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Some business owners struggle with what images they should post on Pinterest, particularly if they don’t own an e-commerce business or don’t sell physical products. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what kind of business you have. You can still make use of Pinterest.

Here are 5 ways to make your Pinterest pinboards more interesting:

  1. Pin your instructional videos or images associated with your podcasts. You can always pin the pages where your videos are posted in YouTube.
  2. Take pictures of your customers and employees interacting and upload those to Pinterest. Alternatively, take pictures of your employees behind the scenes (at office parties, industry events, etc.) and upload those to Pinterest.
  3. If you own a brick-and-mortar store, upload pictures of new products in your inventory when they come in. A great way to do this is to take pictures of your employees putting them on the shelves.
  4. For service businesses, you can pin images from around the Web that showcase problems that your staff can fix. For instance, an auto mechanic might pin an image of an overheating radiator. Be sure that you pin images on websites that have a Pin button so that you don’t run into potential copyright issues.
  5. Pin work you do for clients or supporting documents around the Web that back up claims you make on your blog. Infographics are very pinnable.

Need help with your Pinterest account or another social media account? Get Pinterest help at reciprocalconsulting.com/social-media-optimization-SMO.php

Some of the most important metrics for pay-per-click advertisers are ad positioning metrics. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Click-through rates
  • Visitors
  • Pages per visit
  • Average duration on site
  • Conversion rates

Each of these PPC metrics weighed against your ad position can help you save money on your advertising budget. One important way this happens is by gauging your metrics for each ad position relative to other ad positions.

For instance, if you discover that your CTR for position three is higher than your CTR for position one or two, then that’s a huge benefit. But what if your conversion rate is higher for position two?

You have to determine what metric is more important for you in reaching your goals.

If you are not concerned with conversion rate but are concerned with a higher engagement with your visitors, then you might look at your pages per visit and average duration metrics. Adjust your budget to target your ad to the optimal position so that you can reach the highest engagement possible for your ads.

This is no easy task. It does require keeping an eye on your ads and performing some tests to determine the best position for the goals you want to reach.

You can get started with ad position adjustment by consulting with Reciprocal Consulting at www.reciprocalconsulting.com/pay-per-click.php

Blogs have been around for a long time and it’s amazing that there are still a lot of people who don’t know how to comment on them. You’ll see comments like “Nice post. I learned a lot,” or “Thanks! Great post.”

Okay. Why bother?

If you want to get someone’s attention, write a comment they’ll remember. Take issue with what they’ve said. Disagree. Not in a combative way, but don’t be afraid to state your own opinion and back it up with a fact or two.

You can even create a great comment by agreeing with the author. Instead of saying “Nice post,” how about saying something like, “I agree with that. In fact, I read another post on the same subject the other day at Such-and-Such blog where the author went into detail about statistics and included a couple of infographics. The interesting thing was …” and give a couple of sentences on why you thought the post was interesting.

Those kinds of comments have value. They are more likely to get someone’s attention and keep the conversation flowing.

Many people are still treating blog commenting as a spam pool. Quit trying to get links from other people’s blog posts with crappy, spammy blogs. Join the conversation and add some value. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your own time.

Learn more about online marketing at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/.

Last week, a popular guest blogging network got stung hard when Google slapped them with a penalty. And now, guest bloggers are running for cover. But should they be worried?

We’re big fans of link building around here, and guest blogging isn’t a bad deal either. But if your purpose for guest blogging is to build hundreds of links back to your website, then you’re doing it wrong.

Guest blogging isn’t about the links. It’s about your brand. It’s about putting your brand in front of a potential audience and attracting that audience to your website so that you can build a relationship with them. What matters is how you do that.

So how should you go about guest blogging?

Start with identifying blogs that attract the same type of reader you want to attract. You want a blog with a high percentage of crossover in terms of your audience. The audience for your target blog may be interested in the same types of products and services that you offer.

Read up on that target blog’s content guidelines. Do they accept guest posts? If so, how do they want to receive them?

