instead of directly telling viewers to share your videos (which can get in the way of quality content), create an ending image that says they should like, comment, favorite, and share on certain social media site. Use annotations to put outside links on this screen.

Via Flickr FindYourSearch

Via Flickr FindYourSearch

Analyze

Analyzing how well your YouTube marketing campaign is doing is an essential piece of success. When you look at the statistics, you can see what areas you are struggling with and what areas you are excelling. This allows you to make changes where you need to and don’t mess with things that are working well. YouTube analytics will measure:

  • Performance. YouTube will tell you how many views each video and all of your videos. They will also tell you how many minutes have been spent watching your videos and subscribers net change.
  • Engagement. YouTube measures engagement in Likes, Dislikes, Comments, Shares, Favorites Added, and Favorites Removed.
  • Top 10 Videos. YouTube will not only tell you the top 10 videos on your account, but will break down their ranks by views, minutes watched, and Likes.

Stat: More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years.
Tip: There is a pattern you need to follow for a successful YouTube marketing campaign – strategize, create, optimize, promote, and analyze. This is a circle that never ends.

For more ways to optimize your business YouTube, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our series on the subject.

How to Make 4 Aspects of Pinterest Work for Your Brand

Pinterest is the third most popular social media website, making it a platform that is hard to ignore when branding your business. It focuses on visual content and the audience is full of creative individuals. This means when you use Pinterest for business marketing, your plan of action needs to be creative and unique.

For those who do not use Pinterest or who are just starting out, there are eight aspects of the website that you need to understand in order to make the platform work for your brand.

pinterest profile

Profile

  • Use a photo, do not use a logo
  • Make your name easy to find by typing in your business’ name
  • Add links to all of your social networks
  • Put your business information on your profile, including website address and other contact information
  • Choose SEO keywords that you use on your website and other social media sites and put them on your bio
  • Make sure to complete your profile as a business profile
  • Give your followers options to share your profile on Facebook and Twitter
  • Allow your brand’s personality to explode on the profile
  • Your top three users that you repin from will show up on the right, so choose who these are carefully
Via Flickr stevendepolo

Via Flickr stevendepolo

Pins

  • Use creative pin titles
  • Use SEO keywords in descriptions
  • Install the Pin It button on your browser to quickly pin content with descriptions and a website link
  • Appropriately tag people in pins using the @mention
  • Pin images that are high quality and the correct size
  • Only pin images or content that is related to your brand
  • Focus on lifestyle behind the images, not the product
  • Pin small amounts at a time; do not go on a pinning spree
  • Always add a description and a source link
  • Enable rich pins to give real time pricing on images from your store
Via Flickr bryanlanders

Via Flickr bryanlanders

Boards

  • Use fun and creative titles that grab a visitors attention
  • Put SEO keywords in the description
  • Mix up original content and repinned content
  • Pin images from clients
  • Create inspirational or instructive collages
  • Customize which pin is the largest on the board
  • Only create business-related boards, not personal boards
  • Turn off Search Privacy in settings
  • Choose categories for each new board you create to allow people to find your content easier
  • Use numerous boards; do not put all of your content on one board

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Images

  • On images from your website or content you pin first, add a watermark so users are directed back to you even after the image has been widespread
  • Make product photos more stylized and show them being used in everyday life
  • Use natural light in photos
  • Only pin photos that relate to your products
  • Hire a photographer to take great, in action product photos
  • Make text on an infographic very large and easy to read
  • Put the title of the product or the website on the photo
  • Instead of uploading videos, pin a photo that leads to a video

Why Your Business Should Hold a Twitter Chat

Essentially, Twitter chats are the same as being in a chat room. Users keep track of responses with the specified hash tag and usually anyone can participate. There are also many services available online that allow you to keep track of multiple chats in a streamlined way. There are many benefits of joining or starting a Twitter chat:

Via Flickr cambodia4kidsorg

Via Flickr cambodia4kidsorg

  • The opportunity to network and make connections with people who have an interest in your brand.
    When you hold a chat event, customers get to talk to you and build a deeper bond with your brand. In order to get the most engagement and relationship out of the chat, you need to choose a discussion topic that resonates with your followers. If you make your chats weekly and combine them with how-to webinars, you can increase your lead generation as well. You will get new followers with a Twitter chat, and your brand will reach new people when your responses are retweeted during the chat.
  • Chats position your brand as an expert in the industry.
    Not only is starting a chat a great to build brand authority, but joining chats as a guest is a great way to create a reputation as an expert. You can answer questions related to your industry and establish yourself as an authority. Get to know the host of the chat by Tweeting with them on a regular basis. Whenever you stay in the host’s mind as an authority, it will increase your chance for a guest spot. You can also email the host with your interest. Before participating in the chat, update your Twitter bio to include a link to your website or Facebook.
  • You can create one-on-one relationships.
    Participating in chats frequently will help you build relationships with other people in your industry on Twitter. The more relationships you form, the more recognition your brand will receive in the industry. You will get new followers and create new leads with each participation.
  • Your brand can stay informed on this industry.
    You can also attend Twitter chats as a spectator in order to learn about news and updates in the industry. Find chats with other professionals in the industry in order to discuss common issues.
  • Chats are a method of promotion.
    You can ask hosts if you can sponsor their Twitter chat in order to give your brand more awareness. This means the host will mention your business as the sponsor and you will get mentions in any articles or posts about the chat. Products or services, being the featured guest, and placing advertising banners are also methods of promotion.

What has been your favorite Twitter Chat you have participated in and what made it special? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!

