Focus on Web Presence Optimization – Not Backlinks

SEO backlinks

SEO backlinksIs Obsessing over Backlinks Wasting Your Time and Money?

Getting backlinks, inbound links, linkpop, link juice – whatever you call it – they all mean the same: the more links you have to your web pages, the higher Google and other search engines tend to rank your site. Besides the proper use of key words in your content, creating links to your site is the major focus of most search engine optimization (SEO) efforts for websites.  The idea is your site gains in credibility and authority when others not only visit your pages, but link to them. It also gains visitors from the linking sites, as well.

There’s a lot of truth in this approach, particularly when popular, well-regarded sites link up with yours. It’s like an expert or Oprah endorsement, sending fans your way.

But how many small businesses have Oprah clicking to their sites? Most of the time, you’re just happy to get increasingly more people in your own area finding your business on the web and liking what they see.

But what about your competitors who’ve hired SEO experts to get hundreds of links pointing to their sites?

You Have Two Options

Option1: Traditional Search Engine Optimization Backlinks

Go hire an SEO company to plaster links to your site all over the Internet. Some of those links will be useful to people looking for your services, such as relevant web directories. Many other links, such as multiple submissions of the same content to obscure article directories will not. So what if you’ve got 500 backlinks. No one will find them. No one will read them. Google just looks at them as duplicate content of little or no value. What’s more, Google’s Panda and Penguin updates will probably penalize your site for low-value or irrelevant backlinks

Option 2: Web Presence Optimization

Stop Obsessing over SEO and optimize your entire web presence instead. Here are some ways to stand out of the crowd.

Add Keywords to Page Titles and Content

Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and Google Analytics to find the keywords people are most likely to search for your products and services. Incorporate these in your page titles and content.

Go Local

Set up Google Places site even if you don’t have a website of  your own, or verify what Google has already created site you. Add to your Google Places site information, photos and videos of interest to prospective customers. Watch for ratings from Google users or those posted on ratings sites, such as Yelp, and respond accordingly.

Get on Google+

Add Google+ to the mix and you will have a Google+ Local, all your pages fully indexed for search. Reviews for your company will also end up in people’s Google+ feeds.

Go Mobile

Nowadays people are using their cell phones and other mobile devices, to research and call businesses. If your site doesn’t render easily on their screens, they will call another instead.

Create Value

Make sure, too, your website creates value for customers and motivates them to want to do business with you. Share helpful tips and ideas. Create informative videos and/or newsletters. Write a blog. Contribute to other people’s blogs with insightful comments or become a guest blogger for other’s sites. Invite more established bloggers to contribute posts on your site.

Go Social

Use social media tools effectively. LinkedIn, for example, can drive qualified leads to your website, as long as you take the time to use the many features it offers, including a LinkedIn company page. Participate in groups, start your own group and make the most of your professional profile.

Engage more people with a Facebook business fan page that rewards them for “Liking” your business with special content, deals, contests and, education about your products or services.

Get onto Twitter to let others know what your business offers and share in the discussions. Acknowledge any mentions, and if there is an adverse comment, deal with them as you would any unhappy customer.

Brand all your media consistently and be committed to updating your followers regularly.

Focus on Your Customer

By focusing on creating value rather than links, you will discover that you will get increasingly more customers. You will also have meaningful backlinks from people who care about your business and all the extras you provide. What’s more Google will notice.

How is your web presence?

What are you doing to optimize your web presence?  Why not share your experience in a comment below.

Posted in Web Presence Optimization Tagged with: , , , , ,

Is Personalized Search Shrinking our World Perspectives?

Personalized search limits our thinking

Personalized search limits our thinking

With Google’s latest foray into socializing the web with Google Plus, Eli Pariser’s  The Filter Bubble comes at a good time.

The book examines how personalizing search results is affecting not only our ability to find things faster on the web, but also how we actually think. Read more ›

Posted in Search Marketing Tagged with: ,

5 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy

social media strategy
social media strategy

Create a social media strategy for your business.

Is your business winging it on social media or do you have a strategy, with clear goals for how you are using it for your business? Or are you even on social media? Guy Kawasaki recommended in a recent interview with Eric Markowitz for the Business Insider, “Just dive in.” http://bit.ly/kawasaki-sm

Certainly, he’s right, when he says, “It’s very difficult to create goals and strategies for something like Google+ or Facebook or Twitter if you’re not familiar with Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.” But just diving in may not get you what you want or expect. Followers and fans don’t just happen. They must be cultivated as in any other relationship.

This presentation, given at Freelance Camp Toronto on May 27,2012, provides 5 easy-to-follow steps for creating a social media strategy for your business.

Step 1: Listen and Learn

Step 2: Decide How You Want to Use Social Media

Step 3: Decide on What Social Media Tool or Tools You Will Use and Brand Them

Step 4: Plan and Schedule

Step 5: Measure and Tweak Your Strategy

Listen and Learn

Start by listening. Set up alerts about your business, your market and competitors and use search on social platforms such as Social Mention and Twitter Search to find out where your customers are and what their pain points are that you can resolve.

Learn the lingo and the ways people interact on the various social media channels. Nobody is perfect. Planning ahead of time how you will respond if you do actually make a blooper or encounter a disgruntled client online can mean the difference between a disaster and a rebuilt customer relationship.

Set Goals

Know why you are using social media. For example, is it for:

  • Lead generation
  • Brand awareness
  • Customer service and engagement
  • Ideas for your business
  • More sales

If you have no clear goals, you can’t track or measure your progress.

Choose Your Tools

Knowing how your customers/clients choose to communicate with social media can tell you what tools you should use. Knowing your market will also help you create content with these tools to entice prospects to become and remain fans and followers. Otherwise, you’re just another part of the bleeting herd vying for attention, or wasting time trying to engage the wrong audience.

There is no point, for example, cultivating a Facebook business page if your customers have moved to Google+ or prefer Twitter. Each platform is different.

Take time to learn about the various social channels, how to use them and what you feel most comfortable doing.

Ask yourself, “What’s most cost and time effective?” Look at the pros and cons of each platform. For example, do you have images to share on Pinterest? If not, are you willing to create lots of quality images to pin?

Get Coaching

If you are stumbling along or seeking help to learn how to really use the media, get some training or coaching to accelerate the learning curve.

Plan and Schedule

Social media takes time and resources. What are your resources for using social media? Will you be the only one doing the updates and tweets? Will other staff be involved? Figure that out before jumping in.

Social media is not a campaign or a flirtation. It is a long-term commitment that requires consistency, dedicated time and resources to keep fans and followers interested.

To stay on track, create weekly and monthly content calendars that take into consideration key dates for your business, such as an event or product launch: holidays and other seasonal content.

Integrate social media into your daily routine. Missing out on timely responses, breaking news and shared content can make you look stale, disinterested in sharing content that isn’t your own and downright rude to those who try to engage with you, ask a question or settle a problem.

Use third-party tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Tweetdeck to make it easier to schedule and manage your updates and tweets.

If you are using a Facebook business page, however, use auto posting sparingly. Auto posts receive 70% fewer likes and comments than personally posting status updates. Also, people do not use Twitter hashtags and RTs on Facebook. Respect the way people converse on each media platform.

And remember the 80-20 rule. That means 80% high quality content and only 20% selling.

Measure and Tweak

Measuring the ROI of social media can be challenging, but it should go beyond the number of likes for a Facebook fan page or Twitter followers. Although it may be hard to identify if someone comes to your website through social media or through another channel.

However, business professionals, for example can note if they closed a deal through a LinkedIn contact, added customers to a mailing list through a Facebook opt-in or tracked the engagement generated by a Facebook post or YouTube video.

Analytics are available. Use them and tweak your strategy and tactics to increase your effectiveness with the social media tools you use.

Get a FREE Social Media Planning Tool Now!

social media strategy templateUse this FREE Guide to help you decide your social media platforms, goals and resources for attaining and measuring those goals.

 

Posted in Social Media