SEO: Three Easy Pro-Tips

Written by Aaron Houghton of www.boostsuite.com

Three Easy Pro-Tips for Search Engine Optimization – SEO

Aaron Houghton is a co-founder and CEO at BoostSuite.com, the collaborative marketing platform for small businesses. Aaron has over 15 years experience building and selling marketing products to small businesses around the globe.

When it comes to promoting your website with search engine optimization (SEO) you’ll hear the most obvious advice just about everywhere you turn. Write about relevant topics. Make sure to include your keywords in your page titles and large text headlines. If you’re going to promote your business with search engine optimization then these rules are table stakes.

But when it comes to turbocharging your search engine optimization strategy, there are a few things that can really push you ahead. Follow these tips and you’ll likely take advantage of huge opportunities that your competitors haven’t even considered trying yet.

Secret #1: Set Up a Google Plus Account

Seriously. No it’s not because all of your customers are already using Google Plus. They probably aren’t, even though the budding social network is growing rather quickly. You need to do this because Google is the company behind Google Plus and Google Search.

If you want your website to rank highly in the search engines you must claim a personal Google Plus profile and begin tying it back into the content on your website. Here’s how.

Every time you write a new blog post make sure to link your author bio back to your Google Plus profile. Google will notice the author attribution and will start using the photo associated with your Google Plus profile alongside your pages when they are displayed in the search engine results.

Having an author image beside a page result has been shown to increase clickthroughs from searchers by 150%. There is no better way to get an INSTANT lift in search engine traffic than to increase the rate at which searchers click through to your pages. And adding Google Plus links to your new blog posts is incredibly easy to do.

Secret #2: Let Your Customers Guide Your Content Creation

Everyone knows that creating good content on your website is essential to attracting visitors from search engines and social networks. But the most obvious way to make sure you have a great content is often overlooked.

Great content is content that is really interesting to your most valuable new customers. And the best way to learn what your new customers want to learn about is to ask them. Just a few simple questions can guide your content strategy in amazing ways.

Ask for unanswered questions they have about your business. Ask them to explain your products or services to you in their own words. Ask them why they purchased your products instead of your competitors’ products. Ask them what worries them most about their businesses as they look at the next year.

Then get to work. Write new content for your website and online marketing channels that answers these questions and solves your customers’ biggest problems. There is no better content strategy than one that is driven from your actual target audience. You can never guess everything they need. So don’t guess, ask.

Secret #3: Test Headlines On Your Most Important Pages

Search engine optimization isn’t just about attracting visitors to your website, it’s about convincing them to stick around after they land on your site. In fact these two goals are highly tied together.

Google pays attention to how long visitors remain on your website after they send them there. Websites that frequently bounce visitors back to conduct another search in Google are penalized in the search engine results rankings. So you need your visitors to stick around for at least a minute or two if you expect to earn and hold a top position.

Since large text headlines are often the first things people read when they land on a web page, you need to be testing various headlines on the most popular pages on your website. Use a tool like Google Analytics to find pages that visitors reach first, then use a tool like Google Content Experiments to test different large headlines on these pages. Look at how each headline performs over time and pick the headline that convinces visitors to stick around for the longest time.

You’ll get more engaged website visitors and higher search engine rankings in result.

Never neglect the basics when it comes to search engine optimization. But if you’re already doing the most obvious stuff, follow these three tips and you’ll blow your competition away and you’ll take top rankings that will deliver your best new customers to your website first for a very long time.

 #SEO #Tips #SearchEngineOptimization

 

Phones Back to Watches: Reverse for the Better?

From phones back to watches: a reverse for the better? Nowadays, it’s simpler than ever before to manage our lives in the palm of our hands. We update our calendars, keep track of birthdays, social media accounts, emails… we’re even able to watch our favorite television shows and movies on a screen no bigger than our palm.

We remind ourselves of when and where we have to be and why and our smartphones help us get there. Now that wearable technology is finding a niche in this industry, we have the questions about why we need Google Glass or #smartwatches. Do we really want our tech on our heads and on our wrists? Can we really manage our lives through a pair of glasses or smart watches?

Phones Back to Watches: Reverse for the Better?
Image Source: Shutterstock
Phones Back to Watches: Reverse for the Better?

We Are What We Wear

A nascent version of the smartwatch, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, was a large, loud, and boxy device that appealed mostly to technology fanatics, not someone looking for a user-friendly experience. Nowadays, companies are attempting to create a more fashionable and more wearable gadget that will appeal to a more general public. The Moto 360 and LG’s Android Wear devices are smaller, less bulky, round like an actual watch, and have yet to be released. Will these devices fly off the shelves or gather dust?

While the smartwatch began as a fitness band and evolved to include a heart rate monitor and trackers for time, distance, speed, and other levels that could better inform an athlete, or someone trying to lose weight, about their performance, it’s speculative as to whether the Moto 360 or upcoming smartwatches will support health tracking. Smartwatches that benefit fitness and health run along the lines of the The Skully Helmet: technology used to change lives for the better. Will these smartwatches improve the lives of their users or act as superfluous gadgets that are more annoying than useful?

Friend or Foe?

Wearable tech that has real life applications, instead of just providing an extension to a device we already have, seems a lot more profound. No longer are mobile phones solely limited to calling and texting on-the-go. With today’s technology, we’re able to create and share our daily lives with the rest of the world and watch our favorite television shows and movies– all at the touch of a screen. Whether that be actually creating home videos or building an entire website, technology has come a long way and helps us stay connected with the world without skipping a beat.

A Silicon Valley startup, Skully Helmets, was named the best wearable tech company at a technology contest at South by Southwest on March 9th. The Skully Helmet is an “augmented-reality” motorcycle helmet that allows the wearer to see behind him without having to turn his head around. The helmet has a 180-degree rear-view camera that projects images onto a transparent headset display, a bit like Google Glass except in a helmet, so the driver never has to take his eyes of the road in front of him.

While some airlines, like Virgin Atlantic, are attempting to use Google Glass to improve the experience of their frequent fliers, major companies like Google are creating practical applications for smartwatches. SlashGear, a site dedicated to highlighting the latest trends in technology, predicts that the union between Google and Fossil will produce fashionable smartwatches that will be much more successful than those that have been sitting on shelves already.

Connecting Technology with More Technology

There’s a lot we can do with the technology we have today, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is happy. If we can connect our phones to our television sets (like the Apple TV and the iPhone remote app), why not connect our watches as well? While some smartwatches offer features that can set timers to capture images and video, it’s another thing to be able to actually view these memories on a device such as a smartwatch, which is exactly why many tech enthusiasts are looking for Apple to keep things ticking (pun completely intended).

Phones Back to Watches: Reverse for the Better?
Image Source: knowyourmobile.com
Phones Back to Watches: Reverse for the Better?

While there are still many rumors about the development of Apple’s “iWatch”, most of them are trending in the health industry, spreading talks about Apple planning some kind of health and sport-focused device that will help predict heart attacks and other health issues. Then again, these are all just rumors and no one is 100% sure about the final concept.

Can these major companies play their cards right in creating the next best thing in wearable tech? Will receiving notifications, text messages, and other alerts on our wrists be more helpful than annoying? In a world where the paths of the internet and our real, physical lives are converging more and more often, is an iWatch the next big step? Whether or not you’re in love with the idea of a phone for your wrist or not, you’ll have plenty of smartwatch options to choose from this year (not if you’re on a budget, though).

Camille McClane is an writer and online entrepreneur living in Southern California. She holds a strong passion for technology, and often enjoys sharing her knowledge about it through her writing. She is honored to have had the opportunity to contribute to KeyWestVideo.com.

Must-Have Tech for Retail Business

The future of storefronts: must-have technology for your retail business. As the volume of purchasing through e-commerce only grows at an exponential level, many traditional brick-and-mortar operations are left scratching their heads.

On the one hand, for many people there’s no replacement for physically browsing an actual storefront, so the niche boutique, for example, is not facing extinction. On the other, given the ease with which consumers can buy online, in-the-flesh retailers are scrambling for ways to make the experience of an in-store visit unique — and paradoxically, this increasingly means the use of more technology. Here are a few emerging ways traditional store owners can fight fire with fire.

POS innovations

Whatever the bells and whistles, the retail experience is all about hearing the cash register ring — although today that may need not happen literally. While many stores may not need the upgrade, a number of new technologies enable a more flexible point of sale experience for customers.

The most obvious is the use of smart phones. Transforming mobile devices into encrypted credit card machines, these interfaces can be a godsend when dealing with a crowded counter, not to mention pop-up style vendors for whom a traditional register is too unwieldy. Other retailers are deciding to simply redefine the conventional counter-top with custom-made “registers” made up of POS-enabled tablets mounted on a chic platform that syncs with the storefront’s aesthetics.