5 Ways to Become an Expert on Google+ for Business

Google+ is fast becoming one of the most popular social media platforms, thanks to its integration across multiple internet platforms. Incorporating Google+ into your Google marketing strategy is a smart business decision, establishing you as an expert in your industry. If done correctly, when people Google search business your Google+ profile can come up.

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Engage before advertising

When beginning on Google+, it is not a good idea to start advertising right away before communicating with your potential audience. When you begin promoting before the community knows you, it will take longer to build a following. Spend some time engaging with the users and answering questions before beginning your marketing plan.

Give credit

Google+ operates in a similar way to Facebook, allowing you to tag people in your posts and comments. This is the perfect way to give credit to people on Google+. People love getting tagged since others will click on their own profile. All you need to do is type a + and choose their name from a drop down list. They will get a notification they have been tagged. A user will be more likely to tag you and drive traffic to your page in the future.

Ask questions

It is okay to not always be the expert. In fact, stepping back from the authority role and asking questions makes you seem more like an expert in the eyes of your followers. Asking questions also increase your exposure. Your user engagement will increase with the desire to answer the question. Asking questions related to your audience will show that you care about and value their opinion and knowledge.

Divert traffic

If you have a large and active following on other social media platforms, direct them to follow you on Google+. People love having more connections on multiple platforms and will welcome the opportunity to add you on Google+.

Create a community

In order to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, you need to start a Google+ Community. You also need to join other communities and thoughtfully comment on posts without overly promoting your page. This helps build trust and drive traffic to your profile.

3 MORE Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Blog

Building a blog is simple and it is also a smart business decision for SEO rankings and company relevancy. Many businesses are disappointed, however, when their blog receives little traffic. There are ways to six ways increase traffic to site and promote your blog without breaking the bank or seeming inauthentic.

Via Flickr Rosaura Ochoa

Via Flickr Rosaura Ochoa

  1. Use links, keywords, and photos. Use keywords in your blog and make sure you are doing it right for SEO optimization. There are many basic SEO guides on the internet that will be more than enough information for you to keyword blogs correctly. Carry that knowledge for your website as well. Make your content varied with links to other places, quotes from people, and mentions of famous people or organizations.

    Make sure blog posts are laid out in a way that is easy for people to engage with and scan easily. When people open a blog post and see a huge block of text, they rarely read it. Text needs to be broken into chunks, divided with sub headers, and sprinkled with bullet points. This breaks up the information and makes it easier to digest. Photos are another great way to do this. Photos help break up a blog. Having a blog post full of photos or GIFs is also very popular right now and highly engages readers.

  2. Consider your titles and URL. The title of the blog is what makes people click on it to open. A good title catches reader attention and should be controversial, use a common saying, hints at conflict, has action, poses a question, and more. The URL of the blog is another first impression factor that will make people click on the blog or avoid it like the plague. The URL needs to be short, easy to spell, and easy to remember. URLs can be shortened for sharing through popular link shortening sites, such as Bitly and Tiny URL.
  3. Use social media to share your posts. Together, popular networks such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter have over one billion users. People on these sites invest a significant amount of their time scrolling through feeds and profiles. To get more traffic to your blog, post a link to the blog post on your social media profiles. Interact with anyone responses to the blog post on these social media sites, including a “Thanks for sharing!” message. Make sure your profiles on these sites are completely filled out with an accurate profile picture and adequate information.

Don’t forget to look at the three other ways you can increase traffic to your blog on last Sunday’s post!

How Tumblr Improves SEO Ranks – Part 1

I have decided to change up my days and their topics a little bit. Thursdays are now about YouTube and Vine Video and Saturdays will now be on Instagram and Tumblr. Let’s put housekeeping away and focus on how you can use Tumblr for your business marketing!

Tumblr is a unique way to blog and offers many other marketing benefits over other social media platforms. It is a creative way to express your brand and can cause a new group of fun and loyal clients. Tumblr can also be a great way to improve your SEO ranks. This can be done many ways, including special Tumblr titles, URLs, and keywords.

Many businesses use Tumblr as a secondary blog that helps increase the brand’s SEO rankings. The links you put on Tumblr through photos, videos, and quotes can be optimized in order to direct traffic to a company’s website. There are three ways you can see improved SEO rankings.

Via Flickr dmhoro

Via Flickr dmhoro

Customize Everything

Tumblr makes it easy to let you customize everything for better SEO rankings. Domain names are one of the things you can customize and integrate. This is important since search engines attribute priority to domain names. This procedure is simple and can be done when setting up an account.

Each post can also have its own custom URL. There is a set a custom URL option under the tag box that improves SEO results. HTML codes can be customized as well, even allowing you to post in the custom format. They are the most search friendly.

Optimize Everything

The alt and title attributes can be optimized so they have a better experience in search engine results. This requires some knowledge of HTML code in order to see those results. Keywords can be added to the post under the tags section. This ensures the blog will appear at the top of results that use those keywords, as long as you have done your research and chosen keywords that work.

Provide “Do Follow” Links in All Your Posts

Links that are added to your Tumblr posts are called do-follow links. They help you increase traffic to your website by sharing these links. Fill out your About section with interesting and inviting content, along with the link to your website. Add this symbol: [x] to the bottom of your posts and add a hyperlink to your website on the x. Most users will click the symbol, since it is known for getting more information not shown in the post.

Check out part two of how Tumblr improves SEO next Thursday! In the meantime, let me know what you think of Tumblr as a social media platform in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!