Why Has My Website Been Removed from Google?

It’s a website owner’s worst nightmare. Having a site removed from Google’s index means you no longer receive traffic from the search engine. With no search engine traffic, your sales plummet, and it can greatly affect your online business’ future. Being removed from Google’s index isn’t permanent as long as you fix the problem. The problem can be egregious violations of Google’s guidelines, or you could have made a simple server configuration error. Here are some quick ways to identify the issue and get your site back into Google’s good graces.

Google Webmaster Tools URL Removal

One of the most common reasons for a site to drop from the index is misusing the URL removal tool in Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools has a section where webmasters can remove URLs from the index quickly. It’s intended for pages that have sensitive information that you need removed, or it’s for times when you have several pages indexed that you no longer want in the index.

Many SEOs and webmasters misuse this tool to remove pages that return a 404 (temporarily not found) server message or for canonical issues. The tool should never be used for either one of these issues. The result is the SEO or webmaster accidentally removes the entire site.

In some cases, disgruntled employees or SEOs given access to your Webmaster Tools console will maliciously remove the domain from the index. For this reason, you always want to give SEOs and employees “read only” access to Webmaster Tools.

To remedy this issue, go into Webmaster Tools and click the “Remove URLs” link in the “Google Index” section. Click “All” in the drop-down to view all removal requests. Click “Cancel” if your domain is listed. It takes a few days for the URL to return to the index, but Google will return the site to its previously indexed status.

Spun Content or Extremely Poor Quality Content

Spun content makes horrible content, and you should never engage in machine-created content. Software called a “spinner” takes specific adjectives and adverbs and attempts to create unique content by replacing certain words with related words. The result is horrible content that’s never useful for readers.

If your site is caught spinning content, Google places a manual penalty on the site, and in severe cases, Google removes the site entirely from the index. The only way to recover from this issue is to remove all spun content from the site. In some cases, this is all the content on the site. However, you must remove all spun content to have the manual penalty removed. After you remove the content, file a reconsideration request in Webmaster Tools.

If your site has any type of manual penalty, Google recently started displaying manual penalties in Google Webmaster Tools. Click “Search Traffic” in the navigation panel and click “Manual Actions.” This page tells you if any penalties are applied to the site, so you know you need to take action to fix indexing issues.

Server Configuration Errors

Any type of server configuration error that blocks Google from accessing the site affects your site’s index status. If you have DNS errors, it means Google can’t access the domain. If your server times out, it means Google can’t crawl your site.

One big issue with websites and indexing is poorly configured firewalls. Some web hosts configure firewalls to block too many consecutive page requests. Several requests made consecutively can trigger denial of service (DOS) detection software.

While this is good when it’s a malicious hacker, bots crawl website pages very fast and the crawling can look like a DOS attempt. If your host is incorrectly detecting a bot as a DOS attempt, the firewall blocks Google and your site can drop in rank or be entirely removed. The only way to correct this issue is to ask your host to fix the firewall configurations or move host providers entirely.

If any server configuration errors exist, Google usually reports these errors in Webmaster Tools. Check Webmaster Tools for any errors that could affect your site’s index such as 500 errors or DNS errors. Server 500 errors are general errors, but they are typically coding issues. DNS errors mean Google can’t resolve your site’s IP with the domain name. Your website host can help you fix any DNS errors.

“Noindex” on Your Pages

The “noindex” meta tag tells Google not to index your pages. The meta tag can be manually coded into pages, or some content management software such as WordPress and Joomla have configurations to set the tag in the software’s control panel.

To find out if you have the meta tag set in your site’s code, open your website in any browser. Right-click the page and select “View Source Code.” The meta tag is within the “head” HTML tags. Find all meta tags in this HTML section and make sure none of them have “noindex” in the code.

To fix this issue, remove the meta tag and wait for Google to recrawl the pages. If you use a content management system such as WordPress or Joomla, check the software’s control panel for any settings that block search engines from indexing the pages.

The Site is Brand New and You Need Patience

Site owners think that Google indexes instantly, but Google needs to crawl the site before indexing any pages. Indexing using takes a few days unless you have a backlink to the site. If you submit a sitemap in Webmaster Tools, wait about two weeks before panicking. In most cases, your site is indexed within a week, but some sites take longer.

