The Tin Shingle Blog - #SEO
When Erin Schiffman, the other half of the NYC based creative branding team Schiffman Creative, updated their Press Portfolio here at Tin Shingle with the press they landed in Time Magazine, we had to know how she got that!
It was a great press opportunity - commenting on the designs of 9 new musical releases from Justin Timberlake to David Bowie. Turns out, having an updated website with their design work, client list, and bios was what secured them the gig.
This is a beautiful example of when SEO & PR blend to create a dynamite opportunity to validate a brand, and how it happened while the business owners were sleeping (after they'd done all their hard work of course).
Here's what Erin had to say:
"Ok...so here is the story. I got an e-mail from the editor explaining the piece and asking if we would be interested in being a part of the expert panel. Of course we agreed to the interview...It is TIMEmagazine.com and it was a really fun story to be a part of!
"After we completed the interview, I asked him how he found us. He explained that he spent a lot of time researching small creative companies in NYC because he was very specific in what he was looking for. After doing a ton of research via Google he came across our site. He said that he felt that we were what he was looking for based on the work we have done and our bios. He also looked at previous companies we worked for, clients for previous and current projects, etc.
"Lesson we learned - very important to have a website, showcase work, include a thorough bio and have easily accessible contact info. I thought the whole thing was pretty crazy especially coming from a PR background. In my past life, I could have spent months and months trying to get a client a hit like this and the odds of it happening were small.
"....this was [mostly] luck and having a website that showcased our business."
Happy almost-Valentine's Day to you all! One thing we LOVE doing over here is sharing the amazing gifts people can discover for their family, friends, loved ones (and themselves) that are created by small businesses and entrepreneurs. Katie and I are not only fans of the "Buy Small Business" movement but we're active participants ourselves. Because of that we've created two ways to spread the small business Valentine's Day love - a curated gift guide blog series (starting next week) and a new marketplace category that is slowly being filled with great gift options. Read on for more details!
In the spirit of the upcoming holiday and in the spirit of supporting small biz, our marketplace has just launched a Valentine's Day Gifts category that members can populate with must-have presents from their businesses. Not only will they appear in the marketplace but they'll also be featured in banner ads and we'll socialize the heck out of them on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest! (Not a member? Join here and load up your goodies!)
Next week we'll also be sharing a Buy Small Business Valentine's Day blog series featuring amazing finds from entrepreneurs and independent businesses from around the country. From gifts for foodies and techies to straight up romantic finds, we'll have it all, and you can feel extra good because everything you buy will be sourced from a small business. I'd say shopping there means there is double the amount of good karma coming your way!
Until then, buy small and think BIG!
Entrepreneurship can be lonely. And if you're looking for 'friends' there are plenty of networks that you can join. But if you're looking to grow your business, to increase your exposure, to improve your sales, to get more press and to establish your credibility in the marketplace, then Tin Shingle has your back.
What makes 'PRENUER unique is that we were founded by real experts in the areas of business strategy, marketing, online media, public relations and SEO. We leverage our more than 30 years of collective business experience to give your brand, your company and you the edge you need as a small business owner.
We don't just send you a list of PR leads and hope for the best, we connect you with the people who are writing the stories that are going to bolster your sales. We don't just tell you that search is important, we actually work our SEO to help improve YOUR site traffic. And we don't just espose business theory, but we give you real concrete guidance and strategic tools that you can use to make an impact in your business.
It's all about real people helping real businesses.
So if your business could use a leg-up, an extra edge and some real solutions, come Tin Shingle with us.
It's a small investment for a lifetime of rewards
Shayne Spencer is the Founder and President of Think Work Media, a NYC based digital agency dedicated to helping small businesses. He started Think Work Media December 2010, after seeing how many small businesses struggled to stay afloat when competing with bigger mainstream brands. Shayne constructed Think Work Media to be a “lean, mean, thinking machine.” It is designed to help small businesses reach their target audience and maximize their return on investment using new media.
We're helping you prep for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on your website, and the most important thing is to lay the seeds early!
