Advice from social media and SEO expert Lisa Weinberger

Originally published on TechRepublic. Interview by Nicole Nash.

During a very busy travel year, training internal teams and speaking at conferences, this interview was completed on a 6-hour plane ride.

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If you want to integrate SEO into your social media strategy, read this interview to learn one expert’s approach. She also reveals her favorite analytics, SEO, and social media tools.

Continue reading “Advice from social media and SEO expert Lisa Weinberger”

Breaking Down Silos: How to Help Your Team Win at SEO

Originally published on Conductor’s blog

Being in the SEO industry for 20 years as a consultant and a director — most recently, the Director of SEO, Content and Social Media for Vitacost.com – I see the same problem at every company I work at: a severe lack of communication between departments.

When educating an organization on integrated marketing and the importance of SEO in every decision, these are the management tactics I’ve found to be the most useful in pushing that message across.

But first: do your homework!

Observe what is and isn’t working within your organization

We have all heard about the “silos” which occur within organizations, or lack of communication between departments. Often this doesn’t happen consciously – it’s simply a product of monotonous everyday tasks.

As an outsider looking in, or as a newbie to a company, I like to observe and learn the current processes and procedures of how teams work together for the first few weeks. There is a lot of listening, taking notes, and reviewing similar complaints from various stakeholders within departments.

Ask yourself: are all departments communicating the right things?

What I typically find is that everyone wants the organization to succeed and everyone is passionate about his or her contribution to the company; no doubt, that’s a great environment to be a part of.

But when it comes to communication between departments, complaints are often similar. The departments are communicating, just not about the right things. They aren’t talking about what is necessary to move forward and reach goals.

4 Tactics That Have Been Phenomenally Successful For Breaking Down Silos

1. Set up bi-weekly meetings to make sure everyone knows what’s happening.

At Vitacost.com, I first observed a disconnect between merchandising, onsite promotions, the blog content team, and the social media team. Through discussion, we discovered that no one knew about the hefty amount of social media promotion is done or the contests being executed. These contests occur weekly and monthly with specific vendors, and the social media and content teams were the only ones aware of it.

We started a bi-weekly meeting as well as check-in emails to make sure all parties were aware of the scheduled social promotions. After that discussion, everyone was open to communicating and working together that within a week — communication vastly improved. It was quite amazing to see the change happen so quickly.

2. Incorporate other departments’ needs into your editorial calendar.

The same occurred between the content team and the merchandising department. As we all know, content can make a huge impact on users wanting to stay on the site, especially if promoted to gain more engagement. Within a week after sharing my observation and suggestion of incorporating merchandising needs with the editorial calendar, both departments’ initiatives were fully integrated.

Team building occurred across the organization and I received many comments about improved communication. Now, these departments actually enjoy working together.

3. Inform with educational materials and “Lunch & Learns.”

For those who have ever heard me speak, you’ll notice I have a distinct accent (unless you’re from the Northeast!). I’ve learned from my years of teaching that getting people to listen and understand the importance of the words being spoken takes patience.

Building an environment that understands why SEO should be part of the overall discussions takes time. After all, SEO touches many pillars.

The first step in this process is to educate. I always get a few copies of Vanessa Fox’s book “Marketing in the Age of Google” and pass it out for the organization to read. Then, I hold training sessions and Q&As; we call these “Lunch and Learns.”

4. Create an SEO best practice guide.

We typically create guidelines for SEO best practices within the first 3 months. That way, the teams are all following the same approach. These guidelines have helped tremendously. During training, team building occurs across different departments without force.

Pave the way for the next generation of SEOs

In the past, I have mentored many digital marketing novices into becoming full-fledged SEOs. Not all have become solely focused on SEO, but they possess the knowledge within their domain to be a voice and an expert in SEO. Whether they are leading social media, web development, content strategy, or paid search campaigns, they are able to use SEO as their platform for success.

As a director, my approach and goal are to pass on expert knowledge to my teams so they can take it in, expand their careers, and keep progressing in the industry. The first generation of SEOs have paved the way — I can’t wait to see what the next generation has in store next for us.

How to Use Google Voice Search for SEO

how-use-google-voice-search-seo

When Google updates their homepage, switches how the search results are shown, or adds a stronger focus on voice search, as an SEO, I am never quite sure how it will affect my sites. Sometimes there is no change in our analytics, other times there is a slight bump and then there is doubling traffic month over month consistently for five months.

Some may know, I launched a personal finance website for the cannabis community a few years ago with my business partner. Through many phases, we settled on MarijuanaRates.com which is a free search comparison tool for consumers with analysis completed and delivered through editorial.

