3 Audiences Your Writing Should Be Targeting

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you already write a blog of your own, or are at least considering starting one in the future. With that in mind, I ask you: who do you write for, and why do you write for them?

Photo by Jyrki Salmi - Flickr CC

Photo by Jyrki Salmi – Flickr CC

No, I’m not asking you to describe your marketing personas, or the demographics of your target audience, but a broader question that gets to the  intent behind your writing?

“Huh?”

For example, a few years ago, Marcus Sheridan (The Sales Lion) wrote an article about coming to the realization that collecting “blog comments” was “not a business model”. He didn’t come right out and say that he was writing for comments, but did admit to having an ego and enjoying the growing number of comments his blog was receiving. You can certainly imagine that clouding a writer’s objectives.

Shortly after joining Triberr, I noticed (and yes – enjoyed), the increased number of social media shares that my articles were getting. As a result, I found myself thinking of, and wanting to write about, topics that would appeal to that audience – an audience primarily consisting of other marketers and bloggers – an audience that was not likely to hire me.

Don’t get me wrong, joining Triberr was one of the best things I’ve done as a blogger  – I’ve gained a great deal of wisdom, support (and amplification) from the bloggers and friends that I’ve met there, but I’ve yet to find a client on Triberr. From a business perspective, is it wise for me to be writing content directed at my tribemates?

Honestly, I wasn’t sure until about a year ago. Until then, I simply let indecision, ego, and inertia guide my writing.

So let me ask you again: who do you write for, and why do you write for them?

As a practitioner of the “dark arts”, you probably expect me to suggest your writing should be product and/or service related, and based on important search related keywords. I don’t deny it – I’m a strong believer in keyword research, and the benefits of writing for the search engines.

However, the search engines are only one of the three “audiences” that your writing should be targeting, and not even the most important.

The 3 Audiences Your Writing Should Be Targeting

1. Your prospective clients: as most of you would agree, your marketing personas are who you should be writing for. Your content should always be well written and be of possible interest/help to your potential clients.

2. Search Engines: If you hope to be found on the search engine results pages, you need to write content related to the products or services you want to be found for – period. However, this does not have to be the intent behind every article, and these articles can and should still be well written and of interest to your target readers.

3. The Linkeratti:  I can see the furrowed eyebrows and hear the whispers already -“the who?”. This is a phrase that I learned from Brian Dean at Backlinko, one that he attributed to Rand Fishkin of Moz – it refers to the people (often times, influencers) in your industry that link out to others.

Backlinks (links pointing at your website from another website) are still the currency of authority in the eyes of the search engines – they are hugely important to ranking well in competitive industries and for competitive search terms.

Google’s theory is that if we write good content, others will find it and link to it, and our “good content” will rise to the top of the search engines. This is a nice story, but not a very realistic one (more on this in a future blog) for most bloggers.

Many of us from the marketing industry take backlinking for granted because so many of  us are aware of the importance of linking, and practice it regularly. However, when you get into other industries, very few people practice linking out to content authored by other writers. The few that do are the “linkeratti” for that industry. It is important that you not only create content that is “link worthy”, but that it gets in front of the right people.

This is not to suggest that all of your articles need to address all three audiences. The right mix will depend on your industry, goals, writing, and networking abilities, but for search engine success, you should try to address each of them occasionally.

So, who do you write for, and why do your write for them? Do you need to add content for your marketing persona, the search engines, or the linkeratti?  As always your comments and questions are welcomed and appreciated!

 

 

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Google is Now Identifying “Mobile Friendly” Websites in Mobile Search Results

Last week, Google officially started labeling “mobile-friendly” sites in the mobile search rankings. After testing several variations, they debuted the text label “Mobile-Friendly” on those sites deemed to serve up a good mobile user experience.

mobile-friendlyCriteria for “Mobile-Friendly” Rating

According to the “official” Google announcement, the mobile version of your website must meet the following criteria to be labeled as “mobile-friendly”:Mobile-friendly

  • Text that is readable without zooming
  • Content sized so that users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom to see it
  • Links are spaced far enough apart that user can easily click the desired link
  • Avoids software, like Flash, that does not provide a good mobile experience

Google “Mobile-Friendly” Testing Tool

Is your site mobile-friendly? Find out using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool. The tool also offers feedback on ways to improve the mobile version of your site if needed.

