A Writer’s Guide to Link Development
Here we have a Guest Post from Crystal Weisgram a writer and marketer from the USA. If you are interested in Crystal writing and marketing for you please contact us to work out a very reasonably priced campaign.
The world of the writer is one of delight, creativity, and sometimes constant frustration. I have been writing since I was a teenager and have always dreams of writing the great American novel, as all writers do, but the reality is that novel may never produce a payday. Therefore I turned to more profitable work and I must honestly admit I do love my job. But the harsh reality is even in this job that I love so very much, there is a change in the wind.
The problem that presents itself in this industry is the push for quick results over quality product. Many webmasters are looking for the fastest possible turn around on submissions and this is resulting in blogs that are basically spin offs on what is already posted on the internet filled with questionable linked websites. This is resulting search engines changing their requirements for statistics and posting results. To optimize search results webmasters needs strong results in the search engine. Google’s Matt Cutts, head of their Webspam team, urges webmasters and bloggers towards quality over short cuts, spotty work, and quick turnaround. So as it is in many aspects of life, the few are spoiling it for others. There are many of us writers out here who are working hard to produce genuine content.
The answer to these problems seem self-explanatory to me but let’s go over them. First as a webmaster you want to higher quality creative dedicated writers who have unique product to submit. Anyone can look up topics on Wiki and re-write content but it takes a genuine author to incorporate real life experience with scholarly research in order to create unique content. Some of my favorite articles are the ones that pushed me to write them. Like the one that had me in tears as I learned about the little ski resort in Pakistan that has been bombed over and over by the Taliban and Allied forces. All I could think about was my favorite childhood book, “The Little Engine that could”. I kept seeing this ski resort as the little resort that could, if the fighting would just stop.
The freelance writer, such as myself, is the answer to quality over spammy. Most of us specialize in certain subjects over others and when deciding who to hire, you should look for someone who matches the needs of your website. For example you do not want to hire a mother of 4 from Spain to write about professional football in America since she has probably never played the sport. The freelance writer will offer expertise not only in writing but also in target subjects. This will result in content that is engaging, valuable, and unique.
Know Your Content
Another aspect for the blogger and webmaster is to know your content. Do not hire a writer without introducing them to your subject matter and giving them a direction of what they will be writing about. Writing blind is difficult for anyone. Just try to remember all those times in school you tried to write about an assignment you had no interest in. On the occasions that my employer asks me to write about a subject I am not familiar with; I turn to my friends that have experience with the subject matter. I have a car guy, a few photography friends, and others that help educate me when I need experience. I never write without a knowledge base. I prefer subjects that I have real life experience with because that is where my best writing comes from but when all else fails I research.
As the writer, you want to know your content. Make sure you know the subject as well as the voice the webmaster wants. Most want either the first person journal type style or the 3rd person professional approach. There are other styles of voice available as well, so make sure you know what expected. Reviewing RSS feeds, and posted content on the website to get a better understanding as well.
Introduce yourself to the blogging community and the webmaster through interaction with the website and sample submissions. You cannot stand on your reputation alone in this business (unless you are J. K. Rowling or George R.R. Martin). Therefore, you need to show your ability through your craft. The best way to do this is to create a portfolio. Choose your best articles, and keep them on hand. Getting your work accepted is based on how strong your skills are. The webmaster needs to know that your work will stand for itself and not be rejected. This business is about the quality product that will stand up against scrutiny. For the blog to turn a profit the search engine needs to promote the site and spam or poor quality will not work.
Introduce yourself and customize your author bio. This is important not only to you but also the website hosting your work. When you are hired the webmaster is looking for someone who will fit into the realm of the website. In turn as a webmaster the customize biography of the writer will draw new hits to your site and increase your value in the search engine optimization.
Being a guest blogger should never be simply an advertisement that encourages spam. Both as writer and webmaster there are responsibilities. As the writer never submit subpar material. Do your editing, check of misspelled or misused words, and triple check your grammar. Check your sources, write from experience, and use quality research. Offer to re-write material if you were not on target with your resulting content and always agree to promote postings via social networks. Reply to comments, follow with the blog owner, and use positive communication with the webmaster. Be the best guest blogger you can be. We are all responsible for this industry; if we want it to survive then we must put in the energy to keep it going.
How to Run a Successful Contest on Facebook
Are you planning to run a promotional contest on Facebook? Not sure where to start? Promotional contests run on the popular social media platform, which has over 1 billion potential contestants, are a great way to simultaneously engage users to interact with your company and promote your products and services. But they must be run correctly. Read on to discover how to run a successful contest using your Facebook account.
Learn the Rules and Follow Them
Facebook has very strict rules regarding promotional contests and you really must take time to learn them thoroughly and follow them before launching your contest. To read the regulations, look at the Facebook Page Guidelines (III.E.). You will see that in no way can Facebook’s functionality features be used as entry into a competition. Facebook is a merely a space on which to provide information about your contest. However, this has its benefits, because it drives traffic to your website, where the contest entry form and key details are usually kept. You can use a variety of third party apps to help you stay within the Facebook rules, such as Offerpop and ShortStack, when creating a Canvas Page or Page App.
