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Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

Ex-Google Lawyer Says New Google Search “Bad For Internet”

By John Joyce on January 12, 2012 - Comments 0

Oh, and did I mention that he currently works for Twitter?

“We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone,” the company said in a statement. “We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.”

If you haven’t heard about the new Google+ Your World, check out this article over at Venturebeat.com.  I’m not really sure this is a big deal at the moment, as Google+ adoption as slowed considerably, but, if it continues to gain mindshare, we could see another antitrust suit levied against the search giant.

What are your thoughts?

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What KPIs Should You Track?

By John Joyce on March 2, 2011 - Comments 0

The only way for you to accurately understand which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you should track is to understand which answers you are seeking. Reports are useless if they don’t tell a story, give insights, and offer measurable/actionable tactics that help you achieve your goals. You must take a step back and develop a thought process that maps KPIs to your overall business strategy.

Here’s an example. Maybe you’ve recently deployed Google Analytics on your website and you’re wondering why you haven’t been able to leverage the great data that’s being gathered such as:

  • Total Unique Visitors
  • Pageviews
  • Bounce Rate
  • New Visits
  • Traffic Source
  • Average Time On Page

Read more…

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Does Your Website Suck? 5 Free Tools to Help You Find Out

By John Joyce on October 29, 2010 - Comments 2

Your site might look fine on the surface but it could have many issues you’re not even aware of and this could be hurting your lead generation and customer conversion efforts.  Here are five tools that will allow you to take a look under the hood and get an in-depth diagnostic view of your website:

1)  Website Grader

Website Grade for www.thesmallbiznest.com

Website Grader actually gives your website a grade, X/100, based on it’s adherence to “searchability” best practices relative to the other sites that have been tested. (currently 2,973,941 sites have been graded) A report is generated and offers areas for improvement including the following:

  • Checks for a blog and gives a grade
  • Number of indexed pages
  • Readability level
  • Inbound links
  • Do you have a permanent 301 redirect of yourcompany.com to www.yourcompany.com?
  • Is your domain going to expire soon?  (it’s important to show the search engines you’re in for the long haul)
  • Do you have an RSS feed?  Do you have a conversion form?

2)  W3C Validator

W3C Validation Service

The W3C Markup Validation Service checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. The whole concept behind the W3C organization is to encourage the use of standards compliant, user-friendly and accessible code. The feedback from this tool is extremely technical and would be best suited for your website developer.

3)  Pearanaltyics

Pearanalytics screenshot

Pear Analytics has a more friendly user interface and offers great detail on how to fix website issues and the degree of difficulty for each recommended change.  Some of the relevant checks they perform are as follows:

  • 404 error handling
  • Do you have analytics installed?
  • Domain age (the older the better)
  • Duplicate content
  • Do you have a sitemap?

4)  Reactionengine.com

Reaction Engine

The Reaction Engine is another bare bones technical tool that is geared toward the developer crowd.  The key difference with this tool is that it analyzes the SEO performance of a URL based on a given key phrase.

5)  Woorank.com

Woorank

Woorank is a very comprehensive reporting tool with a great looking interface and the ability to save a copy of the report as a pdf.  You can drill down and gain a great deal of insight from stats such as:

  • Traffic to your site
  • Valid robots.txt file
  • Usability
  • Related websites
  • Directory listings
  • Social media presence

The one caveat I did find when trying each of these tools?  Some of the results are inconsistent, for example, Pear Analytics reported that I did not have an H1 heading and the others saw that I did.  So, if you’re going to take the plunge and optimize your site using free tools, make sure you get a second opinion before making any big changes.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, please reach out and we’ll give you a hand.

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50% Discount for Small Business Technology Tour In Boston

By John Joyce on October 19, 2010 - Comments 0

The Small BizNest invites small business owners to attend the small business technolgy tour

Friends of The Small BizNest are eligible for a 50% discount on admission to the Small Business Technology Tour in Boston next week.  Ramon Ray, founder of Smallbiztechnology.com, has put together a great series of events to educate growing companies – whether you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner – in how to use technology as a tool to grow your business.  The next event will be taking place on October 25th at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center. (NERD)

Check out our latest newsletter for more information on enrollment and other cities where you can attend this great event.

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Why Aren’t You Measuring The ROI Of Your Online Marketing Efforts?