Google's mobile friendly test

Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool also offers feed back regarding your mobile website and the user experience it provides.

If you are using WordPress and having troubles with your Mobile website, Google offers this Guide to help determine what the problem may be.

Is your website “Mobile-Friendly”? Thanks for reading – your question and comments are both welcome and appreciated.

Looking for a Mobile-Friendly website, we build fully Responsive WordPress websites, or can migrate your old WordPress website to a new Responsive theme.

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Real-Time SEO and Marketing Case Study: Las Vegas Real Estate – Part 1

Real Estate SEOI’ve recently started working with Darcy Price, a Las Vegas Realtor and Property Manager with Realty Executives International.

Although his business is doing very well, – he manages over 160 properties, and sells 1-2 homes a month-  he has done very little marketing, real world or online. Realty Executives does list his properties on MLS, Craigslist, and a variety of other national real estate sites, however, he has never used cold calls, flyers, newsletters, billboards, PPC, or social media. His personal branding has been restricted to business cards, “For Sale” signs, a Realty Executives templated website and a few pens.

This project is a unique opportunity to demonstrate both the steps involved in, and the effectiveness of, search engine optimization and online marketing in growing an established, successful business. Unlike most case studies which are shared after the work has been done and the results measured, I’ll be sharing this one through occasional updates as the work is being implemented. I’ll include the strategies, tools, successes and failures that occur during this process.

Current Online Assets

Darcy’s online assets are limited to:

1. Realty Executives Templated Website:

Darcy Price Realty Executive Website

Like many templated websites, it includes limited options for either customization or functionality. In addition the pages are pre-written Realty Executives Stock content. On the plus side, he does own his URL – DarcyPrice.com.

2. LinkedIn Profile: Although he doesn’t recall setting it up, I was able to find a LinkedIn profile for Darcy. There is no picture or profile information, and it lists him at Windemere Real Estate – the company he started with, but left a year ago, and shows one connection.

3. Blog: none

4. Newsletter: has not published a newsletter, but he does have a list of clients, owners, and renters that may be interested in receiving one from him.

5. Reviews: no reviews, but again, a list of satisfied sellers, buyers, owners and renters, that may be willing to provide reviews.

Measuring Current Online Presence

1. Analytics: the current site does not have Google Analytics, so the baseline traffic measurements and traffic breakdown will be established after analytics is set up.

2.  Keyword Ranking: I’ve already completed the initial keyword research. I use My SEO Tool as a dashboard for clients to follow their SEO progress – it tracks their keywords and daily changes in ranking on Google, Bing and Google Local.

I’m tracking 203 keywords related to Las Vegas and Henderson real estate and property management. He’s not currently ranked in the Top 100 spots for any of the keywords that I am tracking, but does rank 1st for his name.

SEO Dashboard

3. Website: Moz rates his Domain Authority as 9/100 and homepage’s Page Authority as 1/100. They show 0 inbound backlinks, while Alexa shows 3 backlinks.

Check back for follow up posts, or subscribe (on top of right-hand sidebar) to receive them by email!

Thanks for reading! As always, you comments, questions, and share are welcomed and appreciated!

 

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BookSmart: The New Rules of Sales and Service by David Meerman Scott

The New Rules of Sales and ServiceIn 2008, when I first read David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR (2nd edition – it’s now in the 4th edition), I was already preparing for the transition from my teaching career. After 15 years, it was time for a change – something new – which at the time, for me, meant an MBA and new career in Financial Planning.

The New Rules of PR and Marketing, and other, similar books, changed all of that. I did finish my MBA, but by that time, knew that I wanted to be a part of the exciting changes that were taking place online and in the marketing industry – changes that involved communication, relationship building, transparency, and educating prospective buyers.