With cannabis not being federally regulated, banking can pose a challenge though each legalized state has come a long way with new merchant companies for the cannabis industry, to enable their service to be used in transactions; making it a bit safer for cannabis employees. Having a mainly cash business is a problem and hasn’t been fully solved, but there are many smart, determined individuals in the industry working hard to solve the dangers of this process. Also due to the federal laws, no paid search is allowed which means all our traffic is through organic rankings and outreach.

Voice Search Results

It was a Friday night in March, while I was discussing with my husband about how our traffic jumped up and couldn’t pinpoint the exact channel since it kept showing direct. He decided to “ask Google” about the prices of coffeemakers. Yes, we tend to have multiple topic conversations as we needed to buy a new one…. Google “gave” the answer about the Black & Decker coffeemaker price and visualize the lightbulb above my head turning on.

I screamed, “Ask Google How much is an ounce of Sour Diesel?” and BAM, Google’s answer to us, “According to MarijuanaRates.com…”

sour-diesel-google-answer-box

 

I screamed again (not that I couldn’t ask Google myself), “How much is an ounce of OG Kush?” Again! “According to MarijuanaRates.com…”og-kush-google-answer-box

This went on for easily an hour, asking all different questions and I screamed with excitement. Our daughter thought something was wrong as I explained to her, No, it’s just mommy and daddy’s business doing something amazing!

blue-dream-google-answer-box

We knew we had captured the Google Answer boxes months prior for much of our editorial pieces, but didn’t realize that when voice search began increasing, it also meant we were the site who gave the answer to the searcher’s query verbally! Not only in Google but all voice search in Siri, Bing and Alexa (yup we checked!).

In the past few months of monitoring our captured answer boxes, we have seen a few changes:

  1. Our featured image has been shown, then not shown, then shown again.
  2. Recently, Google is showing images from other sites but using our data and information for the answer.
  3. Originally the answer box was showing our charts aka rate tables for the answer and have switched to grabbing the actually written editorial as the answer. Not the rich snippet.
  4. Depending on the day, time of day, week, location; sometimes we hold the top ranking but Google doesn’t show the answer box.
  5. Sometimes the answer box will pull information from a different amount blog posting and then fix itself.

How do we use Google voice search in our SEO strategy? Continue to analyze what our community searches for and answer their queries through continued data acquisition, content creation and outreach. By working our cannabis business, where the main source of traffic has to be organically driven, taking the experience and knowledge and applying it has been the greatest gift to us.

We are grateful for the many users and visitors to MarijuanRates.com. With 20k+ sessions, 18k+ users and over 105k+ page views since March, we continue to grow as the cannabis community welcomed us and we continue to build more consumer friendly tools to help with their budgeting needs. We wanted to share from March to present day, we have a great community, who spends time on our site and visits many pages, getting their questions answered and we couldn’t be happier with the results.

If you are a business interested in advertising on MarijuanaRates.com, please contact us and we can discuss our packages.

 

Scheduling content can help your SEO

Do you ever wonder why certain blogs are more successful than others? Or why some show up in the search more times than you think they should? What about being in Google News? Have you ever wondered why some content will get more exposure than other pieces?

If you have decided to start a new blog or get serious about your present one, a key item which should be on your to-do list is creating a schedule for your content. This not only helps you as a blogger to map out your editorial calendar but it trains the search engines to know when your site posts new content and about which topic. Establishing a publishing schedule also helps your readers to know what to expect on Tuesday morning at 10:30 as you want to become an authority voice in whatever genre your blog is about.

An example of how scheduling content can help your SEO is let’s say your site gives information about coupons. You provide your readers exclusive details about sales and a head’s up about unadvertised specials. Your competitor gives the same information, has been online for less time and is always outranking you in the search. What do you think the first steps are to figuring out what the competition has over you?

First we suggest reviewing the competitor’s site from the technical items to the design, usability, link ratio, social media and content. The only real way to figure out and create a strategy for your site is to see what the competitor is doing. Once you have researched and reviewed your competitor, now it’s time to review your own site and compare your present game plan with your competitor findings.

In this particular case, the competitor’s content publishing is a daily cadence and some days they publish two times a day. Also, on each of their days, they have a theme so Monday’s are Moo Moo Monday’s and Tuesday’s are Toddler Tween Tuesday’s and all their content for that day are centered around that theme, as well as the keywords they decided on from their research. By scheduling their content and deciding ahead of time what they will be publishing, it not only keeps their editorial efforts in line with the entire team BUT it tells the readers as well as the search engines that every Tuesday, the content will be focused on toddler products in the morning and tween products in the afternoon. The established schedule also allows their social media and promotion efforts to always be working simultaneously.

Both sites post daily but just posting the coupons or deals on your site with a once a week blog post is showing you from the search results, that this technique isn’t cutting it like it once did when the competition was low. It is now time to establish your editorial calendar, and content strategy and decide on the topics and cadence you want to publish content around to get back up in the SERP’s and play with the competition.

Follow Lisa on Twitter. Connect with Lisa Weinberger on Google+.

Online Content Publishing & Marketing

In the past few months I have been fortunate to work with a few amazing minds in a full time capacity focusing on SEO and online marketing. I guess I never thought of a formal name of what PearlyWrites provides but we do provide online content publishing strategies and solutions for all sized businesses. Not only do we provide this service but add in the 12 years of online marketing and SEO experience and no wonder we can rank our clients websites so strongly in the search engines.

I am also realizing as a business owner I need to be more verbal by sharing the accomplishments we have had. As a person I have always been hidden in a sense that what I do is not shared by me to many people and in the online content creation and publishing world, I DO need to share. I need to share online!

Yes, I have been involved with social media and SEO since 1999 but never overly pushed my name or the business name. Of course PearlyWrites is our branded name on all the social media networks but then I realized when I meet many of my followers in person and we start discussing things they are always surprised with the amount of knowledge and experience I have.

So with all this information I have buried deep inside my brain from 11 years of being in business and working in the online publishing and marketing field, I am going to put my best effort  forward into making it more known the amount of experience PearlyWrites has. When clients increase their revenue by $150K per month from strategies that I created and executed or a client increases their revenue by $50K a year, these are all accomplishments which I am realizing I need to be sharing with others.

Til next time…

SEO and SMM

There has been a lot of talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SMM (Social Media Marketing). The talk has been going on for a few years but working in my new job, I find it quite amusing when people think they understand what SEO is as well as SMM. Throw out a few words which you think you understand and keep repeating them but honestly, that doesn’t help the fact that SEO or SMM are real items and driving forces in business revenue today.

Placing keywords into content is SEO. Yes. BUT that is not the only SEO strategy, there is so much more to organic SEO than this.

SMM is chatting on Twitter and Facebook and posting links. No, eerrr wrong! It’s about engagement, connecting and having a conversation with people, not talking at them.

To continue on my quest to get people to understand about these two ways of online marketing, I will continually create real life scenarios and for some reason love using the word puzzle. As the conversation begins, I already know and get excited that I will be able to use my favorite puzzle analogy! For those who understand SEO understand why a puzzle analogy works so well.

When wanting to hit each outlet and grab the most from your SEO efforts, each piece of the puzzle needs to be in place. If not, then you will not see the results you want. SEO takes time and many people think, Poof! I did it now where’s my money!?!

Social Media Marketing also takes time. To create a following, to get the visitor to trust you, everything takes time. If it was that easy then don’t you think everyone would be engaging each other? Throwing links out into the Twitter feed doesn’t engage anyone but yourself…maybe. (I mean some people do talk to themselves, I don’t know, just sayin…)

In the perfect world, both SEO and SMM would work simultaneously but we don’t live in a perfect world. Some people feel they get more business through SEO, others SMM and some feel both work. I have experienced both for my business where SEO has worked well and for many years SMM worked amazing. What I found was it didn’t make a difference which I focused on, just that both strategies needed to be worked on a daily basis. Once you stop, so does your inquiries and engagement.

Online Marketing Interns in Demand!

Online Marketing and SEO is now a department in large corporations but the only way to get the jobs is to have the experience. PearlyWrites, LLC wants to GIVE you that experience!

Phoenix, Arizona – PearlyWrites, LLC is currently seeking interns for a variety of different positions in the online marketing field. Interns are needed to fill positions in online marketing, SEO writing, SEO editing, graphic design, Web design, e-commerce, and sales. The ideal candidate will have a 2.5 GPA or higher and have interest and academic preparation in one of the areas noted above.

Since PearlyWrites is a virtual company, all positions are virtual, allowing interns the opportunity to work from their homes through our virtual office. Interns have the flexibility of working between 2 and 12 hours per week depending on their individual schedule. Internet, Instant Messaging, Phone and E-Mail is a requirement.

The online marketing field is an aggressive job market where corporations are looking for experienced individuals to fill high-level and important positions. This is an excellent opportunity to develop skills and knowledge as well as be mentored by one of the first female’s to enter the online market back when no one knew who Google was. This opportunity will also afford candidates the unique chance to work with a company who is ahead of the Organic SEO trend and learn about online marketing techniques and natural strategies to get Websites ranked in search engines organically.

