Category: SEO

What I Learned From 30 Small Businesses

Goldfish in a bowl

Recently I was asked to write a post about small business who are doing unusual social media campaigns.  The campaigns didn’t need to be successful, they just needed to be different.  When I got the assignment I thought “hey, this is going to be easy

Wrong

In fact, it was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever had to write. It took me more than 30 hours over three days. Everywhere I looked I could find unusual campaigns being executed by big brands.

We all know about the stuff Red Bull is doing. And we all remember the the ads that ran during the super Bowl power outage. But we don’t see stuff like that from small businesses.read more about 7 hacks for lazy blogger at http://www.mediafreshpress.com/7-headline-hacks-for-lazy-bloggers/

A post on this topic should’ve been a breeze to write. There’s supposed to be unusual and amazing campaigns all over the social media landscape but there’s not.

  • Where are the local burger joints at in all this?
  • Where is the local handyman?
  • Nowhere! They don’t exist!

Small businesses have a unique opportunity with social media to stand out from their competition AND on the same stage as big corporations. But they don’t do it.

The problem is that most small business owners don’t see the pay off. They don’t see the benefits because there isn’t an immediate return on their investment. When you’re running a small business you want to see efforts pay off quickly so you know what to do next.

This is why so many small business owners like using PPC(paid ads). With PPC, it’s very easy to see what your efforts are doing for you.  Most places(like Google) even give you a ‘handy-dandy’ dashboard to make it even easier for you to measure.read more about PPC by clicking here

Social media doesn’t work this way. You can’t just look at ‘the numbers’ at the end of the day to see if you’re moving in the right direction. Social media is a long-game and small business owners still aren’t ready to accept that.

Gary Vaynerchuk says any business that’s not effectively using social media will be gone in the next few years. And he’s right but there’s one big problem with that. That was about two years ago. It’s time to get busy guys.

The upside

There are far less people actually trying to be effective on social media than you think. As troubling as it is, this leaves a lot of room for those who are willing put in the time. Anyone who goes out there and really tries, is going to see some success.

The average person is at home, or at work just scrolling through an endless stream of worthless content. They are waiting for you to grab their attention.

What I learned…

Remember, I was looking for unusual campaigns – not successful campaigns.  All I had to do was find people that were doing things a little differently than their competition.If the campaign was a flop, it didn’t matter.

Of the 30 campaigns I found, only one that could be considered a failure. That means you’d have to try harder to fail than to be successful. They key is is that you have to try.

I know we’re talking about small businesses and you might not feel like that relates to you if you’re a blogger. But you’re wrong. Your blog is your business and unless you’re bringing in millions in profit then its a small business.

Look around.

How many bloggers are actually doing something different on social media?

Most of them are doing the same thing as the next guy. They all talk about providing value and engaging with your audience over and over. They continue to repeat those safe little phrases that make everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside but no one is trying something different.

I’m challenging you, right now to do something different. Even if it means leaving a comment that’s not so friendly. Everyone leaves comments like “great post” or “thanks, I really enjoyed the read.”


Why Content is the Key to Success Online

finding success online with content

Content is everywhere and your customers are consuming it at a rate higher than ever. If you want to be successful online these days you have to create content. You can read all the books, buy all the courses, and training products you want. You can attend workshops and mastermind groups. You can even map out complex strategies and business plans.

But if you’re not creating content then you are irrelevant online.

You used to be able to put up a couple advertisements, maybe buy a space on somebody’s website, but those days are gone. People avoid advertisements like ebola. Think about it, when is the last time you watched a commercial, or clicked an ad on a website?

That’s right, it’s probably been awhile. And that’s because most advertisements are irrelevant to you or anyone that sees them really. They don’t grab your attention and they definitely don’t hold your attention. Advertising in the traditional sense is dead. We’re living in a world where media is more powerful than marketing.

Want Proof?

Look at some of the most successful websites. (Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc..) What do they all have in common? Content. Everyone says that Facebook’s product is its users. That’s not entirely true. Facebook’s product is the content that the users create. Facebook, like Google, is a media company.

