13 Step Digital Marketing Plan

digital-marketing-plan
In today’s competitive and ever connected world, your business can either flourish or decline based on your digital marketing plan. The difficulty can be knowing what tools to use, what works, what doesn’t and where to start. Thankfully the team at Grizzly, the leading Bristol SEO Agency, have created a step by step digital marketing plan to help your website gain some serious traffic.


Grizzly SEO Agency



jamieJamie FitzHenry is the founder of Grizzly, a digital agency based in Bristol UK.

How To Get More Traffic From Uncontested Keywords

uncontested-keywords
Sounds complicated, right? Wrong. These days, most highly searched terms have become too hard to rank for. What if there was a way to target niche terms yet get more traffic in the long-run?

This article aims to show you how targeting niche, long-tail keywords could be what your business needs to succeed. Forget those highly competitive terms and make yourself a micro-niche, long-tail expert.

How can targeting terms with fewer searches be better?

This one does seem hard to make sense of at first. But that’s until you start thinking about simple cost-benefit analysis. Yes – those broad, highly competitive terms do give you more visitors. But they’re also much, much harder to rank for.

Research shows that if you’re not on the first page of Google results, you might as well be nowhere.

That’s right – 11th place on Google might only return you about 1% of the total monthly searches for that term. In stark contrast – 1st place on the first page could net you a whopping 34% clicks.

Now think about how many people are trying to rank for those terms with hundreds of thousands of monthly searches. Some of the competition will have budgets of thousands. It can be hard to compete. Thankfully, there’s an alternative.

Instead of targeting those highly competitive terms and ending up nowhere near the first page of results, you can be more productive by making yourself an authority for terms that are much easier to rank for.

Forget those terms with 100,000 monthly searches and try looking at something with around 10,000. These terms should be much easier to rank for.

If you can get to the even just 2nd place for such a term – you could see 1,700 clicks according to the stats we already looked at. 17% of 10,000. Compare that to 1% of 100,000. That’s 1,000 hits. This doesn’t even include the theory that these niche terms should be much easier rank for as they’re simply not as highly contested. You could throw up ten targeted niche sites in the same amount of time it could take to rank for one long term.

So how can you fine-tune these terms and give yourself an easier route to more traffic? With long-tail keywords.

google-impressions

What are long-tail keywords?

Instead of only targeting “keyword” – try adding something at the beginning or end of the term to filter your results. One good example is “smartphone.” That’s a highly contested term with a huge amount of traffic.

Well, what about “Sony smartphone?” Or, you one step further: “Sony Xperia smartphone.” You can take this example as far as you like to try and give you the results you’re looking for. How about “refurbished Sony Xperia smartphone review.” That’s probably too niche even for this example, but you get the idea.

The great thing about long-tail keywords is that you’ll be able to set yourself up as an authority on EXACTLY the thing your visitors are looking for. This will already put you a step ahead of the competition.

What are some good long-tail keyword additions?

You want to try and use “active” keywords that people use just before they’re about to buy something. “Review” can work well, and so can the current year. People like to add the year to their searches to find as relevant information as possible, as the internet has lots of old reviews out there. Make sure you update it when the year changes.

Even things like “scam” can work. This suffix might seem counter-intuitive and negative – but people use this search when they’re close to purchasing but just want to make sure the product is legit before they do so. If you can be there to reassure them, you could make a sale quite quickly.

One of the best useful keywords to use for highly filtered traffic that’s super-close to making a purchase is “discount.” People only use this when they know they’re going to have to pay something, but they want to see if they can make a saving. If you can be there to offer them the discount they’re looking for – you could make the sale.

Try avoiding long-tail additions like “free” or “download.” Those are for people who are looking for a free ride and aren’t about to spend any money. Don’t waste your bandwidth on them and fine-tune your results by only targeting visitors who are motivated to spend money.

By targeting long-tail keywords, you could set yourself up as an authority in many micro-niches in a fraction of the time it takes to rank for one competitive term. Combine that with the highly motivated visitors you’ll be getting – and you can see how long-tail keywords could be what your business has been looking for.



peterPeter has a strong background in internet marketing and enjoys sharing his knowledge with those just starting out. He also writes for a private tuition service, Smile Tutor.

 

 

 

The Importance of Building Quality Links in 2017

quality-links-2017
Most people wonder how exactly quality link building can help a business nowadays and why should someone put so much effort into creating a quality link. The simplicity of the answers usually eludes people, you invest in a good SEO campaign to rank high with Google, and they consider quality links to be one of the most important factors in website ranking. It is that simple. Today, marketers focus on quality because it produces better results than quantity and it is a mark of an organic link building.

Furthermore, the rule of “get as many links as possible out there” no longer applies, as Google punishes website that tries to spam the Internet with many broken links. The fact of the matter is, if you want to make the best out of link building and generate more traffic back to your website, as well as improve your reputation, you should focus on building quality links. Here are a few reasons why building quality links are important in 2017.

Drive More Traffic

It is a well know fact that link building drives traffic to a website, but it is not as simple as it sounds. A few years ago, you would only need to produce any number of low-quality links and get them posted wherever you could to drive traffic. Now, it is about what you post and where that is important. You will drive more traffic from a quality link that is posted on a popular website with a good reputation than you would from a low-quality link posted on some unknown blog with low rankings. That is why it is essential that your links are backed by quality content that is relevant and informative to your niche and that you focus your link building on websites and blogs with good domain authority.