Get Innovative with Your Campaign
Let’s use an example for this part. Burt’s Bees is an immensely popular range of natural beauty products which has had some great ideas for stimulating customer interaction through contests.
Take the above “Lippy Dip” contest in the image above. Entrants must post an interesting picture of themselves with a stick of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm to be entered into a prize draw. This creates content for the company’s Facebook page, collected in a gallery, and engages the audience to purchase a product to create the image and be entered into the draw. It is a great example of creating a community of content sharers around a brand.
Boost Website Traffic and Generate Leads
Placing the entry form on your website, with a link to it on your Facebook contest post, is a great way to drive traffic to your website. If a Facebook user has taken the time to follow the link and fill out the form (which should be kept short and simple) they are a strong lead to follow up on. Contests are superb for generating leads, so don’t wait long to follow up on them once the contest has ended.
Have Clear Terms and Conditions
If you want to stay on the right side of Facebook you must have clearly written terms and conditions. In particular, you must state that anybody filling out an entry form with personal details is submitting them to your company and not to Facebook. You must also make it clear that your promotion is not endorsed, sponsored, administered by or associated with Facebook.
Award the Winner with Something Special
Don’t be stingy when it comes to deciding on what type of prize to give away. Make it worth the entrant’s time! Products from your own range or significant discounts on your services are a good idea. However, choosing a prize that is universally attractive to a wide range of Facebook users, a holiday for example, rather than a prize directly related to your business, can help entice people who would not normally visit your website to do so. You can then follow these leads up and win them over!
5 Tips to Improve Your Lead Generation
Image source: Flickr
If you want your business to be a success you need to generate quality leads. There are many ways to develop an effective lead generation strategy, but many fail to incorporate the simplest tried and tested techniques. Here are 5 tips to improve your lead generation and move towards converting more of your engaged audience into customers and clients.
(1) Simplify Sign Ups and Subscriptions
Simplifying sign ups and subscriptions, making it easy and hassle free for your leads to register their interest in your products and services, is a great way to boost conversion rates. In a busy office environment nobody has the time to fill out something resembling a survey or questionnaire. Ask for an email address, which is enough to get the ball rolling and gives you another name for your mailing list. You can foster a more intimate conversation later on during your follow up process.
(2) Provide Quality Information
People have become far more media savvy these days. Empty sales spiels filled with hyperbole are a turn off compared to quality content that provides detailed information on what a product and service can do for a potential customer. From short detailed articles, to white papers, e-books and video demonstrations, content that genuinely informs and engages is crucial to generating leads.
(3) Monitor Your Leads Closely
If you don’t have a clear idea of what is working for you in terms of lead generation conversion you won’t be able to continually assess, modify and sharpen your lead generation strategy. Of course, having the right lead generation tracking software will help you to do this more efficiently and effectively. Conduct some thorough research of the lead generation software market, which is constantly evolving. But remember, the software will only be effective if your team uses it to its full potential.
(4) Your Leads Need Nurturing
In most cases your leads will only be converted to customers and clients if you show that you genuinely care about securing their business. To do this you must nurture your leads thoroughly and with attention to detail. If a lead doesn’t purchase first time around contact them with a personalised email asking how you can help them and what their company requires. You can then send through tailored solutions that may very well convince them that your company is the one they should be using. Strike a good balance though. Emails sent too regularly will begin to look like spam.
(5) Follow Your Leads Up
You must be swift and focussed when following up your leads. Email back straight away asking for information on the interested professional’s business, or conduct your own research online and suggest some products and services that could be a perfect fit for them. To convert a lead into a customer you should follow up as soon as you possibly can, but certainly that very same day. Reach out to them while your company is still fresh in their minds and nestled in their inbox.
5 Tried and Tested Email Marketing Tips
Image Source: Flickr
Email marketing campaigns remain an effective way to reach out to potential customers and clients when conducted correctly. There are a number of techniques to adopt that can strengthen the overall effectiveness of your email marketing campaign and improve recipient engagement to increase success and boost business. Here are 5 tried and tested email marketing tips to implement within your next email marketing campaign.
(1) Write Concise, Easy To Scan Emails
Nobody has time to read Tolstoy’s War and Peace while checking their emails. Keep your emails concise and to the point. You want your email to contain all the relevant information you can, so plan it carefully. Starting with bullet points of everything you want to say and then expanding it into prose is a sound technique for ensuring nothing gets left out and nothing superfluous gets left in.
(2) Prominently Display Links
One of the main goals of your email is to entice the reader into clicking links to your website, product page or article. Your links should be prominently displayed and, of course, working! This way you have a better chance of converting readers to sign ups, followers or, ideally, customers and clients. Including links to your social media platforms in the footer is also a good idea.
