What to Think About Facebook’s Instant Articles

A lot of the buzz surrounding Facebook as of late is the launch of Facebook Instant Articles. This mobile-only platform is effectively raising the bar for content publishers by enabling you to create an incredibly rich, multi-layered approach to content that will amaze and engage.

Facebook Instant Articles are a new platform for publishing content on Facebook that load much faster than normal articles on Facebook, offer several multimedia enhancements that make this more of an experience than an article, and ultimately give the publisher far more control than they had previously.

But what can it do for me you ask? Well at the moment, it’s in a testing mode with only 9 publishers as part of the trial. (The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild) Facebook wants to eventually roll this out to anyone who wants to share stories, but that is not available at this time.

Some of the cool features of Facebook Instant Articles

  • Want to put in embedded tweets, YouTube videos, photos, image galleries, videos and interactive graphics directly into the posts? Not a problem! They will even start directly up, increasing time on site and engagement.
  • Need more detail? You can use the handy zoom feature to have a closer look into videos, images and maps.
  • Like what you see? You can Like or comment on pages directly inside the app!
  • Publish your own logos and Facebook Fan page follow buttons within the story.
  • Need more stats? Your Google Analytics integrate nicely with the articles.

Although Facebook Instant Articles are only in Beta mode now, Facebook wants to eventually roll this out to anyone who wants to share stories on Facebook. Facebook is allowing publishers who post sponsored content (like Buzzfeed) to have that content shared. (About the only way anyone not associated with the aforementioned 9 publishers can get their own content on there at the moment)

The look and feel of Facebook Instant Articles will mark a raising of the bar with regards to publishing content on the web, particularly the mobile web. Once people have seen the amazing versatility and engagement achievable with this platform, you’ll have a tough time getting them to settle for anything less.

Using LinkedIn

Check out LinkedIn’s Publishing Options

I’ll wager that when you consider publishing your content anywhere other than your site or blog your thoughts don’t usually wander to LinkedIn. Until last fall when the powerhouse social media networking site opened their platform to influencers to publish upon, no one else did either!

Now that it is open to the all LinkedIn users, it’s still somewhat of an afterthought among content marketers. This is a shame, because publishing on LinkedIn is pay dirt for content marketers who know how to use it effectively. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you need to be putting great content onto this platform!

5 Reasons to post your content on LinkedIn!

To establish authority – Publishing before a community of professionals is a terrific way of becoming the thought leader you are seeking to be. This can help you in many ways, not only on LinkedIn in terms of added connections and influence, but in your industry and Google as well.

Syndicating your content – Being able to post content that you may have used on your blog a while ago is a good way to find a new readership. Many times the audience on LinkedIn will not have seen your content, and may be more inclined to give it a serious read, given the nature of the platform.

Getting your content before a targeted audience – This is a professional site populated and frequented by pros, and as such you will find a lot less of the fluff traffic that may otherwise come upon your content. This is accomplished by publishing before your connections, and to LinkedIn Groups for wider reach.

LinkedIn audiences are more engaged – The audiences on LinkedIn have shown to be more engaged , and love to ask questions, comment and even contact you if your content strikes a chord.

The possible viral effect – One way LinkedIn publishers hit it big is when their content starts to get some traction, LinkedIn often steps in and promotes it on of their Pulse category pages, and even better, sometimes on the home page itself! Achieve that and you’ll be well on your way to authority status on LinkedIn and off!

SEO Content Marketing

SEO for Content Marketing: The Basics

A lot of people have bought into the erroneous notion that SEO and content marketing are two separate animals. Perhaps that might have been somewhat true back in the day, these days the two are so interwoven as to be thought of concurrently.

What is necessary now is a marriage of sorts between the two. SEO can’t exist without content, and content needs SEO to rank as well as it can.

We need to think about how they can complement one another, not jockey for position. Toward that end, let’s look at several tips for making sure your content and SEO play nice together!

SEO for Content Marketing – 7 Useful Tips!

Integrate keywords naturally (but with SEO in the back of your mind!) – Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing your way to top rankings, but they still play a vital role. Be sure you use your primary keyword in titles, at the front of your content, and other strategic places.