These are just a few ideas when checking for indexing issues in Google. Google rarely indexes all pages in a domain, but as long as your site focuses on users and you maintain quality, Google will index and rank your website in time. While indexing is easy, ranking is difficult, so always focus on users and quality and have patience when working with your site’s search engine optimization.

5 Social Media Tips to Help Promote Your New Business

As we blast into the age of digital marketing, new businesses have a lot to learn. While traditional marketing tactics still have their place, it’s not nearly enough to propel a new business into the limelight. There is much more that has to be done, and it starts with social media.

Why Social Media?

With the growing popularity of social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, businesses have picked up on the trend. Creating a profile and actively engaging in these sites provide a great way for new businesses to get in touch with their customers and build a digital following. It can also help build up your brand and establish instant feedback and a deeper customer connection, too.

You Have to Have a Plan

If you want to stand a chance in this world, you need to put together a solid digital marketing plan. What if you don’t have one? Don’t worry – it’s actually easy to get everything pieced together once you know how social media works.

To help you get started, take a look at the 5 social media tips below. Pay attention to each one, as they can make the difference between your business taking off or watching it fall flat on its face!

Tip #1 – Study Other Businesses and How They Use Social Media

Before you think about hopping on the social media train, it’s best to see how others are capitalizing on it. Take a look at any large, successful business and take notes. Make sure to look at things like:

  • How they setup their profiles on each platform
  • How they interact with their customers
  • What type of marketing tactics they use (and what garners the most response)

By looking closely at businesses that are successfully using social media to enhance their image and increase their brand awareness, you will be able to use it to your advantage. It’s a necessary process and one that will help you formulate your own plan for success!

Tip #2 – Only Use the Platforms You Plan to Update Frequently

One of the biggest mistakes a new business can make with social media is to spread themselves too thin. They often do this by creating profiles on a variety of platforms without capitalizing on each one (or understanding how they work). Eventually, they forget about certain profiles, which can lead to dormancy (i.e. accounts that are unused or have low-activity). When this happens, it can put a stain on your efforts.

How can you cure this problem? The solution is simple. Only stay active on the sites that you plan to use and keep updated on a regular basis. Anything less will make your brand appear less established and can give off bad vibes, which may send potential customers running for the hills.

Tip #3 – Reach Out and Connect With Your Audience5 social media tips to help promote your new business

The fastest way to success with social media is to interact with your audience. The more you can make a prospect feel closer to your business, the better your chances are of turning them into a long-term customer.

Connect with your audience and talk to them. Ask them plenty of questions that will make them respond. Make it about them, not you. The more interaction and influence you have, the easier it will be for you to get results and build a large following!

Tip #4 – Don’t Make it All About You

No one likes a business that stays in promotion mode 100% of the time. While you should always aim to keep it professional, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it! Post content that your target market can relate to. Get creative and find ways to incorporate your business into it in some way. As long as you don’t come off as overly promotional, people will appreciate you more for it.

Tip #5 – Let Your Followers Get Involved

People participate in social media because of the interaction. To increase your customer interaction and gain more followers, you need to find ways for your target market to get involved.

How can you do it? Here are a few quick and easy options:

  • Hold unique contests that both promote your business and encourage people to get involved.
  • Don’t hold back when asking customers to share your content. Create the kind of stuff that make people want to share it. It’s the best way to make something go viral, which can explode your following.
  • Tell your customers you want to hear from them, and make it easy for them to access you. People are much more likely to get involved when they know their efforts will be reciprocated.

These marketing tactics are easy to implement, yet they will go far in helping you build your business through social media.  Give them a shot and see what they can do for you!

Become a Social Media Maestro Today

Depending on what type of business you operate, choosing to skip out on social media may not hurt it, but it definitely won’t help anything. As long as you start small and slowly get the hang of it, you will quickly see how much of an impact it can have when everything comes together. The opportunity to reach more customers is there. All you have to do is capitalize on it. The rest, as they say, is history!

Why Your Business Needs Online Reputation Management

There once was a time when online reputation management services were considered superfluous and unnecessary. Many businesses thought the need to manage their online reputation was a bad business decision and something not worth investing in. Many of these businesses went about their daily business completely unaware of the power that the Internet had given to the average consumer.

