If you really want to learn SEO, skip search and social.

If you google “how to build backlinks” or “how to start SEO”, etc. – the results, although accurate in Google’s opinion, are far from being “accurate” in the context of the intent of the searcher. See, most people who would type in such keywords come from basic to no-knowledge in link-building. We will start seeing why Google may actually not be in the best interest of those who think they can learn link building by just Googling.

“How to build backlinks” results:

google results on how to build backlinks

The first result from Convince and Convert tells you how to build backlinks. There is no content in there that could make new people understand:

  • how links work,
  • what are good links,
  • what are bad links,
  • why to even start linking in the first place,
  • what are anchor texts, etc.

Basic information is thrown out the window and the author gets into giving advice. The truth is, there are too many random suggestions or advice thrown in there even though the blog is legit. But, your company and website may not have to do anything with having a Digg profile or a StumbleUpon profile. These are random advice accepted by people blindly, and almost everyday.

The second result is a general write up that is really meant to promote their Backlink Builder Tool. The next two results talk about getting links from PRWeb, doing an outreach program and so as this search goes on. It is very natural for the searcher to get overwhelmed and finally give up on actually learning “How to build backlinks” at this point already.

So the results here are missing basic link building information, i.e., why links are important, how they take part in search engine algorithms, and what kind of links to make and which ones to stay away from.

The other reason why Googling for such information is not the right way to go for beginners is because different authors have different experience, backgrounds and motives. They may not be able to guide their readers well. If you are trying to do SEO for a small business, doing an outreach program or PRweb or Digg can be entirely useless.

I won’t even bother to go into social to find answers for such questions. Messages and feeds from social are often 100 times more irrelevant. In social, links are literally thrown-in like multiple baits. More baits on a fishing line, the better it seems on social for marketers. You will be marketed to more than you can actually learn or market your business. It can be utterly frustrating.

In my 10 years of doing SEO, I have personally found two things that are highly counterproductive in SEO.

A.) Random Acts of SEO

Many people will wake up one day and start to build links coming from sites like DIGG because they read blogs similar to what we mentioned earlier. They make the account and let it wither and dry after that day – this is a random act. It wasn’t thought about clearly. The questions the best back linking practices should demand are:

  • Why are we working on this website?
  • What value can we bring by working here?
  • How much referral traffic can we get?
  • Is it worth the work involved?

 

B.) What you do not know will hurt you more!

I am a big follower of the principle that little knowledge is more dangerous than no-knowledge.

What you did not see, audit, or those little things you took for granted – these are the things that can negatively affect your SEO.

I have seen this in my entire career. Some of the best SEO companies have not been able to come up with results simply because they focused on what they were obsessed with, while disregarding the basics and other fundamental things that are relevant to the overall SEO strategy. In my earlier years, I learnt a lot from this.

You simply cannot do your own SEO if you just understand a portion of it like link building or you understand how to use Search Console better. Little knowledge is dangerous, so what I recommend is to take time off and learn the art of SEO through the right channels.

In my opinion, this is where you want to go first.Get to the Source!

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6023933?hl=en&ref_topic=6001171&rd=1

A step by step learning platform by Google that quizzes the learner after each module.

 

Videos that show the relevance of Google and other sites that can help generate much wanted traffic, connections, and organic links.

 

But for me, the best way is to try something a little more premium. It is definitely worth it.

https://www.lynda.com/SEO-training-tutorials/1469-0.html

 

And get this book:

The Art of SEO

http://www.amazon.com/Art-SEO-Theory-Practice/dp/1449304214

However, I recommend the book after you look into the first three resources above.

And lastly:

Pick an SEO blog that makes sense to you and go directly in there for the information. A good blog I recommend that is structured well for learning purposes is this one:

http://www.bruceclay.com/seo/search-engine-optimization.htm

Read all steps 1 through 18.

And if you are like me who like to run a few times per week, listening to podcasts while running can be very helpful. You can try this link for a few good podcasts about SEO

SEO takes time, guys. The only way to really understand links, on-page, off-page, social, mentions, local citations and how they all relate to each other and search engine algorithms is through disciplined learning. This is the only way to avoid making random SEO decisions.

