How to be found in Google

How to be found in Google

When you type your name into Google what comes up?

Are you the 1st result? Are you 2nd? Please tell me you’re on the first page right? No? Really?

When I go for a meeting with anyone, when I listen to someone speak, the first thing I do is Google their name and if they don’t appear at least once on the first page that’s a report card on them I’m afraid. If your job is such that you need to keep out of the public eye then I’d understand but for those of you trying to build businesses and get yourself out there you’re going to need to get yourself out there. Let’s look at a few ways you can do this today.

1). Get yourself a blog. Don’t just add it to a free wordpress or blogger hosting account. Shell out a few pennies and have it hosted properly on its own domain. Consider buying a domain with your own name if it’s still available. If it’s not, then write a great biography page with your name mentioned in it.

2). Get active on Twitter and LinkedIn. These two sites are huge and very well respected by the likes of Google. When you signup try and choose a name which is something to do with you if possible. If not then make sure you at least give the network your full name where it asks for it. Create a biography page/section that describes you, your location (because people will use that to search too) and your interests if possible. Now get active on these channels. Engage with people on Twitter, link people to things of interest that you find and connect with people on LinkedIn – be proactive, don’t just wait to accept peoples invites and wonder what to do then.

3). Get listed on your company website – Does your company site have a team page you can be added to? Does it have a blog you could write for? Ask the powers that be how you can be featured more online and if you are the powers that be, make this happen :)

4). Write for your local paper or at least get them to write about you! Local papers are also well respected in search engines due to the amount of fresh content they are churning out and size of their sites. A few stories every now and again could see you getting listed in Google more often. If your story is good enough the paper will want it. If you don’t ask, you don’t get after all!

So there you have it, a few ways to start improving your ‘googleability’ (not sure if I just made that up or not). If you’re looking for the edge over your competitors this point should really be up near the top of your to do list.

Image courtesy of Molly Stevens

Now Your Thoughts

  • Have you got any other suggestions for helping get listed in Google?
  • Have you used the search engine giant to do research yourself?

To Blog or Not to Blog – That is the Question

To Blog or Not to Blog – That is the Question

At Optix we regularly consult on Blogging and help people get setup on the right platforms. We give them tips and advice and away they go. So the question is, should you blog and what benefits will it give you?

If you’re a business owner/startup, a great blog can do a number of key things for you:

>> Position you as an authority in your industry
>> Show you are credible (if you keep it up and have great content)
>> Help you with the practice of ‘Inbound Marketing’ – I’ll explain this below
>> Allows you to build a follower/fan base/database of emails
>> Has huge benefits with the Search Engines – Google loves blogs

I just want to focus today on two of these points, that of Inbound Marketing and the Search Engines.

If you’re going to blog you might need to change your mindset in terms of it’s marketing worth. Blogging is not something that happens overnight. You need to be prepared to blog regularly (I try once a week but if I miss that people notice!) so make sure you can set aside time. Don’t expect to get something from every post, this is a long term strategy. You’re building a base, a home for your material. The concept of inbound marketing is quite simple, give away value to demonstrate you know what you’re talking about and people will come to you. When they respect you and see you as a trust agent you will find people want to use your service. You’ll also find that by increasing your authority, you’re able to increase your pricing. The better you are known and respected, the easier it will be for you to charge a premium.

But here’s my caveat – If you’re going to blog, you need to give it your all. Write every post with passion as it won’t take much for people to turn off…

My second point refers to that of the search engines. There was a time when we were telling clients that their sites will take weeks or months to get listed in search engines. Due to the way blogs work and are built, this time period has been shortened massively. There are still a number of things that stand in the way of your blog and the hallowed first page of Google but the time taken to index a new post can be days rather than weeks. Throw in a bit of search engine optimisation knowledge and away you go, on your journey to real results. :)

So the question for me is not really whether to blog or not to blog, it’s when are you going to start? Oh and by the way, the guys at Optix can help you with that – check out the details here (shameless plug)

So how are you getting on with blogging? Have you started? Is it helping your business? Are you scared of starting?

Likeminds 2010 & Never forget where you’ve come from

Likeminds 2010 & Never forget where you’ve come from

Last week saw Exeter host Likeminds 2010, a social media conference (for want of a better title). It showcased some of the world’s leading authorities on social media, in some of the world’s largest companies. The event took place on the 26th of Feb and boy was the line up something special. My Online Marketing Agency in Exeter, Optix Solutions is proud to have been a local sponsor for the second time running. On the day, the hashtag for the event #likeminds, ‘trended’ on Twitter (meaning it was among the top 5 or 6 most referenced things in the world at that time!) The event has subsequently had write ups in numerous blogs around the world and large newspapers such as the Guardian. At certain times during the day, I literally sat there pinching myself, to remember that we were actually in Exeter, in sunny Devon.

The speaker line up included names from Orange, Sky, Ogilvy, Reuters and one of the world’s leading social media masters – Chris Brogan (author of best selling book – Trust Agents). It was nicely balanced however with local participants such as John Harvey, Exeter’s city centre manager, Helena Holt, CEO of Devon Air Ambulance and many others, not to mention the fantastic ‘Endevours’, where local charities were given 5 mins on stage to promote their causes. Likeminds is exciting for a city like Exeter, most events of this type are held in larger cities like London, so to have people descend on Exeter for a couple of days is unbelievable, raising both the profile of city and showing what great waves it’s making in the social media world. It would be very easy to write for days and days about this event (as many others will) and in light of the fact that this blog is aiming at reaching out to young entrepreneurs and adding value to people looking to start up businesses, I’m going to pick up on how it felt to spend some of the day with a social media ‘rockstar’ – Chris Brogan.

If you’re not in the social media or marketing world yourself you’d be forgiven for not having heard about this guy but for those of us who are, let me tell you, he’s a bit of a hero. He co-authored (Affiliate Link) Trust Agents, a fantastic book about how you should conduct yourself online and build trust and the rewards that can lead to. He has over 100k twitter followers and thousands of people subscribe to his blog.

I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to talk with Chris a couple of times that day, at Lunch (where he even paid the tables tab!) and at dinner for the sponsors and speakers in the evening (how lucky was I!). This is a very humble guy – it would be very easy in Chris’ position to simply rub shoulders with the other people around the world who share his success but I get the feeling his mantra is about never forgetting where you’ve been and helping the up and coming stars (in fact he references this in his book and definitely carries it out in real life). All day, Chris gave his time to whomever approached him, always happy to share stories and sign books – it must have been pretty exhausting for him but he never once looked uninterested in anyone – in fact, far from it, he always showed interest beyond the call of duty. This is how he does business and in my opinion it’s one of the main reasons he’s been so successful. I see the same traits in Trey Pennington (whom I also met from Likeminds last year). These guys are just genuinely nice and make it their business to help others (they are true connectors) – they know when they do this that they will benefit, maybe not immediately but certainly over time. This has been part of the way I’ve built my business. Where possible I try and add value to others, helping them with their problems or challenges – I never ask for anything in return, but over time this definitely leads to more good than bad experiences. I’d strongly recommend you considering this path for your business too.

Another thing that particularly impressed me about Chris was his ability with names. Chris signed my book at lunch and asked me my first name for it, later that night, having met literally hundreds of people he was still calling me by it and that was special – I noticed he did this with everyone he met. I wrote a post about the importance of a name a while ago. This skill is so important in getting ahead in business and clearly Chris knows this.

I want to end on something Chris said in his keynote speech at the end of Likeminds. It was probably my ‘take-away’ for the day – ‘Make your customers feel special’ – Chris talks of the ‘guest experience’ for customers, a term coined by Disney I believe. This is essentially going the extra mile for them and leaving them with a warm feeling, one that makes them want to refer you on. This was also one of the points that Jeffrey Gitomer makes about great customer service being the number one priority for any company – get that right and you’re on the road to success. I learnt about a system called the ‘net promoter score’ the other day – it’s a system that monitors how many of your customers would be prepared to refer your business. Most companies struggle to get above 30% and in fact many are far lower. It strikes me that social media tools, on top of good company principles and values would lead companies to increasing their NPS scores, something I may focus on in another blog post sometime. We’re all looking for more success, I think it’s absolutely vital to remember everyone that’s helped you on the way up and make sure that you always remain true to your values – Chris Brogan is a bit of a master at this and I learnt a lot from the day with him. I hope to have passed some on to you all out there.

Make sure you follow Chris on @chrisbrogan

Social Media in Business

Even by the internet’s rapid standards, the rise of Social Media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Stumbeupon has been nothing short of meteoric.

With hundreds of millions of people worldwide using social networks regularly (Facebook now has 200 million active users) and their popularity continuing to grow on a daily basis, they represent a massive marketing opportunity to switched-on business.

In Exeter, Social Media is taking off with a large group of users networking regularly together. Next month sees the first social media conference in Devon organised by my friend @scottgould. Optix Solutions are amongst the sponsors and are very excited about hearing and meeting @treypennington and @thebrandbuilder who are both flying over from America especially for the event. Tickets by the way can be bought here: http://alikeminds.org/

The big question for me, is still whether or not a brand can embrace Social Media as well as a person can. I believe there is room for both and there is no question that many high profile businesses have done extremely well from Social Media. Dell, Starbucks and Google all use Twitter well but is there a case for smaller SME’s to make it work for them?

My Opinion: YES! MOST DEFINATELY and I’ve experienced this with my own business. However, whether you run a business or a personal account there are certain ways to go about things and certain etiquette you need to get used to. Within Optix, we encourage our staff to have their own blogs/twitter accounts/social media pages and without a question of doubt this has lead to stronger relationships with our clients who are also using social media and to new work and relationships with people we would almost certainly never have come across without it.

Here are the twitter feeds of some of the guys in Optix (oh and Optix own one is @optixsolutions – we use this for info on our business, special offers, news and site launches):

My Own Twitter Account: @banksy6
Al Gleave (Bus Dev): @alpenwest
Kris Sousa (Sales/Support): @kristensousa
Nick Watson: (Developer) @nickizzle

There is so much I could say about Social Media and Twitter in particular but I’m aiming this at new business owners and entrepreneurs so lets just set you along the right path with some good solid advice on why you need to start thinking about Social Media in your business.

Here are Banksy’s top 5 tips for making social media work for you.

1). Allow people to share your business successes and stories with others – FOR FREE! You can do this by adding a tool to pages on your website that allow anyone surfing, to very quickly share your content with others. Popular tools include Share This and Add This both of which do the job more than adequately. If you’re not sure what I mean by this then take a look at the Devon Air Ambulance website that my company Optix Solutions have just launched and scroll right down to the bottom of the page. You will see a green icon with ‘share this’ written next to it. Click it and see how easy it is to share that website on Facebook/Twitter and many, many other websites out there. Think now of the power of just one or two users sharing that website with potentially hundreds or maybe even thousands of trusted contacts and friends that they have on their own networks. Its almost a no-brainer to have this added to your website these days. If you don’t know how to add it or need help then drop me a line :)

2). Build contacts, relationships and networks online – I’m sure if you’re starting a business, in your early years as a business or an entrepreneur of any kind, you are probably networking offline? Am I right? Well Twitter and other social networks allow you to find people with similar interests and values and then connect with them. The rest is up to you as it would be offline. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a short-term gain, its not. Invest in social media and you’ll reap the rewards later.

3). Leverage social media for your other forms of marketing – Social Media is a great way of generating traffic for your blog or website. Users may then go on and look around other services you have to offer on these websites. In fact, although this blog is starting to get a good reputation with the search engines, the largest referrer of traffic to it each time I post is Twitter. This is because I put the word out to my network each time I post and people visit….which is great:)!

4). Become known as a ‘thought leader’ – This is really about building authenticity in your brand – be it personal or business. It’s a brave/stupid person that tries to sell directly from social media – it just doesn’t work. You need to show others that your posts/tweets/content can be thought provoking and hopefully interesting  so they will engage with you if they feel it’s right to do so. Don’t push marketing material out to them too much or you’ll simply lose followers and contacts.

5). Even if you don’t believe in social media yourself, others do and they could be talking about you or asking for help. There are a myriad of tools out there which allow you to monitor mentions of phrases, including your own brand. I for example, have tools set up to monitor mentions of my company name as well as my own name. Our company monitors local tweets, and anything to do with people looking for web design work.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, this is not meant to be, in anyway a full break down of social media and what it can do for you, its merely a teaser. I do hope in the future to focus on the individual networks and go into a bit more depth for you on how to get the best from each of these, however in the mean time I recommend reading the Chris Brogan’s blog post on social media here for some great tips:

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/50-ways-marketers-can-use-social-media-to-improve-their-marketing/

Consider today what you want to achieve from social media, consider your audience and which sites they might be using and then put together a plan for yourself and of course, if you need help – drop us a line. Good luck.