With the advent of Twitter, consumers began to demand things of the businesses that they bought from. Large corporations were forced to become more transparent in their customer service dealing and small businesses were given the opportunity to prove themselves based on merit alone.Why Your Business Needs Online Reputation Management

When review sites like Yellowpages and Yelp hit the Internet scene, those companies that continued to ignore the need for online reputation management services began to suffer. More and more clients, customers and consumers filled these review sites with nasty, negative and revealing testimonials of these companies. The consumer empowerment revolution had started and those businesses caught ignoring the need for reputation management services suffered the most.

The Power Of Reputation

Why should you care what people say about you online? If you are busy running your business, why do you need to worry about what someone said about you on Yelp?

The answer to these questions lies in one of the most powerful selling tactics known to modern industry: social proofing.

Most consumers buy what their friends buy. This has been a long known fact in the business world, but what is it that makes it true? Without delving too much into the psychology of selling, let’s examine the why behind purchasing decisions.

Human beings are social creatures. It is the social nature of our species that has allowed us to adapt and overcome many obstacles. Deeply engrained in our natures is the need for social affirmation before we do anything. This need for social affirmation extends far beyond our friendly encounters with others, human beings make large life decisions, sometimes without regard to rationality, based solely on this aspect of social affirmation.

The same holds true for individuals making purchases and interacting with businesses online. Users want to “see” that others are socially affirming a business before they proceed. Just taking a look at the popularity of sites like Yelp shows you just how real and powerful social proofing is.

Managing Your Social Proof

One of the most powerful and easily recognizable examples of social proofing can be found in the restaurant industry.

How many times have you been to a restaurant simply because your friend said they liked it? Now think about how many times you have avoided a restaurant simply because of the reviews that you either read or heard about from your social circle.

Multiply this same example by the power of the Internet and mass connectivity, and you can begin to see the trouble that your business might be in if you start ignoring online reputation management.

Imagine running a business successfully in the offline world only to be run out of business simply because a few negative reviews were left on Yellowpages.

Managing your online reputation requires more than just having a profile on these review sites. Aggressive reputation management includes the act of collecting and updating positive reviews. Building your social brand and starting a stream of positive reviews.

To compete in today’s market you need the added edge of being online. In order to make sure that your online presence is one that builds your business and not one that tears it down, start taking action to managing your online reputation today!

Six Effective Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment in Your Online Store

In 2012, Comscore estimated that 67 percent of shopping carts are abandoned by customers upon checkout. In 2013, Listrak pegged shopping cart abandonment rate at 75 percent. It looks like this conversion-lowering woe of e-commerce site owners has not been properly addressed.

Use your checkout page to drive conversion. Simple tweaks to your e-commerce site design can work wonders for your sales and reduce the number of abandoned carts. Here are six basic ways to minimize cart abandonment.

1. Do Not Ask a Customer to Register Before Shopping

Prompt your customer to register after he/she has completed placing the order. The annoying pop-up or redirect asking to create an account before you allow a user to shop turns away potential buyers. On a different note, functionally like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, PayPal connect could be tried out depending on the audience you are targeting.

2. Help Your Customers by Suggesting Related ProductsSix Effective Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment in Your Online Store

Suggest related products before your customer reaches the checkout stage. Many shoppers relish being confident about their purchase. And one way of ensuring that they have added to their shopping carts the product options that they find most satisfactory is to situate your recommended related items before checkout. If you sell electronic gadgets, for instance, a customer may forget to buy a much-needed adapter for a certain product. Preempt that need and along with reducing cart abandonment, you also increase your cross-selling or upselling rate.

3. Show All the Fees While the Customer Loads Items Onto the Shopping Cart

“Hidden” fees that only appear upon checkout are the bane of many online shoppers. Display taxes and shipping fees on the cart at all times. If you show applicable fees only at the final checkout page, then you risk having the customer abandon his cart.

Also, consider offering free shipping. A study made by Forrester Research revealed that 44 percent of online shoppers abandoned their carts due to high shipping costs and 22 percent did so because there was no mention of shipping fees at all. If you cannot afford to offer free shipping, then have a flat shipping rate instead.

