In an age where “Google” has become a verb as much as the name of a company, it’s accepted that traffic from search engines is really important to businesses, especially since they bring in leads and sales.
Beyond growing popularity of a brand, this traffic can be highly targeted bringing in people who will engage with your brand and potentially begin a long-term relationship with it. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to SEO metrics and make sure you’re doing things right.
Make sure you include your target keywords in the title since it is weighed highly among search engines. It is also something that will appear in the search engine listings so make sure you write the important keywords first. Also, make sure that the title does not run over 69 characters because it will automatically be truncated on search engine listings.
2. Use phrases rather than just keywords:
Search engines are getting smarter and are moving towards phrases rather than just keywords. Another tip here is to look as natural as possible and avoid keyword stuffing. Take a look at related keywords at the bottom of the search and you will usually find words that you can use in text. In this case, I searched for small business and found the following related search suggestions.
3. Meta description:
This is the description that appears below your title in the search engines. Remember to keep it 150-160 words in length and include important keywords and keyphrases in it. You have only a few sentences so make sure you give the readers a compelling reason to click to your site since even on page one there are nine other results besides yours.
4. Cross link to internal pages:
This is a good practice which will help increase time on site and reduce bounce rates. It will also get your pages indexed better and help in rankings. As a rule of thumb make sure the important pages are well linked within your site.
5. Optimize images:
Take a little time to fill in the title, description, caption and the alt text. Also, remember to attribute the source of the image in the caption rather than the alt text since it can interfere with keyword density of your page (especially home and aggregation pages where there are multiple posts and multiple images.) It helps to save the image with the keyword name.
Image Title = Article Title
Image Alt = Description of Image
Image Caption = Photo Credit
6. Linking out:
This is another important factor in SEO which can be easily overlooked. When you are linking out to external websites, make sure they are reputable or authoritative sites. Putting in a link to shady websites can lead to your own website losing search rankings.
7. Social optimization:
Make it easier for your site visitors to share the page on social sites by putting social buttons in prominent pages. Besides that, make sure your social properties such as Facebook, Youtube Twitter, Google+, Pinterest pages have a link back to your website.
If you are selling products or services then make sure that you take a look at the reviews you are getting consistently since they seem to affect rankings too. Too many negative reviews can topple you off the search engine result pages (SERPs). A positive step to take here would be to ask satisfied customers to leave a good review for your products. Managing your reputation online is as important as managing it offline.
9. Analytics and webmasters:
Use free tools such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to see what results your efforts are producing. These will help you analyze the trends and understand what keywords your site users are using to come across your website. You can also see which pages are performing well and which ones to improve.
We saved the most important aspect for the end. In 2015 you simply cannot ignore user metrics which is why they say content is king. So provide what you are promising and you will see a steady increase in traffic.
Linking back to your site from social media sites drives traffic and benefits your website from an SEO standpoint. There are several opportunities to create backlinks on social networks and they are highly trusted in Google’s eyes. This is a long post, but realistically it should take you just about an hour if you are starting from scratch.
Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. happen to be the most visited sites on the planet and are a great place for you to gain some recognition for your brand. It is a good idea to track the clicks you receive from these sites by keeping an eye on your Google Analytics dashboard.
Simply go to Acquisition > Channels > Social.
That should tell you how many visitors are visiting your site from various social networks along with the time spent, bounce rate, new sessions and other details. Once you know that you can keep a track of the month over month improvements.Let’s begin with Google+ links first because
Let’s begin with Google+ links first, because in this case study we saw how promoting links on Google+ communities gave us a huge ranking and SEO boost.
1. Introduction links
This is a do follow link which means Google will count this as an authority signal for SEO. You can customize this link with any anchor text you like. Just go to your Google Plus personal or business profile and head to the about section and edit the content to insert your link.
2. Other profiles and page links
Then we have the links section. Here you can add links to several websites. You could also link out to other social networks to pass authority to them and create strong Tier 2 backlinks to your site. Just like Twitter and Facebook have a swoosh for verified accounts the website section here gets you a verified swoosh. Take a look at how Nike uses this section on its Google+ page.