I continue to read marketing and business books today, including most of David’s books since The New Rules. However, after seeing the title of his latest book – The New Rules of Sales and Service –  I doubted that it was a good fit for me. It conjured up images of sales boards, quotas, and cold calling – perhaps more suited to real estate, car dealerships, or office supply companies.

But of course, we’re all in sales to one degree or another, and as a small business owner, I’m most definitely in sales. So I gave the new “New Rules” a read – well, actually a listen, and am now listening to it for the third time :-)

This book is about everything that traditional sales is not – transparency, communication, real time information, engaging with the customer – it is about “restoring the human touch” to sales and services.

The New Rules of Sales and Service picks up where The New Rules of Marketing and PR left off.”

In traditional sales, the salesperson has all of the power and control, but in today’s internet world, the roles have reversed. Buyers no longer need the sales representative for information, and don’t contact the salesperson until they are ready, usually deep into the sales funnel. The seller or customer service agent needs to engage with the customer where and when he/she wants to – real time and in a meaningful way. David Meerman Scott presents all of this and more, with real life examples (stories), data, and strategies.

If you enjoyed The New Rules of Marketing and PR (not an affiliate link), do yourself a favor and pick up or download a copy of The New Rules of Sales and Service (not an affiliate link). If you somehow missed The New Rules of Marketing and PR, then you have two great reads ahead of you!

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Vote for the 2014 Triberr Top 50 Blogs

collage

What makes a great Triberr blogger? Is content by itself enough or do you consider their willingness to share, engage, and support their tribemates? What about posting regularity – do they publish too infrequently, or too often? It’s up to you to decide – nominations are in! It’s now time to vote for your favorite Triberr bloggers!

There are a total of 93 nominations, so we’ve adjusted and made this a list of the Triberr Top 50 – we’ll try for a Top 100 next year :-) You can vote for as many of the nominated bloggers as you wish, but please only vote once for any given blogger.

Voting will be open through Sunday, November 30th, at which point our Top 25 will be filtered and ranked according to their Domain Authority (as measured by Moz) and Klout scores, with the Top 10 moving on to the final round of judging by our panel of content experts: Gini Dietrich, Marcus Sheridan, and Ana Hoffman.

Note to Bloggers: We will  never display your total vote count or exact finishing order (unless you are in the Top 10).

Vote for the 2014 Triber Top 50 Bloggers

 

 

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Google Finally Updates it’s Penguin Algorithm (Penguin 3.0)

Penguin

Photo by Anne Frohlich – Flickr CC

According to Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable, Google has confirmed that they have finally released the long-awaited Penguin update over weekend (started rolling out on Friday).

Google originally launched Penguin in April of 2012. It was designed to identify and penalize sites that were acquiring unnatural links – i.e. buying links, link networks, etc – in order to improve their search rankings.

To recover from Penguin, websites that were penalized had to try to identify the bad links, contact the linking site requesting that they remove the link, disavow remaining bad links, then wait for the next Penguin refresh, the last of which was a over a year ago on October 4th, 2013.

Each new update could potentially clear those sites that were previously penalized but have since cleaned up their link profile, and identify and penalize offending sites that have so far escaped the Penguin penalty.

Although we are still awaiting details, it has been expected that this update will allow Google to run more frequent and regular Penguin refreshes like they do with Panda.

Have you noticed any traffic or ranking changes on your site, or those of your clients?

 

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Google’s Testing More Mobile Ranking Signals & Displays! Is your Mobile Site Ready?

Women checking a moblie site on smartphoneGoogle looks to be preparing to more aggressively identify sites that don’t offer users a good mobile experience.

Already sites that don’t offer a mobile friendly site/pages suffer in those search rankings, and mobile sites that load too slowly are demoted. Now it appears that Google is preparing to take their mobile search ranking criteria up another level.

In two separate articles this past week, Barry Schwartz of the Search Engine RoundTable reported on mobile search related ideas Google is working on.

