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Everyone has something to say, but how many have something to share?

We think there's a big difference between the two. And what we have to share is the expertise we've acquired over the years in web design, search engine optimization, graphic design and email marketing.

As with most things, there's no real substitute for experience. And it's that experience we're willing to share. We hope you find our blog entries beneficial for your marketing efforts. If so, let us know and maybe sign up for our marketing-focused e-newsletterSee a recent example of one of our e-newsletters here.



 

Web searches: now it's getting personal!

February 27, 2014

In the ever-changing world of SEO and SEM, here's something to look forward to... or not... it remains to be seen.

We've known for a long time that not everyone gets the same search results delivered to them on a Google search. And here's a simple test to see how it works: you and someone else in your office Google the same phrase and compare results. We've done this several of times, and see we don't have the same listings/same order on page one for the same search at, literally, the same time.

Google's +1 button

Google has stated that their Google+ pages aren't going to get any more weight than other social media signals, but everyone has found that hard to believe. Their +1 button works similar Facebook's to “likes.” The more you get, the more Google sees your content as being relevant.

And there's been this theory going around that if your Google+ page had enough +1s, it could beat out a website with better SEO than yours. (Of course, anything related to Google is a theory since they are notoriously close-mouthed about what signals their algorithms search for.)

When you Google something, and you’re on Google+, you would see results your friends +1 (liked) show up higher than results that would be there for someone else NOT on Google+.

Facebook and bing

Bing and Facebook have teamed upon this feature for a long time already.

Both those sites give higher search results based on the things your friends on Facebook have “liked.” So if you’re seeking Thai restaurants in your city and a Facebook friend of yours “likes” a certain restaurant, that restaurant will likely appear higher in your search engine results than it would in someone else's search results.

They call this their "trusted search."

Now it's getting personal 

So these days it is very likely that no two people will have the exact same search results, even if they're searching the same keywords.

In the past couple of years, it's been the accepted belief in the SEO and SEM world that back links are the best way to get folks your website. The theory is, the more back links you have, the more it means people like your website and content, so the higher your website will appear in the search results.

Some SEO experts ask what will happen when Google's rankings aren’t just determined by back links. Well, you can hear what Google's world would be like if back links didn't play a huge role in search engine results here, as explained by Matt Cutts, the head of Google's WebSpam team and frequent blogger on all things SEO.

Yet one more reason social media is critical

We know, you've heard it before, search engines are using social signals (ie: the things your friends link to, "Like," and share) as relevant to their search engine rankings. 

As a Columbus web design/social media/content marketing firm, we constantly keep on top of these elements for you to keep abreast of the ever-changing world of social media and search engine optimization. And believe us: it's a full time job. 

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The role of "Content Creator" in your company

February 23, 2014



We've all seen articles in Entrepreneur and Forbes titled "Ten jobs that weren't around five (or ten) years ago."

Forbes just published another one recently listing these job descriptions:

  • App Developer
  • Millennial Generational Expert
  • Social Media Manager, and one of our favorites:
  • Chief Listening Officer, which evidently is a step up from the “social media manager.” It's someone who monitors social channels to keep their company up to speed on what is being said about them online.

However, in our opinion, they left one major new job description out:

  • Content Creator/Manager

Actually, there are 10 variations on that role as you can see from a quick search on monster.com.

What does a content creator do?

They create content that is:

  • the online voice of your company
  • the knowledge base of your company, showing your prospects you're an expert, and
  • positions your company as the thought leader in your industry, even if your market is just the city your operate in

Where does this content live?

  • on the blog of your website
  • on LinkedIn communities
  • on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites
  • on association or industry websites, and
  • any other website that would like to share your knowledge with its audiences.

Why is this so important?

Because it helps your website show up higher in Google and other search engines. And we all know how critical that is.

Ranking high is a search is, literally, being at your prospect's fingertips when they're searching for what you do. You'll be right in front of them when they're in the buying mode.

Content creation IS the new search engine optimization.

If you create content that your audience Likes, links to, and shares, you'll be way ahead of your competitors. It's never too late to get to the content creation table. You're an expert in what you do: show it by getting the word out about your expertise.

There's no short cut to creating content

This is something that cannot be automated. And can't be done by an intern, non-marketing person, or lower level person in your company. That's because your content is the online face of your company.

