May 16, 2013
What is the most annoying sound in marketing?
We’re bombarded in Houston by the hard sell every day, whether we are ready to make a purchase at the time or are just casually looking to see what’s out there. From department stores, to car dealerships, to magazines and TV programming, to the internet, we can’t escape the push to sell us something.
The hard sell has even come to blogging. Can you think of anything more unpleasant than an overt sales pitch when you’re looking for information to help you make a decision? Most probably you cover your ears and run for the woods, leaving the pitchman in the dust.
Are your customers any different from you?
It used to be blogging was all about reaching out to people, sharing, and building a community. In your face selling didn’t even enter the blogger’s mind. If you discovered a cool, new product, you might make one or two posts. Blogging wasn’t pitch after pitch. The really good blogs had plenty of traffic, and bloggers made money without hard selling anything.
In the rush to sell, companies have forgotten the customer. They are so focused on closing the sale, and use their blogs to hard-sell the customer. They have forgotten the motivations for why people prefer a certain brand or buy from a particular salesperson.
Among other factors, people buy because
- Like and trust the company or salesperson
- Have a need for the product
- Perceive value from buying the product
When you look at it from the customer’s viewpoint, blogging is a good way to find out the customer’s initial interest. A company blog allows customers to ask questions and you to address your products singly, and in depth.
Addressing questions and providing useful information without a sales pitch does wonders for your branding efforts. Blogging is one platform that businesses can use to put a person behind the company image. People have a tendency to form relationships with people rather than the company.
Think about it for a minute. Just how many times have you said XYZ is a great company because you really liked the customer service person who resolved your problem or a repair tech that went out of his or her way to explain the issues instead of just looking and handing you an estimate? It wasn’t the company you liked; it was the person behind the company.
The reasons not to hard sell in your blog are easy to see if you go back to the basics – reaching out, sharing, and community – of blogging. Hard selling is a detriment to your blogging efforts to attract new customers in many ways.
- Using your blog to hard sell destroys your credibility. You tell your customers that you are interested in them and what they want. But just exactly how honest is your statement if your customers only see pitch after pitch?
- Hard selling overloads customers’ senses. Often a hard sale requires you to bombard the customer with information. But did you know that people process new information in trios? Most people can only digest 3 pieces of new information at one time.
- Hard selling destroys customer perception of concern. Hard selling is telling a customer that you think they’re lazy so they’ll make a quick decision to buy. You’re telling them that you think they aren’t smart enough to make an informed decision.
- Hard selling erases value. Your customers must believe that they are getting something more than just the product. If they have to wade through all your attempts to get them to buy before finding the information that they need, they probably won’t receive any value for their efforts to directly connect with you.
- Hard selling torpedoes your public face.
Sharing and establishing a community is what blogging hopes to achieve. High pressure, in-your-face selling destroys the rapport your blog creates with your reader. If you turn something useful into a sales pitch, people aren’t likely to trust you enough to return, much less buy anything or share your post.
Directory One is the SEO firm in Houston to find expert bloggers to help kickstart your blog. Call them today at (800) 477-1324 and talk to one of their content developers.
May 10, 2013
Not all businesses are the same, therefore not all internet marketing can be the same. At Directory One, we specialize in developing and implementing internet marketing strategies that work for your specific trade. Call Directory One at 713.465.0051 to learn more about our niche internet marketing services or to schedule a consultation.
Internet Marketing in the Medical Field
Houston is home to one of the most advanced and prestigious medical centers in the world. With such a high concentration of doctors and medical specialists in one city, internet marketing in Houston is a must.
We have been helping doctors in the Houston metro area market their services for over a decade. Our team can work with you on the whole spectrum on internet marketing services, including custom web design, social media marketing, video production, content development, articles, and press release writing.
Since we have many clients in the medical field, we understand that directories you need to have a presence in to establish credibility and maximize exposure. Contact us for a free consultation regarding the status of you and your practice’s internet presence.
Niche Internet Marketing: Legal Practice
With the amount of attorneys in Houston, you need to make sure your firm sticks out from the rest. Law is a high stakes trade and attorneys and large firms are willing to make substantial investments in marketing campaigns.
