Increase Your Search Ranking Without Spending a Dime: Everyday SEO

Learn how to increase your search ranking without spending a dime! Learn everyday SEO tips from HighleyDesigned.

You spent hours creating a website (or you hired someone to do it) and it looks beautiful, but for some reason you’re not seeing the traffic you expected. That’s where SEO comes into play. Search Engine Optimization done right will not only get your website on the first page of Google, it will keep it there.

Big SEO firms will charge you a ton of money each month just to send you a report with your Google analytics (that you could have printed on your own). Most won’t take the time to explain what happens behind the scenes or walk you through ways to improve your SEO on your own. Luckily, I’ve had the privilege to work with a local SEO guru who has taught me a thing or two that anyone can implement to improve their search rankings. These strategies are current and proven to work – I’ve seen myself how an average website went to the first page of Google into the top slot within 2 months.

In Part 1 of Everyday SEO tips, I’m going to share some tips for writing better page titles that will improve your search rankings with keywords. But first, let’s talk about keywords.

Keywords: Words that best describe your products and services; words that people will use when searching for your business or services; words that if used correctly will improve your search ranking.

I suggest choosing your top 4 -6 keywords to incorporate into your page title. Then the goal is to create a keyword phrase, incorporating your business name and basic info. To string it all together, the vertical dash is going to be your best friend. (It looks like this | and can be found between the backspace and the enter keys on your keyboard). After your title is written simply copy and past this into the site title/page title section of your website. I use Dudamobile for web design and their website builder makes this entire process so easy! If you don’t use a visual editor simply paste the title into the appropriate section of your header HTML.

Below is an example of a great site title (this is used on the site home page). The company is my hubby’s family’s septic business and they have been on the first page of Google since we implemented Anthony Associates Moveisity program in December. You can create something similar for your own company, regardless of your industry. If you’d like to learn more be sure to follow me on Facebook and be sure to check back for Part 2 where I’ll be sharing how to optimize your photos and alt tags for SEO purposes.

Page Title Example: 

Septic Tank Services Lancaster Pa | John Kline | 717-898-2333 | Septic Cleaning | Pumping | Inspections | Lancaster Lebanon York and Dauphin County Pennsylvania | Waste Removal | Frequent Pumping Discounts

*With Dudamobile this site title will appear for each page unless you go into the SEO settings for each individual page and create additional titles. I suggest creating additional titles that better describe your other pages – services, FAQ etc. However, a title like this one would be fine for your About or Contact pages as well.

Have an awesome weekend and remember, SEO takes time. It takes a few days for any changes to your site to be cached (recognized by Google) and after the changes are recognized it takes time for your site to move up the ranks. But be patient – if you’re doing the right things and your site has great content you will see results!

 

~ Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

New Instagram Features for Social Media Managers!

Sweet New IG Features for Social Media Managers by HighleyDesigned

Instagram has finally introduced an awesome feature for social media managers! I mean, it’s about time you can switch accounts without logging out and logging back in… (Both Facebook and Twitter have had the feature for years.) That’s right – account switching is here.

Whether you have a bunch of IG accounts you manage or you simply want to be able to switch between your personal and business accounts more easily, here’s how you do it. And as of now you can add up to 5 accounts… Bummer if you have more, but at least it’s a helpful step!

Step 1. Login to one of your Instagram accounts and click on your profile at the bottom right.

Step 1 - Login to your IG account and click on your profile at the bottom right

Step 2. Click on the “options” dots at the top right.

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Step 3. Scroll all the way down and click “Add account.”

New IG Features for Social Media Managers!

Step 4. Simply login to your next account and repeat the process to add additional accounts.

New IG features for Social Media Managers!

Step 5. Toggle between accounts by holding the profile image at the bottom right – a menu will pop-up and you’ll see a check next to the account you’re currently using.

New IG Features for Social Media Managers!

Now that your accounts are added you can post pictures and manage your accounts more easily! For more tips and tutorials be sure to follow me on Facebook and keep posting great content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Use Hashtags (for Beginners!)

How to Use Hashtags for Beginners - Blog by HighleyDesigned

Lots of my clients admit that they don’t understand hashtags. These are small business owners who know the value of social media but aren’t sure how to use platforms like Instagram or Twitter. Many of them are just getting used to Facebook! If this is you, or if you’ve just never understood this whole hashtag thing, here it is in layman’s terms. #hashtagsfordummies #kiddingbutnotkidding

What is the point of hashtags?
When someone uses a hashtag in front of a word or a phrase, that phrase is categorized. You’ll notice on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you can click on a word or phrase that has a hashtag in front of it and you’ll see a list of all the posts, people and photos that use the same hashtag. This is an awesome way to get your social media posts noticed. Why? Let’s pretend you’re a salon owner. Most people around the world aren’t on Instagram searching for “Sally’s Salon, Lancaster PA” (totally made that up), but people are on Instagram searching for “Modern Salon” or “Highlights” or “Blowout” etc. When you upload a photo of a great hair cut and style and you add those hashtags after your caption, your photo will now show up when people search those words or phrases! The same is true for Facebook and Twitter but hashtags are used in different amounts on each platform (I’ll get to that).

