Monthly Archives: October 2013

Google and SEO, What You Need to Know Part I

 

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In my last blog I wrote about the importance of content marketing for business growth but content marketing can also drastically improve SEO — Search Engine Optimization — that determines where your company’s web postings rank in a Google search. Traditionally, website structure and keywords alone impacted SEO results.. In 2011, Google launched its “Panda Update,” an update that changed Google’s ranking algorithm to focus on user experience. This meant that while the structure of a website was still important, content was even more important. This is where content marketing comes into play. Businesses can improve SEO results by revamping their website and focusing on the quality of content.

Something to remember regarding content marketing is consistency.. Google analytics can see when you are continually uploading content and that will start to improve your SEO rankings. If you stop uploading content your SEO results will drop.

Constantly creating new content is challenging which is why re-purposing your content is a good idea.  One way to do this is to write blog, white papers and case studies about your industry and then re-purpose them into shorter posts, an infographic, an email newsletter and tweets. Spread these posts out over the course of a few weeks. If you post everything at once it will help your SEO for only a short amount of time. Pace your content.

In 2012, Google launched a follow up update to Panda called Google “Penguin.” Again, this changed Google’s algorithm. This update looked more at links and shares from social media. It took into account the sources that picked up a story or press release. When those get picked up, it shows Google that specific content is useful and enjoyable and as a result, you will get better SEO results.. Don’t just build links or use fake accounts to increase content reach because Google can tell. The important part of sharing your content organically is that it helps you build a relationship with reporters/ bloggers in your industry. Once you establish that relationship it will be easier for your future stories or releases to get more traction.

Another way to increase your SEO results is to update your Google Plus page. After you’ve created content, post the story or the link onto your G+ page and share it. You can also go onto Google Author and establish yourself as an author and cite your works. This helps give you and your work name recognition in Google — again giving you better SEO results.

Google also has a Webmaster Tool that allows you to see your impressions and clicks on your company’s website for free.

SEO now relies on both technical structuring of websites as well as content marketing. Remember, create content that people are interested in, post it regularly and watch your SEO improve.

-Niki Perri

 

Your company should have a blog – really it should.

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I know you’ve heard it before and you can find plenty of articles telling you that your company should have a blog.  It’s like telling people they should eat fruits and vegetables and cut down on fatty foods, sweets and salty snacks. Hey it’s simple – just do it.  But it sounds a lot easier than it is.

A company blog lets you do a number of things:

·       Talk to a targeted audience

·       Show off your expertise

·       Build credibility and reputation

·       Sell products and services

The list could go on, but you get the idea.  Simply put, it’s a great long-term sales tool that resulted from the evolution of the Internet and social media.  Look at it this way, back in the day, if you wanted to reach the masses you had to use direct mail, public relations or advertising. That meant that you had to rely on someone else’s already developed infrastructure and their mailing or subscribers lists. In many cases it was expensive and in the case of public relations you didn’t have total control over the message.

The internet changed so many things in our lives that it’s impossible to come up with a definitive list.  But the one way that it did change our lives that I think is often overlooked by business people is that it made all of us potential publishers and editors.  It gave us the opportunity to write, edit and publish (online) anything we wanted.  We don’t have to look to a magazine for its subscription list or a newspaper reporter to write a story.  We can write our own story and publish it ourselves.  That’s pretty powerful stuff. So why aren’t more companies doing it?  The truth is a lot are doing it, they just aren’t doing it very well or they start strong and fade fast, so their efforts end up in the digital graveyard with all the other welling meaning, but failed attempts at online communication/marketing. 

How do you avoid becoming another statistic, another social media casualty buried in the deep recesses of the Internet?  It comes down to one thing – a steady stream of relevant content. Again, much, much easier said than done. It’s like the old adage “no pain, no gain.”  Well, content creation is the “pain” part of the blog equation.  But, the gain part can be worth it for a lot of companies.   I’ve seen businesses that put together blogs with strong consistent content drive more traffic to their blog site than their already establish websites within a matter of several months. 

It makes sense. We know that people respond to a series of short informational articles faster and more strongly than they do to an advertisement.  And that is exactly what your blog posts should be – informational articles about topics related to your industry, business and services.  They need to be non-commercial (remember this is a soft sell) and they need to contain information your customers/clients can use. 

Companies that blog 15 times per month get 5 times more traffic to their websites then those that don’t.  That means you have to average more than three blogs a week. It’s ambitious and it can seem overwhelming, so why not set a goal to start off a little slower. Going from zero blogs to 15 per month is a good way to set yourself up for failure.  Start with one blog a week (most social media experts agree it’s the minimum to increase traffic and recognition) and build from there.  And get everyone involved – from the chief executive officer to the intern.  Everyone has something to contribute.  Spreading the blog load around makes it seem less onerous for everyone and it can make it fun. Employees/staff get a chance to shine a little light on what they do for the company and why it’s important. But again, remember, no chest pounding.

One of the best ways to get consistent content for your blog is to make it someone’s job. That is hire an editor for your blog.  It doesn’t have to be a full-time position and it can easily be outsourced to a public relations agency or a freelancer.   Whoever takes it on has to know how to write non-commercial journalistic style articles (that means your nephew, Arnold, who took a creative writing class in community college, might not be up to the task). The agency or freelancer can interview company staff/employees and write articles from those interviews or edit submitted articles to smooth out grammar and syntax and keep a consistent style.  It also becomes their/his/her job to keep the blogs coming.  So, there’s where you get your strong, consistent content that’s the key to a successful blog. It doesn’t have to make a huge dent in your marketing budget and the time commitment can be kept to a minimum.

In marketing we all know that social media has changed everything and it keeps changing it at what seems like an exponential rate. People want information and advertisements and direct mail just don’t get the attention they once did.  Having a blog makes you look like a thought leader, an expert and someone who has knowledge worth sharing.