Facebook’s Boost Your Business Event

Have you heard of Facebook’s Boost Your Business events? Facebook’s small business team hosts these events around the country, helping small business owners learn their way around Facebook for business. This past Friday, our Student Experts Tucson team attended one of these events right here in town at the beautiful Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa! We learned a few useful hints that can help small businesses advertise and find new customers using Facebook.

Our Tucson team at the event.

Our Tucson team at the event.

Posting Different Types of Content
Did you know that approximately 148 million people use Facebook every day? Not only does this social media platform have a lot of potential customers, but it also makes it incredibly easy to interact with those potential customers. Posting quality content is one of the best ways to stand out to Facebook users, which is why it’s essential to learn about the different types of content you can post on your business page. Text posts are similar to status updates for personal Facebook pages. These posts can be informative, but they are not the most engaging. Posts that contain pictures take up more physical space on the Facebook News Feed and are more likely to catch the attention of your potential customers. Video posts are becoming more popular, which makes it no surprise that Facebook hosts more than four billion video views each day!

Creating Ads
While regular posts will help you reach out to users who already like your page, ads will help you become visible to potential new customers. Facebook makes it incredibly easy for businesses to create different types of ads that lead viewers to their websites. Link ads feature call-to-action buttons that encourage viewers to learn more or schedule appointments right away. Carousel ads can feature four or five separate images that allow users to scroll left to right and click over to different pages on a website. Business owners can also use local awareness ads to become more visible to potential customers within a certain proximity. Facebook ads can work for any budget, making it easy for every small business to start advertising.

Finding Facebook Users
In order to run successful ads, you’ll need to find Facebook users to target. Unlike other forms of advertising that have a broad reach, Facebook allows business owners to only reach out to the users that matter to them. Native targeting allows you to target users based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and location. Advanced targeting lets you create customer lists based on website views or other information that you choose. You can also create lookalike audiences that feature Facebook users that are similar to users in your current customer list.

Are you ready to harness the power of Facebook for your business advertising? Student Experts can help! We can create high-quality, custom content for you to feature on your page so you get noticed. Contact us online to find out more about what we can do for your business.

Tucson Infographic: Welcome to The Old Pueblo!

Tucson, AZ is a great place to live – many of our content writers, editors, and designers went to college here and decided to stick around after graduation. Why? Maybe it’s the weather. Tucson receives 350 days of sunshine every year. Maybe it’s the gorgeous desert scenery: We are surrounded on all sides by state parks and natural wonders. It’s truly a hiker’s paradise. Perhaps it’s the strange and wonderful Tucson culture. I’d argue that Tucson is even weirder than Austin. Tucsonans eat hot dogs wrapped in bacon with mayonnaise on top, attend art openings in renovated warehouses, build their own bikes in subterranean bike lairs, and relish every opportunity to dance the night away at memorable concerts.

Everyone has a different reason to love Tucson, but one thing is for sure: It’s a very unique place. That’s why we decided to create this infographic about Tucson, our beloved home town. Please feel free to share it with your friends or send it to those East Coasters and Californians who still pronounce it “Tuck-son” (We all know a few!).

Tucson AZ Infographic

This infographic was created by Tucson content marketing firm Student Experts, proud purveyors of high-quality guest blogs, white-label content, and custom infographics.

Grab the Embed Code here to share this infographic on your website:

<a href="blog url"><img src="http://contentbystudentexperts.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Tucson-AZ-Welcome-To-The-Old-Pueblo-Infographic-Web-1.jpg" alt="Student Experts Infographic Marketing" title="Tucson AZ Welcome To The Old Pueblo - INFOGRAPHIC" width="1000" height="3826"/></a><br/><a href="http://studentexperts.com/tucson-infographic-welcome-to-the-old-pueblo>Student Experts Infographic Marketing</a>

An Inside Look at Our Blog Editing Process

We think this is a great hairstyle for an editor.

Each month, our in-house team of writers and editors creates thousands of  business blogs for  SMBs nationwide. In addition to business blogs, we also create guest posts, website copy, interactive social media content, and custom projects.

While our production volume is very high and our turnaround times fast, our clients tell us that our work is better researched, of a higher quality, and more grammatically sound than the work of other freelance writers and services they have contracted with in the past.

