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SEO techniques are supposed to help a website get more traffic from the target audience. One can spend plenty of money on hiring an SEO consultant. But is the expense worth the cost? We explain this by telling you about 10 tricks SEO experts use. Social media plays an important role as we explained previously here:

Read this entry in German here.

How can I save the cost for an SEO consultant?

When I got another question from a client in Europe 2 weeks ago I decided to put these 10 tips together to help us all save some serious cash.

Recently somebody in Europe asked me something similar to

Why should I not hire an SEO consultant?

Client asking drkpi®

The question is a good one since you can spend quite a lot of money hiring an an SEO consultant. The short answer we gave is below

Just follow our 10 tipps for avoiding the necessity for hiring an SEO consultant.

drkpi®

Download the checklist: Quick SEO Check: Tips and Tricks?

Traffic from organic search results experienced a sharp downturn at the end of March 2020. But so did Google’s search engine advertising. Nevertheless, during later April, things have again improved. Ruth Porat (Chief Financial Officer) pointed out that Google had seen “some signs users are returning to more normal behavior in search.” Hence, SEO techniques are again very important to get the traffic you need to succeed after the Corona lockdown.

Which SEO techniques are popular? 10 secrets SEO experts won’t tell

Some of the things you will here is that great content is king or organic content (i.e. content you wrote yourself) adds value. Such content that helps your target audience is the type that answers questions, a guide on how to overcome a problem or a video explaining how to put together an IKEA bookshelf. We have put these together below:

Why should we refrain from hiring an SEO consultant? Many SEO consultants are not that much better than you are if that. Things like building 5,000 links for x dollars… that is a waste of time and money. Instead, spend it on writing organic content that adds value and solves your target’ audience’s problems.

Why do social accounts in our brand name matter? You want to own the brand name or your URL in the “eyes” of Google. Thus a social media page for your brand or company is a must. There are many more than just Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, … So for the main ones, do it yourself and post 1 x a week if at all possible or 3 times between Monday to Friday on LinkedIn.
You can also hire a person to open 50 brand pages for you for the price of about US $ 3 to 10.
PS: but you still have to add content… :-) So choose wisely. Get a guy to do it (click)

How often should we update our website and blog? In the beginning, 2 x a week might be ideal. Thereafter, use 2 x 4 times a month. Sometimes you can simply not afford to spend more than 5 to 10 hours to create more than one blog post or webpage entry a month.

Why should we write so-called White Papers? These can be checklists, research reports or more extensive things. Allow people to download these papers. For instance, create a landing page / Wiki for a topic with many white papers, checklists, guides to download.

Which Google Tools should we use? Use the free Google tools – Google Analytics, Google Business Page (your entry is placed prominently in organic search results when people search for your company or brand name), Google Search Console, Google Scholar (research results), Google Question Hub and Google Trends.
PS. Comparing yourself to and mentioning your competitor’s name or brand will very likely bring you some of their

Why is the structure of a website important? Google looks for content that it beliefs users can understand. Accordingly, it looks for content that users can scan on their smartphone. Headers in html code such as H1, H2 and so forth in the text as well as bullets and short paragraphs/sentences help. Headings or sub-titels (e.g., H3) that ask a question that you answer in a few sentences right below is what Google is looking for (see also point 9 below).

Why is it worthwhile to talk about one’s competition? Start-up should talk about competition – it is maybe a bit touchy. Nevertheless, comparing your product to the competition helps attract potential customers and tells them why your product is a viable alternative.
PS. Comparing yourself to and mentioning your competitor’s name or brand will very likely bring you some of their traffic from Google searches.

Why do conversations help with Google? Links are like votes, they indicate to Google that your content is important. Moreover, if you link to content on the corporate website from a comment you write on LinkedIn, it also permits you to gain targeted traffic.
PS. Never buy backlinks from websites or social media channels. Google does not reward you for it. It wants links from websites where the content that links to your website is relevant (e.g., an SEO entry links to this entry about 10 SEO tricks experts will not tell). Similar to Likes or Shares, Google interprets backlinks from quality site as confirming that what you do is worthwhile.

