Google have removed webmaster Authorship markup from the search engines results pages.
This means users who had previously associated their Google Plus personal profile with their website would have (theoretically) enjoyed a competitive advantage over websites that had chosen not to link Google Authorship to their site.
Since 2011 a significant number of online marketers have been building their "AuthorRank" to pump beneficial Google juice to their site. The Authorship markup was for displaying rich snippets, number of followers, ratings, +1's and (until July) author photos.
It seems the playing field has been somewhat leveled with the latest changes. Though there may be some value to using Authorship, there is still a social media lesson in all this.
As a small business owner, I’ve been using audio podcasts to communicate with prospects/clients.
I urge you to do the same because it is passive, personal and effective.
You can get started on a platform like SoundCloud for free.
Over the last few years you have probably been working hard on your business, looking for new technologies, strategies and systems to leverage time and be more effective.
I have found audio podcasting plays a large role in addressing some common business challenges.
A local business should be thinking of how to connect with customers instead of broadcasting at them.
If your business is as good as you think it is, prove it.
Come up with something valuable and unique and share it with people. Draw attention to your products and services like no one else does.
Content is all about delivering up front value and allowing people to feel like it is they who are buying from you instead of you selling to them.
All websites operating in the UK and Europe need to ensure they are complying with EU sales and marketing legislation.
The revision of the laws has been cited as the “biggest shake up in marketing for decades” and ushers in a new age of consumer privacy and a greater burden of proof on businesses.
If misuse of someone’s data causes “distress” or “damage” you or your company could be fined between £1000 and £500,000.
If, for example, your Facebook Page has 1000 Likes you’ll notice some of your status updates are only reaching, say, 250 of the 1000 subscribed users. This is a deliberate tactic by Facebook to force you to buy advertising and “reach” the rest of the users who have Liked the page you run.
Our favourite social network may have started as Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room pet project but we must remember it is public property with a profit margin.
The business bottom line must be healthy if Facebook are to continue operating successfully.
Over the years the telemarketing industry has been one which has gotten away lightly in terms of regulations and laws.
However, this is all about to change as the government is receiving pressure from the public and bodies such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and Ofcom.
These watchdogs are receiving all of the complaints when it comes to bad practice in the telemarketing industry, and with new regulations being discussed in parliament, it may not be long before these come into force.
The role of telemarketers may become a little more difficult.
Small and large businesses are making conscious efforts to find solutions to save both the environment and cash.
From the services and products they provide to the day-to-day running of offices, companies are investing heavily in new ways to create an efficient environment.
(If you don't have an account, sign up free and take advantage of this free service.)
Any small business owner who hasn’t already made friends with Microsoft Excel (or a free alternative) is losing sales.
It really pays to get organised when it comes to managing your prospect and/or customer database. If you're a direct marketer in the UK and Europe, it will become mandatory.
Every phone call you make, every conversation you have, each person you serve needs to be logged and recorded for the sake of smooth business operations. If you are making cold calls, there is a greater burden of proof on you and new EU legislation is being brought in to reflect this.
How do you feel when an interesting TV program takes an unexpected commercial break?
One thing mainstream media teaches business owners is that if you're going to try and sell things to people you need to realise most of them are not in buying mode. Social media is no different.
Being faced with the seemingly impossible task of increasing your profits in Britain’s tough financial climate is no mean feat, and when everyone around you is tightening their belt it can be more than a tad tricky trying to make a sale.
Fortunately for us the economy is going in the right direction, and while we wait for the benefits to trickle down there are some creative money saving solutions. The trick is to identify the areas where you are spending unnecessarily, and cut out the costs. So how can you save some cash?
In the 20 years since the launch of the world wide web the way businesses market their goods and services to us has changed massively.
The way we consume content has been revolutionised in the space of less than a decade.
While more of us continue to spend an increased amount of time on our digital lives, be it via mobile devices or desktop computers, is it still worthwhile for businesses to continue to invest in offline media?
A web property is a piece of virtual real estate where the cash value is determined by the amount of qualified web traffic landing on a given page.
An internet user searching specific keywords with intent usually has a problem that needs a solution.
As a small business owner you need to ensure several high ranking pages featuring your business information are returned in search results. This hinges on the keywords you want to target and whether enough people are querying those keywords in the first place.
For those short of time or unable to read books, listening to a podcast allows you to passively absorb hundreds or even thousands of hours of information.
It is possible to learn the equivalent of a university degree in a couple of years if you commit to a system of self study through audio learning.
In this article I list five must-listen podcasts for small businesses interested in modern marketing techniques.
Because social media sites are continuing to gain influence in Google's ranking algorithm it's only natural that Google favour their own efforts in the search results.
When Google Plus came out several years ago I paid little attention and considered it a typical "me too" product. Afterall, how could anyone rival Facebook for sheer volume of active users?
Google Plus, it turns out, lives up to its name not in its social media functionality but the powerful integration with Google Maps. The opportunity to get a chance of ranking higher for local keywords is available to businesses who leave a Google shaped digital footprint.
With Google's recent Search algorithm updates and the so called "death of SEO" the emphasis for successful small business internet marketing is on sociability, engagement, sharing and being useful in the community.
Though it has never been disclosed exactly how social media plays a role in SEO and Search we do know that on-page Likes, Tweets, Shares etc are rewarded by Google.
No one likes the idea of being subjected to hasty attempts to get at our wallets so let's not do it to others. Take the time to build trust before asking for the sale.
This is one of the keys in developing win-win relationships with people, and it is people we must help if we are to help ourselves.
As you set up your new business, be sure that you provide your employees with all the benefits they are entitled to under the law. Once you have set up the required benefits package, consider whether you can offer additional perks to increase employee happiness and productivity. Not all such additional perks are expensive, and the return on investment can be substantial.
This book has been compiled by two friends who, wanting to start a business without any experience, approached established businesses and asked for advice on the subject.
What resulted is this loosely edited content collaboration; an anthology of "letters" in which those who have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and washed it a couple of times impart their business wisdom.
Most of the entrepreneurs had faced challenges, battling with one thing or another (securing funding, winning a contract, juggling family responsibilities) and I imagine the individuals writing their "letter" felt on some level they could be addressing a past version of themselves.
In the invoice sent to you at the end of each six-monthly period, which is April and October, there will be a set amount due on 31 July and 31 January respectively, the same as a Self Assessment tax bill.
Although by not paying you can lose your entitlement to state benefits, it is ultimately your decision and one that could save a small fortune on something not legally required of you.
It could be cash better spent elsewhere for the time being. No doubt, as your business grows you will begin earning enough profit to warrant the Class 2 NIC payments.
For the last couple of months I have been designing, selling and distributing advertising on printed flyers.
It is part of a promo strategy for a paid internet directory marketing digital copies of local fast food menus.
The site already does very well in the search engines, generating thousands of orders. But now previously unaware potential customers are being funneled to online sales landing pages via the printed leaflets.
Writing a business plan is an activity some of us absolutely swear by while others detest it. But a bank manager, crowd funding community or group of investors will want to see evidence of your own strategies before investing hard cash in a business.
On the other hand, a keen first time entrepreneur with nothing holding him or her back will prefer action over analysis.
Whichever camp you fall into, it is good to dedicate some time to seriously deciding what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it.
Last week I saw a trailer for the 2013 series of The Apprentice on the BBC. The contrived comedy and pretentious style caused me to briefly resemble Lord Sugar shown here above looking characteristically sour. I knew I was witnessing what heralds another 12 episodes of car crash television.
We all know The Apprentice stopped being about business and enterprise when it moved from BBC2 to BBC1 in 2007. It became a vehicle and means to get ratings from a carefully chosen bunch of narcissists, braggers and bullies generally representing the worst society has to offer. It hasn't always been this way though.
Business owners are constantly looking to cut corners when it comes to their business budget and expenses, even if it means introducing a new method of work.
Credit card processing fees are some of the highest fees and can be a headache. No business owner wants to have to hesitate when swiping a customer’s card due to the thought of their high processing fees.
Apart from the organisation of time and resources, you may actually still be scratching your head over what kind of business idea to go for!
I have put together a shortlist of cash generators I am actively involved in or have knowledge of.
What you pursue is obviously up to you but remember to do lots and lots of research before parting with any seed capital.