Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Social Media: A Real World Success Story

Who do you think recently is the most successful user of social media for professional promotion? Politics and political issues aside, I offer that President Trump is that person. Primarily, he uses Twitter as his platform of choice for communicating directly to his audience. However, 2nd to him might possibly be me!
I was recently interviewed for the "Secrets of College Planning" show on Princeton Community TV by Anthony Uva, the show's host. We discussed Information Technology topics that would be helpful to high school aged students looking to enter a college or technical school after completing high school. The broadcast date for my appearance was Friday, May 19, 2017. Since the broadcast, I learned that my appearance twice registered in the Top-10 list of broadcast views for Princeton Community TV shows in June and July. In fact, my appearance was the station's number 1 show for July. Why was that?

Princeton Community TV is a local television station with a dedicated following of viewers and show hosts. Being local community television, it of course has a relatively limited broadcast range and limited viewership. However, they do post their programs on their own Princeton Community TV Vimeo channel, making the shows available world wide via the internet. Vimeo is an internet based video hosting website which allows users to upload and share video content. That was my key to getting my show robust attention.

I used several social media platforms to announce my appearance on the show. My platforms of choice, which I regularly use professionally, are LinkedIn, Twitter, Email Marketing and blogging. In LinkedIn, I posted that I appeared on the TV show to my network connections, and to each of the LinkedIn groups where I am a member. I emailed my entire list of over 1,600 email contacts, and I tweeted. The result of my social media campaign increased viewership to my appearance on the show via Vimeo, I generate additional traffic to my own website, and I even received a few requests asking of my availability to speak with prospective clients.

Social media is a tremendous resource for growing your professional brand awareness and your business. When you have a presence on social media you are able to promote your professional brand by quickly sharing content with a wide audience. In addition, you make it easier for your customers to find and connect with you. Not only does social media help you direct people to your website, but the more social media shares & likes you receive, the higher your search engine (SEO) ranking will be.

Social media is a big topic and there are many relevant platforms. If you are new to using using social media, it may even seem overwhelming to start. But, it does not need to be. Think of the old joke, how do you eat a 1,000 pound elephant? The answer of course is, one bite at a time. So, start using social media in the same way. Start with only one platform. Use that for a while and until you get comfortable with it. When you are very comfortable, add another social media platform. As for which social media platform to start using, use the one that you determine your audience members (prospective customers) use. Also, look to use the one that your competition uses the most since they are already communicating with your prospective customers.

Click here to contact me regarding this or any other blog topic. Also, I welcome comments, which you can post below.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Search Engine Optimization: On-Page vs. Off-Page

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy focused on growing visibility of your website in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to your website on the web. Let's begin to look at On Page and Off Page SEO...

Why Your Website Needs SEO
The majority of web traffic is driven by the major search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, and Yahoo!). Although social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, search engines are the primary method of navigation for most internet users. Search engines provide traffic to your website from people looking for what you offer. Traffic to your website can provide income, exposure and promote your brand. If the search engines cannot find your website, your website is functionally irrelevant. Thus, you miss out on the opportunities to drive traffic to your website.

How Search Engines Search
Search engines perform two major functions: crawling and index building. The result of crawling and index building is what allows the search engines to rank websites and match users with the most relevant results to their search:
  • Crawling - Search engines have automated robot programs, called "crawlers" or "spiders". The purpose of these programs is to run all the time to reach the many billions of web pages and documents. Then, it sends the information it finds back to the search engines.
  • Index Building - Once the search engines receive the web page information from the crawlers, they decipher the relevant information from them and store that in massive databases to be recalled when needed for a search query. Index building is the process of organizing and relating all of the information in the massive databases.
Keywords are the words and phrases that internet users type into the search box of a search engine to find websites that match for what they are looking. They are very important for every website since they drive targeted traffic to your website. When done well, using the right keywords can greatly increase website traffic.

On-Page SEO
On-page SEO refers to the content on your actual website pages. Your focus is the act of optimizing different parts of your website with relevant keywords, which will affect your search engine rankings. Some of the the biggest factors in On-Page SEO to consider are:
  • Title Tags - Put your targeted keywords in the title tag of each page on your site. 
  • Headings (H1 tag) - Headings are usually the largest words on the page, and for that reason, search engines give them a little more weight than your other page copy.  Work your target keywords into the headings of each web page. But, make sure you accurately reflect your page content.
  • URL Structure - Put keywords into your web page URLs if possible. However, do not change any of your current web page URLs just so they have keywords in them. That's because the SEO you have already earned will become broken.
  • Alt Text For Images – This is text that isn't visible to the website visitor. Search engines crawl images as well as written content. So, inserting some relevant keywords that accurately describing the image will help search engines understand your web page's content.
  • Page Content - The content on your web pages needs to useful to people. It needs to be easy to read and provide value to the end user. Be sure you create content on your website targeting the keywords that will be relevant to online searchers and search engines.
  • Internal Linking - Linking internally to other pages and documents on your website is useful to website visitors, and it is also useful to search engines.
On-page SEO ensures that your website can be read by both potential customers and search engine robots. With good on-page SEO, search engines can easily understand what your site is about, navigate the structure and content of your website, and rank your website accordingly.

Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO is the process of getting other websites to link to your website. Those links are called back links. When search engines find back links to your website, it increases the relevancy of your website in the search engine index.

Do I Start with On-Page or Off-Page SEO?
Don't choose between on-page and off-page SEO. On-page and off-page SEO work together to improve your search engine rankings in complementary fashion

On-page SEO is typically quicker and easier to implement. The reason why is that you should have the ability to change any of the visible and hidden content on your own website. So, start with on-page SEO. Ways to build back links to your website for off-page SEO are:
  • Add your website link to your social media pages (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc.).
  • Ask friends, business associates and vendors to add your website link to their websites. In exchange, offer to do the same for them.
  • Promote your website via social media and other digital marketing platforms to create interest. Encourage those content readers to add you link to your website.
  • Offer to write content, articles or blog posts for other website. In your provided content, put a link to your website.

Click here to contact me regarding this or any other blog post. Also, I welcome comments, which you can post below.