David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Twitter Success for SOHO Small Business

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

A lot of small business owners are thinking about social media marketing, but are not sure if or how to do it.  A lot of them have heard about how Twitter tipped the balance in the last US election.  But many business owners still are not sure.

Yesterday I was meeting with a group of SOHO entrepreneurs.  To give you an idea of the crowd, there was…

  • A local real estate agent
  • A local gift catalogue agent (who can sell across Canada)
  • A virtual assistant (Drop me a line if you want her contact info)
  • A local mortgage broker
  • A local home decorator/renovator

Notice the word “local” appears a fair amount?  Can a local business, such as these SOHO folks effectively do social media marketing.

Yes.  I advised them all to sign up for Twitter.

So, without further ado, here is David Leonhardt’s crash course in Twitter for SOHO business.

Pick a smiling avatar.  At networking meetings, you need a firm handshake, a smile and eye connection.  On Twitter and other social networking sites, your smile does all the heavy lifting.

Find people to follow who broadcast good information in you niche, such as links to articles, blog posts, other experts to follow, tools, etc. These people will do almost all the research you’ll need to keep up on new tools, new developments, new resources and more in your field.  Congratulations! You have just hired a research department that won’t even ask to be paid.

If your business is local, follow as many people as possible in your area.  Go to Twellow and search for a location.  Some people will show by country, some by state, some by town, so you’ll want to do multiple searches.  Follow these people, at least long enough to see which ones follow you back.  If your business is not local, you can search by pretty much any criteria.

Remember that anything you type into Twitter will be read by just about anybody.  It’s like a worldwide networking meeting with a microphone over your head, so be tactful and be professional.  On the other hand, Twitter is a medium where people like to know you as a human being, so polite informalities are a plus.

Make sure you are tweeting the right things, things that will advance your reputation and your business. Things that will build credibility. Things that will create opportunities. Things that will attract more people toward you. Sooooo many people tweet the music they are listening to, the food they are eating or preparing, the trouble they have getting out of bed – I suppose they are trying to get intimate and help followers feel like they are right there with them. But so many tweets on those topics make one’s eyes gloss over and reduce your value to the majority of followers (my opinion). Here are a few things you can tweet:

  • Tweet your successes.  That reinforces both what you do and your competence.  This builds your credibility as someone who is effective at what you do. Don’t brag, but do brag just a little.
    Just sold another home.  It was a tough one.  Required extra effort.  Feels good. 
  •  Tweet profound or quick facts that your followers might find interesting.  That also makes people want to keep following you and builds your credibility as a knowledgeable person in your field. 
    56% of Americans never read a nutrition label.  How often do you?
  • Tweet useful resources related to what you do.  That also makes people want to keep following you and pay attention to what you are doing.  It also makes you the person they come to when they need advice, which might lead to business for you.
    Helpful guide to pre-workout stretching here: [URL] 
  • Occasionally – very occasionally – ask for clients.  Why not?  A little self-promotion is accepted by most people.  And if you lose three followers and gain one client, it’s worth it.
    Booked until end of March.  Know anyone needing party planning  in April or May?
  • Ask questions.  This is a great way to do research and make yourself more knowledgeable about the market. This tends to work best when you have a large number of followers.
    Trade-in of keep it running – what are your car plans for the next few months?


Use Twitter to network, but if you start an in-depth conversation (which is good), take it off-tweet.  Phone, email or even Twitters DM (direct message) feature are preferable.  Your other followers don’t want to be bombarded by one side of a conversation they are not party to.

Remember that in all social situations, it helps if you give first.  People give to helpful people, so send ideas, referrals and pats on the back to people following you.

There are also tools that can make Twitter more effective, but not really useful for a newbie.  If you start getting really into Twitter and find you are following too many people, download TweetDeck and set up groups of people you wish to follow.  For instance, you can set up a group of most important prospects that will appear in one column (so that you never miss the chance to respond to their tweets) and a group of your industry idols whose information you don’t want to miss.

Should a local SOHO business be on Twitter?  Yes.  You can do a year’s worth of networking in a week.  You can find leads, referrals and clients.  You get an instant research team.  Go for it!

P.S.  You can follow David Leonhardt on Twitter or retweet this post to your Twitter followers.

 


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Free SEO Book For Twitter Followers

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am offering a free copy of Don’t Get Banned By The Search Engines to new Twitter followers. All you have to do is follow me and you will receive a special URL to download the book without having to pay the $40.

Why am I doing this? It is a good question, and one that I have wrestled with. I have been critical of the “look how many followers I have” syndrome, where people are fixated on the size of their audience. It’s almost a self-esteem issue in some cases.

Yet I watch some people with several thousand followers ask questions and get a flood of great answers in no time flat. Meanwhile, with just a few hundred followers, I get much fewer responses. I also see how there are times when I would like people to know about something interesting on Digg or Sphinn or Mixx, that this would be a great way to let more people know — not just about my stuff, but about all sorts of great items.

For instance, on Sphinn recently, I posted:

Awesome 404 Error Pages by Smashing Magazine
DoFollow versus NoFollow links by The Minority Report
Why You Should Trade Links With PR0 Pages (OK, that one was by me)

I would love you to Sphinn these, too. With more Twitter followers, I know I can share these gems with more people.

So for a limited time, I am offering all my new followers a free copy of Don’t Get Banned By The Search Engines as an incentive and a thank you for taking the time to add me to your follow list. I am looking forward to meeting you at Twitter.

Follow David Leonhardt on Twitter

 


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Social Media Interview with Danny Brown

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Imagine what “social media” might be like in five or ten years…

Hmmm…I wonder what Mom has in her fridge…let’s check. I see. Ooh, she has some good stuff. Let’s just send her a message here… “Hi mom. Thinking of doing anything with that lasagna? I’m free to come over for dinner.” I suppose I should copy my brother on that one.

That’s just one of my wild fantasies I discuss with social media guru Danny Brown when he interviewed me on what I thought about social media.  He asked me how I define social media, how I use social media and where I thought it was headed. 

This is an important issue for anyone interested in SEO because increasingly the lines between various aspects of online marketing, including SEO, will be blurred.  In fact, that is one of the foundations on which my free eBook Sticky SEO was written.

I encourage you to read the full interview, and at the bottom of the page Danny has added links to previous interviews in the series, all of which will shed further light on how you can use social media to help promote your website.

 


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The more links on a domain the better?

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Dear reader, let me be a heretic once more.

We all know, or at least assume, that having multiple links to the same URL from a domain is an exercise in diminishing returns as far as search engine rankings are concerned.  That is to say, if you score a link to your home page from one page on a domain, any additional links to your home page from other pages on that same domain are worth less.  And the more links to your home page from that domain, the less each one is worth.

This makes sense.  If a domain has 1000 pages, a sitewide link cannot be viewed as 1000 endorsements for your home page.

But the web is a changing place, and in the past few months, services have been cropping up to submit your website to 1000 and even 2000 social bookmarking websites.  These services are similar to all those directory submission services and the article submission services, and they are often offered by the same people.  On the surface of it, there is nothing wrong, but it does require a reaction from the search engines.

But first, a personal rant.  Submitting your home page to 2000 social bookmarking sites is NOT social bookmarking.  It is bookmarking, but it is NOT social.  If it was social, these services would be promoting your page on these sites, networking with other users, and you would end up with several links at any one social bookmarking site (assuming your content is actually interesting).

OK, that was more than just a personal rant.*  In fact, I’ll bet the search engines are noticing the same thing and looking at the same numbers and raising one of their search engine eyebrows right now.  If there are thousands of single-link entries at each social bookmarking website, most of which are essentially paid links, should those each be worth more than each entry that garnered, let’s say 12 Diggs or Zooms?  Those dozen votes clearly are exactly the type of recommendations the search engines look for in their algorithms.  Single links at social bookmarking websites clearly are not.  Each Digg or Zoom should be worth more than each single entry.  In fact, we might even go so far as to say that the more Diggs or Zooms, the more each one should be worth.

What should the search engines do?  Clearly, their algorithms must distinguish between sitewide links and links that appear numerous times independently on the same website.  This is true not just for social bookmarking sites, but also for forums where a resource might be cited in numerous threads over time.

Maybe Google and Yahoo and MSN already do this.  Maybe I’m not being that heretical after all.  Naw, that just would be too out-of-character.

* It qualifies as a rant because I capitalized the “NOT”.  Twice.

 


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Link bait lesson from Matt Cutts

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Matt Cutts, Google’s public face for webmasters and search engine consultants, has shown us how to do link bait.  Oops, I mean, how to do really good quality content.  Yeah, that’s what I meant to say.

Here is the link bait…I mean content:

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/9-google-mobile-iphone-tips/ 

Note that it is a numbered list, and not a “top 10″ list.  Matt chose a top 9 list, which is just a little offbeat..  Note that there are plenty of illustrations.  And the text and images combined are useful – actually demonstrating how to do something - not just silly stuff (although sometimes I like silly stuff, too).

Matt submitted it to Digg: 

http://digg.com/apple/9_Tips_for_Google_s_New_Voice_Recognition_App_for_iPhone

As of now, it has 42 Diggs. 

Study it hard, becasue even if your content doesn’t get more than one or two Diggs, this is how the Google guru prepares his content, so you can’t go wrong posting something like this on your website. 

There now, Matt just got a link from me as a result of his quality content.  You see?  It works. 

 


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Canada finally has social bookmarking

Friday, November 14th, 2008

If you are a Canadian who enjoys online social networking, you might have spent some time as an orphan.  You don’t find much Canadian coverage at the big US-based social bookmarking websites like Digg and Reddit.  During the heat of the federal election, there was nary a whisper about Harper or Dion – it was all McCain and Obama.  That’s natural, because stories are voted to prominence by the membership, most of whom don’t know whether a Harper bounces nor how one would properly inflate a Dion.

You are no longer an orphan!

We have set up a made-in-Canada social bookmarking website just for you: Zoomit Canada.  If you are Canadian, please come and join.  And please tell all your friends.

If you are not Canadian, please tell all your Canadian friends.  Canadians have plenty to talk about – help us give them somewhere to do it.

 


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Like Digg, but “Canadianer” – Zoomit Canada

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

To all those Canadians on social bookmarking websites like Digg and Reddit who were wondering, “Will I ever see a Canadian story make it to the home page?”…

…well, the answer is yes!  In fact, if you rush over right now to Zoomit Canada, you find nothing but Canadian stories on the home page.  That’s because Zoomit Canada is the social bookmarking website made for Canadians:  “Canada’s News, Chosen By You.” 

And if you’re not Canadian, here’s your chance to do all your Canadian friends a favor.  let them know that they can…

  • submit Canadian stories to Zoomit Canada .
  • vote for their favorite stories (actually, it’s spelled “favourite” in Canada)
  • comment on stories to share their opinion.

Like Digg, it’s free.  Unlike Digg, you are welcome to submit your own blog post…so long as it, you or your blog is Canadian, of course.

 


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Now on Twitter

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I actually opened my Twitter account several moons ago, but somehow Nancy, our news release distribution expert, convinced me to try using it.  So you can follow us at http://twitter.com/amabaie , where you will find a mix of business and personal news. 

Twitter is a humanizing tool.  It is not a place to make sales pitches.  It is a place to connect with people, sometimes one-on-one, sometimes making announcements for all, always letting people know you are a real person.  If you approach Twitter as networking-for-fun-and-profit, you will find it worthwhile.

 


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Earlybird Link Building

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

POP QUIZ:  How do you build links to a website that is not yet live?

Those who are new to the Web might wonder why you would want to do that.  Let’s suppose your website takes 4 months to develop.  If you build some links to your domain, then SEO-wise you can hit the ground running when you are ready to go live.  Imagine going live and already having 100 links indexed by Google.  You have a head start.

