Viral marketing and building a social media following are common initiatives among startups and established businesses alike. Every executive and entrepreneur thinks they need to create a viral piece of content and get extremely lucky to win viral publicity. But if that’s your strategy, you have little chance of success. Instead, ride an already existing viral wave.
Don’t just create content and hope it goes viral. Use content that has proven to be viral and then post it to your website and social media accounts to gain web traffic and followers. For this to work, you need to have established social media profiles. You don’t need to have a hundred thousand followers, but you do need real followers who are related to your niche.
1. Create social media accounts.
The first step is having company social media accounts across major social channels that pertain to your target market. These may include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit. These social media channels are all high-authority websites that help your company rank high in search engines. The more content you post on social media that receives shares, likes and comments, the higher your company’s SEO ranking will climb.
2. Identify your customers.
Your dream customers are already online and are most likely following the top leaders in your niche. Tap into that audience and redirect them to become focused on your offerings. For example, if your niche is B2B sales consulting, figure out where that audience is online now. Make a list of all the B2B sales leaders like Grant Cardone, John Barrows, Jeffrey Gitomer, Jay Abraham and Tony Robbins.
3. Follow your competitors’ audience.
Once you have identified who your dream customers are, the next step is to engage them. Follow your indirect and direct competitors’ audiences on social media. Spend some time identifying power followers — followers with their own audiences of over 2000. Apply this strategy across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. This works well because if you’re in the same niche as the accounts they are currently following, there is a good chance they will want to follow you as well. These power followers tend to look at their audiences carefully as they build their networks. Your goal should be to spend 30 days adding at least 200 people on each social channel until you follow a few thousand people. Once you’ve done this, you should see at least a couple thousand people on each one of your social media accounts now following you in return.
4. Leverage existing viral content.
This step will start to throw fuel on the fire with your social media following and help you generate a ton of traffic to your website. Identify existing viral content related to your niche. One way to do this is with news stories. Just go to Google News and type in your niche in the search bar to find stories that are gaining traction. Look for a story with an eye-catching headline. You can also go to YouTube and search for viral videos in your niche. Once you have found a relevant viral video, copy the YouTube link, post it to your blog, add an image and a description and then post it on all your social media channels.
5. Tweak the viral content.
If you find a news story that is going viral and getting a lot of social media shares, leverage it. Write a new article on the same subject with an even more eye-catching headline. You can add an exciting image as well. Then post your new “viral content” on your website. Apply the same strategy with existing viral videos. Simply create a new piece of content and plug in that existing viral video in your post.
6. Post content on your social channels.
Remember when I told you to find and follow people in your niche? Now, this is when you’re going to start seeing some amazing results. Because you now have targeted content that is relevant to your niche, people will start to share it, like it, comment on it and go to your website. Every time someone interacts with your content on social media, it creates a unique backlink to your website. This is a great way to boost your SEO ranking and will help you gain customers for free.
You can get free traffic, brand awareness and customers by leveraging content that has already proved to be viral. You don’t need to create a customer base — you need to find your customer base. Your customer base likely already exists and you can find them on social channels. If you can gain their attention with relevant content, there is a good chance they will be interested in what you’re selling.
Would you like more traffic to your website?
Of course you do. I have yet to meet a business owner who doesn’t.
And yet, most small business owners aren’t doing any search engine optimization for their websites. Only 28% of them – about one out of every four – do any search engine optimizationat all.
If you’re in this group of owners who aren’t doing any SEO, maybe it’s because you’re worried it will be too technical. Or you don’t trust the advice you’ve gotten before.
Or maybe you’re leery about changing your website just to please a search algorithm bot. Good SEO involves making some changes for the bots, but your site visitors should figure into this, too.
How people behave on your website – how they interact with it (or not) – effects how well your site does in the search results.
This makes a lot of sense in the broader view. After all, Google is obsessed with delivering the best results for each search. So is it any surprise that they’re watching how people behave on your site? That they’re ranking your site based on whether visitors seem to like what they see – or not?
These “user engagement metrics” may not be as influential as other search ranking signals (link inbound links and proper on-page SEO), but they do affect your site’s rankings.
How people interact with your website helps your real live visitors, too. If real human beings like your website, they’re more likely to place an order or go to your physical store.
So as you take a look at these different ways to measure user engagement, think about the search engine algorithms. But more importantly, think about how your website visitors will respond. On that point, you and Google are perfectly aligned:
You both want to deliver the best possible experience for everyone who comes to your site.
- Dwell time (aka “long clicks”).
This is a measurement of how long someone stays on your website’s pages. The more time someone spends on your website (the longer the dwell time), the better your pages will perform in the search engine rankings.
Here’s an example of how it works:
Say someone does a quick search for “Belize vacations.” They see your Belize vacations page among the results. They like what your listing says, so they click through. They like what they see enough to stay on your page for twelve whole minutes.
When they’re done reading that page, they go back to the search results and try a competitor’s page. They don’t like what they see there, and click back to the search results in just 30 seconds.
Google’s algorithm monitors and remembers that interaction. If your pages consistently keep people on them for longer than average, the algorithm will adjust the search results to favor your site. This happens on a page-by-page basis, but the performance of individual pages also contributes to how Google ranks your website as a whole.
Here’s the key takeaway: The longer people stay on your website pages, the higher your pages will appear in the search engine rankings.
That’s why dwell time matters.
So now that you know about this, what can you do to improve your pages’ dwell times? Here are a few ideas:
- Don’t alienate visitors right out of the gate. Namely, have a website that
- Loads in 2 seconds or less
- Looks attractive
- Is easy to scan (few people read closely online)
- Is easy to understand
- Add an embedded video or two.
Many visitors will prefer the video, and will stay on a page longer if there is one. There’s also evidence that the Google algorithm is partial to pages that have at least one piece of multimedia content on them.
- Experiment with interactive content like quizzes, polls, and calculators.
- Make sure your page is laser-focused on what visitors expect to get from it. In other words, match the content of your page to the keywords people are using to find it.
- Click-through rate.
If you’ve done any email marketing, you’ll be familiar with this term. But for SEO, “click-through rate” refers to how often people click through to a page from search results pages.
- Return visits.
How often do your website visitors come back? According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, Google does consider returning visitors in its algorithm.
Not sure how many of your website visitors are coming back. You can find out if you’ve got Google Analytics installed. Log into your account and go to Audiences > Overview. Look for the blue and green pie chart.
What’s a good percentage of return visits? Really, all that matters is you out-perform your competitors on this metric. But according to HubSpot, “A healthy rate of repeat visitors is about 15%.”
- For local sites: Driving Directions and Clicks-To-Call Metrics.
I’m lumping these engagement metrics under one point because both of these measurements tie into how users interact with your Google local listing. And because local results are a different animal than regular search results.
That’s why there’s a different ranking factors study for Local SEO.
Here are the results from it:
For right now, we’re most interested in the “Behavioral Signals.” As you can see in the pie graphs, these are not the most important ranking signals for either the Local Pack or for Localized Organic Rankings. But behavioral signals do play a role.
