Saturday, November 29, 2014

New Facebook Rules Will Stifle Small Business & Entrepreneurs

New Facebook Rules Will Stifle Small Business & Entrepreneurs
More than 80% of small companies using social media to promote their businesses list Facebook as their top marketing tool, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter, according to a recent survey of 2,292 small businesses by Webs, a digital services division of Vistaprint. The top three reasons owners cited for creating a Facebook page were customer acquisition, building a network of followers and increasing brand awareness, according to the survey.

Chrisy Bossie built a $100,000-a-year gemstone e-commerce business by sharing information about her products on her company’s Facebook page several times a week.

“Steals in the Shop! I have a TON of new 36-inch-long necklaces, most priced at $15, available in amethyst, lapis, watermelon tourmaline, turquoise.... Shop them all here,” she wrote in a recent marketing post on a Facebook page for Earthegy, the business she runs from her home in rural Kent Store, Va. She also included photos and links to the products, hoping the business’s 70,000 Facebook fans would share the posts with their own Facebook friends.

But small-business owners like Ms. Bossie will soon get less benefit from the unpaid marketing pitches they post on Facebook. That’s because, as of mid-January, the social network will intensify its efforts to filter out unpaid promotional material in user news feeds that businesses have posted as status updates.

The change will make it more difficult for entrepreneurs like Ms. Bossie, the founder of four-year-old Earthegy, to reach fans of their Facebook pages with marketing posts that aren’t paid advertising.
Businesses that post free marketing pitches or reuse content from existing ads will suffer “a significant decrease in distribution,” Facebook warned in a post earlier this month announcing the coming change.

The upshot for Ms. Bossie is that “if I do not pay to promote the post or boost it, it’s hardly reaching anyone,” she says. Now, more than half her sales come via her Facebook posts, she estimates.

Blake Jamieson, a marketing director at Pool Supply World, a small Phoenix, Ariz., supplier of chlorine, pumps and filters for home pools, says its Facebook posts now generate average item sales “in the single digits,” down from 10 to 15 items per post in 2012. By posting photos of water parks or tropical resorts on its Facebook page, Pool Supply World has accumulated more than 100,000 “likes,” or fans of its business page.

Read the entire article - click here.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Online Marketing Partners: Amazon launches new service for local businesses

Online Marketing Partners: Amazon launches new service for local businesses
In case you haven't heard yet, Amazon is now getting into offering local services to local markets.  The BIG PIECE of this is that they are going to be selling services too. Amazon is know for physical products (books, CDs, movies) so seeing them get into offering local services is a major step.

There are already similar services out there now. For example,  Angie's List offers a local business rating service and hangs it claim to fame on being a place to find reputable referrals for just about any type of service in any community.

IMHO, this new Amazon service will probably knock Angie's List out of business.  Don't forget Angie's List charges a fee to both users (people like you and I who want to view the local business directory) and to businesses (folks who want to have their businesses rated by people using Angie's List).

But, don't expect this to shake out overnight. A few days ago I was on Amazon Services to examine setting up how to use one of their web sites to sell my SEO, Blogging, and web site design services. They let you do a 30 day trial without charging you which is nice. But, my oh my, setting up a web site with them - going through the steps to build it online - is not so easy and uses an "old school" interface.  To have a site with them will cost you $79 a month plus a percentage of your sales. But, they do process all the sales for you, have millions of customers around the world, and an excellent reputation.

If you are just wanting a free web site, you can always one of those with Google.  To recieve some serious web exposure though, you are better off using the free blog ( service provided by Google and then applying your own domain to it. Why? Those blogs do better with SEO (search engine optimization) than a free web site does - as I said in a previous post - blogs in Google have a SEO advantage.

I don't think there is any rush to get listed with Amazons local business services. Since they just launched it last week, there will be some time needed to fix the process bugs. On their site, up to last night, they just want you to submit your name and phone number so they can call you. I didn't find any clear documentation explaining how the listing process works or a fee schedule (other than the web site cost).

If you want assistance or have questions about expanding your sphere of influence on the web, lets have a chat about it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Comparing Online Marketing Methods

Comparing Online Marketing Methods
As a small business owner, you have to know how to get the most for your marketing efforts. The battle between Google and Facebook (FB) to be King/Queen of the pile will be interesting to watch over the coming years.

#1 Google+ rivals FB since Google already has millions (billions?) of gmail users that can easily activate their Google+ accounts.  It is free to list your business with Google and create a Google+ account with it.

#2 Blogger ( is a free blog service that is owned by Google. And, yes, all those blog posts are automatically distributed to Google+ users. FB posts stay in FB and get little, if any, attention in Google, Bing, or Yahoo search results.

#3 Google is the number one search engine used around the globe. Do you think their search results favor Google+ accounts and posts made with Blogger?

Proof is Here....
The other day I logged into my gmail account and searched, in the Google search engine, for a local business - using a key phrase not their business name. On the first page of search results, I found their web site and two of their recent blog posts. Yes, they are using for their blog.

Here is the interesting part, when I logged out of gmail and performed the same search again, the web site was still on the first page of results but the blog posts were not.

How many people do you know that stay logged into their email account all day? Most of the people I know do that. When means, if you are using blogger for your blog, you are more visible to those millions of gmail usersI think that is a significant advantage over FB - today.