Quality Content Marketing

Honestly, excellent content is the key to creating quality backlinks and the key for landing them as well. If you supply great content, your odds of pushing links on popular websites and blogs will significantly increase. However, you cannot create random content and hope for the best. In fact, the more relevant, informative, and entertaining your content is the more likelihood that it will be widely accepted.

What matters more is that backlinks and content marketing coincide together, as content helps land backlinks and backlinks help promote content. That is why it is very important for your content to be spot on. Content that works best for backlinks is the one that has visual assets, list posts, original research, and data, as well as in-depth guides. If you want to score a quality link on a quality website, you will have to design your content well.

Quality websites expect your content to have images, videos, charts, infographics, and other visual assets. Just make sure you avoid silly mistakes such as large images that will make a mess. A straightforward and free image resizer can sort that out adequately. After all, the quality of your backlinks is crucial if you want higher rankings.

link-building-2017

Improve Your Reputation

One of the most important factors in determining the quality of the link is the page authority of the domain that links back to you. To put it simply, the more authority or credibility a page has, there will be a bigger impact from a link back to you. That means that if you manage to create a quality link that is good enough for a website that has an active community to link on their page, you will get better results and your reputation will increase as well.

Favorite websites do not link back to just anyone and you being on their page means you are worth checking out. The more credibility you generate from your link building, the hirer your website rank will be, but to manage to get links on useful websites and blogs your links must have adequate quality and a low level of spam.

Quality over Quantity

If you want to increase visibility and improve the presence of your website, then you want your website to rank high. And to do so, you will have to put some effort into quality link building. Quality links are not just important for promoting your website, but for building a good reputation and a name for yourself as well.



oscarOscar Waterworth is content marketing and link building professional, a writer and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. I have been building links and writing content for the past 3 years.

 

 

 

Country Targeting vs Language Targeting: Which One Is Better For Your International SEO?

international-seo
Level: Intermediate

As a website owner or SEO manager, expanding your reach to other languages and countries is always an appealing idea. And why not? There are many advantages in doing so: you’ll get more traffic, more business opportunities, a bigger market share, more revenue, etc.

This sounds fantastic! So how do you get started with International SEO? And most importantly, how do you do it correctly from the beginning so that any search engine in the world can serve your content to the right users?

I want to start by saying that your website will play a huge role since that will be the primary tool to use on your quest to conquer the online world. And if you check your analytics the chances are that some international or multilingual traffic is already visiting it.

After checking your website’s analytics and deciding that pursuing an international audience is a profitable idea, you’ll need to structure your site in a way that it sends a clear message to search engines on who you’re trying to target —That of course, will depend on your business model and company goals.

If you’d like to get some help deciding if your business has the potential to expand its reach to other countries or languages, I recommend you use this infographic by Aleyda Solis as a guide.

Only after you’ve defined your target audience and your business goals, you can decide how to structure your website to be internationally-friendly properly.

Multilingual vs. Multi-regional Websites

To decide which is the best way to structure your site, first, it is important to know the differences between a Multilingual site and a multi-regional site.

Simply put, a multilingual website offers content in various languages, while a multi-regional website targets a particular location.

Multilingual Website

You might want to use a multilingual version of your website, only if you are targeting different languages, not countries. For example, you might show the Spanish version of your site to all latin-American visitors and your English and French versions of your site to Canadian visitors.

  • MyWebsite.com/es/ – Spanish
  • MyWebsite.com/fr/ – French
  • MyWebsite.com/en/ – English

This multilingual version of your website shows different language versions of the same content. Also, notice how we are using the gTLD .com, and the Subdirectories /or/, /en/, and /es/ to indicate the page’s language.

This is the best way to structure your multilingual site’s URL since keeping your whole content under one single root domain consolidates domain authority.

It is also a good idea to keep your language versions on different URLs and interlinking those pages, that way, someone who lands on the English version, might get to the Spanish version in just one click. Avoid using automatic redirects based on the visitor’s IP address.

Other ways to indicate search engines that your site has different language versions are:

Writing the page’s content in the target language

Search engines will determine the language of your page by its content. So make sure to use a single language for each page’s content and navigation.

Use Human Translation and Localization

Truth to be told, machine translations are not good enough. Using machine translations will have an adverse impact on your SEO.

A poorly translated version of your site will deliver horrible user experience and therefore, conversion rates will decline dramatically.

According to Google’s guidelines, a poor or artificial-sounding translation could be seen as spam.

Humans, on the other hand, have all the contextual and cultural knowledge to translate and localize your website accurately.

Hreflang Tags

You can let Google know which one is the most relevant language version of your site to show to the searcher by using Hreflang tags (rel=”alternate” Hreflang).

You can list halfling tags in 2 places: Your website’s site map and in the HTTP header. To expand more on how to add halfling tags to your website, check out this video.

Multi-Regional Website:

You’d want to use a multi-regional website when your prospect’s geographic location influences your company’s goals, for example, if you are a Canadian business that just opened a physical store in France.

