SEO

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FAQs Still Deliver Great Value

by Susan Farrell

Summary: A usable website FAQ can improve products, services, information, and user experience as part of your knowledge management process.

Panda 4.1: Your Content Marketing Report Card?

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It’s nice to get rewarded for doing the right thing. If you’ve been following the best practices for content marketing, you’ve likely just had a big confirmation of your work. And it was the mighty Google that gave it you.

Panda 4.1 started rolling out on September 25th, and continued to roll out for ten days after, affecting 3-to-5 percent of search results. Now that most of the dust has settled, it’s cut some sites organic traffic by an astounding 90 percent, but has also rewarded other sites with a flood of visitors. It’s done all this according to Google’s definition of good and bad content.

Panda, as you may remember, is mostly targeted toward “thin content” sites — sites that don’t have much content, or have content that is not engaging their visitors.

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13 Awesome ‘Welcome’ Email Ideas

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Welcome emails are one of the first key steps to long-term success with email marketing. They build trust, reduce opt-outs, and get sales upfront. Welcome emails typically get three times the clicks and sales as a standard promotional email. They’re also a terrific way to get ready for Christmas, which will be only 114 days away as of September 1.

13 Awesome ‘Welcome’ Email Ideas

Send your welcome email out immediately, in real time. Do not “batch” your welcome emails. Batching is certainly more efficient for the server, but it wastes a critical moment.

Let your new subscribers know what to expect. Ever heard how “expectations are everything”? Well, they may not be everything, but they definitely matter, especially for welcome emails. Telling subscribers when they should expect to hear from you and what they should expect to get in their inbox is a proven way to increase readership and reduce opt-outs.

Use the welcome email to show the simplest and easiest way to start using your service, or to buy from you.

Show your new subscribers they’ve made a good decision.

Give your new subscribers a sense of community. Say something to make new readers feel like they’re part of something special.

Simplify your welcome message.

Include a reply email address that works.

Use your subscribers’ enthusiasm to leave some of the most valuable information they’ll ever tell you. If you only do one thing from this article, do this: Set up a welcome email that asks your new subscribers what’s the one thing they want to know about your niche.

Test your welcome email subject line.

Ask subscribers to follow you on social media.

Use the welcome email to get more information on your new subscribers’ preferences.

Personalize. 

Use a recognizable sender name and email address.

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10 Common Content Marketing Mistakes

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Does your content marketing need an upgrade? See if you’re committing any of these common mistakes.

1. No Content Marketing Strategy

2. Not Using an Editorial Calendar

3. Not Using Keyword Research

4. Not Using Multiple Platforms and Formats

Have you heard of “the rise of the visual web”? Internet users want more than words. Blog posts are helpful, but infographics get shared more often. Tweets with images get shared twice as much as tweets without images.

To leverage new formats, make creating videos a habit. And always ask yourself if you could add an image. And don’t forget SlideShares, animated gifs, and podcasts. Want to make all this easier? Here’s a great app for creating social media images on the go: WordSwag, available on iTunes for $2.99. Canva is an excellent desktop alternative.

5. Content that Is Too Simplistic or Too Advanced

6. Not Using Personas

7. Content Is Not Actionable or Useful

8. No Call to Action

9. Creating Boring Content

For content marketers, being boring isn’t just… well, boring. It’s failure. Here are some common symptoms of boring content.

  • Similar content is easily found elsewhere (and done better).
  • A tiny bit of interesting content is watered down and made into much, much longer watered-down content.
  • The content is hard to understand (hard to read, hard to hear, or hard to understand how to use it).
  • The content has no personality. There is no playfulness to it.
  • The content is self-centered. It is a barely concealed advertorial.

10. Not Promoting your Content Enough

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SEO Is Dead; Web Marketing Alive and Well

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When someone asks me about focusing on search engine optimization, the first thing I think of is that the individual is not familiar with today’s realities, in 2014, of web marketing.

The search results on any search engine are dependent upon many factors. If you take four computers, connected to the same Internet connection, performing the exact same search simultaneously, they will all likely have different results. Factors that influence these results are:

  • If you are logged in to a search engine account;
  • Your search history;
  • The location of your Internet connection.

These factors affect the search results whether you are in New York City or Los Angeles. The results are different and this is where personalized search comes into consideration.

The Web Marketing Process

Recommended Steps:

  • Content marketing. For some reason this terminology is often confusing. I explained this was about writing editorials, news releases, PowerPoint documents, infographics, and even videos — all about his business. These types of marketing materials are “content” and necessary to get the word out about your business. Once you have created the content you can distribute them through social communities, industry websites, and content sites such as YouTube and SlideShare.
  • Social media marketing. I discussed with the business owner the difference between passive and active social media marketing. Sharing blog posts is an example of passive social media marketing. The next step, however, would be active social media marketing by engaging in social communities by increasing connections, commenting on what others are saying, and (depending upon the community) digging deeper into subgroups.
  • Local business listings. For a business dependent upon the local economy, use local business listings that are pin-code verified, followed by updating these listings with business marketing information, and finally using a syndication services to help spread the word out to more business directories.

Web marketing is not a technology task. It’s a marketing process. For this reason it was not a technology firm providing an SEO task that he needed. He needed a marketing company that understood how to execute the various processes, including measuring and interpreting the results. It is a process that has no end.

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20 Quick-Win Tactics For Building A New Social Media Presence

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Starting from scratch can be intimidating, but there are plenty of ways to start stacking the deck in your favor right from the start. Here are 20 quick-win tactics for building a new social media presence on any network.

1. Fill In The Blanks

First things first: make sure that anyone who wants to find you, can. That means filling out your profile as completely as possible — including all the optional stuff! Pay special attention to your contact details and the words and phrases your audience might use to search for your brand.

2. Think Visual

A visual element (cover photo/profile picture/avatar/etc.) is likely the first thing potential audience members are going to see when considering you. Work ahead with a designer or on your own to make sure all your images are high resolution, properly sized and reflect your brand accurately.

3. Put Your Site To Work

Capitalize on the traffic you already have by adding follow/fan buttons for all your social networks to your site’s main page, about page, blog home and anywhere else that makes sense.

4. Tell Your Customers

If you have a physical location that customers visit, make sure there’s clear signage that shows off your social media accounts, how to join them and why someone should.

5. Add A Perk

Bonus points for adding an incentive to make it worthwhile for customers to act, like a special discount for showing you they follow you on Twitter or a coupon you can only access on Facebook.

6. Enlist Help

Spreading the word isn’t a one-person job. Make sure any employees are apprised of your new social media effort. Not only can they follow the new account to give you a temporary boost (hey, you need 30 Facebook fans to even see Insights; this is no time to stand on principle), they can also help spread the word to friends, clients and customers or even help come up with content ideas.

7. Assess The Field

You likely already know the brands that are competitive and complementary to yours. If not, do some quick research and brainstorming to find them. Find and follow all of them on your new account. Complementary brands might return the favor. As for competitors, now you can keep an eye on them. While you’re at it, connect to any major news sources for your industry.

8. Visualize Your Audience

OK, you may not have fans and followers yet. But you can already see them in your mind, right? What do they look like? What do they read? What do they watch on TV or at the movies? Marketers call this process “persona development,” but that’s just a fancy way to say “know your audience.” The clearer your picture of your intended audience, the easier it’ll be to find or create the type of content that’ll help them discover you.

9. Spy Shamelessly

Once you know your audience and you’ve got a bead on others in your industry, you know what it’s time for: brazen espionage. What are accounts similar to yours doing with their social strategy? What’s working, and what isn’t? Use this as a jumping-off point to learn from their mistakes and successes. Take what’s working and make it better.

10. Stockpile Shareable Content

Content that people want to share is your best bet when you’re starting out on a new social presence. Each share extends your network and introduces you to a larger audience. You’ll probably want to create your own, but there’s nothing wrong with sharing what’s already out there. Use discovery tools or comb your own network to unearth share-worthy stuff of various types (links, photos, videos, etc.)

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Understanding Google Authorship, Other Rich Snippets

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You may have noticed that when you carry out a search on Google, some results tend to show only the page title, the page URL, and a short snippet — usually the meta description — from the page. Others, however, have something extra: rich snippets.

Rich snippet search result examples.

All results from the examples above have had specific bits of their content marked-up by “micro-data” for search engines to display them on their results as “rich snippets” as well as the names of the authors from Google+.

Google offers extensive support and documentation for rich snippets and strongly advises the adoption of schema.org — a mark-up vocabulary that Google, Bing, and Yahoo search understand. Google displays rich snippets in its results for varied content types: reviews, video content, recipes, events, music, ecommerce products, companies and people.

This article focuses on rich Snippets mark-up for “people” using Google+ Authorship that works alongside articles and blog posts.

Read on…

YouTube Video Ads: Getting Started

Vyoutube.jpegideo is a huge part of our daily lives. Think about the last time you let a day go by without watching some type of video — on television or the Internet.

People aren’t just watching funny cat videos, either. Many businesses are harnessing the power of video to drive awareness and sales.

Because Google owns YouTube, video ads on YouTube are handled through AdWords. And they’re surprisingly easy to use. Here’s how your business can get started with YouTube ads.

Decide On Your Campaign Goals

Don’t just jump on the video ad bandwagon because everyone else is doing it. Think about what you’d like to get out of it. Do you have a complicated product or service that’s more easily explained with video than with text? Are you launching a new product and want to generate awareness? Are you hoping to drive sales via video?

Video ads can work for all of the above scenarios, but as with any paid search campaign, a little advance planning will help make your campaign a success.

Learn the Basics

YouTube ads run on a cost-per-view basis, not cost-per-click. While you can and should drive traffic via YouTube ads, you’re charged every time someone watches your video for a minimum amount of time — usually 25 percent of the video length.

In many ways, therefore, YouTube is a branding or awareness exercise, rather than a direct-response medium. You can certainly drive leads or sales from YouTube, but you’ll pay whether or not the viewer ever reaches your website.

That’s not to say that YouTube won’t drive conversions, but your success metrics may be different than for regular PPC campaigns.

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Physical Therapy Marketing Ideas for Facebook

By David Straight

  1. Add the Facebook ‘Like’ to Your Website
  2. Add Link from Facebook to Your Website
  3. Engage Patients With Smart Questions!
  4. Don’t Overlook Your Timeline Cover Image
  5. Optimize the Title of Your Facebook Page for Google
  6. Don’t Forget to Secure Your Custom Facebook URL

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How to Build a Profitable Website; 2 Case Studies

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Far too many businesses put up a website thinking it will automatically generate customers. It is a “build it and they will come” mentality. But there are many factors that make a website profitable or not.

Search Engine Optimization

First, if nobody sees your website, then you won’t generate any income from it — period. It won’t matter how pretty it is, how low the prices are, or how unique the merchandise is. It will fail.

Competitor Analysis

So before you build a website, it’s imperative you understand what it takes to get it seen by actual people who are looking for what you offer. Getting your site findable is done with a process called search engine optimization.

You should review your competitors’ websites, for ideas. See what you’re up against and how you can beat them. The best way to do that is to search on Google for the best keyword search term you’re considering and look at the top 3 to 5 websites. Study them. See what they’re saying. Look for things you can do to emulate their success. Look for where they’re hurting themselves so you can avoid it.

Two Case Studies