Halloween Edition: Scary SEO Mistakes That You Can Avoid

Let’s take a Halloween inspired look at how you can steer clear of some SEO mistakes:

1) Not targeting advertising keywords – If you offer funeral planning services, did you ever stop to think how many competitors you will have on a national and even global level? Yes, using “funeral planning” make sense but don’t forget to throw location specific terms in there. Los Angeles funeral planning and Kalamazoo funeral planning target an exact audience while also including the broad term. In other words, be like those psycho killers in the movies for once: know what you want and don’t stop until you get it!

2) Not tracking your efforts: Do follow analytics on a regular basis? If not, you’re missing out on a whole lot, including what terms users are searching for when clicking on your site and even how long they spend on the site. Nothing compares to numbers to track your SEO progress. You should also see how your rankings change on a monthly basis. Being on page 1 versus page 2 of a search engine results page makes a HUGE difference.

3) Lacking consistency: Unlike web design, SEO success is not something that you can achieve by just doing one thing and declaring it done. In order to gain and maintain your search engine rankings, your writing should be consistent. The best SEO efforts are those that are ongoing and where you create helpful and relevant content that is related to your keywords and customers.

4) Using duplicate content: There’s just something creepy about duplicate content that makes it as bad as twin children in horror movies! Whether it’s submitting to article directories, putting it on your site or another domain, duplicate content is a big no-no. Search engines don’t look favorably on duplicate content so stick to keeping things fresh! Not to mention that users certainly don’t appreciate seeing the same thing over and over again..

Have a Happy Halloween and keep these SEO tips in mind! Of course, I can’t leave you without one last scare… the creepy Snickers lady!

The New Twitter is Finally Here

The new twitter design layout rolled out for many users at the end of September and has finally arrived for the Emarketed Twitter account!

Some cool new features include:

  • Endless scrolling for tweets on the lefthand panel. No need to click “More” to view additional tweets!
  • View offsite media – You can now see embedded videos and video directly from the right hand panel. For your convenience, you can see it all without leaving Twitter
  • Preview profiles before you follow. Clicking on a user will showcase a mini profile preview on the right hand panel. You can see all their info and quickly scroll for more or exit before you follow.
  • And of course, shortcuts for the busy folks:

Some bad things about the new Twitter:

  • Too much going on. Going from one panel to two is a big change. It took awhile to get used to, especially because everything is now in one place.
  • Doesn’t leave much room for design and branding. The customizable space on the right is significantly reduced.
  • Can’t view the time and date of a person’s last tweet without clicking on their profile. It only takes one click to see but I miss this feature when browsing users from a list.

Check out Mashable’s take on the new design and how it it’s based on the Gold Ratio. What do you think? Love it or hate it?

Case Studies: Groupon & Foursquare for Businesses

Last month, we learned how Groupon is beneficial for businesses. Today, let’s take a look at some real life examples of how Groupon and Foursquare can be used to bring in new customers:


Cafe 50’s Uses Groupon
The concept of discounted dining is not new. Restaurant.com has been around for much longer than Groupon but it lacks a social and “cool” aspect of Groupon deals.

This weekend, I ate at Café 50’s for the first time after seeing a Groupon. This kitschy 50’s themed eatery has fairly good Yelp reviews and two locations in Los Angeles. After a yummy breakfast, the owner thanked us for coming and told us how much he loved Groupon because it was bringing him in so much business. How much exactly? He revealed that within 24 hours, nearly 4,000 people had purchased a Groupon! That number is pretty amazing to me for a local business. It’s also the kind of restaurant that is good for groups and families so I’m sure that they’ll be looking forward to more customers through word of mouth and online reviews.


Checking into Dodger Stadium with Foursquare
This weekend was full of new things as I checked into Dodger Stadium for the first time using Foursquare. I even earned a “swarm badge”, which means that I checked into a venue where 50+ others have also checked in. Foursquare badges and mayorships provide customers with a fun way to show their loyalty and encourage them to explore new venues. I also saw that fans checking in using Foursquare could also save 25% on their next visit! Groupons and Foursquare is great for restaurants, retailers and venues because they provide incentive. It’s a new way to invite people who wouldn’t normally visit your business.

