Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SEO Link Building Strategies - White Hat Link Building

By James Hobson
As an established SEO company, we have become familiar with the best white-hat practices to achieve top search engine rankings for business websites. We are strong advocates of strategic link building. Link building can carry a huge part of the load in achieving great ranking on top search engines. It is estimated by many that as much as 90% of a sites ranking success originates from strategic link building. A critical comment is that any and all link building should be ethical, white-hat work. The use of "link farms" should never be considered for your link building strategy.

Major search engines, like Google, have terms of service which must be respected or your site can be penalized or even banned from ranking at any level. Additionally, using only white-hat techniques, and providing quality links, delivers the most staying power for ranking. Listed below are some tips for effective, white-hat link building.

Blogging is a great tool for distibuting fresh content across the internet. Using a popular platform like Blogger or Wordpress makes blogging very easy, and the price is right (FREE!). You will get the best results by writing articles, or posts, that are at least 300-500 words, and that contain good use of key phrases and SEO empowered anchor text in your links.

Writing and posting informative, well articulated articles will draw a lot of attention and is a great way to get backlinks, as well as get links to your site from the web property where the content is posted. It is important for the user and the search engines to craft quality articles and avoid the quick and thoughtless approach to article writing. Some of the best articles on the web are how-to's, research papers, and helpful tips articles. Our personal recommendation is to avoid using article spinning software. "Spun articles" are obvious spam, are the lazy persons way of chasing success, and will have a short life span on Google. You should never plagiarize copy and republish it as your own.

The use of social bookmarking sites is a great strategy. There are hundreds of social media sites, each with its own personality. With time and effort you can find the sites that are relative to your business and setup accounts and profile pages on these sites. Finding high page rank sites will provide better backlinks, and give you the opportunity to get your content in front of a huge audience. Some of the top social bookmarking sites are Digg, Reddit, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Delicious and Sphinn. Always respect the terms of use for these sites, stay on topic, and post quality content no more than once a day.

Social media networking sites offer further opportunities. Many of these sites can be linked together so that content posted on one will be automatically posted on another. Top social media networking sites include Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Linkedin. Some of these, like Facebook and Linkedin, allow you to create a business or company page. This allows you to promote your business while keeping your personal page private. These sites are best used when you actively seek "connections" with other users of these sites. Not only will connections assure that people are reading your content, but it also introduces you to like minded people who can help you in your professional pursuits. We recommend placing links to your social media sites in your business email signature an dother places where you can promote traffic building.

All of the aforementioned tasks and activities should be supported by having the exact URL's to be "pinged" by a service like Ping-O-Matic, and whenever possible use RSS feeds to help distribute your content.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mobile Media, Mobile Marketing and Mobile Websites

Mobile Search Advertising and Marketing

By James Hobson
Industry analysts are predicting a surge in mobile search marketing. Obviously this will be more prevalent in major markets however the growth of mobile marketing will expand into even remote and isolated geographical areas. Now is the time to begin planning (hopefully acting on) your mobile search strategy and tactics. Here are a few recommendations for consideration:

Act sooner rather than later to get the drop on your competition. If you don't want to handle it yourself, allocate funds to hire a mobile marketing company.

Mobile marketing is an incredible opportunity to put your business in front of potential customers when they are searching and ready to buy. Some of your options are mobile coupons, utilization of QR codes or SMS, and develop content that allows for fast location of key contact information for your business.

Mobile Apps can be developed for your business. A custom App will allow you to increase brand recognition and control your messaging to customers. If you have a business with repeat customers you are a top candidate for a Mobile App. Take advantage of the "retweet" approach wherein you utilize recently released content to feed your mobile campaign.

Mobile Devices are not all alike. You will need to become familiar with what works on different smart phones and mobile devices. Obviously you want to target iPhones, Androids and other top selling devices. Understand how your target audience uses mobile and market accordingly.

Mobile usage research is critical in order to acieve optimal, or even acceptable, results. Before embarking on a mobile marketing campaign, make certain that you have a decent understanding of best practices and how your customers use their mobile devices.

In summary, learn about mobile marketing, develop a plan, engage professionals to consult on, or execute, your mobile marketing plan. Then measure and adjust to leverage this growth channel for engaging more customers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Local Search Marketing

Atlanta Local Search Marketing

By James Hobson
I think that by now most business owners have developed an appreciation for the necessity of having competitive placement in local search listings. Furthermore, business owners are realizing that just like their website, they need to optimize their local search listings to get better placement.

For those that don't know, local search marketing largely centers around business listings on Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local. There are numerous other local search listings, including directories, however the aforementioned are the big 3 for any business.

Business owners should know that "Local Search" means just that . . . local. Your local listing will not be displayed, even if optimized, for searches of towns where the business is not located.

Local search optimization is the application of specific techniques to make your local search listing be selected for higher placement among peer listings (business listings in your local area). The options to maximize optimization of your local search listing vary between sites. These limitations, and the competitive landscape, are the biggest factors in what action you need to take for local search optimization.

While placement is the top concern, the content of your local search listing is what will "optimize" your conversion rates. As with SEO and website design, getting found is one thing - getting contacted is another.

Local search ranking factors generally boil down to quality of content. The basic rule of thumb for local search optimization is to provide complete and accurate information. Don't be "salesy" or try to manipulate the system. There are formulas for creating effective content which are too involved to explain here.

A bit of good news for business owners is that local search optimization generally is a "do it right once and leave it alone" proposition. You may need to occasionally update your listing however it won't require much ongoing time or expense. The cost to have an internet marketing firm create and optimize your local search listing is dwarfed by the benefits.

Contact us to learn more about our affordable services for creating local search listings and local search optimization. You may also choose to read more at this local search marketing web page.

Google Boost - A Great New PPC Tool

Google has recently launched a beta version of a product names Boost. Saavy internet marketers will plan ahead for this innovative enhancement to a Google Places listing. Getting on top of Google Boost Adsearly can mean more customers!

Presently, Google Boost beta is available in a small number of cities and states. As with Google Tags we anticipate that a wide rollout will happen very soon. E-Platform Marketing and TigerSEO Marketing are already working with this product with clients in San Francisco. Get in touch with us to be added to a notification list when Google Boost becomes available in your area.

Google's Boost are an enhancement to the popular Google Adwords PPC services. For locally targeted search queries a blue "ballon icon" (similar to the bubble icon on Google Places maps) will appear as part of your PPC ad.

The ads can contain basic business information including business name, phone number, address, and the typical local listing features such as customer reviews and ratings.

The preliminary results show a modest increase in conversions. We are expecting this product to deliver incremental gains in lead generation and customer acquisition. Check back for more information or leave a comment below about your experiences with Google Boost.

Website Redesign Guide - Get Started Now!

There's no time like the present to get started on your website redesign project. If your website is over 3-4 years old it probably needs a facelift and some serious attention to on-page SEO. Chances are that a website redesign can cost far less than you expect, and you will capture sales within 1-2 that pay for the website redesign many times over.

You can click the link to find a very helpful Website Redesign Checklist available as a PDF download. This planning guide can help you to work through a methodical website redesign process and avoid common mistakes.

A few highlights from the Guide are how to select a qualified website redesign company, Web 2.0 user considerations, desireable functionalities and a link to an absolutely awesome color scheme selector.

We hope that your business has an awesome 2011. Seriously consider the benefits of a website redesign and get started early in 2011!!!