SEO Benefits of Blogging

By Kristin Page (c) 2011

Adding a blog to your website is a big decision, but it is something that every company should consider. A regularly updated blog can give people a reason to visit your website more often, and there are also SEO (search engine optimization) benefits to keeping a company blog.

Perhaps you’ve thought about starting a blog for your company, but you’re not sure it will be worth the extra work. Here’s a rundown of the SEO benefits to help you decide.

More Content for Search Engines

Most websites have a fairly limited number of pages, and a limited number of words per page. Adding a blog means you can regularly create rich content, and include the keywords you’re trying to rank well for in search results. You’ll be giving search engines more pages and content to crawl on your site, and more opportuníty to see your important keywords.

For every blog post you write, you are giving yourself the chance to add content containing five to 10 new keywords. Some of these keywords could actually be longer phrases containing keywords you’re already trying to rank well for in search results.

These longer phrases – called “long tail keywords” by SEO professionals – can be easier for you to rank well for. That’s because, as a keyword phrase gets longer, there are fewer instances of it in search engine indexes. In effect, there’s less competition for top rankings in results for searches on those keywords.

For example, a gardening supplies website could add a blog that offers gardening advice. Perhaps the company wants to improve its online sales of bulbs. Of course, the website will have pages selling spring bulbs, autumn bulbs and summer bulbs. The blog could also have articles about spring bulb planting mixtures; bulb planting tools; autumn bulb soil amendments; summer bulbs for shade; and many, many more topics surrounding the word “bulbs.”

Every one of those phrases around “bulbs” is another keyword phrase. By adding lots of articles that include these phrases, the gardening supplies site would be signaling to Google that it has plenty of information about bulbs. The site’s pages would show up higher in more searches that include the word “bulbs.”

The more pages of your website you can get into the top slots of search engine results, the more potential website visitors you will have.

Updated Content for Search Engines – and People

Search engines don’t like it when we allow websites to get out-of-date. Having a blog encourages people to update their websites more often.

When a new URL is added to your sitemap from a blog entry, search engines have a reason to come back to your website, crawl its pages, and possibly adjust its rankings of your pages. If your content just sits there and isn’t ever updated, search engines have no reason to re-crawl your site.

Updating your blog frequently will give people a reason to return often to see what’s new. It also gives them a reason to subscribe to your RSS feed. If you update your blog with information about your new products – or new uses for your products – you could generate more sales.

Link Power

One of the key elements of search engine optimization is links – not just inbound links to your website, but outbound links from your site to others.

When you link to other websites, you show search engines that you are trying to provide a good user experience for anyone who visits your website by sending them to other information sources you’ve judged to be valuable. Because links are how search engines discover new Web pages, you’re also doing those other sites a good turn.

You can link to important pages on your website from your blog. Doing that signals to search engines which pages have information you think your blog readers will find valuable. While this won’t automatically shoot your pages into the No. 1 spot in search results, linking to pages within your site will help search engines “see” the connections between your pages and their content.

Watch out for Duplicate Content

If there’s one thing you should not do with your blog, it’s duplicating content from another page of your website…or even worse, someone else’s website. Search engines try to avoid returning duplicate content in search results. If your pages are seen as mere duplicates of other web content, that can cause search engines to rank your pages lower than they would otherwise.

There are, however, times when it’s useful for your audience to republish material from another website. That’s called syndication. You should always get permission from the author, and attribute the material to the original source, with a link back to the original article. Pages with content you’ve syndicated from others may not ever rank as well as pages where you publish your own original content – but you’re providing a good experience for your visitors. That’s not ever a bad idea.

To sum up, a blog is a great way for you to keep your website content fresh, boost your rankings in search results, and give people a reason to visit your site frequently. You don’t have to be a slave to your blog, and there’s no law saying it has to be updated daily, or even weekly. Start with once a month, and grow from there.


5 Top Traffic Sources For Your Site

By Titus Hoskins (c) 2010

I believe if you asked any webmaster or online marketer what their most important aspect of running a site would be, you would get an answer that’s some way related totraffic. Mainly because traffic is your site’s lifeblood, actually without traffic you really don’t have a site at all.

Traffic is King

Traffic brings in the leads and the sales. Quality trafficis what produces your online revenue, whether from advertising or from sales on your site. Now, I have sites which get less than 50 visitors a day, I have a few sites which get around 200 visitors and I have one site which gets around 2,000 visitors a day.

Don’t jump to any conclusions, some days the site getting 50 visitors can make just as much as the site getting 2,000 visitors. It all has to do with the quality of the traffic and how well it converts into a sale. And of course, it all depends on what you’re selling… an LCD cleaning kit for $20 bucks or a gaming laptop which sell for $2000+.

Regardless, you have to get that traffic in the first place if you want to earn an online income. The more traffíc you have, usually, the more you will make; at least this has been my experience. Since traffic is very important to me, I keep a lot of records and stats on where my traffic is coming from on the web. I have to know what produces the quality traffic and how to get it.

So below I have listed down my 5 most important traffic sources and/or the marketing techniques I use to get that traffic. This list might also help you with your traffic and how you can grow it. Here are my 5 main traffic sources…

1. SEO and the Search Engines

The majority of the traffic to my sites comes from the search engines, mainly Google. It is my high rankings for my targeted keyword phrases which brings in the most and the best quality traffic to my sites. Get the SEO right and build a lot of quality one-way links from related sites and you will get the traffic. Another tactic, don’t just create a website with only 10 or 20 pages – create one with 1000 to 5000 pages. I know this takes time but consider your site like a long-term business which you will keep building for years. Produce plenty of quality content and you will get plenty of quality visitors in return. Works for me.

2. Article Marketing

Another very effective way to bring in quality traffic to your site or sites is article marketing. Just write short articles related to your site’s keywords and place your keyworded links in the resource box. Distribute these articles all over the web. Right now, what is working for me, is writing unique articles which I only place on one important site. I am using this technique with sites like SiteProNews, Buzzle and many more. Article marketing is still one of the most effective ways to get quality traffic, just try it.

3. PPC – Pay Per Clíck Advertising

I know, I know, this can be very expensive, but PPC can be the quickest way to get quality traffic to your sites. Just be careful and approach it with kid’s gloves until you find campaigns which work for you – then scale them up. Microsoft Adcenter and Yahoo Marketing have now joined forces and I find this is producing good traffic for me. Google Adwords is probably better, but they are a real pain to work with and have become too expensive, at least for my keywords. But if you have the resources, don’t rule out Adwords or any of the PPC programs.

4. Social Media Sites

From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn, social media sites can provide a lot of traffic and word of mouth advertising for your site. For me, even though I haven’t worked these sites to their fullest potential, I still get traffic from them. Getting your pages bookmarked in some of these sites can bring in a flood of traffic overnight, while most of this traffic will be temporary, you can get a lot of sign-ups to your newsletter and different follow-up lists. While not exactly in the same group, I have had some success with YouTube videos which also bring in targeted traffic. Don’t ignore these social media and video sites in your traffic strategies.

5. Emaíl Marketing and Follow-up Lists

This is another one of my major sources of “repeat visitors” to my sites. You must be constantly building up your different contact lists for further follow-up. This will bring in more visitors than you would expect, especially if you put some simple viral messages in your emails. If you supply valuable information, people will recommend your content to friends and co-workers; again word of mouth can bring in a lot of traffic especially in this age of Facebook and Twitter.

Of course, there are other traffic sources such as Press Releases, Banner Ads, RSS Feeds, Off-line Advertising… and if you have your products to promote, affiliates and joint ventures will be your most valuable source of traffic.

Editor’s Note:

No single branch of the above traffic sources will sustain your site traffic on it’s own. You should be incorporating all of them into a well orchestrated internet marketing architecture that will allow for higher, quality traffic to your site. Remember, more traffic = more business and has been proven time and again.  If you need assistance in planning an effective internet marketing campaign, please contact iQuarius Media and we would be delighted to assist.

 

How to Write Effective Lead Capture Pages

By Ken Hoffman (c) 2011

There is quite a bit of confusion about the difference between a landing page and a lead capture page. A lead capture page is NOT the same as a landing page. For the sake of this article I will be talking about lead capture pages, NOT longer form copy for micro sites and landing pages that sell a product. Why?

Why A Lead Capture Page Is Important

Read More

Social Media is About Engagement

This is not the time to let customers or profíts slip through your fingers.

You need to make your business stronger, more successful, and ensure your customers are more loyal and responsive to your engagement with them.

Recently, Harry Dent, Jr. said that you should break from provincial geographic thinking and focus on demographics. You should go after customers, able and willing to spend on what you sell, wherever they are, not where you are.

