How to Get Your Business Properly Listed Across the Web

Getting listed on business directories and social networks is the first phase of off-page optimization within engine optimization (SEO)… particularly local SEO. This can be implemented as soon as you register your domain through a registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap; you don’t even need website to complete this project.  This process is especially crucial for local businesses and national/international businesses get away with only creating social media profiles, but I prefer to also build business listings for companies that do not service customers in their immediate geographic area, such as eCommerce stores. In SEO, these links are called “foundational links” and the primary benefit is to build trust with search engines like Google because trust, authority, and relevance are all important qualities search engines take into account when evaluating you’re your link profile (links from other websites to yours are often referred to as “backlinks” or “inbound links”), which act as a vote of trust, authority, and/or relevance. To understand why this is a part of Google’s algorithm, let’s look at a real-world example… You are a newly minted doctor and mingling with 10 highly respected (authoritative) doctors in a room, when another doctor you do not know walks into the room and all 10 doctors tell you that man or woman is the best surgeon in the world. You are likely to believe them because they are trustworthy, authoritative, and relevant in your field. If Google does not return the best results when users type a term into their search bar, other search engines may capture more of Google’s majority market share. Therefore, Google has an incentive to favor businesses that put in effort to ensure they are accurately listed around the web, instead of favoring fly-by-night boiler rooms. With the explanation out of the way let’s look at the action steps:

 

  1. Save your logo and 10 photos of your business in a folder titled. “Branding Assets”.
  2. Download LastPass for free, which is a password manager that has a feature which allows you to save business information to autofill with the click of a button for necessary information to build social media profiles and business listings.

Business directories

  1. Create a Google My Business listing and fill out all possible information. Be sure to use your business’s legal name.
  2. Benchmark – Once your Google My Business (GMB) listing has been created, check your Moz Local score as an overall metric to measure performance and record the score + date checked in the spreadsheet mentioned in step 3. To calculate this score, Moz considers incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate listings.
  3. Intake Forms – In the Business Directories + Social Media Profiles spreadsheet, fill out the all fields in the first 2 tabs: Business Listings Intake Form and Profiles Intake form. This information should serve as the official source of information for your business and should match what is on your GMB listing. For example, use the exact same spelling for how your business name appears on your Google listing.
  4. Audit Existing Listings – Check all top 50 generic business listings in the Business Listings tab and enter the information for each listing you find, in the corresponding cells.
  5. Remove duplicate listings – If a single directory has your business listed twice, create an extra row the spreadsheet to track this, followed by submitting a request, asking the directory to delete one of the listings, since duplicate listings are harmful.
  6. Create generic business listings – Create listings for each directory where you are not already listed, using one of the 2 following methods:
    1. Do it Yourself – Use LastPass and your branding assets folder to create business listings which take approximately 10 minutes each.
    2. Pay Yext – Yext is an online platform that charges a monthly fee to submit your business to major generic business directory and even suppress duplicate listings. These changes are likely to revert when you stop paying, but the benefit is, change including: creating listings and updating business information across listings are live within minutes.
  7. Create niche + local business listings – Follow steps 4-6 to create at least 5 business listings on the top directories for both your industry and local area. Examples of niche directories are Avvo for attorneys and WebMD for doctors. An example of a local directory is the Los Angeles Times directory for businesses in or located near Los Angeles.
  8. Check Moz Local score 1 month after completing all steps

Social networks

  1. Audit existing profiles – Check all websites listed in the Social Media Profiles tab and enter the information for each listing you find, in the corresponding cells.
  2. Create social media profiles – Create profiles for each social network where you do not already have a profile. Each should take approximately 10 minutes to build. Pro Tip: for brand consistency, use the same handle/username across all profiles and modify the handle if not available. For example, my primary handle is benwynkoop and my alternate choice if not available is benwynkoop1. See how the handle is often used in each URL:
    1. Instagram: instagram.com/benwynkoop
    2. Twitter: twitter.com/benwynkoop1

Pro tip: Local business should consider placing their business name, address and phone number in the profile biography to get a “citation” which is a mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. Citation are important, so remember that social media profile bios are another way in addition to business listings, to get  a citation.