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Content For Websites

Internet Marketing 101 – Generating Product & Service Content for your website

Now that you know how to set up your website, social media and your site is linked to from important niche directories, we need to discuss your on-site content i.e. the content within your website. We will work on blog-writing, profile descriptions and social media posts in different sections. For this blog, I want to dedicate our focus in understanding what good content for on-site (within your website) means.

Generally most people write on-site content different than blogs. They are directed towards the target audience. They tend to have a “sales-pitch” kind of a tone.

My recommendation for writing good on-site content for your product/s and service/s is to start with your core value proposition (why you are different than the rest and why your products and services have a slightly higher value than the competition). Although you really want to convince your audience, but the more you try, the worse it gets, so the best practice is to be precise.

By being precise, you are going to keep the content focused, brief and conclusive. The rest now depends on your readers. If you do not have a unique value proposition, it means you are selling something that has “low-value”, this simply means that you may have to re-think your entire line-up of product/service packages, inclusions, price etc..

“This is exactly the problem with Internet Marketing. While it opens a wide opportunity for small and medium sized businesses to grow fast, it rears an ugly second face to it as well i.e. if you are not unique, you will have to fall in line with all the other mediocre businesses with mediocre values”

We did not make the rules, the world generally works that way and there is no way to bend around this one. It only makes perfect sense to do internet marketing when you have a truly unique experience to give to your audience.

Now, that you have something of value to give to your readers, you will need to “generate” your content to be focused on the core essence of the products and services and their unique value propositions.  I say “generate” and not write, because your site content can be richer if you use different formats i.e. text, graphics, videos, slides etc

According to Googles Guidelines, here are 4 ways to create good content.

Basic Business information

Make sure your website has all the needful information needed. Some of the basics are location and contact information.

Unique content

Just because words are written differently, doesn`t mean that you have unique copy. Unique copy means that you have something to offer from a slightly different perspective than the others to your readers

Conversion Content

Make your website credible by having testimonials, citation links, case studies and reviews. This type of content also helps to convert people to buy products and services.

The Human Audience

Do not attempt to write for Search Engines, as that will not look impressive to the human audience. The only thing you need to write for the Search Engines are the meta data i.e. meta description, meta title, meta keywords and so on.  After that, you should only think about people on the other side of the monitor.

 

Internet marketing 101

Internet Marketing 101 – Where to begin, how to start and what options are there to choose from?

WHY DO INTERNET MARKETING?

Right now, 40% of the world’s population uses the internet and this continues to grow at an alarming rate. A good example of this is the online shopping industry. Businesses belonging in this niche use different online channels to get the information they need from their target markets.

  • 89% use direct type-ins into the browser
  • 45% get their information via email
  • 26% utilizes referral websites
  • 09% relies on search
  • 65% depends on different social media platforms; and
  • 64% use click on banner ads

If you want more insights about what is happening within the internet marketing industry, I suggest that you read through these resources:

The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics

Best Digital Marketing Statistics Sources in 2016

HOW DO I START?

When you do decide to pursue internet marketing for your business the most important factors that you should consider are the following:

  • What are the end results you want to achieve in your internet marketing campaign?
  • How much can you afford to spend?
  • How much time can you allot for your campaign?
  • What are the other resources you can dedicate in internet marketing?

The first goal you should aim to achieve when you start your internet marketing campaign is to garner quality traffic. This is why you need to know where you can get such traffic from.

If you are in the shopping industry, there are a lot of benefits in using search marketing and harnessing traffic from referral websites. Referral websites can give your page a lot of traffic because these are the kind of sites that allow marketers to showcase their products and services. Examples of these sites are Yelp, Yellow Pages and other directories.

On the other hand, if you are in the business-to-business (b2b) industry, it would be most preferable for you to focus more on Content Marketing, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization as well as Search Engine Marketing.

Lay out all your options and carefully strategize how you would want to move forward in your internet marketing campaign.

WHAT OPTIONS DO I HAVE?