1. User Experience: Google would like to be able to evaluate user experience and rank those mobiles sites that provide a poor user experience lower. The following Google statement is from  Search Engine Roundtable

“According to our studies, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site that they had trouble accessing from their phone. That includes sites that use fonts which are illegible on mobile, or sites where users have to zoom in or pan around excessively. Mobile is a very important area; the mobile device penetration is over 50% in the USA and most users use their device for browsing websites. Because at Google we are aiming to provide a great user experience on any device, we’re making a big push to ensure the search results we deliver reflect this principle. We want users to be able to enjoy the web wherever they are.”

2. Displaying “Not Mobile Friendly Icons” in Search Results: Google has been testing icons in the search results that identify both “mobile friendly” and “not mobile friendly” websites/pages. Images from Search Engine Roundtable.

Mobile “Friendly” Icon:

Google Mobile Friendly Search IconMobile “Not Friendly” Icon:

Google Not Friendly Search Icon

Update (10/14/14): Google’s also testing a text version of the “Mobile-Friendly” signal: Google’s Text Version of Mobile-Friendly Web Pages In Search Results by Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Roundtable

Test Your Mobile Site

Not sure if your Mobile Site is sufficient. Try these tests.

1. View your Mobile Site: Many business owners are content to know that they have a mobile or responsive site, but don’t bother checking it. Open it up on your smartphone and/or tablet. Make sure it’s easy to navigate and displays what is important to your business – name, phone number address, etc.

2. Fetch and Render as Google: Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see what Google sees when it crawls your site.

Google Web Master Tools Fetch as Google

  • Choose the “view” you want to fetch (i.e. Desktop, Mobile: Smartphone) from the drop down menu, and select “Fetch and Render”.

GWT Fetch and Render

  • Click on the “Fetched” Results to see what Google sees

Google Webmaster tools fetch results

Google Webmaster Tools Fetch and Render Mobile results3. Check your Mobile Site’s Loading Speed:

  • From GWT select Resources > PageSpeed Insights

Google Page Speed Tool

  • See Results: Green is good, yellow needs work, red is poor

mobile site speed test

 

Note: Check your site speed regularly. Last time I checked, both the desktop and mobile version were rated Green. Looks like I have some work to do!

Thanks for reading! As always your questions, comments, and shares are welcomed and appreciated!

4. Check Your Mobile Site’s User Experience (UX):

  • Scroll down from your Site Speed test.

User Experience

 

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Triberr Top 100 Blog Contest for 2014

Triberr Top 100 Blog ContestI’m very excited to announce, with the blessings of Dino and Dan, the Triberr Top 100 Blog contest!

What is Triberr?

Not familiar with Triberr? It’s a free platform for bloggers. Members can form or join tribes to connect with like-minded bloggers.  Tribe members help each other by sharing and supporting each others content.

Why a Contest?

1. To highlight great tribemates: Triberr is more than a place to get shares and grow traffic to your blog (although it will definitely help with that), it is truly a supportive and helpful community. I’ve met and learned from many great people through connections on Triberr.

2. To highlight Triberr: I encourage everyone that I work with to join Triberr. We all benefit from it’s growth.

3. To highlight Great Bloggers: There are some seriously great bloggers on Triberr. I’m familiar with some of them in the marketing and business areas, but I know that there are many I’ve not met or read yet. This contest is open to all Tribes and subject matter. It hopefully will allow bloggers from different verticals to get to know each other, or at least know of each other, and will maybe lead to greater exposure for some deserving bloggers.

How will the Contest Work?

There are 4 stages to this contest:

1. Nomination (10/9 – 10/31): nominate your favorite tribemates (or your own blog)! You may nominate as many blogs as you want, but please only nominate each one time. Nominations will also count as votes.

2. Vote on the Top Blogs (Dates TBA): Those blogs that receive at least two nominations will be included in the contest list for further voting. Vote for as many blogs as you feel are deserving (only one vote per blog).

3. Grading: The Top 25, based on votes, will be objectively ranked based on a formula that will include their Moz Domain Authority Score, Klout Score, etc.

4. Judging: The Top 15 will then be judged and ranked by our judges.

The Top 100 will be announced!

Who Should You Nominate?

The only criteria is that they must be a member of Triberr. After that – you decide. Nominate the best writer, most informative, or most helpful and supportive community member.