  • www.MyWebsite.fr – Website for France
  • www.MyWebsite.ca – Website for Canada

While these two websites might be written in French, they are targeting locations with different currencies, time zones, and contact information.

For these two sites, we are using the ccTLDs .fr and .ca, since this is the clearest way to indicate search engines and users that the content on the site is relevant to a particular geographic location. Therefore, ranking the .fr site in France will be easier.

There are two things to keep in mind when you use a ccTLD; first, is that each domain will have its domain authority, and second, you’ll need to purchase several ccTLDs to execute your international expansion plans.

Other ways to signal search engines that you are targeting a particular country are:

  • Hosting your site locally. Getting a local IP address.
  • Getting a local phone number and address.
  • Building links from local websites.
  • Optimizing your website for local search engines like Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China

Conclusion:

At this point, you might be able to figure out if your business needs a multilingual or a multi-regional site. That will depend if you are targeting a particular country, or if you are targeting a population that speaks a certain language.

Language targeting might be the easiest way to start doing International SEO since it doesn’t require a huge budget. But getting several multi-regional websites and buying their respective ccTLD is a good idea if you have a big company that is planning to sell its products overseas.

I want to close this article by reminding you that no matter who you are targeting, or if you use a ccTLD or a subdirectory, the golden rule of SEO remains the same all around the world and that rule is to create excellent content that empowers your users and solves their problems.

So, which one is better for your business right now? Multilingual, or multi-regional? Let me know in the comments.



camilo
Camilo Atkinson: Inbound Marketer at Day Translations. Self-proclaimed as a music lover above all. I’m passionate about continued learning and entrepreneurship; I try to learn as much as I can from every single person I meet or situation I find myself in.

 

Interesting Facts about Google’s Algorithms

google-algorithm
Google makes use of algorithms for determining website rankings on search results. Whenever someone is searching for something on Google, the algorithms will be swinging into action. They would be reviewing trillions of pages for locating the precise information for the searcher. They would be completing the entire filtering exercise for you in just a few seconds.

In this context, you must understand that algorithms do not merely read the specific web page content before deciding if it actually answers your query, they would be checking how recently the information has been posted, if there is any possibility of being spam and also, if the location seems to be relevant to the searcher.

All these factors are crucial if you are attempting to rank the website. If you want your SEO campaign to succeed, you need to fully understand the working of Google algorithms. Understanding the role of Google algorithms is the key to SEO success. Here are a few facts about Google’s algorithms.

hummingbird-google

Hummingbird Is the Name for Google’s Overall Algorithm

Google’s overall algorithm seems to be having one and only name ever since Hummingbird was introduced in 2013. If you have been keeping track of all the Google’s algorithm changes, you must have noticed some truly colorful names that have been assigned to them such as the Penguin, Panda, and Pigeon and many such names.

But all those names were meant for the updates to the algorithm that is referred to as the Hummingbird, today. Hummingbird was created for making search results on Google faster and more precise.

Search Engine Land has come up with a wonderful analogy while describing Hummingbird, the overall algorithm. According to SEL, Hummingbird is supposed to be a recipe that has hundreds of ingredients. All these diverse ingredients would be put together by Hummingbird to determine the efficacy and quality of trillions of pages existing on the Internet and how effective any one of those pages would be for answering your precise search.

Algorithm Modifications Take Place Over 500 Times in a Year

You may only be aware of just a few Google updates taking place every year. But in reality, you would be astounded to learn that there are over 500 changes made to the overall Google algorithm every year. As per the statement released by MOZ, the hot favorite SEO community, Google actually makes over 500 changes to its algorithm during the course of the year. And these modifications would be including numerous minor changes which mostly remain unknown or unheard of, to most of you.

Why does Google introduce so many changes? It does so to respond to the demands of a rapidly expanding Google user base. To cater to the needs of this vast and diverse user base, Google comes up with numerous algorithm changes frequently. Hire the professional services of any reputed SEO company for effective SEO solutions.

The Secret behind Google Dance

You must have heard about Google Dance. If you do not know anything about it, first of all, you should understand that it does not involve any dance as such. This was a term used for referring to sudden changes in SERP rankings. The term was originally coined by WebmasterWorld and it went on to assign geographically-inspired terms such as Boston dance in February 2003 and even Florida Dance in the same year. However, Florida was supposed to be the last noticeable dance in 20003. It is at the end of the year 2003 that Google consciously quit making significant updates to the algorithms each and every month.

google-team

Page-Rank Derived Its Name from Google Co-Founder Larry Page

Page-Rank was introduced for determining the importance of a specific web page with emphasis on both quality and quantity of links. In Search Engine Optimization, the websites having a relatively high page ranking would be selected by webmasters for link building. This technology came to be named after Larry Page, Google’s Co-Founder.

Conclusion: The Human Touch & Human Intervention

It would be wrong to assume that Google is 100% dependent on technology for determining the quality and efficacy of search engine. There is clear evidence of the human touch. Google is known to have hired human specialists or evaluators for determining the quality and efficacy of results for diverse searches. The search experts would be following some specific guidelines. These effective guidelines are explored by digital marketing specialists for discovering important elements for maintaining search quality.
Algorithms could be real fun. However, with such a colorful history behind it, there is surely more drama coming up.



