5 Tips You Need to Know to Improve Your Twitter Strategy

If you haven’t already heard, Twitter is becoming the new 1-800 number. Across the world, customers are using Twitter to publicly voice their pleasure or frustrations with a brand. It provides a make or break opportunity for brands. Responding to tweets, whether good or bad, will almost never do any harm (assuming the company tweets responsibly) and ideally restore or build the customer relationship. Failing to respond is like not answering the phone. It only leaves the customer more frustrated and the customer relationship more tarnished.

Today’s infographic shows 5 things you may not know about consumers on Twitter. For one, they don’t care when your customer support team in manning the Twitter lines.

british-airways-twitter-mistake

They’ll tweet you at 3AM, with many expecting a quick response. And in some cases, they won’t even tweet to your account. They’ll mention your name, but stop short of @ mentioning you.

Investing in a good social media monitoring tool is integral to your Twitter and social strategy. You’ll have all your mentions and activity in one place to keep you organized and on top of all your mentions.

Thanks to Mention for providing us with the infographic. You can also download the PDF and share it with your colleagues.

10 Ways to Convert More Customers Infographic

Four Data Driven Alarm Signals for SEO and How to Respond

There are some things about your website you simply can’t ignore — manual penalties, negative SEO, stuff like that. There are other problems that can come up, too. They aren’t quite as obvious, but they are just as damaging.

In this article, I share with you four of these data-driven alarm signals. I want to you to know exactly what metrics to watch, how to find out if you’re in danger, and what you should do about it.

1. Loss of Indexed Pages

What It Is

Google’s algorithm crawls your site and puts these pages into their vast index to be returned in search results for relevant queries. As a courtesy to you, they tell you in Google Webmaster Tools exactly how many pages of your site are in their index.

If you are consistently adding new content and maintaining a valid sitemap.xml, this number should rise. Of course, if you intentionally remove certain pages, then the number will go down. However, if the number of indexed pages drops suddenly or declines gradually over time, then you have a problem on your hands.

Why would this happen? Google removes pages from its index for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, pages just drop off the index because of age or lack of visitors. This is normal. Other times, however, Google penalizes pages, i.e., deindexes them because of spam or unnatural backlinks.

When a page is removed from Google’s index, it will no longer be returned in search results. The fewer pages you have indexed, the less likely it is that your site will rank for certain keywords.

Where to Get the Data

Go to GWT → Google Index → Index Status. This will show you a graph of the total indexed pages over the past twelve months. Make sure that you’ve left the “removed” box unchecked.

The image below shows a site that experienced a severe loss of indexed pages. In this case, the indexation loss coincided with a manual penalty.

index status

What to Do

If possible, find out what pages might be deindexed. If you have a site with just a few pages, indexation loss could be a major blow to traffic. If the deindexed pages are landing pages, this is even worse. You can find out if a page has been deindexed by searching Google for “site:[your page URL]”

google neil testimonial

In this case, I checked to see if my page http://neilpatel.com/testimonials/ was still indexed by Google. (Thankfully, it is.)

On large sites with tens of thousands of pages, it’s unrealistic to search every page for deindexing in this way. However, you can still fix the problem by conducting a backlink audit.

It’s a good time to audit your entire link profile for spammy links, and to remove them. I’ve often seen Google start to deindex pages, and a month or two later hit the site with a manual penalty. You can thwart such total deindexation by conducting a thorough audit, link removal, and disavowal.

2. Duplicate Content

What It Is

Duplicate content — when your content is displayed on multiple on- or off-site locations — can erode your rankings and put you at risk for algorithmic penalization. Often, the fault of duplicate content is oversight in the development stage of a website (i.e. misuse of session IDs or URL parameters). Other times, duplicate content is a result of scrapers or content syndication without a rel=canonical tag.

Where to Get the Data

There are plenty of tools that can help you target and fix duplicate content. Screaming Frog is one of my favorites. However, you can access duplicate content information easily and accurately within GWT.

Go to Google Webmaster Tools → Search Appearance → HTML Improvements

The site below has just a few duplicate content issues. These probably aren’t enough to warrant any serious traffic loss or penalization.

3-half-shark-alligator-man

What to Do

The fix for duplicate content listed in GWT is very easy. Simply go to the pages that are listed as containing duplicate content, and change them.

3. Lost Links

What It Is

A great link profile is at the core of a great site. You simply can’t have a strong web presence unless you’ve got plenty of healthy links pointing back to your site.

But what if those links start disappearing? It can happen, and when it does, you will have a problem on your hands. Lost linkbacks mean lost ranking, lost traffic, and lost revenue.

Though spammy linkbuilding is a relic of a bygone SEO era, it is still important to work hard at creating high-quality backlinks. You do so through content marketing and careful guest blogging.

But links don’t last forever. Moz’s research shows that that 75% of the web disappears within less than a year. As Nick Garner pointed out, “Most of the web is short lived.” The reality of the disappearing web — also known as “churn rate” — means that you will experience lost links.

Where to Get the Data

There are plenty of tools for analyzing your link data. I’ve probably used every one on the market — Majestic, Moz, LinkResearchTools, SEMrush, etc. I’ve also developed tools — KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg — that help you understand your metrics and visitor behavior.

You can get backlink counts for free from the Quicksprout.com analysis tool, or by using Google Webmaster Tools.

I recommend that you keep a close eye on this number, and on this page in Google Webmaster Tools. Go to Search Traffic → Links to Your Site.

links to your site

  • Total links: If this number declines gradually or sharply, it indicates a loss of linkbacks and the potential for site decline. Remedial action: Content marketing improvements.
  • Who links the most: Most of your links should be coming from other niche sites, blogs, industry websites, etc. If you see an alarming amount of off-niche, porn, gambling, or spam sites, you have a problem. Remedial action: Conduct a link profile audit.
  • Your most linked content: Links should be pointing at your landing pages, content pages, or other significant pages. If you discover old, irrelevant, or undesirable pages being linked to, it’s a sign that you need to make some improvements in your content marketing. Remedial action: Content audit. Target the most linked to pages for improvement. Continue content marketing.
  • How your data is linked: This is the anchor text used to create the links. If the anchors contain irrelevant, spammy, or over-optimized anchors, you could have a problem. Remedial action: Link profile audit.

4. Organic Traffic Decline

What It Is

When your organic traffic goes down, you need to deal with the issue as soon as possible. Every site faces fluctuation, but if a fluctuation turns into a trend, it’s an alarm signal.

Where to Get the Data

In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition → Keywords → Organic. It doesn’t matter that the specific results are (not provided). What does matter is whether your organic keyword traffic is up or down. The graph below indicates a problem:

google warning and penalty

For this site, the “warning” point was the first symptom that the site was experiencing a problem. Their organic keyword traffic customarily experiences peaks and troughs, but there was a sudden dip that was lower than usual. This was a warning sign. The next peak did not rebound to previous traffic average levels. Then, one month later, they received a manual penalty.

Manual penalties do not always come with warning signs like this one. Regardless, the change in keyword traffic usually indicates some level of problem — be it a spammy link profile, deindexed pages, etc.

What to Do

Just as the causes for organic traffic loss are legion, the treatments are many. First, you need to find out exactly why traffic declined. Ask questions, and get data answers:

  • What changes happened in the backlink profile?
  • What other traffic sources changed?
  • Was there an algorithmic change?

Ask as many questions as you can until you’re able to form a hypothesis — a possible reason for the traffic decline.

Some of the best big-picture solutions are also some of the most basic — reevaluating keywords, improving content marketing, removing toxic backlinks, etc. There aren’t any stock answers to solve this problem. It must be solved on a case-by-case basis.

Conclusion

The SEO’s job is not merely to optimize title tags and create keyword-rich content. The SEO’s job is to study the numbers, to identify problems, and to develop strategic solutions. If you take a look at each of the data points I’ve described in this article, you may be able to prevent some major disasters or simply improve your SEO.

What other data-driven alarm signals should the SEO watch?

About the Author: is the Chief Evangelist of KISSmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

Buy Yourself Time by Systematizing Your SaaS With Trello

trello-icon

This is a guest post by Kyle Brown, author of the upcoming book Systematize.

Are you spending a lot of time explaining how to perform tasks to your employee(s)?

Do you have documents scattered all over the cloud, various emails, and computers?

Do you struggle to find documentation when you need it?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then hope is not lost and there is something that you can do.

You’re running a SaaS business and likely don’t have the resources or the desire to hire an individual or management company to run the operations of your business and you cannot be everywhere all of the time. Spending your time repeating endless cycles of q and a are not the answer to growing your business.

Image if you had more time to market your business or work on a new feature for your SaaS to increase the profits? What if you could consolidate all of your methods for performing tasks into a clean organized manner so that you could easily find and share information required to run your company?

In this post I outline how you can take your mind share and knowledge required to perform tasks in your business and document them so that your team can execute in your place. The method is also known as systematizing. Also referred to as standard operating procedures and business process management.

I have written other detailed posts on how you can systematize at my blog and on the BidSketch blog that you can read for more background. The purpose of this post is to give you an overview of how you can use a tool named Trello to document your processes after you have created them. It also includes some of what you’ll find in my upcoming book, Systematize.

Introducing Trello
Trello, a Fog Creek Software product, is an interesting tool that I’d heard about some time ago while listening to the Startups for the Rest of Us podcast. It has evolved since that time and so have the things that it can be used for. One of those things is documenting business processes.

System requirements
To document processes effectively your system of choice should have at a minimum the following three elements present.

  1. Decentralized hosting.
  2. The ability to control profile based permissions.
  3. The ability for you and your team to collaborate.

Trello meets all of these requirements and more.

To document a business process using Trello, follow these steps:

Create an Account
This is relatively straightforward. Free accounts are available and will serve your purposes. So visit trello.com/signup to create your account. At the time of this article, you can use your Google account to sign up.

Setup your First Process
The first thing you need to do is identify a task that you want to document into a process. I recommend starting with something small. You can always add larger processes later once you get a feel for it.

Note: During your first sign in you may recognize that some content already exist. This content has been place there for you by Trello to help get you started. So to avoid disturbing that, you will create your own content from scratch.

Create an organization
In the upper right hand corner of the screen, you want to click the ‘+’ icon, then select “New Organization.” Complete the “Name” field (You can use your company name) and click the “Create” button. We will use a fictional company named “SaaSco”

1

Create a Process Category
Trello uses containers called boards to store information. We will use these boards to house individual process categories. So click the ‘+’ symbol again but this time you should select “New Board….” For this example, let’s name this one “Marketing.”

Create a sub category
By default Trello may provide you with three new boxes named “To Do”, “Doing”, “Done”. These boxes are called “Lists” and we will use these to store our process sub categories. For this example, we will name it “Blog Post Processes” in the next few steps.

2

We are only going to use the “To Do” list so we can remove the other two. Click in the upper right hand corner of the “Doing” list and select “Archive this list” and the list should disappear. Repeat this for the “Done” list.

3

The only list that you should have left is the “To Do” list which you should rename “Blog Post Processes” which is as simple as clicking on the words, typing and clicking the “Save” button.

4

Create your First Process
1. Now we want to create the individual process. Trello uses “Cards” to store detailed information. We will use these cards to store your individual process. In this example we will create a process for posting to your company blog named, “How to write a post for the blog” by clicking the “Add a card” link, then click the “Add” button.

2. Now it is finally time to add the actual process. Click on the card that you just created and you should be presented with a box in the center of the screen which allows for a variety of functions. I will outline four of them.

5

  1. Edit the description: In this section of the card, you should include information such as the process goal or objective, the effective date if different from the posting date, the specific team members, and any other special instructions.
  2. Members: Allows you to determine who can access this process.
  3. Activity: Logs all of the activity around this process and serves as a revision tracker so that you can determine which changes were made, when, and by whom. This is useful information when process are changed and you need to determine why.
  4. Checklist: These are specifically handy when you start documenting step-by-step instructions for your process.

6

And there you have it. You have successfully taken a time consuming task and systematized it using Trello. I really feel like this is the tip of the iceberg when using Trello for this purpose.

There are many features which add additional functionality that were not addressed. This post was meant to serve as one example of how Trello can be used to serve as the infrastructure to create, store, edit, share and collaborate your business processes to systematize your business and save time.

Bootstrapped, Episode 45, “Adventures in Hacker News”

Download this episode, in which Ian and Andrey discuss taking a vacation while bootstrapping,  the craziness of Hacker News, LaraJobs, Scribbleton, installing desktop software, mods, git, pity purchases, Linux desktop apps, Walmart, the new square BlackBerry, Commodore 64,  consulting work, how much it costs to build an app,  shutting down a SaaS that isn’t performing, who handles support, bad web hosting, Martha’s Vineyard, American Presidents, Ian posting Scribbleton on Hacker News and causing trouble.

 

This episode is sponsored by FusionInvoice — 20% 0ff  for our listeners.

This episode is also sponsored by Linode .

 

Discuss this episode with other bootstrappers

 

 

What’s New in the KISSmetrics iOS Blog Reader

kissmetrics-blog-reader

Our KISSmetrics Blog Reader iOS app has received a complete redesign in today’s update. In the app, you’ll see a lot of new features including a slick iOS7 UI, interaction design, a new icon, and a favoriting feature.

One of the biggest changes on this design is the new icon. Our previous app icon showed the bars of our logo on a green background. It was representative of our brand, but it needed an update since it was too familiar to Feedly’s logo. The new icon is representative of our new brand direction. Simplicity is a key virtue at KISSmetrics, so our icon is a simple heart shaped leaflet.

blog reader icon redesign

We’ve made it easier for you to be able to reference articles by introducing a new prominent “Favoriting” feature. You can favorite an article while you’re reading it which will then later be stored in the favorites list. Or, swipe the title block to the left while in the list view to favorite or unfavorite.

Similarly, swipe the title block to the right in the list view and easily share posts to your favorite apps. We’ve introduced Pocket and Buffer as social sharing sites. Pocket is an easy way to consolidate all of the articles you want to read later when you have more time, and Buffer is a powerful social publishing management tool.

KISSmetrics promotes building fast and pushing out MVPs to then iterate and improve upon. The previous reader app before this update was built by Will Rust, our mobile developer, in two days. The app worked well for a hackathon-esque project, but we wanted our loyal blog fans to have an overall better experience with their content.

This time around, the reader received a lot of TLC throughout the process. There are more UX solutions to navigate through the app whether you are in the list or reader view. It is more feature rich and modern with flat design. Design plans are currently in motion to release a new iPad app. We’ll be updating the Android app as well, but we are also looking to hire a new Android engineer to help out with the workload.

One key action that stuck around is the prompt to send us feedback. Former feedback submissions have been a huge help in forming what our app has evolved into over the course of this last update. We’re always grateful for your advice and technical support, so keep it coming!

Download the App Here

blog-app-cta

About the Author: Patty Castaneda is an in house designer at KISSmetrics. Previously, she has designed for Appcelerator, Singly and MUNI. She can be found on the web with @PattyCreates.

Hiring: Marketing & Customer Success

We’re hiring a marketing and customer success person for our team. This position will be split between working on ConvertKit.com and NathanBarry.com. As the first full-time hire you will be wearing a lot of different hats.

Much more than customer support

First, you’ll be in charge of customer success for ConvertKit. This isn’t the typical “Here’s how to reset your password” customer support. We take things much further than that. You’ll be advising customers on how best to grow their lists and pointing out flaws in their launch plans.

You need to understand online marketing and be constantly ready to learn new tricks and ideas.

Project management

Between ConvertKit and NathanBarry.com we are always developing and launching new features and products. You’ll be responsible for coordinating all the contractors involved and products get released on time.

This also means having a key role in planning the new products or courses.

Marketing

Next you’ll play a critical role in launching new products as well as continuing to drive sales to our older products. You should be comfortable negotiating affiliate deals, setting up advertising, and finding new marketing channels.

Other projects

You must be the type of person who learns new skills to get a project launched. So that means that any experience you have with design, coding, audio & video editing, and writing will be very helpful.

Employment details:

  • Work from home. We are a distributed company which means you can work from anywhere you like. No more boring commute. We use Trello, Slack, and Google Hangouts to work together as a team from wherever in the world we happen to be.
  • 3 weeks paid vacation. I like to take vacations, my employees should as well. We work hard and move quickly, but also really value time off.
  • Laptop and software provided. We’ll get you exactly what you need to be successful.
  • $40,000/year. This is a full-time position that pays $40,000 per year.
  • Based in North America. Because this job will require close collaboration with the team you need to be based in North America.

 

How to apply

To apply for this job fill out the form below. Then I’ll be in touch.

Episode 61: Stress Less

stress-caseWhen you’re taking on the world it’s stressful and it can feel like we’re taking on the world every single day when we’re running our own business, maybe raising a family and generally “making it happen”.

Stress can feel like it comes from the outside but it doesn’t it comes from how we react to outside circumstances and the circumstances and eventualities we fabricate in our own minds.

This show is about how we deal with it.

Stuff

Flow
Art of Possibility
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

The post Episode 61: Stress Less appeared first on Bootstrapped with Kids Podcast.

Episode 61: Stress Less

stress-caseWhen you’re taking on the world it’s stressful and it can feel like we’re taking on the world every single day when we’re running our own business, maybe raising a family and generally “making it happen”.

Stress can feel like it comes from the outside but it doesn’t it comes from how we react to outside circumstances and the circumstances and eventualities we fabricate in our own minds.

This show is about how we deal with it.

Stuff

Flow
Art of Possibility
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

The post Episode 61: Stress Less appeared first on Bootstrapped with Kids Podcast.

Twelve Things You Should Do on Your Personal Google+ Account Right Now

Like it or not, Google+ is becoming more important in the digital marketing landscape. Google+ is not just a Facebook redux. Instead, it comprises a huge part of the social milieu of your online existence. Google+ has subtly creeped into your emailing, browsing, article writing, creating Google+ business pages, and a variety of other activities across the web.

I think it’s more important than ever before for digital marketers to embrace the potential of Google+, and use it to its full advantage. Google+ at 540 million users now trails Facebook (1 billion users) as the second-largest social network, but its impact extends far beyond social sharing and interaction.

If you’ve been delaying, skeptical, or plain disgruntled with Google+, don’t worry. I’m going to share 12 tactical things that you can do to bring your Google+ existence to a new level. Even if you’re an early adopter with frequent posting habits, I think you’ll find this article helpful.

I’ll start off with a few of the basics, and then get into some more advanced tips.

1. Use a headshot for your profile picture.

Don’t use anything other than a headshot in your profile pic. I realize the appeal of placing a picture of your child, dog, or a cartoon image, but it’s not your best choice for Google+.

Google uses a circular shape to crop the image, so keep this in mind when you select your photo. Your headshot along with basic information about you will appear all over the place in Google+.

Please note, as of June 25, 2014, Google states that they are dropping author pics from search results.

We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices. As a part of this, we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count.

2. Add a high-res cover photo.

The cover photo on your Google+ profile is important, because it covers a lot of real estate. I recommend that you create a custom Google+ cover photo, rather than simply load a scenic photo from your recent vacation.

Whatever the case, please don’t continue using the stock cover photo provided by default. Here are some specific tips for creating a good Google+ cover photo:

  • Use keywords in your cover image filename.
  • Make the image 2120 x 1192.
  • Add a caption to the cover photo.
  • Share the image as a photo post on Google+. When you do this, the cover photo will be directly linked to your personal profile.

3. Get a vanity URL.

A Google+ vanity URL is a short and easy-to-remember URL. Here’s the difference between a vanity URL and the standard one:

Standard: https://plus.google.com/115229808208707341778

Vanity: https://plus.google.com/+NeilPatelmarketer/

Read these detailed instructions on how to claim your custom URL.

4. Add more people to your circles.

The more people you have in your circles, the more likely it is that people will follow you back.

Your number of your followers is public data. The number of people you follow is not public data (unlike Twitter). A higher follower number tends to increase your trustworthiness and reputation.

google plus arnold

To add people to your circles, just click the “Add People” icon in the top right of your Google+ account.

5. Become more accessible.

If you’re using Google+ as a marketing tool, and not just to update your family members, then you need to improve your accessibility.

Go to your profile, then “settings.” Here, you can turn on following visibility and sharing options:

google plus profile

6. Completely fill out your story.

The “story” section of your profile is a rich opportunity for keywords, links, and information about you. Yes, Google indexes this content. Yes, it’s important to have everything completely filled out.

3-google-plus-story

The more filled out your information, the better you’ll be found and accessed in Google+ search and general online searches. Obviously, you don’t want to keyword stuff your profile, but you do want to have plenty of relevant search terms and information.

  • Brief tagline – Nothing more than one line about who you are and what you do
  • Full introduction – This is where to add the most text. Include plenty of information about where you’ve been and what you’ve done. You should include hyperlinked text, even though the links are nofollowed. Add links to your company, your personal website, and other places where you are active. Use headings and other formatting features where appropriate.
  • Bragging rights – A line or two about anything awesome you’ve done. Your real accomplishments should be in your “Introduction” section.

7. Share content to get it indexed.

Google indexes shared Google+ content very quickly. According to rumor and some anecdotal evidence, any new URL shared on Google+ is crawled right away. When you share your new content as a post — pages, products, articles, etc. — Google will index it faster.

8. Fill out all your contributor information.

I’ve written elsewhere about how authorship is a big deal. Make it even bigger. Make sure you’ve completely filled out all the websites to which you’ve contributed content.

9. Be active.

The best way to maintain a strong Google+ presence is to regularly post content. But beyond just content posting, it’s helpful to do the following:

  • Add photos. Keeping a running photo album on Google+ increases your visibility and engagement on your profile.
  • YouTube videos. One of your public profile tabs is your YouTube account. This is an excellent way to improve your personal marketing.
  • +1s. Anything that you +1 on the web can be viewed by others, provided your settings have been adjusted accordingly.
  • Create reviews. Any establishment that you review on Google+ can be seen by others. Consistently reviewing places shows that you are engaged and active.

10. Get noticed by others.

Anyone who is logged into Google has a notification center. They will get notifications from time to time. If you want to get noticed by other people, specifically those whom you have in your circles, you can make their notification center light up. How?

Cyrus Shepard shares the seventeen known ways to trigger notifications:

  1. Mention them in a post
  2. Share a post with them directly
  3. Share a post and you’re in a circle they subscribe to
  4. Comment on a post they created
  5. Comment on a post after they comment on it
  6. Add them to a circle
  7. Suggest new people to add to their circles
  8. Tag them in a photo
  9. Tag one of their photos
  10. Suggest a profile photo for them
  11. Comment on a photo after they comment on it
  12. Comment on a photo they are tagged in
  13. Comment on a photo they tagged
  14. Start a conversation with them
  15. Send them an invitation or update an event
  16. Remind them about events
  17. Any activity on events they created

Google+ is a networking tool (not a stalking tool), but if you want to reach out to influencers, get on the radar of someone you respect, or simply connect with other industry experts, you can do so with a few tactful touches using notifications.

11. Look at your profile the way that other people do.

Finally, when you’ve made all the necessary tweaks, adjustments, changes, and improvements, it’s time to step back and admire your work.

But how can you see your profile the way the world does?

Just click on your Profile. Beside the profile icon, you’ll see a tab that says “View profile as.” You can toggle between “Public” and “Yourself.”

google plus view

Check out your Google+ profile in all its glory, just as your friends, fans, and critics will see it.

12. View Ripples.

Google+ Ripples is a relatively unknown feature of Google+. Ripples shows an interactive graph of the public shares of posts or shares. What you see is a visual perspective on how a post is “rippling” through the Google+ community. Ripples only displays collected public data, so you’re not going to see any of the share metrics from people who have shared it among private circles.

A post is public if it says “Shared publicly” at the top, underneath the profile name, and in front of the date.

google plus ripples

To view Ripples, click the arrow button at the top right of the post, then “View Ripples.”

You’ll see something like this:

google plus ripples details

The Ripples feature is helpful if you want to analyze how your posts are being spread across the Google+ social landscape.

You can read more about Ripples from Google Support.

Conclusion

Google+ is a huge tool for marketing today, and I predict that it’s going to grow in importance down the road as well. Just as you’re active on Facebook and Twitter, you should maintain a steady presence on Google+ as well.

What have you found to be helpful in using your Google+ profile?

About the Author: is the Chief Evangelist of KISSmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.