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Posts Tagged ‘Ways’

3 Ways to Avoid SERP Casualties and Aid Online Reputation Management

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3 Ways to Avoid SERP Casualties and Aid Online Reputation Management was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Upset clients are an inevitability. To protect yourself against angry rants, you need to be vigilant when it comes to online reputation management. Learn how to make sure negative comments aren’t associated with your brand in the SERP.

1. Rank for your business name.

(Own page 1 of the SERP — and page 2 and 3, if you can).

When users search for your business on Google, you want them to find your business website, your Twitter account, your Facebook page, your Google Places for Business entry, articles on your business, your LinkedIn profile, blog posts from your business, praise from customers — literally, anything that relates to your business except negative comments and bad press (neither of which, in a best case scenario, even exist).

2. Target negative keyword phrases.

SupermanTake a moment to think about negative remarks an irate customer (or crafty competitor) might take to the Internet with. Let’s say your Superman, and Lex Luthor has been trolling Web and writing “Superman sucks,” and “I hate Superman” — maybe he’s even gone so far as to say “Superman is a super fraud.”

Well, the man of steel just can’t tolerate such slander. But, like any smart superhero, he knows that if he can manage to bury Lex’s accusations beyond page two (or even three) or the search, chances are slim that no one will every read Lex’s unsubstantiated claims. How can Superman do that? By creating content that targets those very phrases: “Superman sucks,” “I hate Superman,” and “Superman is a fraud.”

For example, Superman can ask Lois Lane to whip up some optimized blog posts entitled “10 Reasons Superman Doesn’t Suck,” “I Hate Love Superman” and “Why Superman isn’t a Fraud.” (And, of course, as a savvy writer and knowledgeable content creator, Lois will create quality blog posts that are at least 400 words, offer useful information and are optimized for their respective keyword phrases).

What might your business’ enemies try to slander you with? Beat them to the punch by ranking for any negative keyword phrases that could be associated with your business.

3. Snatch up negative domains Superman

Similarly, Superman would want to own any domains that tarnish his good name, such as SEO Man (a.k.a. Bruce Clay) implements this practice. Type in and you will be redirected to That’s because Bruce owns Which means someone who wishes to do him digital harm can’t own it. Neither Bruce nor Super Man would have it any other way.

Bruce Clay Blog

4 Ways to Start Optimizing Your Facebook Presence

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4 Ways to Start Optimizing Your Facebook Presence was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Companies will often have a Facebook presence but are still not quite sure what to do with it. And while the opportunities are seemingly endless, we’re gonna get back to the basics on this one and talk about how a few simple steps can help you lay the foundations for a more successful Facebook experience. Today we’ll go over:

  1. Understanding your Facebook Insights.
  2. Promoting your status updates.
  3. Optimizing your about section.
  4. Creating a schedule for posting.

1. Understand Your Facebook Insights

As a Facebook Page owner, you have access to Facebook’s analytics for your page, Facebook Insights. Get intimate with your Facebook Insights to understand what your audience is looking for. This is an area that should be monitored regularly to see how your community is engaging, and what sorts of things it responds to. The goal is to experiment, and give them what they want.

For a crash course, check out this document from Facebook circa 2011 on getting to know Insights.

The following snapshot shows the Insights landing page graph — what you first see when you go to the analytics from your page. There’s a lot of data to mine., but let’s just look at a couple you can learn from quickly.

Explore the data on the main graph on the Insights home page as well as the data below it. This is where you can see how the page is performing over a specified period of time, and which posts have proven to have the most engagement.

Facebook Post Insights

Find the posts that have a higher engagement percentage or “virality” (as indicated by the shadow boxes), analyze those updates and use that as fuel for creating more posts like those to see if they consistently receive higher engagement.

There could be many factors contributing to the success of a status update om Facebook. It could be the topic or an element within the post (like including an image or a particular tip, etc.). Consider creating a spreadsheet that breaks down common elements of your status updates to see if the more popular updates have anything in common.

2. Promote Your Status Updates

If and when a post becomes popular as defined by your Facebook Insights, consider using the “promote” option to get even more eyeballs on it. This has worked well in our experience and is a relatively inexpensive solution for visibility. Take care to promote only those status updates that you feel are important to your goals.

Facebook Post Promote

We’ve seen several posts enjoy more reach and bring in more likes to our page from the promote feature. Check out the results of this one:

Facebook Post Promoted

There’s been some controversy about this functionality. Mainly, people are worried that you’re going to have to pay to play in the future; however, a Facebook rep tells us in this post that they apply a similar approach to both paid and organic stories in news feeds:

“Regardless of whether you’re paying to promote a story or just posting one to your Page, the news feed will always optimize for stories that generate high levels of user engagement and filter out ones that don’t.”

