Four Mistakes That Could Blow Your Whole SEO Campaign

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August 16th, 2013

Four Mistakes That Blow Your Whole SEO Campaign
Go open another tab and do a web search for “SEO tips.” I’ll wait.

You saw a bunch of posts that claimed to give you that absolute, tippy-top best tips.  Am I right?

Or maybe quick fix lists that just know that you’re heading down the wrong path with SEO and– with the advice in their post– you can still double back and execute your SEO campaign safely.  It feels to me like they can get a little dramatic sometimes.  Look closely and you may see the top 10 ways that keywords will save your life.

You can’t blame SEO consultants for putting out their lists.  There’s a demand for that kind of content and, for the most part, a lot of them mean you well.  And, when we’re done here, go ahead and search through those links and see if you can find something that you didn’t know before.  But be careful not to buy into the promises of a promotional post.

Let’s face the facts, you can do all the right things in SEO, but it’s no guarantee of success.  There are a lot of different elements that you might not yet have a hand on and all of the right stuff just might not be good enough.  But you know what else?  Doing the wrong things can utterly ruin a good campaign.  So instead of adding to the list of vainglorious promise posts like, “The Top 7 Ways That Meta Tags Will Pay Off Your Mortgage,” I offer you these four mistakes you can sidestep.

1. Being a Link Miser

It’s very possible that someone reading this would never even dream of linking to anything that wasn’t on their site.  I can totally hear their objections:

  • “My site need all of the indexing advantage it can get!”
  • “Why would I want to help a competitor get their pages indexed?”
  • “If I link to a site that isn’t mine and someone follows the link, that person will never, ever, come back to my site.”

I can’t abide by any of those excuses.  The reality of the matter goes like this:

Being a Link Miser1. Google WANTS you to spread good content, no matter whose it is.  So when you play along with Google’s master plan of helping people find valuable stuff on the web, the very last thing that they want to do is discourage you or punish you for it.

2. Visitors will think you’ve got your finger on the pulse.  The new opportunity isn’t just to be producing content, it’s aggregating content.  When you’re an aggregator, you become the first place that people look in your space to find out the neat things that are going on.  You might lead people to your competition today, but they’ll come back to you again tomorrow for more.

3. You build good relationships with other content producers.  Is it a bad thing to be on someone’s good side?  Absolutely not!  You can open doors to joint ventures, guest posts, and lots of other forms of coopetition.

If you’re ready to break the ice with out-going links, feel free to start by linking to this post.  Your discernment and ability to identify good advice will impress your colleagues, gain the approval of your superiors or clients, and probably make you more attractive to the opposite sex.


Keyword Overload[When you read that headline, you've got to use a robot voice for maximum effect.]

Now, I recognize that back in the day, jamming a page with every possible and relevant keyword was the play.  I’m not even saying it wasn’t.  But the resulting search results were terrible.  Pages that had no business being viewed by human eyes made it to the front page because web crawlers were calling the shots.  Over time, search engines started to realize their mistake and cracked down on keyword abusers, and the internet writ large gave a collective sigh of relief.

More important than the history is the value.

You court the web crawlers not for their own sake, but to bring in organic visitors.  If you can’t talk to the visitors, get them to stay, hang out, and want to move into the next phase of your relationship, then what’s the point?  Too many keywords will overwhelm and confuse most visitors.  Be kind to your visitors!

3. Leaning On Meta Tags

Leaning On Meta TagsThere a few SEO experts who are (still!) recommending that you fill up your meta tags with keyword descriptions.  Which is silly, because Google doesn’t even look at your tags anymore.

It’s so much better to use snippets of your content.  At least then people get a window into your site.  But also, if you use meta tags, you could be legitimately helping your competition.  You heard right: using keywords telegraphs your positioning intentions so that the other guy can get the leg up on you.

Which leads me to this: if you’re going to ignore this specific point, please contact us to let us know.  I mean, if someone’s clients are going to get an advantage on you, ours should be the first.

4. Quantity > Quality

OK, yes, a site that gets updated regularly has a better ranking than a site with no updates whatsoever.  Appreciated.

But remember what your grandmother used to say: “If you don’t have anything valuable to post, don’t post at all.” If all that you’re putting out there is drivel, then web crawlers and visitors are both smart enough to treat you like spam.  Don’t be shy about updates, but at least have a point to it.

Speaking of quality, what do you think of this post?  Is it a big help, or just another list?  Leave your comments below and let us know if these helped you out!

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Thanks to The Marketing Eggspert for bringing up some awesome points!

Consumers vs. Business: Marketing the Right Way

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June 13th, 2013

Consumers vs. Business: Marketing the Right Way
Let’s get real for a minute: selling business-to-business is pretty different from selling business-to-consumer. You might have already realized that, but have you really considered the extent of those differences?  Ultimately, the end goal is the same: you want to reach sales and revenue goals set for your business.  But depending on who you’re selling to, how you do that will be different.

B2C: Business to Consumer

B2C: Business to Consumer
Selling business-to-consumer (often abbreviated as B2C) is much easier if you can appeal to a very specific customer segment.  If you get asked who will buy from you and you’re tempted to respond with a phrase that starts with “anybody who” and ends with something that you could list on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, that’s not a customer segment.  It’s even worse when you answer with “literally anyone.”  And yes, I’ve heard that before.

So how do you define a customer segment?  An individual customer segment can be defined using differentiators like:

  • Demographic information (like age, race, gender, etc.)
  • They have needs that require and justify a specifically distinct offer
  • They’re reached through distinct channels
  • They represent different amounts of profitability
  • They’re willing to pay for different aspects of what you offer

Consumers are also characterized by certain behavioral buying habits.  For example, a lot of consumers use a passive element to buy from, like a website or a storefront.  Regardless, their buying experience is very important: if it’s difficult to purchase, make a return, or if the staff aren’t pleasant, then you can kiss consumers goodbye.

When you’re crafting your B2C strategy, keep in mind these very important elements:

  • Super-Short Sales Cycle: Grab-and-go buying opportunities are often most effective.
  • Warm Fuzzies: Make consumers feel good about buying from you by delighting them and being careful not to break promises.
  • Address a Benefit: Know what your value proposition actually offers to the customer segment and how it compares to your competition.
  • Be Research Friendly: some consumers are going to look deeply into your offering and how it compares to what others bring to the table.  Oblige them by providing a solid online presence.  FAQs (lists of frequently asked questions) are great, technical specs might be important depending on the offering, and readability is a must-have.
  • Top-Heavy on Persuasion: Even if you need to have the technical stuff available, that doesn’t mean it should be the first thing a consumer sees.  Remember that a list of features is no substitute for a good brand.

B2B: Business to Business

B2B: Business to Business
If you’re selling to other businesses, you’re in what’s called B2B sales.  Business owners and decision makers tend to do a lot of research before they buy something.  Remember, their reputation, budget, or even livelihood is at stake in this decision.  That research may include:

  • Websites
  • Pamphlets
  • Technical specs
  • Comparisons with other vendors in your market for ROI and customer service
  • Product/service reviews
  • Contacting testimonial subjects

With that in mind, it’s a great idea for you do try to educate these people using any of the channels that you can.  It gives you an opportunity to control the information and context, emphasize the benefits that you offer, and build trustworthiness with the people you’re trying to communicate with.

Your focus should be on building and maintaining relationships with these decision-makers.  Get to know their business and their goals:

  • What do they sell?
  • How will they increase their total revenue?
  • How does what you offer make a difference in their organization?
  • Can you save them money?
  • Can you bring in new business?
  • Will you help their brand?

The major emphasis needs to be on forming and crafting your interactions.  The timing and topic of a sales pitch is the difference between being welcomed with open arms and loathed for all eternity.  Take the time to build a relationship with the person (or, more likely, persons) included in the decision making process.  You’re in this for the long haul: there promises to be a good deal of convincing, and you need to have patience.  But your patience may pay off if you’ve got integrity in your service.  A nice, reliable—dare I say boring?—offering that a business can count on will bring you years of buying and healthy relationships.  Surprises and foul ups make people skeptical of you again and will lead you to rebuild relationships.

The Middle Path

The Middle Path
There’s definitely a middle road between some of these groups.  Amateurs who have the resources to take on a professional-style hobby (like photography or cooking), and people who have interest in business activities like finance or publicity are some examples.  If you have the pulse of your customer segments and you know what they expect from you, that’s the basis for a strong marketing campaign.  Click here to find out how we can help you track down your customer segments where they live.

What are your customer segments like?  Do you know what they want and need?  Do you know how long you have to plan to sell to them?  Or, better yet, do you have any experiences that other people can learn from?  Leave those experiences in the comments.

Should You Advertise On These 5 Social Media Networks?

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December 12th, 2012

Should You Advertise On These Five Social Media Networks?

“Advertising?” you might ask, incredulously, after reading the title. “That’s old news! Social media! Content is king, etcetera, etcetera!” Okay, I understand where you’re coming from. The internet is filled to the brim with people with terrible attention spans who won’t give ads even a second of their attention. And, with all of the blog posts coming out to say how blogging is so much more valuable than advertising of any sort, it’s easy to forget that the writer might be trying to justify the work to him or herself.

The biggest strength that you can have in marketing is to be dynamic.  Roll with the punches, go pioneering, and find out what works for you.  It all boils down to a return on investment—whether your marketing strategy is actually doing any selling for you.  And remember, hiring a blogger costs money, too (and even if you do it yourself, it costs you your time).

Now, strictly speaking, advertising appears in a huge number of media.  Search engines, video, other blogs, and many other sites have their own forms of advertising.  I’ll narrow down the field here to some of the top social media platforms, judged by US traffic.  Since content building, social media, and interacting with your audience are all hot topics (and, truthfully, very valuable), here are five social media networks that you should consider advertising on.

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