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How and Why: Keywords in Your Blog Posts

 

Anyone using a blog to deliver content to readers knows: you need readers to really be effective. And the best way to find readers that’ve never heard of you, but are interested in your content, is search engines.

You can certainly advertise on search engines, as discussed in our PPC post, but to do it effectively, you’ll want to choose your keywords carefully. Whether or not you’re using Pay-Per-Click advertising, you need to use words in your post strategically in a way that allows the search engines to understand what your topic is.

 

What are Keywords?

“Keywords” are the words and phrases that Internet users type into search engines, like Google, to find online content that matches what they’re looking for or answers the question they’re asking. Some keywords get hundreds of thousands of individual searches a day while others get a couple of hundred. At any time there are a multitude of people searching for a keyword and also a multitude of websites trying to be the top search result for that keyword.

So Keywords are BOTH something that internet users are looking for, and something that website owners are hoping to help them find.

 

How Do You Help Searchers Become Finders on Your Site?

 

Step one:

Keyword Research

Find out what keywords

  • are relevant to the readers you want to have
  • are obtainable- You won’t’ probably be able to successfully compete for the keyword “sale” but you might get “Oakland April Fools’ Day Shoe Sale” pretty easily.
  • describe what is special about you, what niche do you occupy in your market?

For a more detailed description of how to identify the keywords you should be using, read this darn-near book from Backlinko: Backlinko Keyword Research Info

Now that you know what keywords you want to rank high for in search engine query results, what do you do with it?

Step 2:

Build an Attractive Page or Post

Now that you have a goal: rank high for “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers” or whatever your keyword target is, you will take action to earn that search results spot.

Some of the basics of building your Keyword into places where the search engines will find it clear and the readers will find it natural:

  • Use the Keyword (which might actually be a phrase) in your title
  • Make sure it’s in your URL
  • Have the keyword in an H2 heading. You can use it in more if your page has *lots* of words on it.
  • Put it in image descriptions and alt tags
  • Aim to have your keyword density between 0.5% and 2.5%, as recommended by Yoast SEO.

 

You also need to provide value in other ways:

  • Have your page or post contain a minimum of 300 words, and try not to go over 2,500 unless your quality really benefits from being that long
  • Have an image or images that add to or complement the content
  • Write for your reader. What did they search for? What do they need from you? Deliver it.

A great detailed description of how to make your page rank higher is this great post form Moz: 2018 SEO Checklist

If you need or want help making your website meet the goals you’ve set, or you need help setting and tracking website goals, contact D-Kode Tech to start connecting with future customers today.

What is PPC (Pay-Per-Click Advertising)?

You may have heard of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, and you may have heard it’s a bad thing to pay people to click on your links! Of course that would be bad. Great news, though: that’s not what PPC is, and PPC is actually a great tool to market your business.

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of online marketing where advertisers pay each time one of their ads is clicked. Some people refer to it as “buying clicks” but really it’s a way to only pay for your advertisements when they work. You still have to write a great ad and chose to who show it to skillfully, and people only visit if they want to.

 

Search Engine Advertising

Search Engine Advertising is one of the most popular types of PPC advertising. You can set up search engine ads through Google, Bing, Yahoo (through Overture), and more. This way, when someone searches for terms that you’ve identified as what your customers would look for, your ad may then be displayed next to or above the search results.

The key here is to make your ad and your website so relevant to their search that you gain a customer, so the click is worth the expense. But to get your ad right so that you convert visitors to customers, there is a lot to do. First you have to research and select the right keywords or search terms you want to target, and then organizing those keywords into well-organized campaigns and ad groups so that each search is matched with the right ad. Then you’ll need to setup landing pages designed just to optimized for conversions for that ad or ad group. Search engines have incentive to reward advertisers with well designed campaigns, because it increases relevance of the results searchers encounter, so search engines will charging less per click for ads that convert visitors to customers. Before you start using PPC, it’s important to learn how to do it right.

 

Google Adwords is Special

Google AdWords is by far the most popular PPC advertising system in the world. AdWords enables businesses to create ads that appear on Google’s search engine and other Google owned locations, like YouTube and the Google Play app store.

