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  • Nate 10:34 PM on October 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Managing your reputation through search results 

    by Susan Moskwa, Webmaster Trends Analyst

    A few years ago I couldn’t wait to get married. Because I was in love, yeah, but more importantly, so that I could take my husband’s name and people would stop getting that ridiculous picture from college as a top result when they searched for me on Google.

    After a few years of working here, though, I’ve learned that you don’t have to change your name just because it brings up some embarrassing search results. Below are some tips for “reputation management”: influencing how you’re perceived online, and what information is available relating to you.

    Think twice

    The first step in reputation management is preemptive: Think twice before putting your personal information online. Remember that although something might be appropriate for the context in which you’re publishing it, search engines can make it very easy to find that information later, out of context, including by people who don’t normally visit the site where you originally posted it. Translation: don’t assume that just because your mom doesn’t read your blog, she’ll never see that post about the new tattoo you’re hiding from her.

    Tackle it at the source

    If something you dislike has already been published, the next step is to try to remove it from the site where it’s appearing. Rather than immediately contacting Google, it’s important to first remove it from the site where it’s being published. Google doesn’t own the Internet; our search results simply reflect what’s already out there on the web. Whether or not the content appears in Google’s search results, people are still going to be able to access it — on the original site, through other search engines, through social networking sites, etc. — if you don’t remove it from the original site. You need to tackle this at the source.

    • If the content in question is on a site you own, easy — just remove it. It will naturally drop out of search results after we recrawl the page and discover the change.
    • It’s also often easy to remove content from sites you don’t own if you put it there, such as photos you’ve uploaded, or content on your profile page.
    • If you can’t remove something yourself, you can contact the site’s webmaster and ask them to remove the content or the page in question.

    After you or the site’s webmaster has removed or edited the page, you can expedite the removal of that content from Google using our URL removal tool.

    Proactively publish information

    Sometimes, however, you may not be able to get in touch with a site’s webmaster, or they may refuse to take down the content in question. For example, if someone posts a negative review of your business on a restaurant review or consumer complaint site, that site might not be willing to remove the review. If you can’t get the content removed from the original site, you probably won’t be able to completely remove it from Google’s search results, either. Instead, you can try to reduce its visibility in the search results by proactively publishing useful, positive information about yourself or your business. If you can get stuff that you want people to see to outperform the stuff you don’t want them to see, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of harm that that negative or embarrassing content can do to your reputation.

    You can publish or encourage positive content in a variety of ways:

    • Create a Google profile. When people search for your name, Google can display a link to your Google profile in our search results and people can click through to see whatever information you choose to publish in your profile.
    • If a customer writes a negative review of your business, you could ask some of your other customers who are happy with your company to give a fuller picture of your business.
    • If a blogger is publishing unflattering photos of you, take some pictures you prefer and publish them in a blog post or two.
    • If a newspaper wrote an article about a court case that put you in a negative light, but which was subsequently ruled in your favor, you can ask them to update the article or publish a follow-up article about your exoneration. (This last one may seem far-fetched, but believe it or not, we’ve gotten multiple requests from people in this situation.)

    Hope these tips have been helpful! Feel free to stop by our Web Search Forum and share your own advice or stories about how you manage your reputation online.

    Posted by NC Square

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  • Nate 8:07 PM on October 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    You Are NOT George Clooney – So Get Your Social Networking Act In Gear! 

    By Adam Urbanski (c) 2009

    When George Clooney was recently asked about his take on Facebook at the Toronto Film Festival, his response was short: “I’d rather have a prostate exam than a Facebook page.”

    Now, that’s probably understandable when movie studios (his potential clients) have his number on a speed dial, and pesky paparazzi (freebie seekers and unqualified prospects) chase after his every move.

    But unless you already have more prospects and high quality clients than you and your business can handle, your approach to Social Networking should be drastically different.

    Frankly, a little over a year ago I considered online networking a total waste of time. Fortunately, I was able to recognize how wrong I was. And I wasn’t the only one that had a change of heart on this.

    After Dell revealed they generated a cool million dollars in extra sales in 2008, (ahm, make it a cool $3 million by June’09!), many other companies large and small started paying attention to this social networking “fad”!

    Just consider a few of these facts:

    • Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networks initially considered online hang-out places for kids and teenagers are now attracting a much more demographically diverse crowd.

    • Big brand names, like Ford, WholeFoods, Comcast, IBM, Dell, Southwest Airlines, and many, many more are establishing a strong presence on social networking hubs like Twitter and Facebook.

    • Facebook membership has just passed the 300 million mark (that’s nearly the population of USA!) and Twitter is marching towards 18 million users by year’s end! That’s a lot of potential customers!

    • Although, started with college kids in mind, over 50% of Facebook’s members now are over 25 years old, over 55% are women (the new buying power), 51% have an annual income of $75K, with 33% claiming to bring home $100K or more.

