Link Wheels Can Help Improve Your Rankings

Link Wheels are a powerful digital marketing strategy that can dramatically improve your search engine rankings.  The basic concept is very simple.  Just look at this diagram to get an idea.


You don't have to use these exact Web 2.0 sites to create a link wheel, as any site where you can create content as well as links will work well.  You can use any amount of Web 2.0 sites in this technique.  The most you use, the more effective of a digital marketing strategy you have.  To increase the effectiveness of your wheels, create links to each site in them.  This will make sure they will all get indexed in search engines and pass link juice back to your main site.


Keyword Spinning

Keyword spinning is a very effective technique, often taught in digital marketing degree programs.  It involves rearranging the words in your title tags to be more SEO-efficient.

The first step is to use Google's Keyword Tool for some good keyword research.  After you have established which keywords you would like to target, take a look at your title tags.  Then, you reword your title tags (and anything else that applies) to match the new keywords.  You can also use Alexa to check your site's and your competition's traffic.  Use this data, along with yours and your competitions SERP's (Search Engine Results Page), to analyze how much you can expect traffic to improve.  Every month, compare your traffic with your competitors to see how you are improving.  You can keep spinning your keywords and building links to improve traffic.

Keyword spinning can be very effective if done right.  The key here is to continuously make improvements.  Small tweaks in your titles can have huge impacts on traffic.


Best Degrees in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing degree programs are hard to implement well.  The field is constantly evolving and digital marketing really requires practical knowledge and experience, rather than just understanding theory.  Since digital marketing is the fastest growing marketing field and can have a huge impact on business, I decided to put together a list of the best options of the available degrees in digital marketing.
  •  U of M - Dearborn
    • Pros
      • 4 year, BBA degree
      • Hands-on, experienced based approach
      • Many required digital marketing courses, including Digital Consumer Search & Marketing (MKT 363) and Digital Analytics and Content (MKT 463)
      • Small class sizes lead to good opportunity for internships and relationships with professors
      • Student projects include real world examples of ranking pages on Google
      • Teaches integrated marketing for full effect of digital marketing efforts
    • Cons
      • Brand new as of this semester
      • More expensive than some of the other options
    • Overview
      • Even though U of M - Dearborn's digital marketing degree program is brand new, it is a good option for students looking into digital marketing.  This program is well designed and teaches, in detail, about the various aspects of digital marketing.  Students will gain a deep understanding of digital marketing and where the field is going.  You can follow this marketing program on their Facebook page.
    • Pros
      • Self-paced and can be finished in one semester, if desired
      • Incorporates integrated marketing strageties
      • A total of six courses including Digital Strategy, Web Analytics, Search Engine Marketing, and three digital marketing based electives
      • Available on campus and online
    • Cons
      • Certificate, not a degree
      • Requires prior marketing experience or degree
    • Overview
      • This digital marketing program is the best option for students who already have prior marketing experience and are looking to enter the digital realm.  This certificate doesn't have the same internship opportunities as U of M - Dearborn's program, but students will get the same education.
  •  IE Business School
    • Pros
      • 13 month long course
      • MBA program
      • World renowned faculty members
      • Broken down into two periods, each of which have face-to-face time and online time
      • Study abroad in their Madrid campus
      • Students will partake in real life case studys
      • Visits to digital marketing agencies and companies help students gain a 360 degree view of digital marketing
      • Students will work on a project to launch a new digital marketing idea for a company
    • Cons
      • The traveling required for this course is expensive
      • The program is a Master's program, so a prior degree is required
      • Fairly selective on who is accepted into the program
    • Overview
      • This digital marketing degree program is one of the best available.  If you can afford to take 13 months off for intensive learning and traveling, this may be the best option for you.  Students will gain the same deep level of understanding as the other two programs with the fun experience of traveling and working with real digital marketing companies.  You can get a good look at the student experiences with their student blog.
So which one is best?  Well that depends on what you are looking for in the degree.  If you are looking to get a 4 year, BBA degree in digital marketing, U of M - Dearborn is the best option for you.  If you have experience in the marketing field, but a looking to gain quick access into digital, then the certificate at NYU is best.  If you are looking for a Master's program or studying abroad, then the IE Business School's digital marketing degree program is best for you.  Please note that U of M - Dearborn does have study abroad options, they just are not directly tied to digital marketing.


      Social Commerce

      Digital marketing degree programs will cover the recent topic of social commerce.  Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce that involves using social media to assist in the buying and selling of products.  Since so many people use social media, it helps to reach a large audience.  Some examples of social commerce are user-generated content (such as reviews), social shopping tools, social apps, forums and advertising on social media platforms.

      Digital marketing degree programs also will cover the closely related topic of Facebook commerce, which is commerce through Facebook itself or through the Facebook Open Graph.


      Mobile Social Media users up 37%

      comScore, a company that measures the digital world, just release a report indicating that the amount of mobile social media users is growing significantly.  The increase is 37% in the past year.  This jump means that one third of mobile phone users are regularly using social media on their phones.  That presents an astounding opportunity for social media marketers.

      Facebook has now reached over 60 million mobile users.  Mobile users are very interactive with organizations and company sites.  If you do any social media marketing, make sure to keep this in mind.


      How To Stay Up-To-Date in Digital Marketing

      The basic principles of digital marketing remain fairly constant, however the game changes quite frequently.  Because of this, you will need to keep yourself informed so that you can change your strategy to match what the search engines are looking for.  Here's a few good places to bookmark so you can refer back to them to catch up with any changes that have been made.

      • Matt Cutts is an associate at Google and provides some basic insight to how things are and where they are going.  It's always a good idea to listen to him speak.  He never gives away any exact information about Google's search algorithm, but he gives some clues and insight to what Google expects.
      • SEOmoz is a great site to check out.  They provide accurate information about what experts feel is most important in search marketing.  They give all the different factors they think are important and give an approximation for their significance in your search marketing campaign.   This is probably the best resource out there for digital marketers to use.  SEOmoz provides easy to understand information.  Everyone behind the site is an expert in their field.


      Social Media Optimization

      Digital marketing degree programs will teach you that search engines will be emphasizing social media more and more because it is how people are using the internet.  These quick and easy steps will help you master the area of social media marketing and will help you rank first in search engines.

      1. Increase the link-ability of your site.
      2. Make tagging and social bookmarking easy by adding quick buttons.
      3. Add value with good content and be a resource to your users.
      4. Keep your valuable members close to your site by rewarding them.
      5. Participate by joining in on your social media conversations.
      6. Target your audience.
      7. Create valuable and unique content.  Remember, content is king.


      Keyword Research

      Digital marketing degree programs will cover keyword research extensively.  Keyword research is the practice of finding search terms that are typed into search engines by internet users.  Search marketers research the exact string of words that are searched and how often they are searched for.  This type of research is extremely powerful.  It can be used to improve search engine rankings.

      Keyword research is the first step to every search marketing campaign.  It allows marketers to find exactly what keywords to target, to see how much those keywords are searched for and to get an estimate for the expected CPC.  There are several tools that allow marketers to preform keyword research.  The best is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.  This tool is easy to use and it will give back quick and accurate results.  It suggests 800 similar keywords as long as you have a Google account.  This makes research quick and easy.  You can also export the data to Microsoft Excel which allows for easy sorting of many keywords.

      Using an exact search match type will provide more accurate results for exact search results.  A broad match type will give results for every search that has the keyword in it somewhere where as an exact match type will give results for the exact keyword as it is.  Broad is good for analyzing the size of a market and exact is good for determining which keywords are best to target.

      The Adwords Keyword Tool also allows search marketers to search in foreign markets and languages with ease.  Countries and languages can easily be added or removed.

      Recent research in long-tail keywords so that they have a much higher conversion rate than short-tail keywords.  A long-tail keyword is any keyword that is more that one word.  For example, the keyword "buy shoes online" is a long-tail keyword that will have a very high conversion rate.  It is specific and shows the searcher is further along the buying cycle.  Someone searching for that is much more likely to buy then someone searching for "shoes".  Long-tail keywords are much more profitable than short-tail keywords and therefore, your marketing strategy should focus mostly on relevant long-tail keywords.

      Permission Marketing

      Digital marketing degree programs will cover a topic called permission marketing.  Permission marketing is a very powerful digital marketing tool that can significantly help email and search marketers.  At its core, permission marketing is gaining a customers permission to further pursue marketing tactics.  This includes explicit and implicit permission.  Explicit permission is obtained through customers signing up for email notifications or newsletters.  Implicit permission is gained when a customer searches for something in a search engine.  A customized ad would be displayed on their screen later on for a product or service that meets their need.

      Permission marketing is a concept that relies on the fact that consumers can now choose to ignore marketing.  As a marketer, treating your consumers with respect is the best way to earn their attention.  Permission marketing works at its best when you have explicit permission from the customer.  You want them to want to hear your companies latest news or subscribe to your RSS feed and email newsletters.  That's the best kind of permission.  The customer is offering something very valuable, their attention.

      Once you have their attention and once they've signed up for your newsletter, keep it at that.  You have made a promise to your customer and all it includes is them listing or reading to what they signed up for.  Don't sell their email or do more than they signed up for.  This can lead your customer to back out of the agreement.

      The internet changes the way you can gain permission from customers.  It allows for you to obtain permission in new ways but make sure that you do have their permission and you don't exploit them.  This strategy will be covered in digital marketing degree programs.


      Mobile E-Mail Marketing Tips

      Digital marketing degree programs will discuss topics about mobile marketing.  With advances in technology, consumers are changing the way they do things.  And that includes check e-mails.  35% of adults currently own a smart phone and about 16% of e-mails are checked on them.  With statistics like these, marketers should make sure their e-mails are properly optimized so they can be read by smart phone users.  These few tips will help you make sure that smart phone users can read your e-mails.  They will help improve your mobile marketing and e-mail marketing strategy.

      Tip #1:  Create a Mobile-Ready Site
      Even if your website loads on a smart phone, it can be slow and frustrating.  Having a mobile-ready site will allow for faster loading and easier navigation.  Over half of mobile phone shoppers are more likely to buy from mobile specific sites and still most companies don't have one.

      Tip #2:  Make Your Mobile Site Easy to Read
      Smart phones have small screens so a site tailored to them should take this into consideration.  Most mobile users jump from page to page so make your content easy to digest.

      Tip #3:  Important Things Should Be Bigger
      There isn't much room on a small screen to capture a buyer's interest so make it perfectly clear what's important.  Bigger text and clear pictures do this very well.

      Tip #4:  Use Social Media to Promote Your Mobile Site
      The majority of mobile phone users are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites so integrate your marketing efforts onto these platforms.

      Tip #5:  Use Analytics to Track Progress
      This will help you keep track of how many users open your e-mails and click on your links.  You always want to measure your progress to see if you can improve your results.


      Social Media Marketing

      Since social media marketing is a large part of all digital marketing degree programs, I thought I would make a list of the top 5 most effective social media platforms.  These 5 outlets will help build your brand image, increase exposure and allow you to build a community of users around your brand.

      1. Facebook  - Facebook has over 800 million viewers making it the most popular and most effective social networking site.  Its big reach throughout many countries provides the most marketing opportunities with fan pages, groups and news feeds.  Get more out of Facebook.
      2. Twitter - Twitter has quickly become a very popular social platform for companies and consumers alike.  Twitter allows brands to communicate easily with their followers.  50 ways to use Twitter.
      3. LinkedIn - LinkedIn is the largest professional social network.  It allows brands to connect with a large network of people with features beyond the basic profile such as events and groups.  10 uses for LinkedIn.
      4. Wikipedia - Wikipedia is an authority when it comes to information online.  You can use this authority to send traffic your way as long as you have relevant and correct information.  Just make sure not to make your company's article look spammy.  Wikipedia for marketers.
      5. Digg - Digg is most effective for bloggers who regularly post relevant content.  However, Digg can sent massive amounts of traffic to any site that shows up on its first page leading to more sales and sign ups.  Build a 'Digg-Culture'.
      There you have it.  The top 5 most effective social media platforms that can be used for marketing purposes.  There are many more that are useful and you should check out the top 52 social media platforms.


      Digital Marketing Degree Programs: What They Can Offer

      Digital marketing degree programs can bring a lot more than bread to the table.  Digital marketing is a field that has many job opportunities and has proven vital in many industries.  This new and growing field needs marketers who know how to utilize:
      • Social Media Marketing
      • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
      • Viral Marketing
      • Web Analytics
      • Online Market Research
      • And much more!
      Social media is an area of digital marketing degree programs that includes blogging and other forms of internet marketing.  This graph compares the median salary earned by various internet marketing careers.

      Digital Marketing Degree Programs
      Salaries by Job

      Job trends in the social media field have been surprisingly good in the past few years, despite the recent economy.  Many companies are beginning to realize the significant impact that a good digital marketing campaign can have.  The job growth for online marketing related positions has grown steadily over the past five years.  The graph below, taken from http://www.indeed.com/, shows the growth in social media jobs over the past five years and that over one percent of all jobs listed there are related to social media.  And that's just one aspect of digital marketing!
      Social Media Job Growth
      These graphs shows how digital marketing degree programs will be the wave of the future.