New SEO Developments:Local Rules

Have you noticed a change in the way your search results are shown in Google? If not, you should. Simply put – it very well may impact your organization.

The easiest way to explain it is via photos. Here is the Before pic of how Google served up local results. Note that in the past, local results (along with the map) showed at the top in groups of 7 entries. There wasn’t a lot of information along with the entries and if you didn’t care, necessarily, about local results, you zipped right past because the other results were clearly delineated below the 7 entries.

Local Google results before change

Results from a local search prior to SEO changes.

Here is an after picture using Atlanta dentist as the search string:

What does local SEO like now?

After the Google changes, the local search for Atlanta dentist looks like this.

A: The scrolling map is now to the right side, making the local results much more integrated into the main results.

B: Local results are integrated into the “regular” results – only at the top. Will prospects give these results more love than the results further down? It’s too early to tell, but our guess is yes. Why? Because they are first…and because there is additional information that provides value. See the next entry.

C: Google has more closely integrated reviews and other relevant sites right along with the local results. This may seem like more value to your prospect. The reviews have more weight than ever and you should be paying close attention.

In summary, your online portfolio has a greater impact than ever on your organization and its ability to reach the right people with the right message. SEO experts will be attempting to figure out these latest rounds of changes for some time to come.

 

Could you use some mojo? A little coaching to ensure your online portfolio and online presence is all it can be? Then give us a call or visit our communities online for more: http://www.Facebook.com/ProfessionalMojo, http://www.Twitter.com/ProfessionlMojo or http://www.ProfessionalMojo.com

Advertisements

Online Marketing Predictions for 2010

I promised and here they are…our Mojo Predictions for 2010. What are yours?

Social Media Predictions
Mojo’s Predictions

#7:  Social media gets sane.  In the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2009 every company, both for profit and nonprofit, was jumping on the bandwagon – many without plans nor concrete objectives. They did not integrate their social media efforts into their overall marketing nor did they track results. They threw it at the wall and hoped it stuck.  That will change in 2010. Like other new marketing channels, best practices will emerge and companies (like Mojo) who have been advocating methodical, integrated, approaches will rise to the top.

#6: Marketing and search will get local once again.  Back in the day, marketing was about building communities of customers and prospects, suppliers and vendors, locally.  Social media is particularly well-suited for that, and yet, companies have been looking at it as a way to reach everyone all the time. That will change in 2010 as they realize, as we do, that it’s best to reach who you want when it’s convenient for them with the right message.

#5. Churches and nonprofits will need to have a much higher level of engagement and become community hotspots, serving up a variety of needed resources.  It’s not enough to serve a small segment of your prospect population. Embrace diversity, be transparent about your projects and finances and then offer community resources on a wider scale (community workshops, debates, classes, and more).

#4.  Your marketing will get filtered out at alarming rates as prospects figure out how to harness technology to see and read only what they want to.  You will have to provide true relationship-building and value-oriented content, served up when and where they want it, to get through the noise.  Added benefit: Google’s new Caffeine search system will reward fresh, updated content and social media begins to trump traditional SEO.

#3.  Your online brand is more important than ever. I’m talking about you as a person, a volunteer, a pastor, a nonprofit director, an employee, an executive, a professional service provider.  In fact, more than 80% of professional recruiters plan to use social media platforms to screen job applicants, and source “passive” candidates – people who would consider a better offer from a different company.  You are what the Internet says you are.

#2.  Networks will consolidate and your choice of platforms will diminish, making your initial strategies and choice of social media tool more important than ever.

#1.  B2B companies will begin to get it. Other industries, such as faith-based organizations, will also act quickly so they are not left behind.

A lot of what we have been talking about over the last 7 months is coming true, and that’s good. You should be taking action now. Any residual fears of social media marketing and social media search optimization need to be laid to rest for good.  There are just too many opportunities to miss.

Facebook: Top Questions Revealed!

Professional Mojo answers your top Facebook questions

Lee & Rachael answer your top Facebook questions.

I’m proud to say that we’ve trained hundreds of folks who prefer the do-it-yourself route when it comes to social media.  Yes, we have other clients, too, with whom we develop a strategy, build or upgrade their website…but there are those independent spirits out there who are determined to tackle the social media universe on their own.  It is in their honor that we reveal what Professional Mojo has found to be the top Facebook questions (both non-techy and techy).  Enjoy!

Top Non-Tech Questions

5)  Isn’t Facebook for youngsters?:  Nope. In fact, if your current prospects/clients/vendors/partners aren’t on Facebook right now, they will be soon. The fastest growing demographic is the 35+ crowd.

