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30 Tips for Great Digital Marketing

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Tara Banda – Enjoy!

Tips-great-digital-marketing-ducttapemarketingA man walks into a bar/restaurant/hotel/car repair shop. Chances are, he found it online. That’s because today’s consumers, 80% according to Google, rely more on the Web to find and choose local businesses.

So how do you make sure that these consumers find and choose your local business? By using a mix of these four strategies for great digital marketing: search advertising, webSite, search engine optimization, and social media. Here are 30 tips to get you going.

 

Search Advertising Tips

1. Identify and follow the rules of Bing, Yahoo!, and Google search ads before running your campaign as all have slightly different formats.

2. Optimize the URL displayed in your search ad so that it’s relevant to the product or service you are promoting.

3. Include target keywords in your headlines and copy that either match or closely match the keywords you bid on in order to boost the chance that your ad appears for those terms.

4. Write strong calls to action for your search ads that directly state what you want consumers to do. For example “Contact for a Free Estimate” or “Get a 50% Coupon.”

5. When using a click-to-call extension, consider using a tracking number so that you can identify and measure which ads perform the best.

6. Don’t spend precious text ad character count on your business name. It should already be in your optimized URL.

7. Do capitalize the first letter of major words in your ad. Don’t (read “NEVER”) go crazy with all caps.

8. Should you use correct punctuation in text ads? Yes! It just makes good sense.

9. Using trademarks in text ad copy is a no-no unless, of course, you own them. You can, however, bid on terms relevant to your business.

10. DUUA (don’t use unknown abbreviations). While it could pique the interest of a few searchers, why take that chance?

Website Tips

11. If you haven’t updated your website since 2010, do it now. A clean, modern design is key in digital marketing, plus it ensures that you meet today’s best practices and Web standards.

12. Make your website mobile-friendly! The 2014 Local Search Study results indicate that nearly 80% of local mobile searches end in a purchase. This is a big audience you shouldn’t ignore.

13. Accurately complete your site’s metadata (title tags, descriptions, alt text, etc.). Not doing so can negatively impact your visibility on SERPs.

14. A business blog is a winning addition to your website. It can help boost your site’s SEO, set you apart from the competition, and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. It’s a win-win situation.

15. In order to get found by local consumers, you need to optimize your site with local information like your address and geo-targeted keywords.

Search Engine Optimization

16. Having a business blog is useless if you don’t regularly create and promote original and sharable content to help prove relevance and therefore rank in search engines.

17. Enable share buttons on your blog so that readers can easily post your content to their social media pages and drive visitors back to your website.

18. Optimize your Google+ Local page to help your business name, phone number, location, and even opening hours show up in Google Maps and Google’s local search results.

19. Much like Google+ Local, Yelp is platform to complete and post information about your business. More importantly, it helps feed Apple Maps with local business results.

20. Include geo-specific keywords, such as your city, neighborhood, and zip codes, in your website, blog, and even social media copy to appear in search results for these terms.

19. Don’t only promote blog posts once. Repurpose them as engaging images, quotes, or questions in order to generate additional views, shares, and subject relativity.

21. Getting backlinks from influencers and other industry-related websites that have already established credibility are great for building your own authority and driving more visits back to your site.

23. Enable Google Authorship to help build your personal brand. By establishing yourself as a subject matter expert, you can share your own content, generate more shares, and drive more website visits.

22. Since positive reviews rank in search engine results, generate positive reviews with high rankings to help persuade consumers to choose your business.

26. Once you receive positive reviews, promote them on your website and social media sites so that consumers who search for you business on social sites or local directories see the great things others say about your business.

25. Images can help sell your business, and they also rank in search engines. Don’t name your images “photo.jpg,” and instead name them more descriptively, add alt text, or captions on your website to help images show up in search results.

Social Media

27. Think, review, and review again before you make a social media post or comment. The ability to easily take screenshots makes it difficult to take back a social media mistake.

28. Since your employees also represent your brand, both in person and online, implement a social media policy that at the least permits them from sharing internal information.

29. Before you jump on a trending hashtag, make sure you know the origin of it. Not doing so can potentially cause social media regrets.

30. Like it or not, you “share” your brand on social media. And since consumers can start good and bad conversations about you, make sure to set up alerts that notify you of new mentions, comments, or messages.

