Facebook Testing Tools to Stop Misuse of Profile Photos

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Facebook is testing a new feature in India in a bid to halt the theft of people’s profile pictures.

The new tool, launched today, gives the social network’s users more control over who can download and share their profile images.

“Profile pictures are an important part of building community on Facebook because they help people find friends and create meaningful connections. But not everyone feels safe adding a profile picture,” Facebook said in a blog post. “We’re exploring ways people can more easily add designs to profile pictures, which our research has shown helpful in deterring misuse.”

Based on the testing done in India, Facebook “hopes” to bring the tool to other countries “soon.”

Indian Facebook users will now see a step-by-step guide to add an optional profile picture guard. The guard prevents others from downloading, sharing or sending one’s profile picture in a message on Facebook. Profile pictures using the shield will display a blue border as a visual sign it is protected.

People will not be able to tag anyone, including themselves in profile pictures that are protected unless they are friends with the user. Facebook also said it will try to prevent people from taking a screenshots of protected profile pictures as well.

“Based on preliminary tests, we’ve learned that when someone adds an extra design layer to their profile picture, other people are at least 75 percent less likely to copy that picture,” Facebook said. “If someone suspects that a picture marked with one of these designs is being misused, they can report it to Facebook and we will use the design to help determine whether it should be removed from our community.”

To learn more about the new tool, check out the video below.


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

The post Facebook Testing Tools to Stop Misuse of Profile Photos appeared first on SiteProNews.

How to scale your business internationally on search engines

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Most online sites at some stage will want to expand, and one of the most common ways to do that is by offering products to an international market.

However, it’s not an easy or simple task by any means. This post will help you understand the risks, research and steps involved in expanding your business into an international market.

Considerations and research

Is it the right time to go international? Is there a need to go international? This very much depends on your focus for the future and the current needs of the business.

If you are increasingly having visitors to your site from international locations, now be may the time to start implementing an international SEO strategy.

There are, of course, a few things that you need to take into consideration – such as:

  • Are you able to implement ALL technical fixes?
  • Do you have the resources to carry out the work and manage each variation in the future?
  • If targeting a different language, do you have somebody to translate?
  • Is the business ready to carry out international orders and process transactions?

Once you have checked all the above, it’s essential to carry out further research. As with any new website idea or build, it’s all about making sure it’s a worthwhile venture.

One of the biggest research areas will be around keyword research to find out if there is demand in the locations that the business will be expanding into. It’s important to note that the keyword research should be done in the language you will be targeting, and location.

If all the above is confirmed and ready to go, the next stage is to plan the implementation.

Website structure

You may have seen a number of different implementations of international, each having different pros and cons. I tend to lean towards using subdirectories; however, it very much depends on the type of targeting you will be using.

These are the main structure types:

  • ccTLD – Domain variations such as example.fr, example.au
  • Subdomain – fr.example.com, au.example.com
  • Subcategory – example.com/au/, example.com/fr/

We have provided an example of the set up for a website using the subcategory URL structure for the UK and France. It’s important to note our main website is sitting on a .com as this tends to be the norm now. However this would work in the same way for .co.uk.

We’ve done this with variations that include both language and location, but this can be done with just language or just location.

This would mean that we add the following code to our website:

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”en-gb” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/fr-en/” hreflang=”fr-gb” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/fr-fr/” hreflang=”fr-fr” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/en-fr/” hreflang=”en-fr” />

We can also add an X-default tag to this piece of code to be safe. This will tell search engines that if there is a URL that is not using this structure that it should default to the URL specified. This would change our code snippet to:

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”en-gb” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/fr-en/” hreflang=”fr-gb” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/fr-fr/” hreflang=”fr-fr” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/en-fr/” hreflang=”en-fr” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”x-default” />

It’s important to note that this is only for the homepage of our example website. Internal links will also need to use this code but with the URLs changed so they reference the specific URL rather than the homepage.