Sujain Thomas is a freelancer, blogger, and most importantly SEO specialist attached to a private SEO company of repute in Boston. She is an avid blogger and a source of inspiration and authority for budding
SEO experts.

 

10 Tools To Improve Your Guest Blogging Results

10-tools-improve-guest-post

From sources of inspiration to creating high-quality social images to accompany your post, there is a multitude of free and paid tools that can be used to improve your guest blogging campaign. While we certainly don’t advocate the automation of guest blogging, because this quickly crosses the line into a spammy and unethical territory, there is nothing wrong with using some of the tools available to you. By reducing the time it takes to manage multiple spreadsheets, install Outlook add-ons, and unaccepted recirculating pitches, you can concentrate more of your personal resources on creating high-quality guest posting content.

So, below we have put together a list of 10 of the most useful tools;

Tools that we use, every day, as part of our guest blogging campaigns.

AnswerThePublic

Finding inspiration for new posts can be difficult. You don’t want to send rehashed versions of the same articles to multiple sites, but after you’ve pitched a few blogs, you quickly run out of ideas.

Of all the content inspiration tools out there, AnswerThePublic is the one that we return to most often. We use it for writing our blog posts, for finding buyer keywords, and we use it to ensure that we’ve covered every single base with web page content. We also use it for guest blogging.

Only add your keyword, and hit search. AnswerThePublic will then provide you with a list of relevant questions about that topic. We don’t tend to use the visualization tab, which is selected by default. Instead, we click Data so that we are presented with a list of questions. Choose one question, create an FAQ style post, or just use the results to spark some content ideas.

BuzzSumo

Want to know what readers are sharing on social media about your niche? BuzzSumo is a great tool for exactly that purpose. Although many, many tools are part of the BuzzSumo suite, we primarily use it to determine popular topics and even to help us come up with blog post titles.

Enter your keyword, with quotation marks, and then hit search. You will be given an extensive list of posts that include the number of shares they have experienced on different social media accounts.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is probably the most widely used SEO tool that we have, and while it isn’t free, if you are conducting any ongoing SEO campaign, it is worth the investment. We use it to measure the quality of a guest blog site to determine whether it is worth pitching.

You can see whether a blog has any traffic, whether it has suffered any penalties that might be passed on to you, and you can also use it to determine the most popular posts that have appeared on a blog. This gives you great information to share with the blog owner – right; they probably know which there most favorite posts are, but by showing that you do too, you also show that you’ve put some time and effort into contacting them.

SEMRush

One of the biggest challenges in guest blogging is finding a steady stream of high-quality blogs that we want to publish content on. SEMRush may not be the first tool you think of for this, but they have a new SEO Content Tool. The tool is still in Beta, but enter a keyword, and SEMRush will display a mass of information, including a list of sites where you should try and get a link from. This will often include blogs that accept guest posts, reducing the time you have to spend mastering Google search queries.

Guest Post Site Scraper

We aren’t usually fans of scrapers and scraping tools. In the case of website scrapers, they tend to end in a list of relatively low-quality sites, but if you use it correctly, then the Guest Post Site Scraper will provide you with an extensive list of websites that use your keywords or are based on your topics, and that actively encourage guest post submissions. If you do use this tool, be sure to check the quality of the sites before you go submitting work to them.

BuzzStream

When it comes to pitching websites, you will find that some site owners answer straight away. Some take days or even weeks to respond, and many will never respond at all. You can significantly improve your acceptance rates simply by following up on the pitches that you send. A spreadsheet will do the job, but BuzzStream arguably does a better job, and it does it in less time. You can even use it to find sites. It displays the email or contact address of any site that you find, and you can set reminders so that you email the site owner again in a few days.

Moz Toolbar

Writing a guest post should take time. The more effort you put into it, the greater the results you will reap. However, because it can take hours to create a high-quality post, find a list of sites, and then pitch your idea, you should ensure that you are getting the most from every post that is published. For this reason, you should measure the quality of a site before you try pitching them an idea. Moz offers a Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) of every website and web page online, and these metrics are considered the industry standard for this kind of purpose. We are asked for sites with a minimum DA of 20.

SharesCount

It is important not to overlook the power of social shares as well, and the past social performance of a blog’s posts is a reasonable indication of how well future posts will perform. SharesCount is a straightforward and useful tool that tells you how often a post has been shared on the major networks and is a simpler alternative to BuzzSumo and other tools. Paste the URL and click Enter.

Pixabay

Some blog owners receive hundreds of pitches every week and must spend more time trawling through submissions than they would spend writing the posts. It stands to reason, then, that the more work you do for the site owner, the greater the chance that they will publish your piece. Add images to your post. Use screenshots where applicable, or use royalty free, stock photos and illustrations. Many websites offer this kind of content, including Pixabay.

Canvas

If you want to go the extra mile with your submission, then you can create better quality images. Use the photos and illustrations you gather from Pixabay and other sources, edit them, and add text and other items using Canvas. Canvas can be used to create stunning infographics and hero images, as well, but it is a quick and simple solution to creating social sharing images.

Using the tools above you can increase your guest blogging performance. You will be able to find content ideas more easily, judge the quality of sites that you publish to, and even incorporate images. You can track your results, and you can use the information that you gather to make further improvements in the future too.


Matt1Matt Jackson is a freelance content writer and guest blogger. He manages dozens of campaigns, crafting high-quality content, and submitting to beneficial blogs to gain exposure for websites around the world. Visit brandingmedia.co.uk for more information on Matt’s services.

A Detailed Guide to Advanced Search Operators for SEO

detailed-guide-seo

First things first, Google gets as much as about 78% of worldwide search volume, which makes it the biggest source of organic traffic. Perhaps so much so that you wouldn’t even want to bother with another search engine in most cases.

However, over the past few years, Google has gotten extremely stringent with SEO. If you’re aware of the recent SEO trends, you likely know that Google is penalizing sites with shady SEO practices more aggressively than ever before.

This certainly calls for some quality and well-thought-out SEO strategies, as those typical SEO tools are no longer going to cut it. So without further ado, let’s walk you through some highly advanced search operators that may turn out to be extremely useful in coming up with sophisticated SEO strategies that are both safe and efficient.

Advanced Search Operators

Allinanchor: This search operator is going to pull up all pages that are linking out to sites using a particular anchor text. For example, “all in anchor: Best SEO Company” is going to return pages that are linking out to sites using the words “best SEO company” as the anchor text.

Allintext: This is something you can use to find pages that contain particular words in their text. For instance, searching for “allintext: SEO checklist” is going to get you results that include the words “SEO” and “list.”

Allintitle: Similar to the above one, this search operator would return pages that have particular words in their title.

Allinurl: This will help you find URLs containing particular words.

Author: Google will only show you results from Google Groups that are newsgroup articles written by the author you’re searching for.

Define: This search operator is similar to the above one but would help you get definitions for what you’re searching for.

Intext: This is related to “allintext,” but has a slightly different use. For example, if you search for “Rand Fishkin intext: SEO” (without the quotes), then you would get results that mention SEO in the text, but “Rand” and “Fishkin” may not necessarily be referred to in the text.

Intitle: Similar to the above search operator, this helps you find results with specific words in the title, while the other words that you do not put after the search operator may be mentioned anywhere in the article.

Site: This search operator would allow you to restrict the search results to only the site you put after it. Example: “SEO tips site:getplusfollowers.com” (without the quotes) would only get you results that talk about social media tips from getplusfollowers.com.

Inurl: It works the same way as intext and intitle do, pulling up results that contain particular words in the URL while the other words that are not put after the search operator can be anywhere in the article.

Link: This search operator will only return all pages that link to a particular site. However, if you’re trying to find the external links to a site, you can use the “minus” search operator along with the “link” one.

For example, if you search for “link:google.com -site:google.com” (without the quotes), you would only get external pages linking to google.com, and not the ones from Google’s site.

Finding Link Building Opportunities

The beauty of these search operators is that they make it incredibly easier and efficient to find great link building opportunities, which can otherwise be very time-consuming and a downright tedious task. The infographic talks in great detail about how you can go about using these search operators to find link building opportunities.

Advanced Google Search Operators
Created by SEO Optimizers


brandon-gpBrandon Leibowitz, owner of SEO Optimizers, has been involved with digital marketing since 2007 with an emphasis on search engine optimization. He runs a sports blog as well called shralpin.com. His knowledge and advice has helped countless people improve their online presence.

7 Steps To Earn Natural Backlinks Using Case Studies

7 steps to earn natural backlinks with case studies featured image

How often do you write case studies?

We write more case studies than the typical blog posts because people like to read, share, and link to them.

A case study shows the challenges, the strategies employed, as well as the results a particular brand or website got. I will show you how to earn natural backlinks using this powerful content format.

Once upon a time in the history of SEO, all you need to rank your pages on Google’s first page is to stuff your content with keywords and build lots of link to it, and within a few days, your page will be sitting right there.

As you would expect, effective SEO is no longer about quantity, but the quality of links pointing to your valuable pages.

And if you’re wondering why it’s like that, this screenshot from Brian Dean gives a better clarity:

backlinko natural links

Brian is referring to natural links here. This is the type of links that will stand the test of time, and will not put your site at risk.

What do you consider a natural link?

Essentially, natural links according to Moz are those links that are relevant, useful, and flows smoothly into the context of the page. Often times, for you to get a natural link you don’t have to ask for it, but rather, you focus on creating quality and linkable content that people find irresistible and therefore share it.

Although, it’s difficult to earn links without inducing it, but while you’re making efforts to improve your organic rankings don’t go the unnatural way.

improve organic rankings

Google’s Head of Webspam Matt Cutts also stated that your links should be natural if you want to build a strong foundation for sustainable organic rankings.

 

matt cutts natural links

So, why should you build natural backlinks in the first place?

Typically, you’ll agree with me that the benefits of natural links are obvious. Alex Chris gave some good reasons why you should concentrate on building this type of links, below is an excerpt from his post:

benefits of these links

With that said, here are the seven proven ways to earn natural links using case studies.

Step #1: Begin With Why

Getting a link could ultimately improve your search rankings, but should you dwell on that?

I don’t think you should.

