If you’re the person in your organization that is responsible for getting more traffic to your website, you’ve likely heard about SEO — or, Search Engine Optimization.
You probably did some research to figure out just what this “SEO” thing was and how to apply it to your site. And if you’re like most people, your eyes may have started to gloss over when you started seeing phrases like “algorithm” and “latent semantic indexing” and “canonicalization.”
You’re not alone! SEO is a complex process with many moving parts. There is no simple “push-this-button-and-get-to-the-top-of-the-search-engine” button. Looking online, you’ll find thousands of posts with seemingly contradictory points of view and strategies on how to optimize a website.
This guide and action plan exists to cut through all the hype and confusion so that you can start optimizing your web presence immediately.
We’ve boiled down the most important, most critical elements of search engine optimization. Then we’ve explained them in a way that is simple to understand and easy for you to dive in and to implement.
Before you get into the individual lessons, it’s important to understand this overarching concept of SEO…
Search engines are a business.
- Their customers are the people that use search engines to find things.
- Just like any business, their success relies on pleasing their customer.
- Therefore, the #1 goal of a search engine is to position the most relevant and useful sites at the top of the results page.
Keep this in mind as you work through all of the steps of search engine optimization. Your goal is to create a website that is useful, helpful, and interesting to PEOPLE. Those are the types of sites that search engines want to present first to their customers.
You cannot “trick” search engines — at least not for long. Companies like Google, Yahoo, and Bing have some of the smartest people on the planet working for them. Their job is to understand what people like and to create systems to evaluate a site in the same way that a person might.
This is great news — because if you build an online presence that search engines find valuable, then you’re also building an online presence that your target audiences finds valuable. And that’s likely your ultimate goal anyway. Practicing search engine optimization is a win-win situation, both for you and your customers.
Keyword Research: The Cornerstone of a Profitable SEO Campaign
When you’re beginning your SEO campaign, keyword research is the very first thing that you need to do. It may not seem exciting or thrilling or glamorous, but if you skip ahead before identifying your keywords, you may end up re-doing all of the work you done. Keyword research is the cornerstone of SEO.
What is a Keyword, Exactly?
The term “keyword,” is a bit misleading, because keyword essentially means a word or phrase that people search for when they need your solutions.
Think about it… if you were a diabetic that worked 40 hours a week and needed some recipe ideas to feed your family of five, what might you type in to Google to find what you were looking for?
The top five mistakes people make when choosing keywords are:
- Thinking to broad: For example, “recipes” instead of “quick recipes for diabetics”
- Picking “category” terms instead of specific terms: For example, “food” or “health” vs. “diabetic recipes.”
- Not doing research: Guessing usually means leaving lots of opportunities on the table.
- Choosing volume over relevance: Let’s say that you sell blue suede shoes. While doing keyword research, you find that there are 1,000,000,000 searches for the term “shoes” and 520 searches for the term blue suede shoes. Don’t be blinded by the big number! The more relevant keyword with the lower search volume will likely be a more profitable term for you.
- Not realizing that web PAGES rank in the search engines, not web SITES: If you are a real estate agent in Chicago, you might assume that “Chicago real estate” would be the keyword for your website. However, you probably offer multiple solutions that people would search for differently such as:
- Chicago homes for sale
- Chicago real estate agent
- Chicago homes for rent
- Sell a home in Chicago
Keep in mind that every page on the site is it’s own entity. Unlike a store where everyone walks through the front door and then proceeds to individual sections, a website allows you to enter on — any page, ideally, the specific section relevant to your needs.
You could probably take an entire weekend course on intricacies of conducting and applying keyword research. However, more than 80% of the benefits of keyword research can be achieved by applying less than 20% of all the details by following the steps below:
1. On a blank Excel document, list out each PAGE of your website and jot down the solution that each page solves for your target audience.
2. Using a keyword tool such as Google Keyword Tool or WordTracker, enter a keyword that you assume someone might be searching for to find your solution. Then look at the suggested search term to find other, perhaps more relevant or popular terms that people are looking for.
3. Beneath where you listed each page of your website on your Word doc, list the two to three keywords that have the ideal balance between most relevant and most searched for, according to the keyword tool. Choose different words for each page.
4. Apply the terms in the following places on your webpages:
- The title tag
- The meta description
- The website body content
- Header and sub header tags (H Tags)
5. Publish different types of useful content on other sites (such as articles, press releases, guest blog posts, etc.) In each piece of content, embed a link to your page in the keyword assigned to that page.
Link Building: Proving Your Site’s Value
There are estimated to be over 200 factors that Google evaluates about a page to determine ranking. Of all of those 200, link building is one of the most important factors.
Remember, a search engine’s goal is to position the most relevant and useful sites at the top of the search engine results page. But if you’re a computer, how do you determine human perceptions like “relevant” and “useful?”
In studying relevant and useful websites, the folks at Google realized that lots of sites linked to them. Humans created those links — so they served kind of like “votes” on the usefulness and relevance of the website.
In very simplistic terms:
More links pointing to your site from other sites
But not all links are weighted equally. NOT being aware of this often leaves beginners to SEO prey to scammers and smooth talking sales people who promise to produce “thousands of backlinks” in a short period of time.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when building links:
- Use keywords as anchor text: If I place a link in the term funny dog videos, what do you think you’ll find when you click the link? You can assume that you’ll find funny dog videos. Search engines can make that assumption too. Whenever possible, use keywords or variations of keywords instead of placing links in your company name or in words like “click here.”
- Diversify the anchor text in your link portfolio: When bloggers, journalists, and customers mention (and therefore link) to your site online, it is highly unlikely that they are all going to place that link in the same anchor text term every time. If every link to your site is anchored in the exact same keyword, it starts to look a little contrived to search engines. While you want many of your anchor text links to be in keywords, you’ll also want some in variations of that term and in your company name as well. The goal is for the anchor text to appear natural.
- The quality and “trust” of the linking site matters. For example, a link in an article from on Washington Post online holds more value than a link from a free blog that was just started yesterday. Links from spammy sites can actually hurt your ranking.
- Links from sites in your niche are more relevant than general sites. If you sell a cooking tool getting a link from the International Association of Culinary Professionals holds more weight than a link from a general business directory.
- Don’t devalue social media. If you start researching more about backlinks and how they work, you will likely discover talk and theories about calculations and algorithms and measurements. No doubt, there is definitely a “method” to the way that search engines value links. However, links from social media sites often don’t factor into the old equations. Regardless, they are important and will only grow in importance. After all, the entire point of a search engine evaluating links is to understand what PEOPLE find relevant and useful — and social media is all about people sharing information.
As you’re doing your link building keep in mind this one very important thing… Search engines want to show their customers what the most relevant and useful results first. That means your site’s content and the information you publish online needs to be relevant and useful so that people will naturally want to link to you.
How Real People Use Search Engines
Curious…. When was the last time you cracked open the Yellow Pages to look for a solution?
Search engines have turned the pre-internet days upside down. Now the vast majority of adults turn to the Internet for almost everything.
Remember back in the ‘old’ days, when you and a friend might debate about something like a song lyric or a historical fact? Back then, you had to agree to disagree until you could get home or to a library and properly research. Now, we just turn to a search engine on our smart phones and squash the debate right then and there.
To see how “real” people use the Internet, take a look at your own history in your search engine. Looking back on our family home computer I find things like:
How to do the splits
- Dance studios in Naperville
- Everglades kayak camping
- Thai food restaurants in Naperville
- What kind of dog is Spuds McKenzie
- Chicago to Miami flights
- What does YOLO mean
Looking back on these searches, many of these resulted in a purchase:
- How to do the splits = resulted in the purchase of an over the door contraption designed to stretch leg muscles. ($35)
- Dance Studios in Naperville = Resulted in signing daughter up for dance classes at a local studio School Of Performing Arts and “liked” the page on Facebook. ($150/month)
- Everglades Kayak Camping = Camping trip planned for next Christmas vacation with an Everglades kayak outfitter, I’ll most likely purchase a package that includes 2 kayak rentals and guide service. ($950)
- Thai food restaurants in Naperville = Resulted in lunch at a local Thai food — and probably many future visits. ($15)
- Chicago to Miami Flights = Resulted in the purchase of an airline ticket ($337)
- What kind of dog is Spuds McKenzie & What does YOLO mean? Solved two nagging questions that arose during various conversations. (Priceless)
Being visible on search engines is profitable for businesses. Never before in history has a business been able to position it’s message AND a way to purchase at the exact place at the exact time that it’s customer is looking.
Your customers are looking… are they finding you? Contact Us to help get your website more find able.
If you’ve been dreaming about having a company website but haven’t gotten around to it until now, you may be concerned about the cost. It’s a valid concern, but many small and medium-sized businesses don’t realize that trying to cut costs up front by trying to design their own website usually ends up in lost time, money and revenue in the long run. The reality is that Design and Promote can design and implement an outstanding website for your company in far less time than it would take for you to do it yourself and save you money on everything from graphics to web hosting.
We Have Access To Tremendous Resources
When you try to create a website yourself, chances are you’re going to have to do a lot of research and you may end up paying additional fees for anything from graphics and photographs to web hosting services. Because you’ll have to learn as you go and you have other obligations (including running your own business!), the process of creating your website could drag on for months, particularly if you want to create special features or include the latest technologies. At Design and Promote, however, we have full access to the best technological features and an impressive library of graphic images and photographs for all of our web design services. We can quickly put together a professional grade website that will soon be paying for itself.
We Won’t Resort To Templates For Our Web Design Services
It’s tempting for many businesses to attempt to customize a simple website template rather than pay for original, one-of-a-kind web design services. Unfortunately, the results usually speak for themselves. Lackluster rankings and a cookie cutter approach to design usually lead to a poor response from visitors, who will quickly move on to a better site. At Design & Promote, we’ll start from the ground up to build a site that will stand alone in a sea of copycats. While the cost may be a bit higher for original content and graphics, these web design services are critical aspects of a successful website that generates traffic and lands new clients.
We Understand Internet Marketing
Design and Promote provides far more than just web design services (although we rock at design). We also provide in-depth marketing research and solutions that will enable you to attract the attention of your target demographic and encourage them to take action. We’ll study everything from graphics to fonts to determine what will work best for your company. We can also leverage a variety of social media outlets such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and more, creating a seamless network of online communications to generate buzz about your company website. Although we have all the flashy extras available to us, we won’t simply throw everything into the mix. Instead, our web design services include honing down your website to its most attractive, interest-generating form without over-burdening visitors with useless extras. We’ll never try to sell you extras you simply don’t need.
Our Optimization Standards Are Second To None
Once the content is written, the graphics are in place and you’ve added the tags, your website is ready to launch, isn’t it? Not quite! No matter how beautiful or informative your website is, the search engines won’t find it – which means potential customers won’t find it – unless you’ve optimized your pages for the appropriate search terms. Our web design services include search engine optimization (SEO) that’s second to none. We’ll carefully calibrate every line of text so that the search engines will fall in love with your content and push your website to the top of the listings. Our web design services will ensure that you’ll have an interesting, highly functional website that will truly be front page news with search engines.
Contact us today on our website or by phone at 630-995-7109 to talk about what you envisage for your company website. With our website design services, we’ll create a site that will do far more than look great. It will save you time, create leads and inspire new sales, all at a fair price. Who could ask for anything more?
We are incredibly honored to be a finalist in the sixteenth annual Naperville Area Chamber “Small Business of the Year,” in the ceremony that was held on Friday May 10th at the Wyndham Lisle Chicago Hotel & Executive Meeting Center. We sincerely thank all those who contributed to our nomination and those who’s recommendations and kind words contributed to our success.
Congratulations to the winners and other finalists of the Naperville Area Chamber Of Commerce Small Business Of The Year Award.
If anyone is interested in the history of Design & Promote you can download our packet that we presented for the award.Design-&-Promote-Small-Business-Of-The-Year-Award-Packet
From what we learned in 2013 we plan to come back strong next year and win this in 2014.
Thank You For All Of Your Support!
On Sunday April 14th, Naperville’s 360 Youth Services hosted their 14th annual 360 Spring Ahead Run. 360 Youth Services provides counseling, mentor programs, prevention programs, housing and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) support to local youths in need. As one of our own web design clients, and a wonderful and essential organization in our city Design & Promote proudly sponsored the event along with thirty other local businesses. The run began and ended at CityGate center and included a Kids Fun Run, a 5K Wheelchair, a 5K Street Run, and a 10K Trail Run.
Two of the Design & Promote team participated in the race. Danielle Luke, our graphic designer, ran the 5K Street Run, she placed 5th in her category, coming in at twenty nine minutes and thirteen seconds, while Brent Tyson, our lead web developer, placed 13th in his category, running it in twenty nine minutes and fifteen seconds. The race has two overall winners, a male and a female, who receive $100 cash prize, this year the female winner was 25 year old Amanda Mirochina of Naperville who ran the race in eighteen minutes and six seconds, and the overall male winner was Willy Kaul, 26 of Naperville who finished in sixteen minutes and thirty seven seconds.
The race was a great success, was tons of fun, and a great opportunity to help raise awareness and funds for a wonderful area organization. We cannot wait to participate next year!
To learn more about this race and 360 Youth Services click here.
In traditional business marketing, salespeople are relied upon to be the face of the company, bring in new customers and promote your products. With online marketing, things are a little bit different. Suddenly, your sales are heavily dependent on words. Words on your website. Words on your social media pages. Words from customers posted for all the world to see.
What do your words say? Do they build trust? Establish authority? Make a great sales pitch? In today’s digital world, it’s a safe bet that your customers are visiting your website and social media pages long before they contact you. You want to make a good impression while at the same time convincing them that you can provide the products or services they need.
Professional SEO copywriting is the best way to meet those goals. With a good SEO copywriting service on your side you can create powerful messages and sales content that speak directly to your clients and convince them to take action. It’s like having your own 24/7 sales team.
Professional SEO Copywriting: Your Digital Sales Force
There are plenty of similarities between a successful salesperson and successful website marketing. When you’re looking for website content writing services, look for the same qualities that you’d look for in a salesperson:
- A solid understanding of the customer and their needs along with the ability to communicate in terms the customer can understand.
- Strong knowledge about your business products and services.
- An ability to handle anticipated objections that could affect the sale.
- Closing the sale or calls to action that do not pressure the customer.
There is one important difference between a real-life salesperson and 24/7 sales content. That is the conversation aspect. A good SEO content writer can eliminate this gap. Professional writers are masters at transferring conversation into the written word. Once you’ve done that, you have a 24/7 sales team. Not only that, this sales team provides a much greater ROI than a team of salespeople. For a one-time investment, SEO copywriting provides a return on investment year after year. By contrast, you need to continually invest in your physical sales team, which eats in to your ROI.
SEO Copywriting and Optimization Go Hand-in-Hand
Even the best website sales content in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t be found. That’s where optimization comes in. Search Engine Optimization has become vital to being found online. It helps your pages rank, or appear, on search engine results pages (SERPS) whenever your prospects conduct an internet search for your products or services. A website without this type of optimization runs the risk of being ignored simply because it can’t be found.
Website content writing services merge optimization with your message in terms your customers understand. This combination of accessibility and clarity of purpose is one of the greatest benefits of professional SEO copywriting. You’ll get expertly written content that has been optimized for your industry and audience, provides visitors with all of the important details of your products or services and concludes with a call to action. Best of all, SEO copywriting firms keep on top of the latest SEO changes and ways of doing business so you don’t have to. There is no more cost-effective marketing technique than SEO copywriting.
If you’re ready to see what SEO copywriting can do for you, contact Design & Promote by phone at 630-995-7109, or click here to send us an email.
The rainy weather didn’t keep too many people away for the latest presentation in our Inbound Marketing Series,” The Power of a Press Release.” Guest speaker Karen Dix of Big Ideas Writing, a Naperville freelance copywriting firm joined CEO of Design & Promote, Bruce Jones, to discuss the two types of press releases and how they can help a firm increase corporate awareness in the media.
At the event, two particular kinds of press releases were presented: SEO and traditional.
SEO Releases Design & Promote specializes in producing and distributing SEO press releases that strategically help their clients increase search engine rankings. He explained how using effective keywords within the news releases can help companies be found more easily in the media. “After we help clients determine their most effective SEO keywords, we write them into the news releases about their companies, and then distribute the release to hundreds of online news sites,” said Bruce. “This gets their news widespread online coverage and helps gain backlinks to their site. As a result, their rankings rise in the search engines and the company’s website begins to see more action.”
Bruce also talked about the advantages of distributing SEO releases electronically. “The information is immediately shareable for readers, and you can post it immediately on your social media too.” He also talked about the importance of distributing an image that is correctly tagged for SEO purposes, and if available, a video, along with the release.
Traditional Releases Karen Dix explained that traditional media includes the local print and broadcast news outlets and trade media. “The way to get attention for your press release within the traditional media is to target the content and build relationships,” said Karen Dix. “Local print, broadcast and trade media are always looking for content. The key is to give them what they want.” Dix also said that while traditional press releases must be written in basically the same format as SEO ones, keywords are less important but the news angle is more critical than ever. “The news angle must be tailored to their particular section and readers for them to use it,” she said. Also, relationship building is critical. “Reach out to the media,” she said. “Many times they will send your release to the right person or tell you what they want to see instead.”
Although pursuing coverage in the traditional media is more time consuming, Dix said it has the advantage of providing a third-party endorsement for your news and yet another medium for your company’s message. Also, most outlets publish their news online so these versions can be easily shared on social media as well.
With this showing up on over 120,000 sites we think it did pretty good.
The next presentation in the Inbound Marketing series will be SEO 101 to be held on Thursday May 23rd 3:00pm-5:00pm at the Naperville Chamber Of Commerce Conference Room.
To reserve your seat for this free seminar, click here.
Are you currently managing your online marketing initiatives internally for your Chicago business? Do you feel that you’re struggling to gain market share in a digital world where online image is everything? All too often, business owners in every field and vertical attempt to brainstorm, design and implement their own online marketing efforts to find out that they are simply running in place; without achieving the necessary positive momentum, these corporate leaders find out, all too late, that they’ve been wasting precious time and internal resources on an initiative best left to organizations that specialize in Chicago SEO services and capabilities.
Chicago SEO Services Firms Can Help You Refocus Your Existing Initiatives
Does this sound like the current state of affairs with your online promotional endeavors? If so, it may be time to refocus your efforts to ensure your organization is receiving the results it needs to stay current with your consumer set and maintain its relevancy in our digitally connected work. When you’re ready to stop spinning wheels, outsourcing to a reputable and professional Chicago SEO services team could provide an ideal solution.
Recognizing The Benefits Of Working With Chicago SEO Services Experts
One of the best ways to determine if partnering with Chicago SEO services experts will work for your organization is to understand the many benefits that this type of professional partnership can offer your organization. First and foremost, it’s critical to recognize that working with a consulting team that specializes in Chicago SEO services means that you’re teaming with a firm that makes online marketing their core competency. An expert SEO resource will know all the latest Internet marketing strategies and resources and can quickly help your company tap into the virtually limitless marketing power offered online. Delegating this important promotional aspect means your team instantly has more bandwidth to focus on your own business goals and objectives.
Beyond freeing up precious time and internal resources, teaming with a firm of Chicago SEO services specialists means that you’ll receive a strategically designed online marketing initiative geared specifically to target your specific consumer demographic. Design & Promote will research your marketing niche for relevant keywords, phrases and specific topics to ensure that every campaign component resonates with your target audience.
Additionally, your new consumer-centric online copy will help generate buzz about your business and reinforce your existing brand for enhanced breadth and recognition. Consistently distributing Internet content with helpful tips and product/services information can also help showcase your organization as a cutting-edge, in the know industry expert. You’ll gain loyal followers who continue to check out what you’re saying online to help them with their purchasing needs and research.
Most importantly, utilizing Chicago SEO services offered by industry experts means that you’ll be given a final strategic plan that focuses specifically on encouraging online conversions. Every optimized effort that your company unveils will help your business inform guests throughout the research process and ultimately help compel and convince them to make their purchase on your site.
The Secret Of Success Is Figuring Out How To Make Other People Successful.
Quote by Bruce Jones
Most of us assume that if our business has a domain name and a website, “www.yourcompany.com”, that we are the legal owner of the domain name, “yourcompany.com” right? Well, maybe….
Recently a new client came to us to redesign his website. However, when we investigated the registration of the domain name, we discovered he was not the legal owner of his domain — his past web designer was! That’s because his web designer’s name was listed as the official “registrant” with the domain name. Our client was shocked, but unfortunately, this is a situation we have encountered many times before.
The question of domain name ownership isn’t always clear cut. Just because you are operating the website does not mean that you are the domain owner in a legal sense. So who is? In actuality, the domain owner is the person (or company) that registered the domain on your behalf. Many times, this is not the business owner, but rather someone the owner hired to create the website. So if your domain name was registered by your web developer or graphic designer, they may well be considered the “legal owner” of your domain if they are listed as the domain’s “registrant”. It’s important to confirm that your site is registered to your company or the company owner. Otherwise, the one who is registered and is considered the “legal owner” of the site, could cause problems for you later on.
How to Check for Domain Name Ownership
You can check whether or not your domain is registered to you on the website http://whois.domaintools.com. Whosis offers an easy, domain owner lookup to determine the registrant of your site. It is also a handy site to see what domain names are available, in case you need to find another one. You will need to make an account, but it is free. Once inside, simply put your domain name in the dialogue box and you will be able to view your whois record of your site, including the most important entry under “Registrant” and “Administrative Contact”. If you are listed there, all is well. If not…. We have included a screenshot of our whois of our domain as an example.
What do you do if you are NOT the legal owner of your domain name?
If you are not the name listed under “registrant”, hopefully, you recognize the name that is! And, hopefully you can identify them as the person who registered the domain name for you. Another hope is that you are still on good terms with the person who set up the domain name ownership for you.
Most web developers, designers, etc. who regularly register domain ownership know that their client’s name should be in the registration, not their own. However, others may just not realize the legal ramifications of their actions. In trying to register the website on your behalf, they may have just unknowingly put in their own contact information without any ulterior motive. In this case, they would probably cooperate if asked to change the domain name registration over to your name.
A disreputable web developer, however, could have registered incorrectly on purpose, either to hold you hostage to their fee structure, or to make it difficult for you to switch vendors. They may not cooperate with you, in which case, you need to take action.
Resolving Disputed Domain Name Ownership
The main goal is to get your domain name registration changed by the registrar. Now a registrar cannot cancel, suspend or transfer a domain name without consent of the registrant or a court order. So, if you check your domain name registration and find that you are not the registered party, you must ask the registrant on file to relinquish their domain name ownership. If they refuse, you will need to contact ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and settle the manner using the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).
ICANN is responsible for coordinating many functions of the internet including the DNS (Domain name system), IP (internet protocol), addresses, codes (gTLD and ccTLD), space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, and root server system and top-level domain management. In 1999, in response to rising claims of this “cybersquatting” and “abusive or bad faith” registrations, ICANN formed the UDRP specifically to settle such domain name registration issues. About 17,000 complaints have been filed under the UDRP since.
The UDRP has a quick, affordable resolution process in place for those who need it which begins by filing a complaint with an approved dispute resolution provider. A list of approved providers that can help you regain domain name ownership is available here.
In order to settle a cybersquatting complaint, the real owner or owner of the “trademark” must prove several things: 1) that they have a legally recognized name that is identical or near identical to the domain name; 2) that the registrant on file has no legitimate rights to the domain name; and 3) there has been some evidence of bad faith abuse. UDRP disputes are settled by mutual agreement, court action or voluntary arbitration and according to ICANN statistics, the majority of proceedings resolve in disposition of the domain name back to the owner.
Your Domain’s Administrative Contact
In some cases, there may also be an administrative contact—someone that has been authorized to change the registrant name. Many times this is the web developer, because it is common for them to be the authorized, responsible party for the maintenance of the website content and administration. Also, in the development phase, it is often easier for the web developer to be the administrative contact because he can temporarily host the domain on his own site or in another place before it goes live.
Regardless of how much you trust them, it makes sense to ensure that nobody has the power to be the legal registrant except you. It is akin to giving your friend Bob the title to your car for safekeeping, even though you are driving it yourself. If Bob ever needs a few bucks, he can sell the car, and the fact that you have been driving it for the past year makes no difference at all. Bob holds the title.
At Design & Promote, we are experts in the sale and registration of domain names, and you can be assured your site will be registered directly to you. If you are looking to establish a domain name or are experiencing problems with your domain name ownership, contact us for help.
Once again, Design & Promote was present at the KidsMatter Student Job Fair held recently at North Central College on Wednesday, March 19th 2013. The fair provides young people one-stop access to scores of businesses in need of part-time help. With resumes in hand, they complete job applications, learn about opportunities, and even hone their communication skills in mock interviews.
We have attended the fair the past two years in part to support KidsMatter, an excellent, worthwhile organization that hosts programs to empower kids to be all they can be. However, we also attend in the spirit of their mission to educate young job seekers about the role of social media in their job search efforts.
While most young people today have at least one social media account, many don’t realize that their online profiles may make the difference between landing the interview or landing their resume in the discard pile. So each year we compile important statistics about how employers are using social media to evaluate applicants and we distribute them to the job fair attendees. What did we find this year?
Social Media Can Win the Job.
Twenty-nine percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate. That’s up 18% from five years ago! The top examples include:
- Profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit – 58%
- Profile supported a candidate’s professional qualifications- 55%
- Candidate had a wide range of interests-51%
- Candidate showed solid communication skills – 49%
- Candidate was well-rounded- 51%
- Other people posted good references about the candidate- 34%
Comparing these statistics to last year’s, the biggest increases are in the first and last bullet points. The number of employers who found that the social media “profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit” rose 8% from last year! But there was an even higher increase—16%–of employers who saw that “other people posted good references about the candidate.” The takeaway from all this—your profile is increasingly important to employers; and, if you can get a satisfied employer to post something positive about your work on your social networking site, it can boost your opportunities!
Social Media Profiles Can Also Lose the Job.
On the negative side, 34% of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire a candidate. Content like:
- Provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 49%
- Content about drinking or using drugs – 45%
- Bad mouthing their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 33%
- Poor communication skills – 35%
- Discriminatory comments – 28%
- Lies about job qualifications – 24%
These statistics have not changed significantly since last year, and they remain as a warning to young job seekers: be mindful of the information you post online and how it looks to employers. The way an employer views it, once you are hired, you are a representative of their company. What you post online reflects on others as well as you!
Here are a few other tips regarding your specific social media:
Keep it Private. Make sure your privacy settings are set to “friends only” so personal pictures are not visible to everyone who visits your site.
Monitor Content. Delete comments and untag photos you wouldn’t want employers to see.
Use a Professional Email Address. Who appears more professional: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org? Set up a professional, free gmail account for your job search.
Follow Companies You’d Like to Work For. You can be one of the first to know about news and job openings at a particular firm.
Create a Profile. Employers use LinkedIn to find qualified people. Create a profile and update regularly.
Work Your Headline. You have 120 characters to express your objective. Think of what keywords you can use that will bring up your profile if searched. Try something like “Experienced High School Honor Student seeking part-time, retail employment.”
Add Your Resume. Linkedin can import your resume for the convenience of employers.
List Yourself in a Group Job Section. Join a LinkedIn group of interest and post an ad expressing your job availability to the members.
Has your social media helped land you a job? Let us know how. And you can click here to receive more great tips from Design & Promote on how to effectively use social media in a job hunt.
For a copy of our slide show for job seekers click here