We have also left the homepage as .com because in the past we have seen drops when a site has also used the new URL structure for the homepage. If we were to change example.com to example.com/en-gb/ it would mean example.com having to pass through a redirect.

It’s much easier to do this within the CMS you are using; however, if needed you may use a bulk href lang tool.

Sitemap implementation

When people talk about using sitemaps and international SEO, they tend to be referring to implementing localization through the use of sitemaps. This is another way of accounting for different languages and countries if hreflang is not a possible solution.

The solution works in a very similar way to hreflang, but sits within a sitemap rather than in the website’s source code. We tend to only suggest using this method if hreflang is completely out of the question.

Metadata & content

We have already carried out our keyword research to find out where the demand is based on different languages, this is where new metadata needs to be used for each language variation. It’s also important that the right variation of the word is used, for example when targeting the USA from a site that uses UK or Canadian English.

The on-page content also needs to reflect the language that the user is on. If the hreflang is marked up to say the page is in French, it needs to be written in French. It sounds simple, but you would be surprised how many people get this wrong.

It’s also very important to make sure you have the in-house resource or outside help to be able to get this all done before launch. Yes, it is possible to gradually amend the content, but for users this could be very annoying – imagine their frustration in landing on a language they cannot understand.

As well as translating the content, it should reflect the audience you are targeting and their behaviors. User behavior varies from country to country and is something that needs to be taken into consideration when generating on-page content.

There are many differences that may not be apparent straight away. However, the best tip I can give is to not translate directly from English as what you are saying may not make any sense in another language.

It’s also very important to take cultural differences into account when writing new content or trying to sell a product in a different market. People from different countries will look at areas of the website in different ways such as: security, payment gateways, type of language used, shopping cart structure and many others.

This is why it’s worthwhile speaking to people from the country you are trying to target and getting somebody local to write the content and provide feedback. It all comes back to doing your research beforehand.

International Google Local

This section is very much dependent on the type of business you run. However if you have a physical location in the new countries you will be targeting it’s very important.

Google My Business allows businesses to create a listing giving full details of their company along with the location. This will be important in building up an organic search presence in a new location. There are plenty of posts on local SEO so I won’t go into it too much here, but these are the main steps:

  • Create the location here https://www.google.co.uk/business/
  • Add as many details as possible
  • Add the address to the most relevant page on your website
  • Mark the address up with local schema
  • Obtain links from relevant websites in the area or region

Carrying out the above steps will help the new location build up a stable base of links that can be built on top. I would also suggest creating relevant social profiles and local listings if relevant.

Summary

Making sure you are fully prepared is by far the biggest step in scaling a business to target an international market. Without the correct preparation, there is a very high chance that you won’t achieve what you initially set out to do.

International SEO is not a simple process by any means and can easily go wrong. However, if you are in the position to expand your business into an international set-up, there are easy gains to be made.

Former Uber CEO Knew Levandowski Had Google Data, Waymo Accuses

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Waymo is accusing recently resigned Uber CEO Travis Kalanick of knowing a former Google employee his company hired last year was in possession of data from Google’s self-driving car division, a new court filing obtained by Bloomberg reveals.

Travis Kalanick

Travis Kalanick

Kalanick, who resigned earlier this week, told Anthony Levandowski back in 2016 his company didn’t want any of Google’s data and that he was not to bring it to Uber with him,  according to the filing. Levandowski, who came onboard as Uber’s autonomous car chief when the high-tech ride-sharing firm bought his start-up Otto, reportedly told management he had destroyed all of the discs containing Google data.

The latest filing is one of many from Waymo in its trade secrets lawsuit against Uber.

Waymo is accusing former Google employee Levandowski of stealing elements of its Lidar technology to take with him to start Otto, a self-driving transport company which was purchased by Uber last August. The company, as part of its lawsuit, is accusing Levandowski of downloading 14,000 “confidential and proprietary design” files relating to the company’s “lidar and circuit board” before resigning as the technical lead of its self-driving car division.

Waymo has alleged that Levandowski searched for and installed specialized software on his company-issued laptop before leaving.