Instead, you want to go for links that will get you traffic first, because Google wants activity on your link. So “Your Why” for creating a case study isn’t solely to get links, but traffic and clients. And remember, traffic comes from delivering value.

How do you offer value?

Here’s the idea: You want to provide your audience with an actionable step-by-step guide to implementing what you’re talking about. For example, if your case study is about influencer marketing, then you must make it actionable so that readers can act on it immediately.

In his classic book, “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek stated that for you to succeed at anything, you must know your “WHY,” the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do.

simon sinek

Now, in your own case, your focus is to offer great value via the case study and in exchange, get lots of targeted traffic which will end up bringing you a good number of natural links.

Step #2: Identify Questions Through Market Research

The next step is to carry out market research and find out what questions people are asking regarding the topic you want to cover.
For me, the best place to get this is Quora.

For instance, why browsing Quora, I saw someone asking the question:

How can I generate leads for a B2B Civil-Based Startup?

Below is the answer someone gave to the question:

how can I generate leads for a B2B civil based startup on Quora

So, if the topic I want to cover in the case study is related to lead generation, after going through the answers to that question, I already know some of the things I should include.

As a rule of thumb, always create case studies based on questions that users are asking or topics that are complicated in a way.

Step #3: Pick Long-Tail Keywords

Now that we’re done with market research, we also need to know what keywords people are using to find the topic in the search engines.

Most people make the mistake of conducting keyword research with the assumption that they’re doing market research – but they’re not the same.

When it comes to keyword research, because of the competition is virtually every industry today, you need to focus on long-tail search terms.

One of the best tools out there for digging up long-tail variations of head keywords in any niche is KeywordTool.io

keywordtool-io

Using the lead generation topic as our example, input it into the search box (select Google.com from the options), and click on the orange search icon at the extreme right.

Here’s the result you’ll get:

keyword tool io result

As you can see, the highlighted section is just a tiny list of long-tail keywords that you can target. Each of these can be used for your case study. It’s that simple.

For example, your case study could have any of these titles:

  • Case Study: How 10 B2C Companies Used These Lead Generation Strategies to Grow Their Business
  • Case Study: 5 Proven Lead Generation Strategies To Grow Your Business

Better yet, you can get specific with your titles. Here’s an example case study from Contently:

contently genpact case study

Step #4: Choose a Topic to Create the Case Study On

A case study is meant to bring you leads and clients, so you need to be careful while choosing your topic. The truth is, you need to focus on customer needs, process, systems, and metrics to drive consistent traffic – which in turn will lead to more links.

traffic chart

For instance, if you’re a social media expert, you shouldn’t create a case study on search traffic or link building. Instead, you want to focus on social media and show examples of companies that got success, and how they did it.

Here’s an example from Conductor, a Competitive Intelligence and Search Engine Marketing Company. Their case studies are primarily about SEO, content strategy, and the exact steps they used to grow their client’s business.

Though the case study is gated (you need to opt-in to access it), but can you see how relevant it is?

conductor search light traffic growth

Remember that when creating your case study that it doesn’t have to come from you directly — it could be from other credible and authoritative sources.

Perhaps, your competitor was able to increase his client’s revenue by 37%, if that’s the case, you should share his case study instead. It’s totally fine.

Step #5: Curate Case Studies from Authority Sites

As I stated earlier, the case study must not be from you directly. You can also share other people’s success, but if you’ve implemented what you want to teach and it worked for you, it will be even better.
To find other company’s case studies, just go to Google and search with any of these search operators:

  • Case study + “put your topic here.”
  • Success story + “your topic goes here.”

For example, when I searched with: case study + “increase revenue” here’s what I found in Google:

case study increase revenue

As you can see, you’ve got more case studies to share with your audience. Interestingly, potential clients don’t want to know whether the case study is from you directly or curated, as long as it’s actionable they’ll want to work with you.

More so, other websites will link to this resourceful content because they’re hard to come by — they’re based on verifiable results — not everyone can provide that.

Step #6: Notify Websites That You Linked To

This is particularly applicable when you curate case studies from third-party sources. Creating the case study alone will not bring backlinks, you must persuade people to share and possibly link to it. You’ll do this by reaching out to people that will potentially link to you.

The best way to go about this is to reach out to the blogs you curated their case studies and notify them that you linked to them. They’ll love it, share it, and even link to it.

You can use this simple email script to contact them:

Hello [first name],

I know you’re busy, but I just wanted to inform you

that I referenced your case study in my latest resources.

You can check it out her: http://put your case study URL here

You can share it on Twitter if you think it’s useful.

Thank you.

[Your Full Name]

Keep your email short and straight to the point. There’s no need for unnecessary pleasantries.

You can contact them via email, contact page, or social media and let them know you mentioned them in your case study, they will check out the content, and if it’s good enough, they won’t have any other choice other than to share and link to it.

Step #7: Share With Micro-Influencers

The final step is to find micro-influencers and reach them via Twitter or Facebook. You can easily find these micro-influencers using Buzzsumo.

With this tool, you can uncover influencers who shared a particular post. These are the same people that would like to share your own post if it’s really helpful (it should).

