boise social network management

Myths About Social Media

To dispel some common misconceptions: social media success isn’t determined by driving up website traffic, but that *can* be a side effect if it’s done especially well. Social media success isn’t necessarily determined by providing better customer service, although it can be used as a powerful tool accomplish that. How does one determine success in social media?

Don’t you know, it’s smoke and mirrors and buzzwords, it’s mysterious and confounding algorithms and formula’s that would curdle Merlin’s blood! Not only that, but to pay to manage social media is insanely expensive and doing it yourself is far beyond the comprehension of any mere mortal! 😛

Uh, yeah…about THAT.

Success in social media is both more difficult to obtain than you might imagine, and easier to accomplish than most will admit – but often all it takes is patience, and three even harder to find elements:

Relevancy. Effort. Consistency.

The last one is harder than you might think.
The second one is where most stumble and fail.
The first one perhaps hardest to grasp of all as it’s fleeting.
If any one element is missing the effort will fail – perhaps not horribly, but worse: by being nothing more than mediocre.

Are you an individual or small business owner interested in learning more about what social media really equates to for your business, and how you can leverage it to gain improved online exposure?

I love meeting great progressively minded folks who are interested in taking hold of their digital destiny; am always glad to talk a little shop over coffee, and even offer full web consulting services or social media training to help you get started. Drop me a line so we can get connected!

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, social network management | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Boise SEO: Keyword Research

Lots of #SEO companies promise they can get you to #1 in Google – and honestly IT’S EASY! Especially if they get you there for keywords no one is searching for! Your site may be optimized, but that doesn’t mean it’s optimized for the best terms.

Case in point: for YEARS the highest sought after phrase for REALTORS® in Idaho’s Treasure Valley has been “Boise Idaho Real Estate” and because of that it has some of the highest competition in the region. Sad Fact: it was searched for over HALF as many times as Boise Homes.

How do you know what to optimize for? RESEARCH. There are a number of great tools out there for doing just that but the latest and my current new favorite comes right from the big brothers at Google, called Insights.

Check it out

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization, social media, social network management | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media Fu: Be Like Water

 The Master knew what he was talking about when he said “Be like the nature of water”…and like many deep profound truths it is a philosophy so elementally pure that it can be applied to nearly any concept – even social media.

A true social media master will be like the nature of water. Like Bruce says: First, empty your mind. Don’t get caught up in what you think you know. Social media is alive and ever changing, as such we must be centered and willing to accept it’s constant flux.

Be formless, shapeless, like water. Don’t limit yourself to just one network, one mindset, one way of looking at a goal. You must free your mind. Diversify your message for more powerful content. If you are managing a  account on Twitter, become Twitter. If you want to succeed with your Facebook page, become Facebook. Learn the networks and how to use them, more importantly: USE THEM. The best way to learn is to do.

Water can flow, or it can crash. So can your social media strategies. While one can’t always predict changes in cultures or how demographics may accept experimental new marketing techniques ( no matter how “liquid” of a marketeer they are! ) a larger percentage of how much success you will see is limited only by you.

If you want to expand on creating a consistent message across multiple profiles, try presenting it on each network in a different way. This  can not only allow you to create more enticing content for cross-network followers but also help to cover more keyword ground. Spin it to win it.

Water is the softest stuff on earth, but it can penetrate rock. Don’t forget, be persistent. When your efforts, no matter how small a drop in the bucket they may be, are combined over time you can still see tremendous effects. The rain doesn’t carve away the mountain all at once, but one drop at a time.

Be Like the Nature of Water My Friends…stay social. : )

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Search Engine Optimization, social media, social network management | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Stuffing is for Thanksgiving, Not Websites…

Stuffing Should Only Be for Thanksgiving
When most people get interested in SEO and find out some of the basics it is natural habit to fall into “big hammer” methods of getting results by cramming as many keywords into one’s site content as possible. And it isn’t uncommon for those methods to get results – even good results – quickly and with seemingly little effort. Making keyword rich content can easily get out of hand quickly. How much is enough? How much is too much?

Most people aim for a keyword density of 2% (i.e. use the keyword 2 times for every 100 words).

It’s a fine balance. Generally you want your main keyword to appear a several times either in your text or as the title of a paragraph (in bold), with keywords that are your secondary focus trailing along in frequency.

You will know for sure that you are stuffing a bit too heavily if every other word in your content is a keyword. You want your text content to have a natural flow for human readers while still being keyword dense; there are a few good methods for this.
Use keywords as a title of a paragraph or section, using bold, and/or “H” tags in the html code itself. Search engines will give a bolded word (and especially an H tag) slightly more weight than regular text on your site. H tags may just look like big text, but search engines read them differently and give them extra keyword power.

This is an H1 Tag:

Boise Search Engine Optimization

This is an H2 Tag:

Search Engine Samurai

This is an H3 Tag:

Coldfusion Cowboy

this is an alt tagUse alt-tags on your photos in place of repeating keywords over and over where users are forced to read them.