It is something you need the smartest people in your organization to do. (Or work with smart people outside your organization.) And how much do you pay the smartest people in your organization? Or yourself (if you're the owner of the company)? So you have to allocate time and/or money to this process. Would you want an intern to represent you at a networking event or sales meeting? Probably not.

So it really isn't something you can take the "cheap" way out because it takes the time of some of your most valuable resources.

Content creation IS marketing

It's marketing because it goes out to your prospects, and like any marketing, there's a right way and wrong way to do it. We often hear the owners of companies say "my secretary says she can do social media so we've got it covered."

And what usually happens is:

  • it's short-lived: they do it for two weeks then it drops by the wayside because they already have 100 things to do,
  • it's not marketing: they don't have a marketing perspective so they don't post things that talk about benefits for your audience, and
  • it gets too cute: because they don't have and editorial calendar written out so they're scrambling to find significant things to write about

So if you're a Marketing Director, CEO, or business owner you should be familiar with these roles. And if you can't hire someone internally, you should hire it out to a web design/content creator/social media marketing firm.

Being a marketer these days means being a content creator because your online voice it is too important to leave it to someone who doesn't have a marketing perspective.
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Linking up: a one night stand, or a long term relationship?

February 17, 2014


Today, good SEO is all about getting natural links back to your website. Good back links aren't single-link relationships, but more long-term ones.

What counts in your favor with Google are "natural" back links to your website. It seems like a simple statement, but lets break it down:

What are “unnatural” links?

  • Links that overwhelmingly come from one site, like eZine.com
    For those not familiar with eZine it is a website that lets anyone who considers themselves experts on something to post article they wrote with links back to their websites. Not that there’s anything wrong is eZine: we’re not picking on them, but what started out as a good idea (article directories) was, as with most other SEO-related stuff, abused. The problem with these article directories became:
    1. not everyone posting an article is really an expert at something, and
    2. once again, it is someone who is promoting themselves to get a back link to their website

      And links from article directories are not much different than links from your own social media pages. Now, links from other folks social media pages and websites ARE something that count more in you favor.
  • Links that come from a website not relevant to your subject
    This is old school “black hat” stuff when folks would pay companies to post links to their websites and didn’t bother to ask what sites they were posting links on. So links were placed on totally irrelevant sites to whatever the subject was. Google sees through this and now those links are toxic.

    Back in the day they didn’t necessarily count against, you. But now they do. And now you have to go back to remove back links from those low rent sites. And damn, that’s time consuming.
  • Links that all point to the same page on your website.
    It is considered “unnatural” if every links that leads back to your website goes to the exact same page, whether it’s the home page or internal page.  Google considers natural links should point to different pages on your website, depending on the subject matter of the article. Their assumption is certain articles on your site should point to pages on your site that talk about the same topic. And Google can follow phrases so they know what pages are “talking” about.
  • Links that are relevant to the reader and likely to be clicked.
    If your link is clicked by someone who reads your story on a website, that counts more in your favor than you clicking on the link. If someone shares your blog, you get even more SEO juice towards your website. If you post links and no one ever clicks on them, you’re essentially wasting your time building links.
  • Links that use keywords or have a subject in them.
    Ever since we can remember, using the words “click here” as link to get someone somewhere was a bad idea. It was too vague and appeared to be robotic and not natural. A natural links would more likely say “click to read about vegan Sumo wrestlers” because it had words relevant to the story in it.

Before you start building links...

Make sure you have really good content on your website. Because if you post something that someone likes , you have to assume they will want to visit your website to learn more from your no doubt awesome insights. If your website doesn’t deliver, then all that work you did turns out to be the equivalent of a one night stand, instead of a long term relationship.

Where should you build links?

In online communities that care about what you have to share. Sounds simple, right? And it can be: it just takes time.

And if you don’t have the time since you’re already doing 100 things, that’s where we come in. We can help you get those articles and blogs out to audiences that care about what you have to say.

That is part of internet marketing, which is a whole lot like traditional marketing: getting you in front of your audience.

Another part of internet marketing is getting your web banners and AdWords in front of folks as they’re looking for what you have to offer.

But we'll save that for another blog post.

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