Pinterest Piquing Your Interest?

If you love pictures, Pinterest is the new social networking/bookmarking/photosharing community for you! The site went live in March of 2010 but it’s gaining more attention for its potential for SEO.

Looking at it for the first time, the site reminds me of Tumblr and Chictopia. Think of it as a virtual pinboard where you can add pictures as well as links. For now, the links from the images are not nofollow, which means that your site can benefit from getting link juice here! Many people speculate that this tag could be added in the near future, so it’s best to take advantage of it now!

People post pictures of everything including: food, inspirational quotes, celebrity crushes, scenic shots and more. Check out this image I found of an iPad cover. Now to the SEO part that can benefit your online marketing campaign! With every picture you post, there are three links you can add: 1) the picture itself 2) the link on the top right 3) a link in the description.

Businesses can benefit from pinning pictures but the purpose is to not be so self-serving. Instead, the things you post should be interesting and shareable. E-commerce stores can post pictures of their products and local businesses can contribute to categories related to their city or local neighborhood. All of these things help with your online reputation, while gaining momentum from linked pictures at the same time.

If you’ve used Pinterest, let us know what you think. As for now, I’m eagerly awaiting my own Pinterest invite!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What are the Benefits of a SEO Friendly CMS?

Now more than ever, good content is a critical part of effective search engine optimization. Having a content management system (CMS) will help make this process easier – meaning that you can update your site more often with relevant content.

From a user standpoint, a CMS is very user-friendly and easy to use. But it’s time to look behind the scenes and see just how you can find the right SEO friendly CMS to help your search efforts.

Custom URLS – It’s important that you choose a CMS that gives you the option to create your own URL. SEO friendly URLs are tailored towards users and are more likely to have a higher click through rate. Sometimes, dynamic URLs can look spammy or relevant and lead to more problems in the future, especially if you are dealing with a website redesign.

Custom meta elements – An effective CMS should give you easy fields where you can fill out fields for title, description and keyword tags. Each page should have a unique Title tag that accurately reflects the content on that page. Did you know that aside from the content itself, page titles are (arguably) considered the most important element? Beware of a CMS that duplicates meta elements on each new page if you don’t customize it. I’ve come across sites that have hundreds of pages with of duplicate meta elements – not a good thing in Google’s eyes!

Speed and Usability – The main reason for using a CMS is that it is easy to use and that you can do it yourself if you need to. Older content management systems aren’t as user-friendly or practical to use. I recently had to use a CMS that took at least 5 minutes to save before you could view your edits. And of course, if you need to make more changes, that’s another 5 minutes just to preview! A CMS is meant to save you time and hassle, not make a bigger mess for you to deal with!

Affordability – When you have a website, there are multiple aspects that you have to consider including: web design, web copywriting, paid and organic search. Choosing the right CMS also means that you should see how it fits into your budget. If you “splurge” on a fancy/expensive CMS that you never have time to use, what’s the point? It could also take up the majority of your resources so that you don’t have anything left over to devote to a truly effective campaign.

A SEO CMS can help make website management an easier process and your organic search campaign more effective. Feel free to comment or give us a call (323) 340-4010 if you have any questions on a CMS for your small business.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

7 Blog Topic Ideas for Your Small Business

How was everyone’s Labor Day weekend?

Getting back from a looong weekend can be hard, especially when it comes to thinking of new blog topics for your business. If you start to feel tired about blogging about your business, chances are that your readers will feel it too. There are only so many ways to keep content fresh, meaning blog topics and the format that you use. Don’t worry, your business has more to work with than you think!

  1. Use different media – Slideshows, podcasts, videos, and Twitter chat transcriptions can all serve as a great alternative to a “normal” blog post.
  2. Show your audience how a recent event is related to your industry. Discussing current news can help increase the social media shareability of your blog post.
  3. Case studies: Highlight a successful client and show the problems you helped them overcame.
  4. Linking out and name dropping too much is never a good thing. But you can always come up with a small list industry-specific blogs that you keep up with.
  5. Debunk a  widely believed and incorrect myth within your industry
  6. Showcase your staff or have an employee spotlight. You can also go on to explain how your business is different from competitors.
  7. Talk about what you love about your business. While you’re at it, you can also talk about things that you don’t like so much. The key is to tie it into a positive at the end. For example, sure the social media industry is always changing which can be confusing, but on the up side, you’re always learning new things.

Business blogging doesn’t always have to just focus on your products/services. No one likes a straight up sales pitch and blogging is not meant to be that way. Thinking of these other ideas will help bring more readers to your blog and website so that. If those topics don’t do it for you, feel free to brainstorm some more until you’ve found the right one that you can elaborate on.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Are You Using Link Bait to Attract Readers?

Sometimes, I think the term link bait has a connotation because you’re using it to “trick” others to link to your article. With that said, there are legitimate ways to link bait properly, especially if you have useful content to back it up. Link baiting is a great way to attract readers and bloggers who are willing to share your content. Here are some techniques you can apply to different content (blogs, articles, on site content and even social media posts)

The Shock Factor – Remember all those crazy Jerry Springer episodes? ” Something ridiculous like I Married a Horse” comes to mind. Having a shock factor can come from many ways: rants, critical reviews and debates are many ways you could bring people to your post. But remember, these extreme techniques can threaten your online reputation, so use with caution! There are also ways to use the shock factor without being over the top, such as building on surprising factor of interesting statistics that others can relate to.

Industry News – When there’s a breaking story, it’s crucial to post it and put your take on things as soon as possible. This way, you’re establishing yourself as being a reputable source by showing that you’re aware of the changing industry. For example in the legal industry, you’ll want to keep readers informed on the latest product recalls and dangerous products. In the fitness industry, you may want to comment on the latest diet and exercise trends.

Contests – Ideally, you won’t just give away a random product in order to have people link to your site or fan page. Instead, you can build customer loyalty by having customers participate in some way – even if it’s small. It can start with taking a photo or sharing a story or build to something big like having a logo contest. Have I mentioned that Facebook has changed things up for Pages? If fans don’t engage with your Page, your posts will no longer appear in their default News Feed! But that’s a topic for another time… The more fans invest into your contest, the more interested they will be in your brand in the long run.

Guides and How to Guides – Wiki, forums and Q&A sites are so popular because people always have a problem that they’re trying to solve. Creating step by step guides on a topic that you’re well-versed in will help establish your business as an authority figure. If you’re worried about giving too much away, you can start with a popular general topic. For example, if you look up a fettuccine alfredo recipe, there are SO many ways to make the same thing. It’s important to put your special take on the topic. You can do so by also adding helpful pictures, video and other forms of media content.

Creating quality link bait that’s also effective is NOT an easy thing. Not to mention that most successful methods require a creative spin. Every once in awhile, it doesn’t hurt to break out of the cycle and create something innovative within your SEO content. What’s your take on link bait and techniques that really work?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Is It Possible to Have Too Much Content?

Believe it or not, there IS such a thing as having too much content (and we’re talking about onsite content here). Effective SEO strategies are linked with quality content but people may often mistake that for just adding more content. Notice how quality gets left behind?

This is becoming more clear as Google Panda updates are rolling out. The goal is to weed out pages that are not helpful to consumers. So, how do you explain this to a client who wants 50 pages of content put up simultaneously?

Content, Search Engines and Customers

Dumping a ton of content in a single move looks suspicious to search engines because they are aware of many things: the quality of your content, the potential of its usefulness and in the end, it helps them uncover your motive (black hat or white hat SEO). I think that making this move gives off a hint that this is a one time thing and that your site won’t be updated frequently.

There’s only so much content that customers can digest without being completely bored or disinterested. As a consumer, when was the last time you sat down and made time to read more than a handful of pages on a website?

Consistency and Quality over Quantity

The next time someone urges you to add massive amounts of content at once, it’s important to let them know why it’s not a good idea. (And no, it’s not because you’re looking for an excuse to not do work!) SEO content strategy requires a consistent schedule and more does not mean that you will rank any better. If anything, posting too much content that is not useful to users can actually hurt your rankings nowadays.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Carmageddon & More for Your Targeted Email Campaign

If you live in or around Los Angeles, CONGRATS – you’ve survived Carmageddon! All weeklong, businesses big and small tried to capitalize on this event, from JetBlue’s limited $4 flights to local Pasadena eateries advertising $4.05 specials.

This email above from Amazon is just another example of a retailer trying to solve a problem customers faced this weekend: finding a source of entertainment. They are also doing a clever job of targeting by relating to the customer and relevant events that are happening around the. It makes sense that most people would try to avoid the freeways this weekend so retailers tried to entice them to do other things that didn’t involve traveling far. Or in Amazon’s case, involving any travel at all!

Why Choose Email?
Email has been and continues to be a strong source of marketing for businesses. Studies show that since last year: more emails are being sent, email unsubscribe rates have dropped and bounce rates have also declined.

Take a look at column one in this chart and you’ll see why other small business owners use email marketing campaigns: owners felt that email marketing was cost effective and that it had a high rate of response and sales in comparison to other marketing methods.

The Goal of Targeted Emails
In the end, you’ll want to remind customers that you have a solution to their problem. Establish a clear message (the shorter, the better) and make it easy for the customer to respond or take action.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of email marketing for your small business, make sure to contact us today!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What Ice Cream Flavor Would Your Blog Be?

nullMmm mint chocolate chip, vanilla or even… bacon? Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much of the Food Channel, but have you ever thought of your blog in terms of ice cream? The types of different  flavors are countless and customer demand is limitless!

People learn and like things through experience, so you can maximize user experience by giving your customer what they really want. When visitors come to your website or blog, you don’t want them to be bored by just a one dimensional site. You know the ones I’m talking about, just text to no end for the sake of having content. That would be very vanilla

What are some things that make your blog stand out? Is it your knowledge of hot industry topics? Infographics, user polls, personal stories or interaction with readers? Ultimately, these are the things that will help you establish credibility in your community and industry so that users will come to you when they need a product/service you provide.

Nowadays, people are interested in something new that will really catch their attention. This is where social media and video marketing come into play. Think of these as the sprinkles and tasty toppings that go well with your ice cream blog. You don’t want this content to overpower your blog, but just enough to make your content a little more interesting.

And everyone likes free samples! So of course, you can do the same with your content – whitepapers, downloads and email newsletters are a great way to entice your customers so that they come back for more of the real thing.

It’s amazing how you can make sugar, ice and milk turn into something that’s so much more. Like ice cream, blogs are a great thing. So, when it comes to your blog, don’t just think of it as a blob of words. Mix it up with different components of content to make it a blog that people actually want to read!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Your Local Search Optimization Checklist for Success

checklistWhen it comes to search engine optimization for small businesses, local search is more important than ever. If your content isn’t focused on geo-specific keywords, it’s time to follow this simple checklist that will help you succeed. Remember, this content spans across your website, blogs, and even social media profiles!

  1. Are you on Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yelp local listings? If not, get on that NOW! It’s free and fill out as much information as possible. Descriptions are a great place to sprinkle in some of your local keywords for that extra SEO boost.
  2. Get visual. How about some pictures of your place of business or neighborhood to spruce up your site or social profile? Adding visuals of your business and/or employees adds a personal touch to your products/services. It will also give your potential customers a chance to “meet” you.
  3. Emphasize your local loyalty. Wherever possible, be sure to include a local phone number with the area code for your location.  I’ve seen plenty of SEO and web design sites with 800 numbers, no physical address – essentially making it impossible to find out where they’re located. No thank you – next.
  4. Use the right keywords. And I can’t stress this one enough! You’ll want to be using relevant keywords to your business that have a good amount of traffic so that you can capture some of that volume. What’s the point of ranking #1 for a term that  only gets 100 or so hits a month? Another thing, be thorough when choosing your location keywords. Are we talking about Glendale, CA or Glendale, AZ?
  5. Track your results. For the more SEO-savvy, SEJ just came out with a helpful article about how to track your progress.

If you think these extra steps are time consuming, think again. Properly optimized content will be a valuable asset for your business in the long run. What are some of your favorite, easy tips for local search optimization?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What’s the Point of Your Blog?

More, please.What does successful blogging mean to you?

If you have a blog, chances are there are many reasons that motivate you. Whether you like to provide helpful information, bring more visitors to your website or just like blogging as a creative outlet, there are many ways that you can improve your blog.

One thing’s for sure, you need to approach it as if it’s more than just content for search engines. Here are some things that I try to keep in mind:

  1. Expand on what you know best. Have you ever wondered why how-to and troubleshooting articles are so popular? People link and share these posts because they appreciate specific details and even narratives.
  2. Link to your content and other blog posts. Don’t treat a blog post as if it’s just a single entity. Your posts should be interconnected and relevant. This will also be helpful for readers looking for more information and help increase the amount of time they spend on your site or blog.
  3. Practice makes perfect, so be persistent. Blogging isn’t just a one shot deal. The work doesn’t after your fingers leave the keyboard. If you feel like you haven’t quite reached the  sweet spot as a blogger, it never hurts to try again. In fact, more helpful content can only help your business.
  4. What’s the point or call to action? At the end of the day, you want to leave a lasting message whether it’s getting the reader to call, continue reading, share the post with others or just comment. Like a story, an effective blog posts needs a beginning, middle and end that brings everything together.

Blogging and even micro-blogging are becoming more important to your business and online presence. What’s the point of your blog and what do you think you need to work on?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

So, a Little Bird Told You About Content Marketing…

Webinar Overview
So, I got to hear Joe Pulizzi of Vertical Measures speak today in a Search Marketing Now webcast. Content marketing and link building can be confusing to people as there are certain things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your customers in mind. As Joe put it, don’t just talk about yourself. After all, people aren’t searching for a marketing pitch! They want answers.
  • Marketers are becoming publishers but many are doing a bad job. Their main problem is they have a difficult time separating self-promotion with their ability to provide useful content.
  • The secret to success is not really a secret at all. Most marketers will tell you the key to success is to be an expert in your niche and to dedicate content to customers.

These tips are a lot easier said than done – especially with the third point. So, what are some ways you can be more innovative with your content marketing? Joe provides a list of ideas to “steal”!

Steal These Ideas

  1. Create as much content as possible relating to your niche
  2. Incorporate a helpful video series
  3. Use Twitter as a channel for providing tips
  4. Develop a web or mobile application that is educational and helps solve problems
  5. Share a series on SlideShare

The Big Idea About Link Building

Don’t mix link building with lead generation!

Here’s a good starting point: find a handful of top blogs in your industry. Read them, stay up to date and comment to build a presence. Like I said before, these things aren’t really secrets. The real secret is how to keep consistent and measure your progress.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.