Directory One has been working with attorneys since we first started in the internet marketing field. We specialize in maximizing your exposure at an affordable price. Our staff of writers are familiar with Texas family and criminal law and are prepared to write appropriate optimized content for your website. Moreover, we understand the legal restrictions for certain images and can create a website that represents the values of your firm without violating any rules.
Whatever your vocation or field, Directory One can help. Call 713.465.0051 to learn more about our niche internet marketing services.
May 6, 2013
The virtual world is constantly changing. To stay at the cutting edge of SEO means one need to be on top of all the new innovations that search engines, particularly Google, are coming up with. Google recently removed its Places application leaving many businesses without any kind of map on this major search engine. This has removed many people off the front page of search engine results. Directory One is a Houston-based internet marketing company that specializes in organic SEO services. Our team can help your business adjust to these changes and reassert your internet presence.
The Elimination of Google Places
Google Places allowed you to add information about your business onto a map that often times would appear on the first page of search engine results. This drastically increased the visibility of businesses that may have had a website that did not rank quite as well.
Organic SEO Services using Google Local
Google has had to keep up with the demands of its popularity as a search engine. To keep up, it has created Google Local, which does the same thing as Google Places but also takes into account your current location. Moreover, users can leave comments, recommendations, and ratings on Google Local pages, providing visitors with more information about your business without ever having to visit your website.
Organic SEO Services That Work
To have a Google Local page, you must also set up a Google+ account. Directory One can help you set up these accounts and optimize your Google Local page so that your business appears on the first page of search engine rankings.
For an affordable solution to internet marketing, call Directory One at 713.465.0051 for expert organic SEO services.
May 3, 2013
Houston writers spend a lot of time researching keywords and considering each variation carefully. You’ve done the same for your website. Then you hear that you should use those keywords as anchor text.
But what is anchor text exactly?
Anchor text is merely the words that you use to link to another page. The words contain the URL (http://) that, when clicked on, take the reader to another webpage. Search engines use anchor test to determine whether or not the information you link to is relevant to your page.
If anchor text helps search engines determine the relevancy of a website and rank it, shouldn’t every keyword be anchor text?
Just a minute. If you make every keyword, or even just your main ones, anchor text, your page will appear over optimized and spammy. Spam is not natural.
Day to day speech is spontaneous. You don’t repeat the same word or phrase over and over. Natural anchor text takes the same form as ordinary talking with a friend or co-worker.
So how do you incorporate natural anchor text in your website to entice search engines to reward you? There are a few things that you have to do first, and then you can go on to using anchor text more naturally.
- First, do a thorough spring cleaning on your website. Is content repeated? Do you have pages that don’t have a lot of content? Are there some pages that are not performing? If you have pages with duplicate content, no content, or pages that are not performing, set them so that they do not get crawled by the search egines.
- When researching keywords, don’t go for an exact match. Exact matches alert the algorithms to spammy content. Instead, try related keywords or use a thesaurus.
- Look at the anchor text you currently have. Can you use long tailed keywords where you are currently using generic keywords? An example would be Arabian Horses vs. Egyptian Arabian horses or Dahman Shawaniyah Arabian horses. Or use your brand name with your keyword – Desert Jewel Arabian Horses. Using your brand name helps your company gain relevancy and rank.
- Don’t use anchor text on your home page.
- Use “stop” words in keyword phrases. “Stop” words, such as the, is, at, which, on, how to, etc. do not break up a key phrase. The idea is to split up your keywords.
- Use the naked URL more often. Don’t embed it in words.
- Imbed your key words and phrases in images, and always optimize your image “ALT” tag. (An example is the horse picture used in this blog. Use view/source to find my alt tag).
- Don’t make your keywords, anchor text or not, more than 3% to 4% of your total word count.
- Don’t forget your reader. Write like you are speaking to them without trying to sell them something. If a reader sees a benefit to him and that you are trustworthy, you’ll more than likely gain his interest, not to mention a sale.
Using natural anchor text is easy if you remember the reader, breathe, and write like you are talking to a person.