Of course, there are downsides to Groupon and Foursquare if businesses believe that they could lose money (especially for service provides or small businesses who are not equipped to handle the volume). If your business is interested in Foursquare or Groupon, make sure to read the conditions carefully.

The Difference Between Web Development and Web Design

Emarketed web design and developmentYour clients have a misunderstanding between web development and web design – ever had this problem? It’s important to explain the difference between these two services because the terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

What do you think is the best way to explain web development and web design?

An Eye for Website Design
When people talk about “web design”, they often refer to the look and feel of a site. This means all the creative and visual elements of a website. In (very) broad terms, web design can be like planning out something in print. This means arranging the layout of the site and other graphic elements. To what degree that designers should know how to code is highly debatable…

Web Development Is…

Web development usually refers to the programming of a site to ensure that everything is working. This occurs in the “back end” of the site where all the content is added. Developers use script languages like PHP to make this all happen. When it comes to coding and programming, web developers take it to another level to make sure that these designs are functional. Without efficient development, the vision of your web design can’t fully be realized.

Finding Balance with Search Engine Friendly Web Design
So now that you know that web development and design have to work together, what do you get? Search engine friendly web design is when your site is fully optimized for search engines, as well as human visitors. Customers will take interest in your appealing web design while developers make sure that they find what they are looking for and that it’s working. If you think that websites have to be one or the other, you’re wrong. Read our previous post on bad website design. Some people may consider the design aspect more of an art and the development part to be more technical. What’s wrong with having both sets of skills or wearing two different “hats”? Finding a balance can be a good thing.

Check out some more discussion on what designers and developers should know about their respective fields.

The 5 P’s that Power Twitter

Emarketed Twitter social media marketing

Looking for some powerful ways to amp up your Twitter or social media campaign? There are many things to consider, so let’s focus on some P words that can help you on your way:

1) Participation – If you’re on Twitter (or any social site for that matter) you can’t expect success without participation. Communication consists of listening and responding, so don’t expect it just to be a one way street.

2) Packed – There’s nothing more inefficient than an inactive Twitter account. You can’t just sit back and expect things to happen. Your Tweets need to be packed with information, resources and tools. Sounds boring? Not really, this translates to: articles, blogs, infographics, etc. People are always looking and sharing helpful things.

3) Persistence
– Depending on your industry/business and the time you put into your Twitter account, it could be taking off slower than you expected. In the end, don’t give up. It pays off to be persistent and it can start with something as small as researching your competitors’ tactics.

4) Pleasant
– Real life is depressing as it is. No one likes a sad sack or creep on Twitter! Be personable and show that you’re a real person. Share something interesting you did over the weekend or a short anecdote.

5) Promotion
– This could be the most difficult P to tackle because it could backfire easily. What’s easier: promoting a new TV show or asking people to vote for a certain candidate? It all depends, so use this P sparingly. But then again, promoting doesn’t just have to relate to yourself. You can tweet about your favorite blogger or share a service that you’re happy about. Who knows, they might even reply or reciprocate. For example, the Salvation Army tweeted us some thanks after this post, which is pretty cool!

Hopefully, these tips will help for more than just your Twitter strategy. What about your blog or email campaigns? Feel free to share other P words!

5 Pay Per Click Advertising Questions Answered

Emarketed pay per click advertising PPCAre you interested in learning more about how your business can benefit from a pay per click campaign? Join our PPC manager, Dillon Zachara, as he answers the top 5 questions about pay per click advertising.

1) What are some advantages of having an agency manage your PPC campaign rather than doing it yourself?

One, search agency’s have already gone through the process of finding certified professionals that have the skills to optimize and manage a PPC campaign in a way that will maximize business opportunities. An agency also has dedicated representatives at the major search engines that can be contacted directly and quickly when technical issues arise. Finally, web marketing agency’s generally have more resources and tools for research available than individuals do, leading to a higher quality ad campaign.