3. Optimize Your About Section

The “About” section is a perfect place for branding your organization. Use this section wisely to clearly communicate what your organization is about and use keywords that are important to your company.

The arrow on the following image indicates the area on the home page where the short description you have created in the Abut section will render. Use this space wisely to quickly communicate what your organization is about and consider putting your website so people can click through directly from the Facebook landing page.

Facebook About

The About section offers ample opportunity to go into more detail about your company:

  • Tell your story and highlight your unique value proposition (what makes you different).
  • If there’s a link you really want your community to check out, include it. But minimize any call to actions to only the most important so as not to split the attention.
  • Use keywords throughout that are important to your offerings.
  • Cross-promote your presence in other places on the Web here so people can find content that is useful to them coming from you. If you have other Facebook profiles or a YouTube or Twitter account, let your community know.

Here’s an example using The Bruce Clay Facebook About section:

Facebook Post About Section

4. Create a Schedule for Posting

Knowing how often to post is never easy, and typically comes with some experimentation. Posting too much can annoy your community, and not posting enough can leave you forgotten.

Using data from third-party tools can be very helpful in giving you a starting point for a schedule. EdgeRank Checker looks at historical data of your Facebook account and comes up with some suggestions on how often to post, and when is an optimal time for your particular community.

Facebook Post Overall Recommendations

And another suggestion:

Facebook Post Best and Worst Metrics

Use that data as a starting point for experimentation on how often you post, which days you post. Here’s a post on social media scheduling that might help you, too.

I hope this has given you a starting point to audit your Facebook presence and start making more informed decisions right away. Comments welcomed below!

Bruce Clay Blog

5 Ways to Improve Blog Visibility ASAP

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5 Ways to Improve Blog Visibility ASAP was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Clients often ask us about blogging best practices, and how to increase the visibility and quality of content on their blog. This is a big question to answer, and an even bigger answer to give. True, a blog is an extension of your site (in some cases, a blog is the entire site). So you need to apply SEO best practices to your blog as a foundation. But blogging is also a social activity rooted in publishing.

Yes, blogging is part of your company’s social activities. It’s the content that’s fed through the social sphere. Without content, social media would not exist. It’s that stuff people share and connect through. And your blog needs to become a part of that.

So today, I’m going to share with you some small tweaks you can make to your blogging activity that will help strengthen the relationship between your community and the social networks.

While there is a much larger holistic strategy at the heart of a thriving blog, we’re going to discuss a few action items that’ll help make your content more targeted:

  1. Know who your community is.
  2. Know where your community is.
  3. Build and strengthen your community.
  4. Make it easy for people to share in the community.
  5. Get in on Google Authorship for increased visibility.

1. Know Who Your Community Is


Not knowing who the heck you’re talking to in your blog is a problem. As a business owner, you may have a good idea of your primary customer, and often, this is a perfect place to start when thinking about personas for your blog (the people you are talking to).

In the post: “3 Ways to Align Your Blog Content with Your Target Audience,” I talked about that all-important starting point. If you have products and services, who buys them? If your product is blog content — what types of people read it and for what purpose? There’s a story behind why your audience engages with you. Dig in and let that be your guide for the content you create.

2. Know Where Your Community Is


You may already have social communities established, but do you know which social communities are more geared towards your target audience? Do you also know how those channels interact with your blog and its content?

Guesses and intuition can only get you so far. You need to have some data to help you make informed decision. In Google Analytics, there are several reports connected to social media that can offer very telling data about what social channels people are coming from to your blog and what content they’re sharing.

The great thing about Google Analytics is that it’s free data, just waiting for you. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best data right out of the box. Remember that Google Analytics comes with default settings and reports, so areas will need to be customized to extract the data you need.

Here’s some articles that can help you better understand the Google Analytics social reports:

Remember, a blog is a social networking activity, and the channels the content is shared through (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus) is essential to keeping it alive. Without your community sharing content that’s relevant to them, blog efforts can sometimes fall short.

3. Build and Strengthen Your Community


As the hub of your community, your blog should make it very simple for readers to discover the social networks you’re in. And your social networks should be cross-promoted so that your community can discover new content from your brand in other areas.

That means having your social icons set up in a way that’s easy to find on the blog, preferably above the fold. And you can use the data you discover in Google Analytics to better understand what social communities are worth investing more resources in (where the traffic is coming from; where content is being shared). And here’s some information on choosing social plugins for your site.

