QR codes are modern 2D barcodes that are readable by most smartphones. Their value in modern business applications is high, but their usage is scattered as businesses are yet to understand how well to utilize them. Nevertheless, if you can embrace them effectively, your business would enjoy expandable benefits.
QR codes are essentially links that can take a smartphone user to just about any webpage, coupon or promotion. Below we highlight some of the most effective applications that your business can utilize QR codes.
Since it is a new technology to most people, using them would create curiosity, which might captivate people into scanning them and hence land into your page. You can further spur interest by adding images or using them in multiple applications such as business cards, t-shirts and on other applications. QR code promotions are great way to market that offers endless creativity.
Since QR codes can be used as links, or URLs, you can utilize them to post special offers to individuals once they scan them on the social networks. This would expand your market, as people would tweet their friends and hence expand your business visibility.
You can embrace the QR codes to track the effectiveness of your offline marketing. You only need to create a tracking URL and then embed it in the QR code. Although it is not going to be a perfect measurement, it would give you an overview performance of your offline mobile marketing efforts.
You can also utilize the codes to help give your customers get discounts and give away in online store by scanning the code in your offline stores. You can find several tools to create effective codes for your marketing plans. Nevertheless, not all products are effective and worth your efforts.
This is one of the most recent business applications and thus, majority of people who would sign up using this application are highly experimental in email marketing. They are also likely to be highly involved in social media and thus, you can utilize QR codes to drive traffic into your social marketing.
One of the major QR creator tool is QR Hacker. The tool is available for download from major downloading sites freely. It is compatible with Linux, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 7, and Macintosh OS X. The requirements for this application are internet connection and flash-enabled web browser.
This tool helps you to create Flash based web applications that enables you to encode URL, arbitrary text, VCard, phone number and WiFi access for Android devices. The tool allows you to pick the data that you prefer to use and then fill the data you want the code to contain. Once you input the information, you then click on the large Generate button for your code to pop up on the screen. The tool is designed to ease your creation process and give you flexible options.
The tool further makes it possible to change the background color, foreground color and round off pixels. You can also import logos and place them at the middle of the code. The tool is also designed to ease your code management. This is because you can save the code in PDF or image file. It is however necessary to ensure security of your customers by avoiding risky redirecting websites.continue...
LinkedIn has recently release yet another set attractive updates for Internet marketers. These updates offer insightful tools in making the most out of user information and market data. With these new LinkedIn features, many marketers can better target their followers and improve their overall marketing strategies.
One of the recent LinkedIn updates is the Targeted Updates feature. When you set your personal statuses on your company page, anyone that you have been interacting with can automatically view your status. The targeted updates feature can automatically call the attention of those who can relate to a specific update, without having to wait for them to notice it.
So how does this update actually work? Company pages are expected to have at least one post administrator who manages the page. With the targeted updates feature of LinkedIn, the post administrator can automatically share important updates to a specific group of followers or audience at once. The admin simply needs to select a target audience which can be based on their company size, industry, function, seniority and geographic location.
Later after the update is posted, the admin can already have access to a number of data. This data shall include the number of targeted followers, the impressions, the clicks and the shares for that particular update. By being aware of this information, marketers can immediately see how their audience reacted and which ones considered your update to be relevant. This becomes a means to start a conversation wherein anyone can instantly share their impression and thoughts on a specific matter of discussion.
Another LinkedIn update is the Follower Statistics. This is an additional tab to your company page statistics, which simply shows your followers' demographics. The data will reflect the number of total followers you have, the number of recent followers for the last 7 days, and the average impressions and engagement levels of you LinkedIn updates.
Both of these LinkedIn features offer relevant information that can be used effectively to make more productive marketing decisions. With the Targeted Updates and Follower Statistics features, every company page can be built in such a way that will guarantee to attract a specific audience or group of followers.
With this information, you will know which updates should be shared to who and when. This will allow you to monitor the progress that you made in your company page. Furthermore, this will let you realize what actions you need to take in order to enhance these developments for the betterment of the company that you are promoting. If these features are used wisely, select content can be targeted to the right set of eyes, and thus your content and Internet marketing efforts may be more impactful.continue...
The direction of internet marketing industry has been changing upon several global factors and trends. It is speculated that web marketers will soon start consolidating their niche specialties into more full-service providers.