4) How much should my personal profile and the business stuff overlap?We routinely recommend that you keep your personal stuff private. Trust me, posting pics of you or your spouse on vacation in Bermuda will do more harm than good – no matter how good looking you think you are.

3) Isn’t Facebook a big black hole sucking up all my and my employees’ time? Well, that depends on if you think developing relationships with prospects and customers is a waste of time, too. Remember, it’s not about the platform, it’s about how  you use it, track it and monitor it. If you think your time is wasted…honestly, friends…you’re not doing it correctly.

2) Why can’t I get any fans/members to my page/group? You need to see #3 because you’re probably not executing on a good plan.  When we evaluate social media  efforts, we find that a failed Facebook presence is usually a symptom of these ills:
                  * Poor moderation/administration: Not asking questions, not responding to comments, not updating regularly, spewing unilateral sales-y propaganda
                  * Not reaching out: Not friending/fanning others, not commenting on other pages or groups, not asking your contacts to be your fan
                  * Poor or little integration with your site and other marketing: Treating Facebook like a stand-alone silo, not promoting it on your site (prominently), not promoting it in your other marketing efforts
                  * Bad content: making it all about you and your organization, not having fun, not being a resource for your fans, not giving them relevance and useful info

1) Do we even need to set up a Facebook page? Do you care whether or not you are left behind when your competitors reach more and do more? Then, yes, you probably do. NOTE: If you are unable to commit to it or create a plan that fully leverages Facebook, then don’t do it.

Top Facebook Tech Questions

5) How can I save time? Use both Facebook and third party applications to quickly and easily integrate your Facebook info into your site and your other social media assets (blogs, Twitter, etc.) into your Facebook fan page.

4) Can I set up a business page without a personal account? Yes, you can. Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and choose your settings. At the end of the process, Facebook will ask you if you have a profile and you choose No.  Then, simply enter your email address and your birthday. That’s it. No profile set up. CAVEAT: you can do all regular admin tasks this way, but if you want to notify others to be a fan or search within Facebook, which we recommend, you will not be able to do that without a personal profile.

3) Can I customize my page with cool graphics? Yep, you sure can. Although Facebook is notoriously persnickety about customization, you can use various HTML and FBML third party apps to add links, graphics, and a general customized look and feel. Keep it simple, though.

2) I have a group. I want a page. What do I do now? This is related to #1.  Again, Facebook isn’t use friendly on this count, but you can follow these steps: a) create your biz page, populate it b) go to the group and begin messaging them to move over and fan your new page (I let them know that the group will be closing in X days) c) after your group members are fans of the biz page, then manually remove every group member. When you remove them all and then yourself, the group goes away.

1) Should I set up a group or a page? This is the #1 question and the answer really is based on your social media strategy (please tell me you have one). If you need a private, invitation-only, members-only area, then a group is for you.  Many NPOs have had great success with groups.   On the other hand, if your strategy is to promote, engage, and build community in a broader sense, improve your SEO rankings, use ads to promote your page, etc., then a business page is the way to go. 

What are your top questions?  Let us know and we’ll collect them for another edition of Top Questions Revealed! Starring Lee & Rachael.

Interested in online workshops, website design, social media monitoring and content creation? Then give us a ping.

Customize Your Facebook and Twitter Assets to Ensure Look and Feel

Get your social media eggs in one basket. (freefoto.com)

Get your social media eggs in one basket. (freefoto.com)

As social media continues to explode across the marketing landscape, businesses are rushing to join the bandwagon without planning and sound business process in place. As business owners, business builders and business mentors, we feel strongly that all of your marketing assets should have the same look, feel and smell. Some quick suggestions to maintain continuity:

1) Create a custom Twitter background. The Professional Mojo website has a unique color scheme and we’ve continued that custom color scheme to both of our Twitter accounts here and here. You should do the same. Creating a custom Twitter background is not difficult and there are several tutorials to help you. Visit this site to see an array of tutorials on creating a custom Twitter background.

2) Create custom headers for your blogs. Please, oh, please…do not use whatever graphic comes with your template. Even if you use a ready-made blog template, have someone create a custom header that looks and feels like your organization. In the WordPress.com application, for example, you can easily switch out your headers by clicking on Custom Header under the Appearance heading. I recently conducted one of our online blog workshops, and the top thing I noticed was a significant jolt moving from the website to the blog. They should not be disjointed.

3) Use static FBML boxes in your Facebook page to include site-like elements and more closely link ALL of your social media assets. For example, we have a tab called Mojo Community, which is a custom tab created using simple, static FBML (Facebook Markup Language). We give all of our fans the opportunity to follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes and subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

Careful planning ensures that your web presence is cohesive, extends your brand and creates awareness. Take the time to develop a comprehensive strategy to make sure all these things work for the good of your organization. If you need assistance, commit to getting it. Your company reputation is too important to leave to chance.

