The Search Guru

Ready for a brain dump?

Oh thank you to COSE again! They were able to get Leslie Carruthers “the Search Guru” to give an amazing presentation on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in The Panda Era.

I was happy to hear from the expert herself, that our SEO motto of good content and lots of links still holds true even after “the Panda”.

What’s new? A few things, first and in my mind the most expected was the increased importance of “like-able” content. In other words content and information that comes from Social Media and points either to your site or blog, or merely talks about you.

Another major change is the fact that junk pages – filler pages with low quality content or duplicate content – actually have the potential of bringing your site rankings down. Although more pages will help your site, having trash pages won’t.

Leslie’s top 4 Search Engine Tips

  1. Bake SEO into your site structure – be sure your developer understands SEO or hire someone who does
  2. Know the language of your visitors – but don’t use your “gut” – use keyword tools to search and determine what people are actually looking for and what is reasonable in the world of competition.
  3. Develop as many incoming links from “relevant” non-competing sites. Relevant is key. A baker linking to an oil change shop is not as good as a baker linking to a restaurant supply chain.
  4. Create fresh, relevant, interesting, optimized content!

I have about 6 more pages of notes but that’s all for now!

Have a terrific day,
Natalie

Search Engine Optimization
Web development and design

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Q & A: If I add keywords to my profile will it help me get more hits?

Normally I would say yes, that will help you, however if you are not using social media the way it was meant to be used, then adding a few keywords are not going to help you.

For example if you only have a few connections then making some minor changes to your profile is not going to make a big difference in the number of hits you get. The only people who are going to see the update you made are going to be people you are connected to.

If you have 30 connections and you make an update, you are not going to be reaching large numbers of people. However, if you have 300 or 500 connections or more! Then you make an update to your profile, that includes a keyword you think people would be interested in, then all of a sudden you will be making an impact on a large number of people.

However as I have mentioned before, if you are not involved in your social media:

  • if you are not building relationships with people
  • if you are not updating your status on a regular basis

Then no one is going to care that you added a keyword to your profile.

Like I have said so many times before, social media is about relationships. Think of Social networking as live networking.

If you go to the same networking meeting every single week, or even every month, you build relationships, you help people, you interact with them, they get to know you and what you do. If you then walk in one day and say “guess what everyone! I just started doing this” everyone is going to be interested in what you are doing.

However if you go to a group once never go back or only go for 2 minutes to drop off your business cards then stand up in the middle of that meeting and say “guess what everyone! I just started doing this” no one is going to care, because no one there knows you.

The only thing about Social Networking that is easier than real networking is that you can do it on your own time. You choose WHEN to update your profile, when to comment on people’s status, when to read what’s going on, or to pass on good information. Social Networking does not let you skip that part of networking. You still need the relationships.

Adding keywords to your profile will help you if you have built a strong community. If you add new updated information to your profile, and there are people who are following you they will see what you are up to, and hopefully pass it on to their connections if it relates.

Adding keywords will also help if people are searching for the product or services you add. However, if you are not connected in any way it is going to be difficult for them to connect with you, and if they have other people who are related, they will appear above you.

For example if you sell insurance, and only have 10 connections, and those connections only have 10 connections. However your competitor has 500 connections and those connections all have 300 connections (who have connections) if someone does a search for insurance, they will probably see your competitor above you, and they will see who they know, who knows them.  This gives them the advantage of being “familiar” to the person searching. It also gives the person searching the advantage if they want a referral, they know who to call and ask. If there is no one in their network that can vouch for you, or who even knows you, then they are going to be lest trusting of you and your services.

Optimizing for keywords is helpful, but only if you are “using” the social media.

Thank you,

Natalie

http://www.morrismc.com

Internet Marketing – What the heck does that mean?

The world of marketing has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Part of that change was adding Internet Marketing to the mix.

When the web really got going as a Marketing venue it was treated almost identical to any other marketing venue.

  • Determine who you market is – in a very broad sense
  • Sell your products and services
  • Wait

Now with the onset on Social Media, this formula doesn’t work the same way. In some ways it’s much better, in others it’s much worse.

