Why Are Major Marketers Moving Toward Google+?

Recently I had the pleasure of reading an interview of Guy Kawasaki regarding his new e-book, What the Plus! Google+ For the Rest of Us, as well as his general thoughts on the exploding new social network.

In just under a year since it was rolled out, Google+ has grown to over 100 million users.

And while it hasn’t reached the stature of Facebook, Kawasaki thinks now is the time to start focusing on the new social network. As of now, it’s still the “wild west” – meaning, you can stake your claim now before the competition. With Facebook and Twitter, you have to cut through a lot of noise to reach your audience.

Another reason is search traffic. According to Guy, Google “…owns the river called search traffic” and it can “…point that river any way it wants.”

What makes Google+ desirable over Facebook and Twitter?

According to Guy, it’s the ease at which he can edit posts, the more elegant user interface as well as the quality of comments.

What kind of content does Guy put on Google+?

We’ll get into a couple of his suggestions in a minute. But one thing from the interview that really caught my attention is the content he uses. My thinking has always been to only include content we produce.

After reading this interview though, I’ve changed my mind.

Including any kind of content your readers may find interesting will keep them coming back. Guy uses a site called AllTop to find leading topics his readers may find interesting.

In fact when it comes to content, Guy suggests adopting the NPR model.

National Public Radio – both on the radio and online – provides great content 365 days a year. This content is so good that we tolerate their periodic fundraising appeals.

Content you share should provide value – information, analysis and/or assistance.

It should be valuable to the point that you earn the right to also promote your product(s) and service(s) – usually about 5% of the time. NPR for example spends the vast majority of its time providing content but there is that 5% of the time they’re promoting their services and asking for donations from listeners.

Another tip from Guy – make sure people think they’re interacting with a real person on your Google+ profile. Respond to comments quickly and be a real person behind the profile, not a “…hoity-toity brand.”

Should I focus on a business profile or a personal page?

According to Guy, it really depends on your situation. If you plan for your business to outlast you, then go for a business profile. If you’re a sole proprietorship or individual brand, then a personal page is just fine.

Regardless of which route you choose, be sure you interact directly and reassure followers that there’s a real person on the other end. Doing so will ensure they come back for more.

Guy Kawasaki was best known as being one of the original Macintosh “evangelists” back in the 1980s. Much of what drove him back then re: Macintosh is what’s driving his passion about Google+ today.

His new book is very inexpensive (…$2.99 for Kindle edition). I plan to pick up a copy and review it.

Tune back again for a quick review…

In the meantime, read Guy’s interview on Social Media Examiner for more.

Other Posts You May Be Interested In

Google and the Merging of Search and Social Media

Google + – What is it and how will it integrate into your marketing strategy?

Google+ Now Open for Businesses and Brands

6 Tools to Throw your Link Building into Overdrive

Anyone whose worked on optimizing websites for the search engines knows about link building and how tedious, repetitive and time-consuming it can be – prospecting, researching, contacting and following-up can certainly drain away your day.

We’d know – we’ve spent a few years working to get sites to the top of the search engines. Building links is a big part of that. But sometimes though, it can literally be considered a “needle in a haystack” trying to find the right, do-follow link that will really move a website.

As the years have gone on, this task has gotten even more complex as search engines like Google continually make changes to their algorithms.

Fortunately though, there are tools available that can expedite these steps and make the daily task of finding good quality links slightly easier. Below are 6 recommended tools for really cranking up your link building efforts. Each tool has its own unique strengths and focus.

1.    Screaming Frog SEO Spider (http://www.screamingfrom.co.uk/seo-spider/)

    Utilizes an often overlooked way of getting links and audits your site and your competitors’ site(s). The desktop tool sees which incoming links to your site are going to 404 error pages and crawls competitor sites to see where they’re linking.

    2.    Majestic SEO (paid) (http://ww.majesticseo.com/)

    Majestic SEO is now considered the premier tool for comprehensive backlink data since Yahoo Site Explorer went offline last year. Many SEO companies use this tool as a ‘behind-the-scenes’ data provider for their own stats.

    3.    Blekko (http://blekko.com)

    Blekko is unique in that it uses backslash functionality to provide SEO-rich data. Basically, you register for free then enter any site’s URL with modifiers like “/SEO,” “/inbound,” or “/outbound” for detailed link information.

    4.    SubmitEaze (http://www.submiteaze.com/)

    Since Google’s Panda update last year, the value of directors and article links for link building is something to be real careful with. SubmitEaze helps you find the qualified directories related to your industry that will benefit your firm.

    5.    Quix (http://www.quixapp.com/)

    Quix is a “bookmarklet” tool that brings many everyday SEO, social, WordPress and webmaster tasks under one umbrella. Literally dozens of commands allow you to research competitor sites, Google and even social sites like Facebook and Twitter.

    6.    ToutApp (http://www.toutapp.com/)

    Although link building through blind e-mails requesting a link to page A in exchange for a link to page B are in the past, there is still a need for link builders to stay in touch and cultivate media and PR contacts. ToutApp helps do this by automating the process and providing detailed tracking.

    We’ve used a few of these tools to help us dramatically improve link building efforts for us and our clients.

    Have you used any of these tools?

    Any other link building tools you’d recommend?

    Let us know in the comments field below!!

    Some other posts you may be interested in

    Outlook for Search – Building High Rankings in 2012

    3 Steps You Should Take Before Linking to another Site

    8 Ways you can safely sell Links on your Website

    Mobile Smartphones and SEO

    You or someone you know in all likelihood owns a mobile smartphone (…like the I-Phone, Android or something similar) and accesses the Internet with it. These devices have grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years – projections are that one day, more people will access the Internet with a handheld device than laptops or traditional desktop machines.

    With that said, now is the time to consider integrating a mobile version of your website into your online marketing strategy.

    When examining this from a purely SEO standpoint though, one thing you must understand before anything:

    Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo don’t give a hoot if you have a mobile compatible web site or not

    That’s right – websites designed for mobile users do NOT receive any special treatment from the search engines. In other words, searches from a mobile smartphone are treated just like any other search from a regular computer.

    If you take out your smartphone and do a search, you’ll notice that search engines do not rank mobile sites higher unless you add “mobile” or some other unique keyword to your phrase.

    Let’s be clear though – having a site optimized for mobile users is absolutely important. However, this is more of a usability issue and not necessarily a ranking issue.

    From a search engine optimization standpoint though, it’s highly unlikely your mobile site will ever outrank your main site.

    The big impact in terms of SEO and mobile smartphones is local search. Here’s where sites designed for mobile devices are treated differently than desktop sites (…notice, they treat them differently, not better).

    Google and others essentially assume that a mobile search is local. In fact, statistics show that there is a 33% or higher chance you’re looking for something local when using your smartphone.

    For example, if you type in “Best Buy” on your mobile device, it’s assumed you’re looking for the local Best Buy store in your town.

    Another caveat of mobile search (..exclusive to Google) is the fact that Google Places is clearly pushed to the top in a majority of local related keyword searches.

    Therefore, if your customers are local, it’s quite clear you need to have a presence in something like Google Places.

    Aside from local searches though, there isn’t any special treatment for mobile-enabled websites.

    With this assumption in hand, your best bet is to drive all traffic to your main site and put your mobile optimized site with a sub-directory (i.e. http://www.yoursite.com/mobile) rather than as a stand-alone subdomain (i.e. http://mobile.yoursite.com).

    Setting up your mobile site this way carries several benefits, including:

    • Content, trust and authority of your main site (…since it’s likely been around much longer) will be available to your mobile users
    • You can maintain focus of your link building on your main site rather than having to split your efforts between multiple sites
    • Setting cookies is less troublesome when you don’t have to go cross domain

    If you’ve setup a mobile site with its own stand-alone domain, you’re probably experiencing difficulty in getting the new domain to rank. If so, you can setup a 301 re-direct to a mobile domain attached to your main website (i.e. http://www.yoursite.com/mobile).

    From a marketing and usability standpoint, mobile compatible sites are becoming an absolute must, especially considering these devices are currently experiencing an explosive 400% growth in usage. Much of your content will stay the same – it will just need to include coding to make it compatible for the ubiquitous small screens mobile smartphones have.

    But considering the fact that only a tiny fraction of companies have added mobile sites, you will likely have a distinct competitive advantage by starting one now rather than waiting another year or two.

    Other Posts you May Be Interested In

    Google and Merging of Search and Social Media

    Outlook for Search – Building High Rankings in 2012

    Preparing for the Mobile Revolution, Part I

    Preparing for the Mobile Revolution, Part II

    6 Basic Landing Page Optimization Techniques

    In a broad sense, a landing page can be pretty much any webpage on your site. Taken literally, it’s a page a person ‘lands’ on from another website or from a search engine results page.

    For example, if someone uses a very specific term on Google, they may land on an article in your knowledge center discussing the topic they’re looking for.

    For our purposes here though, a landing page is also a web page that “…allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a lead form.” This is a definition provided by a recent e-book from HubSpot on landing page optimization and conversion.

    Good landing pages will target a particular audience – traffic from an email campaign or pay-per-click ad for example. It’s important you create a landing page for each offer you have. For example, you can either build a landing page designed to promote downloads of a new e-book or you can build one designed for the visitor to make contact, provide information or signup for an offer.

    Landing pages are important because they allow you to convert more visitors into leads since these pages make the process of receiving an offer much easier. One main reason is because site visitors don’t have to spend time navigating your site to find your offer.

    Landing pages also eliminate visitor confusion on what they must do to receive your offer. They eliminate frustration for visitors, guaranteeing you will see more conversions.

    Continue reading for 6 basic landing page optimization tips everyone should consider.

    1.    Use clear title, description and layout to convey the value of your offer. Create a strong incentive for your visitors to download, contact or sign-up.

    2.    Minimize disruptions on your landing page, including navigation links you may have on other pages. Keep visitors focused on completing your form or reading through to the call-to-action.

    3.    Include social sharing links like Google’s +1, Facebook’s ‘Like,’ Twitter, LinkedIn and so forth. This allows visitors to easily share your page/offer with their friends.

    4.    If you’re using a form, design and structure it with the user in mind. Only ask for what you need to follow-up and qualify the lead. Don’t make it too long or invasive.

    5.    Have a Thank-you page that appears once the visitor finishes downloading your e-book or completing the contact form. Maintain engagement by suggesting other pages/offers they may be interested in or next steps they can take.

    6.    Track conversion rates and keep testing to find areas of improvement. Use metrics and A/B test results to refine your pages so they continue to grow.

    Point 6 is especially important in that testing and metrics lets you see what works and what doesn’t. Having this information in hand gives you a tremendous advantage in building landing pages that work.

    Check back with us again soon for more information on A/B split testing, conversion metrics and other important items you can consider to help maximize your landing pages’ potential.

    Other Posts you May Be Interested In

    Hooking your Readers – 7 Approaches to Great Headlines

    How Minor Tweaks to your Headlines Can Boost Conversions

    Maximize Conversions by these 9 Tips for Writing the Ultimate Landing Page

    Hooking your Readers – 7 Approaches to Great Headlines

    We spend a lot of time talking about content and its necessity. Your landing pages, site pages, blogs and knowledge center content are there to not only tell your story, inform and motivate readers, it’s there to build search rankings as well.

    But search engine optimization and building search rankings go well beyond just keywords, an arbitrary amount of content and so on. It also has to be informative and interesting enough to be shared either through linking or the increasingly important social media mentions.

    Simply writing generic content that doesn’t grab the reader’s attention won’t exactly yield a whole lot of benefit for your firm.

    Headlines are how you grab this attention, which should intrigue the reader into continuing on for more.

    Time is valuable….

    Since we’re bombarded with so much information all the time, we’re only going to look at what really intrigues us and think will benefit us. Seeing a boring headline limits your content’s potential in this regard. And if it doesn’t see much in the way of traffic, links and mentions in social media, it won’t have the impact it can.

    That’s why taking a few minutes to craft a headline that grabs your reader’s attention is so valuable. Headlines are an invaluable part of print media (…think about when you’re in the checkout line looking at the magazines). In the online world, headlines are doubly important due to the sheer magnitude of content that’s out there.

    Nick Usborne has outlined 7 approaches to headlines that can grab readers’ attention and ignite their curiosity to keep reading. Using one of these will help you maximize the impact your content has on your bottom line.

    Approach #1: Ubiquitous List

    People love seeing lists, which are easy to scan and read. They are a lot of times a hit on social media. Lists can be especially valuable if you include some sort of benefit like “5 Ways to save on your Vacation,” or whatever is applicable to your business.

    Approach #2: “How To”

    Always a winner too…explaining how to do something will always draw a lot of attention. Be sure you say that in your headline (ex: “How to save 15% on your heating bill) so people will clearly see the benefit of reading further. Millions of people go online each day to find out how to do something – buy a car, pick a stereo, fix a flat, whatever.

    Approach #3: Challenge

    Another thing that compels people to read is a challenge. Do I know the answers or not? What don’t I know or what am I missing? Good example from Nick – “5 Things you don’t know about your teenagers.”

    Approach #4: Intrigue

    This approach is kind of like a brain-twister where the reader has to keep going to find the answer. “Body Found, Man Still Missing” is an actual headline from a newspaper. While searching for a missing person, someone else’s body was found.

    Approach #5: Conspiracy

    We all love a good conspiracy involving anyone in a position of authority (doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc.). Giving any indication they’ve hidden the truth will certainly entice readers for more. (Ex:  The truth about raw food diets)

    Approach #6: Secrets of the Opposite Sex

    People love delving into the mystery of what makes the opposite sex tick. If you’re targeting a specific gender, you will grab a lot of attention this way. (Ex: Why women love to shop or Why men love to watch sports)

    Approach #7: Scarcity

    Indicating scarcity of an offer or a closing window of time to do something will indeed motivate people to read further. People don’t like to miss out on something so their attention will be drawn by the prospect of a last chance. (Ex: “Last chance to get tickets” or “Deadline for applications soon”)

    Examples of headlines are mainly from Nick with a few more thrown in there by me.

    These 7 approaches to headlines will garner much more attention than regular, descriptive headlines. The result will be a much higher number of social media mentions, likes and shares.

    Nick Usborne has an e-book on crafting killer headlines that I hope to obtain and read here soon. When I do, I’ll come back and share what I learned.

    Have you taken one of these approaches in crafting a headline?

    If so, did you see more conversions, shares and so forth?

    Other Posts You May be Interested In

    How Minor Tweaks to your Headlines Can Boost Conversions

    Test Headlines with the ‘Breath’ Test

    Beware of your Page’s Primary Purpose When Writing Content

    10 Steps for Optimizing Web Content and Landing Page Copy