Levandowski admitted he did download some files, but it was to enable him to work from home. He denied taking those files with him when he left to co-found Otto, a statement Waymo’s latest filing appears to refute.

Levandowski has since been fired by Uber and Kalanick resigned this week under intense investor pressure.


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How to Get Executives to Invest in Content Marketing

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You know what an effective content marketing strategy can do for your organization.

You know that it costs 62 percent less than traditional advertising and yet generates about three times as many leads.

You’ve heard all the statistics and you’ve seen how other organizations are leveraging content marketing to demolish their sales goals.

You know it works. Sadly, however, none of that matters.

Because, for some reason, the executives you work for aren’t convinced. They tell you that content marketing is, “too hard to define,” or that “it’s a sunk investment because we can’t prove ROI.”

Are they right?

How Virgin Media Got the Higher Ups to Commit

Gill Worby, the head of digital marketing at Virgin Media, faced a similar dilemma when she was trying to convince executives to invest in content marketing.

Worby recognized that it was becoming more and more difficult to grab people’s attention through traditional advertising and digital marketing.

Content provided a solution. As she mentions, “Previously we always thought about what we wanted to talk about and now we talk about what our audience wants us to say.”

That’s the beauty of content. It raises brand awareness, earns trust and cultivates leads by being about what the audience wants it to be about.

Done right, content marketing helps you unlock a bevy of advantages that no other marketing method can.

But how did Worby overcome the challenges associated with convincing executives to make an investment?

Let’s find out.

1. Went After Complete Buy-In

One thing that you need to understand about content marketing right off the bat is that it can’t be a toe-in-the-water experience.

If you’re going to implement it, you need to commit to content marketing wholeheartedly.

And while that means it may be even more difficult to convince the higher ups to invest, the long-term effectiveness of your efforts depends on it.

Take a look at this comparison chart put together by the teams at the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs:

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As you can see, 91 percent of businesses that rated their efforts as most successful said their organization is extremely/very committed to content marketing.

Another glaring statistic is that 85 percent of businesses that rated their efforts as most successful said that they always/frequently deliver content consistently.

These things aren’t a coincidence.

It’s not worth convincing executives to ‘try’ content marketing. If you’re going to do it right, you need to get them to buy-in completely.

2. Mapped Out an Approach That Would Make Sense to Executives

The marketing team at Virgin Media knew that getting executives to agree to content marketing meant, first and foremost, convincing them of the business value that it would provide.

They also understood that making sense to executives meant putting it in terms of dollars gained.

To convince them, Worby’s team utilized a framework that involved three stages. They included:

  • Educate. In this stage, they worked diligently to inform executives and other people throughout the organization about the business goals that content marketing could help them reach.
  • Evaluate. This stage involved generating a plan for how they could track relevant KPIs and metrics in order to communicate the success of their content marketing efforts (through ROI).
  • Execute. The last stage meant outlining the processes, people, and teams that they would work with in order to execute their content marketing strategy.

Let’s break down each stage and help you gain a better understanding of how they can be implemented in your own situation.

Stage 1. Educate

The hope would be that educating executives would be as simple as pointing them to the litany of statistics about the effectiveness of content marketing.

I mean, shouldn’t this infographic do the trick?

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Unfortunately, that’s not the case. To educate and convince, your focus needs to be on what content marketing can do to create results.

Worby laid out four reasons that content could contribute to results. They were:

  • Content is lasting and permanent
  • Content serves two masters; your audience and the search engine
  • Content gains trust; trust gains customers
  • Content speaks to skeptical millennials (and customers in general) better than advertising

The education stage is successful when you’re able to show the higher ups how a positive shift in consumer behaviour can have an impact on the bottom line of the business.

Everyone knows what the goals of the organization are. You just need to prove that content marketing can contribute to completing them.

Stage 2. Evaluate

The evaluation stage is where you’ll start to speak the language of the executives you’re trying to convince.

They want to know what type of ROI your new strategy can provide.