How it’s better:

  • Small and medium-sized companies can enter into the marketing pool
  • Local businesses can easily reach global audiences
  • Customers can communicate directly with companies
  • Changes can be made instantaneous
  • Target audiences can be very specific

How it’s worse:

  • Large companies that had market dominance now need to share
  • It’s easy to shop price from your home
  • You need someone to be watching conversation about your company constantly
  • People expect an immediate response

So what is Internet Marketing? In a nutshell it’s coming up with a comprehensive plan that takes into account:

  • Website
  • Pay Per Click
  • Natural Listings
  • Social Media

Each one of these areas needs to be handled specifically for that particular media. For example it’s ok to “sell” your product on your website, but it is not ok to “sell” your product on social media.

Also each item above may have multiple venues, for example your Social Media Campaign may include LinkedIn, a Blog, You-Tube, and Google Places. Similarly the Natural Listing may include your website, a blog, directories, and Google Places. As you can see items may overlap into other areas. Blogs will appear both in natural listing and are considered a Social Media venue.

A good internet marketing plan takes into account all internet venues and ensures they work together.  A blog that does not link back to your website, or to your You-Tube account is not going to be as productive as one that does.

More on this topic to come!
Natalie

http://www.morrismc.com

How Technology Makes Our Lives Easier

The Internet

  • In the beginnings there were the  nerds: The Internet allowed people to share information with other people.
  • Then came colleges and universities: Students and faculty were able to share information.
  • Then businesses used them for business: Businesses were able to share information with employees
  • Then marketers used them for marketing: Then the internet became a one way street
  • Then came Social Media … or should we say came back: This allowed people to share  information with other people.

Technology has evolved

Do you remember when…

  • There were only land lines, if you got lost you had to find a pay phone
  • The first mobile phone had a bag, cord, and battery that weighed more than a brick
  • Head sets were big clunky things that had cords

Do you remember when…

  • Computers used to fill entire rooms
  • The word processor replaced the typewriter
  • Data storage took up rooms
  • Mobile computers were huge

Do you remember when…

  • Only professionals had cameras
  • You only took pictures of special occasions
  • They came out with color film
  • When digital eliminated the need for film

Do you remember when….

  • You had to write a letter by hand
  • Put it in an envelope
  • Put it in the mailbox
  • Wait for it to be delivered by… Pony Express, UPS… talk about snail mail!

Now we have the Smart Phone, which can really do everything above and so much more! Not only are their apps that can control your home or car, baby monitors that call you, a ton of business options, navigation, but they can now work as your computer!

So where are we heading?

    Thank you and enjoy the technology we have today!
    Natalie Morris

Q & A – Social Media tricks of the trade

What are some tricks of the trade business owners can use to optimize their Social Media efforts?

Social Media Leaps is a great resource! If you have the time to learn how to do things, and you have the patience to figure it out, all you need to do is go there.

There are a ton of tutorials out there that can walk you through pretty much anything. However spending a little money having someone who already knows all the tricks to set it up for you may be well worth your time and money. Be sure to think, how will people find me (or my page/group/etc) what terms would they be looking for, what else would your target audience be searching for? For example if you are a moving company, would you visitors be looking for real-estate advice, or packing instructions. Use that knowledge to write using keyword rich content. Fill your profile with keywords that will help someone find you.

What do you do to make it easier? 

For updates I want to appear throughout the week or the month, I use HootSuite. This tool allows me to take an hour of my time and get my updates done for the week and choose which Social Media venue it goes to. There are a lot of other features it offers, like allowing you to follow groups etc. but I don’t take advantage of that.

What tools and tricks don’t work?

I tried tweet glide but never felt comfortable using it. However it has evolved since the last time I used it. Also, I had gotten too dependent on HootSuite, I stopped using the different social media tools, I lost contact with what people were doing, what they were interested in, what was going on in their lives.

What do businesses do that doesn’t work?

They don’t plan. They think they can just jump in. It doesn’t work, they end up wasting more time than they have and get no return.

They treat Social Media like any other “media” it’s not, in fact it’s not really social media, that’s a deceptive term, it’s really “virtual networking”.