Some positions are paid and all successful interns will receive a letter of recommendation at the conclusion of the internship. We will be offering to our interns, for free, our $200 SEO online courses.

Please email resumes to AccountsManager@PearlyWrites.com. Include “internship” in the subject line. Learn more about our company by visiting us on the web – http://new.pearlywrites.com.

About PearlyWrites, LLC Since 1996, PearlyWrites, LLC has provided marketing and branding services to all sized businesses for their print and online campaigns. They are a virtual copywriting and organic SEO marketing company providing services to the mainstream and adult industries, while always supporting a Green environment. Their independent contractors are located throughout the United States and Canada and available through all new media outlets which allows for quick availability using all technology for consultations and meetings. Organic SEO is recommended for all businesses with a Website to continue brand marketing.

PearlyWrites is the chosen Organic SEO provider to the Wyndham Hotel Group which includes the Brands of Ramada®, Days Inn®, Super 8®, Wingate® by Wyndham, Baymont Inn®, Howard Johnson®, Travelodge®, and Knights Inn®. They have provided E-Learning course development to PBS, Annenberg Media, National Academy Foundation, SilkWeb Consulting and Laurel Publishing.

Google SEO Article

Connecting using the online social media sites can bring a wealth of information. Sites like Facebook, Stumble Upon and Twitter allows you to connect with others throughout the world.

This week, one of our Twitter friends posted a link to a Google article about “What’s an SEO?” The article discussed if Google recommends using an SEO.

A few main points mentioned in the Google SEO article are:
1) Be weary of any company or SEO consultant who makes a guarantee,
2) If you receive an email out of the blue about your site and its ranking from a so-called SEO company, approach this as the same as the email about “How you won a million dollars,
3) If you ask questions and the SEO is being secretive, this should raise a red flag,
4) You should NEVER have to link to an SEO.

With Organic SEO, we are always honest and straight about the techniques we use. They are all listed directly on our site so there are never any questions of what we are doing for our clients.

Google sets rules to help Websites, not hurt them. Work with Google’s rules and see how your results improve. Honesty and business ethics still should be followed while conducting online business. As @CoachDeb always says, “I Want to Be SEDUCED!”

Welcome to PearlyWrites!

PearlyWrites understands the importance and need for fresh new content. PW strives to meet every client’s individualized needs. They are particular about who is chosen to be allowed in the freelance network because of the high standards they set; therefore PW will only choose freelancers that meet these high standards. Understanding the combination of print media, Web content, and SEO is a huge part of successful marketing campaigns. No matter what sized business, every person wants to be successful and PearlyWrites brings that success. Through a collaborative effort, PW’s team of freelancers will meet your needs.

PearlyWrites started with Lisa Weinberger back in 1995 writing print media, ad copy, and Web content for a few companies who continually desired more of Lisa’s voice, style and creative edge. Requests and referrals exploded to create PW into a development house offering writing, editing, PR and marketing services.

Desire to satisfy each client’s needs have individualized PearlyWrites into one of the top requested copy, editing, and marketing companies. Each client is treated as if they are the only account and the reliability, honesty, and professionalism of PW is unsurpassed.

Why waste your time and money getting plagiarized content when you can get guaranteed original and unique content written by professional copywriters?

Think about the hassle and aggravation when you receive dishonest work; eliminate this by requesting a price quote from PearlyWrites.

A moment with Lisa Weinberger, CEO of PearlyWrites, LLC

Lisa Weinberger is the CEO and founder of PearlyWrites, LLC. Before embarking on the journey as a full time writer, Lisa was a teacher, private tutor, and English Professor. Her degrees consists of a BA in English Writing, Minor in Psychology, and a Master of Arts in Teaching, as well as teaching certifications from NJ and FL. With a background of over 15 years in the field of education and being a small business owner, she can produce copy for a variety of clients in different topics, subjects and genres.

The company name PearlyWrites developed quite simply through Lisa’s middle name of Pearl.

Services of copywriting, editing, research, managing, marketing, and advertising are offered. Lisa has written and edited Web content, educational curriculum, brochures, magazines, ezines, training materials, blogs, newsletters, print ads, and audio scripts. Ghostwriting for celebrities, producing curriculum which has changed many children’s lives, and contributing to E-commerce Websites are part of Lisa’s accomplishments. With the Google Adsense explosion, Lisa attended workshops to learn about services of SEO or Search Engine Optimization and the importance of page impressions.