Brand Awareness And Social Media

Social Media Logos Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are driving millions of potential customers to websites every day.  And if your business sells products that are visually appealing (like clothes, jewelry or food) then it is easy to get started.  When you post photos of new clothes or food to Pinterest or Facebook, chances are it will get reposted and liked and passed around to many potential clients.

But what if your company sells a product that doesn’t lend itself to visual advertising.  I have recently been promoting a site for a Duro-Last roofing contractor.  Posting photos of roofing projects on social sites  is not typically going to be an effective method of advertising for this type of company.  A different strategy is needed in this situation.

Building Brand Awareness

When you create a Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest page for your company, you have an opportunity to build awareness of your company’s brand.   Even if every post you make does not tie directly in to your products, by building a large follower base and maintaining an active account you expose people to the name of your company.  Here are some strategies that we have employed in our brand building effort:

  • Run contests to gain followers. If your company caters to a local market, choose a prize that will mostly appeal to the target audience.  Tickets to local sporting events are a great prize.  To enter the drawing, users should LIKE or REPOST your contest details.
  • Like and comment on other local company’s posts.  Always keep it positive, and local users will see your company name when reading the comments.
  • Cross-promote with other local businesses.  Ask other business owners to post about your company to their followers, and in return you will post about their company to yours.
  • Post about local interest topics.  For instance, I recently saw a local company post a photo with a clever caption about the local college’s basketball team.  It was liked thousands of times and they gained hundreds of followers.

None of these methods involve spamming advertisements about your products to all of your followers.  Instead you simply build brand awareness as users see the name of your company on a weekly basis.  If those people are ever in the market for a product you sell, there is a good chance they will look you up and purchase from the name that they know.

Kyle Howard and Lauren Conrad

Kyle Howard shirtlessFirstly, let me say that while my name is Kyle Howard, I am NOT the one that formerly dated Lauren Conrad, star of The Hills.  That Kyle Howard shirtless pictured to the left, is not me.  He is an actor that has been in a few television shows and has become much more famous for dating Lauren Conrad and then dumping her.

The reason for this seemingly off-topic post is to illustrate a point, which is this:  Google looks for certain complementary keywords that go hand-in-hand with your primary keyword.  Since the actor with my same name is generally much more famous and searched than I am, my name has basically become a keyword.  If, then, that keyword is not accompanied by other keywords which Google has determined to be complementary, the algorithm suspects that my articles are either off-topic or less relevant.  So how do you know what keywords are considered most closely related?

I use the Google Keyword Planner, formerly known as the Google Keyword Tool.  Going into keyword planner, I search for the exact keyword I want to rank for and search for “Keyword Ideas.”  Note here that you will need to click the top tab to navigate away from “Keyword groups,” which are likely to lead you down the wrong path for this purpose.

You will be presented with keyword ideas below.  Make sure you are sorting by relevance rather than by number of searches, CPC, etc.  Now, in my case I searched for Kyle Howard and got a list of keywords that primarily included my keyword, such as shirtless, movies, height, gay girlfriend, dating, actor, etc.  But most prevalent is Lauren Conrad, which was his more famous girlfriend.  The fact that my site, which has a ragerank of 1 and has good trust flow is not ranking highly for searches of my name may be because I do not regularly talk about these items which Google has determined are related items to my keyword name.  Articles like this one may drastically increase ranking in that regard, but includes non-related information related to my target niche.

Another example might be if you wanted to rank for “upcoming movies.”  If you were wanting to rank for this keyword and used the Google Keyword Planner, you might quickly see that you should include terms like “upcoming movie trailers,” “movies in theatres,” and “upcoming superhero movies.” In your articles it may be rather difficult to cram these keywords in, but if it is possible at all to make them feel natural it is imperative that you do it for hard-to-rank keywords.

The moral of the story is that complementary keywords are important and should be added to your posts if you can.  Mention related topics and even talk about other topics that are closely related in order to help the computer algorithm realize that your site is relevant and on topic.  Remember that even though the robots are very smart, they are not human and occasionally need some help realizing what content is good and important.

Google Glass And The Future Of Ad Placement

Google glass advertisement

Google Glass is scheduled to be released to the general public in 2014, and I can’t help but wonder how it may change advertising forever.  Right now, with the new Google mobile ads, advertisers are able to target users by their physical location.  For instance, if you own a computer store, you can create a CPA campaign targeted to people searching for “computer repair” and who are currently within 5 miles of your store.

How big of a leap is it to assume that with Google Glass advertisers will be able to target users who are looking in a particular direction, say… at their competitors storefront?  Should this be considered fair game?  It seems shady to me, and I certainly wouldn’t like it if my potential customers were seeing competitor ads when looking at my place.  Even worse if, while shopping, a user looked at a bar code and was displayed a list of prices for the same item from online retailers.  Customers who look at items in the store but ultimately buy for less online are already a major problem for brick-and-mortar retailers.

I am not one of the early users of Google Glass, nor do I have any inside information about their plans.  This is just my idea of what their plans may be for the future of advertising.  I would be very surprised if by next year Google Glass users aren’t shown advertisements in a way very similar to this.

How to Create Pinterest Backlinks

Social networking is a great tool, and is increasingly important for getting a Google ranking.  On Pinterest, getting  backlinks is about getting people to re-pin your content, and then, hopefully, their friends will re-pin and on and on it goes.   Here are the basic steps:

1.) Find or create an image / infographic that people will want to share.  It should catch interest, be engaging, and offer something worth keeping.

2.) Get it on your website.  Preferred method here is to make a blog post and include the graphic.

3.) Use the Pin button from that page to create a pin on Pinterest.  This can be the browser plugin or the Bookmarklet, it doesn’t matter.

4.) On Pinterest, edit the Pin and make sure it links back correctly to your page.  Verify it is in a category that there is a lot of activity on.

5.) Cross your fingers.  Hopefully it will get re-pinned.  You can also ask your friends to re-pin to get things started.

Thousands to repins = thousands of links / social signals for your site.  Having a good quality infographic that goes viral on Pinterest can drastically increase your website rankings.  Good luck.

Web Presence Optimization

Web Presence Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is rapidly evolving, to the point where a new article at Search Engine Watch proposes that we should be calling it Web Presence Optimization.  For a company to be successful marketing on the Internet, they need more than backlinks.

Additional indicators of quality may include social signals (Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest shares), Google+ networking and +1, incoming links to useful resources, brand association, etc. According to SEW:

Web presence optimization is an all-encompassing approach to optimizing an entire web presence for organic search including the website, social channels, blogs, articles and press releases. Where strategies, techniques, and tactics are still used, but content marketing and social media are strongly incorporated.

Link building is still important, but there is much more to SEO here in 2013 than there was in 2006, when a thousand links would almost always get you ranked.

via Time for a New Definition of SEO – Search Engine Watch (#SEW).

Local Ads on the New Google Maps App

With the new and “improved” Google Maps app, you can now advertise directly on the map.  The update has improved results for queries like “Mexican Restaurants” which will show the relevant businesses near you with the new Google ratings system displaying reviews and rankings.

According to the Google official Inside Adwords blog:

Relevant ads on the Google Maps app can now appear at the bottom of the screen after a user performs a search. They include a title, ad text, and a link to get directions. Users can tap or swipe upward to see more information — this is a new click type known as “Get location details” and results in a standard CPC charge.

This could improve results for retail companies as they can now target customers who are physically near them.  For the improved service, Google will of course have its hand deep in your pocket.  If a user clicks to see more info about your company, you are charged.  If they want directions to our business… another charge.  If they want to click on your phone number to dial you… yep, you guessed it: another charge.  At least the charges max out at 2 per search.


via Attract new customers with local ads on the Google Maps app – Inside AdWords.

Diluting Your Anchor Text

Earlier this year, Google made changes to their algorithm that they codenamed “Penguin.”  With these changes, Google began penalizing certain SEO techniques.  Since that update went live, many webmasters have been scrambling to regain their previous Google SERP rankings by removing the items that are causing penalties.

One of the techniques that is now penalized is a practice commonly known as “Spamdexing.”  Spamdexing involves getting hundreds of links to a webpage all using the same anchor text (the text that you click on.)  Google uses the anchor text of incoming links to determine what a page is about, so hundreds of links with the same anchor text can cause a page to rank highly for a certain search phrase. Read more »

The Goal of SEO

What is the goal of SEO?  The same could be asked of CPC, what is the goal?  Is it to get more traffic to your site?  If you are just making money through Adsense revenue or trying to build name recognition, then maybe.  But typically, this is the goal: To make sales.

If I have a customer that sells televisions, and I get them ranked number one in the SERPs for “free tv,” they would get tens of thousands of visitors to their webpage, all of them looking for free cable, free satellite, free televisions, etc.  Almost none of those visitors will actually be converted into paying customers. Read more »

Content Once Again King

After the Google Penguin and Panda updates this year, I hear a lot of complaints from the SEO community (and admittedly, I have voiced complaints myself.)  Suddenly, those hundreds of comment and profile backlinks that were giving us juice are nearly worthless.  The dozens of links we have to a page using our keyword as our anchor text no longer has the effect it once did.  And the overall effect that we see is that our SEO efforts do not work as well as they once did.

But while we are busy complaining that our SEO efforts have been stomped on, we may fail to notice that our competition is feeling the burn as well.  On one niche page and for a certain keyword, I was consistently ranked behind a competitor who obviously used shady SEO to lock in his high position.  After the recent updates, he is now buried in the middle of page 2. Read more »

Usefulness of The New Google Link Disavow Tool

Google, this week, has taken the wraps off of their new link disavow tool, a tool frequently requested this year since the Penguin update to the Google algorithm.  This tool, as part of the Google Webmaster Tools, allows website owners to disavow ties with incoming links to their website.

In case you haven’t been paying attention this year to the Google updates, let me explain why you might want to disavow a link.  The fundamental concept behind Google when it was created was that pages with more incoming links from high-quality pages are more valuable and should be ranked higher in results.  Google devised a nifty formula and assigned every page a “Pagerank,” which not only affected how high they appear in results, but also the value of links from that page.  Links from very low quality, “spammy” websites passed on no value at all. Read more »