Tracking the ROI of content marketing is a complex task. But it’s necessary if you want to make a convincing argument for your efforts.

Content marketing guru Neil Patel tracks content effectiveness using four metrics. They include:

  • Consumption metrics. Measuring the amount of people that are consuming your content, the channels they’re using, and how often they’re consuming it.
  • Sharing metrics. Measures what content is being shared, who’s sharing it, how they’re sharing it, and how often it’s happening.
  • Lead metrics. Measures how the content is supporting demand generation and lead nurturing.
  • Sales metrics. Measures how the content is influencing the advancement of leads through the sales funnel and, ultimately, how it’s driving revenue.

Once you’re able to communicate how you’re going to track results, you’ll also want to identify for them how you’re going to maximize ROI from the content that you’ll be producing.

Stage 3 – Execute

This stage needs to answer the question of how you’re going to execute your content marketing strategy.

What processes are you going to use? Who is going to do the work?

What in-house teams are you going to be collaborating with? Do you plan on utilizing contractors or agencies to help create the content?

These are all questions that you’re going to need to answer.

How you execute will obviously depend on the resources you have at your disposal.

For example, HubSpot recommends that a marketing team of nine could execute their strategy by divvying up responsibilities like this:

image3

This execution strategy involves two employees focused on blogging, one focused on premium/long-form content, one on SEO, and one on design.

Their job would be to commit to content marketing activities that grow the top of your sales funnel.

The other four would be dedicated to converting and closing the leads that they bring in.

Every situation is unique, and you’ll have to get creative if you don’t have access to a large team of marketers that can contribute.

The important thing here is that you have a ready made plan in place to show the executives how you’re going to follow through with your content marketing strategy.

3. Clearly Differentiated Between Advertising and Content

Worby realized early on that, for many reasons, it was important that they were able to clearly differentiate between advertising and content.

They had a simple model for doing this.

Advertising was defined as anything that was led by the brand. This included anything that was implemented for the purpose of showcasing the brand.

Content, on the other hand, was defined as anything that was led by the audience. This included anything that was meant to demonstrate the brand.

By doing this, Worby’s team simplified the process of identifying which pieces of content could be measured as part of the content marketing ROI.

It also created a common language that the entire organization could use to differentiate between the two.

Tying it All Together

As you’re already aware, it takes a lot of work to get the executives in your organization to buy-in to content marketing.

But, as Gill Worby has proven, it can be accomplished.

Utilize the process that Worby and her team have laid out for you.

Commit to going after complete buy-in by everyone in your organization. Educate, evaluate, and execute.

Create a clear understanding about the difference between advertising and content.

Do these things, show the execs that content marketing isn’t “too hard to define,” and implement a content marketing strategy that can transform your organization’s relationship with consumers.

It will be well worth the ride.


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Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia’s blog.

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Choosing the Right Web Hosting for WordPress Blogs

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If you are interested in starting a new blog, no matter what the topic, you must always keep this in mind: choosing a good web hosting service is crucial.

When choosing a web hosting service for your WordPress blog, you must consider the following factors:

  • Reliability of the web host;
  • Customer service and technical support provided by your web host;
  • Hosting packages (either of the shared hosting, virtual hosting or dedicated servers) various hosts are offering.

Apart from these factors, there are some minimum requirements for WordPress that should be met by your web hosting service. These include features like bandwidth allocation (also referred as file transfer by some hosting companies) and disk allocation (commonly called storage space).

Bandwidth allocation/ File transfer

Bandwidth is defined as the measurement of accessibility between public files and your website files. When users visit your website, they are spending your bandwidth.  Bandwidth consumption depends on the kind of blog you write and the kind of traffic flow you receive. So, if any hosting company guarantees you unlimited bandwidth, remember, it is not actually unlimited.

Disk allocation/ Storage space

Disk allocation or storage space is one of the important features to be considered when starting a WordPress blog. If you are storing your files in the blog, then your blog will require a web hosting service.

