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Date: Saturday, 27 Sep 2014 15:56

Can Google Determine the Level of Quality in Your Content? is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Plan your product and processes by aiming for both high quality and high value to set your goods and services apart from your competition in the marketplace

In the recently released Searchmetrics Ranking Factors Study, the case for quality content is once again highlighted as a critical SEO component. There should be any number of people out there who are rolling their eyes right about now, thinking: not another post about how “content is king.” We’ve heard it before. How many ways can you keep saying the same thing?

Well, that’s what I usually think, anyway, so I was a little surprised to see it presented as something that is “becoming increasingly important” in this report. They say “this was not the case for a long time,” which I found interesting. Quality content is not becoming important, it always has been. Right?

But then I got into the report a little further and really started to see what they meant.

From a strictly SEO point of view, content was always seen as necessary, but it usually took a back seat to other, more technical parts of the craft. Why?

Well, we say a lot about high-quality content, but who is really there to judge?

Content was a lot easier in the days of keyword density and strategic keyword placement. In those days, quality was how you managed to use the most unnatural long-tail keywords in the most natural ways possible, and hoped that no one noticed that really people didn’t actually speak like that. Or maybe you could just bold your keywords, and surely that helped the quality score shoot right up. (/sarcasm)

That kind of behavior, of course, is something best left in the past. After the release of the Hummingbird update, Google began to focus even more on semantic and context-based queries.

Do Context and Relevance Equal Quality?

One of the simplest ways to define “quality,” at least from a search engine’s perspective, is by determining the context and relevance of the content. In the past, this was a simple matter of using the right keywords in the right places. We’ve moved on from that level, though, and taken a more holistic approach.

Right now, targeting single keywords – or even keyword groups – simply isn’t enough to be effective in the modern online environment. Ever since the Hummingbird update, Google has been developing a more semantic approach to search, and that means they’re looking for semantically relevant terms (the report refers to them as “proof terms”) and other relevant terms that will speak to the overall value and relevance of the content.

Under-The-Radar Keyword Research Method - Scott CowleyThis kind of “semantically comprehensive wording” certainly acts as signal that the page is relevant to a query, but consciously selecting these terms and phrases is going to be more difficult than just going through the standard keyword research. On the other hand, this should help lead to more natural content creation because if you really are generating valuable content, it should happen naturally.

The Best Part of a Semantic Focus

The benefit of this switch is that now, as writers focus on a more holistic approach, they should be able to reflect more topics in their text. This, then, makes the same page relevant for users with a varying range of search intentions. The same copy can start to rank even better for related, additional keywords without even trying. (Well, obviously, with a lot of trying, but you know what I mean.)

So, according to Searchmetrics: “If website editors want their content to rank better for specific keywords, the content should be created with the fulfillment of user search intent in mind.”

What does that mean, exactly?

It means that what we’ve been saying all along still carries a lot of weight. We always say that you should write for the user, and not the search engines. By focusing on their actual needs, you can provide the kind of quality content Google is looking for.

Is Quality about Readability?

Does your personal writing style figure into the overall quality of the content? Are you using words and phrases that are too complex for your audience just to try and sound smart? This year, Searchmetrics included a new development in its report, and that’s the legibility of the text.

It seems that the general trend is that text that is easier to read tends to rank higher. There’s even a suggestion of a mathematical formula to determine the level of legibility (get the report for yourself to check it out), but it’s unlikely that Google is using something like this to determine who well you write.

Rather, Google is equating readability with “easy to comprehend,” and so it’s probably looking at user signals, like time on the site and bounce rate to judge whether or not your users find your writing legible.

It’s interesting to note, then, that by using those signals, Google isn’t necessarily looking at quality but usability. Technically, this could mean that layout is just as important as what you say. (And when we get into rich media’s importance later, we’ll see that’s definitely a thing.)

Does More Content Equal Quality Content?

This year also saw a lot of increases in correlation to content length. The report said that: “This means that websites need to produce more content in order to remain competitive in search.”

So, that doesn’t seem to mean you need to write longer content, but just have more of it. There is a difference.

Keep in mind, though, more doesn’t automatically mean better. You still have to consider legibility and keyword/topic usage. You need to balance the amount of content with the quality features that signal your relevance. Having said that, though, it does seem that sites with more words in the copy hold onto higher ranking positions.vector internet concept

So ask yourself: is this another holistic thing? Is it about the site word count, or is this about the word count by page?

Rich Media Matters

Images and videos can always make content more appealing. They help increase the time on site and reduce bounce rate, which means they are an important factor in a definition of quality.

Image is all about style, though, so you can expect that this will only go so far. I.e. you’re not going to get more value out of relying on images alone. Right now, though, you’re better off leaning toward image rich at the moment.

So What is Quality to a Search Engine?

In the end, focusing on a single keyword isn’t really enough to show that your content is relevant and filled with quality signals. You need to look at topics and related terms. You need to see the site as a holistic thing. This will help you rank better for a number of related terms and establish your position in the top of the rankings.

Get Internet Marketing Insight For Your Company - SEO.com

Can Google Determine the Level of Quality in Your Content? is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Andy Eliason" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing"
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Date: Saturday, 27 Sep 2014 15:23

Can Google Determine the Level of Quality in Your Content? is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Plan your product and processes by aiming for both high quality and high value to set your goods and services apart from your competition in the marketplace

In the recently released Searchmetrics Ranking Factors Study, the case for quality content is once again highlighted as a critical SEO component. There should be any number of people out there who are rolling their eyes right about now, thinking: not another post about how “content is king.” We’ve heard it before. How many ways can you keep saying the same thing?

Well, that’s what I usually think, anyway, so I was a little surprised to see it presented as something that is “becoming increasingly important” in this report. They say “this was not the case for a long time,” which I found confusing. Quality content is not becoming important, it always has been. Right?

But then I got into the report a little further and really started to see what they meant.

From a strictly SEO point of view, content was always seen as necessary, but it usually took a back seat to other, more technical parts of the craft. Why?

Well, we say a lot about high-quality content, but who is really the judge of that?

Content was a lot easier in the days of keyword density and strategic keyword placement. In those days, quality was how you managed to use the most unnatural long-tail keywords in the most natural ways possible, and hoped that no one noticed that real people don’t actually speak like that. Or maybe you could just bold your keywords, and surely that helped the quality score shoot right up. (/sarcasm)

That kind of behavior, of course, is something best left in the past. After the release of the Hummingbird update, Google began to focus even more on semantic and context-based queries, and this is how they are driving the importance of high-quality, valuable, and relevant content.

Do Context and Relevance Equal Quality?

One of the simplest ways to define “quality,” at least from a search engine’s perspective, is by determining the context and relevance of the content. In the past, this was a simple matter of using the right keywords in the right places. We’ve moved on from that level, though, and taken a more holistic approach.

Under-The-Radar Keyword Research Method - Scott CowleyRight now, targeting single keywords – or even keyword groups – simply isn’t enough to be effective in the modern online environment. Ever since the Hummingbird update, Google has been developing a more semantic approach to search, and that means they’re looking for semantically relevant terms (the report refers to them as “proof terms”) and other relevant terms that will speak to the overall value and relevance of the content.

This kind of “semantically comprehensive wording” certainly acts as signal that the page is relevant to a query, but consciously selecting these terms and phrases is going to be more difficult than just going through the standard keyword research. On the other hand, this should help lead to more natural content creation because if you really are generating valuable content, it should happen naturally.

The Best Part of a Semantic Focus

The benefit of this switch is that now, as writers focus on a more holistic approach, they should be able to reflect more topics in their text. This, then, makes the same page relevant for users with a varying range of search intentions. The same copy can start to rank even better for related, additional keywords without even trying. (Well, obviously, with a lot of trying, but you know what I mean.)

So, according to Searchmetrics: “If website editors want their content to rank better for specific keywords, the content should be created with the fulfillment of user search intent in mind.”

What does that mean, exactly?

It means that what we’ve been saying all along still carries a lot of weight. We always say that you should write for the user, and not the search engines. By focusing on their actual needs, you can provide the kind of quality content Google is looking for.

Is Quality about Readability?

Does your personal writing style figure into the overall quality of the content? Are you using words and phrases that are too complex for your audience just to try and sound smart? This year, Searchmetrics included a new development in its report, and that’s the legibility of the text.

It seems that the general trend is that text that is easier to read tends to rank higher. There’s even a suggestion of a mathematical formula to determine the level of legibility (get the report for yourself to check it out), but it’s unlikely that Google is using something like this to determine who well you write.

Rather, Google is equating readability with “easy to comprehend,” and so it’s probably looking at user signals, like time on the site and bounce rate to judge whether or not your users find your writing legible.

It’s interesting to note, then, that by using those signals, Google isn’t necessarily looking at quality but usability. Technically, this could mean that layout is just as important as what you say. (And when we get into rich media’s importance later, we’ll see that’s definitely a thing.)

Does More Content Equal Quality Content?

This year also saw a lot of increases in correlation to content length. The report said that: “This means that websites need to produce more content in order to remain competitive in search.”

So, that doesn’t seem to mean you need to write longer content, but just have more of it. There is a difference.

Keep in mind, though, more doesn’t automatically mean better. You still have to consider legibility and keyword/topic usage. You need to balance the amount of content with the quality features that signal your relevance. Having said that, though, it does seem that sites with more words in the copy hold onto higher ranking positions.Rich Media

So ask yourself: is this another holistic thing? Is it about the site word count, or is this about the word count by page?

Rich Media Matters

Images and videos can always make content more appealing. They help increase the time on site and reduce bounce rate, which means they are an important factor in a definition of quality.

Image is all about style, though, so you can expect that this will only go so far. I.e. you’re not going to get more value out of relying on images alone. Right now, though, you’re better off leaning toward image rich at the moment.

So What is Quality to a Search Engine?

In the end, focusing on a single keyword isn’t really enough to show that your content is relevant and filled with quality signals. You need to look at topics and related terms. You need to see the site as a holistic thing. This will help you rank better for a number of related terms and establish your position in the top of the rankings.

 

Get Internet Marketing Insight For Your Company - SEO.com

Can Google Determine the Level of Quality in Your Content? is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Andy Eliason" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing"
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Date: Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 14:57

10 Tips For Writing High Quality, Engaging Website Copy is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Today we have our second guest post from Julia McCoy, CEO of Express Writers.

You’ve purchased your domain and written up product descriptions, an about page, and, of course, the homepage, but it seems that your website is hardly getting any views. You might even notice that you get a few visitors, but they seem to leave your site quickly without looking around. What’s the big deal? Obviously they can’t smell your breath or something like that, and, all-in-all, your website looks pretty awesome, so what could it be?

It is quite possible that your copy needs to be ten times as engaging or that you need to put a little more elbow grease into the written content. As Digital Journal points out, a nice looking website isn’t all you need – you need some excellent content too. If this is where you’re at then this blog is perfect for you! This blog is going to take a look at the different steps that you can take to write high-quality, engaging website copy that you will be immensely proud of.

1. Correct SEO Optimization. How the heck do you do this right…wasn’t there a new Panda, Penguin, etc. just in the past 48 hours? Change that to a couple years, and you’re correct. While Google does change things, their biggest updates have been to validate engagement and honor well-researched, well-written material.keyword-cluster-cloud

Moz’s description of an ideally optimized web-page is awesome, and interestingly enough, says little to nothing about “keyword density” of a page. In fact, they’ve also started thinking that keyword density is the sure way to destroy yourself in writing web copy. I couldn’t agree more. In over 5 years now of writing web content, I’ve seen a major shift from keyword focus in web content to non-keyword-focused, quality-focused factors in the SERPs.

So, in the end, my advice is to not worry about the amount of keywords you’ve used. Just throw a “few” to your writer to help them see what the theme of the page is, but don’t try counting. Think about your readers, audience, and research instead.

2. Be Descriptive. Were you ever captivated by Tolkien? That awesome author could take up to five or more pages describing a tree. You don’t need to go that far, but you do need to get descriptive with your web copy.

If this is for a product description, describe how it will help people out. For example, if you are selling an all-natural sleep aid, make sure you describe just how well it will get people to sleep without the harsh drawbacks of habit-forming prescription drugs. Use these descriptions to sell your product and make people want it.

If the copy is for your home or about page, still describe things. Describe how you came up with your product or services, describe yourself, the company, and anything else you can think of. This will instantly draw readers in and make them feel like they are already getting to know you.

3. At The Same Time, Keep It Simple. Not to contradict #2—another part of engaging content is simplicity, as well as being descriptive and creative. When you are writing engaging web copy, you need to keep it simple. If you write overly complex product descriptions or other copy, you will find that you don’t keep readers around for very long.

Many people seem to think that if you write high quality, it has to be filled with long words and industry jargon. Nothing scares customers away quicker than copy like that. It is more than fine to write copy that uses simplistic words and describes things instead of using jargon only those in the industry will know.

