Rank on Bing

Bing-vectorA couple of years ago I started using an SEO assistance software (UpCity.com) that helped me capture some online directories and other beginner SEO tactics. Being a novice at SEO at the time I didn’t really understand the importance of ranking on any other search engines besides Google. Bing and Yahoo have merged their directories and even though you still need to have a listing on both Yahoo and Bing, Yahoo is where you will increase your rankings on Bing believe it or not.

Similar to Google, Bing has their own algorithms to help throw off all those black hat SEO cowboys. But for us white hat SEO people, I’ve discovered a fairly simple way to help increase your rankings on Bing/Yahoo. Even if it is short lived, Bing will pull down your ranking numbers if you are not consistent with your traffic, so keep this in mind. I first discovered my ranking on Bing when I set up my UpCity SEO software. I chose my industry keywords and I automatically indexed very very high (100+) with my chosen keywords, but ranked in the mid 20’s with Google with those same keywords. I just thought this was good enough, being naive to the importance of online diversity and search engines. However, slowly this number started to bother me and I began to do some research and reworked some of my website content, but still nothing. Then one day, I noticed someone wrote a review about our office on our (free) Yahoo local listing. Two days later I opened up my UpCity and noticed my numbers dropped below 100 and we were sitting at 55, which is a significant difference. At first, I didn’t realize that the impact of the Yahoo Local review but as I looked further I noticed there were two reviews.

yahooThis was no coincidence. Yahoo and Bing are lumped together, like Google+, Yahoo local is a place where people can post reviews, and Bing does not have a review platform, so they point everything over to Yahoo Local. For testing purposes, I let some time pass and after not soliciting any reviews to our Yahoo Local page I noticed that our ranking on Bing went back up to 100. Over the next couple of weeks, I solicited a couple more reviews from satisfied customers that had Yahoo accounts. The ranking went back down to 65 with one review. I updated our content as well and put in some keywords in our description and it went down a couple more points too.

Bottom line, similar to Google, Bing wants fresh content on their sites. This is understandable, and this is good and basic SEO. It’s the simplicity of SEO practices that we so quickly disregard, so don’t forget about the simple things. Content is always king and raw data and content such as reviews should never go untouched or undervalued! If you are not collecting and asking for reviews, chances are people will not partake and this is your easiest way besides blogging to create original content and authority. It’s a lot to ask someone to take time out of their busy schedules to write a review about your business. So, make it enticing for individuals to write about you online by offering a small reward for doing so.

PRO TIP: One other point, if you have not set up a Bing Local (Places) account or Yahoo Local account, do so! Also make sure to index your website through Bing Webmaster Tools. One of the biggest mistakes I see with clients who are managing their own websites and SEO, they never index through Bing. Big mistake!!!

NOTE: Yahoo Local is one of the most confusing and frustrating directory listings on the web, however it is important and essential to your business and online authority. DO NOT disregard Yahoo and do not pay for a listing with them. Use the free business listing but keep in mind every time you change something on your Yahoo local listing, it has to be approved by Yahoo. And it can sometimes take up to 7 days for it to be approved. They want you to use their paid listing, but in my opinion, I’ve used the $10 month premium upgrade listing and you still have to wait almost 7 days for change approvals and if you don’t have a yahoo account, it can be tricky to login and find your local listing. Use your Google account to login instead of creating a yahoo account, it will keep things congruent and easy to remember.

Links and Likes

Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Places/Local
Yahoo Local
UpCity SEO
Google Webmaster Tools

Branding – It’s Not As Scary As It Sounds!

Brand-ImageYou might be a business that has been around for quite some time, or perhaps you are a new business starting up. Regardless of your status and stature, when it comes to branding, there are numerous things to contemplate.

Some say, it is harder to re-brand yourself if you are a business that has been operating for many years. On the other hand, it has been said that is just as complex to brand yourself as a new business breaking into an existing market.  Regardless of how you look at it, or who says what, branding is the most fundamental aspect to any businesses new or existing. Your brand is your fingerprint, your pulse in a specific market and community; you as a company are defined by your brand as it is how people will relate to you, find you and connect with you. Branding is essential more importantly the how develop your brand is acutely crucial.

We are not talking about re-inventing the wheel here, we are talking about what the color, shape or size the wheel, can, will and should look like to a specific demographic. When determining your brand, new or old, there are some key guidelines to follow when taking this new leap forward into the daunting indefinite.

Do your research!

First of all, researching your demographic will help you in determining your brand, label, and your fingerprint. If you have no idea what demographic you’re marketing to then you will never develop a successful brand. For example, if your product, or business is driven towards the 30 something, conservative, gun owning male, you probably don’t want the color pink in your logo/brand. This is probably not the greatest analogy, but there is a science to this. The point is, like any marketing plan, you do the demographic research to help you determine who your ideal and customer is, and tailor your brand to those customers. The rest will follow. But, you must must must do your research, whether you do this yourself or hire a marketing person, it must be done in order to have a comprehensive look at your business/product through your potential customer’s eyes.

Be prepared/Inform your audience

When developing a new brand for an old business you have to prepare your audience and/or customers for the change. Your existing customers are your best customers and you always want to keep them in the loop on any changes to your business, plus this makes them feel important; empowerment is influential. As a business owner, you should already have vital data from your existing customers, such as email addresses, mailing addresses, social media, mailing lists etc. Most businesses now, are using social media to prime their audience intended for any specials, changes and/or events regarding their business. It is a quick and effortless way to reach your audience with these changes. More importantly, by priming the pump so to speak, letting your customers know that you are changing names or updating a logo but are still maintaining the same ownership is beneficial in maintaining your identity. If you are a storefront, hand out flyers, throw an event for a grand re-opening, plaster it all over your social media sites, send emails, post cards etc. You want to give your customers/clients at least a 6 months notice that things are changing in a good way. If there is one thing people dislike it is change and they dislike it even more when they don’t see it coming. Use this is a re-marketing/marketing campaign to tap back into to your audience, new and old. There is always opportunity for marketing when branding or re-branding. If you are developing your website and are simply working with blogging and social media platforms, use these tools to announce your changes. Not only is this a great marketing tool, but it also gets you re-involved with your audiences. Keep your clients informed and use the opportunity to reach back out the community to say you care and hey take a look at what we are doing! People will warm to your regard and this outreach will benefit your business. And you never know, you might re-capture that customer that hasn’t been to your business in quite sometime. It’s a win win!

It’s always wise, when making a change to your brand or creating a new brand, to announce to your audience the changes that are about to take place. Get them to interact with the change, pose questions, give timelines etc.. The most important information you can reveal to your audience about any changes is the most relevant information, which means, what is real vs. what might be.

Be consistent

Make sure that when you begin your branding/re-branding campaign, you are consistent throughout all of your platforms, social media, blog, website, local listings etc. Take one platform at a time, and slowly develop your consistency across the board. If you don’t have consistent content throughout your platforms, things will be interpreted as sloppy and irrelevant and followers/audiences will be less interested. Consistency is you best tool in the toolbox, when people are Google searching for a specific product they like to see consistency. You don’t want your twitter to say one thing and your Google+ to say another. Keep things simple and consistent, it’s always the best approach.

Three things to always consider when branding:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you are offering
  3. Where you’re going/where do you want to be

Quick Tip: Create a mailing list and put it on your website, social media and plaster all over your business. Get your customers to sign up so they can have exclusive access to specials, upcoming events and your company newsletters. You can easily create this through MailChimp. This is a non-invasive way to inbox your customers without feeling like you are spamming them because they signed up for the mailing list on their own.

Branding can be a simple transition or creation if properly introduced and strategically planned out. It can also be a fun process if you allow it to be. Make it exciting to your customers that this is great thing and they will benefit from this change and development. Use social media as much as possible; you can reach a larger, vaster audience if properly used. Don’t underestimate the power of conversation; engage with customers online and in person if possible and inform them about this new era of your business! In the end, people might not like change initially, but if it is good positive change, the audience is yours for the taking!