Follow the guidelines for your target blog to a tee. Don’t concern yourself with anchor text links in your bio or relevant dofollow links. Write high quality content that is valuable to the target blog’s audience. Above all, add value to the site you are guest blogging for.

Instead of linking to your site using anchor text in your bio, link to your site using your brand name or using the URL.

Guest blogging is about adding value, not building links. If you do it well, you’ll get the recognition you deserve.

Webmaster Academy is a school run by Google designed to help new webmasters learn how to build an effective website and get it indexed in the world’s largest search engine. It’s a useful course, but I wouldn’t expect to learn everything there is to know about building a website if I were you.

The three newest modules in the academy are:

  • How to make a great site that is valuable to your audience
  • How Google sees your website
  • How to communicate with Google about your website

All of this is useful information to new webmasters, but there is more to building a website than making it look pretty and getting it indexed in the search engines (although, both of those are good places to start).

You also need to concern yourself with accuracy of content, navigational issues, whether or not your site is accessible to mobile phones, and the importance of keeping it updated. That’s just to name a few of the important details webmasters should concern themselves with on every new website.

It’s a lot harder to build an effective website than it used to be. There is a lot more to think about. I wouldn’t trust it to an amateur.

To learn more about how to build an effective website, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/web-design.php.

There is a practice going around called Twitterjacking. It is essentially using other people’s tweets, hashtags, and other Twitter marketing strategies to draw attention to your business. It’s controversial, but it can also be powerful if you don’t overdo it or misuse it.

The first step is to find popular Twitter users and hashtags in your niche and follow them for a while. Get a feel for what they tweet about before you do anything.

If opportunities arise, interact with these power users. Ask them questions or respond to their tweets. Focus on building a relationship first. You can even retweet some of their most interesting or useful tweets.

After you’ve built a solid relationship, tag along on one of the popular hashtags that are gaining traction. Rising hashtags are great opportunities. Make sure your tweet is relevant to the hashtag and to your audience. If possible, mention the originator of the hashtag or the associated brand by @ sign and name.

This practice, if done well and unannoyingly, will usually net you a few extra followers every time you use it. Just don’t abuse it.

Retweets, hashtags, and even favorites are all subtle but powerful ways you can hijack Twitter to attract a little attention to your brand.

An infographic at Marketing Pilgrim illustrates five obvious trends in search engine optimization. One of those trends is that social signals are increasingly leading to higher search engine results for marketers who are active on the social networks.

These social signals include:

  • shares
  • likes
  • retweets
  • +1s
  • comments
  • followers and fans
  • and other social signals such as total reach and influence

What this means for search marketers is that you should spend a little bit of time each day on social media, sharing your content and interacting with your audience. This will likely become more and more important as the search engines place greater emphasis on these social signals.

In the old days, marketers built content and tried to get as many links as they could to that content with the right amount of anchor text and other link building signals. Today, it’s all about the social signals, and we’re talking about more than those that lead to links.

There are a handful of social media websites that are most important in helping marketers increase their social influence. These include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

While these are not the only sites worth mentioning, I’d say they are a bare minimum. You may not need to be on all of them, but you should establish a presence on most of them. And be active.

Social media marketing is as good as SEO. Learn more about social media optimization at reciprocalconsulting.com/social-media-optimization-SMO.php.

Internet marketers debate about some of the stickiest things. One of the big debates going around right now is whether you should write long, well-researched blog posts or shorter posts geared toward driving more traffic to your blog.

There are advantages to doing it both ways. One advantage to long, in-depth blog posts is that it gives you a chance to prove your authority.

An advantage to shorter posts is that you get more opportunities to rank well in the search engines and drive more traffic back to your blog through social media engagement. Both of these values are important. Our take is it never hurts to have more blog posts as long as you have a strategy. On the other hand, longer blog posts don’t hurt either. But you have to decide whether you want to spend your time writing your blog or servicing your customers.

When it comes to blog marketing, you have to do what is right for your business and your customers. What does your audience want?

Answer that million dollar question and it will tell you whether you should do a lot of research and write long blog posts or write short snippets. I’ve seen bloggers succeed with both strategies. You have to play to your audience.

