Thursday, March 20, 2014

Clutter, Noise, and Your Customer

Clutter, clutter, all around and not a post to read. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away there was a scarcity of information. It was hard to find stuff out; sometimes you even had to physically walk to a physical place, called a "library" and look up things on physical cards to find physical books. 

Today, in contrast, with the click of a mouse you can Google something, and find blog posts upon blog posts answering every question.

Too Much Information Cluttering Up Our Minds

Clutter, Noise, and the Consumer
Today the challenge, however, is not a scarcity of information. Rather, it is information superabundance. There's a lot of information on the Internet, but a lot of that information is bad, wrong, salesey. The poor consumer or Internet searcher is confronted with too much information and not enough knowledge

Whom should I trust? How do I know you are the expert you say you are? And are you just trying to sell me something?

Today's Marketing Motivator task is to think about information clutter from the perspective of your customer. Questions to ask yourself, include:

  • What are the burning questions of your customers as revealed by their search keywords?
  • When they search for them, what do they find?
  • How can they distinguish the scoundrels from the honest folk?
  • Whom should they trust?
From your perspective - 

Trust Indicators and Information Clutter

Amidst the clutter of the Internet, what "trust indicators" are you sending out via your website, your blog, and your social media that you (and your company) are someone:

  • Who knows what he or she is talking about?
  • Who isn't just a salesperson?
  • Who can be trusted, as a reliable expert?

Tag You're It: Quizzing Yourself on Tags

Tags matter. And not just because of "tag, you're it!" To anyone who does SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and/or blogging tags matter (a lot). In this Marketing Motivator, I want to remind you of the importance of tags and then help you with tag todos.

HTML Tags and SEO

HTML Tags and SEO
Tags matter a great deal in so-called "on page" SEO, because Google and Bing both prioritize content based on whether the keywords in a given blog post or web page "match" the search query. If, for example, you want to show up for a search for "organic baby food," your best "on page" SEO tactic is to weave the phrase "organic baby food" into the primary tags.

I use the analogy that the HTML tags are to SEO what poker cards are to poker. Therefore:

Title Ace
H1 / Header King / Face Card
A HREF Queen / Face Card
IMG ALT Jack / Face Card

Therefore, just as if you were playing poker, you'd need to prioritize your cards based on your value. And don't forget to write keyword-heavy text that is both friendly to humans (natural syntax) and friendly to search engines (keyword heavy, not too much but not too little).

WordPress Tags

To confuse matters, WordPress and other blogging platforms also have tags. But in WordPress a tag refers to a "keyword" that you attach to a blog post. By tagging your posts in WordPress according to your keyword themes, you are sending a powerful signal to Google about what your blog is about.

So WordPress tags and HTML tags are conceptually different, but both can help with your "on page" SEO.

Tag Todos

So for your Marketing Motivator TODOs:

  1. Find a page on your website that you want to get to the top of a Google search.
  2. Review the tags in priority order, starting with the TITLE tag.
  3. Create a list of "before" and "after" tags, and revise the tag structure of the page to be a stronger communicative signal to Google.
  4. Update your page tags as well as your page content
 After you update, wait a few weeks, and see if Google has reindexed your content, and if you improved in your rank on Google. (Don't forget how important "off page" SEO is, of course).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Can Evergreen Content Grow You Green?

Evergreen content, in case you haven't heard the phrase, refers to content that is perpetually relevant (just as an evergreen tree always has its leaves). That's compared to non-evergreen content, which is the ebb-and-flow of trends and news events that is the stuff of much blogging. In this marketing motivator, let's think just a moment about what evergreen content is, and how you might create some (and why).

Evergreen Content: Examples

Can Evergreen Content Grow You Green?
Examples of evergreen content are items like tutorials or in-depth "how to" articles, common issues that recur again and again for your customers, or even content such as news calendars that, while changing frequently, are things that consumers want to check repeatedly (e.g., public transit schedules). One of my favorite examples of evergreen content is Link Building Tactics: The Complete List.  It's both a useful compendium of link-building tactics, and "link bait" in and of itself. Plus it's evergreen: everyone needs to know about link-building, sooner or later!

Why Create Evergreen Content

Why should you create evergreen content? First, it's evergreen: meaning you create it just once but it has a long shelf life, so you reap the rewards over and over and over. Second, it's wonderful for links and social mentions: while people may not link to, or talk about, your fleeting blog post on the latest silly escapade by Miley Cyrus, they might link to and share your in-depth explanation of how to critique the red carpet event each year outside the Academy Awards. And finally because evergreen content is generally more in-depth and more difficult than other type of content to create, it gives your website or blog a competitive advantage.

Marketing Motivator: Todos

Interested in evergreen content? Here are your todos:

  1. Understand what evergreen content is and why it's useful for both SEO and Social Media Marketing.
  2. Brainstorm some evergreen content ideas that appeal to your target customers.
  3. Research and write a blog post that is evergreen content.
  4. Promote it via SEO, social media, and (gasp!) even advertising.
  5. Measure its success as measured by page views, and clicks from the blog post to actions such as registrations and sales.

And, of course, rinse & repeat.