So let’s recap… Hashtags have a point because they help to categorize your posts, videos and photos by relevant topics, events and phrases. When your posts get categorized they get noticed!

When should I use hashtags?
You can use hashtags within a sentence if the wording is appropriate, or in a cluster at the end of a caption.

Example 1. Tune in tonight for #ViralChat at 9pm.
Example 2. Wow! Things are finally organized around the office. #organization #beforeandafter #springcleaning

The major social platforms for hashtags are Instagram and Twitter. You can also use hashtags on Facebook, but because Facebook uses a different algorithm altogether so hashtags are less relevant. If you’re posting about a big event or a trending topic on Facebook, use a hashtag, but don’t worry about using hashtags each time you post like you should for IG and Twitter.

If you are watching a popular show on TV or a live event like the GOP Debate, using a hashtag is a great way to have your opinion heard by others. It may even lead to a conversation or a networking opportunity. Twitter chats are another awesome way to make connections and most chats will have their own hashtag, for example Post Planner’s “Viral Chat” uses #viralchat. If someone searches for “ViralChat” they’ll be able to see all of the questions and answers that have been posted with the chat’s hashtag.

How many hashtags should I use?
I’ve done a lot of reading about this and with trial and error I’ve found that for Instagram 11 is the magic number. Photos with 11 or more hashtags receive the most engagement. It’s also important to pay attention to what time of day you’re posting and how long your captions are. You will find that your audience is more active sometimes vs others.

For Twitter I recommend sticking to 1-4 hashtags. You only have 140 characters to work with so it’s important to keep tweets short and sweet. If you can keep your tweets to 100-120 characters others can quote your tweet and still have space to add a comment!

Hashtags aren’t as important on Facebook so I recommend only using them when you’re talking about a major brand, event or have perfect use for a hashtag phrase. For example, “Is anyone else excited for the women’s all around competition? #Rio2016.”

Now that you know why, when and how to use hashtags, go tweet, post and plan away! And remember, social media is a lot of trial and error – you’ll find what works best for your brand or business!

~Rachel

 

 

 

What Social Media Sites Should You Be Using to Grow Your Business?

What Social Media Networks Should Your Business Be Using by HD Marketing & Creative

If you’re new to social media but you’re not sure what your business should be doing, here are some tips! Remember, it’s better to be active on one social media platform than to post infrequently on all of them. 

Facebook
No matter what industry you’re in, every business should be on Facebook. If you don’t have time to post every day, make it a habit to post every few days and make it a habit to be consistent. Facebook has become so popular it’s like your calling card. In many ways your business page is second to your Google listing.

Best For:

  • Small businesses
  • Marketing to local customers
  • Announcing and planning events
  • Dealing with customer service issues
  • Running contests and giveaways

Instagram
If you’re in the fashion, beauty, travel or creative industries, Instagram will serve you well. Instagram has a young demographic and Instagram is all about photos. Another key feature is that your newsfeed is based in real-time like Twitter, there’s no dealing with tricky algorithms like Facebook.

Best For:

  • Businesses with high quality photos – product photos, before and after photos, videos, styled shots etc.
  • Fashion brands, bloggers, Etsy sellers, hair and nail industry, photographers, wedding planners, restaurants, event venues
  • Showing off new products, food, before and after photos, art
  • Connecting with other brands, businesses and individuals

Twitter
Keep it short and sweet in 140 characters or less! Twitter is great for anyone in tech or marketing, it’s also great for anyone that represents an organization, runs their own business or has an area of “expertise.” If you have a blog, do any public speaking or want to network with others, Twitter is an awesome place to be.

Best For:

  • Tech companies, marketers, authors, speakers, funny people and any business that provides customer / product support
  • Alerting fans or followers of new content or blog posts, events or glitches
  • Resolving customer service issues
  • Networking with other professionals, live-chatting or answering questions

LinkedIn 
If you’re a business owner, professional, author or speaker LinkedIn is the best place to find opportunities. Whether you want to do business with someone, talk guest blogging or invite someone to appear on your radio show, this is a place to do it. On LinkedIn you can send a direct message without sounding creepy or weird and you don’t have to be shy about “friending” someone.

Best For:

  • Business owners and professional organizations
  • Connecting with people you’d like to do business with, get a recommendation from, share your content with and learn from
  • Getting your name out there and establishing yourself professionally

Pinterest
Ecommerce busniesses this is the social media network for you! With Pinterest you can pin all of your products and in one click potential shoppers are at your storefront. This is also a great platform for anyone in home decor, remodeling, travel and other photo-friendly industries.

Best For:

  • The Ecommerce industry
  • Fashion, beauty, bloggers, artists, fitness experts
  • Showing off products and online content

 

Learn what social media networks your business should be using!

What We Can All Learn From Hess Toy Truck’s Holiday Marketing Campaign

We can all learn from Hess Toy Truck's holiday marketing campaign!

Every year my nephews beg for the new Hess Toy Truck for Christmas. They see the commercials on TV and can tell me exactly what the newest truck is capable of; what kind of gadgets it has and how many lights or sirens it comes with.

This year, I was unable to purchase the trucks at a local Hess gas station because here in the Northeast, all of the Hess stations have turned to Speedway stations. That said, I had to go online to order the trucks.

Hess has done a remarkable job of making the transition from in-store to online purchasing easy and I was impressed with their marketing strategy this year for a handful of reasons. What they did isn’t rocket science, but they executed a highly successful campaign we can all learn a thing or two from.

  1. They started marketing early. 
    By Thanksgiving I began seeing commercials on all kid and friendly – family TV stations. I also heard the jingle on the radio. My nephews were already getting psyched for this year’s toy and could tell me it was a red fire truck that came with a little fire rescue vehicle.
  2. They knew their audience.
    Hess carefully selected their audience – kids and parents. I didn’t see the commercials on MTV when I was watching Teen Mom or The Challenge, (my guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV…) but I did see the commercials on Fox News Channel, ABC Family etc. The commercial had a catchy jingle both kids and parents would end up humming all day long (the get this out of my head kind of jingle), and it featured happy kids playing with the trucks, making all 4-10 year old boys jealous.
  3. They made it easy.
    I do almost all of my holiday shopping online, but a lot of people still prefer to do things the good old fashioned way. The Hess Toy Truck commercial clearly outlined the only way to purchase this year was to go to HessToyTruck.com. (Notice they kept the URL simple too.) By keeping it simple and giving clear instructions they made even the “I’m nervous to shop online” customer the confidence to go online and order. The website was easy to use when you got there and you didn’t have to click around or search to find your product, you simply added the truck to your cart and went through the checkout process.
  4. They had great follow up.
    As soon as I ordered my trucks I got an email confirmation and various follow up emails about the shipping status. The trucks came in just a few days time and the shipping was free which was great. One of the biggest things marketers forget about is follow up. When’s the last time you sent someone an email just to see how they liked your eBook or if they had given any thought to your proposal? Or sent an email to remind people to follow you on Twitter, FB or Instagram?
  5. They went social.
    The thing that impressed me most with Hess Toy Truck was the email I got (timed perfectly) on Christmas Eve. It simply said:
    Hess Toy Truck can teach us all a lesson or two about holiday marketing!
    Not only did they send a friendly follow up email, they asked customers to use hashtag #2015HessToyTruck. This is a brilliant idea! A trending hashtag is an awesome marketing strategy and Hess will have photos to share for days if only a fraction of customers actually upload photos and use the hashtag. The point is, they went out of their way to ask. They sent a simple email, gave clear instructions and made it easy for customers to join in on the holiday action.

Next time you want to promote a new product, an eBook or idea think about Hess Toy Truck and keep things simple. Start early, know your audience, make downloading or purchasing easy and remember to follow up in a social way!

 

 

3 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following

3 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following via HighleyDesigned

My clients often ask me – “What should I be tweeting about? I’m not sure what to say and I’m afraid I’ll sound silly.” If you’re brand new to Twitter it’s easy to feel this way but you don’t have to be shy – Twitter isn’t like Facebook – you can say whatever is on your mind, ask a question or “share” (RT) a favorite quote. With Twitter, the more often you tweet the better. You don’t need to think of one profound statement or article to share each day – you can share many!

My best advice to anyone that’s brand new to Twitter is to learn from others. Take a look at what other people are tweeting or talking about and get some ideas of what you want your Twitter “voice” to sound like. If you’re a public speaker and you want to grow your audience and connect with other like minded women, look at the Twitter profiles of your biggest influencers like Oprah, MORE Magazine, Kim Garst etc. Even the president has a Twitter account these days. Take note of what others are tweeting about and how they are sharing information. Chances are if they have hundreds of fans and you find their content fun and interesting, they’re doing something right.