We create and upgrade small business websites to integrate and leverage social media components, create social media policies and toolkits, and then show you how to maintain your new tools to grow your business and monitor your online reputation. Contact us for more information

Do you own your website assets?

Do you have control over your web assets?  You should.

Do you have control over your web assets? You should.

Do you own your business domain? Can you access your website?

I am concerned by what we have recently found while consulting with a number of small businesses. Over the last 7 working days, I have encountered this several times, so it bears sharing with you: if you have a web presence, someone in your organization needs to know how to access it and your organization should own the domain name. Here are three things to keep in mind:

1) If I search your domain name in WhoIs, who will be the registrar? What I mean is, if I go to a WhoIs site and look up who OWNS or has registered that domain (your domain is your .com/.net or .org address) will it say your name or will it say your web developer’s name? It should say your name on the underlying record. If you have opted for private registration, check with the host and ensure your name and address are on the main record. To do this:

* go to a WhoIs lookup and type in your domain name (without the www). Click Lookup.
* Scroll down until you see the WhoIs Record. Is your business representative’s name and address listed? If it is a private registration, and you authorized a private registration, it won’t be there. Otherwise, you should see YOUR business information. Not your web designer’s. Ask your web partner to transfer the domain into your name. You can still give them access as a vendor and they can still do their job, but now you are in control of your domain name.

2) Do you have the logins to reach your site? We are working with three clients right now to update their web presence, better integrate social media tools and improve their search engine optimization. To do that, we needed to have access to their web files. The client did NOT have any information about where their web site was housed or how to reach it. They had to contact their web developer. That person refused to give the information until we got involved.

It’s your business, your brand. Make sure you have all logins and information in case you decide to make a change or have an internal resource take over the work. Again, even if you remain with your current provider, someone in your organization should have this login information on file. Would you not have login information to your payroll or to QuickBooks?

3) Do you have a backup of your site (and I mean all of its files)? This backup should live where you can reach it. If anything happens, you can work with someone to restore the information.

Look, it’s ok to rely on trusted partners to help you on web design, social media integration and more. Just use the same common business sense that you’ve used before.

You wouldn’t want to be kept in the dark about your finances, your medical condition or your personnel. Technology is no different. Be in control of your website assets.

4 Tips to Better NonProfit Website Copy

Better website copy is right around the corner. (photo from FreeFoto.com)

Better website copy is right around the corner. (photo from FreeFoto.com)

Today’s guest blogger is Lindsey Patten, who is our special guest speaker at the July 28th online workshop, Learn to Write Better Nonprofit Website Copy.
——————————————————————-
Writing for the web is easier said than done. It’s easy to extol the virtues of great copy, but that much harder to get right down to business. See, writing is something that everyone knows how to do, but everyone doesn’t know how to do it well. So what are some first steps for sitting
down and getting it done?

1. Know your Limitations

If you are in charge of writing the web copy, ask yourself this: Are you up to the task? It’s nothing shameful if you aren’t. It’s more important to assess your writing capabilities and determine they aren’t up to snuff then not and go ahead with the writing anyway. Maybe you are good at one type of writing but not the other. Perhaps you can write the technical side of the issue, but not the emotional side? Whatever the case, know your limitations.

2. Secure your Environment

By this I mean, determine which is the ideal environment for creative juices to flow and make sure you have it. If you don’t wish to be disturbed, shut your office door or go somewhere else entirely. If you are interrupted during writing it can break your whole train of thought and leave you frustrated. Then assess what you do as you write. For me, I like to stand up and pace, running my thoughts through my head before I write them on the page. Some people like to listen to music, others like complete silence. Some like to eat as they write, others don’t. Whatever your perfect environment is for writing, try to replicate it.

3. Spit it Out

Staring at a blank piece of paper or a blank computer screen can be daunting. It’s important to get words, any words at all down on paper/computer just to start you off. It doesn’t matter if its gibberish, you just need to start writing to get into the flow. And then the real words will come. I promise!

4. Get an Editor

Get an editor. A good one. One that will show no mercy on your copy. Yes, sometimes it can sting when you receive back a piece of writing with track changes or red lines all over it, but ultimately this will help you create a better piece of content. It’s important to put your ego aside and at least consider the editor’s suggestions, even if you don’t accept them all.

So there are a few tips for getting started. And remember, writing good copy takes time so don’t frustrated if it doesn’t come to you in the first minute. Or hour. Or even day.

—————————————————————-

For more information on Professional Mojo’s online workshops or to find out more about Lindsey Patten, please contact us.
%d bloggers like this: