4 Steps to Finding the Best SEO Specialist for Your Business Needs

You have an awesome website, but not enough qualified visitors.

Is this a problem your business is experiencing?

Sadly, many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t realize that once your fabulous website is built, potential clients simply won’t know it exists.

Not until it is properly search engine optimized that is.

So how do you get people to find your website on the first or second search results page of Google, Yahoo! or Bing?

The answer to that question can be very complex.

This is why most business owners invest in search engine optimization (SEO) agencies or specialists to increase their website search engine visibility that will generate more sales leads.

In working with many entrepreneurs and small business owners, the last thing they want to learn about is SEO! They would much prefer to focus on their own business and core competency than to learn someone else’s expertise.

So if your website suffers from low search engine rankings, and you don’t want to have to learn a whole new profession in order to boost those rankings, here are four steps to finding the best SEO consultant for your specific business needs:

  1. Determine What You Want

    Websites can be at varying search visibility stages and will have different SEO needs. For example, your website might only need to be ranked better on different search engines vs. needing everything from pay-per-click advertising, ongoing SEO maintenance, content creation SEM (Search Engine Marketing), Social Media Marketing and more.

    So before you jump in and try typing the “Best SEO agency in X city” into Google, you first need to determine what you want out of an SEO campaign.

    Ask yourself: “What results do I want an SEO expert to achieve?”

    It could be as simple as increasing website traffic by five to ten percent within the next six to eight months. Or your objective might be to build your list of an additional 100 qualified leads over a certain time frame.

    Having these specific key performance questions answered will help you measure the success of your campaign. But do keep in mind that SEO and SEM are relative where the results you seek can be in direct proportion to the money you are willing to invest.

    Keeping your expectations realistic is important, especially when no legitimate SEO expert can promise results that are out of their control when it comes to how the search engines behave.

 

Hosting Your Website

What do you need?

Servers located in your country or offshore, Linux or Windows operating systems, disk space quota, bandwidth quota, databases, email accounts, web statistics, and easy access.

Location of Servers

Decide where you would like the majority of your visitors to be located and host your website in that country. Tests have shown very little difference in the speed between capital cities in the same country, something like 25 milliseconds. However between countries like USA and Australia the same data at the same time of day took 257 milliseconds. That could make quite a difference in the time taken for a website to load photos on to a screen.

Decide also whether or not you need to phone your host with queries 24 hours a day 7 days a week. That is always available at a cost and suits insomniacs who want answers at say 3:00 am. Most hosts offer a phone service during business hours and a ticket system throughout the night.

Operating Systems

Windows hosting is necessary only if you are using a Microsoft product such as MS Access database, MS SQL Server database, MS Expression Web, ASP, ASP.NET, or any Microsoft product that specifies Windows hosting.

All other websites will run on Linux hosting. Windows hosting is generally more expensive than Linux.

Disk Space

Usually calculated in megabytes, this should be large enough to cover all your website files, email accounts, access logs, databases if any, with some to spare in case people send you large emails. Databases are needed for Content Management Systems like WordPress and for ecommerce systems.

Bandwidth

This is the volume of traffic in megabytes of your website each month. Includes downloads by visitors, uploads by you and emails. Every time you get a visitor, all the components of the web page being viewed will be downloaded to that visitor’s computer. This includes words, pictures, style sheets, etc.

Bandwidth is a good reason to optimize all the images. A photo image is needed to have a high resolution for printing a hard copy, but can be compressed for display on a web page without any visible change in quality. Check images in your graphics program to see how they look at different percentage compressions. As a bonus, the smaller the file size the faster it loads to the screen.

Excess Disk Space

What if you receive a notice that you are about to exceed your disk space quota, the quota that suited your website when you first loaded it? There could be a number of causes:

(1) Your incoming emails are being stored on the server. You may have chosen this strategy because you are a commercial traveler and read emails on a smart-phone or tablet or notebook while on the road and just download emails to your desktop when you return to your office.

If you haven’t chosen that strategy but emails are still accumulating on the server, it could be that you forgot to un-tick the “leave mail on server” option in an email program, e.g. Outlook.

 

Drive Leads with 6 Critical Web Design Elements

There is a lot you can do to drive traffic to your B2B website: on-page search engine optimization (SEO), promoting it on social media channels, search engine marketing (SEM), display ads, direct mailers, and email campaigns, just to name a few.

However, what good is all that great visitor traffic if your website if you aren’t getting any new leads?

While the purpose of a website is not solely to drive leads, it’s often the most tangible ROI of any B2B website. For this very reason, it’s critical that any B2B firm’s website is maximized for lead generation. Below are six tips to start driving more website leads.

Intuitive Layout

Recently, we explored critical considerations for digital marketing and usability along with how this impacts the perception of your brand. It’s essential that your B2B website layout is intuitive, easy to navigate, and prioritizes things your prospects and clients care about.

