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48 7 Ways to Acquire the Right Kinds of Links to Your Site

linksI’ve said it here many times – winning high rankings in search engines is not that hard for local businesses. There are some categories of business that are very competitive and certainly require the investment of a high caliber SEO firm, but do it yourself type can do well if they focus on two activities.

Creating content and acquiring the right kinds of links back to your site.

I specifically say the right kinds of links because there are still some folks out there promoting the easy way out, suggesting you buy hundreds of links, but there is no easy way out and this can even lead to getting your hand slapped or worse by the search engines.

Below are seven of the best ways to acquire those all important links.

Write a blog

Without question creating a blog and consistently writing keyword rich content is the number one SEO activity for the small business. (For any size business) This is no longer something to debate, blog content will improve your chances to compete in the search engines many times over and draw links from other blogs and sites that syndicate content.

Guest post on blogs

A variation to writing on your blog is to seek out other blogs and offer to write content that is useful and relevant to their audience. Make certain that you get to place a link back to your site in the body of the post and look for blogs that are well read. You might also look for other local blogs using a tool like Placeblogger.

Submit posts and article to directories

Article directories such as still present a great opportunity for acquiring links. By submitting articles to sites likeEzinearticles.com, Articlesbase.com, Suite101.com, Buzzle.com you can begin to acquire more links and traffic to your site. You might also look into services like HubShout that provide turn-key writing and submission of content.

Write social press releases

Consistently writing news releases for even seemingly minor announcements is a great way to build up some extra traffic and links, particularly if you use the social features of tools like PRWeb or Pitch Engine. As a bonus print your press releases off and send them via mail to your clients and network, you’ll be surprised how much bounce you get from this little contact tactic.

Leave lots of relevant comments

Leaving relevant comments on other blogs does a number of things for you. In some cases, not many though, you may actually benefit from a link to your site, but the real value is that you may get the attention of other readers and the owners of these blogs in ways that could prompt them to point to some of your content via a blog post. I hope it goes without saying this won’t work if your comments are basically spam. Use a service like BackType to track when comments related to your topic get hot.

Create profiles

There are hundreds of places you can create social profiles on the web and most allow you to place numerous links back to your site. You probably won’t get a ton of juice from the search engines for these because many are what are called “no follow” links, but some are not and many will build extra pages and links for the big picture. You should be claiming this real estate and filling it with content and brand assets as a rule. You can even use a service like Knowem that will create hundreds of profiles on lesser known networks.

Use social bookmarking

Social bookmark sites such as delicious, digg, reddit and StumbleUpon offer great ways to create valuable links and search engine juice. By bookmarking and tagging your blog posts for relevant keyword topics your content may be found by the millions of folks looking for topic related to your tags. This can often lead to tweets and posts pointing out your content.

By creating a systematic approach that allows you to focus on a couple of these items each and every week you can start to build hundreds of links to your web pages and virtually lock out the competition for your key terms.

Image credit: Ramberg Media Images

29 5 Tips for Getting More From Social Media Marketing

listeningIn a further continuation of my series of quick social media tips (check out 5 Tips for Getting More from LinkedIn, 5 Tips for Getting More from Facebook, and 5 tips for Getting More from Twitter), I’m covering some overarching advice today as I believe small business owners and marketers need to think strategically about social media use, perhaps before they ever start to discuss tactical use.

1) Integrate – Don’t treat your social media activity as something separate from your other marketing initiatives. Feature links to your social media profiles in your email signature, on your business cards, in your ads, and as a standard block of copy in your weekly HTML email newsletter. In addition, make sure that links to your educational content are featured prominently in your social media profiles and that Facebook fan page visitors and blog subscribers are offered the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter and attend your online and offline events. Make your social media profiles a part of your address copy block and you will soon see adding them to all that you do as an automatic action.

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86 My Social Media System


At a recent social media workshop a participant asked me to reveal my social media routine – how I track, converse, communicate and otherwise curate all my various social media activities. I paused to think about it for a while because I never really considered what I do a routine, but it occurred to me that, in fact, I do have a systematic approach to social media. (No surprise really, I’m a systems thinker and I just do it habitually – ask my wife, I have a system for making the bed and loading the dishwasher.)

I do think that participating fully in social media as a business and marketing strategy requires discipline, automation routines and a daily commitment. Now, you’ve got to balance that with the fact that much of your activity is about building long-term momentum and deeper networks and that doesn’t always make the cash register ring today. So, some of what I do won’t be right for all, but I thought I would share my systematic approach in the hopes this may reveal some tips that make your experience more fruitful. (I won’t take the space in this post to explain what all of the tools are that I mention, I’ve probably written about most, so try my search box above.)

