How to Get Found Where Your Buyers are Looking: Web Presence Optimization

Editor’s note: a version of this post originally appeared on ChamberofCommerce.com in January 2013.

With more and more purchases, for business-to-business (b2b) and high-value consumer goods, now starting with online research, it’s imperative to make your business ubiquitous when potential buyers are searching for what you sell.

It starts with a well-optimized website of course, but there’s much more to it than that; a website isn’t the only way to show up in a search, and traditional search engines aren’t the only online tools that buyers are using to learn about products and services.

Web Presence Optimization ModelTo expand your online footprint within your market, think about three types of sites where you want a presence:

  • Social media sites: these include social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), social content sharing sites (YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare) and social bookmarking sites (Reddit, StumbleUpon, Diigo).
  • News sites: depending on the type of business and the market you serve, this may include local news sites (newspapers, TV stations, online magazines), trade publications, and business news sites (like the Business Journal, Forbes, or ChamberofCommerce.com).
  • Industry sites: these can include financial or technology analyst websites, trade show and event sites, and trade association sites.

Coordinating the manner in which your presence (whether owned, earned or paid) on these different categories of sites ultimately drives traffic and conversions on your website is accomplished through a web presence optimization (WPO) strategy.  This strategy is based on the WPO framework and supported by metrics that inform decisions about budget allocation and tactics.

Each type of site requires its own strategy and offers its own unique value, but in general, a presence on these types of websites provides three unique benefits:

  1. Gets more brand exposure in the market, increasing brand awareness and credibility.
  2. Provides referral visits to your website.
  3. Creates backlinks (at least in the case of do-follow sites) that help your website rank more highly in the search engines.

Of course, what your prospective buyers find is just as important as where they find you. Social media sites provide the opportunity to demonstrate expertise in your field and engage with peers, influencers and potential customers.

News sites offer the opportunity to share customer success stories, what’s new with your product or service, even what actions your organization is taking to move your industry forward.

Industry sites showcase your firm’s involvement in leadership in your field, and facilitate connections.

Capitalizing on the unique strengths and benefits of these different types of sites requires strategic and tactical planning, supported by multi-channel marketing metrics that enable data-driven decision making about tactical efforts and resource allocations. It’s work, but well worthwhile. The more places that prospective buyers find you, along with content relevant to the problems they are trying to solve or the benefits they are seeking, the greater the number of opportunities for your organization to win the business.

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Where Google Moved Your Digital Cheese

Anyone who’s been in the corporate world within the past decade-and-a-half has likely been exposed at some point to Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, a slender allegory by Spencer Johnson about dealing with change, summarized by Wikipedia as a tale featuring:

Who-Moved-My-Cheese“Four characters: two mice, ‘Sniff’ and ‘Scurry,’ and two littlepeople, miniature humans in essence, ‘Hem’ and ‘Haw.’ They live in a maze, a representation of one’s environment, and look for cheese, representative of happiness and success. Initially without cheese, each group, the mice and humans, paired off and traveled the lengthy corridors searching for cheese. One day both groups happen upon a cheese-filled corridor at ‘Cheese Station C.’ Content with their find, the humans establish routines around their daily intake of cheese, slowly becoming arrogant in the process.”

When the cheese eventually runs out, the mice and the miniature human characters deal with their new cheese-less situation in different ways. The mice, “Noticing the cheese supply dwindling… have mentally prepared beforehand for the arduous but inevitable task of finding more cheese.” The humans struggle more with their reality: “Angered and annoyed, Hem demands, ‘Who moved my cheese?’…Starting to realize the situation at hand, Haw thinks of a search for new cheese. But Hem is dead set in his victimized mindset and dismisses the proposal.” The point of the tale is to promote productive approaches to dealing with change.

With its Panda and Penguin algorithm updates over the past couple of years, and most notably the recent Penguin 2.0 update, Google has been busy moving the cheese for many marketers, webmasters and SEO professionals.