(3) Keep Image Use Minimal
Many readers of your email will not even choose to show your images, so they can be a waste of space that eats into the amount of textual information you can include. If you must include images, for example if it is a single product you are showcasing, create some good-coded HTML. On the whole though try to keep all important messages in the text to avoid the reader never actually seeing the image and therefore remaining oblivious to the message you wish to convey.
(4) Keep Your Mail Lists Clean
It is vital to keep your mailing lists clean. Non-existent and undeliverable email addresses should be removed immediately, as should email addresses of people who ask to be removed from your mailing lists. Resending to these people can cause trouble, in some instances an entire company will ask to be removed from your mailing lists if a spamming complaint is made. Email providers will also be more inclined to flag your emails as spam if your mailing list has a high percentage of undeliverables.
(5) Remember Your Contact Add Requests
Always remember to inform your email recipients that simply by adding your email address to their contacts list they will be certain to receive more great information from your company. Really, this should be your goal with every one of your email marketing campaigns, simply because the more contact lists you get onto the better your deliverability will be, making it less likely that an email provider will flag you as spam. But remember, if you want to remain on those contact lists, you will have to maintain a consistent quality level with the emails you send.
What is the Google Disavow Links Tool and Who is it For?
As all SEO practitioners will know, when Google released its Penguin update, the internet search giant began to get a whole lot tougher on what they classified as bad links. Anything seen as being an example of spamming or indicative of purchased backlinks led to the search ranking of the website being demoted by Google.
We discussed negative SEO in our recent blog post “Negative SEO Rears Its Ugly Head Again“. Basically, some site-owners are worried that devious SEO practitioners are creating bad backlinks spamming their website with the intention of damaging their search rankings. Fortunately, Google’s new disavow links tool will help concerned site-owners communicate to Google which links they feel are malignant spam.
The Google Disavow Links Tool
The video above is of Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam Team, as he discusses the new Google Disavow Links Tool. It is essential viewing for SEO practitioners and site owners, especially those who have found themselves penalised by Google.
Using the disavow links tool, you can highlight the links you would like Google to ignore. However, remember that Google may take some time to process your disavow request, as it will take a while for them to analyse the links you have suggested are bad. In the aftermath of the Penguin update, it’s safe to say that the disavow links tool will be receiving some heavy usage.
Are There Considerations To Be Made Before Using the Disavow Links Tool?
Yes, particularly if you have been using white hat SEO techniques consistently and haven’t used spammy methods like guestbook spam, forum spam, blog spam and comment spam to automatically generate backlinks. If you have used these techniques in the past, you may have been heavily penalised by Google and be in need of the Disavow Links Tool. Afterwards, you should clean up your SEO strategy to stay on Google’s right side in the future!
Matt Cutts clearly states in the video that you should only use the Disavow Links Tool if you have engaged in some aggressive spamming as part of your past SEO strategy. Your website may have suffered from poorly executed SEO work, in-house or outsourced, which can hopefully now be rectified.
Google has given site-owners and SEO practitioners the opportunity to clean up their backlinks with the Disavow Links Tool, which should hopefully steer them toward white hat SEO techniques in the future that meet the requirements of Google’s stricter algorithms. It’s important to get the right SEO professionals to carry out this work.
Of course, the Disavow Links Tool will be useful for anybody who genuinely believes they have been the victim of negative SEO. The jury is still out as to how much of a threat negative SEO really is, but the Disavow Links Tool at least provides a ray of hope for anybody monitoring their links that sees a malignant pattern of bad links having an adverse effect on their search ranking.
Are You Friends With Your Boss on Facebook?
With over 1 billion users, Facebook has strong advantages for personal and professional networking. A recent survey conducted by online security protection company AVG has found that these networks are merging more than ever before, especially among 18 to 25 year old users. It appears that 25% of young adults are friends with their work bosses on Facebook. Perhaps there’s little to worry about, so long as they keep their profiles closely monitored and reasonably clean! Alas, it seems many are neglecting to do it.
The study by AVG, which was carried out among 4,400 users in 11 countries, discovered that young adult Facebook users in the U.S. and Italy were far more likely to have added their boss as a friend on the social networking giant, with each country tied at 33% for the number of young professionals who were socially connected with their boss.
In what is quite a surprising statistic, 60% of 18-25 year old Facebook users were revealed as not monitoring or restricting content from colleague friends on the social media platform. That is very trusting and maybe a little short-sighted, as the blurring lines between the personal and professional spheres have been causing some anxiety among social media commentators, as we discussed in our post “Do You Use Facebook Job Apps?”
Out of the countries surveyed by AVG, Japan had the least restrictive users, with a whopping 73% who did not restrict content on their profiles despite having colleague Facebook friends. Out of the other surveyed countries, 70% of 18-25 year old Facebook users did not restrict content, followed by 67% of New Zealand user and 66% of U.K. users. That’s risky business in our opinion, for bosses and their employees!