 

Final words

Business listings and social media profiles provide “submissions-based” links that point to your domain, so Google’s algorithm knows these are built and not earned, which is why the benefit provided from an SEO perspective and trust. Editorial links such as your business or figurehead being mentioned or the feature of an article on a major news site like Forbes or the most popular blog in your niche/local area can provide authority and relevance. Editorial backlinks are the “steroids of SEO”.

2018 Goal Setting Accountability Challenge

2018 is the year BenWynkoop.com comes alive to provide free information + tools, and offer paid services focused on only the HIGHEST digital marketing PRIORITIES local businesses and eCommerce stores need to implement before taking on the seemly endless marketing tasks that can be added to your to-do list (I use Trello), but in 2017 I want to focus on sharing the crucial steps that will make or break your digital marketing efforts and save the rest for later.

I am not big on New Year’s resolutions, because I believe you should make a change the moment you identify a need to change, instead of wait until the new year, but I do believe in annual goal setting. So, here is the challenge I have accepted and challenge you to accept as well:

Step 1 – What are your 2018 goals?

Write a numbered list, starting with the highest priority goals:

  1. Goal 1
  2. Goal 2
  3. Goal 3
  4. Goal 4
  5. Goal 4

Step 2 – Post your list in plain view

Write your goals where the list can be posted where you can see it upon waking up every morning. For example, write your list on a whiteboard placed in your bedroom or notebook paper, taped to your bathroom mirror.

Step 3 – Roadmap

Outline steps needed to achieve each goal and schedule steps in your calendar with start and end dates for each goal.

Step 4 – Accountability

Get one or more accountability buddies to also join this challenge. For example, I have nominated 21 people to join me on a 30 Day Workout Challenge (post coming soon) and will follow up with those who have accepted: weekly, monthly, and at the end of 2018.

What are you 2018 goals? Feel to post publically in the comments to hold yourself accountable.

What Are Long Tail Keywords

This lesson explores several important concepts of long tail keywords including the definition, framework, common mistakes and how to use them. Search Engine Optimization is all about using the right keywords. Since the time the concept has existed, marketers and website owners have focused their efforts on getting the right keywords for their business that will effectively increase traffic and in turn increase conversions leading to a higher ROI.

Keyword framework

To clearly understand long tail keywords, it is essential to have a strong understanding of what theme keywords and category keywords are.

  1. Theme keywords: Also known as conceptual keywords, theme keywords represent the main concept of your website around which everything else revolves. They are in essence the primary keywords whose main focus is to attract a high traffic of targeted audience. They are used in each page of the website and are central to theme of the website. Example: “attorney”
  2. Category Keywords:  Category keywords are, on the other hand high and mid-level terms that are used to describe what you are selling. These category keywords are related to the theme keyword.Example: “bankruptcy attorney”

Long tail keywords can be further divided into 2 types –

  1. Long tail derivative keywords: Long tail derivative keywords are keywords phrases that include the theme keywords as part of the phrase. Theme keywords are contained within the long tail keywords and these are actually derived from the theme keyword. Example: “chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney”
  2. Semantic Long tail keywords: Semantic long tail keywords are essentially those that don’t contain the theme keywords. In fact they are only related to the theme keywords. So how do they work? These keywords are semantically related. Google relates these keywords on a semantic level and pull up relevant results for searches. Example: ‘bankruptcy chapter 7 lawyers”

Definition of long tail keywords

Long tail keywords are keyword phrases that have three or more, sometimes up to seven words in the phrase. These keywords are collectively more specific than the one or two ‘theme’ keywords that are used in search engine optimization. Example – “chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney”

4 benefits of long tail keywords

Targeting long tail keywords often provide several benefits including more attracting specific visitors, being easier to rank, helping build the authority of your website and providing opportunity to dominate a niche. Being highly specific, long tail keywords tend to draw less quantity, but higher quality traffic that is more effective in garnering conversions. Incorporating long tail keywords can, in the long run, prove to be less expensive, especially in the case of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising—the more words in a phrase, the lower the amount of of websites competing for that term. A website can build authority to rank for category and theme keywords in the future by first ranking for the lower competition long tail keywords. They are also the best when you have to drive or corner a market that is smaller, but has as much potential as other large markets.