KISS acronym on a blackboardKissmetrics even suggests using broken sentences. Yes, we know, that made us gasp too! They use the example of Apple and how well Apple connects with their client base and converts visitors into leads. One way is simply by using broken or even just short sentences. If you don’t feel like breaking the rules of the grammar gods, then consider just writing shorter sentences instead. (This doesn’t mean short content lengths, or shorter blogs – just more readable, simpler sentences and wording.)

4. Address The Problem. It’s simple—but I’ve seen piles of web pages ignoring the major rule of engaging website copy: addressing the visitors’ problems! You know that people are coming to your website because of one thing and one thing only – they want to know if you can help them.

Your web copy needs to show people that you can and will solve their problems. Let’s go back to the sleep aid example. You know that people will be looking for an all-natural way to go to sleep because of all the negative press out there about prescription sleep medication. Present this problem to your readers in a way such as, “Is getting and staying asleep difficult for you? It is for many people!” Then, answer the problem, “This doesn’t have to be a problem for you any longer. Our sleep aid promises to get you to sleep and help you stay asleep without any harsh consequences like prescription sleep aids!” This shows that your product will solve the customer’s problem.

5. Sub-headers: A Tool For Engagement. Sub-headers are some of the best ways to engage with readers. Seems a little strange, but you will find that sub-headers are going to help you out tremendously when it comes to getting people to read your web copy. It breaks up the monotony of reading long pieces and gives information right away as people skim through your copy.

Did you skim this to see if it would offer you anything useful? We are quite sure you did, which is a great example of what the majority of people on the web do daily. This isn’t just for blogs or your About and Information pages, but also for your product descriptions. Yes, they might only be between 250 and 500 words, but those sub-headers are going to help you out immensely.

6. Headlines – The Name of the Game. Headlines are some of the most important elements of any copy, no matter what you are writing. You need something that will convince people to click on your site when you show up in search results and then something that will entice them to buy from you. If you are unsure about how to write a headline, consider writing the first one that comes to your mind and then write two extras; you may find a better one that way and it will get your creativity juices flowing pretty well!

7. Bullet Points Are A Winner. Who doesn’t love a good bullet point list? Bullet points are a great way to follow one of Copyblogger’s suggestions for writing seductive web copy: write about the features your product holds but in such a way that people can skim through and get the necessities without having to work through several lines or paragraphs. Online survey laptop clipboard concept

You can also do this for the list of objections you may be addressing and answering for your customers. Whatever the copy, use some bullet points. People will love you for it and will be more likely to purchase a product they can quickly learn about instead of one that they have to work to understand.

8. Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Oops. Like we mentioned earlier, you need to write your content in a simple manner. You must make sure it can be read by anyone. In fact, many suggest that you need to write at more of a fifth-grade level because of the average reading level.

Write your descriptions in laymen’s terms so anyone who happens across it will know what you are selling. If people have to work hard to understand what your copy is saying, they aren’t going to stay around for long. Someone’s reading level might even be quite high, but many people don’t want to work too hard when they are on the Internet – remember this as you start crafting content for your website.

9. Establish The Expert. When writing engaging, high-quality web copy, you must establish that you are an expert. Describe any pertinent information about your product, give statistics and other data to back it up, and always make sure you write in an authoritative tone. If you sound like you aren’t too sure about something, people aren’t going to believe you know your field.tell them your story

You don’t want that to happen, so instead of feeling hesitant, feel confident. You might be the smartest person in your field, but that can be easily masked if you write in a manner that doesn’t sell yourself or your product. Don’t worry about sounding snobbish – sell your product and tell people why it is the best product out there.

10. Write For Your Audience. Lastly, but most importantly, know who you are writing for before you write content. This is a mistake some seem to make because they have yet to research the audience they hope to reach.

If you are an older individual but are hoping to get your product and service into the Millennial crowd, you need to make sure you truly understand how to reach them. Take some time to research what they like, how they talk, and what websites are their favorites. This goes for any age range or customer background. If you are writing for a counterculture, make sure you understand them. This is crucial to great web copy. Research, research, and research some more!

In Closing

Following these ten steps will help you write some really great, engaging copy that will sell your business, product, and services. If you are still unsure about writing engaging copy, take some time to practice. As the adage says, practice makes perfect! Have fun and start crafting some wonderful copy.

About the Author:

Julia McCoyjulia is the CEO of Express Writers, an online copywriting agency that she founded in 2011, with thousands of web content pages written to date and more than 50 talented writers in the team. Her passion is copywriting, SEO, and all that pertains.

Get Internet Marketing Insight For Your Company - SEO.com

10 Tips For Writing High Quality, Engaging Website Copy is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, SEO Tips, Site Content"
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Date: Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 15:00

SEO for Ecommerce Websites is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Today, it seems impossible to imagine a world without the Internet and the everyday conveniences it provides. Ecommerce, for example, is one of those things that has changed the way we think about purchasing everything from personal electronics and fashions to major additions to a person’s home. Simply put, it has revolutionized the shopping industry ever since it started, but despite its long history, not everyone understands the intricacies of marketing this kind of website.

When most people think of ecommerce, they have Amazon.com in mind. Amazon is one of the largest online stores in the world, but it is closely rivaled by Wal-Mart’s. The sheer volume of product that moves out of these stores is amazing, and you may wonder what makes these sites so successful, especially when you start to compare it to the success of your own.

There are many different factors that play into the rise of an ecommerce site, but it all has to revolve around consistently selling your product. It’s one thing to get traffic flowing to your website, but if they don’t convert – if they don’t produce actual sales – you’ll never get off the ground. This means that you need to find a way to not only get people to your store, but also to get them to make a purchase.

SEO for E-commerce

SEO is an essential part of creating a successful ecommerce site. However, your SEO strategy should be specifically tailored to address the challenges of a site where a consistent flow of customers making constant online purchases is the central role.

Many of the SEO strategies for ecommerce are, of course, similar to what you would use on other types of websites, but you might have to think of them in different ways to generate the kind of leads you need.

Keywords

Keywords have an evolving relationship with SEO. When a person does an online search, they use pretty specific keywords to find what they’re looking for, so it’s critical to know which ones they are using, and which ones are the most lucrative. However, with the recent changes to Analytics, this has become something of a challenge. On top of that, if you use keywords improperly – exact match anchor text, keyword stuffing, etc. – they can actually do more harm than good.

On an ecommerce site, there are even more things to consider. For example, it may seem like a great idea to target those huge, generic keywords that get such a high search volume, but if you tie those generic terms to a very specific page, you probably aren’t providing the kind of information on that page that a visitor actually wants.

Instead, you need to consider both branded keywords and long-tail keywords. This is the first step to drill down to the core of the issues and attract users who will, in fact, be interested in the products on a specific page.

You also need to avoid using the same keyword for different pages. It seems obvious, but it’s a mistake that a lot of ecommerce websites make. This can be a costly mistake for a site where multiple products are found on separate pages. This is something that can happen as product offerings change over time and the website has to evolve to keep up. You don’t want a potential customer trying to find something specific only to have them end up on an older page that no longer has what they were looking for. This will make your site feel irrelevant and unprofessional. At that point, your potential customer will probably leave with a bad taste in the mouth.

Unique Content

Another universal strategy in the SEO world is creating unique content. Search engines will rank your page higher if it contains unique, valuable content that effectively addresses customer needs. This principle rings true for an ecommerce site, as well. However, the application for your web store needs to be different than other types of websites.

Many ecommerce sites are content to simply post the manufacturer’s product description of a given product. Sure, this does, in fact, count as content, but it’s probably the exact same content used by every other ecommerce site that sells the same product.

When you sell a product online, its description plays a huge role. It may seem easier for you to just copy and paste the manufacturer’s description onto your page, but that is the last thing you should do. It might be okay to assume that the search engines understand that these are simply product descriptions and not worth penalizing you over them, but they definitely won’t give you any bonuses for it either. So why take the chance?

(Now, if you had the exact same description on multiple pages on your own website, then we’d be getting into duplicate content/penalty area.)

A product description is still considered content, and it still needs to be unique and it needs to provide value. Of course, if you have thousands of products for sale on your site, creating your own description for each one can be a bit difficult. If this is the case, you may want to consider leaving the actual product pages out of the search engine by adding a NO INDEX meta tag to the page.

URL

Search-engine- and customer-friendly URLs are a very important part of this process. A lot of potential customers can be hesitant clicking a link that has a suspicious-looking URL. The site address may not actually be suspicious at all, but the average user won’t know what really is or isn’t. This is why “speaking URLs” are so important for ecommerce sites.

The best way to explain speaking URLs is by listing an example. This example comes from a book sold on Amazon.com:

amazon url

See how the name of the book is listed directly in the URL? With a speaking URL, your customer knows exactly what they’re clicking on because it literally spells it out for them.

Putting keywords in the URL doesn’t have as much pull with Google as it used to, but it still helps in the long run. Besides, there is always a chance that another site will pick up your link and repost it. If they use the URL as the link, instead of embedding it in anchor text, you’ll still be able to reassure customers of their eventual location if they choose to click it.

Using SEO to Your Advantage

SEO strategies come in all shapes and sizes for any kind of website, but most of these are universal. While you can apply these universal strategies to you ecommerce website, you will need to tailor them specifically to the types of customers you deal with. Good use of SEO in your site will drive more traffic, but an effective use will create conversion and generate the kind of ROI you need.

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SEO for Ecommerce Websites is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, SEO Tips, Content marketing, ecomm..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 15:01

Migrating to HTTPS: How SSL Impacts Search Engine Rankings is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Migrating-to-HTTPS--How-SSL-Impacts-Search-Engine-Rankings

For the real low-down on how SSL now affects your search engine rankings, we went to the pros to find out more. This post is from the experts over at DigiCert.

On August 6, Google announced that they are now giving ranking boosts to sites secured with SSL. This initiative, called HTTPS everywhere or “Always-On” SSL/HTTPS, has been pushed as a security best practice for years by standards bodies. Many large companies have already implemented it, including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Google believes that enabling Always-On HTTPS is critical to online security and data privacy. Because of this, they are rewarding websites that use 2048-bit SSL encryption with an extra boost in search engine rankings.

For now, using SSL is considered to be a lightweight ranking signal with respect to Google’s organic search algorithm. However, Google has said they will increase its influence on rankings once webmasters have had enough time to migrate their sites to HTTPS.

What Is SSL/HTTPS?

HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is the secure version of the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP). When a user connects to a website through HTTPS, their session is encrypted with a digital SSL Certificate. Users can tell if they are securely connected to a Website by looking at the URL. If the URL begins with https:// instead of http://, the page is secure.

HTTPS

When a user is securely connected to a website with an SSL Certificate, all of the data passed back and forth between the user and the website is secure and encrypted. Currently, SSL Certificates are mainly used on pages that handle sensitive data, like login pages, shopping carts, or other forms with personal information. This causes users to bounce back and forth between HTTP and HTTPS sessions.

By having SSL on all web pages of your site, users’ sessions are secured the entire time they are on your site—protecting any and all data that they transfer.

Is Using SSL Recommended for All Websites?

Websites that integrate 2048-bit encryption provide a safer online experience to their customers. This additional security increases user confidence and leads to improved site engagement and conversion rates. The fact that Google now rewards HTTPS webpages with a search engine ranking boost should tell you just how important online security is.

As is the case with every other SEO ranking factor, the first wave of websites who follow Google’s recommendation and migrate to “HTTPS everywhere” should receive the best long-term results.

That said, there will be a few situations where migrating a specific URL/webpage to HTTPS isn’t possible. To achieve the best results and avoid potential complications from switching to HTTPS, work with your marketing/development teams and an SSL Certificate Authority to develop an appropriate migration strategy.

What Kind of Certificate Should I Get?

There are a few different kinds of SSL Certificates, and though they all provide the same level of encryption, not all SSL Certificates are the same. Different types of certificates were designed for different use cases, and you don’t want to spend money on a certificate that you don’t need. Below is an explanation of the basic certificate types and what scenarios they are best for.

Single-Name SSL Certificate

Single-name SSL Certificates are perfect for small businesses, blogs, and personal websites. They secure a single domain (www.example.com) and a single server.

EV Single-Name SSL Certificate

Extended validation (EV) SSL Certificates are the same as a single-name SSL Certificate, but require a higher level of validation. Because of this higher level of validation, browsers show EV-only visual cues to let users know that you’ve passed a more rigorous validation process. These cues include the green address bar and lock icon. Because EV certificates are proven to increase conversion rates, improve engagement metrics, and elevate brand reputation, they are perfect for companies looking for more than just encryption from their certificate.

EV_HTTPS

Wildcard Certificate

Wildcard certificates are great for large websites or companies that need to secure multiple subdomains (www.example.com, login.example.com, shop.example.com). Rather than buying a single-name SSL Certificate for each subdomain, you can purchase a single Wildcard certificate to secure your entire website.

Multi-Domain/SAN Certificate

Multi-domain/SAN certificates are perfect for service providers, SEO companies, or companies that need to secure multiple domains (www.example.com, www.example123.com, www.example456.com). Rather than buying a single-name or Wildcard certificate for each website, you can purchase a multi-domain certificate to secure all of your websites.

EV Multi Domain/SAN Certificate

Extended validation (EV) multi-domain/SAN certificates are the same as a multi-domain/SAN certificate, but require a higher level of validation. This higher level of validation enables EV-only visual indicators to show users you’ve passed a more rigorous validation process. These cues include a green address bar with a padlock in your browser.

How to Migrate to SSL

When you’re ready to move your site to HTTPS, you will need to do the following things:

  1. Decide what kind of certificate you need (see above)
  2. Purchase an SSL Certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority
  3. Install the certificate on your server
  4. Migrate your site to HTTPS (see this guide from Google)

Keep the following best practices in mind when migrating your site and check out this best practices page from Google. Also note that the ranking boost only applies to pages that have SSL enabled. You need to make sure your whole site (all URLs and files) are moved over the HTTPS to gain the boost.

  • Don’t rush the migration – carefully redirect traffic from the HTTP version of your site to the new HTTPS version
  • Use relative URLs for resources that are on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol-relative URLs for all other domains
  • Look into HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security)
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from being crawled using robots.txt
  • Allow your pages to be indexed by search engines where possible and avoid the noindex robots meta tag

Always On SSL Is the Future of Web Security

Always On SSL isn’t just interesting because of how it affects the future of SEO. The move to HTTPS everywhere is a positive step forward in personal privacy and online data security, and it’s exciting to see large companies like Google incentivizing security best practices like enabling site-wide SSL. Companies that enable SSL help move the entire Internet toward HTTPS everywhere, reducing the risk of going online and increasing user trust in ecommerce.

About the Author:

HeadshotMeggie Woodfield is the Content Manager at DigiCert, a leading Certificate Authority. With her background in information development and software project management, she brings a technical perspective to DigiCert’s content team.

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Migrating to HTTPS: How SSL Impacts Search Engine Rankings is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Search Engine News"
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Date: Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 16:49

How To Win At Local SEO Optimization Through Content is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Today we have a special guest post from Julia McCoy, CEO of Express Writers.

There are lots of ways content is extremely beneficial for Google rankings, but one fail-proof ranking opportunity is through original, well-written local keyword-optimized landing pages. If, for example, someone was to search for “Atlanta bathroom plumbing,” a well-written, 800-word landing page for an Atlanta plumber’s website addressing bathroom plumbing could be top of the results.

flat seo background

Other technical SEO elements, useful in their own ways, do not come close to the power of a locally optimized landing page for local SEO keyword search ranking. Let’s explore this a bit.

So, the formula for local success looks something like this:

Content + Optimization = Local SEO Win

The Variables

Do you know why I hated math back in my school days? It was because almost every equation had variables. If you didn’t understand the basic formula and the variables, you weren’t going to ace your test. Local SEO optimization is similar. It’s like a specific variation to the basic search engine optimization formula, and everybody needs local SEO. If you don’t have it, you’re missing out on an incredibly targeted audience, as well as a strong local presence—both vital to the success of every business.

The key to the local SEO variable is the optimized landing page. When it comes to creating a landing page that knocks the ball out of the park, there’s a very simple formula you can use:

Long Tail Keywords = Local Keywords = Ranking Opportunities

Locally-focused keywords are also called your long-tail keywords, which are often easy to rank quickly for (because of the low levels of competition) if you utilize one of Google’s favorite ranking elements: an original, well-researched, 800-word-minimum landing page.

According to Search Engine Watch, long tail keywords automatically put you in the one-hit-wonder search ranking category because, by nature, they have less competition. Unlike “heavy-hitting core keywords…they don’t have a bull’s-eye on them.” Google’s first-page table only has 10 seats. You can basically RSVP your spot on a local level by leveraging long tail keywords.

Examples in Action

We can talk about winning at local SEO optimization through content all we want, but that doesn’t mean anything without the proof to back it up. Let’s compare a bad example to a good one. Here’s an example of a poorly locally optimized landing page:

weak landing page

First, the landing page itself is under 100 words—they are using footer text (in the About sections) to boost the total number of words, but that only means content will be duplicated across multiple pages.

Second, there isn’t much on this page that would improve their local rankings. Landing page text is the perfect space to offer up naturally placed long tail keywords and engaging information about the business, including why the viewer should click into the About or Services sections. The single paragraph of text on this page doesn’t do any justice. There just isn’t enough information (or dedicated content space) for a search engine to pull from and rank well.

Now, here’s an example of a well-written, locally focused landing page:

stronger landing page

What makes this page a local SEO winner? Content. Look at the copy. It’s relevant, engaging, informative, inclusive, and it contains natural keyword and long-tail keyword optimization. It’s not skimpy on the word count either.

This landing page content is unique. It’s not duplicated throughout the website, and there’s plenty of meat for search engines to sink their teeth into and rank. This is how you win on the local SEO level and take one of those 10 coveted spots on the Google search results page.

How to Do It

You can obviously hire an expert team to create a winning landing page. It’s a smart move, and an investment that will save your time and money while fostering the right environment for higher conversions and sales. But what else can you do? According to Moz, there are simple optimization techniques that can win you strong local rankings:

  1. Optimize your tags. Title tags, H1 headings, alt tags, and meta descriptions are all vital components in the SEO formula. To win on a local level, one simple addition to all of these tags can make a huge impact: add your city and state.
  2. Pay attention to the URL. There’s no tweaking your homepage URL. It’s an established address. A change—not matter how minor—would be catastrophic on every level. But you can tweak the URLs to other pages on your website to add in city and state info.
  3. Plan your content for local optimization. Good content is key to search rankings. One super simple way to optimize locally is to build your city/state info into your content. Be sure to build it in naturally, though. A strong copywriter or agency can be a savvy tool in this area.
  4. Embed a Google Map. Moz points out that including an embedded Google Map is important for your local SEO strategy, but it is vital to do it correctly. Don’t just embed a map that points to your address. Instead, embed a map that points to you actual Google Plus Local listing. It’s far more effective.
  5. Buff up your citations. Moz also points out that local citations are important to improving your rankings. Citations are commonly called NAP information. They include your name, address, and phone number. Google expects this info to be on your website and other important sites, like Yelp, social media, etc. If your info isn’t spread around, it can really hurt your business rankings.

The core of your landing page is your content. Optimizing that content for local SEO with long tail keywords is surprisingly simple, but there are pitfalls, like forced keyword insertion and duplicate content, which you need to avoid. As you boost your local rankings, be sure to include the tips we’ve shared, and don’t be afraid to ask an expert for help.

 

About the Author:

juliaJulia McCoy is the CEO of Express Writers, an online copywriting agency that she founded in 2011, with thousands of web content pages written to date and more than 50 talented writers in the team. Her passion is copywriting, SEO, and all that pertains. 

 

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How To Win At Local SEO Optimization Through Content is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Local Search, SEO Tips"
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Date: Tuesday, 05 Aug 2014 19:36

Is Your Social Media Strategy a Supreme Turn off? is a post by SEO expert Shemmah Al-Darweesh. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Do you enjoy being barked at by glinty-eyed sales associates? Neither do your customers. One-way promotional messages have taken a hard fall thanks to the interactive nature of the internet. This is especially prevalent with social media, which has made it possible for consumers to rapidly connect online and speak directly to businesses.

In order to enhance customer engagement through social media, businesses need to shift their tactics to focus on a conversational marketing approach. When customers had no forum to talk back to companies, marketers tended to promote their products and services by blasting ads at them. The internet has not only provided a channel for businesses to connect with their consumers but for their customers to pass those messages to other customers as well as the general public. This makes it even more essential to appropriately manage the social media channels that your business is using as marketing tools.

The Significance of Social Media Marketing

Even if your business doesn’t engage in online marketing it does not mean that it won’t be mentioned by consumers online. In fact, organizations that do not pay attention to their online reputation are at risk social mediafor becoming a target of online negativity. This puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to addressing a negative article or social media post and reduces your control over your brand.

Not only is social media a means to manage the reputation of your business, it can also increase your online visibility and search engine rankings. The dialogue that takes place on social media channels creates signals that are factored into the results of the search engine rankings.

These days, a company’s social media presence needs to be especially dynamic in order to build brand reputation and generate authority online. By making your online presence more conversational, instead of simply broadcasting messages about your company, your social efforts can considerably support your overall marketing strategy.

Conversational Marketing

Too many businesses, especially local companies, have a weak or nonexistent social media marketing strategy and do not interact with consumers online. The process of building up your presence online should begin with evaluating and setting up accounts on the social media platforms that are relevant to your industry. Consumers are searching for companies on popular social media channels more often so companies that do not engage on these platforms are losing out on potential business.

While social media sites can be used for distributing promotional material such as ads and press releases, they should serve as a forum for more than just pushing out company updates and brand messaging. You could, for example:

  • Search for posts that mention your brand and engage in the conversation.
  • Post content as well as links to outside articles and visuals that would be compelling to your audience.
  • Build your audience and online influence through activities that provoke interest and promote engagement from followers.
  • Monitor and analyze the results of your work on social media channels. You can do this by using various analytics tools or social media ranking systems.
  • Create a blog on your company’s website to communicate with your consumers and connect to your other social media profiles.

The person you choose to have as your social media representative should have the experience and knowledge to professionally handle customer interactions and successfully represent your brand online. Mistakes on a social media profile can reflect badly on your business and can even result in permanent damage. This makes it essential to manage your social media presence with great care.

Developing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

social strategyWithout a social media strategy in place your marketing team is likely to waste their efforts on ineffective tactics. The popularity of social media has resulted in many organizations wasting money on scattered marketing efforts without taking the time to define their objectives.

If you are already active on social platforms then evaluate your current tactics and revise them to meet your strategic marketing goals. Otherwise start by developing your plan and matching it up with the appropriate strategies before you put it into action. The following points can be used to help you determine the most effective steps to begin with:

  • Focus on Your Audience

As you develop or tweak your plan, try to examine your strategy from the perspective of your audience. Social media is not the appropriate medium for broadcasting one-way messages. It was created to promote conversations, sharing and feedback, which is required to engage with your consumers and build your following. Think about what your organization can offer to benefit followers on these channels.  Start conversations and share valuable tips with your audience. Take an interest and give them what they want as you develop your organization’s brand.

  • Follow your Audience

If you are not paying attention to your followers’ social media posts it can make it difficult to create relevant material for them and it also displays a lack of interest as a brand. If you do not have enough manpower to actively engage with your audience on multiple channels then it is better to focus on one or two that you can effectively manage rather than having stagnant accounts.

  • Graphics and Length

Attractive visual elements on your social media posts can make them stand out and gain the attention of a larger audience. Promoting content through high-quality graphics can increase traffic to your website in addition to enhancing your social media presence. Messages on your social media profiles need to be concise if you want to effectively reach your audience. Short messages with great graphics are an ideal combination on most social media channels.

  • Create Incentive for Company Fans

Social followers that regularly engage with your posts deserve something in return. If you want to increase your interaction, give away prizes and promotions through a creative social media campaign. This gets the message out about your company, enhances interaction and keeps your social fans happy.

  • Promote Brand Advocates

One of the most effective social media marketing tactics involves letting your customers express the message about your company for you. If a customer is willing to post a Tweet or record a video about your business make sure to share them. Running social campaigns that promote consumers to speak about your brand can be a fantastic way to gain positive exposure online.

Great social media marketing leaves a lasting impression on audiences and bolsters the loyalty of consumers. Don’t turn followers off of your brand with overly promotional messaging and one-way communication. It is possible to lead great interactions and build a strong social media presence in your industry without a bloated budget or big brand. Work to increase social media engagement and expand your influence to support the management of your business reputation and meet larger business goals.

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Is Your Social Media Strategy a Supreme Turn off? is a post by SEO expert Shemmah Al-Darweesh. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Shemmah Al-Darweesh" Tags: "Blog, Social Media"
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Date: Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 15:23

6 Tips to Optimize Your Homepage is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Your SEO strategy is top-notch. Your marketing plan is spot on. People are learning about you and your product. They are making their way to your website, and you’re starting to get that feeling of success. Leads are finally coming to you! All of that time planning and strategizing over and over again is paying off.

Now that you’re getting traffic to your website, are you sure that the layout and content of your homepage is sufficient enough to keep that traffic engaged? Is it enough to lead to conversion?homepage_48

The homepage is likely the first thing a potential customer will see when they navigate to your website. Sure, there are different ways for them to dig deeper into the content of your site, but the homepage is often the gateway to it all. Because of the amount of views that one page will receive, there needs to be certain elements present in order to help guide those visitors where you need them to go.

First impressions really do matter, especially when it comes to the most common thing a potential customer will see on your website. A good homepage can lead to many sales, so putting some thought into every component is important.

1.  The Headline

The headline is basically the title of your website. It’s also likely the first thing a visitor to your site will see. Typically, a headline consists of 6 to 12 words maximum. 6 to 12 words doesn’t seem like much, does it? However, the headline is one of the most important parts of your homepage. In fact, one marketing study shows that a good headline can increase your conversion rates as much as 10.4%!

So, how do you create the perfect headline? It may be easier than you think. First of all, it’s best to remember that writing for the entirety of your audience is impossible to achieve. Try to write for the 20 to 30% of visitors that will most likely buy after visiting your site.

Write several different headlines, as many as you need to get those creative juices going. Don’t delete the ideas at this stage. Sometimes you can cannibalize parts from different ideas and combine them into the perfect headline.

Remember that your headline needs to answer the question “What does this site offer to me?” within the first few seconds of someone arriving.

headline

2.  Benefits

You can attract leads with a great headline, but to make it stick, you’ll need to show the benefits of your product or service. It’s important to list what your product does, but your customers will want to know why your product matters to them. More than that, they’ll need to know why they should get your products rather than something similar from someone else. List your benefits very clearly, and help your visitors see why they need these products and services.

3.  Calls to Action

It can really annoy a customer if, after learning about your great products, there isn’t a simple and obvious way to do something about it. Some websites make it nearly impossible to find a phone number or even order a product.

A call to action is an element within a webpage that solicits an action from the user. The most popular from of a call to action comes in the shape of a clickable button which can lead customers to other parts of the website where they can accomplish a desired task.

Placement, size, and color all matter when it comes to calls to action buttons. Make sure your customers know where they can go to purchase a product or learn more about your services by increasing button size and using contrasting colors.

See, it’s easy. Look at this one:

Request a proposal today to find out how you can optimize your pages for better results.
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4.  Images

Images are important in today’s world. People tend to respond better to images than long bodies of text, and nothing is more off-putting on your homepage than huge sections of intimidating text.

How To Boost Your Traffic With Pinnable Images

Pictures, and even short videos, can have a huge effect on your page’s traffic. Make sure to include images that actually correspond with your product and what you offer. Stock photos with generic-looking business people won’t be good enough. Take time to really consider what images to use.

5.  Success with Customers

Look at it like this: when a potential customer arrives on your site, they’re looking for reasons NOT to buy from you. They are looking for a reason to leave, not a reason to give you money. You need to eliminate anything reservations they might have by building trust as quickly as possible.

case studyQuotes from happy customers can be a pretty powerful trust builder with potential leads. Our society is one that focuses on word of mouth recommendations and reviews. When you list what people are saying about your product on your homepage, it can build trust and generate more interest.

6.  Make It Clean

Make your homepage pleasant to look at. You can include all of the things listed above and still not be successful if your homepage still evokes a style more closely associated with the 90s rather than a professional, modern company. A clean, easy-to-use homepage is just as important as meaningful content.

Spend some time really planning out how you want your homepage to look. If it’s not something you would want to look at, chances are potential customers won’t want to look at it, either.

A Lasting Impression

The most effective homepages will tell a visitor exactly where they are, what they can do here, and why they should do it. The six tips above are effective ways to tweak different parts of the pages to make sure you’re answering those questions.

The homepage requires some special attention. This means taking the time to analyze every element, test your changes, and continue to turn it into an amazing marketing tool. The smallest things may have a huge impact, so don’t ignore anything when you start re-examining your homepage.

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6 Tips to Optimize Your Homepage is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, On-Page Optimization, SEO Tips"
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Date: Friday, 25 Jul 2014 17:17

Why is a Responsive Website So Important? is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

We are obsessed with instant response. In a world full of devices that can access the Internet at the touch of a button or the flick of a finger, we’ve become more reliant on fast connections and responsive websites. If a website doesn’t load properly on our smartphone or tablet, you better believe we’re already on our way to a website that will.

A responsive website has a different connotation than you might think. When we think responsive, we usually think only about working right. There are many websites that work right on our smartphones and tablets, but for some reason, they don’t fit the smaller-sized screen. It can quickly get annoying when a user has to scroll back and forth and up and down to get the full content of the site.Depositphotos_22839092_original

A webpage is considered responsive when it automatically fits to the screen, regardless of what device you are using to view it. This means that you won’t have to worry about developing different sites to work for all the different devices, which is always a huge plus.

Google’s Thoughts

You may have heard that Google is a pretty big deal these days. Big surprise, right? But sometimes it’s import to remind yourself that, according to comScore, the search engine still has a 67.5 percent market share, as of March 2014. So as much as we may dislike being led around by the whims of a single company, the simple fact is that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to user experience. And if they say they prefer one type of website over another, we need to listen. And they have clearly stated that they prefer responsive websites over multiple versions of the website.

To get a little more technical, Google refers to this type of design as “a setup where the server always sends the same HTML code to all devices and CSS is used to alter the rendering of the page on the device using media queries.” In other words, Google doesn’t want to have to index two sites when it could just focus on one.

Google prefers this setup over others because it makes it easier for their bots to crawl the sites and index and organize everything that is found online. This is because your site will have one URL and the same HTML code across the board. If you have both desktop and mobile versions of your website, there will be different URLs and HTML, which translates to more work for the Googlebots. (And the last thing you want to do when you want to impress someone is make them work harder.)

Google and SEO

A responsive design for your website is important for your SEO, as well. Google has recently placed a larger emphasis on user experience as a ranking factor for your site. On top of that, a single URL helps users share your site easier through social media channels. If you’re not using responsive design, a mobile user could share a link only to have a desktop user open it and find a stripped, mobile version, which creates an unpleasant user experience. The opposite also applies, of course, with a desktop user sharing something that looks great at home, but is unmanageable on a smaller screen.

Your SEO rankings can improve by creating a better experience for your users without having to consider what devices they are using.

Conversion

What’s the point of having people browse your sites if none of them are converting and buying your products? It’s one thing to provide a good user experience to the customers, but it’s another thing completely to make sure your site has been built to guide them toward conversion. If a user is having problems navigating through your site structure, they’re less likely to buy anything.

One study has recently shown that 69% of tablet users have shopped online. This is indicative of the increased amount of mobile users putting their devices to work on everyday tasks. If it’s harder for them to actually buy something, do you think that they will still convert? It’s a lot less likely. Responsive design can help with higher conversion rates because it creates an easier browsing environment for your customers no matter where they are.

Easy to Manage

We’ve talked a lot about creating a great experience for your customers, but what about you? There is a certain level of thought that needs to be put into making things easier for you to run the site, keep it updated, and make sure you’re not falling behind the trends.

If you have two different URLs for a mobile and desktop version of your site, you will need to have two separate SEO campaigns. Having responsive-designed web pages will create less work for your developing team. It also means more cost effectiveness in the long run.

Doing What’s Best

In the end, every decision you make should have some positive effect on you, your team, and your customers. The facts are all laid out above. Mobile usage is increasing, people are happier with faster loading sites, and Google says responsive design is their recommended configuration.

A responsive design can create a real difference in your website’s performance, and with some work, you can make something good come out of it.

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Why is a Responsive Website So Important? is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, SEO Tips, Web Design"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 22:04

Be a Better Business Blogger is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

be-a-better-business-blogger

Business blogs can be extremely beneficial for online marketing, and just about every company should have one and know how to use it. Of course, in order to be truly effective, the blog has to have a real purpose. It has to do more than just exist. It has to be focused on supporting your overall business goals.

One of the main benefits is that a good blog is a great vehicle for generating new clients and building a lot of positive exposure for your company. Since these are the two main goals of any good marketing strategy, companies should pay particular attention to the success that a blog can bring for their business.

flat seo background

Most companies understand this, but, unfortunately, many of them are unable to follow through and really turn their blog into a powerful marketing tool. If no one ever posts on it or if you’re only posting random information for the sake of increasing the amount of content, you may as well not even have one.

There are a lot of simple things you can do to avoid some of the more common blogging pitfalls and become a better blogger in general. A good blog is the perfect place to flex your content marketing and SEO muscles, so it’s important to have a plan and follow some basic guidelines.

The Most Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are a lot of common mistakes that businesses make with their blogs. These issues are not limited to new bloggers, but they are still considered “rookie mistakes” because they are found more among writers who don’t have a successful background behind them. The three most common problems all have great solutions from the seasoned veterans which help you to start off right.

1. Writing off random bouts of inspiration. If you’ve had a lot of experience writing, you know that Marketing campaign ideawhen you’re focused on a given topic, you are often hit with random ideas throughout the day. However, just because it’s an idea relevant to your business, or just because it’s a unique take on a subject does not mean it is right for your blog. Brainstorming may be an important part of the process, but that doesn’t mean every idea has a place on the blog.

Tip from the pros: Your blog posts should help with company goals whether they are trying to improve your image, grow the company, or make your site a place where customers can come to solve their problems. The blog isn’t a place indulging yourself and your ideas. It is a place for engaging with customers and providing real value.

In a recent post over on the Moz Blog, they even recommend that if your blog posts aren’t seeing engagement in the form of regular comments, then you aren’t doing it right and might as well ditch the entire blog. While it’s hard to completely agree with that sentiment, there is definitely some logic there worth considering.

2. Stiff, formal writing. Most people start out writing with the assumption that they sound more professional if they keep things overly formal. Sounding professional is more than using big words and focusing on pronouns. Stiff writing that worries too much about the technical aspects of grammar and vocabulary will push readers away more than it will keep them around.

Tip from the pros: Relax. Try not to focus too much on all the grammatical rules. (Within reason, of course. You don’t want to look like a complete illiterate, either.) Write like you speak and then go back and make any edits after you finish.

The best blog posts are easy to read and engage a reader in a conversation. Ask questions that encourage readers to leave comments and talk to each other. You should also respond appropriately to any questions as soon as possible. As a writer, there are some simple ways to keep things professional and casual at the same time. This could include:

  • Giving the post some personality with a joke or two
  • Using contractions
  • Keeping the text simple
  • Saying what you want to say without making it sound too flowery
  • Limiting the business jargon

This doesn’t mean you should throw all professionalism out the window. Keep your posts consistent with an outline. Correct misspellings and make sure that your formatting is right.

3. Disregarding the title. The more readers you have, the more likely it is that your blog is going to show up in RSS feeds or on a search engine results page. If your post has a title that is uninteresting, readers may not even click on your post to read it. Research shows that 8 out of 10 people will read the title or headline while only 2 out of 10 are going to go on to read the post. If the thought crosses your mind that the title doesn’t matter that much, think again.

Tip from the pros: Spend at least half your time on coming up with a creative and interesting title. In the article linked above, Neil Patel recommends spending as much time crafting the headline as you do the entire post.

The title should tell the reader what the article or post is about, but it should also make them want to keep on reading. Think of the title as a way to sell your readers. You’re not selling them on a product, you’re selling them on a click. They should want to click that title to read the entire article.

For some more details on crafting a great headline, take a look at the above link. There’s some great information on what elements come together to produce a clickable title.

Practice Makes Perfect

Overall, make sure you are not over-thinking things. Your post is never going to reach perfection and if you try for that, you are going to take up too much valuable time. There are a lot of things you will learn and perfect about your writing over time. None of this is as easy as it looks, but you will get the hang of it quickly if you keep working on it.

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Be a Better Business Blogger is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 00:44

How to Keep Generating More Content (That’s Actually Valuable) is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Many companies are looking for ways to promote their business online. SEO is where it starts, but it’s by producing great content that most new customers find their way to a website. There are so many different strategies that rely on good content, which may include everything from creating blog posts, ebooks, and studies for your own company website to guest posting on other sites and participating in social discussions. These tactics all help boost visits to your website and spread the word about your business.

One of the biggest problems that businesses start coming across, though, is the amount of time it is taking to create new content. While everything is fresh at first, you may have plenty of things to talk about. Unfortunately, soon enough it becomes harder to think of new topics or things that will interest your audience. Eventually it starts so seem like everything that can be said, has been said.

There are a few tricks you can use to make content creation easier, and keep generating useful, valuable content in a more sustainable fashion.

Find Your Best Content

The first thing you should do is go through your archives and find your most popular posts. Consider these pieces some of your most valuable assets because you can repurpose them to create more value for your customers and attract even more traffic. There are two main criteria that this content should have:

  • Timeless Information – The topic covered should have information that will always be relevant, or at least serve as a strong foundation in a developing industry.
  • High Quality – The information needs to have a high standard of quality. Unique images, strong writing, and a relevant message all contribute to the usefulness of the post and its ability to continue bringing traffic.

Studying the analytics and going through your archives will help you find the posts that best meet these needs. And, now that you have a good baseline, you have a launching pad for more content.

Create a List

Using your popular posts and other successful content pieces, create a list of possible titles and ideas that have to potential to be expanded upon. If you feel like there is a lot more to be said on one subject, create more titles and ideas on that particular topic. Place these at the top of the list since they will provide the most fertile ground for new ideas to grow.

Any time you need to create a new blog post, refer to your list for a quick idea. Mix up your topics or try doing a series with up to three parts to keep your readers interested.

As you write, keep a few things in mind to help your posts easier to read:

  • Engage your readers – Start a conversation with readers participate and interact in the comments. This way your blog becomes a really good reference point.
  • Keep your posts concise – Stick to the point and keep things simple. If you have more to say, try splitting them up and get an entire series out of it.
  • Show the facts – Using solid data to validate what you say will make your point, but it will also make it easier to return to the information in the future.

The point of your list is to help decrease the amount of time you spend on each post. If you know what works and what doesn’t, it will be much easier to set your content strategy and produce relevant content. Try not to over think things. The writing should come fairly easily.

Repurposing Content

There are different ways to discuss each subject on your list, but if you start to feel like you have gone over them from every possible direction, creating content becomes more difficult and requires more time. One of the best tactics in these cases is to start repurposing the things you’ve already written. Simply take the list of best content you created earlier and find different ways to show it to a new audience.

1. Change the appearance. Posts that have a lot of interesting statistics, valuable quotes, or great pieces of advice are ideal for changing the information into a method that is more easily shared on social media sites. Some examples could include:

  • Creating a slide show or PowerPoint.
  • Using online tools like Presi or Piktochart
  • Building an infographic

Other ways you can consider changing your information’s presentation is by developing it into a more detailed form, like an ebook, podcast, webinar, or video series.

2. Construct an instructographic. Pinterest and other social sites where users thrive on doing things themselves love this type of specialized infographic. This is a step-by-step tutorial in pictures that instructs on accomplishing a task that needs to be broken down into specifics. This can only be done with certain topics but is a great option for repurposing content into a different format.

3. Refresh and republish old posts. Linking to past posts is great, but sometimes older posts have information that has become out-dated. If new information has been found that changes something you quoted or published, this is a great time to update the post. After you have modified it, you can republish this post with a note about what you changed and generate more traffic to it.

Another way to publish old posts is to do it on someone else’s site. Consider guest posting with a new version of an existing post. Guest posting has to be done with care and attention, though. This isn’t something you can just throw out there anymore. Still, since you’re attaching it to content that has already proven itself successful, it may make it easier to get a valuable placement.

Stick to your Plan

Once you have gone through the steps of creating lists of your most popular posts and possible future blogs, use them. Stay on top of updating these lists as you continue to develop your content and ideas so that you will have great tools to fall back on. This will help to alleviate a lot of the stress and pressure that comes with creating new content.

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How to Keep Generating More Content (That’s Actually Valuable) is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing"
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 18:07

SEO.com Online Content Collective, July 21, 2014 is a post by SEO expert Megan Fludd. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

marketing

In the SEO industry, we all are here primarily to drive traffic to our clients’ websites. Like us here at SEO.com, you may also be offering a comprehensive marketing experience, maximizing the overall benefits of SEO for your clients. However, marketing and optimization can sometimes only be half the battle when it comes to generating business for clients.

This week, we’ll address some articles we’ve come across that share some key things we can do to keep the traffic coming. These are things that anyone with their own website can do to go beyond marketing tactics and SEO strategy to help boost sales.

Knowing What Users Experience is Key

Everything a visitor sees on a website – what they read, calls to action, menus, links, etc. – they all matter to a user and all play a role in what someone will do once they get to a website.

After visiting the insightful blog over at MOZ, we learned that when hoping to improve the user experience on a client’s site, it’s better to prove the results rather than go off of gut instinct alone – especially when there are colleagues or powers-that-be who are less than convinced that a site needs improvement. The best approach is to prove that there is always room for improvement.

Kristina offers us four useful sites to help us prove that user experience could be better and what areas should be improved upon.

  1. Qualaroo allows you to place any question onto the lower right hand corner of any pages of a site and collect feedback from visitors.
  2. Mechanical Turk or Feedback Army, which according to Kristina is “a guy using Mechanical Turk for you, because mTurk’s interface is pretty clunky.” These are both survey-like tools that allow you to lead users to the page of the site you want to be reviewed, ask specific questions as you would on Qualaroo, and collect feedback.
  3. UserTesting.com is a pricey option but allows testers to be very specific demographic-wise on who is testing the site and gain valuable feedback on what the entire user experience is.
  4. Good ‘ole Google Analytics won’t provide specifics, but it can tell us a lot about behavior and patterns of site visitors to see if they’re having trouble with calls-to-action, navigation, etc.

So if you’re looking for feedback on where to improve your overall user experience, these are the places to begin. If you head over to MOZ’s blog post, you’ll also get some information on how to present and test potential solutions to site issues.

Growth Hacking Makes Money

There are always ways to improve existing marketing tactics to turn them into sales, and SEOblog.com lists 10 tactics that are part of a topic that has been around for a while called “growth hacking.” While not a new strategy, it is still proving to be effective. Growth hacking is essentially a creative combination of tactics to generate sales.

Some of my favorites are:

  1. Linking to landing pages rather than the home page to create an experience for users, leading them to pages that you feel they want to go and that provide answers to their questions or meet their needs.
  2. Retargeting – Track where your site visitors hang out, such as their favorite social platforms, and, while we won’t use the words “stalk them,” you should hang out there, too. Target them with advertising in those particular spaces.
  3. Utilize “split testing” to make small changes a page to see what helps the page perform better. Experiment and add new pages and ideas as much as possible to see what works for you.
  4. As SEO professionals, of course we appreciate a successfully optimized home page, so this is a tip we just couldn’t pass up. You’re linking visitors to landing pages, but the home page is what will really sell them.
  5. “Referral loops” can allow you to give incentives for people to share you with others. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to market.

Now there are 5 other tactics that you just might want to hear about, so head over to SEOblog.com and check them out so you can sell, sell, sell.

Use the Latest Trends to Your Advantage

It’s no secret that utilizing social media can increase both sales and traffic, but perhaps one of the top sites generating buzz right now for adding to increased sales is YouTube. Use it to your advantage.

We took a look at an article form Social Media Today to find out just what people are looking for.

  1. Informational videos on the product and how it works, or basic information about your company make great videos when it comes to potential customers. You don’t need to have anything fancy or complex.
  2. A bare channel won’t get you anywhere, so optimizing it, branding it, and creating a schedule and posting strategy is just as important on YouTube as it is on any social site.
  3. Tell people to buy your stuff with annotations. These are little bubbles that can give links or calls to action right on your video.
  4. Social Media Today suggests using sites like FameBit. This site lets you use the power of influencers and stars to help your videos go viral.

Creating simple and useful videos, posting them on YouTube, asking for what you want (people to buy), and generating a buzz will help turn your YouTube page into a major sales driver.

In summary, to increase sales, all sites should create a great user experience based on proven knowledge and feedback. Businesses should exercise established tactics to create this experience and bring people back to their site. Companies looking for sales should also use the latest trends like YouTube to bring it all home and get their brand out there in a unique way, while remembering to “ask” people to buy in that space. Using these tactics should help you and your clients generate a successful strategy to increase sales.

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SEO.com Online Content Collective, July 21, 2014 is a post by SEO expert Megan Fludd. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Megan Fludd" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing, SEO Tips, Socia..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Jul 2014 18:45

What Do the Largest Websites Have in Common? What Can We Learn From Them? is a post by SEO expert Jonathan Goudy. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

What-Do-the-Largest-Websites-Online-Have-in-Common-

The largest websites in the United States all have completely different purposes and target different demographics, but they all still share some common core internet marketing principles that make them successful. These are the types of things that every small website can learn from.

The marketing principles you can learn from the best of the best are powerful because they helped launch and sustain billion-dollar companies. These aren’t necessarily difficult strategies and tactics, and they won’t cost as much as you might think, so any small company can follow these examples to grow and see an increase in traffic and possibly even conversions. Let’s get started.

For the purposes of this article, I looked at the top 100 websites in the United States according to Alexa. Just to keep things simple, I’ll just include each website’s ranking on this list whenever it is mentioned.

1.  Massive Daily Content Creation – The biggest news channels like ESPN (24), or the biggest social platforms like Facebook (2), Instagram (16), Pinterest (12), and ecommerce sites like Amazon (5), are constantly adding pages to their website. This isn’t just a blog article a day, either. Some of these websites are adding over a hundred thousand pages to their website every day.

Even though it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the oceans of content sweeping onto the world’s largest platforms, small websites should push for more and more content every single day.

It can be articles, it can be new or updated product pages, it can be user-generated profiles and questions. Adding more valuable content will keep increasing the overall usefulness and value of the site.

2.  User-Generated Content – Nearly all of the top ten most-visited websites in the United States allow the public to add content onto a section of their website. Google built Google+, which is connected to the Google.com domain. Although you just can’t necessarily add content to their search engine, you can to your Google+ profile. Google+ is on a sub-domain, but it’s still branding Google’s website and it will increase engagement with users. Building content platforms for users to generate content is an ideal way to constantly add more content to a website.

Obviously, most companies don’t have the money to build an entire social platform onto a sub-domain, but some other large companies have forums built into the ‘help’ section of their website to answer frequently asked questions by website visitors. Guest columns will work if you want your traffic to write for you. It doesn’t cost much to build in a guest column, and the article approval process can be quick and simple.

Historically, user-generated sections of websites would get spammed out. Even blog commenting is technically a form of user generated content, but it takes time to monitor spam (which is discussed next). Be sure to be aggressive with spam monitoring when you have a user generated content section.

3.  Spam Control – One area most of the major websites invest in is spam control. Managing the negative, low quality, or abusive content is not cheap and usually requires more than just money and employees. It requires a good plan of action. Companies like eBay (7) and even Wikipedia (6) have had to adjust strategies and hire experts to come in and develop strategies to protect their website.

Google (1) is constantly updating its algorithm, so not only do you get the most relevant results, but they are always trying to catch spammy websites or lower their ranking positions. Spam is poison, you don’t want to feed search engines poison or they will just de-index your website.

4.  Older Websites – Six years ago, Groupon (93) was launched and is currently one of the youngest websites of the top 100 largest websites in the USA. Craigslist (10) and eBay (7) both launched in 1995 and will turn 20 years old soon. Facebook (2) made its debut in 2004 and is just over ten years old while Google (1) was launched towards the end of 1998.

Most of the top 100 websites launched before or after the year 2000. Although some of the companies were the quickest ever in our nation’s history to make a billion dollars, the truth is to be a successful website online it really does take some time and maturity.

The internet is more competitive than ever before and Google’s new search engine algorithm is making internet marketing harder to do, and it takes a little more time, strategy, money, branding, viral word-of-mouth, and patience.

When Microsoft launched Bing in 2009 they thought their money could beat a search engine that was an 11 years old at that time, but it didn’t come close. Money helps with internet marketing but it won’t automatically win the game if your competitor arrived first and has established itself as popular and relevant. It’s easy to want things now, but patience is a virtue for a reason, and websites aren’t excused from this rule. New websites need to stick at it and prove they’re trustworthy over time.

5.  Industry Leader – LinkedIn (8) is the industry leader for employment job social networking websites. Reddit (21) is the leader with social bookmarking online. ESPN (24) is the world-wide leader in sports. Being a leader in the industry brings on great brand recognition. Websites should not only be striving to rank first on Google but they should be striving to be the leader in their industry.

If it’s unrealistic to catch up to the current leader in the industry, establish something unique about your brand and be the leader for that niche. Being an industry leader has many SEO benefits as well. Search engines pay attention to brand signals now, and will often rank the brand with the most authority and relevance over anyone else for a lot of related searches.

6.  Large Audiences – Google’s (1) Facebook page has 16 million followers (likes). YouTube (3) has 80 million likes on Facebook. Even websites further down the list like Bank of America (35) have 1.9 million Facebook likes. The New York Times has 7.3 million likes on the social platform. These brands have the We love itmoney and the popularity to build large audiences on multiple social websites. They also have access to the experts and teams to help increase their social presence.

Social signals impact search rankings depending on the search engine. Google pays attention to Google + while Bing gives more weight to Facebook and Twitter. Social signals create launch pads for link building. If a website has over a million likes, the viral traction of one post can build natural links and social shares to a sites page. Building the social audience is key to a brand’s success and smaller websites should take note of that.

7. High-Quality, Simple Websites – Apple.com (30) offers a platform that doesn’t have a crazy design, or annoying Flash animations, or even pop ups, it’s just simple, plain and very easy to navigate around.  All ten of the top performing websites in the United States have a white background on their homepage. The color white is simple, and clear, and is a great canvas on which you can highlight your other brand colors.

Small businesses fall into these traps of wanting fancy websites with all the gimmicks. The truth is simple, clean and professional is the ideal direction to go when designing a website. It establishes an easy user experience and is quite affordable. Small businesses should start with something simple and, even as they grow, try to keep everything nice and orderly.

8.  The Focus on a Broader Target Audience – Smaller businesses with lower budgets tend to focus heavily on the person who is most likely going to buy their product. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, and with a smaller budget it’s wise. It’s wasteful to focus your ads on people that won’t convert. However, if you want to start building your overall traffic, so you can increase the pool of potential buyers, you’re going to need to target a bigger audience.

targetmarket

All of the five biggest traffic websites online target the general public. Facebook (2) started out by focusing on the college population but now reaches your grandparents. Although 80% of Pinterest users are women, more and more men are finding their way onto the world’s largest image bookmarking website. Amazon and eBay all target the everyday consumer. Google averages 2 trillion plus searches a year on their platform.

