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content marketing

Episode 9 | 7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2017

By | Advanced SEO Techniques, content marketing, Organic Search, Personal Branding, Podcast, Search, SEO | No Comments

the SEO Tear Down with Scott GombarThis week I reviewed an article on Forbes “7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2017“.  I also received a question during the show.

What is the most important aspect of SEO currently?

I spent some time on the answer.  Content is still the most important part of SEO but not quite the way it was even a few years ago.  Keep the focus on developing content (of all types) for your audience.  Make your content engaging and unique.  Use all types of content in your plan (Video, Audio, Blog).

Here are the 7 SEO Trends the article talked about:

  1. The Increased Importance of AMP
  2. Creating Deeper Content
  3. Artificial Intelligence/Rankbrain
  4. Personal Branding
  5. User Experience/UX
  6. Mobile Apps
  7. Personal Digital Assistants like Siri, Cortana and OK Google

If you want to feature your business website on my show fill out the form and we will talk to you about your website and business on a future episode.

 

Snapchat with Scott Gombar

Snapchat is About to go BOOM | Is Your Business Ready?

By | content marketing, snapchat, Social Apps, Social Business, Social Media | No Comments

Using Snapchat For Business Branding And Growth

snapchat for brandingSnapchat is a way of sending messages to followers using videos or photos as the ‘snaps’. Snaps can be manipulated by using a range of filters and they are only available to be viewed for a short period of time, usually twenty-four hours.

Snapchat was launched in 2011. Statistics show that it has over one hundred million active daily users, sending out four hundred million snaps per day. In the United States, it is estimated that eighteen per cent of all social media users are using Snapchat. This figure jumps to thirty percent when only ‘millennials’ are taken into account. But, while over two thirds of Snapchat users fall into the eighteen to thirty-four age group, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram before it, Snapchat is starting to be picked up by a wider demographic

In other words, this is a booming social network and marketers are beginning to latch on to Snapchat’s potential.

However, most marketers do not believe that buying advertising space on Snapchat is the way to go, at least not yet. Snapchat’s one drawback is a big one; according to many marketers is that it is impossible to target users in the way that you can with other social media platforms. And in digital marketing the ability to target and track is now taken as a given.

However; lack of ability to target customers does not mean anyone is dismissing Snapchat as a marketing option. There are other big opportunities for marketers with Snapchat, the biggest being that it is a great way to build and spread brand awareness. Rather than spend big dollars on buying advertising space, many brands are creating fun and innovative content for their customers and followers.

Snapchat and brand awareness

Brand AwarenessBrands are beginning to look at Snapchat as part of their social media marketing mix. It offers a different kind of brand awareness through the use of clever, fun and innovative content marketing campaigns.

Content marketers have found that they can use Snapchat to create engaging stories in a fun and innovative way. As mentioned above there is a range of filters and features available including: emojis, music and text– all available from within the Snapchat platform.

Because of the immediacy and self-imposed time-constraints, Snapchat has started to take off as an authentic social media platform that can make a strong impact and spread brand awareness in real-time.

Here are five ways you can use Snapchat to surprise and delight your audience/customers, while at the same time building and growing awareness for your brand.

  1. Real time access to live events

Why not give your social media audience access to your own live events as they happen?  Events such as unveiling a new product or service, announcements and even activities that your company supports or partners with are all prime examples of sharing opportunities. This is great for your audience, it is not seen as direct selling, but rather it is seen as inviting your friends to celebrate good news with you.

For example, do your partner with a local sports team? Why not Snapchat your team’s successes?

  1. Offer unique content

What if you offered your customers a sneak peek of your product or service before it became available on any other social media platform, or anywhere else for that matter?

One great example is fashion brands that have begun to use Snapchat to show their collections to followers before they hit the runway. This way they make their customers feel included in what is a very exclusive, secretive, even protective industry. This means that by the time the runway shows start their precious customers already have the inside running, like making them feel they are part of the team.

  1. Offer free stuff and other great customer benefits

Everyone loves a giveaway. As you probably already know, when you include a competition, promotion or giveaway in your newsletter, your customers are more likely to open the newsletters and engage with the content. So why not invite your customers to follow your Snapchat stories with the incentive of something free at the end?  It could be a straight giveaway, a two for one deal, or even a discount code for their next purchase. This is a great way to get your customers coming back for more.

