Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Latest SEO Tactics and Strategies

“Latest” SEO Tactics & Strategies

Sitelinks for your Website
Sitelinks are links on the search engine results page that help the user to navigate your site before even entering it.  It helps the user navigate your site easier and faster by giving them a preview of what is within your site.  They can go directly to what they want to from the search engine results page.   Depending on the query the user typed into the search engine, you may get a single column or a double column.  This is because some sitelinks are more authoritative than others.  The best way for sitelinks to work to your advantage is to create a website that is easy to navigate.  Have relevant page titles that will help the users find your site. Make sure your anchor text, titles, and navigation tools are consistent.  

Here is an example of searching for “Samsung.”
example of a sitelink double column

Website Speed Optimization: “The Need for Speed”
Google ranks the faster sites higher.  This isn't the only metric being used, but it could affect your rank.  Photo and video sites typically load much slower than blogs and text-oriented sites.  You shouldn’t be concerned with all sites beating you out, only those with competing content.   Don’t focus on having the fastest site, just focus on being fast relative to your competitors.  

How to improve loading speed
Script Language:  avoid using Flash, it’s not easily optimized, and slow to load
Hosting Server Speed:  check with your hosting provider’s service agreement to determine speed and bandwidth allocation
Coding quality:  your code can be simplified, this will speed up loading
Picture Resolution:  high resolution photos are not always required, high resolution photos slow things down
Bulky Applications:  Adobe is notorious for slowing loading speeds

Increasing Traffic by using Social Bookmarking
Social Bookmarking is when a business owner bookmarks some of their favorite sites on their social media accounts and websites.  Using Pinterest.com is a great way to do this today!  The text mentions Twitter and StumbleUpon.  Social bookmarking will increase traffic to your site.  This will result in more sales and higher revenue.  

Here are a few tools to help you monitor and analyze your social media accounts:

  • TweetStats
  • HubSpot Marketing Grader
  • Twitterholic
  • BackTweets
  • Facebook Insights
  • Google Alerts
  • Icerocket
  • Klout

Monday, March 30, 2015

Local Search Marketing

Local Search Marketing

Local Search Marketing is the use of search engines to search for local resources. The search engine use is limited to specific geographical areas.  Local Search Marketing has been on the rise for the past few years.  According to Webvisible and Nielson, 74% of the surveyed adults mentioned that they had used search engines for obtaining local information.  Keyword research is the main focus for local search marketing.  Usually, when keywords are typed into the search engine, users use local qualifiers such as zip codes, city names, county names, state names, and streets.  

local search marketingMarketers should use local on-page optimization, such as posting local phone numbers and physical addresses across all pages.  Using geographical qualifiers in title and heading tags will also help you rank as well.  Using these tags will result in your location having more prominence.  Off-page optimization factors that should be used are anchor text for incoming links.  

All major search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) have a local business center where local businesses can submit their information and details about their business.  This will ensure your business will list in the "local" section and on maps as well.  

Other search engines, yellow pages, and directories:

These sites will help drive traffic to your site and business if used properly. Make sure to study how they work. I use Yelp.com regularly when deciding where to eat dinner! Find out what works for you and your organization, and use it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Delight your Customers

Customer delight is not just a post-sale activity, it should be practiced both pre and post-sale.  This is a priority. This will get your customers to trust you, and recommend your product or service to someone else.  Customer delight is key because it spans the entire life cycle of the inbound methodology.  Delighting customer is turning them into promoters.  There was a quote in the video and it basically said “if you build trust between the people you serve, they will return the favor and serve you.”  The inbound experience is formed by every interaction with you or an employee.  These interactions contribute to the inbound experience.  However, these interactions can either make or break you.  They must be trust building experiences, not trust breaking.  

Three Pillars to Customer Delight:
  1. Innovation
  2. Communication
  3. Education

Always challenge the status quo, this will help to serve people with the right products and services.  Learn from your buyer personas how you can better innovate.  Being personal is also important.  This is a critical piece of building an inbound experience.  And lastly, educate people to grow their knowledge.  Embrace these pillars, and become inspired by them.  

Seven Customer Delight Guidelines
  1. Delight Employees
  2. Educate Employees
  3. Empower Employees
  4. Listen
  5. Ask Questions
  6. Help & Educate
  7. Follow up

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first”  Simon Sinek

Delight your employees and they will delight your customers.  Happy employees create happy customers and allow for sustained customer delight.  Customers and employees are a business’s greatest assets.  Understand this or you will never be able to delight both groups.  Test for culture fit.  
Happy employees will create happy customers.  Both customers and employees are a business’s greatest assets.  They both cannot function without each other.  This must be understood, otherwise you will never be able to delight both groups.  First, the employee must be tested for culture fit. HubSpot suggests creating a hiring methodology that tests:  skills, culture fit, beliefs, experience, and ideas.  This will help figure out whether they will become an asset to both the company and the customer.

