How NOT to use Facebook to Promote Your Business

imagesWe have helped quite a few independent businesses get started with solid Online Internet Marketing methods and advice. We recognize how social media usage, search engine optimization and online marketing can be just as difficult and off-topic from their core knowledge as Quickbooks and Accounting practices.

Even with this understanding, I’m a little surprised to be pointing out the obvious of how NOT to use your Facebook page to win business and influence friends in 2013.

But, apparently its worth reminding business owners that social networks are the front store that most potential customers will see before ever walking in your door.

Don’t give people an excuse to walk past your storefront…but definitely don’t give them an excuse to throw mud and trash on it either.

Need an example? Annie Colbert at Mashable has just posted this article that summarizes a recent Facebook meltdown by Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro.

 

Mr. Google, Matt Cutts, foretells the Future of SEO

ImageMatt Cutts has recently given a heads-up for what webmasters and SEO experts should expect over the summer of 2013. He addresses Google’s “Most Wanted” List of Top Ten things to watch out for:

http://searchengineland.com/googles-matt-cutts-black-hat-link-spammers-less-likely-to-show-up-in-search-results-after-summer-159185

[Giving a Shout-Out to Barry Schwartz over at SearchEngineLand for that link to a really nice summary of Matt’s presentation. I often keep an eye on Barry’s posts, along with other great journalists at SearchEngineLand.com.]

Clever Logos Don’t Happen By Accident

Hidden message in Tostitos Logo?msnNOW.com has a great visual slide presentation of twenty corporate logos that are almost all instantly recognizable. However, prepare yourself for a few double-takes. My biggest surprise of all these? The Atlanta Falcons logo. And I was born and raised in Atlanta and have been an Atlanta Falcon (& Braves!) fan all my life.

A friend and I were going over the logos and he thought the hidden message in the FedEx logo may be  coincidental. It wasn’t. We stress to our clients how important it is to seek out and be willing to pay for an experienced, professional graphics design shop when considering a company or product brand logo.

But, since a Logo is worth a 1,000.000 Orders, you be the judge. Intentionally clever? Subtly hidden just for insiders? What do you think? Click on first sentence to see the entire slide show presentation.

Three ways to use LinkedIn.com more Effectively

LinkedIn.comWe’re very excited to see LinkedIn’s continued growth in popularity as well as the tweaks and redesign of their site and content promotion. As it’s popularity and respect has grown, it presents more and more opportunity to companies and individuals to promote their message.

Here’s a good start it improving your use of LinkedIn:

LinkedIn.com: 3 Ways to use it more efficiently.

Fewer Words Matter

The hardest part of any marketing task is communicating your message in just a few words.

I have been telling friends for years that a marketing degree should start with “Marketing 101: How to Describe It in 100 Words.” It would be a weekly course and every week the student would have to describe the same item, but in fewer and fewer words. The final would be a Google Adwords Ad…here is it’s format:
25 Characters
35 Characters
25 Characters

That’s less than 100 Characters, including spaces. And in that 100 characters you have to grab a person’s attention, differentiate yourself and entice them to click on your Ad among all others.

Most firms we begin helping have a tough time saying what they do in a paragraph.

One of the SEM mentors I follow posted this video, which I think sums all this up in two spoken sentences and one written one.

Can you describe your company in seven words or less? Give it a shot, you may be surprised at the results!

Google Adwords Big Change Coming?

Upcoming Adword Format Bad for SMBsWhile catching up on the latest SEO articles, a disturbing post showed up today. It appears that Google is testing the effects of showing how many clicks an Ad or Advertiser has previously gotten.

While we promote Google Adwords to many of our small business clients, there are various aspects that are real disadvantages to them. The overall complexity and several default settings are definitely an issue for SMB and independents without some type of Search Engine Marking (SEM) resource.

Well, Google is trying an Adwords experiment that may indeed be another major problem for small businesses. There are apparently two types of displays being tested, one that just says “Clicks”. The other one says “clicks from this advertiser”. In this image, notice the difference between the two almost identical Ads for the same basic product/brand:Google Adwords Click Display Experiment

Showing “Clicks for this Advertiser” in the Ad will create a very unfair advantage for large brands, big Ad budgets and National Ad agencies.

Notice that the top Ad has 156,000 previous clicks and the one below it has 59,000,000. Which would you click?

We’ve been very successful pitching SMB Ads against major brands with deep pockets. We rely on niche targets, whether time spots, longer tail keywords, more refined and selective demographics or sites. If successful, our Ad typically shows higher than the wider casting net of the big check books.

Think of it another way. A big budget allows for less granular keyword bids, less related Ad text to keywords they are bidding on and finally, paying a bit higher due to a lower quality score. If we are able to place our SMB Ad alongside the more generic text from one of their Ads, we stand a better chance of getting the click due to our more relevant copy and keywords.

Unless that other Ad has 59,000,000 clicks displayed and we only have 156,000.

The real shame? All 156,000 of our visitors could have bought a product, while 200,000 of those other clickers could have bounced away from that site’s competing product immediately without buying anything. If that Advertiser’s 58,800,000 of those clicks are for Ads that send them to another page, not that related to our client’s product, then they won’t even be penalized much. And the users that might have clicked and bought, will instead gravitate towards the Ad with more clicks due to the Lemming Effect.

This also means longer running Ads and Advertisers could have better click through rate (CTR) advantage.

Big Change in SEO “Best Practice” – Anchor Text in Links

One of the toughest things for small business owners is keeping up with all the important advancements or changes in technology that impacts many aspects of their business. Unfortunately, these advancements might be in areas that are NOT the business owner’s core competency, such as Web design, Quick Books updates or new Trade Event booth designs that dramatically cut costs.

Was Ten, Now Nine SEO CommandmentsImproving and keeping your search engine results are one of those areas as well. And for some months now, it appears that Google has drastically changed a top ten “SEO Commandment” I call “standardizing keyword use with inbound link anchor text”. This commandment from now on needs to add “NOT” in it. The updated commandment and the explanation are as follows:

Thou Shall NOT use the same Anchor Text Keywords within all inbound Links 

During most of 2011, Google has focused on trying to reduce the “black hat” SEO sites that are merely content farms housing shallow information that is seldom what a searcher is seeking. One item they continue to analysis AND penalize involves paid links. Their house cleaning consists of punishing violators who are obviously paying for links on a site that isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be sending traffic to the violator’s site.

Small business owners are easy, constant targets for the “we can guarantee your company will show up on Google’s first search page”. One of the often used methods is to sell a service that will increase the amount of incoming links.

FOR YEARS, SEO experts have know that using your most important keywords CONSISTENTLY in the link on the other site increased the importance of showing your site when someone searched on those exact words. This recommendation has been considered a White Hat Best Practice since its inception.

Now that same behavior could get you penalized. Just like JC Penny and Overstock.com (for slightly different link building schemes). Google has determined that if too many of the links on other sites that are pointing to your site use the same exact text in their link, you are probably paying for them.

We would recommend that you build up an expanded list of your most important keywords. If you have the opportunity to request what anchor text to use on another site, keep track. Use Google Webmaster Tools to periodically check natural growth in inbound links. Make sure to include product and company brand names in the links now to further change the links from being all the same.

Google assumes “natural links” would not always use the same words. And if they suspect you are buying those links, they’ll silently penalize you from being displayed on their search results.

Yes, this will happen even if you have only been following Best Practices or Used an professional SEO expert in the past. By the way, this is also the reason you shouldn’t think of SEO as a one time task.