By John Joyce on May 28, 2010 - Comments 0

Measure Your Marketing ROII recently participated in Omniture’s ”2010 Online Analytics Benchmark Survey” and received a customized report from them yesterday and wanted to share some of the information with you.  It doesn’t take a genius to understand that businesses shouldn’t spend money on new marketing channels without having the ability to track their success, but that’s exactly what the majority of us are doing.

The main takeaways from this survey are as follows:

Key Web Analytics Challenges Include Talent, Measuring ROI and Multi-Channel Support

Top challenges for online marketers include:

  1. Difficulty finding and training top talent
  2. Determining what actions to take based on their data
  3. Maximizing marketing ROI through full funnel measurement and automatic multi-channel integration.

Do you find yourself or your staff spending large chunks of time developing programs and campaigns, delivering them across an assortment of online marketing platforms and then wondering if they had any impact?  It looks like you’re not alone.  The most telling statistic from this study is glaring proof that, since many of the emerging online marketing platforms are very much in their infancy, businesses are unable to track their success as illustrated below:

Marketers know which metrics are important to measure, however they are not capturing all the metrics they need to achieve their goals.  Eighty-two percent of survey responders believe ROI is somewhat to very important to measure, but only 30 percent of marketers can effectively measure marketing ROI!  Additionally, 86 percent of respondents think conversion rate is somewhat or very important to measure yet 27 percent of marketers cannot effectively measure conversion rates.

We all know measuring the success of offline marketing is difficult to nearly impossible but that’s because there’s no system available to allow for granular collection of metrics.  Conversely, online marketing offers so much data that we become overwhelmed by a never ending stream of seemingly valuable information .  They key, however, is knowing how to interpret that information and turn it into an actionable plan that exploits the repeatable successes you have unearthed.

If you’re going to “try” a mobile marketing campaign, social media campaign or viral video campaign, make sure you develop a system to track and measure success against your business goals.  Work smarter and not harder.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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Be The Subject Matter Expert: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XVI

By John Joyce on May 5, 2010 - Comments 0

Raise your hand and answer questions so people know you're the expertIf you know the answer to a question, you had better raise your hand and let everyone know that you are a subject matter expert.  There are plenty of prospective customers out there looking for answers and all you have to do is share your experience and knowledge with them.  I use a service called Lotusjump (affiliate link) which automates the process of finding questions that pertain to specific keywords I have entered into their system.  Not only do I benefit from positioning myself as being knowledgeable in a specific area, but each answer posted is now an inbound link to my site.  There is a modest monthly fee for this service but it saves you a bunch of time and teaches you how and where you should be investing your SEO resources.

You would be surprised how many prospective customers are asking questions on sites like Answers.com and Yahoo Answers.  And, for the most part, they’re more than happy to award you “the best answer” moniker for taking the time to give thoughtful and insightful answers.

Much like blogging, it might take you awhile to find your “voice” and style for answering questions but this will develop over time.  The most important thing to remember is that you don’t want to be the “blah, blah, blah, hey look at me” guy/girl.  Here are a few guidelines for effectively highlighting your knowledge and experience:

  1. Make sure the question is clear.  Don’t be afraid to ask for quick clarification.
  2. Get right to the point.  Don’t yammer on like Ron Burgundy about being “a big deal”.
  3. Be authoritative.  You need to do x, y and then z.   Don’t do a, b or c.
  4. Tell them why.
  5. When possible, insert links to your site, white papers, etc.

Online Marketing Ecosystem

Although it isn’t included in the image to the right, LinkedIn is another great place for you to build your reputation as an expert.  Since this is a business site with millions of members the competition for “best answer” is substantial as compared to the standard answer forums.

Take a look at these sites to get an idea of the questions you can expect and study the responses of the people who have given the best answers.  It’s not that complicated.  People have questions and you have answers.  So, get to work!

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Help Your Customers Support Each Other: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XIII

By John Joyce on April 6, 2010 - Comments 0

Now that you’ve disseminated your message across the entire universe, how are you going to interact with  customers who are looking for guidance but are spread across so many different platforms?  Enter web-based community support tools.

web-based community support tools

Click image to see interactive online marketing ecosystem.