Most marketers have been working in specific niche since years, but now clients demand a wide range of services offered under a single hood, this requirement has led to the concept of consolidation. Larger clients don't want their web services (such as website design services, search engine optimization services, content writing services etc.) spread out amongst many providers. Most clients want these services conveniently provided from a single source.
To meet the increased demands of customers, internet marketing companies have two options.
The very first option is to merge with other small companies offering different services and form a larger more viable company. This option shall be highly useful for companies that work in a specific niche.
The second option is of acquisition of small sized firms by large ones, this shall help large companies to get empowered with the skills and services lacked by them. With large enterprises we don't mean giants like Google or Yahoo. A large firm could be one that offers web design, web development, and software development skills, but lacks associated skills such as copywriting or SEO.
To get the two latter services under its list of expertise, the web design company can acquire one or two companies that offer such services. Simply hiring a SEO and copywriting expert won't be sufficient for the large scale business of the acquiring firm. In one way or the other, internet and search engine marketing companies may have to change the way they work. Different approaches can be used for merging with different small companies; it can even be collaboration between two companies working in different parts of the globe.
A number of European and American firms have collaborated with small companies of good caliber in Asia; this helps them to get expert services at a very small cost.continue...
The release of Google Engage for Agencies offers a wealth of resources for Internet marketers who work with locally-focused small businesses. Spanning from SEOs, webmasters, marketing consultants, and social media marketers, Google Engage is program designed for more than just agencies. Google Engage can up-and-coming entrepreneurs to grow and expand their business.
With Google Engage for Agencies, you can learn to use and take advantage of different marketing tools such as Google AdWords, as well as pre-existing Google advertising programs that generates income on the pay-per-click model. Not only does this offer SEOs and Internet marketers a significant advantage in promoting and executing their services, but in return, local businesses can reap the rewards of cost-efficient, locally targeted advertising opportunities.
There is no cost to join the Google Engage program, but there are some qualifications that need to be met. The person must have or be in charge of a website for a business that is already functioning and established on the web. The individual must be ready to commit to learning about the different Google resources, and also to start promoting the resources from Google to existing and potential customers.
The program will guide the individual through a training program that shows them how Google advertising and AdWords works, as well as how to become more successful at Internet marketing. In essence, the basic training phase will help increase and build marketing and advertising skills.
One of the greatest benefits of Google Engage for Agencies is that Google will give you free AdWords coupons to use for new clients. This enables marketers to show their clients the potential of local Pay Per Click advertising before having to spend a single dollar. Agencies in the program are granted up to 20 AdWords coupons valued at $100 of free ad spend which they can offer to their clients in any manner they like.
Google Engage members can also learn how to most efficiently target their audience, and how to set a solid AdWords campaign that attracts qualified leads for their clients. The program goes into advanced AdWords training concepts, such as properly setting-up ad groups, writing ad copy, and using other tools like click-to-call and mobile ad targeting. Google Engage for Agencies is a wonderful program that offers many advantages as well as reciprocity between advertisers and Google. Advertisers can take advantage of the offers in which Google Engage provides, while Google can expand its customer base and focus on building a reputation at a more local level.
Learn more about this amazing new program and visit the official website for Google Engage for Agencies.continue...
Semantics are big deal to search engine crawlers. LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing, is a method search engine use for information retrieval. In simple terms, LSI enables search engines to reference content (or certain words) that has similar meaning and context, although not exactly the same.
In article about LSI by Arron Wall at SEO Book, he says that "Latent semantic indexing allows a search engine to determine what a page is about outside of specifically matching search query text."
To give you an example, after a search engine users queries "drunk driving lawyer," Google might reference indexed pages that are optimized for "DUI attorney". In essence, the queries are quite similar; however the semantics is slightly different.
There are two way in which SEO copywriters can improve their content using the concepts of Latent Semantic Indexing: in the copy and in the anchor text
Keyword redundancy is typically a good thing when it comes to optimized web copy - to an extent. Sometimes repeating keywords too often can have a negative impact. Search engines are quick to spot spammy, keyword stuffed content, and often times they are quick to penalize sites with such horrendous copy.
Not only is overly keyword dense content risky for your rankings, but spammy copy is difficult and not very delightful to read. Choppy copy rarely converts visitors because visitors often bounce after struggling though the first couple sentences.