Think about the social plugins that are going to make it easy for your community to engage, while at the same time considering things that may impact the performance of your site (like page load times). And different buttons offer different functionality. Some offer easy access to join a brand’s social network with one click, some show the user how many people in their network are also a part of that community. Decide what’s best for what you are trying to accomplish.

A Note on Optimizing Your Social Presence

Making sure your social presence is cohesive is an exercise in branding and marketing. Ensure your messaging is consistent across all your “about” sections in all your social networks (that doesn’t mean “exactly the same,” but it means cohesiveness). Make sure your about sections offer useful information about the brand while at the same time alerting the community of the other ways people can connect — be it your YouTube account, your LinkedIn and yes, the blog!

Consider also using the keywords that are important to your business in your descriptions, for example, keywords from your SEO campaign. This post by AJ Kohn goes into detail about the things you can do to optimize your Google Plus profile specifically.

And don’t forget to take advantage of all the features that are available to you to make a robust social media profile. This three-part series on optimizing your brand’s LinkedIn profile offers tidbits on how to do so.

4. Make It Easy for People to Share in the Community


Have you ever been to a site and been accosted with a million buttons to share the content you’re reading? Sometimes blog owners worry that if they don’t offer every possible way to share, they’ll miss out. But here’s the thing: your target audience isn’t everywhere.

Usually, brands have a few core social media networks that actually matter to them, because that’s where their community is engaging. So you can ditch that massive share button widget and just hone in on giving your regular readers a simple way to share content.

This point goes along with what we discussed in an earlier section: know where your community is, and cater to them. There’s social plugin tracking in the Google Analytics reports we talked about that helps you find out which buttons are being used most to share content. This is one way to aid in your decision-making.

But don’t forget to take into account all factors and metrics available to you. Another way to decide if the social share button is right for your blog is more of a common-sense approach. If you don’t have any images on your blog ever that are worthy of people sharing on Pinterest, for example, don’t have a button for that. For more help on choosing social media share buttons, check out this post.

5. Get in on Google Authorship for Increased Visibility


Of all the recommendations here, as a blogger, Google Authorship is a must. It first starts with Google Plus, Google’s social community. Anyone who has any Google account already has a Google Plus profile by default (Gmail is one example of a Google account, but there are other commonly used Google product lines).

Many of these default profiles go untouched by users, but it offers a great opportunity for added visibility of content in the search results and among users of Google Plus, and is essential for bloggers.

See, Google Plus ties in with Google Authorship. Google Authorship is a process by which you link a blog’s (or site’s) content to the author who created it using a Google Plus profile. Authorship allows a brand and an author to claim ownership of content on the Web. And it’s essentially a trust signal by Google, saying this person on this site creates acceptable content.

And Google rewards this by giving the content another opportunity to be found in the search results. The “snippet” the Authorship program renders in the search results has been known to increase click-through rates to the content (you know what I’m referring to, right? That thumbnail of the author’s face next to the content).

And we are now seeing multiple pieces of content in the search results tied to an author. Plus, being a part of the Authorship program offers an additional data point about the performance of the content from that author.

So How Do You Get Authorship?

The way to implement Authorship can sometimes be a laborious process, made even more complicated if you have multiple authors on a blog. But it seems as though Google is making it easier to do so as time goes on. Here’s a great list of authorship resources by Raven.

I’ll offer a general overview of how to get Authorship going (at the time of this writing, results may vary based on your site):

  1. If you don’t already have it, add a plugin for author bios on the blog that renders at the end of each post.
  2. Have contributors set up their Google Plus profile, making sure there is a recognizable head shot for the main profile pic (260 x 260 size), and any relevant information about them in the About section.
  3. If the regular contributors have an email at your company domain, this is the easiest way to link up the site’s blog with the Google Plus page (by adding that email to the “work” section of the Google Plus profile). Otherwise, add the blog domain in the “contributor to” section of the Google Plus profile.
  4. On the blog side, make sure that all the articles have the byline: “By [NAME],” and each contributing author will need a short bio for the bio plugin we talked about in Step 1. To manually add the rel=author markup in the bio section for each author, you can write a sentence that connects the Google Plus profile with a bit of code. (Note that this is what works for our particular situation in WordPress, but it could vary, and in some cases, the Yoast plugin makes it even easier). So the sentence could read something like:

Connect with [NAME HERE] on <a href=”[INSERT GOOGLE PLUS PROFILE LINK HERE]?rel=author”>Google+</a>

You can retrieve the Google Plus profile link for each individual author by going to their Google Plus profile and copying the unique URL for that profile. Please note that you can take the “/posts” off the end of the URL before copying into the code below.