Another interesting statistic from the survey was that Italian Facebook users were more likely to express their anger on their profile (18%), compared to users in New Zealand and France (10%).
As quoted in a Mashable article, that also includes an interesting infographic detailing the survey findings, AVG’s Senior Security Evangelist Tony Anscombe said: “Our research shows that a good percentage of young adults between the ages of 18-25 do not filter personal or professional data or pictures that are posted online.”
“They need to pay closer attention to how they interact with their bosses, colleagues and friends via social channels, and ensure they don’t negatively impact their future by sharing information in a careless manner.”
There have been a number of incidents involving Facebook posts which led to employees being fired.
What Do You Think About Blurring Work/Personal Boundaries?
The subject of blurring the personal and professional spheres seems to be something of a hot potato at the moment. We certainly feel that not restricting content on Facebook pages when you have colleagues and – gulp! – is taking a risk too far. But what do you think? Does anyone have any Facebook horror stories to share that had an impact in their workplace? Share them below, but remember to leave names out of the narrative!
Three Cheers for Chirpify
We love awesome innovation and Chirpify certainly qualifies for that title. Providing hassle-free commerce for Twitter and Instagram users, Chirpify is a fantastic new seamless payment system which is sure to make an impact on the market. A great example of technology making things so much easier for people using their desktops and smartphones, Chirpify is tech that demands to be checked out.
Chirpify fully integrates with users’ PayPal accounts, allowing consumers, companies and non-profit charities to buy, sell, donate or exchange money without having to leave their Twitter and Instagram profiles. Chirpify basically transforms tweets and comments into instantaneous in-stream transactions. Take a look at the video above for some helpful demonstrates of what the service makes possible.
Turning Twitter and Instagram into Interactive Market Spaces
Using their Chirpify dashboard, people can post product images, for example graphic designers could showcase new artwork or posters, and set parameters for their product range such as the number of items available and delivery charges applied. Users can buy or sell through Twitter and Instagram.
When using Chirpify on Twitter, users and sellers simply tweet product images to raise funds. Users and buyers simply reply to the post using the word “buy” to seal the deal. We can already appreciate how fast and effective this process will be, streamlining social media commerce and creating a vast new market for the half a billion users already signed up to Twitter.
Now owned by Facebook, the mobile photo-sharing service Instagram now has 100 million users. The Chirpify procedure for Instagram is similar to that used on Twitter. Sellers simply post a product image, setting the comments to “#InstaSale $amount”. This initial comment setting tells Chirpify to automatically make a listing that Instagram users can respond to with comments. Chirpify then posts a reply comment with instructions on how to make a purchase.
Donations can also be made, a useful feature for charities. Chirpify sends an email to the donor containing a secure download and receipt. Buyers and donors are not charged and sellers are only charged a fixed 5% commission. Chirpify also offers specially designed enterprise accounts which merchants can customise to have a branded storefront. Merchants pay a monthly fee agreed upon when requested.
Is Social Commerce the Next Big Thing?
As quoted on Mashable, Chirpify CEO Chris Teso said: “Today, Chirpify took another step to decentralize commerce and payments from any device, whether a mobile phone or desktop computer.”
“If people can’t buy it in-stream, it’s not social commerce. It’s advertising. We turn attention re-routing advertising into high value in-stream transactions. We’re the only company truly doing social commerce.”
Social commerce has the potential to be an enormous market and we should expect to see competition for Chirpify entering the market soon. However, in the meantime, let’s raise a cheer for Chirpify and the ingenuity of its creators.
4 Expert Facebook Marketing Tips
As more and more web masters try to stop relying on search engines (especially Google) so much, SEOs are having to come up with ever more inventive ways of generating traffic for their websites.
One of the most popular ways to do this is by setting up an interesting Facebook page and engaging with potential customers on a personal level. Here are some tips that should help you out.
It might sound obvious to some people, but it’s essential that you regularly use pictures when you update your Facebook page.
There are plenty of reasons why this is a good idea, such as: pictures take up more space in the news feed so they attract more attention, people are more likely to like or share a status with a picture in it rather than a status that is just a paragraph or two of text etc.
If you’ve just set up a new Facebook page and have very little likes you might want to try to get some likes so that people aren’t going to be put off your page. For example, if one page has 10 likes and another page that is very similar has 10,000 likes, which one would seem better to the user?
99% of the time the person would rather like the page with 10,000! So, why not set up a contest to boost your likes? It might cost you a bit of money to buy a decent prize and so on, but it’ll be well worth it in the long term.
It’s really not a good idea to constantly be advertising your site / products on your Facebook page. Sure, at the end of the day you only have a Facebook page set up so that you can get traffic and therefore make money but this isn’t what the people that have liked your page want to know.
