Web 2 0 Search Engine Optimization Manual


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Web 2 0 Search Engine Optimization Manual

  1. 1. F O U R E L E M E N T S L L C WEB 2.0 & SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION MANUAL Facebook . Twitter . YouTube Widgets . Niche Social Networks . StumbleUpon Exclusive Social Networks . Business Exchange . Keyword Research 14 Sleepy Hollow Ct, Allentown, NJ 08501 • telephone: 609.357.8487 • the4eblog.com • the-four-elements.com
  2. 2. Introduction We live in a 2.0 world. However, many CEOs still refuse to adopt web 2.0 technologies and begin the process of integration. Web 2.0 is not a fad! If you think that your company will do just fine without blog- ging or establishing a company page on social networks, you are strongly mistaken. The last thing you want your company to be known as, is outdated and behind the curve. Great companies, like Google, Apple and Amazon are always ahead of the curve. Each of these companies not only embrace web 2.0, but they also shape it by creating their own widgets and platforms. Web 2.0 tools are virtually free, however their benefits are astronomical. When implemented correctly, your web 2.0 initiatives will synergistically solve the biggest problem companies are facing today. This problem is SEO, better known as Search Engine Optimization. When a potential client is looking for the product or service you provide they will search a specific few keywords. If you want to be a dominant force in your industry, you must be on the first page of search results. To show up on the first page of search engine results, your companies name and website must be linked to from hundreds of thousands of other pages. Your twitter followers, Facebook page fans, blog readers and YouTube viewers will all play a vital role in increasing your rankings. Without the careful utilization of web 2.0 tools, you put your company in a deep hole. Here is your personalized web 2.0 action plan: 1. Blog: Set up a corporate blog using a platform, such as wordpress, typepad, squarespace or blog- ger. Write great content as frequently as possible, while maintaining an overarching theme. 2. Fan Page: Sign up for a membership on Facebook and create a product or service fan page. Cus- tomize it to your liking and link your content (blog, YouTube, etc.) to it to increase traffic. 3. YouTube: Sign up for YouTube and create a custom company channel. Upload videos that estab- lish your expertise and then get creative and produce advertisements for your company and/or blog. 4. Twitter: Create a company Twitter account and begin micro-blogging. Feed your Twitter updates to your blog and other pages to keep fans and customers up to date while you’re on the road. 5. Ning: Go to Ning.com and create a social network just for your employees or for your employees and fans. This will give your company a unique advantage over the competition, since you will have a much more personal relationship with your customers and fans. 6. Widgets: If you have the luxury of having a tech team, then brainstorm on a widget that your company will develop. If you are a real estate company, think about developing a listings widget. Follow the API instructions at Google and different social networks, so it can be distributed eve- rywhere. If you create a truly useful widget, it will provide better marketing than a $25,000 cam- paign. 7. Submit Blogs: Once you write content for your blog, be sure to submit it to sites like Stumble- Upon, Technorati and RSS blog directories. F o u r E l e m e n t s L L C We b 2 . 0 & S e a r c h E n g i n e O p t i m i z a t i o n M a n u a l 1
  3. 3. 8. Research!: New web 2.0 tools are constantly being developed and it is tough to implement all of them. However, you should spend at least 15 minutes a day reading up on a web 2.0 tool you are not familiar with. Not every one will be useful to your specific company, but some may play quite significant roles, so keep reading! This action plan is just the tip of iceberg, so once you have implemented the following be contact us for further instructions. We specialize in creating personalized web 2.0 plans for companies in every industry. The following sections go into more detail on the above bullet points. Facebook When talking about web 2.0 and social networks in particular, the first name that usually comes up is Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild currently has more than 100 million active users worldwide. The social networking giant acts just like all the others, in that users can create profiles, add friends, write on walls, upload photos and most importantly…POKE. These applications do not separate Facebook from competitors, like MySpace, but there are several factors that do. Firstly, the clean user interface came as a breath of fresh air to all the MySpace users who became aggravated by their cluttered profiles. Secondly, Facebook started out as a college student online social network, where members had to register with a .edu email address. The security Facebook instilled in their members came just at the right time in the market, as MySpace was becoming a haven for stalkers. Finally, Facebook opened up its doors to outside developers, who have created over 50,000 applications for the community. Applications have been devel- oped, which allow members to send bumper stickers or find real estate listings. Their incredible success and mass utilization makes it a perfect web 2.0 tool for all types of businesses. Everyone understands the concept of Facebook, but few business professionals understand how their company can capitalize on utilization of the platform. This article will be your step-by-step guide for un- locking the hidden value of Facebook. 1. Registration: The first thing to do for all new members is obviously registration. Once logged in, take a look around your home page and become familiar with the new feed. Your news feed will keep you up to date with all the actions of your friends. The setting can easily be changed if you only want to be notified of certain actions. 2. Friend Requests: Once you have your bearings it is time to invite partners, friends and col- leagues to become your friend. Now it is time to get down to business. 3. Complete Profile Info: Fill out all the information in your profile exactly how you would with your LinkedIn Profile. Search engines are going to crawl this page, so you want as much profes- sional information as possible, as it will help with your ranking. 4. Add Application: Browse through the application gallery and add apps that you see useful. I recommend adding the RSS reader to your page and then linking your personal or corporate blog to it. This will drive traffic to your blog and will add another link to your blog. Another useful app to add is the Twitter app, which will directly feed all your twitters to your profile. 5. Create Groups: Create a group for your whole company, departments or project teams. You can set these groups to private or leave them open for the public based on the reason the group was created. Applications can be added to groups if needed. Use the discussion forum and wall to quickly communicate with team members on specific projects or problems. 6. Create Product/Service Fan Page: Establish your brand by creating a large following on Face- book. Fan Pages are vital because they allow consumers to communicate directly with the com- F o u r E l e m e n t s L L C We b 2 . 0 & S e a r c h E n g i n e O p t i m i z a t i o n M a n u a l 2
  4. 4. pany and/or other consumers. If you just released a new product, your fan page can give you a great deal of value feedback, as most likely your fans will start discussions on the page. These pages also allow your consumers to be very hands on because they can upload pictures and vid- eos. 7. Advertising: Facebook makes all of its revenue from advertising and has developed quite the impressive ad platform. Depending on the size of your company, you can choose different types of advertising. Anyone can buy ads at any time by number of clicks or by number of impressions. When you run this type of ad, you choose what you want to advertise, type in the text of the ad, upload the photo for the ad, choose a social action, pick the location (worldwide, state, city), pick the sex, pick the age, type in keywords, set a daily budget, pick your max bid and finally choose your schedule. The social actions are stories about a user’s friends that are related to and dis- played alongside your advertisement. You can select which pages or applications provide rele- vant social actions that can be paired with your ad. Another type of advertisement that larger companies use, links actions taken on a company’s website to actions taken on Facebook. If your friend rents a movie on Blockbuster.com, he/she can choose to share this on Facebook. If they choose yes and one of your friends likes the genre of movie you rented, an ad will appear in that friend’s news feed stating X rented Y movie from Blockbuster.com. The level of personalization Facebook has created for their advertising platform separates them from other social networks. 8. Insights: Along with the superior ad platform, Facebook has developed a powerful research plat- form to track the performance of your ads. You have access to data on activity, fan demographics, ad performance and trends. With this information, you are better equipped to improve your cus- tom content on Facebook and adjust your ad targeting. Their robust database of authentic demo- graphic information provides you with deep understanding of exactly who is engaging with your business and how. Best of all, this service is completely free. 9. Application Creation: Another great way to promote your company is to develop a powerful application. With Facebook Platform, you can create applications that integrate deeply into Face- book, harness the power of the social graph and create new opportunities for you business. The platform provides you with all the necessary tools to quickly create custom experiences for users to interact with your business. There is currently over 400,000 registered developers on Facebook, so don’t wait any longer. As you now know, Facebook should not be taken lightly. It is one of the most powerful web 2.0 platforms available in the current market and all businesses should be implementing a few of these discussed steps. Social networks are not just for fun anymore, which is why companies like Ernst and Young, Apple and Nike all have strong presences on Facebook. YouTube Over the last five years, YouTube has swiftly become the dominant player in the online video industry. Currently over 35% of all online video plays are made on YouTube and because of this their audience is massive. YouTube offers businesses, musicians, and anyone else a massive platform where they can broadcast their respective content. Like Twitter and other web 2.0 tools, YouTube helps with search engine rankings. Once you start posting videos with valuable content and gain a following of viewers, you will begin to pop up more and more for various keywords. For a startup business, YouTube is a significant tool in gaining a viral presence. It can cost companies thousands of dollars in PR and marketing expenses to gain a following and establish a brand, but with YouTube it is virtually free. Once you set up your company account, you will have also created your own F o u r E l e m e n t s L L C We b 2 . 0 & S e a r c h E n g i n e O p t i m i z a t i o n M a n u a l 3
  5. 5. YouTube channel. You can customize the CSS on your channel to be personalized for your respective brand. Once the channel customization is complete, it is time to fill it with video content. What type of videos should you create? Let’s use a commercial real estate firm as our example. As a startup company you will want to prove you industry expertise. In this case, the first few videos should be discussions about specific markets that your company knows inside and out. Talk about the rent rates, demographics, future growth, local economy and other information that a client will find interesting and valuable. Post these videos and your target market will come to watch them. Once you have reached the 500-1000 viewer threshold think about making a recruitment video. In this video talk about what makes your company unique, your clients, your growth potential and the work environment. Finally, think about making video tours of high profile properties in bigger markets. This will give you a unique edge on your competitors. YouTube has endless possibilities for startup and established companies alike. If you do not currently have a channel on YouTube, set one up right after you read this blog. Check back soon for the nest blog in our 101 series on Facebook. Twitter Tweeting is quickly gaining verb status, just like Google did several years ago. Once a companies name becomes used in this manner, it should be taken seriously. Over the last year, Twitter has become one of the most popular and widely utilized web 2.0 tools. However, many people are still unsure of the true value behind Twitter. This application is not a time wasting, social utility. If used properly, it is powerful individual and business tool. The most obvious value behind becoming a frequent Tweeter is the SEO benefit. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is crucial in today’s business world to understand SEO. Every company and individual should strive to be on the first page of Google for various keyword searches. In order to do this, you must be great at what you do and write valuable content on your field of expertise. Twittering allows you to publish short (140 character) blogs, which will appear on the feeds of all your followers. If other Twitter members find your content interesting they will follow you, so they can see all your future posts. The more followers you have, the greater your credibility will become and your search engine ranking will consequentially increase. Along with the inherit SEO benefit, Twitter is valuable in several other ways. Firstly, it is a lightning fast form of communication to a large group. You can keep colleagues, partners and friends up to date on breaking news or insider information within seconds of finding out. And with Twitter applications for the iPhone and Blackberry, it is just one click away. Once logged in, you can quickly type your message, click update and within a fraction of a second all your followers receive the message. Twitter can also be inte- grated into corporate and personal blogs. This way any Twitter updates you make on the road will auto- matically feed to your blog. Twittering is also a valuable tool at large events, such as conventions. Instead of the conventional Q&A session at the end of speeches, a screen can be set up on stage and the audience members can Twitter their questions, which will appear on the big screen. This way everyone can hear the question without the usual confusion. These are just a few of the ways Twitter can offer value to the business world. For more information on Twittering, feel free to contact us. F o u r E l e m e n t s L L C We b 2 . 0 & S e a r c h E n g i n e O p t i m i z a t i o n M a n u a l 4
  6. 6. Widgets What is all this widget talk? Lately, it has become a hot topic and companies, both big and small, are hir- ing developers to build custom widgets. I personally love widgets and feel they hold tremendous value for promoting and building a brand. Most widgets are simple in design and functionality, but are valu- able because they allow the consumer to personally and uniquely interact with the company. They are also valuable because anyone can share the widget on their social network profile, blog and/or website. If you create a unique and useful widget, there is a high probability that it will spread like wildfire. If this happens, your brand’s web presence will see exponential growth for a fraction of the cost you would have incurred with any other advertising campaign. Do your research on widgets and look at the widgets of innovative companies to see how users interact with them. It is difficult to see how much traffic a widget drives to a site, but you can see how many users have added the widget. For example, the Twitter widget on Facebook has 70,616 monthly active users and 10,778 fans. Twitter’s widget can be found and used on several other large social networks and all blogs. The widget is very simple, but incredibly useful, as it allows you to post a Twitter from several locations. If you are on Facebook and feel the need to share something on Twitter, all you have to do is type the post into the embedded application on your profile page. They are a perfect example of a great widget and I highly recommend following in their footsteps when creating your own. The value in Twitter’s widget is the convenience factor. It is simply an extension of the communication platform, as the user is no longer bound to posting from one location. They also developed a second widget, which does the opposite of the first widget. This widget displays the users Twitter posts on their profiles and blogs, while automatically updating every time the user makes a new post. So you have decided what your widget will do, but how will you make it? Once you reach this point you have three options: 1. Hire an outside developer to code the widget to your specifications. 2. If you have a company programmer, have them develop the widget. 3. Use an online platform to customize a widget yourself. Options 1 and 2 are self-explanatory and there should be no issues as long as the developer is talented. If you are going with option 3 then you need to find a good platform to customize your widget. The 3rd op- tion is primarily for early stage startups, or companies that lack a consistent cash flow. I recommend Springwidgets.com for free widget customization. They have pre-made widgets where you can make several small changes to personalize it and a tool for creating your own widget from the ground up. They consistently add new widgets to the gallery and new customization options. If you choose option 3, visit SpringWidgets and other similar websites to find the best match. Ning and Niche Social Networks While general social networks, like Facebook and MySpace, seem to be the only worthwhile platforms, there are hundreds of invaluable niche networks lying under the radar. These niche social networks are significantly smaller in size, but are incredibly larger in the value they offer members. Ning is a web 2.0 platform, which allows members to create their own niche social networks and popu- late them with likeminded individuals. In May of 2008 there were 1,500 new networks created everyday F o u r E l e m e n t s L L C We b 2 . 0 & S e a r c h E n g i n e O p t i m i z a t i o n M a n u a l 5
  7. 7. and over 70% of these niche networks are active, which means a member had used it within the last 30 days. This exponential growth shows how social network users enjoy and find value in becoming a member of these highly focused communities. While a majority of these members are also members on Facebook, MySpace and/or LinkedIn, they are finding several unique points of value through their membership on niche social networks. Following is a list of benefits from the utilization of niche social networks: • Find and connect with likeminded professionals, who are utilizing the social network for the same purpose. • Increase your knowledge of a certain topic within a specific industry by connecting with an expert and beginning a knowledge sharing relationship. • Share your knowledge and experience with a network of people who understand and genu- inely care about your blog and profile page. • See trends and opportunities in your industry and market and take action by connecting with the right people and/or blogging about it to demonstrate your expertise. • Your actions and connections hold significantly more value than those on Facebook or MyS- pace. • Niche Networks have a highly active and dedicated user base, which means that the content on the network is well written, highly valuable and frequently refreshed/updated. • You have a much greater chance of standing out on your niche network, which will lead to prominent exposure to the right people and an increase in business and opportunities. • Along the same lines as being a big fish in a small pond, you have a much greater chance of establishing authority through your blog and profile (to the right people again). • These networks typically offer valuable tools and functionalities specific to the needs of the community. The commonality linking the above benefits is the quality and mindset of each member. Professionals who join their respective industry social network show more diligence and professionalism in the crea- tion of their profile, writing of their blogs and interaction with other members and connections. Your membership in your industry social network should be a direct extension of your job, as proper utiliza- tion of the network can become an incredibly valuable tool and you will leverage this value on a daily business. StumbleUpon StumbleUpon is simple in concept, but they have created a valuable tool and asset for all bloggers, mar- keting teams and website admins. The platform allows you to discover and share blogs/sites you like by clicking thumbs up or thumbs down button you install on your browser’s toolbar. The more people that give a site thumbs up, the more stars it will have next to the website name in search results. They cur- rently have 6,428,597 members discovering the latest and greatest websites and blogs. The real value is the advertising campaigns you can run, once you are a member. To start you type the page you want to promote, which would most likely be your blog and then you pick the user interest groups you want to target. Once that is set you add funds to your account on Stumble- Upon and set a daily budget. The beauty is that you do not have to bid for ads, which is the model on Facebook. To advertise on StumbleUpon you have a flat rate of $.05 per click, which is amazing for those of us with tight marketing budgets. If you choose a daily budget of $25 you will attract 500-targeted visi- F o u r E l e m e n t s L L C We b 2 . 0 & S e a r c h E n g i n e O p t i m i z a t i o n M a n u a l 6
  8. 8. tors in one single day! For my blog, this was a huge boost in unique visitors. The other beauty of Stum- bleUpon’s model is that you actually get the total amount of visitors you want. My experiences with run- ning ads on Facebook were horrible and I would get about 5% of the visitors I planned to get in a day. I have run 6 campaigns on StumbleUpon and every time I got every single visitor I expected. You get a detailed analytics chart to look over during and after your campaign, which is a nice touch. There is yet another point of value in advertising on StumbleUpon, which is the drastic increase in authority and ranking due to the amount of visitors giving your page thumbs up. All the visitors are StumbleUpon members and therefore have the ranking buttons on their toolbars, which means your blog/site will have immediate benefits and long term benefits. Exclusive Social Networks Fast Pitch Business Networking: This membership fee based social network has really grown on of late. When I first heard about I was somewhat hesitant to fork over $81.00 for a quarterly Platinum member- ship. I am currently about one month in to the start of my membership and I have seen more noticeable results through my Platinum Status here than on any free social network I have used over the last four years. As a side note, they do offer a basic free membership and a $9 a month premium membership. The first point of value is the fact that the community itself is a niche and all the members are very profes- sional and goal oriented when logged into their profile. The quality of members is much higher than nearly all other social networks; even other business oriented ones. Each level of member is marked with a certain number of stars, which makes finding credible and serious professionals an easier task than on any other SN (social network). I will now fill you in on the benefits of paying to be a Platinum member on Fast Pitch: • Highly customizable user profile • 3 stars next to name and picture when people search the network or visit your page, which is the most stars you can have based only off membership • Ability to run large scale email marketing campaigns (50,000 emails a month) • Ability to create and run powerful community groups • Ability to create and mass promote press releases • Full integration of your blog into the network and ability to promote it to 100,000 members instantly • Ability to create, post and distribute classifieds for you business to the whole community • Personalized search engine optimization, which allows you to input specific tags and links in order to leverage Fast Pitches Google Page Rank of 8 and close relationships with the search engines. Because Platinum members are using the platform’s page rank, they have quickly get picked up in search engines for several competitive keywords and eventually get to the first page • Access to research reports specific to your individual profile that shows you who visited, how many clicks there were and more data Business Exchange BusinessWeek has recently launched a web 2.0 platform called Business Exchange. It allows users to create a profile page and then upload news articles, blogs and references. Basically, they have created an ad- vanced content sharing platform with some other web 2.0 functionalities, such as adding friends and tag- F o u r E l e m e n t s L L C We b 2 . 0 & S e a r c h E n g i n e O p t i m i z a t i o n M a n u a l 7
  9. 9. ging posts. The platform is relatively new, but it is beginning to gain some real traction; especially in the blogging world. Since Jay Deragon (a top web 2.0 consultant who was hired by BW to help with the crea- tion of Business Exchange) told me about the site, I have used it to promote the Four Elements blog. We have seen outstanding results and Business Exchange is now our second largest referrer. Business Exchange is also a great site to join when looking into an individual SEO strategy. I signed up for Business Exchange two weeks ago and have been quite active since then. When I Google “Maxwell Finn” my Business Exchange profile comes up first. This is impressive, considering how active I am on many other social networks. I have consistently updated my LinkedIn and Facebook pages over the last two years, yet they are only coming up eight and tenth on the first page. If you are looking to improve the ranking of your blog and self at the same time, Business Exchange is a must. Search Engine Optimization Long Tail (Niche) Keyword Optimization Keyword research can be a long and tedious task and sometimes does not pay off if you are not doing it correctly. Before you begin to research the keywords you think are the best for you business, make sure they really are the best words/phrases to pick. If you are a real estate firm, it may seem like the best key- word to work on is real estate, but this is almost always not the case. If you were to Google “real estate” it should become obvious that it is highly competitive. Google returns about 657,000,000 results for “real estate” and the first page is filled with the likes of realtor.com, realestate.com, Yahoo! Real Estate, Wikipedia, eBay and CNN. Century 21 doesn’t come up till the third page and it is the highest ranked of the big real estate firms for this search. Your company has no chance dominating this keyword. So what should you do? Look at the long tail, which means that you should find specific keywords that are not nearly as competitive as “real estate”. So now let’s try Googling “residential real estate in Mid- town Atlanta”. What a difference! Instead of 657,000,00 results, you now only have 181,000. The top re- sults are mainly local companies that would take days to find if you were sifting through the results of the “real estate” search. And let’s face it; nobody is going to click past page five of the results for any Google search. If you are a real estate firm based in Atlanta, or have an office there, this is a much better keyword to choose. Why is it better to pick the long tail keyword? Let’s say by pure magic, someone finds your Atlanta based real estate company on Google when they search “real estate”. You now have received 1 click from 500,000,000 people who Googled “real estate”, but this person was only searching “real estate” because he wanted to find information on the state of the real estate market in New York City. You’re out of luck on this one because: A) You are not a real estate magazine or blog and do not have market spotlights at your website. B) You are an Atlanta based real estate company and have no office in NYC, or even in the whole northeast for that matter. F o u r E l e m e n t s L L C We b 2 . 0 & S e a r c h E n g i n e O p t i m i z a t i o n M a n u a l 8
  10. 10. So now that 1 click you finally earned after all the hours of SEO work and funds you used has been wasted because the keyword was way to broad. You should focus on niche keywords, especially if you are a smaller company with small pockets. SEO can be a time intensive project and for an entrepreneur to waste that much time on SEO for the wrong keyword instead of the core business might prove fatal. Finally, using a specific keyword will significantly increase your conversion rate. When people are search- ing broad terms, they most likely are not looking for anything in particular, which means there is a small chance for a sale. However, when someone searches an extremely specific keyword, there is a drastically higher chance of that individual purchasing your product or service. Content There are hundreds of search engine optimization blogs and companies out there that will promise you an instant ROI if you use their tools, services or guides. Some of these tips and services can be valuable, but only if your blog or website has incredible content. Hopefully you created your blog or website with the intent of providing valuable content, services and/or products to your target market. If this is not your intent, you should stop now. Your page needs to be filled with engaging and informative content on a specific topic. Make sure your content is focused on one or two similar topics because the more general you get, the harder the optimization becomes. Your goal should be to become an authority in a specific field. Let all your visitors do the SEO work for you. If your content is as good as it should be, readers will begin to link to posts and even site certain posts on their own site. A crucial aspect of SEO is link building and many people look into buying links and/or trying to find link partners. Stop wasting time and money on these potential rank-decreasing actions. Instead, spend that time writing great articles and thinking of engaging ways to include different forms of media into yours posts. Finally, make sure to focus your content around the keywords you want to dominate. If you are looking to come up high for the search “web 2.0 real estate consulting” it is not smart to right a post about deriva- tives. SEO takes time and no amount of money or tricks can change that fact. So, stop worrying about buying 500 links from a website and instead worry about the quality and optimization of each and every article you write. F o u r E l e m e n t s L L C We b 2 . 0 & S e a r c h E n g i n e O p t i m i z a t i o n M a n u a l 9
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