    • Finally, Facebook has become one of the most trusted companies in America, and people spend three times more time there than on Google!
    Got your attention now?

    Good, let me give you just five basic tips on putting this massive connection power to your advantage.

    1. Get Started! Open an account on every social media and social networking platform you come across. Even if you are not actively using all of them, (which you won’t) you should reserve your name, the name of your company, your brand, or your key products, because those are like real estate locations – once the prime spots are gone, they are gone! For example, I have the vanity url facebook.com/adamurbanski – but there are at least six other Adam Urbanskis who won’t ever be able to grab that link! I also have twitter.com/adamurbanski, youtube.com/adamurbanski and many more like this – are you getting the point?

    2. Get Involved! Just opening the accounts won’t do anything for you. You must be actively involved. Choose the best three platforms for you – where you can find the largest population of your ideal clients and it’s the easiest to connect with them. Each platform provides search tools that enable you to find people you already know, current customers, as well as hubs where most of your ideal potential clients already hang out, so you can become visible to a lot of them very quickly. And start connecting and talking! But first…

    3. Listen, Listen, Listen More. The most important thing you must remember is that social networking is NOT ABOUT YOU! It’s ABOUT THEM! So don’t listen twice as much as you talk (I mean “post”), listen 10 times as much! Find out what the current topics are. What people are concerned about, what information and solutions they are looking for. Then make your posts relevant to other people’s needs! Here is a hint – nearly all of the social networking services and tools, at least the basic version of them, is free! So don’t go out there pitching your high-priced wares. Give, give, and give some more first! If your focus is on getting and taking, you will get a big fat NADA from your networking efforts. But if you focus on giving, you’ll be abundantly rewarded in return.

    4. Get Attention! Following all the rules is for sissies! So don’t be a social networking pansy – have an opinion (in fact, have lots of opinions on everything!) and voice it loud and often! People admire people with opinions – even if they don’t agree with you, they will stick around to watch what will happen next. Social networking experts are quick to dispense all their “must not break” rules (heck, I’m doing it right now!), but the fact is, this is such a new media that most of the effective approaches are still to be discovered. And the only way to do so is by stepping on some toes and breaking some norms.

    If you want a “safe” way to practice this, follow my PET formula: polarize, entertain, teach!

    – POLARIZE. Whether you piss people off or make them love you, they will pay attention. If they are indifferent, they will leave!

    – ENTERTAIN. People will always choose fun over education. If people laugh w/ you, they like you… Plus, when they laugh – they learn!

    – TEACH. Gary Veynerchuk says “give good s#!%.” And he gets how PET works, because that phrase rubs some people the wrong way, it entertains, and it teaches! Peeps love good tips they can use right away – so share some!

    5. Automate! The purpose of social networking is to CONNECT WITH PEOPLE on a very personal level. Still there are some tools that can help you impress your fans with your “omnipotent online presence” and get more networking done in less time.

    RSS blog feeds, FriendFeed.com, Ping.fm, TwitterFeed.com, SocialOomph.com, TweetBeep.com, and TubeMogul.com are just a few of a plethora of tools and services – most of them free – that will kick your online socializing into high gear!

    Here is my final take on it. And I really want you to get it! In April of 2008, from a stage at one of my boot camps, I called people who use Twitter “lazy idiots with no life” (yeah, how is that for polarizing, huh?) But at the same boot camp earlier this year I had my Twitter networking activities to thank for clients from Australia, Singapore, Netherlands, Spain, England, Hungary, and a few other countries. Needless to say, I changed my tune. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what I now call professionals and entrepreneurs who refuse to recognize the client attracting power of social networking. Better yet – stop wondering, and if you aren’t involved yet – get started now!

    Get social network management by NC Square

     
  • Nate 8:02 PM on October 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Successful Website Design Criteria 

    By David Smith (c) 2009

    We believe you don’t start the design of a new or revised website by sitting down with the designer and coder of the website. Rather, we recommend you review the approaches, ideas, processes and other methods listed below to determine if they apply to your situation.

    Think about your audience. Are they looking for immediate answers and solutions? We bet they are. Most likely these visitors to your website are very much like you. Chances are you use the Internet more than other types of media to search for information. If a web page doesn’t “grab your interest” within 8 – 10 seconds after landing on it… you move on!

    As a “first step” we suggest that you start by reviewing the questions listed below. We are convinced that once you get to the last question… you will have a list of action items identified that will greatly improve the productivity of your current website. The success or failure of the site and/or business may very well depend upon the decisions you make after reading these questions.

    What Do You Know About Your Clients and Prospects State of Mind?

    When visitors land on your website, they have very little time to read what you say. They have a need for information or a product and don’t want to listen or read verbose descriptions and comments. You have about 8 seconds to engage them and get them to take action. Do most visitors land on your website wanting:

    1) information,
    2) a “quick fix”,
    3) a bargain,
    4) a large selection,
    5) or a telephone call, etc.?