“Every small interaction makes a difference…. because they create the larger experience”

The next step in delighting customers it to educate your employees.  First, create team principles that your employees will live by.  This will create a sense of individuality and empower employees to make decisions on their own.  Educate your employees by teaching them the pillars of customer delight.  Create a new hire training program and implement it so standards are set.  Develop training programs that are on-going.  Educate employees by doing, rather than saying.  Share stories of great customer service.  Teach the employee what solving for the customer means, and what it looks like. All employees will contribute to one another’s education within the company.  Remember it is everyone’s job to contribute to delighting the customers.  

Empowering customers is done by allowing employees’ personalities to shine through.  Empower your employees with a customer delight checklist.  The checklist contains:  solve their problems, provide recommendations, and be enthusiastic and fun.  

Listen to your customers.  Collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative about the inbound experience.  Use social monitoring as a listening tool.  Social monitoring will automatically monitor what is being said about your company on social media.  When communicating with the customers, make sure you are listening and figuring out what the core issue you.  Repeat what they've said back to them to make sure you’re both on the same page.  

Asking questions will help you learn more about the customers problem or their question.  This will help to educate them and solve their problem.  Pay attention to both verbal and nonverbal communication.  The next step is to help and educate.  Use the checklist to become a problem solver.  This will help build trust with people.  And finally, the last step to delighting customers is to follow up.  This will ensure that your customer’s problem has been resolved.  This means that you have become a true “problem solver.”  

An Explanation of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a method of promoting web businesses in which an affiliate is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber, customer, and/or sale provided through his/her efforts. (Seocertification.org)

affiliate marketing

YouTube is a great example to help explain affiliate marketing.  Pewdiepie is one of the most subscribed YouTubers, with over 35 million subscribers.  He began creating gaming videos and then formed a partnership with Nintendo.  He would feature Nintendo products in his videos and receive payment based on his subscription count and other various factors.  Pewdiepie became a millionaire because his partnership with Nintendo and other companies who reached out to him.  

Affiliate marketing is the most trusted way to promote any business.  Pewdiepie has a very loyal following, and these subscribers take his opinion into consideration when purchasing products. Affiliate marketing is known as a pay for performance model.  This means that the there are no marketing expenses incurred until the results are finally realized.  Compensation is usually based on these few factors:  

  • Pay-per-impression or Cost-per-thousand (CPM):  The publisher of the ad gets a fixed amount for every 1000 impressions.  The ad is either rich media, or a banner image.  

  • Pay-per-click (PPC)/Cost-per-click (CPC):  This is the most popular method.  The advertiser must pay a set amount of money each time a potential customer clicks on the advertiser’s ads.  Commission can be generated by fraudulent clicks however.  

  • Pay-per-lead (PPL):  The advertiser must pay commission to the publisher for every visitor that was referred.  If the referred visitor performs the desired action then the publisher is paid a commission.  Examples of desired actions may be filling an online form, creating a new account, or subscribing to a newsletter.  

  • Pay-per-sale (PPS) or Cost-per-sale (CPS):  Also known as revenue sharing, this method is where the a percentage of a sale is given to the publisher.  The publisher refers their visitors to the advertiser and then sales are generated.

  • Pay-per-call:  This is where an advertiser pays a fixed commission to the publisher for the phone calls received from the specific published ad.  This acts as a link between online and offline advertising.  

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is beneficial for merchants because it allows merchants to reach a broader market.  Sales can be generated more easily this way.  Research is required to determine who to contact, finding a good fit for their product is key, so a bit of healthy research is done.  Merchants can come in contact with the market and willing customers more easily.  Especially, the customers who will drive and enhance sales.  Affiliate marketing draws in visitors of different genres, so this gives marketers an idea of consumer trends, needs, and requirements.  Fast and easy sales are another result of affiliate marketing.  These initial customers will become repeat customers and the recommendations from the publisher usually works.  

How is the affiliate marketing success tracked?

There is various software available on the market, but the most popular is Affiliate Wiz (ASP.NET). Affiliate Wiz is used to manage affiliate marketing programs.  This software places a cookie on a visitor’s computer and tracks them as they browse the website.  When sales are made, the administrator is notified.