Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You Heard It Hear First...

Recently, I did a wonderful and informative interview with LA-based radio host, Rey Ybarra or NewMediaRadioHour.

We chatted about my SONAR Content Distribution Model as well as social marketing, duplicate content, Google updates, content creation, and more!
I really think it's a 'must listen to' for any marketer, entrepreneur or business owner.

To hear the full interview, visit:

Check Your Backlinks...

Since Google's latest update, Penguin, targets low quality, irrelevant, spammy websites and links (which we'll call 'bad links'), it's prudent to check your own website's back-links to ensure those who are linking to your are relevant and synergistic to your own site's content.

To do this you can use several free back-link checkers, such as http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/, http://www.backlinkwatch.com/, or http://www.iwebtool.com/backlink_checker .  

Then, go down the list and see who's linking to you. This may be laborious, but well worth it. Especially if you noticed your traffic and SERP precense drop in the last few weeks, you may have speculated that Penguin is to blame.

Next, it's literally a manual process of visiting the 'bad link's' website and contacting them to remove the link going to your site. If there's several 'bad links', it's best to create a form letter. According to searchenginewatch.com, the letter should state that you are a website owner trying to recover from a Google penalty and would like the following links removed. Then, list the URLs where the links can be found, the URL on your site they point to, the anchor text ─ all the info needed to easily find the link you're requesting removed.

Sometimes, it's easy to find contact information of 'bad links', you simply visit the site and can find email or similar information in the footer or 'Contact Us' area of the website.
Other times it's harder, and you may need to engage in some free tools to help determine a 'bad link's' website owner. According to searchenginewatch.com, such tools are:

  • Domaintools.com: If you want to find out who owns the site your link is on, visit domain tools or type "whois.sc" in front of a URL.
  • C-Class Checker: If you have a list of all the links you want to get rid of, you can run them through a bulk C-class checker to see how many of them are on the same C-class.
  • SpyonWeb: If you only have 1 URL to work with, this tool lets you find out what other domains they are associated with. Just put in a website URL, IP address or even the Google analytics or AdSense code and you can find all of the websites that are connected to it.Keep a record of all efforts to contact 'bad links', as it will show Google you've been making a good effort to get rid of these irrelevant links.

If you find that Google's Panda & Penguin updates have affected your website and you believe there may have been an error of some sort, there is a form on Google you can fill out to pinpoint search terms that you believe you shouldn't be penalized for: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEVxdmdRWFJRTjRoLWZVTHZkaTBQbkE6MQ&ndplr=1

Reader Questions On Content Syndication, Duplicate Content and Back-Links

As a follower of my blog, you've likely read about the SONAR Content Distribution Model and how it uses quality, original content through strategic, synchronized and targeted distribution on organic online channels.

Readers of my ezine as well as my book, Content Is Cash, often email me questions about 'SONAR marketing' and I thought it would be helpful to publish these real-life questions, as it may be something that was on your mind.

So here goes...

Q:  Do I have repurpose the original content every time I add it to a new SONAR site or do it only by individual SONAR categories?   

A: Yes. Your original 'catalyst content' should be the source content that goes to your in-house audience first (i.e. blog, email), then you should take that source and repurpose and reuse it -- adapting it accordingly -- to each SONAR site you disseminate it to as well as for each target audience within those select SONAR site. SONAR's key is using quality, original, content that is useful, valuable, and actionable.  For each site/audience, you can repurpose it in many ways:
--add new sentences, remove sentences
--add/change headlines, subheadings and intro copy
--change closing paragraph/call to action
--modify bullets, mix them up, or add/delete to existing ones

A press release of your repurposed version is a completely different format as the original source. It's written in third person and using quotes. It also should have a headline that is newsworthy and gets readers attention quickly. This version is different from a version that is, let's say, used in article marketing (article) or in social networking sites (content blurbs) -- yet all of these uses originated from the same source.

Q: If I have two Social media bookmarking sites, like Digg and Reddit, do I have to repurpose the article for each site or use the same content for the SONAR Social Media Bookmarking sites?

A: Yes, but it doesn't have to be heavy edits. You may change headline and add/remove sentences or paragraphs based on each audience and headline being used. It needs to be relevant and make sense to your target reader. That's what makes SONAR unique -- it's targeted and relevant -- it also leverages high quality content and is uploaded to synergistic website's where that audience would find it relevant.

Q: Wouldn't Google pick up that the back-link found in each repurposed articles as the same link as the original content and declare them the same?
Read my blogposts (below) on what is duplicate content and what isn't. If you target the content for each audience and repurpose it -- as long as it's quality content, relevant to each site and audience, and are on different domains -- it's not duplicate content or spam.  Your press release is targeted for one audience type; and your article marketing or social marketing blurb is targeted to another audience.  Google's updates like Farmer, Panda and Penguin are targeting sites that use irrelevant links, poor quality content and that are spammy. 

SONAR's uses are relevant to each audience/site it's on. It's not the same article over and over again, it's repurposed and modified. It's also not on the same domain -- it's all over the web in targeted locations that you're hand selecting.      