Still do on-page SEO – It’s still extremely important, perhaps more than ever, to make sure things like SEO title tags, Meta data, image tags and H1 tags are constructed properly.

Satisfy searcher intent – These days Google is on a quest to make sure that they are serving the best content to match the query as they can. And that means you now should concentrate on writing entirely on-topic, and not concern yourself with satisfying the search algorithm.

Makes sure your pages are mobile friendly – The world’s going mobile, and now over half of all traffic is found on mobile devices. Make it your business to know that your mobile pages are ship-shape!

Use social media – Whether social signals count for much in the search algorithm is a hotly debated topic, but one thing is certain: that’s where the people are. Employ social sharing buttons on all your content and you might find some of them!

Utilize visual content – People process images 60,000 times faster than text, so it only makes sense to use as much visual content as you can. It also helps average time on page, which IS a ranking factor.

Use expert wording – The more expertly you speak on a subject, the more favor you’ll find in Google’s rankings. They are delivering the best, most authoritative content they can come up with, and obviously you want that to be yours!

Raising Start Up Funds

See the 7 Questions You Need Answers to Before Soliciting Startup Funds

When starting a new business, at some point you’re probably going to have to raise funds for it, and if you’re like most of us, you haven’t a clue regarding the types of questions you’ll need answers to, both for your business and for your potential investors.

Potential investors will want to know your answers also, and rather than head into the process unprepared, let’s help make you more ready by listing at least some of the important questions you’ll want to have answers to.

7 Questions that need answers for startup funding

How much capital do you need? – Having a clear idea about how much capital you will need obviously simplifies the task considerably. Evaluate what your costs are going to be, and understand that it always costs more!

What will it cost you? – What are you willing to offer for this money? Is it going to be shares of your company, and how much is that? 10%? 25%? This is something you need a firm grasp on, and at least initially not be swayed from.

When do you have to pay it back? – When will you be expected to repay this investment? Are the terms you’ll receive conducive to running your business while doing so? How much strain will this produce on the business?

What’s the growth plan? – This is a significant factor your investors and you should both be interested in. Together with the growth plan a time frame is expected.

What are you willing to risk? – Are you willing to put up equity (other than sweat equity) in your startup? This can sometimes make it easier for others to see their way clear to invest.

How much input do you want? – Making it crystal clear from the start how much outside input is welcome is a good idea. Many investors really want nothing to do with this, but there are others…

Can you name your target audience? – Having the ability to clearly identify your ideal customers is a comforting sign to prospective investors. It goes a long way toward helping them know that you really do have a handle on your business!

Get Blog Traffic

How to Build Traffic to Your Blog

If you’ve started a blog for your small business you know the worst thing that can happen is that no one reads it. I mean, that sorta defeats the purpose, am I right?

Done correctly, a business blog will have a multi-faceted benefit to your business. It can not just bring you new customers, it can help shape and define your brand, establish authority, amplify search rankings, enable social sharing and much more.

Yet if this is taken up haphazardly, or worse yet, indifferently, you’re going to be preaching to the choir, and wondering why you started this dang blog in the first place.

One the best ways to start building a blog audience is through the use of paid ads. This doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, and it can bring about great results if you give it a little time. Here are 5 recommendations for buying that traffic.

5 Places to buy paid ads for your blog

Outbrain – You’ve seen these ads, usually following content on major websites. Outbrain’s Amplify is great for showcasing your best blog posts, and it carries the added benefit of placing your content on major sites with massive readership you might not have been able to otherwise. (Tip: Partner this with a retargeting ad on Facebook for killer results!)

Facebook Ads – If you haven’t begun using Facebook ads yet, you are definitely missing the boat. The most robust ad targeting available on the Web allows you to precisely target your ads, and get in front of precisely who you want to see to your pages!

Google Adwords – The granddaddy of paid ads is still kicking, and can be useful mainly for their vast reach in online advertising. Care should be taken here not to get taken to the cleaners, however.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates – If you have content that appeals to professionals in any sense, this could be a goldmine for you. People on LinkedIn are more businesslike, and a bit more engaging, so if this one fits, don’t hold back!

Pinterest Promoted Pins – While still asking you to get on a waiting list, once you’re in you will find a lot of engaged people who love to interact. The demographic of Pinterest is primarily female, so if your product or service is visual and applies to women, go for it!

Get Website Traffic

Choose the Right Kind of Traffic for Your Site

Probably the chief complaint heard among people attempting to run a business online is that they simply don’t have enough traffic.

While this is no doubt true, the methodology they use to try and remedy this situation is entirely faulty. The reality is, there are literally hundreds of ways to generate traffic to your pages, some quite easy. However whether or not this traffic does you any good is another question entirely.

What is really needed is traffic from your specific audience. If you are simply trying to get the most visitors you can, you’re missing the boat here. You have to be advertising and otherwise visible where your particular audience hangs out, so you can interest them. Let’s consider several steps to take toward this goal.

Pre-Thinking your traffic campaign

Before you begin to spend money or time, get great answers to these questions.

  • Just who is your audience? – Understanding your ideal customer demographic is a important key to advertising effectively. What are the ages, sex and interests of your customer avatar? You need to know this to do the best job you possibly can.
  • Where do they hang out? – Knowing where your audience congregates is great intelligence you need to have. This may be on a particular social network, industry forum, or other popular site.
  • What tools will you use? – Tools like Alexa for demographic information about a particular site is useful. One of the fastest and best ways to gather info about your audience is through Facebook’s Audience Insights. It’s free if you have an ad account, which is also free. This tool provides you with so much actionable info it’s ridiculous.

Okay, next step?

So now that you’ve gathered your data, you need to decide what traffic method will work best for your given audience. That may be Facebook ads, or ads on LinkedIn, Pinterest or Twitter. Perhaps a content marketing campaign aimed at securing search rankings for your keywords. Or maybe a video marketing initiative.

Whichever method it ends up being, the point is to make sure you have targeted your audience as best you can BEFORE you begin to market. It’s all about finding the best return on your investment you can!

Your Marketing Plan

See What Goes into a Marketing Plan for your Small Business

I bet every time you’ve seen the cart placed before the horse, it never worked, right? So it would follow that this approach in business is doomed to fail also? Yep. If you’re starting out you’ll want to create a marketing plan for your small business BEFORE spending money or worse, your valuable time.

This is not all that complicated, but it’s a necessary step if you want to avoid a few potential pitfalls on the way. Here are 5 suggestions intended to help you create a marketing plan specific to your small business.

5 Great tips to help create a marketing plan for your small business!

Determine your goals – You need one primary goal, and a few smaller intermediate type goals to help motivate and gauge progress along the way. Write them down so all can see and be held accountable.

Define who your audience is – Taking a snapshot of who your ideal customer is, and what they like, dislike, where they hang out and more is a crucial step in making an intelligent marketing plan. Knowing this information ahead of time saves much time and money.

How you intend to market – There are innumerable ways to get your message out, but knowing the best and right way for your particular business can provide you with a clear focus and save resources. Regardless of which method you choose, whether it’s paid ads or organic search marketing, it needs to be the right one for you!

Know what else you need – There will very likely be pieces in the puzzle that are essential to the plan that need to be in pace as well. This can sometimes be a marketing funnel, landing pages or an email marketing sequence.

Set a timeline – Giving your campaign a timeline for implementation and completion is important to a successful marketing plan. It will also help keep all members of the team on task and striving to the goal.

About SEO Title Tag

How to Reconcile SEO Title Tags and Clickworthy Headlines

Understanding how to write effective SEO title tags and headlines can be confusing these days. See you’re not the only one! Many struggle over making it SEO optimized and at the same time enticing enough to draw in the clicks, which is the main job of a headline, right?

While at first blush the symbiotic relationship between title tags and headlines can seem at odds, but you have to be able to find a happy medium. Recognize first that one without the other leads to failure is a good first step.

Let’s examine each, and find out if there’s way to satisfy the needs of both sufficiently.

What goes into a good SEO title tag?

With a title tag limited to around 64 characters, you are space-challenged right from the get-go. This is the number of characters that will appear in the search results, so you need to make it count.

What’s also important to Google at present is the intent of the search query. What’s the searcher actually looking for? Google is getting better and better at reading this, and you need to write with this in mind.

It’s fine if you can squeeze in another keyword without it becomming unreadable, but your words will need to reflect what the searcher has in mind.

So what makes a good page headline?

Conversely, your page headline has to entice the reader to read on, to yearn for more information. A lot of great headlines will invoke curiosity, promise solutions, and inject emotions.

“How to write a novel in 30 days and stay married.” This title make a bold promise, has a time element and gets a smile. (From those of us who are married)

Making the Two become One

Many times it’s a decision you have to make: is this piece designed to rank well for the ages, or is it something that you may be using socially, or driving paid traffic to. It’s not that you can’t have both, but sometimes the intersect between SEO and enticing titles is quite small. Understanding your purpose for the piece can help you choose which route to take.

Local SEO News

7 Tips for Enhancing your Local SEO

By Google’s own admission, they make between 500-600 changes to the algorithm annually, so being aware of all of them and how they affect your site can be a full time job. If you’re frustrated attempting to keep up with all the changes that transpire within the Google Local search space, then take heart, you’re not alone!

Just in the last year there was the Pigeon update, aimed primarily at local, MobileGeddon, and the demise of Carousel. These major events together with the dozens of minor shifts make it time to look at what we need to do to keep current.

In order to keep things simple here, we’ve distilled our list of best Local SEO practices to a mere 7. Implement these as soon as you can for best results!

7 Best Practices for Local SEO

Don’t stop link building – But do it naturally! Be certain that you’re creating awesome content that is getting shared as widely as possible, and see the links flow in. These are the best types of links you can acquire.

Be sure to GEO-target your pages – The Pigeon update was all about preferring local content over global when possible. Make it possible on your pages with local geo-modifiers.

Citations still matter – These days it’s about getting quality citations, and cleaning them up so as not to have duplicate entries and inconsistent data.

Customer reviews help immensely! – With more than 90% of consumers reading online customer reviews before purchasing, these are more important than ever. A great form of social proof, you need to solicit these from happy customers and reward them if you have to.

Use Google My Business – Google’s local business tool suite is an remarkable tool that you need to be fully invested in. There are so many ways this helps your business, but one of the main ones is the ability to easily manage reviews.

Create and optimize local images – Use unique local images and make sure they are geo-tagged appropriately. This can help you in several ways, including Google Images, the 7 pack, Your Google My Business page and more.

Take advantage of social sharing – Make sure you have social media icons present on all your pages and content so as to provide your audience with the opportunity to share your content far and wide!

Google Analytics

Don’t Fear Google Analytics: Get Started with These 5 Reports

Google Analytics is a great tool, with a wealth of information available. The truth is, there is so much there that when you’re first starting out, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed at the scope of it, and not be able to make much use of this fantastic resource.

We’ve distilled this down a bit here, and offer you a menu of 5 useful reports you’ll want to keep an eye on. These 5 will help you the most, not only from an organizational standpoint but also with a practical, useful insight into what you can do to improve page performance.

5 Google Analytics reports you’ll want to view

Search queries – This is one of the easiest ways to use Analytics keyword data, You need to have your Google Webmaster account connected to your GA account to make this work, but you have to do that anyway. Once done, this report provides you with the keywords you are ranking for, how many impressions they’re getting, number of clicks, and your click-through rate.

Mobile device use – If your site is not optimized well for mobile, and Google has provided us plenty of warning about an April 21st, 2015 algorithm change that will hurt sites that aren’t; this report shows you which pages are doing well with mobile.

Referring sites – Knowing which sites are sending you traffic (and links) on an ongoing basis is something you’ll want to check regularly. If that traffic begins to dip, you’ll want to know why, and see if there is a remedy, such as a bad link, dated content or other reasons.

Session data – This has to do with the amount of time a visitor spends on your site. This is important data to know, as the length of time a visitor is actively engaged on your site has a great impact on your page performance in the search rankings.

Raw page views and exits – This is how many times your pages are viewed. Closely related is the pages where visitors exit the site from: you want to know this and investigate why.

So now you have a few reports to get you started with Google Analytics. It can do so much more, but for now, let’s begin with these.