Since the invention of the Internet, SEO has become a valuable tool for people to find information. SEO, which stands for search engine optimizer or optimization, is a program or process used to retrieve data from a database or network like the Internet. However, because of the explosion of social media, the way people use SEO have been affect. The question is whether the change is for the better or the worst. Read more
About three weeks ago, Jamie opened her first event planning business, “Special Occasions.” She picked the perfect location downtown that sits right between a popular restaurant and trendy clothing store. She has even handed out colorful flyers all over the area to promote her business. But there’s just one problem with Jamie’s business venture…she has no customers. You’re probably wondering, How can this be? Nine times out of ten it is because of Jamie’s marketing plan. Read more
Small businesses are becoming a growing trend in society today. Almost daily, someone is inventing or perfecting a household product that makes our daily routine or life a little easier. While people have successful ideas, products or services that meet an increasing demand, not everybody knows how to utilize the Internet and social media to market their small business.
Social media is a great tool for small businesses because it is a faster way to create buzz about your business. According to Caron Beesley’s article, 10 Ways to Make Your Small Business Social Media Activities Rock, knowing how to use social media to market your business is the first obstacle that most start-up businesses face. With that in mind, he came up with ten tips to navigation social media, which are as follows:
Listed below are the top three sites that small businesses can use for marketing. Thorough research has found that these sites are both beneficial to getting a company’s product or service notices, and engaging with customers about the view on the product or service.
U.S. Small Business Administration
U.S. Small Business Administration. Beesley, C. (n.d.). 10 Ways to Make Your Small Business Social Media Activities Rock. Retrieved from http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/10-ways-make-your-small-business-social-media-activities-rock
Rich snippets should bottom-line, in the first sentence, your content for the user. Use strong keywords or key phrases in order for Schema to get the best information from knowledge graph. The rich snippet will also be used to create a brief introduction or description that users will see on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), before clicking on your page. If the user does not see enough in that brief introduction or description to pique their interest on the SERP, chances are they will not click on your page. We will discuss SERPs further later in this article.
Schema and Hummingbird will use that first paragraph and the quality of the rest of your content to rank your page. Depending on the page ranking, will determine where your article will be placed in the SERP for the user. Schema and SEOs are looking for keywords. The knowledge graph is where the SEOs go to retrieve information based on keywords or key phrases that the user is using. It is to your benefit to learn what the most common or most popular keywords are that relate to your topic. Visit wordstream.com and use their keyword tool to find out which ones to use for your page.
Perhaps you are asking yourself about now, how can I possibly write so much in just a few words in that first paragraph? In your first paragraph bottom-line your article by briefly answering the five W’s: Who? What? When? Where? Why? And How? I have found the Inverted Pyramid to be a great tool to use in keeping my writing focused throughout the article.
Lets explore what Schema and rich snippets are and how they work together to help Schema and Hummingbird rank your pages, and depending on your page rank, will place you high on the SERP that users see after making a query. Schema.org gives you a variety of tags to choose from that other search engines recognize. Rich snippets act as beacons to your site or story. For example:
The more valuable your content, the more informative it is, the more questions that your content answers and the richer you content, the higher the SERP will place your page.
Schema has a free plugin that will enable you to link reviews to your page. It is a great way to attract SEOs to your page by including other high-ranking pages that relate to your topic. Check out the video below to learn how to use this great tool:
How can you possibly remember to cross all the T’s and to dot all the I’s when it comes to making sure your page ranks high? We learned from the video above, how to pull reviews into our article to add value to content. WordPress (WP) also offers a wonderful assortment of plugins to help with identifying areas of your content that SEOs look for. Lets start with the WP SEO plugin from Yoast. After activating this plugin this is what you will see on your WP prior to publishing:
In the, Focus Keyword, section, you want all the stats to be green. If they are not, click on the, Page Analysis tab in the WP SEO by Yoast and you will see what needs to be done to change your stats to green. On the page analysis, you want all the bullets to be green, if possible. Some bullets may not be relevant to your article; if not, do not worry about them. This is just a checklist for you to follow to help ensure high-page ranking.
Edit Flow is also a great tool to use with WP. Edit Flow will give you feedback on the quality of your page. It will also assist in collaboration within WP.
Take note here, you will want to go through all these checklists prior to initial publishing. The reason for this is, if you publish and then go back and run your article through these checklists later, you run the risk of losing users who have linked to your article because of changes made. Going through all these steps will seem overwhelming at first, but the more you do it, the more it will become second nature to you and it will only take minutes to do.
