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Month: March 2016

Local Search Engine Optimization

Google’s local listings are the blocks of business listings that link to Google business pages and Google map addresses. This is slightly different to regular organic listings in that Google shows the local block for geocentric search terms where the user is looking for a product or service in their area.

To optimize your business for local SEO, follow these steps:

  1. Create and complete your Google My Business page.
  2. Build links from other local businesses and relevant media sites or blogs.
  3. Add your local address, phone number and business name to the footer of all website pages.
  4. Ensure your business listings on third-party sites (e.g., Yellowpages.com.au andtruelocal.com.au) are consistent and match your Google business listing.

Producing a visually attractive page

Many website designers produce more and more eye-catching designs with animations and clever features hoping to entice the people onto their sites. This is the first big mistake; using designs like these may actually decrease your chances of a high Google rating. Yes, that’s right; all that money you have paid for the website design could be wasted because no one will ever find your site.

The reason for this is that before worrying about bringing people to your site, you need to get the spiderbots to like your site. Spiderbots are pieces of software used by the search engine companies to crawl the Internet looking at all the websites, and then having reviewed the sites, they use complex algorithms to rank the sites. Some of the complex techniques used by Web designers cannot be trawled by spiderbots. They come to your site, look at the HTML code and exit stage right, without even bothering to rank your site — meaning you will not be found on any meaningful search.

I am amazed how many times I look at websites and I immediately know they are a waste of money. The trouble is that both the Web designers and the company that paid the money really do not want to know this. In fact, I have stopped playing the messenger of bad news (too many shootings!); I now work round the problem.

Optimizing a website to be Google-friendly is often a compromise between a visually attractive site and an easy-to-find site.

Things You Should Never Post on Social Media

Social media has made it possible to share your thoughts and ideas with thousands of virtual strangers, literally within seconds. You barely need to have formed a cohesive thought, and BOOM! There it is, posted for the world to see.

But before you hit that ‘publish’ button, do me a favor: run through this list of the top 10 things you should never post on social media. It just may save you from causing hurt or embarrassment to yourself or others!

1. Offensive content on social media

Where do I start? There are so many types of posts that fall into this category. Racial slurs, graphic images, crude jokes, swearing (except in the rare event this is an integral part of your brand), to name just a few.

Some business owners don’t think it’s a big deal to occasionally post a distasteful joke or questionable picture; I strongly disagree. This lack of awareness and respect can cause irreparable harm to your brand. When in doubt, leave it out!

2. Gossip or attacks against specific people

If you’ve been hurt or harmed in some way, you may feel justified in lashing out on social media. However, there are two big problems with this: First, when you specifically call someone out in such a public venue, you often leave that relationship in a state of disrepair. It’s pretty hard to recover from that type of attack! Second, this type of public shaming often says more about you than the person you’re talking about. It sends the message that you don’t respect others, and may damage the trust your audience has in you (“Why should I trust you when I see how easily you can turn on others?”).

3. Claiming other people’s content as your own

Any time you use someone else’s content without attribution – images, quotes, or original ideas – you run some pretty serious risks. Remember that copyright infringement is a serious offence that can lead to legal action, and that can do serious damage to your brand. While you may get away with it in the short term, it’s just not worth it!

4. Speaking negatively about an employee/boss/co-worker

Social media isn’t the place to air grievances against employees or co-workers. It also isn’t the place to give specific details about mistakes your employees have made, or about how insufferable your boss is. Sharing this type of content on social media is not only unprofessional, in rare circumstances it can be grounds for legal action.

5. Sharing specifics about an upcoming holiday or business trip

Sharing images or videos from a trip is great for helping your followers feel like they’re in on the action. The trouble is, you don’t know exactly who’s listening in! Avoid mentioning specific details about your trip (dates, locations, etc.). Better yet, share pictures once you’re back!

6. Private conversations (without permission)

Have you ever received an email or private message from a follower that you couldn’t wait to share with your audience? Maybe it was an awesome tip or trick, or maybe it was a shining testimonial about your product? It’s always a good idea to ask for permission before sharing this type of content on social media. If you’re going to be sharing a screenshot or any identifying information, you DEFINITELY need to get written permission first!

7. Too much personal information

You know I talk a lot about being yourself on social media. This mean being authentic, and letting your followers see the real YOU. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should let it all ‘hang out’! Make sure you have a good balance of informative, industry-specific content, mixed with some personal tidbits to let your followers know you’re a REAL person!

8. Financial information

Obviously, you never want to share sensitive financial information like your bank account or credit card numbers (!). But I also discourage business owners from sharing info like financial projections, quotas or earnings. While this can be acceptable in certain industries (e.g., online marketers often share monthly income reports), this isn’t the norm in most industries.

9. Sharing posts or links that aren’t substantiated

Before sharing a post or article that could be controversial or sensational, always be sure to do your homework. Sharing posts that end up being scams (or that are simply inaccurate) can send the message that you’re naïve or that you don’t care enough to fact-check. And it goes without saying: before sharing ANY link, be sure to click on it yourself first!

10. Anything you don’t want to be online FOREVER

When you put something on social media, you have to assume it’s out there permanently. In the age of screenshots, there is no ‘taking it back’, even if you’ve made a big mistake. Before you post anything remotely personal or sensitive, ask yourself, “Do I want this to be online forever?” If the answer is no, don’t hit the ‘post’ button!