The options you have in starting internet marketing and increasing your online presence depend largely on the resources you currently have. This includes your time and money. You have to evaluate the cost VS the benefits before choosing the right option.

Allow me to enumerate a couple of options you can choose from:

You can get your own website with your own domain. – This is probably the best option for you if you really want online presence for your business. Having your own page not only allows you more opportunities for customization, but it can also help your business greatly in building its brand identity online. The downside of this is that you have to constantly maintain it and it can be costlier compared to other options.

Get a free website. – If you don’t have a lot of financial resources to begin with, you can always settle for a free website since it’s every bit as good as a website with your own domain. The only difference is there’s not much room for customization. Websites such as Weebly and other pages the offer free templated websites can be of great help. The greatest advantage of using free websites is that it reduces the cost of building an online presence for your business.

Start a blog. – If you are headed more in the direction of Content Marketing, then blogging can be your best bet to ensure a successful campaign. You can start with either WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or other free blogsites.

Focus on Social Media Marketing – Your Facebook company page as well as your Twitter and Google+ accounts can be of assistance when you do Content Marketing. Plus, it is also a great way to create awareness about your brand and direct a lot of traffic back to your website or blog.

Get your business name, address, and phone listed in Google and other directories. – If being in the internet means that you only need people to find your phone and place of business, then the best option for you to take is to get your business’s details listed on Google Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and other directories and review websites.

Internet Marketing can be very challenging especially in today’s highly competitive online market. This is why planning your internet marketing strategy thoroughly is important. Explore other internet marketing options you have before deciding on pursuing on a specific strategy and make sure that the approach you set your mind to do is an option that fits well in the business you have as well as on your specific target market.

Confusion in SEO?

Why auto-piloting SEO wont work

I have followed blogs, scoured my social feeds and I am today much more confirmed than ever, that there is simply too much confusion in Internet Marketing. Google is shifting towards simplicity and some folks are headed the other way because they simply believe they can auto-pilot their SEO. Those days are over – it’s time to be real, upfront and social. You just can’t auto-pilot that.

WHAT IS THE CONFUSION?

Basically the confusion is about

  • “What do we do?”
  • “How do we grow?”
  • “Where do we go?”

These questions revolve around internet marketers: from SEO professionals, copy writers, link builders, content marketers, social media marketers and so on.

where do we go – Axl Rose wonders

I strongly believe that this confusion erupted simply because Google changed their algorithms. Marketers before knew how to “hack” SEO and now they simply don’t – all one can do really is to test ideas and share what worked and what didn’t. If they are 100% sure, they probably work for Google.

However, one thing that I have observed so far is that those who do not rely on much technicality, but dig deep into creativity, simplicity and in making genuine relationships are the ones who are seeing desired outcomes.

Everyone knows this, right? But how many out there are really willing to be patient to be able to nurture what they have created and be persistent with their unique voice? Marketers are hired to increase the sales for a company within a span of time.  They are pinned down to make things happen fast.  This “get-things-done-quick” mentality often leads to failure in today’s internet marketing.

However, the new breed of marketers today are not just smooth talkers; they know that it won’t get them anywhere. They are also learners because the world is evolving faster than ever before. They are visionaries, not dogma-followers. They simply pave their own path!

See, the thing with SEO is that you can’t and shouldn’t rush it and force it to happen. It will never work that way.

One key lesson in life is that it takes time to master everything – the same goes for SEO. You have to keep learning and relearning because over time, what you’ve learned would have evolved into something completely different from what you are used to. And Google does that a lot. Just look at their algorithm updates.

In 2012 when the algorithms hit, many were trying to figure things out. At some point, I think some would agree with me that SEO and internet marketing have become much clearer now than how it was in 2012.

There is a fruitful future ahead for all those who believe in the basics and in simplicity. Here is a blog post of mine, published in Jan 2013, where I had put down my thoughts on what was going on after the Panda and Penguin Algorithm Updates.

Read Simplified SEO Creates More Confusion.

You cannot automate SEO and any of its components. There will be never be a secret formula. Be creative and genuine, if you don’t have the time to dig deeper in those areas, then hire someone who can.

