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Trick or Tweet!

October 31, 2009 1 comment

PumpkinCarving-RavenHappy Halloween everybody!  As you can guess from the title today we’ll be talking about Twitter.

Twitter has gone through some major changes this week and I’m going to talk about how that effects SEO.

First, let’s talk about the Twitter “trick.”  There are people out there that don’t believe Twitter is a useful tool, let alone a useful business tool.  Consider this comment:

I tried twitter 8 months and found it to be nothing more than rss, but worse: mostly spam

so go ahead and hype it up some more, you are a sukker like other media who believe twitter is somehow great

Obviously this commenter wasn’t following the right people.  If I get spam, I unfollow.  If I get too much stuff, I unfollow.  Consider it an instant and trustworthy opt-out list.  If you try it, it’s easy to either stay subscribed or get out.

I’ll admit many people haven’t figured Twitter out yet and that includes businesses.  The question we have to ask is Twitter a gimmick and does it present a tangible return on investment (time).  Are we being tricked by using Twitter?

I don’t think so and I believe the events of this past week prove it.  First of all the announcement Bing would index Tweets was made.  The next day Google announced similar news along with a social search function.

While the experiment isn’t quite live yet, it would seem that from the video below made by Google’s Matt Cutts, Social Search, at least at first, will be able to include results from Twitter, FriendFeed, Picasa, Blogger, and Google Reader.

When I opened up Twitter this morning, I saw a new feature:  lists.  Lists aggregate like-minded content together and they’re searchable.

Twitter Lists are exciting because curation of dynamic sources is exciting. This is a particularly accessible way to do what syndication geeks have been thrilled by for years.

If none of this made sense to you, let me explain.  Twitter lists are like a digital news or feed reader.  You can create your own list to follow topics you’re interested in and categorize them.  Until now, this wasn’t possible with Twitter.  This feature will cause more people to adopt Twitter as an information tool and they’re searchable through Twitter and Google.

The impact to search engine optimization is simple.  If you’re not Twittering useful content, you won’t be found.  Use hashtags and your keywords in tweets and you will open up a new channel of potential clients and referrers.

I think this a great treat, Halloween or not.  If you’re a business, ignore Twitter at your own peril.

Vote for Utah’s Top Blogger

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Time is running out to vote for Utah’s top blogger.  The contest ends at midnight October 31st.  If you haven’t voted for your favorite Utah blogger, do it now!

While the percentage vote differential is quite large, any vote you make will help your favorite blogger.  The amateurs are beating the professionals in this contest.  It’s an upset in the making!I know many of you are out for the holiday, that’s why I’m posting from Posterous and it’s also why you should vote before you forget and let the opportunity pass you by.

Vote today, while you still can!

Nigel

SEObySwaby
801-661-1476
www.seobyswaby.wordpress.com
http://nigelswaby.businesscard2.com

Sample SEO Article

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment

sample seo articleSo much of what goes into article writing is either spammy, boring or written by people who don’t know their subject matter.  Article marketing is a very smart way to perform search engine optimization, but so much of it is so bad it really gives article marketers a bad name.

Here’s a sample I did for a client.  Let me know what you think.

Temporary is the New Face of the American Worker

For most of the last two decades of the 20th Century, American workers were warned their lives were about to change.  The days of working for the same company for 40 years and then retiring with pensions and benefits were gone.  Today we’re seeing those prophecies fulfilled.  Consider this quote given by Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor

It seems as if every conference I attend on the subject of American competitiveness (and there are many — the competitiveness industry is surely one of America’s most competitive) begins or ends with a speech by a prominent chief executive of a large American corporation about business’s stake in improving the quality of the American work force… At the start, an upbeat assessment of the current state of American industry coupled with grim warnings about foreign competitors who are gaining ground. This is followed by an assertion about the importance of the American work force to American competitiveness in the future, why skilled and educated workers are crucial, why companies have more and more need for brainpower instead of brawn, and so forth.

Looking back in the history of the past twenty years, there are several times we could attribute his comment to; the late nineties, the 2001 recession and even today.  It was actually written 19 years ago.