With Latent Semantic Indexing, SEO copywriters can still capture keyword relevancy without having to use the exact same words constantly throughout the copy. Rather, SEO copywriters can use synonyms and related keyword variations to mix things up a bit. For example, instead of using only the phrase "DUI attorney" throughout the copy, try using variations like:
Most of these variations are common keyword queries used by the same audience searching for a "DUI attorney". So not only will mixing up your keywords help the readability of the copy, but also the rank-ability of the webpage. This is because the use of keyword variations (with respect to LSI) will help to make your pages more relevant on slightly similar, yet different search queries.
Similar to using keyword variations in the copy, SEO copywriters should employ the same tactics in the anchor text of their links. This includes both internal links as well as external links (backlinks).
Furthermore, SEO copywriters should keep the concepts of LSI in mind when using partial linking strategies (linking with only part of the whole keyword phrase.) This also helps to make a webpage more relevant on those close keyword variations.
Well there you have it - your SEO copywriter’s guide to improving content with respect to LSI.continue...
Among the many aspects of organic SEO that often gets overlooked is the practice of internal linking. When executed correctly, internal linking can enhance the search rankings of a website as well as its usability.
In external linking to other sites, search engines like Google pass value, or keyword relevancy based on the words used in the links anchor text. Most organic SEO efforts are in this external form, where SEO's acquire backlinks from other websites that include keyword-specific anchor text for which the site has been optimized for.
Although external linking is a dominant factor in search engine rankings, contextual internal links can also contribute to improving a website's search rankings for targeted keyword phrases.
The content of your webpages offers a wealth of opportunities to pass along link weight to other pages of your site. The first step to establishing your internal linking strategy involves going through the various pages of your website to see where it is logical to build a few links to other relevant pages. It is important take this approach from the standpoint of a user, and not just a search engine spider.
When creating internal links, it is not only important to choose the right pages, but also where on the page you add the link. The most effective links are called contextual links, or links embedded in the copy of the content. Contextual links, both for internal and external link building strategies, are ideal because they are surrounded by related text - a concept that search engine spiders take into consideration.
The anchor text you use when building internal links is also significant. Be sure to use targeted keywords in which you would like the destination page to rank for. You don't always have to use exact phrase matching of your primary keyword target of the destination page. In some cases, a partial linking strategy (where only some keywords are used in the anchor text) may be the best option.
As you are going through the internal linking process, make sure that the destination page includes the targeted keywords of the link (anchor text), both on-page and off-page. By this we mean it is important to have the targeted keywords in page title and meta tags (off-page), as well as in body copy of the page (on-page).
In essence, links are more effective if the words and phrases used in the link's anchor text also show up in the various areas of destination page. And to reinforce the importance of contextual links, the surrounding text of the internal link plays a role too. In some instances, you may want to edit the copy around your internal links to improve the search engine value.
The benefits of internal linking can be advantageous for user interaction as well. They can help funnel users to find the content that they are truly looking seeking on your website. For this reason, logical links that have relevant destinations and keyword-focused anchor text is thesis to a solid internal linking strategy.continue...
Social media marketing has introduced many opportunities in the way companies conduct business, with Facebook being one the biggest players in the social media arena.
You can easily reach out to your potential customers and advertise your products to existing customers through your Facebook page. Lately, Facebook has introduced new changes that have made it easier for business owners and brand marketers to obtain maximum benefits from the Facebook platform. Below we highlight 4 recent Facebook changes that can heavily impact businesses and their social brand presence.
Facebook has allowed brands to change the appearance of their profile image, similar to the new Facebook Timeline format. Profile images for businesses are now much more prominent and clearly visible by those who visit a brand's page.
For business storefronts, the cover image can display the building where it is located, which may help in directing customers to a store. This can be highly advantageous for small business in bustling metropolitan areas.
Alternatively, some businesses use this large banner space on their Facebook page for copy, such as a company's slogan or message to visitors. This can help to engrave those catchy phrases and jingles into the minds of the target market.
Some creative companies use this space to showcase products and services to entice visitors, or give newbie’s an idea of what the brand is all about. The trick is to get creative and use this vast profile image space to really highlight what the brand stands for.
Facebook has changed the way business posts appear on individual user timelines. If a business uploads a video or link, followers will be able to view it without clicking into a new page.
Now, brands can highlight posts that are of the utmost importance for easy viewing access for visitors who land on the page. In essence, highlighted posts help businesses communicate their focal messages both faster and more efficiently.
Brands can now share company "milestones" with their Facebook followers. Facebook milestones are simply events or points in time that are significant to the brand or business, and now Facebook has made it easier for companies to update and thus notify followers of such events.
