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Get Digital Video: Derek on SEO

Earlier we published a video summary of Derek’s “Making the Plan” presentation at Get Digital. This post is a continuation of that recap. Following a Q&A session, Derek started his Search segment by explaining the difference between “black hat” and “white hat” SEO techniques. It’s pretty simple: “black hat” SEO is quick, easy, and short-lived. “White hat” tactics, however, take more time and effort – but they naturally result in lingering success. The former is the easier way out, which is why many SEO “experts” convince their clients to participate in the act of purchasing links, rather than making an effort to rank organically over time. But does that method actually work?

Optimization is about connectivity. A surefire way to reap benefits that will actually last is to do something on your consumers’ behalf, such as creating stellar content. What kind of benefits are we talking about? ROI. Huge ROI. By creating content and building activity, your site and brand will grow in awareness, drawing in a greater portion of potential customers. Derek compared how Google views websites to an airplane terminal map. The larger terminals are the ones that have the most activity because they have the most connectivity. Websites are measured exactly the same. When you create awesome content, people will naturally link to your site, revealing to Google your level of influence.

Where can you start when creating awesome content? Start with keywords, which are essentially the power tools of your website. They connect you with your consumer. Even if you’re not ranking well for every keyword on your list, you can still focus on the few that you are ranking for and aim to refine your success.  However, be sure to remember that content should be created solely for the consumer. They’re the ones who will be digesting it, after all.

Below is a video recap of Derek’s Search Engine Optimization presentation.

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How to find your brand’s online voice

You can type, but that doesn’t mean you can write effectively online. If design programs were as easy to learn as Microsoft Word, every Tom, Dick and Harry would think they could design. But anyone with half a brain (especially those blessed with the right half) will tell you that effective writing (and design) is […]

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Get what you pay for. Know what you’re buying.

Like any investment in business, you need to know what you are investing in and why. Yet people take on the challenge of online marketing with uncertainty and lack of control. Companies that specialize in selling ad space have emerged to take full advantage of the chaos in the search engines. While I fully understand […]

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5-minute video introduction to Google Analytics

For those of you who are more than Google Analytics beginners, you can skip this blog post. But if you’re either unfamiliar or just beginning to learn, start here. In the video below, you’ll get a quick, top-level look at what this free online tool offers for measuring your website’s performance. Topics include visitor statistics, traffic sources and keyword data.

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Simple steps to increase your blog following

There are so many blogs out there.
I don’t want to commit to something that is just going to add to the noise.

If this is currently your perception regarding the act- nay, the art– of blogging, then you are unfortunately misinformed. Yes, there is an abundance of blogs on the WWW. Plenty of stay-at-home moms are rattling off posts during nap time about make-your-own laundry soap and gluten-free cinnamon rolls as you read this. But blogging is more than that- and this article will help you get on track. Following these tips will transform your blog into a real company asset.

As a business owner, having the mindset of “there are enough blogs out there,” or “I have nothing unique to contribute,” is a blatant contradiction of your company, isn’t it? If you don’t even have anything unique to say, why should anyone think that your products stand out from the competition?

The Three Essential Components:

What is all really comes down to, is producing consistent, interesting, and applicable content. A post that is consistent and interesting, but not applicable, is not going to be viewed often unless a reader wants to kill time.  If your posts are consistent and applicable, but not interesting, then there is not enough substance that will attract readers and captivate their attention. Finally, posts that are interesting and applicable, yet lacking consistency, are unreliable to read. If someone keeps checking back to scan new posts- and continue to find that you fail to push out new content, that reader will move on to a more dependable source.

So how do you get your blog up to this level? Writing isn’t easy. It takes time and strategy. But it’s fairly simple, especially if you have a clear brand image (or vision), knowledge of the kind of content you should be including (namely, keywords), and the motivation to stick with it.

Immediate Benefits

Think of how beneficial it can be for you to publish valuable content to an eager audience for free. Blogging is a promotional feature that has crossed over into the realm of public relations. And even better, when someone values the topics you write about, they are prone to spread it to social media outlets with just a click. Free promotion! It doesn’t get better than that.

Now, where do you begin?

It Starts With a Plan

First, you have to start with a content strategy. One way to organize this is to print off a calendar page for whatever month is coming up and fill in the posting schedule. Consistency is key or blogs; you have to maintain a constant flow of content. It is also a good idea to fill in the topics of which posts will be published on which day. This encourages you to write posts in advance, thus lessening confusion and scrambling to crank out a post the day you are scheduled to do so.

Get Out There

As a blogger, it’s important to interact with other people online. This doesn’t just mean limiting yourself to replying to comments on your blog. If you want to really build a strong following, you have to market your company by commenting on and interacting with other blogs. If there is a source that you find inspiring, make sure the author knows. Has a certain post revealed some great insight to you? Compliment the writer and thank him or her for sharing. Even start a discussion. This positive feedback on your part will prompt that author- and other readers- to visit your company blog.  Plus, habitually exploring other sites will trigger inspirations and ideas for you to enhance your own business.

You Scratch My Back, I Scratch Yours

Another important strategy for increasing your blog following is to utilize the idea of guest blogging. This means you can write for others or have others write for you. The benefit of doing this is to increase the blog’s influence on readers. If you ask a friend or business acquaintance to provide a post, then at the bottom of your blog, you will be able to link to that friend’s personal or company blog. This way, your friend will receive traffic from your site- and your blog will increase in value from having new written content from an additional authority. Then, of course, when you offer services as a guest blogger, you will be able to link to your own blog and gain new traffic as well.

Dress [your posts] to Impress

One very simple, yet often overlooked, component to successful blogs is formatting. Online material is typically scanned, rather than read line-by-line. To make sure that your readers are getting the most out of each post, stylize the content with headings and images. These visuals greatly refine the messages within your posts and call attention to the subject.

Hopefully you now understand the importance of blogging. It may take time to see results and gain a respectable following, but a blog provides you with an incredible opportunity. This is, of course, the ability to deliver insight and expertise with the branded voice of your company. You have the chance to become a source of information- so take advantage of it!

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