So how do we consistently generate the kind of high-quality content that SEO and internet marketing firms are looking for? Aside from sentence-level changes, grammar, and spelling, the experienced editors at Student Experts look for the following when editing blog content:

1. Readability

When reviewing a business blog, our editors might ask, “Is it clear, cohesive, and fun to read?” Successful blogs will start off with an engaging statistic, or a journalistic lede that hooks readers right away. Here’s a quick comparison of a boring and a fun introduction for an optician’s blog about eye diseases:

    • Boring: “Many people are nearsighted and need to wear glasses.”
    • Engaging: “According to the American Optometric Association, more than a quarter of the United States population suffers from myopia, or nearsightedness.”

Not only is the second example more interesting, but it adds the clout of a respected industry organization and an authoritative outbound link to the blog. From the introduction, editors will ensure that the blog flows into a well-organized body, broken up into logical bullets, lists, or subheadings for easy consumption. As an example, you’ll notice that this blog offers a very readable layout. It starts with a direct introduction, then is followed by a numbered list of parallel points and a brief conclusion.

2. Links and Anchor Text

Building up SEO authority by linking out from your blog posts to authoritative third-party sites is one of the main benefits of business blogging. That’s why our editors check outbound blog links for domain authority, quality, and relevance. Ultimately, we strive to link to content that is appropriate to the client and that readers will find useful. Editors also pay special attention to the link anchor text used throughout blog posts. We vary anchor text between posts, using business- and location-based keywords whenever possible. For example, in a blog post for an HVAC company about repairing home heating systems in time for winter, we would use anchor text such as “Fall heating tune-up” or “heating system maintenance.” The HVAC business may also focus on keywords for its air conditioning and duct cleaning services, but since those services are not relevant to this particular blog post, we would not use those phrases in the link anchor text.

3. Client Parameters

We use a streamlined content management system to keep client’s keyword strategies and special requests up-to-date and organized.  An editor will check all blog content against a client’s parameters to be sure the writing is furthering that client’s marketing goals.  Maybe a business always wants to use a trackable toll-free number in the call-to-action? Or, perhaps a client has discontinued a product and no longer wants to mention it in their content. Our CMS, combined with our editorial quality assurance, keeps clients happy and greatly reduces the need for revisions.

This is just a quick snap-shot of our writing and editing process.  Get in touch with us today to learn more about how Student Experts delivers high-quality, white-labeled content to internet marketing and SEO firms.

 

Photo credit: Evil Erin

Writing For Your Audience: A Simple Exercise

Your readership can flourish or flounder based on how well you “speak” to your audience with online content.  Here’s an exercise to discover how people write within your industry and learn what gets your target audience engaged.Writing For Your Audience

1) Visit three thought leaders’ websites in your niche.  The idea is to find out how thought-leaders in your industry are already connecting with the audience. Make sure the websites you check have consistent blog and social media content with signs of engagement, such as comments, retweets and shares.

2) Spend 10 minutes looking at each author. Review each author’s recent blog posts, tweets, and other social media posts.  Take note of their writing style. Is it informal and conversational or more formal and businesslike? How lengthy are their blog posts?  You should see a pattern developing about the kind of writing that works in your industry.

3) Evaluate your natural writing style. Everyone has a natural tone or voice when they write. Gauge whether your style is  similar to what you’re seeing online in your industry.  If not,  you may want to consider adapting to the tone and style of the conversation.

If you do try this exercise, please share what you learned in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: statelibraryofnsw

Surviving in A Post-Penguin SEO Universe

Google Penguin Update

There was a time when building links anywhere and by any means—via social profiles, page footers, directories, anything you could get your hands on—was an effective linking strategy. With Google’s Penguin and Panda updates, this is no longer the case.

The Penguin updates penalize and de-index web spam such as linking schemes, low quality content, keyword stuffing, cloaking, and deliberate duplicate content. With Penguin, Google also purged its index of free directory submission web sites. As of May 2012, it is estimated that about 50 percent of the free directory submission web sites are no longer found in Google results.

Panda reportedly affected the rankings of almost 12 percent of all search results. This update negatively affected the rankings of scrapers and copyright infringers, as well as sites with large amounts of advertising. News websites, social media websites, and those sites with minimal ads, lots of organic links, and plenty of original content may have seen their search results improve as a result of Panda.

The Rising Importance of Content

Those of us in the SEO and online marketing industries should take note: Excessive usage of the old tactics can actually drive your rankings downward. What does help SEO ranking is high quality, original content. Posting articles, guest posts, and blogs on websites now has a huge impact on search rankings. When you’re ready to put together a content strategy, you will likely come across two types of content services that supply written content for SEO and internet marketing firms and their clients.