2  Common mistakes online marketers make

  1. One mistake marketers make is not investing much time in targeting ‘long tail keywords’. To be able to effectively use them, it is essential to understand what long tail keywords are and how to use them.
  2. A common mistake in the keyword selection process is getting overzelous and immediately targeting the category and them keywords.

How to use long tail keywords

Long tail keywords are used to refine the search terms to the webpage and even when you are looking for something more specific. They work just like the normal keywords, and are used to define the contents of the webpage they are attributed to and even what the website owner intends the search engines to find on search engine pages.

After conducting thorough keyword research and organizing a report identifying which keywords not only have acceptable search volume, but also acceptable competition in organic search, begin your campaign first by targeting long-tail keywords before trying to dominate the rankings for category and theme keywords.

Long tail keyword examples

To give an example of how I would use the long tail keyword examples mentioned above to optimize an attorney’s website, I would first create a page about his or her practice area of bankruptcy to target “bankruptcy attorney”. Secondly I would create pages targeting the different types of bankrupty solutions offered. For example, one page about chapter 7 bankruptcy, targeting the long tail derivative keyword “chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney” and additional pages targeting each other type of bankruptcy the lawyer specializes in. After this initial phase is completed you could opt to create additional informative pages targeting your remaining list of keywords. Unleash the entire arsenal on your report by creating multiple pages to act as an online guide or academy and you will be well on the way to being the authority in your niche!

Go after the low-hanging fruit to build the authority of your website before trying to hit a home run. Overall the process of search engine optimization is a snowball effect, so start modest. Good luck and please reach out to me with any questions or comments below.

The Difference Between Advertising And Sales Promotion

Similarity And difference between advertisement and sales promotion

Advertising and sales promotion are similar in that they both involve communication regarding a company’s products or services. The messages an organization communicates may involve features, benefits, price and other aspects. Sales promotion, “[involves] communication activities that provide extra incentives to customer or the sales for to achieve a short-term objective” (Winer & Dhar, 2011, p. 287). Advertising differs by being more focused on long-term objectives such as building brand equity.

Which do you think is a more effective communication tool and why?

If I had to decide between advertising or sales promotion, advertising would be my choice because sales promotion is unsustainable. In fact “a disadvantage of sales promotion is that it is almost always focused on price. As a result, customers can be induced to become more price-sensitive and deal-loyal (loyal to the brand that is on some kind of promotion” (Winer & Dhar, 2011, p. 287). Apple is an example of building brand equity over a long-term period through various methods including advertising. The Cupertino, California-based brand do not run promotions with price breaks very often and when they do the discount is generally under 10% off retail.

A sales promotion I have used to promote a product or service.

One particular sales promotion I implemented was for a service. Specifically, this included selling membership for a local business offering fitness classes. Promotions utilized by the sales force involved offering a discount for signing-up early, before the free trial period has ended. This way the local business can offer a price discount off the initial costs instead of on-going fees, thus not devaluing the main services offered.

References:

Winer, R.S., & Dhar, R. (2011). Marketing management (4th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

10 Takeaways from Wil Reynolds on PR in SEO at SEM San Diego

The future of search engine optimization heavily involves the trifecta of public relations, content marketing and social media. At the May 2014 SEM San Diego event Wil Reynolds spoke on the growing role of PR in SEO. Here are 10 takeaways with action steps from his presentation:

Takeaway 1 – Call, don’t just email when doing scholarship link building

Pick up the phone and call in addition to sending an email when you’re trying to build links by listing your scholarships on the websites of educational institutions (.edu top level domains), local educational trusts (e.g., the San Diego Foundation) and educational resource sites. Building quality links involves building relationships and you can’t do that purely with a keyboard and mouse.

“You’re not just building rankings, you’re building relationships.”
– Wil Reynolds (click to Tweet)

Takeaway 2 – Get a local citation when doing scholarship link building

Ensure instructions for scholarships include an option for applicants to submit by mail, so the website listing your scholarship will include a local citation consisting of your business name, address and phone number, in addition to a link back to your website.