Once the marketer of business selects the milestone option from the brand's Facebook page, Facebook takes that individual through the entire process smoothly and without complications. From there, he or she can fill in the template that appears on the page, and upload any relevant photos to share with fans.
Businesses can now share special offers through their branded Facebook page. Facebook has introduced an option for "offers" where companies can send messages about new or currently available discounts, promotions, or seasonal sales.
In essence, social media marketing has never been simpler. Savvy marketers make use of the newsfeed and inform followers on these available offers. This could quite possibly be the most cost-effective form for advertising and promotion for a small business.
Businesses and brands of all types need to take advantage of the new Facebook changes. Spend time on your business's Facebook page and ensure that your existing customers as well as potential customers learn about your brand and all it stands for. Get creative and exploit the benefits of these recent Facebook changes.continue...
Google is becoming more intelligent in how it caters to SEOs into today’s more personalized search engine. Gone are the days of developing webpages with keyword-infused content, building a few inbound links, and calling it good.
Now, in addition to having a well optimized website, the content itself must be liked and appreciated to win the SEO game. Quality content that is socially shared via the Google +1 button will have great authority and seach engine prowess.
In essence, the future of Google's search engine algorithm will weigh social authority more than link authority.
Rather than building a keyword optimized website and building links to that site, SEO's are more involved in building online brands. And "well-optimized brands" will funnel solid, market-relevant content through a number of channels, such as social media, email, articles and blog posts.
Creating top-notch content and strategically delivering that content will facilitate greater interest amongst the masses. It is already evident through "Search Plus Your World" that Google's results will display content that reflects the user's historical searching trends as well as content that is socially endorsed by friends and peers.
For instance, if you have read an article about the health benefits of red wine (and furthermore +1'ed that article,) Google will remember that you have interest in health as well as red wine. This will later influence your search results, as well as those of your friends when they go to search for something of similar nature.
Some SEO experts believe that the techniques of traditional search engine optimization are long gone. Although changes are taking place, is not particularly true.
Moving forward, SEO professionals should still be focusing on the indexing of a website as well as its organization and ability to be crawled by search engine spiders. The new challenge for SEOs it start thinking creatively and outside-the-box in how a brand can generate greater attention.
In short, SEOs will need to direct their attention toward returning visitors with respect to an individual's history with Google, rather than solely on new web traffic.
The content of your website needs to offer more than simply keyword relevancy. Your content must speak relevantly and personally to the target audience. Doing so requires creativity and dedication to end users, and focusing how your brand interacts.
Start thinking in terms of dominating your keyword category and begin building your overall online brand around that category. Content is still the main authority of SEO and will contribute to how well the site performs, however presentation is key.
Imagine the internal webpages of your site as the bolster of the category or keyword theme. Still optimized each page in a similar fashion as you would using traditional SEO techniques, but create content from the users perpective and what elements of the content would induce a +1 or further social sharing.
In addition to being relevant, keeping content fresh and updated is also a winning factor to the new face of SEO. This will contribute to content being crawled and indexed more frequently, which can correlate to greater search engine performance.
Fresh content can be achieved by contiuous updates and new posts (such as on a blog,) or integrating customer reviews on product pages for ecommerce. Once again, creativity must be exploited for each brand can take a unique approach to sustaining freshness and relevancy.continue...
SEO's are always bickering about link building, such as what strategies work best and which platforms offer the greatest link juice. The issue that gets brought up time and time again is how to get quality do-follow links. Many SEO's and Internet marketers fail to realize there is a gold mine of link building resources right under their noses!
Creating Web 2.0 properties is one of the most effective and natural ways to get your website or brand name out there. The benefits of Web 2.0 are plentiful, for most of these properties allow users to publish custom content with keyword targeted backlinks. In addition, most Web 2.0 sites are free and very easy to use.
Wordpress.com is a stepping stone for anyone new to creating their own website. It is also an easy platform to generate your own blog or link portal to your money site.
Squidoo.com is among the most powerful Web 2.0's for link building. Squidoo lenses are pages with a specific topic, and they can pertain to just about any interest. Additionally, Squidoo offers solid do-follow link building opportunities through many flexible techniques (contextual, in body links, image links, as well as link lists.)
Weebly.com is another great Web 2.0 property that offers a user-friendly website editing system similar to Wordpress.com, but perhaps even easier to use. Weebly provides seamless control, and it is praised by some of the biggest names on the web TechCrunch, Time and the Wall Street Journal praising them.
