Monday, December 27, 2010

Enhance Your LinkedIn Company Profile With Simple Steps

As people continue to join social media websites, marketers recognize the importance of attracting and retaining those users. One of the challenges facing companies today is how to enhance their LinkedIn company profiles.

LinkedIn has grown from a startup company to over 33 million members in the United States and over 80 million registered users worldwide. The recent economic downturn has also boosted the amount of individuals and companies that have turned to LinkedIn for networking opportunities. LinkedIn company profiles now provide a wide variety of tools to help your organization improve business networking opportunities.

Here are a few tools and tips on how to enhance your LinkedIn company profile

  • Build a Business Profile - Setting up a business profile is relatively easy, you start by setting up your personal profile.As a registered user you now have the option of creating your company profile. A LinkedIn company profile can help foster a network to support your company's exposure online.

    LinkedIn developed company profiles initially to help boost the exposure of businesses looking to promote and recruit candidates. Initially, company profiles were designed as a way to receive an information stream from the company - today they provide a number of new and more powerful features.

    Users also have the ability to browse your online statistics, such as employee job functions, educational degrees and years of experience.Another practical advantage of a company profile is that it will ultimately show up in your company's organic search engine results. Users will be directed to a company profile page and can follow your company if they too are registered LinkedIn users.
  • Engage Users with Thought Leadership -As an expert in your field, you probably spend a good amount of time engaging friends, prospects, and colleagues in conversation. Take that conversation online by providing relevant, up-to-date information using LinkedIn Groups.

    LinkedIn Groups cover many topics with millions of members sharing stories or asking and answering questions. LinkedIn Groups are organized by specific topics and geographical areas and self moderated by members. In order to join a LinkedIn Group you must request access or be approved by the forum moderator. Forums give professionals the ability to interconnect on topics and provide focused networking opportunities.

    Participating within a group is as easy as sharing a news story or responding to questions or authoring original content to share. Your involvement gives users a better understanding of your expertise in a particular area. The result is an ability to help members and expand your professional following.
  • Connect with Existing Users - Once you have a business profile completed, get found on LinkedIn by mining your existing connections and adding new members to your profile. One of the most effective tools is the free LinkedIn Outlook Toolbar which scans your Outlook files and imports your contacts automatically.

    The software easily installs into your Outlook email client and automatically scans your inboxes and folders for possible LinkedIn connections. After it completes running its search it gives you the option to connect with those users. The toolbar is free and is available on LinkedIn's website. Another easy way to promote your involvement is to enable the Twitter connection within your individual profile. (Currently company profiles don't have ability to assign a company Twitter account)

    You can tweet your company profile from your individual profile to help build awareness and attract your Twitter followers.
  • Promote your Company's Services - One of the newest features in LinkedIn's company profiles is Services. The Services tab allows businesses to promote products or services by completing a questionnaire for each item with the option of uploading a corresponding image. Users within your network can also recommend and share your services with others.

    In addition to free profiles, LinkedIn also offers DirectAds, paid advertising that is displayed on the LinkedIn website as rectangular advertisements or text link advertisements. Similar to search engine pay-per-click advertising, you select the word or phrase you want your ad to correspond to and your budget for each word or campaign.
  • Market Your Involvement - Market your involvement on LinkedIn by including links, logos, and commentary to highlight your company's activity. A visitor browsing your website may not be interested in filling out a contact form, but a well-placed LinkedIn logo may give that visitor a more appealing way to follow your company.

    In addition to offering the company's badges, consider incorporating your company's recent job openings to take advantage of the sites job seekers. Adding a job position isn't free but if you're looking to attract high quality candidates, LinkedIn offers a number of tools to help target your prospects in real-time.

Getting a good LinkedIn company profile is essential for anyone who desires to have a successful social media strategy. Hence, it is important to take advantage of all the best tools available.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bounce Rate: What you Need To Know About High and Low Bounce Rates

What is a Bounce rate?
According to Google's Analytics help pages, a bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.

When is Bounce Rate a Relevant Metric?

  • If you have a sales or conversion process which requires the user to follow through multiple pages on your site.
  • If exploration of your site is important to your goals.
  • If you are trying to turn new visitors into loyal readers or customers.
  • If yours is a retail site and you want people to shop around and make purchases.
  • If your homepage is not inducing further clicks, particularly if it contains blog excerpts or other 'teaser' content.

What a Low Bounce Rate Mean:

A low bounce rate is often cited as a hallmark of a good website - 40% or lower is typically heralded as the goal - signaling that visitors are engaged with your site and finding useful content. A high bounce rate is often assumed to mean that your site is not doing its job. In reality, bounce rate means different things for different sites and the emphasis you place on it will vary according to the type of site you have and its goals.

What a High Bounce Rate Mean:

  1. Keywords and content are mismatched - In cases where visitors are coming from search engines, a high bounce rate may mean that the keywords they used and the content they found on your site are not aligned - so your site doesn't meet their expectations in some way.

    What you can do:

    Analyze your keyword traffic and make sure your pages are optimized for the keywords you want and that the content is closely aligned with keywords and not misleading in any way.
  2. The next step in your conversion or goal process is not obvious or easy enough.

    What you can do:
    Look at your landing pages with an objective eye and make the next step clear and easy to take.
  3. The navigation on your site is confusing or unclear, making additional content hard to find.

    What you can do:

    Re-evaluate the navigation and see if there are ways to streamline or simplify. Also double-check for browser compatibility - perhaps the page is not displaying correctly under some conditions.
  4. Your offer or product is not presented in a compelling or easy to understand way.

    What you can do:

    Look at your sales copy or offér details and see if you can refresh it or make it more appealing. You could try split-testing different versions to see which performs better.
  5. Your site has technical problems. Particularly if your bounce rate suddenly spikes or displays an unusual trend, it could be an indication of technical issues - broken images or links, or something on the page not loading correctly.

    What you can do:

    Check for compatibility and broken links. Test the load speed of the page and generally make sure your code is as clean and functional as possible. Check for server outages and other issues that could have temporarily affected the functionality of your site.

A high bounce rate might not be a problem if:

  • You have a blog homepage containing all your recent posts in their entirety - Blogger blogs are notorious for this. When all your posts are presented up front there would be little reason for someone to clíck to any other pages.
  • You have a loyal blog following and your site has a higher proportion of returning visitors than new visitors. Your followers and subscribers may just want to read the newest post and have no need to visit other pages.
  • you are promoting a landing page which contains the call to action within it, such as submitting an email address. That single page can do its job effectively without requiring further clicks.
  • the call to action or conversion takes your visitor off-site - to an external shopping cart or email sign up for example. This would look like a bounce, but can still be a conversion.
  • Blogs typically have higher bounce rates compared to other types of sites so the same benchmarks do not apply.

Bounce Rate is Not the Only Metric.

Don't look at bounce rate in isolation - look at the overall picture of your website and how it's performing according to the metrics that matter to you. What DO you want your visitors to do at your site? Are you making it easy for them to do that, and are you measuring it?

Look for trends and other data that give you a fuller picture of what the bounce rate really means:

  1. Is the bounce rate higher or lower for certain keywords?
  2. Does it vary according to how people found your site? Search engines vs. social media, for example.
  3. How does it vary with New vs. Returning visitors?
  4. Which particular pages or types of content on your site have higher or lower bounce rates?
  5. Look also at length of time the visitor spends on the page which could indicate whether or not they are reading what they find - this is very important for a blog.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Building Valuable Backlinks

Search engine optimization mainly includes on-page and off- page optimization. Building valuable backlinks is a part of off page optimization strategy. High quality backlinks have the potential to increase a websites ranking in the SERPs.

