Tag Archives: SEO

Past Your “Sell By” Date


I had an enlightening experience the other day. For two years, since I parted company with my last full-time employer, I have been gainfully employed as a consultant. I’ve picked up a variety of jobs from writing press releases for a green power semiconductor company to doing search engine optimization for a speech pathologist. Since March, I have been the interim CEO for a marketing start-up. This has all been excellent experience for the current market: “green” technology, semiconductors, SEO, health care marketing and leadership. I have been very pleased with the bullets I have added to my resume over the past 24 months.

All that changed, just a little, with a job lead forwarded to me by a friend. The job req was for the same job I did a few years ago. My resume matched the job description completely. The cover letter was easy to write. I am a former employee of the company, so I was able to provide HR with names of current employees who could attest to my skill. These were not just any “current employees” but people who were having stellar careers at the company. I finished the cover letter by making a strong case that I’d grown into an even better match since leaving the company.

Since I had the name and email address of the recruiter, I decided to contact him directly. First, I applied on the corporate website (always a requirement). Then I sent my resume/cover to the recruiter with the job title and req number. Within 12 hours, I heard back from the recruiter. “Thanks for reaching out….” You can guess the rest. My salient job experience was all in the past. I was not currently active in the job function for which they were looking. Therefore, my experience was not current and not significant enough to merit a phone screen.

What does this tell you? If you have your job history for the past 25 years on your resume, you are wasting valuable real estate. My job experience from two years ago was not current enough. Your resume is going to be more effective with more white space. Leave out all those details on your entry level job duties. I suggest that you restrict your resume to the past 10 years. That is going to free you to highlight your current experience, add keywords and concentrate on better writing.

So, how do you deal with the fact that you have been out of work for 6 months or a year or longer and your work experience is no longer “current”? Well, keep in mind that not every company is as extreme as the company to whom I applied.  I hear stories every week of people who applied for job X, wrote their resume to match job X but were called in to interview for job Y. In some cases, job Y is not one they would have ever considered. In some cases, a 6 month gap, in the current environment, is not a show stopper. A 12 month gap is a little tougher. However, I still hear about people getting hired who point to the fact that they spent their time gaining new skills, new training, new certifications, doing interesting “chance of a lifetime” things or spending significant time on charities. You never can tell what will click.

For the rest of us, perhaps you need to consider joining or doing a start-up. That is the path I am following. I would have never applied for the job at my former employer if it had not been such a perfect match. I am gaining a new set of current skills. Skills such as social media marketing, search engine optimization and on-line reputation management as well as leadership and “entrepreneurial” skills. If I decide to return to corporate life, I will have a whole new resume to show that I am currently active in the job function for which they are looking.

James Snider
Business Development Director
817 203 4944

Which LinkedIn Groups?


If you are looking to build traffic to your blog, I can give you a few tips on which LinkedIn Groups work the best. If you want general information on which groups to join, I refer you back to a previous post on this topic.

One of the best LinkedIn groups you can join is your college alumni group(s). Hands down, I get the most traffic from the University of Texas alumni group, followed by the University of North Texas. I do not have any hard facts, but I can speculate as to why this is the case:

1) There is a little bit of esprit de corps within alumni associations. I am not a total stranger, even if you’ve never met me. We attended the same school which makes me a little more trustworthy than another complete stranger. We have a common bond.

2) These groups tend to be larger than the average LinkedIn group. I guess that is really sort of a spam factor. Spread information to a broad enough audience and someone will read it. The UT group has 23,900 members. The UNT group, 5,900. The American Marketing Association of Dallas-Fort Worth has only 2,500. But size is not everything.

3) I tend to post frequently to these groups. My LinkedIn photo is seen over and over. I am a regular, which builds some credibility. Also, I hope, people who read my blog find the information useful. They are more inclined to click-through to my blog than they would be if I were an unknown.

Now, I am also a member of some very large groups which do not generate as much traffic to my blog. You just have to test the group dynamics a bit to see what works. Some groups are huge and have constant new content being posted in the discussion section. Anything I post will be moved off page one in an hour or so by all the new content.

Unless you are lucky enough to have someone comment on your blog within that first hour (or, in some cases, 20 or 30 minutes) or interact with your discussion in some way (“like” it or click-through), you are not going to stay on page one…and rarely does anyone go to page two on anything. You can go the extra mile and line up some friends to make comments and that will keep you on page one for a while….but that is a bit artificial, don’t you think?

From time to time, I see people “like” their own discussion just to keep it from slipping off page one. That is a bit embarrassing, I think (and I have to admit, I have done it). If you have the time, you can probably generate some good traffic to your blog on the super huge LinkedIn groups, but it is going to take time and effort and you will really be scamming the system.  I am not proposing that.

I have hit my 500 word target, so I will finish my discussion on LinkedIn groups in the next post.

James Snider
B2B Business Development Consultant
jsnider1394@gmail.com
817-905-1394
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

Contact Me LinkedinWordpressBloggerTwitterFacebookBloggerYoutube


Not seeing the SEO magic…


It has been 10 days since I added the YouTube links to my blog and I am not seeing any increase in my Google rating.  I am still stuck on page 5 (or sometimes even page 6).  I did collect a number of comments from the LinkedIn groups I posted the question to (“Can you verify if adding video will improve the Google ranking of a web page?”)  Most folks indicated that video will improve my ranking but a couple of folks indicated that it is all about keywords.  If I’d labeled the videos “James Snider sings…almost” and “James Snider’s son in a movie,” then it might have made a difference…but if that is the case, it does not take a video to add keywords.  Keywords in the text will be just as effective (James Snider James Snider James Snider  James Snider).

The most recent comment I received (from someone who does SEO as a profession) indicated that the video was irrelevant.  He did make a comment that hit me, “Google loves fresh content….”  So, by posting the videos and then doing nothing for 10 days to see if my ranking went up, I probably hurt my ranking because I was not posting fresh content.  :-)

And in the final analysis, I was kind of cheating the system anyway.  I only posted two links to YouTube and did not actually post video on my web page, so the pro bono advice I got from the social media wunderkind at HubSpot did not help me.  Not that I would argue with a wunderkind…but in this case, I did not see a difference.

So, the takeaway is this, update content on your web site often.  That does seem to work.  Over the next two weeks, I will be testing the “fresh content” suggestion on two of my other blogs to see if I can move them up from page 10 and page 14 of Google results.  And finally, if you post a really interesting video on your website which attracts lots of traffic, that can’t hurt your Google ranking either.

Here is my effort at an interesting video…. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.  If you can watch this without a smile, you need to lighten up a bit.

James Snider
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing
jsnider1394@gmail.com
817-905-1394
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

Contact Me LinkedinWordpressBloggerTwitterFacebookBloggerYoutube


A Little Advice from HubSpot


After posting my last blog entry, I received some advice from Mike Volpe of HubSpot concerning posting videos on WordPress without paying the $60 “Video Upgrade” fee.

Mike Volpe – HubSpot Says:

One idea that’s free that you could do would be to create a video, upload it to YouTube and then embed the YouTube video into your blog. This does not require you to host the video and should not cost you any money. Even easier, you can actually embed other people’s videos into your website (like HubSpot’s – http://hubspottv.blip.tv or http://youtube.com/hubspot ) and then write about those videos.

I uploaded two videos to YouTube and decided to give this a try.

I will let you know if this blog moves up from page 5 where it currently resides on Google search results.

Thank you Mike for the advice.  If anyone else has suggestions or tips, please pass them along.

James Snider
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing
jsnider1394@gmail.com
817-905-1394
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

Contact Me LinkedinWordpressBloggerTwitterFacebookBloggerYoutube


SEO Series: Add a Video


I just learned this SEO tip yesterday morning while I was preparing to teach “SEO for the timid” at my weekly Social Media Hands-on Lab for Job Seekers.  A couple of days ago, the Hubspot inbound marketing blog posted an article indicating that putting a video on your web page increases you ranking on Google.  Quoting respected industry analyst Forrester Research, Hubspot said, “you’re 53 times more likely to get on the first page of Google’s search results if you have video on your page.”  Hubspot’s blog continues on to give good advice on how to make a video.  Both the Forrester Blog and the Hubspot blog are well worth reading.  If I were you, I would click through to their blogs.  I can’t better what they said.  ;-)

I was going to add a video to this blog to test out the Forrester/Hubspot idea, but that would require a “video upgrade” which costs $60 a year…and that is a barrier for me in this current economy, so I will just have to trust Forrester on this one.  I did add two videos to my FaceBook account, but FB is already number three on a Google search of my name, so it is hard to verify any improvement. There is no way to add video to LinkedIn at this time…and what sort of video would you want to put there anyway?

Maybe you have some thoughts. Please feel free to share them if you do.  In the meantime, if you want to see some videos I did in my previous job, click on the YouTube icon in my signature.