The same is true even for companies like Coca-Cola and Red Bull. A quick look at Coca-Cola’s blog shows how invested they are in content.read more about Coca-Cola’s blog at http://www.coca-colacompany.com/

coca-cola blog

Red Bull has the “Red Bulletin” (which is also published in print) among tons of other content. Some refer to these two companies as, “media companies who also happen to sell drinks”.

That says a lot about the importance of content.

So…why is content better than advertising?

Well, I hate to sound cliché, but it goes back to the beginning of time. We have always enjoyed telling and listening to stories. So stories are what sell. Even traditional advertisements had to be carried by a story. You wouldn’t just watch commercials all day would you? Of course not. Unless they were highly entertaining. And then it becomes more than a commercial. It has given you some value, so its become a story.

But if it’s not highly entertaining then you don’t want to be bothered with it. It becomes an annoyance. People want their content without all the annoying BS. Which is exactly why regular television and cable are being pushed out.

People love content. We want more of it. We want it in our living rooms, bedrooms and even in our bathrooms. We want it on car rides, walks and….well, everywhere. When you’re creating content (instead of advertising) it allows you to build an audience. But, more than that, it allows you to build a relationship with that audience. That’s just not something you can do with ads or traditional marketing.

Some might argue that’s what clever marketing is all about. To which I’d say, “well isn’t that just content that’s been created with a strategy in mind.” When you really think about it, everything online is content — video, audio, text, images — it’s all content and you can’t have a presence online without it. But it’s not just about creating a bunch of random stuff online.

It has to be relevant to your audience.

Content is just the foundation. It’s the context (and quality of course) that really matters.

Context

You have to know your audience before you can create anything that they will care about. You need to know who they are, where they hang out and of course what they like. When you do, creating content becomes much easier. So how do you figure that out? Well, with content of course. (broken record, right) There is a little research involved too. But you probably already know a little about the audience you want to reach, so start there.click here to lean more about content marketing.

Start with what you know and try to engage them with that. And you have to start in the places they like to hangout online. Engaging with them is going to be important for many reasons.

  1. You can learn more about them.
  2. Establishes trust.
  3. It helps you build your brand

(That’s just a few reasons, there’s a lot more.)

Since you’re most likely going to be engaging your audience in places like social media, forums and other communities, this can also be considered content. In fact this kind of content is some of the best, because it will be valuable and relevant to them. See how it all comes back to the content? And that’s why it’s the key to all success online.

Getting Started

Social media is the best place to start — it’s free, the content is short and can be created quickly, and it allows you to start building awareness. Plus, you can find lots of great ideas that you can turn into blog posts, videos, ebooks or whatever. The important thing that you just get started.

So many people analyze things to death waiting for the ‘perfect plan’. Don’t do that. It’s okay to be methodical but don’t paralyze yourself and lose the opportunity to grow your brand.


Rankings and Keywords

There are multiple factors search engines consider before ranking a site. If you ask ten different bloggers about those factors, you’ll get ten different answers.

This week’s show was all about those various ranking factors. We talked about the survey results Moz publishes every two years, as well as the factors we’ve found to be the most important for our blogs.

If you’re wondering about the best keywords, domains and niches to choose for your blog, this episode is for you!

Join the community on Google+ to be notified before the show starts so you can watch live, ask questions and leave comments.

Fresh + Coffee is hosted by Chris M Cloutier (that’s me!) and Nathaniel Brenes from One More Cup of Coffee.


Exact Match Domains – Penalty or Power?

exact match domain penalty

False information can ruin your chances of success as a new blogger. There’s tons of it online and most of it is about Google. When Google makes updates to improve search results it can cause a lot of confusion. The exact match domain penalty is a perfect example of this.click here to learn more about exact match domain penalty.

There’s a lot of misconceptions about this, it’s time to clear them up.

What is an exact match domain?

Proper keyword research is the foundation to a successful blog. Keywords with lots of searches and little competition will help you get traffic from search engines easier.

Let’s say your keyword is “RC cars.” An exact match domain for this keyword would be RCcars.com. It doesn’t have to strictly be a dot com. You can use dot org, dot net, or any of the others.