In AdWords, advertisers bid on keywords and pay for each click on their advertisements. Whether your ad is displayed for a particular search is based on a combination of factors, including the quality and relevance of your keywords and ad campaigns, as well as the size of your keyword bid and budget.

Whether your ad gets picked is influenced by your AdRank, which is calculated by multiplying your  Cost Per Click /CPC Bid: the highest amount you’re willing to spend, and your Quality Score: a more vague measurement that takes into account your click-through rate, search relevance, and quality of your landing page. This is a bit of a contest: you want to have the highest quality campaign and offer the most per click if possible.

Using AdWords for PPC advertising is particularly valuable because of Google’s wild popularity, which puts your ad in front of huge numbers of people.

You can influence how much of Google’s wide audience see your ad by adjusting the keywords and match types you select. With match types, you can choose for your ad to be shown to searchers who look for your keywords with a broad match, modified broad match, phrase match, or exact match.

  • Broad Match is any word in your key phrase, in any order
  • Modified Broad Match is similar to broad match, but MUST include any words you designated by putting a plus sign in front of them
  • Phrase Match shows your ad only when the user’s search included your key phrase using your keywords in the exact order you entered them
  • Exact Match will only show your ad when the user’s search was only your key phrase using your keywords in the exact order you entered them, with nothing additional before or after that

 

Where Should I Focus?

There are a lot of things to understand, do, and focus on when creating PPC campaigns. Start with AdWords first. Here are a few important things to prioritize:

  • Choose Relevant Keywords for your Campaigns – Craft relevant PPC keyword lists, hone your keyword groups/ad groups, and write effective ad text.
  • Create Quality Landing Pages – Optimize your landing pages with persuasive, relevant content and a clear call-to-action, tailored to specific search queries.
  • Work on Raising Your Quality Score – Quality Score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords, landing pages, and PPC campaigns. Advertisers with better Quality Scores get more ad clicks at lower costs.

If you feel like you need help navigating PPC advertising, contact D-Kode Tech today for a consultation to get you started making use of PPC to grow your business.

Promoting on Facebook: Why Events Pack More Power than Posts

 

If you have a business, you should have a Facebook page for your business, in almost all cases. But knowing to HAVE a page is different than knowing what to DO with it. Here we’re going to give you some guidance on how to use events to get the most out of your Facebook business page.

 

Why events?

You may wonder why I’m steering you toward incorporating events into your FB routine. It’s because they’re effective. People engage more with them than they do regular posts, and there are more ways to do so.

 

When You Create a Facebook Event:

  • It gets added to your page’s calendar
  • Other pages and people can add your event to their own calendars
  • You can invite a person or page to co-host the event, giving it more audience.
  • People who like your page are notified if Facebook believes they’ll be interested
  • You can post the event to your wall, with or without additional commentary in the post
  • People can mark themselves as “interested” or “going”
  • Users can invite their friends to attend
  • You can invite your friends to attend (although you cannot invite the people who’ve liked the page)
  • If you leave settings on the default, people can comment on the event wall
  • It becomes as “Suggested Event” for people who have done events nearby who might be interested
  • You can “boost” the event, which is making a Facebook ad for it. You can set your audience, budget, and time frame.

 

Of course you also have the ability to give the event an image, a compelling description, tags, information about parking and getting tickets, and more. The combination of all the helpful resources you can pull together and all the ways your audience can interact with the event makes it a more compelling item than a regular post.

 

One of the keys is to make it interesting. Use great images, a clever title, compelling writing. Answer people’s comments and be engaged. If you do that, you’ll find that hosting events on Facebook is not only fun but more interactive than regular posting. If you need help getting started with your Facebook promotions, contact D-Kode Tech today.

 

How to Make Promotional Images for your Company

How to Make Promotional Images for your Company, digital marketing, social media

 

Whether you’re making social media postings, creating a flyer or an image for a blog or webpage, if you have a business you probably need some images. You want a visual style that matches your professionality, your company culture, your product. It needs to look good. Preferably for free or cheap. How can you do that?

