Posted on June 19, 2016 by
Marketers often create marketing personas, fictitious profiles of their target consumers, to build marketing strategies. The marketer identifies traits and characteristics of that target consumer and tailors marketing efforts specifically for that persona. Similarly, in search marketing, we create personas to more easily discern and evaluate ideal search terms for a target audience.
When we work with clients to improve search visibility, we often suggest marketing persona creation as a first step to determine optimal search terms. A search marketing persona is the profile of a website visitor the company wishes to attract. Using personas, a company can closely define the needs or “intent” of a target website visitor and then begin to understand and predict which search terms the user may use in search queries.
By way of example, we created a few marketing personas and search profiles for an imaginary clothing retailer that caters to a wide variety of consumers. The three target website visitors for this business include:
Joe Trekker – The quintessential “Millennial Eco Shopper,” Joe really cares about the planet and wants to find ways to support merchants who focus on earth-friendly and sustainable business practices.
Sally Saver – Very frugal and a careful thinker about every purchase, Sally uses an eagle eye to scout deals of every description. A member of several Facebook groups that share bargains and tips on getting the best price or value for any purchased item, Sally focuses on savings.
Laura LeanIn – A high-powered, driven businesswoman with little spare time on her hands, Laura has lots of discretionary income to spend. She appreciates, expects and will pay for luxury, service and convenience.
Creating personas for search marketing allows us to better identify keywords and phrases that map or align to the needs of the target user.
Given the general profiles we created, we next filled in our marketing persona template with additional information about our personas and added the search terms we expect each persona to use:
Name: Joe Trekker
Description: The quintessential “Millennial Eco Shopper,” Joe is fashion-conscious but really cares about the planet and wants to find ways to support merchants who focus on earth-friendly and sustainable business practices.
Education: 4-6 years of college
Annual Income: $45K – $150K
Personal Style: Joe sports some facial hair or a full beard, wears quality fabrics, considers himself more casual than formal.
Ideal Search Terms and Keywords: recycled, upcycled, used, reused, sourced, sustainable, reusable, eco-friendly, green, local
Name: Sally Saver
Description: Very frugal and a careful thinker about every purchase, Sally uses an eagle eye to scout deals of every description. A member of several Facebook groups that share bargains and tips on getting the best price or value for any purchased item, Sally focuses on savings.
Education: 2-4 years of college
Annual Income: $60K – $120K
Personal Style: Sally is conservative and traditional, not a trend setter.
Ideal Search Terms and Keywords: deal, bargain, clearance, sale, BOGO, discount
Name: Laura LeanIn
Description: A high-powered, driven businesswoman with little spare time on her hands, Laura does have lots of discretionary income to spend. She appreciates, expects and will pay for luxury, service and convenience.
Education: 4-6 years of college, and an advanced degree
Annual Income: $250K – $400K
Personal Style: Always professional, Laura is very fashionable, label-conscious and style-savvy – but always tasteful.
Ideal Search Terms and Keywords: luxury, high-end, convenient, service, concierge, delivery, designer, quality, hand-selected, genuine
Armed with the best search terms for each of our three marketing personas, we would then enhance the clothing company’s website such as text, photos and marketing programs to optimize the ideal search terms and keywords “mapped” to each target website visitor. As with any marketing program, marketing personas and search marketing are iterative and ongoing practices; we recommend revisiting and enhancing them on a regular basis.
Posted on June 5, 2016 by
In my recent post on How Blogging Helps Your Site Rank, I referenced the importance of inbound links, also known as backlinks, for a site’s rank on a search engine results page (SERP). A key factor in the strategy for optimizing websites and driving relevant traffic to a site, the topic of building quality links deserves deeper investigation. As such, I asked Ivan Barragan, our team’s resident expert on such matters, to further explain the significance of backlinks.
What is a backlink?
A backlink, or inbound link, is an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website. Both high quality and a high quantity of backlinks help improve the value of a website to a search engine.
Explain “quality backlink” and why it’s important?
Simply put, a quality backlink addresses two goals:
How does one build a quality link?
The best way to acquire quality links is to create relevant and unique content that serves the purpose of helping your prospects. For example, engaging in a forum – such as Reddit, Quora, Yahoo Answers, or other boards – and helping to answer questions about your product or service, then providing a link to your website, contributes to a quality link.
The key is to add value first by answering questions before adding a link, rather than just dropping in a link in and moving on without contributing positively to a conversation.
What are the pitfalls of bad links and is there any recourse?
Previously, a site could rank well as a result of inbound links from multiple directories. However, Google realized that such directory links and some other SEO link schemes didn’t actually add value. As a result, Google introduced the Penguin algorithm and new Webmaster Guidelines to decrease search engine rankings of websites with no-value add links and links in violation of new policies. Google also started imposing penalties – manual webspam actions – for sites with poor quality backlinks. The penalties severely impact site rankings; in some cases, sites with spammy links either appear many pages down in the SERP or, worse, end up totally removed from the search index.
Our team works hard to always stay abreast of current guidelines and only create quality links. Before starting new link building programs with clients, we conduct due diligence on a site by running a link detox report to check backlinks and identify all the websites that link to the client’s site. Then, we determine which websites are spam and approach those sites to remove the unfavorable link. Unfortunately, oftentimes spammy websites employ unresponsive or totally absent webmasters. In that case, we can ask that Google disavow certain links, which means ignore them for the purposes of determining site ranking.
What’s the bottom line on building quality links?
The best practice is to add value to a conversation when creating links and choose high-quality, content-driven websites where you can contribute and bring something to the table. Always participate in active communities to gain trust and authority on a subject before adding links, rather than dropping a link onto a website and moving on. Also, check out Eric Ward for solid and up-to-date information on building quality backlinks; he wrote the book on this topic and we trust his guidance.
Posted on May 22, 2016 by
On Friday, I spoke at Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s Small Business 101 seminar at the Oracle Conference Center in nearby Redwood City. I felt tremendously honored to be invited by the Congresswoman and thrilled to impart some wisdom I’ve gained as a small business owner and expertise I’ve honed in the field of digital marketing and business reputation management.
Believe it or not, 99% of all California companies are small businesses. Furthermore, these businesses employ just shy of 50% of the state’s workforce. Not an insignificant part of our population! The seminar provided an opportunity for both current small business owners and those considering small business ownership to learn how to grow a successful business and also to connect with local resources and experts. The seminar included remarks from Congresswoman Speier and Small Business Administration District Director Mark Quinn and presented strategies to help navigate some common business obstacles. Featured panelists discussed alternative sources of capital, building a business through networking and marketing and the ever-changing and always-important topic of cybersecurity and data protection.
The first panel, “Beyond Banks: Alternative Sources of Capital” featured experts on both conventional and non-traditional funding sources. Representatives from the San Mateo Small Business Development Center, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Opportunity Fund, Nav and GoFundMe shared their expertise. Devin McAlpine, Director of Micro Funding at Opportunity Fund, explained that they do not use just a person or company’s credit score in funding decisions, and most Opportunity Fund funding occurs in just a few days. Tim Graczewski, Nav Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, spoke about the Nav credit bureau that provides credit scores for businesses using reports from DNB, Experian and more. Most business owners in the room didn’t know they had a separate credit score for their business. Finally, Kevin Madsen, Business Development at GoFundMe, explained how the GoFundMe platform expanded from mostly personal fundraising opportunities to small business opportunities – a very cool service.
I spoke on the second panel, “Building Your Network.” Participants engaged with me in a fantastic discussion on the topic of business reputation management. We started with a show of hands of who has googled themselves and their businesses; practically none of the attendees googled themselves, their products or their brands in the past three weeks – or ever. We then discussed the importance of knowing what’s written about your business online, including on forums and in Yelp and other reviews. No shortage of opportunities exist for customers, clients and prospects to voice opinions and read reviews – good, bad or ugly. I shared that, upon understanding the online reviews, I believe in two critical rules:
As the adage goes, perception is reality. When a customer posts a complaint, then their perception is real. Since online reviews are pervasive, a successful business critically considers all reviews and looks deep inside to fix the root of the public perception of the business; ignore the perception at one’s peril.
Wil Hart, of Smart Simple Marketing and a Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert and Trainer, also joined me on the Building Your Network panel. I found his statistic that a $1 investment in email drives a $44 return in revenue fascinating. Impressive, no?
The third and final panel of the day, “Cybersecurity and Data Protection”, featured Joel de la Garza, Box Security Officer, and Aaron Hanson, Symantec Product Marketing Lead. Their presentations proved amazing. They reminded us we all need to install security software on our computers AND mobiles TODAY. As well, they recommended the best three things you can do to protect yourself – and your small business – online, including:
I look forward to delving more into the topic of business reputation management in a future blog post. For now, though, I hope you enjoyed this brief recap of the fantastic Small Business 101 Seminar. I sincerely thank Congresswoman Speier and her wonderful staff for the invitation, the warm reception, the thoughtful panelists and the opportunity to help other small businesses in this community grow, succeed and thrive.← Older posts Newer posts →