The Power of Words

Content can be market-researched, SEO-tested, long, short, plain, technical, generic or specific.

But it has to be clear and compelling.

It has to be good.

Yes, images are helpful, keywords matter and you should always know how to get the most from search engine algorithms. But content makes the reader keep reading. It turns clicks into calls and calls into visits.

4Marketshare's team of writers and editors are a huge part of our success. They can write in your voice, or help find a tone that works for you. According to your needs, they'll draft a piece in an hour or spend half a day on research. They write with clarity, economy, sense of humor, and the time-tested sense of what works.

Our writers go beyond the who, what, where and why to paint a picture of your business. Then they leave space for you to step in and create a relationship.

Want to know more about how 4Marketshare can help you? Ask us.

Why Search Engine Optimization is King

What's the best way to advertise on social media — Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Pay Per Click (PPC)?

According to a survey by Social Media Examiner, 65% of marketers choose SEO, making it the second most preferred strategy. Direct e-mail marketing was first at 87%, while PPC languished in sixth place at 38%.

SEO scored highly because it's an organic approach. Instead of inducing consumers to click away from their task, SEO positions websites at the top of search results — in other words, helping people get what they want.

4Marketshare drives up SEO by syndicating blog posts to your social media pages. Your Facebook and Twitter followers hear about every new post, drawing traffic back to the main site and bolstering your SEO results.

If you'd like to know more about how 4Marketshare's SEO experts can help you, ask us.

Get a Different Perspective

Your focus is on customers; listening to them, serving them, increasing their confidence in you. But customer service is only one part of success. It’s easy to get lost in daily business, so a few times per year, step back and look at the big picture. These simple online tools help you answer questions that will determine your future.

How strong is your website?  Websitegrader is a free service that scores your website’s marketing strength based on SEO, traffic, social media mentions, and other factors. It also compares your site to competitors and sends you a personalized report on how to improve your marketing campaign.

How’s your online visibility? After showing you how your business is listed on Google, Yahoo, Yellowpages.com, and other search engines, GetListed.org gives you tools to manage and update your local listings. It’s a handy way to learn how your online presence can be improved, but managing listings takes time. Coming soon, 4 Walls will offer a tool that allows you to control hundreds of listings at once.
Remember: to stay ahead of the game, change your perspective!

Announcing 4Mindshare Custom Blogging Service

Your company’s unique. Shouldn’t you share content that’s just as unique with your customers?

4Mindshare can help.

With 4Mindshare’s Level 3 Custom Blogging Service, you’ll have unique, custom content helping you connect with prospects and clients. Custom blogging can generate inbound web traffic and boost SEO. It also helps convert leads and increase client retention.

Our Custom Blogging Service will save you time and money. In just 30-60 minutes each month, our professional writers will work with you to understand your company and its goals. Then we’ll produce unique content for your blog, giving you a platform from which to build long lasting relationships with your customers.

Visit the 4Mindshare website to learn about our Level 3 Custom Blogging Service.

Click here for information on 4Mindshare products and rates.

SEO: What’s In and What’s Out

What is important for Search Engine Optimization changes over time—making articles that are just a year or two old already outdated (including mine).

Although Google and other search engines don’t give us a crystal ball, here is what seems to be working and irrelevant to your search engine results today.

What Works

Keyword Research. If you don’t know what people are actually typing in, how do you know what to optimize for?

Title Tags. These are still important for rankings as well as usability, since this is what people see both in the search results and when they bookmark your page.

Great Content. If you don’t have great content, you will never have long-term success with SEO. People stay on your site longer and link to your site when you have great content. Both of these things support SEO. Building great content rather than relying on constant SEO tweaks as search engine algorithms change is also a more durable SEO strategy.

Link Building. A link to your site is like a vote for your site. The more links in, the better. That being said, don’t waste your money hiring people to build inbound links. Google doesn’t count all inbound links equally.

Landing Pages. Building pages that are similar but optimized for different geographies can work. I admit, it’s spammy, but it still works.

What Doesn’t Work

Header Tags (e.g. H1). One of our best sites doesn’t use a single header tag. I’ve been saying for years H1 tags don’t matter, and now finally everyone is saying this, too.

Meta Keywords. This hasn’t worked since the late ‘90s, yet the only sign of SEO I see on almost every site I review is keyword tags.

Submitting URLs to search engines. If you make sure the search engines can navigate through your site, there is no need to submit the pages directly to the search engines. They will find them on their own.

SEO: What's In and What's Out

What is important for Search Engine Optimization changes over time—making articles that are just a year or two old already outdated (including mine).

Although Google and other search engines don’t give us a crystal ball, here is what seems to be working and irrelevant to your search engine results today.

What Works

Keyword Research. If you don’t know what people are actually typing in, how do you know what to optimize for?

Title Tags. These are still important for rankings as well as usability, since this is what people see both in the search results and when they bookmark your page.

Great Content. If you don’t have great content, you will never have long-term success with SEO. People stay on your site longer and link to your site when you have great content. Both of these things support SEO. Building great content rather than relying on constant SEO tweaks as search engine algorithms change is also a more durable SEO strategy.

Link Building. A link to your site is like a vote for your site. The more links in, the better. That being said, don’t waste your money hiring people to build inbound links. Google doesn’t count all inbound links equally.

Landing Pages. Building pages that are similar but optimized for different geographies can work. I admit, it’s spammy, but it still works.

What Doesn’t Work

Header Tags (e.g. H1). One of our best sites doesn’t use a single header tag. I’ve been saying for years H1 tags don’t matter, and now finally everyone is saying this, too.

Meta Keywords. This hasn’t worked since the late ‘90s, yet the only sign of SEO I see on almost every site I review is keyword tags.

Submitting URLs to search engines. If you make sure the search engines can navigate through your site, there is no need to submit the pages directly to the search engines. They will find them on their own.

Is An SEO Investment Ever a Bad Idea?

90% of the time when clients ask us about SEO services, it's a no brainer for them to move forward with basic on page SEO tune up. In most of these cases, the website developers completely dropped the SEO ball and the 80/20 rule applies. Simple changes, such as making sure each page has keyword relevant title tags and page content, often results in a dramatic increase in traffic.

My husband always says that if you really understand something, you can easily argue the other side of the issue. In that case, I need to be able to articulate when it's a mistake to move forward with SEO. I can think of at least three scenarios where it might be.

1. Your website stinks. SEO helps get traffic to your site, but if your website is broken, horribly out of date, frightening looking, or otherwise a train wreck, you are better off taking your SEO budget and sinking it into a new site. Website development is more competitive than ever, so it's easy to get a good deal. Try to find a company that throws in basic on page SEO, and you'll kill two birds with one stone.

2. You haven't met a salesperson selling SEO who doesn't give you hives. Since there are no set standards or credentials, anyone can claim he/she is an SEO expert. As a result, there are a lot of people selling SEO services who simply don't know what they are doing. Protect yourself and go with your instincts. If you find someone you like, ask to see examples of first page results he/she has earned for other clients, and check references.

3. There is no keyword volume to support a return on your investment. In very rare cases, there simply aren't a lot of searches for particular types of businesses. Certain medical specialties where all but the most disconnected would seek out referrals come to mind. Make sure you know that there are enough searches for keywords related to your business to justify the investment.

While I remain a big fan of SEO, don't invest unless your website will convert the traffic you get, you've found an SEO vendor you can trust, and you've done the research to confirm that it's likely any SEO investment you make will have a positive ROI.

To Link or Not to Link…That is the Question

 

Today a prospect told me she went to a seminar on Search Engine Optimization, and that one speaker said building back links was important, while another said it wasn't. Then, she asked me exactly what a back link is, and do they matter?

First of all, a back link is a link from another website to yours. Sometimes, they are also referred to as inbound links. This is different from internal links which are links from one page to another within your own website.

According to current Webmaster resources published by Google, links are still a vital part of the SEO equation. A link counts as a “vote” for a page on your website. All things being equal, Google will put pages with more quality inbound links higher in search results. In fact, this was a key component of their original search patent.

Building links is an ongoing, time consuming process. In theory, Google is looking to reward pages that people link to, because they are truly recommending the content on the page. In practice, a cottage industry has sprouted up to help you generate links quickly. The seminar speaker who cautioned against link building probably meant that you should resist the temptation to go out and “buy” links in bulk from these organizations, or do anything else that would artificially increase the number of links to your site. While I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule, in our experience, most of the links these players secure for you are of dubious quality and sometimes from “bad” neighborhoods, so you are just wasting your money.

The same person then asked, “What is a ‘bad’ neighborhood, and will these links from them actually hurt me?” A “bad” neighborhood is a website that in some way aids and abets the acquisition of artificial links. Some sites have been set up for the exclusive purpose of selling links, while others are directories with little content. Some are sites with lots of content that Google has identified as “content farms,” which are sites with lots of low quality content that are optimized to generate inbound search traffic and then support themselves through Google AdSense or other advertising vehicles. Although there is rumbling that links from “bad” neighborhoods can hurt you, I am not of that opinion. The people at Google are very smart, and know that any competitor can finance an inbound link campaign to ambush a competitor's site. So while I think Google doesn't credit you for links from these dubious sites, I don't think they hurt you either.

The moral of the story is to try and build links, but to do it the right way. First, make sure to claim your online Yellow Pages listings and add a web link. Second, add interesting and relevant content to your website. Third, set up social networking pages and create regular updates that link back to your blog or other content on your website. Fourth, look for linking opportunities from natural business partners that include suppliers, customers, trade associations, and business affiliates.

Long story short, go forth and get links. But do it the right way.

1500 Locust’s Website Launched

We are pleased to be launching a new property website for 1500 Locust Apartments. Check it out.

Evergreen Realty’s Website Launched

We recently launched a new website for Evergreen Realty. Integrated social media headlines (powered by our Respage social media service for the multifamily industry), inbound link building and a clean website architecture have helped Evergreen earn first and second page search engine positioning for several target keywords.

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