Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

Get started with search engine reputation management in 5 steps.

In business reputation is everything.

The smartest of business people know that their reputation is something to be guarded at all costs.

Word of mouth reputation is the most effective form that exists.  What people say about you to one another determines whether they will use what you have for sale or  not.

The Internet is not strictly word of  mouth, but it is a place where people are talking to one another all the time. Reviews and comments have a very strong impact on how your business is viewed online.

The best types of comments that other customers should be able to see are the most positive ones  where the customer has been very satisfied with your service.

If you have had some disgruntled customers,  they have the power to cause a lot of harm to your business through leaving negative comments and reviews which are visible online.

Fortunately there are strategies and measures that you can take to mitigate the effects of these negative comments and highlight the positive ones in order to put your business in a positive light in the search engines.

These techniques are known as search engine reputation management you are about to learn all about it.

When it comes to  online reputation there are several statistics to consider:

  • a massive 92% of online consumers have stated that they regularly read reviews about a business before making a decision to use that online business
  • according to the world economic forum, 25% of a company’s market value is based entirely on its reputation.
  • as for negative reviews, 45% of online consumers have confirmed that they have declined a business transaction as a result of  reading something  that they found in online research.

Now here is a strategy to protect your reputation in 5 steps.

  1. Ensure that your search engine results pages are showing links that benefit you.

    Here is where all your SEO knowledge comes into play.  You need to dominate the search engine results that are related to your brand.  In this way if there are any negative or reviews about your brand they will be hidden by the results pages that you have optimized for those search results.

    You can read all over the rest of this website about the ways of achieving this goal. It’s no mean feat, but with some hard work and dedication, it can be realised.

    Some other ways you can take control of your own SERPs (search engine results pages) are:
    – Put content on high PR (page rank) and web 2.0 sites about your business. Make it good quality and engaging so it will appear on the results pages.
    – Use social media. Have fan pages, profiles and groups all about your business. Keep them active and content rich. These will also appear in high search positions about your business.
    – Do newsworthy things so that others are writing and talking about what your business is doing. These other sites will have their positive articles appear in search terms for related keywords.

  2. When you screw up, own up to it

    If you as a business have done something that has ticked off a lot of people, the best thing to do in this situation is put your hand up and admit it.

    Recently in politics we’ve seen the results of doubling down on your position when it’s obviously wrong (mentioning no names). Those being, massive decrease in popularity, erosion of public confidence in your brand and the eventual abandonment of what you have to offer altogether.

    Don’t go that route.

    Your reputation will be strengthened by taking ownership of your mistakes. People will appreciate that you try to do the right thing, because everybody knows that businesses, and people, make mistakes.

    Take a leaf from Amazon’s book. We could say that Amazon is a successful business. One of the things that they strictly adhere to is customer satisfaction. If a customer is not happy with the service they have received, either the item they ordered was defective, or something else, they will offer recompense with very little fuss.

    This attitude bolsters their reputation and builds trust and repeat custom from all over the world.

  3. Make liberal use of social media

    Briefly mentioned in the first point of this list, social media is part of your arsenal of online reputation management.

    Aside from social media pages appearing in search results, these platforms are actually quite effective for interacting with your client base.

    Through social media, your business can have conversations and build relationships directly with the people who keep you in business. Also known as your customers.

    It may take time and logistics to manage your social media engagement, but the payoff in public perception makes it worthwhile. These are public forums where you can be transparent and responsive.

    In this day and age, social media management is almost synonymous with public reputation management. Consider that.

  4. Keep you ear to the ground – and respond

    If your business is being talked about, you want to know about it. You want to know what is being said about you, who is saying it and whether it is positive, negative or neutral.

    Respond as much as possible to commentary, particularly anything negative. You can be reasonable here, and don’t engage with straight up crazies. But any complaints or gripes that you notice online should be met head on with a level headed response. You come off as reasonable and fair, and you may just allay any ill feeling or nip it at the bud.

  5. Stay vigilant in monitoring your online reputation

    This should be quite an obvious point by now, but how does one go about “monitoring” their reputation online?

    Thankfully there are tools to help with this.

    Social Mention is one such tool which will show you sentiment-based social media buzz about your company. You can also monitor multiple other websites from the same place. Useful to check up on your competition. Another useful feature here is that you can retrieve the keywords that people are using when talking about your business or company.

    Another useful tool is Topsy, which is a Twitter search tool with far greater power than Twitter’s own search. This is used primarily to find what influencers and heavy hitters are saying on Twitter, about various fields (yours included).

    You should know what the influencers in your industry are talking about. Because, well, they influence. You particularly want to know if they are talking about you.

YouTube’s Advertising Platform Gets Updates (p.s. Good For Advertisers)

Image result for youtube ads

The user gets more control, across the board

This is not yet fully implemented, but word on the internet grapevine says that Google is going to add an option for users to block certain advertisers.

This is already possible but now when you hit the “I hate this advertiser” button,  the block will take effect both on Google and on YouTube.

What does this mean for advertisers?

Don’t make annoying ads.

Mobile is becoming ever more important

I’m getting this information from Google’s announcement about the advertising updates on all device types.

They show that more than 50% of YouTube views now take place on a mobile device. If this were a democracy, mobile wins.

This means that Google will be putting mobile optimisations ahead of anything so paleolithic as a view from a desktop machine.

Pixels and cookies do not gel perfectly with mobile user data, so Google may well phase these methods out in favour of technologies that match YouTube’s various apps.   

Google believes that this move will benefit both users and advertisers in the long term.

Laser targeted advertising

Image result for laser targeting

This is something that Google is always working on. Those Adsense contextual ads are not always related to what is currently on the page, but more so about what your personal interests and buying habits are.

Often they get it wrong. Like if you’ve just bought a new Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera, and then for weeks afterwards you see ads for the same thing on every other page you view. You already have one, you probably aren’t in the market for another.

But I digress.

YouTube will now serve ads to the viewer based on information gathered from a user’s Google account. They will take into account everything that they know about you, including age, weight, preferred tastes, income bracket, etc, before serving you with an ad.

The idea here is the ads shown will be as close as possible to the precise ad that the user is most likely to click through and spend money on.

What does this mean for the advertiser?

Your ad may not get shown as frequently or as widely as before, but your CTR and conversions should go up.

No More Ads on the Right Side of Google Search Results – except…

Google test worldwide

It was confirmed earlier this year. Google will stop showing ads on the right side of their search results, everywhere in the world.

The only places you will see paid ads are at the top and bottom of the search page.

This might tidy up the SERPS, but there are two exceptions to this hard and fast rule.

google-four-ads

Ah, but there’s more

Google instead now shows more ads at the top of the results, up to four, for “highly commercial queries”.

It has been confirmed by Google that this change is global. No more ads on the right hand side of search results, except for…

  • Product listing ad boxes. These are the ones where you search for a camera and you get to see them for sale right on the search page. They may still appear on the right and have ads in them.
  • The knowledge panel. This very convenient Google feature that can save you from having to click through to a website to get the basic information that you queried. Can also appear on the right with ads included.

Google has been testing the four-ads-at-the-top layout since 2010. Mostly in countries outside of the US. The results, over six years of testing and tweaking, have convinced Google that this is the way to go worldwide.

Here’s what they officially have to say on the matter:

“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”

The “commercial queries” mentioned are the competitive strong buyer searches, such as “great gifts for christmas” or “the best life insurance”.

Effects on your marketing

If you’re running Adwords, then there’s a benefit in knowing that Google has done extensive testing of this new layout, and it most probably generates better, more targeted click through rates.

After all, this has been a six year long split test, which only a business the size of Google could afford to carry out, to come to this change.

The lesson we can take from Google is, it pays to test your design – thoroughly.

7 Bog Standard But Free Traffic Methods

What shall I say?

I find myself thinking of how to put the same statement you have read thousands of times and know, fundamentally, about your online business. Let me just be blunt about it:

In order to be successful online, you need traffic. Not only that, you need the right sort of traffic.

What is the right sort of traffic? Well, let’s say you have a website about home repair and you drive traffic to it that is interested in aerial photography. Okay, maybe just maybe, some of those will “convert” simply from the law of averages, but you cannot expect to be very successful using such a strategy.

You need targeted traffic.

In fact, there are many well known tried, tested and reliable methods out there to give your traffic flows a boost and the majority of them believe it or not do actually cost money.

While it is possible and in fact effective to spend money and get web traffic to your website, here in this article I am going to focus on tactics that cost nothing more than a bit of time.

Some people say that time is more valuable than money and I personally agree, however, you can use your time in whatever way you want. This may not always be true for your money.

In actual fact, some of the seven methods that you will read about here can and will save thousands of dollars worth of paid promotion. The very first tactic I’ll show you here generates over the equivalent of $2,000 worth of paid targeted traffic, except you get it for free.

And now for the main event, the following are seven definite techniques which are guaranteed to bring traffic and exposure to your website starting from right now, if you take action on them.

1. Get PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising Without Paying Per Click

The PPC structures offered by Google, Yahoo!, Bing etc are excellent sources of highly targeted traffic.

Any online marketer worth their salt will know and appreciate the value offered by the giant PPC search engine products.

There is a strange dichotomy though, in that the people who sell paid search per click have a vested interest in you believing that PPC really does work and is actually really great. So they will love to read the line I typed above and promote that sentiment.

Fact is though that PPC really does work, so the pay per click managers have a simple task to convince you, the buyer of that.
What’s the best way to convince you of something that actually works? Motor vehicle salespeople have been doing it for years. The good old test-drive.

As a result of the competition and try before you buy being an excellent marketing ploy, there are quite a good number of PPC advertising suppliers who will entice you with free advertising credits with values of $100 and over. This is just so you can try it out and see for yourself how effective PPC is with their particular firm.

The sheer number of companies offering free advertising credits leaves a lot of free traffic on the table just sitting there. It will be an incredibly monotonous task to sign up for each advertising sample, but the only thing it costs here is time, which as we already said, is extremely valuable.

Now for some real value for those of you still curious and reading thus far: I am about to show you exactly where to sign up and get more than $2000 worth of free advertising credit. It’s as simple as sharing a link, here you will find around 60 PPC companies offering free signup credits: http://www.affiliated-business.com/promotion/Pay-Per-Click5.html. Go through them one at a time and sign up for your free advertising credits. Better still, get someone else to do it for you. Even if you pay them anything less than $2000 to do it you will come out in front.

2. Pay attention to the use of keywords, keyphrases and related terms which match your site’s content.

Search engines are the dominant means by which internet users get what they are looking for, whether it is a shopping item, a piece of scientific information or some form of advice.

The search engines themselves make heavy use of keywords supplied by the user as a clue to what the user is looking for and as a guide to which results to return.

By staying on topic with the content of your website, you will naturally be using the relevant keywords and terms that the search engine will index and rank in order to return as relevant results to their users.

A little keyword research can go a long way. If you are writing your own content it can be advantageous to know which are the best keywords in your niche. That usually translates as the most profitable, whether by volume of search or by conversion rate, you can find out with various keyword analysis tools and methods how well you can perform.

Be sure to make proper use of the keywords you are targeting. In fact it is probably a distracting strategy to “target” particular keywords and phrases. Just be aware of the main ones and use them naturally in your content.

How do you use keywords naturally? Just write about your topic or subject and use the word as part of your vocabulary and perhaps in a heading and or subheading here and there. Don’t swamp your site with the keyword you want to rank for, this can work against you.

Being mindful of high quality, traffic pulling keywords is important in getting organic ranking in the search engines and will definitely get you free traffic.

3. You link to me, I link to you.

Something that can get regular traffic is trading links with sites that bear a relative, topical or subjective similarity to your own.

If the two sites are particularly specialised in a certain area, the exchange of traffic can be quite significant.

There is a mutual benefit when exchanging links between sites of equal value, status and traffic levels. There is a kind of traffic sharing that takes place between the sites through the featured links on each site.

Everything each site does to generate more traffic will benefit every site that is linked on the respective pages. There should in theory be an exponential increase in traffic with every link exchanged, assuming all sites are also exchanging links in other places, as well as doing other things such as those I talk about here to generate traffic.

The running theme continues here. Exchanging links should not cost a single penny to do. If you pay money to exchange links then you are doing it wrong. All you need to do is contact the webmaster of the site you wish to trade links with and come to an agreement.

4. Put your writing skills to work, create content that is not for your own website.

That’s right I’m about to talk about article marketing. You can find a lot of websites that accept articles for republishing on other websites. Very often the article websites insist on a minimum standard of writing and certainly a minimum length of submitted article.

A good rule of thumb is to submit articles that are in the same niche as your website. The reason is that you get a bio at the end of the article that you can use to link back to your site. Once again, the effectiveness of article marketing is frequently debated among internet marketers, but the fact is you can get free traffic by writing and submitting them.

The higher your writing quality the more effective this method will be for you. If you share valuable knowledge with your readers and really engage them, you can pull in huge amounts of traffic from a single article that might just go viral.

There are certain rules to follow in your bio, such as not spamming with bad links, but it is worth spending time crafting this to maximise the chances of a click through to your website.

5. Be more sociable

By joining forums, blogs, other communities online and facebook groups.

The demographics of the group members where you join will be a close match to the type of traffic you are looking for to your website.

You will need to be fairly active on these sites to assert your presence, but if you can offer value, help and advice to other group members then you will create a reputation after a while.

Here is where you can build a reputation for your self and your website. You have the opportunity to showcase your knowledge and expertise. It’s quite simple really, become well known by others in your field and they will want to see the website you have produced. If you actually have a good product or service, that will be talked about between the members and in other areas. There is no better advertising than word of mouth.

Using this method will certainly bring you free traffic.

6. Send out newsletters

This will be more effective once you already have a list to whom to mail the newsletters.

The idea here is to keep in contact with your subscribers and to provide real value in the things you write to them. You can let them know what new offers and products you have available, or give them a review of any new content you have added to your site.
As usual, keep the quality of your writing high. Add a bit of your own personality and humour and you wont be far off the mark.

Encourage the readers to share your content and get others to sign up for your newsletter. All this activity translates to a steady traffic flow to your website.

You might want to add incentives such as discounts, cash payments or free products. The newsletter is an ideal place to let your readers know about them.

7. Go Viral

The term “viral marketing” can be confusing and a little misleading to newcomers in the business. It is something that you are continuously trying to achieve and understand in your ongoing efforts.

You might try to study other things online that have gone viral with the intention of extracting that magic “juice” that pushed it into a phenomenon. If you can figure it out, you’re made. But there are so many variables that go into making viral content. What went viral last week might not do so today.

If you are aware of the current climate of the global human consciousness, then you might be able to understand what will give people relief, entertainment, knowledge or anything that millions will happily consume.

There are already established patterns observed from content that has gone viral. You might try to write gossip columns, create a buzz of anticipation (remember Y2k? 2012?). If you have any scandalous news or opinions that you don’t mind sharing then those have often proved to have a higher chance of going viral.

Again, use of incentives to share content over social media will help cause the viral chain reaction to spark.

Conclusion

You may have heard or read about the methods in this article before, perhaps several times. They are not particularly new or cutting edge at this time. However, it is always useful to be reminded of what you could and should be doing to promote your business and improve your position.

By applying what you have read here, you are guaranteed to receive a boost in traffic. Each method mentioned also has the advantage of not costing any money to do. It does however, cost quite an investment in time. So the term “free” here is debatable. If you can get others to do some or all of the work for you then you can free up your own time. Perhaps offer students work experience or come up with some kind of exchange.

The world of internet marketing is always shifting and dynamic, but there are always marketing basics that never change over time.

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