Archive for November, 2010

Improve Search Rankings with Effective Link Building

If you’ve read a bit about search engine optimization (SEO), then you know that attracting lots of high quality inbound links is one of the most effective ways to build authority and improve your rank online. Even if you know how to go about building links – directories, networking and creating remarkable content that people will link to – you may not know what sites to target for inbound links.

First, A Quick Refresher on Inbound Links

An inbound link is a hyperlink on someone else’s web site that includes the URL for a page on your domain. Inbound links vary in quality and usefulness based on the originating site’s own authority, how many other links originate from that page and the actual text that is hyperlinked. What you want most are:

  • Links from high authority sites. Getting a link from the New York Times has much more value than a link from my personal blog. Just like a personal introduction from your dearest friend has more value than an introduction from a distant acquaintance.
  • Links that you don’t have to share. Search engines give a page only a certain amount of credibility. This credibility or “link juice” is split up among the links coming from that page.  That means you get a lot more value from an inbound link that is a story just about your products or services than an inbound link that lists you as one of ten hyperlinked companies.
  • Links with relevant text descriptions. Search engines recognize which words are hyperlinked and give value to those words. Therefore, if someone hyperlinks to your golf school and they hyperlink the text “the program” instead of “golf academy,” you are missing out and you should politely ask the linker if they wouldn’t mind shifting the link to the more SEO-friendly text. Most of the time they are happy to help.

Second, How Do You Research Inbound Links?

Now that you know what you are looking for in an attractive inbound link, you need to figure out WHO you’d like to link to your site. That means some combination of industry relevance, high authority and the ease with which you can get in touch to share content that is link-worthy.

Logically, you should start with what and who you know. Make a short list of trade publications, blogs and contacts in your network who might be good candidates. Now, don’t stop there.

Turns out there are a few tools on the market to help you even further. Tools like SEOMoz’s LinkScape and Yahoo Site Explorer both provide this functionality. HubSpot also provides link research tools as a part of our integrated marketing software. Here’s an example of how you can do research to work out link strategy using HubSpot.

In this example, you see the inbound links for a concrete countertop company. 67 total links with an average of a “low” link grade. What does that really mean?

Inbound Links on Concrete Company Site

Let’s check out the competition to find out. Here’s another local competitor. 

Competitor Link Research

Wow, comparatively speaking, our concrete countertop guy is doing great – he has a lot more links (60+ vs. 10). But maybe there are still some ideas for him here. Looks like the Better Business Bureau link could be of value, as could concreteideas.com and thebluebook.com which look like listing services. Add these to the list to investigate.

Next, let’s pick a more ambitious competitor. Looking at someone in the concrete business that has national exposure, we can see what Cheng Concrete Exchange is up to.

Competitor with Many Inbound Links

Wow. They are a national outfit and it shows – they have hundreds of inbound links, many of high quality. This is a treasure trove of link opportunities to research further, looking for either personal connections or maybe sites that love to link to award-winning products, great content or customer stories.

Third, What Do You Do With That Research?

That little “spying” activity gave us a lot of insight into how the concrete business is doing and where there might be some opportunities to seek additional inbound links. Next steps would be to do a little research about each interesting source of links and determine what they want for a link. 

  • Is it a member directory that you pay for? 
  • Is it a content centric site that might let you post a guest article? 
  • Or, is it a business that you may already be networking with and you can find out if there are any opportunities to share content or promotions to help each other out with relevant links.

Prioritize that list and start working away at it one link at a time.  You’ll find that online authority and the resulting search results improve over time and the best benefit – the more people find you, the more they link to you, creating a virtuous cycle of link building that will be really hard for your competition to beat!

Try HubSpot’s Free Trial for Effective Inbound Link-Building!

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10 Ways to Get More SEO Clients

Posted by JoannaLord

I’ve been traveling for the past few weeks and talking to dozens of SEO consultants, and you know what they are all saying? They are at their max for clients. Yup, that’s right…they can’t take on new clients. They have TOO much work! This is good for all sorts of reasons. One, it shows we are in a good place during an economically difficult time, and two, there are people out there desperately seeking out your services, with nowhere to turn.