How can Google questions and answers help? You should make use of Google questions and answers – just use your search window and type them in – also see Google Question Hub and sign up right now.
PS. Make it easy for Google to understand (point 6 – structure). Use a question as a heading for your page or blog entry (H1) or an H3 type header, followed by text answering the question.

How can you build on what content you have already? Don’t worry too much about design, perfect font and so forth. In other words, websites get constantly improved upon. Do not wait until things are perfect, do a soft launch (just launch and tell a few people). Work right now with what you have, preferably today not tomorrow.
PS. In the internet age, launching beta software, tools and websites has become the norm think. Tools get released before they are 100% done, except for medical technology or a Corona vaccine, of course.

SEO techniques: Final things to keep in mind

SEO techniques are often simplified by focusing on keywords. But a list of 100 keywords is as useless as one with 5 keywords that you fail to use in your texts or videos.

If you have your 10 keywords or thereabouts, you have it pretty much covered. For us these are such as data protection, GDPR, content marketing, digital marketing, analytics, social media audit, website audit, search engine optimisation audit, brand buzz, metrics and technology management. But now you must make sure that these words are used in your website content or blog as well as white papers. That is a never ending marathon that you need to take care of.

Besides keywords and using them in text, you need to continuously focus on updating your social media accounts, updating your website, commenting on other relevant websites and so forth (see our 10 tips and tricks above).

If you follow our 10 tips and tricks, you should be well on your way to receive more targeted traffic to your website.

Creating organic content takes time and effort and what ROI (return on investment) it delivers can be questionable. We outline here how it can help your reputation as an expert and strengthen your brand. As importantly, after social distancing and lockdown, your digital marketing efforts are what is needed to get your customers to return after the return to the new normal. Rest assured, the competition is fierce.

Advertising and COVID-19

During recession or a crisis such as the coronavirus, advertising and marketing costs get cut to the bone. This is understandable – when my hairdresser has to close shop, cash becomes priority number one. After all, he has to pay rent at the end of the month.

But if you have the time, energy, and cash you should continue to spend on marketing and advertising. Similarly, staying active on social networks is a smart move. It helps you create visibility and build your personal as well as corporate brand further, as the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) suggests.

IPA zieht Rückschlüsse aus einer Stichprobe welche nicht repräsentativ ist.
Even though IPA UK uses a convenience sample to communicate its point, the point is still pretty interesting.

In addition to spending money on advertising, therefore, you should use organic content to further improve your reputation as an expert, i.e. building your brand equity. It also helps increase your visibility while strengthening both the personal and the corporate brand. For instance, during the coronavirus lockdown, homeworkers ditch deodorant, wash their hair less often and put off shaving, according to Unilever. Hence, sales of personal hygiene products have slumped during COVID-19, Unilever is trying to use advertising, organic content and social media to turn things around.

Organic content on social media: Building brand on LinkedIn and Twitter

While working from the home office or remotely, people consume vastly more organic content than befroe the crisis.

When others go quiet
your voice gets louder on social media

drkpi

During recession or a crisis, organic content on LinkedIn, Twitter or any other network that your target audience frequents, can help. Start before the lockdown is over or continue posting organic content if you have not already :-)

LinkedIn is a professional network, that was founded 2002-12-28 and launched 2003-05-03. I am one of Linkedin’s first 60,000 members. As with all networks, how many contacts on LinkedIn or Twitter you should strive for is a difficult question. But the theory of Dunbar’s number can help. He suggests that we can only really maintain about 150 connections at once. But 150 alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Other numbers are nested within the theory by successive layers of:

  • 5 (loved ones)
  • 15 (good friends),
  • 50 (friends),
  • 150 (meaningful contacts),
  • 500 (acquaintances), and
  • 1500 (people you can recognise).

People migrate in and out of these layers, but the idea is that space has to be carved out for a new member to join. Dunbar and his colleagues’ work suggests that we can only ever have 150 meaningful connections at most.

So, if you have 500 or 1,000 contacts on LinkedIn or followers on Twitter, few of these will belong to your group of 150. Sometimes it can happen that somebody says hello to you at an event and you do not even recognise the person’s face from their LinkedIn photo. Nevertheless, you are connected with them on LinkedIn or Facebook. But being connected on such a platform is no indication of whether:

  • your organic content is of interest to your “followers”, or
  • you can build your visibility and personal brand.

P.S. Besides LinkedIn or Twitter, CEOs use corporate blogs to actively market themselves as experts in their industry or chosen field. In today’s digital age:

personal brands are becoming the vehicle by which larger brands are being seen.

drkpi
Using organic content to strengthen your personal brand.
Using organic content to strengthen your personal brand.

10-point guide for using organic content to strengthen your personal brand = building brand equity

Below we give you a short list of tips for how to spread your quality organic content on LinkedIn or Twitter to strengthen your personal brand while building your reputation as an expert.

  1. Why we use it. Among other things, LinkedIn is today’s Rolodex. If people change jobs, you can still contact them through LinkedIn. So, be sure your contact details allow people to phone or at least email you.
    Twitter is more of a news network that allows you to get links to interesting material. Politicians including President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson love to broadcast their “news” through Twitter.
  2. Connect and follow, maybe. If somebody follows you on Twitter you do not have to follow them back unless you find their content adds value for you. P.S. People whose content seems to matter / provides added value, or are very social, have many more followers than people they follow back.
    If you do not know somebody personally or have talked to them before, I am not sure if it is advisable to connect on LinkedIn… unless it is somebody you just want to connect with.
  3. Follow conversational receptiveness. You have to be willing to engage with another person’s views on LinkedIn or Twitter, even if you disagree with them. Please be polite and always ask yourself, what would my loved ones think if they saw this post / tweet down the road? If they think it’s rude, tacky or uncalled for, it probably is, especially if somebody shares your work out of context later on. Don’t be a bull in a china shop.
  4. Social strokes. People love to be mentioned, have their posts liked or re-shared / retweeted. Remember it is all about Give > Receive. So if you mention somebody such as @Lumendi (@drkpi) on LinkedIn or @Lumendi_USA (@drkpicom) on Twitter those people may share / like one of your future posts / tweets, but don’t expect an even exchange of one for one.
    P.S. When you mention people either on LinkedIn or Twitter, they will get a notice about it, so they will probably read that content, and hopefully comment on / like it.
    P.P.S. Please comment on other people’s LinkdeIn posts as well, it helps.
  5. Hashtags. Develop your set of hashtags, such as the brand (#drkpi) or terms related to your business (i.e. #digitalmarketing #contentmarketing). Use about 3 to 5 in the text itself if appropriate, or just 1 or 2 at the end. These help people find your content if they search for or follow a particular hashtag.
    P.S. Do not think that the hashtag you created will go viral and be used by everybody. We have tried with #metrics2watch #trends2watch and in both cases it flopped (i.e. besides us, barely anybody else uses it). We have had limited success with the hashtag #BlogRank or #brandbuzz.
  6. Visuals. People in a picture works better than 2 screwdrivers or wrenches in an image, so strive for something that adds more than just color. Please never use pictures that could negatively impact your personal brand, for example you holding a glass while attending a reception. It could be misconstrued, unfortunately.
  7. Frequency. There is no ideal number of LinkedIn posts or tweets on Twitter. But remember, if you post an average of more than 7 times a week… it takes time to do that well. Also, your followers or friends may be very busy people, so they will not necessarily have plenty of time on their hands to read all your stuff. Accordingly, sometimes posting less but of greater quality (3 times a week on LinkedIn or Twitter) might serve you and your fans better than overloading them.
  8. Ideal posting times. If you want to reach people on LinkedIn it is probably better to do so from Monday to Friday during office hours.
  9. Time management. Set some time aside for your social media activities. If you want to manage Twitter and LinkedIn from your computer or mobile, check out an app called Franz to save time (you can schedule your tweets, for instance). But please, avoid spending more than 20 minutes each work day on social media… Getting a customer to place an order thanks to your telephone conversation still matters more than a social media update!
  10. Show me the numbers. KPIs (key performance indicators) are increasingly important. Engagement on LinkedIn is a KPI. Use post likes, comments, and views, with the most valuable form of engagement being comments. In our time-pressured world, leaving a comment that takes 25+ seconds to type means that person is genuinely interested in the organic content you are sharing.
    Content shared by employees has 2 times the engagement than what gets shared by a company page. When we think about this it makes sense, since people want to interact with your sales reps; their online voice helps a great deal.
    P.S. Salespeople benefit from posting organic content – if they post regularly, LinkedIn claims they are 45% more likely to exceed quota.
    P.P.S. A social media audit (light) will help. Download the checklist.

