Why Use Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keywords are pretty much what they sound like; they’re longer, more specific keywords which pertain more strongly to your business than other more general – and perhaps more frequently used – searches. Essentially, the usefulness of long tail keywords lies in the specificity of the keywords which greatly increases the chances of traffic actually going to your site and becoming a customer.

This isn’t about getting your site to show up on a vast number of generalized searches; it’s about being found for searches which are likely to actually bring you business. If you’re trying to get traffic to a small, local, or super-specific site, these types of keywords are essential. When you’re part of a specific niche market, even if someone manages to find your site with a general search, it’s much less likely that they’re searching for exactly what your website does. In these types of situations, optimizing only for general search terms wastes both your and your potential customers’ time.

The simple truth is that sites like Amazon.com are always going to snap up the majority of super general searches. Long tail keywords are all about being found for what your site really is and does. If your website is optimized for this keyword, you’re basically guaranteed a website visit an an increased chance of customer conversion.

Let’s look at an example. Say you’re a potential customer trying to figure out where to eat in an unfamiliar city. You could search for “burger restaurant” and receive a few million search results, the first few pages of which will be filled with mega-chains like Red Robbin, McDonalds, and the like. People will often start with more generalized searches and refine them if they don’t find satisfactory results, especially if they’re doing research on the options available to them. This is where those additional details become critical, if you’re looking for a specific product or service, you won’t find applicable sites unless this criteria is reflected in the site’s keywords.

Now, unless you were searching for a massive worldwide burger chain, most search-engine-savvy people will automatically refine their search by adding specific details about what they’re looking for until it looks something like “local burger restaurant in Bellingham, WA”. This long tail keyword search will show nothing but locally owned burger joints in one specific city, filtering out the big chains entirely. This is crucial, especially if your website shows up on the first page of results, because you’ve got about a 1 in 10 chance that the searching person is about to come to your restaurant.

As a last note, it’s important to remember that, as useful as long tail keywords can be, they’re only as good as the content they describe. You can bring in all the potential customers you want with specific keywords, but unless your site actually has the information the customer requires, nothing is going to be able to increase your customer conversion. Great content is, in the long run, vastly more important to the success of a website than any SEO.

Increasing Your Blog Readership

One of the most challenging aspects of writing a blog is getting people to actually read what you post. Of course, a high level of quality is essential for a blog to acquire a following, but even if someone appreciates what you’re posting, it can be difficult to be sure that you’re letting them know when you’ve posted something new.

The problem is that, quite often, bloggers will continue to generate content for those few who keep up with the blog without actively pursuing new readership. For a business blog especially, this is a huge missed opportunity. If you’re generating quality content, especially if it involves valuable instructions or advice, chances are someone will want to share that advice with someone else… and suddenly you have a large thriving readership!

But it all starts with getting people to read what you post.

As an avid follower of several blogs myself, here are a few of the ways I appreciate blogs keeping in touch (and yes, some of these are going to be pretty basic, please bear with me):

  • Include links to any and all social media your blog is associated with. This means that, if you haven’t already, you’re going to have to join a few of those social media outlets (facebook and twitter at least). It’s a simply a necessity now-a-days to crafting your online presence.
  • Post about your new posts (how redundant, I know) on those social media sites. This allows your followers to see a link to your new post where they already go regularly. This makes for effortless reading on their part, which makes for more readership on your part. (Just try to post a few things besides blog post announcements; you don’t want to seem too inactive.) Also, if people comment on your post posts, their friends (who may not even know your awesome blog exists) can see those links and perhaps they’ll check it out, too! Yay for expanding audiences!
  • Find a way to enable a subscription option on your blog. I’m sure there’s something out there for every blog tool which will at least allow users to subscribe via email. Most of these simply send out your post in the email. How easy is that? However, you will probably encounter some readers who, for whatever reason, don’t like getting their blog updates in emails. Perhaps they subscribe to too many blogs, or maybe you post on your blog too often for it to be convenient. Chances are, these people have found a way to subscribe to your blog via some collective program such as:
  • Google Reader (my personal favorite). While you can add any website or blog to this feed by typing in the URL in the right spot, there’s no reason you can’t make it a bit easier on them by adding a handy little button that can do it for them. Google even supplies it themselves: http://www.google.com/webmasters/add.html.

The trick to gathering a large readership is to make following your blog as effortless as possible. Let’s face it, most people are too busy, forgetful, or just plain lazy to keep up with your blog unless you let them know there’s something new. By proclaiming the existence of a new post far and wide and doing everything but clicking the link for them, you’re bound to increase your readership and generate more interest surrounding your blog. (Just don’t forget about the whole quality posts thing)

🙂

Web Browsers 101

Web Browsers 101

 

What’s the difference between Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox? How often should I update my browser? How do bookmarks work? What does that button do? Ok, now I’m just having fun, but with so many different browser options out there, it can be easy to get confused or frustrated, especially if you have to use more than one. The solution: Browsers 101, all the basics in one simple guide. Let’s get started!

 

Continue reading

Update: Using Twitter and Facebook Icons in my Email Signature, New Video!

Update: Here’s a link to a handy video Patrice made showing how to do this in Outlook: http://www.viddler.com/explore/ProFusionDemos/videos/16/

I frequently get asked how to put the little Twitter and Facebook icons into an email signature with links back to their respective accounts. If you are using Outlook 2007, here are some basic instructions for how you can add these icons to your signature.

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Options
  4. From the tabs, click on “Mail Format”
  5. Click on Signatures
  6. Click on the New Button
  7. Give your signature a name (Company name will do)
  8. Then in the Edit Signature section, type out everything you want included in the signature. My signature has my name, title, logo, address, phone, email, web address and Twitter/Facebook icons.
  9. To add the images to your signature (we have attached the Facebook/Twitter icons to this post for you to save and use in your own signature) click on the “picture” icon (which is the 2nd icon from the right)
  10. After you click on Picture, a browse wizard will pop-up and will allow you to browse your hard drive and add your twitter/Facebook icons to the signature.
  11. Once you have the images in the signature, click on one of the images to highlight it. Then click on the “hyperlink” button (it should be the last button on the right)
  12. In the address field at the bottom of the hyperlink window, type in your Twitter or Facebook address (depending on which image you are linking)
  13. Click ok
  14. Repeat that until you have all your images linked to the right web addresses.

It takes a few steps to get all the icons loaded in the way you want, however, not having to type in your signature each and every time will save you lots of time and save your recipients time if they are trying to look up your contact information. Promoting your Facebook Fan Page or Twitter Account in a signature is a great way to get your Social Media efforts in front of everyone that you touch base with via email.

These icons can also be added to your website. Just reduce the size to 30 pixels x 30 pixels and then add them to any page on your site. We added them to the vertical column section on the Net Solutions site. If you are using the ProFusion Ultra Internet Solution as your website provider, you can see how to do this by watching our Introductory Webinar.

Click to Download Social Media Icons

If you’d like to host the twitter and facebook icons on our blog and link them into your site, use the URLs in below in your signature:

Twitter: https://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/twitter-small.jpg
Facebook: https://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/facebook-small.jpg

Here is the corresponding video to this instruction set:

Adding Social Media Icons to your Gmail Signature

We have had so many good questions and posts on our blog about adding social media icons to your Outlook Signature, that we figured we’d create a similar instruction set for Gmail. To add the Twitter and Facebook Icons to your Gmail Signature, follow these instructions:

1. Login to Gmail
2. Next to your email address in the upper right hand corner, click on the Options button, then select Mail Settings
3. On the General Settings tab, scroll down to the signature settings.
4. Type in your name, address and other contact information.
5. To add the Facebook Icon, click on the image button (looks like this Insert Facebook Icon in Google Signature Then copy and paste this image link into the Image URL Field: https://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/facebook-small.jpg then click ok
6. Repeat this step for Twitter using this image link: https://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/twitter-small.jpg (BTW – here is the link for Linkedin if you want it: https://www.snoitulosten.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/linked.jpg )
7. Now that you have the images inserted, you need to hyperlink them. To do this, first click on the image you want to link to highlight it, then click on the hyperlink button (looks like this: create a hyperlink in Gmail Signature
8. After you click on the link, a dialog box will open. Copy and paste your Facebook or Twitter link into the Web Address field, then click ok.
9. Do this for all images in your signature.

Here is the video instruction set if you’d rather see it in person:

Be sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen and save your changes. Then send yourself a test message (or send me one patrice@netsolutionsna.com) and we can verify that the links go to the right place!

We’ll post more image options in the near future so you can add in YouTube, Linkedin, etc.

Who Says Blogging is Dead?

With the prevalence of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, it may seem like blogs have become obsolete. Some publications advise amateur wordsmiths to not even bother creating a blog, claiming that adding anything to the already super-saturated blogosphere will inevitably become white noise.

The problem, however, lies not in the audience but in the uncommitted writer. Considering how easy it is to make a blog — most can be set up for free in less than five minutes — the blogging trend caught on with the masses very quickly and so many unattractive, uninteresting, and useless blogs were created that the numbers became inflated.

Those blogs whose writers have a specific purpose, especially blogging for business purposes, have been much more successful and met their purpose better than something like a kitten fan page, and for good reason. Because business blogs have a specific focus and an — admittedly smaller — but more interested and dedicated audience, they cannot be as accurately tracked with statistics as mass-appeal general topic blogs are. Generalized blogs have the advantage of appealing to a greater audience, but they are at a major disadvantage when it comes to keeping a reader’s attention long-term. They are also at a disadvantage in that they have no specific purpose, which often leads writers to stagnate and just stop posting.

It’s not blogging is dead, it’s that not everyone with access to a computer can write something worth reading. For these people the limited lengths and guaranteed audiences of social media is a better option. But this doesn’t make the blog useless or obsolete, and the numbers agree; according to a recent eMarketer study, 53.5 % of the online population in the U.S. (122.6 million people) read at least one blog every month.

In fact, most bloggers (up to 75%) believe that blogs are being taken more seriously as sources of information now than ever before and 74% of self-employed bloggers say that their blog has proven valuable for promoting their business. Commitment and longevity in blogging pays off, since 68% of successful bloggers have been posting for 2-6 years.

So then how, in a full-to-the-brim blog community can you make your blog successful? A business blog has the advantage of a specific purpose a continual stream of topics which will help to keep the blog fresh and thriving for as long as the business is, but only if it the writing is up to business standards.

  1. First and foremost you have to know your subject and audience, and gauge the content of your blog accordingly; a business blog is going to require more time and effort than most to be interesting and substantive, but the possible rewards vastly outstrip those of a blog about kittens.
  2. The next thing to focus on is the layout and design of your blog (but remember that writing quality needs to be your first priority). Because the blog is such a fluid medium, there’s no reason for yours to be boring or unattractive. A proper understanding of the CRAP principles can also work wonders. The challenge lies in finding a balance between readability, navigability, and attractiveness. A clear layout and a subject-based archive of past posts as well as the standard chronological one can be very effective.
  3. Also, highlighting new posts, either through including new posts in existing weekly newsletters, having a specific mailer just for blog updates, or using an outlet such as Google Reader will make it effortless for your readers to keep abreast of new posts and can increase readership dramatically.

Now that blogging has moved out of its infancy, things are changing; the blog format is established, audiences expect higher quality content, and readership is more specialized. But that’s no reason why a blog cannot be informative or successful, it just means we’ll have to try a bit harder.

Are online coupons an effective marketing strategy?

 We’ve all seen them, and most of us have used them at one time or another, but are online coupons really worth it?

The simple answer: yes. Coupons are a win-win situation; the customer feels especially good about the purchase they’re making and the seller is more likely to make the sale or even multiple sales. According to research done by Harris Interactive, 34% of web consumers now will wait to make a purchase until they have a coupon, which is up from 30% last year and 27% the year before.

According to AllExperts.com, 5.7% of consumers look for coupons online, 4.4% of them receiving them via email. They found that nearly 22% of respondents want to receive coupons via email. Online coupons can translate to offline activity, they’ve found, and the key to effective online coupons is correct targeting.

They report that “the combined 32% of those who prefer to receive coupons on the Internet and via email jumps to 55%, provided the coupons are specifically tailored to the interests of the consumer. Targeting your audience properly will allow you to deliver greater value, and in turn, a higher open rate of your e-mails.”

According to the Etsy.com seller handbook, discounts and sales can be effective for a wide variety of reasons:

  • Coupons can help to introduce and establish new customers who are then likely to become repeat customers.
  • Discounts like “buy one get one for $5 off” encourage additional purchases while offers like “10% off total purchase” will often entice customers to buy in greater volume.
  • Coupons are an excellent way to reward your best customers and maintain an excellent, mutually beneficial relationship.

In an uncertain economy every little bit helps, and with websites catering specifically to distributing them, it is easier than ever to spread the word about your coupons and by extension your company. These sites work in several different ways:

  • Groupon offers amazing deals, often 50% off or more, and consumers have the option of purchasing these deals. This guarantees volume purchases, which are the biggest benefit of offering coupons for the seller, because unless a pre-set number of people purchase the deal it is void.
  • SmartSource and RetailMeNot are organized resources for printable coupons for everything from groceries to dental screenings. These sites allow registered users (registration is free) to choose stores, categories, and brands they prefer and to receive email notifications of coupons which fit their preferences. Users can also search using many different criteria including location and percentage of discount in order to find the best deals.

 

Because they are an easy and relatively cheap way to bring in business, and because the use of online coupons is steadily growing, it is becoming increasingly necessary for businesses to offer at least occasional discounts and coupons. Keeping a continuous flow of time-sensitive discounts can increase the dynamic feel of a business and entice the on-the-fence customers to make purchases.

The C.R.A.P. Principles

C.R.A.P. (terrible name, infinitely useful) is an initialism which stands for contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. The term was coined by Robin Williams (author of The Non-Designer’s Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice) and has become a basic principle of design. Utilizing the C.R.A.P. principles allows even the most inexperienced amateur designers to avoid the dreaded wall of text and instead create dynamic and attractive web content.

The basics of the C.R.A.P. principles are:

Contrast – Elements that aren’t supposed to be the same should be very different. Making the only slightly different confuses the eye and causes the reader to see a relationship that doesn’t exist. Using differing elements on a page draws the eyes to appropriately grouped elements and allows for proper scanning.

Repetition – Continuing formatting and styles for the entire document to create and maintain a cohesive feel.

Alignment – Everything on the page needs to be visually connected to something else, nothing should be out of place or distinct from all other design elements. Clean lines create peace.

Proximity – Proximity creates related meaning: elements that are related should be grouped together, whereas separate elements should have enough space in between to be easily distinguishable. Never underestimate the use of white space.

For more information and examples, visit:
http://www.webcredible.co.uk/blog/revive-the-crap-principles
http://thinkvitamin.com/design/how-crap-is-your-site-design/

Long live email!

You may have heard that the use of email is shrinking due to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Add to that the deluge of spam or virus-infected emails floating around the net and the prediction starts to look promising. In addition, other technologies are gaining more and more ground such as skype, texting, and online calendar programs.

There are many reasons for the increased reliance on social media, including increased control over which messages you receive, the one-stop-shopping experience of an outlet which includes businesses, groups, clubs, and your entire social circle, and of course, let’s not underestimate the draw that an ever-changing platform like facebook can have for users simply for the sake of flashy new features.

So I have to ask, is email, once the height of information transfer technology, going the way of the pony express?

Email is by no means a perfect system; between spam (whether virus-infected or not), repetition or boringness of information in emails, and the sheer volume of messages that can accumulate when using a free instant digital medium for communication, lots of problems are likely to arise. Most internet-savvy users are able to control the settings of their email programs and personalize them so that they don’t encounter these issues, but for those who don’t know how or just can’t be bothered to do so, email can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help.

One important thing to remember is that the trend of increasing reliance on social media is not, generally speaking, a trend among businesspeople. While some smaller businesses do exist solely on sites like facebook, the vast majority of businesses that have a facebook page also have a main website and the facebook is simply an extra outlet for users who choose to recieve information primarily that way.

Despite the longevity of these predictions, email is still winning out. A study by iModerate Research Technologies found that 86% of consumers who send information over the Internet do so primarily through email. Facebook and Twitter, however, are dragging behind with 49 and 4 percent respectively. One reason for this high number of emails may lie in the age of the users; consumers over 35 are overwhelmingly favoring email at 93% usage, while even among the most Facebook-savvy age group — 18-24 years — 70% of users are still preferring email.

One reason for the continuing dominance of email may be its usefulness in online marketing. 37 percent of shoppers prefer email as the delivery method of promotional offers with only 9 percent favoring social media, according to eMarketer. In fact, social media is dead last on the list with Mailers in second place at 23 percent followed by text messaging and in-store with 18 and 11 percent respectively.

While the numbers will likely continue to grow in the favor of social media as it continues to grow, the fact that email is still by far the dominant form of online information transfer suggests that it will remain so for a long time to come.

domain registration scam

There are so many unsavory people out there… occasionally we get a call from a client wondering if an email or letter is legit. When we get one ourselves, we try to post them here so you know to be on the look out – Here is an email we got a couple days ago:

Dear CEO,

We are a domain name registrar centre in HongKong which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally, we have an important issue to confirm with you.

1. On the July 14,We received a formal application from a company named ” Honor Overseas, Inc. ” who are applying to register ” netsolutionsna” as domain names and Internet keyword.

2. During our preliminary investigation, we found that these Domain Names’ keyword is identical with your Trade Mark, this is why we inform you.

3. I wonder whether did you consigned ” Honor Overseas, Inc.” to register these Domain Names and Internet Keyword with us? Or is “Honor Overseas, Inc.” your business partner?

4. If you do not have any relationship with this applicant, we assume that they have other purposes to obtain these Domain Names and Internet Keyword.

Currently, we have already postponed this company’s application temporarily. Pls let the relevant principal make a confirmation with me ASAP.

Thanks & Regards,

JoJo Wang

If you get something like this, don’t respond, just trash it. It is a scam. More info on relevant scams can be seen on this blog- http://www.cyveillanceblog.com/domains-icann/domain-registration-scam-picks-up-in-volume