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About Joseph Lancaster

Joseph Lancaster is founder and senior marketing consultant at SurfingExpert.

Online Marketing isn’t the only marketing you need.

April 16, 2013Joseph LancasterInternet MarketingComments Off

Online marketing is great to promote your website or online presence through internet advertising or search engine marketing. For small businesses, especially those ran from home or single offices, the lack of different departments can affect roles and focus. Those who wear many hats in start-ups for example might be so busy with tasks that they don’t see the larger picture other than the desired end result. You can ask yourself just three simple questions to come up with a definition to give

I used to work at a technical recruiting office. Our clients needed people to interview and so we also needed candidates and clients. The owner would office say, “focus” aloud to us or to himself but focus needs direction. You and your office, even if it is just two, can get this by defining what you do, for whom and how — outside of the daily tasks or the weekly goals.

If you sell t-shirts, who’s your target market, and don’t just answer, “anyone who wears clothing”. Really think about who would buy your shirts and why. What makes you different than the other t-shirt company? This is easily with services but can get tricky if you stay too general.

Ask yourself these three questions and come up with a statement that defines what your office does outside of the tactical and create more office focus for the strategy you’d like to achieve.

  • What do you do or sell, specifically?
  • Who do you sell or provide services for, exactly?
  • What makes you different from other similar companies or products?

Use this paragraph to remind your team what they should be focusing on in the long-term. Only together can you all reach the goals of the office. Share this also with your vendors, suppliers and external staff or agencies so that they can also better understand what you need to succeed. In some cases they can offer more insight, products or services to help you outside of just what you asked for during partnership increasing your productivity and drive towards your business’ best outcome.

What and when to post on Facebook

June 21, 2012Joseph LancasterInternet MarketingComments Off

Knowing what and when to post on Facebook (or any other social media website for that matter) can help you understand how to get the most out of each posting. You’ll be able to get more likes, shares and comments which help to further promote not just the post, but also your page/profile by having more engagement from users. This engagement is also seen by the user’s friends and subscribers having an even larger impact.

This data is nothing new,  and has been rehashed many times over. So, it’s been proven many times and can therefor truly help you out in your social marketing campaign. Post when the most people are online, post items that engage the user to share, like or comment. Even asking questions or telling them to like something works. It’s all about interacting with them and not just talking TO them.

Which of these are you trying now that work for you? What other ways do you see works great for your social marketing?

  • Photos receive the most engagement followed by text and then video
  • Posting links to news receive the least numbers of likes, shares or comments
  • Visual Content works very well on Facebook
  • Text posts will bring in the most comment engagement
  • You’ll get more shares and likes if you post later in the day
  • You’ll get more likes if your post is either very short or very long
  • You’ll get more shares if the post is long (sharing value)
  • Using “I” and “me” in your post get more likes
  • Posts with a “neutral” tone go unnoticed
  • You’ll get more comments with negative post than positive
  • Weekend posts receive higher like percentage compare to weekday posts
  • Most active users are found very early such as 5am or at lunch time

Making your content marketable to humans

June 13, 2012Joseph LancasterInternet MarketingComments Off

Not everything must be marketing. There’s still operations to tend to, design, writing, editing, (which seem to be a large part of marketing these days) and of course reading. May was a month of discovery. From what was thought to be a crazy shift here from PCs to Macs to the mundane such as “how to remove the dot from the letter “i” in Photoshop (highlight the “i” and press SHIFT OPTION B on a mac). But one thing we’ve learned is that there is still much to learn and share about marketing no matter which aspect — design or content.

Wait! There’s a pop quiz at the end of this short article.

Infographic by Ivan Cash

For small businesses, marketing online is a full-time job including both design and content. But as hard as that is for some, it’s actually getting more difficult. Design needs to be fresher and articles need to be well written to address busier users, those on mobile devices who seek easy to digest articles along with easy takeaway information while at the same time satisfying the search engines with their own criteria.

Quick thoughts about making your content work for you, not against you:

  • Stay away from “information overload” and focus on what is key.

  • Make your points and finish the article.

  • It’s not a book, don’t repeat yourself.

  • Write for humans first.

  • If something is difficult to say, put it in pictures.

  • Offer easy takeaways such as lists or questions.

  • Add graphics so that users are likely to stay and read.

  • Real photos, not stock, help to humanize corporate sites.

Think of the websites you use regularly, the ones you engage with, not the big boys you think you want to be and then see what they are doing to grab your attention. Ask yourself, “why do I continue to come to this website?” Then, review your website, ask yourself, friends, family what it lacks, what feels heavy and what is a bore.

Don’t jump to any one thing but work on a strategy to fix or add to the site changes that might help reduct your bounce rate, increase user’s returning and most important their trust to purchase. Make content sticky too so that readers want to share it socially. You’ll see a huge impact on your site’s traffic and return visits.

This article has both flaws and good practices. Can you see them? Comment or share below!

Ran out of ideas to write about on your blog?

Our company...There are times when it is hard to write about your business. You’ve covered all of your products or services, talked about your company’s history, vision and future, and so on. Well, now you are stuck and don’t know what to write about  but you want to create something you think the search engines will like. Well there’s hope and it comes from insight about Google’s latest change.

Fist I’ll cover a quick way to regenerate content. That’s right. But not taking an old story and re-write it as a new one. Rather, take a look at that old article and see if there is room for improvement. Google’s newest changes were Panda 3.5 and Penguin. Now, Penguin has to do with on-page filtering of content that was poorly written while they seek well organized paragraphs, no typos, consistency in context and low over use of optimization. In other words, they now seek those pages that keep it VERY real (there are pages ranking well for certain keywords where the article is a spot on match even though it didn’t use the exact keyword searched).

From this information, you’ll want to review your entire website’s content and make sure it’s solid. I love this since optimization to me has always been just that — optimal changes for best practices for search. Make edits where needed but don’t re-write and save as an entirely new document. That could be seen as similar content. I didn’t say duplicate (where it’s an exact match) but similar enough to where search engines find that you’ve already covered this content elsewhere and they won’t use this new similar article for your benefit.

Next, as you are reviewing your articles, see if something was left out or that changed which can be covered on it’s own in a new article. If you think you can cover it in a 300-500 word article, start writing. But if you still find yourself caught without anything to write about, think about creating a writing plan. My mother owned and published a magazine and would have monthly editorial calendar to coincide with each new issue. She’d know what to cover in the “Spring Issue” or the “Holiday Issue”. Your business too can succeed from this. Think of your products or services and how they relate to seasons, times of the year, tax time, spring break, etc. and create an editorial road map to make finding ideas easier.

Here’s a quick list of take-a-ways from this article. See anything you’d add to make writing easier? Leave comments below and like if you found it useful.

  • Don’t get caught up in keywords and phrases to use.
  • Instead of writing while thinking of keywords, think of a topic.
  • Instead of using exact keywords, use your real way of communicating.
  • Use parts of existing sentences rather than keywords to link to other pages.
  • Describe images to the blind in ALT tags rather than written for search engines.
  • Have a plan for your entire year to use for writing articles, news and publications.

 

Quick Points about Fixing Google Penguin Issues

May 8, 2012Joseph LancasterInternet MarketingComments Off

How can I fix my site after the Google Penguin update?

If your site was indeed affected and needs fixes, look at the keywords that dropped. Did you over optimize those words, are there pages that are affected more than others? Was the over optimization over zealous links externally pointing to your site? If it’s links you will need to remove the spammy links if you can or call and ask site owners to remove them for you. If this isn’t possible you’ll just have to over time have quality links added to your site. I say have added since Google is looking for you adding links. Read more →

Google Penguin Insight Using Google’s Webmaster’s Tools

May 8, 2012Joseph LancasterInternet MarketingComments Off

Out of all of our clients only one site was hit by Google’s latest update called Penguin so I needed to do a little digging. A drop in traffic according to Google Analytics is not fun to see. Especially for me, I’m the SEO guy, right? Plus, I am highly competitive so I next want to know why this happened, was it us or something prior to our work, and most importantly is it something that can be fixed.

If you’ve come to this post because you too see a site that has lost traffic and are worried about what this means and are looking for answers you may be at the right place. I say “may” since this post is more about finding answers than just handing out the general do’s and don’ts of Google and their best practices guide. Google Penguin is more than just finding sites that are over optimized or seo spammed. Think of what Google is trying to accomplish. They are trying to get better results, especially the right results for the right people matched with the best website. Read more →

Google Launches Two New Updates for Better Results

May 1, 2012Joseph LancasterInternet MarketingComments Off

Is my site safe from Google’s new Penguin update? In Google’s continuation to better their search results (and to directly fight the cheating SEOs we’ve discussed) they have just rolled out a new search code algorythm called Penguin.

It’s a cute name but a serious update for the spammers out there. We’ve worked hard to keep sites high in the search rankings while sites employing bad SEO tactics still quickly chased at our heels despite our safe “white-hat” SEO methods. But hasn’t Google always been fighting this? What’s new about Google’s latest search code update?

Read more →

All About Yelp for Business

Yelp Reviews

Yelp reviews explained and how to manage them.

Don’t bite the hand that reviews the hand that feeds you.

Let’s clarify a few things before we get too deep. You don’t have total control over which reviews are posted and which are not. You can not prevent people from posting on Yelp bad reviews. Nor can you post fake yelp reviews. And lastly, Yelp does not manipulate your reviews for any reason unless they are outside of Yelp’s terms of use. I’ll attempt to explain how you can manage your reviews to keep them fair and honest while giving you more from Yelp. Plus tips on dealing with negative reviews and Yelp’s review filter. Read more →

SEO Packages

April 10, 2012Joseph LancasterFeaturedComments Off

WordPress Consulting

April 9, 2012Joseph LancasterFeaturedComments Off
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