The Moz ranking factors study specifically says “Google is paying attention to things like dwell rate, click-through rates, driving directions, and clicks-to-call metrics.”
We’ve talked about dwell rate, and click-through rates happen in the SERPs (not on your site) so we’re interested in driving directions and clicks-to-call metrics.
As you’ve probably guessed, both of these metrics are mobile-based. Driving directions are almost always used from a mobile device, and by definition, click-to-call actions happen on mobile phones.
- Leaving a comment.
This only applies to blog posts, of course. But you do want to encourage people to leave a comment on your blog posts. And you definitely don’t want to turn off comments entirely. If you’re worried about spam comments, use a plugin like Akismet, which protects tens of thousands of blogs from the spam comment bots.
- If they share your page on social media.
There’s been some dispute about this, but the matter is mostly settled: Social signals boost search results. So if your visitors happen to tweet or share your pages on Facebook, that will help your rankings.
These social signals aren’t as powerful as links, but they can help. So consider asking your site visitors to share your posts on social media. Or actively recruit your employees to share new content to their social media accounts.
It also helps to have active Twitter, Facebook accounts (and a company LinkedIn page) associated with your account according to Backlinko. Google figures that real companies will have a decent following on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s a reasonable guess, right?
- They subscribe to your RSS feed.
Google owns Feedburner, so it makes sense that they’d value this metric. Again, this is not anywhere near as powerful a ranking signal as inbound links or your on-page SEO, in fact, you might think of it as a third-tier ranking signal. But it can give your rankings a nudge.
As search engines get more sophisticated, they become more sensitive to user behaviors and preferences. We’re no longer dealing with algorithms that can be fooled by keyword stuffing and artificial link schemes.
But it continues to be obsessed with the primary goal of search: To deliver the best possible result for every query.
If your site can be that best result, and you can demonstrate it to the algorithm through these engagement signals, you won’t have to worry about getting enough organic search traffic. Or about getting penalized in the next algorithm update.
Contributor Kristopher Jones outlines seven tried-and-true content promotion strategies that will drive traffic to your content and website.
It’s no secret a well-executed content marketing campaign can deliver a solid return on investment.
According to Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times more leads than most outbound marketing strategies at 62 percent less cost.
As marketers pad their budgets with more money to invest in content marketing this year, one strategy that often gets overlooked is content promotion.
According to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 55 percent of B2B marketers were not even sure what a successful content marketing campaign looked like!
Content without promotion is like link building without links or creating a landing page without a call to action. That’s why promotion should take equal focus with creation.
Let’s look at seven tried-and-true content promotion strategies that will drive traffic to your content and website.
1. Paid social promotion
Paid social promotion can be one of the most precise strategies available to market your content to people who are interested in and most likely to engage with your content.
For example, by using Facebook’s Audience Insights, businesses can segment audience lists by select boundaries, such as demographics, psychographics and intent. This allows marketers to create audience segments that are more in line with their brand and specific topics of content on their website. There are several benefits of paid social promotion:
- Increase website traffic with relevant visitors.
- Generate more conversions by marketing to people with high purchasing intent.
- Familiarize users with your brand.
Even advertising content over native or display ads can help to increase brand recall for customers who come across your website in future searches. Only now, they’ll think of your brand as a bit of an authority because they’re already familiar with your brand.
Paying to promote your content over advertising channels is a good way to cut through the noise and the competition.
Paid promotion is also an excellent strategy to target users who have interacted with your website or blog in the past month. Remarketing not only increases your chance of reclaiming a missed conversion, but it also helps to foster brand loyalty by providing them useful content based on their past consumption.
Before undergoing a paid promotion strategy, it’s key to have your goals outlined. These can include increasing readership for your content or generating more conversions on your website. With these in mind, you can quantify the impact of these strategies and assess their success.
2. Targeted sharing
Facebook is no longer the business to consumer (B2C) marketing giant it once was; after its last algorithm update, it limited organic reach for business posts on the platform.
One way to reach more people over social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram is through targeted sharing.
Targeted sharing is essentially tagging someone in a post in hopes that they will share your content with their audience. Here are some ways to do that:
- Link to people in the snippet who would be interested in your article.
- Link to sources featured in the article directly in the snippet.
- Directly engage industry peers with a question or point of debate in the snippet to curate conversation over a topic.
Twitter’s advanced search tool allows you to find people in your niche who are close to you geographically, using certain hashtags and more:
Instagram recently introduced a “follow” hashtag that allows users to view content in their newsfeed using a certain hashtag. This has opened up an entirely new platform for businesses to reach more customers over Instagram who are already interested in your industry.
3. Use videos over social media
Another proven method to cut through the noise on social media channels is to include videos in your content.
The statistics around video marketing are truly staggering:
- Google states that half of internet users “search for a video related to a product or service before visiting a store.”
- Views on sponsored videos on Facebook increased 258 percent between June 2016 and June 2017.
From my experience, including a video on a landing page can significantly increase your conversion rate. In my opinion, the demand for video content over social media far outpaces the demand for written content.
Video can also be more engaging than written content. A compounding or viral video is the definition of a gift that keeps on giving.
Of course, there’s always a caveat. Hosting a long, informative video on your content can discourage click-throughs to your landing page, especially if it’s used to promote written content. I suggest posting a teaser video, an eye-catching image or a graphics interchange format (GIF) in your content to entice users to navigate to the landing page.
4. Influencer marketing
I believe influencer marketing is one of the most underutilized tools in our industry.
Influencer marketing is powerful in theory. Not only will influencer shares expose your content to a new audience, it confers credibility in the eyes of that audience.
According to a study from MuseFind, 92 percent of people trust influencers more than advertisements or celebrities.
There are many ways to approach this strategy: You can reach out to influencers directly in your industry to share your content or engage in a promotion partnership.
Consider using tools like Followerwonk and Intellifluence to find active influencers in your industry to reach out to.
You can also mention an influencer within your content or link to them in a social media snippet to attract their attention. This increases the likelihood that they will share your content to promote their own brand. In turn, this increases your content’s quantity of shares and link opportunities.
5. Content syndication
Content syndication is not new to search engine optimization (SEO), but it’s not often the focus of many content marketing strategies. Content syndication is a great strategy to instantly expand your audience reach with little effort.
Do your research before identifying a site for syndication. Ask about their analytics to see what their visitor traffic is like and monitor keywords to identify the topics of discussion being held.
If you decide to syndicate content on sites like LinkedIn, Medium or community forums, it’s best to be picky. Only share your best content.
If you do participate in a content community, understand that half of your responsibility is also sharing other people’s content to remain an active member. This will help establish relationships across your industry for potential link opportunities and shares.
6. Link building
Link building remains one of Google’s three most important ranking factors when determining organic rank. It is a good idea to increase your content’s reach and visibility by improving its organic backlink signals.
It’s important to remember that link building needs to be strategic when promoting a specific webpage. I wouldn’t put a lot of effort into building links to a topical blog post, evergreen content or webpages that serve a valuable function in your website’s information and sales funnel.
Here are just a few basic link-building strategies to promote content to a wider audience:
- Guest post on authoritative publications with a contextual link back to your content.
- Engage in broken link building using manual outreach to offer more value to existing content.
- Email industry thought leaders about a piece of your content that would be valuable to their future research.
Ironically, the best link-building strategy out there is to craft high-quality content that people organically link back to on their own. Of course, this requires promotion for people to find this content in the first place, but hopefully, you’ll get some ideas from this post to help with that.
7. Personalized email marketing
Email marketing is a great way to market to customers who are already interested in your brand. Email marketing has the benefit of increasing customer retention while also delivering shares and links right to your content.
Not everyone on your email marketing list will jump at the chance to read your next blog post. Here are some basic strategies to increase email engagement:
- Design an e-newsletter to promote recent posts to your blog or showcase your most viral content for the month.
- Segment subscriber lists based on their interaction with your site.
- Personalize emails to include the name of the recipient, as well as pertinent information related to their engagement on your site.
- Include interactive content, such as a fun GIF or video, to make emails stand out and warm up subscribers to future emails.
- Conduct split testing on headlines and messages and measure their impact.
Content marketing has taken on a life of its own as a buzzword in our industry. With reduced organic reach over both search and many social channels, it’s never been more important to focus on promotion strategies that cut through the noise and get content discovered.
Voice search, for one, will change how we create content.
If your business isn’t taking advantage of using SEO strategies on its website, blogs and social media pages, you’re missing the boat in terms of ranking your business in internet searches. SEO is one of the most effective ways to ensure your customers find your business and buy your products.
As simple as SEO can be to utilize, it is a constantly evolving technique that needs a good understanding and a knowledge base of what is new or on the horizon for ranking schemes. This year is no different, as several SEO trends are coming to light that can help your organization achieve a top result in a Google search, giving your business an edge over your competition.
Twelve members of the Forbes Agency Council share the SEO trend or change that is impacting their work this year.
1. Voice Search
Voice search will change how we create content. Valuable content will have a more conversational tone that answers questions directly. The idea of creating content around a specific keyword bucket will no longer exist. It’s about creating content for searcher intent. Search engines can interpret context so that content that answers a question and contains information about a topic will win. – Loren Baker, Foundation Digital
2. Link-Worthy, Useful Content
In 2018, engagement will play an even larger role in achieving SEO success overall. Creating link-worthy, user-driven content that answers relevant questions and provides useful information to prospects is pivotal. Schema is another area that will continue to be a focal point in achieving measurable results within organic search online. – Bryan Shetsky, Lamark Media
3. Secure Links (SSL)
A couple of years ago, Google announced that secured website certificates (SSL) were starting to impact the ranking of websites. Recently, we noticed that browsers such as Chrome are flagging sites that don’t begin with HTTPS as being potentially unsafe. At $39/year, this is one of the least expensive and easiest fixes to boost SEO ranking in 2018. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
4. Searcher Intent
Google’s focus on matching search results to the unique intent of a searcher’s query will most impact our SEO work this year. We now must look beyond keywords and traditional ranking factors to understand the types of content the search engines deem relevant for priority terms. We’re also looking beyond the first page to understand unique opportunities and threats by vertical. – Nina Hale, Nina Hale, Inc
5. Subdomain Versus Subdirectory
We recently migrated our blog from a subdomain to a subdirectory in our root domain. We have been seeing how this can be beneficial for our root domain to increase domain authority. We have also put all of our efforts into our blog to not have the benefit of increased visibility for our top-level domain, which is the most important one in the long run. – Martha Madero Gonzalez, GROU Crecimiento Digital
6. Video SEO
A study done by Cisco last year predicted that by 2021, video will account for over 82% of all consumer internet traffic. That means in the next few years, video content will by far surpass all forms of other content. On top of that, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. The massive opportunity to get your brand in front of your prospects is creating optimized video content. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH
7. Battle Of The Snippets
The biggest change is the expanded Google SERP features. In addition to achieving page one, top three rankings, our goal is to have our clients be featured with expanded schema usage, as well as varied featured snippets. – Charles Kim, Executive Digital
8. SEO-Rich, Long-Form Content
We are writing more long-form content in 2018. Content pages of 1,500 words or more are performing better in the search engine rankings and drawing more organic traffic than shorter pages. Studies show that users stay on these pages longer and long-form content receives more backlinks and social shares. Focusing on evergreen topics and high-quality writing is key to success. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
9. The Power Of Social Media
While this may not be news to many, it certainly is to others. Google and other search engines are placing a seemingly ever-increasing priority on content engagement across platforms, making likes, retweets, shares and social clicks more important than ever before. Ensure you have a strategy that incorporates social media and that you are posting content your audience will engage with. – Jacob Hanson, PR with Panache!
10. Site Speed
While there have been numerous hints leading up to it and we’ve been preparing clients for it, Google has officially announced site speed as a ranking factor. Users want results and they want them fast. Site speed also drives higher conversion rates so it’s an investment that can make cents (see what I did there). – Jon Clark, Fuze SEO, LLC
11. Mobile Renaissance (Again)
The change from a desktop-based to a mobile-based Google index is imminent, requiring responsive design or better alignment between content on mobile and desktop sites. Google officially announced that page speed is a ranking factor for mobile results, making its AMP technology more appealing. Lastly, Progressive Web Apps will have greater support on iPhones, impacting mobile design trends. – Paul Shapiro,Catalyst, a GroupM and WPP Agency12. Proliferation Of Smart Devices
The one overall thing I can think of is the proliferation of smart devices like Alexa, Google Home and Apple Home Pod, in addition to the smart assistants on our devices like Siri and Google App. There is more natural language search and voice input going on, and it’s how one sets themselves up for SEO success in a voice-driven search world. – Timothy Nichols, ExactDrive, Inc
Source: 12 SEO Trends Heating Up 2018
In digital marketing, and specifically search engine optimization (SEO), there are tidbits of information that in their retelling lose context and become what we call in other circles “Zombie Lies” or in this case “Zombie Myths.”
Zombie SEO Myths
Zombie SEO myths are myths that, despite being debunked over and over again, never seem to die. They take on a life of their own and leave site owners confused as to what is true and what is not.
So this chapter is going to look at some of those myths that never seem to die – no matter how hard experts try to kill them.
Mostly, we’re going to focus on Google because that is where most sites get their traffic (and where most of the myths revolve around).
Myth 1: SEO is Voodoo or Snake Oil
There is a low bar to entry into the field of digital marketing, including and especially SEO. There are no real certification processes (because how would you certify something that changes every day?) and Google never publishes the algorithms, so there is no way to test an individual’s knowledge against what they contain.
Basically, when you hire an SEO provider it has to be based on trust.
This is why the myth that SEO is voodoo prevails. It prevails because bad practitioners did bad work and the client is left with no other way to explain their lack of results. In fact, it is often these bad practitioners who use the myth to explain their poor results.
That being said, SEO isn’t voodoo (or magic or “bovine feces”). Real SEO is the process of making sites adhere better to Google’s algorithms, for specific query strings, in order to increase relevant site traffic and/or company revenues.