4. Improve the Usability of Your Shopping Cart

Items added to the cart must be visible at all times. Display small images of the items that are already loaded by the customer to the cart. That way, he does not need to backtrack. Show all the applicable fees, as well.

And while the customer is looking for other products to buy from your store, the shopping cart must be readily accessible from all web pages, preferably through a dropdown menu on the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Make the shopping cart button distinct from the checkout button. There should also be enough space separating them. Help the user avoid clicking the wrong button as that can easily put him off from completing the purchase.

Design your shopping cart to accommodate changes in product quantity. Your customer may remove items from the cart, and he should be given the ability to do so in one click.

Another way to limit cart abandonment is to allow your customers to easily email or print out the contents of their cart. An assistant, for example, is buying for his boss and may need a go-signal before charging a corporate credit card. If there are interruptions to the checkout process, make it easy for the customer to resume buying and finally pay for the items.

Amazon.com allows users to add products to their wishlist and save items on their cart. It is an excellent cart usability feature that encourages future sales. You might want to consider adopting it.

5. Shorten Your Checkout Process

If you have multiple forms to fill out, a webpage for survey questions and recommended products, and another webpage to showcase your current promotions before the customer reaches the billing page, and then you might as well count that customer as an abandoned-cart case.

Consider making guest checkout an option. Book Depository is not only successful because of its free shipping deal. Buy from Book Depository and use PayPal as a mode of payment. Notice how the cumbersome registration and billing forms are missing. The checkout process is remarkably seamless and fast. There are only two web pages after clicking the checkout-with-PayPal button, lessening the chances of a customer changing his mind about the purchase.

6. Offer Different Payment Options

On top of credit cards, third-party online payment services like PayPal, Interac (in Canada), Debit Cards, are crucial if you want more customers to complete the checkout process. Accept a variety of payment methods and grow your customer base.

The Hashtag: Pervasive, Powerful and Indispensable

The “hashtag” is a powerful tool that originated on Twitter and has since spread to other social media sites. At its most basic, the hashtag is a word or group of words that follows the pound sign and is used to assign messages to a particular topic. Casual users utilize hashtags to organize their messages and make them searchable under a given search term. Internet marketers can use them to solidify their online presence and increase brand awareness, although many marketers remain ignorant of the power of this tool.

The surface-level benefits of hashtags are many and immediate. Most importantly, placing a hashtag within a tweet makes it visible to anyone searching for that hashtag. Furthermore, when other users click on the hashtag, they are taken to a list of all other tweets that contain it. This makes it easy for users to organize their tweets under a single banner, making their message more memorable to other Twitter members. Twitter users can place a hashtag anywhere within a tweet.

Internet marketers are well advised to embrace hashtag technology. Awareness of the hashtag and the power that it represents is increasing. During the 2013 Super Bowl, for instance, 38% of advertisements contained hashtags. If a marketer is not using hashtags, the chances are good that their competitors are. Additionally, other social networks including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr have adopted it. Functionality of the tool remains largely the same across platforms.

Hashtag usage still occurs most often on Twitter, and full-scale adoption on social network Facebook has been slow. However, many Internet marketers anticipate Facebook adoption to increase rapidly as casual users learn of the benefits of the tool. Twitter marketers can search for a hashtag to use on hashtag.org. Anyone can use a hashtag, and there is no need to register one before use. Consequently, marketers are encouraged to create a hashtag that is both relevant to their brand and not in use. Facebook users can look for any hashtag using the site’s search functionality found at the top of almost every page.The Hashtag Pervasive, Powerful and Indispensable

Marketers wishing to take advantage of this powerful tool should ensure that they are using the same hashtag on Twitter and other social media platforms. Using multiple hashtags confuses fans and reduces brand recognition. A single hashtag also allows marketers to gain a clear bird’s-eye view of all the discussion concerning their brand.

To begin working toward hashtag cohesion, marketers are advised to use the same hashtag on their tweets or posts for several weeks. During this time, it is likely that fans will pick up on this gentle prompting and follow suit. To further raise awareness of their brand, marketers can use their new hashtag in a promotional campaign. Promotions, whether on Twitter, Facebook or any other channel create heightened awareness of the pertinent brand for their duration. Facebook has dropped their requirement that contests be run through dedicated apps, making it easier than ever to run promotions.

To take advantage of trending topics or fads—and the traffic they generate—marketers can simply identify the hashtag associated with the event and use it in a tweet, along with their own hashtag. This tactic results in their hashtag showing up in the more popular hashtag’s tweet thread. It is important, however, that users integrate the trending hashtag into their tweets in a natural way.

Once users gain basic proficiency with hashtags, they should branch out into wider tags. This tactic may be especially effective on Facebook or anywhere else where many people are posting to a general yet popular hashtag, such as “#summer,” “#baseball,” or “#fastfood.” Users can simply integrate the wider hashtag naturally into a tweet or post that contains their own hashtag. This is an excellent way to reach new fans and customers. All Internet marketers are encouraged to take full use of hashtags. They provide an efficient manner to reach new leads and keep customers engaged.

Psyche Up Your Customers to Buy

You may have the nicest layout and the cleverest images, but when it comes time to click “Buy now!” your customers are going to want to know why. Why are they buying? If you don’t understand what triggers your customer to buy, you can’t expect them to either. Content development is more than just prefect grammar and a flair for the theatrical, it can also take the skill of a psychologist to push the triggers that make people who visit your site decide that they do indeed want to buy your product or service. That’s why all Internet marketers should familiarize themselves with common psychological triggers that create some sort of response towards copy that aims at creating a sale.

What Makes Us Human

Psyche Up Your Customers to BuyThere are certain psychological aspects that we all share as human, and they’re not all positive. But, they can positively be used to create a sale. Envy, for instance, can translate into copy that targets status seekers. It can appeal to people who want to maintain a certain upper-crust image or at least pretend to be a part of that group for a while. It’s often said that when you are selling a product or service, you sell the benefits, not the actual description of the item. What are those benefits? Those benefits are the things that will trigger us to buy, by making it clear what we get when we choose to purchase. Here are a few different types of triggers that smart content writers can use to instigate a sale.

  • Laziness – Sloth is one of the deadly sins, but it doesn’t stop people from looking for the easy way out. If you have a product or service that creates ease in a person’s life, it can be a major draw. Difficult or tedious tasks can be a golden opportunity to trigger someone’s laziness factor and make a sale. Most people would rather pay someone to make their life easier than to work hard to solve a problem. It’s just that much easier.
  • Fear of Loss – This is not that hard to trigger with limited time offers. If you want to light a fire under a customer that won’t get off the fence, create a fear of loss in them. Tell them that they’ll lose out on this great deal if they don’t take it within a certain period of time. This can work wonders for first-time buyers, too.
  • High Perceived Value – In other words: Greed. Greed is a psychological trigger than happens when someone thinks they’re getting an unbelievable deal. Make your offers high value in comparison to your competitors and the greed factor definitely kicks in. One way to do this is to show your customers what the real value of an offer is (without discounts or sales) and then offer them the limited time, high value, low price offer.
  • Status – Status can take on many forms. It can mean looking wealthier than your neighbor or more knowledgeable. It usually distinguishes you as part of a select group. Use status when you make exclusive offers that only certain people are allowed to take advantage of because of their preferred customer status. By offering specials that only come to certain people, you trigger a tendency to create status and people feel special when they buy.

Information Marketing Secrets

Information marketing is simple and easy.  Even then, only a few people who set out to become an infopreneur end up being successful.  There are many reasons for this outcome.  Some of them are obvious.  They give up too early.  They are not willing to work hard.  They focus on shortcuts instead of learning the correct approach.

Even if you put your head down to focus on achieving success as an infopreneur, you may not succeed without some advanced information marketing secrets.  In this report you’ll learn four of the most profitable secrets that hundreds of information marketers have applied to create a great impact.  Use them wisely and well to achieve information marketing success.

1. Focus on lifetime value

This may not seem like a very advanced secret, but it is incredibly powerful.  Your information marketing can scale unimagined heights if you correctly implement this simple concept in your business.

