Monthly Archives: November 2011

Five Tips For Getting Quality Links

For those of us in small business, one of the main concerns when putting up a web or blog site is, of course, getting found. While writing good quality content is extremely important when trying to get found, link building is one of the most effective ways to get noticed by Google.  But what are links, why do we need them and how do we get them?

Basically, a link is clickable text that you can follow to another page.  Think about how you found this (totally awesome and wickedly interesting) blog page. You followed a link from somewhere.  Perhaps it was from Facebook, Twitter or a search.  But you clicked and followed the link here.  The official name of the link is a backlink because it’s a clickable text that point the reader back to your article, website or blog post. The more links that lead back to your site the better because Google considers each backlink like a vote for your site.  The more votes, the more popular you will be and the easier you will be to find.

It’s important to understand that quality over quantity counts (although quantity is good too.) Google always ranks pages with links coming from high PageRank pages, with content related to yours, as more important and relevant than those with lower ranking and seemingly unrelated content.  So linking to high PageRack sites in our niche is more important than simply getting links from unrelated sources. So how do we, as small business owners, develop an effective link-building strategy? While a good link building strategy always starts with great content and it does take some work, it’s not really that difficult to get going.

  1. Social Bookmarking Sites: Social Bookmarking sites are a great way to generating quality links for your website. If you write an exceptional piece of content that has a great headline or title that draws people in, people are more likely to share it on the various social bookmarking websites such as Digg, Stumble upon or Delicious. And while it is less favourable to submit your own content to these sites, if the content is good, with effective headlines and descriptions, you can get a lot of traffic from these sites.
  2. Guest posting: Social media is all about building relationships.  One benefit of building solid relationships with those in your niche is the ability to guest post.  This allows you to not only raise your profile but it also allows for links back to your own site. As always, creating first-rate original content with your audience in mind will help to open doors for you, but getting to know those in your niche works wonders too.
  3. Linking Out: It sounds counter-intuitive but linking out to attract links can be a good strategy.  If you are know the most popular bloggers in your domain (and you should), getting involved in conversations on these blogs is a great way of making sure that you get noticed. Link out to these blogs from your site and take an active part in the discussion on their blogs. Most people track their blogs on regular basis and if they find your comments interesting, they may provide back links for your website too. The key point to remember here is that your interactions need to be genuine as you want to gain the trust of the bloggers and, as always, building relationships helps with building links.
  4. Commenting: Commenting has always been a good way to build backlinks to your website.  When you comment, you leave your name and link to your blog or site.  Commenting, however, should be of mutual benefit, with the blog owner benefitting from a quality, well-thought out comment.  By commenting, you can get some recognition and a link.
  5. Article Directory submission: Submitting articles to article directories is also a good way of generating links for your website. These article directories provide direct links to your website and can divert a significant traffic to your website. To really get the maximum benefit, however, it is important to submit high quality original content as Google discounts duplicate content, Directories, such as Ezine articles, are excellent for creating exposure to your site.

Building links is at the heart of any good SEO strategy. And while an SEO strategy always starts with good, high-quality content, with a solid link-building strategy you can go far in raising the findability of your site.

What are your favorite link-building strategies?

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20 Twitter Tools To Simply Your Life

As a small business owner, I definitely realize how powerful Twitter can be for my business. It helps me to create and maintain relationships with those both in my niche and outside it. It helps me forge strong connections, engage with my audience and is a bridge to help me get the word out about what I do and how I can help others. That being said, I realize how much of a time suck Twitter can be.  It’s easy to allot 15 minutes or so a day to Twitter and then (40 minutes later) realize you’ve gone over your time allotment.  Way over.  I find that using Twitter tools and Apps for business can help keep my Twitter usage under control.

I know that most small business owners are familiar with the likes of Hootsuite, SocialOomph, Tweetdeck and Buffer but I have recently found some other Twitter tools and apps that have made my life much easier and I wanted to share them with you.  So here is my list of 20 Twitter tools that will definitely help you use Twitter efficiently and effectively:

  1. Twhirl: Similar to Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, Twhirl allows you to post updates, follow friends and search for specific tweets. You can also tweet, reply and retweet messages.
  2. Monitter: A real time twitter search tool that enables you to monitor a set of keywords on twitter. It also allows you to narrow your search to a particular geographic location so you can see what’s going on in particular areas of the world.
  3. TwtQpon: A tool that allows you to create and share exclusive coupons to your Twitter followers.
  4. Twitpic: Twitpic lets you share photos or videos from your phone, from your computer or through e-mail and tweet them through your Twitter account.
  5. TweetMeme: Useful for tracking popular links as well as recent news from a variety of categories on Twitter. Has the Retweet button to publish on your blog or website.
  6. Twtvite: Allows you to invite people to an event and keep track of responses to your invitations.
  7. WeFollow: With WeFollow, you can find Twitter users based on interests and you can list yourself using keywords and categories in your niche and may interest your audience.
  8. WhoUnfollowedMe: With a few simple clicks, you can find out who unfollowed you and see who isn’t following back.
  9. Twellow: A search directory of people listed by area of expertise, profession and geographic location. You can create your own listing on Twellow, similar to the yellow pages.
  10.  Smartr: It pulls news from your Twitter feed and displays it in a much easier way to consume.  It also filters out spam so you are presented with top news only.
  11. Twylah: Similar to Smartr, this app turns your Tweets into a Brand page filled with categories and rich media display. It makes it easy for your followers to understand what you are tweeting about and whether you are a good fit to follow.
  12. WhoTweetedMe: WhoTweetedMe will analyze your URL and show you how many retweets the post got, at what time and the reach of the tweet. You can also get a list of the top 20 people tweeting your post and you are able to thank them with one click.
  13. Timely: Analyzes your tweets to determine the best times for you to tweet, based solely on your own data.  Similar to Buffer, it provides statistics about click through rates and retweets and has a bookmarklet that makes it easy to schedule tweets.
  14. Twimbow: It allows you to add color to your stream to separate what you are seeing much easier. You can color code @replies, mentions retweets etc. Twimbow also allows features to help you connect with others in the Twimbow community.
  15. Tweriod: Sign in with Twitter and the app will tell you the best times to tweet, displaying the results on a graph, also showing you different optimal timing for different days of the week.
  16. Nurph: This App lets you invite friends into a private chat room via a Tweet. This is great if you want to take a brief connection to a new level and have a longer conversation. A great example for using Nurph is to keep your Twitter community engaged in longer talks.
  17. TweetStats: A great tool to measure all your Twitter behavior in one place. It shows you your Twitter timeline to understand how much you are tweeting each day and month and lets you know your best times to tweet.
  18. Twilert: Similar to Google Alerts, Twilert helps you monitor your brand or search terms on Twitter. It can be set up for any term and you will be notified about any activity on Twitter related to that term.
  19. TweetLevel: When you are building your network, TweetLevel helps you search other Twitter users based on different parameters like influence, trust, engagement or popularity.
  20. Formulists: Allows you to create your own lists and group them by location, topic, interactions or any other criteria. It helps those with large numbers of followers and can help you send specific brand messages to specific lists.

While this list isn’t exhaustive, it is a sampling of the many tools out there that can help you manage your Twitter experience.  So organize your time, connect with the right people and find tools that will allow you to be the most effective Tweeter that you can be.  What tools do you use to help you maximize your Twitter experience?

The Five C’s of Social Media

Social Media Marketing is a funny thing. It’s a relatively new blend of marketing populated by those well versed in traditional marketing tactics along with those who are well versed in the social aspect of media. Throw in those who are flying by the seat of their pants and you have the burgeoning field of social media marketing.  While there are no real hard and fast rules when using social media to marketing your business or product, those who seem to succeed in the field tend to follow some basic, unwritten rules of the trade. And while those who don’t adhere to these rules are not necessarily doomed to fail, being welcomed into the sometimes-fickle arms of your audience is usually easier if you do. There have been many articles and blog written about the 5 C’s of Social Media, I guess it’s my turn to throw in my 2.5 cents:

  • Curiosity: When I started out in this field, I spent most of my days reading everything I could get my hands on.  It was my way of learning, forming opinions, recognizing how much I didn’t know and helping guide me towards what I wanted to know more of.  For anyone who really wants to succeed in Social Media, reading, learning, acquiring information and being curious about everything is a must.  It is through our curiosity that we are able to move forward from novice to expert.
  • Content: (This is really 4 C’s in one) Content is essential to being successful in Social Media. By both Creating and Curating relevant and quality information, you will engage your audience and keep them coming back for more.  Make sharing easy for your audience and share willingly. Work with others to create content (I’ll call it Collaboration and wring another C out of it.)
  • Consistency: In order to build relationships online, engage with your audience and keep them coming back, you need to demonstrate staying power. By being consistent you create visibility, for you and your Brand. No one likes to have a conversation with someone who isn’t there. And that brings me to my next C.
  • Conversation: Success in social media, on any level, is all about the conversation. By listening and engaging with your audience you can truly develop an understanding of what they want and what they need. Use blogs, social networks and forums to join the conversation and don’t forget to Contribute (Oh, Another C!).
  • Character: Being yourself, showing your true character, is probably the most important rule in social media. It means being real, being yourself, being honest and trustworthy. By reaching out and putting your best foot forward, you will earn your audience’s trust and begin to develop a real following.

Social Media Marketing has become a quite power to be reckoned with in a relatively short time. There are those who are successful and those who are not. In my opinion, those who are successful adhere to a basic guiding principle when Cultivating their craft (one more…).  By following these basic guidelines, it is possible to be extremely successful in building your Community (number 11) through Collaboration (12) and Cooperation (Lucky 13).  Phew! I think I got them all.  Can you think of any C’s I missed?