    Twice-daily

  • Check twitter via Tweetdeck – preset searches for @ducttape, john jantsch, and duct tape marketing – respond as I see fit, follow some @replies that seem appropriate.
  • Scan mybloglog – I obsess over traffic, but this reveals trending links and stumble surges in real time so I can react if appropriate.
  • Respond to comments on my blog
    Daily

  • Write a blog post – RSS subs get it, twitter tools sends to twitter, Facebook gets it, FriendFeed updates
  • Scan twitter followers for relevant conversations to join
  • Scan Google Reader subscriptions to read and stimulate ideas
  • Share Google Reader favs – these publish to Facebook and you can subscribe
  • FleckTweet any blog pages from my subscriptions that I love – this goes to twitter
  • Bookmark any blog pages from my subscriptions that I love – delicious using Firefox plugin for right click posting – this goes to FriendFeed
  • Stumble any blog pages from my subscriptions that I love – this goes to Facebook and FriendFeed
  • Scan Google Alerts for my name, brand and products – in Google Reader as RSS feed – respond as appropriate
  • Add comments to blogs as appropriate – mostly response types – Google Reader and BackType
    Weekly (end)

  • Scan LinkedIn Questions from my network and respond when appropriate
  • Scan delicious, digg and mixx popular and select bookmarks for content ideas and trending topics
  • Consciously add comments to conversations I want to join – hot topic focused
  • Join one twitter hot trend conversation if appropriate – search.twitter.com shows these in real time
    Monthly

  • Check MrTweet for new twitter follow recommendations
  • Scan Amazon’s upcoming and new releases for authors to interview on podcast (the big names seem more accessible with a book release coming!)
  • Post a press release with social media links to PitchEngine or PRWeb (this changes depending on what’s going on, but at least monthly.)
  • Strategize on ways to repurpose and repackage any and all of this in ways that make it more accessible to another audience.

For some this just seems crazy – others will notice some obvious glaring holes in this system – the point though is the system approach. Set your system up and work it, day in and day out, whatever that means for you, and then you will start to understand the vital role that social media can come to play in your overall marketing strategy.

This is my way and one way only – please share your tips for managing the beast!

25 Do You Suffer from Occasional Contentapation?

You’ve got a blog, you’re getting into the education based, content rich, web presence thing, but sometimes you just can’t think of anything to say. Don’t worry, you’re not alone and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Millions of marketers have begun to complain about the symptoms commonly diagnosed as Contentapation.

The good news is, there is a cure. The cure I’m referring does not come in pill form though, it’s a natural, organic and systematic approach to fighting and curing those outbreaks of feeling as though you have nothing to say. (Now, some might suggest this is a disease that shouldn’t be cured – after all, maybe you don’t have anything to say. My belief is that everyone has something to say, it just needs a little shove to get out.)

Here are some quick tips to add to your daily routine:
1) Set up search alerts in Google Alerts or Tweetbeep so you get a steady stream of ideas related to search terms in your industry
2) Use an RSS reader – Subscribe to lots of related blogs in Google Reader or Bloglines and visit your reader to search for ideas that you could explore deeper, apply differently or simply pass on to your readers.
3) Get to know some Social Bookmark sites – Use sites such Digg or del.icio.us to find out what other people are bookmarking, find interesting or are hot right now. This is also great tool to use to bookmark and store sites and pages you might want to right about in a future post.
4) Use an idea notebook – Get a Moleskin notebook and create list of the top ten topics you know you need to write about often because consist of important keyword phrases for search and refer to this list weekly
5) Tap the FAQs – Your customers, prospects, partners, journalists, suppliers and employees ask you questions every single day. Get in the habit of answering these questions on your blog as I’m guessing others might want to know the answers as well.

You can source one or all of the above tactics anytime you’re not feeling wordy but know you need to feed the beast.

Warning – if any of the above approaches cause you to post to your blog more than four times in one day, seek immediate medical help.

38 The Hierarchy of Social Marketing

I think one of the things that small business marketers struggle with around the entire topic of social marketing is trying to jump into the new new thing without enough analysis of what they should focus on. I happen to think this is an important, evolving and essential area of marketing for small businesses, but there’s a hierarchy to it. In other words, there is a logical progression of utilization that comes about much like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Nature.

Social Marketing HierarchyAs Maslow theorized, the ultimate potential of your marketing or human self-actualization couldn’t be achieved until the most basic human psychological needs – breathing, eating, sleeping, sex were first met. (Yes, I’m about ready to compare blogging to sex.) In fact safety, love, and esteem all come before transcendence. Now, before I edge too close to the deep end here, I’m simply comparing what I think is a bit like progressing up the social marketing hierarchy.

Most small business owners should look at the following progression or hierarchy as they move deeper into social marketing tactics. So, jump in, but do it in this order and don’t move on until you have the basics of each stage down and working for you.

Blogging – the foundation of the pyramid – read blogs (Google Reader or Bloglines), comment on blogs and then blog. This is the doorway to all other social marketing – WordPress, TypePad, Blogger

RSS – aggregate and filter content around subjects and use RSS technology as a tool to help you repurpose, republish and create content – Some tools – Feedburner, Google News and mysyndicaat

Social Search – this is often ignored in this discussion but I think it’s become very important for small business owners. Directories that publish reviews from customers – good and bad. You can participate and should stimulate and manage your reputation here. Insider Pages, Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Local.com, Judy’s Book, Yelp

Social Bookmarking – tagging content to and participating in social bookmarking communities can be a great way to open up more channels to your business as well as generate extra search traffic, but it takes work – del.icio.us, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Mixx, Small Business Brief

Social Networking – branching out to take advantage of the numbers of potential prospects that you might find in sites like Facebook or MySpace will frustrate at least as a business tool if you don’t have many of the above needs met. These networks take time to understand and thrive on ideas and content. You’ve got to have much to share if you wish to build a business case. The good news is that industry and idea specific sites for everything from book lovers to green living are springing up every day. Here’s an enormous list of social networking sites from Mashable

Micro – I’ve lumped some of the more experimental social tools into the edge trend of micro, social, real-time communication that will likely only confuse most small business owners. The confusion is not because they can’t figure out how to make them work, it’s just not obvious why they would spend the time. I think Maslow suggested the self-actualization was a place that most might never reach and in social marketing terms Twitter, Thwirl, Plurk and FriendFeed might be some sort of sick transcendence.

All the evidence that we have indicates that it is reasonable to assume in practically every human being, and certainly in almost every newborn baby, that there is an active will toward health, an impulse towards growth, or towards the actualization.

Abraham Maslow

9 Put snack sized content on the menu too

TumblrSo, you’ve got the web site, the feature length articles in the ezine and you’re posting regular riffs on the blog – what’s missing.

For some the missing content strategy might be your micro content strategy. I’m not a raving fan of services like Twitter that promote instant “what are you doing now” types of blurbs, but there’s no denying that lots of people are suggesting by their use that’s the way they want to consume content – in snack size bites.

The question is how and why do you create that kind of content with your already overtaxed content producing brain. Like so many things the answer lies in finding a solution that is effective from a marketing standpoint, yet easy to implement from an actually do it standpoint.

Here’s a tool I would suggest you take a look at. It’s free service is called Tumblr. Tumblr is in many ways a blogging tool, but one with some interesting features built right in that let you create what they call Tumblelogs. I think it just might be the perfect answer to the bite size content challenge.

Tumblelogs.

Unlike blogs, tumblelogs aren’t designed like a newspaper column. They’re the easiest way to share everything you find, love, hate, or create — even if you’re not wordy.

Setting up a Tumblr micro-blog is dead simple. Just follow a couple steps. Once you’ve done that you will be presented with a dashboard that prompts you to upload text, quotes, links, photos, audio or video. Each action creates a formatted post. This set-up is just perfect for the kind of stream of snacks that people seem hungry for.

But, here’s where it gets interesting. You can also add feeds that you already publish. So, with one step you add your Twitter feed to the micro-stream and all of a sudden, people can view your Tweets in something close to context. Now add your delicious feed (or the feed for a specific tag) and content gets posted to your tumblr blog as you surf. You can add YouTube, Digg or any RSS feed to the stream and automatically create as you go. There’s also a desktop widget for posting text and a “Share on Tumblr” browser bookmark tool so you can post something you find on the fly. Posting text and photos via mobile is as simple as sending an email.

What I really like about this format is that that it automatically produces little snippets all day long, but the net collection of snacks can produce an entirely different kind of interesting main course – one that you might never produce sitting in front of a blank screen trying to write something deep.

Okay, now let’s add another twist. The service allows you to create groups and give shared ownership to the members of the group. This is a potentially simple way to create an entirely different kind of content solution. What if you created a group Tumblelog with a very specific focus in mind. How about a group that takes a chapter from a book each week and each member reveals the most significant moment for them in the chapter. How about a group that poses a question each week and then collectively riffs on it. How about a group of strategic partners writing about an industry or a community. I think all of the above would be powerful traffic magnets. (Yes Tumblelogs produce RSS feeds.)

Here’s a Tumblelog that I’ve set-up – duc.ttape.us

Yet, another thing on your list to consider – but certainly food for thought.