In this instance, if I want to find out the influencers that shared a viral post that’s related to lead generation using Buzzsumo, it’s so easy, just enter the keyword into Buzzsumo search box, then click on “View Sharers.”

buzzsumo

Notice the highlighted link (View Sharers)? Once you click on it, Buzzsumo will show you a list of influencers that shared the articles.
You can now contact them via Twitter or Facebook and let them know that you have an even better article they might want to share with their audience.

Conclusion

Compelling content has made link building a lot easier. Sure, content comes in different forms, but a case study seems to connect with the right audience more intimately.

Google has evolved so much. If your content page doesn’t deserve to be at the top of the SERPs for your keyword(s), then any work you put link building might be wasted. Create more case studies, connect with micro-influencers, and earn natural backlinks.

I would like to hear from you, did you earn natural links from your case studies?


michael chibuzorAbout the Author – Michael Chibuzor is a Content Marketing Expert and founder of http://Saasbrand.com, a friendly brand that helps software marketing companies grow their business. You can reach him on Twitter @mikecoder

Why Blog For Business – Real Reasons to Start a Corporate Blog

reasons-corporate-blog

Learn How Your Business Can Benefit from Blogging

Blogging for business is important, no matter how big or small the business may be. Even small businesses with limited budgets can benefit from blogging.

Something which I encounter a lot is business owners who misunderstand the purpose of starting a corporate blog. People fear what they don’t understand which deters them from trying it out, and most of those who do just end up publishing company news which, let’s be honest, only reach a tiny audience. So why bother, you ask?

Well, let’s evaluate.

What does every business owner care about the most? That’s right; the bottom line. The highest priority is sales because earning money is the reasons why they started their company in the first place. In this post, I will explain how blogging effectively can increase your bottom line – if it is done the right way!

2 Common Myths About Business Blogging Goals

  1. People read your blog and immediately purchase your product
  2. People enter your home page or other landing pages, see that you have an excellent blog and that influences them to purchase

There is nothing more to add here; this is not how blogging brings you extra cash, and that’s the long and short of it.

Factors which Influence Purchase Decisions

Before we move further, it is critical to mention (at least briefly) the factors that do influence consumers during the purchase decision process. If you want to dig deeper, you can find more details here and here.

To summarize, here is my short list –

  • Product quality and pricing
  • Web site design, usability, and responsiveness
  • Content shared by people they know and trust
  • Brand familiarity and strength

Again, there is no really need to go into too much detail here. It is clear that there is no way we can influence p.1 and p.2, but what about the other two points? If you want people to know about you, trust you and to spread the word about you and your business, then blogging is the ultimate weapon at your disposal.

SEO and Traffic

Frequent and quality content updates are factors which play a role in your SEO ranking. If you regularity publishes new content, it positively influences domain-level authority. The more often you upload recent articles, the better. This may prove difficult to achieve this every day, but that is not necessary; twice a week is a good rate to start with.

If your only goal is to signal to Google’s bots that you have updated your website’s content to give you an SEO boost, then publishing articles of around 500 words would be sufficient. However, should you be seeking black-belt business blogging which results in quality traffic, valuable leads and that contributes to your brand’s authority, then you need to take a ninja approach to SEO-friendly blogging.

Here are the fundamentals which you need to take into consideration;

Do keyword research and write SEO-friendly articles to drive more traffic to your blog

Create well-researched and illustrated content; the more time people spend reading your posts, the better. Dwell time is a ranking factor too.

Write longer posts; count the number of words in the blog posts which rank top 10 for the keyphrase you want to be ranked for. You may also want to refer to this post by serpIQ for even more details about content length.

Link to other pages of your website or blog to reduce bounce rate, and do not be afraid of linking to reputable outside sources.

content-length-ranking-factor

The Buyer’s Journey and Business Blogging

What is the buyer’s journey? It is a three-step process which begins when buyers realize that they have a problem, continues as they seek ways to solve it and concludes as they choose a solution.

Here are the three steps, explained;

  1. The Awareness stage: during this stage, the buyer realizes he or she has a problem and looks for the ways to solve it.
  2. The Consideration stage: they buyer does in-depth research and analysis of the available solutions.
  3. The Decision stage: the buyer finds a suitable solution to get the problem solved.

Business blogging is a great way to catch the buyer’s attention at the point when they realize they have a pain point because it is during this stage that they look for additional information (educational content, testimonials, and customer feedback) that would help them to solve the problem. This is where you must show expertise in a well-researched and informative blog article.

Understanding your prospects’ needs is of vital importance; for this reason, you may want to create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fake character with the traits of your ideal customer. You need to create as many of them as it is necessary for your particular business goals. The number of details you may want to include also varies; it may be sex, age, income, education, shopping preferences, goals, challenges, etc.

Small Local Business Blogging Tip

This small business blogging tip is a real life example, and it is all about driving highly targeted traffic that brings sales.
This plan formed after I analyzed the Google AdWords data of one of my clients, a home window repair company. Search queries with local intent were bringing them results from a conversions point of view (they were enjoying a conversion rate of approximately 20% in Google AdWords).

The client offers their services in 30 cities, and there are about ten groups of keywords which describe the type of problems which they solve (30 x 10 is 300 extra pages to create!).

We created local landing pages for major services in each city, however, were still too many key phrases which we wanted them to rank highly for.