Once the link between the blog and the Google Plus profiles has been made for all regular contributing authors, we can then request to add them to the Google Authorship program for consideration (note: this can take several weeks to be approved). Logged into Google Plus, you can follow the instructions here to add the blogger to the program.

Hopefully the steps laid out in this post get you on a path where you have better understanding of who your audience is, what blog content is working for you and how to gain more visibility of that content. Remember, a blog is a social hub and a social marketing activity. So take advantage of all the social tools that help your blog thrive!

Let us know if you have any questions or comments in the field below!

Bruce Clay Blog

3 Ways to Align Your Blog Content with Your Target Audience

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3 Ways to Align Your Blog Content with Your Target Audience was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

It’s the question that’s on many people’s minds when they have a blog – who is our audience? What matters to them? If you have a niche blog – one that’s already focused on a particular subject matter – you already know your audience is interested in that, but how do you:

  • Continuously hold their attention?
  • Give them what they want?
  • Draw in new readers?
  • Align content with business offerings?

Understanding your audience is at times a guessing game. Your theories about who you’re talking to are made stronger by incremental data gathered over time. But you have to start from somewhere, right?

So before you start tracking your popular content in analytics, you have to think about what’s even relevant to your audience. What to write.

So let’s have a starting point. And that starting point is your business. What are the things your business offers its community? What are the things your brand is known for? How can you align your content to the people who need what you have, in a way that offers value to them?

Today, that’s what we’re going to talk about – a path for creating content for your blog.

1. Segment your audience by your products/services.


You have services and/or products. Who buys them? Start thinking about the differences in your audience by the service/product type (or groups of services/products). When you think about the differences, the persona sometimes becomes very clear.

Ask when they use your products and services and why? What are they trying to achieve? If you have the resources to do a branding exercise, this can be super helpful. But if you don’t, that’s OK, too. Brainstorming on your own or with your team can give you a great starting point.

Let’s use BCI as an example. Our audience type typically varies based on our products and services. We have a category of those who engage in services with us, and then another category of those who take SEO training, use the SEOToolSet and buy our books.

And then we have another audience, our industry. And this category is important to us, too. We also have an audience that will likely never buy from us, but they consume our content, like the blog and newsletter.

These audiences have different interests in the content they want and a whole different set of problems from one another. Some of them may need 101-level content, some may need more advanced content. Some may want tactical how-to info and some may need strategic plans. And some may just want to connect with us on a human level.

Go through this exercise with your business. Write up a persona profiles based on what you know about your audience, and add to it as time goes on. The more data you collect in analytics or by talking to your audience in comments or in social media (where the audience often overlaps), the more defined your persona profiles will be.

2. Know when your audience will crossover to another segment.


There will usually be overlap with your audience. And it’s important to recognize this overlap. Expanding on the BCI example we spoke about in the previous section, we know that sometimes people who buy the book will eventually sign up for training.

When you’re thinking about the behavior of your audience and what they need, think about the stages they go through during the span of their engagement with you. What first might be a book purchase could lead to a training class could lead to services.

It might be helpful to quickly sketch a diagram of the type of customer (segmented by product/service) and what path they are likely to go on during their relationship with you.

For example:

  • Reads blog or newsletter > Buys book, attends training, signs up for tools
  • Bought book > Attends training, reads blog, signs up for newsletter
  • Attends conference training > Signs up for extended training
  • Takes training course > Buys services
  • Signs up for tools > Buys book, attends training

This type of information can be particularly relevant if you are doing email marketing, but you can also align your blog content with the journey of the customer as well. The types of information they want at different stages of their engagement with your brand varies.

Which brings me to the next point …

3. Know what they are searching for.


Keyword research and audience go hand-in-hand. The information you uncover about who your audience is and what they want fuels your keyword research.

It’s important to know what your audience is searching for because you want to attract new people to your blog with the content you create surrounding the products or services you offer.

Once you have a good list of keywords, segmented by product/service/audience, you want to begin thinking about what sort of content is appropriate for that audience.

This is not only important for attracting new readers to your blog at the moment they are looking for that information, but also because you want to connect with your existing audience and give them the type of information they need.

This is where the personas you’ve already written up can come in handy. And you can also bulk them up in this stage, too. What do these people need at this point in their journey? What are they expecting from your brand? How can you help?

For example, you can make the inference that someone who buys your book (let’s use our book as an example), is a do-it-yourselfer, a small business owner, a budding SEO.

