The Case For Canva.com

 

The Case For Canva.com
by Art Williams

One of your goals as a content creator is to turn out the best product in the shortest period of time and at the lowest cost. One of the easiest strategies of doing that is by either adding a ‘value added’ service or doing something more efficiently.

Chefs know that ‘presentation’ is very important and the same comparative applies when comparing an article without a good graphic to that same article with a good graphic. Offering custom images is one way very practical way to do that..either starting to do it or doing it better. Not only is a picture worth a thousand words but it’s also worth some respectable extra bucks too.

In this situation, the right tools can more than pay for themselves. So….have you heard about Canva.com?

Canva starts at ‘free’ and then goes up from there. But even when you chose to pay for extras on Canva, it’s very reasonably priced (Note: the image on this article was priced at ‘FREE’… I did it myself in about 2 minutes). It also might make a lot more sense than paying for fancy software you never or rarely use (you've done that too, right?)

Canva has been around only about two or three years now. It’s loosely comparable to such other graphics products as Stencil.com (formerly shareasimage.com) and Youzign.com. Youzign is somewhat pricier but Stencil is about the same price as Canva. But there is a free account on Canva too. The difference between free and paid-for, on Canva, is in the amount of resources and elements you get.

Using Canva is very easy. You can make high-quality images blog posts, social media graphics of many types, blog headers, banners, and even custom sized items. And….if you do see an element on Canva that you like but it’s not free, the extra element is only $1.00….and then the finished product is yours forever.

One of the advantages of Canva is that its individual elements are all very high quality. This includes everththing from the fonts, to the images, the backgrounds, and the graphic elements. This means that all you need to do is put them together the way you want. If you’re just looking for an article header, that’s seldom very hard at all.

Here's the basic steps to use Canva. Even I can do it and I don’t consider myself a ‘techie’.

  1. Choose your graphic type ( you can start creating before you sign up)

  2. Choose the size.

  3. Choose a template (or specify a custom size).

  4. Change the elements such as type fonts and images (if you wish).

All the elements are customizable in both size, position, and color and I can’t imagine anybody not being able to find and/or customize something they like. 

You can make your images customizations by drag n’ drop from the elements inventory over on the left of the screen onto the work area. Everything is pretty handy and, for images, there is a search feature.

If you want to try out a custom image first, before you decide you like your finished, creations, that’s cool with Canva too as they won’t let you download it anyway until you pay for it. (Premium images have a watermark too).

If you’re gigging as an article writer, it’s hard to imagine not being to charge at least $30 for putting a nice image in an article. Matter of fact, I’ve seen articles indicating that some writers get as much as $50 for adding a nice graphic. And this is a task which rarely will take you longer than 5 minutes.

By adding the option of a custom image to your writing services you’re actually doing your client a favor too. After all, they know you already and they like dealing with you and they probably don’t want to have to ‘vet’ another service provider.

Indeed, while simply being able ‘to write’ is ‘Freshman’ level for writers… being able to provide stunning custom images and graphics for you customers definitely puts you a level about most of your competition. And this is not to mention what it does for the ‘stickiness’ of your article if you’re writing for your own projects.

Personally I use images from Unsplash and Stencil (both of which I pay a little bit for but it’s reasonable). Having said that, the one big difference I see in Canva is that (for most cases) it’ll be an ‘all-in-one’ solution.

You can pay monthly but you get a significant discount if you pay for a year. Incremental monthly is only $13@ month. So, you can try it for a month and, if you like it, the yearly price comes out to only $10 @ month. I think that’s fair.

Note: I mentioned Youzign.com. I have it,  but frankly I haven’t gotten into it. For basic needs, it might be a bit more than I’ll ever use unless I actually pick up a more pricy ‘gig’ from somebody.

 

Art Williams
Case Study Writer and Markethive Developer

 

Dealing With Digital Arguments

How to Deal With Text Message Arguments

Advances in digital communications technology have been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's easier to keep in touch in most situations. But the flip side (the negative side) is that some people seem to have lost their ability to communicate pleasantly and thus it's very possible to be misunderstood (or to misunderstand) when communicating via text on such platforms as What'sApp, Skype, and others.

Learning how to handle, or avoid such situations is to your advantage so here are some ideas on how to do that and thereby allow you to use all this new technology to make your life more pleasant rather than more cantankerous.

Consider these tips for dealing with arguments through text messages:

Understand there's a risk of misinterpretation.

The lack of face-to-face communication makes it easier to misinterpret each other. When you completely lose the visual element of body language, you're losing a lot of communication effectiveness. The non-verbal cues of body language are a big part of communication. In fact, most of what others think they “hear” is actually something they saw.

When you receive a message, if it could be taken in the wrong way, be sure to clarify the correct meaning from the sender. So, when you send someone a message, before you hit that “send” button, take a moment to reread your message to see if your words could be interpreted differently than what you mean.

Pay close attention to the conversation. Although text messaging prevents you from interrupting each other, it's also important to keep the pace of the conversation going. Pay attention to each message and respond appropriately to it.

Take a break if there is an argument. You may need to step away from the conversation and let tempers cool. Text messaging makes this simple because you can simply stop sending more messages. A break from the argument can also help you collect your thoughts and ideas. But before you take a break, let the other person know that you’ll be gone for a few minutes. You don’t want them to think you’ve abandoned the conversation.

Stay aware of your tone. Even an argument through text messaging can be affected by the implied or apparent tone of your words. Words have meaning and some people are very sensitive to the different nuances of vocabulary. 

In case nobody's told you yet, always be very cautious about using CAPITAL LETTERS. It's usually considered as SHOUTING or screaming at the recipient. 

Emojis have become 'in vogue' as text messaging has become more popular. You won't find them very much in business texting but it is very common in social communications. Be sure you know the basic set of common emojis and consider their emojis. A picture is worth a thousand words so you want to be sure to use the right one. The little face you add to your messages can help explain your meaning, but even their intention can be mistaken if your recipient thinks you’re using them sarcastically.

Don't overdue emojis even in social situations. People will think you're younger than maybe you want them to. You can use them to convey emotions but you don’t want the entire conversation to be filled with these childish little characters. Use words as well as pictures.

Lighten your conversations with some self-deprecating humor when possible. A joke or other humorous statement can help alleviate some of the anger and other issues during the argument.

Always be sensitive to statements that might sound like a personal attack of some sort. Because there’s no face-to-face connection, text messaging can easily be misinterpreted. Thus, pay close attention to your language. It’s not possible to take back a sent text message that hurts your partner or friend. The wrong words can destroy relationships or business deals and make it difficult to recover for both parties.