Now, lets take a closer look at SERP. According to Wikipedia, SERP is defined as, “The listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query.” According to Wordstream.com, SERP is the, “make or break point,” of your marketing campaign. In short, SERP is the bridge between the knowledge graph that SEOs use to retrieve information pertaining to a query made and the end result of what users see on the SERP as a result of their query. It is very important! You want to be in the top ten of that SERP. Very few users will go past the first page of organic listings to find what they are looking for. Would you like to know what your SERP is? Visit whatsmyserp.com.
In conclusion, there are a lot of great tools out there designed to help you get where you want to go with your business and marketing strategy. As we have learned here today, there are many things you can do to help your page get top rankings if willing to put in the research to learn how to do it. But if your schedule just does not allow for the research time to figure it all out, there are people like Googlejets.com who can help you reach your goals.
Schema.org Markup and Rich Snippets for the Little Guy – August 23, 2013
Structured Data Content Rich Snippets Authorship vs. Author Rank – June 19, 2013
How To Use Rich Snippets Structured Markup for High Powered SEO – November 27, 2011
Video Anatomy of a Search Snippet – November 26, 2007
Google Hummingbird is looking at three things when ranking your page:
1) Quality of your content.
2) The reliability of the hyperlinks you use.
3) Your authority as an author.
I will explain these three points in more detail later in this article. But first, understand that using keywords is not going to be recognized by Google Hummingbird’s algorithm because it is designed to understand concept (conversational queries). In short, Google Hummingbird will be going to its vast source of indexed documents for your query from a search engine optimization knowledge graph, which has also been updated with new capabilities and filters.
Jeremy Hull, Contributing writer for Wired, says, [Google is focusing on context and trying to understand user’s intent in order to deliver more relevant results and better answers. Google has made search engine optimization more “human friendly” by making Google better at understanding language and how people communicate.]
To test this idea, I did a keyword search on a topic and then did a separate search on the same topic using a more natural-language phrase. The results were significant. When I did a keyword search on tallest Ferris wheel, I was taken to the ones in Singapore and London. However, when I did a phrase search asking Google to tell me details about the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, U.S. News popped up and I learned that in January 2014, Las Vegas, Nevada was going to hold the new record for the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. But they will soon be trumped by Stanton Island, New York, who just received approval from the people there to go ahead with construction. Once that construction is done, Stanton Island will be home to the largest Ferris wheel in the world.
Quality of Your Content.
Use complete phrasing for titles. Abbreviated phrasing (keywords) could hinder people from finding your site. Instead of packing your story with key words, with the Google Hummingbird, you can write in a more natural and conversational tone.
Because your writing can now be filled with key phrases, knowing your audience or consumers has never been more important. Because the better you can converse and connect with your target audience, the better you will be able to anticipate their wants and needs in your content. Doing this will make your information valuable; thereby, giving you the needed boost to getting a higher page rank.
If you are not already doing this, use the four-step content strategy. If your business has more than four content qualifiers, you can use as many steps for your content strategy as you need, but make sure that each category can stand by itself because when indexing, Google Hummingbird will treat each step as its own category.
Many businesses overlook the Education, Information and Resources, category. This is a bad idea. It is this section that helps build your authority and adds validity to your content. According to Search Engine Journal, there are three ways your content is going to be affected by Google Hummingbird:
1. Content Needs to Satisfy Intent. Just like the old keyword search, where the search engines went to a knowledge graph to find specific information relating to keyword used by the user, so the Google Hummingbird will use your content.
2. Content Needs To Be Rich. Your content needs to be rich with meaningful, relevant, quality and informative content. The more you can anticipate the questions people might have about your business/product and include those answers in your content, the better your page will rank with Google.
3. Authorship Matters. Include little author biographies with each article or story. This is usually displayed at the end of your piece. It helps Google Hummingbird match you up with your work. It also helps the reader to learn who you are; consequently, building trusts with your readers or customers.
The Reliability of The Links You Use.
Check the page-ranking site to check the page ranks of the links you want to use in your story. If the link carries a low page ranking number, you may want to find something else with a higher ranking, if possible.
The reason for this is you want to build your credibility as an author and you want your page to rank high. If you use low-ranking pages, Google Hummingbird may not see your content as reliable. The links you use are just as important as using rich content. It adds value to your site and validates your information as reliable.
If your page already has a high page-ranking score, you certainly want to maintain that by using hyperlinks that also hold a high page-ranking score. However, if you are just getting started, do not wait for traffic to come because they will not, aside from friends and people you tell about your site. You will not receive a page rank because your page is not recognized by Google’s vast index.