When you understand what challenges your audience faces at what stage, you can begin assigning topics to keywords and building that content into your editorial calendar to offer content to this type of persona.

And don’t forget about the different ways people learn. You can further tailor your content by taking into consideration the many ways people like to consume content.

Did you find this post useful? Do you have comments or ideas? Do tell below!

Bruce Clay Blog

Three Ways To Break Down A Market

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Ford said “give the customer any color they want, so long as it is black”. This strategy worked for a while, because people just wanted a car. However, the market changed when GM decided they would offer a range of cars to suit different “purposes, purses and personalities”.

Between 1920 and 1923, Ford’s market share plummeted from 55 to 12 percent.

These days, auto manufacturers segment the market, rather than treat it as one homogeneous mass. There are cars for the rich, cars for the less well off, cars built for speed, and cars built for shopping.

Manufacturers do this because few manufacturers can cater to very large markets where the consumer has infinite choice. To be all things to all people is impossible, but to be the best for a smaller, well-defined group of people is a viable business strategy. It costs less to target, and therefore has less risk of failure. Search marketing is all about targeting, so let’s take a look at various ways to think about targeting in terms of the underlying marketing theory which might give you a few ideas on how to refine and optimize your approach.

While there are many ways to break down a market, here are three main concepts.


Any market can be broken down into segments. A segment means “a group of people”. We can group people by various means, however the most common forms of segmentation include:

Benefit segmentation: a group of people who seek similar benefits. For example, people who want bright white teeth would seek a toothpaste that includes whitener. People who are more concerned with tooth decay may choose a toothpaste that promises healthy teeth.

Demographic Segmentation: a group of people who share a similar age, gender, income, occupation, education, religion, race and nationality. For example, retired people may be more interested in investment services than a student would, as retired people are more likely to have capital to invest.

Occasion Segmentation: a group of people who buy things at a particular time. Valentines Day is one of the most popular days for restaurant bookings. People may buy orange juice when they think about breakfast time, but not necessarily at dinner. The reverse is true for wine.

Usage Segmentation: a group of people who buy certain volumes, or at specific frequencies. For example, a group of people might dine out regularly, vs those who only do so occasionally. The message to each group would be different.

Lifestyle segmentation: a group of people who may share the same hobbies, or live a certain way. For example, a group of people who collect art, or a group of people who are socialites.

The aim is to find a well-defined market opportunity that is still large enough to be financially viable. If one segment is not big enough, a business may combine segments – say, young people (demographic) who want whiter teeth (benefit). The marketing for this combined segment would be different – and significantly more focused – that the more general “those who want whiter teeth” (benefit) market segment, alone.

How does this apply to search and internet marketing in general?

It’s all about knowing your customer. “Knowing the customer” is an easy thing to say, and something of a cliche, but these marketing concepts can help provide us with a structured framework within which to test our assumptions.

Perhaps that landing page I’ve been working on isn’t really working out. Could it be because I haven’t segmented enough? Have I gone too broad in my appeal? Am I talking the language of benefits when I should really be focusing on usage factors? What happens if I combine “demographics” with “occassion”?


Niches are similar to segments, but even more tightly defined based on unique needs. For example, “search engine marketing education” is a niche that doesn’t really fit usefully within segments such as demographics, lifestyle or occasion.

The advantage of niche targeting is that you may have few competitors and you may be able to charge high margins, as there is a consumer need, but very few people offer what you do. The downside is that the niche could weaken, move, or disappear. To mitigate this risk, businesses will often target a number of niches – the equivalent of running multiple web sites – reasoning that if one niche moves or disappears, then the other niches will take up the slack.

Search marketing has opened up many niches that didn’t previously exist due to improved marketing efficiency. It doesn’t cost much to talk to people anywhere in the world. Previously, niches that required a global audience in order to be viable were prohibitive due to the cost of reaching people spread over such a wide geographic area.

To function well in a niche, smaller companies typically need to be highly customer focused and service oriented as small niche businesses typically can’t drive price down by ramping volume.


Cells are micro-opportunities. This type of marketing is often overlooked, but will become a lot more commonplace on the web due to the easy access to data.

For example, if you collect data about your customers buying habits, you might be able to identify patterns within that data that create further marketing opportunities.

If you discover that twenty people bought both an iPhone and a PC, then they may be in the market for software products that makes it easy for the two devices to talk to each other. Instead of targeting the broader iPhone purchaser market, you might tailor the message specifically for the iphone plus PC people, reasoning that they may be having trouble getting the two devices to perform certain functions, and would welcome a simple solution.

Further Reading: