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How to Improve Your SEO

SEO Search Engine Optimization Website

I recently came across the following question on an online discussion forum, and it’s one I’ve heard many times. How can I improve my SEO by myself? Tricky question, but you can. (I haven’t included the asker’s name or business in the interest of privacy.)

Q: “Does Anyone Have Any Cost-Effective Strategies That Would Help Me Get the Word Out for My Website?

I am looking to increase SEO for my new website? Does anyone have any cost-effective strategies that would help me get the word out for my site? I am currently using running an AdWords campaign, and joining sites like this and other forums as fast as I can. However, I am tempted to spend money on tools that could mainstream that process for me like yext.com. I have just read mixed reviews of all of those sites, and don’t want to waste money. I have seen my site has high as page 2 of google for specific searches, but for the highest key words, I am past page 15. All suggestions welcome. Thank you in advance.”

A: This is a more complicated question that you’d think it is.

The first step is identifying exactly who your customers are and where they are using the Internet. These are called targeted personas. Are your customers on forums like this? If not, then you’re wasting your time. Spend your time and money creating an online presence where your customers might actually be looking for your services. That might be social media. That might be Angie’s List. That might be some other forum. But don’t waste your time building backlinks from places you aren’t going to generate any business. It’s not worth the time or effort.

I’m going to assume you’ve already claimed your Google My Business page. That would be step one.

Google AdWords is a good idea, but only if you’re being very methodical and targeted about your keywords. Have you done keyword research? Do you know what searches your target customers are using to find businesses like yours? Have you evaluated the data marking the performance of your AdWords campaigns and adjusted accordingly? If you’re in a very competitive field, your prime keywords may be quite expensive. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, you just need to be strategic about planning, budgeting, and agressive about keyword testing.

Google’s Keyword Planner is, of course, a great tool to start with to help you determine good keywords to use for your AdWords campaign, but you can also try a couple of other tools. Moz’s Keyword Explorer can help. You can also try SEM Rush.
It also helps to know what your competitors are doing. You can peek into their website to see what keywords they’re using and how they’re performing. There are a lot of tools for this. Here’s a great blog post by Andy Crestodina that explains how.

Outside of building backlinks, a couple of good possibilities for boosting website traffic are:

1. Have a professional optimize your website for SEO. If your website isn’t well set up right from the get-go, you’re going to be at a disadvantage regardless of an AdWords campaign. This includes using proper keywords in your copy, meta descriptions, and all image tags. Depending on whether your site is built on a template website like WordPress, there might be plug-ins to help optimize your SEO and keep it fresh.

2. Keep a blog. Use keywords in your titles. Make the titles really engaging, and share your posts to social media. Blog at least once a week (and even more often if you can.) Use keywords in all your images’ alt tags. Updating your website regularly is great for SEO.

3. Try a social media promotion to drive engagement to your website. Facebook has a really user-friendly ad platform that will walk you through the process of specifically driving traffic to your website. If you have a visually interesting product or service, Instagram will let you promote a post with a link to your website.

4. Encourage current and former clients to leave reviews of your business on Google. NOTE: You cannot “bribe” them to leave reviews. If Google catches you doing that, they’ll blacklist your page. But be creative, directly ask for reviews from satisfied customers, advertise that you’d like reviews, and your fans will help you out.

At the end of the day, I recommend a professional.

I am not a fan of services like Yext. I don’t see good return on investment for my clients. Your money would be much better spent seeking out professional assistance. Digital marketing is complex and most successful when undertaken by professionals. There is much more you can do, and professional digital marketers know how to optimize SEO, create targeted customer personas, identify where your customers are on the Internet, create targeted AdWords and social media paid campaigns, analyze the data from those campaigns, and constantly adjust for more effective campaigns. That said, I hope this is helpful to get you going on your own, and good luck!

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Content Marketing for Non-Marketers

Content Marketing for Business

Content Marketing for Non-Marketers

I’ve spoken extensively about role of social media marketing in a strong marketing plan, but I haven’t covered content marketing quite as heavily. That’s a gap that I’m hoping to address today, because content marketing is a very powerful digital marketing tool – one you should definitely have in your toolbox.

What is Content Marketing?

Let’s start with the basics. What is content? Content is a marketing term that includes your social media posts, but so much more. Content includes blogs, newsletters, emails, white papers, articles, infographics, photos, videos, graphics, press releases, and more. This article I’m writing right now is content.

So what is content marketing? Let me share the Content Marketing Institute’s explanation: “Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

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Your Customers Are Talking About You

Your Customers Are Talking About You

Your Customers Are Talking About You.

Are You Listening?

All year long, we have been focusing on the importance of providing a good customer experience on social media. Many digital marketing experts will tell you that the best way to build a following on social media is to post videos, to post at peak times, to ask questions. Yet, in our experience, nothing will grow your fan base as powerfully or fruitfully as providing excellent customer service via social media. Your customers have smart phones and they want to use them. They love social media, and they love telling their friends about their experiences – good and bad. When they do business with you – whether you offer B2C or B2B services – they will talk about you. Are you listening? More importantly, are you responding? You absolutely must be listening, you must be responding, and how you respond is very important.

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The Story of Stories

The Story of Stories

The Story of Stories, or How to Use Stories for Social Marketing

Chapter 1: What is a Story?

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a spunky little social media platform called Snapchat was born. Snapchat offered a great new social product: people who used Snapchat could send photos or short video messages to their friends privately. These messages could only be viewed once and disappeared in 24 hours, allowing people to document moments of their days and share them with a select group of people. Snapchat was also a lot of fun! Photos and videos could be enhanced with filters, geotags, text, drawings, and more. Users could even track who had seen their posts. Snapchat was completely different from Facebook (almost the Anti-Facebook) and gained popularity among the young folks very quickly.

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The Summer of Social

The Summer of Social

With the official beginning of summer for many local school children, most people’s minds are focused on fun in the sun, vacations, and relaxation. For social media managers, however, there’s always work to be done. Yes, you may find us enjoying an outdoor cafe or a day at the beach, but we’ll probably be checking our phones constantly, because social media never sleeps. In the spirit of refusing to slow down just because it’s summer break, the weather is beautiful, and we’d rather be sipping cocktails on the porch swing, we have some tips for keeping your social media marketing game strong all summer long. Let us spell it out for you…

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The Proof is in the Posts

The Proof is in the Posts

The Proof is in the Posts, or Why Quality Social Media Marketing is Worth the Investment

In marketing, as in all things, quality matters. I’ll be frank, sometimes when we sit down with a potential client, they’re very enthusiastic about the quality and breadth of our services until they see the price. Then sticker shock sets in and suddenly they are sure they can manage their social marketing themselves, or they head somewhere else to sign up for a cheaper package. Does this mean we think we should lower our prices? Sorry. No.

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8 Takeaways from the Social Media Strategies Summit

8 Takeaways from the Social Media Strategies Summit

Social Media Strategies Summit crowd

Just a piece of the crowd at the Social Media Strategies Summit

8 Takeaways from the Social Media Strategies Summit

The Social Media Strategies Summit took place this past week at the Union League Club in Chicago. It definitely stood out as one of the more valuable and well-organized conferences I’ve been to. Hundreds of marketers converged to learn about social media marketing from some of the most recognizable names in the business. National brands spoke about their social marketing efforts and how these integrated with their overall marketing plans. The variety of topics was terrific. My only complaint was that I could only go to one session at a time, because there were often three happening at once and I wanted to be at all of them. Sadly, cloning technology hasn’t advanced that far yet.

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You Can’t Pick My Brain

You Can't Pick My Brain

I saw an excellent short video today by social media marketing expert Tara Hunt of Truly Social that really hit home. I (and probably most people in my field) often get asked if folks can “pick my brain” about their social media accounts’ strategy and performance. What they’re looking for is a “quick fix” from me – how can they make their social marketing work beautifully RIGHT NOW, they want the answers RIGHT NOW, while we’re standing in line at the grocery store or bump into one another in a cafe. But as Tara explains, any marketer worth her salt will say that’s impossible, and it truly is. Tara says to tell you otherwise is frankly unprofessional and possibly harmful, and she’s absolutely right.

No. You Can’t Pick My Brain — And That’s a Good Thing.

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Social Media Marketing 101: Creating Effective Posts

social media marketing 101: creating effective posts

Social Media Marketing 101: Creating Effective Posts

When you’re just starting out with social media marketing, you may be tempted to fill your social media accounts with random content just to have posts. Perhaps you don’t have a background in marketing and aren’t sure what will make effective posts. Perhaps you aren’t sure what’s interesting enough about your company to post on social media. Perhaps you’re not much of a writer or photographer and don’t have much confidence when it comes to creating your own content. Today, we’re going to cover some of the basic concepts of content creation for social media marketing. We’ll cover content creation for blogs, video, email marketing, and white papers in future posts.

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What Is A Social Media Manager?

D. Cohn Communications Social Media Marketing

What is a Social Media Manager?

Many people are curious about just what we at D. Cohn Communications do. They’ve heard of social media marketing. They know about the importance of marketing in general. They’re just not clear on what social media marketing is or how someone might manage it from outside the company.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

It helps to have a solid understanding of what social media marketing is. We all know that all businesses should have a marketing plan. When you craft a business plan, marketing is a key element of that. What are you going to do to promote your company? But unless you are yourself in marketing, you might not know what all that entails.

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