The Distinct SEO Web Marketing Blog

Discuss the latest topics on web marketing, SEO, branding, and organizational development.

Oil Patch Layoffs Leads to More Consulting Firm Startups

Oil Patch Layoffs Leads to More Consulting Firm Startups

As energy dependent Alberta and other provinces that rely on oil royalty revenues continue to struggle with depressed prices, layoffs particularly for contract workers are making people think harder about starting their own consulting firms.

Starting a new consultancy firm is well within the realm of possibility after some initial hard work. The reason why many may think twice about branching out on their own is a fear they won’t be able to make enough money to make ends meet. There is an inherent risk, but new ideas can be started using free time without the need to quit your job (of course this is a moot point if you were laid-off). Here are some tips on how to test a new business idea in your field.

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The Stunning Way to Handle Failure in Organizations – Case of SpaceX

Watch this stunning video.

In case you’re wondering, SpaceX is trying to LAND a rocket that went to space. Usually rockets are used once and then jettisoned off into the void of space. (Actually, they don’t disappear, the rockets, along with other space junk, sits in orbit.) But here we have, within days of the attempt, the company SpaceX sharing what is ultimately the failure to land the rocket safely on a barge in the middle of the ocean.

The rocket literally blew up on attempt.

But this is actually a success, and the attention SpaceX has garnered through their platform and strategy of sharing their success, secrets, and failures, has done wonders for their brand, but also the industry as a whole.

How does your business handle failure?

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Social Media Strategies Should be Unique

When you’re creating strategic direction for business you need to have an overarching vision of what you want to achieve. From there it’s important to use each of your tools in the manner they were created for. (Although take note, ‘hacking’ tools to suit your specific needs could be a viable tactic if you know what you are doing and are innovative enough.)  When small businesses approach social media there is a temptation to use all of the tools in the same way. It’s easy to open Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc., accounts; it’s quite another thing to use them in the manner each was is designed for. Which one you focus on will largely depend on what kind of business you are in and what your goals are.

The first step, however, is to outline your marketing direction as a whole. That should fit within your larger business plan. From there you can derive strategic direction and decide what message you want to get out. More often than not you will use your website as the starting point, and from there leverage your social media campaigns. All too often I see companies with fragmented approaches, their message is different across platforms, and their website is the least updated of the lot.

Start with your business plan –> create your marketing goals –> create strategic direction to meet those goals –> implement with tactics.

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Twitter and the new RTs

You can now re-tweet without losing your limited response space. Twitter’s new feature enables you to display the RT, but retain your own character space. This will enable you to be more social with your users (and those your re-tweet). Adding a comment, addition, critique, or praise, to your RTs can only increase your influence and participation in whichever market/tribe you’re a part of.

Pay Close Attention to Google’s Mobile Friendly Alert

Have your received a ‘warning’ from Google letting you know about the mobile usability of your website? If you haven’t, then check out this blog post. If you have a Google Webmaster’s account then you may have received a notice from them over the past month informing you of your website’s mobile compatibility.

If you have indeed received an email warning you MUST pay attention to it.

The email from Google Webmaster Tools Team will outline any mobile usability issues. The quick note will be informative, and will offer you solutions on how to transition from your existing website into a mobile friendly version. Hopefully this does not require a full out redesign.

What are your options?

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Google to Increase Mobile Ranking Signals

Pay attention to an important announcement from Google Webmaster Central. The key ranking signals will be adjusted in a month’s time to reflect the growing prominence of mobile friendly websites. Of worthy note:

1. More mobile-friendly websites in search results

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out our guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

  • If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

Are you ready? If you’re website is not performing well for mobile devices Webmaster Central may alert you. But don’t rely on their messaging to prompt you to ensure your website meets the minimum standards for mobile devices. Run the tools they suggest above.

Banning semalt and buttons-for-websites via .htaccess

If you’re tired of seeing faux results in your Analytics reports and have been looking for a solution to ban the Semalt and buttons-for-websites referrals then here is the .htaccess code I used that worked to completely eliminate bot visits.

# Block all http and https referrals from semalt.com" and all subdomains of "semalt.com"
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} semalt\.com [NC]
RewriteRule .* – [F]
# End semalt block
# block referer spam buttons for website
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} buttons\-for\-website\.com
RewriteRule ^.* - [F,L]
# End buttons for website block

I’ve tried other iterations but the code above was the only version that completely eliminated the bot visits. As an aside, my WordPress spam comments went down 90% as well. Hope this works for you and your websites as well.

Keyword Research – Choose Words Your Customers Use

stux / Pixabay

Search engine optimization has long been the red herring of the web marketing industry. In itself it serves a haphazard function. Robust SEO strategies are carefully developed tactics executed within well thought out business plans.  One of the tactics within SEO is the process of keyword research which falls under the category of market research. Doing an environmental analysis of your target market is a crucial step to understand both your customers and your competitors.

You should already be familiar with your market and how they behave because as a business owner / employee, you have a passion and interest for your particular market segment. Once you garner your understanding (and continuously refresh it) your content will improve significantly.

Here are some helpful tips to guide your keyword research that are commonly overlooked but will quickly become a leading method in selecting the right direction for you website and business.

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How to Organzie Your Web Links – Sub-Folders or Sub-Domains?

Previously posted in 2011 and updated.

What’s the best way to organize your web site for SEO factors? Is it sub-folders, sub-domains, or something in between?

What’s Best For Your Web Site? Subfolders or Subdomains?

Simply put, there’s no one size fits all approach to this, it’s dependent on the needs of your users. You should always create website content, and organize that content, with the end user in mind. If it makes more sense in terms of clarity to add subdomains on the website instead of subfolders, then do so.

For example, do you have one parent company but multiple locations? Sub-domains for each geographic location retains the brand and also makes it clear you’re in a different part of the website (the design has to reflect this as well). Do you have one store but multiple related products? Using categories in subfolders would be the most natural.

In terms of SEO one of the major things you should look out for is the treatment of subdomains. Subdomains can be treated like their own unique website. That means two subdomains would largely need their own unique linking campaigns (so you double the required investment). With sub-folders (www.test.com/sub-folder/) you do all the promo for 1 site and all folders benefit in a trickle down effect. All in all, make your choice based on the existing structure of the company and your end user. This is also a question of navigation for your users.  See http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca/2011/08/reorganizing-internal-vs-external.html for how Google will treat your domain.

You may naturally insert keywords where you can, maybe use the date or year if it’s relevant, and then away you go. Make sure you do the work beforehand so you’re not switching out a year later. Continuity is important so be sure with what you choose. Clear and concise navigation and URL structures is for your users and is your goal in choosing website structure.

50% Off Coupon for BOTW – Promo Code BOTW Discount

**Updated** BOTW Coupon – BOTW Discount

The latest working BOTW (Best of the Web) discount code for ONE DAY ONLY, April 20th, 2015, is: 21YEARS .

Use the Fall promo code by following this link and when prompted enter the BOTW coupon promo code: 21YEARS

You MUST follow the link below to take advantage of the deal. This BOTW discount offers a 50% discount on all products including the BOTW Directory (botw.org), BOTW Blog Directory (blogs.botw.org) and BOTW UK Directory (botw.org.uk).

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Measurement Key for Local Online Success

A number of local (and even international) businesses can’t connect the dots between marketing dollars and sales. That’s important to know, whether or not you’re making money, and how much. If you can’t measure your outputs (probably some form of sales) then you can’t figure out a) whether you’re making money, b) more importantly, WHY and HOW.

The why is crucial because is stretches backwards and says, “this is why you’re making money.” It may highlight particularly effective market segments, or it may point to new opportunities.

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How Does Google Determine Content Quality Without Many Links?

Unfortunately, this video does not describe what its description suggests, “How can content be ranked if there aren’t many links to it?”

We all know that Google is going away from using web links as the primary indicator of page strength (or at least they say they are, when that happens, and if, is anybody’s guess). What we don’t know is how they’d rank content without links. This video doesn’t answer that question directly. It does offer some insight on how Google determines page content validity and value.

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