Unfortunately some keywords don’t make grammatical sense. Keywords like “RC cars buy” are often some the most searched terms. You might think buying an exact match domain in this case would be silly but people do it. Some of them even have great results.learn more about keyword ranking at http://www.mediafreshpress.com/rankings-and-keywords/

The exact match domain penalty

A couple years ago it took very little effort to get on the first page of Google, as long as you had an EMD(Exact match Domain). Naturally, spammy marketers noticed this and started taking advantage of it.

The process was simple.

  1. Find a keyword with lots of searches
  2. Buy the exact match domain name
  3. Slap-up content (usually spun or low quality)
  4. Watch the traffic roll in

It didn’t take Google long to realize they had a flaw in the algorithm. Once they did, they started penalizing sites that used this tactic. This is how the penalty was born.

“Should I Use an Exact Match Domain?”

Think about what an EMD really is. It’s nothing more than a URL with your keyword in it. Just like when you make a page or post, except better.

If you think having a keyword in your title is good SEO, try having it in the actual domain name. It’s a much stronger indicator of what your site is about.

Look, using a keyword in your domain is just smart. When I started blogging I had a few blogs that ranked #1 for some tough keywords thanks to the domain name.

Here’s the thing though,you can’t just expect the domain name to do all the work. You still have to work hard to create a valuable resource for your readers. As long as you do that you’ll always be fine.

Conclusion

Google doesn’t automatically penalize a blog just because it uses a keyword in the domain name.If you find a good keyword and the domain is available, use it. Just don’t expect the ranking’s to be handed to you.

*But* if you create good content, acquire good backlinks and properly optimize your site you can crush the competition with an exact match domain.

Don’t listen to these clowns that tell you there’s a penalty. There is no penalty as long as you provide value for your readers. That is true for every update Google does, not just the EMD update.

Got Questions?

Leave them in the comments section below.  I try to answer every question within 24 hours. If you need a faster solution, I recommend checking out this community.  There’s live support 24 hours a day 365 days a year.


All In One SEO Pack Review

Even if you’re a brand new WordPress user, you’ve probably heard of the All In One SEO Pack plugin. You might even be thinking of installing it. Well, before you do that, let me give you some advice. All In One SEO was the first SEO plugin I ever used. I installed it on my first blog, I recommended it to clients and installed it on every blog I owned since I started blogging. I absolutely loved the plugin. It did exactly what it was supposed to do, and it was simple to use. For a while I never even considered using another SEO plugin.lean more about SEO plugins at https://www.wpbeginner.com/showcase/9-best-wordpress-seo-plugins-and-tools-that-you-should-use/

Other SEO Plugins

Somewhere around my third month of blogging, I decided to check out other SEO plugins. I just wanted to see what else was out there. I did my research and learned that the blogging world was divided over two plugins – All in One SEO and WordPress SEO by Yoast.

I’d say more than 90% of bloggers who use WordPress, use one of these two plugins. Knowing this, I decided to take a look at Yoast’s plugin. Remember, I’ve only been blogging for three months or so at this point. After installing Yoast, I was shocked at the complexity of it. It was multiple tabs of configurations and settings I’d never seen before.

I spent about fifteen minutes with it before I was certain about my decision to stay with All In One SEO.

The Update

In April 2013 All In One SEO rolled out a major update to its free and pro versions. The update was a complete makeover from top to bottom. The menu options changed, the configurations were moved around and more features were added.

It completely changed everything I loved about the plugin. I understand things change and the web evolves, I get that, I really do. But the All In One SEO Pack lost the thing that had originally made it so great. Its simplicity was gone.

April 22, 2013 in my mind, is the day All in One SEO Pack died.

Here’s the plugin before the update.

 

New features

As I said, I understand things need to change sometimes. Google makes constant updates to the way it ranks websites so it’s only natural that All In One SEO needed an update. Some of the new features were really nice to have too.

Social meta

The social meta feature was something the old All In One didn’t have. With social media being so popular this was a nice feature to have. It gave users the ability to have an entirely new description and image show up when your content is shared on social media.

Preview

The search results preview was another new feature that was nice to have. Other SEO plugins already had this so All In One needed to step up here. This feature gave users the ability to see what their page might look like in the search results. This is meant to give you an idea of how your titles and descriptions will look in the search results.

While this is a nice feature it’s not accurate. All In One shows your preview based on character lengths of your title and description. Google no longer shows titles and descriptions this way.

Now, it’s based on pixel width, so it varies depending on the the letters you use. For the most part though, All in one’s preview is fine, it’s just not always accurate.

Community and Support

If you’re thinking of using the free version of All in One SEO Pack then you’ll have to find support within the WordPress community. You won’t have access to the All in One support forum until you purchase the premium version of the plugin.

Premium Support

The support forum for premium users is less-than-ideal. When I bought the premium version I really expected much more. When you need help, you go to the forum, make your post and wait.

You will never get an answer in less than 24 hours.For most support forums that’s okay but not one I paid to have access to.

In addition to slow responses, the forum isn’t very active. The members aren’t engaged at all.I guess you can’t really blame them when the owner and staff members aren’t engaged either.

Don’t get me wrong, they do their job, but that’s it – there’s no ‘above and beyond’ happening here. When the recent security flaw was found, premium users didn’t get a solution until the next day. That’s just terrible, I expected more from them.

The biggest problem I have with the support forum is that you can’t ask an SEO question. You can ask about the plugin, but asking for SEO advice is like asking them for their first born. They do not want to help with this stuff. I understand everyone’s needs are going to be a little different. But moderators just point you to documentation that only confuses you more.

Why not have a blog where you discuss this kind of stuff?

You sell an SEO plugin for WordPress and you don’t have a blog, seriously??

Basically, the support forum for All in One SEO Pack is a terrible experience. I paid for access and it’s the last place I go when I need help. The vibe isn’t welcoming to say the least.

The support forum will cost you $79 per year. Save your money, it’s not worth it.

Do I still use All In One SEO Pack?

Yes, and no. I’m no longer recommending the plugin to clients and my newest blog doesn’t use it. For now, I still use it here on Media Fresh Press for a few reasons.

  • I’m still learning how to export all my preferences into another SEO plugin.
  • I’m a little concerned about switching until I know exactly what I’m doing.
  • I want to be sure I completely understand the new SEO plugin I’m going to use.

And if I’m totally honest, I don’t want to switch, I was a big fan of All in One SEO for a long time.

I’m hoping the issues I have will be resolved soon but I’m not holding my breath. I will be switching this blog to a new SEO plugin very soon. There will be a complete review posted when I’m done.

Still thinking of using All In One SEO?

If you’re still considering using All in One then I’d recommend sticking with the free version. The premium version has some nice features but they aren’t necessary.

Stick with the free version, at least for a while, then move up if you feel like you need to. Plenty of people use the free version with no problems at all. My biggest mistake was buying the premium version. If I had stuck with the free version my expectations would’ve stayed the same.

Buying the pro version caused me to expect a level of simplicity with the plugin itself, and some actual support from the forum. Apparently that was too much to ask for. Fortunately, I have other places to go for support and advice. Being a member of an exclusive online community has it’s benefits, most of all support.

When I have a question, I just ask another member. It’s a nice luxury to have. The community is still accepting some members. You can read my review and decide if it’s for you. You get a free starter membership with 24/7 live support and tons of training. Not just SEO training either. There’s tutorials about social media, YouTube, WordPress and a lot more. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!


7 Headline Hacks for Lazy Bloggers

Boy reading by tree

Lazy bloggers need great headlines too!

The ability to write great headlines is what separates a lot of bloggers. They are one of the most important elements of any piece of content you create, learn more about content creation at http://www.mediafreshpress.com/why-content-is-the-key-to-success-online/. And they are the first thing readers see, no matter where they find your content.

Think about it.

On Google, social media or any platform, the title is prominently displayed. Readers make a split second decision to read, share or move on.

The success of bloggers (or any marketer) is being measured by pageviews. Because of that, titles are getting bolder and more sensational, so you really need to step up your game if you want to stay relevant.

Just be sure you don’t write a headline that you can’t deliver on in the article.Demian Farnworth says he hates being “let down by articles that are long on headline, short on content.” Demian knows how to follow through. Be sure to check out his post so you learn how too.

Writing bad headlines is one thing – writing a headline to trick people into reading crappy content is another. You’re just going to piss people off by wasting their time. And those people aren’t likely to come back. Would you?

Having someone waste your time is like sticking your hand on the burner. It’s painful and you remember it forever. I’m confident that everyone here is on the up n’ up – and is capable of writing stellar content that delivers on the headlines promise. So let’s move on and work on getting more eyeballs to your first paragraph.

Ready, let’s go!

Twitter

Twitter is like a proving ground for headlines.You can bet your ass if your title sucks it will go nowhere on Twitter. The opposite is also true. If you’re putting out great titles you’ll be able to tell.

One of the best ways to test your titles with Twitter is to change things up. Try tweeting stuff about the same topic, but from a different point of view. This will give you an idea of what your audience likes. Once you’ve found that, try tweeting the same articles with different titles.

This will give you a pretty good idea of what your next several posts should be about and what titles will work best for them. A few months back, everything I tweeted about FaceBook got wildly more engagement than anything else. That told me what my audience as in the mood for at that time.

It doesn’t mean I had to write about FaceBook, but it was helpful to know. Maybe I could write something like, “Are readers leaving your blog faster than teens are leaving FaceBook.”

Okay, that’s a terrible example, but you get the point right?

Topsy

Topsy has the biggest index of Tweets on the web going all the way back to 2006.You can use Topsy to see what’s trending, find influencers and see what’s getting the most engagement

You can even see how a specific piece of content is being shared using the URL. Let’s say we want to know which buzzword is getting the most engagement. SEO, content marketing or blogging? You can measure them against each other using the “social analytics” tab.

You can do this with anything, even URLs. It’s a great way to find a killer headline for your next blog post.

PPC ads

One surefire way to find great headlines is to ask someone who loses money if their headline’s suck. You know those little ads you see on the right side of Google?

Well, somebody pays for those to be there. Not only are they paying or the ad to show up there, but most of them hire professional copywriters to write the ads.

We’re talking about a few hundred bucks or more for just a few words. So you know those are powerful headlines. Use them.

Here’s how you find the best ones. Do a Google search for your topic. Usually the ads in one of the top 3 spots have the best titles. You’ll have to decide which is best for you. The information you gained from your past tweets and using Topsy should help you here.

sticky noteIf you really want get a great title, watch those ads over the course of a few days. If one stays there longer than all the others then that headline is a money maker.

 

25 drafts

Just like anything else you do, practice makes perfect. If you continue to try to write great headlines for your posts, you’ll get better as time goes on. But if you’re like me(lazy and impatient) you don’t want to write great headlines a year from now. You want to write them today!

Well, thanks to Garrett Moon we can speed things up a little. In his post on Today Made, Garrett says to write at least 25 headlines before you publish. The theory is that somewhere around the 25th try, you’ll have a killer headline that you would’ve never thought of otherwise. Because I’m lazy(as mentioned above) I haven’t tried this every time.

But the times I did try Garrett’s method, I got double the engagement of my normal posts. hmm, I’m starting to think it doesn’t pay to be a lazy blogger…

Alphabet Soup

And last but not least, the technique often referred to as “The Alphabet Soup method.”

Google search for writing better headlines

This one is really simple but it packs a lot of punch because it puts you directly into the minds of your readers.

Basically you just go to Google and start typing something in the search bar. You may want to start with something relevant to your blog, but you can get a little creative here.

For example, you can type in “how to” and then run through the alphabet one letter at a time. This will tell you every popular ‘how-to’ search known to Google.

I’d say that’s pretty powerful information to have on your side.

What worked for you

Think about some of the articles you’ve shared.  Or better yet, think about the one’s you actually read. If they got your attention then chances are they probably have a pretty decent headline. Try to go back and check the titles of some of the most recent stuff you’ve read.

Check your bookmarks.

If you bookmarked then it’s probably got both, a great headline and useful content that delivered on its promise.

Steal it

“Great artists steal.” ~Steve Jobs

If you see a great headline, steal it. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a great way to get a headline for your new post quickly. And it teaches you a little about what a great headline actually is. Don’t be ashamed, some of the best bloggers you know have admitted to doing it. So now that you’ve got some easy methods for writing great headlines, go put ‘em to use.

Share your headline tips below. If you have an example of a great headline you wrote, feel free to share that too!