At Moz, Cyrus Shepard shares 12 powerful ways to optimize for Google traffic without building links. It’s a great list, but I’d like to focus on just 5 of those optimization tactics and show you how you can put them to good use in simple ways.

  1. In-depth articles – You don’t have to be a news publisher to take advantage of this markup, but you should take a cue from popular news websites like Huffington Post and the New York Times. Use pagination, Google Authorship, canonicalization, and paywalls more effectively.
  2. Rich snippets - Google is adding more and more rich snippets all the time. You can use them for reviews, videos, events, books, articles, and much more. This is advanced SEO.
  3. Google Authorship – Google Authorship means having your photo appear in search results, which gives you a higher authority rating and potentially more click-throughs for your content.
  4. Local SEO – Cyrus Shepard mentions internationalized SEO, which is great, but what about local SEO? If you’re a local business, then you want to drill down.
  5. Social annotations – Simply sharing your content on Google+ is enough to increase your SEO potential. Your content will show up in more search results, even among people who are not in your network, but it will definitely appear at the top of the search results for people who are in your Google+ network.

Implementing these tactics won’t necessarily increase your search engine results or get you more traffic, but not implementing them will definitely hold you back.

Get more information on the best SEO tactics at http://reciprocalconsulting.com.

If you’ve been online for any length of time, then you’ve probably noticed that images are becoming more and more prevalent. In the early days of the Internet, images were used primarily as a way to capture attention. Once they did that, they were pretty useless. Even then, it was not uncommon to find pages and pages of content with no images at all. Today, it’s getting harder to find such anomalies.

Images are important, but they’re not just to capture attention any more. They often serve a broader purpose.

For instance, infographics are images that tell a story. You can actually build a web page with no textual content and say much more with the string of images as story. Your challenge then is to drive targeted traffic to that image.

Images serve another purpose, however. They not only enhance the content on your page, but they can actually enhance your search engine optimization.

There’s more to it than simply splashing an image on a page and adding an alt tag to describe what that image is for. The search engines are now associating images with the surrounding content. This sort of contextual analysis is going to get even better. Welcome to the semantic web.

Getty Images recently announced that you can embed images onto a web page. You can now have free images with credits and SEO value added to your content with a simple click. That’s not bad.

More than anything else, headlines determine whether or not readers will click through and read your content. This is true whether your content is a blog post, a static web page, a social media page, paid advertising, or something else. It doesn’t matter what format your content takes, the headline is one of the most important elements on the page.

A good headline does several things well.

  • For starters, it grabs readers’ attention. It’s got to be enticing enough to compete against other headlines, moving images, and shiny objects.
  • A good headline also promises a benefit. Tell your readers why they should click the link and read your content.
  • It contains an emotional trigger tied to the benefit. The best headlines make the reader click because they have a vested interest.
  • Another thing a headline should do is create an incentive to share. You want your reader to read your content, but you also want them to share it. Your headline will play an important part in that.
  • It should also be straightforward and honest. It should tell the reader precisely what your content is about without being misleading.

Hopefully, you see the importance of writing good headlines. If you don’t, you may not get many readers. It’s one of the most important elements on any web page.

One area of business marketing that is growing more popular, as well it should, is the use of case studies.

Case studies are powerful marketing tools because they allow you to use the success of your customers for marketing your business. People love to listen to the testimonies of others. In fact, personal testimonies are powerful because they add credibility to your reputation as well as your products and services.

Even in today’s social media and search engine business environment, word of mouth is still the best advertising. A case study is an organized word of mouth campaign. And it’s very effective.

First, identify a handful of your customers who have used your product or service to solve a problem. Make sure they are a customer who had a specific problem to solve before using your product or service and used your product or service to solve that problem. Then have someone interview that customer to uncover the facts of their particular case. You can then write that customer’s story to highlight the benefits of using your product or service. It’s a valuable marketing tool.

Case studies can be used as free downloads or you can sell them as educational tools. Either way, you provide awesome benefits to your potential clients, who might be interested your brand.