I was at a networking event last week in Franklin, when a small business owner asked me specifically about SEO, social media, and content marketing. The questions were, “How can a small B2B business that has limited marketing resources create an effective social media marketing campaign?” The follow-up question was “Is that the same thing as a content marketing campaign?” And finally, he asked me, “Do social media and content marketing replace SEO, because I’ve hired for SEO before and didn’t get results?”
His business provides service solutions for construction companies on large projects. He has 3 locations, all in middle Tennessee. His main office is located in Brentwood, with service offices in Nashville and Franklin. His main concern was reaching decision owners before a project starts – whether it’s in Nashville, Cool Springs, or as far as Murfreesboro.
We spoke a little bit about the steps he’d taken in the past for SEO, which included outsourcing it to a recommended expert at a very high cost. Unfortunately, he didn’t see great results for his investment and was left with a bitter taste for a marketing strategy he didn’t understand.
Our conversation will have to continue in more detail in order for me to fully analyze what went wrong in his previous SEO efforts and what he can/should do now. It was immediately clear in our brief conversation that his previous SEO attempt was lacking in a couple things: a clear vision and consistency.
If, like this business owner, you’re wondering what SEO is all about and you just want an introduction, read the first few sections below. If you want to dig deeper into enterprise solutions and the latest updates, skip to the bottom.
Below is a mashup of some of the latest and greatest in SEO news, tips, and advice for the week. I came across several articles that address SEO issues we run into every day and that clients ask about on a regular basis. Each section is composed of highlights I’ve pulled out that address specific needs I run into, but if you click the link to the full article, you will see there is a lot more information there to digest.
SEO for Beginners
- Your website will need a good design. It doesn’t matter if you use a template, pay someone to design your website or design it yourself. What is important is that the website loads quickly and it visually attractive. It is also essential to have a reliable host company. The last thing you want is for your website to crash or freeze up.
- You need to have valuable content. According to Allan Watson, an expert in internet marketing, “It’s important that your site provides something to the viewers that will make them want to stick around.”
- You need to learn Meta Data and Keywords. Keywords are what search engine crawlers look for when they search through your website. The words in your meta data and found throughout the webpage will be what shows up in searches for the given keywords.
- Use links effectively. There are many ways to use links within an article.
- Use Social Media Effectively. According to Watson, “It has gotten to the point in this day and age that having a presence on social media is almost a requirement for the success of any business, particularly up and coming businesses.”
The 5 SEO Mistakes that Hurt Small Businesses
- Listing your business in relevant industry and geographical directories/listings
- Creating keywords that combine your company with your physical location (such as “tour guide” and “Disneyland”)
- Optimizing your company’s website for mobile
Eschewing Social Media
Afraid of jumping on the social media bandwagon? Do a little research. See where your competitors are online, and more importantly, where your customers are. Start with just one profile on the channel that is most applicable to your company, such as LinkedIn or Facebook. Refresh the content often, build quality links, and as you get more comfortable, add on channels as needed.
Posting Duplicate Content on the Company Site
For these companies [smaller businesses], a good strategy might seem to be duplicating well-written, well-optimized sections of content throughout the entire website, increasing the size of the site and the number of optimized sections. However, this method is really a glorified version of keyword stuffing, which makes for poor user experience, causing readers to abandon the site. Furthermore, duplicate content is one of the subjects of Google’s Penguin 2.0 algorithm change, which cracks down on unethical SEO practices and removes offending sites. Duplicate content might seem like a quick, easy SEO fix, but it causes much more harm than good.
Forgetting to Post New Content
- Maintain a blog. Many companies will start one, but as deadlines and other work crops up, the posting and maintenance will peter out. Think of your blog as an SEO priority. Commit to posting content relevant to your industry or company twice a week. Involve coworkers, interns, and if the budget allows for it, freelance writers to help.
Create a news feed on your company website, and update it frequently with events, company milestones, client news, anything that is relevant to your business and industry, and that organically uses your keywords to help boost search rankings.
Thinking that SEO is a Quick, One-Time Job
There is a pattern in the suggestions and strategies in this article; they are all long-term, continuous projects. That’s because a successful SEO strategy is a commitment – your work is not finished just because you’ve researched keywords and optimized your website. Those tactics are the best first step to launch a small business’s SEO campaign, but from there, it is a recurrent process to generate content, build links to your content and site, and optimize your customer’s experience with your brand online. While it might seem daunting, keeping up with your SEO program means your company will have increased visibility, more website traffic – and more customers.
Content Marketing Tips for Any Sized Business
Content Marketing, if you haven’t heard of it yet, than now is a better time than any. Content is the new SEO. Content marketing is a technique in marketing that involves creating as well as sharing valuable content that will attract, engage, and acquire an audience. The idea behind content marketing is that if we, the businesses, consistently deliver valuable information to the buyers, the business will inevitably be rewarded by their loyalty and business.
