Identify your Link Prospects Preferred Representational System

Following some feedback from my last post on NLP and link building, I’m going to follow up with some quick and easy ways that you can identify a link prospects preferred representational system to improve your chances of success with your outreach communications.

Every one of us has a mixture of all four representational but we have one that we prefer and operate in most of the time. When we take the time to learn to recognise other people’s preferred representational styles we can relate better to them by adapting our style to theirs. In other words, if you love facts and figures you need to realise that not everyone you have dealings with will appreciate your passion for in depth detail and therefore only want a “big picture” view.

The key influencers we want to target with our outreach efforts are likely to be keen social media users, bloggers or published authors. This makes it very easy for us to pick up on the words and language they use without having to meet them in real life and make these decisions on the spot.

We stalk can follow them on social media sites e.g. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, subscribe to their blog’s RSS Feed or you could use Google and a few advanced search operators to find any comments they may have left on blogs, forums or Q&A sites.

As someone who likes to visualise things I will add a person’s Twitter profile, Google+ or RSS feed into this free HTML5 Word Cloud or Tagxedo to see which words they are commonly using and then analyse them to gauge their preferences.

Visual Style

People with a visual preference are often direct, business and career focused, driven, leaders and action takers. They dislike small talk, too much detail and time wasters.

Phrases they are more likely to use:

  • I see what you mean
  • I can see the big picture
  • It appears to me
  • Picture this
  • Mental Picture
  • 30,000ft view

If you are following them on Twitter or Google+ they are more likely to be sharing articles and talking about business, productivity or boasting about their latest achievements.

Kinaesthetic Style

People with a kinaesthetic preferential system are laid back, casual and are very people focused. They are risk averse, avoid confrontation and really don’t appreciate being pushed in to make quick decisions. It’s quite common to find these people in roles that involve a lot of physical activity.

Key phrases that they use:

  • That feels right to me.
  • Come to grips with
  • Let’s touch base.
  • Let’s connect.
  • Take care.
  • Get a handle on it.
  • I feel strongly about this.
  • Let’s do this together.

Auditory Style

This group are very talkative, animated, day dreamers, like the big picture, prefer to deal with people and want to have fun. They are easily distracted and can get bored quickly.

Key words they use:

  • Hear
  • Ask
  • Talk
  • Tell
  • Fun
  • Sound

Auditory Digital

People with an auditory digital preference will often be in careers that involve data, analysis and considered planning. They love details, facts, order and being prepared, they therefore do not appreciate people who are late, don’t deliver on time or are unprepared.

Key words that they use:

  • Process
  • Think
  • Know
  • Details
  • Research

Below is a word cloud from some interviews people have conducted with Wil Reynolds over the past couple of years.

So, how would you approach creating an outreach campaign to persuade Wil to link to you?

 

Using NLP to Improve your Link Building Outreach

Can’t get people to link to you?

I know link building is a really hard old game and believe me when I say this, it’s only going to get tougher as the goal posts continue to move and the bar for entry onto the first page of Google becomes even higher.  It’s probably even more annoying when you see successful link builders seemingly build super high quality links with ease.

Most great link builders are very good communicators and whether they know it or not are employing NLP techniques.

What the heck is NLP?

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in simple terms is the study of how our minds use, interpret and process language and thought. NLP is the process of talking someone into seeing their environment in a different way and was discovered by watching therapeutic experts and modeling their behaviours so that it could be taught to others in their fields.

The basic principles of NLP are:

  • Rapport – the practise of building a relationship with an individual and earning their trust
  • Anchoring – is a technique where an association is created between two separate entities where none existed before. Anchors are subtle and powerful, especially when they are attached to a strong emotion. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the anchor!
  • Swish – is used to replace a negative state of mind with a more positive outlook
  • Reframing – works by giving us a new way to look at and old idea (inbound marketing anyone?)

Using NLP in your link building efforts is quite easy if you approach it in an organised and linear fashion. First, you need to determine what it is you want the link prospect to do. That’s what it all comes down to; your link target taking a positive action and linking back to you. Now that you have defined your goal, the next step is to determine the elements of your outreach communication and the anchors that you want to attach to them.

Use representational systems in your link building efforts

Great communicators take advantage of all 4 representational systems to create the maximum impact. When you begin to understand how your link prospects process information, communicate and make decisions you can relate to them much better. When talking with a link prospect, of a different style to your own, it is important to speak their language.