Sabina wrote a great blog post about how to market your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and capitalize on each sale for future sales. This post is about how to spread your message in the search engines, aka SEO. And you definitely need to start early.
According to my brain, and confirmed by Google Trends, a tool created by Google that shows how many searches occurred for a phrase throughout the year, searches for "cyber monday" and "black friday" start in October, quickly build into a spike through November, and end December 1st. That means that the searches are going on now as I type this!
As you can see from this chart from Google Trends, interest in Cyber Monday is growing. Searches for Black Friday follow a similar growth pattern:
Your goal? You want your website included in these search results. When someone types in "cyber monday", you want Google and other search engines to serve up your website in their list of recommendations. Here's how you're going to do that:
Publish a webpage or blog post about it 3 weeks out: Google and other search engines need time to "index" the content on new web pages. They've gotten very swift at doing this, and can do it in a number of days, but you want to give them time to find yours. Remember to include "cyber monday" or "black friday" (whichever sale it is) in your title, plus other special words that you are selling, like "pink earrings" or "sexy sunglasses". People get very specific when they search online, and this is your golden opportunity to deliver your gem.
Spread the wealth, post your sale on other websites: Here at Tin Shingle, we know you need multiple angles to accomplish your goal (to get more sales). That's why we encourage our members to post their sales in our Events Calendar. You will want your sale to appear on other websites as well, such as this one. Why? You want to claim as many positions in the search engines as you can - as long as they all point back to your website for the shopping to make their purchase. If you're website isn't strong enough to claim a high ranking, a larger website might be.
Go for the "long tail": What the heck is a long tail, you ask? Sounds silly, I know. It's an industry term for "really long keyword". For example: I'm focusing on the term "cyber monday". But, you're not going rank #1 in Google, or even probably on page 3 for the term "cyber monday" alone. Competition for that term is too high - there is too much history published already. Plus, you don't want to. It's too broad. You want a focused search. A search from a person desperate to find what you sell. A "long tail" keyword is a phrase that has additional words in it, like "cyber monday chocolate sales" or "cyber monday pumpease coupon".
Let's break each of these terms down:
- "cyber monday chocolate sales": this would be typed in by a person who does not know about your company, but wants to buy chocolate on sale during Cyber Monday. Cha-ching! Enter you. In this case, enter our member Simply Sweet Arrangements, who is having such a sale! If Simply Sweet Arrangements wrote a blog post about their Cyber Monday sale, with links and pictures and other SEO goodness, they may show up in the search results for this term. They also posted their sale here on Tin Shingle. A person may see that as well, and even though they are getting Tin Shingle, they are linked to Simply Sweet Arrangements to get their chocolate fix and party favor ideas. Same goes for any blogs that include Simply Sweet Arrangements in their shopping guides.
- "cyber monday pumpease coupon": This term would be typed in by a person who knows about the company that designs stylish pumping bras. They are looking for a coupon, and they're figuring Pumpease is offering one for Cyber Monday. And they are right! Pumpease also posted their sale here on Tin Shingle. That doubles their chances of coming up in search results for that term.
Now that you have your marching orders, let's go claim some Cyber Monday and Black Friday searches! Remember to use your most special, descriptive keywords to help people find you! You may have pictures on your website, but search engines and people need to read the words describing what is there!
And, if you want to get listed in our Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping guide, or any other round ups we feature, read about our special Event Listing benefit, and get yourself a ProPreneur membership today, and get these and other business tools to help your business succeed on many levels!
You're seeing your competition advertising where you can't - or don't want to - afford. You see their banner ads on Facebook, in the "Sponsored Link" area of Google searches, or even on blogs you're reading to relax! Well enjoy that blog read, because guess what: if your website is well SEOed, you may have an edge on them without spending a dime.
Here's why: people are searching for very specific things in search engines. The more specific your content and the more specific you get with it about what you're selling, the better your chances are of attracting new customers. On top of that, the more specific the search, the greater the "ah ha!" moment is for your potential customer, as they found something on your website that answers their need. This is why having good SEO can be more effective than marketing alone.