If your firm’s contact information and access to the products and services you offer are the main concern for prospects, put those at the top of the page. If articles discussing how your products are best utilized or a demo of your products are important to your potential clients, make those very easy to find.

There is no one best layout for a B2B website (hence why template websites aren’t ideal), but the main rule is that you don’t want your users to have to hunt for information. Make everything easy to find and enable users to get to information within one to two clicks.

Clear, Concise Copy

Get to the point and get there fast. You only have a limited amount of time to reach a potential client and show them the value of your products or services. This does not mean that you can’t weave a story, but it does mean you can’t mince words. It also means that you must be selective about what you include on the homepage and other pages. Be sure to prioritize the main benefits or values of your products or services at the very start of your copy.

Working with an experienced, professional copywriter is a great way to achieve this goal. The copywriter can take your input and expertise and finesse it into concise copy that entices prospects to convert.

 

Jon Stewart joke on Osama bin Laden Death

Jon Stewart expressed comedic outrage at the realization that Osama bin Laden had been living in Pakistan for the past six years only a half mile away from Pakistan’s version of West Point. A distance so close, that “if the Pakistani Military Academy were Domino’s [Pizza], they would deliver to Bin Laden on foot!”

The night time talk circuit was buzzing Monday night time (May 2) with humor concerning the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death.

Comedy Central’s original political pundit, Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show, ” considered in with his typical flare.

“We’ve got a really good show for you tonight. Our guest tonight, Philip K. Howard, he’s filling in, ” Stewart begins. “We had an originally scheduled guest, Osama Bin Laden, who is, uh… At the time we thought it was a pretty special booking… I knew he would puss out. “

The “Daily Show” host adds which he had tuned directly into “The Celebrity Apprentice” that evening to determine if “Obama and Seth Meyers’ absolute shellacking of Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday had left a visible mark. ” Then he continues to explain his quick reaction to the break up in programming.

“Just when it looked like the sad dark haired lady was about to be ritually sacrificed by the lady who used to ruin ‘The View, ‘ boom! They break into ‘The Celebrity Apprentice, ” he says. “This is like, 10: 30 at night. Out of nowhere — ‘The President had an announcement’ — So immediately, you start thinking there’s only two things this could probably be.

“A. The President is interrupting ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ to deliver more jokes. The ones that he had not quite finished about Donald Trump. He just popped up on Sunday and went like, ‘Oh f*** that was a great one! ‘ and he was just going to interrupt the show to get him some more. Or B. The more likely scenario, as Hollywood has taught us. When a black President interrupts your show, a meteor is headed towards the earth. “

 

Creative Content Marketing: 4 Types of Digital Content

Don’t miss these creative digital marketing ideas!

Beyond blog posts and social media updates, there are new ways for your business to be showcase itself in front of an audience. Many brands are steering away from a more traditional model of product placement and inserting themselves into consumers’ minds through content marketing. Here are 4 ways to get your brand in front of an audience by using innovative digital content.

Creative Content Marketing: 4 Types of Digital Content

1. Film

Including your brand in videos subtly inserted as product placement is now a thing of the past. Major brands like LEGO are proving that creating your own content is the way to win your audience. Feature-length films about your brand may be hard for many business-owners to create, so start by creating videos and sharing them on your social media channels.

2. Print and Audio Books

A new idea in the world of content marketing is getting your brand into print media, whether online or hard copy. For example, Sweet n Low managed to get its brand mentioned in a new romance novel, placing it in front of thousands of readers.

3. Media Mentions

You worked hard for your media coverage, so go ahead and brag about it! Share any recent online or print mentions via your social media channels and add them to your website so your customers can share in your win. Plus, sharing your success will give you more credibility in your industry.

 

Where Politics and Spirituality Intersect

I don’t see the difference between spirituality and politics.

We do not live in a totalitarian state. As members of a democratic society, we have a civic duty. Our government is held in check by “We the People.” In a democratic system of government, politics is just another aspect of daily living.

Spirituality is not an other-worldly affair. It is a principled worldview coupled with a system of practice that orients our whole being to the world in which we live.

Politics is not a distraction from spirituality, but one aspect of daily life with which spirituality is deeply concerned.

Saying that politics is a distraction from spirituality is like saying relationships or work are obstacles to spiritual practice. They aren’t obstacles, they are opportunities for our spirituality to be born into the world. Segregating politics and spirituality is an attempt to closet your spirituality-to shield it from things that push your buttons, rather than leaning into your struggles and learning to move beyond stress, fear, and anger.

We are not called to hide behind a vapid smile or to look the other way. Any spirituality that hides behind a distraction is not spirituality but a defense mechanism. It is spiritual bypassing, not spiritual practice. This is true regardless of whether our practice is rooted in Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, or lacks religious affiliation altogether.