If you want info on refining or expanding your online marketing,
click here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Faceboook vs Google: how can your online business benefit?

Faceboook vs Google: how do you win?
Facebook (FB) is expanding it's perception beyond a social network. What this means is pretty important if you are a small business owner wanting to sell more products. You already know that goofy "Thumbs Up" icon where everyone can bless you or hate you courtesy of FB.

Imagine a world where you can sell your products online to anyone in FB. That means accepting payments online through FB - what a concept. That is in motion now as FB ramps up its' FbStart program, literally giving selected  businesses $30-60K to develop FB apps.

Some say this eliminates the need for a web site or blog. Really?  Sure, FB has some advantages to doing networking. It's difficult to measure the clients it generates for business pages listed there. I see it more as a free "Angie's List."  I have never met a new client using FB, and only know of one business who has.

But, FB is great as a search engine because it's a global repository of information where you can expand your sphere of influence by posting your information. Whether you can distinguish your business from the herd, depends on the tone you set of your web reputation.

Learn more about using Facebook in your online marketing strategy - click here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Google and Yahoo have announced big changes that will impact your small business

search engine rankings
Google and Yahoo have announced big changes that will impact your small business web site.

Several weeks ago Google announced the latest version of its' Panda Update — a filter designed to penalize “thin” or poor content from ranking well — has been released.

If you see some change, good or bad, in your web traffic or your search engine rankings you know where it came from. 

What Google is working towards, based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, is to  identify low-quality web page content more precisely. With that accomplished, there will be a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites in search engine results.

Meanwhile, Yahoo announced that it is closing the Yahoo directory after 20 years of operation. Sure, they will have the Yahoo search engine available but no longer will they be maintaining their own directory of web sites and blogs.

Over the years I have been comparing the search engine results between Google, Bing and Yahoo. Here are three useful SEO characteristics I found ….

1. Google updates the web site content you submit to them within a week - or sooner, once your site is indexed. 

2. Bing and Yahoo seem to have similar search results although not exactly, but they are much different than Google and not as specific.

3. Bing and Yahoo take longer than two months to update your site content submissions. 

All in all, I think Google is the best place to focus your efforts relating to SEO (search engine optimization). Sure, being indexed in Bing and Yahoo is necessary but you just can't rely on a quick turn around of your content updates in those two search engines.

Some of my latest client SEO results in Google include (without using quotation marks)….

Searching on “medford roofing” or “medford roofing contractor” you will find Skye Roofing and Rogue River Roofing Co on the first page of search results.

Searching on “medford electrical services” or “medford energy retrofit” or electrical contractor medford” or “energy contractor medford" to find Aztec Electrical Services on the first page of search results.
Learn more about effective SEO - click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How To Measure Your Organic SEO Traffic; a secret to internet marketing

How To Measure Your Organic SEO Traffic; a secret to internet marketingOrganic links  are the bread and butter to expanding your web site traffic. They are not a quick fix like the golden arches, but the rewards are very significant.

Organic linking is the development of hypertext links between web sites with or without an explicit agreement to exchange links. Organic links are more likely to appear in a context relevant to the subject of the target document, which makes them useful for search engines like Google search that rank pages according to their links.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to measure to overall success of your SEO campaign is to look at your organic SEO traffic. Rank just isn’t a good SEO metric for a variety of reasons including the increased personalization of search, the impact of social signals on the search results, the effect of local SEO on search results and more. A site’s rank changes too frequently to be a viable method of measuring your long tern SEO success. Looking at your organic SEO traffic, however, can give you a much better idea of what is going on.
How do you measure your organic SEO traffic that is a direct result of your SEO efforts?

1. Start with a traffic overview
Using your analytics tool (I prefer Google Analytics because you may as well get the data directly from the horse’s mouth), start with an overview of all the traffic that has come to your site in a given period including SEO traffic, PPC traffic, direct traffic, branded traffic and so forth. This number is the total amount of visitors that have come to your site. Google Analytics does a good job of breaking it down into traffic sources so you can see exactly which sources are sending the most visitors to your site.

2. Segment down to organic traffic
Now the trick is to weed out all the non-organic SEO traffic, so the next report you should pull should be strictly search traffic. It’s important to make sure that you are only looking at non-paid traffic so you aren’t lumping PPC visitors in with your SEO visitors.

3. Remove branded keywords
At least in Google Analytics, when you zero in on the SEO traffic, the report also pulls a list (up to 500) of the most used keywords to find your website. You can export this data into an Excel spreadsheet and organize it alphabetically by keyword. In order to determine your true organic SEO traffic, it’s important to remove any and all branded keywords from your list. While SEO can definitely help build your online brand and introduce it to whole new audiences, pure SEO traffic comes from non-branded keywords that drive visitors who have never heard of/interacted with your site before over.

The keywords and numbers you are left with are your organic SEO traffic numbers! In order to determine if your SEO is working, you can compare these keywords/numbers to the same time period in the previous year before you launched your SEO campaign. In addition to sheer percentage growth, it’s also worth comparing your keyword lists. What new keywords, either ones directly targeted on the site or long-tail variations of them, are popping up in the new data that weren’t there last year? Every new keyword that drives visitors is a results of your SEO efforts.

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