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  • How to get the most out of Pinterest

    ahh Pinterest, what’s not to like?

    Hours of scrolling, tired eyeballs, and endless infographics. I’m a massive fan of Pinterest and use it for inspiration, ideas and planning events. I found it the most helpful when I was planning my wedding. I pinned everything! Hairstyles, flowers, food ideas, shoes, colour themes, invitations ect, pretty much anything you’re looking for, you can guarantee there’ll be a board for it! Not only is Pinterest useful for personal use, it also can benefit your SEO, traffic volume, content distribution and relationship building. Depending on your number of followers and the virality of your post, Pinterest can also get your content in front of large audiences quickly and businesses with great visual content are benefiting.

    What does all this mean for brands and your business?

    Given the growing popularity of Pinterest among the social interwebs, it’s not about to die anytime soon. In fact it is only getting bigger and with the increased adoption of Vine and instagram, many social media platforms are moving toward a more visual form of social engagement. Now is great time to embrace this visual platform to promote your business.

    Here’s some stats you may find interesting:

    • Pinterest was born in March 2010, which makes it 3 and a bit years old. In that time it has earned 70 million users and 30 billion pins!

    • 75% of daily traffic comes from the Pinterest mobile site.

    • The average time spent on Pinterest per visit is 14.2 minutes as of the 29th March 2014.

    So who is using Pinterest and what are they pinning about?

    The big question is, which sex is the most addictive pinner? It looks like the girls take the cake on this one, with a whopping 80 percent of pinners being female. Additionally, women post 92 % of all pins on the site, which leaves only 8% for the guys. Which also means Pinterest could be a great place to meet the ladies…right guys? *wink wink* ;)

    If you're not sure where to begin, but you want to start using pinterest for your business, heres a few tips to get you started:

    1. Collaborate with users, interact and connect with other Pinterest users. Group boards are a great way to do this, and help earn you more pins, likes and traffic.

    2. Know your audience: Before you start posting, it’s important to have a content plan and know who your target audience is, what appeals to them and how they consume information (in this case, visuals.)

    3. Start creating specialized boards: For each audience, brainstorm a list of themes and create boards around these themes. Drive traffic through different sites. Ensure to pin images from your own website, this will add a ‘nofollow’ link to your web URL underneath your pin.

    4. Focus on quality images and a compelling description that encourages response.

    5. Moderate the board: It’s important to keep up with what’s trending at the time eg: events, looks or themes to encourage the virality of your post. Study which boards are more popular and reinforce what is working on your own board.

    6. Start Pinning: Now all you have to do is start pinning with pins that you think your audience would find visually attractive and want to re-pin. Don’t aim to sell, make sure you aim to inspire your users to re-pin, like or comment.

    7. Have fun: Don’t get caught up in the business side, Pinterest is meant to be personal and informal so dont be afraid to have fun and also pin from other content as well as your own. This is like, as my college Luke says, “Adding bait to the hook’.

    When is a good time to pin?

    Given that Pinterest is useful for planning events and inspiration, it can be very seasonal and there are some clear trends in the types of pins people are sharing at certain times. For example, holiday themed pins start to increase in August, Christmas themed pins in December, and ironically, as the top new years resolution is to lose weight, health and fitness trends seem to move up in January and the early part of the year. So keep an eye out for different trends and see how you can use them to benefit your business.

    The chart below from RJMetrics shows the best time to pin throughout the day. Pins begin really taking off at 8am, and increase throughout the day, with a final spike at around 9pm.

    pinterest-hourly-pinning-activity.png

    Now go forth and take advantage of all Pinterest has to offer. Happy Pinning!

  • Pulling Apart SEO Myths

    There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding SEO.

    SEO is always changing and evolving, so quite often tactics and perceptions of valuable SEO strategies are now outdated or have evolved in some way. Let’s ‘debunk some common ‘SEO myths’ once and for all.

    Myth 1. Small changes won’t affect my SEO

    Some businesses will innocently make a minor change to their website, a change of username, a tweak to the navigation bar, a change to a page header or title tag or a new block of text added to the home page, without realising the possible consequences. This is especially relevant to small low authority businesses sites but can also affect larger sites, depending on the changes made. Businesses can potentially lose their dominant search presence simply by a modification, usually suggested by a non-specialist and sometimes the impact can be serious. Making a wrong change can mean losing valuable search rankings, which in turn can have a serious affect sales. It’s best to always properly assess the situation before making any changes to make sure you know the impact it will have on your site.

    Myth 2. Once the site is optimised, you can sit back and watch.

    Many businesses have the idea that once you have optimised your site, theres no need to touch it again, unfortunately that is not the case. The best way to look at SEO, is like a moving film, rather than a still photograph snapshot. It’s constantly evolving, with new technology emerging that will influence that way people research and buy. SEO needs constant focus and work to stay up-to-date. Google looks at things like social signals, authority back links and user trust to rank your website. These are all things that take time to grow and can’t be fixed through shortcuts.

    Myth 3. Citations are the new thing, link building is dead

    A new ‘trend’ is that citations are replacing link building. Citations being a reference to a published or unpublished source without linking to it. Yes, citations can help, but link building is still highly valuable. Your site might have 50 citations and no links but rank lower than a site with five citations and 10 links if the latter site has better quality connections. The most important factor here really is the quality of either. Quality, not quantity, is what matters. A long time can pass between the posting of spammy links and any negative impact being felt on websites, so avoid spamming, it will catch up to you in the end.

