Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

SEO Blog

Engage Your Prospects with Twitter

Engage your prospects; encourage them to follow you on TwitterUsing Twitter to full advantage allows you to fully engage with customers and prospects. In a recent book entitled 100 Inbound Marketing Content Ideas by the folks at HubSpot, they include what they call 34 Awesome Twitter Ideas. Here are some I thought were particularly good.

  • Twitter can allow you to respond to customer/prospect questions, and put forward a friendly personality for your company.
  • Check your @replies regularly with a Twitter client. Reply to your users’ questions.
  • Posts tweets of your blog posts.
  • Thank people who comment on your blog posts.
  • Write in the first person; that shows a real person is behind the Twitter account.
  • If your blog post is a list of tips, post one as a teaser in your tweet.
  • If you have older blog posts that are still relevant, tweet them again from time to time for those who missed them the first time around.

You can download the whole book for these and other tips for Twitter, Facebook and your blog here.

A Cool Half-Dozen Reasons You Need a Blog Now

Six reasons you need a blog.Leverage Your Blog

Once you have a blog, you can easily leverage it to spread your brand, gain you authority in your field, and greatly improve your visibility on the Internet. Here are six reasons a blog will pay you back all out of proportion to the effort it takes to maintain it.

  1. Interact with clients & prospects. Write provocative posts that generate comments and questions. You can respond and establish both authority and accessibility at the same time.
  2. Gain Directory Links. You can list your blog in perhaps two dozen blog directories. If your blog is hosted on your website domain (it should be!) then all those links  help your website’s link popularity. See Bloggapedia, BlogaramaTechnorati, and BlogHub.
  3. Syndication Possibilities — other blogs may re-post your blog posts for their readers, dramatically extending your range of influence. Plus you get backlinks that hepl your website rankings.
  4. Social Media Exposure — You can set up your blog so every post automatically gets listed on your Facebook Fan Page. The preiodic updates there keep your fans engaged. You can also easily post a link to your blog post at other social media sites: Delicious, Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, LinkedIn, Merchant Circle and so forth. That expands your reach and also generates backlinks.
  5. Real Time Exposure via Twitter. Tweet each blog post as you publish it to get the word out to your followers. Others interested in what you do will find you and follow you. You can see ours here.
  6. You can even push your blog out on Kindle and actually earn money when people subscribe to it! (Look up the Rank Magic Blog on your Kindle for a good example.)

Yes, having a blog takes a certain amount of discipline to write at least one good post a month, but it can rally pay off in your branding and your visibility on the web. We can share some time-saving and labor-saving ideas that we’ve put into practice for our own blog. Call and ask how we can help.

Discounted Software Training for Rank Magic Clients Only

To Rank Magic Clients —

Thanks for having us provide you with Search Engine Optimization services. Now that you’ve taken care of your website ranking needs with a trusted SEO professional, it’s time to look at your software needs. Are you getting the most out of Office 2010? Or perhaps you’re about to upgrade from an earlier version? Has Rank Magic suggested you add a blog to your website? Does your small business need to share files within your team? Are your company documents polished and professional? Do you need help creating a PowerPoint presentation? Does your team need to share your calendar? Would you like help setting up a customer relationship management system without it being a chore?

If any of this rings true, or if this list helped you identify even more needs, turn these tasks over to a trusted Software Coaching firm. From Outlook and Excel to DropBox and Constant Contact, Home & Office Computer Training has been taking great care of my clients for years. Now they’ve created a spin-off company that focuses on the specific needs of the small business owner, called Right Click Advantage.

Right Click AdvantageTheir software coaches are friendly and personable as well as skilled, patient, and up to speed on the latest Windows, Mac and Android tech tools for your business.

Because of your relationship with Rank Magic, you’ve now earned a distinct advantage – the Lucky 7 Advantage. Give Right Click Advantage a call and not only will you receive a free phone consult, but when you do meet with them in their comfortable coaching center, clients of Rank Magic enjoy a 7% Discount. All you need to do is mention that you’re a client of ours, or if you’re filling out a registration form, you can enter the Code TRELOAR. You’ll automatically receive a reduced rate for all of your business software coaching needs.

Top 10 SEO Myths

Almost every time we speak with a new potential client we find they’ve been told something about SEO that’s either an exaggeration or downright false. In a recent issue of .Net Magazine, Mark Buckingham, owner of an SEO company in south-west London called NetSeek, wrote about his top ten favorite SEO myths. Have you heard any of these? Let us know in comments, below.

1. Satisfaction guaranteed

There is no such thing as guaranteed organic rankings. Distrust anyone who promises otherwise. There are about 200 factors in the Google ranking algorithm, and no one can control all of them. Most people who “guarantee” top rankings only do so for long-tail searches that get very little search traffic — phrases like “podiatry malpractice lawyer on Main Street in Chatham”.

2. High Google PageRank = high rankings

Google PageRank is one of the 200 or so ranking factors in Google. It’s at best a fair indicator of a page’s link popularity, and it may be weighted more heavily than many of the other factors, but it’s not uncommon for a web page with a lower PageRank to rank higher in search results than a page with a higher PageRank. It’s a visible indicator of what Google thinks of your page, but again it’s only one of many ranking factors.

3. Endorsed by Google

Any company that says they’re “endorsed”, “approved” or “certified” by Google is probably a fraud. Google has a certification for Google Analytics and Google AdWords (the PPC ads), but Google has no stamp of approval for any SEO company .

4. The meta keyword tag matters

I heard this one as recently as last week. Mark quotes Google’s Matt Cutts to totally debunk that one. Google considers the meta keyword tag to be a waste of time. We typically use it, only because it may be used by some smaller search engines, and because it’s so quick and easy to do. But we never agonize over what to put in there — as Matt says, that’s just a waste of time.

5. You can cheat your way to the top

This reminds me of an old database client of mine who once asked if I would help him send out spam. (It should go without saying that I strongly declined.) Cheating (considered “black hat SEO”) is always a bad idea. Even if it works once in awhile, as soon as the search engines find you out (or when a competitor rats you out) you risk being banned from the search engine results with disastrous bottom line results. This happened to JC Penney recently and to both Ricoh and BMW before that.

6. Cram those keywords in

There’s no magic number of keywords needed to get a high ranking. You need to use the keywords, of course, but using them too often creates what we call “overredundancy”. Forcing your keywords into a web page almost always destroys the page’s power to influence the person reading it and encourage them to want to buy what you’re selling. Pay attention to your keywords, and use them on the page, but make sure you’re always writing for your visitor, not for the search engines.

7. Spending on Google AdWords boosts your rankings

Google has repeatedly denied any connection  between participating in AdWords and organic rankings. SEO experts agree. There is some research showing that if you show up in both the PPC ads and in the organic results, that boosts the likelihood of the searcher clicking on one of your listings. The organic listing super-validates your PPC ad, increasing the likelihood of a click on one or the other. But having a PPC ad has no impact on where you rank in the organic results.

8. Landing pages

The concept of a “landing page” is relevant only to PPC. Almost any page on your website can show up in the organic listings. Don’t assume that people will always enter your site through the front door, for example. In SEO, any page on your site can be a “landing page”.

9. Set it and forget it

It’s true that once your pages are well-optimized there’s little or no need to constantly tweak, change, or “freshen” them up. However you can’t just forget your SEO as soon as you get great rankings. An ongoing stream of inbound links may be important to maintain your rankings, and if those links aren’t happening by themselves it may require some level of continued effort. A blog is a great way to add new content on a regular basis. But you also need to monitor your rankings. There’s no guarantee your great rankings will be permanent, especially if your website undergoes even a minor redesign or your competitors become more aggressive in their social presence and link building. At least keep an eye on your rankings so you can respond if they begin to fall.

10. Rankings are your goal

Content is what converts visitors to customers.Rankings aren’t everything. High rankings are great, but you’re not in business to get high rankings. The bottom line needs to be your bottom line. Do those rankings result in visitors? Do those visitors convert into paying customers? SEO can get more people to your website, but it’s the job of your website to convince them they want to do business with you and with no one else. You need great content that’s effective in closing the sale. All the rankings in the world can’t make up for a poor user experience on your website.

Need help with your web site’s rankings? Rank Magic can help.

Is There Such a Thing as Ethical SEO?

Is SEO just another form of spam?

Sadly, we have heard prospective clients express the concern that all SEO is unethical, akin to spam. Those folks have heard that sentiment from others they trust, and that may be a hard opinion to displace.

Yes, Virginia, there IS ethical SEO

But the truth is that there definitely is ethical SEO, and that’s all the SEO we practice here at Rank Magic. We even have an entire page on our website devoted to it. Catherine Kozar at Affiliate Marketers College recently wrote about the subject and included a video from Matt Cutts, The Google Guy. that bears on the subject.

Catherine talks about the temptations to cut corners, to employ black hat SEO techniques, to write misleading titles and descriptions, to use hard sell hype pages that offers no real content, and so forth. All that is counterproductive in the long run, and Google expects those practices to become far less prevalent within the next five years as Matt Cutts explains that Google (and others) will filter them out of organic search results.

Check out Catherine’s post here.