As a result, many marketing, media, technology, and advertising experts use social media forums as a way to champion the use of social media. They suggest a company, especially a small business on main street with a modest marketing budget, become better known, extend their reach, and improve their company’s sales using social media.

Here is an example of a teaser message recently transmitted in an email campaign to small and medium sized businesses… the message says, “Social Media is the most explosively growing media of all-time and growing faster with each passing day with no slow-down in sight. It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users. It took TV 13 years to reach 50 million users. Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months. And iPhone applications hit 1 BILLION in 9 months.”

Based on this message, it is easy for entrepreneurs to get seduced into thinking that by using Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, big sales are just around the corner.

However, social media should work in conjunction with traditional marketing and selling techniques such as relationship marketing within “old” social networks, cold calling, vertical marketing, and other effective prospecting activities.

Small business owners should take the time to learn how to maximize their use of social media but they should not rely on it to make their sales. Business owners need to learn how to use social media to engage their prospects and customers and how to get their prospects and customers talking about something that is important to them and the small business. This type of engagement is necessary and will ultimately get prospects and customers to take the action the business owner wants them to take… leading to a sale.

In order to make the best business use of social media, the small business owner needs to prepare a simple strategy with several guidelines to follow in the use of social media. The strategy and guidelines need to pinpoint the specific message to be communicated so that all employees using social media for the business know what direction their messages should take and how they should focus their posts. For example, is the company’s focus to improve customer service? Is it to enhance awareness of their products or services? Or, is it to boost their brand recognition? Each of these things would have a different yet consistent message for the employees of the business to follow.

For example, one insuránce company uses Twitter and Facebook to let people know about all the philanthropic things they are doing for the community. All the posts are about events they are sponsoring and contributions they’re making. Employees know that they should post information about personal things they’re doing for the community, such as volunteering at the local animal shelter or helping out with Habitat for Humanity. With a clear guideline that the social media effort is to elevate philanthropic awareness it is easy for employees to know the kinds of things they should be doing on social media sites. They have a clear focus and a unified purpose.

Another company in the retail industry uses social media to improve customer service. All their posts highlight things they are doing internally to improve the customer experience, what they are doing online to make shopping easier and how they are handling phone inquires to deliver a memorable shopping experience. They also regularly ask customers how they would like the company to improve customer service. With that as the key message, all of the company’s employees are focused on problem solving and on making the customers happy.

Therefore, a good social media strategy, with employee guidelines, is far more than a list of good and bad words or topics. Instead, the strategy with guidelines needs to focus on the core message the small business wants to portray along with the best ways to spread that core message.

The guidelines should cover the following topics.

Building Trust
The business employees should use their posts to build a reputation of trust among clients, media, and the public. When they are reaching out to others on social media sites, they should take every opportunity to build a reputation of trust and to establish themselves as a credible and transparent representative of the company.

Being Transparent
When participating in any online community, the small business employees should disclose their identities and affiliations with the organization, clients, and their professional and / or personal interest.

Being Direct
When creating posts and content, the business employees should be direct, informative, and brief.

Giving Due Credít
If the business employees post copyrighted materials, they should identify the original sources.

Self-Editing
The small business employees should always evaluate each posting’s accuracy and truthfulness. Before posting any online material, they need to ensure that the material is accurate, truthful, and without factual error. This includes doing a spell and grammar check on everything.

Responsibility
Make sure the business employees know that they are responsible for what they post. Negative or questionable posts should not be tolerated.

Being Professional
When posting comments, the business employees should refrain from writing about controversial or potentially inflammatory subjects, including politics, sex, religion, or any other non-business related subjects. The tone of their comments should be respectful and informative and not ever condescending or “loud.”

Privacy
The business employees shouldn’t ever disclose proprietary or confidential information. This includes product releases, service updates, and employee information not made public yet.

Obeying the Rules
All business employees should follow local, state, or federal laws and regulations. Ultimately, their online activities will be a reflection on the company.

Today’s social media tools are great for business building, provided that the small business owner and their employees know how to use them for the company’s ultimate benefit. Therefore, the small business owner needs to determine why their company is using social media sites and then let that purpose be known throughout the entire company. Additionally, they need to implement clear social media guidelines that small company employees can follow in order to further their company’s mission.

Ultimately, when small businesses know how they are supposed to use today’s social media tools, they can do so with focus and purpose, leading the small company confidently into the communication age.

If you would like any assistance in your Social Media strategy and/or execution, please feel free to contact iQuarius Media.

By Michael W Farrell (c) 2011
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