James Snider
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing
jsnider1394@gmail.com
817-905-1394
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

Contact Me LinkedinWordpressBloggerTwitterFacebookBloggerYoutube


Job Boards


I have not exhausted everything there is to say about using SEO but the three tips I just blogged about will go a long way towards improving your Google ranking.  The thing most on my mind right now is job boards.  Just a few months ago, when my former employer released me back into the wild (and I started consulting full time), everyone said that job boards were a very poor use of time.  Less than 10% of all jobseekers find their jobs via job boards (Monster, Careerbuilder, HotJobs, Dice, etc).  I even heard estimates as low as 1% of all job seekers.

That seems to have changed.  Week after week at the Southlake Focus Group, I hear people talk about how they landed their new job.  Over and over they say “…and believe it or not…someone found my resume on Careerbuilder…” Now the stories can be very entertaining about resumes being found that were 5 years old and nothing was current but the phone number or about the job being one they’d seen and decided they were not a good match so they did not apply…and so on.  The point I am making is, hiring is picking up and what you heard 6 months ago does not hold true.  Headhunters are starting to get some business (all my headhunter friends have been living off peanut butter and day old bread for the past year).  Job boards are starting to get people jobs…as high as 25% from what I hear.  Not exactly social media but close enough if it helps you get a job.

So here is the advice I keep getting.  Update your resume frequently on all the major job boards.  Some folks say, “Update daily.”  Others say, “Update once a week.”  And still others say, “When you stop getting spammed with MLM and commission only insurance emails, it is time to update your resume on the job boards again.”

Here is what works best for me.  Update once a week on Sunday night.  I have tried all the different update schemes suggested by others and Sunday night seems to work the best for me.  From what I hear,  corporate recruiters download current resumes on Monday morning and then work through them all week.  Maybe that is true or maybe it is not, but I seem to get better emails from recruiters when I update on Sunday night.

Get back to me with what seems to be working for you.

James Snider
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing
jsnider1394@gmail.com
817-905-1394
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

Contact Me LinkedinWordpressBloggerTwitterFacebookBloggerYoutube


SEO Series: Frequent Updates


My third SEO tip is something I was assuming but only recently had my assumption validated. I was preparing for my “Professional Inbound Marketer” certification via Inbound Marketing University (Hubspot).  The speaker (an SEO expert) indicated that frequently updated web sites rank higher on Google searches than traditional, fairly static corporate sites.  It would seem that the more you update, the better.  This makes sense, particularly when you think about the opposite case. If a web page were never updated, there would be nothing current on it and not much reason to go there.  One could reasonably assume that the web page was no longer relevant and therefore would not justify a high Google ranking.  There are a number of web pages for defunct start-ups that come to mind.  These inactive web sites are still out there (for reasons I know not) but there is little reason to ever access them.

Therefore, Google assigns a higher ranking to web pages that are updated frequently.  That is why Twitter accounts get such a high ranking.  My Twitter page is normally the first or second thing returned when I google my name.  I update Twitter about 5 times a day.  I update my Facebook page about 5 times a week so it ranks very high on Google.  However, I update my LinkedIn page daily.  My Facebook page gets a higher ranking than my LinkedIn page.  You would think LinkedIn would rank higher.

If I understand correctly, however, comments from others count as activity.  Therefore,  it benefits your Google ranking when people comment on your blog (for example).  My guess is, people writing on my Facebook wall increase my ranking. I suppose there is not  a similar social interaction on LinkedIn which increases my ranking.  I could try increasing my LinkedIn ranking by doing a bunch of updates, but I am a little circumspect about doing that.  You do not want to spam your network with too many updates.

So, if you have Twitter, tweet a couple of times a day…or more.  If you have Facebook, update it daily.  For LinkedIn, ditto.  However, that does not explain why this blog (the one you are currently reading) does not show up on the first few pages of Google results but my personal web site (which I rarely update) does.  There is a lot more to SEO than we will ever cover here.

James Snider
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing
jsnider1394@gmail.com
817-905-1394
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

Contact Me LinkedinWordpressBloggerTwitterFacebookBloggerYoutube


SEO Series: When more is…more


The second SEO tip I learned was that it makes a difference which sites make reference to your URL.  If a site which gets almost no traffic points to your web site, it does little to improve your Google ranking.  If, however, a site which is getting 1,000s of hits a day is pointing to your site, that does a lot to improve your Google ranking.  That makes sense.  If the Harvard Business Review web site were pointing to my web site, that would obviously indicate that my site is pretty important and should be ranked higher.  If, however, my mom’s Facebook site is pointing to my site, that does not say a lot about my significance in the world in general.

So how would you, as a job seeker, get a reference to your LinkedIn account (for example) posted on a site that gets lots of traffic?  If you are a member of a job seeker group, see if you can convince the leader of that group to post all member LinkedIn URLs on the group web page.  To Google, a web page is a web page.  Drive traffic to your Facebook web page with regular (daily) postings and by adding more friends.  Of course, I am assuming that you have links to all your other web pages on Facebook.

Blogs are particularly important.  If you blog about something people want to read, you may get pretty decent traffic, plus other web pages may pick up your blog and build the significance of your blog to Google.  Although there seems to be some disagreement, it does not appear that Tweeting your website will increase your Google ranking.   However, it will drive some traffic to your blog.  A better method to build traffic to your blog is to join LinkedIn groups related to the topic and promote the blog to the groups.  Your blog can become a real asset to increasing the Google ranking for all the websites you list on it.

And finally, looking back a bit to my previous posting, get your URL listed on a lot of websites.  Quality is more important than quantity, but for most of us, getting our URL on the CNN website is never going to happen.  Do what you can and get friends to link to you (in exchange for linking back) and put your URL on lots of social media sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Mixx, Yahoo Buzz, etc.

James Snider
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing
jsnider1394@gmail.com
817-905-1394
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

Contact Me LinkedinWordpressBloggerTwitterFacebookBloggerYoutube


SEO Series: Get Mentioned on Other Web Pages


The first tip I heard about increasing my ranking on Google was related to my LinkedIn page.  First of all, if you have not gone to the “Public Profile” section of your LinkedIn account and changed the name assigned to your LinkedIn page to something easy to use, you should do that.  If you do not know where the Public Profile section is, you will find it right under the Twitter NEW section…which is right below the sections for your Websites which is right  below the place that shows how many Connections you have.  Right now, your page name probably looks like http://www.linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname/4/392/504. You should edit that to simply be http://www.linkedin.com/in/firstname-lastname. That is easier to use and looks better on your business card.

Now that you have an easy to use LinkedIn page name (called a “URL” in case you did not know) you want to get the URL mentioned on other web pages.  This makes sense.  If a dozen web pages are pointing to your web page, that must mean that your web page is important.  Right?  That means that Google will assign a higher ranking to your LinkedIn web page.  The problem is, “How do you get your URL on other web pages?”  A good first step would be to open a Twitter account if you do not have one and then use your LinkedIn page in the Account Settings where it asks for a URL.  Go to the top of your Twitter Page and select “Settings.”  “Account” is the first column and “More Info URL” is five spaces down.  Once you’ve done this,  you will have another web page pointing to your LinkedIn account.   You are now doing “Search Engine Optimization.”

One is better than none, but you really need more.  If you have a FaceBook account, there is a space for a URL. If you have a blog, same thing.  If you comment on someone’s blog, see if there is a space for you to enter a URL  along with your comments (they all require an email address and some give you the option of entering your own web page).  Set up a Google Profile (will give you the details later or you can just do a search on “Google Profile” and figure it out on your own…not hard to do). Start looking around for places where you can enter your URL.  You are optimizing that search engine to find your LinkedIn web page each time you do this!

But let’s not quit yet.  If you have a FaceBook and Twitter account, add those URLs to your blog (this can take some trial and error…get some help if you need it) and make sure FaceBook is pointing to all your URLs (Twitter, blog, etc).  With Twitter, you are limited to one URL at this time…but with LinkedIn and Google Profile, you can enter  several web pages.  Get every web page you own pointing to each other.

You can get really aggressive and have your friends with web pages point to your web pages.  Keep in mind that FaceBook and MySpace are web pages.  When I have to make a decision about which URL to enter (in cases where only one is permitted) I make it the same URL each time (LinkedIn, in my case, but you may have a different preference).  My thinking is that I want to put as much power as I can behind one web page rather than spreading it out too thinly.

That is what turned the trick for me.  The improvement in my ranking was not overnight.  I am not sure how long it took because I was not checking very often, but eventually, it did pay off.   So now you have taken your first step. There are a few more I will cover in the next few blogs.

James Snider
Global Business Development and Social Media Marketing
jsnider1394@gmail.com
817-905-1394
Anyone can give you social media.  I make sure it’s marketing.

Contact Me LinkedinWordpressBloggerTwitterFacebookBloggerYoutube


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 835 other followers