SEO practitioners who cling to outmoded tactics like keyword stuffing and link buying are likely to react like Hem, feeling victimized by their loss of cheese. Same goes for those SEO software and service providers still tout their ability to help create thousands of links through link exchange partners.

On the other hand, SEO pros who’ve always practiced white hat tactics are like the mice in the story; though they may still have a lot of work to do, they are well prepared to find new cheese. For the many who have seen their rankings and traffic devoured by Penguin, here are three places to look for new cheese.

Content marketing. This is where Matt Cutts officially says you should look for new SEO cheese. Produce great content, it will attract “natural” links, and your site will end up on page one of Google. The problem, of course, is that in highly competitive search term markets—like marketing automation, real estate, auto repair, social media monitoring, or SEO services—no matter how compelling or unique your content is, it’s unlikely to be seen (and therefore to attract links) if it doesn’t rank on page one of Google, and it’s unlikely to rank highly if it doesn’t have a lot of relevant, high-quality inbound links. Call this Catch-22 cheese.

The point isn’t that producing helpful content isn’t a fantastic idea, only that content marketing is not enough. In this way, Penguin seems to favor the same publications, A-list blogs, and name-brand websites that already dominate most searches.

AdWords. This is where Google would really like you to go, because it’s how the company makes money. There’s no question AdWords can be an effective component of online strategy—it’s controllable, immediate and finely measurable. But it’s also expensive. Call this gourmet cheese.

Web presence optimization. A web presence optimization (WPO) approach may be the most effective way to tame Penguin and Panda. By incorporating owned, earned and paid media, WPO optimizes your overall web presence, not just your website (though that remains the ultimate target destination). Cross-channel marketing metrics in WPO help to optimally allocate marketing and PR resources.

This is akin to the way grocery stores usually sell cheese: standard cheese varieties in the dairy aisle, exotic cheeses in the deli, organic cheese in the all-natural foods section, etc. Call this a distributed cheese strategy. Grocers do it because they sell more cheese by offering different varieties in multiple locations throughout the store than they would by stacking all of it in one area. The same approach can be effective in optimizing your company’s overall web visibility, regardless of Google’s ongoing algorithmic attacks on traditional SEO.

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Lessons from HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing Report

HubSpot last week released its 2013 State of Inbound Marketing report,  this year weighing in at a massive 175 pages. But as always, the report is crammed with useful facts, interesting stats, and vital tips, tools and techniques for inbound marketing success.

Given the report’s heft, no blog post (of any reasonable length) could it justice as a summary, but here are a sampling of the highlights. To get the full story, download the HubSpot report here.

HubSpot-2013-Inbound-MarketInbound marketing (a subset of though not to be confused with web presence optimization) is big, and growing.

  • • 60% of companies will execute some form of inbound marketing strategies in 2013 (and that’s likely understated; another 19% of marketers weren’t sure if certain tactics they use qualify as “inbound”).
  • • Companies spend, on average, about a third of overall marketing budgets on inbound tactics.
  • • For the third straight year, nearly half of marketers plan to increase spending on inbound marketing activities in the coming 12 months.

And it works:

  • • According to the report, “inbound delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads.”
  • • 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing.
  • • Inbound marketers double the average site conversion rate of non-inbound marketers, from 6% to 12% total.

Inbound marketing teams tend to be small—but realize the need to grow in order to scale.

  • • Even at the enterprise level, 31% of marketing teams contain five or fewer full-time employees.
  • • While marketing teams will begin 2013 with an average five or fewer people, most will at least double by the end of the year.
  • • Inbound marketers plan to hire an average of 9.3 people this year, which is 125% more growth than teams not executing inbound marketing.

The report is careful in how it defines “inbound marketing,” noting that “Inbound marketing is not a channel or a technology, it’s a strategy” (much like web presence optimization, or WPO)  and further stating that:

“While it’s easy to explain why direct mail and PPC banner ads are ‘outbound,’ it is more complicated to define more flexible online strategies as purely inbound versus outbound. At HubSpot, we see the distinguishing factor as how people are using a specific channel more than the definition of the channel itself.”

This further distinguishes WPO from inbound marketing, as tactics like media relations, SEM and banner ads are elements of the WPO framework (because they are key elements of overall online brand visibility) but would not be considered part of inbound marketing.

But the report also notes that despite its widespread and increasing adoption, “Executives and sales functions not quite buying in to inbound marketing…only 17% of sales teams and 11% of company executives lend their full support to inbound marketing efforts.” If inbound marketing truly is a “customer-centric” approach to the market as the report also contends,  one would expect these numbers to increase in coming years. To encourage this shift, marketers will need to be able to tie their efforts to strategic business objectives (like market share and brand loyalty) beyond just lead generation.

There more—much more—in the report,  covering topics ranging from ROI, metrics, and testing, to inbound marketing tools and tactics. The new HubSpot report is must-reading for anyone who needs to justify market-driven digital strategies, understand what competitors and peers are doing, and gain insights on how to generate more leads, of higher quality, at least cost than with traditional interruptive marketing methods.

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How to Tame Panda and Penguin with WPO

Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have irreversibly changed the practice of SEO. Contrary to the most dire conclusions of some, these nasty-though-harmless-sounding pair of algorithmic updates named for monochromatic fauna have not “killed” SEO—but they have, rather, forced an evolution in thinking about web visibility.

At a high level, both updates are designed to clamp down on “artificially optimized” web pages (e.g., those with over-optimized content [written for search engines rather than humans], paid links, too many links from low-quality sources, too many links with the same anchor text, etc.) and reward pages with a more “natural” profile (relevant and high-quality links, fresh content, social signals, natural and well written content).

The effect of these changes is that it may be more difficult for commercial websites to rank highly for specific keyword phrases. Difficulty ranking does not mean, however, difficulty in being visible. Which is why SEO will evolve into the framework of web presence optimization (WPO).

Competitive WPO Benchmarks ChartWPO is about maximizing your brand’s visibility when people are searching for what you have to offer—no matter where they are searching. It’s broader than SEO because “being found” doesn’t necessarily mean that searchers find your website (at least not directly); they may find an article about your company, a product review, a guest post you’ve written for an industry blog, a tweet, a pin, your Facebook page, or something else; but the point is, they’ve found content that is about your brand and that (ultimately) leads back to your website.

WPO is fundamentally friendly to Google’s zoological algorithm collection, because it’s entirely “white hat.” It encompasses paid, owned and earned content, but there is no effort to deceive or to manipulate search results (which is fundamentally what the search engines are trying to penalize).

In a WPO strategy, different disciplines like public relations (PR), SEO, social media, content development, online advertising, analyst relations, and even trade show marketing are managed in a coordinated manner to maximize the total online visibility of a brand for key phrases. It uses high-level WPO metrics to guide overall strategy and continually improve results, while benchmarking activities against top competitors.

WPO Tactics for Panda and Penguin

Here are five WPO tactics that help improve online brand visibility in the Panda and Penguin era:

Blogging. An informative and consistently updated company blog serves as the core of a social media strategy, provides a natural outlet for keyword-rich fresh content, attracts links from diverse but relevant sources, and will likely rank well on its own as well as contributing “link juice” to your top-level domain. Blogging well is hard work; it requires originality, persistence and discipline. The content has to be seen as helpful, compelling and share-worthy, not just rehashed news releases or marketing brochures. But done well, a blog fosters social engagement, improves organic search results and generates leads.

Guest blogging. Writing thought-provoking or informative content for other industry blogs is one of the few ways to directly generate specific keyword links back to your own site that remains acceptable to Google. Beyond the SEO benefit, gust posting also increases brand recognition, helps you reach a new audience, and enhances your brand image and credibility in the market.

Industry marketing. Being active in your industry raises your brand’s online (and often offline) visibility as well as well as creating valuable backlinks for SEO, and includes activities ranging from analyst relations to association memberships to sponsoring and exhibiting at trade shows.

Public Relations. PR isn’t just “press releases” (and anyway, you should actually be writing optimized news releases, worthy of the attention of prospective buyers as well as journalists); it also includes citations and quotes in industry news stories, bylined articles, formal product reviews, customer stories, and speaking opportunities. Such content can and should also be shared socially, reprinted (where allowed and with permission), and repurposed in other formats such as white papers, blog posts, and online presentations.

Backlink categorization. Understanding your website’s backlink profile helps guide your overall WPO strategy and allocation of dollars and efforts. Are you maintaining momentum in press coverage? Gaining traction in social media engagement? Lagging in industry marketing efforts? Even more important, understanding the backlink profiles of competitors enables you to benchmark your performance and look for new opportunities–or just validate your current strategic direction. Success in the Panda/Penguin world isn’t about raw quantity of backlinks, but about diversity (links from a variety of top-level domains, not just lots of links from a single domain), quality,  and relevance.

General SEO Tips for Panda and Penguin

Here are three more SEO best practices for maintaining and improving rankings as search engine algorithms continue to evolve.

Avoid duplicate content. Having the same content on two or more pages of your website causes those pages to “compete” with each other in search, with the result that both (or all) pages lose. If you must have duplicate content on your site for structural or navigation reasons, use the rel=canonical tag to tell the search engines which page is the “original” or most useful to searchers.

Be careful with anchor text links. In the old days (e.g. prior to 2012), exact match anchor text ruled, and the more exact match anchor links you had pointing at a page the better. For example, if you wanted to rank for on-page SEO tips, you worked at getting as many links s possible which used that exact phrase. But now, if Google sees too many exact-match keyword links pointed as a page, it may actually penalize the page with lower ranking—for having an “unnatural” link profile. Google won’t specify what qualifies as “too many” of such links, but the point is to diversify anchor text in order to reduce the appearance of artificiality.

Set up Google+ authorship. You can set up Google+ authorship on single and multi-author blogs, and establish authority and validity with Google. Benefits include more visual results that stand out in search, and (potentially at least) higher search rankings.

Pandas and penguins aren’t generally viewed as terrifying creatures in the natural world, and they don’t have to be frightening online either. With a few SEO best practices and implementation of a WPO strategy, you can tame these Google beasts and maximize online visibility for your brand.

 

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25 of the Best Web Presence Optimization Guides of 2012

The past year has seen a steady flow of thoughtful articles and blog posts dealing with topics like the changing world of SEO, the convergence of search and social, the growing importance of PR in website rankings, the critical role content marketing plays in online visibility, the need to coordinate the efforts of various types on digital marketing experts…in short,  about web presence optimization (WPO)–even if most of the authors don’t actually use that term. Best WPO Guides and Tips of 2012

WPO is the overarching term and concept that these writers are searching for to describe the significant and undeniable changes that have taken place in the search landscape over the past 12-18 months. Backlinks still matter—but the quality of those links matters more than the quantity (indeed, sites can even be penalized for having too many spammy, low-quality backlinks pointing to them). PR, social media, and the production of fresh, high-quality content are vital for maximizing search engine visibility. Online advertising doesn’t directly affect organic search, but it is a vital component of online visibility and can support social and content marketing efforts.

Whether they use the WPO term or not, the authors here deal with a range of compelling questions related to optimizing visibility on the web today, such as: what is “influencer marketing” and why does it matter? How is the role of social media evolving in online visibility? How are agencies and brands successfully integrating owned, earned and paid media efforts? How can you best manage a team of digital marketing professionals to coordinate and optimize overall efforts?

You’ll find the answers to those questions and many more here in more than two dozen of the best WPO guides, tips,  tactics and strategies of the past year.

Influencer Marketing – What it is, and Why YOU Need to be Doing it by The Daily SEO Blog Eric Enge

Eric Enge notes that while quality content is a vital component to maximizing online visibility, “superior content is not enough. Unless the world gets to know about it your superior content will get you nowhere. You have to have a way to get the word out. This is where ‘Influencer Marketing’ comes into play. By definition, influencers reach a lot of people (often more than you do), and they have the ability to influence people’s opinions.” He then explains, in richly illustrated detail,  how to identify the influencers in your market and persuade them to amplify your content.

The Real Relationship between Social Media and SEO by SocialMouths Brad Shorr

Writing that “Everybody knows social media and SEO are connected, but how?…Unfortunately, it’s hard to sort things out because the social-SEO relationship is becoming more intertwined (some would say, muddled) all the time,” (well, that’s why a sound WPO strategy is required, but anyway…) Brad Shorr first distinguishes between rankings (which are what your website gets) and overall display visibility (which includes ads, third party content about you,  news, etc. and is much more important) then lists 10 action steps to focus “on social media activities that have SEO impact.”

Why the future of marketing relies on social by iMedia Connection Curtis_Hougland

Curtis Hougland reports that “The average shopper in 2011 used an incredible 10.4 sources of information to make a decision. Simply, there is no epicenter to your marketing any more — not the advertising, not the website, not the store, not the social channel.” He then explains how this insight requires a change in behavior in terms of how marketing teams approach brand, awareness, structure and channels. (It’s also a driving factor behind the WPO framework.)

Brand Choreography Through Integrated Marketing Communications by Blue Focus Marketing Mark Burgess

Observing that “the subject of Integrated Marketing Communications is hotter than ever It’s a source of competitive advantage. However, both planning and executing remain a challenge,” Mark Burgess outlines a strategy for what he terms “brand choreography,” essentially communicating a consistent brand message across multiple media channels. He concludes that “Marketers must explore new methods to leverage all elements of the communication mix—advertising, sales promotion, PR, direct marketing, search, Web, and social media—into a single, cohesive, holistic approach.” Which is WPO.

Marketing Research Chart: Does your organization have an inbound strategy? by MarketingSherpa Kaci Bower

Kaci Bower reports on MarketingSherpa research showing that “while three quarters of organizations think integration of SEO and social is essential,” less than half of marketers are integrating these tactics (much less content optimization, PR and SEM). But they should be: “the integration of these complementary tactics improves conversion rates. Our research showed a 59% improvement in conversion rates from organic search traffic for marketers who integrated social media and SEO, over those who did not.”

SEM + SEO [PRESENTATION] by e-Strategy Trends David Erickson

David Erickson shares a presentation from Performics detailing “the cumulative and powerful effect of combining search engine advertising and search engine optimization.” Among the findings presented: “Paid search ads increase clicks to your site, even if you have the #1 organic listing on the search results page,” and a unified web presence strategy will ultimately drive more traffic to a web site than doing organic or paid search alone—or, for that matter, with PR, social or industry marketing.

How to integrate your paid, owned, and earned media by iMedia Connection

Rebecca LiebNoting that while “agencies recognize the importance of integrating these three media channels for marketing effectiveness…agency revenue models, particularly media agency models, are potentially threatened by integrating paid, owned, and earned media,” the awesome Rebecca Lieb explains how to get it done, including ensuring that the agency understands the importance of (WPO) metrics.

Search in A World Of Converged Media by MediaPost Search Insider Ryan DeShazer

Expanding a bit on Rebecca’s post (above), the brilliant Ryan DeShazer recommends that digital marketers take on the role of “orchestrators” of “all facets of digital and traditional marketing” (or in other words, web presence optimization), and that they use thought leadership as a marketing communications hub.

Search Critical in Brand-Building Strategies by eMarketer

“Search is where the audience can be found,” according to research from eMarketer, noting that 85% of U.S. internet users used search engines either daily or fairly often. Furthermore, “Brands need search—and not just paid ads and higher organic rankings—to help them achieve their overall marketing goals…(but) since search does not stand on its own, all brands should continually develop a broad range of destinations and content that take advantage of the keywords, key phrases and language the target audience uses.” In other words, WPO.

Why social media agencies are a farce by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS

David WatermanWriting that “When I first saw social media agencies starting to pop up all over the place, I started to wonder if there were ever fax marketing agencies. Was there a rush of ambitious entrepreneurs setting up shop to offer fax marketing services when fax machines were brand spankin’ new just because they knew how to use one?,” David Waterman brilliantly drives home the point that social media needs to be integrated into overall online marketing efforts.

Though he doesn’t use the term WPO specifically, he does offer this succinct analysis in support of the WPO model: “For example, you can take any part of his statement, swap the order, and still be left with a valid statement:

– SEO is part social media, audience development, part advertising, and part PR.
– PR is part SEO, part audience development, part advertising, and part social media.
– Audience development is part SEO, part social media, part advertising, and part PR.
– Advertising is part SEO, part audience development, part social media, and part PR.”

Top Inbound Marketing Activities For SEO [CHART] by e-Strategy Trends

David Erickson (again) presents some interesting data on how SEO pros handle inbound marketing. Of the top 10 activities, only a few are “traditional SEO” tasks; the others are focused on social media, analytics, competitive analysis, and content development. As the lines between different specialties continue to blur, silos will have to be eliminated in favor of coordinated efforts.

The Search Power of Brand  by SEO Book Peter Da Vanzo

Contending that “Having a clear identity (brand) makes you memorable. People will remember your site name. People will search for your site name. And when enough people do that, then there is little chance Google can ever drop you below number #1 for brand searches. If you get it right, Google will even rank you against relevant related keywords you aren’t targeting,” Peter Da Vanzo argues that building a strong brand online is as important for SEO (and web presence more broadly) as traditional generic keyword optimization techniques. He concludes that “SEO, and wider marketing and brand strategy, will all meld together,” which is a pretty good description of WPO strategy.

Why PR Should Not Own SEO (Nor Social Media or Content Marketing) by Social Marketing Forum J-P DeClerck

Observing that “Since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, social interaction and relevant content have become more important for search engine optimization (SEO) than ever before. Social media, content marketing and search (SEO and SEA) must be integrated,” the insightful J-P De Clerck concludes that “No channel or tactic should be isolated and no department should own a tactic.” Indeed! The different disciplines need to be unified under a comprehensive approach to web presence.

Investing in SEO: Marketers Do More SEO than They Think by iMedia Connection Krista LaRiviere

Krista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, offers some excellent guidance on creating a content marketing strategy that incorporates content development, SEO, social media, PR, video, email marketing and paid search in an integrated fashion. She also shares some slightly misleading numbers, claiming that “94% of searchers click through on organic search results, and that the top three positions in Google earn 61% of the clicks” while just 6% of clicks are on paid search results (ads). While this is true for the universe of all search results, for commercial searches (that is, those searches where a user is looking for information about a product or service in support of a buying decision), clicks on paid results are significantly higher.

Content Optimization Beyond Search [INFOGRAPHIC] by eStrategy Trends

David Erickson (yet again) presents a fascinating infographic on, as the title implies, the importance of optimizing content beyond search. While search is still vital, web users are increasing discovering content througn social networks and social sharing (and search engines are increasingly considering social signals in rankings), meaning that – content needs to be compelling and optimized (and promoted) in channels beyond search.

SEO, Social and Content Marketing in Top Demand by eMarketer

Research from eMarketer shows that nearly a quarter of marketers spend time on content marketing, social media and SEO on a daily basis, and that “over two-thirds of online marketers worldwide generated short-form content assets such as blog posts, social media updates, articles and guides—all of which are used in SEO, social media and content marketing.” We’d add that combining these tactics is even more effective when done by a team focusing on coordinated WPO objectives.

Five Ways to Maximize your Digital Marketing Team by Digital Marketing Suite

Jani Rayner offers tips to “get the best from digital teams,” such as encouraging “the Display, Social and Search teams to work closely together – you will be surprised (or perhaps not) how often this doesn’t happen,” and scheduling regular monthly report[http://wpoinc.com/wpo-metrics-dashboard/business-wpo-metrics-pricing/].

5 Killer SEO Insights from Analyzing a Billion Dollars in AdWords Spend by The Daily DEO Blog
***** 5 STARS Larry Kim

WordStream founder and CTO Larry Kim, slumming on an SEOmoz blog, presents five key insights gained from analyzing an enormous quantity of SEM data, including the average cost of keyword clicks by industry (in the b2b technology realm where we dwell, it ranges from $1.11 to $1.67), to the phenomenal growth in paid search clicks (driven by Google utilizing more screen real estate for these) to demonstrating how the Google display network is effective and complementary to organic SEO efforts. As with WPO, it all works together.

Go Alexa Pro and improve your SEO by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie PelserBerrie Pelser showcases an infographic from Michelle Shaeffer detailing how she took her blog to a top 100K rank on Alexa using social media, guest blogging, article marketing, news releases…in other words (without quite using the words), through web presence optimization.

Search Marketing: Time To Re-engineer by MediaPost Marketing Daily

Contending that “Long the afterthought of the digital marketing tool kit, ‘search’ is emerging as a nexus between consumer behavior and real-time data. In fact…search must be viewed as a strategic imperative in today’s convergent marketplace…But in order for search to be truly effective, the way we approach it must evolve,” Sargi Mann outlines three key areas that must be addressed and warns against slipping into “turf wars” of disconnected areas of expertise.

6 Small Business Marketing Trends for 2013 by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThe insightful Debra Murphy outlines six key trends that will affect small business online visibility in 2013, including content marketing, mobile support, and most importantly, “Web presence optimization is the future…(it) helps you consistently increase the digital footprint for your business. Expanding your presence onto the proper social media sites creates more visibility for your brand, enables you to network with people online in addition to offline, and attracts your ideal client through useful information and tools that help them solve a specific problem.”

SEO – Content | Confusion | Clarity by Search Engine Watch Andy Betts

Andy Betts writes that SEO professionals are no longer just tactical implementers, or strategic thinkers, or content marketers, but all of those plus being “holistic and integrated digital marketer(s).” He details the changes forced by Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, comments on the convergence of paid/earned/owned media, and muses about the importance of content production and distribution in this excellent post.

It’s Still the Wild West for Digital Marketers. Get Excited. by BuzzStream Blog Dan Tynski

Dan Tynski discuss recent changes to the search markeing landscape and concludes that “If you consider yourself an just an SEO, it is probably time to shift your perspective. Ranking well in Google has become much much more than it was in years past where typical SEO tactics alone could lead you or your clients to success. This new era requires that you become a digital content and online PR expert.” Or perhaps a maestro of web presence optimization, coordinating the efforts of all of the different experts involved in online presence (PR, SEO, content development, social media, PPC) to maximize total online visibility for a company or brand.

Seven Principles to Building an Online Reputation by Spin Sucks

Gini DietrichPR expert and author Gini Dietrich shares a presentation and guidance on building an online reputation. Among her key principles: create engaging and valuable content; build a community (“you don’t have a community until people begin talking to one another without the help of the blog’s author”); and comment on other content (her example proves that you never know where this may lead).

Breakdown Of A Person’s Google Results by The Backup List

Though WPO and online reputation management are commonly thought and written about in terms of companies and brands, the same principles apply to an individual’s online presence. Here, Mark Hayes shares an infographic detailing “how people look in Google,” from key points to know (such as that one billion individual names are searched on Google each day, but only half of people own the top result for their own name) to how to make your individual online presence more positive.

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