I find it very interesting to see certain events that will most certainly be the subject of historical textbooks (or whatever they’re using then) play out in real time.  The transformation is one of those events and we’ve had warning about it for several decades.

Like the Industrial revolution of the nineteenth century that led to a time period of manufacturing dominance, another commercial revolution is taking place.  This is the information revolution and like any great change, it’s facing significant resistance.

In the past two and a half decades, this shift has taken us from the older industrial model to a new economic paradigm, where knowledge, innovation, and creativity are key. At the cutting edge of this shift is the creative sector of the economy: science and technology, art and design, culture and entertainment, and the knowledge-based professions.

This economic shift is creating a new type of employee; one that is educated, adaptable and more and more temporary.  By temporary, I mean a worker who may be in a position with a particular company for six months to two years.  While staying in the same industry, they may find the signer of their paycheck could come from three, four even five different employers in a ten-year period.

We call these types of employees temporary, but wouldn’t dynamic, flexible and adaptable also be accurate descriptions?  Welcome to the 21st century of business where extreme competition leads to extreme solutions.

In the past, temporary employee created an image of a secretary, labor or food service worker.  In today’s economy temporary means contract or consultant and almost every industry employs such people for jobs as varied as information technology, medical and direct sales.

Historically, seasonal jobs seemed to create more temporary workers.  In today’s economy with technology driving innovative new products and services in shorter and shorter business cycles, specialized direct sales companies can manage various sales sources with an expertise that is mercenary in nature.  It’s also highly effective.

Consider MarketStar, a world-wide sales and marketing specialist that employs thousands of flexible employees in its direct sales force.  Due to the dynamic nature of their employment, its not surprising MarketStar’s clients occupy the consumer electronics space where product life cycles are short and competition is fierce.

Their client list reads like a who’s who of amazing technology:

Sony Ericcson
Research in Motion (RIM)
Cisco
LG and HP

Those are just a few of the companies utilizing an outsourced (specialized) sales force through MarketStar.  The beauty of using business process outsourcing (BPO) is it’s seamless.  With proper sales training, the end customer will never know their salesperson wasn’t a permanent company employee no matter what the sales channel was: direct, value added reseller (VAR) or retail.

Of course, a successful sales outsourcing company has to manage its clients and its employees.  By providing up to date training, benefits, flexible schedules and the stability of a large company, MarketStar is able to attract the best and the brightest as its direct sales reps.

MarketStar is just one example of a business that is miles ahead of its competitors by offering talented and motivated staff in America’s new economy.

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How to Get Twitter Followers Automatically

October 29, 2009 14 comments

blogger quick tipsSometimes being an expert is a matter of knowing experts.  This tip is one of them.  As you know blogging is part of the social media family, even though most people think of Twitter or Facebook when hearing that term.

I am an expert level blogger, even though I learn at least one new thing about it every day.  I’m pretty good with Facebook too.  Twitter on the other hand is still in my experimental sandbox, so I can share whatever tips I learn when I find them out.

I got a tip from real estate blogger Larry Cragan about Twitter.  I tested it and it works.

I now know how to get Twitter followers automatically!

Larry writes on his Facebook business page:

Twitter calls this a hash tag: # You might call it a pound sign. Whatever. When posting an article in twitter you can use the # to identify it for searches. Ahah, like a tag does. So use it in front of your tweet and use it for searching.

Besides using “keywords” in my tweets, I’m now using these tags.  I got 16 new followers today just by using hashtags.

Three tips I’ve learned about Twitter hashtags:

1.  Don’t use spaces in the words.  #salt lake city only tags “salt.”  Use #saltlakecity instead.

2.  Commas are not necessary.  You’ve only got 140 characters!  Use #salt #lake #city instead of #salt, #lake, #city.

3.  Use a URL shortener before you tweet for extra space.  My URLs are based on my page title, so sometimes they’re long.  If I run out of space, I can use bit.ly or another URL shortener to free up space for hashtags.

By using keywords in your tweets and hashtags, you’ve got a surefire way to get more Twitter followers automatically.