Do not be discouraged here because the solution is easy. Just as a storeowner interacts and builds a rapport with their physical customers and other business owners, so online entrepreneurs need to cultivate a relationship with online consumers and other businesses. Build that rapport. Get awareness to your page. Ask several web sites that you are interested in and who have high page rankings if you can link with their page. In most cases, they will be happy to let you do that. This will help you in two ways. Not only will it help get you a respectable number in page rankings over time but it will also bring immediate traffic to your site. Now you are being noticed.
Join blog sites and post a link back to your page. These community blog sites are a good place to brand and market your business and build rapport with an audience. Be diligent and creative when trying to get established as a business or author online. It is no longer anything goes with the Google Hummingbird. It is, in many ways, separating the junk from the valuable material. The Google Hummingbird is already controlling 90 percent of what gets noticed on the web. It has standards in which it is holding all web sites to. It is best to learn those standards and publish according to those standards.
Your Authority as an Author.
Keep a strong social media presence on social networks. That means make posts often on all your social network platforms. You should post two to seven posts per day. Your online activity leaves digital trail, if you will, for Google Hummingbird and other SEOs to follow and determine content ranking.
Find a topic or two and write about those topics often, develop your content and write in-depth and informational content about those topics. Your goal should be a trusted resource on the topics rather than an authority of those topics.
Your online presence needs to be strong to get noticed by any ranking system. Checking your Klout.com score will give you an idea of how strong your online presence is. Klout will draw from all the social network platforms, so connect all of them to Klout and stay active on all social networking sites and watch your score rise.
The more you publish, write, develop strong and informative content and post on social networks – the stronger your search engine optimization presence will be online and the higher your authority as an author will be ranked.
Writing Tips To Help Writer’s Write.
If you are new to writing but do not know where to start, this article is for you. I will discuss tips for writing and writing format. It is far more involved than just putting words to paper. To the more seasoned writers who may be reading this, it will be a review. But still, you may learn a thing or two you were not aware of.
Tips For Writing.
Rule 1: Write about what you know. Your work should be original. This will be easy if you are writing about something you know or are familiar with. Does that mean you should not use hyperlinks, interviews, research or references? No. You want to build credibility with your readers. But use them wisely and sparingly, especially when it comes to quotes. As a rule, you do not want to use quotes unless there is no better way to express it yourself.
Using quotes excessively will cause you to lose your voice in your writing. With the exception of professional papers or articles, your writing tone should be conversational. You want to enable the readers to relate or connect with your story.
Rule 2: Do not tell your story; show your story. You want the reader to feel like they are experiencing your story with you. I am sure you have read books that were literal page-turners because you wanted to find out what happened next, right? You were connecting with the author’s story. Your readers want the same experience with your writing. As a writer, you want to captivate your audience; the only way to do that is to show your story.
It is not just saying that the car is new or the dog was black or that Elisa is gone or Jerry was happy. That is all telling. Showing sets the stage for readers to see, feel and experience. In short, you want to try and elicit all five senses. If your words are not painting a picture in your reader’s mind or if your writing is not allowing the reader to see it like a movie, than you can be sure your writing is telling and not showing.
Rule 3: Using the inverted pyramid. This is what the really good reporters use to get their story out fast and accurate.
I have found this to be very useful as a writing tool in general. It will keep you focused. It is, in essence, an outline you can use when crafting a story.
The inverted pyramid is crucial when writing articles online. People are busy and when surfing the Internet for information. You have, if your lucky, five seconds to catch the reader’s eye when they are surfing the Internet for information. If they do not see what they want in the first paragraph, they will move on. Get to the punch first in your article and then spend the rest of the article fleshing the story out with more detail.
Rule 1: Do not misuse quotation marks. Quotation marks are used ONLY for direct quotes from interviews; exerts from other books/sources or dialog. If you want to emphasize a word, you can do one of two things. 1) Bold the word or phrase. 2) Italicize the word or phrase. Titles of books are also not set off with quotation marks. Titles of books are set off with commas before and after title. The title itself is italicized. Unspoken thoughts from your characters are also not set off in quotation marks. For example:
His mother said, “Larry, go clean your room.”
“Awe, mom!” whines Larry.
“NOW, Larry.” Proclaimed his mother in a much sterner voice. Larry stomps off to his room thinking to himself, I HATE cleaning my room.