I like to mix up back-links as well. So some repurposed versions may link back to your source content. For example, your online press release may link back to the press release on your website or blog in the 'Press' or 'Media' section of your website; I also put in two other links in my press releases (in the About Us section, including social media account and free ezine sign up page -- for lead gen purposes). Your article (full or excerpt) may link back to the original article in your 'Newsletter archives' section. Your social media blurbs may link to 'Newsletter article', home page', or 'ezine sign up page', and so on.   Your links should be strategically chosen based on your call to action
Extra reading:

Pinterest And Other Social Sites You Should Be Aware Of

Pinterest And Other Social Sites You Should Be Aware Of

Most people know about popular social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. However, I get a lot of questions about other, underutilized sites that are on the tipping point of popularity, and how to use those sites for marketing purposes.  

First, I'd like to clarify the differences between various 'social' sites:

Social bookmarking, news and tagging are sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious, and Pinterest. These websites allow users to 'bookmark' things they like - content, images, videos, websites - and allow others in the community to see what's been bookmarked and 'follow' if they wish. This is the epitome of viral marketing and community interaction. When groups of people are like-minded, it's fun and easy to share feedback of things of common interest. For business purposes, it's also a strong way to bond with your audience through content, news and images that are synergistic and leverage those interests for increased website traffic and more.

Social networking are communities like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. It's a way for groups of people to meet and stay in touch with each other, for personal and professional purposes. People can friend, follow or fan someone based on affiliation or interest. Another new site is Quora.com, which is a social question and answer site. Users can view by category and post questions or answers on virtually a business related topic.

Social media refers to sites like Youtube, Flicker or Tumblr where groups of users share media content such as video, audio or pictures (photos). There's also new sites like Spotify.com, which are social music sharing sites, where users can listen to mp3 files as well as with friends via Facebook.

The following are some social marketing and bookmarking sites that you may want to include in your online marketing mix as well as some other tid bits you should be aware of.

Pinterest.com is a social community where users 'pin' (think of a bulletin board) things that they like. Quite simply, it's a virtual pin board. Users can re-pin (which promotes viral marketing ) or follow someone with the same interest. Pineterst is a fun site because it focuses on the visual element. You can utilize content (when you add your descriptive text to your 'pin') as well as include a back-link, but Pinterest primarily leverages graphics, images (pics) and videos pictures.  

Important Tip! For marketing purposes, you can use Pinterest to promote your business or websites related to your business, such as landing pages, squeeze pages, product pages and more. What's important to know is that if your website, or the webpages you're thinking of pinning are flash webpages, you will be unable to 'pin' it, as there's no static images on a flash page for Pineterst to 'grab' for posting.  

I've never been a fan of flash-based website. These sites may look pretty, but it's very hard for search engines to 'crawl' the page, for the very same reason Pinterest can't 'pin' it ... because it's dynamic. (Something to think about for those using search engine marketing and optimization!)

So if you're thinking about using testing Pinterest in your social marketing plan, make sure to pick websites or modify your own webpages to be graphic, image or video rich. Also, like any marketing tactics you're testing, make sure it's in sync with your overall marketing plan and target audience.

If you're target audience is an older crowd, then this may not be the best website, or channel, to reach them.

Quora.com is a great online resource community of questions and answers. If you want to reinforce yourself as an expert, you can search questions related to your area of expertise and post responses that are useful, valuable, and actionable. If you have a legitimate question about any topic, you can post by category and view replies from others who may be versed in that field.

Important Tip! It's important to keep a steady presence on Quora. Stick to your areas of expertise (categories and topics). Make sure you have a keyword rich descriptive bio about yourself and include back-links to relevant websites. All of these things help with credibility and bonding. In addition, Quora's pages are indexed by search engines and do appear and organic search results listing pages (SERPs). Than can expand your reach and visibility, which can lead to traffic to your website, which can then be parlayed into leads or sales.

is one of my favorite content bookmarking sites. You can upload content 'snippets' or news nuggets. The site will also pull in any images and well as back-links appearing on the same page as your content. Content can be given a 'category' so that the right readers will find it. The more popular your content (number of 'diggs'), the more people in the community it gets exposed to. Viral marketing and traffic generation (to the source website in the 'digg') are typical outcomes from this website. Reddit.com is a similar site which allows users to upload a content excerpts (article, video, picture) and link to the full version. This is a great site to increase your market visibility and extend reach. It's also a powerful platform to drive website traffic.  

Important Tip! Pick content that is useful, valuable and actionable - something newsworthy and/or interesting to your target reader. It's very important to have a strong, eye-catching, or persuasive headline that people in the community will want to read. There's so much background noise on Digg, that you want your content/headline to jump out at the reader. Also, include a back-link in the body copy you are uploading. With Reddit, excerpt space is limited, so make sure to pick content that will not only resonate with the target audience, but also include a headline that screams out to the reader to 'click here' to read more.  

With social marketing, it's a matter of matching the content type to the most synergistic platform and audience. Social marketing may not be for every business. But I believe it's certainly worth a strategic test. Just remember an old copywriting rule of thumb, which is 'know your audience'. If you know who your target reader (prospect) is, then you can craft enticing messages and pick social platforms where those prospects are likely to congregate.

Most any social marketing site can be leveraged for marketing and business purposes. But make sure to keep your messages fun, entertaining, engaging and interactive. Because after all, that's what the 'social' in 'social marketing' is all about.

Monday, May 21, 2012

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