Prevent your blog from becoming stale

Business blogs are an important part of your online presence and it may be that you have run out of steam with your blog. You might be thinking that there are only so many things you can blog about where your business is concerned however, if you can find a way to rejuvenate your blog, you could find that it inspires your followers. Take a look at fresh ideas or revisit past subjects and put a fresh light on them. You blog needs to keep visitors interested and if you are losing interest, there is no doubt, your followers will also be losing interest. So, lets get some oomph back into your blog, be positive and inspire.

Have you hit a wall in your business blogging?  Does it seem like your readers are no longer interested?  It’s ok to admit that your blogging efforts have become a bit stale; just as in life- in blogging there is always room for improvements.  Read on to discover 4 creative yet simple ways to turn your business blogging around, wake up your readers and even capture some new ones.

Stop Pushing Back Publishing

You know you need to blog but unfortunately that’s not the only demand your business is barking at you.  Customers, employees and vendors have much louder voices than your blogging platform.  It’s understandable then that when Friday afternoon rolls around you can usually find yourself scrambling to produce some kind- any kind of post.

These issues are not going to disappear and no one is expecting you to make a business blog your top priority.  However it’s safe to admit that scrambled Friday post is coming up as anything but inspired.  Turn things around by simply jotting quick notes at the end of each day (you could even text them to yourself).

Your notes should comment on that day’s specific challenge, customer complaints that you had to deal with or issues that your employees wanted you to address.  A quick activity like this will ensure that when it is time to post, you already have a list of relevant ideas and inspirations to work with.

Drawing from your own experience will not only make for insightful posts, but it will also help you connect with your online audience.  Readers are on the lookout for both personality and personal insights.  Being willing to share parts of yourself with readers affords them the opportunity to get to know you- and hopefully to grow to like and trust you.  Not to mention, personal insight ensures unique content as no other online platform can duplicate your specific experience.

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Further information

How do I become more efficient at blogging

What LinkedIn’s new blogging tool means for your business

Don’t dismiss PPC as part of your strategy

You might think that there is no place for pay per click or PPC in your online marketing strategy and this may well be true. However, do not discount it as means to rapidly increase valuable traffic to your site. It is important to identify and understand your audience before you begin so that you are targeting the right people from the start. There are now many channels you can make use of, from the traditional search engine PPC to social media and this is why it is important to understand who you are aiming your campaign at. There is no point in setting up a campaign on a channel where your target audience is not likely to subscribe to, this will be a complete waste of time and effort. When you have chosen your channels, make sure you measure everything as this information will tell you where you can make adjustments to improve return on investment. Here is some useful information to help you set up a winning PPC campaign.

Creating and managing a pay per click advertising strategy for your business can be a truly daunting task.  While pay per click advertising, or PPC, is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your website, it can also be risky. Without a properly managed strategy, you can end up paying more than your potential return. Fortunately, there are methods proven to optimize your PPC strategy. Here is a brief pay per click definition, along with the five basic principles of any PPC strategy.

What is Pay Per Click Advertising?

Pay per click advertising is a type of online advertising where the advertiser only pays when a web user clicks on an ad. In search engines, PPC ads can be differentiated from regular search results by their prominent placement, which is typically above or to the right of the search results. Often PPC ads will also be marked as “Sponsored Ads” or “Sponsored Links.”  Advertisers place bids on keywords or phrases designed to match search queries of your target audience. The rates charged for a PPC ad vary depending on the popularity of the keyword or phrase.

Track Measurable Conversions

Unlike other forms of advertising, PPC does not scale. As you get more traffic, you will continue to pay more money because your cost per click will stay constant. The best way to avoid losing money is to track conversions. A conversion can be defined as any useful action a visitor to your website takes. While it doesn’t have to be a sale, it needs to be measurable and valuable to you in some way.