Tara Banda Duct Tape MarketingTara Banda is a brand-builder, copywriter, and social media marketer in Dallas, TX. She has worked with businesses of all sizes — from Fortune 500 companies to local non-profits to startups — to define their voice, promote their brand online through digital marketing, and build lasting relationships with fans and advocates.  Tara is a currently a Content Marketing Manager at ReachLocal. In her spare time, she is obsessed with learning recipes for international cuisines. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

SEO Blended Copy: Dos and Don’ts for Boosting Your Website’s Organic Discoverability

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Maria Orozova – Enjoy!

Duct-tapeThese days, it’s all about organic: organic produce, organic pressed-juice, holistic baby diapers made from all-organic materials – the list goes on. So, it should come as no shock the role that organic SEO plays in your website’s discoverability, even over paid alternatives like pay-per-click. In fact, 70-80% of Internet users ignore paid ads, focusing instead on organic search results.

Intimidating to some, boosting your website’s organic discoverability is easier than you might think. Just remember, if content is king then keywords are the crowned jewels.  The following are a few crucial ‘dos and don’ts’ all businesses need to consider when looking to optimize their organic SEO.

Don’t: Assume the phrase “keyword” translates to “one word.”

Do: Assign natural phrases as your keywords

By strategically assigning keywords to the pages of your website, you are essentially anticipating all of the different search variations that could and should lead users to your website. Don’t make the mistake of taking the term “keywords” literally though. Incorporate a series of natural phrases into your keyword strategy. Ask yourself – How would you search for your site?

Don’t: Randomly sprinkle keywords throughout your website copy.

Do: Utilize targeted keywords.

Unless you’re looking to get on Google’s bad-list, don’t just assign keywords without incorporating them into the various elements of your website. This doesn’t mean sporadically using a keyword here and there. In fact, there are several crucial areas that Google looks at specifically for keyword integration: Page title, page headline, body copy, meta description and links, both internal and external.

Don’t: Overload keywords in your website copy.

Do: Create engaging content and naturally integrate keywords.

There’s an art to determining the appropriate keyword density % of your keyword-blended copy. While there is really no magic number for keyword density, there is one guiding light: Good content will always beat SEO. With that said, it stands to reason that if you drown your copy in keywords at the sake of flow and cohesiveness, your ranking will probably take a tumble. Instead, focus on writing engaging content while seizing opportunities to naturally introduce keywords into your copy.

Keywords alone does not a successful SEO strategy make, however. While it is a large driver of your organic search results, there are other key areas that can further help boost your websites discoverability.

Be Mobile

Mobile-browsing usage is set to bypass desktop browsing within the year so your organization’s website design is more important than ever. Because your SEO relies heavily on your website’s engagement, it’s important to choose a responsive or mobile friendly design that will cater to your mobile audience’s experience.

Get Down with Google

It’s no shock that Google looks favorably upon those who actively use their ancillary services. An easy way to start doing this is to actively use and maintain a Google+ page. Also, if your business has a blog, you’ll want to set up Google Authorship so that your writers’ work can start to help boost your site’s credibility and ultimately, search ranking.

Stay Social

Never underestimate the power of social in you SEO strategy. Your organization’s social pages are a huge source of potential traffic for your website. Create and share engaging, original content as part of your social strategy, and always remember to link back to your website.

mariaorozovamod (2)Maria Orozova is the President and Creative Director of The MOD Studio, a boutique marketing & design agency based in Austin and the powerhouse behind many local and national brands. Together, Maria and the MOD Marketing and Development team build a strategic and dynamic mix of consumer and B2B clients. For more information on building a successful SEO strategy, visit: www.themodstudio.com

 

3 Step Content Marketing Audit for Small Business Marketers

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Ryan Kettler – Enjoy!

Content

photo credit: john.schultz

Use this quick and easy process to improve your website in order to attract more visitors and customers

You may have heard that content is king. Backing up this cliché is the fact that paid advertisements that interrupt people just aren’t working that well on the Web anymore. These days simple, helpful, instructional content is more effective at attracting new customers to your website.

But to take advantage of the power of content marketing, you have to have website content that attracts your targeted audience. Don’t worry, even if your existing website is lacking, the process I’m about to share will still set you on the right path going forward.

Let’s get started.

Step 1 – Review Your Existing Content and Keywords

Take a look at your website and start building a master list of all the keywords you’re already using.

One way to find your existing keywords is with a free BoostSuite account. BoostSuite (the company I work for) will crawl all of your pages and show you a list of all of your keywords automatically. Also, if you already have a Google Webmaster Tools account you can export a list of keywords from there too.

Or you can simply view the source code (in your web browser) of any page of your website and search for the text “keywords.” And even if you haven’t set any keywords for your web pages you can use this free keyword extraction tool to find your keywords by typing in your URL.