So how do you find these clients begging to pay you money? Here are ten ways to build your client base, and ultimately make sure the clients keep-a-coming…

10. Refer a client/affiliate programRefer customers
Setting up a referral or affiliate program can be something as simple as offering discounts on your prices to clients that refer new clients, or something as complicated as full blown affiliate programs with ongoing commissions for successful client signups.  I find too many consultants think of this as bothering a past client, but if you offer them a kickback for mentioning your good services to their friends that need them…it seems like such an obvious double win to me. So what are you doing to leverage your current client list for a bigger, better looking one?

9. Optimize your site/resume
This is one of those "oh snap" moments.  It’s such a simple idea, but few of us are doing it. As SEOs we spend our days helping people rank their sites higher, and optimize for more conversions. Well uhmmm, what about your site? I know you are doing all the right stuff to make sure you rank #1 for "best SEO consultant in the universe" but what about when they actually land on your site? Is it easy for them to request more info? How about trust signals, testimonials, and other valuable information…is it doing it’s job? Potential clients will naturally spy on you check out your website and resume. Do you know what they are going to find? Is it enough?

8.  Speak at events/hold site clinics
As we all know this industry operates, for the most part, virtually. However, when it comes to signing clients nothing can replace a potential client seeing you in person. Speaking at conferences can be a great way to reach a relevant audience and pitch yourself before having to pitch your services. You get to network, and possibly get links to help build your brand.  In addition to speaking, if you can finagle it, hold site clinics at conferences. The whole room gets to see you action, and your future clients get to see exactly how you will help them…once they sign with you. Can you say cha-ching?

Martin MacDonald Speaking at SEO PRO Training London 2010
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Martin MacDonald’s excellent presentation at the London Pro Training likely earned him some new clients
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7. Guest blogging
As SEO’s we know the value of guest blogging. Words like "visibility," "links," and "personal branding" come to mind. All of these make guest blogging the perfect way to funnel potential clients to your site and your services. Take this idea and think outside of the box. If you focus on SEO for your local area, where are local businesses reading information online? Get in there. If you do SEO for enterprise sites, where are those CMO’s getting their information? Make sure your byline is landing in front of their SEO-deprived eyes.

6. Sponsor events/mixers
Instead of traveling by plane to go talk SEO, why not host a local meet-up for businesses to hear about how SEO can help them succeed. You can either go formal and have a panel talking local SEO, or you could have material they can take with them. These local mixers can help attract qualified leads and build your reputation as a local SEO expert. How do you get people to come? Give away free consultations, or pick up the bar tab for an hour. Never underestimate the power of an open bar.

SEOmoz's Meetup in Sofia, Bulgaria
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The SEOmoz meetup in Sofia, where we made tons of great new friends
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5. Create free tools
I can’t take the credit for this idea, but I had to get it up on the list. Lots of great consultants and agencies have been doing this for years.  If you have free tools that people will love, offer them up as a way to drive traffic to your site. By offering SEO-related tools, you attract a relevant audience, collect information you can use to follow-up with, and leave people with a positive sentiment. People love free stuff! It’s a great way to get people both comfortable, and acquainted with your personal brand.

 Virante's Free SEO Tools
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Virante’s collection of free SEO tools brings them highly relevant traffic and industry credibility
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4. Email blast
Much like #9 you would think this approach would be obvious, but oftentimes us SEOs forget about some marketing basics. When you are looking to add to your client base why not email friends, family, past colleagues, etc. and let them know you are taking on new clients. Make sure you list out what you specialize in so they can easily pass the email onto people that might be interested. If you are really looking to get leads, add in a free consult or audit, and make the deal impossible to ignore. Personal referrals are incredibly powerful.