Rule 2: Do not use contractions in professional writing. When writing professional articles, papers or other professional publications, using contractions should not be done. Why? It is considered unprofessional.
We use contractions all the time in our everyday language because it is faster and puts our listeners at ease. Formal writing is different. Speed is not a concern. You want the reader to pay attention to what you have to say. You do not want them at ease, but rather fully focused. Using a more formal style of writing without contractions or slang sets a psych-epistemological stage for reader. It prepares them for the more abstract or difficult intellectual material.
Social Media Platforms – How to use them to distribute your story.
Twitter: Use this to promote your book or story and build a rapport with your audience. Do not use it for a hard sell. In your promotions of your work, provide a link where they can go to buy.
Facebook: You will need two pages, one being your personal fan page and the other being your professional page. This is difference is your personal fan page requires friend requests and your professional page requires people to like your page. Your professional page is where you can sell your book or other writing services.
Blogging: It is as essential to building your writing career as the writing itself. If you want to create your own blog page you can. The disadvantage I found with having my own blog site is that I had to wait for people to come. I discovered a community blog site called, Lets Be Honest, where I go and interact with thousands of people and building friendships, rapport and a fan base while being able to promote my writings and story. I have already made friends with other writers. Community blogs are also great ways to test the marketability of your work. The number of likes I have received on my professional Facebook page since joining this community blog is now growing fairly quickly.
Your time, as a writer, is no doubt busy. To balance the work of getting your tweets out, posts to your Facebook pages and blogs, use Hootsuite.com. From here, you can write one post or several posts and schedule them to be automatically posted to all your social media platforms. This will also free up your time to do more writing.
Branding is as easy as the air you breathe. There is nothing to be afraid of here. You are already branding without knowing it. Your friends brand you by your hobbies, passions, cloths and a host of other things. Branding your writing is no different. The question you want to ask yourself, when thinking of branding, is this: What do I want people to know about my writing and me? Household items in your home are items that are branded to do different things. Your writing is no different. What do you want your writing to do? Who is your audience? What are they asking for?
There is no limit as to what you can do with social media and branding. So, go do what you love, write and get published!
Show – Not tell.
According to US Today, there are 7.2 billion people in the world today and that number is anticipated to grow to 8.1 billion by the year 2050. That is a lot of potential customers for your business. How do you attract them to your business?
The ways to attract readers is limited only by your imagination. There are many different mediums to use when thinking about marketing and branding. Traditionally, marketing and branding have been done through print advertising and buying spots on television or radio. These are still viable avenues for marketing and branding your business, but why stop there?
There is a brand new and exciting world out there called, social media, at your disposal. Just jump online and watch the sales roll in, right? Wrong. According to Forbs, there is a right way and wrong way to use this new and exciting medium. Small business are losing out on this social media because they are going about it all wrong. They do not put the time in to cultivate new customers. Just as any business is going to nurture and cultivate a relationship with their physical patrons to keep them coming back, the same needs to be done with their online customers. Get online, build report with your audience, join blog communities and listen to what people are saying or complaining about with other businesses similar to yours. Those complainers are your potential customers.
But we are getting a little ahead of ourselves here. First, you need a savvy and functional web page. Once you have your web page designed and functional, get out there and join blog communities, where thousands come to talk, read, converse and see what is happening elsewhere. Why is blogging important? Because people blog to find something. The more you blog and make your blogs informational, the better your chances to bring those bloggers to your site and raise your revenue. Business2community offers insight on the do’s and don’ts of content blogging.
Tips for getting people to your site.
Using the social platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or blog sites are all great tools but be creative and innovative in your endeavors. To create an amazing blog for your book be consistent in your posts. Show how you did something. Never tell, always show. Your posts should be informative, valuable and even entertaining. Do not bury your voice in the blog but get to the point quickly. Remember, if it is of interest to you, it will be of interest to your readers.
Entice your readers by giving away some of your best work, but do not give away the farm. Keep plenty of your work in reserves. Create valuable content such as how-to articles or a novellas that contain very useful information that your readers can share and embed on their sites. But keep them coming back to you for more and buy from you.
Tap into the audience of other more popular or established sites by requesting to be a guest blogger on their site with a link back to your site. There is nothing wrong in doing this and it is a welcomed idea from other authors. You will also want to circulate your work among the social networks.
If you are new to blogging than you will want to ask your other friends who blog to send you readers. If you have favorite blogs that you follow, ask the author to send you readers. In most cases, they will be happy to do that for you.