 

Something you need to know first

You need the rights to use any image that you share, so it must either be a photo you took or image you created, something that you purchased the rights to, or that is available for free commercial use with modification. Without modification is okay, if you don’t want to change anything about it at all, including putting words on it.

 

The best bets are to take your own photos, create your own images is a program like gimp, or get images from a reliable source.

 

Reliable Free Image Sources

Using Google’s search tool to filter images “by licence” is confusing at best, and we don’t recommend it for a number of reasons, the main one being that you can’t really access the licence that accompanies the photo, so what licencing it has is really being guessed at.

Instead you can go the safer route and use one of these free sites, which clearly list what licensing the images are released under. You’ll find that they all have a disclaimer like “oh and there may be other rules we didn’t mention”, but that’s just them covering their rumps.  Read the license info to know whether you have to attribute authorship or any other rules.

And I think it goes without saying that there are numerous great sites to pay for images to use commercially, such as BigStockPhoto.com, iStockPhoto.com, and ShutterStock.com.

 

Tools to create the final image:

Once you have the photo or illustration that fits your needs, you’ll want to put words on it to express what you’re trying to share. There are also great graphic design tools out there that you can use for free and are super easy to master.

Upload your company logo in .png format, not .jpg, because only the .png format has that translucent background that allows your logo to layer into the image seamlessly. If you don’t already have a .png version of your logo, here’s a tutorial on making a translucent logo in photoshop.

 

Now just save and share your images!

 

 

How Should My Company Use Social Media?

As your company grows, there comes a time that you need to get a website. Once you’ve got a website, there comes a time that you need a social media presence. It’s inevitable.

 

So what do you do on social media, as a company?

Before you start publishing on social media, be sure you know who your company is, not just in name, but the culture, the goals, the personality of it. You’ll also need to know who your customer is. These will greatly influence how you use social media. They should also influence how you set up your profile on the social media platforms. Put your company’s juju into it!

 

Now that you have great profiles that really show who the company is, and you know the demographics and ideal customers you want to talk to, you need to plan your content.

 

Use Hashtags

When you post, you probably want the post to help you reach more people. Hashtags are great for that! #ItsEasy #PutaPoundSignInFrontofit #ThatMakesItaHashtag

When you use a hashtag, that makes your posting searchable and indexable so that users that just want to see posts about their favorite holiday cartoon movie can just search for #CharlieBrownChristmas and find all the relevant posts. Hashtags come and go in use, so you’ll find the #TBT is really popular on Thursdays, and always has an old picture or news clipping in the post. That’s a Throwback Thursday post! Get to the know the popular hashtags among the people you want to reach and use hashtags appropriately for the platform you’re on.

 

Have a Posting Schedule

It’s important that you become a consistent poster. You don’t want to post 30 times a day one day a week. Here’s a handy infographic that tells you optimum daily posting schedules by platform. To make your life easier, you may want to schedule posts in advance using a tool like hootsuite or buffer.

 

What to Share on Social Media

You want your social media postings to be interesting and engaging. The culture of the company or industry will play heavily into what you choose to post. What works for a bikini car wash is not going to work for a funeral home. Share what will engage the people who make up your potential customer pool! You shouldn’t talk about what you sell all the time, not everyone is ready to buy. First you want to create a relationship where they feel positive toward your brand, like you are helpful and knowledgeable. Then the potential for them to buy from you will grow.

 

While you’re crafting your posts, keep in mind that what you might say on casual, conversational Twitter and what you might post on professional Linkedin need to be tailored to those different audiences, just like your instagram feed needs to focus on engaging images. And using good spelling and grammar is almost always your best bet.

 

Engage well and focus on one platform first, hopefully the one that most of your customers are on, and get really good at that before you begin posting on another platform. If one social media site just doesn’t fit your brand, don’t use it. You don’t have to be everywhere, you just have to do a good job of being where you are. For some engaging ideas, there are some lists online to get you started.

If you need help with social media or creating shareable content on your site, contact D-Kode Tech today.

How Do You Make a Customer Avatar?

Let’s start with what and why:

What is an avatar?

Avatar is a computing term meaning “an icon or figure representing a particular person in video games, Internet forums, etc.” -Google Dictionary

In our context, where we’re talking about an avatar to represent your ideal customer, the representation we make goes deeper than the flat iconic picture in an internet forum, and is more like the avatars in video games: it has a background story, strengths and weaknesses, things that power it up and things that drain it. It has goals, and takes a journey.

With avatars, we focus on your ideal customer, because even your less-than ideal customers will all have something in common with your ideal customer. If you tailor content to this “ideal customer” all your customers will find some, most, or all of it relevant.

 

Why is an ideal customer avatar useful?

Your customers have characteristics, they make fit in a certain age range, income bracket, gender, geography, career stage, they may be homeowners, or have other things in common. If you’re advertising to your customer, writing blogs for your customer, tweeting to your customer, you’ll need to know these things about them.

For instance: your business is roofing, specifically you re-roof homes. You can talk to your audience about roofs all day long, but you’ll get boring fast, and sound a bit self-centered. If your customer base is almost completely parents of children ages 8-12 in a specific grouping of cities, would it make sense to post about happenings in that school district? Would your potential customers find you interesting? They would. They might feel like they have things in common with you, or that you’re interested in their needs.

Once you define your ideal customer, you can expand by creating avatars for other categories of customer that you have, and speak directly to each of those audiences. Say, your travel company’s customer base is split between retirees and students taking a leap year. You can start targeting each of them with more relevant content after creating detailed avatars of each.

 

How do you make a customer avatar?

Creating the avatar involves getting into the head of your customer. What is their life like? How do they feel? Why? Where are they in their career? Look into a few different tools or exercises for avatar making, and take the advice that fits the way you work.

“A customer avatar is The Swiss Army Knife of Marketing” – DigitalMarketer.com

There are lots of tools available to make customer avatars, like this explanation of the process: How to Create Your Customer Avatar. Also this great article about defining your avatar well: Defining Customer Avatars. And these customer avatar worksheets (links at the end of the article).

There’s no one right way to do it, as long as you get a clear picture of who your customer is, including outside of their need for your goods or services. Once you’re done, use this knowledge to improve all your marketing, content, and communications.

If you need help reaching your customer, contact D-Kode Tech today.

What is Social Selling?

You may have heard that social media is the new frontier for building a business, but may not be able to picture how that could be. It’s true, and it’s called social selling. This is now where customer relationships, recognizable brands, and new customers are born.

 

What is social selling?

 

Social selling is not a one-time activity, and it should be used alongside existing sales methods. It can be difficult to get started, especially if you’re new to social media, but the benefits outweigh the challenges.

 

Linkedin’s research finds that 78% of social sellers outsell colleagues who don’t use social media. Jamie Shanks from Sales for Life found that for every $1 invested in social selling, the ROI is $5. Hubspot found that 74% of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase or contacting a salesperson. The data is clear that social selling is very relevant now.

 

“Social selling is leveraging your own professional brand and social network to gather insights and connections, then use those information to help you discover new opportunities, sell, and get business done.” -Linkedin’s definition of Social Selling

 

So how do you do it?

We suggests a few basic tips:

Begin by putting yourself where your ideal customers already are. Join online groups and be friendly and helpful to people. Buyers are less likely to find social selling creepy if they share connections with the salesperson, so get in the community.

Never use canned or pre-written scripts, speak to people individually, about their interests.

Stay aware of the culture of the platform you’re on. Would-be buyers find social selling on Facebook creepier than social selling on any other social network.

 

“Social selling is my ability to listen to your conversation, engage you on topics that are of interest to you and provide you with great content on that subject that will ultimately lead you to doing business with me.” -Marki Lemons Ryhal, an Award Winning Social Media Speaker

 

If you need help with your company’s online presence, content, website, or app, D-Kode tech would be happy to help you. Contact us today to see what next steps will bring you the results you seek.

 

What is Inbound Marketing?

Learning about a product used to happen in the store, office, or wherever a purchase would eventually happen. An employee of the company used to be the ultimate source of product info. Today finding out about products happens on yelp, youtube, through blogs, social media, or on product review and comparison websites. Today’s customers trust independent reviews more than a seller’s posted claims.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is drawing the customer to you, buy earning their trust and demonstrating an understanding of their needs.

Hubspot, who coined the term “Inbound Sales”, says “Due to the proliferation of marketing materials on the internet, the modern buyer is no longer dependent on salespeople for necessary purchasing decision information. Inbound salespeople see the need to personalize the sales experience to the buyer’s context.”

“Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” – Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group

Buyers now do their research about your product independently, and what they want from you has changed. They want to know you’re an expert, get your advice, including suggestions that might resolve their issue before they purchase a solution. They want to rule out the possibility that they don’t need your product, clarify what their problem really is, and gain confidence that your product or service will create the desired result for them specifically.

They want to trust you. They want to have experience with you. This is inbound marketing. Your blog, resources on your site, your social media postings and comment replies, these are where your customer begins their “buyer’s journey”, dipping their toe into the water of working with you.

In an Inbound Sales marketing plan, there are stages of the “buyer’s journey” and you can identify where your prospect is in their journey by their behavior.

Awareness Stage

They’re becoming aware of their problem or need for a solution. They utilize valuable content you’ve made available free to the public. The information offered is specifically of value to people that might make good customers for your business.

If you sell jewelry, this might be information on observing differences in types of gold.

Consideration Stage

As customers are getting closer to buying, they might need more specific and harder to find information. You offer it in exchange for their contact information and permission to contact them. Now you’ve shared valuable information and gained a way to contact someone considering products like yours.

Your jewelry store might email a printable template with ring sizes to scale on it, so your visitor can lay a ring that fits them on the page to see what size they’re wearing.

Decision Stage

Your visitor now knows they’ll be buying something to meet their needs, but they’re not sure what they’ll buy or from who. At this stage they need to know why buying from you can be best, what the differences are between comparable products, and other information that clarifies the next step.

A way to schedule a custom jewelry fitting would be an appropriate offer here.

 “Marketing = getting people to know, like and trust you.” – John Jantsch

Because your digital presence is ready to facilitate a buyer’s journey, your visitor will have found you to be useful, knowledgeable, and they’ll feel comfortable doing business with you. When your visitor contacts you and finds your company to have a a focus on being helpful, it continues building trust and makes your company an obvious choice to do business with.

For help creating your inbound marketing plan or creating a website with the buyer’s journey in mind, contact D-Kode Tech.

 

4 Digital Marketing Strategy Ideas You Can Use Today

marketing ideas you can use today, digital marketing tips

When building your marketing strategy for a business, it’s vital to know that the traditional techniques of print radio and TV advertising don’t work anymore. Modern media users filter out traditional forms of advertising about products or services trying to get them to buy. Digital marketing takes a different approach by offering clients something of value, allowing them to become organically interested in your product or service. A digital marketing specialist can help you coordinate an approach to online marketing that really brings new leads to your business. To start, follow these 4 pieces of advice:

Optimize Your Website

In today’s digital age where 81% of shoppers do online research before buying, every business must have a website. You might choose to use a professional website designer or create your own website. However, it’s critical to ensure that your website is optimized for both search engines and your customers. It should be useful and attractive, not one or the other. A professional web designer can include keywords in the on-site content and back end of your website ensuring your website shows higher on search results. They can also design your website to be more user friendly and intuitive to navigate, while including responsive design so your website works on mobile devices as well as desktops. Optimizing your website is a simple step you can take today to boost your business marketing strategy.

Start A Blog

An online blog attached to your business website is the ideal way to offer value and share your knowledge with your clients, helping them to engage with your business. Blogs stay fresh with new content added all the time. Blogs are also read and indexed by search engines, which provides an ongoing source of search engine optimization for your business. If you don’t have time to stay up to date with writing your own business blogs, the good news is that a digital marketing specialist can source original and engaging blog content for you. It’s one of the simplest actions to take, but starting a blog can really transform your business marketing.

Integrate Social Media

Are you using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Linkedin for your business? If not, why not? People and businesses are looking for new products and services on social media every day, so if you’re not using social media sites, you’re missing out on a key source of good leads. Your digital marketing strategy can be integrated with social media, blogs, news and other content like images being automatically posted to your connected social media accounts. Talk to your digital marketing specialist about integrating social media and boosting website traffic and leads using these sites.

Build An Email List

A contact list and email marketing strategy is one of the most valuable assets to your business, and your email contact can deliver great value to your audience. Your website should be designed to take visitors through your engagement process, to collect contact information so you can continue to engage with them. Without effort, building an email marketing list can fall by the wayside and that opportunity for growth and lead building can get lost. A digital marketing specialist can help you stay engaged with growing your emailing your list, and keeping in touch with them to get more sales and better engagement from your clients.

 

Digital marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, and there are actions you can start taking today to boost your business online. Talk to a digital marketing specialist today to star your digital marketing journey and boost engagement and leads for your business.

What’s the Difference Between a Blog and a Website?

Before creating a blog or website, you’ll want to be able to define “blog” and “website” in your mind.

Both blogs and websites provide an online ‘location’ for your business or personal purposes, but they are not the same. Because our lives are increasingly lived online, it’s good to understand the uniqueness and value of different online landscapes. So if you’re wanting to start a personal site or a business site, which should you choose?

Define Blogs and Websites

“Website” is a more general term to refer to any “site” (place) on the “web” (interconnected system of locations) online. There are ‘dynamic sites’, which change regularly, and ‘static sites’ which generally stay the same.

A “blog” is a type of website that contains a series of posts and is added to regularly. The term was originally “web log”, and naturally shortened to blog with use. Writing the web-log entries became defined as blogging. So all blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs.

You may have heard the term “vlog”, and that is a subset of blogs where posts are in video format. This evolved form the longer “video log”, but at its core it is a blog.

What’s the Difference?

There are a number of features that differentiate a blog from a website. Keep in mind that blogs are always dynamic, and even otherwise static websites can include a blog within their pages.

Blogs

  • Blogs Consist of a Series of Posts in Reverse Chronological Order – Blogs contains different, but usually related posts or articles, with the newest one listed first. If a website is only or mainly a blog, it usually displays 8-12 of the most recent blog posts on the main page. This helps readers immediately see the most recent news and updates.
  • Blogs Have A Commenting System – Blogs feature posts that usually (but not always) allow sections for readers to add their comments.
  • Blogs Can Be Subscribed To – If you subscribe to posts or updates, this is a blog or mailing list.
  • A Blog Uses Categories or Tags – Another way to distinguish a blog is that it uses categories or tags to ‘group’ and identify posts. You may be able to search or filter by the tags that appear at the beginning or end of a post.
  • Blogs can be stand-alone or part of a website with many pages.

Websites (that are not blogs)

  • A Website will have a static front page, and usually a few other static pages, such as an ‘About’ page or ‘Contact’ page.
  • Websites don’t allow comments. Social media networks do allow comments, but they are are special case.
  • Websites cannot be subscribed to.
  • Websites don’t display tags or categories for their pages, but other ‘tags’ and indexing tools are applied in the back end (in the guts) of the website.
  • A Website is found at an address like www.ABGDEFG.com, and then pages within that site are at addresses like www.ABCDEFG.com/whatever. So www.dkodetech.com/blog is a page within the dkodetech.com website.

Which is Better for Your Needs?

When it comes to choosing between a website and a blog, it really depends on your intentions for your site. Do you want a personal platform to keep people up to date with what you are doing – like an online diary? Then a blogging or creating a vlog is the right choice for you.

If you’re running a business, the best choice is actually the combination of a website and a blog.

The reason for the static website component is that it provides website visitors with the consistent and stable information they are used to. A conventional website can include all your website information, including vital business contact details.

Attaching a blog to your website has the added benefit of allowing clients to subscribe to regular news from your business. You can deepen your relationship and make your business useful to your customer base even before they become a customer.

A website attached blog also helps you stay up to date with search engine optimization. Blogs regularly add new keywords and fresh content to your site which is constantly indexed by search engines. This helps your web address to appear higher in the search results, so more customers will find your business when looking for local services.

If you’re looking for a professionally designed website that integrates an optimized blog, talk to D-Kode Tech or a local web designer about creating the right solution for you and your business.