Email Blast
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Take note of that email address – it’s a handy one to have :-)
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3. Publish case studies
I know you all just collectively rolled your eyes when you read this one, because you are right, case studies involve a lot of work. You have to nail down a thesis, put together a test, collect data, and then report the results in a digestible manner. Yuck. But you know what? Case studies are compelling for just that reason. They are a thorough example of just how effective your services can be for the person reading the case study. Potential clients want to read about a similar company and the success SEO brought them. If you couple that case study with a contact form they can fill out for more information, you are sitting pretty. Trust me.

Location 3 Media Local SEO PDF
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Location 3 Media’s excellent Local SEO Guide is a great example
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2. Learn a niche
This may seem counterintuitive, because how can you open up the flood gates for more clients if you limit yourself to one niche, but people considering SEO want to see a consultant with relevant experience. Remember, SEO is still a bit confusing to most companies. They don’t understand best practices, they still believe that this SEO-stuff is a bit magical. If you have a few past clients in one industry, why not build out that portfolio and market yourself as such. What is your niche? Sometimes by taking on any client, you actually cannibalize your chances of owning a type of client.

1. Get active in new forums
Did I just use the word "forum?" Yeah I did. I don’t necessarily mean the forums of yesteryear (although a lot of those are still great places to network) instead I mean the new age forums. There are so many sites out there to help you establish yourself as an expert in a certain field. I mean sites like Quora, LinkedIn Answers, FormSpring and Facebook Questions.There are dozens of niche Q&A sites popping up. Don’t underestimate the power of marketing yourself an SEO authority to these growing audiences.

Formspring.me
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Sharing your knowledge across the web can result in positive client karma
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So there you have it. Hopefully I’ve given you some great ideas to get started with. The key with all of this is to remember that you need to be marketing your services not just to people that get SEO, but go beyond that circle. Wander into the less Internet-savvy group, and help them understand the value of SEO. In doing so, you will help them see the value in you, and more importantly, in hiring you.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for things I may have forgotten. How have you all grown your client base?
 

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The Wonderful World of SEO Metatags

Posted by Kate Morris

meta tags css code

Meta tags are the beginning of most SEO training, for better and worse. I contemplated on how to introduce this topic because we always hear the bad part of meta tags, namely the keywords meta tag. One of the first things dissected in any site review is the misuse of meta tags, mainly because they are at the top of every page in the header, therefore the first thing seen. But we don’t want to get too negative, meta tags are some of the best tools in a search marketer’s repertoire.

There are more meta tags than just description and keywords, though those two are picked on the most. I’ve broken down the most used (in my experience) by the good, the bad and the indifferent. You’ll notice that the list gets longer as we get to the bad ones. I didn’t get to cover all of the meta tags possible to add, but there is a great Meta Tag resource you should check out if you’re interested in what is out there.

My main piece of advice is to stick to the core minimum, don’t add meta tags you don’t need as they just take up code space. The less code you have the better. Think about it like this, your page code is like a set of step by step directions to get somewhere, but for a browser. Extraneous meta tags are the annoying 200 feet line items in directions that tell you to stay on the same road you were on!  

The Good Meta Tags

These are the meta tags that should be on every page, no matter what. Notice that this is a small list, these are the only two that are required, so if you can work with just these two, please do. 

  • Meta Content Type – This tag is necessary to declare your character set for the page and should be present on every page. Leaving this out could impact how your page renders in the browser. A few options are listed below, but your web designer should know what is best for your site.
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1"> 
  • Meta Description – The infamous meta description tag is used for one major purpose, to describe the page to searchers as they read through SERPs. This tag does not influence ranking, but is very important regardless. It is your ad copy that will determine if the user clicks on your result. Keep it within 160 characters, and write it to get the user’s attention. Sell the page, get them to click on the result. Rand wrote a great article in 2007 on meta descriptions that goes more in detail.

The Indifferent

Different sites will need to use these in specific circumstances, but if you can go without, please do.

