How to Optimize Your Youtube Channel

YouTube LogoAre you using your YouTube channel to its fullest?

If your organization is anything like mine, you probably use YouTube to host your videos and embed them on your website. It’s a good strategy and makes for very easy hosting capabilities. But are you taking the time to optimize them so they can also be found outside your website?

YouTube alone has over a billion users worldwide. And every day, people spend hundreds of millions of hours watching videos. If you’re not optimizing for them, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Continue reading “How to Optimize Your Youtube Channel”

Using Google’s Local Business Center to promote your business online

One of my retail clients recently had a customer come in to her Massachusetts consignment shop and redeem a Google coupon that we created for her business! First off, the fact that a customer printed, cut and redeemed a paper coupon is a miracle in itself but also this customer found the coupon in the Google business listing while searching for one of our targeted keyword terms and that just tickles me pink.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about you should probably read on.

Like most businesses these days, my client has a limited marketing budget and wanted to spend all her resources online (smart woman!). And there is so much you can do online that is absolutely free. Yup, that’s what I said folks, FREE. Aside from social media, which is a whole different blog post (if not book), there is a ton of marketing you can do online that doesn’t cost a dime.

But where to start you ask? Google, of course.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to list your business in the Google Local Business Center. Aside from the possibility to show up at the top of the fold on some pretty competitive keyword terms, you have the opportunity to further promote your business with coupons,  photos, videos and product reviews. And all for the low, low price of…wait for it…nothing!

Once you have listed your site in the local business center you can enhance your listing with photos, videos and coupons. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Create a coupon to get people into your store
  • Link to the coupon from your site or other sites, blogs, etc.
  • Retrieve data on how many people viewed your listing and took action (# of impressions, # of actions, top search terms, where driving directions queries come from)
  • Upload up to 10 photos
  • Upload videos
  • Include store hours and contact info
  • Utilize tags (words that people might use to find your business)
  • Display customer reviews

Here’s what it looks like from a visitors point of view:

If you have not yet listed your business in Google’s business listings. Stop reading this now and go do it.

For tips to creating a great listing visit Google’s business center support page

Just remember all listings are ranked on relevance to the search terms entered so, as always, make sure you write relevant content pertaining to your business.

This is just one of the many free opportunities out there to further promote your business online.  It’s just a matter of getting creative and utilizing all the tools out there effectively.

Good luck.

Get listed locally in the search engines

If you haven’t yet listed your site with all the search engines, you could be missing key placement in the local search results. An easy way to find out if your site is listed in the major search engines is to use the Get Listed tool and type in your business name and zip code. The tool will come up with a score and let you know which search engines you have listed in. Here are the major players and where you should get listed:

Going overboard on SEO

I recently had a client who decided to add pages to their web site to achieve higher organic rankings in the search engines. Although this can sometimes be a useful strategy, it is not always the best approach.

This particular client was trying to rank for a certain geographic keyword and created a page targeting a specific area. The problem was, the page was  designed to attract the search engines and not the visitor. The page was filled with links and the information was already stated throughout their website and offered no unique content or new information for the visitor. This is what you call doorway pages, pages whose only goal is to lead the visitor to another page. They are not very relevant and are not very useful. These doorway pages (sometimes considered Black Hat SEO) can actually hurt your rankings.

So how do you increase your rankings then?

Google measures over 200 signals on your website to determine where your site belongs in the search engines. So it’s not surprising that it can be a difficult task to rank high. Especially if you’re trying to rank for a popular keyword. Unless you are an SEO expert and live, eat, and breath this stuff I suggest you just remember the following rule: The content on your website should first and foremost appeal to your audience.

A good foundation for any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy begins with website content. You must remember that your content must appeal to your audience first, as this is the best SEO tool you have. You want them to visit often, stay for a while, link to your site and share it friends. The search engines will do the rest.

Here is basic outline of what your SEO strategy should look like long before you start creating extra pages:

  • Develop a targeted keyword list – there are various tools out there to help you and most of them are free including Google’s Adwords tool.
  • Develop keyword rich website content – once you have your list of keywords, incorporate them into your content.
  • Create keyword rich meta data (keywords, description, title tags)
  • Link to other relevant pages in your site
  • Build a linking strategy with incoming links from relevant sources
  • Utilize social media to help build your brand

Though these strategies take time and effort, if done correctly, they can significantly increase your organic rankings, your website traffic, your leads and your conversions. Which is really why your here right?

So the next time you’re struggling because your site isn’t placing on the first page of Google. Go back to this list and figure out if you can tweek anything. And remember it takes time. No one knows when the search engines will index your site so be patient.

Good luck!

Google changing the rhythm, algorithm that is.

Just when you thought you had it down, Google goes and changes their algorithm. If you haven’t yet heard (and I hope you have since this is my second posting on the subject), Google has been behind the scenes modifying their search algorithm to incorporate user behavior. Which means users results will be measured by the users behavior, location and past searches. This is smart from so many angles yet it changes the game significantly for marketers.

I can’t stress enough that first and foremost content is king. I’m not just saying that because I happen to be a content writer. I’m saying it because now more than ever, big brother Google is watching and counting every time someone clicks through to your site from a served up query. So not only must you have great content on your website, but you must also have good content in your page elements. These are what will entice visitors to click through when your site shows up in their search query.

A higher click through rate (CTR) shows Google your site has relevancy. What does this mean for a marketer? That your description tags (the content that shows up in the tid-bit of info in a search query) and title tags should be enticing and relevant to that particular search term so that people actually click through to your site from their search query.

Once they have clicked through, you’ll want them to stay (obviously). It is important to monitor your bounce rate and how much time people spend on your site, as the amount of time a visitor stays on your site is becoming more and more important. Here’s an example. Say a visitor uses the search term “snowboarding in Vermont.” The search engine offers up a particular mountain resort that offers snowboarding and happens to be in Vermont. The user clicks on the link and spends 3-5 minutes on the mountain’s site. This will tell Google that the site is relevant and is more likely to show up again when someone with the same “behavior” clicks on the same search term.

As the search engines keep refining their algorithms they offer a more targeted result to users search queries. This gives us marketers an opportunity to really hone in on our target market and create web content and advertising copy that speaks directly to them. If we do this well, the web crawlers will crawl and visitors will visit and hopefully we all prosper and succeed.

The .com versus .biz debate

While trying to come up with a business name, last week I posed the question whether a URL with .biz was as professional as one with .com, from a SEO standpoint as well as a consumer perspective. I asked the question in various Internet marketing forums on LinkedIn and also asked my readers to take a poll on my blog. The majority of responses I got were directing me towards a URL ending in .com.

Though .biz implies that you are a business and is considered a top-level domain (according to the List of Top-Level domains on Wikipedia), it has been suggested that .biz is usually recognized as a new venture whereas, a .com name suggests an established presence.

When considering a business name and URL, you should always take into consideration who your audience is. The name should be short, easy to remember and describes what you do. Chances are most people are going to assume that a company’s URL ends in .com and that’s what they will search on. And because our browsers have become pretty intuitive, in some browsers you only need to enter the name of the business and the browser auto-completes it with .com.

In conclusion, though it is possible to have a successful business with a URL ending in .biz, I decided to change the name of my business slightly so that it ends in .com in hopes that it will be easier for my customers to remember.

Performing ongoing SEO

Each morning as I drink my coffee, I go through the 4-5 eNewsletters I get in my inbox. I wanted to share an article from one I got this morning as it directly relates to yesterday’s blog entry. It’s called There’s No Secret Recipe to SEO. The article is pretty much a guideline to get you started on your SEO strategy (very similar to what I wrote about yesterday) but digs a little deeper into link building, social media marketing and reporting which is so important in your SEO campaign.

Though I didn’t go into much detail on these tools yesterday, I plan to in the coming weeks as I too will be setting up some social media marketing and linking strategies and will share with you my experience as I go.