Today I discovered my website traffic has quadrupled since December 2014 — and soared to the top 1.5 million US websites according to Alexa. (The prior rank was in the top 3 million).
The number of leads coming in per day are overwhelming me now — and are from business in the US as well as China, Russia, Israel and France. My Klout rating is now 69 — in the top 1% of all bloggers who write about social media.
How did this happen?
You know the saying: “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot?” I actually started using the Internet marketing techniques I get paid to do for clients to promote my own business.
First, I looked at my competition and analyzed the content marketing and websites of the top 50 Internet consultants listed on the “Forbes 50” list and tried to figure out what was working and not working for them, then copied it. (More about this in a future blog post.)
1. Redesigned my website with a state of the art mobile-first responsive template.
2. Chose a unique color palette for my personal brand. (Plum/Peach/Black.)
3. Changed my photo to a recent, digital photo with currently stylish clothing (a gray/black dress) and got rid of the old, black and white photo that was obviously taken pre-digital with a film camera.
4. Added client lists and work samples to my website.
5. Rewrote the first page as a “Pain Letter” writing directly to my potential client and stating how I can solve their problem. (No visibility on the Internet.)
6. Added logos of the clients I’ve worked with in the past on the right hand side of the page.
7. Added a “Contact Me” with a form to send an email.
8. Used a scheduling app (I like VCita) so clients can schedule a 15 minute trial consultation.
1. Ramped up social media posts to 10-20/day on Twitter by using Buffer to time the posts 24/hrs. day. (It now takes only 1 hour a day to do my own social media.)
2. Got mentioned in a few articles as a social media expert. (Builds SEO. Adds credibility.)
3. Started regular posting on Google +. I know nobody uses G+ but the Google search engine likes Google + and these posts boost your page rank and SEO.
4. Created several new pages in listings and directories that built links back to my website
5. Put my URL on press releases on PR Web. This is huge. It drives tons of traffic back to your page.
6. Rewrote the first page of my website so it is loaded with key words clients are searching for. (“Social media and PR consultant in Silicon Valley and San Francisco”.)
7. Blogged 1 x/ week.
8. Set up content syndication from my blog to Twitter, G+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
9. Blogged on LinkedIn Pulse — creating more than 2,500 followers for my Pulse blog.
10. Built pages on About.me, Eolio and other sites that point back to my URL.
11. Tweeting about the “trending topics of the day” using #hashtags.
12. Changed my photo to one that looks directly at the reader instead of off to the right.
13. Choose a new color palette for my “personal brand” that no other consultant has. (Deep plum/peach/black.)
Can I do this for your business? Yes. And if I can’t do it for myself, why would you hire me?
This month, something incredible and unexpected happened. My traffic on the social media site, Pinterest, suddenly surged to 5,616 visits per DAY. (43,000 per month.)
At this rate, more than 2 million people could visit my Pinterest page this year.
Compare this to Twitter, where I obsessively tweet 20 times a day to get maybe a few retweets or this blog, which takes all year to reach 20,000 readers.
How did this happen?
What’s really strange is, I didn’t plan on becoming a Pinterest rock star. Pinterest is just a hobby, something I do for fun. But my Pinterest page has taken on a life of its own — pollinating pins throughout the Internet.
The Pinterest statistics (available because I created a Business account) tell me that most of my viewers are women, West Coast American, Canadian and Aussies, and that they, no surprise, are interested in exactly the same things that I adore — bohemian fashion, DIY found object crafts, rustic gardens, sacred interiors, the outdoors, flea market finds, vintage trailers, hammocks in the trees, outdoor music festivals, healthy food.
It’s a look and aesthetic that is distinctly me — and somehow citizens of Pinterest have decided I’m some sort of low rent Boho Martha and they like my style.
And clients tell me: “Meh….Pinterest is a waste of time for our brand.”
Just look at the statistics and growth on my page:
Pinterest does something that no other (free) marketing tool has ever done. It sends your “pin” like a little document, all over the planet — like a seed blowing in the wind. And everywhere it goes, this pin points back to your website. Where you are driving traffic to your webpage. Forever.
Pinterest users’ average purchase value is 126% more than Facebook users.
47% of US online shoppers made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest, beating FaceBook & Twitter.
Pinterest is the 2nd largest driver of social media traffic after Facebook.
Pinterest is the marketing and search engine traffic-driving (SEO) bargain of the century. And yet so few brands (except the really big consumer food brands) are taking it seriously yet. Again, look at the traffic statistics for just one month:
I have only 1700 followers on Pinterest, but those pinners can reach 2,000,000 people/year.
But wait this is what is truly amazing, and what most people do not “get” about Pinterest yet — those people don’t even need to be on Pinterest. My pins could land on Twitter, in a blog, Facebook, Instagram, another website, an email — who knows. Pins, unlike Facebook, G+, Twitter or LinkedIn posts, are incredibly viral.
Pinterest is even more viral than other forms of social media posting because they are not tied to Pinterest — each and every one of those “seeds” it sends out, in the form of a pin, will link back to your website — forever — no matter how often it is repinned or where it lands. While you can technically do this by sharing or embedding a Tweet or a YouTube video, it is just much more sharable and easier to do with Pinterest.
ARE YOU GETTING THIS YET? This is like, you can reach as many people with a Pinterest page than the entire circulation of the Los Angeles Times. More people than a Superbowl ad on TV.
And you still think Pinterest is “just for housewives in the Midwest posting recipes?”
Contact Giselle Bisson if you’re interested in learning how you can leverage Pinterest to help your start up start up, build your personal brand or drive more traffic to your website.
Old style SEO (search engine optimization) is about tricks, hacks and keywords. Your overpriced SEO geek may even convince you to pay him big bucks to put a big, ugly chunk of “geek speak” text written for the Search Engine (not human beings) on the first page of your website “for SEO purposes.”
Instead, the big opportunity to be discovered is by creating the most appealing, juicy, word-filled content possible and syndicating that yourself throughout the Internet via social media. Hire a professional writer and a social media pro and create compelling content if you want to drive traffic. (Not an SEO guru.)
Fire your SEO guy, and reallocate those resources to producing and syndicating more content that will drive free organic traffic to your website. (Now if your SEO person does most of the things below already, you should keep them. But I have a hunch they are still mostly doing the old-school tricks, metatags and hacks method.)
Here are 9 ways social search is the new SEO:
1. Answer the question in your headline. I know this is brain dead obvious, but you need to think like a search engine when you write every post, tweet and headline. What are people searching for? Ask the question in your headline. Answer the question in your content. (How can I get better organic SEO tips? How can I get more organic website traffic? How can I drive organic traffic to my site?) There. Done. Did it. Now send these headlines out into cyberspace from your social pages.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is totally unnecessary if you build your website on a blogging platform like WordPress that incorporates keywords, tags and lots of “social sharing” features. This is the dirty little secret that the whole SEO industry kind of dances around.
3. SEO, or paid advertising, is doing absolutely nothing to build your visibility on social networks. SEO is no longer relevant once you start doing Social Media because your profile on Twitter and your tweets automatically get the same search rank as Twitter! That’s right — you can drive more traffic to your website with a Tweet than you’ll get from an article in the New York Times. See this example when I Google myself — note that the New York Times article that quotes me is buried deep in the string. The first 10 results are all social media pages. (Social media has even better Google rank than my own website.)
4. SEO on your website is nowhere near as effective as a key-word filled, search-engine friendly press release that drives traffic to your website. Press releases go straight into Google News and Yahoo News, can easily be picked up by 50,000 blogs and feeds, and you can also distribute them on your social networks. It’s like having thousands of messengers in cyberspace sending people over to your website.
5. The best kept secret that that SEO guy doesn’t want you to know is that you’re probably paying him to drive traffic to your dead, static, dated website instead of starting from scratch with a social media optimized blog. I know it’s scary and expensive to leave your 1990s static website behind and get with it. After all, it’s your baby. You have tens of thousands of dollars and hours invested in it. But your 90s website is not only invisible — it’s dated, like an old kitchen that screams “Avocado and Harvest Gold,” like shoulder pads on a suit, like a wide necktie. A 2014 WordPress site looks like this one — it can adjust to desktop screens, tablets and smartphones. The other thing about using a blog as the center of your content wheel is that WordPress has great content syndication features that will automatically syndicate every post to all of your social media pages.
6. All that SEO you overpaid for will disappear when you remove your old site and update to a 2015 responsive template. However, links to Twitter, news coverage, blogs, press coverage and Press Releases will last forever in Google. As long as you don’t change your URL, those pieces of content drive traffic to your website as long as those networks stay on the Internet.
7. SEO is about words. More words = more chances you will be found by Google. By putting those words out on press releases, articles, blogs, Tweets, Pins and multiple social media pages (not just one place, your website) you’re exponentially increasing the chances that Google will find you. Even more if that stuff gets shared.
8. Google likes relevant, timely, fresh content. Nothing is more timely than social media posts like Tweets and G+ updates, or your own blog posts. Stale website content from your 1999 website is not very interesting to Google. (Or your customers.)
9. Google likes (surprise!) Google products such as G+ and YouTube. Nothing impresses Google’s search bots like using one of Google’s products. This is the only reason to have at least a token channel on YouTube and a G+ page where you post at least 1 time per day. Note that most of the top 10 hits when you Google me are G+ posts.
Today, to drive organic traffic to your website (without paying for links or ads) you need:
– An updated site that contains a blog, preferably a WordPress template
– An excellent writer (hire a journalist, not some cheap person on Fiverr who can’t write in English) to produce regular, juicy, keyword-rich, interesting and topical posts. (Bonus points if they capitalize on the trending topics of the day.)
– A social media consultant (to get more posts out there into the social sites and distribute your blog content to drive traffic back to your website.)
– A PR consultant – to send out more press releases that drive traffic to your site, and get you press coverage which will drive up your search ranks and generate the permanent, high-quality links back to your site that Alexa and Google love.
With the rise of Social Sharing we’ve entered a new era of digital media: personalized discovery. The balance of power is shifting: Many web managers and publishers are seeing more audience coming from Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter, Reddit and other social sharing sites than from Google search.
Social signals are the new page rank — become a “trending topic of the day,” or comment on the trends of the day, and you will see your traffic soar.
People will discover you and find you through your content, your networks and your conversations.
In November of 1985, I was an editor in my first job at a tech magazine and my boss said: “Hey let’s walk over to this press conference. Maybe they’ll have free drinks. Something called ‘Windows’.”
It wasn’t even on my beat. I wrote mostly about gaming. But the press conference was just around the corner, at the Hyatt Hotel, no big deal.
It was a small ballroom, one guy at a podium, maybe 35 people there. No big flashy presentations or flashdancers or searchlights or anything. (None of the flashy presentation stuff was invented yet and Silicon Valley CEOs had not reached anything near rock star status.)
The young CEO, this guy named Bill Gates, with a mop of hair, and big goggle glasses, held up a box and kind of mumbled. He wouldn’t become unfathomably wealthy and famous until 1986 when Microsoft had their IPO. But today it was just another product introduction.
We clapped, ate shrimp and everyone left the room to go back to their office and file a story.
(You couldn’t file electronically back then — computers were stuck on your desk.) It would be months before my story would get typeset, laid out, flown on galleys to our printer in Chicago, and get distributed to our subscriber’s 100,000 newsstands around the world.
I wasn’t planning to be there that day. I didn’t know I was witnessing history. Windows 1.0 was not dazzling — but I kind of knew it would be important someday — the first graphical interface for business PCs. Before that it was all just green or amber characters on a black screen, or you had a Macintosh, which nobody at that time took seriously for business.
Windows was launched on November 20, 1985. On a floppy disk. You had to get another floppy disk mailed to you in order to fix the bugs.
When I remember how clunky, frustrating and hard to use PCs were in the early days. When I hold a smart phone in my hand now, with full color, high resolution video, that communicates anywhere on earth in seconds — it truly is a miracle.
What an honor for my friends and I to be the generation who helped build all of that.
You would not be reading this post right now without the creativity and guts of thousands of people who worked long and hard to build what became the Internet, email, networking, the PC, social media, blogging — no one person can take credit for it. It was a whole generation taking risks, arguing, debating, working long hours and sleeping under the desk.
The new generation in Silicon Valley is racing madly to create “apps” that basically just cannibalize something that is already useful. (Do we really need to “disrupt” everything?) I wonder if they have have any idea your technology skills needed to be in 1985 to do even something as simple as keep your computer from crashing long enough to write a letter.
We’ve come a long long way.
And now, I just hit that blue button that says “publish” and this will go out to thousands of people all over the world. Amazing.