However, before jumping into content marketing, there are some helpful tips that you should know:
- Spend as much time promoting your content as you would spend writing it.
- Content isn’t limited to only bodies of text. Content can also include videos, photos, comics, infographics or anything that you feel is related to your business.
- Don’t write your blogs like it’s a school essay. Your blog should be more personal, as if you were having a conversation with your friends.
- People are no longer depending on computers or laptops anymore. Be sure that your content is compatible with mobile devices such as tablets and cell phones.
Human Search vs. Algorithmic Search: Are Facebook Shares Replacing Google Search?
For the last several years, publishers and content creators have been focused on SEO (search engine optimization). Populating their articles with the correct keywords, modifying URLs and more increasingly became important due to Google page ranks — and the competition became cutthroat as more people understood how it worked. Those who were early in the SEO game like Demand Media (who operates eHow, Cracked and LiveStrong) succeeded immensely, but in light of Google’s recent algorithm changes (Google Hummingbird), these keyword-filled articles are no longer a ticket to success.
Publishers Value Facebook More Than Google+
Subconsciously (or consciously) publishers rank Facebook hire in their social share hierarchy making Facebook the first social network where readers are most likely going to share their content.
More Visits Come from Facebook
These new viral sites (like ViralNova) are most likely only directing their focus to Facebook because it’s the social sharing platform that has displayed the most success. According to a report conducted by SimpleReach in October 2013, Facebook drove 62.3 percent of all social traffic across their network; that’s two-fold of what Twitter contributed. The report claims Facebook is the platform sharing the majority of content on the web and the only platform that’s continuing to increase in shares per quarter.
Facebook Wants This to Happen
The bottom line is given the success Facebook shares have had on publishers recently, Facebook is going to continue to allow this to happen. Hence, their latest algorithm change which focuses on sharing high quality content and content that your friends approve of and trust. Even though they specifically say that “meme” posts may be pushed to the bottom, they’re still focused on putting what is the most shared and clicked on at the top of a News Feed — and this is how one piece of content goes viral. Not to mention that Facebook used to be a place where people could connect with friends and family, and now it’s putting more of an emphasis on content. For Facebook, more social shares equal more ad dollars. If that’s where content is being shared the most, that’s where sites and businesses will want to be — where potential clients are.
12 Days of Content: Landing Pages (video)
Landing pages are a must-have format for a results-driven content marketing strategy. Excellent landing pages are the backbones of websites, and companies risk losing conversion opportunities if they neglect them.
Although these crucial pieces of content are relatively static (they aren’t blog content that’s changed or updated daily, or as permanent as a homepage), landing pages aren’t something to set and forget. These pages must have the look and feel of a brand, be optimized for custom goals, and tested and revised over time to continually provide users with better on-site experiences.
Enterprise Brands Regain SEO Keywords “Not Provided”
KPA, the latest enhancement to Keyword Objects™ (KO), Acronym’s Big Data Search Technology, uses proprietary modeling techniques to create custom website visitor profiles that translate user intent into the specific keywords that drive website traffic and conversions. KPA is the most advanced and accurate solution to the search industry’s challenges resulting from “keyword not provided.”
Acronym has extensively tested its Keyword Provided Algorithm, analyzing millions of website visits from historic Google SEO keyword data when keywords were provided. By converting these keywords to “not provided,” KPA successfully matched 99.93% of visits.
Why Your SEO Plan Needs To Include A Community
If you have ever taken a peak at your analytics, it’s quite likely you have seen that more than 25% of your traffic is coming from search engines. It almost seems like common wisdom to use a blog to help with your inbound marketing. And why not? It works well. There are also many proponents who suggest you use Social Media, like Twitter and Facebook to help you drive traffic. Social media is great for awareness, but the jury is still out on it’s SEO value. But where does this leave a branded community?
Just as a Blog is second nature to your business to engage customers, a community not only brings true customer engagement, it can also bring increased SEO Traffic. The following are just some ways a community can help SEO & Traffic:
- Customer language
- SEO friendly structure
- Fresh content
A forum is not a panacea, though. Before you get going on a community consider the the following:
- Do you have the right team in place?
- Buy in from your team/company?
- Are people likely to engage?
- Do you have the right type of business to do this?
- Do you have a plan?
If you’re interested in learning more about each of the items listed above, Click here to view original web page at www.business2community.com
So, that’s the SEO roundup for this week, but don’t worry I’m sure there will be many more changes to come soon. As I see articles that represent our clients’ interests, I will be sure to share them here. If you have specific SEO, social media, or content marketing questions, don’t be a stranger. Find me at a networking event in Franklin or Nashville, or just give me a call.
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