Archives for November 2012

Twitter as a Powerful Internet Customer Service Force

On the vast landscape that is the Internet, Twitter is fast becoming more and more of a powerful tool to be utilized for sales purposes. In the past, most people have probably thought of Twitter as just another social media site on which to communicate with others – friends, famous people, and even news outlets. Then, companies began to discover the many uses that Twitter has.

Twitter forces the user to be clear and concise in tweets
– 140 characters goes by very quickly if you are rambling. Companies have utilized these 140 characters to do so many things. Advertising, linking, and company voice type posts have all become popular. Twitter is also being used as an incredibly powerful customer service tool.

For example, I often browse a blog called Dooce. The writer of the blog had written several entries regarding buying a new washing machine. The machine broke and needed parts replaced even though it was quite new. She was having a hard time getting someone from the washing machine company’s customer service department to take her seriously. Customer Support using TwitterThe Dooce blog is quite popular and the writer has many Twitter followers. She decided to tweet her grievances to the company. Lo and behold, not only did her problem get fixed almost immediately, a rival washing machine company offered her one of their sets (washer and dryer) for free! I believe that she decided to donate the free pair to a women’s shelter. Such is the power of Twitter as a customer service force.

Another interesting Twitter personality is a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk. A video post about him on TWiT.TV was recently brought to my attention. Gary is the CEO and co-founder of a social media consulting company. More relevant to this post, however, he also works for an online wine retail store as the co-owner and the director of operations. While he is less active with the wine business lately, he still does and always has made a point to personally answer every single tweet regarding his wine business with a clear and thoughtful answer. In turn, his online wine store became immensely popular.

Social media as a customer service tool is still a rather new concept in the grand scheme of things. However, there are key ingredients to making social media work for your business that you should follow. As a small business owner or operator, it’s a great idea to take advantage of utilizing as many social networks as time and resources will allow for. The more networks that you are able to maintain a presence on, the more opportunities to display great customer service. In turn, this can also drive up your sales. Consumers tend to respond strongly (and with their wallets) to companies that they perceive as having great customer service.

If you are a new or up and coming business, consider using Twitter to do some research on what similar companies are doing or offering. Pay special attention to how any disputes or complaints are resolved. Twitter can be a great tool to help build your brand and subsequently, your reputation for customer service. The blog post on this site titled 8 Twitter Powerhouses You Must Follow is a great read if you are looking for shining examples of people who use Twitter as a tool to communicate with others.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topics of internet and technology. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web by having them listed in their online business directory.

What the Post Penguin Landscape Means for Your Link Building

The landscape of link building has dramatically changed post Penguin. The shortcuts have been erased, and while Penguin provides a better environment for searching, it’s important to identify if you’re still making these mistakes.

Vanishing Rankings

If you are watching your site ranking dwindle after the Penguin update, you know that you need to re-evaluate your link building approach and the current link profile of your site. One feature that is evident in all the sites that are being subjected to penalties is their back-links to poor quality sites. The objective of Penguin is to eliminate useless back-links and promote sites that are linked to you, not sites that have greater quantity. This means that links from sites with too much spam are worthless, which should have been the case from day one.

Losing Ranking

Being linked to too many spammy sites will in fact damage your ranking. Damage is caused by links that are unrelated to your niche, guest blog posts on low quality content sites, link building that uses precisely matching anchor text with poor article marketing sites and over optimization. This also includes back-links from offensive sites that have been singled out for harmful software and spam that insert another anchor text or that have boldly been used with similar keywords to other sites.

Link Over-Optimization

Over optimized links have very little relevance to Google’s problem solving procedure (algorithms). These sites are efforts to play around with search rankings which are bad for your previously top ranked sites. Before the Penguin update, keyword targeting was the surest and fastest way to get rankings for your site. If anyone does this now, Google will penalize that site immediately and without mercy. So be extremely careful of any back-links that you are building for your sites.

Although Google has made no announcement on the exact number of sites that are considered to be “too much”, it has been noticed that the sites taken out by Google were sites that had target keywords as the anchor for over 60% of its inward bound links. While many over optimized sites were not taken down, keep in mind that Penguin reviews sites after 5 weeks. Sites that have been optimized less than 50% have currently not been affected or taken down by Google.

Assessment of Sites

Since the appraisal agreed for anchor text is being cutback, links that come from appropriate sites are considered more important than ever. Google’s Latent Semantic indexing which decides the niche of the domain is a much larger part of the most recent Penguin update. This means that text and relevancy will be accorded a greater precedence than before. Although text and relevancy have always been important, people have not focused on basic SEO standards for link building.

Google’s Algorithms

Now that the working procedures of Google have been developed to eliminate ranking shortcuts, you must create an approach that will not be affected by Penguin. This would be to evaluate your existing link profile, scrutinize other sites in your niche that have kept their ranking and keeping track of your SEO quality link building ranking on a regular basis. This will keep the ranking of your site from being steamrolled by Penguin.

Was your site affected by Penguin? Have your Link Building methods changed?