Crunch the Numbers

While PPC can be pricey, it is worth it if you are profiting from all those clicks. Generally, the amount you spend per click needs to be less than the total profit earned per click. While your initial direct profit from your PPC campaign may not meet this guideline, it is important to consistently crunch the numbers in order to know if your PPC campaign is a success.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/5-basics-ppc-strategy-0777682#r50RYKoIYPbwo60M.99

Further information

Getting creative with PPC campaigns

3 important considerations for mobile PPC

How to generate awareness with PPC

The new SEO and the part that it plays today

There has been a lot of talk about SEO being dead over recent months, but in my view, to paraphrase Mark Twain, “reports of SEO’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Why am I so sure about this? Well to use an expression that is said to have been used by the famous Sherlock Holmes (but never was it seems) it’s ‘Elementary my dear Watson’, because quite simply ‘Google Needs Help’ to reach it’s own goal of listing the best sites for any given search term.

Google Needs Help in Deciding What Sites to List

This, some may say is a bit of a bold statement, but when you come to think of it, it’s totally true and always has been. It may actually be even truer today, as Google have stated that they want to list sites with ‘Good Content’. They go on to say that one of the ways they ‘decide’ on what ‘good is’ is by seeing how many times the content has been shared, and of course this ‘sharing’ needs people to take an action and ‘share’ ,  ‘like’ or link to a site’s content.

The Old Old SEO

If you go back in time in SEO, it was all very simple, you just keyword stuffed a page, and then built lots and lots of links to it, this was enough to get any page listed, but that was a long time ago indeed and so  much has changed.

The Old SEO

Moving forwards in time a little, we see that it was Links that were the ‘silver bullet’ some people going so far as to say that they could get a blank page into the listings purely by the power of the links. One example of this was the ‘Google Bomb’ a technique that was used to get Google to come up with sites referring to George W Bush if you searched for ‘miserable failure’. This won’t work now of course, Google making changes back in 2007 to make sure that Links themselves would not work this way anymore. It however did work then and is an example of how Google took note of links.

The Arrival of Social Media

The arrival of Social Media however really changed the whole area of SEO, many of the ‘brownie points’ that Google gives to sites being re-allocated from the areas of On Page SEO and Links to Social Media ‘Chatter’.

This is really the change that you need to take into account, regardless of whether your business is active in Social Media or not, as just because you are not ‘talking about yourself’ does not mean that others are not (this by the way is another topic and is all about Brand Management / Protection, more on this another time).

Social Media Signal

It is this ‘Social Media Signal’ that is the real ‘killer’ today, Google ‘Wanting’ to see comments about a sites content in Twitter, Facebook  on the Social Bookmarking sites etc, as this in their view means that the pages must be interesting.

Content Marketing

However, it is not ‘good enough’ these days to just have good content on your site, you also need (especially in tough market places) to have interesting information on other sites, this process being known as ‘Content Marketing’. But even here it is not enough just to post this data, you have to make sure that this ‘shared content’ is itself ‘shared’ on Social Media sites.

How this Helps Google Decide to List Your Pages

This is of course the crux of the matter, as once you understand what you need to do to ‘help’ Google you will understand why SEO is still so very important…

Google the Blind Man

I believe that Google is much the same as a blind man in a department store, sure he will find the right department given time, but if he is helped, he’ll find it a lot faster (and perhaps before he just leaves) and be ‘happier’ when he does.

Helping Google find the right pages on a site starts with making sure that the site is well built and is structured to be ‘Search Engine Friendly’ (you would be surprised just how often sites are not built the right way even today). This includes, but is not restricted to, using the right Titles and Header tags for the pages. These together with a site map really helps Google know what the pages are about and where to find them.

Then there is the Links to a site. These are not anything like as powerful as they used to be, but they still count. You do however have to be careful as Google has many rules covering the linking arena .

Lastly, but not least we have the Social Signal mentioned above.

But What Part Does ‘Modern’ SEO  Play?

First, SEO means keyword research, as it is this that drives the On Page SEO (the words on the pages). Following the SEO rules then ensures that the site is built with the Search Engines in mind (so that all the pages can be found and SHOUT the right words).

