A summary of the small business SEO advice from leading website content professionals, post-panda(s). I read all of the articles and reports in the resource list below so you don’t have to!
…When writing website content
- Have a clear idea of who your audience is and research to make sure they need to know the information you are giving them
- Say something original and have a unique angle
- Everyone needs to be in the top 20% of exceptional online content (yes, i know that is a statistical conundrum)
- Lead the pack, find the novel, quirky or innovative step
- Write content that will be sufficiently absorbing that you will keep your bounce rate low
- Follow internet writing conventions: bullet points, subheadings, images, video content
- Average page text length is increasing from around 350 words to around 500 words
…When optimizing website content
- Use the same keyword from the post/page title for video or image title and alt-text description fields (optimizing all title tags can increase ranking by 10%)
- Make sure your priority keyword phrase is in the URL title as close to the left handside of the URL as possible
- Keep headlines and URLs short
- Include 4-5 keyword phrases in meta title, 12-15 keyword phrases in the meta description, and 7 -8 keyword phrases under meta keywords (some sources say up to 10)
- Link to one or two other internal pages on your site and use a mix of keyword anchor text, partial anchor text and “naked” links (ie. if your keyword is business blogging you can have one link for business blogging to a relevant internal page, another linking the longer phrase small business blogging strategies and one linking http://mgboyd.com/small-business-blogging-service/)
- Link to internal pages early in your content: first or second paragraph
- Make sure keywords are used in: heading 1 and heading 2 titles (and 3,4,5), first paragraph, last line, with a density between 1 – 9% (opinions vary on this), and that some of the keyword mentions are bolded or italicized
- Limit the ratio of on-page advertising to content
- Have each page/post use 2 keyword phrases: the number of related keywords a page ranks for and the total number of search terms people use to get to the page from google matters
- Diversify – provide your website content in a range of forms: blog post, interactive worksheet or online form, video, slideshare presentation
- If your website content is particularly newsworthy or original research, repackage as a press release and send through open pr or wide pr
…When promoting website content after publication
- Twitter announcement of the publication of your blog post or new webpages as soon as possible after uploading to the internet, this helps google index and claims you as the original author
- Monitor new uses of your priority keywords using google alerts, 48ers, socialmention or other blog trending tools and join in discussions to reference your content as social conversations continue
- Encourage facebook likes and get a discussion going asking for feedback or challenging readers about the content posted
- Encourage domain level facebook, twitter, linkedin and google buzz connections as well as for specific pages
- Have your business fans google+1 content if they read it and like it (google +1 likes on home page, blog page and a static business page can increase ranking position by 20%)
- Make sure your home page, blog posts and other webpages have a google +1 button
- Bookmark website content on digg, reddit, delicious and stumbleupon
- Publicize posts in LinkedIn groups or mention in group discussions
- Try and encourage a small diversity of links connecting to your new content (forum and blog commenting, other blogs and online sites, and guest blog posts and articles in article directories with high page ranks), but from pages and sites that have a relevance and connection to your subject topic: diversity trumps excessive linking
- Encourage external links to use keywords as part of the anchor text (first words) but be more than just the keyword your are focusing on, eg. your keyword is business blogging and the anchor text used is business blogging strategies.
- Optimize pages and websites to achieve a high SEOMoz Rank score
- Domain level keywords should reinforce page level keywords
…General small business SEO ‘shoulds’
- Increasingly important to optimize for bing and yahoo as well (ensure site is indexed by them, link content in yahoo answers, have a bing local business profile registered, etc)
- Compare your links, keywords, and content quality with your search rank competitors and see how you can match them for quality and quantity
- Acknowledge content sources if rehashing existing website content in, I don’t know, a list post for example?
- It is now believed that brand reputation has a positive SEO influence so it may be worth trying to get your business name known, talked about, and included occasionally in your page and blog post titles (the reverse of previous best practice)
- If your keyword is also in your domain name you have hit the SEO jackpot
- Register with google profiles and google places (if a local business)
- Page rank authority still considered by SEO professionals as having some influence
- Audit worst performing blog posts and webpages and remove content that is ignored or unloved
- Delete bad content or space-filling content that you have cluttering up your site
- Make sure your site is indexed via xml sitemap regularly
- It can take up to 2 months to see the initial impact of your optimized content and up to 8 months with highly competitive keywords (this is why it is also good to optimize for long tail keywords with less competition and a steady stream of daily traffic)
This list post is a summary of the recommendations and advice gleaned from the following inspiring articles:
…and if you don’t believe me, watch this:
Online video watching is increasing as a share of internet time. As youtube’s self-congratulatory birthday light-on-data infographic alludes, more videos are uploaded every 60 days than the major US TV networks have broadcasted in the past 60 years.
- 73% of US retail now incorporate video as part of their e-commerce site.
- In March this year, 83.5% of US internet audience watched online videos (average duration 5.2 minutes).
- 66% of survey respondents in February said they watch more online video than last year and 48% think they will watch even more in 2011.
- 64% of survey respon dents watch videos before making a purchasing decision.
Despite these figures, measuring the value of online video marketing is still relatively new. Most small business do not use analytics on their websites and small business blogs generally, so looking at specific data on who is watching videos, how often they are visiting the site, and whether they are converting into customers is still relatively unexplored (and a topic we will come back to with future tutorials and blog posts).
However, research is being undertaken to measure the effectiveness of online ads. Most recently, MIT-offshoot Affectiva has used its facial sensor technology to measure viewer attention to online ads. They found that online video ads get 18.3% more attention than TV ads, while online video gets 8.5% more attention than TV content.
One of the types of video available in the business video marketing ‘genre’ is the tech report video. This is a little similar to a white paper or a technical specs type webpage where details are given to explain the why and how of a product or service. Affectiva have a technical specs/background type of video on their website:
The video ad good
Rosalind Picard is an engaging presence. Engaging video doesn’t always need to be state of the art. You can make use of available footage you may have from a presentation or other filmed event as the basis for your business video marketing effort: audiences can be forgiving if the information is useful and there’s a little bit of humor or personality. You do need an engaging presenter, no matter what.
The video has a clear intent. This video acts like a technical specifications or product background report rather than an advertisement or sales lead-in. While it explains the technology, it does so in a way that a non-engineering can understand.
The video ad ordinary
The muted opening. I am always in favor of making an impression when starting a video. Videos are meant to transport you into an alternate world, so even something really brief needs a clear setup. Music, credits, or an animation transition all can serve to take you into the video world’s realm. I unmderstand the importance of recognizing the rest of the research team with a lingering graphic of their faces, but it still felt like a long time and didn’t use the opportunity to say, okay, here’s what we cover in the next 8 minutes.
The technology itself. I like that the introduction to using the technology discusses ways to use it to understand one’s own emotions, rather than its use in the marketing research, or in an activity that could be used for surveillance or control of a population. Although, the need to make the technology accessible wasn’t really covered enough for my liking. This is a theme i will be exploring in my blog site citizense, being launched later this month.
The video ad bad
Ugly graphics. It’s kind-of bizarre that an enterprise sprung out of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research lab should then have such limited access to someone who can jazz up their graphics. Even moreso, the presenter mentions the need to develop a better user interface for the actual technology product. This heightens the risk that the technology will become mystified and inaccessible to customers and citizens. A tech background video still needs to keep people at the center of using the product.
Producing small business video products
At present, I am involved in making a short promotional video, and another entertainment news video, with two tutorials recently completed. The idea of a technical specifications/product background video is an excellent genre within online videos, and one that I am keen to explore with a potential client next. Please contact me via the comments board below or at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your business video marketing ideas.
Yes, it’s the return of business video marketing Saturday. This is where we analyze a small business video ad that we have found online to see what we can learn from it in regards to improving our internet video marketing skills.
The need for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to use video marketing is growing in importance. Potential customers and collaborators will start seeing more video ads as apparently Microsoft intends to make more use of them in the newly-bought skype, and Google, Bing and Yahoo are all implementing new video advertising regimes. As i have mentioned in a previous post, a PRNewswire survey from the start of the year found that media outlets and internet publishers utilize press releases with video embeds more than they pick up the wordy ones.
So each week, we look at a video ad and discuss it from a business video marketing perspective. The idea isn’t to hang shit on any particular video-making attempt (although I am looking forward to coming across something truly awful some time when I am in a bad mood and need to vent), but to occasionally stand on the shoulders of giants and more frequently, to simply learn from those who have given it a go already.
After researching the use of wireless sensor technology in logistics this week, I thought it would be apt to drag you all into the world of supply chain management that is in my head. Let’s review this video from US sensor company, Crossbow Technology:
The video ad good
Great use of short films. I think the visuals for the most part really pull you along. The port (0:56), the aerial shots (2:01) and the ship cargo shot 2:32 are all great, yet simple. They have a bit of movement, connect to the logistics core theme, and aren’t too distracting from the intended message.
“And it’s blocking your lane.” The occasional ability of this video to personalize the impacts of supply chain inefficiencies helps to connect with the viewer. Copyblogger’s Influencer Project even kicks off 60 snippets of wisdom on their website with David Meerman Scott’s advice: “Stop talking about your products and services. People don’t care about products and services; they care about themselves.” Crossbow demonstrate this idea in practice with the lane-blocking reminder.
The length. Coming in at just under 3 minutes, the video ad is long enough to unpack the challenge and the solution while still remaining punchy.
The “What’s wrong with this picture?” montage. This is a great subliminal-esque device that helps the viewer summarize and hold the whole of the argument in their head while they wait for the forthcoming solution to be presented.
“Donate.” While the social and environmental benefits proposed were all known to me, I did like the additional idea that businesses could collaborate and donate excess goods that weren’t needed as part of their increasingly efficient supply chain systems. This seemed a slightly fresher angle to me, even after working in sustainability policy for the past 5-10 years.
The video ad obvious
The Koyaanisqatsi aesthetic. in a nod to the ‘life in a day’ genre made famous by Francis Ford Coppola’s epic visual meditation epic or the more hopeful Baraka, the video starts with the morning sun and ends with the view of earth from the moon, and also set to a tribal music soundtrack. It’s a style that was last seen being appropriated to death by Madonna for her Ray of Light music video. The style makes it slightly clichéd given that Crossbow’s video was only uploaded in 2010 and not 1991. OIn the other hand, the familiar format also allows the viewer to focus on the message as they know how to ‘read’ this set of visuals. The world music soundtrack starting with the ubiquitous “huh!” tribal grunts was a little too much (but overall I liked the choice of music, reflecting a good pace with the visuals).
The occasional clunky wordage. It would be great if business could contribute towards a more sustainable world rather than simply a more efficient one. And perishable goods could be prevented from being wasted rather than being stopped from perishing, since that is kind-of in their very nature to do, at some point.
The video ad bad
No visual presentation of data. I would have liked to have seen a few graphs to illustrate the point they were making and to lend a bit more authority to the ideas. For example, they could have shown a transparent map over the film (at 0:21) of US cities that had surpassed levels of recommended air pollutants, perhaps based on something like this:
Quantify the data. They could also have quantified their arguments a bit better in regards to the costs of logistics inefficiencies. For example, sending a truck off with only half a cargo load would add $USD105,000 to each trip. This total is based on the cost of 25 million gallons of oil at prices per gallon, and employment costs for an extra worker to drive around needlessly.
“This guy can’t remember what his kids look like.” I actually snickered at that point. Perahps a more effective image would be of a worker staring forlornly at a scrappy wallet-sized picture of his wife and kids.
The definition of forecasting was unclear to me. I didn’t really get how forecasting was resolved by sensor technology. The first use of the term forecasting is used when the wheat goes bad (2:32) but it is a bit unclear. The links between improved project planning and forecasting and using sensor technologies wasn’t really clear except in the video summary text on the youtibe home page.
Making internet videos for SMEs
But overall, I really like this as a business video ad and can see how this sort of internet video marketing could be useful to business. At the moment I am working with a video-maker on a short business video marketing piece that complements other website content I am writing. After that, I may well be looking around for a logistics internet video marketing opportunity.