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Hubspot INBOUND 2016: Top 4 Events & Features

Hubspot INBOUND 2016: Top 4 Events & Features

INBOUND 2016 is fast approaching, and the Nowspeed team is preparing for HubSpot’s biggest event of the year.  With over 14,000 marketing and sales professionals attending, this year’s INBOUND is expected to be the biggest one yet. Featured speakers at the conference include actors Anna Kendrick and Alec Baldwin, athletes Serena Williams and Michael Strahan, and Hubspot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. Here are a few of the events and features we are looking forward to most at INBOUND 2016: [Read more…]

The Decline of Guest Blogging for SEO Linkbuilding

black-hat-seoThe SEO landscape continues to shift, making it harder and harder for those that are using unearned tactics to appear within the search results listings. In an age when content is king, Google’s Matt Cutts announced in January the decay and fall of using guest blogging for SEO.

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.” – Matt Cutts January 20, 2014

Guest blogging at one time was a great way to gain links, promote content and your brand. As more and more SEO marketers were hungry for places to post content, blog and site owners saw an opportunity to capitalize. They started accepting payments for content placement. This content in most cases had keyword seeded anchor text and links pointing to pages to help increase page authority, which would then increase rank.

Websites like Search Engine Leaks – have been outing services that engage in the tactics of content placement for payment. So how do you promote content now?mattcutts-final

Guest blogging when done correctly is still appropriate to use. If the guest blogger is trusted and known in the eyes of Google then the likelihood of being penalized is greatly decreased. Google’s authorship is one way to gain that trust. The other way is to not have your guest post links pass along page rank. If you “no follow” your links when citing and referencing from your post you are still within Google’s guidelines.

In 2014 let your content speak for itself, if worthy and valuable, others will naturally promote it and share.

 

SEO “Likes” Social Media, time to update the “Relationship Status”

For businesses there was a time when social media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) were looked at separately.  SEO was taking diligent notes in the Honors Calculus class while social media was making sure everyone wore team colors to the football game.  Now we are seeing the brains and the beauty joining together to be prom King and Queen.  How did we arrive here, and what will the future bring?
SEO Loves Social Media
There are many elements of a strong SEO strategy that have been constant over the years.  Your website still needs to be easy to crawl by search engines, meaning; no missing pages, redirects in place where needed, no missing meta descriptions, clear title tags, and keywords baked into page content, titles and headers.  Thorough research on targeted keywords is still a necessity as you want to assure you are targeting the right words/phrases for your target audience and you want your on-page content to align with those keywords.  A well built back-end to your web pages is the foundation for strong SEO, but how do you remain relevant and continue to increase in popularity?  Social media walks into the classroom and all eyes slowly look up from the textbook…

Looking good social media!  Put on some Al Green and ‘Let’s Stay Together’.

Content is king
Content creation
is the most important aspect of ongoing SEO and social media campaigns.  Search engines don’t want to see the same stale, stagnant pages on your website and you want to give users reasons to visit your site and your social media platforms.  Content is King, we’ve all heard that phrase plenty over the years, now the King has a Queen (social media) and she is here to tell the online world about your fresh content.  Cross-promotion of content on social media platforms (Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube to name a few) has become the best way to be seen by users and by search engines.  Creating natural links between social platforms and your website will greatly improve the impressions your content is making, improving your visibility and popularity online.

At minimum, we can now safely say that SEO and social media are “in a relationship” and the future looks bright and prosperous for the two moving forward.  This is a dance you can’t afford to miss!

Social Media Success in 14 Steps: #14 Use Social Media Across Your Company

Social media can be effective as a marketing tool, but keep in mind that there are also very productive ways to utilize social media for customer service, product development, sales, purchasing, and recruiting. By thinking of social media holistically, you’ll see how it can permeate every aspect of your company’s work.

Your customer service team is focused on responding to customer issues and resolving them quickly and cost effectively. Today, customers may not only complain directly, they may also complain publicly on Twitter or other sites, so that their frustrations can reach thousands of other people who follow then. It’s important for your customer service team to monitor your company’s brand terms on social media sites and then interact directly with these people in or to resolve the issues. One benefit of this approach is that their followers will see how you respond and may feel better about your product or brand.

Product development teams can monitor the same stream of content for insight into product usage, issues, or frustrations that may lead to new features, products, or services. They can also monitor what your competitors or their customers are talking about, and gain insight into their future plans. Social media can also be a great resource for getting feedback from the marketplace on potential new product features or service changes.

Sales can effectively use social media in many ways. When prospecting, they can use tools like LinkedIn to identify potential customers, connect with them through their network, and then reach out to them. They can also learn more about their prospects’ professional background and personal interests, which may make it easier for them to build a relationship and turn the prospect into a customer.  By listening to their social media comments and posts, they will be able to gain a better understanding of their needs and wants. However, be prudent with your sales-oriented social media usage. If people feel that you are stalking them or they are being “spammed” because you’ve found them on social media, you can create a very negative backlash. People don’t want to feel that their privacy is being violated or that they are being manipulated.

Your purchasing team can use social media to find reviews and feedback before making important selections for products and services. Once they find relevant comments, they can also find other users and get personal feedback. In the past, vendors would provide a list of vetted references that were all positive. Now your purchasing team can go beyond this sanitized list to find other customers and get the real story. This puts a lot of pressure on the customer service team of any company to manage their digital reputation to make sure that there are no lingering, unanswered negative comments, reviews or ratings.

Social media sites can also be used by your recruiting team when they are looking for candidates. Just as the sales team can find potential customers on LinkedIn through targeted searching, the recruiting team can do the same. They can identify potential candidates and then approach them by phone or email to see if they are interested in exploring opportunities with your company. Once you find people, you can learn more about their through their social media postings. Recruiters will want to see it the candidates have the kind of reputation that will make them a good employee or if there are any red flags that might need to be discussed during an interview. Candidates should make sure that they understand their privacy settings on sites like Facebook, so that they only share images and information that they want to share with the public – including potential employers.

If you’d like to read my white paper on Social Media Success in 14 Steps, please click here.