Humans will do anything to look smart and competent. Comedians like Jimmy Kimmel feed off of this propensity for hubris. And then we all benefit from it. Try it for yourself sometime. Go up to a random stranger and ask, “Do you think Bill Clinton gets enough credit for ending the Korean War?” (HINT: He wasn’t old enough to be President of the United States during the Korean War.)
Ironically, this behavior often exposes our ineptitude.
SEOs and bloggers are no different. We want to look like experts so bad we bullshit our way into corners all the time
Here are a few ways SEOs B.S. themselves all the time and really make themselves look like idiots.
1. Do What These Massive Brands Are Doing
When I was a kid, I played the game Lemmings. Often, I’d get bored with a particularly difficult level and just set up traps for my lemmings rather than rescue them. I’d watch them all follow the digger to hell and then hit the nuke button.
The fact a lemming is bigger and healthier looking than the other lemmings doesn’t change the fact it’s a lemming. That lemming still might be heading for a cliff.
Big brands aren’t always wise sages, especially when it comes to SEO. Think of it this way: a bigger brand has a much wider margin of error than you do. If they make a mistake, they can bounce back when you might splat at the bottom.
You’re also assuming their HR department knows what they’re doing when they hire SEOs and web designers. Often the philosophy of “throw money at it to make it grow” doesn’t work. And that’s exactly how some big brands function once they get the big cash.
Don’t be a lemming, seek real advice.
2. SEO is Snake Oil
Ok, SEOs typically don’t say this. They wouldn’t make any money this way.
But I’ve heard it from Google employees, bloggers, and anyone who just doesn’t want to do the work of ranking well. I even had a friend from YouTube tell me this, backpedal, and then say, “well, it’s just that the target is constantly shifting.”
There’s a lot of surface-level SEO information out there. And while it’s not exactly snake oil, it’s often not enough to have any real impact on your SERPs.
We can’t peak into the box and know what’s going on but we can observe the effects. Sometimes Google will give us a heads-up, but often we’re scrambling to patch holes after the fact.
This can make it seem like SEOs are behind the curve, but they’re more in the know than anyone else. It’s not an exact science, but it’s not snake oil either.
3. Worry About Keyword Stuffing
Seriously? What year is this? 2012?
Can we be done with the keyword stuffing thing yet? No? Well, I guess we gotta slay this beast while we’re here.
Sure, keywords still matter a *little* bit. But here’s the bite: they gotta be so natural, even you don’t see them as keywords.
Google’s RankBrain is now all about user intent. It’s so important to give users what they’re looking for that keywords almost don’t matter anymore.
Where Then Are Keywords Relevant?
Until our language goes fully pictographic, search engines will continue to take keywords into account. And you should definitely research a keyword to put in your title tag.
Otherwise, just be natural (grammatically correct, and concise, and…well, content is king, right?).
4. Content is King
Aw, what? Didn’t I just say content is king? Yeah, yeah, I know, plot-holes, right?
But this myth is just like the “write what you know” rule in writing. People take it, run with it and have no clue what the hell they’re even doing. And then they end up writing boring crap because their life is so boring.
Novice bloggers do the same thing with content. If you write it, they will come, right?
Wrong. You need more than just content (even great content) to make the SEO wheels turn. We’re looking at links, tags, design, usability, speed…
Yeah, content is just an important piece of the puzzle, one you can’t do without. But it’s not the end-all of SEO.
5. Links Are a Dead Horse
I’ve said this before, but the internet is — drumroll please — a network! Without links, you are just a powerless tool in a sea of well-connected and well-dressed geniuses.
It’s just that, like keywords, and content, links are only one step in many to get you to the SERP prize. No, don’t put a billion links in, but don’t ignore them either.
Don’t go buying links for cheap either. Negotiate for access to high ranking sites instead. And again, be natural.
6. Google is Penalizing You
I only cried once in Hockey. I’d just come back after time off from a broken ankle and I was reckless on the ice. I almost whacked someone in the throat with my stick. I ended up in the penalty box a teenage mess because I had lost skill.
Google’s algorithms aren’t referees. They’re a content elevator. When one site drops in the rankings, it’s because of a change in the algorithm they weren’t ready for. It also means another site was ready (knowingly or not).
There is no Google algo penalty box. There are referees at Google, but Google actually notifies you on the Google Search Console when you’ve violated their Webmaster Guidelines.
Talking about SERP rank changes like hockey penalties only serves to malign Google and cause confusion.
Don’t Be an Idiot
Humility is an underrated quality in our society. I’ve found that when you admit ignorance, you’re rewarded with knowledge.
Only idiots pretend to know eveything. If you’re on the SEO struggle bus, seek help. Your SERPs will thank you.
In a movie set in space, there will always be a “punctured hull scene.” It’s like a Nicholas Sparks movie and terminal illness.
First, a rock or a bit of debris punctures the hull. Then an alarm goes off. And then the space denizens panic.
What’s the first thing they do? Look for the hole.
This is your first step. Look for the holes in the sieve.
Hole #1: Little Data Tracking
I recently had to run at night on a mountain trail. If I hadn’t had my headlamp, what would have happened? I’d have literally bit the dirt (and probably a granite rock the size of grandma).
Lack of data tracking is like lack of headlamp on mountain trails at night. The light gives me visual data on the trail so I can change course when needed.
Same with sales funnels. If you don’t have data on your middle conversions, you have no idea what’s working and what isn’t. All you have is the result.
You can’t fix the holes in your sales funnel because you aren’t actually looking for holes. You’re a Sales Jumblie ignoring your friends who think you’re gonna drown!
Hole #2: Follow Up?
Sales funnels are never set it and forget it. Yet, 48% of sales reps must think this is true. They never follow up with a prospective or a lead.
Sometimes it takes as many as 12 contacts to make a sale. That’s the full definition of try-try-again. If you think 12 follow-ups is a waste of your time, maybe you should go and do something else.
Hole #3: Wasting Time With Lead Generation
You can find a billion articles online about lead generation. It’s a hot topic. They think that if they stuff as many people as possible into their funnel more people will drop through.
The problem is: at a certain point, the same number of people drop through no matter how many leads you generate. It’s like a conventional real-life funnel. The end is only so big.
Stop lead generation research right now. You probably get enough leads already. You’re wasting your time and expending too much energy. Just relax, ok?
2. How to Stop Up the Holes
In a “punctured hull scene,” once the protagonist finds the hole, they frantically look for something to plug it with. If they don’t plug the hole, all their oxygen will be gone and the pressure will equalize meaning they will die in a vacuum.
For a space hero, this could mean any number of things. A fire extinguisher, a metal crate, or even a piece of metal alloy bigger than the hole.
There are a variety of ways to fix your sieve and turn it into a real funnel.
Fix #1: Track Those Touch Points
No matter when a customer or lead makes contact, track it. This means that if a customer has already purchased something and they come back again, you track it.
If they’ve come back three times without ever purchasing, track it. This is called touch-point tracking. From here you follow leads all the way to full conversion if they make it.
Once you’ve tracked this data, you can begin to make a customer journey map. You can then replicate this journey for your most legitimate customers and leads.
Fix #2: Simply Follow Up
Again, 12 times might be the charm. Keep going.
There are easier ways to do lead follow up than manual e-mails and phone calls. E-mail automation is a thing.
Automate your sales process as much as possible. This will allow you more time to find new leads while courting current ones.
This also means you’ll be able to run a 24-hour sales funnel operation.
Bots can help with this. Say you’re a small college trying to attract students. You can’t have an admissions digital marketing rep on call 24-7. But a bot can cover the time when your rep is sleeping.
Fix #3: Offer Something Irresistible for Free
There’s a lot of schlock on Amazon that’s free. And most of the schlock doesn’t get read.
This should be a valuable lesson for anyone trying to generate leads. You’re wasting your time with free scholck.
If it’s not worth your time to even engage, why would you even click?
Opt-in’s are great if they actually shove people toward the end of your funnel. But you’ll need to drive people in with limited time offers.
Without FOMO, you’ll never get people close to the end of your funnel. This is the step beyond generation you need to focus on.
Now You’re a Wise Jumblie
Now you can go to sea in a funnel…oh, wait, the metaphor breaks down there. I guess you now have a fairly leak-proof and effective funnel.
Where have you seen your funnel be ineffective? Let me know down in the comments below and maybe I can help you patch them.
Imagine you’re in charge of Verizon’s marketing strategy. You’re trying to sell mobile devices on a national and global level. So, you invest in social media, commercials on all the major TV networks, Google and Facebook ads, etc. But you neglect to invest in local advertising or search. Verizon relies on local stores to serve and service their customers. If customers had to scroll to the third page of Google results just to find a Verizon store, they might go to Sprint. An example from my local community: We’ve not had a specialized running store in our town ever. When one threatened to crash our fair city, I was overjoyed.
Only one thing: their location was not prime. No tourists would wander in and a large number of runners would have to drive across town to patronize them.
If it weren’t for local search, nobody would ever find our local running store. And I hope they’re reading, because here are a few reasons why you should never neglect local search.
1. People are Hyper-Local
While city people like to brag about their massive commutes, most people actually don’t drive very far from home. 93% of consumers don’t drive more than 20 minutes for everyday shopping and needs.
Google research tells us that more than 1/3 of all searches are location-based. Google has restructured a large part of their search engine around local search.
Now, proximity isn’t going to be something you do much about once you’ve established a business. Even if it is one of the most important ranking signals for local search.
But, here’s what you do need to know. People aren’t using terms like “near me” anymore. I even tell my wife it’s silly and a waste of energy to type “near me” into Google.
This will mainly affect your keyword research. Local search still revolves around location names, but with Google getting better at gleaning context, you don’t want to overload your content with location names.
2. Neglecting Behavior Analysis Could Make You Miss the Mark
50% of all local searches result in in-store visits from leads. If you own a small business, this should compel you to focus on local search.
About 2/3 of all mobile users prefer brands who include some sort of local element in their app or website. And oddly, a majority of businesses don’t include a local element in their apps or websites. They don’t even claim their listing on most popular search engines either.
How is a customer supposed to find you if you are invisible online? Nobody uses the phone book anymore. It just sits in a drawer somewhere wishing to be read by a filibustering politician.
If you’re a healthcare professional, behavioral trends in your area could inform your local content strategy. Is flu season imminent? Preempt flu season by creating local content targeting anyone who might come down with the flu. Your content will be more effective if you understand current behavior and can predict future behavior.
Location-based statistics are easier to come by now with the advent of mobile technology. Reviews are one of the easiest ways to agreggate data about customers. What are they saying about your business? What are they eating at your restaurant? Whan are they coming to your store?
3. Nobody Will Come to Your Local Event
Even two years ago, it was exceedingly difficult to find local events on Google. Unless you lived in a major metropolis. And even then, it really depended on the effort a city put into their event advertising.
Google has seen the gap and they will raise us a new set of event search features. And they’re hoping to streamline the process of notifying customers and patrons of local events.
At the end of July in 2018, Google announced their plans to update their calendar and event search features. And they should be active within the month. While this is a little late to help people escape the heat this summer, it’s going to permanently change the future of local search.
They’re adding personal recommendations to the list as well. Since Google is already collecting behavioral data on searchers, applying that information to local event search is a logical next step.
Google will eventually use context to help you find events nearby. Typing in something like “free concert” will bring up local events near your location, especially on a mobile device.
How Do You Utilize This?
Even a running store could utilize the new event search features on Google. Set up social runs, running clinics, or even shoe sales events.
Of course, Google is going to get really good at distinguishing between sales-y events and social events. But until they do, you might be able to sneak a sale in there somewhere.
And Google knows that people don’t want to just stay on the Google website. They’ve learned their lesson from the search and answer feature. So, if you’re an SEO, you have no reason to worry about leads bouncing away before clicking your event links.
Of course, other platforms won’t be too happy. Facebook has cornered the event search market for a few years now. Often when I go to look for an event, I use Facebook.
How successful these new search features are depends on how much pushback Google gets from other companies. Will shady backroom deals tank the new features? Or will we see a new dawn in the local event market?
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Author authority sounds redundant. It’s not. Authors can garner authority in various ways. On Google, this simply means tagging yourself as an author using the rel=”author” tag. At least that’s what it used to be in the early days. You would get a picture next to your link and a byline. Around 2013, this began to disappear. Google eventually quit using authorship altogether.
Recently, however, there have been hints that Google might bring back authorship. This time it might not be so easy to spot. Here’s what you need to know about Google’s new treatment of authorship in their SERPs.
Search Quality Rater Guidelines and Authorship
While Google is often silent on upgrades to their algorithm, they are generous in giving webmasters lists and guides. The Search Quality Rater Guidelines is a 164-page search document every SEO expert should check out.
Google updates the document every so often and they’ve recently added a new section. Guess what the section entails? The reputation of the creator of the content.
It tells quality raters how to spot websites that toot their own horn with no credibility. “When the website says one thing about itself, but reputable external sources disagree with what the websites says, trust the external sources.”
It’s not unlike how we rate and canonize historical literature. We don’t merely trust what a book says about itself, but we compare it to outside sources. Sometimes those sources counter claims within the book.
What Does This Mean for Us?
Google has been employing machine learning and A.I. in their algos. And using human raters dampens any attempt at scaling.
Some in the SEO community believe Google is heading into a new era. Soon we won’t have updates as the search engine will be able to adapt as it goes. The inclusion of authorship in the rater guidelines is an indication that perhaps Google will be teaching its AI to monitor and verify authorship.
Even then, Google may attempt once more to incorporate Authorship into their normal algorithm.
This is good news for authors, but not so good news for newer businesses with little reputation outside their own website.
Here’s what Google might look for if they do include Authorship as a metric:
Clearly identified content creator (no more Admin bylines)
A well-written bio on the author
Creators who have links online to other content with authority
What Are Some Practical Things to do to Prepare
Content creators are going to have a much harder time getting their content a website. They will need to have expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. And as a webmaster, you should already be vetting your content contributors carefully.
One great thing for writers is the fact websites will need to start giving more bylines if they want to gain authority. They will have to link out to social media accounts and other authorial sources.
But, if you’re a content creator and you haven’t diversified your portfolio, you might again have a hard time doing so after any algorithm change involving authorship.
Continue to expand your portfolio if you’re a content creator. If you’re a webmaster, start vetting your authors ASAP.
It seems like every few weeks, Google is tweaking their search engine just a little bit. And ever since Matt Cutts cut himself out of the Google-sphere, Moz and other companies must stab in the dark and hope they get their guesses right. In essence, it’s been quite rare that Google actually announces a major algorithm update since the Matt Cutts departure. When they do announce something, it’s after the fact and after much deliberation on our part.
Recently, Google released a major update. They’re calling it the “Medic” Core Update. So, without much further ado, here’s a bit of info on this recent update.
1. A Very Short Google Update History
The Moz outlines all the updates, both major and minor since 2012. They’ve done an incredible job alerting SEOs and webmasters of impending changes and current debacles. And for a time, Google was at least partially communicative with SEOs.
The Moz goes all the way back to the year 2000. But the first real SEO impacting update happened in 2011. Panda affected 12% of all search results. It cracked down on thin content and other quality issues.
From there, Google updated their search engine about every few months. A year later, another major update came waddling in. This was Penguin and it targeted webspam like a spider to a fly.
These updates showed that Google was deadly serious about increasing the quality of their results. And who would blame them? Search results are, after all, their main product.
2. What’s So Special About the Broad Core Algorithm Update?
Google recently began to move away from updating their search engine to find quality content. They’ve pretty much perfected this aspect of Google. And posting quality content will always be something you should do.
What’s different now? Google is now looking for relevancy.
If your site took a hit with this new update despite usually being a top-ranked site, you probably didn’t do anything wrong. You just need to do more. (Yes, you are allowed to groan when hearing that.)
Figure Out User Intent
This is what Google is trying to teach its search engine to do. And you can do it too. Ask yourself, what is your audience trying to achieve by typing in a search engine term.
What are the questions they’re asking? If you can figure this out, then you can tailor your content to answer those questions.
Who Might Have Taken a Hit?
Moz is calling this the “Medic” update. The sites it seemed to affect were primarily healthcare websites. Anything to do with health and wellness took a hit.
It’s understandable that Google would “target” these sites. I’ve heard medical professionals complain about “Dr. Google” misleading patients. And perhaps Google is trying to teach its search engine to give better medical advice.
Really, if you are in the percentage of sites that took a hit, then my advice would be to double down on your research and give better information. But that should be something you’re doing anyway.
Something I often hear from small business owners is, “Does SEO really matter for my blog? I mean, it’s just a blog, right?” The answer is: Yes. It matters quite a bit. On the off chance you’re the only show in town, it might not mean quite as much. But it still matters.
Half of all businesses will fail in the first five years and the biggest reason for going out of business is low profits or the company has no one willing to invest in their growth, so they get stuck. Either way, it’s all about the money.
SEO can be the difference between success and failure. Keep reading. Let me show you how a few tweaks to your website or blog can make all the difference.
The Company Blog
Content gets stale. If you think search engines and people don’t notice, you’re wrong.
Google rewards those who keep their content fresh and updated and customers do the same by continuing to visit the site and buy products or services.
However, there is a sea of content out there. Most of it is pretty bad. It’s either poorly written or it’s just a bunch of random chatter that doesn’t provide any real value to the readers. You can change that with your blog.
Some entrepreneurs think that they can get away with running their business from 9-5 like any normal job. But you don’t have to do that. You can write your blog posts in the evening, from the comfort of your wfh office, drink in hand with Netflix on another screen or television. Heck, the right SEO WordPress plugin will do most of the work for you.
Contrary to popular belief, the length of your blog posts also doesn’t matter. If you write two thousand words of garbage, how many people are going to come back to your site in the future if you just tried to make them sit through a bunch of nonsense?
Here is what matters: Write SEO friendly content that helps to provide solutions to a customer’s problems.
How to Write SEO Friendly Content
The first part of this is the hardest. You need to know what people want. You need to know what they’re searching for as far as what they’re typing into search engines.
“X near me” or “X in City, State” is a good place to start. There are only so many posts you can write with these kinds of keywords, though. You want to branch out.
Use tools like Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMRush to find keywords. The best thing about these tools is most of them can help you to find a competitor’s keywords. You can use them or you can look for holes or gaps in any niche specific keywords you think might be successful.
You don’t need to jam a million keywords into a piece of content. Have one in your opening paragraph or introduction, one in a header, and one or two in other places throughout the content. That’s really all it takes to get your point across to search engines.
Synonyms also work just fine as Google’s Algorithm has gotten a lot better about picking those up over the years.
Not every post should have sales pitches. In fact, most of them shouldn’t. The best part of your company blog is you can hit people who are in different places in the sales funnel. This is why a blog is so versatile.
The best way to continue funneling prospects is interlinking. Link to other posts or pieces of content on the blog to help drive your prospects to the next step.
You also want to link externally to other authoritative sites. The purpose of this is to show readers that there is data out there that backs up your claims. Or at the very least, other trustworthy souls who believe and say and do exactly as you and your company do.
Above, we mentioned “X near me” and “X in City, State”.
This is a part of what’s called local SEO and it can make a huge difference in your visibility to people in your local area, either residents or folks just passing through.
If you run an oil change and tire shop, you want people to find you if they’re on a road trip and need an oil change, right?
The first order of business is to go to Big Daddy Google and get yourself a Google My Business account.
Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to local SEO. You want your NAP (name, address, phone number) to be accurate across the board. This should be on your main page, usually in the footer, as well as your contact page.
Once you’ve got your GMB listing set up, copy all of this information on other directories. This tactic will help to boost your listings and shoot you to the top of Google rankings.
Off Page SEO
There are two things you can do to help boost your SEO that don’t directly involve your website or company blog.
The first is to hop on social media. Many companies over-utilize these resources and stretch themselves too thin. Go after 3-4 of these social networks, but only the ones that are going to work the best for your business.
Share your content. Make some friends and share their content. Use your social networks to provide the best of what’s out there. This will help to establish you as an authority in your niche and you’ll gain followers quickly.
The next aspect of off-page SEO is link building. If you’re a new business, it’s hard to get noticed. Building links is really a two-pronged attack. The more links there are to your site means that more people will see them and click to your site, where they will find the awesome content you wrote.
This is why search engines place so much emphasis on links. The more people like a company, the more they will link to it. The more authority and credibility it has, the more people will use link to that site in their own content.
You can build links yourself, but I suggest having pros do them for you. There are a lot of great services out there. But there are also some shady businesses building bad links. Do your best to vet and research these services to find the one that’s right for you.
The Bottom Line
You need SEO in your life. Just opening up your doors and telling your friends and family isn’t good enough.
Marketing is one of the toughest parts of owning a small business and it’s also one of the most important parts. SEO has become one of the biggest parts of it.
Luckily for you, most of these tips you can do completely on your own. They may be a bit time-consuming, but the bottom line is they’re cheap and they matter. So get started!
Lately I discussed SEO and why you need it for your small business. Brick and mortar shops need SEO, sure, but more than anything they need to think about what kind of SEO they need. It’s just three letters but it’s a broad term, with dozens of different strategies and methods to get the best results, which of course vary from business to business and city to city.
The answer for most of you is going to be local SEO. Here are my top 3 reasons why local SEO should be the focus for new and small businesses trying to get noticed on the web.
1. Least Time-Consuming
I did local SEO for a small business last year. With just three hours of work, I managed to have them ranking number one for their brand name in less than a week. Not bad for a brand-spanking-new business that was being run out of a guy’s apartment, eh?
If your greatest resource, time, is severely limited, then put your focus on the local rankings. This will save you a ton of time and you can outsource the rest of it.
You can spend all day researching and implementing SEO. I know because I’ve done it. If you’ve got a local business and you’re trying to get your name out there quickly, local SEO is what you want to focus on in the here and now.
2. Local Eyeballs
For new businesses, you should value and cater to your community.
You go to church with these folks. You shop at the same grocery stores. Your kids are on the same sports teams.
These are the people who will help to support your new company the most, especially in the beginning. You want their eyes on your site and your content.
3. Get Mobile
The number one rule of marketing is to hit the right person with the right offer at the right time, right?
Making sure your business is at the top of Google rankings in 2018 is how we’re hitting people at the right time.
Your local SEO is going to dictate just how well you rank on mobile. One of the biggest ranking factors is going to be your site speed. If you want to get a leg up on the competition, that’s a good place to start.
Unfortunately, this isn’t really an option anymore. Google has already rolled out this plan. Mobile marketing and local SEO working together can be what puts you where you want to be and help to make you and your business a ton of money. Play Google’s game and you will likely be rewarded.
The above reasons should be more than enough for you to place local SEO high on your to-do list.
If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, you can outsource it to a reputable agency for probably just a few hundred bucks a month. If you do have the time, then get on it.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave some comments below and I’ll do what I can to help out. Thanks for reading.
With the average small business spending $75,000 a year on digital marketing, that can be a serious chunk of your budget to gamble on questionable returns. If you don’t know much about SEO or digital advertising, you might suspect that the money you’re investing isn’t coming back to you. By taking advantage of Google Maps as a local SEO solution, you can make leaps in digital marketing at no cost. One of the major advantages of promoting your business with SEO is that most solutions have no cost of entry. Search engines use a tool called a web crawler to index every site on the internet and to rank them for certain criteria. They rank sites based on how well each site meets their criteria and their user searches.
As companies hustle to meet Google’s search criteria to get ranked highly, many companies overlook the hidden power of Google Maps. Get ahead of the competition by following these 6 steps.
1. Fix Your Google My Business Listing
Your first step for getting listed on Google Maps is to make sure you have a strong business listing on Google. Google My Business is their proprietary directory for finding businesses online. Your listing will have basic information about your business including your address, number, and hours of operation.
Take the time to be precise when you pick out your category. Take some photos and upload them to your profile. Make sure you’re using them to highlight the chosen category because you might only get one chance to show off on a Google Maps search.
If you’ve said you’re an Italian restaurant, don’t show off a cheeseburger as your main photo. People will search for you based on their interest in an Italian restaurant. Photos engage your viewers so take time to look your best.
You can do all of this without calling in your website administrator.
2. Get Some Reviews
Once you’ve made your ideal listing, reach out to your favorite customers to let them know about your listing. You can ask them individually to review you. This will help to move you up the rankings in Google Map searches.
Depending on the platform you use, you might be able to embed a Google review plug-in to make giving reviews easier. If you use WordPress for hosting your site, you should have access to their free plug-ins to make adding Google reviewing simple. The better it’s integrated into your customers’ experiences, the easier it’ll be to gather reviews.
If people check out your site often to see what’s new, offer a coupon for people who leave a review.
Should you decide to reach out to customers individually, space out your campaigns and keep them small scale. A sudden jump in the number of reviews you get will look suspicious to Google. You could end up getting penalized in searches for a suspiciously spammy looking results.
3. Get On Top of Google Posts
Google Posts are a fairly new feature of Google’s business directory services. Through this service, you can create content that will show up in your customers’ local search results.
If you make engaging enough content with images and videos, you can drive more traffic over to your site. This feature gives you one more way to get clicks on your site.
Be careful of posting duplicate content between your Google Posts and your own site. If there’s one thing that will get you dinged for spam, it’s posting the same content multiple times.
4. Get On Other Directories
Unleashing the power of Google Maps isn’t all about how many different Google apps and sites you use. Google appreciates SEO strategies that rely on other reputable sites and directories.
Along with managing your Google My Business account, you should claim any potential listings on Yelp, Yahoo! Local, or anywhere else your customers may be. Ask your colleagues and nearby businesses what sites they list on to get a good idea of where you should be.
This is the one time you won’t be punished for listing duplicate information. You should make sure that all of your listings are consistent in spelling, open hours, and that all the images look similar. If people suspect for a second that the listing they’ve come across isn’t the business they’re looking for, your reputation will be damaged.
5. Optimize Your Site Speed
Believe it or not, part of the hidden power of your Google Maps listing is under the hood of your site.
If you’re not using a reputable company like WordPress for hosting, you could be suffering from a dip in search results. Your clients and customers require your site to be fast and to load quickly. You should be checking your site speed on a monthly basis.
Problems with code or the architecture of your site could result in problems with media loading or payment processing. If customers perceive even the slightest problem in your e-commerce plug-in or any payment method, they’ll go running for the hills. With all of the major ransomware attacks in the news, no one wants their data to up for grabs.
6. Embed Google Maps
If you embed Google Maps on your site, you’ll be able to get ahead of your competitors. Not only will Google know that you have a local presence they should be communicating in searches, but it will give your customers vital information. They might remember your intersection or your highway exit next time they’re driving by and drop in.
Make your customers’ lives easier and just show them where to find you and how to get directions.
The Power of Google Maps Is In Your Hands
Most of your marketing efforts will cost at least a few thousands of dollars to implement. Using Google Maps to promote your business costs nothing but a little time. You’ll get so many advantages that it’s a wonder you never thought of it earlier.
Social media marketing works only if you actually have fans or followers. This article will walk you through 39 proven methods for increasing your followers across your social media accounts. There are three underlying elements that must take place in order for these to work:
You must be consistent. If you use any (or all) of these strategies for two weeks, and then give up and move onto something else, they won’t work. These need to be practiced consistently over the long haul to be effective. If you have limited time and resources to commit to social media, I’d recommend choosing only a handful of these strategies and then making sure you carry them out consistently.
You must know what your audience really wants. What you think they want and what they actually want may very well be two different things. Take a look at your analytics to see which types of posts and content have been most popular; this is what they want to see more of.
You must be a good social media citizen. While some of the tips may seem more like social media best practices, keep in mind that growing on social media is as much about keeping your current followers as it is about gaining new ones.