Auditory: people with an auditory preference are great story tellers and love to talk. Ultimately they want to have fun and attend “fun” events. They are big picture orientated so don’t require the details so consider picking up the phone and having a chat.

Auditory Digital: individuals with an auditory digital preference are very detail orientated perfectionists, preferring order over chaos and their personal space. When you write an email to them be specific, prepared and precise & offer them plenty of links and references for further research such as charts and data.

Visual: people with a visual style are driven and very businesslike. They don’t want the detail and need the big picture so make sure your communications with these types of people are brief and to the point. These types of people prefer visualisations (infographics and photos) and very much love to win; so think about blogging competitions and ego bait to get this particular groups attention.

Kinaesthetic: (try saying that after a few sambucas) individuals who have a kinaesthetic preference are doers and want to take action. These types of people enjoy getting out and interacting so why not arrange a meet-up with other webmasters in their location, pick up the phone, invite them for a coffee or host a webinar.

Even though the ultimate point of an outreach campaign is to get something you want, the prospect needs to feel like their own best interests are at the heart of the request. Be very clear about what the reader should do and why s/he should to it in light of how s/he will benefit. Also never underestimate the power of reciprocity. It’s an influential social norm that you can use to your advantage to develop rapport and create an anchor when carrying out link building campaigns and is the true secret behind the nature of many successful link building tactics.

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23 Super Useful Social Media Resources for SEO’s

It’s no secret that social media is playing a bigger role in the way in which today’s online marketers increase the visibility of their clients online, from prospecting potential links, generating content, circulating media and even utilising profiles to rank for their keywords.

Currently site authority is mainly measured by the quality and quantity of links. It is a commonly growing belief in the internet marketing community that the major search engines are moving towards analysing where a website should rank based on the author’s authority and also who’s sharing that content on social media.

Google+

Despite what some people believe Google+ isn’t a complete ghost town and a lot of very smart SEO’s are making the most of this social network from Google. As Google+ is still relatively small compared to Twitter and Facebook there are a lot more opportunities for you to connect with key influencers and find people who will be willing to share your content.

10 Tips to take Advantage of Google+ for SEO – Cyrus Shepard published this really handy guide on Google+ over at SEOmoz. It covers some really handy tips to help you obtain dofollow links from your Google+ profile and a few tips you can use for outreach with thought leaders in your space.

Expert Tips for Google+, Twitter and Quora – Kelvin Newman offers some more tips and tricks for making the most of your social media profiles.

The Ultimate Guide to Google+ SEO – I couldn’t sleep at night if I missed off this monster guide from AJ Kohn who has quickly become an authority on Google+. AJ has also written a lot other great guides and delivered some presentations with very handy tips on G+, so be sure to add him to your circles.

The Google+ Cheatsheet – you like cheat sheets don’t you, well I know I do because I am too lazy busy to have to remember everything I need to about a particular topic or web tool. Be sure to keep this guide to hand while you get to grips with Google+.

How to Prepare for AuthorRank – Mike Arnesen’s blog post over on SEOmoz has already earned over 130 thumbs up and I’ve no doubt in my mind it’s going to earn a lot more. Mike covers off a lot of topics you need to be aware of in this post including ways in which you can begin to build your AuthorRank.

Twitter

Twitter is a Social Media powerhouse and according to Shareaholic provides approximately 1% of all traffic to websites.

15 Sites That You can use your Twitter Profile to get Links – Kristi Hines shares a multitude of sites that either automatically link back to you using information in your Twitter profile or will allow you to sign in with Twitter and add links because of it.

8 Secrets To Use Twitter For SEO – Bufferapp run through their top 8 tips and provide examples of how they worked based on this video from Rand Fishkin.

Wistia

Link Building with Twitter – over on the Point Blank SEO blog I share 2 great (and free) tools and how you can use them to get links to your website.

10 Twitter SEO Tips -  Mashable run down their top 10 easy tips to maximising your Twitter profile for search equity.

Twitter Competitions to Grow your followers  - Gaz Copeland gives you a a full run down on how to use a Twitter competiton to increase the followers on your account.

How Twitters Bad SEO affects your ORM – Italian SEO Giuseppe Pastore shares his insights into the dangers of linking to your Twitter profile incorrectly and the impact this can have on your online reputation management efforts, Giuseppe has recently updated his  Twitter SEO analysis.

Facebook

The behemoth of Social Networks with 1billion users this site is by far the most well known and used by small businesses to market their products and services to this huge audience.

7 Ways to get Shared on Facebook – Read through Traffic Generation Café’s advice for getting your content shared on Facebook.

SEO for Facebook Pages – this guide runs through how to edit and keyword optimise your Facebookfan page. It’s a very basic guide but puts to rest a lot of myths that many other Facebook SEO guides spout.

How to get your Business on Facebook – When you’re ready to create a fully customised Facebook Page there are some key components that you should consider.

Increase Fan Engagement on Facebook – Even if you’re active on your Facebook page posting regular status updates, interacting with fans and answering questions, you’re probably still missing out.

The Oatmeal Guide to Facebook – if there is just 2 Facebook articles you are going to read this year then make sure it’s this one and this one on how to get more likes.

Pinterest

Apparently Pinterest is in the top 4 traffic sources beating out the well known Social Media giant Twitter and search engines Yahoo and Bing by quite a distance. But let’s not get too hasty this is still less than 2% of web traffic.

But the sudden growth in Pinterest over the past 12 months can’t be ignored. The audience on Pinterest is different from the major social networks because most people use it to find inspiration.

How to Use Pinterest for Link Building – shameless self promotion time but it’s my blog and I’ll link to who I want to. In this post I have collated a selection of very useful tools you can use to find out who is pinning yours and your competitors content,  how you can earn links and gain more traffic to your website.

Five Step Guide to Pinterest for SEO – Jonny Ross runs through a few quick pointers for you to make the most of Pinterest to drive traffic back to your websites.

Best of the Rest

The below sites and communities are not on the levels of the big boys mentioned above but they still have very active communities which can drive traffic to your site or help you rank for difficult keywords.

How to Use Quora if you are an SEO – Wordstream run through their top tips to make the most of Quora if you work in the search industry.

The Power of Slideshare – Tom Critchlow writes for Distilled about the great benefits of using SlideShare as part of your inbound marketing toolkit. Active communities like SlideShare as great places to get extra exposure and expand your reach.

SlideShare SEO -  follow AJ Kohn’s tips for creating presentations that will rank highly in the SERP’s and deliver traffic to your site.

The Reddit Guide to Massive Traffic – Neil Patel shares his top tips for delivering huge amounts of traffic from Reddit. Be careful planning a marketing campaign on Reddit as they are very web savvy and can spot commercial intent a mile off.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration to begin to use your social media accounts in different ways to improve your visibility in the SERP’s if you have any more tips or resources to utilising social networks for SEO please drop share in the comments below.

Getting your Business on Yelp

Yelp is a local review site with more than 30 million user-generated reviews and active communities in 15 different countries. Their reviews range over a number of verticals, including restaurants, retail, hotels and travel, real estate, education, and more. In the second quarter of 2012, they averaged 78 million unique visitors per month. With the launch of Apple Maps in iOS6 it is probably more important than ever for local businesses to start paying attention to Yelp and improving their engagement. By hooking into Yelp,

Apple Maps can not only show you nearby restaurants, but can also help you decide which one you want to eat at based on star ratings and reviews shown within the listing.

Over the past few months I’ve been participating in my local Yelp community and I decided with the recent developments I should reach out to my local Yelp community manager, Rowena Harris and ask her a few questions about her role and how businesses can be more active on Yelp.

What does your role as a Yelp Community Manager involve?

I could go on and on! Essentially, the key is in the word ‘Community’ – so I manage everything from welcoming new folk to the site, arranging off line events that help the Community bond, promote the independent business community of Leeds and even write a weekly newsletter to highlight all things awesome in the city!

Basically, Yelp is website that connects people to great local businesses, and anyone can sign up to read/write reviews about what’s great (and not so great) in their city. I’m the Community Manager for Yelp in Leeds. On a day to day basis the role involves writing the newsletter, engaging with the community online and I partner with events, to promote things going on in the city. I also organise events to promote the best of Leeds’ independent businesses to our Yelp Community and beyond.

How can people can become part of the Yelp Community?

All folks need to do is visit the Yelp! website to get involved – whether that means browsing reviews for suggestions of where to grab a craft beer, for example, or creating their own account to pass on recommendations of their own!
You can also sign up for the weekly newsletter on the site, have a natter on the Talk threads, put up cool local Events, make friends, and download the Yelp app to get involved on the go (checking in, leaving tips, and such like), so there’s tons of ways to join in the Yelping!

How can a business improve their visibility on Yelp?

From the Community side, which is where I’m at, the first thing I’d recommend to a business owner is to unlock the free business tools for their page – this is entirely cost free – to highlight themselves to the Yelp Community. Yelp aims to connect people with great local businesses and Yelp Business Accounts allow businesses to share information with the Yelp Community. Simply put, it’s word of mouth — amplified. To learn more check this page. If you are listed and your listing is unclaimed, click on the “Claim Local Business” link on the bottom the page and follow the instructions.

Another Community route that I deal with is in ‘word of mouth’ opportunities, via the exclusive Yelp events that I organise, which is a fantastic way for businesses to showcase their passions offline, in real life, to active and influential consumers (i.e. Yelpers). It’s always so much more engaging to have a real life taster and/or unique experience of a business and this is one of the best ways that I promote local independents – getting locals in the door and experiencing what they’re really about!

I also encourage any business owners to let existing or prospective customers know that they’re on Yelp, be it via the ‘Find Us on Yelp’ stickers, via Twitter/Facebook, and any other means that they wish. However, there’s a subtle, but really important difference between saying ‘find us on Yelp’ and ‘please give us 5 stars on Yelp’! After all, Yelp is all about authentic, unbiased consumer experiences, and we have systems in place to protect both Yelpers and businesses.

In addition to the above, really recently we’ve started to offer local business advertising solutions in the UK.

How to Optimise your Business Listing on Yelp

Fill out ALL the information on your business page. Add photos, business information, hours, website and contact info. Make sure you use your primary keywords too! By having a complete and search optimised Yelp profile you will increase the chances of customers finding your listing via the major search engines.

Post Announcements and Offers Frequently. Yelpers have a high rate of activity, so they will notice updates to your listing.  Also, your activity will appear in the directory for your city for everyone – not just people who visit your page – so this is a great opportunity to gain new clientele and reach out to people who haven’t heard of your business before. The more you post, the more people will notice your business, so start posting!

If your Yelp Business URL is long, you can create a short link redirect using a service such as bit.ly to make the process of typing in the URL seem less daunting, and quicker to accomplish.

As Rowena mentioned above Yelp have ways of checking if reviews are legitimate – therefore I would recommend you DON’T encourage your customers to leave reviews if they are not already signed up as a “Yelper” as there is a strong possibility that their reviews will be removed and if you get to many reviews by non “Yelpers” your business may become flagged.

You can’t please everyone all the time, and sometimes a negative review will get posted due to misguided customer frustration, or a member of your team making a mistake. As an owner Yelps gives you have the opportunity to respond to reviews to explain your side of the story. Unmerited negative reviews are usually very easy to spot. Be professional when responding to bad reviews as ultimately future customers will want to see that  the situation is now resolved and there are systems in place to prevent them from having a similar experience.

 

The Big Guide to Shopify SEO

Shopify is an affordable ecommerce platform favoured by many small businesses who want to get started with selling niche products online. It’s believed that Shopify currently powers in excess of 30,000 websites and helped to ship over 20 million items to date. The eCommerce platform allows users to easily and quickly create their own online store without all the technical work involved in developing their own website, or the huge expense of having someone else build one.

This guide is designed for SEO’s and competent webmasters who have some understanding of implementing code to websites. I don’t plan to cover off all of the basics of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) but if you are at all interested in learning more about SEO before tackling the tasks on your Shopify site then please feel free to check out the resources that I recommend below:

Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors

SEOmoz – Beginners Guide to SEO


Remember to back up your theme files and any code before making any amendments!!

Redirect non-www to www

Google and the major search engines consider http://google.com and http://www.google.com as different websites. This can mean that the search engines will have difficulty determining which version of your site to index. It can also mean that if your website has been linked to from different websites and blogs using a combination of the two URLs you are diminishing the value of the links pointing to your site.

To resolve this you need to create a 301 redirect.

On your Preferences go to the DNS & Domains page, check the option for “always redirect customers here” beside your primary domain – this will then make sure your customers and also the search engines visit the correct site.

Redirect Old Pages

If you no longer stock an item then you may want to redirect your customers and the search engines to an alternative product or category page. It’s very important that you redirect rather than return a 404 Not Found especially for pages that may have links from other websites pointing to them.

Luckily Shopify have given us a very easy to use tool for this. You can find the Redirect feature in your Navigation tab in the admin, at the bottom of the page.

You can also use this feature if you are moving your eCommerce store to Shopify from a different CMS.

Shopify URL’s, Title Tags and Alt Tags

Write title tags for humans; format them for search engines.

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