David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

A fly swatter for your marketing

Monday, May 26th, 2008

This is a poignant reminder of how the little things really do matter. It’s a story of how a $0.95 fly swatter improved Nick’s productivity by 1000%. Imagine that. No more flies buzzing around his ears, and Nick can now blog 10 times a day (although, it would appear that he has invested his newfound productivity in some other fashion).

What little irritants are getting in your way and reducing your productivity? Instead of just waving them away, only to wave them away again, and again, and again, is there a simple solution you could turn to that would remove the problem?

Now think about your website. Are there aspects that are underperforming or little impediments that are making it function less efficiently. Perhaps you ask one question too many on a form and you get fewer subscribers to your newsletter than you ought to. Or perhaps by not giving shipping charges up front, many people abandon your shopping cart. Whatever the problem, could it go away with a simple fix?

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m off to buy a fly swatter.

 


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REALITY CHECK – one way links

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

It seems I have been encountering an awful lot of doctrine at webmaster forums recently about the high value of one-way links or the low value of link exchanges.  This is a myth, based on those people who engage in what the search engines view as “unnatural” linking patters.  If most of your links come from reciprocation, then it stands to reason that your website does not have a lot of value, or else it should get lots of links based on the quality of its content or its usefulness.

But if your links come from a wide variety of sources and in a wide variety of formats, there is no truth to the myth that a link exchange is worth less than a one-way link.  When faced with Internet marketing issues, it is often worth doing a reality check.  What would you do to promote your business in the real world?

Suppose you owned a tourist attraction and you wanted to place your brochure in the lobby of a local hotel. The hotel might say:

  • Great. That’s a wonderful service to my visitors.
  • No problem. That will be $50 a month.
  • Sure, if I can place my brochure on your counter (like a link exchange!)
  • OK, if you give me a season’s pass.

Does it matter which way you get the brochure (link) into the lobby (webpage)?  No.  What counts is that you are where your target market can see you.  And that is what counts with link-building.  Find the p[laces you want to be seen by real people and by the search engines and get your site listed there in whatever way you can.

A note about paid links.  Google do not like paid links.  But does that mean it is wrong to buy a link if that’s what it takes to be where you want to be?  No, that is just good marketing.  But it does help to understand what Google is doing.

Google does not care how you do your marketing.  Google does care that the public perceives it as the most useful search engine.  Google is a business, just like you, and the customer is always right.  To keep customers coming back, Google has a very complex and carefully balanced ranking algorithm. Who is ranked at what position is a moot point to Google, but if the overall integrity of its results is placed at risk, Google has to take action.  The massive purchasing of paid links on high PageRank websites, often irrelevant to the topic of the link, has the potential of skewing Google’s results.  For that reason, these are not looked on favorably.

I do not recommend as a matter of practice that you buy or lease irrelevant links to boost PageRank.  I do not recommend that paid links be a major portion of your linking campaign.  And I do not recommend you buy links where there are a dozen other paid links all together.  But if there is a relevant link that you want and the price is money, I do recommend that you don’t feel obliged to keep your money in your pocket.

One way or link exchanges.  Barter or paid.  Three way or five way linking.  Do whatever it takes to get the highest quality, relevant links to your website.

 


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Don’t Waste “Useless” Traffic

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Not everybody has this happy problem, but many websites get traffic they cannot use because it serves only a narrow spectrum of people who arrive from a broader search.  People do a search for a broad search, such as “marketing gimmicks” at Google or Yahoo, find your web page about a very specific marketing gimmick for real estate agents, discover that the website does not address their needs to market beauty products or metal bending or accounting, and they go.

Wait.  Stop.  Where do they go?  Back to the search engine?  No, no, no, no. 

From an SEO perspective, you don’t want to send the search engines the message that your page was a poor choice to rank well for the search term “marketing gimmicks”.  If that happens, the search engines might just demote your rank, and you will love the good prospects with the “useless” traffic.  We have no evidence that the search engines are factoring bounceback data into their algorithms, but we do know they are capable and have an interest in doing so.   It’s coming.