Houston’s SEO firm Directory One is an expert in natural anchor text. Call them at (800) 477-1324 to get your anchor text optimized and on the right track.
April 28, 2013
It has been about a year since Google implemented its Penguin algorithm update. As someone who works for a Houston SEO company, it is interesting to reflect upon how much has changed in the way internet marketing works since then. If you have noticed that your website has dropped significantly in search engine rankings over the past year, please call Directory One at (713) 465-0051.
Google Penguin: How Did It Change SEO?
This algorithm is specifically designed to punish websites that use “black-hat” SEO techniques, such as cloaking, keyword stuffing, intentionally creating duplicate content, and participating in schemes to boost back links. Google essentially reevaluated all websites and recalculated their ranking depending on the integrity of its SEO strategy.
For the most part, Google Penguin, in conjunction with Google Panda (an algorithm which down ranked websites with poor user experience), helped boost the ranking of easy to use and honest websites. By the same token though, many websites that had earned their top rankings in the beginning of SEO days — when some black-hate SEO techniques were the norm — were severely penalized.
Our Houston SEO Company can help you work with Google Penguin
A Houston SEO Company That Can Help You Catch Up
If you have had an internet marketing company design and manage your website, chances are you are not completely informed about the SEO strategies they used to get your rankings. If you have noticed that your website has drastically slipped in rankings over the past year, it is possible that your website may be using black-hat SEO techniques without you knowing about it.
At Directory One, we can diagnose the cause of the down ranking and develop and implement an SEO strategy that will improve your online visibility. Choose a Houston SEO company that is up-to-date with current search engine algorithms. Call Directory One today at (713) 465-0051.
April 26, 2013
Facebook is a social media outlet that can really help business owners connect with their customers. With over a billion users worldwide, Facebook (FB) has become instrumental in today’s business.
Did you know that according to Business, Inc., over 50% of social media users check out a company’s FB profile before making a major purchase decision? If so many people are checking you out, FB is a great platform to spread the news via word of mouth marketing or letting customers and potential customers know about your upcoming special events.
So why isn’t your business on Facebook?
Maybe you’ve never used social media before. You might be intimidated by technology or afraid to ask how to create a business page because you could be perceived as behind the times.
No worries. It’s really easy for businesses to create a fan page, but you have to know how to do it, especially if you have never used FB before.
So what will you need?
First you will need an individual account. If you already have one, great. If not, go to the Facebook home site and create your account by registering your email and only the required data.
Next, you want to build your fan page. Choose the Create Page icon at the top, and get started. You will be prompted what type of business you are. Choose this one with care.
Don’t worry that your personal page that you have kept private will be broadcast publicly over your Fan Page. It doesn’t work that way.
Once you’re in, get your page to reflect your business by immediately changing your cover. A FB cover is very similar to your website’s header. Your header’s main function is to provide visual appeal and invite your visitors to explore your website.
Your Facebook cover does the same thing. You can use the header graphic from your website if you want, or go for a different feel by creating a new cover photo. Just remember that the height of your photo must be 270 pixels, so you will most likely need to resize your website’s header if you elect to use it.
Now set your restrictions. The Edit Page at the top of your fan page will let you do this. Choose Edit Settings at the top of the page.
- Make sure that you have left country restrictions blank
- Check your age restrictions which are dependent on the nature of your business
- Check your posting ability, post visibility, and tagging ability
- Make sure Replies is checked to allow people to comment on your posts
Make your first FB post next. You can provide a link to your most recent blog post, promote a business special, give information about one of your most popular products, or answer a question.
Make sure that you optimize your posts for your keywords. Don’t use a blog or article verbatim when you “write something” for your business’s timeline. Public FB posts are indexed by the search engines, so you want to make sure that when you “write something” is original content. It doesn’t have to be long, 100 to 200 words will do.
Now you’re ready to invite folks to see your page. You can write an announcement about a new way to connect with your business, using your newsletter subscriptions or email contacts. Encourage people to provide feedback and like and Share your page.
It’s that easy. Now what’s your excuse for not having a Facebook presence?
(Directory One, a Houston SEO firm, has social media experts. Call them and have the fan page you’ve always envisioned.)