I am New Media and so are You!

October 28, 2009 Leave a comment

journalist-webWeb journalism looks nothing like the picture of the “press” I’m using for this post.  With smart phones, we have created an army of new media journalists who can turn any event, or non-event, into a news story.

Be the media is a philosophy I’ve tried to employ with this blog and it’s working out quite well.  I’m going to keep doing it.  So is everybody else.

As social media becomes more widely adopted, more people are going to be sharing online their life experiences.  Paul Carr at TechLife wrote an article the other day that’s worth reading.

And yet despite the obvious differences between the two groups -the kids down there and the grown ups up here – there is one thing we have in common. Almost everyone – young or old – has a phone in their hand.

As befits their demographic, the kids are using their Nokias as cameras – pointing them at the stage in anticipation of their heroes’ arrival. And as befits our demographic, we grown ups are using our iPhones to tweet that same anticipation, but only – of course – after we’d checked in to the venue on Foursquare. “Wow. The real-time web is awesome”, I remarked, to no one in particular.

His conclusion is the real-time web is driven by self-interested narcissists.

And what’s the point of checking in on Foursquare at a ticketed event that no one else can get into. You might as well tweet “I’m a dick” and be done with it.

And yet this real-time mentality – pictures/tweets or it didn’t happen – continues to seep into every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally.

Are you a “dick” for publishing?  Or are you a “dick” for publishing about yourself?  Sometimes people get so excited about things that happen to them, they can’t help but share.  Today we have a million ways to share; Posterous, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, text, video, podcasts, email, letters, cards, and phone calls.

The difference between being the media and being a self-interested narcissist is who you talk about.

Last week I attended the Stompernet meetup group on the recommendation of a new friend.  I took my camera.  Why out of 23 web marketing pros I was the only one taking pictures, I don’t know?  I told the group organizer I would give her the photos which I did by posting to their meetup group online.  Then I made this blog post about the amazing experience.

Do you know what she did?  She told her contacts at corporate and they emailed other meetup groups around the country.  I saw some traffic from tweets and my Twitter followers doubled.

If she hadn’t?  That’s ok too because I had a great article for you, the faithful reader.

That’s how I approach being the media.  I talk about other people, places and businesses.  That’s how I add value to an SEO client.  That’s how I add value to people I know.  That’s how I create interesting content for readers.

Do I know that reciprocation will happen?  Yes.  That’s the nature of humanity.  We are for the most part very selfish beings.  We are self-interested.  We couldn’t survive, thrive, create and be on top of the food chain if we weren’t.

So next time you’re at an exclusive event or simply enjoying your day, do tell your friends about it.  Your local news sure won’t.  Be the media!

Blogger Quick Tips – Forms

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

blogger quick tipsI’ve been building a WordPress blog for a new client and created a form.  While they are using a lot of social media, they still wanted a contact form.

I think it’s good to create options so your reader can engage you in the way they feel most comfortable.  Regardless of the contact method you need to have a system in place so no leads slip through.

Here’s the secret about forms.  The less you ask a visitor to give is the more likely you’ll get a form submission…from an unqualified prospect.  The more you ask is the less likely you are to get a form submission…from an unqualified prospect.

If you’re not getting any form submissions, first test the form to see if it’s working.  If you’re still not getting anything, try asking less questions.  On the other hand, too many submissions may suggest you’ve got the next great thing, or you need to ask a few more questions.

Bonus Form Tips

Never ask for the first/last name in one field.  If you ever decide to do email marketing, you’ll need that data in two fields for personalization – the key to email opens and reads.

Never ask for both the phone number and email in required fields.  It’s one or the other.  How do you communicate best with potential customers?  Choose that method.  If you develop a relationship, they’ll give you the other information at a later point.

Always save your data.  You’re going to a lot of effort to collect this information.  Develop a system to keep in contact with people who think enough of you or your product to give up their personal information.  It could be as sophisticated as a database system or as simple as a folder in your email.

How I Doubled My Number of Twitter Followers

October 25, 2009 2 comments

increase twitter followersI have my Twitter account set to alert me by email every time I get a new follower.  I’ve got about 50 followers since I started my account two months ago, so I get an email about every other day.  On Friday I doubled my followers in one day.