 

Divide Delegate SEO

Dividing and Delegating SEO is Being Smart

Being Practical about SEO vs Doing SEO out of Convenience

It is not “set-in-stone”, that one person or one team performs the entire scope of any SEO. Well, the best case scenario would be to keep them at one place but sometimes, it is done more for the sake of convenience than being actually pragmatic. Remember, that the decisions you make, the way you communicate are bigger challenges and hurdles in SEO

Why I would divide and delegate my SEO is because of these reasons.

  • Skill

Some companies and seo individuals are amazing at performing one part of the SEO such as the on-page part of SEO perfectly, while they may not be good at social media and link building.  It makes sense to get the on-page done somewhere else so that people can use their resources to making sure that the on-page is 100%. I think it is practical to divide your on-page and off-page teams properly. This way, they will also be challenged to do their best for you

  • Focus

If the focus of each team is on their own area of the SEO, the less they have to work with, makes them more efficient due to their undivided focus on each part.

What would I divide and delegate to my SEO teams?

Website Optimization – Optimizes the website to make sure that it is up to par with Googles standards.

CRO – Conversion Rate Optimization – Reads website conversion pathways and applies changes to the website to continually look for better conversion.

  • Company Social Media and Reputation Management – Ensures a good and healthy number of citations and mentions of your company in social media websites. These guys would also look around for any negative comments about your company online.

    Link Building– Link building still works for a lot of non-competitive keywords and especially in NAP (Name, Address and Phone) optimization for Local SEO

    Personal Branding – I would recommend every company owner and top executives to get behind their brand in social media. Take the authority you have online to see maximum SEO benefits. You can get someone to assist you in doing just this.

OPtions for internet marekting

Internet Marketing Options for Business

What sets Internet Marketing apart from other types of marketing is that you can customize and create your own plan for your business. The success of your campaign doesn’t depend on whether you utilize every single segment there is in Internet Marketing — all you need to do is determine the best strategy that you can use to get your business started.

There are six segments of Internet Marketing that can stand alone. Allow me to discuss it briefly one by one.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing is an effective strategy to pursue because in a way, it can greatly enrich business communications between you and your target market. It is also very cost-effective compared to other strategies. However, even if it appears to be quite a simple strategy, it is important to be mindful with the kind of approach you do in sending updates to your subscribers.

Too little and they might end up losing interest; too much and you might be categorized as spam. To avoid this, inform your visitors beforehand about the important details they would want to know.

It is essential to let possible subscribers know what’s in it for them when they do decide to give you their email address. Will you be able to give discounts or freebies? How will subscribing to your newsletters be of benefit to them? Also, make it a point to let them know how often they’ll be receiving your updates.

Social Media Marketing

In today’s society where social media websites thrive, opting to utilize platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn for marketing campaigns can be a good strategy to help your business gain more leads.

Make sure you have a clear vision on who your target audience will be and what message you want them to send. Being able to plan a good social media campaign can help your business in a lot of ways. Not only will it be able to increase your website’s traffic, it can also be a great opportunity to build conversions, create and raise brand identity and awareness as well as improve the communication and interaction between your business and key audiences.

Classifieds

Using classified ads in internet marketing is a great strategy if your aim is traffic optimization. Free classified ads are a very important and helpful tool in the online marketing business. They don’t cost anything and can start giving results as soon as they get posted online. However, you must keep in mind that using free classifieds for SEO has to be done cautiously.

A classified ad contains three important parts:

  1. A well-thought of headline that contains relevant keywords which can generate interest and bring in a high number of leads.
  2. The details of the product or service written in a way that would make the viewers see how availing it would benefit them. Weave in attractive offers that would catch the attention of potential customers such as ‘Special discount’ or ‘Limited offer’.
  3. The contact details which are the ads’ call-to-action. – E.g. “Contact Now” or “Buy Now” buttons.

Search Engine Optimization

Optimizing your website for search engines is very important especially in today’s competitive market. If you have your own website, blog, or online store, then it is a must for you to invest in SEO to help your business grow.

