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Keyword research is a component of diving into the mind of your targeted traffic. This is because you are basically predicting what users want based on a query they are performing in a search engine. 

Small Businesses Are Doing Wrong on Social Media

Over 900 million people in the world are on Facebook, including over 180 million Americans, or 1 in 2 adults. Twitter recently surpassed 300 million accounts. Small business owners are trying to take advantage of these trends, but few are fully reaping the rewards.

Here are 5 tips for small business owners to be more likeable and ensure greater success using social media:

1---Listen first. Before your first tweet, search Twitter for people talking about your business and your competitors. Search using words that your prospective customers would say as well. For example, if you’re an accountant, use Twitter to search for people tweeting the words “need an accountant” in your town. You’ll be surprised how many people are already looking for you.

2--Don’t tell your customers to like you and follow you, tell them why and how they should. Everywhere you turn, you see “Like us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter.” Huh? Why? How? Give your customers a reason to connect with you on social networks, answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” and then make it incredibly easy to do so. Note the difference between these two calls to action: “Like my book’s page on Facebook” and “Get answers to all your social media questions

3- Wondering why nobody’s responding to your posts on Facebook? It’s probably because you’re not asking questions. Social media is about engagement and having a conversation, not about self-promotion. If a pizza place posts on Facebook, “Come on by, 2 pizzas for just $12,” nobody will comment, and nobody will show up. If that same pizza place posts, “What’s your favorite topping?” people will comment online– and then be more likely to show up.

4-  Share pictures and videos. People love photos. The biggest reason Facebook has gone from 0 to 900 million users in 7 years is photos. Photos and videos tell stories about you in ways that text alone cannot. You don’t need a production budget, either. Use your smartphone to take pictures and short videos of customers, staff, and cool things at your business, and then upload them directly to Facebook and Twitter. A picture really is worth a thousand words – and a video is worth a thousand pictures.

5-Spend at least 30 minutes a day on social media. If you bought a newspaper ad or radio ad, you wouldn’t spend 5 minutes on it or relegate it to interns. Plus, there’s a lot to learn, and every week, new tools and opportunities across social networks emerge. Spend real time each day reading and learning, listening and responding, and truly joining the conversation. The more time and effort you put in to social media, the more benefits your business will receive.

Better Engagement Through Content Optimization

According to a study by AOL & Nielsen, 53% of time on the internet is content consumption and in the U.S. alone, 27 million pieces of content are shared each day, not counting status updates and tweets. In the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs report earlier this year, 9 out of 10 B2B marketers are using content marketing tactics to grow their business.

While content demand and interaction is high along with the reported levels of content marketing implementation by marketers, most companies are not satisfied with their ability to create compelling content over time, connect that content to relevant audiences and measure the full impact of the content investment.

   It’s not enough simply to tell a great story in an engaging way.

Optimizing content marketing strategy is essential and that means understanding how target audiences find and seek out information sources. What are they searching on and what to . There’s a big push towards visual marketing with images and video, but is that really all you need to be successful with your contentpics are they asking about on the social web? With that insight we can better optimize our editorial plan.

Optimization is a continuous process of hypothesis, implementation, measurement and refinement.

Content Marketers that can see beyond the gross claims about SEO as well as the “SEO is dead” diatribe, will realize the necessity of continuous performance improvement from ongoing optimization. At Content Marketing World, my presentation, “Optimize and Socialize Your Content Marketing” will provide a model of approach that helps develop and optimize content across the sales funnel. 

Seven Ways to improve your sales results

1. Don’t close sales – Open relationships instead

For years, sales trainers used to tell people about the art of closing a sale. Today, we understand that business is all about people and that if we want to earn a client and encourage their ongoing patronage, we need to treat them like humans. This means building great, professional relationships with them.

2. Look for the gold in your inbox

Find the last 10 emails you opened, which came from people or businesses that you didn’t know. Look for what it was that caused you to open them. Then think of ways to incorporate the lesson into your own email marketing.
3. Develop more word of mouth referrals

Think of the people and businesses that you recommend to friends. In each case, you will find that they have earned your trust and that the service they provide is remarkable in some way. We talk or remark, on things that are remark(able). If you want to attract word of mouth referrals, you need to offer a service that inspires or motivates people to talk about it.

4. Be extremely easy to contact

If you want to attract more sales inquiries from your website, make sure it’s as easy as possible for people to contact you. Link to your contact page from all your most visited pages. If you use a contact form, only ask for the details you MUST have. Every additional field you add to a contact form loses you a percentage of inquiries.

5. Get noticed by the right people

Many small business owners are uncomfortable at the prospect of standing out. The challenge with that mindset, is that you can’t be outstanding without standing out. That’s not just a play on words, it’s a cornerstone of successful marketing.

Your prospective clients or customers can’t see you if you’re hidden in the background. Most small business owners look and sound almost identical, when you read their marketing or follow them on a social network. By copying what you see others doing, rather than being yourself, you become camouflaged. Step out from the masses and tell your marketplace who you are and why they should listen to you. There are some ideas here on standing out.