    It is imperative to know the answers to these and many other questions BEFORE you design the pages within your website.

    Do You Make Website Visitors Feel You Can Satisfy Their Wants and Needs?

    Landing on any page within your website [especially the Homepage] must make the visitor know that you understand their needs, business, wants, and desires. The more you put yourself into the “mindset” of the website visitor, the better chance you have of converting their visit into something you want to happen i.e. buy, complete a contact us form, bookmark the page, pick up the phone and call you or any other method of measurable conversion.

    What Approach Do You Take When Developing Pages Within Your Website?

    What do you think you would want from your website if you were the prospective visitor or client? Assume you don’t know as much information as you want in order to make an informed decision. Talk to these visitors in a language they will understand. If visitors want more insight or information, tell them to click on the more info link or give you a call. They will follow your direction ONLY if you have built some level of trust or understanding.

    What are You “Selling” to the Website Visitor?

    Are you focused on telling them about your product or service or are you making them understand that choosing your firm will deliver that special feeling they are seeking by making the purchase? Are you sure that you made the visitor know that you understand their needs, wants, problems, etc.? What techniques did you implement to get your points across?

    How are You Going to Get the Visitor to Stop and Think About Your Service or Product?

    Remember… they are ready to pass by your website in a blink of an eye. What are you going to do to engage them? The answer you come up with will be critical to the success you have in gaining their confidence enough to buy or call you. Make sure what you say is NOT the same old thing they are used to seeing or reading on other websites. Be boring and you lose! Address the issues that appeal to the visitor and they WILL STOP! This is hard work… but worth the effort.

    What Kind of “Call to Action” Statements are You Placing on Your Website?

    Turning a visitor into a prospect or client is one of the most critical actions of your website. How will you engage them? Once they know that you understand their needs and wants, they are more inclined to follow your CTA direction. Call to Action statements are critical to the success of any website’s conversion. Guide them in a manner that is more telling, rather than selling. Don’t be afraid to be assertive.

    How Does Your Website Address the “Who Are We” Issue?

    Again, it is about making the website visitor feel confident that they are choosing a reputable firm or organization with which to do business. They need to read about your success. This can be done by exhibiting your affiliation with associations, awards won, satisfied client statements, client success stories, examples of your work, etc. Show them you are a “player” in your industry.

    Are You Prepared to Answer: “What Makes You Different”?

    What have clients and prospects said about you and your company? Have they applauded you for your approach to doing business? Did they say you made them feel like you understood their needs and wants? Think back to the reasons clients buy from you. How did you meet their needs and wants? Give your prospective clients reasons to do business with your firm.

    A final thought…

    Make it your primary goal to understand the potential client. Look at your website through that client’s perspective. Who are they? What makes them different? What do they individually want and need? Be informative… do more telling than selling. They will “get it” and appreciate that you have made them an educated buyer. Finally, tell them what you want them to do next. Get them to take the first step and be ready to deliver on the expectations you have set throughout your website!

    Finally, be sure to hire Internet marketing professionals to do the job if you don’t have the capabilities in-house. Too much is at stake to leave this part of your business to chance! We are pleased to provide you the insightful comments contained herein.

    Get custom website design at a bargain price with NC Square

     
  • Nate 1:54 PM on October 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Identifying a Marketing Message that Works 

    By Anton Pearce (c) 2009

    In your consulting business, chances are you have spent a lot of time thinking about the specific services you can provide to clients. You’ve probably spent a great deal of time and effort working on processes, so that when clients come to you you’re able to provide them real solutions.

    Unfortunately, many solo professionals don’t put the same kind of time and thought into their marketing message. They put up a website, perhaps, that goes into great detail about how it is they can solve their clients’ problems. Then, they can’t understand why no one is buying.

    It’s because they haven’t developed a core marketing message. What, exactly, is your core marketing message? It’s the message you want to get across to your potential customers. It’s the thing that will convince potential customers that you have the answer to their problem. The success of your business will, ultimately, depend greatly on how clear and effective your core marketing message is.

    Introducing Yourself

    One of the reasons you’re marketing your business is so that people will choose to hire you. That sound’s rather basic, but it can be overlooked. Your marketing message needs to say who you are. Making sure your name, or your business name, is included in your marketing efforts will help insure that, even if the potential client doesn’t hire you right away, they’ll remember you for when they are ready to buy.

    In the process of introducing yourself, don’t get carried away. Talking about yourself can distract your potential customers and, in many cases, push them away. They’re not interested as much in who you are as they are in what you can do for them.

    In some niches, it can be useful to provide some biographical information. For example, you might say, “I am Dr. Rogers, and I am a physician at State Hospital” or “I am Jan Smith, a certified clinical psychologist.” If your niche has recognized certifications or associations, you can certainly include this information in your marketing. As a general rule, however, brevity is best.