The purpose of SEO is not only for the benefit of search engines, but also for the improvement of the user experience and usability of a website. Majority of the people using the internet trust the results that major search engines provide, so being able to gain a top position in the results page can greatly increase the possibility of your page getting higher traffic, and potentially higher conversions.

Search Engine Marketing

Similar to SEO, Search Engine Marketing is another effective way to grow your business. This strategy is done by using paid advertisements that appears on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).

By bidding on specific keywords, marketers may be able to showcase their ads on the results of certain search queries that web users enter on these search engines. These ads are more commonly known by the term pay-per-click ads. The biggest advantage of this type of strategy is that it gives marketers the opportunity to display their ads in front of people who are ready to buy or avail for a product or service at that exact moment.

Content Marketing

The main vehicle that is used to jumpstart a campaign that focuses on content marketing is through blogs, podcasts, as well as video and social media sites. Producing content may be easy especially if you have copywriters to do all the writing, but it doesn’t mean that it can ensure the success of your strategy.

Remember that at the end of the day, the quality of the content you provide will always be more important compared to how many blogs you publish. Aim to provide high quality and valuable content that will be able to attract, inform and engage your audience while at the same time promoting your brand.

The above strategies can be exclusively done or may also be tactically combined in a way that you, as the business owner, feel is the best way to go for your Internet Marketing campaign. Personally, I know a lot of companies that rely 100% on having a mix of email marketing and social media marketing. On the other hand, I’ve seen some businesses thrive with strategic Search Engine Marketing (SEM), while others grew entirely from organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

THE QUESTION IS, WHAT INTERNET MARKETING STRATEGY IS FOR YOU?

Ideally, it’s best to do a little of everything while at the same time focusing on one or two more than the others. I know it goes against my first statement when I said that the success of an internet marketing campaign doesn’t rely on the use of all the mentioned segments, then again, the end decision will still depend on you since you’re the one that knows your business inside out.

The reason why I suggested doing a little of all these strategies is due to the multiple opportunities that lie in each of these segments of Internet Marketing, which you will only be able to see as you progress further in your campaign.

A HYBRID STRATEGY FOR EMAIL MARKETING

If you decide on pursuing Email Marketing as your campaign strategy, one important aspect that you have to give high regards to is your contact list. If you focus on this segment alone, pretty soon you will be marketing to the same people over and over again. And this can be very risky for any type of business.

When it comes to Email Marketing, you have to make sure that you constantly add new contacts and leads to your list that you can email to. The best approach you can do to achieve this is to utilize the opportunities that Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing can provide. A combination of these three segments can be a great way to target potential clients and new email addresses to market to.

SEO/SEM, SOCIAL MEDIA OR EMAIL MARKETING

If you are ranking and getting a lot of visitors to your website, not having contact information of these visitors is a waste of opportunity. You want to keep a thread of communication alive with them so that you can “re-target” them via email or social media.

Your motto in SEO/SEM should be – “Don’t just get visits, convert them.

Conversion is hard to define generally since different industries have their own unique customer purchasing behavior. Business to customer (B2C) purchase decisions are made faster or is even instantaneous as compared to business to business (B2B) purchases where decisions are made after weeks or months of careful evaluation.

The best conversion model to have in your internet marketing is to have leads opt for different things. If the visitor is 100% interested in the product or service you offer, then they may fill up and submit a “Contact Us” form in your website. However, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes other web users may just be slightly interested or is just looking around — this is why you need to have an effective approach on your call-to-action. A good idea could be a copy that has this kind of slant:

Can’t find what you are looking for? – Fill this form and we’ll do our best to help.

Although this is what all entrepreneurs aim to achieve, the goal of Internet Marketing is not solely for the purpose of converting leads into sales. Internet marketing needs to be done step by step. Being able to convert a web user into a customer during their first site visit is every marketers dream, but in reality that doesn’t always happen.

The next best thing to get out of the people that visit your page is their contact information. They browsed through your site for a reason and if you can find out why they were there, it can be a way for you to figure out how to move forward by communicating with them even after they leave your page.

 

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