Let us now understand in detail all of the factors that should be kept in mind when choosing the right web host:

Reliability

Determine how reliable your web hosting company or server is. Measuring the reliability of a web host depends on the up time of your blog. A goos web hosting company will guarantee 99.9 percent up time, so do not select any company that provides you with less than that. Also, a reliable host will be fast, thus helping you load your blogs faster and making it more convenient for the readers viewing your blogs.

Customer Service

A good and genuine web hosting company will always provide you with reliable customer service and round-the-clock technical support. You can test response by calling or e-mailing customer care and then keep track of how quickly the web host responds to you.

Hosting packages offered

There are three different types of hosting packages that a web hosting company offers for blogs. These include: shared hosting, virtual private hosting and dedicated servers. The type of hosting packages you select will entirely depend on what kind of blogs you are writing and your budget. If you are a beginner, a shared hosting package is the best option for you. Let us see the three main hosting packages in detail:

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Shared Hosting Packages

Shared hosting packages are most commonly used. Most of the websites you visit use a shared hosting package. Shared hosting means the same web network is shared between different users. Shared hosting packages are suitable for most blogs and it depends on many factors like size of the Web server, it’s hardware, bandwidth of the site, RAM, drive space capacity, processing speed and many more factors. Some of the famous shared hosting packages are HostGator and iPage.

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

The virtual private servers (VPS) are  a type of shared hosting package. The only difference is the same web server is shared only between a few users, unlike the shared hosting package where the web server is shared among all the users. Let us understand this more clearly using the following example: If 500 general users are sharing the web server in the shared hosting package, then this same web host will be shared amongst maximum of 50 to 100 users in virtual private servers (VPS) package. HostMonster is one such VPS package offered to bloggers.

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated servers are meant for altogether different kinds of users who do not want their web servers to be shared among other users. These users host their website on their own using private servers in dedicated server’s mode. Dedicated servers are expensive but they are ideal for large websites getting huge amounts of traffic. They have a greater advantage of higher up time; faster page loading; faster processing of FTP, downloads, uploads and all other server activities.


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4 Tips for Increasing Cloud-Based QMS Adoption and Buy-In

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Organizational change takes some adjustment. Whether it’s the introduction of a new high-level employee or a change to company culture, sometimes people are hesitant to embrace changes because they are unfamiliar or seem more difficult.

When it comes to your Quality Management System (QMS), sticking to your old habits leads to inefficient processes and increases the likelihood of quality issues—especially in high-risk industries. Yet user adoption and buy-in still remain quality management challenges, despite the dangers.

Here are four tips to help get your team on board with adopting an updated, cloud-based quality system.

1. Share the Value of the Cloud

The latest advancement in software is cloud hosting and it’s gaining popularity, especially among small and mid-sized organizations. This type of software is private, secure and cost-effective. Presenting these benefits to your IT team can get them on board with the transition, which is an important factor in software decisions.

2. Start at the Top Levels

A simple way to get the entire team excited about a new QMS is to get the executive and management level personnel on board first. That way, the change is presented as a company-wide initiative that aligns with high-level goals. When the news of a big change comes from a trusted source, such as the CEO, it reinforces that the change is good for the entire organization.

To read the remainder of Alexa’s article, please click here.


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Kalanick Resigns as Uber CEO Under Investor Pressure

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is doing more than taking a leave of absence from the high tech ride-hailing firm — he is stepping down as head of the company he helped found.

Shareholder pressure led to Kalanick’s decision, sources told The New York Times. Five of Uber’s most prominent investors, including venture capital firm Benchmark, on Tuesday demanded Kalanick’s immediate resignation as head of the company.  The demand came in the form of a letter, which was obtained by The Times.

The investors, in the letter, requested Kalanick tender his resignation immediately, saying the company needed a change in leadership. According to the Times’ report, Kalanick first consulted with at least one Uber board member and engaged in lengthy discussions with investors, before complying with the request. He will, however, remain on Uber’s board of directors.

“I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” Kalanick said in a statement.