    Identifying Problems

    The next thing you need to focus on in your core marketing message is a problem that needs to be solved. People buy things, and they pay consultants and coaches, to solve problems. This is true for just about any consulting business. If you’re a writing coach, your clients have a problem with their writing ability (or with selling their writing, perhaps.). If you’re a weíght loss coach, your clients probably have a weight problem. If you’re a back pain coach, your clients have back pain.

    It seems basic, but identifying the specific problems that your coaching solves is integral to your core marketing message. You want to reach people that have a need, and then say, “Hey! You there! I can fix that!” That is how you get clients’ attention. That’s how your potential clients know you’re talking to them, and how they know you have something that they just might want to listen to. Think about some of the most effective commercials and marketing campaigns you’ve seen.

    Acne medications don’t start out their advertisements by talking about ingredients. Instead, they say, “Are you tired of not looking your best?”

    They identify a problem right away: with acne, you don’t look your best. Your core marketing message should address a problem or problems of your target market. Make a list of the top problems in your target market – perhaps three to five problems – and decide which ones you can solve. Focus your marketing efforts on these.

    Offering Outcomes

    The natural thing to do, once you’ve identified a problem, is talk about solutions and processes. However, when it comes to your core marketing message, solutions and processes need to take a back seat.

    You see, people out there who have a problem aren’t looking for methods. They aren’t looking for a process. They aren’t even looking for solutions.

    What they want are outcomes.

    The person with back pain doesn’t want medicine. They don’t want exercise, physical therapy or coaching. They want to be free from back pain. The person with acne doesn’t want hydrocortisone creams or UV treatments. They want to get rid of their acne. It’s not enough to identify problems; potential customers know they have problems. Identifying problems is just how you get their attention. You need to tell those potential customers exactly why they need you. You have to be able to identify specific outcomes. You need to know what your potential clients want to get out of the situation, decide if you can provide it, and then give it to them.

    As the next step in the process of developing your core marketing message, you need to consider each of those problems you identified previously. For each problem, ask yourself, “What is the ideal outcome your potential customers are hoping for?” Once you’ve identified those outcomes, they become an impressive tool in your marketing efforts.

    A Note About Process

    Just because the process of solving problems shouldn’t be included in your marketing message doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. Before you attach a given outcome to a problem, you’d better be sure you have a process in place that will solve the problem and provide the desired outcome. If you can’t create the outcome, you have to strike it from your marketing message.

    Putting it All Together

    So, now that you have identified the various components of your core marketing message, it’s time to actually formulate and articulate that message. Your core marketing message says something along these lines: “I am _____. I work with _____ who have this problem_____. I help them to _____.”

    So, you might say, “I am John Sebastian. I work with older men and women who have lower back pain. I help them to manage their pain effectively and lead normal, productive lives.”

    Establishing a coherent core marketing message that identifies who you are, identifies the problem you can solve and gives the potential customer a look at what life looks like after their problem is solved is key to success in your consulting business.

    Free email and survey marketing through NC Square

     
  • Nate 4:49 PM on October 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    The Tricky Issue of Duplicate Content & What Google Says About It 

    By Titus Hoskins (c) 2009

    Being a full-time online marketer means you have to keep a close watch on how Google is ranking pages on the web… one very serious concern is the whole issue of duplicate content. More importantly, how does having duplicate content on your site and on other people’s sites, affect your keyword rankings in Google and the other search engines?

    Now, recently it seems that Google is much more open about just how it ranks content. I say “seems” because with Google there are years and years of mistrust when it comes to how they treat content and webmasters. Google’s whole “do as I say” attitude leaves a bitter taste in most webmasters’ mouths. So much so, that many have had more than enough of Google’s attitude and ignore what Google and their pundits say altogether.

    This is probably very emotionally fulfilling, but is it the right route or attitude to take? Probably not!

    Mainly because, regardless of whether you love or hate Google, there’s no denying they are King of online search and you must play by their rules or leave a lot of serious online revenue on the table. Now, for my major keyword content/pages even a loss of just a few places in the rankings can mean I lose hundreds of dollars in daily commissions, so anything affecting my rankings obviously gets my immediate attention.

    So the whole tricky issue of duplicate content has caused me some concern and I have made an ongoing mental note to myself to find out everything I can about it. I am mainly worried about my content being ranked lower because the search engines think it is duplicate content and penalizes it.

    My situation is compounded by the fact that I am heavily into article marketing – the same articles are featured on hundreds, some times thousands of sites across the web. Naturally, I am worried these articles will dilute or lower my rankings rather than accomplish their intended purpose of getting higher rankings.