  • Robots – One of the largest misconceptions is that you have to have a robots meta tag. Let’s make this clear: In terms of indexing and link following, if you don’t specify a meta robots tag, they read that as index,follow. It is only if you want to change one of those two commands that you need to add meta robots. Therefore, if you want to noindex but follow the links on the page, you would add the following tag with only the noindex, as the follow is implied. Only change what you want different than the norm.
    <meta name="robots" content="noindex" />
  • Specific Bots (Googlebot) – These tags are used to give a specific bot instructions like noodp (forcing them not to use your DMOZ listing information) and noydir (same, instead the Yahoo Directory listing information). Generally the search engines are really good at this kind of thing, but if you think you need it, feel free. There have been some cases I’ve seen where it’s necessary, but if you must consider using the overall robots tag listed above.
  • Language – The only reason to use this tag is if you are moving internationally and need to declare the main language used on the page. Check out this meta languages resource for a full list of languages you can declare.
  • Geo – These meta tags, last I heard, are supported by Bing, but not Google (you can target to country inside Webmaster Tools). There are three kinds: placename, position (latitude and longitude) and region
    <META NAME="geo.position" CONTENT="latitude; longitude">
    <META NAME="geo.placename" CONTENT="Place Name">
    <META NAME="geo.region" CONTENT="Country Subdivision Code">
  • Source – The new kid on the block, this is a tag (really two tags) that Google is testing out (thanks to the tip from my coworker Justin Briggs). It’s mainly for news providers so that they can help the search engines understand who the original news source is and which ones are syndicates. The news world and search world are trying so very hard to get along, glad to see this one pop up. 
  • Keywords – Yes, I put this on the indifferent because while no good SEO is going to recommend spending time on this tag, there is the small possibility it could help you somewhere. So please leave it out if you’re building a site, but if it’s automated there is no reason to take it out.
  • Refresh – This is the poor man’s redirect and really should not be used if at all possible. You should always use a server side 301 redirect. But I know that sometimes things need to happen now. But Google is NOT a fan
  • Site Verification – Your site is verified with Google and Bing right? Who has the verification meta tags on their homepage? These are sometimes necessary because you can’t get the other forms of site verification loaded, but if at all possible try to verify another way. Google allows you to verify by DNS, external file, or by linking your Google Analytics account. Bing still only allows by XML file or meta tag, so go with the file if you can. 

The Bad Meta Tags

There is nothing that will happen to your site if you use these, let me just make that clear. They are a waste of space though, even Google says so (and that was 5-6 years ago!). If you’re ready and willing, it might be time for some spring cleaning of your <head> area. 

  • Author/Web Author – This tag is used to name the author of the page. It’s just not necessary on the page.
  • Revisit After – This meta tag is a command to the robots to return to a page after a specific period of time. It’s not followed by any major search engine
  • Rating – This tag is used to denote the maturity rating of content. I wrote a post about how to tag a page with adult images using a very confusing system that has since been updated (See the comments). It seems as if the best way to note bad images is to place them on a separate directory from other images on your site and alert Google.
  • Expiration/Date – Expiration is used to note when the page expires, and date is the date the page was made. Are any of your pages going to expire? Just remove them if they are (but please don’t, keep updating content, even contests, make it an annual contest!). And for date, make an XML sitemap and keep it up to date, that is so much more useful!
  • Copyright - That Google article debates with me here, but look at the footer of your site. I would guess it says "Copyright 20xx" in some form. Why say it twice?
  • Abstract - This tag is sometimes used to place an abstract of the content and used mainly by educational pursuits. 
  • Distribution – The distribution value is supposedly used to control who can access the document, typically set to global. It’s inherent that if the page is open (not password protected like on an intranet) that it is for the world. Go with it, and leave the tag off the page.
  • Generator – This is used to note what program created the page. Like author, useless. 
  • Cache Control - This tag is set in hopes of controlling when and how often a page is cached in the browser. It’s best to do this in the HTTP Header
  • Resource Type – This is used to name the type of resource the page is, like "document." Save yourself time, as the DTD declaration does it for you. 

Stock Photo by Shutterstock

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How Google’s New Local SERP Affected Your Ranking

Posted by number1george

This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.

As you probably noticed, last week Google did a pretty big makeover of its local search results page, incorporating the local results directly within the organic results. In some cases it appeared that the old “7-Pack” was just given larger real estate on the SERP. In others, it just looked like the websites were just given links to their Places page. And sometimes, it just looked like an entirely new SERP, different than both the original organic rankings and the lettered, local results. But what was the real effect this change had on local search results?

How I Got My Data

Visually, the new local search results page includes information from the both website and the business’s Places page. The title and description are taken from the website but select information from the Places page is also included as well as a direct link to the Places page in Maps. Here we see an example of a search for "tanning salon seattle wa" and how the combined results are displayed.

An example of a new local SERP in Google

To find out the effects of combining the results, I grabbed the rankings of 50 somewhat random websites we’ve been tracking. As an initial criteria, I tried to use sites we’d been tracking for at least 2 months. I also eliminated sites with substantial fluctuations in their rankings within the prior few weeks since there would be no way to attribute those changes to any particular factor. Lastly, though I originally intended to use a completely random sampling, I eventually skipped over several sites that had no change since several of these were in non-competitive areas where they pretty much dominated all other websites for their searches.

After I had my sample, I did some quick research, comparing the organic rankings of several websites prior to the change to their rankings after the change. I then performed the same search in Google Maps in order to determine how their Places pages were ranking individually.

Example of Google Maps SERP

With a few exceptions, the top 7 ranked results in Maps are what were displayed in the old 7-pack for the same search. These listings were ranked independently of the organic results beneath them. By comparing their former organic ranking to their current organic ranking, I was able to see if a change could be correlated to their Places page’s ranking in Maps.

So, Was There Any Change?

Of the 50 websites examined, 30 of them had an improvement in the new, “combined” results while 6 of them dropped. In most cases, this shift in their ranking could definitely be attributed to the performance of their local listings.

The Good

First, let’s look at the ones that improved. I did eliminate 4 outliers but, for the most part, you can see a direct correlation between the sites’ improved ranking and their local ranking in Maps. Obviously, I can’t publish any actual websites or keyword searches, but the searches all used a typical local query consisting of “business/service city st”.

Local searches with a positive change

Generally, it can be said that sites performing well in both organic and local perform even better in the new consolidated SERP. In several cases you can directly see how a well-performing Google Places listing now pulls up your organic ranking.

In some instances, the combined performance of a business with both a decently ranking website and Places page was enough to push it up a rank or two in the new results. In others, it appears that a well-optimized Places page was able to significantly improve a decently performing website and increase its ranking by several spots. Basically, your local listing’s performance appears to be a significant ranking factor in the new organic results.

The Bad

Since a business’s local listing has the ability to positively affect its website’s performance organic results, let’s look at the ones that dropped in ranking to determine if there is a negative factor associated with the new SERP.

Example of searches with a negative change

First, the fact that the sample size I was able to obtain was so small already implies that a poorly performing business listing doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on a website’s performance. Looking at the original rankings, you can also see that 3 of these sites weren’t doing that great to begin with. In fact, it would probably be fair to assume that their drop was due to an already negative trend. But what about the websites that were doing well but dropped after the update?

Digging deeper into these, I soon discovered that this wasn’t really a direct result of the poorly performing business listings dragging the websites down, but rather that, due to the local results being buried so deep in Maps, Google didn’t associate a business’s Places page with their website. As a result, other websites that did have strong Places pages were ranking higher. So, while having a poorly ranked local listing didn’t penalize the website, it was a whole category of optimization that the website was lacking. Almost like having a great inbound linking strategy but no content structure.