Kalanick, originally, was supposed to take a leave of absence although the board did discuss “the possibility that Kalanick might return in a role with less authority,” perhaps as a CEO with fewer responsibilities and more oversight or in a position other than the company’s chief executive, according to a Reuters report.

Kalanick’s leadership of Uber has been under question this year. The company has had a troubled year, facing sexism allegations and issues with disgruntled drivers, not to mention being accused of stealing trade secrets from Alpahbet’s self-driving vehicle division, Waymo and being slapped with a $20 million fine by the FTC.

If that were not enough, Uber’s popularity took a hit over Kalanick’s involvement in President Donald Trump’s economic advisory council. Kalanick’s failure to immediately condemn an order signed by Trump back in January that suspended immigration to the United Sates from Muslim countries led to public outrage. A #DeleteUber campaign was started via social media and, although Kalanick did resign from the advisory council, it was not before losing some 200,000 customers.


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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How to achieve off the charts off-page SEO that will boost traffic

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When you think about improving your SEO, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Maybe you think of rewriting your web copy to rank better for certain keywords, churning out new posts for your blog, or making sure your website is structured in a logical way.

All of these are important aspects of ranking well in search engines, but they aren’t the only ways you can optimize your web presence. If you want to rank better and get more traffic, you need to improve your off-page SEO, too. This guide will help you get started.

So, what exactly is off-page SEO?

In the simplest terms, off-page SEO encompasses all the aspects of SEO that occur outside your website (yes, it’s true). You can think of it as your reputation. Off-page SEO includes the things you do as well as the things other people say about you. Your social media activity, your customer service practices, and the online reviews customers leave for you on other sites are all examples of off-page SEO. Below is an example of reviews for realtors on Redfin:

Many people think that off-page SEO is just about link-building. It’s true that, at its core, the objective of good off-page SEO is to drive traffic to your site by earning plenty of high-quality links.

But if you just think of your strategy as a way to get more link juice, you’ll be missing a lot of the potential nuance of this topic.

Getting started with off-page SEO

Instead of focusing solely on links, it’s better to improve your off-page SEO by working on your reputation, your authority, and your popularity. In a nutshell, your objective should be to provide excellent value and connect with as many people as possible.

This is a long-term strategy, but your patience will pay off down the road – your business will gain recognition, you’ll establish your expertise in your field, and eventually you’ll start earning links from respected sites.

With that said, there are two main ways you can start improving your off-page SEO: connecting with your target audience and networking with influencers.

#1: Connecting with your target audience

Interacting with the people who might need or want your product or service is smart, both in terms of making more sales and thus improving your SEO because of the traffic that comes with it. However, it’s important to connect with people the right way.

Consumers are savvy, and they don’t like feeling pressured to buy things. Instead of focusing on what you’re selling, which can come across as spammy, grow your following by finding ways to help other people without asking for anything in return. A few ideas include:

Stay active on social media the right way

It goes without saying, but social media is one of the best ways you can connect personally with people who might need or want your service. Figure out where your target audience spends time online (this article covers how to do so in more detail), and make sure you have accounts on those platforms.

In general, the more accounts you have, the better, but keep ROI in mind – there is obviously no point wasting time on an obscure platform most people don’t use.

Furthermore, if you don’t have the resources to manage a lot of social pages, that can end up hurting your reputation, so start with the ones that matter most, post regular updates about your business, product, or service, and engage with your customers every chance you get.

Always remember, people like to know there’s a human behind their favorite business.

Share your knowledge on forums and message boards

If your target audience spends time on sites like Quora or Reddit, create accounts there and start posting. Join interesting conversations and answer other people’s questions. Aim to provide value instead of just increasing your post count.

It’s okay to mention your business if it’s pertinent to a question – for instance, you might tell a story about how you solved a problem with a customer. Just don’t push your product or service.

Your strategy on forums should just be to build up your reputation as an authority in your field. Over time, people will start to recognize you and come to you for advice.