My email just started pinging me about every five minutes.  When I hit refresh on my Twitter account, my follower stats were increasing with every page reload.  I was happy, but I wanted to know why.

How I doubled my Twitter followers:

What did I tweet that ruffled so many feathers people started following me?

Stompernet meetup made me think…http://bit.ly/4hdGn3

I wrote an article about the Stompernet meeting I attended the night before.  Of course I optimized the article for the key phrase “stompernet.”  I also used that term in my tweet.

Many of the Twitter management tools out there rely on searches to find relevant content.  When a term is found, the tool automatically adds the tweeter to the follower.  In some cases if there isn’t a return follow, the tweeter will be dropped after a few days.  By using a highly searched key term, I doubled my followers in one day!

This made me review my old tweets and I discovered I haven’t been doing a very good job tweeting.  Unless you’re already known, it’s better to use descriptive keywords instead of trying to be cute.  You’ll get much more interest from Twitter search.  Once you’ve got an established following, then you can be more interesting.

Now I’m considering changing how I use Twitter and my Facebook business page.  I’ve been linking them together as a time management tool, but maybe I should send out two different messages.  I want to be more personal and interesting on my business page and use my Twitter to build followers. 

Social Media Time Management

A question I hear and Mike Knutson specifically asked is, “How do you manage the time spent on social media?”  For me, the most time-consuming portion is actually writing the blog post.  Once it’s written and published my LinkIn automatically updates with the new post and I publish a short message on my business page that publishes on my personal Facebook site and Twitter.  That’s the easiest part!

I don’t want to publish two tweets with different messages and bug my followers, so I think I need to unlink my Facebook from Twitter.  Too bad.  I liked the automation.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

Utah’s Top Blogger Current Standings – 10-24-2009

October 24, 2009 1 comment

topbloggernomineemedWe’re down to the final week of the Utah’s Top Blogger contest.  The nominee list was finalized last Friday and it’s now up to you to vote.

Nominees should still be putting the badge or telling their audience about the contest.  That’s the reason “Mormon mommy blogger” Brandy Roth is beating Dooce.  Here are the results to date…

Current Standings

Brandy Roth – 73%

Bob DeLong – 16%

Heather Armstrong – 10%

Janet Thaeler – 2%

19 other nominees – 0%

If you haven’t yet voted in the contest, take a look and pick a nominee to vote for.

Analog Marketing – Utah Stomper’s Meetup

October 23, 2009 9 comments

Utah Stompers GroupWord of mouth is such a powerful marketing tool and ultimately that is the heart of social media.

I was in analog mode last evening when I met up with the Utah Stomper’s monthly meeting at Mimi’s in Sandy, UT.

Stompernet is an Internet marketing education system I don’t really know that much about.  After tonight, I’m curious.  Here you can read a Stompernet review that matches up with what I heard tonight.

Tonight’s topic was outsourcing (both onshore and offshore) and Kevin Davis passed out the most amazing information I’ve ever seen.  Kevin produces a lot of websites in a short period of time and utilizes contract workers in the U.S. as well as overseas workers.  His handout detailed who his employees are, where they work, how much they’re paid, when they work, common tasks assigned, software used and how they’re paid.  It was brilliant.  Thanks for sharing Kevin!

That was great, but it got better.  As people started filtering out, a smaller group remained and just started asking questions.  Spencer Shaw asked about offline advertising through radio and TV.  Kevin called up a friend and put him on speakerphone and he spoke for about 10 minutes about the advertising opportunities the recession is creating.  Ryan Bradshaw shared a half page of notes for ideas on web video and SEO.  Mimi’s food was great and it was an evening well spent in analog space.

While I learned a lot about specific web marketing tactics, some larger business trends became quite obvious by the way people were speaking.  Please remember this was a very diverse group of very smart people.  Most were business owners, but some were employed by others.