Must-Have Tech for Retail Business
Will Your Phone be Tracked When You Shop? (Image: marsmettnn tallahassee: Flickr.com)

Other POS mod cons are also already afoot, including self-checkout and RFID tags (as an alternative to bar codes). However, while some consumers love the convenience of bypassing old school cashier lines, others find the fully-automated experience too impersonal, so such devices should support flesh-and-blood customer service, not replace it. By the same token, a store’s e-commerce website should be an extended part of the storefront’s personality, not a separately conceived entity.

Video

Large retailers have for years used banks of television  screens to enhance the in-store experience, but new advances in display, video capture, and editing now enable smaller operations to play the same game — and even up the stakes.

Take the trendy surf wear brand Hollister for example. The chain’s Manhattan outlet features a wall of flat screens to stream a live feed of goings-on in its store in Huntington Beach (which prominently features a pool of water). By visually importing Surf City to the Big Apple, Hollister not only creates a perfect manifestation of its coast-to-coast presence, it forges a unique experience that relies on being in a specific place and time.

In-store tracking

Here’s one area in which a gap between public perception and technological ability must be smoothed over before retailers can take full advantage. Understandably, people often feel an instinctive unease when they know they’re being watched in some way, even when stores assure them the purpose for monitoring is to better serve them However, the tech in question simply makes note of shopping patterns while on site, but ostensibly won’t compromise visitors’ data, so it’s worth it for retailers to get the bugs out.

Must-Have Tech for Retail Business
Shopify is a trusted source for payment tech. (Image Courtesy of Lester Chan – Flickr.com)

The more insidious of current tracking technology uses the MAC address of mobile devices in which WiFi has been enabled (which means most of them). As a customer browses the shop, her phone will leave a data impression of what departments were visited, for how long, and so forth. That data will never be tied to the visitor’s identity, and can be a rich source of demographic analytical information for stores. Still, retailers have already been slammed for using such tracking without disclosure, so this useful device still needs to be vetted out with care.

The underlying secret is not so much to blindside customers with an assault of tech than to use digitally-based gadgetry to create an experience no online simulation can provide. In-store events and promotions (as well as related social media strategies) may become increasingly important for brick-and-mortar operations. In the end, however, face-to-face people skills and broad competence in hospitality may be the true decider. Now as ever, technology is only as good as the people using it.

Camille McClane is a writer, researcher and editor who enjoys creating content on social media, tech and marketing-related topics. She hopes you enjoy this article!

Google Hangouts Increases Conversions

Google has long been at the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to their products. From Gmail to Google Glass, they do things in a different, and often better, way. So it came as no surprise that when Google+ landed among the Facebook-dominated social media arena, they found a way to stand out. One of the main advantages is the Google Hangout: a live video conference call for up to 10 participants and limitless observers. For businesses large and small, this provides a whole new method for turning site visitors into customers.

Google Hangouts Increases Conversions
Google Hangout

Promotion. Google Hangouts not only offer live streaming video, it also allows you to record and edit a Hangout at your convenience. You might want to show off a new product to a group of clients, allow them to interact with the demonstration and make the whole thing visible to everyone on the web by posting the final video on your website. Since added participants are optional, you can also use it as your own personal platform to broadcast whatever information about your company you’d like on video. Rather than creating a separate following on YouTube, you can alert your existing followers on Google+ to your new product without having to lead them to another online venue. You’re also set up to conduct product reviews, announcements, and any other promotional needs you might have.

Q&A Sessions. Customers like to be informed. They want up-to-date, reliable information. If a new potential customer is interested in your products, but doesn’t yet trust you, you might consider hosting a live Question and Answer with an Expert. If you bring in an expert in your field, they can field live questions from interested parties. This supplies not just information, but trust and confidence in your brand, providing a more solid base of trust for potential customers to rely on. The New York times hosted a Q&A-type Hangout with a couple of players during basketball season. Dell is also a big believer in the Hangout.

Google Hangouts Increases Conversions
Google Hangouts

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Meetings. Sales aren’t only about the customers, of course. If you have an amazing product but a disorganized company, you’re likely to inhibit your own success. These days, it is so much easier, and more common, for employees to work from various different regions at the same time. This can make communication difficult, and thereby reduce your productivity and sales. Google Hangout makes it easy to have face time with everyone all at once, without worrying about junk mail filters, bad cell connections or expensive conference call hardware.

Customer Service. It’s important for your customers to feel valuable to your company, and nothing communicates their importance more effectively than great customer service. Google Hangouts adds one more level to the ways in which you and your customers communicate. Perhaps your customer service department needs to see the exact issue a customer is having if it’s difficult to describe, or maybe several people are having the same issue and a live discussion helps them feel their input is both received and heard. Another method might be prerecording several Frequently Asked Questions, editing them and posting them on your site so that all your customers can find help in one, single location.

Enhance the User Experience. The Internet has made it easier for brands to expand themselves onto different mediums in a way that is easily accessible to its clientele. Glamour Magazine has hosted several different Hangouts that offer behind-the-scenes looks at their featured content. The print and video mediums are more closely linked than ever before thanks to the interconnectivity of video and text with Google Hangout.

Camille McClane is a writer and tech enthusiast with a passion for social media. She has recently been studying Google and the functionality of all of their products, and also frequently contributes the HostPapa.co.uk blog. She hopes you enjoy this article!

From VHS to MP4: A Timeline of Video Formats

Video formats have come an incredibly long way in the past few decades.

Technology is ever-advancing; it is constantly changing and being improved upon, a trait that directly impacts and affects the video industry, who in turn are continually having to vary the format of their videos in order to keep up to date with modern technology. The video formats that you have used in the past are greatly dependent upon how old you are. Let’s take a look at the various video formats in more detail:

1975, Betamax: Betamax is considered to have started the home video revolution. Created by Sony, the Betamax system allowed users to record television broadcasts and view movies at home, something that they were unable to do until this point. By the late 1980’s Betamax became obsolete, losing the video format war to its rival VHS.

From VHS to MP4: A Timeline of Video Formats
Sony C5 Betamax Video Recorder

1976, VHS: VHS is an abbreviation for Video Home System. It was launched in 1976 after being created in Japan by the Victor Company. VHS is an analogue recording videotape cassette, encoded in FM on a magnetic tape. The magnetic oxide particles are rearranged to encode video and audio signals. VHS finally fizzled out in 2007/2008 after a steep decline in sales of both VHS players and individual videos.

From VHS to MP4: A Timeline of Video Formats
VHS

1978, LaserDisc: The LaserDisc was created in North America by Phillips, MCA and Pioneer, which is where it was initially licensed and sold before being released globally. This was the first time optical discs had been used for storage, offering higher quality video and audio than VHS was able to provide and using NTSC/PAL encoding. Though these discs offered many benefits over VHS, they did not gain in popularity due in part to the high costs involved in purchasing the player and the discs, and also because they could playback but not record, and the discs were too large only holding approximately an hour of video content.

1980’s, Video8: Video8 was released as a new format to filming videos, with the audio being of a much higher quality due to Video8 device using audio frequency modulation to record the audio along the same path as the video. In the late 80’s, Video8 was developed into Hi8, which increased the recorded bandwidth of the signal improving the resolution to laserdisc quality. In 1999 Digital8 was introduced, and it is this that rivals MiniDV in our current video format market.

1996, DV Video: DV Video is the ideal format for anyone wanting to edit his or her videos. DV stands for Digital Video. It compresses within every frame rather than between consecutive frames allowing it be edited easier and it uses a Firewire (IEEE 1394) interface to allow the video to be transferred between camera, desktop, editing equipment etc. HD DV is now also available, as are MiniDV’s.

1997, DVD: Launched in 1997, the DVD was set to replace all earlier video formats, including the VHS and Betamax. Due to the advantages DVD had over previous video formats, it quickly became the leading format for the distribution of pre-recorded material, as well as being able to store computer information and data. One DVD can hold up to 4.7GB of data, i.e. 2-3 hours of standard video.

2001, MP4: MP4 (or MPEG-4) was released in 2001, offering a new level of flexibility for video formatting. MP4 format has been backed strongly by Apple, and it is the format used in QuickTime players. MP4 is applied in a number of other formats, for example, 3GP and 3G2 both use P4 as a video container.

2006, Blu-Ray: Blu-ray is an improvement over DVD’s, allowing much higher storage of up to 25GB for standard Blu-ray discs and up to 50GB for double layered Blu-ray discs, which is equivalent to approximately 4.5 of HD video or 20 hours of standard video. Blu-ray is supportive of 1080p resolution, which is considered to be the best high definition format, compressions MPEG-2, AVC MPEG-4, VC-1.

2006, HD DVD: HD DVD was launched at a similar time as Blu-ray, and competed with Blu-ray up until 2008, where it finally lost the battle after Toshiba announced it would stop manufacturing and developing HD DVD players.

About the author: Tom Black, Indie film producer and video marketing expert from Slinky Production in Birmingham, UK.