Rather than advertising your site each and every time you update your status, try to mix in other interesting things that you think the people who are looking at your page would be interested in. For example, if your page is about your site which sells phone insurance, why not make a status about the new iPhone 5, an info-graphic about which phone brands are making the most money and so on. It’s perfectly fine to advertise now and again, but it’s not a bad idea to tell yourself that only 10% of the statuses can be promoting your site, otherwise you won’t see any of the benefits of having a Facebook page.
Updating the Page
Finally, it’s important to regularly update your page to let all of the people that like your page know that you’re a serious business. Don’t be one of those pages that only have one status each week or even each month! Instead, try to post as often as possible while making sure that what you’re posting will be of interest to the people that like your page. It’s not all about the quantity of your statuses though, their must be quality statuses too!
Do You Use Facebook Job Apps?
In a recent Mashable article written by Amit De entitled “Why Facebook Job Apps Will Ultimately Fail”, the author argued that Facebook job apps like Glassdoor, BranchOut and BeKnown aren’t real competition for the professional network LinkedIn, because Facebook is a social media platform designed for personal rather than professional interactions. The author argues eloquently, but how many of you out there use Facebook job apps and how effective do you think they are for professional interactions?
What Are the Problems with Facebook Job Apps?
Facebook can be a very useful platform for designers and SEO professionals to showcase our work, stimulate shares and build a network of professionals interested in what we can do for their company. Posting your latest design project, a great article, or an arresting infographic on your professional profile can get viewers interested and may encourage them to hire your services.
However, Amit De has grave reservations about Facebook job apps, which boil down to the key issues of privacy and separating the personal from the professional. As a social media platform, Facebook often blurs the lines between personal and professional contacts, which can be risky. This can also happen off-screen in our lives. It’s common sense to have a separate personal and professional profile, but are the Facebook job apps failing in terms of privacy and boundary marking?
Anonymity Goes Out the Glassdoor
Despite the Glassdoor Facebook app being very popular, Amit De takes umbrage at the way the app removes the anonymity Glassdoor users formerly enjoyed when sharing their salary details and company relations. Using an example from a Forbes article by Kashmir Hill, Amir correctly points out the embarrassment that might ensue if workers began to use the Glassdoor Facebook app to check on the salaries of their colleagues.
While names don’t appear on posts, if you’re Facebook friends with one person with a specific job title you could potentially figure the salaries of your co-worker friends. Will you still want to be friends with them? Surely this is a potential problem the guys behind the Glassdoor Facebook app must address?
Are BranchOut and BeKnown Too Inclusive?
The merging of the personal and the professional is what Amir dislikes about the BranchOut and BeKnown Facebook apps. BranchOut in particular is singled out for having vague permission screens and the lack of an option to choose particular friends to invite, rather than a group based on categories like workplace, school and university.
While BeKnown has this option, it still poses too much of a risk as regards merging the personal and professional for Amir. We understand his reservations. There are things to share with your friends and things to share with your colleagues and clients. Is it wise to blur the distinction?
What Do You Think?
Are Facebook job apps a safe and viable tool? Do you use them at all? We found Amit De’s article very interesting and would love to hear your thoughts on whether the established Facebook job apps are private and professional enough. Share your comments!
How To Use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for Cost Effective Recruitment
No recruiters can afford to neglect social media. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in particular are firmly established as powerful recruitment tools. They provide access to an immense pool of talented professionals from which to source your next team members. But how can you best use these social media platforms to enhance your recruiting?
This infographic, which presents the results of a 2011 Reppler survey, provides interesting insight into how social media is being used in the job market. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter each have their own unique strengths for recruiting. When used effectively, they are excellent job screening tools to strengthen your recruitment strategy. Let’s consider some proven recruitment practice for each platform.
LinkedIn has more than 175 million members and 2 million company pages. The enormous professional network is, quite simply, an indispensable resource for recruitment. If you want to properly engage potential candidates for positions, you must nurture the development of a community of impassioned professionals involved in your business sector. To do this, you must invest time and effort into your company profile, ensuring links to your company website and blog are prominently displayed.
You must also share a range of quality content alongside job openings. Job openings should be posted directly from your careers website. Comment on trending business topics and events in your sector. This will establish your company’s authority. Your careers links will be shared within your interconnected community, seizing the attention of scores of potential applicants with the required skills and expertise.
There are now 1 billion users on Facebook. In January 2012, Facebook users spent 10.5 billion minutes a day on the platform, which worked out at 12 minutes and 26 second per user. Your company needs to be involved in this giant community of sharing and must create a clear space for recruitment on its company profile by implementing a careers tab. Link your careers tab to your dedicated recruitment platform so you can effortlessly track applicants.
It is vital to use your company profile to express your corporate ethos and present visiting potential candidates with a clear sense of what it is like to work for your company. Introducing employees humanises your brand and makes the recruitment process more social, less foreboding. This will encourage potential applicants to make enquiries and reach out regarding jobs.