Backlinks are considered valuable when they:

  • are do follow
  • contain the appropriate anchor text,
  • are deep linked to the relevant inner pages,
  • are linked from high PR niche websites

How to Build Valuable Backlinks:

  1. Perform A Competitive Analysis - Competitive analysis allows you to scrutinize the competitors' backlinks and their link profiles. Run a Google search for your target keyword and list the top 20 competitors. Capitalize on the Yahoo! Search Explorer tool to determine the backlinks for each of the top competing websites. Use an Excel spreadsheet to make a list of all the backlinks providing websites. The next step is to shortlist the do follow websites from the list. Arrange them in the descending order of their PR. At the end of this procedure, you will have a list of highly valuable do follow websites to link from.
  2. Submit URLs to Search Directories - Search directories are of two types: general and niche directories. Backlinks from niche directories are normally considered more valuable than the backlinks from general directories. Most of the search directories take months to process your linking request. There are some directories which link back within a few days. Websites which build a high number of backlinks in a few days are looked upon suspiciously by Google. The best way to build backlinks is over a period of time to avoid getting tagged as a link spammer. Submittíng a website's URL to directories is a time consuming task but provides great results at the end.
  3. Submit Articles to Article Directories - Submitting articles to article directories is a very popular approach to link building. Most of the article directories allow you to include a link in the article. You can also add a link to the author description of the article with appropriate anchor text. Article directories are known to rank well in the search engine ranking pages. An added benefit of submittíng to article directories is the traffic it drives to your website. There are a large number of high quality article directories which accept free article submission. Simply sign up, verify your account and start submitting articles.
  4. Post in Forums - Forums initially served as a means of conversing and solving queries. Today forums are also used to obtain valuable backlinks to your website. A majority of forums allow a signature link at the bottom of every post. This signature link is a do-follow link. You can select the desired anchor text and link to any important inner page of your website. There are a few forums which allow you to enter more than one signature link. Just remember to participate in the conversation, ask questions and answer those of others.
  5. Create Link Bait - Link bait involves creating compelling content on the website which makes others link to it. You should write frequently and consistently to develop a following. Keep tab on the latest happenings and news in your niche; be among the first few to break the news online. To create that perfect link bait, your articles should contain news, updates, a controversial topic or even some great resources. Keep the information quotient of your articles high and watch the link baits pouring in.

If you want other websites and blogs to link to you, double check who you are linking too. Don't be in a rush to get backlinks. A handful of good quality and authoritative backlinks are worth more than a hundred low quality, low PR backlinks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Things You Need To Know When Looking For SEO Services

SEO Services being offered on the internet today are overwhelming. But the question is, do most  of these "SEO companies" deliver results? 

Dependable SEO services are rare to find nowadays since everybody seems to be to getting into online business marketing. More and more websites are competing to get into the top 10 in terms of search engine ranking. With this scenario in mind, companies and small businesses should be very careful in their search for SEO companies with competent SEO services.

So, before you dole out your hard-earned dollars to get those SEO packages, read below for the things you should know when looking for SEO Services from SEO Companies:

1) Always ask for a case study. An SEO specialist should definitely present you with a case study containing a thorough evaluation of your business' strengths and weaknesses, as well as an overview of your competitors' marketing strategies. This gives you a jump start on what your company lacks in comparison to others. This could be very helpful before you hire SEO services.
2) Review an SEO company's web design and development and content management system. Ask for copies of their client's web pages or check out how their client's websites look like in the Internet. This will give you an idea of the kind of output that you are most likely to be getting from a prospective SEO firm.
3) Collect and collect, then select. It may be a bit time-consuming, but any wise spender knows that canvassing and comparing notes rather than hiring the SEO services of the first SEO company that comes your way eventually leads to money well spent.
4) Don't forget to inquire about SEO strategy and planning services. Find out as much as you can how an SEO consultant creates a marketing plan, more importantly for businesses that are similar to yours. Some SEO services firms are adept at formulating SEO keywords while others are more inclined to churning out award-winning web designs. Others have a knack for link-building strategies and there are SEO companies that offer social media marketing packages.
5) Ask several companies that offer SEO services to present you with a variety of search engine optimization services. Most SEO firms can offer different rates and SEO strategies can work depending on the client's budget and preferences. Also, ask for a detailed rate card that includes separate pricing for say, SEO audit, web design, web copywriting services, content management system, and web design and development. This way, you will get an idea of how much you should be paying for each kind of SEO services you are getting.
6) Ask for referrals. With a bit of effort and time, you can check out top 10 SEO companies and see if you can afford them. If not, the next best thing to do is ask SEO firms to provide you with a list of their existing clients so you can inquire about the quality of work from the people that have enlisted their SEO services.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reverse SEO – Restoring Online Reputations

