SEO Spells Trust
My friend came up with a brilliant idea a couple of years ago. It all started because so many of her single friends were running into the same issues when it came to online dating – they kept telling her, “It’s just so difficult to find the right person, you don’t know who to trust anymore.” When the profile says 6 ft tall, is he really? How current are the selfies displayed on the app? Was it taken within the last 10 years? In fact, here are the top 10 common lies people use online dating apps.
- Height (see, I told you)
- Body type (men will frequently describe themselves as “athletic”)
- Income (usually 20-40% over)
- Job type/title
- Outdated photos (again, I told you)
- Hobbies and interests (‘walks on the beach’ is most popular)
- Looking for a relationship (this actually surprised me)
- Relationship status (this surprised me even more)
So, what was her brilliant idea? It’s a program where one friend nominates another friend and submits an application on their behalf. Then, the program chooses five potential matches (10 people total) within a certain radius and hosts a fun party to see what happens. I am leaving out a lot of details but that’s the gist of it. The key behind the program’s brilliance is simple: it builds trust because someone else is vouching for you. This is why referral marketing works, this is why Yelp reviews are important, this is why reputation matters. What others say about you builds trust.
Imagine you are Google, and you are ranking businesses to send traffic to. Your goal is to send traffic to the most deserving and the most talked about business…how will you know? Easy. It’s called link building.
Link building is an SEO term for the process of getting other websites to link to a page on your own website in order to earn a higher spot on the search engine results pages (aka SERPs). The more links you’ve built (meaning other sites share links to you) and the measured authority of the links you built (meaning those who link to you are credible) will determine one thing…trust. You are a trusted company according to a lot of people and that will help your SEO tremendously, which will increase your traffic to your website significantly.
Google’s goal is to find the most trustworthy links from trustworthy sites. For example, if you are a golf academy that has produced a lot of PGA champions and all these top athletes keep referring to your academy on their own websites…wow…Google is going to love you and send you a ton of traffic from those looking to find the right academy for their own training.
Finally, let’s talk about how we can start building a link. There are hundreds of ways to do this, but I would start with these 3 options:
- Continuously create content: I mentioned this in our last post – content is the key to successful SEO. Focus on your industry and on your client’s needs. With quality content, you will gain authority in time. Make sure that your content is relevant, useful and well-structured. This ensures that others who will find your content useful will want to link to it again and again. That’s how you get great backlinks; you earn them!
- Build relationships: For good link building, you need to build good relationships. There are plenty of opportunities to build new contacts. You should start with niche-related communities: forums, blogs or social groups. Make the first step and start contributing with interesting and relevant comments and posts, providing contextual value to each discussion. By actively participating in these online communities focused on your niche, you will not only gain some good backlinks, but you will always have access to the newest industry news and be able to connect to people who share your passions.
- List your site in trustworthy directories: There are many online directories that provide real value to the users. The ideal directory will not only give you the chance to post a link to your website, but also provide useful information for your potential customers. There are even tools and apps that help you get on these lists…even niche directories.
So, there you go. A little bit about backlinks and the important role it plays with SEO. Again, don’t forget, it’s all about building trust. Continue to be relevant out there by keeping your website dynamic… and don’t forget to help other credible sites by offering links to their content on your website. Because at the end of the day, we’re all just single businesses trying to sift through the lies and hoping to find a match.
Turning Your Pennies into Dollars
I am always reading the latest research about marketing, and during my content consumption phase, I hear this a lot, and I know you do too:
“In order to successfully engage and win the trust of your current and future customers, you have to continue to give VALUE. And the more value you give, the more trust you’ll earn.”
Okay, awesome!! But…what does it really mean? How do I know what’s valuable to my audience?
In his newest book Superfans, Pat Flynn paints a great picture of what VALUE is and how to provide it for your clients. He describes a conference where a speaker asked the audience if they saw a penny on the street, would they pick it up? Most people will keep walking…not worth their time. Then he asked, what about a quarter? About 50% of people raised their hands to say yes, they would stop. Finally, he asked, how many of you would pick up a dollar bill? At that point, most of the crowd raised their hands. In this example, all three levels of currency offered value, but the value of a dollar bill passed the threshold from “not worth my time” to “ok, I’ll stop.”
So, the next question is: how do I offer something that my audience will see as worth their time? How do we create the dollar bill level content that someone will stop for?
Here are 3 ideas to help you become a more valuable and trustworthy authority in your field.
1. Know your audience. I know, I know, you’ve heard this before….but really, KNOW WHO THEY ARE. What do they love? What do they hate? What are they good at? What are they bad at? Know their problems, know their frustrations, know their pain. And you know what you get to do? Help them out of their problems, help them out of their frustrations and help them out of their pain. How? Offer unique insights, tips, data, solutions and even inspiration.
I’ve been playing golf for a long time. I played competitively as a Junior and still keep a pretty low handicap (meaning, I am a pretty decent player…lol). However, I play with a lot of weekend golfers who are always frustrated at the game because they don’t improve. Why don’t they improve? Because they are weekend golfers – they never practice, but they all think they just need a magic cure. Knowing this inside information, I decided to start a podcast specifically for these weekend golfers and offer insights, tips, data, and solutions on improving their game by….inspiring them to practice. If you ever want to check it out, the podcast is called Better Golf Academy. I still get random fan emails saying how much I have helped their game.
2. Know your expertise. What does that mean? It means that whatever industry you are in, you are an expert whether you like it or not. You have unique insight that no one else has. You might not know it because it’s just part of your everyday life and you’ve been doing it forever so you take it for granted…but what you know and what you do is unique to a lot of people and they are dying to know what you know. Dive deep into the knowledge that seems so obvious to you, then share your journey and your findings.
Ever since I started camping, I’ve been researching a lot of camping gear. One of the essential needs when you are off the grid for 3-4 days is a reliable refrigerator, and in order to keep your refrigerator running 24/7, you need a good source of power. Well, how about a power unit that runs off of solar? Not knowing anything about this, I started my research and ran across a guy named Will Prowse. He’s a guru in his niche of off-grid solar power and I’ve learned so much from him. I trusted his expertise and ended up purchasing his recommended power unit. It’s exactly what we needed and for me and his other 472k followers, we find him and his content more than valuable.
3. Know your platform. In the golf example above, I chose a podcast as the way to get my information out to an audience. Why a podcast? It’s something I enjoy doing. Also, it’s less time consuming than a YouTube channel – video editing can be very tedious and tiring and I didn’t have a lot of energy for it. Editing audio for a podcast is more simple and something I feel like I could do consistently for a long time. Some of us think now that we have something to share, we need to use all platforms and channels to broadcast our content, but this can be overwhelming. Find one channel that fits who you are and that also provides an opportunity to reach the like-minded people that consume content on the same channel. Give it all you got and watch your audience grow.
I hope this helps get your creative juices flowing for how to strategize, create and broadcast your content. Don’t underestimate what you know – you really do have dollars in you that will stop customers in their tracks.
Content Marketing Changed the Game
When we started our Private Tutoring business 10 years ago, social media didn’t play a significant role in helping the growth of our business. In fact, the market studies showed that 80% of the sales conversions happened after 7 brand impressions (your product or an ad is viewed by a customer). So you know what we did? Everything! We did print media, mass mailing, banners, magazine advertising and road signs.
One funny story, we purchased a couple of road signs and strategically placed them at stop signs where every car in the area would see them. Well, apparently, this didn’t comply with the city rules, so a city maintenance vehicle went around and picked them up each day to dispose of them. I just happened to know where the dumpster was, so, at night, so I would simply retrieve my signs back and set them back at the same location the next day. (Not recommended). The point was, I had to get my brand out there.
Well, today, social media has made it a little bit easier to create brand impressions through content marketing. Content marketing is a technique that creates content to attract a defined audience. This defined audience would eventually turn into raving fans (through building trust, relationship and loyalty), then your product or your services would be purchased by your raving fans at a very high percentage conversion rate. Boom! That’s all there is to it. So, now you are left with one question, how do we grow our defined audience of raving fans?
1. Create amazing content: You can offer something that no one else can; your thoughts, strategies, techniques and experience on how something worked, changed or impacted your life or your business. Stop selling and start educating your audience. For example, if I am a weight trainer, I might start blogging about “How To” workout secrets, or an amazing green smoothie recipes, or the latest diet myths, or the best workout app resource…list goes on and on. This will become more interesting and useful for the audience to read and it will also help build your defined audience.
2. Give it away for free: Offer your amazing content for free through your blog. Then, create a link to your blog through all the social media platforms and through your email blasts. Your goal here to have the whole world see it, to have the whole world visit your website, to have the whole world to sign up for more awesome content…and eventually, to have the whole world buy your product.
3. Get the name and email addresses of your defined audience: Easy to say but how do you do it? Give readers something in return for their email address (i.e. gifts, giveaways, promotional items, a chapter from your book, an ebook, a recipe or reports on topics of interests to them). If they commit to giving you their name and email, they’ve made a commitment on their end, saying they are interested in what you have to offer and it’s valuable enough for them to help in their business. This is the exact fan base you want.
Through content marketing, you are creating far beyond 7 brand impressions; we are now talking about hundreds of impressions that you are NOT forcing on them but that they are seeking out from YOU. This builds trust, this builds relationships and this builds loyalty. This will change casual readers/followers into raving fans, and those raving fans into your #1 customers.