As you can see from the graphic above, there are several options available and one that I see more an more often (since they’re now supported in Facebook and Google) is Get Satisfaction.  They allow you to interact with customers regardless of which community portal they’re using and are  easily extended throughout your Web presence via simple widgets and open APIs.  A Get Satisfaction community invites customers/visitors to participate in the conversation and provides a platform for conversation anywhere in the online experience.

busy small business ownerGetting your message to the masses is only half the battle when it comes to building your online marketing ecosystem.  You also have to consider which operational enhancements are required to automate the management of your online presence.  Proactively engaging prospects and customers allows for diffusing negativity and garnering valuable feedback and insight as you interact with your customers on an ongoing basis.

The greatest marketing challenge facing small business owners today is simple.  Lack of time.  But, if you can create a community in front of your support solution that lets customers and prospects get answers from each other first, (often with faster response times than through traditional ticketing solutions) you have created a virtual support department. You can publish, archive and search every exchange, so there’s never a need to answer the same question twice.

So, the main thing to remember is that online marketing is no longer a unidirectional process – it has evolved into a collaboration of community where instant feedback and conversation can mean the difference between success and missed opportunity.

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Add Personality To Your Website: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XI

By John Joyce on March 30, 2010 - Comments 1

There has been a great deal written over the past year regarding the value of including video on your small business website.  The two main objections we hear over and over again are 1) I don’t have the time to create video content and 2) I don’t have the budget for the equipment and editing software.

Click to view interactive online marketing ecosystem.

Many of us said we didn’t have time to blog but now it’s a regular part of our daily/weekly routine and has become second nature.  So, the next logical progression is to begin integrating some interactive and engaging video content that will boost traffic and also keep visitors on your site longer.

Is there someone you would like to interview that your readers would find interesting?  Could you create a demo of a product or service that would be more compelling than a simple blog post?

So, you’re going to need a video camera (if you don’t already have one that can be plugged into your computer), editing software, and knowledge of integrating video into your website.

If you don’t feel comfortable getting involved in the editing and slicing of your content, you should check out a new service from Pixability where they send you a Flip camera, you shoot your video and send the camera back, and they create a professionally edited video masterpiece and send it back to you.

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Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part IX: Crowdsourced Buzz

By John Joyce on March 23, 2010 - Comments 1

small businesses using crowdsourcing to create buzz

We "digg" the stuff you write on your blog!

If the first two requirements of effective blogging are 1) an enticing headline and 2) valuable content, then #3 would be choosing a topic that is so hot that your readers are going to share it with the masses on sites like Digg and Reddit.  These types of crowdsourced buzz platforms allow the collective community to drive awareness and create buzz around user submitted news and blog posts.  As you have more than likely already learned,  the more posts you write, the better you’ll be able to understand what type of headlines and content are catching people’s attention and you’ll begin to discover your “voice”.  Promoting your blog to these platforms is a bit different from the basic SEO strategy implemented within your site, so I’ll review some of the specifics to help you develop your own “external buzz strategy”.  (Since Digg is currently the most popular platform, I’ll use that as my point of reference when citing examples and tactics)

Crowdsourced buzz for small business

Click image to see interactive online marketing ecosystem

Once a post makes it to one of these sites, you can notify your network to start fanning the flames by voting and forwarding the link.  Of course, as is true with many of these “exposure platforms”, there is etiquette that must be followed in the course of presenting content to the masses.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t submit your own content to Digg.  If possible, ask friends to submit for you.
  2. If your friends are going to submit your content, make sure they also submit additional content from other sources at the same time.
  3. As mentioned in the beginning of this post, write a compelling headline and description.
  4. Be active in the Digg community by voting, developing your profile and inviting friends.

This might sound like a lot of work but getting “Dugg on Digg” can drive substantial traffic to your site.  Actively participate in the community and you should be justly rewarded.

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Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part VII: Feedback And Comments

By John Joyce on March 16, 2010 - Comments 0

If you want to develop the “persona” of your small business, you have to make sure your audience is easily able to interact and share their thoughts and feedback with you. It’s also important to deliver engaging and, in some cases, polarizing and provocative content that will motivate people to interact. Finally, once you spark conversation and debate, you still have to maintain some semblance of control over the process so I have listed several tools available to help with this process:

Comment Management Tools

Click on Image to View Interactive Online Marketing Ecosystem

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