2) What are the top misconceptions that people have about PPC?

The top misconception is probably that you can just choose a bunch of keywords, toss them in one ad group and one campaign, write an ad or two, and let it run without tweaking it. While this may seem obvious to some who’ve done work with PPC, it isn’t known or practiced by many newcomers to the trade.

3) Tips for creating effective PPC ads?

Ad copy is incredibly important and often gets overlooked. Always A/B split test ads, having more than one running to test for the optimal copy. Everyone managing a PPC campaign should also look into new developments, such as adding addresses for local ads and sitelinks in ad copy. Also with mobile searches becoming increasingly popular, always add a phone number and enable the click-to-call option. Finally, make sure your landing pages look great, otherwise your money is being wasted on a click that won’t convert.

4) What are some common mistakes inexperienced marketers make regarding PPC?

In general, I would say the most common pitfall is just not checking a campaign enough. I like to look through what is happening both in Adwords and Analytics at least once/day for each campaign. That doesn’t necessarily mean that changes should be made that often, but each time the stats are analyzed, a bit more information is being gathered in order to make the correct change/adjustment when necessary.

That pitfall can go the other way too though, where businesses make way too many changes and don’t allow a campaign to find it’s ‘sweet spot’. PPC is all about finding the right balance between keywords, bids, ad copy, running times, and geo-targets. If you make a change and then undo it after only 20 clicks or so, you’re not letting the affects of that change be realized.

5) Favorite and least favorite aspects of PPC?

My favorite aspect of PPC is the amount of control and flexibility you can have over what is happening within the campaign. I love being able to change who sees any particular ad in a matter of minutes. Close after that, my next favorite aspect is the detail and specificity that you can get with reports in PPC campaigns. I also really enjoy monitoring the constant upgrades and changes in the industry. Right now is really an exciting time for PPC search advertising!

My least favorite aspect would probably be the fact that you can’t physically see who is clicking on an ad. Obviously this won’t be changing anytime soon, but the lack of personal interaction can be a little frustrating.

Learn more about how PPC consultants can help your business today. Dillon will be more than happy to answer some of your  burning questions, so feel free to ask!

Are You Feeling the Pain of Social Media Promotion?

Nowadays, a blog here and there just isn’t enough to get your content out there. It can be hard to go that extra step but the effort is worth it. Promotion with social media doesn’t have to be a painful process for writers and bloggers. Many people see social media as a medium for personal relationships, so why can’t you apply that concept to engage your readers?

Add a Personal Touch
It’s easier than it seems but fans will appreciate it when you add a personal touch to your social media efforts. Instead of just linking a news story or site, give them a good reason to read and click. People aren’t just interested if you’re throwing a URL out at them. Give your opinion or a different spin on the subject. Here are some examples:

  • Have a sense of humor. Being genuine and funny is one of the best ways to get a response or RT on Twitter. Also, don’t be afraid to ask!
  • Give people shout outs. On Twitter and Facebook, you can use the @ tag to show your fans and followers appreciation.
  • Retweet others and comment. The best way to engage is to start with outreaching others. Remember, it’s not all about pushing your URL.

Simple is Always Best
It helps to stay simple and you can start with your content. Unless you’re focusing on a niche topic or doing some technical writing, more people will be able to connect with a simple subject. Reading other blogs and articles can help give you ideas and also improve your writing. These are simple steps you can take for inspiration and learning more about your area of expertise. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy and it takes practice. Just think about it, what’s more difficult: writing a concise one sentence summary or writing a summary paragraph?

Bloggers often focus on consistently coming up with new ideas and writing the content. After the writing process, it can be tedious to promote your work on different social media channels. Try to force yourself to do so by following a few of these tips. Remember that in the end, you get what you put in but you can always work to change the outcome. No pain = no gain!