It’s not JUST about the number of times your keywords appear either. WHERE they appear also can play a big role. Make sure your keywords appear in these places as good rules of thumb for best keyword visibility:

The Title Tag.
The Page URL.
The Main Heading (H1 or H2).
The first paragraph of content.
At least 3 times in the body content (more or less depending on amount of content and if and only if it makes sense).

Search Engine Optimization isn’t some mystic art, it comes down to easy to understand elements created and managed in balanced proportions. It takes time and it takes effort to see lasting results, especially as algorithms are constantly changing.

Don’t understand any of this? Just don’t have time to manage your SEO or social network marketing? I can help! Contact me to find out how I can help you develop your digital presence to work for you.

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Google Plus – Facebook but better

Google Plus, more of the same, but better!
Earlier last week Google unveiled it’s new super top secret social network Google+ (plus). This latest project is still in limited release and has already seen it’s share of ups and downs due to an amazing amount of interest. Essentially Google+ is the search engine giants answer to Facebook and other social platforms. But it’s more than just a way to let your friends know you are drinking a cold one at Sockeye Brewpub or to share the latest joke. The search giant’s new social project will be omnipresent on its products, allowing for some of the easiest user integration we’ve yet to see and providing a huge potential for the platform to grow throughout Googles many other product. This ease of use and integration into what many people are already familiar with may give Google a serious leg up in the social networking world.

Islands in the Stream
Google+ features a Stream, basically just like Facebook News Feed, allowing users to share photos, videos, links or their location with friends…but better! You see, the focus of this social project is not on sharing with a mass group of friends, but on targeted sharing with your various social groups.

To do this, Google uses a system called Circles. Circles are an extremely easy way to add people to specific groups. Rather than the clunky or difficult ways other networks have done this with Google+ it’s as easy as dragging and dropping, or clicking an option when you accept a new persons friend request. Circles make it easy to choose exactly who you want to share with any time you post an update – an invaluable tool as our social personas collect more and more followers.

You can even easily create your own Circles to make categorizing your connections even easier.

Photos and More
Google+ has very slick photo abilities as well. The photo tab takes a user to all of the photos he or she has shared, as well as the ones he or she is tagged in. But there’s more than just photo tagging – Google+ includes a variety of image options, privacy options, and sharing features.

Facebook tried to jump the gun with their video chat – ironically enough the release of which was majorly overshadowed by Google+ launching just a few days later. As video continues to become a more and more prevalent tool the ability to hold live real time video conferences, meetings, and chat sessions may very well become “the next big thing”.

Beyond this Google+ also has some innovative and imaginative ways of Sharing content and even announcing events. To encourage easy sharing, Google has added a “recommendation engine” for finding content you are interested in. Called Google+ Sparks,it is a collection of news, videos, photos and other content grouped by interest. For example, the “Music” spark will have a listing of recent and relevant content for that topic.

Google+ allows users to create “Hang Outs”. Essentially creating their own instant “check-in” locations for events or places they are gathering. Similar to the way foursquare and other networks allow you to “check-in” to already established/verified locations, Google+’s Hang Outs let users create these wherever they are, on the fly.

The Next Social Network?
No matter what Google may claim, Google+ is without a doubt their answer to Facebook but being the giant of search engines doesn’t buy you a free ride in the social networking world – and not all of Googles past enterprises have been a success. Remember Orkut? Yeah, Google hopes nobody else does either. Google is just dipping it’s toes into the social arena at this point but in some ways their functionality alone is already a HUGE improvement over other available networks. Having only been using this new platform for a short time it is hard to judge, but already I’ve started to feel like I am playing with Tonka trucks every time I login to Facebook now. With Google+ whispering rumors of a “business profile” ability that is yet to come to the Google+ platform the leader in search engines may soon be giving everyone in the social networking world a real run for their money.

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

SEO Basics Demystified

It seems there is some mystery to how search engine optimization works, despite it being fairly basic. Whether this is intentionally propagated by SEO companies looking to convince potential customers they are better off hiring someone to do the job for them, or just a general lack of website owners wanting to take a hands on approach and do a little homework – it’s hard to say.

Regardless there are just a few very basic things to understand in order to help improve ANY websites standing in search engine results. It is my hope to clarify a few of these items in order to help educate those interested in learning search engine optimization for themselves.

There are three main things that will largely determine your search engine visibility: Age of Your Domain, Keyword Density, and Backlinks.

Age of your domain:
Sadly, not a lot you can do about this one if you are new. Believe it or not the search engines do give a little ‘grandfathering’ powers to sites just for being around for a longer time.

Keyword Density:
This is the number of times a keyword appears in your sites content. Your keywords should be focused on your target market, so if you sell shoes in Boise for instance good keywords would be things like “boise shoes”, “shoes in boise”, “boise footwear”. Search engines look for these keywords in your site code and text as well as in the URL itself – and even seem to give a little extra edge to sites which have their keywords in the domain name itself.

A word of caution: stuffing is only good at Thanksgiving, and that includes keywords. Make sure you don’t OVER saturate your site with keywords to the point that it becomes illegible to human readers. Keyword stuffing can eventually harm your search engine position as much as not having those keywords at all.