These algorithms aren’t completely unknowable things.
While Google never publishes the details of that information, informed SEO professionals have a good understanding of what will bring a site in compliance with those algorithms (or, in the case of black hat SEO, how they can game those algorithms). They are after all based on math and processes governed by logic.
A trustworthy SEO professional lives and breathes algorithm changes, which can amount to multiple changes a day. They know why the algorithms do what they do as best as anyone not working at Google can do.
This is the opposite of voodoo and magic. It is called earned knowledge. It is also a very hard earned knowledge.
When you pay an SEO pro, you aren’t paying for their time. You are paying for their knowledge and results. Prices are set accordingly.
Myth 2: Content Is All You Need
“Content is KING!”
You will find many articles that make this statement. While they are not completely untrue, content is less king and more like a valuable business partner to links, design, and usability.
Mostly, though, content and links are the like the conjoined twins of the SEO world. You must have both. One will not work without the other (at least not well and not for the long term).
Now, Google will tell you many long-tail queries rank without links. That is likely true. It is also likely that these long-tail queries are so unique that there is no competition for them, so links don’t play an active role the way they do in a competitive query.
If you’re trying to rank for the Walking Dead, you better have links* or don’t expect anyone to find you.
*Good links. Not poor, $99 links bought from a link farm.
So while content is very important, content needs links. Just like links need content.
Bonus Tip: Content is not king. Content is special, but not king. Like peanut butter and jelly you can have one without the other, but it isn’t as good. Add technical to this duo and you have the triad that is the basis of all good core SEO.
Myth 3: Speed Isn’t That Important
Google said a while back that page speed is only a tie-breaker when all other factors are equal. This is one of those cases where I can say that this is not borne out in real-world testing.
Personally, I had a client increase their traffic by over 200,000 sessions a day when they cut their page speed by 50 percent during a likely Panda update. So while it is true that it acts as a tie-breaker when all things are equal it can also dramatically improve rankings when your site has a severe page speed issue.
Now when I say a page speed issue, I don’t mean you cut your 5-second site load time down to 2 seconds. I mean when you dramatically cut your page load, say a 22-second site load time down to 8 seconds, which is what happened in this case.
Know What is Being Measured
It is also important to know what Google is measuring when they are evaluating page speed. While they are looking at overall speed the issue they are most “critical” of is how long the DOM (Direct Object Model) takes to load. The DOM items are the visible items on the page excluding ads, if you have stacked your load right.
This means that if you can cut your DOM load from 22 seconds to 8 seconds as in the example, Google will likely reward you for the dramatic decrease in page load because you are now dramatically faster. This is an additional benefit of improving page speed unrelated to breaking a tie on a specific query result.
A faster site is much easier for Googlebot to crawl. When the site is not slowing the crawl down, more of your site is getting indexed either in number of pages or in depth of page crawl.
Note: The Google Page Speed Insight tool only measures items in the DOM, so you could have a higher page speed score than another site, but still perform more poorly in the rankings because your overall page load is too slow. Page speed is very important and will become even more so as we move into mobile first. So never discount it.
Myth 4: Links Are Dead
I once had a call from a potential client that asked me if I could remove all his links.
“Remove all your links? May I ask why you would want to do that,” I asked.
“Because I heard links were bad and I need to remove them,” he told me.
“Did you buy the links or get them from some nefarious method?”
“No they are all legit.”
“Then, sir, whatever you do, use me or don’t for other reasons, do not get rid of your links!”
Links aren’t dead.
Links aren’t close to dead.
If you have the best content in the world and no links, your site won’t get much visibility. Links and content are correlated with rankings. Great content still needs great links (or a lot of mediocre ones).
If you’re buying links for $99 and expecting to get to the top spots in Google, you’re barking up a very dead tree.
Remember, good links require topical relevancy and legitimacy. If it isn’t natural and it comes from an unrelated page or site, it probably won’t help much.
Bonus tip: Reciprocal linking died circa 2007, maybe earlier. Linking to your buddy and them linking to you won’t do you much good.
Myth 5: Keyword Density
There was a time keyword density have some validity.
Really, if it did not work why do you think all those people were stuffing white text on white backgrounds for ranking purposes? Then Google got smarter and it did away with keyword stuffing as a viable practice and even people who got good results from applying density testing to much smaller keyword placements no longer could count on knowing what keyword density would help.
In both cases, this no longer exists.
While you can still put any word on the page too many times, there is no set range of what makes a page rank. In fact, you can find results now where the keyword does not exist in the visible portion of the page. It might be in the links or in the image tagging or somewhere else that is not part of the content it might even be a similar not exact match. This is not typical, but it does exist.
Bottom line: placing a keyword X times per page is no longer something worth spending your time on. There are far better fish to fry.
Bonus Tip: Better to make relevant content that you can link to internally and others can link to externally than to waste time on optimizing keywords. That being said your title tag is still highly relevant. Spend some time adding your query set there. That might give you a boost.
Myth 6: You Must Submit Your Site
At least twice a week I get an email from an SEO site submission company telling me I need to pay them to submit my site to the search engines.
Seriously? No, you do not.
Now, are there times when it is good to submit your site URLs? Sure when you need the search engines to come back to the site to do things like pick up a new piece of content or re-evaluate a page, however, you never need to submit your site.
Google is advanced enough now – and especially with its status as registrar – that it can find you minutes after not only that site is live, but also when the domain is registered.
Now if you’ve been live for a few weeks and have an inbound link to the site and Google has not come by as evident by your logs it can’t hurt to submit it via Google Search Console Fetch and Render, but never ever pay someone to submit your site.
Myth 7: You Don’t Need a Sitemap
Sitemaps are not a nice to have add-on for sites today. This gets even more important as we move to the mobile-first algorithms in 2018.
Why? When Google cannot easily crawl a portion of your site, the sitemap allows the crawler to better find these pages.
Bonus Tip: Google is going to have a harder time finding pages due to the reduced size of navigational elements in mobile-first indexing. Sitemaps – both XML and HTML – will be the best way for them to find all the pages on the site you want indexed and ranked.
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Myth 8: Query Must Have Freshness
QDF, or Query Deserves Freshness, most certainly applies to queries that need fresh results. For instance, from a news site or say the most recent Powerball numbers.
That does not mean you have to change every element on your homepage every day, or even very often.
While there are sites that absolutely must have fresh content on their main site pages on a daily or weekly basis, most do not.
Evergreen pages are evergreen for a reason. If you write an article on mobile-first indexing and that information has not changed, you do not need to change that page to give it “freshness”.
You do, however, need to have some fresh content on your site. So a good content strategy is how you address having fresh content without trying to meet some unnatural goal for daily content changes.
Bonus Tip: For smaller sites that have small teams or little money and do not need to have fresh content daily, you can just invest in adding pages to the site when needed but keeping an active blog presence. Adding 2-3 blog posts a week will keep the site relevant without adding the demands and costs of continually updating pages.
Myth 9: Because Big Brands Do It, It Must Be Good!