Lifetime value is a measure of the overall value of your customers over the duration of their association with your business.  This means that if a customer buys a $20 book three times in a year, and continues to do this for 5 years, that customer’s lifetime value is $300.

There is an interesting dimension to lifetime value that is created by the bond of loyalty.  A happy customer often comes back to buy more from a business.  Think about how often you return to your favorite restaurant or bookstore or gas station.  If you sell a $19 ebook to people, and 10% of your buyers become repeat customers, then you are tapping into this powerful profit boosting phenomenon.

While it costs the same to attract a new buyer to your information business, the 10% of loyal repeat customers will generate much more profit for your business over the lifetime of their association with you.  A happy buyer may sign up for a coaching program which charges $150 every month.  If they stay in the program for a year, the lifetime value of this customer shoots up from $300 to $1,800 from that single additional purchase.

Lifetime value matters because you can make other decisions about marketing budgets and advertising efforts based on it.  It is easy to invest $50 into acquiring new customers if you know that each one will be worth $100 or more to your business over time.  This knowledge gives you leverage in marketing your information business more aggressively without taking any additional risk.

Information Marketing Secrets

2. Remember back-end profit

Another advanced information marketing secret is understanding that the real profits from selling information products come from follow up selling.  These are popularly called ‘back-end sales’ because they happen on the back of the initial purchase.

The first time a new buyer purchases an item from you, the profits are small.  This is because you must invest some money into advertising or marketing to attract these buyers to your business.  Once they are in a buying relationship with your business, you are able to offer them additional products and services for sale without spending much.

If your $19 ebook is what introduces a new customer to your business, your profit from that sale may range between $5 and $10.  With a back-end sale of your $150 per month coaching program, you boost the profitability of that customer massively.  Convincing a happy buyer to spend more money with your business is easier than getting a stranger to take a chance with you.  That is why every smart information marketer has a range of products and services to offer their new customers.

3. Know your cost of customer acquisition

Do you know how much it costs your business to attract a new buyer?  You must calculate this figure because it has a significant impact on your marketing strategy.  Taken along with lifetime value, this number can transform your information marketing success.

If you know how much a new customer will be worth over the duration of your association, then you can set yourself a generous limit to invest into acquiring a new buyer.  Let’s assume that your average customer lifetime value is $50.  You can then safely invest $25 into gaining a new buyer, secure in the knowledge that you will not lose money.

This also means that you do not have to set a marketing budget.  When every dollar that you invest into gaining customers earns you two dollars in return, you have an unlimited marketing budget.  Can you imagine how this can transform your competitiveness?  No other business will be able to out-spend you.

4. Create a real business

This should be obvious, but is often overlooked by information marketers.  Many infopreneurs build a money-maker instead of a business.  They create a single ebook and spend time and money selling it.  Their profits are smaller, and there can be no break in their marketing efforts.  If they stop advertising, sales dry up and profits plummet.

Sustainable businesses are structured differently.  You build them on a series of processes that integrate into a system.  You will have processes that attract new buyers, others that fulfill their purchase, and a further set of processes that handle customer care after the sale.  Each of these is managed, modified and improved over time.

With a portfolio of related information products, a follow-up selling process ensures that each buyer is offered other relevant items.  This boosts profits through back-end sales.  Everything runs smoothly and can be automated using technology.  This frees up business owners from tedious tasks, and allows them to relax and enjoy their success.

If you implement these four advanced information marketing secrets in your business, you can enjoy greater profitability with less effort and stress.

How To Be An Infopreneur – The Rare Art of Effective Online Marketing

Who is an infopreneur?  The new term evolved to describe a person who combines the role of an entrepreneur with that of an information creator.  An infopreneur creates (or commissions) valuable information that informs, educates or inspires its audience.  The infopreneur then turns these precious information assets into income streams in various ways.How To Be An Infopreneur - The Rare Art of Effective Online Marketingbook of success business

It’s easier to explain the concept with a concrete example.  Imagine an author who writes a book, or a professor delivering a lecture, or a craftsman recording a short movie to show off his skill.  They are all infopreneurs who can leverage the content they are creating into a source of ongoing income.  With the incredible global reach that the Internet offers today, it is possible for each of them to tap a worldwide market at affordable cost.

