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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

Now, more than ever, we're all connected. What does it mean to be part of the Connected Culture? Share your thoughts and ideas here!
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How Does Your SEO Hold Up Internationally?

online-communityWhether you’re a company that offers services to business all over the world or you’re selling your products to an international audience, if you’ve got visitors to your website from all across the globe, you should be thinking about how your SEO holds up internationally. Local SEO can be confusion enough, right? Fortunately there are some very obviously things that you should be paying attention to in order to ensure that your SEO is just as effective internationally as it is locally.

Here are somethings that you should consider for complete international optimization:

  1. Localized and Appropriate Content: If a large portion of your consumer demographic lives in Paris, France, be sure to utilize details that those in Paris, France would most relate to. Include appropriate currency and time zone to make your site most effective. You should also consider cultural norms between societies. For instance, what citizens in the United States may find humorous, another culture may find offensive.
  2. Language Differences: When targeting one specific region, you should make sure that all of your content is in that common language.  If you’re targeting multiple countries with different languages, consider having separate websites or subdomains for each region.
  3. Geotarget: Use geotargeting tools found with search engine tool such as Google Search Console to ensure that your website is targeting those which you are trying to reach.
  4. Link Earning: With international SEO comes the need for international link earning (formally known as link building). Consider whether or not international websites are linking back to you. Are international bloggers writing about your services or products? International links means better international SEO!
  5. Go Beyond Google and Bing. Sure, Google, Bing, and Yahoo! are the big names in the United States, but individuals across the seas utilize a variety of search engines that you may not be totally familiar with. Register your website (or international websites) with international equivalents, such as Yandex, Naver, and Seznam.
  6. Consider a Local IP Address: If you can, consider hosting your website, or its international counterpart, on an IP address that is local to the region which you are targeting. This will help your site to receive more relevant traffic  from those who exist internationally.

Ensuring that your SEO holds up internationally can be confusing, but when you consider these fundamental elements, you’ll be on your way to creating a well-rounded international audience!

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Google Search Console: The New Webmaster Tools

True or false: You must be a master to understand Google Webmaster Tools. False! But it certainly does sound like you should be well-equipped when it comes to the internet, right? If you’ve been intimidated by the mere thought of Google Webmaster Tools, you’re not alone. Sure, SEO expword-clouderts, marketers, and developers likely know a thing or two about online optimization, but what about the hobbyists, small business owners, or bloggers who aren’t well, experts?

Simply the title “webmaster” may deter certain individuals from utilizing the tools available through Google Webmaster Tools. That’s why Google is taking an initiative to rebrand Google Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console. According to Google, they hope that all types will utilize Google Search Console – webmasters and internet novices alike.

So what is Google Search Console and is it any different from Google Webmasters?  In a short answer, no, Google Search Console will not be any different, although Google does constantly add new tools to their service. The main purpose of Google Search Console (previously Google Webmasters) is so help websites obtain more traffic through search engine optimization. This is done through a number of tools and programs found within Search Console. The main purpose is so help better understand what is going on within a specific website.

From a very basic standpoint, here are just some of the things you can do with Google Search Console:

  • Assign which pages you would or would not like Google to crawl
  • Gain insight into sites that link back to your own website
  • See which keywords are most frequently found by Google when crawling your website
  • Assess your overall site performance and bounce rate

So there you have it – if you’ve ever been hesitant to utilize Google Webmasters, give it a try – or, should we say, give Google Search Console a try. It’s not just for webmasters, after all!

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‘What’s in it for Me?’ Upping the Ante for Link Building

Business man drawing social network structure

When it comes to creating a reputable online presence, link building is a key ingredient that is often overlooked. Thinking of your online presence, you’re likely to primarily focus on writing content, such as website content and blog posts and perhaps building a social media presence. However, link building helps you to further build relationships with other websites, with other businesses, and with potential audience members. Perhaps more importantly, link building helps to build a positive reputation amongst search engines in an effort to boost your search engine rankings.

If you’re new to link building, the process of obtaining links may seem overwhelming. However, there are a variety of ways to obtain links, all of which can be utilized by a variety of different industries and identities:

  • Natural links—As the name suggests, natural links come “naturally” to you or your business. This means no real effort needs to be done on your end, aside from, of course, being interesting and newsworthy! If you or your small business is heavily involved in the community, a local newspaper may cover your efforts and link back to your website in an online article. Or perhaps your business has won an award of some sort and is cited online? Congratulations! That’s a natural link!
  • Manual link building—Manual link building refers to creating links through outreach on your end. This can be done in a number of ways. One way is through submitting your URL to directories like DMOZ and Yahoo. Never pay for links, that will get you in trouble. Another way is to simply reach out and ask! Email bloggers asking if they’ll take a look at your product or service and write a post including a link back to you. If you’ve got an event going on, reach out to journalists to cover the story with an online article linking back to your website.
  • Self-created link building—The easiest but least successful way to gain links is to include a link back to your website within your social networking profiles, blog comments, news forums, and other places where conversations take place. Do this only where it makes conversational sense to do so. Don’t create these types of links as a link building strategy as those links will not help your seo efforts, but they can lead  to qualified traffic visiting your site which is always important.

While the credibility and search-ability of your name or website largely depends on polished content and an established social media presence, link building is a great way to further get your name out there and to form relationships. Keep these three SEO link building methods in mind in an effort to boost your online presence!

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Three Email Marketing Metrics That You Should be Tracking (But Probably Aren’t!)

There’s no 1denying that for e-commerce businesses and organizations, email marketing is a great way to further interact with your clients. Through weekly or monthly subscriptions, you can convey to your customers ongoing deals, current promotions, the latest news, and more. If you’re utilizing an email subscription newsletter in your marketing strategy, chances are you’re tracking some conversions to ensure upmost success.

Subscription and unsubscription rates are a no-brainer.  Chances are you easily aware of just how many people are subscribing and unsubscribing. However, there’s more to maintaining your off-line presence than tracking these basics! As we embark further and further into 2015, consider making it a daily practice to track these process metrics:

Inactive Subscribers
Chances are, if you’ve got an email newsletter of sorts, you are aware of just how many people are subscribing. One vital component to understanding whether or not your newsletter content is effective? Check in on inactivity! Checking in on this often overlooked detail will allow you to assess how many subscribers are actually interacting with your newsletter. Knowing this allows you to re-strategize and retarget those subscribers that aren’t actively opening or clicking through to link.

Share Rates
It’s one thing to have readers open your email blasts, but it’s another thing to have them pass on your little golden nugget to others! Tracking share rate allows you to see how often subscribers are forwarding your email newsletter with friends or sharing them on social media. Knowing this also allows you to see where your target audience most prefers to share content. Are they more prone sharing news through email or through a quick Tweet?  This information can further allow you to target them in the most appropriate and effective way.

Spam Rates
You already know the importance of tracking unsubscribers, but how about those who are marking it as spam? If users can’t easily unsubscribe to your newsletters, or if the content doesn’t look professional, they may be sending your emails to their spam box, which can be a hit to your credibility and trustworthiness as a business.

Paying attention to these conversions will further allow you to assess the success of your subscription email blasts or newsletters. Furthermore, they will provide you with insight needed to make any changes to your current marketing or targeting strategies, ultimately boosting your credibility and trustworthiness as a business!

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Content Marketing Hack: How to Repurpose Your Content Effectively

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There’s no doubt about it: effective content is imperative to the success of your online presence. However, coming up with creative content isn’t always easy and when you’re stuck in a creative rut, it can be quite time-consuming! Fortunately, there are some very easy and effective ways to repurpose your content, extending its overall reach and effectiveness.

First things first: Create one great piece of content! At this point, don’t worry about its potential to be repurposed – just worry about making it attention-grabbing, effective, and overall well-crafted.  If you’re in a creative bind, go through past content and look for a piece that was very effective, or, that you simply really enjoyed. Perhaps you saw great success with a blog post you wrote a few months ago. Perhaps a tweet went viral. Or, maybe you just really enjoyed that video you created!

Once you have a great piece (or pieces) of content, it’s time to get to repurposing. One way to repurpose is to think about your audience for the piece you’ve already created. Consider how you can restructure the piece to target another audience segment. Can you rework your blog post to attract another age group or demographic?

Now that you’ve considered this option, take a look at different ways to showcase your content. Often times, information from a blog can be translated into an infographic, offering a fresh way to showcase details. Content within an infographic can then be translated into a videographic. Look for new channels that you haven’t used before to reach an entirely different audience segment. Consider podcasts (a perfect option for repurposing past blog posts), Twitter (great for repurposing Facebook status) or slideshows (great for infographics).

The power of repurposing content is that you can save time in compiling data and information. After all, once you’ve got great info to share, you want it to reach as many people as possible! Utilizing different platforms is the best way to do just that.

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Infographics 101

pencil-190586_1280When it comes to content, visuals are growing more and more vital in the world of marketing and social media. After all, the general public tends to be drawn to images – they are colorful, bold, and make accompanying content easier to understand. But how can one effectively incorporate graphics and information without one overpowering the other? That’s where infographics come in!

Infographics can be defined by the artistic visualization of information and they are popping up more and more frequently on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Pinterest. Additionally, they are commonly seen on business websites as a method of displaying information or services. While infographics certainly are helpful, they aren’t necessary for every little bit of content. Infographics tend to be most effective when conveying:

  1. Lots of information
  2. Difficult to understand information
  3. Opposing ideas or thoughts

When beginning to incorporate infographics into your content strategy, there are a number of free or inexpensive services that can help in the creative process. These kinds of services will create the graphics for you after you input the information, allowing you to edit the display as needed. Charts, graphs, and simple graphics are often included, allowing statistics and information to truly take form in the minds of the viewer.

When promoted on social media, infographics tend to do very well. To increase the effectiveness of your infographic, it is important to consider a few stylistic elements. Creating an interesting and catchy title is the first vital step. You should also pay attention to font choice and amount of text that is incorporated. Too much text will take away from the simplicity of an infographic and too “frilly” of a font will lead to illegibility. Simplicity is key!  Providing sources is imperative, just as it would be for any other kind of content. Most frequently, sources are found in one easy-to-read spot at the bottom of the infographic.

Linkage is also possible through infographics, providing additional ways to boost your search engine optimization, in a stylistically pleasing way. This can result in more visitors to your website and an overall higher search engine rank.

As you embark on creating your next big marketing campaign, consider incorporating an infographic.

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The Mobile Site Advantage

The Mobile Site AdvantageUntil now, having a mobile version of your website was a luxury for many companies. Sure, international brands had mobile sites, but the average business just didn’t explore that path. With the latest announcements from Google, a mobile version of your site will likely become a necessity.

With an ever-increasing number of users logging in through mobile devices, Google has decided to make “a significant change” to its mobile search results. By incorporating “mobile-friendliness” into their algorithm, Google is rewarding sites worldwide that have invested in a better experience for mobile users.

Google has made the decision because according to their data, “94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phone, [while] 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present.” This indicates that more people are considering their phone as their primary device for internet activity.

The changes take effect on April 21st. If you don’t have a mobile version of your site, it’s a good idea to invest in one as soon as possible if you don’t want to be invisible to so many users who now favor mobile search results. While this upgrade will require an investment and a web developer, you may lose a lot of visibility. In 2015, most developers automatically incorporate mobile sites into your architecture, but if you have an older website, it’s important to prepare for this drastic change so you aren’t buried by the competition.

The importance of mobile devices will continue to grow with time, so if you’ve been waiting to go mobile, the time to act is now!

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Building an Online Community: The Basics

Building An Online CommunitySo you want to build a community online? An online community is the perfect way to broaden the reach of your brand. By engaging with your community, you’ll be enticing buyers, engaging with existing fans of your brand, and extending your reach to new customers. In short, an online community is both a source of revenue, an advertising platform, and a way to spread the word about you and your products or services to new customers.

If you’re ready to begin, here are a few basic tips to keep in mind that will help you get started.

  1. Quality – whether it’s on-site content, blog posts, videos, podcasts, or other forms of media, it doesn’t matter. People will be drawn to excellent content and return continually for more of it. Quality then is both a hook and a reason for people to come back.
  1. Originality – ask yourself: why should people come to my community for this content instead of going somewhere else? It’s important for you to have something unique about your brand.
  1. Consistency – International brands earn their reputation by delivering their specialty on a regular basis. This schedule of interactions helps foster community. If you disappear, so will your followers.
  1. Sharing – For your community to grow, you’ll need people to find your content/products/brand and share it with others. Sharing is easiest on social media. Make your content as easy to share as possible and make it appealing so people will want to see and share it with their friends.
  1. Communication – A community isn’t about broadcasting to an audience. It’s about establishing connections. Engage your community. Take time to acknowledge those who interact with you and those who have helped you along the way. If you only promote yourself, you’ll never attract a following. Post links to topics your community will find interesting. Ask questions. Make re-visiting your site and social media channels worthwhile.

Every online community is different and you’ll have to experiment with yours for maximum benefit, but by following the 5 basics above, you’ll be building a great foundation.

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5 Facebook Post Ideas to Keep Your Page Fresh

Facebook Post IdeasSocial media is not used or barely used by many companies that could benefit from a social presence. Facebook is the most popular social media platform and the one most businesses either want to, or should, explore.

If you already have a Facebook page, or you’ve just created one, the next step is attracting people to your brand. The best way to keep people AWAY from your page is to constantly post nothing other than product information or sales without personality. You also will drive people away by flooding their newsfeeds with a barrage of posts each day. So post wisely and provide as much value as possible with each post. With that in mind, here are 10 ideas to improve your social media marketing on Facebook:

  1. Share current information. People want to see what’s going on in your world. If you’re making public appearances, conducting special events, or interacting with your community in a hands-on way, let your online following know!
  2. Engage with your audience. Respond to posts and messages. This helps foster a community spirit, shows people you respect them, and also helps to ensure that posts with a lot of engagement will appear on fans’ newsfeeds.
  3. Link to blog posts. Grab a fact or an enticing headline-like phrase to serve as a teaser so people are tempted to click and learn more.
  4. Incorporate other social channels into your strategy. Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram are incredibly popular.
  5. Don’t automate posts between platforms. Keep your posts original, even if they are linking to your other social media sites.

Of course, these tips are only the beginning. We can help you turn your Facebook page into an online community and resource for your business. Learn more from our social media experts today.

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How to Use Analytic Data to Create Quality Content

SEO Analytic DataAnalytic data shows you the behavior of users who visit your website, making it a valuable tool that many companies don’t harness. Many people know that analytics show how potential customers find your site, but that’s just the beginning of how you can improve your SEO using analytic data. By collecting information about user behavior on each site, you can tailor your site and your SEO to match their needs.

It’s widely known amongst SEO professionals and savvy webmasters that you can see what keyword searches lead people to your site using analytics. You can also see their activity on each individual page, but analytics data can provide you with other important information.

Start by considering your bounce rate. This shows how many people navigate away from your page quickly. If this number is high, it indicates that users are not finding what they were looking for on your site. Search engines can factor this activity toward your ranking position.

How can you improve this? Give the people and the search engines what they want! Adjust, improve, and enhance your content. This will better inform search engines about where to put you and keep visitors on your site. You can also use this to think about a site redesign—remember that user experience is one of the top factors when it comes to SEO.

Don’t forget your meta data! While meta keywords are marginal in today’s search results, the meta title and meta description are vital to you in another way—they are what users see in search results. If these aren’t enticing enough for users, they may click on another result and end up on a competitor’s site. Don’t let that happen.

For more information on how to use your data effectively, contact our SEO experts today.

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