Now it’s your turn. Once you get used to tweeting regularly, sharing your blog posts and links to your website it’s time to start thinking bigger. If you’ve established a posting schedule and have great content it’s time to start expanding your audience. After all, there’s no point in sharing if no one is following! Here are some proven ways to grow your Twitter following without spending a dime. Trust me, they work!

  1. Tweet Regularly and Often and Interact with Others
    Not only should you tweet at least 4-10 times per day, you need to start interacting with others. Try to RT at least twice a day and thank people for sharing your content or liking a tweet. Use any interaction as a way to introduce yourself and if you want to learn more about someone send a DM and ask to connect on FB or LinkedIn.

    I’m not a fan of “salesey” DMs but with Unfollowers.com you can schedule automated DMs to go out to new followers and start a conversation with potential clients, customers or influencers. You can also auto schedule tweets to be sent to new followers, people who add you to lists etc. This is a great tool if you don’t have time to be on your phone throughout the day.

  2. Use Hashtags
    Hashtags are so important on Twitter. Not only do hashtags allow you to find out what’s trending and see what people are talking about, they allow other users to find YOUR content. For each tweet try to use at least one hashtag, and no more than four.

    When you’re trying to decide on what hashtags to use consider what’s trending, who you want to see your tweets, and what “category” you’d put your content into. For example, if you’re an educator you may use: #ChildhoodEDU #TedTalks #Homework #ParentingTips. Think about who the info is helping – parents. Who you want to reach – people that listen to Ted Talks. And the category you’re talking about – Childhood Education or Homework.

  3.  Participate in Twitter Chats
    Twitter chats are an awesome way to meet other people and gain followers. Usually hosted by a top influencer or organization, a Twitter chat will be scheduled to start at a certain time and that person or organization will tweet questions that anyone participating can answer. To be part of the chat use the specified hashtag and all of your answers will be categorized and searchable. You don’t have to answer every single question but if you have a great answer don’t be shy – share it! A chat is also an amazing way to interact with others. RT great answers that you agree with or reply to someone’s answer to say you love it / disagree etc. Your goal is to show off your expertise and find others that you can do business with, connect with or learn from.

 

 

Facebook Posts that Increase Engagement

Want to increase your Facebook engagement? Here are some tips to get your fans commenting and liking like crazy!

  1. Ask a Question
  2. Make it Visual
  3. Make it Fun

One of the best ways to increase engagement is by posting great content. When you want a commenting or liking boost consider posting a fun question or ask your fans for their feedback. People love when you ask for opinions!

Make sure anything you post to FB includes a link or a photo. Photos perform better in the FB Newsfeed algorithm than a text-only post so I can’t stress enough how important it is to have great pictures! You can find free stock photos on a variety of sites or you can make your own graphics with apps like Canva and PicMonkey. I prefer Canva because they have a variety of pre-made templates that make choosing fonts and colors easy!

Here’s a great resource for stock photos if you need them for social media or for your website, courtesy Entrepreneur.com – click here!

Increase your Facebook Engagement with Creative Question Posts and Eye Catching Graphics

It’s also important to keep your questions timely and relevant to your page. Holidays are great talking points and it’s also fun to check out “weird and wacky” events that are happening everyday like National Donut Day or National Spring Cleaning Week etc. I also love to ask people “Would you Rather” type questions because they don’t even have to think of an answer – they just pick A or B and it’s easy!

It’s important to make sure your questions are fun and won’t incite a FB debate on your timeline or offend any potential customers. If you have a fashion site and you want to ask – “Who wore it better:  Hillary Clinton or Carly Fiorina?” – that’s fine, but don’t go asking people who they’d rather vote for etc.

People love to talk about their family, kids, pets and to share their opinions so when you’re coming up with questions keep those topics in mind, then tailor them to your brand and use your own voice!

When it comes to creating graphics make sure your text is easy to read and I recommend using no more than 2 fonts. If you use Canva take note of the fonts in their pre-made templates (these are made by professional designers); if you change the fonts keep in mind what made them work – was one tall and thin and the other was curvy and bold? There’s a reason those fonts were chosen – because they complimented each other. Unless you have design experience stick with suggested fonts or similar options that will also compliment each other.

Keep in mind colors that will compliment your brand and your social media pages or website when creating branded graphics. Did you know when a magazine goes to print the entire 100+ pages must contain the same color scheme and fonts? Imagine your FB page and website are going to print – will they compliment each other?

These are just some pointers for creating graphics that will stand out. The question part is up to you! Good luck increasing your engagement and getting more likes! Here are some of my most popular graphics of 2015.

 

 

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Would You Rather