Stay aware of the pre-existing relationship. Text messages are, by their technical nature, very impersonal and can be rather clumsy. So always keep in mind the nature of your relationship with the person you're communicating with and use words appropriate for that relationship. The use of text messaging can, if one isn't careful, create emotional distances rather than narrow them. So try to limit them as much as you can. Digital relationships are never as strong as real personal ones.

If any kind of argument does develop, try to move the argument away from text messages. A face-to-face conversation is usually the best 'damage control' and is still the best ways to handle delicate issues in a relationship or friendship. Even a video Skype call is better that pure text.

In fact, if you can move the argument away from texting, it’s likely that you’ll be able to resolve it faster and easier. You may want to try to save the conversation for later. You may also want to try other methods to communicate such as video calls.

If you’re having an argument through text messages, follow these strategies to help you navigate the treacherous waters and have a text message conversation

The Reach aka Blog Casting

Markethive the Social Network for Entrepreneurs Marketing AutomationUnderstanding the Markethive blog and cloud

Markethive Backlinking and Social Networking using Automated Marketing

Markethive did not invent the blog, but we certainly have made it exponentially more powerful.  We certainly have added fun, understanding, reach, groups, daily workshops, understanding and power to the process.

Markethive has successfully combined all the technical and tactical aspects and requirements into one system, but have also overcome the obstacles to make blogging a group process, combined with motivated mentors to help the newbie easily immerse and embrace the process.

We did not invent Word Press, but we have significantly taken Word Press serious and made it exponentially better. This blog’s focus is to help you understand the paradigm dynamic shift Markethive has brought to marketing, blogging and the individual within the hive.

The following video attempts to reveal and illustrate how the whole social blogging platform in Markethive changes the entire Internet field of engagement.

 

 

Understanding SEO

You can approach the challenge alone, hire a firm and/or a virtual assistance and take the Internet on. This ego centered approach works for many who have the grit and stamina and educated skills of journalism and polished writing (a note here: As the Internet has evolved, the polished blogger vs the blogger that lacks the polish but has the passion, wins in today’s culture).

Approaching the blogosphere as a crew, a group, a gang or a family wins today.  Because fresh, new, consistent and current content win and win you combine a social network into a blogging platform, the results are impressive.

Understanding  SEO isn’t easy, and Google doesn’t help things much by changing the algorithms and policies on a regular basis. Seems like every time we get a handle on things, the rules change, and we’re all left wondering what we’re doing wrong and what we might still possibly be doing right.

The whole SEO quotient changes when the social network variable is integrated. This is why SEO at Markethive changes the playing field.

So a social network integrated blogging solution is at hand, and, there’s one thing you may have been doing correctly already from the start: That being blogging. You probably have a million reasons to blog, not the least of which include building trust among your buyers, positioning yourself as an expert, and simply sharing news with your company’s followers. Then, of course, there are those activities that help to boost your SEO rankings. These can only help you if you know how to use them, so make note of these 9 reasons blogging can boost your SEO.

Enter the Markethive Social Network Engine combined with the Inbound Marketing Engine. Kind of reminds of the Hot Rods of the 60s like Eddie Hill’s double dragon (see image):

Except with Markethive, the combining the two huge engines of the Internet, Social Networking and Inbound Marketing has an exponential nature to it, not just a geometrical quotient.

This innovative integration of these two power houses has a powerful effect on all that ios Internet Marketing as I illustrate, please read on.

 

Backlinking

The following is the conventional wisdom perspective to today’s linking approach.

Some of the techniques used for SEO when blogging raise eyebrows, and back linking is no exception. Many will tell you link schemes will get you a slap on the wrist from Google, and they’d be right. Does that mean you can’t build relationships with other companies and blogs by including links and asking for some in return? Not at all.

You can still benefit greatly from being linked and linking to others, but there are some things to keep in mind. First, if you’ve paid for your link, be sure they use the nofollow designation. Otherwise, you’ll be penalized. Next, work with reputable, quality sites that fit your blog’s niche. When links to your blog appear on sites that have nothing to do with your company, you’ll get another ding from Google. Finally, use the same basic rules for any blogs you link to on your site.

Good quality links from popular, well-respected sites can definitely help your SEO rankings, but only if you do it right.

Now, with that said, the amazing change that occurs to your campaign to build organic, condust and create relationships in the blogging power of the Inbound Marketing Social Network of Markethive, delivers a plethora of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SNM (Social Network Marketing) and the advantages therein if developing unlimited streams of unique content, automated into literally millions of sites, social networks, social bookmarks, blogging platforms from the stream of content that flows out of the Markethive Social Network you are part of or built.

So what does all that mean? As the natural order of our recent tech releases of the Blog Casting (Social Broadcaster) and Blog Swiping (where your friends and other members can easily copy and edit your blog) then publish it and with the advent of this opening the possibility with these new tools produce a cacophony of your content, links, back links, side links, social reaches into the millions. All built upon chaos theory and technology.

The natural organic process to build a huge amazing white hat mass of blog and site links and social reach, thereby, the vision of the Blog Cloud has come to be reality, thank you Markethive, the social networked Inbound Marketing juggernaut.

Simply put, not just combining but fully integrating two platforms, the Entrepreneurial Social Network and a fully appointed Inbound Marketing platform, has opened up doorways not otherwise capable or even aware of or identified in the exponential character of the Markethive Hybrid. Sort of like Twin Towers built on the same foundation.

Actually more like a million communities of twin towers all inter connected and pulsing and thriving with the constant flow of content and videos and communications (comments and messaging) even further empowered with a constant thriving community of live conference room activity.

 

Guest Blogging

 

Again Markethive takes the awkward and difficult process of guest blogging and turns it into a graceful social dance. I will explain after I share again the Internet’s explanation of what has been defined as guest blogging.

The  latest hoopla suggests guest blogging is dead, but that’s not necessarily true. As with the backlinking, guest blogs can be tremendously beneficial to the SEO of your website. If you work with reputable writers who are indeed experts in their industry, their popularity can only help you.

For this tactic to work, you must be vigilant when screening potential bloggers. Interview them, research their backgrounds, and compare their submission to everything they’ve written before to make sure you get truly unique content. If you follow Google’s quality guidelines, your guest blog from a well-known source will bring you tremendous traffic and boost your search engine rankings.

Markethive has turned this difficult proposition into one of grace and ease. Because the core of your blogging can now be centered within Markethive, which supports and publishes to just about every blogging platform out there.  As a social network, you can build a sphere of influence easily with others who are open to and or capable of assisting in your blogging efforts.

Groups also serve as additional blogging platforms, for the individual who keeps track of different campaigns separated by the groups. Groups also parlay into teams of content creators, allow a team captain to manage and lead the agenda and monitor and choose the array of articles by the group to which blog(s) that article automatically gets sent.

The options that the Markethive tools has created for diverse and distributed content is unlimited and better managed than any other option available in the blogosphere.

Group Blogging not only replaces the old guard of guest blogging, it enhances it, makes it easier to, manage and distribute. It changes the entire playing field.

You can integrate single Markethive members, and/or integrate entire groups into as many blog systems you wish. By simply organizing, selecting and developing different cock tails groups for your blogs, you can literally create unlimited selections and unlimited content for unlimited blogs, your blogs, their blogs, unlimited groups of competent writers and marketers. Get into the mix, join some groups, and get into some Workshops and put the system to work for you.

We can even say that you can produce dynamic content on your blog without as much effort as the conventional way.

 

Fresh Content

Search engines love fresh, unique content. How often do the pages on your website change? Probably not very often at all. That’s why you must keep a steady blog filled with new information every week. Those search engines customers used to find companies just like yours will pull the freshest and most relevant content whenever a search is performed. If your site hasn’t been updated with new information in over a year, you can bet someone else’s will rank higher than yours in the results.

By blogging, you build relationships with your readers, position yourself as an expert in the field, and perhaps most importantly, provide new content for Google to index.

By joining Markethive you build relationships with thousands of others who are actively building business, blogging, researching, etc. basically being “entrepreneurs” and advancing their businesses and agendas. Often you can join with these people as friends, group members and subscribers of theirs via Blog Casting, Blog Sharing and Blog Swiping.

When you are an active member in a good group (active and current), using meetings and live webinars, discussions breed inspirations which support developing new content. Here is a tip I use to help with fresh content. I want to write about the “current trends for the entrepreneur market”. So I go to Google and I search the tail words SEO entrepreneur trends but I designate a small tool many are not aware of.

It is found in “Search tools” in the Google search as the illustration below demonstrates. Choose last week or within 24 hours to get very fresh current content to use in building your blog article. This way, you are assured to be utilizing current references building current articles, sharing with your groups and creating a dynamic culture. Checking new content with Google daily in relations to your agenda is something that should also be shared (the search link) within your groups for discussion.

Keywords

Keywords go hand in hand with fresh content. It also pays to see what current or newest results are shown for current sites utilizing the same technique for current content for your research and agenda.

Even though keywords really don’t hold the same weight they once did, it still needs your attention.  In fact, this is another aspect of SEO you can do really wrong and end up punished for. The age of cramming keywords into a blog over and over, regardless of what they add to the content, is over. Now those keywords have to serve a purpose. You really want to make sure you choose unique keywords that will lead searchers to your site but not so unique that no one thinks to use them. If you choose words that are used too often, you won’t get much benefit out of them.

Your best bet with keywords and search terms is to use long-tail keywords and phrases that people may use when searching. Instead of focusing too much on keyword placement and making sure you include the words a certain number of times, concentrate on simply answering questions. Provide knowledge for those who reach your site. They don’t need a million keywords; they need answers.

For instance, the long-tail keyword “Inbound Marketing” had barely begun trending in 2009 with a slow crawl upward until just recently, with the advent of Markethive’s soft launch and discussions of the definition of “Inbound Marketing” and the increase of Social Network chatter in that regards we are now seeing the current trend start to grow.

My first company invented what we called “Automated Marketing” but today fits the new definition “Inbound Marketing” As you can see the term “Automated Marketing” is trending down from a long crown of being a top searched keyword.

See the trend towards “Marketing Automation” beginning? Why is Marketing Automation trending up and Automated Marketing trending down? Does it deserve research?

In my opinion no, but, what does need to be looked at in my regards is our new pre launched/soft launched company (as of May7, 2016) is the Trademark “Markethive”.

Because if we read these trends right, we want to make sure we mention Markethive often in connection to “Inbound Marketing” and “Marketing Automation”. This will place squarely in front of the trend curve binding the “long tail” keywords together.

Markethive’s SEO keyword system leads us to these research outcomes, but until the Google API is fully integrated to Markethive’s Keyword platform I go to the Google Trend panel here as well.

https://www.google.com/trends/

Popularity

When your blogs are shared and consequently clicked on, they move up in the search rankings. If you’re providing quality content, your readers will want others to know. Of course, the only way to make sure your blogs contribute to your website’s popularity is to create unique content, provide answers for visitors, and then share your blogs wherever you can.

That key point “Share your blogs wherever you can” is another way of saying “Broadcast” them. And Markethive has taken Broadcasting to new heights with Blog Casting and SNAP.  Blog Casting is a Markethive subscribe feature that other Markethive members use to subscribe to your Markethive blog. When they subscribe (and the potential is 1000s of them), your blog posts are automatically posted to their Facebook Newsfeeds, LinkedIn activity feeds and your Twitter tweets feed.

When you understand that this down stream of subscribers, fellow entrepreneurs at MarketHive, are exposing their connections to your message, they are lifting you up, increasing your popularity and building greater branding for you.

Then there is the Blog Sharing feature that also allows your fellow Markethive entrepreneurs to import your blog posts to their WordPress blogs using the SNAP plugin increasing your message (your posts) to another 25 of their social networks, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn company pages, SumbleUpon, Tumbler, Livejournal, Blogspot, ets, exponentially increasing your exposure and adding to your back links.

When you discover the responsibility this represents that you show respect, produce quality content to your loyal downstream, you now have the opportunity to build a huge popular following. Markethive, The Rise of the Entrepreneur. We have put a great future in your hands. Now it is up to you.

 

Images

Image search Automated Marketing Inbound Marketing from Markethive

Including images in your blog gives you one more way search engines can find you. Make sure you name them according to the search terms or keywords, and then do the same for the alt-text. The alt-text is meant to describe what’s in the image for those who don’t or aren’t able to see images on their computer screens. For this reason, your alt-text must be carefully crafted to serve two purposes: SEO and information.

I search a lot in images and so do others. They may be looking for an image to fill a need, the reasons vary, but a lot of traffic does come from image searching, so do not ignore this small duty. Alt tags serve an important batch of duties.

When installing images in the Markethive HTML control panel, the following Image control panel, second tab, is where to enter your keywords and descriptions.

Alt tags Google search Markethive

When looking at the HTML code, this is exactly what ALT tags look like and search engines Index.

Alt tags html code

 

Video

Google indexing video

As with photos, video simply gives you more dynamic content that you can share with your readers. Remember they’re looking for excellent, unique content, so be sure you include only videos that serve a purpose. Proprietary videos are always the best bet, since syndicated content will show up on several different sites during a search result.

If you have never made a video, get some screen capturing software. I use Camtasia (cost about $300)

https://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html

Camtasia the video capture software used by Markethive

A viable alternative (I cannot recommend as I have not used it) is called MOVAVI

http://www.movavi.com/

Markethive has not evaluated Movavi

I also down load others videos to use them in my final productions. I build titles and other content with Photoshop Software, but there are other cheaper alternatives. Many of my friends recommend GIMP for image editing. https://www.gimp.org/

A video download app for Chrome I use is free. http://keepvid.com/

I recommend you make as many of your videos you can, but do not produce bad or funky videos. Today, you need quality and you are welcome to download and use all Markethive videos I produce for yourself.

Be sure you tag your videos with appropriate search terms before you post. Let readers know exactly what’s going on in the video so they can find your content in a search.

Youtube and Markethive

I know video editing and production can be daunting to many at first. However, we have plenty od excellent talent that offer video workshops in Markethive. Just check the calendar or enquire within the membership (Social Network).

Remember we are all Entrepreneurs and most of us are also philanthropic and want to help you succeed. I know I do.

Check the calendar

 

Social Media

Markethive Marketing Automation and Social Network Integration

Believe it or not, Google also returns social media search results. If you connect your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, you give search engines one more thing to find when people look for your company. As long as you use search terms in your titles and meta descriptions, you’ll boost your SEO through social media listings, too.

A popular set of current wisdom pulled from the Internet void (5 Things to Think About When Considering The Impact of Social on SEO) :

1. Social Links May or May Not Boost Your Search Rank

Okay, social signals pertaining to a profile’s authority are out, but does Google consider links published on social accounts to be credible backlinks? When a blog post goes viral on Twitter, do those new links boost the post’s search ranking?

Many marketers believe that links to your website via social media accounts do have a major impact on your rankings. Says Marketing Consultant Brian Honigman:

 

Today, links are mainly achieved through developing original content that is in turn, shared across social media. Links to your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and other social networks help the search engines understand what websites are credible and should be ranked for what keyword phrases.

 

 

In Danny Sullivan’s 2010 interview with Google and Bing for Search Engine Watch, Google first says that it doesn’t incorporate the number of times a link has been tweeted into their search rank algorithm, and then it goes on to say that it does (doh). Bing says that it definitely looks at this data:

 

We take into consideration how often a link has been tweeted or retweeted, as well as the authority of the Twitter users that shared the link.

 

While Cutts’ 2014 video is crystal-clear about the absence of social signals from the search algorithm, he does say that Google crawls social websites for data in the same way that it would any other site:

Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index, and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it then we can return that in our search results.

This leads me to think that while the authority of a social account doesn’t impact search rank, links published on social media could be marked as credible back-links and thus influence a page’s rank.

Takeaways: When Cutts made his statement about Google not factoring in social signals I understood him to mean clues about a particular company’s authority on social media, which, for me, is distinct from the number of times a page has been linked to on social media. Further research didn’t help me get much clarity on this point.

If there are any SEO experts reading this, I’d love for you to chime in below in the comments.

 

2. Social Media Profiles Rank in Search Engines

While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence the content of your search results. In fact, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names. When I searched “General Electric” in Google, the company’s Instagram and Pinterest profiles appeared as the 5th and 6th listings, respectively, and Twitter was the 8th result.

Google Search Markethive

Moreover, Google displayed the company’s Google+ profile information in the right-hand sidebar at the very top of the search results page.

Google Markethive Profile

While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence the content of your search results. In fact, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names. When I searched “General Electric” in Google, the company’s Instagram and Pinterest profiles appeared as the 5th and 6th listings, respectively, and Twitter was the 8th result.

Social channels can feel more personal than webpages, and they’re a great way to get a sense of a company’s personality off the bat. When I’m researching a company I don’t know much about I typically go straight to their Twitter or Facebook page. So if a social account shows up at the top of the search results, I’m just as likely to click on it as I would be to click on their website.

Takeaway: There’s no doubt that your social profiles matter to Google and especially to people who are looking for you online. A few active social channels can make the experience of getting to know your brand online more fun, engaging and personal. Also, while some may consider Google+ a non-essential social channel, marketers shouldn’t discount the fact that a company’s Google+ profile is one of the first things a searcher will see (and potentially click on). As such, it pays to have a profile with up-to-date info and engaging content.

 

3. Social Media Channels Are Search Engines, Too

Nowadays, people don’t just go to Google and Bing to look stuff up; they also use social media channels to find what they’re looking for. Patel makes this point in his article on why social is the new SEO: “We need to understand that search engine optimization includes the search that happens on social media search engines.”

This works in a couple of ways: First, if you’re active on Twitter, it’s entirely possible that people will discover your company’s new content distribution app after searching for content marketing-related tweets with Twitter’s search engine. Likewise, brands that lend themselves to beautiful visual content can benefit from making their content visible in Pinterest and Instagram by using hashtags and properly categorizing their pins.

Moreover, as mentioned in point #1, if someone wants to check out your company, they’re likely to open Twitter and Facebook and do a quick search to see what kind of presence you have on each channel. YouTube, and, of course, Google+ are also search engines.

Markethive Instagram

Here are some impressive stats that illuminate just how much people are using social media to search:

As of 2010, Twitter handled 19 billion search queries a month (that’s more than 5x the queries handled by Bing!).

In 2012 Facebook said it got around one billion search queries per day.

As of March 2010, YouTube got roughly 3.7 billion search queries a month. Also, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it one of the largest content repositories on the web.

 

Takeaways: Companies should expand their concept of SEO to include not just the traditional search engines––Google and Bing––but also social search engines.

When searching for a brand on Facebook or Twitter it’s not uncommon to see several different profiles pop up, and it’s not always clear which one is the real deal. Marketers need to ensure that it’s super easy for users to identify their official social profiles.

This may mean deleting duplicate accounts and/or clearly labeling each social account so that users understand what purpose they serve (for example, accounts for HR or press versus general brand pages).

 

4. Not Now Doesn’t Mean Not Ever

Just because Google says that social signals don’t currently impact search rank doesn’t mean they never will. Social media shows no sign of becoming a less important part of a brand or person’s online presence anytime soon; moreover, given that link-building strategies like guest blogging have become a less reliable way to indicate the quality of a webpage, it makes sense that search engines would begin to look for other signals of authority and value.

Takeaways: There’s no reason why social signals won’t begin to affect search rankings in the future, so smart brands will continue to build their authority in key social channels and think about social when designing their SEO strategy.

 

5. Don’t Forget Bing

Google may have back-tracked and changed their stance on social signals, but I haven’t found any evidence that what Bing told Sullivan for his Search Engine Watch interview doesn’t hold true today.

Remember, Bing said:

 

We do look at the social authority of a user. We look at how many people you follow, how many follow you, and this can add a little weight to a listing in regular search results.

 

Takeaways: Bing, which is the second most-used search engine, has been crystal clear about how their algorithm incorporates social signals into their search results, and, unlike Google, they haven’t flip-flopped on the issue. With its market share steadily growing, companies would be wise to include Bing in their SEO strategies.

 

Wrapping Up

Cutts’ claim that Google’s search algorithm ignores social signals should not be seen as an invitation for marketers to dismiss social’s impact on SEO. Instead, marketers should broaden their concept of search and SEO to take into account the myriad ways that people find content on the web. They also need to think about the positive effects that increased traffic from social can potentially have on their search rankings as well as the prominence of social profiles on first-page search results.

Ultimately, the web is all about building relationships, fostering audiences, expressing identity and sharing ideas––it’s inherently social, and there’s no reason that SEO best practices would go against the grain, especially since the rules that govern SEO are ultimately meant to make the web a more enjoyable and useful place.

 

Indexed Pages

Google Markethive Indexed pages

Perhaps the most important reason of all to blog is the fact that each post counts as a new page on your website. Google really does like fresh content and will reward those who share frequently. Those who do include a business blog on their site will see up to 55% more traffic than companies who don’t. The reason for this is the indexed pages. For Google to index those pages, you need to include at least 300 quality words. That means reblogging, short blogs, and duplicating content won’t help you. There is a time and place for the previously mentioned blog types, but not when you’re hoping to boost your SEO.

Now that you understand why blogging is essential to improving your SEO results, you probably want to get started right away. Don’t get bogged down or feel overwhelmed. A systematic approach is what you need, starting with a content calendar. Simply start by answering those burning questions your potential customers have. Plan blogs that will touch on their pain points. You’ll see results sooner than you ever thought possible.

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Thomas Prendergast
CMO Markethive, Inc.

Inbound Marketing: How to Connect with Millennials

Inbound Marketing: How to Connect with Millennials

“So, Content is King but, millennials demand superior content quality for their money” …. Vaurn James

So, do you smell the money and if not then, your olfactory senses require immediate medical intervention because “there are currently 80 million millennials in the U.S., and with an annual buying power of 200 billion, they are the most lucrative segment of the us market”.  Clearly, it’s in the interest of both marketers and corporations to better understand this audience so as to provide them value rich content, while addressing their interests, needs, wants and problems for this segment of the population between 18-34 years old.  So, how do you go about understanding the behavior of Generation Y in the digital age and build a trusting relationship where commerce results in a WIN-WIN for all involved?  Truth be told, I had no bloody idea and that’s why I deferred to Google, Hubspot, Markethive, life experience, millennials, marketers and pure guesswork.  It’s like being a parent but, you still don’t understand the kid because your knowledge and experience are both inadequate so you seek help.  Hence, I sought professional expertise in the arena of what is called Inbound Marketing to millennials and learned much about this new generation of consumers.  To connect involves understand how they behave and think.   

According to the experts creating a Buyer Persona is the best approach to connecting with this desired target market.  Now, a buyer persona is a multi-dimensional profile that identifies the way your ideal consumer thinks, feels, motivations and problems, that you will resolve by providing a solution.  Remember, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them…Albert Einstein”.  The more detailed the profile the greater the odds of success increases.  Think of today’s inbound marketing specialists as behavioral analysts or more commonly known as profilers who analyze significant sums of data detailing past sales patterns and contact databases (surveys, interviews, etc) to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.  It’s all psychology; therefore, to better influence anyone then, it starts with understanding their behavior through how they think.  Without a doubt critical thinking, research and posing the right questions are key factors in the assessment process that helps create an evaluation narrative of your ideal buyer persona. 

This is especially true when dealing with millennials because they are highly educated but, also technologically dependent and use social media as a daily interface with other millennials to interact with each other, while developing their own individual identity through the use of technology.  Today’s corporations still continue to struggle to connect with flavor of the month demographic because they are very frugal and skeptical because of how business is conducted in such a mercenary manner.  In today’s economy millennials have little expectation of long-term employment with the same company; hence, they have no loyalty to brands that have not been approved by fellow millennials which creates the challenge of gaining them as long-term customers.  As a growing and powerful segment of the economy millennials demand what they want and can leverage by using the digital tools that have become part of their daily routine.    

Now, interruption or outbound marketing tactics appear to be no longer effective because the approach isn’t permission based.  Traditionally, marketing involved the following methods: buying TV ads, flyers, popup ads, radio ads, mass emails and other intrusive methods that try to interrupt an individual’s daily routine to buy.  Clearly, a permission-based method of marketing where attention of your audience is earned increases the chances of successful sale.  Since, millennials were raised in the digital-age with new technology available to them and increasing in sophistication their attention is often restricted to products and services that they and peers identify with.  Old school marketing tactics are less effective and this is why inbound marketing that focuses on the interests of their audience functions as superior approach in developing a long-term trusting relationship.  Nobody will buy if, they don’t trust you nor your company.

So, are you engaging in direct advertising or educational marketing where an informed decision can be made regarding potential purchase?  If, it’s the former then, your content is wasted because purchases in today’s economy often go through a vetting process by consumers via YouTube, blogs, snapchat and other social media devices where people express their likes or dislikes of a product.  Want people back at your website for purchase then, content must show the benefits; otherwise, the miserly millennials will keep their shekels in their pouch.  

“In a nutshell, inbound marketing is about making meaningful relationships with consumers via the internet, primarily through content. It’s about creating and sharing content that your audience seeks. It’s about positioning your brand as a thought leader that can be trusted”.  “In addition, inbound marketing will help you to create opportunities for participation and interaction—through likes, comments, and shares, your audience can better connect with your brand on social media, through your blog, and through other means”. 

Vaurn James

Contributor

 

Eight Steps to Guarantee a Successful Video or Web Conference

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Eight Steps to Guarantee a Successful Video or Web Conference

A successful video or web conference can really give a boost to your organization. Online conferencing is now connecting people in a way that was not possible in the pre-Internet era. However, as powerful a tool as online conferencing is, it works best when you prepare your conferences properly. Here are some steps that you can take to help guarantee that your next video or web conference is a great success.

1. Make sure each of your attendees has enough bandwidth at his or her location

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to watch a video online when you just don’t have enough bandwidth to get it all. If your participant doesn’t have enough bandwidth there will be latency delays and he or she will not be able to enjoy the experience or participate properly. The amount of bandwidth that is required varies from system to system and also according to what features you will be using during the conference. Features such as video, audio, screen and application sharing have different requirements. Check with your vendor or provider to find out what the minimum bandwidth requirements are, and then make sure each of your locations does indeed have enough bandwidth.

2. Test your web cameras to see that they are working properly

If video will be involved at any of the locations, make sure that the location has tested their camera to ensure that everything is working satisfactorily. Ideally, all cameras should be tested from within the video or web conferencing system that you will be using. A camera that is working fine in one application may work differently within another system. Check it in advance so that you will not have any surprises on the day of your conference.

3. Check your sound equipment in advance

If VoIP (audio) is going to be used from within the meeting itself, make sure that all attendees have the right tools needed, whether these tools are microphones, headsets and speakers.

4. Supply your participants with proper access information in advance of the conference

If audio will be conducted via an audio conference call, make sure all attendees have the access number to dial into and the PIN (Personal Identification Number) they will need to access the call.

5. Conduct a “trial-run” of your presentation prior to the conference date

The presenters or leaders of the conference should practice in advance. If a presentation will be involved, make sure that whoever will be presenting any material has tested this part of the video or web conferencing system. The presentation that is to be used should be demonstrated to another party BEFORE the date of the actual meeting.

6. Supply web access information to your participants well in advance of the meeting

Make sure that all of your participants know how to access the video and web “conference room”. Send an e-mail "link" to each participant well in advance of the meeting so that they will be able to easily access the meeting when the appropriate day and time has arrived.

7. Get as much training as you can in the video or web conference system that you will be using

The host should be very familiar and comfortable with the video or web conferencing system they are going to use. If training is offered by your vendor or provider, then take advantage of this in order to become more familiar with the system. Familiarity with the system will help you to host a flawless meeting or conference.

8. Conduct a test meeting prior to the big event

Most importantly! Conduct a test meeting or two before the day of the "big" meeting. Tests will help you eliminate as many surprises as possible before you gather all of your attendees. A meeting free of technical glitches will go far to help you achieve the goals of your conference.

The key to a successful online conference, whether it be a web conference, a videoconference or a combination of the two, is preparation, preparation and preparation. The more you prepare and the more you practice, the better your online meetings will be.

Ida Mae Boyd
Contributor

 

Is An Entrepreneur your goal?

 

You can be an entrepreneur

In the not to distant future, everyone will be an entrepreneur!

Being an entrepreneur is significantly different from being a businessman. By doing one thing another person has already been doing only makes you a consistent businessman, not an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is certainly one who introduces something that is a brand new way of doing things or new process that changes the present conditions. You must dare to dream and have confidence in your own idea. The idea ought not to be about making money. Money ought to not be your inspiring force. It is your passion and faith of the idea that keeps you driven.

Can someone learn how to be an entrepreneur?

Well, nobody can cause you to be an entrepreneur unless you come to a conscious decision to become one. Case studies of effective organizations or failed efforts provides insights. These will help to boost the chance of success in your latest ventures of being entrepreneurial. The nature of entrepreneurship can't be taught but knowledge in certain specific areas of Economics, Finance, Taxation, Accounting etc would be helpful. You merely need to find the time to train in one or several of these subjects.

Frequently, an entrepreneur presents something new and disruptive which makes the idea difficult to accept in the beginning because no one else is doing it. Exactly why is it troublesome? The way in which things are done rocks the existing conditions and way of doing it. Nobody can disregard the basic concept and idea when it works. But before then, its your responsibility to convince the market of your brand new concept.

It may take years before the market is convinced.

Sometimes it is not the idea that does not work, it is the market that does not accept it…. yet. Being an entrepreneur is having the tenacity to see it through.

Entrepreneurs wont wait for perfect conditions to head out. Lamenting about sub-standard conditions can only be called excuses. There will never be conditions which are perfect. You make do with what you're provided. When there is a world that is new for entrepreneurs to discover, we’ll set sail even in the face of a thunderstorm if needed!

The road of an entrepreneur is not glamorous.

It will never to be fashionable. You have to realize that the street ahead of an entrepreneur is difficult, tough and gritty. It is in fact, a road to perdition. Being an entrepreneur is not a present. An entrepreneur is somebody who is not normal. An entrepreneur will look at something and say, “I wonder what would happen if I did it this way”? All you need is an basic idea, dedication and huge doses of perseverance. These are the ingredients grab a hold, mix them up and you’ll get results.

Everyone can be an entrepreneur. Really.

Dennis Roeder
Contributor

6 Reasons Articles Should Include Images

 

6 Reasons Why Articles Should Include Images

You might not have consciously thought about it but I’ll bet you’ve noticed that you’re seeing more images in articles and elsewhere on the internet these days. You’ve probably also noticed the deluge of internet marketing products coming out which pertain to images and/or videos.

If you follow Facebook’s growth strategies you’ll also remember that one of the biggest reasons they changed their Timeline format a couple of years ago, to include a bigger image, was because they made a decision to become more image-centric in their format.

It’s true. Images are indeed an international language. People on the other side of the world might not speak your language, or you theirs, but everybody recognizes a mother holding a baby, old men dancing, a happy dog catching a frisbee, and two young people holding hands.

And then, of course there’s the rapid growth of two image-oriented websites in particular, Pinterest and Instagram. Very few people anticipated how valuable these two sites would become in marketing.. but that's what happened. Most people thought they were strictly for amusement and artistic tinkering.

With well over 2.5 billion camera phones in use today, it’s become apparent that we live in a very visual culture. Even many people in developing countries have them. People use them and huge amounts of money are being made in services relating to their creation.

Before I enumerate the six major reasons images are valuable and important in articles and marketing, let’s be sure we remember the three steps leading up to this present-day situation.

First Phase: Massive increase in photo creation

Data shows that 10% of the photos ever taken by have been taken in the last 12 months. Bet you didn’t know that!

Second Phase: The rise of image-oriented social media platforms.

As mentioned above, images are becoming a universally language. All the fastest growing social networks are heavily image-centric: Facebook (heavily weighted with images), Tumblr (a blogish platform but very intensive on images), Instagram (totally images), and Pinterest (images and graphics). Snapchat is growing rapidly too but it’s not only about images in the traditional sense.

Another influence these networks have had on marketing is that they have it very easy to upload images. Thus people are getting accustomed to working with images as well as seeing.

Third Phase: Images Become Interactive

Pinterest was the first major social network to make their images ‘hot’ (you could put a hyperlink behind them), thus conditioning people to expect some more information when then click on images.

So… having said that, why are images important and why should you be using them in your articles and other kinds of content?

6 Reasons Why Images are Important

Whether you’re simply building your Facebook or other social media platform followers or if perhaps your have a traditional business you’re trying to build awareness of and pull in customers for, here are 6 reasons to publish images and photos as part of your business marketing tactics.

  1. Articles with images get 94% more total views.

  2. Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45%.

  3. 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.

  4. In an e-commerce site, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product.

  5. In an online store, customers think that the quality of a product's image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%)

  6. Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37% where text only is 0.27% (this translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text)

What Can You Take Away From This?

So… how can you adapt to the age of “Visual Culture” in your business?

1. If you have an online business (product oriented or otherwise) you need to include high definition images to drive higher engagement and sales.

2. If your business issues press releases (which most don’t) your should include images with your article.

3. If you use Facebook as an important part of your social media marketing strategy (which you should) then you need to include photos in your updates. Note: Photos are a great way to save time too… ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, right?

Image use on most plaforms (including email systems) is as simple as one or two click. Most popular blogging platforms (blogger.com, wordpress (.com and .org) make it easy too. And, there are plenty of good image and photo editing, sharing, and archiving services too. Many of them are free.

So there's no reason for your next article not to have some images and/or graphics, right?

 

 

For Leaders – There’s No Such Thing As Job Security

 

For Leaders There's No Such Thing As Job Security

 

For people who are ambitious (and who isn't ambitious to some degree?) there's always a temptation to envy those in positions of leadership and power. It's easy to think that leaders have 'got it made'. 

But they really don't. The old adage, 'the higher you rise, the further you have to fall', is always applicable. Even recent American history shows countless examples of politicians, business leaders, social, and religious leaders where were once paragons among their peers but who fell from grace and sometimes even disappeared from the scene completely.

Nobody illustrates this phenomenon more than somebody who was known as the 'wisest man who ever lived' and who, in his time, was commonly regarded as one of the wealthiest men of his times. 

Who is that person?

It's none other than King Solomon of the Old Testament nation of Israel. King Solomon was, in truth, divinely gifted with wisdom by God Himself. But, as have many other leaders since him have also done, he lost his blessing.

The question is: How did he lose his many blessings, prestige, and wisdom?

The reality is that the temptations that attacked Solomon affect everybody. When leaders begin to think they've 'arrived', it becomes easy to stop feeling hungry for growth and excellence. In the modern vernacular that attitude is also called 'complacence'.

When leaders begin to think they can't be replaced and that their job is secure, that's usually when they begin their downward spiral and there are several common symptoms of that condition. Here what they were for Solomon. Do any of these circumstances apply to you?

  1. Solomon became distracted. He deviated from his call to lead the nation of Israel properly so it could be a light to all nations.
  2. God raised adversaries and loyal opposition to steer Solomon back to his true calling and proper Godly priorities but Solomon chose not to listen.
  3. Solomon began to believe his own publicity. He fell victim to his own fame. He began to think he was 'too cool for school'. He because consumed with himself rather than his mission as a leader empowered by God.
  4. Solomon lost his true 'ace in the hole', i.e. he lost his annoinanointingGod. He forgot that it was God who promised him that he would become famous and successful among men.
  5. Solomon because obsessed with the Kingly 'perks' of his job. In his case, it was women. That certainly sounds familiar in today's news, doesn't it?
  6. Solomon eventually grew weary of his frivolous and empty pursuits. He basically 'feel off the wagon', went through the Old Testament equivalent of 'rehab', and later returned to finish his reign with dignity… with his new wisdom acquired the hard way.

What Solomon's life illustrates is that distraction can be the enemy of a leader's higher calling and 'direction' if those distractions are stronger than the purpose and principles which should be the leader's primary driving force and guiding power. It is very important for leaders to have a clear idea of their mission. That's not to say that they can't have trusted advisors, as Solomon certainly did, but leadership, power, and fame have their perilous qualities too. 

Win Big With Many Small Wins

 

Win Big With Many Small Wins

Small wins really do add up to big ones. Social scientists and business experts agree that modest victories can provide major inspiration for all kinds of success in business and life.

You may have heard of The Progress Principle?

Researchers at Harvard Business School conducted a multi-year study of what makes employees happy and productive and they found that daily progress on meaningful work was the most powerful factor by far.

Here's the general principles behind this foolproof formula for success, along with some practical examples of how you can apply a 'small wins' strategy to your life.

General Principles Behind Small Wins

  1. Keep a journal. Writing in a journal will help you recognize and celebrate miniature milestones that you might otherwise overlook. You’ll also be able to track your progress and understand the conditions that affect your performance.
     
  2. Seek nourishers. The second kind of action is called nourishers, and refers to interpersonal support. Surround yourself with friends and colleagues who provide validation and constructive feedback. Participate in groups that share your interests, whether it’s a faith community or professional association.
     
  3. Set intermediate goals. Lofty goals can be overwhelming. Break any project down into tiny tasks. You’ll feel invigorated each time you check something off your to-do list.
     
  4. Learn from setbacks. The flipside of small wins is the discouragement that can follow running into an obstacle. Acknowledge your feelings. Turn mistakes into valuable lessons.

Practical Examples of Small Wins Strategies

  1. Eat more vegetables. Sticking to a healthy diet is easier than you think and it's probably even tax decuctible if you're in an MLM business whose product is nutritional. When you focus on only one change at a time. Work your way up to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Mix spinach into your eggs at breakfast. Snack on baby carrots and hummus.
     
  2. Cut down on sugar. You know it's bad for you. If you like sweetened coffee, use half your usual amount of sugar. The savings will add up.
     
  3. Go to bed on time. You may think it's a sign of bravery or fortitude to work 20 hour days but ultimately you're only cutting your own efficiency. Adequate sleep keeps your body and mind in top condition and you'll probably accomplish more even if you shorten your waking hours.
     
  4. Exercise for 5 minutes. The best exercise is the one that you'll do so it doesn't make any difference what it is. You're going to scale it up anyway, right? Are you tired of lapsed gym memberships? You’ll be exercising for more than a half hour by the end of the week if you start with 5 minutes and add just 5 minutes a day to your home workouts.
     
  5. Memorize a few lines. Maybe you’d like to speak Russian or recite poetry, but your busy schedule gets in the way. Ty practicing just 5 vocabulary words or one stanza a day. There's also an excellent website called www.blinkist.com that will send you downloadable summaries of many of the most popular non-fiction books. You can read, "Getting Things Done" by David Allen in about 20 minutes (or less).
     
  6. Extend your network. Whatever you do for a living, networking is essential. Introduce yourself to a new contact or reconnect with a former colleague. If you think you're the shy type, start with just saying, "Hi" to somebody every day. Next day..to two people, then three…and so on. Pretty soon you'll be surprised how many new friends, and maybe customers, you have.
     
  7. Listen to your kids. Show your children how much you love them by giving them your full attention. Empathize with their struggles in Algebra or congratulate them on making the soccer team.
     
  8. Surprise your spouse. Brighten your partner’s day with a fun surprise. Take out the garbage when it’s their turn. Put a love note in their briefcase or pick up a carton of their favorite ice cream on your way home from work. You might be surprised at the personal favor you get in return 🙂

Grand visions accomplished are the sum of many small wins that help you translate your dreams into action. Taking a small step forward each day will bring you success and happiness.

SEO Tips for Bloggers

SEO Tips for Bloggers

All serious bloggers are interested in building a large community of enthusiastic readers, and this is why SEO is so critical to your success. Without good search visibility, people who are interested in your content, but don’t know you, may never find you.

SEO best practices are primarily driven by Google, and change frequently. This post, which lays out 50 important SEO tips for bloggers, features a lot of links to Google instructional pages. These Google links will enable you to bypass outdated or incorrect SEO advice that unfortunately permeates the web.

Besides being ever changing, SEO is complicated and technical. These 50 tips, while important, just scratch the surface. What tips can you add to the list? 

SEO Strategy

The following five points offer some big picture guidance for your SEO activities. Perhaps a sixth point would be, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Great SEO requires balance: pay equal attention to onsite and offsite optimization opportunities.

  1. Content quality is your primary onsite SEO consideration.
  2. For keywords, user intent is a major consideration, since the most valuable traffic to your site comes from users who are interested in doing business.
  3. Think visibility rather than rankings, because rankings vary from user to user, and users look for search results based on content type (images, news, etc.).
  4. A steady increase in organic search traffic growth is usually the best indicator of strong SEO.
  5. For link building, quality is more important than quantity.

Blog Post Setup

Your blog posts not only have to interest human readers – they also need to be constructed so that Google can find them, read them and appropriately display them in search results. Even brilliant content must be optimized in order to find its largest potential audience.

  1. The post URL should default to display the post title.
  2. The post title (H1 tag) should default to be the post Meta title tag.
  3. The post title should include keywords, preferably at the beginning of the title.
  4. Post titles should always be unique and relevant to the content.
  5. WordPress users should use the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin or the  All in One SEO Pack.
  6. Always write a unique and catchy Meta description tag, with a call to action if applicable, for your post, as it will attract more click-throughs.
  7. Read this page from Google with extreme care for a foundational working knowledge of key SEO content considerations.
  8. Include prominent social media share buttons in the post template, as social shares are correlated to rankings.

Site Structure

Many blog themes from WordPress and other CMS platforms are SEO-friendly right out of the boxbut how you set them up, modify them and maintain them makes a big difference in Google’s ability to find and rank your blog’s content.

  1. Avoid long blogrolls on the sidebar, because site-wide outbound links can reduce rankings.
  2. Do not participate in link exchange programs.
  3. Internally link relevant posts on your blog, but do it selectively.
  4. Avoid keyword-optimized anchor text for outbound links unless they are extremely relevant and flow naturally within the narrative.
  5. Use Google Webmaster Tools to identify and fix broken links and other SEO-unfriendly site issues.
  6. Have your own domain.
  7. Have all versions of your blog resolve to the www.domain version.
  8. Use Custom robots.txt to prevent Google from crawling pages you don’t want indexed, such as off-theme content.
  9. Improve page loading speed by upgrading hosting, clearing your cache, compressing images and other techniques.

Content Composition

Going back five years or so, SEO copywriting involved a lot of precise rules about how and where to display keywords in a blog post. Today, Google is smart enough to interpret a post’s theme and relevance without strict adherence to these rules – which is great news for bloggers who want to focus on human readers!

  1. Original content generally outranks duplicate content by a wide margin.
  2. Don’t overuse keywords in post text.
  3. Keywords in subheads, italics, bold or within ordered and unordered lists have slightly more power than keywords in plain text.
  4. Word counts aren’t as important as they used to be, but all other things being equal, longer posts rank better than shorter posts.
  5. Your first SEO priority is to write useful, relevant and authoritative content for human readers, because that is what Google is looking for.
  6. To develop new post topics and SEO opportunities, review analytics regularly to identify popular new keywords and strategic long tail keywords.

Onsite Images And Video

Image and video search are segmented search options on Google that can attract a tremendous amount of traffic. If you are in a visual business, such as graphic design, or any type of business where customers may want to view images or video of what you do, then image and video optimization are essential.

  1. Use relevant keywords in your image’s file name.
  2. Write descriptive alt text for images in plain sentence format.
  3. Write useful and interesting image captions, because they keep visitors on your page longer.
  4. Follow Google Webmaster image publishing guidelines.
  5. Follow Google Webmaster video best practices.

Google Authorship

Traditionally, Google primarily associates content with the site on which it is published. Google Authorship is a fairly new program that associates content with its author. In time, we will probably see high authority authors outrank low authority authors, making it important for bloggers to start participating in Google Authorship program now.

  1. Actively participate on Google+ and in the Google Authorship program.
  2. Since original content is immediately indexed and ranked on Google, write original, useful and keywordrich content on your Google+ posts.
  3. Link your Google+ profile to all blogs and sites you write for following these instructions.
  4. Whenever possible, link your guest authors’ Google+ profiles to your blog.
  5. Use an appealing Google+ headshot, as it will be displayed in Google search results.

Offsite Activities

When your blog is linked to from high quality, relevant sites, it tells Google your blog’s content is authoritative, meaningful, useful and interesting. Establishing and maintaining a solid link profile is probably the single most important SEO activity you can engage in.

  1. Guest blog on relevant and authoritative blogs to build inbound links.
  2. Invite relevant and authoritative bloggers to guest post on your blog, to build social shares and traffic.
  3. Be ultra-selective in pursuing directory listings, as they are generally not an effective way to build inbound links.
  4. Avoid building links by publishing content on article banks.
  5. Avoid building links by publishing non-newsworthy press releases.
  6. Review your link profile, removing bad links, fixing broken links and updating good links to conform to best practices.
  7. Optimize your YouTube channel and videos by following these instructions.

SEO Agency Red Flags

Many bloggers partner with SEO agencies or freelancers in order to cover all of the bases noted above. There are a lot of tremendously talented people to choose from – but there are also some that bloggers would be wise to avoid.

  1. Avoid agencies that promise #1 rankings or tons of free links.
  2. Avoid agencies that don’t have a documented, transparent description of their methodology.
  3. Avoid agencies that don’t provide detailed reports of activity and/or results.
  4. Avoid agencies that won’t provide client referrals.
  5. Avoid agencies that speak in an overly technical way or have other communication shortcomings.

That was a lot to digest, but when it comes to SEO, it’s still just an appetizer. What SEO tips can you share?

Guest author: Brad Shorr is Director of B2B Marketing for Straight North, an Internet marketing agency headquartered in Chicago. He is an experienced content strategist, respected blogger, and SEO copywriter. Connect with him on Twitter @bradshorr.

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