Archiv für den Autor: Andreas

Five easy SEO strategies: Increase search engine rankings and gain qualified customers

Understanding how search engines rank websites and applying simple nontechnical SEO strategies will lead to increased traffic from qualified customers.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a technique used to assure that customers searching for a product or service can easily find a company’s website on search engines such as Google. Just as a physical location is essential for brick-and-mortar stores, search engine rankings are essential in driving walk-in traffic to a website.

How potential or qualified customers find websites for a product or service

1. Direct traffic

A user finds a website by typing the web address directly into a browser or by clicking on a bookmark or an email link. These are typically customers that are familiar with the company and are maybe repeat visitors.

2. Referrals

Users are directed to websites by clicking on a link from another website. For example, linking from a Facebook page to a corporate website would produce referral traffic. Ideally, referrals will be qualified customers possessing a desire to buy products from the website they are referred to.

3. Search engines

Analyze web content and create a ranking of websites that most likely will correspond to keywords that a customer uses to search for information. For example, typing the keywords “search engine optimization” in a Google search will provide a list of websites that provide information or services dealing with SEO.

Generally, a company has more control over direct or referral traffic than over search engine traffic. In addition, direct and referral traffic is influenced more by an organization’s offline marketing. SEO seeks to provide a strategy for improving a website ranking resulting in increased traffic to that website.

Two types of search engine results that appear

1. Pay per click (PPC)

These results are usually prominently displayed on top or on the side of the search results. To attain these listings, companies enroll in services like Google Adwords to budget resources into certain keywords and pay a fee whenever a customer clicks on the link. A well-orchestrated PPC campaign is the quickest way to drive qualified traffic to a website.

2. Organic or natural results

These are the rank-ordered results provided below the PPC results. These results are attained on the merits of the website and are not purchased. However, since most customers will not look at several pages of search results, a high organic placement, preferably in the top three positions, is necessary to succeed in driving qualified traffic to a website.

How search engines rank websites

The criteria used to rank websites in search results vary by the search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the others) which are constantly evolving. Although these criteria are not publicized, general strategies applied consistently over time will increase website rankings. Despite promises offered by some SEO companies, attaining a high search engine ranking will not happen overnight.

Although the exact formulas are not widely publicized, search engines provide high ranks to websites that are relevant, important, trustworthy, authoritative, and popular. Any strategy that seeks to increase these five criteria, will ultimately improve your search engine optimization.

Five non-technical strategies for SEO

1. Improve relevance by writing better web copy

Writing better web copy that focuses on how a product meets customer needs will help to improve your search engine rankings. In addressing the needs of the customer, web copy will naturally be filled with rich keywords. Avoid writing copy specifically designed to increase web rankings. Ultimately a website needs to be written for customers and not web rankings.

2. Improve by increasing the number and quality of inbound links

Search engines look at both the number and the quality of those links when determining rankings. By registering with web directories like DMOZ or getting referral traffic from high traffic sites like Wikipedia, websites can improve site visibility and perceived importance. Companies can increase links to their site by regularly providing new and entertaining content. Providing content including videos, games, and other interactive features that people want to share with their friends is a great way to encourage other websites to link to yours.

3. Become trustworthy by being ethical

Questionable tactics like providing pages with long lists of keywords and little usable content will eventually lead to penalties by search engines. Encouraging trust among customers, just like in brick-and-mortar business, is important in increasing sales and search engine ranking. Provide customers with a contact page and give them the opportunity to comment on products and services received.

4. Become an authority by networking

Develop a reputation as an authority with a product or service by using networking sites such as LinkedIn or by creating blogs and topic relevant articles or whitepapers. Over time customers will begin to associate the company with being an expert on the products and services it offers. Not only will this perceived authority increase traffic to the website, but it will also ultimately increase search rankings.