    Myth 4. You own your search rankings

    It’s important to remember your rankings on Google are a privilege. Google doesn't owe you anything. Just because your business is large or successful, it doesn’t mean that Google will give you special treatment. You’ll have to put in the hard yards, just like any smaller business in order to get stellar results. Some people can get stuck on only targeting “new traffic”, thinking their current rankings will remain forever. The mistake can be when you get too settled and sit there drinking champaign thinking your rankings will last forever, when the reality is, placements can shift at anytime without warning. Losing search engine rankings have the potential to serious effect sales (Especially for small businesses.) This is why it’s always good to be on the defence, watching what’s going on and being ahead of the game.

    Myth 5. Social Media isn’t a big deal for businesses SEO

    This couldn’t be further from the truth. This is changing and more and more people are starting to understand the importance of social media for their business. Social Media, especially Facebook and Google Plus, can be some of the biggest referral sites to bring traffic to your website. It’s important to put focus on having the social media platforms most relevant to your business, ensuring to implement a content and promotion plan for each. Not only is social media a great way to get your content ‘out there’, but posting regularly, encouraging engagements and producing quality content can have a positive impact on rankings.

    It’s good to be aware of the quality and the amount of time required before diving into social media, by the same token, a poor social media presence can have a negative impact on overall businesses branding and perception. Recognising what your customer wants and ensuring your content is built to connect on a personal level and drive valuable actions is the most important thing to remember.
    It always disturbs me when I see businesses only promoting news or events, while making no effort to provide special value or connect with their audience in any way.

    Let us know, how has social media influenced your business?

  • Google Plus Customised URL's

    Google is now offering an option to be able to customise your Google Plus Page URL.

    A personalised URL is a short, simple web address that will link you directly to your Google Plus profile or page. This feature is fantastic as it allows you to link to your page without the clunky numbers.

    For example I could have:

    https://plus.google.com/+MelFry

    instead of a billion numbers

    eg:
    https://plus.google.com/763827648

    Personalised URL’s are great for SEO because they play a big part in helping search engines to decide the relevance of potential search results. They’re also really useful for helping people to remember how to get to your social profile, and makes it a lot better to promote on your website or print media.

    There’s just a few guidelines you need to follow to be eligible for a personalised URL.
    1. You have to have at least 10 followers in your page circles.

    2. Your account needs to have been active for at least a month.

    3. You have to have a profile photo on your profile or page to show that you’re a real person. (which is pretty much a given)

    You can make sure your page is eligible for a Google Plus URL by providing a link between your Google Plus page and your website. You can do this by connecting your Google Plus page and your website using the Google Plus badge on your website, linking your website to your Google plus page and adding your website link on your Google Plus page.

    Before you get too excited and start making your own ‘Batman’ URL’s, note this.
    Google doesn’t let you choose your own URL, but instead will automatically choose one for you, based around your name. This has caused lots of controversy online because Google have often suggested pretty useless and ugly URL’s for you.

    Google states that you can’t really change your URL once it’s set, except for changing the formatting, or changing from uppercase to lowercase, so choose wisely.

    If your account has been established you may get the option to create your own, but it’s a bit of a process with not a lot of flexibility. You will have to submit your request, complete with a valid reason for the change then after you've submitted it, Google will review it and a couple of days later, let you know if it's approved, or if you need to try again.

    Goodluck.

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  • Why Bother With a Facebook Page?

    Many businesses are starting to ask the question, ‘Why should we bother with a Facebook page?’ I mean, it’s a fair bit of work keeping your page updated, is it just a waste of time?’

    Even if your audience has no intention of buying anything on Facebook, it most certainly isnt a waste of time, the relationships you can build with your customers on Facebook can be extremely valuable to your business in so many ways.

    Heres just a few benefits to creating a Facebook page:

    Being on Facebook allows you to be found in a unique way
    Your customers will be able to ‘like’ your page, read your posts and share them with their friends. It will allow you to have personal, one-on-one conversations with your audience, which will help to build relationships and trust. Not only does it benefit your customers individually, but it also provides your business with another avenue for introducing customers who may have never found your website. Social sharing is basically another form of ‘word of mouth’ and we all know how valuable word of mouth can be! Facebook also provides a way for future employees, customers, and even the media to find information about your company values, character and the products and services you offer on a deeper level.

    • Social is good for your SEO
      Social signals around your website content are quite valuable when it comes to search rankings. This means the better the content and engagement on Facebook, (eg: the more likes, shares and comments) the more search engines will see your site as relevant and therefore likely give you higher rankings in search. As a business, you want to show up on search engines and make it as easy as you can for people to find you. Having a Facebook Business Page will help drive traffic to your site and the great thing is, Facebook not only allows, but encourages you to link to your website. Even redirecting a small amount of traffic from Facebook could grately improve the amount of traffic on your website.


    For some really interesting correlation data stats on the link between social activity and search rankings, check out this 2013 search ranking factors article by Moz:


    http://moz.com/search-ranking-factors


    Basically what this tell us is that if you are running a facebook page, firstly, It’s going to help your website rankings if your Facebook presence is done properly. Secondly, you want to be focusing on increasing your content shares as Facebook shares have the highest correlation with search rankings.

    • You need to be where your audience is
      Theres no doubt that with the total number of active users exceeding 1.31 billion people each month, Facebook has become an active part of life for a fifth of the worlds population as of Jan 2014. Let’s face it: your clients are not going to log onto your website every day, but more than half of all users log on to Facebook in any given day and could come across your page, you don’t want to miss that opportunity.

    • Having a Facebook business page can also make it easier to reach large groups of people frequently, with a message targeted to your customers needs.
      Facebook supplies you with insights that allow you to track your page likes, post reach, and level of user engagement. This will give you a broader understanding of your audience and allow you to utilize this information to target your audience with your posts and also advertising.


    Now that you know why having your own business page is so important, what are you waiting for? Here’s Facebook’s step by step guide on how to set up your own page:

    https://www.facebook.com/help/www/104002523024878

    Follow us for more interesting articles, and we’ll see you on facebook!