If you’re wondering if it might be too difficult to get started as an infopreneur, then the rest of this report will show you how easy it really can be.  Every beginner was once in the same position once, and had to learn everything about becoming an information marketer.  All it takes is to follow a sequence, one step after the other.

Dig into your reserves of knowledge and experience.  Think about what you already know well, and may even reasonably be considered an expert at.  What are the things you are good enough at to teach or explain to someone who is just starting out?  It could be a job, a hobby, a skill, or an art form.

Then consider your potential audience.  Are there people who would be interested in learning what you can teach them?  It can be a costly marketing mistake for infopreneurs to set out being obsessed about whatever they know, and disregarding what their market wants.  As an infopreneur, you will quickly learn that your target market is king or queen.  Your role is to serve them what they desire.

When you’ve hit upon the ideal information to share with your eager audience, decide the format in which you will make it available.  You can be an infopreneur who writes, or one who speaks, draws, records or meets your students in person.  The format you choose depends on your personal preferences, skills and strengths.

Chalk up your action plan next.  Your success as an infopreneur will not be automatic or instant.  You must first come up with a plan of action, backed by a powerful strategy.  Just as you wouldn’t set out on a trip without a plan and a destination, your infopreneur journey must also follow a carefully drawn up business plan.

Finally, prepare to take massive action.  Remember that infopreneurs are entrepreneurs.  They are action-oriented, purposeful and motivated people.  They think big, and believe in their dreams.  You should cultivate the same attitude and behavior. Your conviction in the quality and value of your information and the value you will add to your audience should drive you beyond any hurdles and obstacles towards success.

Along the way, be prepared to keep learning.  Information marketing changes constantly, especially when you are using a rapidly evolving technology like the Internet.  There will be many interesting twists and turns.  Staying on the cutting edge takes constant education and practice.  If this is something you’ll enjoy, there is nothing that will hold you back from massive success as an infopreneur.

The journey towards becoming an infopreneur is fun.  It may not always be an easy path to treat.  In essence, it is simple and logical.  Once you learn the rules and develop a system to get your information in front of the ideal prospects, you will find it almost effortless to keep the momentum going.  Eventually, being an infopreneur can be fulfilling and profitable.  You may not get rich in the first week or two.  But sooner or later, as the value you share becomes obvious to the people who need it, they will gather around you and happily pay to receive the value you offer.

Mobile SEO Now More Critical after Google Alters Algorithms

It is not often that an algorithm change from Google goes relatively unnoticed, but the latest move from Google has flown under the radar a bit despite the big impact it could have on many websites. In a recent post on the company’s webmaster blog, Google announced that algorithm changes were now in place that could negatively impact those sites that offer a poor user experience to visitors using smartphones or other mobile devices.

Recognizing the obvious shift toward mobile internet usage, Google is encouraging webmasters to offer visitors more than just a mobile version of their site. Google wants all users to get the full internet experience they are looking for, even when they access the web via smartphones. As a result, algorithm changes from Google will now boost the rankings of those pages that offer top notch mobile infrastructure, while punishing sites that do not offer a good mobile experience.

Identifying Two Common Mistakes

The blog post pointed out that Google has yet to roll out the planned algorithm changes to enhance mobile user experience, meaning there is time to for webmasters to fix key areas of concern before the algorithms begin to have a negative impact on page ranking. Google highlighted two common mistakes that webmasters make when developing mobile versions, offering reasons for the problem and helpful tips in solving them.

First, it was pointed out that faulty redirects are common problem that irritate smartphone users and is easily fixed by a capable webmaster. Faulty redirects occur when a mobile user is redirected by a site to the main page of the mobile version rather than to the corresponding mobile version of the desktop version of the page they were on. The following diagram puts this concept into image form:

In simpler terms; when a smartphone user is on a subpage and tries to navigate to the mobile version of that sub-page, they are more often than not redirected to the mobile version homepage. This means they have to start their navigation over again to the sub-page they were on. While it may be a minor inconvenience, it can interrupt a visitors flow and cause them to not return to the site in the future.

The problem is easily fixed by setting up redirects such that users are sent from the desktop version directly to the same content on a mobile version. If the site doesn’t have the content available in a mobile version, it is best to leave them on the desktop version rather than interrupt their workflow on the site.

Secondly, Google pointed out that many mobile sites have smartphone-only errors on them. This means that desktop or tablet visitors using desktop version might not experience any errors on a given page, where mobile-version users will encounter an error page when loading the same content in a mobile version.

Common mistakes in smartphone-only errors, as listed by Google, included the following:

–          Incorrect handling of Googlebot-Mobile. When employed incorrectly, Googlebot-Mobile creates an infinite redirect loop where mobile visitors are redirected to feature phone optimized sites, which in turn redirects smartphones back to the desktop site.

–          Unplayable videos on smartphones. A lot of video content is embedded on websites and designed for desktop viewing, but fails to load on smartphones.

The issue with Googlebot-Mobile can be avoided by setting up Googlebot-Mobile user agents to identify smartphones as smartphones, not feature phones, and redirecting them to the appropriate mobile version (if it exists, remember no faulty redirects) rather than simply sending them directly to the desktop version.

Additional Misconfiguration Problems

While Google highlighted the issues above as the most common, webmasters will need to address all mobile configuration issues in order to avoid punishment at the hands of the new algorithms. The blog post contained links to specific smartphone misconfiguration issues Google believes webmasters should be aware of. These other misconfiguration included:

–          App download ads that hinder usage: Some on-page advertisements for a site’s apps actually hinder a smartphone user’s experience. Google recommends using either a smart app banners or a simple HTML image with a link to the proper app download store.

–          Develop content that loads faster on mobile versions. Smartphone users are facing steeper costs for data and restrictions on usage as unlimited plans disappear. Pages should be designed to load faster and offer an optimized experience for mobile users.

Lasting Message for SEOs

In the end, Google’s overall message with this algorithm changes appears to be that SEOs and webmasters need to focus on delivering the right content at the right time and less on delivering the specific mobile experience on a device by device basis. Mobile access is differentiating as more and more tablets and smartphones hit the market.

SEOs and webmasters need to adapt a more responsive design that delivers the right content to the mobile user, even if that content is not necessarily designed for the mobile device they are using to access the site.

Five Common Social Media Mistakes

Social networking conceptMore and more small businesses are catching on to the fact that social media is more than the latest hype, and they are beginning to see its value for marketing purposes. Larger businesses have paved the way for these smaller businesses to follow. They have done this by making a lot of mistakes from which small businesses can learn a few valuable lessons. Below is an overview of five common mistakes you should try to avoid making with your business.

Mistake 1: Constantly offering special deals.

While daily or weekly offers are no doubt appealing to consumers, you run the risk of your business developing the reputation of being an online discount store. Be sure to offer added value to consumers beyond being the cheapest. Your goal is to get people interested in buying from you for other reasons than just price.

Mistake 2: Waiting for consumers to find you.

Just because your business has a Facebook page and a Twitter account, that doesn’t mean that consumers will spontaneously drop by. Setting up a social media account or two alone is not enough. You will need to put some time and effort into the various social media channels by engaging in conversations with potential fans or followers.

Mistake 3: Posting long (news) items.

It is best to avoid posting entire articles on Facebook or Google+, no matter how interesting or relevant the information might be to your fans or followers. Instead, you should post a teaser. This usually consists of a short introduction and a link to the relevant web page.

Mistake 4: Frequently organizing competitions.

If you run competitions all the time, consumers will start to feel less emotionally connected with your brand. In time, they might not even remember what products or services you offer. Instead you will forever be associated with the chance of winning something. You can, however, run competitions periodically, as long as you make sure that you leave plenty of time in between competitions and you never run two competitions at the same time.

Mistake 5: Blocking negative feedback.

Larger companies have been known to ignore or even remove negative comments by consumers. Funnily enough, consumers are suspicious of businesses that receive only positive comments all of the time. When consumers see some negative comments as well, they get a much better impression of the business, because their suspicion that the comments might be fake falls away completely.

Social media is a great marketing tool for small businesses, but when things go wrong, they go wrong very quickly. With social media, your mistakes are there for everyone to see. That is why it is important to set out a clear strategy before you begin using social media. Some sound practical judgment will stand you in good stead.