These websites focus on marketing that builds their brand. If your business model is focused on larger transactions it should focus on an audience. If it’s focused on branding and being a huge website, you’ll have to go after a wider audience. These brands figured out how to offer value where all ages and people will be attracted to their product.

9.  An Online Focus, No Brick and Mortar Stores – Apple.com (29) is the first of the top 50 websites online that also has offline locations spread out in local communities. Chase (34) and Bank of America (35) offer bank locations all around the nation, Wal-Mart (40) has stores everywhere as well. Only five of the top fifty websites have stores for the public to visit. The other forty-five only focus on online services.

What we can learn from this is the big websites are dedicated to dominating the online world. From day one they’ve been building their brand online. When businesses focus all of their efforts online, websites naturally create better websites with great user experiences, and they offer higher quality content. Focusing too much offline can hurt your online presence if it’s neglected.

Summary

In every sport, the best thing the young athletes can do is learn from the best. This concept applies to internet marketing. Although your industry might be different, your product might be different, or the mission of your website might be different than these large online web beasts, you can learn principles that can take your website to new levels. Be sure to express your thoughts below.

Questions Answered in the Article

  • What do the largest websites online have in common?
  • What are key internet marketing principles?
  • What does it take to get high amounts of internet traffic to a website?
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What Do the Largest Websites Have in Common? What Can We Learn From Them? is a post by SEO expert Jonathan Goudy. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Jonathan Goudy" Tags: "Blog, Marketing, SEO Tips"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 19:07

Is Tumblr Really a Valid Marketing Tool? is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Is-Tumblr-Really-a-Valid-Marketing-Tool-

Just over a year ago, Yahoo! paid a billion dollars to acquire Tumblr. They may have done this to get in on the social scene and expand their offerings, or they may have just been trying to impress the cool kids. Either way, this caused a lot of talk in the industry, and a lot of marketers were writing about the best ways to use the microblogging site in their content marketing campaigns.

So, in the last year or so, what has changed? Is it still a valid marketing tool?  Is it worth getting involved with one more social platform when you already have a blog that demands your attention like a very loud and very spoiled child?

Let’s take a look at what Tumblr really is. A lot of you have likely heard of it, heard that it was something you needed to get involved with it, but weren’t sure what, exactly, it was. Ask anyone what Twitter is and they’ll tell you that it’s for updating the world on what you ate for dinner. Ask someone else what Pinterest is for, and they’ll say recipes and crafts. (Neither of these things are completely true anymore, but go with me on this.) If you were asked what Tumblr is, would you say:

a)      Just one more free blogging site
b)      A place for hipsters to post pictures of people who are well aware they’re way cooler than you
c)       A dumping ground for memes and gifs
d)      A conglomeration of rabid Sherlock and Dr. Who fans
e)      A corner of the internet with readers who will be quick to defend or destroy everything you post

Of them all, e) is probably the closest to the correct answer.

However, because all those other options aren’t exactly wrong, a lot of companies have written off Tumblr as just being too unprofessional. Then again, a lot of really big brands have jumped on the Tumblr train and really made good use of it. Just a smattering of examples includes:

  • Calvin Klein
  • Audi
  • Target
  • Disney
  • eBay
  • GQ
  • Coca-Cola

It is getting a lot of notice because the word has gone out that the ever-important demographic (those under 25 – otherwise known as the “cool kids”) have gotten bored with Facebook. What? I hear you say. Facebook is not dead, you add. Facebook is life! Well, there are a lot of people out there looking for a new life – one in which they can express themselves, and one in which they are no longer assaulted by unwanted friend requests and farming simulators.

Tumblr has become the single blogging platform where your general worthiness isn’t based on page views, but about your community – the people who have found and liked your stuff.

But What Is It Really?

Tumblr hit the sweet spot right between Pintrest, WordPress, and Facebook. It has the blogging tools you need to present yourself how you want, the social media tools that make it easy for people to find, share, and subscribe to your stuff, and an image-centric community that makes it ideal for people with a lot visuals.

Consider if you will, the humble hashtag. While this is something that you can use in Facebook, it doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning. In Tumblr, however, the hashtag is actually useful because users are actually using the platform to find new content. Facebook keeps modifying its algorithm to reward content creators who pay for more reach – i.e. just to reach the people who are already following you. The blogging mentality of Tumblr means that you can reach people who are simply looking for good content.

It certainly sounds like there’s a lot of potential here to reach new customers and make it easy for them to follow and share your stuff.

Why Does It Matter to Marketers?

According to Tumblr’s numbers, there are 125K new users signing up every day, and there have already been 189 million blogs and 83 billion posts created (almost 93 million a day). The level of activity on Tumblr is growing faster than almost any other platform.

tumblr_n5iuq0T6gr1rcj6axo1_1280

Image source: marketr.tumblr.com

But this is just the start. According to some other figures, Tumblr is growing in many different ways and posting some impressive stats, including:

  • 300 million unique monthly visitors
  • 20 billion page views per month
  • 28th highest traffic site on the web
  • 65% of users have a college education
  • 50% of users are under the age of 25 (which may not be as cool as they seem to imply, because we could just as easily say that 50% of users are over 25)
  • 17% of visits occur while at work, meaning most users are at home where they can take some time and enjoy the content

Once something makes it on Tumble, it also tends to have a much longer lifespan. This graph shows one of their latest studies to see how long the audience kept information about their favorite show circulating on Tumblr and Twitter.

tumblr_n6k86uOvIF1sv7g70o1_1280

Image source: marketr.tumblr.com

So Is It for You?

Okay, so it’s got a lot of great features. Is it really worth the effort for you to add yet another social platform into your campaign? There are a few things that may determine whether or not it will be worth it to you.

Think of Pinterest. If you’re using it, or can use it, you can probably make good use of Tumblr, too. If your company is very image based – products, charts, developments – or your company culture is something you show off, this can be a powerful tool.

You may also employ Tumblr if you want to start building a new audience. Maybe you want to share more casual items about your company, but your blog has been cultivating a very professional audience. Maybe this is where you can share incidental stuff to your business, things that don’t fit anywhere else but might attract more followers.

If You Gotta Do It, Do It Right

So you’ve decided to bite the bullet and jump on the Tumblr train. You’ve decided it can work for you, so you need to strategize a little to make sure it will work for you.

  • Use Images – If you provide no images, you provide no reason for anyone to share your stuff.
  • Be Focused – Don’t try to be everything to everyone on Tumblr. This audience likes finding content about their favorite things, and they like a unique perspective.
  • Be a Person – Not a marketer. This is not the forum for marketing messages. It’s a place for hanging with the cool kids.
  • Provide Quality – Don’t believe that the casual nature means that you can be sloppy. Aim for high-quality, valuable content, just like everything else.
  • Quick Updates and Evergreen Content are Both Valid – By its nature, things posted on Tumblr have a longer lifespan, but users still prefer some brevity in their content. Still, it’s a good place to host some evergreen content that users can keep coming back to.
  • Be Shareable – Give people a reason to share something. Text-heavy articles are pretty bland, long content is only shared if it really has something worthwhile in it, and memes are only interesting the first hundred times they’re reblogged. Be creative and go for an emotional response.
  • Be a Brand – Give your audience what they expect from your brand, or be very clear that your Tumblr exists specifically to give them something new.
  • Be a Pal – Follow, share, and reblog other stuff. Respond to comments. Make comments on other posts. Networking – remember that?
  • Don’t Just Reproduce Your Blog – Focus on something particular about your brand. Branch out. Get philosophical. Find a new angle on your product that may not be a direct benefit, but is still cool.
  • Ask for Submissions – Work with your community. People on Tumblr are used to creating content, so it’s not such a big step for them to create something for you. There’s a submission feature that you can enable on your Tumblr if that kind of interaction fits with your strategy.

Tumblr offers a lot of opportunities for large and small companies. While a lot of big brands have shown that they can build a great audience on the platform, many small businesses have moved in and done the same. It may not fit with your overall strategy, or you may simply not have enough time for yet another social media channel, but as the audience there continues to grow, it will become harder and harder to ignore.

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Is Tumblr Really a Valid Marketing Tool? is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Andy Eliason" Tags: "Blog, Social Media"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 19:32

Frustrations With Resumes And Interviews is a post by SEO expert Boyd Norwood. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Frustrations-With-Resumes-And-Interviews

I recently read a post from Seth Godin titled “References available upon request”.

It got me thinking about the hundreds of resumes I’ve skimmed and the dozens of interviews I’ve conducted, specifically for those people we hired over the last four years.

This is all anecdotal, but here are my conclusions:

  1. Hiring based off of resumes and interviews alone is only slightly better than picking applicant’s names out of a hat
  2. Some of the best interviewees ended up being the worst employees
  3. Some of the best employees had mediocre interviews
  4. A college degree does not predict success in SEO
  5. Collegiate athletes or people who grew up on farms are consistently great employees
  6. The “Objective” section on a resume is a bunch of fluff and is not helpful at all
  7. If you don’t know what Alt Tab does, you won’t work out
  8. Knowing someone who already works for the company significantly increases your chances of being hired

The main thing I look at on a resume is work history and skills. I’m looking for experience with online marketing, and then I’m going to ask questions to see how in-depth your knowledge is about the items you listed.

One thing

The best thing to bring up in an interview is examples of projects that you worked on directly and the results that came about because of your efforts.

What are your thoughts about resumes and interviews from your experience?

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Frustrations With Resumes And Interviews is a post by SEO expert Boyd Norwood. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Boyd Norwood" Tags: "Blog, Successes"
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 16:10

Social Media for the Small Business is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Social-Media-for-the-Small-Business

Small businesses have to be extremely careful with their time and budget. Most understand that social media is an extremely important part of modern business practices, but they either do not have the time, money, or experience to do it right.

Social media is not just for big businesses with huge budgets and a dedicated staff. It can be the key to success for smaller businesses, too. It is the perfect way to engage with potential clients, gain more online presence, and set yourself apart from the competition.

You actually might even have an advantage as a small business.

Why is social media beneficial to small businesses?

Social media platforms are a great place for small businesses to increase engagement and gain loyal customers. In fact, they have a few advantages and can do some things that the big guys cannot.

With a smaller business, you can respond to followers’ questions and comments quickly and clearly. You can provide real-time answers and give a voice to your business without having to run everything past the legal department.

Many small businesses interact more with their followers by hosting giveaways and promotions. You may not have as many participants, but that just means your customers have more of a reason to follow and engage with you online.

With a small business you can communicate your personality through your interactions with potential customers. Big businesses have many hoops to jump through and corporate executives to please. As a small business you have more room to your personality and give your business a voice people can relate to.

This type of marketing can often help keep a small business afloat. If customers are having problems, you can quickly (and publicly) address them. If they are satisfied with your service, they will share it with a huge community. Customers aren’t afraid to post their true feelings about a company’s services or products, and getting real feedback can improve your reputation and help your business cater to the needs of your clientele.

What are the best social platforms to use?7-social-media-activities

Small businesses have limited time and cannot maintain a good presence on all the networks. It can be difficult to know which is best for your company, but understanding their characteristics can help narrow your focus.

Facebook is where the most people are – so it can’t be ignored. Pinterest is great for businesses that have a visual focus or lot of individual products. Twitter is fast and simple. Google+ is critically important for search engines.

You have to prioritize.  Who is your audience? Where are most of your potential customers spending their time? What age group are you targeting? Matching your audience to the audience of a specific social network will result in the greatest conversion of followers to customers.

How do you get involved in social media that creates results?

There is some method to the madness of promoting your business through social media. As you dive into marketing, your top priority should be to build a relationship with your customer. Be creative. Be entertaining, and be engaging. Try some of the following ideas to get followers to interact with your business.

  1. Offer special deals to online followers. Post coupon codes. Mention offers just for followers.
  2. Post videos on YouTube. Include links in your posts to videos that promote your products.
  3. Answer customers’ questions and concerns. Engage in conversations with them and maintain positive interactions.
  4. Post trivia and questions to keep followers interested.
  5. Make connections with other businesses and important online figures. Everyone online has their own agenda. Do your best to support others and you will receive support in return.

How do you move past “just posting things” and turn your social media campaign into a profitable marketing channel?

The key to marketing through social networks is conversation. You must engage with your audience. This is the key to forming a relationship with followers that will turn them into loyal customers.Social Media Conversion Funnel.fw

Try to make your online interactions similar to those you would have in real life. Find your customers, engage them, invite them to check out your offerings, and make it an easy for them to talk to you – just like you would do in person.

When posting, keep your audience in mind. What do they like? What do they care about? Post questions and polls to encourage conversation. Post pictures of other customers with your product. Give everyone a chance to be part of your feed by asking for submissions or suggestions. Post information to educate and entertain followers. Keep posts light-hearted and humorous. If you are putting a smile on your followers’ faces they are more likely to start a relationship with you.

We live in a world where everyone has their smartphones with them at all times because we don’t want to miss a single update. If your business is not currently using social media, it is time to start. Social media is an important marketing tool and can keep your business relevant as you get involved with your customers and others in the industry.

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Social Media for the Small Business is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Social Media"
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Date: Monday, 14 Jul 2014 15:40

SEO.com Online Content Collective, July 14, 2014 – SEO is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

SEO

There have been a lot of things happening in the last week on the SEO front. Between Google making some fairly significant changes to how they display authorship snippets in its results pages and some interesting studies on the impact search engine optimization really has on your traffic. We also take a look at a great article on how to balance your time between more conventional SEO processes and content marketing.

Experiment Shows Up To 60% Of “Direct” Traffic Is Actually Organic Search

What does “Direct” traffic really mean, anyway? It’s often just a repository for the traffic that is, for one reason or another, hard to classify. Over the years, there have been a lot of things that have changed the way many analytics programs report this traffic. Everything from Google’s shift to encrypted search to browsers simply not reporting where a user came from can change how direct traffic is reported.

It turns out, though, that a huge portion of this supposedly direct traffic is actually coming through organic search results.

How do we know this? Over on Search Engine Land you can take a look at the details of a very interesting experiment. Basically, the people at Groupon delisted their site for a day. (In the article, they very clearly warn against trying something like this on your own.)

The theory is simple. If they were deindexed, even for a short time, the level of direct traffic should have stayed normal. After all, they were all supposedly coming from to the site directly.

You’ll see in the article that this was clearly not the case. Just keep this in mind the next time you need to justify the value of SEO in your marketing campaign.

Google Calls Takebacks on Authorship Photos: An Alternate Theory

A couple weeks ago, Google made some announcements that got a lot of online marketers to start questioning some things. Most notably, the search engine has been pushing the importance of authorship to establish relevance, even displaying the author’s photo next to the description of the post in the search results.

Well no more!

Why? Well, the official reason is that Google conducted some research on the subject and determined that the pictures did not improve clickthrough rates significantly. Let’s also remember that it wasn’t too long ago that Google started cracking down on which authors would have their pictures displayed. Once again, unethical marketers were trying to game the system, so the system got tightened up its parameters.

However, some people had other thoughts. Take for example, this tweet from Rand Fishkin:

We can get into this a little more, though. In this post by Elisa Gabbert over on the WordStream blog, we can take a closer look at the plausibility of this alternative theory.

How to Split Your Time Between Technical SEO and Content Marketing

In this article, Neil Patel draws a broad line between technical (or conventional) SEO and content marketing and asks how, exactly, we could split our time to be as effective as possible. After all, we only have a limited amount of time to spend on any given task, so we want to make sure that our efforts are producing the best results.

SEO and content marketing both have a lot of value, but they address completely different elements of marketing and branding. There was a time when SEO was all you really needed. The way you used your keywords, optimized your content, and build a linking structure was generally enough. It takes a little more than that, now.

Most technical aspects of SEO are fairly well known. But, he says, that alone won’t deliver success. It will, however, set you up for success. So where does the success come from? That would be where all the content marketing comes in.

SEO sets you up to receive traffic. Content marketing sends it. Content is still king. It’s where you can stand out. Everyone can do SEO, and everyone can do content marketing, but only you can do that one creative, incredible thing that makes your company stand out.

The SEO industry is changing all the time, and it can be a really challenge to keep up. Some of these new developments and strategies can help you improve your online rankings and grow your brand. Check out these articles to delve a little deeper into these recent changes.

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SEO.com Online Content Collective, July 14, 2014 – SEO is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Andy Eliason" Tags: "Blog, SEO, SEO Tips"
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Date: Friday, 11 Jul 2014 16:23

How to Really Win With Article Marketing is a post by SEO expert Jonathan Goudy. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

How-to-Really-Win-With-Article-Marketing

If you’ve been in the internet marketing world for a while, you’ll know that article marketing is generally considered a low quality strategy. Back before some of Google’s search engine updates, SEO companies would just spin thousands of articles onto cheap article sites to get thousands of fake and cheesy links. This practice worked once upon a time, but now it just poisons your reputation and is not worth ever considering.

Article marketing, however, is still around and can be an effective strategy if websites play their cards right. It takes the form of press releases, news articles, blog posts, guest blog articles, and even just articles, and it has the potential to reach a lot of new customers.

The Article Marketing Conversion Rate Truth

Marketers often get so hungry for sells and conversions that they quickly move away from strategies that don’t produce results. This means they will look deep into their web analytics and notice that traffic from the blog is just not converting. These numbers may convince them to discard or otherwise change their current efforts.

Article marketing has this wonderful reputation of not producing sales online. Businesses small and large quickly get discouraged with article marketing because they spend their time and energy pumping out article after article while the conversion rate just gets lower and lower to the point where it seems like they’re throwing money out the door by using their time poorly.

The simple truth is that very few people are looking to buy something when they’re reading through some informative articles. There’s a time we get on a search engine to go buy a product, and there’s time we get on to just learn something about a service or a product. Most of the time we’re searching to learn something.

This doesn’t mean these visitors don’t provide any value for your company. You have a huge opportunity here to welcome the traffic that only wants an education from you. Don’t get discouraged and stop producing for them.

Capture the Email if Not the Sale

A lot of people are willing to give their email instead of their credit card number. Email marketing has a email
higher conversion rate than article marketing, and both marketing strategies can complement each other and piggy back off one another. If you’re looking to have a killer article marketing strategy, make sure you have a killer email marketing strategy.

There are plenty of websites that produce amazing content for their blogs, but fail to capture an email address they can use later. Once you have that information, you can keep those visitors engaged over time. They may have found you through a blog article, but they will keep coming back through email. If you have their email you can pitch content and promotions and increase the chances they will eventually become a paying customer. This strategy involves patience and a quality form in the right place at the right moment to capture their information.

Capture the Social Share if Not the Email

Very rarely will people share website homepages on their social platforms or even category pages. Articles, social shareshowever, are readily shared across the social web, which means that your content should complement your email marketing strategy as well as your social media marketing strategy.

Great, high-quality articles can build viral social traction to your website if you have the social buttons in the right place. If you can’t win their sale, or their email, win a presence on their Twitter or Facebook wall. Get their friends and followers to come see your article and capture their email.

Social referral traffic is not known to be the best converting traffic, but if your email marketing is right on the mark, and your article content provides real value, it will all come together to complement your overall strategy.

Capture the Link if Not Sale, Email, or Social Share

Link building has turned into the art of “link earning” because the search engines have gotten so strict on the type of links they consider valuable. There are still webmasters and bloggers looking for good-quality, credible content to reference in their own posts and articles to add more value to their site.

Make your articles credible by referencing the right sources in the right places. This will help convince other websites that you’re the best source for them to link to. As you build powerful and convincing articles on your website the links will come. Once the links arrive, the referral traffic will come, followed closely by the organic search traffic. Your website and brand will build more authority which is the precursor to more sells and wins.

Promote, Promote and Promote Your Articles

Researching and creating your article is a small part of the battle with article marketing. Sadly, many websites get in this habit of creating articles and then just leaving them to sit and hope for a miracle that a search engine will launch the article and promote the content for them.

This will work if you’re a huge brand and your website naturally gets over a million unique visitors a month. Their website alone is a powerful promotional tool. For smaller websites, promotion is everything. Promoting your articles through email marketing is a good start, and promoting them through the brand’s social platforms is a must. Eventually search engines will begin to naturally discover and highlight your content as you work hard to promote your articles.

Be aggressive with your promotions, don’t be shy about showing off your content, and do all that you can do as if your traffic relied fully on these efforts. It will pay off.

Quality Content is King and Quantity is Queen

We’re obsessed with kings. Internet marketers across the world love the statement that content is king. They miss the whole picture with that brief statement. Content is king, and this king will be more powerful if the content actually offers some real value. There have been too many kings in our world’s history that would be modern-day losers because they offered no value, and nothing of substance. This kind of article marketing means your articles have to zing into the hearts of your readers.

The queen is always ignored in internet marketing, but yet the queen holds access to the king’s heart (well kind of). Quantity is a powerful aspect of article marketing because you can begin to qualify for more long tail organic search traffic.

When we talk about quantity, we’re not talking about the old methods of producing as much as you can for as many sites as you can. We’re talking about a consistent stream of quality content. We’re talking about a reason for your readers to come back and visit every day.

Live in the Long Tail

This year there will easily be over two trillion searches on Google, maybe even close to three trillion. With those trillions of searches, Google is focusing more and more on relevance.

Gone are the days when web pages with 200-300 words could rank for two to three hundred different search terms. With a variety of high-quality articles, though, your website can still rank for a variety of different search terms.

The population is getting more mature and familiar with search engines because they’ve been around for so long. With this maturity, for the average searcher is getting more search-engine savvy, and they’re typing in longer phrases more frequently than ever before. Article marketing is where you will capture the long tail traffic, and, frankly, where you should live if you’re doing it right.

Under-The-Radar Keyword Research Method - Scott Cowley

Re-purpose Your Content on Other Major Websites

Converting your article into a video will add value to your YouTube channel. Converting it into a brief slidedeck on Prezi or SlideShare will help build your presence on those websites. There are many other ways you can re-purpose your content into search-engine-indexed digital real estate.

There is a reason for all this repurposing. Sometimes your website will get outranked by your YouTube channel or your Google + page for certain terms. You can make sure the content that shows up in those searches is some of your best.

In Conclusion

Article marketing can be extremely effective for your traffic and conversions if you’re doing it right. If it’s not working for you, chances are you’re still stuck in some of those old strategies and techniques. Quality article marketing is not a cheap experience and it requires more than your money and time. Search engines love and feed off of articles, they want you to write, and they want you to write as much quality content as possible.

Don’t run away from article marketing once you realize the sales aren’t there at first. Time and time again small business owners and webmasters fall into this trap. Great marketing requires a marathon-running mentality, and in this case a marathon with an obstacle course.

Get Internet Marketing Insight For Your Company - SEO.com

How to Really Win With Article Marketing is a post by SEO expert Jonathan Goudy. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Jonathan Goudy" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing, Link Building"
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Date: Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 16:40

If You Are Measuring Your Success by Keyword Rankings, You’re Doing it Wrong! Pt. 1 is a post by SEO expert Tyson Hymas. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

If-You-Are-Measuring-Your-Success-by-Keyword-Rankings,-You’re-Doing-it--Wrong!

Let’s go back…back to a more simple time. Back to when keyword data was provided in Google Analytics. Back to when we could optimize a page by stuffing the crap out of it with keywords. Back to when we could build, literally, thousands of links in a month (all with exact match anchor text).  And back to a time when Google was returning search results based on keywords in the search query.

Yep, those were the days. To be successful, all you had to do, it seemed, was “out keyword stuff” or “out link build” your competition.

Remember how we were able to track the rankings for a particular keyword and see how successful it was based on the number of visits it drove? We could easily analyze and report on the data, allowing us to identify areas of opportunity with ease.

It’s amazing how things have changed!

Let’s now fast forward to the present day. We are currently living in a world of cuddly black & white birds, bears, and (not provided) data. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, allow me to explain.

Panda

The Panda algorithm hit hard in February of 2011. It is said to have affected nearly 12% of the search engine results. A lot of people felt it! This algorithm was initially designed to target and devalue sites that have thin SEO.com-webinaror low quality content, a high link-to-content ratio, and other on-site quality issues.

Over the years, there have been several updates to the Panda algorithm, all targeting a new focus. Google has provided quality guidelines for site owners to follow and have given a lot of insight into what will cause a drop in rankings. Keyword stuffing, link schemes, and other loopholes to deceive the crawlers are just a couple ‘tricks’ called out in this document.

Penguin

Here is another black & white animal honored by an algorithm being named after them. Ya know… I used to think that pandas and penguins were cute.

Hit By Penguin Algorithm Update

Penguin was rolled out in April 2012. Now, while Panda targeted low-quality on-site practices, Penguin was designed to target low quality off-site practices.

Penguin was aimed to decrease the rankings of sites that consistently used tactics pointed out in Google’s Link Schemes.  Some of the strategies include buying and selling links to pass page-rank, link exchanges, building links to low quality directory sites, and manufacturing links with exact match anchor text.

Hummingbird

In August of 2013, Google updated its core algorithm. They called this update Hummingbird. Basically, this new algorithm changed the way Google is displaying search results. Rather than picking out individual keywords and returning “relevant” results, they try to translate and fully understand what the searcher is looking for. “Conversational Search” is what Google has called it. They want to provide the most relevant answers to the questions being asked by their users.

These 3 algorithms work together. Panda and Penguin are simply add-ons to the core algorithm.

Not Provided Data

Now lets get to the “not-provided” data. In October 2011, Google decided that it was going to stop displaying keyword data in Google Analytics to protect its users privacy. Essentially, if a user performs a search while logged in to their Google account, Google is not going to tell you the search string the visitor used to find your site. Lame, right?

google-moves-to-make-data-secure

Okay, so let’s break this down.

  • We can no longer target “exact match” terms in both our on-page optimization and our link building efforts because of Panda and Penguin.
  • With Hummingbird, Google no longer displays results based on keywords within the search. Instead they are now looking at the entire query. AND…
  • We are no longer able to report on the success of a particular keyword because Google is withholding user data from us.

So I ask: what is the point of spending so much of our time and energy targeting and focusing on a list of keywords?

I’m not saying that higher rankings aren’t a logical goal. What I am saying is that we have no clue exactly how successful a particular keyword is, so why not go after long-tail variations of a head keyword? These types of keywords are going to provide more relevant traffic anyways.

Now sure, you can get into your Google Webmaster Tools account and see how many impressions that keyword got, along with the clickthrough rate, and then go into analytics and see how many visits that page got, but that is still really, really, incomplete data that will be very time-consuming.

How do we get around this?

Watch for my next post that will cover new tactics and a ways we should be measuring success.  These will include:

  • Head Terms vs. Long Tail Targeting
  • Direct Value Reporting
  • Identifying wins and successes
  • Analyzing fails or areas of improvement
  • Comparing Webmaster Tools Data with Analytics data

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. How do you measure success? How to you target keywords? Tell me and I may use your tactics in my next post!

Get Internet Marketing Insight For Your Company - SEO.com

If You Are Measuring Your Success by Keyword Rankings, You’re Doing it Wrong! Pt. 1 is a post by SEO expert Tyson Hymas. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Tyson Hymas" Tags: "Blog, Keyword Research, SEO Tips"
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014 16:07

Top 90 Socially Shared Content Marketing Blog Posts is a post by SEO expert Nelson Scoville. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

content-marketing

The Research

content-marketing

Do you know everything there is to know about content marketing? Do you feel like everyone is just saying the same things in different ways? For those who want to discover a little more more, we took a scientific approach to finding the best (or at least the most popular) blog posts on the subject.

It all started by gathering a large list of blog posts about content marketing. We had to set our own parameters for what could be included (e.g. we decided to leave articles about viral content out and save them for their own list) and then ran each of them through Social Tally to collect the social share data for each post.

From there we reviewed each blog, one by one, to ensure each was relevant to the content marketing industry.  You can see the results below. Thanks to the authors for their contributions to digital content marketing.

top socially shared content

Title Author f_logoLikes Shares Comments tlogoTweets l_logoShares g_icon+1′s p_logoPins Total Shares
1
The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research Kevan Lee 10137 11,512 3,021 4,575 392 29,637
2
The Science of Emotion in Marketing: How Our Brains Decide What to Share and Whom to Trust Courtney Seiter 5770 5,185 0 3,270 55 15,704
3
Introducing The Periodic Table of Content Marketing Chris Lake 2182 6,240 1,681 2,275 216 12,594
4
The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post: The Data on Headlines, Length, Images and More Kevan Lee 2600 3,510 987 2,194 670 9,961
5
Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us. Noah Kagan 98 4,536 1,495 2,286 110 8,525
6
6 Ways to Measure B2B Content Marketing Performance Derek Edmond 166 7,843 345 83 11 8,448
7
11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs Demian Farnworth 1523 3,112 977 1,353 1,288 8,253
8
16 Quotes That’ll Make You A Better Marketer & Storyteller Shane Snow 818 761 5,818 296 35 7,728
9
Why Companies Need a Head of Content Strategy, Creation and Distribution Data Mining Their Own Information Barry Lowenthal 1227 2,179 3,784 282 21 7,493
10
How to Write The Perfect Headline: The Top Words Used in Viral Headlines Kevan Lee 1497 3,985 877 888 6 7,253
11
The Power of Storytelling: How We Got 300% More People To Read Our Content Alex Turnbull 912 3,919 1,581 728 12 7,152
12
The Content Marketing Forecast: 10 Predictions for 2014 Shafqat Islam 2075 2,974 1,371 356 27 6,803
13
5 Big Brands Confirm That Content Marketing Is The Key To Your Consumer Brandon Gutman 1292 1,839 3,195 218 18 6,562
14
11 Web Marketing and Social Media Trends That Will Shape 2014 Stephanie Frasco 1024 2,012 2,818 597 42 6,493
15
21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2015 Lee Odden 1425 2,987 1,452 429 25 6,318
16
SEO is Dead: Long Live OC/DC Sean Jackson 915 1,805 969 2,056 497 6,242
17
10 Ways Brands Will Win With Content Marketing in 2013 Shafqat Islam 1161 3,530 1,132 212 20 6,055
18
Why Content Marketing Fails Rand Fishkin 974 2,336 1,204 1,301 42 5,857
19
29 free Internet tools to improve your marketing starting today Courtney Seiter 1986 2,059 607 1,161 40 5,853
20
101 Different Types of Web Content For Building Your Site Thomas Armitage 3381 1,147 817 250 99 5,694
21
17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content Aaron Agius 600 2,920 1,452 674 4 5,650
22
The Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content: 12 Ways to Extend the Life of Every Article You Write Kevan Lee 668 2,636 655 1,383 274 5,615
23
3 Steps to Identify Blog Topics that are Relevant to Your Audience Aleyda Solis 517 3,464 435 985 58 5,459
24
The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014 Jayson DeMers 1100 2,735 1,029 388 52 5,304
25
How to Create Visual Social Media Content Patricia Redsicker 1240 2,633 598 531 192 5,194
26
Bad Grammar Are Bad for Branding: Why is marketing becoming increasingly illiterate? Robert Klara 2969 965 1,065 105 7 5,111
27
The Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing – Whiteboard Friday Rand Fishkin 447 2,477 982 1,181 11 5,098
28
The Advanced Content Marketing Guide Neil Patel 625 2,861 768 675 25 4,954
29
The Marketer’s Guide to Information Visualization: How to Rock Infographics, Shareables, and Slideshows Gregory Ciotti 26 146 34 17 4,706 4,929
30
Where Is Content Marketing Headed in 2014? Chadrack Irobogo 645 1,271 2,230 274 291 4,710
31
The Science of Great Digital Content Ideas Simon Penson 485 2,724 899 576 13 4,697
32
How to Use Data to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy Ben Harper 587 2,719 980 357 29 4,672
33
10 Content Marketing Growth Hacks Garrett Moon 1067 2,418 409 425 315 4,634
34
Master This Copywriting Formula to Dominate Any Social Media Platform Demian Farnworth 955 1,979 1,122 437 67 4,560
35
Top 10 Online Marketing Experts To Follow In 2014 Joshua Steimle 2114 1,268 646 367 22 4,417
36
Content without Strategy Is Just Stuff Joe Pulizzi 438 569 3,125 236 2 4,370
37
75 Resources for Writing Incredible Copy that Converts Larry Wolf 583 2,564 687 454 27 4,315
38
2014 Digital Trends And Predictions From Marketing Thought Leaders Ekaterina Walter 891 2,151 996 253 18 4,309
39
How to Promote Your Content With Social Media Mike Bal 825 2,147 681 531 101 4,285
40
8 Blog Design Tips to Make Sure People Stop to Read Your Content Adam Clarke 426 2,617 783 401 54 4,281
41
How to Promote Your Blog Content: 40+ Experts Share Marketing Tips Brian Lang 406 2,165 505 1,035 154 4,265
42
10 Charts That Are Changing the Way We Measure Content Sam Petulla 318 2,543 987 361 18 4,227
43
How to Encourage Fans to Create and Share Visual Content Donna Moritz 918 2,311 514 395 43 4,181
44
10 Content Marketing Tips You Can Employ Now Cindy King 570 2,596 622 253 100 4,141
45
15 Types of Content That Will Drive You More Traffic Neil Patel 573 2,040 940 459 104 4,116
46
How GoPro and Tesla hacked digital marketing Dominic Smith 1070 1,718 1,074 243 2 4,107
47
From Google Ventures: 5 Rules For Writing Great Interface Copy John Zeratsky 1452 1,667 562 390 31 4,102
48
Why You Should Care About LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Score Eric Schiffer 3225 256 524 50 1 4,056
49
9 Tips for Creating Content that Gets Shared Michael David 1467 1,717 568 215 56 4,023
50
The Art of Thinking Sideways: Content Marketing for “Boring” Businesses Robin Swire 351 2,650 535 452 7 3,995
51
5 Habits of Successful Content Marketers: New Research Patricia Redsicker 614 2,062 776 350 133 3,935
52
Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos and Social Media to Market Your Business Michael Stelzner 811 2,044 593 331 144 3,923
53
8 Winning Headline Strategies and the Psychology Behind Them Courtney Seiter 509 2223 645 493 9 3879
54
These are the 6 Steps I Use for Great Content Marketing Jay Baer 31 2,953 433 414 18 3,849
55
16 Free Tools That Make Content Creation Way Easier Jay Acunzo 761 1,246 1,262 328 118 3,715
56
The Epic List of Content Strategy Resources Jonathon Colman 393 1,935 492 589 290 3,699
57
22 Content Marketing Experts Reveal the Secrets to Writing Killer Blog Posts! Konrad Sanders 563 2,087 631 309 107 3,697
58
How to Speed Up Your Content Curation Process Cas McCullough 708 2,035 469 394 88 3,694
59
Content Marketing Is A Long-Term Commitment, Not A Campaign John Hall 521 1,771 1,163 206 0 3,661
60
7 Lessons From Content Marketing’s Greatest Hits Gilad De Vries 451 2,026 905 129 53 3,564
61
Top Tips For Optimizing Your Content: 9 Experts Weigh In Arnie Kuenn 401 1,926 625 603 4 3,559
62
8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging Pamela Vaughan 375 2,267 574 274 17 3,507
63
The Complete List of Evergreen Content Ideas for Your Blog Kevan Lee 249 2,004 382 842 0 3,477
64
The Ultimate Blog Marketing Checklist: 57 Tips Mike Murray 305 2,075 764 285 46 3,475
65
12 Writing Exercises That Will Transform Your Copy Today Demian Farnworth 355 2,122 523 407 53 3,460
66
Content Marketing: How to Attract People With Content Michael Stelzner 671 2,086 446 199 52 3,454
67
5 Content Marketing Ideas Worth Stealing Jeff Bullas 200 2,542 458 155 78 3,433
68
Why online video is the future of content marketing Chris Trimble 1018 1,044 974 277 119 3,432
69
Content Outliers: Learning from the Web’s Most Viral Content James Porter 289 2,295 312 430 10 3,336
70
No Words Wasted Kyra Kuik 259 2,145 372 552 0 3,328
71
The Ideal Length for Blog Posts, Tweets, and Everything Else in Your Marketing Andy Crestodina 1136 869 805 333 113 3,256
72
Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy Mark W. Schaefer 745 1,368 510 585 44 3,252
73
6 Ways to Earn Higher Rankings Without Investing in Content Creation and Marketing Rand Fishkin 529 1,622 313 649 17 3,130
74
75 Content Starters for Any Industry Amanda Gallucci 419 1,741 409 494 9 3,072
75
The 5 Brilliant Strategies You Can Learn From Top Content Marketers Eric Siu 1233 1,020 616 149 22 3,040
76
How to Create a Content Strategy Ian Lurie 566 999 526 793 143 3,027
77
The “Secret” to Engagement (Hint: It’s Content) Hillary Frazier 164 141 2,632 63 8 3,008
78
How to Develop a LinkedIn Content Strategy John Nemo 449 1,450 913 174 12 2,998
79
6 Tactics That Turn a Blog Into a Business Engine Stanford Smith 479 1,391 809 260 41 2,980
80
SEO’s Dilemma – Link Building vs. Content Marketing – Whiteboard Friday Rand Fishkin 488 1,187 312 950 26 2,963
81
Is Your Content Strategy Guided by Audience Intent (or Just Keywords)? Laura Lippay 375 1,651 569 340 10 2,945
82
7 Things Marketers Can Learn From 2,616 Viral Headlines. Josh Sturgeon 289 1,915 508 218 3 2,933
83
3 Ways To Scale Your Content Marketing Eric Enge 473 1,714 384 347 7 2,925
84
10 Tactics You Must Use in Your Content Marketing Strategy Sarah Quinn 541 1,558 583 215 23 2,920
85
50 Content Marketing Predictions for 2014 Joe Pulizzi 477 1,411 709 224 76 2,897
86
Why Online Video Is Vital For Sean Rosensteel 687 1,033 1,068 89 10 2,887
87
25 Awesome Content Marketing Tools To Use In 2014 Irfan Ahmad 185 1,199 770 184 526 2,864
88
Top 7 Tips for Effective Content Marketing Mark Lerner 275 949 1,428 183 5 2,840
89
Content Marketing vs. Copywriting: Top Strategies for 2014 Julia McCoy 312 874 1,395 193 46 2,820
90
50 More Business Jargon Fixes for Bloggers and Content Writers Brad Shorr 386 1,753 410 237 30 2,816

 

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Does your site have the shares to be on the list? Do the number of shares really reflect quality content? We’d be happy to hear your thoughts. Thanks again to all the contributors on the list.

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Top 90 Socially Shared Content Marketing Blog Posts is a post by SEO expert Nelson Scoville. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Nelson Scoville" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing, Content marketi..."
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