Most people will tell you that do-follow links are extremely important to have pointing to your website as they hold the most weight. The great thing about Web 2.0 sites such as Squidoo, Weebly, and Wordpress is that they are highly trusted platforms that offer do-follow backlink building. Do-follow backlinks means that search engines like Google will follow and credit those links to your webpages.
You have an army of Web 2.0 properties right at your finger tips, so the question is how to get started?
Here is a great strategy if you want to maximize the exposure of your new site and start building do-follow backlinks using Web 2.0 properties.
First Create a Google Plus profile page for your money site, with a backlink directing to the domain. This will establish greater search engine credibility and can improve your SEO performance.
Next create a Squidoo lens on a specific topic that underscores your website or brand. Include valuable, relevant content and build a few contextual links to your money site. Once complete, submit your lens to Digg.com and StumbleUpon.com to spread the word about your new content.
Now take the concepts or content topic of your Squidoo lens and re-purpose the content for a Wordpress and/or Weebly site. Here you can expand on your ideas and continuously generate content (and links.)
Well that about sums up some of the best practices of link building using Web 2.0's. Do you have any ideas to share? Please, add them in the comments below.continue...
Starting an external blog for your business can offer a number of benefits. Most of these benefits center on increasing both new and reoccurring traffic.
Before we dive too deep, let’s take a look at the fundamentals of what an "external business blog" really is.
An external blog is publishing source that is on a separate domain (.com, .org, .info) from the business's website. As opposed to an internal blog that is a part of the domain (whether as a blog page or a sub-domain,) external business blogs can offer greater flexibility and additional SEO value.
Typically, external business blogs are built with theme or topical relevance to that of the business. However, what makes an external blog for a business more flexible than an internal blog is the ability to brand the external blog as its own entity.
This is where it is important to really "carve your niche" with you blog and set the stage for highly focused content. For instance, if local winery is unveiling an external blog, they will want to focus their content specifically on the wine industry. Furthermore, the winery could carve its niche deeper by focusing the content of the blog unique aspect of wine and how it relates to local interests.
Developing an external blog that flows with the brand of the business is key to attract targeted, in-market traffic. Flexibility and creativity come into play when determining just how aligned the brand of the blog meets that of the business.
All blogs should have a primary goal. The common goal for most blogs is to attract users to the blog (with solid marketing and interesting content) and funnel that traffic to the website of the business.
To do that, you need to brand your blog in a way that relates to your target market. The type content in which you plan to publish plays a big role in positioning the brand of the blog. Also a factor in blog branding is the nature of the target audience.
Does your blog seek to advise and teach visitors? Or does your blog seek to inform and enlighten visitors? The answers to these types of questions can help you determine the ideal brand image of your blog.
Referring back to the concept of "carving your niche," the content in which you publish on your blog is your way to achieve just that. Expansive blogs that cover a broad range of topics typically have a number of experts and writers populating the blog (to cover each topic.) Evaluate your goals and your resources, and start determining the target theme to position your blog.
Regardless of your area of specialty, stay focused on your niche and write content that stays specific to your blog's topic. Sometimes writing about topics that are outside the realm of your blogs topic may seem tempting, but always try to stay close to your blog's main idea.
The SEO value of your external blog comes in two ways:
The first SEO advantage of inbound traffic hinges on the quality and nature of your blog's content. Again, highly focused content that speaks to a precise audience is imperative to compelling visitors to further explore your blog and find their way to the website of your business.
Link building with your blog can help you grow your rankings in the search engines on specific keyword targets. The practice is quite simple. You must first have a blog story that relates to the link (or anchor text and URL destination of that link) that you want to build. It is important to ensure that the article or blog post has some relevancy to that of the link.
In addition to content relevancy, the anchor text, or link text, should contain the keywords in which you are targeting for the page receiving the link.
For instance, let’s say a small batch winery on the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan is supplementing the local SEO efforts of its website with an external blog. In that blog, they are writing articles about various wine-related topics in the Leelanau Peninsula region. To make their website more relevant (and better optimized for) searches like "Leelanau Peninsula wineries," they should use the anchor text "Leelanau Peninsula wineries" in the links that they build from their blog to their website.
Well that about sums up this post on external blogging for you business. If you have any additional insights, or questions, please post them in the comments section below.continue...
A variety of software, tools, blog articles, learning resources, and services for SEO.
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