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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Sage SEO Advice

September 22nd, 2010

I want to direct your attention to a recent blog post by Glenn Murray, IMHO one of the most accomplished and credible SEO copywriters out there. Glenn underscores vital SEO points we’re always preaching, namely:

  • You’ve got to post legitimate content that’s of real value to your target market.
  • You must be authentic and honest.
  • Your real audiences are your clients and prospects. Write content for them, not Google.
  • Success takes time.
  • Trying to cheat the system is ultimately detrimental to the success of your business.

I do recommend you read his whole post, but if you choose not to, here is my favorite quote:

“[SEO is] about working hard to write something truly link-worthy, then letting people know about it, so they can choose to link to it if they like it. It’s not about making Google believe your site is more popular than it actually is, it’s about actually making your site more popular.”

For the millionth time . . . there are no tricks or shortcuts to SEO and there are many scammers out there trying to convince you otherwise. As Forest Gump might say, “If it seems to be good to be true, you must of heard it from an SEO company.”

Really!?! “SEO Expert” Spam

July 27th, 2010

Really!?! “SEO Expert” Spam

This blog post was inspired by Saturday Night Live’s, Really!?! with Seth and Amy.

We receive inquiries on a regular basis asking about unsolicited emails received from self-proclaimed SEO experts. This topic has come up in previous blog posts of ours over the years but since you may not be a devoted fan of our blog let me just cut the suspense and fill you in about these types of emails—they’re complete scams; if you receive one promptly delete and add the sender to your blocked sender list.

Take this real example of an email received by an unsuspecting small business:

A quick look at your website’s home page [a community bank] reveals the need for optimization for better rankings. Your website has a total link popularity score of 505, which is low, and is poor on Google and Bing/MSN and weak on Yahoo. In comparison, Wells Fargo has a popularity score of 672,016 and Bank of America, 1,004,188 . . . Please reply to this email or call me to set up a meeting to learn more and MSI will provide a free website analysis, a $300 value.

Really!?! Does this email really have any logic or legitimacy to it or are these guys just one of the many scammer predators prowling the Internet?  Consider the following:

  1. Comparing a small community bank with two branches to some of the largest banks in the world?  Really!?!
  2. “Popularity score of 505” . . . really!?! Given the your logic as demonstrated above why should we give any credibility to a “popularity score” that you made up? Why wouldn’t we want to use the free and reliable Page Rank score provided by Google? Really!?!
  3. “Free website analysis, a $300 value,” Really!?! Is that the same exact free website analysis that anyone can get by simply typing in “site:http://mydomain.com” in Google or using any of the free (and legitimate) Website tools provided by Google?
  4. And the biggest Really!?! of all . . . if you’re company is so darn good as SEO why are you looking for sales using the most desperate and bottom-feeder method of all, Spam! Really!?!

The Secret to Writing Blog Posts that Get Noticed

June 16th, 2010

Google Wonder WheelAs you may be aware from the myriad of past SEO posts we’ve made, the holy grail for getting more customers from Web searches is getting more backlinks (or linkbacks if you prefer). Specifically, multiple high quality link backs from other Websites in the same or related industry to yours. These are the “votes” Google uses to decide how high up on the search results page your site should be listed for a given keyword search. Google itself provides two incredibly powerful tools that have the potential to exponentially improve your return on blog writing time.

The strategy is simple:

  1. Research current hot topics and searches on Google using Google Trends and Google Wonder Wheel.
  2. Find a keyword that fits within the realm of a hot topic, applies to your area of knowledge, and appeals to your target customers.
  3. Post a quality blog focused on the hot topic keywords for your target customers.

Here are the tools:

  • Google Trends Find out what search terms and topics are currently high traffic. Self explanatory and intuitive to use: http://www.google.com/trends
  • Google Wonder Wheel Expand keyword options and refine a topic to find a keyword topic that fits you and your client base best. To utilize Google Wonder Wheel simply perform a Google search, then expand the “Search Tools” in the left hand column of the result page and click Wonder Wheel.

If you use these tools I would love to hear about your experience.

Should you market through Twitter?

May 3rd, 2010

Twitter Usage in America 2010 from Tom Webster on Vimeo.

Edison Research just released an insightful report entitled "Twitter Usage in America: 2010".  This report is important because it cuts through the fanatical hype and provides a basis for establishing a rational decision about how much or how little your firm should incorporate such social media channels in your marketing efforts.

Many write ups I’ve read on this report have painted the findings in a negative light, emphasizing that "only" 7% of American’s actually use Twitter.  However, 7% of Americans is 17 million people and as it turns out these people appear to have many favorable characteristics for most businesses. Here are some selected findings from the report about Twitter users:

  • 7% (~17 million) of Americans use Twitter; 41% (~126 million) Americans maintain a Facebook profile.
  • 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks.
  • Twitter users are 3 times more apt to follow brands using Twitter than other social networking services.
  • Twitter users have higher than average incomes.
  • 4 out of 10 Twitter users own three or more computers.
  • About 1/2 of Twitter users post updates using Twitter; 70% of these same users post updates on other social networking sites like Facebook.

It’s easy to incorporate Twitter into your marketing plan

When considering if you should incorporate Twitter into your marketing efforts I think of the adage, "If it might help, it’s easy to do and won’t hurt then why not?" For those who are already publishing any sort of news or advertising communication on a regular basis it’s a no-brainer; we can put together a streamlined process so the same message is published to multiple mediums all at once. A typical scenario goes like this:

You provide your newsletter, advertisement to us. We take that message and immediately:

  1. Post on your Website or Blog
  2. Generate an optimized RSS feed that notifies Google and other major search services of your new article
  3. Post on your business’ Facebook page
  4. Tweet through your business’ Twitter account
  5. Format, test and distribute in HTML email to your mailing list using an email marketing service like VerticalResponse or Constant Contact

Feel free to contact me for more information about electronic and social media marketing distribution.

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