Of more immediate concern is all that hard-earned traffic that could be buying something from you is just leaving without spending a penny.  What a shame!  In a case like that, it would be worth having a very prominent affiliate link to a website that sells a broader marketing package with a text like “More Surefire marketing Gimmicks Here”. The result would be to convert some of the “useless” traffic, and to both reduce the bounceback rates and increase the bounceback lag time of those who do go back to Google.
 

 


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You’ve Made Digg – Now What?

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

This is a great article by Chris Winfield, one of the top social media marketing specialists and a frequent collaborator with The Happy Guy Marketing: You’ve Made Digg – Now What?

As with so many business decisions, people tend to rush in without a long-range plan.  The script is usually the same…

Hey, let’s get the latest gadget. 

Cool gadget.

Now what?

I wrote about the same problem in this article about website planning, because so many companies still are rushing out to build a website without a clue what they want that website to do for them.

Chris offers a few good suggestions on what to do about a page that has benefited from a surge in popularity as the result of a home page Digg appearance, including reoptimizing the page, adding calls to action, advertising on it, or redirecting it to another page.  I would add that basically you can do pretty much anything you want with the page.  For example, you could simply add the page a related survey geared to building leads for your telemarketing operations.  Just keep in mind what people visiting it will be expecting.  If they come expecting a video on how to carve fruits for a New Year’s Eve party, don’t fill the page with wallpaper remover products. 

 


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Link-bait content for viral marketing

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Today I just want to share with you Jason Lee Miller’s list of what works as good link bait and ideal for viral marketing.  His whole article is great and can be read here, but this is the list I thought I would share directly with readers. 

The Resource Approach (Becoming the Expert In Your Field/Niche)

–    Create expert articles/lists/data sheets 
–    Create practical or fun tools
–    Write How-To articles
–    Create a comprehensive blog roll (give link love, get link love)
–    Compile informative news stories and articles


The News Approach

–    Get the scoop. Be first with industry news
–    Interview prominent people in your field
–    Investigate a hot topic
–    Do an exposé


The Humor/Novelty Approach

–    Post funny/interesting/amazing photos related to your industry
–    Create humorous/unique videos (Use Blendtec for inspiration)
–    Create lists; people love lists – Top 10 Ways to…; 10 Signs You’re…

 


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Make them think

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

If you want to attract attention, it helps to make them think.  I ran the following item in my Daily Dose of Happiness ezine:

RELAX

Close your eyes and imagine you are in a room filled with soft blue light.  Around you is gentle green foliage.  Feel the blue.  Feel the green.  These colors, the hues of sky, forest and water, are known to relax people.

For more permanent stress-relief, paint your walls blue, green or a combination of the two.  Since these are cool colors, they can also help keep tropical homes cool.  Not recommended in Iqaluit or Hammerfest. 

A fairly straightforward little item, with a touch of cuteness at the end.

Actually, it was a touch of interaction.  You have no idea how many people pulled out the atlas to find out where Iqaluit and Hammerfest are located.  And one Norwegian subscriber even emailed me to cheer the inclusion of her country in my ezine.

Make them think.  Make them look something up, but make sure that what they have to look up is not something really important to your message, because not everybody will look it up. 

 


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More Spanish spoken

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Over the past few years, Americans have been waking up to the growing Hispanic presence amongst them.  Not only are there more Hispanics than ever as a percentage of the total US population, but the Hispanic community is growing more mature, as the next generation takes on higher-paying jobs, moves into the suburbs and has more money to spend.  Of particular note to marketers is that, unlike other communities before them, Hispanics are hanging on to their language and will often expect to be addressed in Spanish or take their money elsewhere.  This is one of the reasons that work by people like Leslie Inzunza, who advises on law firms marketing to Hispanics, is so important.

Canadians are used to bilingualism (English/French), so you would think they would be jumping on this brand new market opportunity in their own back yard by teaching their kids Spanish (a language similar to, but easier than, French).  Not so. 

The head-in-the-sand approach of most Canadians is even more worrisome when considering the change happening in Canada.  I just returned from a suburb of Montreal that I know well, where Greek, Jewish, Middle Eastern, Caribean and Indian minorities abound.  Our family picnic lasted 7 hours, during which time we conversed with four Spanish families.  Considering that we did not speak with most strangers in the park, that number speaks volumes about the shifting demographics right in Canada.  It mirrors what I saw the week before in Niagara Falls, where the two visible minorities that I saw in large numbers were Indians (recognizable by their skin and attire) and Hispanics (recognizable by their language).  It mirrors what I have been overhearing in shopping malls, in bowling alleys, in stores around Ottawa.

America’s changing demographic is also Canada’s changing demographic.  Funny that Canadians, already attuned to bilingualism, are so slow to notice!

 


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Human Face of Web Design

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Even when one is on vacation, one never seems to be able to escape work.  A case in point is when I had the chance to catch up with an old friend , Karen Hegmann, and we discovered that we are each writing our own marketing blogs.  Hers is Narrative Assets, about — wait for it — marketing.

Of course, I had to check it out and right away noticed this posting about The Human Face of Web Design , which begins with: When I walk into a store, I’m usually there for one of several reasons: 1) I know exactly what I’m looking for 2) I have an idea what I’m looking for, but need more information to make my decision and 3) I have no idea what I’m looking for and just want to browse.  

You can probably guess the rest, and if not, you can read it.  But I did want to share with you this question: is your website designed so that everybody can easily get what they need?  Even those people with no idea if they even want to make a purchase?  Even those who know exactly what they want?

(As an aside, that evening I discovered that Toronto’s Pickle Barrel restaurant, a dive we would often avoid when living a couple blocks away, is now one fancy place to eat, with a really spiffed up menu.  Sadly, two days later we discovered that my favorite Mr. Green Jeans has gutted its menu and taken all life out of the decor in what we were told was a TV broadcast makeover.  Oh well, win some, lose some.)

 


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Taming Deadlines

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with a monster called Deadlines.  On the one hand they are a pain in the butt.  After all, who needs a Deadline breathing down your neck, licking your ears and drooling all over your shoulders. 

On the other hand, there is nothing to galvanize a person to action and focus the mind like a Deadline.

Then again, too many Deadlines can become so overpowering that a person could simply drop dead of stress.

On the Internet, as in every business, it is important to harness Deadlines for success, and ensure they do not overwhelm you.  I found a great blog post on taming deadlines that you might find useful.  It works for writing.  It works for SEO.  It works for marketing.  It most likely works also for zookeeping, archeology and other fields of activity.

 


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Digg Bookmarkeing Tips for Webmasters

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

I have become fascinated how a website can jump from obscurity to temporary fame and with good hands at its wheel a head start to permanent success just by hitting the front page of Digg.com .

Here is a very comprehensive list of what it takes to get onto the front page of Digg:  50 Tips: How to get the best out of Digg? by Razid Ahmed. Some of it is pretty obvious, like take time to write a really good article.  Other tips are less obvious, like make sure your server can handle the extra traffic.  Six of the tips relate to crafting a title.  They all seem obvious to me, but I know from experience that there is nothing obvious about crafting a title.

The best tips relate to submission, promotion and participation.  For instance, get your blog and ezine readers to Digg your content.  More good advice: don’t be shy to Digg your own blog posts.  On the other hand, don’t submit all your content.  Surely you know when you have superb content and when it is just average. 

It goes without saying that if you participate in any community and make lots of contacts, you stand a better chance of getting your message heard.  But if you don’t have time to build a network, nor the money to rent one (yes, some people do this, much to the disgust of many Digg purists), you can at least do a good job of creating, submitting and promoting your content…and hoping that some of the established networks on Digg will pick up on it.

Razid suggests against forming groups dedicated to Digging each others’ work, but I have to disagree with that one.  I would avoid any group that commits you to Digging something you don’t think is superb, but it can come in handy to have, say, 50 other webmasters and bloggers who are willing to look at what you have and Digg it.  And it is not too much to ask for you to do the same.  The trouble comes if everyone in the group is always Digging all the same content “just because”.  That becomes spam and you will get bumped from the community.

And the most important piece of advice… if at first you do not succeed, try, try again.  Sooner or later, something you write will get picked up.

 


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