Example:

The XYZ Law Firm Scholarship Contest

About the Scholarship:

For this scholarship, we are looking for students who have made strong differences in society by helping those less fortunate and are not able to speak up for their selves. Whether it is an individual or a small group, we would like to hear about how you have helped others and how it has impacted yours and their lives. The student with the most inspirational story will be selected for the $1,000 scholarship that will go towards college, university, or trade school tuition.

Application Deadline:

The deadline for this scholarship is December 31, 2014.

Open to:

Current High School Students and College Students

How to apply:

Apply online by email or mail to

XYZ Law Firm
213 South Main Street Suite 209
Los Angeles, CA 90071

(213) 271-4306

Full details on eligibility, guidelines, judging criteria and the application process are available at:

http://www.xyzlawfirm.com/scholarship

“It’s not about the numbers, but about the quality.”
– Wil Reynolds (click to Tweet)

Takeaway 3 – Use Muck Rack to find and connect with relevant journalists

Muck Rack helps PR and marketing pros discover relevant journalists and bloggers through searching by keywords, company names, outlets and more. Features include alerts that are sent by email notifications, when a journalist tweets or links to articles matching your search terms. It also helps you to pitch directly to your target’s email, find out who is sharing your content and organize media lists. Help is offered via phone support.

How to do it:

  1. Sign-up for MuckRack.com – This website enables you to more easily find and pitch to relevant journalists through several means including their email and social media channels. Features also include alerts and the ability to monitor who is sharing your content. For example, you could use the service to discover exactly who at the Wall Street Journal writes on your specific area of expertise.
    1. Don’t contact a journalist yet!
  1. Find out what they want – Spend some time monitoring the journalists you wish to target and find out what exactly they want.
  2. Target with Facebook ads – Use custom audience on Facebook to target the selected journalists with ads, promoting your content.
  3. Create a list on Twitter of the journalists you found using Muck Rack.
  4. Find way the journalists ask questions – Everyone has a specific speaking and writing style, so find out the particular vocabulary journalists on your list use when asking questions on Twitter, because they are likely doing so as part of work for a story.
  5. Setup an advanced search stream on Twitter – Use HootSuite or TweekDeck, using the vocabulary your targeted journalists use to ask questions and set the search only to reference your list of journalists. Therefore search results will only render when one of the journalists asks a question using the selected vocabulary—not just any Twitter user.

“Nobody is sitting around waiting for your press release.”
– Wil Reynolds (click to Tweet)

Takeaway 4 – Use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) when pitching potential clients

How to do it:

  1. Keep old HARO alert notifications in your email.
  2. Retrieve past alerts relevant to the area of a potential client’s expertise for use in a pitch to provide specific examples of PR opportunities you can facilitate for SEO. For example, if you have a potential client who offers dog walking services, no HARO alert notifications may have been sent to you for that last 8 months, but 3 alerts may have come through during the quarter of the year that occurred 9 months ago.

“Driving traffic is not taking care of your customers.”
– Wil Reynolds (click to Tweet)

Takeaway 5 – Use Twtrland to find what influencers are interested in

Use just one of the many features within the dashboard on Twtrland.com to see an influencer’s “famous words”— a user’s most retweeted posts..

How to do it:

  1. Add the free Twtrland app to Hootsuite.
  2. Search for a specific influencer’s profile by searching for their name,
  3. View their famous words, which are referred to as “top content” in Twtrland’s Hootsuite app.

“Who woke up this morning hoping to get spam email or a press release? Nobody! Stop the tricks. Try Adding Value.”
– Wil Reynolds (click to Tweet)

Takeaway 6 – Use Demographics Pro to find out what brands an influencer follows

Demographics Pro enables you to further find out what influencers are interested in. By viewing an audience profile you can see what accounts a user follows more significantly than the Twitter average and their brand affiliations.

