Posts Tagged ‘google’

SEO companies aren't magiciansTo my knowledge, most SEO experts don’t have a degree in quantum physics, aren’t proficient in calculus or even have a degree from Hogwarts school of magic. But clients seem to think a search engine optimization company can work magic. (Though, based on the sales pitch you hear from the SEO telemarketers, they would make you believe they can.)

Everyone today is searching for the easy button – that quick fix that will catapult their site to page one of Google. And there are lots of SEO companies out there promising to do just that, when, in reality, they are just taking your money. The truth is Google is slowly whittling away at the tactics used by most of these companies. Link building, blog commenting, and optimizing anchor text, all common practices, are now being penalized by Google’s latest updates.

That spells bad news for the SEO companies that are looking for the fast buck. For the business owners, it’s both good news and bad. The good news is, the playing field is being leveled so that your competition can’t cheat the system as easily. The bad news – now your site must stand on it’s own merit. If you want to be at the top of Google for “Money Saving Widgets”, you better have the most authoritative site on “Money Saving Widgets.”

easy-buttonThe easy button you’ve been searching for is content. Every time I tell a client that they need to create content, you see a dejected look, a “I was hoping you wouldn’t say that” look. Creating content conjures up unpleasant memories of high school English. “Where am I going to find the time to write content?” “What am I going to say?” “Everyone knows what our business does.” Here are some suggestions to help you start creating content:

1. Create content that educates – A website/blog is the best source for educating your customers/clients. Regardless of the subject, people want to make sure they are making an informed decision and your content can reinforce those decisions.
2. Create content that entertains – We buy based on emotions, then justify it with logic. Content that entertains the reader taps their emotions and forges a bond between your site and the reader.
3. Tell a story – Storytelling is an effective content strategy. Readers can immerse themselves into the story line and identify with the characters. Consider a testimonial type of story that demonstrates how your company solved a problem. Readers will remember you for your problem solving skills rather than your list of services.
4. Forget the sales pitch – If your content is done right, you won’t need to have a sales pitch. A sales pitch immediately shifts the focus from the reader to “me, me, me”. The harsh reality – no one cares about you or your business. They care about whether you can solve their problem, increase their profitability or make their life easier. If your content gets that message across, you will never need a sales pitch.

So as you’re looking for that elusive shortcut to the top of Google, remember, there is no shortcut. The easy button is only in commercials. If you are committed to forging your way to the top of the search engines, you need to be ready to start creating dynamic content and keep creating dynamic content. Like any sporting event, the playing field will be dominated by the person or team that is the most dedicated, consistent and prepared.

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29
May

Author, Author – Taking Credit with Google Authorship

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in Ninja Marketing

Google AuthorshipThe crowd roars “Author, Author” in overwhelming response to a well written piece and the author humbly takes a bow, receiving the accolades.  Despite the veil of anonymity online today, Google is crying “Author, Author”.

With so much content being generated and shared every single day, it’s hard to keep up with who the originator was.  But Google wants to give credit where credit is due and has created Authorship as a feature especially for bloggers to attach credit to their content.

If you have ever seen a listing in the search results with a small thumbnail picture beside it, that’s a result of Google authorship.  By tying your blog together with your Google + personal profile, you now have the opportunity to receive credit for content you create.  Not only does this help protect your content from pilfering by others, but it also adds social proof of your expertise in a particular subject.

Creating Authorship is a very simple task if you are using WordPress for your blog.  It requires a few simple steps.

  1. Create a Google + profile if you haven’t already done so.  If you have a Gmail account, you already have the basis for your G+ account.
  2. If you are using WordPress, install the Google Authorship plugin on your site.  There are several plugins you may choose.  Two that I have successfully used are WP Google Authorship and Google Plus Authorship.
  3. From your G+ profile page, copy the URL in the address bar, through the long string of numbers (you don’t need the page name following that, just copy everything up to the last number)
  4.  Go back to your dashboard in WordPress, under Users > All Users, select your profile and click edit.  Scroll down the page and you will see the Google + box.  Paste the copied URL here and save the changes.
  5. Lastly, add your blog address to the About section of your G+ profile under the  “Contributor To” section.  This completes the loop and ties the 2 together.

Google is giving increasingly more value to Authorship when it indexes websites.  Sites that demonstrate high quality content will be rewarded for their contribution while stagnate sites could eventually see their rankings sink.  As Google lessens the importance of link popularity in it’s search algorithm, expect authorship to fill the gap.  After all, people want to deal with the leader in the industry.  Google Authorship sets the leaders apart from the lazy.

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo.  The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

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12
Dec

12 Online Ninja Marketing Tools for 12/12/12

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in Ninja Marketing

Hope you have plans to celebrate the monumental day, 12-12-12.  Never again in my lifetime (I’m not planning on living to be 147 years old) will we see the same day/month/year.  So let’s celebrate!  I’m celebrating by releasing this blog at 12:12, 12-12-12.

Okay so it’s not that big a deal, compared to the world ending in another 9 days.  But for those of you that aren’t Mayan and plan on being around in 2013, here are 12 must have Ninja Marketing tools  for your online marketing plan.

1.  Website – To say this is a given is an understatement.  Unless your business is the only one in your industry and customers/clients are begging you for your services/products, then you must have a web site.  Even people that encounter your marketing efforts like printed brochures or meet you while networking will go check out your website as due diligence before making a decision whether or not to use your services.  Your website should reflect your business appearance.  If your website looks cheap and unprofessional, your business value will be diminished.

2. Blog – The cornerstone of every online marketing plan should be your blog.  If your website is the anchor, your blog is continuing education for your customers/clients.  When asked, most small business owners would say that customer acquisition is one of their main goals.  They think of that process as selling, advertising or marketing their product or service but the real function is education.  Educating your customers why your business is different from your competition.  Through your blog, you are providing your customers with valuable information that enhances your position as the expert in the industry.

3. Social Media Presence – With the average time spent on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest topping the 400 minute per month range, doesn’t it make sense to be where your customers are.  Do you need to be on every social media site?  Maybe, if your clients are there.  But more importantly, pick the one where the majority are and start building relationships.  Engage, interact and enjoy.

4. Google + – I can hear you now saying, “Didn’t you just say to pick one social media site?  Now your saying use Google +.  What Gives?”  True, I did say pick one and start building relationships.  G+ isn’t it.  But G+ IS about search engine optimization (SEO) and getting more visibility for your blog and website.  If Google owns the lion’s share of search and they have a social media network, doesn’t it stand to reason that they will use popular content from G+ as a ranking factor?

5.  Google + Local – Formerly called Google Places, the map listing in Google is a prominent fixture on page 1 of most local search terms.  If your business isn’t there, you are missing a huge opportunity to be seen.  Traditional SEO methods don’t work on the Google + Local page, but there are some Ninja Marketing tricks to improve your ranking.

6. Email List – Believe it or not, email is not dead.  Despite the tremendous amounts of unsolicited messages, email still is an effective method of communication.  Building an email list provides another avenue to touch your customers.  But the same rules apply with email as with social media, provide more value and less selling.   Ask yourself this question – Would the recipient say “Thanks for the great info” after reading your email?

7. Editorial Calendar – Perhaps the biggest drawback to blogging and social media is time.  The process is time consuming.  And that’s true if you are winging it.  If you sit down to write or post and don’t have a clue what you are going to say, you’ll find you’ve wasted an hour and nothing has happened.  The answer is an editorial calendar.  Plan your content the same way you schedule your monthly activities.  That way you know what you need to say and the process is quick and painless.

8. Google Alerts – Hand in hand with the editorial calendar are the next couple of tools.  Google Alerts is an excellent source of timely material collected from blogs and news sites across the web.  Google Alerts email daily or weekly a list of articles based on a specified keywords.  The alerts can be shared to your social media sites in whole or spin them with your take on why this information is important to your clients/customers

9.  Google Reader – Another tremendous source of material are blogs from thought leaders in your industry.  Google Reader aggregates all your blog subscriptions into one place making it easy to peruse and select only the articles that are pertinent.

10. Nutshell Mail – This emailed report is another aggregator of information, this time from your social media accounts.  Activity such as mentions, likes, updates from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are sent to your inbox.  This makes it easy to monitor without having to go to each site.

11. Hootsuite – One of my favorite tools is Hootsuite.  All my social media accounts are on one screen.  Hootsuite gathers updates from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google + into one screen monitored in real time.  There are apps for Google Chrome and Firefox that make sharing of articles easy across all your social media channels in one step.  And with their scheduling feature, if you read 4 articles today that you want to share, you can space them out over the several days.

12. Feedburner – The ultimate goal of your blog should be capturing subscribers that want to receive your blog every time you post.  With Feedburner, individuals can do just that.  They can subscribe either by RSS feeds or by email.  Feedburner manages the subscriptions and delivers the content automatically.

There you have it.  12 Ninja Marketing Tools to make 2013 a banner year – assuming the Mayans were wrong.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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Once again online privacy is in the news. On March 1, Google will be implementing their new unified privacy policy, which has sparked a firestorm of controversy. If you’re a Google user, you’ve seen multiple notices of the upcoming change to their privacy policy. But what does it really mean.

The essence of the new privacy policy is that Google will share one privacy policy across all its products. What has people in an up roar is the idea that what you search for can translate over to ads you may see in Gmail for example. Let’s say you watch a video in YouTube about widgets. You then go to Google to search for something totally unrelated, but there is an ad for Acme Widgets.

Despite the up roar, this is not new. Microsoft has the same unified privacy policy, which would include Hotmail, Bing and Internet Explorer. And Facebook’s privacy controversies have been well-documented.

While you have no choice but to either accept privacy policy or not use any Google product, there are some things you can do. By default, Google tracks your browsing history, apart from what you’re computer tracks. A check of my Google browsing history showed sites from as far back as 2007, which was probably about the time first I set up a Gmail account. (I have had three desktop computers over that period of time.)

You can opt out of browsing history in Google by going to www.google.com/history and logging in with your Gmail address and password.  (If you have set up a Google account with a different e-mail such as an AOL account to login to YouTube for example, then you would login with that e-mail address and a Google password you created.) This will bring you to the history page where you can see everything you’ve searched for while logged in to a Google account. You can remove all or some of the searches selectively. You can also pause Web history by clicking the “Pause” button at the top. At any time you wish to resume tracking your history, just click the “Resume” button.

How to change your Google Search Browsing History

The bottom line is as long as you are choosing to use a free service such as Google or Facebook, you are subject to their terms and conditions (remember that little checkbox that said “I accept these terms”?).  And how is this different from watching your favorite show on television? The advertisers know that the viewing audience is a targeted fit for their product. (And who’s to say that technology is not already in place to monitor what we DVR or watch on-demand.)

So the privacy debate rushes on. Do we close our Facebook account, stop using Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail so we can maintain our complete privacy? In today’s world, what really is happening is we are trading our privacy for connectivity.

What are your feelings about privacy versus connectivity?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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Google+ for business is now open. “Oh great,” I can hear you say, “another social network I have to keep up with.” Yes, I know the traffic is not on Google + like it is on Facebook. And I don’t expect a mass exodus from Facebook. But, here are my top 5 reasons you should be on Google +.

 

5. It’s easy to sign up. To signup, you enter your business name and phone number. Google + then matches that to your Google Places Page. (You DO have a Google Places page, don’t you?)

4. Sharing is Easy – Others can share your business page either through the Share Page button or by +1’ing the page. Either way, it increases the chances of virally spreading your page.

3. No Finding Friends – With business pages, you don’t have to go hunting for friends. You share your page and post the page link to your web site and the traffic comes to you.

2. Build a Following and Improve Your Traffic – Because Google customizes the search function when you are logged in to a Google product (Gmail, Google +, Google Reader, etc.) the results you see are based, in part, on your connections. For example, if someone in one of your circles has +1’d a page, and you do a search on a keyword that related to that page, Google is going to show you that page higher up in the search results than normal.

The bottom line for a business is to have as large a following as possible, so when a follower searches for your catagory, your site will show up much higher.

1. Faster Indexing in Google – The number 1 reason to create a Google + page is speed up the process of getting content indexed in the Google search results. When content is shared in Google +, Google sees the content much quicker and as a result will add it to the search results page, based on the content.

I have seen this first hand within my blog articles. I created a blog article with the title Ninja Marketing Tips. Within 3 days of sharing the article in Google +, it was ranking at the top of an incognito Google search for the term, Ninja Marketing Tips.

Judge for yourself. What is your marketing strategy? Would improved search engine visibility be a plus? I welcome your thoughts.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing. The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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8
Jun

Google Plus 1

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in search engine optimization, Social Media Marketing, web design

Goliath has started its latest foray into the social media arena.  Google this week announced the launching of its +1 feature, its answer to the Facebook Like and LinkedIin Share buttons.  While previous attempts in social media (like Google Wave and even Google Buzz) have not had the level of success they expected, +1 could well be the social media success Google has  been searching for.

What is Google +1? +1 allows Web surfers, while logged in to their Google account, to share sites they like or recommend within the Google search.  The plus one button can be added to any webpage or blog with a few simple steps (which we will describe below.)

Google +1 on Website

When do you see the Google +1? To begin, you must have a Google profile or a Google account such as Gmail.   To find your Google profile, go to http://profiles.Google.com/yourname.  If nothing comes up for you,  then you may not have created a profile or you could have it private, in which case you may need to create a public profile (do a Google search for details how to do that.)

Once you’ve logged in to your profile and do any search, you will see, at the end of the top line of the search results, the greyed out +1 button.  Simply click the +1 button and it turns to full-color, leaving a trail for your Google contacts to see.  When one of your Google contacts does a similar search, they will see your +1 link recommendation.  There is also talk that in the near future the link will be visible to your Twitter and Flickr contacts as well.

Google +1 Search Results

Google publicly says that +1 activity will be used to show more relevant ads on non-Google base sites, however, you do have the ability to disable that feature within the +1 settings in your Google account.

But what’s the real value of the Google +1? From the initial announcement of +1, speculation has centered around the effect it will have on search results and search engine ranking.  Google has long had, as part of their algorithm, the relevancy and popularity of a website.  By adding +1 to a website, the webmaster/owner may potentially have a positive impact on their search engine rankings.  How big an effect is yet to be seen but with more and more emphasis being placed on social media and the social aspects of the web, logic says this can have a significant impact.

How you add the Google +1 button? The process is a very simple one.  You will need FTP access to your website to complete the process or you will need to have your webmaster complete the process.  Below are the four steps:

  1. Go to Google +1 page
  2. Choose your button size and language.  The advanced options allow you to include the +1’d count and include the target URL you want attached to the +1
  3. Copy the first section of the code and paste it just above the closing body tag of the page
  4. Copy the second section of the code and paste it where you want the button to appear

Creating a Google +1 Button

That’s all it takes.  I hope you found this blog useful.  If so, +1 me.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com Online Marketing Solutions specializes in helping small to medium size businesses to drive traffic to their door through web site design, search engine optimization, text message marketing and social media marketing and coaching.  Gary is also the co-founder of SocialMediaLab, an online education and training program to help business owners master social media.

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The mighty giant has fallen.  Well at least fallen to #2 for this week.

HitwiseFacebookGoogleMarch2010According to Hitwise, Facebook managed received more visits than Google during the week of March 7th through March 13th, making it the most visited website in the U.S. for the week.

While this in no way sounds an alarm about the Google search dominance, it does reinforce the idea that social media, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are important elements of an online marketing program.  With Facebook and YouTube as the numbers 2 and 4 overall sites on the web (according to Alexa.com), can you afford to ignore that  kind of traffic.

Another thought-provoking stat – The average visitor to Google spends about 9 minutes a day on the site.  The average visitor to Facebook spends almost 40 minutes a day and the average YouTube browsers spends over 22 minutes a day.  This is like having a billboard on the freeway with traffic whizzing by at 70 miles per hours or having the same billboard on a busy street during rush hour where a driver is creeping along and has time to look around and actually read the billboard.

Google is for hunters on a mission.  Bag the site your searching for and move on.  Social media sites are more like home – prop your feet up and relax.

If you aren’t using social media or are totally confused by it, take heart.  There are painless ways to ease into it without taking the head first plunge into the abyss.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com specialize in website design, hosting, search engine optimization and social media marketing for small and medium businesses.

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