Twitter now has half a billion users, who send out 175 million tweets daily. Your company needs to jump into this gigantic network of conversations with their recruitment details. Because of the huge volume of conversations, you must do some research into your target candidates. What kind of keywords and hashtags do they frequently use? Are there ongoing business-specific conversations your company should be involved in?
By engaging with potential candidates who are expressing corporate opinions in line with your company’s point of view, you are already tapping a large pool of professionals whose practice and attitudes fit your job requirements. Once you have fostered a community of like minded talent, you will be able to reach out to them with open job details, having already partially vetted potential candidates during your Twitter conversations. Be sure to tweet direct links to your careers page when advertising positions and mix your recruitment tweets up with a variety of business related tweets. People don’t like to be spammed, even when looking for a new job.
Want Great Employees? Get Social
Social media networks are a powerful tool for job screening. You can use them to create a pool of talented professionals who already possess many of the core values and skills your company is looking for. This sharpens your recruitment targeting, which can give you a head start when it comes to finding the next skilled professional you want to welcome onto your team.
Negative SEO Rears Its Ugly Head Again
It was quite distressing to read this recent post on the Guardian Media Network advertising hub. It states that a number of rather devious SEO practitioners are tarnishing the reputation of their profession by using negative SEO to bombard competitor websites with a huge number of poor quality links. The aim of their actions? To provoke Google to severely demote the search ranking of the targeted site, or worse, completely remove it from Google. Negative SEO has been a problem for a while, but is apparently becoming more mainstream.
How is Negative SEO Conducted?
Practitioners of negative SEO have an arsenal of tools. They use these to direct large quantities of poor quality, spammy links to a website, which are then picked up by the Google algorithms. If Google’s algorithm comes to the conclusion that the bad quality links have been built to cajole Google into raising the search ranking of the site, they will do the opposite and drastically reduce the search ranking. Now, websites can report these poor quality links, but this is complicated in itself by the fact that many examples of spam reporting have also been exposed as competitor sabotage. It’s a minefield out there and white hat SEO practitioners and Google really have a battle on their hands.
Is Negative SEO as Much of a Threat as is Believed?
This is the crucial question. There are many different perspectives on this. Rand Fishkin went over some of the malicious tactics used by negative SEO practitioners, and how quality SEO practitioners can counter them, in the helpful SEOmoz video, “Negative SEO: Myths, Realities and Precautions“, which is essential viewing.
In an excellent July article on the SEOmoz blog, Dr. Pete downplayed the threat of negative SEO, stating that to do it right takes a huge amount of time and effort on the part of malicious SEO practitioners. The aggressive strategies deployed by negative SEO practitioners, like injecting poor links, often get speedily removed or discounted.
Dr. Pete holds that negative SEO is a problem, but that its negative effects are often short term, and that low quality links are often caused by bad SEO within the affected site’s team, or by hired incompetents. He states that conducting good SEO, using your webmaster tools to closely monitor your link profile, is still the best way to control your links, and will help spot obvious spikes and patterns in malicious links.
What Can We Do As SEO Practitioners?
Resist the power of the dark side. Keep your hat shiny white. Good quality web design, white hat SEO techniques and engaging, entertaining and informative content will successfully seize the attention of web audiences and improve search rankings. Google is a giant you can’t afford to pick a fight with, even if your name is David. Let’s keep competition fair and expose those we find conducting negative SEO and tarnishing our profession.
Photographers ‘Shoot’ For The Top With Search and Social Marketing
Welcome I am going to talk about what you can do with your portfolio and business website to help it gain traffic and thus leads and orders. Many of you may have some solid sites but I will start from scratch.
First thing is to make sure that you have a solid site built. Don’t use free sites, sites build on back of blogger.com and such like, or online site builders. Get its built for you or use a CMS such as Word Press. Word press is very Google Friendly and you can build a site and a blog within the platform. It’s set up like a Blog but buy building pages you can make a nice site out of it.
Target Your Website
adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal – Find Keywords
First thing is to make decision as to where to position your site I would go for Photographer ‘City’ and build some sections over what different styles you do or if you are Niche the your Niche + City This will take in the general as well so you cover both. Don’t be too niche Wedding Photographer London Not ‘Wedding Photographer Croydon’ . I would also do some Keyword Research and add a few pages targeting related 2/3 Word phases that you find.
Basic on Page SEO
There are elements that Google looks for on your page – Title Tags , using correct HTML H1 Tags for Headings. The work is just about labelling the elements correctly. If you give me an email address I will send a guide to you that will cover the right basic elements to add or here is a guide on the internet that covers everything perfectly. Really dont get hung up on thoughts such as more keywords addded to the pages will make you ranks higher and hung up over where you are adding certain words thoes days are long gone just mark things with correct HTML and write naturally.
Creative vs SEO find a Happy Balance
As photographers are you can be the kings of flash based sites. Large single pictures to display your work. I still see many of these sites around. While they are impressive and are being sold as SEO friendly there are some short comings. If you like the look of these sites find a CMS system with the same look. Mimic the look of a flash site with the bonus features of a content management system. This way pages can be added with SEO friendly tags.
Search engines look at titles and copy to determine what your site is about. If your site is one big picture there is less for the crawlers to crawl. Try to combine the use of copy and photos. Make your photos a feature but still tell a supporting story with copy. Always have the keywords in the copy correspond with the photos keywords that are near it.
Name your photos. In fact evening
Get in the habit of using keywords to name your images. Keywords are the terms someone will search on and find your site. So if you want to be a food photographer consider foodphotographeryourcity.jpg When you upload this image to your site that file name is buried in the search able code. If you are using a editor program or a CMS to build your site you will have some options when you program or upload the image. These will be different for each. Look for titles, alt, id and captions anything that can be attached. Alts will show up when the mouse is rolled over. Titles might not show but are visible in the code. The best way to see is view the source code of your page once it is online. See what items show up and make sure your keywords are attached.
Links: The Cleanest White Hat Way.
This is the best way for 2011 for you guys to build backlinks. In simple terms each back link is Vote and the more votes you have the better. Leave all shoddy techniques like buying links from people, submitting to 100’s directories, leaving comments to blogs just to get a link. This way is is Clean, solid and Google proof. (well as much as can be).
Search Google for ‘Guest Posting Search Strings’. Sites that want content and are happy to link back to you a Google Search for ‘Guest Posting Search Strings’ will come up with loads of ways to looks for quality related sites that will be happy to link to you. As photographers you will be able to send some great content and images and get great backlinks.
Its is Important to do some social media (Twitter and Facebook) to the article to build social signals back to the article keeping it clean and trusted and building value to their site and subsequently your link gets stronger.
Also the double hit of that fact you now have your content to be read and admired on a great related blog so make sure leave you Twitter, Facebook, contact details in your signature. Guest posting was massive in 2011 and for good reason its cuts all the nonsense about quality links as they are and no financial transaction so Google is happy. Back to sharing and helping each other.
Blogging to Create Updated Keyword Rich Content
Example Great Blog.
Potential clients don’t go looking for blogs to read. They search for a phrase and find a relevant result – a page talking specifically about the topic they searched. Blogs fill this gap better than traditional websites for photographers due to the amount of pages a blog produces in text format. A page for every key phrase does not work well in the context of a main website, and would probably be hidden to Google within Flash or images. Blogging about key phrases makes more sense while creating pages in the process. The more posts on a blog, the more chances that one of those posts matches a phrase being searched. Thus, regular bloggers quickly find that blog traffic outperforms traditional website traffic by 3x or more.
Again, blogs are webpages using the same ranking process mentioned before. A blog homepage or blog post with a central key phrase that’s highlighted in the title, URL, first paragraph, and images has a head start in ranking well. A blog name usually acts as the homepage title, but WordPress blogs can add the All in One SEO Pack plug-in to overwrite this for optimal title control. The All in One SEO Pack also gives access to editing titles for blog pages and posts. If you don’t have a WordPress blog, just focus on writing good post headlines. Headlines will be copied into the page title.
Social Media Power
Facebook is a great tool for photographers. Create a fan page. Use a couple of the free apps to create a dynamic visually impressive fan page with links back to your site. Google loves Facebook. Create a blog post on your website. Tell everyone what you are up too and of course include images. Then on your wall of Facebook fan page use the add link function and paste the link of your blog post.
Twitter – Set up a Twitter to and link that so you are updating all 3 at once and getting more interest to you and your work. You will be surprised as to how quickly you can get fans and people interested in you if you posts, tips and great images and content for people. And the more related strangers you have interested in your work then the more potential for leads you have.
Also it can be great to join and use Stumble upon in the photography category as this site and visitors love photography. With right images you can gain 1000’s of visitors so could get a nice load of new fans and natural backlinks.
Creating Amazing Content
If you spend a while creating something very good such as “20 Amazing Images of… ” And your content is picked up well and gains good traction you can have a fantastic amount of interest with social media as the piece becomes popular on the sites you are using and the snowball effect takes effect. This is bring a fantastic amount of traffic, natural links and user generated content upon your site with comments which will help you rank higher and get more search visitors to your site.
What is Internet Marketing all about?
Internet Marketing is such a hot topic right now that it’s being talked about everywhere. It’s a pity it is often associated with mug shots of people who show off with a picture of themselves clutching an oversized Google cheque that shows hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of earnings – for one month!
This kind of ill-gotten publicity has given internet marketing a bad name. It has resulted in an old-fashioned gold rush where many people are bringing their shovels and sieves and are hoping to pan near somebody who has already found the motherload.
In typical Wild West style the snake oil sales people are out there offering instant cures. They promise untold riches in three easy steps if you follow their lead. They tell you it’s all about easy easy easy, success is guaranteed, money will flood in within a few days, no more worries. Trust us. Pay us.