How to do it:

  1. Add the free Demographics Pro app to Hootsuite
  2. Add a stream with the Demographics Pro app
  3. Click the @ symbol to search for a specific profile and click to view the full profile
  4. View which accounts the user follows more significantly than the Twitter average
  5. On the right side view the user’s brand affiliations

Takeaway 7 – Use Followerwonk to find followers who work for companies you want to target.

Followerwonk is a Moz app, featuring a tool that enables you to search Twitter bios. For example, if you are marketing for healthcare, a simple search using the phrase, “health wall street journal” returns results including several key Wall Street Journal employees including reporters, contributors and editors. Other tools apart of Followerwonk enable you to find out where your followers are located and when they tweet.

How to do it:

  1. Sign-in with Twitter
  2. Click table titled, “Search Twitter bios”
  3. In the search field type “health wall street journal”
  4. Click the button labeled, “Do it”

“Build cliques, not clicks.”
– Wil Reynolds (click to Tweet)

Takeaway 8 – Ensure your social media team handles inquiries properly

Many organizations go to great lengths to ensure inbounds lead are handled properly by their sales team (e.g. decreasing response time as much as possible) Likewise, traffic driven by search engine optimization is wasted if inquiries are not handled properly by a sales team. For example, if your ecommerce site sells car rims and a potential customer asks a question on social media to inquire if the model of 19” rims he or she is interested in are available in 18”, directly answer the question, yes or no. Do not respond with a link to the parent product category featuring all models of rims.

“If you do not have any influence over your social media team, your SEO will probably fail in the long run.”
– Wil Reynolds (click to Tweet)

Takeaway 9 – Use Facebook Search to find friends of friends who work somewhere

Facebook’s graph search allows you to search for people by employer. This makes introductions easier as mutual friends you have in common with those returned in search results are shown. 

How to do it:

  1. Click the regular Facebook search bar to display a dropdown
  2. Click, “People I may know”
  3. In the right side bar add an employer. If the search returns too many results for a single employer, refine your search by adding a position

Takeaway 10 – If another agency brings you aboard on a partnership to work on an account, ensure you are “at the table.”

While Wil stated that he is not a fan of projects which involve partnership with another agency, he emphasizes the need to be “at the table,” meaning you or your agency are in a direct client-facing role and not working through the agency who brought you on board.

  1. It is important to speak directly to the client to ensure everything is in order to reach their goals.
  2. It is important to in a position to directly defend yourself and address discrepancies raised by the client. i.e. nobody can “throw you under the bus” in your absence.

“One reason not to try and trick Google is because they have people with PHD’s working for them.”
– Wil Reynolds (click to Tweet)

 

How I Got a Shout-Out At MozCon Using $18 in Twitter Ads

A misconception I often hear is that social media advertising does not work. Yes, you may not get near the amount of hot inbound leads or sales versus pay-per-click ads displayed next to organic search results. However, social media ads are a fantastic and low-cost means to get your content in front of highly important people. Here is how I spent $18.42 on a Twitter ad campaign that resulted in a shout-out at MozCon and an increase of 70+ Twitter followers, after the founder and CEO of SEER Interactive, Wil Reynolds shared my Twitter ID with the 1300+ guests in attendance:

How I did it

Step 1 – Create a piece of content

I wrote a blog titled, “10 Takeaways from Wil Reynolds PR in SEO at SEM San Diego.” This piece was a recap of Wil Reynolds’ presentation at SEM San Diego’s May event, where he spoke on the growing role of PR in SEO.  In addition to a write up I also created several graphics with quotes from his presentation. Humans are visual creatures, so you can’t go wrong in content marketing by creating awesome graphics and videos. Below is a slide from his presentation mentioning that I got his M%$#@(&%in’ attention:

Step 2 – Reach influencers by targeting the hashtags they use

To promote this post, I ran Twitter ads targeting the official hashtag of the monthly SEM San Diego events, #SEMSD and one of the official hashtags used by SEER Interactive, #searchchurch. My intent was to capitalize on a gathering of industry professionals and influencers. Additionally, if your content features an influencer, as is the case with interviews, also target their following to amplify your reach. So, in this situation I knew Wil Reynolds, SEER employees and his fans would likely be at the event, which was why I targeted the keyword #searchchurch. Any other industry professionals Tweeting from the event would be using the prescribed event hashtag, #SEMSD. Here is the exact Tweet I promoted during this campaign:

  •    Important setting: If you know exactly where a particular influencer is going to be, decrease your spend by limiting ads to be shown in that geographic location

The effective cost per engagement for my Twitter ad campaign was only $0.80. Being that there was around only 50 people at the June SEM San Diego event and this campaign saw 474 impressions and 23 engagements, you can assume that most event attendees saw my ads.

Conclusion

Social media advertising works beyond the long-term goal of building a following across networks, but also for content marketing efforts. The direct response may not result in leads or sales, but rather amplification from VIPs you otherwise would struggle to gain the attention of. Use multiple methods of promotion in addition to Twitter ads, then rinse and repeat, because unfortunately content marketing is not like the movie Field of Dreams, where you can “build it and they will come.” (Tweet this quote)

How Rockstars Build Up To A Social Media Announcement

Creating build up to a social media announcement is simple right? Just write a press release, re-work it into a blog post and again for social media. The truth is many press releases are distributed via the wire everyday, only to not be picked up by anyone– journalists, bloggers or influencers. If it was that simple people wouldn’t make their entire living offering public relation services. In reality building anticipation for an event requires an integration of social media, SEO and public relations.

Recently, I was in a meeting with a client to plan a huge product launch. Their public relations representative wanted to immediately distribute a press release via the wire. Since the client has a large, die-hard following, there is no doubt the press release would create some waves in their industry, but there is much more opportunity when PR integrate with other functions such as social media to build anticipation and SEO to earn high quality links. This works especially well for brands with a loyal following such as the client who is revered for making high-end products within their industry or popular musicians such the world-famous metalcore rock band Atreyu.

In this brand spotlight we look at how Atreyu created a buzz on their Facebook page prior to announcing their comeback after a three year hiatus:

  1. On May 21st, Atreyu suddenly changed their cover photo to a pure black image.

2. Almost three weeks later on June 10th, the band posted the first of several short YouTube video clips of the band playing, their logo, and a stopwatch counting down.

3. Exactly two weeks later on June 24th, Atreyu posted another YouTube video depicting a countdown.

4. One week later on July 1st, Atreyu officially announced their return.

5. The same day as the announcement of their return, Atreyu’s previously black Facebook cover photo was changed to now include the Atreyu log

Conclusion

Before making a big announcement, get creative with a series of social media posts to build anticipation. Make an initial, ambiguous post that alludes to an imminent announcement. Follow up with supporting posts to indicate the announcement could happen at any moment. Think of a creative way to finally make your official announcement as Atreyu did when adding their white logo to the previous pure black cover Facebook photo. Hold a kickoff meeting with your public relations, social media and SEO teams to develop an integrated strategy leading up to the launch date. Learn specific methods of how to integrate PR in SEO.

p.s. The lead vocalist, Alex has a gym in Costa Mesa, California called Hellenic CrossFit & Muay. If you’re ever in the area, stop by; everyone very friendly. I typically workout there in the evenings Monday-Thursday.

Learn How to Use a Checkbook Cover in 6 Steps

When opening a new bank account and ordering checks, many receive a complimentary checkbook cover, but do not know how to use it. In addition you may receive a transaction register as well. The transaction register is to manually record the date, payment to, and amount you write each check to.

It may look complicated at first, but each and every one of those plastic flaps has a purpose. Let’s review them!

Step 1: Lift thin, clear plastic strip

Lift the thin, clear plastic strip with your thumb and index finger and separate the individual checks from the back cover of the checkbook.

Step 2: Slide checkbook into slip

Slide the back cover of your checkbook under thin clear plastic strip and also under the clear plastic flap used to separate checks not being used from the check currently being filled out.

Step 3: Lift clear plastic flap

 

 

Step 4: Use plastic flap to separate checks

Put the plastic flap behind the next check and carbon copy so that when you write a check, the pressure of the pen does not damage the carbon copies of subsequent checks.

Step 5: Lift clear plastic

 

Step 6: Slide transaction register into slip

Both books neatly lay flat.