Links are next on the agenda. Now whilst Google only really wants  to see links that are built by independent reviewers / visitors to a site and not by the site owner (or their agents), this is not always possible as people often won’t find a site unless it is listed on and Engine, so it really is a chicken and egg situation.

This means that the pump must be primed a little to start with at least, links being created by ‘artificial’ means. This is of course not liked by Google, but they know that it goes not and will turn a blind eye unless it is done in totally the wrong manner.

The New SEO’s real difference to the Old (and really old) SEO is that of Social Media.

As Google looks for social signal (the sharing / liking / bookmarking of sites) it is not surprising to find that today there is a huge industry whose one aim is to artificially create social signal to a site’s content or to its shared content. At the moment, in my view this is going a bit crazy and Google will no doubt put into place some checks and balances, so any work today has to be done carefully, but there is no doubt of its importance.

All the above helps the blind man

All of the three areas of the NEW SEO help the blind man find your site’s pages and what is more important understand what they are about and to at least ‘believe’ that they are ‘liked’ by others and are worthy of listing.

I hope that by now you will understand that SEO is far from dead as Google still needs help in deciding what pages to list for what.

If you would like to discuss your requirements, or just want to know a bit more, then please do contact us, we’ll be pleased to help.

 

3 important parts of SEO

At Serendipity Online Marketing, we are always encouraging you to provide quality content for your sites and blogs, obtaining good backlinks and make use of social media where appropriate. These 3 things are essential for keeping your website in the organic rankings and if you are a business owner, your site has to be noticed and listed by the search engines. Remember to write your content for human readers, it must be engaging for visitors to read, this will not only encourage them to return to your site but it also means that they will be inclined to share it with others and this in turn leads to increased traffic. The increase in traffic will be noticed by Google and this will increase your standing. Staying within the rules of Google’s algorithms cannot be stressed highly enough, any transgressions will be severely punished, as many have found to their cost so, play by the rules and you will see the benefits.

Two of the main components of a strong SEO strategy are the same as they has always been: to publish high-quality content that gets read and linked to by as many people as possible (ie, quality content and inbound links).

But in 2014, a third key element will join the ranks of these two elements: social media. I touted social media as one of the three key elements of SEO for 2013, but over the course of the year, my experience has been that most business owners still haven’t gotten the message. I’m still constantly asked why and how social media benefits an online marketing campaign, which leads me to believe that social media, while definitely a buzzword recognized by most business owners, hasn’t yet been adopted to the extent that it needs to be.

While social media has been a factor in the ranking algorithm for years, the community has been reluctant to officially adopt social media as a key role within SEO campaigns.

Social media wasn’t around when SEO first developed into an industry, but it’s now pervasive across all industries and our culture; and it provides the means to increase shareability, distribution, and reach. This, in turn, provides readers and search engines alike with new metrics by which to measure quality (ie, quantity of shares and mentions in each social media channel, which are both easily measurable). As a result, “social signals” are now the fastest-rising search engine ranking factor, and business owners that fail to recognize this will be left in the dust by their competitors that do.

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Further reading

How to write content for SEO, Google and Marketing

SEO = relevance and reputation

SEO as Stand-alone Tactic Is Dead

I’ve come across lots of articles that say “SEO is Dead” but not many that actually tell it how it is, which is that SEO as it used to be is Dead, but that there is a whole new World of SEO now.

This article is especially good as it then goes on to say that Keyword Research is a must, as

“No matter how long you’ve been an expert in your industry, keyword research will likely find at least one way to surprise you”

This is really, really true and is one of the reasons that no one should start building a site without it, the electronic pen should not get near the electronic paper until the research had been done, assimilated and decisions made about the route the site was going to take to ‘capture’ the customer…

So read on, it is worth it…

Stop doing search engine optimization as a separate discipline. Instead, make sure all aspects of your online business — content, marketing, site design, architecture — are naturally optimized for search engines.

SEO as a stand-alone tactic is dead. Years ago, SEO was all about putting the right keywords in the right places in a title tag and the content, and building some links. You did it, it worked, and free traffic came.

Today, treating SEO as a stand-alone project or even an ongoing function is doomed to failure. The days of beating the competition with a quick burst of optimization are over, because enough of the competition has done it that the baseline for optimization is much higher than it was five years ago.

Today, treating SEO as a stand-alone project or even an ongoing function is doomed to failure.

Today, a modicum of SEO built into everything you do online is an accepted cost of doing business.

To win with organic search today, you have to start optimizing every channel, every campaign, every site project, and every redesign to drive the maximum number of eyeballs to your content through organic search. If it touches content that a web surfer can get to without a password, it needs to be optimized for organic search.

Searching on a Whim

Search is a ubiquitous navigational tool. In some browsers, even direct traffic is registered as natural search because the address field is also the search field. People are becoming more accustomed to searching for answers to every little whim that crosses their mind. To take advantage of these myriad whims, you need to build SEO into virtually all aspects of your ecommerce business.

It starts with keyword research. The only way to understand how real people search for the products you offer is to do the keyword research. No matter how long you’ve been an expert in your industry, keyword research will likely find at least one way to surprise you.

Click the link to see the full article on SEO,

 

A Video About Intro to SEO – The Basics of HTML

Came across this video about HTML. The music in the background is a bit awful, but the information is useful for those wanting to know how a web page is built and of course how this effects SEO.

An Introduction to SEO – The Basics of HTML

 

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Guest Blogging and Google’s New Guidelines

There is quite a bit of chatter about at the moment following Matt Cutt’s statement saying the ‘Guest Blogging is Dead’. As you can imagine, this has led to a lot of head scratching, as Guest Blogging has been used as a substitute for Article marketing (which as similarly seen a ‘don’t bother’ statement by Google) for some time now.

With the above in mind I came across this blog (via an email) and thought it well worth sharing:-

When it comes to guest blogging for SEO, quite a few people are pretty ticked off at Matt Cutts right now. After all, he just declared that guest blogging is a Very Bad Thing for webmasters, and stated that you should stop doing it.

Right?

Well, not quite.

Too hear most SEOs talk about it, you’d think that’s exactly what he just said. But Cutts actually made an important (and really not all that subtle) distinction between two different types of guest blogging. Once you know the difference between the two, you can decide for yourself if guest blogging is still a good choice for your business.

The Kind of Guest Blogging Google Doesn’t Like

What kind of guest blogging doesn’t Google like? Here is the short list:

Guest blog posts with “dofollow” links.
Blog posts that involve an exchange of money for dofollow links.
Blog posts that involve an exchange of money for any other contextual links.
Blog posts that in any other way violate Google’s quality guidelines.
Blog posts that pass pagerank (i.e. those with dofollow links, as noted above).

In other words, guests posts done purely for the sake of SEO are straight out. So are any guest posts that simply look like they might be done for pure SEO’s sake.

That doesn’t mean that guest blogs can’t help your SEO anymore. It just means that they won’t do so directly. As you know, Google takes in increasingly more factors when assigning rankings.

So what is guest blogging still good for, and how can it still help your rankings?

They went on to give some more interesting facts (you’ll have to see the full article for this) and also went on to say:-

How to Guest Blog after Matt Cutts’ Proclamation

So how is an honest business person supposed to practice guest blogging in 2014 onward?

Only guest blog with people you already know and trust.
Don’t guest blog with people you barely know.
Don’t guest blog for money, nor let someone else do it.
Don’t engage in the practice with businesses or firms that write to you out of the blue.
Do feel free to add “rel=nofollow” links in your guest posts.
Share via social media.

This last point is becoming increasingly more important. In an age where Google seems to be valuing links less and less, what does it use to count the way readers “vote” with their attention?

I cannot agree more with the latter point, Social Media does seem to be really effective in improving rankings, several of the sites we are working on having seen more sales because of the improved rankings the Social Media signals we have created have delivered.