Posts by Kristi Eakin

Quality Content Helps SEO 0

Quality Content Helps SEO

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization

seoWe have heard a lot of buzz recently such as, “you should be blogging or you should be posting on social media to get your search rankings high,” as if it’s some sort of magical thing that makes all of Google suddenly adore your website. Even though it’s not “magical”, it is useful information, and here’s why:

Blogging alone won’t help with SEO

The only difference between a blog and every other page on your website is that a blog tends to be published in the form of individual posts in reverse chronological order with the option for users to leave comments on each post. And when most people talk about blogging, they’re usually just talking about adding content to a website on a regular basis. Most low budget SEO providers say, “You have to have a blog and you have to write x number of posts per month.” You hire them and they pump out barely researched content that is loosely related to your industry. Please beware because this won’t help much with your SEO effort.

Quality content will help with SEO

After the changes Google’s made over the past few years, creating quality content and publishing it on your website is the only way to get ranked for anything worthwhile. Whether you publish that content on an existing page of your website or on a blog does not matter a hill of beans. Just as long as you’re creating quality content and doing it rather frequently.

What is quality content you may ask?

It depends on your goals of course–the type of content you write, and the type that constitutes “quality content” will vary dramatically depending on your goals. I’m going to make a big assumption that since you are reading this article, your goal is to drive more qualified organic search traffic with the intent of converting that traffic into customers. So if the goal is driving organic search traffic, then quality content is content that matches the searcher’s intent as closely as possible, and does so better than your competition.

Searcher’s intent

What I mean by “searcher’s intent is the ultimate goal of the searcher when he or she types something into the search engine.

To give you an example, SEO is one of the major things we do. But when someone types, “SEO”, they might be looking for an SEO firm, or they might want an explanation of the term, or they might want to get a job in SEO, or about a hundred other possibilities. Sometimes it may be too difficult to determine the intent of a search query, so you can start more specific. “SEO jobs” for example.

When it comes to creating quality content, there’s a happy medium in there where you get specific enough to understand the searcher’s intent, but not so specific that your content doesn’t bring in any traffic.

Better than the competition

To recap, quality content is content that matches the searcher’s intent as closely as possible, and does it better than the competition. In the end, we’re competing against everyone else for traffic in the search engines. In order to do better than your competition you need to create better content.

Pick a search query you want to rank for, then search it on Google. Does the ranking competition seem to understand the true intent behind that particular search query? Does their content match that intent? Could you do it better? If so, you may just be able to make some headway on that keyword.

The bottom line is that blogging alone won’t help you with SEO. But spending time to figure out the keywords your prospective customers use to find you, the true intent behind those keywords, and how well the competition is matching that intent will help you determine what kind of content you should create and whether it will have a chance of driving quality organic traffic to your website.

If you then create that content, and you do it well, then your SEO will improve.

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Email Marketing Tips from Constant Contact 0

Email Marketing Tips from Constant Contact

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in eMail Marketing Services

email-frustrationConstant Contact came out with a very clever video about what drives your email readers crazy! We’ve all had one of ‘those’ emails drop into our inboxes—the kind that make steam start to come out of your ears! Well, you may be unintentionally causing the same reaction in your readers because of a few mistakes, BUT the good news is that they’re easy to correct!They narrowed it down to a top five list entitled “5 Things Your Email Readers Hate”. Must of these are common sense, but you’d be surprised how many of my own clients commit these infractions. Click on the video to watch and learn or read their blog article below.

I’ve picked out 5 of the top things that email newsletter readers hate, and how to avoid or fix the issues:

1. Receiving unsolicited emails

No one likes to find out that they’ve been added to a mailing list ‘by surprise’, and atConstant Contact we take ‘permission only’ list building very seriously.

However, sometimes even properly opted-in subscribers can forget or misunderstand why an email is being sent to them.

To prevent this make sure you do the following:

  • Use a “from” name & sending address that your audience recognises. Include your name and your brand name if you can.
  • Always use the SAME from name and email address so they know who you are.
  • Include a permission reminder and tell them why they are getting your emails. This will reduce your unsubscribe rate AND the number of spam reports you receive.
  • Use your logo and branding, so that readers instantly realise that it’s you.
  • Most importantly—always ask permission to email them.

2. Not being able to read your email on their mobile

The majority of smartphone owners read emails on their mobiles these days, so your readers need to be able to read your newsletter on their phone.

A few key factors will make all the difference:

  • Use a single column template for your email. This approach makes your content much more flexible for all screen sizes (Consulting Card and Consulting Newsletter are two good Constant Contact templates for this purpose).
  • Use fewer images in your email. No one wants to see a whole email full of big red Xs, so only use a couple of key images essential to your email.
  • Don’t embed text in images. If you have text overlaid on an image, and that image doesn’t show, then the text is lost too. So make sure that you keep images and text separate wherever possible.
  • Keep it shorty-short-short! People have short attention spans online—when they are reading on a tiny mobile phone screen, it gets even shorter! Don’t make them scroll, just share the bare essentials. It may help to think in sound-bites!

3. When it’s hard to find your contact details

I get your email and I want to take advantage of your product or offer, but wait! I can’t find your phone number or website address to go and find out more or place an order. Make sure that your contact details are included clearly on your email, so that your readers can get in touch.

4. Stupid spelling mistakes

Now that spell check is a normal part of everyday business life, readers have an even lower tolerance of spelling errors than they did before. Spelling mistakes make it look like you don’t pay attention to detail, and that’s not a good message to send to a potential customer!

Spelling is super-easy to fix though. Just run a spell check on your newsletter before you send it out (Constant Contact has one built in!)

If you want to make doubly sure—have a friend or colleague (who can spell!) proofread your newsletter before you hit send.

5. Not finding the content valuable

Your readers subscribe to your emails because they want to know what you have to say—whether that’s info about your latest offers, useful tips, or expert insight into your industry. So, you just have to remember to give them what they signed up for!

This is not hard, I promise, and the easiest way to stay on track is to ask your readers if they are getting what they want from your emails.

On a month-to-month basis, you can also keep on top of this potential issue by asking yourself two questions before you send:

  • Would my average subscriber read right to the end of this email?
  • What’s the one big thing that my reader will take away from this?

It’s not hard to avoid these problems

So go ahead and put the above tips into practice. I’m sure it will make a difference.

 

 

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Protect Your Site from Hackers 0

Protect Your Site from Hackers

Posted by on Jan 12, 2014 in Internet Security

cyber-crimeIn the last year, more and more of my clients have gotten their website hacked.  There are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent cyber-criminals from accessing your website:

  • Software Updates.  Old software makes it easy for cyber-criminals to compromise your site by using widely available exploits. If you have a WordPress site, keep the software and Plug ins current. 
  • Change Passwords and Make Them STRONG. I recommend that my clients change the passwords for their FTP, WordPress dashboard, etc. routinely. Don’t use your name, company name or any easy to figure out combination.
  • Limit Access. Make sure you know who has access to your servers, and that only those people are accessing your servers. If you allow someone access to your FTP temporarily, be sure to cancel that user login once the task is complete.
  • Check Your Server Frequently.  If you have a WordPress site, check your Theme Functions and Header for malware. An unexpected spike in traffic will help alert you that your simple webserver has been turned into a costly spam site.

Just because your company may not store customer credit card data on their server, doesn’t mean it’s not a target. Criminals will use your servers to attack others or to market items like Viagra or Pay Day loans. Taking the time to follow the simple steps above could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

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10 Last Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas 0

10 Last Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas

Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in eMail Marketing Services

holiday-marketing2013December is a crunch time for retailers and many B2B businesses. Salespeople push to fill their quotas, wholesalers rush to get shipments out and retailers seek enough sales to achieve a profitable year.  Maybe you’ve been focused on the short term. But it’s November and your holiday marketing plan needs work.  It’s time to act quickly to help customers find you.  You can still reach them before they make their purchasing decisions. According to Google, for example, 70 percent of consumers wait to make holiday purchases until Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

There’s also a lasting benefit to holiday marketing.

With the right tactics, holiday growth can be a long-term deal, rather than a quarterly bump. It’s an opportunity to get customers in the door (or onto your site), and then keep them coming back.  By leveraging coupons, discounts or special bonus items during the holidays, you can become a regular destination for your new customers, generating long-term repeat business that pays for the discounts or promotions you create.
Ready to start? Your friends at Vocus, along with some industry experts, are here to pitch some tactics, tips and ideas for holiday marketing success.

Read and download the full article here by Vocus.  It’s awesome!

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New Trojan Virus Alert 0

New Trojan Virus Alert

Posted by on Jan 15, 2013 in Internet Security

alerts

Security Alert – Mal/JavaJar-B | Threat Alert—Jan. 14, 2013

We are notifying you of a major internet security threat that a new Trojan horse called Mal/JavaJar-B has been found that exploits a vulnerability in Oracle’s Java 7 and affects even the latest version of the runtime (7u10). The malware has currently been seen attacking Windows, Linux and Unix systems.

The Department of Homeland Security said attackers could trick targets into visiting malicious websites that would infect their PCs with software capable of exploiting the bug in Java. An attacker could also infect a legitimate website by uploading malicious software that would infect machines of computer users who trust that site because they have previously visited it without experiencing any problems.

Developers of several popular hacker tools, known as exploit kits, used to attack PCs, have added software that allows hackers to exploit the newly discovered bug in Java to attack computers.

Users can immediately protect themselves in the following ways:

• STOPzilla users will be delivered a patch today which prevents the infection as part of their
normal update service.
• By disabling Java content in their browser
• Downloading the latest version of Java: http://java.com/en/download/java_update.jsp

To disable Java in your browser Go to the Java Control Panel that is installed along with the runtime, and in the Security section uncheck the option to “Enable Java content in the browser,” which will disable the browser plug-in.

Read more about the threat and Oracle’s fix at Foxnews.com or at CNN.com.

Please forward this email to protect your friends and family

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