  1. Take your customers ‘behind the scenes

share your story on snapchatShow your followers what goes on at the office – this will make them feel part of the family. Company milestones, warehouse tours, staff outings or even just profiling individual staff and their achievements – there are a million and one ways to do this and have fun with it. And best of all, it really adds personality to your brand.

  1. Snapchat gives influencers another way to spread the word about your brand

In the world of social media, influencers are the big guns who can help spread awareness of your brand beyond your traditional demographic. You may not be able to count famous celebrities amongst your influencers, but what about your partners? They will all have their own networks that you can tap into. What about complimentary brands—ones that you can work with to build awareness of both offerings?

Maybe your partners don’t yet have a Snapchat account but they can suggest that followers of their other social media networks—e.g. Facebook and Twitter—take a look at your Snapchats.

Your partners/influencers may in turn have some great idea for content that you can create together.

In conclusion

By using Snapchat for business branding and growth you will show your customers, and prospective customers that you are agile, friendly, approachable and innovative. You are playing in their space, not simply expecting them to come to yours.

At this point in time many marketers believe that Snapchat’s key marketing asset is about brand building and awareness as opposed to direct selling. Create great content, have fun with your customers and partners and above all, use Snapchat to build and spread awareness of your brand.

 

Is SEO dead?

By | content marketing, Inbound Marketing, Internet Marketing, SEO, Social Media | One Comment

SEO is DeadI have seen dozens, maybe more, posts claiming SEO is dead.  People tell me all the time they will not invest in SEO because it’s a waste of time or Google doesn’t care if you rank.   Well I am here to tell you SEO is dead!   I am also here to tell you SEO is not dead.  Confused yet?  Good!

SEO Is Dead

SEO as you probably came to know it is dead.  Gone are the days of getting your site added to every directory known to man.   Forgotten are the web pages stuffed with keywords that made no senses to the human reader.  Left back are the link farms who’s sole purpose was to increase your page rank.  That’s right, the short cut (black hat) methods of SEO are dead.

In that sense SEO is in fact dead.  Does that mean you shouldn’t concern yourself with search engine ranking on Google, Yahoo and Bing?  Absolutely not.

You see from the dust of past SEO black hatters rises a new crop of marketers who have been doing things right all along.  They take on many titles such as Inbound Marketer, Digital Marketer, Internet Marketer, New Media Marketer and some still call themselves SEO Experts.   They all do pretty much the same thing.  At one time marketing a company on the internet involved only what is now considered black-hat SEO methods and email marketing (many times spam).  Today that is not the case.

The fact is SEO should be a part of your overall inbound marketing campaign.

SEO Is Not Dead

Today some of the key components still exist.  You should have keywords in your content, so long as your content makes sense toSEO Is Dead human beings.  You should have authoritative links to and from sites, just not from spammy sites or irrelevant sites.  You should make sure your titles and urls match keywords whenever possible.  And there are a lot of other considerations when it comes to HTML mark up and related website material.

However; to win the marketing game, that is to beat your competitors you need to include some other avenues of marketing.  Just take a look around the site and you will see it is everything that I do!  Oh, you prefer it to be in one nice neat post?  You got it!

Here are some of the other pieces of the inbound marketing puzzle:

Social Media Marketing-Sounds simple but it’s not.  Marketing on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc..) can be very complex.  For starters you need to know your target audience, then you need to know how to engage them, and eventually convert them.

You also have to consider industry specific social media platforms, or local platforms.  For example, for Real Estate Investors there’s BiggerPockets.com.

Social Media Marketing can also be very time consuming.  You have to develop a qualified audience (don’t go for those 10,000 followers for $20 deals), engage the audience and work on converting them without coming across as a pushy salesman.   This takes time and lots of energy and patience.  It also takes a thick skin at times.

Email Marketing-Email marketing has been around for some time but has evolved slightly.   Email marketing fell out of the graces of legitimate marketers because of the abundance of spam email.  It’s estimated that arounbd 80% of all email is spam.  Marketers moved away for fear of being labeled as spam, or being drowned out by spam.

Today’s inbox is much more intelligent than that of years prior.  Spam is filtered much better now which allows legitimate correspondence to arrive in the audience’s inbox because they have said they want to see this.

Videos-Probably one of the fastest ways to gain traction on Google is through YouTube.   Don’t believe me?  Google “CT Twitter Expert”.  Because YouTube is owned by Google it helps to have videos on their platform.  Probably more important is the fact people prefer audio/video over reading.  I know I do.

Guest Blogging-This is a little bit of a sticky subject right now.  Guest blogging for the sake of building link authority is not a positive route.  Guest blogging on a relevant site because you are the authority on a subject is a great way to build up your web marketing.  Matt Cutt’s of Google has stated that this strategy used for the sole purpose of link building will probably wind up getting your website penalized.

It’s really quite sad that people are not paying attention.  I get requests from people to write a blog post all the time but a little research and due diligence leads me to a negative response.  Why?  Because the person is not relevant to my site, and is obviously someone who is attempting to spam their way to the top of Google.  It won’t work!

Pay Per Click-Pay for advertising on Google has been around for a number of years now, and it’s quite effective if done properly.  What a lot of business owners don’t realize is you can do the exact same thing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and soon Instagram.

Traditional Marketing-Direct mail is more effective than it has been in years, because people’s mailboxes are empty now.  Years ago we used to get inundated with junk mail but marketers have moved on to the internet to reach new audiences.  As a result direct mail has a much higher ROI than in years past.

You can also take the traditional route of marketing at events, through traditional media (TV, Radio, Print) but that’s outside of my scope.  I do know some great marketers in those areas if you are shopping for one.

Content Marketing-Blog posts, videos, images and many other forms of content fall into this category.  Are you developing fresh content on a fairly regular basis?   In previous blog posts I have talked about the importance of having a content marketing program.  It is crucial in today’s internet marketing campaign.  If you’re not developing content you will eventually lose the battle for internet supremacy.

That sounded a bit extreme, I admit it. But it is true now.  I formed this company just over a year ago and I already show up on the first page for many of my desired keywords.  That’s because I invested the time and energy into my content, and plan to do even more soon.  Meanwhile many other marketers have fallen off the face of Google.  Hmmmm

Local SEO-It’s exactly as it sounds..building an SEO campaign that is oriented to your area.  It’s a lot easier today than it was years ago because the search engines have built some incredible tools for that.  What makes it a little more difficult is submitting to local directories and knowing which ones are going to help versus which ones will hurt.

Stop Buying Into Your Marketer’s Excuses and BS

If your marketer, or even worse, your SEO guy is still living in the past you need to kick them out.  I hate to say it but I still see tons of websites being marketed the old way of SEO.  There are no links from Social Media, no blog posts, random keywords all over the place, no video and that’s just the basics.

There’s so much more that can be done to increase your engagement and conversion rates.  If your marketing team isn’t up on the new way to market it’s time to find a new marketing team.

Get Your Inbound (Web) Marketing Program Audit for Free

 

Free Inbound Marketing Report from Scott Gombar

Free Inbound Marketing Report from Scott Gombar

 

Why content matters-10 tips for content development.

By | content marketing, Google Authorship | No Comments

Why Content Matters

What is content marketing?

Content Development in Connecticut

Your ultimate goal is to drive people to your website.  There are numerous avenues to do this.  You can use email marketing, social media, business cards, links and word of mouth to accomplish getting people to your site.  But what do all of those avenues have in common?  What is going to get the attention of your audience to persuade them to take the next step of clicking through to your site?

It’s all about content.  Content marketing is about developing material to attract people to your online presence, and keep them there with the goal of conversion.  The conversion may be in the form of a sale, signing up for a mailing list/membership or following you on one or more social platforms.

The materials can be in the form of blogging, documents, images or video.   For example this blog post.  A single blog post can contain video and images as well.  It is best to create blog posts relevant to your site, especially if you are trying to sell a product or service.

Why Content Matters

The internet marketing game is evolving.  What was a chess match of who can get the most links and stuff the most keywords is now about what the audience wants to see.  The audience wants nuggets.  A nugget in this context is a piece of information.  Someone visiting your site is looking to get some information about who you are, what you do, how you do it, whether or not you are an expert and many times they are looking for pro-tips.

Different people prefer different methods of content delivery.  I myself prefer reading and the occasional video if I am not grasping something as I read it.  Others might be more inclined to view a video or image, or even an infographic.  Your content should try to include all of the aforementioned to attract as many people as possible.  If you are not doing everything you can to attract people then you will either not get anyone to your site, or they will come and not stay.

Think of it as a house party with no music, no food and nothing to do.  Is anyone going to stay long?  Probably only your closest family and friends, but they are likely using your services or products already anyway.  If there is nothing to keep your audience’s attention then don’t expect to maintain an audience.

Today’s internet is about information.  If someone is searching for your product or service they want information, and you want a conversion.  Information is and always will be in the form of content.  Without information your visitors will search elsewhere, and most likely that will be your competition.

10 tips to keep their attention

Content Marketing Tips

 

1. Promote your content-Another extremely important part of your internet marketing plan is Social Media.  Whenever you create content you should be sharing it on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  Those three are the biggest social media platforms today but if you are comfortable on those sites I would also expand to other platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.

It’s not enough to just update that you have a new blog post.  You will want to make that update interesting enough for your audience to click through.  For example, for this blog post I may update with something along the lines of “Learn how to increase website visits in 10 simple steps”.   You have to be creative with your posts but don’t lie about it.  Your post should encourage them to click through and your content should engage them so they stay a while, with the end result ultimately being a conversion.

2.  Use different formats for content.  While the written word is great, remember a picture is worth a thousand words.  A video might be worth 100,000 words.  Infographics are an invaluable resource for your audience but make sure when creating an infographic that the facts are accurate and up to date.   If you choose to use someone else’s infographic make sure that it also accurate, and that you credit the source.

Here is a list of different types of content you should use on your blog or site:

    • Written
    • Pictures
    • Infographic
    • Video
    • Lists
    • Downloads (PDF)
    • Meme

HootSuite Most Interesting Man

 

3.  Long posts-You should strive to make your blog entries as long as possible.  The longer the update the more attention Google will give it.  Some say that posts longer than 2000 words get more attention from Google than those that have less than 2000 words.

While a 2000 word post may not always be possible or efficient, it certainly can’t hurt.  Keep in mind people like to digest information in small pieces so break the entry up into chunks wherever possible.  Include some of the other content suggestions above to appeal to as many people as possible.

I can tell you that I have blog entries that are less than 1000 words that show up on the first page of Google Search using the keywords that I wanted to be found with.  So part of the math will depend on how much competition you have for the content you are writing.  I would avoid Twitter size updates as part of your content and suggest that all posts be at least 300 words, keeping the audience in mind because that is really who the post is for, not Google or any other search engine.

4.  Consistent Blog Entries-Not offering your audience fresh content on a consistent basis will cause a decline in interaction.  It may be difficult at times to come up with topics so here are a few suggestions to help with topic development:

    • Read old blog posts on your blog for possible updates/new ideas
    • Keep a list of ideas, whenever one pops in your head write it down
    • Review trade publications for possible topics
    • Review tools of the trade that you are currently or have used in the past
    • Review your Social Media updates for possible ideas
    • Give yourself some quiet time daily to brainstorm, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Without consistent updates you could potentially see a double digit decrease in traffic; percentage wise.  You worked really hard to develop your audience, it would be a shame to lose them due to a lack of attention to your own website/blog.

5.  Don’t get discouraged-you should not expect an immediate return on investment (ROI).  It can take time before you truly see an impact from your content marketing plan.  Don’t expect a post today to increase your sales volume tomorrow, it’s not realistic.

Realistically it could take up to a year before you start to see any real results so it will take time and persistence.  The most important aspect of your content marketing is sticktoitness.  That’s right, I just invented a word.  But you get the idea, you have to settle in for the long haul and not get discouraged by lack of immediate results.  And if for some reason you notice a decline in traffic that just means you need to refine (optimize) something.

It’s best to get a third party to review your blog at that point, one that is impartial.  There may be something that you are overlooking that is causing readership to decline.  Some of those things include:

    • Poor grammar/spelling
    • Poor formatting
    • Lack of variety in content
    • Lack of consistent updates
    • Inaccurate Facts
    • Posts are not relevant to website

6.  Google Authorship-It has never been more important than now.  If you have not set up Google Authorship you need to today.  If you want your content to rank high in Google Search results you have to ensure that your Google Authorship profile links to your content and vice-versa.  For more information on this click here.  

Google Plus Logo

Once set up properly Google Authorship makes you the authority on a subject.  When you post something you are given priority over others who do not have a profile set up.   Google has gone so far as to tell everyone that this is what will happen.   It is really simple to set up and definitely worth the effort and time investment.  It is an extension of your Google+ profile.  The requirements for Google Authorship are:

    • A blog
    • An email address on the same domain as the blog (an alternative exists)
    • A byline on the blog
    • A Google account
    • A link back to your Google+ account in the byline
    • A link to your blog from your Google+ account
    • Clear head-shot to be included on your Google+ profile

Authorship Results

 

7.  Respond to comments-So many times I have seen comments on blog posts that go unanswered.  That means there is no engagement on behalf of the author.  No engagement means you are likely losing your audience.  If you are losing you are audience then traffic drops, and well…I think you get the picture.

By interacting with those commenting on your blog entries you are not only engaging your audience but you also help build a relationship and a community.  You also potentially create a lasting impression, and shouldn’t one of your goals be brand development and recognition?  Even negative comments should be replied to respectfully, be careful not to create a scenario that makes you look like a bad guy.  Negative and argumentative reactions on your part can easily turn your audience off and may severely impact your conversion rate.

8.  Avoid Duplicate Content-Google does not like duplicate content.   While duplicate content does not get punished per-say, it can impact one or more of the articles that are duplicated.  Google wants the writer of content to be the authority on the subject.  If content is duplicated then Google may have a hard time confirming who the authority is.

When this happens then one or more of the articles may not rank in Google’s search engine at all, and Google decides which one it is.  So while your goal may be to get your content in front of as many people as possible, you are actually hurting your chances of getting your material ranked on Google’s search engine result page.

You should not duplicate your own, or even worse, someone else’s content for any reason.  The later is very unethical at best and both will cost you in the eyes of Google.

9.  Link to Other Authorities-Don’t be afraid to share the wealth.  If someone else is an expert on something you are writing about, or they have further details relevant to your content then by all means link to them.  Even if they are a competitor it is best to give credit where credit is due.  There is nothing wrong with paying respect to others who are also considered experts.

As a matter of fact it could lead to a partnership down the road.  I have personally developed partnerships with competitors in the past simply by giving them credit, or referring to them as the expert on a matter.   The partnerships led to growth for both parties involved helping everyone to become more successful.   Who wouldn’t want that?

I touched on it earlier but taking ownership of something that is not yours is at the very least unethical, and in some cases illegal.  If someone else did the leg work then give them the respect they deserve for putting in the time and research.

10.  Titles Matter-A title should be short but meaningful.  The title should also relate to the body of the blog entry.   I am writing a blog entry about content marketing, my title should not be something like “How to throw a curve ball”.

The title should indicate what the reader will encounter in the blog post, maybe even a punchline if you can keep it under 60-70 characters.  In this blog post I titled it “Why content Matters-10 tips for content development”.  Instantly you know this article will tell you why content is so important in your marketing plan, and that you will receive 10 tips on how to develop content.

The End

In short you are the expert on what your product or service is.  You work in it everyday, you know the tools you use, you understand what the clients are looking for, you are the professional.  Tell the world what you know.  Write about your passion and let everyone know that you love what you do.  Tell the world what makes you the expert and why.  Give them tips on simple solutions and starting points.

Have fun with it, make it interesting and spruce it up with images and video.  Make your blog all about your audience, because without an audience you are only writing for yourself.

One last note, make sure you proof read your blog entries before posting.  I had to learn the hard way myself.  Even if you are 100% sure that you did not make any mistakes read it over for grammar, formatting and spelling.

Now go develop some content.

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