Taking the 7 Link Challenge

It’s time to take the 7 Link Challenge with Darren Rowse of Problogger:

Your first post
I remember this took a lot of time and editing for two measly paragraphs. I haven’t really looked back on it but it’s cool to see that it has gotten 21 retweets! Using Twitter to Achieve a Higher Search Ranking

A post you enjoyed writing the most

I was suffering from a case of writer’s block and didn’t really know what to write about. Sometimes, it’s good just to force yourself to write and you’ll find a topic that is inspiring. Add Pieces of Flair

A post which had a great discussion

A recent guest blog post that got a lot of comments for and against the EZineArticles WordPress plugin. 3 Social Media Tools That Help Bloggers Interact with Readers

A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written

I wish I wrote a valuable resource that other bloggers bookmarked and referred to. For me, it’s Chris Brogan’s 100 Blog Topics I Hope You Write.

Your most helpful post

It was helpful for me to write this post because I was researching link building resources. Hopefully, readers learned about different types of links. What’s Your Link Building Focus?

A post with a title that you are proud of

A fun topic to think and write about. I think the title sums the post up nicely. Does the New Facebook Make You Miss the Old MySpace?

A post that you wish more people had read

It would be nice to get more input about this topic and see what other people think about the topic. Does Social Media Help or Harm Your Blogging Efforts?

The Secret to the Best Viral Content

After some technical difficulties, the SEOmoz webinar about viral content was finally underway. When you hear about ‘viral content’, most people think that it’s a weird/outrageous campaign à la the new Old Spice ads. After hearing Rand Fishkin’s presentation of successful case studies, it was interesting to see the real secret behind the most realistic cases of viral content – the content is useful and relevant to their target audience!

Viral success in this case means that the sites are shared and  receive linkage from many different domains. Here are some of my favorite examples of viral success that were presented:

Epicurious
This neat interactive site shows a seasonal map of the US. You can click different states and months to find the best seasonal ingredients during any specific time. It’s a simple idea that’s easy to pull off but not that easy to think of. Kudos to Epicurious!

OkCupid
The popular dating site featured a write up dispelling myths about the success of profile pictures. For example, women seem to get the most responses with a flirty, smiley face. Interestingly enough, men who received the most responses from their profile picture were not smiling. This is an interesting and fun article that even got OkCupid a write-up in the New York Times.

Boston
This was one mildly successful example that could’ve been improved. During the presentation, I thought it was great that it was critiqued so that others can learn about formatting and design when thinking of their viral efforts. The site showcases exciting tidbits about how the CIA used magic and trickery in their tactics.

Does Social Media Help or Harm Your Blogging Efforts?

Everybody uses social media advertising to promote their blog nowadays. Besides, what good is so good about blog without the sharing aspect? But, does social media actually help or harm your writing efforts? Either way, it’s important to look at both sides of things before you implement a social media plan for your content.

How It’s Helpful
The best thing about social media is that it gives you the power to share your content beyond just your blog domain. Through your RSS feed, Twitter retweets, Facebook ‘Likes’, diggs and more, these tools give you the opportunity to give your writing exposure. When paired with your online network or blogging community, social media broadens the audience that has access to your posts. How awesome is that?
Social media is also a great way to get ideas for new topics to write about. Let’s face it, writing is fun but not when you run out of things to write about. Searching my favorite blog communities is the best cure for my writer’s block. Even if you’re just feeling lazy, you can expand on a comment you’ve been meaning to make or react to a current news story.
Sharing through social media also provides an open way for you to strengthen your online brand while demonstrating your knowledge.

How It’s Harmful
Now, on to how social media can be harmful to your blog. Two words: damage control. If you’re a big brand, you really have to watch what you say. Is it wrong to say that readers are waiting for you to make a wrong movie? Just take a look at Consumerist who reveals the mistakes and slip ups of big companies. They also take consumer tips!
It’s easy to give into information overload on social media networks. Some bloggers argue that social media can also be a sheer waste of time. While you start using social media as a way to find ideas, it could lead to clicking irrelevant sites that just pointless to your blogging goals!

How about you? In my experience, social media has been an extremely helpful part of the blogging experience. I started my first foray into guest blogging and it’s going better than I initially expected! Again, it’s the social aspect that made this all possible.