    I try to vary the anchor text/keyword link in the resource boxes of these articles. I don’t use the same keyword phrase over and over again, as I am nearly 99% positive Google has a “keyword use” quota – repeat the same keyword phrase too often and your highly linked content will be lowered around 50 or 60 places, basically taking it out of the search results. Been there, done that!

    I even like submitting unique articles to certain popular sites so only that site has the article, thus eliminating the whole duplicate content issue. This also makes for a great SEO strategy, especially for beginning online marketers, your site will take some time to get to a PR6 or PR7, but you can place your content and links on high PR7 or PR8 authority sites immediately. This will bring in quality traffic and help your own site get established.

    Another way I combat this issue is by using a 301 re-direct so that traffic and pagerank flows to the URL I want ranked. You can also use your Google Webmaster Tool account to show which version of your site you want ranked or featured: with or without the www.

    The whole reason for doing any of this has to do with PageRank juice – you want to pass along this ranking juice to the appropriate page or content. This can raise your rankings, especially in Google.

    Thankfully, there is the relatively new “canonical tag” you can use to tell the search engines this is the page/content you want featured or ranked. Just add this meta link tag to your content which you want ranked or featured, as in the example given below:

    <link rel=”canonical” href=”place your preferred link here”>

    Anyway, this whole duplicate issue has many faces and sides, so I like going directly to Google for my information. Experience has shown me that Google doesn’t always give you the full monty, but for the most part, you can follow what they say. Lately, over the last year or so, Google seems to have made a major policy change and are telling webmasters a lot more information on how they (Google) rank their index.

    So if you’re concerned or interested in finding out more about duplicate content and what Google says about it try these helpful links. First one is a very informative video on the subject entitled “Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues” which is presented by Greg Grothaus who works for Google.

    Another great link is this page from Google Webmasters Support Answers by Matt Cutts. It has a lot of helpful information, including a video on the Canonical Link Element.

    In yet another post, Matt Cutts discusses the related issue of content scraping and advises webmasters not to worry about it. This is a slightly different matter, other webmasters and unmentionables may use software to scrape your site and place your content on their site. This has happened to me, countless times, including when my content has been reduced to scrambled nonsense. Cutts says not to worry about this matter as Google can usually tell the original source of the material. In fact, having links in this duplicate content may just help your rankings in Google.

    “There are some people who really hate scrapers and try to crack down on them and try to get every single one deleted or kicked off their web host,” says Cutts. “I tend to be the sort of person who doesn’t really worry about it, because the vast, vast, vast majority of the time, it’s going to be you that comes up, not the scraper. If the guy is scraping and scrapes the content that has a link to you, he’s linking to you, so worst case, it won’t hurt, but in some weird cases, it might actually help a little bit.”

    As a full time online marketer I am not so easily convinced, I mainly have pressing concerns about my unscrupulous competition using these scrapings and duplicate content to undermine one’s rankings in Google by triggering some keyword spam filter. Whether in fact this actually happens, only Google knows for sure, but it is just another indication, despite the very detailed and helpful information given above, duplicate content and the issues surrounding it, will still present serious concerns for online marketers and webmasters in the future.

    Get you website ready for Google with NC Square

     
  • Nate 10:01 PM on October 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    You Must Use Social Media to Promote Your Brand 

    By Phyllis Zimbler Miller (c) 2009

    If you think Twitter, Facebook, and other online social media communities are only for teens, you’re missing out on valuable and free marketing platforms for your brand (book, business or product).

    Further, if you’re not on social media, you’re risking losing your potential clients/customers to those smart business people who are utilizing social media.

    Which social media platforms you focus on depends a great deal on what your brand is. Here are seven excellent reasons why you must use social media no matter what you are promoting:

    Reason 1: It’s the Most Cost-Effective Online Advertising

    The current most popular social media platforms being used for business are free: Twitter.com, Facebook.com and LinkedIn.com. (LinkedIn does have an upgrade that costs, but it’s not necessary to get this upgrade.) And this is “relationship” marketing to targeted markets. “Free” is definitely more cost-effective than spending money on online advertising techniques such as Pay Per Click or banner ads.

    Reason 2: You Can Have Global Reach With Social Media

    The world is now a global marketplace. Why not reach this global market? Many of the most popular social media platforms have this global reach, and you can see this clearly illustrated on Twitter. At any time of day or night you can see real-time “tweets” from people in Japan, England, the U.S., India and many other countries.

    For example, if you have a book that might appeal to anyone in the world who reads in English, why limit yourself to just promoting in the U.S.? Thanks to Amazon people outside the U.S. can buy your book even if it is only available in U.S. stores.

    Reason 3: You Can Attract Targeted Groups of People as Potential Clients/Customers for Your Brand

    Social media enables you to join groups of people with the same interests and goals. On LinkedIn and Facebook you can join groups as varied as Children’s Book Writers to eMarketing. If you choose groups to join based on your brand, you’ll be putting yourself in front of the exact groups of people you want to reach as potential clients/customers. This can pay off in increased sales for you.

    Reason 4: You Can Form A Community by Using the Community Aspect of Social Media

    Once you are active on social media platforms and have people who are your followers (Twitter), your friends (Facebook) and/or your connections (LinkedIn), you can start groups of highly targeted interests. You can create a niche market in your brand, book or business and share your knowledge with others who join your community.

    These people can become your loyal followers, friends and connections – and they can help spread your marketing message to their followers, friends and connections.

    Reason 5: You Can Use Social Media to Establish Your Expertise

    People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. By sharing your knowledge for free online with the people in the social media groups you belong to, you can establish yourself as an expert. This can pay off in increasing potential clients/customers’ trust in you.

    And you can also receive invitations for blog “interviews” or BlogTalkRadio show interviews or podcasts. And these interviews lead to more free exposure for your brand and more free exposure for your expertise.

    Reason 6: You Can Use Social Media to Find Cross-Promotional Partners

    Amazingly in the world of social media, people who would be considered competitors in the off-line world are teaming up to provide products and services to their combined clients/customers.

    And these clients/customers are very responsive to these cross-promotions (often called joint ventures) – especially when introduced to a second expert by a first expert they already know, like and trust.

    You and your cross-promotíon partner can each get access to the other person’s “list” (the names of interested clients/customers collected at a website) and thus you’ve greatly expanded your potential client/customer pool.

    Reason 7: With a Few Keystrokes You Can Announce New Updates of Your Activities

    Your updates on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn take seconds – and you’ve announced to your followers, friends and connections what you’re doing or what you’re offering or what you’re speaking on. And there are even online applications that allow you to update your status across several of your social media accounts simultaneously. So it is as easy as 1-2-3 to keep in front of your potential clients/customers.

    In conclusion, once you become active yourself on social media platforms, you’ll find many more reasons to promote your brand, book or business on social media in order to attract targeted potential clients/customers. And you’ll look back at your pre-social media days and wonder how you ever did marketing without using online social media.

    Learn more about social networking by contacting NC Square

     
    • Al Hanzal 8:03 PM on November 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Phyllis,

      A very insightful article about branding. I help small businesses uncover their personal brand to be used on the internet. I was impressed with your thoughts and they relate to the development of your own brand that is called for on today’s social media sites. I have put your article on my blog. Thanks you. http://budurl.com/socialmediabranding

  • Nate 3:01 PM on September 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Using named anchors to identify sections on your pages 

    Posted by Raj Krishnan, Snippets Team

    We just announced a couple of new features on the Official Google Blog that enable users to get to the information they want faster. Both features provide additional links in the result block, which allow users to jump directly to parts of a larger page. This is useful when a user has a specific interest in mind that is almost entirely covered in a single section of a page. Now they can navigate directly to the relevant section instead of scrolling through the page looking for their information.

    We generate these deep links completely algorithmically, based on page structure, so they could be displayed for any site (and of course money isn’t involved in any way, so you can’t pay to get these links). There are a few things you can do to increase the chances that they might appear on your pages. First, ensure that long, multi-topic pages on your site are well-structured and broken into distinct logical sections. Second, ensure that each section has an associated anchor with a descriptive name (i.e., not just “Section 2.1”), and that your page includes a “table of contents” which links to the individual anchors. The new in-snippet links only appear for relevant queries, so you won’t see it on the results all the time — only when we think that a link to a section would be highly useful for a particular query.

    Custom web design by NC Square

     
    • shay thompson 3:53 PM on September 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Unfortunately the new “jump to” feature does not work with custom search which display the search results in an iframe

  • Nate 5:22 PM on September 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Get Your Company Link Building With These 5 Simple Tips 

    By Oliver Feakins (c) 2009

    As the online market place continues to warm up to the idea of SEO, link building has become center stage as it tends to be the most time consuming and crucial part of any internet marketing strategy. Link building services are the most commonly outsourced aspect of SEO. This process involves finding qualified and thematically relevant one-way linking partners who will link back to your website.

    At first glance this sounds easy and there are hundreds of automated products out there that claim to add thousands of back links overnight. The truth is there are no short cuts in cultivating authoritative back links for a site. Link building companies spend many hours link building by hand in order to get the best results. Spammy automated products often don’t cultivate valuable links and tend to do more harm than good. Here are a couple quick suggestions to help you get started.

    1. Know What Keywords You’re Targeting

    Link building strategies are an extension of your current SEO practice. You’ll want to reference the list of keywords you have selected to optimize your site. Make sure that the anchor text of the link has the keyword you are targeting. For example, if you’re targeting the keyword “baby names” you’ll want to place that keyword in the anchor text of the link. I’ve seen many companies go after links by using their company name. Although this does boost link popularity it fails to pass popularity for a specific keyword and can be seen as a failed attempt.

    2. Develop a Link Building Strategy

    There are many strategies link building companies use to source qualified back links to their clients. The most tedious but often most rewarding method is manual linking requests also known as “cherry picking”. This method allows you to obtain exceptionally qualified links which can really help boost your position in the search engine results page (SERPS). A good place to start with manual link building is to look at your suppliers, vendors, clients, related organizations associations and more.

    Besides manual link requests other well known tactics include:

    1. directory submission (Dmoz, Yahoo Directory, Joe Ant)
    2. article submission (ezinearticles.com, goarticles.com)
    3. optimized press releases (PRWeb.com)
    4. social media outlets (FaceBook, Linked In)
    5. bookmarking sites (Digg, Reddit, Furl)
    6. Blogs (niche blogs)
    7. Forums (niche forums)
    8. Classifieds (niche classifieds)

    3. Identify Thematically Relevant and Authoritative Linking Sources

    Search engines see links as votes of confidence for your site. The more relevant and authoritative the site, the more consideration is given to the link and the subsequent keyword in the anchor text. It really pays off to focus on the quality of your links rather than the quantity. It is also important for your link building to look natural and not an attempt to deceive search engine spiders in search of links. Try looking for sites within your industry rather than general, unrelated sites to get links from.

    A good example of this would be content creation and distribution. Try creating content on a relevant subject of which you can speak authoritatively. An example of this would be a SEO company writing a short article on 5 simple ways companies can start link building and placing it on an authoritative, industry relevant site like this one. Remember, before placing a link on a site (or making a request), ask yourself three questions:

    1. Does a link to my website belong here (does it look natural)?
    2. Is this site relevant and authoritative?
    3. Is there any benefit to my potential customers?
    4. Look for the onsite attributes of the linking site

    4. Determine Where Your Link Will Reside

    Once you’ve nailed down a potential linking partner that represents the overall quality and thematic authority that your site deserves you’ll need to see where your link will reside.

    Here are a couple guidelines that I look for when placing links on a site. I try to get my links no more than a few clicks away from the homepage. The page must be thematically relevant and recently cached by Google’s search engine (this lets me know that the page has been indexed by Google). I also take a look at the number of external (outbound) links leaving that page. I try to keep the number of external links below 50 as it will dilute the effect of the page. Lastly, I look at the page the link will be placed on. For some sites this is harder to control, but if you have the option you should know where the most valuable locations are. I always try to get my links in line with thematically relevant content, like an article or blog post. I’ve found this produces some of the best results. Try to avoid placing your links on a “sponsored” or advertisers section that runs throughout the entire site. Also avoid footer links as rumor has it Google has devalued links buried in the footer of the site. Links placed at the top of the page or inserted into the site’s navigation also tend to do quite well. Bottom line is that your links need to look like they belong and provide value to the user and the site it is published on.

    5. Be Aware of “No-Follow” Links

    Within the last 5 years Google developed the concept of the “no-follow” link. The “no-follow” code is inserted into your link and instructs the Google spider to ignore it. The “no-follow” link can be seen used most commonly in blog comments and forum posts. This initiative was set forth to combat spam and automated linking mechanisms that would throw links automatically on blog comments and forum posts.

    There are a lot of SEO professionals that will only place a link if it is a “do-follow” link, meaning it doesn’t have the “no-follow” attribute. I tend to disagree with this notion especially when the link in question is on a highly trafficked authority site. If it makes sense for the link to be there, then add your link. Even though Google won’t give you any credít for it, it will be seen by thousands of people who may visit your site and link to you themselves because your site is highly relevant. I call this concept indirect link building. You are influencing and promoting your site to potential linking partners.

    Link Building is a very time consuming process and link building companies spend a lot of time researching, testing and improving their techniques. Link building services are available for companies that don’t have the time to invest in manual link building. The bottom line is that with a little help anyone can link build and move their site up the SERPS.

    Start building you link network with NC Square

     
    • swasa 4:25 AM on October 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Wow! thanks for providing the very nice information.

      • Nate 4:29 AM on October 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        You are very welcome. Are you a web developer?
        Be sure to stay connected for more! Cheers!

  • Nate 5:12 PM on September 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Is Social Media Worth Your Time? 

    By Meredith Liepelt (c) 2009

    Every one – from politicians, businesses, musicians, celebrities and many other groups of people – uses social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networking outlets to spread their message, build their businesses and connect with others.

    Do they know something we don’t?

    Networking, whether online or offline, is a great use of time when done properly. As with anywhere you spend your time, knowing why you are doing it, how you will measure success and having a plan is the best approach.

    With that said, I jumped in with both feet last year with the guidance of a social media expert, and I have found clients, joint venture partners, speaking engagements and other great connections through various social media outlets. I am a member of more social media outlets than I can count, but I currently focus on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. While I am not an expert in social media, here are five reasons to take some time to learn the benefits of social media.

    1. There Is No Direct Cost

    There is no direct cost unless you opt for an upgrade, if one is offered. I haven’t paid for an upgrade and have steadily increased my list to include over 1000 followers between just three social media outlets, and without much effort.

    2. Build Your Business by Connecting With Peers

    Are you interested in finding joint ventures, affiliates, guest experts or other peers you can bounce ideas off of? In the last few weeks alone, I have located one large joint venture partner and have had several other partnership opportunities cross my desk. Business owners just like you are using social media to connect with others who are interested in using your articles, hosting you as a guest expert on teleseminars, webinars and live events, and even creating projects together!

    3. Build Your Business by Following Reporters You Are Targeting

    Would an article written by a certain reporter make your year? Follow them on Twitter or Facebook and see what is of interest to them and what they are writing about. You don’t know what golden nugget you’ll find by following them online that may open the door at the right time. Follow them and invite them to follow you as well! Or with LinkedIn you can find out how many degrees you are from them. You may surprise yourself by being only one or two degrees away from your target!

    4. Showcase Your Expertise, Build Your Platform and Attract New Clients

    Social media is an interesting animal. While many people use it to grow their businesses, you must be mindful about outright promotions. Generally speaking, heavy marketing of your products and services on these sites is a big no-no. Here’s how I do it. I’ll post something like this: “Just got off the phone with social networking guru Nancy Marmolejo. Now I’m off to finish writing my sales page for the Business Breakthrough Series.” People who are intrigued will check you out and may end up deciding to follow you and … bingo! They have just entered your world!

    5. Reach Large Audiences

    The world is your oyster in social media. There are only a few businesses that are truly limited by geographic boundaries, especially if you are in the information marketing business. Being active on social networking sites eliminates geographic boundaries and allows you to reach a vast number of people from all over the world. If you have products and services that can be purchased by anyone in the world, being active in social media is an absolute must for you. I recently held a teleseminar with people from over 10 countries in attendance, all from the comfort of my home office! And my sweat pants!

    So, is social media worth the time? It depends. Social media is absolutely the wave of the future, and you will need to know something about it at some point. However, whether you work it into your plan for 2009 depends on your goals. If you have a goal of increasing your reach to prospects either locally or internationally, you can do that quite effectively through social media. However, if you can cannot and will not commit to learning how to “tweet” on Twitter or communicate on Facebook or use your connections on LinkedIn, it will not be worth your time.

    My advice to clients when they are just starting out is to select one social media outlet, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, and master it before jumping into every outlet possible. You obviously need to schedule time for connecting, so select the social networking outlets that will benefit you the most.

    Now that I am experiencing the financial results of my online efforts, I understand why this is such a great use of my time and I’m hooked!

    Get your social networking going with NC Square

     
  • Nate 2:16 PM on September 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking! 

    by Matt Cutts, Google Search Quality Team

    Recently we received some questions about how Google uses (or more accurately, doesn’t use) the “keywords” meta tag in ranking web search results. Suppose you have two website owners, Alice and Bob. Alice runs a company called AliceCo and Bob runs BobCo. One day while looking at Bob’s site, Alice notices that Bob has copied some of the words that she uses in her “keywords” meta tag. Even more interesting, Bob has added the words “AliceCo” to his “keywords” meta tag. Should Alice be concerned?

    At least for Google’s web search results currently (September 2009), the answer is no. Google doesn’t use the “keywords” meta tag in our web search ranking. This video explains more, or see the questions below.

    Q: Does Google ever use the “keywords” meta tag in its web search ranking?
    A: In a word, no. Google does sell a Google Search Appliance, and that product has the ability to match meta tags, which could include the keywords meta tag. But that’s an enterprise search appliance that is completely separate from our main web search. Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword metatags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.

    Q: Why doesn’t Google use the keywords meta tag?
    A: About a decade ago, search engines judged pages only on the content of web pages, not any so-called “off-page” factors such as the links pointing to a web page. In those days, keyword meta tags quickly became an area where someone could stuff often-irrelevant keywords without typical visitors ever seeing those keywords. Because the keywords meta tag was so often abused, many years ago Google began disregarding the keywords meta tag.

    Q: Does this mean that Google ignores all meta tags?
    A: No, Google does support several other meta tags. This meta tags page documents more info on several meta tags that we do use. For example, we do sometimes use the “description” meta tag as the text for our search results snippets, as this screenshot shows:

    Google

    Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don’t use the description meta tag in our ranking.

    Q: Does this mean that Google will always ignore the keywords meta tag?
    A: It’s possible that Google could use this information in the future, but it’s unlikely. Google has ignored the keywords meta tag for years and currently we see no need to change that policy.

    Learn more about meta tag seo by contacting NC Square

     
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