1. Content Brokers

This type of company takes orders for articles and puts a request out to their network of freelance writers. They usually assign to whoever is available at the lowest bid and bow out of the equation. This leaves the client to handle any editing and revisions directly with the writer. Usually, the content these writers produce is unsupervised and the client is ultimately responsible for the final product. This approach can be time consuming for SEO managers, who don’t normally have the time to monitor article quality since they are focused on other aspects of SEO for their clients. Although the SEO or internet marketing firm may save money on the articles themselves, the ultimate quality (which Google is looking for) may not be there.

2. Supervised Content Specialists

The second type of content company uses internal writers and editors and supervises the writing process. Usually, a topics creator, editor, and project manager are involved in addition to the writer. Writers employed by the content company will specialize in a few key subjects or industries, in order to provide well-researched, expert content in that area. A supervised process means that all content is edited for quality, plagiarism, and keyword usage before being delivered to the client. With a supervised writing service, the client is assured that they will receive quality content without lifting a finger. The cost is slightly higher, but the final product is far more professional than brokered content.

To keep up with Google’s quality-focused updates, you may find content creation is becoming an integral part of your SEO and internet marketing solutions. Student Experts offers a private label approach to content creation that ultimately results in better blogs and guests posts that your clients will love. When you’re ready to start delivering a content solution to your clients, consider partnering with us. We can get you started today with a free content trial (no strings attached!) to see if we are a good fit for your needs.

Photo credit: CarbonNYC

A Thousand (Searchable) Words: Why Image Naming and ALT Text Matter for SEO

Toothpaste for Dinner JPEG is Worth

You may be familiar with the old cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but what if a picture was worth a thousand hits?

In the era of Google Image Search, including a relevant picture  with well-written content can boost your site’s traffic. We have a few easy tips for optimizing your blog’s images for SEO but first, let me relate an anecdote.

My accidental rise to the top of Google Image Search

I started blogging when I was a freshman in college. My passion for music and live concerts was just too intense not to share it with the world. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I signed up for a WordPress.com blog and started writing and posting images regularly. None of my posts got much attention since I wasn’t using SEO best practices or promoting myself effectively through social media. I was thrilled if two or three people read a post.

That all changed when I posted an image that exploded without warning. It was a picture of me with the lead singer of a new band called MGMT (The name might ring a bell). The image was simply titled “andrew-van-wyngarden-mgmt-and-me.jpeg” with the embarrassingly enthusiastic ALT text “Andrew VanWyngarden and I!!!” Yes, I used three exclamation points. Please don’t judge me. I’ve grown up and learned to control my punctuation usage.

Without knowing it, I had made a post that was incredibly search-friendly. For a while, my silly face was at the top of every Google image search for that singer and several related search queries. I went between result number 2 and number 3 depending on the week. My blog saw a traffic explosion, and a huge comment thread was born. People from around the world were finding and visiting my blog! All I had done was post a JPEG and name the file.

To date, that single image post has accumulated approximately 120,000 views.

Embarrassing college stories aside, the point is, if you’re using images on your blog, you should be using a naming schema and adding ALT text. It only takes a little extra time, and it opens up a whole new avenue for people to find your awesome content. Check out these five tips for naming and optimizing blog images:

1. Come up with a clear naming schema and stick to it.

I’d recommend being consistent with whatever naming schema you adopt. Make it a habit! It’ll keep your image folder organized and help Google figure out the image’s content. Get descriptive and don’t be afraid to use hyphens or underscores. Include your company name when it’s relevant. Your images will instantly be more search-friendly than “IMG_0052″ or “45299_3615209171720_1719966979_n.”  Plus, if a reader right-clicks and saves your image, that filename will live forever on their hard drive. Better make it good.

Here are some examples to get you started: “Student-Experts-Content-Writers-Meeting.jpg,” “2012-Google-Penguin-Update.jpg,” “Tacoma-Plumber-Fixing-Leaky-Pipes.jpg”

2. Always add ALT text!

It only takes a second, so stop making excuses and add descriptive and human-friendly ALT text when you upload an image. It’s helpful for SEO and for people with visual impairments using screen-reading software. If you want to learn more, this video describes why ALT text is important. Some ALT text examples include, “Two Student Experts employees on a coffee break,” or “New Spring 2012 Collection.”

3. If you are linking to an image, use descriptive anchor text.

Creating good anchor text for external links is crucial for SEO, and image links are no exception. The more you can tell a search engine about the image you’re linking to, the better, and text is one of the easiest ways to describe your linked content. For example, ”Our house salad features delicious organic Roma tomatoes from our garden” uses better anchor text (shown in underline) than, “Click here to see a high-resolution image of the tomatoes used in this recipe.”

4. Make sure images are relevant to your post, titles, and headings.

Context is crucial with image optimization. Even if you’ve named the image with care and crafted beautiful ALT text, search engines can get confused if the image appears to be unrelated to the content around it. Always use relevant images (except, of course, when you’re being intentionally ironic).

5. Don’t stuff your images.

Keyword stuffing is a bad practice for content and for images. Keep your ALT text and titles relevant and succinct. Images with extensive ALT text can appear spammy, especially when multiple images are stuffed with the same repeated keywords or phrases. This thread at Google’s forums provides a great example of the negative effects of keyword stuffing images.

I hope this posts allows you to create image-filled and SEO-friendly blog posts. If you have questions about image optimization, or think I’ve missed any important tips, then leave me a comment.

Why Engage In A Free Content Trial?

As Google continues to update its algorithms, “Quality Content” is becoming vital to SEO and internet marketing success. That’s why Student Experts offers a free content trial for firms looking to provide their clients with custom blogs and quality guest posts.

When creating a new business partnership, it’s important for both parties to be sure of the fit. If you’re an internet marketer or SEO sourcing content for your clients, there’s no better way to make a decision, then to engage in a free trial period. Below we’ll share the three reasons why we feel it’s important to offer a free content trial:

1. Get A Taste of the Content

Would you recommend a restaurant to a friend without eating there first?  Similarly, the content you provide to your clients is a representation of your firm and ultimately, a representation of your client’s brand. The best way to find out if a blogging service is going to meet yours (and your client’s) high expectations, is to get a taste for free. A free content trial can give you a sense of the turnaround time and quality level. With a free trial, you’ll know if the writing has that  je ne sais quoi you’ve been looking for.

2. Zero Risk and Zero Setup

SEOs and internet marketers are increasingly expected to do more with less resources. With a free content trial, you can get the client blogs or guest blogs that you need quickly, at no cost and with zero long-term commitment.  You’ll only need to invest a few short minutes to share the scope of your content needs with your free trial provider. Leading content providers will have streamlined processes in place for collecting information, writing, editing, and delivering your trial content within days. This makes the entire process quick and hassle-free.

3. Test out the Relationship

During a free content trial, both the SEO or internet marekting firm and the content provider should be looking for mutual benefits and longterm potential. This is often an overlooked courtesy. A free content trial is a great opportunity for SEOs to ask questions about how the content provider can grow with their business and remain flexible to meet their changing needs.  With no money exchanged nor time wasted, if the fit is not there for either party, then it’s easy to shake hands and walk away.

How does your company handle writing quality blog posts and guest blogs for clients? At Student Experts we specialize in producing white-label content for internet marketing and SEO firms. Get started with a free content trial today, and see if we’re the right fit for you!

Photo Credit:  Stefan Baudy

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60 Business Blog Headlines for Inspiration

business bloggingWhether you write blogs yourself or work in conjunction with an internet marketing firm or content creation service, headlines are a vital component of the overall blog strategy.

Headlines have a big impact on search-ability and should include keywords representing your business products, services, and locations whenever possible. Blog headlines that communicate relevancy with keywords and phrases let visitors know they are “in the right place” to get the information they were searching for online.

There are a lot of websites out there with advice about effective headline writing and with sample headlines that you can adapt for your own business blogs.  However, not many sites go the extra mile and fill in the blanks with real sample headlines for all kinds of industries.

Looking at a list of blank blog headline templates is one thing, but seeing how those headlines might be used by home repair businesses, retail businesses, and even highly regulated businesses, like law offices or medical practices, can really inspire some quality business blog posts.

So here’s our list of 20 killer business blog headlines, diced 60 different ways:

1. Who Can Benefit from _____?
Who Can Benefit from Tire Rotation? (Automotive Repair)
Who Can Benefit from Life Insurance? (Insurance Agent)
Who Can Benefit from Window Replacement? (Window Installation Company)

2. Questions to Ask Your _____ (When) _____
Questions to Ask Your Hair Stylist When Getting A New Color (Hair Salon)
Questions to Ask Your Orthopedic Surgeon Prior to Knee Surgery (Orthopedic Surgeon)
Questions to Ask Your Limo Rental Company Before Your Wedding (Limousine Rentals)

3. 3 _____ Risks of _____
3 Financial Risks of Selling Your Home Yourself (Real Estate Agent)
3 Health Risks of A Sedentary Lifestyle (Fitness Club)
3 Security Risks of an Unprotected Home (Alarm Security Company)

 4. What’s (_____ )? A Quick Introductory Guide
What’s An Annuity? A Quick Introductory Guide (Financial Planner)
What’s A Slip and Fall Settlement? A Quick Introductory Guide (Personal Injury Lawyer)
What’s A Diamond Cut? A Quick Introductory Guide (Jeweler)

5. Top Qualities To Look For in _____
Top Qualities to Look For In an Assisted Living Community (Assisted Living)
Top Qualities to Look for In a Chicago Dog Walker (Pet Sitting Business)
Top Qualities to Look For in a New Home Theater System (Audio Visual Company)

6. Best Practices for _____
Best Practices for Keeping Your Pet Healthy (Veterinarian)
Best Practices for Creating A Monthly Budget (Credit Union)
Best Practices for Improving Your Golf Swing (Golf Club)

7. Comparing _____ and _____ (Optional: How to Know Which is Right for You)
Comparing Front-loading and Top Loading Washers and Dryers (Appliance Retailer)
Comparing Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: How to Know Which is Right for You (Bankruptcy Lawyer)
Comparing Botox and Juvederm: How to Know Which is Right for You (Cosmetic Spa)

8. _____: What it Means for _____
Health Care Reform: What it Means for Employers (Insurance Agent)
The Energy Tax Credit And What it Means for Home Upgrades  (Home Repair)
A Criminal Record: What it Means for Repeat Offenders in Georgia (Criminal Defense Attorney)

9. _____: A Buyer’s Guide
Certified Pre-Owned Hondas: A Buyer’s Guide (Car Dealer)
Tankless Water Heaters: A Buyer’s Guide (Plumber)
Hardwood Floors: A Buyer’s Guide (Flooring Showroom)

10. Celebrity Trends in _____
Celebrity Trends in Engagement Rings (Jeweler)
Celebrity Trends in Men’s Hair Styles (Hair Salon)
Celebrity Trends in Interior Design (Furniture Store)

11. Debunking Common Myths About _____
Debunking Common Myths About Acne (Dermatologist)
Debunking Common Myths About Child Custody in California (Family Law)
Debunking Common Myths About Retirement (Financial Planner)

12. The Future of _____
The Future of Emergency Care (Urgent Care Center)
The Future of Home Solar Power (Solar Power Installation Company)
The Future of San Jose Real Estate (Realty Company)

13. 4 Signs You Should _____
4 Signs You Should Consult a Divorce Attorney (Divorce Attorney)
4 Signs You Should Seek Varicose Vein Treatment (Cosmetic Laser Center)
4 Signs You Should Get a Home Energy Evaluation (Heating and Cooling Company)

14. A Behind the Scenes Look at _____
A Behind the Scenes Look at A Skylight Installation (Home Repair Company)
A Behind the Scenes Look at Our Kitchen During the Lunch Rush (Restaurant)
A Behind the Scenes Look at Our Hiring Process (Day Care Center or Private School)

15. Common _____ Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Common Rug Care Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (Rug Cleaning Company)
Common Tax Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (Accountant)
Common Pawn Shop Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (Pawn Brokers)

16. A Roundup Of Links About _____
A Roundup of Links about Choosing a Mattress (Furniture or Mattress store)
A Roundup Of Links About Diabetic Foot Care (Podiatrist)
A Roundup of Links About Green Pest Control (Exterminator)

17. The Expert Guide to _____
The Expert Guide to Eating Wings (Sports Bar)
The Expert Guide to Event Planning (Tent Rental Company or Caterer)
The Expert Guide to Out of State Moves (Moving and Storage Company)

18. How to Finance _____
How to Finance Your Loved One’s Funeral (Funeral Home)
How to Finance A Cosmetic Surgery Procedure (Plastic Surgeon)
How to Finance A New Roof (Roofing Company)

19. The Science Behind _____
The Science Behind Invisalign Tooth Straightening (Orthodontics)
The Science Behind The Perfect Cupcake (Bakery)
The Science Behind Emergency Defibrillation (Urgent Care Center)

20. What to Expect During _____
What to Expect During Your Custom Closet Installation (Closet Store)
What to Expect After Your Breast Augmentation Procedure (Plastic Surgeon)
What to Expect During a Personal Training Session (Fitness Club)

We hope this list illustrates how it is possible to come up with tons of dynamic headlines for just about any industry. Don’t see your industry represented here or think your business is too difficult to blog for? Leave us a comment below about what you do, and we’ll tailor some headlines just for you!

Photo credit: Laineys Repertoire