39 Strategies for Increasing Your Fans and Followers
1. Reach out to influencers: Find influencers in your niche using a tool such as Buzzsumo, and then share their content, tag or mention them, or comment on their blogs. As you build relationships, they are more likely to share your content with their followers.
2. Put social share buttons on each blog post: Make sure you include social media share buttons on each blog post, not just in your sidebar. This plugin for WordPress can help with that.
3. Post original, relevant content: This requires some outside-the-box thinking. Sharing other people’s content should be a valuable part of your strategy, but make sure to share your knowledge and insights as well.
4. Periodically channel your email subscribers to your social media accounts: Every once in a while, encourage your email subscribers to follow you on social media.
5. Link to your social media accounts on your Contact and About Us pages: These visitors are already reaching out to you; give them another way to connect with you.
6. Identify popular posts to get more shares: Getting new fans often comes down to how often your content gets shared. A tool like Fanpage Karma can help you identify the most popular posts in your niche.
7. Be responsive: Posting engaging content is just one piece of the puzzle. Respond to questions, comments, and complaints in a timely manner.
8. Hold giveaways and contests: Hold contests and make liking your Page or following your Twitter account a requirement for entry. Rafflecopter is a fantastic tool for this.
9. Actively find and follow others: Don’t just count on others to find you; go out and actively find others in your niche whom you can follow and engage with.
11. Use relevant hashtags: Use a tool like Hashtagify.me to find relevant and trending hashtags. Use these in your posts to attract new followers who are searching for those hashtags.
12. Streamline your efforts: Being active and engaged on a few social networks will net you more followers over the long haul than sporadically posting on many networks.
13. Post viral content: Easier said than done, right? Post Planner can help by providing you with images and content that have been proven to go viral.
14. Post often: Optimal posting frequency will differ between networks and audiences. Test out different posting frequencies and see which ones result in the most engagement and shares.
15. Focus on quality over quantity: While posting often is important, social media growth is more likely to happen when you’re focusing on sharing amazing, quality content that you know your audience loves.
16. Link to your social media accounts everywhere: Don’t be shy about linking to your social media accounts. Do so in your newsletter, email signature, blog, etc.
17. Discuss social media conversations on your blog: Entice your blog readers to follow you on social media by crossing the blog/social network divide. Blog about heated or interesting conversations taking place on your social media accounts.
18. Offer incentives for people to follow or like you: Offer your social media followers exclusive discounts, freebies, or coupon codes.
21. Promote your social accounts in-store: Offer your in-store guests an incentive to like or follow you on social media.
22. Try Facebook’s promoted posts: Extend your reach by promoting posts that have a history of getting engagement.
23. Give stuff away: Incentivize likes and follows by giving away free product samples or prizes for new fans or followers.
24. Cross-promote with a complimentary business in your niche: Connect with other businesses in your niche and promote each other’s social media content.
25. Build network-specific landing pages:Create landing pages on your site for visitors from each social network you’re on, and then link to these pages in your social media bios. This may increase your follows only marginally, but you should see an increase in traffic and conversions.
26. Provide valuable education without being a know-it-all: Unique, valuable content that only you know has a great chance of getting shared. Think about what info or insights you can provide based on your unique experiences and industry knowledge.
27. Use humor: Evoking emotions (positive or negative) through your posts is great for increased sharing; however, posting funny or happy content will net you more sharing overall.
28. Reshare other people’s content: Share posts, images, and tweets from other businesses, and they’ll be more likely to share yours.
30. Create topical boards on Pinterest: When naming Pinterest boards, be sure to target keywords people are actually searching for. To see what people are looking for, start typing possible keywords into the Pinterest search box, and see which keywords are auto-suggested.
31. Set a goal: Set short-term, specific goals for how many new fans or followers you want. This will help you keep your efforts focused and give you the best chance of actually achieving your goal.
33. Post only your best photos on Instagram: This suggestion goes along with an earlier one–focus on quality over quantity. With users having shared over 20 billion photos to date, p
34. Be relatable: Let your fans and followers know you’re a real person rather than a faceless business; this will make sharing your content with their friends feel like less of a risk.
35. Cross-promote your social media accounts: Periodically promote your other social media accounts to your fans and followers.
36. Answer questions on abandoned Facebook Pages: You’d be surprised at how many big brands have massive numbers of Facebook fans, and yet virtually ignore the questions and comments these fans leave. Respond in a helpful, non-promotional way to unanswered questions (and be sure to answer as your Page).
37. Include a social media call to action on your business card: Hand these out at trade shows, networking events, and speaking engagements.
38. Make sure your social media usernames are consistent: If you want people to actually find you when they search for you by name, make sure your account handles and usernames match your business name. Avoid abbreviations whenever possible.
39. Make your blog content tweetable with a click: Use a plugin such as Inline Tweet Sharer to encourage visitors to share your tweetable content.
With tools such as SEMrush and Moz, you get to take your SEO game up a notch and come out with truly astounding results for your blog, business, and clients. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably deciding whether to invest in one of these SEO tools. You may have tried the free version of one of these or both these SEO tools and are now considering whether it’s worth it to upgrade to the full version. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Even if you’ve never tried any of these SEO tools, please read this post to learn more about their features and how you can leverage the power of these tools to improve your site’s search rankings.
In this post we will compare two of the most popular SEO tools and see how they compete against each other on features, ease-of-use, and pricing.
Just giving a search on Google with the keywords “SEO tools” will show you exactly how complicated and crammed up the SEO world is. There’s a tidal wave of resources out there and while most of these tools are loaded with features, they can make our lives complicated. But most bloggers, SEO gurus, and agencies will agree that SEMrush probably provides the best bang for buck.
I use SEMrush for pretty much everything I do. I use it to find new keyword opportunities, do backlink analysis, and to spy on competitors’ keywords. (To learn more about how SEMrush can help you crush your competition in search rankings, read this post)
If you know the current state of SEO, you know just how important long tail, low- competition keywords are. And that’s exactly what SEMrush allows you to do. Paired with Google’s AdWords Keyword Research tool, you can truly obtain a few very lucrative low competition keywords and create/optimize content that ranks well in search engines.
How to Use SEMrush
If you’ve never tried SEMrush before, then you can read this section to know how to start. Others can skip this part of the post and move on to the next section to read the rest of the article.
To get started, you’d need an SEMrush account. If you don’t have one, you can register for a free SEMrush account using the link below. This will give you 1 month free access to SEMrush PRO (actual value – $99.95).
Once you’ve registered and logged into your free account, you’ll find the default search bar like the one shown above. From here, select Organic Research from the left sidebar. Next you can type the domain name of your competitor to see the keywords they are ranking for. For this example, I used SEMrush website to check the keywords they are ranking for. The results for your search should look something like this:
The next step is to set filters to find the top 10 keywords for which your competitor is ranking for (this is just an example. You can set any parameters you deem fit for your competition analysis). Make sure that the monthly search volume for these keywords is at least 10+. Once you’ve applied the filters, the results page should look something like this:
Once you have the data for top 10 keywords that your competition is ranking for, you can optimize your own keyword strategy and content to make sure your website ranks well for each of these 10 keywords.
In some cases, your competition might be already a big player in the market with several backlinks and other SEO factors to back them up. In this case, what you can do is chase ‘low hanging fruits’ aka long-tail keywords with low-medium competition. These are the keywords where the search volume is low, but the traffic is high since there is little to no competition. For example, instead of trying to optimize your site for the keywords ‘meditation retreat’, you can optimize your site for keywords ‘buddhist meditation retreat in singapore’ which is a long-tail keyword with low search volume, but good traffic.
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With your free trial account, your searches are restricted to 5 per day and the results are limited to 10. The best part about SEMrush is that you can check not just Google ranking results, but also Bing (US). You can also check how your website and your competitors are ranking in 26 countries. Below is the list of countries where you can do competition and keyword analysis.
Site Audit: This is one of the best features that SEMrush offers. You can do a site audit to find and fix the issues with your website. SEMrush offers ‘health percentage’ of your site and notifies you via email whenever the health percentage of your site is at risk.
Position Tracking: With the pro version of SEMrush, you can select up to 100 keywords and see how your website is ranking on search engines for these keywords. You can frequently monitor your site’s performance and do the necessary optimization to make sure you rank well for all these keywords.
Backlink Audit – You can conduct deep link analysis of your own site as well as your competitors’ site. By doing a deep link analysis of your competition, you can uncover a few backlink opportunities. The more relevant backlinks you have, the better will be your search ranking.
Verdict:SEMrush is the best SEO tool which is highly recommended by most SEO gurus. If this is the first time you’re investing on an SEO product, then SEMrush is the tool you should opt for because it that allows you to do organic keyword research, spy on competitors’ data, and build powerful backlinks. Is it worth the $69.99 per month? Yes and it’s worth every penny. When used to its potential, the ROI is pretty strong with this one.
Started way back in 2004 by Rand Fishkin, MOZ first started as an SEO consulting company before they developed their first SEO tool. Fishkin has established himself as a thought leader in the SEO space and is one of the most resourceful and respected marketing gurus you can follow on Twitter to learn some very important SEO and content marketing skills. But when it comes to their flagship SEO tools, I’ve mixed feelings.
To get started, let’s talk about some of the good things that Moz offers. The best part about Moz is that pretty much everything good about it is FREE. So if you’re on a shoestring budget and don’t want to invest on SEO tools yet, but still want to ensure that your site ranks well, then the free services offered by Moz are industry standard.
All of these tools below are free and you can use them to improve the search visibility of your site:
Open Site Explorer – You can track your link profile and uncover link building opportunities using this free tool
Keyword Explorer – Helps you find the best keywords in your niche
MozBar – Perhaps the best among the free tools offered by Moz, MozBar is a Google Chrome extension offers you a glimpse into your site’s Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA), both crucial metrics, on a regular basis. Your site’s PA and DA change on a monthly basis, so it’s important to keep a watchful eye on how your site is measured in these terms. Moreover, you can perform keyword research and link analysis of the sites you visit right from the browser bar (like shown below) without having to access the dashboard. You can get your Moz Bar Chrome extension for free here.
If you’re using Moz for free, then you can give up to 3 searches per day. For the example below, I gave a search on Moz.com to find their DA and PA and to get a fair idea about their backlink profile.
Now to the part that isn’t that good. Having been impressed with the free services offered by Moz, I decided to take the plunge for paid subscription and found myself a little underwhelmed.
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I didn’t mind paying the $99 per month price for standard subscription as long as the tools offered were worth that sum. Being a fan of Rand Fishkin, I so wanted to like Moz Pro, but it fell short of my expectations. I found myself using it less and less and cancelled the subscription to look for better and cheaper alternatives.
Having said that, Moz by no means is a bad SEO tool. I still use their free tools such as Open Site Explorer and Moz Bar for SEO to keep a track of my sites’ PA and DA. Moreover, Moz has some incredible SEO and content marketing resources which you can download for free from here. If you’re a beginner, then Moz has some of the best resources which you can read to familiarize yourself with SEO tactics. Their Beginner’s Guide to SEO is perhaps the best SEO guide I’ve stumbled upon in recent times.
They also have an amazing blog which I visit regularly. Whiteboard Friday, a video series featuring Founder/CEO Rand Fishkin, is something that you should tune into every week.
But if you were to ask me if I’d ever subscribe to Moz Pro for $99/Month, my answer would be No. I’d like to emphasize that this is my personal experience with Moz. There are people who swear by Moz and they may be able to elaborate more on the paid services offered by Moz. Perhaps they have been able to find time to use it to its full potential. For me, everything good offered by Moz is free and if you had to invest in an SEO tool, it’d be SEMrush.
(Update: SEMrush revised the pricing of their plans in Jan 2017. Their standard plan which was priced at $69.95/month is now worth $99.95/month, Guru plan which was priced at $149.95 is now worth $199.95, and their business plan which was priced at $549.95 is now worth $399.95)
If you were to compare the free tools offered by each of these, both have their own strengths and limitations. However, MOZ offers a free 30-day trial which is akin to Moz Pro’s full version.
With SEMrush, you are required to register an account to get your free 30-day trial which has several limitations. Your searches as well as search results are limited to 5 and 10 per day respectively. But if we were to compare the features offered under paid subscriptions, then I’d highly recommend SEMrush over Moz.
I use SEMrush for pretty much every SEO task that I do.
The sheer amount of data available on SEMrush can be overwhelming at times, but they have excellent training materials and product guide to help you every step of the way. Their support team is really helpful and they organize weekly webinars which you can participate in to hone your SEO skills.
Moz, on the other hand, is expensive for the features it offers. The best thing to do would be to try the free 30-day trial of Moz and probably then decide to take a plunge if you like the product. Like I said, your experience with the product may differ and you may find value in the paid services which they offer. On the other hand, if you had to invest in a powerful SEO tool, then SEMrush has all the features you need and more. Give it a try!
Moz Pro Pricing
These are the Moz Pro pricing plans as of October 2017. You can save 20% by switching to annual pricing.
These are SEMrush’s pricing plans as of October 2017. You can save up to $800 by switching to an annual plan.
Links to register free accounts with SEMrush and Moz:
Niche keywords are the highly specific long-tail keywords that pertain to a narrow industry vertical. It’s important to optimize your site and your pay-per-click campaigns for niche keywords and not just broad, popular terms, which are often too difficult to rank for, especially as a new venture.
When you’re just getting started with a search marketing initiative—whether you’re a new affiliate marketer, new to an industry, or launching a new product—it can be very hard to predict the impact of a new search campaign, as well as to determine an attack plan for your industry niche.
This guide explains how to perform niche keyword research, using our Free Keyword Tool, in three easy steps. Read on to start finding industry-specific keyword opportunities that deliver high ROI.
Step 1: Use a Keyword Research Tool to Find Niche Keywords
Before you can get started in earnest, of course, you need to choose your niche. Let’s say you’ve decided to build an affiliate site offering organic baby product reviews. Regardless of how much you know about baby products, it’s challenging, if not impossible, to know ahead of time what keywords are going to be profitable for you.
Keyword research will help you identify a wide range of potential keyword opportunities including less obvious terms that could potentially drive traffic and sales. Since this site is a new endeavor, you don’t yet have historical data to leverage as a predictor of future performance. So you need a good basket of potential keywords to drill down on.
The Free Keyword Tool by WordStream is ideal for introductory niche keyword research:
Most keyword suggestion tools only generate a brief list of terms. But you’re trying to generate a broad portfolio of keywords, including keyword variations you might not be able to come up with on your own.
As you can see, WordStream’s niche keyword tool returns hundreds of keyword ideas for the phrase “organic baby.” This is a great start. But, unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that all of these keyword suggestions will ultimately be valuable to you.
Step 2: Refine Your Niche Keyword List
A list of keywords has no inherent value—they are, in fact, just suggestions. It’s what you do with your keywords that matters. So it’s key to find an effective method of refining your list.
There are several ways to refine your keywords using WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool.
When you add a keyword or URL, the Keyword Tool generates a comprehensive list of search queries along with their Google Search Volume:
Remember, your keyword list should be as specific to you, your site, and your business as possible. Keywords are only as valuable as they are relevant to you: you don’t have to adopt every suggested term, but you should be aware of them. After all, they might indicate behaviors or purchasing patterns that can be used to inform your Display or Facebook advertising.
Step 3: Determine How Competitive Your Niche Keyword Phrases Are
Finally, you’ll need to analyze how competitive each keyword phrase is—in other words, evaluable the relative difficulty of ranking for each niche keyword. Unfortunately, relative “competiton” alone isn’t enough to conduct this sort of analysis.
Luckily, we’ve developed a proprietary algorithm that exists within the Keyword Tool as WordStream Opportunity Score (the rightmost column in the image below):
Once you’ve connected your AdWords account to the Keyword Tool, our algorithm is able to assess the viability of a given search query within the context of your existing PPC strategy. You can use it to weed out superfluous (or overly competitive) terms, ensuring that you only implement keywords that relate to your business.
So Keyword Research for My Niche Site Is All Set Now?
Not quite. Don’t let your niche keyword research efforts come to a dead stop at step three. Successful keyword targeting requires constant monitoring and tweaking.
You’ve invested a lot of time and energy into identifying the best niche keyword opportunities—now you can collect on that investment by consistently tracking how those keywords perform on your site and in accordance with your specific business goals. It’s important to remember that just because a keyword tool returns a keyword doesn’t mean you’ll be able to rank for it, or that the traffic it sends from search engines will end up converting. Make continual keyword research a priority and be vigilant about analyzing and acting on keyword research to improve your results.
You DON’T need to be an expert at copywriting or SEO to increase your website traffic.
I’ll walk you through the whole process in a moment, but first… Why is getting traffic so dang hard?
The problem: most likely, you’re focusing on the wrong metrics and reading the wrong content…
You see, there’s a lot of content out there about how to increase website traffic. Some of it old, some of it okay, but none of it really that actionable…
Here is what’s lacking: a proven system. One that you can implement with your website right now, and see your website traffic skyrocket in a matter of weeks (or even less).
When you have the right system, it’s really not that difficult to increase website traffic.
At that point, it’s just about following the right steps and BOOM – before you know it you’ll see exponential growth in your traffic numbers.
So, what system am I referring to? It’s the same system that I (and many others) have already used to increase website traffic.
The system is comprised around three steps:
Step #1: Optimize Your Website Content (jump to step 1)
This is the foundation of the system. If you want to truly increase website traffic, you first need to make sure your website content is optimized. Otherwise, the traffic will be fleeting and only temporary.
Step #2: Crush It With Social Media (jump to step 2)
Once your website is prepared for more traffic, you must start driving traffic to it! You’ll discover how to do this with the unique social media strategies we’ll outline.
Step #3: Master Content Outreach (jump to step 3)
Social media is only one part of the puzzle. You must also get your content in front of new audiences. You’ll discover how to do this as well (even if you don’t have hours of extra time to write guest post after guest post)…
How’s all this sound? Let’s jump in and get started with the system!
Step 1: Optimize Your Website Content
1. Know Your Current Traffic Statistics
Before you start growing your website traffic, you need to know your current traffic stats. This is your baseline. From here, you can see how your efforts are affecting your traffic growth.
Once you have at least a few days of traffic under your belt, check your website traffic report on Google Analytics.
Here are some of the most important metrics you should note:
Pages per visit
Average time on site
Traffic sources (direct, search, and referral)
2. Check Website Traffic Often
You’ve probably heard of the old saying, “What gets measured, gets managed.”
Well, it’s true! You’ll be testing new traffic strategies, and you need to know how they’re performing.
So, check your website traffic often – at least a few times a week. This way, you’ll know what’s working, and what’s not, and you can double down on the good stuff to maximize your traffic growth.
3. Create a Better Content Marketing Strategy
Here’s where many businesses fall off the tracks. They either don’t have a content marketing strategy, or if they do, it’s seriously off the mark.
You can try all the SEO hacks, but without a solid content marketing strategy, you’ll be wasting your time.
So, how do you create a better content marketing strategy? Before we get into that, let’s talk about the types of content that should be included in your strategy:
A good content marketing strategy has a mix of all these different types of content. Now, as for your actual strategy…
It should include the following elements:
1) The primary goal of your content (i.e. Increase traffic, generate leads, etc.)
2) Your audience, defined (i.e. Who are they? What are their biggest pain points? How can you help them through your content?)
3) How you plan to add value and set your content apart from the competition
4) Frequency of posting
5) Content amplification (i.e. How will you get your content in front of more eyeballs?)
4. Write More Compelling Blog Headlines
A compelling headline is what sells the content. If you want your content to be read – and also to rank in search engines – then great headlines are key.
Now, there are two things you must optimize for with your headlines: Social traffic and search traffic.
To do so, your headlines should have the right keywords, the right length, and also be compelling enough for social media users to click on them.
To find the right keywords, use Google Keyword Planner. Plug in some possible search terms for your blog post idea. For example, if you’re writing a post about how to quit your job, you can plug in terms like, “How to quit your job,” “How to quit your 9-5 job,” “How to quit your job and travel,” and perhaps even “How to become an entrepreneur.”
Here are the results of that query:
From here, you know that “How to quit your job” and “How to become an entrepreneur” get the two highest average monthly searches, and you can choose which to include in your title.
From there, you can use some of these compelling headline templates so that the title is also compelling for social media:
(Note: just try and keep your title under 70 characters so it doesn’t get cut off in Google Search.)
“How X Can do X” (i.e. “How Employees Can Quit Their Jobs and Become Entrepreneurs”)
“X People/Things Who Are Doing X” (i.e. “15 Brands Who Are Crushing It on Instagram”)
“How to Do X (Even If [Obstacle])” (i.e. “How to Start Investing [Even if You Don’t Have Tons of Money Saved Up]”)
“How to X” (i.e. “How to Get More Followers on Instagram”)
And here are some general tips for writing better headlines:
Use list posts (i.e. “10 Ways to Do X in Record Time”)
A great content marketing strategy with catchy headlines won’t matter if you don’t have compelling content. Any readers who come to your site will just bounce out immediately – and that will make for an ugly traffic report.
So, how do you write more compelling content?
You can start by infusing these hacks into your writing…
Hack #1: Hook readers in from the beginning. People have low attention spans. If you don’t have a compelling “hook” at the beginning of your blogs, people will click off in seconds. You can hook them in by teasing the benefits of the article (see the intro to this article for example!), telling a story, or stating a common problem that your audience faces.
Hack #2: Use shorter paragraphs. Avoid long paragraphs and huge blocks of text. The more scannable your content, the better. So, try to keep paragraphs under 5-6 lines (ideally 2-3).
Hack #3: Read your writing aloud when editing. What looks good on paper doesn’t always sound good. So, by reading your content aloud, you can discover clunky phrases – and any errors will jump out to you.
Hack #4: Tell more stories. Stories connect with us emotionally and drive us to take action. Add stories into your content to prove arguments, hook readers in, explain a problem, and for whatever else you can think of. Stories are gold.
6. Use Eye-Catching Photos
Is a picture really worth a thousand words? We think so…
Eye-catching photos can do wonders for your traffic. They can make your blog more visually appealing so readers stay on your site longer, and they also make your content more shareable on social media.
In a study by Socialbakers, researches found that images on Facebook constituted 93% of the most engaging posts, compared with all other status updates.
When you combine your title with a strong image, you give it the best opportunity to generate traffic and clicks.
The best part? You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars paying for stock photos. You can use free stock photo sites like Unsplash to find hundreds of eye-catching images (without having to spend a dime).
7. Internal Linking (important!)
Internal linking refers to adding links from one page on your website to another page on your website. This can mean you’re adding links from one blog post to older posts, or from certain pages to other pages.
Most websites don’t use internal linking nearly enough. Sure, you shouldn’t overdo it with 40-50 internal links in each blog post – but there is a happy medium.
Why bother with internal linking? These types of links are useful because they help your readers navigate your website, help improve the search rank of the pages you link to, and help define the architecture and hierarchy of your website.
Here’s how you can get the most out of internal linking:
Create more content. The more quality content you create, the more quality content you can link to. It’s really that simple.
Use the right anchor text. Using our previous example: if you wanted to internally link to the “how to quit your job” blog post, you can write a sentence in another blog, like “Once you know [how to quit your job], you can start a business and travel the world.” In this case, the reader has a compelling case for clicking on the link because of both the anchor text (“how to quit your job”) and the context of the sentence. There is a clear benefit from clicking the link.
Link to relevant content. Don’t link for the sake of linking – always link to content that will add to your readers’ experience.
Don’t overdo it. Anywhere from 5-10 internal links can be used in a 1,000-word blog post. Any more than that and you’ll overdo it.
8. Conduct a Content Audit
What if you could delete and third of your content, and yet triple your website traffic? Well, that’s exactly what Todd Tresidder did.
You see, when you’ve had a website for several years, you can start running into problems like redundant and irrelevant content that no longer matches up with your message.
By conducting a content audit, you can solve these problems.
A content audit can also improve your SEO ranking. Think about it: quality is the new SEO. Google wants the best quality experience for their users, and by conducting a content audit, you signal that you’re trying to deliver the highest quality experience.
So, how do you conduct a content audit? Before we get into it, here’s what you need to do first…
Go through your entire archive of content and put it into a spreadsheet – every page and every post. Check off and categorize each one according to one of four categories:
1) Keep (good content that will stay on your site)
2) Improve (it’s on-brand, but needs updating)
3) Consolidate (for example, short content on a similar subject can be combined into a single post)
4) Remove (delete because it’s irrelevant or off-brand)
From there, use this step-by-step for conducting the content audit:
Step #1: Edit and improve the content in the “Keep” and “Improve” categories. Consider creating lead magnets for higher traffic articles.
When analyzing this content, use the following criteria:
Is the formatting on point?
Are the images SEO friendly?
Is the writing quality up to par?
Is it easy to scan and read?
Is the title optimized for search engines AND social media?
Are the affiliate links correct?
Are there enough internal links? Can older posts link to newer posts?
For posts that you update and consolidate, make sure to delete older comments that are no longer relevant, so as not to confuse readers.
Step #2: Consolidate the shorter, similar blogs into new blog posts.
You’ll probably have several groups of similar posts to consolidate. Once you consolidate them, you should:
1) Choose the most popular blog post of the consolidation grouping.
2) 301 redirect all of the other blog URLs of the consolidation group to the URL of the most popular blog.
(Note: A 301 redirect is a way to send users and search engines to a different URL than the one they originally requested. The redirect saves 90-99% of the link juice to the redirected page. Implementation of the 301 redirect depends on your web hosting – so contact your host for how to do this.)
Step #3: Delete content from the “Remove” category.
Simply delete the content you no longer see fit for your site!
Now, the content audit isn’t an easy process. But if you put in the work and actually do it, you can see some great results with your traffic numbers. So, we highly recommend giving it a shot.
Step 2: Crush It With Social Media
9. Share Your Content the Right Way
In terms of how to get traffic to your website, social media is the next big key. You need to make sure you share your content the right way so that you get highest increase in traffic.
Here are some tips for sharing your content so that you get the most engagement, shares, and traffic:
Tip #1: Optimize for each platform
Social media posts appear differently on different platforms. So, you need to optimize your posts so that each can be eye-catching and shareable.
For example, for Facebook, a great post constitutes the following:
A high quality photo (like we talked about earlier)
(Note: Snapchat isn’t listed here, but you should be posting throughout the day on that platform!)
Facebook: Weekends between 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.; Wednesdays between 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Twitter: Mondays through Fridays between 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.; Wednesdays between 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
LinkedIn: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at: 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Plus, Tuesdays between 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Pinterest: Evening hours everyday and 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.; Fridays at 5:00 p.m.; Saturdays from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m.
Instagram: Anytime Monday through Thursday, except between 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
10. Dominate With Quora
Dominating with Quora is one of the best ways to become an authority in your industry and increase your website traffic.
If you haven’t used Quora yet, here’s a quick synopsis of the platform from its founder, Adam D’Angelo:
“Quora connects you to everything you want to know about. Quora aims to be the easiest place to write new content and share content from the web. We organize people and their interests so you can find, collect and share the information most valuable to you.”
The format is quite simple: People ask questions, and you post answers. And if you post good answers with relevant links back to your site, you can receive a big boost in traffic.
Here’s how can you start dominating with Quora:
1) Open a Quora account. Go to Quora.com and create an account.
2) Create and optimize Your Bio. Your bio is what people see when they click your profile. So, optimize it by adding a few sentences about yourself and your experience in your industry, as well as a link to your website.
3) Select relevant categories. Quora offers thousands of categories for you to choose from. Choose carefully, because your Quora feed will be filled with questions based on these categories. Aim to add at least 10-15 relevant categories.
4) Search for great questions. This is key. The better the question, the better the chance your answer will go viral and bring you thousands and thousands of visitors. What constitutes a great question? Look for the following:
Nice formatting (i.e. bold, italics, etc. Not just a giant block of hard-to-read text)
Relevance to your industry
Are fairly new (don’t have any great answers yet)
5) Post strong answers. You must follow up those great questions with strong answers of your own. Here’s how you can write a strong Quora answer:
Use the first few lines to hook them in. Users can only see the first 3-4 lines in their feed, so you need to hook them from the beginning so they’ll click on your answer.
Tell stories. Some of the best Quora answers contain personal stories of beating obstacles and figuring out problems
Use correct grammar and formatting. If your answer isn’t scannable and easy to read, users probably won’t bother reading it.
Add relevant links back to your site. Throughout your answer, sprinkle a few relevant links back to your website. The more relevant they are to the question, the more clicks and traffic they will generate. You can also end your answers with a link to your lead magnet, concluding with something like: “Want to know more about how to start a business? Check out my free checklist with 10 steps for starting your first business!” and link to the lead magnet (in this example, the checklist).
Used right, Quora can be a powerful traffic generator for your website. And unlike most other social media, a viral Quora answer can generate steady traffic to your website for a year or more. So, make sure not to overlook this platform.
11. Post and Promote on Reddit!
Reddit is another powerful, yet underused social media platform that can increase website traffic. If you can find where your audience hangs out on Reddit, and deliver the right content, you can generate tens of thousands of visits literally overnight.
(That’s right – you don’t have to hit the Reddit front page to make a big impact!)
So, how do you find your customers on Reddit and promote your content the right way?
Use this 2-step strategy:
Step #1: Find Your Relevant Subreddits
1) Once you go to Reddit.com, use the search box in the top right hand corner of the screen.
2) Search for a relevant keyword and hit “enter”.
3) From here, you’ll find a list of subreddits related to the keyword. Skim through each one and subscribe to those you think are a good match.
4) Repeat this process for the most relevant keywords related to your business.
Got it? These will be your target subreddits. These are the places your audience hangs out on Reddit.
Step #2: Post and Add Value
Once you know your target subreddits, it’s time to start posting.
(Note: before you post in a subreddit, make sure to look at the posting rules for that subreddit on the right sidebar.)
You should include a few elements in your posting strategy:
1) Answers questions and respond to comments in popular threads. This will build your reputation.
2) Post a link to one article per week in the most relevant subreddit (if you can get 100-200+ upvotes on the link, you can expect upwards of 2,000-3,000 visits depending on the subreddit)
3) Always focus on adding value. Balance your links with good advice so you don’t appear spammy.
4) Mix it up. Don’t just submit links to Reddit. Switch it up and add text versions of your blog posts or advice, then, add a link to your post at the end.
5) Post at the right time. Let’s say you want to post in the r/Entrepreneur/ subreddit, but there’s already a post in the #1 spot with 200 upvotes, and it was posted 4 hours ago. If you post then, you probably won’t overtake that #1 spot, and you’ll get less traffic. However, if you wait a day, check back, and see that the new #1 spot only has 12-15 upvotes, then you have a golden opportunity. It will be much easier for you to hit the #1 spot and get hundreds of upvotes.
Step 3: Content Outreach
12. Use Republishing to Get Featured on Large Websites
Your website and social media are optimized, but you still need the final step: get your content in front of new audiences.
One of the best ways to do that is to get your content republished on large publications. This is ideal because you won’t have to spend hours writing tons of guest posts every month – and you can also get the link juice from large publications with high rankings.
Now, you may have heard the myth that republishing is bad for SEO. However, Matt Cutts, Google’s “Head of webspam” dispelled this myth. In reference to republishing content, he said, “I wouldn’t stress about this unless the content that you have duplicated is spammy or keyword stuffing.”
So, you’re in the clear here.
As for how to get your content republished on larger publications, it’s a simple process:
Step #1: Find large publications in your industry that republish content.
Large publications have huge content needs. So, if they allow republishing, and you have good, relevant content, then you’ve got a good shot.
With a simple search through their “contribute,” “write for us,” or “guest posting” page, you can see if they allow republished content.
So, find 5-10 large publications in your industry and start this process.
Here are a few publications that republish content to get you started:
Step #2: Choose relevant content for the publication
What type of tone, style, and content is the publication looking for? Which one of your content pieces matches up with this tone, style, and content?
If you don’t have any content that matches up exactly, you can tweak it to make it a better fit.
Step #3: Pitch the Publication
Your pitch is key. It’s best practice to submit an original piece of content first, so you get your foot in the door before pitching content from your site.
So, you should always be networking and trying to connect with influencers. The more influencers and connections you have, the easier it will be to get published on the larger publications.
As for the actual pitch, here’s how to do it right:
Craft a strong subject line
Make sure to pitch the right editor
A reference to a personal connection (if possible)
A quick explanation of how your content will add value to their audience
A link to the content (or a Word doc)
Step #4: Prepare your content
Once your pitch is accepted, you need to prepare your content for republishing. Here’s a process you can follow:
Review and follow the site’s publishing guidelines
Aim to include 3-4 backlinks to your blog posts, as well as a bio with a link to a lead magnet (if you have one)
Change the title (so Google doesn’t get confused when ranking the posts)
With this strategy, you can get 3-4+ posts a month republished, without much extra work on your part. And these can bring you a ton of traffic.
13. Get More Guest Posts With This Outreach Strategy
It’s nice to get your content republished, but you should still write 2-3 guest posts a month (or more, if possible). Guest posting helps improve your SEO rank, and it also introduces your content to new audiences.
Now, when it comes to guest posting, the outreach email is very important. But we have an outreach strategy that works well, and we recommend you try it out.
Here’s the basic format:
1) Introduce yourself and explain that you’re a huge fan of their work. Reference something you learned from a specific blog post, ideally one that is a few months old.
2) Explain aside from thanking them for the awesome content, you’re also reaching out because you’re interested in writing a guest post for them. Tell them you have 4 ideas you think their audience would love based on some of their most popular articles.
3) From here, go to Buzzsumo and type in their URL. Then, take a screenshot of their top results. Here’s an example below using Entrepreneur.com:
4) Send 4 related guest post ideas that are somewhat related to these most shared topics on Buzzsumo (include the title and a 1 sentence explanation for each idea).
5) Explain that you know they’re busy, and that you can write everything up and sent it in one Word document. Also explain that you’ll handle all the editing as well, so it’s all super easy for them.
6) Close it out by promising that it will be engaging content that their audience will love, and asking, “What do you think?”
7) Sign off with your name and website URL
That’s it! That’s all it takes to get more traffic.
You no longer have to wonder about how to increase website traffic.
If you take action and use this proven system, you will get more traffic to your website – and that traffic will stick around for the long haul.
The most important rule for web development is always to seek improvements (optimizations), and there’s no better way to accomplish this than to use analysis tools. Keep in mind that no website is already successful in the first build. As a webmaster, you need time to monitor a site’s performance and identify weaknesses that can be improved. Moreover, with the right tools, you can significantly cut the time it takes to gather data and execute optimization. Without further ado, below are seven website analysis/optimization tools that any webmaster can use:
Useful for: Obtaining a full performance report on any website within seconds
SEO Analyzer is a lightweight, web-based analysis tool that can give you a full report on your site’s performance in an instant. All you need to do is to enter your website’s URL and hit the big orange “Analyze” button.
Aside from useful insights on your websites’ SEO, content marketing strategy, and competition, you also get free recommendations on how to improve your SEO and page loading speed. You can also download the report in PDF format so you can easily share your findings with your team.
Useful for: Quickly identifying website issues that affect loading speed
Your website’s loading speed directly affects user experience and, in turn, conversions. To look for possible bottlenecks that slow your site down, only go to Pingdom Website Speed Test, enter your website’s URL, choose your target audience’s location, and press “Start Test.” Right off the bat, you get a quick analysis of your website’s speed and how it compares with other tested sites.
However, the main advantage of using Pingdom is the comprehensive list of performance factors along with actionable recommendations on how to improve them. You can even view how long it takes to load every single file on your website.
Useful for: Seeing how your site performs on mobile devices
Making sure your site looks and performs just as good in smaller screens is essential, in particular with the ongoing rise of the mobile industry. With Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, you are given a straight answer to whether or not your site can deliver a good experience to mobile users.
Useful for: Keeping track of all your websites in a single location
In Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, you have the option to link your Google Search Console account so you can test multiple sites at once. Apart from that, Google Search Console can also provide you with a thorough SEO analysis for all of your websites.
You can also use the “Fetch as Google” feature to manually update the indexed versions of your site. This is useful if you recently made changes such as new title tags, fresh content, and so on. Just remember that you have to go through the verification process first to prove your ownership of the websites you wish to track.
Useful for: Directly observing how web crawlers navigate through your site
Netpeak Spider is a desktop app that simulates how search engine crawlers navigate your website. One of its primary purposes is to identify issues that can prevent search engines from discovering or indexing specific pages – from missing headers to connection errors.
It is worth noting that you can get Netpeak Spider with Netpeak Checker, which is a website analysis platform that aggregates data from SEO services like Alexa, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Serpstat, and social networks. Doing so allows you to unify your SEO efforts in a single service.
Useful for: Outperforming your competition in the link-building aspect
Modern SEO revolves around building quality backlinks. Surprisingly, a lot of online marketers and site owners are still unsure of how link building works. With LinkResearchTools, you can quickly identify what works and what doesn’t in your link-building strategy.
Remember that LinkResearchTools is not just a single app; it is a suite of tools that can help you with every facet of link-building. You can conduct competitive analysis, monitor the creation or deletion of backlinks, remove bad links that drive your rankings down, and so much more.
You cannot have an analysis tool list without including Google Analytics – one of the most comprehensive, free tools out there for measuring raw site performance. It can help you track the average session duration, bounce rate, the volume of traffic, conversion rate, and so on. In addition to in-depth data, Google Analytics also provides explainer videos that can help you understand what you’re seeing.
Analyzing and optimizing your website’s performance are crucial to online success. With the tools above, you can have all the data you need for better decision-making.
Fail to optimize your website (seo) for search engines, and thereby fail to get new leads, customers and traffic to your site. That’s how it goes in today’s modern world of SEO and digital marketing on the web.
SEO stands for search engine optimization—it’s the process of making your website and all its webpages easier for your customers to find on search engine results pages (SERPs). Your business will rank for a keyword—let’s say “dog food”—and successful SEO aims to make your site rank as high as possible (at least the first page of the SERPs) for said keyword.
This process can be very complicated and involved, but there are basic things you can do right now to make your site rank higher for your specific keyword. This applies if you’re a startup, a small business, or even a Fortune 500 company.
Here are 10 SEO tactics to get you there fast:
Tactic 1. Understand Your Business Model
SEO won’t help you unless you’re 100% clear on your business model.
You need to decide on a few important things before beginning any SEO project and set attainable goals. This is true whether you’re a startup looking to launch a new website, a small business in need of a redesign, or a Fortune 500 company aiming to focus your site better.
First, determine your target market and your target audience. Settling on these two important issues will streamline your keyword selection for your SEO process. Begin by learning everything you can about the market you’re competing in and who your target audience is: their wants, needs, and desires that will drive them to purchase your products.
Once you arrive at greater clarity on whom you want to sell to and what sorts of conversions you’re after, you can brainstorm your keywords accordingly.
For instance, if you’re selling fine Italian suits for men, then your keyword would have to be more specific than just “men’s suits” for it to really bring your site more qualified leads. After all, you want conversions from people really interested in buying fine Italian men’s suits (and who’d likely spend a lot more money) instead of just people looking to buy any men’s suit in general.
Tactic 2. Find Your Keywords to Target
This is where your SEO process becomes super-crucial: Here’s where you settle on the long-tail keyword that you firmly believe your customers are searching for on the web. If they’re looking for this keyword, you want your site to be at the top of the list in the SERPs!
Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to find the keyword that suits your business model best. Or research a set of related keywords to target.
After you’ve decided on your target keywords, that’s not enough to stay on top of your SEO game. You have to make a concerted effort to constantly track the rankings of your most important keywords if you want to maintain their positioning. Keep in mind that your keyword rankings will fluctuate as time goes on and may not be as strong as they once were. It’s important that you take action when needed to maintain their positioning.
A tool like Tiny Ranker is just the solution you’re looking for to ensure that your visibility on search engines is always the best it can be.
Tactic 3. Monitor Your Keyword Rankings
Monitoring your keyword rankings is critical since they never stay the same. SEO is in constant flux. There is no guarantee that just because your site ranked highly for a specific keyword last month, it will be the same story this month.
Tiny Ranker offers a great rank tracking tool that lets you get around this uncertainty and figure out exactly if your keywords are still performing for you the way you want them to. Once you know this information, you can keep tweaking your keywords to improve your search engine rankings to get better business prospects visiting your site.
Tiny Ranker gives you up-to-the-minute SEO data, such as:
Daily updated Google rankings
Keyword ranking comparisons with the previous day, week, or month
There’s also the ability to track your SEO keyword rankings on mobile devices and even in several different languages, meaning that there’s a lot of depth to what you can do with this tool in order to always keep your SEO rankings as strong as they can be.
Tactic 4. Publish High-Quality Content
High-quality content gets rewarded by Google’s algorithms in terms of ranking factors for SEO. That’s why you should make it your mission to publish only high-quality content on your site, if you have a blog, for example.
There’s a direct link between longer content (2,000 words and up) and what Google considers “high-quality.” There’s even research that confirms this:
Neil Patel looked at what lengths of content Google puts on its top 10 results in SERPs—unsurprisingly, it was content that was at least 2,000 words. Neil even suggests 3,000 words; why not go for broke and create even super-long content? It can’t hurt, according to SERP results for content for any given keyword.
So the next time you’re feeling like just publishing short filler content of 500 or so words on your site, think twice. Your search rankings could seriously be penalized by Google and other search engines for creating inadequate content that they don’t consider high-quality.
Tactic 5. Manage Your On-Page SEO
Every page on your site can and should also be managed effectively for proper SEO. Remember, it’s not just your entire site that you want to surface highly in the SERPs; it’s also individual webpages, which also appear on search engines.
To achieve this, have one of Tiny Tracker’s main features come to your assistance. Its on-page SEO analysis/optimization tool is ideal for giving anyone from startups and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies deep insight into how exactly they can optimize their landing pages for increased, overall Google visibility.
Here’s how it works: Straightforward icons in its user interface tell you specifically which of your keywords require improvement and which are already optimal the way they are.
Vital SEO ranking factors like title tags, meta descriptions, and texts are carefully checked through this analysis, and helpful suggestions are offered, so you can optimize your pages and get the rankings you want.
First, visitors are going to bounce from your website if your site’s slow because they don’t want to wait.
Second, your SEO rankings are now also going to get penalized if your site’s speed isn’t up to par!
But what is fast enough for today’s users and visitors?
According to SEMrush, nothing slower than 2 seconds. I’ll stress that again: If your site loads at an average page slower than 2 seconds, chances are great that your visitors will bounce and your SEO rankings will take a hit.
Steer clear of the SEO tactics that Google frowns on, and your rankings will be a lot healthier. Not everything that looks as if it can help your SEO rankings will actually do so, especially since Google is the final arbiter on what constitutes SEO tactics that are legitimate for ranking in its search results.
Not every SEO tactic is legitimate. Let’s look at the ones that are condemnable as “black hat” and that you should avoid:
Keyword Stuffing: This is when you excessively use your keywords in your content in a way that hampers natural readability.
Aggravating Ads: Too many ads on your pages are a problem. They’re intrusive and ruin the user experience for your audience.
Buying Links: When you buy a link that’s likely not relevant to your content just to get a backlink, it’ll hurt your SEO rankings.
Tactic 8. Surveil Your SEO Competition
You’re not the only business in your industry. In fact, you’re probably not the market leader in your industry, which further heightens the need for you to keep tabs on what your competitors are doing, SEO-wise.
Another very useful feature of Tiny Ranker is its competitor surveillance option, which lets you see whom you’re competing against for rankings on search engines. You aren’t the only business competing for your target keywords.
By checking your competitors’ rankings, you’re empowered to figure out who your strongest competition is. This means you can make adjustments and improvements to your own keywords to more positively affect your rankings.
This feature also allows you to add your own competitors, if you know of a specific competitor in your industry that you should follow really closely.
Tactic 9. Tag Your Images Properly
How you tag your images can have a dramatic impact on your SEO rankings.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses simply neglect this vital aspect of SEO by completely forgetting to include the all-important ALT attribute as they upload various images for their content. However, search engines can’t effectively see your images; all they can do is actually read the ALT text in order to understand exactly what the image is about!
When you accurately describe your images, it’ll go a long way to having them surface in Google Image searches, thereby helping your entire site’s SEO visibility.
For example, an image of a juicy and mouth-watering steak shouldn’t merely be tagged as “food.” That’s nowhere near specific enough for SEO visibility. Tag an image like this with something quite descriptive like “a big steak with butter served on a white plate.”
It’s 2017. No one wants to navigate a site that looks as if it was built with GeoCities from the late 90s.
Another significant SEO ranking factor is your web design because web design impacts important factors like the user experience, overall usability, and the information architecture (read: how logically and efficiently a page’s information is laid out to support the goal of said page).
Plainly put, if your site is hard to navigate, makes it difficult for visitors to find what they want, and looks unaesthetic, it’ll drop in the SEO rankings.
To create a site with great design, do this:
Use good information architecture.
Use white space.
Chunk your content for easier reading.
Use color contrast to highlight calls to action.
Display your contact info where it’s easy to see.
Create usable navigation.
Prioritize the user experience.
When you incorporate all these design elements, you’re designing a site that’s up to date with what people expect when they visit any site on the web today. As a result, you’re only helping your own cause of optimizing your site’s SEO!
Creating an SEO-Optimized Website Is Easier Than You Think
If you’re completely new to SEO and the web, then it may seem daunting to look after all these specifics to ensure that your business gets found on the Internet. In reality, it’s not all that challenging to optimize your business site for search engines.
Simply prioritize what your business is about and who your target audience is, get a smart tool like Tiny Ranker to do some of the heavy lifting for you, and be meticulous in your SEO monitoring and improvements.
Over time, you’ll see real, beneficial results of your site climbing in the rankings for your chosen keyword(s)—the palpable fruits of your SEO labor!