Other Observations

While going through dozens of various local searches, there were a few things that stood out:

  • Directory listings appear to be showing up more frequently in local results, in some cases taking up the top 3 spots in results.
  • The 7-Pack, or rather one-line business listings similar to the old 7-Pack, aren’t gone entirely. Lettered results still tend to show up when Google isn’t entirely sure you’re trying to do a local search. Typically, this happens in searches for smaller cities or regions.
  • When using rank-checking tools, the one-lined, lettered listings won’t be counted – just like before. The larger results being discussed here, however, are treated just as normal organic results prior to the change, completely disregarding the letter and local information assigned to it.
  • Lastly, while I encountered plenty of websites on the first page without a Places page, I encountered very few Places page ranking on the first page without a website. Prior to the change, it was not uncommon to regularly see local listings with no associated website ranking in the 7-pack. Now it appears that, without a website, it is nearly impossible to be in the first page of Google’s general SERP for most searches.

What Does This Mean?

So what can we learn from all this? Basically, it’s just what Google said all along – everything is important. Your best bet is to have both a terrifically optimized website and an optimized, claimed Places page to associate with it.

Not only does Google seem to use a Places page as an organic ranking factor, but having one also gives you nearly twice the real estate devoted to your business in the results. Instead of just having a few words in your title tag and meta description to sell your business, you now have your address, phone number, reviews, lists of other websites that mention you, and even a picture to draw attention to your website.

Bottom line: all those old debates about whether it was better to have the top-ranking website in organic or have your business at the top of the 7-pack are over. Even if this isn’t the final layout, it’s clear that Google intends to make both count.

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7 Non-SEO Tactics That Will Make You a Better SEO – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Aaron Wheeler

 Happy Thanksgiving! In case you haven’t heard, this week Seattle underwent the most brutal snow storm in the history of mankind. To call it a snowpocalypse would be an understatement, as can be witnessed herein (it gets good so keep watching!). Unfortunately, Danny Dover was the one up to bat this week for Whiteboard Friday, but he perished in the harsh winter (he was the one that got off the bus after it careened into his stop. You can still hear the bus driver’s sentimental pronouncement, "12th and John."). Before he was frozen for all eternity, though, Danny must have filmed a Whiteboard Friday, because we found this tape in his icy grasp when we went to his home to hunt him down. We also found ham. A LOT of ham.

Embed video
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Danny’s Whiteboard

7 Non-SEO Tactics That Will Make You a Better SEO

  1. Get a whiteboard in a non-work related place
  2. Prioritize SEO tasks before starting your day
  3. Dedicate time on your calendar for researching SEO
  4. Create new e-mail accounts for each client (Bonus: Ditch the spreadsheet, use 1Password)
  5. Take the time to explain your job to others
  6. Schedule meetups with online marketers in other niches
  7. Take the time to be thankful

Video Transcription

Hello, everybody. My name is Danny Dover. I’m in charge of SEO here at SEOmoz. Today for Whiteboard Friday, it’s a very special one. If you’re in the States, today is Thanksgiving. So, happy Thanksgiving everybody. In honor of that, or at least, at least a little bit to do with it . . . at least, at least, that was the remix. I have something special for you today. I have seven tactics to make you a better SEO. Most of these things are tactics that I just learned by myself. I would mess something up a lot and I was like, "Hey, if I had this little fix or if I had this little part in my life, it would improve my ability to work as a professional." I am passing these things on to you and hopefully you find them helpful as well.

The first one is also the most relevant. I’ll explain that in just a second. Put a whiteboard in a non work-related place. Today actually it’s in Seattle and I’m snowed in. I’m stuck in my apartment. Right now, I’m in my room. You can see behind me that I have a whiteboard in my room. I’ve found this; it just came up by accident. I found a whiteboard, just randomly put it up in my room, and it has actually been a lifesaver many, many times. A lot of times I’ll be thinking about SEO when I come back home from work. I’ll have this whiteboard here and I can just doodle things out. Or if it’s for my personal life, I can do the exact same thing. I can do mind maps or I can do whatever else I need. I have found it to be extremely helpful. Really, it’s benefited me as an SEO. It’s made me better at my job, because when I get away from work and I am solving problems from a new perspective, I can just write it all down here. It’s a great way for me to transport information and preserve it. I highly recommend putting a whiteboard in a non work-related place.