If you went to a networking event a week early, placed your business cards on a couple of tables and then waited to get called you would be waiting a long time. Social Media is the same way. If you don’t put the effort into meeting and greeting you will never form the relationships you are looking for. This doesn’t have to be a full-time job, but you do have to be sincere in wanting to build relationships. There is really nothing out there that is unique anymore, you may be brilliant in your field, but there’s probably someone writing a free blog that explains in-depth exactly what you do. The world is swinging back to personal relationships, we have realized the tech in Indonesia isn’t going to provide the same service as the guy down the street.

Share information with people, help them if you can, be friendly, be personable, build relationships.

Q & A – How Can Google Alerts Help Me?

GoogleGoogle Alerts www.google.com/alerts are a great free tool provided by the all-powerful Google.

There are quite a few ways that Google Alerts can help you:

  • You can keep tabs on what people are saying about your products or services
  • You can see what people are saying about you
  • You can see what people are saying about your people
  • And even what your people are saying about you, your products, or your services
  • You can see what people are saying about your competitors
  • You can see what your competitors are saying
  • You can see what people are saying about your industry

But I don’t use social media, so why would I need Google Alerts?

Even if you are not “into” the whole social media thing, that doesn’t mean others aren’t talking about you in social media. Google Alerts gives you the ability to see what people are saying without having to be part of the “fad”. Of course, if you are not engaged in the internet, and a group of people are saying something about you, what are you planning on doing? If you do not participate in social media, and your products and services are getting bad reviews from people who are, what do you plan on doing? Even if you decide to take a traditional route, it’s important that you have a plan.

So I know what Alerts does, how can that help me?

If you know what people are talking about, what they like, dislike, and want then you can use that information to benefit your. If people are writing a blog about how poorly their widgets work, how long will it take before people stop buying widgets and find an alternative solution? If you sell widgNuts but people really want WidgMuts and it’s easy for you to transfer over to a WidgMut maker then why would you continue making WidgeNuts. Google Alerts let you know what people are talking about now. What they want now.

How do I decide what to use in my Google Alerts?

Honestly my best recommendation is to test, measure, and retry.  There are many keywords that are to concise to be helpful, and many that are too broad. I recommend starting with 10-20 key phrases. let them run for a week or two. review them, if you are getting hundreds of hits per day, then they are too broad, if you are only getting one hit a week or less it may be too narrow, or it may be that people are only talking a little bit.

Take your broad words, read some of the alerts and see if you can create more specific search terms from that. Set up the new terms and in a week or so re-evaluate them. After a while you will find a number of key phrases that provide you with information you can use.

Have  a terrific day,
Natalie

www.morrismc.com

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s funny, for years I thought New Years Resolutions were a waste of time, thought, and effort. I mean really what do they really change.

  • I want to lose 20 lbs, not gonna happen
  • I want to make a million dollars, not gonna happen
  • I want to save the world, not gonna happen

So when I was young, all the resolutions I made, were on the top of my mind for, oh about 2 weeks. By the end of three weeks, I had gained 2 lbs, needed to get $800 worth of repairs done on my car, and another war broke out. So I’d quite, or even worse, just forget about it. Not even make the commitment to quite.

But as I have gotten older I have realized that if taken seriously New Years Resolutions really can work. And if you really put the effort into planning them, they can really change your world!

The trick: or I guess the tricks that work for me:

  • Planning.
  • Having attainable goals.
  • Setting time limits.
  • Managing your progress.
  • Not giving up.
  • Being held accountable.

So what are my resolutions this year? Honestly I’m not really sure yet. My husband and I talked about it for a little while but we didn’t have the time to sit down and really figure out what we want or what the plan is. So right now the plan is to plan, probably tonight over dinner.

We will also do a vision board, although this year mine’s going to be a little different, instead of one great big one, I will do multiple little ones that focus on specific areas of my life.

  • Business last year my goal was to make my business profitable – I succeeded
    And to do public speaking – I succeeded
  • Personal last year I wanted to make more time for me – I succeeded 
  • Spiritual last year I wanted to connect more with nature and the universe – I feel I have succeeded greatly!
  • Health last year I wanted to become a life time WeightWatchers member – I succeeded
  • Fashion last year my goal was to portray a professional image – I succeeded

So this year I will modify them and make my life even better!

Have a happy and successful 2011!

Natalie