With the new year will come new changes in how websites are ranked for search, how SEO can be tweaked to affect rank, and how all the various content strategies (from on-site to a YouTube channel) affect website traffic and business revenue.

Below are bits and pieces of three articles I liked about SEO & blogging, as well as an infographic that I think you’ll find interesting. Content marketing may be a new term being learned by many small business owners, but don’t look for it to be a passing fad.

As always, I try to provide My Take from the perspective of a small business trying to simply see some positive impact from online marketing efforts. Where relevant, I will include examples from the local market as well, particularly Nashville, Franklin, and Brentwood.

Google Changes & Content Creation

Google on Wall

Click here to view original web page at www.forbes.com

Worrying about algorithm updates may make sense for SEO experts and webmasters, but content creators don’t have time to keep up with that. Here are some major changes Google has made and how they apply to content:

  • Move to Secure Organic Searches
  • A Nonexistent Update to PageRank
  • The Hummingbird Conversation
  • Google Authorship for Ranking

Ultimately, the key to Google’s algorithm changes lies in its guidelines for content creation:

Content is key. Good content — clear, concise, informative — is better than bad content.Use plain English. Write for real people.Keep links to a reasonable number. Make your content readable.

The meat of the article is good and familiar to those of us in the industry, but the big takeaway for a small business owner breaks down into 2 categories:

    1. Those who outsource their content creation.
      •  Make sure your marketing company is keeping current with the latest changes & has you onboard with what matters. If content marketing is their expertise, they should be all over the latest trends and changes.
      • Pay attention to your content & add your voice when it adds value. As the owner or manager, your voice is probably one of the things that helped make you successful in the first place. Don’t let that slip away because you outsourced your content creation and now you never want to think about it. Spend 10 – 15 minutes a week if you can just reviewing what’s been posted by your company and seeing where you can add value.
    2. Those who handle content marketing in-house.
      • For most small businesses, handling content creation & marketing in-house is a major challenge. My recommendation here is to focus daily on creating great, original content with a specific voice for a specific audience.
      • Once you’ve gotten into a rhythm with content creation, then turn your attention to the latest updates and trends in the industry. If you stick to creating quality content and getting engagement, you will cover most of the latest trends and can probably make a few quick tweaks to maximize anything you lack – like authorship.

How To Write So Google Loves You (Easier Than You Think!)

Click here to view original web page at www.searchenginepeople.com

Writing search engine optimized content five or ten years ago was a lot harder than it is now. Back then you had to think about what search engines liked. Nowadays you just have to write as you would normally. Search engine algorithms have come a long, long way. That’s good because search engine results are more relevant than ever – and writing search engine optimized content is easier than ever too.

Write How You Would Speak

Free-flowing, interesting content attracts links and social interaction. Boring, keyword stuffed content doesn’t. And the chances are search engines can tell your content is stuffed with keywords – and they won’t bother ranking it anyway.

On-page Optimization

High quality content + proper on-page optimization is the way to go. Incorporating long lists of keywords into content should be banished to the SEO history books – along with automated tools, buying links and doorway pages.

Just write great content that your target audience wants to read. Use keywords and semantic structure to guide people, not to trick them. If you add value to your readers’ lives, they will reward you and so will Google.

Managing a Company Blog? The 10 Biggest Mistakes – And the Smartest Ways to Correct Them

Click here to view original web page at www.searchenginejournal.com

[E]very self-respecting website needs a blog, and it’s why anyone with an online presence will keep one: from journalists to hobbyists and especially businesses. Having a company blog is one of the very best ways to attract customers to a company’s website, it’s great for marketing and SEO, and it’s even better for building customer loyalty.

But blogging is also a nuanced and delicate process with a steep learning curve- it takes some work to get right. If you don’t know how to make the most out of a company blog, then at best you’ll be wasting your time and far from helping you with all those things it can actually risk damaging your organisation.

To make sure that this doesn’t happen to you and that you aren’t wasting your blog, read on and we’ll go over some of the most common mistakes that businesses make when running their company blogs.

    1. Aesthetics
    2. Branding
    3. Lack of Indexing
    4. No Moderation
    5. Low Quality

My Take:

If you don’t have a blog for your business website, it’s time to ask why not.

For years, most business owners I know only asked the question, why should I blog? In fact, if  you owned a pizza place in Franklin, a boutique in Green Hills, or a coffee shop near Belmont, it seemed like a waste of resources to put time or money into something like a blog. The same went for B2B service companies & niche producers, even though their customers are more often spread across Nashville, maybe farther.

However, given the resources invested in a website, as well as the huge explosion of internet search use, I think the conversation has squarely shifted from needing to justify having a blog to needing to justify not having one. The pizza place that wants to connect with their Franklin teams & parents uses a blog to promote & capture events. The B2B service company has a unique & expert voice in the Nashville market because their blog provides the forum for them to help solve problems & share the kind of perspective that only comes with experience.

We’ve seen a similar shift in attitude towards social media marketing. Though not quite to the same extent yet, the past 2 years have more than justified those who were early adopters of blogging & social media for business purposes.

20 Amazing Marketing Statistics That Will Drive 2014 (Infographic)

Click here to view original web page at www.business2community.com

I won’t say much about this one, as it’s pretty self-explanatory. Here are some of the gems from the infographic below:

    • Social Media: Social media marketing budgets will double over the next 5 years.
    • Content: Nearly 50% of companies now have content marketing strategies. Content is the king and always be will be, thus there will always be need for organic content which will attract your audience’s attention.
    • SEO: SEO (search engine optimization) is vital — 33% of traffic from Google organic search results goes to the first item listed. Wow! If you’re not already active in Google +, you need to seriously consider how to add it in your online marketing strategy. Make certain you are optimizing all of the Google tools such as authorship markup, Google+ Local listings, Maps, etc. All of this will help towards your SEO.
    • Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing.
    • 52% of marketers have found a customer via Facebook in this year. Facebook prevails, but a very important point to remember. Facebook is not the only means of social media; integrate other mediums as well in your marketing strategies.
    • 43% of marketers have found a customer via LinkedIn in 2013.
    • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t.
    • Visual content is processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text. Videos on landing pages increase conversion by 86%. 65% of people are visual learners, so there will be an industry-wide shift toward to employing visual content in marketing initiatives. All content: blogs, emails, Ebooks, PR announcements, social media posts, infographics, etc. – will need captivating visuals to stand out and draw people’s attention in.