3. Google+ Community description
Google+ communities are one of the most vibrant places on that social network and should be targeted to gain traffic and +1s. If you own or moderate a community, you have the option to link out to your content. On the image below, that single link there at the bottom of the description provides one of my websites with more than 300 hits every month.
To be fair, this community is over 230,000 members strong and the members are pretty active, so you may see varying results.
Let’s explore link back opportunities on Twitter. Sure you know about the website link on Twitter but you can also insert the link on your bio. That gives you the opportunity to get two links in.
The importance of that spot on description is when people search for you on Twitter they will also find your website link upfront. Take a look at the image below:
Also note that the website field that you filled in your profile does not show up here. So if you wish to insert just one link it’s better to insert it in the bio.
Facebook is the largest social network in the world. If your brand is active there then here are some places that you should recheck for backlinks.
1. Your personal about tab: Connect the people who curiously visit your profile to your website. Remember to make that information public. If it’s private only your friends will be able to see it based on your settings. Making it public will let anyone go to that link. Also, you can connect your company Facebook page on your personal profile so people engage there too.
2. Then there are great opportunities to link to the posts on your website in every post, video and picture. Just make sure you make those posts public.
3. Your page’s about tab: Here you can link in the company overview space and also the website space. So you have two opportunities to link back to the best content on your site.
4. Profile & cover picture: These two could be the most clicked spaces on your page if they are really creative. It’s a good idea to put links to your best posts in there. That will keep a steady supply of visitors coming back to your site.
5. Group description: Facebook groups are a great place to get conversations rolling. The about section of the website is a good place to have a link back to your website. Similar to Google+, you can pin posts to your Facebook groups too and that is a really place to pin your website. Just make sure you mention it right at the start so it’s very visible.
1. Contact info space
LinkedIn is a great way to connect with professionals in your industry and to score leads or hire employees. The first place you can score a link is from your contact info space. You are allowed 3 links here so make the most of it. Then you can link to other social networks like Twitter.
2. Projects and publications
This is a place where you show off the projects you have worked on and the places where you have been published. The good thing here is that you can insert a link back to your own website and they are directed without having to click another button which you have to in case of contact info tab.
3. Company pages info tab
You get to lead people to your company home page here. You can also insert a link in the description of your company. Showcase your company’s product / service and gain a link from that section too.
4. Company groups
Company groups just like Google+ groups can be quite engaging if they are scaled up. When creating one you are presented with an opportunity to link to your website. The best part here is that you can send emails to the members once every week.
That itself should be enough impetus to begin a group because no other large social network (Facebook and Google+ included) has anything similar. So you could practically sell to the members of the group or get them to join your mailing list via LinkedIn emails.
There are several other social networks like Pinterest, Instagram etc. which can provide your company website with a good backlink. The more high-quality backlinks you have the better it is.
Facebook is an important part of our digital social life. That makes it important from a business standpoint too. If your business receives significant traffic from this social network then let me show how you can increase your reach even when Facebook changes its algorithms.
Most businesses start and end at “Like our Facebook page” but amassing a large number of fans does not really guarantee engagement or sales. Facebook has made it increasingly difficult for brands to reach their audience. So how do we beat the algorithm?
After a person likes your page there is an option which says “Get notifications” in the drop down menu. Clicking that option will ensure that the person receives a notification every time you post on your business page. You could even make this your cover pic or design a better looking one.
The right time and day:
Timing is important in business and so it is when it comes to posting updates on Facebook. Knowing when the majority of your fans are active and engaged is an important aspect of gaining engagement.
Fortunately, you don’t have to subscribe to paid tools to get this information. Facebook provides this information to you when you dig into the insights dashboard.
This will let you know when your fans are online and hence be able to post at those optimum times.
Pages to watch:
Facebook came out with a feature where you can now select pages in your category / market and gain insights on the percentage of growth they experienced, how many posts they made and the reach they had.
This information is enough for you to compare your efforts and to set a benchmark for your Facebook marketing efforts. Here is an example of some non-business pages to watch.