Our page title looks like this:

[service name] + [city name] + [state name]
Creating 300 pages with similar, directly selling content might have been a good idea, but Google loves content which brings unique value to the world wide web. So, what did we do?

We decided to blog about their services. We created short case studies, detailing jobs which have been done in different cities. Fortunately, the client always takes before and after photos of their most exciting projects, so there was no lack of visual content.

This is where the concept of telling success stories was born; a strategy which has proven to drive precious, locally targeted traffic.

Establish Authority Through Blogging

The whole article is dedicated to one single thesis statement only – blogging, if done the right way, is one of the best tools to build authority and trust. Econsultancy’s study revealed that 61% of the customers read reviews before they purchase something online. As you can see, trust is everything in a digital world, especially if you are selling an expensive product or a product which requires accurate and in-depth knowledge (such digital marketing, law, medicine, etc.) which a regular person has only broad understand of.

Becoming an authority

In the real world, you cannot become a power by just declaring it; customers need proof. Writing quality, well-researched and illustrated articles is the great way to establish yourself as an industry expert.

People buy from people

People buy from people, but not from brands, which is why you should consider publishing blog articles under your real name. If consumers like your content, they will be more likely to interact with your brand; they will express their point of view, they will ask questions or even debate. This builds a closer emotional connection between you and your audience and helps to establish relationships, which is key to the success of your business.

Build Your Email List

Even though everybody’s inbox is stuffed to the brim with emails (many of are junk emails), email marketing is still a very powerful marketing tool! If done the right way, email marketing can help you to gain trust, credibility and become a kind of a friend or a friendly consultant – not a stranger. The best part is that email marketing is relatively cheap, easy to implement and it usually doesn’t take much time.

If you write great blog articles, then why not to share them with your subscribers? The hardest part of email marketing is building a customer list. Your success directly depends on its quality; people must be interested in the content you produce. This is where blogging can help.

However, if you just have a hard-to-notice Subscribe option somewhere under your category links, that will not work for everybody. I suspect that only the top resources can afford such a shy approach to inviting new readers to sign up for their newsletters.

What You Should Consider Is:

  • Ensuring that there is a good reason for the reader to share their email address with you
  • Ensuring that your sign up offer is easily noticeable and well-designed
  • Ensuring that the process is simple; try to avoid complex forms
    If you have huge amount of data, test as much as you can to find what works best for you

Lead magnet (a free to low price offer) is an excellent way to build your emails list. You can provide a free e-book, private blog section access, a free report, a cheat sheet or a discount in exchange for an email address. It is paramount not to disappoint subscribers, so you must make sure your lead magnet brings real value.

image13-3

Conclusion (Spoiler or, maybe, not)

Content marketing, no doubt, is a powerful tool and corporate blogging plays a significant role in it. However, to ensure that everything you have read here works for your business goals, writing alone is not enough. You will see little to no results if nobody ever reads your articles, i.e., If you have no traffic.

If you want search rankings, then you need to invest in building links. If you want extra traffic from social media channels, then you need to grow your following and perhaps use paid advertising. If you have a limited budget, then you need to find time for guest blogging, time to participate in relevant forums, social media groups, people outreach and other activities.

Is this difficult or tedious? Not at all!

I want to finish off with a positive thought; even though business blogging will not make you quick bucks, it puts one more coin into the bank of your brand’s success every time you publish a new quality blog article. Start small and find out what works best for you and once you find your groove then accelerate your efforts. Happy blogging!


Alex OmelchenkoAlex Omelchenko is an SEO and PPC expert. He is a happy dad, British Fold cat owner and a COO at ProfCopy, a content writing firm. Alex Omelchenko is the CEO and a co-founder of ProfCopy, a copywriting firm. Alex is also astute in search engine optimization and pay per click advertising. He is the happy owner and biggest fan of his Scottish Fold cat. You can follow Alex on Twitter.

53 Essential Website Features for Local Business Owners

53-essential-features-owners

A successful business website is not just about great products and services. Many local websites only fail to attract customers because of subtle design flaws that can go unnoticed by an untrained eye. While generic web designing best practices work as a good starting point, to stand out from the crowd, your local business site needs some extra fine tunings.

I work for WebAlive, a web design company and we recently published an infographic that shows 53 essential features for local business websites. I think you’ll find this infographic to be a useful guide for designing or improving the site of your own.

The infographic begins with the crucial advice of having a cc TLD domain for your local business. Then it gives an outline of a conversion friendly homepage, providing a complete list of elements that it should have. Next, it suggests a page by page structure of the whole site, mentioning important elements that those pages should contain.

Apart from the design elements, the infographic goes into some of the technical aspects which will help in SEO and improve your site’s performance. These include the advice of including the Google search console and LocalBusiness schema – a crucial thing that most of the local business sites ignore. It also warns against some of the common bad practices that you should avoid.

Take a look at the infographic below to improve your local business website.

local-business-website-features

Does your site have all the essential features mentioned here? Which features do you think are the most crucial for a small local business site? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

 


Liakat Hossain is a content marketing professional at WebAlive, a company that provides web design, development and online marketing services. He is helping businesses grow with search and content marketing since 2011. Connect with him on Twitter.