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Building Brand Identity

Posted by eric

type: blog promote: 1 format: 3


 

Building Brand Identity – Marketing With Twitter

Posted: 14 Apr 2010 11:35 PM PDT

Twitter, the net’s networking success story, is intriguing and intimidating because of its message limitations: they can be 140 characters, and no more.

This is to say; each message sent on Twitter can be no larger than the previous sentence. Not an additional letter, space, period or dash can be added. These limitations have proven to be the greatest asset and the greatest challenge for people trying to use Twitter for any number of purposes.

On the advantageous side, the short messages have created an entire culture of Twitter-fluent writers. The brevity of the message stretches creative muscles, making people use every trick to get the most information into the fewest characters. On the other hand it creates a severe headache for the marketing minded, as it doesn’t leave much room to present a case. Thus the vast majority of Tweets are short little social comments or updates, and most marketing revolves around calling attention to particular links.

Of course, there are always ways around limitations, and Twitter is something that every seriously market-minded organization needs to embrace in order to see continued success on the web. In the case of short message services like Twitter, the key lies as much in the peripheral data that builds up around the message as in the content itself.

Be SEO Minded

Twitter profiles are now ranked by search engines, Google in particular. Every SEO technique you’ve learned now has a new, exciting purpose.

For example, consider the biography you’re able to construct using Twitter. This is a ripe opportunity to develop some brand recognition right away. Put the title of the brand you’re marketing in the bio, and consider including the most relevant keywords in your profile. As ever, do so in a way that respects the user’s intelligence, and gives them something worth reading. Simply stringing together a chain of keywords is not the way to go.

Include keywords in your Tweets as well, taking care not to be terribly obvious about it. The first 20-30 characters are the best place, as later words are of decreased importance in a Google ranking search.

Identify Your Audience

Each brand rises and falls on the whim of the audience, known in this case as tweeple.

There are a number of applications available to help you with the process of identifying the tweeple that you want to cultivate into an audience. Twitterholic can help you identify the movers and shakers based on their Twitter traffic and their location. If you know your field or brand well, you can use this to locate groups with similar interests and woo them to your feed. Tweepz is a similar tool, focusing on location, and Twitter itself has a ‘near this location’ feature that can be used to identify tweeple nearby your center of business.

Let’s Give Them Something to Tweet About

Yes, Twitter is an effective way to quickly distribute information. But its real power is in its ability to create conversations about something interesting.

In theory you could simply gather up a large user list of tweeple and start spamming them with links promoting your latest gig. This is a surefire way to get flagged for abuse or ignored entirely, and thus is rather counterproductive to good marketing goals.

Instead, consider using alternative methods to drum up those conversations that travel like wildfire.

For example, there is the technique of Alternate Reality Gaming. This is a phenomenon based on the idea of taking ‘real’ events and building a game out of them. Last Call Poker was an ARG that intended to drum up sales for an upcoming video game, GUN.

LCP spread out information about gatherings, online incentives, and other attractions to get people excited about the western theme of the game. Tokens such as poker chips and other goodies were given out at these events, and GUN went on to have a very successful launch. People were invited into the world of the western, and the chatter eventually included 8 million participants.

This kind of rogue advertising is tailor-made to work with Twitter. Locations and dates can easily fall within the 140 character limitation, as can short explanations. Consider creating an ARG with a short story designed to work within 140 characters, locate an audience with the assorted Twitter tools at your disposal, and plan some exciting events to promote your brand. The chance to get involved always gets people talking, and the more esoteric games can span entire continents.

There are other methods, some more appropriate to each individual brand. Perhaps a modest bicycling business isn’t suited to promote a large ARG experience. They could, however, organize a bicycling flash mob by hopping onto the local bike hobbyist twitter feed and posting a date and time. The trick is less which technique you use, and more that you do your best to make it relevant. As always, strong content and clear presentation will win out over gimmicks and sales speak.

Also, consider one last thought. The introductory statements of each section in this article are Twitter compatible, and so is this one. Good luck and happy Tweeting.

About The Author:
Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos and social media in the “voice” of our client’s brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to http://www.BrandSplat.com/ or visit our blog at http://www.iBrandCasting.com/

Read more articles written by: Enzo F. Cesario

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Building Brand Identity – Marketing With Twitter

Ranking Analysis – How to Look Beyond What Is or Isn’t Ranking

Posted: 14 Apr 2010 10:00 PM PDT

sem - search engine marketingWebsite owners and managers will always be fascinated with how well they rank on search engines.

However, rankings can be deceiving because they only provide a small part of the data set anyone will need to gauge online success.

Who wouldn’t like to be No. 1 on Google for an organic listing? Among the busy array of results (including paid ads and local search), a top ranking still shines.  It shouts: “I climbed the mountain and beat out the other guy.”

But did you?

Here are 12 key points to consider with your ranking numbers that quickly touch on other aspects of your online marketing initiative. Keeping these factors in mind will help you make better choices about what next steps you should take to ensure that you’re better positioned to improve your company’s bottom line.

1. Did you pursue the right keyword?

A  No. 1 ranking is possible with barely any effort, but will it drive traffic? You might rank well for Cleveland Legal Counselors, but odds are more people are searching for Cleveland Lawyers.  If that’s too competitive, try Lawyers in Cleveland and get your share of traffic from the vast ways people search.

2. Are you targeting the right search engine?

A top ranking on Bing can trigger big smiles.  However, if your website only gets 3.5% of its traffic from Bing – for all keywords – the ranking may not deserve a lot of attention.  Yes, conversions are worth considering, but you need to constantly think about what precious time you’re committing to Bing when other engines may pay off in an even bigger way.

3. What’s your track record?

You need to chart the progress.  It’s not a good sign if months go by and you can’t crack the top 30 positions on among search engine results.  Own up to the fact that maybe the keyword phrase is too competitive if it doesn’t show an improvement.  Look for headway.  For keywords with little competition, maybe you’ll rank higher sooner.  But that’s not always the case. Your search engine optimization (SEO) practices may help you show a marked improvement even for more competitive search terms.

4. Setbacks are common.

If you manage to get a great ranking – perhaps in the top 5 spots – don’t panic if your ranking dips a bit. It could easily rebound.

5. Substitutions aren’t inferior.

Like NBA bench players, new keyword options can excel if given the opportunity.  If you can’t get a high ranking for a keyword phrase among your starting lineup, remove it after a few months. Why keep it if the keyword phrase isn’t gaining momentum – either toward a top ranking or in its ability to convert.

6. Don’t be misled by your computer.

With personal settings, browser history and different data centers, it’s increasingly tough to know if your exceptional ranking is really what it seems. For your most significant keywords, you may want to have someone else tell you how the keyword phrases ranks.  Or, test out the search terms with some other ranking checkers (including third-party sources) like the ones listed below.

SEO Book Rank Checker (for Firefox): http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/rank-checker

This tool still references your computer but has a setting to avoid your Google personal settings.

RankChecker.net: http://rankchecker.net/Default.aspx

Easy-to-use third party (note that it defaults to top 10)

Mike’s Marketing Tools: http://www.mikes-marketing-tools.com/ranking-reports

Third-party tool with multiple engines

7.  Understand your landing pages.

It’s not uncommon for the home page to be the landing page for a powerful keyword phrase. Your conversion opportunity may really be an inside page. In a fantasy world, you could tag keywords and they would magically be directed to your preferred pages. In reality, that’s the beauty of paid search. But don’t give up on your home page. If it’s working, find a way to establish Calls to Action within the content, the core navigation, and diverse user cues to make sure visitors go where you lead them.

8. The crowded home page.

Another problem with the home page is the fact that many keyword phrases often rank well for it. A few keywords may perform better if you are able to adapt your strategy and target some interior pages for some of the keywords. Your website analytics package should help you see what keywords are being used to reach the home page or any other page with a crowded keyword field.

9. Balance greed with diversity.

Online marketers get excited if they have more than one page appearing in the top 10 search results for the same keyword phrase. You should consider whether one of the pages could better support another keyword phrase that lacks the visibility it needs to generate traffic and sales or leads for your business. Don’t make a hasty decision. If a keyword phrase ranks No. 7 on one page and No. 15 on another page, don’t assume the No. 7 ranking is the best one to attack because it’s closer to  the No. 1 position. You need to weigh what you’ve already done with both pages, keyword themes on the website, the amount of content on each page, conversion opportunities and more. For example, the No. 7 ranking may be the best you’ll do for the one page.  For another page, the No. 15 ranking may not have taken as much effort to a achieve (meaning you could still do more with SEO to improve the ranking).

10. Visitors tell another part of the story.

Unfortunately some businesses lack conversion data and settings. At least you can look at the visitor data in your website analytics. In the purest sense,   visitor metrics will indicate whether the ranking has any merit.

11. Be honest about your conversions.

Many websites lack opportunities to connect with visitors. Your top ranking may be wasted if your potential customer encounters a poor design (with usability messes), text overload (visitors typically prefer to scan) and information without a clear Call to Action. Offering your phone number in the 14th paragraph isn’t very effective.

12. Know your website strengths.

To appreciate your rankings (or lack of them), you need to know your website’s strengths and weaknesses. Take a look at the competition. Study which website ranks No. 1 or even No. 10. What do they have that your website lacks? Maybe it’s a great domain name (with a keyword), an age advantage, more links, and more content (multiple pages) to accentuate keyword themes, etc.

Business owners and marketers can study rankings every day, but the ranking position alone won’t help. Look at the rankings within the context of overall traffic, conversions, your SEO efforts to date, the viability of your website, and your ability to spread keywords across the website.

Ultimately, you may need more pages to support your preferred ranking over the long haul. While making that investment, keep an eye out for alternative keywords that your website can realistically support – today and in the future.


Mike Murray is the Web Strategy Thought Leader for World Synergy, an interactive online marketing firm that focuses on website design, custom web applications and business infrastructure services and strategy.  Mike has more than 13 years of experience with web site development and online marketing, frequently speaking at regional and national conferences, including Search Engine Strategies.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Ranking Analysis – How to Look Beyond What Is or Isn’t Ranking

Website Idiosyncrasies & Content Duplication Idiocies

Posted: 14 Apr 2010 10:00 PM PDT

The laziest amongst us, those with an allergy to original thought, and those who hate writing the most are almost always adamant that unique content is over-rated, unnecessary or even pointless.

One of the website content frustrations I frequently endure is the failure, on the part of others, to comprehend the value of accuracy and uniqueness. There is intransigence in that respect, particularly on the part of some designers of e-commerce and content management systems. It is indicative of 3 parts of ignorance, arrogance and stupidity, in almost equal measure…

I personally believe that it’s important that every page expresses its reason for existence clearly. If you cannot achieve that simple task, how on earth could anyone who wants what you have, be expected to find your content?

Example 1: Online Gift Shop

This site’s top level pages were beautifully rendered in elegant verbiage, all embedded in delicate, pastel-coloured images… Yes, in its entirety, on all Category pages and the Home page! Not a single word of explanatory, descriptive text! Text embedded in images is such a fundamental error of judgement, I am amazed that the client’s website designers did not vehemently urge it not be done thus… Incredible!

And of course, many pages shared global meta-data… At least the Category pages were possessed of editable titles and meta-tags…The “informational” pages, on the other hand, were bereft of any meta-tag editing facility, as the designer was not of the opinion that this was relevant in the age of Web 2.0! He was eventually disabused of that notion and, after  weeks of prompting, finally deigned to add this most basic but fundamental facility.

Example 2: Prominent City Law Firm.

This site languished below the Google radar, despite their website designers having an “SEO expert” onboard – a Microsoft and Google certified one, allegedly. I built links to expand the keywords associated with the site, and hand-edited 30 of the main pages, out of 100+ pages. That helped a lot at Yahoo and MSN, but it did not get the site out of the doldrums at Google.

The designers were adamant that the site must have been black-listed in some way, and wanted me to identify the problem and tell them how to resolve it. I explained at the outset that duplicated content was an issue but the designers were emphatic that it must be something far more sinister; a legacy of the previous incumbents who had transgressed in some indiscernible, arcane, black-hat clad manner…

So, I instructed the office manager that she’d have to over-ride the objections of the designers and compel them to ensure that every single page had accurate Titles, Descriptions and Keywords. Basically, they had too high a percentage of “cookie-cutter” pages that all shared global meta-tags. In most cases the meta-tags contradicted the on-page content. As soon as that was sorted out, the handbrake went off at Google HQ, and the site popped up into page 1 SERPs for almost all relevant search phrases…

Conclusion

Duplicated content in all forms is (and always has been) a sin as far as search engines are concerned. Every page ought to be accurately described using the meta-data elements provided expressly for that purpose. Each page must contain accessible and unique content in both on-page and off-page elements…

This surely should not be such a hard concept to grasp? If you can’t accurately describe what your site is all about, in your own words, and place accurate information into all the areas Google et al look for clues as to content and purpose, how can you reasonably expect to prosper online?

If your website software does not allow you to thoroughly and accurately describe your product and services, you should be concerned, fearful even…

If your website designer does not think that search engines are at all relevant in the 21st century, you should be very, very afraid…

Of course, you should also bear in mind that nothing in the virtual world is set in concrete… Never, ever be afraid to start again… There are good designers out there, ethical men and women with great website software. They approach their task with intelligence, diligence, and an open-minded awareness of the possibilities. You always have the freedom to make an informed choice… so don’t settle for being 2nd best!


The SEO Guy, aka Ben Kemp, is a veteran – search engine optimisation consultant with more than a decade of SEO experience and website design accumulated in 23 years of work in the IT industry. His articles provide advice on SEO, website design & makeover issues.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Website Idiosyncrasies & Content Duplication Idiocies

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