Remember your parents saying to you when you were little, “Would you jump off a bridge just because Johnny told you to?!” Same thing goes here.
There is a long history of sites copying bad website decisions from each other simply because they thought the other site knew something they didn’t.
Don’t be a lemming.
What one site does may work for them and may not. What if they tell you it is the best thing since sliced bread? Unless you’re looking at their metrics, don’t believe them and even if it is the best thing for them, the chances of that being right for you are slim.
Why? Because you’re a different company. Your users have different queries and user intent. Just because Facebook and Twitter use infinite scroll doesn’t mean you should.
In fact, because big brands don’t suffer as much from user and Googlebot discontent when they get it wrong, they are more likely to – get it wrong.
Don’t copy big brands. Find what works for your users and stick to that.
Bonus Tip: If you want to try something that you see on another site, find a section of yours that isn’t bringing in a lot of traffic and then A/B test the idea on your own pages. Your data will show you what works best for you. Never assume because a big brand does it, you will benefit from following their path.
Myth 10: Algorithm Devaluations = Penalties
Google has two types of site devaluations.
Penguin, Panda, Pirate, Pigeon, Layout etc. are all algorithms. Algorithms can giveth and they can taketh away. This means that not every site sees devaluations from the update of these processes. Many sites see positive results. This is called an “algorithmic change” not a penalty.
What are penalties then?
Penalties are manual actions you can find in Google Search Console. This is when Google took a look at your site and decided it was in violation of the Webmaster Guidelines and devalued the site. You know this happened by checking your messages in Google Search Console. When it happens they will tell you.
Penalties also require you “submit a reconsideration request” to regain your site status and remove the penalty.
Algorithmic devaluations have no such consideration. You fix what you think went wrong. Then you wait to see if Google gives you back your rankings when that algorithm or set of algorithms comes back through and re-evaluates the site.
Myth 11: Duplicate Content Is a Penalty
There is NO duplicate content penalty!
There has never been a duplicate content penalty.
Google does have a duplicate content filter, which simply means that if there is more than one item of content that is the same Google will not rank both for the same query. It will only rank one.
This makes perfect sense. Why would you want the results for a query to bring back the same content multiple times? It is simply easier to rewrite the piece than try to guess what those might be.
All that said, too much duplicate content can affect you with the Panda algorithm, but that is more about site quality rather than manual actions.
Bonus tip: The duplicate content filter applies to titles and meta descriptions as well. Make sure to make all your titles and descriptions unique.
Myth 12: Social Media Helps You Rank
Social media, done well, will get you exposure. That exposure can get you links and citations. Those links and citations can get you better rankings.
That doesn’t mean that social media postings are inherently helpful to getting you rank.
Social media doesn’t give you links, but it encourages others to link to you. It also means that the social media post may escape its ecosystem and provide you a true site link. But don’t hold your breath.
Social media is about visibility.
Getting those people to share your content and link to or mention your site in a way that Google counts it as a “link”? That is SEO.
Myth 13: Buying Google Ads Helps with Organic Ranking
These two divisions are in two separate buildings and not allowed to engage with each other about these things.
Personally, I have worked with sites that have had massive budgets in Google AdWords. Their site still lived and died in organic by the organic algorithms. They received no bonus placements from buying Ads.
Bonus Tip: What buying ads can do is promote brand validation. In user experiments, it has been shown that when a user sees an ad and the site in the organic rankings together, they believe it to have more authority. This can increase click-through rates.
Myth 14: Google Uses AI in All its Algorithms
No. Google doesn’t use AI in the live algorithms except for RankBrain.
Now, Google does use AI to train the algorithms and in ways internally we are not privy to. However, Google doesn’t use AI in terms of the live algorithms.
Very simply put, because if it breaks they would not know how to fix it. AI operates on a self-learning model.
If it were to break something on search and that broken piece hurt Google’s ability to make money there would be no easy way to fix it. More than 95 percent of Google’s revenue still comes from ads, so it would be extremely dangerous to allow AI to take over without oversight.
Myth 15: RankBrain
So much has been written about RankBrain that is simply incorrect it would be difficult to state it as one myth. So, in general, let’s just talk about what RankBrain is and isn’t.
RankBrain is a top ranking factor that you don’t optimize to meet.
What does that mean? Basically, when Google went from strings to things (i.e., entity search), it needed better ways to determine what a query meant to the user and how the words in the query set related to each other. By doing this analysis, Google could better match the user’s intent.
To this end, they developed a system of processes to determine relationships between entities. For those queries they understand, they bring back a standard SERP. Hopefully, one that best matches your intent as a user.
However, 15 percent of the queries Google sees every day are new. So Google needed a way to deal with entities whose relationship was unclear or unknown when trying to match user intent.
RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm that tries to understand what you mean when Google is unsure. It uses entity match and known relationships to infer meaning/intent from those queries it doesn’t understand.
For instance, back when the drought in California was severe if you looked up “water rights Las Vegas NV” (we share water) you would get back all sorts of information about water rights and the history of water rights in the Las Vegas area. However, if you put in a much lesser known area of Nevada, like Mesquite, Google wasn’t sure what you wanted to know.
Why? Because while Google understands Las Vegas as a city (entity) in a geological area (Clark County) and can associate that with water rights, a known topic of interest due to search data. It cannot, however, do the same for Mesquite.
Why? Because no one likely searched for water rights in Mesquite before or very often. The query intent was unknown.
To Google, Mesquite is a city in Nevada, but also a tree/charcoal/flavor/BBQ sauce and it brought back all of these results ignoring the delimiter “water rights” for all but one result. This is RankBrain.
Google is giving you a “kitchen sink.” Over time, if enough people search for that information or the training Google feeds it tells it differently, it will know that you specifically wanted x, not y.
RankBrain is about using AI to determine intent between entities with unknown or loosely formed relationships. So it is a ranking factor, but not really a ranking factor.
Bonus Tip: While there are a few niche cases where it might make sense to optimize for RankBrain, it really doesn’t for most. The query is a living dynamic result that is Google’s best guess at user intent. You would do far better to simply optimize the site properly than trying to gain from optimizing specifically for RankBrain.
In today’s digital marketing landscape, the once separate entities of search engine optimization and public relations are merging to form a new, hybrid department. As Google’s standards on quality content evolved, so too did the link-based strategies digital marketers always relied on to achieve strong search rankings. Google’s adjustments, starting with the Penguin update and evolving into an authority-based algorithm, shook the world of SEO. It quickly became evident that PR professionals were best suited to fill the void. Today, PR and SEO are integrating their efforts and skill sets so thoroughly, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish one from the other.
In the last two to three years, close to 85 percent of our clients have integrated their PR and SEO efforts. At Brilliance, our content marketing efforts are leveraged by our PR team. While PR pitches to media partners, our SEO team pitches to bloggers and influencers. PR is tasked with acquiring high-quality, authoritative links while SEO uses PR contacts to generate authoritative links and mentions.
From Link Building to Link Baiting
Before the content marketing revolution, link building was the strategic foundation of SEO. The teams that did the work were largely made up of back-end technologists. As John Rampton points out in a recent article, this all changed when Google altered its algorithm to put a much higher premium on relevant, high-quality, authoritative content.
The old rules, which relied on massive link-building structures, suddenly no longer applied. The purpose of SEO was no longer to build links, but to make content on web pages so compelling that they served as bait for credible, established sites to link to them voluntarily.
This new SEO strategy grabbed the attention of large media companies, which public relations professionals have been practicing for generations.
PR and SEO: Perfect Together
As previously mentioned, SEO experts historically came from technical backgrounds. Their skills involved back-end operations and analytics. Meanwhile, PR professionals have always been relationship people. The most highly-coveted (and best paid) PR experts were those who could foster bonds with publishers, reporters and other media players. The problem was that their results were hard to measure and ROI was difficult to quantify.
Backed by the metric-based analytical skills of SEO experts, however, modern PR professionals can now reliably gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns. On the other side of the coin, SEO teams can leverage their PR partners’ relationships to earn the links that Google favors so heavily.
In fact, the individual skill sets of PR and SEO are so complementary that even their tools are starting to overlap.
Tools for Success
As Forbes also points out, content calendars, which were once a scheduling and management tool used exclusively by PR agents, are now being widely adopted by SEO teams.
Platforms like Help a Reporter Out pair journalists and content creators with experts eager to lend their credibility in exchange for a link. Squarely in the middle sits both the public relations professionals who manage those relationships and SEO teams that use the links to gain ground with Google. Both the SEO teams and PR teams that we’ve worked with are using platforms like HARO, PressRush, and Vocus.
Tips for Merging Your SEO and PR Efforts
Our experience integrating our PR and SEO teams taught us some valuable lessons:
PR and SEO teams should create and share interdepartmental editorial calendars to avoid conflicts or work duplications.
Treat social media as an offshoot of search
Just as the line between PR and SEO becomes increasingly blurred, so too is the line between searching and social media. Search engines were long the domain of technical SEO professionals, and social media was the playground for bold, catchy PR campaigns. As a bigger chunk of audiences now use social for primary searching, SEO pros must apply their analytical skills to social campaigns and leverage social platforms for content promotion. We’ve had great success using Facebook Ads to amplify content shared on social, which has in turn generated powerful media mentions.
Links from large, well-established publications are the ultimate reward. A few links from top websites are far more valuable than lots of low-quality links from questionable sites. The problem is, however, that everyone is vying for their attention, so it is difficult to get them to notice your brand. Instead of targeting them directly, PR should focus on more readily available influencers in social media and blogging. A top publication is far more likely to take notice of a mention from an influencer than they are to respond to even the best direct pitch or press release. SEO can focus on medium and lower quality publications while PR hyper focuses on the higher end publications.
Respect the value of mentions
Jonathan Long, founder and CEO of Marketing Domination Media, stated that “implied links” will soon be as important as SEO advances. The best way to chase implied links, or frequent brand mentions that aren’t necessarily accompanied by actual links, is through PR campaigns.
Google’s love of compelling content has quickly created a merger between PR professionals and SEO teams. Once Google began penalizing virtually all SEO strategies that can be automated, the value of public relations as a complementary skill set became evident. Today, public relations and search engine optimization are two sides of the same coin. Although they will always retain their unique identities, they should no longer function as separate units. One depends on the other to spread content, drive branding, and of course, keep Google happy.
Even if your content is amazing, and your offers competitive, you still have to promote your brand. Here are eight ways how.
It’s almost 2018, and all the years (so far) that we’ve enjoyed web-based technology have produced an abundance of website builders available to help any of us, from aspiring entrepreneurs to passionate bloggers.
Even if you yourself don’t know anything about web development, spending just a few minutes playing around with a WYSIWYG editor will usually help you figure out the basic functionality of building a website from scratch. The problem is that most website creators take you only as far as establishing that website. And, even if your content is amazing, and your offers competitive, you won’t have enough to be successful.
Instead, the end goal for most amateur website developers is to build traffic numbers (and, ultimately, the revenue that comes from that traffic). And to do this, new entrepreneurs need to realize that this traffic isn’t going to come naturally; people won’t know you exist until they learn about you, or see you on a site or app they’re already using.
That’s why, once your website is created, it’s on you to nurture and promote it. So, what can you do to make that happen?
Your first option is to pursue paid advertising, such as through Google AdWords, a pay-per-click (PPC) ad platform that charges you based on the actual click-throughs you get for your site. This is usually a good method to start with, as long as you have the budget for it, since you’ll guarantee that at least some traffic will get to your site.
The problem is, most new webmasters don’t have the money to spend on this method, and it doesn’t scale as well as some of the other tactics on this list.
Search engine optimization
You can also work on search engine optimization (SEO), a strategy designed to help your website rank higher in relevant searches on Google (and other search engines). Most free and inexpensive website builders offer templates that are structurally sound for SEO, with clean code and a crawlable infrastructure. But, beyond that, you’ll need to create interesting, original content on a regular basis, and attract more backlinks that point to your site (to boost your domain authority and eventually rank you higher for relevant queries).
Blogging is another good strategy, and it ties into several other strategies on this list. For example, blogging regularly is a practical necessity for any SEO campaign, since it creates more crawlable pages on your site, adds to your authority and enables you to optimize for more specific keywords. Plus, if you can build an audience with your blog, you’ll be more likely to retain that audience’s members and introduce them to other sections of your site.
The biggest advantages of social media are its sheer ability to connect with hundreds of millions of people, and the fact that it’s free to use (which gives it a tremendous potential ROI). The idea is to use your content to make your site more discoverable, engage with individuals and groups who might like your site and content and eventually build up a following that stays with your brand and provides a steady stream of inbound traffic.
As a supplementary strategy, you can create personal brands to support your main website brand. For example, if you built a website for your startup, you could start a side blog about your experiences as an entrepreneur, and develop your personal social media profiles in addition to your corporate social profiles. If executed effectively, these personal brands can help you double your visibility, and gain more trust (since people trust other people more than they do brands).
When you first launch your site, don’t forget to write and submit a press release announcing your presence. You can do the work, yourself (if you’re familiar with the proper formatting), and spend a few hundred dollars to distribute it through PR Newswire. You’ll instantly spread the information about your new site, and will probably pick up a few backlinks along the way.
Finally, you can use your personal brand to start guest-posting on other sites. Make a pitch to the editor of a given publication, and try to appeal to his or her target audience. If you earn a spot, you’ll have a chance to expose yourself to an entirely new audience, build up your reputation and possibly build a link that points back to your site.
Experimentation and measurement
No matter what strategy or collection of strategies you use to promote your site, it’s incredibly important to measure your results, experiment with new approaches and tweak your tactics until you have a better overall system. Just because a tactic worked for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you, and just because it’s working for you doesn’t mean it’s the best strategy for you. Take your time, try many different approaches, and stick with the moves that seem to work best.
Improve your ranking with help of these small business SEO techniques and strategies. Drive traffic and enjoy your success!
A Guide to Using SEO Effectively for Your Small Business
Companies providing SEO services today get really popular because of the increased online competition. Businesses are fighting for each potential customer and get as much traffic as possible. Whether you’re a successful online writing agency, such as ukessaynow.com, or an owner of a small online store selling watches, you need to take care of your online presence and search engine optimization in order to survive the competition.
Of course, if you want to get the most effective results, hiring a professional service or at least a freelancer with experience in SEO is a better idea. However, we all know that being a small business owner usually means being limited in budget. That’s why we’ve come up with a few simple but working tips you can start following yourself before or instead of addressing a professional.
Google and Research
The word “Google” is now known not only as a name of the leading search engine on the Web but also as a synonym for the verb “to search”. It’s obviously a good idea to start dealing with SEO by researching what is in trend and who your competitors are in Google. However, don’t make a mistake by limiting yourself only with this search engine. Research Yahoo and Bing too or you risk missing some growth opportunities. Also, when doing your research, take into account where your target audience comes from. In Russia and Asia, there are other search engines you might even have never heard of.
Take care of your presence everywhere
If your target market is the USA, there are dozens of ways to get a local prominence and make people search for your business online.
- Social media
People search things not only in Google or Yahoo but also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networking platforms. They have become an important component of all effective SEO strategies. So, if you want to stay up-to-date and build your reputation correctly, get an account on all those popular social media websites. However, don’t overdo here. You need to analyze where your target audience spends more time and focus on promoting on those platforms. For example, if Myspace is not where your customers are, you shouldn’t be there either.
It’s not the end when you’re done with registration. The key to your success in social media is being active. No one cares about your Facebook account unless you start publishing interesting and useful content. This may include product releases, event advertisements, articles on general topics related to your niche, customer reviews or stories, news about your business and the industry in general, etc.
Now, simply posting is still not enough. Your customers will soon get bored and unfollow you. A perfect solution is to stay in touch with them. Your followers will definitely enjoy the possibility to get in contact with you, so keep a live conversation going, reply to all comments, and involve people in discussions.
Yelp listings are being indexed by all major search engine companies. If you want people to know about you, you need to get into the listings. The profile of your business will contain all the details about it, contacts, photos, customer reviews. It’s not enough just to sign up. You need to take care of your profile just like you take care of your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
First of all, it means your Yelp profile must look visually attractive so that people wouldn’t leave the page without giving some positive feedback for you. In case you didn’t get it yet, your Yelp ratings depend entirely on the reviews of your customers. So, make sure you have done everything to get a positive review.
One excellent way to motivate your customers to leave positive feedback is to offer them a discount or give them something for free while they are at your place. You can go a traditional way and use paper flyers for that, or you can get modern and send messages and push notifications via your mobile app.
Quora is a place where people seek answers to their questions. It’s a search engine for people who need expert opinions, meaning it can become a perfect place for you to engage with your target audience and promote your products or services. But to earn credibility, you need to show that you truly are an expert in your niche, not simply write promotional posts.
Your SEO strategy for Quora may look like this:
– Search for questions within the area of your expertise.
– Plan your answer and think it over a couple of times to make sure you will offer value to the reader.
– Give valuable information and answer the question itself. Remember that Quora is not designed for “wordy” and “salesy” content.
– Add a bit of promotional style and link to the content on your website or social media profile that gives a more detailed answer to the question or offers a solution to the problem stated in the question.
The one platform you must surely have an account on is YouTube. They say seeing is believing, so getting visual with your audience is crucial for building trust. If you sell some products, there are dozens of things you can show to your customers, e.g. visual buying guides, product presentations, promo videos, tutorials on how to use your products, and much more. Put yourself into the shoes of your customer and ask yourself: would you rather read a tutorial or watch a video instead? It’s pretty obvious.
One thing you should remember for good is that people don’t like being sold to. Yet, they like being educated and feeling appreciated. Therefore, be careful with posting videos that sell and focus on informative video content. Here are just a few more short YouTube recommendations:
– Don’t make long and boring videos.
– Take time to write good titles and descriptions.
– Use tags, annotations, and links in your videos.
Your YouTube channel will gain popularity if you create a reputation of someone who knows the industry they work in and provide the audience with relevant content.
A few Words to Conclude
Following these steps, you will optimize your online presence and enhance your visibility. If you’ve decided to do your SEO on your own, research as much as you can and educate yourself about it. There are many useful tools you can use online that will help you all the way. Good luck!
In the world of marketing, there are plenty of trends for leaders to stay on top of. From PR trends that affect their branding on a larger scale to the content marketing and social media tools that affect their day-to-day communication, leaders have a lot on their plates.
I hate to be the guy who adds to your list, but if SEO isn’t also on your radar, you could be missing out on serious opportunities. Thankfully, Moz CEO Sarah Bird shared lots of valuable insights on the future of SEO at this year’s MozCon. My team rounded up a few of the biggest trends she highlighted and spoke with other experts in attendance to learn more about how SEO and content will affect brands’ marketing; here are six trends in SEO you need to know about:
1. Search is taking on new and different formats.Most marketers tend to think of search as it relates to audiences typing queries into search engines, but that’s changing. You can now speak directly to Alexa or Google Home and search using your own voice in your own words. Not only is this exciting for us as humans, but it ’ s also pushing the industry to learn more about its consumers and exactly what they want.
People are searching more than ever, probably because they have more ways to perform those searches. It’s your job as a leader and marketer to figure out how to influence search results on these different platforms and formats.That comes down to getting into your audience members’ heads, understanding who they are, and delivering what they want — only then can you start to unlock the analytical and creative processes of optimizing for search.
2. New formats mean new opportunities — but not all will translate into dollars for your brand right away.This increase in search — and ways to search — doesn ’ t necessarily mean you ’ re going to be able to capitalize on it commercially. Think of recipes, for example: People could be using Alexa to search certain recipes as they prepare dinner, but showing up as a result there probably won ’ t translate into dollars for your brand every time. Some formats and types of searches reveal purchase intent, and others don ’ t; this change in search trends just reinforces how important it is for marketers to understand those differences and create and optimize accordingly.
3. Paid search is SEO’s biggest competitor for marketing dollars.
Despite the fact that people tend to scroll straight to organic results on search engine results pages, the paid ads industry is still huge, making pay-per-click one of the biggest competitors for would-be SEO dollars. Sure, PPC can be a great way to test your organic strategy or boost your high-performing organic efforts, but building out your organic SEO efforts is a more effective long-term strategy. Eventually, we’ll see more and more dollars funneled into marketers’ organic search efforts, but a lack of patience is keeping this from happening sooner.
4. Marketers have to remember the long-term benefits of their search strategies.When marketers start making search a priority, it’s not uncommon to see them focus on short-term wins — early signs that things are going well — before they spend a lot of money on tactics that aren’t getting them much closer to their goals. The thing about search is that the biggest benefits typically aren’t visible right away.
Paying to play in the short term is fine to get started, but you have to build your long-term content marketing strategy to create a foundation for your brand and your audience over time. SEO is more of a brand-building and authority-boosting tool than a strict transaction. It doesn’t help that many times, marketers are incentivized to think in the short term, like through monthly or quarterly goals, instead of one to three years down the road. If you put in the time and budget to do it right, it should land you future sales calls, not just sales calls today. Marketers and content creators would do well to remember the big picture as they execute individual search tactics.
5. Content marketing is in a great spot for the future of search.
According to Matthew Edgar, co-owner of Elementive, one of the classic functions of SEO is shifting. In the past, marketers relied on search engines to drive traffic to their sites — but with Google now displaying content on SERPs instead of directing users away from the page and to new sites, this is starting to change.
Google wants to give users as much information and content as possible on SERPs directly instead of forcing them to navigate to and from different sites. This is a powerful reminder for marketers that content marketing must be truly valuable, educational, and engaging to readers, not simply designed to get people to a specific site.
And when people do land on your site — whether they’re coming from a Google search or elsewhere — you’ve got to make sure you’re delivering a meaningful experience with high-quality content. That’s how search engines will know your content is worth ranking or displaying in the first place.
6. The fundamentals behind search will guide marketers through these trends.
Heather Physioc, director of organic search at VML, noted that while the formats of the content we create and how we optimize that content will continue to evolve, the fundamentals will remain the same. Some of the biggest changes we’ve seen have come in how people perform searches, from searches on Ask Jeeves from a desktop computer to mobile and voice searches today. There are dozens of places to search for and consume content, but at the heart of it all is exceptional content.
I get it — keeping up with trends in SEO and actually executing a strategy that generates the kind of results you’re after is challenging. But it’s well worth the effort. It helps you build your brand, attract and engage your audience, and generate leads, sales, and opportunities. Start with these trends, and make SEO a priority for your team. If you don’t, I promise your competitors will.
Having an online presence in the present digital world is very important for any business. This is because the internet is currently considered as one of the reliable sources of income for businesses, individuals and organizations across the world. SEO is actually an aspect of business that is quite popular since brands are working harder to get ranked higher by search engine. It is therefore crucial to understand what exactly is involved so as to boost the ranking of your business in search engine listings.
The following 8 points will help you get a better understanding about SEO and how it can help you to promote your business brand.
1. SEO is not an expense, but an investment
There is a common misconception that SEO is an expense that needs a huge chunk of money to get started. This is however not the case. Provided you stick by search engine rules and do the right thing, you will be realized that SEO is not that expensive. Nevertheless, the returns on investing in SEO are so encouraging that you need to think about SEO as an expense.
In short, SEO means delivering the best quality content to your target audience using the right keywords that are searched frequently among several other digital marketing strategies.
SEO helps in creating brand awareness through enhanced brand presence and visibility as your website gets ranked better by search engines. In this case, more traffic is experienced when your website appears on the top three spots of the first page, which can be converted into loyal customers in the long run. This way, you will be able to make more sales. The long term returns from investing in SEO is much greater than the onetime expense incurred in getting your business website search engine optimized.
2. The keywords you choose make a huge difference: prioritize long-tail keywords
In order to achieve success in your SEO endeavors, choice of keywords is one of the most crucial considerations to make. Apart from using single words as keywords, it is now advisable to use three to four keyword phrases that are specific to whatever you are talking about.
Using these long-tail keywords will guarantee faster and more access by the target audience to your brand based on the exact value you provide to them. many brands are now keen on personalizing their search engine experience using these types of keywords. A good example is where one brand uses a keyword phrase like “New York Doctor” and another uses “New York Orthopedic Surgeon”; in the phrases, the second phrase tends to be more specific and for that reason can guarantee generation of more quality leads unlike the first one which puts the doctor in direct competition with other doctors in the area.
Learn more on how to build your business through content marketing and how to improve your content marketing strategy to always stay ahead of your competition.
3. On-site optimization: so that the website receives acceptance from both viewers and Google
Onsite optimization is not quite known by many people. However it is quite essential as it ensures a specific websites achieves acceptance by both viewers and search engines.
In order to achieve this, right keywords, website pages’ tags and key phrases need to be considered. These are necessary for search engines like Google to determine how to rank various websites. According to the 2015 Business Buyer’s Guide to SEO, a majority of business leads come from internet sources; referral traffic, direct advertising or online searches. In the case of online searches, search engines need to know the subject matter of your website for it to be recognized using the various web pages finding the topics covered and keywords used.
4. Social media is an essential part of any SEO campaign
Many business brands today are taking advantage of various social media platforms to promote their content. Such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are commonly use to create a profile for brands.
It is crucial to consider using such platforms to boost online presence and promoting the content on your website. This way, you will not only be able to boost access to your brand products and services from your target audience, but also will boost search engine rankings. Use of a social media channel that is relevant or appropriate in your industry or niche will boost your business a great deal.
5. Fresh content is important: Content is the King
Long are gone days when quality of web content never mattered. Today, it is practically impossible to move your website to the top of search engine results without considering the quality of content published and the keywords used. Search engine algorithms are now smarter than before and you have to stick by the demands to get a better ranking. The quality of content is today considered as the ultimate and most crucial driving factor for top search engine listing.
You need to offer compelling content that even other websites will want to link with which also boosts further the performance of your website.
6. Off-site optimization: getting external links from other quality sites is key
This is basically the opposite of on-site SEO whereby you work on boosting search engine ranking by use of external methods. The more your website is considered as being “most authoritative” or “most important” the better it gets ranked.
The secret to achieving this is by enhancing the quality of content shared and keywords used. This way, other websites in the same industry or niche will tend to link to your website thus qualifying your site as an authoritative site. The more the links you get to your website, the higher it will get ranked by Google.
7. PPC has no effect on SEO
Many businesses are today inclined on to pay-per-click advertising because it is considered as one of the crucial parts of online marketing campaigns. However, this strategy has no direct effect on SEO listings! This is simply because SEO is concerned more by organic search results rather than the paid advertisements.
PPC is however worth the consideration especially during the launch of a website to attract more visitors to a website but not influencing search engines for better ranking.
8. Be aware of not indulging in black hat SEO
Due to a stiff competition in any industry, several businesses turn to various illegal techniques trying to get better search engine rankings. Though such techniques worked previously to some, it is no longer the case since search engine algorithms have become smarter over time. Using the techniques today amounts to breaking of Google’s rules of achieving top organic ranking.
You need to keep off from such techniques as;
· Using invisible texts
· Keyword stuffing
· Creating fake pages with the aim to get more back links
· Page swapping and
· Using doorway pages
Despite the fact that some websites used these illegal techniques some years ago, today, Google can easily get your website banned from organic ranking and this will be detrimental to your digital marketing campaign. Some people may boast of achieving higher ranking using the same techniques but the truth remains that the disadvantages of black hat SEO are too harsh you don’t wish to be associated with.
Any decision you make regarding SEO is crucial in determining the success or failure of your business. Employing the right techniques will enable you to achieve top rankings and enjoy the various advantages that come with it. Modern SEO is characterized by top quality content, quality back links and personalized long tail keyword phrases that are not spammed. This way, search engines are likely to find your content easily and ranking it higher than your competitors.