6. Match your marketing to your marketplace

Some of the most popular marketing sites are operated by people, who make THEIR money selling low price affiliate marketing products or software. If you try and apply the same ‘killer’ techniques they use, when marketing your service based business, you will find it far less effective. I spoke recently with an accountant whose blog wasn’t generating any leads whatsoever. Her problem was that her site looked and sounded just like an affiliate marketing site. We changed it so that it reflected the service she provided and the inquiries immediately started to flow. I have seen that same issue hurt many, many service providers.

If you want to massively improve your marketing results, match your marketing to your marketplace.

7. Put your marketing ideas into action

Those great ideas you have for developing a new product or service can’t help you, if you don’t use them. There are few things in business more frustrating than seeing someone successfully put an idea into action, which you had years ago but didn’t run with. Similarly, many business owners wait until January to make important changes to their marketing, when it should be acted on as soon as possible.Start off by actioning just one of your marketing ideas and see what happens. Test the idea. Measure the feedback. Learn from it and move forward. 

What is Cloaking?

Cloaking and SEO. Should I use Cloaking?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to the success of a website. However, successful search engine optimization takes time. Many webmasters don't want to invest the time and work that's necessary to optimize a site.

For that reason, some webmasters use cloaking to get their websites listed on search engines.

What is cloaking?

A website that uses cloaking recognizes search engine spiders by their IP address. It returns web pages to search engine spiders that are different from the web pages that web surfers see. Usually, the cloaking software creates hundreds of web pages that are optimized for a special search term so that search engine spiders get the impression that the website contains a lot of relevant information about a special topic.

If you often search on Google then you probably can confirm that you can get good results with cloaking. You can often find web pages on Google that have little to do with the description on the result page.

Does this mean that cloaking is the holy grail of SEO?

Cloaking obviously works. Does this mean that you should use it for your web pages? That would be very risky. Very few web pages that use cloaking can keep their search engine rankings for a long time.

Google has a clear statement about cloaking on its webmaster pages: "Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as cloaking."

In general, most websites that use cloaking are getting banned from Google and other search engines sooner or later. It's only a question of time. In countries such as Germany it can even be illegal to use cloaking. If you want to get long term results with your website, you should avoid cloaking at all costs. This is the answer to your question, should I use cloaking?
If search engines don't like cloaking, what do they want?

Search engines want to return high quality websites to their searchers. That means that you must make sure that your website is such a high quality site. There are three main factors that make a website a high quality website:
Your website should have a lot of content. If your website consists of one or two pages or just a few pictures then it will be very difficult to get high search engine rankings. Search engines also aren't interested in the 825th eBay affiliate page. It's important that your web page has great content. If that content can only be found on your website then that is even better.

You must make sure that search engines can parse your web pages. Make sure that your HTML code is clean and that search engines can easily find out what your web pages are about. Cluttered HTML code and web pages that have been 'optimized' for dozens of keywords often prevent high rankings. Focus on one or two keywords per web page. It's better that a web page is highly relevant to one or two keywords than somewhat relevant to a lot of keywords.

Your website must have good incoming links. Links from centralized link farms and link exchange systems don't work. You should make sure that the web sites that link to you are at least loosely related to your web site. The more related websites link to your site, the better.

All of this requires work and efforts on your part. Your web site is an important part of your business that requires the same attention as other parts of your business. The sooner you treat search engine optimization as an important investment for your web site success the sooner you'll get great results. It is important, and a lot easier, to use proper tools to get the best return for your efforts.

Cloaking is something you should be aware of, but avoid using for long term results of SEO.

Image Optimization

Search engine optimization includes images too, how to optimize images used in articles and other web-based content is a process relatively simple.

First step is to chose the right image for your content article.

Search and chose best descriptive images related with your text content article.

First step is to search for the best descriptive image After you chose or edit/create your image save it as .jpeg (.jpeg extension image format allows you to add some additional bites/info). If you use XP as OS, right Click on your image and chose Properties and fill out the empty fields like name, author, owner, keywords description and so on. On Windows 7 it's much simpler: right click > Properties and go to Details tab . Same step here...fill out all related fields (title, rated, tags, comment...and so on). Even if the jpeg image accumulates more bits this steps are important.

Image size and dimensions:

Image size is important also. Smaller images (favicons for example are great but not so good to use as relevant images in articles), bigger images slow down your site (page upload) choice will be this: jpeg image format (for high quality) smaller or maxim 500px width, for medium quality I use .gif images (poor quality image but less space, faster site upload/ page uploads faster).

Uploading and inserting images in article:

Do not use large images! If your article is about cars for example and you chose to upload/add a image to your article, DO NOT UPLOAD a wallpaper....even if looks great and unique, avoid this approach. Using large images when you only need a simple 200 or 450px wide image slows down your page speed. Tip: take time and crop your image at desired dimension. This step helps browser to display the actual original image without any re-dimensions or predefined image attributes."

ALWAYS use "alt" attribute (alternative text) and dimensions attribute (width="value in px" height="value in px"). If available use caption attribute.

Example: <img alt=" image description" src="image url source" width="200px" height="200px"/>

alt= informs browser what is the image description and often is displayed as text if image is not available.

width/height= informs browser about width/height image and how to display your image

Additional: align, caption, long description, hyperlink (linked to)

Avoid to use to many images hosted on other servers because http request slows down you speed page.

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