Restoring Online Reputations through Reverse SEO

Reverse SEO fits seamlessly within the context of your online reputation management (ORM) program. It is the quickest, most effective solution for dealing with bad press that has surfaced on the search engines about you or your company. By pushing negative listings from the front page of Google, Yahoo, and Bing, reverse SEO shields you from the damaging commentary of others.

Negative publicity online has become one of the most frustrating challenges for companies. It is typically anonymous. Names are often unattached to forum threads, blog posts, and even entire websites. Therefore, it is difficult to track and address the source of the complaint. Moreover, the growing popularity of social networking platforms has made it easier than ever for anyone with a mild grievance to give weight to their grudge. If you or your company have been the target of bad press online, it may be time to launch a reverse
SEO campaign.

Controlling Bad Publicity With Reverse Search Engine Optimization

To appreciate why reverse SEO is effective, you should understand how negative press takes root within the top search listings in the first place. Google, Yahoo, and Bing rank pages based on a large number of criteria. If a website and its individual pages satisfy the most important of those criteria, those pages will rank well.

A lot of the bad press that targets companies (possibly even yours) is placed on websites that meet key ranking parameters in the search algorithms. That means the negative publicity can climb into the top positions and gain exposure. When people search for you or your company, they'll see the bad press. That damages your reputation.

Reverse search engine optimization is an ORM strategy that pushes negative publicity from the top search positions. By moving the bad press off the first page of listings, reverse SEO limits its exposure and stifles its impact.

Ingredients For An Effective Reverse SEO Campaign

Like search engine marketing, reverse SEO uses a methodical, multi-pronged approach to protect your online reputation. The first step is to identify the sites and pages that contain negative publicity about your company and that are ranking for important keywords. Those keywords might include your name, that of your company, or key employees.

The second step of reverse SEO is to analyze those sites and pages for their respective ranking authority. That will help you determine the effort and tools you'll need to use in order to move them from the first page of listings within Google, Yahoo, and Bing. A negative PR blitz that is spreading across social networking sites is more difficult to overcome than a single blog post that is on a non-authoritative domain.

The third step is to gather the necessary tools and execute your reverse SEO campaign. Such tools might include optimized press releases, a new network of competing sites and blogs, social media profiles, and a social bookmarking program. Reverse SEO may also include heavy content syndication to build high-quality links. A search engine marketing specialist will have these tools at their disposal.

Reverse SEO Begins Before Negative Press Emerges

The best time to launch a reverse SEO campaign is before bad publicity appears in the search engines. This is due to the way that the pages link. A page will rank well within the search engines if there are enough thematic links pointing toward it. However, once it ranks, it will gain exposure. That exacerbates the problem.

Negative press can spread rapidly as people attach the press to their own blogs, sites, forums, and social media accounts. That creates a growing portfolio of links pointing toward the damaging press, cementing its position in the top listings. It becomes more difficult to address. By launching a reverse SEO campaign upfront, you can prevent the negative publicity from gaining exposure in the first place.

Protect Your Online Reputation With Reverse SEO

Reverse SEO should play a key role in your online reputation management program. It is far too easy for unsatisfied customers, resentful employees, lazy journalists, and malicious competitors to tarnish your name. And when it happens, it is usually done under the cover of anonymity. Anonymity makes the complaint or grievance impossible to address in private.

Launch your reverse SEO campaign now - before trouble strikes and the damage begins to gain momentum in the search engines. In a year's time, you'll be glad you did.

Need Help? An SEO company might be able to help you.