These are links from other websites pointed to you essentially saying you are a credible source for what you claim to be. I often use the analogy of the sign waver guys you see on the corner – essentially a link from another website to yours is like a sign waver on the internet saying “GO Here for This Service”. Search engines see that and give you better placement for it.

Those are the “Top 3” of factors that will effect your standing in search results. Secondary factors include things like how many other sites are competing against yours, website page count (internal links), and frequency of updates.

There are any number of keyword research and density tools online, as well as tools which allow you to see how many backlinks your site has; I encourage those interested in doing their own SEO to make use of these largely free online tools like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and others.

Some simple tips for improving your sites SEO:
Make your main keyword prominent in the top portion of your website, preferably in the meta-data and by using “H tags” near the top of the site. Search engines read sites from the top down, so it is always best to have keywords at the top even if nowhere else on the site.

Be sure to make at least a couple of the keywords found on your site BOLD. It’s a small thing but some search engines still give bolded keywords a little extra relevance.

Make the links within your site use a keyword instead of “click here” for anchor text. So if you have a page on your site you are linking to for “Boise Homes” make the text the user clicks reads BOISE HOMES instead of Click Here (this same rule applies for creating links to your site from external websites). Read more about Building Better Backlinks here…

Link to other sites, but more importantly get other sites to link to you. The internet, and seo success, is all about being interconnected. Request owners of websites in your industry in other states to link to you. Comment on blogs and websites and include your website link. Add your website to online directories. Establish profiles on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to help expand your overall web presence.

ANY of these things will help your websites search engine position if done correctly. It’s not some arcane magic, it generally comes down to putting in the time to do some research, a lot of typing, and either maintaining your website code or working with an experienced web developer who understands SEO.

There are myriad other details and subtle techniques to really harness the power of the web to boost your business, but just starting with these very basic items is key to better search engine placement.

Interested in learning more? Stay tuned to this blog, or connect with me on any of my social portals. Generally I am as easy to find as typing Hinsel into a search engine.

Don’t have time, or don’t care to handle SEO for your website on your own? I can offer exceptional organic search engine optimization for established websites or create an search engine friendly design for you from scratch. Contact me to get started!

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why bother with social network marketing for search engine optimization?


If it ain’t workin’ you ain’t using it right…

There is some debate regarding the effectiveness of using social network marketing on sites like Facebook,Twitter and other profile based platforms as a valid search engine optimization method. Some key points to the possible truth of that view is concern over lack of return on investment, as the maintenance of those social portals requires more and more time (not just because I am Bejeweled champion, either!), and from the watering down of link-juice due to those platforms using “no-follow” code on displayed links.

Aren’t we supposed to be all about the organic SEO?! What happened to believing that you don’t (yet) have to pay to play on the information superhighway, that anyone with the motivation to do so and a little bit of know how can rank with the big boys and nary have to shell out a dime to the great web gods for the glory of Page One…?
Homegrown Organic Links
These are a big part getting overlooked from the “no-follow” standpoint. Yes many social sites won’t really be giving you any link love in a backlink sense to your site (some argue even those ‘technically count’), but what they CAN do is provide a lot of actual PEOPLE who visit your site…and after all isn’t that what we’re trying to do?

You can be the worst salesman in the world and if you have something people want or can use and present it to a big enough audience; you will sell it. More traffic, more leads, more business…less people, less leads, less business.

So make sure if you are going to use social sites for SEO that you put your links wherever you are allowed to do so, but more than that don’t just stick them in there, (click here) , make them something people will be interested to click on. This can be as easy as creating a witty profile statement, or creating a good “hook” for your link when you post it on Twitter.

Check this out –


5 things every [target group] MUST know

[target group] Do you know the 5 most common mistakes to avoid before you [target market]?

Use a similar style in all your publication or linking efforts any time you can in order to see higher organic traffic to your site – don’t just spew content and links, make it INTERESTING, add some spin to that web. You can post links til you’re blue in the face, but if you are doing it incorrectly or only to try to appease the algorithms you may find the most important part is missing from your website: visitors.

It all comes down to not just using these online tools, but understanding the subtleties of using them in their best manner. Don’t just post, engage. Don’t just link, drive. Leverage your fan pages with a personal profile (it can be for more than just pictures of the kids or talking to mom), boost your website with an externally hosted blog – YES even if your main website is in a blog format.

Optimize locally through engaging your follower base. Market globally by connecting these portals to create your own syndication — using these tools to their fullest potential. Some might say that level of individual time and effort is just too much to invest in reaching a client base, but think on this: The social networks online today allow us to communicate with others more efficiently and widely than we’ve ever been able to before. Can you imagine if you had to hand write and mail a card to each one of your clients every day?! Using social network marketing for search engine optimization is more than just tags, keywords, and links: it’s knowing your visitors, it’s interconnectivity; putting it to work for your online presence is key to digital success.

Not sure where to start? Need help with your blog, optimizing your current site or creating a new website? Contact me for the very best Boise SEO, Social Network Management, Ghost Blogging, and Web Design online.

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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