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10 Steps to SEO Success for Small Businesses

Posted on October 17, 2013 by Amanda Robinson

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 11.12.03With more than 7 billion users across the world, the internet is a vast and diverse marketplace. For small businesses, a website is your chance to tap into this market – acting as a virtual shop window and allowing customers to find your products or services, regardless of geographical barriers. But a website alone is not enough to guarantee success; you’ll need to direct users to your site with the use of search engine optimisation (SEO). If you’ve heard of SEO but have no idea where to begin, here are ten pointers to set you on your way.
SEO Explained

SEO has one goal: to rank your website in Google and other search engine results. As an example, lets say you are a florist in Sittingbourne. If a user types ‘florists in Sittingbourne’ into the search bar (this is known as a keyword or key phrase), Google will provide a list of relevant websites, known as the organic search results. 53% of users will go on to click on the first result, and the majority of people won’t make it to page 2. Without an SEO strategy you may not even rank in these search results, and you’ll be losing out on a great deal of potential custom.
The Ten Step Guide to SEO

Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing, which means that SEO tactics have to adapt too. The latest Google updates – such as Panda and Penguin – are making SEO ‘quick wins’ a thing of the past. There is no magic formula to appear on the first page of Google, but there are a number of steps you can take to maximise your chances.
1. Choose your target keywords

Keywords are the search terms used in Google. To begin, you’ll need to draw up a long-list of keywords to target. These will help to bring relevant traffic to your site, and will form the backbone of your SEO campaign.
2. Assess your website

Find out where your current website ranks for your chosen keywords. In some cases, you may discover that your site does not even rank on Google, or will appear too low down in the results.
3. Analyse your keywords

By performing ‘keyword analysis’ on your long-list of keywords, you can narrow it down and focus your efforts on the most valuable phrases.
4. Assess Traffic and Competition

The best keywords to target have a high amount of traffic, but low to medium levels of competition. Pursuing a keyword with little or no traffic is a waste of your time and energy.
5. Look at the Buying Journey

The ‘buying journey’ refers to a potential customer’s decision-making process. Keywords focused around the beginning of this phase are generally for research purposes. To make a sale, concentrate as far down the buying journey as you can.
6. Optimise your Website Content

As part of your ‘onpage’ SEO strategy, you should target one keyword per webpage, incorporating it within your content at a density of around 1%. So, if your webpage has 300 words, your keyword should appear around 3 times – preferably once in your title. Google favours authenticity, so try to sound as natural as possible.
7. Check your Web Code

The ‘back end’ of your website needs to be optimised too: make sure your keyword is contained within meta data and image alt tags.
8. Gain Backlinks

Links to your site from reputable websites can boost your SEO. Try guest blogging and participating in social media to gain organic backlinks.
9. Review your Performance

SEO is a continual process, so make sure you review your performance on a regular basis. Gather data from Google Analytics, including user journeys, exit pages and bounce rates.
10. Adapt

Use regular performance reviews to adapt your target keywords, getting rid of any that are under-performing and introducing relevant new search phrases as appropriate.

A recent report found that small businesses are planning on spending 40% more on SEO strategy during 2013. The reason why? With a little effort and an intelligent approach, SEO can significantly boost your customer base and impact your bottom line.

14 Things Great Salespeople Always Do That Average Salespeople Only Think About

 

What separates great from average, and what do you need to do if you want to step up your sales game?

Here is what I’ve found in having worked with thousands of salespeople over my 15 years of sales consulting — and before that, nearly 20 years of sales with 3 Fortune 500 companies:

1. Great salespeople set goals. But unlike average salespeople who also set goals, great salespeople are continually measuring their performance and looking for ways to achieve their goals.

2.  Great salespeople don’t settle for average. They are continually looking to not just make a number, but also to blow past the number.  At the end of a year, they don’t shut down because a number is in the bank. They keep going.

3.  Great salespeople know their job is to help those around them succeed. Average salespeople are all about making sure they win.   To the great salesperson, winning is what it’s all about, but only if others win with them.

4.  Great salespeople understand what service is all about. They know what matters is not how they measure service, but how their customers measure it.

5.  Great salespeople like to hear the word “no” from a customer. This tells them they need to change, and they listen and learn from what the customer shares.  In fact, great salespeople love to hear rejection early on in a sales call, because they know the most valuable asset they have is their own time.

6.  Great salespeople value time and never end a day without knowing what they’re going to accomplish the next day. It’s the same way they approach each week, month, quarter and year.

7.  Great salespeople are optimists not just while they’re on the job, but also in everything they do. They’re the people others gravitate toward in all types of situations, and as a result, they understand the importance of leadership.

8.  Great salespeople know they have to be continually evolving their sales process. They understand what worked for them last year may not work this year, and as a result, they are continually looking to refine their process.

9.  Great salespeople own the process. They don’t pass blame and they don’t allow excuses to come up as to why they weren’t able to accomplish something.   The last thing a great salesperson will do is throw somebody under the bus to make themselves look good.  To them, sales is truly a team activity.

10.  Great salespeople don’t stop at the end of the day.  To them the end of the day is that point in time where average salespeople call it a day.  Great salespeople understand how success is being available 24/7.  To them 24/7 is not a hassle because they truly love what they do and they love even more the ability to help their customers.

11.  Great salespeople live by a code of ethics and standards, not just when things are going well, but more importantly, when things aren’t going well.  To them the measure of a person is how they handle things when mistakes are made, problems arise and chaos abounds.  To them this is the time where they get to separate themselves from everyone else.

12.  Great salespeople are proud of what they do. They love sales not in an arrogant manner, but in a respectful manner. It’s this same manner they approach every person with whom they come in contact.  The pride and love they have is seen in the level of confidence they have, regardless of the type of situation.

13. Great salespeople do not rely upon a canned presentation.  For that matter, they don’t like presentations, because they know to truly understand the needs of the customer, they have to listen. That means having a discussion with the customer.

14.  Finally, great salespeople know success is not what they did yesterday, but success is what they will do today.  They live in the now and, at the same time, are always mindful about tomorrow.

Yes, there is a difference between greatness and merely being average.  What is awesome to me about this list is each item is not something a person is born with, but rather these are skills and traits that anyone can learn.

Are you average or great?  The decision is yours.

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

 

Source: http://thesaleshunter.com/14-things-great-salespeople-always-do-that-average-salespeople-only-think-about/#!

Learning How to Shape the Future From These Top 25 Leadership Quotes

 

shape the future

Shape the future.

 

I was raised to believe I could become whatever I bothered to learn. No single idea has served me better.

 

A great quote can provide personal inspiration and can be used to educate others. We like to open most of our blogs with an enlightening quotation that relates to the topic. Below are my top 25 leadership quotes of all time and why I selected them. And how they are related to our ability to shape the future.

 

 

(Have a favorite quote that didn’t make our list? Share it out in the comments section below!)

 

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu

Ego is one of the worst traits of a personality, while being humble is the best.

 

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree

The leader’s job is to serve, simple as that. Period.

 

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis

A leader certainly needs a good vision. But a vision is not worth much if it is not executed.

 

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch

Followers’ growth and development are high on the list of a good leader’s priorities.

 

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell

It starts with knowledge and understanding and continues with ability to do what you say with examples.

 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead

Understand that everyone has a role in making the world around themselves a better place. However small that role may be.

 

Leaders should be reliable without being predictable. They should be consistent without being anticipated. – Mike Krzyzewski

If you are not reliable and consistent, no one will be following for long, will they?

 

I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —Ralph Nader

A good leader knows that he often must be a good follower. And this world never has enough leaders, even if they are not required to lead often.

 

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. —Peter Drucker

Results and the end state are the only thing that counts.

 

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. —Theodore Roosevelt

Surround yourself with the best of the best and delegate authority to act in your behalf. That also means ability to accept mistakes and failures.

 

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard

Can’t be said any simpler or more direct, can it?

 

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. —Rosalynn Carter

A great leader is one who is an effective coach and educator.

 

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. —General Dwight Eisenhower

Ability to be a great motivator is at the top of the leadership list of skills required.

 

Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. —Brian Tracy

Leaders have the required optimism to focus discussion on solutions and courses of action to implement them.

 

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. —General George Patton

Give your people lots of room to roam and act on your behalf. Let them learn from experience. Realize there are lots of ways to achieve the desired results.

 

As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates

Leaders must empower their people, otherwise there is little to gain. And little trust.

 

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. —General Colin Powell

Simplicity in design and action can never be over stated.

 

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams

Getting the best out of everyone is a leader’s most important function, isn’t it?

 

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. —Thomas Jefferson

As a leader you need to know when you should bend and when you need to stand your ground.

 

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy

No one is ever done with their learning, are they?

 

Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. —Bill Bradley

Being able to find the right key is a mark of a great coach, Bill Bradley would certainly appreciate that skill.

 

What you do has far greater impact than what you say. —Stephen Covey

Be a leader of decisive action with speed.

 

One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. —Arnold Glasow

Your results rely on ability to avoid time spend on problems.

 

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. —Eleanor Roosevelt

Not fearing failure is one of the most important things to learn.

 

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. –George Patton

Now vs later … speed and decisiveness count a lot.

 

A simple reminder … business leadership competencies to shape the future, like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it… it takes lots of consistent practice. You need to dive into the pool as soon as possible.

 

What about your abilities to shape your future?  What type of leadership styles do you use? What key experiences can you share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add below?

 

It’s up to you to keep improving attention to your brand.

All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.

 

When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.

 

Try. Learn. Improve. Repeat.

 

Are you devoting enough energy in each of these steps to improving your leadership?

Do you have a lesson about making your leadership better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?

 

Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.

U.S. Housing Bounce May Be Transitory, Hunter Says

10 Summer Moving Tips

How to prepare for a seamless transition
If you’re moving this summer, the busiest season for moving, you know how daunting it can be. But if you create a blueprint for your move, the transition from house to house will go more smoothly.
Here are 10 things you can do to prepare for a seamless transition.
1. Full serve, partial serve or a do-it-yourself move.  Can you do it alone or should you hire a licensed moving company for a full-service or partial-service move?  This is one of the first and often most difficult questions soon-to-be moving households face. The answer depends on your lifestyle, household size, budget and amount of time you have to get everything accomplished. Get written quotes from at least three licensed moving companies so you know you’re getting the best deal based on your specific moving needs.  Moving yourself or doing a partial-service move?  Packing calculators can make it easier to estimate the amount of boxes and packing materials needed.
2. Plan to unpack BEFORE you pack. Take photos of each room in the new home before you arrive with furniture, plants, appliances and family in tow. Write down on a clip board where each item should go in your next home before packing, and carry it with you on moving day. List out the major items that need to be assembled first. As you place each item in its new room, cross it off the list and you will be one step closer to enjoying your new home.
3. Be strategic about packing.  If you have more than a month to ‘pick up and move’, start early.  Complete a free change of address and schedule utilities ahead of time at Moving.com.  Start packing early.  Whether it’s one room, one cabinet or a drawer at a time, weed through what may be years of accumulation.  As you’re going through your belongings, divide everything into these helpful categories:  donate to charity, give to a friend, recycle, trash, pack now, or keep handy until moving day.  You’ll be surprised at how much you can donate, recycle or give to friends.  And, you’ll not be overwhelmed with the task at hand three days before you move.
4. Moving is NOT child’s play. Plan ahead. Consider daycare on moving day, or get help from a friend or family member.  Provide lunch or some other appropriate thank you gesture if you do call in a favor. If that’s not an option, prioritize setting up safe places for your children to play in the new home on moving day so they’re not underfoot.  This will help everyone remain happy and calm on moving day.
5. Don’t fight with Fido. Sometimes we forget that all the packing and constant in-and-out of visitors is stressful for animals. Consider checking your pet into a daycare facility, or setting up a time for a friend to take them or check them into petday care. Don’t let your four-legged best friends get lost in the shuffle and remember to make day-of moving arrangements.
6. Keep track of small parts. Some items need to be broken down into pieces when moving, but do you know what to do with the small screws and washers that you end up with? Rather than tape them to the furniture, which can result in losing them, put everything in a baggie that is clearly marked and sealed. Keep all of the separate baggies together in one box on moving day and personally take it with you to your new home.
7. Take pictures of electronic hook-ups. Hooking up TVs, DVRs, home theater systems and computers can be challenging. Before unplugging any wires for the move, take a photo of the connections, print them out and label them in detail. This will create fewer headaches when setting up technology in the new home. Keep track of all loose wires using baggies or boxes that are clearly labeled, and personally carry these easy-to-lose items on moving day.
8. Packing cleaning products and toxins. Products such as detergents, pesticides and paint are heavy and unwieldy to pack. Dispose of as many as possible before the move in an eco-friendly way.  Call your city’s waste disposal department for guidance on proper disposal. For items that must be transported, pack them in a small box within a larger box for protection against leaks. Don’t overstuff boxes with these items! Consider marking these boxes in a different color, and seal them extra tight. Keep them separate from the rest of the boxes, particularly if you have kids and pets.
9. Consider getting full value insurance protection. If using a professional mover, it may cost a few dollars extra, but it provides peace of mind and eliminates later annoyances. Investing in full value protection means any lost or damaged articles will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made at current market value, regardless of age. It’s important to note that the required minimum coverage of 60 cents per pound would not cover the replacement cost of more expensive items such as a flat screen TV if damaged in transit.
10. Know your rights. If using a professional mover, research your rights as a consumer with either the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for interstate moves or contact the state agency within the state in which you reside for moves within state. Also, enlist the help of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or local law enforcement if the moving company fails to live up to its promises or threatens to hold your belongings hostage. FMCSA requires interstate movers to offer arbitration to help settle disputed claims.

Celebrate Independence! 15 Regional Craft Brews to Drink This July 4th Beer Sessions

2012-07-03-CelebrateBeer.jpgYou can't find a much better True American Story than the rise of the craft beer industry in the last several decades. From the bare handful of breweries that survived the Prohibition era, there are now over 1,700 thriving craft breweries across the country. Raise a glass and give a shout-out to your favorite local brewery and their beers this Independence Day. Here are 15 we especially enjoy. More


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