Number two, prioritize SEO tasks early. I know that a lot of people, myself especially here, like to hit the ground running when you get into work on Monday morning. Figure out, go through e-mails, go through your priority list, and see what it is that you need to get done and then just go. That’s what I did for a long time. More recently, I’ve discovered that it’s really important to set aside about 20 minutes and just go through and prioritize what your jobs are. While it’s easy is to go do the quick fixes, implement a 301 here, change a title tag here, I’ve actually found it to be better off if I go through and just figure out what needs to get done that day and in what order. So specifically, prioritize your SEO tasks early in your day before you get started. I highly recommend doing that.

Number three, put research time on a calendar. I don’t need to tell any of you that SEO changes extremely quickly. It changes all the time. I’ve found it very beneficial for my job to actually block off some time on my calendar when I will have no meetings and no one can interrupt. I just sit there and I research SEO. I read what other blogs have to say. I’ll do some of my own tests that I’m running. I’ll just take the time out of my day every week to focus on SEO and research and do this every week so that I am continually learning. The key to SEO is continually learning because this industry moves extremely fast. Again, I highly recommend actually putting a block in your calendar of time to just research new things in SEO.

Number three is exactly what I just did, right. So, number three is redundant.

Number four, new e-mail per client. So, making a new e-mail address per client. This might sound a little bit obvious so I have a little bonus for you. The idea behind a new e-mail address for every client is not to accept e-mails from each client at a different e-mail address, that’d be very confusing. Instead create an e-mail address, so maybe it’s Danny, if you’re using Gmail you can use this trick where you add a plus mark in it, so, Danny, and, let’s say, client X at SEOmoz.org [Danny+X@SEOmoz.org]. What that does is it will submit the client e-mail back to my normal inbox so I’ll get it in the normal place. But then when I sign up for different services, like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools and they require an e-mail address, I’ll have it segmented by client. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful just for keeping myself sane and for keeping client’s information organized. In fact, if you can do it by creating real e-mail addresses that are all separate with different passwords, that’s the best way to do it, because from a security point of view if one of your e-mail addresses gets compromised, you don’t compromise your entire client base. I know that a lot of SEOs will just use a spreadsheet and do the e-mail address and the password on that, and that’s great except for that if that spreadsheet ever gets compromised, your entire portfolio will have a problem. If you can create different e-mail addresses for each client that’s a great way to go.

Number five, take time to explain your job. This one is something that, I think, a lot of SEOs don’t do. When someone asks you about SEO, we joke about this a lot. I’ve had lots of dinners with other SEOs where we’re like, "Yeah, no one knows what I do." We laugh about it. It’s very funny. Our parents and a lot of our friends have no idea what we do. What I’ve found is that when you actually take the time to explain what SEO is to these people, it is a new opportunity for clients. Not necessarily like your best friend or a sibling or something, but they will then explain what you do to other people. Our job is kind of interesting just because it is so niche. There’s not very many people in the world that do what we do. So by explaining that to people whenever someone has that demand, say it’s my sister Jessica, when she’s talking to some of her friends about what I do, if she ever does that, I don’t know. But if they ever have any questions about Google, they’re going to know that I’m a person in their life that they can come talk to. Through that I can get clients. This is a trick that has actually worked for me, so I highly recommend it.

Number six, schedule meals with other online marketers. This one I’ve done in the past. Just schedule meals with your other friends who happen to be online marketers and you talk about work. That’s great. That works. I highly recommend it. But a little tweak to that that I’ve found is scheduling weekly meetings with online marketers who work in different spaces. So, there are plenty of people in the industry that I respect, but I’ve got in the habit of going out for beers once a week with my friend Sam Nichols who works more in the affiliate space and PPC and areas that I don’t focus on as much. We get to talk about online marketing and just life in general. I’ve found that because he focuses on another area of online marketing, I’ve been able to help my SEO tactics. Thank you, Sam. I appreciate that. I highly recommend that you go out of your way to schedule meals, even if it’s not weekly, maybe if it is monthly, but with people who work in other sectors of online marketing. We’re all, it’s all kind of interrelated so you can learn a lot from doing that.

