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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

3 Reasons Networking Events Increase Your Referral Business

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Referrals are the lifeblood of small business.
Long-standing agents will find that repeat & referral business amounts to 60-70% of their business.
Events hosted by professional associations, college alumni groups and your local chamber of commerce are the perfect opportunity to expand your network of professional contacts.

Networking leads to a direct increase in the number of referrals you receive for new customers, earning you new business.
Yet, small business owners rarely take the time to attend networking functions.

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Here are 3 key reasons why networking for referrals makes great business sense (don't forget to thank/gift your referrer):

1. Referrals come to you pre-sold.

When a network contact sends you a referral, they’ve already done a good part of the selling for you.

• This is a fantastic concept if you don’t enjoy prospecting for new business...but, if need be, force yourself to prospect.

• With every networking event you attend, have a focused goal of meeting new people whose business contacts complement yours.

• With a robust network, you’ve got your own pro-bono sales force enthusiastically working for you seven days a week.
You couldn’t build a better sales team than that!

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2. Trust is built a lot faster with a referred client.

A key buying motivation with every consumer is reducing risk/gaining trust...

• No one wants to feel they’ve made a poor buying decision,

• A prospect who has been referred to you sees you as a friend of a friend, so you are instantly viewed as trustworthy,

• A referred customer feels more comfortable during the buying process.

The social aspect of networking events is designed to build trust, rapport, and friendships among business contacts.

• When attending functions look for ways to assist others in their business-growth objectives, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by professionals eager to send business your way as well.

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3. Referrals clone more referrals

For long-term revenue growth, nothing beats the multiplying effect of referrals bringing new business directly to you.
Your reputation for quality and integrity grows with each new “generation” of referred business.

• The loyalty factor helps protect you against the fads and gimmicks of your competitors.
Remember that each new referred client has their own circle of influence representing a new door of networking opportunities for you.

• Find out what professional or social groups your new clients are involved in and offer to provide a short seminar, presentation, or article content
for its newsletter.

• Your valuable insight will win you the enviable reputation of “expert in your field” within that group. When they need assistance, you’ll be the one they call.

The time you spend building relationships within your professional network pays off better in long-term revenue growth than any other marketing strategy.

• Thinking of networking events as an opportunity to put more money in your pocket (increase revenue).

• The old adage, “Work smarter, not harder,” certainly applies when it comes to networking.

To find great networking opportunities, keep an eye on the schedules published by your local professional association, chamber of commerce and business newspapers.

• Once you are at an event, talk to as many people as possible about your business; it may surprise you how often they need your services or know someone else who does.
• Dedicate time each week to meet with others in networking activities, and you’ll see your referral business grow in ways you never thought possible.

source: CEOConsultant

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why Is Valuable Content So Important?

It’s long been a saying on the Internet that “content is king”. But why is content so important?

Providing valuable content keeps people coming back, increases trust in you attracts links to your site. Keeping people coming back is good but the real benefits are increasing trust and attracting links. and

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Increasing trust

It’s very important on the Internet to gain people’s trust. Providing valuable content shows people that you know what you are talking about.
It’s easy to have a Web site selling a product or service. When you add valuable content about that product or service it shows that you have a deeper commitment and separates you from the people that just sell boxes. This helps you to make a personal connection with your customers and become someone they want to do business with.

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Attracting links

Attracting links to your site should provide you with more visitors, so more people to sell your services or products too. Not only that, but if you get links from important sites it can boost your search engine ranking.
With the rise of Twitter, Facebook and other social media, it is becoming easier to share links to great content. If you provide great content and make it easy to share with links via social media sites, you can get your article to millions of Internet users. Next time they are looking to buy your product or service, chances are they will remember your article and come to you first.

Google uses links to your site as a voting system when deciding on the order of search engine results. It’s not quite as simple as just getting lots of links to your Web site, Google uses a system called PageRank and this is what actually matters. When a site links to you it passes on part of it’s PageRank to your site. So the idea is to attract links from sites with a higher PageRank than your own. The best way to get links from these high ranking sites is by having high quality content.

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What is valuable content?

So now we know why it’s important, what kind of valuable content can you provide?

The most valuable content is probably non-commercial articles related to the product or services you are selling. For example if you sell window blinds, you could write an article about how to clean window blinds. This will not directly help you to make sales, but provides something useful to existing and potential customers.

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Here are some other ideas for valuable content you could provide:

  • Top Ten lists
  • Best of… (e.g. blogs, articles, downloads)
  • Checklists
  • How to…
  • History of…
  • Interesting statistics
  • Quick tips

Source: SEM Wisdom

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Do It Yourself Search Engine Optimization + video

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A search engine optimization campaign can easily be divided in three fundamental stages:

  1. Choose the right keywords (keyword optimization)

  2. Optimize your pages for your selected keywords (web page optimization), and

  3. Get quality inbound links to your pages (off-site factors).

In the next few pages, we will teach you how to follow a systematic approach to complete these three steps, using free tools available on the net.

PART I: Keyword Optimization

The first step in a search engine optimization campaign is to choose your keywords or keyphrases for each of your web pages. Keywords are the terms that search engine users type in the search box to conduct a query. The right keywords are those that:

  1. clearly describe the purpose and content of your site, and,

  2. allow your site to show up as close to the first results page as possible.

A good position doesn't depend only on your choice of keywords. It also depends on how well do you position those keywords in your web page, and how many quality external pages link to you. However, choosing the wrong keywords can throw off your entire search engine optimization strategy, so you need to invest a few hours and make sure you do it right.

Let's start with your homepage. Look at it carefully and write down the words and phrases that best define your site. Try to form two or three word phrases, since competition for one-word keyphrases is fierce, and it is virtually impossible to get a top position for them. That is why, from now on, we will talk about keyphrases, not keywords. Once you have developed your list of potential keyphrases you are ready for the next step: to analyze the demand and supply for those keyphrases, and choose the best ones (those with good demand and not enough supply).

We will first check the demand for your selected keyphrases. For this, we will go to Overture's Search Term Suggestion Tool:

http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/

Overture is a popular pay-per-click search engine. You will then type each of the keyphrases you selected, and see how many people search for those terms. This tool will show you only those searches conducted in Overture (and only in one month time). However, the relative popularity of each search term will be very similar in other search engines as well. In addition to telling you if your selected keyphrases are popular, this tool will show you other keyphrases that you may not have thought about, which may even be more relevant to your site.

For example, if your first keyphrase was "Italian Restaurant", the Search Term Suggestion Tool will also display other popular search terms, like: "Gourmet Italian Restaurant", "Northern Italian Restaurant", "Italian Restaurant Pizzeria", "Italian Restaurant Miami", etc. You may also try other keyphrases, for example: "Italian Cuisine", and come up with more specific keyphrases, like: "Fine Italian Cuisine", "Italian Cuisine Miami", "Northern Italian Cuisine", "Italian Cuisine Fine Dining", "Gourmet Italian Cuisine", etc.

What you have done is to validate and enlarge your pool of popular, in-demand, potential keyphrases for your web page. The next step is to check the supply, or, in other words, to see how much competition there is for your selected keywords. Naturally, you want to focus on keyphrases where competition is less fierce. For example, choosing "Italian Restaurant" alone will certainly hurt you. There are so many of them that your chances of showing up in an advantageous position within the search results are pretty slim.

Having said that, get your list of keyphrases, go to Google ( http://www.google.com ) and type-in each of them in the search box. Enter your keyphrases within quotation marks (to filter-out less relevant results), and see how many results each individual query produces, making a note of those with a relatively small number of results (less competition). You will stick with the keyphrase that:

  1. Best describes the topic and content of your page

  2. Is a popular search term according to Overture's Search Term Suggestion Tool.

  3. Generates a relatively small number of results after performing the Google search.

If "Gourmet Italian Restaurant" is the keyphrase that best meets these three criteria, it will become your primary keyphrase. To get even better results, you can choose a second keyphrase to make your page more relevant to an even more specific niche. For example, if your restaurant is in Miami, you can consider "Miami" a second keyphrase. Once you have chosen the keyphrases for you homepage, do the same for the other pages on your site.

After this, you will take your selected keyphrases and optimize your pages heavily for them. This involves placing them in strategic locations in the title, headings and body of each page, as we will see in Part II: Web Page Optimization.

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PART II: Web Page Optimization

Once you have chosen your keyphrases, the next stage is to optimize your page for those keyphrases. You do that by positioning your keywords in strategic locations within your page. What follows is a checklist of tips and steps you must follow to optimize your page:

  • Keyphrases in the web page title:

    • Create a descriptive title for your page: Your web page title is very important because it is what the search engines display as link text as the result of a search. The title must include your main keyphrases, while at the same time it must describe your business very well and should entice readers to click on it.

    • Unless your business is big and well known (like Microsoft or Coca Cola) don't start your page title with the name of your company. Start your title with the words search engine users will most likely use (your keyphrases)

    • Put your main keyphrase at the beginning of your page title (keyphrase prominence) and keep your keyphrase together (keyword proximity).

    • Put your second keyphrase somewhere else in the title.

    • Make the title short (8 words or less).

  • Keyphrases in your Keyword Meta Tag: Search engines rarely use the Keyword Meta Tag any more (Google completely ignores it). However, place a list of your main and secondary keywords in the Keyword Meta Tag of your page, just in case search engines decide to use them again in the future.

  • Keyphrases in your Description Meta Tag: The Description Meta Tag is still important, since some search engines use them to elaborate on the results link. Remember to:

    • Include your keyphrases (main and secondary) in your Description Meta Tag.

    • Make your description 'descriptive', concise and professional. Avoid using hype.

    • Make it short (25 words or less).

    • Don't make your description sound just like a collection of keywords.

    • Keep your keyphrases together.


  • Keywords in the body of your page: It is important to use your keywords heavily on your page, since this will help the search engine determine the topic of your page. Follow these tips as much as possible, since they will help search engines determine your page's relevance to your chosen keyphrases:

    • Use your keyphrases several times, and place them as close to the top of the page as possible.

    • Place your keyphrases between Header Tags (H1, H2 or H3) in the first two paragraphs of your page.

    • Place your keyphrases in bold type phase at least once.

    • Repeat your keyphrases often to increase your keyphrase density. Repeating your keyphrases between 5 to 10 times for every 100 words in your page is considered effective.

    • Since you have to repeat your keyphrases often, you must be especially careful not to make your text sound awkward. Your visitors should be able to read your page fluently and effortlessly. Remember that ultimately it is your readers who will decide if your page is worth the time they spend on it. A pleasant experience will make them more likely to come back.

A good resource on how to write search engine friendly copy without losing readability is this special SEO writing report by Jill Whalen.


  • Other Web Page Design Considerations:

    • You must make your page easy to navigate by the search engines. Search engines heavily favor text over graphics, and HTML over other editing formats.

    • Use text heavily, especially in your navigation bar. Avoid placing text in graphic format since the search engines won't be able to read it.

    • Avoid frames. Search engines have trouble following them, and they may index only the framed content page and not the navigation frame.

    • Avoid Flash and JavaScript: search engines don't follow either one. If you use flash, make an HTML version of your site available to your readers and the search engines. If you use a JavaScript navigation menu, include an alternate text menu at the bottom of the page, so it can be followed by the search engines.

    • Create a Site Map that includes all the pages in your site, and place a Site Map link close to the top of the homepage. When the search engine follows the site map link, it will find and index all the pages in your site!

    • If you use a left navigation bar, the search engine will read it before the body of your page. Make sure you include your most important keywords there, too.

    • Make sure that all your internal pages link to your homepage.

    • Don't try to describe all your products or services in one page. It will confuse the search engine and dilute your page's relevance to your selected keyphrase. Instead, create different very focused pages, each with its own content and keyphrases, and optimize them too.

This is pretty much all you have to do to make sure that your page is optimized for your chosen keywords. The next and final step to increase your site's ranking is to get as many links to your site as possible, from quality sites that have a topic related to yours. This is what we will see in Part III: Off-Site Factors.

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Part III: Off Page Factors

Once you have selected your keyphrases and optimized your pages for them, the last step is to make sure that you get linked from the best directories, and from lots of quality sites with a topic related to your site's. The best search engines, and in particular Google (who alone can deliver 80% of the search engine traffic to your site) "crawl" the web looking for links to your site. They interpret a link to your page as a vote, and the more links (votes) you have coming from quality sites the higher your page rank will be, and the higher the possibility that your page will achieve a good position in the search results pages. It's that simple. Following these four steps is the best way to get the quality links you need:


  1. Get listed in DMOZ: The Open Directory Project ( http://www.dmoz.org ) is the world's largest directory. It is maintained by voluntary editors who review your site prior to inclusion. Being listed in this directory is important because it is used by Google and America Online to build their directories. Getting listed is free, but it may take a few weeks or even months to get listed, which can be a bit frustrating. However, there is a strong believe among search engine optimization experts that an Open Directory Project listing can significantly increase your page rank in Google, so you must take the time to submit your site and do it right (list your site in the right category and strictly follow their submission guidelines). For how to get listed in the Open Directory Project go to: http://www.dmoz.org/add.html .

  2. Get listed in Yahoo!: Submissions to Yahoo! are no longer free for commercial sites (your site can be reviewed in about a week for a fee of $299 although inclusion in the directory is not guaranteed. However, if you do get accepted, the $299 fee will be due every year if you want your site to continue to be listed). A link from Yahoo├»¿½s directory is still one of the best links you can get, and it is worth the money you spend getting listed. For tips on getting listed in Yahoo! go to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/suggest/ .

  3. Submit articles: There are many sites where you can publish articles in your field of expertise. This is a great way to establish yourself as an expert and to drive quality traffic to your site. The key is to include your resource box at the end of your article. A resource box is a small paragraph with a brief description of you and your business, where you include a link to your site. This way, every time somebody picks up your article and publishes it in their website or newsletter, your link will be there for readers and search engines to see and follow. For tips of getting traffic by writing articles you can visit: http://www.theinternetdigest.net/archive/write.html .

  4. Exchange links with reputable sites: You must try to find quality sites that are compatible to your site's topic (not direct competitors), and ask the webmaster for a link exchange. This will give you highly targeted traffic and will improve your score with the search engines. For tips on a good link exchange campaign, visit: http://www.theinternetdigest.net/archive/inboundlinks.html . If you liked this article and feel inclined to learn more about Search Engine Optimization, you may want to check out Aaron Wall's SEOBook.bd14582_.gif (185 bytes)

source: TID






Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business!

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Can Twitter actually help my business or is it a complete waste of my valuable time?
This was the very question I asked myself only a few months back.

Perhaps you’ve pondered the same?

When people I respect started singing the praises of Twitter, I decided to give it a go. At first I just didn’t get it. However, after a short while I was shocked at the level of access to high profile individuals I was able to achieve.

This article reveals how bestselling authors and business professionals use Twitter to grow their businesses and reveals ideas you can employ to achieve Twitter success.

In fact, I used Twitter (and LinkedIn) to source much of what you see here!

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What is Twitter?

“Twitter is instant messaging made available to the public,” stated talk show host and author Hugh Hewitt.

I think that’s a fair starting point. I’ve heard others call Twitter a micro-blogging platform.

Here’s what you need to know. According to the State of the Twittersphere report, each day 5 to 10 thousand new people join Twitter. Current estimates of total users top out around 5 million. That’s a lot of opportunity.

Twitter allows you to post updates (called Tweets) as often as you want (and limited to 140 characters). When you follow other people on Twitter, you see their tweets. When they follow you, they see your tweets.

It’s a constant stream of communication. The good news is you can turn it on or off as often as you like. Twitter also keeps a public record of all updates, which can be mined with Twitter Search.

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Why High-Profile People Use Twitter

Twitter is not just a fad. When very high profile folks begin evangelizing Twitter, it’s worth closer examination. Here’s what some of those gurus told me:

Duct Tape Marketing founder John Jantsch identified 3 BIG advantages of Twitter
(1) I get great insight when I ask questions,
(2) let’s face it, I get traffic, and
(3) people on Twitter spread my thoughts to new places.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com said, “We’ve found that Twitter has been a great way for us to connect on a more personal level with our employees and customers. We use it to help build our brand, not drive direct sales. It’d be like asking how does providing a telephone number for customer service translate into new business when they are mostly non-sales-related calls. In the long term, Twitter helps drive repeat customers and word of mouth, but we’re not looking to it as a way of driving immediate sales.”

Bestselling author David Meerman Scott said, “I have personally connected with hundreds of people I otherwise wouldn’t have, and I booked an interview on NPR and a big daily newspaper using Twitter.”

Copyblogger’s own Brian Clark said, “Twitter Search is an amazing way to see what people are saying about your products or services. For example, I’ll do searches for Thesis Theme and people will be asking questions about our WordPress Theme. I’ll use the reply function to answer the question, which has led to direct sales. Plus, my answer creates awareness of Thesis for others that follow me. It’s a form of constructive promotion.”

Be sure to check out this Business Week article that surveyed 18 CEOs and how they’re using Twitter to help their businesses.

Practical Ways Twitter Can Help Your Business

This is where it gets interesting. A lot of people are doing some very innovate things with Twitter. Here’s some of their stories.

The Twitter Plan

Cindy King, an international sales specialist, saw a huge boost in business inquires by implementing a strategic Twitter plan.

“Following the right people on Twitter was key. There are some people very gifted at building relationships on Twitter. As I followed these online community builders, I realized that some of them are also excellent direct response copywriters. They get their Twitter followers to take action,” said King.

“Light bulbs went off, and I spent a weekend putting together a tweet marketing plan and entered in 6 weeks worth of tweets, 5 a day, using TweetLater. I used a mindmap, created categories, varied times on tweets and used BUDurls so I could track results and improve my tweet plan the next time around. That was a month ago,” explained King.

When King finds a spare minute between projects, she logs into Twitter and watches what folks are talking about. When she Tweets, about 90 percent of the time she presents useful information and resources to her followers. The remaining tweets are surveys and questions. Following this strategy, King saw an 800 percent increase in inquiries about her business after she setup her Twitter campaign.

Getting In Front of High Profile People

B2B copywriter Terri Rylander took a much different approach. At first she was very skeptical of Twitter. “I looked at it but couldn’t figure out why people would continually send out messages about the size of a text message, unless they were a teenager. Twitter was for sending updates they said. I don’t have time for updates, and besides, who would care?” said Rylander.

She later came across a peer in her industry that was using Twitter and suggested Rylander follow her on Twitter. “That’s when I discovered Twitter as a business tool. I’ve been in my particular niche for over 10 years and know who the players are (though they don’t know me). When I checked who she was following on Twitter, there they all were! It read like a “Who’s Who” list.”

Rylander joined Twitter and began following and interacting with the people she respected. “Other than a cold call on the phone or e-mail, I would never have the chance to get my name in front of vendors, industry analysts, and industry experts. I’ve had a number of Twitter conversations that have also led to personal conversations.”

To stay top of mind with experts, she offers interesting links, responds to tweets, and posts her thoughts for conversation at least a few times a day.

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Getting Traffic & Leads

Pam O’Neil, VP of Marketing at BreakingPoint said, “Twitter has all but replaced our PR agency as a large percentage of our followers are press and analysts. A writer for ZDNet wrote about us and linked to us based on something we tweeted and that resulted in a huge spike in web traffic and at least one deal with a major service provider.”

Mike Damphousse of Green Leads said, “Twitter is new to us. That said, in a few short weeks we’ve had definite increase in all sorts of traffic. Out of the normal inbound leads, the number has increased 15% and two of the inbounds are now active pipeline opportunities. We’ve found one extremely valuable partner relationship. We are also building PR relationships, although finding the contacts is a bit of a chore.”

Are you beginning to see the potential here?

A Few Tools to Help Your Twitter Experience

Twitter has a whole world of available support applications you can employ to gain the most of the service for your business. Here’s a few of my favorites:

TwitterFox: This Firefox web browser plugin allows you to view Tweets within your web browser (in a popup menu). This is very handy and eliminates the need to constantly go to Twitter.com.

TweetLater: This powerful service allows you to schedule tweets (much like you would schedule emails). Another very powerful feature is the ability to receive email digests of keyword activity in the Tweetosphere. This allows you to join a conversation or track topics and trends.

Ping.fm: If you have accounts with many services, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, this amazing site allows you to post updates across ALL of your social media sites in one single step.

Twitter for Facebook: If you are on Facebook, this application forwards your Twitter updates directly to Facebook as status updates.

And just in case you get addicted to Twitter, here’s some advice from one of the leading authorities on Twitter. Chris Brogan says, “Most people who see Twitter the first time either flat-out ‘get it,’ or they say, ‘why bother?’ Here’s what people miss. They believe one should read every single update that rolls across your screen of choice. Don’t. Just let it roll past like a stream.”

So what are you waiting for? Go check out Twitter and report back here with your experience.
Has Twitter already helped your business? If so, tell us your story.

source: Michael Stelzner

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Can Facebook Help My Business?

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Facebook®, a social networking website located at http://facebook.com/, has recently gained popularity as an online tool to help market businesses. Accessible via the Web or the latest generation of smart cell phones and PDAs, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share ideas and make the world more open and connected.

Because of the large number of users visiting this social platform, many businesses have turned to Facebook as a way to connect to potential customers. This can be done with a Facebook Fan page.

A Facebook Fan Pages' audience consists of "Fans." These are the Facebook users who have elected to ‘Become A Fan' of your business in order to receive updates about your business. The updates show up on that Facebook user's "wall" (a wall is a Facebook user's profile page) as they are added to the Fan Page. Many popular business Fan pages, including Victoria's Secret®, Toyota®, and Starbucks®, have thousands or tens of thousands of users who display Fan page updates on their walls.

Determining exactly how you might want to use Facebook for your business is the first step to take. A plan should be in place before you even set up an account.

Should I Use Facebook for My Business?
There is no hard and fast answer as to whether a business should be on Facebook. Consider the following and then decide whether this tool is right for you:

1. Upkeep: Setting up a Facebook account "just to be on it" is not useful. Social media is a continuous process that requires regular attention. Think of it as starting a conversation with your customers and "friends" of your customers. You don't want to just "go quiet" mid conversation. You will not attract new visitors or keep your current Fans coming back if you don't keep your Facebook Fan Page updated on a regular basis.

2. Time: Once you decide to use Facebook as a marketing platform, another consideration is how much time you should spend making the most of this marketing tool. Though it can be a useful tool, generating fresh content and keeping the page updated can be time consuming.

3. Fresh Content: Keeping your page updated with fresh, original content will keep your current Fans coming back and can also attract new Fans: Your updates will be visible to their friends and family on your Fan's wall and may entice them to visit your site and also become a Fan.

4. Monitoring the Discussion: You will also need to be able to monitor your wall and discussion boards to address and feedback your Fans are posting to your Facebook Page. Unaddressed or unnoticed issues can create more of a headache and is something you will need monitor consistently and be able to respond quickly.

5. Fan = Customer? Businesses should also be aware that a Fan doesn't equal an active customer. Many people who become Fans of a page are simply saying, "I like this." Facebook Fans don't necessarily interact with the company more or increase their level of spend.

6. Strategy: For Facebook to make sense for your business, you should target a specific goal that's relatable to your business strategy. Such a goal might be, "I want to increase revenue by 15% in 25-34 year olds." Then you could decide whether Facebook is one of the right platforms to reach your business demographic or if you should be spending your marketing efforts elsewhere.

Getting Started
Once you've taken all of the above into consideration and you've decided you'd like to utilize Facebook to help your business, you are ready to begin. There are a few ways you can engage with Facebook via a Fan Page.

1. Use Facebook for your business only with a Fan Page: Business accounts are easily set up by creating a page without setting up a personal profile first. This can be preferable to some people who don't want to provide a lot of personal information to get started. To create this type of account, just click on the link "Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business." This will give you access to your Fan pages. From here you may also administer an ad campaign. However, this type of account (where you haven't provided your information) will provide only limited access to your Fans' profiles and other features on the site. (Facebook Help Center FAQs on Business Accounts)

2. Using Facebook for personal and business: Many people already have a personal profile they use to connect with family and friends. If you already have a personal account, you just need to create a Fan Page for your business. Facebook is set up to be tied closely to your personal profile and your business page, so you many want to update the privacy settings on your personal profile to ensure you don't have any potentially embarrassing photos visible to business contacts. You can use Facebook Profile Privacy Settings to make updates.

3. Using Facebook for your business with a personal profile and Fan Page: If you haven't signed up for a personal profile yet, you can start one. Keep your business in mind. In other words, don't include personal pictures or personal information that's not relevant to your business contacts. You can use this page as a professional networking source and add a Fan Page to create greater awareness of your business.

Fan Page Setup
Thousands of people have created Fan pages, so don't be intimidated. It's easy.

1. Fan Page Name - When naming your Fan page, keep branding efforts in mind. If you have been promoting your company with a particular name, you should use that as your Fan Page name as well. Also, use spaces and full words while entering your business name. Your business will be easier to find when people do a search for your company on Facebook or in search engine such as Google®, both of which may be helpful as you manage your online reputation.

2. Link to Twitter® - If you have a Twitter account already, you can link your Fan Page to your Twitter account. This will add your updates, links, photos, notes and events to Twitter and allow your Twitter Followers to view all your Facebook information. Keep in mind that the content on your Fan Page should be unique so your Fans will keep coming back and not just become a Fan and forget about you. The same applies to your Twitter account. Having unique content on both Facebook and Twitter can keep your Fans and Followers engaged.

3. Photo - You want people to know it's your page with they arrive. Adding your logo as a photo to your Fan Page helps brand your Facebook Fan Page and can bring more awareness to your brand.

4. About - The next step is editing your page and providing useful information to let your people know who you are and what your mission is. You can list other ways people can connect with you: through your main website, blog, and social profiles you maintain.

5. Adding Content - Utilize the other Facebook tabs to add more content to your Fan Page. Changing these settings is only a matter of checking or un-checking a box on the Edit Page section of your Facebook Fan Page.

Wall - This tab is for viewing your recent activities and what your Fans are posting. If you are worried about what people will say when they add comments, you can limit what your Fans can post in the Fan Permissions area of the Wall Settings. However, not allowing comments might make them feel less connected with your Page and your business.
Discussion Boards - Allows users to engage with each other on your Page.
Events - You can let your Fans know about upcoming promotions, sales and other events.
Links - Make it easy for user to see your business's main domain name, newsletters or other value-added information.
Images - Visuals are at the top of the online accessibility pyramid: show products, events, etc.
Reviews - Fans can leave reviews about your business. This can be a good tool to interact with your customers and hear honest feedback. However, you should monitor this closely and respond immediately to any negative feedback.
Video - Appealing videos can really help keep your content fresh and interesting so Fans will come back to your page.

6. Other ways to add more content: You can use your Fan Page to connect with your customers and keep them engaged. Here are a few ways that you can add content to your Facebook page:

Content you create: Post details about business events in the Facebook events tab or display exclusive discounts to your Facebook Fans. Provide helpful information about topics that are on the mind of your ideal customer. You can include intriguing details about your products or services, but don't get too "salesy" or your Fans will feel "marketed to" and leave.

Auto Generated Content: You can include RSS (really simple syndication) feeds from your Blog(s) and Twitter® account. This will automatically insert the content from your blog posts and tweets into your Facebook page. This can help you to keep your content updated and help show activity on your site. Constant activity on your Facebook page can help your Fan Page rank higher in organic search engine results. However, you do want to be careful about having too much of the same information on a blog, twitter and Facebook. Having some information unique to Facebook will help entice your fans to return to your Facebook page.

Content your Fans create: There are many ways to encourage your fans to interact with your Fan Page, including discussion boards, surveys, and reviews of your products and services. Giving your visitors the ability to voice their questions and opinions on your Fan Page can keep them engaged and connected to your business. It may also give you more insight into your consumer's wants and needs.
7. More Applications - Many applications are available and can be easily added to your page. For example, a popular application is Static FBML (Facebook Markup Language). This application allows you to add custom HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) to a tab to give you more control over how your page looks. If you decide to set up a custom page, you can set that as the default landing tab in the Wall Settings.

Gathering Fans

Once your company's Facebook profile is set up and you have added some information, it is a good time to begin building an audience of Fans. This should be done both on and off Facebook. This can be done in a number of ways:

Link to your company's Facebook Fan Page on your home page of your company website.
Link to your company's Facebook Fan Page in all email.
Become a Fan of your own Fan Page and suggest it to your Friends list.
Use Twitter to announce your new Fan Page and offer deals to new Fans.
Link to you Facebook Fan page on your Blog and other social profile sites.
Use Facebook content in email newsletters.
Post links from newsletter articles on Facebook.
Use Facebook to write about the latest news, worthwhile forum posts, controversial case studies, inspiring blog entries, etc.
Social Media Relations: It's Not Media Relations
Social media sites and the networking opportunities they provide are changing the way people market their businesses. Instead of mass advertising, social media has ushered in an era of inbound marketing.

Word-of-mouth marketing and the many avenues available for customer engagement means that businesses can leverage their current, loyal customer base to help market their business to other potential consumers. For example, if you provide interesting content, other users will share your posts with others, who can pass along the information to even more Facebook users. This can build new readership and attract new Fans. Here are a few rules to play by now that you're in Social Media Relations:

Play nice: What you publish on the Web, even though it can be deleted from Facebook, will still be archived permanently somewhere. Just as maintaining a reputation as a friendly source for helpful information can be good for business, negativity can have the opposite effect. Incendiary or extreme statements, heavy-handed marketing, or disrespectful language don't go far on Facebook or in any social media venue.
Encourage sharing: Provide free information and encourage others to share it; this will engage new potential customers as it harnesses the power of bloggers with high readership and a large number of Fans.
Avoid coercion: Do not try to trick potential customers.
Lose control: This might sound scary, but it's ok to lose control. Once the information you have published is out there, let people do with it what they will.

Conclusion
In many ways, using social media sites is based on common sense. Once you have learned the particulars of a certain tool like Facebook®, it becomes fairly intuitive. Be friendly, be helpful, share information, build a good reputation, and current and potential customers will know they can trust you. This is truly how to use Facebook to benefit your business.

If you have any questions, or if you would like for Network Solutions to set up a Facebook Fan Page for your business, contact your Account Manager at any time. We will be happy to help.

source: NetworkSolutions

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Environmental news from California and beyond

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0133f4dd5524970b-800wi

Sunday marks a calendrical coincidence sure to catch the eye of numerologists and anyone fond of binary code. But Oct. 10, 2010, or 10-10-10, also has taken on ecological significance as a stage for global events centered around climate change.

Author Bill McKibben's 350.org (named for what scientists say is the safe level, in parts per million, of carbon in the atmosphere) has thrown its weight behind a Global Work Party, while Creative Visions Foundation is urging people worldwide to chronicle a day in the life of Earth for a geo-coded online video and photo montage.

Billed as a day of practical action to cut greenhouse gases that are warming Earth and provoking climate change, Global Work Party encourages local groups to sponsor events:

Since we've already worked hard to call, e-mail, petition and protest to get politicians to move, and they haven't moved fast enough, now it's time to show that we really do have the tools we need to get serious about the climate crisis.

On 10/10/10 we'll show that we the people can do this -- but we need bold energy policies from our political leaders to do it on a scale that truly matters. The goal of the day is not to solve the climate crisis one project at a time but to send a pointed political message: If we can get to work, you can get to work too -- on the legislation and the treaties that will make all our work easier in the long run.

Creative Visions has teamed up with The World Wildlife Fund, American Red Cross, Oxfam, the United Nations Development Program and a host of non-governmental groups in creating an online video time capsule of 24 hours on the planet, called One Day on Earth:

With thousands of participants, ranging from teenagers to award-winning filmmakers, One Day on Earth is being represented by every country in the world. The unprecedented scope of video captured on 10.10.10 will be viewable through an online archive system, as well as a feature-length documentary that explores our planet’s identity, slated for 2011.

Following the landmark event, the One Day on Earth archive –- searchable by topic, popularity and location –- will be available for anyone in the general public to navigate and learn about important issues facing our global community. Participants will also have access to download all One Day on Earth footage for non-commercial purposes, offering an additional opportunity to produce their own interpretations of global life.

A video explanation of the project is available on vimeo.

No word yet whether motivator-maven Suzy Welch, author of "10-10-10: A life-transforming idea" has anything to say about the use of her favored numbers, nor whether the promoters ever considered the Roman numeral version: XXX

Did you really just click on XXX?

-- Geoff Mohan

Photo: Los Angeles 350.org activists gather in the foreground of the Hollywood sign. Credit: 350.org

Twitter: @latenvironment

Facebook: latimesenvironment
source: LATIMES

10 ways to build and improve your client relationships... + Tony Robbins

How to Build & Improve Your Client Relationships

One thing is true for all consultants; if we have any work, we have clients! One of the most important parts of our work is maintaining and enhancing our relationships with our clients. Maintaining and growing these relationships makes the time spent on a project more enjoyable, satisfying and effective. Improved relationships also improves the chance that we will get referrals and future business. The following are ten things you can do to improve these important business relationships, and some suggestions on how to get started.

1. Have a clear contract with your client.

This is the number one guideline for a successful client engagement. Without a clear contract neither you nor your client can be clear on roles and responsibilities, deadlines and deliverables, methodologies and measures. Beyond the importance of the contract to the project itself, a clear contract also is a great aid to a good working relationship. The goal of a contract is clarity, not legalese - as such; it is a great aid to improved client relationships.

Your mutually agreed to contract should include the following as a minimum:

  • What the roles and responsibilities are for you - and members of the client organization
  • What methods you plan to use during the project
  • The project time line
  • A description of success

2. Get to know your client better.
All relationships are better when the individuals in the relationship take the time to get to know one another. Learn the client's interests. You will likely spend many hours with and around the client during the project. Knowing that they like gourmet French food or exotic candies or Oakland Raiders football is information you should know. This is more important to some clients than others, but all of us like to have conversations with others about our interests.

Make it a point to learn something new about each client in every meeting you have. Once you learn something new, keep track of that information in your contact manager, in your project notes, or wherever you can find it when needed.


3. Ask more questions.

When we ask questions we understand situations better. Take the time, make the time to ask your client how she feels, what she thinks, and try to understand her observations regarding the progress of the project and your performance. The skill of questioning is one of the most important we can develop to improve our consulting skills and our relationships.

4. Be willing to say "No."
In many cases, clients ask us to do things beyond our capabilities or interests. When these new requests are outside the contract agreement, be willing to say no. Take time to understand both the client's reason for asking as well as your ability to deliver. Don't automatically say yes, just because "the Customer is always right."


Saying "No" may mean keeping your project on track by not expanding the scope of the project. Saying "No" may also mean not accepting additional work that the client would like you to do. In either case, it is easier to say no when you have a clear focus on your personal objectives. Ask yourself "What is my business focus, both now and in the future - and how does this request fit into this picture?" More pragmatically, I have found myself asking if I would be excited by or interested in this new work. This is a great question to ponder and it helps me decide whether to say yes or no to a request.


5. Be willing to say "yes."
Sometimes yes is the right answer - and only you will know when. After weighing the opportunity the client offers you, the client will be grateful if you say yes! Saying yes often makes the client's job much easier. Saying yes can help strengthen your relationship with the client as well. The more work you do on the clients behalf, the more valuable you become. You know the systems, the people and the culture. These are good reasons for saying yes.


Taking on assignments that stretch your skills and comfort zones are another good reason to say yes. Remember the "getting out of bed in the morning test", ask yourself, "Would I be excited to do this piece of work?" If so, your best business decision might be to say, "We can do that!".


6. Be a problem solver - and a solution finder.

Clients hire us to help them solve problems. The more problems we can help them solve, the better. This advice is in line with saying "yes", and somewhat counter to saying "no", but worthy of singular discussion. Sometimes our activities allow us to see things that can be helpful to the client. Weigh these opportunities and when appropriate, help (or offer to help) the client solve the problem - even if they didn't know the problem existed.

This advice starts before you search for those problems. It starts with being observant, and understanding the big picture of the client's business objectives. Clients will generally be thrilled if you can identify areas for improvement - especially when you have suggestions on how to improve the situation.


7. Keep your distance.
Therapists say you can't help the family if you are part of the family. This is true for us as consultants as well. We do become more valuable the more we work in an organization, but we need to keep our role clearly defined within the organization. Even as we build the relationships that make us successful, we need to be diligent in keeping our distance so we can continue to provide valued and effective advice and expertise.

Refer to your contract to help you stay within role. Experience shows that letting the client know that you are concerned for this "distance" will be appreciated. Without such conversations, the client may read your behavior as a lack of interest in their organization. When they understand your concerns about maintaining this distance, your efforts will be seen for what they are.

8. Stay focused.
Staying focused on your contract and on your deliverables is the best thing you can do to maintain and build your client relationship. Talk about deliverables and deadlines in client meetings. Showing that focus and then delivering what we say when promised , we build our credibility and enhance our relationships.


9. Be a learner.

Being a learner means being open to new techniques and ideas and approaching each project with fresh eyes. Few things will turn off the client more than you immediately snapping to a solution, assuming that their situation is "just like" five others you have seen. There are always nuances that will make a difference. Take the time to inquire about them, and integrate them into your solution.

The Zen saying of "be a beginner always" applies here. If we approach a situation as "Been there, done that", our opportunity to meet and exceed the clients expectations is greatly diminished. At least as importantly, our attitude will show through, hurting our client relationships.


10. Work at it.

Recognize that the client relationship is part of the job! Thinking about and working on the relationship will make you more successful in the current project, enhance your chance for future work, and make the project much more enjoyable. Not only that you'll get to know and learn from your client. Overall, a great return on your investment.

source: Kevin Eikenberry






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Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's John Lennon Birthday...

CLICK on images for great John Lennon tunes....

John Lennon

John Lennon NY

John Lennon

John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles and, with Paul McCartney, formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century.

Born and raised in Liverpool, Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze as a teenager, his first band, The Quarrymen, evolving into The Beatles in 1960. As the group began to undergo the disintegration that led to their break-up towards the end of that decade, Lennon launched a solo career that would span the next, punctuated by critically acclaimed albums, including John Lennon/Plastic Ono BandImagine, and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine". and

Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, his writing, on film, and in interviews, and became controversial through his work as a peace activist. He moved to New York City in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam WarRichard Nixon's administration to deport him, while his songs were adapted as anthems by the anti-war movement. Disengaging himself from the music business in 1975 to devote time to his family, Lennon reemerged in 1980 with a comeback album, Double Fantasy, but was murdered resulted in a lengthy attempt by three weeks after its release.

Lennon's solo album sales in the United States alone stand at 14 million units,[1]Hot 100 chart.a In 2002, a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth, and in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth greatest singer of all time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. and as performer, writer, or co-writer he is responsible for 27 number one singles on the US

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Friday, October 8, 2010

How to Get Great Search Engine Rankings!

http://seo-dns.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/seo-process6.jpg

By Brandon Leibowitz

1. Choose Your Keywords Carefully

Once you've chosen your business and purchased a domain name the next step is to find useful and relevant keywords. Without this step your Web site will get lost among the many Web sites that compete for your business.

To begin keyword research you need to utilize some useful tools. The first Web site you should look at is Google Keywords which is a free tool that displays the amount of searches and competition for specific keywords. It also allows you to find more specific keywords that can better describe your site.

A better tool would be to purchase some type of software or service such as WordTracker which offers detailed information about keywords. Unfortunately it's not free, but there are other services that are.

2. Find a Niche Market

This cannot be stressed enough as it's much harder to receive top search engine rankings for a new site than an established site. A new site will have to compete with Web sites that have established high search engine rankings.

To compete with these Web sites is unwise. You first need to find a niche market, and then build up your Web site to a position as to where it can compete with these generic terms. For example let’s say you have a Web site geared towards weight loss. You would not use the keyword "weight loss" because there's too much competition. You can use one of the keyword tools to find suggestions of related keywords that you will be able to compete against. You may find the keyword “weight loss surgery” or “weight loss techniques.” These phrases are much better keywords than generic terms like “weight loss.”

Use the list of a few keywords, check out the competition that word/ phrase has on Google. Look at the number of competitors. If this exceeds a few million, then you need look for a more specific keyword. The next step is to observe the top listed pages and see how well they are optimized. You can download the Google Toolbar and add Page Rank to your browser for free.

A low Page Rank between 0 – 3 means that you can easily compete with these Web pages. A Web site with a Page Rank of 4 – 6 is a bit tougher to compete with, but is manageable using my guided steps and expertise. You don't want to compete with Web sites that have a Page Rank above 7. Check the domains homepage, not a sub-page to get an accurate Page Rank!

http://www.seorefugee.com/seoblog/wp-content/algorythm.jpg


3. View Competitors Source Code

It's important to view potential competitor’s source code to see if they have efficiently performed on page search engine optimization. To do this on your Brower click “view” and then click on the “source” option as displayed.”

This will bring up a page with all the html code on it. You don't need to be an expert with html to understand what we're looking for. We need to see if our competitor’s Web site is properly optimized. We look to see if they are using their keywords in the header tags, the title tags, and the image alt tags. These should all be located near the top of the source code.

If you cannot find these then go to the toolbar and chose “edit” and select “find” and type in h1 or title, etc. to see if there are being used for the keywords. If these don't exist or aren't being used to hold keywords, you have found an easily beaten page. This means that with some proper optimization you will be able to outrank this page. The last thing you want to look at is the body content and to see if the keyword is used a few times in the body content. A site lacking in keywords in the body context is a poorly optimized page. You should always make sure your Web page is keyword rich with relevant content.

4. Keyword Placement

After you've selected a few keywords to use we want to combine the ones that have like terms. For example, if you've selected three keywords such as: weight loss story; weight loss picture; safe weight loss, you see that all three keywords contain the words “weight loss.” We can combine the words to better optimize your page.

For the title tag the fewer the keywords used, the better the search engines will rank your page.

When we create the page it should NEVER have “Welcome to our Web site!” in the Title Tags.

It should NEVER have “weight loss story, weight loss picture, safe weight loss” in the Title Tags either.

The way the title tags should look is: “Weight Loss Story | Safe Weight Loss Picture” (Note: You can add this character | by holding the shift key on your keyboard and pressing the backslash key above the enter key.)

You should always remove prepositions such as “and” as this will only hurt your search engine optimization. The fewer, more relevant the words, the higher your search engine ranking will be.

Header 1 tags should be placed above your body content. This should contain your most relevant keyword in this tag. i.e. “Weight Loss Story” This main keyword placed in the H1 tag will substantially increase your page ranking! The Header 2 tag should contain your second most important keyword. The header 3 tag will have your least important keyword placed in it. These header tags are often overlooked, but make a significant difference in your on page search engine optimization.

The body content of your Web page should be rich with keywords and relevant content. You should have each keyword appear at least once for every 1-2 paragraphs. Do not stuff your body with keywords. You want to give your body a clean natural look, meaning do not over or under use keywords!

Image tags alt tags should also be keyword rich. Search engines often look at the alt tags of images on your Web site. If the alt tags don't make use of your keywords then you will be ranked lower than if you had keywords in your alt tags.

5. Homepage Organization

We want the search engines to notice your keywords and index you accordingly. In order to do this you should start and end your body tags with your keywords. This gives the search engine spider information that your page is highly relevant to your keywords.

When the spider looks through your Web site it reads through your content from top left to bottom right. Below is an example of how the search engine reads your page starting with 1 then 2 then 3.

Rather than creating a table that looks like this:
navigational links
Your body text...

You should create a table that looks like this:
Your body text...
navigational links

Now, search engines will view your body content before it views your navigational menu. The search engine will see the top of your page then see a blank area and skip to your body content then move onto your navigational menu

6. Search Engine Submission

The best way to achieve high search engine rankings for new Web sites may not be what you expected. You should not submit your site directly to the search engines as this process can take weeks or even months to get your site listed. Instead you need to get listed on top ranking pages that are relevant to your Web site's content. These high ranking pages are often optimized on a weekly or even daily basis. Every time the site is indexed your link will appear and the search engines will automatically list your site in its index.

To do this you need to search for Web sites indexed by search engines and get them to link to you. The incentive you need to give them is to write some sort of article relevant to your line of business. At the bottom of the article you include your web page URL to get picked up by the search engines. You submit the article to popular article directories on the Web and you will be indexed by the search engines in a matter of days.

Here's a list of the most popular article directories:

  1. GoArticles.com
  2. Ezinearticles.com
  3. ArticleCity.com
  4. Certificate.net/wwio
  5. Amazines.com
  6. Articledashboard.com
  7. Article-directory.com
  8. Submityourarticle.com/articles
  9. Magportal.com
  10. Isnare.com
  11. Pubs.acs.org/hotartcl
  12. Article-hangout.com
  13. Webarticles.com
  14. Articlecube.com
  15. Article-buzz.com

The other option is to perform a search of the most generic term that is related to your business. Click through these Web sites looking at the Page Ranks. Contact the Web site and ask them to link to your site and in return for linking back to their site. Always contact sites that are relevant to your line of work and always offer them something their visitors can benefit from once they add your link.

You can purchase a link in top Page Rank sites through link builders. A few of the good Web sites that can do this for you are: textbrokers.com or text-link-ads.com or linkadage.com.

Remember that you only need to purchase a link for one month, since it will take less than one month to get you indexed by the major search engines. Continuing to pay for the link after a month is a waste of your money.

7. Off Page Optimization

Here, you need to study the linking strategies of the top 10 Web sites for your keyword. We want to copy their model, but do things slightly better to achieve the top rankings. First open up a spreadsheet in Excel and list the following columns: Linking Web site, Anchor Text, Page Rank, Link Popularity Page Title, and Number of Outbound Links. Then we search your keyword on Google and fill in the information for the top 10 Web sites.

To discover the linking Web sites go to Google and type in the websites URL “link:www.thewebsite.com.” Then count the number of sites that are listed to get the link popularity.

Anchor text is whatever follows the .com or .org of a website URL.

Page Rank is the rank Google gives to Web sites. You can download it for free at Google’s Web site.

Page Title is the title of the page that appears on the top left of the screen. If the title does not contain the keywords then the site is not well optimized and easy to surpass in rankings.

Number of Outbound Links is the number of links located on the webpage linking to the site you’re checking.

Once all this information has been collected you can see what needs to be done to your site to beat the top ranking sites.

8. Search Engines and Capitalization

Capitalizing different letters in keywords brings up different results in search engines. Search engines are case-sensitive so it is important how you use capitalization. The problem with listing every variation of a word results in the search engines thinking that you are spam and deleting your URL. This gets worse with singular and plural words!

The solution is to stick with lowercase listings rather than trying different variations. Studies have shown that most people search in all lowercase and this has the most relevant listings. Not using every other variation means you lose out on 18% of traffic. This is not worth the risk of being banned from the search engines.

9. Search Engine Spamming

Search engine spamming is attempting to achieve top ranks for extremely popular keywords. Search engines have discovered ways to fight keyword stuffing and other search engine tricks. Search engines can detect your spam and will act accordingly by penalizing or banning you from their listings. The risks aren't worth the temporary rewards. Search engine spam should be considered the same as email spam.

10. Hire A Professional SEO

Hiring a professional search engine optimizer is a great idea if your business relies on Internet sales. Search engine optimization is something that is time consuming and requires lots of research. Most businesses don't have time to optimize their Web sites. At SEO Optimizers we make sure everything is inline at your site and fix any problems that may be holding you back from reaching the top ranks. If you really want to be at the top of any searches you need professionals to help you solve the problem.

About the Author

Brandon Leibowitz has been a professional search engine optimizer for years. He can successfully convert a site into one with top search engine rankings! He is the creator and owner of SEO Optimizers.


source: WebReference