But who wants to link to a non-website?  Nobody, of course, except…

Let me tell the story of a shy little girl named Melanie.  Her parents moved to a new town, and let’s just say that the kids at her new school were a little less than welcoming.  What’s a girl to do when nobody wants to be your friend?

Be your own friend, of course.

Eventually, anybody who is a good friend to herself will radiate confidence and self-esteem and will emit an aura of worthiness.  Soon, Melanie had plenty of friends, just because she was a good friend to herself.

So, too, with link-building.  If you are not yet ready to seek links from other people, set up links to yourself.  Here are a few ideas how to do this:

Set up pages at Social bookmarking and social networking sites.  Most of them allow links in your profile, and the more friends you have and the more items you vote on, the more link juice your profile will have.  LinkedIn is great for SEO .  FaceBook is good.  Squidoo is ideal (Set up lots of topical pages and network, network, network).  MySpace is useless from an SEO perspective.

Submit articles to general article directories and how-to/expert websites.  In the resource box, you can place a link.  These links are hardly ever checked by the website administrators, unless something looks fishy.  Make yours an exquisitly useful, quality article and most places will accept it.

Submit comments on DoFollow blogs.  Some blogs automatically add all comments. Some bloggers will read your comment and approve it if it adds value, without looking at your website.  Some bloggers will follow your link and nuke your comment.  (I did just that a few minutes ago, which is what inspired me to write this post.)  Ah…but if the commenter had posted a lengthy comment that really added to the discussion, I might have approved it, and I think most bloggers would … although some might remove the active link to a non-functioning domain.  Keep in mind that who you link to matters.

Set up blogs on other domains.  You can set up blogs on Blogspot and WordPress and on hundreds of smaller websites that allow users to set up blogs.  many of these overlap with the advice above to set up profiles at social networking sites.

Buy blog posts.  There are plenty of paid blog review websites, such as Blogsvertise.  And there are self-serve paid blogging sites like LinkVana

In fact, you can build hundreds of links before you even have a website.  All you need is to harness the power of user-generated content on other websites.  However, there are a few caveats.

1.  It still requires work.  You might not yet have content on your own site, but you have to put quality content on the other sites, and the better the quality the more links you can build.

2.  It helps if your site is live.  It might take 4 months to develop, but in 24 hours you can have a nicely designed on-topic interim home page live on your domain.  I suggest you do this.

3. This is not hoity toity SEO.  This is guerilla SEO.  There is nothing wrong.  There is nothing shady.  It leaves a bad taste because it should not be like this, but given that the longevity of links and the gradual accumulation of links does count to your success, it would be foolish not to take advantage of these opportunities to quickly position your new website to compete with the established players.

 


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Google gets social with StumbleUpon

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

For the past week, I have been noticing three little icons beside certain entries in the search results.  One of them is the StumleUpon logo, and when hovering my cursor over the logo it says “read 4 reviews” , or whatever number applies to that listing.  The other two logos, stars and a word bubble, are attached to the same StumbleUpon reviews.

So what does this mean?  Well, for starters, it is one whopper of an endoresement of StumbleUpon.  Just for fun, I googled “Google buys StumbleUpon” to see if the obvious is true, and surprisingly the results show that Google actually bought a “competitor” to StumbleUpon not that long ago.  Perhaps that makes this an even stronger endorsement.

In any event, what this means for you and your websites:

1. Make sure you get your website reviewed.

2. Make sure you get your website positively rated.

I am certain that before long, stumbling client pages will become a standard tactic of all SEO specialists.  In fact, there might even one day be a StumbleUpon arms race, just as there has developed a link-exchange arms race these days.  If you don’t have your StumbleUpon account yet, it’s time to sign up. 

So if you like this blog or even just this post, please take a moment to click “I like it!” on your StumbleUpon toolbar and write a wonderfully glowing review. 

 


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