Last, but not least, if you’re in the States, it’s Thanksgiving yesterday I think when you’re going to be watching this. So, happy Thanksgiving to everyone. In honor of that, I want to say take time to be thankful. SEO is a very stressful job at times. We also have a lot of freedom. The fact that I’m working from home today and I get to film this 5 feet away from my bed. I didn’t even have to get out of my room today. There’s a lot of flexibility in this job, and it’s something I really appreciate. We can do it from anywhere we have the Internet. That’s a really great thing. So, hopefully you take time to be thankful for your job and thankful for other elements in your life. Being able to reflect on that, I think, is important for really establishing yourself as a growing SEO, as someone who is continuing to lean and happy with where they are.

Thank you for watching this. I appreciate your time. I will see you next week on Whiteboard Friday.

Video transcription by SpeechPad.com


Follow Danny on Twitter! Even more to your benefit, follow SEOmoz! You know what? I’d love it if you’d follow me too: Aaron Wheeler.

If you have any tips or tricks that you’ve learned along the way, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Post your comment and be heard!

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Answered: 6 Frequent Questions about Social Media Marketing

The Science of Social Media Marketing, the presentation designed by HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella, is still a front-runner for Slideshare’s World’s Best Presentation. In a recent webinar, this presentation gave rise to a number of thought-provoking questions, some of which we wanted to address here and, hopefully, help you in development of an effective social media strategy.

 

For a novice launching a Facebook page for their organization, do you have any advice on how to get people to “Like” you?

The most effective way to accumulate Facebook “Likes” is by triggering some form of positive interaction. For instance, you can do that by creating a separate Facebook tab that features a compelling offer (e.g. a free ebook, training session, consultation) and sending it to people who “Like” you. Or consider launching a contest in which a post on your Facebook page could lead to an award. (HINT: In order to post on a company wall, you will have to “like” it.)

Can social media be anti-social? Non-social? Too-social?

One can demonstrate antisocial behavior on social media in the very same way one can be antisocial on a crowded bus. This behavior would include talking about yourself or being negative in your posts and updates. It could also mean dismissing established social media etiquette or inability to maintain long-term relationships. On the bright side, we believe one can never be too social on social media.

What tools do you use in tracking specific metrics from social media networks?

There are a bunch of paid tools, such as Trendrr and Radian6, which you can use to measure engagement and track buzz around your brand. HubSpot also offers a social media monitoring platform as part of our marketing automation software. But if you are looking for a quick and easy way to evaluate your social media influence for free, try out Twitter Grader.

Should we create a landing page tab on Facebook?

Definitely create a landing page tab on your Facebook page, if you haven’t done so already. Use this piece of online real estate to call people to action the way you would on your site. Consider featuring special offers and exclusive deals on it. Make sure your Facebook page conveys a message that people want to be associated with in order to increase your reach and following.

What is the best way to engage influencers?

Start by researching your industry for the thought leaders you want to be connected with. As Dan shared during his webinar, usually a gesture as simple as showing attention to these influencers is strong enough to get the relationship going. You can do that by either addressing them directly on social networks or mentioning them in a blog post or a video. The chances are they will notice you and respond positively.

When using social networking tools, you should be personable, but not tweet about yourself. How do you reconcile the two?

If you are going to create a message that spreads, Dan noted, stop talking about yourself. Yet you shouldn’t lose your personality and stop sharing curious facts about your hobbies and passions. Revealing a newsworthy piece of data about your favorite beer or music band, for instance, is not the same as sharing that you are going to bed or brushing your teeth.

Do you have more questions about social media marketing? Post them in the comments below and let’s see if Dan can address them!

Watch the On Demand Social Media Marketing Webinar!

Watch the On Demand Social Media Marketing Webinar!

Connect with HubSpot:

HubSpot on Twitter HubSpot on Facebook HubSpot on LinkedIn HubSpot on Google Buzz 

 


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