This entire hype has resulted in many people running around on the internet just like headless chicken do in a farmyard. They jump from one ‘big’ solution to the next. None of them are working for them. It’s easy to understand why. The fundamental principles of marketing are being ignored.
For all those people, and for anybody who is new to the concept of internet marketing it might be a good idea to sit back, take a deep breath and have a look at what internet marketing is really about.
In reality, just like opening a shop on the main street, internet marketing is about the ordinary concept of selling and buying. You offer something for sale and somebody comes along and buys it, or maybe decides not to buy it.
The only thing that is different is that it’s done digitally. In other words the internet marketer uses the internet to promote and sell his goods. This brings with it many benefits and a whole stack of disadvantages which the internet marketer has to learn about before he can become a success.
It’s no different to trading on the high street. Lessons have to be learnt. In fact many of them are quite similar to what the owner of that little dress shop had to learn. The basic principles of trade have been around since the early days of humanity.
Learn these principles and add new ones that apply to the internet before launching yourself into this commercial environment. And having a fair amount of patience is also a good character trait to have. It’s not as easy as many people try to tell you and success is not to be had overnight.
Just as McDonalds started with one restaurant many years ago and grew into a huge empire, so can you start a tiny business on a website or blog and grow it into an empire. The only thing to remember is that it took McDonalds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mcdonalds) 15 years of hard work and much experimentation before it really took off!
Knowledge and patience will be useful when trying out internet marketing!
Another way to secure your website’s future is to get all the
education you can. With today’s technology, it has never been easier. There are online classes for everything,from advanced computer classes
to a business management degree, specialized in web marketing.
Careful does it in the Social Media Marketing sphere
Beware the power of social media. Social media is content generated by individuals, also known as user generated content, in contrast to media generated by newspapers, TV, radio et al.
It is content generated for free for the free use of other people in comparison to the high cost of content generated by other media for the mostly paid for use.
Furthermore, social media is about sharing, caring and communicating in a two way process. For big companies who are used to pushing their message, in some instances down the consumer’s throat, social media can be a very frustrating space to play nicely in.
This is what the true social media gurus warn against all the time. Be careful. Do not push your message, listen and take part and above all else do not manipulate the game.
Social media is a conversation and not a loudspeaker blaring at the consumer. It doesn’t work if the marketing message is pushed through new channels without tailoring the approach to the community or even starting a dialogue.
Never fake the message. Stay authentic. As an example Vodafone found this out the hard way. A few years ago the company wanted to use social media to support a campaign. For this purposes their ad agency decided on using two well known bloggers to spread the message.
It was supposed to be a campaign incorporating all the Web 2.0 bells and whistles, social networking, including Twitter, bloggers and hopefully viral as well. What it ended up being was a disaster.
The problem was that the two bloggers chosen were instructed as to what they needed to write about. Using old methods in a new medium didn’t quite work out because the public saw through the scam and voiced their disgust quickly and very loudly.
Before launching yourself into social media marketing make sure you know the rules. If you don’t you might want to use a company such as FirespinSEO to help you along.
Online Reputation Management Strategy for 2011
Word of mouth advertising may lead to business success. For other businesses it could be the cause of their failure. The internet has given word of mouth advertising a new meaning. In seconds reputations can be built or broken. Referrals are powerful sales boosters but negative comments can damage a company. Companies have to be extra careful these days about maintaining a positive brand image and reputation. One way to uphold a highly regarded reputation is by taking part in online reputation management.
Reputation management is the process of analysing comments that are being made online, evaluating them and repairing any negative ones before they can cause damage. Any type of online reputation management campaign effectively handles public relations and benefits from search engine marketing. Using the tools of search engine marketing a business is able to ensure that positive comments can be viewed on top ranking websites.
Monitoring an Online Reputation
In order to maintain a positive online reputation, a business must regularly monitor what is being said about it on the internet. Positive or negative comments are picked up, copyright violations identified and domain squatting attempts are found and dealt with.
Using Online Reputation Management Tools
Through the use of the many available online reputation management tools, a business may effectively monitor its reputation and take action when required. Google Alerts has become a very popular online reputation management tool.
Responding to Negative Comments
The most important thing a business can do to repair a negative online reputation is to timeously respond to negative comments. This allows a business to create a real presence, which is highly appreciated by consumers. Even though repairing an online reputation takes much time and effort, it is well worth it, especially as this may be the difference between a successful or failing business.
Utilising Social Media
Many businesses find it helpful to create positive opinions through social media platforms. With so many consumers using social media platforms on a daily basis, it makes sense that a business would want to create a positive image on them.
Partnering with Partners
Businesses also find it helpful to have partnering companies display positive reputation building information on their websites. This especially helps a business when their partnering companies have high search engine rankings.
Employing an Online Reputation Management Strategy
No business should ever underestimate the benefit of having a positive online reputation, nor should they forget what having a bad reputation can do. Online reputation management is a vital business strategy that all businesses should employ.