Marketing can spread your brand image. It can be visual. You can control what your customer sees. With SEO, your potential customer sees a list of search results - boring text. They are hooked by the blue link - your page title - and maybe the black text under that - your meta description tag (or, a random sentence pulled from that web page).
The key for you to get sales from SEO is going to be the clicking experience your customer must do once they click into your website from a search result. You've already naturally hooked them. Instead of them clicking on what they know is an advertisement trying to market to them, they clicked on a search result that feels more organic and natural - like you're not trying to sell something - like you just have the answer.
Once they are on your page, the path to buying what you're selling must be very, very clear. Your goal might be to get them to your Contact Us page, or to a form that produces and instant quote, or to an e-commerce page that sells your product. Whatever it is, the click process to the person getting there must feel natural to them. Your job is to keep providing the answer. Their job will be to follow your breadcrumbs.
If they aren't, if you look at your website stats in Google Analytics (hopefully you use this free services), and you see a lot of one-hit-wonders, aka, people who click the page, and click no further, you've got some brainstorming to do to improve your enticements on your web pages. Get with your website designer and SEO manager and start strategizing.
Master the click-through from search results, though, and you can sit back a bit, and keep that marketing budget on a shoestring!
Part of your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy should be how to use other websites to your advantage. You will want to approach other websites to link to your home page, as well as your interior pages. You will also, however, be a shining star on one of those websites. And it's those websites that may out rank your website for a specific term. If that's going to happen, you want to be sure you write your content in a way that will make your potential customer want to click on a link pointing to your website (hopefully there is one from the website that is ranking for you), and buy what you are selling.
We designed Tin Shingle to do just that for our small business #propreneur members. In addition to the editorial we create that in some cases features them, members are also able to create their own features on our website, literally, whenver they want. We've given our small business owners some SEO power, and many of them are using it to attract new clients and customers. Here is how they are doing it.
Google blogged about tax season as told in search. This means that the people analyzing all search results for social implication over at Google narrowed their focus down to just searches done around the term "tax", found all related searches, and noticed a trend, as they do every year. As the months inch close to tax season, the keyword searches that people conduct change and follow trends. For example, as we get closer to April 15, searches for tax filing extension increased. In January and February, when W2s are normally sent out, searches for W2 forms increased.
What does this mean for your website? This is especially important if you have a blog that coincides with your website or business. Not only can you be thinking of possible keywords for your industry, but you can be mindful of current events right now, and how those fit into what you write about. This approach to SEO falls into the creative writing approach we've talked about before. Search engines such as Google have gotten very fast at indexing new content on the web. A blog post you wrote this morning may show up later today or tomorrow in search engine results, thus improving your SEO quickly.
Think about current events as you are brainstorming content. What TV shows are on? On which celebrity or model did you see your product on, in which magazine and issue? What legal guidelines have just been passed and how does that effect your industry (especially good for financial planners, accounting, etc.)? Chances are you will write about these things anyway because they inspire you to action. Be the first to write about it, and you may earn high rankings because bigger websites haven't caught up yet. So take those few days of spiked traffic!
For example: when the Feist song came out for the Apple iPod commercial, I didn't know who the singer was. I did a search in Google, and found slim pickings. I wrote a blog post to identify the artist, using the search terms that I myself used when trying to find the artist's name. Note: I didn't know her name, so having that in the title wasn't as important for SEO because people weren't searching for Feist, they were searching for "1234 song" or "song in iPod nano commercial". Only later did I add the artists name into the title, as a way to grab clicks from the sea of search results. I was one of the few to write a blog post in this manner, and my traffic shot up for about 3 days, before the big boys like Yahoo's writers caught on. Plus, the searches were short lived, as more and more people learned Feist's name and the commercial stopped running. But, it was enough time to increase my earnings from my Amazon Affiliate program, as well as Google Ads.
Think about it! Timely search for SEO is very important. If you need brainstorming, we're here to help.
As you plan your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, factor in the importance of copywriting and how your page titles will be written. The page titles are the blue underlined links that you see in search results at Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. They are what people read (or skim over in the blink of an eye) when evaluating which link in the search result that they want to click on.
If you've done your keyword research, you will have an idea of which keywords to target. That's the first step. The next step is looking at your website stats and in live search results to see how your website is ranking. If your website is ranking well for a specific term, but your traffic for that term is low, then you could have a problem with how your page title was written. Not a technical problem, but a creative copywriting problem.
Here is a breakdown of how to approach your page titles to increase your website traffic for a specific term. Even if you're hired an SEO team to do this work for you, you'll need to be aware of this angle as they try and build your traffic. If you've left your SEO work to the technical person who built your website, and they told you in an off-the-cuff way that they SEOed your website, then you really better read this article.
Yup, time for some creative writing with a fresh cup of coffee! And visit our Workshops schedule to see if we have any Private SEO Blitz Sessions available.
So you're paying a web person to do SEO for you. Great! What are they doing? How are you checking their work? If they provided you with a report that says where they filled in keywords, that may be satisfactory to you, encouraging you to sit back and wait for Google and other search engines to start flinging traffic your way.
Bad idea. Here's why:
First of all, SEO (search engine optimization) is an ongoing process. Your competitors are constantly at your heals with new pages and better SEO methods. Checking your current SEO results usually inspires new and better ideas of how to better optimize your website. Which leads us to the #1 component to think about when doing or paying for SEO writing to be done to your website: the targeted keywords.
The targeted keywords that are used in your website content are just as, if not more-so, important than where they are placed in your website. Technically, your SEO person may know where to place the keywords, but what keywords is he or she using? Most likely they got guidance from you, as you know your industry. But did they take it to the next level? Are you having them provide you with ongoing reports of what position your website is for specific keywords, or are you at least tracking this yourself?
THE BEST SEO IMPLEMENTERS ARE COPYWRITERS
SEO implementers are (usually) not programmers. They are (usually) not designers. Writing copy for search engines is a very precise activity. It involves creative writing that is calculated writing, and clever placement of that copy in sweet spots. Not only does your SEO expert need to help you write your website copy for specific pages, but they need to help you brainstorm what types of words your potential customers are searching. How?
- Use www.keyworddiscovery.com to find related words that people are actually searching for
- Use what you know - your own site stats
GO LOCAL - REALLY LOCAL
The beauty of today's technology is that it's getting easier to find answers at our fingertips, whether we're on the road or at our desk. If we are on the road browsing search engines to find a local fabric store or ice cream parlor, local search is vital to increasing traffic to your website and physical location. And relevant traffic at that - traffic that may be a higher conversion (paying customer). How?
- Include your zip code in the page title (and city and state of course)
- Make sure this is on every one of your pages
Submit your website to Google Local
OPTIMIZING FOR YOUR NAME IS NOT ENOUGH
Optimizing your website for your name is very important, but is not enough. That assumes that your potential customers know who you are, or are doing a bit of Googling to check you out first before working with you - to make sure you're legit. You want to focus on the factors surrounding your business, like your location, industry questions (a blog is great for creating content around industry questions), etc.
CHECK THE WORK
Most importantly, check the work of your SEO writer. To do this, log into your website site stats and look at the report for Keywords. Run a comparative look from the most recent period to 30 days prior and see if anything changed. Or wait 60 or 90 days and check again. The number of searches from keywords should have gone up. If they did not, you should have your SEO expert investigate why and make further tweaks by doing further research. Or, even easier is to do a search in Google or another search engine. If you don't come up for "hair salon 12508", then there is most likely some work that could be done to get your website on the radar for that term. But remember - for that term. SEO is all about ranking for different keyword combinations, not just your company name (especially if no one knows about your company yet, or your trying to increase your client base).
Good SEO work involves a budget, so that ongoing checks, tweaks and research like this can be done over time, but if done correctly, can play a big roll in increasing relevant traffic to, and potential sales from your website.
We hold SEO Blitz Sessions from time to time, which is a private session with you at your desk (via GoToMeeting) analyzing your website for missed SEO and usability opportunities. Sometimes, these are available for free to Tin Shingle members (learn about this and other benefits). Check our workshops schedule to see when the next SEO Blitz Session is.
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