Be sure your content is attracting the right audience. For example, a lawyer wanting to attract clients may be inadvertently be attracting his competition based on the type of posts they are making. Or, a freelance writer wanting to attract clients may be inadvertently be repelling them by the articles they post on their sites. Content is everything when targeting an audience.
Engage your readers and write something they would be interested in. In order to do that, it is important to know who your audience is and what they are looking for.
Perfect your search engine optimization (SEO). Where key words used to be critical, key phrases and concept are taking over with the launch of Google Hummingbird. Instead of putting key words as tags in your word press blog site, use key phrases. If you are uncomfortable with that, use a combination of both.
If you are in the early stages of wanting to get your business up and running or if you are an established business trying to learn how to take advantage of the social media for marketing and branding, the Entrepreneur explains, nicely, the eight steps to get there.
Hash tags or key words are important for the SEO. When getting ready to launch an article on your web site, taking care to use the right SEO key words/phrases is critical. There are several programs in which you use to help in this area. Visit Smart Insight for how to access the most popular and common key words that people use to find things. This is important because, while you can use anything for a key word or hash tag, if people using the social mediums are not using those same key words, they will not find your site easily, perhaps not at all.
Tools for finding hashtags:
It comes with various custom options and plug-ins that assist people with their site. One of their popular plug-ins is Edit Flow. It is a tool that writers and editors use during the writing process of an article to stay current and informed with one another during the editorial process.
The first feature that Edit Flow offers is the calendar feature. This is a convenient week-by-week or month-by-month view that allows writers to keep track of both their publishing deadlines as well as the progress of the articles. Using default settings in their screen options, a writer can view all their content and upcoming events for the next six weeks, as well as, change the range of the calendar. Writers can also add filters to the calendar. The filter option allows writers to post statuses, categories or user/post types. Another great thing about the filter option is that whatever filter the writer adds to the calendar it will be saved, even if the writer leaves the calendar.
The second feature on Edit Flow is custom statuses. This feature defines the key stages of the writer’s workflow. With custom statuses, a writer can designate labels to describe the status of their article. Creating a default for all new posts, the label can be something like, Progress or Waiting for Edit, and at any time the writer can go in a change or delete that status. Another great thing about this feature is that the writer can have it set up on their calendar and/or story budget as one of their filters to view only posts of a specific status.
The third feature is more of a conversational tool for writers and editors. This feature is known as editorial comments, which is a threaded comment statement that allows writers and editors to interface with each other. This feature replaces the hassle of back-and-forth emails because it allows writers and editors to privately discuss the content of the article and the need changes for publication. Also with this feature, a notification option can be added. With the notification option enabled, an email will be sent out to those following the post whenever a comment is left.
The fourth feature, which is also a great writer-editor tool, is editorial metadata. This feature allows both writers and editors to keep track of the important details. Editorial metadata allows writers to create the fields they need to store information for each post. The fields can anything from dates to numbers, and there can be as many fields as they like. The fields can be used to store information like contacts and interview locations. A great benefit about this feature is that writers can select which metadata fields they want displayed on additional screens like calendar.
The fifth feature is a well-known tool in social media today. It’s the notification feature, which allows writers and editors to receive timely updates on the content they are following. It keeps everything up-to-date on deadlines, changes and comments regarding the article. With this feature, users can also subscribe either individually or by selected user groups to the notifications. Writers can also have the notification enable to send out emails about new post or comments left by editors.
The sixth feature offered on Edit Flow is story budget. Story budget allows writers to view their upcoming content in a unique way like the image displayed above. The writer can also print their story budgets out to take with them to planning meetings. With this feature, the writer can create post groups based on status post or categories. Writers can also customize their story budgets to display content for their next publishing dates as well as choose how many columns are displayed on the screen.
The final feature on Edit Flow is user groups. User groups allow writers and editors to keep their users/followers organized by either their department or function. This feature assist writers with keeping their workflow organized and informed. During the publishing process, writers may find themselves working with countless people in large organizations. With this feature, writers can create personalize user groups made of up of the selected individuals that fit that particular group. They can then enable notifications to be sent out to those particular groups during the process. And just like with the other default settings, they can keep, change, or delete these user groups at any time.
With WordPress becoming one the best user-friendly start-up websites, Edit Flow is a great plug-in tool for writers and editors to use. It comes with seven features that assist writers in their process and progress. More information on these seven features can be found at http://editflow.org/features/.
Edit Flow (n.d.). What does Edit Flow offer?. Retrieved from http://editflow.org/features/
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