Meet our Judges

I’m incredibly excited to announce our judges panel! Although I follow and admire many marketers/bloggers, these three have, by far, been my greatest influencers! I’m very grateful to all three for taking the time out of their demanding schedules to help with this contest.

Gini Dietrich1. Gini Dietrich: Gini is the seemingly tireless founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, author of the Spin Sucks blog, the books Marketing in the Round (May 2012) and Spin Sucks (March, 2014), and a frequent speaker at PR and marketing events.

 

Ana Hoffman2. Ana Hoffman: Ana is the hostess at, and the force behind, the Traffic Generation Cafe where she shares her hard won insights and wisdom about blogging, traffic generation, and traffic conversion on her blog. I highly recommend the Weekly Marketing Skinny – her weekly round-up of the marketing world (to subscribe, click here and scroll down).

 

Marcus Sheridan3. Marcus Sheridan: Marcus shares his vision and passion on The Sales Lion blog, as host of the Mad Marketing podcast, through his Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy eBook, and during his frequent presentations at inbound marketing events. Marcus learned the trade while growing his pool and spa business by successfully transitioning it from traditional to inbound marketing.

Our Top 100 list will be published in December. The Top 100 will be invited to participate in the Triberr Top 100 tribe and will receive a website badge.

A special “thanks” to the amazing creators and hosts of Triberr – Dino Dogan and Dan Cristo –  for allowing this contest, and for all that they do for all of us!

To Nominate a Blog:

To nominate a Triberr member, please fill out and submit the contact form, or add their Triberr name to the comments section of this blog. All nominators (that fill out the form) will remain anonymous. You can nominate multiple blogs/bloggers on one form.

Please include YOUR Name and Email address (they will not be added to any list), then list your nominees in the “Message” portion of the form.

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How to Decrease Your Bounce Rate [Infographic]

man bouncing

Photo by Ahmed ElHusseiny – Flickr CC

I’m not usually a fan of infographics, but I found this one by Neil Patel to actually be very informative :-)

The one strategy that seems to be missing is good internal linking, which of course is paramount to visitors finding their way to another page. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

How to Decrease Your Bounce Rate
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout
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“The Friday Hangout” on Google+: SEO Myths, Social SEO and Content Marketing

The Friday HangoutI’m very excited to be joining Janet Fouts (@jfouts), Adam Helweh (@secretsushi), and Steve Farnsworth (@Steveology) on Google+ Hangouts for The Friday Hangout this week (Friday, September 19, 2014 at 11:00 am PST)!

We’ll be talking about the always exciting and sometimes controversial subject of Search Engine Optimization – some of the myths surrounding SEO, Social Media and SEO, Content Marketing, and more.

The Friday Hangout is a weekly show on Google Hangouts. Janet, Adam and Steve invite a guest in for an informal discussion about various digital marketing subject areas. The guest list for past episodes is impressive and includes:

  • Jason Falls
  • Gini Dietrich
  • Viveka Van Rosen
  • Joe Pulizzi
  • Robert Scoble
  • Lee Oden
  • Ted Rubin
  • Danny Brown
  • Michael Brenner
  • Dino Dogan
  • Geoff Livingston
  • Mark Shaefer
  • and many others

Meet the Hosts

Janet FoutsJanet Fouts: is the Founder and CEO of Tatu Digital Media in San Jose. She is the author of 4 social media and marketing books, and blogs at JanetFouts.com and Tatudigital.com.

Adam HelwehAdam Helweh: Founder and CEO of Secret Sushi Creative. Adam is co-host of the #1 syndicated social-local-mobile podcast – The SoLoMo Show. He blogs at SecretSushi.com and is a regular contributor at SocialMediaExplorer.com.

Steve FarnsworthSteve Farnsworth: a Demand Generation Content Marketing Strategist at the @Steveology Group. He has been listed as a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Influencer twice, and cited as one of the most influential people online by Fast Company’s “The Influence Project”. Steve blogs at the @Steveology Blog.

Hope you’ll join the discussion!

Updated: The Friday Hangout

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