5. Increase popularity by encouraging repeat visitors

Marketing is a long-term proposition aimed at meeting and satisfying customer need. Satisfying customer need will encourage repeat visitors and repeat visitors will increase traffic. By providing relevant, interactive content that is demanded by customers, the website will become more popular and ranking will increase over time.

When using nontechnical techniques, sound marketing principles will ultimately lead to increased web rankings. If you’re looking for technical SEO strategies you can use Google Webmaster Tools.

Got any strategies you would like to talk about? Share them in the comments.

The post Five easy SEO strategies: Increase search engine rankings and gain qualified customers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Trust Fractures: How to Avoid Accidentally Eroding Your Brand’s Credibility

Avoiding Unintended Brand Trust FracturesRecently, we’ve been running a series of posts here on the TopRank Marketing Blog called “Trust Factors,” where we explore techniques that modern brands can use to build trust and credibility with digital audiences. There are numerous examples of companies building trust with best-answer content and boosting credibility with influencer marketing for this purpose.

Marketers are always seeking creative ways to forge genuine connections while standing out from the pack. New research from Edelman shows that consumers now have higher expectations than ever when it comes to brand responsibility. However, it’s worth pointing out that these efforts (even with the best of intentions) can backfire.

When steps taken to strengthen trust instead have the opposite effect, we call these “Trust Fractures.” A recent example got me thinking about the subject, and why marketers everywhere should be cognizant of its lurking danger.

A (North) Face Plant on Wikipedia

Wikipedia. According to Moz, its domain authority is among the highest on the web. Search marketers are accustomed to competing with the community-driven online resource’s informational results atop SERPs of all kinds. Brands occasionally attempt to co-opt Wikipedia’s popularity and inherent trust factor in various ways.

The North Face, an outdoor recreation product and clothing company, recently teamed up with agency Leo Burnett Tailor Made for a seemingly savvy initiative: taking high-quality photos of athletes in North Face gear at notable locations around the globe, then uploading them as featured pictures for the pages covering those landmarks on Wikipedia.

The idea is pretty straightforward; when a user runs a Google search to learn about state parks and mountains and the like, they’ll click on the Wikipedia entry and find North Face products and logos within the imagery. In addition to the powerful authority for an image hosted on wikipedia.org helping these graphics rank very highly in image searches, there’s also the subconscious connection created in one’s mind when they see the North Face brand embedded in photos of these beautiful places.

For a while, it seemed to be working, as explained by a recent writeup in AdAge. But when Wikipedia’s moderators became aware of the scheme, they were none too pleased. Unsurprisingly, this kind of activity goes against the non-profit website’s terms of service.

“Adding content that is solely intended to promote a company or its products goes against the spirit, purpose and policies of Wikipedia to provide neutral, fact-based knowledge to the world. It exploits a free public learning platform for corporate gain,” said a representative from the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit that runs Wikipedia.

(Source)

“What The North Face and Leo Burnett did wasn’t clever or impressive—it was duplicitous, using Wikipedia’s openness against it, and in fact was directly contradictory to Wikipedia’s Terms of Use,” one of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors told AdAge. This particular editor, William Beutler, also happens to be the CEO of his own agency (Beutler Ink), making his sharp words toward Leo Burnett extra-spicy.

Wikipedia’s editors removed the offending images. North Face issued an apology. Perhaps they still consider the entire endeavor worthwhile given all the attention it garnered. But in their effort to gain brand trust and recognition by earning high search placements and associating (indirectly) with the Wikipedia name, North Face and its agency come out looking at best aloof, and at worst “duplicitous.”

How to Steer Clear of Trust Fractures

Sometimes, Trust Fractures are the simple results of blatant missteps by a brand or its representatives. These are relatively easy to avoid (don’t do shady stuff!). Instances like the one above, where a trust-diminishing situation arises as an unforeseen consequence, are tougher to eradicate but can be reduced through deeper and more comprehensive planning.

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your programs are strengthening trust rather than weakening it.

#1: Do Things for the Right Reasons

You can’t — for lack of a better term — “black-hat” your way into trust. There’s no gaming human emotions. If your brand’s actions aren’t genuine, people (and even search algorithms) will get wise, because both are growing a lot more adept.

[bctt tweet=“There’s no gaming human emotions. If your brand’s actions aren’t genuine, people (and even search algorithms) will get wise, because both are growing a lot more adept. @NickNelsonMN #TrustInMarketing“ username=“toprank“]

If you create content solely for the purpose of ranking high on search, rather than fulfilling your audience’s questions and curiosities, then a best-answer approach isn’t going to deliver the results you desire. The former should arrive as a natural consequence of the latter. I’ve come across numerous keyword-stacked pages that bury you in lead-gen fields as soon as you arrive. Not only will users reject these kinds of tactics, but because of the correspondingly low time-on-page and high bounce rates, Google will too.

The same goes for influencer marketing. When done right, as a mutually beneficial and fully engaged partnership, it’s a boon for credibility. But if you’re merely paying someone to associate your brand with them, it’s likely to be transparent to both their following and yours. We see this a lot in the B2C Instagram space, which (from my view) helps explain why millennials are reporting lower levels of influencer trust.

So I repeat: do things for the right reasons. Was there a purpose in North Face’s Wikipedia-image play other than sneaking its brand name into objective informational content? Perhaps, but it doesn’t really come off looking that way.

#2: Avoid the Fauxthenticity Pitfall

I wrote about this last year, and it goes hand-in-hand with the point above. Basically, when brands try too hard to convey authenticity in hopes of building trust with their audience, it can make them look even more out-of-touch.

This is the core issue afflicting many pay-to-play influencer engagements with Instagram celebrities, including one particularly cringeworthy example I cited in the linked post. When I see someone with millions of followers write nice but seemingly scripted things about a product, followed by hashtags indicating it’s an #ad, I have a really hard time trusting the legitimacy of the endorsement. I know I’m not alone.

#3: Think Through Outcomes and Next-Steps

Thinking strategically is always vital as a marketer, especially in cases like these. That means looking at the big picture. What was the end-game with North Face’s image play? Did their agency foresee this possibility? They probably should have, since Wikipedia’s terms aren’t locked up in secret somewhere.

With any trust-building initiative, it’s important to account for what comes next. Where might things go wrong? Are there angles we aren’t considering? How might a certain action be perceived differently than we’re intending?

Without the benefit of experience and seasoned perspective, it can be difficult if not impossible to think through all the effects that might ripple outward from a program or campaign. In this regard, it’s extremely helpful to enlist an agency partner with a strong track record of astute judgment.

Keep Marketing Trust Intact

When looking at the present digital marketing landscape, I frequently think about the saying that trust is gained in drops and lost in buckets. It’s so true, and so germane to this particular discussion. We as brands work so hard to establish and sustain genuine trust with our customers, prospects, and audiences that preventable backslides can be a real gut-punch.

[bctt tweet=“As the old adage goes: Trust is gained in drops and lost in buckets. #B2BMarketing #trust“ username=“toprank“]

Here at TopRank Marketing, we’ve written often (and will continue to write often) about Trust Factors that can solidify relationships between your company and the people it serves. But it is equally important to be aware of potential Trust Fracture risks.

By maintaining genuine intentions, avoiding forced authenticity, and adhering to a holistic strategic vision, you’ll be on track to stay clear of face plants and fissures in the delicate balance of trust.

Want to learn more about the state of marketing trust today, with plenty of data-driven insight? Check out Tip of the Iceberg: A Story of Trust in Marketing as Told by Statistics

The post Trust Fractures: How to Avoid Accidentally Eroding Your Brand’s Credibility appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Bellini Paris

Mehr Bilder…

Für den Fall, dass du hinterm Mond lebst: Bellini Paris ist die hotteste Lifestyle Brand auf dem Planeten.

Wir sind unglaublich stolz, mit so einer visionären Company koopieren zu dürfen. Mit dieser Zusammenarbeit ging für uns ein Traum in Erfüllung.

Wir hatten die einmalige Chance, der legendären Bellini Paris Dose mit einem freshen Design neues Leben einzuhauchen. Inspiriert vom stilvollen Feel der Marke und dem luxuriösen Drink, haben wir uns entschieden, den eleganten Look zu bewahren – und zugleich einen frechen Twist einzubringen. Das Resultat waren diese unverwechselbaren Illustrationen, die direkt Lust auf einen sonnigen Yacht-Tag in Saint Tropez machen. Sommer in der Dose!

Agentur
Npire

Source:: designmadeingermany.de

How SMBs can effectively manage their online reputation on a shoestring budget

Stat on how customers read online reviews on businesses

Managing an online reputation is a 21st-century business responsibility that simply cannot be ignored, or even placed on the backburner for any amount of time.

The online world of consumerism runs 24/7. It doesn’t take holidays, time off, or even a two-minute break. Regardless of what business ideas you might have, managing an online reputation comes with the turf. Even for small businesses with relatively low brand awareness, developing a bulletproof system is crucial for every growth-minded organization.

Now, as a small-to-medium sized business (SMB), you are probably dedicating a good deal of your budget to sales, marketing, production, etc. In other words, you are spending money to simply get to a point where you have an online reputation. The prospect of managing it is probably some ways down your list.

The good news is you don’t need a giant budget to manage an online reputation. If you play your cards right, you can stay on top of this crucial task with pocket change. Here’s how.

Take advantage of cost-effective or free monitoring tools

In the early stages of managing an online reputation, it’s relatively easy to stay on top of things like brand mentions, reviews, social media interactions, etc. However, as business picks up and you begin to build a decent online presence, it’s going to get harder and harder to keep tabs.

As a general rule of online reputation management, it’s always best to have tools and processes in place before you actually need them. Obviously, you don’t need anything fancy (at least not yet). Start by setting up Google Alerts to get a notification every time your brand name is mentioned.

Another good (and free) tool to use is IFTTT.com. This helps you connect all of your apps and devices so any online activity related to your business is quickly brought to your attention, no matter where you are.

In terms of social media listening, the free Hootsuite plan is a fantastic place to start keeping tabs on your presence across major networks. In addition to monitoring your mentions, this tool helps you schedule content delivery and manage your online sentiment.

All three of these tools are fantastic in laying the groundwork for online reputation management. The sooner you get your processes established, the better off you will be as your business begins to scale.

Create an outreach system to gain high-value user content

Customer reviews are an integral part of online reputation management. Moreover, they are perhaps the most influential pieces of content when it comes to purchasing decisions. To give you an idea, a study from Invespcro found that nearly 90% of consumers trust online reviews from strangers as much as a personal recommendation.

Source: Invesp

With this in mind, one of the biggest components to building an online reputation is simply getting people to leave sentiment about your business. This is an interesting task. While it might not seem like it on the surface, the very concept of online reviews has evolved quite a bit over the years.

To give a brief history, online reviews first emerged around 1999 and early 2000s during the Clinton impeachment. They were then used for patients to review doctors. As time went on, online reviews became a popular form of user-generated content for all businesses and products.

Realizing just how powerful they were in swaying purchasing decisions, many businesses would try shady tactics like forging fake reviews or paying others to write them. As many of the big review platforms started to crack down on these practices, consumers also started to wise up. Nowadays, most online customers have a strong radar for made-up reviews and are not swayed by a simple star rating and a vague sentence – regardless of whether they are real or not.

So where does this leave you?

As you develop a strategy for gathering online sentiment, you need an outreach process that encourages top-to-bottom feedback. This involves getting the pros, cons, overview, advice to the company, etc.

Now, you are kind of between a rock and a hard place here. On one hand, you want to get super in-depth, detailed reviews. On the other, you don’t want to make the forms too complex that people don’t want to fill them out.

In terms of the review form itself, the key is to create simplistic questions that ideally spur open-ended answers like the ones given below.

  • What were the pros?
  • What were the cons?
  • What advice would you give to us?
  • What advice would you give to other consumers?

These are just a few to keep in mind.

When it comes to developing an outreach system, there are several key guidelines to live by

1. Don’t jump the gun

Most of the time, you don’t want to follow up with a review request immediately after the purchase. Give it a day or two before you reach out.

2. Make it easy

Always remember, customers, are doing you a big favor by leaving their feedback. You don’t want to make them jump through a bunch of hoops. Be sure the forms you build are easily-integrated with email, mobile, or whatever apps you use.

3. Make the best use of social media

Social media can be a gold mine for feedback and engagement. Try asking general questions and using hashtags to get responses out of your followers.

Example of how Costa Coffee handles customers reviews online

Source: Twitter

4. Make them visible

The purpose of reviews is to present an unfiltered, third-party opinion of your business. In addition to social media and the major review platforms, make it a point to showcase reviews on your website, both the good and the bad.

Source: Bizzabo.com

At the end of the day, your outreach strategy is the guiding force behind developing your online presence. Take your time here and find the formula that works best.

Develop a plan for negative feedback

Getting negative online feedback is simply part of life in today’s business world, there is no getting around it. Dealing with negative feedback is a lot like washing dishes; no one particularly likes it, but you have to clean up the mess before it accumulates and gets out of hand.

Now, dealing with negative feedback isn’t always apples-to-apples.

For starters, as you look into customer review platforms, you need to take extra precaution to understand how it filters out fake or biased reviews. Fortunately, review technology has come a long way. Many of the bigger platforms have methods of pinpointing when companies try to sidestep the process. The last thing you want is for a competitor to sabotage you.

In the case you get some genuinely poor feedback, you need to have a plan to approach it. First and foremost, do not respond right away. Give it some time to marinate. You never want to respond immediately while emotions are high. Wait at least 12 hours to respond, and no longer than two to three days.

When it comes to responding, there are a few key points to remember

  1. Thank them for taking the time to leave a review.
  2. Accept responsibility.
  3. Respond rationally while staying true to your brand voice.
  4. Be concise in your response.
  5. Don’t throw yourself under the bus too far.
  6. Try to take the conversation offline.

Here is an excellent example of how to respond to a bad review

Example of how Honda handled a bad online review

Source: Broadly

A bad review, while it may seem harsh at first, can actually be a good thing. Ultimately, the way you handle negative reviews says a lot more about your company than the review itself. Additionally, Google recently confirmed that responding to reviews impacts local SEO.

If you approach the situation carefully, you can turn a negative into a long-standing positive.

Know when it’s time to hire someone

As a small business grows, the task of managing an online reputation will obviously become more tedious. If you are carrying out these duties as an owner, you need to know where to draw the line and decide when it’s time to hire someone.

Developing a small business requires much, much more than keeping up with an online reputation. If you are finding that your time commitment here is overshadowing other important jobs, it’s probably time to step back and hand over the job to someone else.

Generally speaking, if you are spending more than one or two hours per day covering the duties involved with managing an online reputation, consider bringing someone on – at least part-time.

As you are likely on a small budget, it can be tough to justify this overhead. However, keep in mind that growing an online reputation never truly ends. Having someone solely dedicated to this task is an investment that will save you time, money, and headaches in the future.

Over to you

Online reputation management is a job you need to take very seriously, no matter how big or small your business is.

SMBs currently exist at an interesting point in time. They are growing their business when online sentiment plays a critical role in sales. Developing a robust plan and protocol for managing an online reputation early on is an integral part of long term success. Fortunately, doing so with a little-to-no budget is easier than ever.

Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc.

The post How SMBs can effectively manage their online reputation on a shoestring budget appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com