Here are the larger scale items I took away from the meeting:

Video is the next big trend and social media is driving it. Ryan quoted a Comscore survey detailing there are more videos on the Internet, than the entire population of the world.  Specific recommendations from authoritative sources are going to drive views.

The recession is driving the creation of small businesses and suppliers are adapting. Too big to fail is now too big to succeed.  The in-depth discussion we had on outsourcing tells me this will be a world-wide phenomenon.  The economic recovery is not coming from above, but from down below.  Trickle down economics won’t drive this recovery, pushing up will.

Referrals from people with authority will drive business activity i.e. – social media. With less time and less money, consumers have to make smarter decisions.  We rely on information from trustworthy sources.  Social media makes it easy to connect with those sources and share that information.  I wouldn’t have come to this meeting if not for a recommendation from Ryan.  I wouldn’t have met Ryan if not for Meetup.com which was referred to me by my friend Strider.  Do you see what I’m getting at?

Utah Stomper’s is an open group.  Maybe I’ll see you next time!

Why Businesses Need Social Media – The Technaglass Example

October 22, 2009 2 comments

technaglass salt lake cityLiving in Utah with the snowy and icy winter conditions and the semi-permanent state of construction on the local roads, it’s inevitable that every car owner needs to replace their windshield.

I used to have a “go to” guy for glass replacement, but needed to search for someone new when my Passat’s windshield crack grew far past the state’s maximum to be relicensed.

Like I typically do, I turned to an Internet search to provide a supplier.  Please understand the following circumstances I was considering when making this purchase.

1.  I knew I needed a windshield.  There was no way the one I had could be repaired.

2.  I had serious time constraints.  The tags had expired and the only thing keeping me from driving legally was the windshield.  I had paid the taxes and put on a temporary tag.

3.  I’m a procrastinator.

4.  The temporary tags had expired.

5.  Did I tell you I’m a procrastinator?

The auto windshield business is highly competitive.  There are tons of options, with little price variance because insurance companies typically pay the bill.  In this instance I was paying out-of-pocket.  Ultimately it comes down to service.  My old glass guy would come to my work or home to fix my windows.  I wanted the same kind of service for this transaction, especially because my tags were expired.

I did an Internet search for “windshields salt lake city.”  Up popped half a dozen names in Google maps.  I was actually trying to find a particular company my father used to use, but I didn’t recognize a name.  Oooh, there’s Technaglass.  They have eight reviews.  Let’s take a look!

As you can see, the first one is negative, but the others are all positive.  I applied my theory of reputation management, ignored that comment and clicked on their website.  Unfortunately it didn’t load.  Even though their phone number was listed, I didn’t want to call.  I put off my search to another day.  Did I tell you I was a procrastinator?

A few days later a fan page for Technaglass popped up on Facebook.  The reason this happened was a friend of mine, who I trust, had fanned it.  I went to the Facebook page and clicked on the link to their site.  This time it worked.  I requested an instant quote that proved to be close to what I expected to pay and scheduled an appointment online for the next day.

Fifteen minutes after I clicked to schedule they called to confirm and get my address.  Funny, their form didn’t ask for an address.  In the morning the installer called to tell me he was on the way and arrived when I expected.  Ten minutes after he got there, he knocked on my door to say he was done.  The price was what they said it was and I was very impressed with my experience.

Let’s analyze the marketing aspect of this transaction -

1.  This sale wouldn’t have been made with a website alone.

2.  The point of contact through social media added authority to the vendor because of my friend fanning the Technaglass page.

3.  Technaglass had the system in place to handle my transaction smoothly and professionally.  The follow up call was particularly nice especially since I knew I hadn’t given them the address.

4.  They did a good job with the installation and completed it much faster than I thought they would.

Social Media is not a fad and it will become more and more important for business.

Blogs, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Sidewiki all have a place in business.  Twitter just announced a search deal with Bing that will place much more importance on both sites.  If you haven’t paid attention to either of these sites, now is the time to start.

Not everybody shops the way I do.  I know that.  Fifty percent of consumers will shop like me and another 25 percent will make a purchase based on the recommendation of someone they trust.  That’s why social media is important for business and Technaglass is a great example.

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