Repeat this last step on all of your competitors’ web pages to make sure you don’t miss some incredible keyword they’re using that you haven’t caught on to yet.

Now that you’ve created a big list of keywords, let’s figure out which ones actually matter.

Step 2 – Analyze and Evaluate Keywords For Opportunity

Not all keywords are created equal, especially for your unique business. The best keywords for your marketing strategy are keywords that have high search volume (lots of people searching for them) and low competition.

Copy and paste your big list of keywords into a keyword research tool like Google Adwords keyword tool to determine the search volume and competition level for each.

Sort your keywords by search volume (highest at the top) and then move any keyword with a high competition level to the bottom of the list. Take your top 25 keywords and copy them into a new document.

You are now looking at the keywords that will take your content marketing strategy to the next level. Let’s see how your current website stacks up.

Step 3 – Map Your Best Keywords To Your Existing Pages

Now that you have your top keyword list, beside each keyword write the page URL of a single page on your current website that is about the keyword. You can do this manually or use a tool to automatically map your keywords to your existing website pages.

How many keywords have matching pages? Great content marketers have at least one page of content about each of their most important keywords.

For keywords that are matched to a page, make sure that actual page has the exact keyword in its HTML title, meta description, and H1 heading.

You will probably also have some leftover keywords that cannot be applied to any existing pages, and that’s great! These keywords become your writing punch-list, meaning your next blog post should be about one of them.

Write a new blog post then optimize it for one top-opportunity keywords. Keep writing new content until you have at least one page on your website about each of your top opportunity keywords.

Follow these three easy steps and you’ll start marketing your business online using content that will attract your perfect target audience, just like the pros do. It’s that easy.

Did you find some new keywords for your business that surprised you? If so, tell us what you learned in the comments below.

RyanRyan Kettler is Director of Communications at BoostSuite. He’s an internet marketing zealot, sports fanatic, devoted runner, avid golfer, beer connoisseur, and live music enthusiast. When he’s not writing or helping BoostSuite customers he can be found running 5ks, sampling IPAs, and attempting to dance/sing at concerts. BoostSuite allows small business marketers to get more website visitors, sales leads, and customers by optimizing their websites on their own. Follow BoostSuite on Twitter and Facebook.

A Rank Checking Tool

Aaron Wall of SEOBook puts out some very nice free tools to use in your SEO efforts.

One that I’ve recently started using is Rank Checker. This is a Firefox plug in that sits in your browser ready to go to work. If you visit a site and wonder how that site ranks for any of your target keyword phrases simply click on the plug in icon, type in the phrases or words and hit search. Very shortly you get the ranking of that site for all the phrases you entered on Google, Yahoo and MSNLive.

Of course you can easily keep tabs on how your site ranks for all your important phrases as well.

Side note – MSNLive is really starting to do a better job with search results and I’m experiencing more traffic from them all of a sudden. (See XML sitemap post too.)

Google Keyword Tool Now Offers Search Volume

One of the first successful PPC ad systems was service called Overture. One of the most popular features of this service was a tool called the Search Suggestion Tool. Anyone online back in say 2002-2003 used this tool a bunch to help determine what search phrases received the most traffic. This was one very simple DIY tool.

When Yahoo bought out Overture the tool languished and eventually went away. In my opinion this was a big mistake on the part of Yahoo. (But that’s a conversation for another day)

Click on the screenshot below to see full size

Google Keyword Search ToolGoogle recently enhanced their keyword suggestion tool and added search volume and some measure of competitiveness. The reason the PPC engines offer tools like this is to help people get better at bidding on search terms and offer suggestions for more terms to bid on. Serious PPC folks use this tool to help determine bid amounts and bid on thousands of search terms. (If you have an AdWords account this tool is built into your dashboard.)

I’ve found that this tool is also a nice, low effort way to get some ideas for keyword phrases for your web pages and blog posts. The tool offers suggestions for ways that people are really searching in your industry and might spark some ideas for blog headlines. Of course, for local businesses, this can be a great way to identify terms that you might want to add your city name to.

Keyword Research for Targeted Web Site Traffic

good keywordsI love the keyword research tools that are out there for you to use. Keyword research is probably one of the most underutilized tools of the small business web site owner. If you want to draw targeted traffic to your site you need to know what terms and phrases your target market is using to find businesses, products and services like yours when they surf and search.

The following online tools are very useful to help you create and refine your keywords for your website

TopRank Blog by Lee Odden has a nice list of keyword research tools here.

WordTracker Academy is a great place to learn about keyword research.