There are tons of people online doing a great job of this. The example below from a personal trainer is just one example of someone who answers a lot of questions, has gained followers because of it, yet doesn’t focus on self-promotion but rather just making those connections:

Be on the lookout for opportunities to create useful off-site content

You might already do content marketing with your on-site blog, but why stop there? Consider incorporating various types of content, like videos, images, and infographics, into your social media marketing and your forum posts.

It’s rare these days to see an infographic on a forum (except for maybe something like Reddit or Tumblr), but when you do, it stands out. Guest posting is also, of course, another great way to do off-site content marketing, but more on this later.

Screencap of a discussion thread about a picture of a cute dog on Reddit.

#2: Building relationships

Connecting with your target audience is essential for good off-page SEO, but it will only take you so far. To become a recognized authority, and to start earning valuable links from experts in your field, you’ll have to network, too. Here are some tips for building strong relationships.

Guest post on other people’s blogs

Guest posting is a tried-and-true strategy for getting links back to your site. But while it’s a useful way to build your link profile, that’s not the main reason you should offer a guest post.

Instead, think of guest posting as a way to forge new relationships and help people who aren’t in your circle of regular blog readers.

The problem with guest posting for links is that you might be tempted to go for quantity over quality. But writing a lot of low-quality posts on blogs that don’t get much traffic won’t actually help you that much, and depending on where you’re published, it could even damage your reputation.

Instead, pitch guest posts only when you think you have something useful to say. Choose blogs you’d be proud to appear on, and make sure your idea is a good fit by studying the style and content of the blogs you’re pitching to.

Of course, not every blog you write for has to be a household name. In fact, if you’re just starting to guest post, they almost certainly won’t be. Still, you’ll get better results (and you’ll be able to publish on the big-name blogs sooner) if you focus on making genuine connections with other bloggers and saying something of value every time you write a guest post.

Leave comments on the blogs you read regularly

If you find certain bloggers helpful or inspiring, let them know! Bloggers love it when readers leave them thoughtful comments, and commenting on a blog post is one of the easiest ways to connect with someone you admire.

Keep in mind that there’s a right way and a wrong way to comment on blogs. Take the same approach here as you would for a guest post – focus on connecting, not just on commenting for its own sake. Don’t leave generic comments, don’t link to your website or blog, and don’t comment on a post if you didn’t actually read it.

Instead, say something relevant to the post itself. Greet the blogger by name and tell them why you liked this post. Was it helpful? Thought-provoking? Tell them how you implemented their ideas, or ask a question inspired by the post.

When you interact with bloggers this way on a regular basis, they’ll start to notice and remember you. The Wired.com community seems to do this well:

Look for avenues to connect with thought leaders in your field

Leaving comments on blogs is a great way to build relationships, but it’s far from the only way. Remember those social media accounts you made? Use them to follow thought leaders and experts in your field.

Twitter, in particular, is a great way to reach out to others – it’s simple, professional, and brief enough that you don’t have to worry about bothering anyone.

Don’t forget to take advantage of offline networking opportunities, too. That’s right – your off-page SEO efforts don’t even have to involve the internet. Cyberspace makes it easy to reach out to people, but in-person networking events can be far more useful since you’re more likely to be remembered if you connect with someone in real life.

Put yourself out there by looking for some interesting conferences and meetups to attend. Start hanging out where your target audience hangs out and see how far it can take you.

The takeaway

On-page SEO is important, but it’s only half the battle if you want to maximize your success. Off-page SEO plays a huge role in building your reputation, bringing in traffic, and encouraging your target audience to choose you over your competitors.

Improving your off-page SEO is an ongoing task. Whether you’ve been working on your reputation for years or you’re just getting started, there are plenty of things you can do to connect with more people and expand your brand’s reach.

Focus on helping people out, providing useful information, and cultivating a strong network of peers and mentors. Along with a great reputation, you’ll build a profile of high-quality links that will drive more traffic to your site than ever before.

What are your favorite off-page SEO strategies? Let us know in the comment section below.

 

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for NoRiskSEO, a full service SEO agency, and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn.