How To Start a Blog – Beginner’s Guide for 2018 / 2019





So, you want to start a blog huh? Great idea! But…how the heck do you get started? There’s so much info out there on the web, and everyone’s telling you to do different things. Who do you listen to? Where’s the starting point? Damnit, maybe you should just forget it – it’s too confusing! Well, hold up. I used to be a blogging newbie too. I had the same problems. I started my blog (BloggingBasics101.com) way back in 2006, and I knew less than nothing about blogging. In fact it was only the week before I’d learnt what a blog was.



Now I know a ton about them, and my blog’s doing pretty well – I receive more than 300,000 unique visitors per month which makes me consider myself someone you could listen to and learn from when it comes to building your own blog. I’m not some sort of Guru, but I certainly do know the basics.

I promise it’ll be simple, relatively easy, and definitely easy to understand (no stupid jargon). Sound good?

Awesome, let’s move on.

Why you should create a blog and join the blogging community

So below, I’m going to outline exactly what you need to do to get started and set up your own personal blog. Before we dive in though, I really want to talk about WHY you should build a blog.

Note: If you already have a solid idea of the whys, then skip this and go right ahead with the guide.

  1. Blogging has quickly become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news. There are literally millions of blogs online (don’t worry, you can make yours stand out and get noticed!).
  2. It’s a great way to express yourself and also a fantastic way to share information with others.
  3. You become a better person and a better writer.
  4. The best reason? You can make money doing it!

I bet you already knew all of that, but it’s nice to be reminded.

One very last thing before we get started:

Creating your own blog can take a little while, probably up to 30 minutes. So grab yourself a coffee or juice (whatever you fancy) and let’s get stuck in. If you need any help during the set-up process, get in touch with me and I’ll help as best I can and answer any questions you might have).

 

Disclosure: This guide to starting your own blog contains some affiliate links. If you purchase a service through one of these links I may earn a small commission, this is at no extra cost to you.

The Steps Covered In This Blogging Guide

It’s nowhere near as difficult as setting up a website from scratch (there’s very little technical ability needed here). In fact, there’s no coding required by you. Good news, huh?

So, we made it. Phew. Better late than never! So, without further ado, let’s jump into step 1.



Step 1 – Choose your preferred blogging platform

Choosing where you want to build blog is pretty much the first thing you have to do. I’m going to take a leap and assume you’ve heard of WordPress, and this is the platform I advocate. It’s massive.

It’s by far one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world, with countless plugins and add-ons and almost infinite ways to design and layout your blog.

There are more than 82 million active users of WordPress = a lot, basically.

wordpress

There are other alternatives however, and they are listed below:

  • Blogger – Definitely the next best thing to WordPress.
  • Tumblr – Half social network, half blog. Interesting, and very simple to use.

Even though WordPress is bigger (and probably better) than those two, here are my reasons why you should still go with WordPress:

  1. Super easy set-up and is free to use
  2. Tons of free themes and layouts (I’m not kidding, there’s gazillions).
  3. There’s a massive support forum in case you get stuck (you won’t, but it’s nice to have it there if you need it).
  4. Your blog will be insanely fast and it’ll also look Functionality and form – perfect!
  5. People can interact with you easily. Your content can be shared, commented on, and so on.

Here’s an article about different blogging platforms (including WordPress), give it a read:

 

Now, Step 2 (see, we’re moving fast now!)

Step 2 – Self-hosting or a free alternative?

Whoa, slow down there! This is the biggest decision you’ll have to make before we go any further. You need to decide whether to pay for your blog or grab a free one.

WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger all offer free blogs for anyone. Awesome, right? It’s perfect for those of us who aren’t super serious about blogging. But it does have downsides:

1) You won’t be able to get your OWN domain name

On a free blog, your blog’s web address (your URL) will be butt-ugly. Like, really ugly. In short, create a free blog with any other the above free blog services and it’ll look like this:

  • yourblog.wordpress.com
  • yourblog.blogspot.com
  • yourblog.tumblr.com

I know, ugly right?

2) Limits and more limits

There are some limits to free blogs. You can’t fully monetize it, and you don’t have the possibility to upload all those videos and images you want to show everyone – it’s all limited. Worse still, you won’t even have access to the free themes offered by WordPress.

3) You DON’T OWN your blog

It might sound silly at first, but you don’t actually own your blog. It’s hosted on someone else’s web property and they can delete it if they want so. They have done so in the past, and keep doing it in the future. Which means all your hard work on your blog, all those countless hours of writing blog posts might be vanished within seconds. Sad…



On the other hand, with a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your blog. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want, for example “YourName.com” or “YourAwesomeBlog.com. You can end it with .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, or virtually any other web suffix. Add to that unlimited bandwidth for videos, images and content plus the free themes and you have a winning combo.

So how much is hosting and a domain name? Not as much as you’re thinking, fortunately. It usually works out to about $5 to $10 per month, depending on your hosting provider which is less than a couple of coffees.

 

Step 3 – Start a blog on your own domain (if you chose self-hosting and a custom domain)

wordpress blogging platform

I’m going to push ahead based on the premise you’ve chosen WordPress, and if you haven’t, you should. Seriously, it’s the best.

If you’re still a little confused by what a self-hosted blog is, allow me to explain and how you can go about setting one up for yourself.

You’ll need to come up with a domain name you like and also choose a hosting company that can host your blog.

  • Domain: The domain is basically the URL of your website. Examples: google.com (Google.com is the domain), Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain). See? Simple!
  • Hosting: Hosting is basically the company that puts your website up on the internet so everyone else can see it. Everything will be saved on there. Think of it as a computer hard-drive on the internet where your blog will be saved.

Personally, I use iPage (for my blog domain and hosting), and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about it. It’s probably one of the cheapest (less than $2.50 per month) hosting providers out there. A domain name will cost around $10-15 a year, but with iPage they throw that in for free :). Big smiles for that! They’re the providers I use for all of my blogs, including the one you’re reading right now.

If for any reason you don’t want to go with iPage, feel free to choose your own hosting company. Most, if not all of them, should have a “one-click” WordPress install solution on their admin panel.

That button will automatically install WordPress on your blog. Did I say it was simple or what?

All you need to do is sign up with iPage (or your chosen provider), choose your hosting plan and a domain name and look for the one-click WordPress install button on the admin panel.

WordPress essentials aren’t often needed, but I’d recommend whois privacy (that will keep all your personal details private) and definitely automated backups (this’ll save your website just in case anything fails or disappears, so you won’t lose any or very little of your blog).

I have a more in-depth tutorial on building a blog with iPage here.

 

Once WordPress is installed on your website, all you have to do to start blogging is go to your WP-Admin page usually www.yourblognamehere.com/wp-admin and start writing by adding a new post.

At the start, the layout looks confusing, but it gets very understandable quickly. Don’t worry!

Step 4 – Designing your WordPress blog

Now, the fun bit.

Let’s make your blog look exactly how you want it to. To choose a new theme, you can either head to Appearance > Themes and install a free WordPress theme or you can head to a premium theme website like ThemeForest.net and buy a theme for around $40.

I usually choose something that looks professional and pretty easy to customise. WordPress also has this awesome feature that allows you to change themes with just a few clicks. So if you start getting tired of your current blog template, you can just switch to another one without losing any precious content or images.

choose-blog-theme

Remember, your blog’s design should reflect both you and your personality, but also what the blog is about. There’s no point having a football-orientated theme if your blog is about tennis, understand?

On top of that, it should be easy to navigate if you want people to stick around. If it’s tricky and difficult to move around it, people won’t stay. Design is a subjective art; meaning everyone likes different things.

But no one likes ugly websites, and they especially hate websites that need a university degree to navigate. Make it easy for them.

Last step! Woo!

 

Step 5 – Useful Resources For Beginner Bloggers

Bloggers come to blogging arena with varying degrees of online and social media experience, but we’ve all made more than a few newbie mistakes – there’s always room for more learning and improvement, whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been blogging for years.

These articles may help you avoid some of the growing pains when it comes to your first blog – enjoy!:

And that’s it! I’m more than confident that your initial blog set up should now be finished and ready to go, and all that should have been really damn easy (unlike my first time, lucky you!).

If by some unfortunate circumstance you get stuck or have any questions for me about how to create a blog, just get in touch with me or leave a comment below. I’ll help you out with any problems.

Enjoy your new blog!

[Case Study] Testing The Skyscraper Technique





In the digital marketing world there’s an annoyingly persistent myth which undermines the work of marketers all across the world. That myth is that great content is enough. This all stems from that often repeated marketing mantra that content is king. The idea that if you write good content, readers will flock to your website, consume all your blogs and shower you with comments, shares and backlinks. Sadly, it’s just not true. It’s a fantasy concocted by industry onlookers who spin generic blogs about content rather than actually designing, implementing and testing strategies.



I’m not exaggerating when I say the If You Build It, They Will Come content strategy is seriously and dangerously flawed, and will sink your website if you follow it blindly.

You see, a content strategy is much more than just content creation. It’s a strategy. It’s a comprehensive approach to marketing that encompasses the creation, publication and distribution of content.

It’s the way you create content and use it to attract readers, engage influencers and earn backlinks.

One of these strategies is the Skyscraper Technique from Brian Dean of Backlinko fame. With so much floating around the web either praising and damning the technique, I decided to put it to the test myself and see whether it actually could deliver the results it promised. This post comes as an advanced method beside Thoughtful Blog Comments for a perfect linkbuilding strategy posted earlier in Seonick blog.

How Does The SEO Strategy (Skyscraper Technique) Work?

The Skyscraper Technique is an absurdly simple system. In fact, it can be broken down into three simple steps:

  • Step 1: Find some link-worthy content
  • Step 2: Make something better
  • Step 3: Outreach your content to the right people

That’s all there is to it. Find something good, make it better and show it to the right people.

Brian explains the technique with this rather apt analogy.

“Have you ever walked by a really tall building and said to yourself: ‘Wow, that’s amazing! I wonder how big the 8th tallest building in the world is.’

“Of course not.

“It’s human nature to be attracted to the best.

“And what you’re doing here is finding the tallest “skyscraper” in your space…and slapping 20 stories to the top of it.

“All of a sudden YOU have the content that everyone wants to talk about (and link to).”

Sounds simple, right? Well, here’s how it works in practice.

Step 0: Find a problem

Our strategy actually starts a little bit before Brian’s and to explain why I’ll need to tell you a little bit about our agency.

When we were first sketching out our own content strategy, we decided that our blog was going to be tailored towards providing practical advice to SMEs and freelancers.

What payment gateway should I use? How should I run a giveaway on social media? How can you leverage negative feedback in your marketing? Which of these payment gateways is going to cost me the least? And so on and so on.

You have a problem and we have the solution. It’s a match made in heaven.

However, for this content strategy to work we needed a problem. A good problem. A right doozy of a problem that hadn’t been documented within an inch of its life.



Thankfully, one landed right on our doorstep.

You see, a few months ago we took on a new SEO client. Let’s call them Blueridge Cupcakes. This gourmet patisserie used to work with one of our rivals and had been with them for years. However, for whatever reason they decided they wanted a change.

As their contract was expiring, they stuck their SEO contract out to tender and digital agencies across the country buried it under pitches, presentations and applications. We threw our hat into the ring too and, after several rounds of competition, won the contract.

Champagne and caviar all round!

The first thing I did was review all the work our competitor had previously done. I was actually quite impressed. Their campaign was content-forward and ethical, the sort of stuff that wasn’t ever going to come back to bite them.

They had created a handful of really attractive pieces of content and these were continuing to attract visitors to the site in their droves.

However, two weeks into Blueridge’s new campaign I received an email forwarded to me from their marketing manager. It’s originally from Getty Images.

Sigh.

Now, anyone who’s worked in digital knows exactly what an email from Getty means: someone’s used an image they weren’t supposed to use and it’s going to be expensive.

Sure enough, after a quick dig we discovered a nine-month-old blog that used an image of a sunset from Getty’s RM section.

It was just one image, and not even a particularly good image at that, but it was one that we simply didn’t have the right to use.

A quick Google for sunset found the image on some blog that collected pictures of sunsets. Hardly exculpating in the eyes of a stock photo goliath but certainly an explanation for how someone confused it for an image released for free use.

While it was frustrating to shell out money for someone else’s mistake, the whole ordeal did give us a problem to solve. Silver linings and all that.

You see, I don’t think people use copyrighted material because they’re cold, heartless and hate photographers. I think they use copyrighted images because they simply don’t know where to look for quality free alternatives.

And just like that we had a problem to solve.

Step 1: Find some link-worthy content

So we had got a problem. The first step in the Skyscraper Technique is to find a model piece of content. Something unique and valuable. Something useful and helpful. Something people genuinely want to link back to.

Brian calls content like this a linkable asset.

So off to Google I went and did a quick search for Best free stock photography sites. The top result a Bootstrap Bay article called 17 Amazing Sites With Breathtaking Stock Photography.

I took Bootstrap Bay’s article and ran it through Raven’s Backlink Explorer, which returned 1,781 backlinks pointing at the article.

An additional 689 shares on Facebook, 285 retweets on Twitter and 465 mentions on LinkedIn confirmed my suspicions: this was was definitely a linkable asset.



Step 2: Make something even better

The second step in the Technique is take your linkable asset and make it even better.

I set out to improve Bootstrap Bay’s article across three key areas: length, relevance and detail.

It’s worth emphasising here that I wasn’t trying to do anything original or innovative. All I was trying to do was take something that was going well and make it better.

The first thing I did was increase the number of entries. I scoured my own bookmarks list, trawled online discussions, borrowed from other Best Stock Photography Sites lists and finished off my search with crowdsourced recommendations from our social followers.

When I was finished, I had almost three times as many websites as the Bootstrap Bay article.

Next I wanted to make sure my article was the most up-to-date article on the web. So off I went on the hunt for the freshest sites out there. If the site was too new to have been included in the Bootstrap Bay article, I wanted it in mine.

The quality of the website blurb was the final thing I wanted to tighten up. I focussed on writing blurbs which gave a brief background of each site, explained whether it has a speciality and detailed what license images are released under.

Once it was finished, I published the full article on our blog and promoted it through our usual channels.

Step 3: Outreach your content to the right people

Linkable asset identified and improvements made, it was time put the final part of the technique into action.

I headed back to Raven and grouped the 1,781 backlinks by linking domain. That gave me a list of 104 websites which linked back to Bootstrap Bay.

I fired up BuzzStream and used the list of contacts to create a prospecting list. Over the next few hours, I worked through the list and updated each entry with contact details.

During the prospecting process, I filtered out a few sources that it didn’t make sense to contact. The final list stood at 96 contacts.

I emailed all of the contacts with the following template:

And that’s it. That’s the Skyscraper Technique. Find a linkable asset, improve it and promote it. But does it work? Did my new content earn any backlinks?

Let’s find out.

 

Results

Of the 96 emails, I received 20 replies and 12 links. That’s about a 12 percent success rate, which is actually slightly better than what Brian achieved in his own case study.

Some replies even brought a nice warm feeling, including this one from the owner of an online consultancy.

Now, if you’re one of SEO old guard, you might be my results as insignificant. You can buy 800 “high quality backlinks” on Fiverr for five bucks so why would anyone be fussed about a dozen?

Well, while it’s true that you can buy links for little more than pocket change, that doesn’t mean you should. The vast majority of bought links are garbage and given time will probably hurt your website.

Conversely, Skyscraper links are generally very good. They’re natural, they’re from websites related to my niche and they’re permanent. They are the type of links that Google likes and that makes pretty them safe for the future.

Since I put the Skyscraper Technique into effect, it’s having a measurable effect on traffic too.

Since I began started the Skyscraper Technique, organic traffic to my article has increased by 72 percent. Site-wide organic growth for sits at around 40 percent during the same period.

 

Does it work?

The Skyscraper Technique divides digital marketers. Some swear it’s a foolproof method for SEO success and others label it yet another SEO fad.

Dale Cudmore is one of the the Skyscraper Technique’s biggest critics and didn’t pull any punches in his infamous blog Falling From A “Skyscraper”: Why Famous SEO Strategies Won’t Work For You.

His argument is that most SEO strategies suffer from the Facebook Effect, that you see all of the successes and none of the failures.  

Cudmore decided to put the strategy to the test and followed Brian’s instructions to the letter. However, he was unable to replicate Brian’s results. Yes, he did earn some backlinks but they had nowhere near the effect Brian writes about in his case study.

From my own results, however, I can see legitimate value in the Skyscraper Technique. I followed the three basic steps and I did earn links and it did have a long-term positive effect. And while I didn’t build the biggest content skyscraper, my article certainly drew in a sizable crowd.

My advice to curious digital marketers would be to give the technique a test and see if it works for you, your business and your industry.

If it works, you’ve gained a bucketload of links and established quality traffic streams. If it doesn’t, you’ve still got your content and you’ve made contact with hundreds of potential future influencers.

 

How To Do Market Research For SEO Using Search Data





Editor’s Note: Matt and I had great success with our last Marvel team-up over on MOZ, so we decided to do it again. Thanks again Mr. Gratt for lending your superb process skills to this post. Cheers!



We often think of search as a direct marketing channel (and it’s a great one) but it’s so much more than that.

A Search Engine is a database of intentions – and the data that search engines release to us can be some of the best market research and planning data available.

With this process you can map search demand in your markets, and understand how to use search volume data for market intelligence and insight.

Now, no matter the vertical your business is into, it is crucial that you know what your target market looks like before diving in and planning your SEO strategy. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to exploit data so that it drives revenue to your business.

Mapping Search Demand in a Vertical

As with any SEO-drive process, you need to begin with some quality keyword research. You’ll want to start by gathering an extensive list of keywords that represent searches in the vertical you are looking to dissect.

To start your mapping research, use this process:

Brainstorm a Seed Keyword Set

The best SEO tool is always – and will always be – your brain.

Put it to work , and start brainstorming a list of relevant keywords.

For example, let’s say we’re working with a company in the mechanical keyboard space. Mechanical keyboards are very loud, high-end keyboards. They’re tend to be very popular amongst programmers, writers, gamers, and other folks with serious keyboard needs.

For this assessment, we’ll start with terms like:

  • Mechanical Keyboard – a generic head term, and
  • Cherry MX Keyboard – a base product term.

And some other terms closely related to them.



 Expand Your Set Using Google Suggest

Next, I’ll expand your list with Google Suggest.

You can just use Google itself, or you can save some valuable time using some of the most popular autosuggest web apps like KeywordTool.io or Ubersuggest.

ubersuggest keyword term brainstorming

Expand Further and Gather Keyword Data with Term Explorer

One of my favorite new SEO tools is Term Explorer. This tool enables you to both expand keyword lists,  gather search volume, and get competitiveness data. It is an excellent market research tool.

I’ll drop keywords from my previous exercise into TE’s Bulk Keyword Tool (a research and autosuggest engine capable of grabbing search data on up to 90,000 keywords) – so it will go out and find more relevant keywords in addition to our seeds.

mechanical keyboard in term explorer

Now Add in Brand Modifiers

While search marketers are typically primarily concerned with non-branded traffic, or brands and modifiers, in many scenarios )especially ecommerce) it’s worth adding them into your keyword research to get an understanding of how their volume compares to that of non-brand terms.

It’s also helpful to take a look at these different brands in Google Trends (especially if you can niche down to the product level), to get an idea of who’s growing and who’s not:

brands trends

This is great data to use to get some historical perspective on the Term Explorer data.

Now to Analyze The Volume and Trends

Now let’s do some analysis, and hopefully gather some insights.

To get all the data you’ll need you will want to pull down everything from Term Explorer’s keyword analysis tool, and throw it into Excel (or Tableau, or R, or Python, or your favorite data visualization tool).

You can use whatever you’d like – I’ll use Excel for simplicity in this example.

table of keyword search volumes

I’ll go ahead and copy and paste it all into a table so I can pivot it later.

Additionally, I’ll want to go ahead and add a “type” column, referring to what sort of search intent is behind the keyword phrase.

In this case, I’ll add:



  • Brand (for searches referring to a specific brand)
  • Usage (for searches like “Mechanical Keyboard for Programming”)
  • Comparison
  • Features
  • Informational
  • Switches (in this case, a category unique to the space, but if there’s a certain attribute lots of people search for, make it it’s own category.)

Now if you’re a search marketer, you’re probably already plotting how to use this data.  But let’s start by using some basic visualization techniques to get our head around what people value in the Mechanical Keyboard space.

Let’s start by looking at switches. Different mechanical keyboards have different types of switches, each with their own pros and cons.

I’ll pivot my table into showing only switches, and then take a look at the volumes for each with a simple bar chart:

switches bar chart

As you can see, blue switches are dramatically more popular than brown switches, which are more popular than red switches, and so on.

Now this information is tremendously useful in conventional SEO campaigns – after all, if there’s no search volume, there’s little to optimize for – but it’s also useful for:

  • Inventory analysis – what should we order, especially if we don’t have historical data to draw on?
  • Merchandising – Which switches should be at the top of the switch page? Probably the blue ones. Using search volume analysis in parallel with traditional techniques like market basket analysis can give you new insight into how to merchandise your site/store.
  • Offer Creation – Knowing that blue switches are 4X more popular than red switches is a valuable insight when you’re creating campaigns, give-aways, social media updates, and more.

Market Analysis

Let’s take a look at another example, dear to our hearts as marketers.

So what do people do with these mechanical keyboards? This is closely related to the question “Where can I find people who buy mechanical keyboards?”

mechanical keyboards for X

Now this search data is very interesting – while our brains may immediately go to “I will sell mechanical keyboards as office supplies, and enable mass purchasing of them by IT departments”, our search data actually tells us a different story:

  • ~3x more people want to use a mechanical keyboard for gaming then work
  • Programming is the second most popular use case after gaming
  • iPad and office searches are not worthwhile targets

This means that instead of advertising to say, purchasers of office equipment or IT departments, we’ll want to go after two target groups: programmers and gamers. (Probably something of a Venn diagram.)

From a site merchandising perspective, we would want to create category pages around both of these topics – with very different marketing and messaging. We’ll also want to drive traffic to both of these hubs from websites and forums related to gaming and programming.

Additionally, if we’re developing our own mechanical keyboards (which would be amazing), we’ll want to include features that target these core audiences, like supporting multiple key presses and macros for gaming, or particularly excellent implementations of brackets and special characters for programming.

Looking at the Whole Landscape

In addition to niching down to the specific searched attributes, we’ll want to look at the whole landscape – how do individual brands compare in volume versus categorical searches? Are people more interested in a quiet mechanical keyboard or a cheap mechanical keyboard?

aggregated mechanical keybaord searches

This can be tough to visualize on larger sets of search terms – consider using an interactive tool that will let you drill down into individual results like Tableau.

Mechanical keyboard guide has so much volume – so much – that it is an outlier.

This tells us that either there is really significant searches for a mechanical keyboard guide – and we should aspire to produce the very best one we can and use a promotional strategy like Brian Dean’s SkyScraper technique.

Alternatively, queries that are outliers like this one may be navigational, or may represent large-scale rank tracking or other synthetic search volume, so we’ll exclude that one and conduct the same analysis:

average monthly searches - outliers removed

Search Intent is King – Not Just Traffic

If you’re reading this publication, you know and love search as a traffic generation strategy and a direct marketing channel.

But data from search engines can help with everything from inventory planning, to product development, to merchandising – basically anything that requires understanding consumer psychology.

Smart usage of this data gives search marketing practitioners a chance to make an even bigger impact for their clients – and drive even more revenue.

It all starts with keyword research and analysis – so put in the time to gather a representative data set, and then really work to understand the directional data that lies therein.

Get your SEO market research now! Request a quote!

Further on you can learn how to found the solid basis of a business SEO strategy by understanding rank potential.

 

The post How To Do Market Research For SEO Using Search Data appeared first on SEO Nick.

How To Create A Post In A Few Hours That Gets 100’s Of Shares





Recently I published a post called 126 Must-Read Traffic Generation Case Studies.



Despite it’s considerable magnitude, the post only took me around 4 hours to put together. It has received almost 500 shares to date.

Mind you, our blog gets a modest amount of traffic (a couple thousand visitors a month), and most posts up until this one received only a couple dozen shares, despite still taking on average 1-2 hours.

So what made this one different than previous posts, to the point that it was 10x more successful despite only taking 2x the time?

That is the topic for this case study.

How Did We “Know” This Was Going To Be A Winner?

I’ve been blogging for over 2 years now and have published hundreds of posts on dozens of different websites.

 In total, I’ve had less than 10 get more than a 100+ shares.

 So few in fact, that I’m familiar with all of them. Here are a few examples:

I started to think – is it that I’m a bad writer?

Well, the dozens of websites I’ve published on don’t seem to think so.

So I started analyzing which of my posts did well and which did not, and there was a very clear pattern.

The posts that have done the best have the following characteristics:

  •  They’re large list posts or expert round ups – basically massive guides
  • They feature dozens of influencers
  • I promoted these posts aggressively (not inherently obvious from the post, but more on that later)

 And…that’s it.

Those are the only three factors that differentiate these posts with the hundreds of other ones I’ve written that didn’t do so well, though, arguably were of equal if not greater quality in terms of blog content and time spent.

Now, I’m not saying this is true across the board for highly shared posts, simply in regards to the ones I’ve written, which were on blogs without incredibly large audiences, modest newsletters, little budget, and no flare for design.

Basically, like most blogs.

Given that, whenever I really want a post to do well, I make sure to check the boxes on those 3 differentiators.

Coming Up With A Killer Idea

Much of the success of a post hinges on the problem it’s tackling.

When I’m thinking about putting together a massive guide, I want it to be about topics people actually care about.

I look for topics that are general enough that a large list would be a valuable resource.

In the internet marketing niche, possible topics could be:



  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Email Marketing
  • Traffic Generation
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Design

If I was in the food niche, I might think:

  • Dietary Restriction – Dairy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
  • Meal Type – Lunch, Dinner, Dessert
  • Prep Time – 30 minutes or less
  • Ingredients – Avocados

Think something unifying and something broad.

For us, I settled on traffic generation, because that’s a keyword I wanted to rank for as it related to our product and our target audience. Social media outreach is a type of strategy that needs effort put in research first.

Additionally, I decided to make the focus on case studies, because internet marketers love a good case study.

Building The Post In Record Time

I said I built the post in around 4 hours. Perhaps 4 hours is more than you typically spend on a post – but ask yourself, how do those posts do?

In fact, if it takes you an hour to do each post, do you achieve these kinds of results after even 4 posts?

Chances are, you don’t.

Here’s how you build the post relatively quickly.

Method 1: Source Your Own Articles From Google.

There’s really no better free source than Google if you’re looking to collect hundreds of articles all united by a common theme.

Now, searching through Google can take a lot of time IF you do it the old fashioned way.

Luckily, I’ve done the legwork for you and identified a few tricks that anyone can do to dramatically speed up the process.

Follow along, while I show you how to increase the number of search results that appear at once, and export them into a CSV.

First, click on settings in the bottom right of the Google homepage. When it opens, click Search Settings:

Google homepage

 

On the next page, change Google instant predictions to “Never show Instant results, and move the “Results per page” to 100.

Results per page

Now, when you run a Google search, you’ll show 100 results per page. I bet you didn’t know you could do that!

Next, download this free tool from Moz for Chrome or Firefox.

free tool from Moz

Following that, run a search for the type of article that will be a part of your list. Some searches to start with include:

  • The best articles on [Your-Topic]
  • Tricks and tips for [Your-Topic]
  • How to do [Your-Topic]
  • [Your-Topic] case studies
  • The ultimate guide to [Your-Topic]
  • Advanced [Your-Topic]
  • [Your-Topic] for beginning
  • Why you need [Your-Topic]

I also recommend implementing google search operators. For example, when I was looking for traffic generation case studies I would search traffic generation inurl: case-study.

With the Moz toolbar, I can export these results to a CSV.

export results to a CSV

When I open that up the URLs and the titles are neatly in two columns:

005

 

Whether you’re searching for guest posts, product reviews, infographics, or some type of article – this is an excellent way to get relevant results, fast.

Method 2: Source From Other List Posts.

Arguably simpler is to find other posts that mimic yours and combine these posts into one large post.



For example, when Brian Dean was writing his fantastic post on 200 Google Ranking Factors, he saw that the front runner before him was Vaughn’s Guide, which had only around 126 ranking factors.

Naturally, what he was able to do was to simply take those 126 that had already been laid out and build on them, probably including ones he found in other posts as well, until finally hitting upon 200.

I used a similar approach when I wrote my guide to Traffic Generation, just looking at what was already out there:

Traffic Generation Case Studies

 

I can head to any of those pages and extract all of the links using an HTML extractor tool, and I’ve got over 300 case studies to draw from.

In addition to that, I’m going to want to use method 1 to get some results that no one has yet to make sure I have fresh content of my own.

I can now add them all to one spreadsheet, and remove duplicates via the UNIQUE() function.

How To Quality Control Your Results

So you’ve just gone ahead and built a spreadsheet of a few hundred links to your topic.

You may have removed duplicates, but you still can’t be sure that the ones you have are top quality.

For this I’ll leverage a bulk social share counter, which allows me to add URLs (often it’s only 10 at a time), and get the share counts, which can be downloaded into a CSV.

007

A high share count is an indicator that the article is quality, so I can just add these columns to my original spreadsheet, and remove any results that don’t meet a minimum threshold of say, 20 shares.

Now, I’m left with just the good stuff.

Assembling The Post

You have the makings of a post, but it’s in a spreadsheet – how are you going to put it together?

First, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you going to simply list the links, or are you going to write descriptions for each of them?
  • Are you going to break the list into different topics or chapters, and if so, how will you organize the articles?
  • Are you going to include images for each chapter?
  • Will you include introductory descriptions for each chapter, as well as descriptions of each link?
  • Are you going to build a table of contents?

There’s not really a right or a wrong way to answer these questions – your answers are inevitably what will make your post unique.

Here’s how ours came out looking:

Content Marketing

We decided to put everything in chapters and combine those into a Table Of Contents. We didn’t explain each link, but just wrote an overarching description for each sub topic as it related to traffic generation.

This is the same style of say, Brian’s ultimate guide to link building:

Some Quick HTML Tips

I’m no stranger to building posts from spreadsheets and therefore I’ve come up with a few formulas that help me make a smooth transition.

Here’s a quick hack on how to get a linked title from a spreadsheet in proper HTML format (the quotations will drive you nutty!)

Imagine in column A you have the URL and in column B you have the title. Here’s a formula that will produce a single list element with the hyperlinked title.

=“<a href=”””&A1&“””>”&B1&“</a>”

You can now drag that down across all the values, and your HTML for the list is basically built.

009

 

Promoting The Post To Your Influencers

What’s the point of including all of these links and references if you’re not going to spend time promoting it?

There’s a few specific things you have to do to capitalize on the crazy link bait you’ve just built.

Email Everyone You Featured

You need to email everyone who’s been featured in the article, which starts with you finding everyone’s email address.

Finding email addresses of bloggers is not hard – I can name 30 different ways. Here’s an email template to send out once you’re ready:

 

Hey Dave!

Just wanted to pop in and say that we’ve included you in our roundup of top traffic generation case studies (it’s a broad list of over 100).

Check it out!

ninjaoutreach.com/traffic-generation-case-studies/

Thanks for providing a valuable case study, and if you feel inclined to share the post with your audience, we appreciate the exposure.

Here’s a simple tweet you can send out 🙂

Thanks!

Dave

 

There’s nothing fancy here, I just made sure to:

  • Address them personally and thank them for providing a valuable resource
  • Direct them to the article
  • Give them an easy way to share in the email itself (click to tweet).

Tag Everyone On Twitter & Google+

In addition to email I like to hit up Twitter and G+, even to people I’ve emailed. People respond on different platforms (and sometimes both), and email doesn’t really have built in shareability like the other guys.

In general, I tag as many people as I can in each Tweet and G+ shoutout, because putting people in close contact with each other helps increase the engagement.

Conclusion

I call this the “Curated List Post” and by far it’s been one of the most effective methods I’ve used to generate posts, quickly, which get tons of exposure.

Many of the tactics are also broadly applicable, such as building an expert round up post from a spreadsheet, or searching for guest post opportunities for an outreach campaign.

Need help in planning the best social media strategy? Contact us now!

What’s the topic for your resource post going to be?

The post How To Create A Post In A Few Hours That Gets 100’s Of Shares appeared first on SEO Nick.

Manual Penalty Recovery: From 10,000 Organic Sessions Per Day to 1,000 And Back





This article is a case study on how we did a Google penalty assessment and a penalty recovery for one of our clients that had a steady 10,000 organic sessions per day and went to under 1000 in one day due to a site-wide Manual Action penalty. Here is how we got through the recovery process and got the website back to over 10,000 organic visits a day by removing the Manual Action from the website.



google penalty recovery services

Manual Actions are a specific type of penalty applied to websites by Google analysts that manually assess your website and check if it meets Google Webmaster Guidelines. The current case study looks at a Manual Action caused by Unnatural Inbound links pointing at the website.

How Do You Know if You Have A Manual Action?

The easiest way to tell if you have a Manual Action on your website is to check you Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) and under Search Traffic look at the information in the Manual Actions section.

google webmaster tools manual penalty recovery

 

Organic Traffic Loss Caused By a Manual Action Penalty

There are various types of Manual Actions. Today we will look at how to deal with penalties for bad links pointing to your website, also known as the “Unnatural Inbound Links Penalty.”

The penalty can be site-wide, which means that it affects the visibility of the entire website in Google results, leading to massive drops of over 80% of organic visits. Or, it can be a partial match, in this case the loss of organic traffic can be up to 40% as a rule.

What Can Cause a Google Penalty?

Possible causes for Manual Actions from our experience, and according to the data we got from our reconsideration request clients:

 

Bad SEO: Trusting the Wrong People

One of the most obvious causes for Manual Action Penalties—which require Google penalty assessment and reconsideration request services from expert SEO consultants—is trusting the wrong people with your SEO.

While it’s not the safest bet to invest all your budget in SEO and ignore other aspects of online visibility, it’s also very important not to cut corners with SEO. When you choose SEO companies based on out of the box approaches that guarantee a set number of backlinks per month or claim they will get you to 1st position in Google for your highly competitive keywords, and even better, get you there in an exact amount of time, you should quickly end the call, cut the meeting short, exit the website or trash the email.

“Black Hat” SEO companies prey on small business owners by luring them the promise of amazing results. But, they employ unethical SEO tactics (that are against Google’s rules) to get them there. While short term results might be amazing, catastrophic results are soon to follow.

 

I Can do This On My Own, I Read Forums!

Here’s another scenario when Manual Actions Penalties can upend your world as a website owner: You have started your own business, read a few forums with flashy banners promising to get you to the top for as little as… insert generic low price here … and you’ve decided you should just cut a few corners and wing it, after all, SEO is not THAT hard… until those backlink packages you bought come back to haunt you—to the tune of a massive organic visits drop of up to 70%.



 

Negative SEO is a Reality: People Do Bad Things

There are also unfortunate situations where neither you nor a shabby company you hired have tried to rig the system—when your competitors go over to the dark side, and start spamming your website with low quality backlinks.

Disclaimer: Yes, negative SEO exists, bad practices are a fact. People invest a lot of time, energy, and money into making trouble for other people. And yes, Google is getting smarter each day at catching on to these things, but not at the same rate as the troublemakers are finding new ways to do it.  Here is how a manual penalty looks like in Google Analytics:

 dreaded google penalty traffic loss

 

This is true story of how hard negative SEO can hit, and with devastating results if proper action is not taken.

 

 

Site Assessment: Background and initial data about the website’s history

A web business owner came to us with an almost brand new website and said “I don’t believe in links. Give me perfect on-page SEO and the organic traffic will follow.”

Since the client came to us early on in the project and trusted our SEO expert assessments and followed all our recommendations we were familiar with what had already been done for the site. So, the initial site assessment part was already underway.

We love it when clients trust our SEO experts’ opinions. It give us a chance to get our hands dirty, to strategize, make all the little tweaks and adjustments that can make or break a web business by bringing in that extra traffic.

Regular Backlink Profile Assessment: A Necessity

Our main focus was always to make sure the on-page SEO was perfect. Since we spent a lot of time working on this project, once things started to go awry we went into site assessment mode immediately. We wanted to make sure our tactics were still in the realms of ethical SEO. But, also to make sure we stayed ahead of the game to catch problems before they get out of control.

From the inbound link angle we decided to take a proactive approach. By proactive I mean we had a scheduled monthly backlink analysis using data from 3 sources (almost journalistic in our efforts, wouldn’t you say?).

In our opinion it’s better to be safe than sorry. Our detailed tactics for Manual Penalty Recovery got us to a 100% success rate in removing Google penalties caused by unnatural links to the website. So, we applied the same approach to our monthly backlink analysis method:

The Method: Manually Review All Inbound Links

Our backlink analysis approach is to combine data from the Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) with data from ahrefs.com and majestic.com and then go through the steps:

  1. Analyzed links, profiles, watch out for anything suspicious
  2. Contact websites where we noticed links that could be dangerous and asked for the website to remove them
  3. Kept an up to date excel file with: all the links in the profile, date discovered, analysis conclusion, contact date ( if necessary)
  4. Updated the disavow file after each analysis to make sure it was up to date

From this strategy we ended up with a disavow file that would put any automatic link detox tool to shame. We could also be sure that since the project had been in our hands no low quality links had been built.

Link acquisition had been natural, except for that one time, the time we saw the peak. What peak you say? THAT PEAK:.

traffic spike that announced a manual penalty

Backlink Analysis and Damage Repair

Once the link spike happened we knew it was very important to do some damage repair and take proactive measures. It was clearly a case of suspicious inbound links.

In full action mode, we decided to start pruning our link profile as soon as possible. We made sure points A – E above were respected, and hoped for the best. Why hope for the best, you may ask, when we were applying a successful formula? It’s not because we didn’t trust our process. It’s because there is a clear distinction between an algorithm hit and a manual action. Also because there is huge controversy over whether or not negative SEO (competitors purposely sabotaging your site’s link profile) exists and if google knows how to spot it in time. There is also the problem that if the file is automatically parsed, no SEO specialist can really know whether the disavow tool works.

So we saw the backlink profile peak and were fearful of the fallout once we hit the valley. But we also knew that we just couldn’t stand by and watch our client’s site be attacked like this by competitors.



We started the analysis right away. We manually assessed each domain linking to our client’s site and put them under an SEO microscope and answered a few questions:

  • What makes a backlink bad?
  • How can you tell which links you need to disavow?
  • How can you tell which links might cause trouble?

A more in-depth article on how to correctly analyze a link profile and determine whether manual or automatic revision of backlinks will follow soon. Right now I will just highlight the key aspects to give you a clear picture of what a link assessment process should include when dealing with negative SEO.

Signs a link is toxic

  1. Comes from spammy domain
  2. Part of a spam comment
  3. Comes from automatically generated content
  4. Comes from link farms / link directories

Keep in mind, these are just the most obvious culprits. There is a lot more finesse to performing link profile assessments that we will get into in the next article. But keep these points in mind so you know what to look for if you suspect toxic links.

What we did next for our client is we performed a manual revision of all newly acquired links and made a healthy update to the disavow file which we promptly updated in mid-October.

The Disavow Tool: Does it Work?

This is another sensitive subject and one of the main questions link builders and recovery specialists alike often pose: How soon after uploading is a disavow file processed and is the disavow file processed automatically or manually? There is reasonable data that suggests, at least in the case of this client, that the disavow file we uploaded in mid-October had’nt yet been processed on December 24th, when the dreaded event took place—the site-wide manual action for suspicious inbound links pointing at the website.

This is speculative at best. We will probably never know what triggered the manual review—if the link spike in question was the culprit or if other domains that pointed links to our website since mid-October 2014 had caused the event. Either way, it’s safe to say this disavow file was not processed in the the 2 months after we uploaded it.

Disclaimer: Based on other projects where we do frequent backlink profile analyses, we can say that the data suggests that the disavow tool works. But we have not been able to determine when or how it is processed by Google.

Getting the Notification: From a Dramatic Organic Drop to the You have a Manual Action Message

There are many people out there who wonder: What is the difference between a manual action and an algorithm hit? That is something we’re going to be covering in an upcoming article. But what I want to point out now is that when you get a manual action—you’ll know. There are pretty clear symptoms that allow us to determine the cause.

The first sign you have been affected by a manual action is not what you might assume. You won’t get a notification from Google and unfortunately you won’t see it in the nice little tab I mentioned at the beginning of this article. No, you can’t rely on getting the email because by that time, it might be too late. How late you may ask? THIS late.

dreaded google penalty traffic loss

 

As you can see in the graph, the sudden drop in organic traffic started on the 24th of December 2014. This image is also an interesting showcase of what a Manual Action looks like in terms of symptoms.

Tip: This is why I like to start my day with a nice cup of coffee and a review of organic traffic from the previous day. It is vital that you monitor the data from continuous search engine ranking in conjunction with your Analytics report.

the google site penalty email in webmaster toolsThe problem is that the notification in the search console and the email didn’t come until the 6th of January, 2015. That is a lot of time to spend wondering where your organic traffic went and if it is coming back.

 

How Do I Know If I Got Hit By A Google Manual Action Penalty?

When in doubt, here are a few signs that you have a Manual Action, but that the notification is not yet in your Search Console

  1. Track your domain and brand name rankings daily
    • Hint: if you are not ranking for your domain or brand name, you may have been slapped with a Manual Action!
  2. A drastic drop in organic traffic from one day to the next.
    • What we did and we strongly encourage you to do also (before yelling fire!) is to make sure that there is no code error that might have caused your Analytics code to disappear from your website. Rule out that possibility first.
    • Since you are already reading the source code of your page, you might want to do a quick search for any robot meta tags that might prevent indexing. We had a situation like this recently. There was no human error, though that was our first suspicion. (With SEO, always try to ask yourself these questions before jumping to conclusions. In our case it was an out of date WordPress plugin that caused the unfortunate incident. But, happily, we caught it quickly and no harm was caused.
  3. Check your robots.txt file to rule out the possibility that someone blocked your website from web crawlers. Yes, it can happen, so make sure you check that out too.

Once you have ruled out all of the above reasons why your Analytics might show a drastic drop in organic traffic, then it’s time to start worrying. The general consensus and our experience is that a site-wide Manual Action will typically cause an 80% organic traffic drop. A partial Manual Action can be less damaging, but the drop will not be less than 40%.

 

Manual Action Assessment: Reconsideration Request Submission

In this case we were lucky and our client was particularly pleased they had hired us. Because we had experience with Manual Action reconsideration requests and knew how the symptoms could manifest in cases of unnatural inbound links, we were able to go into repair mode right away.

Disclaimer: It’s safe to say that when we can’t be sure of the history of a website, it is best to wait for the notification to come in to have all the facts.

This following is a case study of a project we had been developing from the get-go and have been working on regularly ever since. Our experience tells us that sticking with one SEO service from the beginning ensures continuity and guarantees the approach is cohesive, making rollback points easy to establish.

It’s also fair to mention the fact that there are people out there who believe that submitting a reconsideration request too soon can lead to more trouble: It could signal that you haven’t made all the proper changes in time, or in the correct order:

  1. Identify damaging links
  2. Try to get them removed
  3. Update the disavow file only after webmasters refuse or ignore your email

Again, a good thing about this project is that we had been managing all of this gradually, as the links appeared. So the outreach showed clear signs that we were interested in keeping the project consistently healthy.

So, we performed steps 1 – 3, gathered all the proof of our efforts, uploaded them on Google drive, and started writing our reconsideration request.

The Anatomy of a Reconsideration Request

Some of you out there may believe that reconsideration requests are automatically processed and that and that after all your hard efforts to submit them, they are just blindly distributed between YES and NO piles by Google.

However, we have solid reason to believe that reconsideration requests are manually reviewed and analyzed and no, not all reconsideration requests are created equal.

Just a quick anecdote about another client and then we’ll go back to our case study. We had a client come to us via referral with a site-wide Manual Action, and 2 reconsideration requests by 2 SEO agencies. Many SEO agencies had tried, many had failed. So, to ensure we succeeded, we took a look at their reconsideration requests and came up with a DO NOT list

  1. DO NOT set the files you uploaded to Google Drive to private. It would defeat the purpose
  2. DO NOT be aggressive and blame it on someone else. Note: In the manual action notifications they never accuse you of having intentionally created unnatural links! They say they have noticed unnatural links pointing at your website. Notice the difference? There is no blame, only the statement of a fact
  3. DO NOT imply that they read the contents of the emails in your gmail account. This is my favorite take away from a case study to date. The other SEO agency’s reconsideration request said, “As you can see from the emails we sent from our gmail account, we tried to contact the webmasters.” They do not read your emails. If you want to get a favorable response, don’t imply that they have.

Back to our case study – our manual penalty recovery success story. We applied for reconsideration and, the sun started shining in our organic traffic report. Our client got most of their organic traffic back and showed impressive signs of recovery: our client's organic traffic recovery after manual penalty recovery

 

 

The message from the Google team was promptly delivered. The day we got the notification that the website was no longer under a Manual Action Penalty, organic traffic started rising.

google penalty recovery working

Google Penalty Assessment Success

This project showed us the importance of a good SEO linking strategy which includes periodical backlinks analysis and also that the long term effects of Manual Actions can bring down a website if not handled properly.

In this situation the drastic drop of 90% made the client go from 10,000 organic visits per day to under 1,000.

Aside from the fantastic recovery of the organic traffic on this project, we got the project back from 1000 organic visits a day back to just below 10,000 with a quality Google penalty assessment and a good manual penalty recovery method. In short, make sure you have SEO experts on your side when you’re faced with Manual Action Penalties.

The post Manual Penalty Recovery: From 10,000 Organic Sessions Per Day to 1,000 And Back appeared first on SEO Nick.

How To Explode Your Leads With Local Search





Local search is all around us.



There are seven billion people on this planet, and one in every five own a smartphone.

It’s safe to say the world is now connected by our collective fingertips, but as a local business, how can you cut through the clutter and reach people? I previously posted a case study in how to boost website traffic organically, with no advertising whatsoever.  But how do you reach the depth of that audience and get more specific?

The answer lies in local search.

Gone are the days of daily newsletters and paper boys. We now live in an era where people receive their information from the phones they hold in their pocket.

One of the best ways to get there, which we’ll talk about in this post, is optimizing your business for local search.

Where is Local Search Today?

Imagine yourself on the way back home from work with a busy night ahead of you. It’s already late. You’re crossing the street a few blocks away from your train station and you remember you have to bring a dessert to that dinner party you were invited to.

You don’t have the time to go all the way home and then drive to a dessert store before you get there. You need a solution, fast. Where are you going to go?

If you’re like anyone else with a smartphone, you’re going to whip that out and ask Google. “Dessert shop [location]” is mostly likely what you’ll search.

This is just one specific example, but I wanted to paint an everyday picture of how local search exists as a part of our daily lives.

Where are people going to turn when they need something fast?

Most likely, a search engine. In fact, research conducted in 2014 by Google shows that four out of five consumers turn to search engines when looking for a local product or service before making a purchase. Local SEO provides results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location.

With local search comes local intent.

When looking for food, entertainment, or shopping, people generally want something local.

Regardless of whether or not they have a specific business in mind, they are looking for a solution to their specific problem or need, and the closer the better. Who wants to travel 50 miles to get a pound cake? No one.

If you’re not recognized by search engines, you’re not optimizing your business to the best of your abilities. As a business, you want to receive as much foot traffic as possible.

In a 2014 study, 50% of consumers will visit a store within a day of local search on their smartphones. Local web traffic BECOMES foot traffic.

Any business can and should take advantage of local search engine optimization, whether a national company, or a mom-and-pop store. You want to make your website more local-friendly, regardless of your goals.

Evolution of local search

Local search today has come a long way since its inception. One of the biggest recent changes to the local search landscape occurred this past August, with the cutting of Google’s local 7 pack down to a 3 pack. The local 3-pack is the listing of three businesses attached to the map on a local search results page.

What this means is that there is now much higher and stronger competition for that coveted real estate next to the map, as four out of the previously-listed 7 have been kicked out, and only the businesses with strong SEO practices in place will be able to occupy those spots.

By cutting down on “clutter,” or additional listings, Google started to harp on a more “focused” user experience. This can directly imply that if you’re not top-ranked in local search, it’s like you don’t even exist.

Google local 3-pack

Google trimmed down local results to a 3-pack

Along with the change in number from 7 to 3, Google has removed phone numbers, full addresses, and Google Plus links from the 3-pack results.

Searchers now have to click through the result to find a business’ phone number or full address. Store hours, however, have been added to the 3-pack results as results will display opening or closing times depending on the time of the day.



Advent of local search Pay Per Click User Interface

Pay Per Click, or PPC, incorporates the use of advertisements and ad copy to build your business’ online presence made relevant to users through industry specific keywords.

pay-per-click

Pay-per-click user interface

One vital visibility tool for local search is Google Adwords. This is Google’s online software that allows a person to create ads that display on the search engine and its network of partner websites.

When utilized correctly, this tool can help your business, regardless of what your service or product offered may be.

PPC is a great tool to use if you want to get in front of people fast, through paid ads.
However, if your business depends solely on PPC to get revenue, you’re gonna have a bad time.
SEO takes more time than PPC, but it provides organic traffic (which statistically is the most relevant traffic) and long term stability, not to mention brand authority.
This article reveals how you can get local search presence using social media and citations.

Everything depends on the nature of your business, your target audience, and your budget. Google lets you target your audience geographically via its “geo-targeting tool,” so you can choose where you want the ad to appear.

As a small pizza shop in Philadelphia, you’ll probably not want to contact an audience out in San Francisco. PPC has the ability to grow your local business, whether globally or locally.

Improvement to Google’s crawler finding business’ NAPs

Having consistency with your name, address, and phone number (NAP) across your directories, is paramount for local search optimization.

NAP consistency occurs when your organization’s information is correctly listed identically (with absolutely no modifications) throughout the web.

As the mentions of your NAP individually appear over the web, search engine “robots” will cross-reference these mentions to determine validity.

According to Moz’s local search terms and definitions, “Local search engines use NAP information found by crawling the web or received from data providers to judge the accuracy of the data in their own indexes. Consistent NAP information is essential to getting more citations and improving search engine rankings.”

Details as small as listing your address as “111 Search Street, Philadelphia PA” in one location, and “111 Search St, Philadelphia, PA” can have a negative effect.

By helping Google to establish a perception of uniform information as its bots crawl your business’ online information, you are helping Google display your business listings to the appropriate target audience.

lmscase3There are hundreds of companies out there with similar names (there are at least 5 different Pete’s Pizza’s in the Philadelphia area alone), so it’s your job to tell the crawler that you are different.

You don’t want to show Google two NAPs with even the slightest variation, or your ranking on the SERP will suffer.

Google wants to give its users the best results for making a purchase or finding what they need. If Google has two addresses at hand for the same business, how will it know if the business is valid?

If a business has a NAP listed identically in locations, such as directories, press releases, and social media, Google will deem them a more valid business in comparison to a business with fewer or more inconsistent citations.

By increasing your natural rankings, you’ll appear higher on the results pages for both desktops and mobile devices.

With the prevalence of mobile phone usage, you absolutely want to be discovered by local customers. It’s as simple as telling a customer who you are, where you’re located, and how you can be reached to increase web traffic and gain new customers.

Dave Oremland, of LocalOptimizer was quoted in this Moz post on local search;

“I see actual location as the overriding single most important factor. If you search on a basis wherein you describe a specific location, i.e. a city/service, you will get one set of pack results with the small and medium sized businesses in that city.

 

I still believe that organic rankings get pushed up with overall better links: with quality from other sites, and diversity of urls having great impact. Having said that, local businesses show in organic because of address.”

How does this impact a local business?

Not only are you improving your SEO performance by having your NAP consistent across your local citations, but it also provides consumers the information they need right as they are making a search.

78% of mobile searches result in off-line purchases, so lacking consistency in your NAP can greatly hurt your business. Remember, it’s very easy for a searcher to choose your competition if you can’t provide them with the information they need.

Why is it critical to get your info listed in Google My Business?

Getting your business listed on Google My Business is imperative for local search. A Google My Business page is not only free to use but will also help potential customers find your business across search, Google +, and Google Maps.

When someone searches for “pizza shop Newark,” the search engines results pages, or SERP, will take you to a page of pizza shops in Newark. It is your Google My Business page that will place your business here.

This is why it is essential to make sure your business information is set up properly and is optimized.

Google-my-business

Papa Pat uses Google my business

By having a Google My Business page, you’re not only putting yourself right in front of the eyes of potential customers in your area, but you’re also allowing customers to leave reviews.

With positive, genuine reviews, users will be more apt to looking up your business (and possibly making a purchase) over competitors’ businesses.

When setting up your Google My Business page, you need to first enter your business’ name and make sure it is listed exactly as it is on your website.

This allows Google to see that you are in fact the same business, and you are credible. You’ll need to add your website’s logo, your website’s URL, a description of your business (using the most vital keywords), and the hours of your business.

Brand Name Recognition

What better way to showcase your brand than through a mobile search?

By posting images of your company and a good cover photo, consumers are going to want to find out more about you.

google-my-business



Pretty pictures always help

 

You want to look reputable to your customers and build your reputation. By having access to reviews right at their fingertips, consumers are going to want to choose you.

Helping identify your business’ most qualified customers

With a Google My Business page, you can interact with customers right as they are writing reviews. You can maintain your online reputation in ultimate brand representation.

To be ranked highly, you need to make sure you are outlining your business in the most accurate and trustworthy light. You should also make sure your business’ description is as detailed as possible. You also need to have some reviews listed, or else customers won’t choose you over a competitor.

Your Google My Business page needs to give customers all the information they need. With the wrong hours of operations listed, you’re losing customers.

Without a phone number to contact your business, you’re losing customers. Without a map listed, you’re also losing customers.

In fact, more than 50% of people on mobile will specifically look for opening hours, directions and an address.

See the importance?

The Properties Google Associates with your Business

There are a number of properties that Google crawls, indexes, and associates with businesses as entities.

One type of property Google will associate with your business is any social profiles you have on the web. There’s a range of sites that businesses can have profiles on, anything from Facebook, to Youtube, to even sites like Tumblr or Quora.

With an array of social profiles, you accomplish two things:

  1. You expand your online audience, while presenting to them that you are a trustworthy brand because of your ability to interact with people in the different arenas of these social platforms, and
  2. You give search crawlers more mentions of your business name and information across a variety of domains to verify your brand’s credibility.

lmscase6

In addition to having social profiles, Google will qualify your online credibility with any directory listings your business has. Business directories can be very general and non-industry specific (think Yelp, Google +, Yellow Pages), but they can also get very niche-specific and local.

Finding the time to get your business into all of the niche and localized directories that are relevant to your business can boost your trust to Google and get you a serious leg up on your competition.

Even at the macro level, all videos, pictures, or even mentions of your business online can be tagged to allow Google to associate these citations with your company’s brand.

If you are in any sort of visually-appealing line of work, start a YouTube page, or get a Flickr account and put out content that Google can associate with your business so you can gain the search engine’s trust.

Again, the best way to attack all of these entities for being recognized by search engines comes down to one strategy: consistency.

The more consistent all of your online profiles, directories, and citations are, the easier it is for search engines to crawl your business information and find you are a trustworthy brand.

Trust and credibility are still at the top of the ranking factors Google considers in its algorithm. Knowing this fact is one thing, but actually going out and building this trust is another.

The Missing Piece

Even after doing all of this, your work will not necessarily be impactful. It’s not enough to create citations and have an accurate NAP.

Most business owners don’t know how to make the above really work for them, whether they’re trying to optimize all on their own or they’re outsourcing to the wrong company. Every step is crucial in building up your search engine rankings, from keyword research to citation promotion.

Most local SEO consultants don’t understand the advanced and technical SEO practices to create the strongest value for their clients.

For local search, you must integrate technical and advanced SEO into local search and receive high-quality backlinks from credible sources. Because of the level of competition, you almost have no choice but to get as technical as possible. This should be done via citation promotion.

So, how do you differentiate your local business from your competitors?

The goal is to provide a service that is locally-focused while using the strongest proven online citation strategies. Helping businesses have a long-lasting presence in the search engines results pages takes both time and focus.

SEO can become very technical, but it doesn’t have to appear complicated or intimidating for business owners. It’s a part of your marketing strategy, and just like most marketing, you will get out of it what you put into it.

You should be able to understand your business’ SEO and see how it can increase your bottom line. That’s where finding the right local SEO service becomes so vital.

Don’t believe in quick fixes; believe in building relationships. The best SEO services maintain a strong bond with clients while detailing out exactly what is being provided.

You should expect consistent progress reports to easily track and understand what results are coming from the citations that are being made and managed.

In a growing and ever-changing industry, maintaining a strong rapport with clients is more than mandatory. Outlining to clients what exactly your services are and what you can do to help their business thrive has become necessary for building a rapport.

Building Citations

“While lots of local SEOs claim that citations aren’t as powerful anymore, it really depends on the vertical. In many verticals, business owners still have tons of citation problems, so just a bit of citation work can really move the needle.”

Greg Gifford of DealerOn provided that quote as a part of BrightLocal’s recent expert survey about local search citations, and it makes a great point.

The key to an effective citation building campaign is understanding all of the core concepts of the process, and then finding strategic ways to maximize the efforts of the campaign going forward.

The process of citation creation is a tedious one, but can reap massive rewards for a company in a local market.

They are one of the best ways to signal to search engines that a website is relevant to a specific location, and service industry or need.

Local citations are just mentions of your business and website across local directories and websites. The strongest citations you create will be more specialized, with a more focused target audience, therefore tending to be more effective.

Citation Cleanup

It is vital to ensure that all the citations your business may have are maintained and relevant.

As the search engines consistently update their algorithms in order to sweep for more accurate and accessible data, any citations that your site may contain are subject to become outdated.

To quote David Sprague (Real Strategic) on the need for a citation strategy,

“Citations are the top 5 indicators for local search ranking, so they must be addressed and every business must have a strategy.”

Through intensive maintenance is the only way to ensure proper growth over the span of time. In order to follow through with this maintenance, the most reliable SEO companies will take the following measures regarding citations:

  • Tracking any business categories that relate specifically to any services that you provide.
  • Verifying that the business information is presented in the proper order and all of your relevant information is accurate.
  • Maintaining a listing of all URL’s and log-in information.
  • Making sure that business owners are the registered owner and editor of each site listing.
  • Establishing a consistent version of that NAP combination to use on each and every listing site.
  • Paying extra attention to enhancing local listings for heavily trafficked sites like Google, Yelp, Foursquare etc. This includes uploading attractive photos of your business and ensuring that opening hours are complete and accurate.

Social Profiles and Promotion

lmscase7Just like citations in business directories and listings, your business’ social profiles can be a highly effective source of citation flow for your visibility.

Capitalizing on all major and niche specific social platforms, we’ll ensure that you have well-equipped social profiles to be found consistently by search engines, and easily by your audience.

A strong social presence on the web is crucial to creating trust and relationships with your consumers, and the citations that come from well-built profiles will allow search engines to verify your business’ credibility and authority.

For larger brands (Best Buy, for example), search engines have already begun including result boxes with social profiles directly on the result pages.

Citation Promotion

With proper promotion of these citations, your efforts will reap the highest quality links to boost your business’ credibility.

We build links to your citations to increase their authority, and in turn the authority of your business website. This web of links is the key to organic search growth.

Curious where you stand?

There are plenty of services that offer free reports that are rich with information on where your weaknesses are and which are most important.

A few of the good ones I have seen are Local Site Submit and Visibility Conversions. Local Marketing Solutions offers a completely free, “baseline visibility” report which you can generate here.

local-marketing-solutions-baseline-report

Local Marketing Solutions Baseline Report

The “visibility score” shows where you stand compared to your competition, in addition to listing all the citations that you and your competitors have, plus the citation sites that you are not currently taking advantage of.

Conclusion

Local search is constantly evolving and improving as Google updates its algorithms. If you can find a way to rank highly on local search, you can be one step ahead of your competition and be set up for a strong online presence.

By building out your citations, having a consistent NAP, and being present on Google My Businesses, you are well on the way to success with local search.

Finding a trusted advisor in this landscape is paramount, and understanding the process allows for local growth and this trusted relationship.

Learn where you stand with local SEO presence! Contact SEOnick for a website analysis!

This post was co-authored by Maura Lieberman and Luke Harsel.

Maura Lieberman is a content specialist at Local Marketing Solutions. She enjoys writing, cooking, and watching (way too much) Mad Men. You can follow her on twitter @maura_lieberman.

Cover image courtesy of pipedrive.com

The post How To Explode Your Leads With Local Search appeared first on SEO Nick.

Learn how Over Optimization Can Kill Your Website





Never Worry About Your Websites Optimization Ever Again!

how not to over optimize your website



Over optimization occurs whenever you have taken it upon yourself to go “above and beyond” the normal means of optimization. This is a problem for many different reasons, but that’s something we’ll get into a little later on down the road – we don’t want to jump the gun, now do we!? If you’re a webmaster that’s looking to make a significant impact on the internet marketing world, you’ll have to plan accordingly; you’ll also need to make sure you avoid over-optimizing anything. The entire purpose of getting into this field of work is to turn a profit, and that can’t be done when your website isn’t in the best possible standing it could be in. Matt Cutts is a face over at Google that used to be associated with constant updates, and that usually meant having to deal with “the death-dealer” – that’s a name I would use for somebody who you constantly watch over social media feeds and worry about (in regards to your SEO practice); there are tons of examples all over the internet.

He mentioned back in 2012 that over optimization of a website was going to be a problem, and that Google was looking to release something that had a rather serious tone to it. This scared more than a few people, and it lead others to look into the matter of  “over optimization”. This isn’t a laughing matter, and it’s something that could drastically change the way your current SEO project is going. During the year of 2012, there was a penalty rolled out for over optimization – it was meant as a measure to keep people from just stuffing their pages with keywords for rankings. If you want to rank these days, it’s usually going to take incredibly high quality content (that’s going to engage the user, as this will save you time and money in the long run) and efficient link schemes.

Matt Cutts isn’t going to do your SEO work for you, but there are plenty of people out there who will – you’ve just got to find (and hire) the best of the best!

“The way that I often think about SEO is that it’s like a coach. It’s someone who helps you figure out how to present yourself better – In an ideal world, though, you wouldn’t have to think about presenting yourself and whether search engines can crawl your website; they’d just be so good that they can figure out how to crawl through the flash (crawl through the forums, how to crawl through the JavaScript or crawl through whatever it is.” said Matt Cutts.

“The idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit, so all of those people who have sort of been doing (for lack of a better word), over optimization, or just overly doing their SEO, will now be compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site!”.

On Page SEO Elements

So, you see, Matt Cutts broke it down for us pretty well back in the year of 2012. You need a website that actually took time and dedication to build, as well as content that’s going to hit home with nearly every single person that comes into contact with it. Why, you might ask? Well, I’m going to tell you exactly why!

Learning is always nice, but hiring a reliable SEO service will always make things easier for your business/project

Why Do You Need to Use High-Quality Content?

For Optimization Purposes

The fact of the matter is that you’re going to need high quality content in order to not only convert sails, but also make sure that you’re never going to over-optimize your website. When you have a website (or even numerous websites) that are under your guidance, you’ve got to make sure that you’re giving them the “T..L.C.” (you know, tender love and care!) that they deserve. If you don’t, all you’re going to be doing is leaving money on the table, as well as put yourself at risk for some serious over optimization. Here are a few reasons as to why you never need to cut corners with your content, and all of these reasons will apply to over optimization in one way or another:



  • Visitors Feel Better – Visitors will feel a lot better about your website when the content on it is as high quality as it comes. Think of it from your side of the playing field, if you’re visiting a website and the content cannot be read due to keyword stuffing (which we’ll also get into a little bit later), you’re probably not going to appreciate it for what it’s worth. When your quality is going to hit home with the visitors who are frequenting your website, it not only appears to make sales go a little smoother, but it also ensures that over optimization isn’t something you’ll need to keep in check. Some people can write naturally and manage an abundance of keywords in one piece, others can’t – sometimes it might just be about finding the perfect writer. Most SEO companies out there have writers on their roster that will do a fantastic job, so you might want to just consider hiring an SEO firm today.
  • The “Penalty” – You’re constantly working as hard as you can to make sure that your website shows up ahead of the competition on search results. Regardless of how you’re trying to achieve that goal, one thing that’s going to make you take a big hit is the penalty that comes alongside over optimization. This will not only cause you to change up the current practice that you’re working with, but it will help you keep things professional for any future endeavors that you might find yourself dealing with. SEO should be used like a coach in many different forms, it should teach you different tips and tricks, as well as keep your SEO protocol clean and efficient for the next website you’re going to put together. Like I said before, it’s probably in your best interests to just hire someone to handle all of this for you – that’s why most people choose to hire an SEO consultant.

Google Search Console Analysis

  • Conversions – When you don’t over-optimize a website, a lot more money is going to be made in regards to your web page. Whenever you can boost the revenue that a page is producing, you’ll want to do exactly that – and high-quality content can help you convert more sales from visitors as well. The name of the game is to convert, without any sales conversions a website might not even make that much money. Even if you’re not selling anything, you can still make a killing through selling ad space and such – but nobody will visit a website that produces low-quality content.

Other Ways to Go About Over-Optimizing Your Website

A website is a lot like a baby, and I mean that by the fact that you’ll need to nurture it and watch it grow over time. When you over-optimize a website, it’s pretty much like over-feeding a baby – something you never want to do. It won’t turn into this handsome and hunky young man that you raised yourself, but instead turns into a hefty 30-year old smoker that just doesn’t care anymore. There’s a big difference between the two, and over optimization could lead towards one of those results; I’m sure you’re already aware as to which one that would be!

adwords logo

Irrelevant Keywords

Keywords play a pivotal role in how well your website is going to do in terms of making money, as well as how many people are going to see it on a daily basis. When you’re interested in getting as many keywords into your content as possible, you have to do it without putting too many in – you’ve also got to worry about getting the right ones. Irrelevant keywords are a problem that tons of people have to work through, but that could easily be avoided if they had just done a little more research in the first place. Using the wrong keywords can be costly, and it’s a must that you avoid doing that as much as possible. Whenever you can rely on the keywords that you’re using, the results are sure to follow. Over optimization occurs a lot through these means, but it won’t make a fool out of everyone!

Research Those Keywords!

Research the different types of keyword variations you’ll be able to work with in your niche, it’s tough work, but it’s going to make every single keyword you end up using a reliable one. Research is a daunting task in its own right, so when you have to apply it to keywords, you know there’s going to be a lot of stuff to sift through. In the research process, there are plenty of tools that can point you in the direction. Seeing as over optimization is a problem that many different internet marketers find themselves having to overcome, making a small investment in some paid keyword researching tools might be smart. Alternatively, you could just figure out another option – hiring an SEO company to handle every single aspect of the keyword research is usually your best bet.

Google actually has a keyword researching tool of its own, and it’s named “Google AdWords Keyword Planner”. It should help you plan the way you’re going to approach the next piece of content, a lot of people actually get their content ideas from taking a looking at the many different keywords in their niche.

The Approach

Some people will tell you that researching a keyword or two is easy, but going through an entire batch is an entirely different ordeal. If you want to get started quickly, just follow this easy-to-use protocol! You should be there in no time at all (well, you’ve still got to do a bit of work, but when all is said and done it will have been worth it). Here’s a step-by-step process on how to begin researching your keyword lists!

  1. Take it upon yourself to find some important topics related to your business/website. From here, all you have to do is put words to those ideas. If you’re in the blender business, make sure you try and find the best possible alternative words to blender for your own personal use.
  1. Fill up the required areas with your topic words and such, with tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner, a bunch of different keyword selections will pop up.
  1. Research all of the different keywords that come up in the planning tool, see what the different rates of competition and other things happen to be – from here, you’ll be able to determine which ones are more reliable (and which ones aren’t even worth pursuing).
  1. Try and see if there are any long-tail keywords that you can supplement into your content/websites – these shouldn’t be the ones that you base everything off of though. Long-tail keywords follow the same trend as regular keywords, meaning that you shouldn’t over saturate them; that will also lead to over optimization.

Long-Tail Keywords

what are long tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are keywords that are somewhat secondary to the topic at hand, and they’re used (within reason) to make sure that every single piece of content being used on your website is as SEO-friendly as possible. When we say SEO-friendly, it definitely doesn’t mean over optimized! Long-tail keywords are almost like the salt and pepper to your content steak, it’s a seasoning that is somewhat needed in most cases. With the right long tails, you’re going to be pushing your content into a level of epic proportions.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot, make sure that you’re doing your due diligence when dealing with both keywords and long-tail keywords. If you don’t, you may put yourself at risk of over optimization – or maybe even under optimization!

What Are Search Engines Actually Looking For in a Website?

This is information that should fuel the very core of your SEO practice, and it will be a major factor in regards to the amount of growth and activity that your website sees. They have specific traits to look at whenever it comes to your website, and you should look at it like some sort of fancy desert. Is it going to be a beautiful layer cake, with each and every page bringing another form of entertainment/knowledge, or is it going to be a burnt apple pie with a little bit of whipped cream on top?  The search engines that we’ve come to know and love these days aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and they just want to take a look at the most relevant items around.



Content – Good content is going to translate into good results, that’s why a lot of people tend to make sure their content creators are top notch. If they weren’t, they’d need a lot of SEO work to even think about being a successful website. Take a look at any successful website on the internet right now and sift through their content, do you notice anything “low quality” about it?

Site Performance – A website that doesn’t operate smoothly is going to be a problem, because it’s not going to sit well with your visitors. When a bot goes to crawl your website for SEO purposes and it’s loading slowly, there are some pretty immediate penalties that could be hitting you.

User Feelings – Believe it or not, search engines actually have something to say about how your users feel about the website. When your visitors are happy with the experience, word is going to get out – this could lead to things like social media posts or just a general boost of popularity in your website.

Authoritative Stance – Backlinks and many other things will attribute to the “authority” of your website, so the greater your reputation happens to be (in regards to the general public), the better. Being popular is going to do a lot more for your website than you might think, that’s why marketing in general is always a good idea. You could still over optimize a website with authority-related links and such – so keep it in mind.

These are all tips that will help you avoid over optimizing, as well as just improve upon your website in more ways than one.

Optimize ALL Of Your Websites Platforms!

If you have a social media program that is trying to reach out to others around the world, you should seriously consider optimizing them at different rates. For example, when you’re looking to grow your business through the use of Twitter, you’ve got to ensure that you’re not over optimizing your social media posts and such. If you don’t, you’re only going to be leavingroom for better optimization – and that’s going to translate to less than stellar SEO rankings. I’ve seen a lot of companies put up rather lengthy posts on websites such as LinkedIn and such, and they’ve taken it upon themselves to include keywords (that are well-optimized, mind you).

Domain Names

website optimization tips

Are Domain Names Important?

The domain name that your website shares is very important, because it’s the very first thing that people are going to notice about your page. If you didn’t have the proper domain name, your SEO practice is already getting off to a bad start. You should always make sure that at least one of your keywords has landed itself in the domain name, two would be even better – you shouldn’t be pushing it, though! Don’t put too many keywords in your domain name, as that’s going to result in over optimization of the URL itself. Having a proper domain URL will always be something that helps you gain an upper-hand, that’s something you learn at the very beginning of your SEO journey (or, at least, should have learned).

How Can I Get the Right One (Without Over Optimizing)?

It’s simple, just do what you do with all of your content, but apply it to your domain name (on a smaller scale). Try and fit two keywords that are related to your topic in there, and you should be completely good to go! The amount of SEO “juice” you get from having a keyword-based domain alone is a pretty large one, but something that’s going to reflect “top10bestcarpartautomobileheadlighshop.com” just isn’t going to do anyone any favors.

All in All

Over optimization is a process that you might be implementing on every single one of your web projects right now, and the main thing is that you catch yourself before it’s too late! If you’re invested in an abundance of spammy domain names and such, that probably isn’t going to be your ticket to success. To be completely honest, I would more than likely just suggest that you hire an SEO firm to take care of your optimization needs.

When you hire an SEO firm, you can focus on more of the things that immediately matter in your life – the SEO process is a long and enduring grind. If you’re willing to take care of it by your own hands, that’s completely fine, but all of the big players within the internet marketing industry have a “go to SEO company”. These companies are going to understand many different things about SEO, some that you might not have ever even touched upon. There are experts at everything in this world, and filling the need for an SEO expert happens to be easy these days!

Don’t be a fool and hire an SEO consultant/company – they’ll take you a much longer way!

They offer you many different benefits, some of which would include:

  • SEO Experience – Over optimization isn’t a problem when you’re looking through every piece of content (and link) like a hawk; these guys are here to make sure you get the best bang for your buck.
  • General Knowledge – Applying some of the techniques I talked about in this article won’t be easy for a lot of people – hiring an SEO consultant or company will save you from having to deal with the hassle of working with new technology.
  • Over Optimization Will Never Be a Concern – SEO services will never over-optimize your content, or anything else related to your online endeavors. Most of them even have specific content writers on their payroll and such.

Using these tips and other tid-bits of information I’ve written within this article, over optimization should never be a problem for you and your websites – now get out there and get down to business!

Tons of professional (and well respected) companies take it upon themselves to hire others for SEO help; it’s only natural.

The post Learn how Over Optimization Can Kill Your Website appeared first on SEO Nick.

7 Simple SEO Tricks & Tips That Still Bring Improvements in 2017





7 seo tips that will improve your site in 2016



2017 brought a whole new set of changes in the way businesses market their products and services, marketers try to improve their ranking with search engine optimization (SEO), the way people surf the web and a lot more. But there are also trends that proved effective for 2016 strategies and will continue to work in 2017.

According to hubspot.com, in the U.S. alone, an average of 12 billion web searches are conducted each month. SEO will gain importance more than anything else as it helps you drive quality traffic, get visibility, boost your brand and lend your business the credibility it needs to succeed. After all, what is the point of creating so much content and graphics if it is not visible to the audience when they run search query.

In 2015 also, marketers realized the value of SEO, aligning their content for customers’ needs and mobile optimization for better results. After all, 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in the hope of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase, according to searchenginewatch.com.

Searchengineland.com suggests SEO is the process of driving traffic from the ‘organic’, and ‘paid’ sources to win the rat race of ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs).  Though search engine rankings keep on changing from time to time (it’s normal), make sure that you have built your site in the right way and regularly posting quality content to drive a steady stream of traffic to your pages.  An article in Quicksprout.com states that the average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words.

In 2015 we were wondering which SEO trends will turn out to be the major hits of 2016?  Here, we bring to you an exclusive exposé on SEO trends and developments that proved effective in 2016 and are set to rock the world in 2017 for those smart enough not to miss the opportunity. Have a look!

1. Social Content Continue to Gain Prominence

In the coming times, content from social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will gain more importance on the SERPs. Already, 76% marketers use Social Media to support and boost SEO, cites an article published at Impactbnd.com. In 2017, marketers will do everything possible to make their Facebook posts or tweets rank higher on the SERPs.

Isn’t that amazing?! We predicted that more social media content will be indexed on Google and other popular search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. This will in turn blur the lines between ‘web’ and ‘social media’ in terms of SEO strategies. So, be prepared to find, collect and use your valuable social content for optimizing your page for maximum visibility.  For brand names, social media profiles are amongst the top results in search listings. For instance, if you search “Designhill” on Google, the company’s Facebook page, Twitter profile and the LinkedIn page appear as the top listings. See for yourself!



social content is a must

Blog.kissmetrics.com states that links to content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and other social networks help the search engine crawlers understand what websites are credible and should be ranked for what keyword phrases.

2017 Update: Social Media content got even more prominent in SERPs, through Google’s Knowledge Panel and Scrolling Carousel.

2. Videos Will Still Rule

We all know that videos are a great way of keeping audience engaged and entertained. But do you know that by using enough videos, you can improve the ranking of your page on the SERPs. A report by Marketing Land states that videos make for 62% of all Google searches universally. Moreover, Google has started giving attention to blended results/searches. So, why not grab this opportunity to appear on the first page of search results by including an engaging video in your content? According to Quicksprout.com, videos get 50 times better organic page ranks in Google as against plain, static text results. Also, video searches garner 41% higher click-through rate as compared to plain, static text content, according to Relesoo.com.

Many marketers chose to drive their modern marketing engine with the fuel of Video SEO in 2015. And we predict that more marketers and businesses will embrace the trend of videos in the coming year too. Take a glance at what a blended search result looks like for the search query “777 built in 4 minutes”.

777 built in 4 minutes

Now, the only way to appear in the search engine pages like this is by uploading your videos on You Tube or through video SEO. It is important that Google is able to find your video content, successfully index it and display your video content when specific keywords are entered as search terms.

3. Mobile Optimization Has Become Crucial

Is your business website mobile-friendly? Your audience is no longer in one place. People use all sorts of devices such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, phone watches to browse web. Keeping this in mind, plenty of brands went mobile-friendly back in 2015. And we anticipated that more brands took up this trend in 2016. And with the announcement of Mobile-First Index to come in 2018, mobile optimization will become the norm, rather than exception. So, it’s high time you changed the way you conceptualize and create SEO strategies for mobile searches.

Neilpatel.com states that the total number of searches on mobile devices has seen a 43% increase year-over-year. Also, Google’s algorithm update this year ensured that mobile-friendly websites get a search ranking boost on mobile searches. As more and more people use mobile to surf the Internet, Google decided to make it easier to find relevant, mobile-optimized websites. So, it now uses mobile-friendliness as a factor in ranking search results. If you’re still not convinced, here are just 5 stats that will make you go mobile-friendly in 2017.

Therefore, make sure that mobile optimization finds a prominent place in your SEO strategies for the upcoming year to stay ahead of your competitors. Make sure that everything on your site, from colors to fonts and from content to logo design, is mobile optimized.

4. Voice Search Function a Must

These days, people who are on the go use voice search simply because it is more convenient and safer, especially when someone is driving or multi-tasking. It is becoming a huge part of mobile usage as it has taken away the pain of typing keywords to run a search query. Almost all mobile devices have a voice search functions. The popularity of voice searches has been spurred by Microsoft, Google, and Apple launching their own versions of advanced voice-responsive assistants – Cortana, Google Now and Siri.

Even ‘Domino’s Pizza’ has a ‘voice-ordering feature. However, make sure that your content is easily searchable through voice searches by using long-tail keywords, which are more likely to be spoken than conventional keywords.  Google Study finds voice search mostly used to ask for directions. For teens, doing a voice search while watching TV (59%) and while with friends (57%) are the highest use cases, according to marketingland.com. Whereas for adults, voice searching is done the most while watching TV (36%), followed by when with friends (24%) and while cooking (23%).



voice over for voice search in google

5. Content Aggregation will get Bigger & Better

According to Digitalcurrent.com, Knowledge Graph, wiki, local, maps, social media, news, images and videos make for 85% of Google search results. These stats indicates that now people look for sources that provide all relevant information for a particular subject or topic that at one place.

A blog published at imediaconnection.com explains that content aggregation is a practical way of finding, collating, amassing, consolidating, presenting, sharing, and displaying content around pre-specified set of criteria to appeal target audience. If you too are planning to do so, make sure that you collect and curate content from different, high-authority sources and display it at one place for your users to see to build your authority.

A great example of content curation is using the humble newsletter, Next Draft by Dave Pell, who has amassed over 160,000 subscribers to his daily email which shares the most interesting stories in business, culture, and tech, an article in Jeff Bullas explained. Another example is Inbound.org which was built by Moz and Hubspot to increase their reach even further.

6. The Craze of Mobile Apps Grows

According to Tech Crunch, mobile apps account for 52% of all time spent on online digital media. Another report available on the Internet reveals that users spend 89% mobile time using apps. This is the reason for more and more businesses planning to explore the advantage of mobile apps.

As discussed above, use of mobile for web search is on an all-time rise and apps just make the work easier. Just few more years and mobile apps are sure to overpower desktop and mobile websites. An article in searchenginejournal.com states that 85% of people prefer native mobile apps to websites. Feature your brand prominently in the app name and make sure you have proper links to apps for better search rankings Also, you must ensure that app optimization tops your list of SEO optimization. There are several brands that are benefiting from prominent mobile app visibility in Google’s organic search results. Have a look at what happens when you search eBay in Google. The app page URL presents a powerful opportunity to “occupy” the first page of Google SERPs.

ebay search result

7. Local SEO to Become Even More Important

This trend is only going stronger over the years. According to Entrepreneur.com, local SEO is likely to gain solid grounds in the coming days. As a marketer, you have to let Google know where you are located and what you are offering so that your chances of showing up on pages, especially in front of the relevant audience, increase. It is must to have your local pages which will include the name of your business, address etc. with Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Since Google came out with its “Pigeon” update, local SEO has gained significant prominence forcing businesses and marketers to focus on a local tangent.  So, ensure of having location specific keywords and personalize content basis your target audiences’ location to stay ahead in the game. Check out some stats to know the benefits of ranking in local search results.

Your listing in the local pages can increase consumer engagement with your business and your ranking. For instance, check out this example of three hospitals. The one that has the highest number of reviews ranks the highest. (Image source: Search Engine Journal)

google local search results

2017 Update: Even though there are changes in how to do effective Local SEO, its importance hasn’t diminished – especially for small brick-to-brick businesses.

To conclude, you must brace yourself in expanding your presence on social media, instilling videos of your business in your content so that you get Page 1 ranking in Google. A good ranking ultimately helps you build strong influence and enhance your brand name amongst your audience.  So, don’t miss out on any latest update by Google and trends in search rankings to shine out in the crowd. The better SEO strategies you have, the more benefits you will have.

So, concentrate on creating fresh and quality content that you can and promote it across all social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. By just doing this, you will find that your search rankings have improved tremendously. The next step would be to sustain the rank by posting fresh and unique content and videos regularly.

Though trends keep on changing, these 7 SEO trends still dominate the scene in 2017. While some of them will become extinct like the dinosaur, some will evolve and outlast the rest. Nevertheless, we’re sure by embracing these trends, you’ll be able to spearhead the market.

Did we miss out anything important? Please leave your comments and let us know.

[Cover Image Courtesy: Designhill.com]

The post 7 Simple SEO Tricks & Tips That Still Bring Improvements in 2017 appeared first on SEO Nick.

How Google Panda Affected Website Creation





How Google Panda Updates Changed The SEO Landscape



Aside from penguin, panda is one of the most common terms in search engine optimization.

But if you’re looking for an in-depth look at the algorithm update, its attributes, how it affects websites, and how you can use the update to your advantage – well, if you hadn’t stumbled upon this page, you’d be searching for quite a while.

This is your complete guide to understanding Google Panda and how it affects the stages of website creation. If you plan on receiving organic search traffic from Google (or you already are), make sure to read all of the way through so you’re not penalized – as you’ll see below, most of the time, a Panda penalty is permanent.

(If you have been hit with a penalty for Panda, contact an SEO professional today for a no-obligation on-site SEO audit.)

Origin Panda Updates & Refreshes

The original Panda

Changes after the first Panda update

Google originally rolled out Panda in early 2011 for US-based sites. More than 12% of queries were affected – almost double from the last major update prior to Panda. Google had made a brief announcement in January of 2010 describing their plans to address low-quality content, but few thought the impact would be so widespread.

Originally, the update targeted only sites with low-quality content. If you have ever stumbled upon an article, started reading, and found that the information was completely generic and utterly useless… that’s what we call low-quality content.

These types of sites pump out content that can rank for a keyword with minimal SEO effort due to lack of competition. When search engine traffic lands on their useless content, the hope the users will click through to the ads on the page – sometimes directly from Adsense.

But that’s pretty much the only goal. There is no focus on user value or retention what-so-ever. To the lazy, profit-driven webmaster, these sites are easy to build, easy to populate, and easy to monetize. To users, they’re terrible – and annoying to stumble upon in the search results.

As such, Google made a huge leap to eradicate them. After the initial 12% surge, the madness didn’t stop, though – not even close.

Scraper Update

Just a week later, Matt Cutts (who has since retired) confirmed suspicions that another update to Panda had rolled out, called the scraper update.

Scraping has many different connotations in the SEO world – in this case, the reference was aimed at those annoying, poorly-designed websites that literally do nothing but copy other websites word-for-word. We still see them sometimes in 2015 (especially in niches like lyrics), but it was a lot more prevalent way back in 2009 and 2010. You would search for a keyword, only for the first five results to be completely the same from one another – it was infuriating.

So, the scraper update eliminated most of these problems – nowadays, even if you’re pulling from a RSS feed by legitimate means, displaying that content on your website without the proper SEO formatting can result in a penalty.

Farmer Update

What changes came after google's farmer update

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land had discovered a reference to the next update being referred to as the farmer update – but Google said that the update didn’t explicitly affect content farms. The reasoning behind this was the potential to offend partners of Google – if a website was penalized during this update, it would be dubbed a “content farm”, regardless of quality. (You’ll see a little further on that some legitimate sites were penalized, making this a very smart precaution for Google to take.)

But by and large, most of the sites to get hit by the farmer update did deserve it.

One such example is eHow – though eHow had plenty of in-depth guides, some of them were completely useless and composed entirely of garbage filler content. There would be “guides” for topics that made no sense, and the “advice” was a bunch of feel-good nonsense.



Sites like eHow were hit by the farmer update to Panda. Many more were, too, as this problem of content existing but providing no value was very widespread. We’ll go over six big-name examples in just a second.

But first, here’s how Panda continues to plague webmasters to this day…

Panda Refreshes from 2011 – 2015

There hasn’t been another update since the farmer update, but there have been plenty of refreshes, which is the Panda algorithmic update being rolled out to a larger percentage of keyword queries. In essence, this means that even if a content farm does exist, it can be hit by the new refresh. And if a new content farm pops up in between refreshes, it will be hit, too.

To date, there have been over twenty refreshes, usually occurring a few months in between each other and sometimes emphasizing certain types of sites, such as gaming or lyrics sites.

You can find the dates and specifics of each update on on Moz’s complete Panda chart.

The impact of Panda

things to consider after all panda updates

Throughout the years, Panda has solidified its reputation as the most fatal algorithm update because of the enormous and permanent effect it had on a variety of web-based businesses.

Let’s go through six interesting examples of Panda in action, explaining what these sites were doing, why they got penalized, what they tried to do to fix it – and of course, if they finally succeeded. (Most didn’t.)

User-Generated: HubPages

what hapend to hubpages after their Panda Hit

WordPress, Wix, and other heavily-promoted website creation platforms are the standard user publishing 2015, but back in 2011, the go-to publisher of user content was a web 2.0 site called HubPages. Users could sign up for free and post whatever they wanted, including dofollow links.

The site relied entirely on user-generated content, and because of the SEO value it held, it indirectly relied on spam “content”, too. It was rare that you would find a HubPages result that actually helped you answer a question or find information. They were designed poorly, hard to read, and just void of information or any real data.

Thus, Panda hit HubPages – and Panda hit hard. The “quantity over quality” approach (they had 1.1 million indexed pages) led to HubPages dropping sharply from first to last. They lost over 90% of traffic when the first update hit, and although they were able to temporarily increase that number, it never came close to hitting its former peak.

Traffic remains below today, and while users still do use HubPages, the company is looking for alternative ways to monetize the platform.

Paid User-Generated: Associated Content

Many will remember Associated Content as being the go-to “make money online” recommendation – you would type up an article, submit the piece, and if it didn’t completely suck, you would get paid an outrageously low fee – usually in the range of $2 – $3 for a 500 to 700 word article.

Can you imagine if you paid a pack of freelancers at even the best rates that Associated Content offered to most writers – close to $3 for 500 words? Your entire website would be illegible, and if the articles were readable, they wouldn’t provide any real value or even contain any real research. Paying for content is like paying for time, and low rates ensures that very little time or effort is invested.

So, Associated Content was full of low-quality content. After Panda hit, over “75% of their pages” were receiving “significantly less traffic”, according to a spokesperson from Yahoo.

But being Yahoo (a big, global brand), they didn’t just give up like HubPages did. Instead, Yahoo scrapped the Associated Content name, deleted over 75,000 junk articles (and presumably many more after the fact), and finally moved the portal to voices.yahoo.com – a much more trusted domain name.

With the drastic changes, voices.yahoo.com was able to recover – for a time. Eventually, though, Yahoo Voices shut down, and although no official statement was made, Panda likely had a major impact on that decision. (Associated Content was a profitable asset before Panda – Yahoo bought it for $100 million, and at the time, that figure was considered to be a good deal.)

General: Mahalo

Mahalo started off with so much promise – and took a dark turn for the worse.

Originally, the website was geared towards creating pages for common search topics, but quality pages at that. Later, a Q/A section was added, and the content quality deteriorated – but Google still loved Mahalo (and other similar sites, such as Wisegeek).

After Panda, Google didn’t move Mahalo. It was like an immediate, ugly breakup.

The site lost just under 80% of its traffic within a month, and two years after the update, the site was doing even worse than before in terms of search engine visibility. Read the statement on the site’s new direction here.

The brand has fallen from a Wisegeek competitor to a no-name – and all because they didn’t fear Panda. (Wisegeek is still trucking along, though like Mahalo, traffic numbers are nowhere near where they used to be.)

Industry-Specific: MotorTrend

MotorTrends and their Panda Dance

MotorTrend.com isn’t really an observation on how Panda affects websites, but it is an interesting look into how Google can sometimes “get it wrong”.

MotorTrend was hit when the first Panda update rolled out – the one that affected 12% of US sites. Website traffic dropped sharply.



Then, MotorTrend recovered.

Then, MotorTrend dropped again, just a few months later…

Then, Motortrend recovered again – this time for good.

Today, MotorTrend continues to be a publisher of valuable content – look on the site and you’ll see the articles are all of the highest quality.

And they always have been.

But sometimes, Google doesn’t get it right.

Big Player: About.com

Last but not least is a website that escaped Panda by the neck on the back of its hair – About.com.

About.com is your classic content farm – the website is geared towards explaining different topics. And overall, their explanations are pretty darn good. If you land on an About.com page in the search engines, you’ll get the information you’re after.

However, it wasn’t always that way – some of the articles used to be “meh” at best in terms of value delivered. As a result, About.com suffered a substantial hit for a “moderately negative number of page views”, according to one spokesperson.

Apparently, the impact was far more – About.com ended up selling for $110 million less than it was purchased for, and part of that was presumable due to Panda. (They’re not such innocent creatures, after all.)

Thank Goodness: EzineArticle & Others

how ezinearticle got hit hard by panda

EzineArticles and pretty much every other “article directory” on the planet was hit hard on the first round of Panda. The effects did not stop, and these sites are now nowhere to be seen. The pages themselves no longer carry any weight for SEO (even blackhat SEO), either, so these days, the article directories are truly deceased.

As you can see, most websites did not recover from Panda – even the big ones with massive amounts of backing capital and manpower.

Don’t go the same path that they did – instead, just make sure your content is on point the first time around.

New guidelines for web content after Panda

General Guidelines

the new and improved Google Quality Guidelines

If you’re publishing content, make sure it’s Panda-worthy – period! As mentioned above, the standards for Panda are highly debated. In general, though, if the article is free of grammar and spelling errors – and provides real value to the reader – then it’s safe to use. You don’t need an English professor writing your content, but you also can’t have your 13-year-old neighbor doing it, either.

Focus on quality over quantity. As you’re paying more for or spending more time on content, your resources will be strained. Unless you want to take an approach like a defunct content farm, target larger, broader subjects and focus your SEO budget on lucrative keywords with substantial monthly traffic numbers. These days, one pillar article is (usually) better than 10 micro articles.

Stop paying attention to word count. Quicksprout gives a good explanation on the “word count myth” here. You don’t want to fill up space for the sake of filling up space. On any given query, you’ll see an assortment of content pieces ranking, some as low as 500, some as high as 5,000 – it’s all relevant to the specific query.

A page of fluff is a page or poor content, in the eyes of both Panda and the visitor. Contact us today and we’ll give you our no-obligation opinion on whether or not your website is Panda-worthy.

Content Guidelines

Writing content yourself

Acquire links by creating great content

If you’re still in the beginner stages of search engine optimization and building out your first few sites, we recommend you stick with topics that interest you, or at least ones that you wouldn’t mind doing some research on to become an expert.

It goes like this: An amateur can’t teach another amateur about a subject in a meaningful way. If you are writing your own content, in order to be a Panda-accredited writer (not a real thing, unfortunately), you have to be the expert.

So, pick something you know – like one of your hobbies, assuming there are lucrative keywords within that – or something you wouldn’t mind researching, like something you’ve always been interested in but have never had the time to pursue.

Buying content

putsource your content creation process

Most webmasters delegate content creation to freelancers and/or in-house writers. Using this option, you have limited time, so you need to optimize your process if you hope to publish any substantial amount of content. You can’t be editing, fact-checking, and proofreading every article that comes across your desk.

We’ll break down the optimal process for this method of generating content into a 5-point process.

  1. Start with one or two writers. Be very clear in your writing instructions, and even if you don’t hire the best of the best, make sure you don’t hire complete amateurs, either. A kid who decided to write articles after school can’t produce Panda-worthy content.
  2. Work with your writers until they know what to do. Chances are, your first few articles won’t be perfect. Ask for revisions, and if they’re still not getting it, drop them and find new, more adept writers.
  3. Continue editing their next few articles, just to be sure. You don’t want to risk including a poor article and catching the eye of Panda, even if you didn’t mean to publish low-quality content. Ignorance is no excuse!
  4. Allow them to write and post themselves. Once you trust each of your writers, instruct them on your CMS and let them write, insert pictures, format articles, and even post articles themselves. If you’re hiring intelligent writers, you may even be able to outsource keyword and topic generation.
  5. Onboard one or two more writers and repeat the process. Once your first batch of writers is adding Panda-worthy content on a consistent basis, expand until you have an entire team.

If you hire anyone and post anything, you’re asking for trouble – or at least a lot of wasted hours trying to make sure your content is appropriate.

Put in the work first, get a solid team of writers… then start creating content that you want to rank for the long term.

Allowing users to post content

let your users answer questions

Seeing as Panda targeted quite a few websites just like this, your strategy moving into 2015 has to be more calculated. The user-generated content sites that have been hit by Panda have not recovered, most likely due to the sheer mass of low-quality content on the site.

  • At least to start, remove dofollow. The easiest way to invite automated signups and posts is by signalling your platform is ripe for link juice.
  • Make the platform impossible to post on. Even if a spammer discovers your site and your URL gets on a “list”, spammers shouldn’t be able to make it through. Recaptcha and a customized signup process is a good start – custom security elements are even better!
  • Let users regulate themselves. You can’t be looking at every single page. Rely on your users spotting junk and reporting it to you – this only works if you have a minimal amount of spam and a high number of active users.
  • Implement some sort of spam detection system. The most basic example is a script that flags words like viagra, porn, etc. When you pick up on spam, either block posts automatically, or, if you’re trying to establish yourself and need all of the content you can, put them under review until you can moderate.
  • Just don’t do it. These days, companies like Wix are trying to transition from content creation to a SaaS model. Instead of monetizing user-generated content, companies are forcing users to pay for the privilege to post in the first place. With the dwindling number of sites using user-generated content from regular users (not real writers), a path like this might be more feasible four years after Panda was released.

The Recap: Google Panda & How it Affects Website Creation

How to do SEO with so many uodates

The guide above can be summarized into five neat, concise points. If you’re new to SEO and you need a Panda handbook at your side at all times, write down the following five points and follow them religiously.

Content might not be king… but it’s certainly important. Although SEO professionals debate the importance of content vs. backlinks, we now know that with poor content, you’re setting yourself up for failure right off the bat. Past that, the efficacy of superior content vs. superior backlinks is still highly debated.

Panda refreshes constantly, so don’t think you’ve “found a workaround”. If you’re somehow ranking purely-junk content, you will get hit when Google decides to clean the SERPs up. We guarantee it.

Anyone can get hit by Panda. All types of websites. All niches. Even the sites that don’t have any problems, like MotorTrend, can get hit. Don’t think that Panda is something you can shrug off – even websites generating millions of dollars in clicks for Google’s advertising program, Adsense, were affected.

Focus on quality over quantity. And we mean it. It’s tempting to write three mediocre articles to try and rank for three keywords right away through off-page SEO, but in 2015, it’s smarter to spend more time on one article and ensure that it keeps its rankings for one keyword throughout the Panda refreshes.

Finally, content creation has become a science. You now have to balance cost (either your time or your money) with quality. You can no longer just post anything… though, like we’ve said over and over again, your content doesn’t have to resemble a doctoral thesis, either. (Sometimes, more casual content is even preferred, such as on a site like TMZ.)

Got it? Good.

Time to get to work. If you’re building a new site, get started on producing that exemplary content that Google will love – every time a Panda refresh comes around, you’ll climb a few ranks over the poor-quality content farms.

If you already have a site, look through to make sure you’re not making the Panda angry – then, get to work on those valuable articles that will rank for years down the line.

And if you need someone to handle the hard work for you, contact SEO professionals today. We have helped hundreds of businesses just like yours avoid and recover from Panda penalties. Let’s get you on track towards solid rankings – not rankings that disappear during every Panda refresh.

Good luck!

The post How Google Panda Affected Website Creation appeared first on SEO Nick.

How to Manage Your Social Media Profiles During a Rebrand





how to use social media profiles for rebranding



When you decide to commit to a rebrand, the stakes are high. Your branding defines how people see your business, and changing it completely means risking the awareness and image you’ve worked hard to build. But what happens when your company evolves to a point where your original branding doesn’t fit anymore? Since branding is so important, a rebrand could be the best decision for you.

At Zizinya Web Solutions, we realized a while back that we’d grown away from our original SEO and web design focus. We were no longer the company we started out as, so we needed to update our brand to match our new identity as an inbound marketing agency. As such, Bonafide was born.

Even if making the decision to change isn’t difficult for your business, you can expect the process of rebranding to be. There’s a long list of steps to take and factors to consider so that your entire online presence shifts from the old brand to the new.

Updating and making good use of your social media profiles is paramount in the world of online marketing. We identified thirteen steps we needed to complete before, during, and after the rebrand to transition our social media identity. You may have more social media profiles for your brand than we cover here, but our emphasis was on the four main social media platforms used in B2B marketing. You can find some details on updating a few of the other social media sites here.

What to Do Before You Rebrand

Staying on top of your brand’s social media presence should be at the forefront of your rebranding strategy because it’s simply too important to delay. If you need any convincing as to how important it actually is, look no further than the Qwikster/Netflix debacle of 2011. While a lack of preliminary social media research probably wasn’t the only reason that Netflix’s plan to split into two separate entities failed, a little diligence would have gone a long way. For example, the embarrassing post-announcement realization that the Twitter handle of the new brand’s name was already owned by a high school marijuana enthusiast didn’t help their case.

Don’t make the same mistake. Before you launch your rebrand, do your prep work.

Research what’s taken.

So, take a hint from Netflix and start by checking all the main social media websites to see if someone’s already using your name. You can use the tool KnowEm to check them all at once (along with trademarks and domain names).

knowem for social media accounts



You don’t necessarily have to scrap a name you like because it’s taken on social media, though. Instead, you can find a variation on the name that works for you. In our case, “bonafide” is a popular word, so we found ourselves in competition with multiple music groups, businesses, a magazine and a non-profit on social media. Even knowing that, we already had our hearts set on the name, so we came up with variations that made sense for each platform.

Have a plan.

For some of the social media websites, you only have one chance to change your name before you’re stuck with it. If you rush the process and make a mistake, you may not be able to fix it. Take the time to research and understand what goes into changing your name and vanity URL for each social media website before you take action. That way, you can get the change right on the first try.

Keep in mind that when you launch your new brand, you’re going to be busy. Anything you can prepare in advance to make the process easier, do. One thing you can do ahead of time is have an updated bio prepared for each social media profile. On the day of the rebrand, you can use KnowEm to help update all of your bios at once, as long as you’re okay with them all being consistent. Alternatively, if you want to use distinct bios for each site based on the audience and character count allowed, write them up in a Word document or spreadsheet before the day of your rebrand. That way, all you have to do is copy and paste when the time comes.

You’ll also need updated image files that match your new design for each social media platform. Talk to your graphic designer about producing images for you in the appropriate size for each profile so you have those ready to go on rebranding day as well.

social media guide for image searchDo advanced promotion.

Your social media followers are some of the most important members of your community. One way you can generate early interest in your rebrand is by letting them know something big is coming or by offering them a sneak peak of what to expect. A glimpse of your new logo or some teaser updates that hint at the new brand can be just enough to pique their curiosity leading up to the official announcement.

Be prepared for likely questions and comments.

Sit down with your team and put together a list of all the responses and questions you think you may get from followers. If you have answers prepared for most of the feedback that comes up, you’ll have an easier time responding quickly, reasonably, and consistently. Assign someone the job of keeping an eye on your social accounts throughout the first few days of the rebrand. People will expect quick and clear replies from your team, so if you don’t have a clear response strategy in place it may be easy to get swept up in everything else you have to do and let social media slide.

Rebranding Your Profiles

Ideally, you should aim to have most of your social media platforms updated the morning of your rebrand before you send out your announcement.

This means that prior to rebrand day, you’ll have to do some legwork for some of the social media platforms to make sure that your accounts are set up and ready to go, specifically Facebook. Also, on the day of, you’ll probably have to have someone wake up early to make any last minute changes before the launch. Make sure that your messaging is consistent across your online platforms as this will help minimize any confusion surrounding your new brand.

Update Facebook.

If you have less than 200 likes for your page, editing your page name is pretty straightforward. If you have more than 200 likes, the process may be a bit more complicated. You’ll need to submit a request and you may be asked to submit documentation that shows your connection to the new name. Facebook only lets you update your vanity URL once, so you should wait to do this until after you change your page name. Be careful to update all the links to your Facebook page once your URLs are updated so that they don’t produce error messages.

facebook social media account example

Since our rebrand went beyond a name change, Facebook was hesitant to let us keep our current page. It required some back-and-forth, but we were ultimately able to convince them. If you find yourself in a similar position, a little persistence could pay off. You should expect the process of updating Facebook to take at least two weeks, so give yourself an ample amount of time to complete the transition. Start working with them well in advance of the day you plan to launch.



Update Google +/ My Business.

Google is much quicker and easier to update than Facebook, and it’s one to prioritize. The Google + update ensures that your new brand comes up first when people search for your old brand name. You can easily edit your name when logged into your account, but you will need to verify the change by postcard or phone before it will take effect. We did experience some glitches in updating our account, but we were pleased to find that Google’s customer service was very helpful in working through them and getting it done.

google Plus

Once you’ve claimed a Google + vanity URL, you can’t change it, so you’re stuck with the one you’ve got unless you’re willing to create a new account and start from scratch. If you have much of a following on Google+, you’re probably better off keeping the URL with your old name.

Update LinkedIn.

Changing your name on LinkedIn is simple. The only catch is that you can’t use a name that’s already taken, which was an issue for us with Bonafide. We added “TM” to the end of our name and that was good enough to secure the name change. We could have added something like “Marketing” or “Company” if TM had been taken. For most brand names, you should have no problem coming up with variations on your name that is both available and intuitive for anyone searching for your brand.

linkedinUpdate Twitter.

We saved Twitter for last because it’s the easiest. You simply log in and update the name and handle in your account settings. As with LinkedIn, the only complication you may encounter is finding that your desired name is already taken. The easiest way to handle this is to come up with a variation (we went with @GoBonafide). If you have a trademark on the name or the account looks inactive, you do have some other options to try to claim the name.

twitter

What to Do After Your Rebrand

Launching your new brand is just the beginning. Now you’ve got to get your new name out there.

Introduce and explain your new brand.

Social media gives you a direct line to some of your most important contacts. Use your social media channels to explain why you chose to rebrand, what the new brand is all about, and what the change means for your customers and prospects. You can even make a note of your former brand in your bios so they know to connect the new name with the brand they already knew and trusted.

Promote your promotional content.

Any content you create to promote your new brand should be shared with your social media followers. This could be a blog post you write to explain the reason behind the rebranding, a video you produce to introduce the new brand to your site visitors, or any guest posts or articles you write about the rebranding experience. Sharing them with your followers re-emphasizes the connection between the old brand and the new, and it gives you more opportunities to detail the reasons behind the change.

Consider paid promotion.

Paid ads on social media are a good way to get your new name in front of people. You want to make sure your new name becomes familiar to all your current followers, but you also want to gain some new followers and prospects in the process. If you haven’t tried out any of the ad programs on social media yet, now’s a good time to see if they’re a good fit for your business.

Pay attention to feedback.

It’s possible that some of your followers will be resistant to your rebranding efforts, but for the most part, they’ll probably think it’s great and cheer you on. Whatever your community is saying on social media – listen. Be quick to respond to any concerns that are brought up and take all feedback you receive seriously. Any follower that cares enough about your brand to weigh in is one worth engaging with.

Be social.

At the risk of sounding completely obvious and uninspired, keep doing all the stuff you should normally do on social media to promote your brand. Rebranding is a time-consuming process and it’s easy to let certain things slip under the radar, but it’s more important than usual that you stay engaged on your social media channels. Share content! Take time to respond to what other people say. Participate in Google communities, LinkedIn groups, and Twitter chats. Keep your profiles active and social. What you do on social media will help define your new brand in the eyes of your followers, so make it a priority.

Be proactive with it, too – don’t be afraid to use it!

Author Bio:

Shareef is the President of Bonafide, an inbound marketing agency in Houston, Texas. He leads a team of smart, straight-shooting, modern-day marketers who are hell-bent on growing businesses and relationships.

http://www.gobonafide.com/

https://www.facebook.com/GoBonafide

@GoBonafide

The post How to Manage Your Social Media Profiles During a Rebrand appeared first on SEO Nick.

Increase Organic Traffic With An Eye On Conversions





Get traffic, get conversions



If you’re a fledgling Internet marketer with a new product or service, chances are that all you dream about is a top Google ranking and getting hordes of visitors to your site. The more traffic, the more conversions, and the more you earn, right?

But let’s be honest here; for most business owners, exactly how to get those purchase-hungry prospects onto their landing page still remains a mystery. Sure, they’ve heard or read somewhere that after they launch their site it’ll somehow be absorbed into the Google rankings and as if by magic, the customers will come.

However, the truth is different.Experienced web masters know that getting to be top of Google doesn’t happen overnight. It can take anything from six months to a year for your site to pop up first on the search page.

Of course, a good supply of fresh, valuable content helps. So does a well thought through SEO strategy. But if you’re new to the web then you’re going to face some tough opposition.

Your competitors will already be ranking with your search engine keywords and they’ll have had time to tweak their content and tune their websites to optimise their search engine ranking positions.

This doesn’t mean you should give up before even you start.By exploring and experimenting with alternative creative methods, the smart online marketeer can use those first few months to build a following based on any number of social channels, reaching out to potentially huge audiences and generating tons of genuine organic traffic.

Plus, the first six months gives him enough time to create and develop an online presence which provides real, quality content and sparks off a wealth of interesting conversations around the web.

The Problem With High Bounce Rate

It’s worth remembering that even if your website is Google’s #1, it doesn’t necessarily mean all those Pay Per Clicks are giving the conversions you need. It’s estimated around 70% of visitors to your site will not be coming back. That’s an eye-watering fact that bears repeating; for every 10 potential customers who do find your landing page, 7 will never return.

high bouce rate exemple

And it gets worse. If your website isn’t             absolutely navigation-friendly, if it’s so confusing and overly cluttered your visitors can’t find what they’re searching for, they’ll simply leave without even attempting to click through to the money page.

In other words, they’ll hit your website and just BOUNCE off.

But don’t confuse bounce rates with exit rates.

Google Analytics describes Bounce Rate as:

”the percentage of single-page sessions — sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page”

Generally, customers will bounce once and then they’re gone forever. Which means that a high bounce rate can be a disaster for your business.

In the worst case scenario, you’ll forfeit your position as a ‘thought leader’ in your field and will no longer be considered a viable resource for your product or service—and it won’t matter one iota if Google lists your website at #1 or not.

The Key to a Profitable Business is a Great Website

Now we’ve established Google is not going to do your website any favors for at least six months, we can have a look at alternative methods of driving prospects to your site.

First and foremost, your website has to be fit for purpose. Attracting people to a site that simply doesn’t work can do a lot more harm than attracting no visitors at all.

Increasing Organic Traffic To Optimize Conversions

Here are a few simple hacks that will improve your site and draw genuine organic traffic:

  • Give-aways
  • Get reviews
  • Action calls

Give-Aways

When someone comes to your website, the last thing they need is to think they’ve wasted their precious time. Give them something of value they can take away with them. It will make the visitor feel good and ideally will get you their email address.



And as every good web master knows, email add is bring money.

giveaway to increase time on site and social interactions

Videos, eBooks, reports and guides are popular freebies that can cause the visitor to bond with your website. Along with traditional SEO approaches, you can announce these giveaways in forums, or places like Quora where your prospects are likely to frequent. This practice will earn you more than a few links. It will earn you leads that are most likely to convert.

In this regards, it’s important that your offer has some kind of value, otherwise your potential customer will feel cheated. Services like MailChimp provide an automated response that makes signing up an easy and worry-free experience for you and your customer.

Get Reviews

A handful of positive reviews will add a stamp of credibility to your website. Start by steering family and friends to your site and ask for their honest opinions.

get relevant user reviews

You can take advantage of any well-meant criticism by fine tuning functionality, general appearance and ‘feel’ of the pages. Same way, you can   branch out to places ( ideally forums as well as your company Facebook page) where these reviews can be published, as general feedback on your brand or services with a link back to your site.

The practice will earn you visitors that are more likely to buy from you than just click through to your website.

On-site tweaks

Buttons and internal links are crucial for enticing visitors deeper into your website. This will help lower the dreaded Bounce Rate and direct them to the sign up section pages.

internal linking

Good headings and subheadings with related linkage are excellent eye-catchers that can move visitors gently towards the checkout button and increase conversion rates.

While the tricks above may need not only experience but sound SEO and marketing knowledge, you may consult a SEO professional for guidance.

Ready, Steady, Go

Once we have these simple but effective tools in place we’re ready to go out and spread the word. But not just anywhere. Knowing your target audience and where to find them is essential to building real organic traffic that will end up scoring you those high conversion numbers.

And you don’t have to blow your budget on PPC and SEO. Thousands of your target customers can found on blogs, Q+A websites, forums and much more.

Sites like Slideshare & Youtube

slideshare
 

For instance, sites like Slideshare and YouTube are invaluable resources for sharing product and service information and linking back to your own site. Look in the right places and you’ll find enormous amounts of people seeking information you can provide and offer perfect opportunities for building a rich networking portfolio, as well as earning links that are quite valued in terms of organic SEO.

Targeted Forums:

Forum in particular are a treasure trove of potential customers. Whether your niche is in the building trade, antiques or baseball cards, there are heaps of target      forums out there where specific groups of people are talking about your range of products and services.

forums

Transparency is key. Set yourself up with a genuine profile and include a custom signature that links back to your site. Next, you seek out the topics where you can add value to the conversation. Your goal is to establish yourself as an expert. By injecting good content into the discussion you can attract the right kind of attention and it won’t be long before people start to turn to you with inquiries and asking for your advice.

The bigger your presence the higher the probability you’ll attract visitors to your site. And the more available you are and the more quality content you can add, the more forum members will want to engage with you and the better known you’ll become.

From there it’s only one click on your link to your website. Do the same with 4, 5 or 6 different forums and you’ll have already generated a steady flow of traffic. In no time you’ll become ‘the expert’ people turn to and conversions that are practically predestined.

Wiki-sites

wikipedia logo

Another great resource to find organic traffic are wiki sites. And not just the main Wikipedia website. Wiki sites are where many of your customers will go to do their basic research about their topic of interest.

You can find your niche wiki or if one doesn’t exist, create your own. Do not, however, use a wiki page to deliver a hard sell. Wiki’s are not the place for a cold pitch. And yes, links back to your mother website are fine and feel free to quote your own facts and figures.

Just make sure the information is correct or you will end up with virtual egg on your face. A little bit of hard work here will have the added effect of establishing your site as something more than a blatant vehicle for sales.

And of course, backlinking is a sturdy SEO tactic that will pay dividends a few months down the line.

Word of caution: And while we’re on the subject of backlinks, public directories used to be rife with unscrupulous marketeers abusing them to create fake content to link back to dubious websites.

To say that Google disapproved is an understatement. Punishment was swift. Directories are where you publish your legitimate business in the appropriate category. It’s usually best to start with local lists and expand from there. Find directories where you can create a profile, explain your product and where possible, insert a link to your website. Profiles should be compelling and original— and not just a copy and paste short cut.

Power of Videos

video marketing done right

More and more websites are using videos to get their message out there. Good video content can be visually exciting, but the written word still has



Its merits. Written articles are a good opportunity to measure response and generate initial interest. Once it’s proved its popularity an article can be easily converted to video.

The production doesn’t have to win Oscars; some basic charts and graphics and a colorful background will generally do the job. And it’s perfectly fine to recycle information from the original article.

Videos are known to hold attention longer than scripts or a block of text. And with popular video sites, you not only get a link and optimized leads to your website, your website also gets links that are highly valued in terms of organic SEO.

Podcast:

podcasts

If video is not your thing then a podcast might just do the trick. The short, audio productions are perfect for people on the move. Podcasts provide information, entertainment and advertising while your customers are driving or flying, on the bus or a train.

They can simply plug in the headphones, connect to iTunes or an equal equivalent and listen to their favorite channels. And you don’t have to be an audio genius to make your own broadcast. Check out Pat Flynn’s excellent tutorial for starting your own podcasts to learn everything you need to know about spreading the audio word.

You may not know how to make all of it work as it’s supposed to be. That’s okay!

SEO professionals with the right kind of knowledge are just a call away!

Innovation is the secret to finding organic traffic

Okay, so some of these ideas may take a little time and effort but they are more or less guaranteed to get your website the attention it needs to build up a good, solid flow of organic traffic.

And even if you never get that coveted Google ranking you dreamed about you’ll still have a daily stream of potential customers. Placing your entire faith in a search engine is probably not the best way to go. Million dollar businesses can slip off the top of the search page and still carry on with a thriving turnover.

Creating a meaningful relationship with your target audience and planting valuable information around the web is a reliable way of generating serious traffic to your website. Quality content will get you noticed and people will share what you have to say.

Sooner or later, someone will think your downloads will add value to their lives and they will give you their email address. From there it’s just a short step from generating traffic to generating revenue.

But this is just the beginning. In the second part of this article, we’ll talk about how to turn all this organic traffic into conversions.

On-Site Conversion Optimizers

ecoomerce conversion optimization checklist

In short, how to keep your visitors on the page once they arrive and get them to pluck their credit cards from their pockets and actually spend hard-earned cash on your product.

Converting your newly won traffic into paying customers is the Holy Grail of any marketing campaign. It’s why you started your business in the first place, right? So just how do we improve the odds of a prospect coming to your site and actually making a purchase?

Below are 8 tips that will ensure you’ve done all you can to turn a visit to your website into a source of revenue:

Discounts and Promotion

promotions and discouns for conversion improvement

Everyone likes to think they’re getting a great deal. Offering special discounts is a method particularly well suited to first-time visitors to your website.

An extra 5% to 10% off can be all that’s needed to tip the scales towards a sale. And it’s something you should really shout about.

It should be the first bit of information that catches your visitor’s eye. Guarantees and referral schemes are also good ideas that will captivate your audience. Or how about a special discount for anyone who signs up to your newsletter? Be creative, the only limits are your own imagination.

Multiple Payment Options

add more payment options for conversion

Paypal is a great third party payment option with levels of security unsurpassed on the Internet. But does your customer know this? Do they prefer a direct bank transfer or maybe Western Union?

Offering other methods of payment can be a good way of swinging that first reluctant sale. Keep in mind that the competition for online conversions is fierce. You’ll need to offer at least as many payment methods as your competitors.

You should only use clearly visible buttons and logos of the most popular third party payment vendors and keep the purchase process as easy and quick as possible.

Customer Service

customer satisfaction

Providing an efficient customer service can be a problem for smaller businesses but it’s essential you at least project the consumer reassurance of larger companies.

There are still a huge amount of prospective buyers who prefer to order by phone rather than go through the payment process. If your website doesn’t have a phone number then you’ve lost those prospects before they even got warm.

And if you simply don’t possess the resources to have a 24/7 phone number available, a professional sounding recorded message will go a long way to keeping the customer on track.

Easy Return Policies

return policies for ecommerce conversion

Take a good look at your returns policy for products you sell online. For customers visiting your site for the first time this may be one of the first things they look at.

This could mean the difference between sale or no sale. Make sure your terms and conditions are easy to find and written in plain, no-nonsense language.

In today’s bargain-hungry environment, policies that insist returns have to be made within 3 days of purchase for example, or levy a 33% administration fee are simply not going to fly. Of course, making a profit has to be the bottom line of any online store but the least you can do is offer the same terms as your competitors.

Keeping it fair will invoke your customer’s trust and will generate more sales.

Be Your Own Mystery Shopper

mystery shopper

Slipping into your visitor’s shoes from time to time is a good way of keeping track of your website’s usability. Invite family and friends to check out your site and listen to their feedback.

Ask yourself if you would buy from the site? Is the navigation from landing page to check out clear and uncomplicated? Can you reduce the number of times a prospect has to click to make a purchase? Even go so far as to make a ‘dummy’ purchase and check to see if the entire process works the way it should. If you don’t enjoy the experience then neither will your customers and they’ll be headed straight to your competitors.

Secure The Site

SSL encryption improves customer trust

Most consumers won’t shop online if they think the site is insecure. In today’s world of identity theft and Internet fraudsters you have to make sure your prospects feel safe when they’re handing over their credit card details.

You can use resources like Hackersafe to reassure your customers and make it visually obvious with banners and logos on every page that your website is protected.

Encourage Feedback

ask for customer feedback

Making it easy for customers to air their opinion of your website and it’s products is a great way of getting feedback, both good and bad.

You can provide email and mailing options where your visitors can let off steam or shower praise. Try offering incentives like a small discount off the next purchase for any helpful hints and tips your customers like to share.

Watch the Competition

Keeping a regular and watchful eye on your competition is another good method of measuring your website’s progress. Ask yourself what they are doing better than you and if it’s possible could you also integrate the changes into your business.

Even if your website is a small operation you can still learn from the eCommerce giants like Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart. Also make a note of where you do your own online shopping and why?

Find out if there’s there anything you can learn from your favorite Internet store and perhaps implement that into your own business.

Tapping into the rich veins of organic traffic is an excellent and cost-efficient way to attract paying customers to your website. But as we’ve seen, that is only half of the battle. By following the above tips you too can turn your online presence into a successful revenue machine and reap the benefits you’ve worked so hard for.

While following all the steps above to the tee is NOT easy, you can make use of the service of professionals or hire a SEO consultant to make things work for you.

The post Increase Organic Traffic With An Eye On Conversions appeared first on SEO Nick.

Tips and Tricks to get you started with Social Media Marketing





Just when you’ve decided to build your social media presence, you face the dilemma “where do I begin”. You have so many platforms, so many users to connect with, a plethora of content you can explore from various angles! You should know that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for social media marketing. It all depends on the nature of your business, the products and services you offer, the audience you want to target, your budget and so on. It takes some time to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.



Having said that, let’s begin with the tips that can get you started.

Know the various social media channels

These are the places which can get you the right audience for your business. So a deeper understanding of these platforms can help you get the edge over your competitors. Start with the Big Four – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

It’s safe to start with one or two of the platforms rather than jumping on all 4 channels at once. Many marketers have tried this and failed miserably.

A simple way to find a suitable platform for your business is to follow the influencers in your niche. Analyze them closely and check their followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and so on.

Survey your customers or clients to find out which platform they use and prefer the most.

Another way is to find the leading business in your niche and visit their social media profiles. Let’s say they have 10,000 followers on twitter and 1000 fans on facebook. This is a strong sign that twitter is a better platform for your business. But don’t stop there. Drill down to find their engagement level on these platforms. This will help you determine which one can produce better results.

Optimize your Profiles

Once you decide which platform you want to target, the second step is to optimize your profile. This is going to help you with your SEO and will also increase your followers/fans.

  • Update your profile and cover image

Use high-quality images which represent your business and your logo. Social media is all about connecting with people. Your profile picture will create the first impression of your business.

  • Keep your description catchy.

Your description should capture your expertise and Unique Selling Proposal. Try to keep it short. When you are writing your Twitter bio besides your main keywords, add relevant hashtags.



  • Include a link to your website.

Including a link will help your SEO. You can add it to the “About me” section of Facebook,“Website section” of Twitter and “Contributor section” of Google+.

  • Add your physical address and phone number.

Build Your Audience

 

Once you have set up your profile there are a few basic steps which you can take to build your audience. First, you can invite your friends, clients, partners, and employees to the page.

Make your Social Media Buttons omnipresent. Add social media widgets to your blog or website and social media buttons to your email signature. You should always link your social media accounts on your “About us”, “Contact Us” page, blogs, newsletter etc.  

Also, incorporate social media buttons to your website so when you add content to your blog, for example, readers can easily share it. There are various plugins which can help you do that. Always, make these buttons large in size so that they are easily visible and clickable.

Once you have connected with your current contacts try reaching a new audience. Target people with interests in your niche and potentially your product or service. Run social media ads which target the right audience for your business.

Now, let’s have a look at each platform and check some specific strategies:

Facebook:

  • Advertise – target under 50,000 people. Retarget your ads for people who have visited your blog/website once. Choose your “type of ad” based on your audience, budget, and product/service. 

Twitter:

  • Start following relevant accounts – mostly users follow you back when you follow them. So it can make a good strategy for those who are just starting on Twitter. Go through the list of followers of other influencers in your niche. Optimize this list and start following relevant users.
  • Use trending and relevant hashtags
  • Find interesting twitter chats to join. Contribute to the conversation and interact with other participants. People will follow you when they see your expertise and the interesting insights you have.

Google+:

  • Get involved in Google+ circles – find circles which are relevant to your niche, follow them and build a community.
  • Join and contribute value to relevant communities.

LinkedIn:

  • Ask all your employees to get involved
  • Always customize your invitation requests

Don’t rush into building your followers. If you are not already aware, let me tell you that twitter restricts the number of people you can follow per day. Also, on Google+ you can add/delete only a number of people from your circle.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same goes for your social presence. You need to have some patience to build thousands of followers. Do not rush into it at the cost of breaking the rules. You might end up getting your account suspended.

I would suggest you build real followers. Then, concentrate on creating amazing content that people would love. This will not only help your SEO efforts but will also help you become an authority in your niche.

Share content that people will love

Content will remain king forever, and I always say interactive content is the hand of the king. The same goes for social media. When you publish interesting, unique and eye-catching content, people are bound to share it. The more people share it, the more visitors and followers you get.



But what do you post? I have compiled a list of interesting content that you can publish:

  • News posts and articles which focus on a controversial topic in your niche.
  • Customize quotes to your niche. (I would recommend using Canva for those)
  • Posting about any new research or stats in your area (of course by giving proper citations). Alternatively, make your own research and present your findings.
  • Create your own infographics – or if you are using someone else’s, make sure you mention them
  • Post videos – a “how-to” video tutorial is a good option to start with.
  • Use memes, GIFs and other trends. Share a joke once in awhile.
  • Include relevant hashtags. They make your content more searchable.

If you are not able to achieve the right amount of engagement in the form of likes, shares or comments, then you need to change your strategy.

One tested way to boost the engagement levels is adding images to your posts. Images catch the attention of your followers easily and help them comprehend the content better.  Your message becomes more clear and memorable.

You can look for blank images and customize them (include text in them). For example. you can ask a question and let your followers answer in the comments.

 

Post Consistently but don’t go crazy

Just because you got a million likes on your previous post does not mean that your task is done. You need to post consistently but don’t go overboard with it. Create a schedule and allocate specific time to social media marketing daily.

You can also make use of scheduling apps like Hootsuite and Buffer or use an editorial calendar. This will ensure you are not skipping posts and spending more than the required time.

Now, the question is how much should you post on each social media platform daily?

For Facebook, try once or twice in a day. For twitter, the more you tweet, the more exposure your business gets. For LinkedIn, try once in a day (avoid weekends). For Google+, I would suggest you post twice a day.

Social Media Strategies for Each Platform

Each social media network has a different set of users. Therefore, you need a different strategy for each platform. What works for Twitter might not work for LinkedIn.

For example, Facebook has a more diverse user base. Therefore, it can be used to promote any kind of brand. LinkedIn is a great platform for B2B companies. They can use it to promote business related content to corporate influencers.

Spend some time researching what people are looking for on various social networks. Then, align your strategies with these channels.

Now let’s dig into strategies that you could use for the major players:

Facebook:

  • Post Videos. According to TechCrunch, Facebook gets 3 billion views per day.
  • Use High-definition images.
  • Come up with posts that capture the mood of the season or a holiday
  • Change your cover to promote an event
  • Keep your post brief and interesting
  • Post Questions – it’s one of the best ways to strike a conversation (For example, “Which burger do you like the most? Bomb or Devi’s’?
  • Add call-to-actions

Twitter:

  • Optimize your bio – include a link to your website, tell people exactly what you do and how you can help them. Be precise.
  • Use the advanced search feature to search by keywords and find your ideal potential customers.  Go through their profiles and try to learn more about them. Then, customize your content when you are engaging with your target customers.
  • Incorporate images in your twitter posts – tweets with images 313% more engagement.
  • Engage with your followers on a regular basis – retweet and reply to their tweets.
  • Find experts in your niche and interact with them often.
  • Tweet regularly.
  • Use relevant and trending hashtags

LinkedIn:

  • Pick a niche (topic) that connects to your business and keep posting consistent and interesting content.
  • Come up with great headlines – this element creates the first impression of your business.
  • Use Rich media to effectively convey your expertise to your prospects. (videos, slideshare presentations and other interactive tools).
  • Plan your publishing times in a way that gives your posts maximum exposure.
  • You can go for a sponsored ad if your budget permits.

Google+:

  • Make sure you have claimed authorship with your personal Google+ page.
  • Link your website with your Google+ page. Incorporate a Google+ badge on your website, this will enable your users to follow your business on Google+ without  having to leave your website.
  • Try to use hashtags with every post, this will give you an added exposure. But make sure that the hashtag you are using is in sync with your topic.
  • Use clear and illustrative cover photos. You can use this picture to display your new products or advertise any upcoming event.
  • If you find webinars expensive, you can host Google+ hangouts. Although it supports only 10 active participants, you can stream it online to unlimited viewers through youtube.
  • Join communities in your niche. If you can’t find one, you can create your own using your personal profile page.

Instagram:

  • Optimize your profile – include a link, have a consistent name and an eye-catching bio.
  • Use a mix of short videos, graphics, images to know what type of content people react to the most
  • Comment on other people’s content – use industry-related and brand-related hashtags
  • Use fun images from your business – your office or your employees
  • Follow your followers and also, reward them sometimes
  • Keep a flexible posting schedule – use trending hashtags
  • Carefully choose your filters
  • Hold photo contests

Pinterest:

  • Make a business page (and not a profile). Thus, you can get access to analytics and advertising features which is not possible on a Pinterest profile.
  • Take some time out and comment on other pins – relevant pins in your niche where people commenting can be your potential leads.
  • Optimize your pins with a high definition images and classy text templates.
  • Add videos to your pinboard.
  • Organize all your client testimonials on a separate testimonial board.
  • Go for Rich pins – it will add extra details to your pins.

Youtube:

  • Use your keywords in your channel description and make sure you include a link back to your website.
  • Post simple yet unique videos.
  • Interact with your fans and subscribers – thank them for their support and always reply to their comments
  • Have a call-to-action at the end of every video
  • Link to related videos at the end of the video
  • Optimize your video description with important keywords and give a brief and precise information about the video content. Also, don’t forget to add a link your website.   

Now over to you.

What strategies would you recommend when taking your first steps in social media? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

How to Choose a Domain Name for Maximum SEO





the portance of domain name selection for SEO

The Rundown

In order to get the most out of your SEO process, you’ve got to ensure that your domain is suitable for the project at hand. SEO isn’t something that you can just slap together, and it usually calls for an abundance of professional help to take place. In regards to your domain name, it’s something that helps people identify your brand online – but that’s only skimming the surface of what is needed to be covered. You’re going to be putting a lot of money into these authority sites (or, at least, what you hope will turn into authority sites); which is why it’s crucial to capitalize on your SEO efforts at every possible point.



Keeping Up with the Times!

When speaking about your domain name, it’s going to come with a lot of variables. Not only will these variables come in abundance, but they may even change on certain occasions. This is information that is held in high regard, but usually incredibly difficult to obtain as well. We’re going to look at how you can grow your company in more ways than one, all through the use of your domain name. It may not seem like much right now, but it’s going to be a key piece in the success your business will see.

It’s 2016, and that means you’re going to have to adapt; most people who refuse to do so get left in the dust. It’s a lot more about the entire picture, as opposed to just the old fashioned way of conducting business. Having a strong online presence is pretty much a must these days, and the lack of one is almost like planning for the inevitable failure of your ventures. Some people are going to want shorter domains, so that consumers find them easy to remember; others are going to find interest in the much longer variety (due to the fact that they need to be specific). It’s all about preference, like most other things associated with internet marketing and having an online presence in general.

The Basic Breakdown

Let’s talk about three main attributes that make up a domain, as that should give you some more information to work with. Take a look at these negative attributes, and then apply them to your domain name process as you please; pretty much, just ensure that you avoid all of these things at all costs.

  • Hyphens – Hyphens are a big problem when it comes to purchasing a domain name, as they appear a little more spammy than your traditional domain. Separating words really isn’t that important, seeing as domain names are all one word anyways; in most cases, people only use hyphens to rip off other ideas/websites.
  • Improper TLD’s (Top-Level Domains) – TLD’s are the ending to your domain names, and they can have a very drastic effect on your SEO efforts. For example, when you work with a website that end in something like .com or .co.uk, you’re going to have a lot more credibility (and ranking power). Lesser known TLD’s like .cc, .ws and even .info are something to avoid – in most cases, these are websites that are incredibly frugal with the amount of credibility and honesty they’re offering.
  • Length – The length of your domain name is also very important, and drawing it on and pushing it to more than 15 characters is a no-no. You should avoid lengthy domain names, and you definitely don’t want to go over 15 characters. Short domain names allow the consumer to remember it easier, as well as share them; there is also a much smaller chance of pushing through with any sort of typo.

Domain names have lost a little bit of their “SEO-juice” when compared to the past, but they still hold a pretty decent amount of necessity. Completely forgetting to think of a unique and SEO-ready domain is just silly, and you don’t want to get into that habit.

Getting Started

Determining Your Needs

Domain-name-research

When it comes to making sure your domain is following SEO protocol, you have to get a hold of specific information. For example, you’ll want to apply your brand name to the domain; it just makes sense. When people go to your website, they’ll be thinking of the words representing your brand. It’s consistent advertising in its finest form, and that’s why the internet is such a business-conscious place to be working with. If you want to go the alternative route, and completely avoid your brand name (which some people do for specific projects), that’s okay as well.



Your brand name should pretty much always make an appearance in the domain, but the sale of domains and URLs has been around for a very long time now. If you have a traditional or commonly named brand, you may find it tough to actually find a domain that’s short and to the point. If you have to get a little lengthy, just make sure it isn’t going overboard. Some of the most important traits to think of before you get into to domain name selection process would be:

What Direction Are You Going? – Are you trying to put together an eCommerce website? Or is it something that’s going to be labeled a little more “artsy”? The form of your website and the demographic that it appeals to is going to be important to keep in mind, otherwise you may find yourself missing on potential growth. If you have to appeal towards the more technical crown, be straightforward; if you’ve got space to be creative, don’t be afraid to do so (but be ready to plan for some rather unique keywords in the process).

Online Presence is Essential – It’s pretty much a known fact that business needs a website these days; at least, if they want to stay in business for more than a few weeks (or days, who knows?). Without a strong online presence, you won’t be able to appeal towards the billions of people living on this planet. That’s something you just really can’t miss out on! Are you ready to get into the process of maintaining the website associated with your domain? Updating it and brushing up on the SEO profile, among other things?

Domain names come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but without proper planning, there’s no telling just how quality your choice is going to be.

Keywords

what-are-keywords

Keywords are important for SEO purposes, and that pretty much pertains to every single aspect of SEO. If you want to create some content for your website, you need to have keywords; when you’re looking to figure out the perfect domain name, guess what? That’s right, keywords! It’s no secret that keywords are going to be a very constant variable within your SEO process, as a matter of fact, it’s always going to be there. These are the specific phrases that people are searching for within engines like Google or Bing; and these are the phrases you need to be focusing on.

Keywords aren’t always the same for every single domain name, and that’s where a little bit of research is going to come into play. If you’re completely oblivious as to what keywords are, this section is going to bear a lot of “fruit” for you to snack on (mental fruit, of course!).

What Exactly are “Keywords”?

We’re going to get into a pretty technical example here, but trust me, it’s for the greater good. When you talk about keywords and what they have associated with them, it can seem like gibberish at first; that’s okay, just bear with me.

Every single domain name and website (well, everything in general on the internet that has words) can be associated with keywords. For example, let’s just say that your website is called “www.incrediblycoolhats.com” – this means that every single keyword associated with your domain name needs to pertain towards hats (that are more than likely incredibly cool, mind you).

  • Local Keywords – These are keywords that would have to do with the local way deal of dealing with things, as in; “buy hats in x”, where X would be the local region that you’re planning on covering. Local keywords are crucial because they allow you to appeal towards the immediate crowd, those being consumers close to you. Domain names almost never have these, unless you’re creating a very specific page (like a bunch of carpenter sites that cover numerous cities).
  • Competition Levels – Keywords are going to have a lot competition to battle against, regardless of what industry you happen to be in. The world is a big place, and that means there are going to be a lot of people trying to make a living online (or just build their online presence). As a result, you’ll be fighting for the top spot. Research your keywords with the tools available to you (we’ll get into that a little later on), it’ll be easier to ensure your success as things move forward. The “Google Keyword Planner” is the perfect tool to keep in mind, and it’s what most people turn towards for help.

Why Do I Need Keywords?

Without keywords, you won’t be able to appeal towards your preferred demographic. There’s a reason why people research their keywords in abundance before working with them, as it’s something that people have become accustomed to. A domain name without any keywords is fine, but only if you’re looking for a branded domain name.



Branded Domain Names

brand your domain name

What Are They?

When you think of incredibly large companies like Nike or Adidas, their domain names are pretty straight forward. Not only will it be simple and to the point, but there’s a reason they’re allowed to follow this suit – that’s because they’re so popular. If you’re already an established name in the industry, all you have to do is use your brand name for the domain. Not only will it already have some SEO power behind it (as you already carry a relatively strong presence with your name alone), but it makes figuring out your domain name a much easier process.

You can only make use of a branded domain name in specific scenarios, as you never want to do it when you aren’t a popular brand. Doing so is going to result in less than stellar results when it comes to your SEO analytics, and you always want to put your best foot forward.

Creating “Sub-Domains”

When you’ve got a domain, and a plethora of pages that you want to get out there, sub-domains can become one of the most – for example, when you use a TLD in which .us appears, there are different sub-domains to apply to every single state within the USA. It’s essentially a domain that is part of a larger domain, which is useful for a variety of different reasons.

Budgeting for Your Domain Name

how-much-does-a-domain-name-cost

The budget behind your domain name selection needs to be figured out beforehand, as there are usually annual fees associated with keeping a page live (for hosting, anyways). You need to factor that in, but you also need to factor in any additional costs that may pop – like I said previously, having a very common brand (word-wise) can be a blessing, but it can also be a burden. If you really wanted something that was short and simple, but very effective, you may have to pay a pretty penny for it.

For example, let’s just say that you wanted a domain like ‘www.cool.com’ – seems easy enough to purchase, right? Domains have been sold ever since the early 90’s (and maybe even earlier), and that’s lead to an incredibly expensive adventure for you to embark upon. Domain names that are simply one word are well worth the amount of money people pay for them, and trust me, there are people out there willing to pay well up to 6 figures for something like that.

If you can’t afford it, you’re going to need to look at other options. There are always going to be more than reasonable options to choose from, it’s just a matter of your personal preference – as well as whether or not the money is there. Pricing is usually based off of:

Current Popularity – If a website is very popular, it’s going to cost a lot of money to buy the domain name associated with it. This is mainly due to the fact that by using this domain name, you’ll already have access to an abundance of potential customers – they’ll already know about the domain name, and have it memorized on top of that.

Length & Longevity – If the domain name is incredibly long, the price is going to be hit rather hard. If it’s over 15 characters, but still somehow manages to sport a relatively strong profile of potential customers, it still might be worth an investment (but that’s completely up to you). Short and sweet is the key, as those are the domain names that last for extended periods of time.

Effectiveness – If you have a business that relates itself to the sport of basketball, you don’t want to try and get your hands on a domain name related to soccer or football. That would not only confuse the people visiting your website, but it would essentially be a waste of money – it would also have a very negative impact on your SEO endeavors. All of the stuff within your domain names pages would pertain to the wrong sport, and Google would become aware of that feat.

Conclusion

domain-name-strategy

There you have it! All of the information presented to you today should help with any questions you could conjure up. Domain names aren’t the easiest thing to manage, that’s for sure; but they’re always going to be very critical to the success of your online practices. If you want to sell a service or product through the use of the internet, you need to make sure your domain names are always following proper SEO protocol. Take the time needed out of your life to actually prepare in the proper sense, so that you’re setting the brand up for success (as opposed to failure). Everybody wants to do something that relates itself to the internet, and that means domain names will always reign supreme.

They are the very first thing people take notice of when visiting your website, and it’s also the thing that most people are able to easily remember. If you want to become a household name in the year 2016, it’s going to take an efficient and well-planned out domain name. Don’t allow outside influences to negatively affect your project, focus on the task at hand and keep a tunnel vision of sorts. The only person who can stop you from success, is the person you look at in the mirror every single morning.

Keep your head high, your domain names SEO-efficient and your conversion rates as high as possible! Internet marketing is the wave of progression that everybody wants to ride, but you can’t do that without SEO-conscious domain names.

The post How to Choose a Domain Name for Maximum SEO appeared first on SEO Nick.

5 Ultimate Webmaster Tricks to Deal with Unhappy Customers on Social Media (2018)





“You can’t make everyone happy!” Cliché but true! No matter how good your products are, or how awesome your services may be, there will be some customers who will be unhappy with you and will show their displeasure on different channels including social media. In fact as a business owner, you will be receiving negative comments on social media at some point or the other.



Yes, it is unpleasant and even uncalled for but the big question is – What should you do?

Should you simply ignore such comments?

Or should you choose to respond?

The answer is ‘Yes’! Of course, you should respond. Ignoring such comments won’t make them disappear from your social media accounts. Remember, running away from complaints or negative customer reviews would only show how ignorant are you towards your customers and business.

So, the next time you find one of your customers jabbing about your products or services on Facebook or Twitter, make sure that you or your team responds quickly.

Do You Know?



  • 45% of customers share negative reviews on social media. (Source: TruConversion.com)
  • Over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every week. Roughly 80% of those tweets are negative or critical in nature. (Source: Adweek)
  • For every 1 customer complaint online, there are 26 other customers who share same feelings but don’t say anything. (Source: Groovehq.com)
  • 65% customers are frustrated by inconsistent experiences across channels. (Source: TruConversion.com)
  • Churn rate can increase by 15% if organizations fail to respond to customers on social media. (Source: Gartner)

With these stats in hand, it’s easy to understand how responding in a timely manner can help you convert them into loyal ones.

If you’re confused on how to turn your angry customers into happy ones, here are 5 ultimate tricks that will help you turn unhappy customers into brand loyalists.

  1. Stay Updated on Conversations – As a marketer, you should have knowledge of what people think and talk about your brand. It is important that you be social and participate in all conversations about your brand. Remember, being a great listener will help you offer better response to your customers.

Here’s an example:

Check out how this yoga-wear retailer Lululemon Athletica witnessed a massive decline in its revenue  because they did not pay heed to what customers are saying about their product on social media on time and respond to them.

You will find that a lot of people took to social media to talk about the brand. However, there was no response from the company on the social media platform or on their website that made the matter worse.

  1. Respond Quickly – According to an article published in Thunderhead.com, 25% customers migrate to competitors just after one bad experience. Therefore, you need to respond as quickly as possible and pacify your customers. It takes some micro seconds for an issue to get viral on social media platforms. Therefore, it’s better to take control of the situation before it gets worse. Don’t forget, 65% Twitter users expect a response within 2 hours, states an article published in Truconversion.com

Yeah, true! You may not provide them with a solution at that very moment, but it’s essential to address their concerns and let them know when their issue will be resolved and the reason for your taking so much time.

This will assure your angry customer that you are looking into the matter and that they are of prime importance to the company. According to Hubspot, if you respond quickly, 34% are likely to buy from you, and 43% are likely to encourage friends and family to do so as well.

Here’s an example:

Maker’s Mark reversed their decision of reducing alcohol content in their product after getting negative response from their customers. They quickly reverted to all the comments by issuing a social statement regarding their taking their decision back.  

 



  1. Deliver Authentic Apology – Cyberalert.com states that public apologies on social media and review websites significantly impact brand reputation and customer perception. Craft your apology in a way that looks genuine and earns respect. Remember, apologize and do not make an excuse, there is a difference between the two.

While a strong apology can turn your angry customers into loyal ones, a flimsy one can aggravate them further. Also, there is no harm in making your apologies public as this will only help in building your image of a responsible company.

Here’s an example:

A representative of FedEx was caught throwing a package over a customer’s fence, the company accepted its mistake by posting a blog “Absolutely, positively unacceptable” on social media. They also included a video from company’s senior vice-president Matthew Thornton in the post to make the apology more authentic.

  1. Behave like Friends – While handling unhappy customers, make sure that you talk to them as friends. According to Huffington Post, nurturing a friendly relationship with your customers is vital to growing a successful business. Don’t ever use fake names or pictures while talking with your customers as it gives a bad image. Similarly, you can address your customers by their names like their friends do.

Calm them down by offering them something that will make things alright. Just aim at bringing that smile back on their face.

Here’s an example:

See how Zappos deals with its unhappy customers in the friendliest way possible. Check out the way Zappos interact with its customers on social media sites, it’s as if two friends are talking. This is perhaps the reason for Zappos getting 75% of its purchases come from repeat customers!

  1. Show Your Efforts – Like we said earlier, apologize publicly so that people know what all you are doing to resolve a particular issue. Though there is nothing wrong in sending a personal email to the customer, people who must have read the negative post about your company will never get to know the efforts you made to fix the issue and retain the customer. In fact, there are chances that people think that your company is too careless to respond if you send a private message.

Remember, organization is the key to great apology email. Do well to ensure that vital branding elements such as your custom logo design and company name, etc. pop out. In addition, make sure that your contact details are easily spottable. Don’t forget to add social share buttons to make it easy for customers to share feedback about your brand on social media.

Here’s an example:

Graco’s transparent use of its Twitter account helped it get valuable information about serial number and repair kits out much more quickly and economically. Apart from this, majority of its customers were delighted with how the company kept them updated during its product recall.

Over to You

An article published in TruConversion.com states that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. Therefore, building a healthy relationship with your customers by giving them a quick response is vital to the growth of your business.

No matter how angry a customer is with your product or service, you can make things better by interacting with them.

We are sure that these 5 strategies will work wonders in your efforts of dealing with unhappy customers.

All the best!

 

9 SEO Errors of E-Commerce Websites





9 SEO Errors of E-Commerce Websites



In the world of E-Commerce websites, you’re going to be dealing with a lot of different variables. As a result, you aren’t always going to find it easy to manage your page – and that’s okay. In order to make the most out of your E-Commerce project, you’ll have to focus a reasonable amount of your time towards the SEO aspect of it all. In order to put your best foot forward, it’d be ideal for you to try and minimize the amount of SEO errors you’re dealing with.

When I say minimize, I pretty much mean “try and completely avoid them!”. SEO errors aren’t going to benefit your website in any way, shape or form; that’s why there are company’s out there that can earn millions of dollars in revenue through the act of providing SEO services.

Today, we’ll be taking a deeper look at 9 different errors that could surround our E-Commerce project. These are the types of websites that are relying on the “intricate details” to truly become successful, and that means you’ll need to be assertive and attentive. You should be consistently looking at trends and other things, as that’s going to improve upon your SEO practices immensely. This is going to be a relatively long article, and it’s going to follow E-Commerce websites that have had to deal with SEO errors of their own in the past – some of which will even apply to me on a personal level!

This is going to be a relatively long article, and it’s going to follow E-Commerce websites that have had to deal with SEO errors of their own in the past – some of which will even apply to me on a personal level!

Without further ado, let’s get into the 9 SEO errors that you should be keeping an eye out for (in relation to your E-Commerce website). At some point throughout this article, you should find yourself correcting and perfecting specific details of your project page.

  1. Create Intuitive Product Descriptions

be creative when doing ecommerce product descriptions

The descriptions that are related to your products need to be not only detailed, but coherent and comprehensive as well. In my past experiences with E-Commerce projects, the product description is important for more than one reason. In the end of it all, you want your website to have as much content on it as possible; and you want that content to flow (as well as be high-quality in general). Most stores that carry clothes and such will have either no product description, or just a very poorly written one. When this is the case, customers aren’t exactly aware of what they’re trying to purchase.

Without descriptions, you won’t be selling as many products – as people just won’t be interested enough. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the lack of a product description could lead to an abundance of problems SEO-wise. Don’t butcher the chance of your E-Commerce website making it all the way to page 1, make sure that you’re creating product descriptions for every single listing on your project page.

In order to create effective product descriptions, it’s probably in your best interests to figure out how much content you need. Look at a blank product page on your website, and count all of the words being used in your navigation settings. As long as your product description is longer than all of those combined, you pretty much have absolutely nothing to worry about (well, it’s just used to keep a much heavier SEO-weight for your unique product descriptions). All in all, make sure that you are:

  • Writing high quality descriptions that not only explain the product, but do so in a timely and effective manner
  • Don’t copy any of your product descriptions from another website, as duplicate content is one of the biggest negatively-based SEO protocols that you could assert; you always want your content to be unique and brand new

Test your descriptions and figure out which ones will work the best; this means checking up on things like the word count (as too much content in the description could have a negative effect on things).



  1. Descriptions Done Wrong: Using the “Manufacturer Description”

write amazing product descriptions

When it comes to using the wrong description, you can never go any more wrong than you would with the manufacturer’s description. This is the description that most people avoid, and anybody who is serious about their SEO endeavors already knows to do so. When you use a description that has been produced by the manufacturer themselves, you’re going to be completely filtered out of the search engine results. You’re probably thinking; “How am I supposed to know about all of that? Just how crucial can it be?”. Truthfully, most people know that unique content is king.

When you copy and paste content into your projects page, you’re going to be hit with less than stellar results. These descriptions are going to be panned over an abundance of different online stores, so avoid using these descriptions at all cost. The rule of thumb is to completely create unique content, and nothing other than that; scraping content is a very big problem these days.

It’s going to be a hard thing to manage, as creating thousands upon thousands of unique descriptions can get tedious. That’s why most people just rely on external services to take care of their product description needs, but it isn’t always the case. If there’s no way for you to provide a specific page with unique content, just slap a “No Index meta tag” on them.

There’s certain situations where you wouldn’t want your descriptions to actually pop up, and that’s where you can take it upon yourself to keep them filtered. You can do this by applying the manufacturer’s description, or even just through other means. Ultimately, you want to have as much unique content as possible; so if you can’t completely write brand new descriptions, just keep them away from prying eyes.

You don’t want to have your website looking spammy in general, so it’s a good thing to always brush up on your optimization techniques. SEO is a practice that can make (or break) your project, and descriptions apply to that in more than one sense.

  1. Product Reviews

product reviews are highly important

Product reviews will pertain to about 50% of your sales, just take a look at Amazon. Whenever you look to purchase something online, you always look at the reviews beforehand – this allows you to understand what the product has to offer, and even see what it’s like from a “real person” perspective. These product reviews apply to things like online shops and forums pertaining to specific hobby and item-types, and they’re incredibly helpful for various different reasons. Amazon implemented a high-quality review system that has people looking into their products a little deeper, and it is a good reason as to why they are so popular nowadays (and the sheer fact that online shopping is so sought after).

Reviews are very useful, as you won’t waste your money on products that are lackluster – and as somebody who owns and runs an E-Commerce website, they can allow your consumers and visitors to really enjoy the shopping experience you’ve provided for them. Product reviews will allow you to do many things, but they’re great for customers (and website owners alike) because:

  • You have the ability to create unique content within your store through product reviews, and the more unique content you’ve got, the better; SEO errors related to spun or copied content are always severe. Product reviews will help you avoid that!
  • These reviews allow the product pages on your E-Commerce site to stay alive and well, as there will constantly be people reviewing the products you’re selling. Search engines are constantly looking for stuff like this to keep you at the peak ranking possible; so anytime you’ve got an opportunity to update your website, it will improve upon you SEO endeavors quite nicely (so make sure you make the most of any opportunities given to you).

It doesn’t really matter what type of products you’re looking to sell on your E-Commerce page, reviews will still be a relatively important idea to keep in mind.

  1. Optimize Your Product Pages Properly

ecommerce product page optimization

When you place your product pages on the site, try and identify which products are going to be more appealing towards people and keep them in front of everything else. Also, you need to be working in keywords – this means the title and the description need to be optimized effectively before you post the product up on your site. Use the keywords in the title of your product, the headlines of articles pertaining to your website and just the content as a whole. For example, if you’re trying to sell kitchen countertops made out of marble, “affordable marble kitchen countertop” may be a keyword for you to target.

Image alt tags and H1 headings are SEO-friendly, and will keep your product pages in good standing when it comes to search engines. If you don’t include keywords in the proper sense, you may very well be posting products that people aren’t actually searching for (in the most technical sense of the process, of course). With all of that out in the open, here are some ways for you to optimize your product pages:

Make sure that you’re always using model numbers (of specific makes in regards to products) for your titles and H1 headings



  • Make sure that you’re always going to include specific brand names within your title tags/H1 heading processes
  • When it comes to the image alt tag information factor, you should always be sure to fill it out!
  • NEVER stuff your product pages with keywords (which is where you’re just constantly repeating the keyword over and over again)
  • iFrames are a problem when it comes to displaying content, so be sure to avoid that at all costs – be sure that your content is also implemented on the proper page (as in, don’t have the wrong products’ content on the wrong page)

All you have to do is keep an open mind, and always apply keywords to your content!

  1. Using the Wrong Titles (Non-Unique)

write catchy product titles

The titles being used on your product pages need to be unique, as this will help search engines identify your E-Commerce website as an individual entity. You won’t get mixed up in the space of “limbo”, and you’ll always have a healthy habit of putting in the proper titles. At the foundation of SEO as a whole, there are keywords and titles – by making sure your titles are always up to standard, you’ll be improving upon your SEO practices significantly. Title tags are in HTML format, and most successful sites (like AutoTrader or even just Amazon) make sure to implement them; almost like an incredibly healthy tick of sorts.

Creating title tags means that you have to approach everything with a unique sort of edge, but it’s a tough job when you sell an abundance of products that are very similar. When it comes to this, you’re probably going to be repeating your keywords quite a bit – and that’s why creating unique “key phrases” is ideal. Search engines will overlook the fact that you’re using the same keyword so many times, but the key phrases will come in and make everything work seamlessly.

Most online shoppers will look for a specific key phrase, as opposed to just a singular keyword. When you want to come up with efficient key phrases, you could always apply this little technique; name of the brand – model number/name of the product – and finally, the type of item it happens to be.

Make sure to always take a look at your customers needs/wants, and always be sure to appeal towards their native tongue. Take a look at what language your most popular customers/regions happen to speak, and then apply said information to the content .

  1. Duplicate Content is a Problem

avoid duplicate content

Duplicated content is a massive problem when it comes to the SEO needs of your E-Commerce websites, just ask anybody who has dealt with that on a personal level in the past. Duplicate content not only negatively affects the SEO standings that your website is going to show, but it will also have an effect on the amount of money you’ll be bringing in every single week. If the search engine doesn’t properly index your E-Commerce website, there isn’t going to be a lot of traffic flowing in from the search results – that’s why removing duplicate content is a necessity of sorts.

There’s a higher probability of not only retaining a higher search engine ranking (due to the removal of duplicate content), but people are just going to notice as a whole. The customers shopping on your website are going to realize that there are unique descriptions for every single product, and it gives them a little more insight before they make a purchase; the more knowledgeable they feel, the more likely they are to make a pre-determined purchase! Get into the habit of creating pages with completely unique content, because Google is going to make it a major focus moving forward with future updates. The days of being able to spin content and still rank are long gone, and that means you have to make adjustments.

Speaking of adjustments, that leads me to my next SEO error that most E-Commerce websites commit.

  1. Make Sure You “Stay Hip” (Update Your Website!)

stay up to date with user interests

Your website isn’t going to update itself, and that means the job is left on your desk (well, virtual desk, of course). Web pages can retain their ranks, as long as they are being properly monitored and touched up; you can bet your bottom dollar that there aren’t any websites from 1994 still hitting Google’s first page. It’s a numbers game, but it’s also a game of rolling with the punches – a lot of people are going to get with certain “SEO penalties”. These usually occur when you commit one of these errors listed within this piece, so it’s a good thing you’re reading through; avoiding these errors (and frequently reading up on what brand new Google updates focus on) is a must.

Google has been hitting websites with duplicate and spun content relatively hard in their new updates, but people are always looking for new ways to work towards the first page. Some methods work for extended periods of time, while others are outed and taken over by Google’s moderation team. One thing is for certain, you can’t go wrong with high-quality content; and Google is making sure people are aware of that. If you don’t have a high-quality writer on your team, you might want to think about getting one! When you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve, make sure you only use “Whitehat” methods. I know the payoff can be somewhat tempting, but the penalties for getting caught using a Blackhat method are way too steep.

Matt Cutts announces small Google update

Google is not only looking for ways to keep webmasters on their toes, but they’re also trying to rid the internet marketing/E-Commerce world of the bad guys.

  1. Create a Sharing Button (or ‘Social Toolbar’)

use all social media promotion channels for ecommerce

Word of mouth is a very powerful thing, trust me on that one. Having the ability to share a product they’d like, or maybe even someone else would like is a big deal for the consumer. It not only gives them an opportunity to tell other people about your website, but it also gives you a better chance at a conversion. The more eyes on your product, the better; so sharing is a pretty obvious feature to include within your E-Commerce website. It’s amazing for SEO in the sense that more traffic will be drawn to your website, and from more locations/regions. Having a lot of activity go on within your website is great for Google rankings, as Google is always looking to keep the most popular and efficient websites at the front of the flock.

Make sure people can tweet out your website and the links associated with it, as well as many other social platforms (like Facebook, Instagram if it’s applicable, Pinterest and especially Google+). Some people say that Google is leaning towards companies and E-Commerce pages that have a popular Google+ presence, so it doesn’t hurt to cover all areas of sharing.

  1. Internal Linking W/ Blog Posts (and Product Pages)

ecommerce site architecture for seo improvement

Want to give your SEO campaign a quick shot of power? Post some blogs with internal linking included, but make sure they are of the highest quality. Google always wants to see quality within the content, and if it has to associate with your page (in this sense, it would be with internal linking), it needs to be high-quality. If you aren’t willing to sit down and write out some blog posts on your own, you need to be willing to dish out the cash for someone else to do it. High-quality content usually doesn’t come cheap, but the return is well worth the investment. You’ve got to spend money to make money, so feel free to budget out a decent amount of cash for your writing needs.

The internal links need to be surrounded by reasonably placed keywords, and even linked within the keywords themselves. Try and have the blogs posted on popular blogging websites, or just create a blogging platform of your own. Write up some buyer guides and link your products inside of them, or even just create a “Featured Product” page on your website. Whatever you can do to create internal links, you should be doing it; but always make sure that they aren’t going to come off as spam.

You can have a post that has specific products from your E-Commerce page being linked within, and then you can have an entire page dedicated to them. It’s up to you to decide how far you want to go with it, but just know that there is some serious SEO-juice to be had here! You never want to go overboard, unless you’ve got an abundance of unique content coming out of the woodwork. If only creating internally linked product pages for your E-Commerce SEO site was easy!

There you have it – make sure you soak up everything I’ve written here today. Odds are you’re going to need it when you decide to get serious about your E-Commerce SEO needs.

The post 9 SEO Errors of E-Commerce Websites appeared first on SEO Nick.