Copy the best posts of your competitor:
On the same page you also get to see your competitor’s best posts. These are pages which have similar kind of Facebook demographics as yours and their fans like similar kind of products/services.
So you can be confident that if you post a similar type of post that your competitor did and gained a lot of engagement, you can get similar results too. Take that information and replicate it on your own page and see your engagement soar higher.
Simply go to Insights > Posts > Top posts from pages you watch
Call to action button:
This is another feature that Facebook recently came out with. A call to action button lets you direct your fans or anyone who comes to your page to your website or any other web address that you intend to send them to.
Here are the pre-written options Facebook provides that you need to choose from: 1. Sign up 2. Buy now 3. Contact Us 4. Use App 5. Play Game 6. Show Now 7. Watch Video. Besides, it also gives you an idea of how many people actually clicked the button in the admin dashboard as shown in the image below.
Who doesn’t want to be number one on Google’s search results? From a business standpoint top rankings result in more traffic, interaction, more leads and sales, which ultimately leads to more revenue. Search engine marketers work day in and out trying different strategies to make it to the first place of big G’s search lists. But the race to the top is not an easy one, especially with changing algorithms and new penalties for optimization.
It’s not news that social signals, especially the ones from Google Plus tend to have a good effect on search rankings. So we planned an experiment where we would take an article which is a month or so old. (This is to ensure that the rank change is not due to the freshness of the article). We noted how high the article ranked on Google before carrying out the experiment. We would then promote it on Google Plus with the intention of gaining +1’s and shares. After a week or two we would then check if the efforts had any effect on the rankings. Here is what we did.
For the purpose of this experiment we chose Nestor Arellano’s article, 6 excellent open source network monitoring tools. This article ranked number 10 on the first page of Google when we checked it on Feb. 3 for the keywords “Open source network monitoring tools.” So I went ahead and promoted it on a relevant Google Plus community on Feb. 5. That post gave us seven +1’s and six re-shares.
Though this is better than getting no engagement at all, I wasn’t really satisfied with the results. So I went ahead and posted the same article on the same community with a different headline , five days later. The only other difference was that the first post was made on a Thursday while the second post was made on a Tuesday. Here is the engagement that the second post received.
So from an engagement perspective the post received more activity on a Tuesday as compared to a Thursday with a change in content. What we are really interested in seeing though is how this affected the search rankings for the article.
Before the Google Plus promotions, the post ranked number 10 on the first page of Google for the term “Open source network monitoring tools.” One week after Google Plus promotions: It increased one spot from 10th to ninth overall. Ten days later, it climbed up another four spots to rank at number five.
Today, it stands at number three. (Go ahead and check it on Google).
Learnings and points to remember
1. Don’t overdo it or spam Google Plus communities continuously, since this could backfire. Community moderators may ban you for spamming.
2. Google Plus provides good amount of social engagement if posted at the right time, on a relevant community.
3. Google Plus still has good amount of SEO value.
4. It is better to post on a large engaged Google Plus community rather than create a post on your business page (especially if you have few followers).
5. Timing of the post is important and so is the content of the post. Experiment by posting on different days with different content and check the results accordingly.
Click here to see more ways to fully utilize Google Plus.
There are many ways to increase your following on Instagram or any other social network, but going the wrong route can get your account banned. Buying followers or mass follow / unfollowing are ways to get whacked by the ban hammer.
You don’t want that, especially if you’re using Instagram to promote your business. You need a smart strategy combined with good tools of the trade. Let’s look at how it’s done.
Make sure you stick to one particular topic which your product or service is about. Theme-based profiles get a lot more following than random profiles that try to do everything for everyone. Pick a catchy profile pic relevant to the topic that you have outlined for yourself. While choosing a username, minimize the number of underscores if you don’t get the desired username right away.
For a good example, let’s Take a look at Instagram’s own profile.
Using the right hashtags in your posts is as important as the post itself. To get an idea of what hashtags are trending head to websta.me. It not only gives you top 100 hashtags but also top locations, most followed, most popular posts and most following (an astounding 1 million people have been followed by photogeekdom. My guess is they either used a bot or spent years following people manually.)
Pay careful attention to popular posts to get an idea of what works and what does not. You can also insert some related hashtags in your bio which could make your profile more searchable.
Since hashtags are so important it’s better to use an app to help you with it. TagsforLikes is an app which quickens the tagging process. It can identify trending hashtags and automatically apply them for you. But keep in mind that some users may be turned off if they feel you’re abusing hashtags. The hashtag is like a topic guideline, so it should be relevant to the content you’re sharing.
Another tip is to add these hashtags to older photos. This could revive some of them and the effort put in could be worth the engagement. In addition you can add your own unique hashtag with all other tags.
For example, if you are in the fitness industry and your company’s name is Exercise Hero you could make that you own unique hashtag #ExcerciseHero and make sure this tag is in your bio too. If it catches on, you could reap a windfall of engagement.
Posting at optimum times will help you gain more followers. Create posts with a good schedule in mind. Posting two or more photos at a time can be detrimental. Too many photos at once will clog up people’s timelines and can annoy them enough to unfollow you. Keep a systematic schedule using freely available web tools.
ScheduGram is a tool which can be used for bulk posting and have them posted at times of your choice. Instapult and Latergramme do the same but all of them come with a cost from $9.50 to $13. This could be especially useful if you are going for a break or during a conference when you are juggling too many things to be bothered with Instagram.
Now that you have the tools to schedule posts all you need to know is the right time to make the post. To get this information you can use a tool called Iconosquare, which was formerly known as Statigram.
It’s a good analytics tool for Instagram which not only indicates the peak hours to post but also lets you know which of your posts have been the most liked and shared. You can also access a follower growth chart. Other features include holding a contest.
You can also follow or unfollow Instagram users from within Iconosquare.
Imagine someone with tens of thousands of followers gives you a shoutout and your Instagram following jumps up by a few hundred. Though it’s pretty rare for something like that to happen, you can start with giving out shoutouts and maybe they would return the favour. Leverage your people skills and get some friends to do it for you. Every follower counts.
I have personally noticed that liking and commenting on people’s photos actually increases engagement on my own posts. Not only that, you can gain followers by engaging with relevant people in your community.
Content is key no matter what social network it is. If you take a good look at the top posts using websta.me you’ll see that most of them are personal and lifestyle based. Fancy cars, luxurious lifestyle, and food images seem to make it to the top most of the time.
Initially you may need to experiment a little with what works and doesn’t work for your account. Then you can zero down on the type of posts to make regularly.
This is an easy way to increase your following. Your friends will be more likely to follow you than strangers. Just by connecting to Facebook I receive a hundred more followers. You can also choose to post the pictures from Instagram to these social networks.
This will create more awareness about your Instagram account and you’ll add up those precious followers.
This will help you create more variety on your profile. There are several apps which can help you do this. You can use InstaCollage or Picstitch for this purpose.
If your account is about food then you can create a collage of starters, main courses, and dessert. Being creative can surely do wonders to your account.
This is good strategy to go viral quickly. Contests can help you create awareness about your brand and bring in a lot of followers. When non-followers will see how much value your followers are getting they will gladly hit the follow button and engage with you.
More than half of Fortune 500 companies now use Google for Work, according to the search giant. We also depend on Google’s suite of cloud products for our daily productivity tasks here at ITWC, including Gmail.
If you are like us then these hacks will make your life more productive, help you get more leads, sales and revenue. It may seem farfetched now but just wait until you reach the end to judge. Even if you don’t use Gmail, you can take a look to see what you’re missing out on.
Update: At the end of this post, learn how to get unlimited cloud storage for FREE.
More email addresses for the same inbox
Periods and Plus signs are ignored by Gmail. Anything you type after a + sign is ignored too. So assuming your email address is GreatCanadian@gmail.com. You can use + sign as follows and still get the email to your inbox:
Ever wonder where all that spam in your inbox comes from? Now you can find out by using a different customization when you sign up for a service or newsletter. You can then get rid of those emails by putting in filters to those emails. It also comes handy in the sense that many companies offer a 30 days free trial per email signup. You can practically use unlimited variations of a single email to… you get the idea.
In addition, you can use Gmail’s filter feature to organize more efficiently using this method.
Personally I’m a big fan of Boomerang because it’s free and allows you to:
Automated canned responses
You may find yourself typing in similar kind of mails over a period of time. This feature from Gmail Labs when enabled will help you create templates which will make your life easier. After enabling this feature every time you catch yourself typing out a repetitive email just click and save it as a canned response. This will save the mail into drafts, which can be used in the future. Here is how you implement it:
The utility of this feature is huge. You could practically automate (with some customization) a lot of responses such as:
1. Introductory emails about your business or yourself.
2. Sales pitch about your product and follow up emails
3. Thank you emails and scheduling meeting emails.
4. Saying “No” when you need to. If you have a hard time answering in negative, maybe just clicking a button to do so will be easier.
5. If you get a whole lot of emails that do not require a personal touch then you could use Gmail filters along with canned responses to promote your product/service or get people on your subscription lists.
The fifth point alone is worth a lot of leads, sales and money if implemented in the right manner depending on your product / service.
This Chrome extension for Gmail will help you get more information on the person you are emailing. Simply hover over their email address and you will receive a wealth of information about them if they are active on social networks. Take a look.
This comes in handy when you see how you’re connected to them on LinkedIn. This could be really helpful for sales people to get instant reminders about how you met a contact, and see what level of organization they are with, so you know what level of service to pitch them on.
Before using this feature I used to hit send and then suddenly remember that I forgot to mention something important or that there was a better way to communicate. It gives you a 30 second window to cancel sending after pressing the send button. To activate it, sign into Google and go here. It is especially handy when you are communicating with clients.
We have covered several stories about how some spammers and scammers pretend to be a commonly used company or service like Paypal, eBay, Facebook etc. Many people at work or otherwise fall prey to them. This Gmail trick will help protect you against such malicious attempts of phishing and hacking.
There are many other cool things that you can enable in Gmail Labs if you dig deeper.
If you have a cause to suspect that your account details have been compromised, you can verify the authenticity by checking your account activity. Simply go to the bottom of your Gmail account and to the right hand corner you will see “Details.” Click on that and check the IP addresses which have logged in recently. You will also see the country from where the activity has taken place. If you see a different country than the country of your residence or visit, then remember that you may have authorized an app which may have logged in.
The image below is a screenshot of the activity on my account. Though I’ve never fulfilled the dream of visiting the US of A, one of the locations says United States. I panicked the first time I saw it only to realize it was an app which I had authorized before. Clicking on show details will let you know if it was an app, or a person with a web browser accessing your account.
If you have a large volume of emails coming through every day then these filters can help you get efficient. With filters you can automate the process of:
1. Labeling emails 2. Skipping the inbox 3. Marking unimportant mails as read 4. Sending a canned response 5. Categorizing the emails etc.
The good part is that you can apply these filters to not only the future mails but also mails from the past which can really help clear large cluttered inboxes.
In the same vein of clearing and organizing your Gmail inbox, this nifty service will help you reach zero unread emails quicker than any other app or feature. Once you login with your Gmail account, it will populate a list of emails that you have subscribed to.
Now all you have to do is either unsubscribe to unwanted emails or just roll important ones into a neat daily digest. If you’re drowning in emails, this is your lifeguard.
Some of your employees, especially those who deal with heavy graphic files may face this problem. Google provides 15 GB of space for Gmail, Google Drive, docs etc. However, if you or someone you know is fast approaching this limit, you may want to find the mails which are consuming a lot of space. But that is time consuming especially if your inbox runs into thousands of emails.
The solution to this is simple:
Go to the search box and paste size:5m or larger:5m. This will show you mails which are 5 MB or larger in size. You can check this for any number size.
If you`re the type who has to attend several meetings a day then this widget will make your life more organized. Just head to Gmail Labs and activate this. It will get your calendar below the labels on your inbox.
You may or may not have used If This Then That. This service will let you automate a lot of tasks. For example, this recipe right here will automatically add receipts and orders to a Google drive spreadsheet called receipts. There are thousands of more like it which will make Gmail work for you like clockwork.
Has the thought of being unproductive when offline ever scared you? Well this feature will help lay those fears to rest. Gmail offline lets you reply and do everything that you need to with your email when you are off internet. It will sync all that information when you get back online.
There are several shortcuts which can quicken your pace of doing things on Gmail. Right from composing a mail to opening group contacts, this feature can do it all. Here is the complete list of them. Similarly, Gmail Labs has something called quick links which lists the various places which you visit often and its placed below labels.
This tool from Hubspot notifies you when someone you sent an email to actually reads the mail. This is really helpful since you get an idea whether the seller, buyer, vendor, employee or anyone else has attended to your email or not. In addition, you will also know when people are most likely to read your emails. You can then use this information to tailor the next email.
(This is a long post with solutions that can take your productivity to the next level. Right from organizing your email to saving Gmail space to getting more leads and sales there are ways to use gmail which can transform your work life. Bookmark (Ctrl + D) this post so you can come back to it if you need to.)
Remember to share with your friends and let me know which one of these you are going to implement today.
While surfing on Google+ I noticed a banned Google account and it got me thinking – What if my Google account were banned for some reason? I could lose access to all of the emails that I’ve stored on Gmail’s cloud for years.
If you’ve ever sifted through your email archive for some piece of critical information, you understand how devastating a scenario this could be. That thought led me to research about existing ways to back up my email and other data. Since all my emails are backed up on Google’s Gmail, I found some interesting apps and methods. One of them can even restore all emails back to any Gmail account. Let’s take a look.
This program is available for Windows 7, Vista and XP users. It can also be installed on Mac OS X and Linux. After installation, you need to setup Gmail to work correctly with GMVault. This can be done by following visual instructions laid out on GMVault’s site.
Installation is pretty straightforward but using it may require reading a few simple steps at the beginning. When you first click on the installed GMVault icon it looks like a Windows command prompt, but don’t let that scare you. It’s as easy as copy-pasting one line of code which is available on the visual instructions link above and the Gmail address you wish to backup.
The first time it may take a little longer to backup all your emails (three to six hours depending on how many emails you have). After that, the program will only backup new emails and so it will take less time.
This is another way to backup all your emails from Gmail. What’s even better about this method is that you can restore the emails to any Gmail account. So in case you lose access to your Gmail account, simply create a new one and restore back all the emails stored on your PC to Gmail.
It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux and can be downloaded here. You can even have your labels intact in your emails. Just make sure the labels do not have any ASCII characters such as *,/,+,’. The code for this software has been made open source.
Even though it works very well, Gmail backup has not been updated in four years. If these free software options become unavailable, or if you need more support, Gmailkeeper is a freemium tool that could come to your aid. It backs up emails with labels. You can simply schedule the backup and then it will create backups at those scheduled intervals.
The trial version lets you create one backup profile. Even then you can only backup just 300 messages. It works on Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000 or 2003. The paid version will set you back by $19.95 and gets you technical support in addition to unlimited backup and restore on unlimited accounts.
Gmailkeeper led me to another site called ownmycopy.com which lets you save 500 emails on free trial and even backs up contacts, Google docs and calendars.
This service lets you backup Google Apps which includes Gmail for $3/month. It even has an option to backup social media and Salesforce. All you need to do is authenticate your account with it and it will store your data on its servers.
Mozilla’s Thunderbird works on any operating system and its free of cost. Simply download the software and install it. Then, simply follow Gmails instructions to set up IMAP and POP here. Better yet, Mozilla has a detailed tutorial on setting Thunderbird up with Gmail.
Align your brand with leading journalistic reviews on topics of your choice. Demonstrate your company’s expertise. Build awareness and leads.
Formatted much like a digital magazine and viewable on any device, Page Books provide you with the perfect opportunity to profile your brand and/or your expertise together with a collection of syndicated content sourced from IT World Canada media properties.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PageBooks, CONTACT:
Brad McBride, VP Sales, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416.290.0240, ext. 354
David Hamilton, Senior Account Manager, email@example.com, 416.290.0240, ext. 125
Desere Cowin, Senior Account Executive, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416.290.0240, ext. 174