The Value of SEO: How to Improve Rankings on Existing Content

 

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How to Optimize Existing Content

 

“The best place to hide a dead body is Page 2 of Google’s search results.” 

Arnie Kuehn, Vertical Measures

You already know the value of creating great, quality content that helps your customers. Putting out that content for free is part of your strategy to create a body of work that helps potential customers with decision making. But what do you do when that content doesn’t show up in search results and isn’t driving the traffic you’d hoped? Here’s a few tips to optimize your existing content so that it ranks better.

Avoid using the same title tag across multiple pages.

If you’re using a WordPress plug-in like Yoast SEO it will ding you for this. Why? Using different title tags for your pages helps to tell search engines what your page is about. Using the same one, or none at all, confuses the search engines and implies that the page isn’t as valuable as you k now it is.If you don’t know what a title tag is, MOZ has a great Title Tag tutorial here.

Reduce page load time by optimizing images

That beautiful header image you downloaded from your image provider, like 123rf.com, is probably slowing down your page load time if you haven’t sized it or optimized it. Page load time is more important than ever, and search engines will rank slowly loading pages lower. Resize that image outside of your website using a program like Canva or even Paint, then run it through a compressor like Compressor.io before uploading it.

Make sure your keywords are in the right places

Say you want to rank for “Content Marketing.” Make sure Content Marketing is in your title, your first paragraph, your header tags, your last paragraph and, if you’re really trying, your image alt tags and titles. Don’t stuff your keywords though. You’ll be penalized rather than rewarded. Including more than one keyword in your content is especially important these days, so use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to help get ideas. See what other keywords are suggested, then go back and optimize your content for those words as well. Hint: you don’t have to be running AdWords to use this tool.

While the keyword meta tag isn’t that useful now, it won’t hurt to include your keywords there either. It’s a good idea to include your keyword in the meta description too, but remember that meta descriptions are not a ranking mechanism, rather a valuable description of the content for the user.

Optimize content ranking on page 2 or 3 of the results page

Do a quick search on the keyword or phrase for which you want your pages to display. Then click through the search engine results until you find it. If you find your content on page 2 or 3, try using these tips on that content first to improve the ranking. Check back regularly to see how it’s doing.

Remember that traffic can also drop to a site redesign or a poor user experience in general. If you’ve recently redesigned your site, check all these things to make sure you aren’t being penalized.Overall, the search engines want to serve up quality, helpful content to their users. If your content is helpful, answers questions, especially niche questions, and is well written and thoughtful, you’ll be well on your way to meeting the same goals as the search engines.

Overall, search engines like Google want to serve up quality, helpful content to their users. If your content is helpful, answers questions, especially niche questions, and is well written, focused and thoughtful, you’ll be well on your way to meeting the same goals as the search engines.

Complaining Customers and Social Media: How to Make Them Happy Again

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Listening for and responding to customer complaints is critical for your brand’s reputation

Dealing with customer complaints as they arise is an important part of maintaining your brand’s reputation. Consumers are twice as likely to share a bad customer service experience than they are to share a positive one, according to the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer. When dealing with complaints, keep the following in mind to get the best results for both your customer and your business.

Get Past the Anger

Sometimes, the hardest part of dealing with a customer complaint is avoiding becoming defensive. The truth is, you cannot assume that because a customer is angry their complaint is invalid. Ask yourself exactly what caused the problem — did your customer service fail them, was your site’s copy unclear, or was it an infrastructural problem? Identify the exact failing that brought them to this point. Don’t dismiss a complaint because a customer may be less than articulate in expressing their frustration. Try to dig and find out why.

Track and Record

Some customers will complain repeatedly. Some are chronic complainers online while others have truthfully encountered every problem that exists with your product or service. Being able to sort through these complaints requires organization and consistency across all channels. If you’re running a small business, think about using a cloud -based call center software to keep records of customer preferences and history to provide a consistent customer service experience. If you’re a corporate social media community manager, make sure you’re able to record your customer service interactions on your corporate customer service platform. Break down those silos. In either case being able to track and sort your interactions will help you make process decisions to improve quality overall.

Take Responsibility

Nothing upsets a customer with a complaint like being told the problem is their fault or sweeping the complaint under the virtual rug. On social media it can be tempting to delete the offending comment. Don’t. Instead, go back to step one and try to find out more. When responding use language that shows you are listening and genuinely want to help.  If you know you or your company messed up, opt for language that instantly defuses frustration by accepting blame: “I am sorry our product did not meet our normal standard of quality,” or even a simple “We are sorry to disappoint you.” Then, try to take the conversation offline as soon as possible. Route them to your customer service team or have them message you an email or phone contact and continue the conversation there. Your social media audience will appreciate the transparency and your angry customer will feel heard.

Move Quickly

Automation has made our lives easier, but can also leave customers in limbo. HelpScout reports found on a Harris Interactive poll that 75 percent of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent. While this is a subjective response coming from frustrated customers, the lesson is still clear. Connect upset customers with  an actual person as soon as possible. If you’re on social media, try to respond within 30 minutes of their original post. If you’re transferring a customer via phone keep it under two minutes. Be sure they understand the next person will be better suited to helping them. There is nothing worse than waiting for an answer, especially when you are frustrated.

Customers have more avenues to complain about your products and services than ever before. Make sure you are capturing all those conversations and responding in a way that diffuses the situation and provides an agreeable solution. The best possible outcome? You’ll turn that complaining customer into a customer advocate for life.

If you have questions about how to listen for and respond to complaints on social media feel free to contact me. I’m happy to work with you to set up a reputation management plan.

You Can (and Should) Integrate Video Into Your Marketing Campaign

video marketing

Add video to your content marketing strategy

As we move into the second half of 2015, it’s no great secret that well-produced video content is among the most powerful tools for reaching your audience online. In fact, a recent survey by the video hosting company Vidyard found that 70 percent of marketers reported better performance in converting leads with video than with other types of content. Many organizations, however, still fail to effectively implement video into their marketing efforts — in fact, less than 10 percent of marketers are actually making use of video analytics to boost lead qualifications and customer insights.

Don’t be discouraged by thinking that video is too expensive and time-consuming; it doesn’t have to be. The benefits outweigh the costs when it comes to video and your overall marketing efforts. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Say More with Less

When compared with the written word, video offers a more multifaceted approach to communicating ideas and evoking emotion. Live captured video can show the expression on someone’s face and the subtly of their body language, and motion graphics can be used to highlight key details. Music and sound effects can impact the viewer’s mood and encourage them to become more receptive to the ideas presented visually. This is why studies have found that search engine results that feature a video are much more likely to be clicked on than pages without video. By simply identifying the video player on the page, viewers may become more receptive to the content they are about to digest because they recognize that it is being presented in a carefully-planned, dynamic, and engaging way.

Connect With Your Audience

One of the best ways to foster a relationship with current and potential clients is to create and distribute video content that directly addresses their needs.

One company that uses video effectively to reach their audience is Apple Rubber. Take a look at this Apple Rubber post about their use of video to showcase products and discuss company initiatives. They also successfully infuse their videos with entertainment, which encourages community building and offers more opportunities for viewer engagement.

Before you start producing your own videos, find a way to define your core audience and identify ways to connect with them. Work to create relatable, relevant content that will spark a conversation around your message and encourage a community to congregate around your brand.

Fit in Your Budget

Skip costly camera equipment and produce good-quality video within even the tightest budget by using a smartphone. Video capabilities on today’s devices can deliver a professional-looking video with a steady hand and a little planning.

Visit sites that provide a wide range of advice on piecing together a DIY video production kit without spending more than a couple hundred dollars, as well as tips and tricks for producing a video.

Although you can get higher-quality, professionally-produced videos by partnering with a professional media firm, DIY videos are the perfect way to give video a try and become acclimated to incorporating video into your overall marketing strategy.

Have you had success using video in your marketing? Share with me in the comments.

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