What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing Billboard

By now you have likely heard of it, but can you answer the question; What is content marketing? Read on and find out what it really is!

Content marketing is a technique that combines many different aspects of online marketing. This can include all or some of the following aspects:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Blogging
  • Paid Search
  • Website Analytics
  • Lead Tracking

It is the development of relevant and engaging content to attract visitors from your target audience to your site. This might include any number of the following things:

  • Blog posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Etc.

It is also the act of using content to acquire and engage potential new customers and tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns. When visitors come to your site you can track what they do on the site and how engaged they are using tools such as the following:

  • Website analytics
  • Lead capturing
  • Lead tracking tools

Put all these techniques and tools together and you have Content Marketing. It excels where traditional marketing fails. It is non-interrupt and instead of preaching to customers, content marketing is giving your potential customers something that makes them smarter or makes their lives better.

 

digital marketing strategy

10 Reasons You Might Be Penalized by Google

In the last few years Google has made more significant changes in it’s algorithm than ever before. It’s enough to make your head spin. If you feel like you have been punished by any of these updates, the first step is to determine exactly which guideline(s) you’ve violated.

Hummingbirds and Penguins and Pandas oh my!

google algorithm udates penguin  panda hummingbird

Google actually makes it easy for us. They’ve given us a list of 10 key elements that they may list as the reasons for your warning and ultimately why you’ve been punished. Each of these can be considered as a direct violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines:

Unnatural links to your site – impacts links:

Google has found unnatural or deceptive links pointing to your site. This impacts specific links only.  Just remember not every referral is a good referral.

Unnatural links to your site:

Google has found unnatural or deceptive links pointing to your site. Impacts your entire site. If shady sites are linking to you, you’ll be shady by association.

Hacked site:

Google has found malicious content and suspects your site has been hacked by a third party. Impacts your entire site. Don’t worry if you don’t keep up with the security of your site, Google will take care of it for you… by not sending anyone to your site!

User-generated spam:

Spammy links have been found within blog or forum comments or profiles. This may be created by users of your site, but you’ll be punished just the same.

Spammy freehosts:

When a majority of a site is considered spammy, the entire site or ‘service’ may be deemed spam and receive manual action. This can be equated to the old saying, “you’re only as good as the company you keep.”

Thin content with little or no added value:

Google has detected shallow pages such as automatically generated content, scraped content or doorway pages. Nobody likes the middle man, if you’re copying content from other sites or using small amounts of content to then send visitors somewhere else., you’ll be punished.

Cloaking and/or spammy redirects:

Google has found that you’re showing one page to users and another to the search engines, or redirecting visitors to a page other than the one shown to Google. If you’re doing this, Google will start cloaking you from their search results, and you won’t be found again.

Unnatural links from your site:

Google has found unnatural or manipulative outbound links on your site. Guess what this will get you… you’ll naturally be thrown out of Google’s search results.

Pure spam:

Google has found that your site uses “aggressive spam techniques” like cloaking or scraping, or is guilty of other “egregious” violations. No fancy mustard will save this spam sandwich, you’ll be thrown out with the garbage.

Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing:

Google has found text that’s hidden from users but not search engines, and/or multiple keywords on a page, for the purposes of manipulating your rankings. Yep you guessed it. Hiding keywords will get you hidden from search results and the game will be over.

So the lesson is, Google wants us to have great sites and lots of traffic, all we have to do is make sure we listen.

 

4 Steps to Understanding if Facebook & Twitter Ads Really Work for You

I just read an article about a Gallup Poll that claimed Facebook and Twitter ads do not influence people to buy.  In the post they stated:

According to the polling firm’s latest “State of the American Consumer” report, released Monday, just 5% of Americans say social media advertising has a great deal of influence on which products they buy. In fact, 62% of the 18,000 people Gallup surveyed said social media advertising has no effect on their purchase decisions at all.

If you go directly to the Gallup Poll you’ll see the numbers

social media gallup poll

 

social media gallup poll

If you look at the stats 35% said they did influence them. The writers of the poll also tried to trivialize the number of millennials that are influenced. Their poll shows 50% said that social media ads do influence them. That doesn’t sound too bad… if you understand marketing at all.

First of all the Gallup Poll is an outdated non-scientific study that was developed before the digital age and is inherently flawed.  If you really want to know if ads work for you, try a more scientific method.

4 Steps You Need to Take to Really Understand if Facebook & Twitter Ads Work for You

  1. Define what a conversion is for you.
  2. Use social media ads to drive to your site.
  3. Create a proper landing page that drives conversions
  4. Use a third party website analytics tool to track visitor engagement and conversions.

Tracking real metrics will give you the proof one way or another. Data about conversions can’t lie. Either you have enough to make it worth it or you don’t.

return on investment roi

Blog – Online Marketing Term of the Week

Blog

noun:

  • Definition of BlogA website or web page where an individual or individuals record opinions, updates, news and other timely information.

verb:

  • To add new material, news updates and/or other information to a webpage or blog.

 

Social Media Meets Real Life at the June Tweetup

Lancaster Tweetups june

Social Media meets real life! Next Thursday we’re hosting June Tweetup!

Come out and join us for some coffee and networking.

See you there!

Don’t forget to follow ths hosts on Twitter @BbeS & @CommonwealthonQ

Here are the details:
When: Thursday, June 26th at 7:30am
Where: Commonwealth on Queen
Want to join? Let us know! Follow the link to RSVP: June Tweetup

Blogging Should be Your First Social Media Platform

blog word cloud

There are many social media “gurus” out that would have you believe that your first step into social media should be Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or maybe something else. Many will even tell you can skip building a website and use one of these platforms as your main internet presence. There are so many choices out there, how do you make the right decision?

These are all great places to be, and yes you should have a presence on the platforms where your target market is. However social media platforms are well known for changing their terms or algorithm without notice. What do you do if you are using Facebook as your main only presence and they decide to eliminate Company Pages for the next big thing? You might have to start over from scratch.

There are so many choices out there, how do you make the right decision?

I’m a big believer that your website should be the center of your online universe. So the first step you should take to get your company into social media, is to start a blog.

Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. You control the format, structure and the way it looks.
  2. You control how people find your blog. Facebook recently changed their algorithm for the news feed and many brands are feeling the sting because they audience is no longer seeing their posts.
  3. You control the analytics and database. By using lead capture forms, calls to action and other lead capture techniques on your blog, you can create a database of prospects and customers that you can directly contact. Plus, no third party company can use them or take them away from you.

Bonus: You can still use other social media platforms, but use them to drive traffic to your blog!

digital marketing strategy

Black Hat SEO – Online Marketing Term of the Week

Black Hat SEO

  • black hat seo The use of unaccepted or frowned upon SEO practices in order to get higher rankings and more traffic.
  • Use at the risk of being dropped from the engines or at least being removed from high rankings.
  • Anytime you are doing anything to try to trick the search engines to rank your site. It’s a slippery slope!

 

White Hat SEO – Online Marketing Term of the Week

White Hat SEO

  • The use of accepted SEO practices in order to get higher rankings, more traffic, etc.
  • With the evolution of search engines this come to mean focusing more on the content and understanding why people search rather then focusing on the search engines.

white hat seo

SEO – Online Marketing Term of the Week

SEO

  • Search Engine Optimization.
  • The act of modifying a web site to affect the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.
  • A process of helping people and companies get found online

SEO - Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine – Online Marketing Term of the Week

Search Engine

  • A program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web.
  • Search Engine examples: Google, Yahoo, Bing

search engines google yahoo bing