Conclusion: What is the ROI for publishing organic social media content?

You cannot really quantify the ROI of organic social content that you post on LinkedIn or Twitter. The primary reason being that it is very random. To illustrate, it is not direct response marketing because you are not driving installs of your product. People might see your LinkedIn post, then a journalist gets in touch with you or a conference organiser wants you to give a speech and so on.

But the ROI of organic content is all about indirect benefits. These range from job opportunities, speaking engagements, and even media inquiries or building your visibility and reputation as an expert in your field. Selling medical, manufacturing or household technology requires that your buyer has confidence in, and trusts you. Being an acknowledged expert surely helps. Therefore, posting content on LinkedIn or Twitter and writing white papers helps get you recognised for knowing your stuff.

LinkedIn is very generous with its algorithm, giving you a chance to see second- or third-degree connections with many video views. LinkedIn serves up content to users at a really good clip. Facebook is stingier because it has to make room for ads every four posts.

What are your most successful posts on LinkedIn or Twitter? Tell us below in a comment! If you want more about brand equity, click this link.

Gattiker, Urs E. (2014) Social Media Audit. Amsterdam, London, New York: Elsevier

Update 2014-05-15:  I got several copies shipped to me for free (not author copies – just as a thank you and “we apologise” from Elsevier). As I said elsewhere “shit happens but what matters is how you resolve the customer problem.” This is one way to do it, impressive I find. Check it out here

As the nom de plume of a woman called JK Rowling demonstrates, brand recognition in publishing is important:

The Cuckoo’s Calling sold only about 450 copies in UK hardback under Galbraith’s name after it was published in April but quickly became the top seller on Amazon once it was known to be a Rowling novel.”
(see Gapper, John (July 17, 2013) – The superstar still reigns supreme over publishing)

The follow-up, called “The Silkworm”, is to be published on June 19, 2014. If you have limited brand recognition as I do, the publisher is another factor that can really do you in. In other words, if their production and shipping process, including their online store, fail to deliver, you are in trouble.
CLICK IMAGE - Social Media Audit - ISBN 978-1-84334-745-3 -- ROI, KPI, BlogRank, CyTRAP, Urs E. Gattiker - Rave reviews src=This blog post discusses my experience with Elsevier’s e-store. It is all about failure to communicate and providing the service needed to clinch the sale. I should mention that my original independent publisher Chandos has been acquired by Elsevier, so I suddenly found myself being one of many authors, instead of one of a few at a successful smaller outfit. What a change…

Social Media Audit: Help Your Bottom Line (Elsevier BWL/Mgmt) – 2014 – Author: Urs E. Gattiker, PhD

I thought I would share some of my journey from finishing the proofs until the copy arrives in the mail (still waiting).

Keywords: bigfail, customer feedback, KPI, outsource, onshore, metrics, performance, process management, quality of service, usability, trust

Let’s order a few copies, no sweat!

To get the book as early as possible, I visited Elsevier’s e-store in January and placed my order. The problem started right there: the system wanted to charge me value-added tax (VAT). If the total value of the shipment is below CHF200, no VAT is charged at the border by Swiss authorities.

You think I am joking, but ask Jeff Bezos. Amazon.de, .fr, .co.uk, or .it all manage to get me my books across the border without VAT – and it’s completely legal.

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