Gandhi once wrote: “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is… Indeed, religion should pervade every one of our actions. Here religion does not mean sectarianism. It means a belief in ordered moral government of the universe. It is not less real because it is unseen. This religion transcends Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, etc. It does not supersede them. It harmonizes them and gives them reality.”

A living spirituality is politically conscious and engaged, but not obsessed. And this is the catch.

It is hard to be mindful and politically engaged at the same time. It is difficult to watch the news or read the papers without getting wrapped up in it, especially in this day-and-age with a 24-hour news cycle and a controversial president that dominates every minute of that cycle.

Mindfulness and activism often feel mutually exclusive. But uniting the two is our path. We have to root our politics in mindfulness and silence. If we fail to do this, we will either neglect our civic responsibility, or our politics will be tainted with fear and aggression.

 

DIY Search Engine Optimization For Authors and Writers – Part 3

Let's talk about your Website Structure

As writers and authors, we're obviously creative people – but when it comes to the structure of your website, it's important to follow one important rule: Always make sure visitors to your website find what they're expecting to find, in the places They expect to find it.

What that means is:

All your links should be blue and underlined.

You have a "Home Page" and "About Us" page and a way for your visitor to contact you. For your own protection, you need a privacy policy, and a CAN-SPAM compliance page.

Having a photo on your site has also been proven to raise conversion rates and increase credibility.

A Warning About Flash, Frames and the Latest Technology Like Dynamically-Generated Sites

Also, no matter how good you are at building Websites (or how creative your Website designer is) – do not build your site with frames or intensive use of Flash – because most of the time, these design options can not be spidered by The search engines' robots.

And while dynamically-generated sites that use technology like ASP, Cold Fusion, and PERL can have an impact on your Website's functionality, they often cause problems when it comes to search engine placement. (Believe it or not, the page does not exist until your visitor triggers it.) … And because a search engine spider does not trigger the page when it crawls the code – as far as it's concerned, there is no page There.

And the other problem often caused by this type of technology is that it puts questions marks into the URL – and most spiders can not read a link beyond the "?" In a link. And sure, there are technological ways you can get around this – but it can be tricky. So be sure you or your Webmaster have addressed all of these issues first.

You will want to limit the use of graphic representation of text as well. Remember that spiders can not index images – so do not use them to represent your keywords on the page.

When it comes to the structure of your website or blog, remember this: Do not make your visitors search for anything (always have links back to your home page on every other page, for example), and give them the kind of high quality Content that will keep them on your page now – and coming back for more later on.

The Definition of High Quality Content

High quality content is measured by how useful the information is to the visitors who come to your Website or Blog.

So the quality of your content is determined by: How well you have processed, interpreted and acted on the information you gathered to write your content in the first place.

How Content Relates to Your Meta Tags, Page Titles, Descriptions and Keywords on Writers and Authors Websites

If you remember in articles 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed what the best SEO strategies for writers and authors' websites are, and also how to use meta tags, keywords, page titles and descriptions to your best advantage.

So now you understand that everything is linked and all things connect to each other to help you achieve a higher ranking on a search engine's results page when someone types in one of your chosen keywords or keyword phrases.

Keep the Content Real, Keep it Updated and Keep it Focused

Finally, the content on your website or blog has to be real. If you're giving answer someone's questions, or providing them with new information, it needs to be accurate, useful and to the point.

You need to update the information – or add to it regularly – for both the spiders and the people who are visiting your site. Since your home page is the first place to be spidered, it makes sense that it shows the latest news or information. (And if this is not possible then this is where having a blog that links regularly to your home page can be an excellent SEO strategy.)

And remember when you're writing the content, it's important to think about what the spiders are seeing – and write accordingly.

For example, do not use links that say "click here" – because otherwise the spiders will think at least part of your page is about the words "click" and "here."

And if you offer a service – be specific. For example, do not just say "our copywriting services" – say "direct mail packages" or "travel articles" or "Website copy."

 

Internet Marketing – Important Aspects to Becoming Successful Online

Internet marketing is very important when it comes to surviving the fierce competition that's happening on the internet. Especially if a blog or website owner has a niche topic that's too narrow, there might be too much competition for everyone to find a comfortable spot and make an online living out of it. Still, there are ways by which you can increase traffic to your site and gain more traffic by means of Internet marketing.

One way of doing effective internet marketing as a website owner is to optimize your site for the search engines. This method can actually be used for every type of online promotion possible. If properly done, major search engines will be able to determine the type of content that the web page has. Of course there are no guarantees, but there is actually a great chance that your site could earn a high ranking in the search engines like Google. The golden ticket is being able to get your website to rank with a search engine for a particular word and your site is found among the first few results. This greatly increases the chances that visitors will click on the site, which actually results in more profits for you to enjoy.

Another type of internet marketing is one that involves email. Here the you are required to accumulate a decent sized email list. The goal again is to convince the person reading the email to click on the embedded links, which directs them to your blog or website. More traffic means more opportunities of people clicking on your ads. Internet marketing via email can be an effective way of earning more profits for any blog or website.

Article marketing, on the other hand, is a type of internet marketing that makes use of backlinks pointing to one's website. The higher the number of articles that you submit to article directories for publication, the more backlinks that your website will get from the process. With more backlinks created, greater amounts of traffic are drawn to the your website or blog. For articles to be effective in creating traffic, correct anchor text should be used, otherwise valuable backlinks will not be created, and your efforts for a fully optimized site will simply go for naught.

 

LinkedIn Finally Gets “Personal” With Remarketing And Beats Facebook

LINKEDIN HAVE STEPPED UP THEIR GAME.

As someone who has a business that is B2B, I have found that LinkedIn has been the most successful Social Media revenue driver. I use each of the main social networks, as well as Google to promote my business, but since the beginning of this month LinkedIn has become my NBF (new best friend).

Why?

Because the way I can market to my potential customer has become more effective and intelligent.

I have spoken before about Facebook and their remarketing features and how great they are for niche-targeting but for today’s article I want to talk to LinkedIn and how I am able to take a potential customer, and nurture them which then turns them into a paying customer.

WHAT IS LINKEDIN’S MATCHED AUDIENCES?

At the end of April, LinkedIn introduced a brand new piece of software that allows you to combine LinkedIn’s professional data with your own LinkedIn Data to create campaigns that target a specific audience. Matched Audiences will help you engage with the key members of your audience through three different features; Website Retargeting, Account Targeting and Contact Targeting.

WEBSITE RETARGETING

With website retargeting you can re-engage with your website visitors and nurture them through engagement.

ACCOUNT TARGETING

Account targeting is a unique option where you can upload a list of company names to match against the 12 million LinkedIn company pages. You now have the power to market to thought leaders and decision makers with all of the hard work of finding them done for you by LinkedIn’s new remarketing feature.

CONTACT TARGETING

For me, contact targeting is the most powerful tool because of the large database that I have. I can now upload this database to LinkedIn through a CSV file and engage with potential customers that have already been through my email marketing funnel.

FACEBOOK VS LINKEDIN

Fortunately for LinkedIn, Facebook’s audience reach has been widely criticised for the last 8 months with many businesses looking at other options as they are finding that they are not getting a ROI (return on investment)

You will find one big different when taking your database and uploading it into Facebook, and doing the same inside of LinkedIn. Less than 15% of the email addresses you upload into Facebook will be matched to a Facebook account meaning that you are marketing to such a small percentage of your database. Having a low match rate inside of Facebook means that your ad volume will also be low, as will your conversions.

It has been reported that around 75% of someone’s database is actively using LinkedIn and because they have both their personal, and work-related emails registered with their LinkedIn profiles, the chances of being able to remarket to them, and personalise your content is much higher, meaning your efforts will be greatly rewarded.

Facebook might have the bigger user total at over 1.9 billion, but if you’re B2B, LinkedIn will be your best bet when it comes to advertising on Social Media.

WHY IS MATCHED AUDIENCES SO POWERFUL?

I have had a huge shift in how I market to my audience over the last 12 months. I have always tried to be as personal as possible with the content I write, and the way I communicate through the emails I send but I have now understood that my audience want more personalisation and I am able to achieve this through advertising, and even more so through LinkedIn’s new Matched Audience.

When I run a webinar, there are a number of things my team and I do to prepare all of our marketing content. We think about the content we share leading up to that webinar, as well as our email marketing, Social Media strategy and of course; our PPC campaigns. This is where Custom Audiences comes into play.

Let’s first take a look at website retargeting. People come over to my website and click on my webinar landing page. They decide not to sign up for the webinar for one reason or another and that’s OK because I allow Custom Audiences to re-engage with them inside of LinkedIn, allowing for further nurturing to help them make the decision to sign up and join me on my webinar.

 

Blog Profits Revealed – Getting the Big Picture View of Profitable Blog Marketing

One of the things that attract people to blogs is the fact that they are a free flow of ideas. No one person is right or wrong. Each person just has a different take on the same issue. Blog marketing is the ability to capitalize of these different views for your own personal profit. This means that you, as the host, need to be fairly neutral so you can play both sides of the fence while selling your products or ideas.

Manipulating the direction

If you are the host of a blog, you are essentially directing the direction of the discussion. Traffic generation is a goal and is often seen as the topic and topic direction get more interesting. The blog marketing person inside of you, however, will see the profit point of view. Which side of the question at hand is seeing more sales as a result of the questions direction? This is not necessarily the free flow of ideas that the blog started out with, but it is the reality.

Keeping the goal in sight